"I think they're over there," Dot shouted from behind, pointing to a table on the far side of the circular room. Swifty forced a smile to her face, wishing with all her might that he would meet up with his own friends and leave her be. Scanning the room, she finally spied the tips of Pip's turquoise wings and her friend's blonde ponytail bobbing as she animatedly talked to one of her table mates.
"Thanks," Swifty mumbled over her should and then ducked into the crowd, tucking her wings tightly around her as she wove between the overcrowded tables. Swifty barely missed colliding with an exasperated server as he darted through the crowd with his overladen tray.
"Watch it, Miss," he grumped, swiveling to the left and deftly catching a bread roll before it hit the floor. He scowled at her before thumping the tray on the nearest table and passing out the plates with a clatter.
Apologizing, Swifty navigated the final few feet to the table and plopped into one of the last available chairs. "You made it," Pip squeaked. "I was beginning to worry, what with it getting dark earlier and also the trouble you had last week..."Swifty rolled her eyes and reached for the basketful of bread in the middle of the table, slathering honey-butter over it before popping a bite into her mouth. Pip continued, "All I could think about was you tangled up in another nasty spider's web, sticky and stuck." Grimacing at the memory, Swifty stuffed another hunk of bread into her mouth and continued chewing. "So, as soon as Dot walked in the door, I sent him back out to find you."
"And I did," Dot said proudly as he slipped into the seat next to Swifty. "As promised!"
The bread turned to glue in Swifty's throat. Pip had sent Dot to rescue her? Not even her best friend had any confidence in her? What kind of fairy was she that she couldn't take care of herself? Swifty swallowed hard, the hunk of bread lodged in her throat. Wide-eyed, she clutched her throat, unable to breathe. Pip clamped her hands over her mouth, terrified.
In a flash, Dot sprang from his chair, wrapped his arms around Swifty and gave her a rough squeeze, freeing the lump of bread. Swifty coughed, eyes watering, cheeks burning. "Are you okay?" Pip cried, grasping Swifty's trembling hands.
"She'll be just fine," Dot remarked, settling back into his chair and crossing his legs. "I'm just glad I was here. And that I finished my Emergency Fairy Certification training yesterday. You've had quite a night, Swifty. I don't think I had better let you out of my sight." He grinned as he helped himself to the remaining piece of bread on Swifty's plate. "Did she tell you about the hawk tonight?" Swifty buried her head in her hands and groaned as Dot launched into his story, losing both her appetite and what was left of her confidence.