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The car slid into a back parking space outside of The Hatter. The building itself was all black with splashes of colors here and there. It looked as if someone had thrown balloons filled with paint at the outside walls. The front sign was shaped like a top hat, similar to the one Evan had been wearing, only the outside one had a sinister looking face underneath it, smiling at her as if it knew something she didn't. Catherine's hands shook and she squeezed them into fists to try and stay calm, taking small breaths, soothing her nerves, but adrenaline was a bitch. She could do this. Taking a deep breath, she stepped out of the car and headed for the front doors.
Inside, dance music blared from speakers. Bodies slid up and down against each other. Laughter could be heard from somewhere deep in the crowd and the smell of booze was everywhere she turned. She easily slipped past the maze of people, searching for Evan's top hat. When she didn't find it, she made her way to the bar. She needed a shot of something that burned. Maybe it would kick some of her unease.
The bartender put his hands along the back of the bar and asked, "What can I get ya?"
"A shot of Jack Daniels please."
Catherine pulled out her I.D. and showed it to him. He nodded and poured the shot for her.
"Thanks Aron, but she won't be drinking that," Evan's voice said from behind her. She stilled. Her mind jumped in different directions. She could run. She could turn around. She could keep staring at the bartender.
"Back so soon, Cat?" Evan asked. She could feel the heat from his body so close to hers.
"The name is Catherine." Her heart beat so fast she thought it would bruise her chest. Steeling herself against his potent presence, she faced the man she would demand answers from. Damn he did look good, better in fact than she had remembered. His dark eyes looked as if he might devour her where she stood. The tail ends of his jacket flared out behind him. He smiled, but didn't correct his use of her name. "Is there someplace we could..." She swallowed. "Talk?"
"My office is upstairs, Cat." He grabbed her hand and led her away from the bar.
"Oh didn't I mention this is my bar?" He glanced over his shoulder at her and winked. "Do you like it?"
~~~ to be continued next week ~~~
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