A loud buzz interrupted them. The intense feeling was swept away roughly, and Tillianianita stopped singing, realizing suddenly that she was back on the pillow, gazing up at his slowly waking face. He did not see her there, but instead reached over to turn off the annoying alarm clock on his nightstand. She took to the air, buzzing back to the window sill before he awoke completely.
“Wow, that was some dream,” he muttered as he sat up, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. He sat there for perhaps a minute, trying to recall exactly what the dream had been about. It had been intense, enjoyable, and had involved Tilly, that much he knew, but the rest was already slipping away.
At last he came to his feet, stretched, and walked over to the houseplant. “Tilly? Are you awake yet?”
“I’m here,” she told him, emerging from behind the pot and struggling to control her feelings. “I have been awake since the dawn.”
“Well, I’m going to get ready for work,” he told her. “I’ll have to leave you for a while today. If there’s anything you need, let me know.”
“I am thirsty,” she admitted. “Normally I drink a few drops of morning dew, but here, there is none to be found.”
“No problem, climb aboard,” he said, putting his hand out. She jumped into it, fluttering her wings enough to lift her into the palm, where she rested comfortably.
“Wing feeling better?” he asked as he strode out to the kitchen.
“Aye, it heals well,” she agreed, stepping off when he set her on the counter. He took small cup out of the cabinet, filled it up with water from the sink, and set it down next to her.
She watched him with wonder. Simply by lifting a metal bar, he had caused water to appear from thin air! Human magic was indeed powerful, she thought, cupping some of it in her hands. She sipped it slowly, drawing it in a little bit at a time. She noticed it had a strange, sweet flavor, but left an unusual aftertaste.
While he watched, she splashed some on her face, shaking her head back and forth vigorously. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t think about that,” he said suddenly, and brought out another cup. This he filled with hot water, leaving it next to her, thin wisps of steam rising out of it.
She inspected it, inserting a hand, and drawing it back in surprise. “It is warm!” she exclaimed.
“I thought maybe you might want a bath later,” he told her. “I could turn on the faucet, too, and you could have a shower.”
“A bath would feel wonderful,” she admitted. She did not understand his reference to the rain, but chose not to ask about it. “In water this warm, though? I have never tried such a thing.”
“Try it,” he replied. “It’ll feel much better. Trust me.”
“Very well,” she agreed, feeling the heat again. The very fact that it was hot was proof of Man’s magic, for she had never felt water warmer than that heated by the sun. “I shall do so.”
“All right, well, I’m going to get ready for work now,” he told her, leaving her behind as he headed back into the apartment. It seemed to her that he departed only with some reluctance.
She took another drink from the cool water, and considered the heated cup again. Then, deciding it was worth a try, she sang a quick melody and her body-cloak dissolved away. Naked, she climbed into the water cautiously, shocked at the strangeness of the heat, but immediately saw that Dave had been right. It felt fantastic.
The water rippled back and forth as she settled in, leaving only her head and the tips of her wings protruding from the top of the cup. The heat seemed to penetrate and permeate her tiny body, and she sighed in satisfaction as she swam slowly around, enjoying the feeling. As she grew used to the heat she relaxed, and then dropped down into the water, letting it cover her head completely. The warmth on her face was unlike anything she had ever felt before, similar in many ways to the experience of the dream.
The dream! Her thoughts returned to it only reluctantly. Dave had not seemed to remember it upon awakening, to her relief. Dreams tended to be fleeting, and were rarely recalled in full. Perhaps he knew she had been in his thoughts as he slept, but found nothing unusual in this.
Tillianianita, on the other hand, remembered the dream vividly. It had felt strange to be a human, to look upon the world she was used to from the perspective of a giant. Dave, too, had seemed different somehow. From the moment she began to participate in the dream, Tillianianita had found herself attracted to him. Perhaps it was just his subconscious imposing itself on her dream-form, but she had found him quite desirable.
And the kiss...ah, the kiss! It was nothing like anything she had ever felt before. Such strong emotions, such passion! No wonder Man had conquered the world.
She swam for a while longer, totally lost in the comfort of the hot water around her, and finally Dave came out of the back room. He was dressed in a business suit (though she did not know to call it that) and carried the briefcase he’d brought in the previous evening. He smiled at her as he approached, then saw at once that she was naked in the cup and turned away, embarrassed.
“What is it?” she asked, standing up and starting to climb out of the water. She was not at all ashamed of her nudity, and found Dave’s reaction quite strange. “Have I done something wrong?”
“No, it’s not that,” he answered, red-faced. “I, uh, well, you took your clothes off,” he stammered.
“So? Should I not have?”
“Well, no, it’s just that I, uh, well, wasn’t expecting to see you that way,” he managed. “We humans normally don’t see each other, er, naked, unless we’re, um…you know. Intimate.”
“Oh, I see,” she replied, climbing back into the blissfully warm water. She understood now why humans were almost always clothed. Some of the actions she had witnessed in the park made more sense now, as did those of her previous captors. “I will remember that,” she told him after a moment. “You may look; I am safely hidden.”
He glanced over, his face still crimson. “Look, I have to go to work,” he explained. “I’ll be gone until six or seven--er, until sunset. You can wander around all you like. Is there anything else you need?”
“Yes, I will be hungry soon,” she answered.
“Um, okay, let me see what I have.” He looked around in his cabinets, wondering what a faerie might like to eat. Natural food, obviously. What was there to eat in Central Park, anyway? He really doubted she sampled the popcorn the old ladies cast out for the pigeons. Finally his eyes fell on a small tin of unsalted peanuts. “How about this?” he asked, popping the top open and setting a few of the nuts on the countertop.
She remained in the cup, but nodded vigorously. “It is rare that I find such before the squirrels hide them all,” she told him. “Thank you, Dave.”
He smiled. “You’re welcome, but I have to go. I’m already late for work. See you tonight.”
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