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Typically, the human had no trouble silencing his cellphone and surrounding himself by the brightly colored palettes, stark white canvas, and large windows that formed his studio. Today was a different matter entirely. Caleb was distracted. He lay back on the wooden floor, staring up at the roof, and balancing a paintbrush between his thumb and forefingers. It was his favorite paintbrush. One could even say it was lucky. It had belonged to his mother and painted many a great piece before he’d taken it into his own hands. He swept the brush across his wrist, trying to stir some image to his mind. Normally, the cherry wood and soft horse hair bristles would ground him. Right now, they only seemed to tickle. Focus. Where was his focus?
He sat halfway up, gazing at the fan which spun above him. The past few days were playing again in his brain. He’d pinched himself six times in the last few minutes. It was definitely real. He closed his eyes, letting the air blow over his face. Perhaps if he just let his mind wander. Images danced back into his mind. The dock. The flowers. Her blonde hair falling across her eyes. His hands everywhere. Her fingers in his hair.
Play it cool. Already, the confusion that had reigned in his mind was fading into the background, replaced by a steady, but shy satisfaction. Play it cool.
The Frenchman banished the images from his mind, covering his eyes. What was happening? What was wrong with him? Art was the one thing that he’d always been able to connect with no matter what. Even in past relationships, his time with his ideas and sketchbooks had sometimes dominated his presence in the moment. Now? Now it was the total opposite. Caleb groaned and carefully stashed the brush away. He needed a cold shower. An ice bucket would be helpful, really. As he resigned himself to the fact that there would be no painting done today, there was a soft knock at the door. He peered through the window and it only took a moment for his blue eyes to focus on Tavia.
He grinned sheepishly, and opened the door, and stuffing his hands in his pockets. She was his confidant, his bias. Why, on today of all days, did he have to forget almost every English word he knew? In that silence, his could not avoid her beautiful green eyes. Something inside him melted with relief. However, he continued to stand in the doorway, slightly mesmerized by her sudden appearance. Ai. Oh mon dieu. Say something! Something English.
“Hi.” He scratched the back of his neck, turning quite pink. What was the word? “It’s....” He wanted to lift her close and inhale her flowery shampoo. Terribly distracted by the fuzzy feelings inching around his body, Caleb chuckled. “Je suis desole, Octavia.”
Frenchglish. Of course. He might have been losing his bilingual brain, but artists weren’t naturally good speakers. He could communicate everything he needed without words. The stupid grin refused to leave his face, but Caleb’s gaze was soft as he reached for her hand. His grasp was gentle, but firm. It took a bit of effort, but he managed to translate before speaking this time. “What a...nice surprise. Good morning, Tay.”
She smiled when he mentioned his traditions, there was a wistful expression on his face which told her he enjoyed the holidays much like she did “You stay up all night?” she questioned and raised her brows in surprise, well she’d never done that before, she was always the kind to have a hot chocolate and get into her PJs on Christmas even before falling asleep pretty early on to some cheesy movie they’d decided to put on “I think I’d be grumbling too” she empathized and laughed softly “Never been much of a morning people myself...I’m not sure I understand the people that are” she chuckled softly.
She giggled and scrunched her nose playfully when he said he was a disaster at baking “How bad are we talking?” she commented and grinned slightly, she was a pretty good cook herself having practiced a lot over the years but she would hardly call herself an expert, she just did it for fun when she had the time. “How about I bake the cookies and then we can put your artistic expertise to work on the icing” she compromised with a smile.
As they got on the move again once more, her eyes were vigilant, she was certain they were getting closer to the flower, she had somewhat of a sixth sense for magic by now after spending so much time alongside the aspect of magic. Her eyes scanned the area, noticing how things felt just the smallest bit surreal, nothing the average person would even take into account but they were in the woods and yet there was a distinct lack of sound coming from the wildlife.
She was pulled from her hyper-aware state when he spoke again and she looked up at him for a moment, she noticed the concern in his gaze but also the way there was hope there too, she understood airplanes were a complicated thing for him after everything that had happened and by no means was she ever going to force him into something he was uncomfortable with “Of course…” she spoke in a soft voice “I mean obviously we would need to plan it but” she shrugged and smiled “I’d love to see where you came from” she bit her lip when he said he would have a vice grip on her hand “And the vice grip only assures me you won’t let go” she assured him and nodded.
Caleb smiled when she mentioned wanting to see his hometown and tucked it away into a folder in his mind labeled 'someday'. There was a lot of effort that went into planning a trip like that. It couldn't exactly be spur of the moment. He tucked his hands into his pockets as they continued walking and watching. "Well," He tilted his head. How much of a disaster was he at baking? It had been quite a while since he'd even attempted such a thing. It was more than fair to say he'd had a fair share of smoke alarms or death-defying cupcakes when his mother had tried to teach him. "I suppose that my worst was the time I tried making a birthday cake for a friend and it never cooked. I added three and a quarter cups of water, instead of three quarters. Needless to say, it was not edible."
"I haven't tried recently. I am easily distracted when it comes to the kitchen and baking is so specific. It has very little room for spontaneity. Even in other cooking, it can be more relaxed. If you use measurments wrong in cookies or bread, it changes the entire result." Caleb noted. "I am much better suited to those projects that aren't so detail oriented. Or, if they are, at least I can make up the details."
He grinned as she suggested that she bake, and he decorate. "You're on. Let me know the next time you have a sweet tooth."
"Also, I just grew up with others who loved to bake. So my lack of skill was never really a problem. I just enjoyed their efforts." He chuckled, looking ahead at the horizon. The sun was still bright, but he could tell that golden hour was approaching soon. Hopefully, their efforts would soon be rewarded. It would be good to get back to the river before dark.
"What kind of flower are we looking for?" Caleb asked. He was decently familiar with wildlife, but enchanted flower could mean an ordinary flower which was enchanted or a full on magical plant. Like Jack in the Beanstalk, or Beauty and the Beast. He wasn't sure that he was up for fighting trolls, or combatting magic love spells today. That sounded a bit daunting.
The next time that he glanced up, there was a faint glow in a patch of tall grass towards the left. It wasn't sunlight, because it was purple. The dust seemed to dance in the air around it, as if suspended. He jerked his head in that direction. "I'd like to assume that there is a protocol for rebellious plants?"