Title: Princes
Time Period: April 27, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Dinner plans are briefly interrupted by what seems to be another girl's fantasies of princes and castles.

While it may be customary for the girls of the Dovetail to get their Johns into a bedroom right off, Mariah has employed a bit of a different plan for hers. Probably because she knows this one in particular doesn't get proper meals often enough. And since she enjoys cooking enough, that's where they are. In the kitchens. The bedroom will come in a little while.

She may have been moping about the place for a few days, but apparently a little company is all she needed, because she's downright cheerful at the moment, setting a plate down in front of Cas. There's tea, too, one of Mariah's favorite flavors.

"You know you didn't have to feed me…" Cas says, likely for the sixth time since they went down to the kitchen, especially when he heard the footsteps of anyone else approaching. "I did get lunch today— Rowntree doesn't starve me," he adds, even as he looks down at the tea and the plate. With hunger in his eyes.

May not be starving, but he hasn't put on any weight in the time she's met him, either. In fact he lost some in the winter.

"But thank you," he adds after a second, smiling up at her, as he picks up a slice of the bread and holds it out towards her in offering. "It smells great."

Armed with a carpet bag, Luna Owens flounces into the kitchen and begins rummaging through the cupboards. The common items are left alone but the teas are rifled through and set aside while the blonde prostitute searches for something of apparent importance. Cas and Mariah don't seem to be noticed, whether a symptom of her hurry or a deliberate snub, it could be anything.

In her climb on top of the counter, her hand lands on one thing and it's pulled out slowly as she shifts to sit her rump on a cutting board of breadcrumbs. A tin of papers, a recipe box. More importantly, something no one has noticed for a very long time. Each note inside is scrawled with Luna's handwriting, mixes for teas, biscuits, scones, everything she's never made in her stay. As she skims over one paper, her eyes lift to the pair at the table. "Oh… sorry, I was just packin' to leave."

"I know they don't starve you, but I also know you work hard. Probably too hard, with your ribs healing," Mariah says, a hand moving to her hip. An eyebrow lifts, but it's not exactly a chastisement. Just boarding on. But she leans over to press a kiss to his cheek, "And you're welcome."

She might move to get herself a plate, but Luna's appearance gets her attention. She straightens up, although one hand stays on Cas' shoulder as she tilts her head at the rummaging. "Leaving," Mariah repeats, a little surprised and questioning, but it isn't the first time the blonde has taken off.

The scrawling is glanced at a little longer than it would be polite, if he could actually read it. Words often earn looks like this from him, as if Cas is trying to puzzle them out in his un-educated way. After a few seconds he looks away, back to his food, and the woman who kissed him on the cheek with a smile. A little sheepish. She's the only one who knows why he looks at words the way he does, after all.

After taking the first bite of his food, he looks back at Luna in surprise. "Going on a trip?" he asks.

"Yes, I'm leaving," Luna's haughty manner is appropo with how she's always acted, at least around Cas. Save the one or two times she's actually tried to be nice. He earns a look for his stare, the paper is folded in her hands while her arm crosses over her chest to hide it. "Turn your eyes, Mister Blackburn, you're not my client." There's no blush on her face as she accuses.

His question receives a slight shake of her head and then a sort of nod and then a slight shrug of her shoulders. An indecisive answer. "Yes, I'm leaving here, then going on a trip. I'm going to explore and make my fortune and come back a lady of good standing. I'll have enough to claim land and a house of my own."

Cas' sheepishness gets a warmer smile from Mariah, and that Luna misreads him has her chuckling softly as she shifts to sit down next to Cas.

"Ah yes," she says, as Luna explains what she's up to, although it's hard to say if Mariah approves, exactly. "I didn't think you'd be going so soon. I always thought the summer would be better for travel." She does have some experience in it, even if it's been a while. "Less chance of rain and such."

"What— I wasn't— you're— " Cas tries to correct her mistake, but looks over at Mariah as if to see if he needs to assure her what he was not doing there— but he sees she doesn't need the assurance. There's a look of relief, as he looks down at his plate, trying not to look at Luna anymore.

It doesn't work, cause his eyes flicker over. "I've never found fortune in exploring— at least til I found my way here— No fortune yet, but…" he trails off, smiling a little at Mariah. "I'm working on a horse though," he says after a second, waving a fork.

"I'll have ten when I come back," Luna boasts, hopping from the counter and snapping the lid of the tin closed. "An entire herd of horses to pull a jeweled carriage." Whatever she means to find in Liverpool must be grand enough to make her a princess. "It's very nice that you have dreams, Cas, everyone needs one." It's not a statement that's really meant to be unkind, she's just careless in delivery.

"I won't be leaving just yet, not until I find a ship to carry me but I will be moving… today. I'm dissatisfied with the state this house is run, truth be told." Her nose finds a place high in the air as her blue eyes flit toward the common room and beyond it Edme's chambers. Then her voice hushes. "The walking dead almost had me, I would have been dead in my room for days before anyone found me."

Mariah puts a hand on Cas' back when he looks her way, returning the smile for a moment before she looks back to the blonde. "Luna," she says, at the boasting, a bit of a sigh following as she stands to her feet to cross over and pour herself a cup of tea, too.

And as she continues on, Mariah keeps her attention turn toward pouring, as if she were really concerned about spilling. She doesn't want to mention drugs, but the concern that comes with Luna's words leans more in that direction than any about walking dead being around. When she turns to regard the other hooker, she opts to latch onto the very end of what she says, since they're in company and all.

"Don't be silly. You wouldn't have died. And it wouldn't have been days before someone noticed."

Unintentional or not, Cas winces a little as she says what she does about his dreams. As if he's actually thinking she believes his dreams, small as they are, are further fetched than her own. "You always were a bit of a princess," he says quietly, voice nearly a whisper as he eats a few more bites of food. The conversation is making him lose his appetite a bit. Talk of dying and all that.

It draws his eyes back over, but only briefly. The nearly dying thing may sound important, and there was a flash of something in his eyes. Sympathy perhaps?

But something else seems to tug him into asking, "What— what's wrong with the Dovetail?" he looks over at Mariah, as if maybe there's something wrong with it that he didn't notice. "I— you're leaving?" It's as if he's just now realizing what this whole conversation means, beyond boasting and a trip.

"Aye, no longer Luna the whore of Dovetail." The blonde's groused comment falls prelude to the click of her heels across to the table where the food is spread. For a fine lady, she seems to have no qualms about picking with her fingers and a few pieces from Cas' plate are sampled before she continues.

"And it would have been days. It's all thanks to Duncan that I'm here at all…" Then she pauses for a moment and adds with a shrug, "and Aislinn and Constance and Misters Fogg and Wartooth… but Aislinn was summoned by Duncan and Constance came with her. Then Misters Fogg and Wartooth were brought in by Aislinn. For certain, I regained my strength after being fed by Mister Wartooth but all of this was becausde of Duncan." It's not a matter of importance that the door to her bedroom had stayed locked by her own choice.

"Doesn't that just prove that it wouldn't have been days, if it already wasn't?" Mariah puts a hand on her hip as she looks over at Luna, an eyebrow lifted as she regards the other woman for a long moment.

She only looks away again to take a sip of her tea, and while she doesn't come back to the table, she is watching that direction, at least. Even if she doesn't answer what may or may not be wrong with the Dovetail. "So you're moving out because it was Duncan who found you instead of Edme?" She may think that a little unfair, all things considered.

There's a long moment of silence from Cas, and it isn't even filled by his own eating. They talk over much of it, so it's easy to miss that he's looking at his plate thoughtfully.

"Do you want to leave?" he asks when he looks up finally, toward Luna. And this time it isn't a brief glance, but one that lingers, eyes on her face, no matter that he'd stared at the recipes before.

"No, I don't think it would have mattered who found me. There were marks on me made by something that's dead," Luna's eyes lower to the floor and she busies her hands by using one to play with the leather cord wrapped around the other. The fact that her tone no longer carries the conceit it had previously might possibly give the impression that her sobriety means truth. "This place is much too dangerous for a woman to stay."

And her mirror is broken.

And someone else used her sweets dish as an ashtray.

"So, yes, I want to leave. I don't think I have much of a choice in it if I want to stay alive." She turns back to the counter and stalks toward it. The carpet bag is grabbed and the tin of recipes is tossed into it. "I think if you know what's good for you, Mariah, you'll think about protecting yourself against vampires. Because there's one visiting the Dovetail."

Mariah looks down at her cup, but it's only for a moment before she squeezes her eyes shut. It's only when she's actually addressed that she looks up again. "I'll be fine," she says, possibly because she's not entirely sure she believes in vampires. "I'm fairly certain none of mine are dead already."

It may be a bit of sass, especially since she turns away again, to needlessly refill her cup. Maybe she just likes her glass extra full. But she doesn't turn back again, even after she sets the teapot down again. There may be a shake of her head, though, just a little one.

If Cas had been hungry when he sat down, this conversation is making it difficult to stay that way. Dark eyes dart around, looking from one woman to the next, concern and confusion in equal amounts, when he looks at each of the women. His mouth starts to open, then closes again, looking back down at the plate he's not sure he can eat anymore of right now.

Which probably helps cause that guilty look to cross his face.

After another long moment, he pushes back the chair and starts to stand, barely having eaten anything. "I— I wish you luck on your journey, Luna," he says quietly, at least sounding sincere about it.

"Thank you, Cas, I'll be certain to bring you something back. Hopefully the thing will be captured and killed before I return, I'd hate to— well— it doesn't matter, I'll have a new place to live." Suddenly brighter and in good temper rather than solemn or haughty, Luna spins in a circle, nearly hitting both Cas and Mariah with her carpet bag.

"I'll be in a grand castle, right at the top of a tower," it could be fantasy for all that she's been bragging about already. "The envy of all the other girls in Dornie because I'll have a prince of my very own."

"I'm sure it'll be taken care of. Especially since the militia know of it," Mariah says, glancing over only when she's almost hit with that bag. "Provided you leave any here when you take off to seek your fortune."

And finally, she leaves the teapot behind to come set her cup down on the table. She doesn't sit, but leans a hip against its edge. "Sounds lovely, Luna," she says, although her tone is rather flat. "I'm sure you'll be the talk of the town."

"Wartooth can take down dragons and trolls, I'm sure a vampire is nothing to him," Cas says quietly, not even dodging the bag that's flying around. Mostly because he doesn't even look at it. In fact he's still looking down at his food, food that Mariah took the time to cook for him. "Do— do you mind if I eat the rest of this upstairs? I'm— not really that hungry yet."

His question is asked softly, guiltly, with his eyes cast up towards the young woman who isn't leaving this apparently dangerous place.

"And you don't have to bring me back anything. Unless you… want me to train one of your ten horses for you, or something. I'll accept trade for that." It's the one thing he feels confident to offer— even if he looks doubtful when he says it.

"Well, it certainly sounds as though someone has a bee in her briefs today." Luna's hands both curl around the handles of the bag, holding it demurely in front of her rather than swinging about. "I wasn't planning on taking the entire militia, do you think that low of me to leave the town with nothing?" Where Mariah's voice is flat, Luna's betrays hurt.

She nods to Cas' question before Mariah, apparently assuming that it's fine for him to finish his meal upstairs instead of here, where clients are generally not seen. Whether they're permitted or not, Luna has no idea. She barely ever sets foot in the space as it is. It's in that spirit that she takes a few steps toward the door ahead of the other two. "If I make it back, aye?"

"I don't think anything of the sort, Luna," Mariah says mildly, fingers tapping against the side of her cup. "I just know you're worried about safety."

She turns her attention to Cas, that guilt in his voice getting a crinkle of her brow. "Of course I don't mind," she says, although her tone still carries that sort of mild distance she's had for the conversation, she reaches over to rest her hand on his back, as if she knows her words aren't as reassuring as they could be. But she looks back to Luna when the blonde steps toward the door. "You tell Duncan if you don't make it back, I'll be taking out on him personally," she says, a more genuine bit of concern coming through there, as much as she tries to keep her voice even.

"You'll make it back," Cas says quietly, not sounding as if he has any doubt that she will. As he says that, ge starts to gather up his plate, making sure all the food is on top, then grabs a towel to rest over on top of it so he can carry it upstairs without worrying about anything sliding off—

And it traps the heat. And he just seems to think it's appropriate.

"You'll be fine, Luna. And I expect you to ask me to train one of your horses, too," he says, obviously trying to cheer himself up. Somehow.

"Duncan won't be going, he'll be staying to help protect all of you and the town." Luna assures Mariah without turning from the door. "So there'll be no need to take anything out on him, then, will there?"

She looks at Cas and gives him something of a strained smile and another small nod. "Thank you, Cas, I'll remember." Fidgeting a little, uncomfortable suddenly in their presence, she takes another step and crosses the threshold into the long hallway. "I've quite a bit've packing to do, so I should get on it." No word about goodbyes, she's never really been good at giving them.

Mariah's not good at goodbyes, either, and she just sort of watches Luna's fidgeting and slow steps away with the kind of blank expression she likes to tuck emotional responses behind. She does manage a wave, but nothing in the way of words.

Her jaw tightens a moment, and she turns back to the stove, to start cleaning up, since they're all leaving the kitchen in short order. She's just very… loud about it, pans thunked around with less grace than she usually employs.

With Luna the first one leaving, Cas watches her go, despite the fact he's gathered up his food, he doesn't start after her. "See you," is his way of saying goodbye, and at least he says it outloud.

There's a long moment where he watches the hallway, before he turns around to look at Mariah. And her loudness. It takes a few moments before he steps over. "Let me help," he offers quietly, reaching out to take one of the pans that gets bumped. So that he can help.

"It's not… really that… dangerous here, is it?"

Mariah seems like she might argue, but there's a sigh instead before she nods and moves to make room for him to help. She glances back at the door, frowning at the absence there before she looks back to the cleaning up.

"No, it's not, she's being dramatic." It is often synonymous with Luna, after all. But a second later, it seems to occur to her that Cas might be actually worried, and she turns to look at him, her hand reaching for his arm. "If there were reason to worry, I wouldn't have you meet me here, aye?" That isn't the part of the conversation that got under her skin, though. No, something a bit wounded sits in that expression, which is probably why she turns to focus on the pans instead.
Hossfeld has arrived.
Hossfeld has left.

"I— probably not, no," Cas says quietly, though he doesn't offer the idea that they don't have many choices. Unless she wants to try sleeping in the stables with him— hay isn't exactly the most sexy place to sleep, despite the story books.

He still moves to help her clean. It's the least he can do to repay for her food— that he hasn't ate much of yet.

"Are you upset she's leaving?"

Mariah's quiet for a moment at that question, a shoulder rolling slightly before she looks over at him. "She'll be back. A couple of weeks and she'll be here kicking one of the girls out of her room again." It isn't the first time.

She looks away again, although her cleaning slows to a stop, clearing her throat softly. "Plus, I like to think if she were really leaving me here she'd… care. At least a little. And wouldn't just prance about fantasizing about some prince." The pan is picked up and she turns to carry it to the sink, setting it there instead.

"Princes are a little hard to come by these days," Cas says quietly, as he moves to follow her to the sink, taking the pan away so he can wash it for her instead. It isn't something a prince would do, but he's just a stablehand. "She did seem to be… caught up in a fantasy world. She was when I first met her, actually— that's why I always thought of her as princess."

His voice is soft, and he keeps the tone down. He's gossiping, and gossiping isn't something he likes doing too much. Though stablehands do it in their own way, too.

"I— It would be nice, though. If… someone could have that kind of ending."

"I don't think she meant a literal prince, but rather. Well, a prince in her estimation." Mariah lets out a sigh when he takes over, because it takes away her preoccupation. The gossip isn't anything Mariah doesn't already know about her friend, and instead of really replying, she just leans against the counter.

But leaning leads to her sliding down to eventually sit on the floor. "I suppose. I prefer dreaming of more realistic ends, myself. Still. Must be nice to be able to sweep out of here whenever she likes."

"Her dad was a big trader when I first met her, so she's… probably got other options than this place, I'm guessing," Cas says quietly, looking down at the pan that he cleans, until he rinses off the soap and cleaned bits so he can set it aside to dry off. Ad so he can turn to look at her sitting on the floor.

Kneeling down, he reaches for his hands, nevermind his are damp. For a moment, he opens his mouth, then closes it again, giving his words a second thought. Until what he says is a soft, "I'm glad you're not like her, Mariah."

As far as fathers and their occupations, Mariah makes a sort of noncommittal noise and opts for looking gloomily at her fingers. Of course, when they're taken by his soggier ones, it interrupts her thoughts. As good as Luna is at flights of fancy, Mariah is at brooding, after all.

His words get a soft, brief laugh, mirthless though it may be, but it brings a gentle smile back to her face. "I wouldn't have you, if I were," she says in a whisper of her own. "And really, I'm just upset that she came in and messed up my carefully crafted plan to bother you about not telling me about your broken ribs," she adds, her smile turning crooked as she teases.

"Oh— so that's why you were so worried about my eating," Cas says, allowing the topic to be pushed aside for the moment, as he leans forward and finds her teasing smile with his softer one until they meet in a kiss. It lingers longer than he would have likely allowed it before, in such a potentially public place.

Of other girls and rumor makers.

"My ribs are healing, though," he says quietly when he pulls back, so close she can feel the words. "I've been careful with them, and there was nothing that Cordie could do besides give me painkilling tea and tell me to look out for blood anywhere there shouldn't be blood. And no blood."

"Not just that," Mariah says, but a smile gives away her motives well enough. She watches him lean in before she joins him for that kiss, letting her eyes slide closed as she melts into that kiss… more than she would given the potentially public place. But she doesn't seem to care if the other girls notice just now. She'll care later.

"Well, that's good. That you're healing. I'll just have to mourn my lost opportunity to fret and dote on you." Her hands squeeze his, and she leans in to rest her forehead against his. "I'm sorry the meal got interrupted. Not just because I wanted to shake my finger at you."

"There's still the rest of the night— and my appetite is coming back," Cas says with a smile, even if his eyes are closed as she presses her forehead against his. Damp fingers squeeze hers tighter, pulling them up away from her body to hug them against his shirt— his chest. It's his way of hugging her when he can't get his arms around her easily.

"I— " he starts quietly, whispered. It gets cut off, as often his words seem to be. "I'm glad that you'll have me," is what he ends up saying, after a moment, shifting to meet her lips again.

Briefer, cause he adds with a teasing laugh, "Even if I'm not at all a prince."

"You'll forgive me if I don't plan on spending too much of the night on the dining portion of the evening," Mariah comments, as far as the rest of the night, her smile widening as he pulls her hands against him.

That smile softens when he goes on, cutting off only so she can return this kiss, too. But it's okay, because his laugh makes her smile all over again. "There isn't anyone else I'd rather have," she whispers to him and it's a little too… honest, because she makes her own teasing addition moments later.

"But if you know any princes, you know…"

Even with the tease a moment later, Cas leans back to look at her, as if he's trying to make sure he heard what she said correctly. The tease doesn't even lessen those words too much, cause he smiles and laughs— but a moment later his damp hands leave hers behind, so he can grab her face, and pull her in for a deeper kiss.

One that's usually reserved for the bedroom. Not the kitchen.

And it's a good thing that he's used to eating food cold. Cause by the time he gets to eating it again he's likely going to be even more hungry…

And it will definitely be cold.