|Summary:||Gedeon takes advantage of Rose's night in the Sept garden to leave a gift beneath her pillow. Rose, in turn, has a suggestion for a way to make things square, again.|
|Related Logs:||Tits and Consequences, Dedication|
|The Green — Terrick's Roost|
|The Green is a large field of deep green grass, nearly flat, that runs along the base of the towers. The road into town runs along the far edge, hemming it in neatly to a confined area where beyond a line of trees serves as a subtle windbreak. This area is most often used for drilling or practice for the guards but also serves as home for festivals, tournements, and another other gathering that might require the space for a large number of the local residents. A well-trodden path winds around the side of the wall and moves towards the coastline.|
|25 August 288|
Practice this morning went better, if it started a little later to allow Rose to creep back to the stables to become Rowan again after a night in the Sept Garden. Gedeon has been polite, helpful, sparred with his squire with the same patience and determination as ever. Which means by the end of it they are both out of breath, sweaty and collapsed in the grass, staring up at the blue sky and waiting for their limbs to feel a bit more alive and a bit less like lead.
Rose pants, wiping sweat from her brow and raking her hair back, shutting her eyes until the blood stops thundering in her ears. There's a long space of silence, nothing more than their breathing and birdsong, the distant lowing of a cow. Finally, she says, without preamble, "The necklace is beautiful."
He turns his head to peer at Rowan, smiling a little for those words. "You liked it? I wasn't sure you'd want anything from me, now." He turns away again to study the sky and a small cluster of tiny birds that wing their way across it. "It really was a very nice ceremony, last night. Thank you for letting me stay."
"It's beautiful," she repeats softly, eyes opening — though not to look at him, also trained on the sky. "And very… appropriate." Her lips quirk faintly at that, a brief and melancholy smile. "I'm glad you came," she says of the ceremony. "I didn't think you would."
"I thought so, too, when I saw it," Gedeon agrees with a faint smile. "Well, you didn't un-invite me, and I figured even if you didn't want me there, perhaps you wanted the knight you served to be there, still. So, I came. I like you in that gown."
"I'm glad?" says Rose with a faint chuckle. "Considering I only own two dresses. Well… two I can wear outside the bedroom, anyways." She tucks her arms behind her head and breathes in deeply, letting it out slow, closing her eyes again. "I think, in the end, I wanted you both there. Which surprised me a little."
"Three," Gedeon corrects. "That one was my favorite one. Where did you find it, anyhow?" He shifts a little, turning his head so he can peer at Rowan thoughtfully. "Did you?" he asks. "I'm glad. We both wanted to be there."
Rose chuckles again, blushing despite herself. "There are plenty of shops that cater to gentlemen who want to buy their paramours… paramour things," she notes. "It wasn't that hard to find one. No one even looked at me askance. I think half a whore's livelihood is probably in gifts — if she's any good, anyhow."
"There must be some sort of perks to the lifestyle," Gedeon replies with a small shake of his head, "I suppose fancy dresses could be one. So did you… just have that dress? Lying around? Or, um, did you buy it for me to see you in it?"
She can't help but laugh at that, the idea that she's have such a thing 'lying around' amusing her. "No," she replies softly. "I bought it for you."
He pushes up on one elbow to peer over at her more properly. "Really?" he asks softly. "Just for me?" He groans, flopping back in the grass. "I am going to miss that dress and you in it very much."
Rose doesn't look at him, still, even when he peers at her. She studies the leaves on the tree above them studiously. "You can have the dress, if you like," she quips, dryly. "I can't imagine I'll be wearing it again."
"I don't think it would look as good on me," he opines somberly, "and I expect, somewhere in the future, you'll find someone you'd like to wear it for if you keep it. In which case, don't tell me. I would rather not know."
This, finally, causes her head to turn. She sighs, frowning at him very slightly, yesterday's blaze of anger and outrage diminished to bewildered hurt. "How can you even say that?" she asks quietly. "When yesterday, part of your defense was that I was equally free to — to be with others? I don't understand you at all."
"Of course you are. It doesn't mean I like the thought of it, it just means I'm trying to be reasonable. Or, as reasonable as obvious madness allows," Gedeon replies, rubbing a hand over his face. "I didn't take tits and freckles upstairs because I wanted somebody else. I took her upstairs because I felt to do otherwise would be foolish."
"I'm sure it was horrible for you," says Rose, tonelessly, turning her head to look up at the leaves once more.
"Wasn't the most pleasant experience of my life," Gedeon answers wryly. "Nearly called her 'Rose'." He shrugs for that. "Besides, you can't tell me, if Jarod didn't come to his senses, you wouldn't have gone to him without a second thought. It's a different thing, and I suppose you'd say it was a better thing, but it's not a particularly pleasant thought, either way. So, perhaps I was getting even a little, too."
Rose looks at him again, fine eyebrows drawn down, her face a pretty mask of conflict. "Getting even? Because I'm in love with Jarod?" She just sighs at that, closing her eyes and looking weary. "In this insane hypothetical world we're creating, I would have broken with you before going to Jarod. I wouldn't have let you find out about it by loose gossip." She resumes her inventory of the leaves. "It might not seem much of a difference to you, but it is to me."
"The point is, there's someone else you want more, it doesn't matter how you would have done it," Gedeon replies, sitting up slowly and plucking grass from his sleeve. "I can't promise to never sleep with a whore again. You can't just up and stop loving Jarod, so there we are."
"My heart is not necessarily in my control, Gedeon," she replies, sitting up as well — now to rest her chin on her knees and examine the grass around her boots. "I don't accept that your cock is in any way similar."
"I didn't say that it was, but I can't keep what we have a secret very well, if it becomes obvious I'm not sleeping with anyone. It hardly matters now, anyhow, we're not…" Gedeon sighs. "I'm not suggesting I planned to go out and take up with a whore regularly, but if a situation comes up where it would be peculiar if I didn't… I would. For both our sakes, much as you don't see it that way."
"Right," says Rose, her voice soft and faraway. She pushes to her feet. "I'm going to go fuck somebody senseless," she decides. "Then I'll let you know how I feel." With that, she strides off to the practice yard to collect her things and quit the field.
Gedeon huffs a soft laugh and shakes his head. "As you like," he agrees, sounding singularly unimpressed. "You should have told me about Jacsen."
"You don't think I'll do it?" Rose asks, curiously. "Or you've gone from being tormented by the idea of another man in my bed to not caring at all in two minutes flat?" She shrugs slightly at the latter. "He guessed. I only promised not to tell. If I'd felt any trouble was going to come from it, I'd have told you straight away. As it was… I think Jack's one of the safest possible people who could possibly know. So what's the matter?"
"The matter is, you promised, before myself and the Lord of Oldstones that if anybody else found out about your secret, or if you thought somebody might that you would tell me immediately. Instead, it's some kind of clever surprise you throw at everyone right before your ceremony," Gedeon replies. "I think you're going to go out and fuck somebody purely to get even with me, and I think I can hardly tell you not to, even if I think it's ridiculous."
Rose frowns deeply. "It wasn't like that at all," she insists. "It wasn't meant as a trick or a surprise it's just — it's Jack." It's clear she trusts the youngest Terrick brother rather implicitly. "I meant to mention it, I just…" She takes a deep breath. "I'm sorry. There are reasons, but no excuses. You're very much correct. I made a promise I'd come to you straight away, and — I didn't mean to break it, but I did. It won't ever happen again."
Gedeon studies her quietly for a long moment before he nods. "All right," he agrees softly. "I want to trust you, Rowan. As my squire, at the very least. Please don't make me regret that trust again."
Rose looks stung and draws a breath to say more, but doesn't. At least on that point. "I won't," she says, simply. It's clear she's wounded by his choice of words, however. "And another thing — what I may or may not do to 'get even' for you dipping your wick in a tavern whore is far less ridiculous than you doing it to get even in the first place." She reflects on that convoluted chain, checking the logic, then nods. "So there."
"Well, lovely, that's impeccable logic," Gedeon replies. "'You made a mistake, so I'm going to make one, too'. I'm sorry, who was it you dedicated yourself to, last night?"
Rose comes stalking back over and crouches in front of him, narrowing her eyes. "You didn't make a mistake. You made a choice. And you'll do it again. You said so. Compassion and forgiveness? I'm working on it. But I am also human, and Gedeon Rivers, you hurt me. And not just once — every time I look at you I get… flashes of your lips on freckled shoulders, and a thousand other lewd, horrid images that make me want to scream. And, ironically, tear out that poor girl's hair. When there's no one at fault but you. Jealousy is — it's an awful feeling, and it's my constant companion, and I'm so angry at you for making me feel this way!" She swallows, slender throat working against a lump. "So fine. Rebuke me for not living up to the Mother right now — I think She understands. I'm pretty worthy of compassion right now. And maybe I'll be less so when I'm done, when we're both in the wrong, but that's my choice."
She lowers her voice and her lashes, speaking even softer. "So what I want you to think on is that on my next day of liberty, I'll be in Stonebridge, visiting the blacksmith's boy. I'll wear that dress you so love, and he'll have me every way you ever have. And perhaps some you haven't."
He clenches his jaw and his eyes narrow a little for that, and it's clear enough she's struck something. "What's your plan, then, for maintaining secrecy, if I'm not to take anybody else to bed, regardless of the circumstances?" Gedeon asks tightly, "How do you propose I deflect the inevitable questions and observations that will cause?"
"You're a bright boy," Rose murmurs, smiling sweetly. "I'm sure you'll figure something out." She stands and makes to leave, calling over her shoulder, "Let me know, won't you?"
"If you choose to do this," Gedeon answers, standing slowly, "there will be nothing to figure out."
She continues strolling on her merry way, tossing back, "If you figure it out? I won't."
Gedeon watches her go in silence. He picks up his practice sword and heads off in the opposite direction with no further word.