"What's up, Jack?"

The feathers atop her head bobbed in time with the sultry music as she greeted the newcomer. The smell of coffee and cigarettes filled the air as the company found more entertainment among themselves than from the performance onstage.

"Besides trying to get you climb up that hill with me, Jill? Nothing much."

His smile shone in the dim light, and the twinkling of his eyes lent even more illumination.

"May I?" he asked, taking out a chair for himself and sitting without waiting for a reply. She narrowed her eyes at him.

"How do you know it's not taken?" she countered. His countenance grew amused, and he flicked an errant strand of hair back into place with a quick jerk of the head.

"Please, Jill," he replied, "if you weren't alone, you'd probably be in a liplock with some old-moneyed Sugar Daddy in a dark back corner."

She leveled an indignant glare at him, as if offended, and he laughed.

"I'm not callin' you a gold-digger, sweetheart, I'm just saying you're mighty hard to please when one isn't loaded." He casually extracted a slim pack of cigarettes, which she eyed unhappily.

"Butt me?" she asked. He tossed her one, as he had taken them out solely for her benefit, and pulled out a lighter.

"So what's eating you?" he asked, turning his eyes to the near-empty dance floor. His feet were itching in his shoes already, but first things first. He looked back at his table mate who had lit up and was toying with the lid of the lighter. "You're all dolled up, and this joint ain't exactly tops. Some high-hat stand you up?"

"Oh, Jack, I can't stand Freddie Davis!" she moaned.

He scoffed. He wasn't familiar with the name, but he knew who he was all the same. The guys she swung with were all the same.

"Who needs Freddie Davis when you got me?" he said. She cocked a brow at him.

"And what good are you to me?" she countered, clearly unimpressed. He rolled his eyes at her.

"Well, what else does a woman need a man for but to carry around her cigarettes and get her dogs a'dancing once in a while?" he drawled. She still looked unconvinced. He stood up and offered her a hand.

"Come on, now," he said, "let's get a wiggle on and show these old pills what dancing really is!"

There was a challenge in his eyes. She never backed down from a challenge.

"Fine," she said, accepting his hand and moving out to the dance floor. "But just so you know, I don't accept cash or checks from cake-eaters like you!"

He only laughed.

"You wish!"