Page 406: No Husbands for Sale
No Husbands for Sale.
Summary: Aeliana and Stafford meet in the marketplace at Seagard the day before the Mallister wedding.
Date: 26/09/2012
Related Logs: None
Stafford Aeliana 
Marketplace, Seagard
It's a market, there's shops.
31st August, 289

Traveling rushed and hurried more, Aeliana had come to Seagard to meet her brother and attend the wedding. The latter of which would be only briefly lingered at but…that did not mean that she was going to deny herself a day of shopping. To do otherwise would be to ask the moon to fall and the skies to weep tears of gold. So the lady had settled herself into the steadily recovering market district, wandering; with Stranger on gilded lead, for a mount such as he could clear a path where a slender woman could not, peering about from stall to stall.
It might have been somewhat unfashionable, but…with the bastard pawing for attention and flicking his ears in irate snort to any who came to close it meant that, in general, the lady got to look as she pleased without being overly crowded. So the horse became a shield and protector all at once, which, while perhaps not in this setting, was still the life he'd been meant for. And now…now she could focus on the brilliant display of steel, where the local smithy had sent forth one of his Journeymen to claim stall in the market so that his wares could be seen against the rest that came in on ships.
So that was where she lingered, spine perfectly straight while the heavy skirts swept about her ankles in a vibrate shade of gold that layered over green in swirl that climbed all the way to the top; with little question as to just what house she belonged. The fan matched, of course; and spread wide made a play of House crests - nothing more than a few red berries appeared when it was closed tight, an artful display of the points and spready wide? Spread wide one saw mistletoe in full; while the wooden handle that framed it was a raven's head, the thin handle that ran down either side shaped to appear its great wings. Aeliana really did love her Uncle.

He was tall, abeit not as tall as some men she had known, with a straight backed and confident bearing helped by the natural athleticism of his frame. Dark of hair and dark of eye, thoughtful and soulful wells from which to draw forth the essence of his being. His clothes were fine; a creamy shirt with purple linings, loose about the throat, beneath a snug fitted leather jacket. The kind that obviously been made to him personally, and the collar and sleeves both bore meticilously designed engravings inthe fashion of his house crest; oak trees and crowns. If his confidence, cleanliness and the richness of his dress did not mark him as a noble, then the sword that rode easily on his hip certainly did.
He watched her horse with unabashed interest from the next stall, a casual lean against the woodwork with his shoulder, his arms folded across his chest while he admired. Her horse. Just her horse, for now, its powerful build and its fiery temper, and the subtle cues that said that not only was it courser of good breed, but one that had been trained to carry a knight. A lot of horseflesh for a young woman.
"He's beautiful," he said finally.

"Of course he is," the lady replied without once looking up, her tongue pursing thoughtfully between her lips while her face set itself into a cast of amusement as she looked at what appeared to be a braavosi blade. By all intents it really did look all to like a needle and found itself returned without second thought. For a moment, there'd been a soft curve to the little Charlton's lips in amusement but it turned towards wicked on the next breath and she finished her reply to the voice that'd remarked on Stranger's beauty.
"But he will take your fingers if you don't…," and that would be where Aeliana had actually looked at who was speaking. "He is not a pet," she finished primly, instead; while those dark eyes swept the length of the man's finger and lingered for a moment against his sleeves and collar, before she swept the sort of bow that least a lord would demand. "And I would say that he appreciates your compliment as well but if I am honest? He already knows it," she smiled.

A quiet sound of mirth came from the Groves scion at her reply, deep in his throat. "Oh I can tell," he mused. "A courser of good breeding. Strong and powerful, made for the charge," and still had not taken his eyes off her mount. "By his protective stance and the way he is aware of everybody around him, and their movements, he is trained to ride into battle and defend his.." He paused there, head tilted as he finally angled his scruffy features so he could look Aeliana over. A proper bow, then, flourished with the supreme elegance of a man who would not have been out of place in the high courts of the land. "Lovely Lady, against all who would do her harm. Though horses being horses, your warning well heeded, abeit unnecessary. The height of rudness to make advances upon such a majestetic creature without invitation. And though he likely knows indeed that he's beautiful, it would be curlish to the extreme not to convey my compliments regardless."
"And my compliments to you, too, for not only owning and mastering such a creature, but somehow manage to eclipse it." His mouth quirked with a hint of knowing amusement as he said it, though there was still a sincerity in his dark eyes that suggested he was not merely making idle compliment.
"By your colours and age, I shall be so forward as to assume I am in the presence of Lady Aeliana Charlton?"

Aeliana's laughter rang free, a warm throaty sound that lent its light to her eyes as for the moment the press of steel was forgotten in favor of horse flesh and a bare hand rose up; mindful in its reach to stroke long and slow against the elegent courers neck. "Stranger has excellent breeding," she agreed, but that fan for all that it could have brought others into a world of innocent flirtation, hangs limp at her wrist as it so often does. "But you are correct, he has been trained to ride into battle and defend his knight. Alas, he has to settle with me." But she makes light of it, though her smile suggests that such elegance wasn't required, nor so heavy a bow. "And you would be amazed the number of people who make advances on him without invitation," the lady replied and the added in the wake of the way he wove his compliments, "As well as his Rider."
Subtle warning delivered, Aeliana glanced towards where the women lingered; two stalls down, within perfect eyeshot, while the escort was spread out between them, if only to ensure that she'd not lost them completely. Those dark eyes danced over the display before her, too, and then finally turned back towards the lord. "You have me at disadvantage, my lord, for while you may claim to know my name, I am afraid that I do not know your own and as I an less than aware of the current warmth with familial associates, I fear to hazard a guess incase of insult. Would you save me from my anxiety?"

"No.." Stafford said with a mild shake of his head, while subconciously unraveling the knot of limbs above his chest, combing fingers through his messy hair. His voice was shrouded in thoughtfulness as he spoke. "No I don't think I would be amazed at all, my Lady Aeliana. If I'd be surprised by anything, it would have been that you weren't assailed by invitations and approaches of all kinds. It must be tedious."
A shrugged rolled forth, then, as he said with a crookedly charismatic smile. "And since I refuse to be tedious, consider yourself safe from such by me." A scratch to his chin as he paused, thought about it, then added with a wicked edge to his sharp toothed smile. "At least for now, and certainly not without invitation. I prefer to know a Lady full and well first, and I prefer her to truly desire my company. Does that sound prideful?" A dismissive wave, to say he didn't care if it did.
"I'm sorry," he chuckled darkly, and pushed off the stall. With lazy grace he appraoched her. Again he bowed, this time with his hand open and held infront of her, a courtly request for her own to be placed into it. If it was, she'd feel the warmth of his breath on her knuckle, the tingling burst of contact from his lips, the stroke of his stubble. Light, all of it so light and fainth it took effort to experience the sensations in full. Then he'd withdraw again.
"Stafford Groves." Arrogant enough to assume she knew he was by that name alone, and so he didn't fill in the rest of his titles.

"Hrm," the lady pursed her lips; consideration moving behind those dark eyes as she watched him move. "You're remarkably smooth, aren't you," she complimented, though it was guarded. Perhaps for the wickedness that she'd seen there in his smile. People smiled happily at the girl or they smiled warmly, or politely or in her brother's case smirked but wicked? "It does sound prideful. And more," she continued, watching as he neared to offer yet another bow with the slender arch of a brow, "You are quite the lair, because you aren't sorry at all."
Yet still she offered him her hand, light and long fingered and its weight never truly rested against his own no more than his lips had touched against her knuckle; a courtly dance of effortless grace that flowed from one to the other and back again.
That was all that was supplied in the wake of his introduction as the Charlton reclaimed her hand to join with its twin, folding neatly against the fan at her middle. "That explains it." What, she didn't say though it should have been obvious and while she offered him a smile that was polite, it didn't have that invitation of warmth that tended to invite others more deeply into her company. It was simply polite. And she turned back to peruse the merchandise.

"My apologies were for the lack of immediate introduction," Stafford said, clearing it up calmly, confidently. No apology for being prideful, because a noble was not expected to be humble, was he? His eyes fell away from her features, dripping down against the merchandice now that he had stepped close enough to inspect them. "After all, who wants mystery in their lives? We all prefer to know exactly who we're dealing with, don't we?"
"They look a bit like needles." Casually remarked as he pursued one of the braavosi blades. "Yet not innocent. A murderer's blade," because it was useless in battle, or in a duel against an armored knight. The only place such a slender sword was useful was in an unexpected fight, in dark alleys or on the street, where men wore but simple clothes that could easily be shredded by even thin steel.
"Explains why I am so sad? Alas, we must all marry." After all, it had only recently been announced he was to be wed to the Lady Lucienne Terrick. "Though these things break apart, in my experience. Perhaps I'll slip away. Or perhaps I wont, and discover joyous happiness like our friendly Mallister is about to."

"You remind me of someone," Aeliana mused, her tongue touching in against the swell of her bottom lip; a thoughtful expression, her fan quite firmly clutched while her fingers smoothed down the ravens wings as if it brought some measure of solace or instead, simply helped her think. "And for the life of me…I can't…Ah." That beaming smile was turned in his direction, in the wake of his musings on mystery, "Me."
It was in the way he kept on talking, even to someone who clearly didn't want to be talked to, or at. And he did it in such a way as to fish for the tactic which would elicit the best response from his audience; which made him dangerous. "But yes, they do look a bit like needles. And clearly a murderer's blade; a murdress would use something much smaller that she could hide," came lightly hmphed in his direction, though there was at least, at last a glimmer of amusement in her eyes.
It remained even as he spoke on of marriage, "If that joyous happiness comes from seeing a house beggered just for a dowry," damnit, he'd managed to engage her; it was like stepping into a trap you'd set yourself, "Then I suppose you will know a joyous marriage indeed. Still, if she's as friendly and…engaging as they say then I have little doubt a clever man like yourself will find a very tall tower somewhere and quite quickly lose the key."

"I remind you of yourself?" Stafford asked casually as he picked up a dirk, the long knife turned this way and that in his palm as he sized it up with knowledgable eyes. Then he tried a couple of grips, both orthodox and a backhanded one that left the blade flowing along the outside of his forearm. The balance tested, while he hummmed thoughtfully to himself. In the end it went back to the stall. "I'm thoroughly complimented by the comparason. Intrigued, too, infact."
A sideways glance as he fitted his fingertips across a smaller knife, thoughtfully. "They say opposites attract, but it's the likes that stick together."
"Which does spell some danger on my impending marriage." A small smile accomponied her comment about joy coming from beggaring a house to provide dowry. One that suggested he might indeed find that somewhat satisfying in its own end.
"Tsk, tsk. The rumors of my bethroted's willfulness are vastly inflated, I was firmly assured." Which was not to say that he actually believed those assurances.
"You speak rather initmately of the weapons of a mudress. Would I find such on you, if I were to search? Not that I ever would, mind."
Another pause, his eyes passing from her, back to the stall, as he added in a quieter voice: "Uninvited, of course."

"Indeed. Though lucky for the both of us that, I at least may wear that," dark eyes touched against him once more, sweeping from head to toe over his attire, "As well if not better than you and I have always been fond of purple." It looked brilliant with her complexion, but had absolutely nothing to do with neither her House nor it's Cadet branch and as such, was a mournfully neglected aspect of her considerable wardrobe. Alas.
"I had heard that opposites attract," she agrees; watching the way he handled the blades with a thoughtful eye, "But not the other. In fact, I've never heard anything about likes at all." A thoughtful frown at that, before she gave a little shake of her head and sent those dark fey ringlets to dancing. "I've no helpful advice to offer you however. Leastways none that can save you. Though I will say this, if anyone repeatedly assures you of anything, you're doomed." Her eyes gleamed with dark humor then, while her fingers walked the length of a slender blade; frowned and then retreated. Up, up to tuck her hair behind her ear.
Her hand was still resting there, too, when she turned to look at him with his rather intimate question. "What need have you to search me at all? I believe, if you will recall, it was he who earned your compliment first, not me. Ah, my poor Stranger, forgotten so soon. I should think you never admired him at all, now." Teased, once - before her eyes swept once more across the scattering before she shook her head and turned away from it completely.
"Besides, what would a woman know of such steel? Here," her arm was offered, a gleam of challenge in her eyes. "A game. Pick a stall, any, and we will go together; each to pick something that the other would enjoy from the display. If the guess is a correct one, the neither of us spend any coin at all. But if it is wrong? Then you shall be grateful for that deal you cut with the Naylands because I have expensive tastes," with an absolutely wicked smile.

"That was all me," Stafford said drolly of like personalities being one of the key part of longevity in a relationship. "I was hoping you would repeat it to all your friends, and I could one day hear it said by some stranger, and be smugly amused at finding my turn of phrase immortalized in public parlor."
He ignored the rest of her comments regarding his bethroted, except for a slight twitch of his lips to said he might be bemused. Or was that a frown? It was hard to tell.
"A game. Very well, I pick the silversmith. Though I fear you'll find my tastes are hardly mundane either. And I hear wars are expensive things." Even if the Charltons had considerable wealth at their disposal. Of course he took her arm.

"Oh, don't worry. One day I have no fear at all that you shall be immortalized, but it will not be over some chance remark given to a stranger upon first meet in a marketplace," she countered and traded sheilds; a mount for a man. Stranger's reins passed off to Ryken who made a shadow that only glided forward when necessary; as old as her Uncle really and familiar with fighting beside him.
"Oh you darling man," Aeliana laughed, head thrown back in amusement, "A woman is always waging a war, or riding too one. In fact, I think the only time that we're /not/ is when we sleep and -I- can afford your pleasures." Quite pointedly informed, as she let him lead the way.

"There are strangers and there are strangers," Stafford said mildly as her slender arm interwove with his strong warrior's one, and they were set to union and walking side by side. He measured his strides effortlessly to the young Lady, with a courtly knight's awareness of the limitations that wearing skirts and light ladylike footwear imposed, as well as the more natural restraints of significantly shorter legs. A companionable pace, then, set with effortless precision it seemed like he always walked just in such a fashion.
"A Lady born of a House with a fief as close to our own as yours," at least as far as the greater Seven Kingdoms were concerned, "is hardly a stranger, whether we ever been properly introduced before. We are, and have always been, an acquaintance destined to happen. Sooner or later. I'm delighted that it should be sooner."
Though his eyes had passed her retinue by, he paid them little actual mind. Servants were like furniture. Remarked upon, perhaps, but usually not worthy of lingering attention.
"And thus you ride a warhorse, to wage battle by tea and needle sessions. With gossip carefully planted or recieved, and cutting remarks meant to bleed and humiliate, or soft words meant to bid a kind soul to part with her husband's latest interests?" He mused as they walked towards the silversmith. It was a proper store, and with a limited but high quality inventory. Stafford had known what to get her, even before he stepped inside, for he'd pondered exactly this purchase earlier. To attach to a letter.

It didn't take much effort, in the end, to have his strides matched to hers; her hand resting lightly atop his own Aeliana moved with a grace that even if he'd chosen to have her forced to match his pace would have still seemed a natural thing. The only time the woman dawdled was when the pace was set by someone else, because Aeliana seemed to always be going /somewhere/, as if she'd more enegry than she knew what to do with.
"So easily delighted?" The Charlton inquired, "I should imagine, when with lines such as that one, it takes nothing more than a noble skirt to delight you upon a daily basis then. And I'll wager they just twitter and preen, don't they. Drawn like moths to the flame that they imagine you to be."
"But yes," her lips had in truth gone almost thin, with his assessment, "That is /part/ of why I ride a warhorse." Correct right down to the very letter, the bastard. So her gaze flicked towards Ryken instead, who strode ahead of the pair to hold open the door; while her ladies fell in to trail behind.

"Well. Someone very dear to me told me once that I needed to find my laughter where I could. Why not from twitters and preens?" He asked her casually as he made a nod of acknowledgement in the silversmith's direction, but when the man attempted to approach he merely waved him away. The message clear; they were to pursue and view in their own time, without interference or haggling. "I usually end up disappointed. But.. in your case I find myself not, and so yes, I am delighted, unabashedly so."
Even inside he held onto her arm, a light presence that never turned possessive or forceful, just a natural extension of their conversation that touch. So feather light, it was almost not there at all. Easy to be used to. Inside, out of the breeze and the stink of the city, and upclose like he was, he was allowed to enjoy a hint of her fragrance, too. It did not seem to displease him.
"The other part being you simply enjoy the thrill, the joy of all that power and speed at your disposal?" He mused, then flashed her a dry smile. "Or perhaps that is just why -I- love my horses."

"Then you were wise to listen," Aeliana mused, offering a little nod of her head. "But there is a difference, I think, between laughing because something is innocently funny and laughing at someone's expense and that sounds rather a lot like it's at someone's expense, my lord," came the chide, before she arched a brow at him; those dark eyes sliding back in his direction.
"I do not twitter, Young Lord Stafford. And I do not preen," there was a weight to that look then, one that suggested that while he might be an heir, he'd do well to remember that there was an unfamiliar woman on his arm and Aeliana Chartlon chased no man. She chased a dream. And didn't tell a soul.
So it seemed…all too naturally that something caught her eye; a gawdy piece, silver petals of a poppy spread wide, it looked like a clasp best suited for a dowanger so large and ungangly it was. But the way she fluttered away from his arm to fawn, "Oh isn't it lovely!" Gave her all the excuse that she needed to stop touching him, whether she actually admired the piece or not. And yes, she was ignoring the mention of horses. Or even why she liked them.
"You should get it for your future wife, I believe her brother is quite fond of poppies."

Stafford met her stare when it swung her way, holding it with thoughtful consideration. "I did not for a moment think you did, Lady Aeliana," he said with quiet conviction. It lasted for a second, before he added beneath his breath with an undisguised tease: "Or that if you did, you would undoubtedly do it in a thoroughly appealing and quite sophisticated manner."
He laughed at her choice, however, a sound that seemed to surprise even him for how spontaniously it combusted. "I think I shall pass, my Lady. Though I am finding myself suddenly doubting my earlier opinion of you. If such is the items you find great appeal in, I'll have to ignore the one that caught my eye, and focus on something more.. big. And gaudy. Like a pauper come into coin and thinking that nothing can be so fine as more.. and more.. of *everything*." His grin became wicked as he declared: "Gold, on silver, on gold! With pearls, I say. In the fashion of.. pearls!"

Damn the man, when she wanted to be annoyed, he drew her back out. When she wanted to top him he matched her pace for pace. And when she wanted to avoid rising to his baiting… "One that would leave you awed and wondering, precisely how it was you'd ever lived a day without me," she teased and her fingers settled once more against the end of her fan, but this time they didn't trace about the feathers, they curled in against the ravens head; so that it's end could tap thoughtfully against the opposing palm.
"Tut tut, my Lord, if you recall, least your memory be so addled at clearly so young an age, I said it would make a lovely gift for your future wife. I am not she," Aeliana smiled, and there was mischief glowing in the depths of her eyes, "Now," where that fan rose up to tap lightly, playfully, against the tip of his nose. "Come, woo me with your shrewd analytical skill."

She earned a quiet chuckle for her tease, and a wrinkle to his nose when she tapped it. His hand reached for hers, then, to lay a light wrap around her delicate wrist, and cease further 'assaults' upon his person. Though it was a touch so careful of her tender flesh, were it not for the fact she could see it, she might barely have felt it.
"Tut tut, my Lady, if you recall, lest your memory be so addled at clearly so young an age, you also said it was -lovely-," Stafford said, his done deadpan and not a hint of tease or mockery in his tone. No smile either, instead a carefully composed expression of polite neutrality the whole time.
Only when he turned away from her, and back to the items on display, did he gift her with a smile. Small. Drolly amused. "Hrm.. so you are giving me an invitation to woo, is it? Aha. I have stepped ahead of the tedious masses who approach without such invitation, and shall now count myself among the august few. The desired." A stretch upon her words, perhaps, but he delivered it with smooth amusement that challenged her to deny him.
"You are a woman refined, I think. You know your worth, and so need no gaudy trickets to prove the point. Those who fail to be impressed are obviously not worthy of your interest anyway. So something light then, fey and free like your hair. Something that floats, rather than drags." He tapped his lips as he leaned forward, looking at this item and that, never quite settling. "Your hair is midnight, your eyes blaze like stars. What is it you miss, then, to make you whole? To give your nightly allure? Ah. Of course." He said it not, but instead reached for sometihng that had caught his eye.

It worked. Her hand froze with but the suggestion of his own curling about her wrist; as if she recalled just what she was doing. Fell away as easily as it'd risen. "Ah, but what is lovely for others is not necessarily lovely for me," she mused in counter, because pride demanded that he know she not have atrocious taste.
Yet she watched him, still and more where his eyes fell; though the smile he wore drew a measure of her own in response. It remained even as she turned her eyes onto the pieces, searching always searching withher tongue peeking faintly between her lips while her eyes went….wide, because he plucked her right out of her thoughts and into the present just as surely as if he'd doused her with cold water. "That…," and his challenge begged to be corrected, but to deny it so pointedly? "I hope that your dearly betrothed doesn't have the sense to realize how often she's out matched." No denial then, but a chiding all the same.
Yet he was right in regards to her trinkets, for in point of fact, while wealth the Charltons had in plenty, Aeliana wore absolutely none; unless one counted her fan or the occasional pins in her hair. ~The Moon~ Her mind supplied, but her lips didn't. Instead she said, "A husband, alas I fear they do not sell those here."

There it was, in his palm, a thin silver necklace that floated in his palm like a stream of rippling light, weighed down with a delicate pendant made from a crescent moon. It was a simple yet elegant piece, well balanced and obviously made by someone with a good eye. He calmly lifted it up, and held it infront of her expectantly. "Does it appeal?" He had made no response to her quip about his betrothed, though his eyes betrayed a certain amusement.
"As for husbands, no. It does not seem like they're on sale. I always found it amusing that it's the men who are purchased with dowries."
"Not that such is the way most Lords will see it, but's unmistakably true none the less."

"Oh!" Came the soft exclimation when Aeliana's eyes caught sight of that piece; delicate and elegant it struck her as absolutely perfect and left a hand rising up to touch in against the bare hollow of her throat as if she could well imagine where it would hang. But…but those dark eyes rose from the piece of gilded silver to the man; intent and curious as they searched.
"It's beautiful, my lord and while I am loath to add to t…," another narrow of dark eyes, a little sigh and a shake of her head to clear it. "I yield. Pick your pleasure, then so that may pay and then depart."

Stafford watched her with an expression of dignified bemusement, and only in his dark eyes did the devil let loose with wicked satisfaction at having won her challenge. He dipped his head slightly, accepting her defeat with polite grace. He let the necklace stream back into his palm, forgotten for the moment as he turned away from Aeliana to pursue the store's stocks once more. "I did recently get a new cloak, and could use a brooch for it. Hrm. We shall have that one, I think." A casual wave in the direction of a brooch made in the design of two oak leafs, formed in silver, every detail crisp and clean. There were items more expensive, but pefered something that ran with the theme of his house. And more was not always better.
"I'll savor this moment, I think. It's not often I'm given expensive gifts by beautiful women." His eyes slid towards her, leaving room for her to pay the silversmith. "And depart so soon? Well. I'll be sure to try to steal a moment during the festivities."

"You've an interesting sense of fashion, my Lord, which is to say that I am in fact surprised that you have one," came the compliment, while her mind slid itself back on track and delved between the notion of wives and war and weddings. "So many men are typically dependant upon their women or their servants or worse, their mothers, to see them properly dressed."
"The brooch," came replied instead, adding her confirmation to the gentle soul that shuffled about behind the counter. "The pin as well, with the acorn," a small thing; not overly large at all, folded silver matched in theme to the brooch that would work well with a gentlemen's cravat. "Never let a thing be halfway done. If I'm going to spoil a stranger, it shall be well enough that ere he decides to return the favor that I shall be equally rewarded." Mused, though it wasn't the lady who moved to pay the silversmith but her maid; instead Aeliana offered out the neatly wrapped pieces from the palm of her hand.
"Enjoy them, my Lord, for I shall be gone before you know it. War waits for no man and as a woman, I expect a front row seat."

"Clothes do not make the man," Stafford said casually as the items were paid for and delivered, and in the end found a home as his possessions. "But they certainly help form one's impression of him. One forgets it at one's own risk." Anyone would have had trouble picking apart his attire with critique, except perhaps the harpies of a royal court. But then again they were so used to sniping at each other, they wouldn't have been able to help themselves.
She earned a laugh, too, a quiet breeze of amusement that made sparks in his eyes. "A girl who does things proper? I approve. If you're first going to do something, I've always felt you might as well put your entire effort in."
Unlike her, he paid for the necklace himself, plucking a couple of coins from his belt purse and then making it vanish for a future occasion.
"Careful what you wish for," in regards to war.

"Too true!" Aeliana agreed with an easy laugh, to his assessment. A rosy glow to her cheeks as she did. "Even…if I am loathe to agree with you so readily upon so many things. A man's ego is fragile, I have heard and easily prone to inflation. While a woman's must be stroked at every occasion," she teased; tongue peeking between her teeth.
"So of course you approve of me." Even if she failed to approve of him stealing away that lovely necklace for someone else. Gods help him if she saw it later upon his wife's neck.
Yet be careful? There was laughter anew, as the Charlton began drifting towards the door; the scattered bodies of her entourage homing in on the door with her retreat, "Oh my dear Lord Stafford," Aeliana mused on parting note as she swept away, "I always get what I wish for."