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Chapter 19: Cocktails and Dreams

L’Wren entered Bacchanal Jake’s with two of her girlfriends. While their intention was to have fun and enjoy the attention of guys, her mission was to see Kevin Banovic again. She knew he worked there and, without alerting her friends to her plan, casually chose Jake’s as the hangout spot for the evening.

She hated the way they’d left things. Why did she care what he thought of her? He was just some guy—some guy who cared enough to stand up for her and got hurt in the process. She carried around immense guilt, and he’d made her feel worst when she tried to apologize. She had no idea what she was going to say to him. She just knew that she had to see him again.

They ordered drinks and found a booth. L’Wren’s eyes combed the room, her breath unsteady, her palms sweaty and her stomach in knots. Maybe he had the night off.

L’Wren’s friends noticed her distraction.

“Hey, what’s going on with you?” one friend asked.

“Nothing.” She smiled nervously.

A couple of guys came over with drinks for the girls. They began chatting them up. L’Wren was not interested. She just smiled and nodded and kept an eye out for Kevin.

Her hopes began to fade after an hour. L’Wren was about ready to leave when she spotted Kevin. She took a deep breath. The air in the room was getting tight again. She watched as he flirted with a woman at the bar. The scene reminded her of Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail, minus the bar theatrics.

She felt a twinge in the pit of her stomach that surprised her. The guy next to her said something but she did not hear—her mind was focused on Kevin. Mentally she tried to muster courage and find something to say to him.

Her legs felt heavy as she stood and walked over to the bar, with every step her heart pounded harder and faster. As she got closer she straightened her spine, lifted her head and steadied her breath. She walked straight towards the end of the bar where he stood still chatting up a brunette, who looked like she was ready to ravish him. Kevin said something to her and she smiled, then tossed her long mane, retrieved her cell phone and touched hers with his.

Kevin stood up and looked at L’Wren, the brunette shot her a menacing look.

“What can I get you?” He asked as if she was a complete stranger.

“I just thought I’d come over and introduce myself,” she heard herself say. New formed confidence took over. “Hi, I’m L’Wren.” She extended her arm.

The brunette’s eyes switched between them, she eventually walked away without saying a word.

“What are you doing?” Kevin asked.

“Starting over.”

Kevin was unsure where she was going with this but played along, “Kevin, nice to meet you,” he gently shook her hand.

“I’d like a Martini please, shaken not stirred.” She perched herself on the bar stool.

They looked at each other for a moment, and then started to laugh at the obvious James Bond reference.

It was late when L’Wren’s friends said their goodbyes and left her at the bar.

Kevin served drinks then returned his attention to her.

It was last call when Kevin walked her to her car. “You okay to drive or should I call for a cab?”

“Kevin,” she leaned in close to him, “when you weren’t looking I ordered diet Sprite from the other bartender.”

“What about the Martini?”

“I don’t drink Martinis I sent it to my girl friend.”

“Oh I feel so duped, seriously?”

She nodded affirmative.

“Since we’re confessing… I saw you the minute you walked into Jake’s.”

“Liar! You were no where around.”

“I was in the back room… I wanted to see if you were waiting for someone.”

“I don’t believe you. You can’t stand to be duped,” she laughed.

Kevin watched her as she got into her white Prius V and drove away.

L’Wren looked at him in the rear view mirror and smiled. That turned out better than she’d expected.

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