Liam parked his BMW into the back lot of Conditis, his buddy’s bustling and quickly expanding Latin infused Mediterranean Restaurant and dance club. The music reverberated through the walls and out into the parking lot, and he knew Cato was up to what he did best: bringing people in and making new friends.
Liam was glad that he and Cato had been roommates in the same dorm years ago. It had started a bond that may not have started naturally. Cato was bold, outgoing, always dressing and speaking with a flare Liam had never even attempted. Cato immediately befriended Liam, and they kept the friendship years after they had graduated with their Masters in Business.
Cato had started this booming business in the east side of collegetown, and Liam had made a point to swing by every Friday after work and say hello. As he approached the building, Liam unbuttoned the top few buttons on his shirt, preparing to relax and unwind from a busy day of crunching numbers and signing contracts for the new Upcycling business he was starting. His last business had done exceptionally well, and he was bought out at a premium price, offering him the leverage needed to start this new venture. It was all exciting, but nothing worthwhile was ever easy.
He made his way inside and to the bar, Cato seeing him far before Liam noticed Cato. “Hey! My friend! So good to see you!” he said with such cheerfulness one would think they hadn’t seen each other in years instead of days.
“Hey Cato! Glad to see you, too. Looks busy tonight!”
“Always busy, my friend, but never too busy to say hello.” Cato lead Liam right up to the extravagantly filled bar and poured him a simple rum and Coke.
“Thanks. Is there anything I can do to help?” Liam asked, not knowing what to do but feeling like he should do something.
“Just save the red headed beauty in the corner for me. She is a beautiful specimen of a female, and I wouldn’t want your eyes to find her before I had the time to properly get her attention” Cato nearly shouted over the chatter of the people and booming of the music.
Liam looked over his shoulder, and sure enough there was a brilliant looking red head that he definitely would have pursued in his earlier days, when chasing women and claiming them had been more his style. He was embarrassed of himself now as an adult. He wished he had taken better care of his former female companions; he had never taken anything by force, they had always offered him the things he wanted, but he wished he had had taken things more slowly, cherishing the moments in time. Rather, he found himself always chasing after the biggest, brightest, fastest, and it had lead to many burned bridges he wished he could resurrect.
He wasn’t looking for anyone to take home. He wasn’t going to bed anyone now, and he especially wouldn’t lay claim to the red head that had caught Cato’s particular eye. He finished his drink and Cato was quick to refill it. Soon a few of his coworkers streamed in, and the spirits flowed. His coworkers were bragging about their latest conquests, the liquor emboldening their speech and limiting their inhibitions. It felt like acid in Liam’s ears, and he committed to being a better man himself.
As his eyes scoured the room, boredom setting in over the redundancy of their conversations, he noticed that the red head had gained a few companions as well. A few saucy looking blondes, definitely his old type, had started the party. The blondes drew the red head out onto the dance floor, and the blondes grabbed the hand of a black haired beauty. She had long, curly black hair covering her olive skin that peeked through the top of her lacy top. It framed her long, slender face in only the way a woman could fashion. Her eye lashes were long and drew his attention to her deep, coffee colored eyes. Her cheeks were highlighted in the most delicate way, and her plump pink lips stuck out in a pout that he found adorable.
He wanted to taste those lips if he was honest with himself. She was drug out to the floor, but it was clearly not for a lack of rhythm. This woman’s hips knew exactly how to shake, and she was completely unfiltered out on the floor. She kept her friends entertained, and they were trying to mimic her moves. She kicked her heels off and proved she had taken good care of herself. Her slender legs narrowed down to an ankle adorned with a simple anklet, and her toes were painted to match her fingers.
His mind started to wander, imagining what she would look like in a nightie, or what her lips tasted like, or how she liked her eggs in the morning. He wanted to learn more about this woman, feeling drawn to her as a moth to a lamp. Without conscious thought, his feet had started in that direction, and Cato hollered out, “Save her for me, friend! I will be there, soon!”
Liam turned back, “Cato, she’s all yours. I promise” annoyed that his friend thought he would steal his girl after all these years, only to see the smile on Cato’s face knowing he was teasing Liam.
He made it out to the dance floor, the Latin music creating a unique atmosphere. Thanks to Cato, Liam had learned a few moves over the years, and he was more than happy to try them on this spicy dark haired beauty swaying on the floor. He came up to her, and as if on cue, the music slowed.
She looked up to him, her brown eyes drawing him in further, and a smile crossed her lips. He felt one return on his lips, and they turned to speak. “May I have this dance?” Her friends looked shocked and excited, and they told her to say yes. She didn’t need their cheering, she had made her decision and her arms reached out to him.
He lead her away from the group, and further onto the floor. “My name’s Liam, what may I call you?” he asked, his voice thick and deep.
“Mari is what my friends call me, and Maria Sophia is what my Mama named me,” she said, her voice as sultry as a princess, turning his insides weak with just those simple words.
“Maria Sophia is an exceptional name, fitting for such an exceptional woman.”
He looked down to see the slightest of a blush powder her cheek. “Thank you” she said, her voice just as sweet as before, somehow speaking straight to his soul. He had never believed in love at first sight, but this is definitely the closest he had ever been. It made him want to lavish her, to draw baths for her and leave love notes and remember flowers for her.
She had incredible rhythm as well, moving her hips in just that way that made him remember he loved women, and he especially loved the shape and smell and rhythm of Maria Sophia.
“What gives Maria Sophia pleasure in this world?” he asked, truly wanting to know so he could provide these things for her.
She took a moment to think it over, and she spoke with just a hint of an accent, “I am particularly fond of this moment in time,” she said, her eyes fluttering up to meet his.
“I concur” he agreed. He was definitely fond of this moment in time, where this beautiful woman, gifted with a natural rhythm and beauty that God saved for very few, was in his arms, returning his interest.
“What makes your heart beat, what gives you reason to live?” she asked him, her eyes not leaving his.
“In this moment, you” he said, and he meant it.
“I feel the same” she said in a whisper, and he knew at that moment she had infused herself into his heart, and he despite himself, he would chase her to the ends of the world. He would truly love this woman, and he would let her know it, even if it took a lifetime…