“Totally. I mean, technically it’s classified as romantic comedy, so the tone isn’t at all like Outlander, but it’s fantastic. They’re on the hunt for these jewels, and InuYasha is her protector, even though she doesn’t usually need it, being a badass herself. You should check it out. I can hook you up with a copy of the first book for fifty percent off, if you’re interested.”
“Absolutely,” she said, blushing happily. “That’s so kind of you, you don’t have to do that.”
I shrugged. “Anything to convert people to comics. I’ll have Ruby grab a copy and I’ll add it to your tab.” I pushed off the bar and smiled at her. “I’ll let you get back to your book. Just let me know if you need anything else, okay?”
“Thanks,” she said with a smile, and I felt like a boss as I made my way over to Batman. The seed had been planted, and the added bonus of convincing her to go from Outlander to manga had me giddy.
“How’s it going over here?” I asked, glad he was in front of the dish well so I could linger.
He shook his head, raking a hair through his dark hair. “Pretty good, thanks.”
I dunked my hands in the soapy water of the dish well and felt around for a dirty glass to clean. “InuYasha, huh?” I nodded to the Japanese comic in his hand, my ace in the hole.
“It’s a classic. I’ve read the series at least a half-dozen times.”
“Me too. I got them all when I studied in Tokyo for a semester.”
He looked surprised. “You can read Japanese?”
I nodded and moved the glass to the rinse well. “And speak it. Do you know what your shirt says?”
“Actually, no. Let me guess — Stupid Americans will buy anything?”
“Close. Batman & Ramen. It’s delicious. Clever.”
He looked down at it, chuckling. “I wish I’d known that all along.”
I rinsed a glass. “Do you read fiction at all?”
He shrugged. “Sometimes. Song of Ice and Fire was the last series I read. You know, Game of Thrones?”
“Yup. I read all eight thousand pages.” I smiled. Got him. “So, one of my favorite fiction series is about a woman who gets kicked into the past through a stonehenge. It’s called Outlander, have you heard of it?”
He narrowed his eyes in thought. “Yeah, there’s a TV show about it, right?”
“Yup. So much skin. And the writer of the series is actually friends with George R.R. Martin.”
He looked impressed. “I had no idea”
“Right? Claire gets sent back two hundred years, into the Jacobite Rebellion. Scottish warriors. Epic fight scenes. Epic sex scenes.” I waggled my brows.
“Do you guys carry it here?”
“If we didn’t, I would have already quit. But you should watch the show first.” I dried off my hands and leaned on the bar, just like I had with The Reader. “It’s mostly a chick fandom, but you see my roommate over there?” I nodded to Tyler.
“The big guy?”
“Yeah. He used to play football and has got to be one of the manliest men I know, and he loves the show. Last time I watched it without him, I didn’t hear the end of it for a week. Don’t tell him I told you that, though.”
“And plus. That knowledge could help you out someday, know what I mean?” I glanced over at The Reader, and he followed my gaze.
“Oh,” he said with understanding when he saw what she was reading. “Looks like I’m upping my cable subscription tonight. Thanks for the tip,” he added gratefully.
“Any time, man. Hope you like it. Give me a shout if you need anything, okay?”
He nodded, smiling as he watched The Reader. “Sure thing.”
I strutted back over to Tyler, and he raised a dark brow. “You look awfully sure of yourself, considering you didn’t even get them to talk to each other.”
But I shook my head. “Planting the seeds, man. She’s reading Outlander, and he’s reading a Japanese comic with the same premise.”
He eyed me. “You told him I watched it, didn’t you?”
I shrugged. “I had to convince him it wasn’t just for girls. You were my best argument.”
He groaned. “You used me against myself.”
“Sorry. Actually, that’s a lie, I’m totally not sorry, and you’re a fanboy for Outlander, so don’t even play,” I said with a laugh. “Oh, and by the way, she’s an artist, preferring charcoal, thank you very much. I’ll take five now and twenty on meeting …” I glanced at the soon-to-be couple and bobbled my head, “three. By the third meeting, they’ll be together.”
He sighed and pulled his wallet out of his back pocket, fishing around before pulling out a ten, the tendons in his muscular forearms fluttering. I couldn’t help but watch — it was like a tiny beacon of virility, calling my name.
“Got change?” he asked.
I snatched the bill from between his fingers with a snap and a grin. “Of course I do. I work in a bar.”
I watched Cam’s back as she opened the register and made change for me, only a little irritated. Mostly, I was amused, as I was so often with her. I’d seen her at work on couples a lot, and it never ceased to amaze me. She explained it once to me by likening it to being able to see connections between people — all she had to do was focus on that and she could bag a couple, just like that. It started with her college roommate, and once she had that win under her belt, she was unstoppable.