I’d been living in San Francisco since I was eighteen. I decided to strike out on my own. My dad was an old military man that didn’t agree with shit that I wanted. Mom wasn’t happy with the move from Colorado, but I was an adult. I packed up my old station wagon and set out toward the west. That was just over four years ago. I’d found a job I enjoyed, that mostly meant I met a lot of women, and I had a stable place to live. It was good.
I was actually just outside of San Francisco near Redwood City. My job was closer to the City, though. I worked at a local bowling alley as a bartender. It was a mecca for pretty girls. I got all the free alcohol I could handle, and good drugs were easy to come by if I was interested. I smoke a little pot, but rarely dabbled in anything harder. I’d watched too many of my buddies take a nosedive after getting into harder shit.
I was behind the bar with Longshadow, a Native American man, that had a sense of humor that left me in stitches most nights, when Hadley walked in. She was a regular. I’d hit on her once, but she was more interested in the Jim Morrison look alike that had been playing pool. She was a cool chick. What caught my eye was the girl with her. She looked a lot like Hadley, but she seemed a lot more… innocent. She had pretty, long blonde hair that flowed down her back. She had curves for days. Man…
“Hello, ladies,” I smiled when they took a seat at the end of the bar. “What can I get for you?” I knew Hadley liked a whiskey sour.
“Hi, handsome. I’ll take the usual,” Hadley answered. She glanced at the girl she was with and said, “She’s underage. Is that a problem?”
“Hadley,” the girl hissed and elbowed her in the arm.
It should have been but as long as no one else found out I didn’t have an issue with it. I leaned over the counter so I could whisper, “Your secret is safe with me, beautiful. You drinkin’ the same as Hadley?”
“Yes,” she answered, a blush quickly creeping up her slender neck. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. You new to town?” I stepped back to grab two glasses. I picked up a mixer and started to fill it with lemon juice, a little simple syrup and the whiskey.
“I am. I just got here today,” she answered.
“Sookie’s visiting for the summer,” Hadley supplied. “Sookie, Eric is the best bartender west of the Golden Gate.”
“You flatter me,” I winked. I put the top on the shaker to mix the drink. I popped the top off so I could pour the drinks, garnishing them with cherries and a lemon wedge. I added a few extra cherries on the new girl’s drink. “Here you go. First round’s on me.”
“Aren’t you as sweet as Gran’s porch tea,” Sookie said with a little smile. She took the drink and ignored Hadley’s giggling as she took a sip. Sookie coughed a little after she swallowed. “Wow… burns a little.”
“Take it slow,” I told her. I guessed she hadn’t had a lot to drink in her day. I wasn’t sure how young she was… I may have had to change plans, not that I really had one yet. I got her a glass of water, setting it next to her whiskey sour.
“I think that’s the first time I heard you tell a girl to take it slow,” Hadley teased.
“Hey, I can be a gentleman,” I chuckled. “How young are you?” I asked Sookie.
I nodded. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get involved with someone under eighteen. “Where are you from? Your sweet little accent tells me somewhere down south.”
“Louisiana,” Sookie answered. She took another sip of the whiskey sour. Hadley leaned over and whispered something to her that made Sookie almost spit that sip out.
I didn’t want to know.
“I’ll leave you pretty girls alone for a while. Let me know when you’re ready for another.”
The bar wasn’t very big so it wasn’t like I was going far. I could feel their eyes on me when I turned to walk over to Longshadow. He was an old hippie that smoked about a pound of weed a day.
When I turned around so I could lean against the back part of the bar and watch I could see Hadley and Sookie looking at me out of the corner of my eye. I was a decent enough looking guy. I wasn’t the cocky type that thought I could get any woman I wanted on looks alone. I had to put in work. Usually.
“What do you think of the pretty blonde with Hadley?” I asked Longshadow when he stepped up next to me. He wasn’t the type to blatantly check out women with me. That was more Rasul’s forte. We could get pretty crass when it was just the two of us. He was off for the night, which meant he was in the City probably in the middle of an orgy. Rasul did not discriminate when it came to sexual partners. I was a little more picky.
“I think you’ll be lucky if you can pry her knees apart,” he answered.
“I don’t think I’ll have a problem. She’s already all blushy when I flirt,” I chuckled. When I looked at her again I caught her eye and gave her a wink. The blush moved up her chest all the way to her cheeks. She was cute.
“That’s trouble,” Longshadow said beside me. “If her old man gets ahold of you…”
“Her old man is in Louisiana,” I shrugged. I wasn’t the heartbreaker type. If I went home with a woman she knew it was going to be one time. If Sookie was going to be around for the summer I wouldn’t have minded getting a little deeper invol– damnit, she was too young for me. I had to stop.
“Then what are you over here talking to me for, kemosabe?”
“I don’t want to scare her off,” I chuckled. “Plus, she’s a little younger than I’m used to.” I had a thing for older women.
“True. She has all her own teeth.”
“Shut up,” I laughed, smacking Longshadow’s shoulder. I didn’t like my women that old. I just liked someone a little more experienced. It was highly likely Sookie was a virgin. I couldn’t remember the last time I was with a virgin.
All the same, I walked back over to the girls and leaned against the bar in front of them. It was hard to take my eyes off of Sookie. She had one of those classic beauty looks that I was drawn to.
“You ladies doing okay over here?” I directed my question at Sookie.
“So far so good,” Sookie answered in that sweet southern lilt of hers.
“I think I’m going to go talk to Al,” Hadley said.
“I’ll keep Sookie company,” I promised.
“Have fun.” Hadley slid off her stool and slipped into the crowd.
“So, sweet Sookie, do you have a boyfriend back in Louisiana?” I asked. I stepped back so I could start to mix a second drink for Sookie. I had my own glass of whiskey sitting under the counter I’d been sipping on.
“No, I don’t,” she answered.
“Probably for the best if you’re going to be here for the summer,” I smiled. I poured Sookie’s second drink in a glass and slid it across the counter to her. I pulled my glass from behind the counter so I could take a sip. “Hadley hasn’t mentioned you before.” On slower nights Hadley and I usually spent most of the evening talking. We weren’t the best of friends but I considered her a pretty good friend.
“We aren’t very close. She moved away when I was seven, so I really only know her through the few letters we’ve exchanged since then,” Sookie explained.
“Gotcha,” I nodded. “She’s probably going to get you into all kinds of messes you never expected to be in,” I warned. Hadley was a cool chick but she could be trouble. She was all about the free love movement. I wasn’t sure sweet Sookie knew what she was getting herself into with Hadley.
“Well, I reckon that’s part of why I’m here for the summer, not that Daddy’s happy about that,” she said with a little laugh.
“I just wanted to make sure you know what you’re getting into.” Her accent was so damn cute. When I looked at her I tried to not imagine all the dirty things I’d love to do to her but it was hard.
When she finished her first drink I took the glass to place on the rack to get washed. I looked down the bar at Longshadow and said, “I’m going to take a break.” I got a thumbs up so I refilled my whiskey and walked around the bar to sit next to Sookie, taking Hadley’s seat.
“So… are you from San Francisco?” she asked me.
“No, I’ve been here about four years. I hopped in my old car when I was eighteen and started driving west from Denver, Colorado. I ended up here when I had to stop and get a job because I ran out of money. I’ve stayed here since,” I explained. I took a sip of my whiskey.
“So you like it here then, I guess?”
“I do. I’ve thought about going further south to Monterey. I like the ocean,” I smiled. “I have a pretty good gig here. I have a good job, good friends, and a comfortable place to live.” I handed her my glass and asked, “Wanna try straight whiskey?”
“I think I better work my way up to that,” she laughed. “It’s been a big day for me. My aunt had me try pot earlier today.”
I chuckled and asked, “How’d you like it?” I took another sip. I didn’t get as drunk if I took my time with it.
“I coughed my fool head off,” she admitted.
“I did too the first time I smoked,” I said so she knew she wasn’t the only one. “I thought I was going to lose a lung. I like the way I felt later, though, so I did it again. I don’t smoke too much pot, but I do every now and then.”
“I don’t think I got enough of it to really feel anything.”
“You think you want to try it again?” I looked around the bar to make sure Longshadow didn’t need me. Nope. A few more people seemed to have filtered in but it was nothing he couldn’t handle.
Sookie thought about it for a few seconds. She grabbed her drink and quickly put down the rest of what was in her glass.
“Let’s go. I mean, if you can.” There went that blush again.
“I can,” I smiled. I finished off my whiskey and slid off of the barstool. I reached out my hand for Sookie. When she took it I led her through the employee door to go to the office. I knew Longshadow kept a stack of joints lined up like cigarettes back there.
Once we were inside I closed the door behind us and reached up to open the window. I didn’t want to take her outside to smoke. It was still illegal but the owner of the bowling alley, Vic, was a big fat pot head so he didn’t mind if we smoked on the clock.
“If you want we can try it a different way so you don’t cough so hard,” I offered. If I inhaled and blew the smoke into her mouth it wouldn’t be near as bad… I also wanted to feel her lips on mine.
“Sure.” The whiskey was doing its part to relax her a little.
“This will be a lot more enjoyable, I promise.” I put the joint to my lips and grabbed the lighter off the counter. I kept my eyes on hers as I lit it, taking a few short puffs to get it going. I blew the smoke out and then took a longer hit. I held in the smoke for a few seconds before letting it out. “Next time I’m going to exhale into your mouth,” I told her. “When I do, inhale, okay?”
“Okay,” she agreed.
I took another hit. Before blowing it out I leaned down, pressing my lips to Sookie’s. When her lips parted I slowly blew the smoke into her mouth so she could inhale it. I reached up with my free hand to rub it up and down her bare arm as she inhaled. She coughed a little, but not as violently as she probably did earlier. When Sookie opened her eyes, there was a little smile that turned up her lips.
“Much better,” she said.
“I like it,” I replied. “You have incredibly soft lips, Sookie.” My hand was still on her shoulder. I was going to leave it there until she shrugged me away.
“So do you,” she replied. Her blue eyes drifted to my mouth. “They’re pretty. Is that weird?”
“I don’t think so. I think you have beautiful lips. Everything I can see of you is beautiful,” I admitted. I was sure everything I couldn’t see was beautiful too.
“You probably know it, but these are Hadley’s clothes,” she said. She still wasn’t backing up or pushing me away from her.
“I didn’t know.” After mentioned it the outfit did look familiar. “It looks fantastic on you.” My hand drifted up her shoulder to her slender neck. “Have you ever kissed a boy, Sookie?” I whispered, leaning down slowly.
“Once,” she whispered.
“Would you mind if I kissed you now?” My eyes flicked up to hers from her pretty lips.
“I wouldn’t mind at all.”
I closed the gap, pressing my lips to hers. I closed my eyes as the peck lingered. I licked the seam of her lips, requesting entrance after a few seconds. When Sookie’s lips parted I gently slid my tongue into her mouth, rubbing it against hers. I could tell she was inexperienced, but it wasn’t bad. Her tongue was soft, just as her lips were.
She tried to keep up with me, but the kiss ended much sooner than I would have liked it to. Right away she apologized. “Sorry… I couldn’t breathe,” she explained.
“It’s fine,” I smiled. “It was good. You want to try to breathe through your nose.” I gently rubbed the back of her neck. “Want more?” I held up the joint so she knew what I was talking about.
“Yeah,” she nodded. Her pretty lips parted for me in anticipation.
I took another hit, inhaling it slowly. I dipped my head to exhale into her mouth again. I pulled back just enough for her to suck in the smoke. I planned on kissing her again so I didn’t go too far. That time when she inhaled, there was no coughing. She held the smoke for a few seconds before she exhaled it as well.
I kissed her again in the cloud of smoke surrounding us. I dropped the joint on the concrete floor and stomped it out with my foot. Kissing Sookie was a lot more important than a joint. I brought my other hand up to run it through her hair as our tongues danced. As soon as I felt her tense up from lack of breath I pulled away a little, allowing her to while my lips skimmed along her jaw to her ear.
“I could get used to kissing you,” I purred into her ear. My hands was still in her hair as the other rubbed down her arm.
“I could get used to it too,” she whispered back.
“Do you have plans tomorrow night?” I pulled back so I could look into her pretty blue eyes. I didn’t want to rush her and invite her home after we closed. She was also intoxicated. I didn’t want her to regret anything we did.
“Not yet,” she answered.
“You interested in seeing me?”
“Yes,” she answered without hesitation.
“I’m interested in seeing you too,” I smiled. I pressed my lips to hers again. This time as we kissed I slowly backed her up toward the desk. When her butt bumped it I lifted her up to set her on the old oak table.
She made a little noise and finally her hands settled on my chest. Her lips parted again to let me back into her mouth, and when her tongue touched mine it was with a little more confidence than before.
I dropped my hands to her thighs, lifting them a little to hook them on my hips. Kissing Sookie was something I wanted to get used to. I knew I kept telling myself she was too young but the way she was responding to me was very adult. I would take her on a date the next night to see how we got along sober. For the time being I was going to enjoy kissing the pretty blonde with the soft lips.