February 16, 2017 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Riensin knew he was handsome.
He didn’t take it as any particular virtue of his — he had the same face as his twin, and they had almost the same face as their uncle, the one their mother called “that no-good useless liar Tyinyor.”
He knew he was charming. That part he worked at — charming and genteel and engaging, all those things that let people let their guard down around him. He wasn’t honest, per se, he wasn’t all that hard-working, but he could smile and talk people up with the best of them.
The thing was, he wasn’t brilliant. He was smart enough, of course, and he was clever. That had gotten him and Kietsaip into Edally — being clever, being just bright enough, being charming and sweet.
But looking at Tairiekie, he knew none of that mattered to her. If he could install a valve and some pipes into himself, maybe then she’d notice him, but aside from that she only acknowledged him when he was particularly clever or particularly helpful.
When she did look at him, she seemed to look right past the smile, past the handsome nose and the perfectly-braided hair. She looked right past the rakish set of his uniform collar and the way he never buttoned all of his buttons.
Riensin found himself wondering what she saw, when she looked at him, if it wasn’t the charm or the smile. He wondered if he could see what she saw.