|Isobel Brandt \\ Persephone (praxidike) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-03-06 17:26:00
|Entry tags:||hecate, hermes, persephone|
i'll wait for you under our cherry blossom tree
Who: Kate, Isobel, & Percy.
What: Isobel invites Kate to the L.A. Cherry Blossom Festival.
When: March 4th.
Isobel tugged on Hanni's lead again, trying to keep him close despite the fact that the crowd attended the Cherry Blossom Festival was loosely congregated throughout the park. Still, the pom never looked as small as he did now, and though he was clearly excited to smell each and every tree, she was considering picking him up to carry his small weight. She distracted herself, trying to not be worrisome, by glancing at her companion.
"I'm so glad we could do this, Kate," she said, smiling wide. It was nice to get out from the apartment, from the strange warring feelings, and the fear growing in the back of her mind. For now, she could just let go and not worry about anything except which of the booths she wanted to visit, and which topics of conversation they could touch on. "And with our furbabies too. It's such a beautiful day."
“It really is,” Kate agreed, enjoying the slight breeze and glad for the consistent cloud cover. She appreciated the warmth, having been California born and raised, but long exposure to direct sunlight still drained her quickly.
Scilla and Carrie walked obediently by her side, mostly ignoring little Hanni after an initial sniff of greeting. Due to the crowd and all the things to see, the group was walking slower than Kate’s usual pace with her dogs, but since they’d likely be out longer today she hoped they would end up burning off the same amount of energy anyway.
Kate breathed in the scent of new spring growth that surrounded them. “Everything is so...vibrant,” she remarked.
Isobel smiled in return, her gaze moving to take in the wide view of the blooming cherry trees. Such sights always made her feel refreshed, relaxed, reconnected with the world at large. Petals flew through the air as they were shaken off branches by both wind and human hands, excited children unable to not touch things. Isobel shook her head in wry amusement, but made no comment. A sickly sweet smell filled the area around them.
"It's gorgeous, isn't it? I've been thinking about adding them to my nursery's catalogue, but they can be such fickle plants. Most of what I've got are desert variety -- hardy, easy to care for, good in this climate. I can't even imagine what the city must spend in keeping these alive."
Having struggled to keep the flowers Isobel had left on her doorstep alive as long as possible, Kate had difficulty following the nuance of Isobel’s chatter. “Oh? You know, I still haven’t been to your nursery. Does it smell like this?” she asked, trying not to wrinkle her nose at the idea of the perfumy smells concentrated inside a greenhouse.
"Um, sort of," Isobel replied, giving Hanni's lead another tug. "It depends on which section you're in. I try to keep them sorted; annuals, biennials, perennials, so on. We have a small selection of cacti, which are getting popular here, though not so much as succulents. I think it's because they're kind of pretty, but very easy to care for. Not too much water, or soil even. And we have more on order from elsewhere, we can't keep all the inventory in one place, but it's a process."
She took a long look around the area again, her smile unflagging. "But things like this are even better. Sometimes the nursery feels...I dunno, unnatural? Plants were meant to live like this. Not in the wild, necessarily, but outside, lots of fresh air, sunshine... I'm sorry, I'm babbling." Left unchecked, she could have talked about her beloved passion for days. Her mind wandered to the gorgeous orchids that Obed had gotten her, which pushed her mind onto another topic. "I haven't had a chance to ask, how was your Valentine's Day?"
Kate nodded along, unsure about the differences between an- and bi- and peren- plants, but not minding due to Isobel’s obvious love for the topic. “I went to the complex event at Casket,” she said, switching topics easily. “It was very nice, not too many people, though I did meet Percy. Have you seen him around the building yet? He had recently moved in.”
Isobel shook her head, one lip drawn into her mouth. "I haven't; it does seem like the building is starting to fill up. It's wonderful to see. How did it go?" Her expression turned sly, but still hopeful. It was a nice distraction from everything else, talking about someone else's potential love life. "Did you two hit it off?"
“There was no hitting involved,” Kate replied with a smile. She recognized Isobel’s look from her mother’s face during Kate’s early twenties before her mother had given up on Kate’s relationship status. Kate and her parents were too profession-driven for her parents to be surprised or disappointed that their daughter chose to remain single. “Just some pleasant chit-chat. He has an interesting taste in music. How was your night?”
"Good," Isobel replied, doing what little she could to keep color from rising to her cheeks as she remembered the aerobic exercise that went with the painting kit she'd gotten for Obed. "Obed signed us up for an ice cream creation class, which was a lot of fun. And then he got me these exquisite orchids, with bulbs, so I can try to plant them myself. It's not something I could start selling through my business, but it's going to be fun seeing how well I can mimic their usual environmental conditions." Her words were warm, excited not only to talk about plants but about her fiancé, and she pulled Hanni away from one of the trees. "Oh, let's check out this booth over here," she added, motioning to one that offered a plethora of cherry-blossom themed jewelry. As the moved closer, she took one of the necklaces in hand for inspection.
“That sounds wonderful,” Kate said, the idea of ice cream tempting her at that moment. Deftly balancing the leashes in one hand, she tried on a ring that wrapped elegantly around the the first section of her middle finger. “What do you think?” she asked, displaying her hand to the dogs. Scilla ignored her, watching the flow of foot traffic next to the booth, and Carrie looked at her blankly, tongue lolling. Kate chuckled and scratched Carrie behind her ear.
Peace. Pleasant smells. Beautiful weather.
But not a lot of crime--not a lot of anything except happy people, really.
Percy supposed he’d had worse days, all things considered. The most troublesome issue he’d had today was waiting his turn to speak to the crew stationed at the Origami tables, instructing cheerful visitors on how to fold small slips of paper and turn what otherwise looked like nothing impressive into something fantastical. That had been of particular interest to him, and in the end, waiting had been well worth it. Percy had gathered the information he’d needed, taking a few pictures for posterity’s sake, and moved on to the next booth. This was very likely the easiest job assignment he’d had in a long time, and the day was still so young.
In a particularly good mood, Percy continued to make his rounds at the festival, waylaid only for just a moment by a line of vendor booths. He found it difficult to resist taking a closer look at the goods being offered, many of them shiny home-made creations, baubles and doodads a-plenty. Holding his recently made paper crane in one hand, Percy attempted to pull his interest back to finishing his work assignment, which meant detaching himself from the temptation of dawdling at the booths.
But when he heard Kate’s familiar voice, he halted. Taking a closer look around, he spotted his reserved neighbor standing with another woman he didn’t quite recognize--but he did recognize the small dog sniffing around the ground by her feet. The other two dogs were, unfortunately, still a mystery. Likely not for long, however.
“Hey there, Kate!” Percy said in greeting, sauntering over to the small group. “I didn’t expect to see you here,” he added, offering a friendly smile to the woman he didn’t yet know. “Beautiful day, isn’t it? I’m Percy, by the way. I’m one of Kate’s neighbors.”
Isobel glanced up, surprise replacing the happy expression on her face. But she quickly mimicked Percy's smile, extending a hand.
"Oh, we were just talking about you. What a coincidence!" Hanni nearly jumped forward toward the familiar stranger, starting to pace around the man's feet and wind his leash along with him. "Hanni, no!" Isobel hit the stop button on the extendable lead, attempting to assert control; the little black poof of a dog had made one complete rotation around Percy, and Isobel moved away from the jewelry booth to try and unwind them both. "I'm so sorry, he always gets this way around new people. It's lovely to see you here, though; are you enjoying the festival?"
Kate looked around at the sound of her name, surprised to see Percy as if her conversation with Isobel had summoned him. Scilla and Carrie, caught up in Hanni’s excitement, joined him to greet the newcomer. As Isobel and Percy made their greetings, Kate placed the ring back on its display quickly before turning to the poor surrounded man. “Sit!” she commanded in a voice that didn’t need to yell to demand obedience. Scilla and Carrie sat at Percy’s feet but still looked up at him expectantly while Kate joined Isobel to untangle the leashes.
Their handshake was brief; the tiny dog Percy had met just the other week was suddenly busy making his presence known, encouraging the other two dogs to act in a similar fashion. Positively encircled by the small crowd of canines, Percy waited while their leashes were detangled, happily unfazed by the situation. “Oh, don’t worry about it; he probably just remembers me from the other day.” There was a pause, Percy already connecting the dots between Obed and Isobel--so this was the woman his one-time employer had briefly referenced as a bonafide spoiler of the tiny dog.
He stepped carefully out from the loop of Hanni’s leash, offering a few pats in greeting to the larger dogs once he was freed from his temporary entrapment. “The festival’s been great, I stopped by the Origami booth earlier to brush up on my paper folding skills. Have either of you been over there yet?” Percy held up his now slightly crumpled crane as evidence of his paper folding endeavors.
Isobel shook her head, rising from her stooped position to keep control of her tiny poof of a dog.
"No, this is our first booth, but that does sound fun. But you said you met Hanni the other day? So you probably ran into Obed. I hope they were both better behaved than this one has been," she replied laughter ringing her words. "Is the origami what brought you out here?"
Having sorted out dog from human from leash, Kate stood, highly pleased at Percy’s fond and unfrightened reaction to her Rottweilers. She raised an eyebrow at the tiny crane in his palm. “Is origami part of the new adventures you came to California for?” she added to Isobel’s question with a slight twitch at the corners of her lips.
“I can guarantee that Obed was on his best behavior. Hanni, however…” Percy let his sentence trail off innocently, hinting at possible mischief the pomeranian might or might not have enacted. He shrugged, the schemes of Hanni not under his control. “Actually,” he said to his companions with an adopted tone of seriousness, “yes and yes. My boss sent me here to check out the highlights of the festival, but along the way, I discovered an innate talent for folding paper. If I had known I could make things like this, I wouldn’t be writing newspaper articles for a living.” The crumpled piece of art spoke otherwise to his claim, but that was beside the fact of making pleasant conversation.
Her smile wide, Isobel adjusted her glasses with an unconscious movement. "Maybe if your newspaper career doesn't go the way you'd hoped, you could always take up folding your former articles?" The rib was good natured, her glance at Kate inviting her in on the joke. Isobel looked back to Percy, brows lifting slightly. "Maybe you can make something nice for Kate. I hear you two had a wonderful Valentine's Day conversation." If she were a stronger-willed person, she might've thrown in some innuendo, but for the moment it was enough that she was attempted to tease the two while they were both in her presence. She noted the way Kate brightened in Percy's presence, but was mindful of the fact that she didn't know enough to say more.
Kate fought down the rising heat she felt in her cheeks at Isobel’s implications and pushed through the awkwardness to make it her own. “Hmm,” she said, putting a finger on her chin and looking up at the sky as if deep in thought, “I have been pondering ways to decorate my spare bedroom. It’d be a perfect place to display your origami since no one ever goes in there,” she teased.
He looked from Isobel to Kate, grinning with amusement. Truly, the conversation that had evolved between him and Kate had been anything except what Isobel seemed to be insinuating, despite his initial efforts. It was possible he hadn’t been in prime form on Valentine’s Day. Whatever the case, it was now water under the bridge.
“Well, if you insist,” Percy replied to Kate, his tone no less than suggestive. “Although I imagine this crooked crane would sometimes become lonely. It seems like a crying shame, if you ask me.” He briefly looked down at the sad piece of paper in his hand, sighing deeply. “What do you think, Isobel? Is this poor thing worth saving? Should I throw it to the dogs instead?”
She shook her head, extending one hand to take the sadly formed crane from his hands. "It's not that bad," she admonished him and Kate, and herself in passing, her fingers straightening its wings and its neck as best she could, but it was still lopsided. She glanced at Percy over her glasses, her head still tipped forward, his form a blurry outline without the help of her prescription. "I hope you won't let one bad origami experience ruin your article, though. Who do you write for?"
Continuing to fight the blush in her cheeks at Percy’s tone--For goodness sake, what is wrong with you? she scolded herself--Kate used his mention of dogs as an excuse to look at her own. She noted their restlessness and suggested, “Shall we continue to walk while we talk?” She moved forward to do just so, Scilla and Carrie standing up excitedly.
Lucky for Percy, he had no lasting attachment to the origami creation. The jests--both his own and his companions’--against the crane’s failed shape were nothing more than good fun, but it appeared that Isobel might have taken them seriously. Obed’s lady acquaintance was tender-hearted, it seemed. “I’ll do my best not to,” he told her warmly, followed by an admission of his still relatively new position at the Orange County Register. “And walking’s a great idea, wish I’d thought of it first,” Percy idly mused. He fell into step with Kate and Isobel, the larger dogs leading the way.
Isobel offered the folded crane back to Percy, quickly falling into step with her two companions. Hanni darted forward, eager to be as far ahead as both his lead would allow him and to attempt to keep pace with Kate's dogs.
"Is this the sort of thing you usually write? City events, I suppose?"
“Do you take the pictures too?” Kate asked, looking around leisurely. “The sights almost speak for themselves.”
The crane once again found itself in its maker’s hand, none too worse for wear. Percy figured he’d toss it once they passed a recycling bin, but for now, it would come along for the ride.
“Oh, not at all,” he admitted, a wry smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “I prefer a life of documenting crime. It’s the next best thing to an adrenaline rush. Besides, criminals need their side of the story told.” Percy shrugged, breathing in the scent from the flowering cherry blossoms. Truly, this was the first time he’d experienced such a festival, and it certainly was turning out to be a ripe time for company.
He mulled over Kate’s question for a moment. “If I took all of the pictures, I’d be spending way too much time with actual criminals. That wouldn’t be good for my reputation.” Percy changed the subject, focusing on their wellbeings instead. “But what about the two of you? I can’t picture classy ladies like yourselves digging up criminal histories to make a quick buck.”
Isobel wrinkled her nose, glancing at Kate with amusement. "No, that's definitely not me. I run a plant nursery; Spring Growth. It's coming along. That's why I dragged Kate out here today, also for the excuse of seeing her puppies again." Hanni danced along at the edge of his lead, almost leading the procession with quick, proud steps. Isobel shook her head. "I try to stay away from, you know, criminals. I suppose everyone does deserve to have someone listen to their stories." She fell quiet after that, her mind pushed back to unwanted events, instead listening on what Kate might have to say.
Kate returned Isobel’s amused glance. “Mostly I read about criminals in books, although some of the research I do at work does delve into that territory.” She sighed. “The endings in books are usually more satisfying than those in reality. But,” she continued, smiling at Percy, “I’m glad you’re able to get away from that for a bit with a beautiful event like this.”
“Any excuse to spend time with your dogs, Kate. They’re my favorite part of this festival, next to Hanni, of course. I wouldn’t want to offend him,” Percy quipped, filing away the little details that Isobel and Kate were divulging to him. First impressions were grand, but second and third impressions often went better if he could recall tidbits of personal information.
“And I’ll have to stop by your nursery some time,” he added, turning to Isobel. “My turtle hasn’t had a good petunia in awhile. She’d be overjoyed if I brought her a few petals.” They passed a recycling bin and he tossed the bent crane into it, setting it free to rejoin its fellow papermates.
"I can certainly set you up with a few plants, though I'm used to filling orders for more than a couple of petals," Isobel laughed back. Hanni had briefly turned at the sound of his name, getting tangled in his lead. He stopped, wriggling in place until he was free. Then his tiny paws were at work once more catching up to Kate's larger canines. "But it's certainly the season for flowering plants, so just let me know. I think we have a large shipment coming in soon."
Kate chuckled. “Anytime you find an outfit in need of dog fur, or want to practice your interior decorating skills,” she said, noting the loss of the crane, “you know where to find us.”
And with that, he bid his two companions adieu, reminding not only them but also himself that he had a job to finish. Distractions were welcome, pleasing, even--but he’d never yet been late to turn in an article. Even if the fluff that Hanni consisted of would be relatively equal to the amount of fluff in this piece.