I know she won't mind, she won't even know
She'll be dancing with a memory, crying teardrops of her own
Dax nodded, mute, and held two fingers up without shifting from his intense perusal of the tabletop. A few minutes later a small tumbler and a mug appeared, pushed by be-ringed fingers several shades darker than the wood beneath them. He picked up the tumbler and examined the amber liquid within for a moment. Then he drank it down, blinking shocked tears back as it burned down his throat. Then he reached for the beer.
“You won’t find what you’re looking for at the bottom of that cup any more than you found it in the last seven, handsome.” Sultry and caring were an odd mix; Dax’s mouth twisted into an approximation of a smile before he looked up at the owner. Blue eyes lingered appreciatively over perfect curves, momentarily fell down an expanse of magnificent golden-brown bosom, then slid up to the woman’s face as smoothly as if no distraction had ever occurred. Amarie did not seem to mind. She had a full mouth that smiled easily, big caramel eyes, and thick hair that fought to escape the green scarf she had wrapped around it.
“Who says I’m looking for anything?” He shook his head. “Maybe I just like to drink.” He put the mug to his lips.
You won’t find what you’re looking for… No, he wouldn’t. Not in the cup, not anywhere. Insofar as he could gather, the world he wandered had never heard of the Grey Tower. What that meant, he couldn’t begin to imagine. Perhaps he had hit his head and the last week had been a dream. Perhaps the Shadow had tried something, or Elia had done some jiggery-pokery with the One Power that he couldn’t begin to comprehend, or….or maybe he had actually legitimately lost his mind. He wasn't sure it mattered; regardless of reason, he certainly wasn't getting out of the nightmare any time soon.
Amarie leaned forward and rose oil, heavy and sweet, pulled him back to the tavern. “Well you’re awfully dark and mysterious in that walnut of yours. Lonely, too. I can help with the last, you know.” Her hand crept up to cover the one he had left on the table; heat and tingles traveled up his arm from the contact. The Tairen maintained his bemused silence, and resisted the urge to pull- himself away, or her closer, either was as likely as the other. “Works better than alcohol, you know.” Ebony fingers laced through his own and gave a suggestive tug. “What do you say?”
He considered the proposition, tongue caught between his teeth as he met her gaze. Then he pressed a silver coin against the table and slid it toward her with two fingers. “You are beautiful,” the Tairen told her, silently cursing himself when his voice wavered. “But I have a- a wife, you understand. I can’t- won’t-” his breath hissed through his teeth as he searched for words.
The thought of explaining Elia to a stranger overwhelmed him more than this strange place he had found himself in. Four years had to count for something even if they still danced around the word ‘forever’ as if it might bite them. Elia had a color and her scent kept him up at night and somewhere...somehow...she was caring for their children. He might never see her again; the least he could do was honor her memory by calling her wife.
He looked down and away, hiding his face lest Amarie see his thoughts on his face. She tucked the coin away, her grip on his fingers loosening into something closer to a hug- if hands alone could do such a thing. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know,” she said. “Have you been apart for long?”
“You don’t have to pretend to care anymore, you already know I’m not worth the time,” Dax snapped, abruptly angered by her curiosity and wanting nothing more than to be away as fast as his feet could take him.
The former Tinker tsked softly. “You want some cheese with that wine, honey?” The Tairen looked up, surprised by her tone. Amarie arched an eyebrow at him and for a moment Dax felt like nothing so much as a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “That was some grade-A self-pitying crap,” she informed him. He scowled, pulling himself upright. It wasn’t like that!
Amarie shook her head, crazy curls taking on a life of their own as she moved. “Now you’re going to pout at me with those big blue eyes, aren’t you? Do yourself a favor and grow a pair. Your lady friend deserves that much at least.” The woman patted him on the cheek without waiting for a response, kissed him on the forehead, and sashayed away, wiggling her fingers at him over her shoulder.
Dax swore under his breath and reached for his drink. As it turned out there was something he wanted at the bottom of the cup after all: oblivion.