"So? How's my lovely ex-girlfriend?" Avel asked. I stared at him. "Work still interesting?"
"Uh. Yes? What are you doing?"
"What do you mean?"
"Why are you doing all this? The road, the theater. I thought you were reformed, Avel," I said. Avel chuckled and put his arm around my shoulders. Crossing my arms, I looked at him as he stared straight ahead. He'd pulled out of the teenager disguise and was back to normal. He took a breath and opened his mouth, like he was really about to answer me.
"What are you doing?" he asked suddenly. He tried to get his arm back from around my shoulders, but I was holding his hand in mine, tightly.
"Tell me, Avel. Tell me what you're doing," I said sweetly. Minty air flowed around us, and Avel's pupils dilated suddenly, and his irises gained a healthy dose of brown. Gradually, slowly, painfully, all of my colors came back. I almost breathed a sigh of relief but the moment was too crucial.
"What I'm doing?" he asked slowly, like his words kept getting stuck in marshmallow sauce. I leaned my head on his arm, looking up into his eyes and smiling with half of my mouth. He tried to pull his hand out of my fingers, but my grip was strong. Avel shifted in his seat. I could almost see all the wheels whirring in his head, trying to figure out what I was doing. We both knew he still had the upper hand. But the chocolate magic was confusing him. The minty smell was nearly overwhelming, enveloping us like a chenille blanket. I reached into my pocket with my free hand and curled my fingers around a small mirror. Avel used to hate mirrors. He couldn't walk in front of them without turning a peculiar shade of green.
Avel shifted again, and as he did he saw light glint off of the mirror's face. In a flash his other hand was over mine, and his cheek was against my temple, holding my head away from him.
"A mirror?" he whispered in my ear. Oh crap, I thought. I swallowed once, hard, and tried to smile.
"Just a mirror. I wanted to check my makeup," I said. Avel snorted.
"You don't check your makeup, Meli. Now, let's look at this," he said, and he threw the mirror in the air above us. It hit something like an invisible barrier and sounded like it shattered, but no pieces came showering down on us like I expected.
After the shattering sound there was a pop so loud it made me jump. I kept most of my focus, though, and still held his hand tightly in mine. I looked up to see what had become of the mirror, and I found myself looking into my own eyes. Avel held his free arm up, perfectly straight, with his fingers splayed. The mirror had grown to be at least 60 or 70 times its original size. It was hard to tell because it almost looked like it was still growing.
He laughed, lowering his arm so that the mirror was straight in front of us instead of above us. Then it was my turn to shift uncomfortably. Avel changed; he still had the same hair and nose, but he seemed older by several years. And then he changed my hair, making it shorter and lighter. I glanced down to look at my hair on my shoulders; it was still dark.
Avel changed again, becoming younger and blond and bespectacled. I became wrinkled and fat, and then thinner with a very low-cut shirt on. I gasped and instinctively went to cover up, which was very stupid. Avel took his opportunity -- in a split second he had flipped himself over the backs of our seats and was kneeling behind me. I have no idea how he did it without breaking his arm, since I was still holding his hand, but hey, the guy could make antiques and skyscrapers out of nothing.
"Relax," he said as he weaved his fingers into my hair. It was a command, and I couldn't help it. I leaned into him, even though my brain was screaming at me. Avel pointed at the mirror, dropping all the disguises and jerking his hand. The mirror disappeared and was replaced with tiny pieces of colored glass which fell to the ground like silver-toned rain. I tried to stand up but Avel snaked his arm across my collarbone.
"Let me go," I said. I felt him shake his head. He was leaning pretty far over my chair.
"Relax," he said again. "Look at the glass. Beautiful." I decided to try one more thing. I had a little bit of magic left from the chocolate bar; at this distance I couldn't go back for more without him noticing. So I swirled it around a little, got a good breath in, and leaned my head back. My nose brushed the skin just above his ear, and I felt Avel pull back a little. I breathed in through my nose, and exhaled softly through my mouth. He breathed in sharply, and I made sure my giggle was short and sweet.
"Losing control, my dear?" My magic glittered strangely in the light reflected from the shards of glass. I placed my lips on his jawline, still using the magic. Avel sank back, landing on both of his knees. Spinning up from my seat, I pulled the handcuffs out of my back pocket and slapped half of them on the wrist closest to me; the other half went on my own arm. He wouldn't look up at me, and I smiled triumphantly. I had him.
A door slammed somewhere in the room, making me jump. "Hey!" yelled Kadey from the employee's only entrance behind me. I turned and waved.
"Here! I got him!" Kadey gave me a strange look, one that made my smile falter as I turned back to look at Avel.
He was gone.