Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 70
This is for Miranda Kate's Mid-Week Flash Challenge. I went a little Mickey Spillane with this one. I do that from time to time. I don't know why. This story is just under the limit at 742 words.

You can find Miranda's site, with the prompt image here: Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 70 

Ave Maria  

I sat down on the bench and took a sip of my coffee. It was morning and I hadn't slept at all last night. I didn't have any place to sleep. Fortunately, the rain was only a heavy mist. 

Maria and I had met up with a tall, blonde guy named Tony. We were going to be the middle-men for a transfer of property between two parties. One of them might have been the owner. I wasn’t concerned about those sorts of technicalities since I really needed the money. Maria had the collateral to start the deal. Tony couldn’t find a use for me, so I was impolitely excused from the job. And the hotel room I’d paid for. The last thing I saw was Tony and Maria getting better acquainted.

I kept thinking about my life and what it had become. Every screw-up, every problem, every deal gone sour seemed to have one common denominator—Maria. Okay, I was there, too, but I wasn't in the mood to remember that right now. She was always all business with me, yet she had me wrapped around her little finger like a teenage kid with his first girl. She knew it, too, and she knew how I felt about her. It was how she looked in those short, little dresses she wore, her dark hair bouncing across her shoulders, all on top of the nicest legs you ever saw. She could make a burlap sack look hot. 

So, here I sat, in the rain, almost broke, no place to stay, and, worst of all, stewing over that image of Maria with her arms around blondie-boy. The rain was supposed to make the world fresh and new. Instead, it felt like every angel in heaven had gotten together to take a piss on me. I swear I could hear them laughing.

I was leaning forward, elbows on my knees, staring down at the wet leaves on the ground when I felt someone sit next to me. I glanced over and saw a pair of legs I knew well. Maybe too well. I didn't turn my head. I didn't need to; I knew it was Maria. And yet my eyes couldn’t help but follow those legs up as far as I could. They seemed to go on forever before disappearing under the hem of her dress. A black dress, of course.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

"You always said we were meant for each other."

"Yeah, well I've been wrong at least one other time, too." I pretended to ignore her legs. "I thought you'd be hanging out with your new 'business partner' now."

"The deal fell through."

"Go cry me a river, will ya."

We sat for a minute in silence before she spoke again. 

"I don't suppose you could buy me a coffee?"

"Buy you a coffee? You were the one with the dough to put up a stake. I’ve never seen you come out of a deal—even a bad one—empty-handed. I’m sure you sweet-talked your boy into helping out."

"We, uh, had a little disagreement about that."

There was something in her voice that made me uneasy. Maria never came out on the short end. Never. I sat up and looked at her. She was facing away from me, looking down the street at nothing in particular. Maria had eyes that could back down a Bengal tiger let alone a poor sucker like me. Why wouldn't she look at me now? I reached over and put a finger under her chin. I turned her head to face me. Even in the dim, morning light the bruise under her left eye was shining. Her lip was swollen.

"What the hell, Maria! I'll kill that son-of-a—"

"No." She cut me off cold when she grabbed my fist. "He isn't worth busting your knuckles over. I just wanted to hear you say that. You know how I am when you get all protective. And I guess I might have made a mistake once, too."

"Well, aren't we a pair?" I sat back on the bench and took deep breath. "So, now what?"

"I could still use that cup of coffee."

I looked in my wallet. "As long as it isn't a large."

"A latte would be fine."

"A latte?" I looked in my wallet again.

She bumped her knee against mine and smiled. "Come on, let's go."

Damn those legs.


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