I sit on the edge of the bed and watch the woman before me count out cash and
distribute it around the room. I can only stare at each person in surprise,
surprise that they all survived, surprise that most of them are uninjured,
surprise that they're getting paid and I'm not. I signed up on this gig after
the woman before me said she needed a favor "for old times' sake".
Never a word on money. Nice to know who's the cheap one around here. It's
certainly not the taller brunette; she seems to be getting triple shares, before
I remember her lover's arm is in a cast and her fiance is in a coma now. Damn
it, even now I'm making excuses for them!
I watch the woman with the money hug and embrace each of them in turn, some more fondly than others, and even get a little tear-eyed as a couple of them leave. It doesn't seem that long ago we were on the phone exchanging complaints about how horrible some of these very same women acted to me, but now she's their best friend. Maybe betrayal is a communicable disease or something, I think to myself as I watch them walk right by me without a word.
Finally, it's down to me, her, and her girlfriend, and yes, even the girlfriend is getting paid. Que sera sera. I stand stiffly because I didn't make it through quite so unscathed. Something about being left alone to die against a pack of starving vampires will do that to you every time. I slowly make my way over to where the two women stand, watching in something between amusement and disappointment as the girlfriend moves away from me.
"I'm through with all of you," I manage to get out. "Don't ever call me again for this crazy shit."
"No more crazy shit, of course," Money Woman replies.
"In fact, don't ever call me again period, unless it's to tell me how he's doing." I nod at the comatose man in the bed. He was the only one who remained kind to me a few years ago, even when his fiancee led the others against me; I guess I can return the favor.
So why did I end up getting another call from her, only a little over a year later? Better still, why did I answer the call and show up at this out-of-the-way little hospital? The entire group of them is gathered in the room, and I'm pushed out in the hallway, a virtual pariah again. It's for a decent cause, I suppose; he's finally awoken from the coma. Maybe he can deal with the shock of his fiancee's lover taking a boyfriend of her own, even if he does look a little like William H. Macy.
I slide down in my seat, making myself comfortable for the wait. Maybe if they finish before next year, I'll at least get to say hello or something. Another group of people are trying to get in the crowded room. I glance up for a second as red settles in the edge of my vision and spot an Asian man in a red leather motorcycle jacket leaning against the wall next to me. I start to smile at him, since he is kind of cute, when the sound of blows falling in the room interrupt me. I shoot up to my feet and steal a glance in the window. I'll be damned; William H. Macy can fight pretty well.
I start to charge into the room, to help kick some ass, to cheer the vampires on, I'm not sure yet. The guy in the red jacket grabs me by the top of my arms and slams me back against the far wall hard enough that I see stars. Birdies too for that matter. Before I can rally myself, a fist hits the side of my face, and my vision starts swimming. It's only the knowledge that if I go down, I'm on my own, that keeps me on my feet, and I rally enough to send out a punch of my own. Pretty soon, he and I have taken our fight outside, like the others have.
Hey, big surprise. The nonvampires seem to be winning. Red Jacket gets distracted as one of his friends go down, and I snap kick his knee out from under him. It won't keep him down for long, but maybe it'll be long enough...
I check around to make sure no one watching and lean down, a grin etched on my face. "Nice job," I whisper in his ear. "You surprised me."
Where his lips rest against my bare shoulder, I can feel him smile. "I said we'd be here when they're all together."
I sneak another glance around; they're preoccupied talking amongst themselves and finishing out his buddies; and risk giving him a brief kiss, ignoring the pain where he hit me, before leaning back a little bit and whispering, "Thank you, Eien."
"We're not done yet."
"I know. I'm ready." I smirk lightly. "I want that jacket though."
He grins then sucker punches me in the gut. The air leaves my body in a rush and I sink to the ground, barely sparing enough concentration to grab hold to the back of his jacket. He comes out of it and is gone. I let the red leather fall over my face and smirk into the tinted darkness it provides. Revenge is, after all, a dish best served cold.
Original Draft: 05 January 2004
Revision & Edits: 06 January 2004
Que sera sera loosely translates as "What will happen will happen". Very fatalistic. Yeah, the things I learned in French class.
*lick Eien and all the leather*
Feel free to e-mail me with any comments, criticism, etc.