|Summary:||Sela treats Darek to a surprise, but he's grumpy.|
|Date:||7 August 2012|
|Related Logs:||Come to My Window|
|Cottage in the Forest, Highfield Lands|
|It's a cottage in the forest!|
|August 7, 289|
The fire-scarred oak is one of the first thick trunks as one transverses from the grassy plains where Highfield has been erected into the forests where Tall Oaks had once been. It looks as though it had always been a marker, though for what is anyone's guess. Sela Hill is nestled up amongst its branches, sprawled out across a lower limb with her arms folded under her curl-covered head. She looks as though she might be napping, her eyes closed and her breathing soft and steady. She is still in her boy's clothes, and the cap looks as if it is nestled between her arms as a pillow. The closer one comes to the faux-sleeping thief, the easier they can hear the soft song she is singing under her breath. "And I thought I heard her sing to me, from beneath the Narrow Sea… come away, come away, come away…"
Having just come from working with his knight, one would expect Darek Boldt to be shirtless, sweaty, and covered in minor contusions, and that he is. What one would usually not expect are split knuckles on his right hand and scrapes on the knuckles of his left. His usual confident stride has been replaced by one that's more confrontational, nearly a challenge in every step, and despite the dried blood on his knuckles, he walks with his right hand curled into a fist. The simple black linen of his sleeveless shirt hangs about his neck, drawn up over his head to cover his hair, giving him a sulking look that clashes more than a little with his confrontational stride. The patrol of soldiers passing by the oak raises a hand in greeting, but the squire just marches on. Luckily, he's become a relatively recognizeable sight around the keep, so he's not run down as a spy. He steps around the tree, looking for the thief where she promised to be, and only then looks up, putting his hands on his hip with a scowl.
"Come away with me," Sela sings softly before she opens her brilliant blue eyes to look down at the squire. She was prepared to smile down at him, but the bloodied knuckles combined with the confrontational stance and the scowl wipes that would-be expression away fast. "What?" The bastard asks tentatively as she unfolds her arms. She grips onto the bark so she can gracefully roll off the branch and then lands on her feet. She takes stock of him cautiously before she steps forward, reaching out to take one of his scabbed up knuckles. "What happened?"
Darek doesn't growl, or snap, or snarl. No, he, grumps. "Someone saw you last night." He relinquishes his hand in bad grace, uncurling his fist and stretching his fingers, "Saw you in your…" He gestures toward her get-up, "…your boys' clothes, and thought I was kissing a boy. I've had to punch out two squires who were spreading lies," A look of momentary revulsion crosses his lips, "And I think one of the Charlton lords was… hitting on me." Homophobia, thy name is teenage boy. And granted, that was before the rumors started, and a case of mixed signals, but…
Sela blinks. In fact, she blinks several times. Her gaze drops down to look at those poor knuckles, and she brings them up to press her lips softly to the skin just above the wounds. "Oh, Darek," she says, a small laugh buried deep in her words, "I'm very sorry. Next time, I'll sneak up to your window in a skirt." She offers him a gentle look. "I promise." She draws him closer to her so she can tip up onto her toes and press a kiss onto his sulking lips. "I promise," she repeats, gently lifting away the shirt from his righteous curls.
Darek narrows his eyes just a bit, as if trying to determine if he's being laughed at. Again. The kiss to his lips helps, but he still returns it a little distractedly, and his response to her previous words comes immediately as she draws away, "The fuck you will, Sela. That'd flash your legs to anyone walkin' below." There's a very clear hint of, 'and those are mine, curse it,' in his voice. As his makeshift hood is drawn away and sunlight dapples his features, he grimaces a bit, rolling his shoulders, "If the bastards'd been at The Roost, they'd know I like girls, not boys. They'd know cursed well."
Sela quirks her brows at his slight possessiveness, though she does her best to smother out a smile. She nods soberly. "Well… I'm sure we will find a way to prove to them you like girls," she says encouragingly — maybe even slightly patronizingly. "I will tell all the girls at the inn all about you… about the watchtower… and the stable floor… and the beach…" She curls her fingers with his as she starts to lead him into the forest, walking backwards to hold her gaze steadily with his. She holds his shirt in her other hand, swaying it back and forth. "Don't you want to see the surprise?" She baits him. "I promise you will like it…"
Darek slips a hand around behind her, goosing at her hip — maybe a little bit hard — at the patronizing tone, "And your room, and the woods." He gives up his hand, following after despite his slowly-fading annoyance. The loss of his shirt doesn't seem to phase him much, but he still ducks under tree-limbs and walks around brush to follow after her, "You know I don't like surprises, Blue-eyes." At least he's back to the pet name, "I might like this one, but I don't like 'em in general." He sighs heavily then, scrubbing back his hair with his free hand, "Fuck. I'm sorry, Sela, I'm just a grumpy son-of-a-bitch today."
The goose causes her to jump a bit, swatting at the offending hand with a small ouch on her lips. A small scowl is offered as he continues to be grumpy, but she inhales sharply through her nose to settle her irritation with the squire. Perhaps a bit off-character, but the thief is trying to be patient with the squire — maybe because she wants to enjoy the surprise too. "Mmhmm," Sela murmurs with his apology. "Well, I'm going to try to ungrump you, Darek." She offers him a sly little smile before she turns so she can lead him less blindly. The forests are heavy around them, darkening out the bright light of the approaching noon.
Darek actually chuckles a bit at the promise and the promising smile, not dragging his feet quite as much as before. "Haven't heard that term for it before." His smile flashes momentarily at that, and then he stops in the dark of the forest, squeezing her hand a moment and then pulling her back towards him, "I didn't greet you right, Blue-eyes." And his free hand comes up to brush at the wisps of hair about her face, cupping her cheek and drawing her up for a long, slow, appologetic kiss.
Sela is drawn up onto her tiptoes as he tugs her to a stop. She turns willfully to him, toeing forward to minimize the space between them. She smiles up into those familiar brown eyes, though her own gaze closes to accept the laborious, welcomed kiss. She presses closer to him, allowing him a brief moment where her curves are pressed against his. "Hi," she whispers softly against his lips, her smile returning with a victorious curl. Then she shakes her head a bit. "Cm'on… we're almost there…" And she gathers up his hand again, leading him with a little skip over a fallen log.
Darek runs mingled fingers down her side and over the curve of her hip as she presses against him, chuckling throatily at the whispered regreeting. And then she's skipping away, and he clambers up, pauses, and windmills down a bit, following after with a grin that's almost banished the sulking from his eyes, "We'd better be. Or there's gonna be no time for ungrumping when we get there." He ducks under a swinging branch, "And you're not even gonna give me a hint of where we're goin'?"
"It's somewhere we can go… when we want to be alone," Sela offers up mysteriously. As they continue to venture into what is now the Highfield forests, the world around them grows quiet save for the soft twitter-chatter of birds and the occasional rustle in the underbrush. The canopy breaks and thickens sporatically until they come to what had once been a tidily kept clearing that is now overrun by thorny blackberries, carpets of evergreen vines, and a young succession of cedars. A small, obviously abandoned cottage is nestled within all this overgrowth, resisting becoming lost to the persistant nature. It is a squat, well-crafted house with a conservative porch and square windows flanking the moss-covered door. Sela pauses just within the clearing to cast Darek a smile. "Not a word yet," she instructs him as she starts to lead him to the cottage's door, which looks as though it has been recently disturbed.
Darek is about to respond to the hint when they break out into the little clearing. He's about to speak up, a bit of confusion writ on his face, and then she forbids it, and his confusion deepens, a bit of annoyance flashing across his features for a moment before it fades away again. He does as he's bid, keeping quiet and following toward the door, although he does reach forward to try to snag his shirt from her, evidently starting to chill here in the deeps of the woods, now that he isn't running, training, or fighting.
The shirt is relinquished easily, and she offers him a small smile as she climbs up the steps onto the porch to open the door. It creaks a bit as it yields to Sela's gentle push. Despite the mossy, foreboding exterior, the interior looks as though it has staved off much of the overgrowth. The floors look as though they have been freshly swept, and someone has tried their best to dust and clear away the spider webs. Whoever abandoned the cottage did not have time or opportunity to remove the furnishings — the kitchen still has a table and chairs, there is a well-crafted rocker, and a ladder leads up to a loft. Several steps in, she turns around to face him with both brows raised. "So… what do you think?"
Darek pulls on his shirt as he steps through the door, stopping just inside to look around. If he weren't grumpy, he would probably be cataloging awesome places to have sex. Grumpy as he is, thought, he scrubs back his hair, "You want to play 'house?' Come out here and pretend we're some sorta family holding down some little farm?" He sounds a bit scornful, but also confused, and maybe a little disappointed. "I didn't think that was the sorta girl you were, Sela. Fuck a duck, I thought you liked the sneaking around and the stolen moments and all that shit."
This is not the reaction she expected. At the scornful words, Sela's expression loses all its warmth and she scowls. "No," Sela snaps at him with a touch of abrupt anger in her voice. "What I thought is that we could come out here to spend time together. Gytha's at the inn, there's squires and your knight at the barracks. Where else are we suppose to fucking go, Darek Boldt?" She waves her hand dismissively. "Forget it." She shoves past him, marching to the door. Hey, she tried to be patient with his grumpiness.
Well, that's a logical argument, even if it's masked in anger, and Darek lets himself be shoved aside as he thinks it over. And then he's throwing up his hands, "Fuck me." The words aren't directed at the retreating woman, but rather at himself, and he turns to the nearest wall, thunking his head lightly against it as if that might beat some of the sulky stupid out of him. And then he's turning to head back toward the door and the woman exiting it, "Sela, wait." There's exasperation in his voice, but it's directed inward rather than outward, "I'm being a fucking asshole. This place is a great find. And it'll be a whole lot nicer than a bunch of brambles to sit down on." And probably lay down on too, but he's smart enough not to bring that up right now.
Sela is already out the door and almost jumping off the porch and over the steps. "No!" She protests angrily. "I'm sorry the squires think you're off kissin' boys, I'm sorry that ruined your day. Well, now you've gone and ruined mine." She continues to retreat, but at least this time she's is retreating backwards as she continues to scowl at him. "You're right, I'm not the kind of girl that wants to play house, but I'm also not the kinda girl who lets anyone treat her like shit on his boots, and then comes slinking back the moment he apologizes." She turns again, bitterly rubbing at her eye as she does.
"'Shit on his boots?'" Darek follows the girl out the door, his voice rising to match hers, "Curse it, Sela, I got you a nice picnic, I got you flowers, I damn near sent you a letter." That's apparently the height of insanity from the young squire. "I came out to see your surprise, and I hate surprises, and I didn't even hate this one." One boot catches on a creeping blackberry vine and he tugs it away, tearing up some of the overgrowth as he stomps after the little thief, "It's a great surprise, or it would've been if I hadn't fucked it up." Those last five words are very nearly shouted.
Those shouted words are enough to stall further retreat, and Sela turns around to face him with a flourish of dark curls. Her jaw tightens, though there does not seem to be further shouting to be had. She merely stares at him, those brilliant blue eyes shining with tears. She crosses her arms defensively at her chest, keeping her body half-turned from him. She kicks at a bit of rotting wood, and her shoulders rise and fall with a shrug. "I won't surprise you anymore," is all she manages.
Darek looks at the shining eyes, and throws up his hands again, "Fuck me blind…" Again, the curse is aimed inward, and he pulls open his beltpouch, digging through it until he finds a handkerchief. Yes, really. It's part of the whole knightly courtesy thing that Ser Henric almost succeeded in beating into his head, alright? Now that she's not retreating again, he's able to slow his advance and not trip over any more shrubbery. "Don't promise that, Sela." He offers out the mostly-clean cloth, "I said this one's a good surprise. That's like… three times now. How many more do you want?"
Sela takes the offered handkerchief, and turns away from him fully to furiously dry those eyes. She even blows her nose a bit, honking into the mostly-clean cloth. His question is answered with a shrug and a slightly disgruntled length of silence. When she turns back around to him, she can't quite bring herself to meet his eyes. "You don't treat me like shit," Sela says more or less at her boots. "I don't know why I said that." She nudges at the log again with her foot before she steps back around toward him. The handkerchief is offered back again.
Darek shrugs his shoulders once, scuffing back his hair as he does, "Because I was being a dick?" There's a moment's hesitation, and then he offers up a roguish, dimpling grin, "How 'bout one more time? It was a great surprise, Blue-eyes." The handkerchief is taken back, folded up, and tucked back into his belt-pouch. "I'd play you some sad song to show how sorry I am, but I came straight from lessons, just like you asked me to, so I don't have it."
At the appearance of his roguish smile, she offers one a bit forced but still apologetic. She nods her head a bit before she reaches out to take his hand in hers, gentle with his bloodied knuckles. "You can owe me one later," she murmurs half-heartedly. Then she looks back at the little cottage before she glances over to him. "Can we try this all again?" She asks, releasing a small sigh that is followed up with another small smile. She flourishes out to the abandoned little cottage, and says in a dramatic tone. "See the nice place I found, Darek?"
Darek nods acceptance of the remaining toll, squeezing her fingers in his just a bit. The question draws a chuckle and a nod. At her flourish, he turns around to look at the cottage, and gasps, "Shit, Sela, that's great. It's some place we can avoid everyone watchin' us, and we can talk," at least he said that one first, "And do all the dirty stuff we want." Well, he is a 17-year-old. Starting back toward the little building, he pushes open the door, holding it open for her, "And look, you even cleaned the place up some." See? He was paying attention!