Still on the silent conversations as my writing exercise of choice, mainly because there are so many interesting directions they can go in!
This one was technically prompted–except that I missed the prompt a bit. I’d been asked for a conversation where something distracting is going on in the background, using Devin and Natesa. In the process of attempting to set up something of the sort (the original plan involved another boat doing something stupid somewhere in the distance), I ended up with this. By the time it was finished, it was long enough that I wasn’t sure I wanted to move on to the original plan; maybe later, right?
They meet up on the way home–or rather, Devin leaves his workspace, practically runs into her, and after a spirited exchange of greetings and the near loss of an armload of scrolls the two agree to return to the house in each other’s company. Natesa does most of the talking, walking slightly ahead of the younger man and occasionally shifting her face to that of someone else in order to make a point; Devin walks, and speaks two or three sentences at a time, and occasionally laughs into his armload of scrolls. It takes three tries for them to get a boat; in the first case the boatman takes a look at them, considers, takes a second look (it’s hard to tell at which one) and immediately leaves the pier, causing Natesa to shout and shake a fist after him and Devin to color slightly and shrug. In the second, they’re able to talk to the boatman, Natesa standing with one foot on the side of the boat, and he mostly watches her with occasional fleeting glances at the canal as if something will materialize to make up for it, but they are still refused. After a minute of this, and a look up and down the canal, Natesa’s hands and shoulders lower abruptly, and she takes the boatman by the arm–he stiffens immediately–and, with that hand draped around his shoulders and the other in front of him and full of coin, begins to talk in his ear, head tilted. Devin busies himself attempting to shuffle through his load of scrolls without dropping any. Eventually, the boatman nods, takes the coins, and scuttles off the boat, and Natesa beckons Devin onto the boat.