I walked into the dimly lit bar and headed straight for a stool in front of the bartender.
“Hey, Mr. Yuen,” Hal, the bartender, greeted me. “The usual?” He was already reaching for a tumbler to make my drink of choice, a neat wrench.
“Yeah, thanks.” I accepted the glass gratefully and took a long drink. “How’s it been tonight, Hal?” I wasn’t even sure what I was asking, just making conversation. Passing the time. The only thing I was actually here looking for tonight was a good case of drunkenness.
“Pretty good.” He grinned at me. “Are you training for the new season yet?”
I drained my glass and motioned to him for another. “Not yet. We’ll start spring training in March.” The first night I’d come in here a couple of weeks ago, Hal had nearly fallen over himself. He was, evidently, a fan of me and the Ravens. Another time, I would’ve been pleasantly surprised at the attention; I still wasn’t fully used to being recognized outside of the stadium. Looking to drink away my pain from my break up, however, wasn’t a great time to be recognized though. Fortunately, I’d signed a couple of autographs for him, and, by the next time I came in, he’d calmed down. Now he was pretty good for a conversation whenever I came in.
“You play for the Ravens?”
I looked over to find that a brunette woman in a skimpy had claimed the seat next to me. “Yeah,” I answered simply, hoping she would take the hint and go away. I was here for the alcohol, not the ladies.
Although…why? Why shouldn’t I be here to get some if I felt like it? It had been a couple of months since I’d had sex. And I was single – not happily so, but single nonetheless. Who was I keeping myself for? Why the hell shouldn’t I flirt with this sexy woman? Maybe even take her home.
She wasn’t put off by my initial curtness. “What position do you play?”
“I’m a pitcher.” I needed to flirt, right? Shit, I’d never picked up a woman before. Brittany had come on to me. Alison…well, had been Alison.
She gave me a slow, sensual smile. “Are you a good hitter, too?”
Talking about getting right to the meat of the matter. I found a dark-edged smile crossing my face. “I am. I definitely am.” I offered her my hand. “Josh Yuen.”
She placed her hand in mine, leaning in and giving me a spectacular view down her dress. “Jess.”
She winked one heavily shaded eye at me. “You’ll have to earn the rest.”
“I think I can do that.” I gestured to Hal. “Can I buy you a drink?”
Two drinks later and we were stumbling out of the bar to find a cab. Half an hour after that and we were falling through the front door of my apartment building. Five minutes later saw us sucking face in my bedroom. And a few minutes after that, well…
I woke up to an empty bed. I sat up, looking around my room. I hadn’t even noticed when the girl…what was her name? Jess? I thought that was it. I hadn’t even noticed when Jess had left.
I groaned and rubbed a hand over my hair. Shit. What had I done last night? Guilt clawed at my insides. But just as quickly as the guilt came, anger followed on its heels. I punched up from the bed and paced around the room. I had no reason to feel guilty. Alison left me. I was entitled to handle it however I wanted. I shouldn’t feel like I still owed her anything.
“She left me,” I reminded myself, speaking to the silent room. “I don’t have a girlfriend. I’m single.” Saying it aloud helped ease the persistent feeling that I’d somehow betrayed Alison. I hadn’t. I was unattached.
And just to drive that point home, I decided would go out again that night.