Prompt’s courtesy of Cake.shortandsweet’s Wednesday Write-In.
Dzinski sucked in his gut a little and slid into the diner’s leather and chrome covered booth. Trish Reagan flashed him a smile that had him searching his pockets for an engagement ring. He pulled out a pack of cigarettes instead. He looked up at her and pushed them away to the side.
She smiled at him again. He would have lunged across the table and kissed her if the waiter hadn’t arrived at that moment with their coffees. Dzinski stirred three spoonfuls of sugar in his. Trish lifted her cup, pursed her lips and blew over the lukewarm drink.
“I scalded my tongue as a child,” she said, “It’s harder to give up than smoking.”
Dzinski reached for his cigarettes out of reflex. She waved him to go on when he hesitated. He lit it, tilted his head back and exhaled toward the ceiling.
Trish blew on her coffee again before taking a sip.
“So,” she said. “Have you found my brother?”
Dzinski pulled his notepad from his pocket and flipped through the pages. He stopped on one page, sighed and then closed it and put it away.
“I talked to the manager and other waiters from the restaurant; no one has seen him in months. Found two girls he dated off and on, neither knew where he was and both were pretty upset the other one existed. He dropped off his key with the landlord six weeks ago. The cops haven’t picked him up anywhere, or if they did, he’s using a false name, and they haven’t busted him on it yet. Basically, he disappeared.”
Trish frowned. He thought of how some women look awful when they frown, like you expect stones to crumble from their cheeks. Not her. Her lips curled down, but her eyes were still bright.
“I can’t stand it.” she said, turning to the side. Dzinski thought her profile was chiseled from marble. “I know he’s out on the street somewhere, hungry, tired and afraid.”
She accepted his offered handkerchief, hid behind it and let loose two quiet sobs. Dzinski fiddled with his saucer. Trish dabbed at the corner of her eyes, and gave him a demure, apologetic smile.
“It’s not too early for a drink, is it?” she said.