as a well-respected bar critic, david webster has had his fair share of bar culture. from dive bars to upscale, from bar fights to cocaine in the bathrooms, from shitty bartenders to watered down drinks. so when a new bar opens up down the street from him and has high praise from it’s grand opening, web decides he has to check it out. his first choice, of course, wasn’t to critique bars. he’s always wanted to write and when he hit writer’s block on his book, he needed a way to make money. turns out he has a knack for it. a little aesthetic here, a little exclusivity there and before he knew it, people were hanging on his every word for the newest watering hole to try. he doesn’t have a calling card or anything else other critics abide by, just a notebook and a pen to write down thoughts and high or low points. he walks into the new bar and immediately he likes it. it has the old school southern charm that web loves. he takes a spot at the end of the bar, it’s a relatively busy night and he wants to test how attentive the bartenders are to all patrons. he’s pleasantly surprised when he’s served within five minutes, the man behind the bar working faster than should be possible. web finds himself watching the man more than taking notes and before he knows it it’s last call and another drink, one he didn’t order is placed in front of him. the bartender is wiping down his station, watching web as he takes the first sip. web is in love. he doesn’t know what’s in the drink, but he doesn’t care because it’s the best drink he’s ever had. he looks around and notices the bar is almost empty and he has nothing to show for the night, just a short conversation with the bartender after web is halfway finished with his drink then someone sits beside him, the bartender, and grabs his notebook before he can react. web tries to wrangle it from the guy but the man is laughing and holding high. and web is both pissed off and a little tipsy. as he starts to fall off of his stool, the bartender catches him around the waist. something about this place, this bar , this man makes web feel something he’s never felt before. it scares him and he’s out of the bar before he knows it. notebook forgotten and the man still on his mind.
it’d been three days since web went to the bar and he really needed his notebook back. a lot of his contacts were in there, no names of course, but still. he needed to keep his work confidential. he groans and slams his head against his desk. then he thought back to three nights ago when something changed as his eyes met the bartenders and their bodies aligned perfectly.
“you know we called last-called like forty-five minutes ago?”
web smiled, “yes and someone put a drink in front of me five minutes ago.”
the bartender smiled and shrugged, “i can’t resist a pretty face.”
web didn’t dignify with that a response, mostly because he wouldn’t be able to get the words out.
web focused on finishing his drink and didn’t noticed when the bartender moved around the bar to sit by him.
“what’s this we have here?” the man had grabbed web’s notebook before he could get it.
web fought for control but by the man’s laugh, he clearly had read web’s thoughts about him. specifically his body and hair and eyes.
web started to slide off his stool and the man stopped struggling and grab web around his waist, holding him up and against his own body.
“if you wanted to be wrapped in my arms, all you had to do was ask.”
web, shocked, looked into the man’s eyes and felt something shift in himself and noticed something shift in the man against him as well.
web pushed away and was out of the door before he could do something foolish.
the feeling he had when he was against the bartender was unlike anything he’d experienced before, and the thought of it being what he thought is was, scared him.
so three days later and he really has to put something out because people are demanding something from him about the new bar.
he doesn’t want to go back, but he needs his notebook to contact jones about the wine tasting weekend at the end of this week.
so he decides to see if he can get the bartender to meet him on his turf.
hairoftheshark post #501
re: bar demands
i’ve received many, many demands to review the new bar downtown. i did go there a couple of night ago and was willing to write a review. however, the bartender stole my notebook with all of my comments. i know it hasn’t been too long, but there were other things in there. if any of you go there tonight, tell him to meet me at the library on 6th at 11. none of you know what i look like, so don’t try to find me. i will beat the shit out of you. thank you. now go get drunk.
he hit post before he could chicken out. he had some research he wanted to do anyway, so now was as good a time as any.
joe was pissed. he’s had, at least ten different people tell him to take the notebook to the library on 6th at eleven tonight.
if the guy wanted the notebook so bad, he could fucking come and get it. nevermind the fact that joe couldn’t get the damn guy out of his mind. those fucking eye and hair made joe angry in their beauty.
“fuck!” he slammed his hands down on the bar. the funny thing was that most people just thought he was the bartender, not the owner. and that how he wanted it. he got into this to make drinks and talk to people. he enjoyed the creative process and socializing. and he didn’t want to lose that.
“tab! cover for me. i gotta go.”
tab smiled, devious and wide.
“got get ‘em boss.”
then the asshole rang the tip bell loud and long as joe grabbed the notebook and ran out the bar.
he checked his watch: 10:45
“shit!” joe ran to his car.
and as he sped down the street he swore, “you better fucking be there asshole.”
web checked the time on his laptop: 10:58.
guess he’s not showing.
web packed up his bag and started walking out, “bye blithe! i organized the marin section for you!”
the blonde librarian looked up with a small smile, “thanks david. see you soon!”
web was checking his phone, notifications lighting up on his post from people who said they loved the bar, told the bartender to come, and wishes of good luck.
he was smiling at a particular comment when he crashes into someone.
he expected to fall on the concrete but strong arms wrapped around him and pulled him back up.
“you keep doing this and i’m gonna have to start thinking you’re doing it on purpose.”
web flushed at the close contact, deep voice, and warm body pressed against him.
“maybe you should stop running into me.”
joe scoffed and let web go. web instantly missed the contact and pulled his jacket tighter.
“right, ‘cause it’s my fault?!” joe snapped.
web smiled inwardly, “well you did steal my notebook.”
joe threw his arms out, “steal?! STEAL?! i didn’t steal shit. you left it there.”
web crossed his arms, “left? you took it from my hands!”
joe matched web’s stance, “and you left!”
for some reason both men heard and unspoken ‘me’ at the end of the sentence.
web sighed, “can i please have it back?”
joe smiled and bit his lip and web swallowed hard.
web groaned, “just give it back, whatever your name is.”
joe took a step closer to web, “it’s joe. joseph liebgott.”
web looked down at joe, their eyes connecting, charge.
“n-nice to meet you joe.”
“you too, web.”
their eyes stayed connected, neither moving or daring to break it.
of course, web’s phone choosed then to ring.
he muttered under his breath, “it better be fucking good.”
he answer, not moving an inch away from joe.
jones started talking on the other line telling him he had to bring another person to the wine tasting or he couldn’t go.
“another person?! where the hell am i going to fin-” then web looked at joe who was looking at him.
“yeah jones, i got it. tell ron i’ll be there.”
web smiled at joe, “do you like wine?”
joe’s face scrunch and web did not swoon because it was cute.
“i can, why?”
“do you want to go to wine tasting weekend with me? all expenses paid?”
joe laughed loudly and web smiled at the sound, “hell of a first date.”
if web didn’t want it so bad, he would’ve denied it. but the recklessness in him took the forefront, “go big or go home, right?”
joe smiled and place his hands on web’s chest.
“sounds great web,” joe pushed the notebook into web’s chest and web grabbed along with joe’s hands.
web didn’t care if it was desperate, he could spend three days with this man before knowing how his lips felt.
he pressed them softly against joe’s and smiles when joe instantly deepens it.
they eventually pull apart to breathe and web placed his forehead against joe’s.
joe pulls one hand away from web’s grip and slaps his arm.
“we coulda been doin’ this for four days web. fuck.”
web laughs and kiss joe again.
the weekend goes off without a hitch.
web introduces joe to a lot of different people who could help his bar.
which, on the drive there, web nearly crashes the car when joe tells him.
he introduces him to his friends, ron and lip who own the winery, dick and nix the best distributors in the state, and luz and toye the best marketing team this side of the mississippi.
and they all love joe, especially luz and toye.
and web is surprised how easily joe fit into his life. and his friends. it felt like this was just another weekend, like they’ve been doing this for years.
ron is talking beside web before he can even notice him, and luckily web’s known him long enough to not be surprised by it.
“so when did you to get together.”
web deadpan replies, “two days ago.”
ron’s silence means he want an explanation.
so web turns to him and his back to joe, hoping he doesn’t hear and over the loud conversation at the table, he doubts he will.
and web tells ron everything. and tells him how weird it is the joe makes him feel so whole and like he’s always meant to be in web’s life, they just had to find each other. and how he’s scared that he’ll scared joe off because web’s always been a kind of intense person when it comes to relationships and feelings.
ron had been trying to interrupt, cut web off, but web, as always, kept talking and he didn’t realize it was too late until ron literally slapped a hand over his mouth.
muffled by the hand, web said, “he’s right behind me isn’t he?”
web closed his eyes to brace himself for joe’s reaction and was completely floored when he saw joe smiling smugly.
“this is the second time you’ve told something or someone else how you feel about me, rather than tell me yourself.”
web was confused, “wait you’re not scared? like i never believed stuff like this could happen.”
joe pulled web to him, wrapping his arms around the baffled man.
“i don’t care. i want you and you want me. we want each other in our lives. it doesn’t have to be anymore complicated unless you want it to be.”
web opened and closed his mouth for a long minute before deciding on kissing joe.
it wasn’t long enough, but it was strong enough and it served it’s purpose.
to help both of them feel one another, feel that what they had was real.
joe pulled his head away from web’s chest, “besides, all the free wine isn’t that bad a perk.”
web pushed joe away, “golddigger.”
joe laughed and slapped web’s ass, “tease.”
web laughed and joined the others at the dining table.
joe sat down next to him and pulled his chair closer so he could rest his hand comfortably on web’s thigh.
the conversation at the dining table was getting more heated as they discussed the fastest way to assemble an M-16.
web smiled softly, joe didn’t need to know that exact particular part of his life right now. he was about to steer it towards something wine related when joe chimed in.
“yeah but you have to watch the bolt cartridges, they can real hold up your assembly speed if you’re not careful.”
joe casually takes a sip of wine, while the rest of the table looks at him in silent amazement.
joe looks back at them, then stares at web, “what? i did a tour from ‘12-’16.”
web smiles in amazement, swears he’s in love and before he can stop the words, they’re flying out of his mouth.
he’s staring directly at joe, which doesn’t help, but he exclaims, “fucking marry me.”
joe doesn’t even bat an eye, cheek leaning on his folded hands, he just smiles and says, “all in due time, david.”
web kisses him and joe kissed back,
and that’s as good as promise as david needs.
and on the day they get married, he’ll remind joe of that day right before they share their first kiss as husbands.