Disclaimer: The characters of The Mummy are the property of Universal Studios. The title of the story is taken from Billy Joel's "Piano Man." Siobhan (pronounced SHAH-von, it's Irish/Gaelic) O'Connor is my own invention.
A Drink They Call Loneliness
"I said you cannot stay with me."
Siobhan's bottom lip quivered briefly before she bit it, glancing between him and her drink and the crowded bar several times before meeting his eyes again. She leaned forward a little.
"Look...It's just for tonight..."
Beni scoffed. "I do not let anyone sleep in my apartment. It is never just one night. What if O'Connell is in prison? Then what? Where do you think you will go? Because you cannot stay with me."
"I don't want to stay with you," she said, her voice tensing. She glanced about nervously, as if to make sure no one was listening. "I just don't want to be alone."
He rolled his eyes, downing what was left of his drink. "Yes, you said that."
"I don't think you're understanding me."
His brow furrowed. Beni didn't like being told he didn't understand something. He'd heard it enough, every time he learned a new language. People were always telling him he didn't understand something. "It's a saying, Beni, it means..." and then they'd explain it to him. Like he was an idiot. He was already annoyed with Siobhan coming and sitting with him, and now he scowled at her so that she'd know just how unwelcome her presence was.
But she wasn't looking into his eyes, not then. She reached a trembling hand across the table and rest it on his. Her fingers curled around his knuckles, and she said again:
"I don't want to be alone."
Beni stared at her, and she stared cautiously back, her face flush with embarrassment, but her eyes steady. Those strange, greenish-goldish-brown eyes. They should have been dark. Her hair was so very black, they should have been dark. But they were strange and light and no color at all. Just some lonely mix of nothingness, staring back at him and begging him to understand her.
"Please take me to your apartment," she whispered, and then cleared her throat. "To your...bed..."
Beni actually balked. He couldn't help it. His jaw dropped and he stared at her. "Are you serious?"
She glanced at her hand, still holding his, and nodded.
"Did you forget why your stupid brother kicked me out?"
Siobhan said nothing and shook her head.
He leaned back and crossed his arms over his chest, his mouth settling into a smirk as he eyed her smugly.
"I thought I 'revolted' you."
Her eyes flashed up to his. "You do."
Beni frowned. "Then what is this? Some kind of stupid trick? Because I am not a fool."
"I don't think you're a fool," Siobhan said. Something in her eyes was earnest.
She took a breath, and let it out in a slow sigh. "You have something that I want. And I know you won't give it to me for nothing."
Beni's slim shoulders rose and fell in a shrug. He leaned forward. "That is true. But I would rather have money."
They watched each other a moment in silence. Beni folded his hands on the table. "What of mine do you want?"
She eyed his chest a moment before glancing back into his eyes. "I want your Star of David."
Beni snorted. He pulled the pendant out on its chain, watching her bite her lip as she stared at it.
"You want this?" he asked, his voice incredulous.
Siobhan cleared her throat and met his gaze coolly. "What difference does it make to you?"
He started to say something, but his mind halted with a sudden thought. His eyes narrowed and he pointed an accusatory finger at her. "You said you did not want to be alone. You thought you could steal it."
She swallowed hard, her gaze dropping to her hands but just as quickly returning to his.
"There's no stealing from you," she said in an unreadable tone.
Beni's mouth twisted smugly. "That is right." His hand curled around the star, and he shoved it back under his shirt. She let out a sigh.
"Do we have a deal, then? Will you take me to your apartment?"
He smirked. "You can come to my apartment."
Siobhan let out a sigh, gazing at her hands for a long moment. She looked like she was trying to gather up all of her strength, and she probably was. Beni wanted to roll his eyes, but he turned his attention to the bar instead. He watched her finish her drink in one long, burning gulp out of the corner of his eye. He found himself wondering what she wanted the pendant for, but quickly shrugged the thought away. What difference did it make? She wanted it, and she was willing to crawl into bed with him to get it. He supposed he ought to just take his good fortunes as they came...
He glanced at her, watching her toy with the end of a curl nervously, and felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Maybe he hadn't come into any good fortune after all. Siobhan was a tease. A silly, girlish, virgin tease, who had been so very nice to him until he had snuck over to her corner of the room that night...the night that O'Connell threw him out on his ass.
What did she want the pendant for?
But she was getting up from her seat, and giving him a grim, forced smile, so he pushed his thoughts away. He would find out what all of this was. He always did find out.