Armelle stared out the window without answering. Finally, she pushed her chair away from the table and disappeared into the diner’s kitchen. Vančura watched her go, then turned a sardonic eye on Eddie, who flinched out of habit.
“Do you suppose it was something I said?”
With a shrug, Eddie tipped up his glass, snagged a piece of ice, and began crunching.
“Dunno. What’d y’say?”
“Essentially the same thing you did.”
Eddie stared at him and crunched disbelievingly.
“Y’used a lot more words den I did.”
Before the big man could respond, Armelle returned, followed by the waitress. Neither of them looked happy, which – as far as Eddie knew – was the normal state of things. Armelle still scared him, of course, but he was getting used to it. That didn’t mean he was taking chances, though; he slurped another piece of ice and casually put the table between himself and the women.
Armelle didn’t seem to notice. She was intent on Vančura, eying him as if she expected him to bite.
“We’ve got to go. It won’t be much longer before they figure out where we are and we’ve wasted too much time already.”
Eddie didn’t need to be able to see Vančura’s face to know he’d turned that well-practiced sardonic expression on her. It was standard operating procedure for the big guy.
The crunching stopped abruptly as Eddie bit his lip instead of the ice. He even forgot to yelp. An invisible force winched Armelle’s eyebrows up.
“That’s it? ‘Okay’? You’re not going to argue? Laugh? Poke holes in my plan?”
She didn’t sound as if she believed it, but Vančura rolled his shoulders in an expansive shrug.
“When you’re right, you’re right. Besides, the sound of the word ‘caught’ rather takes all the fun out of annoying you.”
The waitress, who had been listening with an exasperated expression, interrupted.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. You two can argue about how there’s no reason to argue, just do it on the road. The truck’s out back and it’s gassed up. Just get out of here before the cops come looking.”
By the time Vančura had gotten to his feet, Eddie was already half-way to the back door. The word ‘cops’ had that kind of effect on him. A dim memory echoed; something about a carrot and a stick. The cops were an unpleasant stick, sure, but he couldn’t see a carrot.
Not that he liked carrots, but he thought it might be a figure of speech. As he headed out the door, he crunched thoughtfully . Maybe the ice was the carrot.
End Chapter 11 – Part 2
Go to Chapter 11 – Part 3
Yes, today’s installment was shorter than the last one. 1,000 words of ‘Twicebound’ is a little exhausting to write on top of 2K words a day of sci-fi novella, so I kept this installment a bit shorter. Once I’m done with this novella, you’ll be getting slightly longer ‘Twicebound’ episodes every week.
Want to read the previous installments of ‘Twicebound’? They’re right here!
Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three,
Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six,
Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine
Chapter Eleven – Part One