Ridgefield call me by your name

fit, sans mask

Today had been very stressful. He'd accidentally double-booked appointments, so was quite literally trying to juggle a client over the phone and over Zoom, mixed in with so many apologies. It was a bad look, but he definitely preferred making sure both clients got in than having to reschedule someone last minute. They seemed to take it well enough. He bore the brunt of the stress anyway and no one missed out.

So the reward was an evening at the bar, a very nice bar, actually, that he hadn't visited yet. He'd been drawn in by their fancy drink menu, and so was settled at the bar now, on a comfortable stool, shooting the shit with the bartender while sipping at a sparkly ruby red drink in a martini glass. Until the bartender had to go take care of someone else and Oleander, not yet tipsy, but always sociable, looked over at the person who had left a seat between them. "This drink, delicious."


If anyone had watched her for long, they might have thought her strange. A cocktail glass stem settled between bony fingers of hands that rested on the bartop. Within was a martini that had not yet been touched. Yet she stirred the toothpick with the olive around it as if that might make it more alluring to someone who would have to bring it back up later.

Truthfully all of this was a set up for something social. An invitation for conversation. The hopes that she might allure someone with such mystery. Or perhaps catch the eye of some drunken fool. It all was the same in the end.

Except it was not some bumbling idiot that spoke to her first. It was someone who seemed...at least partially put together. Their glass similar to hers but their contents were red. It inspired some sense of desire. Hunger.

"Really?" She purred as if she was in feline form. "What might it be?"
His bar neighbor was clean, pretty, with a voice of confidence. He was so pleased when she answered. And didn't just side eye him and grunt like many bar-side sitters were want to do. Oleander hadn't noticed that she hadn't touched her drink.

The thin stemmed glass was lifted to his lips in a showy sip. "Grapefruit and elderflower. I've never had elderflower before but it really adds so much..." Oleander sort of pursed his lips. "depth?"
Grapefruit and elderflower.

It sounded like a heady concoction. Some sort of love potion in a glass. Especially with such a ruby toned color to it.

She leaned in as he spoke. Not yet inclined to move the one seat over, but still interested in what he had to say. "It looks like it has depth." A faint smile on her features.

"What made you want to try it?"
She didn't move closer, but he made the little hop to the next chair over. All the leaning wasn't good for his back. The martini glass was casually slid back in front of him, the lowering level of liquid sloshing dangerously towards the rim.

"I got chatting with the bartender and he really sold me on it," Oleander outstretched a hand. "Oleander, by the way. Did he get you too?" He looked to her untouched glass.
He hoped closer, a friendly little bird in a bar. Twittering away to her about things she had no business partaking in. If she had been a cat, she would have chirped at him like a frustrated hunter.


"Mona." Her cold hand seeking nothing more than a light quick shake.

"And he did. Although, between us? I'm not even much of a drinker."
And a quick shake it was. He usually just gave a squeeze and let go. He had a drink to get back to, afterall.

Oleander looked back to her untouched drink. "Oh, I understand. A friend of mine is like that, too. Should have just shoo'd him off."

Oleander wouldn't press. Not really any of his business. He took a sip. "There are just so many combinations. I love the art of it. Cocktails though. I enjoy a glass of wine, but I'm not too worried about it."
In truth, it wouldn't have felt right to shoo him off. This was a place intended for drinking and it was the man's job to tend drinks to patrons.

Then he rambled about the art of drinks and glasses of wine. She wondered if he drank often. Too much maybe. He could just be a connoisseur. So she tested the waters with that theory in mind.

"Do you come here often for artsy drinks?" Some mild playfulness in her voice.
"This is my first time here!" He would tell her, cheerfully. Because new restaurants were always exciting. Like a little vacation.

He probably needed a real one at some point. Once you started convincing yourself that new restaurants were mini-vacations, you definitely needed to get out there.

"All of the restaurants around here have very unique cocktail menus. I don't want to bore you with drink talk, though. Are you waiting for someone?" Because if she wasn't here to inbibe, why was she at the bar?
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