I found Dayna lying on her big, wide bed, face up, stark naked, and if her legs had been spread any wider they'd have snapped off at the hip. Irresistible, you might think? Not really, and I reckon even Vila would agree with me. I'm pretty sure Avon would have. You see, she was out cold, blind drunk, and I've never been turned on by anything that remotely resembles a corpse. I wasn't all that clear-headed myself, so it took a good deal of fumbled tugging before I'd got her on her side, held in place by limbs some autopilot running my brain still knew how to position. I put her head back, worked her jaw loose, all the time thinking about those times I'd woken up myself to find the sheets had turned green overnight. Really shook me, first time it happened, and I doubted if Dayna had ever had the pleasure.
I'd hardly seen her touch a drop in the past. My real priority was getting her covered up, mainly for my own peace of mind, and the best I could find for that was some ghastly chequered synsatine affair, complete with fringed edges. Just the kind of thing Dayna would go for, though I can't imagine how Dorian had come by it. Through some lady love in his pre-Soolin days, perhaps. I flung it over her, tugged it vaguely straight until the only thing to see of her was her head and lightly curled hand. Then I crashed down beside her, waited for the room to stop tilting, sat there with my bare feet pressed on the smooth thermolay floor, heels of my palms pressed into my eyes as I yawned. When I checked on Dayna, I could at least find some satisfaction in seeing her look something more like a live human being. She had a bit of dignity now, at any rate, relegating that first sight of her to just another image in my mind. Quite peaceful, really, looked as if she was only sleeping after all. My arm flailed a clumsy arc and found that hand of hers sliding out from under the sheet. I gripped it, gave it a shake, only half aware of the stupid grin I had plastered across my face. That's when she showed her first sign of real life. Just a word, a name, barely intelligible, buried in a heap of what I guess I'd call anguish. It didn't so much sober me up as turn all the free alcohol tripping through my veins into something dark and poisonous. Just as drunk, but not even a quarter as good. Not good at all, really.
All she said was, "Cally."
If she hadn't said that, I probably wouldn't have stayed. And if I hadn't stayed, I wouldn't have had her sobbing in my arms an hour or maybe two hours later. She was begging me, imploring. "Don't tell Avon," she said, over and over again. "Promise me you won't tell Avon. He must never know."
And I guess if I hadn't stayed and got her saying that, I'd never have heard that cold silk voice from the door I'd forgotten to close.
"Never know what?"
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Last updated on 19th of December 1997.