As soon as Frost walked into the Pink Pony, he saw Knuckles and a few of his thugs, sitting at a table in front of the stage. Knuckles had his hand raised, waving it in the air, as he nodded an "over here" look to the waitress at the bar. Frost immediately recognized her. She was the woman he'd rescued from Lefty the night before, although she had made it clear to him, she didn't see it that way.
He'd thought about her, off and on, all day. Not obsessive thoughts, just little snippets of how she looked, standing in the dark alley the night before. He could have sworn he'd seen a flash of light in her eyes, like the reflection in a dog's eyes at night. No, he wasn't obsessed, just intrigued. Nevertheless, he had to get those thoughts out of his mind, stay focused, especially with his biggest skip ever sitting at a table right in front of him.
He found a seat near the door, sat down, and watched as the woman he met last night brought a round of drinks to Knuckles' table. She didn't collect any money from them, which meant he and his gang ran a tab at the bar, or had some influence over the bar owner. He filed the information away mentally, and realized that he wouldn't be able to grab Knuckles in the bar, unless he was ready to make an escape in a hail of gunfire.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
No, he was under-armed and under-protected for that kind of extraction. Knuckles made some kind of grotesque groping gesture as the waitress walked away, and his table erupted in forced laughter.
Yeah, I'm gonna enjoy taking this bozo down.
He waited until the waitress finished making her rounds, and then caught her attention with a wave. She nodded and put up a finger as she started toward his table. He could tell she recognized him from the night before, but she gave no indication of gratitude, or distrust of him. She must have had her waitress game face on because he just couldn't read her, and he was usually pretty good at reading people.
"What'll ya' have," she said as she reached his table, giving no indication or gesture that she gave any thought to his rescuing her.
"For starters, how about your name?" Frost stared her down, waiting for a response.
"How about I take your drink order first, then we can talk about names."
She just stood there with that look on her face that women has when trying to appear cute and smug at the same time; big bulging eyes, duck lips. She was not going to give in.
"Okay, drink order first," Frost said. "I'll have a rum and coke please, hold the rum."
She turned without as much as a smile or look, stopping to take orders at a few other tables on her way to the bar. Frost watched her as she filled her tray with drinks, dropping them off at each table with a smile and brief conversation. Her gestures were abbreviated, her laughter excessive, but the customers liked her, handing her tips in bills, rather than change.
He also kept an eye on Knuckles and the men sitting at the table with him. He would have to play this one smart, make sure he stayed back long enough to catch Knuckles alone. Taking in Knuckles would be the biggest haul he'd brought in yet. He could pay off the rest of his mother's bills with the skip money, maybe even have a enough left over to get a better truck.
The waitress made it back to his table. It was obvious she was taking her time getting back to him. As soon as she put his drink on the table, he pulled a wrinkled ten dollar bill out of his pocket and handed it to her. She started to dig in her apron pockets for change but he held up his hand to stop her.
"Keep the change," he told her, as he placed the bill in her hand. "Looks like you're earning your keep tonight."
"The drink was only two dollars," she said as she reached back into her pockets. "Your tip's too much."
"Tell you what," he countered. "My name's Frost. You probably remember me from last—"
"I know who you are," she said, before he could finish. "You're Frost. Nobody seems to know your first name but I've been told you’re a local bounty hunter, and unwarranted hero to women who don't need saving."
"Ouch, that's harsh," he said. "Seems you know who I am, but I don't even know your name. Keep the rest of the money as your tip, but at least tell me your name."
She just stood there, looking at him for a moment before responding.
"Paulina," she said. "But don't think I told you my name for the tip. I just figured since I know your name, you should at least know mine. With that, she turned away, and went to another table.
Frost watched her for a while, trying not to be too obvious, just to see if she looked back at him.
Knuckles got up from his table, with his goons following closely behind him. He went to the bar and motioned for the bartender to talk to him. Frost watched as he leaned over the bar, talking to the bartender. Knuckles looked back a few times, gesturing toward Paulina. The bartender looked like he was becoming agitated, but Knuckles blatantly reached over the bar, taking a handful of the bartender's shirt in his hand. Knuckles clearly had some kind of personal agenda, some kind of personal plans for Paulina.A weakness for the new girl. Something I could use to distract him and bring him in.
You know, I suppose I should put a link in here so that one might go and purchase the story. Here's the Amazon link. This link is for the kindle ebook but it is also available as a paperback, others to follow: Lexi's Run