The Captain (Chapter 20)
I open my mouth to ask James about his day.
“Have you met the Captain yet?” He asks gesturing to my left.
Damn it, I really should have been quicker.
“No” I turn to lover boy who is still smiling like a smug asshole. “It’s nice to meet you, I’m Ivy” I force out.
“Mrs. Senator, may I present to you Captain Tutlier of the City Defense Brigade.” James says formally.
I smile back at the Captain. Ugh, I gather that I have somehow breached some code of formality by introducing myself. Lover boy’s smile actually manages to grow wider at my mistake. I wonder if I will ever get use to the social rules of the stupid planet. I want to smack that grin off of his face…
In fact, I want to smack him out of my life- out of Giddean’s life. I feel a fierce level of competition with him. I don’t know why. In truth, we aren’t really competing for Giddean’s affections. I don’t want Giddean’s affections. I mean, he is good looking and all… I look down the table at Giddean. He sits there talking to one of the men next to him, listening intensely. Then I see his face light up as he laughs at whatever the other man said. It’s the first time I’ve seen him smile. His normally brooding face looks even more handsome smiling. Where he normally looks aristocratic, cold and aloof- he now looks …. approachable. He looks younger, happier, like a completely different person.
He eyes then turn to me and catch mine. I quickly look down at the table.
I hear the Captain clearing his voice next to me. Crap. Of course, he was watching me. I look over at him- he is STILL smiling, no doubt enjoying me drooling over his lover who I have no chance with. Who I don’t want a chance with. Really now? Yes!
“You may call me Luke” the grinning man says. I can understand what Giddean sees in him even if he does smile too much for his own good. The man should be a model for masculinity, a pretty boy whose small scar is the only thing that keeps him from looking too pretty.
And, of course, his eyes dance with humor at my expense.
“How do you like your new home here in Haringshude?”
Great until you showed up! I sort of hate myself for the level of ownership I feel over Giddean. We have barely spoken since I arrived for goodness sake!! I need to have my head checked.
“It’s very beautiful”
Lover boy just hums his response as a servant lays the first course before me on the table. It’s pink foam on top of a whitish-green sliced root vegetable. A green spread that I hope is pesto smears across the side of the plate as a sort of garnish.
I have been to my fair share of fancy diners; my job at the museum required some fine dining of donors. Not enough to say I am an expert, but enough that I am comfortable in most situations. I look at my utensil options. Foam gives me a slight pause, but honestly a fork should be the right choice. I reach to grab the fork but as I do so I peek over at James.
James is sitting there with the same dish before him, smiling at me. I glance down the table to see that they are all sitting there quietly looking at me. What am I doing wrong now?! I halt my motion towards the fork and drop my hand back to my lap under the table. I want to hide under that table and never come back out.
James leans over towards me and whispers “we can’t eat until after you start.”
Oh. I grab the fork and quickly scoop up some foam and bring it to my mouth. It is a sweet earthy flavor mixed with an airy bubbly texture.
I hear the sound of utensils scraping plates along with conversations restarting and almost breathe a sigh of relief.
“And how has Giddean been treating you?” the Captain begins again.
“Wonderfully” I answer shortly. It’s none of his business.
I hear a snort followed by the sound of someone choking to my right. I turn to see James half laughing, half coughing into his napkin.
“The Captain is quite familiar with the Senator” he forces out after he has regain some control of himself, “there is no need to hide the truth.”
I give him a look of betrayal. I’m not sure if James realizes just how familiar the Captain is with Giddean, but I don’t want my dirty laundry aired before the competition.
“Let me guess: Giddean’s been grumpy, unsociable, and all around miserly” the Captain interjects.
“Yeah that about sums it up” James quips back.
“Don’t worry too much, Ivy” The Captain says before forcing a large heaping fork of food into his mouth. He chews twice and then swallows, “He always turns into a sulking child when he doesn’t get his way. Give it…” he looks over at James for confirmation “about a week or so and he will be his normal brooding self”
“His normal brooding self?” I repeat.
“Well, yeah. He’s a serious guy” The Captain confirms, “He’s a senator, he has a lot to think about- a lot to be responsible for.”
The servers come forward and take away our dishes. I barely touched mine, even though I was hungry, which makes me a little sad to see it go.
The Captain takes a swig of his liquor and continues “And I’ve been told that he’s been this way since the last female. Which come to think of it might be the reason-”
James interrupts him, “Maybe this is a story for another time.”
The Captain just shrugs his shoulders and takes another mouthful of his liquor. Awkward silence falls among us again.
Another dish is put in front of me. This one is some sort of meat with, if I had guess, jellied gravy that wiggles back and forth as the server sets it down on the table. Next to meat is boiled potatoes which has me breathing a sigh of relief- something I recognize.
“How was your expedition, Captain?” James changes the subject before taking a bite.
The Captain sets down his utensils, “Rather successful. We got a few of those primitive bastards.”
“Who?” I ask.
“There is a tribe, they call themselves the People of the Forest, which, as you might guess live in the forests. They kidnap women relatively frequently. The Captain here is in charge of dealing with them” James explains.
“They took several women priestesses just last week, those green-eyed forest-fuckers” the Captain curses.
James looks disapprovingly at the Captain as my thoughts flash to the lime green-eyed men who I ran into earlier today.
“And they have green eyes?” I ask the Captain.
He leans in. “Creepy glowing green eyes that will haunt your dreams.”