Meet Me In the Hallway

We had made love earlier that day with no strings attached, but I could tell that something had changed - how you looked at me then.


A story in which a college student and an ex-performer are brought together at a downtown bar by a twist of fate.

*characters are not affiliated with real people, just their physical appearances and anything stated*

[WARNING: Strong language, Drug abuse, Sexual content]

copyright © justins_only_babe 2017



12. twelve

= Layne =


The weekend goes by in a blur of booze and bottles. Before I know it, it's Tuesday.


Since I got home at three, I've been doing homework non-stop. I have a paper due on Friday and I'm just now starting it. I've never been good at time management. By the time I have to get ready for work, I'm only half finished with my paper. I have another one due next week, but that can wait.


When I walk into work at five, Seth is cleaning up one of the tables in the bar area. He sees me walk in and gives me a wide grin. I return the gesture and go clock in. I'm the only bartender tonight because the bar is always the slowest on Tuesdays.


I walk behind the bar to relieve Vanessa and Seth comes walking from the kitchen. I wipe down the bar while he rests against it next to me.


"So," he starts.


I glance at him and raise an eyebrow. "So."


He smiles. "Are you free tomorrow night?"


"Maybe. What are you planning?" I ask and throw the rag into a bucket behind the counter.


"Remember last week when I called you?"


"Yes," I say, remembering our brief conversation.


"Well, I really want you to meet my friend, Iris. She's super cool and super fun. I think you two would get along great. She doesn't have a lot of girl friends, but she wants more - and I figured since you're new to the city, you could use some friends."


Something about his reasoning makes me laugh. I could use more friends? I have plenty of friends. Are they here? No. I guess I can see his point. "I'd love to meet her. When and at what time?"


His smile somehow grows wider. How is that even possible? "We could meet at a First Brew? They have great food and good drinks. I'm sure you're tired of seeing this place, too."


I nod. "Sounds good. Just text me sometime tomorrow to let me know when we're meeting. Is it a fancy place, or just like your standard bar?"


"Nothing fancy. Iris and I are both college students, we're not into that bougie stuff." His nose scrunches up while he shakes his head.


"Good, because I worked a day less than usual last week, so I'm not trying to spend a lot."


"Yeah, I was gonna ask you about that. Is everything alright? You don't seem like the type of person to call off work."


He's right - I'm not one of those people. "Yeah, it's all good. Just family stuff." Technically, I'm not lying. It was about the loss of my brother and the affect it had on me. But he's still family, and it is stuff. So I'm telling the truth.


He nods in understanding and gets off the bar to clean up a table. "That's good. If you ever need anything, just let me know."


I smile as a thank you, and help the first customer to come to the bar.


The rest of the shift goes by surprisingly quick and I'm in my bed before I can even think.


Then I remember my paper.


I roll over and groan in annoyance. It can wait. I don't have the energy, or the motivation, to write about the psychological and social analyses of those who watch pornography. But of course, I slide off my bed and crawl - literally crawl - across the floor to get my laptop. I open the screen and turn the brightness all the way down. By the time I'm done with my paper, it's two o'clock in the morning, and I pass out on the floor.




At five forty-five, my alarm starts to sound from across the room. I roll over on the floor and immediately regret it. My back is absolutely killing me. I regret my decision of finishing my paper last night. If I wouldn't have finished my paper, I would have stayed in my bed, gotten a full nights sleep, and not woken up with back pain.


I slowly stand up and run to my phone to turn the retched noise off. I fall onto my bed and close my eyes. I'm not showering this morning, I don't care enough.


What seems like minutes later, my alarm goes off again and I check the time. It's six forty-five. If I want to make it to class on time, I have to get up now.


I stand up from my bed and stretch my arms over my head. There are a million things I'd rather do than go to school right now, but if my GPA drops they'll take my scholarship away and I'll be a college dropout. Then my parents would force me to move back to Moline because I 'would have no purpose to live in the city.' Thanks, Mom.


My legs carry me to the bathroom and I quickly brush my teeth. Then I find a pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt. When I tie my shoes and throw my bag over my shoulder, I grab my keys off the counter and I'm on my way.


While I'm in my third class, I get a text from Seth;


Hey, Iris and I were thinking we could meet at 7?? Does that sound good?


Shit, I completely forgot about my plans with him. My first class tomorrow is cancelled, and I honestly can't thank Professor Collins enough. I send Seth a quick response;


sounds good !! First Brew right ?


I write down two slides of notes while my professor talks. I'm not following along as well as I usually do. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I've been out of my groove since the beginning of the week and it's freaking me out. I'm never crammed on time for my papers or quizzes and I always understand what's going on in class.


My phone lights up next to me and I turn it over. I need to focus, Seth can wait.


When my professor lets my class out, I check my messages. Seth texted me three times;


Yep! Nothing fancy, just cheap beer and no entertainment.

Don't worry about paying, I've got it.

Wait, do you even drink?


I laugh at his last text and reply as I'm walking to my final class of the day.


yes I drink, not often or heavily, but I do

and you're not paying, I won't allow it


I'm five minutes early, as usual, and there is no one else in the class. A couple minutes later, a girl walks in and sits toward the front. Ten minutes after that, no one else is seen and the professor is late.


"Um," the other girl says, catching my attention, "I guess she sent out an email that says we don't have class today."


My face drops, "are you serious?"


She laughs and closes her laptop. "Yeah, I guess we both missed it."


"Guess so." I sling my bag over my shoulder and head out the door behind her.


The walk back to my apartment takes less time than usual. It's so much colder today than it was yesterday, I don't want to be outside longer than I need to. I rush past the bar - but make it a point to look inside and see who's inside. It's Wednesday, so more people are inside than on Mondays or Tuesdays, but the person I'm looking for isn't.


Once I'm in my apartment, I strip down to nothing and get in the shower. I feel absolutely disgusting, and if I'm going out tonight, I'll need to look better. Not that I really care how I look around Seth, but I'm meeting his friend and I don't want her to think I'm a slob.


I hop out the shower and dry myself off. Now I have to figure out what to wear. I pull out one of my jackets from my small closet and throw it over the back of my couch, I know I'll need that. I find the black jeans I wore last night and put them next to my coat. My underwear is on, but I think I'm going to tuck my top into my pants. A colorful striped mock-neck shirt catches my eye and I pull it out of my dresser.


I throw the outfit on and head to the bathroom to do my makeup. I don't do anything dramatic, just my usual liner and mascara. I almost wear a pair of Chelsea boots but I decide against it. If I want to get home comfortably tonight, I'm going to wear my boots.


I make myself a quick snack and look up the bar we're meeting at. The map shows a blue line from my current location to First Brew and the time says seventeen minutes - by car. I switch the setting to walking and it now it reads fifty two minutes. Guess I have to call a cab.


When I'm finished eating, I place my plate in the sink and check the time on the stove. It's four forty-two. I still have two hours.


Instead of waiting around and doing mindless tasks, I decide to do my laundry and clean up my apartment. I need to be productive.


All of my darks are thrown into a laundry basket, and I take it to the basement to wash almost every article of clothing I own. Another woman walks into the laundry room while I'm closing the lid. She sees the mass amount of clothes inside the washer and makes a noise of disapproval. I sigh and check the time. Everything should be washed and dried by the time I have to leave.


While I wait for my clothes to wash, I start writing my other paper that is due next week. Killing two birds with one stone - nice.


Half an hour later, I'm throwing my clothes in the dryer and finishing up my paper.


I call an Uber instead of a cab because I don't know how to do that, and bring my clothes back to my room. Not even two minutes later, I get a notification that my ride is here and I run down to the lobby.


When I get in the car, I text Seth that I'm on my way.




The bar is a lot more packed than I expected it to be. Jack's is never this busy on a Wednesday. Granted, First Brew seems to be in a new, modern area with a lot of twenty-something year olds living in the area. Jack's is on a more run-down side of town, and he people who come in are usually thirty or older - except for Harry and his friends.


I get out of the car and thank the driver. I leave him a twenty-percent tip because I know what it feels like to get tipped less than you deserve.


Seth waves to me as soon as I walk inside. I smile immediately and walk to his table. There is a girl in front of him and her hair is dark brown.


"Hey, girl!" Seth exclaims as I take the seat next to him.


"Hi," then I look at the girl in front of us. I'm stunned to silence because she has to be the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. Her hair is in long soft waves, her eyebrows are sculpted perfectly, her skin is pale, and her eyes are a soft brown. She is absolutely stunning.


"This is Iris," Seth says.


Iris smiles when I look back to her and she's even more beautiful than she was before. "Hello, you must be Layne!" She reaches her hand across the table to shake mine.


"Hi, it's nice to meet you." I say, still slightly in shock.


"How long have you lived in the city? I know Seth took you to see the train tracks, so he must like you - as a friend of course." She hasn't stopped smiling. I was so worried this was going to be awkward and uncomfortable, but this girl is so sweet and bubbly feeling uncomfortable seems impossible.


"It will be a month next week." I answer her question.


"Really? Only a month! Wow. Are you here for school, or work, or do you just love the city?" She seems genuinely intrigued and it makes me smile.


"School, and I love the city."


The waitress comes over to our table and I order a beer, nothing fancy - just like this place. It's a fairly stereotypical bar. Except it is better kept than most. I can only imagine it's so spotless because the locals are spotless. It's also more modern than others. The lights are soft and hung low over the tables. The tables are light wood and the chairs match. The walls aren't white, but a light grey, giving the place a more natural vibe. There are plants on each of the tables and the bar is the same color as the rest of the wood. Come to think of it, this is nothing like your typical bar. And definitely has some kind of a 'fancy' aspect to it. It isn't pristine, but it isn't dingy.


When the waitress brings my drink, she also has a basket of onion rings. Seth and Iris both dig in while I take a sip from my bottle.


"So, Iris, how did you and Seth meet?" I ask and take another drink.


She is chewing when I ask her this question, so she puts her hand in front of her mouth and holds up a finger. "We met through an art class. More specifically, a sewing class. I call it art because I make all my clothes - aside from pants, I'm not very good at that. Now, shirts, sweaters, panties, socks, headbands, anything else, I make myself."


I look at her sweater and I can't even tell its homemade. The colors are incredibly vibrant and the pattern is kind of hard on the eyes, but it's cute and fits her personality well.


"Seth was in the class because there wasn't anything else he could take. Everything he needed was full." She leans toward me and whispers, "he's a bit of a slacker."


"Hey, now, I got an A in that class." He says in his defense.


"Yes, but that was because the teacher pitied you. Everything you made in there was absolutely horrid."


He shrugs, "I never claimed to be a seamstress."


"In order to be a seamstress, you'd have to be a woman. Anyway, Layne, I could make you a shirt if you'd like. I'm best at button-downs."


I finish off my beer and take an onion ring. "If you have time, that would be super cool. I can't do anything fun like that, but I can make a killer margarita."


"I have all the time in the world. I work from home and sell my clothes online through a larger business. And I don't think you should put 'killer' and 'margarita' next to each other, it doesn't sound appealing. Now, to me, I would love to try it. We'll trade. When I'm done with your top, you'll make me a margarita and hopefully it'll be so good that I pass out before I'm even finished."


She talks a mile a minute, but I think that's what I like most about her. She says what comes to mind and is as honest and open as she can be.


The rest of the night goes this way. Iris says whatever she's thinking and takes jabs at Seth. I have about four beers and I know I should stop, but I don't remember the last time I had a night to enjoy myself. Since I moved here, I've been working or stressing over classes. Like Seth said, I don't have many friends here so I haven't gotten the chance to have a night out. On top of that, I work weekends and it's really hard to hang out with your friends if you work at the place they'd want to hang out at.


I'm grateful that Seth asked me to meet Iris tonight, I do need more friends. I barely talk to any of my friends back home. Occasionally, I'll get a text from one of them but the conversation ends faster than it begins. My sister barely texts me anymore, and my parents are trying to let me live on my own. They don't want to keep a cushion under me. Let me rephrase that — I don't want them to keep a cushion under me. After my brother died, they did everything they could to make sure I was comfortable, and safe, and secure. Before he died, they never tried to help me with anything. I did everything myself and I liked it that way. Now that I live in the city, they can't shelter me. I've never felt so relieved.


I check the time on my phone and see that it's nearly midnight. "Hey, guys," I say to Iris and Seth, "I think I'm gonna head out, it's late and I'm really tired."


Iris finished off her second Sex On the Beach and stands up to give me a hug. "Okay! It was so good to meet you, Layne. We'll have to do this again soon — maybe without the man"


"Oh, definitely," I say as I return her hug. I look to Seth and give him a hug as well.


"Do you need a ride home? I can call you an Uber." He offers.


"It's okay, I can get one." I reply as I pick up my bag.


"No, really, I insist." Seth pulls out his phone and orders me a ride from here to Jack's.


When my ride arrives, I say goodbye to Iris and Seth again.


The ride is quiet and surprisingly quick. Not many people like to drive at night in the city.


I let myself in my apartment and do my nightly routine. My makeup is off by twelve o'clock and I'm asleep by twelve fifteen.

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