He seemed to back off of it a great degree, which Florence glad for. However, he also had no qualms teasing her over it. That kept the mood light, which was preferable, but she still narrowed her eyes at him to save face. Could not have him thinking she enjoyed this. Even if they were already together.
Hearing him out, it made sense why he wanted the things that he did. And they were realistic expectations, so she nodded along. Though the bits about it being scary left her feeling a bit like a child. He was right, there were a lot of things that she did find scary about this, but to hear it said aloud was not something she was used to. Talking about any of this was not what she was used to. Plus, it was not like fear was the only thing that kept her away from relationships. There were other things, but those could be left for another time.
[+mediumseagreen "Alright. That sounds fair to me."] Looking to his waiting hand, she did decide to set hers atop of it. It was a sign of good faith, that she really would do her best. Especially if he had plans to hold off for the more, as he put it, carnal urges.
Comfortable and content to stay like that for the time being, Florence did not think much about the few bites that remained on her plate. They were not entirely appetizing in the first place. When she was sure she had her fill of both the food and holding the violet gazed man's hand, she started up again. [+mediumseagreen "I suppose we should go group up with the others now."] She had seen him pay the stable boy, Florence knew there was little work to be done, especially with there being four of them.
Giving one final squeeze to his hand, the woman stood from her seat. Being closer to the door, she waited for him to come around the table so that they might be able to walk next to one another. She walked just a little bit closer to him than she might have normally. A small sign that she had not thoughtlessly agreed to his terms. It was not until they came to the stables that she defaulted back to a regular distance.
As to be expected the other's were waiting on them. Flora was wearing a very triumphant grin. The kind that shouted I told you so to anyone who caught a glimpse of it. Apparently her son had already vented his frustrations, because he seemed to be less perturbed than he was when he left them. [+mediumseagreen "Is everyone ready?"] A rather useless question, as they were clearly waiting on her and Nicolai. [+mediumseagreen "Then let us be off."] Mounting up, the group started off on what promised to be a longer day than the one before.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat My, did Florence ever have a way with words and seeing her face flush only made him laugh at her embarrassment. For this strong and independent women to be moved by the mere implication of someone wanting her in [i that] manner was amusing. Nicolai found such things simple to talk about with the right person but he had forgotten this was a woman who found hand holding a struggle. He has to be much more tactful and understanding.
Holding up his hand to ease her worrying he smiled as he spoke,[+royalblue "Firstly you are quite adorable when your cheeks flush like that."] It helped to lighten a rather touchy subject, to pardon the pun.[+royalblue "But in all seriousness I'm not expecting anything of a carnal nature to occur. Certainly not whilst we have three children and a grown baby to take care of."] That could only be said with Töka not there and yet he still dropped to almost a whisper.
[+royalblue "What I want to ensure though is that we don't lose what we already have. To not hold hands or share a kiss would only serve to undo what happened last night."] He had thought over this many times before last night and wondered how he could keep a relationship going with someone who did not work well in them.[+royalblue "I understand it's quite foreign to you and perhaps more than a little scary but even just holding my hand will help you overcome that fear. Slowly, but it will. I don't want you to close off to me again now I have broke through that tough outer shell. You're over the worst of it, starting is always the hardest moment."]
Although he could reach her over the small table and perhaps steal a hold of her hand, he instead left his upturned and open on the surface before her.[+royalblue "You promised to try, and I promised I'd be patient. That's our deal. Okay?"]
Florence let out a laugh of her own when he likened her to a teenager. [+mediumseagreen "I did not exactly announce it. That girl has a nose for these sort of things and she hounded me when I was trying to get ready for bed."] She shifted, taking her head from her hand and sitting back straight once more as he jumped seats. [+mediumseagreen "Flora happened to take a good guess, so I told her she was correct. I had no plan to hide this from anyone, so I hope you can forgive me."] She smiled, not really all that sorry about it. And to be honest he did not look too upset about it either. Though his next topic of concern was one she was more nervous about.
[+mediumseagreen "That is a good question..."] Face reddening at what all he was implying with his words, it was hard not to remain cold on the subject, to tell him that it wouldn't be happening so he better get used to the idea of becoming celibate. It was a knee jerk reaction that she had to reign in. Florence knew she could not do that to him. It was not fair. His knowing of her circumstances might make him more patient, but it would not warrant barring him from the complete relationship he clearly longed for. A compromise needed to be reached, so she took a moment to think about it.
Affection in front of Augustine would start problems. At least at first. No doubt he would continue to make a fuss until he got over the idea that his mother had to be solitary for the rest of her life. [+mediumseagreen "Perhaps on days we do not fill up our entire evening with bickering the extra time can go toward getting it out of our systems."] She said our, but she really meant his. Florence did not foresee herself being quite so needy. Though, who knew, maybe she would surprise herself.
Embarrassing as it was to try and map out when they could hold hands and the likes, the other bit had it beat by far. She cleared her throat before continuing. [+mediumseagreen "As for that other thing, I ask for your patience... It is going to take me some time and to be frank these are not exactly ideal circumstances to find privacy."] They were going to be out in the woods with a bunch of teenagers for gods' sake. Neither were exactly things that got her in the mood. [+mediumseagreen "But with that being said, I do not think it will be too difficult to restrain yourself. We are going to spend most our day on horseback. It is not like we are going to be constantly tantalizingly within reach of one another."]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai was perhaps just as terrified as Augustine to hear Florence confirm that they were indeed a couple now. Whilst it was okay for them to know, he was unsure how wise it would be to reveal to her son, his King, that they were interested in one another. But yet when the boy looked over to him he only shrugged his shoulders and looked down into his cup rather than say anything outright. He waited for him to leave, where he looked up to Florence and his lips curved a little.
[+royalblue “Oh, I am sure he took it about as well as was expected.”] He let out a half laugh and shook his head gently.[+royalblue “Seems you may be young girl like Flora, announcing to the world who you are dating.”] He was having a teenage boys reaction to his relationship being made public. Would it make him look less cool or be less fun to be around with the other guys? It made him laugh a little and he swung from his seat to take the vacated one opposite her, hand on the table though he did not try to take hers.
[+royalblue “How do we approach this by the way?”] He gestured to the pair of them.[+royalblue "We agreed to push arguments to the evening, but how do you expect me to restrain myself from holding your.. soft and warm hands.. or from kissing those smooth, peachy cheeks.. or.. well..”] It was implied what he meant toward the end. He was curious as he loved her but as she had pointed out he showed affection through touches and embracing and other small physical gestures. How would they overcome that without upsetting the others, especially her son? There would be no relationship if it threatened the one she had with him.
Florence did not find it too terrible that they had a bit of fun at their friend's expense, especially since Augustine started it. He seemed to be able to dish it out, but not take it. At least concerning her when his friends were around. She doubted that would last after he got used to having them all together all the time. Still, it was interesting to see Nicolai swoop in. A pecking order was being established. Sooner than Florence had expected, but she was not mad about it. It was about what she expected and Flora and Marko would need to learn to take order efficiently. This would help with that.
When the elf turned on her and Augustine though, the woman was ready to bite back. But he surprised her by keeping it light hearted. Admittedly, it did get her to smile. All it took for him to learn his lesson was a budding relationship and the threat that they would have to talk out any qualms at the end of their day. [+mediumseagreen "I am ready yes, but my sleep was only so so. Flora was up at a rediculous hour and she was in a fit about something."] She sighed before turning to her son who was still giving Nicolai a look. [+mediumseagreen "You should really listen to your girlfriend. Unless you have some reason to think she would lie to you."] Flora might have been one to jabber away, but she did not strike Florence as one bent of deceiving others.
It took a moment for the blond to fully process exactly what that meant. And when he did, he was about to have a fit of his own. [+coral "No."] The exclamation was long and drawn out in a groaning sort of way. [+coral "Mutti,"] he looked her in her matching eyes, looking for a sign that she was teasing him. [+coral "You are kidding right? You and Flora are just trying to mess with me because your bored."] The denial did not last long as his mother shook her head at him. [+coral "That's gross!"] Another sound of distress escaped him. [+coral "I don't want to have to watch someone flirt with my mom all day."] Looking quickly over to Nicolai, it made a little more sense why he was putting on a show as he had been. Visibly shuddering, he announced that he was leaving. [+coral "I am going to go help with the horses."] He needed to get out of there.
Watching her son leave, Florence could not help but smile at his antics. He made a beeline for the door without looking back. Once she was certain he was gone and not coming back with more to say, she turned back to Nicolai. Looking up at him with her head resting in her palm, she spoke again. [+mediumseagreen "I'd say he took that relatively well."] She half way expected him to be genuinely angry about it, like he had been with Adrian. The fact that he actually liked Nicolai probably had something to do with that. Either way. That was out of the way now.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai found the boys response to be quite mature. He had thought it through and whilst he understood the elfin man's actions, he knew he would only take them into consideration. It seemed his training back in Astoria had been rather thorough on the logical side. Hopefully his physical training had been just as thorough. It was interesting to see him be so adult and mature about things. And from looking at Florence she seemed to have expected just such a response and reaction. She knew her son much better than he did. Though he perhaps undid any good he had with his words with that final remark which made Nicolai chuckle.
He took the jug of water in the middle of them all and poured himself a cup, listening to Florence retort the boy and put him back in his place. It was good to know he would not have free reign in his endeavours. He was still a young boy and would still need both of their inputs if he was to succeed. He chuckled at how she reprimanded him in a very motherly way. Watching her he felt the dull and constant pain in his head drift away. It was perhaps coincidence with the medicine taking its intended effect, but he liked to think it owed some to the night before.
Augustine seemed upset to be chastised like this with his friend and girlfriend present, who sniggered quietly to themselves until Nicolai caught them and fixed a look on both.[+royalblue “I think it high time you two went and got the horses ready for the day, don't you think?”] Both Marko and Flora looked at him as if he had wounded them and he raised an eyebrow as if their displeasure was unexpected.[+royalblue “I can't boss around my King or his mother, but you two are prime game for some old fashioned discipline.”] He nodded his head back to the door.[+royalblue “Go on, make sure they are saddled, fed and watered. If I find one strap out of place then you'll both have to complete twenty laps of the stables.”] It was a way of getting them on the road but also to instil some regimental order to the group.
Both the dark skinned boy and his fair skinned partner in mockery now looked a little disgruntled to have been picked upon for only quiet laughter of their friends expense. They did not know that Nicolai was being quite lenient given he was a known taskmaster from his days in Wistina. That and the horses would have had all this done for them by the stable boy he paid the day before. But it would do good to light a little fire beneath them. This wasn't a leisurely cruise through the mainland.
Töka grinned as she finished her small meal, looking from the girl to her friend. However a hand came to rest on her shoulder and she looked across to meet the violet gaze of Nicolai.[+royalblue “You are going with them. Six horses, two each.”] The smile dropped immediately and she narrowed her eyes at him.[+royalblue “Treat it as a lesson not to punch me.”] He had gotten his revenge on her as he patter her shoulder and turned back to the table. With a huff she stood up, leaving with stomping footsteps at being treated like one of the children. She would be over it in no time however.
[+royalblue "As for you two,"] he leaned onto the table with both hands looking between Florence and Augustine though starting with the latter,[+royalblue "you will be more respectful of your elders. We are here to help you, and being a cheeky git to your mother might make your friends laugh but is not very befitting of a King now is it?"] It was a light-hearted reprimand of the boy. He rather liked it actually and something told him Augustine knew this was just a show for his mother.[+royalblue "And you,"] he looked at Florence,[+royalblue "well.. I hope you slept well and are ready for the journey today."] He sat back into his seat only to receive a look of wonder from her son as he sipped at his drink of water and shrugged.[+royalblue "What? I know how angry she can get and not to annoy her. I've had to learn my lesson over twenty years, but I learned eventually."]
Much as expected, Nicolai turned up. Though she had not thought he would come in in such a whirlwind manner. There was barely time to mentally ask why when his friend came trouncing in after him. Ah, Florence had nearly forgot about her somehow. Sighing, it was like she had two more teenagers to deal with. That only became more apparent as the young woman came up and hit him. A direct hit. He looked like he was hurting, but Florence was not really feeling a whole lot of pity for him. If Nicolai was running from Töka he must have done something that warranted her chasing him. The rambunctiousness was only encouraged when the boys sort of sniggered at the bellyaching elf.
Augustine only smiled wider at Nicolai’s poor sportsmanship. He wanted to tell him that if he was going to hell he would meet him there, but he held back. It seemed weird to act up in front of his mom, not that he really thought she would do anything about it. He’d seen her get that way with Augustus, so she would be a hypocrite if she did. But it seemed he made the right choice, because right after that the violet eyed man wound down and began to apologize.
Giving a side glance to Florence, Augustine wondered just how much she had to browbeat him into doing this. They must have fought about it when the rest of them went to bed, so in his mind Flora’s accusations had even less ground to stand on. [+coral “I get it.”] He nodded. [+coral “Don’t get me wrong, I want your advice. You know more about Wistina than the rest of us put together, but we can’t just fall straight back into how things used to be.”] If they did he was just going to end up deposed all over again. They had to learn from the past. [+coral “I want to be more hands on than my father. There are going to be times when I question you or challenge your ideas with my own. I don’t want to just leave everything for my men to decide.”] From what Augustine had seen that was where the most damage was done. Both with Germaine and Eugene. They trusted those around them so explicitly that they were not as involved as they should have been. His uncle was not so bad as his father, but he was still guilty of it. But that was not his only detriment. He also spread himself too thin. Augustine wanted to focus more on the important stuff and less the menial tasks. Even if it built a strong report with people. [+coral “But don’t worry, I plan on doing the same with mom. She’s not always right, after all.”] He did not realize the irony in his statement.
Florence was looking forward to this trying to do better business. She was not particularly hopeful his progress in that department would be swift, but at least he was determined to make an effort. Though her mind was pulled from that thought by Augustine’s little tag on at the end. [+mediumseagreen “Oh, are we trying our hand at sassing me now?”] It was not like this was new. [+mediumseagreen “Will I be the first victim of your new bold personality?”] Florence knew for a fact it was not really new. She had overheard him with Marko taking digs at one another before. And it was not as though they were always serious with one another. She was prone to sarcasm after all, so she had little doubt he picked that up from her. [+mediumseagreen “It is an honor… but word to the wise. If I catch getting too brazen you are going to be in a world of trouble. I did not raise you to be disgusting.”] She could handle language and most topics, but she was not about to let him run around being filthy.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Dipping away from Töka, Nicolai crouched down beside the bucket of water. Returning the ladle to the water he scooped it up and ducked his head, pouring it over the back of his head to allow it's cool and refreshing feel wash over him and to soothe the discomfort he felt from throwing up. He repeated the action before dropping the ladle and dipping his hands into the bucket. Running them over the back of his neck and his face he shook his head, an annoyed huff from Töka as she shielded herself from the spray before thumping him in his arm in return.
[+royalblue “Come on. We should go back in and eat. Though,”] he used the fur lining of his jacket to dry his face some and sighed,[+royalblue “maybe I'll eat when we're back on the road.”] He was still not convinced his illness had been the cause of the throwing up. That vegetable pie would be the stuff of nightmares for days to come.
[+firebrick “Fine, but if you even look like you're going to throw up again I'm going to smack you upside your face.”] That was perhaps a threat on level with Florence's from the night before and Nicolai grinned as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders, pulling her to him in a tight bear hug nodding. She fought and wrestled free and he pushed her away before a swinging fist could connect.
Stumbling away from her he turned and darted around the corner, moving in through the tavern doors and feet skittering to a stop on the freshly mopped floor as he eyed the others already sat with their food. Only a few steps behind the door smacked on its hinges and Töka stormed in, growling as she walked directly up behind Nicolai and punched him with some force into his ribs. He staggered to his side, a hand wrapping around his stomach and clutching his side as she cracked her fingers and moved on to sit down with the others.
It took Nicolai a few moments of leaning against a table, wheezing and eyes closed tight as he fought the urge to once again heave, before he stood back up and moved over to the table dragging a chair with him.[+royalblue “Oh god.. what have I told you.. about gut shots?”] He said to Töka but she only shrugged.
[+firebrick “That you had a friend called Harry who died because of it one time. But man up Nico, I barely touched you.”] She clearly felt she was in the right and rolled her eyes at having to repeat his warning given so many times before. Nicolai glared at her but eventually he matched her action, rolling his eyes as he took several deep breaths and could hear a snigger come from Augustine. Looking up he fixed the boy with a glare but the gentle up curve of his lips belied his annoyance.
[+royalblue “I was coming to speak to you but now I think I should just tell you to go to hell for laughing at me.”] Leaning on the table continued to massage his side as he leaned back into his seat.[+royalblue “Look, about last night, I'm sorry if it came across I was trying to force you to go with what I said about Wistina, or that I wanted you to pick it over your mothers advice.”] A pang of pain running up his side forced him to pause and he shot a dirty look at Töka who had taken a slice of toasted bread off of Marko's plate.[+royalblue “I used to have your fathers ear on anything military, so I got used to my word being the law in that regard. Hard to teach an old dog new tricks and all that but I'll try to do better in future.”] His free hand, having let go of the table for support, brushed up and combed his hair over to one side – much like Töka's – and he let out a deep breath.
Florence would have liked to sleep a little bit longer, but when Flora returned she was just a mite stomp-y. The older woman did not know where she went, or why she returned in such a foul mood, but she was awake now because of it. Rising, she stretched out and began setting herself up for the day ahead. She had not done a lot of unpacking, so it was an easy task. And it would seem that whatever had the young lady in a mood also kept her silent. It was nice, made for a peaceful morning moment. But Florence knew she could not leave it that way, eventually she had to ask. [+mediumseagreen "Is everything all right?"] It was the least she could do since the girl had done the same for her the previous night. Even if it was unnecessary.
Flora shrugged. [+plum "I was excited to hear what you said last night, and I wanted to talk to someone about it, but Augustine and Marko didn't even believe me."] A firm pout set on her features.
This girl had no shame. Though Florence had to hand it to her, she did what she enjoyed and did not let anyone stop her. And it was not like she was hurting anyone. Even if the woman was not thrilled to have her business strung about so flippantly. [+mediumseagreen "You might be Astoria's most determined gossip."] The tone she took was only mildly chiding. She was not this girl's mother, though it might be best that she learned that there was a time and place for things like this. And it just so happen it was not first thing in the morning when the world was barely waking.
That did not sound like a title she really wanted to have attached to her name. [+plum "I didn't mean to be... I was just excited. Don't you get ever get excited about stuff like that and want to talk about it?"] The look on her face said that she didn't, she was just too polite to say it aloud. Flora sighed, her mom was the same way. What was with all these middle-aged woman and not caring about romance? Did it just all die when you got to a certain age? She very much hoped not. [+plum "So you don't want to talk about it at all?"] One final last ditch effort.
Shaking her head lightly, Florence was content without all that. [+mediumseagreen "I just think that it is my own business and that it should stay between me and Nicolai."] Flora didn't know that it was supposed to be a secret or anything, so she felt a little bad blabbing. But it was like the woman read her mind and went on. [+mediumseagreen "You don't have to feel that bad about it. You did not do anything wrong. I am just saying maybe do not run around shouting these sorts of delicate things out to the world."]
That did help her feel better, but Flora still felt a little bit bad about it. She nodded, signalling that she understood, though she wore a contemplative look.
Florence was just glad that she seemed to be processing it at all. Optimally she would learn from this, but there was no saying for sure. They were all in that rebellious age, quite literally. [+mediumseagreen "All right, let's go get the other's up. It is time to start the day."] First stop was the boy's. They weren't too happy about what basically amounted to a second wake up call, but with the authoritative woman urging them to get a move on they did get themselves into gear with minimal groaning. After that, the tall woman went to Nicolai's door. However, when she knocked, there was no reply. She wondered if he was already up and about. It must have been so, as she did not imagine that anything would have happened to him. He would come back when he felt like it, until then she was herding children back to the main dining area to get them a light breakfast before they set out. And if the elf did not crop up soon she would start asking around so she could track him down.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat In his room, Nicolai let out a deep breath. Marry a Duke eh? Whilst it was perhaps meant as a light jab at his constant showmanship over his title, it was rather surprising to hear it so nonchalantly said from her of all people. But it did make him smile lightly like a youthful child on his first crush. Thankfully Töka had her own room and would not have to put up with him that night. As for the bed, it was serviceable and he crashed down on it after removing his sword. The furry cloak come jacket made an excellent pillow and with little of the worries that would come to plague them in the future he had fallen to sleep.
In the morning he was unaware that everyone bar his tattooed friend had been informed about the talks between himself and Florence. He heard a door clicking outside and in his nervous manner had woken immediately. Stepping outside with his scabbard in his hand he moved down the hallway quietly, picking up faint voices from the kids room. Did Florence authorise them all to sleep together like that? He could not imagine she would approve of her son and his girlfriend being in the same bed, not whilst so young. But it made him chuckle. Good luck to Augustine if he felt ready to deal with women outside of holding hands.
He did not disturb them though, instead moving on out to the drinking floor to observe the clear up. One or two bodies littered the floor, too big and heavy to be dragged out from where they had collapsed. Otherwise the place was simply being put back together with tables been upturned, chairs placed about them and cleaned off as best as possible. He did not stop to sit or to help – no doubt he would just be in the way – as his stomach lurched suddenly. Instead he moved outside all together for the fresh air and wandered across to the well the tavern drew its water from. They had mocked up a pump of sorts, meaning the opening was covered. Saved on anyone dropping something down inside to spoil the water. And it also stopped Nicolai from spewing his guts down it as he doubled over.
[+firebrick “I thought you could handle your drink?”] Töka sat on a bench not far away, cutting slivers of an apple to pop into her mouth as she observed the liquid stew at his feet. Looking across he shook his head gently.
[+royalblue “Just as likely to be the vegetable pie. I doubt anything in that was considered a vegetable. Or at least was no fresher than a month old.”] It was true the pie had been quite awful. Perhaps he should have had the soup like the others. He kicked up some dirt, scooping it over the mess he had made before turning back to the pump and taking up the handle.
[+firebrick “Probably. Still,”] she saw the laboured look on his face as he worked the handle and water spilled out into the bucket beneath,[+firebrick “have you taken your medicine today?”] She raised a brow at him, seeing him crouch low and use the ladle chained to the pump to scoop up some water to his mouth, swill it about before spitting to the ground.
Nicolai would rather not bring on the talk about his physical well being and looked over to her as he wiped off his mouth. But she stared back impassively now, waiting an answer.[+royalblue “No, not yet.”] His throat burned a touch and he took another mouthful of water to swallow and cool himself.
Töka tutted as he cut off another piece of apple though remained seated.[+firebrick “Come on Nico, although I would like nothing more than an additional days pay whilst you lay up in a bed, I first need to get to that pay day. So drink up.”] The morsel was deposited and the apple, half eaten now, was thrown away aside to land with a splat in a pig sty. For a moment it looked like the man would be stubborn and ignore her, but gentle throbbing in his head had grown quickly and he fished to a belt and withdrew a small bottle. It was perhaps two mouthfuls at best of a green liquid, similar to what the doctor had given him in Astoria. Quickly it was drained and the stopped returned to it, placed back in its pocket to be refilled later.[+firebrick “Good boy.”] She nodded.
[+royalblue “You say nothing of this to any of them Töka, thank you.”] It was said like an order and the interesting looking woman, tattoos all the more vivid in the light, looked at him with a frown.
[+firebrick “You haven't told them? And why not?”] She stood now and began to approach.
He turned toward her a little angry, though it was at himself.[+royalblue “Because they don't need a broken man. They need the old Nicolai, the General, the strong fighter. And I can still be him; but they can't know.”] It was a dangerous game he played. In keeping it hidden it was the injured shoulder incident all over again. Should they find out, or should any of the Taken find out, then he would get an earful from Florence and his weakness would be known to his enemies. Florence knew he saw the doctor but he relied on the man to remain true to his word.
[+firebrick “And you think they would dump you the second they found out? Pfft, maybe you should just stay behind then. I'll take whatever your cut was, of course.”] She laughed as she placed one hand on her hip, the other dragging through her long hair.
Nicolai was not wanting this conversation and shook his head.[+royalblue “Just.. keep this quiet, okay? Don't be a little bitch about this.”] He pushed at her shoulder looking down at her – she was about the height of Florence, though perhaps an inch taller.[+royalblue “In return I'll give you another half-bag of coin when we're all done.”] He knew how to speak her language and smiled coyly as she grinned.
[+firebrick “Oh, you know just what I like to hear. Perfect.”] She purred teasingly and flicked off her hair as she thought of her additional wealth. This would be most profitable for her if added bonuses like this began to stack up.
[+mediumseagreen "I would not expect any different."] To have Nicolai remain silent when he had experience would not be helpful to anyone, she just wanted him to remain flexible in times when there were other viable ideas. [+mediumseagreen "Now there is a benefit I never would have predicted."] She smiled as she wondered how many of their aggressions could have been avoided if they knew they were going to force one another to talk it out at the end of the day. Florence from seven years ago would have hated the thought, so it might have worked. [+mediumseagreen "Maybe I should have tried this sooner."] A bit more teasing, but that would be the last time for the night. She did not want to push him too far.
Before she knew it, it was time to go their separate ways. [+mediumseagreen "I think she would be happy. I mean, she always wanted to marry well and I think a Duke is acceptable."] Strangely enough, Florence had a hard time connecting with her younger self, the separation was nearly made tangible with clear cut distinction in her words. Smiling, she squeezed him back. [+mediumseagreen "Goodnight, Nicolai. I hope you sleep soundly."] There was plenty of happy things to fill his dreams, so she was not too worried for him.
Waiting for him to make it to his door, she waved him off one final time before entering the room. There were two small beds set up, Flora was already in one of them. She stirred at the sound of the door, it did not look as though she had been to sleep yet. Seeing that the older woman had returned and noting that it was later than she expected, the girl sat up. [+plum "Everything okay?"] She did not sound too concerned, just curious.
[+mediumseagreen "Yes, we just talked. Everything is fine."] Reassuring her, Florence unhooked a few of the bags and other uncomfortable things hanging from her belt before getting into bed.
Being a natural snoop, and already knowing part of the history between Florence and that Nicolai fellow, Flora was not really satisfied with that answer. It was not any fun. With her own ideas of what would have made it more interesting she playfully asked what she thought to be a harmless question. [+plum "Did he confess again?"]
Blinking, slightly dumbfounded, the green eyed woman had not expected the teenager to know those details. It seemed she and Augustine really did talk about just about anything. That and she knew that Flora was a fan of love stories. That was probably the first place her mind jumped for anything involving a man and a woman. [+mediumseagreen "Well, yes, yes he did."] It was not something she was super keen on hiding. She was not entirely sure how her son would react, but she knew he would be even grumpier about it if he was intentionally kept out of the loop. Not that she was going to walk up to him and announce it either.
A spasm of excitement ran through the bright haired girl. She had not expected this, not this early anyway. In all the books she always read, developments of this magnitude took longer. [+plum "Did you reject him again?"] She felt that was a throw away question, so she kept on going under the assumption that was what happened. [+plum "Don't you feel bad for him? Do you still want to be his friend? Is he going to keep asking till you say yes?"] Persistence always won out, right? That was how it worked with her and Augustine. Though to be fair, it hadn't been that long ago at all. [+plum "I need details!"]
Turning to the excitable girl, Florence raised a brow at her. She knew from Augustus that she obsessed over this sort of thing, so she should have seen it coming. Still, she did not particularly feel like staying up late into the night for girl talk with a teen. [+mediumseagreen "Well, I imagine we are still going to be friends."] It was not mutually exclusive. [+mediumseagreen "He might have kept asking, but all things considering he is not going to have to."] She tried to focus on crawling into the warm covers of the bed so that she might not let the embarrassment take hold of her. It felt shameless to admit it so casually.
[+plum "What!? You said yes!?"] She practically shouted. After receiving a stern look from the motherly woman, she brought it back down. [+plum "How did he ask you, why did you change your mind, are you two going to be all lovey-dovey now-"]
Florence cut her off before she could ask anything else, now fully snuggled into bed. [+mediumseagreen "Goodnight, Flora."] She said it in a way that was long and drawn out, warning her that she was done. To cement it, she quickly licked her thumb and extinguished the flame of the candle between them.
The fire was out, but Flora's rampant curiosity was not. It was driving her nuts. She needed to talk about it with somebody, but it was not long until she heard Florence's breathing level out. And despite how tortuous it seemed, she found sleep not too long after.
Even getting to sleep a little late, Flora was an early riser. Up and ready to face the day, first thing she did was get her things together then she was practically bounding down the hall to the boys' room. She walked straight in, no regard for whatever state they might be in. That being half dressed and asleep. [+plum "You are never going to believe what I found out last night!"]
Both Augustine and Marko nearly jumped out of their skin. The groaning of complaint basically came in unison as well. [+darkblue "Too early..."]
[+coral "Flora, what the hell? You can't just bust in like that. What if we were changing?"] He was not entirely worried about himself; it was more the principle of it.
[+plum "Whatever, I knew you were sleeping. It's not a big deal. Now get a load of this."] She preceded to tell them exactly what Florence had told her before they went to bed. The dark eyed girl threw in a few minor details of her own to keep it interesting, but for the most part it was perfectly true.
Augustine groaned again. [+coral "You're right. I don't believe it. You must have had a weird dream last night because you are nervous about leaving home."] He completely discounted everything his girlfriend said and fell back against his pillow. [+coral "Go back to your room so we can get some more sleep."] It was not going to be much rest, but by the gods he still wanted it.
Huffing at the clear lack of the reaction she wanted, Flora stuck around a bit longer to complain at them for not believing her. But when neither of them reacted, knowing exactly how to get her to move on, she retreated back to her room and pouted on her bed until everyone else started to wake up naturally.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai smiled and nodded with her assessment of things. If he had just agreed, nodded along, got through things with more silence and less complaints then perhaps that kiss would have happened seven years ago. Or not. Who knew? Reminiscing on the past had not done him any good lately.[+royalblue “I will endeavour to let him choose his own path, but I won't stop from offering him my advice if I think it relevant.”] Keeping them moving as he spoke he did nod momentarily.[+royalblue “Of course, I'll have to consider the Florence-factor from now on; will this cause an argument in the evening?”] He smiled and led them over to the tavern once more.
Opening the door to let her in he followed close behind, a hand against the small of her back as he tried to guide a pathway through everyone and towards the doors that led to the sleeping quarters. In a small town like this it would not be fancy, but better than camping at least. Once out of the main drinking room the hallway was a blessing for his ears. Perhaps Florence disliked it but it bordered painful for the elven man and he released a sigh as he continued down to their rooms. There was no hesitation to offer a cheeky request of sharing a room, even he had the sensibility to know when he should count his blessings.
[+royalblue “I hope tonight was.. the start of something amazing. I hope I can make young Florence's wishes come true.”] His hand took up hers so gently that only their fingers touched, hooking on one another a little.[+royalblue “Goodnight, you know where to find me if things go bump in the night.”] He chuckled and squeezed her fingers lightly before letting go, heading the rest of the way to his room, sparing a final look down the hallway before entering and closing the door.
Following his guiding hand, Florence came up next to the elf as they started on their way back into the small town. He was already reminiscing about what had happened. Nicolai really was hopeless. But she left him to revel in his happiness. It had been a long time coming.
He suggested that they hold out on any arguments that arose through the day and take time in the evenings to sort it out. It sounded like a ploy to get her to himself at least for a short while every day. No doubt that was the intention, but Florence did not think it was a half bad idea. That would also give them time to think about whether or not it was worth the energy to fight about. Surely if she forgot about it by the end of the day, it really did not matter anyway. Looking back on all the stupid things they had bickered about it probably would have saved them some grief. Plus, it would help morale. No one wanted to sit around and listen to people argue all day, no matter how bored you were. And she was sure there would be plenty of that to go around. Just give it a few days.
[+mediumseagreen "Well, if you would hurry up and get it through your head that I am always right, perhaps you would not have to feel that defeat quite so often."] She smiled teasingly, knowing very well that was not even remotely true. [+mediumseagreen "That would also fix our arguing."] Laughing lightly at the thought, she shook her head at her own joke. [+mediumseagreen "That sounds fine to me. Restraining ourselves will save face and our group will function better for it. We should not put them in the position where they feel the need to take sides."] They did not need a divide between their unit, and she knew Augustine did not need to worry about them getting along. He had plenty of other things to worry about. [+mediumseagreen "It may also be better to let Augustine decide on how he wants to do things... We are both very much set in our own ways, but we need to be careful let him chose between the options, or make his own if he wants."] She did not mean that they should let him run off and do something completely asinine, but to keep an open mind with what he wanted. There was a good chance he was going to try and blend their methods and they had to be ready for that.
It was not a very long walk back to the establishment. If it were not quite so cold she might have offered to walk around a little more. They entered together and no one seemed to pay them any mind. Though it was a great deal louder in here than outside.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her comment was met with a smile as he understood the sentiment behind it even if it did come out as perhaps insulting. From everything he had experienced with Florence, he did not believe she ever did anything out of anger or spite. Save for hitting him. He would tell the world about she had hit him, the hardest punch he'd ever taken in his life. The thought of it only made him smile that much more especially with her hand in his. She might not believe him if he said it, but those small gestures meant a lot.
It was regrettable that this moment had to have an ending but more so because without her warmth it felt much colder than before. Like an abject metaphor he almost went to step back forward and to show her what she had asked him to show, that he was keen, that he wanted her. But that was just desperation talking and whilst the moment had been.. perfect, he nodded in agreement with her.
[+royalblue “Of course. Not the most conventional of first days back on the road. But damn sure one of the best on the mainland.”] He wouldn't place it above Natalya's birth, nor would she put it above Augustines, but it was a very close second in his world.[+royalblue “I'm thinking,”] he started as he waved for her to walk with him, brushing along her arm momentarily so that he could take a leisurely pace with her at his side,[+royalblue “perhaps whilst we travel south, to save on arguments and disagreements in front of the others, we try and keep our squabbles to the evening.”]
It would not do any of them good to constantly fight amongst themselves and whilst Florence and Nicolai were butting heads, it was always for the right reason. Rather than animosity for the other they were like a two headed dog trying to guide the body in their chosen direction. A poor analogy, one kept in his head for good reason.[+royalblue “I think we are better discussing them together, rather than throwing it out there for the others to worry about. Augustine will need us both if we will succeed here.”] He looked over to her as they began to round the first of the buildings and the din of revelry started to rise once more.[+royalblue “That, and you keep winning. It's putting me to shame Florence, there is only so much verbal defeat a man can take.”] He smiled and cheeks flushed a light rose as he led them on.
She steeled herself for this to last a bit, but even then she felt ever so slightly nervous as his hands moved over her body. Just as she thought she might have put herself in a bad situation, he pulled back finding a less restricting place for him to grab. That was a first... and it did wonders for putting her heart to ease. Able to relax she continued to enjoy the kiss right up until the end. It was almost regrettable that they separated, even if she was damn near out of breath, but she kept that thought to herself. Encouraging him too much was not likely to end well.
Even though their lips had parted his hand stayed gently rested on her face. It was a sweet gesture, much like she was sure whatever he said was. Perhaps she should have dedicated all that time in Wistina to learning a couple more languages. She was incredibly curious what he said with such a blissful expression settled on his sharp features. There was only one word that stuck out to her in it all: amour. She knew that one.
Flipping her hand so that their palms pressed together, she did not go so far as to intertwine their fingers, but it was still meant as a sign that she was being receptive to him. Florence knew she was not always the best at communicating that sort of thing, at least not genuinely. She knew how to fake it, she had done that for some ten years with her husband. But with as keen as eye as Nicolai seemed to have for her, she did not think she would get away with that here. So everything she did was small, but it was authentic.
That being said, she closed her eyes and leaned into the hand against her face just a little bit more. [+mediumseagreen "I have no idea what you just said, but I am going to assume it was just as hopeless as you are."] She meant those quiet words in the kindest way possible. More that he was hopelessly romantic, than actually hopeless. He had to be if he could love someone for as long as he seemed to have loved her.
Florence stayed like that with him for a good while longer. It was comfortable. But eventually it needed to come to its close. Taking in a deep breath, she let it out slowly before opening her eyes again. She wiggled about, signalling that she wished to be let go. Nicolai did not protest and she took a step back, returning the distance between them.
No long so absorbed in the moment, she looked around. The green-eyed woman was terribly glad that tavern was so close to the edge of town and that she made it even farther out before he stopped her. She would have been mortified had anyone happened upon them. Even if it was only a stumbling drunk, she knew it would embarrass her beyond measure.
[+mediumseagreen "We should probably get some sleep... I want to be well rested for tomorrow."] There was nothing in particular that stood out about the next day that she thought she would need all that energy for, but this might be her last chance to sleep in an actual bed, so she wanted the both of them to be able to utilize it properly. That being for sleep.
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