Seeing Things Through

Participants:

Bowen.jpg Cheusia.jpg Jaya.jpg Kaskan.jpg Shijan.jpg Suli.jpg Hayli.jpg

Date: 10/23/10
Location: EW: Various - primarily Jaya's bar
Synopsis: Bowen picks Cheusia up from the Infirmary to walk her over to Jaya's bar to deliver the boots he made for her and check out handwriting. The pair also end up end up needing to work out things on a relationship level after what Bowen found out about Cheusia's history with Max.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Bowen


A slow day in the Infirmary, perhaps a blessing considering some of the incidents in the last few days and various other injuries that have come from reckless behavior and simple accidents from construction. Most of the patients have cleared out while the more injured are carefully curtained off to where they can't really be disturbed in the back. And Che? She's settled at a counter, looking rather bored while chatting with one of the other healers. Her chin is propped up by her hand while her elbow is on the counter providing support. The man is horribly boring as he talks about some of the medical things he read recently from Landing. While normally, such things would interest her.

No doubt the day before when Bowen came sweeping in here, in as much as Slow-Bo can do so, in the middle of Che’s shift, and boldly, passionately and possessively kissed the Journeywoman before departing, it was probably the talk of the staff, but even such fierce public display of affection can’t keep people occupied and chatty for long. This time, Bowen more typically arrives a little bit before Cheusia’s shift is over. Having been working all day, he shows it, though since he’s not been at the vats he probably doesn’t smell much beyond what would be a typical sweat worked up. This time as he comes in, he carries a leather satchel over one shoulder, tips his hat to any women he passes as he looks for and eventually finds Che over by the counter. He gives her one of his quiet smiles from a distance and then moseys on over to greet her more properly by offering something of a chaste kiss, if permitted, which is decidedly not the same kiss he gave her the day before. He keeps his attention moving, however, eyes never really settling on her once they reopen, and simply nods politely to the other Healer she had been speaking to, not wanting to interrupt them any more than he already had since she was, essentially, still on the clock.

Bowen certainly was the talk of the staff, and still is. Though no one is really talking to Che's face about it. But there are plenty of rumors of what kind of man such a woman would attract. Bowen's arrival does draw Che's attention steadily away from the other healer and she smiles at him in response, and likely wearing a thankful look as the man has most certainly saved her from death by boredom. The kiss is returned cheerfully before she nods a quiet farewell to the Healer who promptly stopped talking as soon as the tanner got closer. She reaches out towards him and moves to lead him towards the exit. "Your timing is perfect… I said I'd leave as soon as you arrived…" She pauses to give him a look. "You okay?"

Another nod is given the other man before Che leads Bowen away toward the exit. He’ll hold her hand just as he had before, perhaps stroking it more with his thumb as if to reassure himself that her hand is still there. But the question draws him up short and, direct as it is, he can’t help but look at her when she asks it. And then he looks away again. Is he okay? He’s only been mentally picturing Che and Max in bed together ever since Max confirmed it. Of course, he’s not okay, and this is why he’s been having a hard time looking at her. Finally he nods, hurt and uncertainty in his eyes, even if they are directed elsewhere, “Reckon we should talk a spell.” Actually, if it were up to him, they wouldn’t talk about it at all, however, Bo’s nothing if not steadfast and devoted to his own promises, such as always being honest as they’d promised to be, and since she did ask him directly, he can’t exactly get out of it without lying so … “But … later,” he manages softly, looking around again, “Not here, Che, not now.”

Cheusia gives his hand a gentle squeeze for the stroking of his thumb. Though her smile fades when he looks away from her again. Brows draw into a frown, and she looks him over still, trying to find what is on his mind. "Okay. We can talk." She promises, still watching him. "When is later…? Where? When…?" She trails off and continues to try and draw him out of the Infirmary.

Bowen is easily led out of the Infirmary, wanting to get to Jaya’s bar and not only to deliver the boots he’d promised her. Her questions earn a slight, distracted smile and in attempt to reassure her he squeezes her hand a little and says huskily, “When we can be ‘lone.” And after he’s had something to drink. Or two somethings. “Don’t worry, Che. I ain’t goin’ nowhere,” not yet at least. He continues to walk his slow, sedate path with the leather satchel slung over his shoulder.

Cheusia gives him a small look and nods once at his promise, "okay…" Though she grows quiet. The whole walks remains quiet with Che quietly pondering over what she could have done to cause this reaction in the tanner.

… . to Jaya’s Bar … .

Early evenings find the bar not yet in full swing, though there's a small number of patrons about enjoying the card tables. Hayli and Suli are bustling about them with a leasurely air, passing on drinks to the small group of quiet traders playing cards. There's even a group of three at another card table that are dressed suspiciously like farmers, but they are far too into their cards to pay any arrival or barmaids any mind. Jaya is behind the counter as customary, a genial attitude in place as she pours drinks, while her bodyguard is stationed at the entrance as usual - like a dark shadow.

It may have been a quiet trek from the Infirmary to the bar, but Bowen seems not to mind it, even if the silence might be found to be awkward by some. Unless Che withdrew her hand at some point, he’d have held it all the way over here. So it is without much pomp and fanfare that the stocky tanner with a leather satchel slung over one shoulder enters the weyr’s bar. He’s got a woman with him, though, so more than likely he’s not here to pick a fight or start trouble. Right? One can hope. He nods to Shijan at the door as he enters, one man to another, and while he may look a little more grim than usual, he makes the male-eye-contact-of-respect (‘no trouble here, dude’). Before glancing around the bar. The farmer-looking fellows at the table are given a slightly longer look than the rest, before he spots Jaya behind the counter and makes his way to her, congenially tipping his hat with a free hand as he gets closer.

Cheusia is releasing Bowen's hand as they enter the bar, quiet still but it is obvious that she's more focused on the tanner than anyone… At least for now. Then when he starts over towards Jaya, she follows along, taking in their surroundings before looking forward and remaining close to the tanner. Being that he's working, now, she remains quiet and polite rather than badgering the man.

Turning to pass a made drink over to one of the patrons sitting at the bar, Jaya notices Bowen and Cheusia's arrival into her bar easily enough. Shijan at the entrance is returning his nod with little expression in place, the woman with him getting a longer look since it's probable he hasn't seen her in the establishment before - or with him in the establishment, rather. Once the patrons close by are served, and once Bowen and Che are within earshot, "Evenin' Bowen," the barkeep greets, though her eyes fall more on Cheusia than the tanner. She then inclines her head briefly towards the healer before she finally meets Bowen's gaze. "To what do I owe the visit? Got my boots?" and dark eyes fall then on the satchel he carries.

There is a glance behind him to Che as she lets go of his hand, either to make sure she’s still there or perhaps something else. Regardless, Bowen looks, and then is quick to return his attention to Jaya. “Evenn’,” the tanner greets Jaya in turn, unsmiling. There’s a lot to be said about the body language and vibes given off of a couple who are either having a fight or undergoing a … difficult time, while trying not to seem like they are having a difficult time. This would be, at least as far as Bowen is concerned, his body language, practically shouting it in bright neon lettering without, of course, actually doing so. The grim expression breaks briefly for a faint smile for Jaya that never touches his eyes, and he nods, “Ayup,” to her question about the boots. He pulls out the barstool he is standing beside and allows Che enough room to sit down if she wishes, though he, himself, remains standing. He turns to Che, jerks his head a little to Jaya, and says, “This is Jaya.” Then he returns his look to Jay and nods to Che, “This is Cheusia.” There’s a small pause as he puts the satchel on the counter, and he says, “An’ I reckon I’d like me a shot o’whiskey while I’m here, if ya don’t mind.” A glance is made for Cheusia, “Whut’bout yerself, Che? Want sumpthin’ t’drink?” he asks softly.

Cheusia smiles at Jaya, giving a polite nod in greeting before attention returns to Bo and she's giving him a good look. Yes, there is very much something between the two, despite smiles and such and trying to hide it. Anxiety is clearly upon her face even as she attempts to look relaxed as she takes the offered barstool. "Hello Jaya…" She trails off and considers Bowen before shrugging. "I'll have the same." Cause she could use it at this point.

Turns being a barmaid in a few places can afford Jaya the luxury of detecting uneasiness in people quite easily. With the introductions made, she gives Cheusia a much closer study than is perhaps appropriate, and then before it gets into the downright rude category, she's abruptly looking beyond them both towards one of the barmaids and sharply gesturing with her chin. "A pleasure, shuga," she directs to the healer now, eyes finding Che easily with a genial nod. "Whiskey for you both, then?" She turns to get two glasses and sets them on the counter before them, and her gaze flicks over between them while doing so in the pause. A barkeep would normally pry, sensing that something was amiss between the two, but for now Jaya looks to be merely choosing the observation option. Once Suli is behind the counter with her, she bends to get the right decanter and starts to pour the whiskey into each glass. "I guess you have something else for me as well?" she addresses this to Bowen, eyes briefly landing on the tanner while she pours as she remembers their previous encounter.

Bowen is a gentleman, well usually, but he’s not exactly Mister-throw-his-cloak-over-a-puddle kind of guy. This is a world where women can be independent, and are leaders, at least in weyrs and to a slightly lesser degree, crafts, just as much if not more so than men, and so while he pulled the barstool out for Che, Bowen will not go as far as to help her up onto it unless, of course, it looks like she genuinely needs the help due to height or some other reason. The request to have the same as him, that earns the Healer a mildly incredulous and surprised look, but it is brief, and he does the two-finger gesture to Jaya, indicating a double, one for him and one for Che, confirming Jaya’s first question. When Jaya is getting the decanter, he asides to Che briefly, and softly, “Ya ev’r had whiskey b’fore, Che?” more out of concern than any desire to, well, hold her back from expanding her horizons or such. When Jaya returns, he smiles faintly to Jaya once more, and nods, pulling out the boots from the satchel, which hadn’t been worn so there’s no dirt on their soles or anything to get on the counter. He hands them over to the bar owner, still smelling like new leather, and the workmanship would be something of the quality of perhaps a new journeyman or long-practiced senior apprentice, considering how long he’s been at the craft himself without having walked the tables. But then, there’s little fancy detail that he had to do for the order, so it wasn’t all that difficult compared to other requests for boots that he sometimes has to outsource for various reasons. “Ayup. Try ‘em on an’ see if ya like ‘em.”

Cheusia smiles at Jaya once more and gives another nod for her greeting. She has no trouble getting up onto the stool and placing her hands upon the bar. Fingers idly trace a pattern before she considers Bowen next to her, giving him a curious look for the barkeep's question even lining up with the look that he gives her. The question is met with a shrug, "once…" A long while ago. But she's not sharing that with him. The boots draw her attention and she looks them over but says nothing, curious of the tanner's work.

"They want another round," Suli's interrupting, drawing Jaya's attention towards the group of farmers huddled around a card table. She merely nods as if an understanding passes between them - perhaps Jaya's doing tabs now? Her attention returns to the couple as Suli moves away to fulfill the order, brows lifting appreciatively when the boots are produced. Hands eagerly reach out to claim them once she places the two full glasses of whiskey towards them, the scarred faced woman turning first one then the other over in her examination. She'll even sniff at the leather on one of the boots before her expression brightens considerably. "Looks real good," she announces, looking towards Bowen, then Cheusia as if she too had something to contribute to the making of her boots. She takes a step away from the counter to start shucking out of her worn boots right then - not a proper lady, this one - and starts to tug on the new ones in silence. Once on, she moves around the counter to test them out with hands on her hips. It's quite a nice fit, not snug on any part of her foot and she smiles her satisfaction at it.

Bowen nods a little at Cheusia’s answer and something in the way his broad shoulders move as he hands over the boots to Jaya suggests that a bit of the tension eases out of those shoulders for Che’s response. Suli is glanced at, more polite and casual than anything else, but despite the attention given to the farmers at the card table, Bowen does look there again. He knocks back a long swig of the whiskey and grunts barely audible at the burn of it going down. A more real and genuine smile for Jaya at the compliment to his work, something he values and appreciates no matter what other strife he may be experiencing at the time. Then he turns his attention to Che a moment and her drink while Jaya works to take her other boots off and put the new boots on. He starts to reach for the Healer’s hand, but then thinks better of it and simply rests his hand on the bar counter while returning his attention to Jaya as she now is walking around in the new boots, looking satisfied. “Reckon yer gonna wanna keep ‘em?” He smiles slightly again, and lowers his voice just a little more – not that he talks loud to begin with, “An’ ‘re ya lookin’ fer that discount we discussed or ya thinkin’ th’ ‘riginal price?”

Cheusia gives Suli a curious glance but says nothing in means of a greeting, merely curious before attention turns to Jaya as she looks over the boots. An idle smile crosses her lips but she does not make to take her whiskey for the moment. Her gaze drifts back to Bowen, curious still and a frown soon crosses her brows once more. Her lips press into a thin line before she takes her whiskey and takes a drink from it, while her gaze makes to drift to everywhere but the tanner.

Jaya does bending motions as if she's about to jump, her arms swinging a little before she straightens up and turns to face the couple. She catches the rare and genuine smile rolling off of Bowen and returns it somewhat, though her attention falls back on the new boots she's wearing. "Very much," she answers on keeping them - in fact, she'll even be keeping them -on- for the remainder of the evening. Returning behind the counter, "And I'll take that discount. Explained it to them already, shuga, and they're good for it. Got your marks, too." She nods firmly to that, Suli catching some of the words and passing both Bowen and Cheusia an idle look while she works. She'll even meet Che's gaze evenly, her cool expression not changing to anything else before it shifts over to the tanner briefly. Then she's off to give the round of made drinks to the group of farmers, one of them actually straightening from his crouch over his hand of cards to pass the barmaid a few seemingly non-chalant words as she passes him a mug.

Bowen was unhappily married for quite awhile, and before that, he was unhappily raised by a mother who had no issues explaining that to her son, and so while Bowen is looking at Jaya and those boots and Cheusia is frowning and drinking, it may appear like he is oblivious to any negative feelings or vibes when in fact, he’s all too alert to it. He just is too used to having a woman mad at him for it to phase him, really, at least on the outside. “Glad t’hear on’t,” Bowen says to her liking them and wanting to keep them, and he will even smile slightly more at hearing the employees will cooperate. “Don’t reckon we’ll find any of them behind this note, o’course, but it’ll make it easier just to rule them out o’th’ scope o’th’ net we’re castin’,” he adds, punctuating it with an appreciative nod to Suli since she’s right there, well, before she leaves with those drinks for that table. Or at least he is right now running the theory that it is related to the plot against Jaya, anyway, which is the only reason he’s polling their handwriting here and not systematically the whole weyr. He takes out a sheet of paper and a piece of charcoal for a pencil from his satchel and slides it over to Jaya at the bar, being that these were her employees and figuring on giving her the preference as to who to ask first based on their current workload. With that, he’ll knock back his second swig of the whiskey and give Che a curious look at how she’s doing sipping the stuff.

Cheusia considers Suli for a moment before she continues looking everywhere but Bowen. It isn't that she's mad at the man, just confused. And the silence between them is steadily making things worse. Her attention is drawn back to Bowen and she gives him a curious look, but instead of saying anything she takes a drink and looks promptly away over towards the group of farmer's and their game. Though it is only idle as she's passing them over quiet quickly and elsewhere. "I still think it was a prank…" Is finally offered towards the tanner, though idly and not even attempting to put him off his search.

Since Suli's the closest when she returns, Jaya nods the older woman over to be the first to write. Jaya passes the sheet and charcoal right on over to her, brows lifting in expectation for the woman to comply. Suli does hesitate, shooting a look towards both tanner and healer before she grimaces and puts charcoal to sheet. While she's doing so, "So how do you two know each other?" Jaya's asking them, looking from Bowen to Che and back with her hands falling on her hips. Perhaps she could only take the palpable tension between the two for only so long before she herself makes comment. Barkeep's duty and all that. She even responds to Che's comment meant for Bo: "So it's you he's talking about there?" she asks her, sending Bowen a look as if for confirmation. "You got someone sending you love letters or something?" And the way she's phrasing it, she's looking between the two to see if this would get a possible reaction out of them and give her some idea as to what was going on between them. Female instinct was already telling her that there was more going on between the tanner and healer than mere acquaintance, but she wasn't going to voice that as she absently watches Suli scribble something down on the sheet and pass the sheet and charcoal back to her.

Bowen is always makes things worse. Often he doesn’t know he is, but there are times, like now, that he knows. While Che is channeling the tension into looking elsewhere, Bowen turns his own attention from looking at her to back to Suli and her writing on the paper, “Might be,” he mutters, though he’s looking at Suli (or more specifically, her handwriting) when he responds to Che, “Ya wan’ us t’stop lookin’?” Not that he would if she asked him to. He’d just continue to look without telling her because, personally, he’d like to pound the guy’s face in, prank or not. He knocks back the last measure of his whiskey before exhaling a soft sigh and only now finally answers Jaya (everything in its due time), “Met in th’ ‘firmary,” though he doesn’t elaborate what for and it’s possible that the conclusion can be made that it was after the bar fight. His lips press together and he doesn’t respond to any comments about love letters, but by his tensing, Jaya’s question scored a hit with him in some way.

Cheusia turns to look at Jaya, considering the other woman though seeing as he doesn't really give a straight answer she just nods once. To the love letters, she shrugs. "It was written like a love letter, but it isn't anything serious… Used to getting them as pranks. Happened a lot back at the Hall…" She trails off and shrugs, taking another drink and then giving Bowen a look. "We can keep looking if you want, Bo…" She's not watching Suli write as she's highly doubtful that it was the woman.

"I see." Hayli, the new blonde barmaid comes up by Suli's bidding, taking her turn while Jaya continues to watch the pair right in front of her. Seeing Bowen's glass is empty, "Another?" she asks, leaning casually against the counter while she waits for Hayli to finish. She'll even look over to Che's glass to gauge the level of whiskey there as well. Such things are involuntary for her. Back to the tanner, his brief answer for her question, along with Che's single nod in conjuction, only serves to lift the barkeep's brows. Even the healer's words on pranks get her attention, though she chooses not to respond or comment. And of course, it's what's not said that speaks louder, for she notices the tensing in Bowen's frame at her question on the love letter. Eyes go to Che then, noting the shrug, and her gaze drops. "Hayli, call Shijan over," she chooses to address her barmaid when she finishes instead, and when Shijan comes over from the entrance he wordlessly - without any hesitations on his part - scribbles something down on the sheet and passes it right back to her. "Unless you need mine, that should be all of us," Jaya notes to Bowen now, examining the handwriting on the sheet herself before she slides it forward with the charcoal for him to take. As she lets the silence linger long enough, "Whatever it is going on between you two," she decides to address, dark eyes falling first on Cheusia, then on Bowen, "you aren't going to solve it by sulking." That's her advice, vague as it is, but the two could take it or leave it.

“It lur’d ya out inta th’ open, Che,” Bowen says firmly, but still speaking softly. Bo rarely yells, even when he’s angry over something. Not that he doesn’t ever, just rarely. And he’s not angry now so much as feeling frustrated and … useless and inferior. Manly brooding? Perhaps. “Can I get a’nuth’r, ple—?” he starts to ask at the same time that Jaya offers, and cuts himself off. He gives a bittersweet smile, and nods to her either in confirmation or answer, and it’s brief, while nudging the empty glass of whiskey forward an inch or so with the back of his fingers and eyeing the decanter (if it’s still sitting out) like a long lost lover with those blue eyes of his. It’s Hayli’s scribbling that garners his attention next, but he’s not exactly hovering over the employee’s shoulders each time they come up, more the point of needing to physically observe them writing it than anything otherwise. As Shijan arrives, however, he doesn’t even give the man or his writing a look, having already heard about this one and the situation from Max, and for the sake of guises, he probably should at least pretend to be interested in Shijan’s handwriting, but the stocky tanner doesn’t. As she slides the paper back over to him, he settles it between himself and Che, bidding her to look it over with him, “Thank ya kindly, Jaya,” he says, and doesn’t ask for her own handwriting, no. His glance for the handwriting is cut short by what the bar owner says next, and he frowns slightly, not addressing Jaya’s comment. “So, how much do I owe ya fer th’ drinks?” All three of them, even if he hasn’t finished his second shot of whiskey. He’s not asking for the money for the boots just yet, though he will after he finishes his last drink and concludes his business here. “Also, I promised a buddy I’d come in an’ play some cards with him soon.” He goes on to describe Lorayit, and then adds, “Name’s Lo. D’ya know when he’s likely t’be back in? Says he’s a regular.” Also said he knew Jaya’s family, but Bowen’s not bringing that up right now.

Cheusia continues to drink, tanking another one slowly and then turning her gaze to the barkeep. She coughs once at the advice offered and slowly drops her gaze down to the paper and the writing as Bowen settles it between them. "I know…" She trails off and then shakes her head as she looks closer. "Wasn't any of these…" And with that, she grows quiet to finish off the rest of her drink.

Jaya's already refilling Bowen's glass when he nudges it close, keeping the decanter on the counter just in case. "Pleasure," is her response once her employees leave, the sheet out of her hands. She also passes over the price for the drinks, regarding Cheusia idly until something else said by the tanner causes her to look back at him. She frowns some when Bowen starts talking about Lo, then glances at Che. "You know Lo?" she asks, appearing a bit taken aback by it. She blinks and then, slowly, shakes her head. "No, haven't seen him around, actually," she answers him on his whereabouts. "Last time I saw him, he told me he had some business to take care of involving the garden. Should be back soon." At to Che, she still watches her as she responds to the advice given, and for now seems to give the woman her space.
It’s early evening in the bar and while there are some patrons about at this hour, it’s not as crowded or rowdy as it usually is in the deep night. Bowen is standing at the bar next to Cheusia, who is sitting at the bar, and both appear to be drinking whiskey. A leather satchel rests on the bar counter in front of Bo, and a paper rests between him and Cheusia on the counter. The tanner nods a bit to Jaya who is pouring him a refill on his whiskey. To the observant, there seems to be a little bit of tension in the air between Cheusia and Bowen, much like a couple involved in a disagreement that’s had to be set aside for the sake of public eye, temporarily. Awkward. But to the unobservant, or just plain drunk, the pair at the bar just seem to be having a casual round of drinks. As Cheusia confirms that none of the handwritings match, Bowen considerately hands the paper back to Jaya, not taking it with him, apparently, now that Cheusia’s given them all the ‘all clear’. That bit of courtesy may just be Bo wanting to keep as much clutter out of his bag as possible, or it may be that he knows the seedier element might not like knowing an example of their handwriting is floating around, and he’s just looking out for them. Whatever the case, he surrenders the paper back to Jaya and nods to her, “I do. He seemed t’have a thing fer dis place,” or for Jaya, herself, “so I figured ya would know ‘im. I reckon I’ll ketch up with him soon.” He nods to her comment that Lo should be back soon, and the corners of his mouth lift up in a brief smile before he is knocking back some of that freshly poured whiskey with a little grunt, and seems finally able to look at Che for a little longer period of time than he has been. It’s all thanks to the whiskey.

Kaskan strides into the bar with purposeful steps, whisking around a few swaying patrons with barely a hitch to his forward momentum and arriving at the bar with gusto. "Barkeep!" he bellows, casting a knowing little grin at Jaya as he drops both palms on the countertop. "I need something that'll go down smooth and light a fire in my gullet. What'cha got?" Light blue eyes survey the bar's owner, adding another layer to the question.

Just then a familiar voice catches Kaskan's attention and he glances to one side, a broad smile breaking across his face. One hand rises and falls with a firm clap on Bowen's shoulder from behind. "Bo, my buddy! How've you…" Ah, he isn't alone. Dark brows quirk for the woman opposite the tanner, Cheusia. "… been?" He nods once, including the healer in his smile. "Hey Che," he adds. "No injuries today - aren't you proud of me?"

Cheusia looks between the two and shrugs once more, not knowing who this Lo person is and finishing off the rest of her glass. She is still reluctant to really give the tanner a longer look than a few glances. Her mug is carefully slid away from her before she straightens just a bit and peeks quietly at Bowen… Until Kaskan is appearing and grey eyes flicker over to the other. "Hi Kaskan." There's a pause and she considers him before letting out a soft chuckle. "Really proud. Good job."

Jaya takes that sheet of handwritings back without question, slipping it into one of her pockets. "He loves his cards, shuga," she notes on the gardener, the little smirk a knowing one. "His whiskey, too. Glad he's making new friends, though," and involuntarily, her eyes go beyond him towards that card table of farmers. The tension between Bo and Che is stil apparent, and the barkeep is regarding the two of them still before she suddenly straightens up and moves to pull out a heavy-looking pouch. Pulling the top open, "So what do I owe you for the boots?" she asks Bowen then expectantly, her gaze lingering on him until the familiar arrival of the Bollian guard gets her attention. Shijan at the entrance seems to shift at that bellow, but he doesn't move from his post. She waits until Kaskan is there at the counter, brows twitching upwards as she tries to keep the smirk in check. "Go down smooth?" she echoes that, forgoing any greetings on her part as she flicks a study over him quickly. "Thought you already had your share of fire to last you till turn's end?" Evenly given is the question, but the barkeep does step back and bend to pull out a dark bottle and sets it heavily right in front of him. "Courtesy of Bo here, shuga," she drawls, jerking her chin towards the tanner since she finally delivers the whiskey gift. "Don't drink it all in one place."

Bowen stiffens slightly at Kaskan’s arrival until recognition slides into place. Despite the tension, he smiles a bit more genuinely for his ‘sparring buddy’ and sets down his glass again to return the clap to his shoulder if he doesn’t dodge it first, good-natured though it is meant to be. “I seen uglier days, I reckon, Kaskan. How ‘bout you?” Perhaps oddly, despite the nice little reunion here, Bowen takes a half-step closer to Cheusia, and if she allows, he’ll slip his free arm around her waist. Possessive much? Then in a mild tease aside to Che, “Don’t be too proud o’ ’im, Che, more’n likely he’s j’st pickin’ fights with sissy boys who can’t throw a punch.” Ooo. A little bit of Bo’s good humor and spirit seems to be coming back, at least in the form of teasing a punchin’ buddy. There’s a distracted nod to Jaya and he finally responds with a slight smirk, “Oh, I bet,” regarding Lo. And then he names the discounted price for the boots that they had discussed previously, only to grin a bit more wryly as Jaya bestows Kaskan with the whiskey he had left on reserve for him.

"Oh nooooo," Kaskan snorts, scrunching his nose and cocking his head back with an incredulous expression. "That was but a spark compared to the blaze that awaits, doll," he informs her with a smugly amused lilt. Leaning one elbow on the counter he eyes her sidelong through over-long bangs, his periphial vision still monitoring the other two nearby patrons while he blantantly flirts with the Keeper of Good Things. It's a good thing to be on the good side of the Keeper of Good Things.

Kaskan turns his shoulder so that although Bowen's return slug connects it merely rolls off his arm. The guard's grin widens at the teasing that follows, noting quietly the change in Bowen's posture. Oh ho - so that's how it is? The mischievious urge to mess with his 'sparring buddy' lifts bony fingers. Leveling blue eyes on Cheusia he offers with an innocnet tone, "I could take my shirt off again for ya if it'd help."

All teasing, flirtatious and otherwise, drops from his pose in the next instant, slate blue irises widening on the bottle Jaya put in front of him. A hearty laugh follows as he recovers from the surprise and turning he throws another energetic clap at Bowan's shoulder. "Bo! You are officially my new best friend! What a pal!" Grabbing the bottle he hoists it aloft, including all four of them in his regard. "We must celebrate!"

Cheusia is watching, but she doesn't look back to the table when Jaya does, being that none of it is her business. The woman certainly doesn't shove the tanner away when he steps closer and puts that arm around her waist. She even scoots over closer for that. "Mm. I see. Well, I know you aren't picking fights with sissy boys." A hand lifts to gingerly give the man a pat, or she would until her hand drops as she levels Kaskan a look with her grey eyes. "No. You're fine. If you really need me to check, then come to the Infirmary when I'm working, hm?"

The naming of the discounted price gets some marks taken out of the little pouch, and then Jaya recounts what's inside before she lifts it and offers it over to Bowen. "Great doing business with you," she says with the payment, her smile more genuine than its usual cunning. "I'll have to reccommend some of the patrons to you since you did such a good job." And oh, she definitely notes how possessive Bowen gets with the healer when Kaskan is present, but she doesn't make comment. If anything, something about it seems to openly amuse her. Turning to Kaskan as she releases her hold on the bottle for him, "Haven't a clue what you're prattling on about, guard," she notes, his words causing her to set a straight face for him. "Looks to me like you've been drinking a little early already. Sure you want me to give this to him?" she directs this last towards Bowen, appearing to ignore Kaskan's study of her. His words for Cheusia causes her to snort just a bit, and she takes to leaning against the counter again with her arms folded across her chest as she adds in dryly, "So long's as none of you are picking fights in my bar." She can somehow trust Bowen there, so the pointed look must go towards poor Kaskan. "I still got that knife, and I hear I make a great healer, too." Riiight. Might not be best to get near Jaya and anything sharp.

Bowen narrows his blue eyes at Kaskan for offering to take his shirt off for Che, but there’s a smirk on his face that detracts from the seriousness of that look, suggesting he knows that it was more than likely just another bit of teasing in kind. He’d probably offer another quip, but since Che did that for herself, he’ll let her own statement stand. And apparently, the comment about him not picking fights with sissy boys, which in a way is a compliment for Kaskan, only earns her a look with a slightly raised eyebrow. There’s some mirth in the quiet tanner’s eyes, however, which is a first directed at Che since yesterday, so it’s apparently done some good at least. His shoulder moves forward a little at the additional companionable slap from Kaskan at receiving the whiskey gift, and he turns his attention back to the other man, the smirk remaining, as he knocks back another swig of whiskey already in his glass, “I reckon ya can do ‘nough celebratin’ fer alla us … j’st duck next time.” This is said with a lifting of his glass as if in a toast to Kaskan, and he downs the last of his whiskey before wiping his mouth with the back of his hand and setting the empty glass back down again. He turns his attention back to Jaya then, nodding with a pleased smile, quiet though it remains, and then says softly, “Much obliged,” on doing business with her or the recommendations or both, tipping his hat with his free hand to her in courtesy before taking the pouch of marks. He will remove his arm from around Che just long enough to sift through the marks in the pouch and pay for their drinks out of that money, leaving the marks on the counter before securing the pouch into his satchel and buckling it back up. To Jaya’s question to Bowen on being sure whether or not to give it to him, Bowen just smirks faintly and nods, then, finishing buckling his satchel, he lifts his hands up in an ‘I give’ gesture to Jaya and her knife, before finally swinging the satchel back over his shoulder and reaching for Cheusia’s hand, “Y’all take care now, y’hear?”

Kaskan winks at Cheusia as if agreeing to some unspoken layer of her request. "Sure thing!" Pointedly not looking to Bowen at that point he instead turns his regard to Jaya and casts it in smoldering admiration. "Ahhhh, Jaya," he drawls, turning palms upward and toward her, "You look so sexy when you get all threatening."

Bowen's apparent retreat raises Kaskan's brows. "You can't leave now, man! Not when we're gonna down some of this fine whiskey you so thoughtfully set aside." Looking to Cheusia he appeals to the healer, flipping his fingers in a quickening gesture. "Celebrate we shall! I know there must be something. Quick, Che, tell me - has our good friend Bo here proposed yet? WHen's the handfasting set? Nevermind, doesn't matter!" Lifting the bottle and miming to Jaya for a glass he calls out, "Congratulations Bowen and Che!" Several deep voices from nearby tables take up the cheer, hoisting their own glasses in blissful ignorance only caring that there's an excuse to drink to be had. "To Bowen and Che!" "To Che and Bowen!" One lusty soul even whistles, eyeing the healer. "Way to go Bo!"

Cheusia smiles briefly at Jaya, perhaps with pride for the work the tanner has done before her gaze is again drawn by the man. She smiles for that mirth in his eyes, relieved for that little glimpse and suddenly sinking into a more relaxed position. Though it doesn't last too long as she's slipping from the stool to take Bowen's hand. Kaskan earns a look, first blank… Then slowly growing into one of shock. And then a sudden embarrassment as her cheeks turn a shade of red that is normally not seen in the public eye. There's no response as she tries to drag the tanner out by his hand and if he doesn't fight, she'll definitely make a run for it.

"You both take care," Jaya sends both Bowen and Cheusia's way, claiming the marks laid down on the counter and secreting them away. She even laughs some when the tanner lifts his hands to her comment on the knife, and she turns to Cheusia to add, "It was good meeting you, shuga. I, uh…." and then Kaskan's making that toast, the scarred faced woman trying to catch Kaskan's eyes so that she could subtly give him a pointed look in regards to the congratulations. All the same, his rousing words for her has her firming her jaw as she returns rather dryly, "Then I must look drop-dead gorgeous when I got a knife to your throat." Of course, bantering she may be doing, but she still has her gaze on the couple before her as Cheusia's cheeks turn red. If she's dragging the tanner out of the bar, the barkeep is certainly not going to protest….but she will fix another deadpan look onto the guard that pretty much says 'way to go'.

Bowen was already stepping back with Che, intended to turn with a little wave of his free hand to Kaskan and head out when Kaskan’s starts talking about proposals and that has the stocky tanner freezing in his tracks, half turned away now, and staring at the floor. He swallows visibly as Kaskan continues, Bowen’s adam’s apple bobbing slowly and his mouth sets in an even grimmer straight line than it was when they entered. A line was crossed somewhere, though more than likely very few here know what it was exactly, considering the quiet tanner isn’t exactly the expressive type. He starts to turn back to Kaskan, his hand closing into a fist, and then the final call sounds out from one of the other patrons and it’s at that moment that Bowen looks like he might just really kill someone here as his attention diverts from Kaskan to the direction of the voice. Unfortunately, he can’t pin it on one particular guy as his attention was on Kaskan at the time, and so Cheusia’s urging to get him out the door works, if only because he’s not exactly sure who to throttle, though his steps are suggestive of lead in his boots as he sets to memorizing the faces of everyone in the bar for payback later, including, presumably, his esteemed sparring buddy. If looks could kill alone … and then the blushing Healer and the death-eyed-staring tanner exit the bar without another word.

Kaskan carries on with all the purity of one who considers himself completely innocent. One hand hovers over the top of the bottle as if preparing to unstop it, feigned surprise shadowing his brow as both Cheusia and Bowen fail to take him up on his offer. A little rouge smile mars the effect as he spies the healer's complexion blossoming with color and even moreso at Bowen's disconcerted glare. If a line was crossed he isn't aware, merely enjoying the moment of putting his quiet companions in the spotlight. As the two make a dash for it he turns back to the bar and grins full-fold at the look Jaya has waiting for him. "What??" he blurts. "That was fun."

… the corridor outside the bar and then to their cot in the lower caverns …

Cheusia is certainly still quite red upon exiting the bar, grey eyes kind've frazzled as she looks to the tanner and finally slows to a stop. "Bo…" She trails off, her hand giving his a tighter squeeze and she takes a breath. "What did I do?" Because she's obviously did something wrong… And she's just going to attempt to ignore what just happened in the bar.

Bowen is still working to get his anger and indignation under control as they step out of the bar and he continues another step or two past where she slows to a stop, and as distracted as he is, it’s likely only because he is still holding her hand. Her question helps to bring him back from the brink of losing total control, and well, two glasses of whiskey helps, too. “Che,” he breathes, looking aggrieved, “I …” he starts and stops and looks away again, and then looks at her once more, stepping forward and letting go of her hand to try and wrap his arms around her if she will allow it and just hold her against him. It’s not exactly a secluded corridor, but he ends their misery by whispering into her ear, “I found out … ‘bout yerself an’ Max … an’ I know it wuz b’fore I got ‘ere … it’s okay … I j’st …” can’t compete with Max. At all. Or so he feels, but doesn’t put it to words. “Come on. Let’s get outta here where we can talk better.”

Cheusia looks to Bo and gives him a little look as he looks away, still wearing it even when he returns his gaze to her. And when he hand is dropped, she almost looks crushed… Until he is wrapping his arms around her. Her arms come tightly around him and she isn't inclined to let go any time soon. "Oh… Oh… Bo…" She trails off and slowly pulls back give him another look. A nod follows and she makes no attempt to explain while they're in the corridor. Instead, she'll reach for his hand and allow him to lead once more. And if he doesn't want to lead, she most certainly will.

Distracted heavily, Bowen sort of moves on auto-pilot, leading them to their little sectioned off room in the lower caverns as it is closer than their other private places, and while it’s not exactly private, it’s a little secluded at least and most everyone is still gone at this hour to have dinner or relax with friends for the evening and aren’t actually turning in to bed yet. He slips past the curtain, still holding her hand, and carefully ropes the satchel over one cot-post and then his hat on top of the post, still quiet with his thoughts for the moment. Brooding.

Cheusia quietly slips past the curtains, not checking to see those outside beforehand. Though she's certain that none would really be listening. She's releasing his hand to carefully remove her boots before settling upon their joined cots. Her legs cross and she fixes him with a look. "It wasn't anything, Bo… At first, it was just… Messing around and then it grew serious. And…" She furrows her brows, considering before bowing her head. "I'd've never done it before and… I was curious… I mean. I've done… I knew how it worked, medically… As a healer. But… He didn't mean anything to me… And we just became friends after…"

Bowen doesn’t look at her as she begins, well not directly. He watches her remove her boots briefly, but he, himself, remains standing where he is. His hands go to his hips then and his blue eyes look at her head as she bows it and her face becomes less visible. And that’s when she admits to being a virgin before Max and all color drains from Bowen’s face. He looks both ashen and angry and it takes a long time before he’s breathing again, and only then does he finally, eerily quietly, clarifies, “Max … took advantage of ya?” One hand releases his hip to reach for his hat, looking like he will go kill a man tonight after all. He swallows visibly.

Cheusia's fingers play with the blanket and then she shakes her head as he finally speaks. "No.. No…" She takes a breath, grey eyes flickering up briefly to find his face. "He asked before we did anything. He was sweet about it… I just wanted to know." She pauses and then hides her face again. "I didn't have plans on doing it ever again. Just once and never again… That was how it was going to go…"

Bowen sets his hat back down on the post and sighs, running a hand down his face and then looking up at the cavern ceiling before looking back at her. “Che … Che …” and then again, “Che,” he murmurs, stepping one pace closer to her and his hand lifts briefly toward her bowed head and then lowers back down to his hip and he stares at her lowered head, “I …” he sighs, swallows again, struggling so very much here, and then he asks quietly, “Is Max whut ya want? Does he … make ya happy?” there’s another pause with another swallow and he asks, hoarsely, “Are ya in love with ‘im an’ it’s j’st that he’s in love with this weyrling that’s keepin’ ya from him?” Bo loves her, but he doesn’t want to be a consolation prize either.

Cheusia keeps her head bowed, fingers still working at the blankets, pinching a bit of fabric between her fingers and twisting. She remains quiet as he says her name, afraid that he'll tell her to get lost. Though the question about Max has her looking up and giving him an odd look. "What? No. Bo… I don't love him. Shit… He's like my brother now, Bo. I was just curious about sex. That's all… I…" She pauses and frowns more. "I didn't believe in love then. I didn't believe in the feeling because… It could never be explained to me. I wasn't about to let my heart do any deciding for me…" She twists the blanket more. "Then I met Kason… With his pretty words and I thought I was falling for him. Thinking the way his words made me feel was starting to become love… Then it was nothing. I realized it was just because he said so many sweet things to me." The blankets are soon gathered in both hands and tightly gripped. "I told myself after he was gone that I wasn't going to believe in that stupid notion again… Then you came.. And… And… I started loving you before I knew it. And I got scared of telling you because I didn't want you to leave me, too…" It ends with that, the blankets held even tighter now while she hides her face once again.

Bowen listens to everything she says while standing still, watching her head and body and aching a little inside, though not completely sure why. A few long heartbeats after she finishes, he moves closer, lowering himself to his knees in front of the edge of the cot so that he can, hopefully look up into her face. His hands reach for her hips and if allowed will settle there, stroking slowly and comfortingly as he seeks to meet her gaze with his own, “Che … I love you. That ain’t changed.” He opens his mouth again to say more but words seem to fail him and he chokes up for a moment, looking away and closing his eyes, “I j’st don’t know whut t’do with this … I can’t hate him or be mad with ya o’er it since I wuzn’t even ‘round den. But …” his voice drops to a rasp, “Whenever I close m’eyes, I see him an’ yerself, in bed t’gether an’ … he’s satisfyin’ ya in ways I can’t … an’ …” he reopens his eyes, turning back to look at her, hands gripping her more tightly, “it’s drivin’ me shardin’ crazy. I dunno whut t’do. Tell m’whut t’shardin’ do, Baby, cuz I’m fuckin’ lost ‘ere an’ it’s killin’ me.”

Cheusia looks at him as he kneels down before her, grey eyes full of confusion and unshed tears along with many other emotions. She doesn't push him away when his hands settle on her hips. "I love you, Bo.." Grey eyes watch him and she listens quietly. His words earn a frown as she leans in, taking a slow breath. "Oh, Bo… Bo…" Her arms move to wrap around him and she leans in to rest her forehead against his. "Don't be afraid… That's all… Cause.. I want you and no one else and… Nothing will chance that."

Bowen takes in and exhales a ragged breath and as she leans in closer with her words and holds him, his own arms lift to wrap more around her back and he closes his eyes, fighting back the lump in his throat. “Oh Che,” he whispers, “Say it ‘gain. Tell me ‘gain, please. Promise me … please. I need t’hear …” that there’s no one else for her and that he’ll never find her in the arms of another man, but all that is left unsaid for now. Breathing ragged for the emotional pain filling his frame at the loss and the memories and the desire and he lifts his face up to press his lips to hers, hungry and fierce and yet scared and vulnerable all at the same time. “Please don’t leave me,” he breathes against her mouth, lifting his hands to cup her face.

Cheusia tightens her arms around him, just a bit and certainly not hard enough to cause him any sort of harm. "I want you Bowen. Only you. No one else." She promises, "I'll be with you for always… No one will keep me from you. No one will take me from you. Will always be here for you. Waiting for you…" She trails off there and meets his lips, ginger and soft, meant to be comforting and accepting and not pushing for anything more. "I will never leave you. Never."

His kisses are urgent and demanding, but in that vulnerable, needy way, not so much full of lust or charged with sexual desire. With her words, Bowen moans softly, lowering his hands from her face in order to use them on the cot to leverage himself up onto it with her. There, heedless of his boots or other clothing, he will attempt to draw her into his arms and lie back, just holding her close against him, working to catch his breath and slowly he does.

Cheusia responds to the kiss accordingly, while still loving she is not worked up or craving more sexually. She only seeks to comfort, love, and reassure him. Her arms remain tightly around him as he lifts himself up onto the cot with her and then easily being drawn with him as he lies back. Her arms only move so not to get squished. The kiss is broken and she looks down at him. "I love you, Bo."

As she settles with him onto the cot, Bowen wraps his arms back around her and exhales a long, shuddering breath. He reopens his eyes as the kiss is broken with her, and with her words, he manages a slow but genuine smile, brushing her cheek with his knuckles, and then murmuring, “I love you, Che.” This is probably not the end of this particular hurdle for this couple, but they’ve at least made considerable strides together, and it will only serve to help them with future hurdles in their relationship as well, no doubt, including the bit tonight over marriage proposals, thanks to that Kaskan. But for now, Bowen merely holds her and kisses her and loves her tenderly. And for now, that’s enough for him.


Closing Credits Theme Music: Christian Kane - "Making Circles"


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