Page 059: Old Habits
Old Habits
Summary: Jarod and Rose have gone approximately 18 hours, 12 minutes, and 52 seconds without fighting. Clearly they're overdue…
Date: 12/09/2011
Related Logs: As Men and Women
Jarod Rowan 
Stables and Kennels, Four Eagles Tower, Terrick's Roost
The Tower's Main Stables are nestled into the corner of the courtyard near the portcullis to facilitate quick, easy exits when required. The rear of the structure is backed right against the interior wall of the castle with the heavy wooden roofing gently sloped down towards the slate out front, the floor of the stables kept to dirt. Thick wooden beams are plunged into the ground and serve as a base for the walls between each stall. Hay serves as most of the flooring in the area with a large stack of it off to the side. Each stall has a thick layer on the ground to serve as bedding, with most of the space dedicated to horses though a few have pens of dogs and hounds. An enclosed structure at the end serves as dry storage for riding equipment and saddles.
12th of Ninthmonth, 288 AL

Between duties and drills, Ro(wan/wenna/se) has stopped by the kennels to look in on Sasha and her litter. How can anyone resist week-old puppies? And Sasha, a lovely bitch with white fur, black ears and a spot over her eye, is a patient, indulgent mother, apparently looking on Rose as an overgrown pup. When the watchful lady decides her children have had enough excitement for the day, she simply nudges her big head over and plucks the puppy from the girl-squire's lap with her huge, gentle jaws. "Already?" Rose sighs, sulking at the hound. "Really, I just got here." The bitch responds by heaving a sigh and placing a big paw on Rose's thigh, giving her a bit of a shove. Go away now.

Jarod strolls into the kennel area, hands laced behind his back, whistling some meandering tune to himself. Between that and his heavy footsteps his appearance is, as ever, not exactly stealthy. He looks left, looks right, in search of something. Or someone. As he tends to be. Rowan is spotted, and in that direction he heads. "Err…hullo."

She looks up, freezing for a moment like a hare suddenly aware of a hawk overhead. Then she coughs and flashes a quick, awkward smile, climbing to her feet. "Oh! Uhm." She nods. Yes. Hullo, indeed. "Hi. There." She glances around the kennels quickly, like she might find her next line written on a wall, then back at Jarod. "How're you?"

"Hullo there," Jarod re-greets Rowan, flashing her a quick grin of his own. "I'm well. Quite well. How're you?" It's a bit awkward, yes. He seems to be on a mission of some kind, though he's not getting to the point of it in any sort of hurry.

"Good!" says Rose, the quick monosyllable piped as a high, clear note — what used to pass for a boy's voice breaking. She clears her throat, adopting a contralto. "Good," she repeats. "That is to say, not bad. At all. Really. You?" There's a beat of silence. "You just told me," she observes, grimacing faintly. "Right. Uhm. So — what brings you? Out here? To where I am?" She lifts her eyebrows and swings her arms. Oh. So. Casual.

"Not bad?" Jarod is unsure if he likes that choice of words. "I'm better than not bad, personally." He moves on. "So. Last night. That was nice. We should maybe do stuff like that again sometime…aye?" It's asked /almost/ hesitantly. Like he's afraid she'll say no.

"You are?" She blinks, then smiles. "Oh." She lowers her lashes, studying her boots a moment, hands in her pockets hunching her shoulders. "Well." That seems to change something. "Good. I mean… I'm also better than not bad. I just… wasn't sure if you were. Is all." She glances at him furtively, cheeks pink. "It was nice," she agrees, nodding. "We should. Do it again. Maybe soon, even."

"Brilliant! Good. Good. Glad we're in agreement on things," Jarod says, still grinning like an idiot, though he doesn't precisely relax. "That brings up a point, though. A couple of points I wanted to go over if we…uh…kept doing things. Rowan…you understand it would be very bad for you if people caught onto that, right? I mean, we are going to have to be…circumscript about things. You get that, right? I mean, the notes and gestures and…things, that's all very flattering but…that's going to need to not be done. Not in public, at least. I mean, between ourselves you can be as weird as you like but…I mean…do you get what I'm trying to say?"

"No more letters from Nommy?" Rose tsks, shaking her head. "Alas." She darts a quick glance around, then leans up to whisper, "I'm sure the lady would love to tell you how she misses you, and the ways she's been occupying her mind between meetings." She settles back onto her feet, wearing a mischievous grin. "Letters seem innocent enough," she concludes, shrugging nonchalantly. "Especially when no one's naming names."

"Please, please, please, no," Jarod says, holding up his hands. "Rowan…it's just something somebody could find and then it'd be a disaster. Especially while you're here at the Roost. This is what I mean. This is the kind of thing you've got to think about. Even when nobody's naming names they'll know *something* is going on with *someone* if we get weird illicit correspondence and…no. Please. Bad idea. If we need to…arrange things, that's one thing, but nothing…long and flowery and weird. All right?"

Weird. Rose mouths the word, narrowing her eyes slightly. "Fine," she says, shortly, obviously stung. "No letters. Any further instructions?"

"It's not just letters it's…big gestures, like that," Jarod says. "I mean…lately you've been kind of…I don't know. You realize you were really lucky with Jacsen, right? He admitted to me that, if you'd still be in my service, he'd have told father what you were. You're not, I guess he figures I handled that so we have some distance now, so he doesn't feel obligated but…still, he's got his own reasons for sympathizing with what you're doing. Most won't. And this'll make it harder to keep what you are…to yourself, unless we're very, very careful. Do you understand?"
DUMP: Lucienne is courted by the database.

"Yes. I understand," Rose whispers, obviously embarrassed. "No letters. No gestures. No looks. I apologize."

"No apologies just…we've got to be careful is all," Jarod says. He seems half-embarrassed himself and is plowing through this earnest and as quickly as possible. "And one more thing. I mean…I don't know if you've gone with other blokes regular before…I don't really want to know! You don't have to tell me! But…what I'm getting at is…you were…taking care of that, right? So nothing…happened? I mean…you know what I mean." Or not, given how oblique and weirdly he's putting it.

Rose shuts her eyes, looking pained and laughing mirthlessly. "Yes. It's taken care of." She's takes a deep breath, flashing a smile that's more a show of teeth than anything else. "I'm… just going to go. Do something. And I'm sure I'll see you later."

"You…know what I mean, right?" Jarod asks, wanting to be really clear on this point. "I mean…I don't think you actually want to be a mother, Rowan, and I don't want to be a father so…I mean, we're good there, right? There's stuff you can take, Jos can explain it to you if you haven't been…I mean, I pay for the components and the like so you don't need to concern yourself with that just…you know. Stay on top of that, all right? I mean, there's other stuff we can do, don't get me wrong, but…you know."

"Oh. My gods," Rose finally bursts out, flailing her arms. "Really. Really? We're having this conversation? Here? After everything you just said?" She steps right up to him. "Lost my virginity at Stonebridge, Jarod. You're my third lover. I told you I'm taking care of it. I'm not so stupid OR so in love with you that I want your babies. And you're not paying for it. Alright?"

"Seven hells, I wasn't trying to…I just wanted to make sure…you know…" Jarod says, dropping his voice to a rather strangled whisper and sort of waving his hands downward at her. "All right. Good. Good. I *am* paying for it, though. It's only proper. I'm *trying* to be responsible here. I'm not actually reckless. Despite what the song says. Last night was nice. I'd like to do it again from time to time. I don't want any harm to come to you by it. Why is that so bad? You can*not* be mad at me!"

Rose groans and claps her hands over her face, dragging them down slowly. "I'm not mad at you for trying to be responsible or caring about me, you idiot, I'm mad at you for treating me like I'm simpleminded. I'm sorry I didn't agree immediately about the letters and got flirty — but you didn't have to recoil like I'd just presented you with a plague-ridden cadaver. And I told you I'm taking care of it — trust me! And NO, you are not paying for it — I swear to the Seven Jarod Rivers if you try to give me money you are never laying a finger on me again."

"I wasn't recoiling! Why do you always assume the most offensive possible thing when I'm just trying to be careful?" Jarod asks, still strangle-whispering. "And the money's for Jos. It's his expense. If you're making it yourself…well, that's not a very good idea. But fine. Whatever. We'll talk about it later when you're in a more sensible mood. I've got to go, anyhow." Deep breath and he straigthens up, extending a hand to her. Like he wants to shake on it. "I mean, it was nice. I'm glad we did that. This is going to be fun."

"Why? Maybe because when you mean 'I'm just trying to be careful' you say — " she throws up her hands dramatically, twitching her head back and forth, "'Please, please, PLEASE no — bad idea… please!'" She resumes a less melodramatic attitude and clears her throat, tugging her tunic down in front. "I don't know. It might be that. And if Josse were making my medicines, I would be paying him — of course I'm not making it myself, how stupid do you think I am?" She fumes, nostrils flaring, then grasps his hand in a firm shake, pumping once. "Delightful. Looking forward to it."

A beat… and break. They stalk off in different directions.