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Date: 2/18/16


Talya was down in the dojo, neither teaching nor working out. No, today was more of a maintenance day - ensuring that everything was in working order, taking inventory, and all the so-very-dull minutiae that kept the business running. Ostensibly, Talya was down in the dojo to help but the ex-theif was really as much hindrance as she was aid. Boredom was not something the immortal handled well and she was certainly not above trying to distract Erik into more entertaining endeavors. 


At the moment, though, Talya was vaguely on task as she was double checking to make sure that the rings she'd set into the ceiling months ago were still holding up after the use they'd seen in class. Since there were no classes at the moment, she'd discarded the extra layers that were doing less and less to conceal her pregnancy to scale the rope with a power drill in one hand to tighten the bolts, with the rope caught between her knees. 


"I shall never complain about teaching classes again," Talya commented, which was most likely entirely false. Oh, she liked teaching but every now and again, everyone had a day where the last thing they wanted to do was crawl out of bed in the morning. 

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"Aw, c'mon. You don't find any of this cathartic?" Erik posed to her with some amusement as he finished rotating another section of padding with a faint grunt. The ripped jeans and distinctly stained tank top he'd donned for the day's work wasn't his most put together outfit but at least he wasn't worried about messing it up any further. Standing back up to his full height he took the opportunity to stretch his back and regard Talya with undisguised appreciation. "Putting everything in the right place, making sure everything works? Back at the brownstone I did most of the handyman stuff around the place. It was nice to just fix the little stuff sometimes and not worry so much about the big stuff."

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The door to the Espadas School of Self-Defense and Swordsmanship! opened, its bell announcing a new arrival and interrupting Erik and Talya's banter.  The young woman briefly framed by the door was short, very short, with sage green eyes and white hair that went past the shoulders.  She paused to study the scene in front of her then quietly closed the door behind her, shifting the folio she held in one hand to the other.


"Erik," the young woman said with a French accented soprano, "Am I interrupting or do you have a moment?"

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The fencing instructor looked up from what he doing and grinned, waving the petite Frenchwoman inside. "Hey, Snowcap! C'mon in, you're fine." Brushing off his knees with only minimal effectiveness he walked over to greet the new arrival and extended his hand. "We're just doing some maintenance, didn't know you'd be swinging by today. Talya, this is Eve Martel, a not insignificant reason this place manages to keep its doors open month after month. I know what you're thinking but no, not a relative of Min's." Turning back to Eve he presented the woman hanging from the ceiling with a flourish. "And may I present Talya Browning, esteemed faculty member of this illustrious institution. So, what's up? Just checking in?"

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Talya finished with the power drill, handy despite her complaints and protests and paused to eye Erik. Her tones were dryer than usual as she added, "Yes, clearly that's what I feel my immortal days are missing; more manual labor..." She murmured although her attention turned to the new arrival. With a gymnast's grace - despite her ever changing center of balance - she dropped lightly to the mat below. The expression the blonde bombshell slanted towards Erik was affectionately amused, "Dearest, I am well aware of who the Martels are."


Shifting the power drill to her other hand, she offered hers once Erik was done with his greeting. "Je suis très heureuse de vous rencontrer." She offered, her French as flawless as her English. The smile she offered was dazzling, "J'ai entendu beaucoup de bien sur votre travail."


Talya turned that smile on Erik as she teased, "That explains so much about why the books are so... interesting."

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"The pleasure is mine," Eve said, flashing a warm smile at Talya and accepting the handshake.


The petite Frenchwoman cast a glance at the rings in the ceiling Talya had been working on and raised a snow white eyebrow.  "Interesting addition since the last time I've been here," she commented, though whether she was talking about Talya or the modifications to the school was a little unclear.  What was clear was that she felt a little out of place dressed as she was when both Erik and Talya were dressed down, so she smoothed her skirt with one hand and waggled the folio at Erik to distract herself from it.


"Yeah, just checking in," she said.  "You've been doing good things in the West End, on and off the clock, and I wanted to float something by you.  What do you think about City Council?"

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"Easy for you to say," Erik drawled, apparently the only one in the room who wasn't fluent in French - something he should have seen coming, in retrospect. "I was a bit of a hard sell after... well, you know I don't like asking for help," he told Talya when she remarked on the complicated nature of the school's financials, side-stepping the more sensitive conversation. "We do okay here anyway but the extra money is why we can do those free youth nights or afford equipment for Vince."


Eve's question caught him off-guard and he blinked for a moment as he processed the change in topic. "The Council? I dunno, getting the zoning worked out for this place was a pain in the ass but I think they're mostly alright? Not running the place into the ground like some cities, anyway. Why?"

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The glance Talya slanted towards Erik was thoughtful but she didn't press. Instead, after making a mental note to pester him about that privately, she turned her attention to the latter half of Eve's statement and then laughed softly. "Erik Espadas, city council?" She asked, making the leap towards where Eve might be going with this. Her blue gaze twinkled with good humor, "Well, he has been having the occasional half an hour of free time, here and there - although efforts are regularly made to keep that to a bare minimum."


There was an additional undertone to that statement, and laughter under the British spy's crisp tones. She gave a shake of her head, "You were talking about trying to help out with the restart of that outdoor market come spring." Talya offered helpfully - although who she was helping was a matter of debate.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Eve nodded to Talya.


"Councilman Espasas, exactly," she said, flashing a brief smile.  She held up a hand for a moment to forestall any immediate objections.  "Mind you, it's just a thought but I do think you're qualified and the optics are good."


"But, really, I just wanted to visit.  I hadn't been by in a while and I know I've been remiss on my lessons," she shrugged awkwardly.  "Been too busy with the Foundation and the Dutemps building and school and visiting my girlfriend in Canada.  Sometimes I just need a break from the castle, and I don't really have many places to go."

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  • 3 weeks later...

"What?" Erik looked back and forth between the two women for several moments, failing to parse what was being said. Realization seemed to come all at once as his mouth screwed up in a sour expression. "Dios, no! Absolutely not! Me, sitting behind a desk with, I mean, a tie and whatever, spending other people's money and worry about getting reelected?" He shuddered involuntarily and made a disturbed sound from deep in his chest. "If people need help organizing things or figuring out what the community needs most, that's one thing but..." The swordsman trailed off as it occurred to him that he was roughly describing the role of a councilman and following that train of thought any further was probably going to work against him. "Guh. Change of subject. Did not think your 'girlfriend in Canada' was actually real."

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"Oh, darling, we all sometimes need a break from our castles," Talya said with a mischievous grin that said she wasn't yet done giving Erik a hard time as she slanted her blue-eyed gaze his direction, "But think of the fun we could have with you having a public office to misuse," pointed out the ex-thief with clear laughter and a pat to his bicep as she explained to Eve, "Erik has come to the depressing realization that he's become the responsible one in the last few years. We are still adjusting. You'll have better luck talking him into it once he's spent a few nights thinking about the good he could do."


Her smile gentled then, "Espadas, it turns out, are very bad at relegating themselves to manageable goals but I don't think you need an excuse to come by and visit. Time gets away from all of us, now and again." Talya finished coiling up the rope she had been putting away and with the social acumen she was known for, offered easily in case the woman needed a little privacy with Erik, "Could I get you something to drink?"

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