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TAKE ME TO WONDERLAND----
Aubrey “Pom-Pom” Bouffant strolled up on the lamp post with the air of a young starlet and made a little sigh of contentment to the light drizzle pouring down, down, and down on his head, not oblivious to the fact that he had a perfectly good umbrella to keep him dry. He was so unfazed by the tiny onslaught of raindrops that he was bothered not by the eventual consequence of prolonged exposure to such weather. He struck a delightful, quite-freeing pose as he swung around the pole with ease, extending the arm that held the unfurled umbrella. How he resembled more of an ornate fan being expertly spun and handled about by a dancing concubine.
After a moment of gaiety, he sprung back to the path, kicked at a puddle, and whistled playfully for the empty shops. The late hours of the night brought out the best in people, but it seemed to him the night had a short supply of people. He was all alone, and he minded not a pinch. What Aubrey did mind was being unproductive with the time, and made a turn that led him further away from the city and into a quaint little park. He settled comfortably on a bench. But what was he doing out so late, any normal and sane person would ask? He could not sleep a wink, of course, but not because of any sort of worry or care. He simply refused to sleep through such a beautiful night was such a wasteful thing indeed.
The wind rustled his blouse, and the rain slowed to a halt, revealing the moon and the stars once again. Just as it always did. The finely-dressed wayfarer hummed and tossed his hair back as he closed up the umbrella, giving it a few vigorous shakes until it was acceptably dry. Aubrey hadn’t realized this quite yet, but he seemed to feel a lot calmer and not as restless as he glanced up at the dark sky. To think he could actually sit still and do nothing was a wonder.
Too bad his mouth couldn’t do the same.
"We really can’t go on meeting like this. But if you insist on us doing so . . ." His voice was alight with mischief. He knew well there wouldn’t be a response to his claim, but he fancied the moon to have a personality, a life of its own. There was no harm in believing something like that.
There was a picture-perfect smile of tranquility whilst he spoke, adding a suggestion to the previous statement. “Why don’t we just,” he drawled thoughtfully, “enjoy each other’s company?” He knew he looked positively nutty talking to the big shiny thing in the sky, but he was comfortable in his own skin to acknowledge his good sanity.
Word Count; 466 TAG
made bycapt. meows
made bycapt. meows
The night was quiet as Jen walked hurriedly along a path towards Rivengate. The gentle sounds of drizzling rain were only interrupted by the splash of puddles she stepped through. Not a soul was around at this time of night. The last person she had seen was hours ago along the road, a merchant with a cart full of goods that warned her of the storms hitting the area later on.
Jen had incorrectly underestimated the time it would take her to get to an inn in Rivengate. When asking for directions that morning, the traveler had told her it was only a few hours walk. However, he failed to mention that there was a shortcut she should have taken to make it in time. Wistfully she envisioned the inn she could have taken shelter in the last town she’d passed through. How wonderful it would be to sip an evening cup of tea in a cozy room instead of being out here.
The rain was light, but it had been falling long enough to soak the poor woman thoroughly. Unfortunately, buying an umbrella wasn’t something she had considered for her travels, a detail she woefully regretted tonight. Each puddle she splashed through only added to the water that was pooling up in her shoes. Her steps caused an uncomfortable squelching noise. Even though she was without an umbrella, she did have the buffalope hide shawl her sisters had given her. The pelt was heavy and water-logged now, but at least her satchel and most of her body was relatively dry.
Jen wiped another strand of black hair from her face, slicked with rain. When her hair got wet like this, it was a frizzy nightmare once it dried. She was really not looking forward to the task of brushing it out later. A deep sigh left her lips as she looked around. The rain seemed to cease for the time being, allowing the moon to peek down upon the land. Jen relaxed a bit as the silvery light gave shape to the world around her. The moonlight always brought her comfort, a reminder of her sisters and the purpose she served as a creature of olde.
Stopping for a moment, Jen curtsied at the moon with a deep bow. “Well met, Selene,” she whispered, a smile on her face. Turning to continue on the path, she realized that there was a man sitting on a bench not far from her. Her heart leaped, hoping he hadn’t noticed her seemingly curtsying at nothing. Oftentimes, humans found actions like that rather odd.
Spotting the umbrella at his side, Jen decided to approach. Perhaps she could ask to borrow it for the rest of her walk to the inn. The man seemed just as soaked as she, despite having the tools to shield himself from the weather. He was looking upwards to the sky, the moonlight showing that he had a rather pleasant expression. Jen noticed his mouth moving, but didn’t hear his words until she got closer. He was addressing the moon like she had just moments before. It was as if he was greeting an old friend or a lover, giving personality to something that many viewed as inanimate.
Jen’s curiosity was piqued as she took in the person on the bench. He seemed peculiar compared to a lot of the humans she had met, but in an endearing way. “Hello,” she greeted, stopping a short distance from the bench and giving a quick curtsy. “Sorry if I interrupted something important.” Blue eyes were drawn to the moon, then back to the stranger.
TAKE ME TO WONDERLAND----
The small, young woman had seemingly curtsied for no one in particular; that did not escape the two very wide eyes of the curious stranger with the look of surprise on his face as he, too, did not expect company at this hour of the night. To look away now would make him come across as rude to the slender figure in the distance. He did not consider averting his gaze, still quite fixed on her.
When she neared his general direction; that quite caught the contemplative fellow off guard as he rather expected her to turn the other way and never speak of this moment ever again. He stood up from his seat, amidst the empty park, grabbing the ends of his windbreaker like one would a long dress — bowed cordially into what he thought was a less than stellar curtsy — and laughed a little behind his hand.
“I would not say you’re interrupting anything too important. But it’s not unwelcome. Oh, yes. And, um, do — do you not have an umbrella? About time I do something other than run my mouth. Won’t you take mine? It would count as my one good deed for the night.”
As the soaked man offered the comely form his closed umbrella it had only started to rain; a smile void of regret passed across his face, and seemed to insist that she wordlessly take it and shield herself from the dreary weather. But instead of minding his own soggy state, it only dawned on him just now that he had the gall to not ask for her name or even introduce himself.
He would take care to correct that now.
He looked at her considerately through his lashes. “Where are my manners? Let’s start over. Hello there, I’m Aubrey. And if you’re feeling comfortable enough to tell me — what is your name?” asked the sprightly youth, keeping his distance out of respect for his pretty companion. “Well, It really was a delight meeting you tonight. I’m sure you must be aching to get to wherever you need to go. I’d rather not keep you, then.”
Pom-Pom stopped himself from walking off on her and used his head. She had been walking in the rain and getting soaked from head to toe prior to him pushing his umbrella on her. He was looking terribly worried, and when he imagined the horrible possibilities that could come to an unescorted woman, he had guilted himself into going after her, and then said gently yet hurriedly, "Would you think it seriously rude of me if I asked you to allow me to accompany you? If only for a little while as I’d like to make sure you get to your destination safely. It isn’t good for you to be out here, so alone. Now, where did you say you were going, exactly?”
Word Count; 488 TAG
made bycapt. meows
made bycapt. meows
Any uncertainty she was feeling quickly dispelled when the stranger attempted a curtsy of his own with the ends of his jacket. Jen couldn’t help but let out her own quiet laugh at the awkward gesture. “Oh dear. Yes, I’m afraid I forgot my own umbrella,” Jen replied with a sigh, all at once mindful of the water still sloshing around in her shoes. “Thank you kindly,” she said, shyly taking his umbrella as it was offered.
The borrowed umbrella came at an impeccable time. Drops began to drizzle from the sky again, bouncing in a series of dull taps against the material above her head. Jen was so relieved that they weren’t going in her hair and clothes anymore.
The man introduced himself as Aubrey, to which Jen gave a wave of her fingers in greeting. “I’m Jenevieve, but most call me Jen,” she replied with a kindly smile. Just as soon as they had formally met, Aubrey was dismissing himself. While the moonlet did have an inn to get to, she couldn’t help but feel disappointed at how brief their interaction had been. The eccentric and polite manner of her acquaintance had grown on her in these few short minutes.
With a wave goodbye, Jen took a step to continue her journey along the puddled pathway. It didn’t last long, as Aubrey had turned back and seemed to change his mind about their parting. “I’d be glad for the company,” Jen replied warmly. It was sweet of him to be concerned for her safety. Having someone to accompany her would make the walk more enjoyable.
“Come, get out of the rain,” she playfully chastised him. Reaching out, she gently grabbed his sleeve and pulled him under the umbrella. “It wouldn’t be very kind of me to borrow your umbrella and not share it!” She wiped a strand of wet black hair away from her forehead.
“I’m heading to an inn called the… oh, what was the name?” Jen put a finger on her cheek as she thought for a moment, but it wasn’t coming to mind. “Hold this, please,” she said while handing the umbrella handle off to Aubrey. She pulled her satchel out from under her buffalope hide shawl and began rummaging around. In the outermost pocket, she pulled out a piece of paper. It was rain-soaked, crumpled, and the ink had smudged all over the place from the water. The name was unreadable besides the word ‘inn’ as she peeled apart the folds.
“Oh bother.” Jen stuffed the paper back in the pocket in frustration, a pout on her face. She looked back up at Aubrey. “I… I guess I don’t actually know where I’m going.”
TAKE ME TO WONDERLAND----
“You’re very welcome, Jenevieve,”
He wished he could do more than utter a simple ‘thank you’. The young man raised innocent, admiring eyes to her from time to time, and briefly observed the enormous length and the impressive volume of hair she possessed and how it mingled with the heavy, depressed shawl, which he figured must have added a good few extra pounds to the mass sitting idly on her shoulders. How beautiful.
He was relieved with the vibrancy of her response, which helped him to ease a little more comfortably into that very last-minute decision, which previously caused him to rush back to her side. “That does perfect sense to me. There is plenty of room, plenty of room. I will do as you suggest, then. Thank you.” Reasoned Aubrey, not resisting the kind gesture as she reeled him to join her under the spacious umbrella.
As she tried to recall the elusive name of the inn which he had just inquired about, his fingers wrapped themselves around the central shaft and held it in place for his gentle companion. Each second that passed made him even more aware of the soaked state of the satchel and that worried him -- not to such a dramatic extent -- but he wondered if such a small thing could even succeed in protecting the contents inside it.
Nevertheless, he would wait for her patiently, and while doing so found a moment to mentally address that fantastic mark on her forehead. Did she do that herself? So crisp, so clean, and perfectly sharp. How did it not smear? His eyes were wider than a pair of paper plates as he came upon a most ludicrous, remarkable idea:
Jen’s words, along with the pretty pout on her face, alarmed him to the small revelation: with no name or address to follow, she would lack shelter for the night. This unanticipated twist brought the concerned fellow back to his good senses. He lowered his clear eyes to the soggy piece, looked at Jen again, (did a rinse and repeat) then stopped this little back and forth, as though recognizing her current predicament.
“It seems that way. Luckily for us, I have a wonderful idea; so I thought we’d stop by my place,” there wasn’t a suitable reason for the secretive tone in his voice as he bowed his head a little, “and call every inn in Rivengate.”
Then he looked at her sheepishly after that statement, tapping a finger to his chin, before admitting the less brilliant aspect of his plan.
“I left my cell phone at home.” Clarified Aubrey, not wanting to give her a bad impression of him. He emptied the pockets of his windbreaker to prove his point. That didn't really mean anything -- if he thought about it enough.
Word Count; 471
made bycapt. meows
made bycapt. meows
Silence, save for the sweet drizzle of the rain, lingered in the air between them. Aubrey looked at her, then at her ruined paper, as if taking a moment to realize the predicament she was in. The rain had foiled her plan for the night, but she was trying to stay optimistic. Maybe she would find an inn as they walked, maybe she wouldn’t freeze her toes off out here, maybe her hair wouldn’t be as frizzy as she feared. The least she could do was hope.
With an almost sneaky tone, he suggested they go to his place. Jen recoiled a bit, ready to smack him in the face with her satchel, when he continued, offering that from his house they contact every inn until they found her a room. A great heave of relief filled the moonlet, her shoulders easing the tension they had gained in a short moment. The way his sentence had started was deceiving, and for a moment she almost believed him to be as piggish as many men she had encountered. Again, he had proven himself kind, with good intentions.
Jen smiled at him, nearly laughing at how off-color her own assumption had been. He really did just want to help. “Okay, let’s do that,” she agreed. Hopefully they could find her a place to sleep soon, though she found herself enjoying this moment. Aubrey emptied his pockets to prove his honesty, but Jen was struck with perplexion. She had heard that Rivengate had technology beyond her wildest dreams - and she had a lively imagination - but she was coming up blank for this one.
“Er… excuse my ignorance, but what is a cell phone?” She asked shyly, a look of embarrassed confusion on her face. If only she could hide under the curtain of her hair to ease the blush that was forming on her cheeks.
TAKE ME TO WONDERLAND----
“He summoned a most attentive smile, and having positioned the umbrella over their heads once more, looked round to see what puddles might have been in their way, more concerned about her poor soaked feet than his own. The young woman asked him what a cell phone was, a flush of shame seeping prettily into her cheeks, akin to a fresh bouquet of roses bleeding upon the smoothest marble. When Aubrey had brought his attention to her again, unfortunately for his lush, raven-haired companion, it didn’t go unnoticed, and finding her discomfort terribly cute; the playful devil was incredibly tempted to coax another reaction out of her— oh, just a little harmless one.
But the bright one already managed to put his foot in his mouth the first time with her, so he digressed and moved through the tranquil darkness with the sweet, demure Jenevieve. They must have appeared like two water lilies gliding idly upon a vast lake, the petals of his lips parting with a laugh that was deep and musical to the ears. It was void of mockery and possessed, in actuality, compassion and humor.
“You wouldn’t happen to be holding back a blush, would you?” asked the wide-eyed fox, to the petite, doll-faced beauty, with a well-meaning and playful countenance, leaving their previous destination to make their leisurely way into the city, “Oh, what a delightful expression! It really does suit you. Would it be too bold for me to assume you’re, oh, embarrassed? What about, if you don’t mind me asking, sweetheart?”
He sighed sweetly, “You shouldn’t be.”
The calm in him redoubled. That mischievous streak she ignited in the fellow a few seconds ago was gradually replaced with that of empathy, which she must have most likely needed right now, especially after all that relentless poking. “It is a portable contraption that can make and receive messages. It is faster than anything you can imagine, my dear. Of course, I will happily show you the ways of this magical box, just as soon as we get you all dried up. We wouldn’t want you to catch a cold on a night like this.”
There came a surprised look on his face, and the familiarity of the path implied they were much closer to his apartment than he originally thought, which embarrassed him to think he hadn’t wandered as far as he might have imagined but it also prompted him to ask the next question. “You know what would do us some good? A cup of tea. Do you like tea? I have plenty at home. Speaking of which,” said he, guiding her through the lot and up the stairs, being extremely mindful when it came to shielding her from the rain; “welcome to my humble abode.”
“Goodness, that is slippery! Watch your step, please,” said Aubrey, noting the all too slick feel of the steps beneath his feet. He didn’t want her falling, so he carefully eyed both her and the door, running his fingers through his wet hair as he quickly analyzed her needs. He would provide her the necessary comforts. The poor girl would tremble from the cold if he didn’t try.
When Aubrey opened the door to his apartment, he found himself waiting for her to enter, closing the umbrella, and giving it a good shake after he was certain she was inside.
He closed the door behind him silently.
“Wait here,” he murmured, settling his umbrella against the wall; “and permit me a moment or two to work my magic. I have a very special surprise for you~!” Aubrey didn’t wait to keep her waiting for too long. He imagined she must have begun to feel unsafe. The graceful gentleman moved quickly, and opened the drawer from the comfort of his bedroom. He had everything categorized by color, type, and texture. He pulled out items such as an unused pink hoodie, some blue high-waisted pants, and a light green shirt to compliment her brand new look. These were all things he made himself. Quickly he walked out, clothes folded neatly in one arm and a towel being held on the other, and presented them to her with a cheeky little wink.
“I think you should get into something a little more,” said the gracious host, his words slowing a little as he thought back to his offer of tea, “comfortable. The bathroom is just to your right. Once you’ve emerged your drink should be ready. And before I forget,” he sounded utterly cheery as he set to work placing the water-filled pot on the stove, “let me have your dress. I’ll throw it in the dryer for you,” he continued, “unless the fabric is of a delicate nature. I don’t want to ruin it.”
He hummed meaninglessly to himself as he nabbed a tea bag and a bottle of honey. “Do you want anything sweet to eat on the side, Jenevieve?” he called out to her from where he stood.
Word Count; 830
made bycapt. meows
made bycapt. meows
Aubrey had let out a laugh, purehearted in its amusement, only furthering Jen’s ashamed complexion. He teased her about the color rising to her cheeks. The moonlet turned away, shyly attempting to hide her face. She could tell it wasn’t malicious intent - there was a lighthearted tone to his voice. That couldn’t stop her bashful reaction. He asked what she was embarrassed about, to which she attempted an answer. “Well, I’ve never-” she started to defend herself, but trailed off as the redhead’s jesting ceased, reassuring words reaching her ears.
As he explained what a cell phone was, Jen’s brow furrowed. She tried to picture it in her head. What came to mind was a hand-held box that shot out handwritten letters that flew away into the distance. But how did it know where the letters ought to go? One must have to write in small handwriting to fit a letter in such a tiny box. Giving her head a quick shake, Jen dismissed the image from her mind, convinced that exhaustion had placed these weird ideas in her head. She dared not voice them for chance of further mockery. She’d just have to wait and see it for herself.
Despite the chill the rain had brought to her bones, the kindness of a stranger warmed her inside. Aubrey was so attentive, so sweet to someone he had just met. How lucky to encounter the kindest person in Rivengate to help her find an inn for the night. Though he was a tad odd, Jen found it charming. If the stars aligned just so, she could see them being great friends.
“I love tea!” she responded, lighting up at the thought of a warm drink. That would be the perfect thing to warm them up. The moonlet looked around as Aubrey announced their arrival to his home. It was a quaint building, but it looked cozy. He warned her of the slippery steps as they ascended the staircase. Jen took careful steps, though the water in her shoes was chilly enough that she could hardly feel her feet. When they reached the top, she looked up towards the door, only to realize that Aubrey’s concerned gaze had been on her. The eye contact was brief, she looked away before it could go on too long. Heaven forbid she be rude to such a kind acquaintance.
Giving one last glance out at the moon, she followed him inside. The whimsical man whisked away, claiming he had a surprise for her. Jen felt a slight apprehension pull at her stomach, all of a sudden reminded that she was alone with a stranger in his house. She stood close to the door, listening intently to the sounds of Aubrey rustling around in the other room.
He reappeared holding several articles of folded clothing in vibrant colors, along with a towel, which was presented with a wink that didn’t go unnoticed. Jen felt her shoulders relax, relieved blue eyes taking in the clothing he had gathered for her to change into. It certainly did look more comfortable, as he had mentioned, though she wasn’t exactly certain what types of clothing were in the pile. Whatever it was, she was grateful for it.
“Thank you, Aubrey,” she replied with very apparent gratitude. The moonlet gave as much of a curtsey as she could while soaked in rain and holding a bundle of clothing. It wasn’t elegant, but she was tired enough and comfortable enough around her new acquaintance that she didn’t care this time. “I usually dry my clothing by hanging it, so I’m not sure if you can put it in your dryer,” she added hesitantly. Her sister Helena usually did a lot of the laundry, so Jen wasn’t as well versed on the nature of fabric as her younger sibling was.
Jen went into the bathroom, closing the door behind her and giggling to herself at Aubrey’s erratic humming. She’d never met anyone like him, so eccentric and yet so gracious. She heard him ask if she wanted any sweets, to which she replied loudly through the door, “Yes, please!”
Looking at herself in the mirror, the black-haired beauty let out a sigh. She truly was soaked from head to toe. The umbrella had come too late in the night to protect her from the heaviest rain. Strands of hair were pressed to her cheeks, which were gaining a healthy rosy tone now that she was out of the weather. All of her clothes felt heavy, so without hesitation she removed them. The buffalope hide shawl dripped trails of water on the floor as she took it off. Hopefully the heavy water hadn’t damaged the beautiful leatherwork too much. She’d hate to lose such a precious gift from her sisters.
Jen neatly folded up her drenched dress and shawl, then took a moment to dry off her damp skin and wring out her hair as much as she could before she donned the clothing Aubrey had given her. Pulling out the lime green fabric, she unfolded it to see it was a long sleeve shirt with a high neckline. The moonlet tilted her head as she looked it over. Never before had she worn such a green, her outfits usually consisted of black, white, gold, or blue.
Over top of the green shirt, she pulled a soft pink hoodie. She’d seen many people wearing them on her travels through various cities, but until this moment she didn’t know how incredibly soft and comfortable they were. To cover her chilly legs was a pair of blue pants. At first she thought they had been sewn with a strange inseam, but quickly realized they were meant to be worn high on the waist. How peculiar, she thought to herself, turning left and right to look at the outfit in the mirror. Human fashion was so bizarre, yet Jen found herself rather liking the odd combination of colors.
“Thank you very much for lending me some clothing,” she said to Aubrey as she walked into the kitchen. “It’s very comfortable.” She slung her damp satchel over the corner of a chair, then held out her folded dress and buffalope hide shawl to the redhead. “They’re very wet,” she explained, a hint of woe in her voice. It would upset her to have ruined her favorite clothing as a result of such a simple mistake as forgetting to buy an umbrella.
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