June 23, 2014

In Which Had Tries Something Innocent Enough

April 22, 1186

"Just relax," Setran urged, echoing Nanalie, Rifden, Raia, Hilla, Sev, Arydath, and Had's father all at once. "Tonight doesn't have to mean anything if neither of you feel it. Besides, you're honoring the agreement you had with Lyraina."

That he was, Had supposed. Morbid as some couples may have found it, he and Lyraina had always prided themselves on being practical people, so they'd discussed on more than one occasion what each of them wanted from the other should one party pass. In regards to courting others, they'd agreed that roughly a year later was a sensible place to start; neither had wanted the other to be alone long, after all.

But a year had come and gone, and Had hadn't felt quite up to it. So he'd let another month go by--and after that month, Medur had mentioned a young woman he and Ellie worked with at Sir Ashe's castle. Rather obviously, at that; he believed the exact phrasing had been 'clever, pretty, and surprisingly available'.

Medur--Lyraina's own brother--wanted to arrange an outing. If that wasn't a sign that enough time had passed, who knew what was. And even if he wasn't ready... well, a first date couldn't hurt. Many first dates didn't lead to seconds--and if it didn't, surely this woman would understand? From what Medur had told him, she seemed like she would.

But then, less than a week before they were scheduled to meet, tragedy struck Lyraina's family yet again: her sister Celina's husband, victim of a freak incident at Sir Bernardo's stables. He'd nearly backed out, not wanting to add to the family's stress, but they'd all insisted he keep the date--even Celina.

So, here he was--waiting for Medur's colleague, with good old Setran sitting around to keep the second thoughts at bay.

"Do you think it's fair to her? I mean, what if Medur didn't tell her I'm a widower?"

"Of course he did. It's Medur. And even if he didn't use that word exactly, she probably figured it out when he said brother-in-law; he would have spoken about you by name at work, I'm sure of it."

That seemed a bit of a stretch. "Do you think your steward and your children's nanny know each other's family?"

"Well... my steward and my children's nanny are married, so that's not really a fair comparison." Of course. "But I'm sure they talk. I mean, he knows the both of you well enough to think you'd enjoy each other's company, at least."

"I guess so." At any rate, Medur wasn't the type to force people together when they'd prefer to have nothing to do with each other. Had sighed. "I hope you're right."

"Of course I'm--" But Setran dropped the sentence, head turning to the cue of the opening door. Sure enough, the newcomer was a young woman, brown hair twisted back into a loose bun like Medur had described, her clothing an approximation of the Torgleid colors.

He tried to watch without staring and she approached Seoth at the bar. "Excuse me. I'm looking for Had Indruion. Is he here yet?"

"That's him." Seoth pointed, and the woman's head turned. Medur hadn't lied when he'd said she was pretty. "The one who copied my haircut."

"I didn't copy your haircut, Seoth." Had left the table, patting Setran on the shoulder as he passed. "I've been wearing my hair like this since I was a kid."

"And I've been wearing mine like this since your father was a kid."

"And I think you both wear it well," the woman concluded for them. "Actually, Medur didn't mention how handsome you were."

"Then he told me more than he told you." Wait... That hadn't sounded quite right. "He told me you were pretty, I mean. I'm sorry; it's been a while since I've done this."

"Yes, he... he did mention that." Her smile fell with grace to a line. She understood. He felt silly for fearing she wouldn't. "If this is too soon for you, I'd understand if you'd rather postpone it indefinitely."

"Thanks, but I should be all right." I think. Would she be so sensitive if he changed his mind partway through? "I'm Had, by the way."

"I know; Seoth just said it." He had. Shit. "I'm Winter."

"Winter." He'd heard 'Summer' as a woman's name, as well as 'Autumn'... but never 'Winter'. Perhaps because it was such a bleak season, the one most people couldn't wait to finish. But he'd always rather liked it. "That's a nice name."

"Thanks. My parents wanted four girls--one for each season--but some complications with my birth left my mother with some difficulties, so they just always had cats named Spring, Summer, and Autumn. Er, sorry, that was probably too much information. I don't this very often either."

"It happens." Good to know he wasn't the only one prone to nervous rambling, though he doubted it was so charming from his own mouth. "So... what do you want to do?"

"I was thinking maybe a walk around the village, then something to eat back here? I've just been to this inn a few times with Medur and Ellie; I'm not in this shire very often."

A walk, then something to eat. Innocent enough, but not devoid of the potential for something more. If he wasn't up to it, they could at least part as friends. Probably. "That sounds nice."


"No, I'm serious!" And if he'd learned anything about the movement of her eyes over the course of their date, she was. But how did a person act like the woman in this story? Winter's poor former employer, stuck being a nephew to this creature. "And the shouting match with her niece's suitor isn't even the end of it. Some other time I'll have to tell you about the Christmas party where Sir Darsy got stabbed and poisoned; even that had to be about her!"

"I'm going to have to hear that story." But saving it for another time was a good idea. He hadn't expected it, but... he wanted to see her again. Soon. "Is she still causing havoc back in Dovia?"

"Yes. Mostly butting heads with her son-in-law's father. Lucky that he's one of the few who can deal with her." Winter shook her head, grinning all the while. Boring old Sir Ashe and Lady Rona must have been such a welcome change. "I may have to write some memoirs about working in that household."

"And I may have to read them." His fingers twitched atop the table, toward her resting hand without bouncing the idea off his brain. But he didn't mind--and somehow, he knew that Lyraina didn't either. "Do you have any plans for May Day? The festivities in this village are usually good fun."

"I'm actually taking Lady Rona's kids to a May Day festival in Armion--but the day after that is my day off."

Probably for the better, he supposed. His own children would want to go to the May Day festival, and introducing them in the second date probably wasn't the best move. "I can clear some time the day after."

"All right." She squeezed his hand and flashed him a quick smile. "It's a date."



Van said...

One of these days, I need to find Had and Seoth's hair in all of the Pooklet colors instead of just the one family. :S

Penelope said...

Heh, after this chapter, it occurred to me that Soeth is getting up there, but the man refuses to age. Just like it seems that Florian will always be a Naroni staple, so too must Soeth. Maybe they're like soulmates that keep each other in the balance. :p

Winter is pretty, and WCIF her hair?

Oh, Had. If only you knew how not boring Rona and Ashe are behind closed doors.

Penelope said...

Wait... what am I supposed to notice in this picture of Setran?

Van said...

Aaaaaand now I'm tempted to sync up their death dates, even though I'm pretty sure that at least Florian will outlive the series. XD

(But I really should get off my butt and stop slacking on the eye bags for everyone over 45.)

Winter's hair... hmm. The one I have in my game is an unreleased project of Ann's, but I don't know if she's planning on releasing it any time soon (she's quite busy with school these, plus I know she was having trouble with her game). I think I've seen another Pooklet'd version elsewhere, though. I'll peek around at the Keep and a few other places.

Heh. XD I doubt Had really knows Ashe and Rona well if at all, unless he's visited Medur at work at some point. He knows Lorn moderately well, so he probably knows Rona as Lorn's sister, plus from Ellie's complaints (though he problem thinks that's normal non-Kemorin noble behavior). But I think Ashe, at least, would be relieved to hear that the general populace thinks he's "boring". XD

It's not so much the picture of Setran as the fact that there is now the right sort of picture of Setran for my nefarious purposes. :)

Van said...

Okay, the hair is Newsea Candice, but I can't seem to find a Sims 2 retexture (I think it started life as a Sims 3 hair, or it has a 2t3 conversion that is more popular?). Next time I talk to Ann, I might ask if I can post the hair on her behalf.

Penelope said...

Cool, thanks Van!

Van said...

No prob. Sorry that I couldn't be of any more immediate use.

Winter said...

Had and Winter? Oh, I love that!! Very cute first date. I also loved the nanny instincts kicking in to settle the haircut argument. And Lady Catherine's doppelganger, terrorizing Dovia? Love that, too! I think I nearly choked to death on my drink.

If only Had knew how not-boring the Torgleid castle is. At least that means everyone is doing well at keeping the kids' magic under wraps.

Sim-Winter's hair... I have this retexture of it in my game, if it helps, Pen:


Van said...

I'm glad you approve. :)

Winter probably does have to settle things between the kids all the time (the Torgleid kids are fairly well-behaved, but... well, they're still kids), and sometimes, adults really are just big kids. Rather like Lady Catherine and her doppelganger. XD (Glad you enjoyed that part.)

Now that he's dating someone who works there, Had may have more reason to go to the Torgleid castle, and he may pick up on a few vibes he wouldn't have before. But yes, so far, Yvanette's magical condition is a secret restricted to the immediate family, the grandparents, Uncle Farilon, a few choice staff (including Winter), and Lonriad. Darry and Aspen's magic hasn't manifested just yet (though Darry's should be making itself known soon...).

Oooh, thanks sharing the for the link! :)

Penelope said...

It helps Pen! *swipes*

Thanks, Winter!! :D

Ekho said...

This is super cute! Reminds me of myself these days - where you have to rediscover all the dos and don'ts of dating! And it's all different and confusing because it's a new person, but you also don't want it to be like the last, so you're stumbling blindly in the dark hoping you won't trip up.
I'm back from my holiday :) two days home and I'm sick already - I think it's from the sudden climate change. Plus I'm back at work, so my sleeping is all messed up, I haven't had the chance to catch up yet but I'm crossing my fingers for the weekend!

Van said...

Rediscovering is the way to put it, for sure. Had's more or less been with Lyraina since he learned his penis could make a tent of his bedsheets, so... yeah, he's pretty out of practice by this point. He's not sure how to go about courting someone new.

(But he could have screwed this up a lot worse. :P)

Welcome back! And ack, travel isn't good to the immune system, is it? Regardless, I hope the trip was fun.

Take all the time you like! Looking forward to a Marlowe update whenever it happens. :)