This is a no-brainer...
"I think it's obvious." Nathan couldn't help but grin as he turned towards Alton. "Like you said, you're the father of lies. If anyone is going to be able to tell whether or not she's lying, it's going to be you."
The shopkeeper mirrored his expression, his own grin downright devilish, and he steepled his hands in front of him. "Then this ought to be fun. I haven't been on a date with a human in ages. I best start getting ready."
There was a familiar ringing sound coming from the living room, and Nathan quickly scrambled out of his chair to get his cell phone. He answered without looking at the caller ID, but he had a hunch as to who it was. "Hello?"
"Nathan, where the hell are you? It's eight-forty-five. I'm outside waiting for you..."
"Scott, yeah, I'm not home." The writer looked back into the kitchen, watching the others as they started cleaning up breakfast. "I got stuck in the storm and spent the night at Alton's. You know, Sterling & Son?" There was a momentary pause on the other end, and Nathan quickly elaborated. "Not that kind of sleepover, Scott."
"Whatever floats your boat, Kink. Anyway, we're going to be late for work unless your ass is in gear when I get there. Did you get the story sent in, at least?"
"Yeah, I emailed it last... wait, what did you just call me?" He had been worried about wearing the same clothes from the day before until he caught that nickname. Scott laughed.
"What? Kink? Heh, I had to file your employee info yesterday and notice your initials are K.N.K. -- Kink. Seriously, your first name is Ka...?"
"There's a reason I go by my middle name, Prescott," Nathan interrupted. When Scott snorted in reply, he let himself smirk. "Anyway, I'll be out front in a few. Sorry I didn't warn you or something."
"Nah, it's okay. Warn me next time though. Be there in a few." The call ended and Nathan tucked his phone into his back pocket. He wasn't in the best shape for work, but his clothes weren't too wrinkled, and it wasn't like he would be doing much outside of sitting at a desk typing and working on some minor layouts. At least he was well rested.
"Hey, Alton?" he called to him as he rejoined everyone in the kitchen. "Got some deodorant I can borrow? I need to be getting off to work, and I don't know when Scott's going to get here."
"I'll do you one better." The angel snapped his fingers, and Nathan was suddenly in another pair of clothes entirely and felt strangely clean. "There you go."
The writer frowned. "That wasn't really necessary, and I don't like feeling like I owe you now. No offense, but I don't want to be in your debt."
Alton chuckled. "Don't worry about it, Nathan. I'm allowed to do things on my own without a bargain, you know."
Still, Nathan shook his head. There wasn't much he could do about it, and it wasn't worth debating, especially when Scott would be there to pick him up in a few minutes.
"Sounds like my brother has given you one of his infamous nicknames," Enya noted with a laugh. "Dare I ask what?"
"My initials," Nathan admitted, examining what Alton had put him in: dark denim jeans and a deep green sweater with a light green and gray diamond pattern. He wasn't going to ask. "K.N.K., ergo Kink." He rolled his eyes. "I assume he does this to everyone?"
"Oh yes." Enya laughed again, shaking her head. "At least everyone he considers himself decently acquainted with. I'm lucky: he just calls me En, but then again, most people shorten my name that way."
"I worry for the day he gives me a nickname," Alton mused, then sighed. "I'm afraid I didn't leave the best impression on Scott on Halloween, and whatever he decides to call me will likely be crude and derogatory."
Enya cocked an eyebrow at him and gave him a sympathetic frown. "Shit, you met him without me? I'm sorry. I'm guessing he..."
"Reacted badly when I kissed Micah? Yes."
"About that." Nathan stopped contemplating his clothes and looked over at him. "I don't want to pry, but I'm curious: are all angels homosexual? I mean, doesn't the Bible sort of condemn that?"
Gabriel -- who had just helped himself to another stack of pancakes -- began to giggle. "Does the Bible condemn it? Ha! Which Bible? Humans have so many translations, scarcely any of the original meaning of those documents remains!"
"Depending on the version," Alton explained further. "The wording is either explicitly clear or entirely vague, but regardless, it isn't like we have much of a choice in the matter." He crossed his arms. "Angels only come in one gender; it's impossible for us to have anything other than such a relationship, except for none at all. It's bad enough that we're mostly denied our free will without being denied the chance to fall in love as well, don't you think?"
A car horn outside signaled Scott's arrival, and Nathan gave them all a sheepish shrug. "Guess it makes sense. I've got to get to work. Later?"
Alton smiled thinly, but nodded. "Yes, later."
Scott had just dropped him off at his apartment after work when his cell phone rang again. It was almost five-thirty and he was starving, so he answered the call while he hurried up the stairs to his apartment. "Hello?"
"Hey, Nathan. It's me, Enya."
"Hey, what's up?" He paused with his key in the lock. "Wait, how did you get my number?"
"Alton gave it to me. Anyway, you remember that date he's going on with Gloria? To see if she's lying and stuff?"
"Yeah?" He let himself into the apartment, promptly striding towards the kitchen. He had to have enough in his fridge to whip up something to eat. The pause on the other end of the line was oddly long.
"I... sort of told Gloria it was a double date."
It took a moment for Nathan to register what she was saying and he almost dropped the phone when he did. "Wait, what?"
"I'm sorry!" she said quickly. "It was the first thing I thought of when I called her that made it less weird that I was setting her up on a blind date. She asked who I was going with, and I just told her a friend. I mean, we were going to try watching at a distance anyway, but I know it's really awkward for you with the way I look like... you know..."
Nathan was too startled to respond. He'd had his hand on the handle of the refrigerator, but now he let it fall back to his side. He sank slowly to the floor, leaning against the cabinets, not sure what to say.
"Look, I can fix this," Enya said on the other end, her voice shaking. "I don't want you to freak out or be upset or anything. If it's too much, I'll just ask what's-his-name, Gabriel..."
She wants me to go on a date with her. I... I know it's technically not a real date, but... Marni...
Maybe I should just let Gabriel go instead. I don't know if I can...
This is part of my test, isn't it? I need to be there to back Alton up, if anything... but can I really go there with Enya? When she looks so much like Marni?
What should I do?