Early Edition- Lost Friends Found
Disclaimer; I don't own any characters aside from Tiffany
AN: i won't continue posting unless i have some indication people are reading and like, so please comment! :)
A bright red neon sign glows above a lonely sidewalk. McGinty's. Closing time is nigh. Gary Hobson watches the news on a small television above the bar. He stands with his arms crossed lazily over his chest. He looks behind him toward the front door. "I'll lock up Marissa." an African American woman turns her body toward the sound of his voice. "you just go, and have a good night." the blind woman smiles sweetly and pulls the door open; her German shepherd by her side.
"Goodnight Gary." he watches her leave and turns his attention back to the television program. Once again he'd made his way onto the late night newscast.
"I hate bank robberies..." he complains quietly and to no one in particular. "They always end up on the news." a soft cry sounds to Gary's left. He looks down at a little orange cat; an animal he'd become very familiar with over the past two years. The cat looks up at Gary from atop the bar with big green eyes, his nose pointed up at him, and a swaying tail. "Don't give me that look. It's your fault I'm on T.V. more often than the president." a small rumble from the cat's larynx and he jumps down from the bar counter and away from the grumpy Gary. A light tapping comes from a window behind Gary. He looks back to see the sound didn't come from a window but the glass of the front door.
A young brunette woman stands outside the door. She breathes out and her breath can be seen in a clear fog. Gary approaches the entrance and looks down on her short figure. "Sorry." He shakes his head and points to an overturned open sign that read 'closed' in big white letters. "We're closed." she pulls her hands into the velvet sleeves of her jacket.
"I know. I'm looking for Gary Hobson." Gary looks down on her face, noticing her rosy cheeks, and trying to remember whether or not he'd met the lady before. "But...I'm pretty sure I don't have to look any further. I could never forget those eyes." Gary opens the door a crack and squints his eyes against the chilly night breeze.
"Eh." he shuts his mouth and thinks, looking to his right to see Cat who'd let out a quiet cry. "Do I know you?" he waits for her response. She smiles at his inability to recognize her. She rubs her frozen nose with her coat sleeve.
"Tiffany. Tiffany O'Neill. I was your next door neighbor for 6 years." Gary purses his lips to form a word before deciding against speaking. He smiles down at her happily surprised to see her now-recognizable face.
"Nokiddin'." she watches his all too familiar boyish smile and pulls her scarf over her mouth and nose. Tiffany pushes up on her tiptoes and lowers herself to the ground again. A tell-tale sign of awkward impatience she shared with her father.
"Can I come in?" she questions curiously. Gary ponders her request for a moment before it clicks in his brain.
"Uh. Yeah, yeah please." he backs away from the entrance pulling the door open wider. Tiffany enters the welcoming warmth of the barroom. "Can I take your coat? Or your purse? I've got a special place behind the bar for..." Tiffany looks around the room at the booths against the walls and the tables in the middle; chairs stacked atop for closing.
"Actually I think I'll keep my jacket on until I warm up a bit more." she pulls her purse-strap from her right shoulder and hands it over to her old friend. "But you can take this." he wraps the long strap around the black bag once and tucks it beneath the bar. Tiffany takes a seat at the bar and looks up at the television.
"There you have it. Thanks to Chicago local Gar" the TV. blacks out and Tiffany looks to Gary standing with the remote control.
"News. There's never anything good." he stands behind the bar opposite her stool. He tucks the remote under the bar and travels to the door to lock it. "Can I getcha anything? Sorry I don't know what you drink."
"Uh. Sure how bout Sam Adams." she pushes her arms out of her sleeves and rests them upon the bar.
"Beer. Really." he makes a mental note and pours her a tall glass of the lager.
"What?" he'd sounded too surprised. Gary looks up at her as he hands her the drink.
"Nothin' I guess I didn't figure you the beer type." his explanation was worse than his shock.
"What type did you think I was?" her question came out in no way hostile or insulted, just curious. He looks her over. The red discoloration on her nose and cheeks dulled to a light pink. Her dark brown hair wasn't as dark brown as he'd remembered from when they were teens. The blonde highlights bring out the golden color in her hazel eyes. She was beautiful. Much more beautiful than he'd recalled.
"Wine-coolers." she laughs at his 'type' choice and nods.
"Mmm yeah those are good. But I like bubbles." he pours himself a glass of rum and coke and takes a sip.
"Y'know, you don't look anything like I remember." he rests his upper body on the bar. She was significantly shorter than him even sitting on a barstool.
Tiffany looks Gary over. His hair was the same shade of ebony it had always been. His eyebrows still slant at the same crooked angle they always did when he was bemused. His smile remained unchanged by time. The only thing that'd really changed was his waist size which she was delighted to see had expanded a few inches. "Is that a bad thing?" he lifts his eyebrows realizing what he'd said might have insulted her; even though it hadn't.
"No not at all. I just wouldn't have recognized you if you hadn't said anything."
"Well aside from a more mature face you look exactly the same."
"Now see that is a bad thing" Gary speaks through a light laugh. Tiffany shakes her head in quick protest.
"You know what your problem is Gare? Modesty." she raises her glass and he does the same respectably. "To lost friends found." she toasts and their glasses clink together.
"Friends." he mimics straight-faced. Tiffany looks down at the bar top laughing lightly. "What." she shakes her head and looks up at him.
"Nothing. I've imagined this. This moment. Us meeting again for the first time. Y'know I was so scared it would be awkward. That we wouldn't know what to say to each other after all this time. But you haven't changed. And you're still so easy to talk to. Its like we were never apart." she shakes her head and rolls her eyes. "I hate to ask. But I haven't eaten in almost 16 hours could I make myself a sandwich or something?" he picks himself up off of the bar and speaks.
"I'll make us something I've got a kitchen full of food. What are you in the mood for?"
"Ummm just a ham sandwich." he smiles at a memory of the teenager the woman before him once was.
"No late night French toast?" she laughs at his question.
"God, Gary you remember that? I haven't had French toast after lunchtime in ages." she contemplates his option "If you don't mind making it at" she looks at the clock behind him "11:30 at night then yeah sure."