|Isobel Brandt \\ Persephone (praxidike) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-02-10 08:42:00
|Entry tags:||aphrodite, hades, hecate, persephone|
some say good love, well, it's like a fine wine
Who: Isobel, Kate, Obed, Aurora.
What: The Brandt-St. Germaines have dinner guests.
When: Late evening.
The day had filled up far more quickly than Isobel had anticipated; Kate stayed over after walking the dogs, her rottweilers excited and frisky around Hanni, who tried to give as good as he got but was still kept somewhat separate from the larger animals. The walk certainly proved to tire Hanni out, as his little legs required far less activity than those of Priscilla and Carrie. Isobel insisted on carrying the little pom the rest of the way.
Now the dogs were situated in the wide living room, offered treats to placate them while they watched their humans get dinner prepared. Isobel had prepped a lot beforehand so there wasn't too much left to do, but if one were to go by her fussing, it might've seemed like the world was about to end. She'd already cooked the brussel sprouts, the cornish game hens were in the oven and the mashed potatoes were well on their way to being made.
Isobel pulled a few plates down from the cupboard, handing them off to Obed. "I think we can start setting the table now. I don't think we'll need too much silverware and...oh, do you remember where those nice cloth napkins I bought for this ended up? I could have sworn I left them on the kitchen counter..." She turned away from him, glancing over the kitchen as her incisors kneaded into her bottom lip.
Having stopped back at her apartment to put the pie she had brought for dessert in her oven to warm--it really was convenient to live only two doors down from her hosts for the evening--Kate walked back into D3 and inhaled the delicious smells emanating from the kitchen. She checked on the dogs once more before turning back to the kitchen preparations.
Isobel seemed to be moving in double time and looking flustered, although Kate couldn’t understand why. Everything seemed to be going spectacularly; the dogs had gotten along well, both humans and dogs had enjoyed the walk, dinner was coming together nicely, and the atmosphere was pleasant and friendly. “What can I help with?” she asked her host, standing to the side to avoid Isobel’s projected bounce path.
"You can pour her a glass of wine," Obed teased. His voice carried from the dining room, where he was carefully preparing each place setting to exacting specifications. The table did not have as much color as his fiancee might have liked, but it suited him well, all black and white with blood-red linens folded to the right of each plate. "Otherwise I'm fairly certain she's got it all under control."
Aurora had meant to be there earlier, truly. But she had errands to run and had to stop by the office, so she had picked up a tray of fancy cupcakes as to not come to the party empty handed. Then she had stopped in her apartment in the middle of retouching her hair to go over the rules of propriety before realizing a small get together with neighbors it was more well looked upon to bring either a nice wine or something handmade. Damn. The wine stock she had was nothing remarkable right now, so she selected one of her favorite SoCal vineyards and pulled out her mother’s recipe book and made cinnamon rolls, avoiding dripping frosting on herself only because she had spent so long wearing expensive dry clean only threads.
Still, five minutes late wasn’t too bad, and she had such a history of being late to purely social dates that it was hard to get too flustered about it. When she knocked on the door she heard other people talking and moving about and was relieved that it sounded like people hadn’t settled down to eat yet.
Isobel had finally located the napkins; they had somehow made their way into the pots and pans cupboard, and she handed them off to Obed for placement on the table. When Aurora's knock came, she moved to get it herself, grinning wide at the sight of the other woman.
"Come on in!" She embraced Aurora briefly, closing the door behind her. "Oh, you didn't have to bring anything! Here, let me take your dessert. We're going to have sweets for days after this." She ushered Aurora into the next room, where everyone else was, and took both the cinnamon rolls and the wine into the kitchen area.
"Kate, this is Aurora," she called out over her shoulder, trying to do too many things at once. Her voice softened as she came back out of the kitchen, simply waiting for things to finish cooking. "She was at the neighbor event the other day. Aurora, Kate, she's in D1, fairly close to you I think."
Kate recognized Aurora as the woman Isobel had been speaking to at the meet and greet before turning her attention to Kate. “No one ever complained about too much sugar. Nice to meet you,” Kate said, instinctively holding out her hand to greet the newcomer, the movement jerky as she winced internally at the realization that a handshake was probably too formal for this gathering.
For his part, Obed moved neatly around everyone, putting the finishing details on each place setting, even greeting Aurora in turn. He was an old hand at hosting, and Isobel was a fine partner in such things. All was going smoothly, and even the lateness of their start had ultimately been to the benefit of their belated guest. Then he drifted back into the kitchen, calling back behind him as he went.
"Who's drinking wine, and who's water?"
The hug, however brief, was returned as the dessert was whisked away in a whirl and she watched the whole affair with amusement and with an underlying level of fondness towards Isobel. The man in the apartment must have been Obed and there was something almost disconcerting about his presence, although she couldn’t, for the life of her, pinpoint why that would be.
“A pleasure.” Aurora reached out to take Kate’s proffered hand, offsetting the tenseness of the other and the formality of the moment by clasping Kate’s hand in both of her own. When she smiled she made sure it reached her eyes, and tried to remember that this dinner wasn’t for work or with some sort of endgame, “It’s so good to finally meet you, I hope we can be friends.” But then she was distracted, “Wine for me please! Red if you have it, but I’m not terribly picky.”
"Wine for me as well," Isobel chimed in, joining Obed briefly in the kitchen. Her hand touched the small of his back for a moment, there and gone so as not to disturb him at his work. Then she took the potatoes out from their pot, adding them to a second serving dish. The first, holding the brussel sprouts, she took out to the waiting area. She glanced at the dogs, pleased to see them still getting along.
"I don't want to hold your dogs up, Kate, but I think we'll definitely have to join you again for another walk. I've never seen Hanni so quiet around company before."
Kate smiled widely and relaxed, relieved that Aurora had taken the handshake in stride. “I’ll try wine as well,” she called after Obed, releasing Aurora’s hands. “Whatever you recommend.”
At Isobel’s observation, Kate looked at Scilla and Carrie fondly. “He’s probably terrified to misbehave around my two guard dogs,” she joked, knowing by the dogs’ demeanors that wasn’t the case at all. She turned back to Aurora. “Are you a member of the furry club, too?” she asked.
Obed arched a brow upon his entrance to the dining room, clearly having returned at precisely the wrong time. He offered a glass to Kate and Aurora, each one with a generous portion of vibrant red wine within. It was a lush, subtly oaky Pinot Noir from his family's own offerings, but this seemed neither the time nor the place for such bragging. So he merely returned to the kitchen, there to retrieve the last of the wine glasses and leave them neatly at each place setting.
Then, glad to have something with which to busy himself, Obed picked up the second serving dish and set it in its place. He looked to Isobel as though waiting for her cue.
Aurora took the wine with a quiet thanks, taking a sip right away and feeling the pleasant warmth slide down her throat, “Is there anything I can help with?” It was a bit of a formality, because most hosts wouldn’t let first time guests help but it was a bit of politeness that was necessary nonetheless.
She belatedly noticed the dogs, too distracted by analyzing Kate and Obed in her head, “Oh! Hello Hanni and--” She stopped, stepping back suddenly and took a sharp step backwards, keeping her footing only because she could walk across subway grates in these heels, “Oh my, those are big dogs. Like. Guard dog big.” Aurora wasn’t scared of dogs--isn’t scared--but she also hadn’t spent a great deal of time around big ones either. There was a long moment of strong apprehension before she took a gulp of wine and slammed down a generic pleasant face she used when nervous about premiers and the like and moving to sit at the table even if she was the first to do so.
"Oh, don't worry, Aurora, they're sweethearts." Isobel met Obed's gaze, and then the oven started beeping. She flew from the table toward the kitchen, making quick work of sliding the game hens out of the hot box on their tray. She fretted for a minute, wondering how they were going to get to the table, and then finally decided.
"Obed, can you bring the plates in here? We'll serve the game hens and then everything can go back on the table." Isobel left the kitchen herself, grabbing two of the plates so that she could add the meat. She glanced toward Aurora and Kate. "If you guys want to sit, we'll be getting started here soon. I'm sorry this's taken so long!" Then she promptly disappeared again, taking the plates with her.
Kate hadn’t missed the way Aurora closed off upon seeing her dogs. Not that Kate blamed her, but she was so used to the dogs that she forgot how intimidating they could appear to outsiders. She set down her wine glass, stepped as far around the table as she could from Aurora’s seat, and called the dogs to her. “I might as well bring them home for food and water and bring by my dessert offering,” she explained. “Come, Scilla, Carrie.”
The dogs followed Kate obediently down the hall and into her apartment, where as predicted they ate and drank while Kate turned off her oven and took out the pie. She patted them each on the head and headed back to Isobel and Obed’s.
Isobel was just finishing up the last plate with hen when Kate walked in. Kate set the pie down on a rare blank space of counter and said to her, “Just let me know when the oven is free, and the pie can finish warming in there. It won’t need long. Anything I can bring to the table?”
"I think we're good to go," Obed said. Bearing two plates, he slid past her, setting one neatly in front of Aurora, holding the other out to Kate. He flashed her a welcoming smile, already moving to set the oven to warm. "But thank you." He waited a moment, then bent down, sliding the pie into the oven's dark maw.
That done, he returned to the dining room, taking up his wineglass and raising it in toast. "Thank you all for coming," he said. "It's good to be able to welcome you all into our home. May we not entirely annoy you as your new neighbors."
Aurora raised her glass in turn, a smile on her features as she did so, “Thank you for having us, I look forward to getting to know you, and please tell me if my music is ever too loud.” she took another sip of the wine, “So tell me about your selves, how long have you two been together, where did you meet?”
Isobel had just taken her seat as Aurora's questions spilled forth; her grip around her wine glass lessened, even though she knew the social lubricant would be a boon in this situation.
"Uh, we met through work," she answered, fastening on to the easiest question. "Obed was developing a new bed and breakfast, and I supplied the landscaping. Collectively, I think we've been...dating for...I guess we're getting close to nine months, now?" She brought her glass to her lips, taking a deep swallow; it wasn't so much that she was ashamed of the age difference between herself and her beau, or that they'd been dating and were now engaged to be married in such a short span of time. She simply worried what people would think, as silly as the thought was.
"But that's not important -- Kate, what is it you do for work?" Isobel swiftly turned the conversation to other matters, hoping to steer the topic.
Kate’s smile from Obed’s toast--she highly doubted any of these neighbors would disturb each other--faltered when she heard how young his relationship with Isobel was. She reminded herself that not every couple needed a long courtship like her parents had, and that Isobel was obviously happy. (Maybe it was because her initial meeting had been with Isobel and not Obed that Kate felt instinctively more protective of her?)
Storing away her seemingly illogical thoughts for later examination, Kate finished chewing her first bite of hen. “It’s delicious, Isobel.” She scooped up some mashed potatoes as she answered her host’s question. “I’m a librarian at my family’s law firm. I get to delve into the facts and leave others to misinterpret them,” she joked. “What about you, Aurora?”
Obed's brow descended from its high arch as the conversation turned to more comfortable topics. He made a mental note to thank Isobel later -- and Kate, too, perhaps, should he find the opportunity -- for her thoughtfulness in this. The swiftness of their relationship's progress did not bother him; it was the age difference that needled him, that made him lie awake at times wondering how much longer it would be before emptiness and silence would inevitably return to his home. He cleared his throat and let his wine and his food hold his tongue.
Digging into her food while trying to listen to what everyone was saying was an acquired skill from too many fundraisers, and she tried to note what people were not saying as well in the process. It wasn’t one of her best qualities admittedly, the spinning of facts into outlandish stories in her head but she tried to keep it in it’s place, “This is wonderful Isobel,I am impressed, my own cooking repertoire is very limited.”
Aurora turned to Kate’s question, finishing her bite and wiping her mouth before answering, “I’m an actress, just stage shows and some TV, and I represent a foundation for the arts. It takes up most of my time these days."
The conversation continued in a similar fashion, the group adhering to quiet, simple topics. All in all, despite the few small road bumps at the beginning, it seemed as though everything would turn out well for this one instance.