The slave sees another car pull into the courtyard, a long, black Mercedes which swings into a nearby parking space. He pushes himself away from the wall with his foot, and moves a few steps closer, carefully, wary of the ice which he has already seen to claim the dignity of several pedestrians. The car door opens, and a slim woman steps out – she shrugs a handbag over her shoulder, black leather with an over-sized silver buckle; he has seen it before, the slave knows that there is an engraving of a Taurus on the lower left-hand corner.
She smiles at him, and the slave returns the gesture, the expression vanishes as his foot moves forwards a few inches and he swings his entire body forward to keep his balance. He barely manages it, the rapid advance stopping just as his senseless left shoe finds a grip amongst the cobblestones.
She pretends not to have seen it and busies herself in closing her door, locking her car, and buttoning her black coat until the upper fur lining nestles about her neck. Her hair is red, brilliantly so, and her skin is still smooth, and leans towards the paler side of the spectrum. She is perfect for the times –well-suited to the ice and the hail and the death of trees, and her greeting trails into the sky with a warmth that hides the cold in her eyes.
Melinoë crosses the cobbles gracefully, even in her heeled boots, and it seems to the slave that she moves a fraction of an inch above the stones, that she never even touched the ice at all. The two of them pass under the parasols and she smiles again.
‘How’ve you been doing?’ She asks, and her voice is like a teacher’s, warm and stern, welcoming and distant, all at the same time.
‘Well,’ the slave replies without thinking, falling back a little to allow her to enter the warmth first. He can feel his nose growing colder at the thought of the approaching warmth, and he has to draw in a deep breath to stop it from dripping.
‘Oh,’ she replies, with the hint of alien humour in her voice, ‘I think we both know that that isn’t true.’
The man behind the counter is young, younger than them both – a student, the slave thinks, working these early mornings to pay for his late nights. He is handsome, or would have been had he not favoured the current trend of students, the one which involves shaving the sides of their heads until they are little more than stubble and leaving their scalps long and gelled back with over-priced holding cream. He has a line through one of his eyebrows, vertically, and his skin is tanned – he is a sportsman, no doubt about it, and he would no doubt take pride in that description.
Melinoë buys herself a coffee – a stylish latté in a tall glass, whilst the slave opts for a cup of tea in a slim, porcelain cup. He would have preferred a mug, or a pot, and he silently swears at his failure to order some food. If she wouldn’t eat, then he would hold out as long as he could – he would not be the weaker of the two, he would not visibly succumb to his desires in front of her whilst her own were kept in reticence.
They take a seat by the window, and Melinoë sits with her back to it. She pulls a notebook from her handbag, and a pen, and stares at the slave with an open, friendly expression. Behind her, the window drips with condensation, like civilisation perspiring against the threats of nature it didn’t seem to expect.
‘So,’ she asks, flicking to an empty page and smiling brightly; her pen poised between two perfectly manicured fingers, with red nails boasting miniatures silver stars ‘tell me about Amuigh’.
As always, thank you for reading and feel free to let me know what you think! Yes, you! What are YOU thinking, right now?
Was that too invasive; too intense? Sorry!
Anyway, be sure to check out other stuff I’ve written, whilst you’re here anyway. I mean, it’d be rude not to, right?