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CHAPTER 1

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He'd been there for two hours already. He was no longer eager, he was now desperate. Why wouldn't anyone say yes?

He kept his eyes trained on the pair of light gray irises that stared at him in disbelief. Lisa sat with her back stiff against her seat and her hands delicately covering her mouth. He detected a slight tremble in her manicured fingers. She still hadn't said anything. A glance at his watch said she'd been still for two minutes.

He sighed. "What will it be?" he asked her eagerly.

She blinked rapidly before her eyes turned murky. A thunderstorm brewed in her pupils as her eyebrows lowered in a glare. He gulped. His eyes shut behind his glasses in preparation. It happened quickly. Her mouth had closed into a snarl seconds before her claw-like fingers stretched forward and imprinted across his cheek.

Jim's diner fell silent instantly. All eyes were trained on them. No one could ignore the loud thwack of the slap. He took a moment to work his jaw and to let the reverberating pain subside. He focused on maintaining his composure, though the urge to return the favor was intense. Unfortunately, his mother had raised him better. His mother would skin him alive if he ever did anything to tarnish the family brand.

When his jaw felt less stiff, he looked across the small table, only to find the seat empty. Across the diner, a blur of what was a Lisa shaped body tapped viciously out the door. She hadn't even said goodbye, not that he had expected anything more. He watched her body round the corner outside the diner before reaching for his coffee cup. It was his third and already lukewarm. He gulped it down before looking at his small notebook on the table. He opened it where his pen kept place between the pages. He scanned the page until his eyes found Lisa's name. Without care, he drew a thick black line through her name. She was number four of five. He sighed in frustration and closed his book. He glanced at his wristwatch again and noticed that he had only fifteen more minutes to wait until lucky number five was due to arrive. He said a silent prayer that she'd be the solution to his problem. She was his last hope after all.

"Would you like another?" He glanced up from his book and found his waitress looking towards his empty cup.

"Yes," he answered with a nod. He passed the cup towards her and watched as she carefully placed it on her full tray. With not much else occupying his time, he watched her wander the small diner. She was careful to put on big smiles when stopped by various patrons. She'd show no signs of irritation whenever she was asked something ridiculous. What no one beside him seemed to notice was how her body language changed when she wasn't in front of a customer. He wasn't sure how else to describe it except that she looked fed up with it all.

She reminded him of his sister when life got too much. It also reminded him of why he'd purposefully picked Jim's diner. It was your typical hole-in-the-wall establishment where neither the owners nor customers expected greatness. It was also a place he knew for certain the press would never find him.

"Here you go," said his waitress as another cup of coffee was placed in front of him. He looked towards her and found her smiling. Something about her fake politeness irritated him but, he didn't deserve anything more from her. "How much longer will you be using the table, sir? It's almost time for our dinner rush to start." She said to him.

"Not much longer. I'm just waiting on one more person." He picked up his coffee and took a sip. He sighed blissfully at the taste. He hadn't expected anything decent from the diner which was why he stuck with only drinking coffee. His first taste of it however, had surprised him. He'd never expected for it to be the best coffee he'd ever drunk.

"Is there anything more I can get you? We have a special on a delicious chicken pot pie." It sounded tempting but, he knew better than to eat pastry.

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