by Kelley Williams
She went to Mrs. B’s Bar even though she knew he’d forgotten. Ordering a beer, she sat with her back to the door to prevent her heart from accelerating every time it opened. Her fingers worked the label on the Bud Light as she listened to the band cover the greatest hits of the last four decades and was transported back in time.
They’d come to Mrs. B’s after her best friend’s wedding. Nursing a beer, she’d lamented that she’d be single forever.
“You’re ridiculous. And any guy would be lucky to be with you.”
She’d snorted. “You’re just saying that because you’re my friend.”
“That’s not true.”
He’d reached for her hand and time had stopped. The music had faded into the background, the tables of rowdy college students, the cheering sports fans at the bar, the busty waitresses all disappeared.
His eyes had held hers and she’d searched for any sign he returned her feelings of all-consuming love. His thumb had stroked the back of her hand and for a second, she’d thought she’d caught a glimpse he felt it too.
He’d leaned forward, resting his forehead on hers. She’d moistened her lips in anticipation of the kiss she’d been sure was coming.
“I mean it, Angie. Any guy would be lucky.” As soon as the last word had escaped his perfect lips, he’d leaned back in his chair and motioned to the waitress with his empty bottle.
Disappointment settling heavy on her shoulders, she’d tipped her own bottle back and chugged until it was empty.
“Tell you what,” he’d said, after the waitress set two fresh beers on the table. “If we’re not married by the time we’re thirty-five, you and me,” he’d motioned with the bottle, “we’ll get married. We’ll meet right here at Mrs. B’s twelve years from today. Deal?”
She’d looked into those sea-green eyes, and knowing she was committing herself to twelve years of false hope, she’d clinked her bottle to his and said, “Deal.”
The band launched into a rendition of Jessie’s Girl and Angie checked her watch. One more hour til midnight and this day would be over. She could finally move on.
“You look beautiful,” a voice whispered in her ear.
She turned her head, ready to tell the creep to get lost, but the words caught in her thought.
Jake sat down next to her, one hand stilling her trembling fingers, the other wiping away the tear sliding down her cheek.
“I’d thought you’d forgotten.”
“I’ve been waiting twelve years for this day.” He leaned forward. She ran her tongue over her lips. Her heart pounded. She waited. And this time, he kissed her.