Made it back. Feel like I accomplished something. Now to find Del. I finger the cross. Return this to him.
He’s not at his place. Probably working.
Walk into the restaurant. See him. He hasn’t spotted me yet. He looks cute in his black slacks and white shirt. On him it’s sexy even. Lean against the wall. Watching him. He must feel my eyes on him. Turns. Breaks into a grin. Holds up a finger to let me know he’ll be over in a minute.
Soon he walks across the room. Smiles. “Hey baby.” Stands on tiptoe to kiss my cheek. “Welcome home.”
“It’s good to be back. Did you survive without me?” Chuckling. I know he did.
He nods. “But barely. Are you hungry? I’m off in twenty, so if you want something.”
Tempted to give him a smart ass answer. Say instead, “I’m dying for some decent coffee.”
He takes me to an empty table. Comes back with the coffee. Sets it down with a slice of pie beside it. “On the house. I’ll be back in a few.”
I lean back. Watching him. Sipping the coffee. Hear someone at the next table.
“I know it’s him. He’s all cleaned up and all, but I’d recognize that face even if it was usually between my legs.” Nasty low laugh.
“So what are you going to do? Catch him on the way out and ask for a quickie?” Another man’s voice. I can almost sense the smirk on his face.
Turn slowly to look at them. Two business types. Eyeing Del like he was free goods. Get up. Go over. Leaning both hands on their table. Staring at each one in turn.
“If I were you, I’d get out of here now. Leave a large tip and move on before you wish you hadn’t.”
“Who are you, his damned pimp?” The one man looks me over. Sneering. “How much does he cost these days?”
“More than you can afford.” I open my coat just enough so he can see my knife resting on my hip. “Now move it before I forget myself and do you right here.”
He pales. “You wouldn’t…” Guess he gets I would. Stands quickly. Nods to his companion to follow. Starts towards the door.
He hesitates. Comes back. Drops some bills on the table. They leave. I follow. Stop them half a block down. Stepping in front of them. Catching their eyes. Tell them to forget Del exists. Reinforce that with a thought. They look dazed for a moment. Then sidestep around me. Continue on their way.
I go back inside. Del’s sitting at my table. I join him.
“What was that all about?” He looks worried.
“Nothing. Just a couple of guys I know. One of them owed me some money and I suggested he pay up. We’re free and clear now.” Smiling. Hoping he buys it.
Apparently he does. Chuckles. “Then you can buy me a drink to celebrate.”
“Hey, it wasn’t that much.” Grinning at him. “But sure. You ready to leave?”
“And then some.”