During their walk, he reeled compliments. Not excitedly like one thrilled by the prospect of a successful toasting. But like a cassette that played through the night—dull, whining. It is no lie that no lady demands compliments unless she could remove her wig in your presence too, or clean her ears while you watched, but the truth is: to rules there are always exceptions.
"Have you seen this one?" Darlene said after they had sat at the bar, on those tall seats that hung your legs in the air like you were a kid, and listened, most of the time, to the music that played in the background.
"What?" His head was resting on his one palm. The other hand scratched away at the wood top of the bar.
She was touching her ear.
"They're fine, I already said that."
She raised a brow, "no, you haven't." "Just how lovely. I wish they were blue–ish though, you know. Would match this dress better."
"Yes, of cour—"
"Awwn," and she touched her chest. "Thank you!"
From where they sat he could assess the ladies that had walked through the door behind Darlene: the colour of their dresses; their height which he carried back home in his mind and propped against the height reader on the wall, and passed or failed them depending on if they passed 7ft. In times when none passed for a long time, he flipped them all in his mind like one of his company files, which ones had the longest of necks, the moderatest of boobs and arse, the sexiest of legs, the most gripping of hips(as in portability). Luck always had him snapping back out in time to say "beautiful!" or "cool" or "yeah, fine" or "of course".
After he had paid for the drinks, he pushed his card to her on the wood and dragged himself to the door. This is what she would read when she flipped the card: Don't call. In case you do, my plumber will attend to you.
But when he was with her—Ada—he found his tongue let loose. And it went on like a dog on rampage, saying words that he knew he meant. Although there were other guys like him, the ones with tongues that dripped sugar, he stood out. He took what you would consider flattery and turned it into a fine speech that still made you blush at the end. It was flattery that was sneaky, didn't jump right at you to make you guard up on yourself. Because he mixed it with everyday stories.
For example, he didn't come right at you and say "You know what, I've never seen a more beautiful girl." He didn't even call you girl. "Lady" was "more like it". He rather said "Please, please, a selfie. My mother stays indoors too much. Lemme take the sun back to her this time. She likes to eat popcorn in the sun by the way." You can say he was a cook, a good cook, sprinkling the spices in just the right proportions, leaving you enough clues and time to figure out the sweetness and then blush. Not too much of the story that he turned to another newscaster. Not much of the sweetening that it became too spicy. No one likes food with excess salt.
I guess that's why she tripped sooner than they both expected.