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Goodnight, Beautiful

Saving Jackie

“I’m not asking you… I’m telling you, let me go!” Jackie said.

Gerry peered from the bar, clutching his drink. Her arm was at an awkward angle. Following the angle down, a guy that was about 5’9” and athletic-looking was attached to her - appearing to have a secure grip on her arm. Jackie wiped below her eye and tried to jerk her arm away. If he doesn’t let go of her he’s going to end up bruising her arm, he thought. He thought about it once more before he got up and approached them.

“Dammit, Aaron, let me go!” she said, struggling to get out of his grasp.

“Excuse me,” Gerry said, “would you please let her go?”

Aaron eyed him up and down, judging him from head to toe.

“Look asshole,” Aaron said, turning to face Gerry, “this doesn’t concern you, so why don’t you go on your merry way and piss off someone else, eh?”

Gerry took a deep breath, smelling the alcohol on Aaron as well as the smoke coming from all around the bar.

“She asked you to let her go, twice now, buddy.” Gerry said, glaring at Aaron as he stepped towards him, closing the gap between them to a couple inches.

“Look man, I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but I promise you if you don’t back off and go mind your own business I will beat your ass.” Aaron said.

Gerry looked at Jackie, then back at Aaron.

“Aaron, is it?” Gerry asked. Aaron nodded. “Listen Aaron, I’m going to give you another couple of seconds to decide to let her go,” Gerry said. “then I’m going make you let her go.”

Aaron let go of her and swung at Gerry, who dodged the punch and returned one of his own, connecting with Aaron’s nose and mouth simultaneously. Aaron hit the floor within seconds and Jackie darted behind Gerry. Aaron sat on the ground clutching his nose and staring at Gerry.

“A piece of advice for you there, Aaron. When a woman asks you to let her go, you might want to do it the first time.” Gerry said. He turned away and headed back to the bar. He slammed cash onto the wood and made his way toward the door. He leaned up against the brick wall outside, trying to calm down so he wouldn’t go back in and pound the hell out of Aaron. A moment later, he looked up when the door opened out of his peripheral vision and he watched Jackie come from behind it. He glanced at her before returning back to his thoughts.

“Thank you.” She said. He looked up at her again for a moment before responding to her. The light outside of the bar showed her face better, so he was able to notice her brown hair and eyes. His eyes followed from her head to her toes. She was about 5’5, her body fit but not muscular. He guessed her to be about twenty-six or twenty-seven.

“For what?” he asked.

“For intervening back there and getting him to let go of me.” She said.

“Oh,” he said. “It wasn’t so much you though.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean I would have done it if it had been any girl,” he said as he got off the wall and faced her. “I really don’t know you, so it’s not like I just picked some random female at the bar.”

“I figured as much.” she said.

“Oh?” he asked, her response surprised him. She nodded. “Well, I can definitely say I wasn’t expecting that.” He said as he looked out at the street.

“Let me guess,” she said, leaning against the wall right beside where he was standing, which forced him to turn a little bit to be able to see her. “You thought I was one of the typical girls they get in here. All ‘damsel in distress’-like and expecting that the only guy who would come intervene to rescue me would be one who was interested in me somehow or wanting me to himself to flirt with me and eventually take me back to his place, right?” she asked. “Did I miss anything?”

Gerry looked at her, trying hard not to reveal his grin at her cheekiness and honesty.

“Nope,” he said. His smile deceived him. “That just about covers it.”

He leaned back against the wall again and held his hand out to her. “I’m Gerry.”

“Jackie,” she said as she met her hand with his and they shook hands.

“It’s nice to meet you, Jackie.” Gerry said. “It’s not every day you meet an intelligent and seemingly independent woman in a bar like this.”

“You too,” she said, smiling. “And yeah, I’m so independent I can’t fight off assholes like Aaron on my own.” Jackie let a nervous laugh escape her lips. Gerry laughed lightly at her sarcasm.

“Sometimes people need help,” Gerry said. “There’s nothing wrong with that.”

“I suppose you’re right.” Jackie said. Gerry looked at his watch, and then back up at her.

“Listen, it’s getting late. Do you have a way home?” Gerry asked.

“Not really. Unless I want to walk, I mean.”

Gerry gave her a questioning look.

“Believe it or not, I came with that asshole you punched.” She said.

“Oh. I didn’t realize-“

“We’re not together,” she said, interrupting him. “He wants to be, but I can’t stand the fact that he’s a jerk more than he’s a nice guy.”

“Why did you put up with it?” he asked. He couldn’t understand why girls tolerated guys like that. He assumed if they stopped tolerating them, they’d stop being that way.

“Truth?” she asked. He nodded. “Sex.” she said.

“That good?” he asked, surprised.

“No.” she said, letting out a chuckle and shaking her head. “But it was either that or nothing… and I don’t think I could deal with not getting any.”

Jackie looked down at her feet, then back up at Gerry.

“I try to remain monogamous, even with my non-relationship lays.” She said.

“That’s a lot better than a lot of the women I know, which is why I’m always alone.” he said. “Would you like a ride home?” he asked.

“Sure.” She responded. He made is way towards his car and she followed him, continuing their conversation. “What did you mean by you’re always alone?” she asked as he opened the door for her. She thanked him, and got in. He closed her door when he saw she was in and walked around to the driver’s side and got in.

“I mean, all four of my last relationships ended with my former girlfriend cheating on me with multiple guys.” he said as he started the car.

Four?” she asked in disbelief. He nodded, pulling the car out of the bar parking lot. “You want to go straight for the next three lights, then turn left.”

“Yes ma’am.” Gerry said. “If you don’t mind me asking, why do you try to remain monogamous with your non-relationship guys?” Gerry asked as he drove underneath the first light.

“Monogamy is something I value a great deal. Its importance is huge to me.” Jackie said.

“You’re a different duck.” Gerry said, stopping at the second light.

“How do you figure?” she asked.

Gerry reached the third light and got into the left lane.

“Any woman I know doesn’t think a whole lot of monogamy, so to see you and know that you value it as much as you do,” Gerry said, “that makes you a different duck.”

“Go down this road three stop signs and turn right.” Jackie said.

Gerry nodded, slowing down a little bit as he noticed the speed limit sign that said 30 mph – he was going 45 mph.

“So, you think I’m different from them?” Jackie asked as the car came to a halt at the first stop sign.

“I do.” Gerry said, lightly pressing his foot on the gas.

“Just because of my belief in monogamy?”

“No.” Gerry said, stopping at the second stop sign.

“What else is there?” Jackie asked, furrowing her brow.

“I’m still trying to figure it out, so when I know you’ll know.” Gerry turned on the right turn signal and stopped at the third stop sign. He lightly pressed his foot on the gas and turned the wheel to turn right.

“You’re looking for Killian Street, I’m the seventh house on the left.”

“I’m only two blocks over, on Rosewood.” Gerry said.

Jackie stared in amazement.

“What?” Gerry asked.

“How long have you lived on Rosewood?” Jackie asked.

“It’s been in the family many years. It used to be my mother’s house.”

“Did you grow up there?” Jackie asked. “Killian should be the next one.”

“Got it. And no, my mother did though. She moved back in when my grandmother got sick. I was 13 when we moved.” Gerry said, turning onto Killian Street.

“Ah, okay. That’s my house right there.” Jackie said, pointing to the Victorian-like, off-white house on the left-hand side of the street.

Gerry turned into the driveway, shut off the car, got out and quickly went to the passenger side, opening the door for her.

“What are you doing?” she asked. He froze for a minute, looking at her.

“What do you mean?” he asked. “I’m walking you up to your door.”

Gerry couldn’t understand why she didn’t already know that. Didn’t every guy do this?

“That’s…. weird.” she said. He looked at her in disbelief.

What?” he asked. “How is that weird?”

“I’ve never met a guy who did that.” Jackie said. He shook his head, embarrassed for the rest of the male population in the world.

“Then you’ve never had a decent man in your life.” Gerry said with candor. He noticed the semi-offended look she was giving him and then her face softened.

“I guess I just thought chivalry was dead,” she said, shrugging her shoulders.

“Definitely not in me.” He said, grinning. They continued up the walk way and to her door before she turned to look at him.

“Thank you for bringing me home.” She said, smiling at him.

“It was no trouble at all, really.” He said, returning her smile. Before starting to walk away, he grabbed a piece of paper and a pen out of his jacket pocket and began writing something on it. “If you need anything,” he said as he wrote the last two words on the piece of paper before handing it to her. “Either swing by my place or give me a call. Like I said, I’m only two blocks from you so it’s no trouble at all.”

She looked at the piece of paper, seeing that his name, phone number and address was on it. She looked at him again and somehow her grin got bigger.

“I will, definitely.” she said. “Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.” He said. With that, Gerry walked back to his car, got in and went home. As he put the car in park, his phone lit up. It read:

It’s Jackie. Thank you again for saving me at the bar, and thank you again for the ride home. Wanted to make sure you had my number. Call me tomorrow?

Gerry smiled and began pressing buttons on his keypad.

You got it. Goodnight, beautiful. Sleep well.

© 2018 Stephanie Kaleto