Mickey walked into the nearly empty restaurant and saw her sitting at one of the back tables, obviously wanting to hide from any problems while she enjoyed her tea and toast. He walked up to Gloria’s table, tipped his hat to say good morning, and sat across from her.
Gloria held her hand up, and asked the waiter to bring more tea and toast, and then smiled at her guest. “Déjà vu, isn’t it Mickey? Only this time we are already friends. I don’t know about you, but I’m much happier this time.” She looked around at the restaurant, ending her animated illustration by staring at the ceiling above them. “Do you like the hand painted ceilings in the hotel? They were an important detail that I felt you and the other guests would enjoy. Atmosphere goes a long way in design. You know? The secret is being subtle enough that they can’t put a finger on why their stay is comfortable.” She reached for another slice of toast, and spread a small amount of jam over the top. “Mickey, I would love to understand why you’ve blessed us with your presence.”
He stared at the toast in his hands, turning it around several times as if to study all its angles. “I believe a slice of toast is universal, unlike politics, or languages. No matter where you are, you can always find a good piece of toast.” He looked up at her, “Do you speak Spanish, Gloria?”
“You’re not good at answers, are you? Yes, I speak the language. Why after 25 years are you suddenly sitting at my table and eating my toast and drinking my tea again?”
“You seem to have matured quite a bit. I know how much our Emma loves you. Is that going to be a problem when Mori arrives? Am I going to have to witness cat fights like in the old days?” He shook his head, and then in a sorrowful tone said, “I miss Ben. I really did love that boy like my own. My two regrets in this world are that Ben and my wife, Laura are gone.” Then a wave of warmth came over him, “But Emma’s here, so that makes everything all right. She sure did turn out nice, didn’t she?”
“I certainly won’t argue with that. You’ve successfully found the common ground between us, which is a really masterful way to dodge my question.”
He held his hand up and shook it. “Oh no, Gloria. I realize I can be a little vague now and then. I don’t believe that I became like that until after I was killed. But, we don’t need to talk about that awful night. Let’s see, where was I?” She could see his eyes searching for the thought that was struggling to run away from him. “Oh, yes. Your question. I believe I’ve already answered it. It’s because of Emma, of course.” He laughed at her when she shivered. “Don’t worry. Remember, she’s the one thing we have in common. I love her. I held her when she was small enough to fit in my arms. She was special from the very beginning.” His thoughts seemed to have won the battle, but he suddenly seemed far away from her again.
“Mickey.” Gloria raised her voice enough to bring him back to her. “Why does she seem so special? What is it about her?”
“Why do you think?” He looked at her as if she was stupid for a moment. “I’m lonely, Gloria. Losing my Laura was harder than I can even begin to make you understand. I know you lost your husband, but Laura and I had nearly a lifetime together. I can have her back if I play my cards right, I know I can do that.” His words faded like he was tired, or thinking of something else.
“Mickey, you’re beginning to scare me, what exactly does this have to do with Emma? Do you have some plans for her that she should know about?”
He stared into her eyes for what seemed a very long time when he smiled and said, “Gloria, I’m not here to hurt anyone. I was just having a moment there. Sorry. I’m sure that you think about your husband too.” He leaned across the table to whisper, in hopes that no one else would hear. The restaurant was now filled with hungry people who had shown up since he’d joined her. “What do you think of our two doctors?”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish