|On Rocky Shores|
|Summary:||Where the conversation is just as slick as the rocks.|
|Rocky Cove, The Roost|
|To the west of the path leading down, the beach extends below a cliff face and takes a turn inland where the terrain above has collapsed down to be claimed by the pounding waters below. It has formed a small, almost private cove with jagged rocks in the water at the cliffs while the ocean has relaimed most of those from the beach. Due to the elevation of the cliffs, the top of the tower to the north is just barely visible despite the relatively short distance.|
|Fri Aug 24, 289|
It is late in the afternoon now and there are men on the Green training, perhaps all eager to do so because apparently word has reached the Roost that the meeting between the Naylands and Charltons under the truth flag ended in failure. Failure as in that there was no peaceful resolution agreed upon by each side, which apparently included the terms of Lord Charlton of Highfield performing sexual acts on his horse. Kell is one of the men that is training with the other armsmen of the Roost, having squared off against one and is trading blows with his sword against the other man’s sword and shield.
Catryn, who is typically a fan of war…is…in this case…not. War means an interruption of routes and since most all trade routes go through Stonebridge and people being run from their homes because their lords are fools means, well, they’re not going to be spending a pretty penny on a new ribbon. And no one had hired on her Pa. Ah well, at least in the end there’d be looting. That was something she could get behind. In the meantime…Catryn’s taken (Hurhur) to lurking about the Green and watching the men train; perched with a bit of hard bread stuffed with cheese on a bail of hay off to the side.
If only Kell knew the truth, he would perhaps shun Catryn’s views on war and the looting. Now, whether or not the Terrick Knight notices the extra spectator, he doesn’t show as he is focused on exchanging blows with his current opponents. Sword parrying sword, then his blade slashing down on the shield once, then again, then a third time. The fourth is a feint though, causing the guardsman to raise his shield, allowing Kell to lower his next strike at the new opening, the blunted weapon cutting into the other man’s padded armor. With that the sparring practice is over with the knight grinning in triumph while the other man scowling before acknowledging the loss. “All right!” Kell finally calls out to the rest, “Good enough, we should call it a day, the sun is starting to set.” Which means the men will probably gather their stuff and clear out, either to go home to spend time with family or go to the Inn for drinks.
IIt was simply…what she knew and how she knew it. Another differing factor of her raising. But it didn’t make her -bad-, persay. Just as the watching didn’t leave her hungry, for the bit of meal that she’d brought with her. Though by the time the men had finished with the bulk of their workout and Kell’s voice was heard calling them through for the day, Cat had finished her light meal and came sliding carefully down from her hay bale to weave her way inwards, through the men; one in particular as her destination. “That was brilliant!” The minx exclaimed and meant; ignoring his opponents dour mood. “It’s different, watchin’ yuns fight. Like there’s a hint of honor te it. Er some unwritten rules.” Rules that the daughter of a sellsword would never know. Bounce bounce happy to see him bounce. “Broughtcha drink.” Tada! Wineflask.
The other men glance towards the girl, who they most likely have seen either at the tavern or manning her father’s vendor stall, before looking at Kell, some of them chuckling perhaps at the situation while others just exchange glances before continuing with their gathering of kits. Instead of speaking to Kell though or convincing the knight to go drinking with them, most of them just say their brief good-byes or waves before departing, leaving the man alone with the minx.
Kell is also putting away most of his stuff while pulling out a towel from his pack and wiping the perspiration off of his face. A smirk appears at Catryn appears and offers her thoughts on how the training went. “Well, it’s more fighting to stay alive than honor, but you are right. However, sometimes, especially in the heat of battle, the fighting isn’t as honorable as one may believe. “We train so we can prepare ourselves when we are out there fighting, but practice isn’t the same as real fighting.” When the wine flask is produced, Kell arches a brow before reaching out to accept the drinks, “Thanks, I am kinda thirsty…”
“It’s most of a knights fighting done on horseback, anyway? I mean, tha’s supposed te be the difference? A knight rides through an slaughters from above, while the peasantry founders on foot? My Papa is an archer,” the girl babbles on happily, a flicker of pride in her voice there at the last. “Good enough te use a sword though, if someone slips in te close an thinks him useless. I can’t fight like yall do,” it’s given with such a sad little sigh. “I have te wait an let ‘em get in real real close like, full o’tears an sad sounds, then pray te the gods I aint miss when I’m slicin’. Have sometimes too,” she continued on, talking even while he accepted the drink. “But Llewen patched me up, always. Good he was te. Aint carry but three scars.” Paaaause. “But…ye won’t be in tha war, right? I mean, when them Charlton’s take the Bridge? That’s them an Naylands, it aint yuns here?”
Kell shakes his head at Catryn’s question, “You would think that we would just be on horse back cutting down with our swords or axes or maces, but that isn’t true. In pitch battle, you may end up being knocked off your horse or pulled off, then you have to fight on foot, or die. Some knights prefer to fight on foot too, and sometimes you just can’t be mounted, or risk losing your steed. Like on the Iron Islands, the terrain was too rocky, so we fought on foot.”
When Catryn reveals that she has also been in lethal fights, there is a slight disapproving look from Kell as he looks up from his pack after tossing his towel in and taking a long sip from the wine flask, offering it back to the girl, “Girls shouldn’t be fighting in battles, that’s dirty business that should be left to men.” Girls should just look pretty and wait for the men to return, to sooth their hurts and pains but Kell smartly leaves that unsaid. As for what will happen at Stonebridge, he can only shrug his shoulders, “It depends on what Lord Jerold decides or what our Liege Lord, Lord Patrek, decides.”
“I’d like it better onna ground. Harder target fer archers te pick off wit a bow,” mused with a sage nod, before her nose curled right up over thoughts of the Iron Islands. “Fuckin’ hated it on Pyke. Hated.” To wit, the girl turned her head to the side and spat, pointedly on the ground. Hated Pyke, she did. Though…at his mention of what girls should be doing, that earned a hearty chuckle from her and the wineskin was reclaimed with deft fingers; looped back around the bit of leather attached to her belt. “Life’s dirty business,” a little shrug, “Aint matter whatche do in tha end, so long as its tha end ye make it te. I aint tha one that makes tha rules.” Hmph. Shouldn’t be fighting. He made it sound like she’d a choice. “Aint never gonna be ashamed o’what I know I can do, either.” He’d best get that through his head right now.
Taking a knee again, Kell laces up his pack that carries his kit before hoisting it over his shoulder and then nodding his head in the direction of the coastline, “Was gonna cool off by the waters if you want to join me, Cat.” He offers first before taking the first couple of slow steps towards the path that leads down to where he had indicated, waiting for the girl to catch up, “And I don’t mean you should be ashamed of it, it’s good that you know how to defend yourself, but… it’s better to try not to put yourself in that situation, if you have a choice.” It’s obvious that Kell, as a knight and perhaps also as a man, his views of women being in danger is more or less unacceptable.
The girl rocks back and forth of her feet as she watches him, quick to match steps when he’s given her proper cause to move, for all that there’s still a hint of gingerness to it. “I like it by tha ocean.” It’s why she’d picked the hovel that she did. “Aint try te put myself into situations that’ll end me, either. Juss…happens te be how it goes. S’me luck.” Or curse, depending upon prospective. “Could be worse. “ She could be stuck in a gown, surrounded by walls all day, forbidden from stealing a moment alone without a septa or a maid, or someone else to tell her how to think or act. “Think we could walk down te tha lil cove again? Found some pretty little shells there. Was thinkin’ o’makin’ me a necklace er summat.”
At the girl’s offer, Kell’s shoulders shrug slightly before nodding his head, “Sounds good to me, don’t mind it in the cove.” It’ll give him the peace and quiet to relax and cool off after that somewhat intense workout with the other men, his muscles already tightening up slightly as a little bit of the soreness sets in. The pace that he sets isn’t exactly a casual stroll but for those who are use to walking, like the pair, it will get them to where they wish to go at a good time without being too taxing on the body, “You and your father won’t be heading towards trouble, will you? I believe there is suppose to be a wedding soon, at Seagard.” Much safer than Highfield or Stonebridge.
For a girl who’d walked everywhere most of her life, the pace he set was just fine and could have been a mite quicker if he’d cared. “Naw. Not less’n trouble blows Seagard way. Gotta make a run we do, te restock. Pick up things specific like tailored better te them as here at the Roost an up’n Highfield, too.” The life of the traveling merchants. “But we won’t head out till bout time fer that weddin’. See bout travelin’ down in some nob’s flanks. Safer’n goin’ alone. Course, then I’ll no be here fer me name day but I dun reckon tha matter’s much.” Except that it did, just a little. She’d never had a ‘home’ before that was theirs proper. Just rooms for let, or a tent in some camp. Nothing that….stuck.
“That’s the smart choice, traveling with the nobles. They’ll have guards with them.” Kell says with a nod of agreement at their choice. The coast always brings a cool breeze, with that nice mist from the sea and the knight feels the difference in the air already. As they venture into the Cove, Kell dumps his pack on the ground before his hand goes to his sword belt, unfastening it so he can slowly remove the chainmail that he had been wearing during the training session. It’s always a task that is slower when done alone but it’s needed. He’s done it so many times that he can do it by feel alone as Kell turns his eyes to Catryn at the mention of her name day. “Name day? When is that?” Asking with innocent curiosity.
“Here,” Cat said, stepping close without a thought, “Let me help,” because she knew the workings of a man’s maile with all of a squire’s ease and felt just…a tinsy bit bad about watching him plod through it alone like that. Though perhaps what’s remarkably surprising is that, there’s nothing particularly flirtatious about it. Just a steady focus to see those straps and buckles done apart. “S’in tha first of September. Third, I think. Gonna be seventeen,” and /that/, well, that was said with a groan that implied she wasn’t particularly happy about it. For all that she still looked much younger. Years of eating slim and living hard kept her sharp and thin, too thin sometimes. But it couldn’t hide the age that sat on her eyes, for all that they could still hold joy. That bright spark couldn’t quite conquer the darkness that rode their depths.
The quick offer by the minx is a surprise, at least to Kell, as it is usually other armsmen or perhaps squires who are not busy who helped him, if there was help. The knight certainly approves the efficiency in which Catryn is able to assist him with the buckles and fastenings of the chainmail, before the heavy maile is pulled off over his head. Weight lifted off of his shoulders, literally. “Thanks.” He says with a grin, eyes on the girl as he brings the armor to his pack where he deposits it. Kell does continue to listen as Catryn speaks of her name day, keeping the info in mind, especially when she says that she will be turning ten and seven, yet another surprised. He may have perhaps marked her only as ten and five, ten and six at most. “Blooming into a young woman then, eh?” He says with a teasing tone before he slips off his tunic, sword and belt still off for the time being. Kell pulled off his shirt without a second though, having done so many times that it’s a habit at the cove after training, if he does come here. He grabs the same towel he used earlier and brings it towards one of the gathering pools of water in the cove, to soak the cloth and then begins to wipe his torso and muscled arms, more toned than bulky. He also sports quite a few wounds picked up over the years and various battles, some looking fresher than others, most actually.
That’s not funny,” Cat muttered at his back, crouched down enough to pluck at the bands of her sandals so that she could slip them off and wade against the waters edge. Blooming into a young woman. Pfft. The temptation was there to push him straight forward into the pool head first, though…instead she found herself distracted looking at his scars. His scars…and the rest of him, which shirtless did a little number on her pulse. Best to start looking for shells instead of at the man then. Except…no. She didn’t. Instead her tongue touched out against dry lips and she ventured, “I could get yer back fer ye, if ye’d like.” Though she’d not yet closed the distance. Still, at least it was his back she was looking at; so it made it somewhat…harder to see the sudden flash of hunger there in her eyes.
Kell is certainly amused though his teasing wasn’t false, she was indeed blooming into a young woman, if only she would eat more. Perhaps it was a good thing he made her eat that meal at the inn that night when he was drinking pretty heavily. As the knight was starting the hard task of his back, the offer by Catryn has him turning his head at her, not expecting it. “Well, I don’t wish to be too troublesome.” He didn’t say no, though he wasn’t jumping at the offer either, perhaps he’s just not use to being with Catryn this way, but it was certainly a pleasant thought that was entertained and unsuccessfully pushed away.
“Ye aint no trouble, Kell,” Catryn mused, rising back up to her feet and giving her back a long stretch, before she padded down towards the edge to join him near the pool. “Sure ye could be, iffen ye chose te put ye mind te it. But this aint.” A slim hand reached out for the cloth then, fingers wiggling in encouragement before she snatched it. “Course, could juss go fer a swim instead, cool down all o’ye at once. But I dun mind givin’ a bit o’help.” Smiling, the girl dunked the cloth anew, fresh water, cool; before it’s applied to his back. As much of a knead against the muscle in long firm strokes, as it was to help rinse away the afternoons efforts. Up an down, with the suggestion perhaps, that the girl’d be good at backrub too, if they ever got around to it. “Hope ye didn’t sleep in this mornin’ an get trouble,” she teased over the curve of his shoulder.
There was certainly no protest or contest when the cloth is snatched away from Kell as he looks back to the pool of water when Catryn begins to rub his back with the wet, cool towel. The combination of her ministrations and the coolness certainly comforting and relaxing, his eyes slowly slipping close as he enjoys the moment. “ A swim… now that is a nice thought but I think I’m too tired right now for that.” At her teasing though, a smile appears though his eyes remains closed for the time being, “They were rather understanding, that’s why you didn’t see me this morning. Another group went out for the patrols and we had just basic duties and tending to our kits. So all in all, a good day, also why we ended up training, didn’t want to do nothing productive the entire day.”
“Surprised the Sheriff hasn’t dragged ye inte helpin’ wit his buildin’ an such-like er do ye help wit that, too?” Of course, that seemed more…rebuilding efforts than patrolling efforts but what did a girl know? At least she was good with a rag. Even if she went gentle over scars and one in particular against the curve of his back caught her attention; so that it was the brush of her bare fingers plying against the paler flesh in a light stroke as she asked, “What happened te ye wit this one?” Before she went back to naught but the cool stroke of that cloth against his spine. “Ye remind me, since ye dun want no swim, when we head back up towards tha inn, an I’ll getche some more o’them salts te soak in. Keep tha soreness out.”
When Catryn’s bare skin touches his back, trailing over one of his scars, Kell’s body involuntarily tenses for a brief second before it relaxes again. “Took that one at Seagard, pushing the Ironborn back into the sea, if I remember correctly.” He answers to the question about the scar first. “As for building, I’m not much of a carpenter so I can’t reall build stuff, better at… breaking stuff I guess.” An admission that he didn’t exactly enjoy admitting. When salts are mentioned, Kell shakes his head slightly, “Not needed, the soreness goes away soon. My body is use to it, from the constant training and stuff. Otherwise I’d be useless after one battle. You’d be surprised what you could will your body into doing sometimes, especially at times of need.”
“Might not,” came Cat’s reply to just what she’d be surprised she could will her body into doing. And there was a bitter edge to it, dark as a crow’s wings for all that she was frowning. It eased soon enough. “I aint much fer a builder either, which’s why I loaned out tha mare te one who can. Needed another horse te help haul in a load of logs. Promised he’d fashion me some shutters for it. The others were gone rotten.” Which brought a continuation of that frown. “Actually…,” licking the seasalt from her lips, Catryn craned her neck around to peer up at the cliffs proper, searching the high distant line, “That ledge there’ back where the crevice falls in, like there’s a huge chunk fell away, tha’s where the cottage is. Ye can almost make out tha tower yonder in tha distance if ye stand on that rise.” It seemed a safer topic than his scars, given she’s not sure if he tensed because she’d touched one directly, or if it was her asking. And the cloth is offered out in return, as well now that she’s through.
The cloth is taken back with a nod of thanks, for the favor she had done him and Kell leans forward to soak the cloth back in the pool and uses both hands to scrub it against itself. He then decides to dip his entire head under water for a nice dunking before pulling it out of the pool with a bit of spray of water and slowly rises to his feet. He does angle his head up to where Catryn is talking about, as if to try to see what she is describing though it does happen to give the girl a nice view of his shirtless profile, more lean and well cut muscle, chiseled from years of hard, physical labor and training.
Caught in the spray of water from where Kell’s head rises, Cat’s explanation is cut short with a shrill decidedly feminine cry of shock and a shiver for his efforts; having not expected the miniature bath. “Kell!” Is called in mock playful whine as she glowers at him, one hand rising up to swipe the droplets of water away from her face. “That was…,” whatever it was, wasn’t said and she’s stuck swallowing hard from the view and shifting her weight from one foot to the other before forcibly wrenching her gaze away to somewhere else. Anywhere else, before she gets too tangled up in the notion of kissing him. It’s been known to happen. “Ah. Uhm. Yeeeah.” Awkward.
Kell’s attention drifts from the cliff line back down to Catryn as she made that involuntary cry and then the whine of his name. The expression he wears was more of a ‘Who me?’ look than anything else, “What? What did I do?” Comes the question, oblivious to the spray of water as well as the distracting thoughts he may be giving the poor girl right now. Watching her turn away only furthers the question though he doesn’t press, instead with both hands he wrings the towel, twisting it to draw out as much water as possible before he straightens it again.
“Nothing,” Cat half whimpers it. “Nothing at all.” On purpose, anyway. And how did, exactly, one accuse another of subtle arousal? Particularly when it was Kell. The answer? You didn’t. So Catryn offered the knight a smile instead, and there was none of the weight to her eyes, none of that quiet brooding or sulking. Just…happiness. Just that care. “Ye juss…yer a damn attractive man, Kell. An lookin’ atche sometimes, s’….hard. But I’ll manage.” Where that cheeky grin came back in full, eyes glittering with amusement. “Promise.”
The answer appears to be one that didn’t exactly answer his questions, though Kell certainly isn’t going to press the girl since it didn’t seem to be a problem. The complement has the knight grinning though, accepting it rather readily than denying it or even appearing to be embarrassed, like he may if he was with a Noble Lady, then again if he was with a Noble, he wouldn’t have his shirt off in front of her, voluntarily anyways. “Hard? I would thought it would be the opposite.” His own expressions equally amused as she had admitted to him more or less what effect he had on her. Going back to his pack, he drops the towel off though apparently in no rush to put his shirt back on now.
Well that made it difficult. She couldn’t swat him like she wanted, because if she did then she’d end up touching against his bare flesh. So the girl gave an indigant huff instead, narrowing her eyes off in his direction; the blue gleaming bright in the fading light of day. “Well it is. Kinda. Easy I mean.” Tongue bit between her teeth, Catryn searched for words. “An then, it aint ye know. Cause the lookin’ makes me think an then…,” the look she gave him then was one of helpless exasperation because she couldn’t begin to find the right words and the ones she -could- find…weren’t ones she thought he needed to hear. Or rather, ones she’d blush to give, simply for who they were being given to.
It seems like Kell knows full well now how tongue twisted she can be as she mentally stumbles for the right words, if she could find them. One can even say that he is being deliberate now, another way of teasing the poor girl as he slowly closes the distance between the pair, as if doing so will help her with her explanations or him understanding them. “Thinking? Never anything wrong with a bit of thinking, Cat.” Words themselves reveal innocence though the grin he wears and the way he is now speaking, perhaps belays a more mischievous side to the man.
“Uhm…,” no. No, coming closer was not making it easier and she caught herself, gazing down the length of him instead of properly meeting his eyes at least once, before her gaze was jerked back up to his own. “It…,” color rode on her cheeks; even the rise and fall of her chest was proof of the way she struggled with her breathing. Cat’s not sure if she should nod her head in agreement or shake it no, instead. “Yeah.” Hard swallow. Deep breath. Eyes on his face. Weeks of pining were apparently starting to catch up with her. And just what was she agreeing to again?
Now, it’s a question of how far Kell is willing to go in teasing the girl before it crosses the line into more dangerous territory, which is actually now in his mind. Perhaps it is already too late though the angel on his shoulder is perhaps screeching warnings. The blush on Catryn’s cheeks and her quickened breathing are obvious signs, signs that Kell did take note off before he gives her another grin, “Don’t worry, Cat, you’re safe with me.” His intentions were perhaps to let her know that he wouldn’t take advantage of her, though it may be taken in another way. Instead, he turns to head back to where his shirt lays, as if to finally slip it back on so the girl can fully regain her senses, but he is taking his time doing so.
“I know,” the minx replies, her voice whisper soft. “I do. Tha’s…,” part of what made him so remarkably dangerous. He was a good person. He wouldn’t go out of his way to hurt her on purpose, or at all, if he could help it. And she knew that. She did. It was just…just strange. Strange and different and so at odds to everything she knew, to how she’d been raised. “Now…,” she ventured instead, regaining a tiny measure of control by clearing her throat and putting a mental foot down. “Iffen I say ye aint gotta go an do that, its cause I’ve more control of meself an no, because I want te keep lookin’. Not that I don’t mind lookin’, it’s just tha…” No. No somehow she wasn’t helping herself. “So…” Damnit all, how did they end up switching places? Isn’t she supposed to be the one comfortable and he the one floundering for what to say?
As Kell leans forward to pick up his shirt, he glances back when the piece of cloth is in his hands as Catryn tries to explain herself, though not doing an entirely good job of communicating clearly what she means. From what it got out of it, he is wagering a guess that she is perhaps suggesting that he leaves his shirt off, so he delays slipping it on, the smile creeping back onto his lips, “So… you saying I should just leave it off for now and enjoy the cool breeze, Cat?” His own eyes now do move from her vibrant eyes down to her body, then back up, perhaps not on purpose but done so just the same.
“Yes!” The girl all but leapt for the offered explanation, whether it was what she meant or no. “After all, ye come down te relax an do tha very thing.” Except…expect that when he looked at her like that it made her want to fidget just a tiny little bit. One hand tugging at the hem of a peasants shirt and trying to straighten it over her shoulder; while a simple woolen skirt fluttered about bare ankles. Her sandals by his kit. Of course, “Wanna spar? Wit sticks, of course. Loser buys the winner a drink?” That probably wasn’t relaxing, but she had the sudden urge to do -something- and she’d blurted out the first thing that came to mind that didn’t involve kissing, even if her tongue was peeking between her lips again.
She does look the proper girl, atleast in Kell’s mind, with what she is wearing today. Nothing too scandalous or revealing but also appropriately girlish. However, when Catryn offers to spar, it more or less came out of left field which took the knight by surprise as he arches a brow at her, “Sparring? Here? Should’ve done that back on the Green. Could accidentally slip on the wet rocks here.” More serious than not actually about sparring here, “How about when we head back later, you can poke me with a stick all you want.” Not that he wouldn’t defend himself but it is doubtful he’d actually attack her and hit her.
“Ye’d have said no on the Green, where folks could see ye,” she countered, teasing playfully. “An it’s damned…adorable the way you fret. Rocks gettin’ me, er someone carryin’ me off in tha knight fer walkin’ alone. S’a wonder ye aint gone had words with half tha folk that drink at tha inn an told ‘em to keep their hands te themselves,” she giggled; moving closer towards the surf so she could get her feet wet, one flat stone to the next. “Pa juss says te watch me mouth an cut them as get too close te what aint theirs, but ye…,” again. He was different. But the smile she gave said it wasn’t a terrible thing. At least not this time.
True enough, Kell may have said no though he would say no here as well to a proper sparring session. For Catryn to attack him with a stick though is perhaps… forgiveable, if given the proper convincing. As for him being adorable, Kell smirks, unsure whether to accept and like that compliment, his shirt left back by his pack, as she had wished. The idea for giving the patrons at the inn a talking to has crossed his mind, but Kell had dismissed it as silly, “Wouldn’t do that to the people at the inn, wouldn’t want to scare away your customers.” Now he knows that there would be a pinch here, perhaps a grab there, it’s part of the job being a tavern wench. It’s when things may get out of hand that one would step in. His own feet carries him back towards the water, where Catryn is right now, not stepping into the surf himself just yet.
Cat basks at the waters edge; one hand fisted into her skirts at the side, having bundled them up high enough to draw tight at her knees, keeping the bulk away from the water where she wiggles her toes and considers the wisdom of a swim. “That’s right nice o’ye,” the girl murmured, glancing back at him, even as she dipped just enough to reach the wad of fabric and affix it into a proper knot that didn’t require being held. “Aint real terrible though. Someone’s almost always there when the day gets busy an folks start gettin’ too deep in their cups anyway. An I do leave early,” Cat added, peering up at him with a smile. For all that he’d likely gone and jinxed her with his talk of slick rocks. No sooner had she taken another step out than her balance wobbled; teetering dangerously while the ground decided to move out from beneath her and gravity reared its ugly head to the high pitched sound of her squeak.
Catryn working the early shift is probably one of the reasons why Kell isn’t too worried, since by that time the rowdy drunks are already gone, leaving those looking more to break fast with a cup of ale than constant flow of liquids. He is also staying by the water’s edge, watching over her and watching her, both at the same time. Apparently it is at times like this that the soft, girly side of her really shines, or perhaps it is the time being spent with him, but whichever it is, he seems to enjoy it. However, with the jinxing, Kell sees that the girl is about to lose her balance with the slight slip and is in quick motion, moving faster for a man his size than one would have expected. Moving up behind her, his arms slips underneath hers so that her fall would stop against his chest while his arms slip around her middle, remaining there so that she can slowly regain her balance. “Careful there Cat, wet rocks can cause even those nimblest on their feet to fall.” And the fall would be the worst part.
It’s a slow thing, that learning and the change with it. The…trust that she can lower both guard and pretense; the sense that no one should be close enough to really know her. Or that, those who are around, are only out for one thing. He’s the only person she’s not made a game out of, perhaps…because she’s spent more time with him than anyone else there. Time enough to know. Time enough to build a little trust. To realize that she doesn’t always have to be some sly creature who’s there to entertain others and make what she can. But give her one thing though, Cat certainly knew how to fall. Most go tense, rigid and try to fight it. But when Catryn had realized she was falling and there was no hope for it, she’d gone limp so the impact wouldn’t be quite as terrible. The thing that caught her off guard, was the sudden presence and pressure of his arms; of the feel of his chest behind her and not the sharp poke of stones and cool rush of water.
So the girl sagged even further then; letting him bare the brunt of her slight weight while the shock of both the fall and sudden capture left her, for all that he could likely feel the steady thump of her heart against the curve of his forearm where it wrapped around her frame. “Yer a handy man te have around.” She murmured, tipping her head up just enough to look up at him, while her arms came to settle atop his own there were they wrapped around her; her hair tickling in like silk against his bare chest. “O’course, s’a lot like watchin’ someone cut somethin’ an tellin’ ‘em not to cut themselves. Soon as ye say it, it’ll happen, mark my words.”
Kell is certainly in no hurry to help Catryn get herself back on her own feet, perhaps content in the embrace that had originally begun as a catch. The smaller, soft body that is now held against his chest is kept there for the time being, his arms enclosing just a little tighter so it is no longer a loose hold. “I’ll keep that in mind, to not warn you of the obvious.” He offers, as a compromise as he tilts his head down to look at the girl, a soft smile on his lips before he lowers it even further so his cheek is gently pressed against the top of her head, perhaps an affectionate gesture while he whispers his question, “You okay?” Perhaps to make sure she didn’t roll her ankle in the slip.
Oh well that’s…different. Pleasant…but different. Like for all that they’d gone up and down and their talks didn’t always come easy, they’d hit some…new level of comfort with each other. It wasn’t terrible. Not at all. Though she did get her feet back properly beneath her, even if he could perhaps feel her kicking rather pointedly the stones beneath her just to make sure they were neither solid, nor slick, nor going anywhere. “Ye do that,” Cat agreed, a hint of humor in her voice, for all that her hand found one of his and sought to lace their fingers. A gentle nuzzle given there against his cheek where his head dipped, before she stilled; content to let him simply press close and be near. “And I’m fine,” she promised; her voice low, her arms over his giving a little squeeze of affection, “…even if I almost embarrassed meself. What cat falls on its backside, I ask ye?”
It appears that even Kell is not immune to the touch of a woman or the closeness of one as he has made no movements to release the girl from his arms. In fact, feeling her hand slip over his, his fingers open a bit to let hers slip in between before he encloses them again with hers. Her nuzzling is returned with his, this time a gentle brushing against her ear before she can perhaps feel the tweak of his facial muscles into a smile at her admission, “Perhaps a cat that was a little bit distracted?” Willing to share the blame since he is the one without a shirt.
Well she hadn’t been -that- distracted, at least until that little brush against the lobe of his ear; one that brought the sensation of his breath with it, for all that she could feel his smile. And that only made her smile in turn. Reassured as well perhaps, simply from the fact that he wasn’t quick as a rattlesnake to get away from her. A little marvel all its own to be able to glance down and see her hand wrapped in his. A twinge of guilt, too. But the latter was quickly squashed, as she burrowed into his warmth and blushed, laughing softly for his question. “…maybe,” she concedes, willing to grant his point. “But just a little, mind. Aint my fault ye can smile sometimes an I’ll fergit what I’m supposed te be doin’, when I keen I’m tha cause fer it.”
Having lingered longer than he had expected to, one who knows Kell would know that he would eventually disengage unless pressed further. As Catryn reassures him that she is fine and that the fault isn’t exactly entirely his, a chuckle rumbles from his chest before he next asks, “If have regained your balance, I guess I could release you. Though perhaps it would be safest to head back onto drier land.” His hold is still on her though, just in case he jinxed her by accident a second time. He doesn’t start pulling away just yet though, awaiting her response.
His laughter makes her smile, all the more perhaps, for she was smiling already. But the pleasant sound of it, even the feel has her hand offering his a further squeeze where their fingers lace; her thumb stroking absently against the outer curve of his own. “Ye -could- release me, aye. But…,” with that, the girl’s head aimed to tip up, the gesture slow so’s to not catch him off guard where his cheek rested against her. “Do ye really want too?” And that question was soft. Low, for all that it could have been lost to the sound of the waves as those blue eyes searched out his own and lingered; a quiet smile on her lips where the bottom tier was captured lightly between her teeth. An expression that looked more…bashful than coquette, for all it could be both.
That question is a good one, especially combined with the gentle touch she offers. Even the waves crashing against the cove doesn’t drown out the soft words, his eyes looking down at the girl who is now looking up at him and her slight movement now has his cheek rubbed and gently pressed against her. His answer is an honest one, and a simple one as well, “No, I do not.” As proven by his actions, arms still folded around her, hand still laced through hers, and lastly, another gentle nuzzling of his cheek against hers
The girl’s eyes closed with his answer, smile full of warmth as she returned his nuzzle and simply did no more than bask in the quiet of a moment she did not want to end. There were many such moments with him. Moments and urges, not simply towards desire but…to confess as well. All of it. Everything. To let him -know- everything and pray that he still found her of worth. To trust him, yes. And she trusted him to keep her safe. To not let men he felt were bad to carry her off, not to fall, not to let her do something that might hurt herself. That she trusted him with. But what about the things she’d already done? Did she trust him with her life? Or not to walk away? So she said, “I don’t want you to,” instead. And prayed quietly while the ocean lulled before them and the cliffs rose up behind, that the day would never come when those questions had answers, because it was better not to know. Still, there’s no moment that can last forever, so Cat tilted her head again, this time just a little further, offering a kiss instead of a nuzzle; right there, to the very corner of his lips. “Is yer evening free?”
The nuzzling does bring their lips closer and this time Kell is not surprised that it leads to a kiss though her first one is perhaps to test the waters. His answer to Catryn’s question though isn’t a verbal one, instead he shifts slightly, arms loosening just a little bit to perhaps allow her to turn her body a little bit as he brings his lips slowly to hers, pressing against hers. At first contact, he is hesitant for a brief moment before continuing with a bit more enthusiastic one. The initial light exchange shifting to one that is more tender and lingering.
Of all the things and answers expected, a kiss…an actual kiss, certainly wasn’t on the list. She’d meant hers to be sweet, aye. As a sign of affection, certainly, but after her last more than thorough rejection, a proper kiss was something she’d decided to never initiate again. So there’s a flicker of surprise, where her eyes go wide and suggestions of an evening ride together, since he’d not gotten to take Havok out on patrol, flutter away on the breeze. It even takes her a second too, to realize that he actually means to kiss her and that loosening of his arms wasn’t to herald him deciding it was time to step away. But it does mean that she’s just as hesitant as he is, perhaps more aware that she stands to hurt more than he in the event that all goes painfully wrong; before she turns against him proper, gentle as a butterfly afraid to land and returns his kiss with all due feeling. Just as soft, just as lingering while her heart hammered almost painfully against her ribs.
Lips finally do part, slowly, as the enter kiss the pair shares eventually end. Kell’s eyes open slightly, though before he looks at Catryn for her reaction, he doesn’t pulling entirely away as he remains close for a moment, to brush his nose against hers as if to nuzzle her again before finally separating further so he can look at the girl in his arms. For now, he still has no words for her, nor a spoken answer to her question earlier. Perhaps he just not know what to say right now, as he acted before he actually thought, as if his body thought it was what was right instead of his mind.
For as hesitant as she was to return that kiss, she was much the same to see it done. Her eyes slow to open; a hand resting against the front of his chest, fingers splayed wide as if that’d help with her balance. That soft nuzzle was returned though and her smile bloomed with it; slow and bashful, unsure. Timid eyes, even in the way it seemed she did more peeking up through her lashes than outright looking. Tongue tasting lips still flush from his kisses, still tasting him there, too. “I…,” Cat begins, voice whisper rough, for all that she’s not let go of him entirely. Blushing in full then, for all that she shouldn’t have blushed at all. It was just the effect that he had on her. “Dinner?” Wait, what? “Er. Riding? Would ye like.. I mean…,” at which point she gave up entirely and settled for hiding her face in against his chest.
Kell manages an amused smile at the stumbling of words that seem to have afflicted Catryn and when she buries her face against his chest, one hand slips up her back and to the nape of her neck, gently stroking her there while the other is around the small of her back, keeping her held against him. “We can do whatever you wish, Cat, and we have plenty of time to enjoy it.” Havok would certainly enjoy the visitor though a ride after the sun has set may not be advisable. As for dinner, that could also be accomplished without a problem too.
Catryn did not come back up until she’d managed to work all the color from her cheeks, or at least most of it. And get her thoughts at least halfway straight; for all that the sensation of his hand there against the nape of her neck and the soothing pressure at the small of her back helped relax her. Even if the latter did come with a steadying breath to very subtly, manage pain. But that was natural, since she said she’d fallen on a rock while drinking before, right? “I was gonna see if ye wanted te take tha horses out fer a ride, er te have dinner, but ye turned me into a babblin’ fool.” And her tone suggested that certainly hadn’t happened before.
Still amused by her words, Kell may have forgotten about the fall she had but he remains gentle with his hands. He does have an answer for her but it is more of teasing the girl than anything else, “Would you rather me not have turned you into a babbling fool? And I think it’s best to wait on taking the horses out for a ride tomorrow than tonight, though we can go give Havok a visit. Dinner would be just fine though.” Of course he assumes they would be going to the Rockcliff unless Catry is entertaining other ideas.
And it was teasing too, for she squeaked as a result and a measure of that color she’d worked so very hard to give rid of returned, leaving her warmer than she otherwise should have been. “I didna say I minded that at all! Ye juss surprised me is all!” Came the defense, as if the thought of him thinking she wouldn’t and never kissing her again had to be squashed right quick. “I’d no mind takin’ a treat te Havok though. Could take a bite for us, too. Unless ye do wanna eat at tha inn.” Though a pause followed it, one pregnant with hesitation, while she touched her tongue to her lips; both as if she could still feel him kissing her and in part… “Or we could eat there, though…I mean, my Pa’d be there most-like, eventually,” and anyone else who came in and recognized them would most likely join.
This is certainly a tough decision, eating at the inn would guarantee warm food, good company, and flowing ale. However, finding another more secluded location would lead to a more private discussion and sharing, something the two could use, perhaps to be even more comfortable with each other. Plus, there is Catryn’s father, Gerry, would could make things… interest. It appears that Kell is obviously in a stalemate on this subject so an answer isn’t given forthright just yet.
“Tomorrow then,” Catryn suggests, “Tomorrow we can juss…take somethin’ wit us on tha ride. Like…a picnic.” The notion brings a little smile; alright, to be fair, it brings a little glow. “Juss us. An we’ll stay close tonight and juss…eat there. I mean,” and now it’s a little unsure just who she’s trying to convince. “Aint nothin’ wrong folks settin’ down te eat together.” Because things are all…in an undecided state of transition and there’s no labels or any definition for it, as they seem to struggle enough getting a feel for one another as they go. “Sides we’re friends.” See. That made it fine. Right? Right?! They could eat a meal together without it being anything off. But she was giving him an imploring look that begged for reassurance, regardless. Not reassurance that they were friends, Gods knew if he said that right now it would only confuse the hell out of her, because she thought they were more than friends which…wait, “Er, I mean, Bah, Ye know what I mean. S’just eatin’!”
With the suggestion made by Catryn, Kell appears to be in full agreement on the picnic, it is certainly a more private and relaxing atmosphere. “I’d like that, a small picnic, just us.” He doesn’t say that they are just friends, nor does he say what they are, as it seems like he himself isn’t exactly sure where they are at and is afraid, smartly so, that if he said something wrong, Catryn would misunderstand. “Just eating, a nice hot meal. I know what you mean, Cat.” He does lean in again, but not for a kiss though she may have thought so for a second but it’s another quick, playful nuzzling of nose to nose before Kell pulls back and glances at where his shirt is with his pack, “I think it’s best if I put my shirt back on now.”
“Be easier te plan for if I knew what ye liked te eat,” the minx chided, wriggling her nose up at him with a smile. More reassured by his seeming enjoyment of the suggestion than any words he might have offered. Though, “Yes,” she beams. Because the words helped too. And it felt nice to know she wasn’t alone in her confusion. However silly it might seem, too, she smiles just as much, just as brightly for that little nuzzle; which was duly returned, as she had for his kiss. More than a little charmed by the intimately innocent gesture of affection. “Probably so,” it comes with a grin, “Least someone decide ye were tryin’ te charm me with its absence,” she teases, feeling more on solid ground now. In her head at least. “S’okay,” Cat continued, “We won’t tell them I already am.” Wink.