I stumbled into the bar, not because I was drunk, but because I was a clumsy fool. The bartender knew as much, as I had frequented this establishment several times in the past few weeks. I needed the nightly drink to help forget; to help begin the healing I so desperately needed.
"The usual?" Fred asked, seeing me trip over my own two feet.
"Yes," I replied and took my usual seat at the bar.
He placed the Jack and Coke on the bar in front of me and I handed him an old, rumbled bill. "Once I'm finished with this one, make me another, okay?" I didn't meet his eyes, just kept my head down, staring at the ice clinking against the sides of the glass.
"Rough night?" The barkeep asked, but didn't expect an answer. He knew not to talk when I was like this. I took a long sip, letting the ice hit my lips and send shivers down my spine.
I down the remainder drink and cringed at the strong whisky taste. As soon as the glass was emptied and placed back on the table, another one was waiting. I sipped this one slower, revelling in the strong taste.
"What can I get ya?" Fred asked the person next to me. I was so lost in my own thoughts that I hadn't even been aware someone had sat down next to me.
"I'll take a Guinness." I stopped with my drink midway to my mouth. The voice sounded so rough, yet so familiar. I stole a sideways glance at him, my breath hitching in my throat.
He was gorgeous. His dark curls fell gracefully over his face and into his eyes. He was hunched over, staring down the neck of his beer. I hadn't realised I was staring until he looked up and caught my eyes. Turning away quickly, I reached for my glass and took a large swallow of my drink. His eyes left an impression in my mind. They were the darkest grey. I had never seen anyone with eyes that colour before and they fascinated me.
"Can I get you another drink, Krista?" Fred asked, stepping up in front of me.
I shook my head and reached for my purse, trying to pull out a few pounds for a tip when a hand touched mine.
"You're not leaving so soon are you?" The hands were cool and I snapped my head upward only to look into the fascinating grey eyes.
"I… uh…" I stammered.
"Here, have another one, on me." He signalled Fred over and handed him a bill. "Get the lady another one please, and another Guinness for me." He took his hand off mine and turned his upper body to face me. "What is a pretty girl like you doing alone in this pub?"
Before I could answer, Fred came back with out drinks. "Good luck getting her to answer," he said, placing the drinks on the counter. "She doesn't talk much, just has a drink and leaves."
"I'm sitting right here Fred," I said softly and sarcastically.
The young man kept his eyes on me, not paying Fred any mind. "So what are you doing here alone?"
"That's an awfully personal question Mr…" I trailed off, realizing I didn't know his name yet.
"Black. Sirius Black," he said with a sideways grin.
"What are you trying to be James Bond?" I was rolling with the sarcasm tonight.
He didn't answer, just smiled his crooked smile. "I didn't catch your name."
Do I tell the truth? Or should I make up a lie like most of the other regulars around here. He seemed nice enough, but that could be a cover. I opted for the truth. "Thomas. Krista Thomas," I said, smiling pleasantly.
He held out his hand and I shook it shakily. "Do you come here often?" Black asked curiously.
I tried to figure out why he wanted to talk to me. I wasn't overly attractive, very plain actually with limp brown hair and standard brown eyes; average height and I wasn't the skinniest person around. "I do," I said softly, not meeting his eyes. "Have you come here before? I haven't seen you."
He laughed softly. "No. I'm rarely on this side London. I had a… meeting down the road and decided to stop in for a drink. It's been a rough week."
I nodded, unsure of what to say in response.
Black stared at me, and I wasn't quite sure why. It was as if he was trying to decipher me, another thing I didn't understand. "What do you do for a living?" He asked conversationally as he took a sip of his beer.
I wrapped my hand around my glass and took a sip. "I'm a writer and no I most likely haven't written anything you would have read. And yes, I have been published." I shook my head at the common questions.
He smiled a crooked smile that I found myself attracted to. "A writer huh?"
"Yes." I took another sip of my Jack & Coke and avoided his eyes. "What do you do?"
I heard him chuckle as if I had said something funny. Looking up, I met his dark grey eyes and found myself lost. "I'm almost like a bobby I guess. However, I don't work for the locals."
Cocking an eyebrow, I found myself intrigued. "Are you like an investigator then?"
The sound of his laughter surrounded me. "No. Maybe one day I could tell you exactly what I do."
I furrowed my brow. "Are you like James Bond? Because I'm now really intrigued."
He laughed again. "No, nothing like James Bond. I'm a bit… darker than Bond."
Nodding, I drained the last of my drink. "Thank you," I said, gesturing towards my empty glass. "But I must be off; it's getting late."
As I rose off my stool he rose with me. "Until next time," he said smoothly. He took my hand in his and bent down slightly to kiss the back. "Until next time," he murmured again.
"Good night Mr. Black." I smiled and turned to wave at Fred. I was out the door before I knew what I was doing.
Turning back, I saw him still watching me. How odd? I had only caught one man's fancy… and that didn't work out so well. As was the reason I spent so much time at the pub.
But his eyes! He was so beautiful to look at. I felt myself drawn in by his eyes; caught up in the colour, the depth. How could I be so attracted to him after only just meeting him? Surely I can't be feeling this way, it must be a mistake.
I walked hastily to my car and climbed in the driver's seat. Locking the doors, I settled into the seat and leaned back. It took me a moment to calm my thoughts and start the car. I drove home in a daze, still thinking about the gorgeous young man from the pub. Upon arriving at my flat, I didn't remember how I got there. I had no recollection of driving the sharp turns and the narrow road outside the complex.
Climbing out of the car, I slammed the door behind me and power walked to the door. I struggled with putting my key in the lock. Once I got it open, I spun and locked it behind me. I collapsed against it, sliding down to the floor, keys and purse still in hand.
It was just one of those days. One of those nightmarish days where you wonder if there is someone above, and whether He/She/It is looking down just to ruin any positive ness you may have in your life. I often had those days, especially after Ian left me, but I mustn't dwell on that now.
I jumped at the sound of my phone ringing, shaking me from my reverie. I struggled to my feet and hurried to get the phone before the answering machine picked up. I cringed as I saw the name and number on the caller id. I picked up the phone and waited for the worst.
"Hullo Mum," I said in what I hoped was a happy tone.
"Why haven't you called me Krista? I've been waiting for you to call all night! Your father and I were worried sick!" My mother's frantic voice spoke shrilly over the phone.
I snorted away from the phone. I highly doubted my father was worried sick. He was like me; we both take things as they come. My mother was the worrier; he just sat back and waited for me to call. Here I was, twenty-one years old and my mother still expected me to call every day and come home every opportunity.
"I'm sorry Mum. I went out after work with a few of the girls." Well, that was partially true; I did go out, and there were girls from work there. We just weren't together. "I just walked in the door and was just going to call you. You beat me to it."
There was a pause on her end. "Well, you shouldn't stay out so late when you have to work in the morning." She paused for a moment, only to take a breath. "You wouldn't believe who I saw at the market yesterday! Carrie Marshall! You remember her."
I let my mother carry on her tedious chatter for a few minutes, commenting when necessary, but I really wasn't paying attention. My mind was still focused on the gentlemen from the bar. I only spoke to him for a few minutes, but he had intrigued me. He seemed different from any other man I had met.
"Krista? Krista, are you listening to me?" My mother's shrill voice caught me off guard, pulling me from my thoughts.
"Yes Mum, I'm listening. Carrie Marshall huh? I haven't seen her since graduation."
"Yes, yes I thought as much. Married now. Speaking of, have you found a date yet? Have any nice gentlemen at work caught your eye? You should start dating again soon; you don't want to let Ian to ruin your best years." I cringed when my mother mentioned my ex-boyfriend's name. She didn't know the heartbreak I had gone though over him; the heartbreak I was still going through.
"Yeah right. Listen mum, I have to go. I need to make sure I'm at work early tomorrow. Big deadline you know." I crossed my fingers, hoping she would take the bait and hang up the phone.
"Oh of course! I'll give you a ring tomorrow evening then. Try and find someone at work to go out with tomorrow. Surely there must be some young, single men in your office."
"Sure, sure. I'll ask around. I love you. Good night mum."
"Love you too. Good night Krista."
I placed the phone in the cradle and shook my head. Leave it to my mother to attempt to pull me out of my foul mood. She didn't know the full story behind Ian. She didn't know he cheated on me with Rebecca, my best friend. It's so stereotypical, so reminiscent of movies and of books. It was inconceivable to think that she was my best friend, so close I considered her my sister.
I was so in love with him, I even expected him to propose within the next few months. I certainly got a surprised when he came over to tell me that we were through, and he was going to marry Rebecca. Apparently, they were seeing each other behind my back for over a year. And we were only dating for a year and three months.
This flashed through my mind as I was getting ready for bed. I needed to calm myself before collapsing into bed; otherwise I would be awake all night.
Peaceful images flashed through my mind, as I tried to calm myself. The only problem was that the strange man from the bar kept showing up in my mind. I decided to concentrate on him, try to memorize his features in case I saw him again.
I laughed. "Sure Krista. Keep dreaming about strange men," I said as I rolled over, pulling the covers over my head and soon I was asleep. My dreams flooded with flashes of Ian, Rebecca, my mother, Fred and Sirius Black.
AN: Yes, I know what you're thinking... another story? Can't this girl finish the ones she's started?
The answer is yes, I can. However, this idea started as a oneshot (If You're Gone) and I decided to expand the idea. I'm only posting this to see if there is any interest in this subject. Please leave a review and let me know what you think about this idea. If it's not popular, I'll take it down in a couple days. Thanks a bunch.
I love my readers and reviewers!