Charlie has that careful tone she does when I probably haven’t done anything bad yet but I might have done before.
“I made coffee!”
“Yes.” She gets out of the other bed. The motel room is small and smelly, but it does have two begs and a counter with a coffee pot and water and coffee in a container and everything.
“I bound the water into the machine and the coffee into the paper cup so nothing spilled at all,” I say, because I did and I’m pretty proud of me.
She walks over, pours herself coffee. It makes the motel room a lot less smelly. “It’s – definitely coffee. I’m adding some milk, okay?”
I hear coffee being poured down the sink, which probably makes the sink smell nice, too. “You don’t like it, do you?”
“It’s stronger than Starbucks coffee. how much water dud you use?”
“I put some in the pot. That’s where the water goes.”
“And how much coffee in the basket?”
“Some. I didn’t keep track,” I mumble. “Thould I have?”
“There is a scoop,” she says, definitely trying not to laugh.
“But it was really small, so I figured it wath for baby coffee and not adult coffee? Right?”
“Not right. As it turns out. The magician never had you make coffee for him, did he?”
“Honcho didn’t truttht me around things that could explode. Not that I blew up much! And I can bind them back togetgher and fix them anyway. Sort of. Sometimeth.”
Charlie bursts out laughing at that and sits down on the one bed. “Here, kiddo.”
I move over and sit beside her on the bed.
“I see you got a white cane and dark glasses.” Her pause is a lot like Honcho’s. “Do I want to know where?”
“I talked to a fae, and they thaid I should but humans will see me now,” I whisper.
“Jay. You can hide your nature well, but humans will still see a human kid.” Charlie ruffles my hair gently; I try not to jump at it, busy smelling the coffee instead. “They won’t see you, though.”
“Huh? I’m thtill Jay,” I snap.
“Yes, but they’re going to see a blind kid instead.”
“But I’m still named Jay. I’m still me!”
“I know that. Hug?” She wraps one arm around me gently. I relax a little into that. “People are funny, Jay.”
“I know you are.” Her hand raps me lightly on the top of the head. “Nope!”
“Nope to what?”
“I can’t see you hit me, tho you can’t hit me. That’s fairer, right?”
“And that is my point. People are going to see ‘kid-who-can’t-see’ before anything else, Jay.”
“But I wath joking when I said that!”
“So if I was to put my coffee down and suggest a tickle war, you wouldn’t run into the hallway to get help and wave that cane at people?”
“I might not.” I grin, and Charlie laughs and pokes me gently on the nose. This time I feel the binding before she does it, so it isn’t a surprise at all. “Okay. Uhm. Can you teach me how to make coffee?”
“You don’t even drink it.”
“But I’ll make it for you and! I’ll be helping you and that’s important and then I tell you what I might have promithed the fae would be do to help them and if you’re drinking coffee you can only hit me with one hand.”
Charlie is quiet a moment, then just says: “I marvel at your logic,” and heads to the coffee machine. I walk after and wait. “How many cups can this pot hold?”
“Ten. There are numbers bound intothe glass,” I say, definitely proud I picked that out.
“Okay. But you’re going to have to touch glass and things when you do that, feel it as if you can’t see it.”
“But I can thee bindings just fine.”
“Humans can’t. If anyone asks, you just say you were in an accident – because you were – and then distract them from more questions by becoming their friend.”
“Being friendth with someone ith a distraction?”
“It is the way you do,” she says, and then tells me how many grinds go into the other pot and we make a whole pot of coffee coffee. I even drink some, but it tastes a lot worse than it smells and Charlie doesn’t hit me at all when I explain we’ll be helping the fae with problems for money which means I have to make her a lot more coffee everytime I do something bad.