Secret Plans

Title: Secret Plans
Time Period: May 17, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Secret plans are discussed. At least one is made. Secretly.

Aside from a few first nights at the Dovetail, Luna has never in her life shared a room. She's always been a rather solitary creature; she has her habits, her rituals from morning to night, and particularities about how she likes her things to be settled. She's not used to having to be considerate of other people's space or belongings or feelings about how she wanders around a room after a bath. But then again… neither has Constance.

Late afternoon is still a little early to be getting ready for bed, but she has her reasons. Every night, five minutes after Constance stops responding to whispered conversation, she's out of their bed and into another. Thus the need for preparation.

Her long blonde tresses are set into large rollers as she sits in front of the open window. It's warm enough that the breeze doesn't seem to bother her, at least warm enough that the thin layer that she's wearing seems to keep her warm enough. From behind, the little ridges of her spine are visible each time she bends down to scrawl something into a notebook. She's using pencil because ink requires the use of two hands, her other is occupied by a lit cigarette that she draws from every few moments.

It's not as if Constance isn't aware that things happen. Still, ignorance is bliss, and Luna seems to take care enough that it's not overtly obvious that she's not just there to be good company to the young woman. It seems to be a decent deal for the both of them.

Brushing her own long tresses out, the Rowntree looks at her reflection in the mirror. It seems having the Dovetail's jewel around makes her just a touch more self-conscious. "What are you thinking about?" She questions, an idle glance tossed in Luna's direction.

Turning enough to look at Constance, Luna sends a long stream of smoke through pursed lips in her direction. Like a foggy arrow shot straight to muddy the other girl's senses. It's not the herbal blend the prostitute is used to, something much safer for herself and the children she's been somewhat forced to keep company with. Cherry flavored tobacco.

"Words," Luna responds with, a too short reply for the question she's been asked. Not that she feels bad about the answer, she turns in her seat and folds one bent leg over the other, wagging her bare foot at the girl. "Specifically, a word that sounds delicious with the word loins." Extending an arm, she ashes her cigarette into the breeze outside instead of on the rug.

If Luna's response was an attempt to make Constance blush, it succeeds. The cherry gets a small wrinkle of the younger woman's nose, and she turns to fully face Luna. She lifts her chin highly, folding one leg over the other. "Well, that entirely depends on the feeling you're trying to evoke," she says, still blushing. Regardless of potential embarrassment, she's not fully letting it get to her.

A single eyebrow hooks upward at the aide, more that she didn't fluster the teenager into silence. After sliding the pencil behind her ear, she flips the journal closed with one hand and picks it up. Luna doesn't tie the leather cord that keeps its contents secure. Tucked between its pages are flowers pressed in tissue, drawings and watercolors of the book's owner, and letters from a variety of senders declaring everything from passing interest to burning desire— even love.

But Luna is here now.

"I can finish my poem later." It's a lazy admission to artistic pursuit, even if the topic isn't talked about in polite company. "Perhaps when you are married, I will let you read it."

"I don't see many of your Dovetail girls off and married," Constance suggests, alluding to the content of the poem. "Everyone seems to think girls are so naive. It's not as if we don't know things. People talk. Maids gossip and giggle, village girls go for rolls in the hay." She shrugs. "But considering the content of your poem and its likely recipient, I don't think I'd quite care to ever read it."

"You're right," Luna says, there's an unmistakable bit of disappointment in her voice but her lips twist into a bittersweet smile as she glances at Constance. "Not many of them do… but there are a good many husbands who leave their wives behind for a singe night with a Dove. A good many wives who come to Doves for advice on how to keep their husbands satisfied." She gives off a whistful sigh, nearly seeming to miss the life that hasn't been quite left behind.

The rest of the cigarette is tossed out the window. Luna isn't fearful of accidentally setting the castle on fire with a single stub, there's not enough dry grass anyway. "As of yet, there is no recipient… And don't give me that look, would you rather Florentine sharing your room?"

Constance snorts. "Florentine couldn't make her way into Eilean Donan if she tried. Much less share my room. You're not just some whore, Luna." She shakes her head. "Besides… men are pigs. They've only got one thing on their minds." She brushes her hair idly.

"Oh she was angry the day your da caught me up," Luna giggles, giving a vain attempt to stifle her laughter with a few fingers splayed over her lips. "She was in the common room, one of the parade— there was always a parade when he came looking. Anyway, she was trying to lure him in a scarlet dress, made her look like a randy tomato the way she was heaving them giant breasts of hers."

She lets loose a long sigh, interrupted once with a continued huff of a laugh. "Thank you, for saying I ain't just a whore. I heard the maids talking and it made me feel— " the prostitute's thin shoulders come up in a slight shrug before she waves the matter off. "Not all men are pigs, Constance, there are many reasons they fall between sheets and it's not because they have one thing on their mind. Sometimes they just need comfort."

"My da's got good taste," Constance says, lifting her chin. "I can say that much." She does sigh after a moment. "You aren't just a whore. People are stupid if they think that. And if the maids give you any trouble, just tell my father. He won't stand for that kind of thing in his house." She sets her brush down, moving towards her bed where she flops down. "I still think they're pigs. All of them. But I suppose we have to deal with them anyways. I just hope my husband won't try and stop me from doing what I want."

"The talk is just what I expected," it's a quiet moment, wholly honest and made with a wry smile. "Remember all those years ago, after I burned your hair and gave up that governess business? Well they were making nasty remarks around the corner, so I marched straight up to them and told them… You're just jealous!" Luna wags a finger at Constance, play acting that the younger blonde is one of the maids in question. "You're just angry that you're preparing the tower for me instead of having someone else prepare it for you!"

Folding her arms across her chest, she lifts her chin in a haughty expression to match the teen's. "They quieted and went back to work. It makes me glad that I picked the large chair, all those carvings… and they have to polish it. It's a bit like revenge, that." She sobers at the girl's last comment and shakes her head. "Constance, don't go talking about getting married, not yet. You've so much to do and learn— besides, if you're a proper wife, your husband wouldn't have the heart to tell you no to anything. You just need to learn how to ask properly."

"Well, you'll just have to do a good job of distracting my father, then, won't you? He's always got me in the peripherals of his vision. The better distracted he is, the less I have to worry about." Constance offers Luna a smile. "So you do your job, I do mine. Besides, maybe I'll fall in love with a man who only wants comfort between the sheets and I'll run away and be happy."

"I won't be able to distract him for long," Luna's long legs, an illusion due to her thinness, unfold and bring her to a stand. She rolls onto her toes and then back to a proper posture before crossing the room to tuck the thick journal back under the mattress of the bed. "I'll be going to Liverpool, remember? I've made the plans and I'm leaving in a month, before the end of spring." The plan that seems so far fetched, a journey farther than she's ever been.

Constance perks up, glancing back to Luna. "Oh, yes, you're right…" She looks casually up at the ceiling as she reclines on the bed. "Will you be bringing all of your clothes? Oh, of course not all of them, but… tell me your plans, will you? The good parts, at least."

"I'm not sure, I should bring a good majority of them… I can't be seen in the same thing two days running. It depends if we go by ship or horse." Luna's hands act as scales in the air, one weighing a bit more heavily than the other before they tip the other way. "If we go by ship, I could bring more. Of course, I think pretty clothing every day would send a positive message to the crew, don't you? Sailors are generally a smelly lot."

The hand representing the horses goes down while the ship goes up. "Also if we go by ship, we'll cut our travel time by weeks, it would be less dangerous." Her eyebrows shoot up and eyes widen before she jumps onto the bed, bouncing the mattress near Constance in an attempt to rouse her from her lazy recline. "Do you think your da would help me speak to the dock master? I can't exactly offer the compensation for time that I could have before."

"Oh, ship is a fabulous idea. You could bring whole trunks of clothes." Constance suggests. "And I bet he'd help you with that. Plus he my father caught wind you needed something and might potentially offer some… interesting compensation, I'm sure he'd be more than happy to help."

"Oh, you're right… Can you imagine me at the front of a ship in a pretty dress? I think I could make a fetching sailor, or mermaid strapped to the front— you know those carvings, right?" Excited now, Luna's fidgeting becomes a little worse, extending to fingering through Constance's hair and separating bits for braiding. "But— Mister Hossfeld said I need to find people to go with me first. People then a boat or horses, that's what he said."

A few tendrils are twisted together and when Luna leans in, the smoke on her long shirt and breath is a bit muted by the perfumes she layers on. "I was going to ask the Ross family if they'd send some of their men, have you any insight to that? I can't imagine they'd wish to take the back of the wagon compared to what your father is putting into it."

Constance giggles. "You'd make a fantastic mermaid, hair blowing in the breeze and taunting the sailor's with your beauty." She seems thoughtful. "If Jorn can be spared, you should take him. He'll be a gentleman and he's good at protection. He doesn't require a lot."

"Mister Wartooth? I suppose I could ask him, he would make a formidable opponent if we run into danger. I'm hoping we won't, the cities are supposed to be abandoned but there are always wild animals." Half of the length is twisted together before being wound onto the girl's head and pinned in place. Constance's hair is a good distraction from troubles regarding her journey. Whatever danger they might face is left behind in favor of a new handful of golden filament.

"So now I have Mister Hossfeld, an offer for Mister Wartooth, and you say your da might help me talk Mister Bassingthwaighte into ordering one of the harbor ships to accompany me?" The prostitute is all smiles as she curls a length around her finger and pins it near the braid. "Maybe if I'm lucky, he'll get me a large vessel. I could load up the entire cargo with boxes full of treasure."

"Bring me back all kinds of presents and a handsome young pirate who is as full of passion as he is of wit," Constance says, grinning over her shoulder. "I'm certain you know how to arrange such things. I'd trust no one else with such an exciting task."

Luna makes a face at that and shudders, something that can be felt through the shaking of Constance's hair. "No, I simply forbid it." Not that she means to sound like the girl's father or any sort of parental figure but… a pirate? "You should marry a rich merchant. He would have to be from somewhere exotic, France, I think. Like your grandmother— I would bet my life that she knows someone from France that would be a good match."

Another long sigh from the older blonde before the girl's hair is finally let go for good. Half made up and ready for Constance to finish it, or be left with a partially ready head. "But whoever you get saddled with, he'd have to be romantic. You'll have to insist on it. Like I do."

"Merchants are old. I want a young husband. One who will run about with me in the spring and the summer and let me be as silly as I need." Constance seems thoughtful. "But France… are they very cultured there? Perhaps I'll ask Grandmama if they're worth it." She giggles. "Maybe I'll get a young painter whom everyone wants at their parties… cultured and elegant and very much in demand."

"An heir to a merchant's fortune then, but I can guarantee you'd be unhappy as a painter's wife. A life isn't simply built on love, you need to think about your own fortune." A hefty bit of advice from a whore. From there, Luna edges to her side of the bed and picks up a different notebook, one with a label. Her plans for Liverpool.

"Like I am, your da's all well and good for the present but if he tires of me, I need to have a way to care for myself without returning to the Dovetail." The notebook is opened and the pencil plucked from behind her ear. Following the last entry, lists of numbers, she starts a list of names. "I could never go back there now, I'd have no room. My only option is a house of my own."

"You think he'd just abandon you?" Constance laughs at the prospect. "You really think that, do you?" She shakes her head. "My father already has plans. He won't throw away an asset. Look at what he's done to get you, what he's done to keep you. You can't seriously believe that he'd throw you away." She peeks over at the notebook. "Just wait. You'll see what plans he has soon enough."

The pencil stops and Luna stares at the teen. "He's never had a favorite before, never in the five years I was at the Dovetail." She stops for a long moment, pencil dotting the paper where she taps nervously. "Constance, do you know what his plans are?"

Constance shakes her head a little. "I never know quite what he's thinking. Sometimes I catch on before most people, but he's always a step ahead. But he's got plans. He wouldn't just scoop you up and put you here if he didn't." She smiles wryly. "And he wouldn't put you in my bedroom when there are plenty of good rooms simply to 'teach me hospitality', don't you think?"

"No, of course not."

Luna averts her eyes and turns her head a touch to avoid being caught in her lie. Lips pursed, she stoops over her page and continues to write, nothing sensical, additions to other lists: supplies, more numbers, some simple mathematics which looks like a comparison of the speed of different vessels.

"I suppose we should finish dressing for dinner. We've only an hour or two left." Stowing the notebook, she stands again and crosses to one of her larger trunks of dresses. "You can help me pick a gown. Then, if you like, I'll let you borrow one of the nice ones. We can tuck it where it doesn't fit. I'd like to have dinner with everyone tonight, wouldn't you? We could set a proper table and tell your da that it's a lesson of sorts."

Constance smiles warmly after a moment as she notes Luna's reaction. She nods after a moment, looking back towards the other woman. "Perhaps that's a wise idea. I'm sure Father would be quite pleased with that. I'd wager he'd like to see you teaching me anything and everything about being a 'proper lady'." She scoots off of the bed, straightening herself out. "Let's get ready, we've got quite the show to put on as usual, don't we?"

"Aye," sounding much more cheerful about the impromptu dinner party, Luna flips the heavy wooden lid and pulls out a long dress. She holds it up against herself and looks down, trying to judge if it's the one. "We'll coax Peter from his room and dress Celia up as fancy as can be. It'll be the five of us, unless you think the rest would want to join."

Chewing her lower lip, the older of the two dips her head down, self conscious. "No, they wouldn't want to… but it's polite to invite them anyway. I'll fix the rest of your hair, then we'll find out what the cooks are fixing for dinner." Of course, before that, Luna should be dressed in something other than a filmy nightshirt.

With only two hours to spare, there's not much time to make herself ready for Duncan's homecoming, let alone three children.