(1311-03-10) Husband Shopping
Summary: Philomene tries to palm her daughter off to a potential suitor
RL Date: 10-03-2019
Related: none
philomene laurene symon 

Maison des Herbes

In contrast to the gaily painted yellow door with its fragrant pots of vibrant green herbs which guard either side, the interior of this house is austere to the point of severe. The whitewashed walls bear little to no decoration, if one precludes the single, almost full length mirror in the main room, and the tiny, framed pencil sketch of a pair of horses beside the door. The front door enters directly into a spartan salon, equipped with a single dark leather sofa and a comfortable chair in front of the fire, where a square section of the rugged brown carpet has been stripped away to facilitate drying out firewood or cleaning out the grate with minimal upkeep.

To one side of the room, an opening leads through to an equally minimalist dining room, containing no more than half a dozen stiff backed wooden chairs and a table that could comfortably fit only four of them, and from there a door leads to the small kitchen and on to simple quarters for a single servant. On the other, a plain staircase leads upwards, the carpet laid in a strip down the centre, with bare, unpolished floorboards visible to either side, to a pair of small bedrooms and a cramped privy. Where furniture has been placed, it is mismatched and looks more as though it's been bought and dumped in the closest available spot than that any sort of thought to interior design has been paid.

When looking out of the windows, you see: It is a winter morning. The weather is freezing and fair.

It might be a cold winter morning, but the windows have been flung open to air out the house and do away with any lingering smells that the houseguests have left from the night before. Therefore, to counteract the draught, the fire has been build up high and there is both fresh fruit (Philomene's request) and fresh pastries (Laurene's) on the small coffee table beside the sofa and single comfortable chair. It must be an important day as far as the lady of the house is concerned, because she's even gone so far as to dress in something other than her customary comfortable riding gear, and is instead in a much more severe dark outfit with crisp lines and little decoration. It, too, is about ten years out of date, but there's an elegance to the simplicity of such a design that means she might get away with it. If only she didn't smell faintly of mothballs.

At the appointed time, the little bell outside the door is rung, the redoubtable Brigitte opens the door, offers to take Symon's coat, and shows him in. It's like a pace inside, with there being few options where to go, at which point he's met by the pair of Chalasses, one all smiles and one all curiosity. You can pick which is which.

Laurene had spent most of the previous days away from the mansion, making friends and, if rumour is to be believed, a bit more with a rather fetching minstrel. But she's present now, dressed in a fine aquamarine robe that brings out the colour of her eyes, her hair done up in pretty curls. For now she just stands and waits, trying to look calm and composed.

Maybe not /exactly/ at the appointed time. Symon would never have been considered for a career in horology. But he /does/ appear looking well-groomed, in his new camel-colored cloak, which he surrenders to reveal finely-embroidered blue and gold clothes up to the latest fashion. He is smoothly shaved and smells of herbs and pine. He is covering his own nerves with a broad smile as he comes in, though he hardly knows what to expect and when—oh! they are both there, already! What had he expected, after all. "Oh, er…" He hesitates briefly, then makes a bow, which is physically elegant in contrast to his situational uncertainty. Then he rises and looks from one Chalasse to the next. "Is this…?" he gestures gently to Laurene, looking to Philomene. Because wouldn't it be terrible to make the wrong assumption! "W…would you introduce us?" he requests. Surely that is how these things work?

Philomène is already on it, having been preparing for this for… well, approximately the last twenty two years, give or take. She's a singleminded woman, and the aim has been constant even if the gentleman in question has been fluid. "My dear Lord Symon Perigeux, may I present my daughter, Laurene Chalasse," she offers up smoothly, grasping Laurene's hand to offer it over to the man. "Please, would you like wine, tea or mead, my lord?"

Laurene quickly withdraws her hand before her mother can get hold of it, so she can offer a proper (and surprisingly) elegant curtsey before offering her hand to the man herself. "A pleasure to meet you, Lord Symon.", she greets him with a sweet smile and equally sweet tone, "I hope you weren't forced here under too much duress."

Symon seems to realize he probably should've just held his tongue for a moment to let Philomène speak. Since he's already bowed by now, he takes Laurene's hand and dips his head over it. On the true offering of it. Now what to do with this hand? He lets it go and looks to the mother. "W…" Maybe better not wine. Is the hour too early? But it's too late, now. "W…ine, if you w…would b-be so kind." He then looks back to Laurene. "Forced? No. I…I told your m…mother I w-w-was seeking a b-bride and… W-well. It's my p…pleasure."

Philomène gives the sofa a slight nod of her head, a hint for Laurene if nothing else, while she asks Brigitte brightly for a couple of bottles and some glasses. Glancing back at the accusation, she quirks an amused half smile. "Lord Symon indicated an interest in a young lady who had a head for figures, and I could think of none better, Laurene. My daughter has been running the Gueret estates in my absence," she explains solemnly, "and keeping our books. I know no young lady sharper."

Laurene arches a brow when the man speaks… stuttering. "Are you just nervous or do you always talk like that?", she asks curiously and gives him a pat on the shoulder. "I don't bite, ya know. Come, let's sit!" She leads the way to flop onto the couch rather unelegantly, but with a rather relieved smile to be off her feet.

Symon looks momentarily stunned by the one quesstion he thought he had taken care of in advance. "Oh," he says, and smiles brilliantly in recovery. "Always." He comes to sit down next to Laurene. He has a rather more elegant way of sitting, but his bearing is assured rather than uptight. "In fact, it used to b-be w….worse, can you b-believe that?" he asks Laurene in a merry tone. "So you enjoy m…managing a household and things like that? Keeping b-books and knowing w…where all the m-money goes? I'm trying to learn a b-bit m…more about it, b-but I admit it is not one of m…my special skills to sort out such things."

Philomène freezes as that question comes out, eyes widening then squeezing shut for a moment. The moment is quickly recovered as she turns to limp into what has come to be her chair by the fire, lowering herself slowly into it and settling back to merely chaperone. It's too late now for any coaching, so it's all down to Laurene. No pressure.

"Not really.", Laurene deadpans when he asks if she can believe it used to be worse, "You're not bad looking though, so it's not a big deal.", she tries to reassure him. And then he starts grilling her. "Well, yea, of course I want to know where the money goes, don't you? Otherwise the servants screw you left and right, 'oops ma'am, tis true, the apples were suddenly wayyyy more expensive, and oh yea, I found this nice bangle on the street, why do you ask?" she mimicks some imaginary servant with a big grin.

Symon is making the effort. He smiles at Laurene's honest response. "Ah. …Thank you." He nods vaguely at her response and looks to the table. Why is wine not on the table yet?? Ah, but there it is, being brought in by Brigitte, whose pace in fetching it really cannot be blamed. She herself is unaffected by the stretching of time into infinity during such a stressful event as that. When a glass is filled, Symon scoops it up. "No, of course," he agrees with Laurene. "You're quite right that /someone/ m…must. Only it is an effort and…w-well. It is excellent that you can find such interest in it."

"It is a comfort to me to know that Laurene can be left to see to the accounts if I am unable," Philomene helpfully interjects, accepting her own glass of wine with a smile and a nod of thanks, thumb unconsciously coming up to rub around the rim of it as she watches the pair. "I imagine it should be the same for you, Lord Symon. To have minutia removed from your worries, so you can continue to pursue your own hobbies and pastimes, hm?"

Laurene gives her mother a doubtful look over the rim of her own wineglass, but leaves it at that, busying herself with chugging the contents down. "Well, yea, efforts must be made to run a tight ship.", she informs Symon then, "Who's managing your accounts then? And what does interest you if figures don't?" Clearly it's something she's hard-pressed to understand.

"I am yet the heir," Symon says to Laurene. "M…my mother and father live, though m…my father's health is poor. I b-believe currently m…my mother is the chief overseer of such things, w…with a certain amount of aid from a trusted steward." He glances over to Philomene, drinks, then looks back to Laurene. "I enjoy all sorts of things," he says, summoning warmth into his tone. "M…music and dancing, conversation, p-parties, games…" He nods encouragingly as if urging this conversation to go well. "W…would you like to live in Siovale one day? It is a bit w…warmer there, and very b-beautiful."

Philomène relaxes back in her seat, content to sip her wine and oversee the conversation. She absently reaches for an apple from the bowl of fruit, withdraws a sharp knife from a flap in the top of her boot, and begins casually and skilfully peeling away the skin in a single, long strip.

"The heir of what exactly?", Laurene asks the most pertinent question, arching a brow when he lists his favorite things. "Parties, huh. You got many parties down in Siovale then? Never been, but honestly, anything would be better than being stuck back home in L'Agnace all my life. Ever been there?", she asks, ignoring her mother's very existance.

"I have not," Symon replies, "Is it also b-beautiful?" He smiles, drinks, smiles. "House P…Perigeux," he answers, which is a silly answer, so he amends, "A m…marquisate. I think Siovale is a rather jolly p-place, b…but I keep jolly company. It is not so lively as M…Marsilikos or Elua."

Philomène is happy to be ignored, carefully depositing apple peel in a saucer beside her chair and beginning to slice off pieces of apple to pop direct from knife to lips.

Laurene's eyes cut to her mother and an eyebrow quirks upwards when the marquisate is mentioned. "Jolly company, huh. Well, I'm rather fond of minstrels and troubadours myself.", Laurene smiles, "So I'm sure we'd be having a good time with music and … jollies. What do you produce? Your house I mean. Your

Symon has had practice for this question! His smile is buoyed by confidence. "Grapes," he says. "Livestock. Timber. Fruits, vegetables, and cereals." He nods to punctuate. "Like your m…mother, you take interest in the farmers of your lands?" he asks.

Philomène returns that look innocently, a faint smile on her lips as she munches. Mmm. Apples. Delicious.

"Of course… only good lands with strong harvests bring in money.", Laurene replies with a shrug, "This does sound like very rich soil. Any idea of your annual turnovers?", she asks, not very hopeful.

"Erm, no," Symon answers, and smiles to compensate. "B-but someone w…will know. Surely," He drinks. "Um. Your m…mother suggested you enjoy singing?" he prompts, but a /touch/ doubtfully. Since he /does/ remember that Philomene used very particular adjectives.

"I think I indicated that she enjoyed listening to music," Philomene is quick to add, next piece of apple half way to her mouth. "Unless you had a sudden passion for making it that I wasn't aware of, darling?"

<FS3> Laurene rolls Singing: Success. (4 8 3 2)

"I do like singing.", Laurene replies, narrowing her eyes at her mother, before looking back to Symon. Then actually she sings a few lines of an old Agnacian song and she can actually carry a tune in a bucket. "Can YOU sing?", she asks the young man then, hopefully, "Do you play an instrument?"

Laurene's on-pitch singing seems to please and relieve Symon, and he claps his hands softly at the short sample of song she provides "No," Symon answers her question honestly. "For obvious reasons. B-but I play the recorder," he offers brightly. Everyone's favorite instrument!

Philomène manages not to look completely shocked when the tune comes out, chewing very slowly on her piece of apple as she watches, both brows raised. Huh. Who knew. Laurene has a talent for something other than numbers. That'll be noted, then.

The recorder. Laurene tries not to make a face. She manages a slightly lopsided smile even. "Well, perhaps some time you could learn to play the lute. Girls love a guy who can play a lute.", she assures him, then decides it's time to change the subject. "Tell me more about your mum and dad? Are they… nice?"

That question produces a pause. "They are p-practical," Symon decides after a moment. "I have not always p…pleased them. B-but they are concerned for their holdings b…being m-managed well." He reaches back to the previous topic: "Oh, b-but I'm sure I could learn the lute. How hard could it b-be?"

"I think you could make a fine lute player, Lord Symon," Philomene decides offhandedly. Mostly just to prove that she's still here and still listening.

"Yea, perhaps you can.", Laurene encourages the idea, "I like a musical man." The explanations about the parents are listened to in silence, a sideglance to her own birthgiver studiously avoided. "Do you have siblings?", she asks next.

"I had a b-brother close to m…my age," Symon says, nodding once, although his expression is uncharacteristically solemn for the moment. "B-but he died a few years ago. Though I understand you have sisters?" he says, attempting to move toward the lighter potential of the topic.

"Neither of whom have the talent that Laurene does for numbers," Philomene prompts with a bland smile. "Their talents lie in less useful fields."

"Will you stop trying to sell me like cheap beer?", Laurene frowns at Philomene. Clearly she liked her mother better when she was silent! Then she turns back to Symon, trying to focus. "Yes, I have two sisters, one older, who'll inherit the whole shebang at home and one younger who my mother will flog next when she's got me off her hands. Was your brother older or younger than you?", she asks, returning to the somber end of the topic.

Symon seems a little uncomfortable at the friction between mother and daughter, but he nods along and drains his wine glass. "A little younger," he says. "B-but… M-more accomplished." He smiles.

Philomène fixes her gaze on her daughter, slicing off another piece of apple with excruciating slowness before setting her knife down, popping the apple into her mouth, and taking up her glass.

"Ah well, so at least you don't need to feel guilty about suddenly being heir. It was always yours.", Laurene reasons as if to cheer him up. "And you're here now… on business matters? To study? Or just to fish for a wife?"

Symon tilts his head slightly as though he would argue with Laurene's assertion but just can't manage to do so in the present circumstances. "Um. I suppose the last one. Although I have b-been enjoying m…myself immensely."

Philomène drinks to take away the existential pain of having Laurene as a daughter.

Laurene considers this for a moment. A long moment. Eyes the young man thoughtfully. "Perhaps we could go out sometime? Have fun together?", she suggests then, "I know a few nice places down by the port…"

Symon looks heartened by this proposal. Perhaps, in the right setting… He nods at that. "Oh, yes," he says. "W…we really should try that. B-by the p…port, you say?" His eyes scan as he tries to recall any nice places by the port to which he would bring a young noblewoman, then smiles. "W-well, you m…must show me."

Philomène clears her throat. "Will you require Brigitte for the evening, Laurene, or will Lord Symon be good enough to look after you?" She looks between the pair, a brow raised.

"Yea, I can.", Laurene promises with a smile, then eyes her mother for a moment. "Brigitte? Take with us? Hell no. The lad and I will be having fun without a chaperone, won't we?", she beams at Symon and reaches out to slap his thigh with a hand.

"Oh," Symon says, glancing between the two. "I'm sure I can b-be responsible for everyone's w…wellbeing." He looks like he's not /quite/ sure how to react to all this friendly manhandling, but at least it doesn't startle him.

Philomène eyes that hand, but as it appears not to cause any great offence, lets it slide with a small nod. "Now, can I get you more wine, Lord Symon?" she offers, all smiles now. "Pastry? Fruit?" Daughter?

"Good, it's a deal.", Laurene confirms rather happily and sits back. The conversation seems to have run its course for now and as there's food being offered, she's quick to snag a cream-filled pastry. Because of course she is. Yum. Pastry > Man.-

"Yes, please," Symon says, trying not to sound too grateful for more wine. He reaches to take a pastry as well. On the merits of pastry, he and Laurene can see eye to eye. But he also seems to have no idea how to continue the conversation. "Oh, but I shouldn't trouble you too long today," he tries.

Philomène rugby tackles the poor man out of the door because fuck me, otherwise this scene will never end. Or something.

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