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12 October 2018 @ 09:55 am
_One Love_ Part 6  

Chapter Ten

Dueling Dresses

The Safron Sisters called. Paer slipped out for a fitting and returned grinning. "It is incredible."

Ebsa sighed in relief. “I feel guilty asking your father to pay for a second dress, but what the ABC harpies finally produce . . . I could be wrong. Maybe . . .”

“It would take a miracle to top the secret dress.”

***

The Fitting for the Official Dress.

Complete with a photographer "for the book about the wedding of the century."

Paer recoiled as the three Madams pulled off the drape.

A miracle had not occurred.

"You've changed it again! I thought we'd agreed on traditional."

Madam C sniffed. "Keyhole necklines are traditional. We've updated it so you look modern instead of frumpy!"

"A key hole neckline so large it exposes half my breasts is not . . . that doesn't actually go low enough to show my naval does it?"

"It's the hottest fashion. This dress will be the talk of the town for months!"

"Years, most like. And I have a nasty suspicion none of us will like what they say." Paer braced her shoulders. Game. On. Time to start pretending I’d be caught dead in this thing! "Right. Let's try it on."

Three frowns. "I do hope you've been dieting."

"I told you, make it fit the real me, not what you imagine I ought to look like."

But in fact she'd been so nervy, she hadn't eaten normally for weeks. Only barfed once, from stress.

The dress did fit. With the huge empty oval in front, only the hips could possibly have been tight, and there was enough fullness there as it swept out to an enormous skirt that it actually managed to make her look fat. The support mechanism for her breasts was stiff and squeezed her ribs. Padded to make her look busty, and about to fall out of the dress. Or, into the keyhole, in this case.

Paer looked in the mirror and shuddered. "It's hideous. And it is definitely not traditional."

"You look lovely!" Madam A beamed. "Cutting edge."

Madam B smirked. "The long train is certainly traditional."

Paer turned to look. "I don't think I'll be doing a lot of dancing."

Madam C hustled up with an arm load of . . . stuff. "And now the headdress and veils."

Paer eyed the fluff . . . "Is that a wig?"

"Of course! I'm sure that shoulder length is practical but it's hardly romantic. And your hair is so straight and so brown. This is a huge improvement! I suspect you'll want to grow your hair out and get highlights, once you see yourself in style!"

And then they got out the makeup.

"It's rather thick, isn't it?"

"It will photograph well."

"Today." Paer was firm. "On my wedding day I want to be able to grin like a loon without looking like my face is cracking."

Triple titters. "So amusing, Dear."

***

Paer called the Safron Sisters and asked about a headdress and veils.

"Already taken care of, Sweetie! It will all be ready to go in two days."

"You guys are amazing. I'll send Rael to pick it up."

She had nightmares of the Safron Sister's Wedding Nook being burgled or going up in flames.

***

The photographer called, voice horrified. His files had been hacked.

The hideous dress was all over the grid by noon. To universal horror, scorn, and laughter.

***

Rael smuggled the Montevideo dress into Government House. And hid it in the emergency escape system. Paer woke up and checked on it three times.

***

"So, which of you lucky dogs is driving Madams A, B, and C to Government House tomorrow?" Ebsa smiled around at the Black Horse Guards.

The guards and agents all swapped glances.

Major Onca eyed him suspiciously. "Why?"

"Because they need to be delayed so much that they barely make it to the wedding. So unfortunate, all the traffic. The limo might even break down someplace where it would be difficult to hail a taxi."

Onca pinched the bridge of his nose. "I am going to be so glad when this is over."

***

Rehearsal and dinner, with added guests, all very carefully vetted. A couple of Ministers, Director Izzo, Director Ajki. Urfa of course. A few extra friends . . . Evdu came with his father.

Paer smiled and played hostess, ready to scream with nerves by the time she finally escorted the last guests off to their cars.

Is it possible for brides to actually sleep the night before their weddings? I'm going to be a zombie by tomorrow.

". . . so impressed by your advanced medical magic. I must get you together with some of the top talent, so that you can get proper training."

Paer rounded the corner smiling faintly at the elderly Minister of Health. Evdu hovered at her other side, and she wondered how to politely disengage and let them find their own way back to the car park.

At least he’s gotten over himself, and behaved politely tonight!

She glanced, and spotted the usual stiff stance of guards on duty and relaxed a hair as she walked past them.

Then she realized the guards uniforms all bore the red piping of Ministry Security. One of them flicked forward on Speed and blocked the path forward.

That's the dangerous one. If they are here to do more than escort the Minister home.

She turned to frown at the minister.

"We know that by now you must realize what a horrible mistake you've made." The old man looked saintly and concerned.

The four ministry guards loomed.

"Minister, you are on the brink of doing something very foolish. Stop right now before a single one of your people lays a finger on me."

The guards were spending more time looking outward than inward.

Excellent.

Evdu was grinning like hyperactive monkey. "We're going to help you find the resolve to stand up that closey upcomer bastard. As soon as he's slunk off, we'll release you. With no guilt, because it won't be your fault. We won't hurt you, but we also will not let you do this."

And he grabbed her arm.

Oops, foolish boy, you just crossed the line.

The sound of running feet.

All the guards looked that direction. The fast one stepped around the minister . . .

Good. No one dangerous behind me.

Paer slid into Speed. Shoved loose from Evdu.

She might not have mass, but force depended on the velocity squared. And she had a whole lot of velocity.

Two hands down on the fast one's neck. Kick right, step up and punch that one in the solar plexus. Turn and kick the last guard, step back and land the back of her fist to Evdu's cheek knocking him flat. That last one she pulled, just enough to not injure him.

Paer turned and advanced on the Minister of Health as Ebsa rounded the corner.

"Don't interfere." Paer looked over her shoulder. Pointed. "Stand right there."

She drew her open hand back as she turned to the minister. And let fly. Slap!

"So, you don't like my tastes in husbands?" Slap!

"What a shame." Slap!

"You've mistaken me for a passive doll." Slap!

"Shall I challenge you to a duel?"   Slap!

"I recommend against it." Slap!

"Because I don't have Ebsa's sense of restraint." Slap!

"Nor his cold-blooded control." Slap!

"He knows there would have been a good chance of him killing Doo Doo, here, and refused to risk it." Slap!

"If that's your idea of cowardice, you're a fool." Slap!

"Now, pick up your people and go away. I do not want you at my wedding."

Evdu wavered to his feet. "Paer . . . "

Slap!

He hit the ground. Again. Rolled a bit and blinked and focused behind her. "You! Aren't you going to save your Princess?"

Ebsa strolled up and looked down at the man. Shook his head. "She doesn't actually appear to need rescuing. In case you didn't notice, Paer is the most dangerous person here. And she is not a Princess, she's a brilliant Directorate agent. She doesn't need anyone to save her. But she wants me for her husband, and I'm all for it. Now take your father home before this becomes a police matter."

Paer took Ebsa's arm and steered him past the groaning ministry guards.

She paused as a pair of Black Guards charged around the corner, then jerked to a halt. "I may have seriously injured some of them. Perhaps you should call for an ambulance." She pointed at the Speedy one. "Get a neck brace on him before he is moved."

A grinning Ra'd—carrying a large rifle—slid down from the nearest roof. "That was beautiful. I can only hope there's a recording." He disappeared the rifle into a bubble.

Ebsa shook his head. "No recording. Something happened to the cam a few minutes ago. Fool called me as Paer walked this direction."

Paer scowled at him. "Huh. So you were prepared to rescue your princess after all."

"Just in case the minster had a clue who he was dealing with." Ebsa smirked. "Four ministry guards down in about two seconds. And of course we didn't see you slapping the minister and his son around."

Ra'd snorted. "I did. And enjoyed it no end."

Paer sighed. "Ebsa, I really do admire your control over your temper. I felt like killing the two of them on the spot."

"Well, there. See? You controlled your temper."

Paer squeezed his arm.

The Black Guards were on their comms but still stepped out to where they could watch her until the three of them walked through the doors.

Ebsa sighed. "You know . . . unless they all keep their mouths shut, you may have trouble getting into medical school."

She shook her head. "My last few assignments, as a medic . . . even though some of them were in dangerous places, I was still one of the protected. Not one of the protectors. A medical degree will just make it worse. I think I'd prefer to be a teamer. One who can patch her teammates back together, but first and foremost, out in front."

She savored Ebsa's spreading grin, then kissed him goodnight before Ra'd chivvied him off.

Most dangerous person here.

Brilliant.

He thinks I'm brilliant and dangerous.

She slept very well.

 
 
 
(Anonymous) on October 12th, 2018 04:12 pm (UTC)
Physics
" but force depended on the velocity squared."
Energy depends on the velocity squared, I am not sure that force does. Unfortunately my mind is tapioca this morning, so I cannot work the math to prove it, but it probably should be checked. If my mind improves, I will post later on this.
Hazel Leah Woods: Christmashlwoods on October 12th, 2018 04:37 pm (UTC)
Force is mass times acceleration ... And if she's running on high Sped, she's got a lot of acceleration relative to the inert body.

Come to think of it: a = v/t so as time decreases due to speed, acceleration increases ...

Edited at 2018-10-12 04:38 pm (UTC)
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on October 12th, 2018 06:59 pm (UTC)
I have previously threatened Pam with loss of her Classical Mechanics license over this.
++
Forward momentum was the thing and though she couldn't increase her mass she could increase her velocity.++

Edited at 2018-10-12 07:03 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on October 12th, 2018 05:23 pm (UTC)
I like it, well written.

I think I would enjoy it just a tad more if Paer actually *did* request police involvement, since she could volunteer for a truth match that would presumably make the disabling of the cameras into something else to be investigated, rather than something that hindered the investigation.
matapampamuphoff on October 12th, 2018 07:45 pm (UTC)
Politics. Winning is _not_ bringing down a Minister, when they are just starting out. Have the potential to do so, on the other hand . . .
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on October 12th, 2018 07:04 pm (UTC)
Taste not Tastes.
(Anonymous) on October 13th, 2018 12:15 am (UTC)
Please, please, can you tell me? Who are the bridesmaids? Rael? Nighthawk? Heak? Is Ebsa's son around?
(Anonymous) on October 13th, 2018 12:18 am (UTC)
Don't know about Bridesmaids, but Endi Dewulfe almost has going to end up in the Groom's party... ;p
matapampamuphoff on October 13th, 2018 12:41 am (UTC)
Bridesmaids: Qayg, Rael, Heak, Qammar, Nighthawk, Fean.

On the guys side, I didn't specify in print. Ra'd and Azko, of course. Vee, Yeahsa, and Ogly? Ajha, Hob, Dan?

I'm sure Xen was invited to attend, but he's not a close friend of Ebsa's. Likewise Axbe,Jorge,and Chacha. Raod and Ox . . . I wonder if Arno was old enough (13)to rope in as a groomsman?
(Anonymous) on October 13th, 2018 12:20 am (UTC)
Mother of the bride going to show up? Lunch with Ebsa? Her dimensional sight? I remember you said 'it came from the wedding' and I don't think you have used it yet.
matapampamuphoff on October 13th, 2018 12:43 am (UTC)
I've cut her out of the story. Poor Paws. No doubt she attended, no doubt seated carefully away from the President
(Anonymous) on October 13th, 2018 02:53 am (UTC)
Yes. I think you are right. It would detract from the theme of the story and add little.
mbarkermbarker on October 13th, 2018 01:54 am (UTC)
Any chance that someone will (innocently, of course) invoke one of the gods during the wedding and have... say the God of Spies, or War, or perhaps Health? Just pop in for a while? I mean, prayers during weddings are often heartfelt, but having one of the Gods appear isn’t really expected.
(Anonymous) on October 13th, 2018 04:35 am (UTC)
During a wedding, I think that most likely the God of Love would be prayed to. Possibly by a girl hoping for a wedding herself when the bouquet is tossed.
(Anonymous) on October 13th, 2018 09:49 am (UTC)
Together with the goddess of health and fertility. Oh, wait, Paer would have invited her mentor Giselle already and Romeo is her steady. Anyone call for a good orgy? Orion could be pleased to set it up. . .