“Not here, asshole. Get on your bikes and ride.”
“Or what?” growled Pez.
“Or I’ll make you a red blot on the ground.”
Pez and the other Rojos laughed. “Against me and my homies? I don’t think so.”
“What? Not man enough to take me yourself?” taunted Saks.
Pez’s eyes grew hard as Saks took off his jacket and handed it the pretty blonde from the bar, who stood, mouth hanging open. “Hold that, darlin’. I don’t want to get this idiot’s blood on my coat.”
The Rojos leader laughed coldly. “Who says it’ll be my blood?”
“My blood, your blood,” said Saks with a shrug. “Doesn’t matter. I’m just keeping you here until the police arrive... which should be,” he said, looking at watch, “about now.”
In the distance, the screech of police sirens sliced through the night.
The Rojos muttered and Pez apparently thought better of escalating the situation. He waved to his men to get on their bikes. “Just having fun, carbon; but, hey, I guess you don’t have no sense of humor. Later, holmes,” he said to Saks.
Saks watched Rojos get on their bikes and rumbled away. “Are you okay?” he said to the blonde.
“Yeah... sure.” In the halogen parking lot lamps, her face looked drained of color.
“Bring her in, Saks,” said John, walking from by the bar. He stood there with a sawed-off shotgun in his hand.
“You can put the gun away, John. Everything’s handled.”
“Yeah, I see that.”
“Really, you’ll take an eye out with that thing.” He waved his hand in the air. “Sirens are gonna to be here in a moment.” He nodded knowingly, not wanting John to get in any sort of trouble with the cops.
John snorted. “You’re welcome. Bring her in and get her a drink.”
“No, I’m fine,” she insisted.
“Come on,” said Saks, putting a protective around her. “You’re shivering and it’s not cold out. You’re in shock. Come in. I’ll buy you another drink, then you can go. Just let the shock wear off a moment.”
She was reluctant, but Saks gently guided her back into the bar. By the time they entered John was back behind the bar, looking as if nothing had happened. Saks took her to a booth and immediately a waitress brought a bottle of white wine, along with a Jack and Coke for Saks.
“I shouldn’t be doing this,” the woman murmured as Saks poured her a glass.
“You should. John just sent out a bottle of his 2008 Littorai Thieriot Vineyard Chardonnay. Apparently, he feels badly about your dustup with the Rojos.”
She shivered again, and Saks resisted the urge to move to her side of the booth and hold her. Instead, he stood and put his jacket around her shoulders.
“It’s a nice wine,” she said after taking a sip.
“It’s a very nice wine. Retails at over a hundred bucks a pop, if you can find it. Collectors snap it up.”
“You? You know wines?”
“I had my phase.”
“And?” she said, pointedly glancing at his Jack and Coke.
“I outgrew it. Somehow, talking fine wines doesn’t go over well at the clubhouse.”
She giggled, and her laughter warmed his heart.
“Hey, he said gently, “if I’m going to ply you with drink, I should at least know your name.”
“I thought John bought this.”
“Figure of speech. But you have to admit I indirectly helped you obtain this fine vintage.”
“That’s true. You came to my rescue.” She stuck her hand out over the tabletop. “My name’s Chrissy.”
Saks shook her hand and held it a second longer than he should. She pulled it away and Saks felt the loss immediately. “Chrissy? That’s all I’m going to get?”
“All I got was a club name,” she said, wrinkling her nose in distaste. “Saks.”
“And do people call you Tony?”
“Only under pain of death.”
“And where are you from, Anthony?”
“Near here. I live and work in Westfield.”
“Oh,” she said, pursing her lips. Her expression was unreadable.
“And where do you work?”
“Commuter, eh? And what do you do?”
“I’m the director of communications for Standex Three-D Corporation.”
She shrugged. “Not so much” She glanced at her watch. “Look, I really should go.”
“Too bad,” said Saks. “I’m enjoying your company.”
“Thanks.” She smiled, and finished her drink before sliding out of the booth. “It was really nice meeting you.”
Saks stood as well. “I’ll walk you to your car.”
“It’s not necessary. Thank you, though, Anthony Parks.” She smiled again, and walked away from the table.
Saks stood frozen a moment before realizing that she’d walked off with his jacket on her shoulders. He rushed out the door and jogged toward her Cadillac, where she was fumbling with her keys. “Hey!” he called.