The Henchman

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Evan had had his eye on her since he'd sat down at his assigned table. She was gorgeous, a pale vision in deep blue with a dyed-black pixie cut and a perpetually displeased expression. Somehow, her scowl only made her more spectacular. He barely noticed any of the other women who sat down with him as they changed tables every five minutes. It wasn't that they weren't attractive or interesting, they just weren't the woman currently at table nine.

"You're not even listening, are you?"

His current "date" was giving him the stink eye.

"Oh, uh, no, I'm listening. Zookeeper, yeah, fascinating. So, you like animals?"

The woman, he'd already forgotten her name, rolled her eyes. "I said I do bookkeeping. You know, if you're not interested, you could have said so at the beginning."

"I'm sorry, really."

She tried to glance around behind her at the object of his attention.

"You're already hooked on someone, aren't you? Do you think she likes you too?"

A light blush crept up his cheeks. "We actually haven't spoken yet. What about you? Have you met anyone you liked?"

She shrugged. "Not really. It's all right, though. Speed dating doesn't work out every time." A bell rang, signalling a table change. The bookkeeper stood and, to his surprise, smiled. "Good luck with your dream girl."

"Thanks, you too."

At least she'd been nice. The guy at table two stood to greet her and pulled out her chair. Maybe he'd be the one for her, Evan thought. Then he scanned the other tables. Where had his girl gone now? Not at four, ten, five-

"You're a winner, aren't you? At least the last few guys pulled the chair out for me."

She was right across from him, propping her head against one hand and tapping the table with the other. Evan choked on his tongue and scrambled for the water.

"I am so sorry," he said after a small coughing fit.

"As well you should be." She sat up straight and leaned back far enough that she must have been balancing the chair on two legs. "Let's get the small talk crap out of the way. Name?"

"Evan. Evan Jones."

"Boring. Are you usually boring, Evan?"

Not usually, in his opinion, but telling her he'd robbed the 5th Street Bank dressed as a mostly naked cherub last week was probably not the best first impression. Half for the robbery, half for the costume. You worked for Aphrodite for two reasons: 1) you had no shame or 2) you needed the money that bad. A miniscule percentage of ten million had been worth it.

"I get out on the town enough, paint it red."

She raised an eyebrow.

"Metaphorically I mean! Not with, like, actual paint or, or blood or anything."

"Hmph. Pity, that might have actually impressed me."

"Is it too late to change my answer? I mean, I can go get some boys together--"

The vision gave him half a smile. As far as Evan was concerned, he'd just won the Publisher's Clearinghouse.

"So do I get to know your name?" he asked.

She gave him a long, hard look-over. Then she shrugged. "Patricia. Never call me Patty unless you want to find out how easy it is to sing soprano."

"Well, my barbershop quartet's been saying I should improve my range."

She snorted a laugh. "Don't tease a girl, Evan. So, job?"

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