I finally managed to fight free of the clutch of writers to find that Mil was next to me. “Former opponent!” was his greeting, with a big smile. I had to giggle. I felt like I was drunk and I had only had one cup of kaf a bead ago on top of a pastry.
“A weird campaign,” was all I managed to say. “With flora and fauna abounding.”
“If you count Kallen as intelligent as flora and fauna being equine… yes. Serin Aan…”
“Minis…” I interrupted him. “Please.”
He blinked. “Minis then, thank you. Will you come to my ‘It was a good run… thank you all party this night?”
“Of… of course. Thank you!”
He threw his arms out wide. “Wonderful! It will be the hundred year party that everyone will be talking about! Imperator, Imperator Regent Elect, and Imperator Elect as guests, all at the same time!”
I looked around for Chevenga and Kallijas but they had vanished already, perhaps to continue that kiss and to get ready for a party. Mil offered me his comb, teeth side, grinning. I clicked combs with him back. “I must be off then for last minute details… I trust I’ll see you later, Imperator Elect!”
“Just MINIS,” I started to say until I saw he was teasing. “Of course.”
Gannara caught me from behind, his arms around mine, lifted me up, laughing, and whirled me around into Farasha’s grip. She was almost as strong as he was and did the same but whirled me around to face Ky, and let me go. I staggered one step and we were almost nose to nose. We stood there for a very long moment and I knew… I just knew I was blushing. I looked into her face, into her eyes and I knew I should say something… but… I … my tongue locked up.
The longer we stood, staring into each other’s eyes, not touching, hardly breathing, the tension built and built. She was smiling and it just got wider and wider… I didn’t know what to say, what to do… Especially not with my mother and grandfather standing just on the edges of my sight.
And Socks lunged out of her sleeve yipping, to scramble into my arms. We stumbled backwards from each other, the dog doing its best to lick every inch of my face he could reach, she was laughing I was so stunned I couldn’t laugh. Why do Ailadas, Grandfather and Sera Eren all have the same look on their faces? And why is my mother actually smiling like that?
“I… um… I… Serina… Kyriala would you care to accompany me to Mil Tori Itzan’s party later on this evening?”
“Oh…” She cast her eyes down and I could hardly see the rest of her face with the blasted fan and the dog in the way. I clamped a hand on the silly thing's head before he licked my face off and he started gnawing on the edge of one of my gloves. Would I be able to dispense with them again? I hate them. “I should love to, Serin. Will I be able to array myself in a party frock before we go?”
I looked down at the elaborate red and silver rose creation she was wearing and wondered out loud “.. what’s wrong with that one?” I heard a muffled snigger and was certain it was Fara but it could have been Gan too.
“Silly, this is what I’ve been wearing all day as your campaign manager. Not something to wear to a celebration of your win!”
I shrugged… almost like a Yeoli. “I shall fetch the Serina in a bead…” Ailadas cleared his throat and gave me a look. “…and two tenths.”
“Lovely.” I couldn’t quit looking at her as I gave her the wiggling dog back.
She left then and I turned to Gannara… “That’s weird. It’s mostly cats that like me.” And he started howling with laughter and couldn’t explain. Grandfather, of all people, was allowing himself a pipe of arkanherb and offered it to me. Farasha had one. So did Gan.
I pulled a lungful of sweet smoke into my lungs and held it, finally letting it out through my nose like a dragon. Ili was pulling on my one hand. “Hey, Min, there’s the guys on skates want to talk and say congrat-ulations. I knew you could I knew you could… why were you making googly eyes at Ky? Here they are… I brought them up… they have really cool skates… they’re the messengers…”
And they’d followed him up here. The boys and some girls on skates, disowned by family and making the skate world their family. We were suddenly surrounded by Doob, and Atz, Gili and Resh and the rest of the messenger company.
My apologies for this short post. I will not be posting tomorrow as I will be in Toronto at a friend's memorial service and wake.