Page 346: Cheering Up
Cheering Up
Summary: Dmitry tries to cheer a stompy, stormy Rosanna up.
Date: July 8, 2012
Related Logs: Not Pleased
Dmitry Rosanna 
Lake — Kingsgrove
It's wet.
July 4, 289

Dmitry is half-sitting, perched on a boulder as he munches his way through an apple he got somewhere. The shimmer of the lake draws his eye, more than the tall, thin boy with tufty hair he has been giving serious face instructions to. Some indefinable tension eases in the set of his shoulders as his squire jogs off and he crunches into the next bite of apple with an air of mild satisfaction. He jiggles a bootheel against the dirt, watches the waters of the lake, and sucks juice from the white flesh of the fruit.

Rosanna doesn't really have the volume or force of an oncoming train, but she definitely storms with the best of them. Farther away from Roslyn, the tears are clearer on her face, her skin flushed and blotched with red. She comes up a little short upon spotting Dmitry, catching her bottom lip between her teeth. "Oh," she says, trying to hide a sniffle. "Ser Dmitry. I — didn't know you were here." At the lake. How would she?

It is hard to be immediately charming and debonair with your mouth full of apple; Dmitry lifts his other hand in a wave, straightening away from the boulder as he turns to face her. He earns time to swallow by sketching her an elaborate bow. "Lady Rosanna," he says. "The fairest blossom of the Grove. I must apologize to you, my lady," he adds, deeply ingenuous of expression as he arches his eyebrows at her, "have I stolen your private place?"

"Oh," Rosanna says, ducking her head to scrub the back of her head against the track of tears on her cheeks. "No, of course not. I just — wasn't paying attention."

"Then I must beg the boon of your privacy, sweet Rosanna," Dmitry says, laying a hand over his heart. The apple loosely held in his other hand might reduce the impact of his theatrics somewhat. "And ask after these tears." He lifts two fingers, and then pulls a small square of plain white fabric from his pocket to offer to her. "I am stricken to the heart to see you so," he tells her solemnly. He does a pretty good sincere; it's the soft dark of his eyes.

Rosanna sniffles again, looking at that kerchief with a watery gaze. Then she plucks it from his hand to dab at her tears. "Thank you," she says quietly. "It's just—" She twists the fabric between her fingers. "Lady Roslyn Nayland is going to marry my brother."

"Really, the Nayland spinster?" Watching her for cues as much as he is thinking for himself, Dmitry tilts his head slightly to one side. Lightly, he says, "I could offer you some platitudes about how one cannot choose one's in-laws, but when I saw you and she at Seagard I thought you liked the lady." Blithe and easy, he adds, "Though if not, it was well planned seating strategy on your part; your youth and beauty shine with all the more brilliance in comparison."

Rosanna can't help the faint, watery smile at Dmitry's pretty compliment. It fades quickly, though, as she tries to explain: "But Lord Rutger was courting me, and there won't be two marriages between our families." A bit more dramatically at the knife in her back, she says, "It was clearly Lady Roslyn who is playing a strategy."

Dmitry sighs in understanding. "Played by the Naylands," he says. "Believe me, I sympathize. I hate being outplayed, most particularly by Naylands." This may be the only completely true thing Dmitry says today. "Naturally what you need is a counter-strategy. Have you yet begun to plan your campaign?"

"Campaign," Rosanna echoes back a bit faintly. It's not an entirely surprised note in her voice, because naturally she's likely already been considering payback. "Well, I'm sure she's already spread her legs to get my brother's attention. How else would a spinster turn his head?" She's a bit reckless as she says it, taking a chance on this idea that mostly exists in her vindictive mind.

Dmitry grins in a bright, crooked flash. "I'm sure," he says. "She can hardly have wasted any time; she has so little to waste, after all." He leans back up against his boulder and crosses his feet at the ankles, the picture of idle insouciance with his arms folded loosely over his chest. He crunches another bite of apple, chews, swallows, and then says, "I can't speak to any particular charms she has, really, but whatever they are, they were enough to drive my young cousin to throw himself into her arms, and that in public not so very long ago."

"Why do men like her?" Rosanna complains, as if she wasn't just good friends with her earlier today. "She's old, and she's clearly throwing her virtue around to get attention she doesn't deserve."

"Oh, sweet Rosanna, have you not just answered your own question?" Dmitry asks her virtuously, and not at all like a man who gives it up at the drop of — someone's pants. Partway down. "Surely you have seen how simple a creature a man can be."

"It's not fair," Rosanna whines, coming just short of stomping her foot. "I have been behaving myself! I do everything I am supposed to do!"

"Naylands don't play fair," Dmitry agrees, totally enabling any and all whining and stomping. "Never have. You're well out of that, my lady. I'm only sorry that your brother has fallen prey, I rather like him."

"But I was going to be Lord Rutger's wife, and he was going to send his sons away, and I was going to be Lady of a castle." Rosanna twist-twists that handkerchief. "Now I'll have none of it. My brother is just stupid."

Dmitry bites his lip, and then releases it without letting the slightest hint of a smile turn up the corners of his mouth. "You should have all those things," he says soothingly, "but you deserve a landed gentleman who would not play you false, and is it not better to find out now while you are still young and beautiful and full of freedom? Don't sink into sadness, Rosanna; action is better, and will grant fiercer roses to your cheeks. Provide the spinster with her just desserts. Far more constructive."

Rosanna sniffs a more dignified breath, narrowing her gaze on Dmitry for a briefly suspicious moment. "You are terribly friendly about it."

Dmitry returns her look, a hint of something bright and sharp in his eyes behind the immediate innocence of his boyish smile. "Why wouldn't I be?"

"I don't know," Rosanna mumbles. She frowns at him. "Why would you want to help me?"

"Perhaps I like you," Dmitry says sunnily. "Perhaps it costs me nothing to give you a few kind words. Perhaps I am, after all, a genuinely nice person." He does not dwell too long on this idea, maybe because it is patently ridiculous. "Perhaps I looked forward to sharing wicked gossip with you on this trip to Kingsgrove and you being out of sorts would quite spoil my recreational plans." His eyes gleam as he lifts the apple to his lips, a little like he is about to take a bite, but he doesn't, dawdling with the fruit because, let's face it, he finds more fascination in the sound of his own voice than he does in eating anything. "Perhaps," he adds lightly, "the embarrassment of Nayland plans is of inherent interest to me, and the news that the Naylands are wedding Roslyn to your brother instead of fobbing her off on my cousin has piqued my … curiosity."

Rosanna listens to him with a quiet, bright-eyed interest. She's quiet for a moment after he finishes, then drops her gaze to the twisted handkerchief between her fingers. Finally, she lifts her gaze from under the thick shade of copper lashes to look at him. "It seems to me," she says, "that it is only fair that the other nobles of the Riverlands know her true character."

"It seems to me," Dmitry says blithely, "that it is not as though there were not signs that her virtue was not all it could be." He bites off another chunk of apple and eats it. Enablingly. No, maybe he can't eat apples enablingly.

"Naturally," Rosanna says with a hint of stubbornness. "Her inappropriate level of affection for my brother has been obvious." At least in her vindictive head.

"That, too." Dmitry's smile is slight and sly. He turns the apple in his hand, and lowers it with a loose gesture of his other hand. He goes on, "It all falls into place, really. How long have you suspected, but been too loyal to your brother to breathe a whisper?"

"I don't know," Rosanna says vaguely, which possibly means, 'Whenever I decided to exaggerate what I do know because I am pissy.' "She's always seemed to be partial to him."

Nodding wisely, Dmitry shifts in his lean against the boulder. "I see," he says, cocking an eyebrow at her a little like he is saying, come on, give me more dirt that I can spread around. Does she speak eyebrow? "Though I do suspect that if Ser Kittridge put every lady on her back who glanced his way, he would be a terribly busy man."

"Of course he doesn't," Rosanna says with a distinct frown. I mean, ew, that is kind of gross to think about. "You know, she gave Lord Justin her favor, but she was cheering for my brother to beat him."

"Was she? Poor, foolish Justin," Dmitry says with a sad, regretful cast to his features, gaze downcast. (He is quite good at sad and regretful.) "She had him quite twisted up in himself, I fear. Oh, he said it was all duty, of course, but duty does not inspire a man to act so." Widening his eyes slightly, he looks up at Rosanna and asks, "I wonder if he suspected?"

"Do you think?" Rosanna says, leaning back forward. "They did have that kiss all in public." With another sniff, she says, "I wonder who else she's been kissing."

"I wonder," Dmitry agrees musingly, and takes another bite of the apple.

Rosanna gives him a bit of a Look, possibly suspecting Dmitry to be among Roslyn's indiscretions. He is rather kissy, isn't he. Or — flirty. Which is the same thing. Right? "Well," she says, and then hesitates. Finally — grudgingly — she says, "I suppose I ought to be nice to her."

Slanting a look at Rosanna from beneath his eyelashes, he favors her with a slow smile. "That would be for the best," Dmitry says. "Or haven't I told you the tales of the Roost, and the open warfare between my cousin's sweet young wife and his best beloved sister?"

"Well, if I am to say anything, it would be best that I am not the obvious source." Rosanna looks to Dmitry a bit searchingly for a moment. Can haz enabling? "Lady Lucienne and Lady Anais?" she asks.

Dmitry laughs aloud. "Oh, sweet Rosanna," he says, as though he has found her words deeply endearing in the depths of his heart, so you know he's lying since he doesn't have one of those. He sketches a little bow to her after straightening away from his boulder. "How about, I've heard it's common knowledge in the Groves family?" Then he crunches into the last bit of skin on the apple, and nods to her with his mouth full of fruit, eyebrows up as his eyes dance.

"What!" Rosanna says, coloring a bit at his playful mockery. "I was asking after this feud between the ladies."

"I'm not sure feud is the right word," Dmitry says, and nibbles thoughtfully on the white inside of the apple, as he slowly reduces it to only its core. "I believe it's reached detente now, but. Have you really not heard?"

"Well, they haven't seemed terribly intimate," Rosanna replies, flushing a bit redder for not having heard. LOOK THERE WASN'T A RUMOR POST, OKAY. "Don't make fun."

"I'm sorry, I just thought it would be absolutely everywhere by now," Dmitry says. His apology isn't very apologetic; his eyes are still laughing. But he does at least control the rest of his expression. "At the last large meeting of the Terrick family before the Seagard tourney, and obviously if this isn't everywhere you can't have heard it from me, Anais went off on this tirade about how terrible Lucienne is and began threatening to have her beaten by her guards. In front of everyone. Including my uncle."

"Lady Anais?" Rosanna baffles. "I can't imagine a stupider course of action. In front of Lord Jerold?"

Dmitry opens his hand in a wide gesture, fingers spread. "I was quite struck dumb," he tells her. You know, in case she needed more evidence of the bizarre.

"Well, that seems unlikely," Rosanna replies.

Dmitry tips two fingers against his lips, and mimes further surprise with hands and eyebrows. The apple only mildly detracts from the impact.

Rosanna stifles a laugh behind the press of her teeth against her bottom lip. "You are quit incorrigible, Lord Dmitry," she tells him. "If only you had a castle to inherit, I'd be telling my father to marry me to you."

Dmitry favors her with a crooked grin. "I'm afraid I'd have to callously murder quite a few relations before I stood to inherit any such thing, my lady," he tells her. "But I have never been paid so high a compliment; I shall write it in my heart."

"On your heart?" Rosanna says, her smile still a bit weak and teary, but sincere. "What a pretty compliment of your own, my lord." She untwists the fingers of one hand from her handkerchief to reach for his.

"Of course, there." Dmitry curls her fingers in the clasp of his hand, and drops his head in a bow to brush the warmth of a kiss against her knuckles. It would be chaste and gentlemanly, you know, if they weren't unchaperoned by the lake. Maybe if he lingered a half-second less time over her skin. Behind his back, he flicks the apple core with his other hand and tosses it unregarded into the lake. Plonk! "Where else?"

It would also be less chaste if Rosanna did not step closer and rise to her tip-toes to brush a kiss to his — cheek. "I should think you'd write it wherever made me happy," she murmurs, smiling against his face. "I think you'd say much to keep me flattered."

This time, Dmitry lifts her hand to his lips rather than bowing over its back, and brushes the warm breath of a kiss to the inside of her wrist, tickling heat ghosting light over the tender skin over her pulse. His voice low, he says, "What shall I say next?"

"I—" For a moment, Rosanna's breath is caught. And even once she manages to inhale, her breath is a touch unsteady. "I don't know," she whispers. "I don't think I should believe anything you say."

Dmitry grins crookedly up at her, eyes dark and laughing beneath the dark veil of his eyelashes. He draws his thumb in a light glide over the inside of her palm and then lets it drop. He tells her with low, smoky warmth in his voice, "I knew you were clever, Rosanna."

"You are terrible," Rosanna tells him a bit breathlessly. Caught in the moment of low, smoky warmth, and in their solitude by the lake, she tips her head to press her lips to his in an indulgent kiss. SHE HAS HAD A BAD DAY, OKAY. SHE JUST WANTS TO KISS THE PRETTY.

Dmitry's mouth tastes of apples and low-banked heat, his fingertips light points of warmth against her skin where his hand rests against her cheek. He indulges her in the kiss, lazy and warm and somehow teasing in the press of their mouths and light flirt of his tongue before he withdraws. "I am," he says, in a tone of modesty as though he is graciously accepting another of his favorite compliments.

Rosanna watches him once he withdraws, her eyes wide and dark. "I am so angry," she says in the flush of intemperance before leaning in to try to steal another kiss.

Dmitry laughs in a light huff of breath, lost to the meeting of their mouths as she catches him (it's not like he will be rolling reaction to avoid here). The next kiss is fiercer as well as shorter, with more heat behind it. "Is this what rage looks like on you?" he asks her. "It's terribly enticing. I expect Roslyn would be very surprised if you cornered her with it."

"You are so obnoxious," Rosanna whines, caught somewhere between affection and exasperation — and weighing a bit more heavily on the side of the latter. She pulls away from him, however tempted she may be to make all sorts of dumb, angry decisions.

"Of course I am," Dmitry says lightly, lashes falling in a dark veil over the lingering gleam of his eyes — too bright and alert for the smoke of desire. He chases her, though, to brush another kiss to the disputed territory between mouth and cheek, warm and firm at the corner of her mouth before she can withdraw completely. "You really have awful taste in men," he tells her with a soulful look of deep-laid sorrow.

"Well, you are just — awful," Rosanna tells him. Wittily. With another sniff and step back, she tells him, "Don't do that again, or I'll tell my brothers." Unless she kisses you first. Maybe?

"But then we'd be denied each other's company," Dmitry points out, laying a hand over his heart to show how stricken he is by the thought.

"Well, you are not very appropriate company," Rosanna points out.

"What!" Dmitry is ridiculous enough to look wounded.

"You kissed me," Rosanna neatly employs revisionist history to say.

Dmitry does not seem especially concerned by her rewrite of reality; he plays to her, as he has before, possibly to show off just how much she was right not to believe a word that comes out of his mouth. "I was overwhelmed by your charm. What is a man to do when you look at him with those melting eyes?"

Rosanna smacks him on the arm, but it's a light gesture with no real heat. It would be playful if she were in a better mood. "You are so full of—" Something. Bullshit is probably not a thematic end to that sentence. "I am leaving now," she informs him.

There is no telling what he is full of, then. It is something comparable, though, surely. Dmitry says, with only a slightly curving smile, "I look forward to seeing you later, then."

"I'm sure you do." Rosanna gives him another Look, but she can't quite manage to be really angry at him. She is too angry at other people. At least she's a little less stormy when she leaves this time.

Once she goes, Dmitry's smile fades out. He resumes his perch on the boulder, and he frowns thoughtfully out over the lake with little remnant of the clown to his aspect, mouth partly hidden behind the curve of his hand. He'll come back inside eventually.