(I own nothing!)
"You look cheerful." I snort into my beer, not bothering to look at the person inhabiting the stool next to me. It was a week since the Mateo incident and four days since Ryan left for New York.
"Can I help you, Dr. Keeton?" I ask taking a pull from my bottle.
"I was just wondering why you were over here and not over there with everyone else." He says, signaling the bartender for a beer.
"I am sitting here bemoaning my horrible taste in men." I set my glass on the bar and stretch out my sore muscles.
"Your taste can't be that bad, Brenner." He says nodding thanks to Alma for his drink.
"Wanna bet? My first crush had an obsession with eating paste." I say running my finger around the rim of my bottle.
"Most kids eat paste, Brenner." He says sipping his beer.
"He was twelve." His eyebrows rise. "The second boy turned out to be gay. The third was arrested for urinating in public on our first date."
"He was arrested on the date or he urinated?" He asks shelling a peanut and offering it to me. I smile and pop the peanut in my mouth.
"Both." He pulls a 'yeeks' face and I chuckle.
"The fourth one got drunk at my family's Christmas party, stripped down to his tighty-whities and raced around the tree singing 'Grandma got dismembered by a chainsaw' off key." I wince at the memory.
"I don't think I have ever heard that particular version of the song before." He says leaning on the bar, shelling another peanut.
"Trust me you don't want to. The fifth was pretty cool, I even considered that he might be the one, and then I met his husband." I signal the bartender for another drink. "Needless to say that didn't end well."
I reach in my wallet to pay, but Keeton stops me.
"I've got it. After all, you're providing the entertainment." He grins.
"Ha ha." I say rolling my eyes. "The seventh isn't really an ex since he was my stalker." I begin to build the empty peanut shells into a little fort.
"The eighth was deported and the ninth turned out to be an eco-terrorist. The tenth was in the middle of becoming a she. And the eleventh was my fiancé." I grow quiet, staring at my beer.
"So lucky number eleven, huh?" He chuckles downing the rest of his beer.
"Not really." I mutter picking at the label on my beer.
"What do you mean?" I can't look at him.
"I didn't just send him out for cereal, I sent him out that morning because I couldn't figure out how to end it." I take a deep breath and look at him. His eyes are confused. "I was ending the engagement. I found out that he was cheating on me…again. And this time I guess I realized that he was never going to be just mine."
"I'm sorry." He say offering me another peanut, I shrug.
"It was better for me to figure it out before we were married." I sigh.
"What about Mateo? He seemed like a nice guy, except for the whole running from the law thing." I groan and thunk my head on the bar.
"You realize that I came here to forget my problems, right?" I groan.
"He didn't seem that bad. Did he turn out to be gay or something?"
"Or something." I moan swallowing the rest of my beer.
"Come on, it couldn't have been that bad. What, did he turn out to be an axe-murderer?" He teases.
"Try cocaine farmer." I glance at him, worried he is about to rip me a new one since I cost him the protection of his clinic and several hundred dollars' worth of medicine.
"Wow, Brenner, you really do know how to pick them." He stares at his beer not looking at me. I catch the tail end of a chuckle; realizing that he was laughing at me, I smack him on the arm.
"It's not funny!" I groan as his laugh bubbles out.
"Well it does explain why you called him a curse. But seriously, you have horrible taste in men." He snorts.
"Like you do much better! How many times has Ryan run away this month?" I say jabbing back. "Three times, not including her trip to New York." He falls quiet and I want to smack myself for bringing her up.
"We ended things." I stare at him. "Before she left I offered to go with her and she told me that it would be better if we ended things now."
"It was over a while ago, we just didn't want to let go." Silence fell between us as awkwardness made its grand entrance.
"So… I don't think this could get any more awkward." I say drumming my fingers on the bar.
"Oh I can." He say letting out a snort.
"Oh, really." I ask skeptically. "How?
"I could tell you that one of the reasons that Ryan dumped me is because she thinks I'm in love with you." He's looking me in the eyes for the first time tonight and I gulp.
"I can see how that would make thing more awkward. But it's not like its true…" he eyes are intent on mine and I shift uncomfortably in my seat. "Is it?" So subtly was never my strong suit.
Before I know what he's doing he leans over and kisses me. I wrap my arms around his neck, pulling him towards me without pulling him off his stool. His lips caress mine gently and I moan, nearly falling off my bar stool. Then the world's most inappropriate thought to have when kissing someone hit me and I pull away giggling.
"What's so funny?" He asks, his hair sticking up at odd angles.
"You realize that this makes you unlucky thirteen, right?" I get my giggles under control.
"I only count if we break up." He stands and wraps an arm around me.
"I guess you have a point."
"So I guess we'll just have to make this work." He kisses me again and my only thought is that I hope we can.