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Woody Blackstone grabbed two cups, dumped some ice in them, popped open a can of Diet Coke and poured the fizzy liquid into the two cups. Then he strode quickly toward the stage where Patty Blanchette was gathering up her sheet music.
“Join me for a Diet Coke?” he asked, extending one of the cups toward the redheaded vocalist. Her green eyes took in every inch of him before she reached for the offered drink. His confidence boosted a bit, he continued, “You were really belting them out tonight; you had the crowd eating out of your hand.”
“Thanks. And thanks for the drink. I’m always pretty dry by the end of the night,” replied Patty. She continued to appraise him with a little bit of a twinkle in her eye.
“Hey, it’s the least I can do. That voice of yours keeps attracting the crowds, which puts cash in my pocket. Your rendition of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” was amazing! The customers here hardly ever give a standing ovation, and there was no one left seated when you ended that!”
“Well, it’s one of my favorites, and I love doing it.” Patty sat down on the bench behind the keyboard and took a long sip of the Coke.
“Would you like to go get a sandwich or something somewhere?” Woody ventured.
“I’m really beat and I just want to go home,” she responded.
“Maybe we could have dinner some night when you’re not working?” Woody pushed on, hopeful that she might agree.
“I’m sorry, but I’m in a committed relationship. You seem like a nice enough guy, but I’m just not on the market Thanks for the compliment, though.” She smiled, handed him her empty cup, and rose to her feet. “I have to go now, the guys are waiting.”
“Of course.” Woody took the cup and tried not to look as crestfallen as he felt. For weeks he’d been working up the courage to approach her; it hadn’t occurred to him that she might already have someone in her life. Of course, she would! She was attractive, talented; it was only logical that some guy would have already scooped her up. ‘Well, that explains why she didn’t even acknowledge me when I tried to make conversation last week,’ he thought. ‘At least it’s nothing personal.’
It was a little disappointing, though, to finally feel like he might like to date someone, only to get turned down. Realistically, a lounge and dance hall singer probably wouldn’t be the best of choices, if he really thought about it. She’d be out performing five or six nights a week—what kind of relationship would that be? He really hadn’t given her work schedule any consideration, until he started looking for reasons not to feel bad about getting turned down. All he had thought about were those green eyes, the husky voice, and the cleavage! It was all superficial. He didn’t even know anything else about her. “Chalk that one up to raging hormones,” he thought.
Woody knew he wasn’t a bad-looking guy. The fact that hardly a week went by without one or more of the women who frequented the bottle club flirting with him and trying to lure him out onto the dance floor, was evidence of that. When he bought the place in ’78, he’d decided that he wasn’t going to get involved with any of the customers. It could be bad for business. It hadn’t always been easy to stick to that, especially in the last year. The pain of having lost his Heather had begun to ease, and his libido, which he had been sure had died with her, was slowly reviving. He had to admit he’d been tempted by some of the ladies who seemed to lust after him.
Tonight Woody had stayed in his office most of the time and had avoided contact with the female clientele, except for that strawberry blonde he’d almost knocked on her butt. She was attractive and had a great body, but she nearly bit his head off. No flirting from her; he doubted she’d even give him the time of day. He chuckled as he remembered how she’d snapped at him; a spitfire, that one, for sure!
Finally, the place emptied, he followed Leo and Brad out and locked the door behind him. “See you guys tomorrow night,” he called as he climbed into his Tahoe. He could sleep in tomorrow. Woody’s day job as an engineer didn’t require him to work on Saturdays, which was a good thing. After working all day Friday, and then putting in an evening at Country Connections, he always needed to get a couple extra hours of shut eye on the weekends. The sound of the Beach Boys emanating from the radio kept him company as he drove down the highway homeward.
(to be continued.)