It’s Friday the 13th! Always a good day for a writer of the paranormal to play around. I thought I’d post of bit of Friday Flash Fiction in honor of the <ahem> event. So here you are . . . I hope you enjoy this little interlude I dreamed up called:
A la carte Kiss
Alana picked at her grilled chicken salad. She’d been hungry when she and Lucian arrived at the restaurant, but her appetite had taken a nosedive. His fey, exceptional looks routinely attracted attention wherever he went, but he hadn’t removed his sunglasses and that made him seem odder still. She kept expecting one of the dining patrons to leap from their seat, stab a finger in his direction and shriek “Vampire!” Maybe lunch hadn’t been the brightest idea – – especially given it was with a man who looked like he’d stepped from the pages for a Victorian-era novel.
“I’m making you uncomfortable,” he observed.
“No. Well . . . .” She prodded a plump piece of chicken, choosing her words. “You’d blend in better if you ate something.”
He grinned faintly. “There’s no O-positive on the menu. I ordered coffee, isn’t that enough?”
She frowned, thinking how out of place he looked among the metrosexuals who juggled lunch over iPads and smartphones, texting, tweeting and sending emails. They’d never been to a restaurant together. Mainly because Lucian didn’t eat. Couldn’t eat. He could ingest fluids – – coffee, soft drinks, broth, even alcohol, though the latter had no effect on him. But solid food was abhorrent, guaranteed to make him sick. Just one more reason they were incompatible. “I shouldn’t have let you talk me into lunch.”
Why had she? To spend another hour with him? How pathetic.
“You were hungry and needed to eat.” He sent an arch glance to her plate. “Since you’ve done little of that, you might as well tell me what’s bothering you.”
She shipped her lemon water, biding time. “That’s a loaded question.”
“I live dangerously. Give me a loaded answer.”
His tone was bantering, but he seemed sincere. She knew she couldn’t dance around her feelings forever. Why not spill her guts? There were worse ways to confess heartache than over grilled chicken and romaine.
“All right, I’ll tell you what’s bothering me.” Alana pushed her plate away, thankful she couldn’t see his eyes behind the dark blue lenses of his glasses. Odds were she’d never be this bold again. “I’m almost twenty-eight. Single, attractive. Even sexy you might say- -”
“In two centuries I’ve never seen a better pair of legs.”
She tilted her head and flashed a sultry smile. “Why Lucian! And all this time I thought you liked boys. Maybe now you can explain why we spend two-thirds of our time flirting, and the other third pretending we’re not attracted to one another.”
The humor melted from his mouth. “How’s your salad?”
“Your salad. I hope you enjoy it, because I can’t remember what food tastes like. Does that answer your question?”
“That’s a coward’s way out.”
“Precisely.” He stood, gathering his overcoat from an adjacent chair. “Enjoy your lunch, Alana.”
He was halfway to the front door before frustration propelled her in his wake. Determined, she caught him in the lobby and tugged him off to the side.
“You didn’t let me finish.” Her voice was clipped, tremulous with emotion. She looked up at him, jet black hair splayed over her shoulders, heart in her throat. “I’m almost twenty-eight, single, attractive – – and yes, damn it, sexy – – but I can’t find a man to hold my interest. In the last three years I’ve dated a district attorney, a pilot, even a professional race car driver. But every one left me feeling empty. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
He placed a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t do this. I shouldn’t have asked you for honesty.”
“Are you afraid of the truth?”
He closed his eyes, his expression pained. In the limited light she could see the sweep of his lashes behind his dark lenses. “I’m afraid to admit the truth. There’s a difference.”
“What are you saying?”
Rather than reply, he wrenched her close. She felt the crush of his lips against hers, the taste of him like exotic spice and midnight skies. Heady sensation streaked through her, bold, almost painful. She raised a hand, gripping the back of his neck, unwilling to let go.
“Excuse me, miss.”
She tensed, annoyed by the voice. The intrusive braying voice that did not belong to her beloved vampire. Lucian started to pull away, and she made a soft sound in the back of her throat. The voice came again, insistently this time. “Miss.”
“What is it?” Infuriated, she spun on the intruder. Lost in Lucian’s kiss, she had momentarily forgotten where she was, what she was doing. Reality crashed around her when she realized she’d made a spectacle of herself. A small group of people still waiting to be seated were glancing in her direction, a few whispering behind their hands. The man who’d taken her lunch order held out her coat, his expression stuffy.
“You left this at your table, Miss. I thought you might need it given how cold it is outside.” His glance slid sideways to Lucian, and his mouth compressed in a line of distaste. “Although you seemed warm enough a moment ago.”
Lucian bowed his head, and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Mortals,” he muttered so that only she heard.
Laughing, Alana snagged the coat. “I suppose you’d like us to pay for the lunch as well?” she asked the waiter.
He raised an eyebrow. “You haven’t ordered dessert.”
Lucian dug for his wallet. “The lady and I will have that outside. Without an audience.” He slanted a glance in her direction that sent a spike of heat cascading down her spine.
She flushed, delighted to realize he’d found something to suit his unique taste after all.