Story for the Day: How to Repel Women Pt 2
The girls made their obeisances and smiling, looked at Draeden, but Draeden could do nothing beyond blink and whimper in dread.
“Say good evening, Draeden,” was Bryeison’s gentle reminder.
“Good evening, Her Ladies,” Draeden muttered.
The girls flushed and laughed at being greeted with such stately formality and recollected themselves, remembering that while Draeden had condescended to be in the forces, by title he was still a prince. They curtsied low, exposing their ample endowments even more than they already were, and though they said their goodevenings with as much elegance as their limited educations would allow, there was something in their convenience that roused Draeden from his reverie.
Once the confusion of first convergence was over and the salutations gone through, Draeden was better able to study them, and a upon a momentary inspection made in full consciousness, he reckoned that they were not so exquisite had he had previously conceived. Enhancing dresses and civil conversation would have been more than enough to garner all Draeden’s interest, but all their attempts at finery and grace were depreciated by an overexertion of everything: their faces befarded with several hues gave them and air of affectation; the natural warming aroma of their skin was masked by scents which, though pleasant at a distance as an intimation, offended at such expediency; legs that pretended to be concealed were given away by transparent fabrics, proportions that had been perfect were contorted by constricting garments, hair that was let down and freed was rendered untouchable by being pinned and oiled. Too much had been attempted, too much added to what was not in need of addition. Here were not two maids simply desirous of spending an evening out with two of Frewyn’s newest captains, here were two women whose appearances bespoke a desperation to be sought after, to be hunted by men more salacious than Draeden and Bryeison could ever concede to be. The girls had been prepossessing from afar and were now unsightly up close, and in all Draeden’s relenting, his honesty surmounted his sense, and he could not stop himself from telling them so.
“Odalisque?” said Fallana, glancing bemusedly at her friend.
I did not say that out loud, Draeden conceived, struck with the force of sudden horror. I could not have said anything. I’m far too beset by so garish a display. I can barely even move—how could I have spoken? He glanced at Bryeison for a confirmation of his fears, and Bryeison’s amazed yet amused aspect conveyed that he had indeed said the word aloud if not more that he was unaware of. Oh, Gods! was his internal exclamation. I did say it. But I didn’t mean—well, I did mean it, but I didn’t mean to tell them in so ungracious – I am a heinous beast to have said such a thing to a girl so eager. Both of them must be very charitable to want my company, but to dress this way and to make themselves up to look like such harlots—Oh, never mind. Bryeison must have been right: I would repel them with my unbidden honesty. They are still exquisitely beautiful, but I only wish they did not conceal their lovely faces with so much—and they could have worn something a bit more—by the Gods, I think I can see the top of Fallana’s—I am going to be staring at her gargantuan convergence all evening. It is very rude and very shameful of me, but how can one not look when the material of her shirt is so thin and it is so very cold in here as to make them—I have to look elsewhere, or close my eyes and hope that neither of them will notice. I have just called this woman an odalisque and now I am a disgusting brute for staring, though she must have expected me to do it because she does look rather pleased with herself. Bryeison is looking, but he is so very lofty that no one shall ever suspect him of staring at a woman’s-- how does he always appear unassuming? It’s insufferable! And now I shall have to muddle through an apology for what I said and hope she won’t harangue me in front of the whole keep. They look bemused. Perhaps they are far to ignorant to know what an odalisque is-- I did not say ignorant out loud, did I? He waited, his eye flickering fearfully over to Bryeison, who was still rapt in astonishment, and he began to crumple in dread. I did. I did say that aloud, but I did not mean it as a negative. In this instance, their ignorance should be a blessing. “Bryeison,” he whispered into the giant’s ear, pulling on his arm and drawing him down, screening his speech with a raised hand, “I called them ignorant odalisques. I didn’t mean to—well, I did mean it, but I shouldn’t have—please help me! You are so miserably composed and I am such an detestable wreck.”
|Draeden and his many admirers|
Bryeison smiled and listened, spying the girls as he heard the substance of Draeden’s miseries. He betayed nothing of what Draeden whispered to him, and after making a survey of the girl’s coy looks, he realized that they were pleasantly insensible of Draeden’s transgressions and betrayed no signs of having understood his accidental slight. As to their being ignorant, that was yet to be determined, but as he had not heard Draeden tell them so on that account, he would do well not to mention it. The more secretive and repentant Draeden was, the more curious the girls became, and he therefore knew very well how to relay his apology. “Draeden says you both look very beautiful, but has no idea how to tell you so without his comments being considered inappropriate.”
The girls blushed and succumbed to conscious and diffident risibility, and Draeden gave them a nervous and fleeting half smile.
“I did not say that!” Draeden whispered in Bryeison’s ear.
“You didn’t say it out loud,” said Bryeison, with a poignant glare, “but I heard you,” and then turning to the girls and in a louder tone, he added, “You will have to excuse Draeden. He isn’t used to being approached and is shy around women.”
“You don’t have to be shy with us, captain,” said Fallanna.An arch glance between the two ladies, and each moved to sidle the two captains, Fallana taking Draeden’s arm, and Cadeina taking Bryeison’s. Predicting their movements, Bryeison held out his arm with true gentility and nodded as his lady took it, but Draeden, being unable to judge anything but his own gradation of comfort and agony at present, leapt when he found himself suddenly attached at the arm. His breath was lost, her hands slinking into the bend of his arm, her fingers trying to decipher what her sight could not distinguish, fingertips browsing the notches and grooves of his spaulders, and she was not displeased by any discoveries. His was consciousness burdened by a hundred feelings of pleasurable agony, his eye wandering along the valley between her breasts and following the lines of her exposed nape. A cold perspiration came over him, his knees quivered, and he began to feel faint.