A familiar woman stood in the corner. He couldn't quite place her, but as he made his way through the reading and the Q and A after, he saw her in the background, like a sentinel. He laughed and flirted with the women who lined up to get his signature on the flyleaf of his latest autobiographical novel. She stood a little off-center in the line; he watched her approach from the corner of his eye. And then she was in front of him. Accusatory in her stance.
"Whom should I sign this to?" he asked.
"Miranda," she replied.
At the sound of her voice he knew her. And it all came back in a flash, the apartment with no heat, the rattle of his typewriter keys, even the skinny orange cat. She in an old sweatshirt of his and gym socks, tiptoeing, bringing him coffee...
She looked... well, old. And something in the back of his mind, not quite conscious as guilt... he finally published, and then, signings, and parties and talk shows and other women... "I'm sorry, Mir, it's just not working out." She nodded in his memory, holding the cat in the doorway, fighting back tears...
And he realized she'd read all about the two of them, in the book he now held open.
He lowered his eyes and the Sharpie to the page.
As he looked up, she plunged the stiletto into his heart. Crimson drops spattered the paper.
"I want mine signed with blood."