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Not Empty Handed

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Harper darted through the crowded streets, heading towards a small bar. A hand pulled the navy blue cap lower over his face, covering the dark irises that glinted with determination and mischievous intent.

 

He could feel the boredom eating at his brain, for there was nothing to entertain him for the rest of the day, having already walked around the park and strolled through several shopping malls.

 

Hence, he decided to do a bit of law-breaking, just for the adrenaline rush, really. What’s wrong with a little bit of underaged drinking? Well, technically he only needed a few months before he could drink legally. But still, he was “underaged”.

 

He walked closer to the door of the bar, only then noticing the bouncer in front. Well, that’s why he bought a fake ID, didn’t he?

 

“ID, please.”

 

He gingerly held the card out, the bouncer plucking it from him to take a closer look.

 

He held his breath.

 

After what seemed to be an eternity, the bouncer seemed to nod in approval, and handed it back to him before stepping aside to hold the door open.

 

He stepped through the door, into the chilly, dimly lit...bar?

 

That sign was rather misleading, really. This wasn’t just a bar.

 

The place had pride flag coloured lights strung up absolutely everywhere, and in the centre was a number of pole dancers, surrounded by a crowd.

 

Looks like this was a gay strip club. Well, that didn’t matter, he was here for the alcohol anyway. He headed towards the bar and took a seat farthest away from the commotion, wanting to have a quiet place to have a drink.

 

“How may I help you today, sugar?”

 

A deep voice greeted him, prompting him to look up at the bartender.

 

Damn, he was hot. He had brown hair swept to one side, framing his sapphire eyes that seemed to pierce through him. He was quite tall, about 6”4, and could easily be mistaken for a bouncer with his physique. Harper barely managed to order a French Martini without stuttering, unable to retain his composure.

 

“One French Martini coming up!”

 

The bartender grinned and began mixing his drink.

 

“My name is Warren, and yours?”

 

“I-I’m Harper, pleased to m-meet you.”

 

Warren had taken his eyes off the glass in front of him, and was looking right at him in the eyes, all the while still mixing the cocktail.

 

“So, what brings you here, Harper?”

 

“I...I was just bored, so I decided to stop by.”

 

“That’s rare, the people who come here are usually here for the strippers, they don’t care much for drinks. As long as it gets them tipsy they’ll chug it.”

 

He was still quite nervous, unsure if he was safe. Warren merely chuckled and slid him the finished drink, then straightened up to take a good look at the boy. His short, small frame, along with his dark skin made him resemble a clay doll, and looked just as fragile. Harper had taken off his cap, exposing ebony locks that fell across his amber eyes. How pretty those eyes were.

 

Harper could only stare back at him, feeling like a deer in headlights, caught with no escape. Yet somehow, he liked how he was being dominated by those sapphire eyes. He felt his heart thudding in his chest, his fingers gripping the hem of his jacket. That was odd.

 

Not wanting to make it awkward, he focused back on his drink to take a sip. The taller man also went back to serving other customers. He put the glass to his lips, feeling as if something was...off. There was the burst of raspberry mixed with pineapple, but it wasn’t quite right. Then it hit him.

 

There was no alcohol in his drink. Not even a bit. What on earth…? He looked back up at the bartender, who caught his gaze and walked back over to him.

 

“So, how did you find your cocktail, Harper?”

 

He purred, a triumphant smirk spreading across his face. Those sapphire eyes gazed into him once more, as he leaned up close to whisper in his ear.

 

“A fake ID can’t fool us, you know? Your expression already shows you’re lying.”

 

Harper scowled. Damn, he got busted.

 

“It wouldn’t matter in a few months anyway. I’d be 21 by then.”

 

“21 is 21, Harper. No can do.”

 

Warren tutted disapprovingly, followed up by a sudden chuckle.

 

“You’re pretty bold for trying to pull that off. I like that.”

 

He slid a server book across the counter top.

 

“Anyway, here’s your bill.”

 

The boy downed his (non-alcoholic) drink in one gulp, then handed him a twenty dollar bill.

 

“Just keep the change.”

 

However, the bartender pushed something into his hand anyway. As Harper left the building, he opened up his hand to see what Warren had given him.

 

It was a crumpled up slip of paper, with what was undeniably a phone number, underneath the words “give me a call or message sometime”.

 

Good to know that he didn’t leave empty handed.