Open Snow Blow No Go (Marina/Marinette)
This was farcical – laughable – although the situation was hardly one to evoke merriment. Lawrence looked from one dark face to the other and then back again, not knowing what to say, what to do. He wanted to believe that Akal was safe and sound, tucked up somewhere out of the storm, be that the church or elsewhere. He knew that to venture out in the quickening dark, with snow still filling the air such that a man could see no further than his own hand outstretched, would be insanity. What would be the chances that he would have the good luck to stumble upon Akal, if he was lost somewhere in this hellish blizzard? What would be the good of him stumbling about until he himself wandered off, only to die from exposure? All these questions swirled in his head, as he regarded the two women, wanting to believe, but scared to do so. Terrified. He was a skeptic at heart. Now did not seem the time to suddenly cast rational thought and logic aside and throw his lot in with the charlatans of the world.

Still, the odd one had seemed quite sure that he loved Akal. Did that carry any import, as to the veracity of her claim that she had seen him, with her mind’s eye, apparently? Was that telling in some way? Or did it simply mean he, or Akal, or both of them had best more closely scrutinize how they behaved around others? Again, so many questions, but no real answers.

Lawrence sighed and turned his head to look once more to the window. He moved, to again stand before it, and in so doing, he woke the little boy. Giovanni sat up and said in his mild, childish voice, ” Ho fame. Akal è tornato? Mancherà la sua cena.” * Then he rose to his knees and leaned against the back of the small couch and peered out into the dark. ”È nella neve, signore? Ha preso il suo cappello?”

Lawrence reached to gently pat the child on the back. ”Sì, è nella neve. Vado a prenderlo, vero? Lo riporterò a cena. Tu rimani qui e tieni compagnia a queste brave donne, va bene?”

He then turned to the women, and spoke first to Marinette, ”I wish I could put my trust in your prognostications, miss. I really do. But I must go in search of him. I’ll try first at the church. Perhaps that will prove that you do have powers greater than any I’ve ever personally encountered in…one such as you.” He canted his head and gave a slight nod, as if in recognition of powers yet to be affirmed. Marinette made no response, gave no reaction. She simply regarded him levelly, dispassionately, saying nothing, making no protest or offering no further insight into the situation.

To Marina he said firmly, ”This is a task I must undertake on my own. I’m deeply grateful for your offer of help. But I would ask you to remain.” He nodded at the little boy. ”Look after him for me. Stay here in the warmth and eat. I’m sure supper will be ready soon. I’ll let Mrs. Settle know. You’re welcome to stay here as long as you like. As long as needs be…” He added, with another look to the window. ”All night if you like, although…I’m sure I…we’ll…be back by then.” This last was said with a hearty conviction that was clearly feigned. But it didn’t matter. He could not stay here, knowing Akal was out there, somewhere, in this horrible storm.

Regardless of any further protests or offers that might be made. Lawrence was insistent. He would go, and he would go alone. He took the time to make some preparations, to be sure to wear his warmest clothes and take a small pack of supplies. That was something he’d not needed to do for more than a year, but an old familiar feeling crept over him as he stuffed in two blankets, some food, candles, matches and a metal thermos of hot tea provided by the cook. With forced optimism on his face and in his voice, he bid them all good bye, and exited out the back, to cross the yard and enter the alley behind. This way, he figured, he’d have less chance of straying, if he kept his shoulder to the walls that ran along behind the neighboring houses. To the church he would head. Why not? It was as good a place as any to begin his search. And along the way, he would call out, useless as that might be, against the wind and the muffling, deadly whiteness.

*The conversation between Giovanni and Lawrence:
-I’m hungry. Is Akal back? He’ll miss his supper.
-Is he in the snow, sir? Did he take his hat?
-Yes, he is in the snow. I’ll go fetch him, shall I? I’ll bring him back for supper. You stay here and keep these good ladies company, alright?
Marina shook her head as she watched him prepare to go. She hugged her small shawl around her arms to keep her warm as just the idea of heading out there brought a shiver from her head down to her toes. The woman tried to stop him, she really did.

The man was a bloody fool. No amount of warnings would stop him. Her calling him out as a fool didn't sway him, though luckily didn't seem to anger him either. She tried to reason with him, saying that either he believed them that his servant was safe in the church or he didn't and then had no clue where to find the man who could be already dead if that was the case. Of course, she didn't mention that last part. The last thing Marina wanted was upsetting him.

Before he left, she tried to get him to stop. "What if d'at storm stop and your servant, he come back, but you still be gone?" She folded her arms but the man was already out the door. It was infuriating what love did to people.

She stomped her foot on the rug when he left and looked at the servant and boy they were left with. Shaking her head she paced for a moment but knew it was pointless. The man wouldn't get his mind back suddenly and come back. He was too stubborn for that. She stepped up beside her sister and rest her head on her shoulder.

"I'm cold." She closed her eyes to enjoy the fire's warmth beside her.

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