Cantina For The Best Time

About a week had gone by since the night at The Underground, but Josh just couldn’t seem to get it out of his head.  So when his old friend (& now again current friend) called him up and invited him out again he jumped at the chance.  The Reno Cantina Los Tres Hombres was closing, her husband worked there as a bartender, and they were closing down the bar by coming close to giving drinks away.  A good time was promised to all.

Josh was excited.  He had just cashed his unemployment check that he was receiving since the company he worked for in Washington closed down due to the financial crisis.  Because he was getting it from Washington (through Nevada), the amount he was making was almost the maximum someone in Nevada could get on unemployment.  Because the cost of living in Nevada was so much lower than in Seattle, the unemployment check could go pretty far.  Because Josh was living with his dad for the time being, his expenses were near zero, meaning that check went even further.

So again, Josh borrowed his father’s Dodge Magnum and headed to Reno for what promised to be a good time.  It was another warm night, and though he wasn’t exactly sure what it was, there was a definite feel of excitement in the air.  The only thing that tempered his excitement was knowing he had been thinking about his friend’s odd sister, and the odd moment he had with that odd sister the last time he saw her.  He had to remind himself that she was off limits.

He arrived at the Cantina.  Knowing it was closing was somewhat a disappointment for him, because he had fond memories of playing shows there, back when he was in a band.  He was happy to see that a large amount of people seemed to have turned out for its last hurrah.  He parked in the lot, and walked through the warm, electric night air inside.

There was no doorman, no group of people waiting to get in.  Since the Cantina was also a restaurant, you weren’t carded until you sat at the bar to order a drink.  From the entrance Josh used, the bar is basically the first thing you see, so there was no need to look around for his friend, the group she was with, and particularly…the sister.

His eyes went to the sister immediately.  She looked good.  She was sitting on one side of the half-square bar, closest to the door from which he entered.  At first, he was disappointed to see people sitting on either side of her.  He quickly shook that feeling off, reminding himself that it would be wrong to make a move on his friend’s sister.  He thought it would be particularly wrong, since he had recently asked out his friend’s cousin.

“Your friend is going to think you’re using her to go through her friends and family members,” he thought to himself as he sat on the side of the bar diagonally across, yet close enough to talk to the beautiful sister.  “You are going to hell for this.”

He didn’t even try to hide that he was eyeing her.  He knew he shouldn’t be, but she looked so good.  The internal struggle consumed him when she looked his way and smiled.  A smile so beautiful, his ethical dilemma suddenly left his mind.  He looked away, then back.  She smiled again.

It was on.  Sister or not, it was on.  He was just about to say something to her when the cousin walked in and sat a couple seats down.  He was worried it would be akward, but she was with somebody.  So he said hi to her and introduced himself to him, and turned his attention back to the beautiful sister.

“Hannah!” he shouted across the bar.  “What are you drinking?”

“What?” she asked in reply.

“What can I get you to drink?”

She smiled, and answered that she liked tequila.  He was scared.  His family has a history with tequila and so, aside from the occasional Margarita at a Mexican restaurant, he pretty much stayed away from it.  He didn’t even really know tequila, except Patron seemed to be really popular, so he asked if she wanted that.

“No, I like Cazadores.”

“Casa what?” he thought to himself.  “Oh well, we’ll give it a shot,”he thought again before shouting to everybody, “Who’s gonna drink with us?”

And so he ordered Cazadores shots for everyone at the bar and toasted to the Cantina.  Her friend’s husband was behind the bar along with another woman.  In between sneaking glances and smiles at Hannah, (his friend’s beautiful sister, the “Hold me like a baby” girl he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about), he talked with her friend’s husband and the other bartender about the closing, and asked how many people were working that night.  He asked if he could buy them all a round and he did.  Then he asked Hannah if he could buy her another drink.  He repeated those steps a few times before engaging Hannah in small talk from across the bar.

At some point, he considered asking his friend if she would mind him trying to pick up her sister, but he never got the chance.  The woman he was sitting next to, (another friend of his friend’s), tapped him on the shoulder and showed him a napkin.  On the napkin was a message.  “Trade seats with Hannah.  She likes Josh.”  It was written by his friend.

She did trade seats when Hannah got up to go to the bathroom.  So Hannah came and sat next to Josh.  They talked about anything and everything.  They joked and laughed.  They had a few more drinks but did not get sloppy.  He didn’t need the napkin to know she was interested, but now he had a clear conscience.  They continued flirting, talking, and laughing.  The rest of the Cantina seemed to fade into the background as it was fading into history.

He paused the conversation for a moment, looking deep into her eyes.  She smiled, and Josh said, “Come here.”

And she leaned in, and he kissed her for the very first time.  He knew then, that he didn’t want to stop.  And as they left the Cantina for the very last time, they were still kissing.

And in his head, played the silly jingle he’ll never forget.  “Cantina for a great time.  Los Tres Hombres.  Cantina for the best time.  Los Tres Hombres.”

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s final chapter of the epic How I Met The Hannah trilogy!

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

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