It was still fairly dark in the room, so it made it a little difficult to see the finer details, but Florence was able to just barely make out the change in his complexion. She was usually the one who turned red, so it was satisfying to be on the other side of the equation. Even if she was not able to soak up the full gratification because he moved on to kissing her right after that and it was rather distracting albeit in a good way. Happily reciprocating the small bursts of affection, the last of which caught her slightly off guard. It should not have, especially with the way he was holding her, but still, she did not shy away from it. Sure, it made her a little nervous, in more than one way, but they could hardly avoid that.
His comment about staying in bed did get a bit of a chuckle out of her. [+mediumseagreen “Ah yes, to retire and have the freedom to do nothing.”] It sounded just about wonderful. Much better than trying to jam something into every moment, which was apparently how Helga was determined to live her life. Florence had no idea how she had the energy for that at her age, but she certainly had no plans to be that way. [+mediumseagreen "That does sound nice."] Where they would be to indulge so, she had no idea. Obviously not Astoria as she had once planned, but with all the distain Nicolai seemed to have for this place perhaps not here either. That was fine too though. If all went well, they would have plenty of time to decide on what they wanted for their future, other than lazy mornings.
With a contented smile on her face, Florence continued to start at the dark-haired man. His hand still rested on her cheek, so she leaned into ever so lightly before bringing her own hand up to rest on top of his. She squeezed lightly at his fingers before letting her touch trail lower down his arm as she leaned in to kiss him again. Like Nicolai she was a little more… enthusiastic. The woman was in a rather giddy mood and thought it might be nice to continue. That and tease him. Her leg helped with that, slowly moving up his thigh, but never went too high. Too much and she knew he would retaliate, which was not exactly what she was going for. She just wanted to torment him the tiniest little bit and smirked into their kiss as she did so. As much as they cuddled in the morning, the two of them were still playing with boundaries.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat [+royalblue “I'm sure the others will find us all the more insufferable, not withstanding Augustine. But hopefully I've shown him I'm not a lecherous creep… at least not always.”] Even though she was pulling her head away to look at him he couldn't help his hands squeezing her in a devilish manner that seemed to bring a light rouge to her cheeks. He only smiled back at her as she caught his gaze though her words did darken his face a little.
[+royalblue “You say that, and yet I'm supposed to be the one who has a way with words?”] Not accustomed to someone offering such kind words to him he was left a little speechless. It was a little saddening to realise he had gone so long without hearing such things, the last woman to have said them then turning on him though he did make a conscious effort not to compare her to Florence. They were different circumstances and being with Florence, like this, it was rather disingenuous to her to compare them. His hand rest against her cheek and drawing her just a little closer pressed his lips to hers, not holding the kiss but offering multiple, the last a little more hungry than the rest.
Pulling back a little there was a touch of desire dancing his in bright eyes and his hand about her held on tight, though he refrained from anything more for now.[+royalblue “I'm looking forward to the future too, though namely because we can stay in bed for longer. I certainly won't miss early morning starts.”] He had never really lived a life where he wasn't up early doing something, whether it be to get to his royal duties with Germaine or to get over to a new trade opportunity and the like. To think he could spend his mornings with Florence, lounging around and doing as they wished, from breakfast in bed to other more adult oriented activities.
In truth it had been some months, at least since they started dating. And they had known one another a lot longer. Florence had seen many of his good points long before she knew of his feelings for her. Sure, they were never really directed at her, but there were reasons for that, obviously. The comment that it might take years was somewhat far fetched to her. Did he think she had that much time with Logan? Of course she was not going to bring that up, but in her mind if it took her that long to sort out her feelings it clearly would not bode well for the other party. This amount of time seemed fine to her, though in hindsight perhaps she had not given much to clue him in. It seemed simply telling him she liked him and liked spending time with him had not gotten the point thoroughly across.
[+mediumseagreen “I know you did not mean for that to happen. Just like I do not mean to make you feel bad over it.”] They had already discussed it yesterday, it was in the past and she did not want to dwell on it or hear him keep apologizing for something that was already forgiven. [+mediumseagreen “It is fine; I am happy.”]
His warning brought a laugh from her as well. [+mediumseagreen “Yes, I am sure we can scarcely avoid that.”] In fact, she was surprised Nicolai was handling this as calmly as he was. [+mediumseagreen “But I am prepared for it, as I have slowly built up a resistance to your intolerableness. I might even go so far as to say I have come to enjoy much of it.”] That, for the most part, was true. She liked moments like this, and the little things he did as an excuse to keep them together just a little while longer. If there were more of either of those she would be rather happy. Not so sure about the others, but at the moment she really did not care what they thought, which was a big step for her.
Pulling back just enough so that she could have the freedom to look at him, she finally did so. Her face was still slightly off colored, but it had subsided enough that she was comfortable un-tucking her head from his chest. Florence wanted to see his expression, was there any hint that she might have flustered him even a fraction of the amount that she had done to herself? Probably not, but even so she missed looking into those pretty purple eyes of his. [+mediumseagreen “I cannot wait to spend forever with you.”] What that looked like, or how long it would really be, she had no idea, but the sentiment was there. The dark haired woman truly did want to spend the rest of her life with the man who was holding her.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat She could be so incredibly sweet when she wanted, though a combination of her life spent being so proper and a desire not to expose herself too much, meant he rarely saw this side of Florence.[+royalblue “Maybe not grand gestures, but I want to know when I do the right thing so I can keep doing it.”] It was only logical that he ask what he'd done right. So many times he missed the point or argued against a none issue. She knew he wanted to be better, and if that meant asking how he had managed to make her love him then he would ask it.
Thankfully she ignored him and just moved on and he learned it had been a gradual building of love – or wearing down of her resolve, it depended on what viewpoint you took. A hum of satisfaction ran through his chest as she said she loved him again. She tried to pull them closer but there was little space left between them and it only really served to brush her figure against him. It was a dangerous game to play with the man, but his thoughts were elsewhere for once.[+royalblue “In a way, I'm sorry for abruptly leaving. I didn't mean to force you to think about us, I had thought it would take a few months if not years to have you understand and reciprocate my feelings. To let it build slowly.”]
Of course, he had no right to tell her how to feel or how quickly she should or shouldn't develop further feelings for him. He just wanted to make it clear he didn't mean to push her towards introspection.[+royalblue “Yet I'm glad, ecstatic really that you did. Though word of warning I may be more intolerable than ever before now I know you love me too.”] It was said with a soft laugh, a note that he was only teasing her – at least a little.
Florence was not sure if his silence was a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand he might just be so stunned that he was left speechless for once in his life, or she was too quiet and he did not hear her at all. She was hopeful it was the former rather than the later. Then at length, he spoke. Playfully he questioned if she knew the full implications of what she had said. The woman was sure he was not really looking for an answer, but she gave one all the same. [+mediumseagreen “Yes, that is kind of the point.”] She wanted to be ‘stuck’ with him, although maybe not to the extent he soon took it to by threatening to keep her in this bed. A while would be fine, but all day was probably a bit much, especially if they wanted to be left alone. But it mattered little as it was an empty threat she was sure.
[+mediumseagreen “Does love only come from grand gestures?”] If so she certainly could not think of any she had done for him to make him feel the way he did. [+mediumseagreen “I do not believe there was any one thing that changed the way I feel, it was gradual. The more time we spend together the more attached to you I become. I am sure I have felt this way for some time, but it took a little while for me to fully realize what it was.”] Florence was a dunce when it came to unraveling her own emotions, so he would have to forgive her for that. [+mediumseagreen “I also wanted to be completely certain before I told you.”] Her arm she had put around him while they kissed earlier pulled him a little closer to her, tightening their embrace. [+mediumseagreen “And… your absence shook me more than expected. It forced me to examine my attachment to you instead of avoiding it.”] To be frank it was easier to avoid than face her own feelings. It allowed her to continue with the comfortable way that things were, not casual, but not fully as serious as they could be. [+mediumseagreen “This is the conclusion I came to. I am not very good at saying it, but I love you, Nicolai.”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat The kiss completed she shyly pushed her head to his chest and would feel the reverberations of his laughter, wrapping his arms around her all the more as she pulled herself closer. It was quite sweet when she acted this way, though he would have liked to continue the kiss or the very least look on her gentle face some more. A hand stroked along her back as the other came up to her cheek and lightly traced his fingers along her jawline.
Happy to just stay like this with her for a while longer, he was about to close his eyes over when she spoke once more. It took a little time, barely seconds though it felt longer, to fully appreciate and let those words sink in. For a man who had been saying it with such ease and abandon the past few months, taking every opportunity to remind her, hearing it from her there and then was a touch breathtaking. She would hear his heart beat faster though otherwise it would seem he hadn't heard her or would not react. But Nicolai was never one to sit idle, especially when he could over analyse something.
[+royalblue “You know by saying that, you're stuck with me now forever, right?”] It was hyperbolic and rhetorical but the light humour in his voice helped to ease any tension she may have felt. He had heard, and he was happy.[+royalblue “I'm not letting you out of this bed all day, not until you tell me what brought about this change in opinion of me. I did not think I had done anything special, at least nothing that would push you toward love.”] He almost wanted to ask her to say it again, and again, and a thousand times more, but he understood for her this was quite the moment and he would not water it down with silly demands.
Well, that was not really what she meant, but at least he had not taken offence to her rambling. Or she thought he hadn’t until he pulled away. However it soon became clear he was only looking to have her face him, and rather tightly at that. Florence did not mind though, other than the fact that her cheeks were still flushed. If Nicolai noticed, he did not say anything and she was thankful for that.
Shortly thereafter he was professing his love to her in the same eloquent manner he always seemed to have with these things. And even though she had heard it all before, or at least something close, it made her heart skip a beat. But in the end it was the kiss that took her breath away. Florence was speechless when he pulled back, eyes lingering on his face as she memorized his features for hundredth time. Scooting in just a little closer, tangling her legs just that little bit more in his, she was happy, but there was still something left to be said. And he had not made it any easier by flustering her so. Not that he knew any better or she made any attempt to stop him.
Bringing her head to his chest, she snuggled in under his chin. Perhaps if she could not see him looking at her, it would help. And thankfully it did to some extent. She was still nervous, her heart felt like it was pounding, mainly because Florence knew she had made a way bigger deal out of this than she should have. It was embarrassing; more so than what she was about to say. And this time she really did say it, albeit in a much less flowery and fanciful way than he did. [+mediumseagreen “I love you too.”] There it was. It was finally out. But if he mentioned that damn dog again she was going to lose it.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai was unaware as to her midnight confession and so he only saw her words as playful banter. It was sweet and innocent in a way, a soft chuckle as he ceased his plethora of kisses. He kept himself close however, squeezing her ever so slightly as she became flustered with her words and stumbled to a clunky outburst.[+royalblue "I prefer you too dear."] His words were filled with joviality.
She was rather skittish and demure this morning and it showed. Usually by now she was pushing him back to get up and dressed, not one to let him indulge his love for her for too long. Yet now she was laying here he felt a little concerned that he had truly upset her with his sleepy mutterings. He shuffled a little back from her though it was only so that he could roll her towards him, first onto her back and then so that her chest pressed against his.
Sharing his pillow, bodies all but entwined, he looked into her jewelled eyes.[+royalblue "Florence, no-one comes close to you. I have chased you for decades and I'm not about to let you think you aren't anything but my love and my one and only. I love you, only you."] Spoken in a soft manner and with great meaning behind his words, he leaned in to kiss her in one of their more passionate and loving embraces. No hands stealing touches nor anything crass going on. It was just pure affection.
Strange that he could remember that from his dream and know for certain that was what she was referring to. Almost took the fun out of her teasing, but this was for the best. It would not have been good if he took her too seriously. [+mediumseagreen “Of course not. It just pains me to be put on equal footing with that monstrosity.”] Florence was more comfortable around Cam now, but she would not go so far as to say she was actually fond of the animal. If she brought a stick over, the woman would throw it to get her away from her and nothing more. Definitely was not getting attached like everyone else.
She hummed at his kisses sprinkled on her warm morning skin. He was like this after waking up. Florence was not sure whether that was just how he was, or he saw this as one of his few opportunities to get some alone time like this. Either way, she was generally okay with when he got this way… though like most things she had not mentioned it aloud. But despite his cuddling to distract her, she would quip back at him. [+mediumseagreen “Oh come now, I am not sure that even counts. You didn’t even lose an arm or anything...”] There was intended to be more to that comment. A but that led into something sweet that would balance out her sass, however the words got caught in her throat. The pause probably did not come off the best and she tried again. [+mediumseagreen “But I- uh,”] why was this so much harder now than it was last night? Obviously because he was awake to hear her, but she had already said it once, twice even, so she thought it should be easier now. Florence was struggling. [+mediumseagreen “I mean, that is not bad. I prefer it that way. Or rather I prefer you.”] That didn’t even make any fucking sense. Silently groaning she wondered if she should cut her losses and give up for now so that she could try again later. No, if she did that Nicolai might be left thinking something was wrong. After all, there had to be some reason she was being so awkward. Luckily she was turned away, because her face was heating up rather spectacularly.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Nicolai slept well from that point, though his dreams shifted from rather pleasant to something entirely. There were no more incidents of talking however and when he woke his hands clutched at his partners frame a little more tightly. It had drawn her from slumber however though she barely moved, her voice the first indication she was up.
Listening to her made him smile lightly, her feigned furore rather sweet and cute now that he could hear and understand it. Had this been the tavern, he would have taken it as a serious statement and his apologies would be flooding forth. Instead, the elven man let out a soft sigh and shuffled down a little more into the warmth of the covers, leg entwined into hers and hands grasping her sides.[+royalblue “Don't tell me you're jealous of a wolf now...”] He recalled the dream vaguely at least, though the more he thought on it he was sure the wolf had said she loved him. Peculiar.
With his hands on her sides he leaned his head forward, light and placative kisses to her warm skin as a little of that morning frustration coupled with her accusations came out. Although he had been a rather good boy, giving her space and never pressuring her, at times when he had just awoken he could be at his most forward and mischievous.[+royalblue “You know I love you and only you.”] He spoke between his teasing kisses.[+royalblue “Remember when I took that arrow for you?”] Oh he would never let that die, regardless of what came after.
The woman tensed at his voice. He was not supposed to be awake. She thought she stared at him long enough to tell, but now she was not certain and the mortification began to set in. Her face was heating up something fierce at being caught doing something so childish. Well, until he groggily mentioned Ool… was he still asleep? And was he dreaming about Cam? Even when that wolf was not around she was still the bane of the woman’s existence. More than a little peeved at the idea that he was probably dreaming of that mutt while lying next to her, Florence resisted the urge to push him right off the bed. It was not an easy impulse to put to bed, but seeing as it really was not his fault, or Cam’s technically, she let it slide for now.
With that rollercoaster of emotions coming to an end, the woman was just about fully awake. It was terrible. She was forced to sit there with her thoughts until her tiredness finally caught back up to her and she was rewarded with the sweet escape of unconsciousness. Thankfully it was a dreamless sleep, and one that lasted till morning when she was stirred by Nicolai pulling her closer. That was the tell tale sign that he was awake for the morning. He had made a habit of doing his damnedest to keep her in this bed with him. Most mornings she managed to resist him and start her day in a timely manner, but this would not be one of them. She was much too tired for that.
[+mediumseagreen “You are the worst, you know that?”] Her grogginess showed strongly in her voice, betraying that she had not slept well. [+mediumseagreen “I would much appreciate it if you learned to not speak of other women while holding onto me.”] Her tone was not serious, even with the gravel of sleep still clinging to her words. She was just giving him a hard time like he had done to her, though it was incredibly unfair considering he had little control over what he would say in his sleep and she was making it out to be far worse than it really was. [+mediumseagreen “Sleep talk or not, it breaks a woman’s heart.”] Florence did her best to feign distress.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was quite a peaceful day from there on out. He got to walk with his partner, though given their attire for the meeting was fairly formal, it wasn't exactly a leisurely stroll. He was sure he'd find sand in his boots for years to come. When they returned to the estate up top, half the day was already gone and so the few hours of work left – albeit arduous and tiring – was not as bad as it could have been. Everyone seemed in better spirits, though he made sure to apologise to them at the dinner table for any hardships it may have caused. Most took in in stride, though as he helped to clear the table Töka had come back to strike him in his arm with such force he was sure it would leave a deep bruise for days to come. At least it was out of the way.
Heading up he shepherded Florence into his room, muttering to her something along the lines of [i [+royalblue 'quickly, before she puts a curse on you']], their muffled laughs cut off by the closing door. Changed and into the bed they took a little time to just lay there with one another though when she did roll onto her side, clutching his arm to her so that he rolled with her, he placed several teasing kisses at the nape of her neck and along her bared shoulder. Denied anything more he had to settle with pressing firmly against her back and brushing his fingers over her stomach idly before drifting off.
Her movement during the night was rather minimal, though she had slipped a little from him and his hold of her had weakened so she moved with ease. The lack of warmth was slowly becoming more noticeable and he frowned a touch, though on hearing her words his face visibly softened. By the second utterance of those light words, his hand that had rested beneath her squeezed her side appreciatively.[+royalblue “Mm… I love you too...”] It was said dreamily, light and soft, a little muffled.[+royalblue “Just… don't tell Ool… jealous you like me more...”] Again his words came sluggish and muttered, the dreaming man let out a deep sigh as he drifted between deep sleep and light consciousness.
Somehow they easily fell back into a lighthearted and playful banter. Even just a few months earlier she would not have believe it possible for them. Surely they should be yelling at one another by now? But they were not and she was ever so glad for it. This was much nicer and it made her happy. Especially when he made mention of not leaving her again, Florence liked that most of all.
[+mediumseagreen “And risk bringing her wrath upon myself? You wish.”] It was an immature response to what kind of came across as him asking that she put in a little more effort for him, but given the current atmosphere she thought it was fine. They just finished up a serious conversation and now all she wanted was something light and easy. And so the pair continued on that way, taking their time on their stroll. Neither was in a hurry to get back to the house, but when they did it was much as Florence had predicted. The hold farmwoman had a whole slew of things for both of them to do. There was some catching up to do after taking most the morning on the meeting with Davos.
All that work only made the peace of the afternoon sweeter. Dinner and the time spent winding down afterward was no different than normal, but after all the stress of worrying over their missing friend everyone felt a little bit better than they had in a couple of days. And when time for sleep came around even though Töka had relinquished her hold on Florence’s ‘official’ room she once again found her way to the master suit. The old-fashioned old woman still met them with a disapproving stare, but it seemed as though she was giving up fighting them on the matter, at least for the time being. No doubt she would gain another burst of energy at some point and renew her attempts to keep them adhering to the word of the Lord.
With things just about back to normal for them, the distance between them only half maintained the night before was nonexistent now. The couple cuddled normally before falling fast to sleep. Well mostly. It was an oddity for Florence, but she woke in the middle of the night. Moving to adjust herself to return to comfort she wound up facing the elf beside her. Thankfully it did not seem that she had disturbed him, but still she watched him for some time. The way his hair fell into his face when left to its own devices, the soft way his chest rose and fell as he breathed, and the tranquil expression that he seldom wore when he was awake. She took in all these things and more as she laid there next to him in the darkness with her thoughts of the past several days and even weeks.
Taking in a slow breath, she eventually spoke. [+mediumseagreen “I love you.”] The words were soft, impossibly so, and tinged with uncertainty. It was as though she was testing what it was like to say it aloud and whether or not it was really true. After a short moment’s reflection she nodded silently to herself and then repeated the confession. [+mediumseagreen “I love you.”] The second time was just as quiet, but the hesitation was gone. Florence had her answer.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Though he knew he was not off the hook entirely, Nicolai agreed that it was good to speak about this openly. Letting things fester had never worked out well for the duo. It showed a lot of growth in them that Florence could approach him about this so quickly and openly, and that Nicolai would back down and accept he was at fault. Perhaps these two socially deficient children were beginning to learn, beginning to mature. Wishful thinking really.
Her kiss was warmly received and returned, his arms unfolding to take a hold of her hips and pull her close. Even in the warmth of the sun she was that little bit warmer and he looked at her with a light smile.[+royalblue “I think I'm done with being Action Man. I did my little part. Unless Augustine orders me to, I don't imagine any case where I'll leave you again.”] Although she wanted to continue the walk, he held onto her for just a little longer, pulling her into a light embrace.[+royalblue “If you're so eager to be stuck with me, then stuck with me you shall be.”]
His humoured tone shone true as he pulled back from her, a smile on his lips as he pressed them briefly to her forehead before his hands slid free. One hand took a hold of hers and the smile persisted as he turned to the beach and began walking.[+royalblue “You know there will come a time where you will have to rest control of me away from Helga. If I am your man, perhaps you could make that evident to her.”] Now he was just poking fun at her expense, though it was an attempt to put distance from his transgression and perhaps find some peace away from the demands of that stern if little work master.
It was painful to hear that he still thought she did not care. And truly, she knew that was not what he was trying to say, but Florence could not help but think it was true. That felt like another conversation though and she was still very planted in this one. This was where she would invest her energy for the time being. [+mediumseagreen “I know, and you did help.”] Her voice was soft as she admitted the ends of his carelessness did bring them boon. Bringing Davos here and enlisting his aid was going to put them in a much better place, so she understood his sentiment. [+mediumseagreen “I just hope you can see my side of things and might use a bit more caution in the future. Or at the very least just tell me what is going on... please.”] Now that she felt like he knew how much grief it caused her to be left in the dark there was a chance things could improve.
With that she bridged the few steps between them. [+mediumseagreen “It was never my intention to hold a grudge over this.”] A rather round about way of saying he was forgiven. [+mediumseagreen “I just thought it was important we talk about it and clear the air. I do not want to dwell on it. You came home safe and that is what matters most.”] Finally she smiled. It was a subtle, but warm expression. The relief she felt at his return still resided in her, she could not help that it slipped out in this way. Nor in how she kissed him shortly after that. It was a longer affair. Not indulgently so, but more than a peck on the lips as she had done the night before. This was more to make up for lost time. That and her next comment, [+mediumseagreen “Now if you do not mind, I would like to continue our walk before Helga finds us and steals you away.”] No doubt the little old woman had plans to force him back into labor as punishment for disappearing.
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