Brunch (2)

Madison leaned across the table to show him the pictures on her phone. “That’s the view right before we jumped; the next one is a video.” She passed over the phone and went back to her brioche sandwich.

Simon dutifully watched Madison, golden hair whipping across her face in the sun, zip over the rainforest canopy.  His own phone buzzed loudly in his pocket. He ignored it and returned Madison’s. “That looks amazing. They didn’t have zip-lines in Paraguay when I went in summer.”

She pushed her hair behind her ear, nodding at the waiter as their mimosas were refreshed. “We only zip-lined that one day, too much work otherwise. It was great though, I’m still in contact with some of the village.”

The two smiled at each other as they ate and sipped at their drinks. Neither could over indulge as Madison’s family owned the restaurant. Bad behavior would be noticed and reported. But the conversation was surprisingly easy, and neither required the liquid confidence. Simon’s phone rang again, he silenced it.

Madison cocked her head. “Is everything okay? I always freak out if someone actually calls me.”

He nodded. “It’s nothing. My family thinks everything is an emergency.”

“That I get. Last year my mom couldn’t find her Maserati. She called everyone.  Me, my driver, my brother at his office, asking if someone had taken it. She reported it stolen, had half the police department in our garage.” Madison finished her mimosa with a grin. “Turns out my dad had taken it in to get the navigation upgraded. Now we invite the police commissioner to our Christmas party to make up for the fuss.”

His phone continued to ring.

Simon knew the voicemails filling up his phone did not concern missing cars. It was something important, but then it was always something important. Simon considered turning off his phone. He should be able to ignore his family for a few hours, just long enough to have brunch with a girl who went on service projects and knew who Vivian Leigh was.

“They seem to think it’s something.” Madison said sympathetically.

“Sorry.” Simon pulled out his phone. Four calls and three text messages, all from his uncle. As he’d predicted, something was going on and he was required. “I’m not going anywhere, he’s always like this.”

“Who?”

“My uncle. He runs the company and is very… controlling.” Simon’s phone vibrated again punctuating the admission. Simon glanced down at the phone screen. Under his uncle’s name was a simple three letter threat text message. Don’t push me.

Simon blinked at the message and clenched his jaw. His uncle wanted a response, fine. No, you don’t push me. Simon typed the response and sent it before he could think better of it. A couple hours. He was entitled to that. “He knows I’m busy. I told him.”

She leaned forward with a coy smile, looking up at him through her blond eyelashes. “You’ve told your family about me?”

Simon was grateful for his dark complexion; Madison wouldn’t be able to the see the heat burning in his face. “Yah.” He forced a shrug and picked up his drink.

Madison laughed, but Simon didn’t think it was at him. He grinned at her and turned the conversation to lighter subjects.

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