Buena Vista

 

[Sam] hoped the Buena Vista Bar and Grill, with its high booths, anonymous atmosphere and sweeping ocean views would be the perfect place to get the boys to open up.   Situated several miles out of town on the old Coast Road, it was unlikely they’d run into too many people they knew there.  Perhaps the distance would make them feel like they could speak more freely.   But it had another, even bigger advantage, as far as he was concerned.  Even if things turned bad, which they might well do, he knew they wouldn’t just get up and leave.  

He had his bases covered, he assured himself again as he turned the Jaguar into the diner’s parking lot.   He was very good at keeping his bases covered. And at negotiating tricky deals with recalcitrant clients, as well.   Certainly two thirteen year old boys were nothing he couldn’t handle.  He could make this work.   He was almost sure of it..

Sam observed the boys as they placed their orders.  Whatever was going on with them, at least it didn’t appear to be affecting their appetites.   He still didn’t know if plying them with hamburgers and milkshakes would be enough to get them to start talking, but he figured it was a good first shot.

And if that didn’t work, he’d sweeten the deal.  Maybe throw in the offer of driving lessons.

"So.   Who wants to tell me what’s wrong?" he began, after the waitress had taken their orders and left. He looked at them expectantly.

Two pairs of blue eyes stared back at him, but neither boy said anything.

Finally Frank shrugged. "What do you mean? Nothing’s wrong." He picked up his fork and began to scratch designs into the tabletop with one of the tines.

Jesse just snorted disgustedly and turned to stare out the window.

"Jess?" Sam pressed, but he refused to even look at him.

"I don’t know, Frank," Sam said, after a couple of minutes had passed.   "It really doesn’t look like it’s nothing to me."

Frank glanced up from his artwork, and Sam thought he was about to speak.  Just then their waitress reappeared with the pot of tea he’d ordered. Frank ducked his head back down, the moment lost.

Sam sighed. "Look, if you two are in some kind of trouble...I might be able to help, you know. But, I can’t do anything unless you--"

"Trouble?" Frank looked up again, mouth gaping in surprise. "We’re not in trouble. Why would you think that?"

"Well, something’s obviously bothering you," Sam replied in the most reasonable tone he could manage, dunking his tea bag up and down in the little stainless steel pot he’d been given and trying hard not to scowl. "But if you’re not gonna tell me what it is, I suppose I’ll just have to keep guessing…"

©PG Forte 2005
Sound of a Voice That Is Still.

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