(1310-12-02) White Wine in a Carriage
Summary: Following an exchange of letters, Jehan-Pascal accompanies Fleur to the opera.
RL Date: December 2nd, 2018
Related: None
jehan-pascal fleur 

Within a Carriage

From the Desk of Jehan-Pascal Aumande de Baphinol

To the Lady Fleur Valais de la Courcel, my salutations.

I hope that this letter finds you and the whole of your family in good health and fine spirits as the days draw in for the winter. Marsilikos is such a charming seat and I hope that she has been cordial to you in your having taken up residency here. It appears more and more as the weeks pass that I will winter here by the sea and pass the quiet season at a distance from my home in Avignon, and, if, at some point, it would be congenial to you to make acquaintance with one another at tea— or at at a luncheon, perhaps— or else on the course of a simple walk, if the winter winds are kind— I would mark it a signal honor so to do.

With my most respectful regards,


From the Desk of Fleur Valais de la Courcel

Lord Jehan-Pascal Baphinol

Thank you for your letter, and the sentiments and well-wishes contained within.

I am indeed finding Marsilikos to be the most gracious of hostesses, and one which has only brightened with the recent arrival arrival of my sister to share these winter months. Whilst it is true that it is no Elua, it does have a provincial charm that is uniquely it's own, and I am enjoying the diversity of culture which it offers.

As to your enquiry, I am most receptive to the opportunity to extend what I expect might be considered by some, to be a limited circle of acquaintances here in the south. Do you like the theatre? There is currently an offering at l'Opéra Marsilikos which I have been longing to see.

Sincerest regards,

Fleur Valais de la Courcel

If Jehan-Pascal is afflicted with a certain quantity of nerves ahead of this afternoon's excursion to the Opera House, well, one could hardly blame him. For all he is of great help to his father in other areas of governance — or perhaps because he is otherwise of such an industrious disposition when it comes to matters of the Comte — he has been allowed, in this one manner, to lie slack: in the search for a wife. This is really his first time putting out such feelers, and to a woman he has yet to even meet. Her qualifications do much to recommend her, of course, and he's heard good things about her on a personal level, but the prospect of meeting her has set butterflies free in his stomach, and he has substituted for breakfast this morning a flagon of wine to ease the nerves. It helped— it's only a meeting, after all— the worst that can happen is that they don't get along, and, well, that's that. From his closets at Les Tanieres he's selected a matched set of flounced hide trousers and a fitted vest of the same material, left to bleach in the sun and dyed a pale, sweet grey that tricks the eye into perceiving a hint of lavender. Crisp linen shirt-sleeves below, with silver buttons and a darker grey cloak lined in fur against the winter's cold presents the image he wishes: refined but practical, without much in the way of extravagance besides the tremendously fine pale grey-purple stockings that accentuate his lissom calves— and a simple thread of silver chain around his neck, holding a pendant of amethyst — hardly an expensive stone, but well-suited to the outfit.

As to the rest, he'd arrived at her lodgings approximately upon the appointed hour in a carriage appointed with two black horses, a bottle of crisp white berry wine, a couple of glasses and plenty of space for neither of them to be cramped too closely to one another on the way, though the entirely of the inside seems to have been cushioned to insulate the riders from the shocks of the road, and, too, the outer chill. Nor does Jehan-Pascal wait for the attendant hanging to the side of the carriage to do so, but he steps down, himself, to play the role of footman, bowing in greeting with a cheerful sort of wine-sparkling smile when Fleur appears and offering her his hand as an aid up into the coach. "Good afternoon, my Lady Valais," he pipes up, somehow managing to keep the address just this side of formal, unaffected but polite.

Fleur had likewise been beset by those detestable butterflies, and they arrived along with a certain trepidation at the forthcoming meeting to which she'd agreed. The letter from the heir to the Comté d'Avignon had spent the time since it'd been received propped against a gilt-edged mirror that graced the top of her dressing table. It had been picked up, read and re-read perhaps a dozen or more times if it's now dog-eared state is a measure of such things, in the days that had followed her well-crafted response. Questions, apologies and agonised discussions had been had with the portrait of a smiling-eyed dark-haired man whom occupied a frame on that same dressing table, but none of these things will be discerned upon her face when Jehan-Pascal's carriage arrives.

Golden hair the colour of melted sunshine has been beautifully and artfully arranged in an intricate updo atop Fleur's head, and within its coils and curls a pair of silver combs glitter. Impeccable white fox fur enrobes her from her throat to her ankles, and her smile for him is nothing but one of gentle warmth and refinement as she takes the hand he offers when he assists her into his carriage. "I have been much looking forward to this afternoon, my lord. How lovely it was to find that someone else had been wishing to find a companion for this performance as much as I was myself." She settles easily upon the seat, the rearward facing one since she tends towards motion sickness if facing to the fore, and waits for Jehan-Pascal to take the one opposite.

Jehan-Pascal mirrors back the warmth of her expression, keeping his eyes largely to hers, though the stunning fox she's wearing draws a brief flicker of his attention as she passes him along up into the carriage. He waits until she's seated and then hops up, himself, settling opposite and allowing the footman to tend to the door, which is easier to close from the outside by about a mile and a half, meanwhile taking up the bottle from the cushioned krater where it rests, and the glasses, as well, handling both delicate stems in his lithe fingers and carrying on the conversation, graateful for something to do with his hands. "Oh, yes! I was so glad you made the suggestion. I've been dreadful in neglecting l'Opera de Marsilikos this season. I missed the whole run of Les Travelleurs, though I hear it was tremendous. Did you go?" he wonders, tossing the conversational ball back to her side of the carriage and also offering out those twin glasses with a twist of a dark brow to accentuate both the question and the offer of a glass for him to pour into, if she'd like a sip on the way.

Fleur takes the glass with kid-gloved fingers, and tilts its rim ever-so-slightly towards Jehan-Pascal to show an acceptance of the wine that's being offered. "I'm afraid I have not," she confesses quite quietly. "I've been remiss in enjoying the arts which the city has to offer since my thoughts have been otherwise occupied since arriving. My sister, Chimème, has begun to chastise me for being the recluse however, so I'm taking tentative steps to put things right." She pauses as the ghost of something floats briefly behind the softness of honey-brown eyes, though a person could blink and that look would be missed. She drops her attention to the wine that's being poured. It'd be a commonly known fact that you can take a girl out of Heliotrope House, but you can't take the canon from the girl. They love so terribly deeply. A slow and drawn out breath is quietly filtered through her lips as she searches for something further upon which to comment.

Because that's how conversations progress.

"You would know my sister, of course." Chimène being married to the future Duc de Rousillion, "and I'm delighted that she's chosen to over-winter in Marsilikos. We've barely managed spent any real time together since she left Elua behind, though with us both being here now, we've spoken about taking a house together rather than us staying in the respective Rousse and Valais town houses." A press of the rim of her glass to the lip of the bottle indicate he's poured her enough, and eyes study him contemplatively. "You have done likewise, I hear?"

"I think for a week after its arrival I heard nothing but talk of that octopus," Jehan-Pascal shakes his head with a cheery little smile that such a thing could so capture the mens populi, taking his attention to his pouring, which he does with the long skill born of habitual drinking and a general lack of seeing a need to have a servant pour for you. Even that bump in the road doesn't stand steel against the elegant and supple bend of his elbow outward to compensate with its balance. A Lady need not fear Jehan-Pascal might stain her fox, indeed. His eyes drift upward from the wine to Fleur's eyes when she drifts into her Heliotropic heart-hurt, but he supports her efforts to take the conversation elsewhere, for the time being — those tender sorts of conversations are not meant for those just growing acquainted — but there's at least a moment of recognition. Not sympathy, nor pity, only understanding that sometimes a tender heart must be left alone to bleed. He has one, himself, and solitude can be such a balm— even if a balm that turns bitter with time. Jehan-Pascal delicately twists the bottle's neck toward the rim, so to stop the pour with a flourish that saves a drop from spattering, and he follows her direction to the next point of conversation without needing an escort. "Ah, yes, the next Duchesse de Roussillion," he agrees, though he wouldn't call himself among her close acquaintances. "Taken a flat for the winter, yes, I have, just a small suite of rooms in Les Tanieres. More than adequate for my needs, and I like the quiet. There's also quite a lovely balcony-view, and it spares me the expense and time of outfitting a household. Have you looked along the Rue du Port for a house to take? I know the Baronesse de Venasque's grandson has just left a property on the north end of the stand to go abroad to l'Etats. It's the one with the great roundel glass on the upper floor?" he lifts his intonation to make of it a question— whether that question is whether she knows the property or not— or whether she'd like him to contact the Baronesse about a possible winter let— that's up to Fleur to decide, while he pours his own glass of the white and tucks the bottle back away.

"I'm afraid I'm not terribly well-acquainted with the Rue du Port," Fleur replies, answering at least one of Jehan-Pascal's possible questions with that admittal. "But a house with a glass roundel sounds impossibly lovely. I can imagine such properties are hard to come by, especially if on the seaward side of the road which must offer views across the bay." A wistfulness touches her voice, and there's a susurration of silk upon silk as she settles herself deeper within the languid upholstery of the carriage's interior. "I shall mention it to Chimène since I'm to see her tomorrow." Of course she is; for hadn't promises already been extracted from the older sister to the younger that she's to report back with every minutiae of the evening's encounter? A slow frown draws her brows low, and she lifts her glass, the wine allowed to merely touch to her lips before it's lowered once more. "Of course, it's entirely possible that Chimène has changed her mind since we spoke of it…" and she pauses, hesitating to her thoughts as she circles the rim of her glass with the gloved tip of one finger, "but there's no reason why I couldn't take it for myself and my children."

Jehan-Pascal allows the Lady to taste the wine first, listening along and leaning aside to rest his free elbow above the cushioned krater, on a pillow there which his arm finds highly amenable to cradling it. He follows upon her sip with a rather more full draught of the berry vintage, enjoying the fresh hints of snow in the flavor. Fleur already seems smitten with the notion of the lodging, and so he tips his now mostly-empty glass toward her as he offers up, "I'll write to the Baronesse in the morning and see whether she would be so good as to hold other considerations for the property until you've time to decide." It's not even a question— but it also locks her into no decision. He idly tops off his drink (yes, Fleur, he is a bit of a lush, but at least he's not trying to hide it) and goes on, "Oh, yes?" The children, of course. There's a topic of conversation. "They might be disappointed— there's a very fine sand to the north of the Rue, not as rocky as it is near Les Tanieres, but the water will be far too cold to play in, even when the weather is fair. Of course, if the roundel suits you, you might consider taking it on even past the wintering season." A bashful sort of smile, "But we're getting ahead of things, I think," he laughs warmly. "I'll write the letter and maybe you can bring the children and and come visit the property?" Is more close to a near term plan. Also possibly an offer to meet her children? Was that something he snuck in there?

"Would you? Thank you," Fleur acknowledges Jehan-Pascal's offer, and the smile that follows is simply breathtaking, easily resigning her earlier one to the anals of forgetfulness. She cradles her glass carefully within the circumference of her hands, the motion of the carriage as it navigates the streets of the city utterly lulling and conducive to conversation, with the differing textures of the roads that they traverse marking the passage of their journey. If Jehan-Pascal reveals himself as a lush whilst they talk, it appears to not concern Fleur so much as his mention of the quality of the beaches which might be found within easy access of the Rue du Port. "We have spent a lot of time exploring the rock pools," she confesses with the ease of someone that devotes much of their time to their offspring. "… though it would be nice to have a beach with sand rather than rocks to walk along should we remain another summer upon the coast." A sip of her wine, a proper one this time, though the glass is jolted a little as they encounter a rut in the road and a hasty lowering of it is required. It's an art, the drinking of wine within carriages, and one in which Fleur appears fortunately to be as well-versed as Jehan-Pascal. "You could arrange that? A visit?" She's taking the bait…

Jehan-Pascal didn't much consider it as bait, really. His helping her house-hunt is hardly an inconvenience, since he happened to know a place off-hand, and at any rate not at all contingent upon her thinking fit to marry him. "Of course, nothing easier," he continues quite breezily, supple arm swaying with the jarring bump in the road while his body is cradled confotably in cushions on all sides. "The place is vacant and I'm acquainted with the gentleman who keeps the key. Only let me know when your diary will allow for a visit. My travels to Avignon are, I think, on hold for the duration of the winter… and now that the first round of spring trade contracts are officially on the books," he sighs out those words with a grin of relief and drains his second glass to cheer the completion of that task. "My own diary is suddenly conspiciously scarce," he adds with a light trill of laughter underscoring the words. He's certainly relaxing into the wine. He has a manner about him that waxes rather effeminate at times— a Lady might easily be pardoned for assuming that he might, on the whole, prefer the company of gentlemen in his bed chamber, especially given that, at twenty five, he has yet to marry. But then, as often as not, at public events, he is known to favor the courtesan Marielle and have her on his arm.

Scene ongoing.

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