Oh but how very intriguing this idea was of Harley in a band! A seemingly terrible one at that if her efforts to conceal it from him held any merit. The Frenchman could hardly hide that distinctly curious look that found his features in the wake of her announcements. His very query upon that band seemed to prompt a renewed coyness from his companion as she insisted there had once been videos that no longer existed- along with merchandise and a particularly avid elderly fan who had once witnessed every performance. Ah, but how amusing it was to consider! Matteo, in that moment, inclined to find himself distinctly displeased that such evidence had been destroyed. How very intriguing it would have been to see Harley so very.....herself. Even if such a memory brought her nothing but embarrassment now. The young woman so readily seemed to indicate at least one piece of evidence existed, even if she offered no further information upon it. Harley, it seemed, having well discovered his own ability to speak without giving anything away. That very notion only further seemed to amuse the Frenchman before the promise of a shirt prompted his eyes to lift.
"Oui, I shall wear it often and treasure it always."
How decidedly he meant it too. The near ancient Fae afforded her a warm simper then before that sudden query of what instruments he played, or had once played, readily seemed to prompt his companions curiosity. It had been years since he had taken up either of his preferred instruments and yet his ability to play them remained all the same- or so he supposed. His mention of the Crwth however, seemed to both baffle and intrigue the dark-haired woman as a chuckle rose smoothly to his throat. Ah, but how lost to the world such an instrument had become! Perhaps it was for the better. So many instruments were more than capable of making those sounds it once had and yet, how very much he enjoyed that genuine piece all the same. Even if it had been centuries since he had played.
"A Cwrth, Mon Cherie. It is a Welsh word. It was once played widely in medieval Europe. It is a sort of very old violin, I suppose."
Matteo's head tilted but slightly in some further consideration of a modern equivalent for that instrument that had once been played so exquisitely over the hills and mountains and fields. How forgotten it had become to modern times. Hmmm, perhaps he need find his own if only to hear that sound again. Such nostalgia, however, was cast aside as the pair stepped into that veritable....library of sorts. Those books instead replaced with album upon album of photographs and paintings of Matteo's own life. That room a veritable collection of memory and yet- was this not what Harley had so desired to see? Those instruments, it would seem, were all but forgotten in the wake of Harley's newfound curiosity of this very place. Matteo, tonight, seeing little harm in allowing the young woman to explore. She was not destined, not tonight, to find anything which he perhaps....did not desire to be found. He had already seen that future unfold. Indeed, there was little harm in allowing her to find those photographs of his less than....agreeable fashion choices over the years. Matteo himself still distinctly prone to chuckling at them even now. The Frenchman not opposed to sharing but these small glimpses into his life. Those things he wished to forget had long since been removed- even if they continued to persist in his memory despite all such efforts.
Matteo's silvered gaze moved to follow his young companion about the room as Harley explored. The Frenchman inclined to admit he found a near...fascination in her own intrigue of that very space before she paused at but one of many photographs of Alexander and himself. The pair dressed in those military uniforms they had sported in so many colours and styles and ranks over the centuries. Harley seemed to study that photo for several long moments before her violet gaze returned to his own. The woman declared that Alexander and himself looked adorable. Ah, such cheek! Matteo's features were quick to shift into a near dubious look. A soft snort of playful indignation passing his nose then as his head shook.
"We are not adorable, Mon Cherie. We are...fearsome and intimidating and....smiling far too much for men at war."
That ready chuckle found his own lips then, that argument all but falling apart with his own words. How very amusing it would be to inform Alexander that Harley had found him 'adorable' in his uniform. The very look of disdain such a comment would earn was entirely worth such retelling of that moment. How well he remembered that photograph too. Matteo, even now, unable to prevent the smile that found his lips as he regarded it- before Harley moved to wander the rest of that room. The young woman doing as but anyone who seemed to find that room did as she near gravitated toward that portrait of Isabella. Even in death, it seemed, she was as she had been in life. A magnet for others. The center of any room. It had been near six hundred years and still his chest was inclined to...ache. That pain was distant, dull and all but forgotten and yet it persisted still. A wound that would not heal no matter how many layers he hid it beneath. Layers that Harley was far more apt to see through then he had believed. The raven haired woman by far the most....diligent being he had kept the company of in years and oh, how he had underestimated her ability to see where so many others did not. Such a talent as that was so very rare. It was futile, perhaps, for him to attempt to sway that conversation away from that portrait when in the company of a woman who saw through that ruse with notable ease and yet, for now at least, harley seemed content to take up that new line of thought he offered as she selected a photo album from the shelf before making her way to one of those couches to flop down upon it. That conversation once more shifted to Alexander. A topic Matteo was assured was far....safer. The Frenchman continued to stroll about that room with lackadaisical ease as Harley queried why anyone would bet agianst a man who could see the future.
"Ah, Mon Amie, perhaps I can see the future but Alexander has his own talents to offset my skills. He has an ability to...shape the future, in a way. It is endlessly annoying to me."
Matteo's head shook slightly as if his Father's ability to shape the future was a mere mild inconvenience as Harley continued to peruse that photo album. The Frenchman so taking that moment in time to gently toss that apple back towards her. That very throw designed to be entirely....easy to catch. Harley, as he had well anticipated, easily caught that apple within her hands only to eye him with clear skepticism. Ah, but how quickly she was beginning to suspect his motives as so many did! Yet, here and now, he had surely won that game once more. Even if that victory had come by way of awarding her one in turn. His very insistence that capturing that apple was nothing more than an acceptance of his marriage proposal so readily seemed to warp the woman's beautiful features into a look of shocked horror. Matteo, this time, unable to prevent the laughter that fell from him at her expression alone. Perhaps his goal had been no more than distraction and yet he could hardly deny the amusement of that look upon her features. That very pun that left her lips the moment she seemed to recover her composure prompted a ready, playful roll of his eyes. Ah, how Aiden would have appreciated such a jest! Harley content to insist he should surely have offered her further puns before they leapt so willingly into marriage. Matteo's shoulders lifted in a loose shrug.
"There is always time for puns."
The grin upon his features widened once more. Matteo effortlessly returning them to that game of teasing flirtation and verbal brawls both excelled at so smoothly. The Frenchman so effortlessly attempted to steer them away from any further conversation regarding the portrait upon the wall. That distraction, perhaps, hardly having worked as entirely well as the Fae had believed. Harley, once more, displayed that very perception he had come to admire within her.The young woman teasing at the cracks of a facade that so very many never saw past. Matteo distinctly well practised at that verbal slight of hand and yet.....Harley was so unlike the others. Her words a careful woven trap in turn, one the Frenchman was afforded little way out of unless he sought to outright deny her those answers. To do such a thing was nothing short of....unsporting. Even if those very memories she tugged at the strings of where ones he saw little pleasure in revisiting. Matteo could hardly help the fashion in which his gaze narrowed near suspiciously at how easily she had called him out and yet her question was genuine. Did she not deserve a genuine answer? A soft sigh left his lips as he resigned himself to that very fate. His words last with affection all the same for the battle she had fairly won today. That mood shifted from playful to serious once more as she patted the seat beside her. The Frenchman's utterance of having underestimated her seemed to provoke a near rueful response in the woman. Harley, it seemed, was underestimated often. Too often.
"I will not do so again."
Those words were gently offered and yet a respect of sorts laced them all at once. She had earned this tale from him tonight but it would not come so easily again. Matteo unwilling to underestimate her a second time. She deserved more than that. Her ability in this was respectable- and deserving of such. Matteo's gaze shifted to that space beside her then. That reluctance upon his features clear and yet- he was nothing if not a man of his word. Harley deserved.....something from him. The Fae was near surprised at that very level of trust he held within her. Trust enough to share at least some of the tale of that single and only woman he had ever loved. Matteo eased himself into that sofa then, the warmth of her figure decidedly pleasing and yet, for once, his mind fixated upon that far less tangible woman within the room. Isabella's framed portrait, resplendent in its silent vigil, watched over that room as it always had. Matteo, slowly, offering that story. There was little need to conceal it, after all. Isabella's life- and her death- were hardly a secret. Rather, they were a memory he was loath to dwell upon if only for the hurt they threatened to reveal. One the Frenchman had long since buried. After all, it had been....centuries now. Others needed him. There was no.....time to dwell upon the loss of someone whose death should surely not continue to ache as it did. As if he felt...guilty to feel it at all.
Matteo's gaze shifted back to Harley in the wake of that tale, the Frenchman decidedly unsure of just what emotion, if any, might touch her features in response. Matteo so hardly anticipated that sudden query upon the nature of fate. His eyes inclined to lift upward slightly. That question was, perhaps, designed to be rhetorical and yet his head shook ever so slightly. This....was not a topic he would entertain tonight and yet a singular answer of sorts would not bring her any harm. Did fate always win?
"No, Mon Cherie. It does not. There are some people in this world, though they are very, very rare, whom possess the ability to go agianst fate."
In all his life he had met but a handful of those rare individuals. That talent held no seeming pattern of inheritance or method for development. Rather, some people simply expressed a soul that was....incapable of being mapped. Their very lives were...glitches in a cosmic plan. A 'wrong' the world could not 'right' and yet so many of them had gone on to do great things by stepping outside of that plan. Much to Fates eternal rage. How curious it would be to see if the two who lived within the city his sons could home would ever grasp the depths of their abilities. Such thoughts, for now, were cats smoothly aside. Matteo instead was content to ask whether or not he had answered those questions Harley sought. The young woman seemed to consider that idea a moment before her lips parted. Harley's final question prompted a near visible flinch to the Frenchman then. Why had he not changed Isabella? Oh, if only Harley knew how sore that point was. As if the very wound of Isabella's death itself possessed another level somewhere within. An infected center perhaps, wherein dwelled that very question. For all the love he bore her there was still so much...anger within himself over her choices that night. An anger he had little desire to show Harley. Matteo, for the first time, so drawing his gaze away.
"I think, perhaps, that is a story for another time."
That deflection, this time, was far more obvious and so without the hidden sheen of tease or jest. This answer, it seemed, would not come willingly. The Frenchman instead fixated upon her other words. Her query of regrets. A simper returned to his features again as his head softly shook. A rueful smile found his lips.
"I am two thousand years old. That is a very long time to live. It is also a very long time to gather regrets too. Most of them though, I think, are from when I was younger. People I did not spend enough time with, things I would do differently. If I could do it again I would have taken Isabella and my son from Italy and I would have....found my younger son sooner."
Ah, but how very much more he could surely have added to that list of regrets! A list that seemed never ending to his own mind and yet one, for now, that he saw little need to elaborate upon them. Rather, the Frenchman so readily regained his footing in their veritable rubble of a life he had once lived. The final words of that tale turned neatly so as to bring that simper back to his features as he recalled Alexanders outrage at him for leaving Isabella pregnant- along with his own Mother's joy at the knowledge of a grandchild and too- hsi assurance that what Fae lacked in procreation they surely made up for in.....talent between those sheets. Harley, this time, was unable to resist that offered game. Her words coaxed a chuckle from within his throat once more. The woman insisted that if one was going to live forever, one might as well enjoy it.
"Oui, you would have made a glorious immortal."
Harley lent forward then, her lips pressed chastely to his cheek in thanks for that....trust between them. That gesture nothing short of sweet. Before she insisted that 'appley' ever after was surely deserved by one of them.
"That, Mon Cherie, was so bad it is a sin. For the record though, I have seen your future, you will have what you want in this life- even if there is a lot of, how you say, shit, to get through first."
One eye lifted ever so slightly and yet those words remained nothing short of sincere as he offered them. A near impish simper seemed to dance upon the Frenchmans lips momentarily before, quote abruptly, Matteo disappeared altogether. That room was silent for barely a moment before the near ancient Fae appeared once more. Matteo, this time, reappearing behind that sofa and Harley herself. His elbow rested upon the back of the sofa, his head within the palm of his hand. The man near the picture of relaxed once more as his free hand tapped at the back of that sofa.
"Tell me, Harley, what sort of scandal is it you are looking for, hmm?"
How very loaded that question surely was. The playful looking upon the Frenchman's features hardly faltered as his fingers shifted but every so slightly to allow merely the tips to brush along her shoulder. The warm sensation of her skin beneath was entirely appealing. Matteo so smoothly allowed his fingers to trail softly along to that sensitive skin at the back of her neck. How gloriously....responsive that flesh was. How very much he desired to see what other reactions might be gently coaxed from within her. And yet....
"I promised to make you dinner, non?"
His fingers lifted gently from her then his hand turned gently upward as his arm reached smoothly across her, that very act near akin to an almost gentle embrace before his palm turned upward in that clear and yet silent request for her to take his hand once more- as she had already done so many times before.
"Unless, of course, you would sooner start with dessert?"
Oh how very many meanings those words held within them.
c'est dur d'être un dieu.