Noir: Old Friends

She smiled. No… she beamed.

The maĆ®tre d’ came around his podium and offered her his arm but she declined it. Instead, she waited. Waited for me. I was her instrument and she was playing me like a virtuoso. I knew that and was powerless to prevent it.

I rose from the bar stool, strode to her side, and offered my arm. She took it. Then, raising herself on tiptoes and holding the back of my head with one hand, she kissed me. The heady, delicious scent of her perfume, the softness and gentle pressure of her lips and the taste of her was too much. Old emotions came flooding back. I embraced her and returned the kiss.

“I have missed you so much, Nick.”

I stepped back to take her in. Her voice had mellowed just a bit over the 10 years since I had last seen her and there were other subtle changes as well.

“You used to call me ‘Nicky.’”

“Would you prefer that I do so now?”

“Do as you will, Maryanne. But you’ve always done that, haven’t you?”

A twinkle in her eye showed that she understood the joke.

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