The energetic crowd was pulsing around me as yet another drink was shoved into my hand by my best friend, Keeva. Not for the first time tonight I wondered how the hell I had ended up in Temple Bar. The atmosphere here was as far removed from my safe and cozy existence as could possibly be. In a rare moment of weakness, I had agreed to drink away my loneliness amongst a few hundred of my closest friends.
“Here ya go, girl. Driiiink up!”
“Ugh, I don’t know if I can, Keeva. I’ve totally lost count of how many I’ve had and that isn’t good. Not at all. This drink is gonna push me into sloppy, and I’m kind of comfy here in happy Gray land.”
She ignored me as usual and wrapped an arm around me pulling me in close. “Did I ever tell you how much I love you? When I moved to Dublin, I never in a million years thought I would have my best friend move here too! God, isn’t Dublin the best?” I was pretty sure this was a rhetorical question, but nonetheless, opened my mouth to shout her an answer, surely to be lost among the catchy Irish music enticing the tourists in from the cool evening to blow their Euros on the promise of finding a piece of Ireland in every sip.
She abruptly threw a hand over my mouth. “Oh My God! What is my stupid brother doing here?” She lurched off me in hot pursuit of said brother. I followed her, trying desperately to keep up with my tiny, sprite of a friend. Where she was what people described as “pixie like,” the same people would describe me as having Kardashian curves. Well, before Khloe got her revenge body anyway. I was of average height and curvy and had a tendency to bump into people in a crowd, whereas Keeva Murphy was so little, she could easily slip in and out of those same crowds.
I kept tabs on her short black hair, her head angrily popping up as it stalked towards her brother, who I couldn’t see. She had a few brothers and from what I knew, they all kinda looked the same. Tall, dark haired Irish goodness. They had all recently moved back to here so I wasn’t sure which one had the audacity to show up here in this free country where people could go where they wanted, when they wanted.
I made the tactical mistake of stopping and trying to squeeze through a particularly tightly packed group of college students, and by the time I exited on the other side, having been grabbed extensively, I had completely lost sight of her.
I spun in half circles trying in vain to find her and not topple over, but it was hopeless. It seemed the crowd was actually growing and thanks to that last drink, my ability to care to find her was slowly waning. I decided to make my way over to the bar and squeeze in for a lean and look around. I elbowed my way in between two guys who didn’t seem to be there together and stood sideways against the bar cursing my lack of height and flat shoe obsession, slammed down my empty and glass and ordered a nice, safe pint of beer.
I felt someone push up against my back and did my best to ignore it. A deep, American accented voice whispered behind my ear. “Buy you a drink?”
I didn’t bother to attempt to turn and give the guy an answer, just yelled over my shoulder. “Original.” I held up my hand without looking to show him I already had a full glass.
“Another testament to his brilliance. Yes, I’m American.”
“And also not like the other girls in here. Smart, sexy and a viper. I think I’m in love.”
I finally decided to give the poor guy a break and turned around and nearly embarrassed myself on the spot. I think my panties were insta soaked and my mouth could have caught more than flies it was hanging so far open.
Standing in front of me was a six foot three glimpse into heaven. Being height disadvantaged, I had a thing for guessing someone’s height. I seriously missed my carnie calling. He had broad shoulders, dark, curly hair and was dressed casually in slim fit jeans, a relaxed dress shirt and a sexy pair of Blundstone boots. His jaw held just enough stubble for me to imagine the feel of it, roughly scraping against my inner thigh.
I quickly put the brakes on. No one had ever gotten their face near said inner thigh. I was a charter member of the “No Thigh Gap” club. I didn’t even know why this man would even consider someone like me. He was the type of guy that I bet went for the sophisticated, gorgeous, tall and thin woman. Not the average, curvy, glasses wearing librarian.
“See something you like, sweetheart?”
I added cocky to the rundown of his attributes. “Riiight. Well, you got me to turn around, and now that you’ve opened your mouth once again, you’ve gotten me to leave.”
He smiled and I reconsidered my departure. He quite simply had a glorious smile. It enhanced his already hot as hell face. Made him seem charming, instead of cocky. Approachable instead of out of my league.
I froze, unsure of where to go next. “I thought you were leaving?” He raised an eyebrow and tilted his head to the side.
I stood a little taller and gave myself some credit. I was a librarian for goodness sakes. This goon here in front of me probably wouldn’t know a book if it hit him in the face and fell open. He had moronic playboy written all over him.
I felt a small something warming in my stomach as his clear blue eyes caught mine and held. My mind quickly deviated to the last time my lady bits had seen any action and I decided I might need a time machine to go back that far.
It could have been the beer and whiskey combo, it could have been the pulsing Temple Bar pub, or it could have simply been me taking advantage of a fortuitous waxing session earlier in the week, (I really had no idea what I thought I was preparing for) but suddenly my body gave just the tiniest hint of a lean into this stranger. The lean was extended by my now perky nipples, who had gone out on a limb and decided they needed to get a closer look.
He slowly raised a hand and I swore he was moving in to sweep my bangs aside and offer me a kiss. I should have known better. Guys like him don’t kiss girls like me. His hand went straight for my nose, where he proceeded to use his index finger to slowly push up my glasses. Yes, I rounded out the librarian stereotype with a pair of black glasses. Well, at least my hair wasn’t up in its usual messy bun.
He slowly dragged his finger, could a finger actually be that sexy, until he had silenced me and I was close to going crosseyed trying to follow him. How was it this guy made a total geek move like pushing glasses up on my nose seem so freaking hot? I seriously needed to stop drinking and get my sorry ass home. Where in the hell was Keeva?
I raised a single eyebrow, not sure how to answer that. “Pardon?”
He completely ignored me and kept talking, meeting my lean and pushing even closer. “I’ve always had this dirty librarian fantasy and those very glasses you’re wearing usually have the starring role.”
I was beginning to figure out why all of my girlfriend’s I.Q.s dropped when they went out to the bar. I wasn’t familiar with this feeling. I think it was called, turned on and couldn’t care less what he was sayingitis. Something about this guy was so alluring. It felt like an accident that you knew you shouldn’t stare at, but you just couldn’t help yourself. But it was the in the light of day I was afraid of. This guy was all that and slice of toast in the dark lighting of the pub, but what kind of substance would he have in the daylight?
“I’m a librarian.” It was official. I had the mental capacity of an eight-year-old again and simple sentences were my maximum vocabulary limit.
He smiled and it all became clear to me. I knew I was going to finish the night up wrapped around this guy no matter how hard straight laced Gray Fairfield tried to pull tipsy and sex starved Gray Fairfield back from the edge.
His smile turned into something I couldn’t describe. It was all heat and desire and sex. Lots and lots of sex.
“Jesus Christ. We need to get out of here.” In a flash, he grabbed my wrist and pulled me into his wake as he quickly, and forcefully navigated the writhing mass of people in various states of inebriation. I nearly stumbled a few times, but his responding and protective tug kept me moving forward.
He appeared to be headed for the exit, which kind of freaked me out. I didn’t do hookups. Not in my wheelhouse. I tried to put the brakes on, but it seemed he wasn’t having it.
“Hey! Hey!” I let my voice escalate so maybe someone would take notice of me being pulled out the door against my will. The lot of them could go to hell. No one paid any attention and a few were even cheering my mystery man on.
He carved a clear path through the mix of middle aged tourists and wasted partiers and pushed out the door, into the cool Dublin night. “Hey! I wasn’t ready to leave. I don’t even know your name.” No reply but he was slowing. Oh God. He was turning down a dark alleyway. This was it. I had only just moved here, I was too young to die. What was I thinking talking to a stranger? Bad Gray. Bad, bad Gray.
“Hey, I’m gonna scream. You can’t just hijack someone against their will, you know. It’s against- “
He turned down the alley and promptly pushed me up against the wall and held me there with his lean, hard body. “My name’s Aiden.” And then he kissed me.