Who: Eleanor, John and Richard What: Family dinner time! (With an uncomfortable factor of like...11. XD) When: Thursday night Where: L'Atelier De Joel Robuchon At The Four Seasons Notes: Reposted as a favour, originally posted by Eleanor, John and Richard
It really had been far too long since Eleanor had seen either of her sons, something she intended to remedy immediately. Upon arriving back in the city after her business trip, she'd found Richard's and John's addresses and mailed them each a card, inviting them to dine with her Thursday evening. The thought never even crossed her mind that they would not attend.
Donning a dress and twisting up her hair, she called for a car to take her to the restaurant, arriving just in time to be prompt for her reservation. The host showed her to her table and pulled out her chair, and she smiled. It was always nice to know little gestures had not fallen by the wayside.
She ordered a glass of wine and settled into her chair, waiting for her sons to arrive.
John had spent half an hour picking out the right tie to wear, and eventually discarded all of them and went with a tuxedo. He had to make an excellent first impression on his mother. When he'd received the invite, he'd immediately gone out and bought a new suit, because no way was he showing up in an old one. Knowing Richard, he'd turn up in a leather jacket and jeans or something. The man had absolutely no class.
He checked his reflection in a window outside the restaurant. "You will be great," he told himself, then took a breath and went in.
"Mother!" he said, sincerely glad to see her. He handed her the bouquet of flowers he'd brought her, and kissed her cheek. "It has been far too long. You look amazing, as always." He gave her a warm smile, glad to see his habit of turning up early had beaten Richard there. First impressions are everything.
Unlike John he'd been looking at the dinner with some dread. He loved his mother, dearly, but he also remembered how she's subtly made all of them do as she wanted. She'd given him independence, and yet it came with a price.
Still it had been ages and she was his mother. There was no more Aquitaine to conquer, or a Normandy to get back. He hardly figured Eleanor needed him for anything else now.
He'd dressed casually formal, no suit because he wore those too much, and came with roses. When he walked into the restaurant he already spotted his brother there. He suppressed the urge to roll his eyes and smiled as he walked up to the table. "Mother, wonderful to see you." He nodded to John, "John."
Eleanor smiled at John, a genuine one, and kissed his opposite cheek. "John, dear" she said warmly. "It has been much too long, you are right. And you are very sweet. Please, sit." She accepted the flowers, breathing in their scent. "Thank you, they're beautiful. Such a thoughtful boy."
When Richard entered, she smiled up at him. "Richard, darling, how wonderful to see you as well. And flowers from both my boys, you spoil me." Even though he didn't actually roll his eyes, she could sense the restraint.
"We'll have a nice family dinner, yes?" she asked, smiling, trying her hardest to not turn it into a command. She knew she did it a lot, but then again, she knew nothing else. If any situation arose, perhaps then. But not before.
She gestured for the waiter to come over so they could order drinks if they wished. "So tell me, what have the two of you been occupying yourselves with lately?"
John nodded back to his brother, who was typically dressed down. "Richard," he said, then sat on his mother's left and gave her a loving smile. Richard could condescend to him all he wanted. John was the more successful of the two of them, clearly.
"Well I run my own corporate law firm," John said. "I have partners of course, but you can't get by without them. I do most of the work myself, though! Oh, I just remembered-" He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a jewellery case. "Just a little something for my darling mother." Tiffany and Co, of course. Nothing less would do. Lets see Richard match that.
He didn't doubt the could have a decent family dinner. All the Christmas courts had been semi decent, as far as he remembered. And there was nothing to argue over now. Well, except for John's habit of annoying the crap out of him.
He sat down and ordered wine for himself. For his mother's benefit he turned to the menu when John gave her the gift. He wouldn't let the younger man spark his anger. He lowered it and smiled, "still working for the military. Still won't listen to me, but it pays." He set the menu down, "met someone. He's wonderful really."
"That does sound like something you would excel at," she replied. "And it's prudent to have others to help. As good as you are, you cannot be everywhere at once. But I have no doubt that you do."
She accepted the box and opened it, her face breaking into a smile. "John, it's beautiful. You shouldn't have." She took the necklace out and put it on, twisting it around once so it draped nicely and caught the light. She leaned over and kissed his cheek again.
Now that Richard wasn't focusing on his menu (She'd noticed but decided not to comment. No need to provoke anything.), she listened as he filled her in. "When did they ever?" she asked with a rueful smile. "Someday they will figure out that listening to you would be wise."
A small expression of surprise crossed her face. "Oh?" she asked, curious. "He must be quite special. Tell me about him?"
John suppressed a snort. If Richard would play the "better man" then John could be too. "Working with the military is a skill at which Richard excels," he said, declining to comment that it was probably the only one. "In my line of work, you have to make people listen to you."
He felt a little annoyed that Eleanor was taking Richard's gayness in stride, but then, Richard and Philip had been so damn handsy with each other at first. "Yes Richard, do tell us about him. I haven't had the honour of meeting him yet either."
"To be fair, I'd rather be out in the field, but it's too dangerous. Not for me, just for anyone I would lead into battle. Kind of hard to follow someone who disappears every so often," he did regret not being able to fight. It was practically what he'd been born for.
He gave John a tight smile, "isn't being a lawyer all about who can bullshit the best? I'm pretty sure you're the best at it." He'd expected the question from his mother and glanced to John, "probably not for a while," or never if he had a say about it. He glanced to his mother. "His name is Aaron. He's in the military like me. He let's me relax. Be myself. Haven't quite figured out how to tell him everything about me just yet. Not without sounding insane."
"True," she agreed wistfully. "Apparently whatever power keeps us here is not going to be persuaded to let us go any time soon." She turned to John so she could address his point as well. "And there are all different kinds of strengths, John. Who would know that better than the two of you?"
She sighed quietly and rubbed a hand over her eyes. "Boys," she said in a low, warning tone. "A nice family dinner, remember? And if not nice, could we at least try for civil?" This was precisely what she had hoped wouldn't happen.
She listened as Richard told them about Aaron, filing all of the information away for later. She knew he wouldn't give up many details willingly, and if need be, she could look into it herself.
"I'm pleased you've found someone who makes you happy," she said with a small smile, but her mind was whirling around. She wanted Richard to be happy, of course she did, but she was still uneasy about the whole thing. She rallied quickly. "I'd imagine that revealing that particular aspect of yourself would be difficult for anyone to absorb quickly."
"Well exactly. Richard has his, I have mine. Bullshitting is a hard skill to acquire." John looked cooly at Richard, and raised an eyebrow. "Aaron sounds lovely."
He glanced around the room, hoping to spot an attractive waitress perhaps, or someone lovely at another table. He nodded to the waiter who brought them their drinks, and sipped his wine with a sigh. He'd got the same as Richard. "Excellent. You do know your wines, Richard. Must be all that time you spent in France."
"I'm being perfectly civil mother," and he was, in his mind. He'd yet to throw insults at his younger brother. He was trying to behave himself. He smiled at John, "I believe Mother installed me with the love for France. Aquitaine was truly gorgeous. Shame it's been lost to us."
He glanced to his mother then, "it's pretty hard to sound sane when you're telling someone you're Richard the Lionheart. I'll probably call in a favor from George. He's got the whole glowy Saint bit." he motioned his wine glass to his mother, "you should send your hello's. I'm sure George will love to hear from you. He's gone and gotten himself married to. To The Saint Sebastian even.." If anything he hoped it'd get Eleanor of his back. "The other day he send me this little lion with a fake crown on it." Richard was rather fond of George. He had good memories of the Saint.
"Better to nip these things in the bud," she replied. "And I'm fairly certain that saying your brother is the best at 'bullshitting', as you put it, is rather exiting civil territory."
"It really was," she said, remembering her childhood days of riding and hawking with her father, of all the emotions the land stirred in her.
"True," she concedes. "And it can be a pain sometimes, having to change my name and appearance every few decades. The price we, I suppose." She took a sip of her wine as Richard mentioned George. "Is he in the city? I'd love to see him again, it's been much too long." Then her eyebrows made a bid for her hairline as he told her of George's marriage. "I'll have to pass along my congratulations. Although I get the feeling that you were not at all surprised."
She smiled at the mention of the lion. "That does sound like him."
John smiled smugly into his wine glass, knowing better than to gloat over Richard being told off too openly.
"This city and this time seems to be a focal point of divine personages, Mother. There are a lot of the mythical and legendary together. You remember Robin Hood I'm sure?" John here shot a narrow look at Richard. He didn't have proof that Richard had provided Loxley with his personal information to attempt to rob him, but he wouldn't put it past him. "Saint George keeps interesting company."
"For me and John? It's actually really civil." He was honest about that one, "besides I was being honest. I thought that's what lawyers did nowadays. Get paid too much money for coming up with the most difficult words."
He avoided John's look at the mention of Robin. It was nice to get under his brother's skin, and the proceeds had gone to good things. "Surprised about George marrying? A little. Was a bit disappointed but I've never seen him happier. I'll tell him you're here." What George would do after he couldn't say. God knew Richard had complained enough about Eleanor at times. "Calls my place the Lion's Den and thinks he's the most clever thing out there." He shrugged at John's comment, "what? Other Saints"
She sighed quietly to herself. "As you say," was all she said. "And I wouldn't know about lawyers today, there's a reason they go to school for it."
She cocked her head, interested, as John spoke. "Really? I do indeed remember Robin Hood. It would be very interesting to see who I might run into simply while out and about."
She smiled. "Do that. I'd like to see him again. You and he were always close, and knowing that he went into battle with you made me feel better." She laughed at the name. "I'm sure you've never heard that before," she said, amused, sipping her wine.
"Are there other Saints about?" she asked, interested. "I would certainly like to meet them, if there are."
"You might be surprised who you end up meeting. I wasn't talking about the other Saints, Richard. I was talking about Loxley and you, mainly. And all the other interesting warrior types he knows." John rolled his eyes, feeling superior. "I did have to do a bit of a refresher degree, Mother. I have a Masters in corporate law, from about fifteen years ago. We do have to go through the motions of pretending not to be immortal. Speaking of, I'm hungry." He waved over the waiter to make his dinner order.
He only smiled, "I know there's other immortals out there. Saints and otherwise. I haven't met any other warrior types just yet." He nodded to his mother's question then, "yes. I know for certain Saint Sebastian and Saint Patrick are around. I am near sure Saint Anthony and Saint Michael are around as well."
He ordered after his brother once the waiter came, always trying to be charming. He liked people liking him. Once the waiter cleared out he turned back to his family. "There's a Church I go to on Sunday's mother. Very nice, good Pastor. I haven't seen John there yet though." His brother had gotten him into hot water, he wanted to see how John would get himself out of this one.
"It sounds like you can kick over a rock and immortals come crawling out," she said, a slight smile playing on her lips. She cocked her head and listened as John told her about his schooling. "We do, I think I've been to business school at least...three times?" She shrugged.
She placed her order as well, and turned to give Richard her attention. At the mention of a Church, she listened a little closer. "I haven't found a Church I really like yet, I may have to drop by," she said. "It makes me feel out of sorts to not have one I go to regularly."
She then turned her gaze on John, fixing him with the kind of Look only a mother could give. "Have you not been attending Church, John?" she asked, tone deceptively light.
Son of a bitch. John narrowed his eyes at Richard before turning to his mother. "No, Mother, I haven't found one that appeals to me," he replied with a shrug. And it was true, he hadn't, and probably never would. Who cared for the stupid church and it's internal bureaucracies? It wasn't about finding God, it was about controlling people and getting their money and repressing perfectly normal desires so they spill out unhealthily.
And even if he did, he sure as hell wouldn't go to the same church as Richard, the pompous smug git.
He nodded at his mother's comment, "that's actually true. The city is like this giant beacon. I have some friends here, seemingly been here forever." He didn't really attend any schooling. He didn't need to re-learn how to kill people.
"Exactly," he said to the mention of a good church, then smiled at his brother. He hardly wanted John to go to the same church he did, but now he was under scrutiny. "There's plenty around. One to suit every taste."