December 28, 2016

In Which Viridis Tries Being Bold

April 12, 1203

Viridis liked Thetis Tumekrin, to the point where she wouldn't have hesitated to call them friends. Refusing people didn't come easy to her, but she would have found a way out of this if she didn't genuinely enjoy Thetis's company. She didn't know Gualtiero too well, but she had nothing against him either, and he seemed pleasant enough--plus, he was Reyes's twin brother and Thetis's betrothed. Thetis's non-arranged, entirely voluntary betrothed. Viridis had known Thetis long enough now to trust her judgement of character.

All the same... she would have much preferred a double date with Alina and Falidor, or even with Honora and Francois. Alina and Falidor had been courting since their youth and were practically married already, and had by now mastered the art of realizing that other people were in the room. Honora and Francois weren't quite at that point, but they were both reserved enough that overt displays of affection in the presence of others weren't a particular risk.

But Honora and Francois had already made plans with Francois's sister and her betrothed, and Falidor had a production to stage tonight, plus Alina had some coursework to take care of anyway. So, when Thetis had asked...

Well, Viridis hadn't said no, and neither had Reyes. And Viridis, at least, hadn't had quite the full idea of how Thetis and Gualtiero typically acted around each other.

Technically, she'd been in some sort of mutual pursuit with Reyes de Cervantes since her freshman year. She was studying economics, but a key facet of that was mathematics and she'd always been good at it, so she'd challenged a sophomore mathematics course for supplementary education. Reyes, a year ahead, had been studying physics, with a focus in mechanics--another area poised to benefit from some extra mathematics. Viridis hadn't quite realized how early one had to arrive for a choice seat, and the only one left had been near the back, at a table with Reyes. They hadn't spoken much throughout that course, but they'd ended up passing notes through most of the term, because neither understood why so many of their classmates needed repeat explanations of simple concepts.

After that course had finished, she'd found herself in the library one day, only to be approached by the quiet, awkward young man from the term prior. He'd asked if he could sit. She'd nodded. Fifteen minutes in, he'd blurted out that he liked her hair, then pulled his book in front of his face as if he thought she could no longer see him--but he could no longer see her, and she was glad of that, because her face had been as red as their mathematics professor's robes.

And that was how it had gone, a series of scattered awkward moments between two people who were too shy for their own good. Viridis was a senior now, set to graduate in June. Reyes had graduated in December. Most of their peers who'd graduated with him, who'd graduate with her, or who'd graduated between them? Engaged, or married--in many cases, after shorter acquaintanceships.

And sometimes, it was easy to envy people like Thetis and Gualtiero, who had no trouble saying what the felt and even less acting on it.

What were they even saying to each other? Whispering, giggling, a squeal of some taboo pleasure as Thetis sprung onto Gualtiero's lap. Viridis heard the words and recalled their sounds, but no meaning registered. It might as well have been another language, some tongue that only lovers spoke.


She blinked. At least she'd understood her own name, but it had come at the cost of missing Thetis's movement. She stood in front of her now, a plea in her eyes, while Gualtiero remained hopeful and eager on the couch behind her.

"I just asked if you wouldn't mind if Gualtiero and I ducked upstairs for a bit? I just want his opinion on my history paper."

A transparent excuse, especially considering that Thetis wasn't even taking a history course. But, Viridis managed a slow nod. "I suppose that's fine?"

"Great! Thanks. I'll try not to keep him for too long." But she grabbed him by the hand and whisked him to the stairs with far too much enthusiasm for a proofread of a fictional paper.

And that left Viridis alone, in the library of Thetis's Pisces House instead of her own Capricorn House, in the company of a man she was fond of but couldn't express herself to, a man whom she thought was fond of her but was equally--

"You know, I uh... I never used to be like this. Not that I was ever as overt as Gualtiero, but I could at least tell girls that I fancied them, once."

Or not. Viridis tugged at the fraying end of one of her braids. If he had an explanation, it would be either frustrating or flattering, but until he said it she'd find it simultaneously both. "...oh?"

"I don't know. You... make me nervous, I guess."

Nervous? That was an effect she'd never expected to have on anyone. She couldn't think of a person she knew who was less threatening than she was, especially if her face was as pink as it was hot. "I don't mean to make you nervous. You make me nervous."

"I don't mean to make you nervous either. I like you. I like you more than I've ever liked anyone." Reyes crossed his hands and fumbled with his own fingers as he looked down to his lap. "I guess I find it hard to say much to you, because if I say the wrong thing and drive you away, I don't know how well I could deal with that. Is that stupid?"

"I-- No. No, I don't think it's stupid. I think that's how I feel too." At least, it was as close to finding the words for it as she thought either of them might get. "But if we haven't driven each other away yet, then maybe we should try to stop worrying about it?"

"We should. It's been long enough, surely." Long enough, indeed. They knew people who'd courted a shorter time than them who were married already. "I'm having dinner with my parents on Sunday. You should come. My father in particular is... pretty calming. And my mother never met an awkward moment she couldn't squash."

"Sunday. I think I'd like that." It was a big step, bigger than she'd anticipated happening any time soon, but it was well overdue and perhaps it was the running start required to make the leap. "You should probably come for dinner with my mother and Uncle Lonriad too, soon. I suppose Sevvie and Yvanette would be there as well, if that makes it any better."

He nodded. "That sounds good."

"Good." Plans. Big plans. A start. Progress. "Um... but, what should we do now, while they're... pretending to work on Thetis's paper?"

Reyes chuckled, grey eyes flicking up at her in a shy confirmation of amusement. "Uh-- Well, maybe we could... sit closer?"

"Like... cuddling?" Viridis blinked. Sure, it wasn't anything nearly so bold as whatever Thetis and Gualtiero were doing upstairs--but, for the two of them, it may as well have been.

And perhaps, just this once, she wanted to try being bold. "We could."

"All right, then." He inched his way toward her and draped a tentative arm around her shoulder, his wrist settling at the base of her neck to avoid reaching further down than was proper. In turn, she let herself lean into him--not fully, but close enough that there was definite contact.

Close enough that she felt bold. Not so close that she felt uncomfortable.

"You smell nice."

She smiled. "You're warm."

"I want to kiss you."

Against her side, his body froze--as if his tongue had rushed ahead of the rest of him and he hadn't had time to calculate the slip. But if any part of him had said it, then he'd eased somewhat, just as she had. And he'd ease more, just as she would.

"Then kiss me."



Van said...

No good camera angles for Sims of different heights kissing means cliche window shot.

Also, given how busy I've been for the last third or so of the year, this may very well be the last post before the New Year, so... fuck 2016! Seriously, fuck 2016. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the closing minutes of this year come with a cosmic collision that destroys the planet, and part of me almost doesn't care because it would be justice for some of us and mercy for the rest of us. What the fuck, 2016. What the actual fuck. How is it possible for a year to be so fucking awful on such a global scale.

And--if I look at things that just happened to/for me personally--it wasn't a bad year. But boy oh boy oh BOY did I NOT get a minute to savor any of it with the rest of the shit going on. Fuck 2016. Fuck it fuck it fuck it fuck it with a jackhammer fuck it.

lyricalnerd said...

Man, I feel you on the personal vs. overall year. I had some amazing stuff happen this year (and a very sad thing a couple of months ago, but overall for me, mostly good things happened). But it's just been hit after hit from everyone and everywhere else in the world. Screw 2016. Destroy it with fire.

Van said...

Definitely. And then so many people I know are all "Hey, cheer up, you're doing well". Must be nice, being able to completely ignore huge events that impact millions of people. :S

Ann said...

Yeah, I'm with you on all of that too. I won't rest easy until this year is officially history. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

And fuck all those "Cheer up" and "Stiff upper lip" people! Seriously fuck them! What do they know?

Van said...

Yeah, I don't know how people manage to confuse positivity (which I think is fantastic when it's about actually making things better--which requires at least acknowledging that they CAN be better) with denial. It's just... why? :S