(121-07-26) Wine and Cherries
Wine and Cherries
Summary: In the third round of pursuing his comely cousin Thadeus is rewarded with a quite tempting invitation.
Date: 03-05/08/2014
Related: Fishing Expedition

Joyeuse Hastwyck's Rooms

When next the Tully heir calls upon his (yes, surely he'd like to think, his) merry widow, he finds her curled up in her favourite windowseat, maintaining her pleasantly plump figure with the aid of a dish of red and white cherries.

Of course she doesn't get up to greet him; it's her maid who, having escorted the visitor inside and curtsied on general principles, goes at once for a pair of goblets and a bottle of a suitably light Arbor red. (The cupboard in the corner is amply provisioned, Thadeus will have noticed by now.) "Come and sit," Lady Joy says simply, stretching out a hand to beckon him to her. "Won't you have one of my cherries…? It's wiser, isn't it, not to drink on an empty stomach."

And, smirking encouragingly, she lifts a cherry by its fragile stalk — and should he permit the familiarity she'll pop it into his mouth.

It has been only a few days since his last visit, still Thadeus seems to be drawn to this place, or rather the enchanting presence of his host, like a bear is drawn to a pot of honey - with little means to resist the urge. He will enter the chambers of the lady on his own, his grey-blue eyes sparkling when they catch her once again in the act of eating some sort of fruit. Meeting the little formality of the greeting with a nod instead of a bow, the Tully heir will follow Joyeuse's invitation to sit, and smile when he is offered the treat from the merry widow, not recoiling at all from the cherry but instead, allowing her to pop it into his mouth. His gaze will linger on her as he chews, and swallows, all but the stone which he will keep inside of his mouth, as he looks about where to deposit that. That does not keep him from replying to the lady.

"You look enchanting, Joyeuse… And yes, a bit of wine would be most welcome. You may wonder perhaps about the reason for my visit, as I have called on you just recently?", the Bull Fish remarks with a smile, as his gaze lingers on Joyeuse with what some might sense to be an impertinent stare.

The merry widow giggles; she can't help it, sitting there leaning against her plentiful silk-covered cushions and looking up into her admirer's eyes. "But I don't wonder," she protests to him, "not in the least." The wine arrives; the maid withdraws from the chamber, to leave them companionably alone just as they were the other day; and Joyeuse reaches out, smirking, with her thumb and forefinger to withdraw from between his lips the stone which was inside the cherry. Should he allow this friendly gesture, atop the other, she'll take it away and add it to the tiny pile of similar stones which has been accumulating at the corner of the dish, hidden behind the still-plentiful pile of cherries. "I know very well why you're here, Ser Thadeus Tully," she reminds him gently.

"You do not?", Thadeus echoes, raising a brow as he sees her hand reaching for his lips, and suspecting the reason, brings the stone that had been on a rather turbulent voyage inside of his mouth forward to his teeth. His gaze flits to her fingers, smirking no less than the comely widow as he releases the stone into her grasp, and the touch of his lips may not be exactly coincidental. Why should he shy away, as they already had agreed upon much more familiarity between them on his last visit? "Oh, you do?", he continues the echoing game, smiling as he leans back and takes the goblet of Arbor red in his hand. "Know, why I'm here?", he adds after a moment, to add more depth to his question. Shaking his head in amusement he will lean forward again. "I fear you are still in possession of my handkerchief, fair cousin."

Playing along, Lady Joy laughs softly, whilst wiping her fingertips upon the white linen napkin her maid left next to the cherries for such purposes. "I'm not quite certain, cousin," she admits, leaning closer in an easy, confidential manner, "where your handkerchief has been put, or whether we might find it swiftly… You might," she sighs, her figure deflating for just an instant, before she returns to her previous upright position — it's obviously a pose, "have to return tomorrow. We'll have found it for you by then, I don't doubt." A precisely-plucked eyebrow arches at him, echoing the lift of the corner of her mouth. Very difficult for a fellow who knows how things stand to mistake her meaning.

"Oh?" Thadeus takes a sip from his wine. "But you are quite certain it will be found by tomorrow, and ready to be claimed, by my person?", he inquires, chuckling softly. "That is good news indeed.", the Bull Fish then says with a smile, "although I am a little surprised you were so quick to give it. Knowing your preference for indulging in games and such - not that I do not enjoy them - I had suspected it would take a kiss, or maybe more for you to part with such highly anticipated piece of news. As it deprives me for a reason to linger, does it not?" Another sip of wine is taken, as grey-blue eyes study Joyeuse with amusement.

"Oh," his hostess breathes, looking straight into his eyes with an expression as amused as his own, "but I haven't the least doubt that you'll linger, cousin. After all," her eyebrow lifts again; she seems in very good humour, very high spirits today, "you might well like another cherry, mightn't you?" And she makes as though to offer him a second small, perfectly rounded red and white fruit — only to whip it away at the last instant and pop it between her own lips. Her eyes half-close; she utters a small moan behind closed lips as she bites it loose from its stalk and chews it blissfully.

Thadeus smiles at the answer the widow graces him with, and like a fish that is offered a bait he will attempt to bite most readily, when Joyeuse /almost/ gives him another cherry to chew on. Brows jump up and his own half-closed eyes open a tad, before the Bull Fish accepts the challenge. "You mean to deprive me of the delight?", he quips as he catches her curvy shape with his arms, as he draws her closer and will indeed take what she meant for him to take, the cherry, if he can get ahold of it, and the kiss, as a slightly unsubtle but maybe no less welcome means to make his claim clear. The cherry will soon be forgotten about, as his lips cling to hers, which he enjoys for as long as she would allow him. A pleased noise coming from within his throat, slightly muffled but still discernible for the attentive ear.

All right, it's a draw. The cherry is half hers, and half his — or mostly hers, for she swallows it and leaves him with only the taste of it as she gives herself up to his kiss. He must remember how she behaved the last time they met; he must be surprised to feel her quite so pliant in his arms, quite so open and so welcoming. She may taunt him with fruit but he can't be any longer in doubt that she's pleased to see him again. After a moment laughter rises in her throat, eclipsing whatever small sound he may make. Joyeuse Hastwyck is a happy woman and will kiss her handsome cousin for as long as it pleases him to kiss her. It's why she invited him, isn't it?

Indeed, he remembers! And so Thadeus will be the last to pull back from such a generously returned kiss. His lips will twist into a smile, once he becomes aware of the laughter that threatens to break free, and his arms will loosen their grasp about her, as his lips let go of hers. "Are you laughing at me?", the Bull Fish inquires oftly, one brow arched as he studies his merry widow for a moment.

Lady Joy's back arches as she leans away just far enough to lift her chin and smirk at him. "Not at all, darling," she insists, meeting his eyes with her usual lack of maidenly hesitance. "I laugh when I'm happy — you may have cause to learn the truth of that, tomorrow or some other day." The corner of her mouth quirks at him, as though in a challenge.

The reply seems to be to the Bull Fish's liking, and he smirks. "And here I was only kissing you, Joyeuse. Be assured that I would very much like to bring more joy to you, mayhaps when I come to collect my handkerchief tomorrow. What time of day would you suggest, as I am sure this claiming of my token may take longer than other visits, after all, I will have to thank you appropriately for retrieving this fine little treasure of mine."

His smirk is answered with a suddenly pensive sigh. "Well, cousin, you had best consider whether you'd rather come to fetch your handkerchief tomorrow — or later in the week." Her visitor's expression changes; she laughs again, and, still held loosely within his arms, she rests her hand upon his shoulder. "I don't mean to play a game — it's rather a bore, really, but it seems I must go to my manse outside the city for a couple of days, to attend to a little business there. I had a letter just this afternoon. I haven't quite decided when I'll go — I wondered whether I might offer you my hospitality for a night or two, to give you a change from the noise and the odours of the city…? The sea view, it's quite enticing."

"You are leaving Oldtown?", the Tully inquires then, the expression in his grey-blue eyes dimming a little, as he ponders Joyeuse's words and his hand moves to stroke her dark-red curls in a way that does not destroy her hairdo, when as she leans her head against his shoulder. "I would very much like to accept your invitation. What wrong can there be suspected in a cousin, offering an escort to a lady, when she is to attend to /tedious/ business at her manse?" The sparkle in his eyes betrays he is very much aware not everyone would suspect such an action to be completely based on innocent concern - as it may indeed not be the case.

It must be admitted that Lady Joy's hairdo would take a deal of destroying — her dark red curls seem simply to fan out in a halo about her head, and are gathered behind with a few pins and fall down over one of her shoulders, tied with an ivory silk ribbon which matches her Dornish robes. "Wrong?" she echoes, running the tip of her tongue over her lower lip for an instant as she draws in an amused breath. "Why, who could possibly think such a thing, cousin? Neither of us, I'm sure." Her hand, reaching behind, finds another cherry and brings it to her lips, which nibble it gently from the stalk. An instant later the stone emerges into her fingers and is put with the others. She swallows. "I shall rely upon you, then, Thadeus, for my escort…?" she inquires. "I'm sure you must have business in the city, but perhaps we might agree upon a day and a time at which to depart…?" She reaches for another cherry — and offers it to him.

"Neither of us," Thadeus agrees with a faint smirk. "Although I doubt some individuals would agree with the innocence of such an act. That is why we should keep up this charade of a boring relationship between cousins, whilst others are watching and overhearing us. What will happen in a more private setting, will be an entirely different affair." His grey-blue eyes do indeed cling in a rather uncousinly manner to the cherry that Joyeuse devours in that charming and captivating way. His lips will twist into a grin when another cherry is offered to him - and accidentally brush her fingers as he snatches the fruit from them. Chewing slowly, while keeping his gaze locked on hers, he will then deposit the stone somewhere with the others. "You tell me the day and time, and I will be there. Matters are not really pressing at the moment. Tedious trade negotiations can certainly be postponed."

Tedious trade negotiations, postponed? Upon no more excuse than the say-so of a pleasantly rounded woman in ivory silk who is giving him something akin to a come-hither look? Really, Thadeus Tully, where are your priorities…? "Then we understand one another perfectly," that gentleman's fair cousin purrs. "I shall write to you at the Tully manse, the very moment my arrangements are made. It's too good of you, really, to sacrifice a day or two of your time to ensure my safety — I can't think how I might repay you," she can't quite suppress a smirk, "but certainly, I shall try. … Is there, oh, any dish you should like to have served for your supper? I shall write with my directions for the evening's arrangements; I can easily enough order supper…?" One shoulder lifts. Another cherry sacrifices itself for her amusement.

One has to give official reasoning, has one not? "Those days will certainly not feel as a sacrifice," Thadeus replies with a warm smirk. "As a woman's safety is to be guarded, as demand the basic principles of chivalry. I will prepare an aprropriate retinue to see to your safety in person. After all, you are my cousin." Leaning over a bit, as his arm about her comely form pulls her a bit closer, he will add at a lower volume: "Of course, I will choose those that can be trusted to look the other way, should certain… situations occur." And he tosses a conspirational wink her way. "As for supper… hmm. I would like to watch you eating a fish… as I'm curious how you will go about such a task." He smirks, holding her gaze for a moment, before he clears his throat. "And being a Tully, I am quite fond of fish, actually." Can she tell just how fond?

This latest optimistic tightening of Thadeus's arm does indeed bring his putative hostess nearer — till her warm, soft figure is tucked in against his side, and her spicy Dornish fragrance eclipses all others. Looking up into his eyes, offering him another ripe little cherry from the dwindling pyramid of them in the dish, she confesses, "I've always preferred a meatier diet, cousin, on the whole — but a lady's tastes do change sometimes, you know, and one can't discount the pleasure of novelty. In your honour of course we shall have a fish supper. Nothing but fish! Why, I may even," and she tilts her head back and leans in, her lips tickling the skin just below his ear as she murmurs, "nibble at another fish for my dessert. If I find it's quite skillfully prepared, to tempt my appetite and delight my senses."

One hand moves to grasp her hand when Joyeuse feeds him another one of those cherries, as the Bull Fish looks down in those grey-green eyes, still his intention is not to stop her really, as his lips part obediently to accept the offered fruit; it is more a gesture probably that he is fully aware of the double meaning lingering in their pleasant conversation. Chewing then lazily on that cherry whilst the merry widow murmurs into his ear, a soft chuckle will leave his lips. "Oh I am sure this fish will be more than ready to… tempt you appropriately as a proper dessert should." His hand releasing hers now as it moves to gently run its fingers through those rather laxely done dark red curls. "As you will find this dessert will have quite an appetite of its own."

The cherries or the wine, the company or the conversation — something has put Lady Joy in the mood to respond instinctively to that touch upon her curls, nuzzling her head against his hand, encouraging perhaps just a little more of his casual familiarity. "Well," she breathes warmly against his throat, "perhaps that's for the best. I do have rather an appetite for my supper… it's one of the great trials of widowhood, you know, to find oneself dining alone night after night, instead of — feasting with a friend." Though how credible is it, really, the thought of a woman with her temperament, her fondness for little snacks (has he ever met her and not seen her nibbling upon something, even if it be only a sweet?), taking her meals in grim solitude? Quite apart from any double or treble meaning which might be conveyed by the touch of, rather than the words uttered by, her smiling lips.

Thadeus exhales, maybe it is her breath aganst his throat, maybe it is their continuing talk of delights that may be enjoyed in the future. That grip of his arm loosens a touch about Joyeuse frame when his grey-blue eyes leave the comely and enticing form of the merry widow to look over to the window. As if he needed to regather his composure and wits.

"Joyeuse. To be honest, as delightful as it is to make all these plans, I can't wait for them to become reality. I fear I must leave you now, or the… anticipation will kill me.", he sighs. He is after all, just a man! Shifting a little in his seat, the impressive Tully heir will shoot Joyeuse a glance now, as his arm slowly leaves her generous form. "So… you will send me word when I am to accompany you to your Manse in the country? And you will promise," here he smirks, "that I will retireve my handkerchief, before I will return after a few days?"

In truth, Joyeuse Hastwyck never for a moment doubted her appeal, or her hold upon her handsome cousin's imagination — but how pleasant it is, to hear it confirmed by that tension in his voice. When he releases her she breathes in, and out again, and in a quite unhurried way edges the few inches across to her usual corner of the windowseat, where her cushions can embrace her in Thadeus's stead. Another cherry? Yes. She plucks it from the dish and toys with it between soft fingertips, looking steadily into her cousin's eyes. "Perhaps," she breathes, "you had better leave me, before we both—" She leaves it unsaid. "I'll send you word — and if you like, I'll carry your handkerchief with me to be certain it isn't left in the city by mistake." She pops the cherry between her lips, drops the stalk in the dish, and taps lightly with her fingertips over her heart, to indicate where the lucky square of linen might find its home for the intervening day, or two, or three…

A nod comes in silent acknowledgement of the impending threat of giving in to tempation they both must be aware of, when Thadeus turns his head once again to meet Joyeuse's sparkling grey-green gaze. "I'd be honoured if you would… look after it, and even carry it around with you." He sighs, when he sees the place so subtly indicated, but smiles nonetheless. "You make me envy the handkerchief, as it will be allowed to rest at the most precious place." And so the Tully heir rises, and a light bow is given to his fair lady cousin. "I shall await word from you then." His hand will reach in a less formal goodbye for Joyeuse's cheek, stroking it gently, as his grey-blue eyes lock with hers. "And see you, in a few days." A last smile if offered, before the Bull Fish moves to leave.

His cousin's head tilts toward his fingertips an instant before they brush her skin, anticipating his touch — she looks up into his eyes and gives a small sigh to echo his last. "I'll write," she tells him simply, and presses one last cherry into his hand in parting. A sweet taste, to take away with him. A promise of something sweeter still.

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