Guy Hater(9)

By: J. Sterling


“Here.” Britney handed me a cocktail napkin and I took it cautiously, narrowing my eyes in question. “It’s for the drool.”

I tossed the napkin back into her lap. “Asshole.”

“The two of you should get a room. I mean it. I’ve only been here a few times, but I have never, and I mean never, seen Frank mingle with the commoners.”

“And?” I tried to sound like I didn’t care, but I liked what she was hinting at.

“And . . . I think he likes you.”

“He doesn’t even know me.”

“What do you think he’s trying to do? It’s a hell of a lot more than Ryan’s ever done, and I was convinced he liked me. Now I’m not so sure.” Britney tilted her head toward the bar, and I looked to see Ryan smiling and reaching out to touch a woman’s cheek.

He was flirting, but like I’d always thought, it was part of his job. Maybe that’s what Frank was doing too, just being good at his job. I couldn’t let myself pretend something was there that wasn’t. Chastising myself, I tried to reel my heart back to reality.

When a voice called out, “I see the love of my life!” Britney clapped her hands.

I spotted Nick Fisher looking toward the door as a pretty young blonde walked through it, her face flushing red at his words. A petite Latina trailed behind her, smiling and waving at everyone as if they were staring at her. The sight of it made me laugh.

“God, you’re gorgeous. Isn’t she gorgeous, everyone? I love this woman!” Nick shouted, making his way toward the blonde before planting a kiss on her lips and giving the other girl a hug.

“That was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.” I smiled, envious of the very public display of adoration.

“I know, right?” Britney let out a heartfelt sigh. “I want someone to love me like that.”

“Don’t we all?”

I might not be a hopeless romantic like Britney, but I appreciated romance as much as the next girl. I wanted passion in all aspects of my life, especially when it came to love. Finding love in Southern California had been difficult, and meeting a guy who was as passionate about me as he was his career seemed even harder.

Frank reappeared, three drinks in hand, and nudged a small footstool over with his shoe. He sat facing us before handing us each a fresh drink.

“What should we toast to?” Britney asked playfully.

“Your call,” Frank said with a shrug.

“We should toast to finding guys to love us the way Nick loves his girlfriend,” Britney said with a little too much enthusiasm, causing her drink to slosh.

Frank scoffed. “I don’t want a guy to love me like that.”

I burst out laughing. He was so serious, his demeanor kind but reserved. He seemed like he was holding back, but I liked that about him. There was an air of mystery that surrounded Frank. He seemed like the kind of guy who only let a few people get close to him, and that quality only intrigued me more.

“Well, I do,” I said firmly. “I totally do.”

That got Frank’s attention. His eyes bored into mine again. “You do?”

“Definitely.”

He studied me, his head cocked a little to one side. “You’re into over-the-top public displays of affection?”

I thought for a moment, gathering my feelings before wording them properly. “I’m into someone loving me passionately and not caring who knows. When I love, I love hard. I love deep. My love is all consuming. I want to be loved back in the same way. I want to be consumed.”

I took a deep breath after my declaration. The words felt good spilling from my lips, pouring from my heart. I rarely confessed such private feelings to a stranger, but he had asked.

Frank’s lips pursed together with my answer, drawing my attention. “What nationality are you?”

“Colombian,” I said proudly, happy that he asked, that he seemed to care.

“Hence the need for passion.”

I nodded in agreement and offered him a tight-lipped smile. “Hence the difficulty in finding any American guys who have it.”

“Maybe you’re looking at all the wrong guys.”

Was he flirting? I really, really wanted him to be flirting.