|A Business Dance|
|Summary:||Who's tricking whom? Jacsen dances with Roslyn in Justin's stead, and the conversation inevitably steers to betrothal talks.|
|Date:||25 Jun 2012|
|Related Logs:||Cousins Instead|
|At the tournament dance.|
|Mon 25 Jun 289|
Fingers draw across Roslyn's temple to brush back a loose curl as she steps from the dance floor, her gaze sliding across the crowd with a hint of study even as she picks up a glass of wine from a passing servant. It wets her lips and tongue even as she spies Jacsen. Anais must be off dancing elsewhere, the Young Lord alone as she picks her way towards him through the crowd of nobles. "My lord," she offers to gain his attention.
Jacsen has been having a pleasant enough sort of dance - as much as a cripple can have, anyway. Dressed in fine Terrick colors, he has spent most of the night smiling and socializing. Though he did pull Anais out to the floor to dance, cane and all, near the beginning. "My Lady," he greets Roslyn in return. He turns to face her, a smile lighting his face, and takes in the sight of her. "Fine evening for a dance. Though I don't believe I've caught sight of my brother just yet."
"I must admit I have not either, my lord. He has not sought me out for a dance," Roslyn replies with a soft, sad smile that is chased away in another moment as she lifts her glass back to her lips. She studies Jacsen over the rim of it, those darkened eyes tracing his features for a moment as she considers her words. "It is a fine dance, though I must admit I wonder what you spend it doing? I have seen your lady wife in the dancing."
Her words draw a small wry smile from his lips. Jacsen gives her a shrug and taps his cane on the ground. "I am somewhat limited in my options," he says. "Though I did dance with my lady wife - as much as I can." Cripple-dancing is still totally dancing. "I spend my time here as I spend my time elsewhere: cultivating relationships, planning ahead, and discussing business." He looks around for a glass of his own, his free hand suddenly feeling awkwardly empty as he watches her drink, but no convenient servant is nearby.
"It does not seem fair, Lord Jacsen," Roslyn begins with wry humor, "That you should have to spend your time doing what you normally would while the rest of us enjoy ourselves." She catches that look, lowering her own glass away from her lips for all that her fingers still curve around it. At least she is no longer drinking actively from it. "Do you enjoy dancing, Lord Jacsen? Or do you only reserve straining yourself for activities that may kill you?"
Jacsen laughs, taking his eyes away from her cup - or her lips, or both - to gaze out to the dance floor. "I do enjoy a dance when it is with the right lady," he says. "And you, Lady Roslyn? I hope you have not gone without in my brother's absence. That would be a shame." He glances at her out of the corner of his eye. "I also enjoy what I do, for what fair is worth. It is also a kind of dance, perhaps at time more intricate and elegant than the kind in which I am unable to regularly partake."
The laugh earns a smile, easy and friendly in its warmth as Roslyn's gaze trails after his to seek after what he may be looking at. She answers wryly, "I may not be the most popular of the ladies in attendance, but I have not gone without. Both of the Groves lords in attendance have asked me for a dance, as well as a few knights of the Reach." She pauses, a faint wince evoked playfully as she glances back to Jacsen. "And of course, my own lord brothers to round out my partners."
The warm and easy smile seems to put Jacsen more at ease as his shoulders relax a bit, both hands folding over his cane. "I am glad to hear it," he says, his voice full of the same friendly sentiment. "You should not go wanting on a night like this for lack of my brother's presence." He pauses and considers something for a moment before he looks at her. "I shall take my absent brother's place," he says, offering his arm. "After all, you should not go without a Terrick partner."
"I could hardly refuse so noble of an offer, even if your brother holds no such responsibilities to me," Roslyn replies carefully, her thumb drawing thoughtfully along the belled curve of her glass before she finds somewhere to set it aside to take Jacsen's arm. "Tell me, Lord Jacsen, is there anything I ought to do? I am a rather good follower, if you will lead."
Jacsen leads her down to the dance floor arm in arm - more naturally than their earlier walk, where he was still a bit stiff and unfamiliar. "It is not so hard, dancing with a cane, or so they tried to tell me," he says with a chuckle. "Though I think it takes more work for my partner than it does for me." As they make their way onto the floor, he gently takes her right hand - if she'll allow it - and places it on his shoulder, since his will be otherwise occupied. "Just this," he says with a smile, looking into her eyes. "I will lead."
Her gaze meets his without wavering, the combination of green and blue mixing within only darker, be it the play of light or the color of her dress. Roslyn's fingers curve over his shoulder, and with a moment's bright smile, she instead sets her fingers gently over his hand against his cane. Her other hand remains correctly positioned on his shoulder. "I suppose I am not making such a good start to my insistence that I am good at following leads," she says quietly. "But I shall endeavor not to disappoint further."
Jacsen blinks, pausing when her hand comes to rest on his. But then he smiles, his piercing blue eyes steady as she meets his gaze, captivated by the play of colors in hers. "We shall have to call it another diplomatic assertion," he murmurs with a small smile, starting to lead her in the dance. He knows the steps, even if they are limping. "For I find myself lacking in disappointment just yet."
Roslyn's steps are smooth in comparison, a studied grace to her movements for all that the steps are slower than she is accustomed to. She does allow him to lead, however, as she replies lightly, "Yet, of course. I have yet to turn the conversation to talk of our families or marriages, or surpluses."
"Must we?" Jacsen asks wryly as they continue to step and spin. His motions slowly ease into a more practiced glide from a halting limp - still far from Roslyn's smooth grace, but now more akin to an actual dance. "And I was just beginning to enjoy myself." He smiles. "Surely, there are more pleasant topics to speak of."
"Pleasant, perhaps, but none so pressing as to make an alliance between our houses," Roslyn counters, though her own tone takes on a brush of light amusement for the wry question. Lips part softly, as if to say something, and only exhale a soft sound before she adds instead, "I enjoyed your coast, my lord. I do not believe I have ever seen a castle or shore so pretty as at Terrick's Roost."
"Then come to it and make it your home," Jacsen urges quietly. "It is a beautiful place. Bring with you grain and grace, and the people will come to love you for a Terrick, not distrust you for a Nayland. Help us rebuild, and it you will be part of it as surely as it will become part of you." His words are passionate, coloring his expression, filled with love for the home which is one day to be his. But so much for not talking about families and marriages and surpluses.
Surprise flickers in Roslyn's gaze where it catches on the depths of blue eyes, the words striking her speechless for a moment at their passion such that she swallows to find her voice. It is that silent love that she grasps at to offer a warm, low, "You must love your home much, my lord, and I find that a very admirable quality. I do not doubt I could see it as my home as well." She pauses, a hint of a frown finally touching the corners of her lips. "I only doubt how your brother may come to see me, Lord Jacsen."
"I should love it and stay in it to the end of my days were I Lord of all the Riverlands," Jacsen says with a smile - but the smile is for the Roost more than it is for Roslyn, his eyes faraway even as they look into hers. "I should love it and stay in it to the end of my days were we all to starve, or be reaved, or razed." His gaze refocuses on her, coming back to the moment. "And if you come to love it as I do, then you will find a friend in me." That last word is slightly emphasized, standing in contrast to her doubts about his brother.
"And if I do not, my lord, can we not come to be friends in any case?" Roslyn counters, a playful whisper over her words where they turn light and her lips twist into an easy grin for a moment before smoothing back into the more polite smile.
"But I know the Roost has already taken hold in your heart," Jacsen murmurs with a warm smile. "And that shall make us friends, my lady." The dance finishes, but he doesn't take his hand away from her right away. "You do not disappoint, Lady Roslyn."
Another laugh escapes Roslyn as she raises a questioning brow at that murmured comment, light where she answers, "There are many things that have taken hold of my heart, Lord Jacsen, that they all vie for one another." Her own fingers slip away as they come to a stop, though only those set properly on his shoulder. "You are a fair dancer, my lord. If only you would take advantage of this fact more, that the ladies of the Riverlands may enjoy it."
Her laugh brings the smile to Jacsen's eyes. "I am a middling dancer, my lady; it was your graceful skill that brought me to fair," he says with a slight bow, his own hand coming away from her and back to his side. "And I hope I will cause your love for the Roost to grow more with thoughts of windswept coastlines and stalwart castles and subdue all other loves into submission. Otherwise I may be disappointed."
"And I would not want to disappoint you. If your brother is as set upon this match as you are, perhaps we may not need to turn to cousins, but I would remind you that you indicated you were open to such a possibility," Roslyn says carefully, words ordered into polite response. "But we were supposed to be talking about more pleasant subjects, my lord, and I believe you tricked me."
Jacsen turns a curious gaze to Roslyn when she brings up the question of cousins again, but only nods his acknowledgement on the matter. "Was it I who tried you, or you who tricked me into thinking I tricked you?" he asks with a bemused twist to his lips. "If we should turn to cousins, where would you go instead?" he asks hesitantly, offering his arm again to escort her from the dance floor.
Fingers gracing on his arm, Roslyn teases softly, "A question better left unanswered, so that we both think ourselves the more clever one, is it not?" Her gaze does not quite meet his at that question, sliding away instead to sweep the crowd with a slight catch of her lower lip between her teeth. "Would it matter so much, if the alliance were better for both of our houses this way, Lord Jacsen?"
"Advantage," Jacsen concedes with a small chuckle at Roslyn's question. "If I can be frank, Lady Roslyn, it is my experience that your lord father does not do things for the mutual advantage of both our Houses," he says, his gaze drawn to her lip for a moment before following hers out to the crowd. "So you can consider me… wary. Your brother is reluctant to deal and your father's intent is ever questionable. I had hoped, at least, that I would find you a friend. And still do."
"Can you blame my brother of being wary, as you are of us? It is a hard thing to ask, and I am sure you would feel the same if it were reversed, if you were considering sending your own sister to marry my family, Lord Jacsen," Roslyn replies slowly, for all that she has apparently taken that offer of frankness between them at face value. She shakes her head in a gesture, another curl escaping only to be brushed impatiently away. She adds, however, with a hint of warmth and sincerity, "I hope you would find me a friend as well, my lord."
"Wary is one thing, Lady Roslyn - asking contract assurance that my brother would not set you aside is another thing altogether," Jacsen points out politely. "But it is no matter." He tries to wave away the talk of family and marriages again. "I am not wary of you, my lady. Perhaps you alone of all the Naylands. You are not as your brothers." That's a compliment.
"I believe my brother only asked for that as there is no official way to assure himself of my treatment within your house, nor of your brother's love," murmurs Roslyn wryly, her lips twisting again into a smile. "There is no doubt you are honorable, however, Lord Jacsen, and that you would be true to your offer of friendship and support were such an alliance to happen." She seems unsure of what to say to such a compliment, silent for a moment as she attempts to study Jacsen with a lingering look. Finally, she says, "Thank you, I believe. If only we could conclude such business between the two of us."
"Then we should be able to do business with a simple dance," Jacsen says, breaking out into a grin after watching her study him. "And I am ever true to my friends, Lady Roslyn, no matter from what House they should hail. Or how business should direct itself. After all, I count Ser Kittridge amongst that number though some would distrust him for selling the surplus to your family." He gives a little shrug at that. "There can be friends even amongst houses at war with one another. That is as I believe."
There is softening to Roslyn's smile, though she only sweeps a curtsey to Jacsen for all that her gaze remains on him under the fan of lashes. "I should hope rather feverently that our houses are never at war with each other, Lord Jacsen, for all that I believe we could remain friends as well," she answers warmly. "And I look forward to our next dance, my lord."
Jacsen bows in return, his eyes holding hers as he bends. "And I also, my lady. Perhaps I shall have to trick you into not discussing business the next time," he says with an open smile. "Safe journeys home, and I welcome you to visit the Roost whenever you yearn to see it again. Now that I know it is in your heart, I know it shall not be long."
Those last words certainly earn the flash of a bright smile, a laugh glittering within hazel eyes as Roslyn murmurs, "Good day, my lord." Then she is moving away, stepping through the crowd to find another familiar face or family.