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Not Just a Waiter

I wrote about a waiter in Vegas and how my friends and I love making up character backstories for people we meet (we're writing nerds, I know). Well, a friend sent me this fantastic short story with a potential back story for our charismatic server. Enjoy, and thanks a million to Cosmo for sending!!


"Ladies, I'd be happy to split this check six ways," Tony said with a

lopsided grin. He moved smoothly to the back room to do just that.

As he walked, Tony's eyes shifted slightly to the right, glancing briefly

at the tall, striking woman sitting alone in the corner. Their eyes met

for only a fraction of a second, but in that time a connection was made.

She was the one he'd been waiting for, the one who might have the

answers he'd been seeking for so long.

As he worked at the register to generate the individual checks for those

six women from the writers' conference, his thoughts drifted back to

that day in Algiers. The day when everything had gone horribly wrong.

The day when his partner, confidant, and lover had vanished without a

trace. Even after the police had combed through the rubble, and his

team had done their own investigation afterward, there had been nothing

to indicate whether she'd survived the blast, or been crushed beneath

the remains of the safe house. How had the others known about the

safe house? Why hadn't he checked for tripwires, as he'd done a thousand

times before? And perhaps most importantly, if she was still alive, why

hadn't she contacted him since? The questions burned in his brain, just

as they'd burned every day since that fateful one.

He felt a sting on his neck: the nearly-healed remnant of a knife wound

he'd received in Caracas the week before. He thought he could press

Ricardo for answers about the explosion, but his old underground contact

had seemed unusually, suspiciously reluctant to reveal what he knew.

They'd scuffled. Tony had paid for the argument with a slash on his

neck. Ricardo had paid much more dearly.

Pushing aside the nagging pain, he returned to the table with checks in

hand and a disarming smile on his face. He was accustomed to wearing a

mask, hiding in plain sight by assuming roles like a waiter while

quietly waiting for the next communique that would send him to another

exotic destination, another dangerous mission, another chance to put

things right. And, he reminded himself, another chance to dig into the

puzzle and find what he sought.

After some brief words with the women, Tony walked briskly toward the

corner booth. His muscles rippled beneath his shirt, barely containing

the anxious energy he felt. The slim pistol tucked beneath his

waistband reminded him that if things suddenly turned sideways, he'd be

ready. He hoped it wouldn't come to that. He hoped this woman had the

answers. Or, if not the answers, at least the tiniest of clues that

would lead him on a path back to his one true love.

She nodded as he approached. No words were spoken, but she slid an

envelope across the table. Abruptly, as Tony picked it up, she stood

and left the restaurant. More than one man in the establishment

followed her with his gaze, but Tony's attention was riveted on the

envelope in his trembling hand.

He opened it.

Written by Cosmo

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