Embers glowed in the mighty stone hearth of This, That & Sons. Couples and small halos of friends huddled together around the old tavern’s tiny oak tables. A magical fiddle played Janelle Monae covers under a baby spotlight. In his usual corner Old Grifty was in his cups laughing at his own jokes. Bountiful flapped slowly into the tavern’s front door. Bits and Pieces brighten and began making an Irish coffee.
“Bounty my girl didn’t think I’d be blessed with your charming visage this evening. How was the three minute date night at Saint Grimes’?”
“It was two minutes and fifty-nine minutes too long, Bits. Now pour me a finger of Satan’s Tears. I’m hanging up my dancing shoes and getting a den full of cats.” Bountiful shook the cold off her silvery feathers and fluttered on to the barstool. She warmed her palms on the Irish coffee.
“I told you a decade is too long to sulk. You have to get back out there. Tell me about it,” Bits and Pieces said, whizzing over to the bar’s kitchen on bitter chocolate wings with a tray of sugar cookies. “How bad could it have been?”
“Ten three minute dates. Ogre, bridge troll, Amway sales, ogre, my cousin Generosity, my ex, the guy my ex caught me cheating with, my Uncle Chivalry, another ogre, and a fae with a man bun.” Bountiful ate the cookies in a delicate fury and gulped her hot drink.
Bits and Pieces stroked his dark beard to hide his unexpected mixture of sadness and delight. He flitted up to the top of the bar shelves for the red dipped bottle. Old Grifty stood up and saluted the bottle. Bits and Pieces poured them each a finger of the fine whiskey.
“I deserve this. When I went crazy with mamo’s love potion I broke a lot of hearts. I don’t deserve to find someone. I deserve to be alone.” Bountiful reached for the glass. Her old friend put his hand over her hands and the glass transforming her shot glass into a champagne flute with a sparkling wine. Old Grifty grasped. The old friends’ fingers lingered intertwined. The bartender snapped his fingers and refilled the old soak’s pint. The hobgoblin drank deeply and curled up on the counter.
“Show off! Why are you wasting all your daily magic on me, Bits?” Bountiful said. A blush pinked her cheeks and the tips of her wings.
Bits and Pieces could have said, with you I’m full of magic or you deserve to love again or even let’s eat our weight in donuts after my shift and talk all night but instead he just hid his smile as he sipped his whiskey.
“You know if bridge trolls are your thing, I know a fellow who hosts trivia nights under a bypass,” Bits and Pieces said.
Bountiful laughed. Paper whites and snowdrops sprouted along the bar counter top. A log popped and crackled in hearth. The magical fiddle launched into a Janet Jackson medley.