Bronte looked around the crowded room and shook her head. How in the world did she get roped into speed dating? Halloween speed dating no less, which was sure to bring out the freaks en masse. This was her version of hell, and she willingly walked right in and sat down at table 21. She ordered a Stella Artois and she settled in for a long night of small talk in 60-second chunks.
Three beers later, Bronte was starting to loosen up just a bit, though the blissful buzz wasn’t really making any of the guys across from her any more appealing. So far she had already passed on guys dressed as Mickey Mouse, Uncle Sam, Gumby, a pizza delivery guy, three devils, and four Darth Vaders who all started off with “I am not your father.” Well, of course they weren’t her father, her father wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like this, and she was pretty sure he’d kill her if he caught her here.
She kept an eye out for her friend Zoe, who was dressed as a sexy kitten, though she really didn’t understand because she did not find kittens sexy in any way. Clearly she was out of her element between the sexy kitten and Darth Vader pick-up lines.
She picked up her phone to text Zoe when a shadow stopped over her table. She glanced up to see a guy dressed as Guy Fawkes standing over her. He handed her a fresh beer. She motioned for him to have a seat.
“So, aren’t you going to start with some ‘remember, remember the fifth of November’ nonsense,” she asked.
He shook his head. “Clearly it wouldn’t work with you, so what’s the point?”
“You’re blunt.” She swirled the amber liquid around the glass before she took a sip.
“And so are you, I guess we’re even.”
“Guess so,” she replied, as she turned on her phone to check for the time.
“Tell me, what have you discussed with all the other losers here?”
“My favorite beer, my favorite movie, my favorite sexual position, my favorite color, my sign—you know, all the important things on which you build a lasting relationship.” She took another sip of her beer.
“Your favorite beer is clearly Stella Artois, as that’s the fourth one you’ve had tonight. Your favorite movie is probably The Princess Bride. You strike me as a missionary girl, but I bet you’d come out of your shell and try something else eventually. Your favorite color is black, and you’re a Taurus because you’re so freakin’ stubborn.”
Bronte’s jaw dropped, and then she quickly grimaced. “Lucky guess.”
“Is it now?”
Bronte leaned back against her chair with a sigh. “Am I that transparent?”
“No, but you are lonely.” She nodded in agreement. “Which is why you’re here.”
“That’s where you’re wrong, I’m not here because I’m lonely, I’m here because my best friend dragged me here. This is my idea of hell. I’d much rather be at home with a book, because I’m never going to find my match here.”
That caught his attention. “Who is your match?”
“Someone who understands that David Tennet is the best Doctor—”
“Which he is, go on.”
She scowled. “Someone who doesn’t interrupt me. And someone who understands the ten types of people in this world, and—”
“You mean those who understand binary and those who don’t?”
“Who are you,” she asked, staring the plastic mask down, as if she might be able to see through it.
“No one of consequence.”
“You’re the Dread Pirate Roberts, admit it.”
“With pleasure.” He stood and took a bow. She shook her head. “What’s wrong, highness?”
“Illusion, that’s all this is—I can’t do this anymore.” She grabbed her keys and phone off the table and ran out of the bar. When she got into the cool night air, she wavered a bit on her feet, and she realized accepting the fourth Stella was not her smartest move.
She walked to her car taking careful and deliberate steps, as she didn’t want to fall on the wet ground. When she was about twenty feet away, she noticed someone standing next to her car. Anger rose inside her as she splashed through the puddles in the parking lot.
She walked right up to him, and pointed her finger in his chest. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“It’s a bar, I was having a drink, is that a crime?” She wasn’t sure if it was the sarcasm or the smile he just flashed that melted her knees.
“Of all the bars in this town, you happened to end up at the one I’m at? Dear God Brian, don’t your torment me enough at work?”
“I do not torment you, Bronte.” His tone turned serious.
She reached down to put her key in the door and that’s when she noticed a Guy Fawkes mask in his hand. “You?”
“Yes, me—and I think you better give me those keys because you are in no shape to drive.” Bronte jerked from his outstretched hand and fell on her butt in a puddle. Brian didn’t laugh, he simply put out his hand and helped her up.
“How did you know all those things about me?”
Brian’s eyes softened, and he reached up to brush a strand of hair out of her face. “I’ve asked around.”
“No, about the cable guy—of course about you,” he said with a laugh. “You intimidate me,” he softly added.
“And you infuriate me.”
He took a step toward her. “What, pray tell, infuriates you? That I’m so infuriatingly perfect for you?” He took another step and before she could say a word, his lips crashed on hers. His lips were soft and warm, and she softly moaned when his tongue parted hers.
He pulled his head back and spoke softly. “So, what was it that infuriates you?”
“That you stopped,” she said, pulling his lips to hers again.