Her name was Anna Dubrovsky. She was terrified of thunder. Her father was killed by a drunk driver when she was 9. She had a pet bulldog named Alfred.
These were the first things I knew about her, the things I learnt as we shook hands. The flood of information started, as it always does, the moment her delicate hand touched my calloused one, the physical contact leading me down the passageways of her mind. Past the seas of memories, beyond the towering archives of information, I was taken to the burning core of one’s personality. It is there I receive my knowledge, and Anna was no different in that respect.
I cleared my throat and pulled my hand away, perhaps suspiciously quickly, avoiding further contact and knowledge, and ignoring the primal urge for more. The flood of information, while completely hidden from the victim, is obtrusive, prying, and non-consensual, but the feeling that accompanies the rush of knowledge is akin to heroin in my system. I cannot prevent the information, nor do I want to.
Anna was different, however. I felt like a betrayer for learning about her in such a way, so I pulled back.
She did not seem to notice my early release of our brief – yet pleasant – handshake. She was happily chatting away with Vance (who seemed to know her quite well), unaware of the knowledge I had gained from her.
I listened politely, nodding as I take in the information they willingly offer to me. They both went to the same high school, and had the same teacher in grade ten math. Vance had dated one of Anna’s friends for a short while.
I continued to soak in the information, but found myself distracted by Anna’s glowing smile and intense eyes. She had a habit of flipping her light brown hair over her shoulders, only to have it fall back over them again and have the pointless process repeat itself. While distracting, I couldn’t help but admire her for her tenacity. She had a small gap in between her front teeth that showed when she smiled, but it only added to her attractiveness, showing the balance and symmetry in her face. Her blue-green eyes were wide with excitement, but sharp enough to catch my uncomfortable shift in my chair. She turned to face me, and smiled widely.565Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ9X1blzzv9K
“I’m sorry, we must be boring you with our reminiscing,” She said, sounding embarrassed.
I waved dismissively, much to her dismay. Her face drooped, as though I had said something horrible, when Vance came to my rescue.
“Excuse him, Anna. Graham’s not the kind to talk much, but he does enjoy taking everything in.”
“I see,” she said, uncertain. Her face brightened slightly as she turned back to me.
“But it’s not fair to us that we have to do all the talking,” she chided.
I smiled weakly, not really wanting in on their conversation, but unable to bring myself to say no to her childlike enthusiasm. “I can ask questions, but I can’t promise more than that,” I compromised.
Anna gave a sly smile. “Maybe you’ll do more if I get some alcohol into you?” She joked.
Vance laughed. “Graham doesn’t drink, I’m afraid. He says it messes with his mind, or something like that.”
“There’s a first time for everything.” She winked, and walked up to the bar to order drinks. I couldn’t help watching her leave. All around, people seemed to take notice of her as she strode confidently up to the bar, her hips swaying sensually. She leaned over the counter slightly. Her legs seemed to go for miles in the short skirt she was wearing. I couldn’t help but imagine walking up behind her and -
My thoughts were interrupted by Vance punching my lightly on the sleeve. “Look at you, checking her out! She is a hottie, isn’t she?”
“I wasn’t checking her out,” I mumbled, looking away.
Vance didn’t seem to hear me. “I remember her in high school,” he continued, “and she was this tiny little nerdy chick. Now, BAM!” His hands made vulgar movements at chest level. “Damn, I’d love to cop a feel of those honkers, if you know what I mean!”
“Do you have to be so disgusting?” I growled.
Vance laughed a hearty laugh before replying. “No,” he admitted, “but that’s the most emotion I’ve gotten out of you in a while! Damn it, Graham, you really like her, don’t ya?” He laughed again loudly, just as Anna returned with three steins precariously balanced. She put one in front of each of us before sitting down with her own. She chose to sit in the seat beside Vance, which bothered me more than it should have.
“You guys sound like you were having fun while I was gone!” She said, smiling widely. “What were you laughing about?”
Vance shot me an amused look before answering. “Oh, we were talking about you!”
I groaned and put my face down on the table, defeated. “Really?” I mumbled.
“Oh...” Anna sounded confused, and I was worried she was going to walk up and leave.
“Ya,” Vance said, chuckling softly, “I was telling him about the time you and Celeste went to that club, and you thought shirley temples were alcoholic...”
He started laughing, and she gasped. “Ughh, I can’t believe Celeste told you that! That was so embarrassing!”
I brought my head up only to find that hers was down on the table in embarrassment, hiding her blushing cheeks in her arms.
Vance was laughing harder than ever. “They kicked you out of the club for puking on the bouncer! She was so pissed off at you.”
Anna’s head popped up for a moment, just long enough to stick out her tongue, before collapsing back down.
Vance laughed and put his hand on her shoulder. “Hey now, come on. It was funny!”
I grabbed the drink Anna had placed near me and pulled it closer, staring into it.
Vance caught me examining it and chuckled. “Come on, Graham. Just take a sip!”
I made a disgusted face and pushed it towards him. “No thanks.” I said.
I noticed Anna was watching me. “So, if you don’t drink, then why are you at a bar on a Friday night?” she asked.
I shrugged and leaned back in my chair, trying to get more comfortable. “Vance keeps insisting we come here.”
“So you guys come here often, then?” She asked, looking back and forth between Vance and I.
Vance nodded. “Every Friday night we’re here!” He said.
Anna smiled, and something twinged inside me. “That’s good! Maybe I’ll have to start coming here more often.”
“Well, I’m sure Graham would like that! Wouldn’t you, Graham?” Vance laughed, before taking a big swig of his drink.
Anna looked at me questioningly, expecting an answer.
I cleared my throat and looked to Vance for help, but he was still drinking, intentionally taking his damn time, probably. I nodded. “It would be nice to get to know you better.” I said.
I could have sworn I saw Anna smile in relief, but she covered it quickly with a cough and a drink.
The rest of the evening passed pleasantly as I watched the two old friends catch up. Her voice sounded like soft waves gently caressing the beach, calming and peaceful. She looked so comfortable sitting there chatting away about this and that. I could barely pay attention to her words, entranced as I was by her sensual lips and soothing voice.
"Oh, shoot!" she said, glancing at a clock on the wall. "Look at the time! I've got to get home."
She stood up, and Vance and I stood up with her.
"Well, it was good to see you again!" Vance said, giving her a brief hug goodbye.
"Oh, don't think this is the last time you'll see me, Mr. Troublemaker!" she giggled, the sound sending electric shocks down my spine. Vance moved away and sat back down at the table, and then it was just her and me, facing each other. She smiled sweetly. "It was really nice to meet you, Graham," she said, extending her hand. I hesitated briefly before grabbing it and shaking awkwardly. The information came flooding to me again, but I held on, not wanting to make her feel awkward. She used to play the clarinet in high school. Her favourite song is "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word" by Elton John. She has a younger sister named Kristina. She works with her mother as a real estate agent just outside of town.
She giggled and waved goodbye, leaving me with my hand extended like an idiot as I watched her walk out the door.
Vance grinned evilly at me. "Well, well," he said, leaning forward in his chair and looking up at me, "looks like someone's got it bad."
I could not gather the energy to argue as I remained staring at the place she had stood just a few short moments before, stunned, wishing I had begged her not to go.ns 126.96.36.199da2