Two Nights Later ... The Gift

Up the steps of the porch she'd make her way, then entering the tavern with a light step. A smile upon her lips and to everyone's surprise, she was singing. What was she singing? It was none other than the song ....One day my Prince will come. Perhaps our dear little Carly, has been nipping a bit at that bottle of Irish whiskey already. Maybe! Up to the bar she'd soon move. Hands to rest upon its surface to see if anyone was in attendance tonight. "A bottle of Irish whiskey and a glass, if you'd be so kind." Interrupting that song to set her order in place. Fingers delved within the pocket of those dark brown pants to withdraw proper payment to set upon the bar. A wink towards Fayalki. "Irish whiskey handsome, bottle and a glass." Payment pushed across the bar. "Thanks luv." Taking both in hand, she'd step away from the bar to head to her usual table beside the opened window. Bottle and glass set to rest upon the table's surface, as she lowered upon the plush comforts of the seat. A slight lean to push the window open further. Then back to a comfortable setting, legs stretched out beneath the table and crossing at the ankles.

Had he heard singing in this tavern? Ice blue eyes flashed in that quick glance given over the patrons gathered as he ducked through the side entrance. Yes, he'd been making use of the alleyways again.

Glance back towards Jello Man and a soft chuckle to sound. "Thanks Govn'r. I'm sort of partial to it meself." Irish lilt held the soft sound of laughter with those words spoken. Playfulness and teasing were as natural to her as the intake of breath. It was then she spotted Maurice's entry and a flash of a smile. "Evening Handsome." Called out in his direction. Back to that singing she'd then return, as the cork was pulled free of the bottle and the glass filled.

"Evening sweetheart." Wink given came with the spreading of a natural roguish grin as he headed for the bar to set enough coins to the counter to cover a glass of whiskey. Seemed it was not self serve this night.

Glass taken in hand as the bottle was resettled upon the table. Leaning back in her seat, the song of the Prince would then change to another ballad. Shy she was not as her voice filled the room.... "The wise man said just walk this way to the dawn of the light. The wind will blow into your face as the years pass you by. Hear this voice from deep inside. It's the call of your heart. Close your eyes and your will find there's a dock out of the dark. Here I am will you send me an angel?  Here I am in the land of the morning star. The wise man said just find your place in the eye of the storm. Seek the roses along the way. Just beware of the thorns. Here I am will you send me an angel? Here I am in the land of the morning star.  The wise man said just raise your hand and reach out for the spell. Find the door to the promised land. Just believe in yourself. Hear this voice from deep inside, it's the call of your heart. Close your eyes and your will find the way out of the dark. Here I am will you send me an angel? Here I am in the land of the morning star. Here I am Will you send me an angel? Here I am in the land of the morning star." The song would trail off and the glass lifted to those awaiting lips. A tilt of the vessel would soon have a slow, savored sip to follow.

Seemed there were quite a few interesting views to take in and were beneath the dipping glance of ice blue eyes. Ones that seemed to flash for their distinctive coloring. Whiskey served he took up the glass before pushing away from the slight lean to head on over to where Carly was seated. He'd invite himself as he set his glass down off to her left before capturing the back of the chair in a large hand grip. It was spun around as he was down to straddle it in one fluid motion. Now he got to hear her singing up close to enjoy.

Glass lowered as those rich chestnut colored eyes rose to rest upon his features. A smile to appear. "Just the man I had hoped to see. Seeing you earlier reminded me of something." Offered in part, keeping a cloak of mystery purposely about those words. It would be hard to tell what her thoughts were, though mirth did glimmer brightly within soft browns. Lucius would gain a wave and wink. He was the most attentive waiter, her teasing thought.

Well, that caught his attention and focus as ice blue eyes met hers. Grin was tucking to settle in that thick beard of his. "Now, Sweetheart, you truly have my attention. I hope you can make my day a bit brighter."

"I hope so too." Bright smile as she leaned forward a bit, to pull something that was nestled in that back pocket. Yes, it was a bit uncomfortable to carry there, but she carried not a satchel, so she utilized what she had. Drawing it around to set it upon the table and slide it to rest before him. It was a long, narrow package, a wooden box that had six horses at a dead run etched upon its surface. "A thank you for the other day." Stated softly as she leaned back upon her seat to watch as he opened it. It was held close by a small brass clasp.

Blue eyes traced her actions and what a nice trail it made too as even already he was grinning more in that lazy sort of appreciative way. There then back as he leaned with a stretch of hand, fingers sliding down over hers and away to capture the long narrow box. Russet brow lifted as he eased back comfortably. Interesting. First the trace of a forefinger along the etchings as they were well done. The box itself an intrigue in itself. The explanation came unexpected as ice blue eyes flashed up as his hand stilled. "There was need of a thank you? Sweetheart, you made my day the other. A fond memory to keep.." Trailing off for he would not assume there would be more but even fonder memories could be made if such became a mutual opportunity. Brass clasp was worked open as the lid was lifted.

Nestled upon the bed of black velvet, was a long bladed dagger. The metal held a light green coloration, proving it to be of something more than silver or steel. A circular plate of gold on either side was etched with the initials ..'M.M.'. The hilt was built to fit within the grip of a man's hand, though shaped in the form of a stallion in full stride. Every detail could be easily seen, the rippling of muscles in stride, the flow of the mane against its back. The tail would split to become that from where the long, double blade would begin. Resting beneath it was a black leather sheath, inlay of silver reflected the scene upon the box. That smile would warm as she watched him. "Yes, a good memory for I as well, Maurice. You don't know how much I needed that." All she'd give in explanation, though the gift itself would show that thought was placed behind it.

"I am impressed..." Very. Lifting the well crafted blade from its resting place as first he checked its balance then the fine craftsmanship. A low whistle came under his breath as blue eyes tipped her way again. "You know your weapons." Flicking it to tuck under then around as his hand fitted to slide over the hilt. He was good with knives and this one was balanced exceptionally as the fast motion of blade attested to. He took up the sheath to fit over the blade before resting it back into the box. He was careful about it which showed his appreciation before he leaned in to slide a warm tender kiss against her lips. Beard would tickle and slight sear to linger just enough in saying thank you.

"I know a lot of things that I don't let onto." Pleased with his response to the gift. To be honest, she was a bit apprehensive. She didn't know him well enough to know his likes and dislikes, so she took a chance. That smile would grow when his lips captured hers, the kiss to be returned in like. Hand lifted to rest against the side of his face, fingers to lightly drag through his beard. A moment to pass before she'd withdraw slightly. "I'm glad you like it." A mere whisper to be uttered.

A bit of a teasing nip at the end came with the graze of his teeth along her bottom lip before he straightened. "I cannot stay this night as I was on my way to Gullivers, but, I would be honored if you would have dinner with me at my tavern some evening at your convenience. I enjoy your company and it would be very enjoyable."

Slow nod as she sat back. "I would enjoy that Maurice. A good meal and company is something I'd never turn down." Stated with a smile. Hand to draw back and rest upon the table before her.

One large roughen hand slid over hers as fingers curled to encompass in its warmth. A few moments to linger before released as he stood. The box tucked in one hand. "I will be in contact soon." He had some hot cargo he needed to dispense of and tonight that was going to be seen to. "Sweetheart..." Leaving that the last said as a roguish grin sprang to life then he was moving through the crowd and out the side door.

A grin in return. "Safe travels handsome." A wink sent his way and she'd relax fully back upon that seat.

Dinner Talk

Maurice had sent out a runner to locate Carlotta in the hopes she was able to come this evening. He had seen to the preparation of the meal himself and hoped it would be shared. Mandy was tending bar as usual with a bright smile in welcome while seeing to the orders and trays filled as she sauntered over to a group of sailors. She was quick to side step a pinch that was attempted and still get their libations of choice set before sauntering off. A table set aside in an alcove was done up for two. A red rose in the vase and a bucket of ice holding a bottle of champagne.

Having received word by messenger, she'd make her way to the indicated place. Following the map provided, soon she'd make way to the tavern, reining the Bay to a halt before it. Slipping off its back, it would be tethered, prior to her making way up to the door, then entering within. Having chosen to wear a satin gown of pale yellow, which complimented that sunkissed complexion. Long hair braided, then twisted into a bun, held in place by combs of ivory.

Ice came from the back as the apron was untied and thrown over the end of the bar. The scent of seafood prevailed along with the cook's specialty pie. No one dared to say a word seeing that more feminine apron on the very big man. Roguish grin tucked within the thick russet beard as he noted Carly. "Perfect timing sweetheart." And it was!

He was attired now how he should be, sans the apron. Loose fitting shirt was left partially open exposing the darker reddish hair curling beneath. Cotton pants of dark brown tailored to fit perfectly, topped off in calf high boots laced up. He was around from the bar to approach in a long legged assured stride. Appreciation glinted in ice blue eyes with this up closer view of her attire. "Very fetching." Indicating the alcove. "If you will join me." Keep her from being ogled any longer by the sailors. One glance there had them looking away real fast.

Once inside, a glance was spared over the area. It was then she noticed him exiting the kitchen, she couldn't help that grin upon seeing the apron. "I do try to be punctual, handsome." Teasingly spoken. The grin turned into a smile with his compliment. "Thank you for saying so." A glance towards the alcove and a nod as she looked back to him. "Of course, it's why I'm here."

He was wearing the gift she gave him, sheathed at his hip. A hand lifted to touch upon the small of her back as he escorted her over. Once there it fell away as he pulled out the chair for her to be seated. Mandy would see to serving them what he had prepared. Once she was comfortable he took up the chair off to her left before reaching over to draw the rose from the vase to present. "This is for you." Enough said for it said it all.

Upon settling, a smile would be offered up to Mandy, then attention was drawn upon him with the offering of the rose. The gentle nature of that smile would appear, as she accepted the bloom offered. "It's beautiful Maurice ... thank you." It would be drawn close to inhale its soft fragrance. Lowering to focus upon him once more. "It's quite a setting you put forth. Your making me feel like I'm somebody special." Of course she was teasing, as was her nature.

"There is much to be said about the comparison of a rose and a lady who receives one." Mandy stood waiting over at the bar having the others within seen to. She was waiting her cue and got such a one with the discreet dip of his head. She promptly disappeared into the kitchen as ice blue eyes held that flash Carly's way. Smile only grew as he settled back comfortably. He was hungry and hoped she was too. "You are someone special. I consider you a friend. Possibly we are very much alike too in ways and not in other ways." Straying glance held that appreciation briefly as Mandy was prompt and approached the table to set out the glass bowls containing a fresh salad. Greens, small cherry tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, bacon bits and cheese. The tray with dressings was set off to the side for their use along with salt and pepper. Russian, ranch and a creamy Italian.

To that she'd nod. "Yes, friends indeed. Though what could we possibly have in common?" A glance towards Mandy as she delivered the food, a smile offered to the woman. Focus was then upon the dressings, it would be the Italian mix that she'd chose. Adding a few dribbles to that salad, then set back before she'd glance over at him. "I know there are ways we are not that's quite prevalent. You're a man and I'm a woman." Look at that grin grow.

one muscular forearm came to rest against the table's edge. "I have a feeling it is more our view on life, even if the reasons that got us to this point differ. To be able to enjoy another's company, to flirt, teased and laugh together and not worry about the other getting other thoughts in mind to settle. Neither of us feel the need to possess another to be able to enjoy time with them to whatever extent it goes." A no strings attached and we'll get along famously. Russet brow lifted as he eased back. "Unless I have lost the ability to understand another instead of losing me charm?" That twinkle in blue eyes showed his amusement as in a way he was serious but presented it an easy fashion. He added some of the ranch dressing to his salad as he spoke.

Softly she'd laugh as she focused upon him fully. "Am I that easily read?" Salt and pepper taken in hand to add a dash of each, setting them within his reach. "You're quite correct in your assessment of me, Maurice. It's good to know you share the same views. That makes you safe in my book, like Zar." Taking her fork in hand. "Although his friendship with me, has gained him placement in idle gossip." Stabbing her fork into the bed of greens and a glance his way. "Story goes, he and I are supposed to be engaged. So you better watch out, you may be next." Teasingly spoken, a glint of amusement in soft browns. That speared would be lifted and consumed.

"It was mostly because I felt comfortable with you .. to be me without reservations." He had well toned instincts, at least he had but he had not been out socially as such in a while. That was the crux. It was good to know he had not lost his touch there. "Safe to be you around me and in kind for myself. There will always be idle gossip that falls short of the truth. More, then likely such will be said of us. I long ago stopped caring what others' thought as long as I am true to myself. That is what counts." The last brought a chuckle with a slight shake of his head before he reached over to stroke a finger along the back of hers, a brief touch, before he was digging into his salad.

That gained him a gentle smile, though a chuckle to sound. "That's the way I feel. The way I look at it, if they're talking about me, they're leaving someone else alone." Another bite of the salad taken. Once chewed and consumed she'd continue. "..besides, those who know me, and know the truth is all that matters. Let others believe as they will." A slow shake of her head. "If I had a gold coin for each and every time I've been accused of being a whore, I'd be rich. If only they knew the truth." A bit of a chuckle, then back to working on that salad.

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