Skulduggery Pleasant - Tanith's Date

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Tanith Low glanced down at her watch and cursed. She was supposed to have been at the restaurant an hour ago. She’d promised herself she’d be on time for this date, but bad guys seemed determined to divert her from her social schedule. She hurriedly applied another coat of lipstick and wiped the worst of the blood from her dress before heading into the brightly lit street. By the time she’d run to the restaurant (her motorcycle was still being repaired) she was a grand total of 75 minutes late. She hoped that her impatience wasn’t a trait shared by her date. She gave her name to the waiter and was directed to the table where, to her relief, the dark-haired man in the suit sat with a smile as if he hadn’t been waiting at all. Tanith placed her handbag underneath the table and gave him an apologetic smile.

“Sorry I’m so late, I was…” she hesitated. Should she make up some sort of excuse, or should she just tell him the whole crazy story? 

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“So I’ll see you at 8?” he’d asked in his gorgeous Welsh accent. Tanith couldn’t help but smile like a schoolgirl whenever she heard it.

“I’ll be there, I promise.” She’d hung up the phone and smiled to herself again. It’d been so long since she’d been on a real date, and even longer since she’d been on one where the guy hadn’t tried to kill her at some point. Her particular favourite was the one who poisoned her wine but was so drunk that he drank the poisoned one by mistake. Tanith still remembered that whenever she felt down.

She was pulling out all the stops for this one. She’d swapped her biker’s leathers for a tight-fitting black silk dress, and instead of her boots she was wearing a pair of shoes with ridiculously high heels that clicked on the floor whenever she walked. She used to go on the philosophy of “just be yourself”, but after realising that herself was quite intimidating to men, she’d decided to just dress how they wanted her to and leave her personality as a surprise for them. If they were willing to stick with her long enough to unearth it then they could definitely handle it.

Tanith picked up her handbag and plunged her hand into its depths. There were times where the space increasing charm Skulduggery had placed on it seemed like a blessing and a curse. It had definitely felt like a curse last week when she’d leaned in to pick up her phone and disappeared for three hours. But on the other hand it was highly useful when she needed to carry all the essentials with her at once (mobile, purse, sword). Tonight her bag contained only her sword. Some may call it pessimism, but Tanith figured it was always wise to carry a weapon in case of emergencies.

She applied the locking spell to her door and headed off towards the restaurant. It felt nice for Tanith to have nothing to worry about other than whether it would be rude to order a starter. She’d been walking for a good five minutes when she became aware of someone on the other side of the road watching her. She spared him a glance to appraise him. He was a tall, muscular blonde-haired man who looked to be in his mid-twenties. Tanith probably would have found him attractive if she didn’t instinctively know that he’d be arrogant and self-obsessed. Here in London men like him were ten-a-penny. He noticed her looking and waved her over.

“Excuse me, love?” He had a strong Northern accent. Not Tanith’s type at all. But seeing as how she was in such a good mood she decided to see what he wanted anyway.

“You alright, darling?”

“As you can probably tell I’m not from around here. I came down here to visit my cousin, but I can’t find the address he gave me. Do you know where this is?” He handed Tanith a sheet of paper. As soon as she saw that it was blank she could sense the trap coming, so when the fist came flying towards her head she’d already ducked to avoid it. He growled in displeasure and aimed another punch at her ribs that she easily swerved away from. He let out a scream of frustration and pulled something from his pocket. As the moonlight bounced off the surface of it, Tanith could see that it was a tiny dagger. It looked so pitiful that she couldn’t help but let out a giggle. This seemed to infuriate him even more.

“You think my blade’s funny do you? Alright, it’s not the biggest, but I don’t see you with anything better.” Tanith raised an eyebrow and reached into her bag, pulling out her sword. She laughed as his face drooped in disbelief.

“Happy now, sweetheart? Come and have a go, if you think you’re hard enough.” As he charged at her, Tanith cursed at her choice of clothes. If she’d have been wearing her leathers she could’ve just flipped over his head and taken him out with a swift kick before he’d even had chance to turn around. If she tried any acrobatics in this dress she’d end up tearing it to shreds, and she didn’t fancy walking around in her underwear. So instead she spun her sword around and smashed the handle into his nose. It wasn’t pretty, and the blood had splashed back onto her which left a large patch of blood on her dress, but it did the job. He crumpled to the ground and Tanith quickly bundled him into her handbag. She’d deal with him later. Right now she had a date to meet.

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Tanith placed her handbag underneath the table and gave it a quick kick to stop it from stirring.

“Sorry I’m so late, I was stuck in traffic. It’s been crazy today…”

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