WHO'S THE MASTER

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Part 2: Don't Disturb My Buzz

Amalea needs to get her drink on after a bad, bad day. This is Amalea’s POV...


“Hey, girl!” Manny says as he lifts a mug of beer at me from the bar. “I thought I saw you pop in right on schedule.”

I smile at my ex. We date years ago while in college, but hit it off far better as friends. Occasionally when things go dry, we engage in some benefits without strings. More than once, we even hit the bars together being the best wingers ever. We know how to have a fun time even if we’re only hanging out.

My other friends say that Manny and I are a great couple and never understand why things don’t work for us. We like the same TV shows and movies.Manny and I also have the same taste in beer, food, and music. He’s smart graduating with a business degree but took over the pub full-time after his uncle died and left him the place. Manny makes me laugh, too, but we never have that kind of chemistry that leads to a binding, romantic love. Perhaps it’s that Manny and I are too much alike? Regardless, I am fortunate for the great friend I get out of the deal.

“Hey, dude! Looks like a good night for you.” I lean over the bar, and he meets me halfway so that we can give each other a peck on the lips.

Manny is the total package, as well. Tall, muscular, dark hair and pure blue eyes round out his yummy features sporting a fitted black shirt with sleeves rolled up and matching jeans tonight.

He shrugs as he wipes down the bar. “You know how it is.”

By far my friend is the best bartender ever. I didn’t go to any other bar as often as Plenty ’O Head unless I was with him when I went elsewhere. You see, good friends like Manny you wanna keep around. Not giant pricks that got under your skin and drove you to want to commit homicide.

I drop out of my coat feeling hot still. When I sit, there’s a mug of draft waiting for me. I hop on the empty stool that might as well have my name stamped on it. Usually, at the same time, I come here every night unless working late. If someone sits on this stool, it’s a bad night for them. Every regular knows the unwritten rule that this stool’s mine.

“I totally love you, man,” I tell Manny and mean it.

After the most stressful of days, he is my salvation. My friend and favorite bartender happens to know I love a mug of cold beer. It is what hits all my happy buttons. I take a sip and sigh at how lucky I am for such simple pleasures.

“Yeah, yeah…” Manny grins until he probes me with those pure blue eyes of his. “So work was a bitch again today, huh?”

To hell with sipping, I chug the golden contents of the mug down in one breath. “I quit,” I say and belch with satisfaction. “Ooo, excuse me!” I look around wondering if anyone hears me. It’s busy; Manny has help behind the bar from his co-owner Krystal. There’s lots of chatter and music blaring around.

“I won’t tell.” Manny chuckles with a wink.

I order another beer while I relay my day to him. Before I’m done, he serves me up bourbon. This is out of the ordinary though. I stare at him in surprise because I didn’t order it.

“On the house,” Manny explains with a nod. “That sounds rough, sweetums.”

“It felt sooooo good to give it back to him.” I raise the drink to my friend and sip. It hits the spot I am hoping to fill. “Thanks for this. Good top shelf.”

“I’m gonna get these guys down here, but I’ll be right back.” He gives me another wink and heads down to the other end of the bar.

Krystal handles the other end like the pro she is, laughing and flirting with the regulars while filling orders as fast as she’s given them. Being cute and a redhead had its benefits by how well they tipped her.

Already I feel the warm reaction of the tasty beverages in my system. In fact, I am about to order more when a man with cropped blond hair flops into the seat beside me just vacated by someone else. My smile vanishes. I stand in alarm and snatch up my purse and coat.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” I rebuke before knocking back the rest of my bourbon like water. This man was dangerously messing with my buzz goddamnit!

Sam turns on his stool to face me with a serious expression. “We need to talk.”

“Fuck that! Me quitting means I don’t need to do anything you say ever again!” I stand up, pay my tab, and leave the bar. I wave to Manny who waves back in surprise. This has to be the shortest time I’ve ever visited the pub which pisses me off.

Sam follows in hot pursuit and grabs my arm when I am outside. He forces me to turn to him. “You didn’t mean it, and we both know it.”

I snatch my arm away from his grasp with my eyes swelled in shock. “That just goes to show how little you do know. I meant every damn word, asshole!”

I tried to hail a cab, but instead, Sam got his big hand on me again. Twisting my arm I just held up, he snatches me into a dark alley beside the pub. I struggle with him as he drags me to a running Audi sedan. Before I can stop him, Sam shoves me into the leather backseat. His hard body covers mine, and his mouth presses forcefully over my own.

In favor of striking my fists at him, I lose hold of my purse and coat. Even more, I struggle in awe of what happens to me in so short of time. Despite how angry I am at Sam’s audacity and arrogance, I cannot account for the rush of heat in my blood pumping through me.

His hands capture my wrists beside my head as he ends our kiss. “Stop fighting this… me,” Sam says trying to catch his breath. His lips are only inches from mine once more.

My struggle renews more fiercely than before. “Get off me!”

He sighs with an expression of regret. “Fine. I warned you.”

Holding my wrists above my head now with one hand, Sam reaches around with this free hand and produces handcuffs. A chain hangs from it, and the other end of it wraps around the handle on the ceiling above the passenger side back door. He loops the lock on the end of the chain and fastens it to the line partially holding up my handcuffed arms. Kicking and screaming in protest, Sam leaves the back seat promptly securing the door.

Once he’s in the driver’s seat, we’re off entering traffic.

“Let me go!” I yell repeatedly, but he fails to listen.

Sam decides to drown out my demands with some hard rock radio station playing a set of commercial-free tunes. The shrieking coming out of the car speakers sounds angrier than I am. I swear I could feel my ears bleeding in mercy. What did I ever do to deserve this torture?!

The tall buildings melt away as do the bright lights of the city in the smears of rain hitting the SUV’s windows. Darkness and the patter of rain soothe me when the hateful music shifts into soothing love songs. As furious as I am, I am tired, too. It’s been a long, long day.

Try as I may to resist, the beer and bourbon I’ve guzzled work against me. The moderate pelt of rain on the vehicle calms me further. I fight my eyelids. They refuse to obey. They seal shut to my dismay. I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

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