A/N: See that? *points at self* That's the face of someone who's five chapters away from finishing the story. So if you can give me good reasons for it, I might just start throwing the chapters out in twos or threes. Lots of love to my faithful readers, too.
After that first night at the restaurant, Damien came almost every day. He always ordered a hot chocolate and sat in the corner booth closest to the back exit. He wrapped his hands around the mug Elisabeth placed in front of him and spent hours just watching her flit about the room, smiling, flirting, earning herself big tips.
Then, when it got close to midnight, he’d put the money for the untouched drink on the table and slip away unnoticed. It was a routine of sorts. Until one night, Elisabeth didn’t hurry past his table on the way to the kitchen, but threw herself into the booth across from him and gave him a wry grin as she blew a bit of her startling hair out of her face.
“Why do you come here?” She asked. Without meaning to, the vampire shrunk back into himself just a bit. It wasn’t a physical thing, but a mental one. He’d known he wouldn’t be able to sit here forever, yet he feared what her questions might bring because if she told him to leave and not come back, he knew that he would obey. He didn’t want to not come back.
So he said, “I’m safe here.”
Head to one side she inquired, “Safe from what?”
A shrug. He held on tighter to his mug. “Everything.”
“I’m not good at keeping people safe,” she whispered. There was memory in her voice.
“Your people trust you,” he argued.
“They have no-one else.”
Damien allowed himself a small smile in triumph. “I want no-one else,” he said.
She looked at him quizzically for a moment before tapping the table top with one short nail and asking, “Why always hot chocolate?”
Smiling shyly he unwound his hands from the mug and presented her his palms. They were a shiny pink.
“It warms me,” he explained as she looked from his hands to his face and back again.
She nodded wordlessly and got back to her feet in one liquid motion. Duty was calling. She was across the room in a moment to help a mother wipe up the juice her toddler had spilled all over the table, and then back to the kitchen from where she brought fresh drinks and more napkins.
For the next hour she flitted about as she always did, not paying attention to the lone vampire watching her from the corner booth, attaching all his hopes and dreams to her tiny form as he did.
Then, suddenly, she looked up from where she was writing down an order and looked directly at him, green eyes seeming to look right through him. They had the same eye color, Damien noted as trepidation crept up his spine and settled at the back of his throat.
She marched into the kitchen without a glance back and the vampire looked down at his cooling drink until suddenly, something was placed in front of him. Looking up, he saw Elisabeth standing next to him, a steaming hot, giant mug of hot chocolate in front of her. Gently, she extracted the cold one from his fingers and pushed the fresh one in his direction. Then she gave him a sweet smile and walked away without a word.
Damien came to watch her almost every night after that, and she always had a hot mug for him and sometimes, when she had a few moments, they talked.
For some reason, she never asked about his translation of her tattoo.