Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hello, I Love You, Won't You Tell Me Your Name

Ajax straightened his cravat for the fourth time in ten minutes in the hall mirror. It was hopelessly wilted, and he shot a quick glance at his father before muttering a brief spell to freshen the limp folds. The crumpled cloth ruffled softly on his chest as it laid itself out neatly.

“Son, relax.” his father’s hand clamped down on his shoulder, making Ajax’s hooves skitter across the parquet as he started. Horatio Nonesuch couldn’t resist a laugh at his son’s nerves. “Son, please. This is merely an introductory visit. A simple tea-What in the name-?” Horatio and Ajax turned at the clatter of a set of hooves from the back of the house, followed by raised voices.

“Maeve! Maeve Aithne Chalcedony!” riding on the cry of her own name, a young unicorn stalked into the front hall. After the briefest curtsy to Horatio, she stepped up to Ajax and laid into him, teeth and tongue.

“I don’t know your name, nor do I care, sir! I shall not be anyone’s broodmare, so I would please that you take such an idea immediately from your thoughts!”

“I, I thought no such thing!” gasped Ajax, completely embarrassed. He could feel his blush rising and hated it, as it made his cheeks nearly glow plum-purple with the blood beneath. Ajax could see his father would be no help, a hand across his mouth to keep him from roaring at his son’s discomfiture. Maeve eyed him up and down as her parents elbowed one another in the hallway to be first to lay into their raging daughter. Horatio stepped between them and the little virago to raise calming hands.

“What say we let the children talk between themselves for a moment.”

“I’m NOT a CHILD!” both Ajax and Maeve protested as featly as though they’d practiced together all afternoon.

“See? Already they share thoughts. Such synchronicity is felicitous.” Horatio chuckled again as he steered the protesting parents back into the parlor. Ajax groaned at his father’s everlasting brass neck and rubbed at the base of his horn before daring to meet Maeve’s eyes.

She stared him down, arms crossed, nostrils wide, eyes unblinking with her anger. Ajax slowly spread his hands.

“I make no claim to know what the females of our kind go through, mademoiselle.” he spoke slowly, picking his careful way through the minefield of Maeve’s temper. “Please know, I am opposed to being cornered into a loveless marriage with nearly the same strength….” Ajax sighed and flung his hands upwards, letting the rest of his plea loose in the aether.

“What does it matter? You’re convinced to hate me no matter my defense.” he bowed, left leg coming forward, hoof curving out as he’d practiced with his father since he was a colt barely able to stand. “I cry pardon for any suffering that this incident has caused you, and hope sincerely that you can regard me with forgiveness for the presumption of our parents.” Ajax turned to leave with another sigh that hovered on a sob. Why the devil-? he thought before a small hand plucked at the back of his jacket.

“Wait.” Maeve was blushing easily as deep as himself, Ajax noted, as he turned back. She curtsied deeply, eyes down. As she rose she finally met his look, and wiped angrily at her betraying tears.

Ajax’s foolish heart leapt in his chest.

“You, you speak so very genuinely.” Maeve’s soft accent charmed him and he couldn’t help his ears lofting to listen to her near-whisper. “I have no right to accuse someone I don’t even know of such things. I am very sorry.”

“You have every right to be in control of your own life.” Ajax stepped closer, enchanted by Maeve’s cloud of coppery gold hair.

“Well that should include control of my emotions, especially over something like this.” Maeve blushed even darker and dropped her eyes again, her voice barely stirring the air. “And I don’t hate you.”

“You don’t?” Ajax could feel his thundering heart fighting for escape from the cage of his chest. Leaning close to Maeve so he wouldn’t miss her reply, he dared to let a finger trace the glow of her blush. “What do you think of me?”

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