“What? Joke about it, or stay the night?”
“Either one, I suppose,” her friend replied.
“Don’t make it sound like I’m interested in him or anything,” Cerys said as she opened the door and they entered the room.
Cerys sighed. Himeko always asked the practical questions. “Just because he’s good-looking doesn’t mean I want him for a boyfriend. It’s just that all of a sudden…”
“All of a sudden what?”
“He just seemed to cold is all.”
Himeko closed the door to their room and took a seat on the edge of her bed. “He did seem more serious, but why shouldn’t he? His king is in danger.”
Cerys shrugged, then became very quiet. She looked to the door, then to her friend, wondering if she heard the footsteps as well. “Maybe we shouldn’t talk about them anymore,” she whispered.
Her friend nodded her agreement.
“Wow, I’m really tired!” Cerys then said, in a more audible voice. “We should get dinner and then head to bed.”
Himeko stared at her for a moment, and then agreed. “Let’s do just that,” she said, suddenly sounding more awkward than she meant to.
The footsteps passed by their doorway again, and the girls met gazes.
“Do you think anyone was listening in?” Cerys whispered.
“If they were, they are gone now,” Himeko replied. “I really am hungry, though. Let’s get downstairs before the kitchen closes.”
Cerys nodded, and together they headed out into the hallway, locked their door, and went down to the area with the tables. They stood in the entryway at first, looking around. There were several other people in the tavern, some at the bar having a drink, a couple others enjoying a meal with their grog, and a few enjoying the evening’s music. Cerys was just about to ask whether her friend thought some of them were guests when a hand grasped her elbow.
“I thought you’d never come down,” a voice said into her ear.
Cerys would have shrieked had she not glanced upward to see her brother’s darkened hair and realized that the fingers touching her were too soft to belong to a common man from Summerlay. She gave him a scrunched-up expression and nearly smacked him in the stomach.
“Don’t do that,” she said between gritted teeth. Peter ignored her irritation and and led her towards his table.
“I thought you’d never come down,” he told her. “These barmaids keep flirting with Bayani and I can’t make them stop.”
“Why not tell them that he’s your–”
Peter interrupted her before she could say that last word. “Because your so-called friend never told me what the people here think of people like us.”