Ch. 14: Forbidden Fruit – RP with RK character Danny.

8.13 – 9.13 

Danny.:

The sound of his footsteps were muffled by the emerald blades of life beneath them. He had not seen much of Penrith yet as he had entered the town and followed strict directions to his new temporary home, but he hoped it was a good contender for his new permanent home.  
 
Glancing around at a few homes, he was attempting a mental map of the area, in truth it would be much easier to do so when his mind wasn’t utterly exhausted. Walking to the front door of the little house he smirked and waved a key around in the air, in case this elusive Ganna was spying on him, as he had been warned she might be. His intention was to eat, sleep then drink, not necessarily in that order, but what was certain is that being whacked over the head by a pan by a do-gooder neighbour was not on his list.  
 
The key slid into the lock, matching its contours harmoniously as it turned easily. He smiled to himself having previously wondered whether the lass in Kendal had given him a fake key or address. It wouldn’t be the first time! Stepping inside and blinking a few times allowed his eyes to adjust to the subtle lighting inside. It was a well kept home, plenty of love and care had gone into its making, as he walked across the floor, leaving a trail of unnoticed muddy boot prints, he pushed several doors open and looked inside.  
 
One of the bedrooms clearly had less objects littered around the place and much less clothes hanging up, so he decided it must be the guest room. Kneeling to untie his boots before casting them to the side he then fell to the bed. Big Mistake! A dust cloud to challenge a storm arose from his clothes and showered the bed in a thick grey coating. Dammit! He hit at the sheet, which only left Danny prints in the dust and failed to actually move any of the unwelcome squatter. That was when he noticed the trail of maple coloured prints from the front door. Another Danny print! Hands raised to his head and fingertips massaged his closed eyes as he groaned. He waved a hand in the air in defeat and decided to deal with it later, taking the opportunity for a well earned nap. 

 
A yawn escaped, though eyes still closed as he slowly sat up. The bleary sight of an unfamiliar room was nothing new to him, in fact it was all too common. He was used to wandering from place to place, but luck always had a way of allowing him to meet people who would offer to provide him with a roof to sleep under, a drink to quench him or food to fill him. Whether fate or destiny, a mixture of both? But he always thought that everyone met for a reason, paths were always destine to cross and people always fated to me. ‘Twas perhaps Jah’s way of keeping himself busy.  
 
Jah’s way of keeping Danny busy was work. He’d been told before that work was a gift or something. Danny worked hard in whatever job he was in, but it was really only a means to earn. A gift was a bottle of whiskey or a kiss from a stranger. All the same, the floor was now patterned with Danny sized boot prints and something needed to be done about that. He was hardly going to disrespect a bishops house. That was asking for lighting to strike him when he went outside. Danny liked adventure but some things were beyond his desires, like death.  
 
He wandered outside, still keeping an eye out for nosey Ganna and spotted a nearby well. It took a lot of rummaging and emptying of cupboards back inside until he found a bucket. Whistling to himself, a happy tune about a certain Rose of Penrith he wandered to the well to fill the bucket.  
 
__________________________  
 
Bucket on the floor and door shut once more, he inspected the dried on texture of his muddy prints. He’d only come across some fine fabrics and clothes in the house and not a rag in sight. Chewing on his lower lip he looked from bucket to floor, back to bucket again. Sod it! He tipped the water over the floor and watched its merciless wrath consume and spread like a river burst its banks. O..kay….not quite right. He noticed the water was beginning to spread towards certain rugs and furniture. Wincing he hurriedly began to block it with its feet, but the terrible troublemaker just found new paths to take, intent on engulfing its pray. In a final attempt to soak up the current, he untied the lace on his shirt and chucked it to the ground, swashing it around rapidly. It worked okay, the floor was now….mostly clean…ish. Annoyance and a headache from lack of breakfast saw from the outside the front door open, followed by the graceful leap of one bucket and one, once white now more of a browny colour, shirt, followed by an echoing SLAM. 

He had calmed down after the recent attack on Lady Arial’s castle. He peered out the window at the limp arms of his shirt that were entwined around the bucket, holding on with all its might. The pair lay motionless on the grass, both looking damaged and drenched in a murky brown water. He made a note to buy the bishop a new bucket and himself a new shirt.  
 
He really wanted to go and explore the local sights, taste the cuisine and their fine selection of spirits but there was the matter of the blankets on the bed, now smothered in a charcoal grey fog. He had no idea how to wash them. He’d never had his own home, nor the need to wash blankets, he thought about the small well outside but somehow chucking them down there struck him as a bad idea. He was going to have to locate someone to help him! And of course, where were people? In the tavern! What a kind fate of directions the good Jah was sending him on!  
 
Wandering outside, he set his mind on finding a shirt, twice he had entered a tavern without one. The first time he was seemingly thrown out by a group of angry looking guards. How was he to know he was in the posh side of town where all the ladies of the land were dining! The second time…well there were lots of men inside, all missing several parts of clothing…..he shook his head not wanting to venture down that memory again…let’s say…he got out of there pretty fast too.  
 
As luck would have it, there were some freshly washed clothes hanging on a line between a cluster of homes. Calmly loitering around, he waited till all was clear, snatched and ran.  
 
_________________________________  
The tavern adventure was successful! Not only had he bagged himself a job as bar-tend, he had met some very nice lasses. One of which had given him her expert advice on washing blankets. The lass was named Mariea and though her methods seemed slightly odd, Danny knew women knew these things, so trust her he did!  
 
Moments later he had thrown the borrowed shirt back on the line and proceeded shirtless, to the house once more. He emerged with armfuls of blankets and headed for the local pond. It looked a tad drab and duckweedy but Mariea had assured him that this is how they wash their blankets. So with a back swing he launched them into the pond, watching the water leap out of the way from the intruding fabric and shower onto land in its startle.  
 
He watched them float and bubble and grinned as the water began to turn a murky brown. It worked! But….errr…. how do you get them out again? 

8.14 

Arial has returned to her beloved town of Penrith. She has escorted a couple lovely ladies here. Once returning to Penrith she finds the tavern filled with visitors and citizens, Arial enjoyed seeing the happy faces through the windows of the taverns that she passed by. She visited one tavern for only a short time, but that time soon passed and she left. Many have told her a man is staying at her cottage, and asked her if she knew. She told them of course she did, she allowed this man to stay there.  
 
Arial is now in the area of where her cottage resides, at the edge of the woods. She notices Ganna is outside her home glaring at her.  
 
Arial walks up the path that leads to Ganna’s home. Arial stops before her, “Why are you glaring at me?” Arial asks with a smile.  
 
“Why is a young man staying at your cottage? I have been sensing such a ruckus there. Why have you allowed this?”  
 
Arial smiles. “He is a nice, well mannered man, who needed a place to stay while he saves for his own place. He is only staying for a little while, so do not worry. Would you like to come with me and meet him?”  
 
“No,” was Ganna’s response.  
 
Arial shrugs. “Well, I am going over to assess my cottage. Take care, and I will come visit with you, John, and the children soon.” Arial gives Ganna a hug before taking her leave.  
 
Ganna watches her friend leave. She notices a glow about her friend Arial. Arial seems to have more charisma now, even though she is still rather thin. Arial’s arms look more tone, as if she has been doing some work outside the church. Ganna is glad to see her friend healthy and becoming active.  
 
Why is she dressed like a peasant? Isn’t she a bishop? Bishops don’t wear peasant trousers. This is Ganna’s thought as Arial reaches her home. Once Arial disappears inside Ganna goes back inside her own home.  
 
It is true, Arial has been working away from the church and dressed in peasant wear. She really wants to build that mansion.  
 
Arial pushes the door open, noticing it is unlocked, and enters her home with wonder as to what she will find inside. 

– 

Several days had passed since the blanket washing incident. Danny had managed to restore the house to its pre-Danny condition and had ensured that there was no bread left in the cupboards to go stale. For wouldn’t that be an awful shame to let it go to waste! He’d not yet managed to save enough for a new shirt and his own seemed to have gone walk abouts with the bucket. Neither were on the grass where he had tossed them in annoyance outside the house when he had returned. Every time he had to work the bar he had managed to find a shirt hanging out to dry and return it before the night was over. The people of Penrith must have though he had quite the wardrobe!  
 
Usually he would wander around the house without a shirt as he did not like to steal, only ever borrow. It was a particularly chilly day for august, the skies were somewhat overcast and he hadn’t managed to find a flint to start the fireplace. He had considered using the blanket from the bed as a type of shawl, but Jah forbid he got it dirty again! He was not taking that risk, simply was not worth the headache. Now his plan had seemed most sensible to him at the time, rummage through the Bishop’s wardrobe, find a thick jumper that was perhaps oversized for such a slight woman, that he may wander around in the comfort and peace of his temporary home.  
 
Sadly there was no jumper to be found. The best he could find was a shirt. A woman’s shirt, while rather narrow at the waist and making his arms turn a pale shade of blue from the small cuffs. Not to mention the complete inability to do the string at the front. Well he looked an awful state, but he was warm and there was no one to see him. Well except Jah, he winked up at the rafters. But yer dont judge do yer fella!.  
 
His eyes widened in panic, not dissimilar to that of a startled rabbit as he watched the door open. His eyes darted all about him, searching for somewhere to hide or a large hole to appear beneath his feet. But no such luck, casually trying to avoid the fact he was wearing an item of her clothing he coughed and smiled. Welcome home Mother! 

– 

Arial looks about her and notices everything in her place. She thinks this Danny man is a great house guest.  
 
She hears heavy footsteps coming down the hall where the guest room resides. Her eyes widen and her face is in a straight expression ( 😐 ) when the image of a panicked looking Danny appears. He is wearing her spare shirt, the one she wore when she was deathly ill. Arial sure hopes he doesn’t get sick… Then realization really hit her. He is wearing a woman’s shirt!  
 
Her heart begins to pound, her face turns a slight pink.  
 
“Now young man, what on earth are you doing wearing my spare shirt?” asks Arial sternly. “What is going on in my cottage? Is this what you do in your spare time? Wear woman’s clothing? Well?”  
 
Arial realizes she is speaking rather fast, but she is very frustrated with this young man. 

– 

Danny’s face hosted an expression of complete nothingness. His mind was a little empty until a half smile graced his lips as he stumbled on the discovery that Arial was rather cute when annoyed. Her cheeks held the faintest shade to mimic her hair, she held a certain allure about her, he glanced upwards and raised his eyebrows mentally speaking to the man. Yeh yeh, she’s yours, i know!  
 
He wasted no time in removing the shirt, which was far from easy, luckily he just about made it out without causing damage to the garment. He put it on the back of a nearby chair and stuffed his hands in his pockets smiling.  
 
Speaking in his usual Irish tone. “Well there was a mishap. which led to the misplacement of me shirt. I couldnae find anything ter light the fireplace with and its awfully chilly in ere today. He leant against the chair and grinned. So, did yer have a nice trip here?”

– 

Arial’s stern expression softens a bit, but she now has a frown upon her face. She averts her eyes and blushes more when Danny removes his shirt, he is a rather good looking man. It must be his age, he’s young. She thinks to her self.  
 
“Well… what happened to your shirt? Why would you be wearing my shirt I wore when I was deathly ill? Luckily it has been washed, I wouldn’t want you getting sick… but. Why were you wearing a woman’s shirt in the first place?” Arial is carrying on a bit out of nervousness. She isn’t use to having a man in her home, and has never had one in her home without a shirt on. This is… umm… interesting to her. She isn’t sure what to think or say, being a lady of the cloth she can not think fantasy thoughts of men, let alone young men with smooth chests and no shirt upon their backs.  
 
Arial notices the cocky grin upon his face and the casual way he is leaning against her antique arm chair. Arial shakes the nervousness away; she is too stubborn to be nervous over an overly confident young man. Then she realized the basic needs in her home are missing, such as food and tinder to kindle a fire.  
 
“If you need a new shirt, I can purchase one for you from a local weaver. I am sorry that this cottage was pretty bare; I didn’t leave much behind me other than some dried corn in the shed out back. The dried corn leaves can be used as tinder to help with kindling the fire. There should be a couple bundles of wood in the shed too. Have you been out behind the house? If you have, you should have seen a small shed. There you’d find dried cornstalks and wood. I believe there is some flint in the tinderbox that is near the fireplace. I did go to the market before coming here and I brought back some vegetables with me for a soup. There should be some herbs in a nook in the wall in the kitchen too. Did you find any of these items?”  
 
The look on Danny’s face showed he didn’t.  
 
Typical man, not looking at the small details to notice things Thinks Arial, but then again Arial didn’t tell him where anything was in her home, let alone how many rooms were in the cottage.  
 
“I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you where anything was,” states Arial with an apologetic expression. “Here, you see the rusted steel container near the fireplace? It is small and blends in well with the fireplace; the container is upon the floor. It is easy to miss, I suppose, but then again if you found it there is nothing in the fireplace to light anyway.” Arial walks over to the tinderbox that is lying on the floor near the fireplace, picks it up and opens it, and shows Danny the pieces of flint inside it. “See? There was flint here. I’m sorry that you didn’t find it.  
 
“The shed is out back, to the left of the house. It isn’t hard to miss; it is beside my old forge. Maybe you didn’t notice it, it is some feet away, and it appears as if it is not part of my home but it is. Could you go off and get the material for the fire? I know it is rather cold outside, but you can wear my shirt to keep you warm.”  
 
Arial smiles politely at Danny, she hopes she isn’t sounding rude by sending him off into the chilly weather. 

– 

He tilted his head to the side slightly, inquisitive as to how her cheeks glowed even more pink while she looked across the room. Danny glanced to where her eyes fell, but couldn’t see anything in the corner of the room that was of particular interest. What he did find interesting was how well blush complimented her fair cheeks.  
 
She started asking lots of questions in quick succession, Danny had no chance to voice his answers and just looked like a bird trying to chirp as his mouth opened and closed to answer her each time until she spoke of purchasing him a new shirt. “Oh no lass, there’s no need fer that, wont be long and I’ll have enough gold to get my own.” He didn’t like owing people, it made him feel trapped and tethered, neither were comfortable for him.  
 
He listened to her explaining where everything was in her home and his eyes followed her across the room when she moved to the fireplace and picked up the box. He wasn’t too happy that she kept apologizing, after all he had just simply blurted out that she could lend him the key to her cottage after only knowing her for the briefest of moments. It was kind enough of her to do so, he hadn’t expected a guided tour of the place.  
 
He walked the short distance towards her and stood barely a foot before her, his fingers danced over the flint before he picked a piece up and smiled at her. “Aye, i didnae see this.” While she spoke of the shed out back his mind travelled the joureny there and he nodded with a grin. “I donae think i could breath all ter well in that shirt, thanks for the offer, but i’ll pass.” With that he left and went outside to the back of the house, veering off to the left to find the shed. The sun was having a mid day nap, using the clouds above as its blanket and so its warmth was not reaching the skin upon his back, he quickly went inside and began to load his arms up with dried corn leaves and kindling. The leaves were coarse and nestled against his chest, creating an almost tickle.  
 
He shuffled the items around again and made his way back outside, noticing Arial’s neighbour watching him from her window he nodded and grinned, her reaction was to swiftly hide which made him laugh. Once back inside he dropped all of the items on the floor, allowing his hands to skim over his torso, brushing off the dust. Looking at Arial and grinning, “Delivery fer yer Ma’am,” while nodding to the pile of leaves and wood. 

– 

Arial waits patiently until Danny arrives back. As Danny goes off and gathers the material for the fire Arial goes to gather some water from the well. Once back she takes the water to the kitchen. She uses some of this water to wash the vegetables, which didn’t take much time or water. She then goes back to the living area, which was very nearby (the kitchen and the living area are only separate by a thin stone wall) to get the flint to light the wood for the stove. Danny came through the door as Arial was attempting to light the wood for the small stove she has in her kitchen. Arial smiles as he appeared in the kitchen announcing his arrival with the fire material.  
 
“Thank you sir. Can you please start the fire in the fire pit in the living area? While you do that I will prepare everything for the soup.  
 
Soon the wood for the stove was lit, water in the kettle for the tea upon the stove, and another iron pot filled with water waiting to boil upon the stove. Arial begins to chop up the carrots and a few other vegetables that she brought with her that are in season at the moment. Before the water in the tea kettle came to a boil she took it off the stove, placed two tea mugs off their hooks, and retrieved the Herb tea leaves from its nook. She then proceeded to prepare the cups of tea. Once the tea leaves and hot water was placed in the mugs she placed them to the side and continued cutting up the vegetables. She added a certain type of oil, spices, herbs, and some chopped potatoes and carrots to the iron pot before it was boiling. The remaining vegetables she put to the side until the water comes to a roaring boil.  
 
It took some time to cut up the vegetables into chunks, but by the time she was done the water was vastly boiling in the iron pot for the remaining vegetables. Arial reduces the heat of the fire so that it will not continue to over heat the iron pot. When the flames on the wood were very low, almost to non-existence, Arial placed the remaining of the vegetables in the pot.  
 
By the time she did all this, Danny was done with getting the fire started in the living room.  
 
“The soup should be ready with in a few minutes,” she tells him as he enters the kitchen area. “I made you some tea, it is on the table.” 

– 

Lighting fires was always interesting, it was nearly impossible to do so without being covered in some amount of dark ash. When the flames had engulfed the wood the heat was warming his face and he did not feel cold any more as beads of sweat ran down his forehead. Blacked hands from the ash brushed his wilting fringe away from his eyes and the back of his hand mopped his brow before he turned and smiled at Arial.  
 
He inhaled deeply, stomach growling as the mouth watering aroma of the soup filled the air. Tea? He grinned to himself, he was very glad that Arial had come home to visit her friends. Not only did he have the pleasure of her company but she was also good at making tea and food. He had struck lucky here.  
 
He sat down in the chair next to the tea and put his hands behind his head and arched his back, stretching out before sitting straight again and picking up the cup. He took a long sip, catching the remaining dew of tea on his lips by licking them. “So what are yer plans while yer in town?” He wanted to ask if het return meant he had to go find somewhere else to live, but though he’d wait till his stomach was full before asking. 

– 

Arial smiles at Danny, noticing how dirty he was from getting the fire started. She pretends not to notice and serves him his meal. She serves herself as well and sits across from him at the table.  
 
She takes a sip of her tea before responding to his question. “My plans? I don’t know yet. I came because Melanie needed an escort, and also to see how things are going since you said you were staying here. I wanted to make sure you made it here alright, but it appears you did. I will check up on church matters while I am here as well as catch up with some old friends. Scott and a couple others are back in town, so catching up with them will be nice.  
 
“What about you? What are your plans while you stay in Penrith?” after asking these questions she takes a small spoon full of soup and places it in her mouth. It was hot, but the taste was salty and just right to her. 

– 

He listened to her with interest whilst eating his soup. It was one of the best things he had eaten in a long time, without a doubt. the room was beginning to heat from the fireplace and he was rather glad he was without a shirt now, for it would surely be clinging to him possessively if he were wearing one, due to the heat of his skin.  
 
He dropped his spoon to his bowl and took a sip of tea before answering her question. “I tend not ter have plans, life’s a lot less complicated without ’em yer know?” He didn’t know if she really knew, surely it took some degree of planning to become a bishop, most liked plans, basked in routine, but not him. Each and every day was taken however it was served. Hopefully hot and spicy! “But this lass in town i met, owns the New Inn. She gave me work as the barkeep, so i spose that means im sticking around fer a while”. He smiled and rested back against the chair. “Beside’s its a nice town and it has many nice views.” He grinned and became distracted with the lights and shadows that were dancing over his torso from the flickering flames of the fire.  
 
So he approached the delicate subject of his lodgings. “If yer wouldnae mind me staying long enough to get some cash tergether fer me own roof, that would be appreciated.” He glanced up and across the table, watching her for a response. 

– 

Arial listens to the words this man spoke while eating her soup. The heat of the soup and the heat of the fire was a bit too much for Arial, but luckily she does not sweat too much for this man to notice. I forgot how hot it’d get in here with the warm soup and fire going. It’s not the middle of winter Arial! she tells herself, but only in her mind. This man named Danny seems to have made Arial lose her senses temporarily, but he is polite and gentleman enough to do as asked.  
 
Arial also noticed how dirty he was from making the, almost pointless, fire. She also noticed that it is not as light in her home as it was before, hinting that mid-day has now turned into early evening. The shadows dancing around the room make for an eery feeling mixed with something more; a distant feeling Arial has not felt since her Coventry days, a distant feeling of curiosity mixed with mingling with the unknown or forbidden fruit.  
 
Arial shakes her head and pushes the strange feeling away, marking it as just the feeling of the evening sinking in. Arial always gets a similar feeling of longing in the evening times; longing for something more that the path of Jah forbids.  
 
But that can be addressed at another time.  
 
Arial’s thoughts are cleared when Danny states ‘If yer wouldnae mind me staying long enough to get some cash tergether fer me own roof, that would be appreciated’…  
 
She perks up a bit with a strange feeling of relief and joy that this man will be in her home for an unknown amount of time. What are you, crazy? a part of her tells her. You barely met the guy for crying out loud! You know nothing about him, he’s no different than any other typically handsome man. They all want one thing…! Arial pushes these thoughts away, marking them as silly and unnecessary to think about any longer.  
 
Arial took a moment to find her voice, she didn’t want her thoughts and feelings to show in her voice. “umm… that’s fine,” says Arial sounding a bit unsure and hesitant, so much for her feelings not showing! She pauses to clear her throat. When she speaks again her voice is clearer and more sure, “stay as long as you need to, my door is open as long as you feel you should be here. As long as you remain a gentleman and pick up after yourself, and eventually obtain a shirt, you can stay.” Arial than smiles and asks. “What have you been up to the past few days? You haven’t told me everything, I feel. But, before you tell me, or after you tell me it is up to you, you can rinse off in the pond. The sun is still out enough for you to bathe, if you choose so.” On the last couple sentences Arial’s voice started to pick up speed, she hates how nervous this man is making her. Which, she feels, is rather strange; it is rare for her to become nervous in the presence of others. She is usually sure of her self with others, but right now she isn’t feeling so sure of herself. 

– 

His eyes were busy searching her face, drinking her expression, in an attempt to gauge her true reaction to his question. His mouth was slightly parted and his head still tilted downward but his eyes remained raised and settled on her face in a seemingly innocent gaze, though there was the subtle hint of a grin in his eyes.  
 
“Umm…that’s fine” His brow furrowed a little, it didn’t sound fine, perhaps he had overstayed his welcome. Maybe she had expected him to have been gone by the time she arrived, key left with the nosey Ganna. He chewed on the corner of his lower lip, hands now wriggling into his pockets as he stretched on leg out and leant back in his chair a little.  
 
It was very confusing when she suddenly changed her tone and sounded a lot more genuine about allowing him to stay. Though she was rattling out conditions to him as fast as an irritated squirrel would pelt acorns at your head from an overhanging branch. Women! Never understand what they’re thinking or saying! He starts grinning to himself at this thought. First she was ordering he wash though, he raised an eyebrow at her request. Such a strong minded lass, ordering him about, but then it was her home and she was very pretty, so she had the right to!  
 
“Aye, I think a wash would be good, do yer have a linen towel? I donae think the sun is strong enough ter dry me as its preparing fer its sleep.”

– 

The expressions that Dan (Razz) made told her that he wasn’t sure exactly what she was feeling or thinking. I guess my emotions aren’t written on my face after all. she thinks to herself as she stands up. But the small grin upon his face and the twinkle in his eye tells her that h suspects more than he’s letting on. His causal manner, the way he leans back in his chair with ease, the small grin on his face; all these factors about this man makes Arial unsure. Few men are this casual with her, especially after learning her title, but her Bishop title doesn’t seem to faze this Dan(ny) man.  
 
“Yes, I have a linen towel but only one; I should probably get another one, but anyway. I will go get the towel for you.”  
 
Arial leaves the room to fetch the towel.  
 
Arial is in a much calmer, surer, mood. She hands Danny the towel, and as she does their hands lightly brush each others, but only for a moment. Even though the moment was brief and innocent, it brought a funny feeling inside her that she can’t explain. Suddenly her nerves ceased and she found herself saying, “You know, if I seemed too direct a few minutes ago I hope you didn’t mind it. You can stay here as long as you’d like.” She smiles at him after saying these words. For some reason she has a strange feeling of being bewitched by this naturally charming young man. 

– 

He couldn’t help but notice, just how soft the silken skin of her hand was as he took the towel from her. He supposed a bishop hardly grafted away in the mines or working on farms. His own hands were rough and weathered from many days of work but skilled nonetheless. He returns her smile with one of his own. His voice now quiet, floating through the silent air. “I’m very grateful Arial, I look forward ter spending more time wi’ yer.”  
 
The words lingered in the air as he headed outside, weaving his way to the pond. Evening was looming and threatening to wash away the light from the canvas above him and smother it with charcoal. He wasted no time in washing and dried himself roughly with the towel before tying it round his waist and carrying his trousers and boots under one arm. Damp feet tried their best to keep grip on the grass underfoot as he made his way back to the house. He stopped on the porch and shook his head before using his free hand to finger his hair from his face before walking in again.  
 
Now he was grateful for the warmth that erupted from the house, fed by the mighty fire inside. The droplets of water over skin began to burst and disappear and he quickly warmed up. He’d entered quietly and hadn’t seemed to have disturbed Arial, who was looking out the window. All manner of things crossed his mind. Mostly inappropriate things. Like dropping his towel and running across to his room before Arial turned around. Sneaking up to her and making her jump…..probably not a good thing to do if he wanted to keep a roof above his head….maybe even taking his towel and….No Danny that’s enough lad! He chastised himself and grinned, silently laughing before clearing his throat.  
 
The cockiness didn’t lie long, even when he tried to be good he couldn’t keep the charade of politeness up. “Thanks fer the towel….do yer want it back now orr…..” his eyes darted to his room, indicating that he’d like to get dressed first. Both his eyebrows were raised a little as he chewed the corner of his bottom lip while smirking. Worried he was about to find Jah dropping a giant boulder on him, creating a Danny flat-bread he chose to enter his room before she could answer and began to dress. 

– 

Arial smiles softly at the soft tone of appreciation she heard in Danny’s voice. He really is a gentleman underneath his mischievous persona. thinks Arial as she watches him exit her home through the back door, located in the kitchen area, the pond is located past her empty field that once held corn.  
 
Arial sits at the table a few moments longer after he leaves. Once those few moments passed Arial walks to her door Danny exited from, slowly opens it a crack, and peaks through. She can see Danny in the distance heading toward the pond. She watches him as his figure becomes smaller and blurry; soon he disappears entirely, turning around the bend to the path that leads to the pond. Arial closes the door and then walks toward her living area.  
 
In the living area is a large window that looks out to the dirt paved street at the front of the home. Arial enjoys looking out this window, watching the people who sometimes walk by her small home near the woods. Arial enjoys contemplating at this spot. There is a wooden arm chair located near by, the very chair Danny placed her shirt upon, the shirt happens to still be there. Arial shakes her head with a humorous smile at the image of Danny in her shirt. She then looks away from that chair, pushes away the image, and walks to stand beside the window to look out to the evening that is setting on the town of Penrith.  
 
Distant smells of fresh bread being baked, stews being made, and meat being roasted enters Arial’s home, which smells of wood and vegetable soup; a pleasant smell of a used home. All these smells mixed together calms Arial. Thoughts of the town enter her mind; thoughts of olden days and current days; thoughts of all she accomplished in this town and thoughts of what is to come as well enter her mind; her thoughts are pleasant, and some not so pleasant, but all and all her thoughts do not ruin her calm mood. Arial feels the charming young man who is staying in her home has placed this calming affect on her. It must be part of his witchcraft. thinks Arial. She laughs softly at that thought.  
 
But then her thoughts begin to wonder onto forbidden grounds. She begins to think of Danny, bathing himself in the pond. She wonders what the rest of his body looks like unclothed… she shakes this thought away. Her heart begins to pound, she isn’t sure why, but she suspects a reason, but she doesn’t want to state the possibility of the suspected reason so she doesn’t even want to state it in a narrative form.  
 
Her mouth all of a sudden becomes dry, suddenly a thirst builds in her, and she feels this thirst is for something more than tea. Arial takes deep breaths in and slowly out to calm her beating heart and tainted thoughts. Suddenly she hears the back door lightly creak open. Arial refuses to turn her head away from the window, she keeps her expression calm and collected as she stares out the window; she hopes that her face is showing contemplation and not a hint of her real thoughts.  
 
She felt a silent presence a short distance behind her. She knew it was Danny, she heard his slightly heavy but at the same time light footsteps, enter the living area. Suddenly her heart, which was finally beginning to slow, started to beat fast again. Her cheeks became flush, and she thanks Jah that Danny can not see her facial expression. She continues breathing in deeply and slowly. She does not want her nerves to show.  
 
Thanks fer the towel….do yer want it back now orr….. Arial hears Danny ask. Arial closes her eyes and curses for the first time in a long time, but only in her mind. She takes a moment before turning around.  
 
Once she finally turned cautiously around her breath caught in her throat. She couldn’t speak even if she wanted to; she was struck dumb at the image of Danny only in a towel, which he barely had a hold of with one hand, while he is holding his trousers in the other. As Danny bit his lip and averted his eyes toward the direction of his room Arial’s mouth all of a sudden wasn’t dry anymore;i t began to water in a savoring sort of way, as if she was hungry for something that she can not touch with her lips… Her skin became hotter and the flush on her cheeks was surely noticed.  
 
Before she could respond Danny quickly left the room and went down the small hall to his room, as if he had a thought in his mind but changed it quickly.  
 
Arial swallowed and laughed softly to herself. The laugh eased her some, but she was still very hot. Maybe the voice of Jah entered his mind that made him scurry off before I could answer. Arial thinks that may be a good thing, at least for a little while. The thought of Jah and her duty to Him and the church is keeping Arial sane right now and not going into any forbidden urges, but she isn’t sure how long this thought will go.  
 
Arial takes a deep breath and lets it out fast. This calmed her a lot faster than those slow even breaths she was taking a few moments ago. I need to go cool off, this cottage is way too warm. She is thinking about changing into something much more cooling than this long skirt and corset.  
 
Arial ventures off toward her room, located right across from the spare bedroom that Danny is changing in. As Arial walks down the hall toward her room she glances from the corner of her eye in Danny’s room (the door way is all that is there, there is no doors in the bedrooms of this cottage [trying to keep it somewhat historical]). Arial caught sight of Danny tying the strings of his trousers. She lets out a small sigh of relief before entering her room, she was always too curious, but she is glad she saw nothing past what she has seen before. She laughs at herself for catching a glance at Danny, purposely.  
 
Once she enters her room she takes a seat upon her rocking chair. It is much cooler in her bedroom than it is in the living room. She sits and contemplates things while at the same time attempting to relax her nerves. She closes her eyes and finds it easier to relax this way. She is not asleep, just relaxing with her eyes closed.  
 
Outside her cottage the violet evening turns into pitch darkness. As Arial feels her room become darker she decides to light the candle beside her bed. She has a small piece of flint and stone beside this candle. A traveler once taught her a trick on lighting the wick of the candle with a quick flick of flint against stone. Arial does this little trick effortlessly, and with one quick swipe of flint on stone a spark flies and hits the wick of the candle, first causing only a smoke, but once lightly blown causes a flame. Arial smiles at her small accomplishment. She then sits back down on the rocking chair.  
 
A light breeze fills the room, this breeze cools Arial’s warm skin; her room is dimly lit and filled with dancing shadows upon the walls. 
 

– 

He hadn’t seen her, but he had heard her footsteps as she passed his room. Ensuring his trousers were on properly he dug his fingertips into the door frame and hung round it, leaning into the hallway silently, catching the last glimpse of her, before she entered her own room. He started to grin then shook his head. Easy now…Danny boy. He seemed to be chastising himself a lot in the presence of Arial, way too many thoughts were floating and spiralling around his mind than were appropriate given the current situation.  
 
He’d been laying on his bed for some time, arms folded and being used as an extra pillow beneath his head. He watched the sun tuck itself under the charcoal blanket above and with the darkness came a light chill. He wondered if the fire perhaps needed a quick poke to bring the heat back to the cottage. So bare feet padded softly from his room and back to the main room where the fire was an ember glow of its former self. He knelt before it and blew softly, before feeding a few more pieces of wood to its hungry jaws. This soon brought the room into a bath of orange glow and began to pour heat through. Nodding to himself he then began to wander around, fingertip trailing over surfaces, mostly trying to distract himself and keep guiding his feet to areas of safety.  
 
Unless, of course he came up with an ulterior motive to venture to danger. Which was always justifiable, seeing as how danger was so…alluring. He had busied himself with making two hot teas and was on his route to Arial’s room in the thoughtful gesture that she may like a drink before resting for the night. How thoughtful he was! Penrith was having good effects on him.  
 
He took the final step that caused him to be in her doorway. Watching the candle light’s greedy fingers flicker over her skin and features. It caressed he face in a way that was easy to imagine it were your own hands, illuminating her porcelain skin and casting shadows around the room. He cleared his throat. “Fancy something hot?” He held the mug in the air a little. 

– 

Shape 
Arial is relaxed now, the cool breeze succeeded in bring a calming affect. With the relaxing of her body came a feeling of coming sleep. Arial became in a state of semi-consciousness; she is aware of her surroundings, but at the same time her thoughts are a bit distorted as if she is dreaming but not quite dreaming.  
 
In her mind she sees a man in the doorway of her room. This man appears out of focus, the image is a blurry figure, but Arial can make out a blurry tan image of a shirtless man. A feeling of lust comes into the mental vision; the feeling brings warmth in the vision that affects her physical body. The warmth awakens Arial fully.  
 
Arial opens her eyes and raises her eyebrows in surprise. My mind must be playing tricks on me… she blinks her eyes and rubs them lightly in an effort to clear them. She looks at the figure of Danny in her door way and realizes it isn’t in her mind.  
 
Fancy something hot? He held the mug in the air a little.  
 
I’d fancy something hot, but more so than just a tea… Arial shakes this unclean thought away.  
 
“Oh, thank you Danny. A warm tea sounds nice right now. Umm… come on in,” she states in a clear tone. “Here, you can sit in this chair.” She stands up and moves to sit at the foot of her own bed, putting some distance between her and Danny. She accepts the tea when he hands it to her, she refused to look him in the eye when he became close to her in the process of handing her the tea.  
 
Arial takes a sip of the hot tea. The warmth calmed her rising nerves, but it didn’t bring words to her mind. She looks over at Danny for a moment but then looks away in an unsure fashion; his mischievously charming eyes are too much for Arial to peer into right now. To busy her eyes she peers into her cup of tea, taking note of the darkish color of the tea that is reflecting a distorted reflection of her eyes. 

– 

He was taken by surprise at her invitation into her room, but didn’t need much encouragement to overcome this and strolled in, keeping an eye out in the dim light that he didn’t trip over anything and shower everything in tea! He took a seat in the rocking chair, consciously aware of the warmth the wood still held from her. As he leant forward to pass her the tea she kept her gaze elsewhere. He wasn’t really sure why she often looked across the room instead of at him. Maybe it was a bishop thing? He didn’t really know the ways of the church.  
 
He leant back in the chair, listening to the tensed silence in the room, there was a thick invisible fog of tension and it made him smile. He liked it when things occurred that set his senses on fire. He took a sip of his tea as she did and then began to stroked the arm of the chair with his free hand, back and forth, drawing pattens and such with his fingertips. His gaze was fixed on her, quietly surveying, venturing. More tea found its way past his dry lips then he noticed he was at the bottom of his cup. Well Danny, that’s a sign its time fer bed, he thought.  
 
He stood and took the few paces towards Arial which caused her to look up at him from the bed. He spoke in a quiet sultry tone. “Goodnight Arial.” Bending, he kissed her cheek, in a pre-planned innocent way but his lips lingered longer than they should have and when he broke the contact he forgot to stand immediately and hovered for a moment, lips almost brushing the corner of her mouth as he felt her breath. Finally he straightened up, ran a hand through his hair and shuffled out of the room with a more rushed Night called back to her. 

– 

When Danny entered her room, Arial thought it was an ok thing, but as he got closer, handed her the cup of tea, and sat down doubt started to creep into her mind. In fact, her mind was silent, fogged by uncertainty.  
 
The minutes passed on in silence, and each silent moment created a thicker blanket of tension. Arial wanted to say something, do something, to break the tension but she was unsure what. As the tension rose Arial could sense the feeling coming off of Danny; it seemed as if he was lusting for something and enjoying this unsure intensity in the room.  
 
The tone of his good night caused her to look up with curiosity. She felt the warmth of his closeness all of a sudden, she didn’t even hear him move closer… He’s always so smooth in his actions, graceful from experience.  
 
Her heart began to pound in excitment and her arms and legs felt weaker, as if she’d stumble to the ground if she tried standing up. It was an innocent, lingering, kiss upon the cheek. When she felt the heat of his lips upon the corner of her mouth, a teasing heat of temptation, she almost leaned forward to give him a simple kiss. Though the kiss would be anything but simple. Arial caught herself and remained calm and unmoving, even though it pained her to do so.  
 
“Good night,” she finally told him as he was walking out the door. The sound of her good night was soft and quiet, not hinting at the feelings she’s holding back. If he could see her eyes in this dim light, he’d for sure see right through her demure. 

– 

************************  
 
Some people never slept well when they weren’t in their own home. They’d toss and turn, wake and pace the room, even suffer strange dreams. Not Danny. He was used to sleeping wherever he could. The life of a vagrant always sounded exciting to people. Free spirit, wanderer, were terms that were tossed around. He’d not really known anything else so he couldn’t say whether it was better or worse than having a home and a base, but he did know that it was tiring and he always hoped that he would stumble into a town that could lend itself to become home one day. Penrith was it!  
 
He yawned and sat up on his bed before dropping the blanket from his waist and letting it fall to the floor. His trousers, shoes and things were folded on a nearby chair but he didn’t walk to them first. Instead, we wandered to the window and pulled the drape back a little, looking out at the dew drenched grass and watching the peach glow of the sunset cover the land. Only after, did he turn and walk back across the room to dress.  
 
Today, he planned to get a shirt. As he sat on the end of his bed counting the coins he had earned over the past few weeks, he was sure he had enough. It wasn’t really good to keep borrowing shirts from washing lines, especially now the beautiful lady bishop was home, so he couldn’t simply return them and come home. Today was no named as shirt buying day! 

– 

Arial awoke with the rising of the sun. At the first hint of Dawn, Arial’s eyes opened. She slept rather solid and woke up calmer than she was the night before, but her head feels dull as if she didn’t get enough sleep. Things to do, though, so she does not rest her head longer. Arial stands up from her bed and walks to her bedroom window to peer out to the morning sky. She notices it is still violet outside, hinting dawn barely rising. Arial then turns away from the window and listens to the noises inside her cottage. She hears none, only the silence of a quiet morning.  
 
Danny must still be sleeping. I’ll make some breakfast for him. I hope he likes cornmeal. ponders Arial as she dresses for the day.  
 
Once her skirt was slipped on, corset fully secure, and boots tied on Arial ventured off out of her room and down the chilly hall. Arial enters her living room area where the fire pit resides. She adds more wood, pokes the tinder with an iron stick, and light blows so that the flames were roaring once again to warm up her chilly home. These embers will die down before the sun becomes to hot.  
 
The smells of the morning fill Arial’s cottage as the rises further in the sky, turning a soft yellow hue. As Danny woke up, Arial is sure he could smell the cooking cornmeal and tea brewing. 

– 

He left his room with one pocket now heavy with hard earned gold. His nose and his stomach took him down the hallway to the living area. He had left his boots in his room and wore only his trousers as he preferred to be bare foot when inside. Gave him a strange sense of raw animal emotion he supposed.  
 
He padded softly until he saw Arial. Her corset was fitted snugly around her and gave the perfect place on her waist to skim hands over before fingernails could dig into her with wanton desire….  
 
————-He stood looking at her waist for a moment before throwing all sense of reality aside and striding the distance between them. His hands found her waist, catching her off guard but before she had time to react, his mouth was on hers, hands pulled her to him, fingernails drawing down her back before tangling in her hair, adding to the sensual kiss. His heart raced, his hands wandered, heavy chest falls of breath began while he became lost in her, consumed in her, tasting, touching, exploring her.  
 
——————— He blinked, still standing at the entrance to the living room and still looking at her waist…..well that was what he wanted to do if he could. Instead he walked quietly towards her and smiled a friendly morning greeting before sitting at the table. “Something smells good.” 

– 

Arial has just removed the tea from the stove as Danny enters the kitche. She smiles sweetly as she looks over at Danny who has sat down at the table. She notices a twinkle in his eye and senses a warmth in his aura. A tingling sensation enters her being and she wonders why. Her vision becomes blurry for a few moments. She blinks repeatedly and her vision eventually clears, but the familiar beating of her heart increases.  
 
Arial turns back to the stove, removes the pot of corn meal from the hot coals, and pours the tea for her and Danny into two mugs while saying, “Umm… thanks, I hope you like cornmeal. I eat a lot of corn, or use to, so it’s a habit to have it made most mornings.” She places the mugs of tea upon the table before serving the corn meal. Once the corn meal was served she sits across from Danny. She looks across at him and blushes, he is still looking at her with that twinkle in his eyes. His pupils look… different, as if they are bigger (dilated must be the term). She wonders why…  
 
To distract her from her wondering she asks, “So… umm… what are the plans for today?” 

– 

He didn’t answer her question about the food, he was caught in a trance-like state. He did like corn and all the forms it came in, he pretty much liked all food and all experiences that came with new tastes. He brought his tea to his mouth and sampled a taste, running his tongue briefly over his lip to catch and escaped droplet of tea. He was leant back in his chair in a slouch, which was normal for Danny, he sometimes wondered if his spine was built like that.  
 
He hadn’t eaten his food yet, instead his gaze was on her face and his hands were protesting as his eyes teased them of all the places they could wander but the hands were forbidden to. He watched her as she spoke, how her lips formed to makes the words, her tongue’s every move as it caressed the sounds she made. He noticed his own mouth was slightly parted as he blinked and broke himself from the trance and started to eat the meal.  
 
“Plan today?” He could think of lots of things that he wanted to do, none could he voice though. “I thought I’d go get meself a shirt , yer know, seeing as that was one of yer rules for staying ‘ere at yer home.” Danny often chose what rules to follow and break, it wasn’t often that he would break a rule by accident, he usually set out to do it. But this was a rule he was willing to abide by. “What about yer plans?” 

– 

Arial picks at her cornmeal for a few moments while looking down at the mushy substance. When she glanced up she caught Danny’s gaze. She smiled at him.  
 
He told her his plans of the day and asked her of her plans. “Oh, I’ll be writing some documents for the church to send to Fr. Liam, that is all. I may go to the market to pick up some meat so that we can have more than just vegetables as well. I’m glad you will be getting a shirt, it’ll keep you warm when the winter comes.”  
 
Arial pauses. She is unsure about the events of last night and what is to come with this man in her cottage. Suddenly she found voice to speak of a puzzling thought.  
 
“What’s going on here? You have been here for only a short time, yet you have a strong affect on me.” 

– 

He finished his meal while listening to her plans for the day. They sounded dreadfully dull. Well he supposed his shirt buying expedition wasn’t that exciting either, but to Danny, anything that involved reading or writing was dull. Most likely because he could do neither, so it was a veiled safety to declare boredom with such trivial things. He was much better with his hands when they were being used for skills other thank holding a quill.  
 
But if he knew anything, it was that church people sent a lot of time reading and writing so he guessed Arial must like it or she wouldn’t have sacrificed all the delights and pleasures of life for such a seemingly boring task. He dropped his spoon in his bowl when she paused and stood up, only to stop his movement towards the front door as she spoke again. What did she mean affect? What sort of affect? A desire to buy meat? A want to read and write more? Or that quirky habit of staring blankly at the corner of a room and not at him. He opened the door and hung on the door frame with one hand.  
 
With a grin he offered his only answer. “I have no idea what yer talkin’ bout lass. With that he was gone, closing the door behind him and heading off for the market.” 

– 

Arial’s cheeks turn red from embarrassment as Danny turns away. She feels very silly with what she said, she realized her words weren’t clear but at the same time she feels Danny knew what she was talking about. Either way, she feels very silly – about everything that has passed with in twenty-four hours. She even feels a little shame and guilt for her emotions being weak.  
 
Dear Jah… Thank you for being on my side… I will do better at controlling my emotions around young men like Danny… Thank you for the challenge. This was her silent prayer to Jah before she placed her uneaten cornmeal in the wash-bucket along with Danny’s dish. She finishes off her tea, grabs her pack, and heads out the door with a feeling of lightheadedness and a slight heaviness of embarrassment in her chest. She knows a meditation will relieve her of this, but for now she has duties to fulfill… So off to the church she goes. 

– 

After working his ass off all day, cleaning out the main hall at Blencow, closely followed by some jobsworth mouthing off, he had to walk the many miles back to Penrith town. He had his new shirt, a crisp shade of blue with brown leather string through the wrists and chest. He was in no mood to chat with the market traders during the sale, instead he grabbed the nearest shirt off the rail, tried it on and stuffed the sellers hand with gold.  
 
Once back at Arial’s, he took the key from the small string he had tied around his neck and unlocked the door. Arial wasn’t home so he kicked off his boots by the fireplace and knelt beside it, working with some kindling until a roaring fire growled. He walked down the hallway and threw himself backwards onto his bed, falling into a light sleep. 

– 

Arial comes home after working writing documents and reading at the Church. Many don’t call what the church does work, but it does tire the brain out. It is exhausting, but Arial feels it is helpful, at least in some way.  
 
Arial returns home in a distant feeling mood, but she is curious as to if Danny is home. A part of her really wants to see him.  
 
But when she enters she hears only silence. She walks down the hall to put her pack in her room. She stops in front of Danny’s room. She decides to glance in to see if he was there, and sure enough, he was there sleeping. Arial smiled at him sleeping, she knows he is a hard worker.  
 
Arial walks in his bedroom quietly and stands before the sleeping Danny to study his features. His body is still, his chest is moving up and down slowly. Arial notices the blue shirt he is wearing and she smiles. His face is smooth but a serious scowl is seen in his eyes. She wonders what he is dreaming. She lets out a small sigh before leaving the room, she doesn’t want to disturb his slumber by her presence standing over his sleeping form.  
 
She exits Danny’s room and walks to her own to meditate and contemplate matters. 

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