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The Girl Is Mine

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The Girl Is Mine

Post by Shula Brighton on Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:38 pm

"The rain has moved on.
It's left a new day.
Nothing seems to move, everything is still.
It's just a perfect day."


The words sung out in the gentlest of sighs passing Shula's lips, her office filling with the gentle melody that would always make her think of Resembool and its lush hills, the mountains off in the distance and the shadow of the woods that blanketed them. There were a lot of songs that made her think of the peaceful farm town where her father lived, though. It was bigger than Meissan without being too big, and the people knew each other but were still spaced out enough to leave you alone. Even before Shula rose up in rank, a fair number of people there knew her, if only because she was Phil's girl, and their fabulous little tailor rarely shut up about his kids. Especially his Shula. Even if she didn't really get to start building a relationship with Phillip until she was 18 and left home, in a short time they'd still become pretty close, and in all the time she hadn't been able to really see him she knew now that she was always his.

Last night's thunderstorm had rolled away, leaving South humid but with a nice breeze blowing off the lake, millions of wildflowers dotting the oasis. The world was becoming right again. Things would be alright. Shula smiled, letting in the morning breeze that still smelled faintly of rain. Today would be a nice day, she'd decided. There was plenty to do, but she'd managed to get caught up on most of the more dire stacks of papers that came her way, and had a few departments and teams taking on the work Central couldn't handle right now to cut them some slack. Shula could take a small breather, she felt. Even just for a few minutes, to go through her email and a heavy envelope that Rosie had left on her desk for her.

"The shadows and light
That move with the wind
Hidden violets grow, splashed with summer spray.
Just another perfect day.


She hadn't said why she wanted it, but Phillip knew his little girl's usual tastes were fairly ecclectic and suddenly wanting to look at formal fashion plates as well as things that were traditional for Xingese culture was a bit new to him. There was something going on, but no matter how sly Phil tried to be Shula was two steps ahead and knew how to not say anything. Thankfully, she'd gotten rather good at that. It was just for her own curiosity. That was all. Why else would she suddly want to know what was en vogue? The manilla paper ripped unceremoniously as the catalogues poured out. They weren't really of anything for sale, yet, but what fashion icons from around the world had premiered this year at the catwalks to display on the most beautiful living mannequins. From the classic lines of Christian Dior to the street coutour Yohji Yamamoto, all of this year's shows were photographed and printed for everyone else to drool over in this thick book. Or, in this case, let more local names in fashion take notes from what was trending to base their styles and colour pallettes on.

Or, most hopefully, be able to take what was trendy and mix it with what was traditional and make something amazing. There were very few planned details for when she and Spade were getting married; trying to survive the rest of the world kinda took priority, and she still had Raistlin to win her freedom and her life from. She'd promised Spade that when it was over, she'd marry him, but neither of them knew when exactly it was that she'd be free. But as soon as she was completely free from Raistlin, Shula would be free to give herself away entirely. She would no longer be Phillip's girl, or proud General Ulrich's girl, or even Aaron's anymore. The three men she loved most dearly would all have to step aside and accept that Shula was moving toward the rest of her life as her own, and as Spade's wife. But being that so few things were planned as yet, Shula knew she wanted her dress to be a surprise to Spade. Something meaningful. One book was opened, pages pressed down to mark traditional Xingese wedding clothes that were more modern; another book showed ornate saris for an Ishvallan wedding. Red and gold seemed to bear significance for both cultures- it was her favourite colour, in Xing it was lucky and luckier for a bride (hence most Xingese wedding dresses were red), and lucky in Isvhallan traditions, too.

"On the wild and misty hillside,
Fear is nature's warning.
Hunger here is never far away."


A few more minutes of break time wouldn't hurt, Shula giggling softly between the verses as she reached for a notepad and a pencil. She wasn't as good at designing as her papa was, but maybe if she had a few ideas he could work out something tangible. After she told him when she went to visit, of course. Oh, she had a grand heart attack of a surprise waiting for the tailior of Resembool when next she came for the weekend. General Shula Brighton sat at her desk that morning, surrounded by magazines and pictures of wedding dresses of many kinds and shapes, enjoying the morning air and sunshine from her open window as her heart sang about the coming day where she would pledge her love to one man. The other men in her life would just have to learn to share.
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Re: The Girl Is Mine

Post by Sal on Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:39 pm

Filled with excitement to the brim, Sal jogged along toward South HQ. By now, everybody was used to seeing his face along this route, so he was met with plenty of smiles and waves, and even a few hugs from some of the elderly women that he had helped at one point or another. They were all so very sweet, and it seemed that their age amplified his adorable status in their books. It wasn't bothersome to Sal at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. He enjoyed the positive attention, though that was probably the cat in him. Nonetheless, this was how he spent some of his days "off". Not that he really had a set work schedule anyway.

He was wearing his casual clothes today, with the addition of an umbrella tied around his waist in a similar fashion to a sword. He had to be prepared for a surprise shower, as that had happened before, and he didn't want to get caught in the rain. The last time he got caught in the rain, he had fallen asleep inside HQ while waiting and woke up the next morning. Nobody had bothered to wake him up, but considering that plenty of the militants had work to do during those hours, it wasn't surprising. Not only that, but he was a common face in the building by now, as he frequently visited one militant in particular. That was his plan for today as well, to pay a visit to the wonderfully wonderful Miss Shula Brighton, or Miss Shula, as he always called her.

In essence it was sort of like coming home from school for him. She was more or less a mother figure, even though she wasn't much taller than him (only by 13 centimeters). Of course, she also kept just the right things in her office for him, refreshment-wise, which was a big factor. Not wanting to show up empty-handed, he stopped by the florist's on his way there. The selection of flowers was a little intimidating since he didn't know anything about the language of flowers. Colors, species, none of that was really anything he could relate to. As a result, he had to ask the florist for advice. In the end, though, he decided on roses. They just looked nice. Red and yellow ones, because they reminded him of red and gold. he knew that Miss Shula liked those colors. He paid the wonderfully helpful florist for the bouquet and continued on his way.

As he walked into the building, he was met with a few curious glances. It wasn't every day that he waltzed in here with a bouquet of roses, after all. Humming, he hopped through South HQ, up the stairs (because the stairs weren't usually crowded as people preferred the convenience of elevators), and down the hall to Shula's office. Knocking on the door, he held the bouquet behind his back and let himself in.

"Miss Shu~ula," he chimed happily, skipping over to her desk. "I brought you somethiiing!~" Sticking his tongue out, he whipped the bouquet out from behind him and thrust it towards her. The smile on his face faded when he scanned over the things on her desk. Most of them seemed like normal dresses, but saw pictures of what he assumed were wedding dressed. With a frown, he looked up at her. "Miss Shula...why are you looking at wedding dresses?"
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Re: The Girl Is Mine

Post by Shula Brighton on Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:16 pm

It really was no wonder brides got help from familes and wedding consultants to arrange things and organize them; even just the process fo dress-hunting alone was seeming daunting, the broad range of styles nearly overwhelming. Spade wasn't a church-fan or particularly religious, so not wearing white wouldn't be a problem. She'd decided on at least a fair amount of red for sure. But the style... The Xingese cheongsam tops with the large, lined Han sleeves were so pretty. But saris were what she knew how to wear, and she knew her mother would want her to wear a bridal lehenga. That thought in and of itself was overwhelming and a little scary; she had yet to introduce Spade to her mother, and Shula knew Amira wouldn't be too pleased that her daughter wasn't letting her mother's family help arrange a marriage or even marrying an Ishvallan. Yeah. That'd go over real well. Part of Shula wondered if she and Spade shouldn't just elope; after all, they hadn't really told anyone they were getting married. At this point it was still only known to a few that the two Generals were even dating.

Tempting as it was, eloping would just lead to bigger problems later down the road, being that Shu's family might not take too kindly to that idea. Ah well. Even if she and Spade had to suffer how scary her mother could be, to Shula, it was worth it; traditional Xingese, traditional Ishvallan, fusion, or just signing papers at the courthouse, it all meant the same thing: she would be Spade's. And that was a thought that made everything worthwhile. The pencil moved down the paper loosely, making the vague outlines of a Xingese Han jacket when her office door was knocked on and opened, a brown and white ball of happiness bouncing in. Her pencil was laid down, Shula smiling brightly as Sal nearly skipped in. The happy little kitten was always welcome around South HQ, all the secretaries fawning over the child and sending him home with leftovers and treats. Even in a place like HQ where badges and IDs were needed, Sal was someone that a door was always opened for, or a window left unlocked; he was like the base's pet that everyone adored; especially the Brigadier General.

Sal bounced up to her desk almost purring. "Miss Shu~ula," Oh god she could die of cute. Even if she was only just barely bigger than Sal and could have been mistaken for a sibling, Shula loved having Sal around and in her office and the energy he brought in with him was always so refreshing. A bouquet or red and yellow roses popped up from behind Sal's back, bursting with colour and Sal's own happiness. "I brought you somethiiing!~" Melting. Melted. Charmed. Dammit, Sal could have asked for the world in a teacup and Shu would have said yes, and she knew it. There was a silent Awwwww written all over Shula's face as her hands reached up to take the bouquet, smelling the roses deeply.

"Ohh, Sal! These are gorgeous! Thank you~" Shula stood up from her desk to raid her office closet to find the vase she had in there. She'd tried having one of those little Aerugese fighting fish in a vase with bamboo before, but apparently while she was out for a weekend in Central it jumped out of the water. Fishy seppuku. She'd only moved a few steps away as the smile faded from the vibrant face that was Sal's as he looked back up to her from the various magazines, books, and fashion templates scattered on her desk.

"Miss Shula...why are you looking at wedding dresses?"

Her heart sank just a little as she picked up on that tone. She hadn't told Sal yet; she hadn't really told anyone yet, for that matter. The clear vase was pulled down from the little shelf, her fingers trailing the lip of the glass as she looked back up at Sal with a gentle, almost shy look. "Well... If you can keep a secret, Sal, I have something to tell you." The vase was quickly filled with water and a few aspirin and set on the counter by the coffee pot so Shula could get something equally important: a large collins glass filled with apple juice. Like many other officers and generals before her, Shula kept a neatly-stocked mini fridge and a few bottles of something nice in the cabinets. Usually scotch or brandy was on order, and depending on who was in the office with her or the occasion, beer, or wine from her father's winery. But for Sal, there was apple juice. Always a few bottles of fresh apple juice, one chilled and at least two stocked in the office, just for when Sal came to visit. There were usually treats on hand, too, and so far Sal had always been right about guessing all the places Shula would hide the cupcakes. Carrying the juice and the vase to the little sitting area in her office, Shula put them both on the coffee table and patted the cushion next to her, Shula's smile becoming more excited as she waited for the boy to come sit.

"So... You can't tell anyone, but I'm looking at wedding dresses because I'm getting married. We haven't announced it yet because we don't know when we'll have the ceremony, but General Aeries and I are engaged." Shula waited, looking to Sal for his reaction, trying to be totally honest with him but entirely gentle at the same time. It was a tough balance and she wasn't even sure she was doing it right, but Sal was one of the people on her to-tell list that Shula really wanted to go gently with, even though he'd probably be one of the safest people she cared about to tell at this point.
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Re: The Girl Is Mine

Post by Shula Brighton on Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:50 pm

{BUMP}
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Re: The Girl Is Mine

Post by Sal on Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:31 pm

"Well... If you can keep a secret, Sal, I have something to tell you."

Sal frowned. A secret? He'd been able to keep plenty of secrets before, so this wasn't going to be much different...or was it? Well, he wasn't going to figure it out just standing around and staring at the photos. Nodding in agreement, he decided that he would have to keep it a secret since it was Miss Shula that was asking. Not because of her military rank, but because she was important to him. He had grown quite attached to her very quickly after they'd first met. In fact, it almost seemed fated. She could easily be mistaken for his sister due to her size, but her company meant much more to him than that. It was quite simple. He loved her. There was no romance involved - he'd never felt any sort of romantic attraction to anyone - just a genuine love for her as someone he could never get tired of being around. He was hesitant to admit it, but Shula reminded him of Jie Huan. They were similar in personality and stature, and they both treated him the same way. At least, Jie Huan did treat him this way. Sal's ear twitched at the thought of his late surrogate mother and pushed the thought out of his head.

Sitting next to her, he grabbed the glass of apple juice with enthusiasm. The sight of the cold, sweet liquid alone put a smile on his face, particularly so if it was given to him in Shula's office. Sometimes, he needed the calming, nurturing atmosphere that was always there. Reliability, in that sense, was another of the Brigadier General's strengths. It was something he truly admired about her, something he hoped to be able to mimic in the future. Her smile was another comforting sight. Whenever he saw her smile, it was like the world was raining flowers. An odd image for sure, but that was the image he never failed to compare the feeling to. Though that might have been because the woman loved flowers.

"So... You can't tell anyone, but I'm looking at wedding dresses because I'm getting married. We haven't announced it yet because we don't know when we'll have the ceremony, but General Aeries and I are engaged."

..Huh?

Sal tilted his head at first. The concept felt alien to him, so it took him a few seconds to process it. She was going to get married. It wasn't a topic he often discussed with anyone, so he still had questions. He never saw the purpose of a wedding, though he had a general idea of what it was about.

"Miss Shula, I don't understand," he stated, shaking his head, "Why are weddings to important to people? If you love somebody a lot, then why do you have to do all of this expensive stuff to show it?" The fact that she mentioned getting married to someone he'd only heard the name of and never meant hadn't quite sunk in yet, but it would. It was only a matter of time.
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Re: The Girl Is Mine

Post by Shula Brighton on Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:51 pm

There was something about spending time alone with Sal that always felt so warm and natural. Shula couldn't really explain it, though part of her just attributed it to instinct; he was young, and sweet, and she always felt the need to do what she could to look after him, despite never having any younger siblings or cousins that would urge her to do so. Maybe maternal instinct really was real, and that now that she was solidly in her twenties and finally healthy, her body was reminding her what most women her age were doing. Something her own mother had been harping on her about doing and was constantly irked about since Shula wouldn't let Amira help arrange a good marriage. But maybe it really was just natural and her body telling her that this was something she wanted someday. Shula knew that none of the other pirates were Sal's parents; they all referred to him as their captain, and were much too young for Sal to have been theirs.

She knew they looked after him, but part of the reason she made sure to always pay them well, aside from their guarding of South, was to make sure their needs were always met. Shula smiled as Sal plopped down onto the little sofa beside her and dove for the apple juice, that look of pure happiness making her soul melt. She couldn't explain it, but it was a feeling she didn't mind in the slightest, and loved feeling. Sal was always a welcome visitor in her office, and she couldn't think of anyone in South HQ that had a problem with the boy randomly popping up (and if they did, they were smart enough to not say anything about it). Yes, Sal worked for Shula, but the happiness he brought was always a nice addition. He was very polite and well-behaved, and if Shula was in a meeting when he came by Rose knew where the apple juice and treats were for him. Sal was perfectly sweet, and more than once Shula had wanted to bring him to the loft for dinner And the way he looked so perplexed at the moment was beyond adorable.

Sal's head tilted, the boy looking like he was trying to make sense of it all, and maybe it was. After all, Shula didn't talk about her personal life at work much, and only her secretary and a few people even knew which house was hers. "Miss Shula, I don't understand. Why are weddings so important to people? If you love somebody a lot, then why do you have to do all of this expensive stuff to show it?" That... was a perfectly good question. Shula smiled softly, leaning back into the couch, her eyes tracing the beautiful flowers. Wedding ceremonies in every culture and religion were such elaborate, and often silly things; if they weren't there wouldn't be so many terrible TV shows about ferocious brides, women buying dresses far too small and killing themselves to fit in time, people going all-out for the affair, or worse, shows about the weddings that are intended to make you question your faith in humans as a species.

Ishvallan weddings were traditionally elaborate affairs and arranged, with lots of praying and looking for auspicious omens, and the groom's family stood to take in a large dowry. Those things had always been off-limits to Shula due to her health keeping her as "unfit" to marry in Ishvalla's eyes. But now, she could, and was defying tradition in so many ways to have something special. "Well, they're special for a lot of reasons, but you're right; all that matters is the love. The ceremony is really just a way to declare to everyone that you will commit yourself to another person and devote your life to their happiness." Shula smiled, for the first time wondering just how well-versed Sal was in the religious background of his own people. She knew she was more devout and traditionally-raised than most Ishvallans she'd met, but her family was one of the last to teach a dying art, and Shula had been raised with the intent of her living a secular life in an Ishvallan temple.

"Traditionally, my family would have arranged my marriage, and the ceremonies would have been to make sure that my groom and I would be a good match, and then the wedding itself would have mostly been our families finalizing things, as well as our vows being declared and made valid in Ishvalla's eyes. So mostly weddings are carrying on tradition." The sacred fire that they would walk around, seven times, and exchange the seven holy vows. Shula knew those vows and had for years, and now that she finally felt them they were given new meaning. She shook her head softly, turning her gaze to Sal. "I doubt Spade's really interested in a ceremony, and I'm not sure we'd even have one. We chose each other out of love... But the vows are what's important, because those are our promises to each other through this and all lifetimes." Words drifted back to her like flower petals on the surface of Crater Lake, moved by the breeze. "I wonder how many times I've fallen in love with you...

Seven lifetimes of supposedly marrying the same love in each. Seven times to circle a holy fire, with seven sacred vows that would bind you together from this life to the next. It was a lot to take in, and sometimes a little overwhelming to believe, especially when you knew that some marriages didn't work out, like her parents'. I will be by your side as your courage and strength. I will rejoice in your happiness. In return, you will love me solely. Shula didn't need to question the vows and help she felt they would hold, though; spade was already changing on his own, not because she'd asked him or made him, but because he wanted to. He had shown that he would commit himself to solely to Shula, and in return, she would stay by his side, ceremony or not. "Mostly I'm just looking because it's nice to think about. The ceremony can be long and a little dull, but afterward, there's a party with your friends and family. There's singing, dancing, lots of sweets and cake... You could come if you wanted, Sal."
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Re: The Girl Is Mine

Post by Sal on Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:59 pm

As he sipped at his juice, Sal listened to everything Shula said to him, doing his best to absorb everything that she told him. It was mainly due to the fact that he, as a child, wasn't exposed to any one culture, and as such was never truly taught anything about any of them, not even his own. Of course, this included the knowledge of marriage and its significance in various cultures, but he'd been able to witness a few. Not as a guest, of course, but they were all roughly the same. Other than the different types of extravagant decor and ruffles and fluff and the receptions complete with sweets, music, and dancing, weddings were typically all revolved around one thing: Groups of people gathered together to listen to someone announce that a man and a woman had gotten married, and that they would have to take care of each other no matter what. Over the years, staying by someone's side, particularly someone he cared about, didn't seem like a chore, it was more something that he wanted to do because he cared. As a result, he didn't see weddings as anything special, they were just a way of showing other people how you felt about someone else.

Aside from the basics, he really knew nothing about putting weddings together, so he could only assume they were expensive. Nice clothes, a good place to have it with space for plenty of people, the works. Nothing was really cheap anymore, especially if you wanted it to be something good. Nice things had always cost a pretty penny, and Sal knew that, so he wondered what Shula's fascination with the ceremony was. She began to talk about how things would "traditionally" be. Her account certainly seemed more humble than the weddings he'd witnessed, but words never really got the message across completely when it came to something that, a lot of times, involved seeing it for yourself. At least he could understand where she was coming from, sort of. He knew that a person's culture affected the way they lived their lives, or some aspects of it, as well as how some things were done. Though he knew they were both Ishvallan, he knew very little about the traditional culture, as Xan had only told him a few things. Most of them he'd already forgotten.

She talked about what happened after the boring ceremony, and at least that seemed it would be fun enough, even if, were Sal to go, it would be him among a pool of adults. It didn't bother him as much as it would have maybe a year ago, but it was still a little intimidating and made him feel a bit nervous.

"Miss Shula...I'd go just for you, but... if I'm going to a wedding, people will be all dressed up, and all I have is my captain's uniform. I don't think that would be a good thing to wear for a wedding. Usually people dress all fancy like, and I don't have anything fancy." Shaking his head, he finished the last mouthful of juice in his glass and set it down. He could probably find something nice with Sec's help, but he didn't know if the man knew anything about traditional Ishvallan formal wear, and he didn't even know if that was what he would be expected to wear. "I wouldn't even know where to start." He looked at Shula expectantly. Surely she would help him if it meant he would get to go to her wedding. The fact that she told him he could meant that he was special to her, and that was enough of a reason for him to make an effort to attend.

Of course, what he hadn't thought about at first was what happened after everything was said and done. People often talked about the honeymoons and how newlyweds usually spent time away from others to enjoy each other's company and bond as husband and wife. To Sal, that seemed a little bit silly, mostly because he liked to be around everyone he knew when he had the chance. Being separated from them because of one person didn't seem like it was a good thing. Then again, he was sure he didn't know what it felt like to want to marry someone, so he probably didn't know anything about honeymooning, either. What did bother him, however, was the thought that she might leave and he wouldn't be able to visit her.

"...But if you're getting married, then that means you're going to go on a honeymoon. And if you're going on a honeymoon, then I won't be able to see you...You're not going to leave, right?" He paused to grab her sleeve gently. He felt that if the left, it wouldn't be the first time someone left him that had been special to him. Though he couldn't remember what it felt like, he knew it was highly unpleasant, and he didn't want it to happen again. "You can't leave...You can't leave, mom!" He was too caught up in the moment to realize his own mistake, and just sat with his eyes focused on Shula's, face set in a desperate frown. She'd been around him so much that he didn't want to think about how it would be if he walked into the building only to realize that she was gone and wouldn't be back. This was an extreme assumption on his part, but he didn't know any better.

"You can't..."
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Re: The Girl Is Mine

Post by Shula Brighton on Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:38 pm

It was strange how life took you to the most unexpected places that seemingly hinged on the choices made, whether you were aware of them or not. Some of it might have been luck, or just Ishvalla's guiding hand. As much as she'd cursed and complained the train that was late coming back to South was what had saved her, and been why she'd been transferred to Central after weeks of being bounced from station to station. It was choosing to take on the stacks of undone paperwork from their Commander's desk on top of her own department work that had helped her to know Spade as more than just the man whose name was signed on her paycheck. At the time, the choice to do the extra work didn't matter to Shula in the long run; she wasn't doing it to earn rank or popularity, it just needed to be done and their boss seemed to have some kind of a grudge against doing the paperwork. That paperwork affected her department and therefore her work, so in order to get her job done, Shula opted to take on someone else's. Made sense to her.

But it was that simple thing that got her noticed in Central's offices, and possibly what had prompted Spade to ever invite her out to go bar-hopping with everyone that night. And saying yes to that, even if she wasn't a heavy drinker and the one who had to put out the fire at the strip club, had been what had really started changing Shula seeing Spade as her boss' boss to her friend. Every choice, no matter how mundane at the time, had changed things and determined if the door would slide left or right, and it was almost funny now to look back and see how her relatioships with people around her had changed. Shula had nearly forgotten that she'd met Sal before, during that horrible festival that nearly killed her. He'd come off the teacups ride that had gone haywire and then stumbled away with another boy before the fires broke out. And when she'd gone to meet with Sal and his crew in North City, Shula had met with him as one commanding officer to another. He was a contracted employee, but maintained his rank and crew, and they were separate from South's deployable forces.

When had their relationship changed, though? Shula didn't even notice or think about it. But there they were. Her office was always stocked with snacks and treats and apple juice for Sal, and her own secretary knew everything to keep stocked when Shula couldn't go get it or was out. South was the most understaffed of the bases, and usually pretty busy because of it, but Shula made sure the people who ran the departments knew who the young man was when he pranced through the building to head to her office. From meeting as commanding officers on equal standing to, months later, sitting together on Shula's office sofa as she invited Sal to her wedding. The little boy looked like he was slowly processing everything as the last of his juice was drained from the glass, as if he were trying to decide and decipher strange things all at once. Then again, these were large concepts, so maybe he was. "Miss Shula...I'd go just for you, but... if I'm going to a wedding, people will be all dressed up, and all I have is my captain's uniform. I don't think that would be a good thing to wear for a wedding. Usually people dress all fancy like, and I don't have anything fancy." Sal set his glass down, still fidgeting. Shula had seen his captain's coat and frock, and it was quite pretty. But it might get Sal a bit more attention than he'd be comfortable with. "I wouldn't even know where to start."

Shula smiled witha soft nod. She remembered how her mother would pick and choose all her outfits for temple on the occasions she was allowed out to go. Granted this would at least be something more fun and Sal would have a say in what he wore if he wanted the help. "That's okay, Sal. My papa makes clothing, so I'm sure we can find something nice for you. If you want we could even see about getting a few new outfits for you... I think you've grown more over the summer." He'd be far taller than her soon, and who knew what growth spurts becoming a teenager would bring the boy. She was glad Sal at least had the other pirates to help look after him. The wheels turned further in the boy's head as something else seemed to cross his mind.

"...But if you're getting married, then that means you're going to go on a honeymoon. And if you're going on a honeymoon, then I won't be able to see you...You're not going to leave, right?" What? Honeymoon? Shula blinked. She hadn't really thought about a honeymoon. It'd be nice, but Spade was kind of important to Amestris as a whole, so taking off for two weeks might not be feasible. At the moment it was just another mystery to her that hadn't been brought up yet. Suddenly hands gripped at the sleeve of Shula's blouse, the tone in Sal's voice changing to something younger and almost afraid. "You can't leave... You can't leave, Mom!"

"You can't..."

And there it was, birthed into the air so suddenly that it made the room feel tingly. The wheel of Shula's relationships had changed again, and the young man who had been an equal and a contracted employee had shifted and become something more natural and instinctive. Sal saw her as a mother. Even though she wasn't nearly old enough to be, she couldn't really deny the feeling, knowing that even if the didn't admit to them or call them as such before, she did what she could to look after Sal and couldn't help feeling attached to him. But he didn't want her to go away and leave him..? shula never expected to be called mom, not anytime soon. Spade didn't really want kids, and Shula was still young and not in a hurry. But hearing it from Sal was different, all rank and thought being pushed aside as her body shifted, thin arms reaching around the boy to pull him close to her. "Oh, Sal." She was quiet, holding Sal against her, not moving or saying anything until her head lifted, pressing her lips against Sal's forehead. Finally she pulled away slightly, leaving her arms around his shoulders. "I'm not going anywhere, Sal. I don't even know when we'll be married yet, and even if we did have a honeymoon somewhere else, it wouldn't be more than a few days." Shula squeezed the boy again, red eyes shining despite her smile. There were so many things she wanted to say that her mind was racing and choking, scared of saying the wrong thing and scaring him off and away when he'd just opened up like that. "But that's not something we need to worry about for a little while. In the mean time, I'm right here.... and if you want, you could come by here and my house more.... Be part of my family, and your family with the pirates..?"
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