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Ghalib from Coronation

I have one more bit about Ghalib that I’d would like to share with you. In my free short, Coronation (also at Dreamspinner), Ghalib pops up in a couple of places. He’s seen walking with the other pages, carrying the trailing ends of Bathasar’s coronation cloak. But he shows up longer in another part where Teman is being prepared for dinner. This was previously in Teman’s POV in Coronation, however, I have edited it to be from Ghalib’s POV. I hope you enjoy it!

Ghalib

Ghalib watched Teman pulled his tunic off and stepped forward to take it. Teman sat and began to work off his boots. When Ghalib saw Teman was starting to get frustrated, he knelt in front of Teman, reaching for it. “Hello!”

Ghalib smiled up at him. “Hello,” he said, then ducked his head and focused on the boot. He always had the worst time hiding his fascination with Teman when he was around the man. Instead, he focused on the boot and when it was off, he moved to the other one.

Teman’s smile widened. “Thank you, Ghalib. You didn’t have to help.”

“I like to. And Safiya doesn’t mind, do you?”

“Oh dear no, if it moves thin’s along faster,” she said, shaking her hand. “No no no! Not that one!” she shouted. “Hurry up and get him undressed. Too much going on,” she grumbled and hurried away.

Teman and Ghalib laughed. “I don’t envy her today,” Teman said.

Ghalib nodded. “Me either. I think I am very glad at this moment that I can’t cook.”

“You can’t?” Teman asked as he stood and Ghalib started working on the laces for his pants.

Ghalib shook his head. “Not a thing. I burn everything I touch. Safiya doesn’t allow me anywhere near the food once it’s near heat. I can serve, and I can retrieve things from the root cellars, but I can’t touch it otherwise.”

Teman laughed. “I was never very good at it either. My mother used to get very frustrated with my lack of skill.” He chuckled. “I’m sure there is plenty that you are good at in other areas.”

Ghalib swallowed his instinctive annoyance with himself over the answer he had to give. “I tried to be a guard, but Captain Darius, no matter how hard he tried, couldn’t seem to teach me how to handle a sword.” He shrugged. “I will figure something out,” he murmured as he stood back.

Teman considered Ghalib for a moment as he took his pants off and handed them over. “I’m sure you have a great talent you just haven’t found yet. It takes time for some.”

Ghalib smiled. “Thank you, Yo… uh, Teman.”

Teman’s eyebrows went up at the slip. He reached out and took Ghalib’s hand and squeezed it. “Ghalib?

“Sorry,” he muttered, refusing to meet Teman’s eyes, cheeks burning. “Sometimes….” He cleared his throat and took a breath. “Sometimes I forget you are not an amir. You often put me in mind of one.” And despite your status, seem much more noble than most of Neyem’s mushirs.

Teman grinned. “Well, thank you, Ghalib. That’s a very sweet compliment.” He leaned forward and left a soft kiss on Ghalib’s cheek, causing a tingle and stunning Ghalib, then turned and climbed onto the table, sitting on the huge gold platter there.

Ghalib hurried to gather himself and set the clothing aside. Safiya came back then, muttering under her breath. “About time they got it right,” she grumbled, shaking her head.

* * *

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