Only Business

“I’m not above a little harmless flirting, if it helps get the job done. You understand, it never really becomes more than that, just a little chatting, a bit of intense eye contact, and perhaps my hand over their’s for the briefest of moments,” she said.

“That’s all well and good, but the fact remains, flirting is not what you were doing this morning when I found you,” he said, his fist clenching and unclenching to some unseen rhythm.

“Well, no. I will admit that last night got away from me. There was wine. There was talk. And for a mark, well, he was remarkably charming.”  Her lips betrayed the faintest hint of a smile. He slammed his fist down on the dining table, the coffee cups rattled in their saucers and the bud vase tipped over, spilling the flower and water out onto the white table clothe.

“Is this funny to you?”

“A bit.” She pulled a cigarette from the delicate sterling case and pressed it to her painted lips. The deep plum shade she’d worn the night before still lingered, and stained the edges of the filter. A low growl came up from the depths of his throat, but as the silence stretched between them, he broke first. His eyes darted to the table, his hand disappeared into a pocket and retrieved a lighter, and with a practiced motion he flicked it open with a thumb, lighting her cigarette in the process.

“I’m not happy, if you hadn’t guessed,” he said. Her smile stretched out wide, like a cat.

“Of course, darling, I don’t know that you ever are. If it helps you sleep at night, it was only business.”

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