Ben woke with the light coming through the window and was angry to see that he was alone. She knows that we have to get on the road, damn her. He climbed out of bed and grabbed his clothes. In minutes, he was headed down the stairs with a mission to find Gloria. When he walked into the bar, he saw her across the table from Cue, the two of them in conversation over coffee.
Taking a deep breath, he worked to calm himself.
Cue looked up at his friend. “Grab a cup of coffee and join us. Gloria had an interesting night and is sharing the experience.”
Still angry, he took his place next to her. “So, how was it with the old man? Is this guy going to leave Sticks alone now? Did you give him a heart attack?”
Gloria leaned over to kiss him. “You’re hurt that I left you and that makes me feel warm and tingly all over.” She made a shudder action with her body and raised her hands to her face as if to cool her cheeks. “Oh, Ben, you should have come with me last night. The crowd was loud and happy, so many friendly people. I’ve changed my mind about this place, I think it’s way more fun than Rock Creek.” She took a sip of coffee.
“Why you ungrateful little b..”
“Hey, hold your tongue, she’s playing with you. Come on, Gloria. Tell him what you were telling me.” Cue clenched his hands around his coffee cup.
She smiled at him and then turned to Ben. “Look, you guys spent most of yesterday cryin’ about bad ‘ol Templeton and how he’s ruining this place. Did you ever think about checkin’ out his formula to help you come up with a plan? Ben, I really don’t know if I like you anymore, by the way.” She stretched her arm across the table, cupping her hand over Cue’s. “My dear Cue, we can beat this, and I’m not just talkin’, I have some ideas that will help.”
Ben was shocked over what he was witnessing but decided to play along, in spite of his distrust of the woman. “Ok, give Cue your ideas fast, because we have to leave, I want to get back before it’s late.”
Cue’s and Gloria’s eyes met for a moment. Cue was the first to let him in on their secret. “Listen, Ben. Things can change, as you well know. Gloria’s going to move into the trailer out back, and stay to help out with the place.” He sat back in his chair and waited for his friend to protest.
There was a short silence before Ben responded, careful to keep his eyes on Cue. “You are aware that this woman is manipulative, aren’t you? She’s self- centered, and certainly not interested in helping anyone but herself. She likes to be pampered, so it makes sense that she’d be in Templeton’s court. Why in the hell would you think she wants to help you?”
“I can see that I’ve made quite an impression on you, Ben, and by the way, you really know how to charm a lady.” She was showing no sign of being hurt. Instead, she seemed to be mocking him.
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