“Excuse me!” the woman said vehemently.
A tall read haired man with jagged sideburns, obviously the leader of the group, stood in her way. He stepped aside, grandly gesturing for her to pass.
“Thank you,” she said.
As she went to step past, he stood in her way again. His workmates laughed and threw in suggestive comments as she collided with him. With a wolfish grin on the red haired man’s face, he grinded against her; at the same time making his apologies.
All the while, Ian prayed that God might intervene. He waited, hoping that pub staff or some principled young man, might do something. No one came to the poor woman’s aid.
“Can’t you get someone else?” Ian hissed.
God refrained from answering him, leaving it in his hands.
“I want to get through!” the woman said angrily.
It only fuelled the laughter of the young men watching.
“Great,” Ian muttered, rising.
He wanted to be alone, by drinking in obscurity. This woman, and now God interfered with his solitude.
Wading through the drinkers, he stopped behind the miner.
“That’s enough,” Ian said.
He grabbed hold of the young man’s upper arm and shoved him aside. The miner rounded on him with murder in his eyes. A meaty fist filled Ian’s vision, exploding into a thousand lights. Voices in the room softly echoed as the regained his senses. He rode the blow, swaying on his feet, about to take a backward step, but refused to give the man the satisfaction. The last time he suffered a blow so hard, it came from a Tongan miner in Mount Isa.
“You can’t be serious,” Ian said.
With the dropping of his jaw, the younger man paled. Apparently, Ian was meant to fold like paper. He refrained from smirking and leaned forward, levelling his gaze.
“Is it my turn now?”
The miner swallowed and turned his back to immerse himself in his drinking.
“The lady still wants to get through,” Ian said.
Saying nothing, the miner made room, along with his friends. Satisfied, Ian made to return to his table.
“Thank you,” the woman called after him.
He ignored her, soon finding his booth and sliding onto his seat. Draining the last of his beer, he became conscious of the woman now standing in front of him.
“I wanted to say thank you for what you did.”
“Ok,” Ian said. He made a point of looking around, saying, “where’s that barmaid that comes to the tables?”
“Would you mind if I sat here?”
Ian shrugged. What else could he have said?
“I’m Lisa,” she said, extending her hand.
It looked the dainty smooth thing of a teenager. Curiosity alone had him looking up the length of her body. He assumed she was athletic; a mere guess beneath the long coat she wore. Lisa looked a pretty woman. When she took off her coat and hung it on the back of her chair, it only confirmed his suspicions as to her shape.