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Flash Fiction (297 words)

Their eyes met across the room.

Or at least, he thought so. Did he imagine the way her gaze slid and halted in her survey of the crowded, high-class bar? He wanted to think she felt the same prickling splash on her skin, like how water thrown on a heated skillet will jump and dance across the surface.

It was over so quickly. Did her eyes flicker away in disinterest? She hadn't looked back at him. She stared at her drink, leaning against the bar, but her shoulders were tense and her back stiff. A laughing couple passed through his line of vision. She had turned away slightly, still entranced by her glass, her teeth worrying her bottom lip.

Only idiots pursued rejection. He wasn't an idiot. But his heart still pounded to a faster beat than the dance music spilling from the speakers, his throat tightened until he gasped to breathe.

Okay, forget his self-esteem. He was going for it.

He approached. Wait, she was walking away. A large, handsome bully of a man clamped on her elbow, steering her. Her mouth tightened as she looked at the man.

It seemed like she needed rescue, but would he be presumptuous? He didn't have the large man's Armani suit, imposing presence or flashing smile. He checked his stride. Only idiots...

...ever win fair maiden.

He invaded their private space, ignoring the man's protest, filling her vision. Her eyes riveted to his again, and he felt that sizzling ripple over his skin. She inhaled sharply.

No, he hadn't imagined that shocking awareness, even from across the room.

Relief flooded her face, triggering a release of tension in his gut. "Buy you a drink, miss...?"

She smiled, tugged at her arm. The bully let go. "Clara."

"Call me Idiot."