ON DINING ALONE
by Tari Gwaemir
"When humans fall in love, it's like multiplication."
The table was set, the candles were lit, the food was growing cold under covered platters. She wore the dress he had said he liked best and smiled steadily at the empty seat across from her.
"One plus one is two," she said out loud. She could hear the sound of crunching apples behind her. "Stop that, Ryuuku. Go away, I don't want you to spoil our dinner."
Ryuuku only laughed.
Her hands, folded neatly in her lap, tightened uncontrollably. She gritted her teeth. "Stop that. Or I'll never buy apples again."
The shinigami fell silent, and she took a deep breath to calm herself. "He'll be here any moment now. I told him this morning. Light doesn't forget these things. He's a genius, you know. He knows nearly everything.
"He has to remember. He...I told him this morning. I know he's busy with more important matters, but he must remember this. Even if...even if he didn't care, he would still remember. Because Light takes our public image very seriously. He told me so himself."
Ryuuku surreptitiously took another bite. She stood up suddenly and slammed her fists on the table. She clutched at the tablecloth, and for a moment it seemed that she was ready to pull and smash everything to smithereens.
Instead she sank back into her seat. "You probably don't understand it at all, Ryuuku, but when humans fall in love, it's like multiplication. One plus one equals two, and one plus zero equals one. But one times zero equals zero."
"Yes, zero." She looked at the empty seat across from her and resumed her smile.