Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 02:43 AM
Andre waited a full day before calling on Starling.
A full day.
And was still nervous.
He tapped the mirror. A few times.
Then finally picked it up.
When he'd activated it, it shook in his hands.
"Starling?" he tried tentatively, wincing at the possibility at catching him in bed with his daughter.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 02:53 AM
Starling was not in bed with Andre's daughter.
Instead he was propped up on a rock, near the seaside, rather moodily piping out the first two bars of 'The White Goat', a song that generally was the polar opposite of moody. It wasn't going well. Even bedevilling the few poor souls who had been out earlier in the day angsting near the waterfront didn't bring up his spirits much. He too winced when he heard Andre's voice, immediately hopping off the rock and stuffing the whistle back into his pocket. "Aye?"
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 02:55 AM
"It's Andre," he said slowly. "I should apologize for shouting at you yesterday. That was...a bit over-the-top. I'm sorry."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 02:59 AM
"I know who it is," Starling said, aggravated. He started to stalk off down the sand, only to pause mid-step. "Wait. I can't outrun you, can I?"
He flopped down to a seat again. "What now?" he grumbled.
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 03:07 AM
The man sighed. "I told you, I came to apologize," he said seriously. "I spoke to your grandmother and your mother, and...well, they weren't happy, but at the same time, you're old enought to be making these decisions for yourself."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 03:13 AM
"You spoke to my mother?" The boy was now beyond aggravated and well into mortified. "Feckin' hell, does the rest of the world know now, too?"
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 03:22 AM
"No," Andre answered. "I'm not that oblivious," he said seriously. "Your Grandmother was very serious about...ah. Not letting Elaine hear about this?" he said, as if he wasn't entirely sure what that meant.
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 03:27 AM
Starling let out a distinct groan. "You couldn't leave it alone, could you?" he said. "Gods, what is wrong? Nothing bad happened. Nothing that bad, anyways. Just . . . do one long proper shoutin' at me and get it o'er with, because this reasonable crap is just a chore."
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 03:32 AM
"I'm trying not to shout at you," Andre answered, still sounding apologetic. "And I'm trying not to lecture you, either. To be honest, if I were choosing between you and Jochy, I would choose you a hundred times over. I know you're not going to hurt either of my girls. I know you're trustworthy. And I know your grandmother would tan your hide if you did hurt them."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 03:38 AM
"Look," said Starling, glancing upward with both sandy hands to his temples, "I'm already sorry I shouted at you, what? I were tryin' to take the flack off Si. I didn't mean it. Is that what you're after, an apology?"
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 03:46 AM
"No, I'm apologizing to you," Andre repeated, and the smile in his voice was evident. "Starling, that's...very selfless of you, really, but it wasn't necessary. And the apology's not necessary, either, but I'll accept it. I just wanted to talk to you without yelling," he explained. "I've known you this long, and I haven't ever known you very well, but Spider said you're a good lad, and I don't want us to get off on the wrong foot, especially after what you've done for my daughter."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 02:00 PM
Moment by moment, Starling realised how unnecessary defending Si in any capacity had been. He wondered if she had already gotten this chat or if there was still time to run back and warn her that her turn was coming. He muttered something to the effect that he had not had much choice in following Sylvie, then added, "She's all right. She can do for herself."
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 04:39 PM
"Well, as her father, I'd like to think so," Andre agreed. "But I still worry about her. She has a fairly good head on her shoulders, most of the time, but I get worried sometimes that she'll get into trouble and not have anyone to help her out of it, because she's always so certain of herself. She doesn't often ask for help."
(back in @ an hour)
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 04:55 PM
"She got this far all right, didn't she?" Starling said. Clearly, he was still feeling out the edges of this conversation. "It's only another month or so 'til she gets where she needs to be. Mortmain's woman's lookin' out for her as well. Maybe she don't ask for help because she don't often need it."
((::nods:: Fair warning: Upon completing this post, I popped a Lortab.))
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 05:47 PM
"That's all well and good, Starling, but as much as any of us don't often need help, sometimes things are easier with it," Andre replied. "Look, as pleasant as it's been, I'm not trying to start another argument with you. I have no interest in being Gryphon Ceallaigh. I just want to know you're both going to use your heads about this kind of thing."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 05:56 PM
Starling dug his heels in the sand. "Um. We didn't exactly know this were gonner happen, sir." His tone was quite a bit more meek.
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 06:05 PM
"Which part?" Andre asked. "Because as much as I can believe you weren't expecting me to find out about this, never, in the nearly thirty-six years I've been on this earth, have I ever heard tell of a couple who mysteriously discovered that they were screwing each other without any active decision on their part."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 06:18 PM
It was one thing to hear his grandmother come out with the word 'screwing' in this context, since Judith used that word and a number of others on a daily basis, and another thing all together to hear Andre use it in connection with Starling and one of Andre's daughters. He flinched. "The, ah. It sort of happened really, really quick? And I didn't think she was serious. She started off kind of joking, so I joked back at her, and then I caught on that she wasn't joking and I sort of . . . couldn't back out?"
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 06:21 PM
"Hm." Andre sounded amused. "Tell me honestly, did you want to back out?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 06:27 PM
"No?" he tried. "It didn't seem like there was anything wrong . . . " He ended in a mutter. "Until after we got caught."
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 06:31 PM
Andre laughed. "That's usually the way it works," he assured him. "I got caught with a girl when I was your age? My father shipped me off to Madagascar. I was terrified of touching a woman until I met Sylvie's mother."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 06:36 PM
"Yes, sir." He didn't have any other answer; it seemed safer to stick to 'yes-sir'-ing for a while longer.
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 06:41 PM
"The funny bit is, you'll probably stop in Madagascar on your way to Africa. Are you planning on sailing the whole way with Si?" Andre asked. "Because if you do wind up in Madagascar, you need to try the rum. Rum and whores are the only things Madagascar has going for it, but if you're going to keep sleeping with my daughter, I'd appreciate it if you didn't avail yourself of the whores. Most of them have yellow fever and syphilis."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 06:51 PM
"I was plannin' on stayin' on with the Valkyrie, sir." He couldn't bring himself to look up, which was perfectly all right, since he couldn't see Andre anyway. Part of him had convinced itself that Andre couldn't see him either--which was likewise all right, if a bit deluded. "And I weren't plannin' on gettin' near any whores." This, too, came out as a single mumbled line.
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 07:00 PM
"Good," Andre agreed brightly. "I can tell you from personal experience that they're not worth it. Really not worth it," he added, as if there was a story behind that. "And I'm glad to hear you'll be with Sylvie for now. Word of warning, when you get to Africa, though. If Sylvie's grandfather finds out about this, he'll consider you married, and he may not be quick to let you leave. I found that out the hard way, too. Not that I minded, but it is a bit of a surprise."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 07:09 PM
The boy's head snapped up. "What?! We did this one time! Why is everyone actin' like I make a habit of this? She's leaving. We don't even really like each other all that much!"
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 07:13 PM
"And I was supposed to guess at that how, exactly?" Andre asked. "You certainly looked like you liked her."
He paused for a moment, and then, in a more sympathetic tone, asked. "What's all this about Elaine, then?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 07:19 PM
Starling went sullen again. "What about Elaine? I'm not Jochy, you know. We're not makin' like this is some stupid love-affair."
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 07:21 PM
"I'm aware of that," Andre answered. "If you were, I imagine I would have heard about it before now."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 07:27 PM
"So just that. It's nothing." And then he backed off: "But it's sort of an agreed-upon nothing, do you understand? She leaves, I leave, that's where it ends. So it's nothing like Elaine and Jochy."
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 07:29 PM
'I wasn't talking about Elaine and Jochy," Andre corrected, rather delicately. "I was talking about Elaine and you?"
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 07:32 PM
Now the boy looked both shocked and insulted. "There is no Elaine and me. I'm not . . . I'm not gonner do anything with her, too, if that's what you're gettin' at. She still thinks she's mad over Jochy, anyway, she's not gonner mess that up. Not," he added loftily, "like that's not messed up enough as it is . . . "
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 07:36 PM
"Your grandmother seems to think otherwise. It must be wishful thinking on her part, then, considering her very high opinion of Jochy."
Andre was quiet for a long time. "Did Jochy tell you what happened?" he asked. "With Elaine, on Judith's ship? I'm not sure if he would or not."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 07:37 PM
Starling peered up, frowning, into the air. "No. Why would he? Did somethin' happen to her?"
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 07:46 PM
"Puck was disguised as you on the ship," Andre answered. "That was why no one noticed you missing for so long. From what Elaine told me, he tricked her into going down to the hold with him? She thought he was you, understand. And things...I think they went a little further than she intended. He didn't rape her, but he came close? She didn't tell me any of this until we knew it was the Puck, mind. But she was extremely upset."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 07:51 PM
Starling swallowed, rubbing his gritty hands down his shins. "But she's all right, isn't she?" he said in a small voice. "It didn't hurt her? It's not still around?"
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 07:53 PM
"She's fine," Andre answered reassuringly. "She's, well, she's in Niabheara's body now. But she's still fine. We don't know where the Puck is. It did the same thing to your sister, pretending to be the Queensman, but they stopped it that time, too."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 07:58 PM
Now Starling looked frustrated, openly grinding his teeth together. "Someone needs to do something about that thing," he growled, as if Andre had some control over it. "Nialla hates the Puck worse'n just about anything. Just flat-out hates it. You should see her."
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 08:01 PM
"They're trying, believe me," Andre answered. "I have a feeling you and Sylvie are safe, but...keep an eye out, maybe. Just to be on the safe side. Your grandmother's entire ship is on alert; it hasn't done anything to us, yet, but we're being cautious."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 08:03 PM
He nodded. "I will do, sir. Puck's the one who zapped me back in Cecilia, too. I don't know if Si knows all about it yet."
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 08:04 PM
"Can you make sure she knows?" Andre asked. "And you might want to tell Mortmain, too, if you can. Just in case the thing tries to go for someone ignorant."
Posted by: Starling O'Dowd Jul 7 2008, 08:16 PM
"I will, sir," he repeated, then hesitated. "Good neighbour for the word-out, sir. I'm not not sure what to say after this."
Posted by: Andre Romain Jul 7 2008, 08:21 PM
There was a pause. "I'm not expecting you to say anything," he assured the boy. "So don't feel like there's anything you need to say. Just look out for Sylvie, and in the meanwhile, we'll see what we can do to get you home. Spider and I might try to make our way out there, so worst comes to worst, we'll take you with us when we come back," he offered.
"Take care, now," he said. "Tell Sylvie I love her."
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