Knock Heads Not Boots


Bowen.jpg Cheusia.jpg

Date: 9/19/10
Location: EW: Living Cavern
Synopsis: Cheusia invites Bowen to have supper with her and tries to get to know him better. He'll have none of it, though.
Rating: PG-13 - Language and Suggestive Adult Conversation
Logger: Bowen

Eastern Weyr: Living Cavern

The main Living Cavern at Eastern Weyr is a near replica of the "Lower Bowl" in shape. It is circular, with ceilings sloping up into a gentle cone shape. There are a few stalactites hanging from the ceiling, from which the Weyr's few firelizards may perch. Between these, there are a few inverted "hills", showing exactly how quickly the workmen finished this job. It lends an eerie quietness to the place, as the features cut the sound more effectively. The glowbaskets on the walls highlight the tables of all shapes and sizes around the room. The Head Table appears to be more traditional in place and kind, but the rest of the tables are variable. The east side of the room boasts larger rectangle tables suitable for whole groups of riders, while the middle holds smaller circular tables more appropriate for a family with children. The west side of the room has small square tables which often double as gaming tables on lazy days and most evenings.

Near the Head table, off to the East side, the double doors of the kitchen swing open. Near those doors, two long rectanglular tables are set up for food and drink service. On the eastern and western sides of the room, the stairs lead up to parallel hallways which connect to the rest of the Weyr. A third, smaller set of stairs at the southernmost end of the cavern leads to the Weyr Entrance.

Dinner time is one of the times where Che actually looks like she's relaxing. Settled at a table with a drink and her food, she is more or less avoiding looking at people who look like they might suddenly topple over and hurt themselves. And, occasionally the glass is lifted as she sips from it while her food remains relatively untouched for the moment.

Dinner. And we all know about men’s stomachs. Especially when one of those men has had a long week that included getting stabbed and beaten and tracking down an errant stallion and stitching up. Twice. And so Bo finds himself limping down the stairs carefully into the living caverns proper and slowly making his way over to the buffet table. On his approach, he frowns as his blue eyes take in Cheusia, barely eating, and while she was more or less on the way to the food anyway, he just diverts the few steps it takes to stand next to her table, looking down at her with that same frown a moment before remembering himself and tipping his hat to her. His shoulders move with a very slight grunt as his expression, less swelling and more mottled purple and yellow now that it’s been few days, looks grimly at her plate, “Sumpthin’ wrong with th’ food, ma’am?” He asks in that slow, husky drawl. His blue eyes greet the plate as if the food might suddenly take life and lunge at him or something.

Cheusia takes another sip of her drink, blinking as she notices Bown standing beside the table and grey eyes consider the man for a good moment as if to take in his health. "Evenin'." Is returned for the tip of his hat, smiling pleasantly. "You're looking better, are you needing any more numbweed?" Oh wait, she was trying to avoid work and with a soft cough she laughs and shakes her head. "No, nothing. I just was taking my time in getting started. And, Che, not ma'am. Why don't you get a plate and join me?"

Bo continues to stare at the plate a little after Cheusia begins to speak and so it’s a few moments before his eyes tighten with something she says to him and his gaze lifts to take in hers, and then it drifts away slowly, while his position shifts so as to put more weight on his injured leg as if to prove somehow that he is perfectly fine and needs nothing from her. The tightness in his eyes would reveal to the observant that he’s feeling it more than he’s letting on, though. “No, ma’am,” he murmurs – initially defiant of her request to be called Che – and after lengthy silence, still not looking at her, letting his attention stray to the table where the food is kept, as if he is contemplating what is being served. Then, more softly, he offers, “No, thank you … Che,” said as if he is tasting the syllable of a name and not entirely liking the flavor, “No need fer more numbweed, that is. I’m fine.” He belatedly draws his gaze back to the Healer, settling it there, and then moves it on to study the area in its entirely before finally murmuring stupidly, “Lot’s of reasons.” And at long last he actually looks at her face when he says the last on a grunt, “Don’t want me fer comp’ny, ma’am, but thank ya fer th’offer.” He tips his hat again and seems ready to move on once more before stalling and saying awkwardly, “Y’need some whiskey in that Infirmary of yers. I’ve a mind t’get ya some, but only if yer gonna let yer sick an’ injured folk have some.” Perhaps not sure it wouldn’t be shared around all the Healers instead and well, Bo would certainly question the sense and point to that.

Cheusia continues to watch him with a patient smile forming on her lips and she says not a thing for his first response. And it's only when he says her name does her smile grow and she nods. "Alright, if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask. I'm happy to provide." Grey eyes remained focused on the man, watching his gaze and where it travels carefully. "Lots of reasons for you not to join me?" She chuckles and shakes her head, "I won't have you telling me what I want and don't want. I offered, therefore, I want your company." She finally pulls her gaze away only to briefly glance at her plate to snag a roll from it. "I suppose we could do that, it'd just be up to the head of the Infirmary, though. I'll see about it… For the patients."

There comes a slight frown as she says she’s happy to provide anything he might need, and Bo looks at her long and hard, like he’s trying to work out some puzzle in his head. One can almost see the gears turning and then he slowly nods. That is, until her smile grows at him and the man looks genuinely startled and confused by it. So, the slow tanner takes even longer to respond to the rest of it, finally looking away and swallowing hard, his adam’s apple bobbing visibly with the gulp. Bo steps away then without another word, not even so much as goodbye, and it could be he is rude or just flustered or some measure of both, though the slow, stocky man would be hard-pressed to admit to either, obviously. So, he piles a good bit of food on a plate, fixes himself a drink, and then meanders back to Che’s table, whether the Healer decided to remain or not, considering the quiet man didn’t exactly tell her what he was about. With a slight grunt from the ache in the healing stab wound in his leg, he lowers himself to a seat across from where the Healer had chosen to sit, putting his plate and drink down and lowering his face to eat awkwardly in silence. If she remained, a mutter comes after he swallows his first bite, without looking at her, “What th’ man-in-charge don’t know, ain’t gonna hurt none.” Or at least, he – like most men – make the assumption that the Healer in charge of the Infirmary is a man.

Cheusia simply chuckles softly once he turns away, shaking her head with amusement and likely assuming that he will be back. Or, she's just returning to her meal, either way, she hasn't moved an inch and has taken to sipping at her drink just a little bit more than indulging in food. When he returns, she considers him with a thoughtful smile, watching carefully, still and genuinely interested. "That's true…" She muses, "I'll see. I'm not the only healer on duty who deals with the worst of injuries…" She trails off, looking down towards her plate. "We'll have a lot worse soon enough."

Continuing not to look at her, Bo shovels a bit more food into his mouth, pausing only to drain a long draught from his mug, shovel a bit more in, chewing at least with his mouth closed, before swallowing and grunting a little at Cheusia’s last statement, then nodding. After another slightly long pause he adds, “All th’ more reason t’have th’ place stocked with whiskey.” If he notices any potential somber expression or discomfort with the talk of traumatic Threadscore injury, the tanner doesn’t draw attention to it. As insensitive as he can be, it’s really a wonder the man ever got married in the first place. “Them ‘riders like t’drink, or so’s I hear.” This would be the first time he’s ever lived at a weyr after all, and while he’s met riders over the years, he’s never lived close enough to any in any great number to know whether or not the stereotypes about these “flyboys” are true. “Reckon it’ll get mighty ugly,” he adds, and something in his expression shifts to one of memory, and he stares at the table, forgetting his food and drink for a heartbeat before shaking out of it a little and going back to shoveling with barely much breath taking in between.

"You're right on that… I suppose it'll be easier to get them to take fellis that way." For those who resist taking it, at least. Che considers the man still, even as he avoids meeting her gaze and really looking at her. "Some do, some don't. It's all a matter of preference, like with everyone else. Some people prefer klah and others prefer juice. Or wine." She chuckles softly before she frowns at his final statement. "It will… If the wings aren't well prepared. But I am certain they are, no one has been slacking since I got in the Weyr." Though she might be forgetting a certain bronzerider. "Thinking about helping with the groundcrews at all?"

As a point of fact, talking with Cheusia seems to come a little easier for Bo when he’s not looking at her for some reason, even if she’s not looking back, which might not do a lot for a person’s self-esteem, really. Though no one could really know for sure that the reason he isn’t staring at her has nothing to do with her appearance being less than worthy of a look. The comment about fellis earns a little grunt and nod as he eats, but no verbal comment to that, and he is slow to follow the statement about what people prefer with an asked, “An’ whut d’you prefer?” But that question, as natural as it seemed to be asked, is asked while forkful of food was on its way to his mouth, and causes the poor man to stop and go stock-still. After a few heartbeats, he frowns and mutters at himself under his breath, grimacing before starting to shovel the food in a little faster. All the while he studiously keeps his blue eyes off her while he sits across from her. He drinks the rest of his beverage in a single drain and manages to have the good manners to cover his mouth and turning his head in a punctuating belch before murmuring an “s’cuse me.” And then finally staring at his mostly eaten plate in front of him. He shrugs to her last question, “Ain’t been asked, but I’ll do m’duty if I am, ‘course. Why?” He picks up his fork and stabs at a few more chunks of tuber on his plate.

Cheusia lifts her gaze again from her food, and again trying to piece together the tanner, attempting to find out information about him from just looks alone. Though, there's not much coming how he looks, unfortunately. She gives him a curious look at the question before she chuckles, "wine, usually. And you?" Though, it's likely she does know the answer to this as she offers a grin in his direction. Grey eyes only flicker away once more to consider her plate before looking back to him as she takes another bite from her food. "I see. Well… Asking because some people are very passionate about making sure they're on the ground crew. I'll be out there doing minor first aid as needed. It's kind've scary."

To the first question, Bo grunts a little, smirking slightly for a change as he answers after a time, “Whutever’s bein’ drunk by the fellas I’m drinkin’ with at th’ time. I ain’t picky.” If he cares at all about the fact that she likes wine, he spares no indication. Instead, he scoops up the last of his plate and starts to lift the forkful to his mouth when she responds, and that again stops him cold still. This time, however, he lowers his fork back down to his plate and actually looks at her. When he does, his blue eyes are a steady study of the Healer, not looking away distractedly. “Reckon it’ll be.” Pause, “Scary some.” Longer pause. “But I reckon’ ya didn’t get that Journeyman knot on yer shoulder by pickin’ flowers.” Short pause. “Ya know yer craft, ma’am. Ya ain’t got no cause t’worry on that, fer sure.” Longer pause. “’Less o’course, that ain’t yer worry …” Now he steals a look to one side, slowly, and then the other side, just as slowly, and his shoulders slump slightly while he picks at the wooden handle of his mug, frowning at it as if it had done him some offense and then saying, “If yer worried yer gonna get hit yerself, well, I reckon Max … an’ I can enlist fer th’ ground crew t’be with ya. Max likes ya, seems like a lot.” And that, folks, is probably the most words he’s strung together all day, especially to a woman.

Cheusia notes the smirk and looks entirely pleased, "I see. I'll remember that." Maybe she'll invite him, and Max, out for a drink. Or something. Her smile continues to linger there, looking pleased still until he looks to her and her expression fades into something less obvious. Grey eyes consider his blue ones before she nods, "yeah… It's frightening. Dragons overhead… Thread falling through…" And stories of the fight never made her feel any comfort towards that part of her job. "I'm not worried about my craft… It's the 'Fall." Again, she begins to consider the man as he trails off. Again, confused by him and attempting to put him together like a puzzle in her mind… But she's missing most of the pieces. "If you two did… That'd be nice." Her smile grows into one more sincere, sweeter, and more feminine. Not that she's not always feminine, but the softer side of her she rarely shows. "Max is a good friend. He's like… An older brother of sorts."

Continuing to eye the mug as she speaks, some of the frown deepens, and Bo stops picking at the mug, but doesn’t stop staring at it. With another nod, this one slowly, he finally states quietly on an exhale, “Right, I’ll, um, bring it up t’Max next time I’m down th’ stables,” and Bo just hopes Max won’t leave him to spend ‘Fall covering the back of Max’s own Healer friend alone. Then he looks at her, and a manages to see the softer side of Che for a moment and there’s that deer-in-headlights look again. The man slowly blinks his blue eyes at her grey ones, blurting out uncharacteristically suddenly, “Did ‘e try anythin’ on ya? Get handsy?” Which could be taken the wrong way on the heel of her claiming Max to be a good friend, and the slow tanner doesn’t seem to have the mental presence to correct himself right now as meaning the prisoner in the stables.

"That'd be great. Thank you." Her smile grows into the normal one that usually resides upon her lips. "I really appreciate it." She finally drops her gaze, though it doesn't remain downwards as he blurts out the questions. Grey eyes shoot up and she laughs, "what?" Well, certainly not a normal reaction, "aaah. Ha. No. No one's gotten handsy with me or tried anything. For a good while. Thanks for the concern." Pause, and she lifts a brow. Her mouth opens to retort but then she snaps it shut a moment later, deciding better of that statement. If anything, it'd send the tanner out running even with that limp of his.

Bowen doesn’t look away or even move for that matter until she answers the question, so when she does, he gives a slow nod, seeming satisfied, and finally looking back at his plate and the remaining few bites left there. “Sure.” Pause. “Che.” And without really thinking about it (he is, after all in the presence of a woman), he adds, “Anythin’ fer Max,” suggesting perhaps that he’s only agreeing to go out there protecting her from Threadfall for Max’s sake. Maybe he’s got a thing for Max, which could explain a whoooooole lot about Bo, actually. With that overwith, Bo exhales a moment and then forks up the last bite into his mouth, chewing quietly and not looking at her. After swallowing, he says, “Shame ‘bout him an’ that woman o’is though,” apparently feeling okay to speak freely about it, “Bein’ scared o’ya an’ Max ain’t able t’be with her t’find out why.” So apparently Bo was paying attention to that conversation after all. “But, no ‘ffense, ma’am, most folks are scared o’Healers anyway.” Including himself, though his has more to do with gender than profession. “Good,” he says with a final nod, though he means to her not having anyone get handsy on her. Of course, being so slow and vague with the delivery, there’s no telling if she’ll figure that out at first. He eyes his empty mug a moment, contemplating whether he wants to endure the sharp pain in his thigh wound to get up and get a refill or just leave, and that’s when he says, “Max will likely take care of any man who lays a wrong hand on ya, Che.” At least he remembered her nickname this time. “So, y’be sure t’tell him if it ever happens.”

Cheusia chuckles softly, "sounds like Max has got him another loyal friend." Which he seems to be collecting. She grins widely and then watching him again, then shrugging in a thoughtful manner about Max's woman. "They'll get together eventually and discuss it. Not the time for it, but, we'll figure it out. Or he will… Eventually." Laughter continues again and she nods, "I know, but Healers are people too." Is teased to the tanner at that statement. The last bit of the food on her plate is finished, finally before she considers him again. "Want another drink?" Since she's out herself. She pushes to her feet and considers Bowen with a thoughtful smile, "I know. He judges any man who decides to go after my heart, too. Sees if they're worthy or not. I'd let him know if someone wronged me, though."

Setting the mug down, Bo could be said to not be listening, as he seems to prefer to look elsewhere for the time being as she talks. As Che offers to refill his mug, he looks at her then, blue eyes not even trying to hide the suspicion behind all that purple and yellow of his face. “I reckon they are,” he says slowly, and finally nods to the offer, handing his mug up to her as she pushes to her feet, apparently figuring if she was going to dope him, she’d have done it while she had him vulnerable in the Infirmary. Not that Bo thinks far enough ahead to try and figure out what she could possibly do with him doped and how ridiculous it’d be. He’s just that distrustful of women in general. “Thank y’kindly,” he says, handing her his mug, and then settles back in his chair, looking at the table as if he might suddenly see something wrong with how it was constructed, not sure what to make of Max sending men to, or sparing them from, what Bo would consider certain death at the hands of those grey eyes of hers and that smile. Finally, he just nods a little offering in a nonchalant grunt, “Good man, Max is, then.”

Cheusia gives him a look in return for the suspicion, chuckling softly and gesturing at her own empty glass. "You reckon? I am pretty sure they are." She teases again and then taking the mug as he offers it over. "What're you drinking?" So she doesn't just fill it with whatever she pleases. "He's a great man. And a great friend."

It’s with her first comment that the stocky tanner can actually be said to blush, or at least look some measure of embarrassed, and he answers in a mutter, “M’own sharding boot, apparently.” Though to be sure, that was far from the first time Bowen said anything wrong. Just the first time he’s been called to see it. Then he lifts his blue eyes up to her before looking back at the table, “Sorry. Juice.” Pause, “Please, ma’am.” To the comment about Max, Bo simply nods in agreement, “Ayup.” Choosing to not add that he’s going to get Bo a whole crate of whiskey at some point for all his help lately.

Cheusia simply chuckles and shakes her head, "don't worry." Is said for that embarrassed look the tanner gets. The mug and her glass are taken as she drifts away without another word to fill them. It doesn't take long for her to return and settle that mug down. "Always good to have a good friend. So… Are you two working together with more than just catching thieves?"

“Much obliged,” Bowen says with a nod as the mug gets set in front of him and he takes it up and drinks as she asks another question. His blue eyes study her over the rim of his mug a moment before he lowers it and sets the mug down on the table, “Nope. Catchin’ thieves keeps us pretty busy as it is, ma—“ and here he catches it and adds, more softly, that husky whisper returning, “Che.” His eyes glance elsewhere, however as he adds, “M’just a simple tanner. Don’t want no trouble. Prefer t’keep m’life simple. Just was ‘round when they tried it and pitched in, is all.”

Cheusia takes her seat and sips at her drink, watching the tanner again. "I see. It must be a stressful job." Grey eyes consider him and she nods, "a simple life is one to be desired. Glad you're able to keep it. And I'm glad you were able to help him get his runner back." She grins widely at the tanner before continuing with the questions. "What do you enjoy doing?"

Bowen is sipping his drink some more as she speaks, nodding to her words without looking at her again, though this time he makes a study of the table as opposed to other people elsewhere in the room. So with her final question, he stops, and sloooooowly lifts his attention from the table to her face, and then more specifically her eyes. He blinks slowly, once, and then frowns a little at the question. One can almost visibly see his guard going back up again with the frown. “Don’t reckon I’ve ever thought much ‘bout it. Play me some cards at times when the fellas wanna play. Ridin’. Huntin’,” he continues to eye her a moment and asks back. “Why?” He remembers how easily the question about what she likes to drink came to him earlier, and is prepared this time when the question of what she likes to do comes to his lips, biting it back with a deeper frown, and looking away from her face, those grey eyes and that grin.

Cheusia continues to watch him, cause hey, he's not looking at her. So that's an ample chance to really get an extra good look. Though once he meets her ees, she smiles more. "I see. I've played cards a few times." The other two she knows next to nothing about. And when he asks why, she shrugs. "Curious. You're Max's friend and I'd like to get to know you."

That smile makes the tanner go still again, and so utterly bespelled with it for that daze of a moment, he doesn't even have the presence of mind to frown, though he does frown-in his head. Bowen blinks slowly at the rest of her words and even more slowly seems to come out of it, though it takes another blink or two, and he takes another long draught of his drink, exhales, sets the mug down - all without taking his blue eyes off of her grey ones - wipes his mouth with the back of his sleeve, stand up, and distracted as he is, he's unable to hide the soft moan coming from his throat behind his closed lips for the sharp pain in his thigh as he stands. And then, only then after all that, with his blue eyes hard and even slightly cold, he just simply and quietly says, "No." Pause. "It ain't gonna happen." Pause. "Get it out of yer fool head now an' spare yerself down th'road. I ain't a man a woman should get t'know, Che. It ain't gonna be purty fer either of us. Period." With that, he tips his hat to her, and turns, starting to limp off, unless she stops him.

Cheusia lifts her drink and sips quietly even as he finishes his drink. Hers if finished after a moment when he stands and lets out that moan. She's following, if only for that moan of discomfort, or pain that has her focused entirely on him. Or, until his words really take root in her head and then she's making to move to stand in front of him, which isn't a hard maneuver as she's perfectly fit. "Do not talk to me like that." Is the first thing, grey eyes flickering with annoyance as her hands go onto her hips and she takes on a scolding look. "I am /trying/ to be friendly, first of all, no reason to be an as. Second, you don't have to treat me like a woman. I never asked to be seen as one. Third, I am not interested in you to get into your bed or mess with your heart or shit like that. Sounds like what you're saying with that and I don't appreciate it." Brows draw into a frown and she gives him a look. "And last of all, put some numbweed on your damn leg if it hurts so much."

Bo easily draws to a stop when she moves to stand in front of his path, and his blue eyes watch her face. At the end of each statement, a memory echoes in his mind and his eyes blink in a flinch. It is just a hint of the more jerky dodge-the-rolling-pin response he’s used to giving in this scenario. Finally, at the end of it, he sighs, a hand lifting to rub down his face. It’s then that the stocky tanner closes whatever brief distance remains between them, reaches out with both strong hands to take her by the upper arms and leans in so close, he’s but a few inches away from her lips. His face, however, looks tired as opposed to angry, like he’s see all of this before, and is just weary of it. “It’s th’ best reason of all, ma’am. ‘Friendly’ is how it all starts. No one goes knockin’ boots with someone they ain’t at least ‘friendly’ with, and I ain’t ‘bout t’go through that ag’in.” It might even seem like he thinks sex is some trial to endure, but he adds more softly now, with his blue eyes looking deeply into her grey ones, despite her ire, “Or put another woman through it ag’in. ‘Specially one whose done me a kindness, as you have, Che. Y’deserve better, ma’am.” Then he firms that grip just enough to gently move her aside and out of his path, and lets go of her, starting off on that limp again.

Cheusia stares at him with grey eyes focused on his blue ones, not put off by the closeness or the fact that he is grabbing her like he is. She holders her ground though the weary look is what jolts the preparation of putting up her defenses. "Bull." She starts, furrowing her brows. "I can tell you that sexual attraction doesn't always have to do with being friendly and plenty of people 'knock boots' after first meeting. That's how I was conceived." Grey eyes search his again, "you're acting like I'm going to suddenly want to jump into bed with you for being friendly." And her nose wrinkles and she gives him a look as he moves her aside. "Don't tell me what I deserve." Two can play that stubborn game.

If there is a point to be attained from her stating that it doesn’t even take friendliness, at least in this weyr, to end up in bed with someone, it’s only to serve to make Bo want to just hide out in the countryside and risk Thread. It certainly doesn’t make the stocky tanner stop or any more receptive to a woman being friendly for the sake of friendliness. To the statement about how he’s acting, the man closes his eyes, pauses, reopens his eyes and turns slightly to regard her over his shoulder, “Y’said it yerself, ma’am. I’m an ass.” He turns back ahead and limps another few feet towards those terrible stairs. As painful as they are, they are certainly a lot easier to deal with than Che’s eyes right now. Wimp.

Closing Credits Theme Music: Rodney Atkins - "Tell A Country Boy"

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