"Just a ginger ale, please." Sorbet was off on a third trip to the john, and Wicket was switching to soft drinks. His head was already spinning after an hour of answers leading to more questions.
"He's not peeing every twenty minutes, you know. He's checking up." The bartender set a glass down in front of him, leaned on the bar and held his gaze. Wicket hadn't looked at her closely before, but had little choice now, with her hazel eyes on his.
"Tourmaline!" Great, shout at her. "I mean, you've got tourmaline eyes."
"No kidding? What color tourmaline?" Her small mouth looked as if a balloon were tugging upward at one corner. Wicket recalled Dan Cant's antipodal demise and was momentarily lost in swirling unease, lust and frantic mental rummaging.
"Ah! Right, tourmaline's not a color."
"It's a mineral." Definitely almost a smile.
"I guess they're hazel then." Cool panic sweat tickled his scalp. Goddamnit, will I ever grow out of this? What does "checking up" mean?
"They are hazel." Smile still at half-staff.
"What's your name?"
"No. It's Mathilde. Let's make that a legitimate cocktail." She dropped a cherry into the ginger ale. "Horse's Ass."
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