Would Grant leave if he could? He’s working, so he can’t leave. I should really be the one to leave, it’s only fair, especially since this is his turf. But I can’t stop watching him. While he’s busy avoiding looking at me at all, my eyes have just been constantly drawn to him all night.
His hair is longer than I remember. It had always been scraggy, but it looks nice in the ponytail. There are dark bags under his eyes and he looks almost as tired as I constantly feel. He’s put on some muscle too, but his smile, which he directs at his friends and the customers – everyone who isn’t me – is exactly as I remember.
There are reasons why I walked out on him, of course. But, it’s hard to remember all those reasons while he’s standing behind the bar in an apron, his body flexing every time he moves or bends over to grab a drink from the fridge. He fills out his black pants nicely and my mouth goes dry as my eyes trail over his legs.
God…I want him so badly.
A distant part of my mind is screaming at me. I’m not stupid enough for this. I’m not drunk enough. There was a reason we broke up. There’s a reason I never went looking for him in the three years we were apart.
“You alright?” Allison asks.
“Yeah,” I say.
“We want to head out,” she says. “Want to grab a taxi with us?”
“No,” I say with a shake of my head. “I’ll stay out a little longer.”
Allison looks conflicted. She doesn’t want to leave me here. But I’m not going anywhere, I suddenly decide. There are things I need to say to Grant, now that he’s right here in front of me. And things I need to hear from him.
“Grant!” he calls.
He turns around, waving off a few others that are leaving; it’s almost two o’clock in the morning, now, and there’s barely anyone here.
“Yeah?” he asks, making his way over.
“Look after Jessica, yeah?” Kyle says, beaming. “Allison doesn’t want to leave her alone, but I want to get the fuck out of here. Is that okay?”
A conflicted expression crosses Grant’s face. He sighs quietly.
“Yeah, okay,” he says unenthusiastically.
Kyle grins, not noticing. Allison hugs me and then they’re gone, leaving me alone at the bar with Grant. I look up at him and he stares over my shoulder.
“Want me to call you a taxi?” he asks, his voice flat.
“No,” I say. “Not yet.”
He huffs and takes two steps back, out of range to have a conversation but close enough that no one will mess with me. I take my phone out of my pocket and send a message to Hazel, asking if she was okay staying later; I might not be home for a while. She sends me back a cheerful agreement.
I sit at the bar, quietly nursing an empty glass as the bar starts emptying. All too soon, I’m the only one left and Grant is still avoiding my gaze, though he has to feel the weight of my eyes on him. His shoulders are tense and his hands are clenching at his sides.
Finally, he turns around.
“What do you want?” he asks.
He sounds tired, like he doesn’t have the energy to do this right now. Maybe I should give up, go home to my son, stop this foolishness before it goes any further.
But, instead, I lean across the bar. My shirt rides down a little, and his eyes dart down before springing back up, his lips twisting in a grimace. He still finds me physically attractive then.
That thought is more arousing than it has any right to be.
“I want to talk,” I say.
“Look, can we do this some other time?” he asks. “I’m tired, it’s late, I really don’t want to deal with this…”