Three Thank Yous and a Bowl of Stew

Characters Eresai, Vivka
Synopsis Hard-working Eresai meets cheerful chatterbox Vivka and she helps him find a meal in the kitchen.
Out-of-Character Date December 4, 2014

Igen Weyr - Kitchens
The kitchens are located in an elongated bubble in the sandstone. Carved chimneys keep the air flowing from the cooking hearths and ovens to the outside, leaving the inside filled with only the delicious smells of cooked food. There are long tables for food preparation with shelving beneath them to store most of the frequently used pots. On the wall opposite the hearths and ovens are a layer of stone shelves carved from the rock itself and overlayed with a much harder granite and metal sinks to keep from eroding away. Water is piped in to this area and flows easily whenever the taps are left open. Several swinging doors lead into the living cavern, while smaller curtained openings on the opposite end lead into storage caverns and the hydroponic gardens.

It's the downtime between the midday meal and the evening meal where most people aren't actively seeking food. That means the kitchens are busy with the next meal's preparation, though, and Vivka is one of the 'hands dutifully chopping away at various vegetables. She's listening to a nearby girl gossip with another girl, but it's too blatant to be eavesdropping and she smiles cheerfully when the one talking looks at her as though she's part of the group. So maybe she is!

Eresai has been busy. Anyone going in and out of the storage caverns this morning and afternoon could see him, working on refitting some cabinets that were, regrettably, installed crooked. He didn't even pause for lunch which really explains why he's arriving here now, his clothes recently re-arranged into neatness if not entirely tidy because of the day's workload, hovering at the outskirts of all the action just looking for someone who might be able to help him find his way to a plate of food. The girls are spotted and as Vivka is on the outskirts, she's the weakest of the herd—- er, she's less intimidating to the lanky teenager not yet grown into his height. "Excuse me," he interrupts quietly.

Because she's still listening to the gossip, or whatever it is her peers are chattering about, it takes Vivka a few seconds that someone else is talking to her at all. Once she notices Eresai, though, a big smile spreads across her face and her chopping pauses so she doesn't, you know, cut herself or anything. "Hi," she chirps, both cheerfully and expectantly.

A big smile on a pretty face is going to earn a return big smile from the apprentice, and perhaps a moment or two of somewhat stupefied silence as he looks at the blonde. Only after a pair of awkward moments does Eresai seem to remember he was saying something. "Uh," is not very illuminating. "Hi." If Vivka's attention strays to the girls again, it will allow the teen to have his moment of mouthing "Hi" without needing to add the "stupid, stupid" his face shows. "I mean, hello." That's better? "I was wondering if I might help myself to a.. something. To eat, I mean. Something to eat." Hopefully, the knot on his shoulder will do its job in telling her that for all his apparent dimwits, he's not a drudge.

By this time, the other girls have noticed the boy and started talking to each other in quieter, hushed tones. The ones that tend to make a person feel like they're being judged. Vivka does glance at them to give them a scolding look, but her attention comes back to Eresai in short order with a renewed smile. "Of course! Come," she says, wiping her (admittedly clean) hands off on her apron before reaching for one of his. "I'll help you," is added as she starts to turn away to lead him along. "You'll get more that way."

Igen really make people friendly. When Vivka takes hold of his hand, Eresai has to look surprised, but not unpleasantly so. He does look uncertain. "O..kay..?" But he'll come, and there's a mannerly, "Thank you," to the blonde, followed shortly by the awkwardly asked, "What's your name?"

"I have brothers. I know how they eat," explains the blonde with a smile over her shoulder at him, as though he'd asked or something silly like that. "Do you want roast? Or stew? Or both? Vivka. How about some stew with some roast in it? I think there's even some bread cooling that they just pulled out of the oven." Did he catch her name in all of that? At least she's let go of his hand now so she can find him a big bowl and start dishing some stew.

Does Eresai have time to answer before the blonde is going on? Would he try if he did? His hazel gaze is on her animated face and smile. Perhaps he isn't even hearing all the words but listening to the rhythm and flow of her voice. "Thank you," is the answer she gets, but didn't he say that already? "Brothers?" He manages after a moment; he seems to have caught that much. His hands fold neatly in front of himself to politely wait to take the bowl off her hands.

As she finishes getting his food for him, she says, "Three of them. Two of them are older." With the third, presumably, being younger than herself. "I miss them, actually. I didn't think I would and I really do. Most of them, anyway." Vivka's wrinkling her nose as she turns back to the boy to hand off his stew and roast and bread with a spoon already ready for him. "What did you say your name was?" The one he hasn't mentioned yet.

"So you're not from here?" The young man asks distractedly as he tries neither to spill the stew that has in his initial inattention, slopped up onto his fingers and not lose more. Only once he steadies the bowl enough to lick the stew-slopped fingers, does he add, "Eresai," because that's all she asked. "I'd.." Ask her to come eat with him. Only, what comes out with a lift of the bowl is, "Thank you for this." Is there a limit on appropriate numbers of thank yous in a short period of time? He's probably filled his quota already.

"Oh! Careful." It's not admonishing, more genuinely concerned. But when he doesn't spill, she moves on. "Eresai," Vivka repeats, smiling again as she decides, "I like that." Her smile turns playful as she adds, "And I'd your welcome. Enjoy!" And there goes the blonde back to her station without even answering his question or anything.

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