January 20, 2015

In Which Falidor Gets His Closure

January 1, 1189

"Ah-ha! There you are!" Falidor's sister spun into their mother's sitting room and kicked the door shut behind her. So much for hoping for some privacy. "You missed the stroke of twelve! I'm sure some girl would have wanted a kiss from you."

Falidor sighed. He'd be seventeen in a month. Perhaps that was still young, but he hadn't intended to kiss just anyone tonight. He'd run out of wild oats early. There was only one girl he wanted to kiss, and she'd made herself scarce throughout the party.

So, he'd done the same. But he wasn't in much of a mood to talk about it. "You know very well I can't kiss you."

"Obviously! But there would have been no need. Poor Severin was a bit out of sorts--the first New Year without his brother--so I indulged him when he asked."

CeeCee sighed. Clearly she would have preferred someone else, and Falidor suspected he knew who. But getting her to mind her own business would be difficult enough if he did mind his. "CeeCee, no offense, but I kind of wanted to be alone."

"Of course you did. That's the only reason you ever come in here."

It was. "Then why did you come in here?"

"To warn you, you ingrate." CeeCee sneered, brow arched, neck craned. Most of Falidor's friends had somehow deluded themselves into thinking that his sister was attractive. If she lived to be ninety but never aged a day, he wouldn't see it. "Xeta and Eilyssa and Meraleene have tired of the party. They plan on coming in here to do some embroidery, and you know they're bound to chat."

"Damn." Not that he had anything against any of them, but there was only one exception he cared to make to his solitude tonight. "Any chance I can sneak back to my room without being bombarded by someone asking about my training or school?"

"Not much of one--but you could use that room back there." She pointed to the only other door in the sitting room. It led to a little spare space, more of an alcove than a room if not for the walls. Not nearly so comfortable as the sitting room, but it would do.

"I guess so. Thanks for the notice." He patted her on the arm, then turned away. A little curt, but... well, no one wanted to spend the beginning hours of the New Year chatting with his sister. "Maybe you still have time to get a kiss from someone more appealing than Severin."

"I still got one more kiss than you did tonight." Not that a kid like Severin could have been much good at it yet. For CeeCee's sake--he guessed--he hoped Farilon grew somewhat bolder by next year.

"Then see if you can beat me this morning too. Happy New Year, CeeCee."

"You too."

By the sounds of the doors in near-tandem, they left the sitting room at about the same time. Only--Falidor didn't exit into an unaccompanied space. And it occurred to him that CeeCee may have been well aware of that.

But given who it was, he could forgive her. "Oh. Sorry, Renata."

"Oh, don't be sorry." Renata pushed herself up, a hint of pink in her tawny cheeks. She wasn't as he usually saw her, in a silken gown instead of a tunic and mail and with her hair long and brushed instead of bound in its hasty tail. Objectively speaking--more than one of his so-called friends had pointed it out--she wasn't the most beautiful girl in the world, with her beakish nose and skinny frame and mouse-colored hair. But frankly, she was the most beautiful girl in his world. And she looked very nice tonight.

But he had to admit: he preferred her when she looked like herself, boyish clothes and wild hair and all.

"If anything, I should apologize to you--and to CeeCee, getting her to trap you in here like that."

"We're not trapped if she lied about Xeta and them." Not that he much minded the thought of being trapped. "I was wondering where you were. I didn't see much of you tonight."

"I'm not one for parties." She picked at the laces of her dress. Somehow, the motion was not unlike an animal trying to struggle loose from a snare. "I'm sort of out of place at these fancy occasions."

"No. It's just that everyone else is out of place in your presence."

Renata's head turned. "Is that a good thing?"

Falidor nodded. "I'd say so, at least."

She smiled. Her two front teeth were a little crooked. Perhaps he was mad, but there was a certain sexiness in their imperfection, and he didn't care if he was mad. "That's reassuring. Um... look, about why I asked CeeCee..."

The pink returned to her cheeks as her eyes fell to the floor. CeeCee knew how Falidor used the sitting room, and she'd figured that he'd want to use it tonight. So she'd had Renata wait in the back room, then pounced on Falidor with the lie about Xeta when she had the chance. Such deviousness wasn't characteristic of Renata, whom he'd come to know as honest and upfront.

Though, she seemed to be having a hard time of it now. Maybe--just this once--she needed a little help. "Did you want a New Years' kiss?"

Wherever the pink had been, she was now red. She wore it well--but he liked her best her usual brown. "I--"

"No, don't be embarrassed--though I ought to be if I'm wrong." He chuckled; her coloring faded back to normal, though her eyes remained alert. "I'm sorry if I made a wrong assumption, but the truth is... well, I've kind of wanted to kiss you since I met you."

She blinked. Was that an answer? "Renata--"

She still said nothing.

But he got his closure nonetheless.

NEXT CHAPTER:

5 comments:

Van said...

I figured it was Wednesday in Europe? XD Thanks for your patience!

Falidor kind of surprised me here. I knew he liked Renata, but I didn't know that he knew he liked Renata.

Winter said...

Welcome back!!

Falidor and CeeCee have an interesting dynamic going on. Falidor seems really grown up in some ways but then as if he still has his "ew, sisters, yucky!" glasses on in others. Pretty funny and realistic at the same time.

Falidor and Renata's dynamic is much more sweet! It's sort of Shakespearean-Sonnet-ish (sorry, English language) the way Falidor sees her imperfections and thinks they're perfect altogether. And it's definitely good that he prefers day-to-day Renata; she looks great here, but it's not her natural state. She hardly needs anyone else wanting her to fit some ladylike standard that isn't for her. Also, they're adorable together. :D

Van said...

Thanks!

Weirdly enough, I think Falidor is closer to CeeCee than any of his other siblings. There's definitely some "Eww, sisters!" going on there, especially when anyone shows any attraction to CeeCee that Falidor notices, but they do care about each other. I'm glad it seems to work.

I'm definitely liking Falidor and Renata together. The thing here is that Falidor sees Renata as a real person, not as some "ideal" that she "should" be.

mimusofbellingar said...

Well, of course Falidor won't find CeeCee attractive! She's his sister! XP

Uhm... And why doesn't he know where the room leads to? Doesn't/didn't he live there?

Van said...

Ah, sorry if that wasn't clear. Falidor did know where the room led, but he didn't know that anyone would be in there. He currently lives at Searle's place, but he did grow up there.

Well, yeah. XD But he's not quite at the point where he can accept the fact that other people might find CeeCee attractive, because his sister is inherently icky and should be universally so.