PRE: Okay, you loved Love and Redemption..., and I got a lot of people who want a sequel. Well, yay, cuz so do I. This is the VERY TENTATIVE first chapter. I just want to see how you like it.

I watched him from across one of the larger ballrooms. The candlelight was doing wonders for his golden hair, and I noticed, in the heartbeat that I managed to steal with him, that Flauvic's eyes absolutely glowed. That was probably partially due to the fashionable suit he was wearing, done in fawn colored linen, with gold threads worked through the cloth, as well as the gold and cream embroidery. And, was I right, or was I right? He hadn't gotten any bad publicity from the scar on his face that was nearly completely healed one month after we'd gotten back.

Now, the little man-trollop was basking in the lavish attention from half of the women at Court. Well, the ones who had been among the elite enough to be invited to one of Lady Calissma's balls. We had been subjected to several of these "welcome home" balls since we'd returned, everyone wanting to hear all the details of the One-Day War, as it had been dubbed. Of course, most of them wanted to hear it from Flauvic, and not me. He was just so much more fascinating than I was.

Really, I suppose it was unfair of me to be jealous, since we hadn't exactly, technically, in so many words...announced to everyone that we were engaged... or whatever we were. Flauvic and I, that is. I was sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for him to realize what he'd asked me and call the whole thing off. We hadn't even talked about me "staying with him" since we'd returned to Athanarel, and I couldn't help but think that he'd already realized his mistake and was avoiding the subject until he found a way to let me down gently.

I sighed, standing off to one side of the ballroom, feeling very alone. I sidled my way to the nearest door, which happened to lead to one of the servant's passages. I was a master- er, mistress of escape, and it looked like I was about to make another one.

My hand caught the doorknob just as Flauvic's eyes caught mine from where he stood, surrounded by a small group of suddenly intimate friends- Alaraec had been introducing him around and helping to give him a better reputation than the one he'd left with. (Much to our parents' chagrin.) Flauvic excused himself and very purposely, with no detours or false pretences, made his way over to. Of course, I couldn't leave once he'd drawn attention to me. Besides, I enjoyed just watching him walk.

"What do you think you are about to do?" he asked, a hint of his smirk peaking out.

"I was trying to leave, thank you so much," I narrowed my eyes in a half-serious glare.

"What?" he arched his eye brow. "Leave when you're the guest of honor? Elestra, that's not good form at all."

I snorted a laugh and crossed my arms in front of my chest. "Please, Flauvic; you are the guest of honor here. I'm just a prop."

Thankfully, he didn't bother to try and persuade me otherwise. He quirked his mouth up, drawing my attention to it, and held out his hand. I had to smile back and took his hand.

"You can't leave without getting in one dance," he observed, "and you most certainly can't escape unless you let me go with you. If I have to pretend to be nice to one more person in this room, I am going to go mad."

I laughed out loud, drawing people's attention to us. If they hadn't wondered about our relationship before, I was sure that the sappy look on my face was giving the rest of the room a good idea of what it was.

Flauvic led me out to the floor where the previous song was just ending. We got quite a few interested looks, and I do believe that there were a few hostile glances at me from the ladies. That was strangely gratifying. I had taken someone they wanted, and he was mine, all mine! They weren't getting him! Had it not been totally inappropriate, I would have stuck my tongue out at them in triumph. I settled for standing just to the side of shockingly close to Flauvic when we danced.

He smiled down at me, totally obliging to whatever form of blatant display I was going to make.

"I never thought you would be the one to start a scandal," he murmured as the music indicated our steps and spins.

"What scandal?" I asked, batting my eyelashes innocently. "We're standing far enough apart, aren't we?"

I saw the slight change in his eye from teasing to challenge, and I took a step back all on my own. I wasn't quite willing to be that blatant, yet.

"I didn't think so," I could just hear Flauvic whisper.

"Not in public, you lack-wit," I grinned up at him. "I was raised better than that."

"Fine, then," he grinned in return. "I'll just wait until we get sneak out."

"Ha!" I snickered. "You'll never get out of here early, Most Noble Guest of Honor; not in a hundred years. They'll keep you until your legs fall off from dancing so much, and you go completely insane from forced politeness."

"I am a master at coming and going from a room without anyone noticing," he boasted. "I will leave when I want."

"Well, you'll have to beat me, then," I said smugly. "I could leave, and no one would even know that I was gone."

"That's because you never draw attention to yourself in the first place," he said. "It's no real feat if there's no challenge."

I coughed in shock. He was going to try to pull this with me? Not a chance.

"Very well. Meet me... in the training courts, for old time sake," I dared him, then looked up at the clock. It was very near third blue-change. "Be there by the time the bells toll for third blue. Agreed?"

He waited until the song had ended and all of the dancers had come to a full and complete stop. "Agreed."

POST: So, what did you think? Tell me what you liked, and also what you want improved. Both are important. I only have the one chapter written so anything that you say can be put into practice without me having to move too much around.

It occurs to me that you might like to know something of the plot. Well, there's obviously some serious fluff, maybe even some mild hanky-panky. A bad guy who thinks he's doing the right thing, and a sect that wants to bid for the throne. That enough to whet your appetite?