Author Topic: Past Passed, Present Present  (Read 9851 times)

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Offline Trillian

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2009, 02:12:45 AM »
Dagger liked the subtle reference of inside knowledge, and he nodded very slightly to show that he did, indeed, know how she was when left to her own devices.  He wondered about this faraway war and where Lam\'s husband heart really lay - with his woman or with his country.  He recalled the fellow having some sort of noble standing, maybe even royal, at his home.  At least he\'d had the decency not to cart his wife and child with him, exposing them to danger.  Dagger much preferred the idea of Lam staying right where she was, in Oberon.

"I would like it very much," he said, knowing that Lam would also have believed the lie that the baby Mia produced was his.  He wanted to reveal his secret, for he\'d never had one from her - she\'d been his secret (an ill-kept one) for so many years that he\'d blurted every truth he\'d ever held in his heart to her, because he couldn\'t lie to everyone.  She knew him better than anyone else, perhaps even better than himself.  Thing was, to tell her about Jeremy\'s lineage would only bring about a series of questions that he wasn\'t prepared to answer, and it would only serve to hurt Mia.  He couldn\'t do that to her; to reveal their secret to a woman he\'d once bedded and now rarely saw.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2009, 02:40:10 AM »
Buoyed by his agreement, she practically skipped over to her sleeping infant, picking her up without her blanket and supporting just her head and her backside as she swung back to face Dagger.  From the way she was holding the baby, it was clear that she expected him - a father now experienced at such things - to take her and hold her.

"Balthus, this is Pandora," she said, her voice low but by no means a whisper as she very formally introduced her once-love to her child.  "I\'m sorry, she, uh, got my height," she apologised as she more or less forced the long-limbed baby into his arms - insisting even if he tried to refuse.  When he\'d taken her, Lam stepped back, smiling proudly - but the expression froze on her face as the scene before her registered on a whole new level.

Choking on the sudden lump in her throat, Lam pressed a clenched fist to her mouth in an effort to stop from crying out in anguish - the emotion tore through her anyway, despite the way her other arm crossed over her stomach and clenched, like it would ease her suffering.  Tears swam in her eyes and she couldn\'t stop looking from her child - hers and Kysis\', certainly, but hers enough by feature that she was identifiable as a miniature version of her - up to the man she\'d wanted to give such a gift to for many years.

Everything suddenly seemed wrong again, because he was holding her baby but it wasn\'t his... his was upstairs being put down for its nap, by a woman she barely knew but whom she was beginning to actively dislike - for no sound reason.  "Oh... gods," she sobbed, stepping close to Dagger and doing her best to rein her emotions in, even as she tried to explain them.  "I\'m sorry, it\'s just... hard to see... after so much... wishing and... somehow... it looks right but it\'s wrong, wrong and... you have your o-own," she sniffled, pressing her face against his shoulder and wrapping her arms about his waist miserably.  "He\'s beautiful, too.  I\'m sorry.  I shouldn\'t feel so... jealous."  There, she\'d admitted it... but it didn\'t make her feel any better.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2009, 02:49:01 AM »
He hushed her when she broke apart before him, his arm extending to accept her when she came close, soothing and consoling her.

What had he done?  Only now, with Lam pressed against him and with one arm around her shoulders and another holding her baby pressed to his chest (supported easily thanks to the practice he\'d had with Jeremy), did he feel trapped.  They were both trapped; she with a husband who was fighting an unknown war (and might come back home at any time, it was possible) and him with a woman who hadn\'t yet offered herself to him in bed.  He barely kissed her on the lips, let alone touched her naked skin, and he hadn\'t pressed the issue either, content to just wait her out.  She\'d surprised him though, for he\'d thought a woman who\'d had a child with another man wouldn\'t be so prim about her body with the man who\'d married her.  He hadn\'t even seen her nude form, choosing not to disturb her as she bathed, waiting, waiting for permission from her.

"Does he write?" he asked, not wanting to turn the conversation back to the man who she\'d given herself to, but wanting her to be happy, even if he didn\'t have that for himself - he could be content.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2009, 03:01:27 AM »
At first, she shook her head wordlessly, composing herself.  With a great amount of willpower (and a discreetly blown nose), she then pulled away from him enough to look into his eyes - so perfectly high above her own - tucking her handkerchief back into the sleeve at her wrist.

"No," she clarified, in case he\'d missed the head shake.  "He left when Pandora was five days old - we fought over it, because it takes weeks for news to travel that far and by the time he heard that attacks had been launched, one could only suppose that the worst had happened and there was little point to him rushing off.  Especially since the envoy said his parents were safely hidden.  But he went and I think it\'s very unlikely I\'ll hear anything from him until he comes back - unless Matthew writes something and dispatches a courier from a passing town, I suppose."

This last was said offhandedly, for she was too busy thinking about the way Dagger looked holding her baby to consider the fact that he wouldn\'t know why her manservant would be travelling rapidly south with her husband.  What did it matter though, when all she was capable of focussing on was what was in front of her eyes?  "Do you enjoy being a father?" she whispered quietly, looking deeply into his eyes.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2009, 01:41:57 PM »
He could hear Mia\'s footsteps upstairs as she left her baby, listening as her light steps creaked on the top rise.  Only a few more things could be said and then she would be upon them.  He disliked the sneaky way he was already thinking and feeling, but there was little he could do regarding his emotions upon sighting Lam.  Other than to choose to have nothing to do with her, he saw no other way to control how he was reacting, and he wasn\'t about to go so far.

He didn\'t ask about her manservant being with Kysis, though he did think it somewhat unusual.  There were multiple reasons to his letting it go, mostly because the couple that had worked for him for years were now nowhere to be seen.  It had been evident when Mia herself answered the door that he lacked a servant.  He was interviewing for another live-in though, for having his servants come and go during different hours was inconvenient.  He\'d grown used to having someone serve him whenever he wished it, and wanted Mia to accustom herself to the ways of nobility also.

As Lam had jealous thoughts of Mia, so too did Dagger of Kysis, half-heartedly wishing the man would come to harm, so that he couldn\'t cause Lam further grief.  Why in Talon\'s dread name had she chosen to marry a foreigner?  Her soft question brought him out of his brief reverie and he began to bounce Pandora gently, which brought about an inquisitive look on her small face, causing him to smile at her.  "I do," he said, failing to meet Lam\'s gaze in order to smile upon her daughter instead.  Had he known the look he would\'ve received from her, he would\'ve met that gaze willingly, but he was rapt with the child she\'d produced.  Her babe, the one that could\'ve (should\'ve) been his.  There\'d been a couple of scares during their tryst, both times ending in relief that his seed hadn\'t sprouted life within her.  How foolish they\'d been.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2009, 02:19:15 PM »
She followed his gaze and was startled to note that Pandora had awoken while in dagger\'s arms - and not loudly, as usual.  That was the difference between being cradled by gentle arms and an inanimate bed, she supposed.  She made a little noise of surprise, and glanced back at Dagger.

"You\'re surprisingly good at it," she teased, feeling better about things and smiling at him.  She wasn\'t thinking about Mia at all, anymore, just this, here and now, looking over his bowed features in profile and feeling happy.  "I don\'t know what we worried about, all those times.  I bet you can\'t wait until your son is older... then you can teach him... some of your good habits."

Her smile was positively devilish now, as she tried to get a rise out of him - as an old friend should.

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2009, 10:50:33 AM »
Mia quietly descended the stairs, relieved that Jem had gone down easily, with only a few small grumbles, but once he got his thumb between his lips and his other hand wrapped around his bear’s arm he settled peacefully. She quickly managed to locate the basket and laid out a soft blanket inside before heading back down to the room she had left Lam in. She thought she had heard Dagger enter the house so didn’t worry too much about their guest being left alone, but that didn’t mean she wanted to linger, just in case Dagger hadn’t gone through.

As she entered the room Mia caught Lam’s last few words and she paused slightly just inside the door, unsure of whether or not she was interrupting or whether she was supposed to have not heard Lam mentioning being worried about something they needn’t have. Her gaze flickered between the two briefly, settling on her husband holding Pandora, looking at her in a way not dissimilar to how he looked at Jem. But there was something slightly different there - perhaps she was imagining it, maybe it was just the surprise of seeing him look at Pandora as though she was his. She’d never really seen him with any other children though, maybe that was just how he looked at all children. Somehow she doubted it though.

And the look Lam was giving him, it looked so much more personal than the way Mia looked at him. She knew she wasn’t exactly his ideal wife, but she tried. It was just so difficult for her - she couldn’t remember ever seeing her own parents together and where else could she have learnt it? And after everything with her uncle and Ridley, most of which she hadn’t told Dagger, she was too nervous to take further steps which she thought she should. And so when so many women would have felt a rush of jealousy upon seeing their husband so close to another woman, holding a child who was not his own, Mia instead felt a pang of guilt. Perhaps if she was able to look at him like that, make easy banter and relax, and performed the duties expected of a wife, there would be no need for her to feel any worry about this situation. Maybe.

“Here’s the basket,” she said quietly, stepping further into the room and gesturing slightly with the large basket and moving to put it by the couch where Lam had been seated before. It didn’t look as though it was needed any more now though, not if Dagger was going to keep hold of her. As she straightened up again Mia clasped her hands in front of her, feeling like an intruder on a private moment. Dagger hadn’t ever spoken to her about Lam, but there was something in the air, something unfamiliar to the young woman.

“Would you like anything to drink, Lam?” she asked, finally letting her gaze settle on the older redhead. She knew Dagger didn’t want her behaving like a servant, but when there was no one else in the house to help she had to and couldn’t help feeling like she was below these two, like she wasn’t worthy of taking part with whatever they were speaking of and she should be serving them instead.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2009, 10:40:03 PM »
Dagger gave Lam a crooked smile, the twist of his lips letting Lam know that her ribbing was taken well, but there was a look in his eyes that was warm to her previous words.  He was about to tell her that he was looking forward to it, when Mia entered the room and caused the room\'s energy to change, or so he thought.

As soon as he tensed, the baby in his arms began fussing, detecting a change in the man that was holding her.  She started to make sounds of protest being where she was, and Dagger recognised it enough to coo to her, as he did to Jeremy, in an attempt to soothe her.  When his attention was fully on her again, she settled, and he was very pleased to have such an impact on her.  He fancied that perhaps she could detect that he loved her as much as the baby he was claiming as his own son (or more, though he would not reveal this depth of emotion even to himself).

He frowned when Mia offered Lam a drink, though she was playing the part of a good hostess.  He was more disappointed that he was forcing her to play the part of a servant, for he\'d found none that yet measured up to his standards.  He would have to ask Lam for her input, if she could ask around for him, for he was beginning to exhaust his own contacts.

He felt too guilty in the room between the woman he loved and the woman he\'d married, so looked at the youngest female instead, smiling at her fascinated and curious gaze, which couldn\'t seem to fix on him and travelled everywhere.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2009, 07:06:22 PM »
"Oh!" Lam cried, pivoting on the ball of one foot so that she was both slightly away from Dagger and also able to look at Mia properly.  A blush tinged her cheeks and she felt absurdly guilty, even though she\'d done nothing to feel guilty about

except flirt with him and reference things from times long gone...when you were lovers

except talk with an old friend and compliment their parenting skills.  Still, the feeling remained and she fiddled with her hair as her gaze fell upon the basket, relieved to change the subject and hoping madly that she hadn\'t been overheard.

"Thank you, Mia!" she gushed enthusiastically (a tad too enthusiastically?  She hoped not).  "She woke up when I handed her to... uh, Balthus, but I\'m sure it won\'t be long before she wants to be fed and falls asleep again - or he wants to put her down.  She does get heavy," she laughed, feeling even more self conscious about using her former lover\'s name.  It was ingrained in her to call him Dagger in front of others, for he very rarely shared his true name, but it was what his wife referred to him as, so she knew it was just a silly habit she needed to get out of.  Odd, that instinct should be so strong, even after two years of being apart.

"And yes, I\'d love a cool drink, if you wouldn\'t mind.  The walk over here was hotter than I expected!" she explained, not having any ulterior motive for asking for a drink beyond the fact that she was thirsty - but her thirst was amplified by her accentuated emotions just then, so it all seemed to serve that pervading feeling of guilt.  "I could get it though," she offered spontaneously, taking a step towards the kitchen (a place she\'d generally only ever been when Dagger\'s servants were away visiting family) and raising her eyebrows questioningly at Mia.  "If you\'re alright with her?" she then asked Dagger, nodding towards Pandora.

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2009, 03:49:53 AM »
Mia watched a look of guilt spread over Lam’s face with a calm expression on her own, mildly wondering what exactly they had been speaking about, but she had been taught a long time to not ask questions and pry where she might not be wanted. She simply gave a small smile, much like the one Dagger was giving her, as Lam began to speak about the basket and needing it.

Her dark eyes blinked in surprise as Lam suggested she go get the drinks and her face mimicked Lam’s, her eyebrows lifting as she too took a step towards the kitchen. It was bad enough trying to learn how to be a noble when she didn’t know how and didn’t have servants to stop her from doing the things Dagger didn’t want her to, but there was no way she was going to let a high ranking woman wait on her. Mia knew she wouldn’t be able to handle that well.

“Oh, no, of course not. I’ll do it. You stay here with Balthus, I’m sure you still have a lot to catch up on,” she said, glancing towards Dagger and finally letting her gaze settle on him, her smile fading slightly as she watched him fuss over Pandora. Mia may not have known exactly what they were speaking about, but she’d recognised that tone that Lam had been using - it was one she didn’t know how to use really and had never wanted to, more than just old friends catching up.

“Besides, Pandora might not be too happy being left with two strangers,” she added after a moment, looking back to Lam, trying to ignore the fact that Pandora looked perfectly happy in Dagger’s arms, as happy as if he were her father, someone who’d played with her every day of her life. She felt a sudden jolt of nerves at that thought - what if Balthus had met her before? She knew he hadn’t been going out as much as he used to, but there were still times when she didn’t know where he had been and Mia hadn’t asked. And if Lam’s husband wasn’t home…

“I’ll be right back,” she said quietly, dropping her gaze as she turned to leave them alone again. If he had met Pandora before then she didn’t want to know. What good would it do? There was no way she would confront him about it so it was best simply not to think about it, to push the thought from her mind as she quickly left the room, her soft shoes padded gently along the wooden corridor as she headed for the kitchen before Lam could protest further.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2009, 07:21:35 AM »
Lam breathed a sigh of relief as the other woman left the room, pressing her hand to her forehead as she plodded back to the settee she\'d been occupying and sat down with a twirl and a flurry of skirts.  It gave her enough time to be sure Mia was out of earshot, so she could comment.

"Shit.  I feel so stupid - and guilty!" she exclaimed, throwing her hand in the air in a nonplussed manner and giving Dagger an ironic look.  "And we weren\'t even doing anything!"  Still, her chuckle and grin were very familiar as she looked warmly at him, feeling conspiratorial despite her proclamations of innocence.

She sat back on the settee and crossed her right leg over her left in a very unladylike manner, leaning back on her left elbow and resting her cheek thoughtfully on her fist to complete the picture.  She suddenly remembered leaning back and surveying Dagger when they were in bed like this, and was surprised to feel... conscious of the fact she wasn\'t nude.

"Was that a dig, do you think?  That bit about Pandora being left with two strangers?" she mused, frowning at Dagger.  He would know his wife better than she did but it seemed to her that the littler redhead had been a bit... snippy with the two of them.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2009, 11:04:31 AM »
Dagger watched as Mia disappeared to fetch a glass of water or lemonade - whatever it was she chose to return with - and his gaze found Lam again.  His eyes widened somewhat at her admission of guilt, for he\'d felt it too, and thought that he knew where it stemmed from.  Both of them were wanting to go back to the way things were before, he thought (or hoped, was the better word).  He smirked at the way she sat but said nothing until the questions came at him.

Dagger smiled and frowned at the same time, shaking his head slightly.  "No, that wasn\'t a dig.  There\'s not a double edged bone in her body," he said, and wondered if perhaps that was why she wasn\'t as comfortable with him as she should be, for even though he\'d been good to her, maybe she sensed he wasn\'t a good man.

He looked down at Pandora at the mention of her name, and smiled at her, offering her his finger to grab, which she plainly ignored.

"She has your mindset already," he said shrewdly.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #27 on: July 14, 2009, 07:33:26 PM »
Lam continued her run of unladylike mannerisms by grunting and staring disdainfully at her daughter.  "You think I\'m bad, you should get to know her father better.  I tell you, the child has no hope; she\'ll be scrapping at the back of the taverns and likely arrested before she\'s ten, with our mindsets combined in her," she predicted, nodding at the innocent babe in Dagger\'s arms.

In reality, she maligned her daughter in jest but prayed nightly to Adora for the ability to guide and protect her now and in the future - especially without Kysis around.  She really would very likely be a willful handful as she grew.  "I will have to pay careful attention to her around Jem," she intoned ominously, looking at Dagger with glittering eyes, a smirk lingering around her lips as she implied that the spirit of his father in the child would make it dangerous for her daughter to be near him as he matured.

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #28 on: July 16, 2009, 04:38:40 AM »
Mia quickly headed for the kitchen pulling a jug of lemonade out of the cool larder as her mind raced. She knew Dagger wouldn’t flirt with other women when she was standing there, but that didn’t stop her from thinking about what he was doing when she wasn’t there. Maybe he wasn\'t doing anything at all, he could be completely innocent and she was making assumptions. But then again, if he was, did she really have any right to say he shouldn’t? After all it wasn’t as though their marriage was one of deep passion and longing only for one another. And so what if he used to be close to Lam? So what if he still was? Lam was married, and Mia trusted Balthus, he wouldn’t leave her and Jem, no matter what he felt for Lam and Pandora.

She took a steadying breath as she quickly pulled out three glasses and laid them out on the tray. Mia had no right to demand anything from Dagger and she knew that. So she would simply ignore it and stop letting her imagination run away with her. She wouldn’t hope it would go away, because that would be pointless, but she could grab hold of the fact that she was going to be alright. He would look after her, even when he had distractions.

Before returning to the room Mia made sure the smile was back on her face, and that it was a genuine one, by focusing on Balthus, her husband; Lam, perhaps a new friend and Pandora, a beautiful baby girl who might be good to have around Jem. Mia wasn’t going to let herself alienate Lam by letting her irrational worries affect how she treated the older redhead and her gorgeous daughter.

“Here we go,” Mia said with a warm smile as she entered the room again and carefully laid the small tray down on the coffee table. “Balthus, did you want a glass?” Mia asked, tucking her hair behind an ear as she poured out the drinks and then passed one carefully to Lam.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2009, 07:53:30 AM »
Reminding Dagger of the man Lam had married and who\'d fathered Pandora, his smile faltered.  His attitude had changed dramatically after finally getting married himself (knowing it was too late to offer such a thing to Lam after she was already married to Kysis), and playing father to Mia\'s child, announcing Jeremy as his.  In all respects, he would be Dagger\'s son, except in blood, and what did such a thing matter anyway?  The boy would call him his father when he got older, and that could be good enough.

Thinking of such things, Lam\'s joke fell flat, but he offered her a smile anyway.  It didn\'t have the cheeky appeal that his smiles usually did - rather it was quite the opposite, his gaze was sad.  He could feel it in his face so he lowered it to meet Pandora again, who burbled at him.  She was reaching up for his nose, and now he laughed.

"I think it\'s more likely to be the other way around," he said with a grin, and Mia then entered the room with the drinks tray.  He was offered a glass but shook his head to refuse it while at the same time speaking.  "No, thank you, Mia."

He wasn\'t frowning at her for serving, for what else was there for her to do when there were no longer servants in the house?  He really had to fix that.
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