Smooth As Silk

The capital city of Anaxas and the seat of the government.
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Oisin Ocasta
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:00 pm
Topics: 9
Race: Wick
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Writer: Amphion
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Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:05 pm

Morning - 19th of Hamis, 2719
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He'd said something wrong. It was subtle, almost imperceptable, but it was there.

Oisin started with the words. That was usually where everything stemmed from, Oisin's mind turning thoughts into words that sounded different to someone else's ears. To him, what he'd said was so clear and simple. Everyone in the world was a flower. No matter the kind, everyone had a purpose, everyone had value, everyone had a part to play in the tapestry of life and nature. Bees and butterflies didn't care what kind of flower you were, only people did: and for reasons that Oisin didn't understand but had come to accept the existence of, some were seen as more valuable than others. It didn't mean that they were, it just meant that someone, at some time, had decided that certain flowers were nice to have around; and they called everything else a weed. These certain special flowers, people brought into their homes, planted in special arrangements, gifted each other as kind gestures. They brightened the place up, people would say: and that was Ava. To Oisin, what he'd meant was something clear and simple: an overture of friendship, and one that Ava had politely deflected, complimenting his words but not the substance of them.

But then, not all flowers were equal. Oisin understood that aspect of the floral sciences even less, but certain flowers meant certain things. Oisin had mentioned a rose purely because it was the first flower that came to mind, something unavoidable for a man who'd been raised by Old Rose Harbor. None of the other flowers that Oisin could recall the names of seemed like an appropriate fit. Poppies had ties to opium. Daisies were commonplace. Irises belonged on graves. In hindsight, perhaps a snowdrop might have been best, a flower associated with being the first, heralding the coming spring; but the Oisin of moments ago hadn't thought of snowdrops, he'd thought of roses. Roses, a flower associated with beauty, romance, and courtship. A simple horticultural substitution, and he'd corrupted the entire meaning of his words.

Oisin was mortified at the perception he feared he had provoked. To say that he never thought it might sound that way, because he would never have thought of Ava in that way, felt like a feeble, pathetic excuse, true as it might have been. Not only did it devalue her, and the kind warmth she'd been generous enough to show, it devalued Oisin as well. There were men who could form affections based on a few glimpses and a few words, but Oisin was not that sort of man. Being struck by Ava's beauty was one thing, but it wasn't as if they'd defeated a maja'wa together: Oisin's affections were not easily given - not to mention his lack of the requisite courage to ever act on them if they ever were.

But it was too late to explain such things. Not only was the damage already done, it seemed it was more extensive than Oisin had at first realised. His heart sank as Ava advanced the conversation forward. Perhaps we'll surprise you, she said, of the people Oisin had moments ago dismissed as weeds. Another failure to translate intent into communication. Oisin had heard stories about Galdori who could compel the mona to push ideas into another person's mind. Oisin wondered if anyone with that ability suffered the same failures to make themselves understood as Oisin so frequently did.

Ava continued to smooth over everything with a smile, and so Oisin responded with a small, slightly apologetic one of his own. "Perhaps you will," Oisin conceded, surrendering to Ava's point without protest. Oisin was hardly an expert in social interaction, but even he knew that arguing and excuses seldom made anything better. "I've been an outsider for all of my life: far be it from me to disagree with the perspective of someone who has lived here all of theirs."

A momentary reinforcement of his smile ensured that his words came across as genuine, but with each passing moment, Oisin could feel himself retreating back inside his own thoughts again, his mind gnawing at a growing sense of overcaution less he catch himself saying something foolish again. Were this a battle, now would be the time to withdraw and regroup: better to retreat and survive than continue waging a losing battle. But how to do that in a situation such as this? As ever, self-deprecation stood ready with an easy opportunity.

"All that travel isn't all it's cracked up to be, either," he mused, his words serving double-duty as an extraction and a continued apology. "For one thing, it seems that my time away from Anaxas has completely robbed me of all my manners; and surprising and delighting as me walking through your door may have been -" His voice hesitated for a moment, attention shifting for a brief instance towards the waiting fabric that Oisin had completely forgotten was his entire purpose for being there. "- I'm sure I've probably monopolised enough of your time and attention for one morning."
Last edited by Oisin Ocasta on Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 893

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Ava Weaver
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Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:17 am
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Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:30 pm

Morning, 19th Hamis, 2719
Woven Delights, Painted Ladies
Ava could see from the look on Oisin’s face that her manner had communicated her discomfort. Good; she had meant it to. She didn’t want him to feel crushed and devastated, put off or like he was unwelcome. She simply didn’t want Oisin – or, if the truth were to be told, any man – to feel as if more direct overtures of affection were welcome. Compliments could be innocent enough, but they could also be the harbinger of something much more serious, and Ava didn’t know Oisin well enough to distinguish.

It wasn’t that Ava was inherently opposed to such serious things. It was more that – well – she didn’t quite see the point, not for herself, not at the moment. There were certainly good reasons not to get involved with anyone, and Ava struggled to see what benefits there might be to it. Oisin’s smile and puppy dog eyes were pleasant, of course, but at what cost? Ava wasn’t so vain as to be sure that Oisin had meant his words that way; she thought, in fact, there was a decent chance he had just meant them as a (dreadful) compliment. All the same, she felt it wasn’t worth the risk of encouragement.

She gave no further sign of discomfort, smiling politely through Oisin’s awkward agreement that the people of Vienda – or perhaps just the Painted Ladies – might surprise him. Ava gave him a pleased smile, like a little reward, at his graceful deference to her opinion.

Oisin’s gaze dropped to the fabric, and Ava nodded gently, accepting the words for what they were: a polite request to move things along.

“Of course,” Ava said, smiling at him. “I’m sure you must have quite a lot to do,” Ava packed the fabrics Oisin hadn’t preferred up, smoothing the rolls and stacking them one on top of the other on the side of the table. She unrolled another length of the cotton he had liked, carefully, and doubled it over, checking the length with her hands.

“For doubled over curtains,” Ava said, “the amount you’ll want will depend on the height of the window. Do you think you might show me, with your hands, how big they are?” Ava smiled at Oisin. Once they had it down, and had agreed that she would cut just a little extra in case he’d been mistaken, Ava would tell him the price, polite but unyielding. It would be reasonable – not outrageous, but not cheap either.

Once all was agreed upon, Ava glanced down at the fabric again, checked the door, and smiled at Oisin. “I can cut it for you now, if you’d like,” Ava offered. “Or you can come back at the end of the day for it.”

Oisin wanted it now; that was easy enough, at least for Ava. She opened one of the many drawers at the back of the counter, taking out a long straight piece and laying it on the fabric, making one minute adjustment to get everything flat and perfectly straight. Then, hands smooth and graceful, she took out her scissors and slid them quickly and easily through the cotton. One hand held the weight in place, and the other slid the sharp blade along the cotton, making a smooth straight line where Oisin’s curtains would begin.

“You’ll want a tailor to sew the sides together, unless you mean to do it yourself,” Ava folded up the fabric into a perfectly smooth neat pile, taking out a bit of oilcloth from beneath her counter and wrapping the fabric into it. She took out a ribbon, and smiled at Oisin, starting the process of tying it up. “One last favor, if you would be so kind?” Ava asked, delicately.

If Oisin granted his finger, she would finish the bow on his package, smoothing it all out once more, and hand it to him in exchange for the agreed upon price. Not even a single strand of cotton had been wasted; the counter was as clean and neat as it had been before she started cutting, with only the straight edge of fabric and the scissors to show she’d worked there. Whatever went on underneath, whatever had gone on before, it didn’t show on the smooth surface.

“It was nice to meet you, Mr. Ocasta,” Ava smiled at him, politely, hands folding over one another on her countertop. Likewise, whatever constraint had been in her manner was long since gone; the chastisement was over, and she was as pleasant and friendly as she had been when he first arrived – if no more personal. “Welcome to the Painted Ladies.”

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