“I’m sorry Sruni.”
I reach across the table to brush her hand, but mine passes through hers. She glances at me and brushes away the tear. Her faces eases back to a neutral expression as she sits back in the chair, smoothing the waterfall of worm-weave fabric where it pools in her lap.
“It’s all right. I am getting used to the fear. It comes with love.” She hesitates. “And with friendship.”
“Why does friendship scare you?”
“It doesn’t, but I sometimes fear for my friends, just as I fear for Dani. He was my friend long before we started courting. I don’t make friends easily and the ones I do make, I care deeply about.”
“That’s not to say I don’t know and like many people, but the number people I really truly care for is very small. Aislin, is one I worry about. She’s so out of place here, she and I both came from cages, hers gilded, mine clearly a prison, but I was a child when I came here. She came as an adult. It’s different then. You’ve lived one way for so long, changing your ways can be much harder.”
“Is it hard for her?”
“Yes, but she hides it well. That’s what worries me most, she hides her feelings and she’s alone except for me, and Wulfric I suppose.”
“Oh, she met him back when she was a Duchess. He’s a ship Captain, he’s the one who brought her here.”
She smiles slightly then cocks her head to the left.
“Could you tell me about something you found or discovered or if you are still looking for something?”
Sruni throws back her head and laughs, a deep sultry sound. When she looks back to me her eyes are bright.
“I discovered Dani. He would tell you otherwise, but he and I would never have become friends if I hadn’t found him sitting in my favorite hiding spot one day after my first week at the defense school.”
“He’ll tell you he went there because he saw me hiding out and was curious. So maybe we found each other, but that first day was…well, not the best first impression. I was annoyed he was in my spot, but also terribly anxious because he was several classes above me, being three years my senior. But that’s another story entirely. Dani and I found each other and he’s been my best friend for almost eight years now, hopefully I’ll make him my husband in the next year.”
A deep blush tinges her cheeks.