Marcus Owens The sky was a clear blue, the air carrying a humidity that had been missing for the past few months. The summer was breaking in, bringing with it a heat that Marcus both enjoyed and abhorred. Perfect weather for polo shirts and v-necks, but terrible whenever business had to be done. He had forgone comfort today, opting for a suit that came in the darkest shade of navy he could find. Thankfully, the diner he was sat in had air conditioning, otherwise his temper would have risen with the heat. Looking out of the window he was sat beside, Marcus saw his car parked outside, a couple of allies stood around it. One was seated atop the hood, a cigarette trapped between his fingers. When the man caught sight of Marcus glaring at him, silently berating him for even daring to sit on top of his prized black Bentley, the gangster promptly stood up and distanced himself from the car. “Where are they?” Marcus asked the lieutenant beside him, still staring out of the window. “He should know I don't like it when people leave me waiting.” “He's a politician, they take their time with everything,” the lieutenant, an older man named Taylor, reminded Marcus. Glancing over at Taylor, Marcus rolled his eyes and reached into his pocket, grabbing his phone. He checked through his text messages, opening up the most recent one he had sent. Cornerstone Diner, 12:30pm. You have a debt to pay back – money or the daughter. Nothing funny, no guards. Just you and your kid. He had definitely sent it to the right person, and upon checking the time, saw that there was no reason for the politician not to have arrived by now. Putting his phone down on the table, Marcus resisted the urge to reach for a cigarette and instead busied his hands with the salt shaker in front of him. His eyes scanned the diner, able to see every patron in the place from his position at the table furthest at the back. Examining every person around was a habit he had picked up from years of being wary, and something he appreciated after the many close calls he had experienced early on during his mob career. Despite the diner being pretty full, no one seemed to look threatening. There were a few truckers seated at the counter, a group of energetic college students near the front, some old men sitting down and reading their newspapers whilst they ate. No cops, no rival gangsters, and no one who seemed to recognise Marcus. Not that there were many people who would, considering he rarely ever showed his face nowadays. This moment was an exception – a mess he had decided to clean up himself. After years of an impending debt, it was time for their little politician friend to pay it off in some way. One of Marcus's men tapped on the window, grabbing the boss's attention. The man pointed down the street with his thumb – the politician was on his way. Marcus nodded and waved his hand dismissively, the gangster going back to stand by the car. Turning to Taylor, Marcus smirked. “It's go time,” he said. “We either get paid enough to buy this entire diner, or we get a little brat. I for one am thrilled.” Moving his attention to the waitress at the counter, Marcus raised a hand and caught her gaze, the young woman coming over to the table. “Three coffees and some OJ,” he ordered, and the waitress nodded before heading back to grab the drink. Taylor furrowed his brow and looked over at Marcus. “You do realise that this 'brat' is about twenty, right? She's not a little kid.” “Doesn't mean she can't drink orange juice. Besides, if she doesn't want it, I will. And do you realise who she's related to? She's probably more spoilt than a rotten apple.” Marcus was fully prepared for the worst. He was aware of how politicians could be, and he knew just how intolerable their offspring could be. With any luck, the guy would just hand over the money and be done with it. But life was never that easy, and this debt had been standing for years. There was no chance of the cash being paid that easily. With the drinks being placed at Marcus's table, he sat and waited for the guests to arrive.