Strangers In A Bar
by Charles

Graham studied the older woman sitting at the bar. She was by herself, but she was dressed to impress. He wondered why someone as beautiful as her was all alone. Graham signaled over the bartender and had the man give her a drink on him.

A few minutes later, the older woman walked over to where Graham was sitting. "Hi," she said. Graham blushed slightly as he noticed how her burnished copper hair shone in the light. Her eyes were warm and friendly, and they sparkled as she smiled.

Joyce held up her drink. "The bartender said it was compliments of the gentleman with the buzzcut," she gestured around the bar. "You're the only one with a buzzcut." Graham's face turned a deeper shade of scarlet.

"You're welcome," he said quietly.

"Mind if I join you?" she asked.

"Uh, not at all," he stammered.

Joyce sat down on the stool next to his. "I take it from the haircut that you're in the armed forces."

"Yup. The Marines," he said proudly.

"How nice," she smiled.

There was a brief silence then, as the two of them looked around the bar and fiddled with their respective drinks.

Joyce spotted a jukebox in one corner of the room. "Excuse me," she said as she stood up.

Graham nodded and watched her walk over to the jukebox. She couldn't possibly... He gulped as Joyce inserted a couple of quarters and selected a few songs.

She returned to the bar and held her hand out to Graham. "Care to dance?"

"I, um, I'm not..." Before Graham could finish speaking, Joyce had pulled him up from the stool. "Consider it payment for the drink."

The two of them began to dance. Graham was far from light on his feet, but Joyce smiled warmly and talked him through the steps.

The second song began, and Graham had the basic steps down. So, Joyce began to try and make small talk with her dance partner. But she wasn't having much luck. He wasn't the talkative sort.

She squeezed where she was holding on to him as they danced and made appreciative noises. Graham muttered something about having to stay in shape as part of the job. Joyce smiled and decided to enjoy the rest of their dance together.

The third song Joyce had selected came up and it was a slow song. She pulled Graham close and laid her head down against his broad chest.

She might have let one of her hands slip down to his rear end and then cupped it as the song drew to a close, but if she did, Graham was too much of a gentleman to mention it.

"Thank you," Joyce sighed as they walked back over to their seats.

They started to talk again. Joyce told Graham about her gallery and an upcoming exhibition she was planning. Graham's beeper went off and he frowned as he looked at it.

"Don't worry," Joyce told him. "I understand."

Graham nodded solemnly as he stood up. Joyce got to her feet as well.

"Thank you for the dance, ma'am," Graham told her.

"Thank you for the drink, soldier," Joyce smiled. She leaned up and kissed Graham on the cheek.

Graham turned a bright shade of red as he smiled and rubbed the spot on his cheek where she had kissed him. He bumped into a chair or two on his way out of the bar, which made Joyce laugh.

She smiled wistfully as he stepped out into the night. Joyce raised her drink in silent salute to the soldier who's name she never knew.

Outside, Graham thought wistfully of the beautiful older woman and the dance they had shared. If he ever had a chance, he would look up her gallery and pay her a visit.


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