Marshall and Maggie get to the O'Reily's Pub and start dancing. Trouble still follows them
Maggie couldn't stop trembling, even with Marshall's strong arm around her shoulders. Why did men need to fight? To prove how macho they were? Only one man she knew cared less about fighting to prove a point, Albert her neighbor at the trailer park. He always acted as a gentleman. She'd never seen him argue with anyone, even if the other person tried to goat him into a fight.
She asked him once why he always backed down. His answer always the same, "one day Karma would repay them". This usually turned out true. Invariably the person or persons, trying to bate him, would have something serious happen to them within a couple days. Albert would smirk and shrug when he heard the news.
Marshall wanted to fight the man. She felt it in the intensity of his forearm muscles. He stopped. Jessie never would stop.
Maggie took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She looked up at Marshall and found his shining green eyes on her. Eyes, which held a question and something else indefinable.
The evening breeze grew stronger, whipping her shoulder length hair into her eyes. It was time to concentrate on the here and now. Marshall stopped by the water's edge, the Pub a hundred feet up the beach. "Thank you again Marshall," she whispered into the still night. Only the lapping of the waves trying to grab the sand disturbed the silence.
"No problem Maggie." He pulled her close to stand in front of him. Gently he brushed a few strands of wayward hair from her face and put them behind her ear. He rubbed the pad of his thumb over her bottom lip. She wanted him to kiss her. Marshall pulled in a shallow breath, closed his eyes, then... Band music floated on the wind. Marshall looked up the beach and broke their embrace. "Come on my lady. Time to dance."
"Okay," was the only word Maggie's brain formed. They walked hand in hand to the back of the Pub, rinsed off their feet using paper towels from the dispenser in the small alcove to dry them. Then they put on their shoes and climbed the three steps to the back porch of the Pub. As they entered music and general conversation created an atmosphere of happy party goers.
Marshall picked a table, for two, in the corner and pulled his chair close to hers. He smiled. She felt her face light up. The place was one of Maggie's happy places. O'Reilly's Pub was designed to look like an authentic Irish Pub. A long wooden, carved bar ran along the back wall. Everything was fashioned out of dark, richly polished wood. Stained glass windows ran across the wall on the parking lot side. Waiters in black pants, white shirts and plaid sashes, roamed around. Barmaids stood behind the bar. One who was standing at the end was dressed in a three quarter length plaid skirt, white short sleeve blouse and a Tam on her head.
A server came to their table. "What can I get you folks?" he asked complete with the proper accent.
Maggie ordered a Strawberry Dacquerie and Marshall ordered an unopened bottled beer of some type.
Marshall contemplated the look he'd seen in Maggie's eyes as they stood at the water's edge. He considered himself good at reading people. It was a prerequisite for his business. He needed to keep his clientele happy and safe. She hadn't pulled away. She wanted him to kiss her. If he leaned down about six inches he knew he would find warm lips. Fear of rejection kept him from making a move. The cute pixie pulled him into love. It didn't make a whole lot of sense. He'd only known her for a few hours, but his feelings for her felt like quick sand, pulling him down.
The waiter put down their drinks. Marshall handed him two of the drink chits and gave a generous tip to ensure the man would keep an eye on their needs.
The band stared a slow mellow song. "Maggie would like to dance?"
"I'm afraid I'm not very good. I'm not good at following a new partner. Jessie used one basic step and Albert dances with me sometimes. It took me months to learn to follow his lead."
o o o o o o o o o o
Marshall purposely waited for the band to play a slow song. He knew Maggie was tired. They stayed at the County Fair until their dinner reservations. Now they were at the O'Reilly's Pub, using the chips the girls gave her for drinks. He placed his hand on her back, kept about four inches between their bodies and held her right hand in the perfect stance, of a gentlemen dancing with an partner in public. Marshall took a couple of steps. Maggie told him she didn't dance well, so he kept a firm grip and kept his steps small.
He looked down. Her adorable face lit up as she concentrated on the steps. Slowly she melted into the rhythm and her eyes came back up to his. Marshall leaned in, whispering in her ear, "The band's playing just for us."
Her melodic chuckle entered his chest and made a beeline South to settle behind his zipper. He wanted to hear her laugh. He wanted to see her eyes sparkle. He wanted to hear her gasp, when he whispered close to her ear. The only problem with this scenario, his pants were already pressing uncomfortably at his zipper.
During the day, Marshall willingly plunged into Maggie's world. Yes, she was sixty one years old. Yes, she was a client. But, he desperately needed to find a way to make this night last forever, on the dance floor or wherever the woman led him through life. Every copulas in his body galvanized to the need to protect and cherish her. He was in a whole shitload of trouble here.
"Ok, we're going to try a turn. Ready?" When he received a nod, he carefully executed a slight turn. He used the pad of his thumb to pull her bottom lip from between her teeth. "You're fantastic, Sunshine. Perfect." Her giggle sent a wave of electricity along his spine. Hurray for him!
When he looked down, her eyes gleamed with unshed tears. "Ah, Sunshine, why the tears?"
"I'm ... it's just... it's been an absolutely perfect day. Well perfect except for.... the nut at the Oyster Shack who wanted our table" Maggie's eyes dropped to his chest. "I was really proud of you Marshall." Her eyes came back up to his. "Not taking the bait, did prove you were the better man, you know?"
Marshall pulled her in closer, sandwiching their entwined fingers between their bodies. Her head settled against his chest, below his chin. He kissed her hair, breathing in the honeysuckle sent which wrapped around a scent which was all Maggie. He lightly laid his cheek on top of her head. He knew she felt the steel rod pressing against her stomach. Marshall cleared his throat. "Only because you were there. I don't think ... You ground me Maggie with just the squeeze of your hand." Marshall leaned in and kissed her on the cheek. He hadn't felt her lips yet, he wanted to, but he wasn't sure how much of a public display she would allow. He wasn't even sure if she would agree to see him after tonight.
As Marshall prepare to lead her off the floor, he felt a tap on his shoulder. A stunning twenty something stood beside him, smiling. Dressed head-to-toe in form fitting western wear, rhinestones decorating her outfit. The girl would need a guard to protect her clothes if all the bling was real. "Can I help you Miss?" Marshall asked as he continued to sway with Maggie.
"Ya, Handsome. I'm Queenie. I want to dance with you." Her fake eyelashes fluttered as she totally missed the shy mark. Her breath and red eyes told him she'd drunk too much.
"I'm sorry. I already have a partner." Marshall turned back to Maggie, but the female grabbed his bicep.
"Wow, you're strong." She glanced toward Maggie and then her eyes locked on Marshall. "I'm not kidding. I want to dance with you. Your partner, won't mind." She never took her eyes off Marshall as she asked Maggie, "Would you grandma?"
"I.... if Marshall would like to dance with you, I can sit down."
"Good." The girl started to step into Maggie's space, pushing her to the side.
"Excuse me, Miss. I said I already have a partner." Marshall took one step back, pulling Maggie into his embrace.
"Queenie, this man giving you a problem?"
Oh, great the boyfriend! Marshall found Maggie's eyes on him, but he didn't dare move them from the man standing next to Queenie. Marshall felt reasonably sure the guy would go down easily, but Maggie didn't like fighting. If he fought it would seal the fact he would never see her again.
"J.T. you said I could ask him to dance. He won't dance with me. He would rather dance with her." Queenie jabbed a finger toward Maggie, which Marshall gently pushed away.
"You would rather dance with this old bitch than my girl? What's she, a sugar momma or something?"
Marshall watched as J.T.'s hand's opened and closed at his side. "Look I don't want to fight. Why don't you two let me buy you a drink?" Marshall smiled at Maggie when he felt the gentle squeeze of his arm. Marshall caught enough of a glimpse out of the corner of his eye to dodge the right cross J.T. threw, as the man yelled, "Hell, no."
Pushing Maggie gently off to the side and behind him, Marshall took a fighting stance. "Now why did you swing. I promised tonight I would not fight, but since you started it, I can't back down. So come on give it your best shot." Marshall beckoned the man closer with both of his hands. Surely Maggie couldn't get mad at him for protecting himself and her.
The man took one step toward him and tried for another right cross. Marshall ducked and threw in an uppercut, then a left fist toward the man's stomach. He heard a grunt, the man not backing off. Marshall hoped the want-a-be bad biker dude, didn't decide to pull any weapons. But those hopes were dashed as the glint of a large knife flickered across his vision. Several things happened at once. Marshall found a lot of open space around them, he needed to pull his own knife from his boot and Maggie disappeared "You sure you want to go this route?" he questioned, as he reached in his right boot and pulled his prized Bouie knife from its sheath.
Mr. Biker Dude, waved his knife around. Marshall shook his head slowly. He knew he could take the guy, but if he cut him, he would be looking at a whole lot of trouble. His friend told him to stay out of trouble for just a little while. At least until the other incident got put on the back burner by the local Police Department.
"Police, put the weapons down. Now!" Off to the side two Officers stood Tasers drawn. He looked at J.T. to make sure the man obeyed, then put his knife on the ground, straightened up and put both hands in the air. When his eyes found Maggie, she stood near the front door, her head down. "Maggie," he whispered as an officer pushed him to his knees, his hands zip tied behind his back. As the Officer read him his rights, Marshall's world went hazy. His eyes saw Maggie's back as she walked away. Gods no, please, no!