A/N: I really shoudn't. But I did. 'Cause I suck and I have 0 self-control. Written through a sleepy haze so plis forgive some errors. I didn't think this through but published anyway because idk I just felt like it.


Hey Stephen


Part 1

The bar was crowded and smelled like alcohol, much to her chagrin. This wasn't even a dance bar, but the jukebox was playing some really weird, funky music and everybody seemed to have thought that it was the perfect time to dance. Aside from the crowd, the music was too loud for her liking and she didn't particularly like the song either. Maybe she was being biased because of her mood (because her mood desperately called for listening to Taylor Swift on repeat and the happy wailing of the guy over the jukebox was the complete opposite of how she was feeling at the moment).

"Excuse me, Mr. Barkeep?" she called as she stood nervously in the crowded bar, leaning slightly into the counter as she managed to squeeze through the crowd. She was desperate to get some alcohol into her system or she would probably give Cece hell and combust on the spot right after.

The barkeep looked at her with a quirked eyebrow, and she cleared her throat nervously before ordering a glass of pink wine. "With a black straw, please?" she called, as the barkeeper disappeared under the counter to retrieve a glass.

Taking the glass he had offered her, she started sipping on it as she walked towards the booth Cece was seated in. The truth was that she didn't really need or want booze; she needed Dirty Dancing. But now, she needed the booze so she could forget how much she didn't want to be here. But after four days of watching Dirty Dancing almost continuously, Cece had had enough of it and insisted that she needed some action.

Though she doubted that, Jess had given in because really, what was the harm? Whatever club or bar they'd go to was bound to have some guy she could maybe go home with, right? (Yeah, right. She knew nothing of that kind was going to happen). And if it became too much to handle, which she was almost sure it would, she could probably have a glass of pink wine (or two, or three, or four) and indulge in some healthy flirting.

Sure, she was having wine right now. Just like she had planned to if things didn't look up. But the flirting? Not so much.

Half an hour after her first glass, she'd already downed four glasses of pink wine, and she still wasn't feeling the burst of confidence she usually felt. She wasn't even dancing the way Drunk Jess usually did.

Maybe if I have another glass.

Probably a bad idea, but leaving Cece dancing on the floor, she stumbled towards the bar anyway, pushing her way through the dancing crowd.

Grateful that the crowd had dissipated to some extent, she leaned across the bartop, resting her elbows on it as she searched for the barkeep.

"Hey, Stephen!" she called, as her eyes found the flannel-clad barkeep. When the barkeeper didn't respond, she called louder, " Mr Barkeeper!"

The guy turned around, his face a mixture of annoyance and amusement. Shaking his head, he walked towards her, grabbing a bottle of Sancerre on his way. "Another glass?"

She nodded and started to say something, but he cut her off. "With a black straw, yes, I know," he chuckled as he poured some more wine into a glass.

He placed the glass in front of her and turned back around to get a black straw, which he dropped into the glass with a small plop. Instead of returning to the dance floor she slid onto one of the bar stools and drew the glass carefully to herself.

"Thanks, Stephen," she said gratefully as she started to sip on her wine.

He raised his eyebrows at her, wanting to correct her for the third time that evening that Stephen wasn't really his name, but well, did it really matter? Probably not (it most certainly did, though he doesn't know it yet). Turning away from her, he proceeded to serve a bunch of college students.

Jess sat in her seat with a sigh and looked around, and was met with several pairs of eyes leering at her. Scrunching her nose, she lowered her head and sipped her wine intently, deciding that in exchange for this horrible night, she'd make Cece watch Dirty Dancing with her twice more and force feed the model some ice cream.

That'll serve her right.

She sipped on her wine till the barkeep appeared out of nowhere to point out to her that the glass was empty and she was slurping air.

"Oh, right," she chuckled. "Pour me another, please…"

Then she frowned. "Actually, don't. I think I've had too many already."

She chewed on her straw with indecisively for a few seconds, as the barkeep stood in front of her with eyebrows raised, waiting for her to make a decision.

"I can't decide," she huffed. "What do you think, Stephen?"

"That's not-" he started but shaking his head, dropped whatever he was about to say. "Okay, well, five glasses of wine is good for a night but-"

Jess groaned. "Oh, you're right. Besides, I need to be in the right state of mind to go home. Looks like my friend will be busy for the night," she said, throwing a look at Cece over her shoulder, who was making out with someone on the dance floor now.

He laughed quietly. "Well, no more wine for you, then."

Jess sighed and rested her forehead on the bar with a grunt. "This was not how the night was supposed to go…"

"Plans never pan out the way you want 'em to," he shrugged (if he only knew).

"Evidently," Jess grimaced and shook her head. "All I wanted to do was watch Dirty Dancing and listen to Taylor Swift alone."

"Good movie," he said, starting to clean some glasses emptily, amused by the cute stranger that only had pink wine with a black straw.

"It really is," she nodded. "Hey, Stephen? Do you guys serve some ice cream?"

He paused with his glass-cleaning routine and frowned looking at the blue-eyed girl looking at him thoughtfully. He realized with amusement that she wasn't joking and proceeded to tell her that they didn't.

"That's a shame," she muttered. "What does a broken-hearted girl gotta do to score some ice cream in a bar!"

"I hear alcohol can heal broken hearts," he said.

"So I've heard too," she agreed. "But I don't want to be that drunk. I gotta drive myself home. And besides," she said, and lowering her voice, leaned forward conspiratorially. "What if I call Spencer?"

"That would probably be a bad idea….?" he replied unsurely.

"It would," she said, nodding vigorously. "He'll talk me into forgiving him and I just can't go back to him."

"No, you can't," he said, though he had absolutely no context.

"You're right, I can't," she sighed, and she looked at him as if it had been his idea and he had to fight the urge to let out a small chuckle.

"This was such a bad idea," she said remorsefully after a few seconds of silence. "I should've just sulked at home. Here I am, sulking here, complaining to the bartender. Typical."

"Don't worry about it," he shrugged. "It's part of the job. You're not the first, and you're definitely not the worst. I'd rather listen to you than them," he chuckled, gesturing towards the drunk college students.

"I'm glad you think so, Stephen," she giggled.

"So why are you here if you didn't want to be?" he asked, now just resting against the bar top and leaning towards her casually.

"Cece thought I'd do well to hook up with someone," said Jess with a grimace. "And I don't know how to do it anymore. It's been six years since I've been with anyone except Spencer. I'm out of practice," she said shrugging.

"Well, I'm any one of those idiots would go home with someone like you," he said, trying to pass it off as a nonchalant remark.

"Someone like me?" she asked, smiling playfully.

He blinked at her for a few seconds, feeling his face turn red with embarrassment. "I- I mean, I... you are pretty. Objectively speaking, of course," he added hastily.

"Of course," she said, nodding and resting her chin on the bartop to look up at him. "And you are the only decent guy in here, I think. Objectively speaking, of course."

"Of course," he said, starting to smile a little.

He started to say something else, but when a patron yelled at him across from across the other side, he shot her a quick smile instead and walked away. As he did so, Jess turned her face so she was resting her cheek against the bartop and found herself smiling a little; the first genuine smile she'd smiled in a long time.

She genuinely did like the guy. He seemed nice enough. Awfully polite, with an odd sort of warmth that she found quite comforting. Briefly, she wondered if her booze-addled brain was thinking these things, (not addled, but still somewhat fuelled by it), but she pushed that thought away; might as well let her imagination run wild because she was bound to not remember most of this the next day anyway. Maybe.

She liked the scruff on his face, and the way flannel looked on him. For some reason, she couldn't imagine him in anything else and she found herself staring at his back as he prepares drinks for others.

She stared until, he looked over his shoulder at her, and caught her eye. She smiled at him, and he smiled back at her, their gazes lingering for a few seconds too long. She felt her cheeks turn pink but didn't look away as she watched him chuckle to himself and turned around to hand over the scotch glass to a drunk middle-aged man.

The night wasn't so bad after all, she decided.


A/N: LMAO, sorry, I'm aware that Sancerre is too often mentioned in my fics, but it's the only pink wine I know. Suggestions are welcome.