Rosabelle hated what the heat did to her hair. She fussed with it in one hand, chiding herself for not booking an appointment with Lakeisha when she had the time. The daytime had cooled down to a crisp night. The trouble was what to do with her frizzy mane. She felt like a lion instead of a lioness. Glancing at her phone without precious bars and the buoying light of the bar, Shady Sam, ahead Rosabelle decided on the lesser evil. Stop crying or He will give you something to cry about. She took her keys out of the ignition and threw them along with her phone into her purse. She quickly pulled her dark hair into a high ponytail combing through any tangles. She touched up her makeup before she stepped outside of her vehicle. She was ever careful where she stepped, she wore high heels and did not want to chance the possibility of explaining a twisted ankle to her baby daddy.
She could hear Lucas Caldwell's smirking, “Rosie.”
“Shut up,” Rosabelle muttered. She pushed through the creaky double doors.
Rosabelle’s lips flattened into a thin line with a single glance around the establishment. She knew what type of folks were in here. They were people lost in the chaos outside and seeking temporary asylum down at the bottom of a bottle. She judged people and she judged hard.
There was a burst of laughter to break Rosabelle’s frown, if only for a second. Rosabelle was drawn, she walked with purpose toward the sound. Her heels clicked on the wooden floors until she reached the front bar. Another burst of laughter and a flurry of smaller giggles and chuckles accompanied it, Rosabelle had a face to match the warm sound. The bartender and his entourage, evident by the crowd gathered around him and the call for his attention when he was done with one customer.
The bartender was tall and handsome as hell, and apparently great with giving out the warm and fuzzies to whoever needed it.
A girl, about Rosabelle’s age, in her early twenties moved toward the empty barstool at the end of the counter. She was cute, short curly hair that framed her moon-pale face and eye-catching chic glasses. Rosabelle was faster, her glare killed questions and indignations.
Shifting her purse in front of her, Rosabelle went fishing. It seemed so strange to her, she was at the point in her life where she carried a purse with more than three items in there. Was she old yet? With a small smile of victory, she found of her phone, relieved the map on there hadn’t changed.
Great, her map hadn’t changed.
Annoyance was quick to rise. She fixed her eyes on the bartender’s own. She got the sense that she had seen him before, but she couldn’t remember where. Ignoring the itch of familiarity, she focused on the fact that he stared back. It took a rare person to look at her full.
Lucas had told her enough.
It felt like a challenge, as ridiculous as it sounded like they were in a classic western. Naturally, she was the sheriff, and he was the outlaw. Which one would one draw and shoot first? Rosabelle did not lose.RIVER O'BRIEN