Gates

Interlude: Until Tonight

In Which Nasti Picks Up Where She Left Off

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

18 Gozran (IV), 4720 AR

Nasti leaves the meeting with Syr Armin Harrak and makes a beeline for the storefront of the Scriveners’ Guildhouse. When she spies Chendrea the White standing behind the counter, surrounded by customers, Nasti sets Canter to spy on her, and she slips behind a tall bookcase.

This is it, Nasti tells herself. I’ve made up my mind. Now I just have to muster my courage between now and -

“She’s out,” Canter says, suddenly appearing at Nasti’s feet.

“What, already? It’s been like ten seconds!”

Her familiar shrugs. “She’s efficient. And, if you could be one thing, you should be efficient.”

Nasti curses in Abyssal and tacks around the bookcase, nearly crashing into Chendrea. “Darling!” exclaims Chen, recovering so quickly from her surprise that most people wouldn’t have seen it. “When did you get back?”

“In my heart, I never left you.” Nasti knows it’s a cheesy thing to say, but she hopes that her actions will sell it as she takes Chendrea in her arms and kisses her.

Chen’s body tenses in surprise, then relaxes, almost melting in Nasti’s embrace before she pulls herself together and returns the kiss with interest. My first kiss! Nasti realizes through the fireworks. Unholy shit, I’m kissing my first love for the first time!

And I’m doing it in front of everybody here and I don’t care and neither does she, apparently!

Nasti can taste Chen’s hunger for this moment underneath all that poise and restraint – her own heart is singing loud enough to cloud all her senses – but she remembers a dramatic maxim from a book she found lying around in the Haraday Theater: “Always leave them wanting more.”

So Nasti breaks it off, if not without regret. She glimpses Chendrea with her eyes shut and her lips pursed, and briefly considers kissing her again before the wizard opens her eyes and arranges her mouth in a more familiar smirk. “I’m glad to see you too, darling. Hells, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so glad to see anyone.”

“It’s good to be missed,” says Naryalla, who’s leaning against a tall scroll cabinet, nearly finished with the apple she’s eating. Nasti releases Chendrea, who needs a long moment before taking two short steps away from the tiefling. “Or so I’m told. Good to see you made it back in one piece, Nasti,” the bard says.

I think I’m glad she saw that. Maybe this’ll make it easier to get my relationship with her on a more professional footing… “There were obstacles, to be sure, but nothing we couldn’t handle.” Naryalla seems satisfied with this humble braggadocio, but Chendrea clearly has her doubts.

“I wasn’t sure,” Chendrea says to Nasti, “if you’d had the pleasure of meeting Naryalla before you left.”

“We did, but the pleasure was eighty percent mine,” says Naryalla. “Was your expedition a profitable one? Did you learn anything helpful, or interesting, or…?”

“Yes,” Nasti says. “We just finished reporting to the Luminous Order.” Moving closer to Naryalla so she can lower her voice, she says, “I’m writing a report for your friends up north, as well. Can I give it to you tomorrow? I’m afraid I already have plans for this evening.” She aims a glance at Chendrea that wins her a smile that might look coy on a less outgoing woman; with Chen, it only speaks of that quality Nasti knows as “elven mystery.”

“That’d be most excellent.”

“Very well, then. If you come by the Loose Thread tomorrow afternoon, I’ll have it ready then.”

“That’s your tailory?”

“Yes. Three blocks south of the Sly Wink, on the other side of Cooper Street..” Nasti hadn’t been able to locate a “good spot” for her business in her price range; indeed, before she and her cousins had resolved that business with the otyugh, she couldn’t find anyone in Sumberton willing to lease her a space at all. But even at the edge of the docks, the Loose Thread was so far, so good…

“I’ve seen it, sure. I’ll be there.” Naryalla makes an impertinently lazy salute and saunters toward the door; Nasti turns to realize that Chendrea’s been watching her watch Naryalla depart.

“May I dare to hope,” says Chendrea, “that your plans for this evening include me?” She closes the distance between them again, places an arm around the tiefling.

“Of course they do.” You know they do, but you still want to hear me say it. You know I want to say it.

“And was that a preview of those plans that you gave me a moment ago?” Though slightly lidded in a manner Nasti finds alluring, Chendrea’s hazel eyes still hold constellations of light.

My turn. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”

“Surely you haven’t forgotten already.”

“Forgotten what?”

Chendrea’s kiss comes with fire behind it, and only ends when Canter makes an “Ooo!” sound. When both women glare at him, he says, “You should be thanking me that I didn’t do that the first time. Cos I really wanted to.”

“I applaud your restraint, Canter,” says Chendrea with an undercurrent of amusement. Then, to Nasti: “I really must get back to work, darling, but I will say that I’ve never wished more devoutly that I’d mastered a spell to speed up time.”

“Shall I call on you after sundown?”

“Perfect. Bring your appetite, darling; I won’t be free to dine until then.”

“As you wish. Until tonight, then.”

“Until tonight.”

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