144 9 13

June 1995

I'm sitting at the bar of LA's infamous Viper Room with my best friend, Tonya. We've been friends since fifth grade, so she knows me extremely well. We sip at our drinks, very strong margaritas, and watch the crowd. It's Wednesday night, so the place isn't too packed, and there's supposed to be a live band. Hopefully, it will be an interesting night.

Tonya and I are turned to face each other, sitting sideways to the bar as we chat. Work, other friends, our lack of men in our lives, anything and everything as usual when we're together. As we sip and talk, I hear a man's voice directly behind me, as if he's leaning on the bar. Strangely for this venue, he orders a tonic and lime. No alcohol. And Tonya has fallen silent.

"Turn around," she dramatically whispers, all big eyes and overzealous annunciation.

"What?" I say, confused by her sudden hyperness.

"Turn around!" she says more definitively, and I set my glass on the bar.

I swivel around on my barstool and see the person behind me. A guy is leaning on the bar there. He's squeezed himself between my stool and the next one. My eyes meet his. My word, he's gorgeous. My heart immediately leaps into my throat at his wondrous facial features.

"Hiya," he says nonchalantly, giving me a slight nod.

"Hi," I breathe, mesmerized by his looks. "I'm Mari," I add, and he gives me a tight smile.

"Hi," he replies but then turns away from me.

Well, I think, somewhat offended by his rude brush-off. I angrily spin back around to face Tonya and make a face of disgust as I raise my middle finger to the offensive dude. But Tonya isn't even looking at me. She's staring over my shoulder.

"Thanks," I hear him say and feel him stand up so close behind me that I can feel his body heat. "See you later, Mari," he says close to my ear, and I gasp.

I turn around to see him walking away, but he's looking over his shoulder at me. My mouth is hanging open, completely shocked that he spoke to me and said my name. I give him a wry smile as he disappears through a door near the stage. That is when I feel Tonya beating on my shoulder as if she's trying to knock it off of my body.

"Do you have any idea who that was?" she says, sounding awed and breathless.

"No clue," I say with a shrug as I turn back to her again.

"Remember Duran Duran?" she asks, and a giggle bubbles out of me.

"Fl-fl-fl-fl-flex!" we both say and then dissolve into laughter.

"Sure I do. They were a huge 80s thing," I tell her with another shoulder shrug. "And you were crazy about them," I add with a smirk.

"That was John Taylor!" she tells me, her voice close to a shriek.

"Who?" I question, my face scrunched up in confusion.

"John Taylor. The bassist. The face. The sex god," she swoons, but I'm not impressed.

"Whatever," I say with a shrug.

"Whatever!" she exclaims and swats my arm. "He was digging on you. Majorly. When you turned away, he looked you up and down."

"He did not," I say, not believing her in the least.

"Oh yes, he did! He liked what he saw too. I'll bet he'll come to find you later," she tells me, and I scrunch up my face again.

"No way," I argue, waving her off.

But Tonya doesn't respond. Her eyes are locked on something behind me again. I watch her facial features turn from surprise to shock to pure disbelief. Her mouth is flapping open and shut, but no words are coming out.

A Matter of Feeling Where stories live. Discover now