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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Next in series. Inara finds comfort.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1146 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Inara danced the first quadrille in a state of almost-intoxication: the relief, and yes, the anger she felt at her discovery enervated her, made her find the music and the movements of the dance constraining. She wanted to stand in the middle of the ballroom and declare her knowledge in a ringing voice: Edward Tang and Dr Lang knew each other, and she had found them out. They knew each other; they had conspired to hurt her; they had probably killed Tasmina Sharre.
She felt sorry for Ling-Ling. How humiliating to be dragged away from the party, in front of everyone, by her brother’s driver. How sloppy of Edward to let her be there as long as she had. He must have overestimated his brotherly authority over Ling-Ling, thought that she would take herself to the Tang family home just because he had told her to. But Inara’s power – as a Companion, as a celebrity – had proved greater. It was unfortunate, that Ling-Ling had been hurt. Yet what else could she have done? Her resources were few, and she had had to exploit her hold over Ling-Ling. The fact remained that Lang’s treatments had taken place in a room at the High Priestess’s own House. One of the men – either Lang or Edward Tang – had to know someone there to have made that happen. And how could she trust anyone, when that was the case?
She thought then of Dr Edo, and Dr Ronson – Samuel – and asked herself again if she could trust them.
She came to Dr Lang in the dance, touched hands with him, smiled at him, laughing at him inside. He had to know that she had made the connection. She felt a sense of a long-lost confidence at her core. Yes, she had been too sure of herself as her training progressed, had allowed herself to believe that her promotion to House Priestess would be automatic. And for a long time after she had first left Sihnon she had been ashamed of it; and she saw clearly now how it had drawn Edward Tang to her in whatever scheme it was that he had had underway.
What was it? Why had he done it? What did he want from the Guild?
The music stopped and Inara thanked the members of the quadrille.
“Are you enjoying the party?” she asked Lang, as she took his arm and allowed him to lead her to the edge of the dancing area.
“I am – greatly honored,” Lang replied, and Inara despised him. He was greatly honored, when he deserved to be in jail. He was so greatly honored that he seemed to be able to ignore the sense of alarm that he should have been feeling at Ling-Ling’s unwitting revelation.
She noticed Good Son hovering, admired his ability to stand forward enough to be seen by her, far back enough to go unnoticed by everyone else. She approached him; Lang hung back..
“I believe all the guests have arrived,” he said.
“That’s wonderful,” Inara replied. “It is going so well – so much better than I could have hoped.” Good Son smiled at her kindly and she resisted the impulse to grasp his hands and tell him her secret. “And of course it’s absolutely and only thanks to you.”
Good Son nodded and thanked her with just the right combination of grace and modesty. “I am glad that it is going so well,” he said. “However, it seems a guest has been taken ill. There is an ambulance outside. The medic gave the name of the patient as Rukhsana Edo, but we have no such guest. I thought it best to bring the matter to your attention.”
“Of course,” said Inara, her heart leaping with a jolt of adrenaline when she heard her doctor’s name. “Is the medic here, in the House?”
“Yes, I showed him into the Reception room closest to the Administration Office.”
“Very well. Please, remain here while I’m gone. I’ll be back as soon as possible.”
Her face a practised mask, Inara hurried to the series of rooms where prospective clients new to the Guild and its ways could visit and meet with a Companion as a preliminary to entering into a contract. For this reason they were simply decorated and barely furnished, with just two chairs and a table.
Tapping on the door to announce herself, Inara opened it to find Dr Ronson sitting on the chair furthest away from her. He leapt up when he saw her, betraying his nerves in spite of the brightness of his smile through the hands that remained planted on his thighs.
Inara closed the door quickly. “Samuel! What are you doing here!” She was smiling delightedly, laughing almost.
“I – I heard there was a party.”
She could tell that his response was unrehearsed.
“Well, I’m – impressed by your enterprising spirit. You must be aware of the Holi tradition of trying to make into past security and inside a House compound?”
“Never mind Holi, there are all the graduating students, the wedding guests, the goodness knows what – all those efforts that have failed where you’ve succeeded!”
He could see that she wasn’t angry, as he had feared she might be; was encouraged.
“Are you having a good time?” The casualness of his question was studied: Inara had told him how she planned to study Ling-Ling as she introduced her to Dr Lang, to divine from hers and Lang’s response just who exactly it was that he might have been allied with in his ‘treatment’ of her.
She rushed right up to him, took his arms. She knew he had been gravely worried. “Samuel! I know what happened! I mean, Lang does know Edward Tang! Or he knows the family. Ling-Ling gave it away. I knew she would! And she is of no account to any of the Tangs. She can’t have been involved at all. She’s so foolish, but she has no malice. Edward though – I remember how he tried to intimidate me, testing the waters, seeing if I would go along with him, after Tasmina’s death. I knew it had to be him!”
Dr Ronson took her hands, resisted the impulse to run a hand over her cheek. “You’re very brave.”
“I thought I was dying – do you understand? I’ve come back from the dead!”
“Yes,” Dr Ronson nodded, searching her face, finding her eyes, showing her that he felt her situation.
“I’m so glad you’re here, to tell you!”
He looked at her, his expression becoming ardent as she held his gaze. His expectation of experiencing such closeness had been as low as his hope had been great. This time he acted on his impulse, to gently grasp a handful of her hair, to lift it back and press his cheek into the soft nook just below her ear and breath there. She put her hand over his, leaned her cheek into his. He kissed her cheek, turned his mouth towards hers to find it turning towards his: the corners met, then the lips, finding their way into a tender, longing kiss.
She was touching his hair, pushing her hands into it, moving them down to the back of his neck., holding him there, bending to him. He ran his hands over her body, stopping at her waist, drawing back when she did.
“You have been a true friend to me. And a great comfort,” she said, full of emotion.
“I – I don’t see you as a friend,” Dr Ronson replied.
“Friendship – is everything. Everything,” said Inara almost fiercely.
“Then I’m glad I’m your friend,” he said, and she smiled that smile that made him ache.
“I have to get back,” she said, rushing to continue to forestall the disappointment he was endeavoring to hide. “But” – and she took out a key, pressed it into his hand – “on the second floor, the doorway to the left of the painting of Cho. Those are my quarters. Wait for me.”
After she had gone, with a parting look that melted his limbs, Dr Ronson slipped out and made his way to House Madrassa’s great, darkened staircase. Her friend. He climbed, reached the second floor, found the painting of Cho, turned the key. Inside, the drapes were open and the night streamed in. He paced from one part of the room to another, glanced through open doorways into the rest of Inara’s quarters, sat on the bed, stood up again. Laughed a quick exhalation of disbelief, wondered how he would ever get through the time until she arrived…
Thursday, April 29, 2010 12:19 PM
Thursday, April 29, 2010 12:48 PM
Thursday, April 29, 2010 3:31 PM
Friday, April 30, 2010 4:00 AM
Friday, April 30, 2010 5:22 AM
Friday, April 30, 2010 9:54 AM
Friday, April 30, 2010 10:39 AM
Friday, April 30, 2010 12:10 PM
Friday, April 30, 2010 4:35 PM
Monday, May 03, 2010 1:29 PM
Saturday, May 08, 2010 4:50 PM
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