Aluthra and her novice Damiri are waiting very patiently, unlike two guests standing by her side behind the heavy curtains seperating the docking bay awaiting Serenity's approach.
"You look gorgeous, Sallie. No worries," the young blonde said for the thousandth time to the older woman, who looked like she was about to go before judge and jury. Sallie did look very fine; the makeup that the younger woman - Lilly, from their conversation earlier - had done up for Sallie suited her very well.
Sallie had asked as nicely as she knew how to see her son once they had arrived about twenty minutes ago; once the ceremony participants arrive however, they are kept apart from the witnesses until after the presentation. When Aluthra informed the pair that Serenity, which currently was registered to land under the name Tranquility, would be arriving momentarily, Sallie and Lilly were on Aluthra's heels as she walked to greet the newcomers on their platform.
The cargo bay door lowers, and Aluthra bows deeply to the disembarking crew members. Damiri stays behind the house priestess while Sallie and Lilly walk toward the ship with that the Companion can only assume to be very smirking grins.
Gettin' old, there, Sal.
She had just hired two new hands a week ago, and already Sallie feels like she doesn't need to keep an eye on them every second; they know their way around the land, and usually finished their work early. Sallie likes to tell herself that its because of her cooking that she always offers when they come to the house announcing their departure for the day, even though she knows it's just to pick up the day's pay. That doesn't change the grateful smile Sallie enjoys elliciting through pie.
This is possibly why, at the heavy rapping on her door, Sallie moves to answer it with two slices of sweet potato pie balanced on a plate in her hand.
He just couldn't break in front of them. Never. Not about death. This was the part they knew him for; "Mal's been through the war; he can do this part, no problem." Inara was something different; Kaylee knew about that, if not everyone else. But Death - He knows Death, and Death knows him. Can't fear it.
Mal goes back to his bunk, quicker than anyone else at the site of the beacon. His world doesn't start literally spinning until he climbs down the hatch and lies down on his bed to calm himself. He doesn't notice himself putting his holster on his chair. He does notice the fact that he has no more of Simon's soothers.
God, was Mal nervous. Lilly. Date. I’m gonna screw something up, please God don’t let me say something stupid.
A quick rap at the wooden plank door reveals a stern older gentleman in a black business suit. Why does he always have to look like he’s going to a funeral?
"Mr. Reynolds," the butler answered the door with a crisp nod of the head. "Miss Lilly is in the parlor awaiting your arrival."
"Xiexi--" Mal corrects himself quickly. "Thank you sir." He'll never figure out what it is with the highbrow folk around here and their distaste for Mandarin. It's more fun than English, to Mal's ears. With a quick straightening of his dress jacket his mother had insisted upon, Mal turns into the parlor.
"Lilly. Wow." To Hell with manners.
Lilly, petite brunette curls resting on top of her shoulders, shifted in her dress, blushing thoroughly under Mal's gaze.
"You look beautiful, baobei," Mal slips into Chinese, "Never seen you in a dress before." Mal does not add that this is because they are normally wrestling or gallavanting on his mother's ranch within earshot of the butler, but the continuous flush of Lilly's cheeks shows him she knows what he's talking about.
Turning to the butler as Mal clutches Lilly's hand, Mal exclaims, "I'll have 'er back, usual time, sir!"
Mal and Lilly changed out of their clothes quickly, into something far more appropriate for the town fair. Just two average eighteen year olds out for a stroll, enjoying life.
The shooter games were what attracted to Lilly first. Because she could make Mal win them. "C'mon, Malcolm, you know you wanna try!" she'd jibed. "You ain't gonna learn nothin' if you don't see it through experience first!" Mal didn't need experience with these games; most of the barkers saw him coming and preemptively gave him a prize for the lady if he tried to play at their table. He was Bad For Business.
Handing a yellow stuffed cat to Lilly with a smile, Mal continued to walk around the annual carnival with a grin.
"You'll see," Lilly responds. "Would I ever lead you astray?"
With Lilly's question, Mal leads the way through the door.