Polite Conversation

Readers…I skipped last week’s Friday Fictioneers! I’m sorry about that. To make it up to you, here’s a continuation of Nick and Emmeline’s story using  WordPress’s Daily One Word Prompt: Focused.

The usual Friday Fictioneers post will follow after.

Enjoy!

Doughnut Vault, Chicago. Via Pinterest.

Polite Conversation

Nick couldn’t get another word out of her until they reached the little bakery a couple blocks down the street. Emmeline smiled and laughed and leaned on him when her injury gave her pain, looking for all the world as if she hadn’t just told him someone was trying to kill her.

He quickly gave up asking her anything about it, but watched her closely. She smiled with her usual brightness, but her eyes had a sharpness in them he hadn’t seen before. She scanned every street corner, window, doorway and alley. Though she leaned on him, she seemed poised for flight.

The arrived, and he helped her into her chair before ordering them both a coffee from the bubbly waitress. As she hurried away to fill their order, he took Emmeline’s hand in his and smiled. “Now, are you going to tell me what this is all about?”

Emmeline returned his smile and gave his hand a squeeze. “I don’t think I have much choice.”

Nick’s smile faltered, but he recovered quickly. He stared into her eyes, searching for an explanation. “I don’t understand,” he said, half to himself.

“I know, and I’m sorry,” answered Emmeline. She released his hand as the waitress returned with their coffee. “Constantine is a man from my past. A man with a grudge. I thought I had lost him, but it seems I was mistaken.”

“Can’t you just go to the police?”

“They won’t help.”

“Why not?”

“Because I can’t prove any of this.”

Nick shook his head, baffled. “What about a restraining order?”

Emmeline gave a short laugh. “We’d have to find Constantine first, and trust me, no one wants to do that.”

Nick ground his teeth. “What kind of ex is this guy?” His voice rose in volume.

Emmeline covered his hand with hers. “He’s not an ex. I told you.”

Nick took a deep breath through his nose. “Then what is he?”

Emmeline hesitated for a few moments and Nick braced himself, certain he wasn’t going to like whatever she said next. Her eyes again darted to the surrounding buildings and street, and the tables next to them with old men reading the paper and hipsters taking pictures of their coffee for Instagram. She bit her bottom lip and studied Nick’s face, as if trying to come to a decision.

Just when Nick could hardly stand it any longer she leaned forward and said calmly and in soft tones, “He’s an Armenian weapons dealer.”

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