S has never been one to remember her dreams. Sure, snippets, the vaguest outlines. Sometimes an image will hit her so hard that it’ll almost lay her flat, and she’ll suspect she saw it in a dream once, but that certainty has never fully manifested. Her friends have urged her to keep a dream journal, something to sift through the rapid tumble of her subconscious and clear a path forward. She’s never thought to follow that advice, and she’s not really given it a second thought. Until now.
Now, she’s calling herself every even slightly insulting name that comes to mind. Under the amber glow of the “nostalgic speakeasy with a contemporary twist” lighting is an image so striking it has to be from a dream. Or a past life. Or a movie. It doesn’t matter but it does because S’s heart drops to her cunt and she needs to know who this woman is.
There’s a sturdy, square-bottomed glass with a dark, shimmering liquid. A paperback with thin, translucent pages that she’s casually flipping through with a stiletto manicure that looks black blood-red-black in the dimness. The bar is respectably crowded, but there’s an empty stool on either side of her. Some people are the kind of magnetic that they can actually control – repelling and attracting whomever they want. This crosses S’s mind with a dim ping of warning, but she’s being pulled to the bar and there’s not really a way to dissuade herself now, animal magnetism or no.
“Hi,” S croaks, then winces, immediately embarrassed.
The woman looks up. Amused. Not surprised. This kind of thing must happen a lot.
“Hi.” It’s easy and melodic and warm.
“Wow.” S can’t help the little awed whisper that escapes her. “Um, sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt your reading.”
She trails off as the woman looks at her expectantly, producing a thin bookmark and closing the chapter.
“I think you did.”
The woman does smile now, a kind of pitying but charmed expression like one would use on a dog begging under the table.
“You meant to interrupt me, and now you have my full attention.” She gestures at the seat next to her. “Please.”