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   Chapter 25 Soirée (3)

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 13331

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03

"Mr. Zacharias, " Clelem said, "would you please honour me by staying a bit longer? Mr. Slindris told me that he saw you leave in quite a hurry after speaking with the senator. I hope the good man did not say anything to upset you?"

Daniel did not believe his ears. "No, no, the senator had no part in my leaving. Excuse me, sir, but my appearance..."

Clelem smiled. "We'll fix that for you. Just allow me a moment." He got up and left the room.

Minutes passed, and Daniel wondered if he had been forgotten. Then the door opened and Gaguran came in, carrying things. The man did not look amused.

"Mr. Zacharias, " he said, "we have collected some items for you to try on. If you would be so kind."

Had Daniel's life depended on the vibrance in Gaguran's voice, he would have keeled over then and there. He got up and looked at the 'items'. There were two suits in the collection that would be sort of okay, so he tried one of them on. It was dark red lined with silver thread and the least obnoxious of the two.

"We could not locate a decent shirt in your size so quickly, so this will have to do, " Gaguran said. He picked up a sort of scarf and held it up. It was earth brown and had a strange, maze-like pattern in it.

Daniel had to sit down, so Gaguran could wrap it around his neck. How the mouse did it, he had no idea, but when he was finished it actually looked very good. Daniel checked himself in the mirroring windows.

"This will do, sir, " said Gaguran. "Alas. Your footwear... " he sighed.

Daniel's yellow sneakers did indeed scream out a bit. "We'll say it is the latest cry, Mr. Slindris, if someone asks."

"Cry, Mr. Zacharias?"

"I am sorry. It is an Earth expression."

"I see. Well, please remember that you are not on... Earth... here."

Daniel tasted the disgust in the man's words. "Of course, Mr. Slindris. You are right."

Gaguran opened the door and waited for Daniel to leave. His displeasure was evident.

Daniel walked out of the room and into a surprise. The large room where Clelem had spoken with the other gentlemen was now nearly empty. Only Clelem, Gaguran and he were there. And Rayko, whose face conveyed a total lack of joy.

"Mr. Zacharias, " Clelem said, "I have asked my daughter to keep you company for the remainder of the evening."

Rayko glared at her father with murder on her mind. Nothing less. "I am not going to do it, " she hissed.

"Mr. Zacharias, " Clelem ignored her, "the music will start soon. I assume you dance?"

Daniel was lost. He knew some dances, but wondered if any of them were even allowed on this planet. "A bit, sir."

Clelem lightly pushed Rayko in the back. Just enough to make her stagger towards Daniel, who caught her.

She looked up at him as if she wanted to bite him. "I am going to step on your toes, " she promised. "And I am not going to like this."

Clelem and Gaguran walked out of the room.

"I am sorry, Miss Dandra ko Galem, I did not intend this."

Rayko stepped back and folded her arms over her chest. "You'd better not. I don't like you and you don't like me. Let's at least agree on that."

"Wholeheartedly, " Daniel stated.

She nodded. "Good." Then the change in her stumped Daniel. She suddenly had the sweetest smile on her face. "Shall we, then?" For a moment she looked herself again. "Don't get any wrong ideas, Mr. Zacharias." The smile returned and she held up her arm, for him to take.

Arm in arm they entered the main hall, where musicians were taking their place. Rayko's appearance seemed to be magnetic: within moments there was quite a crowd around her and Daniel. Rayko seemed in her element, being the centre of attention. As soon as she noticed that this was not Daniel's game, she seemed to be aiming at directing most of it towards him.

Most of the guests had no idea who Daniel was. Rayko was quick to tell everyone what a wonderful hero Daniel was. The guests then tossed all kinds of questions at him, many that he had ab

rather: her.

They found themselves sitting on a couch, not too close together. From where he was sitting, Daniel saw the senator in his green robe, lying on a couch, sound asleep.

Rayko was rubbing a foot that hurt.

"Did someone step on it?" Daniel asked.

"Hrmf, " she replied. "No. Your shins are too hard."

"Do you want me to-" He stopped mid-sentence.

"No. Not in your lifetime, " she snapped. After a moment, she looked at him. "What were you going to suggest?"

"Rub your foot for you."

"I can rub my own foot, thank you very much, " she snorted. She slipped her foot in her shoe again. "And you should stop seeking every opportunity to touch me."

Before Daniel could respond to that, a few guests came up to Rayko to say good night. She got up, Daniel did so as well but held back a bit. He still was the stranger here, the outsider.

Clelem came walking to them. "Ah, daughter. I see you did what I asked of you. Very very good. I hope you had a good evening, Mr. Zacharias?"

"It was a nice evening, Seigner, thank you. I should take my leave now, though, " Daniel said.

"I understand, " said Clelem, taking his daughter's arm. "We will go and bid our guests a good evening."

"Thank you, sir, for the invitation. And for the talk. I'll go change and find my way out, sir."

Clelem nodded. "Do tell my wife you are leaving, before that, Mr. Zacharias. It would be appreciated."

"Certainly, sir. Miss Dandro ko Galem..." Daniel nodded and walked off to where he saw Ugidra, Clelem's spouse, where he said goodbye to her. Then he went into the side room where Clelem had so unceremoniously shoved his daughter into his arms. He shook his head. That was behaviour of the man he had never expected. Just before he entered the next room, where his own clothes were, he heard his name.

"Mr. Zacharias." It was Rayko's voice.

Surprised he turned. "Miss Dandra ko Galem."

She stood half in and half hidden behind the opening of the door, her hand resting against its frame. "I just wanted to tell you that it was nice to dance with you. I still hate you, but I thank you. It did save me from worse."

This confused him. It probably showed from his face, because Rayko added: "No, this is not something my father told me to say. Have a good evening, sir." Then she vanished back into the hall.

After changing, Daniel went through the hall quickly. He looked for Rayko, but only saw Warlem the poet standing with his parents. The young man winked and waved as Daniel passed.

On the way home, Daniel tried to figure out what had happened that evening, but fatigue and the drinks made that an impossible task.

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