“You sure you wanna eat here?”
“Yes, Ryan. Whats the big deal? Why don’t you want to eat here?”
“There’s no problem, I just think we should stay in tonight.”
“Listen, we stay in enough. Kelly said this place was really great and I want to try something new.”
I took a deep breath and continued driving. It was 9:00 on a Thursday night. I hoped that she had gotten off early. Or maybe hadn’t come in at all. It was one thing to let her see my girl and I in the apartment complex, but this could get sticky. I parked the car and killed the engine. I watched her get out of the car first.
“You coming? Or am I eating alone?”
I followed her through the entrance and to the bar. It was dimly lit and the clatter of eating utensils against plates and patrons’ conversations couldn’t drown out the sound of my heart beating in my ears. Could she tell how anxious I was? We found two stools and sat down. I took out my phone and began to type out “What are you doing?” Before I could hit send, I smelled her.
“Hey how are you guys tonight? My name’s Quinn. If there’s anything you need, just let me know.” She placed two coasters down in front of us.
“Hey, don’t you live in the apartment complex down by Wood Grove?”
“Yeah I do.”
“I knew you looked familiar. Right, babe? I’m Sam.”
“Nice to meet you, Sam.”
“And this is Ryan. Excuse him. He’s in a mood tonight and I don’t know why.”
“Its fine. He’s probably preoccupied thinking about the game thats on.”
“Girl, yes! Anytime there’s a sporting event, he’s on another planet.”
They laughed. She seemed so calm. I felt my heart rise into my throat.
“Can I get you guys any drinks?”
“Um yeah I’ll have a Long Island and…”
“Uh a beer please.”
“Let me guess. Heineken?”
Quinn smiled and I nodded.
“I’ll be right back with your drinks.”
There was no point in sending that text now. Was she pissed? Did she think I did this on purpose? I couldn’t read her. I could never read her. It fascinated me. It was why I couldn’t seem to stay away. She was consistent but unpredictable. I never knew what was next. She knew she held the cards and yet somehow, I trusted that she’d play them right. Was I being cocky for believing that?
“I’m going to the bathroom. Be right back.”
I was left alone with my thoughts and then I inhaled her aroma again.
“So you bring her to my job. That’s great.”
She put the beer down in front of me.
“I didn’t want to come here tonight. She insisted. Are you upset?”
“Why would I be upset, Ryan? She’s your girlfriend. You take her out on dates. Its normal. I’d be foolish to be upset, right?”
“Look, I’ll tell her we have to go or something. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”
“I’m not uncomfortable. Its you. Its written all of your face. You’re like a child with crumbs on his face from the cookies he wasn’t supposed to have before dinner. A shame that she can’t see that though.”
“What is up with you lately? All of these questions. All this attitude. I don’t understand. It was easier when-“
“When I was just a fuck. Trust me, it was easier for me, too.”
“You were never just a fuck, Quinn.”
I saw her eyes dart from mine to the bathroom door. I turned around and saw Sam coming from the bathroom. She smiled at me on her way back. She took her seat and sipped from her glass that had been waiting for her.
“Mmm! That is good! You are working for those tips huh?”
“I sure am.”
“By the way, what is that perfume? It smells so good on you.”
“Thank you. It was a gift from a friend.”
The entire time, I hadn’t looked away from her.
“So, are you guys ready to order, or do you need a little more time to decide what you want?”
“You sure you wanna eat here?”