“I brought you food. Why aren’t you eating?”
“Of course you are. Elves must consume food for fuel. It’s part of the inferiority of your species.” She glared at him. “Oh, sorry. I keep forgetting that you’re sensitive about that.”
“I can no’ be sensitive about somethin’ that is no’ true. I simply think ‘tis rude for you to insist on repeatin’ the shite.”
He laughed. “You are inferior, but it’s so adorable when your color changes. Kind of chameleon-like.”
“There’s nothin’ chameleon-like about it. I have fair skin…”
“And you anger easily.”
She ignored that. “Chameleons change colors to match the environment. Do you see anythin’ pink in here?”
He smiled. “Just you.”
“Exactly. So I ask you. Would a superior bein’ get somethin’ so simple so wrong?” He shrugged, smiling and completely undeterred. “Annnnnnd, I do no’ anger easily.”
“Seems so to me.”
“Well, it seems you’re wrong about that, too, then.”
He laughed. “I’ll bet your sister is not so much trouble.”
She barked out a laugh. “Oh, demon, you have no idea. I’m a clump of clotted cream compared to Shivaun.”
“Shivaun.” Lyric turned the name over in his mouth like he liked the taste of it. “It’s more musical than Sheridan.”
The question dripped with suspicion and suddenly she was eager to steer the conversation in another direction. It was killing her to be separated from Torn, little by little, every day. But that was preferable to having her sister fall into the hands of the demon. She could have slapped herself for saying Shivaun’s name out loud.
Even if he was astonishingly beautiful with the sexiest voice imaginable and also good at jigsaw puzzles, she was sure his windowless den was not the future Shivaun dreamed about. Although, since they’d promised each other to be celibate and unmated, they’d never allowed themselves to fantasize about lovers. Or, if they had, they’d never shared with each other. Even twins keep some secrets to themselves.
“Eat. I’m trying to take care of you.”
She glared. “I’m no’ a pet, demon.”
He chuckled. “Well, you kind of are, elfess.”
“Do no’ call me that.”
“What? Elfess?” He chuckled. “Why not? I rather like it. Makes me want to sing ‘Jailhouse rock’.”
“What?” It was clear that she didn’t follow the reference.
“Never mind. But let me just say that, if I did sing ‘Jailhouse Rock’, you’d like it. A lot.”
“Sure.” She flopped onto one of the long divans and drummed her fingers on her thigh.
He cocked his head and studied her in that I-can-see-through-you way of his. “Did you sleep while I was gone?”
“What’s it to you?”
That was ignored because he’d become distracted with a thought. He strode down the hallway that was defined by archways so smoothly curved they looked like beach art made from wet sand.
In a few seconds he was back. “You haven’t used the facilities either.”
“Now you’ve crossed a line. Bathroom usage is personal. Way personal.”
“Whatever. What was the point of having me add a bathroom if you weren’t going to use it?”
“Oh yeah! It was so much work. Was that your fourth finger that you crooked or your fifth?”
“Don’t hate me because I can make things happen at will and you’re a…”
She gave him a look that said, “If you finish that sentence, you’re going to wish you were someplace else.”
“Are you cold?” he asked.
With a flick of his wrist four arched fireplaces carved into smooth walls jumped to life. Even though there was no evidence of fuel, flames crackled and danced over glowing embers.
“Nice trick. No. I’m no’ cold. I’m from the New Forest. ‘Tis very far north which means we do no’ get cold easily.”
“Even without vodka?”
Faint lines formed between her brows. “By now you should be gettin’ the idea that I’m no’ amusin’ in any way. I’m plain and borin’ and excruciatingly unentertainin’. So let. Me. Go.”
He sat down on the divan across from where she sat. “You so underestimate yourself. I find you more fascinating than anything that’s happened to me… well, maybe ever.”
“’Tis ludicrous. Maybe I’ll call you Ludicrous.”
He shook his head. “My name is Lyric. And there’s already a musician named, well, he doesn’t know how to spell, but still, the idea is taken.” Sher slapped both palms to her face in exasperation. “What was that?”
“This?” She did it again.
“It means I would run from the buildin’ screamin’ at this point if only I could run from the buildin’.”
“I can exchange you for Shi…”
“Do no’ say her name.”
“The interrupting is becoming tedious. Why not?”
“Because you get this funny look on your face like you’re thinkin’ about masturbatin’. And I just do no’ want to see that.”
He laughed out loud. “I can’t imagine why you think you’re not amusing.” His eyes drifted to the Chinese takeout cartons that sat on the large low table between them. “Is it that you don’t like Chinese?”
She looked down at the little white cartons with wire handles and red calligraphy symbols on the sides. Sheridan was a recent convert, since she’d never had Chinese until a few weeks before, but she liked it. Of course. Everybody likes some kind of Chinese and it looked like Lyric had brought a variety buffet.
She did like Chinese. And she hadn’t eaten for what was probably… “How long have I been here?”
“In Loti time? Two weeks.”
“I think that’s impossible,” she said, just realizing that she hadn’t been eating or sleeping or using the new bath facilities.
As if Lyric really could read her mind, he said, “I’m not an expert, but I believe it’s not possible for elves to go so long without food, drink, sleep, and…” He glanced toward the hall that led to the bath, but didn’t want to offend unnecessarily by bringing up such a sensitive subject. Again.