Rumor and Hearsay

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The burning question

Travis sat in that bar. The smell of smoke hanging heavily in the air. His black button down with unbuttoned cuffs, open at the top three exposed an obsidian hook which clung closely to his neck. Tattered jeans leading to barely tied black boots. He knew the waitresses and bartenders well, any day, any time he could tell you who was on or off, the regulars passing in and out of the watering hole always greeted him. He lost himself in the hustle and bustle, waitresses hitting, and being hit on, always chasing the next dollar. The bartenders pouring and mixing the poison of the masses, smiles on their faces as the concoctions left their bar top as the drunks continued mindless banter. A few played billiards, but most were glued to the televisions, screaming, cussing, praising the teams battling.

The cigarette next to him had burnt itself out as his waitress for the evening brought him a shot of Maker's Mark and some new mix the bartenders wanted him to try. She was a cute little brunette ,about four inches shorter than Travis. He couldn't tell her eye color in the low light of the bar, her smile sucked him in though. She was maybe a buck fifteen at most and those tight jean shorts hugging her hips just right. Little makeup, not like it was needed anyway, and her button down shirt let the gawking eyes of the local drunks think they might get to see her breasts.

"Your smoke's out" she said, her voice perking his ears up.
"You're new" Travis said as he reached for his Zippo and a cigarette
"So you're Travis huh?" she said playfully as she sat down across from him "they warned me about you."
"What have they said?"
"Just to watch out, that you can be a charmer..." she let a smile creep across her lips
"They talk a lot don't they?" Flip. Strike.

Inhale. Exhale.

The bourbon still in front of him. She eyed it suggesting he wasn't up to par for the evening.

Inhale. Exhale.

"Drink with me" the cigarette was put into the ashtray, his gaze fixed in hers.
"I can't here." she seemed taken back, almost flustered.
"I know everyone here sweetheart." he takes the shot, a good burn in his chest "I'm like royalty here"
"You know everyone and they all know I'm only 20." A dismayed look trying to hide itself.

Inhale. Exhale.

"You didn't say no."
"I know" she smiles and starts to leave, "you didn't even ask my name."
"I'll find it out eventually" he takes another deep drag, "tell Robby his new drink sucks please."

She giggled as she left his table, a light touch on his shoulder. As she passed that's when the girl appeared. Her blonde hair expertly curled, even in the darkness of the bar her ice blue eyes were as bright as stars. Her perky lips dressed in some kind of pink lipstick, her shirt says "Rock me Raw", the name of a band in South Los Angeles. And it is cut just perfect to where one slip would have the bar in an uproar. As she walked into the bar with her friends, everyone watched...everyone. Her hourglass body stomach exposed, legs in a tight, jet black miniskirt, pink fishnets and half-calf boots. It was all in slow motion, like watching an angel grace the demons of L.A. with her goddess-like allure. Her nose ring glistening when she lit her cigarette and waited for a bartender.

Travis got up and approached the far end of the bar and got a shot of bourbon and a Star Fucker and headed her direction.
He walked behind her and put the pink shot next to her, "I think this is what you're looking for." he said smoothly as she turned to face him, their faces inches apart.

She looked at him with those burning blue eyes, through his shaggy hair, a smile creeping over her lips.
"Well, well, well...the star-crossed lovers find each other again" she grabs her shot and they toast, drink, and both smile, "is my knight going to take me away on his steed finally?" There they stood, looking into each other's eyes.

"I missed you..." he finally says.
"I know" is her reply as she bites her lip and gazes at him playfully ,"don't get all soft on me Trav it makes you look like a fucking sap." She kisses his cheek lightly as the bartender walks her direction. "I guess we can finally take this place over huh?"
Travis sees the bartender pouring four tequila shots. "Yeah, its about time."
First two shots are picked up and she says," The beauty and the beast" they drink, the next two shots are picked up. "Till death do us part", he says with a wink. She smiles, "Always my beast." they drink.

The two socialites stood there, in the hustle and bustle of the bar, both with slight smiles on their faces, but holding back. "It was really good seeing you Trav." she reaches in for a hug. "You too, Claire", he responds.

They had met in high school, Claire was the youngest daughter of a hot shot record label exec in L.A. Her sense of style had always been edgy, but always sexy. Travis earned his semi-fame by being the son of of a former bounty hunter gone corporate in the real estate world. If a new building was going up, he had a hand in it, they basically owned the city. They came from old money, like, real old. The two of them were the epitome of popular in school, albeit on very different ends of the spectrum. Travis was the first freshman to break into the first squad on Helix's Lacrosse team. He had his first sportbike before his first car, never obeyed the dress code, but was never punished for it. He worked on other people's cars for fun, and by the time he got a car he had built the thing himself, 1969 Camaro running ten and a half second quarter mile drags. His nonchalance made him hated or loved, many couldn't tell if he was arrogant or just confident. He hung out with the jocks, the geeks and the freaks, his favorite were the freaks. Claire always had two things, money, and sex appeal. The first time Travis saw her she had shortened her uniform skirt to well too short of the required length, she always wore the tightest sweater she could, and always made sure that if the guys had wet dreams, they would be about her. She always could get what she wanted from pretty much anyone, the peons that worshiped the ground she walked on, the athletes who wanted her, the girls who wanted to be like her. She was a deadly combination of witty, quick, and brutally honest. If she didn't like you, you knew it. She partied hard, she was royalty, she could be a bitch and Travis loved it.

The first chapter of the storied romance happened at a party during their Sophomore year. The lacrosse team just won state against San Francisco Prep. Travis scored four goals, including the game winner as time expired, teammates and students kept chanting his name throughout the night, especially during his keg stands and beer pong games. Enter Claire, tight white jeans, high heel boots and a form fitting, very low cut USC shirt. Her senior boy toy of the week following her like a sick puppy. GAME ON Travis thought...GAME ON.

The easiest way Travis saw to get her attention was to completely ignore her and her royal attitude, steal her thunder and stardom. Calling everyone in for shots and more drinks, making sure his voice towered over the party as much as possible, raging. She had seen him before of course and knew who he was, him ignoring her made her question if he knew who she was, she sought to catch up to the party, Travis was winning. "Catching up" to the lacrosse team was pretty much admitting you had a wish to wake up in a pool of your own vomit, pictures plastered all over myspace. In the wee hours of the morning, Claire, could barely stand, Travis was trying his hardest to speak coherently to anyone at the party, and Claire's boy toy was nowhere to be seen. Travis got distracted trying to sober up enough to talk to Claire while the team captain cussed out a kid who lost to him at beer pong. When the room stopped spinning he started looking for Claire but couldn't find her, determined, he kept searching. A guy was walking towards one of the bathrooms but turned into the adjacent bedroom, Travis followed and found who he was looking for, almost passed out while the guy, John as he could see now, was trying to make out with her while she pushed him away.

Pull the collar, throw him in the hall, punch him in the face.

She tried to stand, fell over and sat up on the floor, smashed. "You're that lacrosse guy! Trevo...Travis? Yeah! you didn't have to help me you know, I had that under control." "You sure did" Travis replied, "You're too hot to be getting this smashed, I might not be around to save you next time." "I know," she slurred, "I guess tonight you get to be my knight in shining armor." He could barely make it out. She could barely walk. As he carried her into the hallway whoops and cat-calling echoed through the house, the guys were still going hard, it was nearly four A.M. The noise brought her to, and she was determined to take shots. "You're the guy with the bike too right?" her slurring cleared up slightly, "I like bikes." "Me too, hey what a coincidence," Travis was just having fun at this point, "what are we toasting to?" She raised her shot glass with a smile and bloodshot eyes "To my knight" he assumed she meant him, and not the actual night. They took their shots and she pushed her body into his, "I want to ride...would you like me to ride?" "Wow you are really up front," Travis quipped and cracked a smile. Claire quickly slapped him slurring ,"I mean the bike..." her voice trailing off as her body went limp, she was out cold.

The new girl was back, setting two shots in front of Travis with a folded napkin under one. "Your name is Amber, and what is this?" Amber looked up at him perplexed, "How'd you guess my name?" "It was easy, what's this?" pointing to the shots" "That girl you were talking to at the bar sent them, she said you'd understand." As she left he caught a glimpse of Claire sitting at a table with friends two shot glasses sitting in front of her. He took the first shot, tequila. He reached for the second and curiosity won out as he could smell that was in this one, Rumpleminze. he put the glass down and opened the napkin.

"Why did you leave me? Why didn't you take me with you?"

He took the second shot and left a fifty dollar bill on the table and walked out of the bar. He climbed into his Camaro and lit a cigarette.

Inhale. Exhale.

"Because I loved you too much."

Inhale. Exhale.

Claire was walking out as he exited the parking lot, the roar of the engine caught her attention, and just like that he was gone again.

Then the rain started.

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