Rinoa surveyed the dark bar from just inside the doorway. Her eyes adjusted quickly, and she scanned the room for anyone she knew. There was nobody. Her head hurt and she wasn't too sure what had happened. She honestly just felt like she'd fallen. But she wasn't sure where she'd fallen from or where she'd landed.
So far it seemed like a quaint little town. Not quite what she was used to, but charming nonetheless.
With a dejected sigh, she walked up to the bar and sat down. A couple of other patrons leered at her, but she didn't respond. For the most part, the clientele seemed to be a rough bunch. The only man who'd caught her eye had disheveled black hair and was draining a pitcher of beer in what looked like an attempt to impress a little blond girl with spiky hair. At least she thought it was a girl.
"What would you like?" a cheery voice asked.
Turning back to the bar, Rinoa realized the bartender had snuck up on her. For some reason she hadn't expected a woman to be behind the bar. Not in a low-class dive like this. Especially not one as good-looking and cheerful as this bartender was.
Rinoa opened her mouth to speak but was silent. She couldn't remember the names of any of the drinks she'd seen other people order and she'd never really drank alcohol before besides champagne or dinner wine.
The bartender had her arms crossed beneath her ample bosom and seemed to be intently watching Rinoa.
Thankfully, a moment later the bartender suggested something and the name at least sounded familiar.
Rinoa nodded. "That's perfect, I just couldn't make up my mind."
Hopefully that sounded convincing to someone other than herself.
As Rinoa watched the bartender prepare the drink, she couldn't help being captivated with the woman's breasts. They were barely covered by a bleach-stained black t-shirt and bounced with every motion she made. Several of the male patrons seemed to be entranced by the same thing and didn't even notice Rinoa staring at their source of amusement.
"You're new here," the bartender said as she set the drink down. "I suppose you're looking for friends."
Rinoa nodded, eyeing the glass and wondering what poison she'd been served.
"Just tell me names and faces and I'll keep my eyes open," the bartender continued as she grabbed a rag and wiped the back counter. "And let me know yours in case someone asks."
"Rinoa," Rinoa replied, taking a very small sip of her drink. It wasn't bad.
"I'm Tifa. This is my bar. And if you were wondering, no, I'm not a native of this world either."
Rinoa nearly choked on her drink. This was another world?
"Don't kill the new girl, honey," a boy with dirty blonde hair yelled from the other end of the counter.
"I'll cut you off," Tifa threatened, shaking her fist at the boy. The woman was strong, Rinoa noticed. Her arms were muscular without being ugly and when Tifa walked down to speak to the offender, Rinoa got a good glance at long, sculpted legs that vanished into frayed short shorts.
After another couple swallows of her drink, Rinoa realized Tifa was leaning on the bar, staring at her.
"So, who are you looking for?"
Grinning, Rinoa thought a moment before quickly rattling off the vital statistics for everyone she could think of. Tifa just nodded without changing expression.
"And my, um, boyfriend," Rinoa finished. "His name is Squall."
"No Squalls around here either," Tifa said as she shook her head.
"Oh," Rinoa replied, taking another drink. Between sentences she was sucking full force from the straw she'd been given and was draining the glass quickly now. "He has brown hair, and kinda blue eyes, and wears lotsa leather and he has... a scar between his eyes."
Tifa raised an eyebrow.
"You know him?" Rinoa asked after seeing Tifa's reaction.
"Leon," Tifa said. "And I'm rather sure he's, well, tied up at the moment."
The boy at the other end of the bar burst out laughing.
"He's tied up alright!" he yelled, and a couple of patrons at other tables joined in the laughter.
"And Rinoa," Tifa said leaning forward, "you seem like a nice enough girl, but I really don't think he's your boyfriend anymore."
It must be the alcohol, Rinoa thought, as she mulled over that not being such a bad thing. After all, the bartender seemed to be just as attractive and quite a bit more outgoing.