(1311-04-24) Frogs vs Tables
Summary: Étienne attempts to unburden himself of a certain frog.
RL Date: Tue Apr 23, 1311
Related: The Adventures of François.
catherine etienne 

Catherine’s Workshop — Marsilikos

Étienne d’Arguil is a tad under the weather, but he is stubborn. He only knows Catherine makes boxes and tables and that's she is making a table for Belmont's club. He starts with the sort of shops the rich order such things from and stumbles on the right one fairly quickly. He is looking rather shaky and pale and sweaty and his sword hand is a touch red and swollen. He steps into her shop looking rather aggrieved.

"I'm very sorry, monsieur, but I have nothing for sale today," Catherine notes quietly over her shoulder, working in the back corner of her somewhat dingy workshop on planing a length of timber. She runs her hand along the top of it almost reverently, as though judging the depth of the piece by touch alone, then purses her lips and runs the plane over it one more time.

Étienne has learned a great deal about patience since he met Symon. He takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. Calmly he says, "I am not here to purchase; I am here to discuss your frog with you. It has become urgent."

Catherine continues running her hand along the wood, apparently not really listening. The plane is set down and then she goes to an exquisitely inlaid tool box, flips the catches and opens it. "Oh, I don't have it," she finally admits, giving the man a sheepish smile. "It's with a friend. Do you like frogs?"

Étienne sighs, but tries again, "Your frog very nearly killed me, Mistress Catherine, and I would very much like to talk to you about the poison and frog safety and when exactly I can drop off François because I do not want to be the one who finds Symon collapsed on the floor barely breathing or worse."

"I'm sure he didn't mean it," Catherine responds dreamily, selecting a piece of sandpaper on a block from her tool box. "But isn't he so very beautiful? And he makes the most darling little creaking noises, like he needs oil." She smiles tentatively at Étienne before she's back over to her work, sliding the sandpaper along the wood. Sccccratch. Scccrrrrrrraaaatch. Irritating? Absolutely.

Étienne nods, "He is very beautiful, but you mustn't touch him with your bare hands at all. I am trying to track down an antidote, but the poisoning is potentially deadly. He likes bugs and ground up meat and the occasional slug. Symon will not be keeping him, so you need to be prepared to care for him properly."

Catherine runs a thumb along her work, considering, then continues scratching away with the paper. "I'm so sorry, but I have to make this table?" she insists, leaning down to lay her eye along it and judge the line. "You… probably shouldn't touch him, though? If he's poisonous, don't touch him?"

Étienne steps up next to her, "We found out he was poisonous because he got loose and catching him nearly killed me. Which is why we can not keep your frog. You need to take care of him."

Catherine moves away as Étienne steps closer, ducking round her proto-table to keep it between them. She keeps her head down, breathing in deeply of the scent of freshly worked wood, shoulders forward. There's a glance over towards him, never quite getting up as far as his eyes, and she chews on her lip. "You should probably be more careful so he doesn't get loose?" she suggests, conveniently ignoring the more prominent part of his sentence.

Étienne says gently, but firmly, "You should take your frog back. Symon loves François but he's a bit forgetful sometimes and no matter how pretty the frog is, I'm not willing to endanger him over it." He cocks his head, thinking. He then carefully adjusts the angle of his head so he's looking at her without looking directly at her. His tone softens, "I won't touch you. I don't touch people without permission and I never touch people as a threat."

Catherine rests her hand on the wood, apparently drawing strength from it. "I… should take the frog back?" she worries, this apparently finally filtering through to her tiny brain. "Oh no, I wouldn't know what to do with him, though? You don't like him?"

Étienne keeps looking-not-looking in that indirect way, his voice staying calm and gentle, but without condescending, "I think you will have to, or perhaps sell the frog to someone else with the warning. He is very pretty, but I think Symon might get hurt if we keep him for you, and I really can't allow that to happen. I'm sorry."

"I don't know anything about frogs," Catherine admits apologetically, taking another half pace away and fiddling with her skirts with one hand. "Do I have to take him?"

Étienne thinks it over, "If you do not want to take him, would you agree to me finding a new home for him? Where he'd be cared for?"

Catherine all of a sudden looks much brighter, a hopeful smile on her face as she finally risks looking up at Étienne's face. "You can find him somewhere nice? Oh, that would be… yes please?" She passes her sanding block from hand to hand, shifting briefly up onto tiptoes then settling back down.

Étienne smiles, all dimples and sunshine, without looking directly at her, "I can certainly try, all right? But if I can't find somewhere, we can talk again." He already has an idea, a really wicked one, if the kinder options don't pan out.

Catherine nods eagerly, then pauses, a flicker of doubt clearly crossing her face. It's not as though she can hide anything she feels, after all. Every thought, every emotion is just plastered across her face whether she wants it or not. Her brows furrow and she chews her lip. "You do think he's pretty, though?"

Étienne's 's own face can hide very little. He is all big, earnest blue eyes and cheekbones. "He is extremely pretty. I like the colours very much."

Catherine's face breaks into the widest, brightest smile at that. He is extremely pretty. She has therefore Done Well. If we ignore the whole pesky poisonous business. "He's even blue," she points out with a rare hint of pride. "I had to buy him, you do understand, don't you?"

Étienne's eyes are a cornflower blue, an angelic legacy, and when he smiles like that, that extra something in him really shows. "Of course I do." He really, really seems to mean it. "Once I work out where the frog is to go, would you like me to come back and tell you?"

"If it isn't out of your way?" Catherine insists, shifting her sanding block from hand to hand again. "Or… send me a note? A note's better." Of that at least she seems certain. She chews on her lip. "I didn't mean to buy him, but I think I'm glad I did?" All certainty gone, once again she's looking for confirmation that she did the right thing. One wonders how she even survives like this, constantly second guessing every spur of the moment decision.

Étienne says quietly, "Is there a way we could talk that makes you more comfortable?" He thinks it over, "It depends if the box you make is nicer than the box he has now and if the place I find for him is nicer than with the sailor."

"I haven't had time to make a new box yet, though," Catherine warns him, sounding absolutely crestfallen at her abject failure. Clearly this is The Worst Thing Ever. "I will, I promise. I just don't know when..?"

Étienne says, "It is all right. I will come check when I have more frog fate information."

Catherine rests her hand on her almost-a-table again, setting down the sanding block and tentatively wiping her hand down her skirts before offering it over like a sort of clammy fish. It's a hesitant, forced gesture, and the look on her face says it all about exactly how much she really wants to touch Étienne in any way at all, but, but… social convention. "Thank you, monsieur. You're very kind to me. And to François."

Étienne looks at the hand, and says kindly, "Would it be nicer to just touch sleeves?" He remonstrates by touching the dangly loose fabric under his wrist. "That way it is like touching, only without touching." He lets go his sleeve and lets her decide which way she wants to do it, hand to hand or hand to fabric. hH seems in no hurry.

Catherine lets out a relieved sigh, almost falling all over herself to let her fingers run instead of over horrible, warm, squirming, person-y flesh but on the fine, soothing, regular weave of cloth.

Étienne smiles that dimpled smile, carefully not quite at her. His teeth are very good, as he eats few sweets and uses the twig regularly. He lets her touch the fabric as long as she likes, and when it is his turn, touches her sleeve with a token finger tip in the way most calculated to feel the least like being touched. "There. Friends, yes?"

Catherine lets her gaze drift up to the man's face. Not quite to his eyes, but you know, it's a pretty good start. "Friends," she echoes, very happy with this state of affairs. Drawing her hands back, she folds them in front of her, twisting them around each other and nodding to herself.

Étienne bobs his head and lets himself out, plans already percolating for how to best take care of the frog.

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