The Womaniser

I was used to having my heart stolen and stomped on by men. I guess I never thought that a god might do the same.

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2. I Meet the God of Sunglasses

 

I always knew he was never going to stay, even before he told me who he really was. I had a type of man, you see, and the type I liked never stayed, least of all this man. His hair was brown, and it fell around his face like he was some long forgotten rockstar -  David Lee Roth or Robert Plant or Mick Jagger. He kept his eyes hidden between sunglasses so large and dark that looking at them was like staring into two black holes. His eyes themselves were just as mesmerising, once he took his glasses off: they were coloured an almost ugly amber that had a closer comparison to hellfire than anything else. 

Truth be told, he was the sort of man that I knew I'd lose my heart to, and knew that I'd regret, but thoroughly enjoyed myself with all the same. 

He called himself Eli, but his real name was Ares. I call him a man, but he wasn't a man at all. 

He was a god, and I met him in a café. 

The café was called Aunt Mel's, and I'd worked there as a waitress for two years. The owner, 'Aunt Mel', was actually a middle aged balding guy named Peter, but none of our customers knew that. Aunt Mel's wasn't exactly a booming business - it was the quaint, pastel kind of café that only old ladies and homeless old men like to frequent. The day I met Eli, we hadn't had a single customer all day, and I was sitting on one of the high-backed white chairs by the window, playing on my phone. 

I'd been sitting there for almost two hours, and it was another forty five minutes before Eli showed up. It was like something from a movie, thinking about it - he strode through the door, cool as you please, before noticing me at the window. He looked me up and down behind his sunglasses, and I stood up awkwardly and straightened out my uniform. 

"Can I take your order, sir?" I asked, smiling. I saved my smiles for only my best looking customers, and Eli definitely qualified. 

Grinning like a little boy, Eli ignored my question. "So," he drawled, and my insides melted when I realised that his voice was as beautiful as he was, "you're Aunt Mel, then?"

I laughed, shaking my head. The reason I laughed was because it was hard to find words - I'm never particularly under confident, except when faced with gorgeous men striding into my life (or rather, Aunt Mel's café) and asking me whether I own the place. It was weird, actually. Usually, I'd be the first to chat up a man I fancied my chances with, but Eli rendered me little more than a nervous school girl. I suppose that's what happens when humans meet the gods, even unknowingly. 

"I'm a waitress, sir," I told him, struggling to keep the tremor from my voice. "Can I take your order?" 

Eli pushed his hair from his eyes, walking past me to fall into one of the café's numerous uncomfortable chairs. "I'm Eli," he told me, pulling his feet up onto the table. "And you might be a waitress, but I'm a god."

I looked at him quizzically, wondering if I'd misheard. It's more than a little pretentious to call yourself a god, after all, and I've known some scarily pretentious people in my time. It also sounded more than a little bit crazy, and despite Eli's overly apparent good looks his words meant that I looked at him through newer, critical eyes. 

Tilting my head, I looked at the nasty brown colour his boots were staining the table pointedly. "So, uh, didn't your mother teach you that putting your feet on the table is rude?" 

Eli snorted, his lip quirking. "More than once."

I nodded awkwardly, temporarily stuck for a reply. Shuffling my feet, I tried for a smile that probably ended up as more of a wince. "So, um, can I take your order then?" I said, and Eli rolled his eyes. 

It's really important to bear in mind that I was never usually like this when talking to guys, but for some reason Eli was different. Talking to Eli made my mouth dry up, and my heart dance the fox-trot in my chest. Talking to Eli was like magic, like nothing I'd ever felt before. So, seriously, I never usually acted like a socially inept thirteen year old girl when talking to other people - Eli was the newly discovered exception. 

"Relax," Eli told me. "I'm not ordering. Not in a place like this, anyway." 

"Okay." I looked at him, my face tinged with doubt. "But, uh, not to be rude, but, uh - why are you here, then?" 

Eli let a lazy grin slide across his face, painting his complexion with a brush more handsome than ever I'd seen before. "Why am I here?" he asked, speaking more to himself than me. "Because I saw you sitting at the window." He winked at me, the action too clichéd not to be charming. 

"You know," said Eli, leaning closer conspiratorially, "you remind me of my girlfriend." 

"Wait, you have a..."

Putting his finger to his lips, Eli cut me off with another wink. "My girlfriend, by the way, is more beautiful than Helen of Troy." 

"Helen of...What?"

Eli waved his hands impatiently, frowning a little. "Helen of Troy. The Trojan War? Famous Greek Battle, you know - really giant wooden horse?"

I shook my head apologetically. "Sorry." 

Eli raised his brows dramatically. "Whatever. Anyway," he said, with only a hint of annoyance in his tone, "as I was saying, my girlfriend is even more beautiful than Angelina Jolie." 

"Oh." 

Rolling his eyes, Eli stared at me quizzically. "I thought women were supposed to love compliments. And yet, I just told you that you remind me of my girlfriend - who is much, much prettier than Angelina Jolie - and your reaction was 'oh'. Try and be a little more grateful." 

I blushed. "No - I-I am...It's just, you know, you've got a girlfriend, and..."

"And?" 

"And...Are you flirting with me?" I twisted my hair around my finger, heat spreading through my cheeks and painting my face red. The thing is, I desperately wanted Eli to be flirting, much more than I was allowing myself to realise. 

Eli laughed, the sound much too musical to be forced. "It's only flirting if you want it to be." 

Not even the appearance of Eli's supermodel girlfriend could have stopped the smile from spreading across my face. I looked at Eli approvingly, trying to find the part of me that usually got on so well with men. "Oh," I told him, a little breathy laugh pushing its way through my smile. "You know, I honestly think I want it to be." 

Sliding his legs from the table, Eli got to his feet to take my arm. "Great. Do you have a coat?" 

"Er - I'm sorry, what?" 

His lip quirked impatiently. "Your coat. You do speak English, don't you? Most of you mortals seem too." 

I put my hands on my hips, tossing my head so my ponytail swung behind me. "Of course I speak English. I'm just not exactly used to random guys walking into this café and asking me if I have a coat." 

Eli snorted, folding his arms. I narrowed my eyes, feigning a snide sort of anger. (In truth I couldn't be anything but enamoured - Eli was so ridiculously gorgeous.)

Puffing out his breath, Eli sighed dramatically. He seemed to have a certain fondness for dramatics, I noted. "Look," he said, "some idiot thugs stole my motorbike, and I stopped at your café on the way to give them what's coming. You want to come with me, right?" He grinned, tilting his head back and glancing at me out the corner of his eye. "Of course you do. And you're going to need your coat, 'cause it's cold outside." 

I looked at him, stunned. He was right - of course I wanted to go with him, of course. It wasn't that I made a habit of running from my workplace with mysterious good looking strangers, but Eli had something about him that made me want to follow him wherever he went. I trusted him, weird as that sounds, and even the idea of beating up some thuggish motorbike thieves sounded promising if I was with Eli. 

I bit my lip. If I walked out now, though, I had a nearly ten out of ten chance of being sacked by Peter, and losing my only source of income. And enticing though Eli was, I literally knew nothing about him except his name, that he had a girlfriend, and that he called himself a God. Eli raised his eyebrows amusedly, watching me in obvious mirth as I floundered for an answer.

"I...You don't even know my name," I said to Eli, a limp excuse for a protest. 

"Don't kid yourself." 

"What?" I asked him, my forehead creasing in slight confusion. 

"Your name's April. April Elizabeth Jones. You've worked here as a waitress for two years, and you hate your boss. He's called Peter." Eli held his hands out as if he expected applause,  but I was too taken aback to do anything but gape. He winked again. "Close your mouth, babe. It's unbelievably unattractive."

I ignored him, continuing to stare in slack jawed amazement. Taking a deep breath, I attempted to pull myself together. "How... How do you know that stuff about me? I never told you that. You're not, like, a stalker or something, are you? Because I have a phone -" I waved it at him, my hand shaking slightly, "- and I will not hesitate to call the police."

"Seriously," said Eli, "you humans need to relax. The police would be mad to try and fight me, anyway."

"Wh-" 

"I'm a god, remember?" Eli said to me. "I know everything." 

I looked at him, my eyebrows raised in disbelief. "Right..." 

 I didn't tell Eli, but it made sense. I didn't exactly shout about hating Peter, largely because I had no friends close enough to shout to. I didn't see how Eli could know that I hated my boss, unless he wasn't lying when he told me he knew everything. Unless he was all powerful, omnipotent. Unless he was a god. 

"So," said Eli, "your coat?"

I took a deep breath. There are some annoying decisions in life that you know will change the entire track your future's set on. This was one of those annoying decisions.

I smiled. "It's in the back. I'll go get it." 

"Don't bother." Eli snapped his fingers with a flourish, finishing the gesture with my coat in his hand, though neither of us had made a move to get it. He handed it to me with a supercilious kind of smile. I took it, dumbfounded.

"Fu-" I broke off, my eyes so wide I probably reminded Eli of a close relative of the giant squid. "You're - Jesus Christ - you're really a god?" 

"Well, I'm not a flipping magician." 

I puffed out my cheeks, still in a very clear state of shock. Slowly shrugging on my coat, I looked up at Eli with the slightly delirious face of a girl in a dream. "Damn. No wonder you're so good looking." I smiled at him, my expression fanciful. "You're like the god of leather jackets and sunglasses." 

Eli laughed, the sound resonating through Aunt Mel's as he took my arm in his. That day I met him, I felt as beautiful as any Angelina Jolie girlfriend he'd boasted about. It's a pity, I suppose, that beauty so often is only skin deep. 

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