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Sawyer sits in the restaurant waiting for her to arrive. This is their fifth dinner date in the past three weeks, and Evelyn is ready to run away and marry him.

Which means it's time to set the hook.

He smiles and stands as he sees her approach the table. As he walks around to pull out the chair for you, he says, "I was starting to wonder if you was gonna stand me up, sweetheart."

She giggles (an annoyingly high-pitched giggle) and replies, "I had to wait for John to leave. He's meeting some friends for a drink."

"And he didn't mind you not going?"

Her face darkens a little. "He never minds. He's probably meeting his whore there. I bet they're --" She breaks off and smiles as she finally notices the briefcase he's set beside him. "Never mind. It's not important. Soon, you and I will be far from here, far from John and his little plaything."

Sawyer smiles reassuringly. "You bet we will, honey. Sipping mai tais on our own little island paradise."

Her eyes slide over to the briefcase again. "What's that?"

"This," he says as he taps the case, "is how we're going to afford that island paradise."

He breaks into the spiel he knows so well, tells her about the imaginary oil mining operation in the Gulf of Mexico, the government-sponsored fund that kicks in and triples your money in two weeks. This is their chance, he tells her.

She sits quietly for a couple of minutes, and Sawyer starts to worry that maybe the past month's worth of work is about to get up and walk away. Then, "How much do you have there?"

"Two hundred and fifty thousand. It's all I could scrounge up."

She smiles at him. "What if I could get you more?"

Bingo.

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James "Sawyer" Ford

February 2006

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