Mature You, me and our chaperone makes three.....

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Zana
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You, me and our chaperone makes three.....

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12th Saun, 718
In the early breaks of the morning, as they lay awake together, Zana had spoken to Theo in a more serious way than was her usual. First, she'd told him that she'd arranged for Ses'ka to be at the restaurant where she and Wyllum were going out on a date the next evening. "I hate the idea of you eating alone in a room I'm in," she'd said, most genuinely. So, his new girlfriend would be there oh what a surprise and, she teased, "You two can play footsie under the table while Wyllum and I are the height of decorum." She'd rolled her eyes at that, but said nothing. There was something on her mind, it had been obvious from the get go, after all. "I find it odd," she'd whispered, moonlight all they had to see by and her nose touching his, "to consider you chaperoning me on a date. It unnerves me slightly that sometimes, we do this a little too well." Then, she'd grinned like a cat who'd just been served a bowl of cream. "Not, this, we do this just well enough and there's always room for improvement. From you." Her kiss told a different story and she lingered there before she continued. "You're not my brother. Don't ever forget it and don't you dare do anything unforgivable like fall in love." Playfully, she bit his lower lip. "You just remember what has no fury, Theo." Zana didn't like this, not one bit, but she had grown to accept that she was attached to Theo. That he had the capacity to hurt her and, in fact, that she gave it to him. She took it no further than that, and she rarely spoke about it at all. Doing so, even now when they were alone and in each others arms, unnerved her. Zana Delroth didn't do vulnerable, after all. So, she pulled herself close to him and decided to focus on other things which were, she would maintain, much more interesting.

And then, she'd acted like the conversation had never happened. She had no wish to dissect it, to pull it apart. She didn't even want to think about it, but he needed to know - or she needed to tell him. So she had. And now he knew that and they could ignore it. So, with a perfunctory knock at the door, she'd more or less skipped into Theo's study. "Are you ready? I'm ready. How do I look?" She did a twirl, a wide smile on her face. Her dress was more mature than usual, although still very much of a conservative type. Black and gathered in at the waist with a low neckline which had been laced loosely together to ensure it was modest, it still was an adult woman's dress, and in black high heels and with just the right make up, she looked more like a woman going on a date than she ever had before. It was, of course, a tactic and one that Zana knew well. Dressing to seduce was a long way away yet, with Wyllum, but she had played the innocent girl long enough and he was intrigued by her. Time to have a hint of the woman dearest Wyllumbelieved he was going to shape her into.

Poor idiot man, she thought.

"The slave that Ses'ka is letting us try out helped me," Zana said, waving her hand dismissively, "I forget her name, but she's good with make up. She'll teach me, I'm sure." One eyebrow raised as she considered what else the slave was 'teaching' her. In order to ensure that they had good relationships with Ses'ka's family and as an excuse to have Zana meet Wyllum, Theo had decided ~ as the big brother he was pretending to be ~ that Zana would have two slave to help prepare her for married life. In their quiet moments together, when Theo had asked her how that scenario was working out, Zana had informed him in no uncertain terms that, if these were the best slaves Viden had to offer, he was marrying into the right family and would be able to make a killing. Her assessment was full of words like "bumpy" and "stuttering" and really, she didn't seem very impressed. By day, of course, she'd been quiet, a little more reserved than usual and had blushed furiously when Theo and the slave were in the same room. But, being the well bred noble creature that she was, she'd said absolutely nothing.

"I've never been on an actual date Theo. What if I say the wrong thing? I wish mother were here to give me advice." She breathed in and looked at him, critically. "Should I.. I don't know, should I wear a flower, or might he bring one? It's all so new here, and I've never done this before." She smiled as she realised that she was repeating herself. "Will you be listening? Can we have a system where you scratch your ear if I'm saying or doing the wrong thing?" She was teasing him, but in this role she was playing, it was only mostly.

"Oh, we have to go, we might be late." There was, of course, no chance of that if they crawled and he'd better make her wait a while so that they didn't show up needlessly early and she looked needy. But Zana was very, very aware that these slaves which Ses'ka had so kindly loaned Theo to help teach his sister were on loan and would, she did not doubt, report back. So even more on her guard than usual. "Oh, Theo, what if he doesn't like me?"

Ergh. Needy was simply pathetic.
Last edited by Zana on Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 1009
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Theo Nji'Ryn
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Re: You, me and our chaperone makes three.....

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"Are you worried that I'll chew with my mouth open or belch loudly at the table and embarrass you?" Theo had teased, with a whisper and a nibble beneath Zana's ear as they'd laid wrapped around each other in that early dawn. "Maybe I should pull silly faces behind Wyllum's back?" he suggested as finally he rolled onto his back. Zana was right though. Ses'ka would be there and Theo would need to feign surprise. A pleasant surprise, of course. "Footsie isn't my style, but the sentiment is valid. A chance encounter would work to advantage for both of us." Him and Zana, he meant. Wyllum and Ses'ka, in a sense, were pawns in a complicated game. Some might even say a dangerous one.

Ses'ka was an attractive pawn though, he had to admit. As for what they did well...too well, well enough and not quite, Theo grinned. "There are some things," he whispered, "where one ought always seek to improve, even if there's not any room left for improvement. It's the trying itself, that's the most enjoyable part." They both knew what he was referring to, after all. And the argument could be made that if they tried any harder or got any better at that, there'd never be an exchange that somebody didn't come away having pulled, sprained or broken something.

But no, he wasn't her brother. The kiss they shared was enough to make that clear. "You think I'm in danger of falling in love with her?" he asked with some surprise. "She's attractive, she has a reasonable wit and is undeniably rolling in money," A large portion of which would eventually be theirs, him and Zana's, so long as they played their cards right. "But scorn or no, Zana, ultimately she is a necessary means to an end and scorn or no, she pales in comparison." Of course Zana knew that already. She was Delroth's daughter and had come equipped with the knowledge. And besides, there were better ways to spend the last few moments before the servants began to arrive.

And it didn't need saying, or maybe he just wouldn't say it. The same held true for her. No falling in love with the man she'd be marrying if all went according to plan. Theo couldn't exactly put to words or coherent thought how he felt about her. And certainly the rules and social norms as they applied to others, did not apply to them. But in one sense or another, she was his.

Breaks later, it was as if the exchange had never occurred, and they were fully back into their roles as planned. He'd taken some care with his appearance as he usually did. But just as it should be, Zana outshone him. "You look perfectly wonderful, little sister. But then you know it very well," he said indulgently and fondly when she glided into his study, where he was busy going over paperwork and management details for a family estate that didn't exist. It had every appearance however of doing just that. Existing, that was. Theo had grown very good at cooking the books...He'd learned that long, long ago. He was good at moving money and assets around, making them appear much more substantial than they were. It was appearance, but it was necessary for there to be a paper trail, and a very convincing one just in case anyone got too curious.

"The slave will prove her weight in gold," he reassured her, considering that this too was as much a ruse as anything. As if Zana needed help with managing her appearance. "As long as she'd helpful to you, it's all that matters." Even the slaves were fooled, apparently, which in itself was quite critical. "You won't say the wrong thing," he reassured her as they prepared to leave the house. "And besides, it's only right that he'll do most of the talking. And no flower...You're not a girl of sixteen going to your coming out party, though he may bring you flowers himself." Probably not, however. And he'd be sitting just near enough to toss and bounce a dinner roll off her head, if she said the wrong thing or he got too bored, Theo teased her.

And stop worrying so much, he told her...again, as they left the house and were off on their way. "He's going to like you...He already likes you." Immortals, Theo thought. Thank them all that this was only a ruse and there were times when they could drop the roles and get back to themselves if temporarily. If he actually had a sister with tendencies like this? He might actually strangle her first chance he got.



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Zana
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Re: You, me and our chaperone makes three.....

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"My life is terribly difficult, you know," she told him quite seriously when he said that he'd be close enough to bounce a dinner roll off her head. As they walked together, arm in sibling-like arm she looked at him. "You are the most dreadful brother, a menace." Her gaze was fond, perfectly sister like. Other than the slight digging of her nail into his arm. "Yet, somehow, you do manage to say just the right thing at the right moment." Would he know that she was referring to what he'd said to her last night? Well, Zana didn't know but she thought so and that was good enough for her.

Which meant, of course, it would have to be good enough for him.

They arrived at the restaurant and, of course, it was very lovely. Zana looked at Theo and smiled softly. "I'm nervous," she lied, artfully and without hesitation. In their line of work, if it could be called such, artful lies were a necessity. Pleased with how she'd done, Zana turned her best grateful smile to the doorman who looked a little like he'd been hit in the stomach - and rather enjoyed it. Zana was pleased at that, Theo would be in no doubt, but she didn't seem to notice.

Inside, it was elegant and exclusive. When Theo gave their name, the waiter smiled obsequiously. "Of course, mi'lady, your table is ready and Lord Tariq is here already. M'lord, I'll take you to your table once you've settled your sister." Of course, he knew and this was something that they did on a semi regular basis. Zana breathed in and pulled her shoulders back as they walked. She set her face to excited, nervous and shy all at once and her ice blue eyes searched the room. Wyllum was there and, as the attendant led them to a quiet table next to a window with a beautiful view, the Tariq heir stood and smiled. He did a good job of not looking too long, but he most definitely looked and Zana knew, immediately, that she'd made the right choice in the more adult dress.

"Every time I see you," Wyllum said, most sincerely, "you look more beautiful. My lady, it's a pleasure to see you again." Zana looked absolutely delighted, in a very reserved and proper manner, at his words. He lifted her hand and kissed it, his thumb gently caressing the knuckled before he lowered her hand. Not quite entirely appropriate, but not a faux pas either - more just a hint of daring. "Theo. Good to see you again. I am afraid that I must beg your forgiveness, however."

Pausing just long enough for Theo to ask what he meant and Wyllum smiled. "Your sister is as thoughtful and kind as she is beautiful," Zana had to remind herself that she was supposed to be impressed by such and she smiled, gently. "She was not happy at the thought of her brother lingering in loneliness while we dined. I must say, I quite agree with her, so I hope that you will forgive that I invited.. ah, and there she is."

As Ses'ka was escorted to the table, she looked at Wyllum in some surprise. She was pleased to see Theo though and it showed her face. "What's going on here?" There was a dawning recognition on her face. "Were you in on this?" Ses'ka asked Theo and when Wyllum explained that he and Zana had cooked it up, Ses'ka's eyebrow raised slightly. "Well, it seems we've been bamboozled. I have no wish to intrude...." Zana glanced at Wyllum and smiled in delight as Theo and Ses'ka sorted it out and made their way to the table where Theo was acting as chaperone.

"It is a very pleasant surprise, and nice to see the two of them together," she said, watching him and trying to gauge his reaction. "You won't know what to do with yourself, you know, if this all works out." A question? Yes, almost certainly.
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Theo Nji'Ryn
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Re: You, me and our chaperone makes three.....

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"Yes, it's a long and hard row to hoe, being you," Theo drawled back a wry grin when Zana claimed that her life was, in fact, difficult. It was a teasing prod from both a loving brother, and the man behind the facade. It was the nature of their relationship, and strangely, the roles they'd created and picked up for themselves. Secret and double meanings abounded, but their connection and the nature of their relationship insured that they understood each other perfectly well.

And lying? It was effortless, and seemed to come naturally to them both. With others at least, and rarely if ever to each other. "Don't be," he said and smiled encouragingly when they arrived, and she said she was nervous. Removing first her cloak from her shoulders and handing it over to the woman who'd come forward to receive it, he followed with his own coat and his thanks. "Remember, you are plenty of reason for lord Wyllum to suffer a case of nerves," he whispered, but in a way that those close by might be able to hear. "Not the other way around."

Clearly, they'd come to one of the finest eateries in Viden, if not the finest. It suited him just fine, Theo thought, as he supplied their names to the host. He winked encouragingly at Zana as she was led off and escorted to Wyllum's table. Obviously Wyllum was pleased with what he said, and watching the scene play out, Theo was also pleased. But then he hadn't expected anything less. Wyllum was getting bolder, in fact, just as Zana's 'brother' had anticipated he would. "And you as well, lord Tariq," he said when the other man offered up a greeting. Of course he'd known in advance what had been planned, thanks to Zana. But when asked for his forgiveness, he feigned confusion. And when Ses'ka appeared, that confusion mixed with an element of surprise.

"My lady," he said, and immediately extended his hand in order to take hers. "What an unexpected pleasure it is to see you here. I'm afraid I'm as in the dark as you are, and there's been a plan afoot that I was not aware of. But all things considered," Theo added with a smile as he raised her hand to his lips, "Only the most foolish of men would dare to complain." When told that the surprise was Zana's doing, he turned a gaze on his younger sister that was both fond, and scolding in jest. "I should disapprove of the subterfuge little sister, and yet I cannot bring myself to. Thank you. And please, no, my lady. It is no intrusion at all and in fact the contrary. Will you join me?" he said, gesturing to the table that had been arranged for him.

And when they got there, he placed his hand on her chair while she sat, and then sat down across from her. "For all of my ignorance, I couldn't be happier with the turn of events. I was facing an evening of playing the wallflower in Zana's shadow," he joked as a waiter came round and served the wine. "It appears to be going well, doesn't it?" he said, glancing Wyllum and Zana's way. "As for myself, if all goes well, you're right I'll have a great deal more time on my hands. Nothing would make me happier than to spend it in the best of company," he said, looking into her eyes in way that could hardly be misinterpreted. That good company naturally, was the lady herself. "I understand that you are quite involved in your family's business. I do hope however that it allows you the time and opportunity for...other things?

Meanwhile, Wyllum had made sure that the wine, even the flowers on the table and its location would be to Zana's liking. Or at least he hoped they would and if not? Well he'd certainly expect that she'd say that they were. Testing the wine before giving his approval, and then waiting for hers to be filled in turn, he smiled. "It seems to have gone seamlessly, your plan," he said, referring to her efforts to provide a distraction for her brother that evening. "I admire a well laid and executed plot," he teased. "And may I say, my lady, you look stunning this evening. How go your studies?" he asked.



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Zana
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Re: You, me and our chaperone makes three.....

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"You sound like a farm worker," she said, with just the right slight upturning of her nose at such a prospect. "Any row to hoe is most certainly too long, I might break a nail." There was no deceit in her about either of those points and her grin to him was wicked and genuine. Shrugging out of her cloak as he removed it for her, she smiled gratefully to him when he whispered to her, wishing that his breath didn't tickle her bare neck in quite that way as he did it. She concentrated on looking at him uncertainly, not quite believing him, but being aware that he believed it completely. Doting brother that he was. "I hope you're right, Theo. Or I'm about to make a complete fool of myself." But she smiled, stood up straight and walked with her brother.

Where things worked out quite perfectly, of course and Ses'ka arrived just at the precise moment that was ideal. When Theo looked at her with a mixture of fond and disapproving, though, Zana looked back at him with just a hint of defiance in her eyes. That might be surprising, on the surface, considering where they were and who they were with - and especially considering the part she was playing. But then, Zana spoke softly. "I spoke to Wyllum about it and he thought it was an excellent idea," she said, firmly. Just a brief flash of defiance, but it was alright because Wyllum said so.

Ses'ka was, quite evidently, delighted and she took a seat with Theo. "It really is very kind of you to put up with such behaviour. But I must admit to being far from displeased myself," she smiled softly and looked at him, her gaze lingering on him as he spoke. Her pleasure at his suggestion was obvious and for a moment she seemed to consider. She was, in fact, making a decision, but perhaps not the one she seemed to be. In the end, she went with not playing coyly. "I am busy, because I choose to be. I could be less so, should I wish it." Glancing over at Zana and Wyllum her expression changed, just for a moment, to almost wistful. "And I must admit to using the business as an excuse to avoid .. other things." Her pause was just as long as his had been, mirroring him exactly.

Zana, meanwhile, had made sure to compliment the place. "It's lovely. Viden is such a beautiful place," she said, looking out of the window just for a moment. "I'm so very glad that Theo agreed for us to stay here." Her gaze returned to her companion and Zana's smile at his teasing of her 'well executed' plan turned to a flush of her cheeks when he complimented her. He would grow to adore her blushes, she vowed to herself. "You're very kind to say so," she replied, the very epitome of demure. When he asked about her studies, though, pleasure lit Zana's face. "Oh, it's so interesting, and useful too. Alchemy and chemistry have so many applications." That was certainly true, she was learning skills which would make her a little goldmine in and of her own right, no doubting it.

"Did you know," Ses'ka said, glancing at the table where Zana and Wyllum sat, "That Lord Tariq's mother is my aunt? His father married a Yalta. I must admit, I didn't think I'd see the trial that he bothered to court a woman but your sister has quite caught his eye." She smiled and returned her gaze to Theo. "But, so they say, love conquers all, and all that. He seems utterly besotted." Then, she asked that most dangerous of questions, but one which was more or less inevitable. "So, Theo, tell me more about you?"

Zana, meanwhile had spoken the obligatory two sentences about herself before turning that around. Glancing towards Theo and Ses'ka, she smiled. "They seem happy," she said, her voice soft "Theo has spent all his life looking after me, especially the last few arcs. He deserves some happiness of his own." Turning away from their chaperone, she added with just a hint of mischief. "And I really don't think he's paying any attention to us, you know." Just a little bit of willing to break the rules was something that Wyllum liked, Zana was sure, as long as it was breaking the rules for him or with him. But equally, he needed reminding of who she was and just how sheltered Zana Malinconico had been. "We could move table and they wouldn't notice, I'm sure." Yes, the very height of disobedience on her part was laid out for all to see. A sense of humour, a wicked streak but a fundamentally good and dutiful wife. That was what Wyllum was after, Zana was quite sure. And she would be sure to live up to every one of his expectations.
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Mads
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Re: You, me and our chaperone makes three.....

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Theo
Knowledge.........
Acting: Indulgent and amused.
Acting: Surprised.
Acting: Injecting a bit of yourself into the role makes acting easier.
Acting: Observing others and fitting in
Deception: Pretending to be amused by a wittering woman.
Deception: Pretending to be unaware of something.
Deception: Make a joke to pretend to be in a more intimate relationship
Deception: Ensure that you are always, just a little bit of a bad boy
Loot....................
None
Consequence......
None
Renown..............
5 for being fancy in a fancy place with fancy people
Experience...........
15
Zana
Knowledge.........
Cosmetology: Every girl should have a LBD
Cosmetology: Necklines make a big difference
Cosmetology: Never underestimate the importance of shoes
Cosmetology: The difference between dressing as an attractive adult and dressing to seduce.
Etiquette: Expensive restaurants
Etiquette: Chaperones on dates
Etiquette: Ensure that you let the man talk more
Etiquette: Ask questions, look interested. Even when he's dull.
Loot....................
None
Consequence......
None
Renown..............
5 for being fancy in a fancy place with fancy people
Experience...........
15
A planned and flawlessly executed plot in a upper-crust dining establishment with a peppering of incest that isn't incest. I'm thinking you two are probably enjoying yourselves, at that's what matters when it comes to writing with someone you like. Enjoy the points!
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