“Who was it?” the girl asked again for the thousandth time. “Is he really not your beau?”
“Yuck, no, Betty. If you want him, you can have him.”
“But Sigrun, he’s handsome and he looks kind of gentlemanly too. How did you meet?”
“Yeah, he looks gentlemanly. We were neighbors.”
“Hmm…….” That finally sent Betty thinking. “He came last night too, you know,” Betty added.
“He what?” I snapped, not hiding the annoyance in my voice.
“He asked me to give you this.” From under her pillow, Betty handed me a light package. It was wrapped with newspaper. I tore it open, and found a dress with a horribly low neckline staring back at me.
That night, I sat with the dress Biyn had given me through Betty on my lap. Darn, I would never wear such a foul thing.
As I’d expected, Biyn came again. This time, he didn’t bring anything with him–it was already given to me. “Your friend Betty is an amiable lady,” he said. “Did she give you the dress?”
“This dress,” I raged, standing up and holding it with both hands. “Opens at the front, opens at the back, I don’t even know how you found something like this. I’m a servant here. Did you seriously think I’d wear this?”
Biyn seemed amused. “It was worth it after all, even if you don’t wear it.”
“What? Dresses are for wearing. Are you so rich now that you can spare having dresses laying around for you to just look at?”
He shook his head. “It was worth it, because you’re reacting so strongly to it. You are so emotionless most of the time, you know.”
That reminded me, instantly, that Biyn was certainly in a higher social position than I was. I was in no place to defy him, in case he had something up his sleeve. With that in mind, I handed the dress back to him, package and all, and changed my tone to a quieter one. “I’m sorry, but I am not accepting this.”
“Wear it just once, then. You can give it back to me afterwards.”
I went into the hut, and changed. After Biyn was satisfied with the sight of me in the dress, I changed back and returned it to him.