Floo Network

Summer of 69
[ Belgravia ] we were built to fall apart, then fall back together

Started by Farren Abercrombie, March 03, 2021, 05:05:14 am

Farren Abercrombie

Farren was much more at ease with all of this than Declan. She happily munched on small bites of her meal as he deliberated. It was cute, thought that he wanted to align their stories. He wasn't wrong, this would be a drama even if they went as entirely platonic friends. But what their aligned story should be she didn't know. As far as she was concerned he was the one steering this ship and so far she was just along for the ride. Wasn't that how these things generally went? Gentlemen steered the ship and the ladies waited until they were quite sure the direction the wind was blowing before they started tugging on the sails?

Granted, Declan had been rather direct all things considered. So maybe it was fine to start tugging on the sails. But again she wanted more certainty and direct buy in from him. She wanted him to be extremely direct and very vocal about where he was steering this ship. So, annoyingly, she just shrugged. Smiling a little she waited to see where this would go. His course correction made her smile. She pursed her lips trying not to laugh. It was cute, almost like a teenager, fumbling admitting she flustered him. He managed to ask though and she let herself smile, giggling as she nodded.

"I'd be thrilled for you to take me to the ball," she was beaming. As he clutched for the cocktail she knew he didn't like she laughed reaching over and setting a glass of less offensive wine in front of him. "Honestly, as if there is any reason to down that awful concoction. No man has ever had a more sure bet in asking out a woman who'd just finished saying she'd like to go out with him."

She refilled her own wine, still smiling. Honestly she was wondering if Declan were ever going to be clear and direct about where he wanted to steer this ship and perhaps she ought to just do it for them. "Well....I'm not sure what our story is. I have perhaps hexed myself in the foot on this one. Seeing as I've been adamant about not going to events with gentlemen apart from Pyxis I would assume that no matter what story we concocted all conclusions would go to us being in some kind of romantic attachment. I suppose if Pyxis is not in attendance that gives us a bit more wiggle room, though historically I would just show up alone or with my father. So I think whatever tale we agree on....the next day the papers are going to say we're in love and getting married." Shrugging she took a sip of her wine. It was going to happen, she could see the headlines already. "I wouldn't be shocked if your store is jam packed with customers the week after though. So at least there is one positive." 

Declan O'Dwyer

He laughed as Farren playfully made fun of him. "I know, I know, you said as much, but can you blame me for worrying anyway? You're important to me and I think I told you before that I do want more than a bit of casual fun." Surely, she had to know him well enough to be able to tell that he wouldn't carelessly court a woman without being fairly sure of his intentions. He liked her, well, really liked her and it was easy to picture himself falling in love. In fact, he was forcing himself to take things more slowly than he would have liked. He wanted her to feel something for him too and not just humour his attentions because she was bored or because he was a decent enough option on paper.

"I wouldn't mind falling love and planning to marry," Declan said to her with a teasing little grin, "but that's just me being a bit of a romantic. I didn't think you'd be interested in such a prospect." It was easier to admit to some of his intentions when he was just joking. It gave Farren an easy opportunity to let him down gently before he formed too much of an attachment. In his heart of hearts though Declan was worried that maybe he was too far down that road already and maybe had been for some time.

Trying to understand his own thoughts on the matter he was less sure if he'd fallen in love the better part of ten years ago or if he was doing so now. Maybe, it was even both. She'd always fascinated him. She was bold, strong and confident; traits he had always admired. And yet she was also beautiful, smart and fun to talk to. Though they didn't always agree, it was never boring to be around her and that Declan could say of very few people.

"I believe I said as much before," Declan started in a slightly more serious tone, "but I'm in this for the long haul. You better consider it carefully or you might struggle to get rid of me again."

Declan felt torn. On the one hand he thought Farren wanted reassurance and on the other hand he wasn't sure just how far he could go before overwhelming her with being too intense. He felt lost trying to understand his position in all of this. Was she interested? Was she not really interested? He wasn't sure.

Reaching across the table he put his hand on top of hers, gently stroking over the back of her hand.

Farren Abercrombie

Had he read her mind? Was he a legilimens and realized she was unsure which direction his winds were blowing? She was unsure if her cheeks were flushing because she felt like her private thoughts had been called out or because he was being so forward. The heat in her face rose as those faint nerves tingled again after having seemed to calm down considerably. Of course the idea of Declan O'Dwyer having a bit of casual fun with anyone was almost laughable itself but it didn't overshadow what he was saying. Even if he posed it as a joke she didn't think he meant any of it as a joke.

Even though her cheeks were bright pink and her face hot she didn't take her eyes off him. Hiding behind a weak attempt at humor didn't fool her, at least, she didn't think it did. He'd steered that ship very clearly now, there was no question anymore. She smiled a little, nervously, when he said she'd better consider it carefully before she was stuck with him. She'd wanted him to be very direct and now he was and it was more than she'd expected and she wasn't sure how to respond.

Half a dozen responses ran through her mind. Quips back at him. Defensive. Flirty. Snarky. She could easily drop something coy and dodge having to sit with the thoughts or feelings or very serious topic he was broaching. Marriages had been built on much less, hers certainly had been. A single woman from a dying family line was in need of a husband if she wanted one or not. Now that he was making a suggestion that they fall in love and plan to marry she was realizing that she hadn't actually put much planning or thought into what getting to that required marriage looked like.

His hand slid over hers and the nerves hit her again. For a moment she looked down, flustered, but she didn't move her hand. What was she supposed to say? What was the cute clever thing to say that would perfectly position her to play whatever hand she liked but keep him on tender hooks? Her big blue eyes darted back to his face and she pursed her lips. "Dec..." she heard the tone in her voice and knew that whatever she was about to say was neither coy nor playful. It was Declan, she couldn't play a game with him.

Smiling a little she tilted her head suppressing a nervous giggle. "You're making me blush," she pointed out the obvious as she turned her hand over, palm up, and pushed her fingers into his intertwining their hands. "Can I admit that I'm rather unsure how to respond? You're making me nervous." Biting her bottom lip she looked down at their hands. Why was it so hard to say something clever and smart that wasn't a lie?

"I suppose I wouldn't mind falling in love and planning to marry either....but....but....it's quite early for that." She was holding his eye contact again. "I told you, I don't want to lose you, my dearest friend, rushing head first into something seems reckless. Maybe we fall in love. Maybe we do plan to marry. But, I don't think I'm ready to pick out a cake just yet. Weddings have certainly been built on less, I of all people would know."

She bit the corner of her lip pausing. It was embarrassing, even if it was true, to admit her first marriage had been such a train wreck. "I don't even know what I'm trying to say. I'm not the poet here. I guess what I mean is I'm open to it. I like you. You're very dear to me and how wonderful it would be if it worked out just like a fairytale. What girl doesn't want to be romanced by someone she trusts and cares for? I'm just a little....my past complicates the idealism of it all and fear. Somehow I'm a bit scared at the idea of it? But I would like it if it worked. I would like to see what happens and I don't want to be rid of you. I'd be very happy to have you round for dinner every evening if you could suffer Fanby's cocktail experiments and Jeff begging you for food like the rude brat he is." Smiling she squeeze his hand tighter, "I'm afraid I'm not used to speaking about such things but that is as best I can explain what I'm thinking."

Declan O'Dwyer

Declan nodded seeming relatively at ease with what Farren was saying. "It's too soon to say much of anything on the subject. I just didn't want you to have the wrong impression about me."

There was so much more that was on his mind. The rules of society were changing. People had long since started to pursue love matches rather than marrying someone carefully selected by their family. The rules for this newer way of doing things remained opaque. What was too forward to say? What was too progressive? And how did anyone ever know they had the right answers about dating? Taking risks with one's heart was a difficult undertaking, but the prospect of not even being given a choice was even less appealing.

"Let's just wait and see. It's not like either of us in a hurry."

Well, maybe her family was, but he got the distinct impression that Farren liked the life she had begun to carve out for herself. She was an independent woman in control of her own destiny now. She didn't need her family to guarantee her livelihood. He liked that about her, and it gave him hope that maybe she would choose to be with him eventually rather than being convinced by her family to give him a chance.

There were great many things he could put up with for the sake of society or his family but ending up with a woman who was waiting for him to be in charge of their joint lives was a prospect with which he was viscerally uncomfortable. He could picture himself as an equal in a partnership, but not as a leader. The mere thought of it just felt wrong.

"So shall I pick you up here, or should we meet at the venue?" he asked. Truthfully, he couldn't recall when he had last asked a girl to attend a dance with him and even less certain what the rules were in a situation where the match hadn't been arranged through their families. Oh well, they'd talk it through and figure it out.

Farren Abercrombie

"Impression sorted," she said with a little nod. "I will try to keep any negative thoughts about your intentions at bay." It was of course easier said than done. She'd spent her entire life chasing the approval of the one person who'd been meant to love her unconditionally, her mother. When she'd grown up and moved out of her mother's house she'd spent her days chasing the love of the person she'd married with no success. Farren was confident in many things, taking people's word for their feelings and being sure of their true disposition was not one of them.

She laughed a little when he started asking if he should come and get her or meet her there. The ball was several days away and such things had not even occurred to her as part of this transaction. "Well, I would say you should come here and get me. That's the proper way to do it isn't it?" So normal was it for her to attend these events with Pyxis she'd taken for granted that her handsome asshole of a cousin would be sitting in her parlor thumbing through the Prophet yelling up the stairs at her to hurry up.

"Besides, perhaps I want to make a big entrance in private? Descend my staircase into my foyer and let you admire me in private. Give you a first taste before the masses of how stunning your date is?" she glanced at him with a coy expression. It was blatant flirting but what was the harm in it? He'd just suggested perhaps they should fall in love and get married. Was it wrong to suggest this after such a fantasy had been put on the table? She thought not.

"We should have a drink before we go. Take the nerves off. Let's do shots in my parlor before we go and perhaps a practice dance? That way we know what bits of my dress will inevitably try to trip us both up and get the nerves out in the safety of home before we throw ourselves to the wolves."