I felt it deep in my bones the minute she walked through the door.
What “it” is, I’m not quite sure. When the door opened I felt a shift in the atmosphere. As if someone lit a fire that burned only in my soul. My attention caught, I was bamboozled. This girl, no more than five feet tall, managed to drown out the sounds around me without even noticing I was in the same establishment.
Handling the large wooden door of Country Road as if it weighed no more than a feather, she seemed both determined and frightened as she walked through. Tossing her hair, the color of the most violent fire, over her shoulder, straightening her back and tilting her chin up in determination, I enjoyed the view as her hips swayed in perfect tempo to the drum solo coming from the speakers and she walked across the room. The way her jeans complement every curve, she not only has my mouth feeling like the Sahara Desert but my dick has suddenly awoken from its recent hibernation.
It isn’t either of those things that have me ignoring my friends though. No, it’s something about the fierce way she has made her entrance yet not made eye contact or smiled at a single person as she made her way to the bar. Even from here, without so much as speaking a word, I can tell that she is something special. A woman made up of layers and layers of intrigue. Someone who I have to know.
“Dude, are you even listening?”
“I don’t think he’s heard a single word any of us said since she walked in. His dick is obviously in charge tonight.”
I hear those assholes; I just don’t have anything to contribute to whatever debate they’re having. Besides, Owen is right. Somehow my normal level-headed self seems to have left the room and my previously mentioned dick is in charge tonight.
All of our lives I’ve been the logical and straight-laced one in this group. Suddenly a sassy redhead has taken all of my logic and tossed it aside. I’m acting like a pubescent teen. The problem is, I’m quite a few years from being a teen, and even when I was, I never had this reaction to a woman.
Nope. I, Bentley James Sullivan, am the good guy. The guy who approaches life with a plan and never does a single thing without one. Hell, I even plan spontaneity. Yeah, I teeter on the edge of boring.
I take another drink of my beer as I turn to Owen. “Kiss my ass. I heard you, and for your information, Iron Man always wins.”
Without a second thought I return my attention to the beauty who has garnered all of my interest. She’s made her way to a stool at the bar and is waiving her arms around as if she’s the conductor of an orchestra. I can tell from the expression of the bartender, also my sister Ashton, that whoever has her this fired up should stay clear of her.
The only time her hands still is when she grabs the shot glass my sister has placed in front of her. From where I’m sitting I can see that she doesn’t even shudder as she takes the shot of dark and beautiful whiskey. I don’t care what anyone says, there’s something fascinating about a woman who drinks whiskey. Just the thought makes me smile.
“Why don’t you just go over and talk to her, Ben?”
I shoot a look at Jameson over my beer bottle as I drain it. My best friend since, well forever, he knows I’m not the “hook up in a bar” kind of guy. But, I won’t deny this girl has sparked a little something. Something familiar tugs at me, but I can’t place it.
“Nah, I’ll pass,” I say unconvincingly. I really want to go over to this girl and tell her the fucker who made her this upset isn’t worth it.
I’m not psychic, but honestly what else could have her this upset?
The reality is, guys are dicks and the only person who could make a woman this upset.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re not all assholes, but the reality of it all is we screw up.
All the fucking time.
I sit here with three variations of the asshole to good guy makeup in front of me. The four of us have been best friends since high school, more like brothers than anything else. When I accepted a college scholarship that took me more than three hundred miles away from home, I assumed we’d grow apart, that I would grow apart from the four of them. I was wrong.
Owen Butler and Landon Montgomery are two of the coolest and most loyal friends a guy could ask for. We’ve had each other’s backs through a lot of dumb shit, and not only managed to stay friends but we’ve never screwed each other over either.
Jameson Strauss is like a brother to me. When we were kids we were convinced we were some sort of dynamic duo considering my middle name was close to his first name. Only the reality is that my middle name is a family name and he was named after his dad’s favorite whiskey. Regardless, we didn’t care and thought it made us pretty bad ass.
Jameson is the best person I know and gives to others without a second thought. I would trust him with my life. Of course, he’s also a bit of a slut and has probably screwed half the women in this town, but he’s not a bad guy. Sure, a few have declared their undying love and begged him to do the same. For the most part he’s managed to come out of each encounter unscathed and unattached.
Then there’s me. The relationship guy. I’ve had two girlfriends in my twenty-nine years. Well, two real girlfriends. Stolen kisses on the playground and the occasional hand-holding in middle school don’t count.
“Ben, why are you staring at…”
Before Owen can finish his sentence, Jameson spills his beer.
“What’s your problem, J? That was a rookie move,” Landon says as he starts wiping at the spilled beer with his hand.
“Sorry, I thought there was a bee or something. I just jumped.”
All three of us look at Jameson like he’s crazy. Unfazed by our confusion, he signals for a waitress to come over to our table with a towel.
“Hey, Beth, sorry about the mess,” Jameson says, offering this poor girl a smile that is a little predatory. I can tell from her reaction to him that there’s a little history there but not in a bad way.
“Beth, this is Ben. Ben, this is Beth.”
“Hey there, Ben. You look familiar, have I served you before?”
“Nah, Bethy, Ben’s been gone from home for a hundred years. I think the last time he was in here we had fake IDs. He probably looks familiar because he’s Ashton’s brother.”
Bethy? Good God, he’s laying it on thick.
“Oh, Bentley. Ashton was just telling me that you were moving back. Does she know you’re here? You should go say hi to her; she’s just at the bar talking to…”
“So anyway, thanks for cleaning up. Looks like you’re busy. We don’t want to keep you.”
This poor girl, Jameson doesn’t even let her finish a sentence before he’s sending her off.
“Hey, Ben, why don’t you just take that twenty and go grab us another round? I’ve got a little spill here in my lap or I’d do it myself.”
I don’t need to be told twice. I grab the money and head to the bar. I already know I’m screwed.