John stood outside his favorite bar. From head to toe, he dressed for success. A young up and comer, his investment banking talent had brought in millions of dollars for the company. He never blinked at paying over five hundred dollars for a suit. The gray silk Italian masterpiece that fitted perfectly to his body was his Friday night special. After all, it was the cost of doing business. On Friday nights, business was all about networking, and so networking he would do.
John spied through the bar’s glass front. Lewis from his office was inside chatting with a stranger who, by all appearances, was a broker of some sort. John noticed Lewis was not looking towards the stranger to whom was speaking. In fact, they were both looking the same direction. The granite wall outside blocked whatever they were seeing. John’s decided it was time to head inside and see what was going on.
He showed his id to the overly broad security guard who was standing beside the doorway. John walked in and stopped in his tracks. There near the bar was the most stunning woman he had ever seen. Her thick auburn hair flowed past her shoulders and hung effortlessly down the middle of her back. She had on a black cocktail dress with straps and a plunging neckline. John thought the woman’s figure complimented her outfit rather than the other way around. He was sure she would look just as good jogging in a loose sweatsuit.
John walked over to the bar. He checked out some of the customers through the mirrored glass rack and ordered a beer. John sat there deciding if he wanted to engage with Lewis. He noticed the redhead had at least four men hovering around her. Luis, the bartender, spoke, “I guess guys are the same no matter what the setting.”
John turned around to Luis, smiled, and nodded. He responded, “I don’t think we can help ourselves. I’m guessing she never has to buy her drinks or dinner. What does she do?”
Luis shrugged and said, “Beats me. You see that cute little blond standing six feet to the right by herself?”
John looked over, and his jaw almost dropped open. A lithe woman about five-foot-two with platinum blond hair that was smartly cut shoulder length stood by herself. She wore a blood-red dress with matching lipstick. Her aqua blue eyes sparkled like the waters of the sea. Yet, nobody seemed to know she was alive. John silently scolded himself for missing her.
“Yea, are they together?” John asked Luis.
“You wouldn’t think so, but they are. The blond’s name is Becky, and the redhead is Autumn.”
John turned around and took a sip of his beer. “It appears Autumn is the dominant woman of the two.”
Luis nodded his head and said, “It sure looks like it. I’m not sure why Becky would go out with her. Maybe she prefers to be left alone.”
John sighed and shook his head. “It’s more likely Autumn brings her along as a deflection for any guy she’s bored with, or as an excuse to leave when she tires of all the attention.”
Luis stepped away to refill patrons’ glasses at the bar and returned. “So are you planning to sweep Autumn off her feet and leave that line of men crying?” John gave Luis a wry smile and said, “No, not Autumn.” John stepped away from the bar and took his half a glass of beer with him. Lewis saw him and gave John a knowing wink. His expression changed when John shifted direction.
He liked everything about Becky, from the top of her blond head to her painted toenails in her red peep-toe shoes. At five-foot-eight he though Becky’s five-foot-two frame matched his perfectly.
Before he could open his mouth, Becky spoke. “Look, the end of the line is over there.” She pointed her finger to a gentleman in a gray suit that was behind three others trying to make time with Autumn. Becky continued, “I know what you are trying to do and it won’t work. You can’t get to Autumn through me.”
John shook his head, smiled, and spoke. “I think you misunderstand my intentions. I’m not here for your friend. I walked up hoping for a chance to talk with you, and maybe buy you a drink.”
By her surprised expression, John knew Becky was not much of a poker player. Her faced transitioned quickly to a cynical look. “Why would you want to buy me a drink? Nobody bothers if they think they have a shot at Autumn. Are you some sort of loser that already knows he doesn’t have a chance with the prettiest woman in the room?”
John gave her his best smile before taking a sip of his beer for courage and time to think. He lowered his glass and stared directly into her enchanting blue eyes. “Autumn may look like the dominating beauty, but in my eyes, you are the prettiest woman in this bar. Actually, I can go farther than that. I’ve worked in the city for a while, and I have seen several women walking along the street. I can honestly say you are the most beautiful woman I have seen in this city.”
If John thought Becky’s eyes sparkled before, they glistened now. A shy smile went across her face, and she looked at the floor for a moment. John believed she had to be an angel with her humble personality and beautiful looks. He was almost afraid to continue. He feared he might say something wrong and lose her.
John screwed up his courage, “Say, it’s pretty loud in here, what do you say we go to the rooftop bar for that drink.” Becky nodded, and the two left for the elevator. Autumn was too busy with her men to notice Becky’s exit.
John got Becky a beer, and the two of them sipped their drinks and soaked in the lighted city below. Like John, Becky was an investment banker. She had graduated from Columbia University and worked for a competing firm. They talked about different coworkers and laughed about some of the silly things their companies had tried to do to make the employees more productive.
Becky left for the powder room, and when she returned John noticed she sat down on a bench near the outdoor fireplace. She motioned for him to join her. He sat down, and Becky slid closer to him. She put her head on his shoulder and held his arm. John thought he could sit there all night with her. The two were enjoying the peace of their little corner of the roof when a voice squawked through the still of the night.
Autumn was storming towards them, with two men in tow behind her. “Where have you been! We’ve been looking everywhere for you. These two are Carlos and Blake. Carlos is your date for the night.”
John jumped in before he could think to stop himself. “Becky already has a date for this evening.”
Autumn snarled at John, “I wasn’t talking to you.” She turned back to Becky, “Let’s go.”
Becky looked at John, and her hand slid off his arm. John took it and gently put the back of her hand to his lips. Becky looked up at Autumn and said, “It’s like John just told you, I have a date tonight. Sorry, Carlos. Oh, and Autumn, John will give me a ride home, you guys go have fun.”
Autumn stomped her stiletto-clad foot and stormed off with the two men attempting to keep up.
Becky pulled John closer. “Who is she anyway?” asked John.
Becky sighed, rested her body firmly against his, and said, “She’s just an old childhood friend. She’s been hoping to land an admin job with one of the investment managers. I bring her with me every Friday and let her do her thing. It seems like she thinks she is doing me a favor instead of the other way around.”