Title: Meandering
Time Period: March 28, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Mariah comes to visit Cas and catches him with a bit of good news.

It's very rare for Cas Blackburn to be finish with his stablework this early in the day, but he's got a new motivation to finish quickly. It was one of the other stablehands that gave him away, the southern paddock of the pasture grounds. Different from the one she visited him at before, but similar in size and scope, if not nearly as big a herd.

There's a handful of horses grazing, some lifting their heads to check on the intruder who's walking along the edge of the paddock, avoiding looking directly at them, but watching them out of the corner of his eye. Every day since he got permission he tries to walk this paddock. And as of yet he hasn't made the hardest decision.

So far the horses don't seem to take him as a threat, or even a predator. And that's the most he's going for right now, as he circles back around to the other side. This time, unlike before, he's on foot.

Mariah is already there, on the other side, although she seems ready to start wandering around, her hands holding her skirts up off the ground a bit and all. Her brow furrows as she looks around, seeing as she can't spot him there among the horses, which seems to be where she expects him to be. It's just a chance look in the right direction that has her catching sight of him walking the edge.

So instead of heading off to meet him, she leans a hip against the fence and waits, watching his path as his makes his way along. It brings a smile to her face, but when he's closer, she tilts it crooked. Amused instead of dreamy. At least for the moment.

The sight of her surprises him again, though he likely realizes it shouldn't. Quickening his steps some, Cas hurries the distance away from the small herd toward her, his smile wide and pleased, dimpling his cheek and crinkling his eyes under the hat that shades his face.

"Mariah, you came to see me today," he says in a voice that sounds more excited than he might normally be at seeing her. In fact from the way he walks he looks practically giddy. A sound from the horses behind him makes him glance over his shoulder and try to visibly calm down.

"Sorry, these guys aren't the least bit tame, so I'm trying to get them used to me first. It's a…" he trails off, as if realizing he's about to start rambling. For hours. "Uh— so what brings you out here?"

"I did. I hope I'm not interrupting," Mariah says, although she knows she is definitely interrupting, with it being the middle of most people's work days. Once he reaches her, though, she shifts to rest her hands against his arms and leans in to greet him with a warm kiss. But brief, because as much as she likes to get a kiss in before long, his demeanor has her curious.

"You're in a particularly good mood today," she notes, her words falling somewhere between a statement and a question. She looks toward the horses, too, at the mention of them not being tamed yet, as if gauging if she should be worried. She's good on a horse, but her experience is with trained ones exclusively.

But she turns back to him with a smile that washes away her cooler expressions. "I heard there was a handsome stablehand out this way, and I thought I'd look into it," she says, teasing gently.

"Nope, I'm on my own time right now, so you're not interupting," Cas says quietly, as he reaches up to brush her cheek with his fingers, bare because of his finger-less gloves. It allows him to rub the backs of his fingers against her. Even if it doesn't help keep his fingers warm or protected very well.

"I— yeah, I'm in a good mood," he glances back at the handful of horses, before he looks back at her, bouncing on his feet a bit, as if he's anxious. "I've been wanting to tell you since it happened. The day I saw you last— I finally worked up the nerve to ask the boss if I could train a horse, and he said I could. He even said I would get a cut if we sold it, or I could have a discount if I wanted to keep it. So I'm out here picking which one."

"Wonderful," Mariah says, a little distracted as his fingers touching her cheek softens her expression and brings back out that dreamier look. She steps in a little closer, even with his anxious bouncing.

But when the news comes out, her smile grows back into a grin. "Really?" She looks back over at the horses, but it's a brief glance before she's back to him again. "Cas, that's amazing!" And the congratulations come with a rather exuberant hug around his neck and a gentle laugh. "Have you been able to pick one yet?"

The hug is returned, to the point he stops bouncing a little. Cas even closes his eyes for a moment, as if that will help him feel the hug better. It means he's blinking and looking a little startled when she asks which one. "Oh— I've narrowed it down to two," he says, shifting so he can look back at them.

"The black and white piebald or the chestnut with the white face." Both look healthy enough, though the piebald has a more exotic look about him, due to streaks of white in his mane where the white spots are on his neck.

"They're both about the same age— probably around three to five years old, but the piebald is a stallion, so he's more likely to be difficult. And I'd probably need to get him gelded to make him easier to handle— the chestnut is a mare and seems to be the most timid of the lot. She'd be the easier to train."

Mariah doesn't really let go at the shift, although it turns more into a one armed hug as she turns to look at the contestants, too. "That is a tough choice. He's beautiful. Not that she isn't, too. Although, I must say, the concept of gelding makes me a little sad for him." She looks over at the piebald, her frown a bit too exaggerated to be taken entirely seriously.

And, when she looks back to Cas, her smile is back again. "I'm sure you'll do fantastic with whichever you choose." She knows this is his forte, after all. "And for the record, I feel half as bad now about keeping so much from your horse fund."

"Makes you sad? It pains me just to think about it," Cas says with a teasing voice, before he even realizes exactly what he's saying. There's a pause before he quickly adds, "Uh— the gelding doesn't even mean it would help with any tempremental issues— some keep them no matter what you do."

When he looks back up at her he's sincere, reaching up to touch her cheeks again. "It'll probably take me months to get either of them ready to buy, so I have plenty of time to get a stash together."

He might not realize it, but Mariah does. She laughs a bit louder than she generally lets herself, and her arm squeezes him softly as he tacks on an explanation. "And, you wouldn't be able to put him out for stud later," she adds, her smile turning impish there.

But as he looks back at her, as his hands touch her cheeks again, she eases back into a warmer smile instead. She nods at his words, a hand coming to cover one of his. "I'm so happy for you, Cas," she says, her voice soft, but also sincere. "I hope you don't mind if I come along to watch sometimes," she adds, a bit of that mischief back in her tone for that one.

"I don't mind," Cas says, even if he's blushing at her laughter and the talk about studs and what not. It shouldn't make him blush, it's horsetalk but it seems to do a good job of it. The shadows could hide some, but being close to her helps too. "It'll be boring for a while— even before I decide I'm trying to get them used to me just walking around. So they know I'm not a threat and so they're used to me being around. Them being used to you to would be okay— this won't cut into your work hours though, will it?"

Mariah leans in to press a kiss to his cheeks, which gives away that she notices the blushing, but also that she might just mark it as one of those endearing qualities of his. She's got a list.

"Good. It would have broke my heart if you'd said you did," she says with a gentler laugh. "It won't for the most part, no. But I'll only come when it doesn't. I don't want to be too much of a distraction, coming everyday. But, that being said… I wouldn't mind them being a little used to me, either."

"I have to train on my free time, too, so at least this will mean I won't have to choose between you or them," Cas says, leaning forward with a grin to kiss her, even if he was blushing a moment ago. The kisses on the cheeks may have helped. Or the reassurances.

"I'm also going to take on side jobs on days I'm not working in the stables, fishing, picking apples, helping out on the farm. Now that I have a goal I'm going to need to get more to trade with."

There's a grin. "And you'll have to help me name the one I pick too."

"I like to think I wouldn't let you pick me over them too often," Mariah says with a crooked smile, "But I like the idea of not having to choose at all." She knows, after all, the position of choosing between work and play. Even if she's not told him so.

She meets him for that kiss, drawing it out a bit before she lets him go again. Her forehead leans against his cheek, her eyes closed for a long moment. "So, we'll have to take our time where we can manage it for a bit," she says, her arms sliding around him again. As much as she'd like to hoard his time, she seems willing to be encouraging in this particular pursuit.

It's those last words that bring her up again to look at his face, gentle surprise on her expression. "Really?" It's possible she hadn't expected that.

"Well, yeah," Cas says, not seeming as if he understands her surprise over the naming help he's requesting. "You can at least write the name down and everything and I can't. Bet you know a lot more words than I do, too. You even speak French!"

His smile is without any mischief, genuine and sincere. "Even if you just tell me 'no that's a terrible name' that would be helpful. Names are important! And the horse'll have to live with it the rest of it's life."

"I can do that, I think," Mariah says, her smile warm and her hold on him tightening into a hug. "I suppose it's a good thing I'll be around for some of the training, then. Get a feel for the personality and all."

She leans back then, her hands moving to take his as her smile broadens into a grin. "I think we should celebrate. When are you free enough for me to take you into town for a meal and some sort of chocolate dessert?" Decadent! But she seems pretty set on the idea. "And perhaps a meandering walk home, hmm?"

"Well— I think it's been about an hour," Cas says, looking back at the horses. "And I was planning to come into town and visit you tonight already," he says with a grin, leaning into her hug as he twists her around a little. It seems like he likes the idea, from the way he's moving.

"So we could meander to your place after dessert and you could take the long way back here tomorrow, if you want to meander somemore."

"Oh were you?" Mariah says, her smile tilting again as she moves along with him. "Well, I'm glad we've been thinking along the same lines, then," she adds before she sneaks in another kiss. Or maybe two.

"I think that sounds like a wonderful plan. I adore meandering," she says between those kisses, "At least with you, anyway."