A mariachi band wandered around the dimly lit restaurant, playing the Beatles “Love, Love Me Do.” Over and over and over.
Ambrose picked up his cup of water and took a sip. There can’t be that many verses to that song. I wonder if it’s the only song they know. “mm. When I said anywhere, this was not what I was expecting. Not from you.”
She took a generous bite of her Chimalou Taco. Taco-sauced lettuce and cheese escaped the taco and landed on her plate. “mm-mmm-mm.”
“I didn’t realize fey could eat real food.”
Sensing that he wasn’t going to get much conversation out of her, he glanced around at the restaurant’s curved walls, the cheap plastic jalapeno lights dangling from the ceiling – the only source of light – and that darned mariachi band.
I wonder if they know how to play “Dancing in the Dark”. He frowned. But, I don’t want to hear that song played mariachi-style. It would be forever ruined, which would be a shame.
I really like that song.
“Mmm. Mmm. Mmm. I know it seems strange.”
He looked back at her.
“Fey can live solely on pollen and pureed hummingbird feathers. But sometimes I want something more than that. Something more substantial.”
“Mexican food is substantial all right.”
Ambrose watched her lick the sour cream off her fingers. How does that work? Fey don’t have blood, so where do all of the minerals and such go? Do they all go to waste? Is it even appropriate to ask a question like that?
“Have you ever been on a date before?”
He smiled – a genuine smile. “I think that’s my question to ask you.”
She sucked the sour cream off her thumb. “I’ve been on plenty of dates before.”
“What about you?”
He took another sip of water. “Not recently. I’ve been too busy.”
“Mm.” She licked the plate in long strides until it was completely clean. “You should go on more dates.”
She set the plate on the table and blinked. “Me? No.”
He reached across the table and, ignoring the fact that her hands were saliva-slimed, laid his hand on top of hers. “You don’t have to be afraid. I can’t hurt you. I can’t change you.”
She stared at him and blinked rapidly. “I am fey. I don’t feel fear.”
Her blinking slowed down. “Only peace.”
“So, then. How about it?”
“Uhh? I…No, I couldn’t. I’m supposed to take you back to Mark Caten.”
“Of course, you are. That’s what you want.”
She had nothing to say to that.
“I want to see you again. Like this. Not on the other side of an invisible wall.”
She lowered her gaze to his hands. “It is my job. It is what I’m supposed to do. I can’t let him down.”
“He intends to muzzle me.”
She looked up at him. Her expression was calm and unrevealing.
“I will never be able to feed again.” All of his feelings rose to the surface – fear, horror, anger, the desire to run and run until he was far out of Mark Caten’s reach. He squeezed her hand. “I won’t die. I’ll just go mad while they all watch and do nothing to help me.” His voice cracked in mid-sentence.
She said nothing.
And the band kept “Love love me do”ing.
He released her hand. “I can’t do it. Please find a way out of this. Help me.”