Erased: Chapter 12

Erased, a novel

Chapter 12- Between the Fog

Reece- Somehow I always end up in rooms filled with smoke.  Although this smoke had a sweet aroma, it was impossible to leave it behind.  The lights are dim.  Funny there are many, but it all still amounts to dim.  In between every table with a chess board is a table with a single red rose in a skinny cylinder vase and a deep red votive holder made of glass that stands about three inches high.  Those are the tables draped with brown leather. Just a few of those are occupied while most of the people crowd around the tables where the chess games are going on.  Still a few others are hanging around at the bar.  There are lots of couples, but they aren't moving in pairs.  For those of us who don't have our special liquor combination written on a napkin, servers keep our glasses filled with what's on the house.  There's a sliding door that leads out to a balcony, but everyone's inside.  I'm sitting beside Sam.  He's playing his partner Jeff.  Beside him is his wife.  They whisper back and forth a lot, and between whispers I'm almost sure she's sizing me up.  It's the thing about married women, they don't like single women hanging around.  Not unless it's serious, and whether Sam knows it or not... It's not serious.  I've always been confident of that, and that he was too smitten with me to know it, but watching him play chess made me nervous.  He was smart.  The small group standing around us mostly told me so, but his body language also said something.  If he wasn't winning, I wouldn't have read too much into it.  After all Jeff didn't look any less cool.  It's intense watching the two.  It feels like the chips are in the room but the game is not.  It's the first I've seen it.  Maybe it's something to do with where we ladies are sitting.

There's an uproar at another board, and as that game ends more people move over to where we are.  It's a long game, and no one usually goes another round, but they're on their second.  I tried to get up and move around, but Sam held onto me like one of his game pieces.  Surely, I was part of the game.  I studied Jeff and his wife and tried to be a better player.  The more I studied the more it appeared people were studying me, and after a while we walked away with two wins.  It was a good birthday present.  He was still the man, and the guests, the ones who understand chess all flocked together on the balcony to talk about the games.  It felt like a fresh wind had come through and these folks could be here til breakfast.  Finally Sam stole me away to one of the candlelit tables in a quiet part of the room.  I could see that it was nearly four from the clock that sat across from the bar.  He'd whispered orders to one of the servers almost a half hour before, and food was coming to us.  It was an unlikely time, though now mostly everyone was ordering and eating too.  I wasn't starving.  We'd all filled up on the small curried-potato stuffed patties, and cubed fish with pineapple on toothpicks, yet I could appreciate it all.  Jeff and Ketly had already left, and some others were beginning to say goodnight.  That was their mistake though; dessert was good.  We sang Happy Birthday, ate cake, danced some, and left it all behind at about six.

I woke up in my bed of course.  Like I said, it's not serious, and these are no cheap jobs.  I hadn't forgotten my assignment, the man who had given it to me, or the rules I lived by.  I answered my phone promptly at 8 am.  The voice on the line was a voice I loved.  It had remained gentle and sweet, and that one time was still just that one time.  It never came up, and although I had a slight puff on the left inside of my bottom lip that didn't go away, and we were never together in a public way.. It was serious, and we both knew it.

Read Reece's introduction in Chp. 6 and
tune in for her nomination for Best Introduction.

Erased, a novel

Copyright 2018 by Natisha Renee Williams, All Rights Reserved

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