I took some time on Friday to pump out a few more words, just so I could be sure I’d written enough. I’d technically already “won”, but so much of what I’d written wasn’t story, and I just didn’t feel like I’d “did it” just yet. After that last day’s work, I felt much better, like it was a “real” win.
For reasons that don’t matter, Zig and Rain are at the coffee shop after dark. Maybe they just wanted tea, who knows?
Of the two girls behind the counter, one of them Rain recognized as one of the fey sisters. The other, a tall, thin, dark woman screamed Incan to her brain. She couldnt tell you what made her think “Incan” in particular, instead of just hispanic in general, but the moment she thought it, she knew it was true.
“Hey Bei, Miel.” Zig greeted each of the girls fondly, though only the sister had a warm smile for him in return. The Incan scoffed at him and turned to do something with her back to them.
“Aww, c’mon Honey, don’t be like that,” he said with grin.
“Damnit Zig, will you stop baiting my girlfriend?” She came around the counter to give him a hug, but only after punching him in the arm.
“Oh I get it,” Rain said suddenly. “Miel means honey, right?”
“Bingo, bingo, you win the prize,” Miel said flatly.
“Oh love, knock it off,” Bei said with a smile. “Honestly, you’re so cranky first thing in the morning.” She turned around and stuck her tongue out at her lover, smiling at all of them. “Hey, I didnt’ name this place the Early Bird for nothing.”
At Rain’s confused look, Zig elaborated. “Before Bei and her sisters set up shop here, the Bird used to only be open from dusk til dawn.” When she still didn’t get it, Zig said flatly, “Miel is a vampire, kiddo.”
Rain gave a little o of surprise.
“Oh, don’t get your panties in a bunch, I’m not gonna eat you.”
That, more than anything, put Rain on edge. Bei pursed her lips. “No fair taking advantage of reading her bio-signature, babe. Of course she’s freaked out, your probably the first vampire she’s ever met.”
Rain nodded and tried to become very, very small.
“Oh, don’t worry about Miel, cara,” Bei said, coming around to give Rain a hug. “She doesn’t even feed on humans.”
“And you don’t even like them,” Miel called back. “What are you being all touchy lovey with them for?”
“Jealous?” Zig asked, expression smug. Bei smacked him again. “Now, you behave! Just because I get caught up in the spirit of luau is no reason to get all big headed.” She leaned over the counter, crooning to her lover. “Miel here is my sweetheart, and no stinky, day walking boy can tempt me away from her, isn’t that right sweetie.”
Rain was utterly confused.
“Luau is a big metaphysical shin dig that Meliki hosts ever new of the moon. It’s to celebrated the lives we have and the love we can make and all the food we can eat while we walk this earth.”
“It’s about” Bei cut in, “honoring the dark lady that comes for us all, and recognizing our duties to live while we can, and embracing that we will die tomorrow, and that both halves are needed to the cycle to continue. If we all just ran around making babies and being born but never dying, where would we be?”
“Up to our armpits in babies,” Zig chimed in, though he did have the smarts to flinch away from Bei’s look.”
“There’ll be another luau shortly, the three days before the moon goes dark. On the last day, when the moon is completely dark, we have a big feast and celebrate life, but the days before that we honor the dead and spend time in quiet contemplations – which is why it’s something Zig knows nothing about. He couldn’t be quiet if you put a roll in his mouth.”
“Ugh, too true,” added Miel. “Next time we should try an apple and see if someone puts him in the roasting pit.”
“Heeey!” Zig protested, but the girls just laughed.
“Come to the feast,” Bei said, once she’d recovered herself. “Even their little Delphi goes, though we do put her to bed before engaging in the more …vigorous festivities.”
Rain didn’t want to know what she meant, but judging by her comments earlier, she figured she already knew.
Rain had gotten quite good at teaching her ifrit to jump from her candle flame to her mind and back to the candle. When they were practicing, she had to keep the thing properly lit, or else the ifrit would’t know where to jump back to, but he curled up in the warmth of her mind just fine. She wondered if she’d be strong enough to hold them both in her head long enough to take him to meet Rinna. Surely someday.
“Maybe if I give you a name,” the mused out loud. The little flame crackled and popped, flickering merrily at her.
“Alright, alright, you want a name? Why don’t you come over here and whisper to me what it is then?”
The ifrit jumped immediately to her mind, filling it with one single word: ASHLEY
“Ashely?” she said, making a face. “But that’s a girl’s name – I’ve been calling you a he this whole time, don’t tell me I’ve been wrong.”
Ashley refused to do anything but push her his name over and over and over again, so Ashley it was.
“But don’t expect me to go thinking of you as anything but a boy!”
The flame chirpped and popped then settled down happily to burn low on the wick.