Sometimes we forge our own path.
Sometimes the path is created for us, and we can only follow.
There has to be a corollary scientific relationship between being genetically blessed and acting like an asshole.
I looked again at the reason for my friend’s inebriation standing outside the men’s room. Of course, the line for the ladies’ room was five deep, because only men should be allowed to relieve themselves at their leisure. Married Guy was standing there, texting away on his phone—probably lying to some other unsuspecting woman. I studied his left ring finger as his fingers worked furiously. No ring. Shocker. I’m sure a shiny metal band that symbolizes eternally committing yourself to another person tends to make selling that you’re single and looking for the woman of your dreams more difficult.
Ugh. What an asshole.
I loved Ava, but I think I’d be suspicious of any thirty-year-old guy who said that type of crap on a first date.
My eyes lifted from Married Guy’s hand to his face, just as he looked up. If only eyes could really shoot daggers. I scowled at the bastard. I’m not sure why I was surprised when he smiled at me.
Probably thought I was checking him out.
I took my own phone from my pocket to distract myself and cast my eyes down to catch up on texts while I waited. Only…I couldn’t see the damn letters without my glasses. I put the phone away and felt eyes on me as I patiently waited, but frowning uses more facial muscles than smiling, and this jerk wasn’t worth a wrinkle.
After I used the ladies’ room and almost scalded my hands washing them—the sink at O’Leary’s only has one temperature: hotter than shit—I was ready to go home. My shift was over an hour ago, and Ava had been miserable since the cheater walked in, so I doubted she would object to calling it an early night.
A rich baritone voice stopped me on the way out of the ladies’ room. “Do I know you from somewhere?”
I turned to find Married Guy pushing off the wall as if he’d been waiting for me. Ignore him, Rachel. He’s not worth your time. I looked him in the eyes to make certain he knew I’d heard him, then turned my back and headed down the long hallway to the bar.
He didn’t take the hint. Falling in stride next to me, he started to say something when I stopped abruptly. I turned to face him. “You’re a total asshole. You know that?”
He had the nerve to look shocked. “Me? I guess we do know each other?”
“I know your kind.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
I rolled my eyes. “You think just because you’re gorgeous you can go shitting all over people, that you can smile your way out of anything. Well, I really hope karma bites you in the ass someday, that your pretty little wife winds up fucking half of New York and passes you an STD that makes your big dick fall off.”
He held up his hands. “Listen, sweetheart, I don’t know who you think I am or what you think my big dick has done wrong, but I’m pretty sure you’re confusing me with someone else.”
My face told him to save his bullshit. “I’m here with Ava.”
“Oh. Ava. That explains it.”
I growled at him—literally. “Grrrrrrr...Well, it should.”
The jerk flashed a mega-watt smile. “You’re cute when you growl like that.”
My eyes nearly bulged from my head. “Are you actually hitting on me?”
“That would be wrong, wouldn’t it? Considering…you know…me and Ava and all.”
“You’re a piece of work.” I turned to walk away.
“Wait.” He grabbed my arm, stopping me again. “Can I just ask you one thing?”
Unreal. A guy like him—it was possible he didn’t remember the names of the women he screwed over. I mean, it had been a whole two weeks since the last time they’d slept together. “Go home to your wife, Owen.”
I left married Owen standing in the hallway and went back to the table where Ava was quietly drinking away her pain.
“You wanna get out of here? I’m sort of tired, and I need to be up early in the morning.”
I figured there was no use in mentioning my little run-in with Owen. It would only make things worse. Unfortunately, Ava had really started to fall for the asshole. In the month they were seeing each other, he’d made her swoon—feeding her crap about how he saw their future with two kids and a pug.
Ironically, he was right. Their future did entail two kids and a pug. Because he’d been holding a leash while walking with his two, tow-headed little girls when she ran into him in the park. Only he’d failed to mention that in this version of his future, his wife would also be holding their month-old son as they strolled.
Ava wobbled a bit as she hopped from the barstool. “I should climb up on this bar and tell every woman to watch out for that asshole.”
Normally, I would’ve agreed. But tonight I was pretty sure her climbing up on the bar would end in a trip to the emergency room.
“He’s not worth your breath.” I slipped her sweater from the back of the stool and held it up for her to put on. She sighed and missed putting her arm into the hole the first two times.
Behind the bar, Charlie—who had been listening to us for most of the night—was pouring a beer. “That’s it. From now on I want names.” He slammed the full mug on the wooden bar, causing beer to slosh all over. “I’m runnin’ any assholes either of you go out with.” Charlie O’Leary owned the Brooklyn pub where Ava and I worked. He was also a retired cop.
I smiled. “Okay. But you know that makes me want to give you the names of suspected serial killers—just to watch your ears turn that lovely shade of purple they turn when you’re pissed off.” I leaned over the bar and kissed him on the cheek. “’Night, Charlie-o.”
He grumbled something about being grateful he didn’t have daughters and waved me off.
“Can we go out the back door?” Ava asked. “I don’t want to pass him on the way out.”
“Sure. Of course.”
I hooked my arm with hers to make sure she stayed steady as we walked. After a few steps, I looked up and saw Married Guy standing next to the back door.