What Brings Us Together Today

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"My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me" ~ Winston Churchill

~**~~**~

"Could you stop fidgeting?"

"Could you stop being such a control freak?"

After Jack had promised that the next stop would include buttermilk pancakes, she had quickly forgotten her rage. He had pulled over at a rustic diner on the edge of Fairfellow, the next town over from Rinshawn.

The diner was everything that diners were supposed to be, in V.C.'s opinion. Small. Family Owned. And still stuck in a time warp from the 70's.

Retro barstools lined the white diner counter while a man in a grungy grey (or previously white) t-shirt flipped pancakes behind it with practiced ease. An elderly couple occupied one of the four booths in the small restaurant, sitting flush against the wall. V.C. decided, from their body language, that they were currently fighting over who got to read the morning paper first.

The wife won.

Observing the couple, V.C. couldn't imagine loving someone so much that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with them. Forever seems like an awfully long time, no matter how much in love one was.

Don't get her wrong: V.C. believed in love, unicorns, mermaids, the Illuminati. And that Elvis was still alive. But she just didn't believe that she could ever love someone that much. Or have someone love her in return.

But anyway, in terms of feelings, this time negative ones, she pondered her figurative leg-shackle.

Sitting across her in the booth, nursing a cup of steaming black coffee between his hands, was Jack, silently judging her doodles on the paper tablecloth.

Well. Not exactly doodles, but rather advanced derivations of multi-variable calculus. However, she guessed that upside down they probably looked like scribbles.

For some reason mathematical ramblings made her relax more than a couple of fingers of rum ever could.

But the same couldn't be said for her current companion. He systematically swirled his coffee counterclockwise with a silver spoon. Not that it mattered; he hadn't put in any sugar or cream. Just plain black.

Like his soul.

Narrowing her eyes at the rigid man in front of her, V.C. dropped her pen on the table to formulate a plan.

A mastermind at work.

Only someone with a high intelligence, knowledge of advanced physics, and a steady hand could pull off what she was going to do...

It all came down to precision and timing...

He never saw it coming.

The paper wrapper shot off the straw to hit Jack in the right pectoral.

Bullseye.

The Commander slowly placed down his coffee and bent his neck to look at his chest. Staring at the phantom bullet hole over his heart, he remained like that for a few minutes; frozen like a statue.

Finally, he lifted his head to berate her, deep lines etched between his eyes. "You're such a child."

His chiding annoyed her to no end so she returned his scowl with a downturn of lips. But instead of verbally retorting, she picked up her abandoned pen with aggravated haste. Clicking it open with her thumb, she was fully intent on ignoring the infuriating, fun-hating man across from her. The pen point had just tapped the tablecloth when. . .

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