She shifted her left hand slowly in the flickering candlelight, and watched the refracted colors dance over the table and the wall.

"So... do you like it?" he murmured.

"Y-yes. Yes, I do. Yes... it's… it's absolutely beautiful." Her voice was tight. Her hand stilled, but she continued to stare down at it. After a few moments, she cleared her throat, and looked up. "Do you-"

"It's a 1 carat diamond in a 14 kt platinum band. The jeweler claims that it is flawless though it has a slight…"

"John!" She grinned at him. "Didn't any of your friends ever tell you that you don't give a girl the specs of her engagement ring? I might have it appraised myself, but I won't ever tell you. That's how normal people do it."

He folded his long arms and scowled, but when she smiled more widely, he smiled back. "So, the chocolate hazelnut torte? And I'll order a coffee for you as well."

"You always know what I want, don't you?"

He smirked and signaled the waiter.

"I didn't think you'd want to eat dessert."

"I'll have coffee while you eat. I wouldn't want to deprive you."

"Thank you."

He ordered dessert and coffee, and they sat in silence for several minutes.

"So, what are you thinking?"

She startled and blushed. "I… I was just thinking that—thank you!" She pulled the torte the waiter had placed in front of her a bit closer, while he put cream in her coffee and opened two packets of sugar for his own.

After she swallowed her first bite, he looked pleased. "It's delicious."

"I'm supposed to say that, you—" she stopped herself and took another bite when she realized that he was staring vacantly towards the neighboring table.

"So, John."

He snapped back into focus and looked at her. "Yes, Mary?"

"Do you think we should talk about… about a date?"

"We're on a date, aren't we?"

"No, I mean… for the wed—"

"NOW!" He leaped from his seat.

There was a loud thud and a groan, and several people screamed. She jumped up after him, whipped out a gun, and pointed it at the man he had just thrown to the ground.

"You are under arrest for the kidnapping and murder of Alicia Martone, Kathryn Grant, and Rosalie Cook. You do not have to say anything, but it may—how did you get my handcuffs, Freak?"

"You put them in an obvious place, and, as anyone with eyes should be able to see, it was the most logical course of action, and is the only reason that-"

"Just cuff him, then!" She held the gun steady until one of the officers who had just run into the restaurant dragged the suspect to his feet. Then she turned back to her dinner companion.

"Your work's done here. You can go back to wherever it is you're calling home this time."

"A delight, as ever, Sally."


She turned to follow the officer out of the room.




"Oh!" And she pulled it off, and dropped it into his open palm like it was a dead insect.