Your Love Ch. 01
This story was greatly inspired by the song "Your Love" by The Outfield. Great 80's song that I listened to one night and said "Hey, why not." This is also my first shot at a story and I admitted I didn't get an editor to look at it. So feel free to hack it to bits in the comments. I'm sure it needs it.
She was supposed to be somewhere else. Christina looked back down at her phone lying on the bar top. 68 missed calls and 80-something texts. She knew her friends had gone through so much trouble for her big night but she just couldn't bring herself to be in a party mood. They'd planned an entire night bar hopping in a luxury stretch limo. Who the hell doesn't go to their own bachelorette party, she scolded herself.
Christina thought about the lasts few years. She'd graduated college, established a career, and managed to get engaged to a good guy. Jackson was a good guy. He had a good job, a good family, a good face. But that's all it was...good. Deep down Christina felt like she was settling. She knew she had done everything she was supposed to do to make her parents proud but she didn't feel proud of herself. Christina knew that somehow she had let herself down.
"Those look like some pretty deep thoughts." A deep voice boomed in interrupting her self-reflection.
She looked up next to her. A man was shrugging off his wet raincoat while signaling to the bartender. She hadn't noticed the rain outside.
The man wasn't looking at her but she was sure he had spoken to her.
"I'm sorry?" Christina responded.
The stranger turned his head towards her. Christina caught her breath. His eyes were a clear icy blue. He smirked at her.
"You just looked like you were making some big life decisions."
"Oh um sort of." Christina stammered quietly still trying to collect herself.
He opened his mouth to say something when the bartender interrupted him.
"What can I get you Stephen?" He asked.
"Whatever special you have on tap is fine, you know I'm not picky."
"Comin up." The bartender walked off.
"So," the blue eyes turned back to Christina,"I'm Stephen as I'm sure you heard."
"Christina." She responded timidly.
"Nice." Stephen started, "So Christina, tell me exactly why you are sitting in a bar on a Friday night all alone?"
She thought for a minute.
"Well I was supposed to go to a party, my party. I just didn't feel much like being around a bunch of drunk girls."
"Your party?" Stephens interest piqued. "Birthday?"
"Oh no, my bachelorette party."
"Oh nice! Congratulations!" He exclaimed with a genuine smile.
Christina returned the smile in thanks but he could tell her heart wasn't in it.
The bartender was back with his beer. She watched as he took a long slow gulp. Stephen had shaggy dirty blonde hair that made it just over his ears. He wore a crisp white business shirt that he had rolled up at the sleeves showing various tattoos coming down his well toned arms. He wore well-tailored pants that clearly belonged to an expensive business suit.
He must work in one of these buildings she thought to her self.
They were in the business area of downtown Raleigh, NC and now was the time when all of the business men would start pouring in for happy hour.
He placed the half emptied glass on the bar with a *CLUNK*. The sound shook her out of her thoughts.
"Alright let me see it." He demanded as he reached his hand out and wiggled his fingers in a "gimme" manner.
Christina laughed at little. She had heard this request so often in the last year she no longer had to wander what "it" was. She extended her left hand to him.
Stephen had to let out a long whistle. He didn't have to say anything. The 4-carat flawless diamond in a solitaire platinum setting said enough. She was a lucky girl, or so she had been repeatedly told.
Stephen watched her face as she gazed at the ring on her finger. She didn't hide sadness well. Or maybe he just recognized it because it mirrored his own. If he didn't know any better he'd think she was having the same premarital doubts he was.
"Set a date yet?" He asked.
"Two weeks from tomorrow."
"You got me beat by a month."
She turned to him with a quizzical look on her face.
"Yep." Stephen pursed his lips in a tight smile trying to wordlessly send his message of "feel my pain?"
At that moment Christina's phone buzzed on the table. She didn't bother to look at it. She just reached for the button and muted it.
"The groom?" Stephen asked.
"Oh no, probably not. My friends are probably wondering where I am." She held up her phone to show the missed calls. She was at 82 now.
"Geez!" Stephen laughed. "You must be an important gal!"
Christina laughed too. "At least tonight I am." All of a sudden Christina took the time to appreciate her current situation. She was a 26 year old woman hiding from her problems like a spoiled child. If that didn't say she wasn't ready for marriage she didn't know what did! The thought made her laugh harder.
Stephen watched Christina laugh. It was the first real reaction he'd seen from her. Sure she was probably drunk as hell but at least she seemed a little less stressed than when he first came in. Watching her laugh Stephen could see just how beautiful she was. She had dark hair that was short in the back and longer at the front, gorgeous grey eyes that were a little slanted at the edges, and her skin a was a warm milk chocolate brown. Even sitting the bar stool he could tell she was short. 5'2" tops.
Stephen paused for a moment.
"Alright Christina." He started. "I've made a decision."
She raised her eyebrows in question, "Oh?"
Stephen continued, "Neither one of us really want to be bothered by the people we know tonight. And I don't know about you but my only goal tonight is to get stinking drunk and cause problems. Wanna be partner in crime?"
Christina laughed at his offer and thought. Partner in crime? She didn't know why but being Stephen's partner in crime tonight was more appealing than being Jacksons fiancé. Maybe because she knew how predictable Jackson had become and Stephen was a perfect stranger who was, in a way, asking her to trust him.
Stephen spoke up trying not to let her think to much about it, "Whatya say partner? You in?"
Christina looked into his eyes and saw some of the trouble she knew she might be in for and smiled. She pressed the power button on her phone and turned it off.
"All right then!" Stephen turned towards the other end of the bar. "Bartender! Patron!"
*Josie's on a vacation far away*
*Come around and talk it over*
*So many things that I wanna say*
*You know I like my girls a little bit older*
Christina almost fell off her barstool laughing.
Stephen paused from belting out the tune, "I fucking love this song, come on, you have to sing it with me!"
Christina tried to make a move away from Stephens grasp but he was too quick. He slipped his arm around her waist and hauled her up on the bars karaoke stage.
Stephens picked up where the song continued.
*I just wanna use your love tonight*
Christina gave in and sang along.
By the end of the song the two collapsed onto a booth cracking up. Her head was swimming from a bad blend of tequila and cosmos.
Christina sat her head up suddenly and announced, "I'm starving!"
He laughed in response.
"Ok girly! You listened to my God awful singing the least I can do is feed you. I think Groucho's is still open."
Christina smiled like a kid on Christmas. "Let's do it!"
Stephen and Christina stepped out of the bar and into the cool November night air.
"Oh my god!" Christina started, "Jackson hates karaoke, I can never get him to do it!"
Stephen smiled at her as he watched her enjoy herself. He had a feeling she didn't do things like this often.
"Catherine's the same way." Stephen told her.
That was the first time he'd said her name.
Hearing it made her curious. "Where is she tonight?"
Stephen looked at her and didn't see anything suggestive about the question. He was a little relieved and simultaneously disappointed.
"She's in South Carolina with her mother. Wedding plans."
"Ah gotcha." Christina replied.
Stephen could tell she was going to question him further; and whether it would have been about Catherine or their wedding plans he didn't want to talk about it. He had to divert the subject.
"Ever see a meteor shower?" Stephen asked abruptly before Christina could get her next question out.
Christina put a look on her face as if she was considering the question while trying not to appear too drunk.
"I don't believe I have."
Stephen smiled and checked his watch.
They had spent the last three hours with a combination of dancing, singing, and various shots.
"If you're interested in seeing one I have a celestron cpc 1100 that would blow your mind."
Christina got an extremely confused look on her face, "Is that a sex thing?"
He burst out laughing, "It's a telescope."
She considered what he was asking her. Go home with a strange man to he his "telescope". No matter how innocent the suggestion seemed she'd still be an idiot to do it.
But wasn't that what tonight was about? What was supposed to be her bachelorette party. She was supposed to make her last bad decisions before walking down the aisle.
She looked up into Stephen's waiting eyes and smiled.
"Ask me again once you've fed me." He smiled in response.
The two of them say on a bench eating their 1AM dinner.
"Holy shit this is delicious." Christina said more to the sandwich in her hands than to Stephen.
"Best sandwich in the south." He responded.
They finished their meals in a comfortable silence. Once she had finished her late night meal Christina decided she should learn a little more about her "partner in crime".
"What's your favorite color?"
Stephen smiled at the random question.
"Navy and gold, your turn."
Stephen thought for moment.
"Favorite food? Mines steak."
"Sushi. Any seafood really."
Stephen wasn't sure of the point of this game but he liked learning things about her.
"Hmm..." Christina thought aloud, "dogs or cats?"
"Dogs! Always!" Stephen exclaimed.
Christina nodded excitedly in approval.
"Agreed!" She stated as she smiled, "I have a huge Great Dane at home, he's my big baby."
"I would love to get a dog but she won't let me." He said sadly," She swears she's allergic but I think she just doesn't like animals of any sort."
Christina noticed that he didn't really like saying her name. It was understandable she supposed and to be honest she didn't really want to hear it.
Stephen crumpled up the trash from his meal, tossed it in the nearby can, and then checked his watch. It was just about time.
Stephen spoke up, "We can start walking to my place if you'd like. The shower will start soon."
Christina thought to her self, "Holy crap! I knew we made plans but this is getting real. I'd love to go back to his place. But where exactly is this leading?"
Christina smiled, unable to speak her answer, and nodded. They stood up from the bench, and looked at each other, wordlessly discussing what would happen tonight. They seemed to understand and agree.
Stephen took her hand and led her back towards the sidewalk in direction of his apartment. If things went his way tonight he'd show her more than stars.