Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Food arrived. He seemed to be eating it, but he barely noticed the taste. It mattered only in that he could use it as an excuse to talk to her. "Do you use a fork with this?" "What's this called again?" "My! That’s good. Thank you so much for suggesting it." And she would respond with little comments, "Why, no, no, it was nothing." Or she would show him the proper way to eat this or that exotic dish. "You see," she would say, reaching out to hold his hand and position it, "you just put your spoon above the center…"
He heard Désiré's soft chuckle somewhere, and knew that she was saying something to the Doctor, but he never recalled what it was they were saying.
After dinner there was more dancing. Then there was dessert and coffee. And then it seemed to have become quite late. "We should be letting this young bishoni be getting to bed," Désiré said. "It has been a long day, and he is still recovering from the revival process."
What? No! he thought, feeling crushed at the idea of leaving her company.
Désiré and the Doctor laughed and for a moment he thought they'd seen his expression and were mocking him. But, then, he looked up and realized they weren't watching him at all. They were looking at Arlanda, whose face wore a look of utter consternation. She doesn’t want me to go, he realized, stunned and amazed.
"But, naturally," the Doctor said, smoothly, "it would only be courteous if one of us walked the young Bishoni back to his room. I wonder—" a smile — "who that ought to be."
"Why, perhaps Arlanda would be kind enough to volunteer," Désiré suggested. "Would you, dear Sirana? Be willing to undertake so hazardous a task?"
The Sirana twitched. She seemed both delighted and terrified. "Of…of course." She looked at him. If, I mean, if you would let me."
He was too shy to answer. He just nodded rapidly and looked at the floor.
"Excellent," Désiré concluded. "Then off you go, you two. No time like the present."
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Face the Music and Dance
Her arms circled him. At her touch, his pulse raced. For a moment, he was afraid she would actually hear it, his heart pounding away like a hammer in his chest.
Yet, she seemed not to notice. In fact, she seemed to see nothing but his face and his form. He would glance up, shyly, to see her staring down at him, a vast amazement in her eyes.
What does she see in me?
The music was sweet and they circled to its beat. She was not a good dancer, but she was trainable. "Tell me what to do," she whispered down at him. He did his best. He'd provide now and then little instructions, and by means of carefully calculated pulls and pushes, he taught her how to lead him.
Gradually, she began to relax and even to experiment with a step or two. He smiled at her new confidence.
The music ended. They stopped reluctantly. She didn't take her hand from his. "Can I…"she began tentatively. "I mean, I suppose we should join the others."
He nodded. "I guess we ought to." But he didn't want to. He wanted to be there with her, on the floor, with his arms around him forever. Still, he let her lead him back to the table. They sat. He knew, distantly, that the Captain, the Doctor, and Désiré were there, but he didn’t actually see them. He had eyes only for Arlanda.