Désiré led him to a table in the corner. At it already were Dr. Elena and two other Dominas, sitting tensely and watching them approach. "Good evening, everyone," Désiré said, in his melodious voice. "Let me perform introductions."
The two unfamiliar women stood quickly. "This is Bobbi," Désiré said to them, smiling, and watching their eyes as they stared at the boy. "You know he's just awakened after the long nap."
Bobbi found himself blushing and looking shyly at his own feet. Instinctively, though, he remembered to curtsy.
"Look up, dear," Désiré whispered to him. Then, in a louder voice, "You know Dr. Elena already. But these two —" he smiled—"are new to you. This," he indicated the enormous woman on the left, "is Captain Morgana. She's a very dear friend of mine. So—" a mischievous look crossed his face—"hands off."
The tall woman, the Captain, laughed and leaned over to extend a hand to Bobbi. "We're not that exclusive."
"That," Désiré replied, still smiling, "is not what you said last night."
"Um, yes," the Captain stammered out, and this time it was her turn to blush.
Bobbi found himself giving his hand to the giantess. He felt his fingers enfolded within her enormous grip. It was an odd feeling, yet comfortable. She let him go.
"And this," Désiré went on, indicating the one on the right, "is Sirana Arlanda."
Sirana? Bobbi remembered. The title meant she was a Knight of the Republic. She wasn't quite as tall as the Captain, but still she was very tall. He was tiny compared to her. She was beautiful, of course, with the hard-edged beauty of someone who is used to being in charge.
He risked a glance at her face…and got a shock. Her features were chiseled and majestic, like those of a heroic Greek goddess.
But her eyes!
She was gazing at him with longing, shyness, and even a vast vulnerability. What on Earth was going on?
"I…I am so glad to meet you," she said, clearly off-balance. "I …that is…you are very beautiful."
The Captain laughed heartily. "Now that's a novel way to begin a conversation! How are you? How do you do? You're beautiful."
The Knight gave her a steely glance. "Well, he is."
"No argument from me on that."