Paperwork by TeraS

Another week of not feeling well and not being able to really express the next part of Morgane’s story quite yet. It’s somewhat telling when you know where the story goes next, but there are far too many ideas that get in the way of telling it well. Still, there are some things that drift around the edges of my thoughts when they aren’t being occupied by …

By TeraS

There’s always paperwork: some bit of minutia that needs to be examined, checked, rechecked and approved. After all, these younger tails that rush about the palace and the Realm proper seem to forget that point. One does not simply wave one’s hand and …

“Good morning, Simone.”

Ah, there he is. The King of the Realm, though perish the thought that he would desire to be called that in public–or private, for that matter. Pushing my silver glasses into place with one finger, I examine him critically: “Good morning, Keith. I trust all is well?”

He does have a wonderful smile, and yes, he does look ”right,” as so many have mentioned at various times. His Eternal and Temptress, of course, are the most clear on that specific point. There’s no question as to why both of them are so smitten. One’s soul tells so much about one, and his is particularly warm and bright. He’s also very preceptive. I note his red tail moving slowly behind him: “Something’s up.”

My leather chair squeaks a bit as I lean back, my own red tail waving dismissively as I read the schedule for today and muse: “You do have a number of things on the agenda. You have a lunch meeting with that Ambassador from Orion. At tea time you have that interview with that pink tail from Realm News. I’ll remind you of the gala ball this evening that you and Tera can’t skip. Mermaids are so easily offended.”

I fail to mention, of course, just where that will be, and my pursed smile doesn’t quite work to deflect his thoughts. He knows I’m teasing him. He also knows that the only way to get something out of me is a bribe. Of course, he’s prepared and places one of his legendary chocolate cupcakes, complete with a red icing tail drawn over the top and a pair of candy horns sticking out from the sinful treat. His voice is amused as he positions the delectable beside my cup of tea: “That seems to suggest that my morning is unoccupied.”

The leather-bound ledger for the day finds its place on my desk as I consider his thoughts: “Perhaps ‘unoccupied’ is not quite the correct word. I would suggest ‘unstructured.’”

The minor revelation makes his tail twist into a question mark, I’m forced to take a sip of my tea to keep from laughing. There’s a twinkle in his eyes and I’m reminded of how much he means to me. It’s not that he’s the King; that’s so very far down the list and insignificant. It’s not that he’s my dear niece’s Eternal, having brought her love, understanding, and purpose. Nor is it what he’s given to my silver-tailed niece in showing her what it means to be in love and not lust alone.

Brushing his hands dramatically, he considers the office door: “Well if it’s ‘unstructured,’ then I suppose I should find something to do.”

I’m not sure he really understands what he’s done for me personally. He might; again that perception of his offers surprises. I’m not just the Receptionist, not just Tera’s and Cassiopeia’s aunt. Our relationship isn’t built on the things written in paperwork somewhere in the archives. My smile has a bit of my family’s bemusement in it: “I suppose you should at that.”

There we are, he’s caught me. Now he knows that something’s planned and I’m part of it. The bemused smile is one that he’s very familiar with, and it usually means he’s going to be the target of a grand scheme. Such an awful thing for him, I’m sure.

Crossing his arms over his chest, this young red-tail, whom I adore as a friend most of all, asks the obvious question: “And would you have a vague suggestion as to what I might occupy myself with?”

I can’t help arching an eyebrow as the cup returns to my lips, my eyes shifting to his office door. I’m not about to tell him everything. He’d have to bring me French Toast for that reveal. Come to think of it, we do have our weekly breakfast tomorrow at his home. I do look forward to those mornings when we can talk as the friends we are.

It’s but a few steps from my desk to his office. The door unlatches easily and he peers inside. I know that chuckle, I definitely know the red and silver tails that dart out, wrapping around his waist before the Queen and Temptress of the Realm appear from within. He’s very much trapped, though I would argue that they are as much trapped as he in this moment.

My ebon-maned niece peers at me: “Auntie? I do hope there’s nothing important this morning?”

My silver-tailed niece looks expectantly: “Or this afternoon?”

My cupcake must wait a moment as I enjoy the three of them entwined together. This is what he made possible. To give love and life to our world, yes, but more it’s the loves he holds in his arms. I’m teasing as I reply: “I expect you’ll keep the noise down to a dull roar. I have paperwork, you know.”

My dear friend’s answer is just right: “No promises, Simone.”

Shaking my head as the door closes, I retrieve the cupcake and delight in the gift of a friend, the happiness of my nieces, and knowing that the paperwork can wait.

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