Sunday, January 23, 2011
I smile sadly at the changeling lass. "My pain goes deeper than the flesh, little one, but I thank you for caring."
She drifts back over to where her man is standing. My mind whirls, trying to make sense of the last few minutes. Conal! But there is no answer, just the ache of final loss.
I move to stand by the bar, brace myself on an elbow. "Whiskey." My voice is barely under control, but my mask is firmly in place. Bully for me.
When the drink comes, I toss it back like water, then order another. It burns its way down my gullet, but fails to numb the acid burn of grief that threatens to shatter my whole frame.
The second drink arrives and goes the same way as the first. Money is no problem - I can ken money all night long - or so long as I remain conscious, whichever comes first.
Suddenly the vampire is just there, at my elbow. His face is a mask like mine, but his voice is friendly enough. "Better slow up on that stuff. Fae or not, it'll lay you out."
"Good." The bartender gives up trying to keep up with me and brings over the bottle. I down another shot in less time than it takes to pour it.
Still sober. Damn.
The vampire moves fast, so fast I don't see the movement, only the result. Suddenly the glass is in his hand. "You should slow up. You're going to have a head the size of a pumpkin tomorrow."
"I don't care." I grab for the glass, but he evades me without seeming to move at all.
"Look, I understand. Your friend was murdered, and murdered horribly. I get that. Getting shitfaced won't bring him back, and it won't help you get revenge for him. You were serious about that blood-feud thing, right?"
My face feels heavy and tight. "You have no idea how serious."
"Then stop trying to wipe out your memory. Remember Conal as he was. In fact" - he leans back, keeping the glass - "why don't you tell me about him?"
I sigh heavily. "Why do you care?" My voice sounds sullen even to me.
He shrugs with elaborate unconcern. "Maybe I lost someone I cared about a long time ago. Maybe it was the result of the same kind of attitude that bitch displays every time I see her. Anyway, odds are talking about it can't make you feel any worse; might even make you feel better.
But hey - if you want to wallow in self-pity, don't let me stand in your way. Say the word and I'll go back to minding my own business." And he shoves the glass across the bar to me.
It feels cool against my fingers. He just stands there, as patient and expressionless as a tree, waiting.