Scrounger: Six

he drinks a lot of water at dinner. The burning in her throat is merciless, and the tide she consumes, pitcher-full after pitcher-full, does nothing to extinguish it. Besides the fire in her throat, she is beside herself. She turns and looks in the mirror that sits parallel. It’s not just inside her throat that burns, but the nape of her neck is bright red.

She is also beside herself because he decided to stay.

“But only if I can sit one table over,” he says. “We can still talk.”

And exchange glances, he thinks. Maybe a smile. But his fifth or sixth glance over, as he cuts into his salad, is frozen by the red that glows from the sweat around her neck. It’s a lovely red, he thinks, and it reminds him of how ripe an apple looks in the bosom of September. Something hampers his wit and he reaches out to caress what seems to ache her.

Her pupils void her irises and her lips begin to quiver. She clutches at her neck, and puts a hand up to stop him. He continues to step closer.