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Posted by edward_l on 2007.04.25 at 23:33
Current Mood: busybusy
Current Music: Regina Spektor - Aquarius
Who: Edward and Anastasia
What: A lady and her butler converse.
Where: The de Wulfe Manor
When: Midday
Warnings: Nope.

Edward had been inspecting the corridors for dust when he heard the harp as he neared Ana's room. He smiled. It seemed like ages since she had last played it. Yet, he remembered that she liked to play it during times of stress. Stopping at her door, Edward listened until the music ceased before knocking. "Milady, may I enter?"

Ana's head straightened immediately when she heard a knock at the door. Edward's voice then followed soon afterward. "You may, Edward," she said, getting up from the chair. Quickly, she walked over to her vanity and fixed her coiffure. She scowled, tucking a curl behind the stuffed bird planted in her hair.

Edward turned the knob and entered, finding Ana by her vanity. "I was surprised to hear your harp, milady. I haven't heard it for months on end."

She looked towards him and smiled tightly. "I guess I can't tell you that I'm fine then," Ana said. She left her vanity and walked to one of the windows in the room. "The crop burnings in Demet are a tragedy."

Edward nodded. "Indeed, the town's namesake must be weeping up in Olympus." He shook his head. "One advantage to being a servant is that you are never called to duty. Not to say that I never did anything for Gaea under the command of your father or grandfather, but I was never forced into such mindless atrocities." Edward cast a scrutinizing look upon Ana. "However, I'm sure that is not the only matter that worries you, milady. If you don't mind my saying so."

Ana rested her hands on her bodice and took a small breath. She remained quiet for a bit before replying. "I'm sending Kip away from the manor," she said softly. Anastasia paused. "Things are getting too risky to have him around."

Edward raised an eyebrow. "Risky, you say? What danger is posed to him here aside from my presence?"

"Floretta's been acting a bit strange around the court lately," Anastasia said with a small chuckle at Edward's comment. "And my encounter with Aurelius a few weeks ago..." She shook her head. "I don't want anything to happen to Kip because of my stubbornness to have him by my side all the time."

"As much as I detest the boy, milady, I'm surprised you're giving into to courtier gossip so easily. It's unlike you." Edward joined her by the window. "Her Majesty certainly ignored it. She still does. And you know how she seems to believe you take after her."

He gritted his teeth. "Aurelius is a despicable swine unworthy of his title. Such a debauched cretin is not to be taken seriously." He frowned. "Unfortunately, a lord is to be taken seriously. It's because of people like him that Gaeans are getting fed up with nobility."

"The brothel next to the orphanage was closed down due to my plea to Her Majesty, yet all the bad we do cancels out the good." She was hesitant in her next statement. "...I've also thought about accepting Aurelius's proposal."

"There is a slight difference between stress and insanity, milady," Edward said gravely. "And if that's a joke, it is an incredibly poor one."

"I have to protect my family name," Ana said defiantly. "Especially for Constantine. He's going to carry on the de Wulfe name. I can't ruin his happiness for my own." A fleck of rouge came from her face as she scratched it gently.

Edward gave a small smile. "Ah, but Aurelius is most disreputable, were we not just saying? To marry such a man would only bring shame to the de Wulfes." Edward gazed out the window. "And believe me, I have the name in mind. I have sworn to protect it since I was a child."

"But marrying a lecherous nobleman is much better than being with a thief," Ana said, "in our society." She sighed and put a hand to her face. "I'm doing this because I love Kip. Besides, plenty of noble marriages are sexless. I could still take a lover while having the Helleu name."

Edward laughed mirthlessly. "You're much too pious for that, and you know it." He was still contemplating the first part of her statement. "You do love him, then?"

She scowled. Anastasia guessed the convent was still in her life without her realizing. She then fell silent. "Yes," Ana replied after a minute or two. "I do."

Edward turned slowly back toward Ana's room. "I suppose I should have guessed that." He walked towards her dresser, opening one of her jewelry cases. He took out a chain with Ana's old engagement ring upon it. "The only reason I never strangled him was because of how happy you seemed with him." Edward examined the ring. "Even moreso than when you were with Michael."

"I was sixteen," she said gently. "I didn't know what I wanted." Ana walked over to Edward and took the chain from him. "I guess I've grown bitter about that engagement ever since then. How can parents choose whom their children love?"

"As you said, milady, it is the life of nobles. But remember, if you try to please everyone, you'll please no one. Accepting Aurelius' proposal won't please him unless you make love to him, and doubtlessly Kip's life would be on the line until you completely consummated the relationship." Edward sighed. "The way of the noble as it is now is on the decline, milady. You must take everything into consideration before making a choice." Besides, he did not want to be co-Head Bulter with that sniveling brat, James.

Anastasia folded her hands in front of her. It was as if, either way, someone was bound to ruin her and her happiness. She sighed and ran her hands over her skirt. "I don't know what to do, Edward," she said, leaning her forehead against her hand. "Sometimes I wish I was never born into nobility. I'm sure relationships are easy for you."

Edward scoffed. "Not quite, considering the career-incorporated relationship I'm now in and previously being connected with the queen of all Gaea." He frowned. "But I always thought that marrying Aurelius was your greatest nightmare."

Anastasia continued to look through the window. "I just--Kip's life is much more important to me than shacking up with some old fart," she said. "The nightmare would be Kip dying, not marrying Aurelius." She tilted her head back in exasperation, but snapped her head back up when her coiffure shifted slightly.

"But what makes you think that Aurelius won't kill the young Master simply because you marry him? I'm sure he doesn't have faith in your fidelity like I do." Edward shot Ana a probing gaze. "He'll hang as soon as the vows spring from your lips."

Ana remained quiet. First the war, then the Peacemakers meeting with that...untimely reunion, and now men were being a royal pain in her arse. She stood. "Edward, could you have the architect summoned for breakfast tomorrow morning?" she asked. "I'd like a place to meditate..."

Edward bowed politely. "Of course, milady." He stood straight. "Though, I hope you keep in mind how a relationship with a commoner will make you seem in the eyes of the general populous, not the court," he said, keeping a business like tone. "It won't be long before their opinion takes precedence over that of the nobles."

"They are kind denizens of Gaea," Anastasia began, "but I fear them, in a way. An unusual bloodlust follows on the coattails of revolution." It remained quiet between them before Ana suddenly hugged Edward. "Thank you..." she said quietly.

Edward, surprised by her sudden tenderness, was pleased to put off his working demeanor again. He returned the hug, rubbing her back soothingly. "It's my duty, is it not, Lady Anastasia?"

Anastasia smiled gently and pulled away. "Another negative to marrying Aurelius," she said, "would be him firing you. I don't know what I'd do without you and Andrea and everyone else if I were married to such a swine."

Edward had never thought of that. He frowned deeply. "We could easily take up residence with your parents, but he doesn't know about the younger men and women. They're trained under us, milady. Wilhelm, Haruko and Joshua especially won't allow harm to come to you, and Elizabeth would surely keep him from giving you more... revealing finery." A pensive look had come over Edward's face. "One does not get off with firing me easily, either." He'd leave explicit instructions on how to torture that wretch James.

Anastasia chuckled although his statement frightened her a bit. "Well, at least that's comforting," she said. Just then, there was a knock at the door. "Yes?" Ana asked. The door opened and Andrea walked in with a tray on which a fine ceramic tea set sat. "Your tea, milady," she said, smiling.

"Several cups, I hope," Edward said, abandoning his frown. "The lady's throat is quite parched from conversation, is it not?"

"Mhm," she said shortly, sitting down at the small table. Andrea put the tray down and poured a cup for Anastasia. "Two more for you and Edward as well," she said, lifting her fixed cup of tea. Andrea seemed a bit surprised, but did as she was told.

"Oh, Andrea, darling," Edward suddenly realized. "Don't let Joshua, Wilhelm and Haruko have dinner until the second floor corridor suits of armor have been cleaned. They're filthy."

Andrea chuckled. "I'll be sure to give the cook the message," she said. She then sat down next to Anastasia and picked up a cup of tea for herself. "I hope whatever you two talked about was enlightening." Ana nodded slowly.

"Extremely," Edward replied stolidly. He lifted his cup and sipped daintily, though contemplatively. "When will Master Kip be visiting again, do either of you think?"

Anastasia shook her head. "He did tell me he had some business to do in Terra for a bit," she said. "I could ask him in my next letter." "There will be a special performance at the opera house about two months from now," Andrea added. "You could invite him to that." "Splendid."

Edward nodded. "I see." Then he had some time. Sipping his tea again, he wondered what he could possibly say in the meeting he was plotting. He looked to Andrea, and setting his tea down, stood and began to leave. "My inspection of the halls are incomplete, I'm afraid. I'll return in about half an hour." Leaning down, he kissed Andrea's forehead. He was going to have to keep her in mind constantly when he headed for the royal castle. He needed to talk to Camilla.

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