|Summary:||Some conversations are a long time in coming, but Kell and Catryn finally manage to conquer the elephant in the room.|
|Rockcliff Inn, The Roost|
|The Rockcliff Inn is one of the better inns within the town and it shows with the well-lit interior and the relative cleanliness to the other locations in Terrick's Roost. The tables are polished with oils and the floor regularly swept. A set of booths towards a darker rear of the Inn's bottom floor, just beneath the staircase, are where whores generally socialize and eye prospects from when not waiting tables. Signs over the undersized bar area advertise prices for ales and wines as well as several different choices of food to be served at the small eating area by the bar or in the main open area in its comfortable seating. A door behind the bar leads to the kitchen and cellar while another near the staircase leads to a private room that would appear to be off-limits to the 'wait staff' except for food and drink service.|
|Thu Aug 23, 289|
The Rockcliff Inn is filled with more joy and cheers this late night than usual, already past midnight. The source of the jubilation is also rather surprising, instead of drunken laborers or regular commoners, it is a group of Terrick Armsmen that are celebrating, crowding around one man mainly, also in a Four Eagles surcoat. The Terrick Knight, Kell, is amongst those sharing loud jokes, sometimes terrible singing, and clapping the lucky man on the back, all of them already having numerous pitchers of ale. "Your peaceful nights of sleep are numbered!" One man exclaims with a loud laugh.
Cat's nights of peaceful sleep were numbered too, apparently; as the girl slips quiet as a church mouse in the door and then tippie toes to the other side of the room, hugging the wall so as to best avoid being seen. The crowd is large..and loud and she is tired and walking like it hurts to move; because it does. Her game plan is remarkably short. It involves sleep and then a drink. Or rather, dinner and then a drink and -then- sleep if you really wanted to be proper about it. But not one to be left out completely, when the next bit of cheering went up, the girl shoved an arm towards the ceiling, gave a very dry "Hurrah!" and then leaned in against the counter with a roll of her eyes to beg a bowl of the potato soup that was left over from the dinner crowd; that and a tankard of the cheapest ale.
When enough alcohol meets Kell, which rarely happens, it appears that the knight's usual reserved and tame self is more or less let loose. Luckily for Catryn, it appears that the celebration is slowly coming to an end for the armsmen because even though they are all deep into their cups, they still has some sense to stumble home to their beds so they can atleast wake up for duty the next morning. "Congratulations again, Titus. Give the missus the same as well! You two are going to be parents, a great day indeed." Kell says to the man of the hour, giving him another hard pat on the back before another Terrick armsmen helps Titus to his feet so they can stumble out back to their respective homes. Two other guardsman are also making their way out of the inn, the other heading for the exit along, while the fourth apparently is going to try to negotiate with a whore to entertain him. That leaves Kell remaining who drains the rest of his ale and then decides he should have another, one for the road and he walks to the bar, not completely sloshed so he isn't stumbling around like a fool, but he isn't as surefooted as he usually is. Reaching the bar, the knight spots the blonde slip of a girl and flashes her a smile, one that is genuinely warm and welcoming, "Cat! Did you hear the good news?"
"Good news?" Cat turns her head in Kell's direction, though the droll tone may escape him in his current state. "No! I didn't, what was it?" Because there was no rule that said it wasn't okay to pick on drunks. You just had to be careful which drunks it was that you picked on. And remember not to sit on any barstools. So there was just that lean then, with both her eblows resting on the counter and her chin resting in the cup of her hands as she had swiveled herself around just enough to peer properly in his direction.
Kell certainly doesn't pick up the amusement that seems to have inflicted Catryn, nor having the thought that she may be having some fun with him in his current state, rare as it is. "Tituts! He's going to be a father, just got the news tonight when we returned from patrol!" And thus the reason for their heavy drinking tonight, the way men celebrate, food, booze, and usually women. Before the knight continues, he remembers why he's at the bar and shouts for the barkeep to refill his tankard, one last time. Since Kell usually doesn't ask for this much ale in one night, the other man obliges, perhaps also amused at the mood of the atmosphere tonight, filling the cup to the top. With a grin of thanks, the Terrick Sworn takes a large gulp from the tankard before wiping his mouth with the back of his wrist and then looks at Catryn, smiling again, "Isn't that great? He's starting a family now."
"That's….," not really any of her business is what that is. And she has enough cause to be a slightly grouchy minx anyway. But it is..almost impossible to look even remotely happy about another dirty sniveling brat joining the world and yet, Kell looks so damn pleased that it's hard not at least try. So from somewhere she manages a smile that freezes solid before it gets anywhere near her eyes. "Oh, aye, tha's fantastic, Ser! Great news!" Liiiiiiiar. "S'iffen I could juss get me dinner, yeah?" Because Kell'd got his fucking drink first, the bastard. She could -feel- her stomach growling.
The forced smile is enough to convince Kell that Catryn appears to be happy, unable to tell the difference like he usually would be able to. Also, the knight was probably served first because he's been at the Roost for a while now, and also one of the men who defended the people during the Ironborn invasion, so he gets favors. However, he appears to be more than willing to share the cheer with Cat as he waves at the barkeep, "Get her a nice plate of food, and ale!" Kell, getting Catryn to drink, instead of taking the it away. "So, what you been up to today? Been busy?"
"Ser I…," the girl began, lips pursing and brows furrowing. She'd already ordered. "Uh huh. Always busy. Aint got time not te be." Except for when she slept all day, apparently. Today was not that day. "But you..," she finally paid more attention to him then; her head canting to the side to add to that confused look. "Yer drunk." Flatly stated; as if such things which were perfectly fine for -her- were completely unheard of for him.
Kell doesn't push for the girl to finish what she was saying, as Catryn continues on about her day, his head nodding slightly as he tries to start controlling his cheerfulness as the celebration is over. It'll take a bit of time to subdue himself but the much more relaxed nature is there to stay for the night most likely, "Me? No… I'm not drunk, just… in a good place right now. I can still drink a lot more of this." He raises his tankard towards Catryn before shooting her a grin and then taking another long pull from the container. "See? Tasty." One of the waitresses manages to bring out some food for Catryn, certainly more than the potato soup she ordered, a plate of some leftovers as well. A tankard of ale is also given to Catryn by the barkeep which Kell gives the man a nod again, as it appears the stuff is to be placed on the knight's tab.
"That's not…no." The girl frowned over the meal, more than she'd requested for just a few coppers. With a sigh she looked up to the Terrick Sworn at her side. "Ye didna have te do tha an certainly didna ask fer it," grumbled; staring at the plate with a sudden reluctantness to partake. "Aint asked ye fer no favors er no helpin' hands." She's been specific in that, too. Not because she doesn't think she could manage it but…aside from a playful smoozing over a drink, the girl's adopted a fondness for him which has landed him on her do not scam nor manipulate list. At least for free things. "Thanks though." Poke poke poke at the plate. Eventually though, she started eating.
Kell chuckles down at the girl's sullen reaction at the extra food she received, "Aww c'mon Cat, it's not a favor or a helping hand, it's to help celebrate Titus's good fortune! He already bought those in the inn earlier a free round of drinks, you missed out. Next time you see Titus, just give him good wishes." The knight certainly doesn't see this as pity food or doing the girl an unwanted favor, but more like a free drink for pleasant company. He takes another long drink from his tankard before setting it down on the bar counter and finally releasing a sigh, perhaps slowly returning to his old self, "Seven knows there needs to be more reasons to celebrate at the Roost, with what the people here have been through. Perhaps the tide has turned for our people."
"Perhaps." Replies the girl, still poking at the plate in brooding discontent. But it's there and its not going away, like as not unless she insults him or throws it and since she isn't…the girl shifts her weight from one foot to another and while he babbles on about his friends poor fortune, starts eating. Cat eats quick, too, like somebody who's starved; nor has she bothered to sit. But there's a curve to her arm around the plate, the sort that suggests she's used to food being taken away and her head stays dipped low, as she makes work of the meal with her fingers. More swallowing than chewing going on, as if now that she's commited herself to eat, it'd best be done before it disappears.
Kell now quietly watches as Cat focuses on eating, observing the way she does so perhaps for the first time and noticing the somewhat odd manner in which she does so. He doesn't say anything though, not wanting to interrupt her or give her second thoughts as the girl appears to be willing to finish the food and only after she finishes does the knight speak up, "You know no one is going to take that from you, Cat. You can be at ease and enjoy what you have, the food, the drinks." His eyes are more focused on her than usual tonight, as he leans against the counter of the bar.
"Habit." Is the brisk answer, with a hint of a frown that he'd even felt compelled to mention it. Years of having little to nothing, with others whose hands were often just as quick as hers ready to that what she cradled has ensured that she eats in such a fashion. Quick, before anyone else can take it; like a mountian cat hoovered over a bloody kill. "Enjoy havin' it in me belly better'n see it in someone else's." He's buzzed and thinks she eats weird. His staring is both excused and ignored.
Kell can only incline his head towards the girl, as if the reasoning she gives is good enough and won't be answered with more chiding, instead he remains more silent than anything else as he looks back to his tankard. Taking another long sip, he swallows before choosing another subject, "So, I hear you've got a horse or something? Your father mentioned you riding. Is it like what you thought it would be, riding on a steed?" Instead of offering his own experiences, Kell waits to hear Catryn's, not wanting to cloud any first impressions she may have of horse riding.
"Aye," the girl's head bobs in a faint nod; tongue lapping out against the corner of her lips before she chases her meal with a drink. "Rode before, te. Is why I wanted one in tha first place. I'd been real excited te tell ye, too but…things went..," with a dismissive wave and a shake of her head; the girl lets the subject of the carriage wreck of a night go without further pokin'. Not…that their meetings since had been particularly peachy either. "Aint matter. But yeah. I gots a nice lil mare."
Kell atleast is sober enough to sense that the whatever wave was more or less a way of saying what happened that day at the cove, and it was most likely his fault. However, he doesn't poke her about that right now, the place is too public and he isn't exactly sober enough to talk about it. Then again, this may be the best time for him, since he wouldn't be too reserved. "Mare have a name? And you spoiling her like you spoil Havok?" There is a pause before the knight takes another drink, then continues, "I remember when I first rode a horse, it was an amazing experience. You feel so much taller, like you're on top of the world. You also feel like you are moving faster, not the horse, but you."
"Tha mare's name is mare," the girl replies, with a little wrinkle of her nose. "Won't be forever either. Ye dun get as attached te things as ye dun put names te him. The important thing is that it does what its supposed te." Cat likes horses, really she does, but for some reason talking to Kell is making her edgy. Perhaps because she's still trying to get used to the new feeling of things. "Was younger first time I's on one. A dornish thing, Pa says. I juss remember it feel like we's flyin', an I'd cry every time he'd talk o'sellin' it, s'he kept it. Shouldda sold it. Only had it three months 'fore it died. Broke a leg. Had te slit its throat. But fer a lil while, we felt like gods. Was a nice feelin', tha."
A chuckle rumbles from the knight as he looks down at his cup, shaking his head, "That's what I thought too, about the name and all. My first horse, not much of a warhorse like Havok is, but a trusty enough steed, was named Horse. Same reason, so I don't get attached. But after being with him for years, you still do." Kell then grows quiet as Catryn speaks of the Dornish Sand Steed, the origin a place he himself hasn't been to, "Definitely a good feeling. Once you get use to riding the mare, let me know Cat, I have a feeling Havok would like you riding him than me. Since you don't weigh a ton like I do, especially with armor on." He takes another sip before glancing back at the girl, teasing her with a smile, "Just don't go riding him off into the sunset, he's still mine, no matter how many treats you give him."
Catryn swung her head around to look up at him then, properly and there might have been the tiniest little grin for the fact that they shared such like sentiments. But get used to riding? Oh that's right, she'd been asking him for lessons. "I could always ride, Ser." Ser, because she's not used his name all evening. "Me buggin' ye fer lessons was juss a childish excuse te spend a lil time wit ye," she admitted, and the fact that she could admit it not said more for her than when she couldn't have. "Can't make 'em prance fancy, but aint no lady so dont need. Can do all I need it fer though. Dun worry. I won't mess wit ye horse."
Either Kell needs to drink more or he is able to sober up faster than most since he appears to understand what Catryn is saying, and how there is an elephant in the room when it comes to the two of them right now. Draining the rest of his ale, he motions to the barkeep for more, apparently feeling the need to continue drinking even though tonight's celebration is over. "Riding a mare isn't the same as riding a warhorse." He starts at first, before he moves onto the more important and serious subject, "As for the excuse, I was glad you made them Cat, spending time with you was fun. And relaxing." Kell's voice is quieter now too than earlier, loud enough now just for the two of them since there is no one sitting at the bar nearby except for the barkeep who refills his tankard before moving off, leaving the two alone. "I know I was the one that ended up causing this… rift. Wasn't my intention though." Or was it? May have been his outside skin choosing this path, the one he usually wears, the one that Catryn had been yelling at him about.
Poor cat's hardly drank anything at all. Oddly, the more she talks to Kell, the less she -wants- too, but it goes against her pride to ask for water. So she just, snorts behind the rim of her tankard and throws down another swallow. Comes back up frowning too, for all that the mug holds more'n half of her face. "Was fun." She agreed. Was. His past tense, not hers. "Aye." Merciful gods, why was he talkin'? "Let it go, aye? Crawl back inte ye silence. Er better, ye been drinkin'. Why dontcho go crawl inte ye bed?"
"Would you rather me not talk, Cat? Honestly?" Kell says as he levels his eyes at her, despite how much he has drank, there is a brief moment of sharpness in his eyes as if he still has an idea of what he is talking about before he looses the focus and looks back down to his tankard of ale, which he brings to his lips for another drink. "Fuck, of all the times I finally feel like talking. All right, if that is your wish Cat, I can go." He can sense that there is perhaps too big of a wall built up between them now, that it is too late.
"Whatche gonna say then?" That flash of vulgarity from his tongue brings a particular rise to her brows, a keen narrow of those too bright eyes. "Whatche wanna say? Yer sorry? Well I'm sorry too. Ye dunno? I've already heard that'un. So no. I aint wanna be talkin', because I've already heard ye version of it. Ye got ye words. Whatcho think you'n say that I aint already her past ye lips, Kell? An while yer answerin' that 'un, ye can tell me why it is I even need te listen." She challenged, because if he -really- wanted to dance then…she would.
Kell doesn't answer immediately as he takes another long drink from his tankard of ale, perhaps needing the extra time to sort his thoughts through his fuzzy head right now. Finally his eyes return their gaze to Catryn, "No, I'm not going to say I'm sorry. Or I don't know. I do know. You don't have to listen if you don't want to, but I know that I liked it when you were with me, I know I liked it when you act the way you use to, before… this. I know I want to know more about who you are Cat. I also know that I don't want to hurt you, like I've hurt others in the past, which is why I act the way I do." The words comes out more or less like a jumble, fuzzy mind spitting out those words that he usually would leave inside him, behind the usual shield he has on.
"But…you don't think tha hurts either? When all is said and done? Te be on the outside, with no way to reach in te ye?" It'd taken her…a long time, to barely get out that much. She was still too caught up on the rest of those words; all but chewing a hole through the swell of her bottom lip. He…liked it when she was with him? When she.. when she wa…that one word she didn't even really want to think. So she let it lurk there, unfinished in her thoughts. And then well, Cat said something else instead. "I'm not her."
Kell's lip thins slightly at her initial response though he remains quiet, as it appears he does know that the path he had chosen to go down has also hurt her, though he doesn't know how else to act. Plus, he can't be drunk all the time, it would be unbecoming of a proper knight. When Catryn saysthe final three words though, it appears that his mind is still too fuzzed up to process that thought as he gives her a puzzled look, "What?"
"The one wit tha ribbons. The one ye aint let go, Kell." Because…there's no sense in not ensuring that even in his fuzzy little mind, there's no excuse for not understanding. Though she'd risen for it; siddled a little closer around that stool, so that she was standing right in front of him with nothing in between. Quiet words. Quiet, but oh so very clear. "I am not her. An actin' tha way ye do, only hurts me. An sayin'…that ye liked me before, only thing yer sayin' with that is that, ye like te have someone wantin' ye. Well so does everyone else. So like I said, tell me somethin' I don't know."
When Cat explains further, it pretty much clicks in his head what she meant when she says that she isn't 'her' adn to that, Kell can only look back down at his drink. "I know you're not her, no one can be her." She's gone, but he just can't bring himself to say it. He can only furrow his brow and shake his head, "And I can't tell you something you don't know. You… seem to know everything, you've certainly traveled more than I have. You've went through worse than I have. I'm still trying to figure out how to fix my damn messed up head." It seems like atleast Kell knows that him being unable to let go of 'her' is a problem, not for Catryn, but for himself. At that point he stops speaking and brings the tankard to his lips, draining the rest of it though at this point, it no longer tastes good. "Fuck. You're right, I drank too much tonight, I shouldn't even have opened my big mouth." At this point, it looks like he is trying to stand straight up again instead of leaning against the bar, perhaps to head out.
There was a flash of guilt in the girls eyes then, for pushing his mind towards darker paths. "Traveled, aye, went through worse…no." At that Cat shook her head. "I aint. Seen bad things, but went through 'em?" That just, kept drawing that little shake of her head. And…she doesn't seem to be budging from out in front of him. He'd brough it up, he'd drug it out again. He started the talk. They were going to finish it, this time, one way or another. "S'fuckin' impossible te say ye like me? Er ye want me? Ye afraid sayin' it out loud gonna make it true she's gone?" Gods, but he's going to hate her for this tomorrow and maybe for the rest, but…sometimes hearing things isn't what pulls you through it; it's admitting them and this man, he doesn't seem to much like admitting and commiting to anything he's said. It's all vague. "Say it Kell."
"Because ye cant tell me that ye like te have me near. That ye liked it when I was wit ye. Ye can't say ye want to know more…an then coward out of tha rest. So I wanna hear you say it." Where her voice had taken an edge there at the end, a dangerous note of challenge riding its depths.
Kell finds his path to be blocked and even though Catryn is a small slip of a girl, apparently she is immovable tonight and he certainly isn't going to man-handle her out of the way. He can only stare at her as the girl forces the issue, apparently wanting resolution one way or another which is only fair for her. However, the sober area in his mind, in the very far reaches of his mind at this point, is also telling him that telling her the truth wouldn't be fair to her down the line since the same has been done in the past. But since Catryn won't let it go, Kell has no choice as his stubborn resistance finally breaks away after the girl's adamant onslaught, "It's not fucking impossible, Cat, it's easy. Easy to say that I do like you, that I am attracted to you. And no, it's not going to make her being gone true, I already know it's true. She's gone, she's dead, I /know/ that." He finally manage to spit that part out, though it doesn't seem to release any weight from his shoulders or change the man suddenly as his brows furrow into a frown suddenly, "But it wouldn't be fucking fair to you, Cat, after I tell you I like you, but I still can't forget her. And that'll only hurt you even more!"
"That's where you're wrong, Kell." Catryn softly replied, and this time there's no challenge in her words. There's no push and no demand. "Because I'm not askin' ye to forget her. I'm not askin' ye to erase her place in yer heart." The little blond held out her hand then, offering it palm up while those big ole blue eyes searched out his face. "All I want…is for ye to make just a tiny little sliver of room in it for me, too."
For now Kell is silent, either everything he was able to say has been said or he's afraid to say more since he's already unloaded what was held back inside him. There is still an uncertainty with him, but for now it seems like he is atleast willing to try, his hand reaching out to take her proffered hand. Then, Kell would attempt to gently pull the girl a little closer.
So she went where he tugged, because his hand had risen first to touch on her own. That was..at least meeting her halfway, right? So she went and then…she went a little closer; close enough that she could wrap her free arm around his middle and pull him into a hug. "One day at a time, promise. Just…promise ye won't pull away again?" Inquired, as her head tilted up, her clear eyes on his; lips…dangerously close to his own. "Come on." And then she'll give a little tug, towards the door. "I'll be a gentlemen an walk ye home."
With Kell's hand still holding onto Cat's, his free arm slips around her slip waist when she leans in to embrace him, giving her a firm squeeze in return, the affection wanted and enjoyed. "We can talk more tomorrow… when… I can actually think. But yeah, I promise, I won't shut you out." Atleast he can be honest about that and will be more honest with her. He also notices how close they are, close enough where he leans in to have the tip of his nose rubbing briefly against hers before pulling back again. With a smirk at her offer of walking him home, "You know I can walk back to the Keep by myself, and shouldn't it be the other way around?" His verbal objections are half hearted as he heads to the exit with the girl.
With the way she blushed for such a simple nuzzle of noses, it could have been the kiss of the ages for the way that Cat glowed as a result. As much that little gesture of affection as it was the promise, -promise- that he'd not shut her out again. It felt like she was floating! "Yeah," the minx murmured, tucking herself in against his side as they moved, "But…I've missed ye company." Missed it more too, when it wasn't full of silences and unsaid things and moments of discomfort. So she'd cling to that moment just as much as she would his hand; with nary another word to press all the way.
Later, on the Green…
As the elbow digs playfully into his side, his body naturally tenses slightly as if to defend against such prodding before Kell inclines his head in agreement, "True enough, true enough." He isn't going to chide the girl any further about her drinking, since she has been doing it for so long, it'd be the same as telling her to not be so mischevious. As for the news about a house, Kell arches a brow and by his look of surprise, apparently not, "No, I have not heard. I know you and your father have been searching. I'm glad to hear that you've found a place to live now, so you are officially part of the Roost." As for the last part she blurts out, the knight raises his brow again, "Me? Why, what did I do?"
"I wanted too." Tell him that is. But…she just hadn't felt like sharing her good news when things had been so awkward between them. Not to mention, she hadn't been sure she'd wanted to keep it either, if things were going to continue going sour. "I can show ye. Still has a lotta werk te be done but…we can do it." Or she could. While Gerry worked. As for that question though… The fidgeting returned again. "Ye juss…are." A tiny shrug. "I…like ye, though aint no serprise now. But yer company an juss, talkin' te ye. Is different. Ye treat me..," he treats her good, for example.
Kell doesn't prod on why she didn't sooner as he knows why, he had felt the barrier that was put up between them after that awkward encounter at the Cove where she surprised him with that soft kiss. As Catryn is finally the one that is fumbling for words on expressing herself, the Terrick Sworn begins to grin as he watches her, the direction he has chosen is taking them in the direction of the Green, "Yeah, though I didn't think I treated you anything special." Which maybe was a little bit of the problem but then again, "I look forward to seeing your new home, especially after you fix it up."
His grin doesn’t help matters. Not any. Not at all. Cat hated struggling for words, almost as much as she liked actually *caring* about what she was saying or who she was saying it too. Rare were the moments that genuine truth left the girl’s tongue and odder still…that such moments found themselves prone to his vicinity. And yet…when he spoke, for all that she ambled yet at his side; a little bit of her joy just…deflated. Not all. But some. Her hand went a little slack there against his. Her shoulders slumped a little. It was…almost like he was saying it was in her head, that…feeling. Which in turn, only made her feel foolish. “Ye mean…,” because he couldn’t be meaning that he didn’t like her, or he hadn’t. He’d already said he had. She was being silly. “Eh. Aint important. But yer…,” man, it really was her turn to fumble, because she didn’t have a fucking clue how to say it. “I unno. But it’s nice. I aint feel like lyin’ when I’m around ye.” Pause. “Be nice te show ye our home, too.”
Seeing the slight change in Catryn, Kell’s grin fades slightly as it is replaced by a slightly puzzled look, as if he is still trying to understand her. “Hey now… Cat. Since you made me promise to be honest with you, it’s only fair if you’re honest with me and tell me what is troubling you.” There is a pause as he doesn’t speak on the other subject, of her new home, at least not yet. For now, he appears to be focused on trying to understand this girl and her unique nature.
I”Is it no possible tha juss mebe I realized I’s over thankin’ an stopped afore I mucked things up again?” This whole…explain everything might not have been the best idea. Or was that just the whole honesty thing? Felt the same, whatever it was. “So when ye said that bit bout not special, made me think I’s readin’ inte things an ye didna like me an then I remembered ye said ye did an tha I’s bein’ stupid. So!” The look she gave him was one that said, quite plainly, ‘Are you happy now?’
As the girl starts explaining, in her way, of the various states of emotions she was going through, Kell remains silent and just listens, eyes focused on her. His steps has slowed to a stop, on the grass of the Green, and the knight turns Catryn so she can face him more when they are talking. When she ends with her question, he manages a reassuring smile for her before pulling her close for a warm embrace, “I am, Cat. Like I’ve told you, I do like you and it isn’t going to change from when we left the Rockcliff Inn to when we got… here.” He says as he takes a look around, the Green certainly peaceful and quiet at this time of the night.
“I know,” Cat said, “I know I know. That’s -why- I stopped talkin’. I realized there weren’t no point’n me bein’…argumentative? Defensive? I shut up,” she plowed on, exasperated, “Because I realized I’s bein’ foolish. It’s just…,” the minx looked up at him when he turned her; wringing her hands together against the small of her stomach. For a moment they were trapped there between them when he pulled her close. “Ye…yer not.. I mean.” Huff. Sigh. Ponder and begin again. “It’s like…when ye look at me, er when ye talk te me. S’like I’m a person, aye? An no like yer tryin’ te figure out tha quickest way into me skirts. Ye actually *talk*, an ye listen, like what I say might matter. An it’s…different. An it’s…nice. And…nobody else tends te treat me like tha, so…it’s…special.” And oh she was staring so hard at his chin when she blundered through it; those eyes always so quick to dare and challenge refusing to meet his own.
Now Kell has a puzzled expression on his face again as Catryn tries to explain what she is experiencing, her point of view perhaps a little foreign to the knight or just something he hasn’t seen before. Though as she goes further with her words, Kell finally begins to understand as his eyes continues to look down at hers, “I didn’t know… it was like that. That no one else has…” His voice trails off, really wondering now about what kind of past that Catryn has gone through, what her life perhaps has been like. “Really? No one? No…” He was going to ask about friends or other girls her age, then he realizes that she has been mostly traveling in her life with her father, never really having settled in a particular area until perhaps here at the Roost.
A half hearted little shrug came as his response, her eyes still not quite focused on his face, as if she were struggling with the concept. And she was. It was different…being so exposed. “Wha ye see is…wha ye get, right? Aint too many care te look past the color o’me vocabulary, er tha…” Wow. Was this how he felt when she pressed and prodded for stories about his past? Or tried to push him into talking about things that made him uncomfortable? Hard to find words, or even the any that made a lot of sense. Hard to just…be when the little layers of protection were stripped away; quick wit that was never too serious, a cheeky smile or an off color comment. “S’just me’n Pa.” She settled for in the end. “S’always juss been me’n Pa.” Not to mention she hardly acted like girls her age and the only ones she tended to understand were…whores.
“Not necessarily, I have a feeling that there is a lot more to you than just what I see, Cat. In fact, it appears that there is so much to you than just what I can see.” Kell says in all honest though his tone is still light and warm, not accusatory or critical. This moment is more like sharing than it is evaluating. “It sounds like it has been a tough life, Cat, but not a bad one. You have your father who cares a great deal about you and what you’ve gone through in life is your own experiences, ones that makes you smarter, and stronger within.” There is a pause as he turns away slightly so that now they are more or less facing the same direction again, his arm around her once more though he keeps in mind to keep it a bit higher than where she bumped herself earlier, “Sometimes the rarest gems are the ones buried the deepest, in the roughest ground.”
It was towards the end, as he spoke and his voice wove soft and warm around her like a blanket; composed of naught but kindness, that the girl finally looked up at him again. Not a direct look, mind, but a watchful peek beneath the thick veil of her lashes. Grateful almost, that he finally turned away again; so that when his arm returned, she tucked herself in deeply beneath it. A free hand reaching up to swat at her cheek. And if he’d looked just then, just for a moment, it might have appeared that there were tears in her eyes; for all that she never said a word. Just squeezed him close; with an arm looping his waist and seemed for once, content in silence.
Kell either wasn’t watching to catch the tears that were perhaps glistening for a brief moment in the bright moon light or he pretended not to notice. He does feel Catryn pull in close into him so his arm only draws her closer, so that she feels his tender but snug embrace in response to her movements. Letting the silence linger longer and longer, Kell isn’t the one to break it, perhaps even without words, the silence has meaning, as if just being here in the peace and quiet is enough.
For once they seem to be of a mind, because she doesn’t do anything to break it either. Not for a long while. But the night isn’t getting any shorter and the both of them work, in their own way and she’s bright enough to realize that having been drinking, sleep will be more dear to him before the sun forces him to rise. So there is, with no small reluctance, the first of gestures made to pull away. “Ye should…go…tha way ye can be sure’n get some rest,” comes spoken at length, a small quiet smile given with it. She won’t poke to see him walked on properly to the Keep, after all, he said a short walk would do him good and so it has.
When there is finally movement, Kell turns his gaze away from the stars and the horizon back to the girl at his side. A grin appears as she speaks about heading into the keep so he can go to sleep, his only reply is a shake of his head. There is the more silence before the knight finally speaks, “I believe I have sobered up enough where I can walk you back to the Inn first, Cat, so let’s finish this walk and head there.”
“We can head back,” Cat murmurs, offering a smile up in his direction. “S’okay. I dun wantche be tired come tomorra. But…ye aint gotta walk me back, ye know. Promise I can manage an find any trouble. Leastways just this once,” she teased; lightening the mood with a little wink up in his direction.
Kell doesn’t look like he is convinced of the issue as he appears to wanting to walk her back to the Roost, but she does make a point about how getting rest is important. “You know it’s only a short distance down to the Rockcliff Inn and then back up to the Keep.” There is a pause before his free hand reaches over and playfully pinches at her hip, “If someone were to kidnap you and spirit you away, I’d have to ride out in force to rescue you, you know.”
The girl squeaks when he pinches, a near giggle spilling past her lips before she clamps her teeth against the bottom and muffles out the sound entire. But she is smiling again at least, before she nudges her shoulder in lightly against his ribs there where the drape of his arm against her leaves them exposed. “My hero, aintche. Lookin’ out fer me even when I aint,” she mused and it didn’t seem as if she were picking on him for it but more…an observation that seemed somehow to please her. “Alright then. Ye can walk me.”
The giggle was a surprising sound for Kell to hear and he appears to be pleased when he hears it. As for the term she uses to call him, he can only chuckle, “Hero? You sound like your father now. And it is only right to look out for you, it’s in my vows, and I want to make sure you’re safe.” When Catryn relents, he can only nod his head in agreement, glad that she agrees before he guides her back towards the path that leads back down to the town proper.
“So yer askin’ me te lie te ye?” Cat queried on a tease, waggling thin brows up in his direction. “Sides, whether I sound like ‘im er no, is still true. Yer a good person, wit or witoutche vows. One I’m proud te know,” replied as she matched her long legged strides to his, for all that it seemed to take less time getting back than it did walking away in the first place. “Hope ye’ve a good day tomorrow. An ye know, iffen ye come by tha inn afore ye head out, I’ll bring ye out a lil treat an somethin’ fer Havok, too.”
Kell can only flash Catryn a smile as she shares how glad she is to know him, his hand squeezing her opposite arm. “I’m glad you approve then, Cat.” As for having a good day tomorrow, he can only nod at that, “If it is like any other day on patrol tomorrow, then it will be a boring, but good day. I’m not sure when we will be heading out on patrol, but if it is early enough, I will stop by.”
“Ye’ll be welcome, whenever ye come,” the minx mused, peeking up at him from the corner of her eye. Still somewhat surprised that all that awkwardness hadn’t somehow found a way to creep back in. This made it easier to just…slip back into how things had been before she’d gone and made them all awkward. And soon enough, the Rockcliff Inn loomed up before them, it’s windows still letting hints of candlelight fade out into the street; the torch on the wall outside burned down to naught but soft embers. The girl’s steps drew up at the door, then; a little one armed hug given when they did. “Thankie…fer…talkin’ an no runnin’ me off. Fer havin’ patience an…fer ye promise,” she smiled. “S’been a good night. An I’ll pray ye have a borin’ day te, fer it means I’ll know ye safe.”
As the draw close to the Inn and to the main door, Kell slows to a stop and instead of just the one arm hold, he slips his other arm around to pull her close for an embrace before releasing Catryn again. “It was a good night, Cat, and perhaps more of the same tomorrow. Now get to bed before you get into trouble.” He says, more of a tease than a command as he looks down at her, “Sweet dreams, beautiful.”
Both the girl’s arms slip in around him then; and that embrace is returned, her cheek pressing in against his chest; though as she starts to withdraw, the girl presses up on her tiptoes and brushes her lips against his cheek. A chaste kiss that, soft as it was fleeting before she aims to step back, properly this time. “Straight te bed,” Cat promises, her cheeks warming in response to his endearment; much as they had when he’d brushed his nose against her own. “G’night, Kell. Rest well.”