“So, what is it? What’s got you staring at me across the room without a word to say until now?”
Oona took a sip from her drink as she waited for the man’s answer.
They had been bantering for a short while. She approached him and asked if he minded some company. He didn’t object. Men usually don’t when she approaches them, although it is a rare occurrence.
The conversation was odd to her. There were no pleasantries or introductions. No attempt was made inquiring on her availability or current activities, but at the same time he was pleasant and inviting. He seemed to enjoy her company and was quick with a response to anything she said.
“I’d venture to guess you’re used to men staring at you,” he smiled and hovered his drink below his lips.
“I am,” she smiled with her lips on her glass.
“And often, I’m sure, they’ve lost to ability to form words.”
Oona raised her glass and nodded slightly before resting it on the table.
“But I don’t care about them. I want to know about you. The man who has yet to introduce himself. The man who doesn’t make eye contact the entire time, but not because he’s shy but because he’s somewhat over confident. The man who has yet to offer me another drink, a night cap in his room or breakfast the next morning. I want to know something about this man, in particular.”
He nodded and smiled as he rested his drink next to hers, “and if he answers that you’ll have to tell him what brought you over here to sit next to that man and carry on a conversation with him for this long. He doesn’t think that happens often with you.”
“He’s right, it doesn’t. And she might answer that, if his answer is intriguing enough.”
The man smiled and dipped his head slightly in a soft laugh to himself. He shifted his weight and position so it was facing her in an engaging way. His left knee bent and resting on the couch with his left arm leaning over the back of it.
“This man. Me. I’ve been here a few nights this week actually. The first night was Tuesday. On Tuesday I sat over there,” he pointed to a table in the corner of the lounge against the wall.
“And while I was sitting over there on Tuesday around 10, I noticed a beautiful woman come in and sit down at the bar. She ordered a drink and had conversations with the men sitting next to her and the bartender. She had a roaring laugh. She was captivating and I tried my hardest to keep my eyes from burning a hole in her dress.”
He picked up his drink and threw back a quick gulp of whatever liquid remained in it and rested the glass on his knee.
“On Wednesday night I took up the same seat at the same table. Partially out of my penchant for not wanting to be noticed, and partially out of superstition.”
“Superstition for what?” Oona asked.
“Whether she would come back or not the next night.”
“Did she,” she smiled at him and leaned forward slightly as if he were telling her a secret.
“She did. She absolutely did. My budding obsession wasn’t helped any either. That night she was wearing a red dress that was made from material which was close relatives of some of my favorite lingerie pieces. She looked as if she had come back from a fancy art gala or awards ceremony. Only there was a problem,” he lowered his head and leaned into her lean and played on her whisper receiving position.
“What was it?” Her voice played along, almost by accident.
“She didn’t sit at the bar. I couldn’t see her after she walked in. Being a man who doesn’t like commotion and being noticed I thought that getting up to move to have better viewing of this goddess of a woman would be too much, so I accepted my fate and took the glance that I was given and turned in early that night.”
“Poor you. That must have devastated you, not being able to ogle her all night again,” Oona’s voice was mockingly sympathetic.
“I was crushed,” he nodded back, “but I survived. Although it took an extra day to feed the survival. My Thursday did not lend itself to ogling and I was unable to look upon this beauty for the third day in the row. I had to wait until Friday to see her again and she did not disappoint.”
“Was she dressed in a royal gown, tiara while brandishing a scepter this time?” Oona tilted her head in a crook while staring into his eyes.
“No, no. She in a skirt, a blouse and some elegant heels with her hair done in a tight and professional manner. A business woman, a princess and bawdy laughter. She was a dream. I took this couch on Friday night, the one we’re sitting on right now. It has a better view of the entire lounge and, if she were so concerned, it seems a bit more inviting than a table in the corner.”
“True. Pretty girls aren’t drawn to dark tables in corners with men they’ve never met.”
“Her demeanor was more reserved last night, Friday night. She seemed tired. Perhaps from the day. Maybe from the week. Her smile was still bright but she was subdued.”
“She seemed to fair well.”
“No, I meant you,” Oona placed her hand on his knee, “you waited an entire extra night to see her and she wasn’t putting on her show for you. It must have been tragically disappointing.”
The man smiled at her and bit his lower lip. He shook his head and then looked Oona in the eyes.
He nodded, laughing softly to himself once more, “again.”
She stared at him, waiting for the story to finish.
“So, she never joined me. I don’t believe we exchanged a glance at all really. She left early that night and I did shortly after her. Which brings us to tonight.”
“Which brings us to tonight,” she repeated.
“What time is it?”
Oona pulled her phone from her purse to check, “nearly midnight.”
The man pointed at the bar, “do you see the woman with the blonde hair in the black dress?”
Oona turned to look at the bar and noticed a beautiful woman sitting at the bar carrying on a conversation with two men, one on either side of her.
“She came in at nearly the same time you did. I watched you both sit down and order drinks. I watched you both get comfortable and carry on with whatever purposes you have being here. I watched you both, carefully, for about fifteen minutes when my initial intention was to stare at this blonde woman at the bar for the entirety of my night. As time went on my attention turned more and more to you. Your dark hair and your green dress. Your blue eyes and your red lips.”
He paused and stared at her for a moment. He was waiting for a reaction. She didn’t want to give him one because if she spoke she might have cracked.
“Mmhmm?” This was all she could muster, with a slight head nod.
“I’m not comparing you two woman. You’re both beautiful. Stunning in your own way. I don’t find her any less enthralling tonight then I did the previous nights. But you, you make me want to let you notice me.”
Oona cleared her throat, “and then what?”
“I’d ask you to be my muse.”
“What does that mean?” She shook her head gently.
“To let me stare at you and your beauty. To let me use the inspiration you stir in me to create my own beauty with words. To embody every passionate, lust-filled, craving of your sexuality in each drop of ink I spill. To immortalize you as desire.”
Oona didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t sure how to respond to something so intense and personal. All she could do was stare at him with her hand still on his knee and try to keep her lip from quivering.
“I’m sorry if that answer was a little forward. I hope it was intriguing enough though,” he smiled again.
“Intriguing enough for what?”
“For you to tell me what brought you over here.”
“Oh,” she laughed a little to herself, “I was just hoping you would buy me a drink and I’d see where it went from there.”
“How’s it going then?”
“A little awkward now,” she gave a tight lipped grin while holding her empty glass.
“Is it? Is that a no to my question then?”
“What question was that?”
“Would you be my muse?”
“What is it I have to do?”
“Absolutely nothing,” he took her hand in his and stared in her eyes, “just be yourself and let me witness it.”