The CodeBook of ManSpeak

Xanadu Weyr - Hali's and Darsce's Room

This is one of the many windowless, standard shared rooms hewn from the same rock edifice that also forms the living caverns. The walls have been painted a sheer olive green, the color so light it's barely discernible while white-painted ceiling, doors and trim brighten the small room, large enough to squeeze two single cots and a dresser in. It comes with a six-foot high niche carved in one wall that serves as a closet, hinged wooden double doors fold open to allow access to the clothing hanging within and shut to disguise the chaos that reigns after having been riffled through. In one corner there's an oval, antique-brass-framed, full-length mirror, while in the other an ivory-colored overstuffed easy-chair is situated. Serving to cushion bare feet from chill stone is a pretty tapestry rug that reaches nearly to the perimeters of the room, the floral and leaf motif mostly dark olive with touches of gold, fuschia, peacock-blue and smoky-toned purple.

If kept neat, this would be a sophisticated and stylishly feminine-looking abode. Alas, while Hali's bed is made, teal and fushia pillows on her gold bedspread neatly arranged and her side of the room clutter-free, Darsce's side looks like a bomb went off in it. Coverlets are usually left rumpled and thrown back, pillows scattered anywhere BUT on the bed, piles of clothing discarded there instead as well as heaped on the chair and floor while searching for the perfect outfit for the day - the rug is usually but barely glimpsed underneath the carpet of cast-off clothing. The nearest half of the nightstand between the two beds is cluttered with hairbrush, nail polish, make up, jewelry, bottles of perfume, an empty klah mug or two and who knows what else. C'est la vie!

There are a great many hyperbolical expressions regarding emotions. Jethaniel still finds them inaccurate, but he has, at present, an increased comprehension of the desire to create them. His own desires of the moment do not, however, tend toward phrasal construction. They have instead brought him out from his office significantly prior to the end of his normal workday, moving at a hurried pace through the caverns and through back hallways to… a closed door. Jethaniel lifts his hand, but it pauses partway up. His fingers tighten until the nails dig against his palm, though that is not the reason for the expression of hurt in his eyes as he knocks. The sound is still a brisk one. Some gestures are performed on a near autonomic level.

From the other side of that door there are thunks and a string of unhappy mutters. Darsce's desires have nothing to do with her current activities. She's got plenty of hyperbole for the emotions roiling within, all of it directed at Ka'el, none of it language she should use, but that's not stopping her. It would be better directed at the person she's upset with, instead of the clothes presently being stuffed roughly in the suitcase she's got on Hali's bed. It wouldn't change the situation anyway, so he's not in danger of being hunted down and given a piece of her mind. There's a point where it's physically impossible to force anything else into the already-too-full luggage and so she gives up, closes it - and fails. This required greater leverage. She sits on the top, bouncing a few times while straining to get the locks to click. The knock jerks her attention from her fruitless task and she hops down whips over to the door and yanks it open. "If you're here to apologize-" Wet eyes blink. "Oh. Jethaniel. It's you." That's all, just iceblue eyes wide, both anguished and stormy with the owner of them at a loss for words.

Jethaniel waits. The sounds from past the door are muffled, but not so silenced as to not provide some indication of a presence within. He doesn't have long to wait. He's only partially managed to uncurl his fingers at the point at which the door actually opens. "Ah. Yes." It's Jethaniel. In dereliction of his duty, given the hour, but that's none of his concern now. He looks to Darsce, grey eyes seeking hers - but the smile that usually comes with the sight has drowned. "Darsce…" he begins, and his fingers tense with the effort of not moving. Perhaps it's the effort that makes him lose track of the words, for he stops for a long moment before taking in a breath not nearly sufficient to calm him and beginning again. "May I…" His voice doesn't usually have a quaver to it. "…come in?"

Yeah, Darsce's not smiling either. And after the note she left, she's not surprised he isn't either. Declaring herself when he'd probably not rather know. That aside, with such scarcity of words it's hard to tell just what he's thinking or feeling. Is he angry? Disdainful? Her eyes meet his, remain there. But he's here at her door. When he should be working. He's got… bad news doesn't he? Not that it matters now, she's leaving. Wordlessly she nods and steps back. It's obvious that one resident is habitually neat and the other… not so. But the room is in more recent chaos. The closet is open and clothes still on hangers thrown on the bed beside the suitcase. Dresser drawers stand open, some empty and one overturned on an open satchel where she'd dropped it while dumping the contents in. Cases open and overflowing with things carelessly thrown in without regard to what went where. Someone's in a hurry.

Jethaniel nods slightly, and steps inside. His eyes take in the room, the chaos of it… and the packing. Not that he didn't believe her, but the evidence is nonetheless there. Inside, he steps to the middle of the room, then turns to look at Darsce again. Jethaniel swallows, and closes his eyes, as he might do in order to better visualize a complicated machine by removing exterior distractions. The attempt, this time, is only partially successful, as his mind is quite capable of constructing Darsce's face. Still, limiting himself to a mental image is sufficiently less distressing that it permits him to speak. A strange quirk of psychology, given that his future limitation to a mental image is the source of his distress. His tone soft, almost plaintive. "Will you be happy?"

Darsce watches Jethaniel pass her, automatically closing her door and leaning back on it, eyes tracking him to the center of her room. Her eyes, haunted never leave his. Whatever she expected, she didn't anticipate the question, nay, plea. "I… I… don't understand," she stammers at length, pushing off the door to step closer and try to peer up into his face despite the closed eyes. She's made more trouble for him somehow. Her brows knit. Maybe she should have left off the first sentence? That's it, he doesn't want her to feel she has to leave because of him. "I can't stay…" she says lowly, her throat tightening.

Jethaniel wants to look at her. That is, in some regards, the problem. He came here because he couldn't accept her decision. He came here because he wanted to argue, but. "…no right," he murmurs in the mutter his thoughts make when they rise accidentally to the surface, and his head lowers. Perhaps the angle will make it easier for Darsce to see his face, though Jethaniel's eyes are still closed. He wants to look at her, but he won't. He may not be able to keep the hurt from his face as he tries to accept this - he may not be able to keep himself away to let her have her autonomy - but he can not look at her, even if he can't keep himself quiet. "I… want you to be happy."

What did they decide in their meeting? No, she doesn't care. He looks so upset! Something is very, very wrong. "Did they fire you because of me? Is that it? Did you tell them I won't be any more trouble? I'll set them straight-" And she's spinning on her heel to tear up to the offices and demand they give the steward his job back because he's damn good at it and Thea's been less stressed and her brother and sister happier when she is… His voice stalls the step away she'd take. Still facing the door, ready to charge through it, "You do? But Jethaniel-"

The meeting would likely still be happening, were it to have occured on schedule. It has, however, been rescheduled. Or so Jethaniel presumes; Thea said something of the sort, and so that situation is temporarily under control. As for this situation… Darsce's words make Jethaniel's head lift and his eyes open, surprised into seeing her. Her back, at least. "Ah. What?" Jethaniel stares, now that he's opened his eyes. The Steward's knot is still on his shoulder, so unless he's 'borrowing' it, he has not, in fact, been fired. "No." He shakes his head in negation. "Yes." Where have all those polysyllabic words gone? "I wish you would stay." His head lowers again, though his eyes remain open. "I'm sorry."

That 'Ah, what?' turns Darsce around, her eyes flicking to his shoulder, something she'd neglected to do when he first came to her door. But then, she wasn't thinking about his job at that moment. Despite her preoccupation with her own troubles, she IS relieved to see it and lets out a breath. Wait-what? "You… did?" A curious step closer. "How do you know I won't be?" If she stays that is. "Because I don't." She's being perhaps the most honest she's ever been with anyone, admitting that. His voiced wish both pleases and distresses her. "It would be…" she casts in her mind and uses one of his words, "problematic for you." Not her, never her. He's wonderful and she… well. His apology confuses her and she takes another step - back to him now tipping her head up to try to see into his eyes. "Why are you sorry?"

Did what? Jethaniel's brow furrows as he tries to follow - ah. It's a case of misplaced attribution. He said nothing of the sort, for the meeting didn't happen, but the point still stands. As does he, unmoving as she approaches. How does he know Darsce won't be trouble? "I don't." He lifts his head, just a little. Enough to meet her gaze. There's a bare moment when his lips almost smile. "I expect you would be." The smile, if that's what it was, fades, but he can't yet manage to look away. "I am still glad to see you, problematic or otherwise." Though his expression thus far has not seemed to show it, and now his eyes slip away from hers. "It is your decision."

Color Darsce totally confused. One-word answers will do that to a girl. That and being distraught. His words say one thing, his face says another. If his sparse comments and lacklustre expression were to be taken separately she could take this as indifference. But he's here and I'm sorry he'd said. When asked why… "You're sorry because it's my decision?" Her mouth twitches into a semblance of a smile. "So… you're okay with me staying and making your life miserable?"

That's what Jethaniel said, though the furrow of his brow implies it's not actually what he meant. He does not, however, reply to that immediately, for Darsce has said something far more important. His eyes lift to her. "Of course." He hesitates for a moment, then continues. "I want you here. It is your decision - I should not seek to influence you - and yet…" He closes his eyes again, though this time, only briefly. Long enough to inhale. "I am being misleading." His grey eyes seek her blue ones. "I want you, regardless of the circumstances. I… believe I love you."

Now see, this is why men have given up speaking to women, there is a disconnect somewhere between what is said, meant and what is deciphered. Somewhere along the timeline of human history the CodeBook of ManSpeak has been lost to womenkind. So it's guesswork based more on body language than actual wordage. And yet, women do try to use - and understand words anyway, go figure. Darsce stands in her shambles of a room, hears words dispel the worry that she'd turned him off by being so forward in her note evaporating. Both hands reach for his, soft fingers twining with his as she peers up at him, a slow smile growing, "You do?"

Monosyllabic answers are, apparently, insufficient - and yet when Jethaniel employs the precise technical ones, comprehension also tends to be absent. It would seem words are a poor proxy for concepts. Unfortunately, they are sometimes the only possible means of expression. There do, however, exist a set of alternatives for certain circumstances. Darsce employs one now, and her hands discover some of Jethaniel's tension carried in stiff fingers, slow and hesitant as they shift and twine back with hers. He nods, and does not look away. "Yes." Darsce's smile makes it far more obvious, and so Jethaniel repeats himself, this time without the equivocation. "I love you."

Taking the Galaxy wingleader's knot - even if briefly - was much too satisfying to regret. But Darsce's learned something from this recent 'knot-borrowing' of hers. Her smile morphs into true concern as she feels his tension, "Jethaniel, I don't want to leave. But I don't want to make your life problematic, either." Maybe because he's so solemn, she gently tugs on his hands and asks, "Will you be happy?" Then adds, "If I stay and love you?" She's beginning to learn what it means.

Jethaniel's fingers shift, curving more firmly against Darsce's hands drawing his along. Some of the tension is dissipating, fading with the knowledge she doesn't want to leave and replaced by an intentionality of holding her. At her direction, he bows his head, a faint smile touching his lips. "Yes, Darsce." He brushes a fingertip softly against the back of her hand, the smile slowly growing, then hesitates. "Will you?"

Darsce's fingers curl just enough to answer his touch, her smile grows with his. "I want you to be happy," she says simply. For the first time in her selfish life, she truly means it. Will she be happy? "Oh yes," she says, her iceblue eyes then shimmer with a sudden film of tears as the full impact of how that note she'd written must have hit him. She breathes, "Will you forgive me for writing that note?"

These smiles may form a positive feedback loop, for Jethaniel's widens and deepens in response to Darsce's with no obvious terminal condition. He nods his assent to her want, and her assent to him makes his smile jump further - only to freeze as he sees the tears in her eyes. He nods, and one of his hands carefully untangles from hers, reaching up to brush her cheek gently. "Of course."

Darsce has borrowed all of his short sentences and questions (much better than borrowing knots in this case and no one would believe she was the steward anyway) with excellent results. She presses her cheek into his hand, closes her eyes and says, "Then I will remain at Xanadu." Her eyes open, "With you and… I'll try to" choke "be good." What kind of good? That remains to be seen. But she can be very, very good when she wants to be.

Jethaniel's fingers curve against Darsce's cheek, his smile returning as his eyes wander her face in the moments when her closed eyes free him from meeting her gaze - though they're quick enough to return to captivity when those iceblues open once more. Her words make more of the tension leave him, in a general correspondence to the increase of his smile. "So far as I am concerned," he says, his head bowing slightly though his gaze remains steady, "You may do as you wish." He lifts his head once more, and the smile changes to one of humor. "I will argue for you in as many meetings as necessary." Until and unless she gets him fired?

Ahh carte blanch can be a very dangerous thing where Darsce is concerned. But doing as she wishes doesn't involve Xanadu as much as it does her steward. Hopefully he won't come to regret that permission.

Jethaniel's word is hardly the final one so far as Xanadu goes - but then, words can be ambiguous. Was he giving her his permission to do anything, or permission to do anything to him? No clarification is forthcoming, but at least for the moment, Jethaniel has no regrets. Not even for the paperwork he abandoned to come here, or the missed meeting that will be rescheduled… sometime. Probably on his restday? He'll worry about that later. For now, he leans in to touch his lips ever so softly to hers, and then… well, perhaps he'll help her unpack, since Darsce is staying here at Xanadu… with him.

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