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Gene's voice echoes through the theater with his eyes wide in excitement and arms outstretched, gesturing with his small hands. I was barely paying attention again, when someone caught my eye. His dark hair and broad shoulders made him stand out from the usual skinny and blond men who hit on me around here. His eyes were dark as well, light bags underneath them, making him look sleepy and grumpy. Sally, a pretty, short haired blond woman perks up when he sits next to her. Her smile was wide and blindingly white. He gave her a small smile and focused on Gene. I don't know why I've never noticed him like this before. He is handsome, mysterious and brooding.

He peaked my interest suddenly.

Gene finished up for the night and everyone gathered their things in a hurry. 

"Are you coming?" Natalie asked. I must have zoned out again on the way out.

"I'm sorry?" I asked politely. She gave me a wide smile and asked again.

"We are all going to meet up at Residuals, are you coming?"

I gave her a smile back and nodded, "sure!"

I like Natalie, even though she can be odd and aggravating at times, she means well.

I watched Barry get into a beat up, old car and pull out of the parking lot and I found myself wondering if he was coming too.

At Residuals, I see Natalie and Jermaine sitting together and join them. About 20 minutes later, the rest of the class shows up, including Barry and Sally.

Sitting together at tables pushed together, drinking and exchanging their day to each other. Even though I am the newest classmate, they welcomed me warmly. I was thankful because when I moved here from Washington, I knew no one. Now I have a whole group of friends who all enjoy the same things I do.

"So, Charlie...got a man yet?" Nick asked, sipping on his martini across from me.

I laughed it off and shook my head, "no, I don't."

"A pretty girl like you and you don't have a single guy knocking down your door?" Jermaine piped in.

"No, I, uh, stay mostly to myself," I answered honestly, tossing a glance to Barry who sat a couple seats down across from me.

To my surprise, he was watching me already. I blushed and took a couple of sips from my beer. He did the same, eyes on me the whole time. 

He only managed to look away when Sally mentioned she has another audition.

I slightly roll my eyes but tune in to listen.

Don't get me wrong, Sally is cool and all, but for some reason she feels like she is queen bitch. She thinks she is the greatest thing since Gene and finds time to rub her success in everyone's faces. Honestly, I get it. I would probably do the same if I was getting noticed by agents.

After about an hour of small talk between us, everyone started to leave one by one. 

Now, only Sally, Barry, Natalie and I remained in the bar. 

Natalie makes some pathetic excuse to get Sally to help her get another round of drinks for us, leaving Barry and I alone at the table.

"Hey," I managed to squeak out to him.

He looks up from his bottle and tosses me a cute smile.

"Yeah," he starts, "how are you, Charlie."

"Good, feeling a little buzzed."

I answered honestly, after about 5 beers. 

I face palm at my inability to hold my alcohol in my mind.

"Really? Lightweight."

He gives a light-hearted chuckle and I tense up. Natalie is talking Sally's head off at the bar, possibly distracting her from Barry for a couple of minutes to give us time to talk.

Did she know my curiosity about him? She probably watched us eye-fuck each other all night so far.

"You are in no shape to drive. I could give you a lift home, if you want."

I nodded, "that would be nice, thank you."

Soon, Natalie and Sally rejoin us and we finish off the last round.

In the parking lot, Natalie gives us all hugs, a little too tightly, and we all awkwardly laugh it off. As she calls and waits for a cab in front of the bar, Sally, Barry and I are standing there quietly. 

"I'm gonna go. I'll see you tomorrow, Barry," Sally finally says when Natalie's cab shows up. She talks Natalie and the driver into letting her ride along. 

Barry and I stand there a little longer in the summer heat. The neon lights off of the signs in the window gives Barry this beautiful blue, purple and pink hue on his skin. 

"Ready to go?" He asks and I practically jump at the thought at being alone with him. 

His car smelled like cologne and metal as we rode long, our windows down in mostly silence.

I wanted to say something, but I couldn't bring myself to move my mouth as I sat so close to him.

He glance over to me and laughed. I heard him and looked at him in the drivers seat.

"What?" I ask.

"Nothing, you're...just...different."

I didn't find it insulting, I found it as a complement.

"Why? Because i'm not talking your head off about all of the amazing things i'm doing and how many gigs my agent is getting me?" 

My mouth moved that time. 

He giggled again.

"Yeah, I guess. Sally is just...always in a good mood somehow."

I roll my eyes to myself and listen as he continues.

"I'm proud of her as a friend. I'm glad she's getting recognized. She's a great actor."

He sounded defensive but at the same time, it seemed his mind was searching for an excuse for her abrasive behavior.

As I tried to think of something to say, we pulled into my apartment parking lot.

"Here we are," he announced.

I forgot that quickly that I gave him my address when we got in the car. I must be very drunk.

Barry must have noticed my confusion as he proposed he help me to my apartment.

The walk up the stairs was in comfortable silence as I got my keys out of my pocket and unlocked my door.

"Wanna come in?" I asked.

He stood there for a second, thinking, before nodding his head.

I tossed my keys into the bowl and went to the kitchen to retrieve two bottles of water.

Barry followed me and politely accepted the water. I guided us back to the living room and sat down on the couch. He stood near the door looking lost when I said he can sit. 

"I should get going, I have to go to work tomorrow."

"Oh, what do you do?" I asked while uncapping the bottle and taking a big sip.

"I, uh, work in auto parts."

I nodded and stood up to walk him out.

"Thanks for the ride home. Can I ask another favor?"

"Sure," he answered.

"Can you pick me up at some point before class tomorrow and drop me off at Residuals to get my car?"

He smiled and nodded as I opened the door.

Once on the other side he said, "sure, no problem. What's your number?"

I was startled a second but gave it to him anyway.

"I'll call you when I get off of work."

"Okay, thank you!"

"Goodnight, Charlie."

"Night," I responded as he walked down the stairs. When I was sure he was far away, I closed my door and laughed to myself.

Maybe he wasn't 'mysterious' after all, just a nice guy.

Then again, you never know.