Tuesday Teaser: The Boys of Pleasure
This is the opening scene of the short story I wrote last week and sent to . It’s short, but actually, given the length of the whole, this is actually quite a large percentage of it.
Now back to work on the other one, which decided last night it liked how easily the other story was birthed and has started to behave quite well.
When Sid Hoyt came back to his table, there were two drinks waiting for him: a gin and tonic and a shot glass of something amber-colored. Sid frowned at Livvy, who held up her hands and shook her head. “It wasn’t me. It was him,” she said, and pointed at the stage.
“What?” But his reply was lost in a sudden wall of sound; the band had started up again. An irish flute was trilling, a fiddle was wailing, and drums were thumping. And just behind him, where Livvy was pointing, a guitarist was playing. When he caught Sid’s eye, he winked.
Heart pounding in his ears, Sid sat down and glared at Livvy. “I should never have let you talk me into this.”
Livvy folded her arms in front of her chest. “Would you rather be in an airport lobby, ready to embark on a long weekend of verbal abuse?”
“I wanted a night to clear my head.” He dismissed the drinks in front of him with an angry wave of his hand. “I didn’t want to get flirted with by saucy Irish musicians!”
Livvy laughed. “Then you probably shouldn’t have spent the whole first set staring at him.”
No, he shouldn’t have. But how was he supposed to have known this was going to happen? Livvy had said she’d take him to hear some “nice Irish music,” and Sid had translated that as “soothing and quiet.” He’d been wrong. The Boys of Pleasure, they were called, but Sid thought they should have called themselves the Collective of Sin. Their music swept him up like a storm of sound. It made his toe tap and his body sway in his chair in time to its pulse. It was wild, it was driving, and it was compelling.
And the guitarist was irresistible.
He stood to the side, letting the fiddler and the flautist take the center, but it was he who stole the show. The others mostly stayed on their stools, but he wandered all over the stage, wiggling his hips and bobbing to the beat, hooting and shouting out and leaning close first to one player, then another, and when they couldn’t be reached, he simply boogied on his own, winding his cord around speakers and microphone stands until the poor stage hand had to rush out and undo his damage. Oh yes, and he was tall and slim and handsome, and when he smiled, his face shone like a sun.
How was Sid supposed to not stare at him?
“He came to the table while you were gone,” Livvy explained, her eyes dancing. “He was disappointed when you didn’t appear.”
“Did you tell him I was taken? That I was living with someone?” The guilty way she bit her lip told him all he needed to know. “Livvy!” Sid sank back in his chair.
“Look,” she said, leaning forward with her hands braced against the top of the table. “I’ve heard you and Mike fighting when he drops you off from lunch. The whole library has. He treats you like a child, Sid, and I don’t like it. Nobody does.”
Oh, god, they were gossiping about him. Sid almost reached for the gin, but stopped himself in time.
Livvy nodded at the stage. “There’s no harm in a little flirting. It’s good for the soul.”
“Yes, and it tends to lead to sex,” Sid snapped.
“Even better.” Livvy pushed her chair back and rose.
Sid did, too. “Where are you going?”
“Home. I got a text while you were out; my roommate’s blind date when horribly wrong.” She came behind Sid and pushed him back into his seat. “You, however, will stay.” She pushed the drinks towards him. “And you will drink. And when the show is over and the guitarist comes over, you will say thank you. The rest I leave to your discretion, or lack thereof.” She patted him on the head. “Good-night, Sid,” she said, and then she left.
Sid stared at her with his mouth open as she weaved her way through the tables and towards the door. The song had just ended, and the audience was clapping and hooting their appreciation, but Sid was frozen. His argument with Mike was still ringing in his ears, and it was mingling with Livvy’s incredulous demands, and then, over the top of it all, stirring it up with a wicked burr was the guitarist as he leaned over the mic and introduced the next song.
“Here’s something with a bit of extra spice.” He beamed at the audience, then turned and looked directly at Sid. “This one is called ‘Sweet Seduction.’”
He kept staring as the song started, making Sid blush because he was sure people were starting to notice. I should go, he told himself, but then the fiddle played, and then the flute joined, and then, eyes still on Sid, the guitarist began to strum, a steady beat that pinned Sid to his chair and pounded at his chest.
The guitarist’s focus shifted to the pair of drinks, then back to Sid.
I should go. I should stand, I should turn around, and I should go. But Sid didn’t. He took up the shot glass and held it to his lips, but he didn’t drink until he turned back to the stage, watching the guitarist watch him as the music swelled and rose and took him over, and then he shut his eyes and tossed it back. It burned all the way down, but it gave him courage enough to open his eyes and watch the slow smile spread across the guitarist’s face.
Sid didn’t smile, but he picked up the gin, sipping it while he tapped his toe to the beat, lost in the music as the band played song after song, until they played no more and the lights came up and the guitarist climbed down from the stage, heading for his table.