I sighed, knowing that since I was in this predicament I would just have to make the best of it. After a moment of thought, I sighed again and recited my chosen number.
I instantly regretted my decision when I heard familiar cackles come from the group. It was obvious by his laughter that I had picked him, and I could only turn around and accept my fate––I mean date.
But as I turned around, I was met with a pale, smug face merely inches from mine. I recoiled back, almost falling off the stool, but I caught myself.
Gilbert’s grin widened. “Well, Fräu. Looks like you picked the lucky number.”
I rolled my eyes and pushed his face away. “Maybe. Maybe not.”
The grin on his face morphed into a devious smirk. “Oh, it’ll be lucky alright.” He then wrapped his arms around my waist, slung me over his shoulder, and headed for the door. “Don’t wait up for us!” he called back to the others. I glared at Antonio, Francis, and Alfred when they started making cat-calls.
“Gil, put me down,” I said as we passed the threshold of the front door. As told, Gilbert set me down on the front porch and closed the door. “I hate to ask,” I sighed out, smoothing down my shirt and hair, “but where to?”
He smiled cheekily at me and took my hand. “You’ll see, Fräu,” was his response as he led me down the front sidewalk.
“Uh, Gil. . .I don’t think this is such a good place to be. . .”
Gilbert waved his hand in dismissal. “Pssh! Come on, Fräu. It’s not so bad.”
Oh yeah, it was. First of all, the place looked poorly kept. Very poorly kept. Second, half of the joint was a bar. With creepy thugs and everything. I didn’t know about Gilbert, but a million alarms were going off in my head now.
“Uh, danger, Will Robinson,” I said, pulling on his arm to get his head closer to me. “Do you not see all the guys who look like they’ll beat someone up at the drop of a hat?”
Gilbert glanced around at the thugs for a moment, then grinned at me. “So what? Nothing’s going to happen unless you piss them off. Und as far as I know, you’re not really prone to pissing people off.”
“Yeah, but you are.”
“Oh, come on, Fräu!” He wrapped his arm around my shoulder, squeezing me a bit. “Live a little!”
I glared at him. “‘A little’ is how much time I’ll have left to live if I––or you, for that matter––mess with those guys.”
“Fräu,” he said in an uncharacteristically soft tone. He took my hand and smiled. “Don’t worry. If something happens, I’ll take care of it. Alright?”
I blinked, surprised to see him so. . .well, serious. He pulled me to a booth and sat down on one side while I sat on the other. A waitress in a ridiculously tight (not to mention short) skirt and a button-up shirt revealing more of her cleavage than I would’ve liked came up to our table. “Can I get you two something to drink?” she asked, holding up a notepad and pen.
“Coke,” I replied almost instinctively.
“Coke for me, too,” said Gilbert.
The waitress looked at him, and I could literally see her pupils dilate. She tried to subtly lick her lips as she wrote down our drink orders. She flipped her blond hair over her shoulder and sauntered off.
She came back with our drinks, then she took our food orders, all the while slowly getting closer to Gilbert. She made a subtle pass at him as she left, swishing her hips in his direction on her way to the kitchen.
I shook my head. “Oy.”
Gilbert looked at me. “Was?”
Ladies and gentlemen, the award for most talkative goes to _____ _____ and Gilbert Beilschmidt. Thank you. Hold your applause.
But seriously, that really was pretty much our whole conversation. The rest was just Gilbert going on about his adventures with Antonio and Francis during the past week. And I simply nodded and sipped at my drink as he rambled.
About twenty minutes later, our food came, the same trampy waitress carrying it over on one of those large plates they always use. She gently set Gilbert’s down in front of him, and carelessly plopped mine down at the corner of the table. She then began making small-talk with my albino date. Then guess what: She started flirting with him. Like, batting her eyelashes and speaking in a low, sultry voice, and bringing her arms together in front of her so that her cleavage grew. I don’t know why, but I was starting to get pissed. Legitimately pissed.
But then Gilbert did something I never would have expected him to do.
“Entschuldigung, but do you mind leaving now? Mein date und I would like to eat alone.”
I couldn’t help but stare at him, dumbfounded. Did he really just reject a girl that was trying to come onto him?
And did he just reject her for me?
The waitress blinked, then she glared at him and stormed off. Gilbert grabbed his fork and started cutting into his food. He stopped right before he put a piece in his mouth when he looked at me. “What?”
My expression softened, and I looked down at my plate, which honestly didn’t seem very appetizing anymore. “I. . .I didn’t think. . .”
He smirked, putting his fork down and his elbows on the table. “What? You thought that I’d take just anyone?”
I blinked, looking back up at him.
He relaxed back into his seat. “Well, sorry to disappoint, Fräu, but I don’t think that way. I do have standards, y’know.”
Gilbert Beilschmidt? Having standards? Could those words even be put into the same sentence? I lowered my head again, a soft smile growing on my face. “Thank you.”
He returned the smile. “Bitte, Fräu.”
“And. . .” I brought an elbow up onto the table and rested my head in my hand. “I’m sorry, too.”
“For being a jerk. When you told me what you guys were doing, I thought you’d completely lost it. But. . .I think I get it now.” I laughed sheepishly. “I guess I have been missing out.”
The warm smile on Gilbert’s face grew for a split-second, then turned into a smirk as he leaned forward. “Ja, you have Fräu~. Would you like me to fill you in~?”
I raised an eyebrow, then turned my head when I saw that one of the pool tables had been abandoned. “Hey, Gil. You wanna play a quick game of pool?”
He blinked, glancing over at the empty table, then smirked again. “I don’t know. Are you prepared to lose?”
I snorted. “In your dreams.” I got up from my seat and started for the table, grabbing a pool stick and little cube of chalk on the way. I took the pool balls and placed them each in the triangle, moving it around when they were all in it. I removed the triangle gently and put it back where I’d found it, and said, “You can go first.”
Gilbert, who had just chalked up his left hand, put the cue ball at the other end of the table and aimed. He shot, and only managed to actually move about three balls, and they didn’t go that far.
I giggled, and he glared at me. “Oh, like you could do better, Fräu.”
“Actually, I can, thank you.” I leaned down and aimed, finding a perfect shot and taking it. The ball went in successfully, and I called solids.
Gilbert sneered in disapproval. “Lucky shot.”
I smirked and aimed for another ball, but it didn’t go in, so now it was Gilbert’s turn. He missed, and I went again. I scored two more balls, then Gilbert went. This time he actually got two in.
“Alright,” he said, chalking up his pool stick for the umpteenth time. We were both down to the eight ball, and it was his turn. “That pocket,” he said as he pointed to a pocket with his stick. He aimed and shot, but something apparently had messed him up (I swear it wasn’t me), because he overshot it. The cue rammed so hard into the eight ball that it went into the pocket as well.
Gilbert’s jaw dropped. “WHAT?!”
I laughed. “IN YOUR FACE!”
He glared at me. “I demand a rematch! Right now!”
“Why?! Are you just scared of admitting that you lost?!”
“The Awesome Me never loses!”
“Well, I’d say you just did!”
Just then, I noticed a small group of men––who had presumably come from the bar section––stomp over to my side of the table. “This is our table,” said one.
I raised an eyebrow, then scoffed. “Uh, I don’t see your name on it. Do you see a name, Gil?”
“Nope,” he replied, leaning on his pool stick.
“This is our table,” he repeated, an edge in his voice. “You can’t use it.”
I crossed my arms. “Oh, yeah? Who says?”
“We do.” I didn’t need a gesture to figure out who “we” was.
Even so, I still laughed at them. “You gonna cry about it?”
A large hand suddenly slammed down onto the edge of the table beside me, and the lead man leaned in closer to me. “No,” he said in a low, dangerously calm tone. “But I’ll give you something to cry about.”
My stomach knotted as two of his lackeys grabbed me and pulled me away from the table. I tried to break free, but others joined in and grabbed me in places that, quite frankly, should never be touched. I yelped a few times, and a few of the sickos seemed to like that, because then they started squeezing my breasts and rear. I yelled at them to get off, shouting obscenities in their faces, but they slammed me down on the floor and covered my mouth. So I did the only thing I could do: I bit down. Hard. I bit down on his foul-tasting hand until it bled, then I bit down harder. He finally pulled his hand away, but then another pair of hands swooped in and wrapped around my neck. I was immediately deprived of air. I tried to move my arms, but they were being held back by the same perverts that were fondling my breasts. I started to see spots, and I prayed for it to end quickly.
And it did. But not how you’d think.
The first part of me that I felt was released were my legs, but I didn’t have the strength anymore to kick at them. Then my arms were freed, but they wouldn’t move either. And then, finally, the hands around my neck were removed, and I gasped for air and rolled over on my side. I opened my eyes, and through my clouded vision, I saw Gilbert landing punches on several of the men. Most of them were just lying on the ground now, probably unconscious. Gilbert swung a few more times at the remaining two, and pretty soon they were down for the count as well. After making sure they weren’t going to get up, he turned back to me. He ran over and knelt down, resting a hand gently on my arm.
“Fräu,” he said in the gentlest, most serious tone I’d ever heard him use. “Are you okay?”
I didn’t answer, only shutting my eyes and panting from my previous deprivation of air.
I froze, my eyes snapping back open and my breath stopping. He never called me by my name unless it was important. Like, end-of-the-world important. I let out a deep breath, my breathing slowly returning to normal. “Gimme a minute,” I whispered.
He nodded in understanding, then gently wrapped his arm around my shoulders and pulled my upper body up, supporting my head with his free hand. Due to the position he had pulled me in, I automatically leaned into him, laying my head in the crook of his neck.
“What do you say we blow this popsicle stand?” he said softly.
I nodded, a small smirk tugging at my lips. “Don’t mind if I do.” I weakly pushed myself up off the floor, occasionally using Gilbert as support, and we walked out of the restaurant.
“We’re going to my place,” he said after we were outside.
I raised an eyebrow. “And why is that?”
“Because you were just practically raped,” he replied in that unbelievably serious tone.
“I’m fine, Gil. I’m tougher than I look.” As if on cue, my knees buckled, and I suddenly fell forward.
Luckily, Gilbert caught me in time. Unluckily, he picked me up bridal-style. “Maybe, but you’re still in bad shape.”
I relaxed after a moment. “Okay. But just this once.”
“. . .Gil?”
I pressed my lips softly to his cheek. “Danke schön.”
He smiled and returned the kiss. “Bitte.”