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



2. two

= Layne =


I didn't sleep Monday night. I unpacked more Tuesday. I didn't sleep Tuesday night. I unpacked even more on Wednesday. I slept for a couple of hours Wednesday. I finished unpacking today.


My apartment is staring to feel a little more like home. Granted, I don't have many personal and meaningful things, but I like how everything looks and the way it makes me feel. My bed is pushed in the far corner, in between the two brick walls with tall windows. My kitchen isn't any less janky and old, but I love the dirty white tiles that cover the counter and the dark wooden cabinets. They remind me of my house from when I was growing up.


The living room isn't anything grand. There is just a couch, a coffee table, a chair, and a tiny tv on a media stand. They match the rundown theme because they were here when I moved in. The dresser came with the place as well, so it matches the old, rustic, industrial theme.


I look around my new home from the middle of my kitchen, and I smile. I love my little, old, downtown apartment.


My phone lights up on the counter and a text message from Ed appears: Hey, a couple of my friends and I are going to a bar a few blocks down. I know you have the night off. Wanna come?


I look down at the glass of wine in my hand and set it down. Why get drunk by myself when I could get drunk with my boss?


I shoot him a quick reply: Yeah! Let me get ready really quick and I'll come down to the bar?


After I see that the message has been delivered, I down the glass of wine and walk to my dresser. I pull out a high-neckline, white tank top and a big, dark yellow and blue, lightweight flannel. I'm already wearing black jeans, so it doesn't take much effort to get ready. I just needed to take my sweatshirt off. My makeup is still in tact from when I put it on earlier, so I quickly freshen up my eyeliner and head for the door. On my way out, I grab my purse and throw it over my shoulder.


I check my phone again as I'm walking down the stairs. Ed replied with a 'yeah!' and that was all. As I'm leaving the lobby, I hear the elevator open and a deep laugh erupt from it. Before I get to turn around, I'm out on the city street walking to the bar.


I pull open the door and see Ed leaning against the wall next to me. He turns his head to look at me, and he smiles. "Hey, girly," he chirps. "You ready?"


I laugh at his greeting, "yeah."


"Alrighty," he pushes off the wall, "let's go!"


Over the past few days, I've gotten to know Ed fairly well. He inherited the bar from his parents because they're 'too old to have fun' and he offered taking over the family business. He lives in my apartment building, two floors above me. He's an only child. And finally, he can hold his liquor. He can have four glasses of scotch and be completely fine, but by the fifth, he's gone with the wind.


We don't talk much on our way down the street. All he tells me is that this bar is his favorite - second to his own - and that it is about three times the size as the bar I work at. That means this place must be big enough to get lost in, but not big enough to go unnoticed.


Ed nudges my elbow with his and I look up from my shoes. There is a small sign that says 'Buster's'. I can hear faint music coming from inside and that's when I realize that the place is a city block long. All the windows are blacked out but small peaks of light slip through.


"The place is wide, but shallow. Just follow me and you'll be okay." Ed says reassuringly.


I nod in response as we walk down to the end of the block and he opens the door. As soon as we walk in, I'm hit with the smell of body odor and weed. The lighting is dim and it's loud. It's so loud I can barely hear myself think. It's not even the music that's loud - and there is a live band playing - it's the people. There are so many people. At least five hundred. I didn't even know a bar could be this big.


Ed grabs my wrist gently and leads me across the floor. The actual bar is massive. It stretches about half the length of the building in the middle of the back wall. There are about seven bartenders, and even more people around the bar than in the actual dining area. It's a Thursday night, who gets wasted on a Thursday? Me, apparently.


We weave in between people and eventually find his friends. There are about eight of them. All muscular, attractive men. Two of them have beards, five of them have stubble, and one of them is freshly shaven. The freshly shaven man is in a suit, so I'm assuming he came from work.


Suit-man spots us first and shouts, "there's the man of the hour!"


Ed laughs as he and Suit-man give each other a bro hug. Ed does this with every guy at the table then sits down. He pulls a chair out for me and I sit as well.


"Gentlemen, this is Layne. She works at Jack's for me." He explains.


They all say hello and I wave. One of the scruffy men gets up to get us a round of shots. He asks if I want anything and I tell him to get me the best beer they've got. He points at me and shouts, "I'm on it!"


The talk at the table isn't all that interesting. They're talking about some soccer game from the other night and I don't keep up with soccer, nor do I have cable to watch it. I pull my phone out of my pocket and flip through some of my apps. As I scroll through one of the multiple social media apps, I get a text from my younger sister, Flora: I just wanted to make sure you're doing alright. It's pretty empty here without you. Nick and Danny miss you, they tell mom every night. Love you.


I stare at the message for a few minutes until Ed elbows me. I look up and see all eyes at the table looking at me. "What," I say, lost.


"I asked how old you were," Suit-man - Garret, as I found his name to be - says.


"Oh," I shift in my seat, "I'm twenty-one. Almost twenty-two."


"When do you turn twenty-two?" He asks and takes a sip from his bottle.


"Next month," I state and take a sip as well.


He smiles kindly, "well, happy early birthday to you, Miss Layne." He holds his bottle up to toast me, and everyone follows. I roll my eyes and the table laughs.


They are all very nice guys. None of them seem like guys who come to a bar to get laid. They seem like they just want to hang out and have a good time with their mates. I'm really glad Ed invited me to this, it feels like he's welcoming me into his little friend group.


The worst part of drinking is that since you're drinking something, you have to pee, but since you're drinking alcohol, you're becoming dehydrated. I finish off my beer and stand up to go to the restroom. I ask Ed where it is and he tells me it's down the hallway next to the edge of the bar. I thank him and make my way to the bathrooms.


It takes me a good five minutes to get into the stall because there are so many people in this damn place. Surprisingly, there weren't many people in the bathroom so I didn't have to wait long for a toilet. After I wash my hands, I check my appearance and see that I don't look any different than when I left my apartment a couple hours ago. I haven't done anything too crazy, so it makes sense as to why I look fine. I fluff my hair a bit and pull my shirt down just a tad and then I open the door.


As soon as I step out, my chest collides with someone's arm. I fall back slightly and he looks startled.


He's wearing a leather, cross-shoulder bag. What the . . . He's also wearing a very old, black Rolling Stones t-shirt that is covered in holes. I faintly see the outline of a tattoo on his right arm. I look up to his face and two green eyes are staring directly at me. His mouth his slightly open and his breathing is quick. He blinks a few times and then swallows.


"Sorry," I rush out.


His eyes flick to my mouth and a small smile spreads across his. "No worries. I shouldn't have been walking so close to the ladies room."


I narrow my eyes at him and give him a curious smile back. "Maybe I shouldn't have sprinted out of the bathroom."


He laughs at that and it's the most beautiful sound I've ever heard.


"Next time, I need to walk further from the restrooms and you need to walk slower." He has an accent. A deep, thick, slow, British accent. He stretches his hand out to me and raises an eyebrow, "Deal?"


I stand up taller and shake his hand. It's so rough but so soft. "Deal."


"So," he's still shaking my hand, "what is the name of the young woman I've just made a lifetime deal with?" I snort and start laughing. I take my hand away from his and cover my mouth with it. He rolls his eyes and adjusts his bag on his hip. "That was cheesy, I know, I'm sorry. I'm Harry."


My laughing has surpassed to a giggle and I take a deep breath to calm down. "I'm Layne."


I hear him sigh, and he stops looking at me to let a man pass between us. After the man walks through the door, Harry steps forward, coming back to his original place. We stand there for a bit. He's examining me like a riddle he can't figure out and it making me uncomfortable. He seems like a really nice guy, but I moved here a week ago and I don't need to start my 'Men I've Slept With Since I Moved to Chicago' list quite yet.


He licks his lips, my eyes fall to his mouth, and flicker back up to his eyes. "I better go, my friend is probably wondering where I am."


Harry blinks once and seems to be looking at me again, rather than trying to look through me. "Okay, yeah, I'm sure she's worried."


I smile at him and begin walking down the hallway. Behind me, a floorboard creaks and my head whips around. Harry's eyes are wide and he's about two steps behind me. He shoots me an apologetic grin and shrugs slightly.


"Are you following me?" I tease.


His uneasiness disappears and a smile spreads across his face. "I mean, my mother did always tell me to follow my dreams."


"Oh my God." I turn back around and continue walking.


He laughs loudly and falls into step with me. "Sorry, I know I'm corny."


I raise an eyebrow as we enter the main room again, "cheesy and corny. You're pushing your buttons there, Harry. I can deal with one, but not both."


Again, he laughs. Why is he laughing so much? I mean, I'm not complaining. He's an attractive guy with an adorable laugh.


"Let me buy you a drink," he says. He's much closer to me now, though. His head is dipped down to the side of my face and I'm staring over his shoulder.


I turn my head to look at him and I see nothing but a sweet smile and tired eyes. "Okay," I say over the music.


His eyes light up with victory. He takes my hand in his and leads me to the bar.

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