It's a chill and overcast day in Fort Brunsett, but the inside of the Winter Palace is, despite the name, quite cozy. It's just starting to fill up for the lunch service when Carter and his impromptu entourage arrive - and are, given both Carter's reputation as possessing a bottomless checkbook and his sheer Carter-ness, immediately ushered into one of the choicer booths near the back corner.
Carter himself takes one of the seats on the edge of the booth, hooking his cane over the corner of the table as he seats himself and gestures for his companions to take up their own spots as they so choose. "Miss Widget, do try to avoid getting too much grease on the upholstery. Mister King, Miss Lilith... please, do not bother yourselves with the cost of this meal. I relish the occasional opportunity to actually open my wallet for something that might prove even the slightest bit genuinely entertaining."
Lilith sits in her seat looking every bit as uncomfortable as she figured she be when she agreed to go out in public with her fellow Lost. At least two of them are known to her, and one of those isn't completely terrifying. So there's that.
She sits almost perfectly still, her hands folded in her lap, only her head moving occasionally to look around, or track a sudden sound, "Thank you for inviting me. I haven't been to a restaurant since I've been back. It's..." she offers up a shrug, and doesn't finish that thought, "I suppose this is no big deal to anyone else, huh? Feels like a big deal for some reason. Like any minute people are just going to start staring at us."
Damion isn't terrifying at all! ...if you discount his size, appearance and Wyrd. Okay, his personality isn't terrifying. Unless he's angry. But luckily he tends to be fairly laid back for a Summer. He tends to show up at times where a Widget appears, so ended up swept into the visit to the restaurant. He relaxes in his seat, wearing a black and gray suit as he glances over the menu. "No problem. I like coming ot this place anyway. Thanks for inviting me along, though." He considers Lilith thoughtfully for a time. "We've met before, right? You seem familiar anyway." He considers her words and then finally says, "A lot of things are going to feel a bit off for a while. And some of those won't really change as time goes by." Since they're in public and all, he doesn't specify why.
Is Widget one of the scary ones? She's not...she doesn't /look/ scary, but given how the two others are handling her it's clear there's something....off. So far it's benign, keeping her steered in the right direction, keeping her in the booth, making sure she's dressed properly for the weather, that sort of thing. Damion looks like he could easily sling her over his shoulder if something happens, and it might have a few times.
Widget is really nice, at least. Just happy to be here with a new face in a new place! With food. Endless foooood. Doesn't seem all that talkative, though. Hasn't said anything, just trying to hug everyone before fidgeting in her spot next to the giant dragon man.
Carter, in contrast to everyone else at the booth, is indeed terrifying. It's something about him, something about the sheer, mind-crushing weight of his Wyrd that just... bleeds through. It makes it hard to focus, when looking at him. Makes the brain default to thoughts of subservience and fawning attention. The Lost can fight it. The mortals around them, not so much.
There are, indeed, stares focused on the booth. They're just focused on Carter, rather than any of his companions. Lilith escapes the spotlight for the moment, though it is quite close. And the waiter comes running perhaps a bit unnaturally quickly when Carter snaps his fingers and says, "Drinks, anyone?"
A hug? Human, or even Lost, contact isn't something Lilith's very familiar with, and other than the occasional handshake, she's gone without it for quite some time. So she's a little stiff, when hugged. She's pretty stiff and still anyway, so maybe it goes unnoticed.
"We met briefly, yes," She says, risking a glance Damion's way, "In the cemetery. I don't blame you for not remembering, I was the most uninteresting person there that day." She picks up her menu and starts to read it when Carter speaks again, which draws her attention away and to the strange Fae-like fae she was too afraid to refuse to go out to eat with, "Do they have Orange juice, you think? I think I would like an orange juice. Some colorful juice at least..." she tears her eyes away from The Devil and goes back to the Menu, focusing much too intently on it.
Damion raises a rather large hand and scritches the scalp of the fidgety gremlin in a soothing sort of way, glancing around the restaurant and noting the stares. He admitedly keeps a close eye on Carter himself. From how Widget seems to act towards him he's pretty sure that he's not a bad guy. But he just feels too... similar to the Gentry for him to be able to relax entirely around the guy. Gimp legs or no. He knows some Lost are like that. But since he's known some like that to actually end up going full Gentry, that doesn't really make him feel any better. He turns his attention back to Lilith and smiles. "Right. The cute girl hanging around when I saw Rorschach again. Sorry. I hadn't seen him in a long time, and he kind of took most of my focus."
Widget maybe leaves some odd stains of Lilith's clothes, but otherwise is doing little but stare. Her eyes slide over to Carter when he talks, but everything else is just Lilith. She's good at staring. Her eyes are wide and bright and curious, almost innocent in a way. But there's that little bit in there too. The impish gleam, mad scientist glare, the cold appraisal of someone making blueprints. That's a lot ot cram into such a small brain, but it seems to even out.
Of course, there's also the fact that she's vibrating and fidgeting and looks like she's either going to explode or bite someone. The dragon seems to calm her down, though, as does the devil. Now she's just drawing quietly on a grubby piece of paper and waiting for food or something, between staring sessions.
Maybe there's more to her. Hopefully.
Carter waits for a moment to see if Widget or Damion is about to place a drink order, then sighs faintly when none are forthcoming. "Orange juice, then," he says to the waiter, without actually looking at them. "And waters for the rest of us. And whatever your best wine is, for myself. And I mean the /best/ wine," he adds, a bit sharply. "I'll know if it isn't, and I don't appreciate being tested."
And he waves a hand to dismiss the waiter, who scurries away, looking petrified, before plucking up a menu and burying his nose in it. Which is probably good for the rest of the Lost at the table, as it does just the slightest bit to mask that overpowering sense of Wyrd pouring off of him.
Staring? Lilith has no problem with the staring. It's something she has in common with the other woman, that wide eyed fascination with the new and the shiny and the scary, "Oh don't worry about it. I was intruding, I'm sure. Interrupting a very personal gathering, from the looks of it." the Darkling peeks up over the top of her menu at the Dragon, and then it's back down to reading, or pretending too. At least, until Carter speaks again, and his tone, and his words leave Lilith's eyes glowing a soft white as she stares at him, almost completely obscuring her pupils and the thin black lines around her iris', "Do..." she shakes her head, looks from Damion to Widget, and then decides something in her menu needs her immediate attention.
Humans aren't the only ones who are attracted to the table. Damion spots it first, followed by Widget, then Lilith. A large cat, white, fluffy, pads down the aisle toward their table, seeming oddly flexible in size. It fits where it shouldn't, none of the humans even seem to notice it is there, and when it sits beside them, its head is above the edge of the table. It has a neat little bow around its neck at a jaunty angle. Its tail curls about its paws, and it regards the group with rosy eyes.
Damion blinks a few times, then when he realizes it's time to order a drink, he gets a soda for himself. When Widget tries to order a beer... he lets her. But he probably will try to cut off any follow-up alcohol. He goes back to studying his menu, though he occasionally scans the room still. Always vigilant and all that. He cocks his horned head to the side as he considers Lilith and says, "Do I what, hon?" Curiosity in that deep bass. There WOULD be a noticeable area of warmth around the big man, if he wasn't right by a much stronger Wyrd with a no doubt comparable Mantle. As it is, he still radiates a bit of heat just from his natural body temperature. His eyes drift to the side, and he spots the cat. His hairless brows raise as he considers the large beast. He shifts a little in his seat, ready to raise fast to his feet if it proves to be a threat. It just sits by the table though and he looks quietly at it for a time before saying, "Hello."
Kitty!? Widget stares, sharp smile breaking out as she goes to touch it. As if it would help, she's got a small but of food in he rother hand. Just a meat-snack looted from an unattended shelf, plastic packaging keeping the little meat thingie safe from being in skin-contact with Widget. So yes she's going to at least /try/ and touch the giant pretty cat. With rusty and greasy mitts coated in rust and solvents and who knows what else. The gremlin looks /so happy/.
Carter peruses the menu idly for a few seconds, until Lilith poses her unfinished question. "Do I what?" he asks, as he lowers the menu to the tabletop - and spots the cat. Immediately, one of his eyebrows lifts slightly, and his head cants over to one side as he observes its approach. There's no sign of alarm or suspicion in his features. Just slightly blank, good-natured interest.
Which, with the Devil, is quite uncommon.
When Widget leans over to try and touch it, he thwaps the back of her hand, very gently, with the menu. It's probably unnecessary, as Damion is sitting between her and the feline, but he does it anyway. "It is rude, Miss Widget, to attempt to touch others without their permission," he says mildly - but his voice, despite its gentle tone, carries all the hypnotic weight it ever has. And then he turns his eyes towards the cat.
"Well, well," he murmurs quietly. "What /do/ we have here?"
Thank god for small favours! With both Damion and Carter inquiring about the question she almost, but didn't ask, Lilith was feeling more than a little uncomfortable. Especially since her eyes were drawn to The Devil when he spoke, "Uh," and then there's a Kitty, and that's got everyone's attention, which is just fine by the Darkling. Not so much with her little companion, however, who peeks out of Lilith's hood and chitters softly before disappearing again. And Lilith? She takes this time to finally get a good look at Widget without being noticed. Probably. Apparently fluffy white cats aren't the Moonborn's thing.
The restaurant slowly seems to fade, almost as though the booth and those around the table, cat included, weren't quite in the same reality. Sound softens, lessens, but doesn't disappear entirely. It's just less distracting, leaving ample room to hear the fact that the rose-eyed feline answers Damion with a polite, "Greetings and salutations, beloved of my Lady." The cat lowers its head in a brief bow, ears flattening in submission, then rising again to perk up attentively toward those at the table.
The cat gazes at Widget with a mournful air. "You who have seen Her in Her glory, how can I compare?"
Seeing that rusty mitt reaching for the cat, Damion grabs the girls wrist. He's not really worried about her getting the cat dirty, he just is afraid it might bite her or something if she touches it. "Hold on a sec, Wij." He turns his attention back to the cat. Taking in its unusual size, appearance, and of course the fact that it walked through a restaurant without any of the humans noticing it. Clearly a creature of the Wyrd. The it speaks, and he frowns a little. Has... anybody actually explained the incident in the Hedge to him? Probably not. "I'm sorry, I don't know what Lady you're refering to." Then the cat directly addresses Widget, and his brows raise again as he looks at the Gremlin for some insight on what's happening. "What're they talking about, Wij?" If she DOES look like she's trying to reach for explosives or something, he'll stop her.
Oh, Widget is ready to /go/. The second that thing opened it's mouth to talk about that thing something in Widget went a little funny. Now it's sending /other stuff/ and they're...she...
The knee-jerk reaction of 'burn it all' falters when Damion grabs her wrist. It's a little unnerving to see if someone hasn't yet. Widget looked quite prepared to blow up this entire place and everyone in it and looked like she was going to /enjoy/ it. Once that fades, it's clear it's born of weariness and fear and confusion, the gremlin going from mad bomber to a weakling way over her head.
Looking between Carter and Damion, Widget inhales and speaks up after a few seconds. It's high and quick, accented with what could be a Mexican tinge. The reedy notes of genuine insanity seem to a new addition, likely because of all of this. "Go. Away. ...F-forever."
The cat takes on a roseate glow, its entire demeanour warming with an air of loving awe and adoration for the one of which it speaks. "My Lady is Love, O Scaled-in-Red One, Companion to she who saw Her, Possessed of Barbells blessed by Her Love."
Yep. Damion has himself a pretty nifty title there.
"The Short-and-Greasy One met my Lady in the thorny wilds, alongside two mighty warriors," the cat explains, veritably quivering with affection for this mysterious Lady person. "My Lady wishes me to bear you all her affections, and Her protestations of innocence; She cannot understand your fear for Her-" but the cat can? its tone seems to imply so, "-and wishes you all only the warmest, most wonderful things."
Carter listens patiently while the cat makes its little spiel, hands folded politely on the tabletop in front of him. His eyes look away from the cat only once, to catch Widget's gaze and give her a single, reassuring nod. "You're safe, Miss Widget," he says quietly - but, again, even when speaking quietly, the Devil's words are hypnotic and powerful.
This is doubly apparent when he raises his voice, just slightly, bringing it back up to a normal conversational volume. "Your Lady," he says, in a pleasant baritone, "has sent me dreams also. It's obvious from these that she means us no harm, but one does have to wonder what it is that she actually /wants/, out of all of this."
Michelle walks into the restaurant, late. She assures the host that she can find Carter's table--much to the man's relief--and walks to the back, before blinking. It takes a moment, and then--oh. Oh. Michelle peers at the cat from behind it, and stares at the Lost in front of said cat. "What do we have here..." she murmurs in her smoky voice. "Do you need any assistance I might provide?" she asks of the assembled motley crew. (but not a capital-M Motley, mind.) Biting her lip, she tilts her head.
Fluffy white cat's might not be Lilith's thing, but talking Fluffy white cat? That's a horse of a different color. The room starts to fade and shift, and that has the Darkling's head whipping around to face the kitty, and has her companion once more peeking out from it's nest in her hood. Both Octavia and Lilith just stare at the thing, eyes threatening to pop out, and the hedge beast companion hisses. She watches the cat for a moment, but slowly she turns to look over at her companions, her attention finally coming to rest on Widget, though her words are for all that the tables, "Is...is this sort of thing normal?" No, no from the looks of things, this is not, and her voice trails off so she's practically muttering to herself, "We should have known better, Oh..."
And then, from the haze and strangeness, there comes a Michelle, and now Lilith is good and confused as to how she should be feeling. She'd wave at the girl she thinks is her friend, but given the situation, she opts to let the adults handle things, and merely mouths a silent "Hello" to the Fairest.
This sort of desperation from Widget is kind of unnerving. He shifts in his seat to block the cats view of the gremlin as much as he can, turning in hsi seat to face it more fully. There's a frown starting to grow on his lips, a dangerous light entering his eyes. Definetly not normal, and clearly not something that his favorite little gremlin wants to be happening. "Listen... I'd like to talk to your Lady. Face to face. Would that be possible?" He leans forward some.
The cat yearns toward Carter when he speaks, plainly not immune to the power and the beauty of the Devil's voice, and confirms, "Yes, O Devil whom She favours," while performing the stereotypical feline act of oozing in defiance of having actual bones in order to attempt fawning over the crimson-skinned Spring, pressing close. "My Lady would never harm Her beloveds. Their hearts are Her home, and She wishes only for their affection in return."
The arrival of Michelle is met with a brief bristling of fur for the intrusion, then a more formal pose, rather than the near-worshipful adoration it had been displaying toward Carter's power. "Greetings and salutations," it tells the striking stranger. "I am but a humble Loved One, come to speak Love's truth to Her beloveds, as She cannot do."
Widget's face when she notices Michelle is something to see. It's a combo of "pretty girl wat do" and "Another one!?". She doesn't know her, and as far as she can tell it's another plant by the thing that's been messing with for quite a while now. Even if she is blushing like a dork. She squishes against Damion, hiding behind him. It's...it's not hard to do that.
She can still yell at that dumb mean cat, though. "Have that! Just.../stop./" Her voice breaks a little, brave front faltering. There's a waver in her words that sounds like the next few ones might be more tear-filled than needed. "M-make her go away."
Carter glances sideways at Michelle when she arrives. "Ah," he says. "Miss Hawthorne. It's been a while. Please-" he stands, unhooking his cane from the edge of the table and rising unsteadily to his hooves "-have a seat." And he gestures towards the vacated spot on the cushions of the booth before looking back towards the rest. Towards the cat. Towards Widget.
For a moment, his expression is thoughtful. Then he sighs and looks downward at the cat once again. "Your Lady's affections, well-intentioned though they may be, have been causing quite a bit of undue stress in the young one," he says. His voice retains its pleasant, conversational tone, though there is a momentary flicker of disapproval across his placid face. "She is... unused to such attentions. Perhaps your Lady might find more fulfilling partners elsewhere."
A brief flash of a smirk across his lips, and he folds his hands atop his cane. "I would offer myself, but that may be a bit too forward for your Lady's tastes."
Michelle moves to sit, falling silent. Her topaz eyes are soft, curious, and she settles in next to Lilith. Then, with a very quiet "excuse me," she squeezes in close, allowing Carter space to sit. She knows how bad his legs are.
Her eyes flicker to Damion. "Why don't you settle down? Violence won't help this," she says softly to the Summer, the Autumn's eyes dark now.
When Carter stands, Lilith looks at the empty seat next to her, an escape completely possible for her and Squirrel Friend. A way out of what is clearly a facet of Changeling life she's unprepared for. But she can't. She just can't move, no matter how much she may want to flee this messenger. And then, the opportunity passes, and Michelle is sliding into the booth, and up against her. She's stiff once more at the unexpected contacted, but then relaxes, and makes she's not taking up any more space than she has too, "You're excused," she whispers back after forcing her eyes away from Carter, and that voice of his, to Michelle, who's voice is equally impossible to ignore "it's very nice to see you again. Especially right now. This is all very strange and I'm not sure I know what's going on and having my friend here makes it a little easier but it's still..." the babble has started again, and Lilith knows it, which leaves her shutting her mouth so hard her jawline pulses with the effort.
The cat, in Carter's way, promptly rises to make room for him, attentive to the Devil's needs, and a waitress walking by the table with a tray of waters, orange juice and soda seems briefly confused as she does so, stepping around the cat without noticing that she had to almost lean into a different table in the process.
Once everyone other than Carter is settled again, the hip-high feline's tail-tip twitches before it bows obeisance to the Devil, visibly restraining itself from rubbing against his leg after a half-step forward almost touches the Spring's trousers. "My Lady will not understand," it tells him, fairly quivering in discomfort. "She knows only love, and love is blind, but I will do what little I can to press your point with Her."
The waitress, circling the aisle in search of their table again, is even more confused, and the cat discreetly slinks beneath it, fur soft against knees, and hisses a warning before sound crashes back to its normal levels and the table is perfectly visible once more. Looks like their drinks have arrived.
Damion is focused on the cat, not paying attention really to what the others are doing. He also ignores the words from Michelle. Whoever this Lady is, she's clearly a threat. Even if not a direct physical one. That, however, is the only kind of threatening he's particularly good at. So he's going to have to get close to her if he wants to make her stop. He reaches out with a big hand, tapping the cat on the head. "Hey. I want to talk to your Lady directly. Can you make that happen?" The fact that she messed with his gym is secondary to how it's affecting his gremlin.
Well, people seem to be handling this. Widget is very happy to scrunch into the corner of the booth in a tight ball and not do anything. Mostly because two amazing voices were also buzzing in her head and one happened to belong to a very hot woman. Poor gremlin is overfeels'd. Didn't that thing know that...
"Don't love her! N-never will! Ever!" It's more petulant than anything else, quiet and meek and powerless. "...tellherth-/that/...." Mumblegrumblewhine. The silent insult of 'You fuzzy buttface' is implied, but not said.
"So long as you tell her, then," Carter says, inclining his head towards the cat. "And let her know that, should she desire someone to talk to, that Carter Logan eagerly awaits."
And then the room is back, and Carter takes a moment to set one fingertip on the waitress' shoulder, steering her back towards the suddenly-existing-again booth. "We'll need an additional water, I think," he says, pointing that one finger towards Michelle. "And a chair brought over from the nearest table as well. Quick as you can, if you would be so good. I don't like to stand longer than I absolutely have to." And then he looks back to Widget.
The gremlin's state gets a long, considering look, and then a sigh as Carter lowers himself into the chair that is brought over for him. "As I said, Miss Widget," he says, "you're entirely safe here. Though it would probably be a good idea for you to spend another few nights at my house, so that I can keep an eye on you. And in case she comes calling again." A glance to Damion. "An actual face-to-face meeting might not be entirely inadvisable, in this case, and I'd like to be there when it happens."
Michelle shakes her head. "You're both absolutely mad." But her arm's gone around Lilith protectively, the slightly higher Wyrd woman staring around the rest of the table.
"And an explanation would be lovely, when we get back to Mr. Logan's." Because she, at least, has invited herself over to his cottage--assuming he still lives in the same place.
Mad seems about right, and Lilith's wide eyed look makes the rounds, from Goblin to Dragon, Dragon to Devil, and finally back to Michelle, the last to speak with the attention consuming voice, "Oh I'm very sure that I don't like this..." she's still talking mostly to herself, "And I do not think..." she stops talking again, because in the end, she knows she doesn't know much. So she just decides to let the others keep on doing what they're doing and just find what comfort she can in the unexpected physical contact. It's not so bad. Much better than a conversation with a Fae-possesed cat, she's clearly sure of that.
The cat, trapped under the table as it is, behaves quite admirably for a feline stuck amidst knees and dirt and feet which have no regard for its paws or tail or general comfort. It doesn't claw any of them even once.
Once the waitress is gone, returns with the chair, then leaves and returns again with the water, the fluffy white feline and its jaunty bow-tie slink out from beneath the table again, much to its relief, and if it oh so conveniently happens to brush past Carter's leg in the process, surely its weakness can be forgiven by sake of propinquity to the table leg. Surely.
"My Lady would love all who came to Her," it assures the group, "though She may not stay long in this world." Its whiskers droop, sorrowful. "She cannot understand the fears of your people." Not does not. CAN not, as though the Fae were lacking the ability. Succumbing to temptation and pressing close to Carter, head positioned oh so conveniently where it might be touched, the adoring feline promises, "I would swear on whatever you held holy that my Lady means you no harm. She would harm Herself to reach you, to love you, and has done so. The town, it is so full of iron..." The cat shivers in fear.
Widget pouts, uncurling enough to sit somewhat properly. This cat was...weird. Mean in a funny way, probably super-evil. Hers was better. Still she wasn't going to leave without some food. This was a food place. Get food.
Has the waitress been there? Is she pretty? If she's pretty, the tiny Latina gives her the most flustered and world-weary look anyone aroudn five feet has ever given anything. People /wish/ thery could get that look. Stop being so hot or I'm going to be sick. But like actually.
There's something that confused her, though, and it's not going away. "Regular cat? Once?"
"I'm sure that she doesn't," Carter says smoothly, as he reaches down to run his fingers, once, through the fur on top of the cat's head. "I knew that she didn't the moment I was appraised of her advances, in fact. /Intentional/ harm is not the issue. But as you can see..." His free hand gestures towards Widget for a moment. "Unintentional harm is still very much an issue. Do you know how long your mistress is likely to stay in the area?"
He lifts his hand away, then, and plucks up his own glass of water, taking a small sip. Widget's expression gets a brief, if genuine, smile of amusement. And then the Devil falls silent, apparently awaiting an answer to Widget's question.
Michelle considers a lot of things, but glances to Lilith, concern on her alabaster features. Then she looks to the little gremlin, frowning in consternation. The jazz singer shakes her head at something, sighs quietly, and sips from her own drink, the ice clinking softly in the goblet.
In a remarkable show of restraint, Lilith opens her mouth, and then closes it again without saying anything. She's taking her cue from Michelle clearly. And hey, there's probably an orange juice on the table she can reach out and grab. So she does that, pale white hands specked in faint grey freckles encircling the glass and bringing it up to her. She pauses a second, and holds the glass near her shoulder so the Squirrel can have a quick drink, and then it's her turn. Hard to talk when you're drinking, and if she's not talking, she's not making things worse. Probably.
The cat, when Carter's fingers run through its fur, purrs its pleasure and sinks into the sensation without the slightest hint of shame, pressing up into the touch to attempt head-butting the hand for more in unsubtle desire. Cats are totally cool with Spring.
Alas, when no further attention is forthcoming, it reluctantly shifts its attention from its own needs to the questions asked of it, large eyes blinking slowly up at Widget. It takes a moment, ears half-flattened in dismay, for the cat to think about its answer. "No. I was not a cat, but I am now." It turns its head and gazes up at Carter again, leaning into the Devil's thigh in unsubtle adoration. "She will stay as long as there are those She considers beloved. She will do all in Her not inconsiderable power to aid those She loves. Has She not warmed the very skies to show Her heart? Has She not granted gifts?"
While the cat notices the squirrel, an ear flicking thataway, it shows no signs of predatory urges.
Widget nods, relieved for a bit. Then something hits a little harder and she looks really worried again. "One of..." Mot /us/, really. Whatever it was /before/ that. "Made you a cat?" Took it and pried open the skull and changed the brain and...that's... "N-not love. Hate. Mean and wrong and she hates you and calls it love 'cause it's always love to her." Inhale, exhale. Huff. Sulk. Widget slips into the other booth, not taking very much space at all, and all but /demands/ increased physical contact. She was really spooked.
Carter sets his hand on Widget's shoulder, just for a moment, and makes eye contact with her again. The full weight of his Wyrd is behind that look, and rests on his words as he says, with an air of infinite certainty, "They know, Miss Widget. Believe me, they know."
Carter lowers his hand beneath the table for a moment, letting the backs of his fingers brush against the cat's cheek. It has the appearance of an offering, of sorts. His expression, as he looks away from Widget, is... unreadable. "She's granted gifts," he says quietly, as his eyes drift down towards the cat again. "Or what she /thinks/ are gifts. But that's beside the point." He raises an eyebrow again. "She'll stay until she believes there are no more loved ones for her here," he continues. "What would make her consider us - or, at least, those of us that she is concerned with - no longer beloved?"
Michelle wraps an arm around Widget without thinking about it, holding the gremlin and the darkling girls close. Her motherly instincts have kicked in hard and she sighs softly, heartbrokenly. Someone was going to get hurt here. The Fairest was afraid it was going to be a member of Fate's Harvest. Her eyes moved from the cat to Carter, and her lips quirked in the tiniest of winces. Even the old man was potentially in trouble, even as much trouble as he could be. But he asks good questions, even as she worries for him. Her hand closes softly on his shoulder for a brief moment before she cuddles Widget fully. There is a tiny spot of rust from her hand on his suit, and all over her alabaster skin. Her clothes are a wreck.
Lilith is just drinking her orange juice nice and slowly when things start to escalate quickly, and as she listens, she just about spits her mouthful of juice back into her cup. She places her cup down carefully, and then looks over in horror at the cat, the Grey's very large eyes wide, her mouth open, and for the first time, she's actually thankful for Carter's voice, as it snaps her out of it. She notices Widget has arrived on their side of the booth, and then a little shiver runs through her body, "I think I very much want to join the Freehold now." she whipsers to those around her, "I do not like this."
The cat, sensitive to the shifting moods around it, presses closer to Carter, to the strength of the Devil's tie to Fate, and protest's Widget's accusations even while it leans into the offering, rubbing its cheek against crimson fingers. "My Lady cannot hate!" The very thought is wrong, fur bristling and ears flat, as though someone just presented the feline with a bath tub full of water and told it to hop on in. "She is Love, only Love. She cannot stop."
Looking up to Carter, the cat's rosy eyes are wide and guileless. "She will protect you. She will defend you, all of you, until She ceases to exist." Because a lovestruck Fae is just what this valley needs. Looking to the others at the table, but staying where it can unsubtly rub against Carter's fingers to encourage more petting, the cat promises, "She would not dream of pressing Her advances where other Love dwelt, but She knows if Love is false." Looking between Carter and Damion as the Wyrdest, it asks, "Would you have something for Her? A gift? My Lady so seldom receives gifts from Her beloved; She would be very much pleased, and She -would- feel obliged to return a favour."
"A gift." Carter's eyebrow lifts just that bit further, and his fingers move against the cat's fur, scratching gently behind one ear. "Now there's a thought. Unfortunately, I have nothing suitable on me. I came here prepared for lunch, not for a messenger." He lifts his head, casting a brief glance towards the others, though without much apparent hope in his expression.
"I have nothing," he says, looking back down. "But, should you come to meet me within, say, three days, at my place of residence - I'm sure you can find it, as much as I'm sure she's been watching it - I may have something appropriate for a lady of her station."
Michelle considers, and then... shakes her head, still being quiet while Carter's the mouthpiece. And she holds Lilian and Widget close, nodding to Lilian.
Lilith isn't sure exactly what is happening here, but she can't quite discount the fact that Carter is completely serious in his desire to meet with this mysterious mistress. Like inviting a cousin out to dinner, rather than hatching some scheme. She can't help but watch him converse with the cat with a look that nears terror on her face. And all the while, she finds herself pushing up against Michelle, seeking comfort in her arm. A Fae in town is not something she was prepared for. She was warned, but she clearly wasn't expecting to be so close to one so soon. It scares her into silence.
The cat purrs again, pleased by the attention to its ear, and angles its head to ensure that Carter finds the good spots. "I can find anyone," it assures, but since it looks like matters are coming to a close here, the fluffy, soft-furred feline reluctantly pulls itself away from the Devil to agree, "In three days' time, I will come to your home, O Devil whom She favours." The cat bows again, then turns the bow into a streeeetch, rump high, then low, back legs extended one at a time, before it saunters off around a corner and reality snaps back into place as though nothing had happened.
Carter watches as the cat vanishes, his expression still that same placid blankness. Then he hooks his cane over the edge of the table, turns back to his companions, and gives one of those strange, fleeting, glassy little smiles that are so common from him. "Well," he says. "That settles that, then. Time to order, I believe - and then, for anyone who cares to come, I think I shall retire back to my own home. You're welcome to join if you like."
Michelle slowly lets go of her wards and swallows, nodding at Carter. "I believe," she says quietly, "I'll have something comforting, like a rum and coke and an official 'shitton of pasta' dish." She looks at Lilian. "I can set you up with someone who can guide you into the Freehold. Do you know a Nathania Winters? The sweet woman with the stammer." She then sips water, politeness the only thing keeping her from gulping.
Sure, lets just eat and pretend that didn't happen. And after, go back to the house a Fae was invited too! And after that, maybe a quickl trip to Arcadia. What could go wrong?
Lilith is having none of it, though her Orange juice is taken up off the table and finished in a few large gulps. She sets it down on the table and shakes her head, her eyes closing, "I do not think I feel much like eating just this minute." Hell surely has frozen over if the Darkling has said those words. Eyes open and look over to Michelle, to whom she offers a tiny nod, "I have met her. Very briefly. She cooks. Or bakes. Something like that." Lilith's brain is just a tad bit overloaded just now, "I think I need to use the bathroom." Escape plan activated!
"Feel free to flee, Miss Lilith," Carter says evenly. He even scoots his chair slightly to one side, allowing her a path out. "It's probably a healthy reaction to everything that just transpired. Proof that you're still sane, even. As for myself, though..." He plucks up the menu again, purses his lips in thought for a moment, then says, "I think the steak Diane will do, for now."
Michelle gestures, letting the young woman go. "Have a good rest of your day, if you can, Lilith. I wish you well, and hope I'll see you again." Her eyes take Carter in, the rust on his shirt from her patting him after hugging Widget. "Perhaps," she says softly, "You know a good dry cleaner? I seem to have gotten rust on your suit."