Their gaze met across the busy pub. He was dressed in blue jeans, t-shirt and a trendy jacket. He had a broody air about him, but it was his intense dark amber eyes that got her attention.
Janice was ready to flirt with a man again for the first time since the incident. With a new sense of braveness she lifted her wineglass with a smile waiting for his response. It was slow at first, just the corners of his lips moving up ever so slowly. He brought up his glass in return and nodded his head.
Janice returned her attention to her girlfriends, but couldn’t stop thinking about the stranger across the room. She deliberately didn’t turn her face, but his stare burnt into her back.
‘Where are you Janice?’ her friend Sue asked.
“Oh, I was just daydreaming” Janice tried to deflect.
“No you’re not. You have that air about you. Good to see you showing an interest again. So who is he?” Sue kept pressing her eyes full of mischief and too much wine.
“You are such a stickybeak Sue. But ok, tell me if the guy in the opposite corner, blue jeans white t-shirt, is looking in my direction?” Janice asked her group of friends.
The whole group of girls turned to gawk at the same time much to Janice’s embarrassment. She laughed nervously.
“You are so obvious. You might as well just go and ask him’
“He is definitely looking your way Janice.” Sue exclaimed and with her usual determination and spontaneity got up and walked to the man’s table, returning a minute later with the guy in tow.
“This is Dan. He is by himself, so I invited him across to join us,” Sue said giving Janice a cheeky smile.
Sue did the introductions leaving Janice to last and motioned Dan to sit next to her.
Janice wondered if they had met before, but couldn’t pin point where. His eyes drew her in and made her anxious at the same time. But Janice enjoyed the sense of being alive again, ignored the warning signs and decided tonight she would take the next step.
When the pub closed up Janice accepted to head back to Dan’s place only a few blocks away. The rest of the girls said their goodbyes with lots of winks and smiles.
Dan’s apartment was roomy and neat. It felt familiar. Her heart started pounding as she watched Dan come across the room with a glass of wine. His eyes looked intense. Like burning amber. He brought his arms around her. She was pinned by his embrace. It was forceful and hard. In that moment Janice remembered. The attacker, the body against her, the pain. The same intense fire in Dan’s eyes. Just like the night 2 years ago.
Janice panicked and ran through the apartment to escape. The door was locked.