You Can Leave Your Hat On

Title: You Can Leave Your Hat On
Time Period: February 10, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: The return of a hat turns into some playful banter between two opponents in an ongoing challenge.

Sometimes a girl needs a little distraction. And Mariah's version of one, at least for today, happens to include the company of one strikingly handsome fellow. Or that was the plan. When she found his door unlocked but the man himself not present, it was just a guess that he must be planning to return quickly enough, so she let herself in. And made herself at home, as it were.

Mariah could have picked a chair to wait in, but the bed is just so much more comfortable. So she sits, her back against the headboard and one of his books in hand. She is a reader, after all. Her jacket and overcoat have been discarded over a chair back, which leaves her in a blouse falling off her shoulders with a red corset helping it to leave a teasing amount of cleavage exposed. That there's a cross pendant resting there is somewhat sacrilegious, but that is hardly a bother for her.

One leg is stretched out straight, but the other is bent at the knee, which leaves the yards of skirt fabric tumbled down just far enough to show off a scandalous amount of thigh. And hanging there on her bare knee is the reason, or excuse, for her visit. His hat.

It's not too long before she hears the rattle of the doorknob before the door itself swings open; Beisdean enters without coat or scarf or gloves or hat, meaning he's most likely been down in the inn's tavern for a meal. It's only after he's closed the door and stepped toward the writing desk that he notices that he's not alone.

Brows lift and one corner of his mouth curves up into a smile that's not very innocent.

"Well, if isn't the lark, out of her cage for the night," he says. "What can I do for you this evening?"

Mariah looks up at him over the top of the book, an eyebrow arching at that smile of his. "I thought you might be missing your hat," she notes, but she doesn't actually move to hand it back to him. No, she just looks back down to the page she's on, her eyes tracking the lines as a finger slides softly across the page to slide under the corner moments before she needs to turn the page. At least she's treating the book well.

"I'm not interrupting your night, I hope," she says, looking his way again with a crooked smile. Like she might actually enjoy the idea of being an interruption.

Beisdean chuckles and shakes his head. "Not interrupting much. I had a date planned with Henry the Fifth, but he can wait, I suppose." His voice is a touch huskier than usual, on the raspy side, suggesting he's getting over a cold.

He moves toward the bed to sit, knees angled so that he faces her. "So, my night is free. How about yours?" There's a slight lift of eyebrow — double entendre completely intended on the word 'free.'

"As I understand it, most of the Henrys just hate being made to wait," Mariah says with a light chuckle. She seems to have lost interest in reading just now, but hasn't let the book loose yet, instead, it lays open and propped up against her leg.

His question makes her smile even out, although her expression stays amused as she answers. "Well, it's my night off. At least so far," she says as a hand sweeps some of her hair back behind her shoulder.

"Your night off, and you've chosen to come spend it in my bed?" Beisdean asks, grinning as he reaches to pluck his hat off of her knee, putting it on his head while stretching to lean his hand on the other side of that leg.

"That's very interesting. Thank you for the return of my hat; it looks well enough kept that I suppose I don't need to charge you for keeping it so long. D'you know they once used to rent costumes and clothing, back in the old days? For Halloween and masquerade balls, I guess. I wonder what it would cost, in currency. Or bartering, come to think of it." His voice is thoughtful, musing, in quality, as he looks down at her from under the brim of the hat.

Mariah looks down at the bed, then back at him with a rather shameless smile of her own. "I dare say I came to spend it on your bed, I'm not quite in it, though." Semantics. That smile tips crooked as he shifts his positioning, and she flips the book on her lap closed.

"I guarded it with my very life, and kept it miles and mile from harm and ill intentions," she says with playful seriousness, her hand coming to cover her heart. As he goes on, her hand drops back to the bed, and she lifts an eyebrow, amused. "Wishing you could play dress up a bit?"

Dress up gets a smirk and a shrug from the lanky man, and he glances across the room at a mirror to tip the hat just slightly, to a jauntier angle. "Perhaps. The shop I used to work at, we had these old books of fashions from other eras. Top hats and tuxedos and long tails and smoking jackets and all that, aye? I think I'd look rather dapper in that time period. I think I was born in the wrong time, and with the wrong degree of wealth. I should be an aristocrat with a closet full of clothes, all fine silks and velvets and the like."

He lifts that hand to lean it upon her knee, fingers draping down lazily to play at the fabric of the skirt loosely covering just above it. "Y'know, on the bed, in the bed… in a chair, against the wall… there's a lot of ways to spend it."

Beisdean tugs the fabric playfully — not revealing any more than she's chosen to reveal of course. "The night, that is." In case she thought he meant anything more lucrative.

"Not a fan of our rustic fashions?" Mariah asks, not that her attire can often be called rustic, but she speaks in generalities. "I often feel the same way, although I blame it on Marilyn." It's her favorite of the movies for a reason, after all. "But personally, Beisdean? I think you look rather dapper in just about anything. Even nothing," she adds with a crooked smile.

Her gaze doesn't move away from him as he touches her leg, although her knee shifts to briefly press against his hand before it relaxes again. Whether it's his words or his hand, her expression drifts from amused to something more on the sultry side, but not without her smile remaining. "My, you are a versatile one, aren't you?"

"Even knit sweaters, hm?" he says teasingly, letting that hand slide down her calf and back up.

The sultry look gets a sleepy smile as Beisdean's eyes half close, something catlike in that expression before he leans forward, slowly enough that she can push him away or move to the side to avoid him, should she wish to. "You'd look lovely in her white dress… what do they call that style? With the straps that go around here…" His free hand moves to trace a line up one side of her neck and then the other, as his face looms just a few inches from her face.

"As much as anyone can," Mariah replies in kind, as far as the sweaters are concerned, but it does make her smile into more of a smirk. Her gaze flicks over to watch the movement of his hand, but she looks back to him as he leans in.

It doesn't cause her to move away, but is met with an arch of an eyebrow. Even when he traces the imaginary straps against her neck. "I don't suppose your shop had anything like that on hand? I might have to plan a trip if it did," she says, her fingers moving along his arm before she drapes it over his shoulder. She doesn't seem to mind the closeness. Might even enjoy it.

Beisdean laughs and shakes his head. "Just books, some old magazines, things like that. It'd be a long way for a dress. If it were close enough for a shopping spree, well." He'd have left already, but he doesn't say as much.

"Do you always have the same off nights, or does it just depend on your whims and moods for the day, Larkie?" he asks, fingers tracing up the long line of her neck before reaching to tuck a lock of hair behind one ear.

"For a good dress, I'd go quite a distance. Although, I suppose I could be sensible and just ask Sorcha to make one." Mariah says with a roll of her eyes as if that would be the less exciting option of the two.

"I suppose whim has a lot to do with it. So long as I feel I've worked enough, I'll take one here and there. All work and no play and all that," she says, her words light, even though her head tilts at that brush of his fingers.

He chuckles, turning suddenly so that he can swing his legs up onto the bed and lie back on his back beside her. His chin comes down on her shoulder, their proximity pushing back the brim of his hat so that it tips backward precariously on his head.

His blue eyes watch her profile for a moment, before he speaks, breath warm, tinged slightly with whiskey from the bar below. "So what do you consider play, is the question?"

That question has her turning to look his way, and while she first glances up toward that precariously placed hat, her gaze falls to his face a moment later. "Apparently the company of men who refuse to pay for my services," she replies with a crooked grin. "It helps if they're handsome men, of course."

She reaches up for that hat again, only this time she doesn't put it on her own head, but tosses it to the bedside table. Nicely. That the movement makes her twist toward him momentarily is a complete accident. She settles back, anyway, and glances sidelong in his direction. "You are something of an oddity. Men tend to fall into one of two categories: customer or potential customer, and yet, you insist of being neither. When the girls have nights off we braid each other's hair and talk about boys," she teases. She's kidding. At least with that last bit.

His eyes flick to watch the hat land, then at her as she settles back onto the bed. Her words make him laugh as he settles his hatless head back onto the pillow. "Oh, do you… So you know I'm not seeing any of the others, then. And I don't insist on not being a customer or a potential customer — you are the one trying to pigeonhole me, lass. I would submit, humbly, that there is, in fact, a third category — what you wish to name it is up to you."

"Are you kidding? She'd be bragging endlessly, whichever of them you decided to purchase," Mariah says with a playful laugh. She may not know for sure, but she's willing to bet on it. as he goes on, though, she looks his way, a mockingly shocked look on her face. "Me? Pigeonhole? I would never." it does make her laugh, though, as she sits up a bit to turn toward him, legs curled to one side. She doesn't seem to mind that her skirts aren't moving to cover them still.

"I suppose I will just have to call it Friend and I hope you don't mind that it's a fairly exclusive category." Very, even, considering her business strategy. Her fingers move to touch him his time, under the guise of brushing hair out of his face. But it is a lingering touch all the same. Gentle.

"I don't mind that," he responds, leaning a bit into the touch and half closing his eyes like a cat being petted. "But it could be whatever you wish to name it… you could make it an even more exclusive category… something like 'friends you sleep with freely' you know."

The smirk on his face suggests he doesn't really expect that one to fly, even as he reaches up to take her hand, turning it so his lips can graze the inner wrist. "Or, you know. Even more specific than that, and just Beisdean."

"That would be a very small category, indeed. So small, it'll be nonexistent," Mariah says with a gentle laugh. It slowly dims away as he kisses her wrist, a gesture that gets a subtle shiver and a less subtle sigh as she lays down as well, letting herself sink into the pillows for a moment before she looks over his way.

His words make her smile warmer, less the seductress and more just herself. "Well. That is terribly specific. But I suppose it'll do."

"They might be one and the same, you know," he murmurs against her wrist, eyes lifting to her face though her wrist conceals his grin. His expression is serious again to brush another kiss against her lips instead.

"If you think'd be bad for business — don't worry. Your secret will be safe with me." His eyebrows lift as if to ask, 'Deal?' as he waits for her reaction.

"Oh, couldn't be. I'm quite sure there's a least one Beisdean," Mariah says at his murmur, even if the mix of warm breath and soft lips makes her close her eyes. It makes the kiss that follows something of a surprise, but not an unwelcome one, judging by her willingness to return it.

But when her eyes open to look at him, it comes with a soft smirk. "Do you ask for free cuts from the butcher, too? Or am I just special?" She shifts to her side, her arm draping over his side this time, "You know there's no such thing as a secret in Dornie, probably as well as I know it."

There's a the smallest bit of exasperation in the huff of a laugh that escapes Beisdean's lips at the mention of the butcher. "So romantic, you are, Larkie," he says, turning onto his back to stare up at the ceiling, lips curved into a rueful smirk.

"The butcher. God. You don't think I think a bit more highly of you than a bit of bacon?" That makes him laugh again, and he sits up, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed again, and runs his hands up through his hair to smooth it back from the hat's flattening.

"Romance is extra," Mariah says with a laugh of her own. She sits up as well, but only to come lean against his back, her arms sliding over his shoulders. His words draw her laugh out, and she leans a bit to the side to peek at his face.

"Hopefully. Although, bacon can be very delicious, too." It's a tease and a not at all serious joke at her own expense. "Should I have likened my profession to something more noble than meat?" So is that.

Hands coming up to catch hers in his, Beisdean tips his head to lean on her shoulder. "You'd think I wouldn't have any illusions, growing up in the Dovetail." It's a subtle reminder that while she may have no problem comparing her wares to slabs of meat that her profession was also Slainte's.

He stands and pulls her up as well. The cross around her neck catches his attention, and he touches it lightly with one fingertip, but says nothing about the token. "C'mon lass," he says with a smile. "Let's go downstairs for a drink. Don't worry, I won't try to buy yours or anything."

"Oh, come now. Having illusions is part of the fun. Better to have them sometimes than not ever." It's meant to be a playful statement, but coming from someone currently living a life of no illusions, it strikes just a bit too true.

She lets him pull her to her feet, although that touch to her necklace has her looking away from him until his hand drops again. And given that he doesn't ask any uncomfortable questions or make any too-insightful comments, his next words restore her more genuine smile. "Sounds like a decent way to spend a night off. And if you promise me a dance or two, I'll buy you that drink."

Beisdean laughs, and he gives her a little turn to spin her away from him and then tugs her back in. "Sounds like a fair trade to me, Larkie." She owes him a lot of whiskey after all, given all the flask passing they've done.

The door is opened, and she is waved through with a flourish and a bow. "After you." The mussed but still made bed is glanced at with just a touch of wistfulness as he follows her out of the room.

Finding herself spun about, Mariah echoes his laugh, even as she ends with her palm against his chest. "So glad you agree." She might linger there a moment or two, but when he moves to open the door, she steps back to let him. His flourish is met with a warm smile and an amused laugh before she moves through that door. That he pauses to look back only give her a reason to lean back in to take hold of his shirt and playfully tug him along with her into the hallway.