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Thread: Love grows where my Rose nary goes - 8/29 evening, Jenner's study - Jenner/Mariana [closed]

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    House Pavon Jenner Pavon's Avatar  
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    Love grows where my Rose nary goes - 8/29 evening, Jenner's study - Jenner/Mariana [closed]

    The room was surprisingly well lit, and warm, despite the breeze blowing in off the water. Jenner Pavon was sitting at his desk, two letters before him on the table, and a dark and heavy glass of wine was in his hand. He had sent for Violet nearly ten minutes ago, and was somewhat irked that she had not yet arrived. As he set the glass down, his fingers drummed passively on the solid oak writing desk. The bottom right drawer was open, the remainder of the bottle of wine and three other glasses exposed the to flickering torchlight that danced from the sconces on the wall.

    The most recent feast for his family had come and gone, and he had even deigned to make a short appearance. Given that his newest recruit was most recently seen in their lands, and apparently people were asking after her, had given the man cause to see if anyone at the meal might be whispering about her. When it was clear that they were here only for the usual business, and to see if their lord and master had keeled over (which he wasn't like to do), Jenner excused himself and returned to his room. He had alternated moments at his piano bench, writing a few lines of prose, and sketching out a draft schedule of which of his servants were scheduled to be replaced.

    The Lord of Lawnbury was anxious for winter. He didn't so much enjoy the cold, as he did the lack of traffic. Granted, only those with a purpose ever scaled the hill to the Nest, but he still preferred the security that the early darkness and long nights afforded him. Jenner was a man who reveled in his free time. And the more free time he had, the better.

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    A quiet string of curses formed on Mariana's lips, although any sound she might have been making was drowned out by the usual rattle of the kitchen staff. There was always something which required her attention, and always something else waiting for it, but Lord Pavon was not the sort to be kept waiting. "You'd better hurry," came a voice from in front of the stove, the smirk audible even without being able to see the face.

    "I know," Violet hissed, removing the almost-forgotten apron from her waist and wiping her hands on it before tossing it at the woman who was looking at her, chuckling. Most of the girls in the Nest couldn't get away with hassling Violet, but this one had been around for almost as long as their overseer. She had a longevity that was somewhat rare among the staff, but she had earned her place, and it afforded her some measure of leeway.

    Violet, as a rule, rarely ran anywhere. But she knew how to hustle, and she quickly made her way to Jenner's study, making sure to put her appearance in place as she did. She had altogether more clothing to see to, having been freed from the usual uniform by her elevated position, but a few tugs had her back in sorts just in time for her to arrive at the study door.

    Knocking twice as was her habit, she paused for only a moment before stepping into the office, curtseying deeply. "You called for me, my Lord?"

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    House Pavon Jenner Pavon's Avatar  
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    As the woman stepped into the room, Jenner frowned. He had been blessed with keen senses, and he knew well the difference between soap used for bathing, and soap used for cleaning. "Are we short-handed," he asked, a small annoyance in his voice. More likely, Violet had fallen again into the trap of 'if you want something done right', a point that was irksome, but understandable. He also knew that while he had given her a position of privilege among his servants, that she often found more cooperation by maintaining a closer level of equality with the rest of the girls. But rather than make a larger issue of his question, he only sighed. "Nevermind."

    Turning the arm-less chair sideways, he patted his lap, inviting the woman to sit. As she did so, he pushed the glass of wine over to her, before lifting another glass from the drawer and filling it from the bottle. There was a familiarity between them, and when he had desire for companionship, rather than merely a lustful hunger, he found it in the form of Mariana. "It seems we may have a problem," he told her, rubbing the top of her thigh over the skirts, in an almost endearing manner. Nodding towards the letters, which he left within her reach, Jenner smiled. "It would seem that Lady Yarwood's disappearance has been noted by her cousin, King Lochlan. We must be careful what traffic is allowed to come and go from the castle, and it likely would not hurt to isolate her for a while from the other girls."

    Stopping to take a sip from the glass of wine, he brought the hand to rest casually back on her leg. "Has she said much? Made any friends that we should consider quarantining until this all blows over?"

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    Settling on Jenner's lap, Mari let the wine wash away the mundane stress of the day thus far. It was, perhaps, a complicated relationship she shared with her lord, but it was one in which she was entirely comfortable. Explaining it wasn't an easy task, but then again there was never the need to; there were none that Violet had to justify herself to but him. The girls whispered, of course, and it was widely speculated that she had achieved her place in the house between the sheets, but she didn't bother correcting them. All that mattered was that she kept control of them, and that just happened to be something she was quite good at.

    "It seems we may have a problem."

    Mild concern on her face, Mari leaned forward to look over the letters. Troubling, indeed, that the king had been made aware of Roselin's disappearance. Even more troubling, perhaps that she was the king's cousin...with everything going wrong in the country it might have been easy enough to overlook the disappearance of a noble woman, but that she was family was sure to draw and keep his attention. "How unfortunate," she commented, almost passively. Jenner didn't seem terribly concerned, and it would be easy enough to do as he suggested and keep Rose occupied in the depths of the Nest for now. Gods above knew that she was bad enough at any task she was given that keeping her out of the main areas wouldn't hurt anything.

    Mariana shook her head slowly, thinking as she took a small sip of wine. "She's been quite withdrawn, if I'm honest. I don't know as I've seen her speak to another girl for more than a few moments, and even then it's just to ask a simple question." Setting her wine back down, her fingers lingered lightly on the glass's stem. "Word of the fit she threw when she arrived spread quite quickly, so I daresay friends haven't come terribly quickly to her."

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    House Pavon Jenner Pavon's Avatar  
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    Jenner was not entirely sure what to make of the information about his newest girl. While he was glad that her origins were relatively obscure, it didn't do to think that she was incapable of learning to work with others. Swirling the wine in his glass while in thought, he nodded his head slowly. "Perhaps we put her on a team with the most content of the girls, and see if they can sway her attitude. You know who the difficult ones are, and we don't need her stirring up the rabble." He finally drank again, pacing his consumption. Jenner made it a point to avoid getting inebriated when there was an unsettled girl in the castle. Violet could handle most things, but if he was needed, he liked having a clear head.

    "Fortunately, there is no word of any royal progress that should force our doors open. And once winter falls, no doubt any concern of that will be settled until the spring." It mattered not if he was summoned to the capital, for he could always go alone and not play any wiser about Roselin Yarwood's location. "It would seem, that even though she is an unwilling guest, she may be better off. Rumors of the plague taking a heavy toll on Elston's holdings have been filing in. Perhaps we should isolate her until we are sure she won't show her own symptoms."

    Bending his head, he kissed Mariana lightly on the shoulder. "I am as fond of irony as anyone," he said, leaning back and cradling her against him. "But abducting a noble girl who carries the plague and dooms us all would be more than even my sense of humor could manage," he told her. Sighing, he rubbed Mariana's back lightly. "Are you coming to bed tonight?"

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    "That may be the best way to go about it." Mariana was already beginning a list in her mind of the likeliest candidates. "Maybe if we're lucky she'll pick up any amount of practical knowledge along with a better attitude," she deadpanned, in no way impressed with the girl's ability to do even the simplest of tasks. It seemed even operating a broom was outside her capabilities, although Mari had not yet decided whether Rose was truly that useless or if she was simply feigning ignorance to try and get out of doing work. Both were bad in her eyes, but she was confident that either scenario could be corrected.

    The thought of plague being brought into the Nest was more unpleasant than Mariana wished to consider. Her brows furrowed lightly and she absently peered into her glass; of all the women who had been in contact with Roselin, she had been the one near her the most. If she truly was carrying the disease which was decimating the other houses...

    No. It wasn't a thought she would entertain, no matter if Jenner could nearly joke about it. "I'll speak with the girls she bunks with, see if they've seen or heard anything. They've been bedding with her from the start, so if Rose gets quarantined, they should join her." She considered isolating them all by default. Not many things truly distressed Mariana, but the chance of plague invading her home was one of them. Unfortunately, though, that was not how Mari operated, and she couldn't see taking three of her best girls out of the mix for what could amount to nothing.

    "I was hoping you'd ask," Mari said, her voice taking on a warmth that few got to hear. She didn't spend every night in the lord's bed, but she rarely turned down the chance to. Her own room was nice enough, and nicer still than the quarters the girls shared, four to a room. But there was something deeply enjoyable about falling asleep next to someone that even a woman as independent as Mariana could not deny. She smirked, recalling the look of displeasure he'd given her when she'd arrived. "I'll just need to scrub off the kitchen smell first."

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    House Pavon Jenner Pavon's Avatar  
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    "Use mine," he told her, motioning to the adjoining room that held his personal bath. It was by far his pride and joy when it came to possessions in the castle. The water came from natural cold springs below, which would filter down to a reservoir on the wall which was directly behind the fireplace in his study. When the hot stones had heated the water, there was a small release that allowed the water to flow directly into the tub. A small drainage chute would guide the water back outside when one was done bathing. The eroded stone, as well as the wooden pipes that ushered the water up from the spring, had to be replaced every few years, but it was an expense that Jenner justified for the sake of luxury and convenience.

    Patting her bottom so that she hopped up, the Lord of Lawnbury waved her off toward the door. "There is an extra robe folded on the side table, and I will have your clothes sent down and washed." These were all things he didn't need to tell her, for she knew the laundry schedule and the appointments of his personal chambers well enough, but Jenner maintained a certain polite decorum when speaking with Mariana.

    Waiting for the rushing of the water to cease, the man picked the letters back up. "I shall write to his grace, informing him that I will send out patrols to assist in the location of his cousin," he told her, knowing she wouldn't bother to close the door as she bathed. "In the meantime, we'll have to make sure to keep close tabs on our newest addition. I don't want any problems, Violet," he said to her, though not in a stern way. He trusted her judgement in most things.

    After a soft single knock, and a servant had entered with more wine, Jenner motioned her absently over to the bath room. "See to Lady Violet's things," he said casually. Mariana was decidedly not a lady, when you took society's measure of the word. But Jenner did his best to address her in a way to keep the other girls aware of her position.

  8. #8
    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    The offer to use Lord Pavon's personal bath was not one to be taken lightly, and it would be a lie if Mari were to deny that a certain excitement came to her smile at the invitation. She was intimately familiar with the workings of the room, as she made sure to personally train each member of staff that was given clearance to tend to Jenner's private rooms, but she still waited for him to finish speaking before she thanked him and headed off to undress.

    As the tub filled she shed her uniform, leaving it in a neat pile on top of her shoes purely out of habit. She didn't bother to close the door, nor did she make any effort to stay out of sight as she moved about the room; it wasn't as if Jenner hadn't seen her body before, and she saw no reason to move with shame. Tub finally full, Mariana gratefully sank into the hot water, relishing the feeling of the heat seeping into her muscles. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back, stretching her legs out of the water and simply relaxing for a moment. She had time before the water cooled down...she could afford to linger.

    I don't want any problems, either, she thought as she reclined in the water. But that was not what she said. "She'll be closely monitored," she promised. Not exclusively by herself, of course; she couldn't afford to show that sort of favoritism, even if the rest of the house could spare her the time. "There are so few jobs she can be trusted to do it's not difficult to keep an eye on her." It was only the simplest tasks that she dared assign the girl: ones that were either too easy to mess up, or ones where a mistake was permissible.

    She opened only one eye when the serving girl entered, and they acknowledged one another simply, the girl with a curtsey and Mari with a nod. The sound of her footsteps came and went, and Violet noted when the door closed, leaving her once more alone with Jenner. With the heat's bite gone, she set to actually bathing rather than simply soaking, but a thought was nagging at her mind, and as she ran the soap over her skin she couldn't help but voice it.

    "If you don't mind me asking....what do you think of her?" There was no need to clarify which 'her' she meant, and she just couldn't help but wonder what his impression of his newest acquisition was.

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    House Pavon Jenner Pavon's Avatar  
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    Jenner had already begun scribbling some notes, outlining his response to King Lochlan as Violet bathed in the other room. His relationship with the man was not well-defined, but House Pavon had come down on the correct side of the conflict between the royal brothers. Most of that, was due in fact to Jenner's proximity to the Hutchinsons in Fort Chesbrook, and his total desire to do the minimal amount of work required in the conflict. But, it had all worked out in his best interest, and so he enjoyed a certain level of good grace from the capital.

    Setting the quill down, the lord leaned back and considered the question. "Her presence here is unfortunate," he said mildly. It was true that from time to time his agents made mistakes, grabbing girls from the streets who hadn't really met the criteria that Jenner had outlined for them. And while none of them were mistreated really, and some actually enjoyed their stay here, such as Mariana, others were more problematic. As a rule, noblewomen were strictly right out. What complicated matters was that Roselin Yarwood was almost a match for what he desired physically. Age, height, weight, and exterior beauty made her a prime candidate, and likely lead to his men's zeal in abducting her.

    Stopping to sip at his wine, Jenner scratched at his eyebrow with the middle finger of his glass hand. "She is not undesirable, from a strictly physical sense, provided that she can be brought along in a manner that prevents us from eventually swinging." There was a strict policy in Lawnbury that the girls in his employ were never harmed, and eventually released with a sizable severance package, that depending on the age of the girl was like to include considerations for housing and livestock. Some of them were even married to men in Jenner's employ, and lived out relatively healthy lives. Sadly, he didn't think that any of that would interest Roselin when her time here was finished. "Though she is terribly depressed. Perhaps it is time we organized a little soiree for all the girls." It wasn't unheard of in the Nest. After all, there was no need for everything to be about work. Perhaps a masquerade or lingerie party would lift everyone's spirits.

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    'Unfortunate', perhaps, was not the word Violet would have chosen. She had wished, over and over again, that protocol had been followed. New girls were almost always taken to her before they were sent to work. There were health checks to be done, assessment of training, uniform fittings...it usually wasn't until much later that a new recruit was likely to see Jenner, and even longer still before she could expect any sort of interaction with him. If only that had happened, perhaps they wouldn't be in this mess, stepping carefully around nobility and being made to keep a girl hostage. If she were to escape, or get word out to her family, they were pretty much done for.

    But, Violet reminded herself as she rose from the bath, wishes couldn't change anything. For better or for worse, Roselin was here to stay. The difficult thing now would be to bring her around being both productive and no longer depressed. Frankly, right now Mariana wasn't quite sure which of those two things would be more problematic to achieve, but perhaps Jenner's suggestion of a party might work in their favor.

    Now dried and wrapped in the robe, her hair falling in damp curls around her face, Mariana stepped out of the bathroom and moved to reclaim her wine glass, leaning against the edge of the desk and contemplating his suggestion. She was a bit loathe to engage in any activity which might make it seem to Rose that her behavior thus far was acceptable, but she did have hope that perhaps she would come around if she were a bit more comfortable. "It might work. She seems to have great interest in fashion and clothing, so perhaps playing into that might work to our benefit." At the very least, the other girls would enjoy a night of frivolity. Although none would say it outright, Mari got the distinct impression that Rose made some of them quite nervous.

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    House Pavon Jenner Pavon's Avatar  
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    Jenner stopped his thought and looked at his head mistress, postulating the mind of Roselin Yarwood. "Honestly, Violet. Let us not lose our minds, huh? Obviously it would be a party for me, to which she and the other girls would be invited." Just because the servants would be guests instead of servants, didn't mean they were the beneficiary of his desire for frolicking.

    Seeing the skeptical look on Mariana's face, the man just chuckled. "Fine, fine. Just make it happen," he told her with a wave of his hand. Another woman was entering and carrying another bottle of wine. Setting it on the table, the girl smiled and curtsied, before turning and leaving again.

    "Is there anything else we need to discuss?" He knew there was probably all sorts of things for her to report, and she knew that the question was rhetorical, but he asked politely. He was most interested in retiring, but he did respect Violet enough to not just drag her to the bed. There had been a time when that had been the modus operandi, but they had graduated to a more civil relationship.

    Standing up, Jenner pulled off his shirt and tossed it over one of the posts of his bed. Moving to the basin of water by the bed, the lord of Lawnbury washed his face. "You know, I give you full marks for patience," he told her. Drying off with the hand towel, he turned and leaned back against the side table. "This was hardly a fair situation, or typical. I owe you a great deal of thanks for the effort your putting forth." Smiling, the man rolled into the bed and propped himself up, looking over at her. "Is there some way I can show my gratitude?"

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    "Is there anything else we need to discuss?"

    From her place perched on the edge of the desk, Mariana swirled the last bit of wine in her glass. "Not that comes to mind," she said, giving the answer that she knew Jenner wanted. In truth she could think of a few more things she could have used to discuss with him, but it was nothing that couldn't wait. He was very clearly done speaking about affairs of the house, and if she was honest, she wasn't terribly upset at setting business aside.

    She finished up her wine as Jenner prepared for bed, a smile coming to her face at his praise. It was incredibly nice to hear the words from his lips, justifying her feeling that this situation with Rose was difficult, to say the least. Never being one to gripe or complain, it gave her a certain satisfaction to hear her boss say what she'd been thinking. "I'm glad my conduct continues to please you," she said, pushing off the desk as he rolled into the bed. Her robe slipped open a little, revealing a narrow line of skin from collar to waist.

    Moving toward the bed, one of her hands idly twirled one end of the robe's belt. "You're a clever and thoughtful man. I'm sure you'll think of something far better than I could ever come up with."

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    House Pavon Jenner Pavon's Avatar  
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    More than a few of the girls at The Nest were hesitant lovers when summoned by Jenner to his rooms. That was understandable, and he did not begrudge them their unease, so long as they participated. If variety was the spice of life, so too was it true that equal treatment of all made it easier for the women here to coexist. Violet however, seemed to relish her visits, and was by far the most frequent guest in his chambers. Jenner had found that the conversation was better, the understanding clearer, and the sex more satisfying.

    "I doubt it," he said with a smirk. Part of what made Violet so special was that she always knew what she wanted. It was probably why she had no desire to leave Lawnbury. It may have been viewed as a degrading situation for most, but Mariana Jameson had actually managed to improve her station in Jenner's service. And honestly, though he could never replace her, Jenner would probably allow her to go if she asked. "But I am happy to try," he finished, leaning over in the bed and grabbing at the hem of her robe, using it to pull her closer to him.

    Not bothering to disrobe her, Jenner pulled his feet over the side of the bed so that Violet stood before him. Through the thin opening in the fabric, the Lord of Lawnbury Hills kissed the flat of her stomach tenderly. "Leave the fire," he said, the hunger in his voice rising. "But put out the torches, would you my sweet?"

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    House Pavon Mariana Jameson's Avatar  
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    A smile came to Mariana's face, although she said nothing. It was true that she had a way of getting what she wanted between the sheets, even if it had taken some time from the beginning to build up the confidence to assert herself. That had been one of the first steps she'd taken toward taking some measure of control over her life back; when she'd first been taken, she'd seen herself as nothing more than an object, a slave. Learning she could influence the direction things went did much to change her outlook. There were opportunities everywhere, and once she'd gotten over feeling sorry for herself, she had been able to find a way to thrive.

    "Of course," she said, looking down as he kissed her skin, her fingers running through the hair on the side of his head. She lingered there for a moment before stepping backward, only turning from him after a few steps. Her relationship with Jenner was an odd one, but although he was primarily her master, it wasn't as if she didn't enjoy his company. He was a handsome man, and fair; he gave respect when it was earned, and Mari knew that without him, she would be living a much harder and more unpleasant life.

    With each flame that was extinguished the room seemed to grow warmer, the light from the fire in the hearth casting a reddish glow as the shadows claimed the far corners. The lamp she'd left for last was the one which stood on Jenner's bedside table, and she bent at the hip to blow it out. The belt on the robe had become loose enough to be ineffective, but she kept it on for the moment. Coming to stand before Jenner once more, Mariana placed her fingertips under his jaw, tipping his face up toward her and bending to press her lips to his.

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