As was often the case, the formalities of pureblood life felt suffocating. Though Farren's butler seemed like a perfectly pleasant man, Declan couldn't wait for him to be gone. The prospect of having to greet her in front of the man felt very awkward. He hesitated to make a move for a couple of seconds, which gave Farren enough time to step in and send the man, Mullins, on his way. The butler probably disapproved of the lady of the house receiving him as a visitor, at least if the sideways glance Declan had received was anything to go by.
He paid it no mind. As long as the man was loyal to Farren, it didn't matter if her approved or disapproved of their actions. The idea of Mullings reporting back to Victoria Abercrombie or the Rosier family briefly crossed his mind, but he couldn't bring himself to care about that either. An old friend visiting Farren was hardly exciting news. On top of that, they would have to get used to it. He had every intention of visiting more frequently and more often, regardless of what anyone would have to say on the subject.
Declan was positively surprised to be greeted with a hug. He gently held her in his arms, just enjoying the moment. "Well, hi to you to." He felt a little nervous still, but with each moment the feeling was easing a little bit. She smelled rather heavenly today and he smiled a little when he realised that she was wearing one of his creations. It would probably be weird if he complimented her own it; after all he had picked the fragrance for her. Still, it was nice, she'd worn it for him. "Oh, you're wearing Báisteach today. I am honoured."
Her crups seemed decidedly less pleased with the way they seemed to be focused only on each other. Declan laughed as one of the little rascals tried to jump up on him, but Farren was quick to intercede. "I don't mind," Declan said truthfully. "they seem very good-natured and playful."
She reached out and lead him over towards the sofa, but Declan had slightly different ideas. He set the present down where he was supposed to sit.
"Oh, I found the place easily," he confirmed to her. "And I may have had to circle round the block because I was running a little bit early. But I suppose this is nice, to be in within such an easy distance. That'll hopefully mean well see each other often." He grinned. "Just, let me have a moment to say hello to the gentlemen of the household."
Declan eased himself down into a deep squat and held his hands out to the crups to let them catch his scent. "Ned and Jeff," Declan repeated their names with some mild amusement. She was right, they seemed too goofy to be called anything else. "I'm afraid the present is for her, rather than the two of you, but I'll find a way of making it up to you." He grinned and petted both dogs at the same time, trying to keep his attentions even as to not cause a jealous commotion between them.
"They like treats?" he asked as if there really was the possibility that they didn't. "Hm, I'll have to see what I can do about that." He seemed to concentrate for a moment and then seemingly produced a treat by touching Jeff's ear. There was no magic here, just the careful application of sleight of hand. Naturally, he'd immediately captured Ned and Jeff's attention with the move. "Sit," he commanded both dogs moving the treat from his left hand to his right hand. He now had their undivided attention. He passed the treat between his fingers, moving from one hand to the other, being raptly watched by his audience of two, very silly crups. Just from one moment to the next the treat vanished, and Ned and Jeff could no longer hold their position, but started sniffing his hands and the floor searching for where the treat had gone.
"I think it just popped into Ned's ear." He reached for said ear gently and made the treat reappear, before letting Ned have the treat. A second one was produced for Jeff a moment later. Before he really knew what was happening, he was being tackled by the two crups who were eagerly searching for more treats. He laughed, carefully lifting them off him. "That's all for now," he said. He couldn't resist the temptation to pet them again. They really were rather adorable.
"You should unpack your gift," he said playfully. "I promise it's not a dog treat." What he had chosen in the end was probably just a touch underwhelming. He'd picked up an empty music journal in a Dublin shop bound in dark blue leather. The detail that had made him decide for it were the cute little treble clef and note charms features on the leather wraparound tie. Well, that and the fact that it had been easy to sneak the pages of his short story somewhere into the middle where she could find them eventually.