"I wanted to talk to you about something." Simon said, after some amount of siflence.
This normal 'companionable' silence between them wasn't odd, but the lack of eye contact was a red flag. He tended to hold eye contact more often and longer than Anna felt necessary. So why wasn't he now?
"There was a women working in my office for a while, and she just quit." He continued, "I wanted to ask her out for a long time, but it's against policy to date someone within the office, so I couldn't, but she's gone now. Since I have a chance now... I was wondering..." His voice trailed off as his eyes trailed up to finally meet hers. "What you think?"
"What I think?" Anna asked, struggling to comprehend the situation.
"She really is a wonderful women. Her family is respectable, she's beautiful and she has incredible manners. But, she isn't boring, she's smart, and she's funny too. I could see myself married to someone like her. If I don't take my chance now, I think I might not have another." Simon explained.
Anna looked from him to around the café. Was anyone else hearing any of this? Could any of them make sense of the situation? Maybe she was just...really slow...?
"Are you breaking up with me?" She asked.
"I'm just...asking for your opinion...On whether I should break up with you and see her. If you think she might not want me, I don't want to break things off with you. I didn't want to ask her out before we broke up though, I'm not that kind of guy."
Nodding, Anna took a drink to give herself a moment to think. She was being asked if he could dump her? It was oddly nice of him. Well, not really that nice.
Who was she to tell him he couldn't have his dream wife? Was she heartbroken? No, not really. Maybe she was still in shock though. Maybe she would be suddenly overcome with grief once she got in her car or home. Right now though, she wasn't sure how she should react when the guy she had been dating almost a year was asking her advice on asking out another girl.
"I think you should go for it. Ask her out." Anna finally said.
"Do you think so? Thank you Anna, you're so good to me. I hope we can still be friends?"
"If we get married, I'll be sure to send you a thank you card."
She would have thought he was kidding if she didn't know better.
Waiting at the front door of Anna's apartment that night was David, her brother in law. He wasn't alone though, and not with his wife either, but with another man. A man who was passed out beside him. At first Anna wondered why Dawn, her roommate, hadn't let them in, but remembered she was away playing a soccer game in another city.
The thought of why David had an unconscious guy with him was only an afterthought.
"Finally!" David greeted, getting to his feet. "Hurry, let us in, it's cold!"
The apartments faced out toward the street, and the walk way was exposed so it did get rather cold outside. If David was camped out in those conditions he must have been in need. Without asking, Anna unlocked the door and led him inside. Leaving him alone to drag his buddy in.
"What's this about?" She asked as he dropped the body on the couch. It then occurred to Anna she might need to panic, but saw that he was breathing.
"He's drunk. He can't crash at my place because Sarah really put her foot down about that since we got pregnant."
We got pregnant. Ya, they were one of those couples.
"Can he stay here?" He asked.
"No! Take him home!" Anna insisted.
"I don't know where he lives." David confessed.
"You don't know this guy and you are going to leave him here?!"
David quickly motioned for her to calm down. "I didn't say I didn't know him. I know him, he's a good guy. He comes in the shop from time to time."
"The pawn shop?!"
"He's cool! Please Anna, I don't want to leave him out in a gutter, and I can't take him home with me. He's passed out cold, he wont do you any harm I swear. Just let him out in the morning. That's all." As simple as babysitting a dog.
It was embarrassing enough thinking 'What if the drunk rapes me in the middle of the night?' How could she say it? The thought alone made her blush. David's inevitable laughter would kill her.
"He's cool, I swear, he wont rob the place. You know I wouldn't bring some scary guy over here, right?" He asked, laying on as much charm as he could muster. When she didn't answer right away, he slowly made his way to her and took her hands in his. "I'm looking out for you. I love you. You're family. I wouldn't bring a serial killer here to stay. You can trust me."
"Fine..." Anna sighed. If she woke up and everything was missing, she would send David the bill. And as for tonight though, she would move everything worth any value into her bedroom, since she was locking herself in it tonight.
"Thank you!" David said, kissing her cheek. "Your sister will be happy I didn't bring home a drunk tonight. Just tell Warren his friend dropped him off at my shop, I'm sure he'll be wondering how he got here."
If this Warren guy didn't wonder, then he was definitely someone to be worried about.
David didn't hang around long enough to give Anna any passed-out-drunk tips, only to quickly grab something from the fridge.
Dawn was going to be bummed she missed out on such drama. By the time she got home, the drunk guy should be long gone. And hopefully back on the wagon.
Anna had moved anything worth value into her room that night before locking herself inside. Well, she moved everything worth value to HER. There were a few things Dawn would have wanted to keep away from random drunks that were bunking down at their place, but she was gone.
So, oh well.
It seemed like it had been a waste of time though, because come morning, the guy hadn't moved an inch. He was still dead to the world.
And on that note, Anna checked his pulse.
"Well, you need to wake up now." She told him, not expecting, and not getting, any reply. "What did you take last night that you are still asleep? Get up, please."
He didn't even flutter an eye lid.
Anna went about her morning as usual, preparing for work. Although every few minutes she insisted that he woke up. When it was down to the wire and she had to leave, it became all the more evident he wasn't getting up.
She couldn't stay home, she had to go to work. She also couldn't leave him there. If she did that, she would return to an empty house.
"Get up, PLEASE! Wake the hell up!" Anna yelled. "I hate you." She added for good measure.
Well, he was going to have to sleep outside then. That was his own fault for not staying sober.
Taking the prone man firmly under his arms, she pulled, and he hit the floor. And that was an improvement, because he was at least off the couch. It was under a minute later Anna realized she couldn't move him any further.
He was HEAVY.
And she had to GO.
So, what were her options?
Anna decided to hog tie him until she got back.
Warren blacked out face down in the ground, and then woke up face down in the ground. Different ground though, and the post-black-out ground was an upgrade. It was carpet. It was unfamiliar carpet, but it wasn't altogether bad.
It crossed his mind to be concerned with not knowing where he was, but he wasn't in the mood. He really couldn't care less. He wasn't at home, and that's all he cared about. Warren could have woken up in the pits of Hell and it would have been fine with him. Even if it was Dante's Hell and Tydeus was eating his brain. This situation wasn't that bad, so he was content.
That was until Warren attempted to move and found his arms and feet tied behind him.
Where the fuck was he?
Turning himself over, he found himself in a living room. Again, it was unfamiliar. And again, not altogether bad.
No one seemed to be around, and so he was alone with no explanation of why he was tied up. But, his clothes were still on. That was the silver lining. Dignity was a funny thing, you had to take what you were given.
A week ago, this situation would have him panicked, but right then he decided to embrace it. He wasn't in any danger, so there was no reason to be scared. He had no where to be, so he wasn't worried. He was on carpet, so he wasn't uncomfortable.
That was until he had to use the bathroom.
By the time the front door opened, he was in dire straits.
The women who walked through the door spotted him immediately and sighed with relief. "Finally, you're awake. Sorry about the...way I left you, I didn't want to be robbed."
"Safety first." Warren agreed. "Who are you, if you don't mind my asking?"
"My name is Anna. I'm David's sister in law."
David?... Oh right, the owner of that pawn shop. Who knew the man would hook him up with a place to recover? That was nice of him.
"Nice to meet you. I'm Warren. Can I use your bathroom?" Warren asked.
"Oh, of course." Anna said graciously, then quickly removed his bindings.
Warren didn't pause to rub his sore joints before using the facilities. Only after he had gone to the bathroom did he realize how stiff he was. He made an oath to himself then to never become a hostage.
Now was the matter of where to go from here. He couldn't go home. He couldn't go to anyone who knew him. This place wasn't bad.
It was worth a shot.
"I assume you're hungry?" Anna asked when he came out of the restroom. "I'll share my dinner with you."
"That's kind of you. What are we having?"
"We're finishing off the ramen." She said, tapping the boiling pan with a spoon. "Tomorrow is pay day, so we're down to the emergency ramen rations."
"We're? You live with David?" He inquired. The more people here the more people he would need to charm.
"Oh, no. David just left you here because he couldn't take you to his place. I live with my roommate, but she's away right now. You can have her share."
"Thank you. It was kind of you to let me stay here." Warren said as he seated himself at the table.
She turned toward him, studying him. "You must have gotten pretty drunk. You were out forever."
"I don't hold my liquor well." He admitted.
"So you didn't drink that much?" She asked incredulously.
"Oh, no, I drank a new world record." No reason to lie about that.
"Why?" She asked.
No reason to not lie about this. "I don't know." Warren said, trying to sound hesitant. "I have amnesia."