"Man, she said she'd be here at noon, right?" His flatmate, Andrew, wetly snarfed more kid's cereal into his mouth, and flipped to the next episode of something political on the internet television.
"But nothing, she's got a good ten minutes before she's even on time, man. Chill out."
Vaughn sighed, and checked the safety on his handgun again, the warmth of his previous check still lingering in the underarm holster.
"No," Andrew said, "The gun does not make you look fat." They both chuckled.
* * *
The princess paused, the scissor edge just above his nipple --her phone had beeped. "Someone special, excuse me please," She said, standing and tying her robe.
She took the stairs two at a time, heart racing, and had the clamshell open before the locks had clicked their second clicks.
Hey was great running into you at the diner yesterday.She smiled, eyebrows raised and started to respond when her phone beeped again. It read:
Do you want to get coffee some time?The princess deleted her response. Instead, she sent the question, "Are you an Eddie Izzard fan?" to which, a few moments later, the response came:
* * *
The roof of the apartment was only cold for a moment, the gust not bothering to tail back, and Vaughn smiled at the lost hats and whipped-about bustles of the burlesque dancers.
Beatrix shot him a disproving glance before bellowing, "A breath of fire, perhaps?" And then it was hot and bright and drunk people squealed in exhortation.
A loud drunk shouted "MOORE" and she obliged, turning toward the voice, expertly keeping the flames in check, her spit in her cheeks, her lips crayon red, eyes glistening from the heat.
"That do ya? Now! Let there be music!" She bellowed again and somewhere, a dj scratched a record to life, hidden speakers blasting. "Welcome to the Solstice!" but this time Beatrix's voice was lost in the crowd and the thud-thump of the music.
Vaughn stood on the edge of the roof, leaning tentatively against a rusty guard rail. He smiled and raised his glass at Beatrix as she lasciviously made her way through the roiling crowd, toward him.
They hugged, she on tippy-toes despite platform shoes, and she shouted, "Shouldn't you be watching Jim's back?" Gumming his ear lobe.
"They're taking a piss break, and the host is making more drinks. I'm probably going to have to ringer one of the more astute players in a drinking match, not sure if he's trying to swindle us or just getting lucky."
Beatrix bent back, "I don't believe in luck." She intoned.
"Back to it then, eh?"
“Back to it.”
Philip carefully climbed down the stairs, careful not to dislodge any of the drunker revelers, and climbed back through the kitchen window. “Woa woa woah, what’s this?” He asked.
The four other men, seated around a table looked up. James, the one Philip had mentioned to Beatrix smirked. “You snooze you loose.”
Philip counted everyone’s chips --exactly as it was when he’d ducked out to check on Beatrix. “I think you must be snoozing pretty hard then, pal.”
“Not your pal, pal.”
Philip shrugged and took his seat. He leaned into the table and reiterated where they were: The big and little blinds, minimum bet, and how well James’ mother fellated Philip that very morning.
Geoff, the man Philip was playing beef for took the deck and shuffled it, dropped it once, accidentally and blushed --actually blushed, just slightly-- before shuffling thrice more and dealing out the next hand, which James won.
The next hand was more tense, but Matthew, the person who’d hired Geoff (and subsequently Philip) and whose kitchen they were now monopolizing won big, knocking out the other player, a scrub, and leaving Philip and James both dangerously low on funds.
“Are we playing nice?” Matthew asked. “I’d hate for the two lovers here to have to go home at the same time.”
The lights flickered and another gust of wind blustered about, making it through the window, catching, but dropping a few fifty dollar bills.
“I won’t lose” James calmly stated.
Philip took the deck, shuffled, offered Matthew a chance to inspect the deck before dealing (declined) and dealt the cards.
The only sounds were the clink of chips and knuckles knocking the linoleum table for a minute or two. Finally, Matthew looked everyone evenly in the face and announced the end.
Geoff won it all.