This isn't how I pictured myself spending my morning, blinking in the light of the overhead lamp, bleary eyes barely focusing on the person across the table from me. He appeared to be my age, attractive but not in a showy way. Just another guy.
"So", he says through a mouth full of cookie dough, spoon already dipping down into the tub for another portion, "tell me about her. What makes her so special to you that I need to get involved?"
I yawn, stretching slightly then settling my elbows on the table, propping my head up with an arm, gesturing with my free hand.
"You know the story better than I do. Perfect to me in every way, she complete's me, I'm a better person when she's around, yada yada yada etcetera etcetera."
The boy nods, chewing the raw dough slowly, eyes following a lone fly as it makes its way lazily through the air, a low, quiet buzzing the only sound in the room besides the occasional crunch of a half-frozen chocolate chip.
"Yes you could say i've heard it a million, million times before. You all seem to come to me with your women problems." He shakes his head and laughs quietly, then lifts his head to look me in the eyes, slowly tapping his chin with the metal spoon.
"You do realize that my advice come's at a price. What's this worth to you, hm?" He twirls the spoon through his fingers a few times, then smiles and lets it drop into the now empty cookie dough tub, a dull, hollow thud echoing up from it.
I fight back the urge to chuckle. His "price" was the same for all his dealings. And the haggling would always come back to the one thing he wanted from me anyways, despite my desire to give anything else. I sigh quietly and nod, locking eyes with him.
"Whatever I have to give, I will give it."
The boy smiles and claps his hands together softly, rubbing them against each other in a way that immediately brings to mind the fly buzzing around the room, and how it would appear if it were to display the same movement. I grit my teeth slightly and smile back at him, offering my hand. The boy looks down at it, then back to me and nods, a cheshire smile splitting his face to reveal perfect white teeth.
"Then we have a deal!" He takes my hand and shakes it firmly, once, then stands and leaves the room.
Three Months Later
"Sweetheart? Someone is here for you!"
I look up from the article I was reading, Ritual Slayings Increase in Sleepy Midwestern Town, and stand, walking to the door and kissing her on the cheek, walking out onto the patio and closing the door behind me, turning to regard the boy.
He hadn't changed much, all that was different were his clothes and his expression. What had been smug self-confidence three months ago had been replaced with tired and annoyed. But the blazer was a nice improvement over the grungy clothes he had been wearing that morning.
"Do you know why i'm here?" he asks, regarding me with a look that suggests I am the reason for his annoyance. I stare back, thinking how best to answer, and simply shake my head in response. The boy sighs and nods, taking a hand from his pocket to rub the bridge of his nose.
"Haven't you been wondering when I would come to collect?"
I feel my heartbeat immediately start pounding erratically, as the adrenaline begins to rush through my veins.
"I had wondered, yes. But why wait so long, why wait until now?"
He looks at me with those bright, shining grey eyes and cracks a smile.
"Because i'm here to tell you that you got off lucky on this one. Turns out," He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a cigar, lighting it with a quick motion and puffing on it gently, "you weren't the only one in on this bet. Damn shame too, I would have preferred to collect from you rather than him." He puffs a few more times, watching me through the cloud of smoke.
I stare back, unsure of how to proceed, shifting my weight slowly from one foot to another.
"So, i'm safe? And she is too?" The boy nods, casually flicking the ash from the tip of his cigar. "But that means that she isn't the perfect one! We had a deal! You said I would get the One for me, in exchange for your price, and now I don't have to pay it? You cheated me, what's going to happen to me in the future? Am I going to become wealthy only to have her kill me and take it all? Will she leave me for some two-bit lowlife, killing me inside? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!?"
The boy stays perfectly calm, completely unfazed by my rant. He drops the cigar, putting it out with the heel of his shoe.
"This was simply me bringing to life some crap advice you gave to a friend who lost her One and giving it back to you. Do you remember what you said? 'There could be hundreds of Ones for you and I, but sometimes there might just be One for several at once. And if that's the case, we can't have them all to ourselves, not forever, not unless you become the only one left for that One.' " He locks eyes with me, a cold, dead stare turning fiery.
"Did you really think you were the only one who tried to sell your soul to gain her?"