Last night when he walked into my bar, I just knew.
He smiled, I smiled.
Usually, when I see an attractive man before me, I go to great lengths to avoid eye contact. My humor dissipates (whether I'm funny to anyone other than myself is beside the point).
The wit that commonly flows so naturally is stilted when a handsome beau is in my immediate radius. I tend to ignore such types, ultimately deciding if I think they are good-looking they know they are good-looking, and it's certainly not my place to go boosted already inflated egos.
The guy last night was handsome in a probably-hasn't-been-hot-his-whole-life kind of way. Maybe he was a fat kid or better yet, the extremely skinny guy who has recently been introduced to Creatine and weight-training. Mr. Foxy has probably had to rely on being a nice guy the greater portion of his existence, so now this gift from God -- this sudden ability to attract girls -- still surprises him.
He was confidently clumsy, an adorable and rare quality. This simple observation made me less afraid of him.
I placed myself before him, protected by the bar that stood between us.
"Hi," I said, smiling carefully as not to show my gums. "How are you?"
"Living the dream, you know?" He placed his elbows on the bar and leaned in with practiced confidence. I got caught in the rain and I hate my job...but I won my tennis match last night, so I've got that going for me."
"Well, you didn't melt. And from the safety of the indoors, it looked like a beautiful summer sprinkle. There are worse things to get caught in. So, let's celebrate your athleticism, shall we?"
"And while we are at it, the full moon that the summer sprinkle left behind."
"Full moon and I'm stuck behind a bar. Who's the unlucky one now? What are you drinking, young man?"
This is my new favorite term of endearment for men of all ages. It has the dual effect of flattery with just a hint of charm. He smiled, displaying an almost perfect row of teeth.
"How about a...I don't know why I'm even hesitating here. I'll have a Martini...let's use..."
"Grey Goose, obviously," I said, reaching for the bottle.
"You probably know more than me. I'm not a very big drinker. But if I'm going to drink, then... "
"Then you want to make it worth your while. I get it. Olives or twist? Olives." I answered for him, stabbing three with a bamboo skewer.
I emptied the shaker into his glass and surprised myself by almost mastering a perfect pour. I slid the martini glass across the bar and before I had a chance to piece together a flirty yet guarded statement, he reached for the stem of the glass. As his fingers purposefully grazed mine he said, "Thank you, young lady."
I blushed. I've only recently learned how much I like to hear my own language thrown back at me.
"Can I start a tab? I'm meeting some friends here later."
"Of course", I answered quickly, taken slightly off guard.
My bar is relatively small and commonly stocked full of regulars, so starting a tab is usually unnecessary. But because of my interest in his last name, which I may one day share, I accepted. He handed me his American Express, flashing those ivories it took only minutes to love.
His eyes fell to his Blackberry. I slipped his card into my back pocket and topped off a couple of glasses of Rose for the ladies at the end of the bar.
"This gentlemen insists I buy you two ladies a round," I said, nudging my head in the direction of the beautiful stranger.
The shared expression on their faces confirmed I was not alone in thinking he was pretty. Sometimes I mistake Kevin Federline types for being good-looking, so it's never a bad idea for me to get a second opinion. I blame this tendency on the Mississippi in me.
My beau was engrossed with his Blackberry, giving me ample time to study his features. His square jaw and perfectly placed eyebrows combined with the hard angles in my face and pointed upper lip could make for some captivating offspring.
In efforts to keep myself busy, I wiped the bar and picked up a few glasses, careful to showcase my arms, which were freshly toned in yoga class only hours ago.
Suddenly, I remembered his credit card was tucked away in my back pocket. I pranced, much like a Shetland pony, over to the cash register to learn my new last name.
I flipped over his AMEX. It read: D. Jeter.
Kerri Amber Jeter...Mrs. Jeter? Eh. We can do better.
With that, I closed out his tab, anxious to see who might be lurking at my bar tomorrow. If you saw it once, you can see it again, right?
Real love stories never have endings.