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Fantasy I Was Fine Until You

Caroline's face soon became a shade of red when Galehaut seemed to take her question in a more... Intimate fashion. Yep, Nope she did not want to know anything about what her brother did in the bedroom. Silas for his part did not look to effected. Resisting rolling his eyes as Galehaut spoke. He did find himself blushing at Galehaut took his hand and kissed it. Caroline couldn't help but find it odd seeing them so affectionate with eachother. Not only because of them both being men. But also... Caroline had not seen Silas in a relationship before. Not really. Maybe he'd had other male partners that Caroline had not known about? Him and Ronan had certainly been close but had they been together? Or was it just a fling? Galehaut seemed to care for Silas though. And that was a relief.

Silas though nudged Galehaut. Teasing gently. "Admit it, you love me being a brat. " He murmured. Leaning closer and gently placing a kiss on the others cheek. It was at that point that Caroline said. "I'm glad that you and him seem happy. I just.. I hope you treat Silas well. " It would be good for Silas to have someone that cared deeply about him. Caroline often worried about him and when her and Arthur eventually left? It might be hard on him to be alone. Would Galehaut stay behind with him?

Caroline was still curious about how dating and such would work. When they danced who led? Did one get flowers for the other? Without thinking she suddenly asked. "... So... Who's I guess.. The man in the relationship? " No doubt both men would probable take that to mean a more intimate thing then Caroline intended. She realized quickly how that might sound for her face turned even redder. Expressing. "I mean- Not like... You know. I just... " She fumbled.
Galehaut’s hidden teasing worked on Caroline but not so much on Silas. The prince wasn’t at all prudish but it wasn’t interesting how he responded to different sorts of intimacy. Silas was happy to bare all except tender moments it seemed. Galehaut made a mental note of that, he was almost the opposite of Arthur in that way who was more openly sweet and less relaxed talking about sexual things. Maybe it was a bit mean letting Caroline think that the two were lovers in more than one sense of the word but she wanted her brother happy and looked after, at least they weren't pretending anything to upset her.

”mmm, sometimes” Galehaut said with a small smile as Silas talked about him being a brat. Wow, was this what Arthur was like with him? He could imagine it actually and he had to stop himself from gagging a little at the sickly sweetness he was sure Arthur probably showed Silas. “I will“ he promised Caroline to at least put her mind at ease. She had more questions though and he could help his small amused smile as she had to correct what she said. He let his eyes drift up and down Silas thoughtfully before looking back to the princess.

”it doesn’t quite work like that” he said.”we’re both men, so we’re both the ‘man In the relationship’. We look after each other. One of us isn’t always ‘in charge’.“ he shrugged slightly, stroking Silas’ hand absent mindedlY. “I like treating him and I like it when he treats me” It’s not like they went dancing, well he supposed in their fake world they could but it wasn’t exactly going to be public even in their fake little story. “I think its a bit silly really to define things as for the man and for the woman, besides obvious things like giving birth. But bringing each other gifts or arranging dates, flirting and deciding what to do, why does it matter who does them? Do you and Arthur really have such different roles in your marriage?” Galehaut asked and maybe he would like a bit of an insight on her thoughts and her relationship with Arthur since apart from complaining Arthur didn’t really tell him much. They weren’t in love but did Arthur treat her? Look after her? Or was she doing all the heavy lifting?
Caroline tilted her head as she listened to Galehaut, Who seemed to have no issues explaining things for Caroline. There was no clear defined role in there relationship. Simply them taking care of each other. It was sweet. The question was soon being spun on her. And it was more difficult for her to answer, Because although she cared for Arthur... They weren't really in love, No matter how much she tried. She knew how a wife should act. But she couldn't help but feel she was doing a terrible job at it. Caroline then confessed. "I... suppose we haven't really figured that out yet. " Before today, That hadn't really gone on any dates or bought gifts. Treated eachother... Maybe Caroline could try such things, Try and get Arthur flowers... Well, She didn't know if he liked flowers. But she could probable think of some other gift to get him.

Caroline then confessed. "I... I know how its expected for me to act. I'm trying to be that way. Be a good wife. But I.. Think I keep falling short when it comes to that. " She'd already had a affair. She struggled to find a spark between her and Arthur. Most newly weds were all over each other. But Arthur hardly stayed in her room. Silas though cut in at that point. Expression serious as he said. "Caroline, You're doing plenty. Don't worry about being a good wife. " He tried to convince. But he wasn't sure if that was likely to get to her.

Caroline kept her gaze averted. It was clear she had some thoughts on her mind. But eventually she shook her head. Saying. "Well, Anyway. I uh- It won't be too long until dinner time. I suppose I should go ahead and get ready. " She expressed, And it was obvious what she was trying to do. Change the subject and get them to leave. Silas wasn't exactly pleased. But it seemed that was all they'd be getting from her for the moment.
It seemed that maybe Galehaut shouldn’t have probed. Caroline was giving a glimpse into her relationship with Arthur and it was dire. She didn’t know where she stood with Arthur and Silas was trying to reassure her but he was a little surprised that Silas wasn’t angry for his sister, angry that Arthur was messing her about, giving her mixed signals, and making her doubt herself so. If he caught his sister’s husband neglecting her or making her feel so inadequate then he’d certainly have a few words to say, wouldn’t let him get away with it.

This was exactly what Galehaut had been talking about when he’d said Arthur had been sending mixed signals! He was affectionate enough that she thought something could be there but not committed enough to make her feel secure. Caroline didn’t know what to expect from Arthur, if they were capable of loving each other but just holding out or if he hated her! It was simply unacceptable and he felt that over time things were only going to get worse as Caroline became more and more unsure on what ground she stood.

Galehaut didn’t feel entirely comfortable just leaving her in this state. “Maybe you shouldn’t be asking yourself if you’re a good wife“ Galehaut said innocently. “But is Arthur a good husband?” Not to put any discord into their marriage but he wasn’t exactly wrong in his opinion. “Besides Lenny, when’s the last time he did something for you?” Galehaut asked, although maybe Caroline hadn’t done much for Arthur but he still thought she was likely The better one in the relationship. Galehaut squeezed Silas’ hand. “It doesn’t have to be a lot but just the other day Silas surprised me with a cute note he’d left in my room. Sometimes it’s just sweet words“ Galehaut got up though making his way to the door. “If you ever need to talk, I’m happy to listen. Trust me, as a knight, and from being with your brother, I know princes have their annoying moment. I don’t mind listening if you need to rant, but we’ll leave you in peace. Thank you Caroline for being so nice” He gave her a sweet smile before attempting to tug Silas out of the room.
Caroline tensed a bit at Galehaut's words. Staring down at her hands. Was Arthur a good husband? Caroline wasn't sure that was his responsibility. He was a prince, He had bigger things to focus on. Caroline thought it was supposed to be more her duty to please him. Caroline then tried to argue. "He does a lot for me. " He hadn't revealed things between her and Lance. But what had she done for him? Not much she thought. Hesitantly nodding at his offer to listen. Silas couldn't help but think she likely wouldn't take him up on his offer. It.. Was worrying and Silas was frowning at his sister. But soon enough Galehaut was tugging him out the room and thus he finally gave his farewell. Leaving his sister.

Silas waited until they were out of the room and a slight distance away before saying. "She's upset, I feel like she's upset a lot lately. " Worry was in his tone. But he sighed, Shaking his head. He then murmured. "She seemed rather calm though about us, So I suppose thats a good thing. " Silas said. She hadn't jumped to hating anyone. Sure, Her reaction to Arthur liking men might be different. He was her husband after all. But this might give Arthur some higher hopes over the whole thing.

Silas then mused. "Now to convince Arthur to actually tell her. " A task easier said then done. Silas understood his hesitation. But... Silas had a feeling that it would perhaps be best for everyone for it to be revealed. Arthur would likely find it easier to breath without having to lie. Caroline would be able to understand she wasn't doing anything wrong. Everyone would have a far better time!
Galehaut was dubious about Arthur’s husbandly skills but he didn’t Argue with the princess. He glanced at Silas as he spoke once they were on their own. Was Silas really surprised his sister was upset so often? She had a lot going on in her life and Arthur really wasn’t supporting her in his opinion. And as for getting Arthur to confess to her? “Good luck with that” he muttered, he didn’t think Arthur was going to be onboard with it, might take a lot of convincing and certainly more than an afternoon. “This is a starting point on the journey, not the end destination, it’s going to take more to convince him” Arthur was scared and overwhelmed with the idea plus it wasn’t just his secret to tell, he had a feeling it would expose Ethan as well and he needed his approval or to at least warn him and to do that Arthur had to speak to him and to do that he had to apologise first.

Galehaut stopped Silas before they fully reached his room and Arthur, sticking an arm out hand pressed against the wall to look down at the other man. “Doesn’t it annoy you the way Arthur treats your sister?” He asked, he didn’t understand why Silas was so relaxed about it all. “Or are you so starstruck with him that it doesn’t bother you? She’s upset, you think he has nothing to do with that? I understand they’re not in love but they dont Even seem that close. The whole journey here and they were only really together when they had to be. “ Arthur thought of Caroline as his friend but clearly she wasn’t his preferred friend because he spent all his time with Silas!

“I don’t think he should lead her on but I still think he should be a better husband and friend to her. Have you seen him spend a lot of time with her besides when he’s just upset her?” Because that’s what today ahd been, a way to make it up to her, but as soon as she was happy or at least not crying her eyes out Arthur disappeared from the scene. “If my sister‘s husband acted like that, well….I wouldn’t put up with it let’s just say“ Luckily Galehaut didn’t have that problem but did Silas not want to say anything to Arthur?
Galehaut did not seem to think it would be a easy task to convince Arthur and Silas couldn't help but agree. Still, They had to try. But... That wasn't the only thing, Silas suddenly found himself stopped by Galehaut. Raising his eyebrow as he looked up at the other. Tensing at his words. Silas then huffed. "Its not as though I wanted them to get married, I argued against it as much as I could. " But he knew that hardly changed anything. Caroline had married due to a sense of duty. But she still probable had hoped for a loving marriage. Silas glanced away from Galehaut.

Silas then told Galehaut. "Me and Arthur have spoken about Caroline. We aren't blind and Arthur has... Offered suggestions that could help. " Seeing other people for example. Though Silas didn't know if Arthur had spoken to Caroline about such. Wasn't sure if he approved or not either. It... Was a dangerous thing. Silas though found himself sighing. Why did Galehaut have to make sense? Silas then huffed. "But... You are right, He needs to start focusing on her. Talk with her. " Getting that to happen might be a bit more difficult.

Silas then found himself confessing. "Honestly, I had expected him to hover around her after the pregnancy was announced. But... That hasn't happened. " Silas had expected more excitement from Arthur, Sure, Arthur had been focused on Silas a lot due to the injury. But he didn't speak too often of his new expected heir. Maybe it just hadn't hit him yet? Or he was wanting to wait until Caroline was further along before getting excited?
Whether they should get married or not was a long gone debate, the fact was they were married now and Arthur had to step up the plate. Arthur seemed aware of his negligence then but Galehaut wasn’t sure if that made it better or worse, he should be doing more to correct it, or at least let her understand why. Silas was agreeing that it wasn’t enough though. Galehaut didn’t know what suggestions Arthur had made but him telling Caroline she could see other proper was probably quite confusing for her. It was not normal husband behaviour and to actively encourage it? Without a proper explanation, like the fact that Arthur was not attracted to woman, yeah that probably contributed to her self esteem issues, made her feel unwanted.

As for the baby, maybe there was some disconnect for Arthur since he didn’t know if he was the father although suspected he wasn’t, plus with Morgan back home he was probably pretty worried about children right now. Caroline herself wasn’t exactly over the moon and Arthur always felt awkward bringing it up, knowing it worried her to think about it maybe being Lance’s so that was at least partially the reason but again Galehaut and Silas didn’t know these things. “You’re better off talking to him about it than me” Galehaut Said. Silas would be much more effective at guilting Arthur into action in his opinion.

Galehaut took his hand off the wall and let them continue walking, he’d got the message across to Silas, now to get it across to Arthur. Galehaut pushed open Silas’ door and hooray! Arthur hadn't left. He had moved though, no longer moping on the sofa. Arthur had replaced the cushion into its usual position and was sat by the window, looking at the outside world Although He turned as the door opened, gaze hesitantly expectant And nervous. The blush had disappeared off his face for now but his hair was still a little ruffled from Galehaut’s earlier messing. “You should tell her” Galehaut explained pure and simple. “Rip it off like a bandage, maybe noe whilst she’s still fresh on the subject,” Galehaut suggested much to the obvious alarm of Arthur who did not look like he agreed at all. Silas might be better at convincing him though yet Galehaut thought it’d take at least a few days of Arthur sitting with it before he agreed to tell, might take longer though if he ever even decided to at all.
Galehaut was soon moving, Leading the way towards Silas's room and well, He wasted no time in getting straight to the point. Silas made sure the door was closed behind them before he looked forward. Saying softly. "She was more upset about us not locking the door then anything else. I'm telling you Arthur, She won't hate you. " He then was moving towards the couch as to sit down. Though he doubted such was not going to be enough to convince Arthur. No, He needed a different strategy. So he then said. "At this point, Keeping it a secret is hurting her as well. " He started, Figuring such was a better angle to try and convince him.

Silas then said. "She seems to think she's doing something wrong. That she's not a good enough wife. She's not going to understand that isn't the case until you tell her. " If she knew, Then perhaps she wouldn't blame herself as much. Wouldn't cry as often. Sure, Maybe Arthur could keep it quiet and pretend to be in love with her. But that would just be a act. One Silas didn't think Arthur would be able to keep up with. Finally Silas let out a breath.

Silas then decided to try something else as well. Pointing out. "Her being stressed and upset all the time because she thinks she's not enough can't be good for the baby. I know you're scared to tell her. But surely this would make every ones lives easier. " Maybe he was trying to guilt Arthur into such. But it seemed the easiest way to try and convince him.
Silas was trying to reassure Arthur, agreeing with Galehaut that he’d be alright to tell Caroline the truth. His stomach twisted at the idea, at the fact that revealing his true self got a little bit closer. He didn’t feel fully ready to tell his secret yet though. It was a lot to go from being resolutely against telling Caroline to letting her know his biggest secret. Silas wasn’t going to just leave it at that though, he was trying to guilt trip Arthur a bit and it was kind of working.

Arthur’s discomfort was clear as Silas talked about Caroline not thinking she was good enough, eyes worried as Silas also fretted about the baby. He didn’t want to lower Caroline’s, frankly already rock bottom, self esteem nor did he want to put the baby at any risk, for the kingdom, himself, Caroline and for Lance. They all wanted him to tell Caroline, she deserved to know, he shouldn’t keep secrets from her and she’d been so honest with him. He was a horrible husband really and it was About time that someone told him so.

He was being pushed to tell Caroline and they’d told him it would be okay but it didn‘t stop terrible scenes from playing out in his head. Yeah it’d take a little hole for Arthur to warm up the idea but Silas wanted him to tell her, so did Galehaut, they thought he was being bad to her by not and…..okay Arthur seemed prone to stress lately and he was breathing quite rapidly and shaking his head. “I don’t think I can” he complained, voice a bit shaky as he squeezed his fists shut. “I…I…” Great, he was freaking out again, he’d already inconvenienced Silas with it once but now it was worse, he was being selfish, taking it away from Caroline and did speaking to his wife really stress out and scare him so much? “I want to….” He admitted. “I….I don’t like lying to her“ he admitted through his hyperventilating. “I…I…just…can’t” He felt so stupid, eyes tearing up. He did not need to get so worked up about this, it wasn’t like with Morgan where she’d drugged him, betrayed him, he loved Caroline, but the idea of baring his soul to her? Letting her know what was wrong with him? It terrified him. “Mmm, great, you broke him“ Galehaut murmured, taking a seat on the sofa and leaning back to watch the show apparently.
Arthur was beginning to panic it seemed. Silas could see it in the way his breathing quickened. His words were soon stumbling and Silas took a step closer. Shooting Galehaut a glare when he spoke up so unhelpfully. Silas then was moving closer. "Hey... Hey.. Calm down, You're fine. You're fine Arthur. " He tried to soothe. Soon reaching him. Silas then was placing his hand on Arthur's shoulder. Encouraging gently. "Just breath, Its okay. " He promised. Perhaps telling Caroline might not be so easy. Arthur might not be able to get the words out when it came time. But was not telling her a option? She was upset, That was clear and Silas did think things would only further get worse.

So he then sighed. "Listen, You... You don't have to tell her right this moment. But when you do, She's not going to hate you. " He was ensuring. So it seemed he was allowing the moment to be put off even longer. Silas then bit his lip. He didn't like seeing Arthur panic. Didn't want to see him upset. So, Then he said. " We've done enough today. Her finding me and Galehaut probable was a big enough shock for one day anyway. " Yep, He was just helping Arthur put the moment off. That wouldn't do.

Would Arthur want to go back to Caroline's room tonight? Face her, He was upset and he might start panicking more if he saw her again. Him staying with Silas was a bit counterproductive though. Caroline didn't feel like enough, He probable should be staying with his wife. Still, Silas found himself saying. "Hey, Lets... We can go to town if you'd like. Do some drinking and worry about how to talk to Caroline tomorrow. " He suggested. Though maybe they shouldn't get Arthur drunk again too soon. He'd been a bit of a pain last time.
Silas was a very good friend and Arthur felt terrible for making him put up with this again. He’d probabky be glad to see Arthur move back into Caroline’s bedroom because it meant he didn’t have to deal with his panic attacks and crying. Arthur nodded, gripping the wrist of Silas’ hand on his shoulder and took some deep breaths trying to centre himself and focus on Silas, not on telling Caroline but on the warmth of Silas’ hand, the vivid tone of his eyes and how it contrasted with his pale skin, the way his hair fell, shining in the light. Yeah that helped a little.

Silas was letting him wiggle out of it a little, saying they should put it off for now. But when would Arthur tell her? He so did not feel even remotely ready and he really needed to speak to Ethan but what was he even going to be able to say to cross the chasm he’d ripped in their relationship? He wasn’t sure any words would be enough. Maybe he could get Ethan a gift but he also didn’t want him thinking that he was trying buy his way back into his food books. They just needed to chat and he felt Ethan might better understand his fears of telling Caroline although he might also advise against it.

”do you really think that’s a good idea?” Galehaut piped up scornfully, eyes narrowed. Oh how easy it was to fall back onto alcohol as a crutch and that was a bad idea. He should be with Caroline, they all knew that, even if drinking would calm him down. Arthur….he felt like a fool, he’d made himself look like an idiot and as much as he’d like to forget it with alcohol, it’d probably make him look even worse. He’d had a busy day and Galehaut was right, it wasn’t a good idea. Plus, Arthur would just quite like to go see someone who hadn’t just seen him about to burst into tears. “Maybe tomorrow” Arthur suggested weakly, Silas had promised to introduce him to some fun friends but he should probably secure his place with Caroline a bit better before ditching her at night again. “I…I should get back to Caroline” he said with a nod, crossing his arms over his chest once he’d wiped his eyes. Luckily he hadn’t really cried but his eyes had been watering. “Thank you” he murmured. “I just….I need some time to think about it” to get used to the idea and work up the nerve and actually speak to Ethan. Arthur offered Silas a small smile before going to leave the room and return to his wife whilst Galehaut shot Silas a pointed look. “You rolled over quicker than a dog getting a belly scratch. I wonder how often he’ll use that trick now that he knows it works. He didn’t even need to get the tears out!”

(I was thinking Arthur and Silas could go out probably about the same night as the ball. Arthur really needs to apologise to Ethan and I can’t see it going that great so it’d give him a good excuse to drink with Silas and get into trouble. Plus I feel Arthur’s starting to open up and explore his sexuality a bit better so might be a good time for Silas to take him to a brothel or something although not sure if he would because of the whole Caroline issue.

Anyway feel free to skip to the ball anytime unless you have something planned for Caroline to say like her discussing Galehaut/Silas coming To see her, maybe calling them a cute couple!)
(Oh yeah, Ethan is not going to be happy to see Arthur. So its very likely that won't go well. I could see him and Silas going off somewhere so Arthur can take his mind off it.
We can skip to the ball! Tho I can totally see Caroline talking later about Galehaut and Silas being very sweet together! Might get Arthur a bit jealous hearing her talk about how affectionate they'd seemed together! )

It was not that long until the ball was set to occur. Normally Gavin would just see such as a time to speak with nobility and listen out for rumors. But today? There was a excitement in her chest. Lance was to join her, A risky thing. It would be easy for someone to identify them both. The masks ment for the party only concealed so much. Gavin herself wore a black and gold half mask. A pretty thing then she thought fit well with her dress, And well, Maybe she had put a bit more time into her appearance then she normally would. Though she'd certainly deny such. She wasn't the only one to be going to party though. No, She'd sought to ensure her little brother would join her. Gavin thought he could use some time away from Agravain and Caleb. She'd also sought to make sure Ruth joined as well.

Of course, Ruth hadn't exactly had much to wear. So Gavin had saw to it that she'd had a pretty dress tailored to her. Ruth to many was not a beauty. Her hands to rough, Skin marred with scars. But Gavin thought the gown fit her, A darker red color. With a mask that resembled black lace. She looked like a proper young lady!
Standing outside of the mansion ment to house the ball, Gavin took a few moments to scan over Ruth. Ensuring everything was in order before saying softly. "Remember, Stay close to me or Gaheris. " She promised gently, She could see excitement was in Ruth's eyes. No doubt eager to see the dancing. But this place would be filled with nobility and Ruth could easily accidentally offend someone.

Gavin thus then motioned for her to follow her in. Saying as she walked. "Gaheris should already be here. If not, I imagine he'll arrive soon. " Her brother better not be late! They did not want to be rude, And her gaze was soon scanning around. Her brother- She should find Gaheris first. Except it was hard to keep herself from searching for Lance. Was he here already? Or would he wait until later to join them? Gavin wasn't sure and she tried to ensure her posture did not reflect her nerves.
(Poor Ethan :( Arthur is going to need some comfort.
haha yeah I think Galehaut will take the opportunity to mess with Silas and Arthur, now that Caroline ‘knows’ he can just touch Silas more, hold his hand or kiss his neck and whisper things to him. I think he’ll enjoy annoying Arthur with that)

It felt like it was a long time coming but the night of the ball was here. Lance was nervous, he’d felt weird ever since the letter from Caroline and he’d done his best to reconcile with it but he figured Caleb still thought he was acting a bit jittery. He’d stashed The letter in his room but sometimes he pulled it out in the night just to check he wasn’t in some strange dream. Lance had sent a letter back, just saying that it was wonderful news, albeit shocking and that he couldn’t wait to see them again and hoped they stayed safe, that he missed them but unfortunatrly his life didn't stop whilst they were away, a small message to Caroline that he would try his best to take her advice and move on And also a line To ask Arthur to apologise to Silas on his behalf for misleading his intentions like that, there was certainly not future for him with the foreign prince. There was so much more he wanted to say, needed to talk to Caroline about but it couldn’t be done through a letter, he needed to see her. Caroline wasn’t the lady he was seeing tonight though, no that’s as Gavin and that gave him a whole different set of nerves. Lance always felt butterflies when he was set to meet with Gavin, the excitement at being with her and the thrill of keeping it quiet as well as the anticipation of their secret getting out and being branded crazy.

Lance wore a velvety scarlet red shirt, matching his gold and vermillion half mask. He had considered going for a full mask, meant He’d be less likely to be identified however he decided against that simply because it meant he’d have no chance to kiss Gavin. He wasn’t saying he’d manage to but he wanted his options open. He had let Gavin know beforehand what he’d be wearing so she could pick him out of the crowd. The ball would be busy and unless you knew who you were looking for then it might be difficult to tell who anyone really was. Lance was already inside, waiting to spot Gavin and when she walked in his lips lifted into an automatic smile. Lance had already had a bit to drink, to help settle his nerves but Gavin would be a good distraction from his other problems he figured, she always made his brain do funny things.

Lance didn’t get to greet her on arrival though, then again that was maybe too eager and unusual. Gaheris was making his way to them first. He wore silver and blue and the colours added a different sort of harshness to his face, not a cruelty but a highlighting of his features. Gawain and Agravain were more accomplished and arguably more handsome but tonight he looked good, cheekbones illuminated by his half mask and no snarl on his face. He almost looked happy to be here, eyes bright and shining as he approached. It was good to be out of the house, away from Agravain and Caleb and he too had already had a drink, thought it best to get a little tipsy before Gavin came and told him off but he wasn’t drunk at least, just a small buzz. He even smiled at them, wow, he really was different than when Ruth had first met him. “Beat you here” he said to Gavin, sticking his tongue out, maybe a bit childish but she was his big sister, he was allowed to be a little bit of a brat to her! He let his eyes drift to Ruth though and okay yeah, she did look pretty, a lot better than she had in those raggedy clothes she’d worn on the whole journey. She looked like she was worth a bit more now. “Look at you all cleaned up” Gaheris said but his voice wasn’t snarky and if anything was encouraging, not predatory like Ruth might expect but more joking as if they were friends. “I know it’s a lot of people but at least you haven’t got to worry about remembering anyones names tonight” he said to Ruth, the whole point was meant to be anonymity, unless you were really getting on.
(Galehaut's gonna be teasing Arthur and Silas so much. I love how obvious it is to Galehaut that Arthur and Silas are into each other. Lmao. )

Gavin sadly was unable to spot Lance right away, But she tried not to let that disappointment shown. Besides, She didn't get much time to look for her brother was soon approaching. He wasn't even late and seemed to have a cheerful disposition. Both were rather surprising feats. But Gavin was glad to see. He wasn't behaving in the most polite fashion with that tongue. But Gavin could drill him on his manners later! No. Instead she mused. "That you did, I think thats a first! " She mused. Her gaze then moved towards Ruth, Who.. Was a bit more hesitant when Gaheris approached. Though she did stand a bit taller at the encouragement.

Ruth then was saying. "You don't look to bad yourself. " She said playfully. Her attention though soon was going to some of the other figures. Breathing. "Everything is so pretty here. " And she was right, Some of the gowns were beautiful, clearly work had been done to make sure the ball would be lovely. Gavin smiled as she listened to Ruth. Before focusing on her brother. Teasing. "She is right, You look like a proper gentleman. " It was nice seeing him all dressed up. She then glanced towards some of the other figures and urged. "Hey, Why don't you keep Ruth company. I need to talk to a few of the nobles. " -And see about finding Lance. Though such was something she did not say aloud. Ruth was not so eager to be left behind with Gaheris. There was a certain nervousness on her face. But neither were really being given much choice. As Gavin was already beginning to walk away. Well- Wasn't that just great.

Ruth thus was left behind with Gaheris, And atleast she knew she had some safety do to the number of folks around. It would make it difficult for things to take a turn. Ruth then found herself asking. "Have you been to many of these? Are they always so busy? " Her tone curious. Sure, Gaheris was a noble. But he'd also spent much of his time off questing with Gawain. So he might not be that experienced with such things.
(Yeah he doesn’t have that much patience for it either, he just knows they aren’t going to be able to keep apart for ever and just wants them to get it over with but he’s going to have fun in the meantime.)

Ruth and Gaheris were getting on alright so far. Things between them and been better Lately, Gaheris more relaxed in her presence, not as pushy and even sort of nice at times. Something had definitely changed but he hadn’t given any hint as to what, perhaps it was just being back home? It probably helped she was no longer his slave, meant he had less power over her and in the house with Agravain and Caleb she was almost an ally compared to the married couple.

They we’re being left alone which was….a bold choice. Gaheris was nicer but not necessarily nice all the time, he seemed okay now though and the crowd would help. “A few” he said. “Sometimes Gawain would get invited to balls at the places we helped out” he murmured. “But parties thrown by the palace are always better” More money and more people. “You’re going to have to get used to crowds, you live with nobles now” he told her with a small smirk. Caleb from nobility and obviously so did Gaheris’ family, she should gain some practice in rubbing elbows with the upper class. “Come on, let’s grab a drink whilst Gavin isn’t looking” he suggested, going to take Ruth’s elbow and guide her towards some alcohol, might help her relax. His grip was surpassingly soft, nothing compared to when he’d cornered her before and threatened her. He kept close to her, pressing through the throng of people but again he wasn’t trying to crowd her, he was being respectful.

Lance watched Gavin split off from her brother and took a moment before going to approach her. “Do you think it’ll gain too much attention if I dance with the prettiest lady at the ball” Lance asked, reaching out to touch her arm and draw her gaze to him. He smiled at her, soft and cheeky. “You look lovely tonight” he complimented. In her dress you could really tell she came from high blood, she was stunning and Lance felt jealous than anyone else got to look at her. He had noticed she’d brought Ruth with her though and left the girl with Gaheris, he’d keep an eye on them tonight but hopefully he wouldn’t have to break anything up, he didn’t want Gaheris knowing he was talking to, and hopefully at some point dancing with, Gavin. “Tell me you didn’t come with a date, it’d break my heart” he murmured going to take her hand and bring it to his lips. “I want you all to myself” he breathed.
Ruth probable should start getting used to being around nobility. She was friends with nobility now after all. Gaheris was then suggesting they go drink. Something Ruth was a bit more hesitant about. But she wasn't given much choice. Gaheris was soon taking her arm and pulling her along. And Ruth found herself feeling a bit uncertain. She'd only tasted alcohol a few times in her life. Wasn't that keen on it. She also wasn't sure if drinking here was really that good of a idea. But for now? Well, She bit her tongue and simply followed after Gaheris. Hopeful that his good mood would last.

It didn't take long before Lance was finding Gavin. His voice quickly catching her attention and it was difficult to keep herself from blushing at his words. Soon turning to face him at his touch. Smiling. "No, I suppose it would be fitting for the handsomest man. " She said playfully. And well... It was easy to find herself admiring him. Even under the mask anyone could tell he was a handsome. That smile of his? It was hard not to be drawn to. Lance was then taking her hand and well, He always seemed to know just what to say to get her feeling flustered. Gavin then said. "I... Well... I guess I was waiting for someone. But I think I've found him. " She said gently. Stumbling a bit threw her words. Normally she was not so easily tongue tied. But it always felt like Lance did this to her.

A part of her was tempted to lean closer, To give him a kiss on the cheek. Or maybe a more proper one. But Gavin was sure that would cause certainly plenty of gossip from those who knew who she was. But a dance? Gavin would likely dance with others during the night. Thus it would not be such cause for attention. Gavin then asked curiously. "Hmm... Would it be too early in the night to dance do you think? " She asked. She could see a few couples already dancing. Though most were simply socializing for the moment.
Ruth probably didnt want to get drunk in case Gaheris tried anything funny but he was only handing her a small glass of wine, nothing too strong and not a Lot either. A lot of people were drinking though and some would likely end up feeling terrible the next morning. Gaheris wasn’t stultifying enough to Try and get that drunk though whilst he was here with his sister, he was still in good terms with Gavin and didn’t really want that to change. That also meant that he had Another reason to get along with Ruth, Gavin wanted them to be friends. Maybe he’d dance later although dancing had never been his favourite thing but Ruth might enjoy it.

Lance’s smile widened as Gavin’s mask failed to hide her blush and he moved closer as he was complimented. He felt surprisingly easy in her presence even when everyone else was around, something about her made him feel like he was floating and even with everyone around them he felt like this moment was private. He didn’t drop her hand but just held it as he let the hand drop somewhat. “It’s never too early for a dance” he insisted and went to pull her towards the dancing couples, still grinning.

How many people knew who Gavin was, that she was the one in that mask? Lance hadn't really told people he was going although some had likely guessed he’d appear and his father knew since he was babysitting Galahad. People might gossip about her, the recently widowed niece of the king dancing with a flirtatious man? Especially if she didn’t end up dancing with anyone else. He went to put an arm around her waist, his hand going to grip her hand more tightly and worked on leading her round the dance floor, settling his face close to hers. “Did you even think this would happen?” He asked softly, they were dancing together in public, who would’ve ever believed that would happen? “ive Wanted to go dancing with you for a while,” he admitted. “being so close….getting to hold you in public“ he squeezed her a little tighter, “I like our private moments but this…..it’s nice to Be with you around people” They we’re still in danger of getting caught, they were still hiding but it was nice to dance in public with her, and thrilling too. ”I bet everyone’s jealous that I get to dance with you” he murmured, leaning in so his lips brushed her ear. “I’m not sure you understand how beautiful you look tonight” he’d already complimented her but just wow, he wouldn’t be forgetting this look In a long Time. This felt like a key example of why Lance was attracted to Strong women but not Caleb. She wouldn’t be caught dead in a dress like that but Gavin seemed quite at home with it. She was quite feminine in her strength.
It seemed Lance was already excited to dance. For he was soon leading her along, And then next thing Gavin knew the two of them were rather close. They needed to be to properly dance of course. But this felt far more intimate and Gavin's face felt hot. Something she hoped Lance did not notice. His face was so near hers though. Gavin then said. "I still hardly believe its happening. " She breathed. It certainly was not something she would have predicted to happen. Lance seemed to enjoy being so near her. In front of others. It was as if they were in a more.. Proper relationship.

Then he was whispering in her ear and gosh darn that man. He had to know what he was doing. Gavin found herself leaning forward. Resting her forehead on his shoulder. Half to hide her flustered face. "You uh- You... I.. " And she was tongue tied. She never normally got like this with others. She could speak to nobles easily. Was not afraid to face rather intimidating folks. But Lance? He was much more difficult to deal with. Him whispering in her ear, Her leaning against him. For those who recognized them? Well, It would soon enough cause some whispers certainly. But Gavin ignored that. Instead she simply enjoyed being close to Lance.

They were soon to be noticed. Ruth had accepted the wine. Though had yet to take a sip. Her eyes having wandered back to the dancing couples. Admiring a few of the gowns. When she paused. Saying. "I didn't know Lady Gavin was with someone. " She suddenly said, It wasn't hard to spot Gavin's dress. She was dancing with a man. Rather closely. Though from where they stood, Ruth could not get a good look at him. There were also people a bit in the way that ment it was a touch hard to get a good look at him. But she could see Gavin's head on his shoulder and well... How near they danced? Ruth could not help but to think the two were together.
Was it a bit like a fairytale to her? She’d said she’d not really been in a relationship besides with her husband so getting swept off her feet was likely a new experience and he hoped she was enjoying it. Her heated face certainly seemed to imply she was. He wanted to whisk her around this dance floor and never stop although realistically he knew that was impossible and his feet would start hurting but he’d put up with that pain for Gavin, to just hold her a bit longer, he always felt like their moments were cut short, scrabbling to go back into hiding, they could never truly enjoy lazy moments together or simple pleasures like this.

He did so love making her lose her composure. The woman who could run circles around any in the king’s court, who could put Morgan back in her place and whisper in the king’s ear, she fell apart when around him. It was extremely satisfying to know he made her big brain go blank in favour of her feelings. Lance let out a low chuckle, careful to not let his voice drift too far. Laughs were often distinctive and he wanted this to stay intimate, not be interrupted by them being identified. “Cat got your tongue?” He asked in amusement. “I might have to Ask the cat if I can borrow it in a bit” he teased, and with her forehead rested against his shoulder it exposed her neck somewhat and he let his lips ghost a little further down, aiming to send shivers down her spine as he traced her skin delicately with his lips. Okay yeah, maybe he needed to tone it down a little, they were in public and people would definitely be talking .

Gaheris was happily in his own world, letting his eyes drift from lady to lady admiring the view but Ruth’s words jolted him out of his daze. He snapped his gaze to his sister, able to spot her dress easily and His eyes narrowed at the jerk all over her. “She isn’t” Gaheris growled, good mood starting to evaporate. Who did that guy think he was holding his sister Like that? She was recently widowed! She was a mother! She didn’t need some creep hassling her and getting all up in her business. He should go and rescue her from this nightmare! So, Gaheris quickly downed the rest of his drink and went to push through thr crowds towards Gavin, not checking If Ruth was following, the girl briefly forgotten in favour of protectiveness over his sister. Gavin had told Ruth to stay near though so hopefully She’d listen, or somehow manage to keep Gaheris back. This could end quite badly if Gaheris didn’t like what he heard and decided something more physical was in order. Luckily Lance was on the ball though as he spotted Gaheris approaching; he’d known the moment was too good to be true! “Gaheris alert” he murmured, giving her enoug warning that they could seperate in time if she wished to intercept her brother.
It was nice being so near Lance, It seemed he found her stumbling over herself amusing judging by his soft laughter as well as his words. Then, Gavin felt his lips on her neck and oh- Gavin hoped no one was looking there way. For his attempts were successful. Causing Gavin to squeak. "Lance! " Her tone quiet though as to avoid others hearing. Alas, They were not to be alone for long. Trust siblings to come along when one would prefer some privacy. Carefully, Gavin straightened. Glancing towards Gaheris as they danced. Yup, He did not look happy. She had a feeling if they continued Gaheris might forcefully seperate them.

Thus, Gavin was soon slowing down and separating herself from Lance. She took a step back and curtsied. Easily saying. "Thank you for the dance sir. " As if he was simply any other nobleman she might have accepted a dance from. Had Gaheris seen how close they were? The kisses on her neck? Would he notice the redness to her face? Atleast her mask helped cover such things a bit. Gavin then was turning towards Gaheris as he approached. Ruth was scurrying after him. Finding it a bit difficult to keep up. But she managed. Soon stopping as they reached Gavin.

Gavin then said. "Just in time, Gaheris! I was seeing about dancing with some of the nobles around. Don't suppose you'd want to dance with your big sister? " She suddenly said. Offering her hand. A hope to make the entire situation seem dismissive. As if it was of little importance. That might not ease Gaheris's anger though. And Gavin noticed that Ruth was looking in Lance's direction. Squinting slightly before getting a puzzled look on her face. As if she was confused about something. But whatever was on her mind she kept silent about.
Lance was being pretty bold, the night was still young and he already had his lips on Gavin, granted he wasn’t making out with her but it looked pretty intimate and got them a few glances. Of course it also got them a fuming Gaheris who was breaking up their little dance. What a shame, Lance would have to return to her later once Gaheris was suitably distracted. Lance gave her a small bow in return of her curtsy but decided speaking would be a bad idea, just giving Gavin a nod of acknowledgment, his gaze drifted briefly to Ruth before decided to disappear back into the crowd. Oh, that had been quite close.

Gaheris was not placated by Gavin’s offer. “Who was that man?” Gaheris asked, tone accusing. Something about him had seemed familiar but Gaheris couldn’t put his finger on it. Let’s be honest, he would never guess it was Lance, he didn’t think his sister would betray him like that and he’d be devastated once he found out she had. He didn’t look happy and He wasn’t one for dancing but it was rude to refuse and if he danced that meant he could interrogate her a bit more. He scowled briefly before looking at Ruth, it’d be a bit difficult for her to stay close whilst they were dancing, she could watch from the sidelines though. “We’ll be back soon” he promised before going to take Gavin’s hand so he could dance with her. They certainly wouldn’t be as close as her and Lance had been though. That meant Ruth could always approach the mystery man if she wanted now She was separated from Gaheris and Gavin!

”I saw what he was doing to you“ Gaheris told Gavin. “It was disgusting. You don’t have to put up with that” it seemed he figured that Gavin wouldn’t like that sort of attention, that it hadn’t been mutual. He figured she was probably just putting up with it because she was polite, when she should be shutting them down and telling them off. “You tell me who it was and I’ll sort them out for you” he promised Gavin.
Lance was quick to make himself scarce. Good, They didn't want Gaheris confronting him. Luckily Gaheris was accepting Gavin's offer to dance. Which should keep him from giving chase. Gaheris was promising to be back soon to Ruth, But Ruth only gave him a small nod as a note to signal she heard. Her gaze scanning the crowd. Gavin then was moving to go dance and well... As annoying as it was, Gavin found Gaheris's worry sweet. She didn't need his protection, But it was nice to know he was ready to defend her. Thus she softly said. "He was no one important. " She expressed. He had wanted to know who Lance was after all. Hopefully that should get rid of some of his questions. Except it seemed Gaheris had seen atleast a bit. Who else had seen? Gavin was really struggling to stop blushing tonight. But in the end she shook her head. "You're offer is sweet Gaheris. But there are some battles I can't have you fight for me. " She didn't want him starting any fights!

Gavin then ensured. "Don't worry, If I do need help. You'll be the first one I ask for. " Which, Those words weren't exactly ungrounded. Her relationship with her other siblings had been rather shaky lately. If she needed help, Gaheris was someone she trusted. Though she likely would not want to involve him too much in her business. Gavin then mused. "But enough about him, How are you and Ruth getting along? You'll need to give her a dance as well. " She urged. A small hope to change the subject.

Meanwhile, Ruth had been keeping a eye on there mysterious stranger. She waited until Gaheris and Gavin were stepping away to dance before she was soon walking along. It was not so easy to move threw the crowd. Ruth was small and it made keeping her eyes on Lance difficult when walking threw a group of people. But eventually, She was reaching her goal. Right behind Lance. And this close? Yep, She'd recognize that man anywhere. Soon enough she was speaking up, Making her presence known. "Hey Lance, Um... Whatcha doing? " She asked curiously. Because what the heck was he doing here? Dancing with Gavin? Anyone could see the oddness in the situation and Ruth could not help her curiousity.
Gavin was not in short supply of protective brothers but she was able to keep Lance from being confronted for the moment. Gaheris scowled as he brushed his off. Of course the person had been a nobody but that didn’t mean Gaheris couldn’t teach them a lesson for her! He didn’t see why he couldn’t fight this battle but he also knew Gavin wasn’t weak or a pushover, she was capable of putting people in their places. Still, if would’ve been nice to do that for her! He was reassured somewhat that should any more trouble come knocking that he’d be her first port of call.

She was trying to turn the conversation on him and he gave her a bit of a funny look but relented, his big sister did like to know these sort of things. “Fine” he insisted. “I don’t think she’ll want to dance with me though” he told Gavin. Sure things were easier between them now but that didn’t mean Ruth trusted him or particularly wanted to be close to him, he understood that and he would never force someone to dance because well…he didn’t like it himself. ” she looks pretty tonight” he admitted, his own cheeks heating up at the thought. “You pick that dress out for her?” Yeah Ruth looked like an actual lady, it was sort of weird fo see but it was nice.

Lance was thinking he’d gotten away, that it’d been close but he was safe for now. Wrong. He jumped as he heard his name. He hadn’t really told anyone he’d be attending so the last thing he expected was ro be addressed. Ruth had identified him though, she’d spent more than enough time with him in close quarters to be able to tell him apart in a crowd like this. Gaheris didn’t have that problem so much since he didn’t like Lance so did his best to ignore him most of the trip. Now, Lance had a few options here: pretend he didn’t hear, deny that it was him (although as soon as his mouth opened that would reveal it truly was him) or to greet her. Lance had already jumped so he figured the game had been given away, he turned and flashed her an unassuming smile. “What do you mean? I’m Enjoying the party” he said as a way of explanation.

Lance knew he’d been seen, Ruth knew he’d been seen the question was whether they address it or skip round it. Just because Lance wasn’t lying about who he was didn’t mean he was going to come clean about his intentions here. Ruth was tenacious though and could very well drag it out of him. On the kne hand he would like to talk to someone about it and he did trust Ruth but on the other hand….him and Gavin had both agreed it was best kept a secret between them. There was basically no denying it had been him dancing with Gavin though. He could lie but it wouldn’t be credible, Ruth had seen him, tracked him down in his distinctive outfit and come to question him. He knew he’d gone too far; it was one thing just dancing with Gavin but he’d been all over her, too familiar and clearly intimate for all to see.
Gaheris luckily seemed willing to let the topic change. Gavin soon tilted her head before musing. "It can't hurt to ask her. " Ruth might not want to be so near Gaheris, Might be wary, It was also likely she wouldn't know how to dance. But Gavin thought that was fine, As long as the two of them had fun. Gaheris was calling Ruth pretty and Gavin could see the blush on his face. It soon caused a large smile forming on her face. Oooh, Did her little brother have a crush? It looked like he did. Gavin did not comment on it, But one could easily tell she was amused.

Gavin then nodded, Saying softly. "Mmhmm, She seemed to enjoy trying on clothes. I also got her a few dresses to take home. " It had made Gavin wonder if Ruth had ever gotten to shop for such things before. Likely not, She'd seen the scars over her. Gavin then said. "That girls had a hard life. Treat her well. " Because Gaheris clearly liked Ruth atleast a bit, And maybe Gavin was assuming to much. But she would not mind so much if Ruth and Gaheris were together. Sure, It might be better for Gaheris to be with someone closer to his station. But Ruth was sweet and Gavin thought she'd be good for her brother.
Of course, Ruth might not be so keen on the idea.

It was hard for Ruth not to snicker at the way Lance jumped. Yep, It seemed she was correct and she was soon moving to stand beside him. Oh, So it seemed he was dodging the question. Something that had Ruth raising her eyebrow. She then mused. "I didn't know you'd be here. " She pointed out. She was sure she had mentioned at some point her going to the ball. She'd been excited about it. So why hadn't he mentioned he'd also be there? It seemed like something he should have brought up! But... Lance didn't seem to want others to know of his presence.

Ruth then hummed and said. "...I see both you and Gavin were enjoying the party a lot. " She pointed out. Yep, She wasn't beating around the bush. Getting right to the point. She'd seen how intimate they had seemed. Whatever was going on between them must have been rather friendly. Which... Was a odd thought. From her knowledge didn't they hate each other? So what were they doing?

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