It was a typical night at the bar, the regulars, some newer female clientele come to see the man behind the bar, some kids home from college that had Gerry checking ID's like crazy. A nice warm breeze blew in from open doors, AC/DC playing over the din of the crowd. He had grown to actually enjoy the job. It wasn't as physically demanding or strenuous as his old place, but with Kara as his boss, he might as well have been his own boss. If there was one thing he missed at that job, it was the people. There were no pirates here, no odd creatures. There was not ONE minotaur employed anywhere in his current area code. What the hell was that?
He slid a glass to the little blonde standing in front of him and smiled to her. His attention was pulled to Kara, dressed in a tight white top that just accentuated her...attributes. A man was standing there, about 5'11". Slinky with long hair pulled back in a pony tail, and a goatee. The look and attire of a biker to him. She looked less than pleased to see him.
"Hello, Tim." She said curtly., her posture sending out a strong 'get the **** away from me' vibe.
He fairly sneered at her, his eyes travelling along her body. "Hey there, baby. Lookin' damn fine tonight."
Her face remained icy. "What do you want, Tim?" Kara said.
"I'm back! I'm back in town!" He said as if this was something she should be happy about.
"Good for you. What do you want to drink?" She said, feeling like she hadn't blinked in hours.
"Aw, come on baby, don't be like that." He said.
"Don't be like that?" She asked him incredulously. "You got drunk and beat the **** out of me and then stole my car and wrapped it around a telephone pole. How would you like me to be?"
Gerry frowned. He couldn't hear it all, but he didn't like what he could.
"Look." She said. "Why don't you just turn your ass around and get the hell out of here."
"That's no way to talk to an old friend." He said with a dangerous edge to his voice.
"Well, then it's a good thing we're not friends, then, isn't it?" she spat back at him. "Get out of here or I'll tell every woman in this bar what a tiny pecker you're packing."
He narrowed his eyes. "You know, you should watch your mouth, slut."
Gerry stepped up behind her, his green shirt clinging to his well-muscled chest, short sleeves strained against his large arms. Tim's eyes flicked up at him, Gerry staring down at the man like an insect. "Hey, Kara. Customer at the other end has a question."
She looked up at him, sharply. She softened a bit and even offered him a small smile. Gerry kept a stone face and nodded to her, his eyes staying on her as she walked away. Slowly his gaze returned to Tim, a friendly smile coming to his face. "How's it going, man? What can I get you?"
Tim smirked at the brawny man. "So, who the hell are you?"
Gerry glanced behind him and turned around acting apologetic. "Sorry. Fresh out. Maybe you should try down the street."
The rangy man let out a laugh. "You the big man around here, huh?"
"Big man? Nah. Hurlihiegh's clockin' in at 425. Me? I'm just a 6'2", 250 lb man who is very protective of his friends." Gerry's jovial facade faded slightly. "So...I'll say it again. If you're not gonna order anything? Get out."
Tim stared him down. There were men who might have bent to this guy, but Gerry wasn't one of them. He stared right back. Eventually the smaller man just laughed. "Place is **** hole anyway."
Tim turned and started walking for the door, turning and walking backwards. "Kara! I'll be seein' you around. See you real soon."
Gerry's eyes remained locked on him until he was gone. Kara shot him a thankful look and went back to work.
They were cleaning up for the night, Kara counting down the cash register while Gerry loaded the dishwasher. Financially, it had been a good night. But Gerry was concerned. He stepped out from the kitchen and rested a shoulder against the doorway, drying off his hands. Kara was counting down the cash, just finishing up.
"So...you wanna tell me who that was?" He asked.
She didn't look up, just kept counting. "Who who was?"
He made derisive little noise "You know who."
Kara sighed. "He was my boyfriend."
"Was?" Gerry asked.
"Yeah, why? Was there a warmth between the two of us that I missed?" She asked him sarcastically.
"What happened?" He asked.
"It was a long time ago." Kara turned to him. "Before you even came here the first time."
"Kara. What happened?"
She sighed and slipped the money in the envelope before reaching into the cooler and snagging a beer. She was stalling, he knew, but he would wait. "3 years ago, I was...with him. He would come and stay at my place and he'd get...really, really drunk." She stared off, calling it all from her memory. "The good nights were the ones where he'd just pass out."
Gerry could tell where it was heading. She continued, "But some nights...he'd get violent." Kara took a long drink off her bottle. "Well, one night, he comes over, pounding on the door, and I can already tell he's gone." She shook her head. "So...I let him in. He starts in about how he's going to kill this guy who pissed him off, and I'm trying to calm him down. I tell him 'Don't do that, you don't wanna do that.'"
Kara's eyes shut. "Well...he hits me. Punches me in the face." She said, her voice quieting. "Tells me never to tell him what to do." She nodded slowly, Gerry watching her as he listened.
"Well, that set me off. I get off the floor, my nose bleeding, and I jump on him and start hitting and swearing at him, telling him to get the **** out of my apartment." This blue eyes slid up to Gerry, she set her jaw. "He threw me off of him onto my coffee table. Broke the damn thing in half. He just starts hitting me over and over again, calling me...vile names." Kara shivered at the memory. "Broke my arm, got a nasty cut on my back, almost shattered my eye socket. My vision in my left eye is still not the same."
"Jesus..." Gerry said in a quiet voice.
"That's not all. He takes my keys, gets in my car and tries to run. But the bastard's so drunk, he veers off the road and slams into a pole." She said a bitter laugh in her words.
"How the hell is he back?" Gerry asked her.
"His brother's a cop. They downplayed it. Got him a reduced sentence. Said I attacked him and it was self defense and he had lost control. And because they found wounds on him that were not defensive, he did 90 days and was let go." She nodded chewing her lower lip.
"Where's he been?"
"No idea. Heard him and some of his buddies had moved to Dallas for a bit. But..." She shrugged.
"Alright." Gerry said. "I'm walking you to your car from now on."
"Really, that won't be-"
"Kara." He said firmly. "This guy is dangerous. Let me do this. I won't have you getting roughed up again."
A small smile crossed her lips. "You're sweet." She grabbed her purse and stuck her hand in. "But this is Texas." She pulled out a snub-nosed revolver carefully with two fingers. "He comes after me, he'd better pack a lunch, because he's going on a real quick road trip to Hell."
Gerry looked at the pistol, and then to her. "You know how to use that?" He asked her, his voice deadly serious.
"Yeah, it's got this real simple point and shoot interface." She said with a smirk.
"You ever have to?"
Kara's smirk faded and she tucked it back away. "No."
"It's different when it's not a target at the end of the barrel." Gerry didn't talk to her like he was lecturing, he didn't raise his voice. He just smiled sadly. "I hope you never have to."
The two of them stood in silence for a long while when he spoke. "Come on. I'll walk you out."