MI AMORE • by Lynn Nicholas

“YeeHAW! Hot Damn!” Tim drained his third Dos Equis and wiped his mouth on a denim shirtsleeve. “Hey, Angel Face. You have a pen hidin’ back there behind that bar you can toss my way?  I got me an idea for a chart-zoomin’ country-western song.”

Irene slid another cold one down the wooden bar top with the precision of an Olympic curler. “Tim honey, if you’re writing again, I’m buying.” She blew a kiss and turned back to the two Aussie roadies who’d been cracking her up all afternoon.

Tim raised his beer for a celebratory swig. That suit from Bandit Records called him a dried-up loser yesterday, and his fickle agent threatened to cut him loose if he couldn’t show him a new song by next week. He might just dump ‘em both. His long dry spell was over. He was writin’ again, and he just might be in love to boot. That Asian angel had his heart singin’ love songs to his brain.

“Hey, Irene. Mind if I steal this here menu to jot me down some lyrics?”

Irene waved a wet dish rag in assent.

From way down deep in my core.
This feelin’s so strong.
My heart can’t be wrong.
Don’t turn away, mi amore.

Maybe those two Keith Urban roadies could get him backstage. Maybe Keith Urban would even…

Oh man, there she was. He’d found himself one of them muses he’d heard tell about. Tim sucked his upper lip between slightly crooked teeth and craned his neck to watch the girl make her way to the ladies room. Man, the way that little honey moved. She carried her tiny frame like a goddess:  shoulders back, head high, hips a-rollin’ like one of those New York runway models. Her long black hair kept time with the gentle undulation of those hips. Just enough sway to tantalize without being sleazy. She was sorta flat-chested, but her caboose was tight and high. He’d never seen anyone do so much with so little.

“You’re not too subtle there, cowboy.” Irene sidled up and laid a work-worn but well-manicured hand on Tim’s shoulder.

Tim grinned like a red-faced schoolboy.

“I’m fixin’ to ask her to dance. You know her name, Irene?”

“Can’t say that I do. Lots of new faces in town with that music festival going on. Never saw her before last night.”

Tim nudged Irene and gestured down the bar. The two Aussies were smirking and elbowing each other, unashamedly eavesdropping. Competition? It was time to fish or cut bait.

His goddess was walking towards the bar. A casual hair toss revealed dusky, luminous eyes and creamy honey-colored skin. Sensuality oozed from every pore. Tim’s heart thumped. He tore his eyes away to scribble on his improvised notepad.

Honey, don’t shut the door.
This is not what it seems.
Not a dumb pickup scheme.
Don’t turn away, mi amore.

She slipped into the next barstool. Tim felt as nervous as a hen on a hot rock.

“Uh, miss?” Her black eyes swallowed him whole.

Snatches of phrases churned through Tim’s head:  evermore, heart’s in a swirl, be my girl, mi amore.

“Hi. Um… nice two-step playin’. Care to dance?  I’m… uh… Tim, by the way.”

“Julie,” She murmured. “Yes, Tim, I would love to dance.”

Her voice sealed his fate:  smoky and soft, deep and unhurried. He needed to hear that voice calling his name, begging him for more.

Her hand found his knee —

“Hey mate.” The roadie’s loud voice was choked with laughter. He smacked his thigh in unadulterated glee, and his buddy let out with a loud guffaw.

“She’s a bloke, ya bloody fruit loop. Handles wardrobe for the band. One of our guys had a bit of a crush first week out. Got a hell of a shock…”

“Huh?” Tim tilted his Stetson off his forehead like that would improve his vision. “Julie?”

Julie winced and stiffened. She drew back as if Tim might strike her.

“WAIT… wait.” Tim closed his eyes, rubbed his forehead, took his hat off and put it on again, twice. He was two weeks away from his contract hitting the shredder. Just one more hit song. He could taste stardom. Fame has its price, right?

“Julie honey,” Tim offered his hand. “Let’s show those chumps how a Texas Two-Step is danced.”

I’m more confused than before.
‘Cause things ain’t as they seem.
But I can’t lose my dream.
So tonight, hold me tight, mi amore.

Lynn Nicholas lives in Tucson, AZ with her accepting husband, two wonderful dog friends, and a black cat who keeps everyone in line. She’s happily retired from technical editing/writing and now has time to focus on her first love: creative writing. Her stories have appeared on the Rose City Sisters — Flash Fiction Anthology site and in the e-zine Long Story Short. She recently placed in the top ten in a quarterly flash fiction contest on WOW! (Women on Writing). Lynn is also an amateur ballroom and country-western competitive dancer.

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