Lunchbox (June 1994 Revisited)
A Pink Dormouse Production
The heap of blankets on the sofa twitched. Marianne pressed a forefinger to mark her place in the comic and glanced over at it.
"You wanting fed?"
The pile of blankets moved some more to reveal dark hair and pale skin.
"What time we get in last night?"
"About an hour after the club shut."
"So how come you're awake before me?"
"Because I have the wisdom of age." Which translated to propping up the bar listening to music and letting the pretties come to her, rather than spending most of the night on the dance floor and about half the remainder in the toilets with some boy or other.
Sands had appeared on her doorstep the previous evening high as a kite and sporting a black eye, a split lip and several other minor injuries. None of which had affected his vanity in any way, shape or form. In fact he had seemed rather too pleased about them. She had not dared to ask.
Then in the club he had moved with a joie de vivre and self-assured confidence that had almost reminded her of Roal. There had been something about the way he had moved too. But Roal had never cheated on Dariel. Best not to dwell on the past, Marianne reminded herself, before the nostalgia trip could turn painful. She flipped the waffles out of the iron and added more batter. Then she returned to her comic.
"So," Sands said, sitting up and dragging his jacket from the floor to his lap. "Did you say something about food?"
"Waffles, bacon, syrup - and the coffee's just done now," Marianne said, abandoning her comic yet again to go pour two cups from the percolator. She took one over to Sands, then waited for him to finish rolling his first cigarette of the day. Well, if you took the view of day starting on waking, rather than at a minute after midnight anyway.
Sands lit the cigarette then looked up at her.
"That mine?" He took the mug and stared at the steam rising from it. "Did I leave a briefcase here last night? Before we headed out?"
"Under the table."
Sands put the mug down and dived onto the floor, managing to keep the cigarette out of harm's way. Marianne headed back to the galley - kitchen, she reminded herself as always - to check on the latest batch of waffles.
"You know," Sands said as he opened the briefcase. "It looks a bit, well, empty."
"This. I put the money in to pay - "
" - I don't need to know." Okay, so she had stayed in town because Dariel had asked, and because she was just a little curious as to how things would pan out between him and the pet. But she was still steering well clear of the Business.
"That's as maybe. I still say ten grand looks lost in a briefcase this size."
"Lower value bills?"
"So I just walk into the bank and ask to change all these fifties for fives?"
"Makes perfect sense to me."
"Far too suspect. What I need," Sands said, looking around the room, "is a smaller case. "Like that one, for example."
Marianne followed his gaze to the Batman lunchbox on the shelf above her stereo.
"Oh, no, that was a present from Charlotte."
"I thought you guys weren't seeing each other any more?"
"That might be only temporary. If she was a genuine ex, I'd let you have it gladly. Like the T-shirts. And the cassettes. And all the other random crap that seems to have walked out of this flat lately."
"Point taken." Sands stubbed his cigarette out. "What if I promise to get you another?"
"Another and tickets for Ani Di Franco's next tour?"
"Breakfast's ready." She would be able to think better once she was less hungry. After all, if she gave into him on this, what would she get talked into next?
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