Aaron sat at the bar nursing a whiskey. He hated this place. Every Friday night he had to come here because she did. The air was thick with the smell of sweat, beer and smoke. Local girls came to find a handsome G.I. to take home with them. The G.I.s came for easy love. This was by far the most annoying reincarnation of Artemis. He shrugged, at least the band was good tonight.
He turned and watched the dance floor. Artemis twirled and flipped in the arms of some guy she had just met. Her short skirt lifting precariously high. Every week was a new soldier, it was like she was working her way through the military. He gulped down the rest of his whiskey and turned to bartender to get more. It was going to be a long night, he was going to need a lot of liquor.
“Hey there sailor” A smooth voice next to him beckoned.
“Awe, come on, how’s about you buy a girl a drink and I make that sad little frown go away.” She caressed his shoulder and moved in closer.
“How’s about you find some other poor sap to push yourself on.” He looked her up and down from her cheap slightly smeared lipstick to her drawn on nylon lines. “I’m not that desperate.”
She pouted a little and walked away, mumbling about always finding the one guy in the joint that preferred the fellas.
He shook his head and went back to his whiskey. The bartender came up and refilled the glass without him asking. “Nother long night?”
He sighed “yeah.”
The story he told the bartender and anyone who ever asked was that he was a PI hired by the girl’s father to keep an eye on her and to keep her out of trouble while he was overseas…it was partially true. He looked at Artemis reflected in the mirror behind the bar. She shook her hips like a whore. Gods, he really hated this incarnation. Sometimes he questioned if it was really her or Aphrodite playing a joke on him.
The song ended and Artemis and her friends all gathered at the bar. They were laughing cheering and having a good time. She accidentally bumped into Aaron and for a moment. Just a moment she looked at him. Really looked at him. Hope rose in his chest. His heart skipped a beat. Could this really be it? Could it finally be the time that she wakes up?
A hand went around her waist pulling her away. “Hey baby, how’s about we get out of here.” She shook her head and the recognition that was there was gone. The moment passed. Aaron’s heart fell.
She kissed her beau “How about we dance a little more instead?” She pulled him by the hand out on to the dance floor. There was a time when she used to look at him that way.
Artemis continued to dance and twirl without a care. The band leader announced they had a guest singer and they would be changing pace for just a moment. Wait did he know that guy? Nah, it couldn’t be….
A woman sauntered over to the microphone as the band began to play “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
Aaron groaned and grabbed the whiskey bottle. There was no doubt he was going to need more than just a glass while this song played.
“I’ll be seeing you, in all the old familiar places, where this heart of mine embraces…”
He groaned and turned away as Artemis and her new lover danced closer.
He turned back in time to see Artemis be led out the side door. He sat there watching them go, he knew he should follow them but he didn’t want to see something he could never unsee. Then the feeling began. It was kind of an anxiety knot. It always grew in his stomach and clutched his spine, like the hand of death….There was trouble.
He managed to make it out the door in time to see Artemis slap the man and run away. He cracked his knuckles and went after the guy himself. Every blow that met its mark released the tension he had been feeling. Every kick, for the guy dropped fast, was revenge for him being able to hold Artemis when he couldn't.
Finally when his task was done, the guy laying in a bloody heap Aaron went back into the bar.
“I’ll be looking at the moon but I’ll be seeing you.” The woman sang.
Aaron motioned for another glass of whiskey and thought “Lady you have no idea.”