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Dining room

The dining room is a big, wide room with a white dining table and chairs for everyone. It's elegant, with a big red carpet and dark wood paneling floors. There's a big cabinet for fancy tableware and other necessities to one side, in front of it there's a big white fireplace. On top of it rest an ornament and an urn with the ashes of the Luseth's step-mother. There is one big plant, and the wall to the kitchen is a half wall so you can see into it. The windows look out to the garden and the stable. The dining room connects to the Downstairs hallway and the laundry room.
 

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A bit earlier, the Luseth siblings had readied everything for dinner as usual. Delicious smells came from the kitchen. There was bread and other commodities for everybody. The main course being stew with a side of white rice. There were also some olive stuffed celery sticks and cucumber canapes. For dessert, there was blue ribbon buttercake and fresh fruit.

Now, Luka had gone to change while Ishsde finished up everything. In the room there was a bell that rang every day at around 17:45. It was rung when dinner was ready so everyone knew to attend. Ishade would have to ask how Dark and Ivy's tour had gone now that he'd calmed down. He was also sure his brother would be wanting to have a talk with him. For whoever arrived, dinner was ready and served. In cases like Mitch', who was still out but would be back soon, it was covered so it'd stay warm.

The bell rang and rang. Ishade sat at the table on his usual seat.
 
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Rose breezed into the room, dressed fine, but clearly exhausted. After the commotion, and taking a few moments to calm down, she did end up going to the nursing home like she said she was going to, and although she was glad to have gone, pretending like her morning hadn't been extremely chaotic was tiring to say the least.

"Hello hello," She said, sitting in her standard place, "quite a day... and quite a story for when Ika and Mitch come back, but dinner smells amazing."
 

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Ishade watched her come in and sit, he nodded in response. Luka had had the chance to tell him a little about what had happened earlier.

"Quite the morning indeed. I was productive later though, so I'm at least happy with that." He continued, eyeing the cucumber canapes with clear intention. They were a bit strange, just cucumber and cheese, but he loved them. Still, it wasn't polite to start before everyone else was at the table, so he'd wait and only glance at them predatorily every few minutes.

"I've ween wanting to paint Mrs. Dunham's dogs, she's coming over for dinner on Tuesday, kids and everything. We haven't seen her in some time."
 

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The two could hear the front door shut and the familiar footsteps of Mitch as he began to approach the dining room. He stepped in through the hallway and they could see his face had been clean, save for a few small patches of black powder on his nose and left cheek. He had his clip-on shades over his bifocals, which he was in the process of removing. He looked tired and somewhat dazed for the first time all day. Being up all night finally caught up to him. He took a deep breath as he sat down and laid back in his usual dining chair.

"Tell me, do either of you know how someone manages to burn out the tires on their car twice in one month? Either this man is doing some insane drag racing at the age of 56, or his kids have got a long talking-to in their future." He recounted his trouble at the shop to Rose and Ishade. "Had to check his brake pads, too. Figures." He sounded less frustrated by the call-in and more amused.

He put his clip-on shades in a small glasses case that he carried in his pocket and took a deep sigh of relief. "Oh, but I'm rambling. How have you two been today? Hear some new facts about the 1800s?"
 
"How have we been?" Rose asked, and then sighed, chuckling slightly, "um, well, Sylvia is gone. Her mother came, and brought her home. It was... a lot." She tucked her hair behind her ear and smiled slightly, not quite wanting to remember it. She would have gladly worked on the same ruined car than have watched the sixteen year old be pulled into the car the way she was.

"But, ah, I believe Miss Prudence, at the nursing home, has entered into a bit of a dalliance with Colonel Percy C. Morris, but of course they deny it. As far as Prudence's grandchildren know, she is still deeply and irrevocably in love with her late husband August. But, of course, they only wedded in the first place because she got into a bit of a situation with him, but I've told that story before, I think." It was definitely much easier to talk about the drama at the Nursing Home than it was to talk about the drama at the Boarding Home. It seemed much more distant.
 

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"Hey Mitch, It's good to see you." Said Ishade, smiling at the man. He extended his fingers and closed them, restless. He had been busy, but seeing Mitch again reminded him he still wanted to have a talk with the other. Hopefully about whatever had been bothering him earlier. What he did do first was to offer him a servillet so he could at least try to remove the dark powder residue from his face.

"Uh here, you've got some dark spots on your face, and we know Lu's gonna be glaring at those all dinner if we let him." He said, making an effort to sound kind. He didn't feel kind, so it was a little strained. But he had been hiding away in his room on purpose after all. Mr. Dark was also about to make an appearance with his kid, and that was yet another thing he did not want to do today. He also often called Lukais -Lu- which was a nickname only accepted from Ishade. Anyone else who referred to the man like that would be politely corrected by him. Ikanov didn't even mess around with it.

"And it sounds like the elderly have more interesting lives than we do. I've been watching paint dry all day." He added with a sigh. It wasn't quite true, but he wasn't a stranger to insulting his techniques and processes. Only he could do it though.
 
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Mitch smiled amiably, but then exhaled nervously. Of course, there were new additions to the dinner table, and an inexplicable tension was one of them. "Well, it's great to see the both of you before everything kicks off. Keeps us grounded."

Mitch hadn't known anything about Sylvia's departure. He hadn't even understood the circumstances of her moving in in the first place. Nevertheless, he could see how uneasy it made Rose to recount on it. "I, uh... I guess I won't pry into that." However, he did crack a smile at the story regarding Prudence and Morris. "Those dirty dogs," he teased. "Ah, let them deny it. It isn't bound to hurt anybody."

Mitch's eyes widened as Ishade handed over the serviette. "Oh, of course, I'm sorry!" He exclaimed apologetically as he took it and methodically wiped his face. "I swear I thought I was much more thorough." He definitely did not want to end up on Luka's bad side tonight, especially with everyone else seemingly on edge.

"Is something going on? Did I do something wrong? The atmosphere feels somewhat tense." He spoke in a hush, almost too quietly, as if he were ashamed to speak of it.
 

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The other man's concern had already greatly amused Ishade, who had smiled at his concern that he hadn't been through enough while cleaning his face earlier. However, when he asked if he had done something wrong, it made the younger Luseth bark out a single dry, sour laugh.

"No! No you have not... Absolutely anything. It's me, I've had exactly one conversation with Mr. Dark alright? And I've already managed to piss him off... I know I'm not charming but it has to be a new damn record." He explained with a strained smile on his face. It was rather obvious he wasn't very proud of it.
 
"I wouldn't stress too much about it," Rose replied, "I think hey may always just look a bit annoyed. Mitch and I were saying earlier, after you and Luka had gone inside, that we both felt like we were about to be scolded when he was standing there. I mean, what did you even say?"

She wanted to add that if Ishade really managed to piss of Dark in one conversation, it was probably more of an issue with Dark than it was with him, but she figured there was a good chance Dark and his child would be heading downstairs too, and she'd much rather not be caught speaking ill of him, by him, on his first day. And she really didn't have negative feelings towards him, but Ishade looked like he was displeased with whatever it was he had said, so she wanted to ease his anxieties.
 

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Mitch gave a look of concern and leaned his chin on his hand as Ishade spoke. "I don't feel like you would have gotten on his bad side that fast. It doesn't seem like you. It may have just been a communication breakdown." His voice was gentle, but still hushed, anxious at the arrival of Dark and Ivy. "He's just a very grim-faced man, I feel. I don't think he was angry with you."

He sounded unsure of himself despite his words. He had no idea how to read Dark's face from the brief moment of time they had spent in each other's presence. Still, though, there's no way anyone could have taken anything personally; everybody only just met, right? Nobody knows each other!
 

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Since they were due to come in any moment now, possibly with Luka in tow, Ishade only shrugged without giving more details. They could gossip another day. He did lean forward to talk to Mitch, though.

"Before I forget, I have to see you in my study later. But it's not because you've done anything wrong, so don't stress about it." He said, lowly, in half a whisper.

Luka finally came downstairs, well dressed and clean. However, he was alone.

"They'll be down here soon. How are you all doing?" He said, taking his usual seat and giving everyone a warm, calming smile.
 
"Ah, we're doing about as well as you can imagine," Rose replied, "dinner smells amazing, by the way. Do you know when Daniel will be coming down? I wonder if he's practicing his tricks too intensely to have realized the time." It wasn't all that uncommon, and they had all sort of decided to leave him be, and let him come when when he did, if he did.

Shortly after Luka came downstairs, Dark and Ivy came downstairs, dressed nice enough for dinner. Dark wasn't wearing his suit jacket anymore, opting instead for only his vest and dress shirt (although he still wore a tie), and the lack of a suit jacket highlighted his rather muscular build. Ivy still wore the same lilac dress she had been wearing earlier, although the bow had been neatened somewhat. They stood awkwardly in the dinning room, unsure if there were some unspoken assigned seats they needed to be aware of, but then sat.

"Ah, hello," Dark said, before gently reminding Ivy to put her napkin in her lap. He never really knew what to say, because he had never been a particularly talkative person, but also he knew he should be personable.

Thankfully, he had a child, who was far less reserved, and by no means shy, and she asked, "Was somebody playing piano today?"
 

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Mitch nodded to Ishade at his request to see him in the study. "Oh, yeah, of course." His outside demeanor was collected and calm, but he still couldn't shake the nerves. It wasn't particularly often that Ishade had brought others into his study, so Mitch could only imagine what this was about.

He turned his attention to Luka, "Seems like we're all pretty tired, but it was a productive day nonetheless." He returned the same smile to him. Now was certainly not the time to bring up gripes or negativities. "I'm excited for all of us to get to know each other proper, and what better place to do it?"

As he spoke, he could see Dark and Ivy coming down the stairs and into the dining room. He gave a nod and a warm smile to the both of them. Of course, Mitch still felt out-dressed at the dinner table, even if Dark was only wearing a portion of his formal wear.

"Oh, uh, well, I had left some music I was writing on the piano kickstand, but I hadn't played it today," he responded to Ivy's question.
 

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"Must have been Rose, as I was otherwise occupied myself." Said Luka, looking toward the younger woman.

"I don't know if Daniel will come to dinner, no. I do know Ikanov will be out until later, though, so we should go ahead and start while it's still warm" He said to the rest of the people. It was served, and as he usually did Luka blessed the table and their meal. Ishade didn't partake, and it was more of an ingrained tradition than personal faith from the older Luseth.

Ishade had been satisfied with Mitch's answer before, and only nodded at Dark and Dark junior in silent acknowledgement of their presence. It got him a glare from Luka, but the little feud would go on for now.
 
"I was playing a little bit, before I went t'the nursing home. Did you like it?" Rose said, a bit surprised, but of course pleased a child was expressing some interest in music, and Ivy nodded.

"I didn't listen that closely, because Baba and I were making our blanket fort, but it was pretty. Mama used to play piano, and she played the harp, the harp was her favourite, she said it was like weaving, and she was trying to teach me, but now Mama's harp is at Uncle Cooger's house." She didn't seem to mind Ishade's silent acknowledgement, and was perfectly happy to chatter on as she pleased, and, well, Dark nodded back at Ishade, but he was unaware it was part of a feud, because he was a quiet, introverted person, and not being forced to make small-talk was comfortable for him.

"I'd be glad to help teach you, if you'd like," Rose offered. She was curious about the mention of a mother, but dared not ask, not on the first night.

When Luka blessed the table and their meal, Ivy looked a bit bewildered, but accepted it. Afterwards, as they ate, Dark thanked Luka for cooking, and deeming he should, at some point, speak, he said, "I was unaware the house was so full of musicians. I had feared I would enter into a home of staunch puritans, who found such dalliances sinful." It was intended as a joke, but he spoke in an intensely serious tone, as if it were a genuine concern.
 

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Mitch listened on as Ivy described her mother's musical pursuits, a faint but nostalgic look in his eyes. It resonated with him more than he anticipated, thinking of the music around his childhood household. After a moment, he realized he hadn't even touched his food, which he got around to picking up his utensils and digging into his plate.

"My ma didn't play harp. She played piano and cello. But it was wonderful growing up and hearing a live concert practically every evening around the house. She taught me just about everything I know about piano." He took a quick bite before continuing. "I love the harp, though. Such a wonderful instrument, it's a beautiful, gentle timbre, really fills out the orchestra." Well, he just caught himself rambling just like Ivy was. Mitch cleared his throat. "Not that I could ever play it, of course," he said with a modest chuckle.

Mitch let out a singular laugh. "I have to say, 'staunch puritan' is probably the furthest thing I could ever expect to describe me, or probably any of us in this house." He shook his head. "No, this household has quite a few artists, I would say. Just in different fields." He tried not to elaborate too much further; he still couldn't read Dark's limits, and was concerned that his interests were too liberal for current company.
 
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"When Baba builds our house, we're gonna have--"

"Going to have."

"--Going to have a whole room just for Mama's harp, and then I'll learn to play it, and then we'll hear it all the time, like we used to." Having said this, she quickly looked up at her father, but not for reassurance. She was mostly concerned about making him sad again, even though he kept telling her she could say whatever she wanted about her mother, whenever she wanted to. But even though people always said her dad kept the same face on all the time, she knew she could tell when he was feeling sad, or pleased, or silly. Her uncle had said she needed to remember those things, so she could beat him in poker one day, but she didn't know what poker was. He had tried to explain it, but it just sounded really boring. And being able to win chips from him (whatever that meant) didn't seem all that useful. She didn't even really like chips. She just didn't want him to be sad.

Luckily, this time he only seemed a little bit sad, and not a lot-a-bit sad. That was good. He sort of hummed to himself, and seemed to settle down into his chair when he learned the house wasn't full of 'staunch puritans'-- which she would need to ask her father about later.

Indeed, Dark seemed to relax upon hearing the house was not overly strict and prudish, and he drummed his pointer finger on the table for a beat or two before saying simply, "Well, that is a comfort."

"Are you an artist?" Rose asked.

"I do wood carvings and pencil drawings, mostly," He took a sip of his water, then paused, and as he set it down, he added, "although I do not consider myself an 'artist.' I am by no means a--" he looked at Ishade, with no intended malice, and if Ivy had been hired as an interpreter, she would have said he even grinned (as much as he ever did. He was no Cheshire Cat.), "quality professional."
 

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Luka watched his guests interact calmly, just making sure everyone was eating. It seemed like his stew was good enough for everyone seated. That made him happy, as happy as he could be. Perhaps satisfied with his own work was a better way to describe it.

"I didn't think I'd given the impression of being a -staunch puritan - over our letters. There's quite a few house rules, but they're nothing strange. We don't judge that fast" He said, to everyone at the table really. But more to the newcomers. It was good to learn about them, their musical interests. Ivy was certainly talkative enough to make up for her father's more reserved demeanor.

Ishade, who had been rather quiet and simply minding his food, spared a second to glare at Mr. Dark. Maybe it was himself who held a grudge after all, and not the other. He'd also been paying more attention to whatever Rose and Mitch had to say. It was true they'd managed to collect quite a few musicians. Even his brother played, though not often. He had commented, under his breath, that Mitch could definitely learn the harp if he wanted. They just didn't have one at the house now.

"Anyone who makes money from their work is a professional. And anyone who creates with purpose, regardless of it, is an artist. Music, words, images. But that, a quality professional, is someone who knows the craft, I'd say with years of experience, and has a steady amount of clients as well as people who value what they do. So you'd know better than me if you fit any of those descriptions." It was probably the most he'd talked to Dark so far, and he hadn't even looked at him for most of it. Instead, he'd busied himself with stew and cucumber canapes, interrupting his own words to chew with his mouth closed. He had however, pointedly looked at the other man at the beginning and the end.

"That's only your own beliefs, and your own definitions" Said Lukais, once again annoyed by his brother.

"Yes, the ones that matter the most to me." Answered Ishade dryly. And it was silence's turn to govern the table.
 

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Mitch kept quiet in the onslaught of pointed language and dry jabs at the table. Oh, please, can't we push past whatever petty squabble we were going through? Nobody has even known each other for longer than a day and the atmosphere was already so dry and bitter. Instead, he focused on Dark's art.

"Wood carving?" Mitch pondered out loud. "Are you into woodworking and building furniture?" At this point he just wanted to push the subject away from defining what makes someone an artist or a professional. The semantics really do not matter. "There certainly is something missing from mass-produced woodworks that you get from homemade works. Maybe it's the charm, or just the knowledge that it was done by someone you know. It's like an extension of the person." He treaded carefully on his words in case he were overstepping. "Of course, you can get excellent woodwork from local sources, but it will never quite match the personal feel of something homemade."
 
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