“Can I get you another drink?” Nic appears, making me jump in my spot.
My hand rises to my heart, which is beating out my chest. God, I hope he didn’t hear us talking about him. He nods his head to my glass, and I realize he asked a question.
“We’d love another round,” Marie interrupts me, placing her glass next to mine and pushing them both forward toward him.
I squint at her, wondering what kind of game she’s playing.
Nic makes our second round of drinks, and while he does, his green eyes dance up to me and then look down with that full-mouthed smirked. I lift my brows in question at what he wants to ask but clearly isn’t saying.
He seems to sense my intrigue in his posture because as he places our glasses on the bar, he says, “I thought for sure that last guy in the collared shirt was going to win you over.”
“Win? Like I’m a prize?” I ask with a narrowed eye and tilted jaw, hoping he answers this correctly.
“Aren’t all women prizes to be won?” He pauses and places his finger to his chin. “Or I guess it’s more like presents to unwrap.”
My laugh is exasperated. “That is so misogynistic. Women are not trophies to put on a shelf or gifts. And if a woman dresses a certain way, that does not mean she intends to be undressed.”
“I never said that,” he defends. “You assume men only find attractive women to be desirable when in fact smart and adventurous are the sexiest things a woman can be. But”—he grins with a point—“when you walk into a bar, your brain and wild-hearted spirit aren’t written across your face. Your pretty blue eyes and bow-shaped mouth are. And the way your brown hair spills over your heart-shaped face. Looks attract, but the mind is what keeps us intrigued. When I find the whole package, hell yes, that’s a present I’d love to unwrap at the end of the night. And to have that on your arm? Fuck, I’d die to show it off.”
Marie’s face lights up with joy. “I like the way you think.” She looks back to me with wide eyes, and I shake my head to deter her from whatever oversharing thing she’s about to say, but she blurts out anyway, “Evette has an issue with being physically attracted to the wrong guys and finding out later that they’re not the whole package.”
“Is that why you turned those guys away? Red polo and beer over there is your type?” he asks like the thought of me going home with Shawn is revolting, albeit the appearance of his dimples as he pours a martini shows he’s satisfied that I didn’t go for him.
“Physically, yes. He was someone I would be attracted to, but I’d probably be disappointed by the end.”
“You would. He ordered domestic. Guys who order domestic beer aren’t into trying new things.”
“That’s not true,” I say in disbelief and then quickly become intrigued. “How so?”
“Work behind this bar long enough, and you see who goes home with whom. Men who drink tequila don’t want to remember who they are. Vodka and soda means he’s on a diet and probably a little insecure while a Manhattan is for someone who just wants to unwind and doesn’t want any trouble. I’d prefer all those to domestic beer that has no place at a bar.”
“I think it shows he’s authentic and genuine,” I counter.
“Cheap and unimaginative.”
I twist my mouth. “What kind of drink does a real man order?”
“Whiskey or bourbon straight. If he knows exactly which brand he wants on top of that, he knows where he’s going in life.”
“Shut up,” I say, totally bemused, even though I don’t want him to stop talking. “What about a guy who orders vodka straight?”
There’s a girl shouting drink orders to Nic.
He listens and then starts to make them while talking to me. “He’s probably still in college and has a ping-pong table in his basement.”
He pours liquor into the metal shaker. “Has learned what he likes and is willing to pay a higher price for quality. He’ll treat you right.”
“Gin martini,” Marie throws out.
Nic answers easily, “The guy knows what he wants. When he wants.”
“A Cosmopolitan?” I ask as a joke.
Nic doesn’t laugh or smile as he shakes up the drink and answers seriously, “He doesn’t give a shit what people think and is confident in what he likes and in himself. Marry him … if he’s not gay, of course.”
“What do you drink?” I challenge.
A slow smile builds across his face as he pours out the frothy mixture into two martini glasses. “Margaritas.” I open my mouth to ask what that means about him, but he smirks as he says, “You’re gonna have to figure that one out for yourself.”