Who: Arlet, J’kson, Jet, M’tan
Where: M’tan’s Office, Court of Shadows
What: Arlet and J’kson inform others that they’re getting married.
When the day dawns that Arlet and J’kson have designated as the one when they will tell her parents of their intent to marry, she pulls the blankets of her bed up over them both and snuggles back down to linger longer before facing what she imagines will be disapproval. In the days that have passed since their time on the beach, she’s found him a plain gold band she’s had inscribed with ‘my love’ on the inside, and now she holds his hand and idly turns the ring round and round before pressing a kiss to his palm and forcing herself to leave the comfort and safety of bed to bathe and dress to head to M’tan’s office. She doesn’t wait after knocking on the door, determined not to be put off, and tightens her hold on J’kson’s hand as she steps inside.
J’kson has not been able to fend off friendly jeers with knowing winks and nods of those who have pegged him as a ‘young man in love’. He watches Arlet turn his band with an induldgent smile, his fingers moving to grasp her hand when she turns to leave the bed so he might kiss the small fire agate stone that rests on the band he’d given to her. He does a more meticulous job than he usually does to prepare for the meeting, combing his hair and making sure his beard is trimmed tight to his face. He’s less nervous about the meeting than he should be, having faced M’tan’s ire enough times to be prepared to face it again. He follows after Arlet, holding her hand firmly in his. M’tan’s settled at his desk, pouring over a variety of papers and making notes in a ledger as he does so. One of Sister’s pups – now an adult to Sister’s senior self – gnaws on a bone near his feet. He looks up at their entrance and sets his pen down. “Hello,” he greets them with a small tug of his lips. “How might I help you two?’
“We thought you should know,” Arlet begins, levelling a somewhat indifferent stare on her step-father, “that we’re going to get married. You can celebrate with us and be happy, or you can choose to respond in whatever way you see fit, but it won’t change the fact that we will be getting married.” She glances up at J’kson, her gaze softening slightly and only for him, before returning her focus to M’tan. “If you want to be the one to tell my mother, then you can, but otherwise we will tell her.” Barely have the words left her lips than Jet appears in the doorway and looks both Arlet and J’kson up and down, the shadows beneath her eyes and features a little gaunt with weight lost lending her an altogether darker and sharper edge. “Tell me what?” she enquires, arching a brow.
M’tan takes the information without a flicker of emotion crossing his features. He smiles wider, arching a brow as he makes eye contact with J’kson. The bluerider moves to place his arm about Arlet’s shoulders, drawing her against him as he answers M’tan’s smile and waits for his response. Jet’s arrival has J’kson turning in unison with M’tan’s words, “Darling, come and sit down. Arlet and J’kson have some news for us.” His eyes twinkle with devilish intent as he tells J’kson, “Go ahead and tell her, since Arlet told me already. We can’t have it all fall on her shoulders.” J’kson clears his throat audibly as he waits for Jet to take a position near M’tan. “I’ve asked Arlet to marry me and she’s agreed,” he tells them both, his voice soft and unhurried. “We’ve also decided to open a gambling establishment outside of Bitra Hold, so we might gather information and money together without having to travel to every seedy establishment.” He waits, knowing the added information may redirect the conversation entirely.
Jet brushes past J’kson to go and sit on the edge of M’tan’s desk, her displeasure at that first bit of news immediate and all too obvious in the narrowing of her gaze. “Have you.” It’s not a question, her words a low and dangerous murmur. “I wonder—“ Arlet shakes her head, immediately interrupting her. “I already told M’tan that you can be happy for us, or angry, but it won’t change anything. We are going to be married. I appreciate that you rescued me from Fort and that you’ve looked after me and Aadi, but it doesn’t give you the right to pass judgement or tell me what I can or cannot do.” Rather than deign to give her a response, it’s J’kson Jet focuses on, declaring, “Married or not, if you ever fall into a bottle and so much as look at her the wrong way, you’ll be dealing with me. The first time I see her with bruises will be your last day breathing.”
J’kson draws Arlet closer to her and gives his first whole-heartedly angry response to Jet. “I would //never// abuse a woman //much// less my wife. I realize you and M’tan come from another time and place— that what you do here might give you a reason to believe those you employ //would// do something but that is not going to happen. Do not give me threats again. Last time Arlet was hurt it had nothing to do with me and //everything// to do with your husband and your errors!” M’tan sits back in his chair and reaches for Jet’s hand, moving to both draw her closer to him and hold him back as he levels his gaze on J’kson and Arlet. “If you intend on opening an establishment in the North you will do it in the Court’s name and we will take a profit. If you do not agree to this, I will not allow you to do it. I will not have our people believe you are fleeing your duties here to seek more money on your own.”
Jet observes J’kson with a low ripple of laughter and pushes away from M’tan’s desk to step right into the bluerider’s space, mindless of her current condition that might give other women pause. “I don’t think that you yet realise that I don’t deliver threats,” she murmurs, a sharp smirk all she has for him before she steps back the way she came and out of her husband’s office, all too delicately and carefully closing the door behind her. From the safety of J’kson’s arms, Arlet insists, “You can work with us on this or we’ll find a way to do it on our own without your word as law. You have no power to keep us here, unless you plan on turning on us?” She tilts her head a little. “I looked for my mother and for you because I wanted a family, not a Lord, and not someone else to tell me what I can do and what my worth is. We’ll work with you. Not for. Or it’s not a life worth living, waiting for someone to flog you for mistakes.”
J’kson’s stiffening is surely felt by Arlet as he clasps her shoulder and stares down at Jet as she comes up to him. He notices the bump that gives away Jet’s condition, though it isn’t what stops him from not striking at her in any way. He’s faced verbal threats his entire life and he meets hers with an impassive face. He turns the impassive face on M’tan, letting Arlet say what she needs to. M’tan is her family, after all. M’tan rises from his desk, moving around it to perch in front of it with a lazy air. He rubs at his chin thoughtfully, moving his eyes from the door where his mate has departed and back to Arlet and J’kson. “You have a habit of taking words literally, Arlet and I do not think I will ever get to overcome that with you. With the Court. For the Court. With, for. I don’t see the difference,” he shrugs, “I chalk that up to my limited education.” He folds his arms in front of him and eases himself on the corner of his desk. “Let’s work together on the venture. I’m sure we will find a mutual profit in it.” He looks to the door and holds his gaze there. “I’m not sure of what your mother will do with the matter of the marriage and the new business.” He looks to Arlet. “I am in no position to deny you your decisions. They are yours to make.” His smile is more smirk as he adds, locking eyes with J’kson. “We don’t tend to settle disagreements with floggings at the Court.”
“And you have a habit of assuming how far people are willing to serve, so I thought I’d better make it clear that I’m not going to spend my life worrying about how you might react to anything I choose to do,” Arlet replies, a little too much of her mother’s mannerisms there before she takes a breath and turns to press a kiss to J’kson’s cheek. “I’ll leave you two to settle it. You’re more likely to reach an agreement without my interference, I think, and my time might be better served attempting to proverbially disarm the Lady before her displeasure finds another target.” Before either of them might attempt to stop her placing herself in the line of fire, she slips free of J’kson’s arms and from the room, whether to immediately follow Jet or let her simmer for a while before locating her.