“Are you sure these aren’t leftovers?” Faustus hissed to Cecilia. “This sure seems… reheated.” He swallowed thickly and took a deep drink from the wine in his glass. “Good wine though.”

“Calamari has a texture that is unique and a flavor that is something of an aquired taste,” the food critic said. “This establishment has a reputation for a good calamari, among other things. That’s why we’re here. You are – ostensibly – my date. So be nice.”

“Date… does that mean I’m paying? I thought that Philias was picking up the tab, you know, because you’re –”

“Shh,” Cecilia hissed. “I don’t want them to know I’m critiquing the place. I want them to treat me like they would any patron. You like the wine, hmm?”

Well, fauns, you know, we like wine. I’m no expert, but this is pretty good. Nice and full-bodied but not over the top, you know?” He looked around, then served himself a bit of the fried ravioli. After a small bite, he smiled. “This is really good.”

Cecilia nodded and continued eating. For her, eating was an experience and Faustus found that he was grinning at the sight of her. “Some places bring out their worst meals for organizational meetings. That’s when you might see leftovers. I’ll be back tomorrow with the sisterhood and we’ll see how they treat us.”

“Who’s going to mess with a bunch of harpies?” Faustus muttered. He held up a hand at the other reporter and shook his head. “Really, Ceci, they’d have to be crazy to tick off harpies. Talk about reputations.”

“We also have the reputation of being non-discriminating about our food,” she explained. “If they’re going to short-cut with anyone; it’ll be harpies.”

“I guess that makes sense,” Faustus allowed. “Anyway… since I’m your date… I’m paying?”

“Philias will reimburse you,” Cecilia assured him.

“He’d better,” Faustus said, settling back as the waiter came to take their appetizer plates to make way for the main course.

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