Delilah Dubonnet stepped out of her Uber and into the hot Miami night. She could already feel the back of her neck dampening, and she delicately put a hand there to cool herself down. Tonight should have been her anniversary to Mark, but she found herself, sadly, completely alone in South Beach.
She paused before going into her favorite speakeasy, Foxhole, where she and Mark had met two years earlier. Feeling not quite ready for the noise of the bar, she opened her clutch, slipped out a tube of 42 Dubonnet Irresistible Kissable Lipstick in Pink Shimmy, and applied it to her full lips. Then she quickly texted her best friend, Marigold. “I don’t know what I’m doing here,” she wrote. Plus a sad emoji.
After staring at her iPhone for a few minutes, she decided Mari was probably busy with her kids, and she sighed, putting her phone back into her purse. Then Delilah closed her eyes - something one should never do in South Beach on a Friday night. But she couldn’t help herself.
Maybe this was a bad idea, going to Foxhole on her anniversary with Mark. She’d told herself it meant she was strong. That she wouldn’t be one of those women who avoided the places they’d had good times with their exes. She wouldn’t be one of those wimpy chicks who burst into tears, telling their friends, “I remember when Mark and I went here last summer. My ice cream was dripping and he licked the side of my cone for me.” Sob.
But maybe being here, tonight, was going a bit too far. After all, it had been here, at Foxhole, where Mark had told her that it wasn’t her, that he just wasn’t into women. Which made her furious, because how could she be mad at this sweet man when he was coming out to her? It wasn’t as if he’d cheated or something. He just decided that, after one and a half years with her, he didn’t like women anymore.
“Are you looking for Foxhole?” a deep voice asked. “Because you’re not going to find it with your eyes closed.”
Delilah opened her eyes. A man was standing in front of her, a slight smile curling one side of his mouth.
“Uh, yeah, I know,” she said, a bit awkwardly.
“I’ve heard it’s in some sketchy alleyway under a red light,” the man offered.
“Yeah. I know,” she repeated. “I’ve been there before.”
“Great,” the man said. “Then you can show me where it is.”
“Sure,” Delilah responded. She put her hand out. “I’m Delilah.”
“I’m Richard,” the man said. He shook her hand. His hand was slightly sweaty but it felt strong and self-assured.
The two stood there looking at each other. Delilah noticed that his eyes were an icy blue, a shocking contrast to his dark brown hair. He wore jeans and a nice button down shirt. Her face reddened as she felt his gaze slide down her body, taking in her tight red dress. She’d bought it just for tonight, to remind herself of how sexy she was.
Richard cleared his throat.
“Oh, yeah,” Delilah said. “It’s right around the corner.” She led him into the sketchy alleyway, where a bright red light shone over a dingy doorway, the only indication that they were at the speakeasy.
As she opened the door, she heard a hip hop song playing upstairs. Richard motioned for him to follow her to the bar. “Can I buy you a drink?” he asked.
She nodded and ordered a Rose Collins. After the bartender slid her drink and his beer across the counter, Richard leaned close and asked, “Want to find somewhere to sit?”
They found a table in the corner and sat down. Delilah rubbed her fingers on the sides of her glass, feeling strangely nervous and excited. She hadn’t dated since she and Mark broke up six months earlier, and it felt strange to be here with a different man.
“Thanks for hanging out with me,” Richard said. “I just moved here from the city and don’t know anyone yet.”
“The city?” Delilah asked.
“New York,” Richard explained.
“Ah...the city. Got it. What brought you down here?” Delilah asked, sipping her Mojito.
“It was just...time for a change,” he said.
“Sounds...mysterious,” Delilah quipped, letting herself give him a small smile.
“Not really. After awhile it just kind of wears you down,” he told her.
“Yeah,” she said. “I get that. I feel that way about Miami, sometimes. The heat, and the partying. It can get exhausting.”
“I hope you don’t mind my asking, but why are you out alone tonight? It seems like an attractive woman like yourself would have...I don’t know...someone to be out with on a Friday night.”
Delilah sighed. “It’s my anniversary,” she told him.
“It was supposed to be my anniversary with my ex. But then he realized he was gay. So -”
“Yeah. He’s with another guy now. A really hot guy.” Delilah giggled, feeling ridiculous. “I don’t know who to be more jealous of, him or his new boyfriend.”
Richard paused before answering. “Um, interesting, I guess?”
“Yeah. So I came out here to prove - I don’t know. Something.” Suddenly Delilah realized that she wasn’t exactly achieving the sexy, smooth appearance she’d wanted tonight. Instead, she was sitting here, confessing everything to a complete stranger.
“Well, that sounds like a great idea to me,” Richard told her, grinning. “Hey, you know the best way to stop thinking about your gay ex? Dancing. Let’s go check out the dance floor.” He grabbed her hand and led her over to the stairs leading up to the second floor where people were dancing.
As she followed him up the steps, she grinned. It looked like this night was going to be exactly what she needed.
They made their way up to the dance floor. When they got there, Richard held her close against him, moving his body against hers. Delilah relaxed into the rhythm, letting her body take the lead. She felt her mind clear for the first time that night. Turning so her back was to Richard, she reached a hand up and slid it down the back of his neck seductively. She felt how much she had missed losing herself on the dance floor.
Suddenly, a female voice cut through the air. “Richard? What are you doing here?”
Richard abruptly let go of Delilah, pushing her gently away from his body.
“Cassandra,” he said. “I...thought I might find you here.”