Take a look at this one, she thought to herself…..
Darcel leaned back in her cushioned seat at the swanky restaurant she and her cousin had come to. What was this guy about? And why he so drunk he’s almost falling off his chair?
The man in question was dressed to the nines in what was clearly expensively tailored clothing, but something about him seemed out of place. What was it? Perhaps, Darcel mused, it was an air of loneliness about him that was out of place in a dining room sparkling with every kind of luxury.
He suddenly put a hand on the table rather roughly and demanded, “Another bottle of Jameson!” His voice was deep and husky, and if not for the considerable amount of booze he’d been downing, the man would’ve sounded rather good. But right now, being so far under the weather, the slurring of words made him sound like a fool. A nearby waiter nodded and scurried off, looking more than little bit afraid.
Finished with her dinner, and having said her good-bye to her cousin, Darcel decided that this man, whoever he was, was worth ordering a piece of cake and coffee to give her more time to observe him.
He was a big guy, no doubt over 6 feet tall, with a broad build that made everything around him seem small – like a grown man sitting at a table in a child’s nursery. Without thinking, Darcel found herself smiling at him. Not to flirt. Instead it was a precursor to laughter that she was determined to keep down.
Before she could direct her attention back to the cake that was set before her – the man looked back. And for a second or two their eyes met.
Though quite red from too much liquor and probably no sleep in days, his eyes shone bright blue and almost, just barely, twinkled. With surprising agility, the big man was up out of his chair and on his feet, heading toward Darcel’s table, with the unhappy waiter making fast tracks behind him carrying a fresh bottle of whiskey.
Nearly in unison, the man deposited himself on a chair beside Darcel, and the waiter quickly plunked down both the bottle of Jameson and a fresh glass. “Will there be anything else, sir?” The waiter asked quietly.
“No!”, the man growled, waving a hand, “Leave us!”
With more surprising panache, the stranger poured himself a generous amount of whiskey, drank down half the glass, and looked squarely at Darcel. “You’re pretty.” He said without further fanfare.
She blushed a little, a response she always found to be rather stupid but was not completely within her own control. “Thank you. But I think you’re at the wrong table. I’m sorry, I have no idea who you are.”
He laughed. “Well, there was a time a few years ago when you would. In fact, ” he gestured toward the large dining room full of people, “everyone here would!”
Darcel was now intrigued. “May I ask then, what is your name? ”
“Allen. Tracy Douglas Allen.”
She raised an eyebrow. “The singer?”
Darcel hesitated. It was hard to believe that this man, who smelled of whiskey, tobacco and what she believed to be ladies’ perfume, was the once famous performer. “You – well – have been thought to be……”
“Well, honey,” he laughed hoarsely, “I’m not!” And leaning closer still, “Would you like to spend the night with me and find out how alive I really am?”
Darcel wrinkled her nose at the now powerful smells, “You have surely mistaken me, sir. I am not here to get that kind of attention. I was merely finishing a dinner with my cousin. She had to leave earlier.”
Mr. Allen laughed loudly. “That’s what she was? I figured you were both – ladies of a certain value you might say – and that you won the toss up over who was staying to land me as a prize!”
Shaking her head in disbelief and (she fully admitted to herself) feigned outrage, Darcel got up to leave.
Her companion took hold of her arm. “Whatever you are I really don’t give a damn.” He slowly looked her up and down. ” You remind me of someone. She’s quite a bit older than yourself but a rare beauty. You are near to her in my eyes. The offer still stands.” He applied a bit of harder pressure Darcel knew was meant to keep her where she was until she answered. Yet she saw kindness in his eyes and was unafraid.
He went on, “Aside from being thought to be dead, I’m not only a very capable living man, but have quite a bit of wealth still. Enough to make it worth your while. Just for the night, mind you. I want no more.”
Darcel gently drew back her arm, and Mr. Allen released her at once. Her mind raced. He sounded intelligent. Looked like he had enough money. God knew she needed it. “Sir, may I ask what amount you are offering?” She asked barely above a whisper.
“One thousand dollars.” He answered her a little too loudly, causing a few heads to turn in their direction. It appeared not to bother Mr. Allen at all.
That changed everything. After a mere moment’s hesitation, just for show really, Darcel smiled and nodded in agreement.
“My lady friend and I are about to leave. Make sure you include her bill with mine. And have a carriage waiting for us outside.” The waiter nodded quickly and did as he was asked.
Mr. Allen took her hand and they both stood up; with him towering over Darcel. He looked down at her and proferred his arm. “My lady, your chariot awaits.”
She laughed and stood on her tip toes to kiss him on the cheek. Once again the combination of whiskey, tobacco and perfume accosted her. She was about to be, she strongly suspected, not the first woman in his bed today. But she didn’t care. For now, her financial problems would be solved. That was all that mattered.
“I want my money in advance.” She whispered into his ear.