The daily grind...

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Perdita Westcott
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The daily grind...

The Daily Grind....
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hen she walked in to the room they shared in Desnind, Perdita was covered in fine flakes of snow. She'd worn her cloak and pulled her hood up, but mostly that had been something she'd forgotten about. In her hands she was clutching a basket - which she'd made - in which were flowers and berries and all sorts of strange things which she'd foraged. "It's cold!" The declaration was probably not needed, her cheeks were red as was the tip of her nose, but she had a smile on her face which told of how pleased she was. "Look, Eli," she held out the basket to show him and her eyes shone in delight. "So many colours!" There was a twig in her hair and other detritus attached to her here and there, but she neither knew nor cared. She'd gone out hunting and found things.

Perdita had gone out foraging to collect things which she could make into ink. She wanted to get better at it, and so she had to practice. Besides, she'd told him (in short sentences), she couldn't buy exactly the colour she wanted, and so, she needed to make it. She'd put out her things on the desk that morning in preparation and glanced at him with a slight smile. "Still no pipettes," she'd said, softly. There was no accusation there, no nagging - but there was a very slight tone of teasing him which rather surprised her. Still, she'd gone out to do some shopping, and then she was back with a basket of foraged goods. Perdita hadn't told him she was off rummaging in the woods, because she knew that Eli would insist on going with her, and she wanted to be by herself. She liked Eli ~ possibly more than any other mortal being she'd met thus far ~ but the lack of personal space was irritating her. She never showed it, but two trials ago they had spoken, albeit very briefly, about buying a house. Perdita had said that she was thinking of staying here and Eli had charged right on in with putting their money together, buying a house together, living together.

At the time, they'd been rather busy, but in the aftermath she had considered it and then looked at it from all angles, and it unnerved her. Surely, living together was a big step? But that said, if she had to live in this small room with another person always there for too much longer, she might start to rock back and forth and develop an eye-twitch. And yet, looking at Eli she knew that her response to him suggesting that they pool their money and get a home together had been a simple one; delight. "I want to sleep in a double bed," she said, suddenly. Gesturing to the small, yet entirely comfortable bed she had here, she explained in what she believed were very simple and clear terms. "I like to sprawl," she did. She very much did. She liked to sprawl and toss and turn in her sleep and not worry that she was somehow about to fall out of the small cot-type thing she was sleeping on, or sticking her behind in the air in her sleep. "I need space," Perdita explained, looking at him and forcing herself to meet his eyes. "My own space." He understood that, surely? He must do. He must feel the same.

Yet, she liked him, and she liked being with him. So, while she was out foraging, she had taken the time to think. "If we buy a house together, I want my own space." Motioning to the desk, she added in what seemed to make most sense to her for that to be. "A workshop, maybe?" He could have the same, of course, they both needed it. But if he wanted something that was up to him to express, not her. Frankly, she was having enough trouble sorting herself out, without worrying about him. So, instead, she stated her needs clearly (she believed) - a double bed and a workshop. "Is that acceptable?"

It was all very clear to Perdita, they just needed to make the decision - if they were able to live together, then it would be her preference. Putting the items she had collected out on to the desk, she organised them into groups, by colour. "I have to grind these," she motioned to the things she had put on the left. "And dry these out," those were items on the right. She tried to grind things as quickly as she could because it kept the vibrancy of the colours, but sometimes, things had to be dried in order to be able to be added. And so, Perdita began the long, slow, and rather painful process of grinding foraged items in a mortar and pestle. It wasn't a part of the work that she enjoyed, but it needed to be done. Looking up at him as she started, she smiled slightly. "It's noisy. Sorry." It was. But then, it was what she needed to do. Glancing over at the notebook he had put down as they spoke, she asked, "What's that?"

He was designing something, that was for sure. What it was, she could not tell.
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Elijah Lamoreaux
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Re: The daily grind...

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When Perdita finally came in from the cold, a wisp of it came in behind her, nipping at her heels. Even after she'd passed through the commons downstairs, flakes of it still clung to her cloak and her hair. She happened to find Eli in a somewhat relaxed state. Seated on the bed, feet stretched out in front of him and one propped on top of the other, his back resting against the headboard while a sketch book laid open in his lap.

That's where he'd been there when she'd gone out. But more than once, more than a few times he'd gotten up, looked out the window into the yard below, off towards the edge of the city or further still to the treeline. Which in retrospect wasn't far to look considering the whole place was in the trees, made of trees or wrapped around them. But he'd opened the door a few times too, looking this way and that way; especially when he'd heard footsteps approaching or passing by.

But now, for all the world, he looked as if he'd never moved from his spot. "Back so soon?" he asked innocently, as if he hadn't quite noticed the time passing. And as if he hadn't wondered or worried about her, a young woman, being alone, out on her own. Still, he sat up a little straighter to see what she'd come back with. Eli couldn't help but grin a little when she rummaged through her basket and showed him, as if it was a box full of treasure; or a shiny new compass. He'd never known anyone to be so pleased with a basket full of petals, berries, leaves and stems. "I'm guessing you didn't buy those at the nearest plant shop," he said.

Still, she was right. Pipettes. The things that had started the ball rolling that ended them up in Desnind. He'd promised to help her find them. "I forgot. I did promise didn't I." He'd have to make sure to purchase her some. Though he'd be needing to ask around the local shops in order to jog his memory. For the life of him, Eli couldn't remember what a pipette was, but wasn't about to admit it. Soon enough though she turned to their current, and maybe future living arrangements, and he nodded, while drawing away in his book. The gears in his head were turning though.

It was cramped quarters here where they were. And though she might not say it, he figured it might've been as much of an adjustment as it was for him. She was so tidy, and he could never find his shoes where he'd tossed them when he'd last come in. On the other hand, an adjustment it might be, and a powerful distraction. But it was one that on the other hand, he didn't object to at all. The talk of double beds got his attention though. "You do? Are you sure?" He sounded part surprised, part hopeful, with the last part of him thinking he must have heard her wrong. Turned out, it was the meaning he'd missed.

"Oh. Space," he said. "Yeah, I get that. Your own space is good." So a workshop too? For a trill he wasn't sure whether she was talking about living apart or together, but then it came clearer, and he grinned. Relieved really. He might have understood it if she hadn't wanted to purchase a house together. Though while he wouldn't have wanted to admit it, he'd also have been disappointed. "Of course it's acceptable. I mean, we could put our resources together and have something with two levels. Lots of space, a workshop for you. I wouldn't mind having one myself, except maybe one outdoors away from the house."

That way if over the course of engineering something new, things went awry, it was only the workshop to suffer. That could wait for later though, Eli figured. He wasn't good enough for blowing things up, just yet. He watched her emptying her basket and carefully arranging the contents, much like she did most everything else, even while wearing twigs in her hair. He grinned and shook his head, and went back to drawing while she turned to grinding things up. It was a noisy process.

When she asked about what he was doing, Eli glanced up and titled the page so she could see. It might have been some sort of strange flying machine, if such things were able to fly at all. "I'd gotten to thinking of that giant moth, and wondering about how he, or she did it. I mean, lifting off the ground with the extra weight of passengers and carrying us here. See," he said, sitting up and swinging his feet onto the floor. "I've spent a lot of time watching birds flying. It's physics, see? Their bones are hollow so they weight next to nothing, and their wing span makes up for the rest. A moth must be something similar. So I was thinking, maybe it's the wing span?"

He sat up straighter then and watched what she was doing, then frowned. "That's got to be hard on the wrist. And the back. The neck," he said. "I bet I could design some sort of gadget to make it easier. It could do more of the work. Unless you like that part of it?" he said. After all, when he'd told her about his ideas for carriages without horses, she'd been very quick to take up the part of the horses.

It was too much to ask though that he wouldn't elaborate. "See, if you had a round part for the actual grinding that would fit the bowl properly, and it had a ball that fit into a socket, like a joint, that would allow it to rotate and swivel like your wrist would, all you'd have to do is turn a hand crank to keep it going. It would work something like a lever that would mean, less force to do the job, do it quicker, and less work for you."
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Perdita Westcott
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Re: The daily grind...

The Daily Grind....
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E
li seemed surprised that she was back so soon. Perhaps he had been enjoying his own solitude, Perdita thought and considered that this was probably the case. Yes, she concluded that must be it. She briefly considered that he might be disappointed that she had arrived back so early. It was strange, Perdita thought, how time was experienced differently by people - she thought she'd been quite a while. That was concerning, and Perdita considered it from a number of angles before coming to a conclusion ~ she should, and would, go out more often. He, obviously, needed space and she was quite content to give it to him. "Yes," she replied after a moment. "Just the beginning," she reassured him, putting down her basked and smiling at him. Why did it bother her, she wondered? Still, he had expressed, clearly, his feelings and so she would do her best to act in a way which was best for both of them. "Tomorrow, I'll be gone longer." She was quite determined to reassure him about that. Maybe, she thought, she could go again later? It really hadn't occurred to her that he was wanting time alone and he looked very comfortable. He smiled at her collection though, and she chuckled slightly at his guess. "I did not," get them at a plant shop, that was. She lifted up a small twig covered with berries and she brandished it, victoriously. Mostly, that meant waving it around, "I picked them!" She knew he knew that, but it was nice to banter a little, she thought. It made him smile and she liked it when he did.

Shaking her head, however, she was clear about the pipettes. "I was not hinting," she said, her voice firm and determined. "I will buy my own." She already owed him so much, he had saved her from those muggers and now he was stuck somewhere he had not wanted to be because of a series of events which followed on from that. And that was all the more reason, Perdita considered, to make sure that he had his own space too. So she told him. His initial response rather surprised her. "I am, yes," why wouldn't she be sure of the size of bed she wanted to sleep in? He was a very strange example of a man, Perdita considered. But, when they clarified things, he seemed happy and content to live together. She'd have a workshop and so would he, though when he said bout outside the house, she shook her head. "Tree. They live in the trees." Gesturing around she tugged him over to the window and pointed to where the houses were nestled up in the trees. "Those are homes," she said, aware of him next to her as she pointed to a number of them. He probably knew, but just in case. The hand not pointing slipped in to his and she smiled. "Our home would be up there," if that was what they wanted. So a workshop on the ground level might be something he needed to build later, she thought. Personally, she thought that the idea of houses in the trees, with a workshop connected by a rope bridge, sounded wonderful. It was all very fascinating to the sheltered young woman.

His drawing was intriguing, and Perdita listened to him and nodded. "That's why the weight is in the middle?" So that the wingspan was balanced. But moth-wings and bird-wings moved at very different speed and also, of course, there was a very important question to her. "Which wings?" Perdita asked, most seriously, "Moths have four," birds, of course, only had the two. Perhaps that was part of it, part of what was important. He smiled and shook his head as she put things tidily away and was about to make a comment about his shoes. She glanced to where they were, neatly in place from where she had put them this morning and there was a small part of her which wanted to point out that it was a good job that one of them was tidy around here, but she didn't. Instead, she smiled at him and gestured to them, the shoes there so ordered and controlled. "Everything in place," she smiled that brief smile she tended to, her cheeks flushing and her eyes not meeting his.

When he said that he could design something, Perdita looked at him and said, most honestly, "I hate this," so when she added a very ardent, "Yes, please," she very obviously meant it. Most of what he said went completely over her head in terms of what he would do, but there was a very clear baseline here and Perdita was very happy with it. "What do you need?" Her expression was entirely serious and without a doubt she would very much like it if he started now, please.

If not before.
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Elijah Lamoreaux
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Re: The daily grind...

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Based on Perdita's response, which Eli discovered to be more disappointing than he'd have ever expected, it seemed like she might make a habit of up and disappearing for breaks at a time. It shouldn't have bothered him...And why should it? It wasn't like they were married or anything. He wasn't her keeper and he wasn't hers. But though he made an effort not to show it, it did bother him. It was tricky, figuring out to what extent he ought to show his hand, was he to even have one. Still, "I wouldn't mind going along next time," he said, but was quick to add, "That is if you don't mind. I might come across something that could inspire some sort of gadget."

So far as the pipettes were concerned though, on that topic she was fairly clear. She'd get her own. So he grinned and nodded agreeable, in fact grateful that he didn't have to ask her to remind him what they actually were. When Perdita dragged him to the window however, he leaned closer and looked out, and up. Of course she was right, and he knew, except that "It's easy to forget. The closest I've seen to houses in trees before, was the lookout posts back in Rharne's Stormlands. So, right. Trees. We can still figure out the workshops though. Ropes and pulleys and lifts...That sort of thing."

As for his drawing and Perdie's questions about weight distribution, Eli nodded and picked up the drawing again. "Right. If it's carrying extra weight, meaning more than it's own, it's got to be evenly distributed, or at least arranged so there's a center of balance." But she was right. While birds had only two wings, "and tails to act as rudders, moths have four. Birds can glide with wings extended, but moths can hover in place with wings always in motion. Domnall said once," he told her while watching her work away with her pestle and mortar, "that you could fly a cast iron bathtub fly so long as you got the particulars right.'

Of course, what little experience, or rather understanding he had so far as the possibility of flight, was based on a limited understanding of physics and mathematics, and from laying on his back in the Stormlands back near Rharne, watching birds fly by over head. Lots of observation, not enough doing just yet.

Eli wasn't exactly sure that was true. Domnall Scott after all, if he'd ever made anything else when he was younger, mostly turned out toys and clockwork devices for sale to the wealthy and bored. He on the other hand had more ambitious pursuits in mind. But finally, Eli realized, he'd stumbled on an idea that genuinely seemed to appeal to Perdita. Probably because it was something that wasn't just useful, but would be particularly useful in her line of work. He was more pleased that he'd have expected to be, and quickly turned to a blank sheet in his book.

Picking up his pencil again, he began to sketch out the first idea that popped into his head, and then frowned, tore out the page and began with another. He'd repeated the process several times before settling on an idea he thought might just work. "So this one could be done a couple of ways. Good, strong clock work would do the trick, and would mean you could wind it up, sit back and watch while it does all the work," he said. "But if you want something that's less likely to break down on you, maybe simpler is best." Not that simple was Eli's usual approach. He liked big ideas overall. But a big idea in this case might not be the best way."[/b]

"Or we could use a hand cranked method," he suggested while adding another element to his drawing. "Done right, the crank would turn as easily as if you were pushing a marble across the floor. Leverage. Does all the work for you." In that case, or either really he told Perdita, first they'd need a base that the whole thing would sit on. Something square or rectangular, something heavy like a solid piece of wood, stone or marble. "Then a small stone bowl there, just like you've got already, that I can mount onto a plate of wood or metal, and then fit a rod from the bottom of the bowl, through the plate and into the base. One that will rotate the bowl when the crank is turned."

That crank wouldn't just turn the bowl however, he explained. It would do two jobs at once. "Then there's the pestle. We'll need one that's rounded on the bottom and long enough to be fitted into a head that will swivel side to side, and is attached to the crank mechanism. Turn the crank and the bowl spins in place the head rotates so that it keeps the pestle moving from the center of the bowl, up the sides and back down again. Makes sure that the stuff you're wanting to crush and grind up doesn't work itself out of the way of the grinder."

It was much easier to show than explain, of course. With time he might get better at that. But still, he'd picked up the pestle she had in the bowl already, with one hand turned the bowl and with the other, moved the pestle in the way he'd explained it should move. "What do you think?" he asked.
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Perdita Westcott
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Re: The daily grind...

The Daily Grind....
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ales were the most confusing creatures, Perdita determined. Probably all of them, but certainly this one of them. She looked at him and there was an expression of some confusion on her face. "You are always welcome," she said, quietly, her eyes slowly raising to meet his rather than avoid his gaze like she normally did, even when she 'looked' at him. "But you were comfortable here. Peaceful." There was no need for him to fuss or worry, Perdita believed, she was more than able to take care of herself. If he was only going because he felt some sense of responsibility for her then she really wished he wouldn't. But that was Eli, he was protective and then some. But, they spoke about the home they'd buy and she and he moved to the window. Ropes and pulleys? Perdita glanced at him and smiled. "If you like," she said, of the contraptions he was envisioning. For her, it was about colour and space of her own. It was easy to forget though, she agreed with that and, standing there in the window she turned to look at him. "It'll be exciting," she said, determination and excitement in her tone. It would be, they'd make it that way.

He talked then, explaining about flight and she listened to him. She didn't understand what he said hardly at all, but that didn't matter; Perdita found herself using the mortar and pestle in time with the cadence of his voice, the tone and the rhythm of his speech. He had such a way with words which she very much admired - he had so many of them, too! But his ideas of moths and birds and flying bath-tubs were entrancing and she listened, enchanted. However, she was not looking at him, just listening, as her focus had to be on the work she was doing. " A flying bathtub?" Her smile showed in her voice as she worked to crush the foraged detritus from her time outdoors. "Where would the water go?" Perdita asked the question, quite seriously, and then considered that probably the tub wouldn't need to be full. Her blush deepened to the point that she could feel her ears burning and she concentrated solely on the job at hand. "You could pretend," she mumbled, loud enough that she knew he'd hear her, "that you didn't hear that." It would, she was quite sure, be the kind thing to do.

And then, their conversation turned to what Perdita had long since considered to be the simple act of grinding ingredients. Eli, however, was quite quick to demonstrate to her that simple was the very last thing it was. He considered and drew - and then discarded - a number of designs and each one that he ripped from his book, Perdita took hold of. "I need to practice binding," she explained when he realised what she was doing and looked at her rather quizzically. "Scraps to do it on." Of course, while that was true, it also was not. Eli, Perdita had noticed, had something of a tendency to draw and discard things. But those designs, they were part of who he was - of what he did and how he functioned. They were a visual representation of his journey as a ... gadget-maker, she supposed the term was.

So, she kept them.

When she had enough of them, she'd make a book for him, out of them. Each one she'd gathered before now, she'd carefully dated in tiny digits and she would do the same with these - then, she'd written in her careful and delicate handwriting, a page which explained what the design had been for or what they'd been doing or where they'd been when inspiration struck. Her intention was that the book, when it was finished (or begun, in fairness) would be a journal of his developing skills, a recording of his ideas. She thought it would make a nice memoir for him. But, of course, being who she was, she said nothing about it. Perdita saw no point in wasting words on things which might be or had not yet come to fruition. In fairness, she saw very little point in wasting words on anything, so, she simply gathered up the papers and got to it.

But it was Eli's description which caught her imagination. Somehow, when he described what he was seeing, Perdita felt like she could almost see it herself. It was clockwork? No not clockwork - not something that she could wind up and leave alone, like a musical box, but instead something simple, less likely to break. She liked that, and yes, it would be fine for her to be doing some work. So, she nodded at that part, though she wasn't entirely sure that he was listening to her or paying any attention if she was honest. Watching him demonstrate what, to her mind, his words more than adequately explained, she nodded. "I think," she said and she paused, considering it. What did she think?

"It sounds wonderful," Perdita settled for that word, quite sure that it wasn't the right one, wasn't good enough, but her eyes shone with delight at the thought of it. "Would you make it for me?" That seemed to be what he was offering, but she didn't know for sure and so she just made sure - just in case, because Eli was after all of the male persuasion and they were strange creatures - that she was getting it right. "I can pay," she assured him, if he needed it. "For parts and time." The blush which coloured her cheeks told of her awkwardness around talking about money. "I would love it, if you'd make it," she said, honestly. Because it was made by him, for her, because it was something which was between them? Yes, she had to admit that was as important to her, moreso, than how much easier it would make this. So, she said what she really felt about it. "You're very clever." He was, there was no doubt about it. Then, though? Then came the important question.

"Where do we start?"
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Elijah Lamoreaux
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Re: The daily grind...

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"It's alright here," Eli said when Perdita seemed skeptical about him wanting to go along, next she ventured off into woods. "It's comfortable enough, but walls close in after a while." That was true enough. Eli had never tolerated being cooped up very well for very long, unless he was working on something that consumed. But mostly there were other reasons he'd rather go with her next time. She probably didn't know that he worried what might become of her. Strange and wild creatures in these parts; or so he'd been told.

As for pulleys and lifts and moving platforms, he grinned a little and shrugged. "I bet I can make 'em look like they're part of the trees and the forest themselves." He paused for a trill or two, searching for just the right word to describe what he meant. "Camouflaged? I used to want to live in a tree when I was little," he added then as they'd turned back away from the window. "Not many trees in the Dust Quarter though."

Back to his descriptions of flying contraptions though; he couldn't help being pleased at the way she seemed to listen. Really listen, even where her interests and areas of familiarity were different than his. Eli's own mother had indulged him when he'd been very small. But not later. Life was too hard for her to have spent much time entertaining a boy's imagination. His father had considered it all to be a big waste of time, and would rather have seen him working the docks.

He'd mentioned flying bathtubs though and when she asked about the water, on impulse he snorted with amusement, having assumed; or rather not taken the time to consider at all; that it was a deliberate joke. Only belatedly did he realize it wasn't. She blushed furiously while avoiding looking at him. If she had, she'd have seen the sheepish expression on his face, and might have even realized that the gears (of sorts) were turning in his head, trying to find a way out. "I could," he said, grinning again. Forget, that was. "Or I could just say that when we fly that tub, we'll have to make sure to leave the plug out."

Flying bathtubs were for another time though, and Eli had turned to drawing. One idea after another, quite a few discarded as unworkable before he stumbled onto a better one. When she picked up the torn out pages, first he assumed that Perdita was tidying up after them, nearly snatching the scraps from the air before they could hit the floor. "Well, I can tear them off neater in the future then, if you've got a use for them."

That she was pleased with his vision of a mortar and pestle that would do most of the work on it's own, pleased him more than he'd have expected it to. Because it was her. And he couldn't help the smile that spread across his face when she asked would he make it. "Course I will. You don't need to pay me though. Besides, it shouldn't cost very much. We can use the bowl and pestle you've already got. I've got a few odds and ends in my sack I can use. Nuts, bolts, screws, tools and that sort of thing. We'll need something for the base and a few other things. But we can probably dig those up at a second hand junk shop." The best kind of shop, in Eli's opinion. It never ceased to amaze him, the number of useful things that folks tossed away.

Eli looked up at her then, and smiled. Clever? "I don't think anyone's ever said that to me before. Not like that anyway. Thanks. We can start now if you like. But we're going to need a base piece first. Better if it was a solid piece of wood so I can fit a rod through it, and fix the wooden plate and mortar bowl in place."
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Re: The daily grind...

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Perdy

Experience: 15 no magic

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Design 2 knowledge
Book Binding 6 knowledge

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Eli

Experience: 15 no magic

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Drawing 3 knowledge
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Comments: I found Elijah's talking about gadgets and automatic systems in this setting really interesting. I'd love to see their house when it's all set up with that interest.

Perdita is a charming girl, the give and take between her and Elijah as they negotiate their accommodations was a cute series of moments.

I hope to see more writing from you two soon!

Well done and enjoy the rewards.

If you have any concerns about this review, please PM me about them.
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