MINUTEMEN: THE CRUCIBLE
Chapter Twelve: “An evening with Rachel Lynch”
Black Rose Bar
City of Boston
United North American Protectorate
October 19, 2552
Night before invasion of Earth
It was illegal to look that good in the Black Rose bar. It was sacrilege. The establishment simply did not deserve the beauty that was casually strutting through the front door and over the bouncer’s jaw. Autumnal red hair, meticulously blown and teased with an artist’s touch, sashayed and swayed along the middle of her back. A short black dress drew attention to her figure without being obnoxious or desperately showy. Subtle jewelry caught the dim light of arcade games, a dingy vending machine, and a single fritzing holo panel that was doing its level best to broadcast the Boston Bruins game.
To the clutches of blue collar Bostonians gathered in islands of bar stools and the midday drunks hunched over the horseshoe-shaped bar, she was gliding over the dark stained hardwood floor. The three attractive girls at the top of the horseshoe turned around on their stools to stare at incoming Aphrodite. A petite young girl with short blonde hair and a look that screamed preparatory schooling took a courageous sip of her martini, spilling a few drops on her jeans and making her curse softly. After dabbing at the drops with a cocktail napkin, she turned her attention back to the gorgeous redhead.
“I thought you were going on a date.”
“I am,” Rachel Lynch replied, a sly smile forming in the corner of her lips. The bartender was already standing at attention when the Boston College Junior perched herself on her bar stool. She could not be sure, but Rachel could have sworn the barrel chested barman was holding his breath. She put her elbows on the bar and leaned forward, craning her graceful neck to examine the arrangement of bottles, even though she knew the layout by heart. The bartender looked like he was about to pass out.
“Vodka soda,” Lynch said, locking eyes with her server. “Make it cheap and hard.”
The bartender’s legs buckled ever so slightly as he turned to fetch the beverage. Rachel now turned to face her friends as they threw her mildly disapproving looks.
“That’s just not fair to the new guy,” the blonde said, swirling her olive around in the martini glass as the rest of the attractive girls in the group turned back to their conversations. “So when’s this date?”
Lynch glanced at the ancient clock above the bar. “Should be…any minute now.”
Each of the girls turned as one and gave their well-dressed “bestie” a collective sideways glance. Blonde spoke for the group.
Rachel nodded, avoiding eye contact and draining her cocktail hastily.
“R. Lynch! You’re breaking the rules!”
Lynch spun in her bar stool and stared at the ceiling tiles with feigned exasperation. “Am not.”
A striking girl with long, wavy, raven black hair fixed pleading eyes on Rachel and reached to put a soft, manicured hand on her arm to get Lynch’s attention. “R. Lynch. We. Like. This. Bar. We like that no one else from BC comes here. We like that us girls can be ourselves where no one can find us, and no strange guys hit on us. We like drinking here for next to nothing. You’re breaking rule number one: no boys, and rule number two: don’t dress to impress.”
Rachel shot a look at Raven like she had just been stabbed in the back. “I am not that dressed up,” the Boston College Junior declared.
All the girls swivled on their barstools like a Broadway musical chorus line. Their eyes flitted across the bar and locked on to the only cute boy in the entire establishment: a moderately built bar back sporting a backwards Boston Red Sox cap with a shock of red hair slipping out from underneath it. He was casual to the point of scruffy and shier than a nun at Mardi Gras. He was the girls’ favorite target. Their voices turned to honey while his knees turned to jello.
“Seamus,” Raven and Blonde cooed, “Seamus Conner, come here.”
Seamus looked over his shoulder, a schoolboy being called on in a class he never studied for. He seemed to be taking a second to answer the Sirens’ call. Finally, he stammered, “Yeah?”
“It’s all right,” Rachel said in a reassuring tone. The Irish import flipped a bar towel over his shoulder, thought better of it too late, then grabbed it again and began nervously wiping his hands as he approached.
“Seamus,” Blonde took over, “is Rachel overdressed?”
Seamus looked over his shoulder, then quickly examined the other rough-looking patrons around the bar. He looked at the girls uneasily and responded as if he detected a trick question. “…We don’t really have a dress code here.” His face was doing its best to match his hair.
“When Rachel walked in,” Blonde prodded, “did you notice her?”
“Oh hell yes,” Seamus blurted out, realizing simultaneously that he had indeed said those words and he was indeed staring at the girl in question. These thoughts caused a four-car pile up in his mind, and as the mental conflagration blazed, the young bar back beat a hasty retreat to a phantom emergency that had to be tended to immediately. The rest of the girls turned to Rachel with serene satisfied looks on their faces. Rachel was quietly amused.
“It’s not nice, or fair, to pick on Seamus.”
“Rach,” Blonde said, perfectly plucked eyebrow raised, “we’re picking on you.”
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