Romy got her a clean washcloth and soap. She washed her face, removing the vestiges of her ravaged makeup. Romy came back to the bathroom with two shirts in his hands.
“I need an opinion. Which makes the bolder statement?”
He held the shirts up in front of his chest. One was black with silver and gold lettering and what looked like an old strip of duct tape. It said, “Silence is Golden, Duct Tape is Silver.”
The other was navy blue and said in bold white letters, “I’m not deaf, I’m just ignoring you.”
Saige burst out laughing. “Oh, the blue one. That’s so how I feel right now every time Ben opens his mouth.”
“We’re not talking of other men right now,” he said with strong conviction. “Especially silly plonkers who break your heart and throw your knickers in the street.”
“Deal,” she said, holding out her hand.
Instead of shaking her hand, he kissed it, his lips lingering over the crease between her middle and index fingers. She felt a thrill trickle down her spine. His eloquent brown eyes
riveted hers as he smiled.
“Ever been to Uncle Jay’s Pub?” Romy asked her abruptly.
“I didn’t know you had an Uncle Jay.”
“Not my Uncle Jay. It’s called Uncle Jay’s.”
“I’ve never been there,” she answered as they walked out the back door of the apartment complex to a car she didn’t recognize.
“I should have had you park back here, I suppose. Though, you do live upstairs—or did, so there’s no reason for you not to be here.”
Romy wasn’t talking directly to her, more to himself as if reviewing security measures. He did a quick, surreptitious check of the car before they got in.
“Do you think I need to worry?”
“Unlikely. I’m paranoid, me. In my line of work, you have to be.”
“Do you have a cover? I mean, you know, an alter ego?” She laughed at herself. “Now I sound like a bad movie script.”
“You mean a legitimate identity as opposed to my spurious one? Yeah. I’m a cheap grifter who leeches off my poor, sainted gran. The place is in her name, but I’ve paid for it the last few years. Her pension doesn’t cover much. The lads and me take turns rooming in and paying bills. Keeps her happy and us out of trouble. Course, it makes it damn hard to bring ladies home. Which is why we have an apartment down by the river. Same building Brodie’s in as a matter of fact.”
“You know Brodie?”
“Been his neighbor for nearly five years now. He’s a good, honest man who can handle himself in a tight spot.”
“Do I even want to know exactly what you do?”
Romy opened the door for her, waiting for Saige to get settled. “No. And a car isn’t the best place to have conversations.” His eyes held meaning deeper than his lighthearted words indicated.
“So, Brodie,” she changed the subject abruptly to the last thing they had talked about.
“Nice fellow, good neighbor. I’m not any more interested talking about your buff boss than I am your manky boyfriend.”
“Ex-boyfriend,” she emphasized. It was important that he knew Ben was out of the picture.
“At the moment? About as ex as it’s possible to be and still be on the same planet. Subject change.”
“Hmm,” he thought a moment. “So, you’ve found out in the last few days that you’re more popular than you ever thought.”
“It seems so. It’s a new sensation and not unwelcome. I needed a bit of a lift to my spirits after the incredible crash and burn Friday. I’ve never had a relationship end like that. But I don’t want to talk about that either.”
“Nor do I. Seen any good movies lately?”
“If it’s not on Netflix, I haven’t. I did see the latest “Die Hard” movie in the theater. I went with my mom. She loves Bruce Willis.”
“Pretty big fan myself. The Chinese chick was hot.”
“I liked the computer geek. Nice buff body under that baggy clothing.” She raised an eyebrow, giving him a long appraisal.
Romy chuckled, “Oh, lass, when you look at me like that ….” He sucked in his breath, hissing between his teeth.
Saige blushed deeply as his eyes moved over her body. She could feel him mentally undressing her and decided she liked the sensation. The light changed and he yanked his eyes off her, gazing intently at traffic. A tinge of red lined his ears and the top of his collar betraying his feelings. He was more than a little interested.
© 2012 Dellani Oakes