Author Topic: Past Passed, Present Present  (Read 9873 times)

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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2009, 11:21:11 PM »
As soon as Mia re-entered the room, Lam uncrossed her legs and sat up again, crossing her long limbs at the ankle as any lady should and taking her drink with a grateful, "Thank you!"  After swallowing a mouthful - and then having another appreciative gulp - her eyes fell closed until she made a noise of happiness, then they opened again.  She looked from Mia to Dagger and back again.

"Oh my!  This is wonderful!  I believe Irene has got even more skilled in her advancing age!" she chuckled offhandedly, believing that the lemonade had to have been created by Dagger\'s serving woman.  She knew Mia had, originally, entered the house under the guise of cook but believed that everything would have reverted back to the way it had been, once the pair were married (the fact that Mia answered the door meant nothing to her, for she was generally so bored with only a two month old for company that she leapt at the door should anyone knock, too.

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #31 on: July 17, 2009, 03:36:13 AM »
Mia took a seat, cupping a glass in her hand and giving a smile at Lam’s appreciative noise, sipping her own slowly. She’d made this batch early that morning and although she had learnt some things from Irene, this was her own recipe. But her smile faltered at Lam’s comment about the older woman and she glanced down at the glass, swirling the liquid around. It was her fault Irene was no longer here, her fault that the loyal servants Dagger had had for so many years had been sent away.

He’d done it to protect her and Jem, she knew that. And they were still well taken care of, but she couldn’t help feeling a little guilty about the whole situation.

Mia didn’t want to tell Lam though, it wasn’t her place and she was too modest to claim the praise for the lemonade for herself. So she busied herself straightening out an almost invisible wrinkle in her skirt, staying quiet for now and waiting for Dagger to tell his story of what had happened.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #32 on: July 17, 2009, 07:50:57 AM »
Dagger gave Lam the same line as he\'d given his other visitors when they\'d dropped by, but it was harder to tell her, somehow.  Still gently bouncing Pandora in his arms, his gaze flicked to Mia and then to Lam.

"Lewis and Irene have finally had enough of me," he said with a tone of amusement in his voice.  The practised lie had sounded so smooth the many times he\'d said it, but it felt oddly forced now.  "They wanted to retire so I\'ve set them up in a cottage in Harwood - that\'s where Irene\'s mother grew up you know," he added, changing his script in the hope he would sound more natural, but it felt transparent at best.  Lam would know something was up, but she would likely not know why he would lie to her about this.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2009, 03:36:40 PM »
"Oh," Lam stated, not hiding her surprise.  Even if she hadn\'t noticed Dagger\'s bright response and uncharacteristically enthusiastic body language, she\'d have known something was awry simply because he\'d apparently let someone go voluntarily.  He was a man who valued fealty and loyalty above all else and he\'d had two confidantes throughout his years that had seen and known things they\'d never spoken about - like her sneaking out of his bedchambers to start an early shift on more times than either of them were comfortable with anyone knowing about.
 
Sure, there\'d been rumours about her and Dagger aplenty through the twelve years of their affair, but they\'d always been certain that such gossip had never been fuelled by the people who actually knew the truth (or they wouldn\'t have been mere rumours; someone would have wanted to make a point by outing them).  Lewis and Irene had been loyal people.
 
It seemed odd that he\'d let his two most trusted servants just simply leave, even if they were of retiring age.  Lam knew better than anyone how Balthus was not one to simply let things end until he was good and ready to... and she didn\'t get the sense that he had been, from the way he was looking at her now.  Still, how could she question him?  She wouldn\'t, in front of Mia... and what would she say, anyway?  That she knew he was lying?  Why would he lie about that?
 
Besides, for all she knew, Lewis and Irene\'s departure was not controversial at all; possibly there\'d been a falling out or just some change in their life circumstances.  Look at her situation; she\'d lost her own faithful servant because he\'d unexpectedly fallen in love with a man (who still loved her husband, in a surprising little twist), one never knew when things could change completely.
 
"So, it\'s you who I should compliment, then!" she exclaimed, finally deciding to turn her thoughtful gaze from Dagger and direct it at Mia instead.  The matter of his absent servants could wait for another time - or until he was ready to tell her more - she would stick with the safer subjects of lemonade and babies for the time being.  "This is delicious, Mia, you must tell me how you make it so sweet - I\'m a sucker for sweet."  She directed a sly grin towards Dagger that couldn\'t be helped (though she managed not to wink).  He knew how much she loved anything sugary.

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #34 on: July 17, 2009, 11:47:49 PM »
Mia raised her eyes as she heard Lam direct her attention back to her and she smiled, relieved that Lam wasn’t questioning the story. Also, Lam seemed to have known Irene well, from the way she mentioned her so personally, but she was leaving the subject, which Mia was grateful for.

“Thank you,” she replied with a smile, the tension fading from her shoulders. “Of course I can tell you sometime,” she added. The idea of having family secrets like recipes was a foreign one to Mia since her mother had never passed anything like that down to her. “I could write it down for you if you like sometime before you go,” she added, perking up slightly and flashing Dagger a grin at that idea. He’d taught her how to read and write after she’d moved into the house and Mia took every opportunity to practise. She was still a little slow at writing but from copying Dagger’s letters her handwriting was quite good and she wrote out most of her recipes so her spelling of things involved in recipes was quite good so she wouldn’t be ashamed of giving Lam a recipe she’d written out.

“You might have to give me a recipe in return though,” Mia added, giving Lam a warm smile.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #35 on: July 18, 2009, 01:41:14 AM »
Lam pulled a face that could only be described as a cringe, immediately projecting that her skills in the kitchen weren\'t anything worthy of swapping - or even writing down.

"See, now if you wanted to know how to skin something you\'ve freshly shot - a rabbit or a deer, perhaps - and how to cook it over an open fire, then I\'m your source.  If, however, you\'re more interested in mixing herbs and creating beautiful masterpieces in a kitchen... well, I\'m definitely not.  Balthus will vouch that I haven\'t got a skilled cooking bone in me," she smirked, nodding towards her old friend.

He\'d accompanied her on numerous outdoor camping sojourns - generally so that they could seclude themselves in the wilderness, make love freely whenever and wherever they felt like and not have to worry about being found (generally naked) out by people - and knew how skilled she was at the basic stuff.  Once, she\'d also thought it would be a romantic gesture to cook for him when she was much younger and quickly found herself in a disaster zone that only Matthew had been able to get her out of, so Dagger also knew the horrors of the other end of the spectrum, too.

Out of the two of them, he\'d definitely nabbed the wife with the talents that counted, she thought... though it just made her melancholy to do it.

"If my serving man were still in Oberon, I\'d be able to get him to give you something worthwhile, but, alas, he\'s also gone to Greece!"

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #36 on: July 18, 2009, 02:43:45 AM »
Mia smiled and gave a quiet chuckle at Lam’s words and the look on her face at the idea of cooking. Mia had had to skin animals on occasion, but never cooked it outside like she assumed Lam was talking about. Her uncle had sometimes brought home game for her to prepare for him, but mostly small stuff, she’d only had to do a deer once and it wasn’t an experience she really wished to repeat.

As Lam mentioned her serving man being away Mia tilted her head to one side thoughtfully, then glanced across at Balthus briefly before turning back to Lam with a smile.

“Well if your main cook isn’t at home, then you could always come around here for a meal,” Mia suggested. If Lam was so terrible at cooking then Mia guessed she must have a couple of servants to prepare food, but since her husband wasn’t in the country then perhaps we would welcome the company. There weren’t many people Mia felt comfortable around, but Lam seemed like a nice person and both of the redheads were new mothers so they should have lots to talk about. And if Lam and Dagger were old friends then it might be nice to have her around more often - Mia could see no reason why Dagger should protest. Even if it was as Mia suspected and they had been more than friends once, they looked like they had been getting on well today with the arguments of before forgotten, or at least pushed aside.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #37 on: July 18, 2009, 11:18:19 PM »
Dagger listened to their chatter while continuing to rock Pandora, who was quiet but very obviously not sleepy.  Every now and then she\'d make a soft noise, and he was quite taken with her.  When Lam mentioned her cooking, he made a light snorting sound, and looked her way, his eyes shining with humour.  If Mia knew what was good for her, she\'d keep Lam right away from the kitchen.

He tuned out as soon as Greece was mentioned, but tuned right back in when Mia invited Lam over for dinner with a very open invitation.  Blinking his surprise at the baby in his arms, he then cast a wary gaze on Lam.  Dining between his ex-lover and his wife would be peculiar, to say the least.  If he was feeling the way he was feeling with just a short visit from Lam, then what would he be like at the end of a long meal, and then retiring to his bedroom, alone, where Mia would go to her own?  It was a bad idea.

"That sounds wonderful," he said, contradicting his thoughts and leaving him to wonder what the hell he thought he was doing.  "You could come over tomorrow night."

He shut his mouth after that, though there was a dimwitted smile on his face (or so it felt - he hoped it looked better to the two seated ladies).
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #38 on: July 18, 2009, 11:40:41 PM »
She was just debating the pros and cons of sharing a meal at the Dagger household when the man himself piped in with an enthusiastic invitation for the next night.  She looked at him in query, blinking her surprise firstly at him, and then looking at Mia.

"Uh, well... that\'s not too little notice?  I do have a new cook you know - I\'d be dead and Pandora would be doomed, if not - so I\'m not destitute but, oh but it would be lovely to get out of the house again!" she exclaimed, interrupting herself in her excitement at the prospect of another visit so soon - it didn\'t rain, it poured!

"You know what?  I\'d love to come, and then the three of you can come to my place next week so I can return the favour - goodness, you should feel free to drop by at any time, really, I get so bored with only a two-moon-old baby and a mostly-Greek-speaking guard to talk to that I end up conversing with myself most days," she laughed.

Truly, the prospect of dinners to have and people to come over and a place to go as well had her giddy with anticipation.  In the swell of such positive emotions, it was easy to forget her earlier jealousy and ill will towards Mia; it had been a passing fancy and nothing serious to worry about.

She eyed off Pandora, who was becoming more and more active in Balthus\' hold.  Her aching breasts told her that it was mealtime for the baby, even if her increasing agitation didn\'t (though she was being surprisingly well behaved in a man\'s arms... it was hard to tell if it was because she was being held or whether it was because she was being held by a man) and she knew that this was the right moment to take her leave.

"I really should take Pandora home for her lunch," she announced, sounding suitably upset by the prospect - and she was.  After she got home and fed the baby, she would sleep and Lam would be alone to contemplate her empty manor again, but the alternative was feeding her here and the thought of going somewhere to bare her breasts with Balthus nearby... left a peculiar feeling in her gut.  One best not explored.  She stood up and walked towards Dagger, preparing to reclaim her daughter, but looking between her two hosts once more.  "What time would you like us back here tomorrow night?"

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #39 on: July 19, 2009, 02:11:03 AM »
“Not at all, it’s fine,” Mia said, smiling as both of them agreed that it was a good idea and then her smile grew as Lam returned the offer. That meant that she wasn’t just accepting to be polite, didn’t it? Mia wasn’t quite up to scratch with all of the formalities of noble life, but she was gradually getting used to it. Fortunately Lam seemed a little more relaxed than most of the women in the circles Dagger existed in, so Mia felt as though she could relax a little more with her. Of course, they were still from different worlds, but the gap was getting smaller.

“Well any time you feel like you’re going crazy you can come around here as well,” Mia said with a smile. “It would probably be good for Jem to be around youngsters more often,” she added, before he face fell slightly as Lam mentioned that she should be going.

“Oh, of course,” she said, standing up as Lam did. She almost offered Lam a place to go and feed Pandora, but she didn’t want to seem too pushy. Maybe Lam was tired and wanted to go home, although she didn’t look too pleased about the prospect of going.

“Well, we usually eat after Jem’s gone down, about half past seven,” Mia said, glancing at the small clock in the room. “But you could come around earlier if you would like? Then you could put down Pandora here so you don’t have to disturb her?” Mia added thoughtfully. Pandora still looked a little young to play with Jem, but maybe it would be less stressful for Lam to be able to put her to sleep here rather than trying to transport her and keep her asleep. “Whatever’s easiest for you,” she finished with as she watched Lam and Dagger with Pandora.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #40 on: July 19, 2009, 03:34:47 PM »
"Alright, I will likely be here a bit before seven then, because Pandora generally has a half-six feed and sleeps around then.  Her next feed\'s generally mid-night and she\'s been very good about sleeping until sunup lately, so I\'m hoping that continues," she laughed, sharing all this mothering information with the one who would be most interested - Mia.

At the conclusion of her speech, however, she turned to look up at Balthus and couldn\'t stop her smile softening as she gazed up at him.  My, she\'d forgotten what it was like to look up at a man, given that so few were taller than her and she\'d retired from guard life (the mecca of tall men in the city)... she\'d forgotten what it was like to look up at him and her body tingled to be near him again, his heat felt like a physical touch since she was so close (a necessity to reclaiming Pandora, she told herself).

"Mind if I take my daughter back before she\'s so enchanted with you I\'ll never get her settled?" she joked, but her voice was husky, her gaze admiring and she couldn\'t help but feel buoyant that he hadn\'t rejected her, that he\'d held her baby for so long and seemed to genuinely like her.  He\'d washed away all her concerns so thoroughly that all she was left with was feeling fond love and admiration for him; to the point where she wanted to lean up on tippy toes and kiss him gratefully or hug him firmly, but she knew both were inappropriate responses.  She would just have to settle for exuding gratitude and positive feelings instead.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #41 on: July 23, 2009, 11:05:13 PM »
Dagger listened to the women talk between themselves and felt very much like a third wheel.  It was worse that the pair of them were chatting to each other when he knew his ex-lover more intimately than he knew his wife.  He suspected that neither of them would discuss him - in fact, he hoped against Talon\'s name that they wouldn\'t - but it was still odd being in the middle of women talk.  When the ladies had tea, the men would retreat elsewhere, and that was the way things were supposed to be.

In the meantime, he had a baby in his arms that was beginning to fuss a great deal more.  It seemed she was starting to have enough of him, and with relief he gave her back to her mother (and missing the weight of her in his arms already, though he would never admit such a thing to anyone).

"Of course," he said, then stood in the middle of the lounge without anything to hold and felt a great deal more awkward than he looked.  His hands went behind his back and he nodded farewell to Lam like a gentleman should.

Mia was an afterthought as he watched Lam take her daughter and settle her, his concentration broken only as he caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of his eye.  He smiled warmly at her, though it felt unnatural on his lips (and he figured Lam would notice the difference but Mia would likely not - he didn\'t know how well his wife knew him).
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2009, 11:28:12 PM »
Amongst much of a flurry of reattaching blankets and settling Pandora onto her chest for the walk home - not to mention reclaiming her bags of supplies - Lam was relatively quick to leave once she\'d made up her mind to do so.

She bade both her hosts a fond farewell, promising to see them the next night and reminding them to let her know if she needed to bring anything in particular (wincing internally as she said that, for how were they to let he know such a thing without servants?  And the thought of Dagger strolling over to the manor simply to tell her that they\'d like her to bring a dessert just... set her heart to palpitating).

When all was said and done, she left with a determined stride to her long legs, feeling brighter and enthusiastic about her upcoming socialisation (though not so keen about the hot walk home).  Likely, as soon as the door was closed on her and her squawking infant, the Dagger household seemed very quiet indeed, in her wake.

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #43 on: July 24, 2009, 06:30:23 AM »
Mia watched Lam take Pandora from Dagger, noticing the lingering look but she quickly brushed it away as a mother checking after her child. As Lam arranged herself to carry her daughter home Mia quickly tidied up the tray, putting the glasses back, and when she glanced up she noticed Dagger smiling at her. A different smile to the one he had given Lam, but Mia wasn’t good enough at reading people to know how forced it was and she gave him a warm smile in return before escorting Lam out, chatting away, insisting that Lam needn’t bring anything the next night and that she shouldn’t worry about it.

Mia watched the older redhead retreating for a few moments before shutting the door behind her and she gave a small sigh as the latch clicked into place. She had no idea what she was supposed to be thinking or feeling right now. She wanted to know more about Lam, to find out what her relationship with Dagger had been, why had there been that argument and now… just friendship? But she wouldn’t ask Dagger. She couldn’t. And she wouldn’t ask Lam either, even if she had the chance. No, Mia would keep her nose out to keep the peace. She turned back to the reception room to gather up the tray, pulling off the black shawl she had worn when Lam had arrived and hanging it up as she moved. But when she spotted Balthus Mia paused, folding her hands before her as she gazed at him, giving him a small smile.

“I hope I wasn’t out of line? Inviting Lam to dinner?” she asked quietly. Yes, Balthus had agreed and set the date, but she hoped that it hadn’t simply been out of politeness. Maybe the tension had been because neither of them had forgotten the fight and Mia was simply imagining everything else.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Past Passed, Present Present
« Reply #44 on: July 25, 2009, 07:38:39 AM »
Dagger smiled at her, a great deal less forced now that Lam was out of his eyesight, and also put an arm around her waist before kissing her temple.

"Any invitation you extend is fine," he told her, knowing that she only consorted with nobility nowadays.  "I\'ll find us some help that I trust having in this house soon, I promise."  It was a promise he\'d started to extend to her for a few days now, and decided he would choose the best out of what options he had if it got to the end of the week and he still couldn\'t find anyone he properly liked.

He knew, in the back of his mind, that he was really looking for Lewis and Irene in others.  The couple had been getting older though, and he\'d started feeling guilty about them being in his employ but he\'d grown so used to having them around.  Not trusting them to keep his secret was justification - they wouldn\'t tell anyone, but they would\'ve fussed at him in his private hours, likely when Mia was out.  They\'d already given him meaningful looks when he\'d announced he\'d proposed to her, and he\'d seen the many future comments in their eyes - likely more from Lewis than from Irene.  So he\'d sent them away, appeasing both his conscience about their age and telling himself it was to protect a secret they would talk about.  Yes, they\'d talk about it.  With him.

"Come, Mia, let us read together in the lounge."  His request was dominantly one of tutoring.  She would read something from his collection and he would listen.  She was getting better, but she still struggled with certain words, and he wanted her as confident with reading as she could get.  She thought she was good at writing, and she was, but her script was like that of a child\'s, and he had to teach her the flourished script of a noblewoman, like one who had grown up with a quill in her hand.  With her he was patient and understanding, and he liked who he was when she was near, for without her at his side, he was still impatient and rude to others - and he\'d never sought to change that in himself.
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