Jake, the tall, blonde bartender who trained me when I started here, wanders down the bar from where he's been serving a bunch of college kids on a break from studying for finals. I introduce him to Dara. "Congratulations, when's the big day?" he asks with a smile as he shakes her hand.
"It's in September. How did you -- " She looks down at her other hand, where her engagement ring is revealed only by a bump in the half-finger of a convertible glove-mitten.
Jake spreads his arms wide. "Dara, I'm a single male bartender in Manhattan. It's my job to divine the relationship status of every woman who drinks in here, if I'm able to do it."
"That's impressive," Dara says. "And if I'd been single, or you thought so, what would you have done?"
Jake shrugs and winks. "We'll never know, will we? Anyway, welcome to the Pub, I hope we see you here often." He returns to the other end of the bar, where patrons await, and Dara watches him as he goes. When she looks back at me, I'm grinning.
"What? I'm allowed to look," she laughs. "In a way I'm kind of glad men are allowed to serve drinks here. I mean, some of the girls you worked with at the Bar were fun, but how about some eye-candy equal time, huh?"
"Vince and Diego the barbacks weren't enough for you?" I pull another Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from the tap for her, and she takes off her glove-esque things.
Dara shrugs. "Vince was taken almost as soon as I knew him, and, well, Diego was a devoted father. I think I might've just known them too well to look at them that way." She pauses to take a drink. "You know, I just thought of something."
"Your new job at a new place, being single in a new apartment, starting up the blog again, even your father dating - it's kind of like one of those TV shows or movies that reboots. You know, like the new 'Star Trek' movie this past summer. Or that sitcom with Christina Applegate where at first she was a waitress at her father's bar, and then suddenly you were supposed to believe she'd been working in a doctor's office the whole time? They start down a completely new path, with new characters and new situations that never would've happened the first time around, and it's like the first time around never existed."
I think about it for a minute, nodding. "There's only one problem with your analogy."
"What, you don't get to hang out with Zachary Quinto?"
"No - the stuff that happened the first time around really happened, and I don't get to pretend it didn't." I excuse myself briefly to take some orders from a group of men that's just arrived, and I see Dara looking at her hand and fingering her engagement ring.