Intended for...Consumption?

Turnover is sometimes prone to the unexpected. There's celebrations to be planned, visitors to be handled, and various other surprises. At least one of them will be on the headwoman's desk, though it will not be in her inbox. It will instead be set across the center, a single red rose with a piece of paper wrapped around the stem and held there by a scrap of white ribbon. The rose derives from the garden shop, though the most immediate source may perhaps be concluded from an assessment of the situation or an analysis of the handwriting on that note.

The night shines bright with all the stars above.
Ten million raindrops fall from clouded sky.
A thousand poems speak in words of love;
Ten thousand lovers read their words and sigh.
The tangled thread of history is oft
Found twined in pairs, a story of romance.
The words of love are said in whispers, soft
Beneath the music of the lovers' dance.
The words are spoke in hall, in hold, in weyr,
By hundred thousand people every day.
The words of love may be heard anywhere;
They are not mine, but I've a thing to say:
There is in all the world but one for me.
Her name is Darsce; I love her endlessly.

While the actual duration of days is determined by the tilt of Pern's axis and the period of its rotation around Rukbat, it is nevertheless true that some days seem significantly longer than others. Furthermore, while in theory the length of a working day is also fixed, the physical constants of the solar system are significantly less mutable than the social contract created by employment, and as such, the proportion of hours worked varies. In some crafts - farmers, for instance - the probable hours worked correlates to the exigencies of the season. In others, the necessity - or at least impetus - for employment in excess of stated targets is less easily predicted, as the factors involved are more abstract. For Jethaniel, today has been a long day, though he is not returning home significantly later than usual. The obstacle of the steps is, to judge from the rate which he ascends them, a significant one. The aim of entry is, however, achieved, and he lets the door swing shut behind him as he steps inside.

The degree to which Pern angles towards the sun determines the seasons and while the official end of summer marks Turnover in the southern hemisphere, it also marks the end of winter in the northern one. Whether the temperatures reflect that is another matter, however and though the days grow respectively longer in the north, they begin to grow shorter in the south. Today, however, it might just be an equal number of hours dividing light and dark. It has, nevertheless been a long day for some. For Darsce? Not so much. For finding the rose and poem upon her desk - after the melting smile, sinking to her seat to read the rest, then hugging it to herself in a dreamy sort of bliss - has sent her into a flurry of activity after the outburst of, "Damn it's…!" She'd closed her office door early, locked it and fled to the kitchens. There she'd pointed out the things she needed - according to the list cook gave her, snagged a drudge to lug the loaded carton to the cottage she shares with her husband and…hopped a ride to Ierne, returned within an hour and then began the whirlwind of activity that took the rest of her afternoon. It's not chaos that greets Jethaniel this evening. Darsce has heard the heavy tread on the stairs and entered the living room as he steps inside. She walks to meet him, dressed casually in spaghetti strap blouse and short shorts, bare feet but nonetheless elegant in her own way and offers him her arms. "Happy anniversary?" She remembered. Barely. Not that she's letting on.

The sight of Darsce brings a smile to Jethaniel's face; her approach brings a renewed energy to the steps he takes to meet her. The seasons consist of cyclical changes in the amount of solar energy receieved. The difference in warmth between regions results in the movements of air and creates weather; here in their house, the movement of Jethaniel's arms is to slip around Darsce, low against her waist. "Happy anniversary." He also remembered, though most of his day until now was conducted as usual - or at least with his schedule only disrupted by Weyr-related matters instead of personal ones. He had little opportunity to discover the sealed state of Darsce's office, perhaps assuming that she - like him - was busy with work. After all, if she'd wished for them to take the day off for celebrations, she would have informed him. She did not - perhaps merely because she didn't remember in time, but he is unaware of that fact. He is here with her now, and the seasonal changes of solar energy into light and heat are related, albeit indirectly, to the way he leans in and kisses her with warm affection.

With all of the projects backlogged due to the explosion and the necessary investigation resulting from it, it's likely that Darsce wouldn't have asked for time away even if she'd remembered…early enough to plan. Turnover preparations, kept simple though they are this turn, have been sevens in the making so thankfully last minute things have been few. She will yet be checking into the caverns - well-stocked with wine and drink, platters of party foods in readiness by the kitchen staff - later. She has assistants on duty and they know where to find her if something goes awry. The spare rooms are prepared, most spoken for, stacks of blankets in the halls for those too tipsy to make trips home. The Wandering Wherry and the Treetop Cafe are on their own as are other smaller private party spots in cottages and weyrs scattered throughout Xanadu. What could go wrong? (heh, plenty, that's what). Nevertheless, her thoughts center upon her husband as she rises on tiptoes to apply her lips to his and wrap her arms about him in turn. Her affection is loving, lingering before she murmurs, "Everything go alright today?" She asks because he seems… tired? And she wasn't around to hear anything otherwise.

Those preparations for Turnover may have been part of the reason why certain other occasions associated with this time escaped notice for so long. The duties of work have a way of presenting themselves regularly and making their demands for attention quite clear, while personal matters - even quite desirable ones - may be more patient. Jethaniel, for instance, is in no rush to end that kiss, letting his lips linger on Darsce's and his arms remain around her even while she speaks and he answers. "Substantively so. There were some minor issues." Aren't there always? But the only notable explosions remain the scheduled fireworks - despite an issue involving the smith coordinating them - and while the rope barrier substituting for that broken fence may not be as lasting or effective, it should at least keep the herdbeasts safely contained. A tiring day - the necessity of hiking across the Weyr to conduct checks saw to that - but not a problematic one. He is, nevertheless, glad that the working portion of it is over - or perhaps his smile is simply because he is glad to see Darsce.

With all of the projects backlogged due to the explosion and the necessary investigation resulting from it, it's likely that Darsce wouldn't have asked for time away even if she'd remembered…early enough to plan. Turnover preparations, kept simple though they are this turn, have been sevens in the making so thankfully last minute things have been few. She will yet be checking into the caverns - well-stocked with wine and drink, platters of party foods in readiness by the kitchen staff - later. She has assistants on duty and they know where to find her if something goes awry. The spare rooms are prepared, most spoken for, stacks of blankets in the halls for those too tipsy to make trips home. The Wandering Wherry and the Treetop Cafe are on their own as are other smaller private party spots in cottages and weyrs scattered throughout Xanadu. What could go wrong? (heh, plenty, that's what). Nevertheless, her thoughts center upon her husband as she rises on tiptoes to apply her lips to his and wrap her arms about him in turn. Her affection is loving, lingering before she murmurs, "Everything go alright today?" She asks because he seems… tired? And she wasn't around to hear anything otherwise.

Those preparations for Turnover may have been part of the reason why certain other occasions associated with this time escaped notice for so long. The duties of work have a way of presenting themselves regularly and making their demands for attention quite clear, while personal matters - even quite desirable ones - may be more patient. Jethaniel, for instance, is in no rush to end that kiss, letting his lips linger on Darsce's and his arms remain around her even while she speaks and he answers. "Substantively so. There were some minor issues." Aren't there always? But the only notable explosions remain the scheduled fireworks - despite an issue involving the smith coordinating them - and while the rope barrier substituting for that broken fence may not be as lasting or effective, it should at least keep the herdbeasts safely contained. A tiring day - the necessity of hiking across the Weyr to conduct checks saw to that - but not a problematic one. He is, nevertheless, glad that the working portion of it is over - or perhaps his smile is simply because he is glad to see Darsce.

There's the scent of vanilla and almond wafted from the kitchen, sweetly scenting the atmosphere of the cottage. Something has been baked here in the past hours but not… burned? How unusual! Darsce remains, with arms draped about Jethaniel's neck, smiling as sweetly as the scent in the air. It's genuine and her manner is calm as she breaths against his lips, "I'm so glad," about issues being minor. Then she adds playfully, "I have something for you." And she'll ease back down to stand on the flat of her feet, her arms reluctantly slipping away - though she does catch his hand with one of hers to lead him towards the kitchen. There on the table is… a cake. And lovely does it look - frosted with a creamy ivory confection and decorated with - non-expertly - piped pale green vines and pastel flowers. In fact, it's clear that this is no bakery cake but done with an amateur hand, though fairly steady, the artistic ability evident, just unpracticed in this medium. "I made it," announces Darsce, beaming proudly. Eeek?

The existence (or, more precisely, the coming into existence) of baked goods would account for that smell, but there are other hypotheses. Darsce might be testing a new perfume; there are certainly some which consider presenting a correlation to edibility is a form of attractiveness to be sought. Given the prior results of Darsce's actions in the kitchen, that… may in fact be the most plausible conclusion. He nods to her appreciation of the lack of severity to the issues facing him - or perhaps his agreement that the aforementioned lack is something to be grateful for - and then his smile widens slightly. "Oh?" His hands slowly trail along Darsce's arms in the process of releasing her, and one of those hands is not required to remove itself entirely. Jethaniel curls his fingers with hers that she may bring him to observe, in the broad, the kitchen - fortunately lacking in (new) scorch marks - and in specific that cake. The perfume hypothesis, while otherwise plausible, appears to no longer fit the available evidence; neither does the theory that she obtained a scented candle. In the face of the mounting evidence, Jethaniel revises his hypothesis and concludes that the scent is, in fact, due to a process of heat-aided aromatization and caramelization existing as a peripheral effect of the molecular chemistry involved in building complex organic lattices. He continues the few steps necessary to conduct a more detailed observation, then turns to look to Darsce with a smile that would seem to indicate a lack of capability to learn from past experience. "It looks very nice," he says, and leans in to kiss her cheek. Perhaps if it's sufficiently attractive it may be left to constitute an item of decor instead of being intended for consumption?

Though the table looks nice with cake, plates, napkins and forks, Jethaniel's poem and a few wrapped flattish packages beside that cake, and Darsce herself is unmussed, there's evidence of mayhem in the kitchen - the sink is piled with unwashed dishes and bowls and pans, there's a powdery white substance on the countertops, a little on the floor. Eggshells left to lie amidst the rest of the clutter of still-open containers those ingredients came in, a crumpled, damp cloth obviously applied in a fruitless - and aborted effort to clean the mess up. Jessa would be horrified. Darsce's priorities had been to get that cake finished and thus, she's had no time make herself presentable. So she stands there with her silver-blonde hair rather than shining and brushed, it's tousled, her cheeks flour-smudged and her blouse and shorts spattered with tiny flecks of dried batter. Perfume and candles, Darsce can and has - will in the future - purchase from Ierne. This day requires her to do something herself with her own effort, especially after that poem. There's an almost childlike quality to her response for those words of praise - as if the very first ever drawing has just been presented to a parent - her smile both bashful and proud. "Thank you. Cook told me how and helped me assemble the ingredients even though she was busy with preparations for tonight." She pauses, then asks, "Would you like some?" Gastronomical…uh, adventure awaits?

It may be that Jethaniel possesses selective vision as well as selective memory, or it may simply be that he observes the mess in the kitchen but does not comment on it. Certainly, the preponderance of his focus appears to be on the creation, not the side effects thereof. The fact that Darsce obtained advice concerning the procedures and materials employed is in fact encouraging; it implies that the internal status of the object under observation is also consistent with the appellation of cake which has been applied to it. His gaze moves from that creation to the creator as he turns to Darsce. Perhaps, in no longer viewing it, the selectiveness of his memory is increased such that he does not recall past outcomes, because the answer he provides is, "I would." Despite the fact that he could go out and consume whatever confections the cooks - professional ones - have prepared for the festivities being held in the Weyr as a whole and across all of Pern, Jethaniel smiles at the prospect of consuming a cake baked by Darsce.

Darsce's selective memory will likely last until tomorrow morning when she groggily gropes her way into the kitchen to start the klah she'll surely want to mainline after tonight's celebration. Her plan then will be to round up a few housekeepers and pay them generously to come clean it for her. Yeah, she got advice, no she didn't write it down. But she's used to keeping facts in her head that've been rattled off from fashionists and clients when it comes to makeup, jewelry and garment design. This couldn't be that much different…could it? As for that past disastrous attempt, Jethaniel never did get to actually taste her cooking (if you could call it that). Maybe it was the stove's fault? That dinner might have been quite delicious (no, no it wouldn't have). Oh and those other celebrations - they'll be getting to those too. The evening is young. Darsce beams and extracts her hand gently, to take up a knife. She cuts Jethaniel a slice, places it on a plate and presents it to him along with a fork. For herself, she cuts a smaller one, but she's waiting for him to try it first.

The cake. There's no other way to describe it other than…Not Like Other Cakes. The texture is…dense. There's no fluffy to the white body - at all. It's similar in consistency to a brownie but that could mean it's a torte, right? The scent is sweet and vanilla but the taste. Ahh… sort of soapy, sort of chalky and more salty than it ought to be. On the upside? The frosting is spot-on. So… yay?

In the case of fashion, Darsce derives an advantage in memory from her experience; the defaults her subconscious suggests as reasonable when she does not recall a particular detail are likely to actually be so, and the deviations - when she hears them - are notable to her, and thus more likely to be remembered. In the domain of food preparation, her defaults are… unspecified. A single instance, charred as it was, does not constitute a sufficient dataset from which to extrapolate. That incident may have been entirely an outlier, and Darsce's usual results in the kitchen exceptional in positive regards. Admittedly, her endeavors in the kitchen have been limited, but she has demonstrated the ability to make klah; if those occasions are counted, her skill is clear. There may, however, be a necessary distinction of complexity to be drawn in order to gain a usefully predictive dataset. Regardless, there exists some ambiguity, and thus an excuse for Jethaniel's apparent lack of predictive faculty. "Thank you," he says as he takes the cake Darsce offers, and regards the interior - which is, at least, appropriately pale - as he draws out his chair and seats himself. This may be an indication he intends to savor the cake, or it may simply be a reasonable precaution for possible outcomes of his consumption thereof. His eyes rise to Darsce; Jethaniel smiles. His eyes lower to the cake, and he takes up his fork to carve off a bite. The motion is assuredly not a hurried one, but it is nevertheless smooth enough that there does not appear to be any particular point of hesitation. The cake clings to the fork, dense and heavy. There are a variety of confections with non-fluffy textures; Jethaniel has been exposed to many pleasant flavors in unexpected forms. He puts the cake in his mouth and closes his lips to scrape it off that fork. He chews, or at least has it stick to his teeth. The taste is… a fascinating exploration of the various ways in which something can be bitter. The word is, he discovers, insufficient to describe the complexities of that flavor. This is perhaps unsurprising; the flavor is not one pleasant enough to be sought out, and as such, there has likely not been any impetus to develop the vocabulary required for in-depth description. Jethaniel attempts to keep his face a neutral one, though certain elements of the taste are capable of altering that, tugging at the shape of his mouth as he chews. The cake, while inclined toward a clayish consistency, is at least masticated into smaller lumps, and as such, reaches the point at which Jethaniel considers himself capable of swallowing. He does so, which at least makes the lingering taste somewhat less strong, and looks to Darsce. "It is…" This is where he hesitates. "…an… interesting formulation."

Klah, in Darsce's world is vital for survival. And while her father could drink the vilest brew, even his tolerance for her failures upon accepting the headwoman's knot had been tested. The complaints of others were somewhat easier to shrug off, but she learned because she also had to drink the stuff regularly. Cake now… that she can live without. "You're welcome," she says as Jethaniel takes the plate and sits. Her smile, both pleased and hopeful, fades into perplexity at his neutral response. She takes a forkful of her own cake. It smells right. It should be… "Mmghhh!" She doesn't bother chewing or swallowing her bite. Instead she runs to the sink and spits it out. "It's awful!" Faranth, it's a good thing she didn't place that on the Weyrleaders' refreshment table. At least one, if not both, would be sure she'd poisoned it. Her expression is a mix of chagrin and disappointment as she steps back to the table and sets her plate down. "You don't… have to eat that," she says offering to take his too. In fact, she'd rather he didn't and so… subject chaaange! "I have something else for you," she singsongs. Her tone isn't quite playfully suggestive enough to mean that the something is her.

As Darsce lifts that forkful of cake-scented sludge, Jethaniel almost speaks a warning. His aversions to making complaint, having Darsce encounter unpleasant situations, and the substance itself all war against each other, and this causes sufficient delay that he does not actually say anything - though as he sees her reaction, he winces. To say nothing… may not have actually been the best course of action, even if his hesitation meant it was the one he took. His head inclines slightly as she describes it. Awful is… not a word he used, but one he considers applicable. He looks down to the plate as he sets his fork carefully down on it, minimizing the sound of metal on ceramic. His eyes lift, expression faintly apologetic as he watches Darsce approach the table once more. Jethaniel would also rather he didn't eat it, and his smile, while small, is grateful as he hands the barely-touched plate of what alleges to be cake back to Darsce. Perhaps she has some acid to cleanse his palate? If not, there will surely be wine at the other festivities later tonight. The element in question could, in fact, be Darsce herself - though her degree of self-possession can depend on the circumstances - but while Jethaniel would certainly enjoy that… he does not believe it to be her present intention. He nevertheless reaches to capture her hand, drawing it toward him and brushing his lips to the back. The taste is notably more pleasant than that of the cake, but he does not linger there, loosening his fingers in preparation for hers to draw away as he tilts his head up once more. "What is that?"

Darsce considers the word awful totally fitting for her 'cake'. She sees the wince, but has no idea what it's for and perhaps comes to an erroneous conclusion. Her cheeks are pink-tinged as she takes his plate and sets it down with hers and the, "I'm sorry," is breathed as her fingers curl around his as his lips brush the back of her hand. "I'm-" her tinted lips pull to one side, "not much of a cook, I guess." She has no acid for him - never wishes to. But she can and does offer him a glass of water mutely by stepping to where they're kept, filling one and placing it where he may reach it. "These," she says while reaching for those flattish packages and drawing them closer while attempting to settle into his lap by swinging a leg over him and facing towards him. She makes no move to actually give him those packages, however. Not yet. First she leans in, tipping her forehead towards his. "I really liked that poem you wrote," she says, a soft smile growing to replace the twist of her mouth. "I'll always treasure that." There's no rush to push those packages at him. She lingers near, saying with her eyes what she doesn't in words. Then the first of the packages is handed over. When unwrapped it reveals a harper's painting done from a harper's sketch of them in the glade under flowers and softly-glowing lights, he in his suit, she in her white gown at the moment of that kiss that wedded them.

The physical evidence certainly appears to support Darsce's claim that she is lacking in culinary ability, and Jethaniel does not dispute it. He does take the glass of water - which may, according to chemical nomenclature, be referred to as hydric acid, though it is infrequently referenced in that manner and certainly not intended as such by Darsce. A sip of that water, swished through his mouth, helps remove traces of the failed confection. Afterward, the glass is set down and Jethaniel takes Darsce to him instead, slipping his arms around her middle as she settles into his lap. Her presence, he would consider gift enough. He certainly notes the objects she indicates, but he is more intrigued by the sight of Darsce as his fingers trace over her back in the process of finding suitable places to rest. "I am glad," he says, his smile for her approval an earnest one. Given the content she references, there is no particular need for him to reiterate, but he does. "I love you." His head tilts, just enough for him to brush his lips to hers. The kiss is brief; a delay instead of a distraction, for he does wish to see what else Darsce has obtained. Her taste is generally refined; there merely exist some domains in which her ability to execute to the standards of that taste is lacking. He is in no rush, but he does, when appropriate, shift his hands from holding Darsce to taking that wrapped package from her and opening it. He smiles for the painting, a physical record of what is also stored in their memories, and spends several moments studying the details of it - his recollections prioritized things other than the view of their surroundings - before lifting his gaze to Darsce. "Perhaps we can hang it upstairs?"

Darsce may engage the services of private chefs or bakers more often for lessons, after this. If she's motivated or her interest in domestics doesn't wane. Or… heh… until she finds out how much work it is. The rewards might have to outweigh the effort and frustration and so far, she's 2:0 and the kitchen is winning. She settles close, one arm encircling Jethaniel's shoulders, the other hand raised so she may trace his jawline with the tip of her forefinger while she gazes dreamily at him close-up. "I know," she says. And she does; the assurance of his love is with her every day in his actions and he's never left her guessing. "I love you too. So much." Their lips meet and hers… likely still taste of that misbegotten cake, for she hasn't had water. She'll be brushing her teeth before they head out - for sure! The picture is romantic and intimate, for the painter omitted the witnesses and the officiate. The edges of the picture are blurred as if the beholder is dreaming, the center in focus with the late afternoon sunlight filtering through the glade's canopy to glow greenly upon the cream flowers surrounding them, shafts of sunlight highlighting the periphery of Darsce's silvery-blonde hair to golden and Jethaniel's dark head to russet. "We may. Or if you'd like, you may have it for your office." Darsce has no preference as to where it's hung; she'll see it frequently in either case. The second package is offered over and this one with a touch of uncharacteristic shyness from the normally bold Darsce. When opened, it will reveal an album of color photos, all of Darsce - about twenty in all - full-length studio shots of her in various outfits, some poses tending towards provocative but nothing untoward. "From my modeling days," she explains simply as her eyes slide away to.. anywhere but her husband. "I thought you might…like them, so I ran to Ierne to get copies." Because flailing over the forgotten significance of this auspicious date left her no time to put thought into what might be better.

Sufficient time and effort could cause Darsce to excel in the kitchen, creating foods that far surpass what is available to them in the caverns. This would, however, require the application of that time and effort, and in the meantime… her initial attempts have neither burnt down the house nor poisoned her husband, but they have been of a level such that those possibilities are brought to mind by their actual outcomes. Absent rapid improvement, the motivation to keep practicing may be somewhat lacking, and Jethaniel's willingness to try the artifacts her kitchen produces… may or may not actually encourage her, given his experience of it thus far. Her cake aside, however, Darsce is fondly smiled for, and her knowledge of his love receives an approving nod, her own statement of love more of that smile. Even the traces of cake cannot disguise the sweetness of her lips, and he smiles still when they draw back and he moves on to the unwrapping of gifts that celebrate their year of marriage. The painting is a reminder of that year's beginning, the technical inaccuracies of its composition designed to focus the eye on the important truth it tells. Jethaniel nods for the alternate placement Darsce suggests. "I will consider it." Upstairs in their house, to make it ever more clear who occupies this space, or in his office to remind the Steward-at-work of his wife at home - or in the office down the hall. Both have their merits, and there is no particular urgency to the decision. For now, he sets it down again, and takes the second package with his eyes not on the wrapping paper, but on Darsce's sudden demurity. His expression is a curious one, but as it seems probable that the answer is related to the item, he does not inquire directly but instead unwraps the album. Another glance to Darsce, and then he returns his eyes to the gift, opening it to see… Darsce, fixed to the page. He turns to the next, and there she is again - another outfit, another pose, but nevertheless Darsce. "Ah," he says to her explanation, and turns another page, his eyes remaining on the album until he's seen every photograph of Darsce, light captured on plates and developed with chemicals in darkened rooms. The quality is good; these prints likely came from the originals, along with… an unknown number of copies. Jethaniel pauses on the final page, the last of these images of Darsce-the-model captured in the outfits of those who wished to see those outfits sold to the fashionable of Ierne and beyond, and he's quiet for a long moment before he looks up to Darsce-his-wife once again. "Do you miss them?" Her modeling days, and his tone is quiet as he asks.

There are undoubtedly copies in print within the glossy fashion magazines Ierne printed and sold to both businesses, shops and individuals both seeking fashionable things to wear and those of unsavory bent wanting such magazines to just eye the pictures. Darsce tries not to, but she sneaks a few glances to gauge his reaction to those photos. She is…unsuccessful. The question is unexpected and she considers, this time meeting Jethaniel's eyes while she does so. "It was something to do. I got paid well for it. I was good at it." Does she miss those days? "Not…" a small, pained grimace, "…really. It got pretty boring standing still for hours while the photos were taken." And there were no buttons to push save for those of harried photographers, which knowing Darsce, she amused herself doing regularly. "I established a name for myself and it gave me opportunities to organize modeling shows and design clothing and jewelry; sometimes I miss doing that, but I haven't got much time for it these days with being headwoman." She looks away again, her expression not one of shame exactly, but there's clearly been something in the past as she admits with shrug of diffidence, "I didn't do the lingerie or the nude sessions. That's where the marks were at but I… could if you wanted me to." Conflict ripples across her face, perhaps it's the present uncertainty of his tastes after meeting his family - and his encounter with Asher. She's still unsure and so asks outright, "Do you like those?" The ones with her clothes on, subtly sensual of pose and expression.

Jethaniel watches Darsce as she considers, but he does not hurry her thoughts. His own expression reveals… little. Curiosity, as he waits to hear her answer. A sort of consideration - not troubled, precisely, but with thoughts of his own behind those grey eyes. He nods slightly to her skill, unsurprised but acknowledging it. There is certainly something to be said for performing those tasks at which one is good, but it does not actually answer the question he asked. That… he waits to hear, then nods. His shoulders settle a little, the corners of his mouth relaxing as he listens to her explain the why and wherefore of what she disliked - and what she did, in fact, enjoy. The administrative roles at the Weyr are busy ones; Jethaniel is quite aware of that particular fact. His own technological explorations are necessarily limited - though he does seek what opportunities he can to integrate administrative and craft duties. Nevertheless, it presents a challenge. As she looks away, Jethaniel lowers his own gaze once again to that album, to the picture of Darsce at which it lies open. The pose, leaned forward to invite the viewer with a perception of interest; the expression, teasingly fond of an unknown observer whose eyes will never actually meet the ones whose ice-blue is accentuated by studio lighting. Jethaniel looks again to Darsce - the real Darsce, not the one in those photographs - as she says what she did not do, a slight nod that shifts to a lowering of his head and a faint frown for the offer she makes him to reverse that choice. He lowers his gaze to the page once more. "You are beautiful." The words are simple, honest truth; Jethaniel believes them beyond question. He regards the printed Darsce who smiles out from the page, and admits, "I do like them." They are of Darsce. "But…" Jethaniel lowers his head a little further, his voice soft. "I do not wish to share you."

The lack of enthusiasm is Darsce's vocal tone for her modeling profession might be an implied answer, but she clarifies it unequivocally at the end of her thinking aloud. "I hadn't really thought of it much since coming here, but no, I wouldn't go back to it." She can read body language but not always apply what she's reading between the lines correctly. She knows this. As so she tilts her head as she watches his reaction. Is it…judgment, disapproval, disappointment? She tenses even as he seems to relax at her assurance. "It was my first job. They found me, told me I would be perfect and trained me." He looks back down to that photo album and though he says he likes it, she… reads something else in him. Neutrality perhaps. "But?" That's what seems to hang unspoken between them. The bowed head says yet another thing and since there's been no real pleasure evident, she is confused. Even before he speaks of sharing her, her shoulders droop in defeat. She chose the wrong gift somehow. A slight frown forms on her mouth. What? What must he think of her? "I don't… understand." This might be why D'had didn't like her modeling. There are things she's just never thought of. Those girls that dress and never give it a thought beyond liking what she sees in the mirror? That'd be Darsce.

Jethaniel's reaction is none of those words beginning with D; or if so… it is directed only at himself. Darsce's shoulders fall, and he reacts to that by a slight tense of his arm, holding her more firmly. He is reassured, but she does not understand, and so Jethaniel exhales slowly, his head lifting somewhat as his eyes unfocus enough to search for the words that will help him explain. "It is… unreasonable of me," he admits at length. "I know that… it is only a job; that the photographs are to sell clothing." Or, in those unsavory hands… he does not wish to think of that. "But… I see them, and you are beautiful, and so I want you." His fingertips drift softly along her shoulder, tracing the edge of her shirt, and he regards Darsce with earnest gaze and a slight wry twist of his lips. "I… do not like to think of another… wanting you." Not like that.

That leaves the J-word. It's true, he's known about her past work, if only from her telling him what she used to do for work. There'd probably been some fashion magazines floating around Landing that bore her photos, but whether they'd been encountered by apprentices with their noses in text books and lab experiments or journeymen busy with increasing responsibilities and tests, who knows? Darsce doesn't. She only knows that Jethaniel remains silent. His arms hold her rather than slackening and she is able to be patient and wait, drawing a few breaths. His first words dispel her impression that he's judging her. Still puzzled she nods agreement, that yes, it was a job. To sell clothing. He wants her. Good. Her mouth quirks in an uncertain semi-smile, still somewhat confused. She… doesn't have a male mind and so she asks curiously, "Do you want every model you see in pictures? Because… They're pretty much all gorgeous." But sharing he'd said. "These outfits are so yesterday, I'm pretty sure no one's looking at the pictures anymore." Darsce, see, she'll sometimes create her own reality to ease her own mind. That'll work for Jethaniel too, right? "They're probably all molding in trash heaps or burned by now."

There may have been such magazines. Jethaniel… ah, his involvement with fashion began when he encountered Darsce, and while he's known about her job, his exposure has been distinctly limited. Perhaps, to a certain extent, intentionally so; he is aware that… some people are attracted to models for reasons other than their clothing. In fact, their interest may have an inverse relation to the amount of clothing - which is why the lingerie and nude sessions pay more. There is a demand, and supply is limited. Since Jethaniel's reaction (or, to use that J, his jealousy) is unreasonable, he attempts to prevent it from undue influence. He would, if Darsce wished a return to modeling, strive to say nothing… but he is glad that she does not. As for his - ah, here's the D - desires… Jethaniel frowns slightly. "No." He does not, but… he did not read fashion (or… other) magazines in the apprentice dorms. There were those who did, smuggling them past the journeymen… some of whom would burn any they found. Others? Perhaps not. Jethaniel was focused; he still is, though he has expanded the domains of his attention beyond science and technology. That he is male is less significant than his exposure to others during those teenage years, and it is that which furnishes him the knowledge to answer, "There are those who do."

That exposure is something Darsce is beginning to see that she's facilitated by giving him her album and therefore made Jethaniel unhappy. This… was not her intent, and so she tucks her chin and murmurs, "I'm sorry I got them for you." Her question, even though she's pretty sure she knows the answer, builds a subtle tension in her body that is likely discernible under Jethaniel's arms. His answer eases that immediately and she melts against him. "I… didn't think so. It's one of the very first things I liked about you when I met you. You weren't like the people that… hung around the agency." Of the ones who do, she is silent, considering soberly perhaps for the first time in her life things other than fashion when it comes to the way she dresses. After a period of silence, she says quietly, "So, I don't want you to share me either, Jethaniel." But it's too late to do anything about her previous photos. "Those sort of people don't just look at pictures though." They're going to stare wolfishly the real thing too. "I don't know what-" She doesn't feel he's being unreasonable at all. "My father used to sometimes toss his jacket over my shoulders. I guess that'd be why." She squirms a little bit, but she asks the question anyway, "What do you want me to do?"

Jethaniel exhales slowly for Darsce's apology, his breath stirring her hair. It is not that Jethaniel did not… know… these things. It is merely the reminder; for while he is perhaps not as skilled at Darsce at editing his view of the world to please himself, there are certainly subjects he… is not, at present, avoiding. They interfere with the pleasure he might otherwise take from the subtle appeal Darsce presents in those pictures. His arms wrap closely to hold Darsce as she relaxes. "I love you." Not a (former) model or a pretty face from a magazine, though Darsce is both of those things. He finds himself wishing to remind her of this fact, though it is his belief she already knows it. Jethaniel is methodical and inclined to be certain regarding what is important. Darsce is… his, and Jethaniel's arms tighten around her. He knew this, and yet… he is glad for the reminder. Even if those people stare. "I know," he answers softly. He's seen the occasional leer directed at his wife; the people who watch for a moment too long while her back is turned, or whose desire for her to drop a pencil is almost palpable. Darsce herself may have been oblivious, but… Jethaniel nods slightly in comprehension for her father's reaction. Comprehension, but… "I want you to be mine; you are." He loosens one arm from around her and trails his fingers softly along the line of her neck. "If some imply otherwise…" He lowers his gaze from Darsce to that album of sensual photographs, then smiles, just a little. "You may remind them as you see fit." Jethaniel returns his gaze to Darsce, still with that slight smile. "…you may remind me, as well." Those lips tug wryly to the side. "I may require it."

"I know you love me; I'm glad." Darsce turns her head and kisses his ear. It's right there and so accessible, so… why not? "Most people doesn't even like me," she adds in an aside, her tone one of detached perplexity; she doesn't get it, nor does she care all that much. She's not harsh or angry about dishing out her special brand of flip, wry sarcasm (not that she'd call it that, exactly). But the truth (which is what she does call it) seems to bother some people. Oh well! "I love you too," she whispers, the breath used to do so, warm upon his ear. Or she's learning more and more what doing so means. It means offering him the right to request that she change how she's dressing. Thank you for not requesting her father's jacket? His fingers trace her neckline and she's aware that he also hasn't requested the obvious and so that'll be up to her. Hah! "I am yours," she smiles, somehow pleased by his possessiveness. She tips her head to find his eyes, meets them as he speaks of reminders. Implications had heretofore gone over her head; now she will be aware. That'll be an interesting awakening! "I… think I'll find the words to…remind them." Remind. It's much too kind for what Darsce'll do (mostly say), but that's what she'll call it because, yeah, she also has her very own dictionary to go with her self-created reality. "As for you," she says with a soft growl, "You're mine. And my reminders to you of whose I am will be demonstrated. Often." The arm about his neck curls more securely as she requires him to close the gap between them, her mouth aimed for his.

Why not, indeed; Jethaniel entirely lacks counterarguments to that kiss, his response - whether to the brush of lips or the words that accompany it - a pleased smile instead of point and counterpoint, his inhalation unnecessary in terms of providing breath for a discussion. The truth - whether in Darsce's definition thereof of or under a more broadly accepted one - can certainly be unpleasant. As such, people create their own views of the world, editing out the parts they find unpalatable. Jethaniel is no exception, though he strives to at least be aware of his own biases and tendencies. He is partially successful in the attempt. His desire to possess Darsce… oh, he is aware of that. If he were not aware, he would not feel nearly so guilty about the prickly feeling that rises at the thought of another looking at those photographs or her attractively-clad self. His analysis, at the present moment, is incomplete; were it better, he might recall more fully that what matters is Darsce's willingness to be seen, not his. Imperfect as he is, he does recall it enough to not ask for any change to her attire, even when she offers. That… is up to her. As, for that matter, is her continued presence here… a fact of which he is aware, even as he is also aware of the deep-seated desire to keep and hold her fast. Jethaniel is aware of a variety of things, but given the complexity of the world, what is obvious to one… may not be so to another. Things may obscure each other, definitions and words from differing dictionaries get in the way. Words are flawed, but they are not required to convey the warmth of his eyes for Darsce, the smile on his lips as she agrees he may continue to exert that possessive claim. She will find the words to tell others of this, when necessary; of that, Jethaniel has no doubt, and his eyes remain on hers as he nods. The ensuing… discussions… may sometimes prove contentious, but they will result in a refined view of certain realities. The realities involving Jethaniel… he tilts his head slightly as Darsce begins, then nods firmly, his smile pleased and his eyes eager as they remain on hers. He is hers, and she his. She sits in his lap, that is her seat whenever she chooses to claim it. That is of itself a demonstration, and Jethaniel… is very willing to be drawn closer, to press his lips to Darsce's. His kiss is gentle, but lingering; there is no rush - on his side - to deepen it, but he intends to be as thorough as Darsce wishes.

And Darsce edits alllllllllll over the place! Then, yep, forgets she ever did so. At least - until things slap her in the face. Re-adjustments are all the harder for her then because her bubble usually insulates her from…things. Jethaniel is, however, gentle with her and she listens to him, watches his example, learns albeit slowly. She's his because she wants to be, that's true, but it's also true that she's his because he wants her to be. She lingers, injecting a sweetness, part apology (because yeah, she still regrets the portfolio), part promise (she'll do something, she has no idea what, about the way she dresses. It might involve a lot of frustrated tears…) but doesn't make the contact heated. She draws away and smiles. "We should change and enjoy the festivities out there." A handwave, meaning the Weyr or Greater Pern. "You can toss that-" a chintilt gestures to the album, "-into one of the bonfires if you like."

"I will keep it," Jethaniel says quietly. He leans his head toward hers, foreheads touching and a smile from that kiss lingering his lips. "I may look at you." Even if it's in photographs, pictures not originally meant for him and seen by many other eyes. He is not likely to do so often; the album will be more prone to be tucked away in a drawer than out on the coffee table, but while Darsce may consider his inclinations reasonable, Jethaniel is nevertheless disinclined to edit his worldview and knowledge base drastically… even though it might make him happier if he did. Jethaniel does not tend to do things simply; he tends instead to be thorough, and he tilts his head forward to brush his lips softly to hers. "Perhaps… sometime… you will tell me what you wish for me to see in them." Sometime, when they are both inclined to it - which may, given Darsce's avoidance, mean 'never', but for tonight… "We should indeed." He smiles. "I would like to dance with you." Which may provide a useful input to her decision-making process around what clothing to change into… in addition to the challenging ones provided by what else he's told her tonight. Perhaps, while they're out, they can also acquire some cake of a more edible nature.

"You may. As long as you'd like." Darsce says firmly, warmly. Which might be why Darsce's given him pictures. Of her. It might also be why she offered to do more…intimate shots for him. He might be getting a camera for their next anniversary? Because she's not going to a studio to have them done! She didn't say but she's pretty sure he can put two and two together. She's pleased he wants to keep the pictures and yet… her lips, smiling as they are brushed, falter to uncertainty as he asks what she wanted him to see. They should be getting ready and to that end she slips off of his lap, reluctantly, not in withdrawal, the light kiss to his jaw says as she stands. Slowly, "Be…cause… they're…me?" She has pride in them because they are of her work and she was good at it. She was told that enough to believe it. "People liked them. I thought…you would…because you have more reason - and right - than anyone else to." Darsce dances quite often around reality, but with Jethaniel, she tries to sort through it. Even though it's complicated, she's not verbalizing coherently and she has far more insecurities than anyone - save Jethaniel - knows. "I hadn't met you then," she nods to that album and the smoky expressions therein. "So it was an act then, but that's how you make me feel…now." What harper said pictures are worth a thousand words? Hers say one: hot.

That would certainly be a sensical motivation for the gift of pictures. It is not precisely the one Jethaniel thought… though, when he comes to consider on it, he cannot actually recall with any precision what he did think. He merely… reacted. There's a slight relaxation - not a drawing away, just a reducing of tension - as she assures him that he may, in fact, look. It should go without saying, and yet, for Jethaniel… his hands slide down along her arms, adjusting their positions as she stands - not drawing away, merely changing to hold hands instead of body with a caress as process. His grey eyes are soft as they study her expression, the uncertainty - though not displeasure - now present. The pictures are… her. "Ah." That is what he is supposed to see. That is what he does see, and he may look at her… even with lust in his heart (or… other places). The comprehension is slow to dawn, the rest of her words contributing to it as he listens. His fingers twine with hers, despite the difficulty that will create in the donning of their evening clothing - whatever form that takes, given the information Jethaniel has provided for Darsce's consideration. She has also, along with those pictures, provided information to him which has received his consideration. "I…" he begins, a thumb trailing along the edge of her hand, and smiles as he ducks his head slightly, almost shy. "I do like them. You are…" Sultry. Teasing. Smoky. Hot. There exist a thousand words Jethaniel could use to describe her, but the look in his eyes may speak to his desire as well as any of them. His fingers curl with hers. "You are beautiful." Did he put those two and two together? Perhaps not. He was reacting, not thinking. Two plus two may sometimes - given flaws in the underlying computational system - equal five. "I will remember." When he looks at them. "And think of you."

Yes because, Darsce isn't standing that still unless she absolutely has to. Like, if moving would be death or something. Even then, she might… protest - just a little. Her fingers curl, linked with his, their hands swinging between them as she stands there, bare-footed in the mess of the kitchen. Her affirmation should - at least in Darsce's mind - go without saying, but the loss of tension in him does not go unnoticed. It dawns on her that the comment he'd made… really was permission sought and she leans in, their hands dropping lower - but not over a light panel this time - as she kisses his cheek and says, "You're very sweet, you know that?" Though sweet doesn't remain on her mind - not with his thumb stroking the side of her hand like that and she quite unintentionally awards him one of those smoldering looks as she meets his grey eyes. He finds her beautiful and though she's heard it enough times in the course of her past work to take it for granted, his shy appraisal does something to her no one else ever has. Her fingers squeeze his gently as the finds the need to swallow suddenly rendering her without voice, her smile lopsided but tender for him nonetheless. The sum of two plus two if equaling five might find him surprised then, to receive a camera, but by then the offer is likely to be forgotten. They can photograph… cloud formations? If he doesn't protest, she'll slowly tug him after her to change because she wants to dance with him too. Underneath the stars, both outside and in.

There are many things which Jethaniel knows. Darsce's perceptions of him… ah, his knowledge of them is imperfect, though he strives to pay attention. Even so, he is not capable of perfect prediction, and there are times when… he hesitates even to gather data, and does so in confusing and unclear fashion. His sweetness, as reported by Darsce, makes him smile, and the heat in her gaze may initiate a chemical reaction that induces caramelization. Whether it will or no, it certainly warms his smile in return and encourages him to think of dances beneath an artificial set of stars. He's easily drawn to his feet, leaning in to brush his lips to her cheek before changing the positions of his hands, one remaining twined with hers and the other slipping around her waist. A promenade, though there's no music to play for them yet. There will be, when they go out to the celebrations - which they will, though Jethaniel first may distract Darsce with a kiss or three as they change, a trail of his fingers along skin bared in the process. If she does get him that camera… he may yet record that which he wishes to learn by heart, and Jethaniel's heart is assuredly with Darsce. Tonight, however, they celebrate the turning of the year - their first of marriage - recalling their past, before they met and since, and looking to the future… together.

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