Alexander tried to tell himself he hadn't come to the Marina every night this week looking for a certain sexy blonde but well, that would be lying and lying isn't right, is it Alexander?
So he kept an eye out for Eiryk although he never saw him. It was quiet on the pier usually though, and Alex did find it relaxing. He was sitting at the very end of the long, long pier, not on the edge of the boardwalk but up on one of the thick pillars at the corner.
He stared at the darkening horizon; the sun had gone down half an hour ago or so. It was a pretty sunset. Perfect for sharing with someone. You know, if one had someone to share and hadn't alienated them by being a complete asshole.
Alexander sighed and stilled himself. Calmly he lifted himself up onto his hands, gripping the sides of the pillar. Flexing his stomach muscles he raised his legs, straight above him, then arching his back he bent his knees, bringing his feet down toward his head.
He stayed there, counting breaths, for a good minute.
There was a man on top of one of the pillars. He appeared to be in quite the excellent form. Indeed. Claire almost felt scandalized for watching, however it was a public place so he must not mind the idea of an audience too terribly much. He appeared to be fairly focused at the moment and she was unsure whether she should interrupt or simply let him be. She would also hate for him to fall over the edge and get a good dunking. It would be terribly inconvenient to have to go in and fetch him out.
Deciding that it would be impolite not to at least acknowledge his presence, Claire came up to stand beside him and spoke quietly in hopes of not startling the man.
"It is a lovely evening. Care for some company? Or would you like to be left to your thoughts?"
What else did one say from this position? Slowly exhaling he lowered his legs, twisting his torso, bending his elbows and bringing his knees under him once more. Lifting his head at last he tucked his legs beneath him, crossed in a lotus, and sat upon the same pillar he'd just been inverted on.
"Thanks for the warning," he said. "It is a lovely evening, but I'm enjoying it more from above the water."
He didn't mind company. Maybe company would take his mind off of his morose thoughts. He'd been busy lately, throwing himself into work and classes, sparing little time for reflection.
"You're welcome to stay. It's certainly not my pier." Alexander offered the woman a slight smile.
She turned back when he commented about the evening.
"Indeed, Do you not like water or simply enjoy heights?"
Claire considered briefly what to do with herself. She couldn't exactly climb up on the other pillar with anything close to decorum. Nor would it be very easy to get situated there very comfortably with a bustle and long skirts. Standing there peering up at him also seemed an unsatisfactory solution. Claire decided to move herself to the pillar across from him and take a seat leaning against it.
Arranging her skirts around her, She smiled up at him.
"Thank you for the invitation to join you on the public pier then."
Tumbling off a pillar into the water and trying to enjoy the sunset at the same time just didn't seem plausible to him. Alexander considered it briefly while the woman arranged herself against the other corner pillar. It took a few moments with the dress she was wearing, a pretty, old-fashioned affair that he was pretty sure he was in love with right away. The woman herself was dark haired and pale skinned, and seemed serene to him.
"Glad I could be somewhat hospitable," he said. Hesitating briefly he added, "My name is Alexander."
It seemed fair. They couldn't really sit and chat as complete strangers forever, right?
"So is this a favorite view of yours? It's pretty spectacular."
The ocean at night was something to see. A few boats were on it, their positions given away in the forms of dark silhouettes against the gentle lapping waves and tiny lights that looked like they were suspended in mid-air.
Claire smiled up at him and waved a hand airily.
"I can't say that I blame you really. It is much better to commit fully to one or the other. Honestly, it is why I never understood these rapid mini tours of Europe or the cruises that hop from place to place only giving you time enough to buy a postcard and a few knicknacks."
Really what was the point? Was it the status of saying that you were well traveled for having jumped from country to country? What did you really learn about the place you just spent four hours in? It has a nice market? She remembered the days when people spent time on long journeys where they truly had the time to experience everything there was about a culture. You had a chance to get to know people there, make new friends and then you had a reason to return and experiences you never forgot.
"My name is Claire. It is a pleasure to meet you, Alexander."
She looked out over the ocean and once more breathed in the air of the place. Brushing back a long lock that had been blown across her face, Claire turned back to him once more.
"Oh yes, I come often. The ocean reminds me of home. I could not imagine ever being far from it."
He smiled at Claire's analogy. "Yeah. There's a case in point," he agreed. Not that he'd ever done any traveling but if he had and when he did, he would spend time in one spot and really learn about it.
"You too." Ordinarily it wasn't much of a pleasure but Claire didn't seem to be judging him. She just looked like she was enjoying the ocean view. Alex found that plenty pleasurable.
"So where is home? Living by the ocean must be great." Alex took a lot of pleasure in sitting here, meditating as he had been previously, listening to the sound of the waves. "I could easily listen to this forever."
She smiled at the thought of home.
"I must say. You can enjoy both height and the ocean quite well there. The cliffs on Ouessant are breathtaking and the view of the ocean is very lovely. Of course, I suppose there again you aren't "experiencing" the water up close."
Nor would you want to. The shoreline had been the sight of many a wrecked ship; the odds of hitting a rock before hitting the water would be fairly good.
"It is very soothing. I find it hard to stay troubled while I am standing on the shore; indeed it is where I go when I need to think. And what about you? Are you from Nachton or elsewhere?"
He liked Claire's description of her home; she seemed at peace when she spoke of it. The inevitable question came and Alexander bit back a sigh.
"I'm from Nachton now," he said. "Previously I lived in Maryland. It was time for a change."
He wasn't given to elaboration. So he didn't. It wasn't an unreasonable move. Frederick was only a few hours away. It wasn't as if he'd gone trans-atlantic or anything.
"Do you miss it, then? Your home?" Claire seemed to; why was she in Nachton if she missed her home town? Maybe it was too small for her. Or maybe she, too, had needed to get away.
She was not sure she should ask why he felt a need for a change. Sometimes people wanted you to inquire but others did not. Alexander had not elaborated and Claire did not know him well enough to be certain that it was something he wanted to talk about.
Turning the subject back to France, Claire smiled.
"I do miss it quite a lot but I know that it will be there when I am ready to go back. The good thing about Lampaul is that it really isn't big enough to become huge and change drastically.
How long have you been here?"
"I've been here for, oh, five months or so."
Was that right? Two months spent in a mindless haze of unpacking, organizing, renovating, cleaning. Two months spent in a much happier mindless haze dating Eiryk... maybe a little more than two, and the last week or so trying to forget the fact that he was a complete jerk and had managed to alienate the one person in Nachton who he felt mostly comfortable with.
"Yeah that's about right," he said after doing the math. "Yourself?"
"I have been here for a few years. My...father asked me to come."
She looked down at her hands in her lap at that; and now no one knew where Sorin was. There were certainly quite a few people looking for him but when they found him it wouldn't be pretty. Claire had several years to get over the shock of all that her Creator was guilty of but she still found it difficult to process.
"And do you like it so far?"
He shrugged. "Keeps it in perspective. Where's the joy in success if you didn't have to work your ass off to get there?"
Still, he couldn't entirely summon up as much enthusiasm as he'd have liked. After all, he didn't have anyone to share any kind of success with right now, and all he could see was a pair of cheerful blue eyes.
Would it make him feel better to apologize to Eiryk and have him around whenever it was convenient for him? Yes, he thought, yes it would. Being with Eiryk was a lot more fun than being alone. So... following that logic he should call Eiryk, apologize for having been a jerk, and ask him to try again. That was a much better thought. He could do that.
Perking up a little bit at the idea that maybe, just maybe, all wasn't lost, Alexander spoke to Claire again. "It must be good to have family nearby. You must get along."
Alex couldn't remember the last time his parents had actually asked him to come anywhere. Mostly they wanted him to stay away.
"It does seem the world is full of such balance. Perhaps we enjoy the happiness, however large or small that it is because of the adversities we face."
There was a lesson in that, Claire was certain. She should be grateful that she had made friends here and that she had not had to come to terms with her Creator's betrayal on her own.
"I am glad that you are settling in alright. It certainly sounds like you have approached the move with the proper attitude. You will feel welcomed in this place in no time at all. I'm sure."
His positive outlook would attract new friends easily and before Alexander knew it Nachton would feel like home.
When he said that her and Sorin must get along, Claire laughed in shock, before having a chance to quell the response.
"Well no, not so much these days. It turns out that he had made a great many of his friends angry with him and I was asked to come be his support. Unfortunately, I feel they have a right to be angry."
Murdering people was difficult to argue against, after all.
"It does take some bad fortune to make you appreciate the happiness you have," Alexander agreed, his thoughts drifting once more. All these words of wisdom tonight; where had they been when he could have used them over a week ago?
He inclined his head to the woman in the gorgeous dress. "I feel welcomed. Everyone here has been cool. The city itself is amazing, and I think it was he right choice to get away."
Claire's laughter surprised him, but her next words to Alexander explained it a little bit. Obviously she hadn't exactly had smooth sailing since getting here either.
"But... you still came to be with him?" That was remarkable. He couldn't suppress a twinge of envy. Claire believed her father was wrong yet she was here for him. Why couldn't his family do the same? "I hope he knows how lucky he is. And maybe you can help smooth things over. I mean, if they're all friends... it should be possible right?"
It was a great big mess really.
Sighing, she shook her head.
"No, I am afraid he... how did that one saying go? Ah, he nailed the pooch on that one. My father lied to them, people got hurt. There really is no fixing the situation."
Claire cast about for something more cheerful to talk about. And took a stab at something random and hopefully safe.
"So, what do you do in Nachton. Alexander?"
"Wow. I'm sorry to hear it," was about all he could think of to say.
When Claire changed the subject abruptly Alexander was all aboard that train. He briefly described his business to her, as well as his evening gig with yoga and tai chi. As he said it, he shrugged and indicated the pillar he sat on with a sheepish smile.
"I guess I could have done this anywhere," he said, realizing it might seem a little counter-intuitive to have a whole studio dedicated to yoga and still be out here, "but it seemed like a good night to be out doing something near the water."
He hadn't actually lost track of the ocean's pulse the entire time they'd been talking. In fact he was, instead, rocking slightly back and forth to each softly breaking wave.
She listened to the description of the place he described and the things he taught. Yoga always looked very interesting but she doubted it would be very comfortable in a corset.
"I think any night is a good night to be out near the water. Except perhaps during the rain; unless one does not mind getting wet."
Claire considered the relaxing styles of meditation that he practiced and taught.
"Do you think a person could do Tai Chi dressed in this?"
At Claire's next question Alexander gave it a few seconds' thought. "Well, I guess we can find out," he said, "although I've never personally had anyone try."
Suiting action to words he lowered himself smoothly to the boardwalk, standing over Claire. He offered her a hand up, pulling her easily to her feet when she took it.
"Okay," Alex said, eying Claire's attire. "I guess the good thing is most of your motion is going to be pretty simple. There are plenty of forms that are gentle and easy to do."
And that didn't require bending and twisting yourself into a pretzel. "You focus on what's called your dan'tien, your center," he indicated the correct area on his own body, based inside his torso, "and your movements should start from the spine and move outward."
Demonstrating as he went, he bent his knees slightly. "Your legs should almost never be straight, and even when you start to move you should maintain the same height throughout your movement."
He showed her what he meant, slowly rocking back and forth on his feet, knees slightly bent, before beginning to move his feet, first one, then the other, in a slow deliberate pattern, foot in, heel out, step to the side, other foot in, heel out, step back.
"It's all about balance," he said. "See how it goes."
He stepped away from Claire a little bit, hoping she didn't trip over her skirts and fall into the ocean or anything. That would be... awkward.
((ooc: Permission to move Claire))
The era of the elaborate dress was to her one of the best times in fashion. For someone so shy and easily passed over as herself it was a way of saying to the world that she was indeed a woman worth noticing. Becoming one of the rest of the modern crowd was something she just was not ready for.
She repeated the movement again but then realized he likely could not properly tell whether it was correct form or not with all the skirts in the way.
Laughing she said.
"I don't suppose this is the normal attire of your students."
"You look fine," he said, falling into place beside her and moving right along. "Try this now."
He stepped out into a bow stance, heel first, movements slow again, and showed Claire the right way to hold her arms to Part the Horse's Mane. It was a repetitive motion on first one side, then stepping the other foot forward and using the other side, then back into the original position to repeat the pattern.
He smiled at her when she mentioned typical attire and admitted, "Not so much, no, but I've seen all styles. They say you can do this any time, any place. I guess 'in anything' isn't such a stretch."
He eyed Claire critically for a few moments, still moving along with her. "You seem to be doing just fine. Nothing hurts, does it?"