Beer. Cold icy beer! It wasn’t exactly a lady-like drink, but sitting, or rather standing between the two men in a crowded pub, Eb hadn’t exactly been sure how to say no to ‘Drinks?’
Eb glanced at Niko, happily chugging his second schooner. She eyed Frank, hardly noticing the half emptied glass in his hand as he watched the players on the screen. A goal or try, whatever was scored and a chorus of whoops and boos filled the air. The last half hour Niko had tried explaining rugby to her, and parts of her felt as if it sounded vaguely familiar. But that was as far as she’d gotten and Niko had given up. He had turned around and ordered three pints of beer, ‘I still can’t feel my legs, not after that ride anyhow.’ Mind you, she had almost crashed into an oncoming vehicle while she had looked at Niko to ask where he was taking her. Except, somehow, muscle memory had taken hold and she’d been able to steer clear.
‘So this is how you guys spend a Friday night?’ She asked, or rather yelled, but none reacted. Eb felt silly. She’d sipped the beer once and that had been enough. Feeling silly and left out, she lifted her glass to her lips and cringed remembering the taste. There was light pressure on her elbow and she looked to see Frank holding back her hand, his gaze still pretty much glued to the screen. He didn’t say a word but gently took the glass from her. ‘You don’t need to do that.’
Awkwardly, Eb stood there. Part of her was glad he had stopped her, and part of her was embarrassed. ‘I don’t know how you guys drink that.’ She forced a small laugh. It was then that Frank looked her straight in the eyes. His look boar into hers and a tingle coursed down Eb’s spine. She tried to smile but he simply looked.
‘Me either,’ he finally said after what felt like ages. He leaned in, close behind her ear. His body heat radiating towards her. ‘But I gotta look manly, don’t I?’ When she turned to look at him, he had a smile on his face. ‘Do you want to drink?’ He asked and she nodded, unsure, but he didn’t need to know that. ‘What’s you poison?’
She laughed. ‘I don’t know.’
He nodded and turned to the bar man. ‘One special ice tea, Jeff.’ Jeff nodded from behind the counter, and while Eb wondered how he had even heard that over the ruckus, Frank had leaned in close over her shoulder again. ‘It’s gonna be a stiff one.’ Eb felt her cheeks blush, and Frank laughed, patting her shoulder like she were just another chum. ‘You’ll see what I mean soon enough.’ He drained his glass and excused himself while a tall glass of something fantastic hit the table in front of her.
‘Your long island iced tea!’ The bar man winked, and scooted over to the next patron. She pulled the drink close and apprehensively sipped it, finding it a delightful surprise. By the time she’d finished the drink, both the men she’d come with had disappeared somewhere and she was left alone, or relatively alone compared to the company she’d arrived with. She ordered another tea and settled on the barstool. They’d find her when they were ready to go home she guessed. Well they were her ride anyway.
An hour later, after 3 or 4 glasses of special tea, she left the pub in much need of fresh air. Her stomach felt queasy and her head pounded. The floor shook like crazy beneath her feet and the air around her grew foggy. She felt the cold night air hit her face as soon as she’d gotten outside, and once there the nausea hit hard. Before she knew it, she was at the edge of the patio emptying her stomach when she heard wolf whistles from behind her. ‘I doubt this looks sexy at all, moron!’ She mumbled, and threw up once more. When she straightened up, the whole world spun out of control and she staggered along the wall, only to have strong hands grab her by her upper arms. ‘I let you whistle doesn’t mean you can touch me,’ her voice rose violently.
‘Yes it does if it means I’m your ride home.’ Frank was looking at her with much concern, and Eb saw the two men still staring at her, the ones that had whistled.
‘I’m with him.’ She smirked. ‘Now get moving!’
‘Hey hey,’ Frank barked with caution. ‘Just cause you’ve had a few drinks and you feel invincible, doesn’t mean you’re strong enough to pick fights with men twice your size.’ He wrapped his arms around her shoulder and steered her towards his ute. ‘How many of those did you have?’
‘3. Or maybe 4.’ She mumbled. ‘I can’t quite remember.’
‘What say we get you to bed aye?’
‘Whose the girl with Frank?’ They heard someone ask behind them as Frank passed a group of men smoking outside the pub.
‘You lucky dog, Frank!’ Another yelled.
‘What they say?’ Eb tried to turn, but Frank held her tight, and helped her get into the passenger seat.
‘Nothing, they can’t help themshelves when they see a pretty lady around. Put you seat belt on.’ With that he slammed her door shut and the world turned black. She heard the engine turn on, she felt the road bump, felt arms lift her onto their hold, knew that the mattress sunk below her weight, and a gentle kiss landed on her forehead.
‘Goodnight Ebony,’ and sensed the whisper of his voice.
‘Goodnight,’ she mumbled, and rolled into his touch.
The next moment, she woke up in a strange sunlit room, alone on a king sized bed with only but a giant t-shirt on.