One Up

Good morning.

I haven’t written a story going into this post. I struggled with finding a good premise. I made a call out to all my writing friends on Facebook and Twitter for writing prompts. I got some good ones and did some stream-of-consciousness sessions, blurting out what came to me on paper. Meanwhile, one of my friends tweeted me a link to Chuck Wendig’s blog, Terrible Minds, where he challenges writers to come up a 1000-word short story using prompts he created. I read stories from other bloggers that participated in his challenge. This friend thought I might be interested in it. I thought, “Why not,” and took a stab at it.

This month challenge was about vengeance. A little backstory, he talked how about some of The Avengers weren’t necessarily motivated by “fighting the battles that they never could,” but by satisfying their own personal vendetta. But he didn’t limit our entries to heroes and villains. Anything was fair game. I thought about it and created this story. Hope you enjoy it.

It was 8:25 when I arrived at Maxwell’s. The hostess walked me to the table where Dani and her date, Andre, were sitting. They looked up at me as I fixed my collar.

“So you finally showed up,” Dani said. The scowl on her face was priceless, but I apologized so as to not look like a complete ass. The waitress approached me and handed me a menu.

“Evening, sir. Can I interest you in a drink?”

I jumped to the wine section. They must have a huge cellar or something. I settled for the Pinot Noir.

“Excellent choice.”

As she walked away, Dani looked at me as if she was about to rip off her orchid dress and pounce.

“I’m sorry that my brother is so late.”

“It’s alright, Dani.”

Andre rested his hands on her shoulders.

“I’m sure he didn’t mean it.”

A melodious ringing interrupted the mood. Andre pulled out his phone and stepped away, but not before planting a kiss on her. Dani shot a seething look at me just as the waitress arrived with the Pinot Noir and a tall flute.

“I’m sure you didn’t mean to be late.”

“Look, I said I was sorry. What more do you want?”

“Stop playing this silly little game of yours!”

I poured myself a glass.

“You started this little game, remember?”

“I told you that Sasha was trouble. I was looking out for you. And it’s not as if you haven’t done the same.”

Dani was right about that. This was a vicious game we’ve been playing since high school. And as much as she denied it, she loved it just as much as I did.

Andre returned and her expression turned jovial. He spoke about some big business deal at his company. If the stars aligned, wedding bells were in the immediate future. The one thing she wanted more than anything else; to be one of those “Real Housewives” she loved watching so much. And Andre seemed more than willing to give it to her.

“So, Roland? Dani tells me you and your friends are trying to get into the restaurant racket.”

“We’re looking into it. We’re thinking more of a nightclub.”

They looked at me as if I had escaped a mental ward.

“You’re not serious, are you?” Dani asked. It was just like her to be the spike that derailed my aspirations.

“Of course.”

“Can I try the Pinot Noir?” Andre asked. I leaned over, but lost my grip on the bottle. A splash of my drink vaulted onto her dress. She stood up and shrieked.

“Roland, you jerk!”

I smiled and shrugged. “Sorry. It slipped.”

Dani stomped off to the bathroom. Andre brushed his suit and patted down the seats.

“Suppose you think this is funny?”

“Maybe a little.”

Andre gave a fiery stare. He looked more than willing to throw down. I poured another glass until droplets fell out the bottle.

“Look, I’m sorry. Really I am. But I feel…never mind.”

Dani sauntered back to the table. She flapped her dress before sitting down. She brushed her jet-black hair behind her ears. She grabbed Andre’s hands and kissed him long. After that repulsive display of affection, she picked up the menu.

“So, what were you boys talking about?”

“Well, Roland was about to tell me something.”

“I was just about to say that I’m happy that Dani finally found a good man, especially given her track record.”

“How so?” Andre asked.

“Well, did she ever tell you about our parents?”

“Roland, please. Andre knows this story.”

“Only the part they wanted you to know.”

I turned my attention to Andre.

“Has Dani ever told you what she does for a living? Probably not, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. She doesn’t do anything. If fact, none of the McAllister women do.”

Andre raised his eyebrows. It was time to reel him in.

“Yeah. They marry rich guys, like you, then dump them once the money’s gone. There’s a rumor that one of our great aunts killed her husband because she was greedy as hell. But I’m sure Dani’s not like that.”

“Of course, I’m not like that,” she snapped. “We’re not like that. It’s the opposite. You guys,” as she jerked her head at me, “are the ones who mooch off of us. I don’t need a man to support me. I’ve been doing just fine on my own.”

“So, why don’t you tell him what you do for a living?”

Andre gazed upon her with curiosity. Her chest rose, but nothing came out of her mouth. I leaned in thinking she might actually see through my trap.

“Okay, I don’t do anything, but that does mean I’m some kind of gold digger! Andre, baby, you can’t believe what my brother says.”

I couldn’t help but smile ear to ear. I knew Andre wasn’t the “Sugar Daddy” type.

“You know I love you,” he said, “but it’s time we both move on.”

“Sweetie? You can’t be serious?”

Out of the blue, he threw his glass of wine at her. She gasped and my eyes widened in joy. As he walked out, I was surprised that Dani didn’t go after him. Instead, she stared at me as I raised my glass and took in the last remnants of my drink.

“Your move.”

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