Tainted Saint, Chapter Thirty-NineMature

There was a spring in Amadeo's step as he went about town, purchasing only the finest to eat when he dined with Cassandra. He intended to make it as fancy a meal as Nicu could provide.

Cassandra probably wouldn't have much time; Amadeo was beginning to learn that she tended to run away from things before they were finished. So the meal couldn't be too long or laborious.

It was odd, how the upscale side of Nicu masked how awful the heart of the city really was. Here in this portion of the city, Nicu almost looked normal. The only hint of its inner badness was the look of unhappiness Amadeo caught on almost every citizen's face as he passed by.

Stopping at a cheese vendor, Amadeo selected some yellow cheese that he'd never eaten, but that looked as though it would be absolutely delicious. At the bakery, he purchased fluffy croissants that looked so light that they almost seemed to be made of nothing but puffed flour. There were so many different kinds of jellies that Amadeo couldn't decide which one to buy, so he walked out of the bakery with the croissants and four types of jelly.

Amadeo bought bright, crispy apples and dark, round blueberries from an adorable little vendor girl, then made his way over to a farmer's market to buy cucumbers and carrots. Then there was the butcher, from whom Amadeo purchased some sort of ready-to-eat delicacy chicken, and the specialty foods market, where he found the rich, sweet grape juice. He steered clear of the winery, not knowing what Cassandra thought of the stuff.

Amadeo hadn't bought as much as he'd have liked, but eleven was drawing close, so he forced himself to be content with the array of food he'd bought. In any case, it was probably finer than what Cassandra usually ate. He only hoped the food would live up to Cassandra's expectations.

It was precisely eleven o'clock when Amadeo reached Cassandra's tenement. He was not kept waiting; in fact, the moment he reached his destination, the door swung open, and there was Cassandra, eyes sparkling.

It took a long time for Amadeo to catch his breath.

The End

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