Zane smiled, shrugging as he picked at the last of his food. "Kinda outta the habit of asking a woman out. Before my six month forced vacation, I was—" He gulped down the last of his coffee, not completing the sentence.
"Invisible." Gina supplied.
Zane looked at her curiously.
"Electrocuted. Bound and gagged? Pick one."
He laughed, white even teeth flashing in the sunshine that filtered in through the blinds. "No, I was married."
"But she divorced me minutes after I was arrested. Literally served me with the papers when I was being hauled off."
"She took up with your partner right after, huh?"
"How did you guess?"
"Cause anyone who would dump a guy like you would have to be one crazy bitch. And only a crazy bitch would hook up with a total douchebag like your ex-partner."
Zane laughed loudly. Putting his hand over his mouth, he quieted himself. "God, that's too funny. Where did that even come from?"
"It seemed logical. I bet your business is worth a lot of money. You probably had a pre-nup that prevented Psycho-Barbie from getting her hands on it if you divorced. However, if you got arrested for something, like—say, international smuggling—your part of the business reverted to her and Disco-Billy. Am I close?"
"Right on the money. How did you know?"
"Cause your buddy must have watched The Heist with Pierce Brosnan."
"It's his favorite movie...."
"He stole the plot and set you up, Zane. How did they catch him?"
"Angelica turned him in."
"Let me guess, tell me if I'm right. She's in complete control of it all now, right?"
"Right. She has to give me back my half now that I've proven my innocence."
"Like that's gonna happen."
"Lots of things are court mandated. What planet are you from? You think that everyone obeys the law?"
Zane shook his head, sad smile on his lips. "I like to try and see the best in people."
"They leave you in a constant state of disappointment, right? Me, I expect to be let down."
"But the problem with that attitude is, you usually are."
"Yes, but at least I'm prepared for it. I got tired of bad surprises. Now, if I get screwed over, at least I knew it was coming and I'm ready."
"Sorry way to live, Gina."
"The alternative isn't any less so, Zane."
"At least I can hold to my pretty illusions for a little while before it all goes to hell."
"But they're still illusions."
"How did we get on such a happy subject?"
Gina giggled, her napkin over her mouth so she wouldn't spew her food. "I don't know. I was just wondering that. I don't usually get like that unless I'm drunk."
"You're probably tired. I know I am. I can't sleep. There's just too much going on." He tapped his head. "Up here. It's like my mind won't shut off or something."
"I know that feeling. Face it, Zane. You need to get laid."
He burst out laughing, tossing his napkin across the table at her. "Thank you, Dr. McCartney. That's your unbiased assessment?"
"I don't have to be a genius to see it. How long has it been, just out of curiosity?"
"Your curiosity takes you to some pretty weird places, Gina. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with this subject."
"Are you shy, Zane?"
He looked uncomfortable, squirming again in his seat. "No, Gina. I'm just embarrassed to talk about it."
"Why? Cause you don't know me very well?" she took a sip of her coffee, meeting his eyes over the rim of her cup.
"No. Because I'm interested in you and I don't want you thinking I'm some kind of sex-crazed-stalker-creep who just wants in your pants. You know it's been at least six months."
"I bet your wife was holding out on you for awhile before the incident. I'm gonna guess nine months?"
Zane closed his eyes, dropping his head. "Eight and a half."
"Like I said, you need to get laid."
"Does that mean you're volunteering?"
His blue eyes held her in thrall for a moment. Did it? She wanted to say yes, thinking she should to say no.
"There's no easy answer to that question. If I say yes, I'm a slut. If I say no, your feelings get hurt."
"Then just say maybe." His smile softened, his eyes fathomless ocean of blue.
"That'll do." He grinned and took a sip of his coffee.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes
Dellani Oakes is the author of 10 published novels and over 100 more which haven't been published yet. She's a Blog Talk Radio host on the Red River Radio Network. She's also former A.P. English teacher and journalist.