Julian was wandering around the Marina somewhat aimlessly. He had his violin with him but wasn't playing it; he'd had a performance earlier in the evening so he had it along but the show was done and he was enjoying a little down time. Since arriving in Nachton he'd spent most of his time practicing and socializing with the other members of the symphony. There weren't too many of them his age, though, most of them being older. He was friends with the handful that were in his age group, and got along just fine with everyone else.
He'd had a couple of dates in the last few weeks but nothing that had really panned out. He'd turned down a few as well, mostly from other men who seemed to think he was gay. Julian got that a lot. He didn't really mind, he supposed he gave off that vibe. It was probably the violin. And the manicure. And maybe the hair. Whatever it was, it had long since ceased to phase him.
Breathing in the cool air he tugged his coat tighter around him. It wasn't truly cold yet but he was dressed warmly. He didn't know if Nachton ever got as bitterly cold as the Catskills in deep winter but he'd find out. He liked the city and wasn't planning to go home.
Strolling down the pier he looked with interest at the boats docked there, ranging in sizes from tiny to huge. Particularly impressive was the one all the way at the end, a huge affair with the moniker 'Buccaneer' which looked pretty tricked out, complete with jet skis and what appeared to be an on-deck hot tub. Not bad. Who had that kind of money?
Coming to the end of the pier Julian halted his walk before he reached the end. He wasn't very high up but still he avoided the drop-off there. He was content to enjoy the ocean from five feet away from the end of the pier.
Stowing a newly knit blanket, a couple of bottle of mead, some coffee and one or two other odds and ends Eiryk had lounged on the deck for a bit enjoying the gentle rocking and the smell and sounds of the sea. It was relaxing, it was home. How he'd managed those two years in Brazil with Angus Eiryk didn't understand. Oh! He had to tell Angus about Alex, well, update him. Eiryk and his creator exchanged letters regularly but regular translated to two to four times a year so the monk was a bit behind the times.
With a sigh he knew he should get back to work. Lovingly he ran his hand along the rail of The HÃ¤xa and to disembark. What should have been an easy jump from the deck of the yacht to the pier went well, for about five seconds ultimately ending with Eiryk flat on his face. He hopped to his feet rubbing his nose making sure it wasn't skinned or broken and notice another person hanging around. With a shrug and an easy grin, not at all embarrassed, Eiryk just made a joke of things.
"I think I missed the dismount. Do they take points off for that?"
Good looking kid, he observed. Not as dead sexy as Alex, of course he was biased, but still good looking. Eiryk envied the curls a little and wondered what his boyfriend would think if he grew his hair out a bit.
Noting the coat and how the kid had it wrapped around him Eiryk wondered if it was that cold out. He was dressed fairly casually in dark jeans and a sports coat. He also couldn't help but notice the violin case. Something about that made Eiryk think he knew this kid. Why did he think that?
"Uh," he said intelligently, "points? You might lose some for style but you're pretty sure to get a few for originality."
Peering a bit more closely at the guy who'd fallen several feet if he was correct, Julian said, "Are you all right?"
He readjusted his violin over his shoulder; it was in a hard case with a strap so he could carry it backpack style although at the moment he only had it resting on one shoulder. "Maybe you need a ladder."
Eiryk quipped cheerfully while discreetly checking that he'd not torn, stained or otherwise damaged his clothes. His little trips had a nasty habit of ruining perfectly good garments. Tonight, it seemed he'd lucked out.
"Oh yes, quite thank you but a ladder is just potentially dangerous."
It would just make matters worse really, one more thing for him to trip over, get tangled int and to break. No Eiryk would pass thank you.
Ha! That was it. The subtle movement of the violin case (and probably the fall) jostled something in Eiryk's memory and it suddenly clicked where he knew this kid from. He grinned broadly but managed to refrain from jumping up and down. He did, after all, have some dignity.
"You're Julian Stephenson aren't you?" He offered his hand. "Eiryk Jensen, I've really enjoyed your playing."
"I imagine it might balance out," he conceded.
He raised his eyebrows at the idea that the ladder was as dangerous. Julian didn't need a calculator to add up the facts and come to the conclusion that this guy was, maybe, just a bit accident prone. He certainly seemed totally unphased by his mishap.
The fact that he was recognized surprised him a little, but not a lot. Julian had been playing in the city as the Symphony wanted him to so a number of people he'd met here and there recognized him. This man knew his name, though, which had to mean he'd been to the symphony and seen it in a program somewhere. Julian supposed he could have overheard it somewhere, but it was far more likely that he'd read it.
He shook the offered hand, returning the man's grin. "Yes, yes I am," he said. "Nice to meet you Mr. Jensen. I'm glad you're enjoying it. I've really been having fun as part of the symphony here in the city. Do you go often?"
He rarely stood on formality, it just wasn't worth it.
While Eiryk was a little excited, maybe almost giddy at meeting the young violinist he was managing to control himself rather than turn into something close to a fan boy.
"I tend to work nights. When I'm able to slip out early I try and catch at least the last half of a concert and I did hear a glowing review of the show in the park and was sorry to miss that."
While the time of day didn't agree with either his skin or his sleeping schedule Eiryk had enjoyed knowing that Alex and Marie had gotten out. Of course he also loved the pictures Alex had sent and had the one printed out and framed, it was now on his desk. Due to Alex's pose it had drawn a few comments.
"I could gush about your playing a bit but you probably hear more than enough of that." Yes it was a compliment and he did mean it but Eiryk also didn't want to make the young man feel awkward. "I"m glad to hear you're settling into the city. I'm a transplant myself but I like it here.
What brought you to the marina if you don't mind me asking?"
Eiryk kept lose tabs on new arrivals as far as the ships in the marina went. He liked to see all the shiny new toys and in general just liked ships and sailing. He didn't, however, think either of the two new ships belonged to Julian. Both were quite high end and Eriyk didn't think the symphony paid that much. Of course the young man could have family money or, especially in Nachton, be older than he looked. You never could tell.
Julian nodded at Eiryk's explanation of his schedule. "I'm kind of a night owl myself," he said. "Sleeping bores me." He grinned and shrugged at Eiryk. He could certainly understand the night-time mentality.
"I'm sorry you missed it," he said when Eiryk mentioned missing the concert in the park. "It was a lot of fun. Musical scores always are."
The compliment he took with a smile and a little bow. "Thank you, I really am glad you enjoy it. And I do love it here. Hopefully I'll get to stay after my contract runs out with the symphony."
Julian couldn't say for certain yet, but he thought he'd be very happy remaining in Nachton. Some more ambitious performers might seek out larger venues, more money, more recognition, but Julian was young yet. While he did want to grow and improve, Nachton was an impressive venue for someone his age, just a couple years out of college. He was happy with it.
"Just walking," he said with an easy smile and a shrug. "No reason in particular, other than it's close to the opera house and I haven't visited yet. I'm trying to get to know the city. I thought I'd maybe take one of these boat tours, they seem pretty popular. Have you ever been? Are they any good?"
"You must get great audience response, especially on familiar pieces.â€
And a performer could and would feed off that energy. While not a performer himself Eiryk had seen the audience respond take a mediocre show into something quite special and energetic.
While he donated to several charities and humanities Eiryk wasn't quite sure what his current contribution to the symphony was. Probably not enough to be overly noticed, some times it was good to slide under the radar especially as he was thinking he'd stay in Nachton for some time, certainly as long as Alex wanted to at any rate.
With a casual stretch, working out a bit of a bruise from his most recent tumble, he nodded.
"It is a good place to walk. But, no I've never done one myself. I prefer to do my own sailing. In fact I was just doing a little preping for a sail this weekend. I'd be happy to take you out some time if you'd like.â€
It was meant totally innocently, and it took Eiryk a second to hear what he'd said. When it clicked he grinned again, not taking the accidentally line too seriously.
"That didn't come out quite how I meant it too, but the offer stands.â€
He looked up at the boat Eiryk had come from when he mentioned prepping for a trip. Must be nice to have a boat. Julian kind of associated those with rich people, really. He had never known anyone with one. Although, he reasoned, it might make more sense here in Nachton, a seaside city.
The subsequent offer made him laugh, particularly as it was almost immediately rescinded. Or, at least, clarified. He was about to politely decline the offer but he reconsidered, giving it a few thoughtful seconds.
He was kind of interested in the idea, really, and he did enjoy meeting new people. Eiryk seemed all right, although they'd only just met. And how often did one get an invitation to a personal boat tour?
"It sounds like a lot of fun," he said, a little uncertainty creeping into his voice. It would be imposing, really, if he took Eiryk up on the generous offer. Different, however, if he was inviting several friends or something. Some more information would be nice before he felt comfortable saying yes.
Eiryk said with a grin. Not that it was the only way to get into a classical performance but Eiryk got the idea. It wasn't hard, even as an audience member rather than a performer he could feel the difference in mood, some days you were on the edge of your seat and some days it was easy to be a very passive participant and let the music and the symphony do all the work.
When Julian seemed interested in the cruise Eiryk more or less beamed. He did have to remind himself not to bounce. He didn't blame the young man for sounding a bit hesitant. It did sound like a date and he wasn't certain that, even if he had been single, that Julian would have been interested.
"You should take me up on the offer. I'll bring along some friends so you can meet a few more folks, if you'd like of course.â€
It was getting cold out but he didn't honestly thing that was a big deal. Everyone would bundle up and there would be coffee and mead and food too if he knew Alex at all.
"Before you say no it is no trouble at all. I love any excuse to take her out and I fully intend to make you earn your keep by telling witty anecdotes about your world travels... real or imagined.â€
In his mind any musician or artist of Julian's caliber should have at least traveled through Europe. But Eiryk was also aware that Americans had this odd habit of not leaving their own country. It was.... odd. At least to him.
That said, he did get a decent amount of clapping and foot-tapping, usually when he was playing jigs and reels. Those pieces inspired such motion however. If you could sit still during a jig or a reel you might be dead.
Eiryk extended his offer again and Julian felt a little more comfortable with it this time; it seemed like he really did want to be friendly and there were no rules that said Julian couldn't get to know someone who admired his playing. He couldn't hang out exclusively with the other members of the symphony. Well, he supposed he could but that didn't seem like the healthiest social lifestyle.
"Okay," he finally said. "I would like that. I've really only met fellow musicians since coming to Nachton. Not that that's a bad thing, but you know, I'd like to branch out a bit. What is it that you do, if you don't mind my asking? And, well, it'll have to be imagined. I haven't done a whole lot of traveling. I've been to Europe but didn't see much of it, I was playing for most of the trip."
His last year in college had given him the opportunity to do some playing in Germany, France, and Italy as well as a few stops in smaller countries. He'd enjoyed the visit but hadn't had too much time to sight see. It was nice to meet someone in Nachton who could help him tour a little. Maybe it wasn't Europe but it might still be a lot of fun.
This was turning into something of a game for Eiryk who did not, by any stretch of the imagination, considered himself high brow. Well in areas other than design, coffee and mead and possibly clothes; OK perhaps he was a little expensive at the very least. But money didn't equate to taste, as he had daily proof.
"Wonderful it will be fun. I promise there won't be a professional musician in the bunch so you can really broaden your horizons."
Eiryk started mentally compelling a guest list, and a few back ups in case some one did the unthinkable and turned him down. Of course, he'd need a mix of couples and singles so that Julian didn't feel as if he was being set up or excluded. But that was fine Eiryk could easily manage that.
"We'll have to get you back to Europe, but as a tourist. I think you'd like it a great deal."
Shocking, simply shocking that no one traveled or explored these days. Even the artists were working as they moved around the globe. He'd never understand. OK so raiding was technically work, at least it had been at the time, but Eiryk had moved past that and embraced travel for the sake of knowledge and adventure.
"Interior design. Usually I have a card on me, but I'm afraid I left them all on my desk. I do everything from something as small as a bedroom make over to remodeling a hotel. Unless, of course, it is terribly boring and then I let one of my associates handle it."
Or involved French Country, Eiryk avoided those like the plague. Oddly enough though the security chief was good at them. Not that he'd ever impose again but it was a rather fascinating fact. Well one couldn't judge a book by it's cover.
He laughed softly at the Eiryk's claim to broaden his horizons. "I appreciate it," he said cheerfully. "Not that the music crowd is a bad one, but you know, it's always good to meet different people."
The assertion that they (whoever 'they' were) had to send him packing to Europe was met with his general agreement. "I've always meant to go back," he admitted. "I'd like to see it when I'm not busy entertaining the masses. At least in my line of work I have a decent number of opportunities. I'm sure eventually I'll be able to explore."
Julian had been offered several contracts already that would give him the opportunity to do just that, but he had turned them down one after the other. Maybe three years ago he'd have jumped on it but not now. It was too soon to go anywhere. He had to establish himself here. And, well, who was he kidding... his parents would worry about him. He supposed they were right to do so; he worried about them too. No, for now it was best if his entire family stayed put in America.
He raised his eyebrows at Eiryk's profession. "Interior design? Cool."
Julian looked at the boat rocking gently behind the slightly shorter man. Interior design must pay well. "That sounds like a good way to be creative... with someone else's money." His lips quirked up in a smile. "I assume you enjoy it? Do you often get much call to decorate something as small as a bedroom?"
Idly, he wondered what Eiryk might make of his somewhat spartan studio apartment. Aside from a wall sculpture and a few pictures he hadn't done much decorating. Julian was definitely creative, but his artistry came out through his violin and his music, not through the design of his home.
This was a discussion that he would be having with who ever was in the studio when he got back. Eiryk almost felt sorry for his employees, but they were used to him by now and often engaged in this odd little problems enthusiastically.
When Julian took him up on the invitation Eiryk was quite thrilled. Now he just had to get people together and food. He'd already promised this next weekend to Alex and it was rather short notice for most people.
"Wonderful wonderful not this weekend but the next maybe? I do hope you don't mind an evening cruise.â€
Some people seemed to expect sailing to be a daytime activity and Eiryk was fun with that but he also found it difficult to do much from below deck. Besides which it was hard to explain.
"You could travel in Nachtons off season as a guest performer. It sounds quite romantic and there is nothing like combining work and pleasure.â€
It sounded like an excellent idea. Eiryk would have to consider taking up an instrument himself. It wasn't like he didn't have the time. But which instrument? He'd pick Julian's brain on this little coastline tour. How did you pick something like that, it was an extension of your voice.
"The 'with someone else's money' is the best part.â€
Eiryk said with a nearly sly grin. It didn't hurt that he had a number of wealthy clients who didn't mind spending for quality. It was fun.
"I love it, each room is just a blank canvas and you have to make it pretty, comfortable and functional for the residence. It is a challenge and art.â€ Laughing Eiryk shook his head almost a touch chagrined. "Well, the last bedroom I did was the master of a ten thousand square foot house but you'd be surprised. Some times it is the small spaces that pose the biggest challenges. But you're right most people tend to do larger spaces or more than one room at a time. Helps with the flow.â€
He said matter of factly. Of course it was trouble when you got too close to the project too. Eiryk was having a fit with he and Alex's apartment. Just thinking about it as 'he and Alex's' made him all warm and gooey. He'd finally gotten what he'd wanted and gotten Alex to move in. It was perfect as far as Eiryk was concerned.
Side benefit - he could slither out of drinks with the fourth viola, who seemed to think he was chasing her... or wanted him to be chasing her. She was nice enough, Julian supposed, but she had a tendency to forget, well, everyone else whenever she was with her two favorite people - her and herself. Julian liked just about everyone but he found her company a little tedious and didn't have any desire to date her. He'd been sort of giving her the run-around all week, hoping to come up with something more exciting or pressing to do on Sunday night. Eiryk could be a life saver!
"I thought about it," Julian said at the idea of traveling during the off season. "I might do that eventually but for now I want to make a name for myself here first, so if I travel anywhere it'll be in the US. In a few years I'll try going international again. I figure i should explore my own homeland first though, and it's pretty damn big."
Eiryk seemed to like his job. His enthusiastic explanation was met with interest from Julian, who had never known an interior decorator. He'd always thought they were sort of mythical. Like unicorns and honest politicians. but apparently there was one real interior decorator here in Nachton and he was taking Julian out on a boat tour. It would be magical.
So maybe his imagination was getting away from him a bit. But it still promised to be fun. As Eiryk finished talking Julian said, "Well maybe someday I'll get a huge contract and go on tour... and you could decorate my tour bus."
He grinned; if a small room was a challenge, he wondered what a bus would be like. He couldn't imagine there was much flow there.
He might not have to work until Monday night but Alex did, and he did plan on inviting a human or two other than his boyfriend as well. Even if Julian wouldn't know, Eiryk hated having one lone human in the midst of a pack of vampires.
"If you finish up by six... say here between six thirty and seven, whenever you finish up your curtain calls and so you don't have to rush out the door.â€
Eiryk hated rushing out the door, it always left him feeling flustered. It also stood to reason Julian might want to store his violin and freshen up as well.
"I'm always in this slip and the The HÃ¤xa there is mine.â€
He pointed to the yacht, before patting his pockets and as he felt the breast pocket of his jacket and finding a pen. Better yet, he found a card. Apparently he'd stuck one in there at some point. Lucky, he really did think he was out.
"And apparently I did find one lone card. That is my cell number, rather than the office, in the upper right.
It is an admirable sentiment. It is a big country and there is a lot to see. I don't think that you can pick a bad place to start either.â€
A slow smile spread across Eiryk's face. He had -never- thought of this. It could open up a whole new side to his business, he could specialize in buses and RVs and the like. This might be the first step in going camping with Alex.
"Brilliant. I will do it for five percent below cost since you thought of it. What a great idea. Every thing would have to be multifunctional of course. But solid, I can't image anything on wheels is a good idea in a mobile environment. And of course you have to have room to maneuver.â€
He took the offered card with a nod, letting his violin case swing around to his side and tucking the card into one of the smaller outer pockets. From the same pocket he retrieved one of his own, an item he rarely used but carried with him anyway just in case; most of the musicians he played with did. He handed it to Eiryk.
"It's something my folks always say," he admitted. "I just happen to think they're right. Fortunately Nachton has given me a little bit of a head start. At the very least it's much further south than my home, so I'm headed in the right direction!"
Eiryk seemed to take to the challenge of a tour bus with some enthusiasm. A true businessman, too, it seemed, but that was really to be expected when someone had their own studio and ran their own company. He was amused at the way the man instantly jumped into the new scenario.
"I'll bear it in mind," Julian said with a laugh. "When I go on tour I'll know who to call."
He slung his violin case around to his back once more. "I'm glad I came down here tonight, it's been... well, informative. And enjoyable."
He was really looking forward to being on a boat but most of all, to meeting some new people.
"That's a good start.â€ Eiryk said with a grin. "Where are you from then?â€
He'd seen a good chunk of the United States but not all of it by any stretch of the imagination. And there were some places he'd found that he just didn't enjoy. Florida came to mind.
How could you not like coming down to the marina, he wondered, but still Eiryk was pleased to hear that.
"I'm glad you came down tonight too. Far more interesting to run into someone than just swing by and run an errand.â€
One thing he'd learned since moving here, the city was a true melting pot of ethnicities and races. Julian had met many people who weren't even born in America much less Nachton itself. In fact, the ratio of transplants to natives was actually quite high.
"I agree," Julian said. "I never understood how people can just walk past each other all day long and never bother to stop and say hello."
Julian enjoyed meeting people. He never had trouble greeting someone new, or integrating himself into a group. His parents had always used to joke about how shy their son was. In truth, he was a lot like his mother, who also somehow always managed to strike up conversations with total strangers and make friends everywhere she went.
Eventually, if Julian wanted to succeed, to grow, he'd have to look for bigger markets, bigger cities. It was the same reason he had his studio in a big city rather than a small town as well. So Eiryk understood why the young man had wound up in Nachton. Of course, as pretty as the Catskills were, he though Vermont was prettier. Oh he couldn't -wait- to give Alex his Christmas present.
"Me? No. I've been here a few years and it is home though.â€
Eiryk was a bit relaxed about what he considered home though. Any where that Alex was was home, or any place he lived for more than a month. But mostly the Alex thing these days.
"It is kind of fascinating, isn't it? Like every one lives in a bubble and they get cranky when you pop it. Of course,â€ He said with a wry smile, "you can't quite go skipping down the street shaking hands with everyone without getting yourself committed. Fine line really.â€
He laughed. Some people had the knack and some struggled with it. Poor Pak came to mind, she did have trouble getting to know new people unless specifically introduced. But he did love talking to new people for no apparent reason, he just loved it when said people were receptive. Julian was proving a pleasant surprise.
"I found it inspiring to be there. I wrote a lot of music that just sort of popped into my head randomly during hiking trips." Julian's fingers tapped against his leg as if reminded about those songs. "The first album I recorded was inspired by the mountains."
It was a small, not very well-known collection of violin and piano works, but Julian loved it for combining rustic sounds and intricate passages with sweeping airs and delicate little graces that were difficult to play but came out so well when you got them right. And, of course, the fact that it was his endeared it to him in no small way.
He laughed softly at Eiryk's assessment of human bubble-nature. "It is a fine line. Every once in a while I find someone giving me an odd expression like I should shut the heck up and leave them alone in their little bubble. I can't help it, what's the point of living in the city and moving to new places if you're not going to meet new people too?"
He shrugged and gave Eiryk a sheepish little grin. At this point they'd talked long enough that he knew Eiryk was a kindred spirit, otherwise he figured he'd have gotten such a look from the other man a while ago. And it was nice to note that apart from the slightly awkward mis-spoken invitation earlier, Julian didn't get the impression he was being hit on. Half the time when he talked to another guy alone for this long, it ended up with him being propositioned and he ended up having to explain, once again, that he wasn't gay. The violin, the manicure, the artful hair, the clothes... okay, maybe he did give that vibe. But Julian knew what he was and what he wasn't and every once in a while he thought it'd be nice to meet a woman who appreciated a guy who knew how to take care of himself.