Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Chapter 2 - Friday's Girl

Noel could feel him watching her dance. She was used to being watched, especially when she danced. Though men tended to "watch" her, even when standing there talking to her. The slow slide of their eyes over her body, beginning and ending with her chest. She didn't consider it "looking at" her unless they actually looked her in the eye. So most men watched, and it made it so easy to distract them at just the right moment.

Soon enough, she got tired of him watching and went to the bar. She was a regular, and the bartender knew her order. He also threw Noel's admirer a warning glance, but the boy was oblivious to anything but her. The bartender poured a vodka tonic, heavy on the tonic, and slid it across the bar to her. She smiled warmly and thanked him.

The boy approached, credit card at the ready. "I'll get this," he said, with a forced easy charm.

"No you won't," she said, not looking up from her drink.

"Then, uh, I'll, um, have what she's... um... having," he said, clearly knocked off his stride, to the bartender. The bartender brought him a vodka tonic, heavy on the vodka. The boy took a sip and coughed. "Whoa! You like 'em strong, don't you?"

Noel shared a smirk with the bartender. "It would appear so," she said.

"So, what's your name?" He sat at the stool next to her.

"You're not leaving, are you?"

He shrugged, trying to play it cool. He gulped too much of his drink. "Just -kaff- just trying to be friendly."

She shook her head, still staring down at her drink, and muttered, "You don't want to be friends with me, boy."

"Hey now, just a--"

She spun to face him, glaring. "Look, I realize you just turned old enough to come in here sometime yesterday, and that you very clearly don't talk to many women, but I've had a really tough day, and I want to relax. I came here to dance and drink, and to pick someone up for the night." Her smile was both gentle and cruel as she looked him up and down. "And I'm sorry Junior, but you're not that someone."

The boy's smile was not so gentle. "Well, I'm sorry too," he whispered menacingly. "Because your dance is over, you've had your last drink, and you're leaving with me. Now."

She stared at him, her eyes sharpened steel. "Oh, am I?"

He grabbed her arm, leaning in closer. "You stole something from my employer, Noel. He'd prefer to have it back, but he's willing to take you in its place." He looked at her, leering.

"I'll bet," she said, reaching over to grab the hand on her arm. With a twist, she'd broken his wrist and two fingers. A quick thrust of her fingertips, and his throat was paralyzed. His mouth moved, desperately and silently gasping for air. Noel sat him back down in his stool and calmly sipped her drink. Then, swiftly, she punched him in the chest, cracking his sternum. She punched again, and felt it splinter. Blood bubbled up out of his mouth, and he slid off the stool. The bartender walked over, and gestured for two bouncers to take the young thug's body away.

Noel smiled her thanks to them as she pulled her cellphone out of her purse. "Ms. Friday, please," she said to the voice on the other end. Then, after a brief pause, "Ms. Friday. It's Noel. No, everything is fine. The delivery went as planned. No, I'm calling because he sent one of his boys after me. Yes. No, at a dance club I frequent. No, Ms. Friday, I'm fine. Thank you, Ms. Friday."

She finished off her drink, tossing a wad of bills onto the bar and waving at the bartender as she walked away. "I'm coming in tonight," she spoke into the phone. "I need weapons and supplies and transportation to his compound." She pushed the door open, and stepped into the cool night air.

"Eventually, he's going to notice his boy is missing, and I want it to be far too late for him by the time he does."

Chapter 3


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