Behind Blue Eyes

Posted: December 2, 2008 in Beauty, City, Cowboy, Crime, Culture, Dark, Death, Devil, Drama, Fiction, Imagery, Life, Love, Night, Rural, Snippet, Women

Mmmmm, she muses. He looks exciting.
Susie almost sighs, her chin propped up by her hand, eyes bright and wide as she stares at the man sitting at the end of the bar. Dwelling over his every move, wondering if his casual glances up the bar are for her or the TV. He raises a hand and she blinks. He’s saying something.
“Another beer please, miss…”
She shakes her head and smiles dreamily at the Southern lilt in his voice as she saunters over to him, curling her fingers around the handle of his mug and lifting it up into her hands. She keeps her eyes cast demurely down as beer sloshes into the mug, foaming up into a heady white froth that caps the dark lager below. She balances the heavy mug carefully in her hands as she walks back to the man. She does not set it down before him, but holds it out for him to take in his hands. Rough, callused fingers graze her dainty schoolgirl hands, and she catches her breath to keep her from making a tiny noise.
He smiles slowly, lazily at her, drawing the mug back and setting it before him. He does not drink it, nor even look at it; his gaze is focused on Susie’s eager, bright-eyed demeanor. Reaching down to take his mug in his hand without looking at it, he takes a deep swig. Lightning-blue stare set dead on Susie’s brown doe eyes, he does not blink. Susie becomes nervous, intensity mounting between them, something dark and unmanageable. She looks down.
“You’re embarrassin’ me, mister…you ought not stare at a girl like that.”
He grins, teeth white and flashing in the dark bar. He takes another draft of his beer, wiping his mouth and leaning forward. “I ain’t starin’ at a girl, missie. I’m starin’ at a pretty lady.”
She blushes hot crimson and fingers the hem of her blouse, unable to look at the man. A little smile tugs at the corners of her mouth, and she whispers a quiet “thank you” to the floor.
“I’m right here, honey. Ain’t no reason to not look at me.”
She looks up at him and the smile breaks free of reluctance. “Thank you, mister. That’s very sweet of you to say.”
He snorts a little with laughter, grinning wickedly up at her. “The truth ain’t never sweet, honey.”
She smiles again.
“What’s your name, sugar?” He nods at her, taking another sip of his beer.
“Susie,” she breathes quietly, feeling a little light-headed.
“That’s a good name, Susie. I like it.”
She giggles a little, foolishly, feeling more red flushing her cheeks. She struggles to meet the lightning-blue eyes again, smiling nervously.
“What’s yours?”
He nods slowly, finally looking away from her to take a long, deep drink of his beer, draining it down to a thin layer of foam at the bottom.
“Ain’t got a name, honey.”
“Everybody’s got a name,” she says teasingly.
“Why honey, who told you that?”
“My momma.”
“Well, hell, you’re lucky you had a momma to tell you such a thing. Ain’t nobody ever told me I needed a name.”
She doesn’t say anything, but draws a rag up from behind the counter and begins to nonchalantly polish the bar in front of her. She gazes into the dark wood, drawing the rag against the dim surface.
“Where you from?” she asks the bar.
“Round about Alabama way, miss Susie.”
“Why’d you come to Virginia? Coming up to see a girlfriend?” She smiles almost devilishly at him.
“Aw, no, nothin’ like that. I ain’t got a girlfriend, miss Susie. I’m just a travellin’ sort of man.”
“You a bum?” she asks jokingly, a hand planted on her hip. “Some sorta vagrant?”
“Somethin’ like that, I suppose…” He slides his beer over, fixing that same lightning-blue gaze on her, ratcheting the intensity up a notch. “Why, you worried I ain’t gonna pay for my beer?”
“Oh no, mister, you seem like too much of a gentleman to do that. I would never presume such a thing.”
“Well, you’re right not to worry about that, sugar, because I’ve got money.” He slides his hands across the counter, close to the dainty schoolgirl hands that Susie is desperately forcing to stay still.
“Oh really?” Susie asks, trying not to stutter in nervousness. “What exactly is it that you do to earn your money?”
He shrugs, gives her that same slow, easy smile, leaning forward. “I find things.”
“You find things.”
“Yes ma’am.”
“What kind of ‘things’?”
That slow, easy smile. A slight sniff as he reaches for his beer and takes a long pull on the dark, foamy liquid, his eyes locked lazily on hers. He finishes the beer and slides it in front of her.
“One more for the road, I think.”
“You leavin’ so soon?” Susie says playfully, taking his mug and slipping it underneath the tap to fill it a third time.
He laughs again, stretches back along the bar like a cat. “I’m always leavin’. That’s why I ain’t got no girl. I don’t stay long in any place.”
“That so?” she muses, setting the third beer in front of him. “That’s too bad.”
“Aw, honey, you’re makin’ me blush.” He grins at her over the top of the beer and takes another sip. His eyes flicker for a fraction of an instant to the mirror hanging back behind the bar. “But I bet you wouldn’t be sayin’ that if you knew me well.”
“Why?” she whispers, leaning casually in front of him. “You a bad man?”
In response, he brings up a pistol from out of nowhere, the long, silver barrel steadily winking at Susie’s widening eyes. Before she can draw herself back from the bar and scream for help, however, the man swivels around and three shots ring out.
A couple minutes later, the man leans over the bar and grins down at her, chuckling.
“Sugar, I just saved your life. The least you could do is thank me.”
Shaking, Susie just stares at him. The long barreled silver Colt .44 pistol is still held loosely in his hands, and he shoves it back into his jeans, extending a hand to help her up. She stares at his hand like a frightened dog being offered a piece of meat, then takes it gingerly. He helps her up gently, and her eyes widen again.
Behind the man, the window is broken, three spiderwebbed holes playing together in a close triangle along the splintered pane. Lying on the ground outside the bar is a large, beefy stranger with a bad sunburn and dark, stringy hair splayed around his head. A small .32 caliber pistol lays careless next to his stiff fingers. The black stains of blood are a sharp contrast with his bright blue denim shirt.
Susie’s eyes are the size of shooter marbles by now, and she turns to the man, her mouth hanging open. The man just looks at her.
He smiles, the slow, easy smile once again, leans over to her ear.
“I found what I was looking for.”
He kisses her once, grazing her cheek with rough lips, then leaves her standing shell-shocked, clutching onto her apron and staring at the half-finished beer sitting on the bar.

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