Unexpected News

The region of Tian Xia (the Eastern empire).
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Ivone
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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:06 am

"I wouldn't complain about that, either. In fact..." she said as she plucked the ties of the robe from his hands and tied it for him, "You will find that I am quite the contented wife." Her fingers drifted down the front of the linen robe before she stepped back and slipped on her own robe. She smiled up at him as he returned the favor of tying her robe for her.

Ivone looked around in curiosity. Although there was amble timber, the floors were tiled and grated drain sat in the middle of the floor, as if the whole room were the bath not just the tiled pool of scented water. The bamboo stools were interesting.

"I sit... here?" Ivone studied the room once more as she slipped out of the robe and hung it on a nearby peg.

"Ah!"

One washed before one soaked. Clever!

"Come here, husband. Sit and I will wash your back for you." The glint in her eye was not virtuous, nor was the piratical smile that curved her lips.

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Vicentius
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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:06 pm

He smiled at her boldness, wondering whether this newfound revelry was due to the life she now harboured or something he had unleashed in her. He suspected the former, as he could not imagine anything else that would rile her up so. She disrobed, and he felt himself stirring again, the memory of her touch refusing to leave him. She was a contented wife, was she? His smile grew a little wider; somehow he imagined her appetite in certain areas to be quite insatiable. He crossed to the peg and hung his own robe up, taking care to draw out the motions for her amusement.

“Well,” he said, “we must rinse and soak, first, dear wife.”

Returning to stand by the stool, he lifted the bucket and poured the steaming, fragrant water over himself in what he knew was a foolish looking, wanton fashion, but one that he expected she would enjoy. Gazing at her through the rivulets, he smiled as mysteriously as a man dripping water could, and took a breath.

“The first step is a thorough rinse to remove surface dirt from the skin,” he said, turning to refill the bucket with exaggerated care, “followed by a long soak to open up the pores.”

He ensured that she had a good view of the way his body moved as he refilled the bucket, and lifted it once more. Of course, if she could not wait, well, he could live with that too. Whether her restraint would last, of course, was the real question.

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Ivone
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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:36 pm

Ivone's smile broadened and she bit her bottom lip as she watched Tius. He was obviously putting on a little show for her, which amused and titillated her in equal measure. Or perhaps, 40/60... regardless, she enjoyed watching him.

Restraint really wasn't on Ivone's list of things to encourage at the moment. She'd been restrained for months, plus pregnancy added an extra boost of encouragement. As Tius lifted the next bucketful of water, Ivone moved to him, and smoothed her hands over water-slick skin. Her finger followed a little rivulet that traveled from his chest to the tip of where he already had responded to her touch and gaze. An appreciative sound left her as his body twitched. It took her a moment to look up into his face, so enamored was she of the motion she had to make it happen again.

"Should I get the soap and brushes?"

When she looked up, Ivone's breath caught in her throat and her heart beat hard. Her husband was stunning man and the way he looked at her took her breath away. For all that had gone wrong, could have gone wrong, or even might still go wrong... it all just made her appreciate this gift, this opportunity she had been given. To the point that she couldn't imagine that Tius wasn't anything other than one hundred percent honest when he said he'd fallen in love with her and wanted to be her husband.

I am indeed a fortunate woman. Changers, please don't let this be a lie.

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Vicentius
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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Thu Jun 09, 2016 6:01 am

Her restraint had held, but barely, and his breath caught once more as her hand trailed over him. He could see the tension coiled in her, just as she could feel it within him, and he could feel the way her hands itched to do more, to roam more. When she spoke though, her words cut short, and she gazed into his eyes, open and full of...was it hope? Leaning in, in spite of the pain of holding the bucket still, he kissed her again, deeply, and poured the warm water over her, enjoying the way that her skin reacted and slid over his. They were probably setting a bad precedent, of course, and being rude by prolonging their absences, but in the moment he didn't care.

Letting the, now empty, bucket fall to one side, he kissed her again, his hands both guiding and roaming over her until they reached a solid surface. Breathing sharply, he broke the kiss long enough to look questioningly into her eyes, then reached around her hips to lift her into another kiss, his intentions clear. Feeling her now, seeing the way she reacted to him, all warm and close, it was hard to imagine ever being any other way, and a part of him never wanted it to end. The more practical part of him knew that things were never this easy, but for the moment, that part too was enjoying the change of pace.

He loved her, he did, and as he slid into her once again with a renewed sense of urgency, he kissed her again, his arms gripping her securely as they began to move.

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Ivone
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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Thu Jun 09, 2016 5:16 pm

Needy. Wanting. Welcoming. Pulling. Touching. If only she didn't have to breathe.

The moments, stolen from duty, seemed to last forever. Yet, they'd never last long enough. Ivone didn't care that someone might hear the sounds of pleasure Tius elicited from her, though she did try. The teeth marks she left on his shoulder and chest were evidence enough of that. And, even when they were finished, for now, she still wanted more. She felt like her heart was going to burst.

Somehow they managed to resume some.sense of normalcy, bathed, and even dressed. Even the most understanding of friends would be put off if they chose to lock themselves away.

Ivone watched Tius move, fingers itching to touch him, finding excuses to until they stood before their hosts, smaller gifts in hand. The larger ones, for the garden, had come with the wagon. She allowed him to take the lead. He knew them better. She did not. The good natured ribbing had already begun.

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Wed Jun 15, 2016 9:22 am

Bathing seldom struck Tius as a strenuous activity, it being more of the 'end of day' type of undertaking, but between washing, dressing, talking and...other things, getting clean for their hosts had evolved into quite the bout of exercise. Yet, even as he stood there, skin flushed from the bath and throbbing from her teeth and nails, he would gladly have kept going, as would Ivone, to judge by her expression. It didn't exactly help that Mei Peng and Li Sun knew it too, and their knowing looks and little smiles followed every step Tius and Ivone took towards them.

They had dressed appropriately, of course, western, but toned down and in the proper, neutral colours, with tasteful splashes of red and gold to underscore the joy and auspiciousness of the situation. The gifts too, wrapped in deep, red silk, shone by contrast to their clothing, and Tius bowed as one should when greeting one's elder.

"Lao Li, Lao Mei," he said, "my thanks for welcoming Ivone and I into your home."

"We are glad that you are both...refreshed, Xiao Vi-cen," Li said, "the road can be arduous, can it not?"

"It can Lao Li," Tius said, "but by the grace of good fortune, we arrived safe and are humbled by your hospitality."

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Ivone
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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:31 am

Ivone bowed, as she had been coached, noting Tius’ use of the couple’s name in a familiar way. Ivone had not been given leave to address them as such and would prefer to err on the side of formality at this her first true meeting of them both. Her hair was braided and pinned in the style of women of Tian Xia. Too, she wore clothing similar to that of Mei-Peng. Should the lady of the house turn a critical eye upon her, Mei-Peng would find Ivone had tied the clothing correctly.

“Master Wei Li-Sung. Madame Wei Mei-Peng. Please accept my humble thanks for your gracious welcome. Such generosity requires generosity in equal measure. Would you please accept these tokens of our gratitude?”

Ivone gestured to a small pile of boxes, of varying sizes. From the corner of her eye, Ivone could see Tius was equal parts amused by and approving of her formality. Ivone’s pronunciation was more than passable. She was still obviously foreign, with her violet-blue eyes and blonde hair, but her effort to learn the language showed.

This, more than any Descendant matron's tea salon, had a flow and protocol. Ivone wanted to see the Gardens, but knew they would need to present the tokens, take tea, and make small talk before moving on to business. That would not always be the case, but at this first meeting, the protocols were all important. This was also her first introduction to Li-Sung. Apparently, Tius' familiarity meant an introduction was not required, which made Ivone wonder if she had been too formal. She wanted very much to represent Tius well to his friends. She wanted to make him proud of his choice in her, too.

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Vicentius
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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:31 am

There was the briefest of pauses before Ivone spoke, and he stepped back, allowing her to take pride of place. Her command of the language was excellent, though he would have to remind her to wind it back a bit, at least in the beginning, and her efforts with the clothing had been almost heroic in their perfection. He had not seen her try that hard in the entire time he had known her, but while Mei-Peng and Li-Sung were impressed, there was the shadow of a question there too. Still, the overall effect was positive, buoyed further by the amused glances that they kept throwing his way.

"It is our honour to welcome friends to our home," Li-Sung said, eyes twinkling, "and greater still to be the face with which the Great Empire greets a traveller. The Empress smiles upon this meeting, and upon you both."

"Even if we are more familiar with Vi-cen than we should be," Mei-peng said.

"Master Wei Li-Sung, Madame Wei Mei-Peng," he said, smiling, "may I present Lady Ivone Morrington nee Malatrast, of Marn, my wife, and my love."

He bowed again, crossing to take Ivone's hand lightly, and stood beside her, calmly.

"These gifts of greeting, we present," he said, "in honour of you, and your family. Other gifts, we present in honour of a friendship celebrated, too long overdue."

Li-Sung smiled again, an eyebrow quirking at the mention of other gifts. Tius had not mentioned those, and the curiosity of their hosts was subtle, but still there.

"It humbles us to know our friendship is so Treasured," Mei-Peng said, "come, let us take tea to soothe the aches of a long road."

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Ivone
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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:07 pm

Ivone was embarrassed that she seemed too earnest, even though their hosts did not seem to mind overly much. Mei-Peng's soft chide was subtle and kind enough. They were familiar with "Vi-cen," thus Ivone did not need to be overly formal, either.

Tius' introduction filled her with shy pride and joy, which Ivone did her best to contain.

His love. That more than any other title held the most meaning for her. When opportunity presented itself, Ivone turned a shining gaze to Tius, if only for a moment as he took her hand.

The two couples adjourned to another room, sitting on low stools around a low table. As the youngest, it was Ivone's duty to serve the tea starting first with ... Ivone subtly glanced to Tius for guidance. Was Mei-Peng the elder or Li-Sung? Should she serve the husband first or the wife?

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:22 pm

Her gaze lingered on him, even after they began to move, and he squeezed her hand gently, noting that the gesture and glance were not lost on their hosts. Mei-Peng and Li-Sung exchanged quiet words and knowing looks, while leading the way to the tea room, and Tius gave Ivone a more open squeeze and to hell with them. He was tempted to do more, but the trip was not nearly long enough, and the glances too frequent, for anything lasting. Still, he did what he could, knowing that Ivone would get a kick out of it.

The tea room itself had undergone some renovations since he had last seen it, as befitted Li-Sung and Mei-Peng's good fortunes. The scrolls were heirlooms, of course, but had been lovingly restored and preserved, while the brazier and furnishings were new enough to impress, without being distasteful. Quality, but with a sense of homeliness and dignity, that was the key. The water was already boiling when they entered, and the smell of the powdered tea mixed with the smells of oiled wood and incense. Ivone looked to him and he squeezed her hand again, leaning in to whisper.

"Large bowl first," he said, "the host first, then Mei-Peng, myself, and finally yourself. Do not sip from the front of the bowl. Once all have sipped, cleanse the bowl and pour individual servings in the same order."

Smiling encouragingly, he raised an eyebrow at Mei-Peng's look, and said nothing.

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Ivone
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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:58 am

Ivone squeezed Tius' hand in return and tried to stifle the giddy smile that threatened to overtake her face. She felt like her heart was too big for her body. She did what could to school herself back into a semblance of proper behaviour, but Tius knew her quirks and the ways she worked to contain herself. To him, she knew she was an open book. And, she was alright with that. Thankfully, the beauty of the tearoom helped immensely.

The understated elegance, art and plants. Truly Tian Xian style appealed to her aesthetic. Once they settled, Tius gave her guidance and Ivone acknowledged it with a grateful, subtle nod. After spooning the tea leaves into the large bowl, Ivone reached for the kettle. She was careful to hold the sleeve of her right arm out of the way of anything on the table as she poured the water gently into the bowl. The tea would need to steep, which gave her time to arrange the individual cups as they ought.

Ivone had run through this situation carefully in her head and in practice using other bits and bobs on the wagon. Nervousness had required her to seek Tius' guidance but once she put her hands to the motions, the practice paid off.

"Large bowl first," he said, "the host first, then Mei-Peng, myself, and finally yourself. Do not sip from the front of the bowl. Once all have sipped, cleanse the bowl and pour individual servings in the same order."

By the time she had carefully measured the tea into the individual cups and poured the water, the large bowl was ready. Ivone carefully lifted the large bowl and presented it to Li-Seng with her head bowed as was proper.

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:38 pm

The motions were perfect, Tius thought; slightly forced at first, but less so as she got into the activity. Of course, Ivone was a tactile person, so the movements absorbed her attention, each turn, each lift and each placement was given individual attention, much to Mei-Peng's doting approval. Li-Sung, of course, kept shooting curiously amused glances at him whenever Ivone was not looking, and Tius, for his part, kept his gaze approving and encouraging in equal measure.

She presented the large bowl to Li-Sung, who stood and returned the bow, accepting the bowl with both hands. Raising his gaze to take in the entire room, he gently sipped the tea, swallowed, and turned to his wife, offering her the bowl with the same bow. It was an ancient ceremony of welcome, not unlike the bread and salt shared in some quarters of Eyropa for guests, signifying acceptance under a roof. We have shared tea, it said, do not fear us. For now.

Tius accepted the bowl from Mei-Peng and sipped too, before offering it back to Ivone. The tea was brewed quite well, though a little stronger than it strictly should have been, which was all to the good. Appear inexperienced and the battle was half won. .

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Ivone
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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:31 am

Ivone carefully turned the bowl twice, as she had been instructed, before taking her own sip. She bowed again to her hosts and her husband, before placing the bowl on the table. As a group they settled on the low stools and Ivone took the next step.

Now, she lifted individual cups, again, careful to hold her sleeve back and away. The cups were handed out in the same order of distribution, until they all held their own cups of tea.

She finished with a final proper and deferential bow. She felt like she had done well. She hoped she had. Tius' look of approval and encouragement helped her feel more secure that she'd done well. From what she understood of protocol, speaking out of turn would be inappropriate - for now. So, she waited for her husband, turning her gaze to him. Once the formality of the ceremonies were done, Ivone would be at leave to speak when she wanted.

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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Vicentius » Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:05 am

Tius accepted his tea with the bow required, waiting for Ivone to finish, and flashed her an encouraging smile when it was all done. Li-Sung and Mei-Peng both inclined their heads to Ivone as she resettled herself, and Li-Sung intoned the words of welcome, eye alight.

“By the Grace of the Emperor,” he said, “you are welcome beneath our roof, and may this experience shared, bind us in friendship.”

He sipped his tea, looking from Tius to Ivone, his face finally breaking out into a broad smile. It was a remarkable thing, and it seemed to take years off his face, as he lowered the bowl, gently clasping his wife’s hand.

“I must say; you are very much the surprise, Xiao Ivone,” he continued, “Vi-cen did not indicate in his many letters that you were so well versed in our ways. He keeps too many secrets.”

“Too many by far,” Mei-Peng said, smiling also, “look how well he has been hiding you. Such a wonderful woman and he does not share the news with his friends.”

Li-Sung looked thoughtful, staring up at the ceiling for a moment before taking another sip of his tea.

“Perhaps he was concerned,” he teased, “for all the hearts he would be breaking. Don’t you think?”

“Some surprises are best left unspoiled,” Tius said, his hand resting near Ivone’s, “that they may be appreciated in full.”

“And so in love, too,” Mei-Peng went on, derailing him, “you are practically floating.”

“It warms an old man’s heart,” Li-Sung chimed in.

“And loosens his tongue, apparently,” Tius said, with a smile. “Whatever is Ivone to think of us?”

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Ivone
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Re: Unexpected News

Post by Ivone » Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:34 pm

Li-Sung's smile made the tension ease from Ivone's shoulders. Was she wrong to be so put at ease? She hoped not. She hoped that she could trust these people, because Tius seemed to.

A slight blush appeared on her cheeks from the praise and she bowed her head.

"You are much too kind. I sought only to honor our hosts and my husband." Mostly the latter, but that did not need to be pointed out, to do so would be rude. A little amused smile danced at the corners of Ivone's mouth and her eyes sparkled with amusement.
She managed to hide the flare of jealous possessiveness (my word, where did that come from?), although, her hand did creep closer to Tius', pinkie touching his. Ivone leaned forward conspiratorially, eyes widening.

"Broken hearts? Oh, I do think there are a few stories there. I do hope you'll tell them."

The final comments did much to ameliorate the jealousy. That was replaced by a stolen glance and the restoration of the bloom of color on her cheeks. She couldn't help it. To hear his friends reaffirm the words he'd spoken in private buoyed her up and filled her with joy.

Though perhaps she was just especially emotional given the circumstance. She certainly felt at odds with the sensation, knowing Tius was not a demonstrative man; not, at least, in Public. But, Tius knew she was a passionate woman who did her best to keep herself at a steady and even keel. Ivone bowed her head again to marshal herself. Tius knew that move well, too.

"I think you are wonderful." The words slipped out and she looked up, eyes wide. Her left hand lifted to cover her lips. The bright bloom what replaced with a flush of embarrassment. Ivone was ashamed. She was supposed to be demure and polite and putting forward a face that demonstrated her competence, not acting like a silly school girl without a brain in her head.

"Please forgive me! I am not usually so... impulsive." Well, not in Public anyway.

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