Part Two - edited!
A/N Sorry, had real problems loading this chapter took almost all day! And it seems only loaded half of the chapter! Thanks to Lyricalprincess for pointing this out! And much apologies for the error. Hope you enjoy the completed chapter!!
The Sheep's Head was an old fashioned pub; an oak bar took up the whole of the back wall, and a large open fireplace the opposite one. Various mismatched tables and chairs filled the area between the two, but tonight they'd been pulled back to create a space, a divide between the small stage that had been erected in the corner and the audience. On the stage was a stool and a mike stand. It was already busy in there, but Michaela spotted a free table towards the edge of the impromptu dance floor.
"You grab the seats, I'll get us a drink, ok?" When Michaela nodded, Laura turned back to the bar. She recognised Paul the barman and they chatted briefly, mainly about the tides and forecast over the next few days. Everyone in the area was a surf addict so conversations were often easy and friendships quick.
Finally with the beers, she sought out Michaela and slid into the seat opposite her.
"He's on in half an hour!" her friend exclaimed excitedly, clapping her hands.
Laura relaxed back into the seat and smiled, "mad! I can't quite believe it's so full in here."
Michaela smiled, then started telling Laura all about her weird day in the Tourism Office. She seemed to spend half her time dealing with fruit cakes asking ridiculous questions, and the remainder with people who were grossly underprepared for anything. Her example of that was a customer earlier the day wanting a hotel on the seafront the day before the Pensioner's charity walk. The town was famous for two things, summer surf, and the fund raising walk that saw two hundred or more over seventy year olds descend on the town. Any other day and the client would have had his choice of hotels.
Laura sighed, this was as exciting as it got, but she wouldn't have it any other way. There wasn't a day that passed when she missed living in London, or even any other City. No she loved where she lived, and loved the level of gossip that the small town generated. Taking a good slug of beer, she smiled at her friend, "we should make a trip here more often, this pub REALLY needs livening up!"
"I heard that!" Paul the barman shouted across to them. "This is busy for a Wednesday! Like your cafe is any more lively!"
"Give us two weeks and we'll be bouncing, you'll see!" She hollered back, and the barman laughed.
And then the infamous Daniel Martin walked onto stage amidst shouts and whistles. She'd first seen him sing last summer, she'd been out for a few beers with Ben and Alana in a town about an hour away, he'd been on stage singing a ballad when they'd walked in, and Laura had immediately liked him. She wasn't sure whether it was for his lilting voice, and awesome song selection or his handsome good looks - or all of it! Laura didn't really have a 'type' but Dan ticked every box, short blonde hair, but longer at the front, gelled into soft spikes, and his eyes were the deepest blue. He had a wonderful voice, but he also had beautiful lips that seemed sculptured, and formed each syllable that he sang in a sultry way.
No she didn't have the hots for him at all! She joked with herself. After the first time she'd found out that he was playing in a couple of other fairly local pubs over the summer, and so she'd dragged Michaela into the fan club.
Tonight he was wearing a white shirt, that fitted his body snugly, and divine washed out jeans that clung to his thighs. The man was sex on legs.
"Hi, thanks for coming. It's great to be back in this part of the World!"
With that he struck straight into a gravelly ballad that made every woman in the bar swoon.
By the time he stopped for an interval, Laura was sure that he was eyeing them up. She wasn't sure whether her liked her or Michaela, but he was definitely focussing on their table more than any of the other women there.
It was even busier for the second half of the show, a group of middle aged women came in together, and before too long they were all up dancing, swaying along to 'Hey Jude', then leaping around to 'Dance the Night Away', much to Daniel's amusement, several times he missed a cue due to his laughter. His natural charisma and charm only encouraged the audible group, and the show went on much longer than it should have.
His last song after three encores was 'Iris', and Paul collecting glasses came to their table, "one of you lovely ladies care for a dance?"
tLaura spotted Michaela’s eyes widen with interest, “you go Michaela, I’m knackered!”
She watched the two dance together, smiling and joking and was pleased for her friend. Michaela was shy, she would never have asked Paul to dance with her, but as Laura watched them, she could see that her friend was flirting with the Kiwi barman, and it pleased her. As the music ended she made for the bar, glad that there was more than just Paul working and there was someone to serve her. As she was handed a beer, a voice to her right offered, “I’ll get that!”
Turning she saw Daniel, beautiful Daniel, leaning against the bar a few feet away, a dazzling smile on his face. Tilting the bottle in his direction as a thanks, she murmured, “cheers.” Then giving him as seductive a smile as she could muster, she spun around and walked away.
Outside it was still warm; people had bled out of the busy bar to sit on the picnic benches surrounding the building. Michaela sat on a wall in the distance looking doe-eyed at Paul who was standing over her, they were both smiling, and Laura couldn’t hide her happiness.
“Mmm...Penny for your thoughts...though they look like they’re worth more than that!”
The voice bisected her peace and Laura twisted guiltily to her right immediately dropping the smile from her lips to see Daniel leaning against the building, his eyes washing over her in a lazy way.
“Definitely not even worth a penny!” She offered, hating that she was blushing. Thankfully it was dark and she hoped he wasn’t aware. But he had that confident, almost cocky manner about him; she knew he was used to women throwing themselves at him. She was determined to appear different, even if her body just wanted to launch at him. She shook her head searching for some clarity; she had no idea where that thought had come from!
“So I remember you from last summer.”
She shrugged, “you’ve played a few pubs around here. There are some dreadful pub singers; you stand out in my memory as one with a reasonable voice and a good repertoire of songs!”
He grinned, the moonlight catching his perfect white teeth, “so you’re not a fan of American Pie and Wonderwall?”
She laughed, “The originals are ok, but it seems that most singers on the pub circuit have the same song book, and the same backing track! No one seems to sing anything daring, anything that requires effort. It’s lazy!”
Daniel gave a mock shocked look, “wow. Strong opinions! You are the pub entertainer expert!”
She chuckled, “sorry!”
His smile was again confident and lazy as he held out her hand, “don’t apologise, I’m Dan by the way.”
Laura sighed, “Laura.” She shook his hand, and appreciated the sensation of his fingers at her wrist.
It was so long since she’d flirted with a man that she almost felt out of practice. Since she’d worked at Ben’s cafe and surf shop there had been no shortage of interested men, lots of tourists passing through lavishing attention of her. Occasionally she succumbed and dated one a few times, but mostly she put them down gently.
Dan was the first man she’d wanted to get to know better in a long time, and she was aware that she was blushing and flirting outrageously. She might put him off, but she was past caring.
“So are you from around here?” he asked, sipping at his own beer.
She shook her head, “I’m from London, well Hertfordshire mainly, came this way to Uni, well Cardiff, came THIS far out to surf!”
“So you’re ‘one of those’ then are you?”
Laura ignored the condescension in his voice and smiled, “you mean I live for being in the water? You’re not wrong. You?”
“Do I like surfing?” He asked, “or where am I from?” When she shrugged he grinned, “I’m a beach lover in a ‘posing in the sun’ kind of way, not exactly at one with the ocean. But then I’m from landlocked Birmingham, so I suppose that’s to be expected.”
Laura’s reply was a smile, as she lowered herself to perch on the wall that surrounded the garden, Dan moved across and sat beside her, a little closer than was really appropriate. Whilst Laura felt a little awkward, as soon as his thigh pressed against hers and his eyes claimed hers in a look that felt like a drug, she forgot any worries.
“So where are you playing tomorrow?” she asked, hating that her voice was croaky. “Do you play every night?”
He lifted the beer bottle to his mouth again and took a long slug before answering, “most nights. I try not to double back on myself, I’ve got a few dates further down the coast, then I’m heading to Bristol for a festival for a couple of days. I’m back this way in two weeks though.”
She nodded, realising that the fact this was going nowhere didn’t seem to deter her, in fact it suited her. She wanted fun not a lifelong commitment, and it pleased her that he wasn’t living here on her doorstep. Saying that, she hadn’t as much as kissed him yet, so she was being very premature thinking of anything more than that.
Laura smiled to herself, she was far from shy, and he was giving her the right vibes.
“What you smiling at?”
Turning slowly she didn’t hide the smile; instead she let her lips curl up and her eye glitter as she started to study his shapely lips. Taking the bull by the horns she leaned in towards him, and couldn’t hide her glee that he met her in the middle. In fact, as his lips touched hers, he took over. And he was good...very good.
Laura felt her head fall back, loving the sensation of his almost aggressive lips devouring hers; she parted her lips to his invading tongue, and moaned as his arms wrapped around her and pulled her closer to him.
A repeated honk-honk of a car horn finally made Laura come to her senses...or was it the “Come on Tart!” from Michaela? Either way she pulled her lips from his and loved the groan that escaped his lips with her abrupt withdrawal. Looking at his relaxed face she really rued her friend’s bad timing, or rather her brother’s.
“That was nice!” He breathed smiling.
“Can I call you?” She asked standing, straightening her clothes.
He half shrugged, “I’ll be at The Pilot in two weeks. Will you come then?”
Laura hid her disappointment at his reluctance to create any connections between them. Two weeks was a long way off. Giving a brief nod, she turned and made for the car amidst catcalls and hollers from Michaela and her brother.