Behind the bar, Max served up shots and poured beers while Janie recounted the details of her latest date with the douche du jour.
“So, let me get this straight,” Lyla said as she seductively moved her thick, espresso-colored hair off her narrow shoulders. “That cheap loser actually told you to leave the tip?”
Janie nodded, her demure, teal eyes sparkling with the uncontainable mischief that always seemed to bubble to the surface when she was around Lyla. The two women knew they had a captive audience but refused to engage anyone but each other.
“So…what did you do?” Lyla lifted her glass to her lips, tipped it back, and then replaced it on its coaster. “Please tell me you didn’t put any money on the table!”
Janie winked and took a long sip of her cocktail. “Ly, of course I put money on the table. It wasn’t the waiter’s fault my date was a cheap-ass jerk. But”—Janie sipped her drink again—“when he walked me to my door and leaned in for a kiss…I told him that neither his tongue nor his tip were going anywhere near me.”
Janie and Lyla broke into a fit of laughter, the men who’d been listening seeming equal parts aroused and ashamed. Their expressions only caused more hysterics from the two women.
Max, on the other hand, felt his protective instincts flare. He wanted to find that guy and teach him a thing or two about how to treat a woman. Since meeting and befriending Janie, he had thought she was attractive—no…not attractive, more than attractive...fucking gorgeous—and over the past month or two, he’d been finding himself wanting to protect her from all of the things, specifically men, that could hurt her. He had to remind himself to back off, to let go of the urge.
You’re no one’s hero, he thought. You don’t do relationships. It’s fuck and release. You get in, you get out, no one gets hurt. Max gave himself a mental shake and tuned back into the conversation.
But Janie and Lyla weren’t at their overcrowded table anymore. They now sat perched on barstools directly in front of him at the long, scarred, mahogany bar. Where Max could look his fill without being too obvious.
“Girls, you’ve gotta stop torturing my customers. My insurance doesn’t cover heart attacks caused by Danny’s Dolls.” The joke came from Danny, the bar’s owner and namesake.
“Don’t you mean Danny’s Domme’s?” Max added, a tightness in his chest that didn’t match his normally calm voice.
“Po-tay-to, pa-tah-to,” Danny retorted with an easy smile.
Janie’s eyes sparkled with mischief again. “Ly, do you get the feeling that Mr. Owner and Mr. Bartender are making fun of us?”
Lyla picked up the proverbial ball and ran with it. “Why, yes. Yes, Jane, I do. And I’m not sure what they’re talking about. Just because the boys who drink here get all goofy over a mild conversation about whether they like their women to have ‘hardwood’ or ‘carpet’ has nothing to do with us.” Lyla smirked as Max’s Adam’s apple bobbed down the thick column of his throat.
“You’re right, Lyla,” Janie giggled. “And what real man can’t discuss whether or not he likes anal play?”
At the desperate look on Danny’s face and the lustful look on Max’s, both women burst out laughing again.
“You are all the same,” Janie said, shaking her head.
“Eeeaasy,” the women said in unison.
Janie and Lyla had been coming to Danny’s on Main for six months. It started out as just a Thursday night thing, but as the women got to know Danny and his wife Julie, as well as the rest of the bar’s staff, they all started spending time together in a social capacity. The two young women were more than just proprietor and customer, now. They were more like family…or as close to family as Janie and Lyla had ever had. Over the past couple months, the two women had even starting cooking dinner for the whole crew on Sunday nights. Since neither woman was close to her family either by choice or circumstance, they had made Sunday night dinner their “family time” and invited Danny and Julie, Max, and the other bartenders—Ryan, Kyle, and Ashley—to join them—it was the one night of the week that Danny’s on Main was closed. That’s how close they’d become.
“All I’m saying is, I know you’re both grown women, but I worry about you,” Danny continued. “And I’m not sexist, but it’s more dangerous for a woman to take home random guys from a bar.” Danny wore his paternal face, the one that said all joking stops now. Looking directly at Lyla, he added, “I can’t keep up with all of the guys you take home any more than I would any of my boys, but I hope you’re at least being safe.”