Playing with Your Food by Rachel Smith

Jessica held the crystal champagne flute away from her lips as their host, Alessandra, swept out of the room. 

“I’ll be back… shortly.” 

Jessica suppressed a shudder and turned to Elayne, who was lounging back upon the plush blood-red cushions. 

“I think we should go.” 

“Why?” 

“I don’t trust her.” 

Elayne shuffled forwards, pouring herself more champagne, “You’re being paranoid.” 

“No, I’m not. The rich don’t just invite people like us back for champagne. It doesn’t make sense.” 

“Maybe she’s lonely. She probably likes us because we’re…” Elayne waved her free hand, searching for the right word. “… Normal.” 

“She must want something from us.” 

“Yeah, company.” 

“I don’t like it.” 

“Oh, drink your champagne. Loosen up.” 

Jessica ostentatiously placed her glass on the low marble table and folded her arms, “I’m going.” 

“You can’t just leave me here!” 

“Oh? Why not?” 

“It’s rude!” 

“Everything… alright?” Alessandra asked, her silver dress winking as she glided over, holding a black slate decorated with cheese and crackers. 

Elayne grinned, “Of course! Oh, thank you so much. I love cheese… what’s this one?” Alessandra ignored the question and fixed her gaze upon Jessica, “Something… wrong?” “No.” 

Jessica winced; she’d said that too fast, too hard. Alessandra stiffened, sending tension threading through the air. 

“I’m just tired.” Jessica forced herself to smile. “I’m not used to staying up so late.” “Shame.” Alessandra’s dark eyes flashed. “There are plenty of bedrooms. You could… stay.” Jessica’s gut broiled, screaming at her to run. “That’s very kind of you, but—” Elayne slumped back, her glass falling from her fingers, spilling champagne in her lap. “Elayne?!” 

Alessandra grinned, her mouth suddenly too wide for her face, displaying sharp saw-like teeth, “You want to run? Run.” She rolled her shoulders and sighed. “I could do with the… exercise.” 

Published in Issue #21

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