Valentina Boundless - Book 2

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Annie’s Blue Moon

Sitting on the barstool, waiting for the bartender to pour my dirty martini, I am once again distracted by my engagement ring. I can’t quite get myself to take it off even though Tommy and I are across the country from one another, instead, I twirl it around and around my finger as our last few days swirl around inside my mind.

After months of sterile company housing, I am loving my one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn Heights near to the Promenade. In the mornings I have my run along the Promenade, what a sight to enjoy when in stride, the skyline of Manhattan cheering me along. After my jogs, I enjoy sitting and staring at Manhattan, mostly in complete disbelief that I am where I am.

Tonight, at Annie’s I select a few of my favorite songs in the jukebox as I do all my nights here, always ending with Brass In Pocket by the Pretenders. As a kid, I loved the video, I thought it was so sexy. Watching the video again and again was how I learned the art of flirting, Chrissie Hyde and MTV taught me a lot. DEVO’s Whip It taught me that I am drawn to a more adventurous side of sex.

Once my sister and I were old enough to be left alone my mother joined my dad at our bar to help his growing business and Stella and I raised each other. After homework and chores, we were allowed a few hours of TV before bed. I loved those days when we would sing and dance around the house. I dreamt of being a fashion designer or a pop star and my baby sister, Stella wanted to be a dancer. I would design costumes and she would choreograph routines for us to perform to.

I grew up and went to Berkeley to study Computer Science with a minor in English Literature which landed me at my dream job in New York City. Stella is at Cornish School of Arts in Seattle studying dance and music.

Funny to think back and realize that I stopped living my childhood dreams so long ago. I admire my baby sister for her ability to know herself and stay true to it. As a child, my fantastical world was broad, I knew my creative wilds. I would get dressed on my own, always performance-ready; singing and dancing around the house. My mother said she and I fought every day about my attire. When she dressed me, no matter the occasion, I would try to convince her that my outfit was better. Until she was forced to use the sentences she tried hard not to use, “because I am your mother and you will do as I say!”

I learned to sew at 7 years of age so I could make my clothes because I could never find what was in my mind at the stores. I played piano and guitar and sang my sister to sleep at night. For hours when Stella was first born, I would busy myself drawing pictures, which included her when I loved having a baby sister and not when I wished I were an only child. Where has that Valentina gone?

Today, my dirty martini will be so appreciated, we have been testing the Wanderlust App and as expected, lots to work out.

“Quit stressing Val,” Benji tries to calm me down as the test group starts reporting issues and error message, “why do you think it’s taking us so long to build our game. These things take a lot of time and patience.”

“And a thick skin,” I whined. I am not good at anything that isn’t practically perfect. The big lesson being learned here.

As Chrissie Hynde’s voice soothes my soul and my martini eases my mind, I catch a slight chill. Turning towards the door, the wind brings with it a figure that feels so familiar. The man smiles at me, or at least in my direction with the kind of greeting a cowboy gave back in the wild west. He walks up to the jukebox and enters several selections, then heads toward the bar.

I know I shouldn’t stare, it’s not polite, yet I hold this man’s gaze, or is he holding mine? Either way, I can’t seem to look away. A couple walks in my line of sight and breaks the mood. With relief, I stare back at my drink and twirl my ring. Joan Jett’s I Love Rock-n-Roll comes on. How does one not sing along?

“Looks like I picked a good song,” his voice deeper and velvety than I anticipated. “You have a great voice.”

“I thought I was the only one with 80′s nostalgia,” I respond with a smile.

“Best years of my life. My little bro and I home alone, rocking out to MTV. All the leather and glam rock? The ’80s is by far my favorite decade of music.”

“Are you for real?”

“Pinch me and see.”

So I lead over and lightly pinched his arm, “OUCH! You pinched me.”

“You told me to.”

“Do you do everything you’re told?”

Truth is, I did for years and that’s why I am here in New York is the first response that flashes through my thoughts. How pathetic would that sound?

“Who passes up an opportunity to give someone a little pain, especially when they ask for it?” A knowing smile forms on this stranger’s face.

“Jake Dubois, and you are?” The stranger extends his hand for a shake that I am hesitant to take. More so because I am scared of what I might do if I touch him.

“Wow, I pegged you for a cowboy, not a French artist.”

“Why can’t I be both?”

“You can be. You are rather polite for a Frenchman.”

“Touché! Are you always so matter of fact?”

“I find honesty keeps things black and white.”

“I like keeping everything honest and open as well; no eggshells, no limbo.” Taken off guard from hearing my new mantra that Jessica just taught me leaving his lips. And oh how delicious his lips look to me. “So, do I call you babe or do you have a name?”

“Valentina.” I extend my hand for a shake and instead Jake places a whisper of a kiss on the back of my hand. “So Jake, do you come here often?”

“Shoot, that was supposed to be my line. I have always wanted to say that.”

“I am sure you have had many chances to.”

“This would have been my first chance really, and you took that from me.”

“Way to make a girl feel bad. From the looks of you, I find it hard to believe.”

“Oh-la-la, I think you might like me.”

“Don’t push your luck cowboy!”

“If you must know, I am usually here with my little bro and he is a lot more social than I am. I am usually playing big brother and watching his back from afar so not as much time to pick up chicks since he manages to either offend all the women at the joint or get into fights before happy hour even ends.”

“Creepy stalker guy.”

“What?”

“Are you the creepy stalker guy?”

“No!”

“Sounds pretty creepy stalker guy-ish to me.”

“My bro likes to have one too many at times and his French-Irish blood doesn’t play nice with others. So, usually, my experience at bars is standing back and waiting to save his scrawny ass.”

“Ahhhh...creepy superhero guy.”

“Really? Do you always give people this hard of a time?”

“So where is scrawny ass tonight?”

“Our cousins are in town so he took them into Manhattan. I figured I would enjoy the night free of a bar fight here, especially since scrawny ass Joey isn’t allowed here any longer. Which means there is no chance he can show up and ruin my night.”

“Boy, you are a real cowboy. Or are you more like an Irish Gangster? You don’t run drugs do you?”

“No one runs drugs any more sweetheart,” I note that Jake doesn’t exactly answer my question. Since I’m not planning anything too long term with Mr. Dubois, I leave well enough alone.

“So, Mr. French-Irishman Cowboy san scrawny ass Joey, do you play pool?”

“Impressive, not well but I can prove to be entertaining.”

“Great! Buy us a round, and I’ll rack ’em.”

“Are you sticking to your martini or moving to beer? Pool and martini look wrong. Pool and a pint is a better suit.”

“You pay, you pick. I like a good pale ale, no Bud or Bud-lite or any other piss water beer please.”

Mr. Jake Dubois, Irish and French blend, with his soft brown slightly too long hair that falls in a perfect mess. He spends a lot of time moving it out of his face as he focuses on his shot. As promised, shooting pool is not one of his many talents but he proves a fun adversary.

His hazel eyes change colors depending on the light. When he leans into his shot, the green of the pool table brings the luck out in his eyes. Through the bottom of the pint glass, his eyes are like champagne. He is about three inches taller than me, I know because, with the three-inch heels that I am wearing, we see eye to eye. I try to gauge his fitness level but his white linen button-down shirt hangs loosely over his loosely fit blue jeans. But not so loose that his firm tush is hidden, oh how I would love to grab a hand full!

As Jake and I shoot pool and attempt small talk, I can’t help but wonder how it would feel to kiss Jake, to take him home and have my way with him. I live for great sex and Jake looks like great sex. I miss all the great sex Tommy and I used to have.

Surprisingly, I can’t say this city has offered me a lot in that department, Nate won’t let us out of friend’s zone which I all good since he is my dearest friend in New York City. I can’t afford to ruin such a great friendship on post-runaway-bride-to-be sex. Although I have a feeling Nate would be a great “shag” as Sylvia would put it.

And from the way Jake looks and moves, he would be perfect for this exact moment. Lord knows this is the longest my freshman year of college that I’ve gone without great sex. It can’t be healthy for my sanity or my vagina. Jake, however, from the moment he entered the bar, moistened my curiosity.

As he leans across the table to set up his shot, I imagine what it would be like to kneel underneath his sprawl. How I would love to distract his shot by kneeling in front of him and enjoying the pleasure of his cock pushing deep into the back of my throat.

I have yet to christen this pool table. An after-hours acquaintance of this pool table IS on my list. One of the benefits of knowing everyone who works here. Unfortunately, you never sleep with the local bartenders of your favorite bar, a quick way to ruin a perfect spot. So, it would take a willing exhibitionist like me to partake.

“So, Valentina, do you have a last name? Or are you like Madonna?”

“So, Jake, you are being stalker-ish again.”

“How is wanting to know your surname stalker-ish? Okay, so, you know I have a brother, do you have any siblings?”

“Still too personal.”

“Do you have a job?”

“Do you know the definition of the word personal?”

“Okay, so, how was your day dear?”

“My day was great, and yours?”

“It’s getting much better by the minute.”

“Oh, you can do better than that, can’t you?”

“It’s hard to be impressive when you avoid all my questions.”

“It’s hard to be obsessive when you keep a one-night stand just that.”

“Oh, wow, do you think this night will end with us in bed? I am not sure that I am that kind of guy.”

“Sorry, Freudian slip.”

“I know what I would like to slip inside of you,” Jake whispers as he brushes too closely against me, positioning for his shot. I am flowing like the River Styx, Mr. Dubois may bring out my devilish side.

“What is your favorite color?” I ask, trying to set the pace since he is insisting on asking so many questions.

“Blue, like your eyes.”

“Smooth, not!”

“After martinis and a few pints, shouldn’t you be a bit easier going?”

“Italian, high tolerance.”

“Allora, qual è il tuo colore preferito?”

“Impressive! How many languages do you speak?”

“Answering a question with a question again. Unlike you, I am an open book. I speak English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Mandarin."

So, he can talk sexy to me in five languages? Naturally, I find this so hot!

"My brother and I were latch-key kids, he liked to kill his brain cells by playing video games whereas I preferred to a more educated way to spend my time. At a garage sale, I found a bunch of Rosetta Stone box sets for nothing, so I bought them all and started learning each language one by one.”

“Wow!”

“Is it that shocking?”

“Yes, no. Just so cool. Everyone kept telling me that languages should come easy to me because I am musical but other than Italian because I had no choice, my mom only spoke Italian at home, the only other language I am fluent in is Binary Language.”

“Okay computer geek, you still haven’t told me your favorite color.”

“It’s blue as well,” I gave in because I seem to be giving more up by trying to avoid the question.

“So we have eighty’s nostalgia and favorite color in common. How about parents? Are your’s together or separated?”

“Together.”

“Mine as well, that’s a third, shall we go for a fourth?” Teasing me for my vagueness. “Where did you grow up?”

“Too close for comfort, you?”

“Funny. What is your favorite movie?”

“Pretty In Pink.”

“Breakfast Club counts for close enough since they both have Molly Ringwald in them.” He smiles, happy to find our eighties nostalgia extends to movies as well.

“Okay, not sure how I feel about you knowing Molly Ringwald movies, pegged you more for the Rob Lowe type.”

“I love redheads, although tonight I am digging brunettes,” he teases back. “Favorite cities you’ve visited?”

I wanted to tell him it’s Kaua’i, but that comes too close to bringing me back to the place where I am back at the bar twirling my ring. “London, yours?”

“Paris.”

“Nice.”

“It’s actually where I live. I am technically here visiting my brother.”

So technically he doesn’t live in my back yard,” I think to myself. “Wow, so how often are you here?”

“Well, for a while now I have spent more time in Paris than here, although you are making me reconsider those ratios.”

“So what do you do that requires you to spend so much time in Paris?”

“Now who is the stalker?”

“So, what do you love about Paris?”

“What’s not to love, the espresso, the croissants, the women…”

“So you have enjoyed a lot of women in Paris?”

“No, just a lot of times at cafes drinking espresso and eating croissants as beautiful women pass me by, story of my life.”

“Oh, poor baby, no girls throwing themselves at you as you sit poised at Cafe Les Deux Magots, looking like a true intellectual ready to share his wisdom with the world?”

“So you know Paris then? When were you there last?”

“So where do you live in Paris?”

“Hm, answering a question with a question, at least you aren’t calling me a stalker anymore.”

“Sorry, I just would prefer to keep it all light.”

“Does it have to do with that shiny object on your finger? Sorry, can’t help but notice it when you take a shot, it’s a distracting bridge for your pool cue.”

“Well while you are distracted by the shine I am about to take game two from you.” I gracefully sink the eight ball and curtsied.

After taking both games easily and enjoying several beers, I stall to see what move Jake makes next. Jake decides it was time to move past pool and pints.

“So, do I get to use the next line that I have also wanted to use and have never had the chance?”

“What might that be, I wonder?” I teasingly poke Jake in his side.

“Your place or mine?”

“Well, since your place may be at risk of a very loud and drunken scrawny ass, let’s go to mine.”

“Before we go, can I ask you one last personal question that you will probably avoid?”

“Well, all my avoidance hasn’t stopped you from asking all night.”

“I am serious.”

“Please don’t be serious, it will kill the mood.”

“Was it that easy to just walk away from a man you loved enough to consider marrying?”

“Why would you ask such a question?”

“You are wearing an engagement ring but you are obviously no longer with him, or he is away this weekend and I am about to make the biggest mistake of my life by sleeping with a taken woman. Either way, I prefer to know what I am getting myself into.”

“Well, the good news is, it was my engagement ring, we never made it to the church. And it was far from easy for me to leave, it’s why I still wear the ring. But I had to walk away from him to walk into me.”

Jake is lucky he is hot and I am drunk and horny or else that last-minute real interest in me would have made me run towards the exit. I get his need to know. I have spent the last few hours avoiding any personal question he has thrown at me. Honestly, we were having so much fun that I forgot about my ring and didn’t think to try and hide it. Just then I have a déjà vu, this is exactly how Tommy and I started.

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