Other Three Words

Title: Other Three Words
Time Period: February 18, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: They're not the ones either are thinking, but they'll do.

As the winter months begin to fade closer to spring, the sun rises earlier. The nights are still long, but the light streams in through the windows sooner than they did during the longest nights. Not quite as cold, not quite as dreary, even if this bed has never been exactly cold when both of them were together.

Still, a shift of the warm sheets brings cold air against the skin of the young woman who hasn't woken up first. The low light gathering on the edges to vision and making the colorest contrasts visible. Propped up on an elbow, wearing nothing but sheets and a heavy iron pendant around his neck, Cas Blackburn holds the sheet aside so that he can look down at the woman in the bed. Or specifically down at the necklace she too wears, visible in the low light against the contrast of light skin.

It, too, is all Mariah wears at the moment, as reluctant to take this one off as she had been of her own previously. Dark hair spreads haphazardly over her pillow, even as the cold air causes her to stir. Before she bothers to open her eyes, there's a soft, but protesting groan and she reaches over to drape her arm around him. Were she more awake, it might be a tighter hold, but as it is, it'll have to be the thought that counts.

"Don't go yet," she says, sleep making her voice gravelly and quiet. And full of assumption. She cracks an eye open to look up at him, but a moment later her freer hand comes to rub at it instead.

The low light grants the brief view of a lopsided dimpled smile on Cas' face at her words and protests. A soft exhale even sounds a little bit like a laugh, only for a moment. The hand on the blanket relaxes where he props it up, letting it drop down against her stomach as he reaches touch the small silver cross.

Maybe it's a hint that he's not going. There's no move to get up, or pull away from the arm around him. But he doesn't lay back down either.

"Mariah," he speaks softly, fingers tickling along her skin against the leather strap that holds the cross in place. "I— " he starts, then stops, lips pressing together for a moment. Even for him, he'd been rather quiet this visit. Arriving later than normal, and taking to the sheets earlier than normal. He takes in a slow breath before he asks, in a whispered voice, as if he's hoping she'd go back to sleep before he can say it. "Why'd you give me your pendant?"

When she looks up at him next, her lips spread into a lazy, but genuine smile. Perhaps because he's not getting up. While he touches the cross, she slides closer to him. Even with the sheets back in place. Her fingers pet along his back, and she does start to let her eyes close again, although the movement gives away that she's not sleeping again just yet.

And with questions like that, she's not likely to, either. Although, she might retroactively wish she'd dozed off again before he asked it, too. But instead, she looks up at him, wetting her lips to give herself time to think of what to say, exactly.

"For luck, yeah?" She ends up saying, her fingers trailing along his skin until they stop to pick up the little bee. "The way I see it, nothing too terrible has ever happened to me while I've worn it, and nothing to my mother when she wore it. That's a pretty good run." It may not be the real reason, but it's not a lie, either.

From the way his jaw works, it could be Cas had been trying to form somemore words, perhaps questions, but his retroactive responses no doubt work in their benifit. In the form of whatever he wanted to say never making it to his tongue, much less past his lips.

The strain is visible, briefly, around his eyes, before he lowers his head back down against her shoulder and closes his eyes. There's a small sigh, before he mutters from that position, "I knew that, sorry." His voice is soft, slightly muffled, apologetic. When he raises his head again, he's smiling, though it seems distant, preoccupied, despite the potental good news of his words. "Probably won't need it much longer, though, at least."

Her fingers drop the pendant in favor of reaching over to touch his face instead, a worried look crossing her features just before he lays back down. She turns her head enough to press her lips against his forehead in a warm, lingering show of affection. "You don't have to apologize."

She tugs the sheets and blanket back up again, turning her attention that way as she goes on. "I just… care about you, is all," she says, trying to keep her tone casual. But when she looks back to him, the worry seems to spike up a little until she catches his expression. "Oh?" It's a puzzled noise, but hopeful as well. "Why say that?"

"You'd miss me," Cas says in a faint tone, likely thinking back to past conversations and things said, and even, perhaps, the things not quite said. Even now. "It's just— my curse is going to get removed so we won't have to worry about it anymore," he says, lowering his cheek against her skin as the hand on the pendant around her neck moves up, to touch her hand.

"Then I can give you back your pendant, and you can give me back mine, and— we won't have to worry about me dying anymore. You'll probably be recieving a note about it soon, with instructions for me… I asked them to send it to you, so that— I could actually read it."

"Mmhmm," Mariah says in reply, nodding softly to that observation. "Terribly, actually," she adds, her words more playful, but no less true. Her cheek rests against his hair when he lays against her, and her hand turns to take hold of his. "Cursed, is it? That's dreadfully unfair."

It is good news, although something in all of that gives her smile a sad tint. But she shifts, turning to better face him there on the bed. "I'll keep watch for it, then. It gives me an excuse to come see you with the horses, in any case," she says warmly. "Who's 'them'?"

"The gypsies," Cas says quietly, toying with her fingers as he lays there beside her. There's even a smile beginning to come back to his features as he lays against her. Whatever he was stumbling over before, this is probably not it. It is said too smoothly.

"Sir Wartooth recommended them as a source of information, and there's a brother and sister there who said they can help. The sister read my fortune and the brother is going to break the curse on me." From the way he's talking, he seems relieved more than anything.

Whatever Mariah might think about the gypsies, it's Cas' relief that brings a smile to her face. Given that she teeters somewhere between suspicion and superstition on most things, the gypsies are probably no exception. But they've given him some hope and that's good enough for her.

"Well, that is good news, then. Can I… help? Surely there's a fee of some kind…" In her view of the world, at least, nothing's free. Chalk it up to being a merchant's daughter. "I'm sure I have something here I can bare to part with," she adds with a crooked smile.

The relief seems to increase for a moment, when she reacts, but Cas immediately starts to sit up, shaking his head, at the question of payment. "No— I— I have that covered. You don't have to… give me anything," he says, looking a little nervous now.

The mention of her gifting him anything often does make him nervous. Still, he presses his lips together and wets them as he looks around at the room for a moment. "Actually— maybe there's one thing. It's only because I'm— not sure I would be able to continue— uh— that is to say I— maybe could… have a couple… visits— not for free, but— uh— "

"Are you sure? It wouldn't be— " Mariah sits up as well, letting out a sigh instead of continuing in the face of his nervousness. A hand runs through her hair, an attempt to tame it some from the mess sleep left it in. But her attention swings back his way at the suggestion. Surprised.

She blinks, then glances around the room herself. Her mouth opens to reply, but closes again without speaking. It's her turn to be nervous. Teeth bite her lower lip gently, but when she looks back to him, her lips spread into a soft smile instead. "I suppose it's a good enough cause."

"Oi, I'm the one who's supposed to be nervous," Cas says quietly, noticing her nervousness and using it to stop his rambling. At least a little bit. The hand that toyed with her own shifts up to touch her lips, where she bit down on them, where she wetted them earlier. "I just— I only suggest it because— you'd kind of— hinted at it before. Me not… paying as much. I thought about not— coming here as often instead, but… I…"

There's still that struggling, and the degree of fidgeting is moving the bed in an obvious way. If he were standing, he'd practically be bouncing right now, based on the nervous movements.

"I'd miss you."

Mariah laughs lightly at that comment, her head canting to the side as she looks over at him. "Can I help it if you make me a bit shivery?" She asks teasingly, but when his fingers touch her lips, her expression softens. His explanation gets a slight nod and she takes a moment to press a kiss those fingers before her hand move his aside so she can lean in an kiss him properly.

It's soft, but drawn out and when she leans back, she only goes far enough to be able to look him in the eye. "Cas… You can come to me whenever you like," she says in a whisper, as if not entirely sure she should be saying so. But she's saying it anyway. "And I hope you don't mind if I come to you sometimes, as well. Because— " There's a pause there, a soft exhale, and she leans in again so her lips just brush his as she adds, "I'd miss you, too."

"I think you'd be out of work if I visited as often as I'd like," Cas says softly, with a coyness to the tone of his voice. But the statement alone is a reminder, one that lowers his eyes away from hers, before he closes them, so he can return her kiss.

The kiss allows him to stop fidgeting as much, though.

The hand moves to pull the covers back up around them, as if to say he's not leaving anytime soon. Or… as he says a moment later, they are a belated response to something she said, "I don't want you to get too shivery."

A soft chuckle answers his reply, and she grin crookedly as she adds, "I dare say you'd be out of work, as well. If I did." Hers is less coy, though. Her hands come up to his face and she returns that kiss, scooting in closer to him as he covers them back up.

She smiles warmly his way and her arms slide around him, as if the layers aren't enough to keep her warm. They are, but there are better sources of warmth in the room at the moment. Or, at least one. "I don't mind it so much," she says, and that's the statement that gets her brand of coyness.

"Oh, right— Hadn't thought of that," Cas says quietly, as if he really hadn't thought, for a change, that he would lose his job if he visited as often as he'd like. "I'd probably miss my job, too," he says, a hint of curiousness in his voice, as if he's thinking about his job.

He is, as is known, quite fond of his work. And the horses. And working with the horses. He likely would miss them.

"So, uh— if I'm not… you know…" There's a blank there, that he expects her to fill in. "As often. Does that mean I'm not…" His voice trails off, distracted.

"Aye, you might, at that. We'll just have to attempt to be sensible," Mariah teases, complete with a nuzzle of her nose against his. "From time to time." Which may be a challenge. She doesn't feel particularly sensible around him very often.

When he starts speaking in fragments, she can't hold down a broader smile, nodding where she can guess what he's referring to. But when she can't, she lifts an eyebrow, "Does it mean you're not… what?"

From the look on his face, Cas fully expected her to fill in all the blanks. Including what he trailed off on. But when she doesn't he shifts a bit. Only her grasp around him keeps him from moving too much. "You know," he tries to emphasize, as if that alone will be the answer.

But when he looks up at her, all smiling at him in the dark, with an eyebrow lifted, he makes a small sound of distress deep in his throat. "Not… a…" his voice lowers to a soft whisper, as if he's afraid a badger or a stray ear at the door might hear, "a customer."

Mariah takes in, and then lets out, a slow breath, her fingers tapping a staccatoed rhythm against his skin. "Hmm. That is a question," she says, filling up a lengthening hesitation.

But she leans in, her cheek pressing against his so she can whisper into his ear in return. "I guess not. Not unless… you want to be." Her voice stays mostly steady, even though her pulse quickens with her own nerves. Her positioning helps to hide what is certainly a deeper blush than she's used to sporting.

This is all so much easier when it's only a payment on the line.

With the positioning, it's easier to both hide their expressions. For the most part. Though she feels his cheek move against hers, the sign that Cas has begun to smile, and his arm tightens around her, as if trying to keep her where she is.

"I think… I like that. Being a…" There's a struggle of silence for a moment, before he settles on, "A not… costumer."

And when he smiles, instead of the alternative, Mariah smiles as well, a bright, broad, uncontrolled sort of expression that causes her to turn her face against him a little more. As if she could hide it any better that way.

But it's all for naught, anyway, since she moves just enough to look at his face a moment later. "I think you had better kiss me, then," she says, her tone barely holding back a bit of a laugh, "Because I think I like it, too."

"I think I can do that," Cas says in the same whispered tones as before, as he shifts to nudge her with his nose until their lips meet. The kiss is soft, slow, almost as if savouring each caress, rather than trying to push toward anything else.

The kiss seems to give an illusion that they have all the time in the world.

And at least now he seems to have hope that there's more time to come.