"PART 1"

Benjamin Gates could be seen hustling down a crowded sidewalk, the light of the passing stores, streetlights, and cars illuminating every detail. He was straightening the tie around his neck and trying to button the last few button on his suit coat.

"Riley, how much time do I have?" Ben asked, his finger was now pressed to his ear and the edge of a small earpiece could be seen.

"Ten minutes," Riley's voice could be heard saying through the earpiece.

"Alright I can see it; I should be there in five."

"Do you have the package?"

Ben reached into his pocket and squeezed something that was inside.

"Yeah," Ben answered.

"Alright you should be able to get inside easy enough," said Riley. Ben took a deep breath and continued towards his destination, before he knew it he was at the front door. His hand pressed again the handle and he stepped inside.

"I'm in," Ben said.

"Is she there?" asked Riley, and Ben scanned the tables then he spotted her against the back window.

"Yeah, she's right where I wanted her."

"Sir, do you have a reservation?" a man dressed in a tux asked from the front podium.

"Yes I do, it's under Benjamin Gates," Ben answered, approaching the man, the man looked in a book before nodding.

"Follow me to your table."

"Good luck, Ben," Riley said.

"Thanks," said Ben, and took the earpiece from his ear and slipped it into his pocket. He followed the man to the table and thanked him before taking his seat.

"Glad you could join me, Benjamin," the woman said, sipping on a glass of wine.

"I'm right on time, Abigail," said Ben, picking up his own glass and taking a drink. Abigail turned to the clock on the wall and Ben looked to it as well, it said 8:05.

"What five minutes?" Ben asked. "Better than the last time we made a date."

"I don't believe that could be considered a date, seeing as you didn't show at all," said Abigail.

"Well I made it this time."

"I suppose I can forgive you for being late."

Ben leaned forward across the table and kissed Abigail softly on the lips before taking his seat again.

"Now I'm curious, Ben, why such an extravagant place for dinner?" Abigail asked, leaning forward to rest her chin in the palm of her hand.

"You always said you wanted to go somewhere like this," said Ben.

"No I didn't."

"My mistake."

"You're up to something, Benjamin Gates."

Ben smirked and Abigail gave a small smile.

"Sorry to interrupt," a man said, stopping in front of the table. "My name is Derek, I shall be your waiter this evening. Can I start you off with an appetizer or a finer selection of our wine?"

"Let me look," Ben said, he picked up the menu and looked it over trying to figure out if he could pronounce any of the names on it at all.

"We'll have the muscadet and pâté with a small bowl of fleur de sel," Abigail said.

"A fine choice, mademoiselle," Derek said, he took the menus then left.

"I was having trouble deciding," said Ben.

"I'm sure you were," Abigail said.

"Care to tell me what any of what you ordered is?"

"You still wouldn't understand it if I did."

Ben leaned back in his chair and reached into his pocket, he could feel the small box between his fingertips and was relieved he hadn't lost it.

"What are you thinking about?" Abigail asked, drawing Ben back from his thoughts.

"I'm still thinking about the book," Ben said, it may not be what was on his mind at the moment but it had been on his mind a lot lately.

"You still haven't heard anything about it?"

"No, not yet."

"Well how about just for tonight you think about something other than the book?"

"I think I can manage that."

Ben reached his hand across the table and Abigail met it with her own hand halfway.

The waiter, Derek, came back out and picked up their old wineglasses, he replaced them with new glasses and poured a new wine into each.

"Enjoy, your pâté will be out soon," said Derek.

"Thank you," Ben said, the waiter inclined his head then left again; Ben picked up his glass and took a drink.

"Wow, this is really good," Ben said, taking another sip.

"I like to think I have good taste," said Abigail smiling. Ben reached into his pocket again and pulled the small box out. While Abigail was sipping on her drink he opened the box and inspected it. A silver ring lay in the velvet case, there was a three karat, princess cut diamond on a platinum band, nestled neatly inside. He shut the box and tried to work up enough courage to get down on one knee. Just as he was beginning to sit up, he felt the phone in his other pocket vibrate. He went to grab it planning on turning it off but when he saw the number on the caller ID he couldn't.

"It's him," Ben said, looking up at Abigail.

"Answer it," said Abigail, setting her drink down and leaning forward intently. Ben opened up his phone and put it to his ear.

"Hello?" said Ben.

"Hello, Benjamin, I think it's time we meet again," a male voice said on the other end. "How soon can I expect you?"

"I can be there by tomorrow."

"Good, I'll have my people meet you at the gate."

The line went dead and Ben closed his phone.

"Want to go on a trip?" Ben asked.

"What kind of question is that?" Abigail asked smiling; she stood up and pulled her purse over her arm. "I guess we're now having take out."

Ben chuckled and stood up as well, replacing the box back into his pocket, it seemed it wasn't going to be used tonight after all.