Belated Celta Thursday -- CUT FROM LOST HEART (to lure those who haven't bought it)
A week and two days earlier, the reference to the matchmaker torturing Barton had been humerous. Now, after a full morning session, Barton gritted his teeth to hide his discomfort. Thankfully, his Flair-made clothes wicked away sweat, though they released an herbal scent that would clue anyone in that Barton perspired.
Saille T’Willow ignored that, as he had with the earlier humiliating evidence that one of the tests — the illusion of a naked woman who morphed until she sexually appealed to Barton — had aroused him.
Barton felt fully as pummeled mentally and emotionally by Saille as Barton had previously, and often, physically walloped the guy. Payback was hell.
Yeah, tests of what Barton found emotionally pleasing, mentally compatible, as well as physically attractive. All sorts of assessments, the amount and quality of which boggled his mind. Who knew surviving a matchmaking appointment was so tough?
He felt like he’d run a gauntlet, a rough game all the Clover boys played now and then.
Finally, finally, they’d paused. The “comfort” chair that conformed to Barton’s body, tilted from a horizontal position to nearly straight. Barton sucked back a groan of relief. His fingers loosened the white-knuckled grip that he had on the chair arms.
“Good job,” Saille murmured, clapping Barton’s shoulder as the man walked around him and sat behind his desk. Not as nice as Walker’s, but centuries older. Saille T’Willow, a FirstFamily GreatLord, wasn’t as tall as Barton, not quite as solidly built, but moved reasonably well. He’d never touch Barton as a fighter, but Barton didn’t have a thousanth of the amount of Flair as the guy.
Smiling — that was a good sign, wasn’t it? Maybe the fliggering evaluation was over? — Saille T’Willow said, “I have no doubt I’ll be able to find an extremely harmonious woman for you, a true love.” He paused, then went on. “I’ll keep my eyes out, ears straining, and senses primed to find a wife for you.”
Barton bolted from the chair and to the door of the room before stopping. “Good,” he said. “Really fine. Thanks.” Reluctantly he dropped his hand from the latch to give Saille, who’d risen, a bow worthy of his status as a descendant of the people who’d funded the trip from Earth to Celta, a FirstFamily Lord. “My thanks and the thanks of all my Family.”
“We can discuss this—”
Barton waved his hand before he put it back on the latch and opened the door. “No, no. I trust you. Implicitly. Gotta go!”
“One moment, Barton,” Saille called.
Barton darted a glance over his shoulder.
"I trust you won't take this out on me in the next general melee at The Green Knight Fencing and Fighting Salon."
Barton angled his head, grinning. "Oh, you can be sure of that."
Saille sighed. "I was afraid of that."