Dave was chatting with his three mates when the world stopped turning.
Out of his periphery, he saw her. Noise sucked into a vacuum. He glanced at Rob, whose lips were moving and his eyes flashing brightly—no doubt he was regaling an hilarious tale—but Dave heard nothing.
The woman strode towards the bar. Dave left Rob, Chris and Barry without even speaking; as if in a trance he went to her.
‘Can I buy you a drink?’ Dave asked, his voice raspy. He cleared his throat, annoyed at his highly unoriginal opening line. At least he hadn’t said anything about falling from heaven, or being a shining star. He’d been Chris’s wingman the night he met Kelly, and Chris had used the shining star line. Dave was still amazed that, not only had Kelly and Chris hooked up that night, they were together, happy now, some five years on.
The pulchritudinous brunette smiled. God, her teeth. Straight, white. Her eyes were chocolate brown, framed by long lashes. But not those camel lashes. To his admittedly inexpert eye, these lashes were real. He hated the latest look where women could almost sweep a path ahead of them with their fake top lashes. If only they knew how stupid they appeared to the opposite sex. Men just don’t care about that sort of stuff.
She had said something to him. Fuck! He’d been so taken with her beauty, and her natural but-maybe-enhanced-old-school-with-mascara lashes, he’d missed it.
‘I beg your pardon?’ he offered. He felt his cheeks burn. Could almost see the red flooding from his jawline up to his brows.
‘I said, thank you. A drink would be divine.’
Divine. Who used that word anymore, aside from first-time parents describing their screaming, shitty newborn baby?
‘What would you like?’
‘Slow comfortable screw against the wall, please.’
The cocktail, or the act itself? Because he was content to pay for the drink, but equally—more so, if he were honest—happy to give it to her.
Her eyes sparkled. She was flirting. He was killing it. Without even really trying.
‘Coming right up,’ Dave said, with a sexy smirk. He motioned to the barman, using a deft flick of his left hand. Then he leaned in close to the woman. ‘Just to be sure, it’s the cocktail you’re after, yeah?’
She threw her head back and laughed, a melodic tinkle that caused Lord Hardwick to shift inside his trousers. He crossed his legs.
‘Yes, the cocktail.’
Dave passed on the orders to the barman before turning to the woman. ‘I guess we should introduce ourselves. I’m Dave. Dave Barter.’
‘Nice to meet you Dave, and thank you for the drink.’ She paused as the bartender placed the drink in front of her; she gave him a nod of her gorgeous head.
A man was standing behind her. She turned, smiled. Dave thought this sort of thing must happen to her all the time. She was breathtaking, so he supposed other men tried to hit on her while another was making inroads. He grinned at the bloke; subtext: mate, piss off.
But she reached for the guy’s hand as she continued, ‘Dave, I’m Mathilde. And this is my husband, Peter.’