Brian found himself in the Posture of the Buddha, the small of his back slightly bent to compensate for the slope of the horsehair couch in his living room. Sitvar and Frishta, with a rose in her hair, staggered before him, leaning back against the surge of a crowd behind them. Brian could not focus on the faces of the crowd. Sitvar saw Brian and raised an arm in salute, intoning, "All hail!" The crowd murmured behind him. Brian noticed that Sitvar supported with his other arm golden-haired Ro, who slept with his arms about his father's neck. Sitvar planted his feet to keep the crowd back. Frishta sat on the couch next to Brian. He noticed she was pregnant.

Frishta said, "Hello, Brian. You promised you would tell me."

Brian found himself saying, "Ask not that which has no answer." He stopped himself. He said and realized, "Frishta, you must not move me. Don't make me move."

Frishta laughed and put her hand on the back of his neck, resting her chin on his shoulder.

"Frishta, please. It's very important."


"But why, Brian? Is it because I'm pregnant?" Frishta stroked his lips with her finger. "It's Sitvar's, not yours. I wouldn't want your baby!" Frishta rolled back on the couch laughing, her hands on her stomach.

Brian was upset. As he said. "I don't see what's so funny," his voice cracked, surprising him and stopping Frishta's laugh abruptly.

Frishta was eager, "Can you do that again?"

Brian felt proud and embarrassed. "No no. It just happened. It hasn't happened in years."

"I think it's wonderful." Frishta put her arms around his chest. "Perhaps if you practiced you could do it always?"

Brian was angry, but dared not move his arms out of position to push her back. "Practice, hell. What do you want?" Brian began to be afraid. "Frishta don't move me, please."

Frishta threatened savagely, "I'll have Sitvar let the crowd by!"

Brian wondered at the threat. "Why? What are they here for?"

Frishta rolled back on the couch laughing, her hands on her stomach. She gasped out, "You don't remember, do you, Brian?"

Brian smiled deceptively, "Who is Brian?"