One Night in Strahan — Part 2
Drawing in a sharp breath, I bit my lower lip before it dared to quiver and glanced up. He weaved his way through the crowd towards me. He’d aged, his face weathered, his eyes burning bright, yet weary and troubled.
The room thrummed with the superficial animated chatter and laughter. I sensed a zoo of thoughts but blocked my mind from reading deeper the thoughts of any random stranger. I’m trained only to probe when invited. I blocked out the sadness of Minna’s passing and swam with this happy ambience, watching him wade through the sea of patrons.
Then darkness, corrupt and potent entered like a waft of rotting cabbage blowing through the mechanical sliding doors.
An alarm ringing in my mind drowned out the cheerful hum. What? I leant over and poked my head around the booth. My face turned cold as the blood drained from my cheeks. Johann. Still in fine form but balding, taking on a striking resemblance to a certain Star Trek captain.
I retreated back into my corner as a turtle would a shell and fiddled with my laptop—not big enough to hide behind. I grabbed a napkin and draped it over my mouth and nose. I watched as Johann paced towards the bar. Can’t escape. Reckon he’s got eyes in the back of his shiny head. I shrank into the shadowy recess of the booth. The question, how to escape?
‘Do you mind if I join you?’ Geoffrey plinked two wine glasses onto the table.
I jumped, my hand clutching my throat.
‘Did I startle you?’ Fox slid around the U-shaped seat crossing the boundaries of my personal space. Not that I minded. ‘Bond. James Bond,’ he said with a twinkle in his dark eyes. His spectacles were gone, but instead wisps of grey in his side burns framed his oblong face. Very distinguished. He could very well be Bond. He held out his hand.
I caught his fingers and squeezed. ‘Lee Harper.’
‘That’s different,’ he said, leaning back and examining me with his serious but delicious eyes, like chocolate.
‘Okay—You remember me, Holly?’ I put my thoughts out there for him.
‘Of course, I do.’ His pink lips delicious like strawberries parted in a smile.
‘We have a problem.’ I rolled my eyes aiming them at the bald man sipping beer at the bar.
‘Oh.’ Fox glanced in Johann’s direction, then shifted closer to me, his thigh touching mine. ‘Bad timing, eh?’
I nodded. His hand touched my knee. I felt goose bumps and a flush of warmth all at once.
‘You haven’t changed.’ His fingers stroked my knee.
‘Neither have you, much.’ I touched his wandering hand, my thigh lost all muscle tone. I’d only been blasted fifteen years through a wormhole, lost my face and over several years had it repaired by carbon-based nanobots. Not much of a change, really. But no need for Fox to know that.
He peered at the bald man, squinting. ‘Not exactly the person I’d want to meet in a dark alley.’ He cleared his throat and his fingers entwined with mine.
‘So what have you been up to all this time?’ I stroked his palm and nestled against his shoulder.
‘Oh, you know—usual stuff.’ He shrugged and looked away. ‘Keeping one step ahead—you know—’
I sensed his mind shielding. A secret. I glimpsed him staring at his half glass of Riesling. My eyes panned the room. Johann’s gaze hovered in the direction of our booth, then he switched back to chat with a wiry blonde man to his left. I made my choice to ask no more questions, but to seize the opportunity. Hey, it’s my last day on Earth. Not like I’d be seeing Fox anytime soon after tomorrow. Although, maybe… ‘Speaking of Johann, let’s go.’ I jammed the laptop into its case and gathered up my bag.
We slithered from the booth, leaving the glasses of wine barely touched. I slung my arm around his waist and hid my head in his chest, his leather jacket shielding my identity. We marched through the sliding doors.
Breathing in the crisp air, I said, ‘My cabin’s just down the road.’
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2018
Feature Photo: Sunset on Macquarie Harbour
Curious to find out how it all began. How this alien cockroach Boris wheedled his smelly way onto Earth…threatening humankind’s very existence?
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