Many Happy Confrontations

A waltz.

“And why should I?”

Of course Cladia would choose a waltz.

“Because we are meant to exemplify to everyone in this room that people of our station can remain civilized even after breaking off relational engagements.”

“You want to prove that men and women can be friends,” Tovec interpreted in harsh undertones.

“And it is my birthday, so you must do as I ask.”

So they spun, on a floor nearly empty of other dancers, under the scrutiny of every eye, their names upon every whispering tongue. The dance was slow, each step and spin exaggerated as if they moved in slow motion. Tovec closed his eyes for a second and prayed he could keep his disgust shielded behind the mask of propriety.

Enough was enough. Spinning Cladia faster than tempo, he held her at arms length, bowed as the musicians stumbled onward in confusion.

“Forgive me, it seems I must retire.”

“You are forgiven, my friend.” So sickeningly gracious. Her smirk was like a knife dripping blood.

Tovec repressed a snarl as he departed.

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