"Ah, my author," Sonasoda said, standing up to greet her as Dru walked into the room she had been escorted to. There was a large table, easily a six-seater, three places laid out for a meal. "You look delightful." Dru bit back a snide reply and instead gave a little bow, allowing her a moment to take a breath and set herself aside, to put on her 'shop' self, as Dark referred to it.
"Tenchi-sama," she said rising. "You honour me. What is all this splendour in aid of?"
"You cannot guess?" Sonasoda asked. Dru shook her head. "Please, let us not stand on ceremony," Sonasoda continued, and moved to pull out a chair. Dru sat and arranged her skirts, as Sonasoda also resumed his seat. He leant forward, elbows resting on the table and his hands clasped together. "This is all for you, my dear. To show you how much I appreciate what you've done-" There was a tap on the door. Sonasoda scowled.
"Come," he said.
"I'm sorry Sir," said the mook that came in.
"What is it?" Sonasoda snapped. The mook gave a quick glance in Dru's direction before hurrying over to Sonasoda and whispering something. Dru lowered her eyes and pretended to study her hands. Idly she wondered why all the mooks looked identical, when she recalled she had literally cut and pasted their descriptive text. Out of the corner of her eye though she could see Sonasoda's face slowly clouding with anger. He snapped something in oriental at the mook, who departed.
"Is anything the matter?" Dru asked, venturing a glance up when the door had closed. Sonasoda's face instantly cleared.
"No, no," he said with a smile. He leant over and brought a low, wide gift box onto the table. "I was going to wait until we had eaten to give you this. However certain events predicate I present you with it now." Still smiling, Sonasoda pushed the box towards her. Dru's instincts flared. A sociopath was giving her a gift; there was no way this could be good.
"I'm flattered, really," Dru said, not moving. "But, this is too much. I couldn't possibly accept."
"Please," Sonasoda said, with an edge to his voice, "consider it a token of my esteemed gratitude.” Dru gulped. Why had she re-written him more urbane, and not, well, nicer.
"Well, if it's your esteemed gratitude, then who am I to say no?" Dru flashed him a smile, hoping he wouldn't see the terror in her eyes, and pulled the box towards her.
"Oh indeed," Sonasoda was saying. "I've never felt so complete. You truly are an excellent teller of tales. My back-story is perfect!" But Dru only dimly heard him. With trepidation she lifted the lid and looked inside the box. Nestled there in cream tissue paper was a band of silver. At it's centre was depicted a dragon's body clasping a red tear-drop shaped gem, while the band either side was shaped like the dragon's wings. Dru's heart thudded hard in her chest. She didn't need to be told that this was the insidious torc from Dragonheart True.
"Oh. Oh gosh," she said. It was more beautiful than she'd ever imagined. And probably more deadly too. She looked up to see Sonasoda watching her. "Tenchi-san, it's, it's beautiful. I don't know what to say. But, I can't accept this, it's too much!"
"Nonsense my dear, you deserve it and so much more for everything you've done." There was an unpleasant twinkle in his eyes. Her mind screaming obscenities, Dru struggled to remain clam.
"Really, I couldn't," she mumbled. The chair clattered to the floor behind her as she stood, trying to back away. Mustn't touch it, whatever happens, don't touch it she though feverishly.
"Oh, but it would look wonderful on you," Sonasoda said also standing and coming around the table to her. "So much better than that old thing." Dru's hand flew to her throat and her wedding pendant, as she backed away, eyes wide. Was it her imagination, or did Sonasoda seem to be getting thinner, more toned, less greasy before her eyes? He picked up the torc, and walked towards her. Dru kept backing up until she felt her back hit a wall. She glanced down briefly, surprised, and then back up as Sonasoda, seizing the opportunity, leapt forward and pinned her to the wall. He grinned at her. Dru froze, staring at him.
"Now my little princess, you cannot refuse my gift," he said, and with one arm pressed against her chest, holding her against the wall, he pushed the torc around her neck.
It was like cooking marshmallows on a bonfire, coupled with that time she'd spilt hot oil and some of it landed on her foot mixed with the sensation of several tattoo artists driving their needles into the fleshy part of her neck. The pain drove all though from her mind and she screamed.