[The Dark Raven Soars]

/ By WI_ [+Watch]

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  1. [Allowed] darien


[b [center Victorian Magic]]

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He chuckled at her. Charlene was more impressed he was not cross with her for disrupting their hostess’ peace. She accepted the intriguing little device he tossed her way, and looked it over in her palm. She’d never seen anything like it, and delighted at how the flame sprouted up without a match. She brought the flame to her cigarette and listened as he explained the rings. The first was a translation ring and to know she would need such a thing thrilled her. What would be the need of such an enchantment if he did not intend to take her across the globe? Her imagination flourished with a myriad of possibilities and places. There was wonder and excitement concealed behind a steady gaze.

All those thoughts paled after he explained the second ring. Charlene’s body tensed, over loaded with excitement and nervousness. Magic, or rather ‘not magic’, was a real and tangible thing. She had stepped away from the railing of the porch, indicating her supreme interest in the topic, until his comment about firearms. She arched a brow at him. She fired her first gun with her father at eight years old. She got her first rifle at twelve. Apparently he saw this as a problem and in a rather smug tone, proclaimed he intended to keep her safe. If that stone monster the other day was his definition of protection she was doomed.

She made no comment, only to allow him to address the issue that had been nagging at her all morning. Ms. Elizabeth, their hostess and the unfortunate recipient of Charlene’s insecurities and ire. Mr. Isaksson’s explanation of her did little to assuage Charlene’s feelings, but allow for some clarification into the other woman’s character. Apparently he gathered the woman liked her enough to find her ‘worth the time’. That was nice, she supposed.
[i “She doesn’t like submissive personalities...] He began to conclude, and summarized she had increased her value in Ms. Elizabeth’s eyes, and stressed once more not to accept an offer or deal made by the woman. What was she, some sort of Crossroads demon? The kind that bartered for years of your soul for something in return? Regardless he had mentioned it nigh three times now. The rule was concrete, she would follow his advice.

Charlene took the final drag of smoke before she put it out into the little ashtray on a small iron table by the bench, and listened as he prompted a new conversation. Or rather, he referenced their parting goodnights. Was he in her dreams? No, but if he had... how many times would she have struck him? She didn’t have an answer, but she pretended to ponder on it as she dropped into the bench beside him and crossed her legs, looking out at the street.
[+green “Dream of you... mmm... nope. Can’t say that I did. Slept like a baby last night.”] A half truth... the image of the woman in black had haunted her for a spell. There was something very dark about that creature, and Charlene didn’t need instinct to know that. Glossing past the fleeting thought, Charlene let a coy grin grace her face, her gaze on the distant horizon. [+green “Why ask? We’re you hoping for a ‘yes’? Would you like for me to dream of you, Mr. Isaksson? I could... you are rather handsome for a man your age... but, don’t you think that’s a bit inappropriate of a Mentor and his apprentice?”] She chided teasingly at him, and only then did she turn her face towards him. She chuckled at him, amused by the thought, and the faintest traces of what she thought was a blush on his cheeks hiding under his manicured beard.

[+green “Nevermind that,”] she waved with a grin, saving him from having to answer. [+green “Did you have any breakfast? I’m sure there’s still some left inside, we made plenty this morning. In the meanwhile, what shall you have me learn today?”] She asked with a pleasant smile, and genuine eagerness to begin at his earliest convenience.
  Charlene Dodger / darien / 33d 3h 34m 24s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Deflection was an excellent descriptor for what Sebastian had been doing himself recently, and as she explained her lack of inquiring spirit – which sat in stark contrast to how she had been upon first meeting her – he felt a building sense of guilt within his chest. Her discomfort in the moment transferred across rather evidently, dark olive eyes watching as she stood and his fingers traced the worn cover of his stack of books. Whilst it may have been prudent to let her vent and remain silent there was one thing Mr. Isaksson certainly wasn’t; patient.

[+teal “I will accept your apology if it helps you but I would say I am the one to blame for you supposed ‘deflecting’.”] His free hand rose, air quotes accentuating his denial of her supposed habit of self-loathing. She was a sweet if naïve girl, as he saw it.[+teal “When we met in the tea room I claimed to have poisoned you and forced you into a very inappropriate position by propositioning your curiosity against your self-worth. From there things have not exactly been calm, especially yesterday, and for that I am the one who must apologise. I’ve been straddling these two worlds for so long I forget that the majority of the world’s population is much as yourself, clueless to what goes on around them.”] She was pacing a little now, and he wanted to continue his little speech of reassurance, but she seemed eager to move on and so he left the conversation there.

Her questions and statements came thick and fast. Talk of the rings was left unanswered as she jumped to a confession on how breakfast had gone. Watching her in wonder he was surprisingly quiet and well-mannered as she danced about her morning. He went from trepidation that Elizabeth had done something wrong to pride in his apprentice that she had stood up to their imposing host and he finished with a light rose hue to his cheeks when she implied their host had some admiration for him. He let out a small chuckle, releasing a little of his tension as she drew out her cigarette case, his hands moving to his long coat and reach within the inner pocket.[+teal “My, that is an awful lot to unpack and answer for but let me try and go point by point whilst you settle down.”] His hand returned with a crimson cylinder the length and width of her thumb. Holding it out toward her he deftly turned it upside down to show a small blue reflective surface, turning it upright and pressing his thumb to the said underside. From the flat tip sprouted a flame about two inches long and waving in the light breeze of the morning. Feeling she had the idea of how it worked he brought away his thumb and light extinguished before he lightly tossed it towards her to catch.

[+teal “Firstly, you mentioned the rings I have requested of Ms. Elizabeth, of which there will be two; for now.”] Up popped his middle and fore finger on his left hand.[+teal “The first is a fairly basic translation ring. Let’s say someone speaks to you in German, which I assume you speak little of, then you will instead hear what they say in English. And visa versa for you. It takes time to attune to you and your capabilities, and you will learn in time to use it to alter your language at whim. Just don’t expect to put it on and speak fluent Mandarin or Latin immediately.”] It would be terribly annoying for him to constantly be translating everything for her. This way she could keep up with conversations and he would not be pestered to update her ever few seconds. By now, his middle finger had dropped.[+teal “The other,”] he wagged his remaining finger a little,[+teal “will be key to harnessing what humans term as ‘magic’, though in reality is much more natural than you would think. It will act as a conduit and training aid but also will inhibit you until I am assured you are both respectful and understanding of the power you may possess. You wouldn’t give a firearm to a child..”] Going quiet for a moment his eyes did narrow toward her hip where her pistols would usually sit, and for a very brief moment he eyed her curving figure before coming back to her piercing dark gaze.[+teal “You are American though, you believe firearms are a ‘God given right’, so perhaps you would. But I am here to be the responsible parent and keep you safe after all.”] What he would teach her would be immeasurably more powerful than a weapon.

Keen to move on from the momentary lapse in concentration, and letting his hand drop back to his lap, he let out an airy sigh.[+teal “As for Elizabeth, you need to understand that she is quite intruding. She does not know of personal boundaries and would no sooner ask you to sit at her breakfast table as join her in her chambers. So any forwardness she may show or any accusation about your character she may make is rather entirely within character for her – you become used to it.”] He could no sooner change that woman’s personality as he could stop the sun from rising. In a way he liked that blunt nature, as he always knew where he stood with her. Of course mysteries such as Charlene held their own interest.[+teal “She only admires me for what I can give her – and no I am not boasting about what you think I am boasting about,”] a wry grin tugged his lips, memories of the previous night’s playful teasing with Charlene sparking in the minds eye,[+teal “but if you do not interest her or can’t provide her with what she wants then you aren’t worth her time. And by what you tell me she thinks you are very much worth her time.”] He sat back into his seat with moderate amusement dancing across his stark features, his demeanour much more relaxed than they had begun at.[+teal “She doesn’t like submissive personalities. If you told her what for and put her in her place, which is how I understand things ended, then you will only have her increased your value in her eyes. So again I stress about being a little wary of her offers. They are often better than they seem.”] He left such a cryptic sentence up for her interpretation as he folded his hands together and let his gaze wander back to the street before them. In truth he did not fear coming up against a stern Elizabeth. She may be intimidating and he wanted to assure Charlene that she was not in any trouble, but even if she had been the alluring host within would not be allowed to cause her any harm. He was much more protective of Charlene than perhaps she realised.

[+teal "So,"] he began, still looking away from her,[+teal "was I in your dreams? If so, and by extension, how many times did you hit me?"] He grinned as he sat quite happily enjoying the pleasant morning on the porch.
  WI_ / 75d 2h 58m 19s
[+green “Deflection.”]

It was one simple word, spoken when Mr. Iskasson had given up in his flustered state with her. Her eyes were cast out on the street, following the passerby’s and imagining that all she saw could very well be something else, and that there was likely something she wasn’t seeing at all. She took his words to heart, and mulled over all she’d seen. He pouted beside her, and she felt a small twinge of guilt for having teased him. He shouldn’t have made it so easy, and her behavior had been less than mature -too playful. She knew why, and she knew that to work together they would have to learn to also understand each other. Slowly she turned her gaze to him and gave a wan smile.

[+green “You’re right, I have a thousand questions, but they all mean nothing if I’m not ready for the answers, and the ones I’ve asked have gone unanswered, and only scratch the surface of what I truly want to know. I’ve assumed you are a man who will divulge the information to me as needed, or when you feel I am ready. So to handle my own insecurities and uncertainty, I deflect. Mostly with humor. I’m sorry, I’ve done much to your pride in our short time together. I’ll try to refrain from doing it so much. After all, you are doing me a kindness, and I do appreciate it. I want to learn... but there’s a part of me that’s afraid of what I might find out... not just about this world, but about myself.”] She shifted her weight on the bench, until she finally stood up to pace the porch.
Unable to ‘play it cool’ any longer, she also needed something to do, to occupy her time with. She also needed to confess about what happened during his absence at breakfast. She just wasn’t sure how to approach it, though it needed approach. She decided he better know before going inside, less she let him get blindsided by any potential ire Ms. Elizabeth might have.

[+green “So what is it about these rings you want Ms. Elizabeth to make?”] Charlene asked eager to move the conversation on, and now looking at him from where she leaned her body against the porch railing. [+green “Also I should probably tell you that breakfast was... well... a battle of wits? I debated telling you this, but she’s your friend, so you should know what you might be walking into.”] At his questioning gaze, Charlene sheepishly looked to her feet and confessed what happened at breakfast. [+green “Everything was going fine. I was learning a lot about both of you, and helping with the cooking, but she started to ask me questions I didn’t care to answer. She went from admirable to irritating. I may have gotten a bit short with her after she seemed to mistake me for a gold digging harlot... and informed her she was wrong.”] An irritated glare crossed Charlene’s face and she looked away, for all her irritation her cheeks burned with embarrassment. [+green “Not even my type... so stupid...”] she grumbled under her breath, and finally added a final caveat to their conversation her gaze clear on Mr. Isaksson. [+green “She clearly admires you, and I don’t think she likes me very much. So good luck in there, and sorry if this puts you in a bad spot. I’m honestly a little scared to go back in.”] she confessed with a quick grin removing her cigarette case with every intention of having another smoke.
  darien / 80d 10h 8m 18s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her gentle touch drew him back from his longing gaze, lost in thought and dream alike and quite content to have remained there. Looking down on her warm fingers as they slipped away from his knee he listened quietly to what she had to say though it only brought a roseate hue to his cheeks.[+teal “Well actually-“] he had thought to explain himself at last but was cut off as she exclaimed his ‘talent’ and barked a derisory laugh. [i ‘Fine, she will wait for an explanation’] he tried to justify to himself as if it were any punishment at all to withhold that piece of knowledge. Like a child taunted mercilessly by his peers he sat with his books in silence, placing them like a barrier in the space between them, though as if he were there on that porch alone. His dark emerald eyes turned to gaze out on the street ahead of them as her sweet laughter dwindled and she turned the conversation to a less involved subject.

He maintaining his vow of silence a little longer, letting her question remain unanswered, doing his best to remain stoic and dignified though it was altogether futile as he glanced back to see that beaming smile facing his way. She had him. A huff of displeasure to make sure and he did his best to move on.[+teal “Well, given the rather drastic events from yesterday,”] both the circus fight and the trip to illusionary Paris,[+teal “I’m keen to keep you quite safe and out of harm’s way for today. Whilst Elizabeth works on the pieces I need I will give you a few very basic lessons about the other world to try and help your assimilation into it. You know, the world that runs parallel to this one”] A hand rose to indicate the passing workers on the street, the click-clack of horses pulling carriages, the general din of human life that ran in the background. The same hand came back to him, brushing through his hair in a therapeutic manner and back to rub at his neck.[+teal “I find it odd how you haven’t asked many questions, or rather any questions at all. You see a man disappear in a plume of dust as an entire road rises up from the ground and there are no questions as to whether I am dangerous or a threat. A living being consisting of naught more than rock tries to kill you – you care more about your friend’s feelings being hurt. You have had more questions about what my relationship with Ms Elizabeth is than all of that combined!”] He purposefully left out the Paris excursion. That was something he would not burden her with until he felt she had the necessary strength to cope with it. Then again it did bring him around to the original topic.

[+teal “And for your information, when I say I’ve had no complaints you don’t understand just what that means. Those in the astral world are just so damn fickle! It-it-it’s either this or that and maybe some of this with a little of that! So damn difficult to satisfy that.. just.. bah!”] His hands flew up for a moment in his annoyance at being unable to convey his meaning. Clearly he was just the slightest bit perturbed by her teasing and his annoyance had bubbled over in a sweet if pouty manner, sitting back into his seat and folding his arms across his chest.[+teal “Not that it matters.”] He mumbled to himself. Let it not be said that Sebastian was not a man of many persona’s.
  WI_ / 83d 23h 15m 8s
Charlene wasn’t alone on the porch ten minutes before she saw Mr. Isaksson walking down the lane. She had drank the better half of her coffee before it had grown cold, and had tried to reason that Ms. Elizabeth hadn’t tried to provoke her on purpose, but damnit all if Charlene didn’t hate how she’d been spoken to in that final moment. As if she was interested in the things Ms. Elizabeth had mentioned. If anything, Charlene had gone out of her way to avoid such things as a ‘husband’. How dreadful and how dull!

Still, Charlene was disappointed that she might not be able to be friends with Ms. Elizabeth as it was. There was no denying Ms. Elizabeth’s infatuation with Mr. Isaksson, and from what Charlene had learned Mr. Isaksson placed some merit of respect and trust in that woman. Charlene knew she was going to have to apologize, or else run the risk of putting Mr. Iskasson in a very awkward spot with someone who was his ally. Besides the woman had made Charlene pancakes... perhaps she wasn’t that bad, and Charlene was the one who was being... of all things: over protective. The last thing Charlene wanted was to come between two old friends.

Charlene didn’t have time to muse any deeper, because she was now distracted by Mr. Isaksson’s presence. She arched a brow seeing him muttering to himself and toting a set of books with him. What bee was buzzing in his bonnet this morning, she wondered. He spotted her and the look on her face was just as questioning as his, and it did not fade until he made his way up onto the porch with her.

She wasn’t as ‘at home’ as Mr. Isaksson seemed to believe, but she made room for him on the bench and welcomed his company. She didn’t stop him when he took her drink either, and instead sat back with a grin as he flinched at the taste. Of course it was cold, she hadn’t refilled it for nearly a quarter hour.
[+green “Serves you right,”] she teased, taking her cup back from him, and unable to wipe the smile from her face at his discomfort. He seemed to suddenly become aware that she was outside, and he questioned her for it, but it was his mood... it was different today. She saw the odd look on his face and reached out with a hand, [+green “You’re rambling,”] she told him with a gentle pat to his knee and brought her hands back to her lap. [+green “You seem a little wound up this morning. If I didn’t know any better I would say you’re nervous, but don’t worry... I didn’t hear a single complaint this morning from out Hostess. She’s very fond of you, and....”] Charlene teased with a mischievous grin, having more to say and delighting in how easy it was to make the man uncomfortable, even if just the slightest. [+green “Your exceptional talent!”] She snorted, unable to help herself, and giggled. With a sighed she decided to avoid speaking about breakfast and instead asked him where he’d run off to so quickly this morning
[+green “You sure did high tail it out of here this morning. For a moment I thought you’d abandoned me, but you’re back, and now you can tell me what it is we’re going to do today! What interesting things will you teach me?”] She smiled as innocently and sweetly at him as she could, the image of bubbly delight. In truth she was eager to learn, and if she could avoid it, she wouldn’t mention her breakfast conversation with Elizabeth... at least not until she’d had a chance to talk with the woman further. Perhaps this was also a ploy to keep Isaksson away from Elizabeth until Charlene could make sure there was no fire on that bridge.
  Charlene Dodger / darien / 95d 26m 54s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Charlene’s sudden change in demeanour was most captivating to Elizabeth as she had gotten what she desired. The woman went from the sweet and unassuming foreign damsel, here at Sebastians request and [i ‘simply following Mr Isaksson for the brilliant man he was’], to a rather intelligent, shrewd, forward and direct little minx. Oh how she loved the latter, though the former were not without their fun. The changes were slight, a change in her eyes or the way she held herself in her seat, but the tone of her voice and the words that fell from such full lips made quite clear that this was most definitely a strong woman. Sebastian knew how to pick them and she was just his type. Matching the intensity of those mesmerizing walnut eyes, the smoke that spilled forth from her mouth lazily drifted up between the two women and a light fog added to the setting. If it had been a theatrical performance Elizabeth would be clapping her dainty hands in delight. [i More, more!] to quote herself the night just passed.

When Charlene had finished and offered a polite if humourless comment about her hosts ability as a wife, one of Elizabeth’s slender brows rose a touch. Aside from that faint movement she had not moved from the moment the woman had lit her cigarette and even now, watching those curving hips seductively sway as she sauntered away and out of the kitchen, she remained fixed in her place. It took a little time for her lips to curl up just a little, the words sinking in and a thought forming behind those beautiful if dangerous eyes; she may have to tell Sebastian he would have to make do without his charge for a few days. Charlene was a delight.

---

Charlene was on the porch not ten minutes before a familiar looking man came down the lane to her right. He was dressed as smart as she could recall from the day prior, still missing a tie to his buttoned shirt though his clothing looks freshly cleaned if not new and under his left arm he carried a series of books. They were thick tomes, bound in leather though the edges were frayed and curling back from the binding and the pages were as yellow as the first morning’s urination. As he plodded along the street she would catch his lips moving though he did not speak aloud and no-one walked beside him. His right hand gesticulated at times and he would pause multiple times whilst this personal argument with, seemingly, himself went on at great length. It must have been one hell of a discussion.

It was only upon reaching the entrance, free hand steadied on the wrought iron gate as he opened it, that he spied Charlene sat on the bench placed out on the porch. There was a questioning look to his gaze though he often had such an appearance, yet he was truthfully rather surprised to see her sat there. The hesitation he had in seeing her lasted only a second or two, much like his other interludes, before he was walking swiftly down the path and up onto the porch.

[+teal “I see you have made yourself quite at home,”] he said in gesturing to the cup in her hand and the finished cigarette not far away,[+teal “I trust this means she has fed you and to your own satisfaction. Her breakfasts can be a little much especially if she wants something from you.”] It was not a statement that required answering and as he slipped by her to take a seat at her side he stole the cup from her hands and took a sip. Immediately his demeanour soured, lips pulled taut and thin, eyes closing over, brows raising and head turned away.[+teal “My word, bitter [i and] cold.”] He quickly passed the cup back and shook his head in distaste at her choice in beverage, eventually looking at her a touch perturbed as if she had chosen it just to upset him.[+teal “Why are you out here? Did she proposition you? I did warn her against doing such things. She’s always trying to do that to anyone I bring with me. Except Father James, though that is for obvious reasons.”] His words wandered though his gaze came back to Charlene as he noted the change in style, eyes running over her very quickly only to found her hair loose, tousled and framing her light tanned face rather pleasantly. A rather nice surprise to have this morning.
  WI_ / 84d 43m 20s
Charlene wasn’t surprised to hear of Elizabeth’s travels, but it was her description that seemed off. Charlene had never known New York City to be considered small. She mentioned Mr. Isaksson’s special talents again, and Charlene watched her from over the edge of her coffee mug. The black liquid was warm and inviting, and helped to sharpen her senses as her hostess continued to prattle on. Charlene continued with her manners, and while she did enjoy the woman’s company she had begun to sense a feeling in her gut to keep the woman at arms length. Elizabeth had traveled the world, and Charlene wa able to fill the bulk of their breakfast with talk about far away places, and the memories tied to them.

However Charlene and Elizabeth both knew the small chat wouldn’t last long, and Elizabeth made that clear when she called Charlene out on it. A slow coy grin grew on Charlene’s features.
[+red “What are you hoping to gain from your relationship with him? You don't seem to lust for him, though perhaps you are just better at deceiving that I know, and you seem so unsure of Sebastian that I doubt you see him as a means of obtaining wealth, what little if any he has. I'm curious what you seek from him.”]
It was a tone Charlene had heard a time or two before from other women. Jealousy, veiled behind a screen of saccharine. Elizabeth wouldn’t be the first woman to feel threatened by Charlene’s presence, but perhaps this might be the first time such feeling was warranted. In regards to Mr. Isaksson, Charlene knew well she couldn’t make any promises, but at least this was one game she knew how to play.

Women could be savage, intentionally cruel, and calculating, and they could do all of it with a smile on their face, or look of innocence. For who would suspect a simple woman? Women were marked by their silence and obedience, hell they couldn’t even vote. Charlene felt men kept women oppressed as a means of control, because to let them loose on the world -as their equals, men would learn very quickly as to the superiority of women. Charlene had eaten her fill by this point in their conversation, and rested one hand beside her plate, the other held her coffee cup, and while her body maintained a relaxed state in the chair she occupied, Charlene’s eyes were as sharp as glass, and her expression that of a seasoned poker player. That small coy smile remained, playful but cautionary. She then withdrew a silver case and opened it to reveal hand rolled cigarettes and a pack of matches. With a look Charlene asked permission and once given she placed one to her lips and lit it. She left the rest out for Elizabeth should she fancy one, and let a breath exhale before speaking.

[+green “Why Ms. Elizabeth, I must say I’m not surprised to hear you speak so defensively for him. As you said before, he is a remarkable man. We can speak frank, you know? It’s obvious. Has been since the moment we arrived last night. If it was a rich husband I wanted I could have found one back home. I didn’t come all the way here for a good time, or for a fuck… I could have got all that back home. What I can’t get there is answers…or tomatoes from Andalusia.”] Charlene smiled, but there was something false about it, the delicate tension between them suddenly became taunt and while Charlene did not wish to upset her host, Charlene wouldn’t take shit either. She tapped the ash down onto her plate and crossed her arms. [+green “I have my own reasons for reaching out to him, but it was ultimately his choice you should know. He didn’t have to accept me, mind you, he could have waved me off and gone about his life. Except he didn’t, and I have a feeling he’s illuminated at least some small reason for why to you. Whatever it is makes you nervous…”] Charlene’s voice was steady and soft in that moment, but there was a lethality layered under it. It also revealed Charlene was far more perceptive that she had let on to Mr. Isaksson. She leaned into the table, voice dropping so it was simply between her and Ms. Elizabeth, the only thing between them was the smoke that curled up from Charlene’s cigarette. [+green “You want to know if I’m a threat in any and all aspects. We both know this conversation was never about Mr. Isaksson. It was about learning the other. You’ve told me everything I want to know about you, and all you need to know about me, is I’m just a simple apprentice. I was at the right place at the right time, and I’ve got bigger problems than some pissy match over petty shit like a man.”] Charlene smirked then taking a final drag on her cigarette and putting it out on the plate. She stole a last gulp of coffee and pocketed her cigarette case. Donning a smooth grin Charlene stood up taking her plate and cup. [+green “Now, thank you for your hospitality. Breakfast was delicious. No better way to start the day than with an exceptional breakfast. You’d make a fine wife.”] Charlene raised her coffee mug in a mock toast, took her plate to the sink, refilled her coffee, and took her leave.

Charlene grumbled darkly under her breath as she made her way out of the house and onto the small porch. Charlene had a feeling she might regret this mornings interaction, but Elizabeth had risen a darker side out of Charlene. Wether it was intentional or accidental Charlene wasn’t sure -on either of their parts, but it had happened and she was certain that when Mr. Isaksson returned their host would certainly give him an earful concerning his little apprentice. Where the hell was he anyway? Feeling frustrated and not one hundred percent sure why she felt that way, she had herself another cigarette and sat in quiet contemplation with her coffee and her thoughts until Mr. Isaksson’s return.
  Charlene Dodger / darien / 117d 21h 7m 54s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat [i 'This young and bright woman is quite raucous and playful at her core'], Elizabeth pondered as she looked across the table to her lively guest. Their chat had flirted along the lines of spoken and unspoken truths. Never explicit in what her relationship with Sebastian entailed she did like to drop titillating minor details and see the interest build in the woman's vivid emerald eyes.

[+firebrick “Oh I have plenty a tale to tell about Sebastian, all of them embarrassing, but perhaps not best for breakfast table gossip.”] As she sat she waited for her guest to take her first helping from the several plates and took her own delight in seeing Charlene enjoy her meal. She seemed positively ravenous and aside from taking a sliver or two of black pudding for herself, cutting it into small bite size pieces with a knife, she left the fried meats and hot cakes to the American woman. After all she was almost starving given no meal by that devilish man. He had told Elizabeth all of what he knew – for she would not babysit the auburn haired woman otherwise – and what she now knew made her feel rather motherly to the girl.

Taking up her own coffee she paused to add a good pour of cream and a spoonful of sugar, the metallic spoon clinking against the porcelain as she stirred the mixture together and smiled at the chattiness of her ravenous boarder, waving off her thanks for the meal in modest acceptance.[+firebrick “Oh, I visited New York City many moons ago. Back then it was such a quaint and beautiful place. Far less people, which suited my tastes.”] There was a pause in her talk to lift the cup and sip. When it came back down, she saw the raised eyebrow of the other woman and smiled knowingly.[+firebrick “I know,”] she paused to settle the cup down,[+firebrick “I live in the center of London, not exactly the countryside or a humble village in the valleys. But I have found this city has its charms and delights that I cannot find elsewhere. And yes, that does include Sebastian and his.. how did you put it, very beneficial, talents.”] Here they were again having a very heated conversation. She must control herself.

[+firebrick “In truth I used to be somewhat like yourself. I travelled far and wide and lived free and day-by-day. I have seen Germany and Italy and Egypt and the Far East.”] She listed such far off countries like they were not more than a trip down the road away, but her voice showed her delight as she recalled the fond memories and as she spoke she pushed a plate of bacon and sausage closer toward Charlene.[+firebrick “Bacon from Holstein and sausage from Bavaria. Not to mention tomatoes from Andalusia.”] Even her ingredients were as exotic as her home.

Despite the friendly talking, where she went on for a little longer in a back and forth manner with the woman about things they missed from the countries they had visited, Elizabeth cradled her warm cup of coffee between her hands and smiled softly.[+firebrick “Something tells me that whilst you enjoy the light conversation and learning that little more about someone else, your mind is elsewhere. Perhaps pondering questions that Sebastian will not answer for you – or ones you have yet to ask him.”] She did not know of the woman in her Parisian escapade, only that they had left and come to her home after it.[+firebrick “You say you were hoping for advice from him. What are you hoping to gain from your relationship with him? You don't seem to lust for him, though perhaps you are just better at deceiving that I know."] There was no accusing angle there, only playful once more.[+firebrick "And you seem so unsure of Sebastian that I doubt you see him as a means of obtaining wealth, what little if any he has. I'm curious what you seek from him.”] She spoke calmly and in that soothing tone that had been used from the moment she had jested that Charlene and Sebastian were a couple the night before. Yet the words she used certainly had a smattering of jealousy. This welcoming if wicked woman was hoping to discover if she had competition for the bearded man's time and more.
  WI_ / 135d 50m 15s
Thankfully Charlene did not have to wait very long for an answer, but Ms. Elizabeth was insistent that she drop the formalities. Charlene decided she’d save Mr. Isaksson’s first suggestion for another time, a story to mock him with in good humor. She grinned to herself as she rolled the sausages in the skillet, ensuring they browned on all sides, when she heard Elizabeth’s categorization. Mutually beneficial… most certainly.
[+green “Very beneficial from I heard,”] Charlene teased with a slight waggle of her brow as the woman giggled and continued.

It made sense, she was a jeweler. Mr. Isaksson had mentioned needing a set of rings, and had come to the raven-haired beauty who was now so kindly making breakfast. When Elizabeth’s voice dropped and they locked eyes, even Charlene could feel her cheeks flush slightly. Mr. Isaksson’s cautionary words echoed in her head. Not keen on doing the tango with the woman, Charlene lowered her gaze back to the food, and Elizabeth did the same. At least there was no awkward silence that followed, and Charlene got an answer. It wasn’t the content of her words, but the tone and Charlene was watching Elizabeth like a hawk. The woman seemed regretful, if not wistful for more from the man, and that alone told Charlene more than what Elizabeth could say out loud. Elizabeth admired him, no doubts there, and she was willing to over look whatever shortcomings he had to continue their lucrative dealings. Though Charlene had a feeling it wasn’t all business for Elizabeth, for her it might be a touch personal.

Charlene watched as Elizabeth suddenly smiled, brushing off whatever memory had temporarily taken over her, and instructing Charlene to make their plates and take them to the table, where the pancakes would be joining them shortly. She did as instructed, and carried both plates over, setting them down and took the liberty of grabbing the French-press as well. It seemed Mr. Isaksson would not be joining then, and whatever apprehensions Charlene had about being alone with Ms. Elizabeth were long gone. Ms. Elizabeth was a breath of fresh air, and Charlene was delighted to have found another woman she could communicate easily with. She only hoped she might have the chance to sit down with her again and enjoy each other’s company.

With the table set, Charlene took her seat, and now that she was facing the food, Charlene was reminded of how hungry she was. She never did get to eat last night, and an imaginary eclair just didn’t cut it. Charlene wasn’t sure if she had any more questions, but she knew enough for now. She could trust Mr. Isaksson to at least get her started in the right direction. Now she had to figure out how she was going to tell him why she’d been so insistent he take her under his wing.
[+green “I won’t pester you with more questions, Elizabeth. You’ve given me all I wanted to know… for now,”] she grinned watching the woman bring over the pancakes. [+green “So unless you’ve got some hilarious and embarrassing stories to tell about the man, let’s sit down and eat. He did not feed me last night, and a hungry Charlene is an angry one. I don’t blame him for getting out of Dodge this morning,”] she joked. The moment Elizabeth was seated across from her Charlene lifted her fork and helped herself to two hot cakes and a generous helping of syrup. For a moment the women were silent as they began their meal. When Charlene finally reached a point her stomach was no longer twisting and groaning for sustenance, she set her fork down and reached for her cup of black coffee. The first drop of the dark bitter brew touched her soul, Charlene sighed affectionately. [+green “Everything is so delicious, thank you for this. I haven’t had a meal this good in a while. Not since I was in New York. Have you ever been State-side? If not, you should at least go see New York City, it’s huge, but if the coast is more your fancy, Charleston in South Carolina is stunning.”] While this was Charlene’s first time overseas, it was clear she had seen a great deal of The United States, and was more than willing to share her stories.
  Charlene Dodger / darien / 149d 4h 20m 12s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Elizabeth had started off unsure if letting Sebastian abandon his [i ‘friend’] to her care was a sound decision. Yet immediately she found Charlene to be quite affable in nature with her insistence that she be allowed to help with preparations for their breakfast. It was rather sweet and in stark contrast to Sebastian. That man was always too busy with his thoughts and his problems to just sit and talk or enjoy life. Even in the fleeting moments she could tether him in place he would feign interest and put up a charade until such a time as he could escape to his books or investigative work. He was a terribly difficult man but in Elizabeth’s life he served a very generous purpose, and she would not begrudge his nature and his negatives for that immense positive.

Back to his current guest, another bonus of having her here was to have such a naturally beautiful woman about her. She had turned away from the stove to ask her to brew some coffee yet was left in silence with mouth slightly agape as the woman pre-guessed her request. That and she could now admire her trim figure in her form fitting pants. Yes, this was most definitely a positive of being left to care for the girl.

Turning back to the stove she turned the heat down and poured out the pancake mixture into a heated pan, leaving the batter to cook as Charlene shuffled up next to her.[+firebrick “You are such a kind guest Charlene, thank you dear.”] She stated softly and the girl offered a soft smile as she reached across to turn the bacon. The two women stood side by side finishing off their breakfast in silence for a brief minute before the air of tranquillity was broken with questions of interest; all of them about Sebastian it seemed. Smiling lightly, taking up a metallic spatula to push at the pancake and keeping it cooking.[+firebrick “Well first of all I would say to drop the formalities dear. It is Elizabeth and Sebastian. Don’t let him push you around and call him Mr Isaksson, learn to object and argue with him and you’ll find him quite appreciative for it.”] She did not know that the young woman had already argued and pushed back against Sebastian and his mannerisms and ways – especially back in the performance tent.

Taking a small step back, she flicked the heavy pan with her hands together on the handle and the half cooked pancake jumped up, flipping repeatedly before landing perfectly back down on its uncooked side. Reacting as if it was nothing short of a casual action, she stepped back to replace it on the stove.[+firebrick “Now, back to your questions.”] She thought back, folding an arm under her busom and the other cupped her cheek as she looked up with thought.[+firebrick “My relationship to Sebastian, hmm, I would have to categorise it as a… mutually beneficial trade of services.”] It may her giggle lightly, an airy laugh as her hand ran down from her cheek, along her neck to rest at the top of her chest as she looked across to the American guest.[+firebrick “I am a gifted jeweller, making very useful, very precious pieces if given the right ingredients. And in return for my skills, Sebastian provides me with,”] she caught the dark eyes of the smaller woman,[+firebrick “satisfaction.”] Her voice had dropped an octave to a sultry tone and her eyes had narrowed lightly, looking down on the other woman’s lips as if that one word had unleashed her insatiable desires.

If it had been any other time, perhaps with someone who was more adept with the world that Sebastian and herself traversed, perhaps she may have pressed forward with said desires. But she restrained herself, hands slipping off her figure and regretfully she turned back to the stove to slip out the first finished pancake, taking the ladle from the mixture bowl and refilling the pan.

[+firebrick “To go further into Sebastian’s psyche, to try and untangle the threads that make him who he is and how he got there, would take literal decades of endless discussion.”] Not the most helpful of answers to begin.[+firebrick “He is difficult, it is simple fact and I won’t gloss over that. But he is a remarkable man nevertheless. A lot of people are intimidated by him at first, and in truth that is because he wants it that way with most kept at an arm’s length.”] She pushed at the food in the pan once more, keeping her eyes down for now.[+firebrick “He is an extremely private man. I have known him personally for a long while now and even I know so little about him. Though what I do know is not particularly uplifting.”] The tone of her voice drifted away entirely now and she stared down at the pan intently. Some memory or past interaction with Sebastian was playing over in her mind and even such a bubbly being as Elizabeth could be humbled in a way by the bearded gentleman – and that was just from a memory.

Snapping from her indecision and self-reflection her lips pulled up into a gentle smile and she stepped back once more to flip the pancake once more before putting it on the heat to finish off. She nodded for Charlene to place the bacon and sausages and tomatoes and black pudding onto the two plates set out on the counter beside the stove.[+firebrick “Take them over to the table dear, I’ll bring your pancakes momentarily.”] She instructed in her sweet tone of voice, smiling lightly at the other woman as she broke free of that sad moment.[+firebrick “Though do ask any follow up questions you like. I’d hate to think of you leaving here with that man and being full of unanswered questions.”]
  WI_ / 161d 9h 32m 33s
Charlene slept soundly and deeply. This was the most comfortable bed she’d slept in, in a long time. The space was warm, the linens smelled of lavender, which helped to sooth her into a deeper more relaxed sleep. Being a usually light sleeper, Charlene had grown heavier to it in the years of her travels, and had learned to tune out other sounds -less they include the opening of a door. So the shouts that came from the house did not disturb her, not even once. She’d heard enough calls of pleasure from her cast mates back in the show, to tune it out. It was not until the door downstairs shut did her eyes finally open.

She was tucked up on her side facing the window, with the covers wrapped around her shoulders and up over her head. All that could be seen was her face peering out into the morning glow that illuminated the bedroom. Bleary eyed, she slowly sat up from the cocoon of warmth she’d created for herself, and shook her mind from the strange dream she’d experienced right before waking up. Unfortunately she couldn’t recall much but the sound of shouting, great peril, and something like a dark veil, or hand that had come over her like a shroud of spider silk, and enclosed her in the darkness.

It let her with the strangest feeling she was being welcomed into some dark fold. Was it a warning to leave now? That Isaksson was more dangerous than she had believed? But he was the one who would help her, of that she was sure. She refused to feel regret, but she did feel apprehensive that whatever was weighing her down would reveal itself. It was the reveal she was worried about, and she had a sick feeling it had something to do with the woman in black, and a symbol she had seen in her dream. Quickly she reached into her bag and drew it on a scrap of paper in her diary.

From downstairs she could hear the melodic voice of a woman singing and humming. She sat for a moment and listened to the house and the woman downstairs when a sly smirk graced her face.
[+green “Someone clearly has no complaints...”] she couldn’t wait to rib Mr. Isaksson again. It had been far to fun the first time. It was then she could smell the cooking of bacon and Charlene knew she better get out of bed. Bacon waited for no one, and Charlene was highly motivated by food.

She washed her face and dressed simply in a pair of fitted tan trousers tucked into her boots, and a tucked in plain white button down, under which she wore a padded bodice to keep her own assets in check, but without causing too much accentuation of her own figure. Charlene was a woman who liked to be comfortable and able to move quickly and efficiently. Something dresses and corsets did not allow, in her humble opinion. She even left her hair down in loose tousled waves as she made her way downstairs instead of her usual braid.

Charlene followed the scents and sounds of cooking as well as the growing volume of music coming from her hostess. She found the kitchen area and looked about curiously. There was a small table, a cabinet full of dishes, pots and pans hung from a rack on the ceiling, and the countertops were genuine granite. Charlene was observing the layout of the room, and the lovely view of the street outside when her Hostess noticed her with a wink. Charlene smiled with a muttering of [+green “Good morning, Ma’am.”] When asked if she would set the table, Charlene nodded quickly and jumped into gear. She wondered where Mr. Isaksson was, or perhaps their hostess wished to have breakfast only with Charlene? There didn’t seem like there would be enough room for the three of them, or rather there would be just enough room.
Whatever the reason for Mr Isaksson’s absence, Charlene went about her work diligently and with a soft: [+green “Yes, Ma’am.”]

Miss. Elizabeth was either in a chatty mood, or it was her nature, regardless, she was very kind, and Charlene was certain to be on her best behavior. She showed Charlene a bowl full of pancake batter, and Charlene could feel her mouth salivating. Bacon [i and] pancakes? This woman was heaven sent!
[+green “I couldn’t ask you for more, Miss. Elizabeth. You’ve been kind enough to allow me a room to sleep in, and not only are you providing me with food, you’re making pancakes. You’ve been too kind already, wouldn’t feel right asking for anything else. Only thing to ask is if there’s anything else I can do for you?”] Charlene finished setting the table, with silverware, a small pitcher of syrup, butter, and all the other fixings they would need. Charlene felt it was only right, considering the woman had opened her home to them, and while Charlene was not as inclined as Mr. Isaksson might think to repay her in his method, she could easily do chores around the house to help Ms. Elizabeth and repay her that way - or at the very least, show her gratitude.

she found a French press for coffee, and decided to make herself useful there and prepared a pot of coffee. Silently taking up tasks in the kitchen to alleviate Ms. Elizabeth’s work. Out of the corner of her eye Charlene observed Ms. Elizabeth. She was graceful and lovely, with a voluptuous figure that any woman, including Charlene, could and would be jealous of. Charlene admired the woman’s effortless grace and beauty with a healthy dose of wistful envy. Charlene was inclined to believe she was pretty, but not beautiful, not like Ms. Elizabeth. Charlene was certain the woman had a laundry list of men at her beck and call. No doubt Mr. Isaksson was one such man -and it wasn’t hard to see why. Charlene found herself wanting to get closer to Ms. Elizabeth in the hopes of gaining such an elegant friend with whom she could talk with, and learn from.

With the coffee setting, Charlene reached over to help turn the bacon. It put her in closer proximity with Ms. Elizabeth and she looked over at the woman who still seemed so content with her cooking and post coital bliss, she didn’t mind what Charlene did to help. Charlene wasn’t sure when Mr. Isaksson would return, but she decided to gather information while she could -granted Ms Elizabeth was in a sharing mood.
[+green “Ms Elizabeth? I don’t want to seem intrusive, but what is your relationship with Mr. Isaksson? Woman to woman -I just want to know who I’m getting involved with, and figure out some things about myself mostly.”] Charlene knew she’d opened a can of worms she wasn’t prepared to open with Isaksson, but she felt more at ease with Ms. Elizabeth, perhaps because she too was a woman, and Charlene was more naturally inclined to trust her. Whatever the reason, Charlene set the fork off to the side of the bacon skillet and looked Ms. Elizabeth directly in the eye. [+green “I came to Europe with a traveling show. It was the only way I could afford to get here, but I’ve known for a while now that I needed to come here, and I’ve always wanted to see the world, but....”] she sighed heavily, [+green “I didn’t know what for, until I stumbled across Mr. Isaksson. He has a special power that I’ve only seen once before... and it came from my Grand’mere. I haven’t told him yet,”] she confessed sheepishly. [+green “I was hoping for some advice. He’s so hard to read, and I’m never certain if up is down with him. Is he always like that?”]
  Charlene Dodger / darien / 170d 7h 58m 29s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Weary head nodded and he smiled softly as she rose up and chided him one final time,[+teal “I am beginning to expect the gentle ribbing more now so I understand.”] He would not deny her some happiness and joy at the expense of a little ego, though he did feel momentarily muddled when her hand had left his. There was a look back to ensure she still followed though the warm of her hand was missed.

Showing her to her room and giving the typical host introduction - [i [+teal 'heres a bed, there is an oil lamp, there is a fire, there are the windows']] – he had began to walk out to leave her to sleep when she had stalled him at the doorway. Listening to her he was a little surprised by the thanks and the usually affable and courteous gentleman was quite beside himself to respond, especially as she went on. Muttering that it was [i [+teal 'quite alright']] and his [i [+teal 'pleasure to have her company']], her finger pressing into his chest made him look down unexpectedly. She could tease with the best of them it seemed, especially as she turned back into the room to discard her bag and back to him and he had not moved a muscle.

Her mentioning of what was to happen with Ms. Elizabeth flushed his cheeks but he grinned as she closed the door with beautiful goodbye and he stood staring at the door, wondering just who this woman was to go about pushing at his chest, teasing him both with her words and her actions. He let out a breathy laugh and nodded.[+teal “Sleep soundly Madame Dodger. Try not to dream too much of me..”] He said through the door and his retreating footsteps would be what she heard from the hall way outside.

-

Morning would come quite swiftly for Charlene though it truly depended upon how heavily she slept. If sleep wrapped about her warm figure and nestled her close to its embrace then she would awake with light streaming through a gap in the drawn curtains, leaving her enough light to see by though not blinding her. It would be an uninterrupted sleep with all her belongings as they had been when she put them down and seemingly life having continued around her without incident.

However if she had been a light sleeper, one perhaps prone to waking at loud sounds or noises from within the house, then she may have heard the orgasmic yells and shouts of a feminine voice calling out to skies above in positive delight and approval of.. something. Aside from this shouted approval there were calls for increased quantity of whatever the voice was shouting for. This lone voice would continue for another ten minutes, then twenty, then thirty until abruptly silence fell back over the house and there would be no more sound until morning as two sets of footsteps moved down the stairs beside Charlene's room.

Several minutes would pass before the audible sound of the front door shutting made it to her room and if she were quick enough to the window she would spy a gentleman leaving the premises and making a steady and swift departure.

Upon leaving her room, whether she dressed or not, she would hear the voice of a woman singing to herself from downstairs. Whenever she took the decision to investigate and follow the voice – as she was natural investigative it seemed – she found Ms. Elizabeth in a large kitchen humming and singing to herself as she went about making a breakfast. Sizzling on a gas stove in the corner were slices of thick Danish bacon and plump Lincolnshire sausages whilst she stood at a counter mixing a bowl of creamy batter, tucked in to hip for support as the spoon mixed around vigorously. Looking across as she caught movement in the corner of her eyes she turned and smiled seeing Charlene and she looked positively vibrant and radiant.

[+firebrick “Ah, the young mistress rises from her slumber.”] She winked playfully.[+firebrick “Good, we are almost ready to eat if you would care to set the breakfast table.”] Her hand gestured across to the small wooden table not far away, enough for them to both sit comfortably at and easier to set for their morning meal rather than the large dining table. Although the night before she had looked on Charlene with mild interest, now she seemed utterly happy to have the woman in the same room, dressed more modestly though her skirt was a layer or two short of the established norm for London women, the apron tied off about her tightly and accentuating as her nightgown had done the night before.[+firebrick “Sebastian told me you are American so I thought in honour of my guests I would prepare some fresh pancakes to go with your breakfast,”] she paused to show the bowl of smooth batter within though her whisking began anew and shook about her busom,[+firebrick “though feel free to ask for anything you desire and I will make sure you have it.”] There was a subtle undertone to her offer but it could be as innocent or risqué as Charlene wished.
  WI_ / 198d 21h 33m 20s
It seemed Mr. Isaksson was not about to include his new apprentice in whatever it was he was going to do, not that she had to think too hard as to what that might be. It made her wonder more about Ms. Elizabeth and if she was as human as se seemed… much like the baker from before. What sort of creature would require sex? This certainly wasn’t something she would learn from books in a library, but perhaps with time she might figure it out. Solving the puzzle was half the fun, afterall. He challenged her by asking for another time, and Charlene just smirked without comment. He advised against her seeking similar arrangements in the future, but his smiled seemed to belay his true feelings. She believed a small part of him enjoyed his fly by night meetings with Ms. Elizabeth.


He got up then and moved towards her. She watched his movements as he promised her she would learn about the enchantments in the morning, and that by morning she would not only get to speak with Ms. Elizabeth but also enjoy a delicious breakfast. Charlene did love food. He was standing with hand outstretched for her rise and go to bed, and she nodded. Her desire for sleep and to start off with a fresh new day. She reached up and took his hand, and grabbed her bag. Rising she spoke, and followed him from the room.
[+green “Alright, Mr. Isaksson, I’ll retire for the night, but don’t think I’m gonna stop teasing you about this. Too much fun,”] she mused with a grin, it wasn’t until they reached the staircase that she realized she was still holding his hand. She thought nothing of it, and let go to follow him up the stairs and to a room.

Mr. Isaksson was a gentleman, and she didn’t expect anything less as he opened the door for her and informed her this was where she’d be staying. She glanced into the room, and with brows raised, she surmised it was finer than any Inn she’d been to, but after seeing the downstairs she wasn’t shocked to find it was also filled with beautiful finery. Before he could leave, however, she was overcome with a great desire to inform him of something.
[+green “Mr. Iskasson, seeing as how we’re going to be spending a lot of time together, and after the events of today, it might seem insignificant to you but…I would like to thank you for accepting my offer, and for taking me on.”] She looked at him directly, meaning every word. He didn’t have to agree to take her on, and yet he had. For that Charlene was thankful, and eager to prove herself.

[+green “I promise I’m not just some dumb American looking for fun, but I am looking for something.”] before he could question her further, she played towards flattery, and a truthful boon. She reached across the space between them to poke a finger at his chest, her dark eyes staring him down, a smoldering flame burning behind them with confidence and determination. [+green “You’re the man who’s going to help me find what I’ve been looking for. Answers,”] she withdrew her finger from his chest, and turned to toss her bag towards the bed where it landed with a thump against the mattress. Her words sprang forth once she was assured her bag would land - a final thought on her gratitude, and also letting Mr. Isaksson know she was aware of greater things at work. “I don’t know about you but I don’t exactly believe in coincidence. Oh, and another thing,”] she cracked a smile finally, wicked as it was, and also a ploy to keep the conversation from remaining on her previous comments. The best way to deflect was with humor. [+green “Just… take it easy with Ms. Elizabeth, you did take a fall today with that stone monster,”] she reminded and also cautioned.

With that she grabbed her door, stepping into the room and made a final turn towards Mr. Isaksson before shutting the door and submitting to his earlier request downstairs. [+green “Bonne nuit, Monsieur Isaksson.”] She winked quickly. A smirk played on her lips, as her execution was not terrible, and she closed the door quickly and quietly.

She turned to face the quiet room, made quick work to light a few lamps, and started a warm fire in the fireplace. Then she finally stripped herself of her gun, and placed it with care on the bedside table -just within reach of her pillow. [+green “Never know, no doubt, with Mr. Isaksson about,”] She rhymed to herself, now kicking off her boots and shedding herself of her coat. She couldn’t help but glance around the room, the shadowed corners actually making her nervous she might see the veiled woman again. Good Lord she hoped not. Assured the room was very much real, she stepped out of her pants and into a plain but feminine nightgown. She then unpacked a few items from her bag, the first being a small dreamcatcher. The ring wasn’t much bigger than her hand, and it was decorated with clay beads and small bird feathers. Charlene looked for a place to hang it over the bed, and found a perfect ledge in the sweeping design of the wooden headboard. Next was a brush for her hair which was the last thing she did. She sat under the covers, deep in thought and stroking the brush through her hair until the waves from her braids were shiny and silken.

Her mind turned over the events of the day, and recalled her first two encounters with Sebastian Isaksson. He seemed to be trying to scare her off, claiming to poison her, bringing that Golem to the show, the faux Paris of her mind, and worst of all the veiled woman. I gave Charlene pause, and her brush paused in her hair.
[+green “What was she? What is she to Mr. Isaksson? What is Mr. Iskasson? Better question, does he have that power or is it the rod?”] she asked herself softly yet aloud, but with no answer she was resigned to finally turn down the lamps and got to sleep in the confines of her soft and warm bed.
  Charlene Dodger / darien / 206d 20h 24m 43s
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Thankfully she took his gentle ribbing as just that and did not launch herself across the bespoke table between them to throttle him. Then again, she had a revolver, and would just shoot him rather than enact the labour of getting up to hit him. At the very least it kept her from slumber and he did not want her passing out on these seats. He had done so in the past and whilst comfortable for a time she would wake with a sore back that would last some time.

He smiled along to her response. Perhaps a little too detailed but refreshingly so and he found her view on who she slept with and why to be quite eye opening. She was refined and chaste by comparison to what he thought of her. He had thought her answer would be along the lines of [i ‘too many to count’] but he had to tip his hat to her that she was not so cocky. Although that was not so. She was incredibly cocky and self-assured, something he liked in her personality, though not one to brag of their conquests. An aristocratic cockiness then.

As she drove the conversation back on him, he had to quickly deviate from her hopeful answer.[+teal “Well unfortunately for you she will not join [i us] tonight, sorry to thwart that desire but I do not exactly wish to include my apprentice in what will happen.”] He had seen the look both women had given one another. It was approval, but bordered on something more and he did not consent to that.[+teal “Perhaps another time?”] He couldn’t help but leave such a lewd thought in the air though he quickly continued with only a devilish smile lifting those bearded cheeks.[+teal “As she stated, I have a price to pay for this work and it is a price not paid in coin. She is quite the.. character, shall we say. And though I cannot stop you I would advise you heavily against making a similar arrangement with her. Her price is very steep.”] Again he spoke about but likewise hid the mystery behind the shadows behind the smokescreen. It was all about clever wordplay as he tried to ease her into his world, the faux-Paris trip not something he had done lightly.

[+teal “As for what I wish for her to enchant,”] he moved on the conversation on as he stood up, moving around the table and taking her hands in his,[+teal “that is something you will discover in the morning once she has completed them.”] His hands were a little warm though very soft and he took her fingers in his, quite like one would for a hand-kiss, though instead he pulled at her to lift her up off the couch.[+teal “You will get your chance to speak to her then, perhaps over breakfast. She is often in a euphoric mood come morning and makes a rather delightful devilled eggs and blood sausage.”] It was a particular specialty of hers, ironically.[+teal “But after the day you have had, I would prefer you slept well in a bed, okay?”] Although he gestured for her to rise, he did not pull her up. If she was determined to stay downstairs then so be it.
  WI_ / 212d 57m 39s
Charlene was not disappointed in Mr. Isaksson’s response. His air of confidence and his mention of Ms. Elizabeth’s ‘skilled hand’ made Charlene snort in a most unlady like way, which grew into a chuckle by the flush of his cheeks and his quick remedy. She was quite certain Mr. Elizabeth had quite the skilled hand. She nodded at him, only half buying his reasonings… she had seen Mr. Elizabeth, and even Charlene could appreciate a beautiful woman. With her shiny dark hair, piercing eyes, and curving physique, it was no great surprise to hear Mr. Isaksson had been intimate with the woman. They seemed to familiar to have not been.
[+green “Whatever you say, Mr. Isaksson,”] she placated, hands raised in easy surrender. She would tease him no more, at least for now. Relaxing back into the couch, she listened to him denounce his title of ‘Lady-killer’ and she regretted that she had already decided to go easy on him. He was quick though, and his final comment left a smirk on her face.
[+green “No complaints?”] she couldn’t help but goad, grinning back at him from across the little table.

[+teal “And you?”] his question wasn’t a surprise. Charlene wouldn’t have dished it out if she couldn’t take it. She was rather enjoying this side of Mr. Isaksson, or Sebastian, as she had learned. He had quite the perverted tongue on him, and it made for fun if not inappropriate banter. She found that surprising. She didn’t know the British had it in them. He was relaxing back into his own seat now watching her. Perhaps he felt confident in their conversation, perhaps he was genuinely curious. Yet she found his query humorous, and it garnered a small chuckle from her.
[+green “Oh I’m no mere girl, Mr. Isaksson. I’m all woman. I’ve only ever loved one man other than my pa, but I’ve had my share of lovers. Being a traveling performer has its perks. I get to meet people and sometimes I allow for a special night or two if I like them especially well. Unfortunately the only person in the circus I would have cared to sleep with was in fact my friend Troy who you’ve met… but he doesn’t like women… that way.”]

She was unabashedly honest in her reply. She had loved a boy once, but that was when she was much younger, and a story for another time. In truth her share of lovers equalled to about four, but Mr. Isaksson didn’t need the finer details. Besides, it was more fun to keep it vague. To boot, she had put to rest any thoughts that she’d had a lover in the show, and revealed her friend’s preferences. [+green “Speaking of women, when will the lovely Mr. Elizabeth be joining us?”] She asked with a taunting smirk. [+green “I’m very much looking forward to getting to know our hostess. You say she enchants things? What exactly is it that you’re having her make for you?”] Charlene asked, shifting the subject easily from the more playful and trivial, to the relevant and pressing.
  Charlene Dodger / darien / 215d 19h 16m 35s
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