Henry and Sally sat in their car, wrapped in summer darkness. The cooling engine made ticking sounds. Across the street, the trees were swaying gently in the velvet breeze.
Carefully, Henry turned around to face his wife. He still half expected to find her in her "more natural" form, as she insisted on calling it, which was looking like a fairy tale troll. (Sally insisted real trolls looked totally different, but till now he hadn't seen any of them. Knock on wood.)
It had been a tough month. Once Sally put her mind to something, she stuck to it. Including being mad at her spouse. No being nice, no looking good, no sex. Especially no sex. Well, even if he had wanted to bed her "more natural" form. Which he didn't. Henry didn't even remember what all the fuss had been about, but after more than four weeks under siege, he had readily admitted to having been wrong and asked her to forgive him.
Surprisingly, she had forgiven him. To celebrate, he had taken her to a new, expensive French restaurant. All dressed up - she looked gorgeous in her long anthracite dress, hair carefully piled on top of her head. All other women at the restaurant had been jealous, and the men hadn't been able to take their eyes off her. Henry was a lucky guy, and he knew it. The fact that Sally could alter her appearance at the blink of an eye, being a succubus and everything, didn't change that.
It had been such a nice evening. Candlelight, expensive silverware and porcelain, prime dishes served by model waiters. Soft classic music had played in the background, and the restaurant had offered the perfect balance between public experience and intimate date. Henry had done his best not to show how uncomfortable his wedding smoking made him feel. (There's no way men's fashion can be comfortable. Ever.)
Nevertheless, Sally seemed somewhat disappointed. And if she didn't tell him about it, he would get agitated and they would start fighting all over and...
Not an option. He decided to try this talking thing everyone seemed so obsessed with these days.
"Honey, is everything okay? You're so quiet."
Sally stared out the window, lost, her slender white hands folded neatly in her lap. "It was a wonderful evening. Thank you, darling." Her voice was barely audible above the rustling summer leaves.
"But - but you seem upset." He pulled the key from the ignition, just to have something to occupy his hands. This silent Sally made him nervous.
She turned to him, slowly, a weak smile on her ruby red lips. Her sapphire eyes were huge and glistening. "It's nothing, darling. I'm being stupid."
He put an arm around her. Her shoulders were cold to the touch. "Come on, tell me."
"Okay." She inhaled deeply. "It was a wonderful restaurant, really nice and everything. Only - I was a bit disappointed with the food."
Henry was puzzled. "Was anything wrong with the escargots?"
"I guess not. You know... you said that it was snails."
His frown deepened. "Yes, and you said that you liked snails."
"I really do, darling. But..."
"Yes?" He was starting to get impatient.
"The snails..." She gestured vaguely with her handy, trying to pin down the problem. "You never said they were dead!"