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Cleary Clan

Date: 01-06-09
Poster: Allan Cleary
Post # 1

New Additions for Allan and Devon Cleary family: January 6th on the Epiphany -- Little Christmas

As Devon got closer to her due date, Allan got more nervous with each passing day, each passing hour, each passing minute! He handed over most of his duties to his foreman so he was around more. But even that wasn't enough as he sent word out to the hospital on which midwife was available. Athalia came last evening with the note as Sassy was away at one of the villages seeing to another family, one that had a few children and was having number seven. The husband away so she was also helping take care of her brood. Gaelle was here as well making sure the nursery was in order. He was presently down in the kitchen fixing some Chai latte, something a bit more soothing than regular tea.

Devon was sitting in the large chair Allan had moved near the fire in the main sitting room, finally a bit comfortable and resting, her eyes closed as she listed to the crackling fire. The baby had calmed down a bit in its movements the last day or so and she thought she could get a bit more rest, but found herself just the opposite, a bit restless, her lower back tense and achy. She knew Allan was getting nervous, and she was a bit too, but didn't want to over worry him. As he was out making some tea, she suddenly felt a sharp pain in her lower belly, and gasped, her hand going there as she tried to think of what she was supposed to be doing. Breathing... that's right. She took several large breaths, before calling out for either Allan or Gaelle... anyone!

Lia had settled in the room readied for her but tonight she wasn't ready to relax. She decided to head down to the kitchen to see if she could make herself a bit of tea. Not knowing the layout of the house too well was a good thing tonight for she found herself peeking through a door at Devon. Seeing the look on the woman's face, she hurried into the room. "Devon?"

Upstairs, Gaelle hummed to herself as she swept around the nursery, marking off a mental checklist to make sure everything was here. And, that everything was in its proper place. She hadn't gone out much, especially over the last few days, preferring to stick close by in case she was needed. And, right then, it sounded like she was needed-- or someone, at least. She heard Devon easily and she moved rather quickly. Like a bolt of lightening, Gaelle sped down the staircase, thankfully not tripping and falling the rest of the way down. "Devon, Devon? Are you all right?" She froze just inside the sitting room, watching her. Where was .. "Allan?!?!" Yes, him!

Allan had placed two tea cups filled with the Chai on a platter which he drew up only to hear Devon's call. The tray was dropped, least on the table as one cup spilled over filling it, the other sloshing as he was in a run into the sitting room. Right over to her chair and down to kneel before her, taking her hand in his, worry, even a touch of fear in blue eyes. "Is it time?"

She had to chuckle a bit as everyone seemed to come careening into the room a the same time, nearly running into each other. She had almost forgotten Lia was here but glad to hear her voice. She gave Allan's hand a squeeze, trying to reassure him, nodding. "Aye, I think so..." a bit breathless.

She had moved out of the way quickly enough. Watching Devon a moment, she stepped closer. "Can you tell me exactly what you felt, Devon." She would wait for a bit and see if there was another contraction, and then start counting.

With Athalia there, Gaelle didn't go into panic mode. Which was good, because panic can be a catching thing and tended to spread. She took a few steps further in, her brows furrowing as she watched them. For now, she kept quiet.

"Let's get you upstairs into the bed," which was decided their children would be born in the bed they had been conceived in. Idealistically. "Lia can check you," glancing up to her as if asking if that was right, the procedure. Taking her hand and the support of his other under her arm, "can you get up?" Wondering if he would have to try and carry her. He could do that too if needed.

Devon nodded to Allan first that she could get up, as long as he helped her. Then she answered Lia as best she could. "It was right here," placing her hand where she had felt it. "Intense but not sharp, more drawn out...." she got out just before another pain washed through her. She squeezed Allan's hand, and reached out to take his other one for stability, as she gave a quiet moan and several deep, long breaths.

If Devon was like most of her patients, she might feel the need to walk some until the contraction became stronger. "Aye, I can check her but remember. This is her first child so it may be some time before the baby is ready to come." She knew everything was ready and waiting in the upstairs. "The only thing we'll need is some warmed water so we can bath the babe after." She studied Devon a moment then moved forward to help. "Your babe may be anxious to come into the world. Gaelle, do you want to get the doors." She knew Allan was strong enough but Devon might feel better having someone on both sides.

"Yes." She was going to ask something else, but held off for now. Instead, she worried about getting the woman upstairs, first. She went ahead of them to open the doors up. And there, she waited, and decided to wait until Devon was settled in before asking, "Should I get the water now or wait? I don't want it to get too chilly." The water, she meant, of course.

Allan tried to ease her worry, and his to be honest with a little bit of teasing in the usual, "heave ho," low by her ear as he got her up. Long time, if it took a long time he would be a nervous wreck in proportion. With Lia on the other side, she was well supported and left to move at her pace than his. Taking their time as needed, especially up the stairs as Gaelle saw to the doors. Soon enough he was helping to ease her up into the bed, throwing quilt and covers beneath aside. "Would you be more comfortable in your night gown?" Which at this point he would get it out but leave Gaelle and Lia to help her into it.

She took her time going up, as big as she was, waddling more than walking. As Allan sat her on the edge of the bed, she nodded, and let Gaelle and Lia help her into the nightgown. She didn't feel like laying down though, but wasn't sure if she should or not, if it was safe to be up. She rubbed a bit at her back trying to remember everything Sassy had told them about this moment, but it all seemed to vanish.

"We can keep it warm by placing it beside the fireplace." Not in the fire of course, but close enough for it to stay at a nice temperature. "Why don't you go do that, Allan, while we help her into the gown and I check her." She looked back to Devon, and though the mother-to-be couldn't see the smile, she'd surely hear it in her voice. "Did your water break, Devon?"

She nodded when the plans somewhat changed, and turned a reassuring smile in Allan's direction before she took a step away to find one of Devon's nightgowns. When she found it, for now, she gently set it to the bed, to be in easy reach when needed. She glanced at Lia for her question to Devon and then, her gaze tracked Devon's way.

He was a little relieved not to be in the room when his wife was checked. Too nervous, visions of an arm hanging out or leg. "Right away," well it would take time to warm up the water in the bucket he had ready, kettle too. Not being sure how much they needed, he would make sure there was plenty. With the gown retrieved from the drawer and laid onto the bed, he was quickly heading back down to the kitchen. The kettle would be easy enough to carry but the very large bucket would have been a struggle for Gaelle so all was good and a task to wrap his mind around at the moment. They might hear some clatter down there as he set to getting the water pumped then heated.

She slowly nodded, "I don't think....." and then stopped as another contraction took hold, this one longer and stronger. She tried not to cry out too loudly, and took several deep short breaths, then felt her water break as it pooled at her feet. That answered that question. She sat a bit stunned, almost not sure what to do next, her mind only seeming to focus on what she was feeling and not necessarily on what she should or shouldn't be doing.

"Don't be afraid to yell if you need to." She looked up at Gaelle and smiled. "Will you be up to helping?" Making sure as she didn't want her to faint. All the while, Lia was helping Devon out of her clothing and into the nightgown. "I think you're going to be delivering soon but we want to make sure. We'll get you comfortable and then I'll check you. All right?" She'd explain each step so that Devon wouldn't be caught off guard by anything done.

"I'll try to help, yes." She didn't think she'd faint. She'd seen this before. She stepped around to help with Devon's clothes, and right into the nightgown.

She nodded and, after they got her into the nightgown, she laid back in the bed, propped up a bit with the pillows, following Lia's directions. Her calm steady voice actually reassured Devon a bit.

In spite of her age, Lia had helped deliver a goodly amount of children, even going along with her mother when she was small. She did her best to not cause any discomfort, explaining each step. After, she slid back and glanced at Gaelle. "We're going to be bringing a child into the world faster than I thought. Best yell down to Allan."  Lia moved to the basin in the room and washed her hands. She had been making sure there was clean water in there every morning and evening.

With a quick nod, Gaelle stepped easily for the door and out into the hall.  She stepped further along it, and spoke up, a call to Allan.  She didn't want to be too loud to upset the scene in the room.  "Allan?  I think she's ready."

It was around this time Allan was back with the water, lugging a huge pail that had been warmed as well a kettle in the other near running into Gaelle as she came out from the room calling to him, leaving her to take the kettle as he lugged in the oversize bucket to the hearth. Once that was placed as well Gaelle to follow with the kettle, he was over to the opposite side of the bed from where Lia was to take up Devon's hand. "Squeeze my hand as well if need be." He recalled one of his men saying that helped his wife when she delivered their children.

Devon relaxed a bit as Allan came back into the room. When he took up her hand, she had thought only to give it a small squeeze, with a smile, but instead gripped it hard as another pain washed through her, long and steady. She cried out, teeth a bit clenched, eyes shut, and breathed as best she could, which didn't seem to be enough as she was a bit tired as the pain subsided.

She grinned when she saw all the water, but they might use a good portion of it. "All right, Devon, now what I want you to do is breath like this when the contractions come." And she demonstrated. "You're going to want to push but try not to until I tell you, all right?" She looked over at Gaelle and motioned for her to come beside her. She'd hand the baby to her and she could give the little one to Devon.

Busy as a bee, wasn't she?  She was surprised, startled even when she and Allan almost had a collision.  She was quick to step back, and seeing he needed help, she was quick to take the kettle.  Soon, soon, they were upstairs and she set the kettle close by and eased around the bed to stand near Lia.  She was nervous, but it wasn't something she'd want to admit.  She winced each time Devon cried; she could only imagine what it was like, what she was feeling.

Sweat started to bead along his forehead with a frantic look Lia's way in silent question if this was normal. Fear gripped him as much as Devon's hand with his. His other placed over them both as he remained quiet instead of voicing any fears, not to upset his wife.

Lia wanted her to think?! She could hardly remember her own name. But she listened and tried to follow Lia's directions as best she could, nodding at least that she had heard. She tried breathing as Lia had as the next contraction came, still gripping Allan's hand tightly, then started to let go and relax a bit as the pain ebbed.

She gave Allan a reassuring look and nod then checked Devon again. "When she needs to breath, I want you to do it along with her, Allan. It will help her concentrate." She was trying to keep him busy too and not worrying. If she was right, the next contraction would have the baby's head crowning.

She, herself, wanted to soothe Devon, but she didn't want to leave Lia's side.  She kept her voice quiet, "Devon, you're doing wonderful."  Hoping that helped somehow.

He held to that grip as if by doing so he could lend her his strength. The reassuring look from Lia had him relax a bit more but it wouldn't appease him still being nervous. Long as everything was going as it should, being clueless if anything was out of the ordinary. It was one thing to watch a calf being born but another when it was his wife and their child. "Anything I can do to help.." letting her know he would do his best and would do the breathing with his wife.

She did take a break to turn and give him a small smile, not letting go of his hand. She was a bit nervous too of all this, but could get through anything with him by her side. As the next contraction came, she breathed through it again as Lia had said too, only this one was different, sharper, more intense, and she felt the urge to scrunch up and push, but didn't. "Lia....?" her name dragged out at the end of the contraction.

"Okay, Devon. Push." She could see the baby's head and made ready to guide the little one out. "Try to stop pushing now, sweets. We need to clean the mouth and nose a bit." She didn't want to say that she also wanted to make sure where the cord was. "Gaelle, could you please hand me one of the towels there." She'd use that to clear the baby's mouth and nose.

Everything seemed to be flying by so quickly.  She was surprised that Devon was moving along so fast!  Grateful, no doubt, especially for her.  Hearing Lia, Gaelle sidestepped to snatch up one of the towels.  She passed this over to Lia when she was by her side again.

Allan held her hand with encouraging words, "you're doing great," excitement taking over the nervous as he was leaning up to see what was going on down there. The head seen then the child as he slipped out, "it's a boy!" The joy unmistakable in his voice as he couldn't tear his eyes from his son.

This was all happening way too fast in her mind. Wasn't it supposed to take hours? She was still trying to catch her breath from the last pains when the next one came. She pushed when Lia said, and stopped when she was told to. As she felt the baby slip from, she sighed in relief a bit, tears running down her face. Their child, a boy too. She heard the joy in Allan's voice, and it made her own heart do flips... until another contraction came, catching her off guard. She cried out, not sure if she should be pushing or not, but not truly in control any more.

"Blanket too." She added as the baby came out. She had a slight frown since it seemed the wee babe was smaller then expected but he let out a good healthy wail. Wrapping him up, she handing him to Gaelle and then turned back to Devon. "There's another coming." The baby started to slip out again, Lia's gentle hands doing nothing more then guiding. "You have a daughter as well as a son." They were just the right size for twins, the lad a pound or so heavier than the lass. Once the girl was breathing and wailing as well, she was wrapped up and handed over to Gaelle. Lia, and Devon's work, wasn't finished though the last would go easier and Lia would make sure she didn't bleed too much. "Congratulations."

Blanket, check.  She had one in hand and passed it over.  Just in time.  One baby was already being passed over and Gaelle cast a quiet smile down to the baby.  Squirming thing.  She coo'd a little sound, only to blink and peer over towards Lia.  Another one?  Quite surprised and she was sure the parents were as well.  She couldn't help her smile though, and managed to hold onto it once she had another baby in her arms.  The moment was indeed precious and Gaelle, as soft hearted as she was, thought she'd might tear up.

"What?" Taken by surprise as he kept Devon's hand in his, letting her squeeze the hell out of it until he wondered if bones might break. "A girl too?" Joy at seeing his little girl as he was leaning up again to see best he could from that angle. Then the grip of worry, "are there more?" The second was a surprise enough to jolt that question from him.

Devon leaned back as the last was taken care of, tears of joy streaming down her face in silence as she listened to her children's cries. "I hope not...." she said a bit breathlessly. "At least not yet.... I don't have the strength to push out another one just now." But said with a smile on her face. They had a son, and a daughter.

"No, no more." She chuckled as she answered. "We just need to make sure the placenta is all out. Could you take your son from Gaelle, Allan? And place the little girl on her mother once he does, Gaelle." Poor Gaelle had her arms full!

But, she didn't mind holding them, honest!  She turned towards Allan, carefully handing the baby boy over to him.  The blankets (she'd grabbed two) were different colors and the lad was wrapped up nice and warm.  Then, Gaelle rounded the bed, coming up to Devon's side.  She gently placed the girl in her arms.  "Congratulations, Devon," she said in a quiet tone, smiling as she straightened.

He leaned in to kiss his wife soundly before easing their hands apart. He had to flex his fingers a few times as he was up and over following Gaelle with their children. Easy enough as Gaelle handed him his son with he cradled in his arm and back over to sit on the same side of the bed he had occupied during the deliveries. He angled him so that Devon could touch his face, might find him trying to suckle a finger if it got close to his mouth. "He's a handsome lad and our daughter a beautiful angel like her mother."

Devon listened as Allan was over to collect their son, and then back to her side. She did reach out with gentle fingers to touch his face and "see" him the only way she could. He suckled on her finger a bit before falling asleep in his father's arms. Devon then did the same to their daughter as Gaelle brought the lass over, gentle fingers running down the soft features from head to chin. She also counted fingers. "Aye, they are both perfect."

"Like their mother." He was in awe as he looked from son to daughter to Devon then back again upon the face of his sleeping son. "You will be staying a day or two, Lia?" Figuring she would be to make certain Devon healed as she should, no complications to spring up. Yes, he would worry over them all now.

They'd need cleaning up as well as Devon but that could wait a few moments. After the placenta was delivered and disposed of, she started to clean up. "Aye, I will. Now, why don't you go down to the kitchen and brew up some tea and maybe heat up some soup for Devon while Gaelle and I clean her and the twins up." By the time he returned, the twins would be attempting to nurse for the first time. It would make a picture for Allan to remember.

"Like their Da." she said softly. She wondered little things about them as she held her daughter to her chest. Did they have their father's eyes, or hers? Or something else completely? What color would their hair be? She was marveled at what she was holding, having waited so long for her children to arrive.

"Thank you for all your help Lia and all of yours Gaelle," he was indebted to them both as he was up to hand off his son to Gaelle while Lia cleaned up Devon. "I'll bring up enough tea for all of us to have, soup as well." They might be hungry also and himself at this point. Something light too. He leaned in to warm Devon's lips with his in a very loving way before he was off  to the kitchen in seeing to this task.

"You both are quite welcome.  I'm very grateful that I could be a part of this."  It was a touching moment!  She gathered the babe back into her arms but kept close to Devon, though not so close that she was in the way.  When Allan stepped out of the room, she went about the process of cleaning up the children, and Devon, too.

Erik Allan and Aileen Devon brought into the world 11:00 and 11:05 pm.


Date: 02-27-09
Poster: Brogan Frasier
Post # 2

Golden Dawn Stables

Knowing Brogan was as good as his word, Diane sweet-talked Sassy into packing a lunch fit for six, just in case certain others of a Frasier persuasion were likely to show up. It was entirely possible, after all - this was the Frasier clan! She kept herself busy throughout the morning, putting the various race horses through their daily exercises, then into training modes while she watched paces and interactions with the jockeys. The stables were kept spotless, the floors swept and scrubbed often, hay changed twice a day and the feed bins were kept tightly covered against pests, the horses were curried and brushed regularly, and bathed as needed when the weather permitted. Blue was on the track at the moment, as Diane leaned on the rail to watch him intently, trying to learn what made the horse tick. Dressed neatly in boots and breeches, a shirt and vest, she had her hair tied back in a braid, all very neat and sensible. When at the stables, she was all business.

Brogan had spent the day with Gus, coaxing him to try his hand at cards. Day off, he played instead of running the place but didn't stay there too long as he was to get to Golden Dawn Stables, inviting Gus with him for it would be rude otherwise. He rode in on Wildcat, an extra horse they shared from the Casino, usually harnessed to one of the buggies as they offered such services to those that came and drank too much. Luckily there were not a lot of such incidences as they tried to avoid them. It was good to be attired in comfortable clothing, tunic of a deep green, white shirt, black pants and boots. He looked more the Scots in him. Heavy wool cloak to keep him warm without the need of the hood drawn up for the midday sun. Once to the Stable, he dismounted waiting on Gus as he checked the saddle straps.

Gus had enjoyed the time at the Casino but he knew Brogan would be going to Golden Dawn Stables. Still, when he was invited, he accepted readily. Dressed in a heavy Aran sweater, black pants and riding boots, he only needed a light cloak His horse was a gelding who was prone to be lazy and had been given the name Bert by his previous owner. He dismounted and patted the horse before joining Brogan.

One of the stablehands, alerted to the arrival, went out to greet the Frasier men and take their horses for temporary stabling. Greeting them with a smile, he extended his hands for their reins, informing them that Diane was by the training ring, and they were welcome to join her.

"Good day to you," handing off the reins to Wildcat, "watch your flank," said with a bit of amusement as the lad might find out if he let Wildcat lag behind just enough for him to nip. From there he headed for the training ring, coming up on the fencing as he took a lean, arms folding over the other as he watched. He would not interrupt and would wait for when she was ready.

Gus nodded a greeting as he handed the reins over. He chuckled when he heard Brogan, glancing to see if the horse misbehaved. Once at the training ring, he leaned as well, though he kept his hands in the pockets of his pants.

After a few minutes, her head turned to see Brogan and Gus, a smile forming for them. Before she could say anything, a yelp sounded from the direction of the stables, along with what was suspiciously like a wicked nicker from a horse. Peering in that direction, Diane had to wonder, but decided it was best not to ask. "Do I even want to know which of your horses decided my stablehand looked tasty?"

Gus was laughing as he pulled one hand from his pocket and pointed to Brogan. Didn't have to say a word. Just point.

Oh yes, he was grinning hearing that. The lad had been warned but must not have taken him seriously. He shook his head, then near as quickly noticing Gus ratting on him. Had him laughing fully as he swatted his shoulder. "I warned the lad." Pushing up fully from his lean, "how are you this day, Diane?"

Her head shook ruefully - leave it to Brogan to bring a man-eating horse! Still amused by it, she shrugged, then unbent enough to laugh. "Well enough, even if I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong with Blue. I decided to make sure he was out so you could see his paces; maybe you'll see something I don't. Hello, Gus, how'd you get roped into coming along?" Not to mention she was glad she had the foresight to bring enough lunch for the three!

"Didn't take much roping. I was being a pest at the casino and losing badly I might add. So Brogan felt pity for me and asked me along. Hello to you too." He grinned as he finished talking.

"Certainly, although I'm not the expertise you are. Maybe between the three of us we might spot something. Although he did well in the races last month and in fifth place this past month. Still, I think he could do better before he's turned out to the field, stud services."

"That would make two of us. I have no head for the cards, so I avoid them." Flashing Gus a quick grin, she sobered on hearing Brogan before she shifted to look back at the horse taking the track at a canter. "He's a good horse, clean lines and I'd say a solid bloodline. But I don't know if he was born to race, Brogan... maybe it's age, but then again, he wasn't raced for so long. He might have lost the fire."

"Oui, though he has Placed when a lot of other horses racing have not taken a spot yet." He knew the horse was more a veteran than a lot of the others. "If he has lost his fire then it might be better to pull him from the racing, let him spend the rest of his days, in bliss as a stud, oui?" Though he wasn't ready to pull him just yet, maybe after the year was done.

She wasn't quite ready to call it quits on the stallion, not yet, and it showed in her face as she continued to watch the jockey put him through his paces. "Too soon to call. Let's give him another three or four months first, see how he does. I can adjust his feed and exercise regimen, see if that makes a difference. Come summer, we can reevaluate if that suits you?"

"That suits me. I always believe in giving a reasonable amount of time." Including himself in years past in his turning around from the path he'd been on. Sounded good to him as he would be coming to talk to the stallion as well. Making sure he had time to spare even when alone in taking care of the Casino. "How are the other horses doing?" He had not kept up with all the stats.

He was leaning again but this time his elbows were resting on the top rail of the fence while he watched the horse. Of course he was listening, but had little to say.

"Some better than others. Sage is currently my best so far. It's hit or miss, though I need to expand the stable's amount of racers." There never seemed to be enough hours in the day for her to get what she wanted to done, but Diane was dead set on making Golden Dawn a success as a privately-owned stable. Suppressing the urge to sigh, she folded her arms across the top of the rail and dropped her chin onto them. "But we're getting there. In a few years, with hard work and a lot of luck, Golden Dawn might be able to rival the Royal Barrett,or the McDonough Stables."

"Or McDale, seems his horses place near every race, sometimes two spots." He was up on who was winning the races overall. "So will you be getting more horses in? You should coax Victor to buy a few. Man has some money he could invest."

"I was thinking about it, when I had the money." Diane's pride was not inconsiderable; the mention of her cousin made her frown. She had no doubt if asked, Victor would be more than happy to invest in a few racers. That wasn't the point! Deciding instead to change the subject, she cleared her throat and included Gus in her gaze. "Are you both hungry? Sassy packed enough for a small army, I think."

"I never turn down food." He laughed as he answered and finally looked toward the two. "I get tired of my own cooking."

He studied her a moment, watching the flicker of expressions melt from one to another in a fast pace. Whatever thoughts came about were not expressed. More willing to go with her change of topic. "Oui, I am hungry as I didn't eat at the Casino knowing lunch was to be here." Glancing off to watch Blue a few more minutes as he was put through his paces still. Easier that way for any thoughts to be possibly picked up on, eyes had a tendency to tattletale. "You should see if that pretty little Egyptian lass might cook for you, Gus." Never pass up the opportunity to tease his cousin.

Pouncing on that as an interesting subject and sparing her pride, Diane pushed herself off the fence with a resumption of her usual grin. "What's this? Gus has a lady friend?" Leading the way towards the stables, she'd set a table and chairs in her office for the meal, where it waited in a wicker basket to be unpacked and enjoyed. "And where's yours, charmer?" A small, slim finger poked Brogan lightly in the ribs.

"Feh." He managed a frown briefly. "I can't even manage to speak to her alone. There's always some huge guard right there with her." As if that was an excuse.

"He is in denial but he tends to fumble around colorful silks and exotic perfume. I cannot blame him. You should approach her next time and ask to speak alone, wont manage it otherwise with that burly guard around."

"Or try sending her a note. Women like that." Said with the airy confidence of one who knew all about the subject, of course. "Flowers would be even better." She didn't fail to notice Brogan ignored her question, however.

"Flowers?" He looked at Diane, his expression hopeful. "But what kind of flowers would an Egyptian lass like?" He put a hand over his stomach as it growled suddenly. "A note would be good, but I don't want to offend her family."

Actually, he had missed it when concentration had turned to teasing his cousin. "Oui, there are many ways if you are truly interested in at least finding out more about her."

She smiled, taking his question seriously. "What kind of flowers? Simple, pretty and local. They won't be what she's used to. I bet if you ask Lady Lisette, she could make some recommendations."

"I'll do that tomorrow, first thing And just a simple note?" Ye gods, he felt like a teenage boy with his first crush.

Which had him smiling, more to himself, as he watched his cousin. Rare feeling, even to see it with another. It was his turn for his stomach to growl.

Diane nodded as she opened the door to her office. "You can't go wrong with simple, Gus, as long as it's honest. She's a lucky young lady, your Egyptian lass. Come in, and make yourselves comfortable, please. It's not much of a dining room, but the food will be good."

"Thank you but I'll be happy if she doesn't think I'm a complete fool the way I act around her." He stood behind one of the chairs and waited for Diane to sit. Then again, at least he hadn't tripped and fallen right into her.

Thanking him with a smile, she sat down and began to unpack the basket. The dishes were already laid, as bottles of cold, sweet tea and lemonade were placed on the table, along with wrapped packages of food.

Being Gus was in before him to see to Diane's chair, he was over to take one of the others up. Glancing over the fare set out, "looks good." The aromas alone would set his stomach to growling again. "You never know, she probably finds you far more charming than anyone else, oui? Some ladies find such fumbling around them, ... cute?" Not being too sure if that was the right word to describe it.

Staying quiet now as she finished unwrapping the offerings, a simple but hopefully delectable lunch, Diane watched the two. A salad of crunchy vegetables tossed in herbs, oil and a splash of vinegar sat next to cold, sliced meats and cheese, soft yeast rolls with her bed and honey butters, and Diane's favorite apple galettes were waiting to be devoured.


Date: 02-27-09
Poster: Brogan Frasier
Post # 3

"Smells good too." He pushed her chair in carefully, maybe practicing? Cute? He nearly groaned but managed not to. "She likes to talk to me I think. I'd just like to get to know her." He smiled. "But I won't find out unless I do something. Right now though ... I'm ready to eat." And he'd start when they did.

"Then help yourself." She did so as well, passing the plates as needed, until she had what she wanted. Virtue kept her off the galettes until she'd eaten other, less sugary things first.

Once Diane started, he followed, taking a sampling of all there was to offer. Once his plate was moderately full, he started in like one very hungry while keeping his manners.

He didn't talk much once he started to eat, though he didn't devour his food like he hadn't eaten in days. The tea was his drink of choice.

He was curious of something that popped up in his thoughts, swallowing before addressing his cousin. "How long has it been since you first noticed her?" He had the distinct impression it had been a while and he had done nothing further than fumble around her though he had not the last time? He wasn't quite sure.

She was hungry, but curious enough to ask a few hopefully discreet questions, until Brogan beat her to the proverbial punch. Pouring lemonade for herself, she was interested in the answers.

He finished chewing and swallowed before answering. "I'd say ... two years." His tone was quite sheepish. "I spilled my coffee on myself that day."

He gave a low whistle under his breath, he figured a year but two? "You certainly take your time. You're lucky another hasn't swept her off her feet in the meantime."

"Brogan! There is nothing wrong with being patient and being sure." Scowling at him, her eyes narrowed as she bit her tongue to stifle the rest of her remark.

He proceeded then to finish up what was on his plate. See, he did it again it seemed. A brow raising as olive green eyes turned on Diane, "I didn't say it was a bad thing."

He actually turned red, giving a sheepish smile. "I didn't see her again for a long time after. I thought maybe she had left Heathfield but one day at the Thistle, there she was." He looked from Brogan to Diane and back, confused.  "Well, she could have been married. I don't know if they arrange them or not."

"No, but to say he was lucky someone else hasn't swept her up?" She wanted to say it, oh she so wanted to, but instead, she took a drink. "Some people aren't as confident as you when it comes to... attractions." There, Sassy and Rose would have been proud of her restraint. Even if she wanted to kick him.

"Oui, he is lucky for he has an interest that she has not been." The second statement at first confused him then eyes narrowed. "I have stayed away from relationships for there is no confidence if you must know." He was up from his seat. "If you'll excuse me. Thank you for the lunch. I should take the time to talk to Blue before I need to get back." Giving a slight nod of his head and well putting on a stoic expression to cover up any thoughts beneath as he headed out to see to that part of coming here this afternoon.

Gazing after him with a bleak expression, she sighed and pushed her plate away, the little apple tart going uneaten. "I should go apologize. Will you pardon me, Gus, for a few minutes, please?"

He was nearly finished but rather than get up right away, he took another bite and watched as Brogan walked out. "Of course." Smiling slightly at her.

"Thanks. Sorry for..." She gestured in frustration, "this." That delivered, she headed out into the stables themselves, looking for Brogan and feeling all of about three inches tall. "Brogan?"

Brogan was directed to Blue's stall, picking up the brush as he went in with the stallion. Words were low and in French, a far more coaxing language in the way it flowed. Long, slow brush strokes were taken as he praise him for placing, coaxing that he could continue to do as well. That he was proud of him no matter and nothing bad would happen to him if he could not. Spoke on a retirement with fillies. The brush stalled as he glanced over his shoulder hearing Diane. At least the task had diverted, calmed, rising ire. He didn't wish to raise ire in others either and obviously he was doing a good job of it with Diane, without any effort! "Oui? I am here." Obviously right where he said he would be.

He had a feeling that whatever had to be said would take a little while and while sampling one of the tarts, he put everything away. They could unwrap it if they wanted to continue. Pouring himself another glass of tea, he sat back and made sure he didn't hear a battle.

Coming to a stop outside the box that belonged to Blue, she fought the urge to scuff a toe, feeling all of twelve again. "I wanted to apologize. What I said was... out of line, and unacceptable. So... I'm sorry."

"I did not know my teasing Gus on the little lady he's been noticing for some time, would upset you." That was not predictable on his part. Blue snorted, dipping his head with a nudge against Brogan that near knocked him over for being unexpected. Why? Because he had stopped with the brush. "You should put that into your race," running the brush down his mane before he set it aside. "I seem to anger you and I am not sure why." Coming around as he unlatched the gate and out before Blue pushed him again. "I am not trying to have you get angry with me."

"I seem to have the same effect on you, and I don't know why either." Looking up at him, she had to sigh, feeling frustrated and annoyed with herself. "I'm not... I don't want to fight with you, but I apparently have a gift for saying all the wrong things to you. Like the other night. You were laughing and having a good time, then I said something, and your face looked like a thundercloud. And I don't know why."

"Maybe we are both too sensitive in certain areas? Maybe it is because I'm part French? I am half Scot, aye," the accent changing as he could affect that brogue easily. It would probably be better now that he was back and fit in more with his full Scottish relatives. Obviously he was not sure why it was happening but he knew a certain comment hit too close to home, things he kept inside that had been part of his past, one he worked hard on changing.

"I don't think it's that at all. I think it's more personal. So... I'll try to watch what I say better. I don't want to hurt you." Silver-blue eyes were somber as they met his, her features solemn. "We're friends, and I cherish that. I don't want anything to change that." Making a firm resolution with herself to guard her tongue, she looked down, not certain what else to say.

"Aye, I feel overall that idea is more disturbing than anything else." Over something said to anger the other. He had managed to get past the anger the other night and had been resolved to have the time here go without incident. Right. Best laid plans had a mind of their own. He wasn't sure how to handle this situation either. "I wish for us to remain friends. I am sorry if things I said angered you, or at least raised your ire."

"I'm too sensitive sometimes, or so Roseann tells me. I'm working on fixing it. But we're alright? Friends again?" Hope lifted her face and her eyes to his, aware that Gus was patiently waiting in the office.

Gus was fine. He had finished his tea and was leaning back in the chair, balancing on two legs.

"Aye," rather liking how he sounded more like his kin. "We did not stop," though he had wondered if such kept up if it would ruin their friendship, why he had felt it prudent to leave when he did. "We should get back," or have Gus wondering what happened considering it all. "We shall see how Blue does after this talking. I didn't threaten him," which had the start of a grin.

Hoping her reply didn't set off the wrong thing, she smiled to make it clear she was teasing. "Lucky horse, to get such sweet-talk. But I will definitely hope it worked. And yes, we should get back, unless Gus found a good place to nap." Like the desk, maybe?

"Aye, sweet talking a horse is safe." Which had him chuckling as he hoped his teasing flowed with hers in the same way taken. "I think he does fall asleep after a good meal." Only half joking, and wondering as well if he'd be dozing off. So it wasn't long they were gone as he held the door for her once they reached the office where they had the luncheon. Once she was in, he was as well, closing the door behind them.

He wasn't napping but when the door opened, he wasn't expecting it and his arms started to flail as he tried to keep the chair from tipping backward..

Riveted to the spot, she knew she should help Gus, but the sight was such that she could only stop and stare. Poor man.

"It is only us, Gus. I have not brought the Egyptian lady.." He couldn't help teasing him as that came second nature and would be harder to stop.

"Though if this is how you act around her, I'll bet she finds it charming." Diane suddenly grinned. Safer by far to tease Gus. Teasing Brogan was definitely out for the foreseeable future.

"It's worse." Grinning as he brought the chair upright and didn't fall. "I would have gone over." He could laugh at his own clumsiness... after the fact.

"I repeat: what a lucky lady." The smile didn't dim a bit at that.

"Aye, we should stop at Lisette's on the way back. Set this in motion." If Diane felt she needed to be careful, wonder how Gus felt when he knew he would be around the Egyptian lady. Brogan just slipped back more into his shell in that area.

"Maybe she'd feel sorry for me." He grinned then blinked at Brogan. "Ah... aye, we should but I need to figure out what to say in the note." He was getting to his feet. "I put everything away. Hope you two weren't planning on having more. Except for the tarts."

"I'm fine, thank you for doing that, though. And if you'd like a little advice on the note?" Diane smiled faintly. "Just tell her you think she's special and lovely... and you would like to get to know her better. Simple and true."

"That ... sounds perfect. Thank you." His face lit up then he looked at Brogan. "Are you staying? I really should start back." He had a few things to do before evening.

"Aye, it does." Then a blink Gus' way, "how would I stop at the florist with you on the way if I was staying?" Clapping him on the shoulder, "I need to get back as well. I am sure I will see you soon again, Diane. Perhaps I should get to the next race, encourage Blue with my presence." Hopefully something like that might help.

"That would be nice." She nodded, prepared to see them out. "And good luck with your Egyptian lady, Gus. I hope all goes well for you."

"Thank you. I'll be sure to let you know." He'd be nervous now until he heard from her one way or the other.

Which would be normal but Brogan would encourage him on the matter as they headed out. The stable hand giving Brogan a look when he handed off Wildcat. Almost had him laugh but then he knew the nip would have the lad too sore to sit for a day with any ease.


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