He slipped a hand up to her shining hair, and bent her face toward his. “We better make this look good. I don’t want to arouse Captain Koudelka’s suspicions.” H e hesitated, his grin fading into seriousness. Her lips melted onto his.
The lights flicked on; they sprang apart. He peered up over her shoulder, and forgot for a moment how to exhale.
Captain Koudelka. Sergeant Bothari. And Count Vorkosigan.
Captain Koudelka looked suffused, a slight upward curl escaping from one corner of his mouth as if from enormous inward pressure. He glanced sideways at his companions, and tamped it out. The Sergeant’s craggy face was icy. The Count was darkening rapidly.
Miles finally found something to do with all the air he’d taken in. “All right,” he said in a firm didactic tone, “Now, after ‘Grant me this boon,’ on the next line you say, ‘With all my heart; and much it joys me too, to see you are become so penitent.’” He glanced up most impenitently at his father. “Good evening, sir. Are we taking up your space? We can go practice elsewhere . . .”
“Yes, let’s,” Elena squeaked, picking up her cue with alacrity. She produced a rather inane smile for the three adults as Miles towed her safely past. Captain Koudelka returned the smile with all his heart. The Count somehow managed to smile at her and frown menacingly at Miles at the same time. The Sergeant’s frown was democratically universal. The duty guard’s smirk broadened to a muffled snicker as they fled down the hall.
“Can’t miss, eh?” Elena snarled out of the corner of her mouth at Miles as they rose up the lift tube.
He executed a pirouette in midair, shamelessly. “A strategic withdrawal in good order; what more can you ask for being out-gunned, out-numbered, and out-ranked? We were just practicing that old play. Very cultural. Who could possibly object? I think I’m a genius.”
“I think you’re an idiot,” she said fiercely. “My other stocking is hanging over the back of your shoulder.”
“Oh.” He twisted his neck for a look, and plucked off the filmy, clinging garment. He held it out to her with a sickly, apologetic smile. “I guess that didn’t look too good,” (38-39).