A Caress of Twilight – Chapter 33: Apparently being human = being awful

Chapter 33 begins the next morning with Merry waking up to Dame Rosmerta calling on the mirror phone. Merry is laying in bed with Nicca and Rhys, so they adjust themselves on the bed to frame Merry, and then realize that they need someone to ‘touch’ the mirror to answer the call, so Rhys bolts from bed and in the process rips the sheets from Merry’s body. So the mirror opens with Merry just sitting there naked in bed with Rhys trying to get back into the bed. What a pleasant scene, huh? It distracts Rosmerta and Merry has to ask her what she wants.
 
“Ah, yes, yes.” She gathered herself visibly, remembering her duty. It seemed to steady her. “King Taranis would like to invite you to a feast in your honor a few days before Yule. We are very sorry for the  misunderstanding about the Yule ball. We understand completely that you must, of course, attend the festivities at your own court.” She smiled and it was just the right amount of silly ol’ us, but we’ve fixed it now. It might even have been sincere.
I was tired. Nicca and Rhys had begun to routinely share their nights with me. I think it was purely so that they both got two nights in a row, rather than one having any preference over the other; but it meant that my night had been very busy. Since we didn’t have to go to work we hadn’t worried about the late hours. Now here was Rosmerta looking daisy fresh at eight in the morning. It was discouraging.
Why was the King so insistent on seeing me before Yule? Was it about Maeve? Something else? Why did he want to see me now? He’d never given a damn about seeing me before.
“Dame Rosmerta,” I said, and tried not to sound as tired as I felt, “I need to be blunt here, which I know isn’t polite, but I need some questions answered before I say yes or no to the feast.”
“Of course, Princess,” she said, making a slight bow as she said my title.
“Why is my presence so important to the king that he would give a feast in my honor days before Yule? The entire court has been working and planning for the ball for months. The servants and the functionaries must be frantic at the thought of a feast only days before the great event. Why would the king need to see me so badly before Yule?”
 
Rosmerta tells her that for answers to those questions, she would need to speak with the king. So Merry asks to speak to him, which confuses Rosmerta. Apparently people do not ever request direct conversations with Taranis. Rosmerta tells them that she will try to set up a conversation with the king, but she cannot make any promises. The king is super busy doing kingly stuff, you know. Like being a giant shining turd.
 
“I wouldn’t ask you to make a promise on Taranis’s part, Dame Rosmerta. And I’m sure his schedule is very full; but I really do need the question answered. I cannot possibly agree to the feast without an answer, and I think getting the answer directly from the king should speed things up considerably.” I smiled as I spoke, mirroring her own pleasant, nearly professional smile.
“I will give him the message. He may contact you rather quickly, so may I humbly suggest that you take this time to dress and present yourself in a manner more befitting your station.” She smiled while she said it, but there was a tightness around her eyes that said she wasn’t sure she should have said anything. Or maybe my thoughts were showing on my face while she was speaking.
“I think that I will present myself to the king as I see fit, Rosmerta.” I’d left off the Dame deliberately. She was a minor noblewoman, and I outranked her. That I gave her the courtesy of her title was just that, a courtesy. I didn’t have to do it.
 
Rosmerta realizes that Merry is basically negging her with leaving off her title, so she instantly begins apologizing, saying she didn’t mean any harm in the suggestion. Merry asks Rosmerta if she could please allow them a little time to rise for the day and get ready for the king’s call. Rosmerta again apologizes as she had not realized she woke them, and tells them that she will wait a bit to relay the message to the king as to give them time for their morning “duties”. Merry realizes that Rosmerta probably thinks that her morning “duties” include having sex with the two men in her bed WHICH IS PROBABLY RIGHT DON’T ACT LIKE IT’S NOT, LKH. Merry thanks Rosmerta for allowing them some time, which I guess in this instance isn’t a grave insult?
 
So, wait, Merry insults Rosmerta by leaving off her title and then doesn’t insult her when she thanks her? These books are so confusing.
 
Anyway, the call finally ends and Merry, Nicca and Rhys begin discussing what they will do when Taranis calls them.
 
He grinned up at me. “Oh, I don’t know, Merry. Aren’t you the least bit tempted to have all of us on the bed when he calls? You, draped in bodies.”
I started to say no. Then I realized it was a lie. “A little tempted, yes, but we’re going to behave ourselves, Rhys.”
His grin widened. “If you insist.”
“You’re the one that’s always going on about,
ooh, the King of Light and Illusion. Why the change of heart now?”
“He’s still scary, Merry, but he’s also a terrible stuffed shirt. He wasn’t always like that, but somewhere over the centuries he became more… human, in the worst sense of the word.”
 
The fuck is that supposed to mean? Oh I bet yet another commentary about how us human folk are SO PRUDE WE’RE SO PRUDE EEEW SEX EWW NUDITY EWWW NAKED
 
Rhys and Nicca argue over who gets to take a shower first, and Rhys eventually wins that stupid argument that’s so stupid it shouldn’t even be in a book ever. Nicca doesn’t care that he has to wait, he’s going to take this opportunity to have sex with Merry – just like Dame Rosmerta thought they’d do!
 
“Let him have his shower.” He raised a slender brown hand to trace the waves near my face. He rolled over on his back, drawing me with his hands at my neck and waist. The sheet had rolled off of him, and I saw that he was firm and ripe again.
I half laughed. “Don’t you ever grow tired?”
“Of this, never.” His face grew more serious, a little less tender. “This with you is the first time I have ever been with a woman and not been afraid.”
“What do you mean?”
“The queen is a fearsome thing, Meredith, and she likes her men submissive. I’m not dominant, but I don’t enjoy her idea of sex.”
I leaned in and gave him a very gentle kiss. “We do some rough stuff.”
He suddenly hugged me to him. “No, Meredith, no, you don’t. You never scare me.” He held me, and I relaxed against him, let him hold me. Almost too tight. It almost hurt.
 
So to ease Nicca’s comfort, Merry begins stroking his back until he begins to relax. When he finally calms down, he and Merry have very gentle sex, and Rhys exits the bathroom just as they both finish. Rhys is all “wait for me!” but Merry tells him he’s too late, gives Nicca a light kiss, and then bolts to the bathroom to shower up before Nicca can. The chapter ends with Merry thinking “is there a better way than this to start the day?”
Yeah, it’s called not being in a LKH novel. 

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