“You’re in love with a mortal?” I sat down. On a hat. Her grief at the loss of her lover was suspended while she tried to bend it back into shape and berated me. When it was back to something approaching what an English gentlewoman would wear and safely ensconced on a coat hook, she led me into the kitchen.
“You drink tea, don’t you?”
I nodded and took out a packet of cigars. She frowned momentarily before taking an ashtray out of the cupboard. “When did you start smoking cigars?” she said. “You were on Capstan last time I saw you.”
“I’ve gone up in the world,” I said. “I have an image to maintain.” I brushed some dust from a chair and sat.
“It’s a filthy habit.” She poured us each a cup of English Breakfast.
“I agree.” I flashed her my most disarming smile as she opened a window. “So who’s this mortal you’ve fallen in love with, and why did you tell him you were half fae?”
“Pete.” Lydia dropped her eyes and traced the embroidered line of a petunia on the damask tablecloth with her finger. “He’s handsome and witty. Terribly intelligent. He has eyes that sparkle when the sunlight catches them.”
“Like a dogs?” I winked, though she couldn’t see that behind the shades.
She looked up, trying to gauge if I was being sarcastic. “More like a kestrel’s,” she said. “He teaches music and English at the school down the road.”
“What did he do to make you love him?” I asked. “If you can work out what spell he used I could find the counter.”
“No spells. I used to see him walking his dog along the beach. Every morning and evening he’d walk from the lifeboat house to the pier and back. We ended up talking and he asked me to dinner. After that we fell in love.”
I sipped my tea. “So what prompted you to tell him you were fae?”
“He proposed. Went down on one knee and everything. I said that I couldn’t marry him and he asked why not. It all came out then. The war, The exiles. Sophia.” She pulled a handkerchief out and dabbed at her eyes. “He didn’t believe me at first. Thought I was having him on.”
“So you proved it?”
“Yes. I opened a portal using mother’s Eden charms.”
I nodded. That book ran a close second to the bible for the trouble it had caused in the mortal plane. “He saw Faery?”
Lydia nodded and sniffed. “It terrified him. He picked up his things and left without a word.”
“Was he a religious man?” I asked. “I’ve seen Catholics suspended in grace because they’d seen proof of Fae.”
“I don’t think so.” More tears began to fall, splashing into her untouched and now cold tea. I shifted round to her side of the table to console her, and she crushed her head to my chest.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “If he loves you he’ll come back, and then you can give him an ass’ head.”
Until the morrow. X