As we arrive at the bar he jumps and claps. “Oh I forgot its live band night.” He tells me and I’m kind of excited by the prospect of live music as well. We grab a couple of drinks from the bar, but the place is packed tonight. I spy an open booth alongside the dance floor and we make a beeline for it.
We flop down into the booth and I wonder if my goddess will be able to spot us from the bar when she arrives. After a drink Rowan abandons me for the dancefloor. It’s still early, but then I see her. Her eyes are scanning the room as she stands by the bar.
I wonder how long it will take her eyes to find mine. I watch Damien hand her a shot as his eyes start scanning as well. He finds his target almost instantly as the song ends. Rowan hasn’t seen them but he walks back towards our booth. Their eyes follow his progression as they make their way over, then her eyes find mine and her smile puts all the lights in Nashville to shame.
I watch as Rowan doesn’t even get a chance to take a seat as two forceful hands grab hold of his face and take full possession. I look away from the greeting that is not meant for public display. My goddess walks around them and I move into the booth to allow room for her to take a seat. As she sits I lean in and place a small peck on her cheek. Not a powerful display like the one going on next to us, but it has the desired effect. Her leg brushes up against mine and she smiles a shy smile at me as her hand finds mine.
“How was your day?” I ask her casually. She smiles.
“Torturously slow.” She smiles. The boys finally come up for air and find their seats in the booth with us. We order a round of drinks from a passing waitress.
“Actually can we can a basket of fries as well.” My goddess asks the waitress and I smile at her. “I’m starving, I rehearsed late and I missed dinner.” She offers and explanation.
“Did you want to order something more substantial than fries?” I ask her concerned. She shakes her head at me with a smile.
“I’ve haven’t seen this guy perform before.” Rowan says indicating in the direction of the stage behind me where tonight’s act is setting up.
“Shit.” Damien hisses under his breath but loud enough for us to hear. My goddess turns in the direction of the stage then sharply back around. She glares at Damien as she sinks down in her seat a little. Completely confused I turn to see the young man setting the microphone to his height on the stage. He has an electric guitar hanging around his shoulder and his build looks paper thin. His overly long black hair shines under the stage lights as the music begins to start from his band members.
“Hey everybody, I’m Kane and these are the black hats.” His voice announces as he indicates to his band mates.
“Did you know?” I hear my goddess seethe at Damien. He holds his hands up in surrender shaking his head. While his eyes are still staring daggers at the man on the stage.
“Let’s dance.” Damien says to Rowan pulling him from the booth. I can feel the tension rolling off my goddess beside me but her eyes are burning a hole in the table top. I gently put my fingers on her chin and pull her face to look at me.
“Everything okay?” I ask using full sincerity as I look at her. I have a feeling what’s coming and I try to remain calm.
“I’m sorry, I don’t think I can stay tonight.” She says and my chest caves in.
“Why? Because of him?” I ask sweetly indicating towards the stage. She nods weakly and her eyes start to moisten. “Hey.” I say soothingly as my arm goes around her shoulder pulling her to me. “What’s wrong?” She takes a deep breath in my chest and she laughs.
“You’re damn aftershave, how am I supposed to think straight.” She accosts me but I see the playfulness in her eyes. I look at her to let her know she’s avoiding the subject. She lets out a deep breath. “It’s the same story of most of the girls in this town.” She pauses searching my face for a moment. “I dropped out of college and followed a boy to Nashville who dreamed of being a country singer.” She exhales defeated. I nod looking at her knowingly.
“That boy.” I confirm indicating to the stage. She nods embarrassed. “And it ended badly when he didn’t make it?” I question. She shakes her head.
“It ended brutally when he did.” She says pausing. “He got a record deal and dropped me like a bad habit.” She finishes her eyes seem sad, and I want to walk up to the stage and drop kick that asshole for causing her pain. She looks down at my chest and I bring her chin up to face mine again.
“What an idiot.” I whisper as I plant a soft kiss on her lips. I feel her smile against my lips as she returns the kiss. She opens her eyes and I just stare at her for a moment. “You can’t leave.” I add urgently. She looks at me curiously. “Because if you leave because he’s here you’re showing your weakness to your enemies.” I remind her of her own logic and she laughs and all traces of sadness are gone from her eyes. We sit there for a while longer until the song ends and Rowan and Damien rejoin us.
I haven’t removed my arm from around her shoulders and she is tucked firmly into my side as our drinks and her fries arrive. “Oh I need ketchup.” She announces jumping up and going to search for it.
“She tell you?” Damien asks me and I look at him and nod. “So you want to help me remove his arms and legs from his body in the car park later?” He asks seriously. I nod and smile at him while Rowan lets out a sigh.
“You know Damien, I think you and I might be kindred spirits.” I say as my goddess returns to the table with ketchup in hand.
“Oh that’s sweet.” She says as she slides back into the booth and I let my arm fall back around her. “I’m glad, normally he drives everyone away because he’s such a dick.” She teases him. He smiles an unashamed smile at her calling him a dick.
“Well you usually have the worst judge of character, someone has to watch out for you.” He informs her completely undeterred by her glare. I can’t help but feel pride about his use of the word usually meaning that he doesn’t disapprove of me. Rowan smiles at me proudly, he must’ve caught that as well. My goddess begins her attack on the fries.
“Oh these are awesome.” She declares as she instructs everyone to have some. Damien and Rowan dig in but I stay perfectly still feeling her breathe against my side. Her short denim skirt is riding up slightly as she shuffles forward to keep diving for fries. She’s wearing a light blue sequined halter top that the light is catching is all the right places. Her hair is pulled up tonight is a high ponytail with a few lose wisps falling around her face. She has on large silver hoop earrings that sit against the line of her long neck. Her signature boots are pressed up against mine under the table. I breathe her in and I’m grateful that the smell of my aftershave isn’t blocking out her scent.
The peaches from the shampoo that she uses, and the hints of rose and other flowers from her perfume. There’s whisky from the shots she’s been drinking and my favorite, the barely there traces of gasoline. I let out a deep exhale as my whole body relaxes against hers. Then she reaches for another fry and turns and brings it to my lips. She has a challenging look to her eyes with a playful smile, I snatch the fry from her fingers and she smiles triumphantly.
Rowan and Damien get up again to go and dance in the line dance and I convince my goddess to stop hiding. As much as I don’t want her to move from this spot, I know she loves to dance. We get up and fall into line in the middle of the pack behind Damien and Rowan. She starts smiling and laughing as we dance. As the song dies down the singer speaks again.
“This next song was written about my number one fan, when the blooms off the rose.” He announces and the crowd cheers but my party does not. He’s staring directly at my goddess as he says that. Of course he noticed her. “Baby, this one’s for you.” He adds with a wink.
I want to jump on the stage and deck the smug prick. I see Rowan grab a hold of Damien beside me, apparently he had the same idea. The antagonistic prick even smirks at Damien. My goddess is embarrassed as she turns red and her eyes moisten. The slow mournful song starts and she’s about to flee the floor before I grab her.
I spin her back to me and she crashes against my chest. Rowan follows my lead pulling Damien into a close embrace to dance. A few other couples make their way to the floor. I can feel the wet trails of water against my chest as I hold her. I pull her head back slightly and I gently kiss away the tears from her cheeks. Her pleading eyes find mine and I give her a reassuring smile as I start to move her.
Our dance is not suitable for a family establishment, thankfully there aren’t any children present. It’s slow, sensual and desperately expressive. My hands roam possessively over her entire body as we move to the slow steady rhythm. Her eyes close as she submits completely handing herself over to the dance. I let her fall back into a low dip placing a small kiss on her neck and her hand fists tight in the back of my hair as she comes up.
Her eyes fly open and there’s a burning desire blazing in them that matches mine as I lead her body to my every whim. As the music comes to an end, I glance up at the stage and find the smug prick looking furiously at us. There are a few claps and cheers from around the dance floor as we finish up. I shoot a quick smirk at the boy on the stage before I dip my goddess again into a dip leaning her body over my knee and then letting my lips descend on hers in a kiss that puts Damien’s greeting with Rowan to shame.
Her lips crush back against mine desperate to consummate what our dance just alluded to. Her hand in my hair is tight as one of my arms is supporting her back while the other is hooked under her knee bringing her leg up around my hip. I finally break the kiss and pull her gently to her feet. I ignore the blushes from around the floor from our spectators. I wind my arm around her shoulders as she wraps hers around my waist and we walk back to the table together. I slide into the booth and she falls against me.
She leans her head back against my chest still trying to catch her breath. Rowan slides into the other side of the booth looking proudly at me as he fans his face dramatically. Damien is wearing a grin that is directed at me as well. I smile knowingly at him as we look over at the stage to a boy trying to recover his senses to continue his set. Damien starts chuckling as he announces he’s off to get the next round.
My goddess is still silent as she leans against me. “Why did you do that?” She breathes out desperately.
“I’m going to go help Damien with the drinks.” Rowan calls as he jumps up and disappear. I kiss the top of her head softly.
“Because I didn’t like seeing you humiliated like that. He was a dick.” I tell her assuredly.
“And that’s the only reason?” She asks sharply as her eyes lock on mine. I can tell I’ve made a misstep here. “You just wanted to stick to him.” Her tone is now angry. I shake my head.
“No of course not. Yes he was a dick, but if I just wanted to punish him for that I could’ve skull dragged him off the stage and beaten the crap out him to teach him a lesson.” I tell her indignantly. Her glare narrows.
“And that’s your first reaction, violence?” She demands impatiently. How did I get to this point?
“No of course it isn’t.” I seethe letting my anger show through. “If that was all I was interested in doing that’s what I would’ve done.” I explain impatiently. I can feel the anger in my words and she flinches at it slightly and my heart breaks open in my chest. I could never hurt her. “I was trying to explain.” I say more softly. “Yes he was a dick for humiliating you like that, but my first response was to take that humiliation and hurt from you.” I breathe out and I pause to see if she’s going to jump off on me again. She stays quiet studying me.
“I wanted to make you feel like the goddess that you are. I wanted you to believe you deserve to be worshipped by mortal men like me. I wanted to show the whole world the way you she be treated. As for me, I’ve wanted to hold you like that and kiss you like that since I first saw your smile.” I tell her honestly. She’s not smiling now in fact her eyes are tearing up again and I feel like a complete heel for causing her more pain.
I’m about to start a string of apologies when her hands come up to my face. I look deep in her eyes before I move my lips in to take hers again in a passionate kiss. She is a goddess and she should be kissed like this every day. Her lips break away and she leans close to my ear. “Lexi.” She whispers the word letting her lips graze against my ear. My body shudders at the feel. Realization dawns on me and I lean back to look in her eyes. My excitement can’t be contained and she smiles at my reaction.
“Really?” I ask to make sure she’s not messing with me. She nods and smiles.
“Well Alexandra Marie Harrison. But I go by Lexi.” She smiles at me. I feel like I’ve just been given a gift. I hold out my hand and shake hers.
“Lincoln Jefferson, but I go by Link. It’s a pleasure to meet you Lexi.” I beam at her. She starts laughing at my formal southern manners.
“There’s no middle president in that?” She asks sarcastically. I shake my head.
“No middle president.” I tell her truthfully. She narrows her eyes.
“But there is a middle name.” She pauses gaging my reaction. “Yes definitely, a proud southern patriotic family would’ve given you another middle name.” I laugh at her logic.
“I’m afraid if I tell you I’d have to kill.” I tease. “And I’m not ready to give you up just yet.” I add kissing her and tightening my arms around her. Rowan and Damien return to the table to find us deep in another kiss.
“Get a room you two.” Rowan laughs. Lexi laughs as well.
“He’s just trying to distract me so I won’t ask what his middle name is again.” She informs him. Rowan bursts out laughing and nearly falls down into the booth as I shoot him a very warning look. Which only seems to make him laugh harder. Lexi looks back between him and me.
“That bad huh?” She asks trying to suppress a smile.
“You’re not going to find out.” I tell her matter-of-factly. “Especially after how long you made me wait for your first name.” I add.
“Oh you gave it up.” Damien says disappointedly. She shrugs.
“He earned it.” She affirms with a smile as she settles back against me.
“Well don’t give up your number that easily.” Damien instructs her.
“Easily?” I shoot at him with an incredulous look. Was he not present as I’ve tried to get her name for almost a week now? After another round of drinks we hit the dancefloor again. It’s a faster song and we twirl and spin around as Damien and Rowan dance next to us. Her eyes catch mine with a curious look for a moment.
“What?” I ask as I follow her gaze down to my chest. She smiles after being caught openly checking me out.
“Did your brother dress you tonight?” She asks as I twirl her around. I look at her with feign shock.
“I’m a grown man, I can dress myself.” I tease her. “He may have contributed, why?” I ask curiously. She shrugs as we dance before I spin her out.
“You just look very.” Her voice trails off and I panic. “Distracting.” She concludes with her blushing smile. I laugh as we spin around again. I catch eyes with Damien and signal him and he nods. We both spin our partners around as he catches Lexi and I catch Rowan. We continue dancing and swapping through different moves matching each other in a traditional swing dance.
“The wardrobe is a hit.” I thank Rowan as we have a second dancing together. He squeals with excitement before I spin him back to Damien catching Lexi in a dip.
“I must say that your choice of attire this evening is equally distracting Mam.” I tell her affectionately bringing her out of the dip she laughs at me.
“Why sir, if my daddy ever heard the scandalous words you just said.” She says in a fake southern accent feigning a horror struck face. I don’t give her up again for the rest of the dance.
We get back to the booth and Damien and Rowan can’t keep their hands off each other. I don’t think they’ll be able to hold out much longer.
“Will you be right getting home on your own?” Rowan suddenly looks over at me. I nod smiling at him. Damien is whispering things in his ear and he’s giggling like a teenage girl. I turn to Lexi.
“Did you want me to see you home?” I ask like a gentleman. She smiles and shakes her head.
“No we live really close so he’ll drop me off.” She indicates towards Damien who nods while Rowan chews on his ear.
“And we’re out.” Damien announces pulling Rowan up from the booth. I follow with my arm wrapped around Lexi.
“Are you working tomorrow morning?” I ask hopefully and she nods and smiles at me. “Then I’ll see you at breakfast.” I inform her. Her arms wrap around my torso as we say goodbye on the curb outside the bar. She stands on her tip toes and I meet her for a kiss. It’s too quick before she pulls away trailing after Rowan and Damien. I start walking backward in the other direction watching her leave. She turns to look back over her shoulder and smiles at me. That smile right there is the reason I left the army. I want that in my life. I need that life and happiness.