Saturday, July 26, 2008

Chapter 21

“I think I’ll do Stray Cat Strut. I have a lot of fun with that one,” said Molly.

Keira nodded in agreement. She’d seen Molly do that song before, and she did a great rendition of it. She kept flipping the pages, still undecided, when the title of a Faith Hill song grabbed her attention. Oh, this is too perfect. Why didn’t I think of it before? Smiling, she pointed it out to Molly. “I’m gonna do this one.”

Molly furrowed her eyebrows at Keira. “Are you deliberately trying to piss Jon off?”

Keira pretended to think about it. “I guess I am,” she said.

“Why?”

“Because he’s too sure of himself. And because I’m drunk.”

Molly shook her head. “You could be having a really good time tonight, if you’d just loosen up and enjoy yourself.”

Keira looked surprised. “I am enjoying myself.”

Jon and Richie returned to the table and Molly walked over to the DJ to give him their song choices. She glanced around the bar to see how many people were there. The older couple had left, but the four guys were still playing pool. The DJ told her she could start whenever she was ready, so with a wink and a smile at Richie, she took her place in front of the microphone.

Keira watched as Molly sang the opening lines of the song in a sultry voice. The men stopped playing pool to watch, too. She strutted around in perfect character for the song, and shook her behind like a cat twitching its tail. When she meowed and scraped her hand through the air like a claw, Jon and Richie gave her a standing ovation.

Then it was Keira’s turn. Molly returned to the table and curtsied before sitting down. Keira walked unsteadily to the microphone. For one brief minute she regretted her song choice, but then the music started to play and she pushed the doubt out of her mind and began to sing.

There's something 'bout your manner
That makes it hard to see
Just how you take advantage
Of a workin' girl like me
I've seen you set 'em up
And I've seen you take 'em down
Our love is legal tender
For your kind to pass around

Gaining confidence as the song went on, she met Jon’s eyes to see if he was getting the message. He was leaning back in his chair with his arms crossed, unsmiling, but his eyes still looked amused. She went into the chorus with a little extra bite in her words.

Don't want your bed of roses
Don't want no handful of thorns
Don't want to be your livin' doll
Don't want to be no woman scorned
I don't want to watch you turn the page
When our chapter closes
No, I'm not gonna lay me down
In your bed of roses

Richie was laughing and shaking his head. Leave it to Kathryn to use a song to tell Jon off, he thought. Especially a song that rips apart a song that he wrote.

Jon wasn’t pissed, he was impressed. He’d never heard the Faith Hill song before, but it was a fitting rebuttal to his own song "Bed of Roses". He had to hand it to Keira; she’d won this round.

I've tasted good and bad love
In the honky-tonks and bars
I've settled for the moon
When I was reachin' for the stars
And though sometimes I have stumbled
I've been known to fall
It was always true love
That took me to the wall

Don't want your bed of roses
Don't want no handful of thorns
Don't want to be your livin' doll
Don't want to be no woman scorned
I don't want to watch you turn the page
When our chapter closes
No, I'm not gonna lay me down
In your bed of roses

You better hide your love away
You better save it for another day

When the song ended, Keira walked back to the table. Richie, Jon, and Molly were all clapping. She smiled and took her seat, swallowing the last of her wine. She could feel Jon’s eyes on her, waiting for her to look up. Taking a deep breath, she met his gaze.

He smiled at her and held out his hand. “You made your point. Truce?”

Damn it. He really knew how to take the wind out of her sails. She shook his hand and nodded. “Truce.” Suddenly she wanted a cigarette. “Can I bum a cigarette off of you?” she asked him.

He stood up. “I’ll come out with you.”

Richie looked at Molly and rolled his eyes. Here we go again.

***

Keira hadn’t smoked in over two years, and the first drag went right to her head. She felt dizzy. Jon was looking at her, but not speaking. After a minute, she said, “What? Why are you staring at me?”

“Because you’re cute.”

She growled at him. “I’ve been trying to piss you off all night, and all you can say is that I’m cute?”

He shrugged. “What can I say? It’s a nice change from women who kiss my ass all the time. Besides, it’s you. You’re entitled to take some shit out on me.”

She took another drag of the Marlboro Light that she’d pilfered from him. He was being so sweet to her. Suddenly her shoulders sagged and she leaned back against the brick exterior of the bar. “I’m sorry, Jon. I’ve been a bitch, and you haven’t done anything to deserve it. What’s done is done; I can’t make you feel bad for what happened over a decade ago.”

He took a drag on his own cigarette, and two full minutes passed before he spoke again. “What’s the matter, Kathryn?”

He caught her off guard. She wasn’t expecting sympathy from him, and she was surprised that he could still see through her so easily. She sighed. “It’s Keira now.”

He smiled gently at her. “You’ll always be Kathryn to me.”

Their eyes locked. He took another drag of his cigarette, then dropped it, grounding it out with his foot. Then he held his arms out to her.

She threw her cigarette aside and melted into his arms, wrapping hers around his waist and pressing her face into his chest. He felt familiar and safe and for a second, she wondered why she’d been resisting him so much. "I missed you," she said, the words muffled against his chest.

He put his face in her hair. "I missed you too."

4 comments:

allina_90 said...

oooooh, they finally said this important words - I missed you. This needed to be said for the whole night.

Great chapter, love to read your story =)

SoulGirl said...

OMG I loved the song! hehe.

Descriptions in this are top notch too btw.

And sigh, finally she admits it.. but I wonder if thats enough.

Sunstreaked said...

- After a minute, she said, “What? Why are you staring at me?”

“Because you’re cute.”

She growled at him. “I’ve been trying to piss you off all night, and all you can say is that I’m cute?”

~~~

Oh Jon! What a way to get through to a pissed off woman! That song was great! Loved Richie's eyeroll and 'here we go again'.

Love the story and the dialogue!

Opester said...

I'm just loving Jon in this story-such a charming way he has with winning Keira over. Glad she finally brought down the wall and let him in!