Who: Romilda Vane, Taliesyn Robards
Where: The Vane house
When: 30 November 2001, before the Blue Moon Ball
Getting ready for the ball, Romilda had spent as much time primping and getting ready as she dared without her sisters complaining that she was spending too much time in the bathroom. Not only was this her first real public date with Tali, but Andrei had seriously pissed her off, so she wanted to feel extra fabulous tonight. Her hair now gleamed in gentle curls and she had made sure that her lipstick wasn’t going to smudge even the tiniest bit.
She practically flew down the stairs when she heard the knocker, pausing for a moment to compose herself before she opened the door. “Hi, Tali.” Romilda greeted him with a wide smile. “Would you like to come in?”
Holy crap would he like to come in or what. She looked incredible. Tali often swore there was no one in the world more beautiful than Romilda but he was wrong. It was Romilda, again, outdoing herself. He wouldn’t have believed it till he bore witness.
“Wow. You look… I don’t even know, I’m completely speechless.”
He smiled stupidly for a bit before he remembered her question. “Oh, come in. Would I like to come in, of course. Sure, sure.”
He stepped forward and gave her a tentative kiss on the cheek.
Romilda blushed deeply. He was always so earnest, which made every compliment special to her. “Thank you,” she breathed. Kissing his cheek in return, she had a quick check to make sure that her lipstick hadn’t rubbed off. Thankfully, it was still on her lips, exactly where it was supposed to be.
“You know,” she said, stepping back a bit to look at him, “you scrub up pretty well, too. Very nice.” As much as she appreciated a nice cardigan when having a cwtch, she was glad to see he wasn’t wearing one tonight. “I just need to put my shoes on, then I think I’ll be ready to go. Unless you want a drink or anything first?”
Tali thought he looked exactly as he always did, but maybe formal clothing made a big difference. “Thank you. You know I strive to be worthy of you.”
Speaking of worthy… everyone was going to be there tonight and he had not told a soul. Dot and Ed could hardly avoid knowing, of course, but it was never commented upon. Not quite the same as stepping out in public.
Tali thought, just maybe, he’d rather fly through a gale instead.
“Oh, yes, I think I might like a drink. Just a small one?”
“Worthy?” Romilda frowned slightly, uncomfortably reminded of Andrei’s comments about Tali, and now more sure than ever that he wasn’t using her for her body; someone who was wouldn’t say something like that, she was certain.
“A small drink it is,” she said, taking his hand. “Come through to the kitchen. I think we’ll find something in there. Unless my sisters have drunk the house dry. What’s your preferred poison?”
“Gin. But anything’s fine, really. Please don’t trouble yourself on my account,” said Tali.
“Yes, worthy, because…” he wondered how he was supposed to draw attention to their respective attractiveness without sounding crass. He took a seat at the counter and looked down at his hands.
“Because you are magnificent and I am not.”
Romilda mentally ran through what she thought they had in the house. “You might be in luck. I’m sure I had some gin for my birthday party.”
She had turned to fetch some glasses, but his words made her stop. “Oh.” She turned back to him wide-eyed. “Tali.” Taking his hands in hers she said, “Don’t say that. That’s silly.” Romilda kissed him briefly, barely a peck in case one of her sisters walked in.
“OK,” he agreed after a long pause. “I adore you,” he added softly, after she had stopped looking at him so intensely he hadn’t breathed for a while.
Oops. Was that a bit too serious for a fortnight of courtship? Quick, lighten the mood. “You know, the dress really is magnificent but I prefer you weren’t wearing it. If you know what I mean.”
Tali had to bite his lips hard to keep from bursting into a broad grin followed by laughter. Come on, it was probably the most salacious thing he’d ever said. While fully clothed, anyway.
Romilda’s chest felt tight and she blushed again. She was going to end up in a very sappy sort of mood tonight if he kept saying things like that. He made her smile, though, and she couldn’t help but laugh softly. “I think I know what you mean,” she teased.
Kissing his cheek, she whispered, “It’s going to look even more magnificent on the floor later.” Romilda pulled back and grinned smugly. “I’ll just go get that drink for you.”
Tali slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her closer again. He angled for a proper kiss. He was fairly sure it would be fine and that she hadn’t been leaving lipsticks marks all over his face — and so what if she had, really? Everyone else could only wish they were so lucky.
“You make feel like a different person sometimes, you know? Better.” The kind of person who made risque remarks and gave kisses without asking for explicit permission, clearly. “Forget the drink. I have everything I need right here.”
Romilda rested her hands on his shoulders, fully aware that she was smiling at him in a goofy sort of way and not caring a jot. “Same,” she agreed quietly. She kissed him again, taking her time now.
“By the way, if you’re trying to seduce me into staying home with you tonight,” she teased, “it’s not going to work. I’m looking forward to the ball.”
“Oh no, I’m not that skilled,” said Tali. “And I do want to go.” Now that he felt fine. It was an unexpected and amazing turnaround, really. Though who knew how long it would last. A few hours, maybe, if he steered clear of Idris.
“You deserve an enchanting evening with my best self and that is what you shall get,” he said, sliding off the stool. “And anyone who doesn’t like it can take a long walk off a short pier.”
“Well, I happen to think your seduction skills are improving all the time,” Romilda informed him smartly, tapping him lightly on the nose. She couldn’t keep a straight face for long, though, not when he kept saying such nice things. “I’m going to go get my shoes, then we can go have our enchanting evening, okay?”
“Yes, one day I might get you into bed by some other means than simply looking hopeful,” he said, his tone dry. Though he had moved beyond that. Slightly. Not too much beyond. She was too kind and sweet and patient, truly she was.
He nodded in response. “Yes, and hurry back. We have some showing-off to do.”