Kaylee coos, amazed, and Inara finds herself smiling at her through the mirror as she finishes pushing jeweled pins in her hair.

"Awww, gosh, Inara, that's awfully pretty," Kaylee moves a hand towards the white and goldend mask upon her bed, but she doesn't touch it, probably out of fear that she'll get it dirty, even though Inara knows that every time Kaylee comes into her shuttle, she washes her hands two or three times. She has told Kaylee that it's not needed, but they don't know each other very much yet. There's time for Kaylee to stop thinking that she has to be so careful around her.

"Thank you," she says, standing up. The silk of her gown moves around her legs, gold and white like the details her mask works around.

"A masquerade sounds so romantic!" Kaylee sighs. "Dancin' and bein' told you're so gorram beautiful, and everyone's probably so shiny..."

A soft laugh as she picks up her mask and her fan. "It is charming, in a way. I promise I'll tell you everything once I come back."

Kaylee's squeal of delight is vibrant and completely her, and Inara laughs when Kaylee hugs her tightly for a few seconds before she lets go, apologizing because she could have ruined her dress. Inara tells her that it's okay, because it is.

And she will tell Kaylee about the masquerade, about the beautiful dresses and the dancing, the crystal spiders and champagne flutes. She might even be able to bring her some grapes, maybe even some of the strawberries that Kaylee loves so much.

But, Inara thinks as she looks at her mask, she will only tell her about that. This is an illusion for Kaylee, so she can swoon and sigh and think about fairytale princes and princess. Inara won't tell her that there are more masks beneath the masks they'll all be wearing, that even she wears more masks than the ivory white and golden one.

That, Inara is sure, would make Kaylee sad, besides. It's probably no longer a mask, if it's one she never takes off.