stuff us in boxes that's where you want us
cardboard is boring, we brought our matches - look how it burns
The pair took a rather leisurely place as Matteo followed the well-worn trails along the side of those endless fields that spilt like fresh paint over a canvas. It was a nice change of pace from the usual bustle of the city, met with good company and beauty as far as the eye could see. How easy it was to let those worries be cast aside as the french fae shared the most private place one could with another, save their body and mind. Their home. How easy it was to truly forget, if only for a time the vampires that sought to destroy her. It was moments like this, even though the woman was out of her element that she knew they would fail, so long as still lingered within her lungs and her heart still thudded within her chest. How easy it was to feel alive here, perhaps even freer than she had ever been. Their conversation shifted to Matteo's adoptive father... a story certainly lingered there.... Revealing that he was a king. Surprise flit across her vivacious gaze, the fae clearly not revealing a name. While the woman was not one to beguiled by money, titles and fame her mind could not help but try to piece together a puzzle that Matteo lay out before her whether he knew it or not. She remembered all the vague details of their past conversations... a name standing out... A name he never elaborated on. Curious. Alexander. He had mentioned him before. Matteo was clearly not the kind of person to ever use names unless they held a prominence, she was sure. "Did he ever find one he liked enough?" She queried with a brow risen slightly, casting Matteo a sidelong look as they walked. Kings sounded.. So... insatiable. Nothing ever fulfilling their desires so they wanted more. Always more.
More land, more money.. More power... To what end?
Yet that easy conversation still never missed a beat with the sweet rustling of the long grasses shimmering beneath the enveloping sun. The pairs gaze locked as he nodded in response as he confirmed her assumptions. A rather great king. Matteo, the man known to speak in riddles might have given more than he ever realized. Perhaps that was the point. Alexander the great. No.. that seemed too obvious. Too... old. And yet Matteo was almost 2000 years of age, was it that far fetched. How odd it was to look at time as mere guidelines and that there were prominent beings in the world that defied it. It was a topic she was sure to come up again like her keen mind could allow it to slip.
Lords and kings, such farfetched topics considering she would have been going about her day like usual back at home. She agreed politics were certainly nothing she wished to broach now, allowing the tale to slip away and yet the woman was certain he could not tell a boring tale if he wanted to. Especially when the castle came into view. That towering building, unlike anything she had ever seen. She could not deny her own awe. If she hadn't known she was actually awake it was impossible not to imagine this a dream. Maybe someone drugged her? Or hijacked her brain. Certainly, these were all outlandish that Harley decided to embrace like she did most situations. Like fucking Alice in wonderland.
Most people would have probably dropped that apple. By some stroke of luck, she had managed to save the apple from its demise of the floor.. It hardly lacked grace and yet... she still caught it. A win within her own books, that rather smug look drawing upon her features, proud as that irresistible innuendo was impossible to ignore. His own reply bordering a dare.. That challenge within his very words woven suggestively and only drew out that determined upward tilt of her chin. Did he not know who her tempted? Of course, he had to. The urge to meet him up at that very challenge ignited within... although one could argue it wasn't one at all.
The pair seemed trapped within that unique chemistry that she hardly shied away from, some strange game she had no qualms in meeting him toe-to-toe. His grin was nearly antagonizing as their gazes met in that battle of their own, that clearly could not be met out here. His suggestion of her inexperience of castles that left Harley scoffing, that violet energy within her gaze crackling as scoff escaped her.
"That to me.. Sounds more like a challenge, Matteo. Besides... I thought today was all about showing me your castle to remedy at least one of those things." That suggestive sarcasm bloomed swiftly from her lips, her lips quirked as she leaned in, tossing that apple within the air before catching it one-handed if she was intimidated by that comment she hardly let it show. However, she neither confirmed nor denied those words validity. That game of flirtation never truly crossing that true line despite how far they pushed, how dreadfully close they danced it. In Risque's bedroom of all places. How steadfast both of the pair seemed to pretend that desire did not nearly swallow them both up that night. In the proverbial lion's den of all places. Only a man like Matteo could make you forget where you were. How long it had been since she considered the thought. How few seemed to hold her interest, unable to handle the strong-willed force that was Harley. She merely eyed him as he led her toward his home toward a nearly concealed entrance he had known all too well. It almost felt like a break and entering.. And yet it was all entirely legal, Harley looking behind her to make sure they hadn't been followed. It hardly felt like a home.. And more like a museum of sorts.
How easy it would have been to have gotten lost within those endless halls or various staircases they walked passed. The woman easily committed that very path to memory, studying the complexities of that space. If walls could speak she thought idly, how much history they had known, how impressively. Large it was that she couldn't resist testing the echo as they walked, climbing the staircase that lead to his living quarters. The part in which he truly dwelled was exquisite and yet even with is opulence it felt well-lived in. Like home and not one of those sterile modern homes that were often displayed within those home magazines. It was very much his, she could tell.. It was not just a place one lay their head in.. but a home. After several moments of taking in that inviting space, the raven-haired woman determined she liked it. How she found herself near envious of those open french doors that allowed the fresh breeze and birds singing with the faint sound of people below.
The wind like music as the sun's beams danced through the billowing curtains and yet within that fresh air was his delicious and inviting scent. His scent lingered upon that breeze, Matteo seemed to take up every inch of that place.. That was... until that space was all but consumed by something far less anticipated. the pair was soon interrupted by the unmistakable sound of skittering claws of a canine appearing like a torpedo of chaos. Herbert. That name would be uttered fondly even despite the poor canine was hardly the sharpest tool in the shed but what it made up for in smarts and.... height it made up for in charisma that was for sure. The woman could hardly keep that wicked grin that curled upon her lips as the dog flopped unceremoniously at her feet in complete resigned exhaustion.
Not even the sound of Matteo's chuckle could compete with his panting.
Matteo jested about his legs being worn to stubs. "It hardly seems to slow him down any... huh, stubby?" It would seem she had found a nickname already for the derpy and yet completely endearing creature. Matteo already had already made himself at home, perched content upon that massive white couch. The man had the ability to make anything look like the most comfortable place in the world, including tree limbs and gaudy sofas alike. As much as she would have enjoyed a moment off of her feet, she was not monster enough to ignore the adorable beast who was practically squirming for attention. Harley gave him the scratch of his life, her nimble fingers searching through that thick fluffy fur to find the dogs spot. Finally, she met her mark as the dog's little legs twitching uncontrollably, but considering how short they work she could not help that grin that took on an all too mischievous glimmer. That comment seemingly innocent and yet it was anything but. Unflappable as always Matteo countered. It was a stretch... literally.
"Is it? Is it really though?" She challenged back raising a brow in question before she could not hold back that amused laughter all the same. Yet she could not help but notice how utterly comfortable Matteo was upon his couch. Herbert providing a wonderfully disarming distraction all the same. Harley found an oppertunity and took it. That apple within her hand had definitely been burning a hole within her palm. How certain she was that her words would distract him, a classic but usually effective misdirect. Just as she anticipated, with his guard lowered he seemed to peer around that room to look in which what the woman inquired. But truth be told there was nothing, simply the diabolical plan of victory. That was when she stuck, launching that apple silently and yet effectively toward him. It hit him squarely upon his chest, that exclamation left his lips before the apple began to do as she anticipated. Gravity took hold and saw to the apple near tumbling toward the floor. Sweet victory, she thought and yet his reflexes were hardly hindered from that very element of surprise. He snatched it just a breath of a moment before it hit the ground. Damn, she uttered softly under her breath. How sure she was of her triumph and yet he cast her a look, almost pleased with himself. At the very least it was fair and square. However, there was something suspicious about his very tone. His words seemed innocent and yet how she recognized that look in his eye, that slight flash that could have been easy to miss. Where was he going with this? She wondered, eyes narrowing in silent question. Surely apples were innocent territory. "I have a feeling you might tell me anyways. But sure... teach me the intriguing ways of apples." Alright, she would bite this time and yet all this time, hadn't he known her curiosity would forever be an exploitable weakness?
He brought that apple to his lips as if to savour his own victory, that apple was barely much more than a core and yet he made it look like it was just as delicious as his first bite. She commented idly about dogs and the owners. "Oh I look forward to seeing this trick I think I might have to test this theory later. I will determine if you're a good boy or not." How easily that sarcasm found her again, their eyes meeting before she rose to her feet, content to wander around that room taking in all that was visible for her perusal. Pictures and artefacts, design choices, all of it was taken into account. It was neat and yet not freakishly so. It was like he took pride in his place.
It was then that that idle comment of skeletons left her lips. Of course, the things hidden and not put on display. Surely it was not in the commons room. While it might have seemed like a jest there was some truth to it all the same. If he seemed nervous of the astute woman wandering his home he hardly showed it, following shortly by an offer she could not refuse.
Matteo's offer to show her those skeletons was an offer she could not refuse even though the woman was doubtful in the validity of that offering. Matteo clearly the secretive type and yet the raven-haired spitfire could not help but feel curious.
"I cannot say no. Lead the way monsieur." She teased vivaciously. Herbert seemed excited at hearing his name, his little nub of a tail wiggling madly. Matteo soon rose easily from his resting spot, Herbert glued to his heels as he led the way through that kitchen, noticing the drawings upon the fridge door and the pictures on there. The most notable was of one of a hand... What a peculiar choice to put on display.
Harley found a comfortable place by Matteo's side as he drew her deeper into the confines of his home, the corridor beyond the kitchen was adorned with paintings. Old undoubtedly original paintings that have been cared for over the years, untouched by sunlight. They looked like they belonged in art galleries and museums and yet they hardly stopped there with far too much to see. Harley was convinced that one needed far more than a day to truly explore the extravagant depths of Chambord and its many rooms. Her gaze trailed over them as they moved past. The pair then made their way... to surprise surprise. Another staircase. Who fucking needed a Stairmaster when you had access to so many steps. How did little Herbert do it? It was almost humorous watching the poor little bouncy pup work overtime to keep up with their pace. "I swear I had a reoccurring dream of this. Endless hallways... all the doors looking the same." She gestured to one of the doors as they passed peering into it that he opened with a mere flick of his hand. What once looked like a parlour trick before was an absolute necessity in a home like this. How easy it was to want to touch, everything.
Matteo informed her that should she get lost that there was someone she could holler for if need be. The thought seemed to amuse her. "Yeah or get me a gps... or a collar... that says if found please return to.." awful joke, she wrinkled her nose in distaste before changing the subject. "I think I will stick with pissing off grumpy Greg, could be interesting." If lost, call grumpy Greg. It sounded like a cheesy infomercial. Curious that you could merely call out his name and he would come. In a place so damn big she wondered how it was done... some magical speaker system perhaps?
Some rooms possessed things of notice, but a lot just looked full of furniture and boxes and who knows what. She was surprised to find each room meticulous. How lonely it must of felt and yet she said nothing of it as Matteo showed her the grand tour. He was supposed to show her skeletons.. Not... actual skeletons. Those rooms look like they could have been untouched and unvisited for years. He went on to explain that he didn't know the contents within that room. "Why keep it all?" She questioned, her motives behind that question kept to herself. After all, was she not the woman who kept her parents home with everything still intact, all while living in a quaint one-bedroom?
Her interest perked up at the mention of music."What do you play?" Surely in all his years he had mastered more than one. "I used to play the guitar a lot... I was even in a band once or twice, the first one is never to be spoken of... ever.." It would appear she had broken the rule already. She grinned near sheepishly. "Its a damn good thing you can only see the future.." She purposely didn't mention that shitty video floating online somewhere. Oh yes... some things were better forgotten. That for the spitfire was certainly one of them.
It wasn't until they reached the very end of the sprawling hallway that they paused just before one of the doors. The door opened like the rest, only this time he gestured inside. This one was lined with shelves that were filled to the brim, organized with photo albums. "I didn't peg you as a scrapbooker." Harley teased and yet her gaze was nothing short of amazed, taken aback with just how many countless photos and paintings that survived here. So many memories lingered here, it was almost eerie, being with the man that was in most of these photographs throughout history. How many lost stories could be told by those aged photographs alone? It was almost endearing that he showed her this room full of his ghosts. But it was no surprise that he was a man who had lived. The more modern ones lingered at the front but further into the room it seemed to age as if she could walk through time itself. " It's like stepping into a time machine.." she mused, almost baffled that he entrusted her enough to take a peek inside of his literal past but somewhere there is another emotion hidden within her words... awe. She looked around her fingers trailing over the spines, reading the descriptions and the years and months.
He admitted that it helped him remember. She let out a low whistle. There were so many memories she would rather forget and yet... Matteo kept documentation of what seemed like everything. She turned her head as she observed one of the photographs offering him a questioning expression that screamed. You really trust me in here?
Her gaze returned to notice another picture of a blond man, she recognized his face from several photographs in this room and Matteo's main living quarters. Yet their faces remained the same, the age of the photo itself and the outfits clearly showed how long ago this photograph was taken. Far before her time. "Is this Alexander? You have a lot of pictures of him." She questioned, searching for his eyes, pointing to the photograph of the pair in army uniforms. The man he had mentioned before. The question itself perhaps a far more loaded one that appearance alone.. as if piecing together those fragmented pieces he had given her.
Matteo meandered through that room comfortably, those large chairs comfortable inviting to her tired limbs for all those damn stairs and walking. It was a perfect little private nook to reminisce or a perfect place to wallow in misery... she wondered if it was a bit of both. Living in the past never did anyone any good and yet.. To have mementoes to remind you of a specific place in time was a little bit impressive. How she would have enjoyed devouring those albums, peering into the mystery that was Matteo.
There was one painting that seemed to stand out further within that room of nostalgia. She peered up at it, the woman with sorrowful eyes. It seemed almost haunting as if that emotion was captured near perfectly. She looked regal-like. Matteo drew to her side to gaze at that painting, his voice no longer containing that bravado he normally did. He didn't need to be asked to know that Harley was in fact was thinking that very question of who that was and its prominence. She didn't need words to know that there was a story here.
The moment those words left Matteo she knew. The woman in the painting was beautiful yes, and yet there was such sadness in her pretty blue eyes. The raven-haired woman was entirely taken by the haunting quality of her face that she was oblivious to the way Matteo quickly hid various things within that room. His position despite casual seemed to hide several things he seemed to wish to keep hidden. "Was? She's beautiful." Harley admitted after a pause. She turned just as Matteo seemed to shift suspiciously. If there were any signs of pain upon the french fae's face, he hid it well.
Herbert hardly seemed affected or moved by the room in the slightest, content to take residence at the sitting area. He seemed to watch both human's entirely unaware of the ghosts that filled that very room.
The real question, however, seemed to be.. Where to start... on this one way ticket to nostalgiaville. This room felt impossible, so many countless choices. Harley, nowhere near finished with the painting began to walk about the room wondering which photo album to pick up first. How careful he was, to point out a shelf that would prove to be a good distraction. Honestly who could give up the opportunity to see the suave Frenchman in flare pants and who the hell knows what else. "You had a hippy phase?" She questioned with a delighted sound of amusement, looking at him up and down. She could hardly imagine it and yet.. "As interesting as the imagery of you in a skin-tight button-up and bellbottoms is... I think I am going... to... grab at random..." She admitted, wondering if the man would squirm at the power she possessed in that very moment. She eyed him closely as if to gauge a reaction, a twitch. Anything to indicate if she was hot or cold... to those skeletons.
Hesitating for a moment she rose a hand to pick one wedged in the middle, the book aged. She placed it underneath her arm the look on her face content to start with this one perhaps. Or was it merely a ploy. She plopped down allowing the book to fall into her lap before the French fae uttered name had her eyes meeting his own. She hardly had any time to ask 'what', certain he wished to distract her from her current choice. So suddenly he tossed that apple at her and yet it was hardly a challenge, the Frenchman practically warned her of its assault!
"Oh Matteo, now your not even trying." She huffed... "Lost your stamina?" she grinned sarcastically before claiming the last bite for her own. "I think this means I win now." She placed the picked clean apple onto the coffee table. There was a mischievous look that crossed the mans features, clearly not the expression of a man about to give a speech about apples. She nearly choked on her bite. Wait, what?
How baffling his words were. How equally distracting they were too. That was it, he was trying to murder her from... shock. Her eyes narrowed upon him. Really Matteo, making up stuff to keep her from the true questions? She felt like she got hit with a curveball. For several moments it would seem that lighting wit had failed her. By some miracle she was able to finish her bite, finding it within herself to ground herself acting as if the food in her mouth was the only reason why she had yet to verbally throw down. "Now I know where Darius gets it from." She shook her head. "First a date with a horse.. Now a proposal. I have to say today is not what I expected, it has been a rather productive day." She shook her head softly.. As a thought occurred to her. It was so blatantly clear now. Why she hadn't seen it before. She sat up straighter, her gaze unyielding from him allowing silence to fill the already quiet room. "Although, you know what I think dear husband to be? I hear a fall wedding is beautiful with the trees are changing and the air is full of... deflection..." She rose a brow as if daring him to say the opposite. The man was deflecting and there was no poker face good enough to conceal it from the likes of Harley.
"You said this room helps you remember. Why not remember? All these paintings and pictures only tell a fraction of the story, and you are a product of the rest.. And if you ask me, I wouldn't mind hearing it from you." She rose her hand gesturing toward the painting of the reddish haired woman with sad blue eyes. Her gaze fell upon him to study his face once more as she spoke her hand fell to pat to the empty space beside her on that sofa.