three

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"hey."

in another world, where maya was more confident and laidback, she could've slid into the seat next to him and come up with a flirty reply, maybe even carry on a conversation easily. she would bat her eyelashes and give a seductive look and the attractive stranger would fall into her lap, just like in the movies. but this was the real world, where her hands shook at her sides and she could feel the rhythm of her heart all the way up in her throat, like it would just jump out in front of her if she opened her mouth. he had a thick accent that she couldn't quite put her finger on, his tone smooth and cheery.

oh my god, it's quiet. say something, you idiot!

"uh, hi."

his brown eyes glinted happily, a cute small smile spreading across his face. damn it, he was even more attractive up close. she was in way over her head. it took her a moment to realize things had been silent for a bit too long. was she supposed to say something?

"do you, um, come here o-often?" she could hardly contain the grimace that she felt at those words. how stupid did you need to be to actually use that line? this isn't some nineties sitcom, come on, maya, that's all you've got?

a slight laugh broke her out of her train of thought. the sound was high-pitched, contrary to his deeper voice, and the whites of his teeth complemented his tanned skin. "not really, actually. i'm calum."

she let a skittish smile cross her lips as she seated herself on the red 'Coca-Cola' barstool. "maya."

"well, maya, can i buy you a drink?" she hesitated, she had already had a few glasses with mel at their table, and her alcohol tolerance was embarrassingly low, she didn't want to know what would happen if she ended up a little too tipsy. on the other hand, the wrath that mel would unleash upon her if she messed this up would most likely be greater than the embarrassment of having a few too many drinks.

"sure." she could see the smile gracing his lips as he motioned to the bartender.

"so, are you here alone?" maya could feel her mind stutter to a harsh halt. she hadn't exactly thought this through past the point of 'hello', and couldn't seem to force any words out. she turned her eyes towards the black glass of the countertop as she shook her head.

the next few minutes passed in silence, although it seemed to be much longer than that. dozens of things to discuss passed through maya's head, yet she couldn't open her mouth. she was petrified that if she did, a jumble of words with absolutely no sense to them would fall out. her hands shook as she brought her drink up to her lips, and shuddered. it was a bit strong for her liking, not something she would usually enjoy, but she was in great need of liquid courage.

"is there a reason you're not talking to me?" his eyebrows were raised, and although he seemed well put-together, his fingers shook lightly against his glass.

maya felt a light tread of guilt pass through her, she hadn't meant to come off as rude or impassive, and she certainly didn't want him to think she wasn't interested. "sorry, i guess i'm not really used to bar banter..."

"well, then it's not bar banter. it's just two people talking... in a bar." maya couldn't help but crack a smile at that, as cheesy as it was.

"ok, just two people talking." she could do that, she could totally do that. totally. "so, where are you from? because that is no american accent that i've ever heard."

"that would be because i'm from australia." maya couldn't help but feel a little surprised at that. although the suburbs of new york city were diverse, there was hardly a large number of australians populating the area. much less ones who looked like calum.

"and, uh, what would bring a young australian man to new york?" although she tried her hardest to come off as smooth and flirty, that had always been melanie's department. she could feel her words slightly crack with nervousness as his eyes were locked on her, and her elbow nearly slipped against the bartop as she leaned against it.

he rubbed the ink on his wrist, turning his eyes away sheepishly. "me and my mates, we're in a band. i don't really know, we're just trying to make something of it."

"that's pretty cool, what do you play?" feeling a bit more at ease as the conversation lead on, maya sipped her drink, nearly forgetting how much alcohol it actually contained. she couldn't stop the crinkle of her nose at the bitter taste. she had always preferred sweeter drinks, with a low alcohol percentage, they were easy for her to get down and she didn't get too carried away. she had a feeling she wouldn't get away so easily tonight. she saw calum's lip just barely quirk up at the embarrassing display.

"i play bass, and sing a little, but we kinda suck."

flicking her eyes down at his tanned hands, maya could definitely see how he could work a guitar. his fingers were lean and long, a few rings adorning each hand, with barely visible calluses along the fingertips.

"i'm sure you don't suck that bad."

"you'd be surprised."

"i'm sure you're great."

"you know, you're really insulting my suckiness right now, and it's quite offending." although he held a straight face, maya could detect a hint of playfulness dancing in calum's brown eyes.

"oh, my bad." maya laughed, pulling her nearly empty drink closer to her again. "how can you stomach this stuff, it's so strong."

"a real man knows how to hold his liquor." his lips morphed into a small smirk as he made a grab for his short glass. although maya would consider herself to be quite a clumsy person herself, she couldn't help but contain a loud laugh as calum's hand knocked his drink to the side, having it fall directly into his lap.

"shit!" he shot up, grabbing a few napkins and dabbing at the front of his soaked black skinny jeans. even knowing she should try to help, maya couldn't contain her laughter enough to do so.

"yeah, yeah, laugh it up." maya only stalled her incessant giggling as a pig-like snort broke through the air. she clasped a hand over her mouth as her cheeks lightly burned.

"hold on, was that for real?" calum's smile extended as he picked up the spilled ice from the table top, glancing over to the brunette at his side.

"uh, yeah. it... happens sometimes." she had always been a little embarrassed about her laugh, especially since she had no way to control what odd sounds would come out of her at inopportune moments.

"it's cute." a bashful grin fell across her face as they locked eyes. as the evening progressed into early morning, the two can't seem to stop their cheerful banter. before she knows it, melanie is long gone with her choice of man for the night, and maya is left with calum at the bar, unable to stop her fits of giggles as the alcohol clouds her brain. she finds herself leaning on calum, joking with him, every minute becoming more intrigued.

well past midnight, maya is left with an empty glass in front of her and an alcohol ridden brain, and right after last call, when calum asks if she'd like to go home with him, she can't find it in herself to say anything but yes.

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