There was sudden feeling of lightness when she walked into the club. Mr. Jones was arguing with the bartender when it happened, and even he who could never hold his tongue, paused at the sudden shift of mood.
She took very little space as she entered the room and in turn, revealed very little of herself. Other than the hems of her silky sky blue dress and the tight brown curls peeking from her cloak, there was nothing much of her that was easily seen. Most of her features were also hidden by the evening, and – Mr. Jones would attest to this days later – it was as if a cloud of shadows purposely followed her so as to hide the face of the mystery woman.
However, despite being shrouded in uncertainty, her coming felt like falling into place, as if she was exactly the thing, the person, that the club never knew it needed.
A few minutes ago, Mr. Jones had been challenged to a duel. Winner takes all – that was always the case with him. But this time, his all or nothing principle had done him wrong. If he couldn’t pack the place Saturday night, he was to lose the club to Mr. Harrison – and he wasn’t even drunk when he made the bet!
He didn’t have Silvia anymore – god knows how long he put up with that woman – and she was the best goddamn entertainer in all of Steinfield. He didn’t have a magical act either. His last resort – to convince people that watching a grown man cry was worth paying for.
But then, there she was, this stranger, walking as if floating on air, taking her time, and – call it good luck, call it intuition – he had a good feeling about her.
“Silvia sent me here,” she said once he was within earshot. A few heads perked up. If Silvia sent another one of her girls to demand for more money again, they would be in for a show.
Mr. Jones suddenly doubted his senses. “Did she now?”
“Yes,” she replied, head tilted downwards. “And she told me a thing or two about you.”
“All good things, I hope,” he told her.
“She told me to stay away,” she said.
He smirked. “Yet here you are.”
“Let me ask you this,” he spoke using his salesman voice. “What is it that you want?”
She stepped closer but still kept her cloak in place. “It’s not what I want. It’s what you want.”
Slowly, she took her cloak off, letting it fall on the floor. “You need me.”
Mr. Jones said this a week after the mystery woman left – that night, he did need her and he knew it the moment she walked in. He was just pretending not to so he won’t be at the shorter end of the stick. He was hoping that she needed him more, being one of those girls looking for a job at his club, singing at night so that they’d at least be useful to their families. To some extent it was true, but with how their conversation went and what happened after, the situation proved to be quite the opposite.
What happened after the woman showed her face, he had difficulty trying to describe to those who asked. She sang, he understood that much, but then she was also doing so many things – she was existing and making him realize what existence meant; she was bringing the moon closer to the earth and making the night a tad bit brighter; and she was calling his name somewhere in between the verses of her song and he, with his eyes wide, willingly gave her an answer even before she finished singing. And, even after having said all that, he often claimed not knowing what he was saying and not having described the moment enough.
His teacher would’ve been proud of him. For a man who failed his grade school English, mustering that much words meant he was seriously smitten.