*THUMP*, Clara woke up, she must have fallen asleep while she was reading, she started sitting up and picked up the book on the floor, glancing over at the clock it read that it was 8:27 pm, she got up out of her bed and put the book on the dresser, walking over to her closet to grab a different outfit, she made up her mind this morning she would go to the city this evening for an evening out and she was determined to stick to her plans.

Once she had changed she looked into her standing mirror "maybe I should wear some makeup" she thought to herself Clara almost never wore makeup her mother once told her it made her look older. Looking up and down at the dress she had chosen she decided to keep any makeup off her face and leave her hair down "that's enough, stop looking at yourself." she thought as she walked away from the mirror.

Walking down the stairs barefoot with her shoes in her hand and her purse in the other. Getting to the door and locking it once she was outside, she sat down briefly on her steps to slip on her shoes, while she was putting on her shoes she could hear the crickets in the forest it was like a band, each cricket knew when to sing and it sounded beautiful just like magic. 

Clara was on her way into town now driving down the road listening to the music on the radio, she never really went out at night but something her friend had said a couple days ago about her playing it too safe, and realizing in that moment she really did play everything to safe, she had made these plans to prove her friend wrong, and to prove to herself she could do this but mainly the first one.

Walking up and down the streets for a half an hour now she was thinking of going home, she hadn't really done anything this evening except walk and her feet were beginning to hurt, but Clara stopped where she stood and started listening,  across the street she heard music, it sounded like a live band and it was coming from an Irish Pub, she had never been in a pub before and thought it might be a good idea. 

She walked across the street and walked into the pub looking around the place she could tell it was pretty packed in here but it wasn't overcrowded, Clara stood in the background for a bit just listening to the music but thought maybe she should get a drink, she walked over to the bar, and sat down in the only free seat in the corner, the bartender came over he was older, red hair with white streaks in his beard and from when he spoke he was Irish "What would you like Missy?" he asked her " A Bellini, Thank you." he looked at her with a strange face like my drink was way too fancy for a place like this but he walked over to his counter and started making it. A few minutes later he had her drink in hand and passed it on over to her, "Thank you." she said.  

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Dominic ran a hand through his dark hair to push it away from his face, grabbing the thin brown hair band to put over his face and at the top of his head. It was times like these he really thought about cutting his hair. He was sure it had a mind of its own. The last time he'd had it short was when he was a boy and his mother had insisted on it. A smile quickly spread across his face, but then immediately vanished as he pushed the painful memory away and cursed under his breath. 

Ugh... feelings. Something he could seriously do without. Dom grumbled and he looked around quickly for his go-to feelings suppressant. He quickly made a dart across the street and placed one of his black combat boots against the door of the pub. Nodding to the bouncer who knew him as a regular, Dom weaved his way through the crowd and grabbed one of the few bar stools left. "Beer. Stat."

The barkeep quirked and eyebrow at Dominic and smiled as he prepared the beer. "Tough day, lad?"

Dom grumbled under his breath and took a long swig of the drink. He exhaled as he put the half empty glass down, keeping his eyes fixed on his distraction. "Yea, you could say that, Hugh." 

Just then, a young blonde sat down next to him as the bar was nearly full. This place was getting more and more popular now that they began playing live music as Dominic realized the level of noise in the establishment had increased ten-fold. Sometimes he liked the drowning noise of the people to keep his thoughts at bay, but today the deafening sound of silence would've been preferable. Sadly, silence and beer doesn't seem to be an oncoming trend in the world of bars. One thing Dominic could never get tired of was a pretty girl.

He watched as she gave her drink order and imagined his face looked the same as Hugh's after hearing her choice. As the bartender placed the drink in front of her, Dominic leaned closer to her to be heard over the music. "Have to say, I don't think I've ever seen anyone order that before in this place."

While Clara was taking a sip of her drink thinking about how she would never attend bars like this if her friend hadn't told her to get a life, the man sitting beside her spoke. "It is strange isn't it, I had one at a baby shower one time and I've never really had any alcohol beside it, that's weird isn't it." Clara said with a almost giggle coming to her lips,

While she was waiting for him to answer she turned her bar stool to face him, gazing into his eyes, glancing down at his beard, looking at his long hair, he reminded her of a warrior, he was strong, masculine and different then everyone in this pub, when she looked into his eyes once more she thought she saw pain but just as she looked she broke the gaze when someone behind the bar counter dropped a glass.

Just as soon as she found out that it was a glass that dropped she fixed herself back to the man, "So what brings you here?"

As she spoke the Irish music changed to a softer song, some of the couples got up and started dancing, it was pretty dim lighting in the area where the band was playing so all the couples were getting pretty cozy. Clara pulled a piece of hair out her eyes to look at the stranger once more, their was something that drew her to him, maybe it was that look in his eyes.

Dominic smirked and shuddered playfully. "Ugh, baby shower. The stuff of nightmares." He took another swig of beer and smiled at her when he noticed her eyes lingering on his a little longer than normal. A sudden shatter of glass broke their gazes and he looked over at Hugh who shrugged. "Looks like you've been dipping into the product, sir. If you plan on wasting alcohol like that again, please feel free to remember me and my friend here who will gladly take it off your hands." He nodded at the man with a knowing wink and turned back to his lovely companion. 

"What brings me here..." he said back to the blonde when asked. "Well, me and alcohol have a love-hate relationship. I love the way it makes me feel and hate that too much of my money goes into making said feeling last." Dominic chuckled and brought his gaze back to her, holding her almost turquoise looking eyes. He wasn't sure if it was the dimming of the lights, but he was captured by their color. "And what about you, ...?" He held the question in the air, looking to maybe get her name. 

Clara smiled at the remark from the man she was sitting too, she thought it would probably be him to drink it all because she wasn't much of a drinker. 

She gently pulled back the same piece of hair that kept falling into her face behind her ear and listened while he spoke of his love-hate relationship with alcohol. Clara smiled hearing his chuckle made her laugh and she didn't know why but to her he seemed fascinating. 

When she heard his question she wasn't sure what to say but she went with the truth, "Well, long story short, my friend thinks I live like a little old lady and pretty much dared me to try something new." she said smiling "It's Clara by the way, Clara Carter,"

"Dom," he replied with a short, nodding bow of his head in greeting. He propped an elbow up on the bar as he turned to face her better, watching as the owner of the bar opened the tall glass panel doors that lined the front of the establishment. There was a nice breeze that started to flow through the bar and brushed passed both of them. The band seemed to find this a rejuvenating burst of energy as they began playing an upbeat song that got people dancing again. Dominic leaned a bit closer again to be heard above the revelry.

Hugh replaced his almost empty beer with another full mug and put it down in front of him, knowingly. "You mean like talking to strange and random men in a bar?" he teased when she spoke of her reason for being there that night. "What exactly make you so 'little old lady'-like, if you don't mind my asking?"

"Well it's nice to meet you, Dom," Clara said extending a hand to greet him properly.  Clara felt the soft breeze of the evening stroke her warm cheek when she noticed the sound of the band getting louder as they played a fast paced song, Dom leaned in to be heard, so Clara followed making the space between them even smaller than it once was. 

"As long as you're not a serial killer or anything like that." Clara smiled at her response, usually, she would be too afraid to say something like that, but for a change, she felt really confident. "I don't mind, really, I read tons of books, I'm not that great with technology, I don't own a cell-phone, I almost always stay home after 7:00, I think those are some of the reasons that my friends think I'm" little-old-lady-like", what about you what makes you "Strange"? Clara said gently smiling at him.

Dominic smirked and sat back to take a drink of his beer before moving closer to her again. "Not a serial killer, but I guess a serial killer wouldn't really admit that, would he?" he teased with a smile.

"As for strange," he began, picking his drink up and gesturing as he spoke. "I'm here alone, as I'm sure you noticed, and I know the staff here, personally. Probably means I come here a lot. No one frequents a bar alone and doesn't have something going on. So maybe not strange, but more slightly pathetic." Dom took a long gulp of his beer and shrugged. "But that bit of sadness can be saved for another day or when we start doing many, many, many shots." He smiled at her reassuringly so she wouldn't take the conversation too seriously, despite the hidden truths in his words.

"I guess you're right," Clara said as she picked up her drink and took a sip, it tasted different than the last time she had it but it was still good.

"You're not pathetic, I can think of a lot of worse things you could be doing if you weren't here, also I go to this one cafe almost three times a week and they know me there and I'm almost always alone, reading a book," she said smiling at him "To be honest I've never been drunk before so I'm not sure how I would act, are you okay with that?" Clara said looking at him.

Dominic was somewhat surprised by her innocence. Either that or she was playing him like a fool. "Yea, but cafes and bars have totally different stigmas," he replied with a smile. "Believe it or not, I actually prefer being alone most times, and I do like to read. I usually end my day on my porch with a book, guitar, and a beer. Well, if I'm not at a bar of course." 

He nodded towards the bottle of Jack as Hugh caught his eye, indicating it was that time of the night. The bartender came over and began pouring out two shots of the whiskey and slid Dominic a Corona. "As for never being drunk before, I'd say now is as good as a time as any." Popping the top of the beer off with his teeth, he tossed it in the garbage behind the bar. He then picked up the shot of brown, liquid gold as if to toast with her. "No pressure though. Totally up to you. If things get a little crazy, I can assure you I'll get you home safely." Dominic nodded his head toward the bartender. "Plus, Hugh here knows I'm a gentleman, right, Hugh?!" he yelled over the noise of the atmosphere.

The man smiled and rolled his eyes at the Therian. "A real charmer, this one," he replied to her as he wiped down the top of the bar. "But yes, a good man, indeed."

Dominic made an exaggeratedly large smile to mock innocence and waited to see if Clara would return the offering of the toast with the extra shot.

"You play the guitar, are you any good?" she said watching as the bartender walked towards them and put two shot glasses down on the counter, as the bartender was pouring brown colored liquor in the glasses, she heard Dom talking than he popped the bottle cap off the beer bottle with his teeth she was going to say how bad it was for your teeth to do that but she was tired of being the "mom" of every situation.

Clara had heard what Dom said, but before she could agree a little voice in her head told her to stop, that she should think things through, like if she was to get drunk what if he took advantage of her, but before her little voice could continue, he and the bartender were talking, the bartender made a small remark that made Clara smile and then the bartender said he was a good man, that was enough to shut up the voice.

Clara looked at Dom and glanced at his smile, she picked up her shot glass "To faded innocence," she toasted.

Dominic took the shot in an easy gulp and watched as his companion grimaced from her own. He chuckled and took the glass from her hand while Hugh congratulated her and poured another two. Putting a hand under her chin, he lifted her head to meet his gaze with a reassuring smile. "Are you ok?" He nodded towards the bottle of waters behind the counter and the bartender placed it in front of Clara. Dominic took the cap off and handed it to her. "We'll take it slow. Rushing shots as a lightweight is one of the worst things you can do. You keep that up, you'll be dancing on the top of the bar and I may not stop you," he teased. 

He picked his Corona back up and pushed the lime inside of the bottle before taking another long sip. "As for me and my guitars," he began gesturing out towards the band. "I don't play anything like this, as cool as this Irish band is." The music was still high energy with a heavy drum beat and a sense of old folk melodies. It didn't look like anyone would be leaving for a while. "I have a couple of acoustics and electrics. I've been known to play a few sappy ballads when I'm not playing rock." Dominic leaned closer to Clara as if to tell a secret. "But don't tell anyone. It'll ruin the whole tough guy persona I'm trying to play." He winked at her and picked up the next shot.

Clara tried to take the shot all at once but just a sip made her throat burn, she coughed, but she was determined to finish so it one slug it was gone, her throat burned but as Hugh congratulated he poured another two, she wasn't sure if she would be able to keep up with Dom's drinking, Dom put his hand under her chin and they locked eyes giving her a smile, "I'm fine, I can assure you, it's just strong that's all." Clara said still listening to Dom. "Trust me, you don't want to see me dance, I took only one dance class when I was 14 and I wouldn't really belly dancing in public," she said smiling at him

She grabbed the water and took a sip, it felt good against her throat, she wasn't sure exactly why people drank. "I always wanted to play the guitar but my mother wanted me to learn piano first, so I did." Clara thought back to that moment still in her memory from the moment it was put there, but she quickly looked up again she couldn't think about her mother without being sad. Clara leaned in towards his ear "I'd love to hear you play a sappy song one time," she said whispering to him

As he picked up the next shot, she asked him a question "So what does Dom stand for?" 


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