She was meeting me for the first time, but had succeeded in insulting me. Blithely, she chatting away whilst still putting her foot in it. Aghast, I listened and silently wondered if this was deliberate or she truly had no clue! If it was the former she wasn’t half bad but if it was the latter, her social graces were altogether lacking.
Complimenting total strangers, male or female on dressing, accessories etc was common enough and socially acceptable. Informing one (the wearer in this instance) that their clothes needed a needle taken to (in your opinion) to ensure a proper finishing that had been neglected in the first instance. This was certainly pushing your luck and there was certainly no point to let on that the said item was a designer piece.
Envy or covetousness may have been her problem but I played dumb like I hadn’t in a while. This was a social function after all and not a brawl it could easily have turned into. I remember thinking that I wish I could tell her to shut her yap and stop spewing nonsense. Conscious of how that would sound I put paid to the thought before it bore fruit. I wasn’t angry, just mildly irritated that such an ignorant person existed and she just had to cross my path today. I guess my patience needed help and this was a test to help me exercise it, a necessary evil for every person of character. Gritting my teeth I persevered and looked for the slimmest chance to leave.
On the other hand it wasn’t entirely her fault; she was totally infatuated with Dirk and felt I was a threat…if only she knew. Tuning her out I scanned the crowd for my partner and finally located him in a cluster of three beside the fountain. After I’d managed to extricate myself from May, I strolled towards Dirk. Characteristically he had his right hand tucked in his pocket and gesticulated with the other as he chatted. Giving June a peck and a hard hug for Molly I joined the conversation.
I gave a condensed version of my escape from the socially challenged would be designer. My anecdote was met with a raised brow from Dirk and the girls discretely gave her the once over. Getting him to stay focused was crucial, there could be no room for mistakes tonight. Leaning into his arms I checked the wall clock as it inched closer to midnight. Taking a sip from his glass I touched my lips to his.
The lights blinked and went out. A voice asking people to stay where they were rang out. It also assured everyone that the back-up power would soon kick in. Before the end of that sentence the lights were back on. The next instance a piercing scream rang out and I tried to locate its origin. ‘Blood, there’s blood on her dress!’ the woman was pointing at me and I looked down. At the same time I felt pain in my side and looked down to find my pale yellow dress turning a deep red. ‘Somebody call an ambulance!’ was the last I heard as I slid to the ground.
The room slowly came into focus as I opened my eyes. The hissing I heard was from the machine stationed beside my bed. He was sound asleep in the chair but still managed to look dashing despite the rumpled clothes. His eyes flew open when I moved. ‘The doctor said you must take it easy. The wound wasn’t as deep as they thought and you’ll be stiff for a few days but none the worse for wear.’ All this came out in a rush as he stroked my hand. ‘Don’t worry I got the bastard that did this.’
‘Did you get the package?’ I asked impatiently. ‘Was it there?’ ‘Yes it was but I’m not pleased about the deviation from the plan! Don’t you know you’re more important than any code?’ smiling weakly, I squeezed his hand. ‘At least you got it, if you hadn’t I would not be too pleased!’ ‘You’ve got three days of twiddling your thumbs Gretchen, get used to it because it’s not negotiable.’ Watching him through lowered lids I asked how the itch was. Looking at me sharply, recognition dawned as he collapsed at the foot of the bed.
‘I really don’t like surprises Dirk, especially your jealous girlfriend that almost cost me my life. I know she’s the one to blame and since I cannot have that we’ve come to the end of our partnership. Pity because I really liked you.’ Sighing I pressed the switch that brought the technicians that would take away his corpse.