Buzz, now a little disappointed at Daria’s keen interest in Jacob, dejectedly answered, “Yeah, that’s him.”
Jacob caught sight of Buzz and directly walked over to the table. He looked at them both but did not immediately join them. He almost smiled yet seemed to be assessing Daria as he stood at the head of the table.
Finally he spoke. “Hello, my name is Jacob. I’m a recovering pen-testing code jockey. I’m here tonight to discuss my struggling road to recovery, as well as to discuss a potential contract job you might have available.”
Buzz stared blankly at Jacob as he tried to determine Jacob’s sobriety level. His behavior was not a total giveaway at this point. Buzz signaled the waitress to bring Jacob his usual.
Zara chuckled and smiled warmly as she raised her chin. She then, as she suppressed most of her accent, offered, “I am, Daria. Won’t you tell me of your recovery status?”
She looked at Buzz, who seemed soured at Jacob’s hit entrance. Zara suggested, “Buzz, you didn’t mention that this Jacob person had a humorous streak in his composition, as well as broad shoulders!”
She looked back to Jacob and gestured for Jacob to sit next to her, which put even more downward pressure on Buzz’s mood. Jacob shrugged, looked at Buzz and acquiesced.
As Jacob sat down next to her, he winced a little as his fresh tattoo was still a little tender against the sliding action into the booth.
Zara noticed the slight grimace and asked, “How does a young stallion have aches or pains that cause him to show discomfort? Have you spent too much time coding and not enough time exercising? You do know that muscles that don’t get taken out for exercise soon get even with you, yes?”
Jacob, still trying to recall why she seemed so familiar, pushed his thoughts aside and replied, “Buzz indicated that you had some contract work that you were looking to have done. I’ve been out of my element for a while, between contracts so to speak, but Buzz made a compelling case for getting back to work and reengaging. I thought I would at least come meet you and see if we could help each other.
“First, I have to say you seem somehow familiar to me. You definitely remind of someone. I can’t shake the feeling we have met before. Do I look familiar to you by chance?”
Buzz, now somewhat irked that Daria and Jacob were already on such good terms, exclaimed, “Oh, come off of it, dude! Seriously! Don’t I know you from somewhere? I put in a good word for you so you can get a coding gig, and you try to make a move on her with the oldest line in the book!”
Zara clearly sensed the tension from Buzz and couldn’t resist her favorite game of mental cruelty.
Smiling seductively at both males, she intervened, “Gentlemen, I am only here on business, but I sense there is a competition a foot for something that was not put on the table. Just because I am sleeping at Buzz’s doesn’t mean I am his property.”
Jacob turned his head to look knowingly at Buzz and said, “Buddy, I didn’t mean to be scoping your lady. I can’t help feeling I’ve seen her before. That’s all! My apologies, madam, if you took offense. Allow me to withdraw the question then, and let us start over.”
Zara protested, “But, kind sir, I’m not sleeping with him, only staying at his apartment. He has made no overt offerings to know me in the biblical sense but has only shown me the greatest kindness, even to the extent of showing off for me in his shower. He is a generous man in all aspects that a lady could think of.”
Buzz was now mortified by her recounting of the earlier shower scene, yet he was somehow pleased that she thought him kind. The fact that Jacob snickered at her attempt to give him praise as a gentleman was almost insignificant.
About that time the waitress interrupted to bring Jacob’s beverage and to see if fresh drinks were required, which helped to allow the tense situation to calm down.
Zara began again. “Let’s stay with the business project I have, shall we? Jacob, I have some coding contract work that I need done within a short time frame. Consider this an introduction exercise that may lead to more work, but I am not prepared to discuss all the details in this bar. First of all, are you interested?”
Jacob leaned back against the booth back only to wince again which forced him to lean forward and rest his arms on the table. He sipped his drink, then set it down.
Zara noticed and asked, “Are you in pain from a recent injury? You tend to favor your back.”
Buzz blurted out, “Why don’t you just tell her that you just got this huge dragon tattoo across your back, and I have been the one stuck doctoring it every day with anti-bacterial scrub while standing in the shower!”
To Buzz’s dismay, Zara looked back at Jacob and suggested, “It’s too bad we don’t know each other better, else we could show each other our tattoos.
“To my original question, are you in for some contract coding or not?”
Jacob smiled reassuringly and said, “Madam, how can I refuse such a proposition from a delightful lady! However for my friend’s sanity, permit me to state that I have been bruised by a lady recently, so this will only be a business arrangement.”
Zara smiled knowingly and scooted close enough to annoy Buzz and brush Jacob’s arm as she confirmed, “Excellent! We can start tomorrow then. Meet me at Buzz’s at nine.
“Now if you will excuse us, Buzz has to make good on an earlier display that boasted of a length and girth offering that no female should allow to go unattended.”
As they left Zara teasingly said loud enough for Jacob to hear, “So, Bubi, you scrub another male’s back in the shower? I did not know you were a male that, they say, operates like a screen door that swings both ways! Come, let’s show each what the other is capable of, shall we?”
Daria hustled a beet-red Buzz out of the bar. Jacob motioned for the bill and with a knowing smile said, “It may take some time, but I will remember where I’ve seen you, Daria.”
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