Lonely Austin Nights

As Rikki drifted off to sleep, he remembered when he first met Danielle one hot August night nearly six years ago at the Rusty Nail. His band was playing their regular happy hour show, and Danielle was speaking to her friend Meghan, the bartender. Meghan had told Rikki Danielle would be there, suggesting that he might want to get to know her.

After the band finished their set and packed up their gear, Rikki made his way over to Meghan’s end of the bar, trying hard not to stare at Danielle. Her tanned legs were crossed demurely beneath a conservative black dress that completely failed to hide the swell of her breasts and the curve of her hips. He strode confidently to the bar.

“Hey Megs! How about a round of Guinness for the boys, and another pink thingy for your beautiful friend here.”

“Well thank you,” Danielle blushed.

Turning to Danielle, he smiled broadly, almost comically, as he introduced himself. “I’m Rikki. I’m with the band.”

“I’m Danielle. Thanks for the Cosmopolitan.”

“Cosmopolitan,” Rikki scratched his chin. “I wonder what came first, the relationship quizzes or the drink? I’d say the drink, since you’d have to be drunk to come up with those insidious things.”

Danielle chuckled. “Oh, so you’re a comedian now too, huh?”

Rikki placed an elbow on the bar and leaned in to Danielle. “I’ve got many talents.”

“So what’s the name of your band?” Danielle asked.

“TBA.”

“TBA? What’s that mean?”

“To Be Announced,” Rikki puffed out his chest proudly.

“To Be Announced is your band’s name?”

“Yups.” Rikki beamed.

“That’s kind of dumb.”

Rikki clasped his heart with his right hand and staggered away from the bar, steadying himself on her chair with his left. Danielle chuckled and sipped her drink.

“We couldn’t really think of a name, so we just started using ‘To Be Announced’ until we could think of something better but it stuck. Besides, we get to play just about anywhere, any night of the week. Whenever the sign outside says ‘band to be announced’ we can walk right in and start playing.”

Danielle rolled her eyes, but Rikki noticed the smile and the glance at Meghan that told him he was making progress.

When the next band started playing, Rikki asked Danielle to dance. The band started with a couple of up-tempo two steppers then dialed it down. Danielle started to walk off the dance floor but Rikki grabbed her hand and pulled her close. He could feel the warmth of her back on his hand and the rise and fall of her chest as her breath quickened. He looked down into her green eyes and smiled. Danielle smiled back then laid her head on Rikki’s chest, her arms wrapped around his neck.

Meghan finally kicked them out seven hours later when she had to close the bar at 3 am. Rikki walked Danielle to her car and they quietly held hands for a moment.

“I had a wonderful time tonight.” She began.

“Me too. You’re a wonderful dancer.”

“Yeah, well you’re pretty good yourself.” She took a step closer and placed her hands on Rikki’s chest, brushing off non-existent fuzz off his shirt as they stood there in silence. She finally lifted her head and met his gaze. “So are you going to ask me for my phone number?”

“I was getting to it. I didn’t want you to stop. I love the way you touch me.”

Danielle blushed and looked down at her feet. She stepped back and opened her purse, pulling out a business card. She wrote down her cell phone number and tucked it into Rikki’s back pocket as she gave him a light kiss on the cheek and thanked him for a wonderful night. Rikki stood and watched as she drove off, a smile on his face.

Over the next weeks and months, Danielle made it to every gig, and they saw each other every night he wasn’t playing. Rikki told her all about the plans he had to make it big in the music business as soon as he found the right group of guys to join him and Johnny, his drummer and boyhood friend. Rikki’s world was finally falling together. That was nearly six years ago. Where had it all turned around? Why was it now so difficult?