Log:Rolling the Dice
The Caregiver had done something, something that spooked her to a degree, something that has her waking up this next Facility cycle in full go mode without an ounce of helpless wallowing in the way she felt. When she gets up, she literally steps into the hall undressed in a towel for half a second simply for the sake of hurrying to slide a guiding notification under the crack of the Capitalist's door for him to find. Then she goes back in to dress. When she comes out, she's wearing a dress with split multi-length hem that's a soft melding of colors and drape. The top is plunging with a built-in strapless bra piece as style because the back and midriff beyond where things crisscross to meet in the front are bare. And she's not without strappy embellished designer heels to suit.
Her makeup is done, but it's soft and gentle and flush with warm radiance instead of strictly dolling or accenting for flair. And her hair has been arranged and mildly touched with tending curls, but largely, it's left free at tousle, like she's already a little breezed to suit her breezy, pretty dress and flashes of skin. She picks up the Capitalist at his door on the way to the door that leads anywhere and with a flash of quick smile that goes to her bones, she reaches for his hand with one of hers. The other is holding a folded piece of paper pinched between fingers with something small palmed. Props, maybe. She doesn't really explain, she just leads.
It's nowhere she's ever been. It could be any form of modern time, really, the way the design is Grecian Old World and updated all at the same time for luxury accommodation. It's an island, but it's not a forest or the tropics or anything to trigger them. It leaves them as they are, the Caregiver and the Capitalist, unaltered by presence, walking into a form of beautiful neutral, unfamiliar ground, just in case. This private expanse came out of her mind from reading and looking at rich person travel brochures, in all truth. They're in a Mediterranean villa on a Greek island for seclusion and everything is absolutely breathtaking.
The view is both land and hills, situated on a cliff like they are, overlooking the insanely blue waters. There's a pool outside, a hot tub, right off the viewed patio alcove where a dinner is set up, and there's the rest of the villa, besides, all airy whites and painted and decorated blues with open picture windows and balconies. It also looks like there's stairs hewn natural fashion into rocks, leading down to the water, but the edge of the cliff across from the lawn also has a straight shot down if anyone were inclined to jump instead.
The brunette seems a little fascinated to see it as they step in from the parlor onto that patio with such views, and despite it coming straight out of her little head to be portrayed, she still does a slow spin once in with the door closed as one of the villa room doors to make it blend, "... woah, it worked."
Yes, the Capitalist read her letter regarding the dress code, but that doesn't mean that he always listens. When he's met at his door, she'll notice that going against her suggestion that he ditch the jacket, he's wearing one. A tan jacket to be exact, worn over a white buttoned down and black slacks. A simple black silk tie and dark dress shoes, like always, completes the ensemble. Strangely, this is a similar get-up that Conrad Wellson had probably worn on the Island. It was business and yet semi-luxury-resort. Believing they are going to either a beach or something of that nature, he has on an expensive pair of dark shades as well.
He doesn't ask too many questions, allowing her to take the lead in full on this endeavor. So once they step through that door and he takes in the beauty of her chosen surroundings, there is a moment where he stands there overlooking the oceans with a lift of those sunglasses to get a purer view of this place. The natural beautiful was magnificent, but the rest of the set-up, the villa, the pool and the hot tub do not go unnoticed. "I didn't have the chance to tell you beforehand, but you look amazing." He says, giving him this moment to appraise her with unfiltered eyes as well. Giving their surroundings a light gesture, he then says, a light smile forming, "Gotta say, I like the way you think." Since this came out of her imagination alone.
"I like the way you think too, because I have a feeling you're not packing a swimsuit under that outfit, nor are you carrying one." The Caregiver smiles helplessly at the compliment and speaks to the Capitalist dryly as she turns a little in place, re-iterating her general fascination with something straight out of her head made to walk in. She clearly wasn't kidding when she said she'd not messed with the doors beyond being led in a couple of times to other existing places. Actually using it and seeing the results reignites her fascination like it's the first time, "And hell, I like the way I think too, good job, brain."
She holds up the paper and shows a dice as the thing she was palming when turning back to him, but before she can get it out, there's a person there! A villa servant. He looks pretty damn unobtrusive and Greek and he's giving them ouzo shots and telling them something that's maybe welcome, but she's went and made things so authentic, she can only guess at it. She doesn't speak Greek.
Then she tries out the only thing she knows of Greece in general-- that thing they say when they drink as the man insists and then makes beckon to the set table afterwards. While the brunette woman casts a humored glance up at the dark eyes of the Capitalist standing nearby drinking things in sans sunglasses, she hefts her glass in a little cheers at him and says, 'opa!' The man, for his part, drops off the rest of the ouzo bottle on the table with a selection of small plates to choose from as far as fare goes, then he bustles off in that way rich people servants know how to do.
"...I brought a game. You don't get to see the cheat sheet for it, yet. I need more ouzo for the blush that happens when you tease me about it." She makes declaration on the bit of paper after swallowing and hissing through her teeth to tick her head toward the table, "Hungry?"
"You did say that the swimsuit was optional." The Capitalist says in casual response as he gives the stunning views another sweeping glance. In truth, this is probably not the first time that the Capitalist has been anywhere like this. He was a 'wealthy' one-percenter once upon a time who probably took clients on business trips to places like this. This doesn't mean that he doesn't appreciate the meticulous effort put to create this world, especially with the native-speaking help arrives with drinks. Though he is a lover of coffee, the Capitalist in many of his incarnations, enjoyed a good drink from time to time. To mimic the Caregiver, his cup is raised and he offers an 'Opa!' as well. Despite some setbacks and stresses from their encounter previously, he seems to be in good spirits today.
Taking a sip of his beverage, the shades are eventually slipped back down to shield his eyes from the glaze of the sun, for now, even if his attention is lured to the paper and dice. "Do I even want to know what that's all about?" There's that sharp wryness to his inquiry, but it is laced with a touch of humor. "Mmm. While we're here, it won't hurt to savor the cuisine."
"Oh, you definitely want to know what it's all about, but that doesn't mean you'll like it. Live in fear a little. My off the cuff, spontaneous brilliance is kind of hit or miss, historically, no matter how well I mean." The Caregiver teases the Capitalist with a click of her tongue, carrying her glass over to the table with her free hand flatted to drag and rub palm fondly over his toned midsection with sweep on turning way, utterly fond gesture while digging in the taunt of I-know-something-you-don't-know. After getting settled, she slips the paper under her plate before dropping a napkin over her lap.
She pops a bite of olive stabbed on a toothpick with feta and tomato into her mouth readily to get the ouzo off her tongue, because face it, it does the trick and it's authentic, but it tastes like boozy cough syrup to a degree. Then she points the little toothpick across at him when he's settled, "You can make me go first with roll. Or you can go first. But the general idea is that it works with drinks and food and sitting here together trying to figure out what exactly we want while staring at each other across the table. There's six possible results on the cheat sheet corresponding to number."
She explains a tiny bit more, but still doesn't let him peek at the damn sheet after she's had a drink of water to wash the bite down, "This is me keeping us from going down rabbitholes and getting stuck. It keeps us right now."
In response to her statement, semi-outlining this whole event, in a way, the Capitalist settles back, mostly relaxed within his seat, "I enjoy a good game." Though, that's not always the case especially with the Capitalist's temperament, but he seems intrigued enough at this to not object. Also, sure, the ouzo's not anywhere near his favorite thing to partake in, it is authentic, so he grins and bears it as much as he can, masking, though more likely, blending, the flavor with the delectables set down before them.
It's almost surprising that he would go along with a date, as he's had these various plans that need to be executed, but what's one day out of... whoever knows how long they'll be here until their next story.
She might not see it as his eyes are hidden behind those dark shades, but maybe the shift in his head could hint that he's looking down at the dice again as he bites down on a toothpick, scraping along its length as he drags a feta square off of the wooden splinter. "My guess would be that this were some form of truth or dare. Perhaps, the food and beverage being used for the dare, but it's all just guesswork. I can't say for sure what a roll of the dice will determine." Thinking further on this, the toothpick since removed from his lips, he decides, "I'll go first. May as well take the plunge."
Now. Caregiver knew the Capitalist would humor her to a degree, because somewhere in there, she's got two men that are used to trying to keep her happy and these little creative ideas aren't anything specific to either woman inside her. It's now apparent that it's clearly just a thing with the woman, operating outside of boxes sometimes for the sake of not being in the goddamn box, other motivations aside. But when he decides to go first and doesn't eyeball her too much with exasperation or groan about things, even something as cheesy as the potential for food-play or truth or dare, she downright lights up.
In fact, she bubbles with a sudden laugh that's almost a giggle as her foot nudges up with encouraging drag along his calf under the tabletop, so delighted as she is, eyes alight in the sun. There's shading in the patio alcove, but the angle of the sun still sees plenty of light on them with less harsh directness, "Thattaboy. I like it when you say fuck it and take control."
Then, pushing the die his way, she picks up flatbread to eat with hummus and waits to consult her cheat sheet.
There were worse places that he could be right now. That boardroom meeting with Madison and Conrad Wellson's father immediately comes to mind when he follows this train of thought, knowing that this is something he was purposefully going to put himself through once again, for better or worse. But why ruin such a beautiful view with unpleasant thoughts. The view, in question, happens to be the Caregiver and though his eyes may be hidden from her, he continues to either steal a glance in her direction or hold a stare behind expensive tint.
When she bubbles up with laughter, it's something he finds amusing. To a degree, but she seems happy, so he smiles for her, shifting in his seat to lean partially against the right armrest, his gaze cast out over the blue waters once more just as he feels the nudge to his calf, something which draws his attention back to her.
With the die placed before him, there's no examination of it or anything of that nature. He's not a D&D nerd, even if he's a gambler of sorts, but dice are dice and he just gives it a brief shake within his grasp before tossing it back upon the table. A Six comes up. "Now here is where I learn my fate." He says with in quiet murmur as he takes another small sip of his ouzo.
"Oh, that's not as good as a four, but I like it. -You- have to compliment me. And you can't recycle, you already told me I looked amazing and that I have a magnificent brain for style." The Caregiver informs the Capitalist as she eyes the dice, then slides the paper out to eyeball. She's being less coy with it now that it's lying there. On peek, one of the shorter options is next to the number three because it just says 'Ouzo' with a little 'blech' face doodled next to it. Apparently she knew it wasn't her favorite thing and it might take a roll bossing her into it. That or she was tempting how sauced they could be from it by adding it. But authenticism!
She goes completely out of order on her grazing and swaps to dessert piece of baklava to pick apart for tossing a bite in. Then she settles with one leg crossed over the other and kind of strikes a darling pose for Capitalist, preening and playfully letting him know he has plenty to work with. But playful aside, she does seem curious. Because this isn't Christian.
At the time, he had no way of knowing how a four could beat his six, but when given the numbered task, the Capitalist could say many things right now. This time, there's no denying that behind those dark glasses that he's not only looking at her, but he staring at her. She might not immediately know what parts of her that he's looking at at any given moment, unless there's the few tell-tale signs with just his body positioning. This is also a slightly awkward task because there is that part of Cillian within him, who sees the Caregiver for the young, bright as sunshine little cousin he'd come to care for.
Then there is a shift coming from him, when the list is actually presented to him, he draws himself up to correct his posture and lean in to get a better view of what else on the list. It's a cursory glance more than anything, catching words here and there. Now he's leaning against the edge of the table, being propped up by one crooked arm.
One of the most fascinating things about your ability to enjoy the little things in life. I'd say, more than others." With his free hand, he gestures at her game, "You've created all of this on a whim, not caring how others, or how I'd perceive it as and despite it all, you're willing to drag just about anyone so that they might share in your enjoyment." Returning to sit upright once again, backed against his seat, he says with a laugh, "While at times it can be rather bothersome, there's always something endearing about it in the end."
The first number says something about a dance, too, that much is clear other than 'ouzo' and clearly, six has now been notated as compliment. If he's nosy about four, it says something about 'touch' and the fifth says something about 'tell'. As the Capitalist looks at the Caregiver at length, her pose of playful arrogance starts to shift and fall more into ease, mouth touching up at the corners before he can even start to speak. Because even with the shades on, she can feel him looking at her and it chases her with a sudden heat she can't quite blame on the sun's rays and warmth, or even the ouzo yet. It's subtle outwardly, at least, but there.
After trapping her bottom lip between her teeth to smother some of the blossoming smile the longer the man explains, she just lets it free, huffing out a quiet breath of laughter that's pitched to say she -knows- she annoys him just by being herself in the way she can't help sometimes, no matter the life, context aside. But she clearly finds it a more than satisfactory answer, because her head tips forward and she tells the Capitalist, with warmth suffused through her quiet, "Thank you."
She takes her own gamble suddenly after a moment of staring at him, legs uncrossing to lean in some too for the roll. After flashing a little smile at him, she frowns suddenly while reading off, "Would you rather... okay. You get to ask me a 'would you rather...' question to answer. Of course, it doesn't have to be anything particularly deep if you don't want. It could just be about super powers."
There were so many other things in which he could have complimented her on, but the Capitalist felt that the answer he'd given was a good start. That look on her face tells him that he was correct in his assumption. Not that he was concerned at all that what he may say might not be what she'd hoped to hear, but it does set his mind at ease.
That sound of the die tumbling against the table is enough to capture his attention and though he's only skimmed the list, just that luck factor and how it relates to some of those things on the list still seems to hold his interest. 'Would you rather' wasn't something that he'd played recently, if at all. But he does make a play to look all contemplative, even rubbing at his the bristles at his chin to punctuate the fact that he was thinking. He even uses a serious face during all of this, though his eyes were still veiled. This, like the compliment, was something that he could take in any direction. In fact, some serious questions come to mind, something which, despite the act of looking like he's really dwelling on this, in actuality, he really was. There's this moment where his attention is once again drawn to the images of the beautiful scenery, wondering if any one of these questions in his mind could ruin it all.
Without returning his gaze to her at first, he asks, "Would you rather be forced to choose one of your memories, your lifetimes, and live out your time here as that person and that person only, forgetting everything else that you've experienced or..." He turns back to her, finally, "Have all of your memories, experiences... loves clashing not only in your mind, but in the people all around you? As it does now." This is probably a question he's asked himself a few times, but he's had memories of living 4 different lives, as 4 different people. Perhaps his baggage is larger than hers.
The Caregiver doesn't seem bothered by the question, precisely, as the Capitalist uses the moment to indeed pose something deep that could distress the moment like a snare trap. But it is probably why she knit the frown when she realized what reading the challenge from the list sounded like it was an opening for. But then again, she had been not only wanting to distract them. The list seems light and silly as a whole, but there's method to it. It has the potential to test boundaries with a tumble, and gives opportunities to try and look between distracting lines. She's rarely simple about her decisions to do things, no matter how much fluff they may seem at the time.
So yes, she'd been careful, but she thinks about how she left some of the things to fall into or trip over in place on purpose, too. And the Capitalist being who he is, of course he's capitalizing on it to ask something incredibly intimate and potentially distressing. She's not distressed, but she is sober levels of thoughtful and willingly goes for some ouzo while quietly considering, then eventually answering, "Even though I lived through terrible things, my life after wasn't... good, you know. Not either time. So it would be very condition dependent, if I'm going to be fair and logical in considering when forced to pick. It'd take changing that whole life in either case, which might defeat the point. But..."
A pause, the brunette putting her glass down to pull a face out of nowhere at the ouzo glass like she's trying to remember why she's torturing them with the stuff, despite subject matter. Then her eyes come up to his shaded ones directly, "If I take out all the details, if I try to feel that question only as myself, sitting here with you, no one else... I would have to pick them all. All the love stays real. And that... also hurts me terribly, sometimes. But the nature of love, just because it doesn't die for me, it doesn't mean that... it's not okay for it to change. Even if it doesn't feel like it's okay at the time. I need the love and bonds that were made, even if they're moved to memory."
The Capitalist didn't mean to darken an already bright and lovely day with something this serious, but the randomness of a roll of the die had prompted him to ask it. There may be some regret once the question is posed in full, but the Caregiver goes along with it, putting as much thought into her answer as he did when forming the question in his mind.
To give her the attention and respect that she deserves, especially after learning just how connected she is to each of her memories and the fact that she is unwilling to let go of or forget any one of them, his eyes, despite being shaded, never stray from her. In fact, his gaze alights on her features, taking in what bit of emotion that she's willing to display when stating her response. And then there is body language.
"I didn't think it was a fair question once it was asked, but I have to say that I'm relieved that you would take the time to respond to in in the way that you did." Only then does his gaze drift, perhaps, even he's thinking of taking another sip of the ouzo. He knows, that he's not even sure what his response to that exact same questio would be.
Rather than linger on it further, he takes up the dice and gives it a roll, as a way to press on from it. A five comes up.
Though she's not distressed and is rather thoughtful as much as she is heartfelt in speaking from the core of what she knows about herself, the Caregiver does lower her lashes for a moment, then takes a moment to look out at the ocean brilliance of blue through the warmth of the sunlight. And when she looks back to the Capitalist across from her, she puts on a sudden slant of helpless smile that seems to be spurred by his very presence across the table from her.
Then she drops her eyes to look at the dice and suddenly, she laughs, getting a piece of ice from her water glass to pop in her mouth and suck on, suddenly smug with her humor, expression perfectly easy with lounge of forearm-leaned posture on the table edge after she's pushed plate away, "You have to tell me a joke. I guess it's not obligatory that I -laugh- at it, but y'know. You can tell a lot from a person from the kinds of jokes they like, I think. Mostly whether or not they need punched."
"-I- have to think of a joke? I just thought of two scenarios for you to choose from." The Capitalist says in a clearly exaspirated tone. He's never been known to be particularly funny either in the Facility or living the various stories, even if he does have that wry, sometimes biting wit. If there's any time that he really wants a 'drink', right now would be that time. Just that amusement that he sees on the Caregiver's face makes him think that she already knows that out of all of these tasks, this may be one of the more difficult for him.
It almost looks like he would forfeit on this task, especially with that unamused expression on his features. Finally, he comes out and says:
"Why do women have orgasms?" Obviously, it's more adult fair than something childish. After a beat, he continues on in that same, somewhat droll tone that he used when asking the question, "It's just another reason for them to moan."
If she's trying to learn more about the Capitalist based on his jokes, well, maybe it does say a lot about who he really is, but he does ask, "Now what does that tell you about me?"
Abruptly, the Caregiver cracks up laughing at the Capitalist's joke, unapologetic about being smugly amused despite his own state of exasperation. What was that thing about annoying him again? But her head suddenly shakes mid-bout of humor and she rises up into a stand next to her chair, still sounding breaths of amusement on her words here and there as she steps around toward him.
She looks down at the dice on the table and flips it a few times until it's a four, "I mean, it's probably warranted since you're fresh off of Christian's life. It also tells me I'm cheating now. I have a four. I just wrote 'touch anywhere' for that, but I didn't specify the toucher and touchee on roll. So I'll let you pick. You let me touch you how I've been dying to touch you, or you touch me the way you've been dying to touch me."
Her head tilts and her amusement is mostly gone as she looks down at the Capitalist's seated position, replaced by a gentle seriousness, hands to herself to wait.
Uncertain as to whether the Caregiver or any of her incarnations would find that joke funny, he does seem pleased, perhaps content being the better word, when she does laugh. The Capitalist, himself, didn't find it all at funny, though he most likely finds some truth in it. Nevermind that he's being rewarded by her company now even after the joke, watching as she takes the few steps towards him.
When he sees her dice manipulation tactics, watching her change the number from one thing to another, and then realizing what that number meant, there's this smile that spreads across his lips when he says, "If I knew that that joke would elicit this kind of response, I would have used it sooner. Even before we started playing."
It's only then that he removes those sunglasses, looking her over in that dress that she's wearing, before slowly drifting so that his gaze meets with hers. "Decisions, decisions, eh?" In a sense, he's learned a lot about who the Caregiver is and what he perceives as part of her very nature. After a few more seconds of thought, he asks, "I know that you can't help yourself. That you always want to make everyone else around you... feel... happy, good about themselves, feel loved and adored and cherished? All of the above?" Depositing the sunglasses onto the table, he shifts his seat so that he's facing her now, one arm lifts to place a caressing hand at her hip, "I'm not going to deny you what you want to do."
"Generous. I'll be counter-generous in letting you pick your own die result right after mine. I'm a fair cheater." The Caregiver tells the Capitalist as she immediately puts her hand out to acquiesce and act. And it's maybe not what he's expecting, at least not initially. But it's as much for herself as it is for him from the look in her lowered eyes, the shadow she's making for sunlight darkening the blue to near darkened violet with tricks of light and the sheer fire of her affectionate gaze.
Her fingertip dusts in caress down the bridge of the man's nose, the familiar thing she did when trying to be sweet or lighten a moment, to dote and adore, the thing she did before cleaning the blood off of Christian Price's mouth. She's not seeing him as Christian right now, though, she doesn't have that distraction of breathlessness or haziness that comes from rampant obsessive feeling or sheer relief of seeing him 'alive' in whatever sense she's had since when it slips. But she is fixated in the same way, transfixed as much by his reaction as much as the feel and sight of doing it, because it will be -this- man reacting.
The fingertip skims the straight strong line of his nose to sweep from tip, then her hand turns some to lay thumb in brush below, passing his lips with small pressure of dragging catch on the bottom one. When her hands pull back, she reaches back to unzip the lower back bodice of her dress, wordless and watching.
"That's sweet of you." The Capitalist says with that same usual wryness in his tone then told that she'd allow him to pick his own die result on his roll. Whether he does so or not is something that he'll actually consider once the time comes. For now, all he wants to do is enjoy the moment.
With her standing before him, he settles comfortably back against his chair, with his free arm placed upon the armrest. There's a lift to his chin, gracing her with this little smile, his dark eyes locking with hers, before drifting down to observe the way her body moves.
It's not difficult to guess what he expected to happen, giving her the choice, but when feeling that gentle caress along his skin, her fingertip trailing along the slope of his nose, it's something that makes his eyes lift to flicker back upon her again.
His other hand is still at her hip, his own fingertips brushing against the curve there in a slow, languid manner. This almost felt as if he were in the VIP room all over again, but at this moment, much tamer. To teas her, when her thumb brushes over his bottom lip, he leans in forward in a play to try to gently bite at it just as pulls away. It's more of a playful teasing, but when he realizes just what she's doing next, his gaze drifts lower, as he bites at his lower lip in anticipation.
"Alternatively... if you think the game has run its course for now, good sport as you've been with it..." The Caregiver begins, a tick of a smile dancing in her eyes suddenly with the little biting nip of tease from the Capitalist when her thumb passes his lips on closing of the caress, "I'm open to options. We have a pool. A hot tub. A cliff to jump into the bluest sea I've ever seen. There's also a bed and a variety of surfaces to use if you've other interests. Which you might."
Her shoulders make a roll suddenly, the loosened bust of the dress, skimpy as it already is, it falls while the rest of the dress stays up with cling at her hips for a moment, sliding off of one hip slowly as she flexes her midsection into tiny roll of motion to nudge it to fall. His hand is the only thing holding it up until he decides otherwise to let it fall entirely in puddle, delicate white lace and mesh thong undergarments partially bared.
It's not quite Stella even though the control and ease of her motion is there, but her demeanor is different. She's not teasing him. She's presenting for him to for decision making, she's kicking down barriers that makes it more raw than simple undressing without ever lifting a foot. Her hand reaches to loosen his tie for him, like it's the piece that unlaces him too, "See. If you didn't look like you look right now, in the eyes and breath, if things suddenly turned awkward, I could blame being naked on time to swim and scamper. I don't need the backup plan, seems. Which means I can now let you know..."
"If you choose the unspoken option? I wore underwear that rips easily away if you're determined." Her hand finishes with loosening his tie, then she pulls it slowly free from his collar, words quiet and gentle despite content and all the rich heat behind them, "Don't be gentle. Because I won't be. I want to know... all of you."
There really were so many options to choose from, all of them exciting in their own ways. And yet, this was his moment to play coy, even if he's distracted by this bit of disrobing on her part. Once she practically shrugs out of that comfortable flowing dress, the Capitalist's gaze lingers on the parts of her that are exposed, but this is only for a few seconds.
Even as she reaches to skillfully undo his tie, his entire body relaxes in place, leaning even further back, pressed against his seat once more, "I don't know. You went through all of this trouble to put this entertaining little game together. Have we really gone through all of the numbers yet? I think we may have skipped a few." Even if one of them was just to drink some of that not-so-pleasant, yet authentic booze.
He realizes that he holds the key to the castle in his hand. Or, at least, if he dared move it from her hip, that dress will come fluttering down to pool at her feet. "And I can't help but look the way I do, but then neither can you." She may be wearing hints of makeup, but even when she's not fully dolled up, he does find her natural beauty to shine through.
That black tie is easily removed, slipping out from off his collar, it then takes a moment more before he does lift his hand off from her hips, a curious glance given her underthings now, seeing as he just learned of it's vulnerability. He continues with his joke, "How can I concentrate by taking my turn at rolling the dice if you're here undressing me with your... Well, undressing the both of us." There is this urge pushing him to take what he wants, yet he practices some restraint, even if that hand returns to her hip to pull in her forward so that his lips press against, then trails along her smooth midsection.
"Oh. We can still play. But I won't be getting dressed. We've missed dancing and taking shots by way of the dice. But maybe you want a compliment or a question or a joke too. I do like the spirit of a good game. I thought about rolling it again. To see how I touched you, odds for hand, evens for my mouth. Might have changed things a bit, where I decided to go at you." The Caregiver drapes the pulled away tie about her neck and shoulders and looks down her body with step into the pull, angling her body to press into his lips before they start to trail with gliding touch over her skin. Goosebumps chase the caress of mouth, flashing over her skin.
Reaching over with one hand to pick up the die, she uses the other hand to drag and flip the edge of his dangling tie fabric back and forth over the tip of a breast, teasing there as it's tightened by the wash of chills elicited by his lips. Her eyes never leave him, but that control she had, even with that small intimate touch, it's more than a spark, it's a fire that sends her skin flushing after the initial subtle shiver.
Pinching the die between fingers, she suggests, "I could even make a new game. Because my mind won't stand still in what I want to offer you." Her head tilts and her hand stops play with the tie to touch a caress at the back of his head as he's leaned, lowly detailing and presenting new made-up lascivious dice options while she stands.
With his lips still pressed against her midsection, just above her navel, his heads tilts back, chin lifted to stare up at her from this lowered viewpoint, seeing past the feminine swells of her breasts as he does so. She can feel the prickly of his beard like sandpaper over her flesh. "Changing all the rules now are we? And I don't know, I'm not against a dance." Even if he could do without the booze.
He watches this play, the way that she uses his tie to excite herself with. There is this part of him that prides himself on his self-control, but all of that is tossed out the window when presented with a package like this one.
Even the new rules for the games are enough to both excite and entice and she can feel a soft nip at her flesh as he inhales a deep breath to drown himself in her scent. He even lets out a little laugh, his masculine frame trembling as he does so, "Roll the dice and see how it lands." He says this even if he expects her to make up what each number means as she goes along, but he has no qualms about it.
"Oh no. There were never really rules, see. Just guidelines to help us see where to go. And because things moved to point me right here, I'm presenting options as to which board you'd like to roll the die on. So by those guidelines, you get to pick between me on my knees or a joke." Which actually kind of humors the Caregiver, in part, because after she tosses the die to roll out on the tabletop, her lips suddenly twitch and her body rolls to drag more of the prickle of the Capitalist's facial hair in scrape and tickle and purr of sliding burn over her skin.
Then her breath catches with the nip and the position of her stance shifts from relative stillness to knock of her hips forward with more angling, hand curling against the back of the man's head to dig fingertips in brief with rake against the scalp, lowly noting, with growing breathlessness, "Or we could dance."
"All I know is, I've had enough of that." There's this vague gesture to their drinks, "And I think I'll pass on the joke. Some of the other things that you've said though," This is followed by what could be called a thoughtful, 'mmmm', "They've certainly got my interest." Hearing the die hit the table, his face slowly turns in that direction to watch as it tumbles, all the while feeling her fingers brush through his thick dark hair, well-manicured nails dragging along his scalp.
Without another word, he begins to rise, his arms moving to wrap around her waist, looking to be taking her up on that offer to dance, "We can start there and..." Just for a wandering moment, he reaches for the dice to give it a toss, letting it land how it may be, "let fate lead the way." Magic number three.
In all honestly, The Caregiver can't remember what any of the numbers she assigned things to are all the way. But there's certain ones, like five, that stuck with her, because she had been so close to just dropping to her knees instead of undressing, initially, and three did too just because somewhere inside, she's thrilled by it. It feels like a chance to prove, to build him up until he can't stand by anymore, a game within a game. But dancing. Dancing. She pulls in a sharp and short little breath of air through her nose after looking at the die, then up to the Capitalist standing with arms at wrap around her bare waist. Then almost naked be damned, she raises her voice to call through the Villa with gradual step back away from the table to give them more space for movement.
That little Greek guy shows up like he's been on standby, and apparently he understands whatever she's saying in English, because her lash batting, smiling request for music gets done despite his sudden fluster on emerging to well, her naked and posed to dance with a relatively perfectly dressed man. It's also utterly Greek music and she looks up at the Capitalist to declare once the guy is gone, "I just wanted to see his face, I have no idea how to dance to this. Does that actually count as exhibitionism if he came from my mind as part of the estate?"
Her arm lifts to wrap up around the man's neck and shoulders, the other coming to rest on one of his arms wrapped around her to rub at his sleeve, "Also... I'm of a mind to think all that Stella work I've done on Price has you playing the tease to see how far you can melt me into begging for it like a little bit of tit for tat. Tell me the truth and I'll tell you why I'm of a mind to be so forward about wanting it, suddenly."
With his arms still lightly around her as if prepared to do a generic slow dance sway, the Capitalist is surprised when she calls out for the hired help, his head turned towards the side to regard the man whose face is flushed brightly in embarrassment. The Capitalist, himself, doesn't pay the other man much mind. There's no smirk on his lips or anything to show good humor. He treats it as if the man really were a mere servant and no matter what they were planning on doing here, despite his summoning, was none of the guy's business.
Once the music cranks up, he realizes that this was a far faster tempo than he'd anticipated, but despite that stuffy nature that he often displays, he's no stranger to dancing. In many incarnations, he's done his time on the dance floor, so even if he doesn't know any authentic dances for the region, he can fake it. "It really depends on what you expected when throwing this date together. I mean," his eyes look over the magnificence of just this locale alone, viewing all the natural beauty the place has to offer, "You had a vision, created a world. What happens afterwards, with those who inhabit this place..." He has no real answer to that and simply lifts his shoulders.
That being said, his arms release her, only for him to reach for her hands to pull her in close and take the lead in this little tango with quick-footed steps and several many twirls. He makes sure to keep the movement to a comfortable conversational pace, though it's clear that he enjoys the view of watching her in all her naked glory as he she bounces and twirls in time with his movements.
"Am I thought obvious?" He says with a touch of laughter in his voice, mixed with the adrenaline rush of the dance itself. "Though I wouldn't say that I were a tease, but what I do enjoy is to be shown exactly what is on your mind and what you truly desire."
"Fire." It takes a while for The Caregiver to answer, because with the shift of arms from around her and the turn to dancing, really dancing and making up steps to their own dance laid to foreign music and tempo, she's distracted in a different way. She breathes out a laugh of sheer delight as she's twirled and twirled again, and really, with Eilis being Vaudeville and Elaine doing her own form of dance with some ballet flair thrown in with pole work, it's really not that hard to pretend. Expression comes freely to her when it's unleashed and dance and song are just part of that and it's probably why certain things tend to carry like that on her. Because when she's in, she goes all in. Nevermind that she's wearing a lace thong and embellished designer heels as accompaniment, instead of that pretty dress to flare out with each turn. She's got enough moxy to make up for it.
Then one of the turns has her shifting back into him to wrap arms for sway so she can look up and explain, "Ours never died. I was careful while hurting, to make sure we wouldn't have something we'd do as someone else, something to cling to wrong or regret. But I knew when I woke up, after having a difficult way of things before sleeping..." Thankfully, the Greek music turns more dragging and acoustic sounding in all its flair and it makes it easier to facilitate her intense eye contact on him in earnest, "If death didn't kill it, if the lives we've had didn't kill it, if space to adjust and move into ourselves completely didn't steal all the air, if it still wanted to burn, it's not fucking finished. And I will not put out that flame. I will not. And you might have tried some, unwittingly, but you can't. I can feel it."
The brunette only pulls her eyes away to indicate the sunlight and shade and view they're dancing in and around, eyes snapping back up solidly after, "Absolutely none of this whole affair I've made for us has been Elaine and Christian. It wasn't them fighting before sleep, re-learning, clashing with different, still wanting when it was done. That will keep happening and I'm ready for it. You came for me. You keep coming for me. Fuck the struggle, we have struggled enough, we have more due. I won't struggle with this. I want you. And I am absolutely certain I'm made in a way to hold you for everything you are. I know who I am."
Even though Caregiver has worlds more solidly rooted confidence and grace of self-image than Elaine ever did, though, there's a hint of nerves in the breath that comes to catch up afterwards. Because she also knows she can be overwhelming in a way that has little to do with being mostly naked.
In all her dancing splendor, the Caregiver is a marvel to behold, even without all the flare and the accoutrements that might help to further emphasize the grace and movements performed. The Capitalist, himself, looks smart in his suit and though he lacks the well-practiced steps that one trained in the art of dance may possess, he knows how to fake it, improvising as they step and sway, come together and spin.
Once they are brought in close, eyes once more locked with this fiery intensity. Fire, that's what she'd said. Being this close makes it all the easier to listen to her speak and to read that expression on her fair features, her emotions difficult for her to hide. Her revelation makes his own steps slow, which is a good thing that the next song up comes with a much slower tempo.
"You know it's not that easy." He says in admission. "I can't even say that this... passion is my own or if it's merely one part of me, one memory that I've clung to so strongly. I have so many thoughts to cycle through and with them come impulses." There's also the other relationships he's been in through different incarnations of himself. Even now, as her gaze diverts from his, that intensity remains, his eyes watch her with mild scrutiny.
She isn't wrong, at this moment, there was this strong desire for her, something which he had chalked up to Christian Price. "And how have you come to this conclusion? Or are these desires simply carnal in nature? I mean, being trapped in this place does take a toll on all of us."
"I don't know. No, it's not just... it's hard to explain. If I just wanted to fuck and get it out of our system, I would have had us do that instead of you kissing me goodbye as Christian. And I thought about it, the next day, just like that, thinking it'd take more. But there was more space made, more settling, not as much room to pretend we were still as we were. And I didn't know how any of this was going to go, I planned for things to go right, I planned for things to go wrong, I planned for things to go completely sideways...."
Her brows knit. It's not that she's looking uncertain or hesitant, but she's also not so very dug in on her feelings to not admit it could be one-sided and she could be wrong, just because of how she is, "But I came into it unwilling to hide from it or to be afraid of it because I am afraid of -so- much in these lives. I'm afraid of so much in that place. Things still hurt me terribly, things that aren't for right now, and no, nothing is simple, but this doesn't have to hurt me if I can be brave enough to reach and try to have it instead of dancing around the embers half-chilled and afraid of the unknowns in the dark. I'm pulling my own fucking strings. But I..."
She stops moving with anything more than small idle sway, looking off to the side, starting to get visibly flustered the more she tries to explain things she maybe doesn't quite have words for,"It's not even... about the love that remains, waiting for me to see how to turn it. I just want you. I need you. We fit. You're rooted in me. You make me feel stronger, more secure, I don't know. I'm ruining everything now, aren't I? I should have kept it simple."
Watching as she becomes flustered by his own inquiries, wishing to learn the depths of her feelings, this look of concern washes over his face. The Capitalist attempts to offer some comfort, one of his arms loosening around her to lift and nudge a thumb, first against her chin, then along the line of her lower lips, his gaze following its trail for a quiet moment.
"I thought I was in love in this place once and it very well could have been just my riding the high from the life that I'd just lived. I had no other memories but those. When I'd awoken, I felt different and yet, I felt as if I were truly Conrad Wellson at the same time. In fact, I insisted that I was and whatever holdover she had from that story, she felt the same way." Inhaling deeply, he then shakes his head slowly, "And now she's gone and I've been pining for her ever since." There's a crease in his own brow now, "One of the first things that I did on wakening this fourth time was to check her door, to see if the symbol there had reverted back to what it was when she resided there. It's...It's been a difficult struggle dealing with that along with everything else."
His concentration is returned to her, withdrawing that hand from her face when she casts her gaze off into the distance. When she says that it's not even about the love, she's given a curious look. "I'll be here for you to give you whatever support that you need. I'm not going to lie, but there's a part of me that wants all of that too, but I'm not sure if it's the same thing that you're going through now or something completely different. I still have shades of everything and everyone from my past, so these desires and impulses, it's hard to determine which are really mine." And he's been in this place for longer than she has. He reaches for her chin again, to give it a gentle lift, before leaning forward to place a kiss at her brow, "You didn't ruin a damn thing. The day is still young... even if there's a lot to think about, but sometimes it's best not to think."
The Caregiver wants to get more out, to explain about Pierce, because he was her first love too, the one she was with the in the Facility while so very Eilis, about the things she hasn't dared given air in the name of fear and hurt, but suddenly she can't. She wants to explain, compare, detail the differences, logically and illogically, head and feeling. But she can't. Because she's afraid all over again. Everything was going fine until she jumped the goddamn gun and cheated. And that's what she gets for cheating, suddenly, in her mind. It's irrational.
"I just know... that I was very careful to make sure this space didn't confuse us. And it was working. And it made me leap, knowing that all the want was there, without the haze on us. Now I'm... feeling like I tripped in my own airspace. And I suddenly feel more naked than..."
As her eyes are turned back up to the Capitalist with lift of her chin, she wonders, suddenly, a bit slowly, arms wrapping more tightly around his clothed body as the sun tries to warm a sudden chill that takes her, "... you weren't teasing, you were stalling, weren't you? Are you afraid too?"
"You barely know the person that I am though." The Capitalist will point out, "And from my recollection, not all of our interactions here have gone smoothly." He remembers the discussion they had in his room and how heated that got. "If anything, you've only really known me on a personal level back in Prosperity and then the lodge, but," He's not going to argue with her, however, nor disagree overly much. "I'm not going to tell you that it's difficult to separate your emotions from your past lives, but I know, for me, it has been." In fact, to some, his personality was still forming based on these lives that he's lived.
He then goes on to say, allowing his arms to embrace her when she leans in against his formal attire in all her naked glory, "I wouldn't say that I'm afraid. Confused, uncertain. Maybe. We're all still learning about ourselves in this place, as strange as that sounds." He did have to admit to himself, that bared, soft flesh felt good in his arms.
"They're not supposed to go smoothly... that's not how... people work. I'm not asking you to love me or... I just wanted you. I did this because I wanted to know. And suddenly, things turned out that way, I could see clearly. And I can't explain the way I feel the differences, but I do. Even when I only had Eilis, I knew who I was and it wasn't her. And even though I feel so very Laine sometimes now, it's still not so. They're facets, beautiful and tragic and shining and catching all the light in their own way, but I'm the jewel making that light from the inside."
She gusts out a sigh and starts to look a little embarrassed and ashamed, and that, that might be Elaine not used to being denied or just general vulnerability on her, considering, "Now I feel foolish stripping down in front of you and telling you all the things I... when you're not even sure you want to... jesusfuckingme." Her face goes to nudge in against the Capitalist's shirt to hide with groan of exasperation and hide of her expression when it creeps with blushing.
"Some people say that," The Capitalist starts, "Though not everyone experiences their time here in the same way." He has always held on tightly to the lives that he's lived, including forcing others to comply to who he believes they are. So watching others with struggles so different from his own is rather fascinating to him. He knows that he is his own person, in a sense, but each of his lives had been a core part of his own personality.
"But yes, I've been told by everyone, including Madison," He continues to go by that name for the Penitent, "That she doesn't believe she is these people whose lives she'd lived. That she felt separate from them. I can say for myself that, with my own experiences, the lines are very blurred." This is not something that he often likes to talk about, especially as many others have far different experiences than his own. Still, there's this smile that forms, followed by a weary sigh, "I'm afraid that you think of me as some sort of saviour, when I don't even know myself. I know what I want with what limited knowledge we have of this place." A pause, as he considers some of what she says, "I don't mind that you've stripped in front of me or any of that, we all have our urges and desires."
There's a pull back of the Caregiver to look up at the Capitalist, distracted out of her fluster with the need to explain with confusion, because she's seen people doing and feeling that in the Facility too, and she also knows that's not how she feels. "Oh. No, don't misunderstand. Blurring is a distinct thing. I don't feel separate from them. Just because I know I'm not particularly those people, they're still me too, the place we're in, it's a different life too. It's not an either-or situation. Not everything is one thing or another. They're still in me and on me and make me just as much as I make them. Why do you think I'm so different than I was in the Facility the first time, but still utterly me, just like both of those women were me? It's like... you knew me as Stella, while you were Christian. You knew me as Laine. Then you saw sides of me where I got to feel the middle piece they made, but I was very much all of them. It took all of them to get through, didn't it?"
She pauses and considers a conversation she had in the sand once with who she now remembers as Scott, "It's like a Venn Diagram which relies on the outer circles just as much as the core for strength."
She breathes out a sigh at the Capitalist's last bit, then pulls away from his shirt to step back some, "Of course you don't -mind- but what I wanted wasn't what you wanted. Or you would have taken it. So yes, I'm embarrassed, so I'm going to wait for you to get more naked while getting out of my shoes. And if we can stand here and not jump each other both naked at the same time, then we're just going to go be a good little boy and girl and go swimming. No pressure."
The Capitalist listens to what is spoken, but comes out with, "When I was first here, I fully believed I was Conrad Wellson. Maybe you can say that I desperately wanted to be. There was no separation. That was just who I was and I never thought otherwise. That is what I mean by a separation. I /believed/ I was Conrad Wellson at that time /in this place/." He then makes a snorting sound, followed by some laughter, "And if you ask some others, they might say that I become the person who I was last, at least for a time. Do I pick and choose which of these personas to be?" He then shrugs his shoulders, "What I do know is these personas become stronger when I return to the world they are from. Especially now that the world is filled with life. I realized this when Angeline brought us to that hospital and all of Wellson's memories flooded back to me. Which is why Madison is afraid to return, because she hated being Madison... and I don't know why. She was successful at what she did even if we couldn't do anything about the festival. Until now, that is."
"Maybe I understand what you're saying, but like I said, it's not my experience here. However, these memories keep stacking, giving me new insights into everything and everyone around me. What's at my core now? That didn't show up until my second lifetime and Madison is still afraid, sometimes, that I am that person even now."
With all of that out of the way, he quirks a brow at her words now, "When someone speaks of something so deeply, you can't blame a man for being just a little wary and to ensure that that is what she really wants and after I'd heard your explanation, then I became all the more uncertain." There's a slight pause, before he adds, "Foolishness on my part, it would seem. Or else who knows what we'd be doing at this very moment." He even smiles a touch when he says this, knowing full well what there the lead up was taking them, but perhaps it was Cillian's protective nature over her that made him take pause.
"But if you want to continue..." He still has a lot of undressing to do, but the sun was still out. With that in mind, he works at the buttons of his shirt, "I mean, I think it would be a waste not to enjoy the remainder of the day in a beautiful place like this."
"Mhm. You're a dumbass. The things we could have done and still had all that as pillow talk. And a gracious, aren't you just a bit of a hypocrite to boot, telling me sometimes it's best not to think, then making me think. Psh. And you think I'm the bothersome one." The Caregiver finishes with her shoes and seems to be bolstered by the idea of the Capitalist getting down to her level after all that baring on both their parts in a different way. Even playing field, right? And if there was ever going to be a way to test a boundary to see what comes next...
But she's not as certain as she was before, despite feeling and sounding able to be playful and blunt with him at the same time. And she still has her underwear on. So once he's down to his, she tells him, "Let's race." Then cheating, immensely, since she's started the game and thinks she gets to because of it, just like before, Caregiver takes off for the pool to jump in. And once he's in, she turns it into racing laps until they're cuddled with fatigue in a corner of the pool in quiet for a while. And with both of them catching their breath from exertion, with the small help of barriers between them, the fire and want isn't dead at all. But it's quiet and comfortable enough at simmer there for the brunette to ask for something else instead before they return so he can see to other matters she knows are important to him.
She asks him to take her from the pool to the bed for a nap. She hasn't slept with him in ages, in her mind, all those night terrors alone. And in those moments before sleep, he feels just as alive as he might against her body otherwise, her head at his chest no longer hearing a dead heart.