You Give Love a Bad Name
You Give Love a Bad Name
“I want to have a word with you.”
The redheaded bartender looked up at the man standing in front of her. “Sure thing, Sport. What can I get for you?”
“It’s not about me,” Ryan began. “It’s about my friends.”
“Okay,” the bartender said indulgently, “what can I get for your friends?”
“It’s not what they want. It’s what you did to them. That’s what I want to talk about.”
“What I did to them,” the bartender said with a smile. “What did I do to them?”
“You made them fall in love with each other,” Ryan said. “You made them fall in love with each other and I want you to make it stop. I want you to turn things back to the way they were before.”
“I made them fall in love,” the bartender said. “How exactly did I do that?”
“You made them some drinks.”
“Well, of course, I did. That’s my job.”
Ryan shook his head. “That’s not what I mean and you know it. You made a very special drink. You called it a Cupid’s Arrow.”
“Sounds exotic. What’s in it?”
“How should I know. You’re the one who made it, but it did something to my friends. First, it was Reanna and Bethany. Reanna was Blake’s girlfriend but suddenly, she can’t keep her hands off of Bethany, and then it was Blake and Sammie. You said the drink was supposed to make Sammie like me but it didn’t. You did something to them. I know it.”
The bartender smiled. “I think I get it. What you’re saying is because your friend doesn’t like you, you think it’s my fault.”
“No. I’m saying you did something to them. I’m saying you made them fall in love. I’m saying whatever you did, you give love a bad name.”
The bartender continued to smile. “Even if that were the case,” she said, “I don’t know what you want me to do about it.”
“I want you to make it stop.”
“Sorry, Sport, but even if I could do what you said I did, I’d say it doesn’t work that way.”
The bartender just laughed. “Maybe it’s because you whine too much.”
“I still want to talk to you,” the man said.
“This man bothering you, Afra?”
Both Ryan and the bartender turned to look at the newcomer. There was nothing that overtly identified him for who he was or what he did, but he was a big man, a muscular man, and even though there was nothing there that explicitly identified what he did, it wasn’t hard to figure out. “We were just having a conversation, Phil.”
“You sure that’s all it was,” the man said. “It looked like he was bothering you,” the bouncer said.
“He wasn’t bothering me. We were just having a conversation.”
The bouncer turned to look at Ryan. “We don’t like people bothering our bartenders,” the man said. “One word from her and you’re out of here. You got that?”
Ryan nodded. “I got it.”
“I’m going to be watching you,” the man said.
Ryan nodded and he waited until the bouncer had walked away. “I still want to talk to you,” he told the bartender.
“You don’t give up, do you, Sport?”
Ryan shook his head.
“I’ll tell you what. I got a break in about an hour. If you’re still here around about then, maybe you and I can talk. How’s that sound?”
“Works for me,” Ryan said. “I’ll be here.”
“Only thing is you can’t just sit at the bar if you’re not going to drink, so what are you going to have?”
“Why can’t I just sit here?”
“It’s the house rules, Sport. You got to drink something or you gotta vacate the seat so what can I get for you?”
“I don’t want nothing from you.”
If the bartender was offended, she didn’t show it. “You gotta drink something.”
“Water,” Ryan said finally. “Bottled water. I’ll take a bottled water.”
“You really don’t trust me,” the bartender said even as she handed over the bottle.
Ryan shook his head. “What do I owe you?” he asked.
“For that? Nothing.”
“No seriously. I don’t want any charity from you. What do I owe you?”
The bartender grinned. “You don’t owe me nothing, Sport. We keep water and coffee on hand for the designated drivers. Anybody wants one of those, it’s on the house. No questions asked.”
Ryan took the bottle. “Well, okay,” he said grudgingly and then he took a swig from the bottle. “Okay,” he said again.
“Remember our deal,” the bartender said. “If you’re still here when I go on my break, then maybe we can talk then. Got it?”
Ryan nodded. He knew what the deal was.
It didn’t take Ryan long to figure out that there was a trick to the proposition. He’d come in here with the proposition of talking to the bitch ... well, even he had to admit that that was perhaps to strong a characterization, but he’d come in here to talk to the bartender about his friends because he was sure she’d had something to do with their ... their changes in fortune. Maybe she’d talk to him, he thought. Maybe she’d agree to meet him later. Maybe she would have told him to take a fucking hike, but what he hadn’t expected her to tell him was that she wanted him to wait around for her.
Club 14 was one of the newest hot spots in town but it wasn’t the type of place that you went to go to and do nothing and yet that was what he was doing. He was sitting at the bar and drinking bottled water and that was boring but he wasn’t going to leave his place. He’d come here to talk to the bartender and he was going to do exactly that.
Someone bumped into him but Ryan ignored it. It was hardly surprising that someone would bump into him. After all, Club 14 was a popular place.
Someone bumped into him again and again Ryan ignored it. It sounded like a girl. Hell, it felt like a girl, but it wasn’t the girl he’d come here to see.
But when it happened again, Ryan was annoyed. He only meant to turn and ask the girl to be careful.
But when he turned, there was definitely a girl there, but it wasn’t the girl that he was face to face with, it was her boyfriend.
He wasn’t a big guy. He certainly wasn’t bigger than Ryan was. It was hard to pick out much of his features in the darkness of the club but what was obvious right from the beginning was that the man was drunk.
“What are you looking at,” the man snarled. “You looking at my girlfriend?”
“Come on, Anthony,” the obvious girlfriend pleaded. “Leave the guy alone.”
“No way. I don’t like guys coming onto my girl.”
The girl was an Asian girl and she had a hold of the man’s arm. “Come on, Anthony. I don’t want you to do this.”
Okay, Ryan thought, he’d always thought Asian girls were hot and this one was even hotter than most and there was a part of him that wouldn’t have minded separating the girl from her boyfriend, if he thought he could actually do that.
“I’m serious, Anthony. Leave the guy alone.”
“No way. I told you. I don’t like guys coming onto you, Evelyn.”
“And I don’t like it when you’re drunk,” the girlfriend countered.
“You’re taking his side. Is that what you’re telling me?”
“But what? Either you’re on his side or you’re on my side.”
“Come on, Anthony. I want you to take me home.”
“No way. Not before this ass hole apologizes to you.”
“I want to go home,” Evelyn said.
“Not until he apologizes.”
“I’ll apologize,” Ryan said.
“I’ll apologize,” Ryan said again. It seemed the most expedient way to diffuse the situation. “Just tell me what you think it is I did.”
“Are you making fun of me?” Anthony growled.
“Not at all. I just want to make sure I get it right.”
“I think you’re making fun of me.”
“He said he’d apologize,” the girl said. She turned towards Ryan and he thought he saw her mouth the words, “Please.”
“I, um, I was looking at your girlfriend,” Ryan said. “I’m sorry.”
“And what,” Anthony demanded.
“And, um, I ... I won’t do it again,” Ryan offered.
“See, he apologized,” said the girl. “Let’s go, okay.”
“That apology sucked.”
“Come on, Anthony. He said he was sorry. Let’s just go.”
“No, I want him to fucking do it again. I want him to do it right.”
“Come on, Anthony.”
“I want him to do it right.”
Ryan could sense the crowd gathering. He knew everyone was watching him and the other two and it wasn’t like it was even his fault. He’d only meant to tell the girl to be a little more careful.
“Come on, Anthony. Let’s go.”
“Is there a problem here?” It was Phil, the bouncer, and even though he didn’t say it with words, Ryan could see it in the man’s eyes. What Phil was thinking was, “You again.”
And suddenly, Afra was there. “This man was hassling the gentleman at the bar,” she said. “If you want my opinion, I’d say he’s drunk and I can tell you that as of right now, he’s cut off.”
Phil’s attention turned towards Anthony. “Is that so?”
“You can’t do that to me,” Anthony spluttered.
“As a matter of fact, she can,” Phil said. “Sir, I think we’re going to have to ask you to leave.”
“I’m a good paying customer,” Anthony said.
“And we appreciate your patronage but for now, we’re going to have to ask you to leave.”
Anthony looked around him at the growing crowd and he finally came to the conclusion that this was a fight he wasn’t going to win. “Fine,” he said. “Come on, Evelyn. We’re outta here.”
“I’m not going,” said his girlfriend.
“I’m not going.”
“Yeah, and how are you going to get home?”
“I’ll find a way.”
“Sir,” broke in Phil, “the lady is welcome to stay if she so chooses, but you need to leave.”
Anthony looked around him and then he nodded. “Fine. You don’t have to tell me twice. I’m outta here.” He pointed a finger at Evelyn. “And you,” he spat. “You and me, we’re through,” and with that, he turned and walked out of the club with Phil making sure he didn’t turn around and try to sneak back inside.
With the disruption handled, everyone seemed to drift back to what they were doing before, all that is except for Evelyn and Ryan. “I want to thank you for what you did,” the girl said.
“It’s okay,” the man said, trying to brush it off.
“No really,” the girl said. “I really appreciate it.”
“It’s okay,” the man said again.
“But I really haven’t thanked you properly.”
Ryan turned towards the girl. He was going to tell her one more time that it didn’t really matter, but that was when she pressed herself against him and then she was pushing her lips against his.
“What are you doing?” the man asked.
“I’m thanking you,” the girl replied and then before the man realized what was happening, the girl was pulling up her dress and pushing down her panties. “Come on,” she said. “You can’t say you don’t want this.”
Ryan couldn’t help it. He was staring between the girl’s legs. “Someone’s going to see you,” he said.
“I don’t care,” the girl said. “I don’t care if they do see me. I just want you to see me.”
“This is wrong,” the man said.
“What’s wrong is for you to keep sitting there when I’m offering you my pussy. Don’t you want me?”
“This can’t be happening,” the man thought to himself.
And suddenly it wasn’t. The girl was standing there in front of him with her dress back and her panties back in place looking for all the world as if nothing had happened. “Are you okay?” she asked.
“I asked if you were okay. You just sort of spaced out there for a second.”
“I ... I’m ... yeah, I think I’m okay.”
“Good. I just wanted to say thank you again. Anthony can be such a jerk.”
“Are you going to be okay?” Ryan asked.
The girl smiled wanly. “I still got to find a ride home but worse comes to worse, I can call a cab.” Her words just kind of hung there and then she nodded. “Well, I’ll see you around, okay?”
That was dumb, Ryan told himself after the girl was gone. He should have offered her a ride home. It would have to wait until after he’d talked with the bartender, but that wouldn’t be that long now, so why hadn’t he done it?
Ryan shook his head. He didn’t have a good answer for that one.
He found himself looking at his watch yet again. It was only five minutes since he’d last looked at his watch and Ryan took that as a bad sign. He was getting tired of waiting. “Hurry up,” he wanted to tell the bartender, as if that would do anything useful, but he wanted to get this over with.
He took another drink from his water and he tried to act like he wasn’t as bored as he knew he was.
He sneaked another peak at his watch.
Damn. Only three more minutes had gone by. This waiting was taking forever.
Someone tapped him on the shoulder.
Ryan turned to look at the girl.
She was a blond and she was wearing a slinky, red dress and her lips were just as red as her dress. “Hi,” the blond said. “What’s your name?”
Ryan was almost tempted to look around. This girl was hot, he told himself. She couldn’t be talking to him and yet, it was clear that she was.
“What’s your name?” she asked again.
“Hi, Ryan. I’m Julia.”
“Well, Ryan, I’m looking for a guy to take me dancing,” and with that, Julia let her body do a little shimmy in front of the man. “I saw you sitting here all alone and I was thinking you might be just the man for the job.”
“Me,” Ryan squawked.
“Sure. Why not?”
Ryan couldn’t help but look back at the bartender. If she was paying any attention at all to him, she was hiding it real well.
Once more, Julia let her body shimmy in front of the man. “Don’t you want to take me dancing,” she asked.
Sure, Ryan thought, and if he did, the bartender would choose just that time to take her break and he’d miss his time with her and after all, that was why he’d come here. He shook his head. “I can’t.”
“Sure you can,” the girl said. “I’ve seen you. I’ve seen you looking at your watch.”
“You don’t understand.”
“Don’t you want to dance with me?”
“But don’t you want to see what I can do.”
Ryan was about to try to explain himself when the blond suddenly did something that completely took his breath away. She slipped the neck of the dress over her head and suddenly, she was naked from the waist up.
“Maybe this is what you wanted to see,” the blond said as her hands cupped her breasts.
Ryan could only stare in shock.
“Or maybe you want to see even more,” the girl said with an impish grin and before Ryan knew what was happening, the girl was wriggling her hips and pushing her dress all the way down.
Ryan stared at the dress that was now lying puddled up around her feet and then he followed his way all the way up her legs to the only article of clothing that she now wore. Julia thumbs were hooked in the waistband of her panties. “Would you like me to take these off?” she asked. “If you do, all you have to do is say yes.”
This was insane, Ryan told himself. He wanted to say yes but he just couldn’t do it.
And suddenly the girl was dressed again. “Well, let me know if you change your mind,” she said.
“About the dancing. Let me know if you change your mind.”
Ryan nodded numbly as he watched the girl move on and then he grabbed his water and he drank almost half the bottle right then and there. What the hell was happening, the man asked himself.
It was getting later, Ryan told himself. It was almost time for the bartender to go on her break and then he could have his talk with her. The only problem was there was a problem, one Ryan hadn’t anticipated. He’d been sitting at the bar drinking water and his body was responding to all that water.
“I can help you with that.”
Ryan looked over at the girl sitting to his right. “What?”
“I can help you with that,” the brunette said again.
“Help me with what?”
The girl reached over and took away the napkin that Ryan had been shredding into little pieces and she put a new napkin in front of him. “There you go,” she said. “It looked like you could use something new to start on.”
“I’m Lea by the way.”
“You come here often, Ryan?”
“Me, too. I came with some friends. They told me I needed to get out more. I guess they’re right, but a place like this, it’s just too loud. It’s not really my style. Know what I mean?”
Ryan nodded. He knew exactly what Lea meant.
“You look like you know what I mean.”
Ryan wasn’t sure what that meant. His bladder was really starting to get to him. If having a full bladder was what it looked like when you heard music played too loud, then maybe that was what he looked like.
“Say,” the girl said as she leaned in closer, “you’re kind of cute.”
Ryan was trying so hard not too concentrate on the feeling between his legs that he almost missed what the girl was doing, but when she slipped her hand between his legs, well, that was just a little too hard to overlook.
“Do you think I’m cute?” the girl asked.
The girl was so close, the man thought, and her hand, oh geez, her hand was right there. Oh fuck, the man groaned. She looked innocent but where her hand was seemed to belie that. He breathed in her scent. She smelled of lilacs.
“Do you think I’m cute?” the girl asked again.
Ryan couldn’t help but groan with where Lea’s hand was going. “Yeah,” he groaned. “Yeah. I think you’re pretty.”
There was no doubt where Lea’s hand was stroking him. “I like you, too,” she said even as her hand stroked his cock. “You know, I can help you with that.”
“Help me with what,” the man groaned.
Oh fuck, the man thought as the girl’s hand tightened around his cock. Oh fuck, and then he felt her hand unzipping his pants.
“Oh my God,” the man groaned. “What are you doing?”
The girl didn’t answer, or at least she didn’t answer with words. Instead, the girl just sunk lower and lower and then her head was disappearing below the bar.
“Oh my God,” the man groaned again.
There was no mistaking where the brunette was going. Where she was going was perfectly obvious as she wrapped her mouth around his cock.
“Oh my God,” the man groaned yet again and even as he did, he remembered what the girl had said to him. I can help you with that, she’d said.
Oh my God.
Ryan couldn’t even look around for fear that even that would draw attention to him so he just sat where he was as the girl sucked his cock.
Oh my God.
He was going to cum. Ryan knew that. He was going to cum. He didn’t know if the girl knew it. He didn’t know if she cared. All he knew was that if she didn’t stop what she was doing, he was going to cum in her mouth.
Ryan groaned. He didn’t care anymore. If that was what she wanted, he didn’t care anymore. He was going to cum and he just didn’t care.
“Hey, are you okay?”
Ryan blinked. Suddenly, his pants were zipped back up again and the brunette was sitting there beside him, looking at him with concern. “Wh-what,” he stammered.
“I asked if you were okay,” the brunette said. “For a moment there, it seemed like you just kind of spaced out or something.”
Spaced out, Ryan thought. Yeah, you could call it that, he thought. “I’m fine,” he said.
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
The girl looked at the man for a moment longer and then she got up off her bar stool and she sauntered off into the crowd.
The bartender came up to Ryan. “So, Sport, you’re still here are you?”
“I said I wasn’t leaving,” Ryan said.
“Yeah, you did. Well, I’ve got a break now if you want to talk.”
“Yeah, I want to talk.”
“Well, come on then, Sport,” and with that, the bartender turned and walked away without even bothering to look and see if Ryan was following her.
The bartender left the club through a side door and suddenly, it was just the two of them there in an alleyway. She pulled out a cigarette and she lit it and she looked at the man standing before her. She took a drag on then she let it out. “You know, you’re a hard man to figure out.”
“I said you’re a hard man to figure out.”
“Me? What’s hard about me?”
The bartender pointed at the place between the man’s legs. “You mean aside from the obvious?” she asked.
Ryan blushed and then nodded.
Afra took another pull on her cigarette. “What’s hard to figure about you,” she said. “Well, for starters, I send you three girls. I figured at least one of them would get your attention but you turned them all down.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Sure you do. Evelyn, Julia, Lea. You didn’t think that was all just a coincidence, did you?”
“You said I give love a bad name, but look at you. You have three women throwing themselves at you, and you don’t do anything about it.”
“But how did you know.”
The bartender stubbed out her cigarette. “I don’t need drinks to make people fall in love,” she said.
Ryan stared at her blankly.
“You don’t really get it, do you? There was never anything in those drinks. They were just drinks. Your friends fell in love because they wanted to.”
“They wanted to?”
“Okay, maybe I did give them a nudge or two, but I didn’t make them do anything they didn’t already want to do.”
“So Reanna and Bethany—”
“Have always had a thing for one another.”
“And Blake and Sammie?”
“She’s always wanted him but as long as Reanna was there, she wasn’t able to make her move.”
“I don’t believe it.”
“Of course not. Why should you?”
“It’s all too fantastic to believe.”
“Of course it is, and yet, you do believe it, don’t you.”
There was no reason why he should believe it, Ryan knew, and yet he knew he did believe it.
“So all that’s left is to find someone for you.”
“Someone for me?”
The bartender smiled. “You said I gave love a bad name, but you got me all wrong. I like it when people fall in love.”
“Yep, and all you got to do is walk back through that door.”
Ryan looked back at the door to the club. “That door,” he said.
“Yep. That door.”
It wasn’t like Ryan actually believed it. After all, what the woman was saying was just too crazy to believe, but still, what if she was right. What if he didn’t take her up on her offer. “That door,” he said again.
Ryan shrugged. What would it hurt. He turned and he walked back through the door and there just inside the door was Lea. “Hey ya,” she said. “I was looking for you. I was wondering if we could keep on going from where we left off.”
Ryan grinned as he followed the girl back into the club. Maybe the bartender was right after all.