(1311-08-06) A Puddle of Feelings
Summary: Jehan-Pascal returns — from one of his periodic trips to his home in Avignon — to his new home in Marsilikos, and receives an agreeable surprise…
RL Date: 28/08/2019 - 01/09/2019
Related: Previous scenes with these characters.
emmanuelle jehan-pascal 

Dressing Chamber — La Maison Sanglante

Emmanuelle's dressing-room is a long rectangular chamber above the last leg of the downstairs corridor, but more than twice its width. Black-lacquered shutters along the outer wall open onto her private courtyard, from a higher vantage; a bench both broad and long is built in underneath, dark wood well-cushioned in that shade of purple she so admires, with sections which lift up to reveal storage.

The inner wall meanwhile is lined with a spectacular array of built-in floor-to-ceiling cabinets. Each door features its own scene of courtly or Night Courtly dalliance, inlaid in intricate many-coloured intarsia, and not all Mandragian in nature: a sharp eye that lingered upon them might note that, amongst all those various arrangements, there isn’t a single instance of a man and a woman alone together in the ordinary garments of their genders.

When entering from the stone stairwell the full length of the carpet (a specially woven Akkadian piece, geometrical, in hues of black and gold and purple) must be traversed, with cabinets to the left and windows to the right, in order to reach the porphyry hearth with its mantel supported by scantily-clad caryatids.

The portable furnishings vary according to the needs of the moment: a square table or a round one, chairs straight-backed or luxuriously leather-upholstered, a pair of screens depicting summer and winter gardens in black and gold lacquer.

Jehan-Pascal had thought, for a great while, that the work being carried out under the supervision of his father's loyal vicomtes and barons would all, in a sense, count for Avignon's own improvement project, especially the Hospitality, in which he had invested a great deal of time and resources over and beyond the initial tax holiday granted to Monteaux.

But — and Emmanuelle could probably see this coming a mile off — there's been a bug up his bottom to get in on the improvements himself, and he's discovered a pet project of his own, a sort of dessert chore when he's finished all his other business in Avignon.

The past week he's been in Avignon six days; he opted to simply stay three extra days rather than spend a day riding to Marsilikos, a day there, and a day riding back for another meeting on the matter at hand. The meanwhile he's gotten a lot done, cleared some of his upcoming schedule such that in the next few weeks only a swift jaunt to Bedarrides will be needful. It will all be updated in his diary when the leather-bound book finds its spot back in his poet's chamber, the comfort of which he is decidedly longing for as he leaves his mount at the palace stables and takes a slow stroll back to the Bloodied House, watching the stars come out and hiking his travel-bag up further onto his shoulder. His ride-tired legs lend him a gait that would parse to the casual observer as intoxicated, though in reality he's more sober than usual— edging on more sober than comfortable. Inside, he meets one of those cordial gentlemen who had once carried him along within, and asks after the status of dinner, whether he's missed it or might still join Emmanuelle and the family— or just Emmanuelle, if she is dining alone, and wouldn't mind his being still fragrant from the road.

Jehan-Pascal’s insistence upon traveling cheaply and without any reasonable aid or comfort, or any of the privileges due his station, is, as it were, a small insect infiltrating Emmanuelle’s rear passage; but, the word somehow reaching her through her house’s own rear passages faster than he on his own legs can perambulate, she’s sitting there in her dressing-room when he appears. She’s well-fed and well-watered, with a crystal decanter of a good Eisandine red waiting on a table before her cold hearth; she’s wearing a sleeveless gown of pleated black linen and apparently nothing beneath it, the changing shape of her body instantly apparent to his eye as Baltasar shows him in and shuts the door soundlessly behind him.

“Come here and let me pinch you,” she drawls, extending a hand and a blood-red smirk which make clear to her love that he has nothing much to fear, tonight.

Jehan-Pascal, himself, only thinks of himself as practical in his travel arrangements: if he takes two days on the journey, he's tired both days, anyhow, so he may as well take one day and be able to recover by night from the ordeal. He's still got some years ahead of him before his body starts to disagree with such strenuous activity. But now he's hungry, weary and, most of all— oh— yes, there's that good red waiting for him, and he blooms with appreciation for the offering Emman has set for him, his shoulders slackening with an exhalation of breath when he meets Emman's eyes and stretches out his hands, heading for her slowly but surely, until his growing proximity allows the black of the dress to differentiate into edges and then— wow, those edges have certainly changed shape, haven't they? He would, as a matter of usual course, take her hands and sit upon her lap, but, now, he lets the baby claim that space, instead just holding out his hands for her to have, or pinch, or swat away, or drag him into her lappers any-old-how. "Madame," he greets her. "May I kiss your cheek hello?"

As she watches him come to her, sure-footed, dressed in his masculine garments, smelling of the stables in testament to his eagerness to be with her— Emmanuelle slowly lifts both hands and takes his, her nails flawlessly black-lacquered, her intention as ever governing his and bringing him to sit next to her on that broad purple-cushioned bench behind which her coloured lanterns and the night stars alike have begun to shine. “You may kiss me,” she allows, offering her pale powdered cheek to his lips: and then, yes, she pinches him, her hand miraculously finding his backside. Amazing how she always knows exactly where that is.

But then as they sit together the hand she likes the best today is gripped tight and held to her lips, for a reciprocal kiss and a gentle grazing of her teeth.

Jehan-Pascal comes to place a hip right near to hers, leaning passionately in and savoring the draw of his lips against her cheek, finding just the right place — to — have a perfect press of a kiss interrupted by a giggling squeak when his hind end is, as promised, assaulted thus.

"Madame," is more playful than actual protest, and he gets a little of his own back by pressing a second kiss where his first was interrupted, then goes all maidenly-eyed when she takes his hand, making his heart flutter with her gallantry. "I missed you. And I missed… a lot happening, I suppose," he glimpses downward in a brief, demonstrative glance to the womb where it happens.

Emmanuelle chuckles richly and turns the hand she’s holding the other way, kissing the inside of his wrist as well, her touch warm and sweet. “You missed a little,” she grants, “but nothing you can’t make up if you desire it… Our little bastard’s been kicking the shit out of me,” she explains, and it’s a boast: she brings that favoured hand to rest upon the curve of her belly, more prominent now since he saw it a week ago, beneath some shirt or another with its tails left deceptively untucked. “Nothing now,” she admits, “but if you keep your hand there you’ll feel it.” And she puts no limit upon how long he might touch her thus, holding his hand there beneath her own, where her body curves in blatant exhibition of their shared future. “It will come,” she says again, soothing him. And, looking into his eyes: “How are your affairs in Avignon?”

“Oh, well— that's good, though, isn't it?" Jehan-Pascal regularly enthuses, brows lifting and eyes alit with the news. "It means the baby's strong and healthy, right? Not that I'd expect anything else of any child of yours," he gushes. Look at him gush, just a puddle of feelings lapping up against Emmanuelle. He was hungry — he was thirsty — but now there's a baby kick to be detected, and that takes precedence over both of those conditions, his hand resting with an attentive pressure but without squeezing her at all, his eyes more or less in the shape of hearts, all pointed out toward nowhere in particular as he lets his attention fully rest in the palm of his hand. Then Emman asks after Avignon and he leaves his palm there, just as attentive, but his eyes return to focus on hers, and he gives a big, goofy grin. "They're alright! You know, it's strange, how little money it can take to do something truly well for people. Ever since I decided on a little project of my own, I had no idea where I would find the money for it, but it really hasn't been half as much as I anticipated. CAN I TELL YOU MY PROJECT? I wasn't going to say anything, but I've got the premises signed to me and the staff all arranged, now," and he is pretty much vibrating.

Emmanuelle’s own hand rests atop Jehan-Pascal’s; distracted as he is by the duties he’s been brought up to, she has long since made up her mind to deal gently with that inevitable first thing on his mind. “Yes, tell me wh— fuck,” she grinds out sudden in irritation, as beneath their joined hands there’s an unmistakable and vigorous flutter in her belly.

Jehan-Pascal is definitely about to tell her all about it— she has become an easy confidante for him to tell all his county troubles to, and to get advice over breakfast from a serious-minded and frank perspective. Between that help and the provision of a child, what use has he for a wife, after all? But there's a flutter! And swearing! And a little shriek of excitement from JP to add to the choir. "Oh my gosssshhhhhh," he wilts a little further against her, trying to get all of him as close to baby as possible. "I felt it!" he remarks, as though that weren't perfectly obvious.

Huffing out an amused breath, but indulging him — his first time, but her fourth — Emmanuelle wraps a strong bare arm around his shoulders and gathers him in against her lightly linen-swathed body. “I’ve been feeling it,” she drawls, still boasting, still delighted with her state, “at all sorts of odd fucking hours. Your child is dancing on my bladder, my love.” Then there’s another perceptible flutter, fit to destroy whatever sense he may have spoken.

“A dancer," Jehan-Pascal swoons over the baby's pre-natal shenanigans, so picturesquely personified by the mother herself. After a moment he forgets to be so utterly infatuated with this little object of impending personhood as to be insensate to the troubles it is causing for a woman he dearly loves, to whom his attention returns with a smile of kindness and gratitude for her putting up with her little lodger, as though she were doing it only for his benefit. "Is it very uncomfortable, Madame? Can I help anyhow?"

“… It’s irritating the shit out of me already,” purrs Emmanuelle with a languor in her voice and a smug smile upon her lips; “but I wouldn’t have it otherwise. My love, I chose this,” and she draws his hand firmly up from her belly to her lips and bestows a hard kiss upon his knuckles. “Be amused if you will,” she teases, replacing his hand where he’s likeliest to feel those occasional flutterings which have plagued her waking and sleeping hours alike, in the last few days. “But we are sound enough, now,” she says softly. “I’ve told Armandine that I’m with child; my love, you may tell your family and your friends if you desire to speak.”

Irritating is at least a nominally light-hearted word— it eases the burden of worry on that mind so often crowded with it, and his expression clears, sunlight through the stormclouds, and he tips his head downward girlishly at the kiss, then snuggles in close to Emman's side, resting his hand where she puts it and his body in against her a little ways.

"Alright," he smiles, when given permission. "I doubt I'll need to crow too loud for word to begin to spread… but I should write my father before he hears it from someone else. He's going to have kittens, I think, but I'll tell him that you are also helping me search for a wife, and that, I think, will settle him a little. But now— I could stay right here just about forever," he nuzzles in against her shoulder, just one hundred percent a stinky cuddlebug. "Except I'm also starving. Is there dinner left over, or should I ask Cloelia to raid the kitchens for me?"

Sitting straight and firm and and enduring his application of himself to her person because she’s invited him, even knowing what she was going to get, Emmanuelle touches his hair gently and confides, “There will be a cold collation in your chamber, my love, and a hot bath. We were expecting you at some hour today,” she chides gently, as if to remind him of her own impeccable domestic arrangements, in which he now lives cradled whilst he’s in Marsilikos.

She pauses. “I would appreciate it if you would show me your letter to your father, before you send it. You understand that our situation is complex— that not everyone will understand it as we do. I would like every opportunity, my love,” she scritches his scalp gently with those black-lacquered nails that spell terror for anyone else, “to aid you in presenting it as suits us both… I had a brawl with Armandine over all this,” she drawls, absurd as it is to imagine those two dignified ladies in such a situation. “We will find a way; but I had rather give you the benefit of my experience, when you come to make so delicate a disclosure. I think,” she exhales, “people are given to underestimating the lengths I’ll go to in your interests.”

"Mmh," Jehan-Pascal smiles into a blissful noise, "You look after me so well. Can we go there? Maybe bring the wine?" he glances up playfully, his fingers shifting just slightly against her tummy. "Of course— you can write it with me, if you'd like?" he goes on to offer further; it would be easier to get her input from the inception of the piece than to have to make major revisions later on, after all. The next revelation, though, does give him pause, and he sits up a little straighter. "You fought with the Duchesse? About… us? Is there… is she upset?" He sounds sort of baffled as to why she would be, but also very worried, suddenly, that she might be. It's never beneficial for a Count to be in his Duchesse's ill-favor, after all.

But Jehan-Pascal is not a comte yet, and therein lies the rub.

Though Emmanuelle, who has already said too much, gives her lover’s scalp another tender scritch and suggests: “If you eat your supper and take your bath, my love, and put on something pretty for me, I might come and tuck you in.” This last in a tender and promising drawl.

“When there is something for you to worry about, I will tell you so. But matters between sisters are what they are — and these are for me to deal with, my love. I’ve made my bed and I’ll set fire to all of Eisande before I give up lying in it,” and she chuckles richly and gathers Jehan-Pascal close, odiferous as he is, her hands instinctively finding every place upon his body where he savours her touch, the firm swelling of their child between them and yet uniting them.

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