Louisiana Pursuit

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Alarice, Jun 12, 2012.

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  1. The sun had risen only a few hours ago and already people were crowding the streets. Two Englishmen walked side by side, both dressed in fine suits. The shorter, dark-haired man walked with a cane while the taller blonde male stretched and took a deep breath.

    "Are you not enjoying the activity, the life of New Orleans?" he asked.

    "Yes. Splendid," his companion muttered. He had meant to spend only a day or two at the most searching for a house. The ride from New Orleans to his plantation was becoming more and more troublesome, forcing him to resort to purchasing a home in the city. Unfortunately, finding the right house was proving to be more difficult than he had foreseen. "Not that I'm ungrateful for your help but is there no damsel in distress you can rescue?"

    Grinning, Thomas wrapped one long arm around his friend's neck. "And leave you to the fickle hands of fortune as you seek a new home? Nay. No one knows these streets and homes better than I. Let it never be said that Thomas St James abandoned a friend in need.”

    He stopped ranting as he saw two lovely ladies dressed in fine tailored dresses walk their way. They had noticed him and were whispering to each other while shyly looking away. “Good morning,” he said with a smile and bowed his head.

    The two women, who looked in the prime of their lives, giggled and continued to whisper. He watched them even when he had to look over his shoulder.

    Robert brought his cane between him and Thomas’ arm and used it to disengage him. The man was one of the few he could honestly call a friend here in this damnable place but he proved to be useless when a member of the weaker gender was within sight.

    “Fickle hands of fortune. I am merely looking for a house. It should not take much longer.”

    Thomas didn’t seem in the least bit offended by Robert pulling away. “You speak of looking for a house as if looking at a horse. It is more like looking at a woman. Appearances can be deceiving and mask an inner beauty.”

    “And like a woman is a house as likely to betray you?”

    “Ah, my friend, you have just found bad women, that is all.”

    “Of course, I have.”
  2. As the two Englishmen walked, more involved in their conversation then their surroundings, from the opposite direction a woman was walking toward them dealing with her own struggles. She had her hair bundled up in a hat and she wore trousers that were muddy, but that was because she had left her house before dawn to try to do some fishing. Normally she would not be walking the streets of New Orleans in such a state, but she had not wanted to take a horse to her favorite fishing hole and she wasn't thrilled with the idea of returning home now that her fishing venture was a complete failure.

    Océane had had a very unpleasant evening the night before. In all fairness whenever she tried to have a long conversation with her grandfather it usually ended that way. The end result was him giving her extra money to buy something pretty, which was not what she wanted at all. So she slept fitfully and then gave up all together and went off to the do some fishing. She should have known better then to try to fish why upset. They avoided her something fierce when she was, but she had thought spending time with the water would calm her. Though it normally did, today was not the day to be calmed.

    Absently she tucked a strain of her black hair behind her ear and looked around the city. It was a busy place and her dark eyes, like the sea at midnight, took it all in with little regard. It was home and nothing about it was surprising anymore. It was with a troubled spirit that she couldn't seem to put at ease that the man bumped into her, causing her to land on her bottom!
  3. ... And this was the only man he could call a friend in this reason-forsaken place? Robert had to stop to massage the spot between his eyes, aware of a growing headache there. The throbbing in his head quickly gave way to another pain, a sharp clenching sensation in his bad leg. It didn't mean that the headache was gone; it just meant the new pain was that much stronger. Splendid! And just when he was sure the bad weather wouldn't affect his injury!

    But, wait ... the weather wasn't--!

    "Robert, are you--?" Thomas turned when he noticed he had left his companion behind but wound up being walked into by someone else. The stranger landed on his bottom to which Thomas quickly turned and offered his hand. "Oh, forgive me, my dear fellow, I failed to see you there." He laughed softly. "I suppose that is what happens when one is so busy appreciating the beauty of New Orleans, yes?"

    Robert focused on Thomas' chattering. It helped to avert his mind from the pain wrapped around his leg, damnable thing that it was! He forced himself to shake off the pain. He wasn't getting anything done like this. He took one step and then another, his friend still apologizing and even offering to buy the lad a drink.
  4. Looking at Thomas with sheer hate, Océane got up on her own slapping his hand away. "Monsieur, I find your platitudes offensive as well as your lack of sight," she said in a rich voice as she pulled off her hat. Her hair tumbled in dark cascades. She sounded like a woman of upperclass Creole society but no French woman was born with that color of complextion hinting at her mixed heritage. "If you perhaps paid more attention to your surroundings then making up false romancisims of this city you might have both avoided running me into the ground and insulting me."

    Sure she was dressed in pants, but she felt anyone with half a wit could still tell she was a woman. Had it been another day she would have laughted it off. Indeed, it was obviously an honest mistake and the tall blond was trying to make it right. He just had to meet her when she was already having trouble finding a bright spot in her day. His accent spoke of a man from England, and while she had no quarrel with any from another nation, she had heard enough bigotry to sound like she felt otherwise if the situation demand it. "Or are Englishmen of such deminer that they can't bother to notice anyone but themselves?"
  5. Thomas was left speechless and could only drop his jaw in total shock. He stayed like that, unable to defend himself or apologize further as the woman stalked away. Robert clenched his teeth as the pain grew sharper at the woman's tirade and only abated when she was out of sight and earshot. He let out a low breath and clapped Thomas' shoulder to gain his attention.

    Thomas shook himself, then grinned sheepishly and rubbed the back of his neck. "Well, that ... could have gone better." There was a hint of worry on his face. "So, are you alright?"

    Robert let out another breath. "It's ... fine now." The weather was fair and his leg had acted up. His leg had gotten worst when he'd drawn closer to the woman and her temper had been unleashed. Intriguing ... He looked ahead in the direction they were walking into and caught someone's eyes. A pair of dark brown ones sunk deeply into a face that was weathered and wrinkled attached to a thin neck wearing a necklace of sorts stuffed under a shirt and a shaven head.

    Robert nearly growled. He knew a voodoo practitioner when he saw one. And he saw him. His eyes widened a bit and then the head ducked back around the corner. He glanced over his shoulder. The priest hadn't been interested in him and Robert didn't spy any of the local wizards around. Voodoo practitioners and wizards weren't openly hostile to each other but as a general rule he and voodoo in general skirted around each other like nervous youths at a ball.

    That only left the woman Thomas had knocked into. This was proving to be intriguing and unpredictable, indeed.
  6. Océane's day never really got better and in the end after soaking in a bath for far too long she called it an early night. Sleep helped her mood the next day, even if she was still annoyed with her grandfather. Everything else that had gone wrong she felt was better to forget.

    A few days later the events that transpired after fight with her grandfather were no longer a concern. She had gotten up early and felt like stretching her legs. Going down to the kitchen she asked the cook, a middle aged widow with three little ones, if there was anything she wanted from the market. They had a man for those type of task of course, but Océane liked to try the more rare items that the cook might use if she had a chance. However the woman had her hands full and if Océane brought home anything she would try to use it.

    With no real task, just a need for freedom, Océane left her grandparents' home and took her time to the market. She had placed a light blue shawl over her shoulders as her dress' sleeves where short and there was a cool breeze in the early hours. It was the same color as the sash around her waist and the ribbon on her hat, a more womanly piece then the one she wore fishing.

    The sounds and smells reached her before she caught sight of the market, a bustling place as people bought, sold, haggled, and gossiped. It was fun to watch it all at times. As she went to one stall she looked at the fruits being offered.
  7. He had risen early in the morning, having given up on rousing Thomas who continued to sleep like a babe. It suited him just as well. He had found a house that suited him and had made arrangements so Thomas’ task to see him through was good and done. He didn’t need a guide, anyways. If he was going to be around this city so much, he would have to get on without one.

    Robert was dressed far more casually today than the suits he had worn while perusing potential homes. Gone were the expensive jacket and the rest. Today was a day for trousers, shirt, and well worn boots--and his trusty cane. He muttered something under his breath as he examined the piece of paper. On it was written an address and the name given “Starlight Shipping” in Thomas’ usual chicken scratch.

    He wandered into the marketplace in search of what he assumed was the name of the street and was so very certain he was close by when--! A dark-skinned woman with children in tow stalked past him and he only narrowly avoided being trampled only to walk backwards into someone!

    He turned and saw a flash of skirt and hat. “My pardons, miss,” he replied quickly.
  8. "Oh, that's perfectly alright monsieur," Océane said upon hearing the voice after being bumped into. As she turned, her footing barely being lost she looked at the man before her in amusement. The accent ad of course made her wonder, and while the man before her was much more casual then before, she easily recognized the companion of the man that had bumped into her only a few days before.

    "I wonder," she said with a smirk barely hidden on her lips. "Do the English mother's not teach their sons how to walk, or is it some strange peculiarity from growing up on an island that cause all of you to bump into women all the time."

    The market was crowded, but not so crowded that two people couldn't stand and talk, which was good. Océane only wished to tease the Englishman, not be thought to be with him. She noticed upon a second look at him that he was carrying a cane again and she thought that perhaps it had less to do with fashion then some gentlemen. Well, that just meant she would never "accidentally" bump into him if he proved not to have a sense of humor, a thought she had played with ever so briefly.
  9. "I trust it is the latter," Robert replied after a moment of embarrassed silence. His mother was not the type who liked entertaining the thought that she'd left something out of her children's education, much less how to walk. Not one given to teasing or joking, Océane's joke had gone well over his head.

    It was about this time that he realized, upon closer inspection, that this was the same woman Thomas had bumped into a few days ago! What a coincidence! He bowed his head to her and took a few steps back. "I should get going. I have to find--!" He was cut off when the back of his knee hit one of the fruit wagon's handles and he went tumbling backwards! Apples and oranges went flying and rolling everywhere, hitting and tripping passers-by carrying wares that fell to the ground, poultry were spooked and started clucking and flapping even harder, and his backside hit something hard and smushy!
  10. The Englishman seemed oh so serious. He was true to his heritage it seemed. How stuffy and unfun, it was actually a shame. She wondered how such a handsome package could seem to be so dull! Maybe nature didn't like someone being too dull as he stepped backwards and crashed into a fruit cart.

    Océane's eyes went wide as she covered her mouth. Somehow though she still ended up laughing at the plight of the Englishman who was now upon the ground surrounded by fruit. "Here," she said between giggles holding out her hand to him. She felt it was the least she could do. It wasn't even because he might have been crippled, it was just the kind thing to do.
  11. What the bloody--! Down he went and everything went crashing around him so quickly and so hard, it took him awhile to realize what had happened! Angry merchants and curious onlookers alike were beginning to crowd him but it was the young woman who held out her hand. He wasn't too keen on accepting charity but he really needed it!

    With her help, he was up in no time, dusting off his clothes and even looking just a smidge embarrassed. "My apologies," he murmured, even after the merchants started to clean up and the crowd dispersed. He raised an eyebrow at Océane. "I suppose you will also blame my lack of balance at my lack of education of the matter or my having been born on an island?"
  12. Océane grinned at him. "I wouldn't dream of saying such a thing." It was obvious she was finding great humor at the events that transpired, unbeknownst to the Englishman, his own behavior was part of the reason she was so amused. Her only hope was he could actually take it. Océane didn't want to be cruel after all. "Perhaps you need some coffee at this early hour, or I suppose tea is more likely your custom?"

    The amused expression, suddenly disappeared, though Océane didn't notice, nor care, as her hairs on the back of her neck rose. Her lips tightened and her eyes went slightly wide. Trouble, there was trouble, she didn't want trouble, she didn't, she just wanted to have a nice morning. Eventually the goosebumps on her arms fell as she rubbed her arms. Blinking, she smiled at the Englishman as though nothing had just occurred. In fact it had only been a few seconds and it wasn't like she even knew what had happen, she was just glad it passed, not seeing the dark complextion man that scurried away.
  13. Had it not been for the man scurrying away at the precise moment that the young woman suffered such a reaction, it might have been easy for him to brush it off. As it were, the man's sudden and quick movement caught Robert's attention and his suspicion. He knew a voodoo practitioner when he saw one so the question remained why the interest in her.

    He smiled a bit then. Perhaps her mood was contagious. "It would appear I need something a bit stronger than tea. Coffee would be appropriate considering how alert I must be to navigate the labyrinth that is this market." He looked down at the piece of paper in his hand. "And considering how much difficulty I am having with finding a certain place, may I have your assistance in locating it?"

    Robert didn't like admitting he needed directions. However, his curiosity about what the voodoo practitioner might want with the young woman had been piqued and he needed time with her to find out more. She was either a practitioner of some order or some uninitiated in the ways of power with something that set her apart from normal people. He wasn't eager to get mixed up in something that was none of his concern but neither could he just walk away and possibly leave a force of harm to wreak havoc on an innocent life.
  14. "Coffee in exchange for directions? I think I will be getting the better part of the bargain," she told the Englishman with a grin. He seemed to be relaxing some. "If you don't have a spot in mind I know a nice place not but two blocks from here."

    For her the market was not difficult to navigate at all, but it was home to her. This Englishman was new here and it seemed obvious that New Orleans was very foreign from where he was from. She wasn't sure how she would feel in such a situation. She then held out her hand to him. "Océane DuPond."
  15. "That would be gratifying," he replied when she offered up a place to get the coffee. It would be nice to get a fresh hot cup, especially after this morning's horrifying accident. He needed something to help soothe him. Jon had a habit of singing the praises of what New Orleans had to offer. One of those verses had been about the coffee and now he had a chance to find out just how good it was. He took her hand and shook it firmly. "Robert Blackwood. It is a pleasure to meet you."
  16. "And you." She gave Robert a good firm handshake, and then indicated that he should follow here. "I take it Monsieur Blackwood that you are still finding your way around our far city. You do not seem like one here for pleasure, so is it a business trip or have you relocated here?"

    Océane was curious about the Englishman, partly because of what he represented. The world outside New Oreleans. She loved her city, but she had within her the desire to know about more of the world.

    The two of them left the market, but not the bustle of people, and went down a few well traveled streets to a block full of shops. The city it seemed was alive with people, even in the early part of the day, though no one bumped into them. Océane indicated a door to Robert, with a sign over it, Café Chartreux. Maybe not too surprising, it was on the same block as an incent shop.
  17. Robert had to admit it was nice to be away from Thomas’ company. He had to remind himself that Thomas meant well but it was difficult to endure his company for too long all the same. He began to wonder what his friend would think if he knew he was having coffee with the young woman from yesterday …

    “Relocating for business purposes,” he replied. He had nearly missed her question. Even when Thomas wasn‘t here, he could be a pain! “I find the ride to and from New Orleans can be tedious but I have to come often to make sure shipments come in and go out.”

    He realized it had been … ages since he’d last had a pleasant conversation with a woman not related to him by blood. He wanted to believe it was because managing the plantation made social life impossible. He truly wanted to believe it. He looked up at the door she had stopped at, opened it, and allowed her to go in first.--all without thinking twice about it. His mother was nothing if not a firm believer in chivalry.

    “I had begun to think I would not find a suitable place here in New Orleans,” he continued. He had to keep the conversation going … at least until he could get her talking about herself. Whatever could a voodoo practitioner desire with this young woman?
  18. "But you have now?" She asked as they entered the cafè. His good manners were noticed by the young woman as he opened the door and she selected a table for them to sit at. A moment later a waiter came by to take their orders. Ocèane not only ordered coffee for herself but also a pastry.

    "The almond croissants here are heavenly," she admitted to Robert with a smile. "You should get one yourself." She didn't consider that she was over stepping his agreement for coffee, after all both the drink and the treat were inexpensive and he would almost without a doubt thank her for introducing her to the fine baked goods brought to this shop every morning. She might even let him in on where they got their baked goods if he inquired. After all she doubted he would bring his full staff with him at all times when coming to New Orleans. Or perhaps her would, but it was still good to know axilery methods of getting food if you were throwing a party, large or small.

    "How long have you been in Louisiana if I might ask," getting to meet new people was always enjoyable. As long as they were good people of course.
  19. "In all honesty, I am amazed I managed to pick one given the company I kept while searching," he replied. The tone of his voice plainly said what he thought of Thomas' well-intentioned nagging. The man had spent far too long at his side, flirting with every woman they passed and often encouraging Robert to "join in."

    I don't have time to fool around, he reminded himself. Unlike other men, he had a business to run and people depended on him to get things done. It was difficult to believe that once upon a time, he had been a lot like Thomas, enjoying every day as if nothing could ever go wrong. The scent of baked pastries finally met his nostrils and he was embarrassed when his stomach decided to remind him how long it had been since he'd last eaten.

    "My apologies," he said with a slight nod of the head ... just in case his guide had heard that. One could never be too careful and he didn't want her to think he was rude or clueless. "I believe I will." Her offer sounded divine at the moment and he ordered himself a coffee and--he had to refrain himself--just one of the pastries.

    "I will have been here three years in exactly two months," he replied. "It is hard to believe how quickly time has gone. I came overseas at my uncle's behest. And you, if you do not mind me asking? A native of the Jewel of the South?"
  20. Ocèane was amused and wonder if it was the same man that had run into her when she first met Robert. She tried to recall the brief encounter, but she had been having too awful a morning to be sure if her memory of the man was anything close to the truth. Though of had been house hunting that day it was possible that it was good it was his friend and not him to run into her, or his day might have equaled hers. She didn't imagine from his tone he had enjoyed the hunt.

    That Robert hasn't even been in the area for three years would account for him being lost, especially if he spent most his time at his property, which obviously must have been outside the city. She grinned at his turn of phrase when inquiring about her. He was trying to be charming it seemed, not something she was use to or would go out of her way to encourage, but she did not mind in the least, though she almost wanted to chuckle. That would have been bad manners though.

    "My family has been here for several generations now. We're Creole," she shrugged slight, "though my grandparents still keep some ties to France." As long as he didn't venture about her other heritage they were good. He had been polite so far and she hoped he would stay that way and ignore the topic. "In fact, I'm afraid your first encounter with me had a bit to do with that," she didn't need to tell him this, but it was amusing now. Actually it wasn't, but she had the misguided hope that if she made it sound like nothing she would be less affected. "We had a disagreement about visiting Paris. I have been born and raised here, monsieur, and while the idea of travel and a chance to see Europe is thrilling, the proposal was that I travel alone."

    Her smile was not more wistful. In truth it was good that the coffee and croissants arrived to distract her from the topic. "Ah, but now for you to try a true New Orleans original!"
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