Rumble Strips, Part II

Link to Part I.

The next afternoon, my friends dragged me out to happy hour after work.  Of course, I really didn’t need that much convincing.  They were going on and on about how this new bar they had found had all the cutest guys, and I did have to admit that it had been quite a while since I’d enjoyed any male company.

“Susan, you need to just jump in!” insisted one of my coworkers, Danielle.  “Look, just smile at the first hot guy, and let him buy you a few drinks!  It’s easy, especially for someone as pretty as you!”

I smoothed back my brown hair, looking around the bar.  Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have been quite as outgoing, but a couple of gin and tonics had loosened my inhibitions a little.  Letting my gaze roam, I spotted one guy leaning against the edge of the bar.  Tall, with slicked-back black hair and a leather jacket over his button-up shirt and tie, he looked dangerous – and sexy.  He was casually looking around the bar as well, and I gave him my best “come-hither” smile when his eyes fell on me.

The man smiled back, and I watched with mingled trepidation and delight as he sauntered over to me and my group of coworkers.  “Hey, I’m Cain,” he said smoothly, leaning in next to me.  I could see the five-o-clock stubble on his face, and suppressed an irrational urge to run my hand across it.

I introduced myself, and learned that he was a marketing guy.  “But I drive a bike, so I don’t totally fit into corporate culture,” he smirked, tugging at the lapels of his jacket.  He was a few years older than me, but his shirt was tight beneath his jacket and I had to admit that the rippling muscles beneath were totally doing it for me.

A few minutes later, I had finished sipping down the last of my gin and tonic, and Cain didn’t let it go unnoticed.  “Hey, let me grab you another,” he said smoothly.  “Gin and tonic, right?”  I nodded.  “Yeah, I need another beer as well.  Maybe you could grab a booth while I get the drinks, someplace a little quieter?”

As he headed into the cluster of people around the bar, I turned and gazed around the room.  There was one booth open, towards the back, so I headed over to stake my claim.  A minute later, Cain was back, grinning as he slid me my drink.  “Tip the bartender early on, and you get the best service,” he told me.

Nodding and smiling as if he had just imparted great wisdom to me, I reached down for my drink.  As my hand closed around the glass, however, I suddenly felt a buzz shooting along my arm.  Was my phone going off?  No, I realized – it was the watch!  The watch on my wrist had lit up and was buzzing loudly, making my hand shake and slop a little of the drink onto the table.

“Something wrong?” Cain asked, his eyes narrowing slightly as he looked down at my watch.

I let go of the glass and held up the watch, stabbing at the buttons until the buzzing stopped.  “No, sorry, just a new watch that one of my friends got me,” I said apologetically.  I reached down for the glass again, but the watch resumed its buzzing, this time after I had lifted the glass up nearly to my lips.

I once again paused, frustrated.  Of course, Alex had gotten me something that malfunctioned at just the wrong time, when I was trying to not seem like a fool in front of a new guy I’d met.  An instant later, however, my eye caught something worrying.

Still holding the glass up before my eyes, I swirled it slightly, now ignoring the buzzing of my watch.  It wasn’t just my imagination!  There was something very faint swirling at the bottom of the glass.  It looked like . . . powder?

My eyes rose from the glass to Cain, and I nearly flinched at his expression.  Cain’s face still portrayed simple concern, but now I could see the hint of rage, of something much more sinister, hiding at the edges.  “Oh my god,” I gasped.  “Did you put something in my drink?”

For a moment, I saw Cain try to maintain his facade, but then it fell away from his face like a mask.  “You stupid bitch,” he hissed at me.  “You aren’t supposed to notice anything!  God, that damn watch of yours had to go and ruin everything, didn’t it?”

I opened my mouth, but he was already getting up from the table, storming off towards the door.  I managed to find my voice.  “Stop him!” I yelled, pointing at Cain as he tried to get away.  “He tried to roofie me!”

The bouncer, a massively built man at the entrance with a shaved head, perked up as soon as he heard my cry.  He looked down as Cain tried to slip past him, and one hand the size of a dinner plate tightened on the back of that leather jacket.  Cain twisted, glaring back at me as he tried to get free.  “Shut up, you whore!  If you had just drank it, this wouldn’t have happened!” he cried.

The bouncer didn’t need anything more, and I watched as he hauled Cain off to the back room of the bar.  I didn’t know what was going to happen to him, and I frankly didn’t care.  I grabbed my jacket and headed out of the bar to catch a ride home.

It wasn’t until I was in the back of the taxi that I looked down at my watch.  It had stopped buzzing and was once again only displaying the time.  “You knew, somehow,” I said out loud, knowing the words were true.  “You knew that I was in danger, and you warned me!”

The watch did nothing, of course, but I felt a sudden surge of connection towards it.  Maybe Alex had finally managed to pick out a suitable present after all.


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