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"Lydia, you are the best damned divorce attorney in Miami--no, the state of Florida, maybe the country," Terri slurred, sloshing champagne. "I should remarry just so I can get another divorce." The Candy Bar was crowded so she shouted to make herself heard. "Hey, anybody want to get married this weekend? I'm free, free, free..."
She was waving her full glass around and laughing as people ducked from the spillage. I cringed with embarrassment and tried to take the glass out of her hand, but no way was she letting go.
"Thanks, Terri, but you only got what you deserved," I said quietly, hoping my serious tone of voice would be enough to subdue her without having to wrestle her to the ground.
She had ordered the magnum of Dom before I showed up, and I wondered how much of it she had consumed. A little too much, I was thinking. I signaled to Candy, bartender extraordinaire and sole owner of this happening South Beach bar, and whispered in her ear. "We need some food, ice water, and two cups of coffee."
"You've got it." Candy nodded then hustled off to the kitchen. I turned to Terri. "You need to take a breather between men. You've already had two husbands since I've known you."
"Spoil sport." She gulped her drink. "I just so happen to like men."
"I know you do, and so do I. The difference is that I don't marry every guy who gets my hormones hopping."
Her laugh was infectious. "Oh, poor you. The wedding is the best part. How often do you get to wear the most beautiful gown in the room, and be the center of attention for the entire evening? And later, open all those lovely gifts! Why, what girl in her right head wouldn't want to get married?"
"Then, you're just plumb dumb." Terri looked around and nodded toward a guy sitting at the end of the bar staring morosely into his beer. "Now, if he's not a candidate for husband number three, I don't know who is."
I checked him out, and he was seriously hot, with a hard, muscular body, and a face I could easily get used to. I laughed and fanned myself. "Please don't tell me I'm menopausal, but I just got a hot flash."
She eyed me curiously, as I gulped a sip of champagne. "Your face is flushed."
"Too many bodies not enough air. So," I said, looking at the guy, "getting back to him. I'd skip the damn wedding and fast forward to the honeymoon." I lowered my voice. "And then, I'd give him the ride of his life."
The lights in the bar flickered, and the candles on the tables grew dim. I thought they were having a power outage until I heard Candy laugh and clap her hands. "Magic's in the air," she told her customers.
The guy looked up, and it was like being caught in headlights. Our eyes locked, and I couldn't break contact while my body temperature continued to soar. I don't know how long we would have continued to stare at one another if Terri hadn't shot up out of her seat.
I watched Terri grab the magnum and teeter off to the end of the bar. Here was a woman who'd had two husbands, neither of them loveable, and was willing to take a chance on a third, while I would rather jump off a cliff than step down the aisle. I preferred my battery-operated friend to getting my heart broken. After all, I was batting two for two.
Terri bumped the guy's arm and said too loudly, "Hey, my friend and I are celebrating. Wanna join us?"
He shook his head no.
"Oh, come on," Terri gushed, "at least one drink."
He looked over at me, and I made an apologetic face. He grinned, and I found myself grinning back. The guy was seriously cute and looked like he needed some cheering up.
"That's better." I heard Terri say. "I thought your face was permanently frozen in a sour mash. You'd be a real lady-killer if you smiled a bit more."
She grabbed one of the girls behind the bar. "Hey, give this guy a champagne flute. He's joining us for a drink."
He started to say something then stopped. Terri was leaning all over him with her impressive, and very expensive, breasts pressed against his shoulder. He looked at them, and then at me, raising an eyebrow as if we were sharing a common joke. I saluted him with my sparkling, golden flute, and he saluted me back with his flat beer.
Terri linked arms with him and dragged him back to where we were sitting. "Lydia, this is ... this is ... I don't know." She giggled. "You look like that guy in Message In A Bottle. Washisname?"
"Kevin Costner?" I said helpfully.
"Yeah. That's the one." She burped and put down her drink. "'Scuse me." She covered her mouth as if to take back the burp. "I think I'm getting a little tipsy."
I gave her a quick smile and an affirmative nod. "Don't worry. Help has arrived." Candy dropped a big plate of nachos on the table, some calamari, and conch fritters. She handed us ice waters and two cups of coffee.
"Thanks, Candy. You're a life saver."
Candy's about thirty-something and looks a little hard around the edges, but still sweet, if you know what I mean. Tonight, she was wearing jean shorts, a tight fitting white T-shirt that had The Candy Bar splashed across the front in pink sequins, cowboy boots, and a straw hat on her Dolly Parton styled hair.
"Hey, which one of you is driving?" she asked.
"Terri isn't," I assured her. "Would you mind calling her a cab when she's ready to leave?"
"Of course not. I'll be happy to." She hitched her thumbs into her hipster shorts and glanced down at my drink. "How about you?"
"Thanks, but I'll be fine." I handed my still full glass of champagne over to her. "You can do me a favor and take it away before I drink it all. Terri's been generously refilling it, and I'm getting a buzz." I looked at the guy she had dragged over. "I might have to leave her in your hands," I told him. "I have to work tomorrow."
He gave me an alarmed look. "No way. You can't leave yet."
"I'm going to have a bite to eat and sober up first. Stay and join us, we have so much food and still half a magnum of good champagne."
The guy looked toward the doorway and checked out the crowded bar. "I'm waiting for someone, so if, and when, she shows up, I'm going to have to leave you ladies, if you don't mind."
The disappointment I felt was like a splash of cool water, but it reminded me that I'm not into relationships. I have zero interest in meeting a hot guy; not now, not ever.