It was Saturday night in the Big Apple. I still felt like a tourist in the big city, even though I had been there for just over two years. After leaving England, I was adamant not to become “an American.”
Don’t get me wrong, I loved Americans. I wouldn’t have moved here if I didn’t, but I still loved my old British heritage.
My cups of tea, full English breakfasts, crisp sandwiches, and as my friends liked to remind me, my ability to say “sorry” on a daily basis.
I’d done well in my two years here. Mum and Dad had helped me out initially with rent and for my first year and half, I lived like a student again, sharing accommodation in a shitty area on the outskirts of the city.
It was hard work, but I worked my arse off at my job and managed to get better pay and a more senior role.
I’d lived in my new apartment for almost two months and loved it. It was small, compact, and cozy.
It had a sofa and TV and a kitchen island that separated the lounge part from the kitchen itself but it really wasn’t separate at all.
I had one small bedroom that could only just fit my double bed in with a bedside table, with a cupboard built in for all my clothes.
The block itself was nice and well looked after. It cost me a fortune, and I could only afford it due to the small fund I inherited when I lost my grandad five months before.
He was an amazing man who worked his way up to be a top businessman from nothing. He had left school aged twelve—the usual story of a rogue boy becoming a rich genius.
Pity his son (my dad) didn’t inherit any of his good traits.
I was almost ready when my intercom rang. I was half-dressed and knew it would be Jane. We were heading out to a new bar that had just opened.
There was always somewhere hip and swanky opening in New York, and Jane loved to keep up with the trends.
I had worked with Jane for over a year now, and she was one of my favorite Americans.
She was born and raised in New York and came from a family with money but never let it go to her head. She’d slogged hard to get where she was at work and had gained a lot of respect for it.
“Are you ready to paaaaarty?” she shouted as she entered my apartment. She was waving a bottle of Moet in her hand and looked amazing, as always.
“No pre-drinks, we said.” Every time she did this, I ended up wasted. “You will be carrying me out of here if I have more than one of them,” I laughed as I continued to dress.
She got two glasses out of the cupboard and popped the cork. “Come on, England, don’t be a pussy.”
“Just a small one,” I warned.
“A small fucking large one,” she muttered as she poured. She was that friend who encourages you to do bad things but always has your back.
After the bottle of champagne was finished, we headed out into the humid air and enjoyed the light breeze that had started to build.
Summer was approaching and the warm evenings made for a lovely night out on the rooftop bars of New York. Jane hailed a cab. I still hadn’t figured the knack for that!
“We’re meeting Lisa and Emma,” she announced as we climbed out of the cab at the bar.
It was busier in this part of town and lots of cabs were pulling up to let people out. The atmosphere was buzzing as people got ready to start their night on the town.
Lisa and Emma were Jane’s friends but I loved them like my own. Nights out with them were always so much fun.
Emma was an air hostess and flew all over the world; it was rare she was on home turf for our nights out.
Lisa worked in the best boutique I had ever seen. I loved visiting her shop but never had enough money to buy any of her vintage clothes.
As we entered the loud, busy bar, I could just make out the girls standing by a table at the back.
The music was booming and the sound of chatter could be heard like a low drone in the background. Emma was talking to a man as Lisa came rushing to greet us.
“Hey, am I glad you’re here,” she said as she hugged me and Jane into her. “Emma is trying to find a man. She’s on the hunt,” she added with an eye roll.
“Well,” I said, laughing. “I love being her wing woman, so step aside.” The Moet had already gone to my head and I knew I was in for a fun night, whether I remembered it or not!
The bar was drab, so after a few drinks, we decided to head to an old favorite. It was a dark rustic bar that was humming with wall street guys.
We were on the hunt for a wealthy man for Emma, so what better place?
The music was quieter than the last bar, and the men wore mostly suits. As I looked around, I was glad I had put the smarter of my outfits on.
Most of the women around us looked like they were dressed to meet their next husband, who would most likely be wealthy, up and coming financial advisors or investment bankers.
I knew I shouldn’t mix drinks as it always ended up with me being carried home, regretting it, and having beer-fear for about a week after.
What the hell, though! I was loaded up and fancied another Long Island iced tea.
When I stumbled back from the bar with my drink I could see the girls with a couple of guys, one of them, in particular, caught my eye. He was handsome…really handsome.
He had a clean-shaven, strong jaw and neatly gelled short hair. There was something about him. He oozed power, and he was very intimidating even though he was smiling.
His suit looked expensive, and it was paired with a crisp white shirt that looked like it was made for a model shoot rather than a bar night out.
The sleeves of his shirt were neatly folded up to his elbows and his tie had been loosened around his neck, giving him that sexy “I’ve had a long day” look.
His friend wasn’t as powerful-looking. He was also smart but looked softer and less arrogant. As he talked, he made hand gestures over the table, which made him appear more open and approachable.
The powerful guy smiled at me as I got to the table and I had to force my eyes from him. When they wandered back of their own accord, I noticed his eyes were dark and mysterious.
His lips were kissable, and they continued, even when he wasn’t smiling, to give the illusion he still was. (Not like in a joker, weird kind of way though—it was cute).
I took another drink from my Long Island iced tea and stirred the straw around. I was trying my hardest to distract myself from the pull he had on me.
Then I felt his gaze back on me, and when my eyes lifted, they met his. He quickly looked down and laughed to himself. He seemed to find me funny!
“Hi,” I mouthed awkwardly. He nodded without saying anything and turned to talk to his friend.