It was her last song of the night; she would finish her set, then Anthony Jones would follow up. Violet had saved her biggest crowd pleaser for last in an attempt to ensure she would be a hard act to follow--it wasn't a competition, sure, but she refused for this new guy to be more popular than her even if their target demographic was different.
She took a sip of water as the band started up again. It was a longer intro, so she allowed her eyes to scan the room, landing on the table usually reserved for her father and those closest to him. Joe Masseria wasn't there this evening, sitting there instead was Charles Luciano, the man believed to be her father's right-hand man. He lifted his glass in the direction of the stage, and Violet returned the gesture with a vapid smile. As she returned to the mic, her gaze traveled from the mobster to the others gathered in the room.
But there is something amiss
Tell me did it ever strike you
that a maid likes a man to steal a kiss
Now please don't think me bold
and please oh please don't scold
The music was quick and upbeat, and couples already started filling the dance floor.
Some crave a musical show
Some girls love to Fox Trot nightly
I know some who are always on the go
But here's what I like best
I'm different from the rest
As she reached the end of the song, the audience had packed onto the dance floor, and those on the sidelines were swaying to the beat, too. She expected that she would, indeed, be a hard act to follow. As usual, the song, particularly the last verse, was sung with false innocence.
Fold me right in your arms
It's your affection I crave
Squeeze me tight in your arms
Until I promise to behave
Thrill me with tales of love
And all its sweet mystic charms
Then enfold me
Please don't scold me
Just hold me in your arms
Minutes later, she was seating herself at the bar.
The pharmacist sat in the booth in the back corner, alone. He had an untouched drink in front of him. Leland hummed along to most of the songs, though his head remained against the chair of his booth, eyes closed.
Like his mentor before him, Leland had no heirs or immediate family. He had cousins, but none he knew very well. Now, entering his forties, the subject weighed on him. It showed in the new wrinkles on his forehead, and the shadows under his eyes.
He needed to find someone to pass his pharmacy on to when he died. It was a subject Joe was concerned about as well; he kept offering to buy the business from Leland. He just couldn't bring himself to do it. There was a legacy to protect here--his and Mr. Wheeler's--the pharmacy can't go to just anyone. The problem was, Leland had put this off for far too long. He had hoped to marry and father children. It just never happened, now Leland had ten or twenty years left which was enough time to train an apprentice, but not enough to raise a kid and prepare him for the job. He could try and find someone from his alma mater.
He was considering this option when Violet finished her set. As she said goodbye to the crowd, Leland opened his eyes to find that he was no longer sitting alone. Sitting across from him was a stranger.