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18 April 2007 @ 05:24 am
Greeks bearing gifts  
Who: Sappheire Scamandros and George Byron
When: Tuesday afternoon
Where: The Round Table
What: Gift exchange
Rating: G. Will wonders never cease?

Summary: They say to beware of Greeks bearing gifts, but Sappho's seem relatively innocuous so far.





At about ten minutes before the time that he was due to meet Sappheire, Byron is already standing at the counter and placing an order. Hot chocolate. He never drinks coffee. There's a sort of casual lean against the counter while he waits. There's also a scone. The dress is very, very casual. Particularly for him. He usually dresses up a bit more. Instead it's really old jeans with holes in the knees, no belt, and a long sleeved, black t-shirt that says 'I am the real father of Anna Nicole's Baby'.

Sappheire is precisely on time-- which, for her, constitutes an unforgiveable breach in etiquette, as if one is any less than five minutes early to an engagement, one is most assuredly Late. She breezes through the door, burdened with a large canvas messenger bag over one shoulder, and pauses at the counter only long enough to let her eyes adjust to the change in light, and to find Byron. Then she bypasses the barista entirely and weaves her way through the scattered tables to the one where he waits. "My apologies for my tardiness," she offers by way of greeting: that, and her accustomed small, warm smile. "I was detained in my last class. Would you mind terribly if I ordered a drink before I sit?"

He had moved to a table near the counter after he got his drink and scone paid for and when she approaches, he smiles and nods. "Nah. It's cool. Go ahead. I'm just early because there were things going on that I wasn't allowed to hang around and watch. Sadly." Okay. That's enigmatic. "So go ahead. I'm good. Not smelling antiseptic anywhere is a good thing just now. I'm soaking it in." Byron chuckles a little tiredly.

Sappheire gives him an odd look, as though trying to work out what he's been up to from the scant clues he has just scattered before her, but carefully lowers her bag into her chair and breezes back to the counter. She's back a minute or two later with her coffee, steam rising from the uncapped cup, and settles to a seat across from him. "I shan't ask," she tells him. "But! I have brought you a gift from the land of olives and ouzo; I do hope it suits." And Sappheire lifts the messenger bag from where she'd set it on the floor when she sat, and offers it to him across the table. "Please be careful... it's not fragile, but it will damage. And I do need the bag back." A glint of warm humour in her witch-black eyes.

"Oh, you can ask. My girlfriend is in the hospital. Car accident. They were putting her in pajamas instead of the assless gowns they make you wear." Byron says with a grin as he reaches over for the messenger bag to look and see just what she brought him. "She's okay. Broken ribs and such. But she'll be home before too long. It's a miracle she wasn't more hurt. Car was totalled."

"Oh! Oh good heavens-- I'm so glad to hear she's unhurt. How horrible for both of you!" Her concern seems to be genuine and deeply heartfelt; Sappheire's face, normally minimally expressive, is for a moment pinched into profound worry. It smoothes over a moment later into something closer to her usual calm, but there lingers a hint of it in slightly furrowed brows as she takes a sip of her coffee.
Inside the bag rests a musical instrument. It looks like a rounded, fat, deeply-bowled violin, with three strings stretching up the broad, short neck, and down to the tapered, slightly pointed butt end. There is a bow in the bag as well, longer than the instrument itself. Sappheire smiles. "The classical lyre is, alas, extinct, as it were... but the lyra of Crete is, I trust, a suitable substitute...?"

Byron pulls the lyra out of the bag and he looks astounded. "That's...that's gorgeous." He blinks repeatedly. "I never...I was expecting a bottle of ouzo or retsina, not anything like this." There's a look up to Sappho's face. "This is...it is more than a suitable substitute. Do you know how to play it? Can you teach me? I'm sure I can figure it out, but having someone to show me basics would make it a lot faster, of course." He looks genuinely taken aback and supremely pleased at this gift. Appreciative.

Sappheire is manifestly pleased that he likes it as much as he does. Her smile is brilliant, a far cry from her usual reserve. "I can play a little. My grandfather was quite talented with it during his lifetime, and taught me a little when I visited, although it was infrequently enough. But I can teach you what I know. The principles are roughly the same as most stringed instruments, although it rests on the knee, rather than at the chin as a violin does, or the floor, as for a cello."

"This is amazing." Byron smiles and carefully puts the instrument and the bow down. "I don't think anyone's given me a gift I've liked this much in a long time." He pauses. "It's...it's wonderful and it's perfect." A sheepish grin. "So much better than what I got you. But this isn't bad. Just not as good as that." He digs into the pocket of his ever present coat and pulls out a box of chocolates. These are no dime store chocolates. They are from a chocolatier in Switzerland. "These truffles are filled with a center made from ganache and ouzo. They are supposedly quite lethal. But they were absolutely delicious when I tried them and I thought of you. The anise flavor of the ouzo blends great with the chocolate."

With a flash of a grin, Sappheire reaches to reverently take the chocolates from his hands, and without any regard for decorum or propriety, opens the box then and there. This is /chocolate/, and the rules of society do not apply. "They sound divine," she answers, hand hovering over the selection before darting down like a crane spearing a fish and removing one from its nesting place. She nudges the box toward the middle of the table, with an uplifted brow for invitation, and pops the candy in her mouth. And promptly makes the most exquisite orgasm face since Lady Godiva.

Byron starts to take a chocolate, catches sight of her orgasm face and smiles brightly. "No. That's okay. I'll just watch you." That smile? Pure wicked. "You eat the whole box. Right now. I'll watch every expression on your face. No, wait. Every bite you take. I'm starting to sound like a chocolate stalker, aren't I?"

Sappheire seems torn between scowling at him in mock annoyance and simply taking another bite of the chocolate. It's no contest, really. The second reaction is just as overwhelmingly pleased as the first, and when she's swallowed, she takes a sip of her coffee and settles back in her chair for a moment. "Those," she murmurs, voice a little breathy- she cannot resist playing up the scene- "are truly heavenly, George Byron. You should be ashamed of yourself, presenting those to a lady in public." The glimmer of mischief in her eyes is unmistakeable.

"Well, I cannot help it, my lady. I am a mannerless rogue." Byron smiles oh so brightly. "Someone should take me in hand and instruct me in how to behave with proper decorum. You wouldn't have a ruler on you, would you?" A pause. "You could always smack across the knuckles every time I misbehave." Didn't he say that he has a girlfriend in the hospital after a car wreck? "I mean, someone needs to teach me some discipline."

"And you are incorrigible. If I thought for a second you'd be content with simple smacking on the knuckles I'd happily acquiesce, but I know perfectly well that for you, it would only be flirtation." She reaches for another of the chocolates, taking a tiny nibble and managing to contain herself this time. Mostly. A little. "Your darling Samantha would, I think, be most upset were she not the one holding the ruler, and I will not encroach."

Byron laughs out loud and hard. "She probably would, actually. I think she'd take the ruler and shove it somewhere really uncomfortable sideways." His smile turns less mischievous and more just amused. "She's something else. But I am allowed to flirt. Just not touch." He adds, "So as long as I don't get too visibly excited and you don't hump my leg, I think we're in the clear."

Sappheire very nearly chokes on the next nibble of chocolate, and it's a moment before she can reply to him, her tone as amused as his smile. "I rather think you are quite safe from me in that regard, my dear," she answers, reaching to swallow a sip of coffee to ease her throat a bit. "I am therefore entirely safe to flirt with. The trick is sorting out how to get me to flirt /back/, as you do not have breasts and are therefore not my type at all." A flash of a grin- they've had this conversation before.

"I do wear drag, you know." Byron says simply. "And I look damn good in it."

Sappheire watches him thoughtfully for a moment, the amusement subdued. "I have no doubt that you do," she finally replies in open sincerity. "Nevertheless... you are missing some essential female quality-- you are very /male/, however feminine you may be, or how often. I am uncertain how to define this quality, or of what it's comprised. But it remains: you are indeed very attractive.... but I am not attracted to you, not in that sense."

He laughs a little. "Honey? I don't really want you to jump my bones. I am out of the womanizing game. I have a steady and we're exclusive." Byron pauses. "But flirting is okay. I am absolutely just as safe. I am not a guy who is going to try and show you just how you're missing the boat and all that. You go off and shag lots of beautiful women. Shag a few for me too, eh?"

She seems almost relieved at this, although she's managed by now to get her expression back under her own control, and so it's difficult to tell. "That is indeed good to hear," Sappheire replies, and reaches to close the box of chocolates with something akin to reverence. "I've not done much shagging lately, as you so charmingly put it... but I assure you, if and when the opportunity arises, I shall be sure to dedicate at least one to you."

Byron wipes away a feigned tear. "That's...that's the sweetest thing anyone's ever said to me." He grins at that. "I'm glad that you like the chocolate. Also? I am so sorry I didn't give you my number. Do you have my new house address? I should give you that too. You should drop by. We'll play together. I don't have a full piano, but I can get one."

"I do not." Sappheire bends to tug a small Moleskin notebook out of the same bag that had contained his lyra, and fishes a pen out as well. "I really should invest in a cellular phone," she sighs, and offers these two things to him. "I would adore coming by to play, as I'm sure you're aware. My schedule will be a bit tight-- I've taken on two more students-- but I am certain I can find /some/ time of my own...."

"What if I pay you to give me lessons?" Byron says simply. "I would learn to love to play piano anyway. My mother would absolutely buy the piano if I told her I was getting lessons. It's what she wanted me to learn to play to begin with." He takes the pen and notepad from her and scribbles down his address as well as the house number, his email address, and his AIM name.

This is a wealth of contact information, and Sappheire raises both brows at it, pleased, before flipping to a new page and writing down her dorm room number, and the telephone extension to reach her there. "This is, at present, the only way to get in touch with me. I imagine this will change soon, particularly if I take on more students. I shall have to bite the bullet and get a cell." She tears the scrap of paper out and offers it to him. "I would consider it an honour and a pleasure to teach you to play."

Byron takes the scrap of paper and smiles. "What are your rates so I can tell my mother?"

Another moment's rummaging in her bag produces a printed piece of paper-- just a basic Word document, with Sappheire's schedule of fees and her contact information, including an email address that she's forgotten about. She makes a silent note to check it when she gets back to her room. "Payable up front, or per lesson, depending upon income and need." Not, she knows, that this is at all an issue for him, but there is more than one family in her current students that have received a lesson or two gratis. Sappheire considers music more important than money, and if a student truly wants to learn, she won't refuse to teach simply because the child's parents are struggling paycheck to paycheck.

"This is great." Byron looks truly, truly excited at the idea of lessons. "I think this is going to be great. You'll just have to ignore my roomies. They are um...a lot like me. Only without musical talent." He pauses. "Though, Hemi's best friend is gay. So he shouldn't be too obnoxious. And Shelley is too charming to be obnoxious."

Sappheire gives him a pleased little smile, and snaps her messenger bag's top flap shut. "I am certain they are perfectly charming," she replies, "if they are indeed like you. And I will be certain not to encourage them unduly."

Byron laughs and nods. "It'll be fine. And you know...I'll be sure and get you an invite. We're going to do a house warming soonish." A pause. "But if not, you can always come over for a lesson and do dinner. We grill meat a lot." Of course they do.

A houseful of boy types? Of course they do. But perhaps they can be persuaded sometime to grill fish instead.... it's a weakness of hers. Sappheire glances at her watch and then gives a little start of dismay. "Drat-- I am so sorry; it's inexcusable of me to rush out on you, but I have a consultation in about five minutes that was scheduled at the last minute." She rises, leaning impulsively over the table to give Byron a chaste, warm kiss on the cheek. "I /am/ sorry... I'll tell you what-- are you and your roommates free this Friday evening? I will come and bring whitefish, if you are not averse to grilling that as well as large slabs of cow, and give you your first lesson after dinner...?"

"Make it a lesson the lyra instead of piano? And we're good." Byron notes with a smile and returns the kiss to her cheek, just as warmly, just as platonically. "Because it'll take a few days to get the piano. But fish is just fine. We eat fish too. Just usually in a beer batter. If you can incorporate alcohol into the meal? They'll eat anything."

Sappheire actually laughs, low and light and infectious. "Somehow, this does not startle me in the slightest." She straightens and hefts her bag over her shoulder. "A lyra lesson it is, then, although I warn you I am not so skilled with it as I am with other instruments. And I shall bring whitefish, and you boys may beer-batter your portions of it to your hearts' content."

He laughs right along with her. "Nah. I think we can handle grilled instead of fried." Byron says, smiling brightly and with enthusiasm. "I'm sure they'll eat it so long as one of us doesn't have to cook it. We're kind of pigs like that." He adds, "We could invite some other folks over if you like? Or just the boys and you?"

"I think it might be best to meet your room-mates first, without any incentive to show off for a crowd." And is she talking about them, or herself? Sappheire is something of a closet attention junkie, although it manifests in her readiness to perform musically.

Byron nods at that. "Sure thing. Just the boys and myself first time then. You know...Shelley sings a little. Could be fun." He looks at his own watch. "I should get back to the hospital now though. I was going to bring coffee for everyone." There's a brief pause and he adds, "Thank you. For the gift. For your time. For your willingness to give me lessons. Just...thanks."

There is something in his tone that speaks to her, a sincerity that is usually covered over by his more usual mischievous flirtation. Sappheire gazes down at him for a moment, and then leans to give him another kiss, this on the brow, dead in the center. "Go and be with your beloved," she tells him softly. "And if it will help-- my ancestors thought music had healing properties. I will come and play, if you wish. If it will do some good." And with that she's gone, long skirt swishing around her ankles as she threads her way to the door and out.