Vito stared at the drink in front of him blankly. He was trying to remember what he did the last time he went to the bar for a single’s night. It used to come to him so naturally. Get a couple drinks, through a couple dirty looks somebody’s way and take them home for the night… Seemed like a lifetime ago now.
Now he was the one sitting awkwardly at the bar while other people were giving him that look. It felt unnatural. But it was time to get back out there again.
He wondered what Aslan was doing. Newcrest had been covered in snow for a while, maybe him and Alyssa had a bit of a snowball fight. Aslan was the kind of kid to enjoy any type of fight, after all, Vito smiled to himself.
Wow. How pathetic was he, out on the town and thinking about his kid, wishing it was his turn to have him rather than Alyssa’s. He needed to get his head back in the game. How much longer did he have to stay here? He checked his phone. It was only 7 pm.
“You’re doing this all wrong,” a voice next to him said. “It’s single’s night, you should mingle and not look at your phone. Please don’t tell me you’re one of those people who are glued to their Simder profiles even when they’re actually out and about….”
Vito turned around slowly.
“Um, no. I’ve never even used Simder, to be honest.” Vito admitted. Was that considered a good thing or a bad thing? Vito had no clue.
“Ah. You just got out of a relationship recently, right?” The guy gave him an understanding nod.
“Yeah. How did you know?”
“Well, number one, the fish out of water vibe you have going on and the shocking lack of Simder knowledge are dead giveaways on their own… but I actually know who you are. Vito Bloomer, right?”
“Right. You seen my photos? Or do you know me because of the legacy?” Vito asked hesitantly.
“I know of both,” the man shrugged. “Though what I mainly know you for is the reputation you had a few years ago. The player who could have anybody he wants.”
Panicked, Vito studied the guy’s face. Had he woohooed with him in the past? Was he a scorned one time fling?
“Don’t worry, I wasn’t even on your radar back then,” the man laughed, as if he’d read his mind. “And if I was, I wouldn’t complain.” He winked. “I was just curious about your… transformation.”
Vito was confused. Was he all that different now? “I’ve never thought of it that way.”
“It’s kind of sweet,” the man said. “Besides, I’m sure you’ll find the ground under your feet again soon enough. How about we get you started with a real drink.”
“I have a drink.”
“I said a decent drink. Oh, by the way, I never introduced myself, have I? It’s Levi. You’ll thank me later.”
Levi ordered Vito a Woohoo on the Beach, winking.
The bartender rolled his eyes, looking underwhelmed. He hated single’s nights. The crowd might change over time, but each of these evenings was the same story.
He made a mental note to brush up on his comedy skill to finally make that career move…
Vito finished his drink, placing the glass on the table with a bit too much vigour. How many glasses was he on? He’d lost count… Wat did it matter, anyway? He was having fun. Louis who?
“You should come to my studio some times.” He said, slurring slightly “I bet I can take some awesome pictures of you.”
“I’m flattered!” Levi grinned. “So… does that mean I get the same treatment as your models used to, back in the day?” He winked.
Vito’s lips curved into a crooked smile. “I guess you’ll have to come over to find out.”
“Hm… I don’t like waiting.” Levi stood up.
“You going?” Vito asked, confused.
“You could always give me a reason not to…”
It seemed strange, kissing someone who wasn’t Louis again. Vito had locked lips with enough people to appreciate that Levi was a good kisser, but… something was missing. It felt so hollow. Like he was just going through the motions.
The again, surely another juice or two would fix that. If the flirting could come back to him, so could the rest.
“I’ll consider that a preview of the photoshoot.” Levi said playfully. “Unless… how about we head over to your studio now?”
Vito laughed. “I’m way too juiced for the photos to be any good…”
“Who said anything about photos?” Levi asked.
Vito only just noticed the colour of Levi’s eyes. They were brown, like Louis’. Perhaps a little lighter. Not that this guy particularly reminded him of Louis.
“Actually, no. I… sorry. I can’t do this.” Vito heard himself say.
“Nothing against casual hook-ups. But it’s not me anymore. I was ready to settle down. I had the real thing. And now, I want the real thing again. But until then…” Vito was struggling to finish the sentence in a way that wouldn’t offend Levi.
“What the plum!? I’ve wasted an entire evening on you!”
Clearly, Levi was offended already in any case.
“Sorry. It’s not personal. I thought I wanted to get back in the game. I guess I just… don’t really feel like playing anymore.” Vito tried to explain himself.
Levi didn’t give him another glance and proceeded back to the bar in the hopes of identifying a new target before closing time.
Vito wondered if this used to be him. Had he really changed so much?
He felt a billion and one emotions as he walked through the door into the cold night. He really should have brought a coat. The thin layer of snow crunched beneath his feet.
If Alyssa hadn’t challenged Aslan to a snowball fight yet, he definitely would, he decided. Hopefully the snow would stay for another few days, till Aslan would stay at his place. They could probably make some really neat snow sculptures together. They could…
He definitely had changed, it hit him.
I’m almost 30, and my husband and I went to a Halloween party on Saturday. All our friends besides us are parents, and not only did none of us drink much, but we were all soooooooooo tired and the party ended at 8:45! 😀 We all like of looked at each other like “…we’re not the 23 year-old rockstars we used to be, are we?” Growing up sneaks up on you! Now that Vito is a real human who cares about other people besides Vito, it’s even more prevalent for him. The times, they are a-changing!
Haha I know what you mean, I’m 29 and most definitely a lot less wild than I used to be haha! The Bloomer heirs are probably around our age too. So yes, they’re experiencing it too!
As for the bartender, no he’s not from any story, I was just amused by his expression 😀
PS–Who’s the bartender? Is he a nod to another story? 🙂
Nice chapter. I’m so glad that Vito(hopefully) won’t be changing back to his player days, as Aslan really needs a good father figure in his life, not someone who has hookups coming and going all the time. Well done to you, Vito!
I think Vito couldn’t go back even if he wanted to – he’s tried, after all. Can’t go back in time!
How’s Peyton doing these days? I miss her 😥
She’s ok, I think? Lol! This has never really been Peyton’s story, I’m afraid. We will get to catch a glimse of her in the chapter after the next, though! 🙂
Aw! It’s so tough when you grow up and then revisit old patterns. So often, it’s just not for us and there’s a reason we stopped doing those things in the first place. I’m glad Vito had a chance to see how much he’s changed and what he does and doesn’t want…
Absolutely, you can feel a little lost when the old you doesn’t seem like you anymore. But luckily Vito has other things to focus on to help him with the transition.