Step one, step two.  I think I'm a little drunk.  I haven't
stomped on Merlin's feet too many times.  The question: Why am I so
light-headed?  Second question: Why am I courting the same disaster with
my heart as did happen seven years from now?  Shit, I can't waltz for
anything.  Three: Do I actually love this guy?

	Barring the initial shock of seeing a ninja at my doorstep,
Laughter's wording of the night we were about to bear witness to was more
than enough to pique my curiosity.  A ritual known as a "bachelorette
party," that was traditionally given to those about to be wed.  It
*seemed* innocent enough, except, of course, the fact that we were
effectively kidnapping Melanie.  Eventually, she was persuaded to come
along, and we hit the hot baths.

	And then the massage.

	And then the body painting?  I can handle relaxation and such. 
This step was going a bit too far for my liking.  Laughter was having some
kind of bird drawn on her.

	I think it might have been at that point that I came to a
realization that some of my repression towards the more..."intimate" 
aspects of my life was being carried on for no good reason.  I had put the
past behind me.  Granted, I'm still pregnant, but I have accepted this. 
I'm 21 years old, and though I am Benedict's daughter, I choose not to
bear the stark emotionlessness that he presents to the world.

	So the artist of Ivory began a design of flames, my symbol, and
then we three, Melanie, Laughter, and I, chose amongst the beads and
sequins and lace, dressed festive yet utterly provocative.  We were led
out into the streets, and followed in line with the other women, dressed
as we were, dancing and chanting.  It was a release that I needed, and it
was a catharsis more effective than hurling cookware at the walls.

	It wasn't too long after that Laughter pulled us out of line,
telling us that we had better leave, as the finale of this procession was
an orgy of near cataclysmic proportions.  Laughter pulled a Trump and
left.  I could have done the same, but did I want anyone else seeing me
like this?  The answer, of course, is a hearty "Fuck no!"

	So I asked Melanie if she might return me to my quarters in Chaos. 
I should have known by the look in her eye that things would go awry then.

	Damn.  Another misstep.  Why can't I get this down?  It'd be a lot
easier if he'd take off those damn gloves and link with me.

	He woke up, startled, and his eyes widened.  I tried my best to
cover myself with my hands.  That sent beads and sequins rattling.  He
tossed a pillow over himself.  I didn't know what to do, I just wanted to
get out of there with a shred of dignity.  After some words that didn't
carry meaning, I grabbed a robe, donned it, and ran home.

	I cried that night.  Not because I was embarrassed, but because I
didn't have the courage to let him admire me.  To let him hold me, caress
me, kiss me.  I'm so afraid of letting my heart go because it can all be
for naught.  And so I am reduced to throwing cups and saucers at the
walls.  Ulysses was right; I am childish.  It's no wonder Benedict feels
the need to father me, even at 21.

	The dawn saw the wedding, and the pageantry.  And the Serpent.  I
handled my position as I was to, feeling fear at the beast's arrival.  It
did some things, and left.  Dances were danced.  I gained some support
form Swayvill in my movements against Cymnea.  His Logrus masters will
help detain her abilities while I take her with my swords.  The other
Chaosite had little to say.  Kaedric was saddened, on this of all days. 
The Heir to Chaos apparently misjudged Melanie's reaction to him being
chosen by the Serpent.  I told him to give her time.  Claudio was still
upset over Sky's disappearance into Corwin's universe.

	And so I got Merlin out on the dance floor.  I felt the image of
me he had in his mind, and I chuckled.  Merlin has quite an imagination,
I'll give him that.  He wanted to know why I was tormenting him, because
he'd inherited some of Corwin's lechery genes, or something lame to that
effect.  I continued to smile, and he continued to try to clear his mind. 
I sent more imagery to him, and apparently that got a rise out of him.  He
jerked his hand away.  "Why are you torturing me?"

	I simply said, "Well, Merlin, if you were to get my father's
permission to court me, I wouldn't be adverse to such an idea."

	He twitched with angst.  Score one for me.

	And so here we are now, he gloved, leading me into a waltz.  It is
doubtful he'll be able to convince Benedict to let him court me.

	Answer one:  I am a bit drunk.
	Answer two:  I'm tired of denying myself these things.
	Answer three:  Maybe.  It was in the cards that I first saw him,
and it was from that that I got to know him, to rely on him.  He is not
the man that he was with Sky.

	Besides, if somehow he does get permission from Benedict, then the
next time I show up in his quarters, then it will be to see him...  And
perhaps I will have less on than I did then.

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