Well, things are moving a little more slowly than I wanted, but at least we get to spend more time getting to know the main characters. With all these wily, villanous sorts around, how on earth is Mickey going to get out of this with his pretty face and wardrobe intact?
Part Five: Jackass in the Tea
Mickey, despite the glares and suspicious eyes that followed him, was rather enjoying himself. He sat with Pearl, the girl he would probably marry, at a small table tucked into a secluded corner and watched the various floor shows and singers through a mist of cigar fumes and candle smoke. The star of the cabaret seemed to be a lissome girl with sleek auburn hair and large, dark eyes. Mickey couldn’t be sure, but he had the distinct impression that the leggy dancer was focusing her intense gaze on him during her routines. He didn’t usually like shows like this or girls like her, but those endlessly deep eyes piqued his interest.
Mickey nearly jumped when he felt Pearl lay her hand on his. “Will you get me a drink Mickey darling?” Pearl’s voice was low and velvety, and quickly brought his thoughts back to where they should be. “I don’t like the look of some of these people. I mean, they keep staring over here. I just don’t feel comfortable walking by them.”
“Sure, sweetie. I’ll be right back.” Mickey stood, and strode confidently through the crowd of shifty characters to the bar. He leaned against the polished wood and waited for the bartender to take his order. The boy, a slim lad with bushy black hair, eyed him uneasily. Mickey gave him his order and while he waited he asked what had been bugging him since he’d walked into Rita’s.
“I don’t suppose you could tell me why everyone is staring at me.” Mickey had to lean down to talk to the bartender. “They’ve been staring at me since I walked in.”
Ianto relaxed at the educated and soft spoken tone; it had been his experience that educated people were easier to dupe. “You’re new. We’ve got a pretty regular crowd here.” He placed the drinks on the counter and held out his hand for his tip. “Plus they are a superstitious lot and so they don’t like gingers.”
Mickey hesitated in placing the money in the bartender’s hand. “Ginger? You mean they’re staring because I have red hair?” He glanced around quickly and saw that he was indeed the only titian haired person there.
Ianto smiled innocently. “Hey, people are funny, you know. If I were you, I wouldn’t stick around.” His charming demeanor and boyish face often made him seem trustworthy; Mickey hadn’t even noticed the white powder that Ianto had poured into his drink. “I’d especially kick off before Lulu finishes her set. I’ve heard she’s got a thing for gingers and let me tell you that girl can’t be trusted.”
Mickey stood somewhat shell shocked by this blunt honesty, but thanked the young man and made his way back to Pearl. Ianto laughed to himself and mentally went through his plan. He’d have to move fast, that ground up sleeping pill would start working soon.