Who: Taliesyn Robards, Romilda Vane
Where: J. Pippin’s
When: 7 November 2001, around lunchtime
Tali wanted to see how long he could go without seeing Romilda after the potion wore off. The answer was… two days.
So right now he was at J Pippin’s, wondering if they had a suggestion box, so he could suggest they invest in some taller shelves. There was nowhere to hide, so he grabbed a pamphlet and stood around reading all about the illnesses everyone should watch out for now that winter was upon them.
He looked up and caught sight of the necklace. It was like being punched in the gut by Cupid all over again. Now he had to hold the pamphlet in front of his face so he couldn’t be seen grinning like an idiot or something.
OK, calm down. Calm down. Calm down now. You’ve seen her, now you can leave. Better buy something first. Buy what though? He could get some stomach soothers, but he wasn’t carrying all that much money and the second most embarrassing thing after leaving a shop without buying anything is asking for something and coming up short.
He put the pamphlet back in the holder and strode up to the counter. “Hi.” Well done, good start. “I need… something. What’s the cheapest item you have?”
Was he… hiding? Interesting, but not entirely unexpected considering that she had taken away the remainder of their potion, therefore restoring Tali’s full emotional range. Romilda thought of it as something of an experiment, though she was quickly realising that destroying the potion might be the smartest option; it was all too tempting to take some, even though she knew she would quickly grow frustrated with not feeling.
She tried to look busy, straightening bottles on the shelves behind her, but when Tali approached she had no choice but to serve him. Quickly, she adjusted her fringe to make sure it wasn’t doing anything stupid.
His question surprised her. Who walked into a potions shop and asked for the cheapest item? Time for another experiment of sorts. “Um, anti-fungal ointment. Gets to work in under fifteen minutes and smells like peppermint.”
Tali made a face. Gross.
“OK. Er, no. Not that. Second cheapest?”
There were a few things in the same price bracket, so Romilda did her best to keep a straight face as she thought.
Tali sighed. The world was conspiring against him. Why didn’t J Pippin’s just have packets of lollies or cough drops at the counter like a normal shop?
Romilda glanced behind her, selected a blue glass jar and put it on the counter in front of Tali.
“Special offer, 75% off this week. Guaranteed to grow chest hair in seven days.”
Tali had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep him from losing it.
“Why would anyone want…” he paused. It wasn’t the worst thing in here. There were a lot of horrible ailments in the world, after all. At least it wasn’t fungal anything. And if he kept going, it’d soon defeat the point of asking for the cheapest item. Fine, fine, he could live with this.
“Why would anyone… but me… want that,” he stated. “Yes. This is exactly what I came here for. Precisely. I mean, it’s getting really, really cold these days and some people are just too cool for flannel.”
He forced a smile. “Lovely. I’ve got a bunch of loose change I want rid of. Do you mind?”
Romilda tried to hide her laugh with a cough. “Loose change is fine,” she assured him. “I’ll, um, put it in a bag for you, too.” Oh, Tali, what are you doing? “Was there anything else you need?”
“No, I’m right, thanks.” Hey, at least counting out loose change bought him some extra time. He swore Romilda had gotten prettier in two days. It seemed impossible yet it was the truth. He grabbed the bag, wrapped it tightly around the jar and held it in the palm of his hand.
“You’ve been very helpful. Thanks. I’m going now,” he stated, more to spur his own legs into action. He started shuffling back towards the entrance. “Um, good day to you. See you later, well, most likely not, actually… so uh, goodbye.”
His free hand landed onto the door. He pulled it open gratefully and stepped out.
Well. That could have gone better. Tali had resigned himself to using his purchase because when you tell fibs you should show commitment to those fibs, but then again, how would she ever know? No, he could just keep it as a… souvenir. A memento of a very strange couple of days.
Maybe he could use it as a paperweight.