Joint Turndays


Ahnika.jpg Max.jpg

Date: 2010.08.17
Location: Secluded Storage Cavern
Synopsis: Ahnika sends Max an invitation to celebrate their joint Turndays together, he in turn plants the first seeds of his planned wherry chase for her.
Rating: PG18 - for adult innuendo and implications
Logger: Max

Even though it had been a few days since that incident in the stables, since she’d seen him, Ahnika was still a bit mad. This time, he had crossed a line, she thought to herself. Really! The nerve! Embarrassing her in front of Nenienne like that. Ahnika’s cheeks colored against the steam rolling off the bubbly pie as she took it from the oven carefully and set it out to cool. He could have made the same point just by telling her so. Well, if he thinks he can get away with treating her like that, in front of others no less, he’s got another thing coming. She punctuates that thought with a nod of her head, preparing the rest of the basket she was going to be leaving for him in his office today for his Turnday. If any of the few remaining kitchen help and Bakers thought Ahni odd for working this late into the kitchens, no one said anything, perhaps sensing the young woman was in a bit of a foul mood when she’d gotten started. Of course, no one wished her a Happy Turnday, since no one knew it was her Turnday. It’s not something she just volunteers to people without it coming up in conversation. At least she had managed to swap chores so she could be working in the kitchens today, enabling her to linger on as the rest of the staff called it a day and finish preparations for what she had in mind to celebrate their shared Turnday together … even if hers had really just arbitrarily assigned by her foster parents. Tucking in the bottle of wine with two wooden cups, some fruit and cheese all nestled in next to the still warm bubbly pie already sectioned off for better fingerfood, Ahnika slips in the last of the gift basket, a little note with the words: “Happy Turnday, my Heart.” And a roughly drawn map of the tunnels, leading him deep into the storage rooms, to a very secluded one. The note is left unsigned, and woe be to Max should he actually have to wonder aloud who this is from … then she skips off to the beast caverns, hoping to sneak it into his office while he’s out, and then it’s off to make a quick run to the baths to clean herself up before heading back down to the storage area indicated on the map, where she will need to start setting up a comfortable section for their indoor-picnic.

None other than Ahnika, and of course his mother, knew today was his Turnday simply because it wasn’t something Max really thought to bring up with others. Had he still been back in High Reaches of course, it would have been totally different. Arlon and D’ran would already have pulled some prank on him at some sharding awful hour of the morning and Jarus, his mouth pulled into a short grin for the former harper apprentice, would have sung a horribly out of tune rendition of Happy Turnday while presenting a mud-pie with a candle in it. By this late hour, all four (a veritable Reachian bratpack) would be well in their cups down at some out of the way tavern. But this wasn’t High Reaches Weyr. And neither was it Tillek Hold either. Faranth be thanked for that. A shadow passed briefly across his face as he hauled himself up out of the bathing pool and then fled just as quickly when his eyes landed on the basket next to his clean clothes. No, this was…here. This was…Ahnika. A warm smile spilled out onto his mouth as he toweled himself off; ignoring the open looking over he was getting from a nearby greenrider. The smile checked slightly as he pulled his trousers on and the wrapped package fell to the floor with a dull clatter. Ahnika who was likely more pissed at him then his mother currently was for turning down her invitation to dine with her. Bending to pick the parcel up and place it at his side, boots of a slightly dressier nature than his usual work boots were next to be tugged on, followed by his belt and last but not least, a long sleeved navy blue shirt. The boots and shirt having been a gift from Indira. Neatly rolling his sleeves up, he gave his hair a last rub of the towel and then stood, basket in hand and turned to leave. The greenrider, unknown to him and as naked as the day she was born hip-swayed a step closer saying something as she pointed to his face. Dark eyes ran an indifferent check over the blonde, discounting whatever it was she thought she had to say to him and map in hand, he took off down the first of the passages marked on it. If he’d just stopped to listen…he might have heard the amused reminder to shave.

Her finest being her gather dress, Ahnika has chosen a step down from that, wearing her most flattering light grey skirt that goes down to her ankles and her frilly pink blouse that she’s never really had the nerve to wear since being here because it’s off the shoulder and not the most modest or professional selection to make. Her hair is entirely unbound, falling loosely about her shoulders and back and causing the young woman to mutter and sweep it back with a hand often as she goes about making a little place for them in a section of the storage area. Set back in the farthest corner of the room, nestled on top of a low stack of crates, Ahnika has spread out and covered a pile of flour and sugar sacks with a dark checker patterned blanket. The space is nestled in between two taller crates so that it is practically walled around four sides, with only allowing space for one or two people in between the two taller crates. The door to the storage area locks, but Ahni has taken additional measures to ensure that should anyone happen to have a key, they will not be immediately seen upon the door opening. In addition, the space far enough back from the door with rows of crates in between so as hushed voices would be unlikely to carry to the door. Loud screams are another matter, but Ahnika hopes she can speak reasonably with Max enough to forgive and forget and they can get past this little argument, as she sees it, without her screaming at him. And so it is, with a final tucking of the blanket in one corner, near the wall, the redhead moves on to straightening some of her clothes and hair and general preening in preparation for Max, silently wondering what time it was and hoping no one else had gone into his office and stolen the basket … She chews her lip quietly. She will be potentially waiting here all night if that were the case, wondering.

Max had made a wrong turn at one point, but that simply because his mind had been elsewhere and he’d not been paying full attention. The enticing scent of that bubbly pie nestled within the basket, or the captivating woman who held his heart that he was on his way to meet? One can almost be guaranteed, it’s the latter. In fact, since that basket had been delivered to his office while he was out checking on Renegade, not much of his early evening work had been gotten done with any degree of success. Eventually when he’d almost impaled himself on a pitchfork when he’d tripped over the damn thing, it was Waine’s knowing smirk that had had the beast manager giving up and taking off for the baths. Stopping under a glowlight, he frowned down at the map, glanced first one way and then other and then satisfied with where he’d gotten himself turned around, set off on the right course again.

As such, he arrives at the appointed clandestine meeting place perhaps a little later than Ahnika might have anticipated. Hesitating a moment, not sure what mood he’s likely to find the redhead in. If the door is currently locked, a light rap of knuckles will announce his arrival, if not; he’ll push it open enough to edge through into the room and allow his eyes time to adjust, his gaze skipping over the arrangement of crates, seeking out the lady of the storage room.

Initially, Ahnika had been standing up, leaning against a crate with her elbows perched there and hands supporting her chin, watching the door, which was unlocked while she waited for him. The worry began to set in after awhile, however. What if someone else got the basket and the note? What if Waine was coming to meet her here right now instead of Max? The thought gripped her heart in a state of panic and not a little bit of fear. Waine was harmless enough was Max was around, but without Max here? … and that just set her mind thinking again of the other day when he so easily disabled her to make his point. She really was useless in a fight. Her mouth twisted unhappily and she sighed. Maybe if she stayed out of sight until she made sure who it was that entered through that door … She dropped back down into the cubby, working to fix any lumps under the blanket, which didn’t really exist but it gave her something to do if she imagined them there. When that was done and Max still wasn’t there, she sat up against the crate next to the cubby that was, in essence, the closest one to the door. Although, being in the corner farthest from the door, it wasn’t very close. If she weren’t suddenly so terrified that someone else got the basket meant for Max and was on their way here, she might have actually fallen asleep sitting there, overworking herself as she had been lately. But she was simply too wired now for even a yawn to escape.

And so, it is thusly that Max enters the room and from that vantage point by the door would not immediately see anything but a room full of rows and rows of crates. Perhaps the only thing that might seem odd is the dim glowlight coming from a point low, below the line of crates, in that opposite corner. Yet, at the small creak of the door, Ahnika first tries a peek around the side, and upon not being able to see anything for a row of crates ahead of her that blocks her view, she is forced to slowly, carefully, peek over the top of the crate and hopefully see who it is before he sees her. Too relieved and happy to see it is, in fact, Max who came, she fully forgets she was mad at him, squeals in girlish delight, and runs out from the little cubby at a full tilt, her fiery hair bouncing (as do other things) as she goes, “Oh! Max!” not seeming to intend to slow down before she gets to him, other than to round the corner past that first row of crates, she skids a little against the stone floor and then continues on at him, meaning, to throw herself into his arms and kiss him soundly and breathlessly. At least he can see her coming and brace for it? Hopefully.

When Ahnika’s not initially visible, he sets the basket down and once again consults the map. Perhaps he’d gotten the wrong storeroom? Startled by that first squeal, his hand drops to his belt knife as his attention darts in the direction it comes from and then breath catches a moment and his heart flips over as he takes in the fiery haired beauty coming at him. Barely time for a wide grin to form before she’s throwing herself in his arms and kissing him rather thoroughly with Max pulling her in tight against him and drowning in the sweet taste and feel of her. All the tension and stress of the past seven suddenly draining away. A little short of breath he finally breaks away to look down at her as a crooked grin plays about his mouth, “Happy Turnday, baby.”

Laughing and breathless from both running at him and kissing him deeply, Ahnika is slow to speak, pressing herself more there as he pulls her in tight against him, and sliding her arms around his neck, before leaning in and rubbing her nose a little against his, smiling and lowering her head against his shoulder, her eyes closing and letting herself get lost in the feel of his strong arms around her, feeling safe and secure. She sighs as she finally begins to have her breath back and she murmurs into his neck, “Happy Turnday, m’Love.” Another sigh, a squeeze of her arms in a warm, affectionate hug and then she pulls back just enough to look up into his face, her smile fading entirely, “But don’t think that I’ve forgiven you for what you did to me,” pause, “in front of Nenienne. I’m still mad at you.” But her words have no real venom to them, more petulant and whiny than anything consisting of real ire. Besides, she’s still got herself pressed up against him and her arms around his neck. She can’t be all that mad at him, can she?

Like a magnet, one of Max’s hands go up into that ocean of flame red hair when she lowers her head against his shoulder, a smile playing out for the Turnday wishes sent in return, turning his head into hers and inhaling her fresh sweet scent, “Mmm, happy indeed.” If there’s any tension still about his frame or something playing on his mind, he’s doing a good job of hiding it for the time being. That is until Ahnika draws away and says what she does. His arm about her waist tightens, perhaps in a bid to ensure she doesn’t go storming off when he delivers his next through a tight smile, “Zen came to see me…” trailing his response to her comment and putting a pointed look down onto her.

Another soft sigh comes from his hand in her hair, loving the feeling of it there. And perhaps it is good that Max’s arm tightens around Ahnika’s waist because when he says what he does about Zen, she does tense and starts to pull away a little. Meeting resistance, she gives up pretty quickly however. “So? You say that like I did something wrong. You told me to tell him about the two people watching the candidates, didn’t you?” Now she’s frowning and looking down at his chest, and moving her arms from his neck to push lightly at his arms around her waist, “Let go,” she says, but it is a soft protest, but only because she’s remembering the sting of Zen’s words as the encounter is brought up, and she’s not really up for another fight as much as preferring the comfort of his arms, despite her words to the contrary.

Max’s mouth presses into an unhappy line, firming his grip for the light resistance she gives to it, “You want to wind up dead like that body down there?” the question given in a low tone that speaks to his own fear of any harm coming to her. A long inhale and then he’s trying to soften his tone, ducking his head down to try and catch her eyes as she tells him to let go, only temporarily loosing his grip but not enough to actually let her go, “Baby, listen to me. If anything were to happen to you, I…” probably wouldn’t find life worth living. Instead a brow lifts upward, “And were you telling that trader the same thing? That he should come and find me if he sees that man parading about as a herder?” Oh yes, he knows about that too.

Ahnika starts a little at his first question, scowling, “Of course not!” and then with the second statement she gives up on fighting his grip, even loosened, and sighs, closing her eyes a moment before reopening them to look up into his face as he seeks to meet her gaze, “Nothing’s going to happen to me,” she says softly, her voice meant to be reassuring, soothing. And then she tenses, frowning with a mixture of confusion and defensiveness, “Trader? What trader? I don’t know what the shells you’re—oh, wait. Him.” She hit on it, remembering now, and then relaxes some, “That was nothing. He had some questions.” She turns irritated and indignant at the accusation, “Zen should mind his own business, especially as he is so keen on telling me to mind mine.” Her gaze narrows at some point past Max’s shoulder in thought.

Stated quietly enough to hopefully gain her undivided attention in the matter, “No one –wants- to wind up dead, Ahnika. Some just do by means of their own curiosity,” his looking turning pointed again, “Wrong place, wrong time, and no back up.” A slight tilt of head toward the locked door where she can be sure his thug is loitering nearby, “You think I have Yaron tailing me because I like the idea of him staring at my ass and knowing my every move?” Yup, he knows his limitations and more importantly the way the underbelly of Pern works. Watching as she calls to mind the trader he’d spoken of, “Aye, him,” and then with a wary look more for this man than her, “What sort of questions?” As to Zen and her indignant irritation, Max puts a mild look down onto her, “He’s only doing what I asked, baby.” Keeping an eye on her for him, where the candidate is able to.

The first two statements, when he hits on the word curiosity, actually draws some color to her cheeks. Perhaps the eerie feeling of being watched this past seven has been getting to her after all, or maybe it is the fact that she realized a little too late that she had no way of knowing Max had gotten the basket and would be the one finding her here tonight. With either a hint of embarrassment or a hint of shame or perhaps both in her expression, she looks down and away. She mutters, “I’m being careful,” without a lot of conviction. Yes, careful like leaving a basket in his office with directions where she could be found alone and vulnerable should it have fallen into the wrong hands. Careful, just like that. She flushes a little more deeply, conflicted between wanting to be held and not wanting him to see the shame written across her freckled face. She turns around in his arms as a sort of compromise, if his grip on her is loose enough to allow it, but she keeps her face down. “I … didn’t know … you had Yaron watching you,” Ahni says gently, lifting one hand to rub at the back of her neck briefly. She sighs then, shoulders slumping, a lot of the fight gone out of her. “I just … I just want to be helpful.” The hand at the back of her neck moves to her forehead then, rubbing there lightly, more for trying to remember. She talks to so many people casually throughout the weyr on any given day, busybody that she is, she works to recall the conversation, “Um, let me think. He said hello, asked if I remembered him, and I did. He knew I was leaving and didn’t want to hold me up, so he asked if he could walk with me and talk with me as I went a spell, and I said that would be fine,” she pauses here and turns slightly to look up at Max, “There were many people around. I was never alone with him. He was actually quite the gentleman, really.” But if that is really the case, why is she frowning at the thought? Then she looks back at the ground again, thinking some more, “We walked a bit. I was headed for the Headwoman’s office. He asked me about the lockdown and if I knew how much longer it would be. He asked me if there was a way he could get a message out to his other business associates and the other places that were depending on his goods. He asked me if I would be interested in perusing his wares at some point. Um,” and here she hesitates, “then he sort of wanted to know when I’d be working for Jaya again.” It’s said in a bit of a rush, perhaps thinking Max won’t catch it, “And then he bid me farewell – I was at the Headwoman’s office then – and wished me a good day and we parted ways. Really, that’s all.” She thinks a moment, frowning thoughtfully, “Well, he commented that I reminded him of someone he used to know,” and she shrugs, “But that’s all. Promise.” She sighs.

There comes only the barest flicker of a glance down to where he’d put the basket as any indication that Max’s thoughts had gone along exactly the same line but with all credit, he doesn’t say anything of just exactly how she’d opened herself up to possibly getting badly hurt and in a secluded place where little help was likely to come. Instead he offers a stiff unseen smile once she’s turned in his arms and has her back to his chest. He goes quiet. Very, very quiet as Ahnika speaks of her contact with the trader. She may or may not feel the tension building back up across his shoulders or perhaps in the cording of the muscles in his arms where they’re wrapped loosely about her. Finally, once she’s stopped speaking all he has to say is a tightly held, “Working for Jaya again? Is that…where you met him?” trying to make the connection and waving off her last with slight squeeze of arms until with a slight dip of his head downward, “This man got a name?” Not even bothering to disguise the slightly dark edge to his tone.

Ahnika fidgets with her nails a moment, and then draws her off-the-shoulder frilly blouse back up over her shoulders, but that doesn't last long as the material just falls back in place where it's supposed to be. "Mmm-hmm," she answers awkwardly in the affirmative to the first question, "You know, just helping her out. Volunteering. Learning about how to run something like that." She shrugs, "Figured it'd be good to know if I don't Impress and take that Junior Headwoman knot your mother offered me." Which is very much the truth as to why she initially volunteered there. Lately, it's been to see if she could pick up anything about the eggs being destroyed. But have fun getting that out of her. "I'm not getting drunk with her," she says of her promise not to. "Candidates can't anyway." And then she is quiet as she mentally ticks back to the conversation with the trader, "Um, Phineus. Yes. That was it. But don't go scaring him, now, Max. He's harmless, I'm telling you." Another frown as she says it, perhaps more trying to convince herself than Max at this point.

Eyes stray to those bared shoulders and much as he’d really like to give into that particular distraction, there are slightly more important things that need setting straight first. With a sigh that Ahnika will probably feel in the movement of his chest more than hear, Max’s lips purse around a discomforted line, “Don’t understand why you can’t just leave her alone,” setting her visits to the bar to be more about its owner than the establishment itself, “You want to know about mixing drinks and serving rowdy men, speak to my mother.” Probably yet another ineffectual attempt to keep her away from there. A soft snort goes to the topic of getting drunk and then dry humor lifts up, “Soon as all this is over,” the Hatching, the lockdown whichever serves his purpose first, “I’ll get you so drunk you won’t be able to stand on your own two,” seeming to relish that thought for some reason and risking her possibly barfing all over him in the process. “Phineus,” the name given echoed back in such a manner that she might think it amuses him. Just as well she can’t see the expression that went with it. Trying to turn her in his arms so that she’s facing him once again, a quick smile appears and disappears again, “Ahni, no man is completely harmless or without an ulterior motive.” But he knows her well enough by now to realize that nothing he can say is likely to dissuade her from being at the very least, friendly to the trader, “Just…be careful, aye? Zen says he was watching you.” Now might be a good time to give her the gift he’d had the Weyrsmith working on for the past month or so, but Turndays aren’t currently foremost in his mind right now.

Making a slightly dismissive wave of her hand, Ahnika says in her usually direct and blunt manner, "She makes me tired," and then because she realizes it could be confused between whether she means Jaya or Indira, she clarifies, "Jaya, I mean." There's a pause and her tone turns to one of curious wonderment, "I think she might've been about to hit me the other night." And then it's back to normal, "So, I'm keeping my distance. Won't go there quite so often if it means she might just be gearing up to put her fist in my face, threatening me like that." She shakes her head a little, "She can be such a big baby at times. The woman acts so big and bad and like she knows everything, and then can make me feel like I'm bringing up one of my foster-sibs all over again at the same time. Very tiring. So, don't worry about me on that front." She grins briefly, looking up and at him over her shoulder, "You'll get me drunk? Promise?" Her grey eyes sparkling with some of her old love of new experiences, and then she turns back straight before her neck can get a crick, only to be turned around in his arms to face him once more. As he speaks to her of men, harmless or not, she drops her gaze from his face to his chest, a frown tugging at her lips. Mildly indignant again, she mutters, "I'm always careful," or as careful as she has the presence of mind to be. Baskets and secret rendezvous aside. Then she nods, sighing, "I know Zen was watching me. You said you told him to," missing the reference entirely. "Although Zen could really be spending his time doing more productive things than watching me, really." With this, she moves to rest her head against his shoulder, nuzzling his neck a little. "Anyway, I told Phineus I would likely not be back at the bar for awhile. I probably won't see him again."

There comes a slight browlift at that, concern lifting up, “She makes you tired? You shouldn’t be pushing yourself so hard, baby.” What she says next has Max halfway between amusement and guarded irritation with Jaya if this were indeed so, “She threatened to hit you?” his voice steeling up a little over that and then some of it draining away as Ahnika explains further, “She’s got ghosts, Ahni,” shoulders move slightly against her, “Sometimes the only way a person gets themselves through things,” doing the big bad act. And he should know. Returning her grin with a devilish one of his own to getting her drunk, “Sure as dragons fly Thread,” he promises. Once she’s turned in his arms and he can see that slight flash of indignation an oddly fond smile crosses his expression for her spit and determination to do everything for herself and by herself despite how difficult it can make it to keep her out of harm’s way. Leaning his stubble roughened cheek down against her head, a quiet sound of pleasure comes for the nuzzling at his neck before he’s correcting quietly, “Not Zen, that Phineus person.” And he’s then nodding his approval of her likely staying out of the trader’s path from hereon in, “Good.” That all settled his hand caresses up her back and he pulls away slightly, a boyish grin in place, “So, am I forgiven enough now to be fed?” Because yes, he had totally gone through the basket when it had arrived on his desk but has at least not actually eaten anything…yet.

"Well and so," Ahnika says to the commentary on Jaya having ghosts, nodding, "I'm not a complete dimglow," said mildly testily, "But that doesn't mean I have to stand there and take it, and I told her as much. That's all. She gave me a warning. I told her I don't stand for threats. And things sort of fizzled out when Rocio showed up." Ahnika shrugs, rubbing her neck again. "No problem, really. Just saying why the woman can make me tired. I can only handle so much of her at a time." She goes quiet as he holds her, closing her eyes against his neck, and relishing the feeling of being safe in his strong arms, despite how much she swears she can look out for herself. There's something to be said about having someone there, someone you can trust to look out for you, holding you, making you feel for a change like you don't have to look over your shoulder so much because they're looking past it for you. She sighs softly, relaxing into him, frowning only briefly as he mentions Phineus had been watching her. More than likely, she thinks, it's because she reminds him of someone he used to know. But she doesn't see much point in arguing over it further. Instead, she pulls back away when he does and smiles up into his face, "I suppose, though just fed." She smirks, then, and slides her hand down to his own around her and tries to put her hand in his, "Come on. Lock the door there and I'll show you our little picnic nook I made for us."

Her reply, despite the testiness to it draws a grin and quiet chuckle from him as he drops a quick brush of lips down to her ear murmuring for the stand she’d taken, “That’s my girl.” Right now there’s nowhere else he’d rather be than standing there in the quiet of the storage room holding her soft frame against him, where at least for now, he knows she’s safe and not likely to come to any harm. Max’s hand is easily captured and drawn away from her back, his fingers lacing between hers as she takes it. With a playfully sad look in place, big puppy dog eyes and all for only being fed, “Does that mean I’m not forgiven or not enough to be allowed wine yet, hmm?” There’s not however a whole wealth of true sentiment behind it for he’s soon grinning down at her and turning to reach behind him and lock the door. Distracted a good few minutes as he turns back to Ahnika, gaze going slowly over her again, full appreciation for the effort taken evident in the slow smile that forms. A finger from his free hand lifts and traces out along one of her shoulders lightly, his expression saying what he doesn’t. And then he’s turning to the safer topic, “Picnic nook?” amusement showing through as he does a quick scan of the area, eyes wandering across the stacked crates, “Looks more like a maze to me.” But he’ll put up no resistance to being led to wherever it is the red-haired beauty has a mind to take him, “Lead the way m’lady and I your humble drudge, shall follow.”

Ahnika smiles, reacting as if his lips tickled when he brushed them by her ear, shying away briefly, and looking up at him, before settling in against him once more, soft chuckle drifting lightly past her lips. "Yours and no other's, my Heart." Then a bit more laughter at the puppy dog look, "You've got it all wrong, Beast Manager," but she doesn't elaborate further, and the laughter subsides as she offers up a more heated and sultry look in her grey eyes with his touch on her shoulder, shivering slightly in pleasure. "That," she says, seeming to come out of the spell, her lilting laughter returning, "Is what I mean. I've forgiven you enough for our Turnday picnic. That's all." Yeah, let's see how long that lasts, Firecracker. She grins as he locks the door, and she picks up the basket with her free hand, and upon given leave to do so, she leads him down to the end of the row, turning up the last one and going to the opposite corner to the door. There she stops just outside the little square of glowbasket illuminated, blanket-covered flour sacks and makes a sweeping gesture toward it. Then she glances at the door, remembering Max's shadow that must be somewhere outside it, "Oh, we shouldn't be rude, should we? I suppose we'll have to invite Yaron?" She chews her lip, uncertain.

That first draws a warm smile to his face which loosens into a chuckle and an amused shake of head, “Do I ever get it right?” teasing. Sultry looks and shivers of pleasure, that’ll have Max sending nothing more than a silent knowing look onto Ahnika which is followed soon after by laughter to join hers, “So I’m still under punishment, eh?” Following alongside as she guides him down the line of crates he affects a long suffering sigh, “I guess I’ll just have to keep off giving you your Turnday gift until I’m properly forgiven and it’s safe to do so.” Sounding somewhat cryptic at the end there and then turning his attention to the area the redhead has so skillfully transformed. Lips twitch as he swallows down a smirk and lifts a brow, his voice low, “Looks positively…cosy,” sending a wink at the end, punishment be damned. That is until she suggests inviting Yaron which has the result of the beast manager’s expression morphing into one of incredulity, “You been at the wine, woman?” snorting and shaking his head vehemently at the idea, “Rude ain’t got nothing to do with it,” pulling on her hand to tug her in closer to him, “this is our Turnday and I don’t like sharing my…treats.” As if referring to the basketful of goodies, though the meaningful look flowing over her might suggest otherwise.

"You get it right when it really matters," Ahnika answers reassuringly with a coy smile, "else I wouldn't be here with you to begin with." She's alluding to his efforts to draw the skittish filly in and win her back as he did, runnershoe and all. She looks startled a moment up at him, chewing that lip again, and then her expression slides into apprehension, "You got me a gift? I …" she frowns, looking down at the blanket as she sets the basket there next to one of the crates, "I didn't get you anything." Well, she made up the picnic basket and she did spend marks for the wine, but she's apparently not counting that. Her fingers toy with the braided runnerhair bracelet around her wrist. She manages a little smile at his comment about it being cozy, but it is shadowed with dissatisfaction at not having gotten him a gift. As such, she is easily pulled more into his arms, her lips just shy of being pouty while she thinks about what she could afford for him as a gift, or what she could make for him.

Even although his words had been a tease, Ahnika’s coy response brings a content smile to his face. A soft chuckle spills out for the uneasiness she displays for her idea of having not gotten him anything. Max’s hand threaded through hers lifts to his mouth, grazing a brush of lips across her knuckles, dark eyes searching the grey of hers, “I got everything I want right here.” Her, the efforts she’d gone to in setting the picnic area up, the invitational basket of treats, everything. Dropping their hands away, his thumb brushing across the back of her hand, his head tilts to one side, “Marks don’t buy this, baby. This, this is…” shoulders move in a light shrug as his eyes sweep over the small area trying to put words to sentiment and ends with, “special. Just like you,” he sends quietly with a warm smile right before dipping his head to try and catch those near pouty lips in a brief kiss.

The feel of his lips across her knuckles draws her attention back to the here and now and Ahnika smiles at him, though some of the worry not quite gone from her eyes yet. She looks up into his gaze, and moves to rest her free hand on his shoulder, then slides it to his chest. His following and last words, calling her special, seems to chase away any lingering regret in her eyes for not having gotten him anything more substantial and lasting than what the memory of this day will bring. She smiles, relaxing more into him, and as he bends to kiss her, she murmurs against his lips, "I love you," before she closes her eyes and loses herself in the kiss, her lips parting, deepening the tender, meaningful exchange.

And memories made from days such as this, their first joint Turnday together, are things that cannot be broken or taken away. "I love you too, baby," that the last words from Max as her lips meet his and she's deepening the kiss easily igniting a hunger of a different kind in the man as he savors that silent yet telling physical communication. That is until he comes up for air, breathing a little shallower than before and sends a crooked grin to her, his eyes sliding to the nest of flour sacks and blanket, "Gonna feed me now?" which could come across as heavily loaded innuendo if he weren't reaching for the basket at the same time, "or am I going to have to get down on my knees and beg." Riiiight like that's ever going to happen. Then again, who knows?

Ahnika wouldn't object to seeing the man beg really. It sure would make her feel less like she's not worth anything as Zen and Max's efforts to keep her out of the investigation seem to be doing. But for the moment she seems more than a little satisfied with the kiss, her own breathing slightly more shallow as their lips part, and a half-lidded look is sent up into his expression, followed by a relaxed grin, "Yes," to the first, and then stepping over and onto the picnic nook proper, sinking down onto the "ground" of flour sacks with a more than a few things of her person bouncing and her skirt spreading a little around her as he picks up the basket. She starts to unlace her ankle-boots, "Try not to break any open under your boots," meaning the sacks, and then she blinks up at him, grinning with mild mischievousness, "You'd beg?"

It only occurs to the man now, watching as she steps onto the picnic area and there's that enticing bouncing going on that…bared shoulders, free of straps usually would indicate that…a lazy grin starts to lift up and then he's snapped out of his reverie and answering with a vague, "Hmm?" to being told to be careful with his boots on the sacks. Ahem. "Right. Boots, sacks. Got it," Max responds in still somewhat distracted tone as he sets himself down on the edge of the blanketed area and tugs his boots off before stretching out on his side and leaning on one elbow. Smirking over at Ahnika, "I don't beg, baby." Though the chances are good there are certain situations where she might get it right for such a rare occurrence to show itself.

The redhead finishes with her laces and sets her own boots to one side, taking off her socks next, and considering she'd just had a bath not long before, there's fortunately not a smell. With the basket a little more out of reach, Ahnika is forced to lean over as she reaches to grasp the handle and bring it closer to her for serving, a display down the front of her blouse for her Beast Manager that would wash away any lingering doubt over the reasons for any excessive bounciness, brassiere decidedly absent, and likely why the young woman has not dared to wear the blouse at the weyr before - and, too, the real horror of Waine or someone with less honorable notions (not that Max has honorable ones, himself) having gotten that basket and followed the map instead of Max. Settling back on her butt, she opens the basket and shoots him a rueful look with a sigh, smile tugging at her lips as she withdraws the wine bottle and cups, handing him the former, "You deal with that, then," and setting the cups in her skirted lap before adjusting the remaining space better for the pie and fresh fruit and cheese she had put in there. "What would you like first?" She asks innocently.

Max is decidedly male and as such will take any and all views his flame haired beauty will provide him, eyes openly lingering down the front of her blouse and then clearing his throat to chuckle as she hands him the wine bottle to open. Him looking? Nuh uh. Staring entranced more like. Which Ahnika might have caught him doing when she shot him that look. Unsheathing his knife and using that to work the cork free, he keeps his head –down- and to the task at hand so that his reply when it comes sounds just as innocent as her question did, “Wouldn’t mind some of that lovely plump fruit you’ve got there.” Snaking a glance sideways to where she’s set said items in her lap and completely failing to have his gaze land on the actual fruit itself.

With such entrancement, it's hard not to miss it. When Ahnika catches it, heat flushes her cheeks and she tries, in vain, to adjust her blouse. It was, after all, made with such alluring intentions in mind, being off the shoulder as it is. So, she gives up after a brief failed attempt of pushing her sleeves back on her shoulders, and just lets them fall back into place as she peripherally watches him work the cork on the wine, her gaze falling meaningfully to his knife for a moment and then back to the basket. She withdraws some of the fruit, a mixture of juicy, wholesome and sweet goodness to select from, and spreads it out along the fan of her skirt before selecting a grape and leaning over once more, although not as far, to feed it to him. "So, when will I get those lessons on fighting?" A Lady Holder wouldn't talk of such things in polite company on such a fine evening celebrating a Turnday, but if Ahni has any shame for the topic, she doesn't show it. She takes a grape for herself next, putting it in her mouth and chewing as she watches him thoughtfully, and then holds out one of the cups for the wine in anticipation for the cork being out.

Nope, there’s not even the slightest margin of apology coming off of Max when Ahnika catches him taking a full appreciation of the view that had been provided, just the edges of a cocky grin for her blush. And then his attention is grabbed by the cork coming free with a loud ‘pop’. Holding the bottle against him, his mouth chases after that grape, lips closing over her fingers and tongue grazing a light ‘accidental’ touch before his mouth retreats and he’s chewing on the tasty fruit with a wicked light shining in his eyes. The question however has him sending a long silent look her way and then down to the cup she holds out. Filling it halfway, the beast manager lifts up off of his side and that lazy lean he’d taken to, careful to keep the bottle upright and reaches a hand into the basket to retrieve the green wrapped item from where it had fallen under the contents. Turning it over in his hands a few times as if contemplating whether or not to give it to her, a small smile finally makes it appearance and he holds it out to her, “Had this made for you a while back. Just so happens that now would be a good time for you to learn how to use it.” Leaning closer a kiss is brushed against her neck just under her ear, “Happy Turnday, love.”

Once the soft green fabric (a sisal scarf in various muted shades) doubling as a wrapping for the item it conceals is laid aside, what will be revealed is a sheathed lady’s belt knife, small enough to be easily concealed under clothing if need be but most assuredly, serviceable. Despite the ornately carved hilt that has a design closely echoing a Paisley pattern, the blade running a curve to its tip, has been honed to a deadly edge with the hand weapon finely balanced to sit comfortably in hand and wielded as if an extension of arm. The sheath itself however, is made of simple leather with the letter ‘A’ branded into its underside.

A tender, warm look is given him for the kiss he 'accidentally' gives her fingers as she feeds him. But his silence has her wondering if he's changed his mind about teaching her, and for a moment Ahnika looks a little worriedly at him as he fills the cup up. The cup was meant for him, her being the sort to attend to others before herself, and so she holds it out for him as he finishes pouring, only to draw it in again as he sits up and reaches into the basket. She watches him curiously as he withdraws the green-wrapped item, her expression brightening as he makes it clear it's her Turnday gift. She trades the gift for the cup of wine so that she can have two hands to unwrap it, and as she does, her fingers play softly along the fabric, seeming to love the feel of it, before the knife is revealed and she gasps, truly astonished and pleased. She gingerly takes it up in both hands, admiring it, making love to it with her fingers slowly drawing across the surface during her examination, "Oh, Max, it's beautiful," and she unsheathes it carefully, eyeing the edge approvingly with an experienced kitchen-cutlery gaze. Then she frowns, "It must have been very expensive," though perhaps not as expensive as the jewelry he's commissioned for her. Won't that be interesting, given her reaction to this? The frown fades as she sheathes it and presses it carefully to her bosom, "This means so much to me, Max. You doing this for me," sounding as if she understands it to be him giving in to her demands for lessons and not so much she giving into his demands for her to back off the investigation. Then she brings the knife back into her view again, awed and admiring it. She leans toward him then as he leans to give her that kiss on her neck, and she smiles, turning a kiss to his temple at the same time, "Thank you. Thank you so much, my Heart. I love it. I love you." Then she sets it down in her lap to reach for his shoulders, meaning to give him a good and proper kiss on the lips, if brief, in gratitude, wine seemingly forgotten.

The cup taken into his possession, it’s clear to see that Max derives great pleasure from her reaction to the gift, a boyish smile of pleasure playing across his features as he watches her handling it. As to the cost involved he shakes his head in a short gesture and makes light of it by saying, “Weyrsmith owed me one.” Which could simply be his way of trying to set her mind at ease. However, one can be sure that having served almost 2 turns as junior stablehand to Lord Tillek, he’s probably got a fair amount of marks stashed away somewhere. Dark eyes turn slightly graver for a spell and then the beast manager is putting a quick smile out, “Doing it for me too, baby. You won’t back down, then I’d rather you learned how to defend yourself,” of which he does seem serious and then starts to add, “Which reminds me..” about to deliver the first clue to her wild wherry chase and then she’s pressing her lips to his temple and his train of thought gets interrupted. A quick swallow of the wine and he tries again, “there’s been talk amongst the lower cavern girls of clothing mysteriously going missing from the laundry. Indira has asked that you..” the lie starting to be smoothly delivered when yet again his thoughts are cut off when Ahnika claims his lips. What’s a man to do with that sweet grape flavored mouth offering him a thorough tasting of it? As such when he shifts to deepen the kiss, the wine bottle that had been propped against his chest, is knocked over and spills a dark stain before he’s quick enough to break away and catch it up so that it has less of a chance to empty all of its contents out. “Shit!” a frown forming as it soaks into his new shirt. At least with it being navy colored staining is not likely to be an issue.

She'd argue the point about not backing down, seeing as it makes her sound mule-headed as opposed to just being of assistance when the weyr needs her. But her lips and tongue are a little busy tasting that sweet, firm mouth of his, not even seeming to fully hear the dropped clue for her. And then he is breaking the kiss and pulling away and Ahnika frowns as she works to help him right the wine and cup, taking both from him entirely and setting it on the firmer surface of the top of the nearest crate before leaning forward again, some of the fruit spilling and gently rolling from her lap, with a no-nonsense quick motion of her hands, starting to unfasten the buttons of his shirt, "It'll be fine," she says, soothingly, with a practiced eye for the would-be stain, "I'll wash it before going to bed tonight. Good as new in the morning. You'll see." Her expression practically exudes warmth and pleasure and confidence for a problem she can solve for him without any fear or unease or risk to life and limb. Maybe he should spill wine on himself every day to keep her out of trouble. She smiles at him, meant to be reassuring, but with it comes warmth and tenderness of being able to do something for Her Man. Something that doesn't require a political, scheming mind. Not that Ahnika is too dumb. She's just not used to or comfortable with more covert affairs to 'get it' as quickly as other people seem to. Too direct for her own good, though she's gradually learning. By necessity. "What were you saying about Indira?"

Once she's divested him of both bottle and cup, one of Max's hands moves to stop her from unbuttoning his shirt, not that he minds her doing so (Duh) it's the fact that she plans on then staying up until Faranth knows what time, to get it laundered. However, catching the warmth and pleasure this task seems to give her, his hand checks its initial path as his mind catches onto this providing perfect opportunity to perhaps steer her onto a path of distraction from any real investigative dangers. At least this night at any rate. Glancing down to where her fingers deftly get all the buttons undone he perfects a suitably rueful tone of voice, "Thanks, baby," dark eyes lift up to hers and then flicker back down to the blanket, his expression one of more genuine concern, "will this stain?" Not too sure to whom it may belong. Leaning forward a little to try and gather together the spilled fruit, shrugging his shoulders to let the shirt fall free of them as he does so, "Indira? Oh aye, she's worried about some of the clothing that's gone missing from the laundry pools and fears it might be sign of something else in the planning." Considering the telling overalls that had been found there that fateful night, this could indeed be a problem. Except that, it is he that has quietly organized for said items to discreetly be ferreted away, thus hopefully leaving enough suspicion to capture Ahnika's undivided attention and set her on the trail of the so-called perpetrator.

Helping him to shrug out of the shirt as she finishes the last of the buttons, Ahnika eyes the wine that had gotten on the blanket and shakes her head, "Not if I can get it in the wash tonight, too and set it in a good soak along with your shirt. But you may want to move so you're not actually sitting in it, Dearheart. I can't very well wash your pants too, sending you back to your Beast Cavern naked as the day you were born," which considering it's his Turnday strikes her as funny and she laughs at her own unintended joke, a genuinely relaxed and mirthful sound dancing from her lips. She sobers then at the mention of the clothes going missing, furrowing her brow a little as she tries to riddle out the relation, "I'll look into it, then, certainly." She picks up his discarded shirt and runs her fingers across the wet stain there, seeming thoughtful for it, "Perhaps fortuitous that I have a reason now to go into the laundry cavern and ask questions, no?" If she finds it a little too coincidental, however, she doesn't show it. She then moves to help him gather up the fruit that had rolled from her lap and put them back in the basket, "It could be unrelated," she admits, thoughtfully, "but I'll follow-up with the Headwoman about it." Then she smiles at him, a reassuring one, "And I'll be careful. Promise." Finding another grape, she picks it up and offers it for his lips once more, grey eyes roaming over his bare chest with open pleasure at the sight of his strong, masculine form.

The wince at her staying up late to wash the blanket as well as his shirt is more internal than physically exhibited. But Max honestly feels that in this instance, he has no choice but to go with what a simple (and unintentional) accident has so fortuitously provided. It takes but a heartbeat for him to register what Ahnika finds so amusing and then he’s doing as suggested and shifting away from the stain and closer to her, laughter following hers, “Well you could, but then there’d be some mighty big explaining to do.” Watching as she fingers the stain on his shirt a light frown does eventually appear, “I’d prefer you didn’t go down there at all tonight.” Reaching a hand to brush fingers through her hair, dark eyes seeking hers out, “Stay here with me.” Only the upward tip to his low held tone giving suggestion to that being a request being put out. With his lips closing over the offered grape, his teeth catch lightly to one of her fingers, trapping it within his mouth briefly before releasing it to savor the juicy fruit and then he’s leaning forward, his hand going to the back of her head to draw her in closer for a deep kiss.

It’s probably safe to say that the rest of the evening stolen away from barracks and beast caverns alike was spent in thorough celebration of their joint Turndays, enjoying and sharing both the basket of treats put together by Ahnika, and each other. It would be a good few hours later before Yaron, who’d been left outside somewhere in the hallway, would smirk deeply at sight of his employer exiting the storage room, the striking redhead wrapped in his arms as they exchanged a last and passionate farewell before each crept off to their separate places of sleep looking thoroughly pleased with themselves.

Closing Credits: Lifehouse - Hanging By A Moment

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