« on: March 23, 2013, 10:32:02 AM »
"Nothing could be better than sex with you." And there was an endearingly embarrassing trait he was just going to have to get used to. Leia was completely shameless, and she didn't really care who overheard her complimenting him so bluntly. She was still at a loss, however, when he drew her to the counter, peering curiously at the wares on display with only a shaky idea that they might mostly be bread-based. "Um ..." She offered the woman behind the counter a confident smile, and tightened her hand in Jensen's. He was going to have to order for them.
He had no idea what she was accustomed to eating, and it hadn't occurred to him that her diet might be restrictive in any way. He wasn't a vegetarian or a vegan and ate what he wanted whenever he wanted it. "Um, I'll take the Eggs Benedict with an cheese danish on the side, and coffee black." The woman jotted down his order, and looked to Leia, since Jensen had assumed she was ordering for herself. Paying for the meal might be a problem, but that thought hadn't occurred to him yet.
Violet eyes blinked back at the enquiring gaze, acquiring something of a deer in headlights look under the weight of expectation. She was going to have to say something. She struck out for something that she knew bakeries sold, knowing it was likely to sound ridiculous, given the order he had just made. "Uh ... bread and butter?" she asked uncertainly. "And water?"
Jensen's mouth fell open. "Bread and butter? No, no, no." He held up a finger to the woman behind the counter to give them a moment. "Leia, this is a bakery. You order food here. Bread and water is what they serve inmates in prison." He sighed and glanced at the glass case that held all the goodies. "What looks good to you?" he asked, looking over the baked goods, which in his opinion all looked good.
"Bread is what they sell in bakeries," she pointed out a little defensively, blushing at her perception that she had made herself look simple in front of a complete stranger. She lowered her voice, knowing that despite her best efforts, the woman was going to hear what she was about to say to her companion anyway. "I don't know what any of these things are."
"They're baked goods!" he exclaimed, not really explaining at all, looking a little perplexed, not knowing what she might like. "May I make a suggestion?" the woman behind the counter interjected, having met a lot of bakery newbies over the years and recognizing a newcomer to Rhy'Din when she saw one. "The maple pecan danish is always a good choice," she suggested. "And coffee, with cream and sugar." He glanced at Leia and then nodded his head. Bread and butter was simply not breakfast, unless it was toasted. Then maybe. "That sounds good, thanks," he said, reaching into his jacket for his wallet and frowning as he came up empty. "s***."
The relief that poured from Leia at the helpful suggestion was palpable, recognising a professional who knew her town very well. She smiled, relaxing from her tense sense of embarrassment, and glanced up at Jensen swore. "What is it?"
"I-I left my wallet back home. I don't have any money," he said with a frown, trying to think what he had that was of enough value that he could barter it for breakfast, but all he had was the clothes on his back and a gun in his pocket. "Maybe I could do the dishes or mop the floor or something," he suggested, pushing the bridge of his glasses back onto his nose.
For some reason, this brought the confidence back into Leia. The thief was quite happy to be able to solve his problem for him with a smile as she reached into the little bag on her hip and brought out a moleskin money pouch. "I do not have your currency, but I can provide the right weight in silver," she told the woman behind the counter, opening the pouch to reveal not coins, but small ingots of pure silver.
The woman smiled back. She'd encountered this problem, too, many times in the past. "One silver will do, dear," she said, holding out a hand for the coin. Jensen frowned, a little relieved but annoyed that he couldn't do this one thing right. If he was stuck here, he was going to have to find some sort of way of supporting himself. How did one go about that in a place like this? Place an ad in the paper? He didn't want to rely solely on Leia, especially considering her line of work.
Slender fingertips lifted an ingot of silver from the pouch and placed it into the woman's hand, the pouch swiftly closed and hidden back in the mysterious bag on Leia's hip. Of course it hadn't been honestly earned, but the way she looked at life, that really didn't matter. If Jensen didn't keep an eye on her, she was going to lift any number of things as they walked through the streets, just for the sheer fun of it. She looked up at him, her smile fading in the face of his frown. "Did I do something wrong?"
To be fair, he didn't walk the straight and narrow path either, and he wasn't above pilfering a thing or two, but he didn't want her to chance getting arrested when he'd only just busted her out of prison a few hours ago. "No, I just don't like you paying for everything." The woman tilled the coin and went about filling their order. He surveyed the place again before taking her elbow and leading her toward a table in a somewhat quiet corner.
"I could give you some silver," the half-elf woman offered as she was led away, beginning to think that she was always going to be confused by this man, how he slipped from silly to serious so easily with seemingly little provocation. "It goes against my better nature, of course," she teased, trying to bring the smile to his face again, "but I would make that sacrifice for you."
"You would sacrifice some silver that wasn't even yours to begin with?" he asked, not understanding the logic in that, but maybe she really thought of her what she did as a job and what she stole the reward. "You never did tell me how you got arrested. I mean, I know you were... you know..." He darted a glance around, hoping no one was listening. He was paranoid enough and this place just made him all the more so. He pulled out a chair for her and claimed a seat for himself, sighing and leaning back. "Maybe we should start at the beginning."
Shaking her head at his lack of understanding, she lowered herself down into the chair he offered her, leaving her cloak draped over the back as she leaned forward onto the table comfortably. She could sense his confusion, and his alarm at the consideration that anyone might overhear them, wishing he could calm himself a little. It was becoming more and more difficult to concentrate on listening and talking, the stronger his presence grew in her heart and mind. She was almost too aware of him because of it. "Where is the beginning?"
"The beginning. You know... My name is and so on. Like this..." He cleared his throat, as if he was taking this all very seriously. "My name is Jake Jensen. Captain Jake Jensen, to be exact. I'm twenty-seven years old and was born in Boston, Massachusetts. I have a sister, Jessica, and a niece, Jamie. I'm single, never been married, no kids." He didn't go into what he did for a living as it was a little complicated, especially right now while he was in between jobs, so to speak.
She listened, taking all this in with minimal confusion, though naturally his birthplace was something of an enigma for her. And when he paused, she knew it was her turn to reply in kind, able to do so with little concern for prying ears. "My name is Leia Camden. I am twenty-six years old, and I was born in Fang, a village in the north of Allansia, my home country. After my father went to Arvanaith, my mother moved us to Port Blacksand, which is where I grew up. I have no family that I know of. I ..." Here she stumbled. Single wasn't a word she thought she could use to describe herself any longer, and yet the way he used it suggested that it was important he know she wasn't beholden to anyone. "I am single, never married, and I have no children." She eyed him thoughtfully, wondering just how much of this they were likely to do.
She hadn't really told him anything he didn't know already, except maybe for the part about her parents. The places she mentioned were as foreign sounding to him as Boston was to her, but the rest of it made sense. It was, as introductions go, fairly basic. He wasn't normally one to pry. If he really wanted to know something about someone, there were other ways of obtaining information, but if they really wanted to get to know each other better, one of them was going to have to get over their fears and ask questions. "Your father... What happened to him?" he asked, folding his hands on the table as he waited for her explanation, his attention all on her.
She smiled sadly, knowing that this was likely an explanation he would not wholly understand. "He was very old," she began, fondness for her elven father thick in her voice and expression as she spoke. "He had been feeling the call to go for almost two years before I was born, but he did not have the heart to leave my mother. It was only when he told her that by staying, he was risking never being able to reach Arvanaith that she insisted he leave and follow the call to his last days. It was his time." She shrugged lightly. "My mother raised me as best she could, but in the City of Thieves, there really was only one thing I could become. I was lucky enough to be apprenticed to one of the Guild Masters, though. It was a good time." Her gaze flickered over his face, a question on her own tongue that she held in check for now, knowing he was bound to have further questions to ask her.
Thankfully for him, he'd seen Lord of the Rings and understood the concept of the Western Lands, but he wasn't sure if that equated with this Arvanaith she was talking about. "Your mother... She was human?" he asked, remembering that she'd told him she was only half-elven, assuming her other half was human, though she hadn't said so. "Do all... elves go there when they're old?" he asked, his fingers twitching, wanting to reach for her hand, but holding himself back for some reason.
"If they answer the call in time, yes," she nodded, glancing down at his twitching fingers with a half smile. "If they do not, they are denied entry. It is thought that to ignore the call is to deny your right to an immortal soul. Only the old go of their own volition, clothed in their mortal body. Those elves who die a violent or unexpected death ... their bodies do not decay as human bodies do, but their spirits go to Arvanaith, to await a time for rebirth." From the expression on her face, that to her sounded rather strange and unpleasant to consider. "But yes, my mother was human. My father saved her life, and in return, she went somewhat goblin on him and locked him in her home until he admitted that he loved her." She laughed at this anecdote, understanding a little now of why her father had resisted so long.
He arched a brow, curiousity piqued, wondering what would happen if he did that very same thing to her, not missing in the irony in their stories. Though he was no elf, he had helped her escape from prison and taken a bullet wound in the process, which she had somehow healed. "Will you go there someday?" he asked, linking his fingers together just to give his hands something to do that didn't involve reaching for hers.
"No." She shook her head. It wasn't such a wrench for her not to go to her father's afterlife; she had no understanding of how deeply the longing for it affected elven folk, after all. "Though my father's blood lengthens my lifespan and gives me certain traits that are elvish, my soul isn't an elven one. I will never see Arvanaith, and ... well, I do not think I deserve to, in any case." She chuckled a little. "What of you? Your family, your sister? She must be very close to your heart."