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June 27, 2016

Strangers in the Dark

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“Hey? Mister, are you okay?” she asked uncomfortably
“Come on stand up” she said as she put her arms at the side of his shoulders and made him stand up. He shivered as soon as she had touched him
He didn’t even look at her face, but she got a glance at his and tried to keep her face as neutral as possible.
“Fucking bullies” she muttered under her breath.
She had just locked up her place and was leaving from the back door when she found him lying cold in an alley. She made him sit in her office, while she went to fetch the first aid kit. She wet a napkin and then carefully starting cleaning his face. She could tell he hadn’t showered for days, but she didn’t smell any alcohol on him so she knew this wasn’t a plain old bar fight.

“You’re too young to own a bar” he managed to cough out his first words.
“Well you should feel damn lucky that I do otherwise your sorry ass would still be out in the cold” she replied.
He smiled and she noticed all the blood in his mouth.
She made him gargle out all the blood. She had seen enough of it in her life by now that it did not make her stomach sick anymore. She handed him a clean set of clothes and put his dirty ones for a wash.
“Piss a lot off people off?” she asked looking at the cigarette burns all over his chest.
“Nope, just my dad. He’s got a lot of love to give.” he answered trying to lighten the situation

He showered and she taped up his wounds and then helped him to the bar stool.
“So what’s your poison?” she asked as she placed an empty glass on the bar.
He caught her hand and turned it over with her palm facing down.
“My mother had a lot of love to give as well” she smirked as she slowly pulled her hand away from his.
“Don’t have any money” he said as he emptied his pockets.
“It’s on the house.” she said leaning on the bar
“In that case Miss?” he paused hoping he would catch her name
“Smith” she said as she nodded
“Smith, How very original” he said and then continued “I will have a glass of whiskey please.”
She poured him a glass and opened a cold beer for herself. They clinked and sat in silence. It was 2am and she got a good look at his face for the first time tonight. Her eyes widened in realization and he raised his glass to her.
“They all think I’m dead.” he spoke when he realized she wasn’t going to.
She nodded and took a sip of her drink. He did the same.
“How does it feel to disappoint a whole lot of people?” she asked
“Marvellous! Almost liked I pulled a magic trick.” he smirked
“Do you have a phone I could use?” he asked
She gestured her head in the direction of her office. He limped towards it and then stopped halfway and turned around. She sat up in her chair waiting patiently for him to decide what he was going to say. He came back and sat on the bar stool and took another sip of his drink.
“Don’t you have any questions to ask me Miss Smith?” he slightly narrowed his eyes as he spoke her name.
She shook her head to say no.
“Very well, may I ask you some then?” he asked her with a raised brow
“How about you finish your drink and I can drop you to your lovely mansion and we call it a night?” she offered
“But that means I’ll have owed you one or maybe too many.” he said disappointed.
“Have you got something to hide?” he asked her again
“No more than you.” she answered
He laughed for the first time in months probably.
“I’ll make that phone call now.” he said and got up to go to the office when she handed him her cell phone.
“Why, thank you for saving me the trip to your office.” he said playfully
She just nodded again. She was observing him as much as time allowed her without being caught.
He punched in a couple of numbers, spoke curtly to the other person on the phone in hushed tones. He sounded cold, but confident and not someone who’s spirit had been broken or someone likely to be presumed dead. He ended the call and took a deep breath. He then turned around and walked over to her and handed her back her phone.
“Everything okay?” she asked and somehow concern slipped into her voice
He tilted his head and let a smile spread across his face.
“Same old fucked up stuff. Did you just sound concerned?” he teased her.
She rolled her eyes and finished her beer. “Another?” she asked him. He nodded in agreement. She turned to get their drinks and he shouted out to her “Don’t think I didn’t see that smile Smith.”
She flipped him the finger with her back to him.
“Here you go.” she said and then looked over him to see the headlights of a car pulling up outside her bar. Her face suddenly dropped for a second. But she regained her composure quickly.
He gulped down his drink and then stood up to leave.
She went into her office and then came out with something in her hand.
“I found these on you before I put your clothes for a wash.” she placed them in his hands. He put them in his pocket without seeing what they were.
“Thank you for rescuing me.” he said
She smiled and waived it off and turned to leave, but he pulled her in for a hug. She froze for a few seconds and then returned the hug. He let go of her slowly when she let her arms slip off his back.
“I’ll see you around Miss Smith!” he called out to her while walking backwards to her the door and slipped in a quick wink before he turned around. He went through all his possessions she had handed him and noticed an odd piece of paper among them.
Her business card in his pocket was his prized possession now.

“Violet” he recited her name quietly like her was trying to remember it for an eternity.
She blissfully unaware of the happenings in his car was happy being a stranger in the dark.

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