|A Candid Lesson|
|Summary:||Day instructs Rosanna on certain — delicate matters.|
|Date:||May 5, 2012|
|Related Logs:||All the Rutger/Rosanna stuff.|
|Guest Suite — Tordane Tower|
|Pretty and nice and stuff.|
|May 5, 289|
Day's charge has never been the most morning-conscious of ladies. She has a tendency to need dragging out of bed sometimes is all. She needs her beauty rest! At the moment, Rosanna is not so much sleeping in as being lazy: she's curled up in her bed in her shift, examining the gifted leather riding gloves that sit on the nightstand next to her bed. It is not the mooning, admiring study of the romantic, but rather a thoughtful, approving look. It's a pragmatic's examination. Her hair is still bound in a long, auburn plait drawn in front of her shoulder, and her arms are curled about the feather pillow beneath her head.
Day, early to rise and late to retire, isn't at all surprised to see her charge still lounging in bed when she arrives, bearing a breakfast tray. She smiles, wry and ever-indulgent, sweeping briskly over to the bed. "Good morning, Lazybones — time to face the day." Her lashes sweep low, also evaluating Rosie's latest prize — with less approval. "He has excellent taste," she notes, mildly. Even she has an eye for fine work.
"I like them," Rosanna declares with her own approval, stretching her arms over her head as the septa sounds her wake-up call. "Although I'll never be able to wear them again if the courtship doesn't become a betrothal, which I think is rather unfair. I should get to keep my presents." Whine whine. She sits up, at least, her fingers playing idly over the end of her plait.
"Well, make sure to get a lot of use from them while you have them," says Day, sitting on the edge of the bed and settling the breakfast tray over Rosanna's lap. "That way he can't give them to anyone else, so they'll remain yours in principle." She folds her hands in her lap, considering. "You're not serious about this one, then," she says, as though testing the water. "Since you're already considering parting with your tokens."
"Oh, I will," Rosanna assures her, offering her a pleased look at this wise counsel. No one taking her presents. "I didn't say it wouldn't become a betrothal because of me," she points out. "It's not up to me." She does sound a little sour on that point as she begins to pick through the breakfast to decide where to start.
"It's far more up to you than you think, my rose," pouring a small glass of juice and offering it to the young lady. "With two heirs already, an elder son, Lord Rutger is more or less free to marry for love. If the lady he loves is suitable." She wrinkles her nose delicately. "You'd be selling yourself short, however."
"Father will listen if I don't like him," Rosanna points out reasonably. "But if Kittridge writes him about how terrible Lord Rutger is, he won't listen to me." She sniffs delicately as she takes the juice. "Lord Rutger does not want to marry me for love," she says. "He wants to marry me because he knows I can be as ambitious as he can."
Day shrugs and steals a strawberry from Rosanna's tray. "Ambition is useless if you haven't the intelligence and the talent to capitalize on it. Plenty of young ladies have ambition." She takes a bite of the ripe, red berry. "You happen to be an exceptional young lady. And while it's true your brother can trump you, he'd only do it for your own good." The septa pauses, arching an eyebrow. "He's said this? That he wants to marry you?"
"He doesn't have to say it," Rosanna says, rolling her eyes at her septa. "He's courting me. Naturally he wants to marry me." She sets down her juice on the tray and takes up a strawberry before Day can steal all of them.
"Ah, of course," agrees Day, mildly. She finishes her strawberry, then steals a cream puff. It's a time honored tradition of pilfering, this: it keeps the young lady focused on eating. "And what do you think of him? Truly."
Rosanna takes a bite of juicy strawberry and chews delicately as she considers her answer. "I think," she finally says after swallowing, "that Lord Rutger is a very clever man. And a very ambitious one. And that he values what I would offer him beyond my ability to bear him sons." And then, with a blithe sort of carelessness, she adds, "And I rather like the idea of a husband that makes people nervous."
Day smirks. "Even your septa?" she asks, mildly. "Let's just be very sure of him, my darling, before encouraging any proposals. If I were forced to kill him, I'd probably hang, and my neck is quite long enough."
"I'm not encouraging anything," Rosanna says in blatant lie. "I'm just being polite." She goes for a cream puff next, following the encouraging line of pilfering. "Do you think father could do something about his sons?"
"No," Day lies, less blatantly. She steals a bit of sausage with unapologetic fingers. "Anyway, even if he could… remove the boys to some other office, they would always have the ghost of a claim, and it would very likely come back to haunt you. You need only look at the mess in Stonebridge right now to see what happens when the line of succession is muddy."
"My sons would be far superior," Rosanna claims haughtily. After all, they would be hers.
Day manages to swallow before she grins and chuckles at that. "Of course they would, my sweet," she agrees. "There are no children yet to be born in all the world I look forward to meeting and fawning over more than yours. However," she shrugs. "The Lords Paramount are only men, as is the King. Sometimes they make mistakes that we all have to live with. If it were my sons… I would worry that their futures were not so assures as they might otherwise be."
Rosanna does smile at Day's first words. "And you will stay and be septa to all of them," she says with firm imperiousness. She is in charge here, naturally. She huffs a sigh at the last, though. "I like him," she says. "He's—" But she doesn't quite say what exactly he is, dipping her gaze instead to her tray and reaching for some sausage to nibble on. There is the slightest touch of color to her cheeks.
The septa's eyebrows rise. For the first time, she looks legitimately worried, though it's a fleeting expression, likely lost to Rosanna as the young lady studies the tray. "He's what?" she asks, keeping her tone gentle and sweet, ever so slightly teasing, as though they were sharing gossip in no way out of the ordinary. "Surely you'll share his better qualities with me?" she coaxes. "I must have something to tell your father when he asks my opinion." The implication that her opinion could be very good and entirely contrary to Kit's? It's there.
"Clever," Rosanna says for the second time, though it's spoken with particular carefulness that possibly holds some relation with evasiveness.
Day tilts her head, nodding slowly. "So you've said," she replies. "Has he actually touched your heart, my rose?" She frowns slightly. "If he is worthy of more tender feelings, I'd like to know. Perhaps I've been too hard on him."
Rosanna rolls her eyes again at that with another huff of breath, as if frustrated that Day can't just read her mind. "That's silly," she says. "You know I'm not romantic." Latching onto a lesson probably taught her excessively by Day, she says, "I just feel like he'd be a good — partner. That we would match."
The septa considers this reply for a moment, consternation flickering across her expression. "Hm," is all the says at first. She pilfers a bite of egg. "He is much older than you, you know. He will soon cease to be so… easy to look upon. And yet, married to him, you would still be obliged to… look."
"He is not that much older," Rosanna insists. "It's not an unseemly amount. There's nothing improper about the match of our ages."
Day chuckles, lowering her lashes and moving her hand as though she means to pilfer yet more food — but slowly. "I never said it was improper, my sweet. Just… potentially less desirable, in time, than he now appears."
Rosanna flushes a bit darker in a rather tell-tale response. "I never said anything about that," she mumbles.
Laughing, Day shakes her head in rue. "No. You didn't. More the fool I am for not picking up on it right away." She heaves a sigh. "Rosebud," she begins, gently, "those first stirrings can be… exceedingly compelling. I know. But I promise, he won't be the only man who can make you feel so. Don't let it cloud your judgment."
"I'm not," Rosanna insists, her heat now a bit more flustered and defensive. "It's not about that. I told you."
Day stares at Rosanna, incredulous — really? — and shakes her head again. "Darling, you're going to have to speak honestly and candidly about these things to someone — and believe me, I am the very best candidate. Older ladies would rather you remain ignorant and your peers are just as likely to know nothing at all. There's no shame in it. You're a grown woman."
"It's not like you know anything about that," Rosanna says in a quieter mumble before distracting herself with another cream puff.
The septa laughs! "Really?" She shakes her head. "Darling, all septa are celibate — we don't marry — but not all of us are chaste. I would give very poor advice about love — romantic and physical — if I truly knew nothing. Wouldn't I?"
"But you don't — do things." Rosanna is getting quite red now. "Because you don't marry."
Day simply shakes her head. "That kind of solitude, my sweet, is wholly unnatural. I doubt you'll find many people practice it, even those who profess it to the world."
"With a man?" Rosanna says, looking shocked but intensely curious despite herself.
Day puts a hand over her mouth, stifling a peal of mirth. "Mm," she nods, once she's sure she won't laugh, though her eyes sparkle. "That's my preference."
"Day." Rosanna would be most aghast if she weren't so intensely interested. Conflict! "What is it—" She hesitates, clearly having difficulty reconciling what she should ask with what she wants to ask, however much her septa has always been open with her.
Rosanna's shock makes the Septa laugh outright — but it's warm and easy laughter, entirely devoid of mockery. "I know. Horrors," she agrees, dimples deep. She raises her eyebrows a little. "What is it like?"
Rosanna flushes even brighter and looks down at her plate, not quite able to confirm it audibly.
Day considers her answer. "It can be beautiful. It can also be awful. It depends on the person you're with." She smiles apologetically "I could give you details, but look like you're on the verge of blushing yourself into fit."
"I am not," Rosanna says, despite all evidence to the contrary. She sets her tray to the side to curl her legs up under her and begin to unplait her hair. "But I won't know until I'm wed," she says. "How will I know if it will be good or bad until it's too late?"
"Well, at the risk of endorsing Lord Rutger more than I'd like," says Day, going to get a brush, "there's that coiled up, fluttering, delicious feeling a woman gets in her belly. That's usually a good start. It's not everything, and it can be misleading — " She puts the tray on a table, coming to sit behind her lady and tend her hair. "There are men who know how to bait a lady in with that feeling, but have no consideration for them after. Or during, for that matter."
Once Day is there to tend to her hair, Rosanna drops her hands away to let her. "Does it — go away?" she ventures hesitantly. "After?"
Day works through the morning ritual with deft fingers, wielding the brush efficiently but cleverly, never pulling. "Again, it depends on the person. If it's good and the man is fair and fond, the embers can smolder hotter than the fire burns." The brush strokes through Rosanna's auburn locks. "It's a very potent thing, the yearning bodies can have for one another. Women can wield it over men with almost comic ease, but it can cut both ways. It sounds as though Lord Rutger's a man who knows his own power."
"You don't know—" Rosanna starts to stay before she stops herself. She's quiet for a moment as the brush passes through her thick hair. She gnaws fiercely on her bottom lip. "Do I just — ignore it?" she asks in a quiet, intensely embarrassed tone. "Until I'm married?"
The brush in the septa's hand pauses a moment — but only fractionally. "Not necessarily. As a maid and a noble lady, it would be unwise for you to take a lover, but… there are ways ladies can please themselves. It won't replace that… draw you feel, but it can take the edge off it a bit." Day chuckles softly. "There are certain books — none of them written in Westeros, alas — from which you might feel more comfortable taking that kind of instruction."
"People write books?" Rosanna says with someone of a squeak to her voice. She is too flushed for any further immediate comment on methods of — pleasing herself.
"Yes," says Day, quietly amused. "And thank the Goddess they do, or no lady would even learn anything." She sighs. "It's ridiculous how women are sheltered, sometimes. But it's by keeping them ignorant that men keep their advantage in the game. It has always been my intention, my darling, that you have as much advantage — more — than any man."
"I don't think I could make Lord Rutger act like Brynner," Rosanna says with humor still a bit weak and hesitant in light of her embarrassment.
"Ah, well," Day laughs, brushing long strokes through Rosanna's hair. "Perhaps not. Brynner is young and inexperienced — and in love. But you can have any man wrapped just as tightly about your finger, my sweet. Some take time and patience, but it's quite within your reach."
"Of course." This seems to be a rather particular source of thoughtfulness for young Rosanna. At least it quiets her embarrassment for the time being, and as Day fixes her hair and helps her get ready for the day, the conversation turns to more — publicly appropriate topics.