The viewing is being held at a rather large and prestigous gallery in central Dogwood. Connor himself is dressed to the nines, with a sharp looking coat, dark pants with red piping and shined shoes. Very refined, very not like the favored martial dress of the Trent siblings. He’s waiting out front of the gallery for his… date.
An art exhibition. It’s been a while. The last one was when Jericho had escorted to see Jarvin. To get an invitation, out of the blue, is a nice change but she does wonder how much Connor is asking her because he wants to go or whether it has something to do with the game they are playing.
And no matter how much she is besotted with the man, the part-elf tries to remember … this is a game.
It’s hard to mistake her as she approaches the Gallery. The dress shimmers and sparkles as the catch it when she moves. She’s tall, of course, but it’s her colouring and her elfen features that set her apart. Which might be why she walks with her head high as people whisper about her.
Seeing Connor, a genuine smile touches her lips. She can’t help it, the man has managed to worm his way into her good graces. “Baronet Trent. You look dashing tonight. I do hope I haven’t kept you waiting.”
Connor returns the smile, genuine for all she can tell. “Not at all Miss Taniguchi. If we’re going to be formal, that is. Surely, you know you can call me Connor if you like, yes?”
The man offers her an arm, ignoring the whispers. Jericho often quells them with a look. Connor doesn’t even seem to notice them, or if he does notice them thinks they’re beneath him, of absolutely no conseuqence.
“You do look nice tonight. I’m glad you could make it, there’s not many people in my circles who share my appreciation of Neo-Modern Impressionism. Shall we go inside?”
The charm, he’s definitely on it tonight.
“I wouldn’t dare take such liberties, Sir….” Natsu murmurs, giving the Baronet a hooded look. It’s a flirt but a mild one. “If I call you Connor, you must call me Natsuki.” Not Natsu or Sooki, Natsuki. She has boundaries!
“I didn’t realise you had a love of art, Connor…” his name is almost a caress “… but neo-modern impressionism is one of my favourites. I studied it, you know? At school.” She never talks about her past, well rarely. “I hear they have the Van Goth here. That was a bit of a coup for them.” Van Goth. That’s how it’s translated. In the time that was it was known as ‘Starry Night’ by Van Gough. Of course, it’s not the original, but a very good facsimile of it.
She takes the arm, covering it with both hands. “Shall we, then?” It’s so different, how he behaves with her. With Jericho, it often feels like he’ll start a fight.
“If course, Natsuki.” Connor starts to escort her in, past other Dogwood art scene noteables. Natsuki will know who many of these people are. They would have been her peers or teachers in school. Many of them, of course, come from money. One does not really have the leisure for art without coming from Money.
“Did you now?” It’s hard to tell if he knew that before hand or if this is just fortunate happenstance but he’s going to play it like the latter.
“So do I, as well as several of the Post-Fall artists who took inspiration from him.”
And in they go. “I trust things are going well with your House? I would hope our arrangement is already starting to… be fruitful.”
There are even more whispers as they enter, people leaning in to speak to each other as eyes follow the pair. Natsuki nods and smiles as they walk “That’s Doctor Formichael over there.” A rather stately woman who definitely has the look of an artist about her. “I studied … under … her in my final year.” The tone she uses is slightly suggestive, trying to keep the upper hand in this exchange.
His comment gets a quirked brow and soft snort “Indeed I did. Until my cousin called me to service, I was going to be an artist.” He might wonder, perhaps, why. Why she hadn’t gone to live her with Grandmother when the Elfen woman left after her Grandfathers death.
Up ahead is a small display. It’s an interesting array of colours used on the paintings. Blues and Yellows and what seems to be blue boxes that exploding…
“Things are, thank you.” Natsu sighs and strokes Connor’s arm, without really thinking, “The Winters holding is being upgraded as we speak. We haven’t seen anymore equipment failures either. So that’s something.”
Connor’s eyes follow as Natsuki talks her way around the room, mentioning those she knows and those she has studied… with. He smiles, not quite put off his game by her own. Normally she’d have someone blushing by this point and thinking very particular thoughts.
“Here’s an interesting display. Shifting a very clever spectrum back and forth so that the colors seem to bleed into eachother as they’re not focused on and pop out when they are. Rather like some people I know…” Natsuki often pops out but she’s quite an adept social chamelion…
There’s a number that Natsuki admits to having … studied with. It’s likely she truly did study with them and nothing happened but she’s using her reputation and her natural charm to try and get Connor’s imagination working and much like the son, the Father is rather vexing.
“I do like the colours, yes.” Natsuki murmurs, glancing at Connor and chuckling “Are you referring to me, Connor?” She could just relax, and enjoy the mans company rather than trying to put him off his game. So far the Baronet has set the field of battle and that’s not something Natsu’s particularly used to. “It is interesting is not?”
It might put him off that she doesn’t try to flirt this time, simply settling her hand on his arm and canting her head. “At school, we spent hours deconstructing what the artist might be trying to convey. It was always an interesting discussion. Then, one day, I met the artist of a piece we’d been discussing, at a party. So I asked him, what message he’d been communicating. Do you know what he said?”
The change of tactics certainly gets Connors attention though he seems to attempt to rally. Normally Natsuki had been the one leading. He hadn’t really needed to draw her in, she’d done that for him. Now she’s backing off. He doesn’t stutter, not yet, but she can tell he’s ‘following’.
“And what was it that he said?” The smile from Connor is still genuine seeming. What is it he knows? Or is it that he just enjoys Nat’s company? Could it be that?
Connor knows something. It can’t be Greg or what she does for him. That’s buried. Deep. Isn’t. So what is it. There’s not much that could be used against her – so maybe it’s about Zelda. The intrigue, is fascinating, and if the stakes weren’t so high she’d be enjoying this immensely.
“He said he hadn’t been trying to communicate anything. He’d been trying to reach for a different colour and knocked one of his paint containers over. He liked the way it looked, so went with it.” She smiles then and gestures to the artwork. “It’s funny what motives we ascribe to others, isn’t it?”
A waiter is circulating with glasses of wine. This is a special one – carbonated and slightly sweet. It’s produced by Guild House Hardy and they only do a limited run each year. Natsu takes a glass with her free hand, her other still tucked on Connors arm. There’s another display just ahead of them. This one is portraits – and should be interesting …
“Ah yes…” Conner actually laughs at that one. Not loud and boisterous but more than just a snicker. Enough of a laugh to really sound like he’s amused and having a good time. And why shouldn’t he be? He’s enjoying good art and good company.
“Art critics tend to do that. People do in general actually. They look for meaning when they should just be looking at what they’re looking at. Sometimes art is just art. And sometimes people… are just people.”
People. Not humans. Not D-Bees. People. He clearly means some of that in Nat’s direction.
“Still, it’s a good piece. I wish my accidents turned out so well.” That comes with a wink.
Natsu laughs and Connor can feel her relax a little. If he keeps that up, she might forget what she’s here for. “Well, I think most of us do. Although, I think it took a special sort of bravery to take what happened and put it on display.” Maybe she won’t forget, at least not yet.
“People? You’re … unique … Connor. At least unique for Dogwood.” the part-elf says quietly, handing him the glass she’s taken and taking another one for herself. “Most who are seen with me like this, expect … ” she shakes her head and smiles a bit, not finishing the thought. Instead she raises her glass in a toast to him “To what shall we toast?”
“Let’s toast being unique, shall we?” Connor takes a glass and raises it to Natsuki. “Or we can toast art and good company.” He’s so very… affable. Able to keep pace with her. Not over eager. He’s managed to put her off her game at least once. Will that happen again?
“Sometimes bravery is so rewarded. Sometimes it’s not. But it’s important all the same, don’t you think? Certainly there are a lot of failures that didn’t end up in tonight’s display. But without bravery… we wouldn’t have that, would we?” He says gesturing back to the painting… by way of Nat herself.
“How to being unique and brave…” Natsu murmurs, clinking her glass with his and watching him carefully. Maybe he just likes her. That’s possible isn’t it?
She turns as he gestures, observing the painting again “No, we wouldn’t. And we wouldn’t have a lot of things, either.” She takes a sip of the wine, closing her eyes in pleasure and sighing. “Like this wine. What do you think of it?”
She leans, just a little, against the Baronet as they look at that painting “Oh, yes. I have your jacket from Mister Jenek. I picked it up when I was collecting my commission. May I deliver sometime? I was rather hoping you would give me a tour of the factory now the repairs are underway.”
She wonders, idly, if he knows that she’s been seeing Jericho and what he thinks of that.
This time Natsuki knows that the smile is reaching more than just his eyes. He feels warm when she leans against him and he nods when she starts to speak again.
“The wine is definitely quite good, and I’d be happy if you’d bring the jacket over.” He doesn’t ask why she has it. “And Natsuki, if you wanted a tour of the factory all you had to do was ask. Your House is an ally to my Guild after all and I’m always pleased to have you visit. It’s a bright spot in what can be a very dull day.”
That was probably heard and it will get whispers, but for all shee can tell… sincere.
The warmth as Natsuki leans against Connor gets a small smile from the part-elf. Who knew. It took her being her to get a response.
“Well, I am asking and I’d be honoured if you would. You can show me the work that’s been done.” She presses the advantage, though she is genuine. Seeing what’s being done there will be good, she just might prefer another guide, but Connor has certainly been sweet and charming.
She glances around as they look at the art, watching the faces of those about them. “People will talk, Connor, if you keep saying such things. Why don’t you tell me about the work that’s been done? Is it progressing well?”
“Oh quite well.” Connor might now be blushing faintly. “Our technicians have gotten the first holding done and the reports were actually quite good. We’re prepared to move on to the next set of holdings, with your permission of course.”
The Baronet moves on toward the main area of the gallery where there’s music playing and, indeed, a dance floor set amid a set of sculptures which have been dressed up so as to seem to be in a garden. Did Connor know this was here? His chuckle of amusement suggests that it’s a surprise if perhaps a welcome one.
“Come by, of course, when you are ready. I will make time for you.”
“Of course, Connor.” Natsu murmurs again, sparing a thought for the Baronet. She hadn’t meant to make him blush, not really. The last thing she wants is for him to fall in love with her. That would be … tricky. And besides, the last person who thought they loved her, tried to kidnap her. “We’ve agreed the work to be done, you don’t need to ask.” She had been asking about the factory, but she’ll take that. All in good time, Natsuki. All in good time.
The music has her head lifting as they draw need to the main area and casting a sideways glance in Connors direction. “The program didn’t say there would be dancing, what a pleasant surprise.” Or is it? The last time Connor held her, things didn’t go so well for her. “It’s a good thing I have a such a good dance partner with me. Will you do me the pleasure …” she gestures.
Connor bows and extends his hand to her. The music on this one is a bit more uptempo. A bit more like a Tango, though no one know remembers it as ‘Latin’. “I greatly enjoyed our last time on the floor. It would be my honor.”
And his pleasure, likely. Connor steps forward and takes Natsuki’s hand as the music and the dance start. These dances are usually… close.
A Tango is indeed a close dance and Natsuki looks at the hand and then the dance floor. //Be Careful// Jericho had said. He might be there to ground her but she can feel herself growing to … more than like … the older Trent.
Letting the Baronet lead her out onto the dance floor, letting him draw her close, the part-elf sighs internally. Jobs for Greg were never this difficult. She never had this dilemma. Can she really keep spying for Jericho if it’s like this?
“Lead on, Connor….” Natsu murmurs, letting the problems melt away for the moment. Right now, there’s only the music and the arms of the man who doesn’t seem to care about her heritage and, potentially, see’s her.
Connor Trent continues his attention to Natsuki and the part-elf is left feeling very confused
September 28, 2410