It took me awhile to figure out what a Cuban, Jabba the Hut, and two college guys; dubbed unkindly by myself as Hat Backward and Hat Forward; had in common. It was an unusual collection for the cozy table right by the stage. Finally I realized it was just the music; there was no real connection between them beyond the instrumental surfer music winging from the three guitars onstage.
The band was quite good and knew their genre well. The drums were up front, and the three guitarists ringed him like little musical moons, each taking a turn in their ellipse for a lengthy jam. There was a microphone so I had hopes for a singer; but it was only for passing comments in response to the keen applause. “Thanks. It’s from our second cd.”
Hat Backward noticed me right away. Jabba noticed me right off as well. Jabba sat closest to the stage, as close as he could be without spilling over onto it. He had a large buckle on his belt – but it appeared small next to his girth. Hat Forward had his back to me, and so couldn’t scam me until he was on his way to his cigarette.
The Cuban seemed too absorbed in the music to give the crowd more than a passing glance. His obvious appreciation for the band struck me as odd because he didn’t fit the music. I watched him for awhile, hidden as I was behind bar-height tables and a few people. It doesn’t take much to hide me, even when I’m wearing four inch heels. He just slouched over his drink, elbows on the table, in the way guys will. His stance was casual but his mannerisms were deliberate. He was drinking something mixed strong, because he played with the straw and sucked the ice cubes. Every now and then he’d cast his eyes around, disinterest apparent on his face. I decided he was a ripe challenge for the eye-contact game.
It took some subtle repositioning to catch his attention, but I knew the instant he found me. An electric tranquility came over me; and my body, every cell of it, went absolutely still. It was too much a shock to my system to feel the mild triumph I usually get from such a conquest. I watched him make the full perusal. He took his time about it and I had to remind myself that it was me he was studying.
This was a sexy, confident, dangerous man. He was unfussy about it; but he looked around more often so I knew that I was the reason. And though he never really changed expression, his gaze had more purpose, more clarity. His eyes had gone from benign to curious. I wasn’t worried though; not really. PHF was right behind me, his hand moving from my ribcage to my hip slowly, his affection as assuming as you’d expect. He knows my body, my mouth, my face perhaps better than he knows his own. But The Cuban didn’t seem to care about my husband. His eyes cut to me with increasing frequency. I have no doubt that had I been alone, he would have approached me.
There was power in that gaze; and warning. I suspected that he might’ve been angry with me for playing with him when I had no intention of follow-through. When that occurred, I quit playing the game. The attraction was definite, thrilling; but he was fire. I think he could be kind, but never someone to trifle with. One more time I looked, before we left; and he was staring at me, unabashed. When our eyes met I started to smile a little – that superior smile I feel when I’ve captured someone’s attention. He didn’t shake his head or even change expression, but his immobile stare stopped my smile in its tracks. I broke away first and didn’t look at him again. But as we took our leave I felt those dark eyes on me. It took everything in me not to look back.