Last week, as you'll recall, Dallas got a surprise phone call from an unexpected source - his ex, Quentin Mandrake. Even more surprising, he agreed to go to lunch with him. Hmm, wonder what's up? Find out in this week's episode. Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow my tale. Enjoy!
Dallas in Wonderland II: Chapter Six
Dallas arrived at Chaucer’s early. Not that he was anxious to see his ex and certainly not for the questionable pleasure of his company. No, he had other motives for his actions, one being to make sure Quentin didn’t try to blindside him in some way, although he couldn’t have said exactly how he saw that happening. Secondly, he wanted to keep more control of the situation then he generally had in any of his dealings with that lying cheating bastard.
Most of the lunch crowd was gone or on their way out when Dallas arrived, although the bar still had its fair share of occupants. But it wasn’t the bar he wanted. No, he intended to keep his wits about him this day. He had no intention of letting Quentin rattle him or confuse him. And he certainly wasn’t going to accept his lies. Today he wanted only the truth.
A pink-haired waitress with a ring in her upper lip asked Dallas his seating preference. He was given a table by the window, along with two menus and a promise that she’d return when his party arrived to take their orders.
Dallas barely looked at the menu, drumming his fingers along the wooden surface of the table, his attention riveted on the sidewalk and the passersby that came within his view. Chaucer’s clientele was largely of the student variety. He didn’t see many of that type at the Rusty Heifer, which catered to an older, less exacting, and more drunken crowd. People whose taste buds were so damaged by alcohol and cigarettes that they basically ate anything and everything. His talent was certainly wasted there.
Speak of the devil...
Dallas glanced at a clock on the wall. And only ten minutes late, too. Quentin liked to refer to himself as fashionably late. It had been a bone of contention between them, back in the day. Seemed like forever. Dallas wished it was longer.
He came strutting down the street like he owned it. Like he was putting on a show for Dallas’ benefit. Who knows? Maybe he was. Ultimately, though, Quentin was his own biggest fan, and everything he did was for himself. A lesson Dallas had learned too late.
Dressed in a flashy red suit that simply screamed Quentin Mandrake. Certainly not off the rack. Probably a gift from an admirer. Quentin was too cheap to pony up for something like that himself. His dark curls framed his heart-shaped face in a carefully calculated disarray. Dallas knew only too well how much hair gel he used to arrive at that result. And if his pale blue eyes seemed very large, that was a cunning application of make-up.
How appropriate that Quentin had been a queen in Wonderland. That was Quentin all over. Drama queen, diva, and a can’t-keep-it-in-his-pants kinda guy.
Dallas watched Quentin enter Chaucer’s, watched as the waitress approached. He gave her a dazzling smile as he chucked her under the chin, a gesture Dallas was sure would have earned a slap from anyone else. From Quentin, it elicited a giggle as she showed him to the table where Dallas sat. Dallas half expected her to curtsey to his ex. Or kiss his feet.
Instead, she took their drink order. A Tequila Sunrise for Quentin, hot tea for Dallas. Dallas observed the water had yet to materialize.
“You look tired.” Quentin slid into his chair with a great deal of hip action and smirked at Dallas from across the table. “Too many hours at the Heifer?” He tsked his tongue against his teeth in faux sympathy and Dallas couldn’t help but notice he was wearing lipstick. Not gloss, but bright red roll-on color that shone and sparkled when he spoke.
“No, not really.” Dallas wished he had a wittier retort, but he didn’t. Truth was, working at the Heifer was taking a toll on him. But it was only one of many causes, the most prominent of his troubles being his relationship with Samuel.
And wasn’t that where his thoughts always returned, like the swallows of Capistrano? Dallas swallowed a sigh.
The waitress returned, with their drinks and more giggles, asking if they were ready to order. Quentin told her to give them a few more minutes. She batted her eyes, ignoring Dallas, and sashayed away. Dallas tried not to roll his eyes. Not like he hadn’t seen such performances before. Everywhere they fucking went.
Quentin gave an exaggerated sigh of his own. “Where’s a man in lingerie when you need him?”
Dallas gave him a sharp look. He returned it with a smile that would have made a nun burn. Dallas just found it annoying.
Quentin picked up his drink and made a production of sipping at it, letting the reddish liquid flow down his throat with exaggerated enjoyment. When he was half done, he replaced the glass on the table and shuddered in a delicate manner. Like a Southern belle with the shivers.
Dallas wanted to reach across the table and choke Quentin until he gave up the answers Dallas sought. But common sense restrained him. That and the knowledge that such an action would certainly fast track him to the loony bin. He was close enough as it was without adding insult to injury.
He could ask his ex how he was, who was he fucking now, was he still in school... any of the sundry queries one made of an acquaintance one hadn’t seen in a while. But to put a fine point on it, Dallas didn’t give a big fuck. If he did, he wouldn’t have left him to begin with, would he?
What he cared about was answers, and how to get them.
He had to be subtle, let Quentin think it was his own idea, in his own time.
And then he blurted out the words anyway.
“What about Wonderland?”
to be continued
Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!