Once upon A Time
"We waited 'til you got here to call for a cocktail menu," Lisette answered, raising her hand toward the cutest busboy she could make eye contact with. It wasn't entirely a lie, but her lack of any bag or purse told the full story. She was apparently going all-out tonight.
"You're wearing the cerise top and four inch heels? You slut," she teased. Lisette only grinned in response.
"Some of us are getting more and more desperate with each dateless weekend that passes," Marena chimed in from her corner seat, already brooding over the expected fruitlessness of her man-search that would become the self-fulfilling prophecy of not only her night, but of many of her years to come.
"Well, I think I'm going to give it up for tonight."
"You? But you're our pack leader. You're practically an inspiration." Lisette seemed to be waiting for the punchline to a joke.
"I told you, I'm tired! Besides, I think sometimes we're trying too hard. Will it kill me to take a weekend off from the hunt? Will I utterly miss my chance at meeting my husband if I just sit here for a drink and then go home early for one night?"
"Yes," her friends answered in unison.
"Thanks, bitches. Go have fun. I'll call you tomorrow for details." Lisette and Marena shuffled off in search of their companions and free drinks for the night.
The bar was still loud, but felt like a zen garden suddenly, now that she was free from the usual peanut gallery. She wondered how she had remained friends with these well-meaning but insufferably senseless women for this long; the kind of girls who felt it was perfectly alright to refer to themselves as a 'little red wolf pack, hunting down their prey.'
"You're better than this, G," she laughed to herself. "They can't even keep the details of a bedtime story straight. Are you so lonely that these girls and the endless chase are the only thing you use your free time for anymore? You used to be more interesting. You liked archery and learned to build things just to furnish your first apartment. You spent an afternoon memorizing the Malaysian alphabet on a whim. You read classics because they were older than everyone you've ever known combined. And this is all you do now? You should really rescue yourself from this mess."
She picked up the cocktail menu and looked over the offerings. Nothing terribly creative, quite a few cheesy or gimmicky names, like Red Hot Vodka Sour, or Cupid's Arrow, or- ...oh, shit.
"It's Valentine's weekend."
She started to gather up her things, intending to duck out as quickly as possible. Too late.
"Can I buy you a drink?"
She was ready with her excuse and apology, but he had kind eyes and the sort of adorable sweetness in his broad smile. Plus he was tall, a requirement of hers. Almost against her better judgement, she sat back down and passed him the menu.
"Anything look good?"
He handed it back to her, his finger underlining his recommendation, and a sheepish grin on his face, hoping she'd find the joke charming rather than corny.
"Sure, I'll try the-" she leaned closer to make sure she was reading correctly, "Fairy Tale, with a Twist."
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Bonus story series