Amber sidled next to him slowly, quietly, with a feline smoothness that she belied with her first words.
“So, I’ve never seen you here before. First time?” She smiled.
He turned, startled by Amber’s voice, kind, inviting. He’d been lost in thought, gazing without focus on the lights.
“No, this isn’t the kind of place I tend to come to when I need to think,” Ben said. “Do YOU come here often?”
“No. Me neither. But I guess it’s a good place to talk. My name’s Amber. What’s yours?”
He looked past her at the crowd, the lights all around.
“What? Oh, yeah. Ben.”
“Hi, Ben. Mind if I sit here with you?” Amber moved a little closer, could smell the whisky on his breath and knew she had a chance tonight.
Amber slid closer and smiled again. It had worked for her before many more times than not.
“You look a little upset,” Amber said, and took a sip from the drink she held. “You want to share a little? I’ll tell you my sad story if you tell me yours.” Even in the dark, with all the colored lights around, Ben could see she had soft light brown eyes. Almost…amber. They glowed with gold flecks and gently, warmly demanded his attention. He turned away.
“Broke up. She left me. Said I didn’t give her what she wanted, what she needed. Said I’d become cold and disinterested.”
“Awww. What’s her name?”
“Jess. Jessica. What’s it matter to you?”
“I’ve been there. My guy left me for some nurse. Blamed my job. The hours and all. But this new bitch works even shittier hours than I do. Sometimes, people just don’t fit, ya know? The heart wants what the heart wants, they say,” Amber said. She smiled that smile and her brows clinched just for a second and then relaxed. But Ben saw her eyes flashed even more fiery in the flashing lights.
He looked away again, but Amber knew she’d made a connection. Now to play him some more before she set the hook.
“Whatcha drinking? Looks like some serious medicine for a broken heart.”
“Jack Daniels. Figured if I was gonna go out I’d best go strong. Jess is a wine drinker.”
“My guy liked his Jack, too. Never knew if it was going to make him horny or ornery.” Amber slid a little closer. “I’ll bet she said you didn’t want to do intimate stuff besides, you know, fucking, all that cuddling we bitches crave all the time.” She said it so matter-of-factly, Ben had to chuckle.
“How’d you know?”
“Bitch,” Amber said, pointing toward herself, her eyes wide, like she was revealing something only too obvious. “Funny thing, though. David—that was my guy, David—he said that same thing about me.”
Amber slid just a little bit closer to Ben. She could feel the heat coming off him now, smell the sweat. Just a little more play. His head jerked up and he slid just as much away from her.
“Look, I don’t need…”
“Easy there, Ben, I didn’t mean nothing. Just thought, you know…kindred spirits and all.”
“You don’t know.” He swigged another mouthful of his whisky.
“Do. Been through this, like I said. Hate to see someone suffer like I did.”
Amber leaned back a bit and her voice got quieter. “Yeah.”
“I’m not stupid, ya know. I can see right through your ‘Oh, Ben’ bullshit.”
“Sorry. I just thought…” She whispered something else.
“What?” Ben said.
“I said, I’m sorry. Didn’t want to scare you off. I’m not Jess. I’m…” Again, fainter. Whispers.
His whisky nearly gone, just a tawny puddle left, Ben wobbled, leaned forward, reached to catch his balance. His whisky tipped and some of the remaining drops fell.
That was when Amber pulled Ben to her body, as her team pulled the safety line back toward the bridge’s roadway. Four officers restrained Ben as he struggled.
“It’s okay Ben. I won’t let them hurt you. Told you. I’ve been through this before.”
As officers led Ben to a waiting ambulance, Amber by his side, a suit from the mayor’s emergency affairs office stood next to her boss.
“She’s always had a way with these folks, always has a chance,” the lieutenant said.
“Empathy, intelligence, training and, if needed, a strong right cross.”
“Tell me about it,” the suit said.
“Fuck you, Dave,” Amber said, her golden eyes blazing, as she climbed into the ambulance and slammed the doors behind her.
Life and poetry got in the way of my Story-A-Day May, but here’s the first of a new batch. This is supposed to be a story “ripped from the headlines.” It originally was about a bridge jumper who was talked down by a cop. My cop is a woman and I wanted to use the word and name “Amber” for her for some odd reason.