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Lunar Liaison

Part 1

By Dominic Casey-LeePublished 26 days ago 10 min read
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Lunar Liaison
Photo by Bruno Adamo on Unsplash

Part 1 of a little scenario I dreamt up. Part 2 gets decidedly steamier...

Strangely enough, the smoker’s area isn’t that full of smoke. The brisk sea breeze brushing past the waist-high wall of painted brick might be partly responsible; but so is the fact that vapour doesn’t hang around like smoke does. Annoyingly, the region of the bar that I usually use as a refuge from too much noise is nearly as loud as inside the pub, thanks to the group of nine young men vaping at the central table. Nearly as annoying is that because they’re all vaping, it’s unlikely one of them will have a cigarette I can borrow – or just take, I guess.

I scan the area for other people I can petition for a smoke. I don’t like to be annoying by asking for cigarettes, but I didn’t anticipate wanting one. Plus, it’s a decent way to start up a conversation. A pair of middle-aged—or near enough—women in the corner are on the darts, but I can see by the packet that they’re menthols. I prefer unflavoured tobacco. I don’t want to disguise the poison I’m inhaling with even more toxicity, the same reason I don’t like vaping.

A young woman sitting alone by the wall, resting on her elbow and gazing at the moon, catches my eye. She’s smoking rollies, which is mildly problematic because I’m a terrible roller, but at least it’s real. And she’s pretty, which is a bonus. Clad in an unusual colour combination of a white button-down shirt and red pants, brown hair like varnished wood swept over one shoulder, I pause to admire her for a second before slowly making my way over.

“Hey, sorry to bother you, but might I trouble you for a cigarette?”

She exhales and blinks slowly before turning to look me up and down, “Sure.” She slides the pouch towards me.

“So, this is embarrassing, but I’m terrible at rolling,” I grimace.

She raises an eyebrow, “You want me to roll one for you, too.”

“No, just warning you in case you don’t want to suffer through watching me struggle.”

“Maybe I like watching people struggle.”

“Touche.” I set my scotch on the table and open the tobacco pouch.

“I didn’t think they served on the rocks here,” she remarks.

“I have a trustworthy face,” I reply with a sly smile, pulling out the filters and placing one in the paper. She just raises an eyebrow again and sips her beer, a cloudy golden brew I’m assuming is Coopers pale. The tobacco clings together less than usual as I extract it from the pouch and spread it along the paper valley. I shimmy the paper to get the contents into shape, then tuck the dry side underneath ready to roll—this is always the hard part for me, I can never get the paper to tuck into itself tightly enough. I can feel her eyes on me, a smirk creasing the corner of her mouth as she watches me struggle, just like she said. Finally I succeed, lick the wet side, and roll it up. Fatter at the top than the bottom, it looks a bit more like a joint than a cigarette.

She huffs, “I’m disappointed.” I look up to catch her eye. “It wasn’t as bad as I expected.”

I pull my lighter out of back pocket and inhale to get the tip to catch, “I like to set low expectations.”

“So you’ve got a lighter but no cigarettes and you roll like it’s a joint. I’m guessing you usually smoke a different substance…”

“Perhaps,” I say, taking a long drag and holding it for a few seconds before exhaling. “So, what are you doing here?”

“Here as in this pub?”

“Sure.”

“I’m here with a friend. Well, friends, I guess, but I only like one of them. I’m out here for a break from the other two.” She takes a drag and blows the smoke out her nostrils. “What about you.”

“Trying to take my mind off something.”

“What?”

“I said I’m trying to take my mind off it, not talk about it.” She looks a little taken aback. Pretty girls aren’t used to refusal. “Can you help me with that?”

She purses her lips, “I can’t tell if you’re hitting on me…”

“Trust me, I’m not.” It was open to interpretation. “You’re not my type,” I lie.

“Oh, really?” she cocks her head. “Why not?”

I glance at her outfit. “I prefer white pants, red top.” There’s nothing wrong with her outfit really. I think she pulls it off quite well actually.

She huffs in amusement, “And why’s that.”

“Because,” I pause for a sip of whisky, “That way I can see what kind of underwear you have on.”

She blinks in surprise at my forwardness, taking another drag. I’m surprised too. I didn’t know I had it in me. And I’ve only had a couple of drinks. “Well, now I am pretty sure you’re hitting on me.”

“Okay maybe I am. I lied; you are my type.” I take another drag too, hoping it will slow my heartbeat a tad. When did it get so fast? Nicotine is a stimulant, that’s not going to work. I finish my whisky, hoping I’m maintaining an air of nonchalance.

“Well, maybe if you get me one of those, I’ll entertain it,” she says, nodding towards my whisky.

“Deal,” I say, stubbing out my cigarette. “Provided I have another cigarette waiting when I get back.”

She smirks, “Alright then.”

I smile to myself as I re-enter the barroom of the pub, in a much better mood than when I left. My mind has definitely been taken off the thing. What’s the thing, you ask? Fine, I guess I’ll tell you: it’s another girl. There, that’s all you’re getting.

Arriving at the bar I see that it’s not the same barman as last time I bought a drink. He might not be as reasonable as the other guy. He does look a bit stiffer; short and clean shaven with a serious expression where his counterpart sports a rough beard, long hair and a casual confidence. I do a quick scan to see if my preferred barman is around, but I can’t see him. I guess I’ll take my chances. I lean on the bar and raise a hand to get his attention.

“Hey mate, what can I get you?”

“Two of the Glen Livet, on the rocks please.” Two might be pushing it, there’s probably a house policy against double parking. I’m unsure if that’s actually a legal thing or if it varies from bar to bar. Not for the first time I lament about how much I hate the liquor laws in Australia.

“Sorry mate, one drink per person. And I have to give you a mixer.”

I sigh inwardly. A self-fulfilling prophecy? Or was I just correct in my judgement of the guy. “It’s top shelf though, you don’t need a mixer for that, right?”

“It’s state law in New South Wales, sorry mate.”

“I don’t know if it is man. I’ve had plenty of bars serve me whisky on the rocks as long as it’s not house. Some even do it even if it is just the basic stuff. The other bartender here served me one just before.”

He gives me a flat look. “I’ll take some water on the side too, promise I’m not just gonna shoot it. If I was I wouldn’t buy the expensive stuff,” I continue.

“Alright mate, but I can still only do one.”

“The other is for someone else. She’s rolling a ciggie in the smokers’ area.”

“No can do. House policy.”

“So if I come back in here within a minute asking for another, you’re not gonna deny me because you think I’ve downed it already?”

He keeps a blank expression and there’s a few seconds’ pause. I blink slowly at his obstinance, forcing myself to stay calm. It’s not his fault, I tell myself. “Look man, I get it. I’m a bartender too,” (I actually am, not bullshitting here). “But it’s only like, nine o’clock. That kind of policy is for after midnight, or after ten, at the earliest. I know what the rules say, but use your training. You know I’m not drunk. You know if I’m ordering two on the rocks, one is for someone else because otherwise the ice is gonna melt in my other drink and it’s gonna dilute and I won’t taste it, which is why I’m not mixing in the first place.”

We stare at each other for a moment. I take my eyes off him when I see the other bartender return. He doesn’t see me though and starts stacking glasses in the washing tray. I can tell this guy is weighing it up in his mind. Better than a flat no. I consider saying something more to convince him, but I’ve exhausted my arguments. I could expound upon some points, but I don’t want to be repetitive. The main factor he’s contemplating, in my educated guess, is that if he does this for me, who else is going to start asking? I’m about to communicate my understanding of this when he finally caves.

“Ok mate,” he says reluctantly. “But don’t come asking for another two without somebody else for the other drink.”

“Fair enough. Cheers.” I pay, collect the drinks—the water too—and head back out to smokers’.

She looks my way as soon as I come through the door. “Took you long enough,” she says when I arrive at the table. There’s a perfectly rolled cigarette on my side, hers is tucked behind her ear.

“Different bartender. Had to talk him into it,” I say, depositing the drinks on the table.

“Thought you said you had a trustworthy face?”

“Do I not?” I put on my best winning smile. She smiles back, then extracts her cigarette from its perch and places it between her lips. I’m not good at describing facial features; I wouldn’t call them full, or plump, but they’re nice. Her lipstick is understated, and water resistant because it hasn’t come off on her beer glass—as a bartender I hate lipstick-stained glass—I wonder how they’d feel against mine.

“I got us some water, too. Part of my persuasion,” I say, realising I might be staring. We both take a drag, then pick up our drinks in sync. I tilt my glass towards her, eyes on hers, “Here’s to drinking responsibly.”

“Here’s to drinking recklessly,” she replies, gulping down the liquor, grimacing even before she’s tasted it. I chuckle and sip at mine. After she swallows I see pleasant surprise on her face. “That went down better than expected.”

“Come on, you think I’d buy cheap shit?” Glen Livet isn’t exactly expensive Scotch, not comparatively, but it’s smooth and easy on the palate. Especially when chilled.

“Honestly, I don’t really drink whisky.”

“Yeah, I could tell,” I tease. “And I told him we wouldn’t shoot it.”

“I can’t be held to promise I didn’t make.”

“Well, I actually said I wouldn’t shoot it, so I guess I kept my word.”

We sit in silence then for time, smoking and staring at the sky. Light clouds drift across the sky. Though the moon is semi-circle, the stars are dim from the streetlights. “Is the moon half-full or half-empty?” I ask, seeing where her eyes are focused.

She gives me a bemused look, “Third quarter.” She takes a deep drag and a long exhale. “It’s for letting go.”

“Seems appropriate.”

“You’re getting over someone, aren’t you?”

“Very perceptive.”

“How long ago?”

I heave a sigh, “Still don’t want to talk about it.”

She bites her lip, keeping herself from pressing me. “You can’t let go if you don’t let yourself feel it.”

“I know. And I will. In my own time.”

“That’s good.”

I take a final drag and put out my cigarette, then down my Scotch. “I feel like getting my feet wet. Care to join me?”

“Good idea.”

We both get up and walk out through the barroom. I see a trio of young women on the dancefloor look towards us, her friends. They’re all wearing tight dresses or skirts and are heavily made up. They’re attractive, sure, but I know out of all of them she’s the pick of the bunch. Out of the whole damn pub.

She makes a walking gesture with her hands and motions towards the door with her head. One of the girls nods, giving her a thumbs up and an enthusiastic expression. Glad to see I’ve got the nod of approval. As we step out onto the street, I realise how small she is, the top of her head barely reaching my shoulder. I imagine picking her up and holding her while we lock eyes and put our foreheads together, then shake my head to clear away the image. Pleasant as it is, I don’t like to get ahead of myself.

The breeze has died down as the night matured, and the air is pleasant, but not warm. We take off our shoes at the beginning of the sandy track leading to the beach. She kicks off her beige sandals easily, I put on foot up on my knee to untie my sneakers, balancing on one leg. I put a hand on her shoulder too, though I don’t really need to; I just want to touch her. She stands strong and holds my arm to lend support.

Barefoot, we trudge through the fine, loose sand out onto the beach. The tide is halfway out and still receding. When the ground starts to firm beneath our feet, she starts skipping towards the waves. I jog to catch up, though not too fast; I’m enjoying the way her lean legs launch her upward gracefully, and the way her long hair floats as she descends. She lets out a laugh, and I find myself smiling like an idiot too. She stops at the edge of the water to roll up the legs of pants, which flare, or loosen, rather, after hugging the tops of her toned calves. I stoop to roll up my jeans too. We stand shoulder to shoulder, staring out to sea as the next wave rushes over our feet. When it rushes back out, pulling the sand from under my feet, she takes my hand in a light hold.

“Thank you,” she says simply.

I look to her, seeing that she’s looking at me too. I wish there was more light so I could see the colour of her eyes, but regardless they gleam gloriously in the moonlight. I smile a small, warm smile. “Thank you,” I reply in kind.

The corner of her mouth curls playfully, “I kind of want to get in.”

I grin back, “Me too.”

beauty
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About the Creator

Dominic Casey-Lee

Ecclectic, erotic, enigmatic. Exploring the mysteries of our existence through words, and hopefully providing some entertainment along the way.

Here you'll find excerpts from my fantasy project, stories, poems and general rambling.

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