Milkshake Magic

“Are you sure we can be here?” Marcus’ gaze swept the room, or rather what little of the room he could see from the booth Sybil forced him into.

She saw the bar from outside and shoved him towards it when she read that they served milkshakes. It wasn’t until they sat down that they both realized it wasn’t a real bar. Not that it eased his nerves. They were still being hunted, both for their own reasons, and a stop for a milkshake was an unnecessary risk.

The dim lighting cast the place in shadows, giving him the chills. If anyone were watching, they’d never know. Marcus pushed the glass of water aside and eyed Sybil’s pleased grin. The lighting paired with the extended curve of the booth offered enough cover for Sybil to relax, but not Marcus. And the more he watched Sybil make herself comfy, the more his nerves frayed and frazzled.

“Stop moving around.” Marcus glowered in hopes it would garner him some level of respect but Sybil continued shifting from one spot to another, ignoring him. “Sybil,” he whispered through clenched teeth.

“Hm?” Sybil stopped mid-slide to turn another pleased smile on him.

“Stop that. It’s going to draw attention.”

Shrugging, Sybil slid into her original spot. “I can do what I like. When I like. How I like.”

“That logic only works if you’re a cat.”

“I am—“

“You,” Marcus quickly sputtered, “you are not a cat. You are a human girl that likes milkshakes and owes me a favor for breaking that curse.” Marcus looked around to make sure his outburst wasn’t overheard. Satisfied that the conversation remained in their booth, his gaze returned to Sybil. “Did you lie to me? Do you have any idea where the Veil is?”

Sybil nodded.

“And?” Marcus unconsciously leaned in, causing Sybil to sink into the seat, milkshake in hand, a mischievous smirk forming. “Do you know it or not?” He pressed, still unaware of how far he’d gotten.

“I know a lot of things.” Sybil’s smirk disappeared for the moment it took her to blow bubbles in the shake and take another sip. “I missed you,” she whispered to the drink before finally looking up.

When Sybil looked up, the air around her changed. Her gaze seemed sharper, her attention focused as she leaned in. “The Veil is real but not the only way to get into the Realm. You need someone touched by the Fae and either an in-between or special water.”

“Special?”

“Yes, special. Is special no longer a word?” Her head tilted as her mind wandered.

Seeing the answer slipping away, Marcus tried to think of something. He could answer her but the distant glaze of her eyes wouldn’t go away with that alone. “Come with me.” Marcus waited till the glaze disappeared and her eyes were on him before hooking her. “If you come with me, you can get out of this town.”

“And I get milkshakes?”

“All the flavors you want.” His wallet would need help but it was worth it if it meant he’d have answers walking next to him for once. “So? Yes or no?”

Sybil grinned, the answer on her face before it ever made it out. “Yes. And special means special. I’ll let you know when we find any.”

“Okay.” It wasn’t helpful but it was better than nothing, and he had someone who knew about the Fae. “Sybil, what do you know about arranged marriages?”

Her eyes widened. Thinking she finally got a brain freeze from the bigger sips, he waited for it to subside, only for her to break down into a fit of laughter.

“You,” she manage to get out, “and a Fae.” Sybil half leaned, half fell to one side in her enjoyment. She put it together faster than he liked but if she figured it out from a simple question, Marcus hoped she knew more than she let on.

“Yeah, yeah. It’s one big comedy show.”

Nodding, Sybil clutched her side, still laughing.

“Well? Can you help with that too?” He had to wait for the laughter to die down before he could get a thing out of her. But when it did, he wished she was still laughing. “There’s no way around it?”

“How do you think I got cursed?”

“You said no?”

“I ran away.”

Marcus looked her over for the first time. She wasn’t a normal pretty but he could see why she’d catch the eye of a Fae. Her features were stronger than the average girl he knew. Prominent cheek bones, an actual jaw line, narrow nose. Coughing, he looked away. “Running away doesn’t work.”

“He turned me into a cat so I couldn’t run away but I escaped anyway. But you,” she picked up her milkshake and offered it to him, a giggle already slipping out. “You’re screwed.”

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