(1311-12-19) It Cannot Be Helped
Summary: Étienne comes across Oliver one evening at the baths, and tries to offer advice.
RL Date: Thu Dec 19, 1311
Related: Previous scenes with these characters, notably The First Sip.
etienne oliver 

Temple Baths — Temple of Naamah

A large circular window of colorful stained-glass depicting Naamah is framed by two crescent shaped ones, sitting further up the wall as to allow for generous lighting during the day, with the shades of the glass used in the center painting the interior of the Temple Baths in colorful hues. The light beige tiles of the stone floor are arranged in a pattern, spaces between filled with darker shade mosaic stones. The changing area is divided into two spaces, hidden away behind semi-opaque drapes. Here, visitors can leave their clothing and move over towards the pools that are filled with the warm waters of a hot well, a faint layer of steam lingering occasionally in the air directly above the waterline. A larger pool of white marble is in the center, between two smaller pools that offer room enough for two or three people each. At the edge of the pools, trays are provided at regular intervals, some holding various flagons of bathing oils while others hold bars of flowery soap and other bath implements.

Acolytes of Naamah, clad in the red flowing robes of the temple stand at the ready, to provide towels or robes when needed and make sure a peaceful atmosphere is maintained within the baths.

The baths are quiet tonight. The acolytes are few as there is a single patron currently in one of the smaller pools with his right knee bent up and his hands massaging the tired muscles. Oliver's hair is wet and slicked back and he looks as if he's been sparring with sticks. The red lines showing over his sides and his back but they are few and far between. He's lost some weight but his muscles are more defined. His blood and dirt caked nails trying their best to work out what looks to be a muscle cramp in his cafe.

Étienne is swordsman wiry as he lowers himself into the pool with a long sigh. His summer tan is starting to fade to his natural wintery pale. "How have you been, Oliver? Making up for lost time?"

The young man lifts his eyes up slowly and he watches Étienne get in the bath. "Surviving." His voice even got a touch deeper. He moves his outstretched leg so Étienne can be more comfortable. "You look good, Étienne. How are you?"

Étienne starts a little, "I'm still not used to that. Your miracle." He chuckles, "Still looking for wives for Symon and me, but otherwise very well. Ridiculously happy really. How have you been? It must be a huge adjustment."

He nods his head. "I'm happy that you are happy." He grins slowly but his blue eyes are not matching with his expression. "It is odd. I blind fold myself sometimes when I feel overwhelmed." He slowly stretches out his leg and winces. His legs and arms got longer. He finally slowly puts it in the water. "I am happy you are happy." He repeats.

Étienne says quietly, "What's wrong, Ollie? I can tell something is." His eyes flick down and away, "If I offer to help you with that, will you promise not to take it as more than it is?"

The young man stares at Étienne and frowns a little. "Offer to help with what?" He grumbles quietly. He avoids the question of what is wrong. The young man watches Étienne's face for his expressions.

Étienne's face is open as a cloudless sky, no guile in him at all. "You look to have a cramp. I've had many such with my training over the years." He is studying him back with those cornflower blue eyes long lashed eyes. He has started to grow into his face, the softness of youth wearing away to show the good bone structure underneath, "Or perhaps I can help with the other problem, if you'll talk to me about it."

Oliver is growing taller and leaner with his training. He shakes his head. "I'd rather not be touched. Thank you for the offer." He pulls his legs back and brings them to his chest. He shakes his head slowly. "Thank you for the offer. It cannot be helped." He speaks softly. "Why would you think I would take your assistance with a leg cramp as anything but assistance? Do I give off… that type of energy?"

Étienne nods, and keeps his eye on the younger man's face, "Fair enough." He takes a breath, "You may not have a clear memory of the night we met. You… expressed interest. I wanted to… avoid misunderstanding. My friendship is honestly meant."

Oliver slowly nods his head. "I have no interest in anyone anymore." He speaks softly. "Many have made it clear they do not want me so before I get hurt again, I reject everyone." He shrugs his shoulders. "It's good to have friends." He takes some oils and starts to lightly rub his arms with them.

Étienne says gently, "You are very lovely, but I…" He blushes, "It seems I am attracted to people older than myself. It's something I've come to accept, and it complicates the wife hunt rather."

The young man shakes his head and his eyes get a little glassy. "That's my life. You're lovely but not what I want. I am no ones taste or desire which is absolutely fine. I am no longer interest in… that." He looks down to the water. "I want to keep sculpting and fighting and one day, defend Terre D'Ange instead of being useless." He brings water up over his arms. "Just look for an older woman if that's your taste. I hear there are a few available."

Étienne blushes, "There are. Yes. And Lord Symon and I… share rooms." He takes a slow breath, "Do you meet many people your own age? Trust me I think your martial hopes are important. I come from a place where the raiders come and have a few scars to prove it." There are a few pale well healed ones on his arms and across his ribs. "I just don't think you should give up on a full life so soon."

Oliver nods his head slowly. "I have met people my age. Met people a few years older. Met quite a bit older. I am undesirable. Not everyone can be beautiful and loved by all. I was not given that gift." He stretches out his arms. "I haven't given up on life, Étienne. I want to help save lives. If I lose my life saving a village I count that as a good thing. A noble death."

Étienne listens, expression sad, "I think… you've been through a lot, and that can make it harder. I just think you should leave yourself open. Who knows if the blessing of Naamah might take you when you least expect.”

Étienne gets a look. "I was almost happy. Then my mother died and she left." He speaks softly. "I've tried. I've tried not looking, tried looking, tried praying. One day I sat and thought about why I wanted someone to love me so badly." He speaks softly. "I didn't feel love most of my life. My father hated me and my mother loved me so hard I couldn't breathe. I wanted something special. Someone I could trust to come home to. That is far too much to ask for. Especially when I realize I do not like being touched anymore. It's just a lie." He whispers quietly before shaking his head. "Don't let my path upset you. You are happy. That's amazing and I'm happy for you. I will pray you find a lovely older lady to wed."

Étienne says gently, "You aren't the only person I know who has felt like that, been hurt like that. Sometimes love is like water that splits around a large boulder in the stream, but that same water will wear the edges smooth given time and patience."

Oliver frowns. "By the tender age of nineteen I've been hurt no less than five times with people who showed interest then left. I have additionally shown interest in over a dozen others who said things like 'cute but no.'. I should be enjoying life. Not being broken by people who don't want me after they've fucked me." He grumbles. "I would just rather have no one touch me and avoid it all." He nods slowly. "I think about their touch and I feel sick. Not because it was wrong. Naamah's gifts are beautiful. But because they were gentle and tender and then they took me and kicked me from their beds, saying cruel things. I wish I could take back all their touches."

Étienne leans forward, "So enjoy life! It is the season of dancing and merriment, so dance and make merry! Eat interesting foods. See what the next adventure is that life has in store. I am sorry that people have not been kind. You do deserve better than that, but you said yourself you are nineteen, who knows what might happen next!"

Oliver shakes his head. "Enjoy dancing and merriment with two faced people? I'd rather sit at home with my cat." He grumbles as he finishes washing himself. "Not quite nineteen and instead of enjoying the love and passion of life, I refuse to be hurt again. People kept saying reach out or don't look at all good things will come. They don't. It's only lies." He looks at Étienne. "I am happy you are happy but your happiness does not mean others will be as fortunate as you." He grumbles as he stands up. "Love is not in my future. Currently there is training and quiet which sounds lovely." He steps out of the baths. He's definitely gotten taller. There are welts over his legs and sides from his training. He takes one of the robes and slides it on. "That being said, I will send you some cheese I've been developing from goats milk. Let me know if you like it."

Étienne meets his eyes, "I think you should talk to Lord Symon. Get his perspective." Then he is smiling, all dimples, "And I'll send you some of our cheese. It can me an exchange. I am interested to see what you've been making. There are so many nuances of flavour and texture."

The young man frowns. "Talk to your lover to see why you both are happy? Okay sure. I'll put that down on the list of things I won't be doing." He grumbles. "Well, Camlach doesn't have many cows but we do have goats and sheep. Goat milk makes somewhat interesting cheese. I've added somethings to it so I hope it turns out but it's still aging." He nods his head. "I do like cheese. I will probably just eat it all. Atti likes cheese too."

Étienne shakes his head, "No. I thought… You have had more in common than might first appear and his perspective from nearly a decade's distance might lead to better advice than I can give. Eat the cheese. Enjoy it."

"I am going to assume his advice is the following, 'don't worry it will happen. Be happy with yourself first.'" The young man shakes his head. "I have heard it before. The last thing my brother said before he left for Camlach in the middle of the night without saying goodbye." He takes a towel. "Oh I will enjoy the cheese." He nods his head. "I hope you continue to be happy, friend." He ruffles his hair in the towel before draping it around his shoulders. "Everyone's path is different. That's okay." He offers a small grin before he turns to leave.

Étienne smiles sadly, "Well, I hope next year brings you joy and kittens. I really do wish you the best, you know."

He turns to stare at Étienne. "No kittens. Atticus isn't that foolish. He wants all my time and honestly I don't blame him. I feel him all the meat and if he brought home kittens well..that's shared meat and it cannot happen." He shakes his head. He nods his head. "I know you do. Just know though that my best isn't your best. You have love and joy and fucking. I get contentment, a cat, and my art. That's the best I could hope for."

Étienne says, "If you say so. Still, I will pray for you. It can't hurt."

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