DISCLAIMER: Karen Sisco and its all characters are property of Jersey Television. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The ringing of my phone pulls me from a sound sleep. Damn it, this is the first night in two weeks I've actually fallen asleep and stayed that way. That is until some asshole decided to call me at . . . **squint** . . . three a.m.
Grabbing the phone from the nightstand, I growl, "Novak."
The voice on the other end quickly apologizes and explains the reason for the call. After getting directions, I tell the caller that I'll be there as soon as I can. Jumping from the bed, I throw on a pair of jeans and a button down shirt, and I'm half-way to the car before I realize I didn't put on a bra. Fuck it; I'll never see these people again. Well, except for maybe one, hopefully anyway.
Crawling into my car, I contemplate running the siren but decide against it since no one's life seems to be in danger; just in case, I increase my speed. I pull into the parking lot and lock my car as I walk toward the entrance. By the looks of this place, I'll be lucky if I have all my tires when I get back.
I step into the seedy bar and head straight for the bartender who motions toward the dark corner. I temporarily ignore his signal and walk up to the bar to address the man.
"Hey, how did you know to call me?"
The bartender sighs and says, "I'm a friend of her dad's. He comes in here occasionally, and he always talks about his daughter. Karen this, and Karen that. He's mentioned some of the cases she's worked on, and your name came up a few times. I'm sort of a 'Rainman' of sorts when it comes to names. Anyway, I couldn't get in touch with Marshall Sisco Senior, so I called you instead."
I order a cup of coffee and ask the bartender to brew a fresh pot. Taking the mug, I walk to the dark booth, and I slow my steps as I get near just to observe Karen for a few minutes. Blinking a few times, I allow my eyes to adjust to the poor lighting. Besides the fact that she's beautiful and hot which is reason enough to watch her, I need to determine what kind of a drunk she is before deciding on a strategy to get her out of here.
There are quite a few empty glasses stacked on top of each other creating a strange looking design and none of them have fallen yet so she still has her coordination relatively intact. She removes the swizzle stick from her latest glass and twirls it around in her fingers. Okay, I can mark dexterity off the question list too.
As I near the table, Karen takes the stick and places it down next to numerous others. I move to stand beside her and look down at the table. I laugh aloud when I read what she has spelled out with her swizzle sticks, 'men suck.'
I slide into the other side of the booth and say, "I could have told you that, Karen. In fact, I think I may have."
Karen looks up at me and smiles. "Marley, what are you doing here?"
I can now cross off more items on my 'how drunk is she' list as she does not have slurred speech and is speaking in a normal tone. Returning her smile, I reply, "Oh, I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by. I'm hurt you didn't invite me to your little drinking party."
Karen puts her hand up to order another drink, and I skillfully slide the mug of coffee across the table. She grimaces but reaches for it anyway, and she even begins to drink it. Okay, she's not a mean drunk either.
Pointing toward her swizzle art work, I ask, "Problems?"
She shakes her head in disgust and replies, "My latest date is married. Of course, he failed to tell me this when we went to dinner together, but his wife made sure I found out about his omission. In fact, she broadcasted it to the entire restaurant. What's wrong with me, Marley? How come no one wants me?"
Oh, my dear, you are so wanted. I could make you very happy, if you'd only let me.
Instead, I answer, "You just haven't found the right person yet."
Karen frowns at me and then bursts out laughing. Oh, I've got it now, she's a happy drunk.
Between laughing fits, she offers, "Maybe I should give up men all together. You could teach me to be a lesbian."
Too bad she's expressing these statements when she's drunk and laughing. This is SO not how my dreams have her switching over to the winning team.
The bartender brings over a fresh pot of coffee and two mugs, and I thank him as I pour us each a cup. Karen moves the half empty mug to the side and begins to sip from the new one.
We talk for several hours, and I keep refilling Karen's mug until she's finally had enough and pushes the last one away. She takes her hand and destroys her swizzle puzzle by sweeping the sticks into one big pile.
A single stick moves precariously close to the edge, and I reach out to grab it only to have Karen take my hand in hers. She gives it a squeeze and says, "Marley, I know I was laughing and everything earlier, but there was a bit of truthfulness in my statement. I really like you, and on top of that, I'm attracted to you so much that it actually scares me a little. And I don't scare easily."
Tentatively, I ask, "So, you're basically saying . . ."
Karen quickly blurts out, "I think I'd like us to go out on a date, a real date."
I reach over and take her other hand and reply, "Karen, I like you too. I've already expressed an interest in you, but I don't think I want to be an experiment for you."
Before I can add to my statement, Karen leans over the booth and softly kisses my lips. She licks my lower lip as she slowly pulls away. Without another word, we just sit in the booth holding hands and trying to gauge what the other is thinking.
Karen breaks the silence first and says, "Okay, that was an experiment, but going out with you is something I want to do. By the way, you are a great kisser Marley."
I actually blush. Me, the big flirt, turn several shades of red. Glancing at my watch, I reply, "Why don't you let me drive you home, and we can discuss this on the way."
She releases my hands and rises from the booth. I place a twenty on the table and start to stand when she once again reaches for my hand. Taking it, we walk toward the door.
Intrigued, I ask, "Karen, how can you possibly function after all those drinks? You'd have to roll me out of here if I consumed that much alcohol."
Confused, she replies, "Alcohol? I haven't had any alcohol. I've only had coke."
I frown and ask, "But what about all those swizzle sticks?"
Karen answers, "Joe always put those in my drinks. I like to spell things out with them."
Realization dawns on me, and I ask, "You mean you weren't drunk when you said you wanted to go out with me?"
Smiling, Karen replies, "No, Marley. I wasn't drunk then, and I'm not drunk now. AND I still want to go out with you."
We reach the door, and I open it for Karen to exit. Looking over my shoulder, I see Marshall Sisco step out from the corner booth and hand the bartender some cash. I think I've been played. I wonder if Karen is in on it.
Grateful that my car is still intact, I unlock the doors, and we climb into the car. I turn to Karen and ask, "How'd the bartender know to call me?"
Surprised, she replies, "Joe called you? But you said you just happened in; I don't understand."
The door to the bar opens, and Marshall Sisco exits. I point toward the entrance, and Karen turns to see her dad get into his car and drive away.
Smiling, she says, "Well, I'll be damned; he set us up. I guess that's three things I don't have to worry about."
Confused, I ask, "What?"
Karen takes my hand and says, "I don't have to go through the 'Hey Daddy, I'm a lesbian' encounter,' and apparently he likes you so we don't have to go through the awkward meet the parent routine."
I start the car and pull out of the parking space. Applying the brakes, I stop the car dead in its tracks and ask, "Wait a minute, you said three things. What's the third?"
Placing a quick kiss on my lips, Karen replies, "I couldn't figure out how I was going to approach you, but it seems Daddy took care of that problem too."
Grinning, I turn the car toward the street as Karen says, "For future reference, drunken confessions aren't my style, and as for how alcohol affects me, suffice it to say it makes me very horny."
I completely miss the parking lot exit and drive over the curb.
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