Jo and I sat alone at the bar while the bartenders collected all the empty glasses and bottles. Ben took a taxi home long before last call, too drunk to stand on his own.
“I don’t know why he does that to himself all the time!” Jo had said when he left. “All he does is make himself sick. And we have to open the diner in the morning,” she continued, looking worried.

There had always been a spark between Ben and Jo – they were constantly flirting with each other – but either they are both too stubborn to admit it or too oblivious to notice. Either way, I decided long ago to stay out of it; I had enough trouble sorting out my own love life, let alone someone else’s. Besides, Jo occupied herself by running the diner every day, while Ben was busy training to be a paramedic – they hardly had time for anything else.

“Ugh, what’s taking him so long?” Jo moaned, leaning back on the bar. “We’ve been waiting here for twenty minutes!”
I tried to be patient, but ever since Wyatt asked me to stay behind I had been waiting anxiously for closing time. Now that everyone had gone and it was suddenly quiet enough for me to think clearly, I started to get nervous.

“You don’t have to stay, you know,” I nudged Jo. “I’ll see you at work in the morning bright and early, you’ll be the first to know everything… if anything happens.”
Jo looked at me as if I had just told her that her shoes were out of season.
“Absolutely not! I have been waiting for this just as long as you have, missy! I’m not waiting until tomorrow for anything!”
“Okay, okay, calm down,” I laughed.
“No!” Jo said jokingly, jumping off the bar stool and stamping her foot on the ground. “I will not calm down. What’s he trying to do? He asks you to wait here for him so he can talk to you, then leaves you hanging, like he’s so cavalier!”
Jo was prone to being overdramatic, especially when it came to me.

“You know what I say?” Jo asked, putting her hands on her hips.
“What do you say?” I replied, going along with her little performance to pass the time.
“I say you march back there and go get him! Go make your moment happen!”
I laughed, but couldn’t help but think she had a point.
Jo sat back next to me, ending her faux tantrum.

“No, I’m serious. Maybe he’s waiting for you. I bet he’s sprawled out the dressing room couch, waiting for you to come and lavish him.”
She leaned back on the bar, threw her arms up in the air and tilted her head back, much to the delight of the bartenders cleaning behind the bar.
“Or maybe he’s just taking his sweet time!” she added, springing back up and yelling it towards the stage.

Suddenly, she turned around, leaned over the other side of the bar and threw up.
I jumped up to help her and hold her hair back.
“Clearly Ben isn’t the only one who’s had a few too many drinks tonight,” I sighed. “Come on, you can stay at my place tonight.”
Jo sat up, wiped her mouth and shook her head.
“No! Not until you get your butt back there and have your freaking moment!”
And with that, she was back over the bar again.
“I’ll call a taxi and get her a bucket, you go do whatever it is she’s nagging you to do,” said one of the bartenders, irritated.
“Fine. I’ll be right back, Jo.”

I walked across the deserted dance floor, climbed onto the stage and disappeared behind the curtain.
Turning into the hallway, I heard voices coming from one of the adjoining rooms. I recognised Wyatt’s voice, and from the conversation I gathered he was talking to one of his bandmates.

“I saw a couple of groupies hanging out by the bar, waiting for us. A sexy redhead and a rocker chick. Which one you want?” I heard the mystery man say, and I stopped in my tracks.
“Neither. I’m going home,” Wyatt replied.
“Whatever, man. I saw you chatting up the rocker chick before. You keen on her?”
I held my breath, waiting to hear his response.
“Pfft, nah. She’s just a girl I know from work.”
“You mind if I have a crack at her?”
“Go ahead. You won’t like her though. She’s one of those girls who goes on and on about how independent she is, how she doesn’t need a guy to save her or whatever. She’s pretty boring, actually,” Wyatt said, apathy in his voice.
My heart sank deep into my chest. I didn’t know whether to run away or confront him about his hurtful words.
“Ugh. I hate those girls. So annoying. Alright, I’ll take the redhead,” the other voice replied, and I heard their footsteps coming towards the hallway.

I started to turn around and walk away, but I stopped myself. Even though I could feel tears welling up in my eyes and a lump forming in my throat, I knew I had to stand up for myself.
Wyatt and his bandmate made their way into the hallway, and froze in place when they saw me standing in front of them. Wyatt’s eyes widened and his face went pale as it dawned on him that I had heard their conversation. I recognised the other man as Tom, the lead singer in the band.
“Good luck, man,” Tom smirked and pat Wyatt on the shoulder before pushing passed me and heading back towards the bar.

“Eva, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean…” Wyatt started, but I interrupted him.
“At least now I know what you really think. I better go – before I start to bore you,” I snapped, storming off in a hurry.

I wanted to say more, to tell him I didn’t have room in my life for anyone who didn’t respect me for who I am, to ask him why he asked me to stay, but I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of seeing me cry over him.

I pushed my way through the curtains, hearing Wyatt running down the hall behind me. Jumping off the stage, I saw Tom sitting on a stool next to Jo, who looked half-asleep, leaning her arms on the bar. As I got closer I saw he had his hand on her thigh.

“Leave her alone,” I said through gritted teeth as I slapped his hand away.
“Eva!” Jo sprang up, suddenly awake. “How did it go? Did you have your moment?” she smiled.
“Not exactly,” I sighed as I helped her off the stool. “I’ll explain when we get back to my place. Let’s go.”
I pulled her along as I hurried out of the bar and onto the street.

Thank god, I thought as I saw a taxi waiting for us.
I laid Jo down in the back and jumped in next to her, slamming the door shut as Wyatt ran out of the bar. I gave the driver my address and didn’t look back as we drove away, leaving Wyatt behind.

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