(121-07-23) Fishing Expedition
Fishing Expedition
Summary: The Bull Fish comes in optimistic search of his handkerchief; and meets with an unexpected rebuff. Does he recover? See for yourself.
Date: 23/07/121
Related: Peaches and Wine

Joyeuse Hastwyck's Rooms

When Ser Thadeus of House Tully escorted his cousin, the widowed Lady Hastwyck, to her home the other night, she offered him a decorous farewell and a mischievous smile on the threshold; and did not ask him in for another drop of wine. But they have, of course, an urgent piece of outstanding business between them — a handkerchief is owed to the Bull Fish, and that's not the sort of thing a fellow can just forget about.

He arranges, then, via an exchange of prudently unsigned notes, the day and the hour when he shall call to collect this essential piece of property; and having presented himself a minute or two before the time dashed off in Lady Joyeuse's bold, confident hand, is greeted with a curtsey by the lady's maid and shown into her rented apartments.

The antechamber through which they pass has the air of a furnished room, and thus a great deal in common with every other furnished room everywhere. No one stick of furniture therein matches with any precision any other stick. But red roses are in full bloom upon the table just inside the door, and the mats of woven rushes on the floor have a fresh, green scent about them, and nothing is conspicuously untidy.

In the next room every stick of furniture is in harmony with every other, the walls are hung with tapestries depicting scenes of sylvan pleasure, three further vases of red roses are scattered hither and yon, and a pleasantly-rounded, silk-swathed lady is waiting in the windowseat, with all that curly red hair of hers hanging loose about her shoulders. She looks up as the door opens and straight away sets aside the letter she's reading; she offers her guest a hand, and a warm, cousinly smile. "Thadeus. You came."

Thadeus had arrived at the place Lady Joyeuse has currently rented with two retainers. He himself only recognizable by his admittedly handsome face, as his attire does not scream Tully as it usually does but shows off a certain discretion. His doublet of dark blue and breeches of grey do little to give away his prestigious family, even though the quality of both fabric and cut do not manage to obscure the wealth of its wearer. A muffled laugh is shared with his retainers as the Tully steps into the antechamber though and is shown in to the adjoining room by Joyeuse's handmaiden, whilst his retainers will remain outside of it.

"Joyeuse," the Tully greets, after letting his grey-blue eyes wander over the interior to finally return to the host. The hint of a smirk curls his lips, as he inclines his head, along with the hint of a bow. "I am glad you could spare the time to receive me." The hour is still early for his standards, so he is no way as drunk, as when he escorted her to these apartments some days ago.

The Tully retainers may remain without, but the Hastwyck maid is still in the room, requiring no orders to bring a bottle of Arbor gold and a second goblet from a table across the room, and pour for the distinguished guest before replenishing her mistress's own drink. She leaves the bottle and whisks away the lady's correspondence, which has been lying strewn about her.

"Well, of course. Although," the lady says candidly, "when I heard the door I wasn't sure whether it would be you, or my hairdresser. She was meant to be here ages and ages ago, but I kept hoping she'd still come in time to attend to me before I saw anyone… I put all my faith in her and didn't do a thing myself and now," she sighs, patting the tousled curls of a woman lately risen from her bed, "I'm afraid you see me rather disheveled! Forgive me, cousin? Won't you sit?"

And should he sit, he has a choice between drawing up a chair — or boldly claiming the other side of the cushioned windowseat where his hostess sits with her legs tucked up underneath her flowing skirts of golden silk.

"Your hairdresser?", Thadeus replies, raising his brows, as he gives her a long assessing look, studying her hair and attire with a pleased smirk, before he admits: "Forgive me, but I think you look remarkably well as you are. No need to arrange your hair any other way, as it has a certain… natural beauty when it is worn this way…" Having crossed the distance to her by now with a few steps at a leisurely pace, he will reach for one of those red curls, and inspect them a bit more closely. "You are a fine woman, Joyeuse, and aware of it. Why, I almost suspect this story about your hairdresser may not be true, as you perhaps chose this way to present yourself to me. On purpose." Remarked at a lower volume but with a hint of impertinence, as he lets go of the strand of hair and his gaze shifts to hers, along with an intrigued smile. The offer of having a seat will be readily accepted, and Thadeus wouldn't be Thadeus, if he were to draw one of the other chairs near. So instead he chooses to sit down beside the lady, as he has never been one to shy away from womanly charms. The goblet with Arbor gold is accepted from the handmaiden and raised in a toast. "To beauty," the Tully says, before he takes his first sip.

The lady reacts to the accusation, and the touch of his fingers upon her hair, with nothing more than a deepening of her smile; "To charm," she answers gravely, touching the rim of her goblet to that of his. All of a sudden the maid has withdrawn into an inner chamber, and the two cousins are quite alone with their wine and the view of the street below. (It is not, in fact, impossible that Joyeuse saw him coming from her perch up here, peeking through the delicately-wrought screens which protect her from the sight of passersby, yet allow what breeze there is to come in and ruffle her hair and lift the afternoon's heat from her.) "Now," she sighs, "let me think. Where did I put your handkerchief?" And she sets down her wine and makes a search of the discreetly-placed pockets among her skirts. "Have you kept well, cousin? Plenty of other 'handkerchiefs' to tide you over till we met again?" Though she gives the word such emphasis, such a quirk of the corner of her mouth, that it seems she may not in fact be discussing linen.

Those brows are lifted a tad when Joyeuse starts to search her pockets, and Thadeus cannot help but inquire: "Mayhaps I could offer my help, fair cousin, in searching my handkerchief?" Leaning a bit closer now as he puts the goblet down on a nearby table. "Searching you… very throughly?" He smirks, aye, the Bull Fish is not shying away from impertinence either today. A shrug is given next. "I have plenty of handkerchiefs, still this one is of special value to me. I insist upon having it returned.", he remarks with a soft chuckle.

"Oh," the Lady Joy laughs easily, "I'm sure I'll find it in a moment, cousin. I had my maid put it out with my gown when I was dressing today, so I'd be sure of having it about me when you came to call." From her pockets she comes up with her handkerchief, smaller than his and bordered with Myrish lace; and a sweet of some sort wrapped in waxed paper, which she absent-mindedly pops into her mouth and chews, giving a sound of approval smaller than the peach received the other day; and a red satin ribbon, which she looks at quizzically and tucks away again where she found it. Then… Oh. Her clever long fingers infiltrate the golden silk of her gown where it is wrapped just below her throat, and draw Thadeus's handkerchief out of her bodice. She offers it to him, pristinely clean and folded, yet warmed by her bosom and carrying a trace of her spicy fragrance. "There; I knew I'd put it somewhere I wouldn't lose it," she declares.

His lower lip is pushed forward in what appears to be almost a disappointed pout, when his offer of help is being rejected. The Bull Fish will watch Joyeuse though as she digs up hidden treasures, especially intrigued when he sees where she has stored his handkerchief. "You deprived me of the pleasure of finding it there," he remarks, in mock reproach, as he reaches to accept his token before bringing it to his nose to indulge in its scent. His eyes closing momentarily, as he smiles. Tucking the handkerchief away in one of his own pockets next. "I will treasure this handkerchief, my lady, and will refuse to have it cleaned.", he offers with a smile, before he reaches for his goblet again.

The lady laughs at her swain — but in a fond way, as though he were a child or a favourite pet who has just done something innocently endearing. "Oh, cousin, you'll have to do better than such a perfunctory romantic gesture, which might be found in any storyteller's stock in trade. But I'm sure you will, sooner or later, won't you…?" She sips her wine and adds lightly, "You see how safely I kept it for you — I lose other things all the time, but I almost never lose my heart." And she gives him a good-natured, slightly saucy wink.

"Are you challenging me…?" Thadeus inquires, blinking in an attempted look of innocence and failing there, as he leans a bit closer to the lady. "I am quite skilled at recognizing scents, my lady, almost like a hunting dog. Alas, my prey is not deer… let me make sure I will remember your scent.", he murmurs, his face merely inches away from hers, and if she will not pull back from her cousin's bold advances, his nose will sniff along the side of her face and further down at her throat. "This is a spicy perfume you are using, does it smell of your frivolous Dornish home?", he smiles impishly.

Far from recoiling at his latest impertinence, Lady Joy tilts her head back to elongate her graceful throat and let her cousin breathe his fill of that spiciness. She draws in a breath herself as he leans closer and closer, eyeing him, smiling slightly as though she too has found an appealing fragrance. "It's Dornish, yes, of course it is — not always easy to come by in the Reach, but I've never found another I liked so much… There are other women who use it, but you wouldn't recognise it as the same scent — it only smells quite this way on my skin." A moment later she leans away and looks into his eyes and smirks. "Well, cousin? Would you know me anywhere now, even in pitch darkness?"

His arm has already found its way around her back, as Thadeus considers her question. "We may have to try that out, wouldn't we?", he replies, studying her with half-lidded eyes, his lips curved into an intrigued smile. "But I would think so. I have never smelled anything like it on a woman." And there have been more than a few, probably. "Now, as we are talking about senses…", he smirks as he brings his face back closer to hers, moistening his lips. "I wonder how far you will go, dearest Joyeuse, on this second meeting of ours - all alone and devoid of any witnesses as we are, hmm?" His grey-blue eyes locking with that of his merry cousin, as she may feel that arm at her back drawing her closer to him.

Nor does she recoil from his arm. But, alas for Thadeus, she remains just where she is despite its gentle pressure at her back. The goblet of wine in her hand, her legs folded up sideways upon the seat between her and him, beneath skirts of thin silk which give a faint suggestion of their shape — these things act as chaperones, neatly preventing him from simply pulling her in against him. For a long moment she looks into his eyes, as if considering his question. Then she gives a little laugh behind closed, smiling lips, and turns within the curve of his arm to reach for the bottle of wine and pour a drop more first into his goblet, then into her own. "I wonder myself," she confesses, touching their goblets together in another toast. "But you know, don't you, cousin — the wanting is so often a pleasure greater than the getting."

Mayhaps a bit surprised at her resistance, Thadeus will lessen the strain in his arm, as his gaze shifts from Joyeuse's comely face to the goblets she refills. Shaking his head incredulously when he is once again rejected. "So… we are to continue this game? I do not mean more to you then, to make you stop torturing my delicate sensibilities with your teasing?", he sighs. "I have to admit, I find your continuous refusal fascinating. Even more so considering your reputation." The goblet is grabbed for another sip of Arbor gold. "Alas, now that I got my handkerchief back, who tells you I'll be willing to return for another visit, if I am repeatedly rejected? It may be your last chance at getting a taste of the Tully heir, after all." Remarked with a hint of a hurt ego. Oh my, the Bull Fish can be touchy indeed.

"Ah, my reputation again," the lady laughs. "It doesn't mean at all what you think it means, Thadeus. I know the worth of my favours: I don't bestow them lightly, but only when I feel truly… stirred. And you — you're in such a rush, always such a rush… A woman doesn't like to feel her admirer is simply trying to fit her in between his other appointments." She laughs again, sipping her wine, not taking his threat too seriously. Her refusal fascinates, after all, doesn't it? And what fellow with his arm about her softly-curved form, surrounded by the scent of her and drinking her very fine wine, ought to be in a hurry to be anywhere else? "Have you another appointment you're awfully keen to get to this afternoon, mmm?" she inquires.

"Maybe I am not used to be met with so much resistance," the Bull Fish replies with a smirk. "And the rush you speak of… You mentioned yourself I may not have that much time left. Also, the longer my retainers wait in that antechamber, the more likely it is they will assume certain improprieties are taking place. I'd very much prefer to have those assumptions being founded, as I will have to deal with them anyway." Another sip runs down his throat, and he smiles, enjoying the taste of the wine. "And no. I have no appointments whatsoever on this day. So I'm all yours for as long as you like." The arm about her will stay in place, with his hand perhaps venturing slowly upwards to her shoulder-blades and further, to her shoulder.

"You're accustomed to women who swoon before you and give themselves without a thought, mmm?" Lady Joy teases. "If you wanted such, you'd know where to find them, I'm certain of it. But I wager," she lowers her chin, looking up into his eyes with a merry, mischievous expression, "I wager the hunter is weary of such easy prey, of women who can be had simply for the asking and provide you with no more joy," hardly a carelessly chosen word, "than common whores. You're in pursuit of more rarefied tastes, aren't you, Thadeus? Why else," her shoulders shrug gently beneath his encircling arm, "would you be here with me?"

Thadeus chuckles and shakes his head. "You have the wrong impression of me, Joyeuse. I am not exactly hunting for female company, how can I really, being in this current situation?" The goblet is put down onto the table and he smirks. "At least I am not used to pursuing noble ladies that much. I pursued the Targaryen, in a proper way, and did not fail to impress her. But indeed, in women I am used to more common fare. Handmaidens, and even whores. Even a Bull Fish knows that seducing a noble maiden may have serious consequences…" A bit of air leaves his nose in a silent snort, as the Tully heir shoots Joyeuse a glance. "You do all you can to appear as if you may be harder to conquer than any noble maiden I've known." Does he have after all, experience in that arena, too? "But I accept the challenge. Even if I may not end up taking the prize, this game is quite diverting."

The widow's dark pink smile deepens; she brings her goblet once more to her lips, and drinks down all that's left in it. … Or does she? For once she has set it down next to his, she leans impulsively forward to kiss him, sharing the taste of the sip of wine still in her mouth.

The sudden move of the widow does indeed take the Tully heir by surprise, which does not mean he will back away from the kiss. Her generous sharing of her sip of wine will be rewarded though with his enthusiasm, that hand of his drifting once again down from her shoulder to her back as he pulls her closer to him, actually not expecting much resistance this time, while his other will venture boldly to get a feel of her curves. His lips curling into a smile, even before he breaks that kiss, and he smirks. "Now, that was certainly a most rare and special taste. What made you change your mind?"

Lady Joy kisses with her eyes open and looking intently into Thadeus's; the kiss breaks, but not the line of her delighted grey-green gaze. "Oh, darling," she laughs easily; "nothing changed my mind. There was never a moment when I didn't wish to kiss you." And she plucks his hand from some soft, silk-wrapped part of herself and retains it, held in her lap, the fingers laced through her own. Better than a slap on the wrist, but still a suggestion that a kiss — however intimate, however uninhibited, on her side — doesn't place her body wholly at his disposal. "It was rather a nice kiss, but I think you might do better — if you cared to try again…?" Her eyebrow raises.

Thadeus quirks a brow at her confession. "Is that so?", he inquires softly, the effects of the kiss still present in the slightly enraptured look of his grey-blue eyes. His gaze drops to his hand when Joyeuse removes it from one of her /still covered/ breasts, and the expression on his face changes into a slightly baffled one. "Was I too forward? I only meant to reassure myself of your… impeccable curves, as you prefer to have them so cruelly veiled." But then he shakes his head and the smirk reappears, his amusement only enhanced by her last remark. "Certainly, if you so insist…?" Seven Hells, how is a man to understand the twisted ways of women, and especially this particular specimen?

Hands move to less compromising parts of her body, her hands as the Bull Fish pulls her over into his lap, should she agree to play along. If so, she will find herself in his embrace, his scent probably a less flowery but in a way a likewise spicy one - after all it is summer, and the heat at Lady Joyeuse's apartments is certainly some degrees above that outside in the streets. His stubble may tickle the merry widow's chin as he brings his face closer, his breath mingling with hers when their lips once again reunite in what is anything but a chaste kiss. After all, the Bull Fish has a reputation, and plenty of experience, and he knows how to bring forth his demands in a very convincing way.

Oh, yes, the lady plays along… to a degree. That insistent tugging at her hands brings her nearer to him, her legs uncurling from beneath her till her silken slippers touch the floor; but into his lap? No. She remains sitting upon the windowseat, with her thigh pressed hard against his and his arm encircling her back, her body turned in towards his and her hands clinging to his with such force that her gently-rounded fingernails dig into his skin. A low sound of pleasure rises in her throat; the longer the kiss persists, the more intense the vocal encouragement she offers, until at last she draws away and breathes deeply, her eyes on the floor, holding tight to Thadeus's hands.

The Bull Fish will inhale, not exactly gasp for air when Joyeuse breaks the kiss. He is a Tully after all. But he will smile, his lips curling into an almost feral grin, baring a number of surprisingly well-kept teeth. "So… you are fond of inflicting pain, are you?", he asks with a soft chuckle, his gaze dropping to her fingernails that still dig into the flesh of his Tully hands. The jest probably less light as the slight strain in his voice may suggest. "Or has it just been a while since you've been last kissed… properly?"

Pink lips twitch into another of those challenging smiles as Lady Joy's eyes rise from the floor to Thadeus's face; "Perhaps a little while," she concedes, without specifying the length of time involved. "Or perhaps it's simply been a little while since last I happened to wish for a kiss so particularly. Or," she sighs, pouting at him, whilst her fingertips caress very gently the backs of his hands, "perhaps I'm apt to become ever so slightly carried away, when a man pleases me. You'll just have to wait and see, won't you, cousin?"

"Is that a veiled threat, or a promise, I wonder?", Thadeus replies, a bit of relief showing in the tone of his voice when Joyeuse's grasp about his hands becomes more gentle. "And I even haven't started pleasing you yet, fair cousin.", he adds with an amused smirk. "I will be the last to complain, if my endeavours should be met with such a rewarding reaction…" Leaning back the Tully will shoot the merry widow a glance and purse his lips. Wondering perhaps how long this 'wait and see' will take; and what will be required of him to get there.

When Lady Joyeuse, with the intention of regarding Thadeus's face, leans in turn just slightly farther way against his strong and ever-present arm, a sheen of perspiration is there to see at a glance, glistening upon her elegant features. Well, it's an excessively warm summer's day, you know, who could fault her? "Oh, it's a little of both," she answers with easy good humour, lacing her fingers more snugly through his. Their interview is hardly at its end, he may be assured. "… Depending upon your taste, of course, cousin," she adds, for that's fair enough. Her smile threatens to break into laughter. "But will you take another drop of wine…? Or are you waiting for something sweeter?"

"The Arbor gold is certainly tasty," Thadeus replies, as he lets his arm slip further down to her waist to allow Joyeuse the space she needs to admire the confident smile that adorns his handsome face. "Alas, it does not hold the promise of a more satisfying delight, which I find myself bound to pursue - and you as well, if I am not mistaken…?" A bit of playful mischief has entered his gaze, as it meets hers, and he raises a brow - in a challenge, possibly?

Whereupon Lady Joy lets go of his hands and, flashing him a regretful little smile, reaches for the bottle of Arbor gold. It was of course left without the cork in; it's a simple matter for her to replenish their goblets, and place one in the freest of Thadeus's hands (the other having curved, inevitably, around her, where her waist narrows). "Whatever we may wish, it can't be today, Thadeus," she murmurs, reaching for her own goblet, touching it to his.

If there is a sore point in the Bull Fish's defenses, Lady Joyeuse has found it with impeccable accuracy. He suddenly deflates, air leaving his lungs in an incredulous gasp when he is graced with the merry widow's answer. "Not… today?" Shaking his head, as if he were still unable to fully comprehend the meaning of her words, he will reach for the newly filled goblet, certainly in need of the wine to drown his astonishment. And indeed, it does not take long and the goblet returns to the table, emptied in one single draught.

"Why? Why not today?", Thadeus asks next, as his grey-blue eyes shift again to the widow, his eloquence from before vanished; so bluntness will have to do.

Lady Hastwyck is a good woman, can't you tell? She gave her swain wine to drink before devastating him with the worst news he's heard in many a day. It is of course merely a coincidence that she happened to wish for another drink herself — and that her goblet, while not emptied with the same alacrity displayed by the Bull Fish in extremis, has a scant half-inch left in the bottom of it when she lowers it to rest with its base upon her knee. Her knee, next to his. She sighs. "For several days, it's impossible… you understand…?" And she looks intently into his eyes, wondering whether he's had enough experience with the fairer sex that he'll blush and stammer and look away just now, as they all do when confronted with the unfortunate truth of a lady friend's anatomy.

Indeed, the Bull Fish has had enough experience with the fairer sex, he has even had a wife who had put forth that very argument more than once. And so there will be little of a blush, nor will he avert his gaze in some fake awkwardness that is certainly not his style. Instead a smirk appears, albeit slowly, and he chuckles, seemingly relieved. "So, that's the reason? Very well then. I will grant you these few days, but after those, be warned, I will come and collect my prize."

Oh, how well he takes it. Bravo. The Lady Joy lifts her goblet to him and drinks down the few meagre drops she left the last time, and sets it aside next to his. "I shan't tell you," she says frankly, "which day; for if I did, I'm sure I shouldn't see you till then… and I think I might rather like it, cousin, if you came to kiss me again."

"Fair enough," the Bull Fish concedes with a smile. "And I trust you will be honest with me, as for when the time is there. I will call on you again, on some vague pretext. But for now I fear, I must leave." His arm lets go of her and he rises to offer her a light bow. "I thank you for your hospitality, Lady Joyeuse. I trust I shall see you soon." A smile comes, and his gaze clings for another moment to her comely form, before Thadeus leaves, and the door closes behind him.

Leaving an /almost/ empty spot where he had been seated before. As the reason for his visit - his handkerchief - seems to have been accidentally left behind.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License