The man looked up, blearily with bloodshot eyes, as if he had just woken up after a night of heavy drinking. His dark-ringed eyes darted from side to side as if suspecting a trap then, hesitatantly, he pulled his hand out from within his long overcoat and reached out for the proffered cigarette.
"Since you're offering..." responded the man in the overcoat snatching the cigarette and lightingup with a silver zippo that seemed to have slipped out from one of his sleeves. He wore fingerless gloves on hands that were as grubby as the rest of him. His haair fell long and greasy over his face which was illuminated for a brief moment as he lit up. What she saw briefly in the spark seemed to imprint itself on her memory and she could still make out the shadows of where his sunken eyes sat in the orange glow of the ash.
She sat herself down next to him on the steps and lit a cigarette for herself. Above them the drone of conversation floated down from the bright lights of the party.
"Don't quite fit in do you/" she asked the man wrinkling her nose in distaste. Sitting as his level had not relieved her of the strong odour that was wafting over from where he sat.
The man made an odd, keening noise that seemed to pass as somewhat of a snigger. He took a long drag on his cigarette, drawing it until the filter. Removing the stub from his mouth he let the pent up smoke billow out before answering, "I fit in just fine thank you; it is a large enough room afer all. How about you? Being such a big girl that room seems barefly spacious enough. You had to bend down to get through the door didn't you?" he asked, flashing a sudden grin of, amazingly enough, perfectly white teeth. The smoke still hung in the air circling the two on the steps. The man suddenly stuck out his hand, palm up and mimed puffing on cigarette with the other.
The woman was slightly flustered. Most people tended to avoid the topic of her size. Indeed, most people tended to avoid her flat out, intimidated by all seven feet of her. She brushed her long black hair out of her face as she rummaged in a purse, that seemed minute in comparison to her, in search of her pack of cigarettes. It wasn't that she was overweight or out of proportion. She was simply on a larger scale to most others.
Finding her pack, she offered the open box to her companion while smoothing down her dress, which was tailor-made to fit -but the latest in fashion. The man took four.
"I didn't mean... erm... physically out of place. I was referring to your clothes," she attempted to explain, gesturing with her large manicured hands, "-by the way, were you even on the guest list? What is your name?"
The man had unrolled the cigarettes and was busy pouring the contents into a pipe he had fished out of his coat. "I'm Bond-"
"James?"she interrupted, raising a perfectly oversized eyebrow.
"Virgil, actually," he replied, flashing another perfectly white grin. "My clothes are the clothes of my profession and I have been told that a man dressed professionally is a man worth respect." The pipe was now lit and more smoke was curling out in thick clouds that began to obscure the surroundings. "Let me tell you something," he said, blowing smoke in her face. "A tree cannot pass for a flower. One can give it petals, scent it wonderfully and have planted it in a flower bed, but the people who pass will only remark on how odd that tree looks."
The woman was shaken. She opened and closed her mouth a few times trying to find the words to respond, "And what profession is that, Mr Bond?"
Nothing could be seen from outside the smoke now. "I'm in travel," he said, "but lately I've grown a bit weary of it all. Been thinking of settling down somewhere. Maybe in a room that fits me." he looked pensively at her then, before continuing, "If you don't mind me saying, you do not fit that room and it fits you even less. Have you considered a career in travel? There's a wonderful freedom to it and with the sky as a roof I can hardly think of a better fit for you."
She could feel his eyes boring into her, holding her fixated. "Okay... what do I need to do?"
The man, Virgil Bond, spat in his hand and offered it to her. After only a moment's hesitation she spat, grasped it and shook firmly.
She reached then for a handkerchief to clean the spit from her hand but none of the pockets of her overcoat contained anything of the sort. A well manicured hand came forward with a handkerchief. Embroidered in gold at the one corner were the initials, VB.
Leaving her, a well groomed man in a tailored suit made his way back to the party at the house. Alone, she emptied out her pipe, brushed her long greasy black hair out of her haunted eyes and set off with nothing but the night sky above her.