Just as Cold as the North Pole
She had tried to talk Kem into driving, but that had somehow lead to the topic of zombies and the quality of her driving and in the end Pak had been goaded into driving. Yet again she told herself she had to get a new car. It was the salt on the roads, she worried about the paint and the body of the old car. But it hadn't snowed in a couple of days and so she didn't think the roads were too bad.
As usual in the winter Pak was bundled up in the extreme, a heavy wool coat, gloves, scarf, gloves, hat and that was in the car with the heater going. If they had been planning on staying outside she would probably consider putting a second coat on. Pak had once described herself as a delicate tropical creature, it was at least half true.
The 'Lil Bird was neatly pulled into a spot on the strip. She didn't trust the mall since getting stuck in an elevator the previous Christmas. Besides the strip was tastefully decked out of the season lights, poinsettias and so forth. Even Pak, who could be a bit of a Grinch, had to admit it rather put her in the proper mood as she slid out from behind the wheel and out into the frigid (in her opinion) night air. At least the stores would be warm she reminded herself as she pulled her scarf up over her face.
"Where did we want to start? And don't say at the beginning.â€
He raised his eyebrows at Pak when she clapped her hands to her ears. He couldn't help a little smirk, although inside he felt somewhat concerned. Pak needed a relationship. An intimate one, not just friends and family. He really didn't want to turn into that 'you need to get laid' friend. They were the most annoying. Yet, he couldn't help but feel that perhaps in Pak's case she needed to... well, cut loose and relax a bit.
"I wouldn't mind a kiss the cook apron," he said with a grin unable to resist grossing Pak out even further. "Just so long as I get to wear it for Aishe. At night."
He flashed Pak his most sincere innocent grin, knowing what her reaction would be.
She grinned to herself; she'd bought Reign a cookbook with recipes in it that were all chocolate based. She figured she may as well benefit from the cooking competition between Kiamhaat and Reign. Kem was already a few steps up on the chocolate war. He'd actually made (with Alex, last week) an almost unbelievably good chocolate souffle. It was Aishe's first souffle, and now she was definitely a fan.
She laughed out loud at Pak's reaction to the idea that Cris and Rowan might actually be intimate. For someone who wasn't born yesterday Pak sure did a good impression. Aishe shook her head and continued on with the current topic.
"Oh dinner in might be nice. Maybe I can put something to that effect on a card so they can choose the restaurant, and I can order for them. Or just get them a gift card. I know Cris eats, at least. But it doesn't have to be a meal. Maybe something like dessert."
She looked upward thoughtfully, trying to narrow down her thought process until she knew what she wanted. There would have to be chocolate involved... it wouldn't be a gift with her touch on it, otherwise. Ideas began to form.
She turned back to Kem and Pak in time to catch the bit about the apron. "Oh, I hope she gets him one! And if not, I might."
Aishe wasn't going to resist the chance to play along with Kem. She did, however, spot a bath store across the way. Not the cheesy Bath and Body Works kind but a real aromatherapy sort of place where, hopefully, she could find something fun for Cris and Rowan to play with.
Entering the store Aishe looked around. It certainly smelled good, none of the cloying too-sweet scents she was used to from stores of this type. Turning to her friends she said, "We need something mild. And not too girly."
She wasn't sure about Rowan but Aishe knew Cris would not appreciate a strong scent. Something subtle, though, she didn't think he'd mind. She crossed to a display of massage oils, sort of what she was looking for, and sampled a few. Some she was able to discard immediately, others she set aside to re-sniff.
Pak was still a bit surprised by this relationship. Reign had been something of a hellion when they'd first met. Cocky, arrogant and closed off. She'd changed a lot since coming to Nachton and for the better. It was something of a relief.
Honestly most people would never guess that Pak had been a prostitute for a good part of her life. Apparently she'd been good at it too. But she'd worked very hard to put her past behind her and that was part of it. Of course, she was better when such discussions didn't involve people she knew and in the case of Kem and Aishe, knew well.
In retaliation for his quip Pak side stepped into Kem, shouldering him pretty good.
"Only if you are wearing it over like ten pairs of pants and five sweaters and you don't tell me about it. And you," She turned on Aishe rolling her eyes, "are too young to know about such things."
Muttering under her breath in Siamese about cradle robbers and hedonists, more for effect that out of any real feeling she followed them into the store.
Taking a deep breath she looked around the store. She'd probably get some little lotions for other members of her staff as long as they were here. A lot of staff presents not many friends, she needed to work on that, but for now she joined in the sniffing.
"Not girly... "
That was open for interpretation but she would work with it. She found a few she liked and set them aside for Aishe to approve or veto, bergamot, amber, cedar, juniper, spice, sandalwood and herbs seemed to attract her and qualify as not too feminine.
Suddenly she shook her head and wrinkled her nose.
"I have never understood why you'd want to smell like food..."
Pak muttered as she quickly down something that smelled a lot like some kind of cake.
Inside, he wasn't knocked over by a brick wall of annoying scent, which was something when one was a vampire. He wondered about the proprietors briefly; usually to create subtle scent, one had to have a little bit more intimate knowledge of their kind. He shrugged to himself; either way it was nice to come into this kind of store without sensory overload.
"Oh I don't know, some food fragrances have their merits." He smiled at Aishe, who almost always smelled faintly of vanilla. He wouldn't have thought anything of the scent before meeting her but now, it was one of his favorites.
He figured he might as well pitch in as the resident male, so he smelled things as Aishe offered them up to him, shaking his head or giving her a nod as he did. Occasionally he hit a particularly bad one, which was met with vigorous negation. He didn't know if his tastes and Cris's or Rowan's would mesh but he couldn't imagine any vampire wanting to run around smelling like some of these, subtle though they may be.
"That one's not so bad," he said when Aishe found a good one. "That one too," he said, indicating one that Pak had set aside.
As they moved along a bit, Aishe found a section specific to aromatherapy, with organic essential oil blends that claimed to suit several moods. Relaxation, stress relief, anti-depression, happiness, energizing... there were a lot of options. Picking up one that promised relaxation and calm, she sniffed it tentatively. It was chamomile and lavender, surprisingly subtle once again.
And not half bad.
Aishe offered it to Kiamhaat, and to Pak. Kem sniffed it, then returned to it. He smiled and nodded and Aishe set the little jar aside with the few they had all liked so far. She suddenly laughed softly, holding the bottle away from her.
"What I really need is to distill them each separately. Essence of Rowan. Think there'd be a market for it?" Grinning, she shrugged. "A one-man market maybe."
Still, the scents were nicely played down. She thought any one of them would be pleasing. Aishe tried to put herself in a work mindset, trying to envision herself catching a whiff of fragrance as she passed Cris at Meridian or Liefde. Hmm. Maybe they would appreciate a scented candle more. She just didn't know.
"I might have to come back to it after some subtle sleuthing," she said with a sigh. "I just don't have enough information."
She knew she was probably being a huge pain in the ass on the topic, but it was important to her to get something very special for her Creator and she didn't yet know what that should be. It was getting frustrating.
Pak retorted tartly, lots of things that were edible also smelt good but there were somethings just shouldn't be perfume or fragrance oils. It was a balancing act, something made vanilla acceptable but cilantro a no no. For some reason lavender was good but bacon was just odd.
"Or should I get you essence of prime rib for Christmas?"
She obediently sniffed the the oil that Aishe offered. It was quite nice. Actually, she really liked it, a lot.
"That would go great in a bath or something but do you want them that relaxed?"
Pak was a little surprised at her own insinuation, but not shocked. She was human, or something very similar, after all. She returned the little grin of Aishe's, the woman really was a romantic wasn't sure. It was endearing, charming even. Pak had decided a while ago that she'd like Aishe even if she and Kem weren't together.
The idea of more investigation made Pak laugh.
"So you're coming back for both of them? Have you gotten anything tonight or just ideas?"
He laughed. "Essence of prime rib huh? Maybe if I were still single and looking to attract a few canine companions. I think, though, essence of chocolate would be more appropriate for the prey I have in mind."
He kept silent when Pak quipped about over-relaxing Cris and his partner. His lips tilted up; at least Pak could lighten up some. A little. Sort of. She still needed to do it more, in his opinion.
Aishe waffled on the topic of the oil. Kem, for his part, reached over and plucked the bottle from her hand.
"Get it," he said with a knowing smile. "If you decide not to give it to them after all, it won't go to waste."
Smelly bath things weren't really his thing but he wasn't about to turn down a romantic evening with his wife to be. If she liked it, they'd use it. But he thought she might second guess herself again. It wasn't her usual way; normally she was pretty direct. He knew this meant a lot to her though, which was why she couldn't make up her mind.
She wasn't going to think too terribly deeply on the topic. She wasn't Pak, obviously, but Cris was her Creator! It was like knowing your parents were... yerggh. Anyhow, she wanted them to enjoy a romantic night together.
Kiamhaat solved the issue of her indecision for her, and decided the matter nicely. Aishe smiled at him and selected a few more items with the same faint, pleasant scent. He was right... they wouldn't go to waste.
"Anything you want from here?" she asked Pak. "I think I have plenty now."
She shook her head. "Not for this sort of present," she said. She had, after all, found the little toy for Cris and the paper for Rowan but it wasn't -the- present. "I still plan to sleuth! What if one of them has an outrageous aversion to chamomile?"
From what she understood the wolves weren't terribly fond of their kind. Well, she wouldn't rule it out, she just wouldn't hold her breath on dinner and a movie with a werewolf. She might, however, go watch The Wolfman. That was almost as good as a date right? Not very seasonal though. Nothing was perfect was it.
"Nothing terribly particular."
Pak said. She'd spotted some sample and/or airline approved sizes already made up and by the register. They would do for what she wanted. While she wanted to do something nice for folks they weren't as close as Aishe was to Christian.
She grinned at an image she had of Aishe in a trench coat and fedora sneaking around the Towers to determine if either of the men couldn't stand chamomile or some other fragrance.
"You let me know when you want to play gumshoe and I will work on my Sam Spade impression."
Just not terribly hard...
The Strip was a big place and soon enough they had their lists filled, even if Pak's was a bit on the small side. It was good to indulge in some of the trappings of the holiday and now she had Kem and Aishe coming over, Eiryk and Alex too... hopefully, to look forward to. It should be a nice Christmas.
((OOC... all out))