Valentine’s Day Sucks
“Come and dance!”
Cole shook his head adamantly as he was almost dragged off his stool. No, he wasn’t going to dance. Right now, he was happy propping up the bar and drowning his Valentine blues in numerous vodka shots and the occasional beer.
“Please. Please. Please.”
Oh, for the love of… Cole lowered his glass and swung around to face the irritating, loved-up blob of joy he called his friend. “Quince,” he grabbed his friend by the shoulders. “No,” he said firmly.
“Aww, come on,” Quince whined, raising his voice above the music. “You promised!”
Cole was pretty sure he’d done no such thing. He’d agreed to leave the house and play third – no, wait. He looked at the group of guys he was out with. Seemed like his role this evening was seventh wheel. He watched the two couples move closer to each other on the dance floor, and Quince’s boyfriend hung awkwardly at the edge of the group, waiting for Quince to return.
“You need to come and dance.”
Was Quince looking for a slap? “I can’t.” Cole shook his head. He wasn’t in the mood. Pulling a pathetic face, he was relieved as Quince finally admitted defeat and bounded back toward his boyfriend. He watched for a moment as the two men embraced and kissed, before separating to bounce in time to Beyoncé’s Crazy in Love.
Cole spun back around to face the bar and stared up at the unfamiliar face. Where did the other barman go? With a sigh, Cole nodded. “Sure.”
The barman smiled and leaned forward. “What are you having?”
Resting his arms on the bar in front of him, Cole sat up in his seat and let the stool swing slightly as he twisted it with his feet. The guy was cute. “Vodka, neat. Make it a double.” He watched as the barman half-filled the short glass with crushed ice and then poured in the vodka. “Just a double,” he called as he noticed the extra two shots the barman added.
“On me,” he said and slid the glass to Cole. He must have noticed how confused Cole looked as he added, “Just look like you need it. No catch, I swear.”
His fingertips danced across the edge of the glass. No catch sounded okay, Cole figured. “Thank you.” He took the drink.
“The name’s Elijah.”
Cole simply smiled.
“Just thought you should know.” He winked as he moved onto another customer.
Cole hugged his drink. The guy thought he should know? The cheeky… He dared to look along the bar. He tried to decide if it was him or the alcohol in control of his head, as he found himself completely smitten with the guy’s ass. Happily he watched as the barman bent over to get a beer from the back of the refrigerator. He couldn’t argue with the view, and the snug-fitting, skinny jeans were a major plus. As Elijah turned around, Cole less than subtly sat back in his seat and quickly looked at his feet. Nuts. There was no way Elijah hadn’t seen him watching. Maybe dancing wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all. Embarrassed he buried his face in his drink and slid off his stool.
It wasn’t long before Cole was ambushed on the way to the dance floor, and Quince pounced on him. He smiled as his friend wrapped his hand around his wrist and dragged him beneath the red, flashing lights. With his drink in his hand, Cole spun around. It seemed he’d finally reached a stage where he didn’t give a rat’s ass about how ridiculous he looked. Fuck it all. Smiling, he leaned forward and sang loudly along with Quince. They bounced together, shouting the lyrics at each other as they moved in drunken circles.
The music was loud and the club was decorated with pretty much every shade of pink and red possible. Hearts, cherubs and roses were hanging, or stuck, on every available surface, and glitter sparkled beneath the colored lights. There was just one problem. Cole hated Valentine’s Day.
It was a classic tale of a turbulent love affair. There’d been lustful, passionate highs and tearful, undignified lows. Cole had been the ‘other’ man and it had taken him two years to finally call his lover on it. Him or him, the guy had to choose. And he did. He chose Cole. From then their relationship was on a downward spiral. They’d fight, they’d make up, and then they’d fight some more. Three years ago, on Valentine’s Day, they had the most spectacular of break ups, and Cole had never viewed the day in quite the same way. Valentine’s sucked. It was that simple. His heart had been ripped out and stomped on that day, and he wasn’t looking to go through that again anytime soon.
“You should talk to him!” Quince grabbed Cole by the back of the neck and pulled him close.
“What?” Cole played dumb.
Quince shook his head. “I saw you. The barman.”
Brilliant. Quince wasn’t going to let this one go. Cole didn’t show an interest in anyone, ever. He wasn’t interested in one-night stands. The difference tonight? He’d slipped out of designated driver mode and was close to wrecked, or more like wrecked and horny. “He talked to me. I was being polite.”
“Fuck off!” Quince shouted.
“Fuck you!” Cole eloquently retorted.
“Tried that.” Quince blew Cole a kiss as he spun around and danced toward the man he was dating.
Cole stood and watched as Quince pressed his body against his boyfriend’s. They had tried the whole dating thing about six years ago, after they’d left high school and ventured into the big, bad world. Their relationship had been a security blanket for them both, but their one and only attempt at fucking had resulted in a twisted ankle for Quince and a lump the size of a baseball on Cole’s forehead. Neither, thankfully, could really remember the eventful night. There’d been pizza and beer, and along the way, naked wrestling and a terrible fit of the giggles. A long-lasting friendship was as much as either of them could handle. From experience, it was just too dangerous to be anything else.
Chewing on his lip, Cole turned to look at the bar. He ducked his head slightly as he tried to get a clear view of Elijah. It was getting late and the bar had stopped serving. Elijah was alone, clearing away the dirty glasses and empty bottles. Go and talk to him. He wasn’t sure if it was Quince or the vodka spurring him on, but as he looked around the dance floor, he realized everyone around him had paired up. He was probably going to regret this, but what the hell, right? He was 25 years old. There was plenty of time to get over it if things went sour. Forever the optimist, he thought, laughing at himself as he downed the last mouthful of watered-down vodka and made his way toward the bar.
“Hi,” he said loudly as he leaned on the bar and smiled. “Cole.”
Elijah looked him up and down, a warm smile curling his mouth upward.
He has nice lips, Cole thought. “So, when do you get off?” Too forward?
Elijah threw a bottle in a large plastic bin. It landed with a clatter as it hit other bottles. “We close in thirty,” Elijah reminded him.
“Right.” What’s that, Cole? You’re taking a degree in Creative Writing? he chided himself. Cole smiled as he tried to think of something to say.
“Maybe you could save me a dance?” Elijah suggested. “Just an idea.” He did the wink-thing again and walked the length of the bar, wiping it as he went.
“Idiot,” Cole told himself, and dropped his head on his arms. His cheeks were warm against his forearms. He was probably blushing like a teenager. Taking a deep breath, he tried to compose himself. This was why he always volunteered to stay sober and drive. He made a complete ass out of himself when alcohol was involved.
“So, that dance?”
Cole’s eyes went wide. Had it been five minutes already?
Elijah saw his surprise. “The other guy’s finishing up out back for me. I’ll owe him apparently.” Elijah held out his hand. “Ready?”
It was just a dance. Slowly Cole slid his hand into Elijah’s. Elijah’s fingers were warm as they closed around his, and he was guided to the dance floor. The music seemed even louder than before. Its beat pounded in his chest, and something warm ached through the length of his limbs. He wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or not. Elijah’s hands fell to his waist and held onto hips as the two of them began to sway to the music. He looked up at Elijah. The guy was gorgeous. Broad shoulders, a big chest, dark sweeping bangs and the most amazing eyes Cole thought he’d ever seen. Their eyes met and Cole was ready to lose himself in them.
Elijah pulled Cole closer. His firm body leaned into Cole’s as he ran his hands back over Cole’s hips and downward to cup Cole’s ass. A hot wave washed over Cole and headed straight to his dick. Elijah’s body was hard in all the right places and he began to grind against Cole in time with Christina Aguilera’s Dirrty. Cole was spun around, and his body pulled firmly back against Elijah. Large hands roamed down his body and across the front of his jeans, and hot lips were pressed in the crease of his neck. Now this was something he’d missed. Elijah wanted him.
The thirty minutes to closing seemed like an eternity. Everything slowed down, and Cole enjoyed each moment of being desired. He enjoyed every touch and every kiss. Hell, he’d even started to reconsider his dislike of the holiday. As the lights came up and the music ended, he was pulled into a deep kiss, until the need for air and a surly looking bouncer, urged them to part and head for the exit. Outside, they stood on the sidewalk, Elijah’s arm was around his waist and pulling him close to keep him warm, as the group started to split and head for home.
“Do you want to?” Cole leaned his head against Elijah’s chest as he made the suggestion.
“I’d like that, but I’m going to have to say no.”
It felt like a rejection. “But…” He lifted his head and looked up at Elijah. He was right. He knew it. Valentine’s Day did suck.
“You’re drunk. I’m not,” Elijah pointed out, before running his hand downward and into Cole’s jean’s pocket.
Cole looked down, surprised to see his cell in Elijah’s hand. Now he was robbing him. That was just great.
“Let me just…” Elijah ran his thumb over the touch screen and then started typing something in.
“What are you doing?” Cole knew he was slurring his words. He really was drunk.
Elijah pressed his mouth in a kiss to the top of Cole’s head, and Cole hugged Elijah tightly as he tried to shelter himself from the cool night air. “If you wake up and remember tonight, then call me.”
Cole raised an eyebrow as his cell was handed to him. He looked down and saw the new contact information that Elijah had entered into his phone’s memory. “Elijah Ioa…Ioann…” He gave up.
“That’s me,” Elijah said with a laugh. “Go home and get some sleep.”
Cole eyed him suspiciously. Elijah was being a little too gentlemanly. “This really you?” he asked drunkenly and pressed the call button. He grinned as something vibrated against his ass.
“Yes, that’s me.” Elijah leaned down and kissed him, this time on the mouth.
Cole sighed happily and looked sideways, catching Quince’s mischievous eyes. He would never hear the end of this. “You sure you don’t-” Elijah shut him up with another kiss.
“Call me in the morning,” Elijah told him as he pulled away. He winked as he stepped back and gave a small wave, before walking away.
Watching him leave, Cole wrapped his arms around himself. He should have brought a jacket out with him. Sighing, he looked back at the phone and managed to hit the call button for a second time. He raised it to his ear and waited.
“What?” Elijah said as he answered.
“It is the morning.” He smiled as he saw Elijah stop a little way down the street, and look back over his shoulder. “So, this is me calling.” He listened to Elijah laughing on the other end of the call. He stared along the street, and Elijah seemed to look back at him. “You sure you don’t want to take advantage?” He waited, watching as Elijah slowly shook his head.
“I never sleep with drunks. Nothing ever comes from it.”
“What is it you want to happen?”
Elijah turned away and started walking again. “A second date.”
Cole teased, “This was a date?”
“Like I said. Call me in the morning – later in the morning. Then we’ll talk.” He stopped and looked back at Cole one more time. “Make sure you drink a pint of water before you go to bed. Will lessen the hangover.”
Laughing, Cole said, “Noted.”
“Later,” Cole reminded him.
Elijah waved and then hung up.
Cole watched as he walked away, and smiled as Quince appeared at his side and pulled him close. “You win,” he said with a sigh. Quince didn’t say anything, but Cole knew he was smiling. “I guess Valentine’s doesn’t suck so bad after all.”