"Today there is no joy in Mudville, for the mighty Brent has struck out… yet again."
A gigantic, hulking college grad breaching six foot five slumped down into an open chair, completely ignoring the lighthearted jab. His eyes locked on the floor, Brent's face showed not embarrassment, as one might expect from someone who'd recently been harshly rejected, but abject sorrow. It appeared as if his entire world up and left him, and there was no chance of getting it back.
"Brent. …Brent? Come on buddy," Garret lightly shook his pal's shoulders. This was certainly not the way to kick off their night of debauchery. They weren't really in Mudville. Nah, it was more like good 'ol Vegas.
"Well, you win some, you lose some. There are plenty of other hot girls here, just look around. Learn from the expert, ya've got to jump back up on you feet. Just don't give up." Garret tried to be the motivational and sympathetic best-friend, tried to augment his compadre's confidence. This was his bud here, his wingman, and there was no way he was going to let him get in a funk. It was lady's night at the bar tonight for God's sake!
Brent hadn't made a sign that any of Garret's attempted sagacious pick-me-up words of wisdom had even registered. The lively bar suddenly seemed uncomfortably silent.
"Brent, really. C'mon now. Did you honestly expect her to say yes? That chick was so far out of your league it would take half a millennium for you to catch up," Garret said remembering the supermodel-esque girl in the all but diaphanous top his friend had gone after. "Aim high, have confidence, but be realistic man." So much for the kind, sympathetic approach.
Again with the uncomfortable silence.
"Brent look at me. Look. At. Me." Garrett asserted. Maybe eye contact would work because honestly he had no idea what was wrong.
Brent let out a long sigh and faced Garret. The near Goliath's auburn hair was disheveled from dancing, Garret knew that, but now it looked pitiable, pathetic. Normally strong, dominant features softened in despair, but the worst of all was when Brent looked him in the eye.
"Whoa. Shit dude. …um, are you alright man?" Garret asked suddenly way too uncomfortable. Brent had tears in his suddenly magnified doe eyes. He looked like a kicked puppy. Terribly sad, but also confused. This was too much for Garret to handle. He was just a guy, and as a typical male he got discomfited around other guys showing their feelings. He felt that emotions compromised his tough guy persona.
He wasn't a girl, or Dr. Phil, and he certainly wasn't gay. How awkward was this? What should he do now? It was an unspoken rule, they never shared their emotions. Brent may be a goliath in height, but he was no gentle giant. This aberrant behavior befuddled him. Never had he once seen Brent this close to breaking down in all the years he'd known him, and he'd known him for quite awhile, and been there when Brent had gone through some pretty tough shit.
Garret was there freshman year of high school when Brent's parent's had gotten a divorce. He was there when his long-term girlfriend of two years broke up with him a week before senior prom for a maverick artist that she'd met in some random coffee shop months ago after assuring Brent that they were just friends. Garret was there when his scholarship application didn't go through and even though he'd been accepted to the top-ranking school of his choice, his dream school, there was no way to pay for it, and the only thing affordable to the Salutatorian was the local community college. Garret was there when Brent got evicted from his apartment and had to move back in with his Dad, and even though it was a diminutive, fetid apartment, it was his own space.
Yeah, one could certainly say Brent had had a run of bad luck, but he'd never let it effect him before, at least not outwardly.
"Um… I'm ah- I'm going to go get us some drinks." Garret hightailed it out of there attempting to convince himself he was giving his friend some time alone, not running away like a chicken.
Garret, eager to down the liquid that would do away with the dialectical side of his mind that was screaming that he was scared, increased his pace to the crowded bar. He cursed himself for being the coward that he was the entire way. It was easy to be there when things were easy, but hard to be there when things were hard. Imagine that. Garret never envisioned himself as being a fair-weather friend, yet that monopolized his thoughts, so much so that he allowed the bartender to pass him by twice before he caught his attention, and ordered something strong and hard.
"Dude, two drinks," Garret shouted waving his money under the bartender's face.
"Do I look like a dude to you, pig?" The all of the sudden very much female bartender with short hair responded acerbicly before snatching the money and giving Garret what he ordered. Garret just shook his head. Raging feminists.
Passing many ladies who didn't even give him a second glance on the way back to his friend, he couldn't help but notice the dichotomy within the bar. Surprisingly, the genders were almost overwhelmingly segregated and the men were outnumbered at least five to one. The women were in packs, to say approach was intimidating was more than an understatement. It almost helped explain Brent's reaction, almost.
Without a word Garret positioned the drink in front of his dejected, slumped over friend who hadn't seemed to have moved more than an inch in the last ten minutes.
"Drink your drink and let's go pick up some of these ladies who are oh so ripe for the picking," Garret decided to go with the confident, slightly cocky, perky-but-not-gay approach. And it would've (more like might've) worked if some nameless, rude, eavesdropping, inconsiderate jerk hadn't burst out laughing.
"Dude, tourist much? Do you even know where you are?" the nosey jerk asked amusedly after he got his laughter under control.
Garret humored the jerk by responding, though he had no idea why. "Yes, I do. This is Eye Candy, and tonight's lady's night. My brother James, who by the by, lived here for four years, personally recommended this place."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, my bad Tripper. No need for the attitude. If your into the lesbo thing, that's your deal. Just don't expect to go home with anybody tonight."
"Yeah, it is your- wait. What?" Garret sputtered. Brent actually started to pick up his head a little bit.
"This. Is. A. Lesbian. Bar. How could you not know that? It's not exactly the ideal playground for a heterosexual male on the prowl." Jerk answered, his eyes dancing.
"That no-good, dirty, rotten, mendacious, son of a-" Garret cut off fuming, realizing he was just about to insult his own mother.
"I've got to go pick up my sister, see you guys later," the stranger said, leaving Brent and Garret in the dust, shell-shocked, before Brent slowly started to laugh. Everything clicked, and the whole situation was so ridiculous it was impossible, unless you were Garret, not to laugh.
"I can't believe we fell for that. We have got to get him back." Bi-polar Brent replied, his earlier melancholy all but forgotten.
"Oh, we will Brent. We will."
AN: To continue or not to continue- that is the question. Do you have the answer?
And, if you vote to continue, any ideas on revenge for Garret's brother? I have some of my own, but input's always welcome.