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Drew Ewing, 05 Sep '12

        "Excuse me. More wine for the madam?" the waiter asked, while holding a private label wine bottle wrapped in a thick white cloth.

        "Yes please," she said pushing strands of auburn hair from her face as she looked up at the waiter.

        "And for the gentlemen?"

        "Of course," he responded sitting up a little.

        They were silent as he poured. The waiter finished pouring.

        "May I offer you an appetizer? The bleu cheese and bread crumb stuffed Portobello mushrooms are the house special this evening."

        "That sounds delicious," she said.

        "May we have a minute to decide?" he said.

        "Certainly sir." The waiter nodded to both of them and turned and walked away.

        "How long have you owned the salon?" the man asked.

        "About four years now. Shannon and I bought it after she and I saved up for about three years working for a local salon together after we finished school."

        "I bet it can be a challenge owning a business with a friend," he said taking a healthy sip from his wine glass. He glanced around the room. Mostly couples leaning in and talking with smiles. In the far corner he noticed two men, big, both were scanning their leather bound menus.

        She smiled, "It was a first. Money was tight and we were begging for new clients. The six months after we opened we fought a lot, mostly about money. But it got easier. And now it is really good. We are thinking of hiring another couple of stylists."

        "Cheers to that." He lifted his glass, smiled and took a long swig. She took a sip and smiled as she set her glass down.

        "You haven't told me what you do?" she asked.

        "I do consultant work mostly." He adjusted his jacket and panned the room again. The two men were still looking at their menus. He met the glance of a woman who was looking at him over her partner's shoulder. The man had broad shoulders and was talking as she stared at him. She began nodding to whatever her table partner was saying and then she finally broke her stare and returned her attention to her dinner date.

        "What kind of consultant work?" She leaned forward and rested her chin on her perched hands.

        "Private businesses will hire me. And I will dive into their business and find their weaknesses and help them fix them."

        "That sounds interesting."

        "It can be. Shall we order an appetizer? What catches your fancy?"

        "The prosciutto wrapped prawns sounds delicious. It has a garlic cream dip."

        "Then that is what we will have." He motioned for the waiter.

        Their waiter scurried over to their table after tending to a table of three ladies a few feet away.

        "Sir?"

        "We will have the prosciutto wrapped prawns. And another bottle of wine. You may leave it at the table."

        "Very good sir." The waiter retreated across the room and disappeared into the kitchen.

        He glanced over to the corner again. One of the burly men was looking over his menu directly at him. When their eyes met, the man in the corner focused back to his menu.

        "If you will excuse me. I need to use the rest room."

        "I will be right here," she smiled again.

        He forced a smile. "Good."

        He removed the cloth napkin from his lap, folded it and placed it on the table, stood and walked toward the back wall. He felt a little unsteady as he navigated between the round tables and around the staff making their way through the room with platters and bottles of wine.

        He entered the appropriate washroom and stood in front of the sink. He looked into the mirror for a moment and then pressed his finger tips into his lower eye lids and pulled them down a little as he ran his fingers down his cheeks and across his jaw line.
        
        He reached down and turned on the cold water knob. The water ran for a while before he splashed some on his face. The water danced down his sharp features and trickled from his jaw and into the growing pool in the sink. He reached over and retrieved a washcloth from the vanity. He splashed more water on his face and then pooled water in his hands and took a long drink before shutting the water off and bringing the washcloth to his face. The washcloth smelled faintly of soap and cologne. He couldn't feel the fabric on his lips or on his closed eye lids. The wine was making him float a little.

        He heard the washroom door open and he lowered the washcloth just in time to see the two men from the corner booth coming right at him. They closed the gap in a second. The huskier of the two reached out to grab him. He side stepped him and struck him with the side of his hand in the man's throat. The man choked and stumbled to the side.

        The second man grappled him at the shoulders. He didn't hesitate and headbutted the man crushing his nose. He followed the blow with a palm strike to the lower edge of the man's ribs. The man stumbled back against the wall. He stayed with him and struck him again in the stomach with his fist. The man gasp and crumpled against the wall. He felt a strong pair of hands strike him simultaneously in the back of his spine. He lurched forward and fell into the man clutching his stomach. He felt another blow at the back of his neck and felt a wave of dizziness follow.

        He spun around and caught a left hook to the jaw but parried the man's right punch and struck him again in his nose. On instinct the man grabbed his face. He turned and stepped over the man bellowing on the ground. And was quickly out the bathroom door and into the hallway.

        He swiftly made his way back to his table. "We have to go."

        "What. Why. What happened?"

        He looked up and saw the woman and the man at the table close to them stand. The man turned and both of them were looking directly at them.

        "Now." He grabbed her arm, hard, and nearly carried her to the door. Patrons stared strangely at them as he shuffled her between the tables.

        "Stop." He heard a woman shout. He turned and the saw the standing woman reaching into her purse. He didn't stop his ascent to the door. He was able to make out what the woman was digging for.

        The woman fired two rounds. Missing and cracking the glass display next to the front door. He forced her through the front door as two more rounds struck the door frame and shattered the sash on the front door.

        "I promise you will be safe," he said, "but we have to go quickly."

        She nodded. And looked down and saw him retrieve a pistol from behind his belt. He pulled the slide and gripped it in his left hand.

        He scanned the sidewalk and the street.

        "Okay. This way. Stay close." He grabbed her by the hand.

        And they ran up the street, her hand safe inside his. They ran.

Comments · 3

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  • Ross Tarran said...

    Great stuff - reminded me of various movie scenes, but hard not to compare the main character with James Bond! The understated charm and unexpected combat skills are similar at least.

    Spotted a small mistake: 'The man gasp and crumpled against the wall.' You can edit, as the burst is less than 24 hours old.

    • Posted 5 years ago
  • Malik Grassity said...

    I like this. You illustrated the combat really well. I find that quite difficult to do sometimes. Do you have more of this because I would like to read it.

    • Posted 5 years ago
  • Jessica Cambrook said...

    You do characterisation really well, every character you've created has been unique and realistic. Not much is given away here but that's just fine because the action scenes are fun to read. I agree with @Ross Tarran, James Bond came to mind for me too!

    • Posted 5 years ago