Take Two

Who: Isolwyn and C’aol
Where: Weyrwoman’s Weyr, Fort Weyr
What: A second attempt at romance goes far better.

With round one having been something of a failure and more time on her hands than she’s ever been accustomed to, Isolwyn has chosen this evening to try again with what supposedly ‘normal’ people who haven’t spent their lives in the public eye or with the weight of expectation upon them might do. It’s not a perfect emulation, given that, for her, travel is not really so wise an option, but she’s done her best, and perhaps a picnic before the hearth is ultimately a more comfortable thing than sitting out in the wild in some field or along a beach. The planning and setting out of it all has amused Eosyth somewhat, and she’s spent the past hour or so favouring the Weyr with the occasional burst of muted mirth at the expense of her anxious rider, who can now be heard muttering aloud, “Well, it’s easy for you, isn’t it? You haven’t spent your life being made to feel that to be demonstrative is to be a fool.”

Daaeserath has been indulgent of Eosyth’s mood, taken as he is with her mirth, he’s kept himself lounging on his ledge without any attempts to flicker his temper out against the rest of the Weyr. He watches in an idle way as some of the younger dragons play an avid game of chase in the fading light of the day. C’aol’s clueless of what may be waiting for him when he goes to seek Isolwyn out for the evening meal they usually share. He comes upon the picnic in front of the hearth as Isolwyn’s muttering to herself. He takes her words in and it erases the flicker of distrust and annoyance that had been prepared to settle on his brow. He clears his throat to make his presence known. “What a…,” he pauses as he kneels on the blanket, the struggle for words clear as he says, “nice surprise.” He leans towards Isolwyn to kiss her cheek gently before he considers what she’s set along the blanket.

A little startled, Isolwyn colours slightly when she realises she’s no longer alone, tension curving her inwards and making her appear smaller than she is, until she throws her shoulders back and straightens her posture. “It’s okay,” she murmurs as he kisses her cheek. “You can think it’s silly. I won’t be offended.” Half defeated before she’s even begun, she’s helped none by the fact that Eosyth continues to find it all ‘cute’ in a manner that she’s quite unused to. Much of what she’s set out are things that she knows C’aol favours, and now she cannot help but self-consciously tug at one corner of the blanket to needlessly straighten it. “You can think I’m silly too,” she offers a touch wryly. “That, I might be slightly more offended over.”

“I have never been to a picnic,” C’aol shares with her in an abrupt way, his discomfort less to do with finding the situation silly and more to the fact he isn’t quite sure what his role should be with what is presented to him. “Is that not sillier than having one in our home?” he offers to hopefully ease her self-consciousness. “You know my favorite foods,” he continues as he looks at the meat cuts he prefers, the type of bread, and other edibles that he’s prone to plating himself when they’re dining in the living caverns. “I don’t know yours,” he adds, looking to her. That he’s trying //extra// hard to keep the conversation flowing around the picnic and food is clear in the staccato way he’s approaching the conversation. At least he’s trying. “Will you tell me?”

“Neither have I,” Isolwyn admits, inching close enough that she can rest her head against C’aol’s shoulder. “It seemed a simple thing from afar, but surprisingly less so up close.” She lingers as she is for a moment or two more, then reaches to hand him a plate and a fork. “I thought I preferred savoury things, but I’ve particularly enjoyed iced cakes for much of the past year. Probably not what I’m supposed to have been eating and I don’t know if I’ll always like them. Try bringing me a cupcake in a couple of months and I suppose we’ll see.” Shooting him a small smile, she claims a plate for herself and selects some pieces of fruit. “Though I think you asking for a cupcake might give some people in the kitchen conniptions.”

“I hope you don’t intend for me to bake them,” C’aol says flatly and then offers her one of his rare smiles. “That is something I will not do. I will hire us the best baker from the Bakerscraft though, to complete the task.” He takes her offered plate and begins to dig in to the food, not knowing what exactly to say, he chooses silence while he eats in earnest. He watches her now and then, content to be beside her. When he has cleared his plate, he sets the plate and fork down. He leans forward to add another log to the hearth and then settles back on the blanket once more. He watches her for a moment and then says, “I love you.”

“I’ll not go quite that far,” Isolwyn promises, unable to keep from letting a low burble of laughter escape. Her focus goes a little distant as she stares into the fire for a few seconds, only to confess, “Though I admit I’m now considering more interesting uses for icing.” She has to duck her head to try and conceal her smirk, only to resort to making much of filling her own plate to hide the wickedness of its sharp edges. Likewise, she adopts silence for the duration of the meal, letting her head drop to C’aol’s shoulder every now and then. When he moves to add more fuel to the fire, she carefully sets her plate down and idly smoothes at her skirts, lifting her gaze to his as he returns to her side. Her dark eyes glimmer when he speaks, and a little more when she tells him, “I love you too.” Touching her lips to the line of his jaw, she murmurs, “Just as well we get to keep each other, really.”

C’aol moves to settle his arm around her, tucking her against his side as he turns his gaze to the spark of flames in the hearth. He has never asked after her health – or that of the child in her womb – and so it may come as a surprise as he turns to rest his other hand briefly on her stomach. “How are you feeling? Have you been resting as you should? Is the–,” he lets his hand leave her stomach as he clears his throat and finishes asking, “pregnancy going well? The baby is… growing as it should?” He looks at her then, expectantly, though his face is otherwise guarded as he waits for her answer.

Isolwyn turns her head a little to nuzzle against his shoulder as his hand finds her stomach, content to keep herself tucked against him. “Tired more frequently now, but I don’t feel ill. Some aches and pains, though I’m told that they’re normal.” Hesitate though she may, she is dry in her oath as she swears, “And I have been resting. The Healers were quite unimpressed with my efforts to continue as if nothing had changed and Eosyth has firmly sided with them. I think she notices things about me that I don’t.” She glances down at her abdomen with a wry twitch of her lips. “They all tell me the baby is fine and //I’m// the difficult one.” When she sobers, it’s to take a breath and murmur, “…It won’t be all that long now. Maybe a month and a little more. Do you… want to be there when they arrive? I don’t want to suggest to force your hand either way.”

C’aol keeps his arm about her shoulders as he considers Isolwyn’s question. “If you would like me there, I will be there. If you would rather do the act alone, you may.” He has limited to no experience and it shows by his obvious lack of having a set standard for how he should behave. He idly rubs his thumb along her shoulder as he stares at the flickering flames, lost in thought. “Where will you and the baby be living when this is done?” he asks finally, looking down at her and then back to the fire. The small amount of color that rises to his cheeks may be dismissed as artifacts from the heat of the hearth. There’s a tiny tic in his cheek as he struggles with himself. Finally, he tells, rather than asks Isolwyn, “It is time we stopped maintaining two separate residences. I can use my weyr as the function of the Weyrleader. I could move into your weyr. Permanently. If the space is not large enough for the child, we should renovate a space to accommodate it.”

“I suppose I don’t know how I’ll feel at the time. I don’t imagine it’s going to be a particularly dignified or pleasant experience, so I anticipate that we’d both be better off out of it. Not that I have that option.” Isolwyn nudges her nose against C’aol’s shoulder again in quiet jest, though she soon adds, “I’ll think on it. I’d prefer you to be there than not, but I don’t feel it’s fair of me to put you through hours of it too.” When he looks to her, she lifts her gaze to his, then away to likewise study the fire instead to give him the space to find the words he wants without her observation. “Okay,” is her soft, simple, answer. “I’d like that.” Lifting her head, she looks up at the weyr around her, saying, “There are chambers here I’ve never used, not that I’ve started making any of them suitable for a child yet. I haven’t… really bought anything. It felt like it would be bad luck.”

“I do not know what is and isn’t bad luck,” C’aol observes as he follows her gaze around the weyr in thought. “You should take any funds you need from my stipend. Task one of the lower caverns staff to go and run the errands for you regarding buying what you need. Ask for a mastercraftsman to come and help properly organize the rooms you want the way you want to see them. I will not interfere in any of that, though I will fund it.” He turns to her then, seemingly caught up in how freely he is expressing himself as he adds, “I trust your judgement in this. I’ll have someone move my things into your weyr tomorrow.” He moves and draws the plates together before he rises to go and put them in the sink for another to clean. He comes back after a brief stop in her room to collect a blanket. “Now, I’ve appreciated the fun of the picnic,” he settles the blanket on the couch and moves to help guide Isolwyn to her feet. “I think it is time you sat on proper furniture. That can’t be overly comfortable for you.”

That Isolwyn is stunned into silence is all too obvious, for she isn’t able to offer a single word in response and can only watch him gather up the plates, her head slightly tilted and lips parted as though she might speak and just can’t find the wherewithal. She watches C’aol even as he heads off to put the dishes in the sink, turning first in that direction, then for her gaze to follow him as he moves towards her bedroom. By the time he returns, she’s still a little lost and automatically lifts her hands to his to let him help her from the floor and to her feet. Once she’s gained her balance, she tightens her hold on his hands and looks up at him for a long moment, choosing to only utter a gentle, “Thank you.” She keeps one hand in his as she steps over to the couch and makes to curl up under the blanket, retrieving a book from beneath one of the cushions. “Shall I read?”

C’aol does not acknowledge her thank you outside of a brief nod, not wanting to focus too much on all that he has done and said since arriving in her weyr. He moves to settle on the couch beside her, his long legs lifting to rest on the table in front of the couch. He allows himself one more chance at intimacy as he tucks an arm around her shoulders and draws her comfortably against his side. “Yes,” he agrees to her question, “I was enjoying this book the last time you read it.” He turns to press his lips against her hair, inhaling the smell of her before he lets his eyes settle on the fire as he listens to Isolwyn read. It does not take the lower caverns staff long to move C’aol officially into Isolwyn’s words. Perhaps not trusting that Isolwyn would want to take him up on his offer to renovate the rooms, he sends a journeyman to her with the intent of drafting plans and moving forward on the construction of whatever may suit Isolwyn’s desires.

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