Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Enchanted Toasting Fork

(Episode 3)
The story so far: Episode 1, Episode 2

Petro half woke to a pleasant drowsiness, scented with jasmine and sandalwood with an undertone of candlewax. Someone had been burning aromatherapy candles last night. So last night had been real; he hadn't gone home alone. He hadn't even gone home; if he had he would be waking to the entirely different aromas of a bachelor's bedroom. Should he open his eyes, or was it better to feign sleep a little longer so that he could gloat over his good fortune?

There was time enough for both, he felt, so he put off opening his eyes while he relived some of last night's most vibrant and exciting moments. He noticed another scent, for a moment overwhelming the jasmine, sandlewood and candlewax. He must remember to give his moustache a good wash before he went out today. He twitched, to ease the feeling of skin stretched a little too tight; it didn't help. At last, he opened his eyes and turned his head to the side.

"About time." Petro thrilled inwardly to the sound of that vibrant voice. "I was beginning to think I should redo the garden with thorn bushes." Ruby, that was her name, Petro remembered. She was still wearing some of her jewellery from yesterday; a small ruby stud on the right side of her nose and another above her left eye. For the first time, Petro noticed that neither of the stones appeared to have a mount; they were cunningly wrought pieces of jewellery indeed.

"Mornin'," he muttered, sliding towards her; they kissed. He stroked her face - a finger brushed across the stone above her eye. "Ow!" she protested, "don't touch that."

"Sorry," he said. "Didn't mean to. It looks pretty; a ruby is it?"

"Garnet." she answered tersely. "The other one's a carnelian. Look, can we get on with this? I've got a wedding to do this afternoon."

"Well ... yeah, right." Petro was a little taken aback by her sudden loss of vibrancy, but he recovered quickly and got on with it. Later, they took a shower together, or rather Petro washed Ruby's hair and back while she stood under the spray of hot water. Occasionally he nudged her to remind her that he was still potent if she was at all interested. He noticed that she also has a few garnet - or carnelian - studs on her buttocks. So many piercings. Weird. Had he given her his phone number yet? If he had, could he afford to have it changed?

At last Ruby yielded her place under the shower head to him; there was just enough time, before the cold water set in in earnest, for him to at least give his face a scrub. When he got out of the shower she had already dried herself and was on her way out the door. "Coffee?" she asked, throwing the question back over her shoulder at him.

"Please." he answered. He dried himself as well as he could with the vibrantly pink but damp towel, then locked the bathroom door. After a minute or so, he was able to use the toilet. He flushed it and left the bathroom.

In the bedroom, as he was dressing, his thoughts turned to the toasting fork. Given the way things had turned out, it struck him that he really ought to get it back, before it caused too much trouble for Claudio and Cossima. But how to do it? The first step, he decided, would be to see if he could find any web-pages on Housebreaking.

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