Ike sat down just as mine and Shelly’s kiss was ending. I kept close to her face, her lips, letting the moment linger a little bit longer. She smiled at me as a tress of her hair fell into her face, tickling my nose on the way down. I then slowly turned to the left to see Ike sitting across from us, with a tremendously goofy-ass grin smeared across his mug.
Shelly wrapped her graceful left arm around my shoulders and offered him her right hand.
“I take it you’re Ike.”
He clutched her hand exuberantly, “Ike I am. It is a very special pleasure to meet you.”
I thought for a brief second the fucker was going to try to kiss her hand but he just held it for a few beats longer than what seemed normal. She smiled at him, pulled her hand back and placed it on my lap. I felt my pulse jump. She made polite small talk with Ike, who was brimming over with conversation, and she ran fingers in small circles on the inside of my thigh. I felt completely relaxed sitting next to her and the uneasiness that had been flowing in and out of my consciousness began to dissipate under the influence of whiskey and a beautiful woman. As I alluded to earlier, if there is one thing I do well it is self-medicate.
Lenny was looking at his phone but looked up and gave an almost smile in return. Really Lenny was far too cool to speak to me in the first place but he was polite enough to at least acknowledge Ike’s greeting. Ike took it in stride, as he did almost everything.
“Where’s our waitress?”
I looked over at the bar, trying to find Heidi but instead saw the other girl coming our way – the scary, angry girl.
I started to give Ike a head’s up warning about our server, but then I became curious as to what might happen once the two of them saw each other again. I decided to wait and observe. Sometimes you should just let shit happen.
The scary, angry waitress dropped a plate of something off at the table behind us and then made her way to our table. Ike had his back to her as she approached and stopped next to him.
“Can I get you guys anything?”
She sounded decidedly more pleasant this time with no sign of her previous vitriol, but it was, of course, only latent until her situational awareness caught up.
Ike immediately replied he would like to order a round for us all and was in the midst of turning to face the waitress when a cold pallor of recognition slid down his face, as his eyes met hers.
Her eyes immediately widened, “Holy shitballs – I was wondering how long it would be before we crossed paths!”
Again, the shift in the woman’s tone was instantaneous and chilling. Equally impressive, however, was Ike’s immediate regathering and laconically cool demeanor.
“Good to see you again so soon, gorgeous. I forgot you worked here.”
“That’s funny you remember anything before you went home and fucked my roommate.”
I felt compelled to chime in at this moment as the news that Ike didn’t sleep with this particular girl was somewhat startling.
Ike flashed me a quick look that spoke volumes of ‘shut the fuck up‘ and the turned back to the server.
“Look, last night got messy but no one fucked anyone. She passed out.”
“I don’t know if I believe that, especially coming from a guy who makes out with me but goes home with my roomie”
This exchange wasn’t exactly going down in the most subtle of ways. We had several other tables’ attention at this point, including Lenny’s. There was a palpable sense of anticipation. We were all waiting to see what was coming next.
“Katie, I know last night I made a douche move and no amount of boozing can really excuse it. I also know you’re in town for the season from Minnesota and I’m here from LA and we don’t really have the luxury of time for a long drawn out reconciliation. Thus, I propose we skip the unpleasantries and you allow me to buy you dinner at Chimayo after you finish your shift. I know you want to try that place and I have the entire night free.”
Here’s something I may not have told you about Ike – he remembers just about everything. He can be downing cocktails with you all night and the next day recite nearly verbatim the conversations you had the previous drunken night. I wouldn’t have remembered where she was from, much less that she wanted to check out a local spot. You could actually see the ice in her veins starting to thaw.
“I have an idea, Katie, why don’t you finish your shift and we’ll all grab drinks and dinner? When Ike turned toward Shelly she playfully winked at him and then beamed a beatific smile back at Katie, who was obviously ruminating over the last several minutes.
“Ok – I’m done in an hour. I have a change of clothes in back. So, what the fuck do you want to drink, Ike?”
“I’ll be right back.”
She was actually smiling when she walked off – well, almost. I was about to congratulate Ike when Lenny spoke up from the table next to us.
“Well played, my man.”
I looked at Lenny and laughed. It was well played indeed.