It was meant to be a fun, carefree night out with the girls.
Well, you suppose it still sort of was, except that a group of guys had sort of infiltrated your fun. Not that they weren’t fun — they definitely were — but it wasn't what any of you girls had had in mind when you had gotten into your Uber originally.
You had just broken things off with the guy you had been dating for the last 8 months, and though you were the one who had taken him by surprise and ended the relationship, you still somehow felt a little off. Maybe it was regret, or uncertainty, or just plain loneliness; whatever it was, you thought a good, old fashioned girls night would do the trick and help pull you out of your slump.
It wasn’t even meant to be a crazy night out on the town, but a night for you to let your hair down, have a few drinks, and have a good time. In fact, you had purposefully selected the bar for the sole reason being that it was not a club, but a little bit more laid back.
Still, there you were, finding yourself dancing with a very nice-looking man who also happened to be a professional hockey player on your favorite team.
It had all started when you had separated from the group to approach the bar and order another round. You stood, watching the bartender make your drink, when a taller gentleman appeared at the bar next to you, also seemingly ordering another round for him and whatever group he was with. He had not appeared to notice you, until you shifted your weight on the heels you were wearing and the dim light flashed against the bracelet on your wrist.
“What’s a pretty girl like you doing here alone?”
You smiled politely, not interested in being hit on by this man — he looked like he must be at least 10 years older — but responding anyway. “I’m not alone, just getting some drinks for my friends over there,” you explained as you motioned over to your friends, standing and chattering near a high-top table on the side of the room.
“Ah, same here — my boys are over there,” he pointed across the room to a group of rowdy-looking guys.
“Boys night out, eh?”
“Yeah, celebrating a big win tonight.”
"What’d you win?”
“Oh, we won our game earlier. I scored the game-winning goal.” He grinned proudly.
“That’s great! Congratulations. What sport?”
It was then that something clicked in your brain. You studied the man’s face, now beginning to recognize him. “Hang on, are you Arthur Shelby? As in, captain of the Peaky Blinders, Arthur Shelby?”
He nodded, grinning. “Here in the flesh.”
Your jaw dropped. “Oh my god - it’s so good to meet you! I — we — I grew up watching you play!”
Arthur smiled. “Always good to meet a fan. I didn’t catch your name?”
He extended his hand, and you reached to shake it. “It’s nice to meet you, Y/N. It looks like you and your friends are alone — would ya wanna join us guys over at our table? Drinks on us.”
You almost didn’t know what to say. “I — yes, absolutely!”
Once you retrieved your drinks, you excitedly went over to your friends to explain what had just happened. You really had grown up watching the team, though you hadn’t followed quite as closely in the last several years simply because you had grown busier with school and work, but you did enjoy catching a game now and again. The girls agreed to join, shrugging with a “Why not?” attitude.
The group of guys — some of whom you recognized, and some of whom you didn’t — made room for them as you approached the table, and Arthur took to introducing them all.
“Ah, everyone, this is Y/N — Y/N, we’ve got Finn, John, Isaiah, and Michael.”
You waved, acknowledging each while internally screaming, yet you managed to keep a cool exterior as you introduced your friends to the group.
The party chatted amiably over the music, miraculously avoiding any case of fangirling. You quickly discovered that Isaiah and John were the goofy ones of the group, frequently causing an uproar of laughter at their ridiculous comments.
As the night went on, conversation flowed and you found yourself conversing with Michael Gray, who seemed to be one of the not shy, but quieter ones of the bunch. You discovered that he was born in London (not difficult to ascertain based on his accent), but went to college in the US before getting drafted into the NHL. He learned that you were in finance at a large automotive company, were an avid yoga practicer, and that you were newly single. (He’d be lying if he said he didn’t internally pump his fist at learning this fact.)
You couldn’t help but notice — and secretly love — the way his eyes devoured you, but not necessarily in a sexual way (not that you would have minded that either); it felt like he was studying every detail of your face as you spoke. He listened intently to your stories about your job, hobbies, and how you came to be a Blinders fan, nodding and laughing along jovially.
You continued chatting, occasionally stopping to laugh at a ridiculous action from John and to take sips of your drinks. Conversation flowed so easily, you hardly had to make any effort to keep it moving.
Suddenly, the beat of the song melded into “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” It was only then that you noticed nearly everyone else had left the table to create a makeshift dance floor in the middle of the bar. Grinning at Michael, you dashed out to join your friends.
Michael watched as you swayed your hips to the song, holding your fist up to your mouth in a mock microphone as you sang the lyrics and danced with the girls. He laughed as you rocked out a strong air guitar solo, eyes closed, before flipping your hair dramatically.
He chuckled to himself. What a dork. Cute, though. Real cute.
The song choice made another dramatic change —probably thanks to the patron-run jukebox in the corner — into the funky beat of a Bruno Mars song, and he watched your expression turn into an excited “O” as you recognized the song. You changed the movement of your hips to match the beat, and your eyes turned to Michael as you flashed him a smile before beckoning him out to the dance floor.
He smiled and held out a hand to signal that he was okay to sit out, but you ran up to him giggling and grabbed his arm, dragging him out on to the dance floor with your. He followed, somewhat begrudgingly, somewhat willingly, as his friends “Oooh”ed that he had joined the group on the makeshift dance floor.
You began to dance, laughing as you sang the words, moving with the beat of the song. Michael tried not to stare as he watched your hips gyrate, his mind beginning to wonder what you would look like doing that on top of him instead.
A few more songs passed (“This DJ is great!” “John, there IS no DJ!” “Oh, right —“) and the group returned to the table, laughing loudly. Another round of drinks was ordered and conversation continued to flow for the next hour.
When the girls made your motion to leave, you bid your farewells with promises to meet up again. You waved at the boys before turning to leave, beaming, and secured your purse over your shoulder before walking away.
Eyeing the round curve of your ass in your jeans, Michael sucked in a deep breath. Now’s your chance, dude. Just do it. You’ll never see her again.
“Hey, Y/N - wait up,” he called after you, moving to walk alongside you.
You turned to face him as you neared the door, looking up at him expectantly.
“Could I take you to dinner sometime?”
You stared at him for a moment, words caught in your throat as you fumbled for the right thing to say. You weren’t sure if it was the buzz from the alcohol or the buzz from high of the evening that made your push aside the slight tinge of guilt you felt.
“I… yes, I’d like that,” you smiled softly.
“Great,” he grinned, taking down your number before wishing you a good night.
He got teased pretty relentlessly as he returned to the group, John and Isaiah singing a rendition of “Michael and Y/N sitting in a tree…” and he laughed along with them, but inside he was bursting with excitement.