08.31.3013: The Idle Selfish
Summary: Jane answers an invitation and talks well into the night with Garus.
Date: 31 August 2013
Related: None
Garus Jane 

A Sitting Room - Leonnida Castle
A cozy sitting room with couches, chairs, tables and bookshelves. A balcony overlooks the Southern Wilds.
31 August 3013

A day has passed since the Meals of the Mother Gala at the Roar, and all has quieted again. The guests have gone to their homes and the nobles that have been offered guestright have been shown to their rooms. The day itself has been filled with a number of meetings for Lord Garus concerning the Waygate assault at Cape Amran, and from planning table to meetings with the troops, defenses have been bolstered at their own nearby Waygate. It has been a long day, with meeting after meeting that has led into the early evening.

Now, as dinner hour has just passed, Garus has been informed that his invitation to speak with Miss Jane Wyre has been accepted. With hopes that this meeting will go far better than the previous ones, Garus directs his staff to lead her to a sitting room on the eastern wall of his family's stronghold where comfortable couches and food have been set out to overlook a wide, panoramic spanse of forest where the sun will be setting. With a fresh change of clothes, Garus slips into the room alone and moves to stand at the balcony overlook, waiting patiently with his wrist settled comfortably over the hilt of his broadsword that hangs at his side.

The (in)famous Jane may not be a military woman, and yet she can feel the rigor of the busiest days leeching energy from her very bones. After a multitude of guild-related meetings, a tour of a new production facility, two hours of signing photos for Yet Another Charity Event, and a few hours spent combing through scripts looking for a viable next movie - the actress is ready to call the day quits. Only a reminder from the bubbly Willow has kept Jane from breaking this meeting.

She, too, has chosen to change into something fresh, and after a bit of a stroll has been conducted into Garus' — quarters? Just past the threshold, the redhead pauses to take in the setup, and one hand reaches up to pull her curly mane over one shoulder. Dark eyes flit first to the seating area and the food before turning toward the balcony. The woman seems reluctant to interrupt Garus' silent interlude, so the only introduction she makes is the sound of her shoes as she crosses the room to stand beside him.

It only takes a few steps from Jane's white, heeled boots before Garus averts his gaze from the view ahead. His chin lowers to glance down the plane of his shoulder, a sign that he's noticed her entry. Allowing a silent moment to filter over the room, the rest of his body turns to face her and his light, blue eyes find the gradually shifting synthetic fabric of gray that rises to her bodice and the white fabric that holds to her form. For all of his reservation, the way that his eyes widen at the sight of her, however slight, is a sign of pleasant surprise.

"Miss Wyre," He kills the silence, taking a step forward to greet her. "If you'd have worn that dress last night, I'm afraid the Senator's would have gone over deaf ears. I should thank you for this." His spurs jingle against the floor as he comes to a stop, eyes meeting hers as he dips his head in a nod to greet her. "I didn't expect such a quick reply, I hope I haven't interrupted anything vital."

When Garus turns toward her, Jane's face is in profile as she gazes with admiration at the view. Most women are aware when men are looking at them, and so she obliges the knight his moment of silence as he takes in her appearance before turning toward him. The movement is one of slight reluctance, for he has chosen quite an exquisite perch for their meeting. The actress' smile changes, widening just the faintest at the sight of the Leonnidan's expression.

Garus' words draw forth a light laugh as Jane dips into an elegant curtsey in greeting. "You flatter me, my lord, and prove that men have no eye for fashion. This dress is out of style now, and it would not have been suitable for last night." Straightening, she clasps her hands loosely behind her back and meets Garus' gaze; the corners of her eyes crinkle as she does so, carrying the pleasure of her smile even as her expression softens. "There is nothing nearly so vital in my work as in yours, my lord. I should hope that it is I who am not interrupting you."

"Well then please ensure that in this trivia madness that there isn't a category of fashion. We'd all lose dreadfully." Garus replies, quick on the draw as his lips curl ever-so-slightly at the corners. Correct. He knows so very little about fashion, and like most men only notices when something seems to look right. "Most of everything I own is functional, though the House tailors have ensured me that the matches I choose are the sort of thing that isn't far out of fasion…" To emphasize his words, he brushes his fingertips over the front of his tunic and settles his heels into place against the floor, intending to stand with her for the moment.

He shakes his head from side to side, revealing the long scar to the side of his neck as it cords with tension from the days activities. "No, you are not interrupting. In fact," He motions to the view beside them as his brows darken. "Your presence is a bit of a break from soldiering and planning, and a welcome one. I barely got any sleep last night before the planning sessions began, and it's been a very long day." His arm continues to sweep, motioning to the room around them. With tall, gold curtains waving with the breeze and a small collection of books near a chair at the overlook, the room is lived in and well loved. "If you'd not accepted this would be where I would come, still. It's quiet, a place I come to think."

"Luckily for you, my lord, fashion is not necessarily included in the 'arts'. Nevertheless, I will insure that Lady Eirene is aware." When Garus mentions his attire, Jane reaches out without permission to pluck a stray thread from its perch near his left shoulder. She studies it for a moment before flicking it aside to be later swept away. "Fashion for men is much more liberal, to be entirely honest," she continues, allowing her steady gaze to sweep the knight from head to toe and back again. "Functional suits you with your jawline and stubble and the slightly touseled look your hair always has."

Flashing another smile, Jane glances away to allow the pink to fade from her cheeks as she listens to Garus describe his day. She casts a sympathetic glance to him and shakes her head before gesturing toward the seating area. "You looked tense when I came in, but I didn't want to bring it up. Please sit, my lord, and do not linger on my account." Turning away, Jane follows her own advice by moving toward a couch; she reaches down with one hand to lift up the train of her gown. "I had heard the news," the woman continues, lowering herself to perch on the edge of her seat with her hands clasped loosely in her lap. "It isn't a wonder you were so busy today, Sir Garus. Have you ever had a massage? I have them often - at least twice a month - when I'm on a job."

Turning as she passes him, Garus slowly presses out one of his boots on a step to follow behind her. As they near the couches, he unhooks his sword's scabbard from his belt and leans it against the arm of the couch that rests at an L angle from hers. "A massage?" The way the question is versed already contains the answer. With a brush of his hand through his carefree hair, he reaches for two wine glasses and overturns them. Pouring a glass for each of them, he takes her wine between his fingers and offers the refreshment to her gently with a small smile to match the laughter in his eyes. "No. I've never had a massage, Miss Wyre. Ever since I was a lad it would be out of the yard or back from the stables and into a hot tub to unwind the muscles, but never a massage. I believe that my brother has had a few but I've never."

Lowering himself to his couch, there's just enough exhaustion in the man's bones to make sitting down for the first time in hours a near-joyous event. The arms of his tunic stretch as his muscles flex and his legs stretch out before him, careful to keep his spurs from digging into the floor or catching on the train of her dress. "This won't surprise you, Miss Wyre, but I'm not a man that's often taken the time to enjoy the finer things in life. Always busy. Always going somewhere. Always with my eye on what's best for my people. I'm not a lord that plays at being noble, for me it's service."

Jane's gaze follows Garus as he pauses by the couch to remove his belt before taking a seat. It is obvious by the man's posture as he settles down that it has, indeed, been a very long day. "A massage," she repeats, reaching out to accept the glass of wine; her fingers brush his briefly before she slides back and leans against the cushions of her own seat. She adjusts her position, turning toward Garus so that she does not have to move her head to speak comfortably. "Ah, well, a hot bath works well enough. A massage, though, works on a much deeper level."

The rest of his words seem to strike her as amusing, and she reaches up to cover her wide smile with her fingertips for a moment. "Please, call me Jane. I doubt that anyone would accuse you of 'playing at' your position, my lord. Your sincerity is obvious to anybody with a pair of functioning eyes. Still, it isn't wrong to enjoy the finer things from time to time, to indulge with moderation, to give yourself some attention. If you take care of you, then you insure you will be at your best to take care of others."

Garus' head cants to the side as she covers her smile with her slender, painted fingertips. At times, the man is like a watchful statue, using his eyes rather than animated movements to prove what he's looking at. His eyes bounce from her fingers to her eyes, and they crackle with unshed laughter. Instead, he flashes his teeth to her and motions to her with a slight flourish. "Very well, Jane it is." At least he's honest enough to know when he's too rigid.

With an animated sigh, he tears his eyes from hers to look to his wine glass; the distraction isn't out of discomfort, but far more simple social faire as he considers her words. "If there's anything I'd learned from you and Lady Eirene last night, Jane, it was that in your presence I'm something of a scarecrow, stuck up on a high perch on one rigid position to keep all of Leonnida's enemies at bay, aye?" He laughs finally, a soft, quiet thing that bleeds out the cracks like water poured over a dirty surface. "Perhaps I shall, a massage that is. Do you have any reccommendations? I'm assuming you have a personal masseuse?"

Jane buys time before answering by taking a drink of her wine. She does nit sip daintily like some women, but instead takes a mouthful and then another. "Oh, this is gorgeous," she murmurs, swirling the liquid in her goblet while gazing up at Garus. The sound of her name as he takes her invitation causes a little flutter in her belly, and she covers her sudden blush by coughing into her hand reaching up to wipe beneath her eyes with her fingertips.

"A personal masseuse? Ahaha, goodness, no. Like most people, I, too, live on a budge, my lord. I do, however, frequent a reputable establishment and do have a particular that I prefer. I could recommend it to you, if you wish. Drop my name and you might even get a discount. I am a very loyal customer." Smiling, Jane lifts her glass to salute Garus before taking another drink.

"Yes, it is, isn't it?" Garus replies, in mention to the wine. Holding up the glass, he looks past it to her, considering her as she coughs and deflects. Eyes holding to hers for a bit longer than they should, his brows tilt at her moment of discomfort, responding to it with a small, faint smile. Her blush doesn't go unnoticed, and it's something he lets her see that he's noticed.

Returning her salute with his own goblet of wine, Garus can't help but let another toothy smile crack at the corner of his mouth. "I'll return the favor and be a very loyal in turn. I've never had one but if it's everything you say it is you shouldn't be surprised to find your next few paid for in advance. Loyalty is important." Setting the wine aside, he brushes his hands over the knees of his pants and leans forward, his features easing as their conversation draws on. "So what is next in the world of Jane Wyre? More movies, more stage, personal ventures?"

It isn't so much discomfort that Jane feels as unnecessary pleasure, but with Garus' avid gaze focused on her own, the actress finds it rather difficult to look away. Her fingers lower and she leans to rest her elbows on her knees with her wine glass in hand, her position a casual one of friends keeping confidence. "Your tablet?" she inquires, holding out her empty hand to receive his device. "Or, a pen and paper if you're old-fashioned. Are you, my lord?"

The smile that plays about Jane's lips widens for a moment before disappearing, and her eyebrows arch upward at his promise. "Loyalty is important. I will make sure they know I recommended it to you. As for my life…" Her voice trails off and she shrugs one shoulder, finally managing to look away while taking another sip from her glass. "I considered another movie, but the more I watch the news, the more I feel as if my occupation is—trite."

Leaning away from her, Garus looks over to the end table where he's left his tablet. Reaching up and over the wine goblet, he takes it into his fingers and taps in the security code to it. Leaving it on, he offers it over to her. He's either trusting her, or there's nothing he worries about on that particular tablet. "I'm old fashioned in some ways, new-tech in others. I prefer old books and the smell of the print and ink, but some things you can't get past, like messaging." The viewscreen of the tablet is simple, with golds and blues covering the background of the applications in an abstract display of color. The programs are organized, but there are far too few of them to warrant a need for organization.

"Trite?" The word is replied, rolling off of Garus' tongue simply as he considers. Unlike most over-flattering nobles, he lowers his brows and considers how to fairly answer her question. "I wouldn't say that it's trite, Jane. You're very talented and for some people the ability to see theatre or a good movie is something that might make it easier for them to sleep while this war is going on. At the least, what culture survives is going to be remembered by the few movies that gave people that break." He reaches out for his wine for another sip as he watches her work on his tablet. "It's not armorsmithing or swinging a mace, but I don't envy your position for being important to the souls of the people. I'm rather bloody sure some people would rather read about your work than mine right now."

Jane leans forward to rest her glass of wine on the table, and her eyes linger on the food for a moment before she reaches out to accept his tablet. She might have played a hacker in a flop of a 'vid once, but she can hardly navigate her way through the 'Sphere to her own bank account. She studies the display for a moment before tapping open his browser. A mischievous smile plays about her lips as she considers for a second checking his history, but the likelihood of finding anything scintillating is rather low. Instead, she types in the address to the massage parlor's site.

"I apologize that it's in Phylon, my lord, but I am sure for you travel is nothing. Here. It's called 'Rose Garden' - an unusual name, I know, but it works. Ask for Elizabeth. She has strong hands suitable for a muscular man like you." She carefully sets the tablet down before gesturing to her wineglass for a refill while he considers aloud his thoughts on her profession. "I am sure that my work is a suitable distraction for many, but I am getting to the point in my life where I want to be considered genuinely useful. It is selfish of me, I suppose. Before long, we will all have more important roles to play than we could have ever anticipated."

Rising from his seat, Garus turns his side to her as he stands before her and reaches out for the pitcher. Refreshing his own glass, he pours a new portion into hers and glances down to the tablet. It's fine. It'll be there to stay. He's far more interested in what she has to say as the blood-red wine settles into a pool in the glass. "It isn't selfish, not at all," Garus replies as he sets the pitcher down and returns her glass to her. Offering her a hand, apparently wanting to walk with her, his head shakes from side to side and takes a step back, leading her towards the overlook.

"Things change, people change. If you feel what you're doing is trite and you want a larger role, then that is exactly what you should do. A career change isn't an option that I have, but you do, and you should take advantage of it." With the sun starting to set, casting the room in lavender and orange hues, he watches her as he steps backwards, beckoning her to follow. "No one knows how much time they get, Jane, especially now. Be who you wish to be."

Jane's gaze flits away from Garus as he rises, and she looks toward the balcony and the view beyond while he refills her wine glass. Taking it from when it is offered, she blinks once at the hand held out to her before slipping her cool fingers into his and rising up from the couch. A walk it shall be. "I am who I wish to be," she replies rather firmly, blushing at the sound of her voice rather startling compared to her companion's quieter volume. She clears her throat to begin again.

"I have been who I have always wished to be, and I have never experienced discontent quite as much as I do now. Perhaps it is because my mother called me the other day; she never wanted me to follow my father into the business, and it disappoints her." Is that an overshare for a first meeting? Jane does not expend much energy fretting over the possible faux pas, however. "Ah, well, no. I don't think I want a career change, in the end. I am in a position of power of some sort - nothing like yours, mind you, but still a position where I have some degree of influence. I would like to use it for good, I think, and maybe that will be where I find my happiness." She pauses, glancing up to Garus with an inquisitive stare. "Would you really change your job if you could, my lord?"

"Not for the world, Jane, not for Haven. I happen to be in a position where if I'm needed in the fields or on the front lines to keep my people alive and strong, it's what must be done." Garus lets go of their hand as they slip out onto the balcony to the sound of nighttime birds waking and the massive sun in the distance crawling below the horizon. "I don't know anything else, but I know that I'd do what needs to be done, and really that could some day mean I'll have to do anything and everything."

His hand comes to rub the scar at his neck as he glances back over to their couches…where his sword is. Strangely, instinctively, he reaches to the small of his back to check the dagger there before he leans his hip into the stone of the balcony. Always armed, it seems, and never without that bit of security. He washes over the obvious checkup with a soft laugh, rubbing at the side of his face as he finds her eyes again. "So you'd like to focus on the charity side of your work for a while, rather than the monetization that comes simply from making movies? To remain an actress, a face for the people but use your skills and your good name to help people through this war?"

Something in Garus' answer pleases Jane, striking up a little warmth in her belly that emanates upward to express itself in the glow of her smile. Her gaze turns outward, following his, and she watches as the sun sets ever so slowly. Because of this, she misses the moment where the knight checks for his weapons; perhaps she is used to seeing it, though. "I don't know you very well yet, my lord, but I think I expected that answer," she replies with a faint laugh.

Turning around, the red-head leans back against the stone half-wall and turns her gaze upon Garus once more. His questions have her raising her eyebrows slowly. "I'm not in need of money, to be honest. I work because I want to, not because I am desperate to maintain a certain style of living. I operate on a budget, in fact, but I also happen to know enough people that I never ever pay full price for anything. So yes, I think it's about time I grew up a little bit and started giving back to the people. I had that in mind when I started the guild, because I think I recognized back then that others in my shoes would eventually find themselves wishing to do the same. Does it surprise you?"

"Not entirely, no." Garus' spurs chime softly against the stone of the balcony as he comes to a stop beside her to watch the sun's descent. His hands come to rest int he back pockets of his trousers, and he turns to look down his shoulder to her. "You don't strike me as idle selfish, Jane. I've met plenty of actors, actresses, lords, and senators who take their positions for granted, but if you don't have a personal masseur…" He leans his head, almost comically making his point clear. "…then I figure you're not one of them." He smiles broadly, giving her a brief shake of his head. "I think that you're making a sound decision for the right reasons."

Jane's laugh is quiet and light, perhaps to push away modestly at the pleasure she feels gaining his good opinion. She lifts her glass to her lips and takes a swallow of wine, shifting her focus away and toward the open door leading back into the sitting room. The gold curtains rustling gently from the light breeze are somewhat hypnotic, and they serve as good a place as any to rest her gaze. "I have been an idle selfish before, though, so don't paint me out to be some kind of saint. But really, that is more than enough talk about me. Tell me about you. Tell me about your day today. Tell me what you have planned for tomorrow."

With the term idle-selfish now burned into his vocabulary, Garus, too, turns his gaze away from her and back to the swaying forest in the distance. Truly a living thing, the sea of tree-tops bursting with traveling birds, some trying to find a safe place to rest for the evening, is just as hypnotic to the man. His mouth parts, baring his more side-bearing teeth to the view. "I myself have never been idle-selfish, Jane. Since I was a child I've eaten, drank, and slept everything to become what I am. I haven't so much as dug my place here at the Roar as I have placed my forehead into it and ground everything I am into it. I love these lands, these trees, these farmers. Yes, even the sods that need to be dragged from the taverns for a night to cool off." He laughs quietly, eyes dipping to the stone.

"Cape Amran disappeared in a night. It could happen anywhere and their house wasn't much smaller than ours, so I've been making preparations for that. We have this gala for meals to the people, and my thoughts turn to how the Hostiles would burn our fields. Tomorrow?" He looks over to her. "More of that, I assure you. A late sleep, an early rise, which is why conversations like these are meaningful. I feel…comforted by the fact that I lose sleep over these things. It tells me I'm doing my job."

Jane listens in complete silence. Occasionally she glances down to her wine glass, gauging how much farther she has to go before it's appropriate to ask for her third glass. Or is it appropriate at all? Her puzzlement disappears entirely as Garus continues along an unexpected vein, and the vehemence in his voice startles her into whipping her gaze upward to focus on his profile. Her lips part, but rather than speaking she can only exhale softly; the sigh is a heavy one, the sound of someone only just beginning to realize they have so much left to learn.

"You are." The response is so flat, at least to Jane's ears, that she winces visibly while her mind races to find something to say. What could she say to follow up such raw passion? The truth, probably. "I wish I could say that you needn't worry so much. I wish I could say that everything will be okay, but I can't lie. Is there ever a point where you can say 'I'm prepared'? If you get six months to lay down every failsafe, to pile contingency plan upon contingency plan, would that be long enough?"

"Perhaps, if we were dealing with animals. Even the most dangerous animals have instincts, they don't share notes and always move the same ways. You can expect them to do certain things but the Hostile are different. At their core, they are human." Garus turns to plant the back of his hips against the wall. Standing alongside her, he folds his arms across his muscular chest and turns his eyes to the flowing curtains, just as she has been. "Men look for cracks, for weaknesses; men regroup and demoralize and try to hit where it hurts, which is why I brought up the letters last night. Animals don't use fear like men do, and there isn't a noble that doesn't fear being taken captive. So the hard part is having that healthy bit of fear, to never forget it, but to be stronger than it." The scar on his neck shifts as his head turns, casting his gaze back to her profile. "This war is a moving target, Jane. We're going to be at this a long, long time."

"I was hoping to have been a little older before it started, to have been able to experience a little more before everything gets chiseled away bit by bit." Jane swirls the remnants of her wine her glass, watching as the burgundy liquid glides effortlessly around the smooth, transparent walls. "Yesterday, it finally hit me that life is never going to go back to the way it was, and it scared me shitless. I don't think I can process it yet. No, I think I don't want to process it yet." She worries her lower lip between her teeth, and a crease appears in the center of her brow as she frowns rather deeply. "So how do you get to be stronger than it without living in denial?"

"I think somewhere we all had hoped that it would take another two generations for this to start. I'm twenty-seven and I had always hoped I'd be able to dedicate my life to simpler things, but…it's the cards we've all been dealt. What's comforting, though, is that it's the one thing that ties us all together. None of us asked for this, Jane. All we have is each other, ready or not." Garus stirs, prying his fingertips from his forearm to scratch at the side of his neck. With no wine glass in his hand, he's got to make do with other ways to settle his nerves and to keep from fidgeting. His fingers do not shake, despite the war he's seen, he's a rather moving, peaceful pond on the surface.

"You accept it." He finally replies, looking back to her. "Not running away from it isn't the same as running towards it. Just don't run away from it. I imagine that death is a sudden change. A warm shift into a dream and that whatever's after will be enough. I don't intend to die, no one does, but I'll be damned if they'll take my right to live while I can. Since we cannot run, we'll make it count and hope for the best."

Again, Jane laughs, but the sound is so faint that it is nearly inaudible - more a quick exhalation than a true laugh. Her lips twist into a wry smile that dissipates in a matter of seconds, and she is left without a way to shield her wide-open soul for a moment. "An acquaintance once told me that he thought an actress would have her shit together more than most, because we're so adept at expressing thoughts and emotions. He didn't seem to realize that we're really just a microphone for someone else's mind, which provides ample opportunity for avoiding the harshness of reality. We're just as fucked up as the rest."

Hmm. Maybe that wasn't headed quite where she was wanting it to go. Jane lifts her wine glass to show Garus clearly that she is in need of her third. If the conversation continues to be this heavy, he may have to uncork a second bottle. "I hope that in 'making it count', my lord, you will be sure to take some time for yourself now and then."

Reaching out for Jane's bared shoulder, Garus' calloused, soldier's fingertips give it a soft squeeze as he gingerly takes her glass from her. "I'll make some time for myself now, for sure, I've got a massage parlor waiting for me," His voice takes on a more friendly tone, less grave and gravelly while speaking about death and dying and all of the best storybook things to read to children. "And don't forget, Humanity's survived this before. It's not a death sentence, Jane. I left my wine in the other room, though. Come, because I have no idea how I just said all of that without a drink in my hand."

Offering her his arm, he turns on his heel and strolls with spur-accompanied steps back into the sitting room now that the sun has set. He returns to his couch and seats himself first, pouring a full glass for both of them and handing them out one-by-one. "I have to apologize to you," He starts again, eyebrows shrugging to the side as he lowers, getting comfortable against the arm of the furniture. "This is why I had hoped the Senator and his aide had stayed longer. I'm not sure if you noticed, or if anyone did, but up until the point you and Lady Eirene were circling me like wolves I was out of my element. I'm more comfortable around soldiers than people. I forget that not everyone muddles through all of the horrible details as often as I."

Goosebumps. Goosebumps can easily be attributed to the cooler breeze now that the sun has set, surely, but Jane can feel the prickle with the touch of Garus' hand. Her fingers loosen on her glass as he takes it from her, and she curls her hand about his arm when it is offered, leaning in closer and offering a smile as his tone lightens considerably. "I applaud your ability to follow through such a conversation without a drink, my lord, and your reward is the drink you so desperately need."

She follows him the short distance into the sitting room, circling around behind him as he leans over to pour the wine before taking a seat on the couch. Half-turning to face the knight once he is settled, Jane props an arm on the back of of the sofa and rests her cheek against the tips of her fingers. Her other hand lifts her wine glass. "Please don't apologize for being who you are. I like you this way. I don't think very many people noticed or they wouldn't have swarmed you so. I should be apologizing, because I did notice and still I couldn't help myself. Lady Eirene was goading me on, I swear it." The accusation is half-hearted at best, and this is obvious by her amused and mischievous grin. "And you're wrong anyway. You seem comfortable enough around me, and I am the farthest you can get from a soldier."

"I caught a little hell from Lady Eiristra Rovehn about it, and perhaps a little from Lady Elodie Iah. I think it must have looked to them like I was being pulled down by a pair of lionesses." Garus laughs as the wine seeps into his bloodstream, loosening the rigid soldier's manners. He salutes her in turn with the glass and crosses one boot over the other on the floor before him. The pull he takes from the wine glass is long, quenching his own demons, or attempting to catch up with her. "The two of you were relentless, though it's fine. I don't normally receive so much attention, it was fun. I was trying to fend the two of you off because I can't see myself rightly on a charity game show of all things, but neither of you would take no for an answer."

Holding the wine aloft, to his side, his fingertips press into the arm of the couch to brush over one of the rivets that holds the leather punched into the architecture. Eyes rolling back as the memory of last night's ambush, his lips part into a far more genuine smile than any he'd had the night before. "I am comfortable enough around you, and I hope you're the same. In the end, Jane, I hope you were just glad you accepted the invitation here. I think we both needed a break."

Jane scoffs, but her grin doesn't falter. She shakes her head, looking away from Garus for a moment before laughing heartily. "Did they now? I find it amusing that two women would descend upon you to scold you for allowing two other women to descend upon you. Protective mother lionesses giving you an earful for giving in to two prowling lionesses?" Again her head shakes, and her curls drift around her shoulders a moment before settling. "We wouldn't take no for an answer in public, at least, but I will give you an out at some point before the planning begins in earnest. I'm not sure what you have to bargain with yet, but give me this glass of wine and the next and I should find something."

With a sigh of contentment, the actress leans back into the couch, sinking into the fluffy cushion and lifting her wine to her lips. She glances sidelong toward Garus and her grin softens into a smile of gratitude. "Oh, I am quite pleased that I accepted your invitation. I had wondered if you were going to spend the whole time begging me to let you off the hook, but I'm glad you didn't. So we have had excellent conversation, even if it did kill a bit of my buzz there, and the ambiance is — well, it cannot be matched. I would have been sitting at home alone in my underwear watching shitty re-runs and eating junk food, anyway."

"Lady Eiristra and Elodie are close friends of mine, no worries. When I was stabbed by the Hostile near the Rovehn Caravan, they helped me back to health and…" Garus waves his arm in a rolling motion. "Patched me up and sent me on my way. I think more than anything they were laughing at seeing me on the defense. I'm not used to dueling with prowling lionesses. You know how us nobles are, when a single noble speaks with women…" He lets that trail off, she gets the idea, or at least he asumes that she does.

Downing the last of his wine, he sets the empty glass aside and blinks twice, hard. While the wine is excellent, they've spend the equivalent of a bottle between the two of them, and country wine has more alcohol to it than normal. "Well, as sure as spending a night in your underwear watching re-runs has got to be enthralling, Jane, let's hope the ending of it isn't going to kill your buzz. Out of fashion dress and all, I've had a wonderful time. Truly." His lips part into a wide, appreciative smile. "I'm sure it saved me for a night in my own underwear reading and staring at the walls, no less."

The fuzzy bubble of warmth and companionship that has buoyed Jane along bursts as Garus remarks the time. She glances toward the door leading to the balcony and can see that it is fully into night; the silence of their surroundings serves as testament to the hour in which most people are asleep. Turning back to Garus, Jane offers a faint smile that she hopes does not carry even the tiniest bit of disappointment. "I know a little about noblemen." She is polite enough to leave it at that.

The actress downs the rest of her wine before leaning forward to place the glass on the table, and either she has had great practice at being a little inebriated or she's just lucky that she doesn't miss. The move is downright graceful. "I have enjoyed this time spent with you, my lord, and I must say that you do not give yourself enough credit. If given a chance to relax, your natural charm is enough to carry you through any situation. Thank you for rescuing me from myself for a few hours, and I hope I was able to do the same in return." Rising from the couch, she reaches down to flick the small train of her gown off of the cushions to settle on floor behind her in a pool of silvery-gray synthetic. "I saved you from your underwear tonight, but it may not always be that way in the future." Take that for what you will, soldier boy. "Goodnight, Sir Garus. I very much hope we can speak again soon."

Rising with her, Garus has to look away to try to conceal the slight shade of red that comes to his features. Far more confident than bashful, he's no stranger to flirtation, and he's no blushing boy about it. "If I give myself too much credit, Jane, I wouldn't be me. I like feeling challenged. It keeps me strong." Offering his arm to her, he turns his flirtation-rimmed eyes and a somewhat knowing smile to the redhead and leads her to the door. "Since you are one of my vassals, on paper at least, we'll have to do this again. I should be out soon with a stop by the Rovehn before heading back out to war, but I should be here for a few days still. Please. Write. You've held the tablet in your hands that I'll receive the messages on." With enough wine in his system, his slightly glassy eyes cast a playful wink to her. "I expect suggestions on bad re-runs to watch when I can't be saved from sitting in my underwear." He pauses to open the door, slipping through with her to escort her personally to her gate back home, with his private guard in tow.

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