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Singles Bars

by Dragonsdaughter

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AU- I can't believe I'm doing this. I promised myself I wouldn't... I can't help it! It's not my fault!

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SWF 31 seeks attractive .... no.

SWF 31 seeks SWM.... no, what if he's ugly? Yech!

Okay... Creative SWF seeks imaginative SWM.... no, they'll just think I'm looking for kinky sex!

Sarah threw the pen across the linoleum floor of her sparse two room apartment. "DAMMIT!" she yelled.

Immediately there came the thumping sound of old Mrs. Gretchenson below her hitting her ceiling with a broom handle. She just stood down there waiting for the slightest noise to start banging away, Sarah would have bet money.

Sarah stamped the floor and yelled something threatening and uncomplimentary to the nasty old woman. Merlin watched her from underneath the rickety kitchen table. Sarah let out an exhausted sigh. "I'm really pathetic. Aren't I, boy?"

Sensing her tone, more that her words, Merlin sat up and barked once. Sarah obligingly came over and scratched the good spot right between his ears and his shaggy tail thumped the floor. She chuckled. "Why do I bother with singles ads, Merlin?"

Merlin pulled away and went for the food bowl.

Sarah shook her head and retrieved the cheap pen from the floor. She chuckled again as she scratched a small itch on the back of her neck with it, careless of whether or not she got ink on her ivory skin. There wasn't anyone around to see or care.

Sarah sat back down on one of the creaky chairs surrounding her kitchen table, a rickety sheet metal `antique' reject from the 50s. She sighed and looked down at the papers scattered across the geometrically patterned top. Most of them were bills, not too long overdue. At least she had the cash to pay them. There were a few party invitations here and there, all of them long past, but Sarah liked to look at them and pretend she was actually going to go to one.

The most recent addition to the mess was several sheets of coffee stained paper covered over with starts to a singles ad.

"Never thought I'd get so very lonely that I'd be willing to go out with a complete stranger." Sarah mused.

Karen, conservative bitch that she was, had instilled a healthy terror of singles bars and party scenes in Sarah. Who knows what they put in your drinks? What if he's an ax murderer? What if he has AIDS?

Well, Sarah was a confirmed Teetotaler for starters. Ever since a certain incident involving peaches she'd wanted to keep both feet firmly on the ground -and- know where they were. It also wasn't as if she was going to screw her blind date on the first outing, so she didn't have to worry about AIDS. Rape was out too, Robert had enrolled her in jujitsu classes when she turned sixteen. Sarah could take on someone three times her small size and weight and wipe the floor with them.

Fine lot of good all that did her, though. At this point even an ax murderer was looking good.

Well, P.B. Shelly's advice seemed to work in this incident. Write from the heart.

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Lonely SWF 31 seeks mature SWM 30-35. Must appreciate the difference between sex and intimacy, must understand the value of a good conversation, Must remember how to dream. Call Sarah Williams at...

Sarah closed the newspaper.

A week, she'd been running that ad for a week.

Just one answer. Just one.

She sighed as she slipped the paper into her carry-all.

"Ya gonna pay for that, Lady?" the snot nosed kid minding the newspaper booth asked rudely with a fake Brooklyn accent. He must have thought it made him seem tougher, meaner.

Sarah nodded and indicated a carton of Virginia Slims and a box of tic-tacs. Eight dollars and ninety-eight cents went down on the grimy wood of the booth counter. She shook out a cigarette from the carton and tucked the rest into her bag along with her paper.

"Ya wanna light?" the kid offered.

Sarah glanced over at him. Both hands were on the counter and one held a slightly battered zippo. She nodded and leaned forward as he flicked up a tiny yellow and blue light.

"Those things'll kill ya, Lady." the kid informed her. "My old man smoked for twenty years and now he can't even breath on 'is own. He's hooked up to a million little tubes that do it for `im. Ya take my advice, quit now while ya can."

Sarah breathed in deep, savoring the deceptively fresh taste of the smoke as it seeped into her lungs. "Is that so?" she murmured politely, and glanced down the street to see if the bus was coming.

"I'm serious Lady." the boy insisted, his voice rode on the dangerous edge of an embarrassing squeak.

"Smoke, AIDs, smog." Sarah shrugged. "I could get shot in a drive-by tomorrow, or step out into the street in front of the bus. Worrying about how you're going to die doesn't help anybody. It happens to everyone. Equal opportunity."

The boy leaned back into the shadows of his booth, a diplomatic withdrawal. Sarah let him go and stepped back up to the bus stop. She could see the dirty yellow-white city bus laboring up the street already. Good.

Sarah extinguished the cigarette as it heaved to a stop before her and boarded the bus. She let her thoughts drift this way and that as the bus began it's laboriously, round about journey to the downtown bar where she'd agreed to meet her mystery date.

How she was going to know who he was, she had no idea. The dark, alluring voice on her message machine assured her that they would recognize each other. Damn. That meant she'd met him before, but for the life of her she couldn't place that voice. The answer was there in her mind, dancing just tantalizingly out of reach.

The bar he'd proposed was located at the intersection of High Lane and Rose avenue. High on Rose, was called. It was popular as a singles bar where you didn't have to have a date to enjoy yourself.

After flashing her ID at the bouncer and ordering a martini at the bar, Sarah slipped into a corner booth that was just opposite the door. So she could watch whoever came in. She was about half an hour early, but it couldn't be helped. The busses ran on an annoying schedule. Either half an hour too early or an hour and a half too late.

She listlessly poked at her drink with the tiny toothpick speared olive and wondered why she'd ordered it. She didn't even like alcohol.

"Mommy!"

Sarah started in surprise and turned to the source of the voice.

A tiny little girl stood directly beside Sarah, she had a beautiful cherub innocence floating about her; all creamy skin and frothy gold curls. She wore a little pink jumper decorated with lace and happy little cartoon animals. On her feet she wore black patent leather mary-janes with lace edged bobby socks. Her golden hair was pulled up in the most adorable little pig tails, held in place by those little pink ball and chain fasteners that are so impossible to work.

`Mine!' something primeval and ancient deep inside Sarah muttered. She shook off her maternal instincts and turned to the little girl. What in the world was she doing here? What was wrong with her parents?

"Where's your mum and Daddy?" Sarah murmured as she stood to retrieve the child. She blood froze as she spotted something out of the corner of her eye.

A waitress, chomping gum and chattering avidly in the opposite direction of which she was walking in was striding directly for the little girl, who showed no signs of moving. The waitress's tray was laden down with drinks.

Sarah had a mental image of the waitress walking straight into the girl, and alcohol dumping all over that precious outfit, glass breaking, a little girl's sobs. Sarah darted forward and snatched the child out of harm's way, doubling back to bring her to the booth she'd chosen for the evening.

The girl's legs tightened around Sarah's waist and her arms went around Sara's neck. The child rode on Sarah's hip as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Sarah couldn't help but feel a tiny warm glow at the attention the child was giving her.

"Mommy!"

Sarah stopped and looked around, trying to see who the child was speaking to. The girl tugged on Sarah's hair drawing her attention back. "Mommy!" she repeated, looking directly into Sarah's eyes.

What?

The little girl giggled and for the first time, Sarah noticed she'd been holding something in her tiny hands. The little girl brought it up to Sarah's face... it was a soap bubble. Tiny and perfect. Little rainbows oozed over it's surface. Sarah cooed appreciatively.

The little girl held it out expectantly. "Mommy!" she said again.

Sarah set the little girl down beside her in the booth. The girl kept holding it out to Sarah.

"Honey, I can't hold it." Sarah murmured to the little girl. "It will pop!"

"Mommy!" the girl cried, tears began to show in her wide eyes. Sarah felt her heart skip a beat.

The girls eyes were fae. One was a bright sunny, baby blue and the second was the fresh green of new leaves. Sarah swallowed and held out her hand to receive the soap bubble, wondering in the back of her mind if she was doing to right thing, but in her heart she knew she was.

The soap bubble floated up from the little girls hands and hovered over Sarah's palm for a moment... before popping in an explosion of crystalline dewdrops.

There was a flash of warmth, and a jolt of... knowledge. The girl before her was four years old, her first word was kitty, her favorite color was pink. She weighed forty five pounds, was three and a half feet tall, she didn't like hearing the word no, and she loved her mommy more than anything else in the world.

"Mommy?"

Sarah smiled warmly and gathered her daughter into her arms. "Mommy." She agreed. Sarah's daughter giggled and clapped her tiny hands.

"You didn't say you had a daughter."

Sarah's blood froze and her arms tightened protectively around her daughter's tiny frame.

The man standing beside her booth was roughly six feet tall, probably taller. He was wearing tight blue jeans with black cowboy boots. His lean, muscular torso was encased in a loose white dress shirt the was buttoned down just enough to reveal the small crescent shaped pendant he always wore. His long platinum hair fell down to his mid shoulders in unfashionable spikes.

"Jareth!"

Jareth smiled half heartedly, but his eyes were on the little girl cupped protectively against Sarah's chest. "I wasn't aware you married."

The little girl smiled, all sunbeams and light. She held out her hands to him and Sarah could see the soap bubble already forming. Oh no!

"Daddy!"

Jareth blinked in surprise as the bubble launched itself from the girls hands and came to pop directly on his nose. His mismatched eyes shut or a moment.. as if he was in pain.

"Sweet children of Danaa..." he murmured as he slowly opened them, as if coming awake after a long dream. His eyes rested on Sarah and the child for a long time, when he met Sarah's gaze something electric passed between them.

"Rialyn." The name fell from both their lips at the same moment.

Rialyn giggled and held out her hands to Jareth, who obligingly gathered up his daughter and held her close to his side as he slid into the seat beside his wife.

"Someone got tired of waiting for us to do this on our own terms." Jareth murmured as Rialyn tugged on a lock of his platinum hair.

Sarah nodded and scooted in close beside Jareth, who slid his other arm around her waist. "Next time we'll do it the normal way." She promised.

And that was all that was really needed to be said.

*Fin