I slammed back my drink, then put the glass back down on the counter. I took a moment to catch my breath, before raising my hand to call for the bartender.
"Another one, please," I said.
He frowned. "Um, do you think you've had too much, maybe?"
I shook my head quickly, but stopped when it made me feel a bit dizzy.
"Not at all. Another, please."
He continued to look concerned, which I thought I was sweet, but as I waited expectantly, he just sighed and went to get my drink.
His concern wasn't going to do me much good, after all. Also, despite playing the good girl all my life, I knew how to hold my liquor. I was a little tipsy, but I was nowhere near drunk.
A while later, I was sure I'd had a little too much to drink. Still not drunk, but fed up. I was leaning against a wall feeling both sorry for and angry at myself. I felt stupid for using my last dime on that drink.
I need to head back to my room.
Soon, I would have to go home, too, since nearly all my funds had gone down the drain. I didn't have room to feel regret, but I was disappointed I'd have to cut my trip short.
I looked around at the rest of the club. There was music and drinks and dancing, and everyone seemed to be having fun. This was a new scene for me. It wasn't my first time in a club; that had been earlier in the week. I still wasn't used to it, especially with all the noise and the bumping bodies.
If circumstances were different, I never would have ended up in such a place. Not because I hated it, but the thought never really entered into my mind before.
Anyway, it wasn't as if I had the funds to keep club hopping anyway, but I felt like I'd had my fill of it.
Time to get back to the real world.
I pushed myself off the wall, but I miscalculated.
The reason I was leaning against the wall instead of still being at the bar, was because I'd moved away to go to the bathroom. But I was feeling unsteady, and a new group had come in with a lot of people and a lot of noise. I moved to get out of their way, but now that I'd decided to leave, I had to go all the way across the room, and the crowded people dancing or standing around with their drinks.
It wasn't my intention, I didn't even realize I was unsteady, and being in unfamiliar tall heels wasn't helping. I was going to fall to the floor before I caught myself because my legs felt like weak noodles.
I squinted my eyes, too afraid to close them, with arms held out, hoping to break my fall without breaking an arm.
It didn't happen, though. Instead of falling to the ground, I bumped into someone. He didn't mean to save me, probably. He was passing in front of me and hadn't seemed to notice I was in the way until I collided with him.
My first impression of him was that he was tall, and his body was muscled underneath his suit.
One of my hands had fallen to his peck, and the other had grabbed onto his bicep. His arms came up to catch me as I fell into him, steadying me, though my face was already pressed against his chest.
I had a moment to be relieved I didn't end up face-planting on the floor. I didn't doubt a few people would have stepped on me on their way since everyone in the club seemed so preoccupied with themselves and each other.
Then, I looked up and felt my breath catch in my throat.
He's hot, was my second impression of him. I was held against his chest, and he had one hand on my waist, the other on my shoulder, holding me close. Not that I want to move away. I found myself thinking, This must be what immediate attraction felt like.
"Whoa, there," the man said. "Miss, are you all right?"
I just blinked at him stupidly, because his voice was deliciously deep. He was the full package, a guy with a nice body, nice voice, and a handsome face. Before, I never would have caught the interest of a man like him.
"Miss?" he said after a minute when I didn't reply, arching an eyebrow. "Are you okay?"
Immediately, I felt my face go hot, and I knew I was blushing. I cleared my throat and went to move back, only to realize I couldn't because he was holding me securely, and a little tightly, to his chest. He seemed to realize it as well and released me, quickly.
Only, he did it a little too quickly, and I staggered a bit, almost falling back against the wall, before he grabbed me again, his hands on my waist as he tugged me back against his chest. The pose we ended up in this time was a little more intimate. With his hands around my waist and my own on his chest, if anyone looked at us, they would think we were together.
I'd learned my lesson already, though. Between being in a hot guy's arms and ending up on the floor, there was no competition.
"Are you here with someone, Miss?" the man asked. "You look like you're a little drunk..."
I shook my head. "Not drunk," I corrected. "Just a little tipsy."
Honestly, staring at his face wasn't even helping, it was just making me daydream. If he let go, I was sure I would fall, and that thought made my hands flex on his chest.
His other eyebrow went up, but by his expression, I could tell he wasn't exactly put out, even though some strange woman was hanging off him.
"Why don't we sit down?" he offered. "You seem like you're here alone."
It sounded like an amazing idea, so I nodded. Instead of releasing me completely, he kept one hand on my back as he turned me around and led us to the area with seats. Because nearly everyone seemed to have migrated to the dance floor, there were plenty of empty tables, and he found us one. He had a hand on me until I sat down, but he kept standing.
"Wait right here, and I'll get you some water, okay?"
Again, I nodded obediently and watched as he walked away. I wondered if he would come back. Surely, guys that looked like he did didn't come to a club alone, and sure as heck wouldn't leave alone. Why would he waste time helping me?
Why is he so concerned in the first place?
"Here you go."
I startled, looking up when a glass was set in front of me. The man was back, and he sat down in the chair close to me, watching me. Assuming he wanted me to drink the water, I lifted the glass and took a few sips, until I realized just how thirsty I was. I drank down the whole glass, then set it back on the table. When I glanced at him, he was smiling at me in approval.
"Now," he said, leaning forward with his elbows on the table. "What is a girl like you doing alone in a place like this?"
My face was still hot, and I was starting to wonder if it wasn't the alcohol that had my cheeks blushing. I couldn't tell if this guy was coming on to me, or what exactly he was doing, but the attention was leaving me flustered.
I didn't do well when I was flustered.
"Yes, I'm by myself," I snarked. "What does that have to do with you?"
His eyebrows shot up like he was surprised, but then he was chuckling.
"Are you pouting? I just thought I'd help you out. Don't tell me I'm irritating you instead?"
I sucked in my lips and shot a frown at him. He just continued to look amused.
"I'm going to take a guess and say you don't come from around these parts," he said. "But do you have a place to stay?"
I nodded. The club was part of the hotel, so getting back alone wouldn't be a problem at all. If only my legs hadn't picked the worst time to go weak on me, I might already be there. Though, I couldn't say I'd rather have that than sit next to an attractive man.
Nothing was going to happen with him, though. I'd had relationships before, just two of them, and one was in high school. I wasn't a virgin, after the second guy I dated in college, but my focus had never been guys. I didn't know how to attract them, and when I did, I didn't know how to act around them.
I could go off to a club, let my hair loose and have some fun, but bring back a man to my room?
No matter how attractive he was, that wasn't something I dared to do. I could barely look him in the eye, though there was a lot on him to look at, at least. My eyes, especially, kept falling to the place where there should have been a tie to complete his suit. Instead, he wasn't wearing one, and the top two buttons had been undone, revealing his throat, a hint of collarbone and his toned chest.
"You know," the man said, and I looked up to see him smirking at me. "You're way too cute, and you're even by yourself. Vegas isn't the place to be wearing a skirt that short and being tipsy by yourself."
I let out a sound that could have been a squeak, as my back straightened. Even though he was smirking, the look in his eyes was totally serious. I self-consciously tugged at the bottom of my skirt that had ridden up nearly to the tops of my thighs, now that I was sitting down.
I was embarrassed. Then, I was annoyed.
"I didn't come to Vegas to look for a guy," I told him, glaring. "And I don't need some random man I don't know acting like my mom to me."
I stood up to walk away, and this time, my legs didn't betray me. Still, I didn't get so far, before I felt a hold on my arm. It wasn't a hard grip. It was gentle, and if I kept walking, the hold would have slipped off. But I paused and turned back to look at him.
He was standing close, reminding me of the height and size difference between the two of us.
"My name is Jake," he said, sliding his hand down to hold mine. "It's nice to meet you. Sorry if I came off as annoying, but why don't I take you somewhere to cool off?"
I stared at him with my eyes wide. His hand squeezed gently around mine, and I could tell my fingers were trembling. If I was going by common sense, if I was acting like the usual me, then I would have told him no thanks and walked away. I wasn't doing that, though. So, I squeezed his fingers back.