The air was still and heavy, and although there was the chatter of other diners and slow jazz in the background, it was quiet in the alcove where Maria Dimitri sat, waiting for her James to appear.
As she swirled the wine in her cup around, she took a deep breath. Tonight, the Dinner Guest would appear, and she and her James would be the ones to greet him, welcome him, guide him, the first of their people. An honor, the Prime Minister had said. You and your family will live forever in the scribes of our world, he had said.
Maria’s heart raced with excitement, and worrying that she would start to sweat, she tried to push it down. Stay calm and collected, be a lady, they had told her. Maria hadn’t had to be a lady in a long time. Sometimes, she missed the freedom of expression.
James appeared, silently and quickly as always. They shared a small, secret smile, and he sat down, stealing a crisp from the complimentary bowl on the table.
“Everything all right, my love?” He asked, noticing her foot tapping impatiently on the ground and her jaw tight. She nodded. Nervousness had now taken over excitement and now she could not help but worry.
James called a waiter over and murmured something into his ear. The waiter nodded, pressed a button on the wall and left. The walls shifted and warped, and the din of the restaurant faded away, and suddenly, Maria and James were their dining room. The flowers James had picked for Maria last week were immortalized, resting on the small console table. The food was different now, homemade casserole in Maria’s mothers china. The only thing that reminded them that this was an illusion was the large window in the wall, wide open.
Maria visibly relaxed, and James pushed up his glasses, before leaning over to land a kiss on her cheek.
They took deep breaths simultaneously, Maria’s hand resting on her wine glass, waiting.
They didn’t have to wait long for him. The Dinner Guest rose, slowly and lumbering, its one eye blinking slowly. Maria smiled, and the Dinner Guest stared at them.
“Welcome,” she said, and the Dinner Guest gazed at her, unblinking, and cold.
Author Notes: heres the image url: https://www.behance.net/gallery/83222627/The-Dinner-Guest