The Bar: Part One - Thomas

The Bar: Part One - Thomas

A Story by GwenLark

This is the first of a four-part short story about the lives and loves of four people. Each part is written from each person's point of view. This is Thomas.


I wonder if she notices. I wonder if she notices how my heart swells a little when she looks at me with those piercing eyes, peering up at me through her long, thick lashes.

Does she look at him like that?

No. I won’t believe that.

This how she looks at me, like she is gazing into my soul, casting a light on the deepest, darkest recesses of all I try to hide, stealing a piece of me that I didn’t know was there to steal.

I want to take her in my arms, protect her from all that could harm her and never let her go.

The pain in my heart is unbearable, I can’t be around her, but I know it would be worse if I wasn’t.

I don’t know how to explain this... this, ache.

Who knew that this s****y bar would birth something as beautiful? I find myself checking the rota again and again, to see when I am with her next.

Does she even know how truly beautiful she is?

Her boyfriend doesn’t tell her nearly enough. I wish he was an a*s hole, it would make this bitter pill easier to swallow.

She is giving her life to someone who doesn’t seem to give a f**k, who doesn’t seem to appreciate anything.

I would give everything I have, everything I know, everything I am to be in his shoes. Just to have her, for her to be mine; and I, her’s.

She can almost touch the deeper, real me, that I conceal with meaningless sex I have with girls, whose names I don’t even remember if I knew in the first place.

The face I portray to the world is not the one she sees, she sees me. A side Leah professes to know; but she doesn’t.

My head screams at me to stop; to stop putting on songs she’ll like on the staff Spotify playlist; to stop sharing things on Facebook that I hope she responds to; to stop coming in on my days off because I know she’s working; to stop continuing down this path to inevitable heartbreak. But I just… I can’t.

The ache is only matched with the guilt I carry. If Leah knew I felt this way about another, it would break her. I care for Leah so much and I have strong feelings for her, but I know she is giving herself to me under the assumption I feel the same way she does. It’s not fair and I resent myself for getting to this stage with Leah, sliding faster and faster down a slippery slope where her feelings will only get stronger.

My life is simply more bearable with Leah in it.

Is it just because there is no unrequited emotions involved? I don’t know anymore. All the while feeling something more primal, more basic, purer for someone else.

A workmate, it’s so cliche it nauseates me.

I can sometimes hear myself become short and quiet with her in work. I realise my situation and I get frustrated and I take it out on her.

I hate myself.

A haunting realisation creeps into my subconscious; I am my father’s son. I dismiss it quicker than it comes.

I will never be like him.

Treating women like meaningless playthings, taking out my own shortcomings on them.

No, I will never be like him.

Or, at the very least, I’ll try not to be.

I invite her to my house only half as much as I want her there. When other people are around, without Leah.  A free spirit, her boyfriend hardly ever comes. I invite him, sometimes, just enough that he trusts me. A pretence that needs to be upheld. One word from him and I know it would all come crashing down, one word from him and I would never see her again and that is something I just can’t risk. I need her.

I persuade her to drink with me, what am I doing?

Drunk, she laughs a genuine, sweet laugh. She parts her lips and smiles at me, my stomach flutters.

It’s not long before her wide, painted eyes become heavy; she drifts to sleep beside me.

Almost a foot taller and twice as broad, I draw her tiny, curled-up body into my embrace. I know what I’m doing is wrong, forbidden, but I just can’t help myself.

She seems so fragile, so vulnerable.

She twitches as she dreams.

Does she dream about me?

I gently stroke her sun-kissed, golden curls as she grows accustomed to the rhythm of my moving chest.

I softly kiss her head, when every other reveller has long cast themselves into a booze-fuelled stupor and sleeps where they fell.

My heart pounds. Every beat whispers her name.

If there is a God, and if there is a heaven, this is it. If I could live in this moment, for the rest of time, I would.

I see the newborn sun slowly ease over the rooftops of the dank, cobbled city and we are bathed in a harsh, unforgiving light that spills into my living room. Uncovering the vast array of sins that are, ultimately, my own.

She stirs.

I pull her closer.

She settles.

I don’t let go.

“I wish you knew, Ruby.”

© 2017 GwenLark

Author's Note

Ignore spelling and grammar, this is just a first draft. This is the first time I've posted anything anywhere. Just want to see what people think. Thanks for taking the time to read. Hope you like parts 2, 3 and 4.

My Review

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Thank you for reading Juror 8197 and reviewing it. 22K words, you must be a very dedicated person. This review is returning the favor.

The first section is a Thomas’ series of internal reflections about Ruby.
Problem. After a while, it feels like Thomas is just telling me stuff.
Solution: Mix in real action, let Thomas be an observer.
Work in a theme. Make Thomas an acute observer, obsessed with noticing details and extrapolating details from them. He wonders if Ruby notices details about him, then assumes her gaze can see dark recesses of his soul, transference. I wonder what’s going on with Ruby. This can work both ways, Thomas over reading his small observations, or Ruby is a Thomas’ kindred soul.

Okay, they’re colleagues, interesting. And there’s a Leah, the other side of the triangle. Thomas’s unrequited, and I assume unannounced love, causes him to act out, be short with at work, against Ruby. Like that’s a way to attract her.

Okay, now he invites her to parties at his house. Lots of people, no Leah. This is the start of action and it comes two thirds or so in the story. Many people fall into drunken-stupor sleep in his living room including Ruby. In the morning, the first line of dialog, but it probably went unheard.


It’s hard to tell where a story should begin. Fictional worlds, like our real one, have so many interconnections, back stories, intertwining relationships between actors. Authors must disambiguate the mess they create in their own minds to tell a simple story, one which resonates in readers ears. Although I like Thomas’s internal angst in the opening paragraphs, it quickly wears on me and goes on too long. I would start with Thomas and Ruby on the couch. That’s where Thomas’ conflicts come to a focus. Let interactions guide back story revelation and Thomas’s internal thoughts.

Read up on DeepPOV in writer’s and agent’s blogs ( or you can read the sections in my A Self Proclaimed Style Nazi’s Manifesto dedicated to the technique). DeepPOV is a difficult and very hard to master, I know I haven’t, but I think it suits both the story you drafted and the approach I’d like to see. My issue is with Thomas’ internal thoughts. Normally, I like internal thoughts separated from narration even with first person POV. DeepPOV goes the opposite direction in order to increase emotional intimacy in the narration, and this piece seems very emotional in this section.

Well I on to Part 2.

Posted 1 Year Ago

A sad but fairly real view of how some men are.

Posted 1 Year Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


1 Year Ago

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, go on to enjoy parts 2, 3 and 4. Thanks ag.. read more

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2 Reviews
Added on September 3, 2017
Last Updated on September 8, 2017
Tags: Thomas, The Bar, Part One, four part, short story, chapter one, Ruby, Leah, Josh, love, life



Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Just exploring my boundaries. I love writing and I love reading other's creations. more..