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Are You French Enough?


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January 13th, 5.42 PM, 2013

Chez Henri, Liberty Street, Midtown

On the sleek and stately steps leading up to the blazing double-doors, besuited Subito Sondo leaned against a brass rail and contemplated his fate. The Chez Henri had seemed like the perfect place to take Cerys out. A classy French restaurant, with upscale clientele and renowned food? How could that have gone wrong? All the reviews he had read, all the people he had asked about had all sworn by its suitability for taking a young lady out for an unforgettable evening. As he looked up at its magnificent carved facade and thought with a pang of quiet horror about what he had spent to get he and Blodeuwedd inside however, all he could think was 'God, why didn't I just ask her out to Maddens or something? What have I done?'

He sank into his well-tailored and very flattering suit and observed a stray drift of dirty snow on the sidewalk for a moment before he stood up straight, jaw set defiantly and eye ablaze with determination. This wasn't about him, this was about making a magical evening for the kind of girl who floored him, all else was as dust in the wind! "Faint heart never won a fair lady, 'Bito" he told himself sternly, ignoring the askance glances from a much older and worldly-looking couple passing by him arm in arm.

He looked then up and down the street, hazel eyes darting about for a sight of the young super-agent. Whatever else it was, tonight would be memorable.

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Blodeuwedd who had bluffed a Queen of the Tylwyth Teg and faced down prehistoric monsters was nervous. It was the first time she had chance to go on a real date, with a real person, well Subito at least.

It was important enough that she had asked Sam for help pick out a suitable dress for the evening, she’d then run the idea pass Mali to get something that was a little less risqué. She’d even been tempted to ask for Tona input, but she didn’t have much knowledge of this world fashion, and she’d seemed a little off the last couple of days.

She’d taken a taxi, not trusting her nerves enough to drive, trying to time everything to perfection as usual. Freedom City’s traffic was kind to her and she walked through the door more or less on time.

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Starting as Cerys walked coolly into the restaurant with a click of her heels on the hard floor, Subito hurriedly flicked curls out of his face and walked over to her as calmly as he could manage. The five feet between the two teens gave him plenty of time to be rendered utterly speechless as he properly saw her. Standing before Blodeuwedd for a second he began "I-y-you-" then suddenly blushed, put hand under her chin, kissed her cheek, and wordlessly led her up to the extraordinarily dapper and neat-as-a-pin maitre'd, only kind of stumbled over telling the man(who was too polite to smirk. much) their names, and glided through the brilliantly-lit dining floor, crystal chandeliers making the wine glasses and ornate sculptures of the Chez Henri sparkle like a lesser version of a Fey's palace.

Politely seeing Blodeuwedd seated before himself, Subito sat with grace onto the luxurious and extremely expensive chair, scooted it closer to the table draped with satin and lace, looked into the beautiful eyes of the girl who had feelings for him, and whispered "Blodeu, I have no idea what to do. Help me." he hesitated and added gently "You...you're really pretty tonight. I mean, you always are, but...um.." he blushed and looked away, desperate for something else to think about, came up with nothing and looked back at Cerys with the beginning of a shy smile.

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Blodeuwedd had a fairly important decision to make here, in her training for infiltration she’d been taught how to have and act in almost any social situation. But to do that she’d have to play the part, and not be Cerys or even Blodeuwedd. The other way would be to act just like she always did, but that carried the chance of embarrassing Subito.

“Imagine yourself as one of those secret agents’s you keep comparing me to. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, act as if you do. Or just be yourself, you'll never meet these people again so why worry what they think?â€

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"No, I don't mean it like that. Subito shook his head vigorously, swinging his arms over the back of the chair and frowning at the table for a moment.

Looking back up at Blodeuwedd he said "I don't know what you do on a date." he blushed furiously and rubbed at the back of his head, heedless of the raised eyebrows he got from a few of the nearby diners. "I mean, I thought as far as the whole 'take you out to dinner', but...that's about it. Do we like, talk about ourselves?"

Sinking back against the table he went on "I've never been on a date, except once back in Joseph Clark High, that didn't go too well...and once with another student at Claremont" he winced at the memory of Janis, and soldiered on "...Anyway! What kind of stuff did the Amdiffynnwr teach you about going to restaurants?"

Edited by Arichamus
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“To mirror the person movements and to give little motions and touches to feint possible attraction. How to appear to show an interest in their work and hobbies.†Her voice wasn’t particularly unkind and softer than her normal matter of fact tone “I was trained how to get close to people to find out important information and recover artefacts, not how to go on a first date.â€

She reached over and gently touched Suito on the hands.

“I’m here to spend a pleasant evening with my boyfriend, we’ll eat some nice food, have some conversation and maybe some kissing. After that who knows…†the final line was punctuated with just a simple raise of the eyebrow.

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Entwining Blodeuwedd's fingers with his own, Subito quietly held her hand for a while, not blinking once as he stared into her eyes.

Suddenly he laughed, brought her hand to his full lips for a faux-salacious kiss and released it, resting his chin on hands and beaming at her like the sun. "Blodeu, you make the best plans ever." he took a much more relaxed position against the chair, glancing around at the glittering surroundings and then back at Cerys. Flipping open the sleek and mostly white and gold menu he scanned it casually, asking Blodeuwedd "So, whaddaya wanna eat? Dunno about you, but I've never eaten most of the stuff on here, I'll try their...uh..." he read the word a few times to get a handle on it, saying with great decision "ratatouille niçoise, and something called a pan bagnat-oh!" his hazel eyes lit up as he found a very interesting section of the menu, and putting it partially down he asked the lithe agent brightly "Hey, you want to try any of their wines, princess? I mean," he blushed "I know we're not really old enough, but I've had wine plenty of times."

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“Why Mr Sondo you’re not trying to get me drunk are you?†she reached into her clutch and waved around a little card “Your forgetting that I’m of legal age, or at least Miss Bextor is.â€

She waved the waiter over and order a good quality, but affordable, wine for the two of them. IN some way’s she treated this date like a mission, making sure she’d done her homework on suitable food and drink items for the evening meal. She’d felt a little guilty about thinking of the date like this, but it was just her way she coped with things.

“Talking of which we can spend the night at Ellis’s place. It’ll avoid unfortunate questions at school.â€

She’d explained to him about how Ellis her secondary cover identity had her own apartment not far from the school. But until now she hadn’t had a chance to show him the place.â€

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Subito looked utterly horrified "What? I-no! You know I'd never do that!" he protested earnestly, his horror quickly giving way to a cheeky "Besides Mz. Pfer, I bet you'd kick my ass in ten different ways if I did try that." he waited politely as Cerys ordered their drink, warmly thanking the waiter before they departed. He glanced with a smirk at his date.

"'Miss Bextor'? Geez Blodeu, reminds me of that time I found you at that club where that Avian guy attacked" with a laugh he softly mimicked her voice "'There's no time to explain but tonight my name is Ellis and I'm twenty-one'. Seriously, there's nobody like you in the world, my princess." he said warmly, tossing his suit jacket over the back of his chair and loosening his dark blue tie as the warmth of the heated and busy restaurant began to seep in. The music being played by the small orchestra on a level above them floated gently down, an old song by one of France's Baroque masters.

“Talking of which we can spend the night at Ellis’s place. It’ll avoid unfortunate questions at school.â€

She’d explained to him about how Ellis her secondary cover identity had her own apartment not far from the school. But until now she hadn’t had a chance to show him the place.â€

"Hrm" the well-built boy took a sip of water and frowned for a moment before answering. Putting his glass on the table, his hand looking like it could crush it between two fingers, with a soft *tnk* he said "I...dunno 'bout that." brushing a few curls aside he went on, looking seriously at Blodeuwedd "What exactly d'you want to do when we get there..Ellis? I mean, you're seriously hot" he blurted, reddening but going on "and we've gotten real close, and then there was the Lost World thing. But...I really don't think we're ready for...you know...that yet." he took a deep breath and looked her in the eyes.

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“And you’re one of the kindest most open people I’ve ever meet, it must be true that opposites attract.â€

Blodeuwedd did something that Subito had rarely heard she laughed, a not unpleasant time.

“There’s a spare bedroom you chump. Better that than getting in trouble for being drunk. Though it would be a terrible waste of a double bed, me in there all alone all that space going to waste…â€

She picked up the wine and sipped it, before looking at Subito over the glass.

“You know as part of my training I was taught techniques to seduce… almost anyone. There not perfect, people can be stubborn by nature, but if I wanted I could have you wrapped around my little finger. But I’m not going to do that because we’re going to do this your way, when you’re ready we’ll see how things develop.†And after a few second to let things sink in, and because she knew how boys though “And no I’ve not been with anyone else, my training was bought forward because of an important mission.â€

This mission was about the only secret she hadn’t told Subito about, the real reason she ended up at Claremont.

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Subito blushed and looked away at the compliment, saying quietly "Thank you. I-don't really think I've been kind or honest, even to you. Not enough anyway." he admitted.

Cerys's laugh and subsequent explanation of what she meant had the boy nearly squirming self-consciously in his chair, and he could only say after several seconds "Well..all right I'll join you. I mean, if you're seriously that lonely your big ol' bed" he added quickly and taking a miniscule, exploratory sip of wine to give an excuse not to meet his girlfriend's warm eyes. Glancing up for a second he added "Also, I need to find ways to make you laugh more. Where do you like being tickled, 'Ellis'?" he asked with cocky grin.

“You know as part of my training I was taught techniques to seduce… almost anyone. There not perfect, people can be stubborn by nature, but if I wanted I could have you wrapped around my little finger. But I’m not going to do that because we’re going to do this your way, when you’re ready we’ll see how things develop.†And after a few second to let things sink in, and because she knew how boys though “And no I’ve not been with anyone else, my training was bought forward because of an important mission.â€

The handsome schoolboy was quiet at that.

'This is what you were talking about. You knew she was more than she seemed? It is more accurate to say that you were one of the few who did not immediately realize that, Herald'

Subito was deep in thought for well over a minute, silently taking the tray from their waiter when the fashionable young man with blond hair and a and neatly-pressed uniform arrived, divvying out his and Blodeuwedd's ordered meal. Passing the empty tray back to the baffled waiter with a polite and subdued "Thank you very much", Subito took a bite of his ratatouille, chewed it, put his fork down and after swallowing said "This is even better'n I thought it'd be." Looking up at Cerys at last he smiled and said "Heh, you would barely have needed to do anythin' to seduce me. Thank you, Cer-Ellis. Ellis! Blarghle..." he flushed and glanced away, smarting from the obvious mistake before resting his elbows on the table and continuing "So yeah, thank you for telling me about that part of your trainin'. It might not seem like a lot, but it means everything to me that you'll tell me stuff like that, and wait for me to feel ready before we...um...sleep together. I wouldn't think any worse of you if y'did have a history like that Ellis, but I wouldn't like your family much for it." he explained moodily. 'Wonder when I should tell her my secrets? As soon as you can Right...'

Taking her hand gently in his he added "And princess, if you really do want me wrapped around you, just say the word and I'll happily oblige. Whenever my sister was feelin' down at school, which happened sometimes 'cause of normal school stuff, but motly 'cause of the harpies who kept spreadin' rumors she was gay, she'd wait 'til we were both at recess an' ask for a hug. She always felt better afterwards." he smiled both at the memory and at Blodeuwedd across the table.

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“Hugs are not something to be given lightly, there only to be used in emergency.†It was hard to tell how series she was being with her normal deadpan voice.

There was no doubt of what her thoughts were on the next subject.

“I do wish you wouldn’t call me Princess. I know you understand the legend, I’ve told you the story enough. In the kind of world we live in curses like that can be real, I don’t want betrayal in my future but it could really happen.â€

There was a tradition that when any agent called Blodeuwedd, who were never Sage’s or magic users of any stripe, took a permanent partner they took another name. She’ wasn’t sure if the two of them would get that serious, but she wasn’t ready to give up Blodeuwedd anytime soon, if at all.

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"Emergencies of love, yeah!" Subito agreed, his smile dimming slightly as he leaned forward and rested his chin on a fist, listening to Blodeuwedd's gentle explanation. Looking at the tablecloth he rubbed his jaw, then looked back up with a wince. "Sorry Cerys, I didn't think of it like that. Every time we talk about your Order's connection to the mystic stuff it...well it's way far off in the past n'stuff. It's not like it's right here in front of me and I couldn't ignore it if I tried" he shrugged and squeezed her hand tenderly. He smiled "Can I call ya 'mistress' instead?"

Smiling a little more, he said "I won't call you that anymore Blodeu, I mean unless you actually do become one and stuff! Then I'll murmur it seductively into your ear while we stand on a cliff overlooking the roaring sea while dressed in the flimsiest stuff we can find. Y'know, like normal people!"

He took another bite of his food, and asked casually "So, how's Claremont been for ya so far? Finally met that Mali Benjawan girl, I think you mentioned her to me 'couple of times? So awesome." he took an experimental further sip of wine, closing his eyes a little as he savored it "Mmmm...it tastes so..deep...I'm gonna try and help her out with that Thai food thing she's thinkin' of doin'!"

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“To me the world of magic was all around me growing up, every year the whole of the village meet’s the local Tylwyth Teg to renew a pack that’s existed since time immortal. They keep a glamour on Caer Dathyl meaning that no one can find the village unless the Order allow’s them. There’s a story that when an Agent finish’s there training they sent to visit Arianrhod herself. She’s said to give Blodeuwedd’s a practically hard time, it said that why us Blodeuwedd are choosen from the most charming of Agent’s.†she gave a little laugh “Or maybe Taid was being kind to me, I’ve yet to be sent to meet the Arianhod.â€

She picked at her food for a few minutes considering what to say about her school experience, as much as she loved Subito he could be a little oblivious to what was happening around him.

“I’ve made some wonderful friend’s, and even you, but I don’t think you really see what I’m like at school. What you see as a quiet brooding confidence is just the opposite; Cerys is just a shy little wallflower. It strange to say but she’s not quite me, but she’s not quite a part I play.â€

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"Oh, I get that part Blodeu." Subito assured the girl with a carefree smile "That was one of the first things you told me at that club, and by now I understand totally what you meant." taking a deeper sip of wine with another slow close of his eyes in relish, he added "It's kind of like how a lot of supers do it with their hero names and stuff, you know? When they've got the costume on, a lot of 'em are pretty much different people."

He laughed openly at Blodeuwedd's story about the Arianrhod, although he was feeling a little uneasy at what might happen when she was asked to go see the Fey "Well, since I'm an associate of the Order, does that mean I can come too? Maybe in case you need a spare pillow or something?" he asked with an exaggeratedly coy look, holding the side of his curly head in a powerful hand. With a cheery grin he added "I bet you'll do great Ellis! She won't know what hit her when you walk in the room." Subito told his girlfriend with profound certainty, undoing the top button of his shirt, which was starting to be a little constrained in the warm restaurant.

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“It’s not every day you get to meet a goddess let alone one that was responsible for founding an entire order. But I’ve heard that the whole trial isn’t particularly pleasant. She can’t harm anyone, we have a series of pact bounding her to her word, but she can still use what she knows. And Arianhod is the personification of the moon and the moon knows secret’s.†from her face she was almost reciting from memory

“And if you want you can be my second, but she’ll use anything against the Agent including any attachments. And being that she resides in the realm of the God’s any and all sprit’s can manifest at will. Are you sure you want the two of them together picking apart your behaviour?â€

During their time together, both professionally and as a “coupleâ€, she had learned a quite a bit of Subito dealings with his empowering spirit. Plus the Order had made extensive studies of such spirit, like Britannia, though they generally stayed beloved there radar.

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The next forkful of ratatouille paused a few inches from Subito's mouth as Blodeuwedd spoke, and the boy's cheerful face sank a little. Chewing slowly and with care, he abruptly swallowed and took a quick sip of wine, now with much less attention to its flavor. Putting the fragile-looking glass down with a faint clink, he said "I had no idea. That going along might be a danger to you, I mean." the boy added "If me being there would make things to difficult Blodeu, I'll stay back. I'm not afraid of the Blue Dame and Arianhod lecturing me and tellin' me where I screwed up, and I bet we can get totally through something like that together, but if it means-" he paused and looked questioningly at the strong girl opposite him "Wait...what kind of danger would I pro'lly be adding to?"

Leaning casually back against the chair he grinned "And sorry we've steered into this, m'lady, if you want we can talk about something else. For example," he set with will into his food "what kind of drinks do you like? And what are Ellis's considered opinions on aliens?"

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"There no physical danger, she bound up in certain pacts and geises to advoid that. It's more a test of resolve and willpower there are a few that are unfit to serve the order in the field, even after all there training. Arianhod seems to get some pleasure in breaking these kind of people, it's as much control as we allow her."

She sipped a little wine and gave one of her thin smiles.

"I'm not sure about Ellis but quite like this wine. We're not on a mission and the waiter isn't paying us any attention so please call me Blodeuwedd, or even Blodeu I've alway's quite liked that. Though I'm afraid this as about as normal as you're going to get, that why I wanted for you to see more of the Order to see the kind of lifestyle I consider normal and everyday. That part of me is very unlikely to change anyday soon. There's a chance that when we finish school I might be asked to return home to resume what I was trained for..."

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"You won't be in that kinda danger? Awesome!" Subito sighed in relief, smiling cheerfully at her. "In that case, I bet you can take her no problem! And I wouldn't want to miss you bein' awesome, so you better believe I'm comin' along!"


"I'm not sure about Ellis but quite like this wine. We're not on a mission and the waiter isn't paying us any attention so please call me Blodeuwedd, or even Blodeu I've alway's quite liked that."


Subito blushed and ducked his head a little "You..you like it when I call you Blodeu? I always thought...nevermind! I just thought you liked it because I was being silly." the boy laughed and took an experimental sip of his win that turned it into a sizable mouthful. Putting the glass down he shook his head vigorously "Woo! This wine's great, we should get some more of it sometime! And I bet I could change you Blodeuwedd" he added with a cocky grin "Though I bet you'd change me a whole lot too."


He settled against the chair, resting his head for a moment against the back and closing his eyes meditatively. With a careful slowing of his breath he concentrated on picking apart the sounds around him, carefully separating the chamber music drifitng from above from the chatter of the nearby diners(whose conversation was something that constantly urged him to flush crimson and bury his head in his hands), the cars outside from the clatter in the kitchen, slowly focusing on the gentle breathing and familiar heartbeat of Blodeuwedd. "We should have done this long ago, Blodeuwedd" he murmured "Anything you want to talk about?"

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In some way Blodeuwedd had been dreading this moment. She of course knew how to do small talk, she’d been trained to be able to find common ground with almost everyone. But that was to gain a persons confidence so ultimately revolved around the “targetâ€. Her life didn’t really have a normal to talk around.

“You know I’m not very good on small talk, and I’m not sure you want to hear what various cliche around Claremont are up to right now. To be honest you probably know more about that than I do.â€

She put head on her hand and looked at him as innocently as she could, in these circumstances it’s was best to sneak up on the person, conversationally speaking. And sneaking was one thing she was good at.

“There was one thing I was wondering about. You’ve meet my family, so when do i get to return the favour?â€

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"Ugh, don't remind me." Subito cast a theatrical hand over his face "One thing they never tell you 'bout super-hearin'? Havin' to listen to people talk about their plans for going out in the other locker rooms and showers. Every time, Yeah, let's talk about anything other'n what Shanna's posse has been up to, or what the Tremor Twins have been doing to torment Mr. Skyler." The musuclar boy sudenly dropped the hand from his face and smiled fondly at Cerys "Though I've heard rumors about a certain lovely and mysterious ninja who's been doin' amazing stuff around campus." with a deft movement Subito took Blodeuwedd's free hand in his and brought it tenderly to his lips.


“There was one thing I was wondering about. You’ve meet my family, so when do i get to return the favour?â€


He blinked "Uh...welll..." he glanced away nervously "you see...um..last time I brought people from school home, my cousin kinda turned into an armored supervillain and tried to beat me up. I'm kinda scared of tryin' a hangout like that again. I'll totally do it though, if you want!" he added quickly, smiling confidently "I bet ya could take some rando super-guy! When would you like to go?" he fluttered his eyelashes "Could make for a good Valentine's Day present. Though i still think I oughta give ya me in a ribbon hiding inside a cake..." he casually unbuttoned his sleeves, rolling them up his arms as he spoke.

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Blodeuwedd didn’t exactly smile but she had a rather contented look on her face, and she didn’t move her hand from Subito’s embrace.

“And that’s why i like you. But no amount of charm will get you out of the questions. I’m not saying we'll have to suddenly go serious and name a date, but it would be nice to see how a normal family operated. Well relatively normal.†this time she did smile.

“And when you met my family it involved a Fae queen and a lake monster, so I think I can handle a little of your families weirdness.â€

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"I'm not avoiding the question!" Subito protested, looking embarrassed all the same "I just don't...well..." he glanced away "We're like...ourselves, you know? And we can be ourselves 'round each other, but...when you're around other folks you act like Cerys, and I'd like 'em to meet Blodeu instead. But...what do you want Blodeuwedd?"


The hearty boy smiled affectionately "And I'll have ya know my family's perfectly normal! At least, compared to an order of secret agents devoted to safeguarding the British Isles that is." he casually began massaging her hand, taking another sip of wine and feeling a slow blush spread across his face as he added "And none of them look as good in black."

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“Well I don’t really have any way of telling if any family is normal, I didn’t have anything approaching a normal upbringing. Not that I never felt loved or nurtured it’s just that there was always a singular focus in my upbringing.â€


She stopped and sipped at the wine, why she gathered her thought.


“It would just be nice to see how normal people do things, be part of a real family, however temporary. And I guess I should stop talking like this is all doomed from the start. Maybe I’m to use to the doomed romances from myths, maybe I should try some of those romance books and films people talk about.â€

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Subito looked glum. "Yeah, the Amddiffynnwr seem kinda like soldiers. Makes what you said when we first met a little creepy. 'Taught since you were little to fight Evil', I mean." He suddenly realized that several couples were leaving the dining room and making their arm-in-arm way to the austerely sumptuous ballroom. A sudden wave of anxiety washed over him as he remembered 'Oh yeah, the dancing thing'


Smiling tenderly he said "My family ain't really normal. Not a lot of folks with sisters like Galanta, moms like Broma or dads like Pavor. We're 'normal' I guess in that we love each other 'spite that. They'll love you Cerys," he said looking earnestly at her, then cracked a broad grin "If they can love me, you won't have any problems! An' we should do some reading together, sometime. You're always reading those super-old epic poems that I can barely get a hundred pages into 'cause everyone's names are so crazy, and if I give ya anything newer than The lord of the Rings you go all "Oh, that's not really my taste Subito"" he rolled his eyes. Glancing askance at the other nearby chatting patrons he said awkwardly "Uh...if you, y'know, really do wanna start reading stuff like romance books n'stuff I might, uh, have some you can borrow." he suddenly held Blodeuwedd's hand tightly as whispered, eyes pleading "Please don't tell anybody! Seriously nobody knows. And I bet Ellis might not mind if we bring some love story movies to her place" he added with a renewed smile.


Getting up after finishing his food he jerked his head over at the ballroom, where the chamber orchestra was just starting "Wanna dance?" he asked casually, doing his best to keep his heart from pounding in excitement at the idea of being..like that with Cerys.





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