Tempting Fate

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This is a follow up story to “Who Effed Jessica Rabbit?”, a Halloween tale of hidden identities, but it can also be read as a stand-alone story. Enjoy!

* * *

Have you ever had a chance encounter, something that seemed so unlikely to happen, that you couldn’t account it to anything other than fate? Better yet, what happens when said chance encounter isn’t so much random luck as the universe conspiring against you? I have always believed in fate and that everything happens for a reason. That way, when something unexplainable occurs in my life, I have a reason to believe it wasn’t just random, but instead it’s the universe pointing me in the right direction.

I am at the mall with my best friend Liz, checking out the sales at New York I couldn’t help noticing you all night. I have this strange feeling like we’ve met before but I can’t seem to place your face.” My mind goes blank for a split second. I can’t think of anything to say, except for one name that falls from my lips without thinking.

“Private Ryan,” I say quietly. Once the name slips out, the man inhales sharply and his eyes light up.

“Holy shit, Jessica Rabbit? From Halloween?”

The blood rushes back to my brain and I relax slightly at the recognition. “Yup, that’s me. My name’s Scarlett, actually,” I say and give a little laugh.

“This is so crazy,” he says with a grin. “It’s great to see you again. I’m Max, by the way.” He puts his hand out and I take it in mine.

“Very nice to meet you again, Max.”

“The pleasure is all mine, Scarlett.”

Liz looks back and forth between us with a devilish grin on her face, testing the sexual tension before shattering it into pieces. “Scar, I’m going to go outside for a smoke. I’ll be back.” She scoots out of the booth and as she walks behind Max, she mouths ‘Oh my god!’ and mimes a humping motion. I blush instantly and laugh and Max turns around just as Liz stops her little show.

“Do you mind if I sit?” Max motions to the now vacant booth and I nod. He sits down next to me and smiles. When he looks at me, I remember his thick eye lashes brushing against my skin, the way he kissed and nipped at my neck with that wide mouth, and how his big hands felt roaming over my body. “This is so crazy,” Max says again and shakes me from my daydream. “I never thought I’d see you again, but I’m glad I did. How have you been?”

“I’m good, things are good.” I smile and take a sip of my wine.

Max is staring at me with friendly but intense eye contact. I stare back at him, amazed that he’s not afraid to look me in the eye, and give him a nod. “I’m sorry,” he says as he diverts his gaze. “This is probably really weird for you and I shouldn’t have just come over here like this but…”

“No, no, it’s really ok!” I put my hand on his forearm to reassure him and my skin instantly heats. “I’m just trying to wrap my head around this.”

“Well, I’d love to take you out some time so we can get to know each other.”

“Sounds good, Max. Maybe we can remember what happened four months ago?” I squeeze his forearm.

Max winks at me and I bite my lip instinctively. “That would be great.” He takes out his phone and opens a new contact window. “How about this weekend?”

“Saturday night is good for me.”

We exchange numbers and when Liz returns, Max gets out of the booth to let her have her spot back. “Alright Scarlett, see you on Saturday.”

“Yes you will, Max,” I say with a playful smile. “I’m looking forward to it.” He winks and heads toward the exit. Once he is through the door, Liz is on me with questions about him, what’s happening Saturday night and comments on his rocking body. We order another round of wine and gossip like teens, which I secretly love. She already knows what happened on Halloween but I highlight the good bits again, mostly for my own benefit.

When canlı bahis I get home from dinner, I collapse on the couch with my shopping bags. I lay my head back and sigh, thinking naughty thoughts about Private Ryan, and what’s in store for the weekend.

* * *

The rest of the week I am on my toes, restless with anticipation for my date with Max. When I work at the club on Thursday and Friday night, I dance every dance as if it were a private show for him. On Saturday, I run a few errands in the morning, get coffee with Liz at Starbucks, and teach my pole dancing class at the gym. After, I go home to shower and relax before the date.

I stand in front of the mirror as I brush my long hair, thinking about outfits. “I Want You to Want Me” by Cheap Trick is blasting on my iPod and I can’t help but swing my hips to the music. Once my hair is detangled, I add some product and clip it up in a twist as I get dressed. I decide on the teal skinny jeans I bought at the mall with Liz, a black, sequin tank top under a black blazer and tall, black pumps. I put some bangles on my wrists in shades of blue and green, a long silver necklace and silver studs in my ears. I let my hair down again and give it a quick blow out. When it’s dry, my natural waves are shiny and loose. I do some quick smoky eye make-up with teal accents and I am ready.

Liz calls while I’m in the car driving to the restaurant. She asks all the details about my outfit and tells me about the hot woman who hit on her at Starbucks after I left this morning. I pull up in front of the restaurant with a few minutes to spare. Before getting out of the car I say a quick goodbye to Liz and make my way to the door. I tell the hostess I am meeting someone but I am early, so I’ll wait for him at the bar. I enter into the adjoining lounge and order a Cosmopolitan. I get the drink and take only a sip before I feel his presence behind me.

“Hello, Scarlett,” Max says in a warm voice. I turn around on my stool and smile. He’s wearing dark blue jeans with a white button down shirt, black jacket, and a skinny navy tie. I stand up from the stool and even though I have on platform high heels, I am a few inches shorter than him.

“Hello there,” I say with a smirk. Max leans down and kisses my cheek, which makes me blush a bit.

Max sits down on the next stool and I settle myself and pick up my Cosmo. “How are you?”

“I’m good.” I take a drink but maintain eye contact with him. “How are you?”

“Work is crazy but I’m good. Better now that I’m here,” he says with a smile.

The hostess comes over and tells us our table is ready. Max stands and holds his hand out to me. I take it and step down from the stool, holding my drink in the other. “You look amazing by the way.”

“Thank you. You too,” I say with a wink, before I turn and walk back toward the hostess.

She leads us to our table and Max and I take out seats across from each other. He orders a whiskey on the rocks and I nurse my Cosmo. “So Max, tell me about yourself.”

Max’s drink comes and he thanks the waitress. He takes a sip and settles back into the chair. “Well, I currently teach high school history but I was in the army and served a tour in Iraq before that. When you saw me on Halloween, I didn’t have a costume and one of my buddies told me to wear my fatigues because it would help me get laid. I guess it worked.” I laugh and raise my eyebrows at Max. He lifts his glass and I do the same. “What should we toast to?”

I think for a moment and then say, “Here’s to fate”.

Max nods. “To fate.” We clink glasses and drink. The waitress comes to take our orders but we haven’t even opened the menus yet. She leaves to bring us some bread and while she is gone, we both quickly scan the entrees. I decide on the filet mignon with roasted asparagus, rosemary whipped potatoes, and a starter bahis siteleri of carrot and pumpkin soup. Max goes with the same cut of meat but with mixed vegetables, a baked potato, and a garden salad to start.

“Now what about you, Scarlett,” Max asks as the waitress walks off with our orders. “Don’t think you’re getting off that easy.”

I take a piece of bread and break it open. “Hmm, what about me? I love dogs; I want a Great Dane when I move out of my current apartment, either tan or sweet blue. I work in an insurance office, I love shopping, and oh,” I say as I stuff a piece of hot bread in my mouth. “I’m a professional pole dancer.”

Max’s eyes widen. “What?”

“Yeah I know,” I swallow my mouthful before I continue. “Guys kind of freak out when they find out I’m an exotic dancer.”

“No, not that.” I give him a confused look and he shakes his head. “I mean, it’s fucking hot that you’re a dancer but that’s not what surprised me.”

“So what surprised you then?”

“That you want a Great Dane.” Max pulls his phone out of his pocket and opens his photo gallery. “I have a black and white Great Dane named Carlos.” He shows me the screen and I squeal like a typical girl. “His name is Carlos because he has a little mustache.”

I scroll through the pictures, admiring Carlos at the dog park, Carlos sprawled out across a bed, and Carlos and Max at the beach in the summer. “Max, he is adorable!” I give him the phone back and bite into my roll. “My apartment doesn’t allow pets so when I move out, which will hopefully be soon, I want to rescue a Great Dane.”

“They’re really sweet dogs, very mild mannered and well behaved. I can give you the name of the shelter I got Carlos from, if you want. They specifically work with big dogs that need good homes.”

I smile genuinely at the suggestion and nod happily. “That would be great, thanks.” Our starters come to the table and the minute the pumpkin scent hits my nostrils, I’m in heaven. We start to eat but I only get a few bites in before Max asks me about my career choice.

“So how did you get into pole dancing?”

I put my spoon down and wipe my lips with my napkin before starting. “I’ve always been athletic, ever since I was young. I did a lot of sports growing up but once I started dancing in high school, I really felt in my element. Sports just didn’t have the art and fluidity I felt with dance. I’ve tried almost every type of dance, like hip hop, ballroom, competitive, ballet, and pole dancing but pole dancing is by far my favorite. It keeps me in great shape and I’ve been lucky enough to find work doing it.”

“That sounds really cool. If I remember correctly, you had some very sexy moves on the dance floor.”

I laugh and take another spoonful of soup. “Thanks. I dance a few nights a week at a club, specifically pole work, and I teach pole dancing classes at a gym too. I do the insurance thing for the money but I have more fun when I’m on the pole.”

“I’ll have to come by your club and see you dance some time,” Max says with lust in his eyes.

“If you’re lucky, you might just get a private dance for free,” I say back with a sly smile.

“And if you get lucky, I’ll recite the Constitution to you while you do it.” Max gives me a sexy stare and we hold our serious faces for about five seconds before we both break out in hysterical laughter.

The entrees come and we eat in comfortable silence. I think about Max, how sexy and relaxed he is sitting across from me, and how content I am to be out with him. “I’m glad we ran into each other this week,” I finally say to break the silence.

Max looks up from his steak and smiles. “Me too. You are a very interesting woman, Scarlett.”

“Thank you, Max. I would have to agree with you.” I close my eyes and make a faux kissy face at Max.

In an instant, I feel hands on bahis şirketleri my cheeks and lips against my lips. I open my eyes and Max pulls back but he still keeps his finger tips on me. He is leaning his entire body over the table and I have a surprised look on my face but he’s the first one to speak. “I’m sorry if that was too forward but I think you are so goddamn sexy. I keep thinking back to Halloween night and I couldn’t let you say one more word without kissing you again.”

Max starts to sit back down but I stand up and reach for his tie. I pull him back toward me and this time I initiate the kiss. It’s chaste but sparks fly between us. I hear the waitress clear her throat and I can’t help but giggle before pulling away from Max.

“I’m sorry, I’m going to have to ask you two to stop…umm…doing that at the table.”

I let go of Max’s tie and sit back down. “I apologize. It won’t happen again,” I tell her with a fake smile. She turns to leave and I add, “At least not at the table.” She doesn’t stop walking but she turns her head and gives me a side eye. We go back to our dinner once she is gone, making small talk and telling jokes along the way.

“That was delicious,” I say as I sit back in my chair after having just wiped the dish clean with a piece of bread.

“Can I get you anything else?” The waitress asks when she comes to clear our plates.

Max and I look at each other and Max responds, “No, I think we’re all set. Thank you.”

She nods and walks away to get the check. “I have a great idea for dessert,” I tell Max.

“Oh yeah?” Max leans forward on props himself up on his elbows.

I mimic his movements and sit forward. “Oh yeah. I think you should come back to my place. I have homemade coffee ice cream in the freezer and I made brownies for a work party on Monday that we can have the first taste of. What do you say?” I bat my eyelashes and Max laughs.

“Sounds perfect.”

Max pays the bill and we head out to the parking lot. We walk toward my car and as I reach for my keys, Max takes my hand and spins me around. Our faces are pressed together and I lay my hands on his chest. My breathe catches in my throat as one arm snakes around my waist and the other tangles in my hair. “Can we kiss again, now that we’re not at the table?” I lean my head back to meet Max’s eye and nod.

Our lips touch and I lose myself. I bring my hands up to Max’s face and hold him close to me as the kiss deepens. We start slowly but it only takes a few seconds for it to become passionately and I feel myself turn to jelly in his arms. I wrap my arms around his neck and I feel Max’s arms tighten around my body. After a few minutes, we pull apart and my face is flushed with heat. Max brushed a loose hair from my cheek and asks, “So, what do you say about that dessert?”

I detach myself from Max and find my keys. “Why don’t you follow me in your car back to my place? It’s just a few minutes outside the center.”

Max walks off toward his car and we exit the parking lot, him following me down the dark road. We get back to my place and park on the street in front of my building. I pull down the visor and check my make-up in the mirror. I give myself the ‘You’re sexy and you know it’ look but I still jump when Max knocks on the window. He laughs at my reaction but opens the door and extends his hand to help me out of the car like a gentleman. I press the lock button and we walk to the entrance of my building. We enter, climb the stairs to the second floor and I unlock the door to my apartment.

“Do you want something to drink or do you want to skip to the good part?” I ask as I throw my jacket over the side of the couch and walk into the kitchen.

“What’s the good bit?” Max yells from the living room.

“Ice cream and brownie sundaes of course!” I come around the corner and move back into the living room. Max is standing near the front door, coat draped over his arm, looking oh so sexy. I have the pan of brownies in my arms with the ice cream, bowls, spoons, and chocolate sauce balanced on top.

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