Claire allowed another nervous smile as she thought a moment before deciding what to write. She finally settled on ‘Awsha, never stop chasing your dreams. They really can come true. Margaret Hughes.’ The signature itself came out a bit shakier than the rest of the message. Though Claire was not sure if it was simply because she wasn’t accustomed to putting her signature to any piece of parchment, for obvious reasons. Or perhaps it was a slight feeling of guilt over the fact that it wasn’t her true name, but rather her middle name combined with the surname of the servant who had actually been masquerading as the person responsible for running the theatre at the time of her history-making appearance on the stage back in 1660.
A few more moments of small talk passed between the three of them before Awsha excused herself to the privy, at last leaving Claire and Aidan their first moment alone since she had embraced him all those years ago.
“She’s not one of us” Claire stated the obvious, as the foremost thought in her mind at that moment. Though there were plenty of others just beneath the surface as well.
“No, she is not” Aidan affirmed with his own small smile.
“And she’s an American?” Claire asked in the same furtive manner as she cast another brief glance towards the hall Awsha had gracefully moved down moments earlier.
“Yes, she is” Aidan affirmed again, still providing no additional information whatsoever, while still managing to hold the smile as he found himself having a terrible time taking his own dark eyes off of Claire no matter what words she spoke.
Claire just shook her head at his lack of helpful responses, as well as how his dark eyes would not be swayed from her for even a moment. “Explain” she added with a tiny dash of forcefulness to hopefully shake his gaze.
“Explain what?” Aidan asked with a feigned innocence as he finally returned those smiling eyes to her beautiful face.
“Where on Earth you found some American girl…mortal American girl” she corrected, “who found it in no way strange that you wanted to bring her here at such an hour? I can’t imagine how that conversation must have gone, not to mention, how she even agreed to it at all” she added.
Aidan allowed another slight smile before offering her any response, “she came to court and you know how much people like you and I love our pretty things. She and I hit it off quite well, especially when she found out my surname” he had to add with a slight tinge of that arrogance remaining from his own mortal life.
Claire raised an eyebrow at that statement, “How are you still passing yourself off as a Tudor? It’s been over sixty years since that dynasty fell. I didn’t realize the name would even hold that much weight at court at all anymore” she couldn’t help the urge to ever so slightly take him down a peg. Though she never held as much animosity toward Aidan as her husband did, it was still very hard to shake the memory that the last time the two of them had been in the same room; he had very nearly ended her life, regardless of all the circumstances surrounding that particularly terrifying evening.
Aidan’s smile faltered only a moment at her observation, but he quickly found it again before speaking, “she’s an American. She wouldn’t know a Tudor from a Stuart or a Valois. All she heard was that I was related to our lovely former king and that was enough” he allowed only a slight scoff as Claire also narrowed her eyes in regards to her own people’s grasp of English politics being impugned, though he soon added, “but if you must know, it was a different court where we met.”
“A different court?” Claire responded, thrown a bit by that.
“She was brought before Griffyn some nights past” he finally gave her more information.
“Griffyn?” Claire startled a bit at that as well before needing more clarification, “But she’s not…” another glance down the hall, “one of us” she settled on.
“No, but she was in the company of one of Griffyn’s line when they came calling” Aidan informed, his smile turning to an oddly knowing grin.
“So, she does know about us?” Claire returned, not sure if the thought gave her more comfort, or less. She then had to add, “which of Griffyn’s line?”
That was when Aidan’s smile turned into a slight chuckle, “which finally brings us to why I’ve come to your door this night.”
“And why would that be?” Claire asked with a bit of worry, wondering if this was one of those favors to Griffyn, now being cleverly disguised as a visit from an old acquaintance.
Aidan seemed to be attempting to gather his strength before speaking his next sentence, “It’s no secret that you and I, and your husband, parted on what could be called ‘less than ideal’ terms” he began carefully.
Claire couldn’t help her own scoff “that would be one way to describe you very nearly killing me.”
Aidan looked down once more before having to return “you did kill me first” with a slight smirk.
Another scoff from Claire, this one much louder “you begged me to change you. Begged me…for a decade!” she had to remind him with a bit more volume creeping into her voice just then.
“Begged is a bit of a strong term” Aidan returned, though did manage another smile, “it’s not like I was down on my knees” he then couldn’t help adding, “well, on second thought, I suppose I was on my knees, on a few different nights. But I don’t recall my mouth doing much talking at all on those occasions.”
Claire looked away again, his words doing well to put another dent in her composure before she tried to move the conversation back in a less carnal direction, “So, you were telling me why you came here, of all places?”
Aidan smirked a bit at her less than subtle subject change, but allowed it, “as I said, we didn’t part on the best terms. And I wanted to try to make amends.”
“Not sure I understand how bringing this girl here is ‘making amends’” she stated warily.
“Well, it isn’t Awsha who is the actual peace offering. She simply wanted to come and meet the actress she admired. But that gave me the opportunity to pave the way for my actual olive branch, so to speak.”
“And that would be?” Claire asked in a tone that was equal parts wary as well as curious.
“The one who brought Awsha from America and here to Griffyn’s court. I believe you know him” Aidan smiled as he knowingly looked back toward the theatre doors a moment before they opened once more, and the person who stepped through them was none other than her maker’s maker, and such an old, good friend to both of them: Haven, himself.
Claire let out a sound that was some strange combination of a gasp, a laugh and a sob as she moved her hands to her face and stood, the red tears forming almost immediately. Though, for once, they were tears of joy as she rushed over to where she and Haven instantly wrapped their arms around one another in greeting.
“You two are going to make me jealous” Aidan teased as he waited a few moments before finally standing to intrude upon their reunion.
Haven and Claire both allowed a small laugh as they finally moved apart as Claire attempted to wipe away her tears through her smile.
“Truce accepted?” Aidan had to ask with his own smile.
“I can’t believe you did this” Claire smiled back at him.
“Well, as much as I adore you, I did it even more so in the hope that maybe your husband might eventually not want to murder me the next time he sees me” Aidan teased, though with a trace of worry behind his words.
“Oh my god we have to tell…”
“Sean” Haven finished the sentence for her as his eyes moved to where Sean had appeared in the lobby door behind them.
“Haven?” Sean responded shakily with his own smile, his voice broken as though he were not sure if those ice blue eyes were deceiving him.
“Sean” Haven repeated with another smile as he and Sean moved to embrace one another as well.
Still seemingly unnoticed by Sean, Aidan moved to speak softly in Claire’s ear as the other two men said their slightly less tearful hellos, “Did you know I was here as quickly as your husband seemed to know that his sire was?”
Claire looked back his way with a small smile remaining, “I felt…something when you arrived. I just didn’t know that a sire felt that for a childe the way a childe does for the sire” she admitted quietly.
“Wow, a hundred years and you’re still learning new things” Aidan returned to her in the same quiet tone.
“We always seem to learn a lot whenever Haven is around” she admitted as she turned another look of admiration toward Haven. She then had to add, “and it’s only been seventy-four years, thank you” though her words were spoken in a teasing tone.
Finally their embrace ended and Sean’s eyes turned to Aidan. Then his smile did falter a moment before he reminded himself that Aidan is who had made this reunion happen, and chose not to say the things that immediately sprung into his head upon seeing this man again. Instead, he chose to concentrate his attention on Haven.
“What on earth brought you back to England anyway?” Sean had to ask his sire.
“That is a long, long story” Haven stated, his own smile wavering for a moment as he looked downwards before once again calling the smile to his lips before looking back up at his childe again “But due to you and Claire’s successes here, I thought there was someone you’d want to meet.”
“Who would that be?” Sean asked with a creased brow.
“I met her in America, and she’s a rare jewel who was going to waste there. I thought this place would be a better one for her to shine in” he then added, “after all, it worked that way for the two of you.”
“Who?” Sean asked, though his question was answered as the ravishing black haired beauty reappeared from the darkened hallway. As soon as Sean’s eyes fell on Awsha, it was obvious to all present that he definitely sensed that shine of hers, in so many ways.