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[center [i ""I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for[u [b all."] ] ] ]
We were not left alone for much longer after that. His buddy came back into the room, seeming pleased with himself. After all, he had orchestrated this whole meeting knowing exactly what would transpire by the evening’s end. I must admit, at the beginning of our meeting I expected that his friend was simply trying to set us up. It wouldn’t have been the first time that someone had tried that with me. After all, I am a young woman, unmarried and untainted. There were plenty of men lining up for me at home but since coming to the city it seemed that all men were interested in was a show and perhaps even a late-night frolic in the sheet of a dusty hotel room. That was not what I wanted, although I did not exactly want the whirlwind of marriage and children either. That was the dream my parents had for me. I just wanted the spotlight for an hour at weekends.
I still had no idea what Charles’ new role of bodyguard would mean for me. Did he have to remain in role twenty-four hours a day? Would it affect my living arrangements? There was still so much I did not know but I would have to get these things straightened out before I went back to my cousin’s place. At least I would be able to get my own place now, especially since the wage I was earning was likely above what most singers earned in the city. That was the price of silence I figured.
Regardless of my confusion I still managed to muster a laugh as the men interacted with each other. I could tell that there was a real comradery between the two and it was nice to actually see men who had each other’s backs. Too often had I seen men too quick to stab each other in the back when the other was not looking. As the two parted ways a smile remained upon my face and my gaze found the floor until Charles was speaking to me one more. I had considered just going home and getting rest for the evening but upon the mention of food I suddenly felt hungry, realising that I hadn’t eaten since breakfast that day. I tend to avoid eating when I’m nervous.
[b “I’d like that.”] I said towards him with a smile. [b “Although. I will change out of this ridiculous costume before we leave.”] I was only gone for about ten minutes but being in my own clothes without all the bells and whistles made be feel much more comfortable. [b “Seafood did you say?”] I said, announcing that I was back and ready to go.
"Getting use to everything." I mirror her words before I nodded my head in agreement. It would take time to adjust to what life had to offer. If never imagine myself being in ties with the mafia but as the French would say: "La vie est drole." Shifting from one feet to another I repeat the phrase louder just for the heck of it. Not entirely sure what it meant only that it roughly translated to something such as life is a funny thing, or perhaps that was just my take on what those words means. Still, the question remained what to do with the halt a brand that I had burning a hole in my pocket, there was always the urge to buy a new suite and look professional, but before I had a chance to contemplate any further, my eye spotted the other Jr waking toward us wth a cheeky grin upon his face.
"If it isn't my mini-me. I'm guessing my Uncle gave you guys the job. Aw, I knew you would be the perfect one to keep this one out of trouble." Jabbing an elbow in my side I knew he was just playing. I, being a country boy, knew well enough to mind my manners. That was beating into me with a switch, or a horse whip if my dad had really thought I needed a lesson. Though, granted, the beatings seldom happen but when it did I was hurting for what felt like days.
Reaching out towards the male, I grabbed him into a headlock and grinned. [b "Now the question is, whose gonna get you outta trouble. Don't forget, I'm just a body guard. Can't have ya acting all rowdy around the Misses now can I?"] Letting go with both let out a laugh since it was nothing more than just old military buddies rough housing and having a grand old time.
Thought I could smell the whiskey on the breathe and I was sure that if I had one more drink than I truly would be more than just buzz. I might actually cross over into the territory of being drunk and that was something I didn't want to happen tonight. Not when I was suppose to make her feel comfortable around me. Giving him about on his shoulders I let him go as he smirked at me.
"Don't forget the keys are underneath the rug when you come home alright?" He shouted out before leaving to go else where. What was it that he truly wanted, I'm not sure. But I guess under the influence of alcohol it could make one rathernforgetfil and loose tongued.. straightening up my jacket. I turned towards her and spoke [b "Have you eaten? Wanna get something to eat, I hear there's this place that's really good. It's suppose to be sea food."
It was true that I have never been so close to a gun and knowing that I would never be far away from one again was a chilling thought. I was never really built for violence and I couldn’t exactly predict how things might play out from here. Charles would likely have to use that gun at some point and I couldn’t help but wonder how far away I would be when that moment came. Perhaps I would watch men die or fight for whatever business this man was trying to keep going. I would just have to mind my own business and concentrate on what I am being paid to do and that is to sing. Which is what I wanted in the first place. Did it really matter what was going on in the background?
I snapped out of my thoughts as the man started to rummage around for glasses and bought out a spirit that made my stomach turn the moment he opened it. He was evidently expecting us to drink it and I thought that the man might respect the fact that I personally didn’t like drinking but as he spoke his words it was clear that he was expecting me to make an exception this once. Losing this job because I wouldn’t drink a shot of whiskey would likely be one of the most stupid things for me to do so I would have to swallow my pride. It was one shot. It wasn’t going to kill me. I took the glass from him and glanced towards Charles who seemed to be giving me a supportive look, as if he understood that doing something against my morals would be difficult for me.
[b “I suppose I can make an exception.”] I didn’t really have a choice in the matter.
I looking down at the liquid in my glass, the smell of it intoxicating my nostrils as I breathed it in. I closed by eyes and allowed the hot liquid to slip down my throat and when I was sure it was all gone, my face contorted and I coughed. It was embarrassing really but the men knew that I didn’t drink so would surely understand my reaction to it. When I put the glass down I found money being but where the glass had been. $500 was more than I was expecting and I could hardly believe what I was seeing. The whiskey had certainly be worth it. At least now, maybe I could get my own place rather than sharing a small apartment with a distant cousin.
Charles’ voice found me and I looked up at him as he checked on me. [b “I don’t like drinking at all, but if it’s something I had to do in order to make sure I didn’t lose us this job then I had to swallow it...literally.”] I laughed and shook my head before letting out a soft sigh. [b “I will be alright. More than anything I will just need to get used to everything.”]
[b "relax kiddo. You're scaring the misses that you're suppose to be protecting."]
I had been so caught up in the checking of the gun and the news that soon I would be acting as a hired body guard to both the mov and the misses that I had forgotten how tense the air was becoming. Letting out a cough, I slowly backed away.. I guess in a a situation such as this anyone would feel nervous. However, after having a brush with death back abroad at France nothing fazed me. Along with working on a farm as well. I was used to living a structured life and having heavy set rules place before me. So I had been expecting this to be the same..
Standing up once again, he moved to open the desk before producing a couple of shot glasses along with what looked like very expensive whiskey. It even smelt like it, and as I shifted my feet I wondered if this was him telling us that we would have to drink in order to seal the deal. While I, myself,I had no problems with it I wonder how ruby felt about drinking?
[b "I think we should celebrate our new arrangement first with a shot if whiskey. And than, starting next week you guys can start the role as body guard and singer. Since well be getting our shipment the day after. Now, Jr. I don't know if you have any experience lifting crates or moving them so you'll just be the hire muscle to make it look like instead of exporting illegal stuff what were carrying is fine and legally. And we just don't any anyone robbing us, After all, new York is a dangerous city ain't it?]
Handing me the shot glass, I took while he hand the other one to the Miss. Giving her a grin, he slowly murmured [i "I heard you don't drink, but this is the one and last time ima ask ya to. So if you be so kind as to make an exception for me miss?"] His voice came out falsely sweet but at this point there was no saying no to him so I gave her a supporting glance and took a breath.
Now that my breath smelt like whiskey and I had heat in my pants, there was a certain warmth that I felt within me that couldn't be denied. It was a happy feeling that made me want to just get down and dance. But, since this was my place of employment and I didn't have a holster to put my gun in it was probably a bad idea to dance with a load revolver in my pocket. Accidents happen. That way no doubt.
Turn in towards the Miss, I leaned against a wall and sighed. We were somehow given five hundred dollars apiece. Advance payment for the two weeks. I'm done know how she was getting paid, but I was promise more once i had help with the bootlegging. So now I was curious as to how my new cliental? Protectee? Singer? Friend? Would spend her new found wealth. I was expecting to be rich like Jay Gatsby, but it seemed as if I would be able to live a rather comfortable life which made me relatively happy. [i "You okay with everything? I know that you're not a big fan of drinking.."] I spoke softly looking at her,
The part of me that [I needed] this was relieved when Charles seemed to agree to taking the job. Maybe he needed the work also. After all, I don’t really know all too much about the man. I had only just met him, and it seemed that our meeting had more purpose than what was originally laid out on the table. I thought perhaps he might have been a business man but instead he would become my ‘bodyguard’. Of course, whilst that would appear to be his job he would have more of a responsibility to this gentleman than he would to me and what protection did I need? Was this world I was about to enter a little more dangerous than I had first thought? Yes, it was the other part of me that was absolutely terrified by the prospect of becoming involved in gang activity, even if it was indirectly. My purpose was simply to legitimise Charles’ role and I understood that entirely.
I watched carefully as the man moved around his table and pulled out a gun. I had never seen one up close before and I was sure that my breath hitched in my throat at the sight of it. More proof that we could be entering something dangerous here. I kept my mouth shut though, not wanting to lose the job for either of us. Charles reached for the gun. It was clear that he knew what he was doing with it as he checked the barrel. I, on the other hand, would not have a clue what to do with it if someone had thrust one of those into my hand. I wouldn’t even know how to pull the trigger and I was not sure that I would have it in me to do so if the situation would require it. My mouth went dry at the sight of the bullets and I had to swallow hard to lubricate my throat in case I was addressed. It would look awfully unprofessional if I couldn’t even answer a question.
I glanced towards Charles momentarily as he asked his final question. I could predict the answer before it was voiced. I had no doubt in my mind that our façade would begin the second we walked out of this door. How much would my life change now? Would I even notice a difference?
Whether on the field of war or the streets of the city it made no difference to me when it came to using deadly force. Shrugging my shoulders I spoke up and simple said. [b "Well there you have it. If the misses is fine with it than I'm fine as well. A soldier gave his oath to serve and protect and the people should have a right to drink."] I spoke shifting my weight from one foot to the other.
I never imagine that I would be throwing myself in with the gangsters. Than again, before I left for the war people like him who weren't afraid with being. abootlegger weren't common. Hell, I dont think they even existed if I were to be truthful with myself. As soon as I had gotten down speaking, I saw the man slowly close his eyes. Taking a long drag from his cigar he simply let out a puff before opening up his again. Snuffing it out, he simply start to walk around towards his desk. Reaching inside of the drawer, he opened it only to reveal a pistol sleak. Setting it down on the table he lifted his head towards me and spoke "I trust that your familiar with this sorta thing kid?"
[b "More or less."] I spoke as I head towards the desk to reach for the positl. Holding in ny hands I carefully felt the weight of it. Before checking to see if it was load. It was. I guess these guys truly did mean business didnt they. Nodding my head I simply headed back to standing beside Ruby and watch to see what her reaction was.
[b "So when do we start?" ]
Perhaps I already knew that Charles wouldn’t know that answer to my question. He seemed just as perplexed by the situation as I was, but perhaps less nervous as I though. I am just a jazz singer, so it did not make sense for the boss of this place to want to see me with alongside the stranger I had only just met. I decided not to dwell too much on the situation at hand and I told myself that my questions would likely be answered shortly.
There was something daunting about the door as I approached it but I know that was more about the fact that I have no idea what fate awaits the moment I step through it. I took a deep breath and attempted to his any nerves that might have been visible upon my face before I entered.
I took in the sight of the room and allowed by eyes to drink in the sights. The smell of smoke and whisky filled the air, but it was not much different to the atmosphere of the bar. I’m not naïve in the slightest. I understand how men made their money regardless of the restrictions of the times. When I agreed to sing here I knew that there would be an amount of illegal activity that I would have to contend with and turn a blind eye to.
As the man awaiting us snapped his fingers the door behind us closed and I looked around for a moment as if to check that I had not imagined it. No sooner than a few seconds later, the man was standing and moving towards his desk. He was certainly enough to make men feel intimidated and that stare…it went right through me and made my very soul feel cold.
Straight to business. I took over at Charles to see his answer to the man’s question. I’m not entirely surprised that he had experience with a gun. Many men did but that did not do much to explain why we had [I both] been invited to meet with him. Although, I did not have to wait too much longer for my answers. I raised by eyebrow at the way he addressed me. Why was it so difficult for a man to address a woman by their name? Now was not the time to allow myself to get caught up in such things.
Truth be told, I was in no situation to turn the job down. I needed the money. The city was not a cheap place to live and this was always supposed to lead to paid work. All I had to do was agree to sing and keep my mouth shut and that seemed simple enough to me. I looked over at Charles, wondering was his position on the proposition would be. Both of us had to agree or neither of us would have a job, at least that was how it seemed.
[b “I can only speak for myself but what you require of me seems simple enough. If he’s in, then so am I.”]
"You're guess is as good as mine.."
My voice came out slow and steady before I headed towards the door which held the key to both of our fates. I knew, deep down on my heart, that if I could trust my friend within the very bowels of France than I could trust my friend in the midst of the prohibition era. Though I was curious as to how his uncle was. I'd never seen the guy and as we headed towards the door, the first thing that great me was the heavy scent of cigar smoke and the smell of fresh bourbon in a glass. The back of the chair had been turn towards us, and so we couldn't seen the face of the man but I guess this was all about building suspense in one way or another..
As he gave a snap of his fingers, the door behind us closed and the male slowly stood up. Walking around the door, I could barely believe my eyes. He looked like the sitting image of Tony Jr. If I hadn't know better, I'd say that this was his older brother or something of the sorts. Yet, as he moved to sit down on his desk he slowly put out the cigar. Lifting the glass of bourbon to his lips, he sipped from it heavily before he place it down and once more gave me a hard look along with pretty little Ruby.
[i "My time is very valuable. So ima cut the introductions. You, Junior. Can you shoot a pistol?"]
I nodded my head. I had plenty of experiences with guns.
[i "Good... You, singer.girl. I like ya. But the biggest bang from out buck comes from selling liqour. I'm running a boot legging company. And i need strong men. But I also need to keep the cops off my trail. So, you're welcome to.sing her every weekend. Well pay ya for your time and Charles here, is gonna act like your body gaurd. When hes actually gonna be helping protect my boys from competition and helping us load the barrels. Now either ya accept the job, or both of ya's act like you never seen this place. And yall never step foot.in here again. We got us a deal? Miss Grant? ?Junior." ]
I couldn't speak for her, but as for myself I was stunned. The last thing I expected was to be working for the mob, much less offered a job as a body gaurd. Even if it was pretend work. No longer Tony had been wanting to make sure i got along with Ruby.
As soon as the music stops and I take a moment to breath it’s as though everything stopped. I can hear the cheers of the crowd but it sounds muffled and I can see the people clapping but it’s as though everything is played in slow motion. This is what I came to the city for and now that it was happening I didn’t want to let the moment pass me by too quickly. I just want this to last a little longer because I really don’t know when I might get the chance to sing again. Although, a part of me is quietly confident that I may have done enough to secure a residence here but I don’t want to jinx anything. There was nothing in the world that could wipe the smiled from my face right now.
I glanced over towards Charles and noticed that the gentleman who had introduced them had now returned from wherever he had been and as Charles stood, his friend made his way towards her on the stage where I had returned for me to finish the song. I smiled towards him and let out a small laugh as he addressed the crowd. It was such a rush to hear the crowd cheering for me once more and I was overcome with so much adrenaline that caused an unplanned laugh escape from my lips and I nodded towards the crowd as some more of them rise to their feet.
I closed my hands over each other and bite the inside of my lip as the man leans into towards me so to whisper something in my ear. The residence was confirmed in an instant and I felt relief and I couldn’t help but show the happiness upon my face as he asked the crowd to congratulate her. This made the move worth it. Tony walked towards Charles and I followed behind slowly, still elated from being able to secure everything I wanted to from this situation. As soon as we stopped in front of Charles some confusion came over me. Why on earth did the boss want to meet me? I’m just a singer and it didn’t make sense but that didn’t matter right now. I glanced over towards over towards the door that Tony had pointed out.
[b “He wants to meet the both of us? Why?”]
Of course, I would've mind talking to the beauty which say across from me more however i was more interested in watching her performance which was about to take place. Leaninf back againat my chair, my eyes turned rowards the man who was snatching her away from me and an eyebrow raised as he mention the prospect of a free drink. Shaking my head, I polite declined. If anything, I walked in the mood for smoking a cigarette what, with the smell of smoke so potent in the air but that matter nor. Instead, I was prepared to be dazzled by the sight of the female dancing upon the stage and right as she took the Mic, that was when Tony Jr came to sir down by my side.
A smile was in his face as he reached into his pocket and pulled our a cigar like he was some hotshot. And he was indeed, since his uncle was the club owner of this club. The moment that the band started to play, I was taken aback by the sound of it all. It didn't have the melancholy tonality that the southern spirituals that the negros had. Instead there was something about it that was different, something which drew me in. Leaning forward, I slowly watched as her body and voice complimented the music. Unaware that I was in the presence of such a fine woman who held such talent.
And as she neared the song and walked through the crowd of people, watching as she stopped to sing occasionally to the people, I felt my breath hitch up in my chest as I saw the way she stopped just short of me and I caught her eyes for the briefest of moments before I heard her song the last note. As soon as her voice dies out, the room was filled with people clapping and whistling. People stood to their feet and there was a smile upon my face as I also clapped my hands. Placing a hand upon my shoulder, my friend spoke to me. [i "What ya think eh, Jr? She ain't half bad ya? The type of girl worth pickin' a fight over ya?"]
Nodding my head, I spoke over the road of the crowd. [b 'She sure is.."]
[i "Good, I'm glad ya think so.. Cause well, you'll see.."]
Standing up, it didn't take long for my friend to make it over to the girl and flash the crowd a wink. There was another Mic on stage, and as someone went to hand to him, he spoke [i "Lets all give a round o applause for the Miss beautiful Ruby Grant and her one a kind voice ya!?] He spoke smiling.
Blinking, I wonder what it was that he had up his sleeves for her, I always knew that my best friend was always scheming and trying his hardest to stay ahead of the game and so as he clapped his hands, he leaned in whispering something to her head before he turned once again ask the crowd to congratulate her. [i "And she'll be back here next week, so make sure ya guys come back her for that! To!!" ]
After all that was done, Tony walked towards me and jerked his head towards a door that I hadn't notice before hand, it must have been covered or something cause what he said next came as a surprise. [i "Alright Junior, time to get down to business. The boss wants to meet you and the girl..]
Blinking my eyes I must have had a look on my face cause he laughed. [i "Dontya sweat it. I ain't never done ya wrong and I ain't gonna to eithee."]
I couldn’t quite decide what I thought about the man that sat across from me just yet. I was still so unsure about why such a meeting had been set up or even why this man had introduced Charles to me, but I try not to judge other people. I reserve judgements for [I after] I get to know people rather than trying to guess what their motives were. As Charles begins to speak I could not help but notice a few of the men over at the next table looking over at me. It was so obvious that they were talking about me by the way they were pointing at me and smiling with a wink. I couldn’t help but blush slightly, not quite sure how to handle that kind of attention. This had been part of the reason why my parents were so against me moving into this industry in the first place. They didn’t see how one simply become a performer without also losing themselves into the forbidden world of sex because apparently men could not see anything else when they watch a singer on stage.
I forced myself to look back towards the man before me and decided to focus my attention on him rather than the crowds who were trying to get my attention. He was a lot more interesting to me anyway. It was so obvious that he had a past and that made him who he was and I was sure the moment he started to talk that I could listen to him talk all day, however it seemed that there were other plans in play for me. As Charles finished his drink, I had noticed that I had finished my glass of water and just on time, the man who had given me the show made his way over to our table and he smiled towards me before turning to Charles.
[I “Can I get you a drink? It would be on the house too as I am afraid that I have to steal Ruby away from you for a moment.”] I raised my eyebrow as he spoke.
[b “Oh? Why might that be Jeremy?”]
[I “Well princess, there are a lot of people in here demanding to hear you sing again so I was hoping that you might go up there and sing again and then when you are done, I want you to come by tomorrow to talk some more about a residency here.”]
The moment he said those words I couldn’t take the smile from my face. In an instant I leaned over to kiss Jeremy’s cheek before making looking back towards Charles.
[b “I’ll be back. I hope you don’t get anywhere.”] There was nothing more exhilarating that being on the stage and as I made my way there the different song choices running through my head.
The crowd was so loud the whole time I spoke to announce that I would be singing one last song. I made sure that my eyes were locked with Charles’ for a moment, mainly to check that he was still there and watching. This performance was slightly different to the others in tempo. It was slightly slower and required a different approach to the raunchy attitude I had given to some of the songs in my previous set, but the attention of the crowd was still focused on me. As the song began to near it’s end I moved my way through to the crowd and stopped occasionally to sing to members of the crowd before ending my song not too far from Charles.
The more she talked about herself, the pre it made sense that the other Junior introduced us to each other. His father was the man who owned the very club were are at; he figured that a jazz club would be the perfect cover for his illegal liquor trade. Stirring the glass of whiskey, I nodded in acknowledgment to her words when it came to being a soldier. If anything, I didn't miss the loudness of the war. Or the constant fear that came with it along with the faces of lifeless soldiers staring back in the pit of the trench, again, life as a soldier wasn't to, to bad. It allowed me to see Paris, or what was left of it at least. The women there were rather beautiful the only plus to being stuck in a hospital fighting for my life.
Sipping on my whiskey again, I looked at her and spoke, [b '"Part of why I'm here is actually because my friend, Tony Jr.. we're both named Jr, his unclw owns this club actually. And he brought me here as a favour since we both fought in France. The war was how we met."] Setting down the glass of whiskey, I let out and sigh. There was something about the burning sensation which always warmed me up quite a bit. And help loosen my tongue.
Not that it needed to be loosen, however as she spoke about performing again I cocked my head to the side. So it was the second guess that seemed to hit the mail on the head. I was indeed in the presence of a singer, and a beautiful one at that which caught my intention even more and kept me enthralled in this conversation. Her comments on jazz was evident. Even though it didn't speak to me personally-at least not yet- it did remind me of home. A part of me missed the negro spirituals that the workers on my uncle's farm would sing whilst they worked for him. I remember sweating beside them whilst I picked cotton on my uncle's farm to earn some money for candy or pop. That was the sorta man he was. The only family member that didn't have a racist bone in his body. He believed a man was worth what he worked and skin color didn't make a bit of a damn difference to him. It made me miss him dearly.
[b " You strike me as one with a lovely voice, Miss Ruby. So I wouldn't mind at all watching you perform on the stage if I was given the chance."] It was an honest answer from me. In truth, [b "I don't think I've ever sing a woman sing jazz.. back home, in the south, the closed thing I guess we have to jazz are the songs the sharecroppers on my uncle's farm would sing back when I picked cotton next to them during the Missippi summers."]
Once more, i reached for my glass to sip my whiskey and let out a long sigh. It was the final sip that finished off the glass. And even though my lips were thirsty for more whiskey, I'd rather have some more water. Getting drunk in the presence of a lady seemed to be wrong.
Intriguing was certainly the right word for the man who sat before me. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was about him that made me feel that way. Perhaps it was the fact that the man who had introduced the two of them felt the need to lie about his involvement in this establishment. I smile towards him as the waitress brings us our order and I take a sip of my water. It was exactly what I needed considering how I had just spent the last hour or so on the stage. I still hadn’t got over the ecstasy that the performance had given me and for some strange reason it made me feel brave. Whether that would come to any use whilst I sat conversing with Charles, I didn’t know but it sure couldn’t cause any harm.
I watched his face as his contemplated my question and I could almost see the thoughts crossing his mind as he attempted to find the right words to say. Either than man did not have a line of work and he was attempting to falsify one or he was simply taking his time to answer me to increase my levels of interest. I could not deny that it worked. Raising my glass to my lips once more, I waited patiently for a response. It wasn’t long before I got one. My lips turned up into a smile as he spoke and I made sure that he knew that being a solider definitely counted as a line of work. If anything, I think my intrigue increased along with my respect as his admission.
[b “I believe that being a soldier counts more than any other profession. Although I can imagine that it is hard coming back to America like this. I do hope that you find a line of work that pleases you if that’s what you wish for.”] the last thing I wanted was to offend the man. Being unemployed was not exactly what a man wanted to admit to someone but in my mind a soldier deserved to take some time to re-evaluate priorities and choose a career that would make him happy.
[b “That is exactly why I love jazz myself. It speaks to me more than any other kind of music and it has certainly made me the woman I am today.”] I took another sip of my water as Charles seemed to enjoy his whiskey. I personally didn’t like the smell of the stuff but I wasn’t exactly close enough to allow the aroma to enter my system.
[b “You would be right. This was actually my first night performing here. I hope it might turn into a permanent residence here but I suppose that would depend on the reaction of the punters.”] I looked around and noticed that some of them were looking towards me and could only come to the conclusion that they were talking about me. [b “I’m not going to lie. I am hoping that I get to perform again before the night is out. Perhaps you might stay and listen.”]
The answer to her question, I found was a rather hard one to answer correctly. Back during my time in the war and my time in France, i had wondered around trying to come to terms with the aftermath if the war, it was unfortunate, but many of the men around me caught a certain sickness and more men died from that damned illness than actually combat. So I found myself fighting that sickness as soon as victory had been won. Whilst lying sick in the hospital bed dreams came to me. Some of the pass and some of a future which I didn't know was for certain. But, seeing as how luck was on my side, my father had sent me enough money to stay in Paris for a while unto it was my turn to return back home to the State of America.
So, in retrospect the only line of work I had was proving to be a tough bastard to kill. Smirking a little in amusement of the thought of me somehow being immortal, I ordered a glass of whiskey to wash away the bad memories before I turned towards the girl again. [b "Does being a soldier count as being in a line of work? Otherwise it would be embarrassing to say that as of right now, I'm underemployed.."] I didn't meant to lie to the miss and say that I was unemployed. But, seeing as my friend Jr, the Italian one, was currently trying to get me in with his father's business, I hardly knew what exactly it was that I had else to say.
Now, of course, when she made the jazz comment I couldn't help but nod my head in acknowledgment. [b "Mmhm. I'm newcomer when it comes to the art of jazz."] But that didn't mean that I was oppose to learning more about it's strange but soaring melodies. It captivated my heart and held me mesmerize and a way that certain words couldn't properly describe. [b " It reminds me of home..."]
And it did truly, I was envious of Any one that could willingly bare their souls out like that. Swirling the cup of brown liquor together, I slowly took one sip from the whiskey and let out a sigh. It'd been too long since I truly enjoyed a good alcoholic drink and this one hit the spot and seemed to warm up the depths of my soul. Setting it down, I cock my head sideways. I was very interested in her, I'm guessing with the way she looked and why my friend had said earlier, she was some sort of singer? I didn't want to be rude and jump to conclusions, but, I couldn't help but feel as if there was some truth in that conclusion.
[b "and how about you, Miss? Is it right of my to jump to the conclusion that you are an entertainer of sorts?"] Judging by how she order the glass of water it wouldn't have surprise me if she was a dancer or a singer perhaps. I doubt that she was one of those flapper girls, which I heard rumors about. I've never met one, personally. But I wouldn't be against meeting one at all,
I couldn’t help but take the loneliness as an opportunity to look around the establishment, sure to look around at the people as much as I looked around at the building. Everyone here seemed to be having such fun that they wold not have a single care in the world. Perhaps once I am completely settled here I might find such luxuries in the little things that this city has to offer.
All I have ever known is a small farm out in the country. I was supposed to settle down with a farmer, like the other women and keep a farm of my own, raising cattle and honouring my wifely duties to whomever might have become that man. I could almost laugh at the prospect of it now, knowing that might have been my life if I hadn’t been brave enough to turn away from what was offered to me.
It wasn’t until I turned my head and begun to look towards the door that I noticed that two men were beginning to walk towards my table. It was so clear that these two men were the men I had been beckoned to meet. The moment that I realised they were here for me, I rose to my feel so that I could greet them properly, although I am still not accustomed to how a lady should address a man around these parts.
I made sure that my smile was as charming as possible, and I greeted the hand that was offered to me with haste. [b “Well it is a pleasure to meet you both.”] I couldn’t help but notice that the gentleman who took my hand did not take the time to tell me his name, but he was quick to introduce his friend who stood beside him. My gaze finally went to him and I smiled once more before lowering myself back onto the chair that I had so quickly left when they arrived. Soon enough the two of us were left alone and I couldn’t help but let out a quiet laugh.
[b “Charles Jr. I do believe that your friend might have told a little lie about how much influence and knowledge you have around here.”] My tone was not unkind, in fact I found it rather comical and I couldn’t help but let out a laugh to let him know that it did not bother me. [b “Forgive me, you just don’t appear to me as someone who might know much about jazz other than the pleasure it might offer to you when you take the time to listen. Tell me Charles, what line of work do you find yourself in?”]
As I finished asking my question a waitress appeared at the table and asked if we would like something to drink. I have very little trust in alcohol, so I would not let any pass my lips this evening, besides I needed to be ready if anyone were to ask me to sing again so I asked for water, waiting to be left alone with the intriguing Charles Jr once again.
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