“We’re not going to get along,” he mused as he stared me down. I froze. I wanted to impress him. I wanted this job.
“I uh…I…that’s not what I meant. I know Ireland is not part of the U.K.” I stammered, knowing damn well that in part, it is.
He continued to stare, keeping me in this awkward limbo of uncertainty, soaking in my panic.
“I’m just fucking with you.” He cracked a smile.
The air was thick with sexual agitation. I’d just met this man, but I was enamored.
It was my first day of training. I’d been working as a bartender in recent years, abandoning my years of training in the back of the house for a better pay out and a bit of air conditioning.
I’d been instructed to come in earlier than I should have been. I thought he was the bartender meant to train me, turns out he was not. We were both unprepared for this interaction. We awkwardly staggered through it-the chemistry was oppressively hindering. How is a girl expected to perform under these conditions?
I was completely thrown. An Irish accent was coming out of a man with a dark complexion, almond eyes outlined by thick rimmed glasses and deliciously full lips. What are you? I thought. It seemed nearly impossible to behave professionally. My intrigue began to take root. I instantly wanted to know everything about him.
I’d isolated myself from all things men for nearly 5 months prior to this interaction. This meant no dating, no hook-ups, no nothing. I was suffering from a broken heart- a heartache that came at the most inopportune time. Just as the entire infrastructure of my life began to deteriorate, I learned that the man I loved had gotten another woman pregnant. I was so fucking done. And as of the mess that was my life continued to unravel, I didn’t have the time to entertain the idea of dating. I had become so fragile. The last thing I needed was to invite another narcissist asshole into my life to disrupt my progress.
It started as a conscious decision. I needed to take this time to allow myself to heal. To rid myself of bad habits, and to break the cycle of jumping into unhealthy relationships. Decision transitioned into habit, and by the time I felt like I wanted to date again, I had no idea how to act. I was out of practice, damaged and scared. This obtuse, almost foreign feeling of attraction had blindsided me- knocking me off kilter.
The bartender meant to train me sauntered in, dismissing my mistaken mentor. As it turns out, he worked at the other location and was only filling in.
“We probably won’t see each other again; my number is in the office if you have any questions.”
I didn’t have any questions. But I wanted to talk to him again, see him again. I texted him to politely thank him for the brief training and hopefully ignite more suggestive conversation.
I later learned that he had a girlfriend and an infant daughter. Yikes. No thanks. I’d had enough with single father drama- and if he was spoken for, that was the end of it. I struggled to push him out of my mind and continue to focus on my progress. I was seriously in debt, with looming consequences approaching for my financial irresponsibility. My only agenda was to grind it out- so I let it alone and eventually forgot about him.
My “celibacy” continued for another 4 months. Until one night- paralyzed by boredom and loneliness, I arranged for a hookup. I ended my 8-month run with a 10 hour sexathon. I couldn’t sit comfortably for days.
My hunger became insatiable. During my sex-hibernation, I’d queued up a few interests that I hadn’t had the confidence to pursue. But now I felt ready- I was, slightly, back on my game. I couldn’t help but think of the almond-eyed man who had taken me off guard.
I wonder if he still has a girlfriend…
Over the few months of my employment I had heard a few unsavory things about him. That he was an arrogant prick (already noted), a philanderer (no matter, I wasn’t prepared for a relationship), and potentially a pathological liar. Against my better judgement, I decided I would see for myself.
We began texting casually, just cordial and friendly conversation. We asked each other basic questions, sharing bits of ourselves with one another. This went on for a few weeks.
For a “human mattress” (direct quote from a coworker) he didn’t seem to have any game. Or maybe he just wasn’t attracted to me? Hah. Nah. That couldn’t possibly be it.
One night as it started to get late, I decided to accelerate things a bit. I called him sexy. He said I was being forward, but he was glad that I broke the ice. Apparently, he had a hard time picking up on behavioral cues.
We made plans to meet for dinner a few weeks in advance as we both were very busy. My nerves grew more anxious as the date approached. I was nervous about this. What if he didn’t like me? What if we didn’t have anything to talk about? I wasn’t accustomed to formal dates. They’d always made me uncomfortable.
I saw him first as I entered the restaurant, taking him off guard as I approached him.
“I’d almost forgotten what you looked like after all of this time,” I joked, jolting him to attention. He stood up to greet me, pulling me in for an awkward, rigid hug.
“How are you?” I breathed, plopping into my chair.
“I’m fine. How are you?” He responded.
“Fine.” My heart began to race. I was panicking. Apparently, that was all of my material. I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“How are you?” I mindlessly blurted.
He smirked, “you just ask me that.”
“Right.” I retorted, adjusting the napkin on my lap.
“So, before we go ahead and do this, there are a few things I think you should know about me. Some of it you may have already heard, I’m not really sure what people say about me.” He folded his hands in his lap as he spoke, mirroring my body language.
I’d noticed that he’d do this as we texted as well. He copied my formatting exactly. If I broke up my texts, so did he. If I separated my points, but in one giant text- he followed suit. I changed up the formatting a bit, purposely to see if he was indeed mirroring my behavior. And without fail, he reciprocated every time. Interesting, I thought.
“As you may have heard, I have a daughter,” he began. I nodded to confirm that I did indeed know this information.
“I am also divorced. I was married for seven years.” My gaze became very still. I was slightly taken off guard. I had heard that he was married. But for seven years? This guy was my age. A year or two older perhaps- I began to ponder the time line.
“One last thing. I was enlisted in the German Army for two years. It’s mandatory for German citizens even if they are living outside of the country. So, I was living in Ireland at the time and had to return to serve. I come from a military family, both of my grandfathers were in the S.S. Army, so I was placed in a higher ranking because of my family history. And since our dear allies in America were engaged in a war, I was sent to the Middle East as a sniper.”
I sat very still as I drank it all in.
“I have some questions,” I began as I started to shift in my seat.
“I don’t want to talk about it.” He cut me off.
“But what I will say, is that I never understood my father until I’d been sent off to war. He never spoke about killing anyone until after I’d returned. When I was real young, and I would ask if he’d killed anyone, he would just say that war was a complicated thing. As I got a bit older, he said that they’d throw a grenade into the enemies trenches too see what happened. When I returned from war, he placed his hand on my shoulder and looked me into the eyes, and for the first time, we felt like equals. And all that he said to me, is that there is no greater feeling than killing your enemy.”
Chills ran down my spine as he spoke. I had noticed that there was something a little…off about him. A vacancy in his eyes, darkness looming just beneath the surface. Is it because he was a killer? Why was this turning me on?
……Check back next week for part 2 of the story!