|In Vino Veritas|
|Summary:||Amelia gets Rowan drunk. Busted.|
|Related Logs:||One with Josse and Am. Uhh.. Another with Josse and Rowan.|
|Crane's Crossing, Guest Room — Stonebridge|
|The rooms at Crane's Crossing are of the finest quality to be found at any guest quarters among the Riverlands, though not as finely done as those in the castles — by far. The rooms are spacious with plenty of room for not just a noble but a small entourage to gather in. The sprawling beds are finished with fine sheets and goosedown-stuffed pillows. Rugs are lain about except nearest the door with a few couches placed to one corner for guests of the room holder. Chambermaidens are on call at all hours to clean and refill the wash basins or provide new washclothes - or to even take sullied clothing for cleaning. The windows are set out a bit from the wall to provide bench seating that overlooks the sprawling green of meadows, distant forests, and bubbling creeks.|
Amelia was getting ready to leave town and checked in at Crane's Crossing briefly only to be informed that someone had asked for her by name and paid in advance. Well, she wasn't exactly dressed for it but what the hell, right? But the name.. Ah yes. She went upstairs and waited patiently. The bed is made up and plushed out of habit and she spends a few moments to dust with a rag. Her bags are kept to the side of the bedstand. So when Rowan arrives, the candles are lit but the room is not terribly bright. The whore actually looks closer to nobility. Very high class. The woman is clad fresh from her escort duties to the banquet, a long velvet green dress. Gold hems are delicately sewn into the ends with a matching gold sash tied loosely around her waist. The woman seems quite elegant considering she, you know, fucks guys for money.
At length, there's a timid knock at the door. It opens just a hair, but the person on the other side doesn't presume to enter. There's a tenor-pitched throat clearing. Ahem. "Uhm. Miss Amelia? It's… uhm… Rowan. May I come in?"
Amelia turns at the sound of the door and nearly glides a few steps over towards it, beckoning the young man in. "Yes, please. Come in." After he is in she gently shuts it behind him and steps back a few feet. The smile on her face is kind and gentle. "May I call you that? Rowan? I try to be on a first name basis with my men and women. It tends to relax people more." She gestures towards the chairs. "Care to sit? I've ordered some summerwine which should be delivered any moment."
The youngest Nayland enters, looking nervous and awkward, dark curls touching the collar of his impeccably clean shirt. Even his boots have been brushed, and his chin — well, he doesn't look as though he needs to shave. Though he might have before he came, anyways. Just to have a touch of piney, male scent about his person. The words 'and women' make the lad's right eyebrow tic up — and he blushes. But of course he might. He stands straight, making the most of his five foot, nine inches, hands clasped behind his back. "You may. Call me Rowan. If it pleases you, Miss." He steps over and sits as he's bade, right on the edge of the chair. Both feet on the floor, knees together, hands on knees. If his posture gets any straighter, his spine will fuse that way. "Ah. Wine would be very nice. That's quite thoughtful of you."
Amelia notes the quirk at Rowan's brow and smiles. "Does it surprise you that I take women, as well?" She stays closer to the door, waiting for the delivery. It might be cued to arrive just after the men do. "Women are more open about their needs. But more often it is not for sexual gratification of themselves. Massages, lessons.." She trails. "Whatever suits the person that I can provide." The door is knocked upon and Amelia steps over. She exchanges a few thanked words through the door and the person behind walks off. The bottle and glasses are retrieved a moment later and she walks over with them. Set on the table, Amelia pours Rowan a glass and hands it over gracefully. "Wine is part of almost every one of these visits. It relaxes the soul and body.. which I dare say you need, Mister Rowan." She winks with the smile and pours herself one. "Besides, Josse told me you would be coming and what was requested. You have nothing to fear, though you do have me for the night if you change your mind." The whore speaks of these things off-hand and settles down in the chair across from him, legs crossing at the knee.
Rowan clears his throat again as Amelia details some of her… other services. "That's… quite versatile of you, Miss." He takes a breath, fidgeting a bit as she receives the wine. When a glass is offered him, he accepts it with a smile — albeit a faint, sickly one — and drinks deeply. "Ah. I won't be. Changing my mind." He blushes again, looking deeply apologetic. "It's… complicated. You're very lovely. My… it's certainly no reflection on you. At all." He pauses, worrying his bottom lip with his teeth. "I… must ask one thing of you, however. If… if you're not comfortable with it, I certainly understand. But… I would be exceedingly grateful."
"Thank you. If I cannot do something myself, chances are good I can find someone who can do it.. or get it." Its no secret Amelia knows a lot about the families, too, and her mind is a trap for mny of the Terrick's personal information. She watches the sip and smirks a little more easily. "No problem, Rowan. But the offer stands for a massage. Or a bowl of stew. No reason to speak of it again. Just tell me what you would like and when." No wonder she charges and gets so much. But the mention of a favor has her lifting her glass for a sip. Once done, she dips her head. "Absolutely, Rowan. As long as you are not asking me to talk about the details of others I see, I can likely make it happen." She obviously does not expect this to be sexual. Her voice is light and welcoming, the woman doing her best to put the Squire at ease.
At that, the boy chuckles and smiles winsomely, though with a touch of rue. "Quite the opposite, miss. I'd… appreciate it — deeply — if you'd tell others the details about me." He smirks. "But not the real ones. To wit, and I do regret that I must, I am asking you to lie." He shakes his head. "Specifically to the brothers Terrick — or to anyone you think less than discreet so that it will get back to them." He downs the rest of his wine. "If you don't feel comfortable doing so, then I won't trouble you again and there are no hard feelings… but I will need to take my custom elsewhere." He looks at her, meeting her eyes steadily for the first time. "It is very important that it be… 'known'… that I do in here with you what any other red-blooded lad would do."
Amelia narrows her eyes. She leans heavily into a corner of the chair while the glass is hung by fingertips by her face. Her other hand circles her hair around her ear before settling on her lap. The woman's gaze stays on Rowan, though, as if trying to ponder something out. Likely its why he is here and saying these things. "Rowan, it would be highly irregular for me to discuss the things that I do with my customers. Josse trusts me with whatever secret it is you may have or reason for acting as you do. That is why you are here and not with another whore. Because I do not say things. However, I can do things to indicate that we 'enjoy each others company' as it were. Certain looks. A certain sway of my hips. And of course, because your night is paid for, you are welcome to talk with me whatever you desire and it remains discreet. I may not slink around the room bragging about the turn I just had in the sheets with a man named Rowan.. But people will be plenty aware. Especially my regular customers." Like Jarod. "You are concerned of being perceived as normal? I can do that without any worry from you."
Rowan tilts his head, considering the woman. "And if you were asked outright? Jarod, specifically, is quite concerned that I — do what it is we're supposed to be doing here, now." He sighs and slumps back in his seat, legs stretched out like any boy still growing into gangly limbs. "I can just hear him now — " The lad sits suddenly upright, leaning an elbow on his knee and adopting a charming, devilish grin "'So, Amelia, how's my boy Rowan between the sheets? Has he started writing you sonnets yet?'" His boisterous, swaggering imitation of Ser Jarod is… quite nearly spot on. And rather comic. Especially with the long-suffering roll of the lad's eyes afterward.
Amelia gives a short, girlish giggle at the imitation of Jarod. "You know the man well," she allows, tilting her glass towards Rowan. "But I must insist you drink the wine. Relax and enjoy the night. Just two people enjoying conversation and company." She sips at her glass and leans forward to set it on the table. The tankard is lifted to offer to refill Rowan's. "Jarod, first, would not ask such a thing. He may be crass sometimes but not all men are the same behind closed doors. Especially with a woman. Certainly with a whore. But, should he ask me that?" She considers the question. "I would tell him that you are an absolutely pleasure to have as a client and someone that I look forward to seeing regularly. And that I hope that despite your squireship, that you continue to stay on in the Roost so that I might see you on a more regular basis until such time as you find yourself a person to make you happy." It all inclines towards what is assumed without ever saying the words. ..By saying nothing at all.
Know him well? "You have no idea," mutters the squire. He takes the refill, slouching in the chair once more and drinking, chin in his hand. Glum. "I suppose that'll have to do." He sighs again. "Can't risk this sort of thing with someone less… professional. And I can trust your discretion entirely?" He raises his eyebrows. "I get the impression that you and the Young Lord Jaremy are… very close."
Amelia just watches Rowan. Especially after his mutterings. She settles back into the prior position in the chair, eyes on him and his body language. The whore reads men for a living. Little cues. Rowan is peculieur to her. "That'll do? Rowan, I am not cheap. I do what I do very well. You are correct that I am professional, but I can promise that nobody will ever know that we did nothing except hold each other all night. You are just a quiet lover. There is no shame there. Many men are." She drops her eyes at the last question, though. "We have been, yes. Not quite so anymore. I let my guard down and did something that was highly unlike me. I was reminded of my place and have resumed duties, though I will likely not be seeing Ser Jaremy much anymore." Ser. Not 'Jaremy'.
Now it's the boy's turn to watch the whore — defending her worth, and mourning her loss. He bites his bottom lip softly, wincing in sympathy. "Oi." He looks down into his cup, draining it again and refilling it on his own. "I know what that's like. Well, not exactly. But Jarod reminds me of my 'place' from time to time. Never loses its sting. Especially when you really think… you really feel you've grown to mean something more to someone."
Amelia is about to rise up and refill the glass for him when he does it on his own. She blinks and watches the drink be poured, though she sits on the edge of her seat now. "What happened between Jaremy and I was not.." She waffles for a moment and sighs. "I allowed myself to feel something for him. I dared to dream. After counseling him for choosing a proper wife I found myself hoping I might be able to be one to him.. behind the curtain." She makes a face and looks down. There is shame there, but its heavily controlled. Amelia does her best to keep things like that away and she looks back up. "You feel that Jarod should think more of you? That you are underappreciated? ..Or that you should be more to him than you are?" There's some concern there, but there is something about her… she might be coming to her own conclusions, right or wrong, about Rowan.
Rowan looks at Amelia for a long moment, meeting her eyes plain once more. There's a gentleness in the boy's expression. "There's no reason that should have been assumed out of the question, mi — Amelia. No reason at all. Many men have such arrangements. They marry for convenience, and discreetly — and some not so discreetly — keep a mistress who fulfills the needs of both their heart and loins. You know this as well as I." He frowns a little. "Why Jaremy should have disdained you for proposing such an arrangement seems… a little ridiculous to me. He can be an idiot." The lad nods. More wine? WHY YES! He drinks. "I regret that his idiocy hurt you." The question about Jarod makes him laugh. He shakes his head, dark curls dancing. "Nothing quite like that. Jarod… we've been stuck together these past four years, you know. Been through a lot, good and bad. After all that long, you begin to feel… as though you've a friend instead of a commander. And he likes me to be his friend. So long as it's convenient for him."
The whore shrugs, eyes towards her glass but looking far beyond. "Ser Jaremy is not the type. I cannot speak to the type he is because that information.. discreet. But I cannot see the man taking multiple wives. You're very right about some, but not all. Many act like they would enjoy it but.. No." She wets her lips. "I've known a few who have. It is hard. Especially when real emotions are involved. I once had a noble sent to me by his wife. She had asked me to counsel him about how unwise it would be for him to take a second wife. I found out during our discussion that his wife was unable to have children. Something was arranged to help. As far as I know, they are happy with their family and he with his one wife." There's just a little pride there. The conversation moved away from her thoughts of Jaremy and she suddenly realizes it and reaches for her glass once more. Rowan has her attention once more and she nods. "You feel convenient to him? Hmm. You see him more as a friend. Do you quarrel? I know he is fond of you. Thinks highly despite your name and what it means to this house."
Rowan snorts. "Look, Amelia, Saint Jaremy is… not. A saint. However highly he might like to hold himself, he's been fucking you and treating you as his confidant alllllll this time he's been in love with Isolde. For some reason when he gets married, to someone he does not love, he's too good for you then?" He shakes his head, jabbing a finger at the air. "Asshole. You should let yourself be angry at him." Ah, and Jarod. Do they quarrel? "We quarrel, all right. Not that he ever knows what about. He's a little dim, sometimes. Just thinks I'm moody." He flashes a wry smile. "It's… I don't want you to get the wrong idea." He blows out a breath, raking back his hair. "It's. You know. Not more than a friend, but a true friend. Yes. I do consider him that. And I to him. But he's… he tetchy about his feelings and thoughts, you know? Very, very male is our Jarod. And when I want to know those thoughts and feelings…" He shrugs. "Well, it's easier for him to retreat to 'Rowan my squire is presuming too much' rather than accept, 'Rowan my friend cares about me.'" He squints. "Does that make a bit of sense? This is very good wine."
Amelia listens, looking at Rowan with an expression hard to decipher. "As much as I would love to be angry with him, it is my problem for allowing myself to feel as I had. I know that now. What he has or has not been doing to me to make that feeling come around.. well.. I am a whore but I am a complex woman." She feints a smile and dips her eyes to the glass in her hand. "He finds you moody and overly concerned about him? You often find yourself concerned for his well-being, I take it. Do you often do little things for him to try and let him know? though yes, it is starting to make more sense. I have several relationships like that, myself. When Jarod has too much ale he can be like that sometimes though he has been better about it lately." She blinks and looks up to Rowan, tilting her head to the other side as if viewing him from another angle.
Rowan curves another wry, wan smile. "You're too forgiving, Amelia. If he only meant you to be a whore, he should have kept himself in his place, as well. Maybe the blame lies on both sides, but it's certainly not all with you." He drains his cup once more. "Mm. What don't I do? I come when he bids and go when he bids. I sweat and bleed with him on a daily basis, bring him his meals, love all he loves and despise that which he despises. I'm his constant companion. I make him tea when he's hung over. I listen to the few troubles he'll share with me, and I am ever on his side. I carry his colors and win battles in his name — Gods be good, if he were a woman, he'd be in love with me." He smirks, chuckling. "I'm a good squire."
"That is his choice as a man. You and he share those luxuries that women do not. We are responsible for being good to our men in the ways that they require. They owe us nothing. And considering my social class? I may be respected by some but I am, at the end of the day, at the very bottom. You, Lord Rowan, are high above me as well. Telling Ser Jaremy that he owes me something would be like you attempting to tell Lord Jason Mallister that he owes you something." Amelia shakes her head. "It is not to be. Maybe in another life." She fingers the glass, watching the wine before looking back up to Rowan. "Mmm." Her eyes sparkle for a moment with a smile to match. "Seven On High, being a squire sounds like how I have heard being a wife described. If he were a woman I suspect he would be lost as any could possibly be." She settles her glass down and moves to pour Rowan some more. "Forgive me for being forward, Rowan, but you have me curious. How long have you cared so deeply for Jarod? I feel as though my role with him must upset you to some extent."
"Hah. He owes you respect, Amelia. When he paid for you, he paid for your body — your mind and your ear, even, since you're clever as you are pretty. But not for your heart. He's not half as dumb as he pretends to be. He knew. And when someone gives you their heart, whether or not you asked for it, you treat them with respect. It's only decent." Rowan turns himself in the chair, lounging with one long, slender leg draped over the arm. "Maybe in another life you'll be fortunate enough to love someone with a spine." Sweet Seven, but the little Lord Rowan doesn't think much of Ser Jaremy, at all. In vino veritas. "Been completely devoted to Jarod since the day we met," he says, shrugging. "But no. I've never begrudged him his women. It's his heart I'm concerned with — I know it doesn't helplessly follow his cock. Come to that, I've got the better part of him." He laughs, grinning. "Not that it's not a fine cock, I'm sure." He holds up a hand, laughing all the more. "You need neither confirm nor deny that. I'm actually grateful for your discretion."
"He purchased my body. My time and secrecy I give willingly to the Terrick family." Amelia shakes her head, unrelenting on the point. "My life and position is difficult to explain to a noble, Rowan. But I cannot bring myself to detest Ser Jaremy. He means well for his people, despite what you may think of him. He is still a man. All men have faults." She sips shortly to the wine and sets the glass back down. Ears are still focused on him, Amelia's mind chewing over what she is hearing. But she actually does blush at bit at the mention of Jarod's manparts. Her tongue wets her lips and she looks back to Rowan. "Concerned of his heart, not his cock. You're a fascinating person, Lord Rowan." She takes a breath, holding it briefly as if she might say something. Instead she turns her body slightly more towards her company. "When did you know you were in love with your knight?"
Very, very relaxed now, the young squire barely reacts to the flicker of panic those words ignite in his chest. He makes a lazy, philosophical gesture. Ah, bollocks, it seems to say. Denying it would be sort of pointless. "Maybe I've always known?" he muses. "Hasn't gotten… hard until this past year. These past months." He blushes and giggles inanely. "I said 'hard.' But… hahaha!" He laughs… and hiccups. "I meant difficult. Nothing so vulgar. It's…" He sighs, putting his chin in his hand. "He loves a lady. Can't have her, but he loves her. And I hate her for it, Seven forgive me. I do. So. Hate her."
Amelia watches the gestures and smiles, a hand coming up to cover her lips as if to contain outright laughter. "That is indeed a long time to wait," she observes with the same smile. But her jesting at the term used gets her to laugh with Rowan. It fades, though, as he brings up another woman. "Jealousy is terrible like that, is it not? I was unaware that he loved someone else." She actually seems surprised. "I assume that this woman is someone who does not return his feelings? ..Lords blessed, I pray its not me. Is it?" Something a little like her own highly reerved panic seems to strike a crack in her voice.
"Oh, I don't know. She enjoys stringing men along, I think. Can't tell what she really feels, but whenever she's — " He blinks, then laughs (not at all unkindly) at the panic. "No, no. She's a Lady." He holds up his thumb and forefinger in the shape of an L. "Capital L. And he can't have her, because he's a bastard. Unless it was all secret like, but he'd never dishonor — his words, not mine — a lady that way. Anyhow." He fumbles for the wine flagon, apparently looking for another pour and lacking the requisite coordination. "It's — fuck, why is the bottle moving around like that? — she's all doe-eyed and precious and weak and damsely and it makes me want to vomit."
There is some relief at the woman being identified as a Lady. She touches her fingertips to her chest and dips her head. "I did not suspect, but I wanted to be sure." A shake of her head and Amelia seems to be sated. "So he concerns himself with honor insofar as protecting a woman he cares about. Here-" She rises and urges Rowan to settle back, her hand lifting to his shoulder gently to still him if he allows. "I will pour but it may do you well to slow and pace yourself. Wine is quite fun but there is no reason to overdo it." She winks and settles to her knees beside him. The glass is refilled and handed up to him. "So have you tried to hint at Jarod how you feel? Other than typical concerns a woman might show to to her man." She slips it in to test a theory. "I mean, hints? Tricks? Some men respond better to those. Others tend to be too blind that they require a bludgeon to be told what is required." She laughs with the words, the warmth genuine. She might be curious about this Rowan, but the conversation seems to hold her well and honestly.
"Ah, you're so pretty," Rowan sighs as Amelia pours him more wine. "So pretty. And honest. I wish I could be like you. I so prefer a world of honest whores over simpering, duplicitous ladies. And you have," he gestures toward her, "all the best of what ladies do, really. You're dulcet and graceful. Extremely pleasing. Charming. If Jarod was in love with someone like you — " he stops himself and laughs, shaking his head. "Actually, never mind. I'd hate her, too. Just… I'd at least understand." He yips a short, puppyish laugh. "Hints and tricks? He'd shun me, then. Might even dismiss me. Jarod… is very not a poofter. No. He's… so male. Boys sprout chest hair after having three words conference with him, you know. Women ovulate when he walks in a room." He giggles. "Gods. Oh, Gods. What a horror that would be, if he — if I — " He looks exceedingly melancholy, suddenly. "He be quite revolted, Amelia. I assure you."
Amelia blushes deeply, obviously not used to praise. Her head dips towards Rowan and she whispers a 'thank you, m'Lady'. Her head then lifts and she presents to wine glass to Rowan. No denials or corrections. Huh. She turns her eyes down as if searching her memory for something before looking back up. "Jarod is very male. He is what many of the whores refer to as a 'Big Dog' due to how he runs the pack and carries himself. He may not carry the Terrick name but he is charismatic, is he not? Its quite an attractive quality. Many a woman are drawn to it." But hearing the squire giggle, Amelia laughs again and settles sideways, just off her ankles with her rear on the floor before his chair. "Oh, why would he be revolted?? Please. If you think I'm the only attractive one in this room, my dear, you are quite horribly mistaken."
No denials or corrections, but definitely a strange look. Like he can't decide if he's being made fun of. Rowan sips his wine, now, nursing it — sort of like shutting the paddock gate after the horses have fled. "You are very kind," he says at last, smiling faintly. "But I assure you — Jarod does not like boys. Some men like him are over-compensating, for certain… but not he."
Amelia looks up at the squire with a short smile as if she is slowly figuring something out and is just reaching a crafty conclusion. "Oh, I'm well aware Jarod does not like men. Or boys. I think I know that quite well." She reaches for her glass and sips once at it, finally nearing the end of her first. She licks her teeth, watching him with a growing grin. She knows. Or at least she thinks she knows.. whatever it is she thinks. "So. How long do you think you can get away with it? Think you can get to knighthood?" She quirks a brow.
Rowan eyes Amelia cautiously, like she's a big cat about to pounce. A big cat that won't quite remain in focus. Woe. "If… I perform admirably and serve faithfully, Seven willing, that's my dearest hope. Yes." He has the look of a soldier captured by the enemy. Name and rank only. He will neither confirm nor deny. Bring on the thumbscrews!
"If you perform." Amelia's brow lifts. "Admirably." She's all grins. "You cheeky monkey," the whore teases, tilting the glass at the squire. She rings the inside of her lower lip with her tongue, grinning like an idiot. "So tell me something, how does that work? If Rickart disowned his daughter for joining a traveling act and it turned out she was actually serving the Nayland name, does..?" she tilts her head side to side. "Does that get overturned? Somehow I think it might, Lady Rowenna."
There's a long, blank stare from the inebriated Nayland. And finally, "Fuck." And also, "Fuck." And especially, "Fuckity fuck fuck fuck!" Rowan half shoves, half scrambles out of the chair, pale as milk, dark eyes enormous, as though Amelia had just cheerfully foretold the squire's death. "Fuck!" The girl-squire's hands — delicate and lovely, for all their callouses and scars — cover her face. "Just — fuck! What — how — ?" Four long years she's held up this charade in all manner of circumstances, and it's crumbled around her in an instant. She looks absolutely horrified and bewildered. "Sweet, sodding Seven — FUCK!" She kicks the baseboard, yelping as she injures her toe, and bounces around in a circle, fists clenched.
Amelia scrambles back, not quite sure what to expect. This apparently was not it, though. She reaches for Rowan's glass of wine and rescues it just in time from tipping over to the rugs. They're rushed over to the bedstand and she comes back over to hold Rowan by the shoulders gently. "Row.. Rowenna." She tilts her head forward. "Darlin. M'Lord." The last is said firmly and would certainly be heard outside the room as she attempts to calm the squire. "Sit your rear back in the chair.. and relax. Let me fetch you some ice, please? I will explain something." Ever the angel, Amelia uses the same calming voice. Everything Will Be Fine. Her hand gestures to the chair. "You'll make yourself sick, m'Lord." The ruckaus may have drawn some attention but she is clearly not about to 'Out' Rowan. "Please."
Crushed and unspeakably miserable, the squire sits her rear back in the chair. And sniffles. "I hate today," she whispers, sulkily. "Today is a very bad day and I should have stayed in bed. The Seven are clearly angry with me for putting the Angrycat in bed with Jarod. But this is very harsh." She looks up at the ceiling balefully, pointing at the Gods. "Very. Harsh."
Amelia waits for the squire to be planted back in the chair before moving to the door and sending for a basin of cold water. Its brought back quickly and the whore moves back with it after some quiet assurances that everything is just fine. She once again kneels at the squire's feet and settles the basic down. "Give me your boot." Amelia gestures for the boot holding the stubbed toe and begins pulling it off. Her smile finally returns and looks up. "You've toned quite a bit. Same build as your mother. You're lucky in that respect. Might be harder if you were shaped like I." Amelia is clearly more soft in just about every way. "I'm quite impressed, Rowenna. But, to ease you of something?" She never loses her smile. "Discretion is my dayword. I will not tell a soul. You need pay me nothing to keep the secret. And? I will even tell you one in return. Something personal that I guard dear. Okay?" She's all smiles and quite friendly about it.
All the fight's quite gone out of her, so Rowenna allows her boot to be removed and her toe to be tended, just about boneless in her woe. "Oh, sodding fuck it's not even that…" she whispers, passing a hand over her eyes, looking headachey and heartsick and weary — and like she's had far too much wine. "It's — I'm slipping. It's all falling to pieces. If you could tell — how could you tell? I've been so good and so careful for so long — and now, I'm… I'm losing my grip on the whole… tapestry. The threads are all unraveling. And — Gods! I'm so bad at weaving. And needlework. That, too. I'm just terrible at a lot of things, but this — this I'm good at. I'm good at it, Amelia. And — " She blinks a few times. "How do you know my mother?"
Amelia listens to the woman dissolve a bit and dips her foot into the washbasin. She guides the toe beneath the cold surface, the water likely straight out of the river. "You are not slipping, Rowenna. Still yourself, m'Lady." She takes up a cloth and begins washing the other woman's foot. "I deal with men. Men who talk about their wives. Men who talk about their indiscretions. Men who eye me regardless of my cloth because of what I represent: Servitude of a different kind than they have at home. I'm a student of people, Rowenna. But I am also a person. With yourself drunk and lain bare to your emotions, with an eye for it, these things come out. Just, in the future?" Her eyes are full of mirth as she looks up. "Do not discuss Jarod while drunk. Its a tell that you're sly. Or passing as a man. Though I assumed the first for a bit." She continues washing the foot. "I know your mother because I have seen her in paintings. I have also seen her from afar. But I know her because I know you. And before I tell you this, I want you to understand that you, my dear, are in the company of someone who sympathizes. Like you, were it my place, I would bend knee to House Terrick. As it is, I serve them in more ways than you could understand. I defend them from threats they have never known of. But having said that.." She cocks her head side to side, her lopsided smile still holding as she looks up. "You are my half-sister, Rowenna. I'm a bastard of Rickart. And like you, I recognize the man for what he is and I choose to give my efforts freely to the same people you do."
Rowenna stares for a few beats, then finally breathes. "I just quit drinking, I think," she murmurs. Then, "You're our sister…" It's clear this is hurting her brain. "So… I'm not giving myself away, then? I mean, as long as I'm not blathering on about Jarod." Yeah, yeah, sibling. Right now, she's completely self-involved. Let's blame it on the wine.
Amelia shakes her head, continuing to wash the foot. She runs the cloth between Rowenna's toes. "No, darling." She then reaches for the other boot and pulls it off. "Your feet are filthy, hon. You should come see me once a month at least," she chides. Likely this is something she often does. "Drink as you will. Do not stop what you are doing. By all means, please, do not stop." Amelia smiles, looking up. "For a woman to be knighted? It would bring much pride to me. To some of the others as well, even if they have to scorn in public. I would encourage you to be as you are. Just have an outlet for your emotions. Find yourself a way to get in touch with who you are, m'Lady." The other foot gets a thorough scrubbing. "I think that because you are locked away like that, you might feel yourself going a little crazy. Come, talk to me about Jarod if that comforts you. You can trust me." She smiles up to Rowenna. "But yes, while out in public, do not go on about Jarod. Keep your secret intact until the time is correct for you both."
The girl squire tilts her head, watching Amelia with a foggy kind of drunken puzzlement. "Well, I don't. In public. I didn't really mean to, here. As much. But the wine and… one thought was just… it all flowed into another. The way thoughts do. And I figured you'd think I was sly — because, you know. Who wouldn't go to bed with you? So I thought, so what if she knows how I feel about Jarod? His sly squire might very well. You know. Feel that way. And… you promise you won't tell?" It's a very earnest, almost childlike request. Ah, fruit of the vine.
"Another reason you talked about Jarod was because I asked about him. Little cues. Men don't talk about their feelings, hon. Its just how they are. If someone asks if Jarod is alright, tell them about how he is physically. We think with our hearts." Amelia smirks but blushes once more at the question of bedding her. "Many men. I do not spend as much time on my back as people think. I charge much because I can do many things. I have counselled couples before, as well. Sexual help as well. I have many things to trade. I know the wives of some men who pay for time with me. Things are explained with the man's permission. Many are fine and welcome to come during the time they allot as well, for free." Amelia continues washing the girls feet and rolls her pants up to get at her calves, shaling her head and tsking along. "One day we must clean you up and let you see the kind of woman you can be. I think you've proven you can 'man' with the best." The Terricks. She winks at Rowenna and keeps working. "You have my word. I won't tell a soul. Besides, none of the Terricks know who my father truly is. If I tell them about you, you can tell them about me. But in a few days time when I have said nothing, you will know you can trust me. Besides, a sister must look out for her other sisters, m'Lady."
Rowenna smile faintly, eyes drifting shut. "Always sort of wondered what it would be like to have a sister. Never met Rebecca, and Rosamund died a baby…" she murmurs. "I do sort of wish the room wouldn't spin so. Don't scrub off my callouses, please. Need 'em. Not pretty, but…" she stifles a yawn. "Useful." She shakes her head just the tiniest bit, head resting on the wing of the tall-backed chair. "I'm not a lady. Not anymore. They disowned me when I ran off with the mummers…" Another faint smile, this one amused. "Even though I didn't… I'm still disowned. My middle name's Rose. I like it better." She sighs. "Rose Rivers."
The whore at Rowenna's feet dutifully follows the request and simply cleans rather than scrubs. "Well, my dear, you can have all the sister time you need now." She glances up to see the other one close her eyes. "If you like I can bathe you fully. You're my sister, love. It would be a pleasure to take care of you tonight." She continues working and scrubs at her sister's knees. "Someone was disowned and it was not you. But I suspect that if Rickart finds out you are indeed his daughter, there could be bigger trouble for you. Likely he would attempt to marry you off to his advantage. And I support you so this is something we can both work to protect. I may be a whore but I still believe in love. And if you care for Jarod so, I'd not see that damaged if I can help it. Rose."
"Rose is so much better," the girl sighs. And in the next moment, there's a soft (but distinctly unladylike) snore from above Amelia. Her newfound sister is quite passed out. And if, when she's put to bed later, she regains enough consciousness to navigate the floor… she doesn't remember it.