A Night at the Reno
A loner girl falls in love with a cowboy from across the room. this is the story of Murphy and Jenna, and how they met.
I remember the day I saw him for the first time. He wasn’t much to look at, but there was a rough beauty that wafted from his cat like grace, from the broad arrow shape of his shoulders. Skin was weathered from the sun, darkened from exposure and long days outside. Even from across the dimly lit room, I could see muscles flexing from his thighs and arms, a firmness to the slim peak of stomach that rose when he flipped off the television. A dark colored Stetson was on his head, shielding his eyes. He was wearing some thick, industrial boots normally meant for trekking through the thick brush of Montana woods, scuffed and bleached from usage. He was beautiful, so beautiful. Like a masculine nymph created from the rough grains of Persephone. Does my admiration make me Hades? He was leaning against a wall near the back door, watching both the tv and the exits.
I was only at the bar because I was bored. No one waiting for me at home except an obese cat and b rated horror movies. MY neighbor was a plucky, flight girl my age and she invited me. Amy, my neighbor, was too busy swindling some poor meathead out of his money for some more drinks. I was leaning against the bar counter, nursing a luke warm jack and coke. I wasn’t one for the fruity drinks like my friend. I kept my head low, my hair covering my face partially. From under my fringe, I saw the beautiful man eyeing the counter. His lips were twisting crookedly in a playful smile as he stood straight and did a...rather hot strut to the counter. I glanced around me. Near my left was a strikingly pretty woman with red lips and tawny hair done up in loose beach curls. She wore a snug halter top with tight as hell jeans that looked painted on. I sighed. Mister hottie wasn’t going to approach me. Why would he?
I’m short, overweight (though I have been called cute for my curves), flat brown/auburn hair and woodland-colored eyes. I wasn’t even in anything cute or sexy. An oversized cold shoulder shirt and black jeans that was starting to cut into my fluffy stomach. I have thick glasses that are super glued together and wearing a denim jacket covered in sarcastic pins. The hot guy will not look at me when a frigging goddess was next to me as well. I sipped my drink, frowning as the ice melted and watered down my beverage.
“You looking for a fun time cowboy?” the hot chick purred next to me. I bit down a growl of envy. The man was close, so close I can smell his cologne. Cinnamon and cedar. It was a manly scent. I like it. A lot.
“What'cha drinking?” He drawled out. His voice was a rough tenor, smoky and light, like a summer campfire. I felt a shiver trickle down my spine. I wanted to bottle that rough drawl.
“An Appletini.” the other chick chirped.
“I wasn’t talking to you.” wait...what? Chancing it, I looked over to see ice green eyes glistening with humor staring back at mine. His lips were twisted in a confident smirk, and his eyes were in a permanent squint; like he spent too many hours gazing at the sun. He had a scruffy little beard that covered his chin, upper lip, and some of his cheek, but despite the scruffiness, it was neat, like it was styled in that pattern.
“Uh...were you talking to...me?” I stammered, rather stupidly I might add. Mister hottie grinned, flashing clean teeth.
“Sure was.” he grinned. What the hell. I finished my drink and turned to the hot star, leaning against the bar counter. Thank you, liquid courage. I didn’t even get mad when his icy green eyes gave my body a once over. From the way his smirk grew, he liked what he saw.
“Well, do you like what you see?” I challenged. He grinned.
“I’m Murphy.” he whispered. That soft sound was mesmerizing, I love it.
“Jenna.” I whispered back.
“Can I...buy you a refill?” he asked. I smiled.
“A soda actually. I like to balance out my liquor with nonalcoholic drinks. Avoids a hangover.” I answered. Murphy grinned.
“Smart.” he was gazing into my eyes, casually overlooking my shitty glasses.
An hour has gone by, with Murphy and I talking, laughing, just enjoying each other’s company. His laugh was like a soft cackle, which seemed fitting. He like my own cackle. I always figured I sounded like a Disney witch.
“Last call!” the bartender shouted out to the remaining occupants. Startled, I looked around for Amy. She was gone. Dammit.
“Shit, my ride left.” I grumbled. Murphy scowled in thought.
“I can...give you a lift back home.” he offered. I froze, suddenly cautious. I scanned Murphy’s body language, looking for deception. I found none and relaxed.
“I would like that.” Since neither of us had a buzz going on, I followed carefully behind him to his truck. The truck was a pale sky blue, sun-bleached from toil. Spatters of mud and dried clay decorated the hood and bed in a carefree pattern. Inside the cab smelled of Menthol cigarettes and alfalfa hay. I liked the combination of the smells.
“I don’t live too far. Thank you for the ride.” Murphy smiled and turned on the radio. Since it was so late, the sound was 90% commercials from local businesses. That was fine. I guess he doesn’t like the silence, like me. Occasionally, a song came on, some rock songs that I fought not to sing along to. Murphy saw me tense from fighting the urge to sing.
“You okay?” he asked. I sighed.
“I’m fine. I like this song. Just trying not to sing along like a dumb ass.” I admitted. Murphy chuckled, amused.
“Sing along. I don’t mind. I was doing the same thing.” he admitted back. I chuckled back.
“Alright But I'll warn you...I'm not very good.” I regrettably informed. Taking a deep, slow breath, I began to sing in my scratchy voice along to Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.” My voice cracked and faded in random spots throughout the song, but Murphy was smiling, listening. He joined in after a few moments, his voice rough and low. I liked it.
Once we arrived to my apartment, Murphy sighed, forlorn.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I would like to see you again. Maybe for a coffee next time?” he asked, suddenly shy. The shift was adorable.
“I would like that.” pulling out my phone, I began to make a contact for him.
“Here. Put your number in. And I will do the same.” swapping phones, I smiled as I read his title for me: “Cute chick from The Reno.” I laughed softly through my nose.
We switched phones again, and I laughed as he placed a digital sticker on his title: “Sexy as hell cowboy from the bar.” The sticker was a little black Stetson, almost like what he was wearing now. Smiling, I gave Murphy another gaze into his icy green eyes. He gazed back; those icy eyes warm with emotion.
“I should start heading home.” he mumbled, shy and a bit depressed to part.
“...do you want to stay? We don’t have to do anything, but I can make you some tea and give you a place to sleep for the night. It’s late, and I would hate it if you fell asleep at the wheel, and something happened.” I offered. Murphy smiled.
“You just met me. Are you sure I won’t do anything?” he teased/partially cautioned. I focused on those icy eyes again, analyzing, searching.
“You're a good man, Murphy. I trust you. And if anything happens, well, we are both sober adults. Consenting adults.” I teased back, bringing up a blush from the cowboy.
“...Okay. I’ll sleep on your couch. Just your couch.” he replied. I giggled.
“You’re a good man. Come on, lets get inside.” I turned to walk up to my apartment, Murphy’s heavy boots making very little sound as he followed me.
My apartment had a lot of books all over the place, all carefully organized by theme and publishing date. Murphy let out a soft whistle, making me flinch from the sound.
“Damn, little Lady. You sure like to read.” He admitted.
“It’s a hobby.” Closing the door, and flipping the lock, I turned and smiled again at Murphy. He was already sprawling out on my beat up couch.
“Thank you. For letting me crash here.” he admitted.
“I don’t mind.”
We both fell asleep shortly after, me in my bed and Murphy on the couch.
And that was the night I met the love of my life.
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