Friday, July 8, 2011

A More Pressing Engagement

"Hello, Harrison," Decedereful says shyly.  Behind her, Sam the pianist starts up with a different, more lively tune.  The patrons that were staring turn away, and the hum of conversation starts up again, lending baseline to the melody.

"Hello, Dece," Harrison responds.

"It has been... too long," Decedereful says.

Harrison simply nods, wavering a bit like a man who's just been shot through the heart.  He gallantly tries to hide his discomfort with a smile, but the pain is there.  He turns and leads Decedereful to the bar.  There, he pours each of them a fresh drink.  The two share another long stare.  Eventually, Decedereful lids her eyes and looks down at the counter.

"I wasn't sure you were the same," she admits.  "Let's see, the last time we met..."

"Was in the Lost City," Harrison finishes. 

"How nice, you remembered.  But of course, that was the day the Schnottzies marched into Uldum."

"Not an easy day to forget," Harrison says.

"No," Decedereful agrees.

"I remember every detail," Harrison continues.  "The Schnottzies wore tan, you wore blue."

Another long stare follows.  Once again, Decedereful breaks the moment.  She sips at her drink and smiles, but the smile is directed over Harrison's shoulder.  He turns.

"I see you have met my bride-to-be, Decedereful," Valentis says.

Harrison chokes on his drink as Dece goes over to put her arms around her man.  Valentis kisses her lightly on the check and the couple turns to face the owner of the club.  Harrison, having regained his composure, raises his glass.

"How nice for both of you," he says.

"Would you believe that there was a time," Valentis says, "when the war had separated us, and she thought I was dead?"

"I had given up," Dece admits.  "I was on the verge of leaving him behind."  She casts a significant look at Harrison.

"But fate brought us back together."  Valentis smiles at his beloved.

"Charming," Harrison says.  He then turns and begins rearranging things on the bar.

"Mr. Jones, it has been a pleasure," Valentis says, clapping the man on the back.  "I fear we must take our leave tonight, though.  I shall be in touch with you.  I am still expecting a message.  Please let me know if you hear anything."

"Of course," Harrison says distractedly.  "Good night to you both." 

He pointedly does not meet Decedereful's eyes.  She frowns, but allows herself to be led away.  At the door, she casts a brief glance over her shoulder.  Harrison is behind the bar, but his eyes are on her.  The pain in them is plain and raw.  She leaves.

It is hours before the club finally clears out.  Harrison exits from the back room and walks over to a table near the piano with several papers in his hand.  He spreads them out on the table and stares at them.  After a moment, he rises and walks over to the bar.  He sets out a glass and pulls out a bottle.  Hovering above the glass, he eyes the bottle.  Then, he puts the glass away, unused, and returns to the table, bottle in hand.  He takes a deep swig as he unfolds the most worn of the papers. 

He reads:
Harrison, I cannot go with you or ever see you again.  You must not ask why, just believe that I love you.  Go, my darling, and Light bless you.  Decedereful.

He takes another swig, and looks at the papers the Rogue had given him to hold onto.  He supposed they were his now.  Along with all the trouble they entail.

"Boss, ain't you going to bed?"

Sam sidles up with a glass in hand.  He has just finished cleaning up his area, and is apparently ready to leave.  Sensing his friend's mood, he sits across from Harrison at the table.

"Not right now," Harrison replies.

After a long moment and several more swigs, Sam asks, "Ain't you planning on going to bed in the near future?"

"No."  Harrison is still staring between the papers.

"You ever going to bed?"

"No!"

Sam takes a drink.  "Well, I ain't sleepy either."

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