Silas and Alex Foolishly Believe They Will Remain Single
((This scene is a collaboration between the players of Silas Turner and Alexander Stanton. It takes place shortly after the scene "Miss Linfield and Mr. Stanton Make Each Other's Acquaintance"))
After seeing Miss Linfield to her home, Alex returns to his own. Once inside he sets the painting down in the foyer, making sure to place it facing out lest it get any paint on the wallpaper, and calls out. "Silas! I'm home!" Then he begins removing his jacket and unbuttoning his waistcoat, frowning down at the splotch of blue paint on it. Perhaps it could still be saved if the maid acted quickly.
Upstairs, Silas hears Alex's voice as he struggles with a challenging piece on the pianoforte and he lets out a huff of exasperation and relief as he pushes away from the keys, all too glad to put the music aside for a time and see why Alex is home early. It was still early right? Without the bit of structure of going to the library every day, he was finding time to be a bit harder to predict. He makes his way downstairs, less dressed then when Alex left - breeches, shirt-sleeves rolled up, and a simple striped cream waistcoat. His cravat hangs untied around his neck. "Back already?" he says lightly, with a tinge of curiosity.
Alex looks up and smiles to see Silas coming downstairs toward him. He finishes with the buttons on his waistcoat and pulls it off. "I've got some paint on my waistcoat and wanted to hurry home to see if it could be cleaned before it dried. Perhaps it can be saved?" He shows Silas the offending paint splotch to get his opinion. "Also have you had lunch yet?"
"No - I'm starved," Silas replies, leaning in close to look at the spot. "Dare I ask why you have /paint/ on your waistcoat after taking a walk?" He straightens back up, looking at Alex expectantly.
"Excellent!" Alex replies in response to Silas' being hungry. "Ah, well, I was helping Miss Linfield carry her painting things. After the waistcoat mishap she gave me that as an apology." He nods toward the painting. "Have you met her? Charming girl!"
Alex calls for a maid and hands her the waistcoat, asking if it might be cleaned before letting her know they will take lunch in the parlor. He goes and carefully picks up the painting, so as not to get more paint on himself, taking it into the parlor with him. "Where should we hang it?"
Silas follows Alex into the parlor, brow furrowed, combing his memory for a Miss Linfield and confused about how Alex went from stepping out for a walk to helping a girl carry painting things. "I don't believe I've met her - sorry, is this someone you met on your walk?" He looks closely at the painting. "Oh, the cliffs! Though, more lovely than usual."
"Yes, I met her out at the cliffs. She'd lost track of time and had been out there since /dawn/, if you can believe it! Said this is how they look then and that I should come see them." Alex chuckle. "Told her I'd have to take her word for it. The only thing I want to see at dawn is a bed." He shakes his head and looks at the artwork. "Anyway, she seems like a fun sort of person. I think you'd like her."
Silas makes of face of mild disgust at the thought of waking up before dawn. "Gods, there is little in this world that would entice me to wake at that hour - the look of the cliffs is definitely not one of those things. Though... if ever we are /still awake/ and upright at that hour, I might be convince to go have a look." Silas glances at the painting again and back at Alex, this time appraising /him/. "She... seems like a fun sort of person? The sort of person to wake before dawn to paint the cliffs? Hmm... you must be referring to other qualities. Let me guess... she's pretty... she likes being outside... she flirted with you... and she appreciates a good drink." He raises his eyebrows at Alex, as if to ask if he's right.
"Ah, well, yes." Alex manages to look a little sheepish. "We did share my flask as we talked. She no interest in marrying, but her mother seems as persistent as Gran." Alex's eyes go wide as he remembers part of their conversation. "/And/ she called me a hero. What do you think about /that/?" He grins and winks.
Silas rolls his eyes but with a little smile on his face. He plops down on the chaise. "A hero? For carrying her painting things? Well, it doesn't take much to impress her. Lucky for you," he teases.
Alex laughs and leans over to give Silas a kiss. "No, because I saved Mr. Rowley from the river and because of the charitable work. So there!" The maid enters with a tray of food and quietly sets it down on a side table. "Ah, excellent!" He puts the painting down and moves over to the food. "Oh, I forgot to tell you... Gran is having a garden party soonish. We are both expected to attend." He grabs a sandwich and stuffs it into his mouth. "Perhaps you can meet Miss Linfield there."
Silas pulls Alex back to make him sit next to him on the chaise, then leans forward to pull the side table closer to them both. "Sounds like you're trying to impress Miss Linfield with your gallantry," he says lightly but with obvious undertones of wondering just how taken Alex is with this girl. "Isn't it a bit dangerous to have Miss Linfield at this garden party? If your grandmother gets even a hint of your interest, you know how excited she'll get. Or is this party for you anyway? To see who you'll get along with?"
"I'm not interested," Alex replies defensively, sitting down next to Silas. "/Technically/ this party is for Gran to get to know the new young people. But really it's to help Miss Trevor...oh I forgot to tell you. Her secret at Mrs. Fairchild's picnic was that she very much wants to be in love. I put Gran onto her. Maybe she could help." He shrugs and grabs another sandwich, having finished his first.
Wolfing down a small sandwich, Silas raises an eyebrow at Alex's defensiveness but plays along for the moment, wondering how else he might fish out details. "Is Miss Trevor aware of this plan? She doesn't seem the sort to enjoy parties. Makes her secret wish a bit difficult, eh? Though she might enjoy Miss Linfield's company, what with painting and all."
"As a matter of fact," Alex begins once he has swallowed, "Gran said it was quite Miss Trevor's idea. Something about drawing people outdoors or something. I wasn't fully listening. No doubt Gran is scheming matches for both myself and Aria... Ah... Right. About that." Alex brushes a hand through his hair. "Gran might have taken a notion of you and Aria being a potential match." He shoves a third sandwich into his mouth and avoids looking at Silas.
Silas stops mid chew, "what?" he tries to say with his mouth full, a little alarmed. He quickly chews and swallows. "But I'm not looking to be matched up! And Aria is such a romantic. She's sweet and I enjoy her interest in music but she would not find what she's looking for with me." He frowns, saying more quietly. "I think it quite likely that I would cause her a great deal of heartache."
"Well, /I/ know that and /you/ know that, but Gran just sees two sweet young people she adores. Someone musical and polite, just like Aria. So it'd likely be in our best interests to find Aria another match elsewhere... unless you'd like to ruin my grandmother's image of you." Alex does look at Silas then and grins. "We could invite her to play chess."
"You're awful!" Silas' face contorts with horror and amusement, nearly shoving Alex off the couch. "So between Aria and Miss Trevor, your grandmother needs to find /two/, kind, good men. What a shame there's a shortage of them in Tyrehampton."
Alex smooths his shirt, acting as if he is offended by Silas' shove. "I fully intend to introduce her to Captain Windham and let /him/ distract her. Surely an ex-naval officer is up to the task." Alex laughs and leans over to kiss Silas on the cheek. "You and I can sneak off. Perhaps find an empty room. Like our first time."(edited)
"Simon is as bad we are!" Silas laughs, shaking his head. "I fear for the ladies of this village." Then he blushes a little, deeply pleased that Alex would allude to the memory of their first time. It had been hurried and a little desperate - it had felt like his life was caving in again and Alex had been there right when he'd needed him. He leans over to kiss Alex's lips. "/That/ has set quite a standard for garden parties, love. Perhaps if the ladies will enjoy each others' company more than ours, and we can do that. We need to be very dull."
"Very dull...yes, let's see..." Alex pretends to think carefully. "I could speak at length about accounting procedures. Perhaps you could regale the group with an in-depth analysis of inheritance law. They will be pleased to be rid of us!" Alex leans in Silas and kisses his neck. "Wills..." He moves up to kiss Silas' ear. "...ah... trusts..." He nibbles a bit on the earlobe. "...lawyerly things."
"Mmmm," Silas purrs, tilting his head to accommodate Alex's attentions, "you make that all seem /so/ much more interesting than it is." He pulls his head back enough to give Alex a knowing look. "But you couldn't. Perhaps if the garden party was attended by ladies your grandmother's age. But when they're young and lovely, I think you couldn't bare not to flirt." He smiles a little and gives Alex a kiss on the nose. "And Miss Linfield is already onto you as a hero. It's far too late to be boring now."
Alex pouts a little at how well Silas knows him. "Yes, well. I don't always /have/ to flirt. And sometimes I'm not even /trying/ to flirt." He shakes his head and playfully pushes against Silas' shoulder. "But I must occupy myself somehow while you're busy soaking up Gran's adoration."
Silas shakes his head slightly. "Hmpf. Not much for her to adore /now/. Anyway, you're far more her concern." He can't help but return to the subject that Alex keeps skipping past. "Are you certain you want Miss Lindfield at the garden party? She, uh... sounds like... well... she sounds /quite/ like Mariah." He glances quickly at Alex and then looks away. "If your grandmother picks up on that, they'll be no end of trying to pair you two if she's from a good family. Though uh... you could do worse, I'm sure." Like Miss Barber.
Alex shifts uncomfortably and then stands up, moving to the bookcase of alcohol and pouring a drink for both Silas and himself. He brings the drinks back over and takes a sip from his glass while handing the second glass over. "Well, I suppose I was hoping that Gran would be too preoccupied with everyone else there to notice? What else can I do? It's not as if I can tell a perfectly lovely lady, who is new to the village, to skip social events."
Silas gladly accepts the offered drink and takes a swallow, frowning slightly into his glass. "No, no, of course you're right. It's a good thing. Really," he says unconvincingly but with some determination to not assume or guess at too much - that would only add unnecessarily to their fears. "So tell me - /is/ Miss Linfield from a good family? What brought her to the village, anyway?"
Alex shrugs when Silas asks about the good family. "Ah, I assume? I don't know much about them. She's got a matchmaking mother and a strict father, by the sounds of it. The family came here from London for the air and so her younger sisters would have space to move about without running afoul of a carriage. She hasn't been her long."
"Ah," Silas says simply, taking another sip from his glass, not sure what else to ask that doesn't sound jealous or overly-prying. His gaze falls on the food and he grabs another little sandwich, adding just before he stuffs it into his mouth, "we should visit them soon, then."
Alex freezes. Finally he looks at Silas and frowns. "Ah, we should do what now?"
Silas looks at Alex, surprised, and finishes chewing and swallowing. "Visit? The Linfield's? Since they've recently moved here? It would be... polite," he says as if they'd been welcoming new families like established men-of-the-village all along.
"Well, yes, but then Mrs. Linfield will know who I am." Alex looks at Silas, wondering why he is suggesting this. "You heard the part about her being as big a matchmaker as Gran, yes? I did say that?" He /had/ said that, he was sure of it.
"Ahhh. Right." Silas nods, understanding the problem. "But, um... if she is as you say... might she already know about you? Do you think Miss Linfield might be the sort to tell her mother or her sisters of the gallant, handsome gentleman who helped her carry her paints... and uh... is the reason she's come home with nothing to show for it?" Silas grimaces slightly. "Perhaps it's best that neither of us go then... uh... but it's only a matter of time before your grandmother meets them, I suspect. /We/ might not be missed but if they go a-calling, they'll certainly visit her."
Alex opens his mouth but then stops. Silas has a very good point. He would have been an excellent barrister, what with his logic. "I don't think she would have mentioned me... She is keen to avoid suitors. I even gave her some tips on how I have avoided /being/ a suitor. But..." He sighs. "You are likely right about them visiting Gran. It's only a matter of time." He sits there quietly for a few seconds. "You don't suppose I could intervene somehow? Gran has mentioned visiting Bath. Perhaps I could make her go now? Maybe we can skip this garden party too!"
Silas' eyes widen a bit at the conversation particulars between Alex and Miss Linfield. Wasn't that how things started with Mariah? He glances out the window to avoid looking at Alex, heart beating faster, defying any reasoning that he was assuming too much. But Alex was still talking to him. He glances back. "Hmm? Ah, I'm not sure about intervening or distracting your grandmother for long, now that she has even /more/ matchmaking to occupy her. How confident are you in your ability to stand up to you grandmother if you don't show at the garden party?" Silas tries to give Alex a genuinely questioning expression but it's tinged with his utter lack of confidence in Alex's mettle in the situation.
"Don't show?" Alex is legitimately surprised. This idea had never occurred to him. He assumed he will go. That he has to go. But does he? Gran will be cross. But now it feels like Silas is challenging him. He feels torn. "Ah, well, I could stand up to her, certainly. For godssake, Silas, I'm not /afraid/ of her." A lie. "I'll just say, 'Gran, I had other pressing matters or some such." He nods, trying to convince himself that he could indeed say this.
Silas looks confused at Alex's surprise for a moment and then realizes if he'd been paying closer attention and not making predictions about what might happen between Alex and Miss Linfield he might have understood that Alex meant deterring Mrs. Stanton from the garden party altogether. Which seemed just as unlikely as Alex standing up to her. "Love, you know there's /nothing/ as pressing of a matter in your grandmother's mind as securing the family and matching you up." He huffs out a breath of resignation. "We shouldn't be afraid of a garden party... but we must go in understanding that it's not /just/ a garden party. It a... matchmaking party. In a garden. Heh."
Alex sits back on the chaise, crossing his arms over his chest stubbornly. He lets out a sigh. "I've not even been unattached, well, /publicly/ unattached, a month yet. I was hoping to ride out the year." His tone turns glum and he downs the rest of the whiskey in his glass.
"Why, your new status without attachments make you all the more desirable," Silas says before finishing off the whiskey in his own glass. "It means you were desirable enough to attract and hold the affections of a lovely lady for a while and are now mysteriously free and in possible need of comfort." He smirks slightly, setting his glass down and reaching for a cherry. "This is what happens when you flirt with ladies, Alex. They fall for your charms and heroism and then want to marry you," he tries to say teasingly, though it's true. He puts a cherry in his mouth and carefully extracts the pit, setting it on the tray. "But believe me, I understand. I confess I was also hoping this would last a bit longer. Just you and I." He gives Alex a sad sort of smile and kisses his shoulder.
Alex attentively watches Silas' mouth as he eats the cherry. "Then...I won't flirt. Shouldn't be that hard to not do it. I'll just...ah, I know! Act like Mr. Elmsworth. Or Mr. Sokolov. The complete opposite of myself! Yes, I'll be stiff and droll. And quiet. And frowny."
Silas chuckles and looks at Alex adoringly - Alex trying not to flirt must be like the sun trying not the shine, but it does little good to say this to Alex, he'll only try to prove it all the harder. Oh. /Ohh./ "Well don't be so droll that you don't enjoy your newly unattached status at all. Anyway," he continues lightly, trying to keep a straight face and reaching for another cherry, "I can't imagine you doing that. Alexander Stanton: not flirting in the presence of lovely young ladies? Impossible!" He glances back at Alex innocently, pushing the cherry into his mouth.
A switch flips in Alex. He is being challenged. And he suddenly needs to prove himself. "Not impossible. Just you wait, Silas Turner, I'll be so boring the ladies will line up to get /away/ from me." He contemplates what he might need to do to achieve this. "I'll have to avoid drink. Though the idea of a matchmaking garden party sober..." He shakes his head. "No, I can do this. How else might I repel ladies, do you think? Dull waistcoat?"
Silas can't help but smile, plucking out the cherry pit and setting it on the tray. "It would take more than that. I think your whole approach would have to change. Perhaps imagine each lady in a wedding dress, looking for her groom?" He frowns a little - that might be terrifying enough for Alex to give him bad dreams. He quickly adds, "it wouldn't have to be scary because then you can stroll about with confidence that their groom-to-be isn't /you/ and you're merely a friend pointing them in the direction of some other fellow who /is/. But who isn't me."
"A friend pointing brides in the direction of some other fellow. Who isn't you. Yes. I can do that. Sounds rather helpful, really." Alex taps a finger against his chin thoughtfully. "Very well. I'll do it! So help me I /will/ remain unattached through the remainder of the year!" He leans over and kisses Silas enthusiastically.
Silas grins and returns the enthusiastic kiss. "A worthy goal, love. Excepting my attachment to /you/, of course, I will strive to do the same." Then, as if the matter is settled for good and worth no more of their time, Silas changes the subject to what they'll do with the rest of their day as they finish off the food.