April 17, 2015

In Which Renata Forgives the Lack of Qualms

May 10, 1191

"Renata!" CeeCee barely gave her a chance to stand up and meet her. Fridays saw CeeCee off to a later class schedule than Renata, Alya, and Lyssa; she claimed not to mind normally, as some extra sleep in the morning gave her more energy for a night at the inn, but today was an exception to that rule. "Happy birthday!"

"Thank you," Renata choked as her friend eased up on the hug. "And don't worry; none of the party guests have shown up yet."

"Don't Lyssa and Alya count as guests?" CeeCee mock-glared at her nieces over Renata's shoulder. "If my memory is correct, neither served the minimum planning time required of a co-host."

"We would have if someone hadn't taken issue with all of our ideas," Alya muttered, not so quietly that she could have thought CeeCee wouldn't hear.

"If you don't want me to take issue with your ideas, you might consider coming up with some that are actually decent."

"And what, pray tell," Lyssa asked, "is so less-than-decent about making it a formal?"

"Why bother with our best clothes when half the guests will end up taking them off anyway?"


"Oh, don't pretend you aren't at least a little envious of them." There was almost a sigh in that sentiment. Renata had to raise a brow at the un-CeeCee-ness of it. "Anyway, Renata: your present is in your room."

Present? "I thought I told everyone not to get me any presents."

"You did, but what sort of best friend would I be if I listened?" CeeCee winked. "You'll like it. I promise."

"I'd better."

With a smirk to her friends and an encouraging wave from Alya in turn, Renata spiraled up the staircase, two steps at a time in some cases. Scorpio House, like the other university residences, housed eight bedrooms on the top floor, essentially two squares with a room at each corner, one bathroom to two bedrooms forming parallels to the front door. The sitting room staircase emerged in the section of hall between the first four bedrooms, those of the three girls downstairs and Dea; Renata hurried along it and turned at the corner, crossing to half currently home to her and her cousin Celina. She fished the key to her room--Room Six--out of her pocket and slipped it into the lock, trying not to think about how few qualms CeeCee seemed to have about picking it.

But at the sight of what lay on the bed, that lack of qualms was instantly forgiven. "Oh my God!"

It took a conscious effort not to tear the fabric as she shed her dress with glee, flinging it to the floor and not much caring if it crumpled. The black shirt was a perfect match to the chausses she already wore, a subtle plaid pattern just visible enough to make it more interesting. The silver tunic slipped over it with a comfortable ease, and the longer red with more of it after. One belt later and she was quite possibly the most pleased she'd ever been with an outfit lacking chainmail.

"Best present ever!"

"What? We were supposed to bring presents after all?"

It was Falidor's voice. Renata grinned. "Your sister broke my rule--but I'll let her get away with it this time."


She smoothed the front of the tunic over and opened the door. "My mother would have a heart attack if she saw this."

"If that's true, then she wouldn't know style if it danced naked in front of her." But Falidor's eyes made no effort to hide his widened horizons. "You're so beautiful."

Not a lot of people told her that. But lately, she'd decided that beauty was not so much a thing that some possessed and some didn't so much as it was a thing some simply failed to see.

"I know."


1 comment:

Van said...

For the record, pretty much every named student is invited to this party.