Fallen Too Far (Chapter Thirteen)

Bethy had given Rush directions to her favorite honky-tonk. It was forty minutes outside of Rosemary. Not exactly surprising. The only country in Rosemary was the country club and that wasn't anything close to what we were walking into.

The bar was large and completely made out of what looked like wood planks. Apparently, it was famous. Probably because there weren't many of these kind of places in this area. Bright florescent beer signs graced the walls outside and inside. Miranda Lambert's "Gun Powder and Lead" was pumping out of the stereo when we walked inside.

"They have live music in about thirty minutes. That's the best time to dance. We have plenty of time to find a good spot and drink us some tequila shots first," Bethy yelled over the noise.

I had never had tequila shots. I hadn't even had beer. Tonight that would change. I was going to be free. Enjoy the night. Rush moved in behind me and his hand settled on my lower back.  This was not a friendly position… was it?

I decided against correcting him in here since I'd have to yell over the music. Rush led us over to an empty booth that was further back from the dance floor. He stood back and let me slide in. Bethy slid in across from me and Rush sat down beside me. 

Bethy shot him a frown.

"What do you want to drink?" Rush asked, leaning down to my ear so he wouldn't have to yell.

"I'm not sure," I replied, looking at Bethy for guidance. "What do I drink?"

Bethy's eyes went wide and then she laughed. "You haven't been drinking before?"

I shook my head. "I'm not old enough to buy my own alcohol. Are you?" She clapped her hands. "This is gonna be so much fun. And yes, I'm twenty-one or at least my ID says I am." She cut her eyes to Rush. "You need to let her out. I'm taking her to the bar."

Rush didn't budge. He looked back at me, "You've never had alcohol?"

"Nope. But I intend to remedy that tonight," I assured him.

"Then you need to go slow. You won't have a very high tolerance." He reached out and grabbed a waitress' arm. "We need a menu."

Bethy put her hands on her hips. "Why are you ordering food? We're here to drink and dance with cowboys. Not eat."

Rush turned his head toward her so I couldn't see his face but I could tell his shoulders had gotten stiff. "She's never drunk before. She needs to eat first or she'll be bent over puking her guts out and cursing you in two hours time."

Oh. I didn't like to throw up. Not at all.

Bethy rolled her eyes and waved her hand in front of her face as if Rush was an idiot. "Whatever, daddy Rush. I'm going to get me somethin' to drink and I'm getting her something too. So feed her fast."

The waitress was back with a menu before Bethy was done talking. Rush took it and turned back to me opening it up. "Pick something. No matter what diva the drunk says you need to eat first."

I nodded. I didn't want to get sick.

"The cheesy fries look good."

Rush held up the menu and the waitress came running back.

"Cheesy fries. Two orders and a tall glass of water."

Once the waitress nodded and walked off, Rush leaned back and tilted his head to look over at me. "So you're at a honky-tonk. Was it everything you hoped it would be? Because I'll be real honest, this music is painful."

Smiling, I shrugged and looked around. There were guys in cowboy hats and then those that just had on regular clothes. Some had large belt buckles but for the most part they looked like people in my hometown.

"I just got here and I haven't drunk or danced yet, so I'll let you know after that happens."

Rush smirked, "You want to dance?"

I did want to dance but not with Rush. I knew how easily I'd forget that he was just a friend. "Yes, I do. But I need a shot of courage first and I need someone to ask me to dance."

"I thought I just asked," he replied.

I put my elbows on the table and rested my chin on my hand. "You think that's a good idea?" I wanted him to admit this wasn't a good idea.

Rush sighed, "Probably not."

I nodded.

Two plates of cheesy fries slid in front of us and a frozen mug with ice water was set down in front of Rush. The food looked surprisingly good. I hadn't realized I was so hungry. I needed to keep up with how much I was spending. This was seven dollars. I wasn't going to spend more than twenty dollars tonight. That might mean I only got one drink but Rush said I needed to eat so I was going to eat.

I picked up a fry smothered in cheese and took a bite.

"That's better than peanut butter sandwiches, isn't it?" Rush asked with a teasing grin. I nodded and picked up another fry.

Bethy slid in on her side of the booth carrying two drinks in small little glasses. They were yellow. "I figured I should start you out easy. Tequila is a big girl drink. You're not ready for that yet. This is a lemon drop. It's sweet and yummy."

"Eat a few more fries first," Rush interrupted her.

I took another fry and quickly ate it followed by another. Then I reached for the lemon drop. "Okay, I'm ready," I told Bethy and she picked hers up and grinned. I watched as she put it to her lips and tilted her head back. Then I did the same.

It was really good. Only a small burn in my throat. I liked lemon. That was nice. I put the empty glass down and smiled over at Rush who was watching me.

"Eat," he replied.

I tried not to giggle at him but I couldn't help it. I laughed. He was being ridiculous.

I took another bite of my fries and Bethy reached over and got a few fries too.

"I met some guys at the bar. I pointed you out and they've been watching us since I sat down. You ready to make a new friend?"

Rush moved slightly closer to my side and the warmth from him and the warmth in my stomach made me want to stay right here by my… friend. Which was why I needed to get up. I nodded.

"Let her out, Rush. You can keep the booth warm for us in case we come back," Bethy said.

Rush didn't move right away and I started to think he was ignoring her or he was going to make me eat some more. He finally slid out and stood up.

I wanted to say something to him. Anything to make him smile and stop scowling but I didn't know what to say.

"Be careful. I'm here if you need me," he said in a low whisper as he stepped close to me. I just nodded. My chest tightened and I wanted to crawl back in that booth with him.

"Come on Blaire. Time to use you to get us free drinks and men. You are the hottest sidekick I've ever had. This should be fun. Just don't tell these guys you're nineteen. Tell everyone you're twenty-one."


Bethy pulled me over to two guys who were obviously checking us out. One was tall with long blond hair tucked behind his ears. He looked like he hadn't shaved in a few days and underneath his tight fitting flannel shirt his body seemed impressive. His eyes were on me, then on Bethy, and then back on me. He hadn't made up his mind yet.

The other guy had short dark brown hair that had some curl in it and a pair of really pretty blue eyes. The clear blue kind that makes you want to just sigh. His white tee-shirt didn't leave much to the imagination and his broad chest was nice to look at. He was as blue collar as they come. I'd know a pair of Wranglers anywhere and he wore them well. His eyes were on me. Not moving or shifting. A small smile was on his lips and I decided this wasn't going to be so bad after all.

"Boys, this is Blaire. I got her away from her brother and she now needs a drink."

The one with dark hair stood up and held out his hand, "Dalton. It's nice to meet you Blaire."

I slipped my hand in his and shook it. "It's nice to meet you too Dalton."

"What can I get you to drink?" he asked, a smile spreading across his face in an approving way.

"She wants a lemon drop. It's her thing," Bethy said beside me.

"Hey, Blaire, I'm Nash." The blond said, holding out his hand and I shook it. "Hello, Nash."

"Okay boys, let's not fight. There are two of us. Cool down, Nash. The innocence pouring off her has you in heat," Bethy said in an annoyed tone. "Come dance with me and I'll show you how naughty girls can satisfy that itch."

Bethy had Nash's complete attention now. I covered my mouth to keep from laughing. She was good. Bethy winked at me and led Nash out onto the dance floor.

"Some friend you got there. She was offering to take us both on. I explained I wasn't into that kind of thing and she pointed you out. All I could see was that curly blond hair of yours and I was intrigued," Dalton said handing me a lemon drop.

"Thank you. And yes, Bethy is a lot of fun. She brought me out tonight. This is my first time at a place like this."

Dalton nodded his head in Rush's direction. A tall leggy blonde was perched on the edge of our table. I watched as his finger ran up the side of her thigh. Sure didn't take him long.

"That why your brother came out with you tonight?"

Dalton's question reminded me why I was here and I tore my eyes off Rush and the girl's leg. "Um, uh… something like that."

I put the glass to my lips and drank it down quickly.

"Can we… I mean do you want to dance?" I asked when I put the glass back on the bar.

Dalton stood up to lead me onto the dance floor. Bethy was already pressing her body against Nash in ways that should be illegal in public. I was not going to dance like that. I hoped Dalton didn't expect it.

Dalton took my hands and put them around his neck before sliding his hands around my waist and pulling me closer to him. This was nice. Kind of.  The music was slow and sexy. Not exactly something I wanted to dance to with a stranger.

"You live around here? I've never seen you in here before," Dalton said lowering his head to my ear so I could hear him.

I shook my head. "I live about forty minutes away and I just moved there. I'm from Alabama."

He grinned. "That explains the southern twang in your voice. I knew it was thicker than any of the locals in this area."

Dalton's hand slipped further down my waist until his fingers were brushing against the top curve of my bottom. This concerned me a little.

"Are you in college?" he asked, his hand sliding an inch lower.

I shook my head, "No. I… uh… work."

I searched the crowd for Bethy and didn't see her anywhere. Where had she gone? As much as I hated to I looked over toward the booth to see if Rush was still there. The blonde was now in the booth with him. His eyes and it looked like maybe his lips were on her.

Dalton's hand slipped lower until it was cupping my butt completely. "Damn girl, your body is incredible," he murmured in my ear. Red alert. I needed help.

Wait. Since when had I needed help? I hadn't relied on anyone in years. I didn't need to start acting helpless now. I put both hands on Dalton's chest and pushed him back. "I need some air and I don't much like strange men groping my ass." I informed him and spun around to head for the exit. I did not want to go back to the booth and watch Rush make out with some girl and I sure didn't want to find another dance partner just yet. I needed fresh air.

Stepping outside into the darkness I took a deep breath and leaned up against the side of the building. Maybe I wasn't cut out for this kind of thing? Or maybe it was too much too soon.  Either way I needed a breather and a new dance partner. Dalton wasn't gonna work out.