The collar was new and stiff-feeling, even though Enguerrand knew that there was supposed to be a Working on it to soften it. He tugged on it anyway. "Are you sure I'm going to be welcome?"
Faris draped an arm around Enguerrand's shoulders. "Certain. For one, any plus-one is welcome at a cy'Sweetflower party, and for another, you're mine, remember? Anywhere I can go, you can go."
"I'm new to this," Enguerrand reminded his Keeper nervously. "You did your own test-Keeping last year. This is my first time."
Faris kissed the top of his head. "I know. I'll be gentle, you know I will."
Enguerrand couldn’t help but squirm a bit. “It’s not you I’m worried about. It’s just… I mean. Cy’Sweetflower. How are they going to be with a Kept and a cy’Law Kept at that crashing their party?”
Faris tugged him close. “For one, it’s not like our cy’rees have a real rivalry, it’s just a fun sort of arguing-over-politics thing. And for another, you’re not crashing. I assure you. You’re coming with me. Everyone will leave you alone unless you don’t want to be left alone. And nobody. Absolutely nobody. Will mind your presence. Okay?”
Enguerrand leaned into the hug. He didn’t feel so much reassured – you heard things about the cy’Sweetflower; you heard even more things about cy’Sweetflower gatherings, and you heard more things indeed about cy’Sweetflower Kept – as he did happy that Faris cared enough to reassure him. He trusted Faris. They’d agreed to this mutually, because he had a burn-the-city-down crush on Faris and because Faris wanted him to see what a Keeping was really like. Anything Faris took him to, he could handle. He really could. Right?
“Okay,” Faris repeated. “You’re all dressed, I’m all dressed. Let’s go before you get completely cold feet and I end up having to order you or something ridiculous.”
Enguerrand swallowed. Ridiculous. Right. “Yes, sir.” He put a smile on it, so it looked more or less like a joke. “This’ll be fun… right?”
Faris paused and put his hands on Enguerrand’s shoulders to give him a nice, long look. “It’ll be fun. And if it turns out that you’re miserable there, we’ll head home, and talk about it before we try another party. All right?”
That was an out. Enguerrand nodded slowly. “All right.”
“Good.” Faris took his hand. “Then off we go.”