Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another Year Gone

"Happy Birthday To You. Happy Birthday To You." Michele, Vidal , Josef, (who elected himself as my personal nurse/bodyguard), the whole staff from the salon were singing off key. It was my birthday! We were at Ammies, celebrating my birthday. As I looked around, into each of their faces, I saw for the first time, how very lucky I was. This group of maybe the craziest bunch of men & women, were so happy to spend 'my birthday' with me & not being the least bit embarrassed that they sounded awful. I laughed so hard, it brought tears to my eyes.
"Hey, Baby," I looked up, it was my Viet Nam soldier, Richard. Damned, this was one sexy guy. Damned, this was one sick in the head guy. Damned, one night, just one night, would I go to hell, for just one night?
"Richard," I reached up my check for him to kiss, getting a very pleasant sniff of his cologne. "What are you doing here?" He was dressed really sharp, not his usual army clothing.
"Michele told me you guys will be here tonight." he glanced over to Michele & gave her a wink. A small twinge of jealousy stabbed me.
"Did she now?"
"Happy birthday, sexy. What are you drinking, let me buy you a drink."
"Ah," I looked over to Vidal, who was observing everything,"What am I drinking, Boss?"
"Mocha Vodka Martini's", he answered with that half grin of his. Beverly was in London this week, So Vidal & I were able to spend a lot of time discussing the salon & where he wants to take all of his salons. I haven't been able to work behind my chair yet, since the incident at my Mom's place, but I was well enough to do paper work, answer phones, & delegated the work load. That gave Vidal & myself a lot of time to talk business & expansion.
I glanced back at Richard, he raised his hand & made the peace sign.
"Gotcha babe", backing way from our table.
I looked over towards Michele, saw her eyes following Richard. I suspected that she liked him, but, Michele was hunting. What she was hunting for was a mystery, but it was known by all of us, that the girl was looking hard, but looking in all of the wrong places.
"What ya need guy?" Nikki was working tonight at Ammies.
"Mocha something?"
"For CeCe?"
Nikki mixed the intricate drink & a few seconds later, presented the glass to Richard.
"What do I Owe You?"
"Nothing my friend," Nikki smiled into Richards blue eyes, "CeCe's drinks tonight are on me. That girl has been though hell. Glad to see all of her friends around her. She doesn't need to know that I've got her tab, just sit it in front of her."
"I can't do that!"
"Yeah, you can, man! Just let it go. Give her the drink & baste in her thank you. That's a special lady there, she doesn't need to know that I've got her bill, Okay Brother?"
"Then, you must accept this!", Richard slid a twenty dollar bill across the bar towards Nikki. She looked into his eyes, & with a flash of glimmering teeth, nodded her head, laying her hand over the twenty.

"Hi, CeCe," I looked over my right shoulder, towards a familiar voice, & there stood Sunny.
"Sunny," my voice cracked. It had been a few months since I requested that he not patronize the salon any longer.
"What's with your arm?" I still had to use a sling.
"Oh, just an accident."
"What have you been up to?' Sunny had managed to place himself between his friends & My business prospects were getting VERY thin. 0% of nothing is still 50%


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