The following is a chapter from Sylvie writes a Romance; if you enjoy it, you can get it on Kindle or paperback from Amazon. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read the entire book for free!
Sylvie is an writer, trying to write a romance novel. Realizing she knows nothing of romance, she turns to online dating.
Sylvie found a parking space outside Keoki’s at 6 o’clock, an hour before the promised time to meet Phred69; enough time to have a drink and rehearse the things she wanted to talk about. After purchasing two sets of sexy, matching underwear and a naughty-looking sheer red teddy, Sylvie had looked for conversation tips online and jotted them down in her notebook, which was tucked in her oversized black purse. She had read them over and over while she got dressed and applied her makeup, almost like she was cramming for a college exam, but worried she would be too nervous to remember.
What would be so wrong about treating this exactly like the cheaters in school? she had asked herself, and decided to ink microscopic reminders on the underside of her left wrist to aid her memory.
The notes were simple, only key words to ideas she needed to incorporate into the evening. Touch meant she should reach out and touch his arm or knee on occasion; gaze, to look into his eyes; hair so she remembered to twirl her hair around her finger, or maybe suggestively stick the ends into her mouth and suck on it. The list only covered a few square inches and she was certain Phred69 wouldn’t notice.
The restaurant was crowded, but Sylvie managed to find a single seat at the rectangular bar. She wasn’t exactly sure what her date looked like – the one detail she had forgotten to etch into her mind – but she knew he’d find her in her red dress and heels; she was the only woman so dressed up. After ordering a glass of tequila with ice to calm her nerves, she applauded herself for her flawless walk from the truck to her current seat; Sylvie had walked barefoot from her house, only donning the stilettos upon arrival in the parking lot. She had pictured the runway model in her mind again and sashayed across the blacktop in what she thought was a similar manner. And it had worked – she didn’t wobble or trip over anything, which she took as a good omen for the evening.
Sylvie reached for a menu to decide in advance what she should order; while sitting with her date she would pretend to be indecisive, but now she wanted to think through all the possibilities and choose a dish containing only foods from the sexy list. She didn’t want anything to drip on her dress or leave gobs of green in her teeth.
“You look a little low there,” the bartender said, bringing Sylvie out of her study of the menu. The bartender, tall and slim with an adorable, unlined face, was pointing at her drink. “Another?”
“Yes, please. One more can’t hurt.” Sylvie slyly glanced at her wrist notes, saw smile and touch, and lightly grazed the bartender’s hand with her fingers as he reached for her glass, smiling at him. His hand momentarily froze, he looked into her eyes, smiled back, and retrieved her glass for a refill.
Oh my God, it works! she silently exclaimed to herself. I can do this!
Half an hour before her date, Sylvie started on her second tequila. The shot was much more generous than the first, and came with a sexy smile from the bartender as it was served. Sylvie practically fell off her stool with excitement.
Returning her attention to the menu, she decided on the sashimi for her dinner; without rice, the mouthfuls wouldn’t be too big to be messy or choke on, and she could strategically drip some soy sauce onto her fingers and lick it off while gazing into his eyes. The evening was looking better and better as she finished her second drink, listening to the music.
It was last call and she was the only patron left in the restaurant. The bartender slid the check towards her, letting his fingers linger on the paper until she read the words he had handwritten, “I paid your tab and I’d like to take you home.” She glanced up and their eyes met; she smiled her consent – words were not necessary. Suddenly alive with desire, she boldly slid off her stool and walked to meet him body to body, with no bar between them. His strong hands gripped her waist and lifted her onto the bar, sliding his hands down to the small of her back, pressing his face between her breasts, taking in her essence. He tilted his head upwards and kissed her neck, her head falling backward, eyes closed. She wrapped her legs around him and pulled him close as he slid his hands up her back and slowly pulled the zipper of her dress all the way down. His fingertips on the bare skin of her back sent shivers straight to her core, and she knew she had to have him immediately, right there, on the bar. She shrugged her shoulders and her dress fell to her waist, revealing her breasts, nipples erect in anticipation of his tongue and lips. She didn’t have to wait long – his hungry mouth found its way to a sweet spot as his fingers unclasped her bra and gently pulled the red lace away from…
A tap on her shoulder reminded Sylvie that she was at the bar to meet her date, causing her to startle out of her daydream.
“I’m Fred. Nice dress. Do you want to stay at the bar or find a table?”
Sylvie noticed the seat to the right of her was now vacant. “Let’s stay right here.” She smiled in anticipation as she envisioned flirting with both men, and having her choice at the end of the evening.
Fred took his seat, and Sylvie swiveled to get a better look at him. She could tell he wasn’t as tall as her, but he was tan and in good shape, presumably from all the hiking he mentioned in his profile. He had all his teeth – thank God – and while he wasn’t exactly handsome, he wasn’t bad looking, either – short, brown hair with the slightest touch of curl over soft brown eyes.
Sylvie’s nerves kicked in again as they ordered a round of drinks, Sylvie’s third in an hour. Her mind seemed to empty of all the conversation tips, so she quickly peeked at her wrist as Fred was facing the bartender, ordering a beer. She wasn’t quick enough, though.
“Is that a tattoo? Can I see?”
Sylvie slammed her arm down onto the bar in embarrassment. “No, I scratched myself earlier and I was checking on it, that’s all.” But she had managed to glimpse the word him, reminding herself to ask about him and look very interested in what he was saying.
“I saw your hiking pictures online; you seem to get out quite a bit. What else do you do?”
“I got laid off from my job about a year ago and I haven’t really found anything else yet.”
“Oh. It’s so expensive to live here, have you been able to get unemployment for so long?”
“Well, I wasn’t technically laid off so I never qualified for unemployment. I was living with my girlfriend at the time, but we broke up and I moved back in with my parents, ya know, to help them out a bit.”
A few moments of awkward silence followed as Sylvie pondered the idea of getting involved with a middle-aged man who lived with his parents. She mentally shook her head, it’s just for sex! she reminded herself. I don’t have to give him my phone number!
“What do you do for a living? There weren’t many details on your profile.”
“I’m an accountant.”
“I bet that makes good money. Where do you work?”
She stared into his eyes, her mind screaming, don’t tell him! Don’t tell him! and risked a fast glance at her wrist’s cheat sheet to help her turn the conversation back to him. Sylvie had placed her arm next to her glass, and the condensation on the bar had smeared the words into a runny blob that was slowly inching its way towards her elbow.
She instinctively hid her arm on her lap and thought hard for another word on her list: Hair.
Sylvie inserted her right index finger into her hair and began twirling; Fred was still staring at her in expectation of her answer.
Smile. It was coming back to her now. Compliment.
Sylvie fixed what she felt was a warm smile on her face, “I can tell that hiking keeps you in great shape. You look very strong.”
With her ink-stained arm in her lap and her right hand twirling in her hair, Sylvie regretfully realized she had no way to sip her drink. Fred smiled at the compliment and began to talk about his explorations.
“I try to get out of the house every day, ya know, the parents and all, so I’ve checked out all the hikes on the island. I bet no one knows the trails around here better than I do. I bet I’ve gone through 10 pairs of hiking boots this year.”
Sylvie started to reach for her drink but her hand wouldn’t move – she had nervously twirled her hair into a knot around her ring.
“What’s your favorite?” She tugged her hand some more, silently pleading with her ring to let go.
“There’s a trail along the coast I really like, it’s a pretty hardcore climb, about six miles, but it’s got ocean views the whole way. Totally worth it. The other day I was up there and saw this great big…” He narrowed his eyes as he looked at her more closely. “Are you okay?”
Sylvie was not. She didn’t want Fred to see her ink-smudged left arm, but she needed it to get her right hand free of her knotted hair. The dilemma was written all over her face.
“Oh it’s nothing, just my hand is stuck,” Sylvie said as nonchalantly as she could. “What were you saying about the trail? It sounds so beautiful. Tell me more about things you like to do.”
Fred didn’t take the conversational bait. “Your hand is stuck? On what?”
Feeling like she had no other choice, and now desperately wanting to chug her drink to forget her embarrassment, Sylvie lifted her left arm off her lap to free her ring, runny, black ink plainly in sight down her arm and imprinted onto the front of her dress. She pulled the ring off her finger and left it dangling in her piece of snarled hair while she took a long, slow sip of tequila.
“Uh, do you need some help… with… that…?” Fred shyly pointed at the ring in her hair.
“No, I got it.” Sylvie reached out once again with her blackened arm and began to untangle the mess, tipping a bit tipsily on her stool as the tequila finally hit her and smudging ink on her right cheek.
“Uh, you got…”
“I know,” she snapped, wondering how the night had taken such a bad turn so quickly.
“Ok, um,” Fred chugged the remainder of his beer. “I’m gonna get going. You look like you might wanna, uh, go home. Uh …”
He turned and walked to the exit, as fast as he could without running.
And without paying for his beer.
Freeing the ring and finishing the rest of her drink, Sylvie crossed her arms on the bar and rested her forehead on them, absently staring at Colleen’s black shoes.
“Are you ready for another?” The hot bartender was clearly speaking to her. Sylvie lifted her head, ink-stained and tangled, “Just the check, please.”
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