Authors note: - This story takes place in the late seventies and it's sorta a prequel to my characters present life. In this story Elwyn and Nightshade meet for the first time, it's hardly love at first sight for either one though :). R&R please, and don't worry there is a lot more to come.

Update: I only changed a few things, I'll be adding the next chapter soon but I wanted to correct a few errors I know are in this baby.

Hard Luck Love

A cool wind blew across the city streets and stirred the bare branches of the trees that lined up in front of the buildings. Patches of ice littered the ground and occasionally a flurry of snow drifted down from the cloud laden heavens. Only a few people moved about the city, most were tucked away in their warm homes sleeping the night away. Almost all the business was closed for the night save a few gas stations, all night diners and grocery stores. Even many of the clubs that seemed never to close gave way to the emptiness and locked their doors.

Bells rang out cheerfully as the door to Dan's Grill opened up to reveal a not so cheerful looking man. He shook a few snow flakes from his black leather coat and brushed his long silken black hair from his face. Dan looked up from behind the long low counter and smiled.

"Long time no see stranger. Where you been?" He asked while retrieving a coffee cup and filling it up with a hot dark brew.

"Europe on work." The dark man grunted as he moved to a semi-circular booth in the corner of the diner.

Dan walked over and set the cup of coffee before him and laughed softly. "You don't sound very happy about that. You know most people like to travel."

"I hate France. Too many French people in it." His blasé comment made the café owner laugh even harder.

"I'm sure they feel the same about you Elwyn." Dan fought back another laugh and set a menu down before him. "The new waitress will take your order when you're done. I've got to go clean the kitchen." He nodded down to his friend and moved into the back.

Elwyn sat in silence sipping his coffee and flipping through the menu until a voice pulled him away.

"Good evening sir, do you need a few more minutes?" Her voice was light and seemed to slide across his skin like a silk sheet. He looked up at her sharply and seemed surprised by the sight of her. She smiled warmly, her lips blood red and angel bowed. Her black hair was just past shoulder length and had a soft wave to it. The stark colors of her hair and lips made her already pale skin luminous. The simple white shirt she wore clung to her perky breasts and hugged her narrow waist. Her casual jean pants embraced her gentle hips and thighs. She seemed to enjoy Elwyn's long stare.

"I'll have the number six, no hash-browns and a side of toast." His voice remained cold and calm despite the effect she had on him.

"Alright, it will be right up." She gave him another warm and playful smile as she retreated behind the counter.

Elwyn shook him self slightly and growled a little. "She's just a stupid human."

He focused back on his coffee but she quickly came back to distract him. She held out that day's paper and said cheerfully. "Care for the news?"

The man took it from her and said softly. "You got a name?"

She seemed mildly surprised. "Yeah, I'm Nightshade. How about you? You got a name?"

"I'm Elwyn." He opened the paper and went to ignoring her. She frowned and got him another cup of coffee with out saying anything else.

His meal eventually arrived, he slowly picked at the eggs before drenching his pancakes in syrup and eating them in a similar matter. Every time his cup got a little low Nightshade walked up to give him a refill. They both didn't bother to speak and didn't even look at each other.

Once Elwyn had finished his meal Dan reappeared from the kitchen, his apron a bit greased stained but his ever present smile remained. He walked over to Elwyn's table and sat down.

"So how you been old friend?" Dan motioned Nightshade over. "Get me some coffee Hon."

She nodded and walked over with a coffee cup and the pot. With out being asked she just left both on the table and went about cleaning off the counter. Dan chuckled softly.

            "Smart girl. I never have to ask her twice and sometimes I never even have to ask her at all. It's like she can read my mind." He laughed and sat forward pouring him self and Elwyn a cup.

"What's her story? She's not the normal type you hire." Elwyn nodded thanks and pulled his mug back towards him, waiting a moment before taking a drink.

"True, she's a little young and this is her first job. She's damned good at it though. All the customers love her and she gets good tips." Dan stared into his coffee as he spoke. "She came in one night, looked like someone just roughed her up. Didn't complain and still had that lovely smile on her face. She ordered some soda and eggs and paid in change. Even left a small tip, though she obviously couldn't afford it." He sighed heavily.

"You've always been a softy." Elwyn shook his head as if disgusted but wore a small smile.

"Yeah so sue me." He grinned at his friend.

"So what made you hire her?" He asked watching Dan curiously.

"I'm not fully sure. Yeah I was attracted to her and she seemed nice, it wasn't like I really needed any help but… She looked so helpless and alone. Before she left the words just jumped out of my mouth 'Do you need a job?'… And she said yes." He shrugged and finally took a drink from his cup. "That was about two months ago and she's been here every night since."

Elwyn grunted softly and sipped his coffee slowly. Dan huddled around his cup and said sadly. "I don't think she has anywhere to go. I asked her once where she lived and she just gave me that smile that melts me like butter in the hot sun and said 'Oh, wherever.' So I don't bug her about it anymore."

"Strays bring trouble." Elwyn said coldly.

Dan sighed heavily and looked at him sadly. "Come on El, I couldn't just sit by and do nothing. It was the first time in a while that I could play white knight to some pretty young lass."

"Isn't she a little young for you?" Elwyn said with a playful smile and raised eyebrow.

"That don't mean I can't look." Dan grinned.

"You old dog, you'll never change." The dark man let out a rare soft laugh.

He just shrugged. "Just because you are one of the few freakish men who doesn't appreciate a lovely face doesn't make me a dog. Only your average male."

Elwyn snorted. "Whatever…" He stood leisurely and placed a fifty dollar bill on the table. "Tell your pretty face she can keep the change."

Dan watched his old friend leave his diner and smiled softly. "It seems you'll never change too buddy."

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