Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Chapter 18

Jon stared at Keira's engagement ring for a minute, then raised his eyes back up to hers. She held her breath while she waited for him to say something. His expression was unreadable at first, but then the corners of his mouth curved in a slow smile. "Congratulations," he said softly, and tipped his bottle to her. A little unsure, but happy to follow his lead, she clinked her wine glass against his bottle. They both drank deeply and she tried to think of what to say next.

He startled her by speaking first. "Does he make you happy?"

She could tell him the truth. Yes, he makes me happy, but I'm not in love with him. I said yes when I should have said no, and now I have to break his heart. Or, she could continue to let him think that her life was exactly where she wanted it to be. Yes, we're getting married next year, and we're madly in love. The same wine buzz that she'd been grateful for only moments earlier was now annoying her because she couldn't think clearly when she needed to. She fought the urge to shake her head in an effort to clear it.

Suddenly Richie walked up behind Molly and Keira, slinging an arm around each of them. "Is my friend here giving you ladies a hard time?" he joked. He planted a quick kiss on Keira's cheek and whispered in her ear, "Hi, Kathy. It's good to see you again."

She felt like running for the ladies' room again. I should have left when I had a chance, she thought. At the same time, she could hear Molly's voice in her head: You really need to stop running away.

She returned Richie's cheek kiss and smiled at him. He looked tan and healthy and his eyes still had the same mischievous sparkle that she remembered. As with Dave, she was surprised to realize how much she'd missed him.

Richie turned his full attention on Molly. "Hello, gorgeous," he said, raising her hand to his mouth for a kiss. "So what are the plans for tonight? I think we should head out of here and go somewhere a little"

Molly liked the sound of that. She smiled at him with a glint in her eye and then shot a questioning look at Keira, who raised her eyebrows in surprise. What am I getting myself into? She glanced at her cell phone to check the time, and was shocked to realize that it was only 10:15 PM. By New York City standards, the night was still young. She stole a sideways glance at Jon to try and gauge what he was thinking, but he had just finished his beer and was busy trying to get the bartenders' attention. It was up to her: did she want to go out with them or did she want to go home? Suddenly she heard Tom Cruise's voice in her head: "Sometimes, you just have to say fuck it." It was one of her favorite movie lines, but she didn't often live by it. That was Molly's territory.

"I'm in," she said decisively, before she had a chance to second guess herself. She smiled at the look of pleased surprise on Molly's face. Molly had been preparing to twist Keira's arm to get her to come out with them; she never imagined that she'd agree so readily. Fuck it, Keira thought again. I'll worry about doing the right thing tomorrow. She leaned over and gently elbowed Jon, who'd just taken his second beer from the bartender. "You coming with us?"

Jon looked at her, considering. He slowly slid his beer bottle back and forth on the bar, leaving a wet trail of condensation. She was surprised to realize how badly she wanted him to say yes. Finally, he gave her a lopsided smile. "Where we goin'?" he asked, and leaned over to elbow her back.

At Molly's suggestion, they decided on Shotgun Willie's, a little hole-in-the-wall bar that Molly loved. It was the perfect choice because it was small and dark and usually fairly empty. Chances were good that they'd have the place mostly to themselves, and if they grabbed a table in one of the back corners, they might go unnoticed.

Richie drove them in his black Hummer. As they piled in, Molly said, “I was driving behind a red Hummer one day a few months ago and the license plate read ‘INEEDA’. It took me a few seconds to figure it out, but once I did, I laughed so hard I almost had to pull over!”

Everyone laughed. Keira’s entire demeanor had changed and she was looking forward to having a good time with old friends. Just because she was (temporarily) engaged, it didn’t mean she couldn’t go out and have fun.

There were only 6 other people in the bar – 4 guys in their early 20s playing pool, and a couple at the bar who looked to be in their 50s. They walked through and grabbed a table in the back corner. The pool-players gawked for a few minutes at Keira and Molly, but Richie and Jon managed to go unnoticed, as they’d hoped.

For the next hour they sat at the table drinking and talking. Molly told Richie about how she got started in modelling, and he told her how he picked up the guitar. The two of them were really hitting it off and their conversation was punctuated by frequent bouts of laughter and plenty of flirtatious gestures.

Keira and Jon’s conversation was a bit more subdued. They talked about old friends of theirs; where they were living now, which ones were married, how many kids they had, and so on. They talked about his touring schedule and her writing schedule, and how nice it was to have this break. They didn’t talk about their old relationship, or his divorce, or her engagement.

They drank as they talked and after an hour the table was littered with empty glasses and bottles and they realized they may have overdone it a bit. Richie had stopped after two drinks since he was driving, which meant that most of the empties belonged to Jon and the women. And they were feeling no pain at all.


Sunstreaked said...

Oh my, a drunk Jon, Keira, AND Molly! ROFL! Why I am thinking this is about to go back in a really GOOD way!

Anonymous said...

The chapter was great!


allina_90 said...

Yeah, I'm sure that they're feeling no pain anymore since they drank :p

A great chapter =)

Opester said...

So glad Keira decided to live a little and take a chance-nothing worthwhile in life comes without risk!