The door opens and she steps in. Then the hulking bald man, who closes the door behind him and just stands in front of it, with his arms crossed. The man in the black suit's face is covered by shadows, but when he lights a cigarette, she could see he was old.The man has a scar across his cheek.
"Please, sit down." He says, making a gesture with his right hand to the chair across from him.
She follows that instruction, carefully. He offers her a cigarette. He doesn't ask, just holds the open pack to her. She tries to say "I don't smo-" he scoffs. Now she knows. " I guess I'll take one." The man is wearing a black leather glove on the hand holding the pack.
The big man behind her comes to light it up. She takes a puff, thanks him, and now looks the man in the black suit. He's smiling. "Well then, Sylvia, shall we begin?"
She doesn't say anything. She just nods, and then she takes another puff. The cloud of smoke coming from her mouth covers most of her face when she exhales. Her blue eyes shine through it however. She moves in her chair, not breaking eye contact.
"You seem uncomfortable. Am I making you uncomfortable?" says the man again, with a smile, now leaning forward to her, into the light. It's the face of a man in his sixties. Scar on his left cheek, as she noticed. He has green eyes, and his perfect teeth make his smile creepy.
She smiles, but her smile comes off unnatural. "Nothing like that. It's just these shoes."
"Ah, I see. They do look uncomfortable. They're very pretty, but uncomfortable." That smile again. It's driving her mad. "Please. Feel free to take them off." She hesitates. He has the same look he had when he handed her that cigarette.
Sylvia proceeds to take off her red high-heeled shoes. She does feel better now, but she's still afraid of him.
"Mr. Wilson, I-"
"Please, call me Conrad." Again with that smile that drives her mad.
"Conrad, I wanted to thank you for the ride."
"You are very welcome, my dear. But I doubt you came all the way to my house just to thank me for asking my chauffeur to give you a lift home on a rainy evening. Am I wrong?"
"No, sir. You are not. I came here to ask for a favor."
Somebody enters the room through a door behind Conrad Wilson. It's a butler, bringing a expensive looking bottle of red wine. He leaves it on the table between the two chairs, and leaves.
Conrad gets up, puts his cigarette butt in the tray, and opens up the the bottle. Sylvia puts away her butt as well. The room fell into silence since she revealed her reasons.
He's enjoying this. He's doing it intentionally, keeps me waiting. He loves to create mystery around himself. She thinks.
He pours himself a glass of wine. Sylvia notices the wine looks very dense. And the smell salty. He offers to pour her a glass, but she refuses, with a shake of the head.
"Very well." He says.
He takes a sip of the wine. For a second, his eyes look like they glow. A redish color.
"Now, about that favor."
"Yes. It's about the event you are hosting next month. I was wondering if I could get an invitation. I work with the town's newspaper."
"I've noticed. I read your article about the last council meeting. An interesting opinion."
This time she's the one keeping silent. She knows her silence doesn't have the same effect has his. Quite the opposite. His silence inspired dominance over the conversation, while hers only shows that she's at his will. But she does it anyway.
"Alright. I'll give you an invitation."
"Thank you, sir."
"With one condition."
She was expecting this. A powerful man like him never gives something away for free. "And what might that be?"
"Be my date to the event." The smile is back. He keeps smiling, while he waits for his answer.
She doesn't really know what to do. Part of her wants to accept it. It's not a big deal. But part of her just wants to refuse. She doesn't know why.
While deciding what to do, Sylvia just stares at that smile. She can't keep her eyes off of it. Something stands out from the other smiles, yet she doesn't know what. Were his canines always so prominent?
Finally, she smiles. "What will the people say?"
"There's nothing to say. A beautiful young lady, accompanying an old man like me to a social event. I will introduce you to the important people, you will get your information for the story, and I don't have to go alone."
"May I have another cigarette?" she suddenly asks.
"Of course." He opens the pack, and holds it towards her, she takes one, the man at the door comes to light it up. Just as last time.
After taking the first puff she feels a shiver in her body. She feels lightheaded. Probably the effect of the cigarettes, she thinks.
"Alright, Conrad. It's a deal."
"It's a date!" he says, enthusiastically, and then he drinks more of the wine.
Sylvia excuses herself, and says she must go.
"I will have Paul drive you home."
"It's alright. I have my own car."
He accompanies her to the door, and bids her farewell.
She put her shoes back on, and took her cigarette with her. As she steps outside, she can feel the slight breeze on her skin. It's chilly outside. She sweated a lot inside. Probably because she feared Conrad Wilson.
She walks to her car, a red Ford Fusion. She looks back. Conrad is still in front of the door, and he waves at her, and gives her a smile. His canines stand out even more. She's feeling dizzy. She draws one more time from the cigarette and throws it on the ground. Then she gets in the car. Even though she doesn't feel well, she wants to get out of here as fast as she can.
After her, the gates close, and Conrad goes back inside.
Sylvia drives slowly. She's searching through her purse for her phone. She manages to find it, and calls someone. After a few rings, a message comes on and says. "Hey, uh...this is Adrian. I'm probably busy trying to solve something important, so leave a message and I'll get back to you."
"Adrian, I want to talk to you. I may have found something and I might need your help. I know you're not busy, you never are. Let's meet tomorrow morning at the coffee shop. Text me when you get this, so I'll know you'll come."