Excerpt: American Honey

There were probably a million things I should have been doing instead of going back to Gents to watch the guys dance. It was a Saturday night. In my family that meant game night. We’d get together at my cousin Gavin’s house and sit around and play Risk or Clue or Ticket to Ride or something. They were probably wondering where I was now, though no one had started texting me yet. My two older brothers would be there, along with my three cousins and Gavin’s ex-wife, Cindy, and his kid, Kyle.

But I’d be missing game night this Saturday, just as I’d missed it last Saturday too. I couldn’t play it off like I’d forgotten what day it was or anything like that either. We all had the reminders on our phones. I should have been there with my family.

Instead I was at Gents, because Saturday nights were the only night, as far as I could tell anyway, that Callum worked. He was probably at least thirty and his reddish blond hair was curly and hopefully naturally that color. I’d seen him almost completely naked over my last few months of coming here so I was pretty sure he didn’t do a thing to change the color of his hair. I was really glad about that.

In my fantasies, of which I’d had plenty featuring him already, he spoke with a deep Irish accent. He also wore a kilt though, and a sash, and sometimes even a dagger. He never took any of it off. I hadn’t gotten that far in my daydreams of him yet, but I’d been undressed by him plenty.

Callum came on the stage, accompanied by some song I didn’t know. It had a fast beat with a high-pitched female voice screaming out. I tuned the song out as much as possible. I wasn’t next to the stage, two tables away from it actually. I didn’t want to be caught staring, even though I was. I looked at my hands on top of the table often. Pretty much every time Callum looked at me, I glanced down at my hands. I couldn’t handle his smile that seemed like it was only meant for me. I couldn’t look at him and find him looking back at me. I was trying to be invisible, while still being there. I didn’t want to be off in a corner somewhere where I couldn’t see him at all. I’d paid the cover and I’d already ordered my two beers for the two drink minimum. I’d probably only have one of them. That’s what I did most of the time at least.

My phone vibrated and as much as I didn’t want to see it, I pulled it out anyway. I wasn’t surprised to see a text from my cousin’s ex-wife. Cindy was Kyle’s mom and she and Gavin got along most of the time. Better than I did with any of my exes anyway, but then again, I didn’t have kids with my exes and Gavin was over a decade older than me.

You’re not here. Are you sick?

I sighed. If I said I was sick, someone would have driven by my house to check on me. If I said I was busy, someone would have offered to help so that I could get done faster and get to game night. I didn’t know what to say but I knew I had to lie.

Had something else to do tonight.

Liar.

I pursed my lips and put my phone away. I wasn’t lying. I did have something else to do. Staring at Callum’s ass was at the top of that list. He had on a green thong and black chaps. I didn’t know if they were real leather or fake from here but I wanted to know. He’d worn them last week too and I’d wanted to know then as well.

Trying not to stare at him was getting me nowhere. I simply wanted him too much. A man I didn’t know anything about, or even if Callum was his real name. I couldn’t stop tipping him either. It was a good thing that my honey harvest had been so good last fall because I wasn’t used to blowing through money like I was.

I was going to do even more tonight. I’d turned him down for a private dance before, but tonight I was ready. I’d paid off my bills for the month and I knew how much I could afford. I wasn’t cheap, but I wasn’t rich either and I didn’t want him to think that I didn’t know what he was worth. I wanted him. Badly.

When his set ended and he came around this time, he stopped at my table just as before.

“Having fun?” he asked me.

I nodded. His accent was there, though only slight, and it could have been completely my imagination. “Can I have a dance tonight?” My voice wasn’t nearly as strong as his was, but I was just glad that I’d managed to get the words out at all really. I was nervous, and maybe even a little worried that he’d reject me, but I was mostly excited, especially when he smiled at me and offered me his hand.

“I was going to ask you if you wanted one,” he said when I slipped my fingers over his palm.

His skin was softer than mine. I used long gloves whenever I worked with the hives, but I still had callouses. I loved the work though. Even down to the sanding of the hives when I finished building them. I didn’t use an electric sander. I liked the feel of the paper under my fingers.

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