This is the third part of a new sci-fi story I’m working on. To catch up, you can read part 1 here and part 2 here. Also, this is a rough draft that I’m still working through, so any constructive feedback is welcome! Enjoy.
I was pretty sure I had seen her here before. In fact, I knew it. Long blond hair that perfect was hard to forget, after all. Not to mention those lips, and the legs, and…well, everything else, really.
I reached the bar and found an empty seat—right next to the beautiful babe I had in mind, luckily enough. “Gimme a beer,” I told the bartender. He half-nodded silently and turned around to start pouring. I began to ease into my seat, swung around, and tried to glance up inconspicuously.
No good, though—she was looking right at me. Our eyes met. I had no choice but to smile. “Hey. How you doing,” I uttered halfheartedly.
“Is that your opening line?” she asked, returning my smile.
My heart pounded. I cocked an eyebrow and spoke without thinking. “Excuse me?”
“Just asking,” she replied, taking a sip of an almost-empty drink. “As conversation starters go, you might still have a bit of work to do.”
Honestly, this was already going better than I ever could have planned it. “Well, forgive me for not being prepared,” I played along. “Next time I’ll be ready.”
She smiled again. “Well, I certainly hope so.”
“I’m Rob,” I said. “I think I’ve seen you around here before.”
“Kelly,” she said. “You probably have. You look a little familiar yourself.”
“You come here often?” I asked.
“Pretty often,” she said. “I live close by, and I’m a fan of the band.”
I quickly looked over to the musicians. “Who’s playing?” I asked.
“They’re called Lemuel. Local indie band I’ve seen around here a few times.”
I nodded. “Yeah, uh, I never really heard of them. But they’re not bad.”
“You like music, Rob?”
“Sure,” I said. “Don’t know much local stuff, though. Well, especially here.” I realized immediately that maybe I shouldn’t have said it.
“Not from around here?” she asked.
“Not…exactly,” I answered. “But I’m kinda familiar with the area. Feels like home, a little bit. But no, I’m just passing through for now.”
“Well, I’m glad you’re here,” she said. “It’s nice to have some company. It’d be great to have someone to listen along with.”
And there it was. I paused for a half-second. This chick had already been forward, sure, but now I had an open invitation to keep playing this game. I started to smile. Paused. Somehow I thought of home for a split second, but then I looked back up at Kelly instead and broke out in a full-on grin. “Sure,” I said. “I’ll stick around.”
“Good,” she said. “We can work on your conversation skills—and your tastes in music.”
“Heh. Yeah.” The bartender set my beer down in front of me. “Hey, another drink for the lady, too,” I said. He nodded and got to work.
I had only been planning to stay out a couple hours in the first place. After all, I had to get home sooner or later so nobody would wonder where I was. But man, did those couple hours fly by fast. I almost lost track of time with this babe. She was interesting enough to talk to, I guess—I always like a lady with confidence—but just looking at her too got me excited. Man, was she something else. And honestly, the band really wasn’t too bad either. Whoever would have thought it’d be so much fun to go to a concert in another dimension, with a band that probably didn’t even exist back home? I thought about staying even longer, maybe even finding someplace nearby to spend the night…
But first I had to go someplace else, after the second or third beer started catching up with me. “I need the men’s room,” I told Kelly. “But you stay right here.”
“Of course,” she said.
When I was done in the men’s room and walking back to the bar, I looked down at the silver wristwatch thingy again to make sure it was still there. Of course it was, but I just had to check. I patted the thing a couple times just for good measure. I still couldn’t believe all the good luck it was bringing me.
“Rob?” A familiar voice interrupted my thoughts.
“Yeah, babe?” I said it without thinking. Then I did a double-take. It wasn’t Kelly standing in front of me. It was Mona.
“Mona?” I asked, frantic. Hell, was I gonna hear it from her now. “What are you doing here? How did you even get here?”
“I…came through the front door, Rob.” She let out a small giggle. “What did you think?”
“Yeah, but I mean—this place! You know…the city? The whole area?”
She narrowed her eyes at me. “Well…I’ve always lived here. You know that, Rob. Maybe I should ask you what you’re doing here. I haven’t seen you around in forever! I didn’t even know you were back in town.”
My brow furrowed. “Didn’t know I was…?” But suddenly it hit me. I think I caught on to what this was. “Oh, right, right,” I said. “Sorry. I was, uh, just a little confused there for a minute…”
“Little too much to drink?”
I forced a laugh. “Yeah! That. It’s totally that.”
“Still, you look well. How are things?”
“Oh, things are great! Everything’s good. And hey, thanks. Uh, you look good yourself. Changed your hair and everything. It’s nice.”
She started twirling her hair as she talked about it. “Well, thanks, but this isn’t exactly recent. I mean, you haven’t seen me in years. Not since…” She stopped twirling and her eyes fell. “…well, you know.”
I didn’t know. I mean, I could tell it was something bad, but the thing is, I really didn’t know. By this point I had gathered that this wasn’t my Mona. This wasn’t my wife. It was her, but in a parallel world where everything was different. Any number of things could’ve happened.
“Well, uh, to tell you the truth, I’m a bit fuzzy on the details,” I said. “Uh, you know. The alcohol and all. Think maybe we should take some time to…uh…catch up for a bit?”
She paused. Then she laughed. But it was a nervous, awkward laugh. “Rob…” she said. “I…sorry. I don’t think I should do that.”
“No? Not even a few minutes?”
“Look, it’s late, and we were getting ready to leave, and…well…I’m sorry, Rob. What we had together was special once, and it’s really good to see you back in town again and doing well, but it’s been a long time, and I just don’t think it’s a good idea to—”
“No, no, I get it,” I said. I really didn’t, but I just had to play along. “Sorry to bring it up. I didn’t want to make things weird or anything. In fact, I was just…”
A tall, muscular, dark-haired man walked up behind Mona and put his arms around her. “Hey, babe,” he said.
“Hey.” She tilted her head up and they kissed quickly on the lips.
“Ready to go?” the guy asked.
“Yeah! I was just…starting to say goodbye.” She looked back at me. “Good running into you, Rob! Maybe I’ll see you again soon if you’re still around town?”
“Uh, yeah, sure,” I mumbled. I couldn’t even look at her and that huge hunk of man around her. “I gotta go. Bye.”
I walked back to the car where Kelly was sitting and went to grab my jacket.
“You up for another drink?” she asked.
“Not now,” I said. “I actually gotta go.”
“Yeah. Sorry. Something came up.”
She looked at me. “Is everything all right?”
“Yeah. It’s great. I just gotta run. I don’t feel too great all of a sudden.”
“Oh.” She looked sad.
“It’s not you. I had a good time. Honest I did. This is just…it’s different.”
“Well…okay,” she said. “But there’s another show this weekend if you’re interested in coming. I’ll be here.”
“Uh, sure. Maybe. We’ll see. I’ll see you later.”
I tried not to think too much on the walk back to the street corner.
To be continued…
Click here for part 4!