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Castro Bridge Mix #17: Bidding Wars

Mar 10, 2014

The Olympic Club

“I thought I’d never see you again.” Dereck felt a sudden rush go through his body. He felt suddenly more complete as he looked into Waffles’ face.

“Well aren’t you the little drama queen. You’re not getting rid of me that easily. I’ll always be your friend, Dereck.” Waffles realized that several Olympic Club members had recognized him so he began to walk out the front door. Dereck followed closely behind him.

“Is that all you want us to be? Friends?” Dereck was surprised that he was revealing how he felt, but he also knew he might never got another chance.

“I thought you were seeing that singing card player. The guy who saved my life.” He knew he had to come clean with his current situation. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel anything for you, Dereck. But I’m seeing someone. I guess our timing kinda sucks.” Waffles smiled innocently and shrugged his shoulders.

Dereck turned away as if he was going to leave. Then in a sudden about-face, he went over to Waffles, put his arms around him and kissed him passionately on the lips. “Yeah. I think you’re right. We have really crappy timing.”

***

Mae’s

Tell Williams wore his billowing black cloak like shadows dancing around his sinewy frame as he glided over the hundred-year-old wide plank wooden floors in Mae’s Grand Hall. Removed from the illumination of the direct sun, his translucent skin returned to its naturally ashen complexion while his long, narrow fingers stretched out like human tentacles rearranging everything within his reach from players’ seating charts to Tally’s bowl of dog food.  He possessed an unbridled love for helpless creatures. As long as they weren’t human.

“Hello, Natalie.” He spoke her name without ever turning to face her as if the eyes he kept on the back of his pointy head had already announced her identity to him.

“Evening, Tell.” Natalie Blaze looked like she had just come from one of her numerous horse showing competitions in her affluent Silicon Valley hometown, Woodside. She had hoped that she wouldn’t be the first person to arrive at the Bridge studio that evening.  But after seeing that only Tell was present, she doubly regretted her decision to leave early. She just wanted to get out of the house so badly and Mae’s had felt like it would be the safest place to run. Until now.

Tell lifted a metal tray of duplicate Bridge hands slated to be distributed throughout the rather large ballroom. “Intriguing game this duplicate Bridge.”

“And what makes you say that?” Normally, she wouldn’t have had the opportunity or the desire to utter more than five words to this rather enigmatic older man, but tonight was different. After Marc’s death, Mae’s wasn’t the same place to her. And now with Waffles’ attack she was really on edge.

“How each player receives the identical set of cards and is marked on what they make of them. Of course, in the real world, very few of us begin the game with the exact same hand to play.” He caressed the chocolate brown fur on Tally’s back which made him look like a gentle soul when viewed from a distance. “That’s a good doggie.  Yes, Tally. Good doggie.”  He handed the chocolate labrador puppy a special treat he had gotten over at the nearby pet store Best In Show.  “Here you go Tally. Good girl.”

“I should be brushing up on my Bridge conventions.” Blaze wanted to remove herself from their conversation, but something about him was drawing her in.

“How is your father these days?” Tell had watched her father’s rise to political prominence from its earliest days.

“He’s well. In Washington most of the time.”  When other people asked her questions, she never thought twice about answering. But Tell’s questions were so different. Like little fish lures waiting for just the right moment to engage and hook.

“And your husband. He’s a politician as well?” Tell appeared only partially interested as he methodically arranged several chairs so that they were just right.

“Actually Tell, Kevin and I are separated. We are getting a divorce.” She was slightly surprised he would ask her a question to which she assumed he already knew the answer.

“Sorry to hear it.  But I can’t say it surprises me.” His words and eyes were emotionless.

She felt her blood begin to boil. “And just why is that?”

Tell swung around and faced her. “You’re a scrapper, Natalie. While you ended up with a silver spoon, we both know that you didn’t start out that way. Scrappers belong with other scrappers.” He really knew her. If those words had been coming from any other man, she would have responded. Part of her was terrified from the stories of what the man facing her was capable of executing. Yet, another part of her was intrigued as if she was cavorting with the Devil himself.

Kyle observed the apparent chemistry between Blaze and Tell through a tiny opening in the chamber door. “Sorry to interrupt.” He burst inside the chamber with a strong push of his athletic shoulder.

Blaze immediately rushed to Kyle’s side. “No interruption at all.” She was so attracted to Kyle, but there was something about Tell. He kept her on her game.

Kay arrived much later than the rest of the night’s players. She barely said two words to Lullabelle as she strolled over to Tell’s table to take her place as his newest regular Bridge partner. Her voice was far more subdued than usual. “Ready to play, partner.”

Lullabelle waited until the customary half-time break in the game to approach Kay. Here eyes spoke far more than her mouth. She looked Kay straight in the face. “Why?”

“Change can be good thing, Lu.” Kay turned away abruptly causing the silk scarf she had wrapped around herself to fall the floor. She saw the look of fear in Lullabelle’s eyes as she noticed the pronounced black and blue mark on her exposed upper right arm. “It accident. I fell. Nothing more.”

Lullabelle feigned a smile. She wished she could believe Kay at her word. But she knew Tell Williams far too well for that.

 

Copyright © 2014.  Will Morrison.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

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Copyright © 2014.  Will Morrison.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.