Author Topic: An Optimistic Joy  (Read 102 times)

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An Optimistic Joy
« on: August 09, 2019, 08:03:28 AM »
Reserved for CK

He had gone home from An Tsi with an optimistic joy written deeply into his mood and his brain replaying his favorite parts of the night spent with Malakai. He texted the vampire to let him know he was home safe - as was their habit - and their conversation continued lightly throughout the evening, little pockets of flirtation appearing casually and easily. When he tucked himself into his bed early that morning, watching the deepening night sky out his bedroom window, he pulled the covers up over his shoulders, smiled and pressed a blush into his pillow and fell into a normal sleep.

The rest of the week had dragged by without much ado - although there was that outrageous sex toy bingo upstairs at the Rabbit one night (he had managed to catch the tail end of it before his shift, watching a bright red college aged girl walk out with an 18-inch dildo fatter than her wrist). On Thursday he and Tommy stopped by for a drink or two at the downstairs bar to watch To Ashes play, his chest aflutter with watching Malakai sing. He left without saying anything to the lead singer, thankful that no one in the band had noticed either of them at the bar, though LJ did a bit of playful teasing before buying him and Tommy a shot.

On Saturday, he and Freddy had almost gotten into an argument again when Freddy told him that he'd be barbacking instead of running shots, essentially stripping Quinn of the ability to double his tips. Quinn had walked away with the intention of talking to LJ, but decided that it was just one of Freddy's petty ways of getting under his skin after the whole Jerry situation. Coincidentally, he saw the two of them leave the bar together that night with a hot flare of anger. Two years down the fucking drain. Usually he dwelled on such things and took them to heart, but this time he was able to take it with a bit more stride, thinking instead of his upcoming date with Malakai.

When the day arrived for his first actual date with Mal, Quinn once again found himself lacking a proper amount of things to keep him distracted from himself. He went to the gym early in the morning for a little more than an hour before running some errands around town - grocery shopping for Mrs. Henderson, himself, paying a monthly bill of one of his store credit cards, and picking up his library books from Tommy's place. By the time he returned to his apartment, it was barely noon, still several hours before he needed to be ready for Malakai to pick him up. He sat down on the sagging couch for a couple hours of reading one of the library books, this one a story about a love affair with a woman where the narrator's gender was never given. He finished the story and made himself something to eat.

Self-doubt tried to creep in around mid-afternoon. It almost succeeded until Quinn had the wisdom to pack his favorite bowl with some Malibu Pie and chill the fuck out. As smoke filled his lungs and his demons leveled out, he got up and showered, once again refusing the opportunity to give himself a quick tug - stupid vampires and their impossible sense of smell, he thought to himself, knowing well enough that he must have been in Mal's presence smelling fresh of sex before considering who Jerry was - and a shave anywhere else but his face. After all, he was determined to be good and go home alone tonight.

In a very smart, but uncharacteristic move, Quinn had selected his clothes the night before, knowing that he was going to face a ridiculous amount of indecision as soon as he stepped out of the shower. After throwing on a pair of black stretch boxer-briefs from Calvin Klein - with a yellow band, of course - he stepped into a slim fitted pair of navy blue jeans. Past-Quinn had chosen a soft, thin, forest green V-neck that he no longer had confidence in, so Quinn tugged down a light gray scoop neck tee from the closet instead and topped it with a light-weight charcoal denim shirt that he kept open. He added a long necklace and forest green suede derby sneakers to finish off the look. In the mirror, he moved his hair around on the top of his head, trying to calm the drying strands that disobeyed any sense of gravity with some pomade. If Mal hadn't been some kind of damn fashion designer, Quinn would have probably felt more secure about his clothing decision. After looking in the mirror and criticizing himself for several minutes, he left the bathroom to polish off the rest of the blunt.

He was outside waiting for Malakai with a racing heart and irritating butterflies in his stomach easily ten minutes before their selected time. Quinn smoked two cigarettes as he waited, blowing the last bit of smoke from his second cig just as Malakai pulled up to the curb.
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart.

The Hermit (Damien)The Devil (Nikolai) | Justice (Pierre) | Temperance (Quinn) | The Empress (Zoheret) | The Star (Levinia) | Death (Monet)

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: An Optimistic Joy
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2019, 08:45:48 AM »
Mal spent the entire drive home after his Date/Not Date at An Tsi with Quinn on a euphoric high.  He couldn’t remember much of the drive, thoughts swirling around the evening filled with laughing and talking, and by the time he was home his fingers were itching to send texts to further bother the human.  It was nearly impossible to resist until the pull of the sun added to the happy cocktail of emotional exhaustion and Malakai fell soundly asleep sprawled across the bed.

It wasn’t until the next evening that the weight of what had transpired between them hit full force.  At first, there was deep regret--he didn’t want to move too fast, take advantage of Quinn in a vulnerable state yadda yadda.  The excitement about next Tuesday’s date evaporated that worry like sunlight hitting the morning dew.  That night--being Thursday--he’d prepared for the show at the Rabbit like he would any other Thursday, but with a pep that didn’t go unnoticed (or uncommented on).  He didn’t let on to anyone what his plans were, even though Jerry was nagging off and on until he lost interest.  Friday was much the same, the initial excitement tapering off a tad because of the passing of time and things that he still needed to do over the weekend.  Saturday and Sunday were dedicated exclusively to finishing up some of the clothing he had been commissioned to make, due to ship out on Monday, so he’d slept minimally to finish them.

Tuesday afternoon he woke before sunset, flitting around his apartment, playing with the cat, and trying to decide what to wear.  Ordinarily, he was confident with his decisions, and it wasn’t like it was the first time he was seeing Quinn, but for some reason, he was struggling.  Better to just pick and not overthink it.  Dark jeans, dull green button-up, brown boot and belt.  Simple.  It wasn’t like they were going out to dinner somewhere fancy.  After second-guessing himself about a hundred times and fussing with his hair for longer than he would’ve preferred, Mal was out the door and in his car.

The black Tesla Model S was in impeccable condition, shiny and clean but without the overt bougie-looks of other luxury cars.  His mind was blank while he drove, and deliberately so.  The nerves were undeniable and it was all he could do to keep them at bay.  He’d been listening to a mix of Lizzo, various alternative 90s hits, and Powerman 5000 by the time he pulled up beside Quinn’s place.  Panic briefly gripped him as he slid the car into park--should he get out and hug him?  Open the door?  Or should he just unlock the car, roll down the window and warmly greet him?  He hesitated and started to roll down the window but Quinn reached the car door first and opened it.

“Hey,” he said breathlessly, excitement and nervousness written on his face.

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Re: An Optimistic Joy
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2019, 01:26:38 AM »
"Hi," Quinn said with a smile as he stepped into the car and closed the door. For a moment he contemplated whether it was more appropriate to lean across the center console for a hug or just leave it for later or something. Indecision ate him until the moment passed and became stale. He could feel the blood moving towards his cheeks but his mouth didn't move to offer any assistance - God, why was he so awkward around Mal? His smile widened and his ears tinged pink as the internal scramble for something to distract from the moment took over.

"H-How- How are you?" Way to go, genius. "How was your week?"
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart.

The Hermit (Damien)The Devil (Nikolai) | Justice (Pierre) | Temperance (Quinn) | The Empress (Zoheret) | The Star (Levinia) | Death (Monet)

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: An Optimistic Joy
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2019, 06:14:09 AM »
Malakai returned the smile and waited until the human was safely buckled in before turning his attention to the road and continuing on to their date destination. 

Actual date.  He smirked.

Somehow he didn't miss the stutter, the blush, and overall nerves that mirrored his own.  An Tsi had been much easier by comparison, and Mal was beginning to regret deciding he'd pick Quinn up.  The closed quarters of a car did nothing for easing the awkward tension between them.  They'd probably thaw out given enough time.  Part of him wanted to draw attention to it as a way of lightening its load, but he didn't want to embarrass Quinn. 

"I'm good, my week was...good.  Busy."  He glanced at Quinn, "How was yours?"  Great conversationalist, just asking the same question back.  Yeah right.  Mal glanced at the GPS on the screen in front of them and turned onto a busier street. 

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Re: An Optimistic Joy
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2019, 06:03:47 AM »
"Good," Quinn decided impulsively, realizing his mistake as it came out of his mouth. He could have slapped himself. "Kinda uneventful for the most part, actually." He watched the night move by outside as Mal drove, trying to think of things to say and wishing he had brought some weed with him so he could stop feeling so fluttery.

A few moments of passed without words between them, his attention drawn to the music in the background as some 90's grunge song - probably Nirvana - finished whining on the stereo. The next song picked up and Quinn could recognize it vaguely by the upbeat, slightly melancholy acoustic strumming, though he couldn't place the name or content of the song to save his life. It felt nostalgic and brought back feelings of a summer spent with friends at the beach in Onset, Massachusetts. It was so very specific and abruptly important that he lost himself for a brief moment in trying to figure out the song. He craned his neck and scrunched his face, staring at the GPS navigation screen as if it would help him remember what the song was.


"Oh my God," Quinn drawled as he finally connected the memory with the song. "You would have this song on your playlist." He rolled his eyes and guffawed, enjoying the smirk that came over the vampire's face. "I haven't heard this song in years." Quinn relaxed and turned the radio knob higher for the duration of the song as they both mouthed along to the words of the song as poorly as they could manage.

Suddenly the conversation came naturally, freely. The ride to the Carnival was filled with laughter and a healthy dose of embarrassment over the songs that filled the summertimes of Quinn's adolescence. They chatted lightly, excitedly about what it was like for Mal when the songs aired for the first time, the reception of them by the public and which songs he had covered in the past. He enjoyed hearing about these things from Mal, watching him occasionally strum a lick or drum a quick beat with his fingers on the steering wheel as hit songs by Cake, Smash Mouth, Soundgarden, and others came and went. In turn, Mal laughed heartily at his stories of watching music videos on MTV - back when they actually played music - at friends house and attempted dances on roller skates that left a ten-year-old Quinn with pulled muscles and a bruised tailbone.

They pulled up to the Carnival parking lot, their travels slowed dramatically now that it neared the time of a show. There was a cop directing traffic lazily to and from the Carnival grounds, and teenage flaggers in fluorescent orange vests dictating each car into a parking space to prevent simple-minded confusion. Once they parked, Quinn stepped out onto the cement grinning, looking around over all of the cars towards the enormous tent that was their destination. There were dozens of other people milling around, guiding children by the hands or strapping them into strollers with shrieks of excited dismay. The air was thick with the scent of fried foods and buttery sweets that pulled at his nose and made his mouth water. Fuck, he was hungry, and forgot to eat before he left his apartment.

"Oh man, I am so damn excited for this," he thought out loud as soon as he circled the front of the Tesla and rejoined Mal, strolling with him towards the gates.
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart.

The Hermit (Damien)The Devil (Nikolai) | Justice (Pierre) | Temperance (Quinn) | The Empress (Zoheret) | The Star (Levinia) | Death (Monet)

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: An Optimistic Joy
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2019, 06:34:45 AM »
"Me too."  Face filled with that pesky tingling sensation, Mal gently closed and locked the car door. 

"Oh--also," he moved a bit quickly to get in front of Quinn, "Hi!"  It didn't feel right to get on with the night without greeting him properly, and he pulled the human in for a warm hug.  Mal inhaled and exhaled slowly (though not in a terribly obvious way) savoring the scents that he'd come to associate with the human.  The car ride left him snug in it--smoke, soap, laundry, and hair product hanging around the unique characteristic scent of Quinn's warm blood rushing to the surface of his cheeks.  It was comforting in its familiarity.  Was it weird to remember the way he smelled? 

Probably weirder to dwell on it when they were apart.
Whoops.

It was hard to but he didn't want to make anything weird or come off as too eager or something.  He missed the warmth as soon as he did, more than he missed the direct line to the human's scent without anything in the way.  The carnival overtook everything in the distance between them with its scent of fried foods and the musk of circus animals.  He was mildly surprised at the number of people swarming the gates, given the ramshackle vibe the place gave off.

Despite all the distraction, Malakai's eyes were continually pulled to the same single thing.

"What's your favorite carnival food?"  He peered innocently at Quinn as they slipped past the gates. 

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Re: An Optimistic Joy
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2019, 08:44:04 AM »
Quinn blinked and the vampire was in front of him with open arms reaching. "Hi?" He chuckled with confusion, forgetting all about their typical greeting hug. As Mal embraced him, Quinn followed through with it as if it were the most natural habit in the world. His heart was pounding and his face flushed so hard that his ears went a little fuzzy - or maybe that was because he wasn't breathing? He inhaled and melted in the comforting scent of Mal's clothing and skin, enjoying the firmness of his chest and arms around him. His body offered very little warmth to the human but that usual passion and friendship made Quinn not miss it. When they released, there was a quick pull of regret before another bashful flush overtook his face.

They walked side by side and he could feel Mal's eyes on him, lingering as the human looked at the cracked pavement, his hands in his pockets to prevent him from reaching out for his date's. He was pondering the act, wondering what it would feel like to weave their fingers together and walk like that when Malakai posed his question and pulled him from reverie.

"Pfft. You can't just ask someone what their favorite carnival food is," Quinn pointed out humorously, his face contorted in exaggerated judgement, effectively hiding the physical result of his thoughts. "That's up there with asking a mother to pick her favorite child." He smirked at him and looked around at the flashing lights and brightly colored tents with enormous stuffed prizes and flashy vendors.

"Dough boys," Quinn answered finally, the smile settling on his face. And then, realizing his very New England mistake, he corrected himself. "Uh... fried dough. With enough powdered sugar on top that you inhale it until you choke, blow it everywhere and end up looking like a bad coke dealer."
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart.

The Hermit (Damien)The Devil (Nikolai) | Justice (Pierre) | Temperance (Quinn) | The Empress (Zoheret) | The Star (Levinia) | Death (Monet)

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: An Optimistic Joy
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2019, 09:23:35 AM »
"Fair," he nodded, supposing that with such an extravagant spread of delightful food offerings (for humans anyway), it was an unfair question to ask. 

Mal let out a hearty laugh at the powdered sugar joke.

"I've never had one," he admitted thoughtfully, checking the time on his cellphone before slipping it back into his pocket.  "Or many of these other things," lofting his eyes, Mal scanned the booths and tents, darting from one bright color to the next.  "That fluffy stuff on a stick is one of my favorites."  Cotton candy, candy floss, something like that.  Stopping in front of a row of food vendors, he stuck his hands in his pockets and stared steadily at his date.

"Wanna split some stuff with me?"  It was really just a ploy to get Quinn to accept some food, and the twinkle in his eye gave that away enough on its own.  He really did want to taste stuff, even though he had to throw it up.  Flavors were so strange now, but some were better than others--and textures were sometimes entertaining in and of themselves. 

Of course, nothing was as good as blood.

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Re: An Optimistic Joy
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2019, 10:25:52 AM »
"Oh man! Really? Okay, so we're fixing that tonight." He loved fair food and the idea of presenting Mal with something that he hadn't had before that Quinn had... Well, that made him positively giddy. Ideas of what to eat were already forming in his mind's eye and he wondered what Mal would like most. At his mention of cotton candy, Quinn nodded with a grunt of approval. "Good, mine too!" This was going to be amazing.

He gave the vampire a suspicious, scrutinizing look before he caved in, knowing exactly what game he was playing at by asking if he wanted to split some food. If he was going to try some, Quinn knew he was going to try to pay for it all as well. Unless Quinn had something to say about that. There was plenty of cash in Quinn's pocket, of course. His goal for the night was to pay for at least two things, knowing that the vampire would be faster and more prepared than him. The least he could do was get this joker some damn cotton candy, right?

"Alright," he agreed with a bit of mischief and side eye, prepared to go to battle with him. Quinn glanced at his watch and then at the dwindling line out front of the big tent. They had about ten minutes before the show and an (almost) endless supply of carnival food in front of them. His stomach grumbled at him and he looked around at the stalls. Sausage and pepper sandwiches, chicken tenders and fry baskets, fried pickles, broccoli, and all manner of vegetables, clam cakes and chowder, candy apples dipped in chocolate, candied nuts...

"Okay. So the first thing we need is a corndog," he determined, walking in the direction of the stall as his excitement built. "It's essentially a hot dog on a stick, breaded in corn flour breading. Or something. Whatever, classic fair food. Do you want one for yourself or do you wanna share mine?" They stood in front of the stand, a little wooden shack with a bright fluorescent light on inside and a pudgy, grandma-type woman with a bright green visor serving a couple three corn dogs with ketchup on them. He and Mal were next in line.
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart.

The Hermit (Damien)The Devil (Nikolai) | Justice (Pierre) | Temperance (Quinn) | The Empress (Zoheret) | The Star (Levinia) | Death (Monet)

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: An Optimistic Joy
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2019, 06:39:21 AM »
Mal made it look like he was thinking it over.  "Hmm."  His eyes were pulled to the couple in front of them fussing over grabbing some napkins.  With a hand in his pocket, he separated a bill from his money clip as subtly as he could manage, knowing how much it was due to the particular way he stacked his money.  "Did you eat dinner yet?"  He glanced back to the human as he answered, expression deadpan. 

As soon as the couple shuffled out of the way, Mal pulled the cash from his pocket. Playfully (and gently!) hip-checking the human out of the way, he blocked Quinn's access to the counter and held a five out to the elderly woman.  "Two corndogs, please."  His mischevious smile granted him a strange look from the woman as she took the cash and went to gather the food.  Malakai leaned casually against the food stand, looking rather pleased with himself but avoiding eye contact with Quinn.

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Re: An Optimistic Joy
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2019, 08:33:08 AM »
Quinn scowled as he was called out. He sighed openly. "No, not really but -- hey! Mal!" Their hips connected with just enough force to knock Quinn off balance and the human stumbed, catching himself a few feet away from where Mal stood ordering food for them both - and paying! "Mal, what the hell?" Quinn laughed and ducked back to his side angrily as the woman in the food shack took the money from the vampire.

"You suck, you know that?" He stood glaring at the vampire who was avoiding his gaze and smiling cutely until the corndogs were ready a couple minutes later. This time Quinn was faster and he was at the counter before his date, grabbing the food from gloved hands. He offered his thanks and then found his way to Mal, handing over a corndog and making his way to the condiments table, dodging a big-eyed toddler in his path.

"Ok. So," he settled at one edge of tiny table stacked with napkin dispensers, three kinds of sauce in enormous pump containers, white plastic forks and spoons, and packets of salt and pepper. There was hardly any room on the table for his food, but Quinn made do. "I highly suggest mustard, but ketchup is good too." He held the corner of his corndog basket - a flimsy white cardboard dressed in a square of gingham tissue paper - under the spout of the mustard and pressed the pump to dispense it in a smooth, thin stream. Once he had enough, he stepped out of the way and watched to see if Mal would follow suit or try to eat it plain.

Thoroughly out of the way of any toddlers, soccer moms, or ravenous teenagers, Quinn picked up his corn dog and took a bite. It was hotter and greasier than he was expecting and he sucked in air quickly as he dropped what his teeth didn't have already back into the basket. He laughed at it, bobbling the bit of corndog around in his mouth as he tried not to burn the tip of his tongue, figuring he looked like a moron. He covered his mouth with the back of his free hand and looked to Mal for his reaction to the corndog.
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart.

The Hermit (Damien)The Devil (Nikolai) | Justice (Pierre) | Temperance (Quinn) | The Empress (Zoheret) | The Star (Levinia) | Death (Monet)

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: An Optimistic Joy
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2019, 11:13:47 AM »
He watched Quinn intently as he took the food over to the table.  After looking over his options of condiments, he decided against adding anything.  They smelled sharp and sour, and he suspected that it would take over the other flavors entirely.

Malakai laughed openly at Quinn's reaction to the corndog's temperature.  It was all just so damn cute.  Tentatively he peered at his own and sniffed, feeling no sort of draw to put it in his mouth beyond curiosity.  Tentatively he bit off the tip awkwardly, taking a few bites with an open mouth before closing it.  The taste of the coating was reminiscent of sweet dirt, sticking to the roof of his mouth and the backs of his teeth.  The actual meat part had a preferable texture that was fun to chew, tasted marginaly better, and didn't stick to the teeth. 

"Salty," his words came out slightly garbled from the mouthful, which only made him laugh.  This thing was dry--maybe mustard would've been a better choice.  He swallowed with a grimace and handed the unfinished corndog to Quinn.  The line at the tent pulled his attention.  He had no idea how popular this sort of show was, and worry filtered into his expression. "Wanna go find a good seat before they're all taken?"  Unsure, he turned back to Quinn,  "Or did you want to go find some other food first?"

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Re: An Optimistic Joy
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2019, 11:07:06 AM »
Watching a vampire eat human food was probably one of his favorite things; like watching a dog try some human food for the first time. Mal had always been a willing participant at parties, taking whatever was offered to him and Quinn always loved to watch as Mal ate something. Open mouth and a flash of teeth that were very clearly supposed to be buried in flesh, not hot dogs, and a beautiful face that contorted in confusion and disgust at the flavor and texture of the worst meat known to man. There was no way he could suppress that laugh. He tried to imagine what it would be like to not have an interest in food, extrapolating the flavors of the corn dog to the extreme. Vampires had acute senses - maybe the flavors of human food were just too strong for them? But that theory didn't explain why blood wasn't an overwhelming flavor - even Quinn thought that blood had a strong taste.

He took the other corn dog from Mal, only slightly disappointed that he didn't like it enough to eat it - though he wondered if that was Mal's plan the entire time, to make sure that he had enough food - and put a squirt of mustard on it before transferring one dog into the other basket. With two corn dogs in one gingham cardboard basket, he tossed the other, empty bit of cardboard into the trash can nearby and pocketed his napkins as Mal spoke.

"Mmm-mm," Quinn muttered through closed lips as he chewed a new bite, cooler now that he had gotten the steaming meat exposed to the night air. He swallowed his bite and clarified what he meant. "Let's get in there now before they're all gone. I'm double-fisting now. I'll be fine." With that he took another, larger bite, eyes rolling towards the back of his head with his enjoyment of the fried food.
Oh my tongue's the only muscle on my body that works harder than my heart.

The Hermit (Damien)The Devil (Nikolai) | Justice (Pierre) | Temperance (Quinn) | The Empress (Zoheret) | The Star (Levinia) | Death (Monet)

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: An Optimistic Joy
« Reply #13 on: Today at 02:10:21 AM »
Vicariously living through the visible pleasure written on Quinn's face, Mal smiled warmly.  "Okay." 

He scanned the area for the ticket booth, a hand stuck in his pocket fiddling with the money clip again.  Subtly he glanced at Quinn, noting that the human wouldn't be able to retrieve payment quickly with food in his hands.  Mal repressed a mischevious smile but had to look away to avoid arousing suspicion.  This little game of fighting over who gets to pay for things gave him a little thrill, and he was determined to make sure that the human didn't have to spend a dime. 

Money was nothing to Malakai, and besides that he liked gifting things to Quinn.  Whether that be food or an experience, it didn't matter.  That wasn't to say he didn't understand why the human put up a little fight about it.  Maybe eventually Quinn would be able to just accept the treatment without guilt or whatever. 

He led them to the ticket booth and slid the money for two tickets across the counter.  He kept playfully-stern eye contact with the human as if wordlessly trying to convey that Quinn didn't have a choice in the matter.  After thanking the ticket clerk, Mal led the human to the entrance of the tent. 

A hum of voices grew in volume as they approached the tent, the occasional peal of laughter ringing out above the crowd.  The itch to hold Quinn's hand was relentless as they walked side-by-side.  If it wasn't for the fact that he was still eating, Mal might've tried.  The thought of feeling warmth between his fingers drummed up the tingling sensation in his face again and leaked out in his smile.  A glance at Quinn as he handed the tickets over to the usher at the entrance only intensified the sensation. 

Mal cleared his throat.  "Where do you want to sit?"  The tent was about two-thirds full now, free seats standing out in the middle of full rows.  Most in the front were taken, as well as the elevated seats in the back.