My Friday Fiction extract this week comes from a manuscript that waits patiently in the background for me to edit it. In the meantime, I often find myself delving in to it looking for interesting passages to share for this weekly post. I chose this piece as it fits with the prompt given by Sara at mumturnedmom this week. For more of Dillon’s story, see here.
Once back at the hotel, Dillon noticed that the bar was beginning to fill. There was a mixture of tourists and business people, some having meetings, others looking as though they were having a few drinks before heading out to hit the city for the rest of the evening. He went over to the bar and took a seat at one end. The barman came over and he ordered a beer. Looking to his right, Dillon noticed a woman sat alone. She was young, around his age or a little older, with long dark hair scraped off her face in to a tight bun. Her red dress was open at the back and reached down to her waist, revealing smooth olive skin. Dillon tried not to stare, but she must have sensed him watching her and turned his way. He nodded and then turned back, pretending to study the label on his drink. A few minutes later, he turned to look her way again, when a man approached her. He was much older, dressed in a sharp suit. He oozed authority.
They spoke in Spanish so Dillon didn’t understand a word they said. His tone was off though: it was obvious they were arguing and whatever the girl was protesting about the man was having none of it. He grabbed her wrist and sneered something into her ear. The girl winced and Dillon tensed as he watched the scene unfold. It looked as though the girl was trying to calm the situation and it seemed to work. The man, satisfied by whatever she said to him, kissed her on each cheek and walked away.
Dillon stared at her, not caring if she noticed this time. Concerned by how the man had spoken, he felt he ought to check if she was OK. Instinct told him that the guy was bad news.
‘Your dad giving you some grief is he?’ he said.
‘Excuse me?’ she said, turning towards him.
‘Your dad,’ Dillon said, indicating to the space behind.
‘Oh, you mean my husband.’
‘Your husband,’ Dillon said, trying and failing to hide his shock.
‘Yes, I am, what would you say, a trophy wife,’ she said, laughing at her own joke.
Dillon was impressed with her sense of humour, giving what he had just witnessed, unless that was their way of showing each other affection.
The girl stepped off her stool, her long legs revealed through the big slit of her dress that stretched all the way up her thigh. Stepping closer towards Dillon, she held out her hand.
‘Eva,’ she said.
Dillon took it, noticing how soft and delicate it felt against his great big rough hands.
‘Nice to meet you Eva,’ he said, admiring the way her name rolled off his tongue. ‘Sorry about that, you know, thinking that he was your dad and all.’
‘A lot of people do that,’ she said. ‘Either that or they look down on me for being a gold digger.’
‘Am I what?’
‘A gold digger?’
‘You are very direct with your questions aren’t you?’
Eva smiled at him.
‘In a way I am, yes. I came from a poor family and when I met Ramon, he offered me a way out of that life and I took it. Who wouldn’t?’
‘Does he make you happy?’
‘I have everything I could possibly want or need,’ she said.
‘That’s not what I asked.’
Eva sighed but didn’t answer. She stared at Dillon.
‘Sometimes Ramon is a little too intense. He gets very jealous and likes to check up on me. He always wants me by his side.’
Dillon thought of himself and his own jealous and possessive behaviour. It was an ugly trait to have and he wasn’t proud of it.
‘That is why I am here. My husband is in Barcelona on business and insisted I come along. We had dinner together with one client and now he has to go and talk business with some more, so I must stay in the bar until he has finished.’
‘What were you arguing about just now then?’ Dillon asked, not caring if he was being nosy.
‘I said I was tired and wanted to go to bed, but he insisted I stay and wait for him. He wants me to be here to greet him in front of his client when they return from the meeting. It makes him look good, he thinks.’
‘That’s tough,’ he said. ‘I hope your life is worth it, hanging around for a guy like that.’
Eva didn’t answer.
‘What would he do if he caught you talking to me?’ Dillon asked, wary, not only for himself but for Eva. The way Ramon treated her suggested he didn’t restrict his behaviour to the odd squeeze of the wrist. From what he could see, Dillon felt sure the guy would hit her without a thought or care.
‘He would probably have you thrown out of the hotel and beaten senseless,’ she said, laughing softly.
‘That’s reassuring,’ Dillon said. ‘You’d perhaps better sit back down on that chair again in case he comes back early.
‘He won’t be here until ten o’clock,’ she said. ‘I’m sure I could join you for one drink.’
The woman had guts he’d give her that. It was clear she liked to live dangerously, but Dillon wasn’t sure he wanted to play this game with her.
‘How did you meet?’ Dillon asked, curious to know more.
‘I worked in the club where he always came to. I was his favourite girl.’
Dillon’s eyes widened in surprise.
‘It wasn’t quite what you are thinking’ she said. ‘I was a dancer. Yes, I gave private dances to those who were willing to pay for it, but that’s as far as it went. The club was very strict about that. Anyone touched us and they were thrown out immediately.’ She paused. Dillon took in what she was saying, trying to dampen the thought of a semi naked Eva doing some erotic dance around a pole. He shifted uncomfortably.
‘Ramon was always so nice to me. He lavished me with gifts and he wouldn’t stop pestering me until I eventually agreed to have dinner with him. After a few dates he asked me to marry him and I said yes.’
‘Only a few dates?’ Dillon asked.
‘Yes, crazy isn’t it? I was sick of working the club and having the men leering over me, stuffing 50-Euro notes down my top. Ok so the money was good but I wanted more from my life. Ramon was my way out.’
Eva checked her watched and returned to her seat, her back turned towards Dillon. A couple of minutes later, Ramon came in to the room. Bang on time, he gave Dillon the impression of someone who liked order and didn’t like to be kept waiting.
Ramon greeted Eva with a kiss on each cheek again and introduced her to two men who had come in to the bar with him. He gently helped Eva off her bar seat, without a hint of the aggression he had shown before and with his arm around her back guided her towards the door. Dillon watched them leave and just before they exited, Eva’s eyes caught his.
Dillon left the bar and went up to his room. The smell of Eva’s perfume lingered around him, a soft floral scent that oozed femininity. He sighed and flung himself backwards on the bed. Grabbing the remote, he turned on the TV and flicked through to find the English speaking channels. There weren’t many to choose from but at least he was able to catch up on the news. Leaning over, he pulled a beer from the mini bar and cracked it open with his teeth, spitting the lid somewhere off to the other side of the bed. What he needed, he thought, was more alcohol to take away all coherent thoughts. No more regrets, no more hate, he needed to stop thinking about all of them and right there and then he had to stop thinking about Eva too.
Waking up fully clothed and lying on the top of the bed was another regret, as was the dense feeling inside his head. Showering helped a little, but Dillon needed some breakfast to line his stomach so he made his way down to the restaurant. It was almost eleven, but service wasn’t due to finish until 11.30. Breakfast buffets had become the norm and Dillon was used to the greasy, grey-looking offerings that looked at least three days old. This hotel was no different, it seemed.
Just as he was getting up to leave, Eva and Ramon came out of a private dining room just off to the right of the restaurant. A waiter accompanied them and Ramon was obviously barking orders at him. Dillon glanced at Eva, who looked his way but didn’t acknowledge him. She was wearing the shortest of denim shorts with cowboy-style boots and a loose flowing cami top. Her hair was loosely pinned back off her face. The contrast to the heavily made up vixen he had met the night before with the young, girl-like figure stood before him was astounding. Ramon was dressed down too, but it didn’t make the age gap between them look any smaller. In fact, he looked more like her father than he had done the previous evening.
As they left, Dillon felt a sudden pang of loneliness. Despite their strange relationship, Ramon and Eva were at least a couple. They had each other and he had no one. In Barcelona, he felt as though he didn’t have a friend in the world. Feeling sorry for himself, he couldn’t think of anything else to do except head to the beach and while away the day by relaxing in the sun and getting drunk.
The combination of alcohol and sun was a heady mix. When Dillon returned to the hotel later in the afternoon, he was sun kissed and light headed. He caught a glimpse of his reflection in a mirror in the lobby and thought he looked healthier than he had done in some time. Once showered and changed and having sobered up a little, he sauntered down to the restaurant with a newfound confidence, smiling at the receptionist as he passed her by, causing her to blush. Dillon shook his head in wonder as he walked on. What girls saw in him he did not know – rough, rugged and arrogant surely weren’t sought after traits?
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