Catherine eyed the glass and sniffed the suspicious concoction. “What did you say this was again?”
The man leaning on the bar next to her smiled, too-perfect teeth contrasting against the tanned skin darkened by the hint of shadow along his jaw-line. “A French Hooker.”
Catherine glared at him. “I should toss this drink in your face.” His eyes widened and he leaned back slightly. She grinned and wrinkled her nose. “But, free is free. Bottom’s up.” She raised the glass in a salute and downed the purple martini in one gulp. “Ah! Wow! That’s good.”
She turned in her chair, her knee brushing his. She leaned in and murmured, “Don’t think that just because I’m letting you buy me drinks that you’re getting anywhere tonight.”
His grin widened, and humor danced in his over-bright eyes. Catherine felt off-balance at his reaction. “What did you say your name was?”
“I didn’t.” He reached over and ran the tip of his fingernail down her arm, making her shudder and pull back. “I don’t need to, since you won’t remember tonight anyway, baby.”
She tried to stand, but tripped over the legs of the stool, stumbling and almost falling. She steadied herself on the bar and looked up. The room spun and the voices, once loud, seemed distant…tiny. She felt the stranger’s hands grab her. She thought she heard him say, “Whoops! Don’t worry, honey, I’ve got you. Time to go sleep it off!”
Catherine tried to call out, but her voice betrayed her. She managed a few wobbly-kneed steps before sinking into his grasp, the lights going out in her vision.
Catherine awoke to a thousand jack-hammers ringing in her skull and a tongue thick and clumsy with grit. “Wha…?” She looked around to see an office area, desk along the far wall peppered with photos of a smiling red-head and freckle-faced girls grinning with teeth coated in braces. She yanked the blanket off of her and tried to rise from the couch that had served as her impromptu bed, blanking on how she ended up in this place.
A large man, bald except for a semi-circle of dark fringe, strode in and noticed her up. “Good, you’re awake.”
Catherine shrank back against the couch, huddling her legs close to her chest. “Who are you…how did I get here…where am I?
The man blew out a deep breath and held up his hands as he stepped over to his desk. “I’m Lester, and you’re in my office at the club. Do you remember what happened last night?”
She shook her head and he muttered, “I hate scumbags like that.” He picked up one of the pictures from the desk and showed it to her. “Well, as you can see, I have daughters. When one of my bouncers reported a suspicious man trying to take you out of the club, I came to see what was happening.”
He shook his head sadly. “You aren’t the first young woman I’ve seen dosed, and I recognized it the signs right away.” He looked her right in the eye. “The bastards lucky I only kicked him in the family jewels a couple of times before my guys pulled me off and called the cops.”
Catherine felt tears well up. “So he didn’t…I mean, I wasn’t…?”
She burst into tears of relief, but a thought struck her. “Why am I here, and not in a hospital or something?”
Lester chuckled. “Like I said, I have daughters and I run a club. I know a fake I.D. when I see one.” He shrugged his shoulders. “I figured you had a rough enough time without getting jammed up for underage drinking. But, now that you’re awake, it’s off to the hospital to get checked out.”
Catherine digested the fact she was busted on top of everything else that happened, but managed to squeak out a small, “Thank you.”
He strode across the room, holding out his hand to help her up. She took it and the two left the office, Lester careful not walk behind her.
For Picture It & Write over at Ermilia blog. Every week they post a picture to inspire a story or poem or whatever tickles your fancy. Head on over and check out other writers’ takes on the photo prompt above. I tagged it mature for some of theme of the story. Although I don’t explicitly say, the implication is there and felt it may call for the tag.
Hope you enjoy.
Happy Reading and Writing!