|That Crocodile Smile|
|Summary:||Lady Danae Westerling escapes the wedding feast of Lord and Lady Charlton, only to find herself in a different sort of company with Ser Quellyan Charlton.|
|Cherise and Aleister's Wedding — Hollyhoyt|
The nuptials of Aleister and Cherise Charlton, nee Westerling, have been as decadent as appropriate for a son of the Charlton house. Which is to say, hugely so, with little expense spared for the celebration and a large guest list. Cheeks flushed pink from heat, dancing, and wine, Danae extracts herself from the teeming center of the party. In a delicate gown of the palest blue with fluttering gauzy skirts, tiny glittering shells embroidered along the collar and half-sleeves glimmer as she moves towards the gardens or at least towards the outdoors — attempting not to get lost in the unfamiliar home.
The departing Westerling would be in luck, as there is a courtyard off of where the feasting and dancing have been. A brief bit of solace under the night's sky-and mostly deserted. It is easily the quietest place in Hollyholt at the moment. Mind you, mostly deserted is the keyword, as another seems to be already out here. Hair damp, and cheeks flushed ruddy, stands a slightly tall individual. Swathed in a black leather surcoat, that allows for the emerald green sleeves of his doublet to flair and the black collar of his shirt to show-with its minute embroidering of mistletoe.
Silver cup remains in his hand, and only when he hears another's approach does Ser Quellyan turn his head briefly, before looking back up to the sky. "Quite warm in there isn't it?" asked, before he is imbibing in his drink. "Not much of a difference out here, but it's a bit more tolerable."
"Less bodies to press against your own at the least, my Lord," Danae replies, barely pausing to bob in a curtsey mid-step. "It'll do much to reduce it." She runs a hand along the back of her neck, unsticking hair from where it clings in heated ringlets. Her dress glimmers as she moves, settling herself near a bit of greenery and breathing in the warm air.
"Funny- I usually am fond of that." And he turns now to take in his new 'guest' so to speak. Quell pauses though as he watches Danae, before offering a bow of his own, though given then slight wobble- the warmth he is feeling may be due to his cups. "My Lady.." he offers. His grin slowly cooking along his visage as he moves to come within range of the poor Westerling girl. " I hope you do not mind, if I share in your company. I will promise not to press against your body though.." the sentence trails off as if there was more, but some how tact thankfully intervened.
"All the more grace to you then, my lord," Danae drawls softly and somewhat wryly, the wine pulling out a dash of extra honesty. There is no doubt that she is other than a Westerling and related to the newly wed Cherise, hair pale as moonlight under the stars and bleached of its colour. She smiles at the sight of one of the plants creeping along the courtyard, brushing her fingers along its edge. "No, no…" She pauses, looking up at Quellyan with a startled blink as he — promises. "No mind," she near squeaks. Ahem.
The poor girl couldn't be in better, or worse company. For as soon as that squeak comes there's a chuckle as he draws nigh, but doesn't sit. No he stands and gives her some breathing room, even if it is small. "You're a Westerling…" Ser Quellyan is indeed, Knight of the Obvious it seems. "If I had known that Lady Cherise had such lovely kinfolk, I think I would have spoken to my cousin about being introduced as opposed to keeping to my own." A grin as the wine certainly further emboldens an already bold man. "My manners are off. I'd blame the wedding and the wine-save I think they are usually skewed." A chuckle before he offered his hand. "Ser Quellyan Charlton." Which it might be hard to believe the man is a Charlton given his own actions. But then, he is not held to the same light his good Lord cousin is.
Not unlike a little bird with ruffled feathers, the small blonde lady recomposes herself in flutter that soon repositions her discomfiture to the elegant posture of a well-bred lady. The moonlight helpfully hides her blush, while her fingers fiddle with her skirts. "Yes, I am," Danae agrees softly, looking up at Quellyan with wide eyes. The compliment earns him a blink and murmured, "My lord is too kind." Really. No. Danae offers him a hesitant smile, dipping her chin in a dainty nod as her gaze sidles to those embroidered sprigs of mistletoe. His clothes are too fine to be other than a Lord, however unique his manner. "Ah — Lady Danae Westerling," she replies slowly, lifting a slim hand to his offering.
At least Quellyan is not like a cat, who seeks to eat the bird, or else he would be the worst hunter, and quite possibly the laziest of cats to ever have been conceived. Still- the man can sense some discomfort, which just adds for his grin to widen. Her hand is taken gently, as if he would be afraid of breaking it. Thumb barely strokes over a knuckle- as he bows his head to place a kiss, as sweetly as he may-pardon if his scruff chafes-before releasing her hand as gently as he took it. "Truly a pleasure to meet you." And there a quick half wink, before he is back into his cup-though thankfully he doesn't slurp his wine.
"Is this your first wedding to attend, Lady Danae?" Quellyan asks.
He seems more of the crocodile sort, waiting for the little birds to settle in his teeth amid his wide smile and snatching up a fish now and then. This little bird is quite happy on her perch, discomfiture slowly settling itself even as she watches him through pale lashes. A flush lights Danae's skin at the brush of this thumb, accompanied as it by a sweet kiss (lightly prickly). The gentleness surprises her slightly, causing her to relax as she looks to him with a warmer smile. "Indeed. A pleasure." She shakes her head, "No, but it is my first to attend so far from home. Your family hosts…quite the celebration." To say the least.
You know what they say, never smile at a crocodile..or something. It has to do with manners and all that. Still his boot comes up with the jingle of spurs-the only sign of his station this evening, quite close to where Danae has perched herself, but no touching. Leaning in on his knee, the knight seems more relaxed-than at the start. "Ah, well then I don't get to give you the fun talk about what all happens when the two go to bed." By that he means singing below their window-though who knows how it will be taken. "But, I am glad you were able to join us." a faint chuckle there before he is nodding. "They do- specially when it is one of our beloved- we will spare no expense." Or rather the Lord Aleister will spare no expense. He's quite sure, that if it was he being married, most of the money would be in the booze. "You should come back out for a holiday-particularly the Harvest festival. We have a grand fucking time then."
The laugh that follows is stopped before he is leaning back, boot down. "Pardon my tongue." quick and hastily, even if the wine's encouraging it. "I shouldn't speak like that with you..You being a fine Lady, Elegant-pretty. Please forgive me." is he being sincere? It sounds like it enough.
That distance between them shifts abruptly with Quellyan's abrupt shift in stance, close but still not touching. Danae eyes those jingling spurs with a skeptical glance, looking back up to knight with her brow slightly arched. That quickly proves to be a mistake, blue eyes widen as she leeans back a touch on the seat. "No, Ser. I think you can quite remove yourself from that conversation with me," she replies delicately. Uhm — right, singing below their window. Uh-huh. Danae blows out a soft breath as the booted foot is removed from her general space, shooting Quellyan an easy smile. "The wine does do such things to a man," she demurs gently, smoothing down her skirts. "I will likely be unable to return for such, it's quite a distance…no matter how grand the time."
The sudden widening of eyes has Quellyan squinting at the girl in confusion. "Lady- I did not know singing under a bower was such a repulsive act." And yes, poor Danae is given the queerest look from the Knight, before he is looking back to the sky, his own chuckle warm as the air. "It does." he agrees, looking back down with an easy if not crooked smile of his own for the Lady. Though a small frown comes, it does not last. "A pity then Lady Danae…" Quellyan offers. "For I would have looked forward to entertaining you." Or any lady brave enough to hang about Quellyan on a night of drinking and whatever devilry may follow.
Of all things, that response causes Danae to break into a sudden note of laughter and press her hands to her mouth. It is a little giddy with the wine that has been drunk, spirits lifting all the more for its chemical effervescence. It joins his chuckle in the night air, high and trilling. She shakes her head, hands still coving her mouth as she looks up at him with bright eyes. "That…my apologies, Ser. I misunderstood your meaning." Nevermind. Tucking a curl back behind her ear, she smiles gently. "No. I'm afraid it is not to be, Ser Quellyan." It wouldn't be proper anyways.
Quellyan stares at Danae for a moment, and one would almost think that Quellyan is slow, given how he kingers in that look, before the sharpest of grin slowly shows itself, and now the knight is moving to sit down beside the lady Westerling. "Oh.." Quellyan's voice drops as if someone septa may be lurking around the corner to listen. "That…" a nod there before his own warm chuckle comes out, though perhaps more unneeded heat is allowed as well. "Fear not, Lady Danae. If I was to talk about that with you. I think it would require more wine among other things on our collective parts." Which reminds him briefly of the book he gave to Aleister along with a wedding gift for the happy couple. A lean in, but at least he's not touching. Just uncomfortably close.
There is a sigh there, though a little more dramatic for the effect. "I understand, my Lady. But, it would have been 'fun' anyway." His smile all teeth before he is taking in more drink-or courage. "Are you staying long, after the couple are wed?"
The small blonde lady goes very still as Quellyan settles himself next to her on the garden bench. Her full skirts possibly brushing against his leg depending on how close he sits, fanned out against the ground as they are, brushing in flase intimacy. Danae shifts slighty as his chuckle blows heated hair against her skin, his lean so that breath tickles her neck. "That," she begins and pauses, leveling the tremor in her voice as she attempts to shift without being obvious about it, "is quite unnesscery, Ser Quellyan. There is not enough wine aside."
"Am I so wretched to look at?" a jest in the question, but he is shrugging all the same. He doesn't move, even as she seems to have some tremor to her voice. Perhaps because in this very squirmy moment, it's quite amusing for the knight. "My lady, I did not bring up the topic." he notes, before he is offering his cup to her. "I do not let it wash back in, if you're worried." a pause there. "For your throat..sounds like something is innit." meaning he can hear the discomfort there. "And please Lady- I may be a wolf of a man, but I'd dare not eat you here in the courtyard-despite how others may talk. I do have some decorum." a grin there. "No matter how hard I try not to."
And then like that as wine remains offered out Qullyan is looking away. "Do you know my lord cousin, at all? Or had you before this wedding?" A shift into less seedy conversation, before his own mind falls further into the well, than it is.
"No, my lord." Danae flutters a bit, straighteing her skirts and smoothing down her hair as that persistant flush lingers in her skin. Technically, she didn't really bring it forward either — but. "My thanks," she murmurs, taking the cup and taking a solid drink of it, lest she say anything to further offend the Charlton knight. Wolf. Knight. That drink is followed by a second one at his assurances of decorum, surely to ease her nerves. "I am afraid I am not much of a morsel, Ser. You would do better hunting the does within the party," she says gently, if pointedly, settling the wine back in his hand. "I knew your lord cousin, my good cousin now, from his trip to the Westerlands — where he met my fair cousin," she offers quietly.
"No, my lady." Quellyan states quite easily. "You are no mere little morsel, and you do yourself a great disservice to think of yourself as such. If I can see it, there are many other men, with less kindness who will as well." And the cup is taken back "You're welcome." offered softly, before he is sipping carefully. "As for hunting in there." a chuckle "My lady, I do not see it as a hunt. Pursuit-yes, but never a hunt. I never know prey to be willing in a hunt, do you?" A glance back before he is shaking his head, glass offered out without saying anything more.
"Ah, I wish I could have accompanied him, but alas I was needed here. I haven't been out to the Westerlands in some time, not since a little after the War." But he doesn't focus on that. "What did you find appealing about my good cousin? Or rather our good cousin?"
There is no spoken response to Quellyan's easy words, freckled hands folded neatly in her lap. "It is a hunt of a sort, which is as I have seen. If you are none too careful, some of that prey shall attempt to hunt you in turn," Danae observes fluidly, humor touching her voice; her gaze slipping towards the glided and glittering ladies within. There are more than a few of whom who should do just that if given the opportunity. She'll take that glass, if only to reserve her words as she takes a sip. "The scenery has changed little since then." If populated by different bodies, many good men died in the war. "Me?" Danae purses her lips for a moment, handing the glass back as she tips her head back towards the sky. "Probably a number of them same things that made him so indelibly appealing to my dear cousin, a fine match that they are. He has an easy manner, I suppose." She sounds more congratulatory than desirous of that match herself, quiet words further softened with wine. She holds no torch for Aleister, herself.
"Do you think so?" Quellyan asks as he watches the Westerling woman, before he is looking back inside for a moment, or rather to whom Danae is looking. A chuckle there. "They would find money for sure. I have it." but it doesn't seem like a boast. "But, dear lady. If a woman wishes to attach herself to me for that, she'll find the rest most likely unappealing." A look back to the woman "But, isn't that he case when one hunts and ah…congresses for money? Emptiness.." Oh wine, you wretched tool. Only you could swing a man's tempers from flirtatious to suddenly sullen in such a bloody minute. The glass taken back, he drains down all, but the last sip, which is offered too the lady once more. "Indeed he does."
And now, only now does his boldness come back-with the warmth of the wine in his veins. His hand careful in it's movements reaches to place upon her own, even if they've stilled to her lap. "And what would you say of me, Lady Danae- No false niceties. I hate those. Be honest."
There is a variety of bodies glad in sink and gems for her to look to, clustered like butterflies as they elegantly sweep across the room. Danae arches her brows slightly, tipping her slender shoulders in a mild shrug. "There is an element of practicality to the venture, Ser Quellyan, even if they look first to your wealth. Many marry and find that affection later," she opines gracefully, if with the flavor of rote knowledge, withouth consternation for either party in the match. Smiling slightly, she declines the last sip and pressing it back towards him with a fingertip. "I'd be a poor interloper on the garden to empty your last drop."
Danae's hands do resettle in her lap. The slim pair overlaid atop on and the other, so that Quellyan catches both as he lays his hand over them gently. Blue eyes drop, looking down at those hands that cover her own as she swallows. "I do think that I know you well enough to say, Ser."
The cup taken back is held in his free hand, as his other gently squeezes it's poor captives. There's a look back to her, as the cup is set down, and he reaches over if but to tip her chin up, and most likely garner the poor girl's uncomfortable attention back to him. "I'd be a poor host if I did not offer." and then his own smile back and easy. "Well then, sweet Lady-Give me your first impressions? I find those matter a lot in many different instances." It seems as if Quellyan is not giving her an easy way out.
Shoulders set in line, Danae's fingers curl into her skirts as Quellyan gently squeezes her paired hands. Her chin is lifted most grudgingly, gaze half-shielded by a spray blonde lashes as she looks to him with a pale gaze. So pinned, she does not fully return his easy smile. Her own is a gentle and courtly thing that could — perhaps — be interpretted to be warmer than it is. "My first impressions…Ser?" Is he certain that he wants those? "You are a direct man, used to getting what you wish…with excellent taste in wine. That was a lovely red," she sweetly obscures.
There is a smile on the Knight's face and even perhaps a bit amused given the resistance felt, or at least-read from the woman. "Oh, Danae." said softly. "You are right, and your are wrong. I am certain that I am direct…and that I do have excellent taste in wine." A nod of his head, which brings it closer, and she can smell the light perfume the red still has on him. "Thank you." murmured "But," and there his hand comes from her chin. "I don't always get what I want." and he lets that hold. "But-" Oh gods, oh seven-what is he doing? "I do try for it." And with that he is indeed trying for it.
Whether or not the exceedingly wine emboldened knight, gets that kiss is one thing. It's another if it lasts and a slap doesn't follow. So slap should be incoming.
There is a subtle lean back as Danae attempts to back away, his hand sliding up along her skin catching her and keeping her someone closer than she would like. The shiver of slick is audible as she shifts, fabric sliding as she tries to extricate herself gracefully. "You…" Caught under the light clasp of his hands and too startled to do more, his kiss lands catches her mouth. The kiss lingers for a breath longer than it ought, thanks to that shock.
1. There's a sharp slap that follows the kiss. Stinging as her hand, torn from his hold, flies across his cheek in a pique of fury. "You cad," Danae hisses, pushing roughly back at Quellyan's shoulders to pull herself from his grasp and wriggle off the park bench. It is a token amount of roughness for she isn't very large, but she does try.
For Danae's part when the slap comes- Quellyan doesn't laugh, nor does he jerk his head too much. just a slight turn, before he is letting go-so he struggling hopefully will get her away and not onto her arse. One hand reaches up to touch where the slap hit, before he is taking up the now remembered cup. "Better than I've been called before." though this is no boast, and seems almost dryly to be said to himself.
And he is draining that last drop of wine down, as if it were a shot from a crossbow. Quick-and hard. Though this doesn't take him from his feet.
"I imagine not," Danae drawls tightly, tearing herself away and rising to her feet. She shakes out her hand, which is still smarting from her end of the smack, watching him with eyes bright with emotion. Her hands sweep her skirts fiercely, causing them flare out behind her as she stalks towards the house.
There's a look up to the woman as he replaces whatever gloom was there with a smirk, and his own laugh comes-though it lacks any mirth behind it. "Thank you, for a wonderful time, Lady Danae." The knight says as he rises, letting his eyes follow her in her stalking. "I shall not mar your reputation." As if that was the fear, as opposed to the man stealing a kiss.
A shake of his head and Quellyan turns back towards a topiary for a moment. "Don't you just fucking love weddings?" though this is said softly to himself.