Off of interstate 61, somewhere near Silver Creek, Minnesota there is a bar. It’s a bar where people go to drink, forget, and flirt with strangers. Andrew Tremblay arrives at the Tipsy Moose to forget. He sits on the barstool and idly taps his fingers against what could only be described as a handsome bar, obviously hand crafted by a talented carpenter and the most expensive item in the building. He looks around, the building is a combination of dingy and refined; haggard couches paired with coffee tables. A few scratched up tables with chairs complete the decor.
The bartender, a curvy woman with too much green eyeshadow and long fingernails that remind Andy of talons walks over to him. “What can I get you?” she asks in her strong Minnesotan accent.
Andy looks at the beer taps next to him, “The Bent Paddle, please.”
The bartender nods and turns to get a glass while Andy looks at his cell phone for the tenth time in ten minutes. He isn’t expecting his fiancée, well now ex-fiancée, to call nor is he sure if he wants to talk to her, but he was hoping for a text or something.
The beer is set down before him, he puts his phone face up on the bar and takes a long drink. The special black brew is 11.6% and he expects that after two of three of them he will be too drunk to think about Nicole. At least he hopes. Either that or he will become a bumbling idiot and tell his sob story to whoever will listen. He focuses on his beer, taking long drink after long drink.
His attention is drawn to the strawberry blonde that is sitting a couple of seats down from him; she orders a gin and tonic. As Andy looks at her through the corner of his eye, he decides that she couldn’t be more than sixteen years old. She either has a hell of a fake or the bartender didn’t really give a shit about the age of the girl sitting atop the ripped leather barstool. He watches out of the corner of his eye as the girl takes a heavy drink of the beverage, then another and another until the gin and tonic is gone.
The bartender didn’t ask questions, instead she takes the glass and makes another drink.
“Rough night?” Andy finds himself asking.
She looks at him out of the corner of her eye. “You could say that.”
Andy asks for another beer before looking at her again. “Me too.”
“Well a lot of people come to this bar to drown their sorrows in hard liquor.” she replies curtly.
He isn’t going to let her ignore him so easily. Nichole used to do that.
He slides down the bar until he is in the seat next to her. “Can I help you?” she inquires taking another large drink of her gin and tonic.
“So what brings you here?” he asks again. He finds himself taking another drink of his beer, trying to keep up with her.
“Assholes.” she answers bitterly.
“I walked in on my fiancée with a woman, I didn’t even know that she liked women.” he challenges.
She lifts her glass and Andy lifts his own to clink their glasses together, “You win.” she said a hint of humor in her voice before taking another drink.
He sighs and nods finishing his beer and flagging down a third.
They sit in silence before she finally initiates the conversation. “Love is bullshit.”
Andy snorts. “You can say that again.”
She smiles “Love is bullshit.”
It had been a while since Andy had talked to someone other than Nicole’s friends in a bar, and he finds himself liking it. The girl next to him is cute, not beautiful, but cute enough that he wants to continue flirting with her.
“So tell me-“ he begins but she lifts a hand and cuts him off.
“So you’re looking for a rebound?” she demands simply.
That catches him off guard, he opens his mouth and closes it again.
“I’m not cheap.” she replies simply.
“You’re a prostitute?” Andy asks dumbly.
“No. But I’m bored, drunk, and looking to make a few extra bucks.” she answers as she turns towards him. “So what do you say?”
Andy takes a generous drink of his beer before responding. He opens his mouth again, but instead of speaking, finishes the rest of his beer.
“You mean you’ve done this before but you’re not…” he gasps through the beer he’d just swallowed.
She shrugs. “I mean sure. A few times. Like I said, I’m not a whore. But I’m looking for a few bucks.”
Andy finishes his beer and grabs her wrist roughly before pulling her off the barstool and towards the door of the bar. She shakes her wrist out of his grip and crosses her arms beneath her modest chest. “I charge $250 an hour.”
“What?” Andy asks. He finally has a chance to size her up, she is the definition of petite. There is a splatter of freckles across her nose, so faint that they would only be noticed at this proximity.
“That’s the average rate. Google it.” she challenges.
“How old are you?” he finally has the courage to ask. He is afraid of the answer.
“Does it matter?” she demands. She wasn’t trying to seduce him, no sensual touch, no flirting; just business.
“To the United States government it does.” he replies.
“Eighteen.” she answers quickly. Too quickly.
“I don’t believe you.”
“Fine. I’m sixteen. Do you want to do this or not? It’s a Tuesday night, and I do have shit I need to do.”
Andy pauses. “I need to get some cash.”
She smiles. “Just run your card with the bartender, I give her a cut. I’ll wait for you here.”
He does just that.
She meets him at the entrance “So my place?”
It wasn’t the best he’d ever had. But she was good, Well better than good. He muses as he leans against the headboard of her bedroom. “You can crash here tonight, if you want.” she says as she steps out of the bathroom, her hair is wet and she is wearing a too big t-shirt.
She laughs and grabs the pack of cigarettes on the nightstand beside him. “It’s your choice. You did just spend $250, just trying to save you some cash.”
He puts his face in his hands. “Two hundred and fifty dollars for what can only be defined as a statutory rape.”
She is at the window, cold air blasts him in the face as she opens it. She calmly lights her cigarette and exhales out the window. He can’t help but notice that she isn’t wearing any panties beneath her t-shirt.
“Well anything is negative when you look at it with that attitude.”
“You can’t tell anyone.” he demands.
“No shit, Sherlock.”
It irritates him how she isn’t taking any of this seriously. She is viewing this like a duck views rain; not bothering the duck because fuck it a duck likes water.
He sighs. He looks at his phone that is also resting on her nightstand, next to his wallet and keys. He picks it up and the screen illuminates, it’s two o clock in the morning and there are still no messages from Nichole.
She puts out her cigarette and turns towards him. “I have two questions” she says.
“What are they?” he asks as he begins to search for his clothes.
“What’s your name?”
“Andy” he replies as he pulls on his jeans.
“How old are you?”
He pauses his search for his shirt and turns towards her. “You’re asking me this now?”
“I mean you’re the perv who had sex with a sixteen year old.” there is a teasing tone to her voice but it stings nonetheless.
“That’s not too bad” she muses.
Andy gives her a glance but finds his shirt and yanks it over his head.
“This means that you are leaving?”
“Do you want me to stay?” he challenges.
“Only if you want to help me study for my finals.”
He blanches. “You don’t have to keep reminding me that you are in high school.”
She shrugs. “Sorry. Where are you going to go?”
“I don’t know.” He puts on his jacket and pockets his phone, keys, and wallet. “So that was interesting…” he trails off realizing that he never asked for her name.
“Yeah. If you walk out the front door and take a left, it’s about a ten minute walk to the bar.” she explains as she begins to dig through a backpack for a textbook.
He hesitates before closing the distance between them and giving her a hug. She hugs him back awkwardly and he places a kiss on top of her head. “It was nice.” he whispers.
She pulls away and gives him a beautiful smile through full, pouty lips. “It was fun. It was a rebound.”
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