|Khalida (thisfloodedsky) wrote in cirque_rp,|
@ 2019-05-06 23:11:00
|Entry tags:||!complete, !thread, ac: may, c: khalida saadaoui, player: circe, player: rae|
Who: Khalida & Rex
What: Setting things straight
When: May 4, after this
Where: The Kitchens
Warnings: Talk of domestic violence
Khal was in the process of making mini key lime pies when Rex arrived in her kitchen, hair pulled tightly back and out of the way, a smudge of powdered sugar on her collarbone when it was exposed from her white tank.
“Hello Rex,” she said, looking up from the tray in front of her. “Thank you for meeting me here. I have a bit of work to do before dinner, but wanted to talk with you. Are you good with knife?” She pushed a large one across to the bench beside her where they was a bowl of limes. “Wash your hands and then cut those into thin slices for me.”
This was useful in two ways: Firstly, it would mean he didn’t have to stand there and be interrogated with his hands behind his back light a naughty school boy, and secondly it would get her limes cut. Two birds.
“Yes ma’am,” he replied, nodding at her, willing to help if that was needed of him. He didn’t mind the talking, he had been expecting this meeting and was glad it was sooner rather than later.
The knife slid across to him. Diverting to the sink, he soaped his large hands, dipping them beneath the water. Suds would be lathered and washed away. The sink tap was urged off by a wrist and then his hands dried on a nearby towel. And then he returned to the table with the knife and the task beforehand.
The task was simple enough. A lime was taken, slit into thin enough slices to fit into the necks of bottles.
“Tell me about yourself, Rex,” Khalida said as she piped creamy filling onto the biscuit bases she’d already prepared.
She knew Rex in passing, but not personally. She’d seen him around plenty over the few years he’d been there, both out on the grounds and serving him food, but she didn’t really know him beyond that. The closest moment the two had ever had was when he’d shown up at her door with Issac, and while that that told her a little, it was not enough. And most certainly not enough for her to be okay with him dating her daughter.
“I am from a family of Christians,” he began, chopping limes diligently. “My father is a pastor, my mother plays the organ during Sunday services. They both teach a Sunday school class to children. I spent a couple of years in the army before coming to the circus.”
He had nothing but positive energy, and seeing Nadine only helped to strengthen that. There was no way he was willing to move any faster than she was ready in spite of her youth. Or whatever expectations men had for women.
Khalida well knew that religious folk didn’t necessarily mean good folk. Her own parents had been deeply religious, and attending mosque daily and celebrating all the right holidays with all the right spirit hadn’t made her father into anything better than the monster he always was. But she didn’t say this. The way Rex spoke of his parents’ religion sounded positive, and she would take it that way.
“Are you still close with your family?” she asked. Again, the closeness of family wasn’t something Khalida could judge.
“Since coming here I haven’t spoken with them, they do not know I’m still alive. I joined a program while in the military, just a man with a promise of returning home, made into something else. I became a shifter. A lion. I’m not sure what the reception would be if I called.” Di had encouraged him to rekindle, Josie had encouraged him to rekindle.
The knife was sliced deep into the rind of the lime but he made himself keep focus. Focus soldier.
“But you didn’t ask me here to ask of my family, did you?” He inquired, finally looking up at her, pausing the cutting of the fruit.
She didn’t fault him for not contacting his family if that was the case. To be turned into something else against your will was not something that could be faced lightly by those who’d once loved you.
“I’m just trying to get a measure of what type of man you are,” Khalida told him, also pausing her own work to meet his eye. “Nadine, as you must know, is very precious to me. But she’s also never showed interest in anyone like this before, so this is unknown territory.” She smiled down in amusement as she piped another filling. “I had prepared once to have these conversations with teenage boys, not men.”
Rex felt a bit humbled by the comments, “I would never hurt her. I would never do anything that she didn’t want. She has slept in my suite. But it was on her own. She fell asleep on me, I carried her to my bed and then slept myself on the couch. She did make her way back to the couch but nothing has happened.”
He felt for Khal. His own mother probably would have felt the same way had the roles been reversed.
“I’d been meaning to speak with you, actually. I’ve nothing to hide.”
“Good,” Khal said, wiping her hands on a tea towel as she looked at him. “A man with things to hide is a man with a hidden trigger.”
She considered her next words carefully as she reached out to refill the piping bag. “Nadine’s father was not a good man, and she is fortunate to not remember him. He almost killed me many times and even tried killing Nadine when she was still inside of me. I only left him after she was born for Nadine's protection.”
She waved a hand a little in case he might say something. “I don’t tell you any of this for sympathy. I tell you this because to the outside world that man was wonderful, so loving and giving and no one believed me if I dared to suggest otherwise to them. I tell you this so you will know why I find it it hard to trust a pretty face, even one that says he would never hurt Nadine.”
“But,” she added, reaching for the piping bag again. “Nadine’s choices have to be her own, and I respect this. I respect her.”
“I encourage you to check my background if it would make you comfortable. I’d offer my enlistment number or whatever else you need. I have nothing but respect for your daughter, the same as you, and I don’t plan on doing wrong by her. Not without repercussion.
He knew that her mother cared for her, that her family would be there to keep her safe. He was happy to come upon each of them and state his case.
Rex went back to slicing the limes. Precision, each tended to carefully. “I would never go against her wishes.”
“Good,” Khalida nodded. “Because there are plenty of people in this place who love and care for Nadine, and if you were to lay a hand on her, so you should know it wouldn’t just be me coming for you.”
“But,” she added, watching his hands on the knife and the limes before looking back up at him. “You do seem a good man, and Nadine needs that. She needs more people in her life that she can be open with.” She knew that Nadine was so much a closed book with her emotions, and she knew also that a lot of that was Khalida’s fault. Her own issues and complications had been passed so easily onto her daughter. She wished it wasn’t the case.
“I know that. Max, yourself, Issac, many others,” he affirmed. He knew he was in trouble if he hurt Nadine. He never wanted that to happen.
He was relieved when Khal mentioned he was good. “I want no less for her. I would give my life for her in any circumstance.” His own life had been full, with Nadine it was better and while he knew his place with God he would give himself in a minute to save her.
“And anything you’ve said to me tonight will never be passed to her.”
I would give my life for her in any circumstance, gave Khalida pause. The two were clearly more serious about each other than she had realised, or maybe Rex was just more self-sacrificing by nature than Khalida could understand.
“I thank you for this confidence, Rex,” she told him, “and I put my trust in you with Nadine.”
Hafsa might be a different matter, but that could come later. Hafsa had always been not only Khalida’s protector, but Nadine’s as well. She might be harder to sway, but he could deal with Hafsa when she surfaced. “Already you seem to be made her happier, so I can’t fault this relationship between you two.”
He was glad for her blessing and he wouldn’t take it for granted. There would never be a reason to hurt her daughter as long as he was around.
“Thank you. I won’t disappoint you.”
Those next words made things better. The limes were finished. Rex pushed the bowl away. “Is there more I could help you with?” The question was raw and unburdened.
“No,” she told him with a soft smile. “You’ve been very helpful to me.” She didn’t just mean with the limes.
“When you see Nadine, please tell her that I’ve invited you to come along to family dinner next week. I hope you like spicy food?”
Rex was humbled by the offer. He nodded, “Yes ma’am. I do like spicy food. I wouldn’t have lasted as long here if not.” The offer would not go squandered. It meant a lot to him to be accepted into this family.
“Thank you, and I will.”
With that, he turned and was gone from the kitchens.