"I'm sorry...did you say something?" Dot peered out from under a thorny branch, his nose smudged with dirt.
"Umm," Swifty stuttered. "No. Nothing." She felt her cheeks burning, ashamed. "That is, thank you. Uh, for everything."
Dot stood up, handed Swifty her bag, and brushed his hands together. "No problem," he beamed. "I'm just happy to be of help. And I'm always looking for a chance to try out some of the new charms I've been perfecting. Pretty cool, huh?"
Swifty was grateful for the gathering dusk, ensuring that Dot didn't notice her rolling her eyes in exasperation. "Yeah, that was pretty great," she muttered.
"Did you see when I transformed into that hawk? You might have missed it, what with you falling headfirst into that bush." Swifty gritted her teeth, swallowing her retort. "That old bird never knew what hit him. I would love to hear him, back at the nest, recounting that attack to his bird buddies. I bet his head is still spinning."
"Right, well, thanks again. Umm, I'd better be going..."
"To the Gnarled Log? I was just headed there, too. I'll join you."
"Sure," sighed Swifty.
"Fantastic! I'm meeting Whiz and Flick there. They'll be so bummed they missed all the excitement. I guess we'll just have to fill them in." He winked. "You can demonstrate your fall and I'll wow them with my transformation."Swifty gawked, horrified at the prospect of reliving her humiliation in front of the other fairies. Speechless, she kicked off from the grass and took flight with Dot close on her heels, still yammering.
"They'll be so impressed! I don't know of anyone else from our class who has successfully performed a hawk charm, do you?" Swifty flutter her trembling wings faster, trying to distance herself from Dot, but it was in vain. For the next several minutes, Dot fine-tuned his retelling of his heroic rescue and with each version, he was braver and she was more bumbling.
As the warm lights of the Gnarled Log came into view, Swifty resigned herself to inevitable teasing that would ensue as soon as Dot opened his mouth. "It's going to be a long night," she mumbled, landing on the welcome mat of the cafe. "Let's get this over with."