andhiswife: (resolved)
Well, this ought to be interesting.

Biffy has been in the back of her mind since her arrival. More specifically, the acute awareness of just how patient, helpful, and kind he'd been with her when she'd first arrived, even in the face of her decidedly unpleasant disposition, has been a frequent companion. Not that she's been wallowing in self-recrimination or anything so dramatic as that. She thinks she handled herself about as well as could be expected, given the circumstances.

But then, she'd had to handle herself. Biffy was under no such obligation. He'd put up with her, anyway.

So, she's been thinking of making some sort of gesture, part thanks and part apology. The upcoming holiday seems as good an excuse as any to actually move forward with it. Her oven is less a mystery these days, and she's managed to churn out a respectable selection of biscuits and pastries. There's no such thing as 'out of season' here, and it feels wildly incongruous to have apple turnovers and cherry tarts side by side, but so much the better, she thinks. It is a treat to be able to put all of her most notable seasonal creations in one basket.

No chocolate, though. She's done some reading on the subject and discovered it's highly poisonous to dogs, and, well. Best not to risk it.

They'd arranged for her to come round his farmhouse by way of a somewhat awkward phone call (he'd been nothing but courteous; she was the one intensely flustered by the whole process of talking to a disembodied voice coming out of a little might-as-well-be-magical box). She'd made no mention of the sweets, wanting them to be a surprise.

It's a rather long walk, but since it's all through the countryside, she hardly minds. Besides, she's used to traveling on foot. She's worked up a bit of a flush by the time she reaches Biffy's farmhouse, but it's probably just as well. Better to pin it on exertion than a sort of pervasive, underlying sheepishness. 'Sheepish' is probably the last thing she ought to be, considering who she's visiting.

And with a basket of sweets on her arm, no less. At least she's not wearing any red.

She double-checks the contents of her basket to make sure nothing's been squashed or crumbled in transit, but she packed it well, and everything looks as beautiful as it did coming out of the oven. A little steam even rises into the chill winter air. Satisfied, she covers them back up, straightens her back, and knocks.

Date: 2016-12-29 04:01 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Tea with Alexia)
He could smell Mrs. Baker and her sweets clean through the door and Biffy had to suppress a delighted lick of the lips before he opened the door. "Mrs. Baker, how wonderful to see you," he said with a bright, genuine smile. Holding on to all possible dignity, he did his best to pretend there wasn't a cat under his arm, straining to get free.

"I'm glad you made it without any trouble. Do come in." The living room table was ready with plates and a full kettle of hot water, needing only to be joined by her treats. "I haven't brewed the tea yet. I was thinking you might enjoy choosing the blend."

Date: 2016-12-29 06:15 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Tea with Alexia)
Biffy caught that look on her face and chuckled. Once the door was closed, he set Pawvus down on the floor and he immediately went over to inspect Greta with nose and whiskers. "That's Pawvus. He shares a name, unfortunately, my former fiancé from whom, incidentally, I stole the cat."

He supposed he could change the cat's name but it seemed a little late for a creature who was not the cleverest. Not that he could fault the cat since he had so little sense that he refused to be afraid of Biffy, a rarity from most animals around his kind.

"But please, sit."

Date: 2016-12-31 07:46 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Evasive smile)
"At least," he agreed. "It's...well. Complicated." That was the safest word, though there was no controlling the touch of melancholy in his expression. But, she was right. At least he'd gotten Pawvus out of the ordeal.

"Be glad he's not decided to welcome you with an offering of dead mouse. He means it as a compliment, really, but I daresay you'd rather tea instead."

After her inquiry as to his teas, Biffy went into the kitchen to retrieve a little spice rack that had been repurposed to hold canisters of loose leaf tea. "I've a friend, Amalthea, who lives her sometimes. You can thank her for the variety." His taste always erred towards the smokier black teas while she preferred floral and fruity blends. Even now with the closed tins he could perceive lavender, rose petals, and chamomile.

Date: 2017-01-01 09:01 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Shabby chic)
"He means well, for a cat," Biffy said. His expression was far more affectionate than his words as he gently nudged the cat away from the basket. It was with obvious reluctance that Pawvus scuttled away.

When she opened the tin of green tea, Biffy inhaled its scent from across the table, approving. It was a favorite compromise with Amalthea, floral enough for her sensibilities but bitter and herbaceous enough for his own. Lifting the lid of the teapot, he poured in the water and then gestured for her to add the tea. "Three spoonfuls should do nicely, I think."

Opening the basket, Biffy smiled at the array. Lady Maccon would have approved of such comestibles and he nodded in her stead. "These smell wonderful, truly. All of it."

Date: 2017-01-02 08:09 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (A new cravat and a smile)
He could not guess the exact reason for her smile but Biffy was glad to see it, particularly after the display of so many emotions at their first meeting.

"I promise you that I'll be happy to help in any way I can. I may be a werewolf but I'm not a boor," he said, smiling a bit wryly. "Speaking of which, since we are in the midst of the holidays, I do have a little something for you!"

To explain his point, he retrieved a slim box from behind a cushion. Not a particularly stealthy hiding place but he hadn't exactly been planning to send her on a scavenger hunt.

Date: 2017-01-03 05:57 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Youthful)
It was a flipbook of a reaction and Biffy tried not to smile too much, because he wasn't by any means trying to embarrass the woman. "Just, it's the holidays, and you've been through rather a lot." And then he watched as Mrs. Baker's face went through quite a lot more emotions and he wondered if he'd overstepped his bounds.

Slightly chastened but not at all embarrassed, he explained, "I work at a clothing store and I just can't help myself when I see something that will suit a friend." Truly, if she didn't like it, he could return it but he really had thought that the color suited her and that she deserved a little indulgence. To his mind, everyone did.

"Do you like it?"

Date: 2017-01-05 06:21 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Pour the tea)
"But now you are in Darrow," Biffy said, pouring her a cup of tea and indicating the sugar and milk. Being ostentatious was not his goal but he wouldn't devalue her gift by telling her the relatively modest sum that he'd paid either. It was a nice gift that he hoped she would enjoy. "You can be whoever you want, including a woman who wears a silk shawl."

Ever the dandy, he lifted the scarf from its box and folded it into a triangle so that he could drape it becomingly over her shoulders and finish it off with an understated, but modern knot.

"Would you like to see how you look?"

Date: 2017-01-08 08:00 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (A new cravat and a smile)
It would have been a fair point but Biffy had been a dandy and one in the retinue of a particularly decadent Romantic. Denying himself pleasure was not a particular skill of Lord Akeldama's and Biffy had been born into the gentry. He could, himself, admit that he was a bit spoiled and his perspective a bit skewed but it didn't seem fair for Greta to be alone and without some pleasures.

"Come here," he said, opening the door to the nearby half-bathroom and flicking on the lights so she could step in front of the mirror.

"What do you think?"

Date: 2017-01-12 08:08 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Pour the tea)
Biffy smiled, just a little, not daring to let it go too wide when Greta was so cautious of enjoying it. He only let out a little sigh of relief when she obviously brightened, her happiness going from her face all the way down her spine and to the tips of her toes.

There was just something about putting a person in the right outfit that made them shine. That was one of the things he did enjoy about modern-day fashion. It was less to do with adhering to what came out in the fashion plates and more to do with what suited a person. A proper fit, the right color, just the right drape of something.

Greta looked happy and confident and Biffy couldn't have been more thrilled.

"It's a cravat knot for men, typically, but I think it offsets the scarf beautifully."

Date: 2017-01-13 06:59 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Default)
Biffy stepped back to allow Greta to exit, following shortly behind so that he could retrieve the thin, flat box that had held the scarf. "Keep it in here, then," he said. "You don't have to wear it at every moment but I'm glad you like it."

Sitting back down, he added more milk to his tea than was strictly proper but he couldn't help himself. These days, his wolfish palate just couldn't turn down a good bit of dairy.

Date: 2017-01-16 02:23 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Pour the tea)
"They all look wonderful," Biffy assured her. They smelled wonderful too, even to a human nose. To his, it was a delight of fruits, butter, and caramelized sugar, all the best things for someone who liked sweets.

"That is, I think, one of the stranger things to get used to." He gestured to the pastries. "Cherries in winter, fresh cucumbers all year round, and so on." It was, to him, rather marvelous if a bit wasted on someone whose main diet was raw meat. He could only imagine what a baker might do with all of that.

"My former fiancé was terribly fond of turnovers," Biffy admitted, unable to let go of that tiny bit of spite. "And I shan't give him a single one."

Date: 2017-01-16 06:55 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Melancholy)
Biffy froze, the turnover halfway to his mouth.

"Him," he said. "Yes. Is that a problem for you?" He said it in his gentlest and most impeccably polite tone, which meant that he was guarding himself. For all of its many and varying forms of chaos, Darrow had provided an environment in which the ways he chose to love were seen as normal. He had a horrifying moment of self-loathing that he hadn't had since he was a teenager. It faded and was quickly replaced by a reminder that nothing was wrong with him but certainly someone else might think so.

"I prefer the company of men."

Date: 2017-01-17 03:13 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Pour the tea)
If he were a wolf, he thought his ears might have drooped in that moment of indecision. Then Greta took in a breath and declared that it was not a problem and Biffy allowed himself to feel relieved as well. He hated to cause fuss or trouble but he also had a low level of tolerance for cruel things being said about him in his own home. It was a great relief that those interests did not have to cross paths.

And then she turned red and began to giggle, explaining herself in half-words until Biffy was the one sitting there with his eyes wide. With his own lack of interest, it had never occurred to him that his gesture might be perceived as anything but friendly. If anything, he had expected by now for it to be rather obvious. He was hardly a pink or a poodle faker but Biffy had been assured that he dinged on the 'gaydar' of anyone blessed with a pulse. And many without.

He began to giggle too, unable to suppress his laughter into his own hand. "My goodness. Oh, Greta, I am so sorry. No, please..." Everything was so terribly awry that he had to laugh. Not at her but at the comedy of manners they had blundered into.

Date: 2017-01-18 06:03 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Default)
It took far too many continued bursts of laughter before he could contain himself. Biffy shook her head and reached out to take her hand, squeezing it in an entirely friendly and platonic manner. "I assure you," he said, still choking down a few errants giggles, "I don't think you're foolish in the least."

It was only that he'd gotten used to being obviously and blatantly queer that he was caught off-guard. The times he had had to explain himself in Darrow were far outnumbered by the times he simply hadn't.

"And even if I were inclined toward women, I would never presume I was owed something just because I had given you a gift."

Date: 2017-01-22 07:09 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Default)
Biffy thought he could guess a little at the play of emotions on Mrs. Baker's face. It was not dissimilar to the mix of wry amusement and poorly-hidden longing that had often crossed Alexia's face when she allowed herself to think of Lord Maccon. She was not a gentle woman, was Lady Maccon, and so showing tenderness did not come easily to her but if one knew where to look...well.

He imagined it was a little bit the same with Greta.

"If he does he appear, I will be happy to assure him of my lack of intention," he promised, his own smile turning a little wistful. "I still have quite a few photos on my phone of Dorian and myself. I...haven't been able to make myself delete them, though perhaps I ought."

Date: 2017-01-25 07:57 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Default)
"We photographed very well, he and I," Biffy said, clearly allowing vanity to rush forward and overtake sadness. He put on the appropriately silly and flirtatious look to complete the picture.

Nodding, he thought back to the cameras of his own time. Photography had made leaps and bounds by his own time. A Mr. Maddox had just made photography easier than ever in the 1870's but Biffy realized now that it was still an art barely out of the cradle compared to photography as it was now. "In my time, we had to use glass plates for every shot and we had to stand in front of the camera for what felt like a frightfully long time."

He smiled, recalling a photograph he'd seen in a book where a mother sat perfectly still, crisply captured, while the baby in her arms was little more than a blur.

Seeing the sadness in her face, Biffy reached out to take Greta's hand again. "There are many artists in this city. I know of one, Grantaire, who is more than a fair hand at painting and drawing. If you'd like."

Date: 2017-01-26 08:20 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Pour the tea)
Ah. Biffy understood then that it was a bit of a misstep. Sometimes reminders were just more painful than healing. He knew, himself, how it could be. Weren't they just discussing his own mementos? He smiled apologetically and sat back.

"I understand how that might feel," he said. Then, very deliberately, he found a new subject. Greta had brought him a wonderful gift and they would not properly appreciate it while they steeped in sad memories like overbrewed tea. If they did that for too long, they were likely to become tannic and Biffy so hated the thought of having an unpleasant aftertaste.

"These days, I'm a bit ashamed to say that the majority of the photos I take are of the cat. I may be becoming one of those Cat Parents," he admitted, exaggerating the last two words with equal parts despair and humor. It wasn't even a fib; he and Pawvus had become oddly staunch companions in the last few months.

"But perhaps I ought to take a photograph of these wonderful pastries before we devour them."

Date: 2017-01-29 03:47 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (Pour the tea)
"So?" he said, smiling. "Half the paintings in famous museums are of plates of food." Perhaps it was an exaggeration as Biffy was not so well-traveled as he'd have liked but the last time he'd been in the National Gallery, he'd noticed more than a few still life paintings of food. Social media, too, was rife with images of delectable meals, or at least his Suddengram feed was.

Taking out his phone now, Biffy shrugged. "Why not take a photo of something enjoyed?" Despite Greta's protestations that what she'd made wasn't anything special, Biffy strongly disagreed and he made sure to turn the volume up so that she could hear the snap of the camera sound effect.

"I'm not much an artist anymore, but I think it makes for a wonderful picture." He turned the camera around so that she could see the photo he'd taken of his plate with the teacup next to it.

Date: 2017-02-03 06:32 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] modern_alpha
modern_alpha: (A new cravat and a smile)
Biffy turned just in time to see her phone get put away and he gave her a broad smile. "Warn me next time," he said, tapping one of his cheekbones. "If you use the flash, my eyes reflect and ruin the photo." It wasn't always true, depending on the brightness and the angle, but they did seem to blaze back when photographed with a modern camera. He doubted that shot would be a problem, since he'd been looking elsewhere, but it might give her a fright one day.

"I ought to return the favor," he said, holding up his phone. "Then I can attach it to your number." Before she could stop him, Biffy quickly snapped a candid photo of Greta as she was in the moment, smiling and looking just a bit mischievous and pleased with herself.

The resulting photograph was suffused with the warmth of her expression and Biffy showed her again, quite pleased with himself.
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