“Never said you were, babe. Do you drink besides tonight?” I asked, now smiling because I knew she was upset. I liked the fire I saw in her eyes when I pointed out her good girl qualities – she obviously didn’t like being labeled.
“Sometimes. I’m just responsible. I don’t drink and drive. My dad used to be a cop and it was drilled into my head at an early age.” The words she spoke hit me like a ton of bricks. Drunk driving was the one thing in the world that caused my blood to boil.
Good girl teacher with a cop father? Just my luck. “Nothin’ wrong with that. Virgin daiquiris aren’t always your thing, then?”
“Why? Do I have to be a drinker? I mean does it make me less of an adult?”
“No, Suzy. Just trying to get a feel for who you are – what you are.” Her shoulders slumped and she seemed to relax a bit with my words. “Want another drink? You downed that one quick.” She surprised me with how fast she polished it off, my question about her drinking had been answered, but I wanted to watch her get a little pissed.
“One more and then I’m done,” she said.
“You order your drink and I’m going to go talk to my friend over there real quick. He’s a mechanic. I’ll see what he can do with your car tonight.” Standing, I motion to Sandy and pointed to Suzy.
“Okay, don’t leave me alone here too long.”
“Promise, two minutes, tops.” I walked away from Suzy as Sandy approached. The vultures would swoop in soon enough in my absence.
“Bored with Sunshine over there, buddy?” Tank asked as he kicked back in his chair as the others laughed. Tank’s smile was wide and the laughter only encouraged him further. “I can step in if you’d like. I wouldn’t mind spending the night with that sweet flower.”
I sat down in my usual seat next to Bear. “You can fuck off tonight.” I pointed at Tank. “I don’t need your shit.” Tank just grinned. I knew he was fucking around but it pissed me the fuck off. I’ve known Tank for years and although he could be a pain in the ass, he had a heart of gold.
“Easy there, City. What the fuck crawled up your ass and died?” Bear said.
“Nothing man, long day. Sorry, brother.”
“Sweet on that girl, huh? Never knew you were such an uptight dick let alone over protective of a woman,” Bear said.
“I’m not, but fuck, the shit that comes out of your mouth just pisses me off at times.”
“Sorry. Just fuckin’ with you.”
“We’re cool.” I slapped Bear on the shoulder hoping to change the mood. No matter what assholes the guys could be, they were still my friends. They always had my back and were there for me when I needed them. “I need a favor, Tank.”
“Her car’s down the road and isn’t starting. It’s an easy fix to get it moving again, but there’s some other issue with it. Think you could take care of it for me and drop it by her place tomorrow?”
“Sure. Whatever you need. You want me to just get it running or fix it for her?”
“Fix it and I’ll pay for the repair. Don’t let her pay for anything. Just drop it in her driveway.”
“Gotcha, kid. I’ll need her keys,” he said as he popped open a peanut and threw the shell on the floor.
“I’ll get them to you before we head out. Thanks, man.” I stood quickly needing to get back to Suzy. I’d already been gone too long.
“Night. Enjoy the sunshine. Don’t get burned,” Bear said. Motherfucker.
A man stood over Suzy, invading her personal space as she backed away as far as possible without falling off the stool. He looked greasy with long straggly hair, a dirty top, stained pants, and covered in old faded tattoos. I’d seen the motherfucker here before and it never ended well. He always creeped woman out and someone always tossed him on his ass after he had one too many.
“Excuse me,” I said as I stood behind him and waited for him to turn his attention toward me.
“What?” he asked without turning around.
“The lady doesn’t want to talk to you.” I squeezed my hands into fists and tried to keep my temper down for Suzy’s sake.