And The Women Are Ugly


Jaya.jpg Jonavan.jpg

Date: Nov. 3, 2010
Location: Living Caverns, EW
Synopsis: Day after Jaya returns home, she seeks out Jonavan. Things start off well, and then things go downhill once they start pushing each other's buttons unintentionally.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya

By late morning in the living caverns, the tables have been cleared and brushed free of crumbs, leaving a few people who eat at off-times or bring in their odd chores to do in the company of others. Jonavan, with a mug of klah at his elbow, has claimed the lower end of one such table; the thundercloud expression is enough to ward off all other potential claimants so his only company is that of his own making. He stretches back and up, a brief break from the letter he’s composing, then hunches again to add, You might think it would be interesting in this back-of-beyond, end-of-the-world outpost, but I have yet to see any riders with fascinatingly disfiguring injuries. Just loads of drunks and criminals and naive idealists and sometimes naive idealistic criminals. I am so bored I might die.

While Jonavan’s expression may be enough to ward off most, all it does for those that carry such dark expressions themselves most days is draw them further to his table. Jaya would come at him from behind, her steps slow and measured as she tries to look over his shoulder and be nosy. Her eyes narrow a fraction as she is able to read a bit of what he was writing, then with her open mug of something that is clearly not served in the living caverns themselves, she’ll lean down close to his ear and state, “You know, you have me wondering which category do I fall under for criminals, shuga. Am I the drunk and the criminal, or the criminal with naive ideals?” It will likely have him jumping out of his skin - again, no less on the scare tactics, but the barkeep would straighten up and move from around him before he would have a chance to react and settle onto the seat right across from him. Setting her mug down, “I’m back to make your life interesting again!” she announces, her voice back to normal levels with that smirk on her face. “Missed me?”

Jonavan nearly upsets his klah and comes close to bashing his head on Jaya’s — luckily she moves out of the way in time. A squiggle of ink slashes up through the text he’s written thus far before he breaks off to face Jaya. “Oh, hi,” he says as she comes round the table. “So you’re not dead.” Having got a whiff of whatever it is that she’s carrying in her mug and leaning forward a bit to verify it, he judges, “Definitely the drunk, at the very least.” For the scare, Jonavan retaliates by continuing his letter with, Also the women are ugly.

It’s perhaps for Jonavan’s sake that Jaya doesn’t laugh. “I’m not dead,” she counters, tossing a wink across the table towards him before she grabs her breakfast ‘drink’ and takes a swig. “You should be nicer to me, you know,” she drawls, leaning back a little in a more lazy posture. “You might be looking at an owner of her very own runner.” Although what’s that got to do with anything is probably beyond him. When he writes the next bit, she leans over to see and snorts aloud. “You should add but that they’re good enough to pad your bed at anytime of the night,” she suggests the smirk still there. She’ll take in the healer’s features and expression as well, studying him before she puts forth more soberly, “You weren’t worried, were you?” she asks, regarding his eyes steadily as her drink returns to its lonely spot on the table.

“Kill anyone?” Jonavan tosses this out while he writes a few more lines before inspiration fails. I know you’re going to say that drunks and criminals are just my cup of tea, but I am telling you, if you do not come visit me I may very well off myself. His eyebrows lift as Jaya announces her new acquisition but he doesn’t look up immediately, trying to decide on what to write next. Her further remark interrupts the thought process, and Jonavan glances up, looking thoroughly scandalised. “This is my sister we’re talking about.” He pauses the letter for klah, returning Jaya’s regard evenly. “Of course not. I’ve decided you’re just as melodramatic and paranoid as whats-her-name, the redhead.” Nevertheless his expression has eased a bit since Jaya came up to join him, his bearing a little lighter.

“Things went well,” Jaya answers on anyone being killed, perhaps alluding to there being no reason to in that case. “My friend was bruised, but your kit helped. I trust he’ll recover soon. Nice seeing the old bar I used to work before coming here.” Eyes fall on that note he writes again (she might as well sit right next to him and help hold his writing stylus, the way she’s eyeballing his business) before she continues. “Ran into a renegade crimelord,” she adds this with open non-chalance, as if she was telling the healer that she had met a Lord Holder. “He was trying to recruit me. Offered me a way out of running the bar if I ran some cargo for him. A way back into that life.” Eyes are somewhat unfocused as she speaks, a part of her still craving that fast-paced life of crime and trouble that she had gotten so used to. But then, her gaze focuses back on Jonavan’s note and a brow lifts. “You have a sister,” she doesn’t make that a question, her dark eyes lifting to try and meet his. “Didn’t know that. Don’t know much about you other than you like it when I bite your ear?” Or, she could be joking. Maybe. It’s a little playful the way that she says it, a finger lifting to trace the rim of her mug as she studies the man before her. And then, she’s also somewhat serious about the fact that she knows little about him, but the same could be said in reverse. After a long pause, “Have a sister myself,” she admits, propping her elbow up on the table. “Her name’s Bhedri. Wrote her recently, telling her I’m not dead.” Isn’t that lovely? “Are you and your sister close?” Cuz clearly, her and Bhedri must not be since she had to write her sister and tell her that she wasn’t dead. To the last, she regards the man steadily his response to being worried about her, not answering right away. “Lucky,” she decides to say, her tone a little dry. “I was lucky.” Beat. “Was hoping no one poisoned your klah while I was gone,” which is probably Jaya-speak for her being concerned that he was okay, too. Or maybe she missed him. Or something.

Jonavan hardly tries to keep his letter private, probably knowing it’s no use. He even rotates it towards Jaya slightly to make it a little easier to read. Now sitting with both elbows on the table, his reaction is limited when Jaya mentions crimelords, perhaps not all that surprised that’s the company she keeps — or did keep, at least. “You considered it,” he surmises from the way she speaks, looking at Jaya to confirm or deny and also to see if she modifies his past tense to present. Then Jonavan’s mouth twitches, threatening to smile at her ribald remark; after considering an addition reading, Did I mention the women are ugly? he settles for a mere, tame, “Now you know.” In the pause he finishes off his klah and goes to see if he can steal whatever Jaya’s drinking, since he’s all out. “Mine’s Evie. And she knows I’m not dead.” Which is tantamount to a confirmation that, yes, they’re close enough. He hasn’t got an answer to Jaya’s ‘lucky,’ unable to come up with something suitably cutting, and instead drops his regard to the letter currently serving as the vessel for inarticulate frustrations. “Not yet at least,” Jonavan says, writing another few lines, and spins it for Jaya to read once he’s finished: By the way did you ever find a man? Because you know your uterus is going to rot and fall out before long. Yours, Jonavan.

Her dark eyes falls from the letter he write to the man himself for his statement of her considering the offer from the Tillekian crimelord. Silence meets those words, Jaya’s face not betraying any emotions as she merely stares right back at him. Instead of answering it directly, “Do you honestly see me living a simple life?” she poses the question to him evenly, not confirming nor denying that she had. Which, coupled with her comment of earlier of her suddenly acquiring a runner, that could lead one to a conclusion on its own. In any case, “Do you prefer a simple life?” this is asked then, light at best before she moves her mug over to him. If he takes a drink, he’ll find it to be nothing but tamed ale. “Evie,” she says the name of Jonavan’s sister, her gaze falling on the letter again. “Is she like you? What does she do?” And since they’re skirting really speaking their feelings, “Expecting someone to?” Poison you, that is. “And here I thought you were making all kinds of friends here. I can always offer you my bodyguard, just in case,” she offers wryly, the Bitran still studying him from where she sits. Since he’s finishing off his letter, she’ll lean forward to read the rest, guffawing at it and shaking her head. “You’re incorrigible,” she states, folding her arms across her chest. “She’s going to come over here and dump steaming klah in your lap. Or declare that your private will shrivel and do the same since you only choose to mess with teenagers that you think won’t fall for you.” Beat. “Nice letter. I hope she visits.”

Jonavan tries Jaya’s ale, making a face when it lacks the kick he had expected. After the sip taken he slides it back across the table. “I don’t know. Isn’t it just as simple to be someone’s thug?” He steals an example from Jaya’s crimelords. “Always an answer with your fists. Think it depends on the person more than the lifestyle. You’ll probably always be complicated.” It perhaps stands as an answer for the question directed at him, too, though the linkage is not made explicit. Jonavan scores the surface of the table with the nib of his writing instrument, entertaining ideas of scratching out ‘I wuz here’ and drawing something crude. “Evie helps the helpless,” he intones with a sarcastic lilt. “Scours the land for needy souls searching for guidance. Probably like a Weyr; everyone here’s got superiority complexes and latent inadequacies.” A glance flicked up; he clarifies while lifting a finger, pointing it at his head, and drawing small circles in the timeless sign for ‘crazy.’ “Healer, but not like me. Her big thing is mending the mind.” Or perhaps more like Jonavan than he implies; issues relating to mental health can carry a certain stigma bringing those specialists into conflict with elements of society. With a short shake of the head - no bodyguard, thanks - Jonavan sits back. He is indeed incorrigible, grinning widely at the reaction his letter elicits. Though clearly amused at Jaya’s predictions, he doesn’t touch the clause at the end of them; the faint, cautious edge to his expression that it occasions is easily missed. “Oh, she will,” he says confidently. “I’m going to write her an annoying letter every day until she does.”

Jaya practically laughs out loud at that face Jonavan makes when he takes a sip of her drink. “I’m only a drunk after hours, shuga,” she notes to that, reaching for her ale and taking a long drink from it. His answer to her simple question earns a considering nod, though she quick answer back, “I don’t want to be complicated.” There’s a pause to that, the barkeep adding, “I try not to be. Sometimes complications causes more trouble than they’re worth.” She flicks fingers to that. “I considered it, but ultimately I would have turned him down. Much as I don’t like to admit it,” she adds taking a look around the cavern, “this place is home, and I’m trying to be…different. Keep my ass out of the mines, even.” With that, she drains her mug. Jonavan’s answer on Evie gets amusement from her, snorting some as she says, “And you don’t mend minds,” she seems to conclude, showing even more amusement at what he calls those within the Weyr. “Does that mean you fuck them up then? She seems like she’s an interesting sort. My father always did tell me to look up a mind healer sometime.” It’s all said a bit sardonically, but the woman moves on to his last without a beat. “Better your sister than mine then, shuga.” Since she’s watching him closely, she doesn’t miss the faint cautious edge to his expression, but she chooses not to pay notice to it for now.

Jonavan reclaims his letter and neatly folds it, giving it a once-over first. “Well good for you,” he says, his comment all-encompassing and smart-alecky. “You sound like you’ve got it all figured out.” He twists at the waist, trying to locate a pitcher of klah for a refill. A quick scan doesn’t turn up anything, and he turns back with a snort. “No, I just don’t care about their minds. Leave that for bleeding hearts like Evie.” It’s hard to tell if his disparagement means anything, especially given that his missive has him begging for a visit. He shows another quick grin, asking, “What good is having a younger sister if you can’t bully her?”

Watching him with the missive, “I don’t,” Jaya interjects with slight hesitance on her having it all figured out, perhaps trying to figure the healer out through slightly narrowed eyes. There’s still faint traces of amusement from before, however, so the barkeep has it lingering on Jonavan’s response on his sister and mending minds. Snorting wryly, “Sounds like you’ve been hurt,” she observes, her barkeep instincts kicking in as she finally looks away from him towards her mug. “Not caring. Putting a wall between yourself and your patients. Or people.” She’s seen it before, but then, she’s hardly one to talk, right? Therefore, there’s no judgement in her voice - it’s rather an observation, with interest. She actually smiles at his last, however, “I’d bully if she were the oldest,” she responds to that flatly. “Beddie’s a pushover. It’s my brother, Nacor, that’s the problem. Both still help run the trade wagon out in Bitra. I suppose you can say Evie and Beddie have similar interests, though, Beddie has a more…‘reach out and touch’ approach?” Whatever that could mean, though with the slight suggestive tilt to her smile, it’s likely something that a mind healer wouldn’t be proscribing with their patients.

The smile proves short-lived as Jonavan meets her observation with a stare and not much else. “Who needs a mind healer when they’ve got you,” he comments caustically. Suffice to say that he doesn’t seem to appreciate Jaya’s attempt to read him. Her remarks on her siblings are more welcome, especially as it allows the conversation to change tacks. “I would like Beddie,” he decides on the spot. “And you can always bully an older brother. You think this only goes one-way?” The letter is lifted and waved.

“It would seem as if I’ve finally hit a nerve.” Jaya meets that stare head-on, the smirk not really there but only fitting around the corners of her lips at best. Leaning back a bit more comfortably, “I was wondering how long it would take, shuga.” Brow lifting before dropping the sardonic act, “Relax, Journeyman,” she drawls, her tone wry. “Not trying to ruffle you up too much. Can’t expect me not to get curious after all this time.” Curious indeed, which means if there’s a button revealed to be pushed, Jaya might seem inclined to push it. But of course, when Jonavan changes like the weather, making that decision on her sister, she does as well oddly enough. Some of her amusement and calm fades at that comment with a twitch of her brows, the Bitran rolling her eyes to the ceiling and away with a press of her lips and a dry, “Yeah, so does everyone else.” Perhaps the woman has buttons of her own to push, and the sweeter, kinder and gentler Dicori twin is apparently one of them. She pauses on his last, seeming to consider it before she allows, “Would have been nice to have an older brother. Nacor’s younger. Steps after our father’s shadow. He and I never see eye-to-eye.”

Jonavan was aiming for a different button to push, only making such a snap judgment on Jaya’s sister because of the insinuation involved. The effect, then, is misplaced, but the man isn’t one to apologise. “Well, you can bully brothers whatever the age.” Jonavan makes further amendments aligning with the principle that you can pretty much bully anyone, anytime. He plays with his letter, shuttling it between either hand, back and forth in front of him. Glancing at Jaya, he assesses her momentarily and repeats ironically, “All this time?” With such a question meant to undermine Jaya’s basic premise, he doesn’t hold back from blunt criticism. “It’s a very simplistic thing to say, which makes it stupid.” His eyes are on her to see how she takes it.

Still smarting over the unintentional comment made in regards to her sister, the Dicori Bitran woman’s eyes are watching the progress of that note shuffling back and forth in Jonavan’s hands briefly before she fits him with a slight glare. Just as well they’re going the button-pushing route, for Jaya’s buttons are getting pushed. The look is a slight warning, there and gone before she meets his eyes and meets that blunt criticism head on without a flinch. “Is it simplistic because you don’t get it, or is it stupid because I actually give a shit about you?” she puts forth to him then, her husky tone cool. But well, at least she admits something rather than skirting around it like she was doing earlier.

“It’s stupid because it’s wrong. But the latter’s stupid, too.” Jonavan’s expression, at first matching Jaya for coolness, transforms with a slightly mocking smile. “Go back to your bar, Jaya.” He pushes his seat back and stands, tapping the letter once against the tabletop in a gesture of finality. “I’m done here.”

Being dismissed like that, Jaya’s anger brims to the surface. She shoots to her feet, grabbing for and gripping the empty mug as she steps around the table and steps right into Jonavan’s personal space. With a low, scathing voice, “Why don’t you get your head out of your ass and grow up, Jonavan,” she tosses in his face, bristling at that mocking smile. “Now I am done here.” With that, the Bitran barkeep turns away from him and stalks out of the caverns - nearly overturning someone’s plate when they dared to get in her way. Whoo-boy, the patrons better not hope she’s poisoning the drinks tonite!

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