Romance. AU One-shot. Inspired by George Strait's "The Chair."
"What'll it be?"
"Bourbon, on the rocks," she tells the bartender as she scoots onto the only empty stool at the bar.
He hurries away to make her drink, and she takes the time to glance around the overly crowded building. Seeing no one she recognizes, she faces forward again, smiling her thanks when the bartender slides her drink down the table.
Someone somewhere behind her clears his throat.
She fingers her glass, takes a long, slow sip.
"Excuse me," a man says, closer.
She swallows, appreciating the slight burn as the bourbon slips down her throat.
Someone taps her on the shoulder.
She whirls around, the liquid sloshing in her glass, the ice tinkling against it.
Rough hands reach out to steady her.
He stares back.
"Can I," she asks, fully aware that his hands still lightly grip her upper arms, "help you?"
The man leans back and shoves his hands into his jean pockets. "Yeah. That's my seat."
She blinks. "Oh."
Nodding, he explains, "Went to the bathroom. Must've left right as you came in."
"I'm sorry, it's just that I didn't see anything here..."
He shrugs. "Hadn't ordered anything yet."
"Were you—are you waiting for someone?"
"Nah, it's just me." A pause. "You?"
She shakes her head, then, "Here, I can go somewhere else—"
He smiles. "There is no somewhere else. I don't mind standing."
"A drink then?" She is insistent.
"Alright. Just a beer."
She gets the bartender's attention and orders it.
"Sure." She smiles. "So do you come here often?"
"Yeah, but not so often that I'm a regular."
"I've been here a few times before. But it's never been this busy."
"A few times?" He looks her over. "I'm surprised." His beer comes then, and he takes a drink.
He shrugs like it is obvious. "You look like you belong in a classy bar or club. Someplace more...not like this." He jerks his chin at the noisy, unruly crowd.
She grins. "Well, my friend Ino has tried to get me to go clubbing with her, but I haven't yet."
"Is she the one who dared you to dye your hair pink?"
Now she laughs. "No, no, it's natural."
"Natural, huh?" He hides a smirk.
She nods. "It used to be bubble-gum pink when I was really young, but thankfully it's turned a shade softer."
"It fits you. Unique."
She fairly glows. "You have a pretty unique hair color, too, assuming it's natural, of course," she teased.
"It's just gray, and it makes me look old and dull." He sets his beer on the bar.
"No, it's silver. And anyone who thinks you're old and dull must be old and dull himself." She studies his face. "You can't be any more than thirty-five, and besides, you've got a scar over one eye. All that, plus your silver hair, makes you look very dashing."
"Dashing. I can go with that," he says, watching as she averts her eyes by taking a drink.
Suddenly her green eyes swing back to him. "I like you," she says bluntly.
He grins. "I like you, too."
"Isn't that weird?" she muses. "I haven't known you for even ten minutes, but...I like you. And you like me."
"It is weird," he agrees. "But then again, it's not. Things like this probably happen all the time."
"Yes, probably." She is silent a moment. "I just realized—what's your name?"
"Hi, Kakashi, I'm Haruno Sakura." She laughs a little, holds out her hand.
He holds out his own, takes hers in it. He steps closer, her hand still in his. "Do you have a ride?"
She looks down at their hands, looks up at him. "I think I do."
He smiles and releases her hand, slowly. "Are you ready to go?"
She nods and reaches for her purse.
"Don't worry," he says, already putting a few bills on the bar, "I've got it."
"But," she protests, "I took your seat."
"About that," he begins to lead her toward the exit, his hand on the small of her back, "it wasn't really my seat."