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Snuggle Bug

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After the whole holding-a-sword-to-her-throat thing, Dawn probably should have hated Roland. At least for a little while, I mean, no one could hate him forever, right? But to his mild surprise, after the dust settled from the fiasco in the Dark Forest, Dawn was just thrilled that Roland had found his Snuggle Bug.

Dawn had even saved him, as if he needed saving, from that little brown dude, who had tried to charge over and take out his kneecaps, or something. But Dawn had grabbed the shrimp’s arm, pulled him aside, and said a few words into his ear. The scowl left his face and he turned to Roland with a brilliant smile and a low chuckle.

“See? Everyone loves a lover, Darling-Bear,” Roland whispered to the beauty in his arms.

After that, Dawn and Sunny made sure he and his Snuggle Bug were seen, everywhere. Roland and Snuggle Bug received special invitations to all the parties, balls and fetes. He had never been so popular.

If he was honest with himself, which he never was, Roland would have expected to do some groveling, manipulating, conniving, bribing, or possibly threatening, to make his way back to the top of the social circle after his… “ill-fated” plan.

But as soon he and his Lady-Love entered any party, Dawn was instantly by their side, saying loud enough to be heard in the far corners of the gathering, “Oh, look, everyone! Roland, and his sweetheart are here!” Everyone would turn and look, their mouth’s agape. Of course. He and his Snuggle Bug were the most attractive couple at any party.

Then Sunny, yeah, that was the little dude’s name, would follow it up with, “Sorry, Ladies! He’s completely smitten with her. I mean, just look at her! None of you have a chance.”

And Roland would beam into his Snuggle-Bug’s millions of brilliant eye lenses and sweep her off into a dance, while the rest of the women (and several of the men), turned away, shoulders shaking, obviously with repressed sobs. Dawn would sometimes pass among the weeping women, patting a shoulder here, whispering a kind word there, and soothing the heartbreak he, of course, left in his wake. She was such a pal.

The world was as it should be, Roland thought as he plotted how soon he and his darling could get away for some “alone time.” No need to overwhelm everyone with their glorious presence.

“How long are we going to keep doing this to him?” Sunny asked Dawn, under cover of yet another fresh burst of mirth at Roland’s expense. “I’m starting to feel a bit bad about it.”

“Until Bog no longer has to physically restrain Marianne from punching Roland, whenever he comes within a one mile radius of her? Until I no longer have nightmares about swords in my neck?” Sunny winced and grasped at her hand. “Until the potion wears off? Until we have entirely ruined any possibility of anyone ever taking him seriously, ever again.” Dawn finished, firmly.

“You’re right,” Sunny sighed. “Oh, hey, look, they’ve sneaked off really early, this time.”

“Looks like Roland needed some quiet alone time with his Sugar Pie!” Dawn announced to the room, and felt herself buoyed by the gales of laughter.

Marianne could keep her swords and her silence about exactly what had happened with Roland. Dawn had her sources and her secrets. She knew enough to know that, for what he had done to her sister, Roland deserved every single bit of ridicule that was being heaped on his oblivious head. Dawn adored her sister, and for her, she could be a Tough Girl, too.