The coffee shop was buzzing with people by the time the Gabors arrived,
paparazzi among them, and Phyllis dismissed them with a curt few words, pushing
through the crowds to an empty table. Sirena grinned, following her and taking
her seat. It was something, she mused, that after so many years of estrangement,
she and her mother had become such good friends.
"Comes from sharing a few personality traits, I guess." She decided.
"Espresso for me. I could use the buzz." Phyllis said, and Sirena glanced
up, realising that a waitress was taking their order. She ordered her own
drink, then sat back in her seat, surveying the scene.
"It's surreal here. Like nothing has happened." She observed.
"I know. But in a public place it's harder to take a pot shot." Phyllis
responded darkly. "That's another reason I came."
"Mm...dunno. Remember Blade?"
"Yes, but the difference is that that was a lunatic." Phyllis responded.
"This is Zipper. He's not insane...just very very slimy."
"Well, if you say so." Sirena shrugged. She grinned. "Hey, will you be
all right while I go to the restroom and fix my makeup a little? The press
might want photos."
"Vain girl." Phyllis rolled her eyes. "And of course I'll be all right.
What do you take me for?"
"Okay, okay, I was teasing!" Sirena laughed. "I'll be right back."
Phyllis drummed her fingers on the table, considering the whole situation
whilst she waited for her daughter to return. It had been a nightmare, she
mused, and it wasn't at an end yet. She felt safer in the crowd, but she
knew that sooner or later she'd have to go home, and it wasn't a nice feeling,
knowing that someone was out for her blood.
"Still, I s'pose it's made me realise that I'm more attached to Alan being
around than I thought." She acknowledged. "And Jetta is gonna be okay now,
too. That's something."
In the restroom, Sirena examined her reflection for the last time, then
put her lipstick back in her purse with a nod of approval.
"Maybe I'm vain, but I'm also a star." She told herself. "And I don't need
to be in the celebrity fashion police section of any trashy magazine, especially
not while the music company is so rocky."
She pushed open the door, humming an upbeat melody as she made her way
back across the coffee shop. As she did so, she noticed the waitress that
had taken her order having some kind of dispute with a man at the counter.
Frowning, she watched as the man took the tray from her grasp, pushing a
ten dollar bill towards her and walking away with his burden before she
could stop him. A cold chill touched Sirena's young heart as she observed
the man's actions. Pausing in an alcove, the stranger carefully emptied
the contents of a small sachet into one of the mugs, stirring it round once,
and then setting the spoon back on the tray. In an instant Sirena knew who
he was, and what he was trying to do. Pushing through the crowds of people,
she hurried to get back to the table.
Phyllis had been so lost in her daydreams that she had not registered who
had set the tray down, and she had reached for the mug of espresso automatically,
absently putting it to her lips.
And then she got the shock of her life, for Sirena, impulsive as her mother
and desperate into the bargain flung her hand out to knock the mug from
her mother's grasp, sending the vessel careening onto the floor and shattering
upon impact. Now alert, Phyllis stared at her daughter as if she'd lost
"What in hell?" She demanded.
"He's here." Sirena said in low tones. "He put something in your drink
- I knew it was him from your description and from the way he was acting.
I think he was trying to poison you. Don't let anyone clear that up, get
someone to call the police. I'm gonna track him down."
"Emily, you're doing no such thing!" Phyllis' expression became anxious
and she grabbed her daughter by the arm as various members of coffee shop
staff milled around the confusion.
"Someone get the police." She ordered. "And Agent Bray or Agent Nicholson.
In the back of the crowd, a figure tried to slink away but Sirena's sharp
gaze had spotted him and she let out a cry.
"Stop him!" She exclaimed. "He tried to kill my mother!"
Almost instinctively two of the waiters grabbed the stranger, and as they
did so, Phyllis made eye contact with him. She drew breath sharply.
"Zipper." She murmured. "Hell, Emily, you saved my life."
"Well, thank me later." Sirena muttered. "For now, the cops are gonna want
to know what's going on, and I think it's time you filled me in on everything!"