One again, my thanks to Mostera1 for his help. He always makes my stories better.
And now, Weaver.
From the corner of his eye, Weaver caught sight of the big fist thundering toward him. It had been years since he'd fought in the ring and maybe he wasn't as fast as he used to be, but he still knew how to react to a haymaker. He slipped under the wild punch and came up inside with a short, hammer-like left shot to the brute's ribcage.
Stumbling backward, the big man was surprised at the force of the blow from someone so much smaller than himself.
As Weaver plotted his next move, he recognized what he had seen so many times in the ring ... fear in the eyes of his opponent.
The large man lashed out again and again, desperately trying to make contact with the smaller man's jaw, but each time, found nothing but air.
Weaver played with his adversary, ducking and slipping punches with ease until the big man's arms became weary. Weaver had, had enough; it was time to put the big palooka away. With a flurry of lefts and rights he battered the man's face and midsection. Finally, with a strong right cross, he sent the bully's bloody carcass flying over a table and tumbling face down to the dirty floor.
Weaver didn't go to a neutral corner but instead stood guard and watched as the antagonist struggled to his feet.
Wanting no more punishment and thoroughly demoralized, the beaten man stumbled out the door.
Damn, thought Weaver, if I keep beating up customers Jerry won't let me come back here anymore. He sheepishly returned to his bar stool.
"Weaver," started Jerry, the owner of the bar. "I know that fight last week wasn't your fault, and I know you were protecting Susie just now, but damn it man, you've got to stop using my place as a boxing ring, it's starting to get a bad reputation."
"I know, Jerry, I'm sorry but Susie shouldn't have to put up with that kind of crap."
"Yeah, I know, you're right, it's just..." he let his words hang as he looked over Weaver's shoulder. "I should probably be thanking you but here comes Susie, I think I'll let her do it for me," said Jerry as he went to go pour Susie's protector a drink on the house.
His body stiffened and he flinched backward as the pretty blond in the skimpy barmaid's uniform planted a kiss on his lips. "My Hero," she said sincerely. "Thanks Weaver, that guy was really getting obnoxious. He offered me money to go out to the parking lot with him and when I refused ... well, you saw, he was starting to get physical."
"That's okay Susie, I'm just glad I could help." He spoke softly, then turned back to face the bar and soulfully started to nurse the free scotch and water left for him by the thankful bar owner.
Feeling a little slighted and a bit confused, Susie went back to waiting on her tables.
Sitting alone in the far corner of the bar, Arlene Reynolds witnessed the entire episode, including Weaver's reaction to the pretty girl's kiss.
Arlene had a very stressful job as an upper level executive at Peterson Industries, a private equity firm. Once in a while she'd come into Jerry's Place to take the edge off before going home to her empty apartment. She was a member of the new-age, up and coming power-women of the twenty-first century; the kind you read about in women's magazines. One look told you she knew exactly what she wanted out of life and was on her way to getting it.
Was she gorgeous? Most men would say no, but she knew exactly how to bring out her best features and look attractive. From the way she did her hair, to her make-up, to her attire; it all created the image of a strong, confident, intelligent woman who was well on her way up the corporate ladder. Some guys might even say she was ... intimidating.
Every day she worked with people of all sizes, shapes, and personalities; some smart, some extremely smart, and some not too smart at all. It was what made life interesting. Take the guy at the bar, for instance, she thought; she abhorred fighting but admired courage and he sure had that. She watched as he sat staring into his glass as if it were a crystal ball.
She sighed, he wasn't dressed very fancy, probably a blue collar worker, she thought; not really the kind of person that she would normally go out of her way to meet ... still, there was something fascinating about him. She couldn't help herself.
"So, what's going to happen next," she said with a friendly smile as she sat on the stool next to his.
"What?" again he spoke softly. "What do you mean?"
"The way you're staring into that glass you'd think it could tell the future, so what's going to happen next?' she repeated while motioning for Jerry to give her a drink.
He chuckled slightly then smirked. "Lady, if I want to see my future I just look at my past."
Well this was starting to sound morbid, thought Arlene. Time to change tactics; I'll work on his ego, she told herself. "I saw you beat up that guy who was bothering the waitress. He was a monster, weren't you scared?"
It took Weaver a moment to answer. "Nah, he was just another guy. I'm not afraid of guys; it's women that terrify me."
"Women," she responded with surprise. "You're afraid of women?"
"Lady, a guy will break your nose, your jaw, maybe a rib or two, but a woman will break your heart ... a woman will break your spirit." With that he stood, threw a twenty on the bar and walked out without another word.
"Well, that was pretty rude," Arlene said to Jerry as he came over to collect the money.
"Yeah, that's Weaver for you. He's not much for conversation."
"Weaver; is that his first or last name?"
"Neither, it's a nickname. He used to be a prizefighter, a pretty good one too, from what I understand. A couple of my regulars who follow boxing got all excited when he started coming in here a while back. They tried to make friends with him, but as you just found out, he's not much of a conversationalist. Don't get me wrong, he's a nice enough guy, he just doesn't talk much."
"Well you can't prove it by me ... that he's a nice guy, I mean. I was just trying to be friendly."
"Oh, don't take it personally. I think it has something to do with the fact that you're a woman. Did you see him when Susie kissed him? Hell I thought he was going to run for the door."
"Yeah, I did see that," she replied. "And all that talk about a woman breaking his heart; what's that about?"
"I'm not really sure. Those guys I told you about, they said his wife ran off with another guy while he was training for some big fight. I guess she's the one that broke his heart, and to tell you the truth, I think it's still broken."
For the next couple of days Arlene couldn't get her mind off Weaver. Damn, she told herself, this is ridiculous. Why am I so obsessed with this guy? It wasn't that she thought of him romantically, no one had tickled her funny bone that way since college. No, it was the mystery behind the man.
She tried looking him up on the Internet. She found a hundred thousand ways to weave a rug, but nothing about a prizefighter by that name. Who was this guy? Did his wife really break his heart by running off with another man? Try as she did, Arlene just couldn't shake her curiosity.
"Arlene," Carolyn, her PA addressed her from the door to her office. "Don't forget you have that management meeting today at three."
"Oh that's right, thanks, Carolyn," she said glancing at the clock on her desk. It was already a little after two. She admonished herself for having her head in the clouds and got busy making sure she had everything she needed for the meeting.
As everyone filtered into the conference room Arlene had an idea; Bob Rawlings. She'd heard him talk about coaching kids in some kind of boxing program he was involved in. I wonder if he knows anything about Weaver, she thought.
Before going to her chair she leaned over and whispered in Bob's ear. "Bob, I wonder if you'd have time to discuss something with me after the meeting?"
Bob felt his pulse race. He looked around, checking to see if anyone noticed his heart pounding. Since Arlene started with the firm over three years prior, Bob had a massive crush on her. The problem was she didn't know he existed and he was too shy to really do anything about it.
She just seemed to be all business and not really interested in making friends. Once at a company picnic he took a chance and brought her a piece of cake, hoping to strike up a conversation as she ate it. Unfortunately, with a friendly smile she denied his approach saying she didn't care for cake. Bob took this as a rebuke of his efforts and retreated with his tail between his legs.
Since then, outside of a smile and nod of the head as they passed each other in the halls, the cake incident was Bob's last feeble attempt to win her heart.
"Sure," he said trying to keep his voice from cracking from nervousness. Bob could hardly keep focused on what was being said at the meeting; all he could think about was being able to sit down with Arlene and have an actual conversation. Of course he had no idea what she wanted to talk about and assumed it was work related, but that was okay, he'd take anything he could get.
The meeting ran over. It was nearly six o'clock by the time it adjourned. Bob figured he would have to wait until the following day before sitting down with his heartthrob, but was very pleasantly surprise.
"Bob, I didn't know the meeting was going be that long," she said as they walked out of the boardroom together. "I don't suppose you'd be interested in stopping off some place and having a drink, would you?"
.... There is more of this story ...