Where

flash

Debs, hi, great to see you here. And uh, Grant, right? Glad I could finally put a face to that name.

Where are you?

He moves through the room, his face shifting into the right position for the right person. Shaking hands, firm and not so firm. Kissing cheeks.

You must be here.

Sally! And quieter. Have you heard from the guys upstairs yet? I’m sure it’s just paper work, you know how it is.

Her eyebrows turn upwards, inwards. He holds her hand as long as is required.

He stops at the bar, orders a bourbon and water.

You’re popular tonight, the barman says.

I guess.

Please don’t strike up conversation.

Waiting on someone?

Just a face in the crowd. Please stop.

Uh-huh. The barman places the bourbon down. Pours out a large white. Fresh bottle, a good one too.

Just the bourbon.

She’s waiting for you on the balcony.

You.

He turns, catches a glimpse of red hair. He fumbles for cash.

Don’t worry sir, I know you’re good for it.

He places a ten down. For you. He takes both glasses and drifts forward.

For you.

Stairs

flash

A shoulder brushes against hers, silk slips across her wrist. On the steps, she stops and grabs the rail with both hands. Lavender. The memory slips under her ribcage, clutches at her heart, and twists. It was lavender.

“Excuse me, err, miss?” A hand on her back. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.”

“Do you need a doctor?”

“Not the kind you’re thinking of.”

“Pardon?”

“Don’t worry,” she says, standing up straight. “I’ll be fine.” She looks him in the eye until he feels uncomfortable. His eyebrows turn upward. He looks up the stairwell. Little lines of worry form.

“There’s no need to wait on me.”

He offers a blank look. Not worry. Not at all. Confusion?

“Who are you looking for?” she asks.

“Oh, I’m not. I just thought I saw someone I knew, that’s all.”

“Knew?”

“From a long time ago.”

“They usually are,” she said.

He smirks, either in agreement or amusement.  “You are okay though?”

“More than,” she says. “Someone’s perfume overwhelmed me, that’s all.” She works to iron herself out, push out the person she’s supposed to be.

He doesn’t take to it. “Coffee?” That smirk again.

She clutches her bag tighter, locks her fingers together. At the bottom of the stairs, a silk scarf flutters.