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Get your hands off my hips ('fore I punch you in the lips)

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Lacey could tell that the man was drunk before she could smell the liquor on his breath. It was in the way he stumbled into the bar beside her, the more than obvious way he looked her up, the crooked tilt of his leer. She nearly rolled her eyes but decided that the effort was better saved for other things.

She almost jumped as his hand landed on her waist, lingering for just a moment. She was hard pressed to decide if he was shifting to try to find his balance or if it was intentional when he shifted, hand sliding to rest on her upper thigh.

Lacey shifted away pointedly, crossing the leg he had his hand on over the other, effectively moving it away from his too-warm palm. Judging from the way his gaze swept over her body, she didn’t think he’d really caught the hint that she was less than interested. His breath smelled of gin when he leaned in, proving her theory correct. With a grimace, she turned her head, but she’d come to the conclusion that he was maybe too drunk to realized how inappropriately he was acting.

She shared a look of commiseration with one of the bar regulars sitting three seats down, a pained kind of grimace, like ‘what can you do about dipshits.’ He smirked back, because he was a regular and she was a regular, and they both had some idea of how this would probably end.

With a sigh, she turned to drunk and degenerate with what she hoped passed for a firm but non-confrontational expression. “Look, dude, I’m not interested, okay? There are plenty of other women in this bar; maybe one of them will sleep with you.” She didn’t like talking to people she didn’t know, and she particularly didn’t like confronting them, but that would probably get him to go away, if she was lucky.

On this night, it turned out, she was not lucky.

She could feel his body heat as he pressed closer, the liquor on his breath cloying at this short range. Lacey didn’t bother listening to his words; she’d been through this part before. For some reason, the boys who frequented bars always seemed to think they could talk her into doing what she didn’t want to. She didn’t even bother pretending she was listening anymore – they wouldn’t notice either way.

It wasn’t until he pushed into her personal space that she zeroed back in on him, leer still firm on his face though it was coupled with glazed over eyes. Terry, Thursday night’s regular bartender, cut in before she could do more than open her mouth. “You’re going to piss off Ryan if you keep that up. That’s not something you want to do,” Terry advised, before moving down the bar to serve a customer.

To her rather unsurprised dismay, Terry’s words didn’t seem to have any more effect on the man than Lacey’s own. He seemed entirely disinclined to move away from her, rank breath washing over her in moist, uneven puffs.

It was almost a relief when the door opened more exuberantly than was necessary. Lacey could take care of herself and most everybody in the bar knew it, but she was always loath to actually prove it. She wasn’t ashamed to admit that she was more than happy to let Ryan fight her battles for her, and that she took a special delight in watching it play out.

Terry sent her a quick smirk as Ryan swaggered into the room, leather jacket warm and worn, boots looking like they were just waiting to crush a man beneath their heel. Lacey couldn’t keep the smirk off her face, didn’t have a chance in hell of pretending that she wasn’t about to be smug as hell.

It didn’t take long for Ryan to spot her, even less to realize that some asshole was nearly groping her where she sat at the bar. It was a seamless motion as Ryan stopped next to her; a cocked fist, the bewildered look on the drunk’s face as he was hauled around, the purely shocked expression he wore as Ryan’s fist connected with his nose.

“Well, that was unnecessary,” Lacey remarked, looking coolly at the drunk now sprawled at her feet.

Ryan smirked at her, crows’ feet appearing as blue eyes crinkled in Lacey’s direction. “Do you actually think that was too much, or are you saying that for form’s sake?”

Lacey laughed, index fingers hooked into Ryan’s belt loops as she tugged on them to drag her girlfriend closer. “Mostly for form. There’s something endearing about you defending my honor.”

“Even though you punched out a former UFC fighter because he wouldn’t take no for an answer without any help from me?” Ryan teased, perfectly content to settle in the space between Lacey’s legs.

Sticking her tongue out wasn’t the most mature response, but it got Ryan to laugh, and that alone was worth it. “Even if,” Lacey returned tartly. “Did you bring the Harley, or am I going to have to find someone with a better ride to take me home?”

There was another smirk hiding at the edge of Ryan’s smile as she edged further into Lacey’s space. “You know no one can guarantee as smooth a ride as me,” she purred, eyes sparkling at this close range.

Lacey shoved her away, laughing even as she rolled her eyes. “I don’t even know what to do with you.”

Ryan’s smile softened, and Lacey pretended that Terry hadn’t sighed softly and purposefully moved to the other end of the bar. “I haven’t known what to do with you since the day you told me that riding helmetless was reckless and stupid, and that someone would actually care if I cracked my skull on the asphalt.”

Lacey couldn’t do more than huff at a statement like that, arms looped around Ryan’s neck. “Well, I haven’t known what to do with you since I became that someone, so I guess we’re even.”

They might’ve been breathing the same air at that point. They might have been kissing. Lacey couldn’t do more than breathe out, “Yeah, I guess so,” before Ryan was leaning in to close the last little bit a space between them.