Allyn Gibson wrote:
And I think the reason I thought that (and I can't speak for anyone else), is that Trys flirting with Dawn Blair is one of the very first things we see her do. There was no reason, as a reader, for me to not take it seriously, since Blair does seem to take it seriously (the flirting works on her, after all) and I hadn't seen yet the extent of Trys' personality.
See, but that's just it. I didn't intend it to be "flirting" in any sense, whether serious or facetious. It was meant to be flattery, not flirtation. I mean, it's a pretty standard cultural trope for person A to lavish person B with obsequious flattery before asking them for a favor. "My, boss, you look really sharp today! That's a really great tie! By the way, can I have a raise?" When people see, say, Dagwood buttering up Mr. Dithers like that, I don't think many people would read that as flirtation. The context of this scene was that Trys was trying to get out of a boring duty assignment, so I thought it would be clear that her flattery of Dawn was in service of that goal.
Also, at least in our culture, women are generally more open than men about expressing affection in entirely platonic contexts. When a woman compliments another woman or expresses how much she cares for that woman, it doesn't automatically imply anything sexual or romantic as it probably would if a man in our culture said such things. Since the participants in the scene were two women, it never even occurred to me that there was anything flirtatious about what Trys said.