|An Entirely Reasonable Request|
|Summary:||Rosanna asks a boon of her septa.|
|Date:||May 25, 2012|
|Related Logs:||After the Melee and the other Rosanna/Rutger logs.|
|Groves Tent — The Twins|
|Purple and green and stuff.|
|May 24, 289|
Several hours after the end of the melee, Rosanna is restless. She's waiting in her tent, only attended by poor Laurel, as Day has been out and about providing poultices and the like to the bruised, battered Groves combatants. The youngest Groves sits at a chair in front of a looking glass, in her shift and dressing gown, and lets her poor handmaiden brush her hair. The act is punctuated by sighs from Rosanna.
Day does return in due time, her smock and dress bloodied, though at least her hands and face are clean, probably washed off in a rainbarrel somewhere. She looks weary but content. "So many men competing today," she says, by way of greeting. "I thought we'd never see the end of them." She goes to find a clean shift in her small trunk, noting, "You must be pleased."
"Day!" Rosanna exclaims happily once her septa has returned, standing up to sidle over to her, all attentive-like. "You must have been taking very good care of our men," she says, warmly complimentary. And then, of course, "Yes, I am quite pleased. I suppose my favor does work." Her cheeks heat with the slightest hint of color.
Day laughs, smiling indulgently. "I'm sure your favor would spur any man on to glory, my rose." She pulls off her smock and unlaces the sides of her dress. "He did fight well. I'll give him that."
"He did," Rosanna agrees. She considers her septa a moment, bottom lip catching between her teeth in an old habit, and then she looks back to poor abandoned Laurel. "That will be all," she says, dismissing the girl. She looks back to Day with a renewed smile. "Do you need help?" she asks sweetly.
The septa stops what she's doing, pausing to look very skeptically at Rosanna. Still amused, at least. "Buttering me up is one thing, but playing ladies maid to your governess is overdoing it just a tad." She turns away to strip off the rest of her soiled clothing and pull on the clean shift. "Tell me what's on your mind, darling."
Rosanna considers her strategic options with a target so very difficult to play. Finally, she determines that direct is her best approach: "I want to kiss Lord Rutger."
Day sighs, sitting on the edge of her cot and unpinning her hair. "Well, I can't say that's a great surprise. I don't like him, but I'm not the one kissing him, so…" She looks troubled and reluctant. "Are you truly, earnestly intent on him, or do you simply want… the experience?"
"I don't want to kiss just anybody," Rosanna says, looking a bit troubled by that idea. Their priorities are a little different. "If I just wanted to kiss anybody, I would go kiss Brynner." And then, because she is too young to recognize that this is probably a dumb strategy, she says, "I bet Kittridge has kissed ladies."
There's a snort of mirth from the septa. "And you'd be right. But it's different for men, darling. You know that." She pats the cot beside her, inviting Rosanna to sit. "What are you hoping will come of it?"
"Nothing," Rosanna says in a tone of promise. She sits down next to Day, angling in to face her and using this big brown puppy-dog eyes to their best effect. (More useful on Tommas.) "I just want one. Just once." She reaches for Day's hand and looks up at her. "Please?"
Day smooths Rosanna's hair, not entirely immune to the puppy eyes herself. "I've not said no," she points out. "But I do want us to think it through. Once is generally not enough. Not with someone you're so… drawn to."
"I wouldn't do anything else," Rosanna promises. "I would never do anything to ruin myself, Day, you know that. But one kiss wouldn't hurt, would it?"
"I know you wouldn't, Rose. Not on purpose," replies Day, taking her charge's hands. "But it's easy to get carried away with these things. Believe me. And the sweeter… the sweeter what you experience with him becomes, the more difficult it will be to think clearly and make hard decisions. One kiss by itself won't hurt… but it will complicate things. It's a step I would advise against, unless you've decided you want to continue on that path. With him."
"But I want to marry him," Rosanna says with a hint of a whine. "I'm not the one who doesn't want that. I won't get carried away." After a beat, she adds faithfully, "You wouldn't let me."
"I would protect you from every possible misstep, scratch, or bruise in all the world… if only I could," Day agrees softly. She looks down at Rosanna's hands in hers, then up again to meet the younger woman's eyes. "But I can't always be around you, Rosanna — however I might try. And what you want intensely — you're intelligent and determined enough to find a way. Even if we locked you away in a tower like a princess in a mummer's tale." She smiles, fond and melancholy. "Are you really so sure you want to be lady of near-destitute swampland, mother of third and fourth sons? You could have so much more."
"You don't know what it's like," Rosanna points out. "You've never been there. I've never been there. You are making it sound worse than it is because you don't like him."
Day shakes her head, arguing gently but firmly, "I don't like him because he's the destitute lord of a swamp who already has two sons. You'd have no power. If you want to give all that up, marry for love, and accept that he will likely break your heart and put you aside in time — that's one thing. If you're not in love with him — and I don't think you are — you'd be giving up all your potential for a few years — at best — of pleasure in bed. If it's sex you want, we can arrange that — but not with him."
Rosanna goes scarlet at that last offer. "No, that's not what I want," she says quickly. "The Naylands aren't destitute; they are rising in prominence. I could rise with him, Day. I know it."
"There's no guarantee that he will rise, Rosanna," says Day, pleading for a more sensible view. "A man's fortunes, if they're not well-established, could change on a whim." She closes her eyes, taking a breath. Then, somewhat unhappily, "You do want him, though. Enough that — even if I promise you there will be other men who will make you feel this way — you're willing to give up the race before you've even run?"
"There's no guarantee anyone will rise," Rosanna says with rare insight. "Even Patrek Mallister could be ruined on a whim." And he's marrying a stupid Redwyne, anyways. "I'm not giving up the race, Day. You just don't recognize him the way I do."
Day looks Rosanna at Rosanna very seriously, indeed. "If you've decided it's acceptable to marry the first handsome lord who makes you tingle between your thighs, Rosanna," she says without compromise, "regardless of his situation and prospects? Then yes — you are giving up the race. But it is your race — to win, or to lose — I can only advise you."
"It's not about that," Rosanna insists, pulling her hands away and standing with a petulant huff of breath. And proceeds to flump down again on her own bed. "Nobody believes me," she says with a watery sniff. "Everyone just thinks I'm stupid and dumb and that I don't understand anything."
"Now you're just being histrionic," Day points out, mildly. "You said not five minutes ago that you want to marry the man. I'm showing you where you're letting your sex organs lead your wits, and you don't like it. Fair enough. But it's important to accept the truth, even the ones you don't like, in order to make rational decisions."
"I'm not being irrational," Rosanna whines. From her dramatic swoon on her bed. Honest, she's not.
"No?" says Day, ever the instructor. "Convince me of your logic, then."
"I wasn't talking about the marriage, anyways," Rosanna deflects. "I was talking about one kiss."
"Nothing in the world is so simple, Rosanna — especially not between women and men," says Day. "Trying to convince me that you think the matter is trivial isn't instilling me with confidence."
"I don't think it's trivial," Rosanna mumbles. She looks away from Day, her lashes fluttering against the early glint of frustrated tears. "But Kittridge will probably tell father no, and then father will say no, and then it will all be over. Why can't I just have one thing for me?"
"Because once won't be enough, Rosanna," Day replies — not unmoved, but certainly unmoving. "It's obvious he's turned your head, so you must be doubly certain what you mean to do with him — or the choice may well be taken out of your hands. Stop telling me it's 'just' a kiss you want — I've rarely seen two people so fraught with lust — and figure out what you're going to do about it. What you'll lose and what — if anything — you may gain. Then talk to me."
"I want everything, but I can't have that, can I?" Rosanna curls up on her bed, turning her back on Day with another sniffle that, for all her melodrama, is probably — melodramatically sincere. "Forget it."
"I want you to have everything, too, Rose," says Day, gently. "I truly do. Rutger Nayland, however romantic it may all seem, isn't even close." She blows out the lamp. "Try to sleep, my darling."
"I could just do it, anyways," Rosanna says into the dimness. "Even if you say no."
Day lays back, studying the tent canopy in the gloom. "I know," she says, softly. "I hope you won't. I hope you'll consider what's really important, and that I've never denied you anything arbitrarily."
"Kit does things," Rosanna continues in a quieter voice more suited to the gloom. "And Stafford. Even—" She pauses on that note before concluding, "It's not fair. What if father marries me to some horrid, ugly, old man just because he has money? That's what everyone wants for me."
"It's certainly not what I want for you," Day argues, simply. "But if it happens that marrying a man less attractive than Rutger Nayland will give you a better life, then I would recommend you do it. Marriage isn't about love, Rosanna. You know that. It's not even about lust. If you can have that with who you marry, that is wonderful. If you can't — that's what lovers are for."
"I am not going to behave that way," Rosanna says with sudden conviction across the darkness, "and you are not to suggest it again. That's how ladies ruin themselves and get set aside."
Day props up on an elbow, casting a baffled look at the darkness between them. "No, my darling. What you're planning now is how ladies ruin themselves. Even if they end up married at the end."
"I am not," Rosanna says clearly, "taking a lover."
"I'm not arguing that you should, Rosanna. You're not married yet." Day settles back and sighs. "Go to sleep, Rosie."
For a long moment, Rosanna does indeed fall silent, but for the occasional sniffle audible in the quiet of the tent. But then she lifts her voice for one final, subdued question: "You won't tell Kit, will you?"
"Tell him what?" says Day, quiet and wry, which is very often the answer.
"Thank you," Rosanna says in an even quieter voice before finally falling silent to try to sleep.