Lying Through Her Fangs
First, a prick gets an invitation to crash my date and then I get reminded that I wasn’t among the living. At least, not on all counts.
“Red dressing,” was thought out loud as I went over what had happened so far.
She bobbed her head with her fork around coated in that very thing and I stared at her silverware.
“Do we need to go?” she asked from her unnaturally still posture.
No breathe escaped. There was no swallowing in that frozen moment. The absence of humanity struck like I was already a victim. Did I run? She had admitted what she was from the get go and I had not hesitated like this then so why should I now? I wasn’t the only human here. My choices were to either excuse myself with a plan for her to get home or stay and see if I was one of the courses that was planned for the evening. Was there another option?
“How do you see this playing out, Xylia?”
Calmly having laid salad fork on the china, “I may have taken away some of your options but I can tell you right now that you have every right to leave if that is what you choose to do. There will be no fall out and we never have to see each other again.”
My gaze speared into hers and I saw it, a flicker of fear. She didn’t want me to leave her here.
“I’m free to go at any time?”
“Yes. You have my word.”
“The word of a beautiful stranger,” I reminded her.
“True. It’s your move.”
Hands in her lap, shoulders stiff with the dejection she sensed was to come. Then she jumped.
“Why the serious faces?”
Neither of us had noticed the arrival of Christianna. Xylia’s eyes still held mine, waiting.
“Everything is fine.” I stated flatly and a slip of life released the visible tension in her graceful shoulders.
A waiter appeared just as Brian pushed Christianna up to the table. She stated what salads they would like and Brian seemed at ease with the control she had taken. I flicked my gaze over him to see if he was a human or a vampire and unless he was faking it, he was like me. Could they act like us and be convincing? I bet it was possible.
I assumed the salad was good but I hadn’t tasted a bit of what I had chewed up. There was no way I was turning tail when nothing had happened for me to act like a coward. This was manageable.
When the second course was brought out, I worried for a few seconds of being fed raw T-bones on delicate plates but was actually pleased to see steak tartar and glazed duck for our selections. Nothing was asked of us as our same waiter passed around the correct meat for each person.
Christianna murmured over her steak but I wasn’t about to watch the women eat anything that was bleeding. Yup, there were levels to my sanity. If we’d actually been a real couple then maybe I’d be able to see it differently but not this soon. To hell with it. I was going to use the escape offered if things went sideways.
After that course was cleared away, cheesecake with a red sauce and chocolate truffles were passed out. I refused to ask if it was raspberry because I didn’t want to hear the truth. One piece at a time.
It was wonderful tasting the richness of the truffle after the last gulp of wine took the chalky taste of the orange glazed duck away. Whiskey would have been more bracing in my coffee then the thick cream we had been given. I’d nodded along with the conversation but I hadn’t had anything to offer since it was primarily about their work. Somehow I’d picked up that both women had upper level positions in the company.
“Excuse us,” Xylia said as she laid her napkin on her chair before following Christianna out.
“You’re new to the scene. I can tell,” Brian said after the ladies were clear of us.
“So you want me to know that you’re familiar with this particular crowd?”
Brian chuckled, “Absolutely.”
“Hmm,” was my response.
He drank his coffee like it was high tea at an English castle but I swallowed the last of mine while my mood sunk lower.
“Being a caveman isn’t going to gain you any favors with this assortment of people.”
I knew he was trying to goad me but I wasn’t about to take the bait so quickly.
“These individuals are either animals or upper crust and you don’t fall into either of those categories. Did you hit on her so you’d get a wild ride and then have stories to tell when you’re drunk and alone?”
Acting bored, I made myself glance around the room that was probably half full of blood sipping beings that were capable of just about anything. That included my date. Was she in the restroom getting meat out of her teeth before repairing her lipstick? I shifted in my seat to hide the shudder that rode up my back.
“More coffee, sir?”
“No but I think that I’ll get myself a drink before the bar closes.” I smiled at the man who cleared the table and I left without a word to my unfortunate companion.
This time I got the two fingers of scotch since he already had a bottle ready. Half of that had disappeared when Brian came up behind me to request a glass of red wine. Anything red was not being ordered by me tonight. No telling what was in it.
I kept my back to him as I turned to look over the people that had moved around from their tables to join in on small talk with each other.
“Liquid courage? Do you need that to be with a dame like her?”
I was too close to telling him where to stick his comments when Xylia and Christianna waltzed by our corner as they headed to our table. Most male eyes ate up the picture they made together and I zeroed in on the legs that peeked out from the slit in Xylia’s gown. I’d toss this whole experience aside if I could run my tongue over those curves.
“Yes, she’s stunning.”
“You can have your blonde but I prefer brunettes with smoky eyes,” I said after tossing back the remnants of my drink.
“Who said I was talking about Christianna?” The ass pushed by as he left me with his words and the urge to punch him in his smug face.