Dirty Red (Love Me With Lies)
Author:Fisher, Tarryn

I was wearing a black silk Lanvin dress that I’d seen Katine eying the week before as we shopped in Barney’s. Her hips had been slightly too wide to accommodate the slim cut of the dress, so I scooped it up when she wasn’t looking and bought it. She would have done the same to me, of course.

 

After making rounds among our friends, I headed to the bar for a fresh martini. I spotted him sitting on one of the barstools. His back was toward me, but I could tell by the width of his shoulders and the cut of his hair that he was going to be beautiful. I slid into the available seat next to him and shot him a look out of the corner of my eye. I noticed the strong jaw first. You could crack walnuts on that jaw. His nose was kind of weird, but not in an unattractive way. The bridge was curved, a slight bend in the road. It was elegant, the way an old revolver would be. His lips were too sensual for a man. If it were not for his nose — that incredibly elegant nose — his face would have been too pretty. I waited a few customary minutes for him to look at me, normally I didn’t have to work very hard to garner male attention, but when he didn’t, I cleared my throat. His eyes, which had been focused on the television above the bar, turned slowly toward me like I was an imposition. They were the color of maple syrup if you held it up to the light. I waited for him to get that lucky look that all men got on their faces when they stumbled upon my attention. It didn’t come.

 

“I’m Leah,” I said finally, holding out my hand.

 

“Hello, Leah.” He sort of half smiled as he shook my hand and then dismissively turned back to the television. I knew his type. You had to play hard to get with boys that had crooked grins. They liked the chase.

 

“How do you know Katine?” I asked, suddenly feeling desperate.

 

“Who?”

 

“Katine … the girl whose birthday party you’re crashing?”

 

“Ah, Katine,” he said, taking a sip from his glass. “I don’t.”

 

I waited for him to explain that he came with a friend or his distant relation to someone at the party, but he offered no explanation. I decided to try a new route.

 

“Do you need bourbon and a beer to go with that Scotch?”

 

He looked at me for the first time, blinking as if he was clearing his vision.

 

“Is that your best pick up line? Lyrics from a country song?”

 

I saw a hint of laughter in his eyes, and I smiled, encouraged.

 

“Hey, we’ve all got a vice and mine is country music.”

 

He studied me for a minute, his eyes roving over my hair and stopping on my lips. He ran his fingers across the condensation on his glass, collecting the moisture on the tips of his fingers. I watched in fascination as he used his thumb to rub the moisture from his fingertips.

 

“Okay,” he said, turning toward me. “What other vices do you have?”

 

I could have answered you right then and there.

 

“Uh—uh,” I said, seductively shaking my head and leaning forward just enough to give him a bird’s eye view of my cleavage. “I already let one out of the bag. Your turn.”

 

He harrumphed and glanced at his sweaty glass. He spun it slowly as he looked back at me, like he was deciding whether or not it was worth it to continue the conversation. After a long pause, his eyes iced over and he said — “Poisonous women.”

 

I sat back, startled. This was perfect. I was about a ten on the poison scale. If he needed venom, I could inject it directly into his neck.

 

He took a long, hard sip of his Scotch. I evaluated the situation. It was clear that this man had just played emotional dodge ball with a professional. He was nursing a very strong and expensive drink at a yacht party he’d rather not be attending. Despite the fact that I was offering up my goods, wearing a dress that left little to the imagination, he barely looked at me. Normally, a man on the rebound would not scare me. They could provide passionate, casual sex in the wake of their heartbreak. They see only the best things about you; the things that remind them of the better days with their ex, showering you in compliments, and clinging to you gratefully for a fun-filled week or two. I relish rebound men. But, this one was different. This one wasn’t questioning his worth as a human because his relationship ended. He was questioning her sanity. Trying to figure out at exactly what point things had started to unravel.

 

He was immaculately dressed, without trying. He dressed that way by nature — which meant that he had money — and I loved money. I recognized the royal sign of the Rolex, the fine thread of Armani, the easy way he looked at the world. I also recognized the way he said “thank you” when the bartender refilled his drink, and how when the couple next to him swore repeatedly, he flinched. His type was hardly ever single. I wondered what stupid bitch let him go. Whoever she was, I would wipe her from his memory in no time at all. Why? Because I was the best of the best: the Godiva, the Maserati, the perfect colorless diamond. I could improve anyone’s life — especially this man's.

 

 

 

With my newfound confidence in our future relationship, I smiled at him and crossed my legs so that my skirt hiked up my thigh.

 

“Okay,” I said slowly. “Today happens to be your lucky day.”

 

“Why is that?”