Second Thoughts

The quiet, southern part of the city, where the residents have their homes.
Sinuvarakoon Tasza
Citizen
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:03 am
Name: Tasza
Race: Human

Second Thoughts

Post by Sinuvarakoon Tasza » Mon May 19, 2014 6:36 pm

Summer, 124 PW
Continued from First Time's a Charm.

Some of the apartment buildings in Marn were modeled after the insulae of ancient Rome -- presumably on purpose, as the style had been popular as a cheap means of housing by the remaining Greeks after the Changer's War. While architectural styles came and went as frequently as that of clothing, there were sometimes rebirths of older and more classical styles, and such had been the case when the building Tasza was currently living in was built.

The floor on the ground was used for a few shops and a small restaurant, with a few larger living quarters. There were three stories above this floor, with each successive story containing smaller and cheaper rooms. Tasza's living quarters was in the middle of these; on good days he had running water. On bad days he used a pot or public facilities, and hauled his own water. He did not mind. He was satisfied with the price of his rent and the fact that he was away from the other guardsmen. He valued his privacy as much as he valued cleanliness.

'Privacy' was a funny word in the tenements. While Tasza was safe from his fellow guardsmen, he was not so safe from his fellow renters. Rumors passed from tongue to tongue with the speed of a voracious disease. It was impossible to hide comings and goings, and added to the matter was a clutch of old women who gathered in the restaurant day in and day out to watch their fellow tenants. So it was that Tasza knew long before anyone actually started moving, that he was to have a neighbor. His shifts being what they were, he had not been present to see if the prospective tenant had inspected the small space next to his own. He really didn't care. He avoided his neighbors as assiduously as he did contact with other guards, exchanging only the barest necessary courtesies. Rudeness was not something Tasza tolerated, but he abhorred the endless nattering that was bestowed upon him by the neighbor on his other side; he did not have the time to waste on such frivolities. Duty, and all that.

So it was with reluctance that he exited his own room in the early morning, hearing activity on the side of the wall that had previously been empty for the past few months. Introductions should be gotten over and done with, and then he could sleep with enough spare time to be rested for his next shift. He had on a polite, quasi-friendly smile as he closed his own door and turned -- and came face to face with Sisara Kasabian.

User avatar
Sisara
Citizen
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:21 am
Name: Sisara Kasabian
Race: Human

Re: Second Thoughts

Post by Sisara » Mon May 19, 2014 9:22 pm

The place had just spoken to her. Sort of classical but not in a way that made it look like an ancient ramshackle hut and Sisara had instantly felt attracted to it. She could imagine herself living in such a place, even if apparently there was a bit of an issue with running water from time to time. But having lived on the street, this didn’t pose much of a problem for the young woman. She had dealt with worse in her time and was glad for any kind of comfort she could get, especially away from the barracks, away from all those men. Her own private living space – even if it was run down, she would patch it up, make it homey, somehow. Make it hers.

Hopefully the neighbours weren’t too much of a pain or too noisy, especially when she had late or very early shifts and needed to adjust her sleeping pattern. She would definitely have to get used to the old ladies – the spies as she had already baptised them – but she figured that as long as she remained friendly and polite, they wouldn’t hassle her too much. Though she definitely needed to learn a few tricks in cutting short overly lengthy conversations. After all she did not have all day to chat and gossip, unlike them.

She had met most of them, though not all yet. Fiddling around with a few things, she cursed loudly as she stubbed her toe on the corner of the bed, but then held her tongue when she noticed a bit of noise coming from next door. Looked like her neighbour was finally home at the same time she was, so maybe this was the moment to go make nice. They were sharing a wall after all and it would be good to know who was on the other side.

And thus, the young guard stepped into the hall to go knock on a door when she stopped dead in her tracks and felt the need – though she resisted – to pinch herself, just to make sure she was awake and not stuck in some sort of weird dream.

For a moment, Sisara didn’t know what to say or do but just stood there and stared. Of all the people she had expected to be in this place – and even though she had been told she was not the only guard renting a room here – she had definitely not counted on Tasza Sinuvarakoon being her next-door neighbour. That was an odd sort of trick fate had played on her. Very odd, and a little nasty.

Right. So maybe getting this place hadn’t been such a good idea after all.

Clearing her throat, she did what they had both obviously intended to do. Presentations. Or maybe in their case, it was re-acquaintance. “Hello Tasza. Long time no see.”

Sinuvarakoon Tasza
Citizen
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:03 am
Name: Tasza
Race: Human

Re: Second Thoughts

Post by Sinuvarakoon Tasza » Wed May 21, 2014 5:57 pm

Long time. Had it been a long time? Tasza suddenly couldn't remember. His mind emptied into a roaring field of white, from which he could only watch himself stare helplessly at Sisara. He was dressed far too casually for a social interaction involving coworkers. Old woolen pants, and an old woolen shirt he'd removed the sleeves from rather than work at fixing the holes developing in the seams at underarms. It showed the odd, rippled markings leftover from numerous rashes and hives; not scars, but . . .faint markings, all the same. He took a step back without meaning to, horrified past words. What was his expression showing her? Surprise, perhaps? His eyebrows had winged upwards, his mouth gaped open, and his eyes widened.

But he had to speak.

He controlled himself, sweat breaking out all over his body. His body whispered a promise of itchiness soon to come, teasing the skin between his shoulder blades. It twitched.

"You're my neighbor?" No, no, that wasn't very polite. Do better -- she's still a woman, bad professional choices aside. "Your presence graces the building. Welcome."

He hated her.

User avatar
Sisara
Citizen
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:21 am
Name: Sisara Kasabian
Race: Human

Re: Second Thoughts

Post by Sisara » Thu May 22, 2014 7:03 am

Ooookayyy, the silence stretched between them and Sisara started feeling awkward. Maybe wanting to say hello to her neighbour, aka coworker, had been a mistake. But then again, it would have been even more awkward if they had bumped into each other under different circumstances, learning that way that they were actually neighbours. No, this was better. If weird.

He didn’t look all too happy either, or was he just surprised at seeing her here of all people? She couldn’t quite read his face, but at least she could be certain that he was as comfortable as her. Ironic, wasn’t it.
The first time she had met Tasza, they had gotten along rather well – as well as could be expected under the circumstances at least. He had probably been bored out of his mind to have to share a shift with a newbie but he had been nice, had helped, and she had not forgotten a lot of the things he had told her.

Though of course in the meantime she had heard other things. Rumours. Guards gossiped worse than the women on the street sometimes. Consequently, Sisara couldn’t help but wonder how much of how he had acted around her had been an act.

“Thank you.” She inclined her head briefly, surprised at the formality of his greeting, but grinning nonetheless. She had caught him off guard. For some reason, she liked doing that with him. Maybe because he usually seemed so rigid?

The annoying thing about Tasza quite simply was that she didn’t know what to think of him anymore.

“Yes, I am your neighbour. Funny, isn’t it? How things pan out sometimes, I mean.” What else was there to do other than try to pull it all into a more amusing light? They would have to deal with this one way or another, and it wouldn’t do to start ignoring each other.

“Would you maybe like to come in for a cup of tea, coffee…?”
Oh dear, had she really just invited him in? How…? Why…? Her brain needed rewiring.

Sinuvarakoon Tasza
Citizen
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:03 am
Name: Tasza
Race: Human

Re: Second Thoughts

Post by Sinuvarakoon Tasza » Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:46 pm

Awkward didn't even begin to cover it. He didn't smile at her attempt at levity. Tasza couldn't even appreciate it. It fell flat between them, twitching in its death throes, and he had no idea how to step around it -- so he didn't. He just stared at her, sliding into the safety of the neutral expression he used on irate senior officers and citizens who thought he existed to listen to their screaming.

Somehow, this was worse.

"That would be lovely, thank you."

There was no gracious way to refuse -- at least he didn't think of a reason until both feet were firmly in her flat and the door was shut behind him. He realized with a start that it was inappropriate for him to be in her home without a third chaperoning presence for the sake of propriety. Did he even see her as a woman? Did she even count as one, working in the guard as she was? He hesitated.

"I take it you do not have parents to live with until you are married?"

Yeah, that was good. That was a good way to start the conversation with his neighbor and coworker.

His neck itched.

User avatar
Sisara
Citizen
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:21 am
Name: Sisara Kasabian
Race: Human

Re: Second Thoughts

Post by Sisara » Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:09 am

Her breath hitched.
Parents?
Sisara didn’t even hear the rest of the sentence, her brain caught on the offensive word. This was terrible. How could they already be on dangerous territory after barely having exchanged greetings? This had just gone from uncomfortable to infinitely worse.

“Evidently,” she replied coldly and went to prepare their drinks. Since Tasza hasn’t specified whether he wanted coffee or tea, Sisara decided on the latter since she was suddenly barely keeping her hands from shaking and tea would hopefully calm her nerves a little.

“I guess you don’t need a chaperone to continue with your life.” The statement wasn’t the friendliest but she put home-made cookies out while she said it. That should make up for some of her rudeness, shouldn’t it?

Taking a deep breath, Sisara leaned back against the counter, crossing her arms over her chest while she waited for the water to finish boiling. Her gaze was on Tasza, taking in his appearance, so surprisingly ordinary when out of uniform, though not bad-looking, she had to admit.

“So tell me, what are the others in this building like? Anything I should know or be aware of?”
There, safe topic, right?

Sinuvarakoon Tasza
Citizen
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:03 am
Name: Tasza
Race: Human

Re: Second Thoughts

Post by Sinuvarakoon Tasza » Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:16 pm

"I?" Tasza's confusion was tempered only by his knowledge of moral bankruptcy in the city. "I am a young man, Miss Kasabian, not a young lady. It is only proper that a young lady should be attended by a chaperone."

He really shouldn't have entered her home. Reluctantly, he said, "I will see to it that the Madame Rine and her sister, the Madame Essel, are made aware of your situation. They are older, themselves, and would not mind looking in on you."

He considered her question. "There are no especially threatening individuals within the building."

He did not sit. He did not know what to do with himself, really, but her room felt much too hot.

User avatar
Sisara
Citizen
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:21 am
Name: Sisara Kasabian
Race: Human

Re: Second Thoughts

Post by Sisara » Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:24 pm

What?!” Sisara couldn’t stop herself before the outraged words left her lips but she felt much too enraged to apologise for blurting out that single not very friendly word. And it wasn’t the only one. “Are you nuts? I have been taking care of myself for most of my life. The last thing I need is a chaperone, and I definitely do not need you to take care of such things for me!”

She could have kicked him or hit him or maybe thrown a hot cup of tea at his face, but hospitality was hospitality and though she had a mind of throwing him out, she merely glared at him, hoping he’d just drop dead of his own accord. Silly bastard! Of course things were easy for him. As a man, one could do whatever one wanted, but as a woman? Pff! The only one to ever have taken care of her was Farius, and no matter how patronising he had sometimes been when they were younger, he had never treated her like this. It made her incredibly angry.

“The chairs aren’t merely there for decoration though, you know,” she finally said instead of throwing him out.

Sinuvarakoon Tasza
Citizen
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:03 am
Name: Tasza
Race: Human

Re: Second Thoughts

Post by Sinuvarakoon Tasza » Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:24 pm

In time to the pulsing discomfort of his skin, Tasza moved automatically, taking up a guard-stance without being fully conscious of it. "I apologize for inadvertently stepping in on your unfortunate circumstances. As a gentleman, I would be remiss to not see to your well-being while you are my neighbor." The words were bland, uninflected. In many ways, Tasza was well used to having his attempts to see moral order restored on those who surrounded him thrown in his face.

Perhaps that was why he moved to one of the chairs and took a seat. His movements were stiff, but his face was perfectly blank. "Thank you for your hospitality," he said. His gaze was steady upon her.

User avatar
Sisara
Citizen
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:21 am
Name: Sisara Kasabian
Race: Human

Re: Second Thoughts

Post by Sisara » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:01 pm

Unfortunate?’ Oooh, she could have thrown the whole pot at him, a cup wouldn’t have been enough anymore. But after a deep breath and inwardly counting to at least ten, Sisara forced herself not to react. What did he know? Pretending to be so high and mighty, with a better background. She could just strangle him!
Luckily the water was done boiling at that moment.

While Tasza finally took a seat, Sisara managed to rein in her temper somewhat. Preparing their beverage made for a nice little distraction in their awkward conversation. Though of course, now that they were not only work colleagues but also neighbours, Sisara was well aware that she should probably not leave things at that.

“You’re welcome,” she replied when she poured a cup for her guest. It came out a little through gritted teeth, but it was still honest.
“Apologies for yelling at you,” she pressed out a little bit later. “I understand that some people may look unkindly upon my situation and I appreciate you wanting to help me, but I assure you there is no need. I can take care of myself. I’ve learned that from a very young age already.”

Getting up again to get a small plate of biscuits, Sisara returned to her seat, putting the plate between them with a motion that Tasza should himself if he wanted to. “So how long have you been living here?”
Somehow more neutral terrain would be good. Idle conversation. They’d handled that before, they could again. Right?

Sinuvarakoon Tasza
Citizen
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:03 am
Name: Tasza
Race: Human

Re: Second Thoughts

Post by Sinuvarakoon Tasza » Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:29 am

"Apology accepted," Tasza replied, voice even and unsullied by emotional hubris. Not that he didn't feel that, mind you, but he had long since learned how to control it. Well enough, at any rate. "However, I do contend that it would be remiss to simply overlook your situation, no matter what circumstances have pressed you prior to my meeting. It does not matter your previous circumstances; the present is what counts. I have not met you before your introduction into the guard; what sort of knave must I be to ignore your situation?" He paused, took a breath: would she condemn him? Throw him out? It mattered little. Many women had taken ill to his words. Sometimes he held it against them, but most often he accepted the fact that Marn was morally sick.

"I should do what I am able," he said, finally, voice slow, ignoring her question until it suited him. Finally, after taking a breath and a long look at the floor, he said: "many years. Enough. Since I was a youth, it seems. Five years? Longer? I could not honestly answer offhand."

He did not want to. He did not want to remember the time spent in the barracks.

User avatar
Sisara
Citizen
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:21 am
Name: Sisara Kasabian
Race: Human

Re: Second Thoughts

Post by Sisara » Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:13 pm

Taking a deep breath and forcing herself not to yell but to stay civil instead, Sisara replied: “I understand your concern and I understand that it isn’t proper in the eyes of a lot of people, but I am not one of those people. If I need someone to watch out for me, I’ll ask for it. Your observation and concern are duly noted but please refrain from acting against my wishes, even if you do not think them appropriate.”

Hopefully she would get through to him, otherwise she might have to take more drastic measures than trying to talk sense into him. Like moving...

Sisara wasn’t much inclined to make Tasza more comfortable, especially not when he kept going on about how her situation needed to be amended. What was with this guy? She was old enough to take care of herself. She had been for quite a while, even if it had taken Farius a few years to get her that far, but Tasza didn’t need to know that. But, urgh! This man just had a way of getting under her skin that was irritating to no end.

Still, it was fairly clear that he wasn’t willing to talk about his living circumstances and she decided to respect it. Maybe he wasn’t one to keep from meddling even if it made people feel uncomfortable, but she wasn’t like him. Nibbling on a cookie, she sat there, merely looking at him, contemplating whether she should not act the way he had after all, but she let the conversation drift off into silence instead. What good would it do to play childish games?

Sinuvarakoon Tasza
Citizen
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:03 am
Name: Tasza
Race: Human

Re: Second Thoughts

Post by Sinuvarakoon Tasza » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:27 pm

Tasza watched Sisara for a long time, awkward and at loose ends with himself. "I suppose it cannot be helped if you were not raised with appropriate role models. However, I would ask that you think about it. " The words came late, and had an air of stiffness about them that was reflected in his rigid posture.

Another pause. "What types of tea do you have?"

User avatar
Sisara
Citizen
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:21 am
Name: Sisara Kasabian
Race: Human

Re: Second Thoughts

Post by Sisara » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:32 pm

Tasza had made his point. Sisara had made her point. There was nothing more to add to the topic and Sisara wasn’t about to raise it any further. It would be better if the topic was buried and never resurfaced and she really hoped that Tasza wasn’t going to nag her about it the next time they bumped into each other.

“Oh,” Sisara felt a little embarrassed about having forgotten the actual tea bags and got up to fetch her box. “Feel free to have a look through. There is a bit of everything in there. Black tea, green tea, spiced tea, fruit tea. A few odd mixtures I picked up here and there on markets but some of those really are extraordinary.”

Remembering that Tasza had gone for the rotten-looking fruit dessert on their first shift together, Sisara picked out a bag and held it out to him to smell. “This one might interest you? An interesting blend of fruit and spices that I’ve rarely come across.”
Feeling slightly insecure about the whole procedure though, she left Tasza to just rifle through the teas himself, unsure which one to drink herself.
Could this become any worse?

Sinuvarakoon Tasza
Citizen
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:03 am
Name: Tasza
Race: Human

Re: Second Thoughts

Post by Sinuvarakoon Tasza » Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:21 pm

Tasza plucked the tea from her hand with some delicacy, as though the thought of accidentally touching her was repulsive. He was blissfully unaware of his own reaction, especially once he took a sniff. He broke into a pleased, unabashed smile. It was boyish on his typically stern features. It almost looked out of place. "Assam! And. . .pepper. . .cardamom. . .ginger?" His smile went crooked. "This smells like traditional tea near where my family came from." He peered down at her assortment. "Where did you get it from?"

Momentary, peaceful truce. At least from him.

Post Reply