The Sunny Side of the Street

The quiet, southern part of the city, where the residents have their homes.
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Ivone
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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:07 pm

Ivone gave a slow blink. Keeping his gaze without pulling the shutters closed wasn't easy to do. Ivone knew he was observant. But, she wanted him to see her.

"Yes. Does it have..." she tilted her chin down, nose just over the cup, "..ginger in it along with the black tea?"

As he gave the minimalist description, there was a hint of something in her gaze (imagination? wistfulness). Ivone smiled over the edge of her cup. "Would I?" She wanted to hear more colorful descriptions, to picture it in her mind's eye. The curiosity was there for him to see. But, perhaps that was for another time and place. Some place away from prying eyes and ears.

"Mm," a general sound of thought, noncommittal. "It has its allure. I'm sure you would agree to that. The Morrington's have financial interests outside of Marn into greater Eyropa, do they not?" This was known. Trade did come to Marn, though it was hard-earned. Traders did not find the Northern trade route as profitable as it had once been. That fact alone made the Moryldar-Morrington-Merynir triumverate extremely wealthy.

Ivone glanced around, noting others were queued up, waiting to get a table.

"It appears we made it just in time. Should we be kind and free up the table?"
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:35 pm

"I think so," he said, "though I wouldn't be surprised if there was gunpowder in the blend too."

There was an odd look in her eyes, he thought, raising the cup to smell the blend and taste it again, but only because she wanted him to see it. It wasn't quite curiosity, he knew that look, no it was deeper; longing perhaps or a hunger, though for what was harder to say. Did she suddenly feel the need to be far from Marn, or was she simply trying to learn more about him? He suspected both, even if Markham's was not the place to discuss the finer attractions of Yulong-Jing, though it would only increase the envy of those gossiping about them. That alone made it an attractive idea, but he quelled the urge, listening to her response.

"They do," he said, inclining his head, "and hard earned. Although, ironically, they are very reluctant to share those contacts. My interests tend to diverge from theirs in some respects and enable them in others, but that is why they work. One hand washes the other and both hands wash the face."

That was putting it mildly. The increasingly insular nature of Marnian politics had not created fertile ground for foreign relations, and while the city survived on foreign trade, they had few representatives capable of making connections for them, and given the cutthroat nature of politics, those with connections were unwilling to share them. The trade was lucrative for the foreign merchants, but interesting them was another matter entirely, which made Tius ideally placed to make introductions as it were. His experiences had given him a first hand knowledge of the routes and produce on offer and he had a better working knowledge of the governmental structures to boot. He was shrewd, without scruples and he asked for very little in the grand scheme of things, so he had a great deal of leeway, and he saw almost everything that came and went. Being a cog in the machine had its benefits, after all.

"We could be," he said, "but my father once told me that the privilege of wealth and position is to rise when it suits you, not when it suits others. I see no reason to rush our tea."

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:44 pm

Ivone sat back, surprised a little by his words, but in amused sort of way. "Gun powder. My word, why?" Oh. He was teasing her... She glanced down, smile still ghosting around her lips and that hint of color returned - just there on the apples of her cheeks.

Ivone studied his face as he responded to her question. Her posture shifted, back closer, indicative of her interest. There was a subtle hardness, or determination, underlying his words. She had thought his family owned him as most of the families owned their offspring. But, it appeared, Tius made his own way and that was an extremely attractive quality. She envied his self-sufficiency and respected his ability to straddle the line so successfully. Was it risky? Was it a house of cards or something stronger? Did the end justify the means?

His final response was more surprising. She hadn't expected him to assert himself in such a way. Truly, he was the scion of a Descendant for all his eschewing of the excess - a thought that amused her. Ivone's gaze danced away to the side as she took another sip of gunpowder ginger tea. A look crossed her face, of recognition.

"I think your parents and Cisme are here," she murmured. Was it possible Tius had known and that is why he chose to hold his seat.

Ivone blinked, observing the set of Raeme's features before looking to Tius. The eyes were Raeme's, but the features were his mother's. She could see the resemblance in CIsme's face, as well. Ivone resisted the urge to check her skirt or hair or face. How long has Raeme been watching them and her unaware? A testament to her curiosity in Tius that she had ignored their surroundings so easily.
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:09 am

There it was again, the hint of amusement and slight shock in her eyes at his words. It was surprising, and more than a little gratifying, if he was being honest with himself. Had she truly never had gunpowder tea before? He really had to introduce her to the importer at some point for a proper education in tea. Of course there was always the, quite strong, chance that she was simply winding him up, but it would be fun regardless. Her manner as he spoke was rather more invested than it had been, underlining his suspicion that she was trying to get to know him. He hoped he was giving a good account of himself.

When he opted to stay seated, however, she seemed amused, something which amused him in turn. Despite his wishes to be genuine, the world they lived in required him to consider everything that he did to a greater or lesser degree. After all, he'd meant what he'd said earlier, about managing and subverting expectations, and displays of power and in many cases generosity had to be played carefully. More importantly, and this had been a hard lesson for him, what set the successful nobility apart from the grabbers was Attitude. IT was the utter conviction that nothing would go any way other than what you wanted. He didn't need to explain why he wouldn't get up, he simply didn't have to, thus one looked quite generous and accommodating when one offered to share one's table with those that deserved it. Besides, it was a fun way to people watch.

He flicked his eyes around to where she was looking, his head not quite moving, and yes, there they were, crossing the restaurant. It was power in motion, he thought, watching them slip through the crowd like sharks among minnows. He may have had his disagreements with his father, but no one could deny that he knew how to play the game and play it well. Tius had always envied his presence, but he was no longer in awe of the man, and he did not think their arrival at Markham's that morning was by chance. His father did not breakfast with the undeserving, after all. Still, Tius smiled easily and took another sip of tea.

"Yes," he said, "it seems they are."

He didn't need to watch to know what would happen next. They would walk past the line, the server would pause a moment in panic, and then scan quickly for a table to clear, but lo and behold, Raemes would simply point to where they were seated, a slow smile spreading across his face, and the staff member would be awash with relief and gladly usher them over and then...

"Vicentius," came that voice, powerful, even in such a casual setting, "how kind of you to hold seats for us."

He looked up, his cup half raised, and smiled, raising an eyebrow.

"How kind of you to let me know you were coming, father," he said.

Putting his cup down, he rose as gracefully as he'd learned to, and bowed slightly to them, turning to Ivone.

"Miss Malatrast, may I introduce my father, Raemes and my mother Sythra," he said, "Cisme, of course, you've already met. Mother, Father, may I introduce Miss Ivone Malatrast."

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:52 am

This was a sight to behold. Ivone watched the trio cross the room and observed the impression they made. She glanced to Tius and watched him – his posture, the set of his features – behind her cast down gaze, which for all practical purposes seemed a demure thing. She raised her gaze to Vincentius and watched him greet his father. She waited. Only until he had greeted them and pointed them out to her did she blink, once and slowly, and give Raemes, Sythra, and Cisme her attention. Her lot was cast.

When Vincentius rose, Ivone rose a half-second behind him – not hurriedly, no, she had been trained better than that. When he spoke her name, that deep, violet gaze so full of promise, was all his. She smiled and did her duty as she had been taught: the curtsy with the exact level of dip required for the personage with whom she was required to interact.

“Mr. Morrington. Mrs. Morrington. ” Head inclined, resumed, "A pleasure to see you this fine morning." A smile for Cisme.

“Cisme, so good to see you so soon.”

Raemes had made it clear he expected Vincentius to be the host, though it would be remiss if Ivone did not ask them to join as well, indicating their arrival was fortuitously planned and a welcome event.

“Please, will you join us?” Ivone waited for a moment before taking her own seat. The addition of the trio meant she and Tius would be pushed closer together, facing them as if they were some tribunal come to give judgement. The amused ghost of a smile danced around the edges of her mouth as she surveyed the scene. Well, they were weren’t they?

“Would you care for some tea?”
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:43 am

"Well," Raemes said, never breaking gazes with Tius, "what is life without a few surprises now and then?"

He smiled a little wider, though it didn't reach his eyes, and turned to bow to Ivone in tandem with Sythra. Tius stepped back from the table, pulling out his seat and the seat next to him for his parents, then moving to pull out an adjacent seat for his sister before crossing to stand beside Ivone. His father, of course, was too experienced to react openly, but Tius thought he saw the flicker in his father's eyes before he greeted Ivone. Even if he only imagined it, the mental pause he'd given Raemes was victory enough. His mother simply looked down demurely and smiled at some private joke, while Cisme's eyes flitted between them. She always did like watching them play, he remembered, smiling politely.

"Miss Malatrast," Raemes said, straightening, "what a pleasure to finally meet you. I've been hearing so much."

His father held the smile, his eyes on Ivone, while his mother stepped forwards to speak, while Cisme merely inclined her head, barely hiding her smirk. Tius nodded almost imperceptibly to Tarryk, who bustled over with another fresh pot of tea and coffee, while another staff member brought the china.

"Your family has our gratitude for the theater, Miss Malatrast," Sythra said, pleasantly, "the Arts are an integral part of the City. We were saddened to hear of your husband's passing. He was well loved."

"A loss to us all," Raemes said, evenly, "one of many that night. The family was quite distraught, I understand. Such a tragedy."

More than that, Tius knew; they were still scrambling to fill the vacuum created by the good judge's death. Of course that was easier said than done now, and the other families were circling like vultures. With Monetario on the warpath over the poisonings and Oslun up in arms over the bombings, the lesser houses had wisely opted to sit on their hands for the time being, but that would not last. Power did not stop being power, after all. With the pleasantries out of the way, though that last comment was barely pleasant, (a suspicion confirmed by a certain fixedness in Sythra's expression), they took their seats. As the de facto host, Tius sat last, while Cisme and his mother took their seats first and his father pulled out Sythra's chair for her, his gaze sliding back to Tius briefly before returning to Ivone. His father and mother, of course, sat together, Raemes opposite Ivone and Sythra opposite Tius, while Cisme positioned herself between both groups. The staff, who had been hovering uncertainly, began laying out the china and silverware for the new guests and for a while, amiable silence descended.

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Sat Jan 16, 2016 2:34 am

Ivone matched Raeme's smile, but there was a hint of a cheeky mischief in her gaze.

"It's all true."

Sythra broke the moment, gliding in effortlessly and graciously. Ivone gave Sythra her full attention. The downside of being a widow twice over in the span of only three years was attempting to decipher which husband was "well loved" or "sorely missed." Ivone neatly responded to both comments, keeping the conversation firmly in the arts and entertainment sector.

"Your condolences are so kind. Thank you." Tian and Sythra had been an item in their younger years, when Raemes, Monetario, and the others were the young crowd of Marn's elite. This knowledge, if she had chosen to bring it up, would've been a poke at Raemes for his comment. Tianthalas also had mentioned that Raeme's didn't like to think Sythra preferred someone else.

"Your own family are also wonderful patrons. Without your work and Zeger's work in the Ministry of Culture, several of the licenses needed to continue productions would be unavailable in these times, nor would we have profitable governance of the actor's and musician's unions to ensure fair and equitable treatment for our artists, such as Cisme, here." Granted, the governance usually was not in favor of the artists, but Ivone would let them decide which side she was on, there.

Tius, ever the gentleman, had pulled her chair out as well. Ivone murmured her thanks and settled in before offering the trio their tea. Tarryk was the one to actually pour. For Ivone to do so would imply she was no more than a servant and she had no desire to be dismissed so easily. As Raeme's eyed her once again, Ivone maintained the polite smile that curved her lips. If he wanted to discuss things, he could be the one to broach the subject.
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:26 pm

"You are a rarity indeed, Miss Malatrast," Raemes said, still smiling, "with a lot to live up to. It is so rare to meet someone who lives up to their reputation."

"Raemes! Behave!"

Raemes chuckled at Sythra's scandalized expression and had the good grace to look slightly abashed as she bustled to cover the apparent impropriety, though Tius did not miss the way his father's eyes darted his way. What was this to be then? He pondered the question as he sipped his tea, noting the twinkle in Cisme's eyes. There would hardly be much now, he thought, not at this early stage. Raemes would have done his research, but as far as opening salvos went,this would just be a tester. Unaware of the internal dialogue, Sythra was still speaking.

"He was a dear friend," she said, smiling sadly, "the least we can do is contribute in our way."

Raemes smiled, though Tius detected a certain tightening if his jaw at his mother's words. It was an old argument, he knew, almost as old as his father, but noble families had long memories, and the privileged did not take well to being denied. The fact that Sythra was quite devoted to him and loved him dearly seemed to make little difference to how he felt on the issue, something which amused Tius no end.

"Is it not a government's duty," Raemes asked, "to enrich the culture that birthed it? It is not charity, but a sacred privilege to give something back. Each of my children is well aware of this."

Tius noted the choice of words, taking another sip of his tea, and chuckled, raising an eyebrow. He doubted that it was coincidental, but he wasn't about to rise to it either. It was too early in the conversation for that kind of depth, he felt, though not to early to needle him.

"An oddly stern note to start breakfast," he said, feigning obliviousness, "whatever is Miss Malatrast to think of us?"

Raemes lifted his cup to his lips, pausing before he took a sip.

"I couldn't say, Vicentius," he said, "I don't know what you've been up to."

"Which reminds me," Sythra said, stepping in again; "how did you convince Tius to dance, Miss Malatrast? We've been trying for years. He's so stubborn about these things."

Tius rolled his eyes, smiling at the jest.

"I learned from the best," he said.

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:09 am

Watching the exchange was fascinating to say the least. Ivone noticed Cisme preferred to be an observer as well. That was also interesting. Nonplussed, Ivone sipped her tea. The exchange was different and the same when compared to the Vyaduka household. Ivone smiled at Sythra.

"A testament to his excellent upbringing, Mrs. Morrington. Mister Vincentius acted as any proper gentleman would. Had he not danced, I would have been without a partner. Though, I suspect a brother's duty had more to do with his presence than one might think." Ivone gave Vincentius a polite smile, lift of her cup, and nod of her head before taking another small sip.

"In fact, this breakfast is my way of thanking him for being so gracious." Nevermind that Tius had stolen the opportunity to pay out from under her nose. She'd just have to find another way to repay him.

Raeme's comment about duty and priveledge, and what Tius might be up to were not lost on Ivone. The man was seeking to confirm whether the Society page rumors were true. Had they considered it, her at the same table with Tius' parents made the possibility of seeing them together more often a likely scenario. Ivone wondered how that would play out. Ivone's eyes fell on Sythra's hair comb and her eyes lit up.

"Have you visited the shop, Mrs. Morrington? I'm flattered to see you wear one of my designs."

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:05 pm

"Without a partner? Perish the thought," Raemes said, looking to Vicentius, "a lady such as yourself should never be short of diverting company. Although rumour has it he broke quite a few hearts to keep you company. The price of duty, no doubt."

It was subtle, but there was that head-tilt of questioning. Brotherly duties, he was wondering, so what had Cisme been doing there? His sister did not react, not outwardly, but Tius could see the pause in her stance. The flick of the tongue at the end was said as though in jest, Raemes eyes twinkling, but Tius thought he heard a harder note there; a why, almost. It would have been easy to throw Cisme under the cart at this point, but that was a cheap move and he was above that. Besides, his father would have seen right through it in a heartbeat.

"Her actors are certainly a diverting bunch," Tius said, ignoring the subtext, "though undeniably talented. Your play was a triumph, and quite well received."

He acknowledged her nod with a nod of his own, raising his cup. Sythra smiled demurely at the compliment and looked down at her, as yet untouched, cup, her hand straying up to her comb at Ivone's words, and her smile widened slightly. Tius hadn't had opportunity to view the accessory yet, it being an apparently recent purchase, and he resisted the urge to look now, as did his father. Both sipped their tea and listened.

"Alas, I have not had the chance," Sythra said, chuckling, "this was a gift from Cisme, actually. I've never had an eye for accessories. Tragic, really. She speaks quite highly of you, though."

"And so she should," Raemes said, "your business is thriving, even in these dark times. Marnian enterprise at its finest. I did not know Khayyam had such a good head for business, else I would have consulted him myself."

Cisme did take this opportunity to speak up, her smile teasing, though it could not detract from the note in Raemes voice.

"And who says she had to be taught?" She asked, wagging her finger theatrically. "Marnian women are every bit as capable as men. We are a modern city after all."

"The modern city, some would say," Tius added.

Raemes raised both eyebrows in apparent surprise.

"Quite right," he said, as though conceding something, "my apologies. But I thought I'd read about some difficulty or other."

Sythra lifted her cup, swirling the tea gently.

"No doubt you're a match for any man," she said, taking a sip, "though I can't imagine that sits well with them."

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:38 pm

The exchange was quick, the subtext heavy. Ivone held her own and minded her body language strictly.

“You are too kind, Mister Vincentius. The praise goes to the troupe and the play writes, not I.”

The appropriate amount of humility, yet ownership was given.

“They are, Miss Cisme, but even the sharpest of minds are best guided by their elders.”

The appropriate amount of acknowledgement to the wisdom those like Raemes’ expected their children to appreciate. Sythra’s comment was the most weighted of them all. That she, a Synevive, was an equal match for a Descendant would not sit well with those who viewed the Descendant classes as better – men like Raemes Morrington.

“Such praise from you, Mrs. Morrington, and from Miss Cisme, is humbling. Thank you. When you and Miss Cisme have the time, perhaps you would care to provide comment on a few designs I plan on introducing in the near future.” An acknowledgement of the words, if not the context – the women of the Morrington family approved of Vincentius keeping company with her, even if Raemes did not. And, an offer to allow them to wear and show off a new design before it was released to the general public. That would be a small coup in certain ladies circles. Ivone smiled into her cup.

“A lady such as myself, Mr. Morrington? My, perhaps I should worry about the things I have said are true of me.” This was an attempt at deflection away from Cisme and back to herself. Had she said something amiss? Raemes’ twinkle was returned back at him.

“Indeed. Though unsurprising. The acorn never falls far from the tree. I understand you were just as charming, Mr. Morrington. Otherwise, you would not have earned the affections of such a gem as Mrs. Morrington so easily.” Ivone’s eyes widened and she leaned toward Sythra and Cisme. Her gaze glanced from the ladies to Raemes, then Vincentius, and back.

“Are the stories true, Mrs. Morrington? Did Mr. Morrington actually rescue you from ruffians then serenade you while standing on the Memorial statue? How utterly charming.”

Raemes’ comment about difficulties was troubling. Difficulty? What difficulty? What did he mean by that?

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Thu Feb 04, 2016 11:56 pm

"Only interesting things, I assure you," Raemes said, sipping his tea.

Listening wasn't all quiet absorption of presented information, it required engaging and interacting with parties involved, sometimes to draw out more information, mostly to reassure them that you were, in fact, still listening. Or still awake, as the case may be. Still, in this instance, Tius opted for nods and encouraging sounds, while he watched his parents probe for weaknesses. It was an old game, and one they never failed to play with every newcomer who crossed paths with the family. Sythra smiled at Ivone's words, taking another sip of her tea, though her gaze slid to Cisme.

"A very gracious offer, Miss Malatrast, but I'm afraid I'd be very little use to you," she said, "I've often been informed that my tastes are 'dated'."

She chuckled in a self deprecating manner, but Tius felt the tension there; she was building up to something. His father simply smiled with the firm, friendly blankness of a true liar, holding Ivone's gaze in spite of her defiance. His mother looked to Cisme questioningly.

"You'll be taking Miss Malatrast up on her offer, of course," she said, "why would you not? But it's hardly fair to ask you to go alone, is it?"

She turned to Raemes with that question, who looked slightly puzzled, but seemed to be playing along for the look of it. While Tius too was curious about where she was going with this line of questioning, he felt he had to at least appear to intervene on Cisme's behalf.

"It's hardly hardship either," he said. "Surely she can be trusted to visit a shop without a chaperone?"

"I was thinking," Sythra went on, giving him a pointed look, "that perhaps sharing the moment with a friend might be more pleasant than a parent."

Cisme tutted and made to speak, but Sythra would hear none of it, smiling brightly as though she had just thought of something.

"You can take that young man! What was his name?"

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:04 am

Ivone inclined her head at Sythra’s compliment and noted the glance she gave Cisme and the puzzlement in Raemes’ eyes despite his best effort. Hm.

The question was whether to wade in or to stay silent.

If she offered herself as the chaperone and Cisme’s attendance at the Salon was not seen in a positive light, she would put herself at a disadvantage. She could be considered a poor chaperone given the company Cisme’d been with at the time and the subject of censure.

If she interjected and dismissed Sythra’s comment and supported Cisme’s objections that Sythra would be a boring companion, then she would seem to undermine Sythra’s position as a parent.

Ivone opted for silence and pretending not to know of whom Sythra spoke. She looked expectantly between the family members, as if waiting for someone to speak, cup held slightly aloft. If Cisme faltered, she would intervene with an idea to go to the shop now to see the new line. Why wait, she would suggest, when they were all here anyway. Yes, that might work.

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Vicentius » Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:13 pm

"Andras?"

Tius spoke up, looking puzzled, but the word had the intended effect, drawing Sythra's and Reames' attention back to him, because that was a name they did not know. Of course, Cisme's infatuation with Andras Merynir had been only a passing thing, but it was a branch to cling to until a better idea presented itself. While he could see the twinge of irritation in Cisme's eyes at the revelation, there was an undercurrent of gratitude there too, and he looked from Sythra to Raemes, noting that Ivone had opted to, sensibly, remain silent.

"Isn't he married now? That would hardly be appropriate," he continued, "would it?"

He put his cup down and shook his head, while Sythra kept her eyes on him, unwilling to let go of the bone. Raemes, however, recognized that momentum had been lost and switched tactics, taking a sip of his tea. His father always had been quick on his feet whenever it came to playing the game, Tius knew, and this could hardly be an exception. Still, the upshot was that Tius had learned from the best, and every encounter was another chance to learn.

"Perhaps not," Raemes said, "although I must commend you, daughter, for your discretion. An example to us all. It does still leave us with the problem of finding you a chaperone, of course."

"Father!"

Cisme sat back, looking scandalized, and Raemes chuckled. Seeing his chance, Tius leaned forwards and spoke again.

"I suppose that leaves me to do my brotherly duty once more," he said, smiling helpfully.

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Re: The Sunny Side of the Street

Post by Ivone » Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:48 pm

Andras? For a moment, Ivone thought Tius was setting her up. Andras Oslun was ostensibly dead. A little cold fear wrenched her gut and she looked down reaching for the tea pot to top off her cup. The moment didn't last long, though. He meant Andras Merynir. He had to. Now that was reconciled she lifted her gaze to find that none had turned theirs to her in that moment. The Morringtons were ...

Ivone's gaze became curious and intent, fascinated by watching this family's game. An internal sense of approval and impress was garnered, though she was smart enough not to let it show. Ivone finished the sip she'd lifted her cup to take. She could learn much watching these people. Tius shifted beside her, leaning forward.

Ivone squashed the sense of excitement that coursed through her. More opportunities to spend with him? She wouldn't say no... And, sensibly, she did not voice her approval of the option. That would give away much, too much. Instead she watched Raemes and Sythra, wondering what the next volley would include.

Should she perhaps, set a date?
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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