Story for the Day: Attraction
Alasdair looked back at Sarasa, who was in the middle of cleaning his perfect teeth, and treated his grooming with a glance of mild disgust. “What do you think of him?” he asked the commander.
“In character or appearance?” she simpered, watching Sarasa flicking his findings onto the ground.
He had meant to inquire after whether she considered the smartly-garmented and mildly offensive prince to be attractive -rather if he were more attractive than himself, which was all his concern- but in his want to say character he had said appearance instead.
“I shall take you position on the matter.” She folded her arms, and then in a dismissive and disappointed voice said, “I suppose he is a well-looking man.” Then, returning to her usual wryness, added, “for to all men, every man is a well-looking man when asked by a woman. His degrees of handsomeness are only then determined by the number of fine ladies he has added to his flock, and as you see, Alasdair, though three women are present within this camp, Sarasa has succeeded in repulsing one, frightening another and showing interest in the one who is attached to a rather large and vicious man.”
Alasdair laughed and felt more at ease with Sarasa’s attendance already. “And in person?” he said with a half-smile.
“A boorish and prideful captain who cannot seem to fly on the regal wings of his family though he might wish to do so. He has intimated that he despises royalty. There is a point in his favour.”
Alasdair paused and looked about. “I am royalty,” he reminded her.
“The name of Brennin may be Diras’ oldest noble family, Alasdair, but you can hardly be considered royalty. You compassion and warm-heartedness and far too ingenuous to recommend you as a royal. The perfect curl in your hair despite how many days it has been since your last bath does betray my assertion, however.”
Alasdair panicked and suddenly felt the need to primp. “I do look well, don’t I?” he said with wild eyes, molding the front of his hair.
“Astonishingly well, Alasdair.” The commander narrowed her gaze momentarily to spy a smudge of dirt on Alasdair’s cheek. She licked her thumb and stamped it against his tinged complexion to rid his perfect feature of so offensive a blemish. “You look very well for a man who has been traveling and warring for nearly six days together, I assure you.”
The back of his hand was used to wipe away any residue the commander’s thumb might have left behind and Alasdair was all gratitude for the artless compliment. He inspected the commander’s features for any similar tarnishing, and though she had many smudges to decorate her face, her bright eyes and complacent smirk made them hardly noticeable: plain features and a figure more shapely than he usually preferred in a woman were of little consequence when furnished by countenance and intelligence to make them attractive. The spark of romantic notion that had been extinguished by her professions of their misunderstand had renewed but had taken an altered form: it was not the ardor of passion that Alasdair was feeling but attachment, one of a more hearty and nature. He felt soothed by it and by her, for now he felt as though he could look upon her and see a most intimate friend rather than one he had loved and lost.