|A Moment of Sweetness|
|Summary:||As the terms of their betrothal are accepted by their Houses, Bastien and Ceinlys share a quiet moment.|
|Related Logs:||A Wedding at Broadmoor, Part I|
|Black Chambers — Broadmoor|
|This chamber is evidently intended for nobility, if not family, alone. Opulent furnishings combine with an elegantly themed selection of fabrics and decor to lend the room an ethereal, tranquil atmosphere. Dominated by the four-poster set against the far wall, it enjoys serene illumination, muted or bright as desired, from a vast assortment of candles and lamps. A simple, but well carved and glossy-polished desk rests at the foot of the bed; ideal for scribing letters or reading without taking up unnecessary floorspace. Decorated in dark hues - ranging from glossy ebon silk to charcoal velvet and silvery embroidery - the elegant chambers are an ideal balance between homely and formal. A single word is carved elegantly above the lintel, 'Constancy'. Part of House Haigh's heraldry.|
Shortly after the wedding ceremonies and all the festivities, Bastien has called for Lady Ceinlys. The large man is in his chambers, dressed down slightly and settling back into those leathers that he seems to find so comfortable. The room he's staying in looks no different than it did when he arrived, no personal mark left upon it, though thats a personal mark enough for Bastien. The large man is sitting in a chair, and holds Leslyn Haigh's response in his hand. The letter seems to have all of his attention, and from the looks of it, the man is contemplating the contents inside rather deeply.
The summons are answered in due course - a light tapping at the chamber door announces the Steward's arrival before it's simply pushed open and the woman herself steps through. "Wait outside." This is directed in a soft murmur to her handmaid, who purses her lips in displeasure but does as she is bid, settling to keeping watch. Ceinlys is likely safe enough; the Tower is well-guarded and it's unlikely her father would expect anything untoward of her.
Closing the door gently behind herself, she offers a tentative smile toward the seated Young Lord, remaining where she is until invited further, hands clasped before herself. After her finery of the previous evening, today's ensemble is equally striking in simplicity - a return to her favoured starchy bodice and silver-grey riding skirts. "M'lord." she greets the brooding Ashwood, in that so-familiar velvet tone of hers. "..you wished to see me?" She knows what it's about. Of course she knows. But if there's one thing about this particular Haigh noblewoman, it's a strict adherance to propriety.
Turning the letter over in his palm, Bastien's attention is ripped away from the thing when Ceinlys makes herself known. As she steps in, and leaves her handmaiden behind, Bastien sits up and lifts the letter to draw her attention to it. "Your father's response." Propping the parchment against his knee, Bastien's gaze rolls over Ceinlys for a moment as he contemplates his next few words. "I'm sure you already know the contents. I will be taking this response back to my father. If he approves as I have, and he likely will, we will soon be engaged."
There's an awkward look in the man's eyes. This is the woman who persued his brother, a woman whom he had at one point convinced himself he would never have emotiosn for, lest he betray the loyalty to his brother that he so cherished. How things can change in a year.
Pressing her lips for a moment in a firm line, the young lady eyes the letter in Bastien's hands with a mingling of consideration and trepidation. "I am aware of the demands, yes." she replies, gently, before those glacial eyes shift to meet his gaze levelly. She still doesn't venture closer, as yet. "It's a hefty price, Bastien." Seeing as they are alone, she foregoes the formality. After all, they've known each other long enough.. at one time, he was her shadow and her protector, the one who held her in the wake of the most horrifying of nightmares.
..why then is it so strange between them?
Clearing her throat gently, the Steward presses on. "I.. know you better than to believe this to be a reckless move, borne of passion. Politically, it makes sense.. and personally, as I told you, I am not displeased with your decision." Searching his expression, rather futilely, she hesitates. Very unlike her. In the end, she simply comes out with it. "Why me? You never.. I mean.. we never.. looked at each other that way." Was that a slip of the tongue, somewhere in there?
Pushing himself out of his chair, Bastien moves towards his belongings. A few saddlebags filled with a change of clothes and his sword sheathed and placed away for safety and respect of the house. The letter is placed inside, and as he moves to buckle the bags closed, the large man speaks. "Because I trust you." Even with that strange awkwardness, his words remain blunt and short.
Turning away from the bags, Bastien crosses the distance between them and lowers his voice. "Despite every warning from those who fear your ambitions, despite the lectures of my sister on how you'll come to control me, despite my own political intuition telling me that I'm making myself extremely vulnerable to whatever desires you have with this pairing, I still trust you."
Ceinlys arches a brow. While she long suspected Aeliana to be something of a viper, she seems amused and curious when he mentions the other warnings laid at his feet. "Well, I am glad you do not entirely believe me to be the murdering temptress that the gossips speak of with such glee." Flippant remark done, she quiets to regard the taller man for a long moment, drawing and loosing several slow breaths and folding her slender arms a touch protectively across her midsection.
"I told you at the feast that I was afraid. When I say that, I mean it as no slight to you, Bastien. You are good, and patient and loyal and.. everything I am considered not to be. I do not fear that you will discard me, or ruin me, or seek to stay my ambitions." Daring a step or two toward him, the Steward holds his gaze. "..I fear that I am not good enough for you. That I shan't make you happy. I.. don't even know how to try and please you." Downside of being such a closed book. "But what I can promise you, is that I would never set out to harm you, or any who call Tanglewood home. You have my word." It's quite something, for a woman to be the one offering reassurances. But when people believe you so formidable, well.. best to extinguish such concerns early.
As she draws near, Bastien's heart skips a beat. If anything perplexes the man, its his own body's reaction to Ceinlys' proximity. This is anything but their first time alone together, so why now do those butterflies flutter as she draws near? His brown orbs gaze deeply into her own and as she speaks, Bastien's head shakes slowly from side to side. "Your intent was never my worry. If I thought you truly capable of what rumors the harpies weave, you never would have gained my trust in the first place. I…I had avoided this for so long, Ceinlys." A large hand lifts to softly caress her cheek. "You needn't try." Leaning in, he does soemthing so very, very rare. The large man shows affection, in the form of a soft kiss placed against her lips.
Blissfully unaware of any effect she has upon the towering Ashwood, Ceinlys continues to look up at him unwaveringly as he speaks; those vivid blue eyes for once without calculation or motive within their depths. Judging by her expression, beneath the feminine worries she truly is just trying to understand him. "Avoided..?" Missing his meaning, the young woman tilts her head a little, enquiring gently.
It's no easy thing, taking the step from friendship to something more; especially so soon. The caress to her cheek in unexpected.. but surely, too, is her reaction in kind. With those angelic hues widening a fraction, she studies Bastien's features for any trace of cruelty or mockery.. and finds none. This is a very different man to his late brother. But that's not the appeal. As if seeing him for the first time, in focus rather than part of her background, she catches a giddy sensation within her abdomen that has long been absent. This will be my husband. It's as though the thought only just occurred to her.
And before she can even begin to wonder at that, there's the gentle pressure of his lips upon hers. With a hushed sound of surprise, the fiery noblewoman then melts slowly into the kiss, however long it may last. She doesn't seek to deepen it, nor to press herself close. It's kept as it was intended - a taste of sweetness and chastity. But oh, if he could sense the feelings that mere touch elicits..
The large man's youth shows through as his eyes shut, the feeling of his lips touching upon her own filling his head with a sweet sensation. He keeps it small, savory, and sweet. A kiss between two destined to be wed, something that would not shame either were it to become known before their wedding day. Even still, it takes a certain willpower to pull away and not deepen the show of affection, the softness of her lips enticing him to push his body against her own and wrap her in his embrace. His hand lowers from her cheek to rest upon her shoulder as he pulls away, reluctantly, and opens his eyes. If there were any words to be spoken in such a situation, the Lord's experience does not grant them to him, and as such he steps away and runs a hand through his hair. Mighty hells, he just kissed a woman. Not just any woman, Ceinlys Haigh. His confidante and friend. Woah. Looking over towards her, he clears his throat slightly. "Let us not tary too long, lest those outside grow suspicious. Return with me to Highfield when I ride?" The question is levied, and the man waits for her response.
Strangely enough, there's a similar sentiment expressed in Ceinlys' vivid eyes when they slowly open once more. Bastien just kissed her. Her former guardian, and reluctant heir of her former Lord's house. And.. for all one might have expected it to be strange, awkward even.. it was one hell of a kiss. She had found herself leaning in, fractionally, as if aware of his urge to draw her nearer and silently assuring him she would not protest. But, when he doesn't, there's no rebuke, either. He's doing the honorable thing, after all.
Bastien. The name seems to resound repeatedly inside her head as she withdraws and simply looks up at him, an unreadable set to her features and a distinctly alarming pleasure beginning a melody through her veins. Maybe this isn't such a terrible idea? At his question, she smiles slowly and inclines her head. "I would be glad to accompany you. I've only a few matters still to attend here."
There is a pause as Bastien simply watches Ceinlys. A certain barrier within the man is unlocking itself as their entwined fates, set in motion by his own hand, fully dawns upon him. "Good. When your business is done, we will depart." Something inside the man seems bright. That stoicism he wears does not disappear, but instead appears glossed. A happy feeling wells within the man as he moves past Ceinlys towards the door, stopping briefly beside her. "Be patient with me." A simple request, barely audible as he moves past her towards the door and takes its ring in hand, ready to pull it open and show her the way out.