He is sitting across the table tracing a steady groove into his coffee cup with his thumb. He's not looking at me. It's a dry cool morning and he is in a long sleeved white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Black pants. Hair perfectly combed but still wet. Close shave. Top two buttons undone so I can just barely see the first letter of the tattoo over his heart.
I sit back in my chair, cup clutched against my breastbone with both hands, one thumb looped through the handle, pretty grey dress into service again because I'm still losing weight and it's a perfect fit when I do with the matching jacket (to cover my own tattoos). No shoes. I wait for the lecture. I didn't do my chignon. I didn't bring the stupid shoes (I walk too much here so kitten heels only) and my hair is still wet because breakfast arrived and I was starving.
He takes a sip and still doesn't look at me.
Why do you come here?
I believe the term is 'at gunpoint'.
I didn't hold a gun to your head.
The day is young.
This makes it harder.
And if I don't come with you my life is so much easier.
Are you afraid of me?
If you were not, would things be different?
Tell me why.
I don't want to do this today.
You're so hot and cold with me.
I'm like this with everyone. Don't think you're special.
Not what I mean.
What do you mean?
You're...incredibly loving and obedient and then you just shut down.
I scowl and look out over the strip. It's tacky and filthy. Nothing ever changes here except the names on the buildings, the names on the billboards. The tourists, the prostitutes, the dealers, the mob. It's all the same. The servers all look like they sold their souls so long ago their earthly forms have all but expired, the neon glitz burning a hole right through their flesh, the promises of the next hand crippling everyone into servitude. And bachelorette parties everywhere as if Vegas is the bottom and the only way now is up.
I never had a bachelorette party. I wouldn't know.
What should I do differently then?
Keep to the rules.
Who are the rules for again?
He has almost rubbed the coating off his cup and he grimaces like he's in pain and then checks his expression. Come. We have a busy day. We'll get coffee again en route.
En route to where?
Funding meeting at ten.
I don't need to be there.
Yes, you do. You're my right hand man. You call the shots. You tell me if we're up or down. You read them better than even I can.
That's bullshit and you know it.
Go finish getting ready. We can fight in the car.