Author: Sue
Rating: PG-13
Category: Vignette/Langlyfic POV/Other
Spoilers: None really.
Summary: A visitor causes quite a shake-up with
Disclaimer: No infringement.
C. Carter, 1013, and FOX ownership
of The X-Files and characters.

The Date

Aw right, maybe I don't know everything. Cool.
What I want the world to believe, well, that's
*my* B.I. business....

When I think how much I didn't wanna go along
for the joy ride that evening to hang with the
same, so usual company...looking back makes me
glad I overrode myself.

I'm like that sometimes, so don't look so

Earlier that morning, I was being contrary
at full tilt. It took me a while to realize
that my cranky partners in conspiritorial
theoretical opinion wouldn't take, "NO" as
my definitive answer.

"I told them we'd be at Scully's at about
seven-thirty," Byers had informed with that
no nonsense timbre cloying in his erudite

The voice of zip possible recourse. The
timbre I could slap that self-important
little smirk off his face for....sometimes.

"I made the reservations at DC Tivoli for
eight o'clock," he'd droned on.

I had rolled my clearer looking eyes.
Yeah, they sorta are these days which I
gotta give AA a lot of credit for. I think
those true confessions sessions are kinda
helpin'. I don't think about needin' a
drink most of the time like I used to.

Hearing John-boy tell me to wear something
nice for a change, I'd wanted to escape by
jumping into one of my red herring screen
savers, or inhaling a thimbleful of Johnny
Walker Red. Hey, never said I was cured;
there's still a long way to go. Fro' says
it takes time.

Ten years, give or take a leap year, screwin'
around with Mulder. Is this a reason to make
with an anniversary moment? Don't think so.
Big, who cares, deal.

Don't get me wrong; Spooky's okay, far as
Fibbies go. Scully too, for that matter,
when she's not being her strict to scientific
method about things self.

'Sides, I'm working through gettin' over this
dumb crush (Frohike ain't the only one who
thinks she's 'tasty') I've had on her for ages,
so I don't really wanna make the social scene
with her in Mulder's as big as life company.

And we all know I ain't big on celebrations...
but I digress.

Anyway...I'd said: "So?" All huffy, but
those guys weren't lettin' it go.

I'd pushed my glasses up, atop my head so
my glare wouldn't get lost behind the ocular
barrier. "I got better things to do."

"Like what, Mister Recluse? You're comin',
man. You're gonna die old, and alone."
Frohike had been in a not backing down mode
for anything all morning. I hate it when he's
like that. Makes me wanna act contrary just
for the hell of it. Under his breath, I
thought I heard him crack," And a virgin."

"Will not!" I shot back with a sneer.

How could I have possibly imagined for one
frickin' moment I stood a chance of getting
out of what was going to be a way boring
evening? 'Hike's got one serious granite
attitudinal problem, man, when it's me not
wanting to go along with the program.

I didn't feel like fighting because I've
been getting into it with both of them a
lot lately, so I gave in without a big
knockdown, drag out, this round.

"All right, already--you want me? Ya got
me. You take prisoners. Like I so care.
Long as I'm drivin'--and I don't haveta sit
next to how-come-we-don't-do-this-more-often
Mulder, I'm in..."


So, here we are, back in real time, and turns
out, I'm still battin' ten thousand. Today's
lousy track record is still intact.

Byers has stationed himself in the driver's
seat ahead of me, clean over my blistering
verbal assault.

Did I say I was in a good mood today? No?
Didn't think so.

Nothing short of a stick of lit dynamite
will blast him outta *my* seat. I'm the
official driver in this trio....

Fine, then...chill...

It's all bein' recorded, *buddies*, kudos to
my brain. Wait till you lameozoids want
somethin' outta me. I blink, but keep right
on ruminating, conveniently forgetting what
they've sacrificed for me. Saving me from
myself, among other things.

Did I ever, once ask 'em to? NOT. I start
plotting. Absent-mindedly, I'm plunking away
on my left temple with index finger, grinning,
suddenly feeling self-satisfied. Just wait.

How's about a little hard drive hockey when
you need an uncluttered one to back up some

Don't look at me...can't help ya.

I'm on the passenger side, behind the conniving
porn pervert, who decided to go without wearing
his fingerless gloves for a change. It's easy
to forget he has whole hands sometimes. I
close my eyes, trying hard not to think about
being undone by Mr. Brooks Brothers Byers.

Okay...since I've been barred from driving.
I start craving a greasy, arterial-clogging
Big Mac, the customary super sized fries,
topped off by a...uh, let's see a, a...

A 'nilla shake. Hey, maybe I could get a
combo; chocolate mixed with 'nilla. Not in
the mood for a Coke today; been real gassy
since yesterday. I don't think it could be
the five bean burritos and the extra large
Mountain Dew I ordered at Taco Bell.

Every inch of the en route we tool along to
Scully's, the more I want Mickey Dee's, and
not Italian soul food. The only Italian
food I dig to the max is pizza; any kind.
The more toppings, the better.

As though hypnotized, it dawns on me, then,
that we're turning down the redhaired agent's
block. Time approx., who cares?

There they're, waiting outside her building.
Scully, Mulder...I start to yawn and...

HELLO!! Oh my--GOD--who's THAT?? WHO IS
THAT!!! Oh, baby...

Who's the Goddess? Bite me. She's the most
beautiful chick I've ever laid popping
peepers on, and I've taken in my fair quota
of bodacious babes in my thirty-somethin'
years on this orb.

Sorry, Scully. Where's *this karena* been
hidin' all this time?

I slam my gaping mouth shut. I sure didn't
tell it to spring open like that. Man, she's
hot! She out-babes every last looker I've
ever seen.

Strike a match--she's incendiary!

The surging need for the Mickey Dee's fix
is violently shoved way into the background,
replaced by a different hunger wanting to be

As we pull up, I contemplate the righteous
vision standing beside an uncharacteristically
giggly Scully.

This gorgeous babe can't be more than twenty-
five; one-twenty in stocking feet....she's got
real exotic features. Her skin's immaculate;
the color of creamy toffee....

Don't think I'm hallucinating, but there's a
hint of Scully in her face. She's much taller
than the ice queen, though. Meanly lean.
Maybe five-eight, or nine. Kazaam! We're
talkin' fashion model here. Again the question


Perhaps a spanking brand new next door neighbor
of Scully's? I hope, I hope.

I wonder what Fro's thinkin'? Or, do I really
haveta guess?

I like what she's wearin'. Some kind of
charcoal grayish, pants suit outfit. How should
I know exactly? One fashion victim at your
service. What I DO know, is that what she's got
on looks sizzling. Bet she is...

A grin oozes over my face. Uh, there I go
again. The lump in my throat has grown another
cubic inch.

I thread my 'more stringy than it normally is
'cos I neglected to shower this morning' hair
behind my ears. Immediately, I agonize over
how much they stick out, though no one has ever
told me they do, to my face.

Nah, wait; I've gotta take that back. Jerry
Staltwalter, in the fifth grade, back in
Saltville, said I had ears like that Little
Rascals kid, Alfalfa, when I was nine. That
toady, teacher's pet creep. He's probably a
corporate raider, something white collar on
the shady side by now.

Not dressed for eating out in a really nice,
as in classy, place? Ya think? D'uh, but at
least I'm wearin' a clean shirt, and it's
not the Ramones.

I'm wearin' a shirt that has a painted on
tie and carnation. It's black and white,
and I love it. My jeans ain't ripped
tonight, and they match my jacket which is
denim too.

"Good evening, ladies and gent," Frohike
expansively bades. "And who's this stunning,
pretty lady?" he addresses to the celestial

That's 'So-icky' for ya. I just know he's
got her stripped down to her undies by now,
true to lech form. I wanna smack him.

"Why, hello. I'm Lislita Renee Viscaya Marti.
Dana's cousin, visiting from Miami. You three
charming gentlemen must be the Lone Gunmen
Fox has been telling me so much about. It's
a pleasure to meet you."

She smiles amiably at me through the open
window. Yowza!

Yeah, me Langly; you, one bold knockout.
Hellooo. I'd hung on every significant,
scintillating, Hispanic syllable, committing
the pronunciation to indelible memory.

The way her name'd flowed out of that
perfectly regal looking, conquistadora mouth,
it's a wonder normal, well normal for me,
brain functioning's still going on.

"Hop in, everybody," Frohike urges, "before
they give away our reservation." Gruffly, he
barks at me, "Just don't sit there like a
mummy, man, open up, and let them in."

....I'll open up your head, you rag on me
again like that in front of people. In front
of *her*....

I unlatch, and open the door. Weird. It's
like I'm watching myself do as badgered, the
sole player in a flick, in slo-mo.

"Thank you." She hesitates. "Ex-excuse me.
I'm sorry..."

What? She's supposed to crawl over you?

"Wait--uh, like lemme-lemme slide over," I
audibly fumble. Wouldn't ya know she'd be
first in. Least I shaved, and remembered
to shmear on anti-perspi-deodorant. I
practically make myself one with the extreme
left interior of the van.

I'm gonna call her Lee, if I don't lose my
tongue due to lack of nerve.

I suck with Spanish, I've got no ear for it
whatsoever, despite Frohike's tireless, or is
it try-or-else efforts?

Anyway, the babe smoothly approaches. She's
moving in close to me; prickly-heat close.
I'll be dry swallowing for a while. Guaranteed.

She beams into my bemused face, and I shrink
in self-conscious instability, not before I does she see through those clumps
that are her lashes? 'Mascared?' For sure.
False? I wouldn't bet on it. That
high-cheekboned face of hers isn't swimming in
makeup, either. I don't like it when chicks
wear so much makeup they look like mannequins.

Her full, mouth-watering lips have some
reddish glossy stuff on 'em, and that's it, I
think. Mercy. How'm I gonna live through
this torture?

Scully piles in next, with Mulder right behind.
Is it my imagination, or did he really put his
hand on her ass? He's grinning real stupid,
and Scully's giggling again.

Yeah--he *did*. 'The times, they are

Byers asks if we're all in, and satisfied we
are, takes off.

"So, my dear, what brings you to our nation's
bustling Capitol?"

I wanna barf. Frohike swivels around to get
another thorough eyeful. He won't be turning
back 'round anytime soon, I gather, by the
jaunty lilt in his voice, and the frisky glint
in his eyes, like he's got x-ray vision. Too
freaky. I feel I should give her my jacket
as a shield.

"I haven't seen Dana since ninety-four. We
were very close, growing up. I've missed her
very much."

"I've missed you too, Lis." Scully gives her
cousin's closest knee a squeeze.

Suddenly, the VW feels like a sardine can
fitted with tires. I, especially, am feeling
like one of the smelly, oily little suckers,
packed in tight, as the cousin settles her
fine self in against the seatback and me too,
to a large extent.

Should I be complaining? No--and yes!

Okay, maybe you'd say, "What--are you nuts,
dude? Gorgeous honey all snugged-up on you,
and you're gripin'? Seek help now!"

Okay, look...if I tell you bona fide
beautiful women, and Scully's cousin
definitely fills the bill, totally freak me
outta my gourd, you won't laugh, right? Stop

I'm serious. I revert to the pathetic,
acne-ravaged fifteen-year-old, who never had
a date in high school, and had mercy ones
once and awhile, post-grad.

Yo, I like girls; women. But, they faze me.
I wish *they'd* like me better; and not just
as a friend....

Like when Scully first started showing up
with Mulder, I would skulk around in the
background. Finally, it sank in. She wasn't
one of those dull chicks who think they're all

We were cool ever since. I even started
imagining she....had a thing for me....

I said I wasn't going to go there with that
kind of thinking anymore.

I scrapped the idea that she did quick, long
ago, after seriously deep checkin' reality a
couple kazillion times....

What would Scully want with a loser like me?

Besides, it's so obviously, 'Scully an' Mulder
sittin' in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g; first comes
love, then comes.' Hey, like you know the
typical rest....

One-sided love blows.

I snap outta my maudlin little universe of
'I'm gonna die a virgin,' when I hear her
cousin reply in this totally milk an' honey
voice, "Dad's Mexican. Unlikely gene mingling,
I know. Mex-Irish. Irish-Mex. He met my
uncle's sister in Mexico City when she was on
vacation. They fell in love, married--"

"Over Ahab's strong objections, when we were
little kids," Dana tosses in. "He came around
in time, though. As we got older, we all
ganged up on him. We demanded to meet this
mysterious Mexican cousin of ours, mentioned
only in hushed tones."

The captivating visitor nods and continues,
"Had me; just me. I'm an only child. Child...
'Dios mio,' I'm twenty-two, after all."

Scully sniggers, and pats her relative's knee
again; wish I had the balls to do that. "Oh,
sure. You're all grown up, but you're still
the baby of the bunch, Lis. I'm amazed your
father okayed your settling in Miami, letting
you live on your own."

"What do you mean, 'let me?' Wow, give
Danee-Waynee a real gun, and a Special Agent
badge, and suddenly you're as old as dirt.
'Ay!' No!"

Mulder tries stifling a snicker-snort, but
doesn't quite cut it. Scully slugs him, then
cracks up too. Frohike's eating all this
up 'cos it's so rich.

"I'm a big girl," Scully's cousin asserts.

....You got that right, babe, there's nothing
little about you, I drool. Wanna try me on
for size?

"I know how to take care of myself. I've
sure had to ever since mom died when I was
fourteen." Lee sighs, and when she takes her
next breath, I think I feel a tremor vibrate
through her, transposed onto me, and I catch
myself feeling sorry for her.

Taking care of myself is somethin' I know how
to do too. I've been doin' it since I turned

"I've appeared in 'telenovelas' in Mexico,
and danced in a few music videos. The latest
ones being, Enrique Iglesias' 'Bailamos,' and
Ricky Martin's, 'Livin' La Vida Loca.' So, me?
A 'baby?' I don't think so."

"You're pretty big in Mexico, right?" Mulder
interrogates. "Romance ballards, and what's
the other thing?"

"Rock 'en Espanol.' But not too much of that."

"You are, right?" Mulder persists.

I'm really into this conversation now.

"I guess. I don't use my real name. Too
long. It's the Spanish Mexican name thing.
The father's mother's maiden name, combined
with the father's family surname, through
the generations. Back in Mexico, DF, I'm known
as 'Bellita Morena'...Little Brown Beauty."

She hangs her head. In modesty? No way.
What for? She slays. Scully gives her
shoulders a tight squeeze.

No way is right. Course she knows she's
beautiful. Right? Anybody would haveta be
blind in a dark room not to be bopped over the
head. Who's she tryin' to kid?

Do I hate her?

"'Televisa's' idea for a stage name.
Personally, I think it's too...too immodest.
But, I didn't like to make too many waves
over the little things. I went along with it,
and hoped the people didn't think I was
fatally in love with myself."

S'kay, she's not so full of herself. Don't
hate her as much.

I turn onto my hip, and into her a bit more,
giving her more room. My back's flush against
the van wall. I give her an anemic smile,
then gulp. It's like a sauna in my clothes.

"We still have some ways to go," Byers
informs, expectancy in his voice. "Would you
view it as an imposition, Lislita," he says
her name perfectly; I hate him, "if I request
your favoring us with a sample of your song

If you want her to sing--just say so, Dapper
Dan--in English! I shift roughly, and Lee
casts a look of inquiry blended with apology
in my direction.

A barn; that's where I was raised. No kiddin'
that's where I spent most of my time with my
computer, hidin' from my dad who always had
a long list of chores for me to do.

An, "I'm sorry," squirms through my lips, just

"Oh, I'm sure you don't--"

"Like, yeah. Sure we do," I tell her,
sounding blunt. "Go on. Lay a tune on us.
The radio's busted."

"Langly," Frohike upbraids by his tone alone.


"Never mind." I can hear the, 'you geek,'
loud an' clear in omission. "Would you mind,
my dear?" He covers for me and my being rude,
which I don't think I'm being, true to form.
"We'd be honored. 'Por favor?'"

....What a show-off!....

"'Bien. Por supuesto entonces, senor.' If
you insist..."

"We do," Forhike, Byers and Mulder press, in

"For me, Lis?" Scully encourages. She
squeezes her shoulders again. I wish it was
me doing that. "Give my journeymen friends
a sample of our families' talent."

"As you wish, Dana..."

She clears her throat, and the mini concert
begins. The first song she does is this thing
called, 'No Se Tu,' she says this dude Luis
Miguel sings like, 'an angel.' She translated
it and it means, 'I don't know you.'"

It was acappella perfection.

When she finishes, everybody voices their
absolute approval. No hype. The chick's
great. I'm mum. I just sorta smile shyly
at her, and embarrassed, take an escapist
glance out the window.

Where's this stupid restaurant? Near the
Delaware Water Gap? It's like we've been
riding for hours already. Geez....

The group wants her to do something else,
after she tells us she used to date this
Miguel dude between his breaking up with
Daisy 'Yummy' Fuentes, and his hookin' up
with main squeeze, Mariah Carey.

The little name dropper....

Okay, so she's halfway through Lauren
Hills' remake of, 'You're Just Too Good To
Be True...' yada, yada, yada, and I wanna
bolt. She sings and sounds the way she looks.
Sooo sexy. I'm meltin' in my clothes now.
I can't take much more of this close proximity
before I betray myself.

Once she's done, and more accolades are
bestowed, I'm as silent as a stone.

"Don't you like my singing, Mister Langly?"

Involuntarily, I twitch. She's just breathed
that into my ear. God....

"Sorry, folks, didn't want to roll us over
that." The swerve Byers just made to avoid,
'a humongous pothole,' according to him, has
her lips inches from my cheek.

Her hand's braced against my chest. I bang
my eyes shut and gag, trying to control what
I feel happening. It's good I don't wear tight
jeans. The bulge between my legs would be a
dead giveaway that my hormones are sending me
over the edge. could rock me in your arms, and
whisper-sing into my ear all night long.

What's the closest I can describe how sublime
her voice is? I can't. I just add her to my
personal pantheon of blow-ya-away divas.

I turn my face, not knowing what's come over
me, and whisper into her ear, "Y-You're intense."

"Intense?" she whispers back.

"To-totally good," I award, lowering my voice
more so. "A star. If you've got a CD out in
Spanish, or, in whatever, write the name down.
I'll go buy it."

I'm not looking at her as I'm telling her
this, but something tells me she's grinning.
I get brave, and chance bouncing a smile
that's more concrete off her.

She is smiling, and I don't think it's because
she's bein' polite!

Hey, I'm not dying anymore. I feel myself
reviving. What's up with this?

"Why, thank you, Mister Langly."

"You can drop the, 'Mista' okay? It's just

"Langly," she soughs again into my ear.
Oh, man, does it tickle. I'm relieved to
notice our conversation has become private,
since we've arrived at the restaurant, and
the four of them are talking among themselves.

Good. No need for prying ears to overhear my
lame attempt at gettin’ ta know her better.
"Is it cool if I call ya Lee?"

She eases off me, not appearing even a smidgen
shy about our sudden thrown up against each
other affinity, but she looks somewhat puzzled,
so I think she needs more translation.
"Cool means--"

"It's all right, yes?"

"Uh huh."

"Yes, it is cool. It is fine, if it pleases
you to. 'Popi' calls me that."


"My dad."

"Cool." I'm grinnin' again, like I won't be
able to stop. Would that be a tragic thing?

I'm in the initial throes of diggin' her deep,
and not just her looks. Her; the total package.
Uh oh....

When will I learn? What would a stone looker
like her ever want with me? She dates hunks
and pretty boys on a regular basis. True?

"It's valet parking," Byers announces,
sounding compelled to make us aware of the
fact printed before our eyes, maybe to hustle
us out of the VW. So, we all snap-to and pile
out, like dutiful little flunkies.

I watch as the van is driven off by this
lanky, gel-dipped kid. I once parked cars one
summer at this country club in Omaha. A real
lame gig, but the tips kept me in guitar
strings. I sucked as a guitar player, so I
spent 'mucho' money replacin' broken strings.

Remember I told you I've been gassy lately?
Well, here's a refresher. I figure eatin'
Italian will totally push the envelope. I
decide to lay in prevention.

"Hey, group, like go on ahead. Gotta get
some Rolaids or Tums. Anything antacid at
that candy, newspaper, whatever else place
we passed down the block. Catch ya at the

"I knew I should have brought the Rolaids
along," Byers says, irritably.

"May I go with you?"

Lee's looking at me expectantly. She's
broken off from the Scully-Mulder-Byers-
Frohike party of four, heading into DC Tivoli.
She stands in the middle between me and them.

I can see Scully's all set to sensibly
suggest, "Lis, it would be nice if we all
sit down together. Langly's a big boy,
perfectly capable of buying an antacid on
his own."

She nods, but comes to stand beside me,
looking mind-made-up. "Why, of course he
is, Dana. He looks quite capable of a
number of things."


She winks at me like she's got me all
figured out. This chestnut of a chick is
soft-spoken spunk in action. Me likin' her
classy crust more and more by leaps an'

"We won't be long." She claims my arm as
hers, wanting us to link, and without a
word passing between us, we head off for
my digestive relief.

Halfway to the store, she speaks to a,
'I must be dreamin' me.' "Do you have a
first name, Langly? Or is that it?"

"Uh-uh, no. I...well, it's Richard."

"Ricardo. Yes, it suits you." She winds
herself around my arm a little more, and
I go with her possessiveness. Once I wake
up from this dream, I'm gonna seriously
try to develop dream-recording software.

"I got this nickname, though. It's Ringo."
I still tell her calling me Langly's fine
by me.

"Okay, Ringo."

If she looks at me like that again, I'm
goin' into cardiac arrest. "You say that
so cool," I say like a jerk. "I, I don't
speak any Spanish. I mutilate it, just ask

I hold the bell-rings-upon-opening door of
the convenience store open for her, and I
think...this is surreal. As she floats over
the threshold, I blurt like some basket
case, "God, you’re beautiful."

"Oh, my..."

Again she makes with the head lowering. Must
be a chronic thing with her. Hey, girl, what's
the big deal bein' what you are? Why act like
everyone else knows but you? You got me to
come right out and tell ya to your face, and
we've just met....

"Thank you. You're very sweet for saying so."

Sweet? Me? Nah-ah; bein' sweet's got nothing
to do with it, 'cos we all know I'm *not* all
that sweet. I'm just statin' fact....

"You're like so welcome." Who said that? I

After the door closes behind me, nearly
thumping me in the keister, she reclaims
my arm, and we sorta glide, yeah, you got
it--glide--to the check-out. I must be
trippin', and I don't even do drugs any more.
Well, uh....not the hard ones....the ones you
can snap up at raves.

So no time is wasted huntin' for my stuff, I
ask the guy behind the counter for what I need.
While I'm waiting to be told where antacids
are, she mumbles something about going to the
magazine rack to check out some fashion mags.

"Whatever, take as long as ya want..."

"Yes, sir?" The fatherly lookin' Pakistani
holds out for the reason I'm in his face. As
it turns out, the antacids are where he is.

"I'll go with both." Double the reinforcements.
My tummy's doin' backflip somersaults as it is.
Lee's the stimulus.

After I pay for the rolls, I swing around so
I'll catch sight of her. I scan the store's
square footage, up down, back forth, but I
don't see her. Damn, I don't like this; it's
too freakin' quiet.

I cram the antacids into my jacket's chest
pocket, and start off for the pulps.

"Lee...hey," I call out, looking every which
way. Nothin'. 'Nada.'

I'm just about to round the popcorn, chips,
pretzels rack, when I stall in my tracks.

Holy shi--this--this maniac's brandishing a
knife at her, and spewing every curse he can
think of at her. Talkin' 'bout, "Yo--yo you
comin' with me, mommy, and you don't get

I bristle, my rage white-hot, and it's like my
stomach's got a hole in it. There isn't time
to think, only time to react.

I charge him and let loose with a jump-spring
front kick, knocking the blade right outta
his big an' bad hand with a ninja war cry.
The weapon goes sailing high and clear of
endangering anyone as it flys over the nutrition
bars. I land solidly on my Converses. In the
split second I strike a Chuck Norris warrior
pose, Lee rushes to my side, far from cowed.

She mimicks my stance, bluff for bluff, although,
she may not be bluffing. She looks way serious.

"Black belts. Registered with the cops. Wanna
hear your bones crunch, up close and personal?
Our Kung Fu's the best, asswipe--be our guest."
I'm smirking to beat the band, and feel ten feet
tall with her by my side.

The asshole trips over his own big feet, lays
more profanity on us, and streaks outta our
sphere of impudence, shooting out of the store.

I thank God he didn't call me on my charade.

I lower my hands, ignoring how shaky they are,
and Lee crowds into me. My hands grip the
sides of her arms. "Hey, you okay?"

"Que mala onda!' You saved my life, Ringo,"
she exhales, "you were magnificent."

....I was? I was too wired to notice....

"No way. I was mad. When I see blood red,
I go a little nuts. He threatening you like
that. Like hell I was gonna let him hurt
you. Talkin' that shi--"


"Yeah, like whatever. Sure you're all right?"

She nods as I take her arm to make a start
for the door when she's ready. As we head out,
it appears that the Pakistani conveniently
disappeared himself for the escapade.

"I'm all right now. Nothing like this has ever
happened to me in Miami."

"Miami ain't D.C., mayhem and murder capital,
USA." We're back out on the wind whipped
street, and I'm wary, just in case Lee's
would-be pinheaded molester is layin' for us
with gang members. "Just be glad he didn't
have a gun. If he'd had one, I would've freaked
more. Probably gotten us both killed."

"I-I think he did. I thought I saw...but then
you came." Lee's weighted on my arm like it's
a plumb line, and I figure she's more shaken
than she's lettin' on. I hardly blame her. One
minute you're browsin' mags, the next, you're
bein' sized up for rape 'a la' sliced an' diced.


"You are a martial arts expert, no?"

"Who? *Me*?"

"The way you handled yourself."

I give a raspy laugh. "Nope, I ain't. You?"

"'Ay, claro que *no*!' I copied what you did.
I am an actress. 'Recuerda?' Remember?"

I make no big deal of having my arm encircle
her waist. She is so way cool. "I lifted that
kick move offa one of my video games. I'm an
expert when it comes to them. Vid games, TV
law enforcement shows and action movies are the
only 'training' I've ever had. Doubt anybody
would call it formal."

She's laughing now, but clinging to me even
more, and it feels like we've been together
like this forever. We're nearing the restaurant.
The thought of getting in out of the wind, and
checking the nerve-racking excitement at the
door sits real well with me.

I'm all set to sprint up the four steps to the
eatery's door to hold it for her, but she
prevents me. "Wait..." Her hold on my arm
slackens, but then strengthens in that instant.
She yanks me back; I nearly fall down.

Next thing I know, her face is in mine.



Part II>