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."