“Come on, Liz. You know it’ll be a blast. We always have fun when we go out to Fosters Cemetery,” Rick begged while straddling a bar stool in front of me as I poured long-time patron and mother-figure, Adele, another shot of Jack Daniels.
Rick’s green eyes sparkled with the thoughts of our previous romps around the county’s supposed haunted graveyard. Not that I blame him, we do always have a good time out there. I resisted the urge to swipe his blonde hair away from his face--it would just provoke him further--and started wiping down the bar counter top instead.
I’ve known Rick ever since high school. He was the small, skinny, geeky guy friend that most girls have. He hung around like a lost puppy, trying to include himself in any activity I was involved in, until I finally had to give in and notice him. He’s been one of my best friends ever since, even though he has wanted more than that ever since.
Two years ago, a drunken, lonely evening turned us into a little more than friends. He’d always had his women, as I’ve had my men, but we also had each other when things went sour in our other relationships, as it always does. I suppose it was just natural that we would finally gravitate toward one another after all these years. Not that we were technically dating, or linked together by any other means, but everyone who knew us referred to us as “Rick and Liz”.
“Not right now, Rick. You can see how busy it is tonight,” waving my hand around to acknowledge the large crowd waiting in line for drinks. “Susan didn’t show up for her shift and Chad has no idea how to mix drinks.”
Susan, my longtime waitress, has trouble remember to come to work sometimes. I often wonder why I keep her around. Chad, well, Chad may be smoking’ hot, but he was only trained as the bar’s bouncer.
“Please, Liz,” Rick pleaded. “Just for a little while?” He batted his eyelashes and stuck out his bottom lip in his favorite pouty expression.
I couldn’t help smiling at his persistence. I knew that I was the only girl who would go romping through the graveyard with him. His eagerness was showing, and the begging was distracting me from my duties behind the bar.
Shouting over the roar of the blender mixing yet another strawberry margarita for the petite red-head in the corner, I conceded, “Okay, go away and I’ll meet you after I close up.”
He flashed his bright smile at me and hopped off the bar stool instantly. “Victory!” he shouted with arms raised in triumph. I rolled my eyes, switching off the blender and pouring the icy mixture into the awaiting glass. “I’ll see you later then,” he smiled, with a quick peck on my lips and a dash for the door.
I knew that I shouldn’t, but I glanced over at Adele. She was grinning like a loon, and even though she hadn’t spoken yet, I knew what she was thinking. “Don’t say it, Adele,” I pleaded.
But she did anyway.
“That boy has the hots for you more than you realize, Liz. When will you put him out of his misery and just marry the guy?” she asked with a sincerity that I imagine my mother would have if she were still alive.
“Ah, Adele. I don’t know about that. Rick enjoys having a willing fuck-buddy, but I doubt he’s the marrying type,” I replied with a wink and a smile, before mixing a Long Island Iced Tea for the next customer in line.