Diana immediately saw Ian and Sandra working behind the bar and found a place to sit. Watching the two work together Diana had to know; “How did you two meet?” “Ahh, she fell in love with me at first sight.” Ian boosted as he put away a glass. “I don't remember it that way. If I recall correctly you wouldn't even talk to me.” “Not true. I asked you what you wanted to drink.” Diana could see a sheepish smile edge its way across Ian’s face.
As Sandra passed by to fill an order she popped Ian with her towel on the backside. The sheepish smile had a hint of, was that a blush?
“Tell the truth or I'll tell her about how you fell at my feet.”
“Never happened! Don't believe a word this wench says.”
Diana’s curiosity was peaked now and she had to know. The two of them were so happy together that you could feel it like a presence in the room. A longing started up for things past, but she shoved them back down.
“Okay Sandra, spill it. And I need details. Ian, I'll take another bourbon, a double this time. I have a feeling this story is gonna be good.” Sandra gave her a big smile, called out to one of the other girls working the floor to cover for her and walked around the bar to sit next to Diana.
“It’s not your break time. I'll have to dock your pay if this takes too long.” Ian tried to look stern as he said it but Sandra’s towel was soon hurled at his face. He caught it just seconds before it hit its mark.
“Okay you can take your break early, but just this one time.”
Sandra didn't even give him a side look before starting her version of their story.
“So my friends told me about this tall good-looking Irish guy that just started working at the pub we loved. Seems he was quite the flirt and my girlfriends just loved him. Said he was "worth the hangover".”
At this Ian leaned between the two ladies, “Tis true, all of it.”
“Pfft, get back to work.” Sandra teased as she shoved his chest.
“So after a few days of their tales of ‘he said this’ and ‘he did that’ I finally decided to check him out if for no other reason than to get them off my back. It was my last semester, I just wanted to finish and move away. That’s another story for another day.”
“Yes it is. Get back to tall good-looking Irish guy. He sounds more interesting.” Ian winked and jumped back before Sandra could do anything else to him. “So I tag along with my friends telling them I'll only have the one drink and then I’m gone. Before we could find a table the girls were pointing him out. Like I could miss this big guy.”
“Is this where y’alls eyes meet and it was love at first sight?” Diana was already into the story, the banter between Ian and Sandra only making it more fun.
“Yes, that’s when she saw me and fell in love.”
“Not even close. And leave us be, I have the truth to tell.” Sandra snags a drink from Ian’s hand he was about to deliver and sticks her tongue out when he balks.
“So I walk in, looking fabulous I’d like to add. I see the tall bloke at the bar and I'll admit the talk wasn't hype, he was worth a trip in.” Ian passed by with a fresh order and winks and Diana. “But he won't look at me. At all. Not once. Waves to my friends and even blows a kiss to someone across the room, but doesn't notice me. So I knew something was wrong with him and wrote him off.”
“She did no such thing. She came back everyday for a week.”
“I most certainly did not! It was just the next day when I would normally come in.” She gives Ian what she must have hoped was a threatening look, but no one was buying it.
“So the first time you meet and he doesn't even look at you?”
“Nope, at least not that I could tell; at one point I walk to the bar, with the intention of getting our drinks so he had to acknowledge me. And he does, for the briefest of seconds. He shoves the tray with our three drinks towards me and then walks off. I might have said a few choice words about his parentage.”
“She called me the bastard child of Lucky the Leprechaun.” He did a silly jig and walked off. “Oh my, so not the first meeting you’d expect then?”
“Not at all. I retrieved our drinks, headed back to our table and when my friends asked what he said I informed them both that I'd never be coming back.” She huffed for emphasis and took another drink. “They were both shocked, going on about how they just knew I'd fall in love with him like all the other girls had and how his charms worked on everyone. They went on and on and all I could think was that I must be man repellent. He would flirt with everyone but wouldn’t even say a kind word to me, much less flirt.” She punched Ian as he walked past. He didn't even flinch. She must have told this story so many times he knew his queues.
“So how did y'all get together?” Now her curiosity had her putting her drink down and leaning in for fear she'd miss something.
“Well, I came back the next night. NOT because of Ian, but because I was meeting my brother.” She paused for dramatic effect. “So I come back, this time making a point of dressing up. I figured if a short skirt and low top didn’t get his attention then something was wrong with him.”
“I come in a few minutes early so I could pick a table close to the bar. I wanted to make sure Ian could see me.” She gave her own wink and smile. “Because it was early in the evening I decided to order my drink from the bar instead of waiting at the table. As I walk up I catch Ian’s eye and he’s so taken with my outfit he trips over his own big feet.”
Ian pops his head back between the two ladies, “My boot caught on the mat. That’s all.”
“Yes because you weren't paying attention because my beauty caught you off guard.”
“It was my boot.”
“It was me.”
“Me!” As she said it she leaned forward giving Ian a clear shot of her current low cut shirt.
“Okay, so maybe the fact that I could see her assets so clearly I was temporarily distracted. But I recovered quickly.” Diana turned her head to see Sandra’s reaction. “Yes he did. He fell flat on his face behind the bar, jumped back up and said something about his lucky charms getting caught around his ankles.” Sandra shook her head. “These were the first words my future husband said to me.” She rolled her eyes and smiled.
“She just wanted to see if my lucky charms were as tasty as she imagined.” Ian knew to duck at the comment and shuffled off.
“He actually said that?”
“Yes! What’s worse is I giggled. Like a schoolgirl. Mind you I technically was, but for heaven’s sake I wasn't fresh out of puberty. I embarrassed myself. Gave him my order and walked back to the table to wait for my brother. Fortunately he showed up soon after, we had a nice visit and though I looked over to see what Ian was doing, we never really made eye contact again.”
“So that’s it, no numbers exchanged or anything?” She couldn't hide her disappointment. “But that’s almost tragic. I mean, what happen next?!”
This is where Ian’s part came in. “The truth was the first time I laid eyes on her I couldn't speak. Flirting comes natural to me. It’s fun, it’s harmless and even though it’s gotten me into a few warm beds;” at that very second he lifted his hand, palm out, just in time to stop Sandra’s punch that would have landed square on his jaw. He wrapped his fingers around her fist and brought it to his lips.
“But when she walked in I was speechless. I couldn't be flippant with her. I could tell immediately she was special. And I didn't think I had a chance with her.” He glanced in Sandra’s direction, which caused Diana to look as well. Though Sandra tried to hang on to her pout from Ian’s ‘warm beds’ comment, she was in full blush.
“He tripped over his feet when he saw me the next day. So overcome with emotion. Isn't that right?”
“Sure was.” Ian staged whispered in Diana’s direction, “My boots were brand new, and a bit too large.” Another wink and a kiss to Sandra’s hand and he walked off.
“So he liked you, you liked him, but when did y'all exchange numbers or go on your first date?”
“It was another year.” Sandra said it so casually that Diana had to process the words twice before it registered.
“What? A year?”
“Sad isn't it? After he shoved that tray of drinks at me I didn’t come back for months. Of course it was easy to do since I finished with school and took an internship miles away.”
“So how did y'all meet back up?”
“Alex, have you met him? He’s Ian’s friend.”
"Yes, he was here the night you arrived. He's a handsome thing. If Ian hadn't started talking to me I might have put my sights on Alex."
"She still would too." Ian said as he wiped a spot on the bar next to them. "I have to keep an eye on her around him." "You do not! We're friends and only that. But should you come up missing..." "See, she'd leave me in a heartbeat while I still pine away for her."
"Pfft, you still flirt like a bachelor." Sandra's smile showed she wasn't actually upset. "You're jealous because I make better tips." "Yes, but I get more numbers." Ian's smile disappeared. "What numbers?" "Ha, now who's jealous?" The two continued to tease each other as Diana looked at her watch. Mitch should have been here by now.
"Anyway, when I came back months later to visit with friends I met Alex. He purchased the bar right after I'd moved. When we introduced ourselves he recognized my name. Said, 'You must be Ian's Sandra.' I thought that odd and said we'd not spoken more than a few words to each other and none good. He then proceeds to tell me that Ian talked about me daily."
"Some friend he was. You don't tell your mates secrets. Course he had no idea we weren't dating, but I knew she'd come back." Diana laughed. "So Alex spilled the beans and now you knew Ian was crazy about you? I bet that was some valuable information to have." Diana winked at Sandra and gave a sympathetic look to Ian. "So what did you do with it?"
Sandra brightened up, "Well, I walked up the bar where Ian was helping a customer and said I was ready to taste his lucky charms. His head turned so fast he nearly dropped the mug in his hand. He passed it off to someone else behind the bar and asked me to repeat myself. Instead I grabbed his shirt front and pulled him across the bar.
"I might have helped her a bit." Ian wiggled his eyebrows. "It's not as if she could actually pull me across the bar." He flexed his arms and beat his chest. "It's true, the moment my hand touched his shirt he practically leapt over the counter to get to me." "Didn't happen. I'm just a gentleman and was assisting you." At that Sandra stood up, pulled on Ian's shirt front as if to reenact the moment and Ian fought it this time.
"I'm not a gentleman any more, you'll have to come to me." He smiled into Sandra's eyes and easily pulled her across the bar. Their lips touching before her feet touch the ground on the other side. The kiss was electrifying and a bit longer and more passionate than Diana was used to seeing in public. She had to avert her eyes. The kiss continued for so long the customers started to notice and a few wolf whistled and clapped. This didn't stop the two, instead it just egged them on till Ian had Sandra pushed up against the counter bending her over it to kiss deeper.
"Okay guys, you're going to have to start charging for the show if you keep it up." Diana said this to lighten the mood because truth be told she was getting a bit hot watching the two. "That or get a room." She giggled but Ian's head popped up, Sandra's head nearly hit the bar but he caught it with his hand just in time.
Looking at Diana he said, "That's a great idea. Can you cover for us?" After witnessing such a passionate kiss she wasn't sure if he was kidding or not. "I... um... well..." Ian's wink stopped her floundering just as the pub phone started to ring. Ian helped Sandra stand up again and gave her a quick peek on the lips. "Well fair maiden, it seems duty calls. Literally." He winked. "Perhaps we should continue this later?" Sandra had just recovered her breath and smiled, "I think we should." She mimicked his wink and turned to Diana.
"And we lived happily ever after." Both women started to laugh. "The story had a nice ending after all." Diana was happy for the two of them, but after that steamy kiss she was starting to feel very antsy and the fact that Mitch hadn't showed up was making her frustrated as well. She needed to keep repeating the whole, dinner and drinks only part again. But she wasn't so sure if he did finally show up if she could keep her hormones in check.
Ian finished his call. Diana was so lost in her thoughts she didn't hear his side of the conversation, but he looked over at her with a frown. "That was Mitch. He said he couldn't make it and apologized, but he promises to make it up and soon." "Did he not want to talk to me?" "He was in a rush it seems. He's a good guy. I've known him for ages. It's not like him to do this. Must really be urgent." You could tell he was uncomfortable acting as messenger.
"It's okay. We just met yesterday and it was just dinner and drinks." She tried to sound casual but even to herself she sounded upset. "Y'all have anything worth eating here? Looks like I'll be dining alone." She smiled but it didn't reach her eyes. Well this day didn't go as planned.