She found him shaking the silver shaker with a furious, concentrated expression. Slick black hair, cold blue eyes and a little bow mouth. His figure, in a white dress shirt, bow tie and trousers, was young and trim. No Chippendale by any means, but she was still curious to see the curve of his stomach to his pelvis.
She slid onto a stool, the old kind with a slippery round vinyl seat on a thick gold pole. He gave the shaker one final thrust and set it, clinking and sweating, on the marble bar near her.
His smile was brief and only skin-deep. Scooting a coaster to her, he said, “How’s it going?”
“Good.” She contemplated the bottles behind him, making him wait. Lowering her green eyes back to him she said, “How comfortable are you making a Sidecar?”
He took one step back, rubbing his hand on the towel tucked in his belt. “One sidecar coming up.”
She ran a hand through her long dark hair. “So how’s this place doing? I just noticed it coming out of yoga across the street.”
He glanced at her as he rimmed the glass with sugar.
She smiled slowly. “Yesterday.”
Looking away with an eyebrow raised, he said, “I thought the dress was a little much for a downward dog.”
He set the chilled glass, edge sparkling with sugar crystals, before her. Uncapped the shaker and poured its yellow contents in. She took a sip and nodded with satisfaction. As he cleaned she watched his ass. She thought there was a chance he was one of those wealthy kids who had gone to a school where people played polo or lacrosse or something. His was possibly an ass bred from snooty activities.
He sort of reminded her of the main character in American Psycho. This made her more curious as she hadn’t been there long and she wasn’t sure what he’d done to give her such a dramatic impression so quickly.
He poured himself a small glass from the first shaker he had been working when she walked in.
“What is this concoction?” She asked, nodding at the shaker.
He set a shot glass of it before her. It was a brilliant yellow green, topped with a light froth. “It’s saffron-based,” he said. “I’m trying a new cocktail idea. Tell me what you think.”
She took a sip and wrinkled her nose. “It has an… herbal…” she didn’t finish the sentence, instead punctuating it by sticking out her tongue in distaste.
Nodding, he dumped out the shaker, rinsed it and began dosing it from various bottles. She asked him how long he’d worked there, where he’d worked before. She watched his hands. He had small, smooth hands. Oddly smooth, but not a reason to suspect his character. She decided it was his eyes. Something about his light blue eyes, with dark lashes, or the way he met hers for a second too long, made her feel he was slightly sociopathic. It also made her feel that his selfish heart and twenty-something stamina would make him, preferably mounting her against a wall, a merciless fuck.
“I’ll be right back.” She slid off the stool and left the small bar. Outside it was dusk, night falling around her. She lit her Granny Slim and considered her strategy. He was clearly lost, and single. A perfect candidate.
Her friend Julie said she’d gotten as far as innuendo and lost her nerve. The cougar routine, she said, just made her feel self-conscious. She couldn’t imagine why a young man would be attracted to a woman with crow’s feet.
But Julie had only divorced a year ago, after twenty years. She, Karen, was more honest both about the fuckability of the human race, and of her own talents. It had been hard, fucking hard, pun intended, to re-learn at 40 everything she had known at 20. At 20 she knew how to get a man to look at any part of her body without doing a damn thing. Twenty years of being ignored, plus a child and an ass that, dammit, kept slipping no matter how many yoga classes she took, and she had to work to feel like a woman again.
Taking his yacht, and selling it, helped. The short brown Ecuadoran exchange student with muscles like an Almond Joy bar… he helped too. He’d come in with her neighbor, staying with them while working on a post-grad degree in something earnest. Sweaty and pressed together in the dressing room after a late night yoga class, that boy reminded her what her vagina was for.
She stopped pondering, put out her cigarette and returned to the bar. It had a retro feel and Nancy Sinatra was singing. He had his hands on either side of her drink, waiting for her. She knew then what to do. She sat back down on the bar and said, with a smile, “One more. Once you…”
He turned back to her.
“Tell me something. About you.”
He raised an eyebrow, reaching for a bottle. She shook her head, crossed her arms before her, which she knew would make his view more interesting, and waited.
Setting the bottle back he said “I have no secrets. I’m just a guy.”
“Okay… I drink too much.”
Her expression of boredom pushed him. He put one hand near her elbow and leaned forward. “I break up with women. Every chance I get.”
“How many chances? Four? You’re twelve.”
He laughed. “I’m twenty-six.”
“I’ll get your room ready at the retirement home.”
“I pick one up, tell her she’s beautiful, ask if I can see her again.”
She was sad, not that he was a young womanizer, but that the most interesting fling in town was with a cliché. Maybe she needed to move to a city with more material to work with.
“Thanks.” She slid her card over to him.
“For being honest?”
“For boring me.”
“Ouch.” He took her card to ring it up, then returned with it for her to sign. She did, gave him a polite smile and left.
She had reached the door, her back to him, when she heard him say, “and I jerk off in confession.”
She paused, hand on the cool brass doorknob.
She heard him walk up to her, behind her. When he was close enough for his breath to raise the hairs on the back of her neck, he said, “I sit down in the dark little cubby, and tell the stranger on the other side all the bad things I’ve done. While I’m doing it, I start to get hard… thinking about how I’m going to do it all again…”
“Who goes to confession anymore?” She asked, turning to face him. His hand moved up, pulling the blind cord to lower it.
“Someone conflicted. Deeply, deeply conflicted.” He reached over her shoulder to turn the lock on the door. “But you know how that feels.”
She grabbed him by his belt buckle and yanked him in to her, mouth on mouth, hand to jaw, hand to ass, cock pressed against her thigh, and then, only then, did she find out what this boy was made of.