Page 107: Stay With Me
Stay With Me
Summary: Jarod lets Rose know she has options, if she wants to stay.
Date: 30/10/2011
Related Logs: Far too many to count.
Jarod Rowan 
Recovery Room — Sept of the Seven — Terrick's Roost
Neat and tidy beds, white sheets, cabinets, and a window overlooking the garden.
30th Tenthmonth, 288 AL

It's a little less than a week after the melee, and the brothers of the Sept are having a difficult time keeping their guest in bed. Finally, they've given up on it, to an extent, allowing the restless boy to walk the gardens and plunder the library. He tires quickly, still unable to breathe very well for that punctured lung, which frustrates him — but after a stern lecture (or several) on how his stubbornness is bound to only extend his time recovering, he's finally learning to listen to his body, taking the frequent naps and long slumbers it demands for the moment.

This is the report Ser Jarod receives on his next visit, so it's likely no surprise to find Rose out of bed, doing stretches on the floor, the arch of a bare foot in her hands and her forehead bent to her knee.

Jarod has come each day, usually in the evenings when his duties at Four Eagles are finished. And duties there've been many of late, with the new alliance with the Baneforts and promises of stronger ties with the Oldstones settling. Still, he comes faithfully. The stretching he walks in on earns a snort. "I can report you to the septon for that, you know." It's not a joke, and not said with his usual grin.

"And I can pop you one," retorts Rowenna Rose Nayland, grunting as she releases the stretch. She's a little pale — though she's over the worst of the blood loss, that stretch probably hurt a bit. She climbs gingerly to her feet. "Albeit not very hard. And it'll likely hurt me worse than you." She steps over on bare feet to greet him — sort of uncertain what to do with him for a moment, peering down the hall to see if they're reasonably alone. "I'm glad you're here," she says finally, smiling, letting that suffice. "I know it's got to be difficult to find the time."

Jarod is quick enough to step over and offer Rowan his arm as she rises, though whether she'll take it or not is an open question. He shrugs. "It's difficult not being here more. Ser Gedeon's looking after you well, at least, seems to me." Though that's not an observation he really pursues. "Sit down. You shouldn't exert yourself like that, you know. It doesn't actually help. It'll just keep you in here longer."

She does, wonder of wonders, take the help in rising. "Ged is here a lot, too," she affirms. Though she doesn't offer any more than he pursues. At his rebuke for her exertions, she sighs. "I was just stretching my legs, not doing drills. All this — not moving feels funny. It's bloody uncomfortable." She sits on the edge of the narrow bed that's been hers these past days, taking a measured breath and another. She raises her eyebrows a little, considering him. "You're in a mood. Someone piddle in your porridge this morning?"

Jarod takes the chair beside her bed when she sits. "Am I?" He shrugs. "No. Nothing like that. I've just been…thinking lately." Hard work, that Ser Jarod Rivers thinking. His manner is definitely more serious tonight than it has been in past days. "Rowenna…" He pitches his voice very low, in case there is anyone lurking. "…what do you intend to do? When you're healed up and out of here, I mean."

"Get back to work, of course," Rose replies, easily enough. "I've only got ten months to win a melee — and, ass that I am, I've set myself back a good two. So more like eight. Though at the alarming rate people are getting married, lately, I should have plenty of opportunities in that time."

"It's not about winning a melee, Rowenna. You understand that, aye? Winning doesn't prove anything other than you're strong and lucky. If you'd yielded, Gedeon might've knighted you." Not that Jarod sounds terribly unhappy that didn't happen. "And that's not what I meant, really. Jace told me thins were…unsettled between you and Ser Gedeon."

"And yet my cousin gave me a year in which to win a joust and a melee," she reminds him. "I'd still rather avoid this marriage thing without having to out myself. That's just — it's going to be a mess, whenever it happens. The further from Igara I can make it, the less… embarrassing it will be for her, I think." Rose shrugs slightly. "We're better now, Gedeon and me. It… hasn't been an easy time, adjusting. I think we'll be alright now, though."

"That's not…that's not your only option, you know," Jarod says, taking a deep breath before he goes on. "I mean…you've got other…paths you could take, I guess." Though, rather than going over what he thinks those might be, he asks, "Adjusting to what?"

Rose squints a bit, looking puzzled. "To me being his squire and not yours — what paths are we talking about, here?"

"I don't know, really. I never quite understood how you came by your arrangement so quick with him after things ended with you squiring for me, truth be told," Jarod says. Not that he's ever asked, and he's only non-asking now.

"What's to understand? We'd been sparring together since Stonebridge, he liked me and he saw my potential — and he found out about…" she gestures vaguely at her chest. "So he was sort of an obvious choice. The only choice, though that doesn't mean he wasn't a good one."

"All right." Jarod doesn't seem satisfied with that explanation, but he leaves it at that without further questions. "But like I was saying…winning a melee isn't the only…that's not all you can do to…make a life for yourself. What I mean is…you could stay here, if you wanted. In the Roost. With me."

Rose blinks. "And do what?"

Jarod shrugs at that, though he fumbles some, as if he's not quite sure of the answer. "Umm…be with me?" That's all he's got. "I think I could make my father accept Rowenna Nayland. He could protect you from your family. I'm not saying it'd be easy, but you wouldn't need to worry about being carted off to a Frey."

"Be with you," Rose echoes, and looks like it breaks her heart. "Oh, Jarod…" She shakes her head a little. "Do you think — would you even still want me if I gave up… so much of what I am, to be — what? A handmaid? I wouldn't be the same person at all."

"I'm not saying that's how it'd be, Rowenna. I don't know what in seven hells it'd be," Jarod says, dropping his gaze from hers at the way she makes it sound. He mutters, "I'm just saying…you've got the option, is all. We don't have to decide anything now. Just…think on it."

"You must have some idea," she says softly. "I love you, Jarod, but I'd never ask you to give up your knighthood for me. I know you think it's not the same thing, what you're asking, but…" Rose sighs, swallowing against a lump in her throat. "You'd never be content as a blacksmith, no matter how in love you were. You need to be able to serve and protect the people and land that you love." She takes a soft breath. "So do I."

Jarod plainly doesn't think it's the same, and his jaw sets stubbornly on that point, but he doesn't argue, really. "You talk like there's nothing else between being a lady's maid who sews kerchiefs all day and being a knight. You could work in the kennels, or the stables, even scout for the sheriff's men or track in the woods, perhaps. They take on all kinds. It's not…the world's not going to hand you everything you want just because you want it real bad, Rowenna, so at a certain point you've got to learn to be happy with what you *can* have." He looks on point of going on, but he doesn't. Standing instead. "There's…there's no point in talking on this now. You've plenty of time to do…whatever it is you're going to do. I don't want to fight with you. All I wanted to say was…if being with me was the better alternative for you when everything was said and done…well, you could do that."

"Just hand me — ?" Oh, there is quite a storm brewing behind her eyes, even as she bites off her words and breathes in so deep it causes her to flinch in pain. Her nostrils flare. "Nobody's just handed me anything, ever. I've worked twice as hard as any squire who's ever fucking lived — you'll never have one better or more dedicated. Neither of you. Seven smite you, Jarod Rivers, you can be such an ass." She shoves off the bed and walks to the window, her back to him, shoulders stiff. "It's all a very reasonable offer," she says tonelessly. "But… this is the rub, isn't it? You're very patient, but nothing — nothing we've ever fought about has changed. You're just waiting until I come to my senses."

"I'm waiting in case this goes so bad for you, you'll need a friend and…whatever in seven hells else we are…to see you through it," Jarod replies. "Whatever else we are. I've no fucking clue what that is most days. I love you, though." He admits it without any hesitation, though he's certainly missed more pleasant occasions to do it. "Not sure what that's worth to you. I'll leave you to it. Take care of yourself."

Rose utters a wet laugh as he drops those three words all women yearn for. "Really?" She can't help but smile, however painful and wry it might be. "Now?" Of all times. For fuck's sake. She sighs, tears in her eyes, a smile on her lips, her heart on her sleeve. She loves him, too. And right at the moment, it's killing her. "Go on," she gives him leave, wiping at her eyes and shooing him with a gesture. "We'll talk about this again. We've never failed to have the same argument thrice." And no doubt they will.

Jarod makes to take her in his arms and kiss her, well, before he goes. He may be thick, but he's at least smart enough not to say anything else before he has a chance to stride off.