(1938-04-03) Date, Maybe
Details for Date, Maybe
Summary: Xander and Briar go out on a…date?
Date: April 3, 1938
Location: Notting Hill
Related: Corpses and Bones

"I'll be right back," Xander tells the taxi driver as he slips out of the cab. For a moment, he just stares wide-eyed at the flower-laden, well-to-do block on Notting Hill. "Blimey," he murmurs, giving the small, potted plant in his hands a dubious look. Not about to back down now, he makes his way up to the front door of the Crocker home, ringing the bell.

Briar certainly doesn't look like a tom-boy when she answers the door. "I've got it!" Is heard yelling and before the door opens there's a disgruntled. "Mom. Go away. Shoo." Then it's a few moments wait before the door opens and there she is in a silky layered /dress/ it's a light weight 'casual' dress for the time. The natural tones of the outfit is all Briar. Her hair is down and in very loose waves. Perhaps just a tiny touch fancier than one would expect to wear to the garden, but knowing Briar it's her /only/ dress. "Hi. Ready? Good, off we go." She barely opens up the door to squeeze herself out. The plant is then spotted and she beams, but then it strikes her that he's brought her a present…that's date stuff! It makes her blush as she accepts the potted plant and very carefully tucks it away in the garden next to the stoop. "It's beautiful." She even leans in to give his cheek a kiss. Then she's yelling, "Bye!" Into the crack in the door and just as an older woman tries to peek out shrewdly she closes the door firmly.

Xander gets that crooked smile when she kisses his cheek, and there's no hiding the ensuing blush. "Hey, um…it's…Rosa rubiginosa," also known as Sweet Briar, "But…I'm sure you knew that." He gestures toward the waiting cab, and hesitates for only the briefest moment of indecision before offering his arm in escort.

Briar blushes a little more. Gah she normally isn't so easy to blush! "I do, they are my favorite." She points up to one of the windows on the second level, within the flower box there are some sweet briars. "I'll keep those by my bed. Thank you." She takes his arm and with a smile rests her chin on his shoulder. "I wasn't sure if we were considering this a date or just a friendly outing…" She peeks up at him curiously, still seeking some sort of verification. Slipping inside of the taxi she smiles to the driver. "Kew Garden's please."

Xander holds the door for her, climbing in after. "Well…honestly? I wasn't sure either. But…it could be. I mean, I'd like it to be. You're pretty great, and this all seems very…date-like," he nods, lowering his eyes to her dress. "What with the gardens and the movies and such." Nerves colour his smile as the seconds until her response stretch into what seem like hours.

Briar smiles and leans in to give his cheek another kiss. "You are great, I don't want you getting hurt. We're friends and I feel like we have wonderful talks. So I want you to know - now knowing you want this to be a date that… Kaiden and I are in a strange place right now. He apologized and we kissed. We aren't back together. He knows that we're going out. When he found out that was when he finally started talking about his feelings. He is a major idiot. But you also know how I feel about him. Do want to go out and have a great time with you. I just want to be honest and let you know that I've also agreed to have dinner at some point with Kaiden."

Crestfallen, Xander's smile fades. There's no hiding it, where his cheeks were pink moments ago, the colour has drained from them now. "Oh…right. Um…well…that's great. I mean, for the two of you." His eyes stay fixed on his hands. "You care about him, so…look, I don't want to get in the way. This…this doesn't have to be a date."

Briar turns to face him more in that back bench seat of the taxi. A gentle hand lifts up to touch one of his cheeks to give it a gently nudge to try to get him looking at her. "I have a question for you. It's very important. Do you think we could be friends? I mean after we have this wonderful day together, see how things go? Then decide afterwards? I really like you Xander. You are the reason I've actually been smiling the past few weeks. Kaiden isn't good for me, I know that. It's just my brain goes all wonky when he's around. Especially when he's being the charming Kaiden i fell in love with. But I don't want to miss what could be the best thing to happen to me in a long while. Just because of feelings I wish I didn't have anymore. Does that make sense? Like I said, I don't want to hurt you.. So what ever you feel is best. I understand if you don't want to get involved with someone as twisted up as me."

Xander doesn't resist looking at her, but he doesn't do a great job of masking the disappointment in his eyes. Still, he smiles, taking a moment of silence to gather his composure. "You're not twisted up. You're human. You just…wear your heart on your sleeve. It's very American." He chuckles weakly. "Let's go have a good time. I don't know how I'll feel. I…I can hope."

Briar nods and smiles, she's finding more and more with every passing second that she herself is becoming more hopeful as well that things continue to go so nicely. "You can hope, I am too. You don't know how much I would like to just be back to 'normal' me. I feel like that when I'm around you." She tilts her head and gets a lopsided smile. "You also don't say, 'It's very American' like it was an insult…like everyone else does." Including Kaiden. "Thank you." With that she slides her hand down his arm to try to get her hand slipped into his to tangle up their fingers in a light little experiment.

Hand-holding? There's that hope again, bringing the colour back to Xander's face. He nervously squeezes her hand. Oh Merlin, are my palms sweating? He gives her a lopsided smile, shrugging. "You're not like other British girls. I like that."

Briar squeezes back and doesn't mind the perhaps slight clamminess of their hands. "No, I'm definitely not like most British Girls. I'm not even like most American girls. Just Briar, that's me. Tried and true." When the car pulls up she looks to Xander, "Going Dutch is all the rage." Flappers and the whole equal rights movement. "I can go halves if you'd like. Or even whole and really shake things up."

Xander lifts an eyebrow. "You want to pay?" This was unexpected. "I can pay, really. I'm happy to. That's one tradition I rather like." He shrugs, "I want to be a gentleman."

Briar sneaks in a kiss to his cheek again, this one is very close to the corner of his mouth. "You are a gentleman. I'm just a modern girl. But I like tradition too." With that she steps out of the taxi to let him pay. For a moment she uses the reflection of the window to make sure she's not looking frumpy. Then when he's stepped out her hand is out reached just enough to be a sweet little offer to him, but also not trying to be clingy and a hanger on. "So this is your first visit to Kew Garden's?"

Xander slips the driver his Muggle money and a modest tip. Her outreached hand brings light to his eyes, and he gladly takes it into his own. "My mother told me that she took us here when we were very little. I was too young to remember, so this is like my first time."

Briar even goes so far as to once her hand has been taken her other hand comes over to rest on his bicep just above his elbow. "You mother sounds like my sort of lady. Speaking of Mother's sorry about mine earlier. We don't get along real well so you know I'm not ashamed of you - it's her. I come here all the time. When we first came here, I was really depressed. My father is big on gardens and so he brought me here. It's always been a very special place for me. So I hope you like it. I know beyond the Corpse plants you'll probably be bored crazy. So we can just head straight to the display?"

Xander chuckles, shaking his head. "I didn't think you were ashamed of me. I…heh…I thought maybe you were just excited to get going." He shrugs bashfully, but he's all grins. "But we don't have to rush to the carrion flowers. Believe it or not, I do like other flowers. I want you to show me around. Besides, if…if we go slow, I get to spend more time with you."

Briar gets a little sly bit of a smile. "We're going to be spending all day together, no matter how fast or slow we walk. But I don't mind going slow. The thing I love the most about gardens of any size, but especially this one, is you can travel the world just strolling down a path. See the whole of mother earth's bounty without needing magic to dash all over. So, where on Earth would you like to visit the most?" His answer seems to be important for where she'll lead him first.

Xander lifts his brow and lets out a laden breath. "Well, that's a heavy question. You know, I've always been fascinated by South America. All those tales of thick jungles, and the Aztecs. They get a bad reputation for performing human sacrifice. But did you know it was considered a great honour? Some believe that those chosen to be sacrificed would live like royalty for a year, their every desire catered to." He tightens his lips, smirking abashedly. "Sorry. I'm rambling."

Briar goes so far as to rest her chin on his shoulder as they slowly stroll. She's looking up at his face as he tells her about the Aztecs. "I'm actually very interested in ancient cultures. For all I know I could somewhere have Aztec in me. So I sort of do my best to connect with as many cultures as I can and going to the source is the most fun. I like the roots of things." She gives him a little tug. "So, pretend I'm an Aztec priestess, you've been selected as this years sacrifice. What would you ask for? What is the greatest desire you have that you want to happen before you die?" Again she proves that she's not one to mind talk about his favorite topic.

All this lovely talk of death and human sacrifice is enough to make a boy all giddy inside. Xander shrugs, giving a nervous chuckle. "Well…I, um…you know, I read this one story of a chosen sacrifice victim that…took a princess as his bride." He swallows, looking for a bit more courage as he goes into the tale. "For many months, she would not speak to him, and he was saddened that his wife hated him so. But on the night before he was to be killed, he found her in tears, and finally coaxed her to speak, apologizing for forcing her to marry a man she loathed. But she told him that wasn't the reason for her sadness. She could not speak because she was so distraught, knowing that she would only get to spend less than a year with the man she loved. The next night, after he had been sacrificed, she threw herself down the temple steps so that she might join him in the afterlife."

Briar listens to the story and smiles a little sadly. "So that's what you want? An Aztec Princess to have a horrid relationship with until at the last minute you get the balls to talk to her and then you tragically die together? I like you Xander. But I'm not a fan of throwing myself down stairs." She winks up at him and gives him another nudge. "So come on, if you were going to be sacrificed what would you desire the most?" Any sort of possible analogy between them and his story obviously is lost on her.

Xander laughs aloud. "No, no…you just reminded me of the story when you told me to pretend that you're an Aztec princess. I don't know…I think it's sort of romantic. Maybe not an ideal relationship, but I doubt it's true. Probably just a parable about how love is more powerful than death." He shrugs, eyeing her hopefully, fearful that he's finally driven a wedge between them. "So…fine…if it was me? I think…actually, I would want to be with someone. I mean, not a terrible marriage that makes someone miserable. But…just someone to share my last year with." A somber tone creeps into the edges of his voice when he adds, "Most people don't get how awful loneliness can be. We've got to appreciate the people we have while we still have them."

Briar nods, "I loved the story, I think it's true too. I'm merely pointing out that you've got to be a really great kisser before I'm taking a tumble down a flight of stairs." To the last bit of his reasoning for what he wants in his last year she gives his arm a little soothing rub. "I miss him too. He was very nice to me, like you are. He wasn't as cute tho…" She teases trying to lighten up the mood just a little bit. "So, you have your Aztec Princess. Then what would you do? How would you spend that year together? Besides spending most of it in bed - goes without saying."

Her kind words about his late twin brother bring not melancholy, but a soft and joyful smile. Thoughts of his Aztec princess threaten another blush. "Well…like this, for starters." He gestures around at the incredible gardens which seem to have enveloped them. "Seeing the world, experiencing everything together. I mean, with one year to live, you've got to soak up every moment. Right? We'd try to make sure we saw something new every single day. Even if it's just something like turning down a street we'd never turned down before. We'd have to attend every event, like plays or musical shows." An idea pops into his head, and he gets a boyish grin. "Every night we'd make up stories about our long lives together, so that by the time I die, we'd have a lifetime of memories."

Briar smiles warmly as she makes him smile and more so when he expounds on what they'd do, by the end she's reaching up a hand to wipe at her cheek. "That's so wonderful. Damn you. Making me cry." She gives him a bumping into more than a nudge and then she smiles and looks around them too. "Almost there. Did you know that this broad walk we are on was turned into a huge vegetable garden during the Great War?" She gestures to some of the gardeners that are out tending. "They've slowly been starting to allocate space again over the last couple of years. It's how it first really sunk in with me, that we're marching towards war. Do you have anyone that'd be involved? My dad is too old, and I've only got sisters. I knew a guy, Squib that was in the Air Force. Had a bit of a fling last Summer." She realizes she's derailed and gone into not such a pleasant date talk topic. "Sorry. We're here to have a lovely time and forget about all that. So…here we go! Into the 'Jungles' of South America…" Is spoken as she gestures to white iron and glass doors into a massive elaborate green house. "Or at least the closest we can get." Within the smaller of the garden's greenhouses it looks more like an enclosed pond than one might expect. Within the large pond are massive water lily pads. "These are some of my favorite. If you prove to be the right weight they will let you sit on one. I love purple and they have the most perfect purple and yellow blooms." on the sides of the path through the pond area are of course other different Amazon species of flower. But the star plant really is the number of lily pads that can get up to the size of a child's bed.

Xander gawks in awe at the enormous water plants. "Are those real? Blimey, that's amazing. These are all from South America?" He spares a moment to stare around and take in the sight of the many exotic species. "No wonder you love this stuff. I mean, think about it. This is just a sliver of the world, and probably just a fraction of what could be found there. Imagine what the Aztecs' gardens must have looked like." He smirks, giving her a light bump. "Probably a few stories to be told by the sacrifice and the princess in those gardens."

Briar moves to part their hands finally, it is a bit humid inside the green house. But she doesn't stray far, in fact technically she tries to slip closer and sling one arm around behind him as the path at points do get narrow. "Plenty of 'rattling' the birds of paradise and gilding of lilies, huh?" She is of course going for the playful innuendo. "But that is, like I was saying, we have the power to bring as you said a sliver of another part of the world and have Bird of Paradise, Ficus, Clitoris-flower…" Yes she does pause a bit after giving that name and even pointing towards said species of plant. Just a pane of glass away from the typical British Rose Garden. Because in fact right across the path from the Waterlily house is the massive rose garden behind the second to largest greenhouse called the Palm House. "Now that you've seen the Garden's you're probably understanding a lot better when I said we can make it a whole vacation thing."

Blushing. Yes, blushing is the order of the day. Xander turned a little pink at her innuendo, but the word "clitoris" sends his mind into a tailspin. He welcomed the arm around him, and responded in kind, positively gleeful at being so close to a girl. So the sudden nervous tension is more than evident. "Y-yeah…it's enormous. Bloody amazing, really." He swallows hard. Yes, focus on the impressive gardens, not the…everything else his teenaged mind wants to think about.

Briar licks her smirking lips as she watches him squirm. "I'm sorry, but you look good when you squirm." She apologizes for teasing him. "So what would you like to do? There is a cafe a small walk down that provides picnic supplies if you ever want to stop for something to eat. A lot of their greens they use in the salads and sandwiches actually are grown right here. They are really delicious. Unless you wanted to go someplace else to eat." She's fine letting him be traditional and deciding where the date is going to take them.

Xander chews his lip and smirks back at her, taking her teasing in good spirits. "You're a she-devil, you are. Alright then, a cafe sounds good. But I'm still paying." He instinctively gives her a little squeeze around the waist, suddenly becoming even more aware of where his hand is. But as long as she doesn't seem to mind, he's enjoying the moment. "Lead the way? I'm still totally backwards in this place."

Briar slides her hand down onto his on her hip, proving that she indeed likes it. Once they exit they, "Take the shortcut." Through the rose garden. Once out of the rose garden she points towards the west, "And see…now we are on the edges of China." A tall 10 story Chinese pagoda tower spears up above some trees in the distance. "The locals have pitch a fit about that since it was first constructed. British tastes not liking anything not British on their horizon." She gives a little frustrated eyeroll but then smiles up at him. "Ohh…this is my favorite rose. You know how they say every rose has it's thorn?" She leads him over to the Silvery Purple rose bush. "This is the Sterling Rose. It's completely thornless. It's why I like it so much. It's purple /and/ it bucks what's expected of it." Remind him of anyone? "Pick your favorite?"

"My favourite? That's a tall order with all these to choose from." Xander looks over the sea of roses, but it doesn't take him long. "I guess I'm a sucker for the simple classics." He gestures toward bush brimming with pure white blooms. "I like how they seem simple, but it's deceptive, you know? You have to really look to see the details. Beauty is always in the details, if you ask me. Like…you. The more I get to know you…the…um…the more beautiful you are."

Briar is all smiles and agreeing with him about the beauty of the classics - then he's linking his comments to her and saying the sweetest thing that probably anyone's said to her. "That is unbelievably sweet." Right there on the path between the white and purple roses she rolls up onto the balls of her feet to place a soft peck to his lips now. "Same is true for you. Everyone lets your appreciation for life be clouded by your neutrality with something that scares the shit out of them. But you're not morbid at all. You are amazing Xander, I am so glad that I got to know you better and that we did this. I've never had such a good time here, that's saying something I assure you."

Xander is stunned to find her lips touching his. Uncertain how to receive it, he just leans slightly into it, welcoming, but trying not to seem greedy about it. No matter how short the peck, in his mind it may as well be hours that he can feel that softness against his mouth. There is a noticeable period of nothing but a silent, stupid grin after she finishes speaking, before he just says, "Wow."

Briar traps her bottom lip between her teeth and just looks up at him with a sweet if crooked because of her trapped lip smile. She just looks up at him and lets it all sink in and process for him. "You know…I just now realize that I'm not sure you've ever dated a girl before…" In other words she's starting to sound sheepish that she just was pretty unmindful that that might have been his first kiss - possibly. "I am sorry, I'm sort of really affectionate. Ria loved to term it as 'easy'. But like you said earlier, I like grabbing life by the horns and living each day like it's possibly my last. I hope I just didn't steal your first kiss."

Xander's brow crinkles over a lopsided smile. "Why? It was a great first kiss. Like you said, live every day like it's your last." He takes a deep breath, visibly gathering his courage to take his own advice. He reaches for her hands to tug her close, and leans forward to press his lips to hers, this time for more than a peck.

Briar moves in against him willfully and her arms slide around his sides and cross around his back, fingers digging into the fabric as she hugs him as well as kiss him. Briar is a bit like a hot rod that goes from 0 to 60 in a matter of moments and she isn't afraid to deepen the kiss. Her head tilts and her mouth opens enough to tease her tongue out to very lightly feather over his bottom lip that she traps between her teeth. Some old man passing by clears his throat and it makes her chuckle and break the kiss, but she doesn't go far. "Alright, I stand corrected. Definitely worth a tumble down some stairs." She whispers in a breathy voice. Referring to him having to be a really good kisser for her to think about committing suicide when he died. Not that she actually would, but the romantic sentiment is there and true. "I'm afraid we won't be seeing much of Bones in the River…" Her eyes filled with promise of darkened theater snogging.

Xander gives the passing man an apologetic wince, but reserves a laugh for Briar as he tugs her along toward the cafe. "I like you more every minute, Briar. But…um…yeah, we'd better get some food before we give someone a heart attack." He's blushing like a beet, but he's not about to let it scare him off. Whatever shyness he feels is barely an echo of a thought when he looks at her, beaming at this Aztec princess.

Briar obviously thinks he's the most adorable thing when he's blushing like that because she can't help but reach up to caress his cheek affectionately with one finger. But then she's lacing her fingers in his again and heading along the path to the cafe. Once they've gotten their goodies she seems to have the perfect place for such a picnic and it is rather secluded and surrounded by heather. "This reminds me of a spot in Hogsmeade we should go to next weekend off." Yes, it certainly sounds like she wants this to not be the one and only date.

Also as mentioned, the movie is not what they were expecting so the hour is whiled away 'getting to know each other' in the darkened theater. When she's dropped off at her door it's a farewell that also includes a kiss that holds within it a sad reluctance to say good-bye. But the porch light goes on and off three times and she groans and rolls her eyes. "She's spying. God I loath her. I'll see you soon."

Xander's eyebrows loft. "Soon. Tomorrow? We could have a picnic at the London Cemetery?" Another flicker of the lights and he shoos her toward the door. "I'll call you tomorrow." He waits and watches until she's inside, then slowly twirls twice as he reorients himself toward the street and the waiting taxi.

"Pretty girl," says the cabbie as the young man climbs in.

Xander gazes out the window toward Briar's home, catching just a glimpse of her silhouette in her bedroom window. "Pretty amazing," he murmurs, as they drive off into the night.

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