Under the Bed
”Its not mine. ” Emil looked down at the shirt.
e right, the stain is all wrong, ” he breathed a sigh of what Josefine assumed was relief, ”I saw the blood and thought youd been stabbed again. ” She took the shirt from him, setting her coffee aside.
”Ill deal with this while you work. ” Emil started to return to his task but paused, checking his watch—an antique pocket watch in silver, harder for haywire magic to break it that way.
”Would you like to have lunch with me once we
e both finished? ”
”Dubickis? ” Emil smiled.
”That would be fine. ”
”Alright, Ill be quick, ” Josefine set about treating the bloody shirt with peroxide and scrubbing it clean.
Still smelling of sage and peroxide, Josefine and Emil ducked into Zaftigs Deli out of the rain. Dubicki looked up from ringing up another customer and his smile bloomed from customer service to delight.
”Doc, ” he said as the other patron left and Josefine approached the counter, ”I get to see you twice today? And you brought your friend, ” he turned to Emil, ”Your name was Emilius, yes? ”
”Emil is fine, ” Emil said, a little on edge now that he knew Dubicki remembered him from his last visit.
”Go ahead and choose a table, Ill send Maggie over with menus. ”
”Thank you, ” Josefine said before taking off her has as they made their way to her usual table in the corner.
”I didn think hed remember me, ” Emil said as they pulled out their chairs, hanging his overcoat and scarf over the back of his. His sleeves were rolled up beneath the coat and almost in a mirror of Josefine, pale scars patterned his skin like lightning burns up from his palms. Josefine could feel the static of dormant magic even across the table.
”Hes good with names, ” she paused, ”Are you going to be alright? ” Emil started to ask with what so she raised her fingers and brushed along the edge of the worst of the static.
”Don do that again and Ill be fine. ” Josefine flashed an innocent smile and sat back, folding her hands together.
”Oh, Doc, ” Bates sounded cheery as she approached the table with menus, ”Did you come for lunch? Whos your friend? ” Josefines smile vanished without a trace as she straightened up in her chair.
”Maggie, this is Solomon, hes helping me with your problem. ” Bates beamed at the words.
”Really? Thank you so much Mr. Solomon. ” Emil for his part looked a little overwhelmed by her energy.
”N—No, its alright. ” He shrank a little in his chair and tucked his hands under the table as if to hide.
”Ill give you two a couple of minutes to look over the menu but while I have you, my shift ends in an hour, would you mind giving me a lift home, Doc? ” Josefine was focused on the menu in her hands and barely looked up at Batess question.
”We walked, ” she spoke distantly, ”but yes, I planned to walk home with you. ” Bates looked mildly disappointed for a brief moment—it was a long walk from Zaftigs Deli to Josefines apartment, especially in the rain—but she recovered quickly.
”Ill be back in a few minutes, ” and Bates took off back to work, leaving them to their menus.