Post by Lili Walser on Oct 3, 2012 22:35:40 GMT -5
Well... perhaps the Inventor's District wasn't the best place for her to come... even if she had brought Sarah along. There were just so many interesting things that it was hard for the young woman not to get sidetracked. Was that a clockwork faerie? Why, yes it wa--
"Ja, Sarah... To Cousin's first, and then we look around." It was good that Sarah had come. Oh - but... but music boxes! She wondered if Roderich had seen these... Perhaps she could find one for him as a gift? Mayb --
Each time she almost got sidetracked - by a mechanical bird, by a charming clock, by any number of fascinating gadgets - Sarah gently nudged her back on course - and so it was that Lili and her maid reached Cousin Ludwig's shop. Lili smiled fondly at the window display - quite neat, compared to all the other shops, but that was her cousin - then pushed the door open to enter the shop.
Post by Ludwig Beilschmidt on Oct 4, 2012 14:25:15 GMT -5
Ludwig had arrived at his workshop in the district early that morning, as was normal, and had tidied up the place a little bit before unlocking the door. The front room of the place had been dedicated to displaying things he'd created or fixed in careful, tidy lines, and the window facing the street had been set up with a few of his latest projects. A solid wooden door in the back wall of the shop led to Ludwig's real workshop, a spacious room full of half-finished gadgets, supplies, and all manner of tools. He had been back there riveting two large curved sheets of brass together when he heard a familiar voice echo from the front.
"Just a moment!" he called back, and after attaching two final rivets, he set aside the rivet gun and made himself a little more presentable, removing his safety glasses and flattening his hair back down in the signature combed-back style he wore it in. After hanging up his leather working apron, he headed out to the front of the shop and was pleased to find Lili and one of her lady's maids there.
"Good to see you, Lili," he greeted, walking over to give her a quick hug before nodding a greeting to the maid as well. "What brings you here today? Need something fixed?" Ludwig ran a careful business, but he was always partial to his family, and did plenty of free favors for them whenever they needed it.
Post by Lili Walser on Oct 4, 2012 16:26:53 GMT -5
Lili wandered around the shop as she waited for Cousin to come out of his workshop, her eyes bright with curiosity. Every little thing fascinated her, but she refrained from touching anything. She didn't want to accidentally break anything that he'd put so much work into. Sarah remained still, watching Lili with a faintly amused smile. Always curious, Lady Lili was.
"Good to see you, Lili."
She turned, hearing his voice, just in time to return his quick hug. "Hallo, Cousin." Her voice was light, as was the laugh that he surprised out of her by asking if she needed anything fixed. "N-Nein, Cousin... I came to visit with you... You're always dreadfully busy... I... I hope I'm not keeping you from anything?" She'd feel rather guilty... but all the same, he couldn't work all the time and not expect family to interrupt at some point just to see him. He hadn't been to dinner in a while, after all... Perhaps she could ask him to set aside one or two days every month that he would... that was certainly a thought.
Post by Ludwig Beilschmidt on Oct 4, 2012 18:06:13 GMT -5
It was always nice to hear Lili laugh. She'd been a very sweet little girl, and the tragedies in her life had affected her badly. Ludwig shook his head at the formal way she addressed him, and corrected her gently, "You can call me by my name, you know. I don't mind." So it was a surprise visit! That was kind of her. Ludwig kept his face carefully blank when she explained her reasons; he always was busy, there wasn't any denying that. Perhaps he had been neglecting his family a little bit.
"Oh... no, not at all," he reassured her quickly, having decided he wasn't going to make excuses to get back to his work, not this time. "I was just putting together a few tanks, nothing important. It can wait." He glanced around the shop: it was clean and organized, but noticeably sparse. Even the desk in the corner and the two chairs that rested in front of it were quite plain, but... they would have to do. "Would you like to sit down?" Ludwig offered, gesturing to the chairs. "I'd offer you something to drink, but...I haven't really got anything here." That was a lie, he had water and alcohol, but the former wasn't polite and the latter.... it was still the morning. "What have you been up to lately?" he asked, holding out the chairs for them. "I haven't been around to visit much either..."
Post by Lili Walser on Oct 4, 2012 23:20:59 GMT -5
"Oh... Ja... Ludwig... I'm sorry..." She ought to remember by now... she truly ought... Gilbert still pouted at her every time she called him Cousin... but Ludwig was far too serious for that sort of thing. The girl was glad. She doubted she could handle two pouting cousins. She could barely (if even) handle the one.
Of course, now that she'd thought about it, of course she was keeping him from something. He had to be working on something or other... ja, and he was working on... on tanks, whatever those were... and she'd interrupted. "I-I'm sorry... I should have written first..." Though that would, in effect, ruin the whole purpose of a surprise visit...
"Oh, n-nein, I'm quite alright, danke..." She shook her head. Perhaps now...? But no. He'd asked her a question. She couldn't ignore his question to ask one of her own. "O-oh... I... I've been practicing the piano, and I've embroidered quite a few new things... most of them for Tante, if the truth be known.... One can only use so many handkerchiefs or pillowcases or tablecloths, after all..." She spoke as she settled into the chair, then fussed with her skirt so that it didn't wrinkle.
Post by Ludwig Beilschmidt on Oct 7, 2012 16:48:32 GMT -5
"Don't apologize," Ludwig chided her immediately, albeit in a more gentle voice. "It's not a crime or anything, certainly." He almost felt bad for Lili, and how everyone around her put so much pressure on her to keep up formalities. Technically, he and Gilbert were pinned under the same obligations - but Gilbert had never much cared, and Ludwig had mastered the rules (at least on paper; he'd read a few books) and switching between public and private life had never bothered him. Lili, on the other hand, was younger and, save for Ludwig's own brother, was surrounded by people that insisted on proper behavior at all times. He hoped such strictness wasn't crushing the girl's spirit.
"Honestly, it's fine," he reassured her, dragging the chair behind the desk out so he could sit with the little group more comfortably. "I needed a break, and this is a nice one." Ludwig kept his face carefully blank as his cousin listed how she'd been keeping busy. Piano sounded nice enough, but good lord, embroidery? "Embroidery?" he muttered, raising his eyebrows a little. "I hope you haven't been bored." Even to Ludwig, who loved creating new things, embroidery just sounded hopelessly dull. "She must appreciate the gifts," he went on, shrugging, "but there have to be better ways for you to occupy your time." No critical tone lay hidden in Ludwig's voice; Lili had always been a bright girl, in his opinion, and occupying her with little more than sewing seemed like a crime.
Ludwig was on the verge of asking if Gilbert had suggested some different hobbies for her, then hesitated. Lili's lady's-maid was still there, and he didn't necessarily want her overhearing anything she didn't absolutely have to know. Then again, perhaps this woman was in Lili's confidence... but it was a chance Ludwig wasn't willing to take. He'd write everything in a letter, perhaps. That way, he could ensure nobody but Lili saw the contents. As his cousin adjusted herself in the chair, Ludwig frowned a little, "I'm sorry, they aren't very comfortable. I'll have to get new ones soon."
Post by Lili Walser on Oct 9, 2012 20:17:39 GMT -5
"Ah... Ja... I'm sor-..." But she caught herself before she apologized for apologizing. She didn't mean to stress him out, or apologize when he'd told her not to... She didn't want to offend him. It was true, most everyone she had contact with was set on formalities - the servants, Tante, Tante's servants, all the other nobles that she associated with, the shopkeepers, her tutors... yes, most everyone, aside from Gilbert, Ludwig, and Uncle Toni. It never bothered her, to be formal. She'd much rather be formal, than err on the side of informality... It sometimes confused her, though, that her cousins were as informal as they were - especially Gilbert.
"Ja... alright..." But still, she sounded uncertain. It was only when he moved his chair from behind his desk to sit with her and Sarah that she relaxed. "Ja, embroidery. Oh, and lessons... maths and literature, and etiquette..." She tilted her head. "Bored? Nein... Not at all... I... well, sometimes, I wish that I wasn't in the house so much, but it truly isn't proper for me to go out like I wish I could... Oh- but I've been to visit Uncle Toni, a-and I've been to the gardens, with Sarah." Tante? Appreciate the gifts? ... Well... perhaps, somewhat... when she wasn't critiquing them... "Ja... I... I suppose so..." was all she said, however, not wishing to speak badly of her aunt, even to family.
She smiled up at him, then shook her head. "Nein, C-Ludwig... I-I'm perfectly comfortable... I just... this fabric tends to wrinkle something dreadful if I let it..." And that was horrid. If she walked through the inventor's district, or the market, or anywhere, really, with wrinkled skirts, somehow that would get back to Tante and her tutors, and then she'd never hear the end of it.
Post by Ludwig Beilschmidt on Oct 13, 2012 14:58:13 GMT -5
The way his cousin hastily corrected her almost-slip caused the hint of a smile to tug at the corner of Ludwig's mouth. It must have been a very deeply ingrained habit for her to have to fight so hard not to break it. He hoped he hadn't made her uncomfortable by asking that, but it was true that their whole family was rather oddly formal - save for Gilbert, perhaps. Gilbert was the exception to every single rule. Even Ludwig, serious and rule-observant as he was, would rather be able to talk to his family on more familiar terms.
"Lessons don't sound too bad," he offered, mollified by the knowledge that Lili wasn't spending all of her days doing boring domestic work. Lili was already so polite and proper that he doubted she needed etiquette lessons, but that wasn't up to Ludwig to decide. He could absolutely sympathize with her not wanting to be in the house all of the time: that had been a lot of his own youth, after all, and he'd grown to dislike it enough that he spent the majority of his time out, either working or walking the city or in cafes or bars. He'd even contemplated building a small loft in his workshop with a bed and a few necessities. He certainly fell asleep here often enough. "To Uncle Antonio's and to the gardens, that sounds nice," Ludwig observed with a nod. "If you want, the next time I go to one of the galleries or museums, I'll invite you along. You can get out of the house that way."
The smile he got from Lili was a welcome gift: up until then, their conversation had felt just a little bit strained. "Oh, I see," he answered easily. "You know, if it really becomes a problem, there's a couple of boilers in the back room. We could steam the wrinkles out easily enough. But, uh..." Ludwig hesitated, trying to figure out how best to reassure her. "Your dress looks fine now. I don't think you need to worry."
Post by Lili Walser on Oct 16, 2012 9:42:03 GMT -5
"Nein, they're not bad at all... I do quite enjoy literature. Maths... w-well... I have always had difficulty understanding some of the concepts... but I... I do my best. I don't want to disappoint you or Cousin Gilbert or anyone else..." Lili shook her head, ribbon fluttering slightly as she did so.
When he agreed that visitng Uncle Toni and walking through the gardens were good ways to spend her time, Lili smiled ever so faintly. She thought so, too... she was glad that her cousins agreed. Well, Gilbert would agree with Uncle Toni's no matter what. Uncle Toni was similar to Gilbert, in some respects... both of them (and maybe even Ludwig) wanted her to dispense with some of the ingrained formalities and just have fun every now and again. It was hard, but she thought, perhaps, she was learning to. Especially when Uncle Toni had baby bunnies.
"Oh... the museums and galleries?" Lili couldn't help the hushed, yet excited tone to her voice. "W-would you? ... Oh, but I don't want to inconvenience you, C--Ludwig... I-if you prefer to go by yourself..." She didn't disillusion herself that she was as important as all that... Surely Ludwig had friends that he'd rather spend time with on his own, rather than worry about escorting her. She could... she could visit some of the museums with Sarah. She'd done it before, once or twice, when Uncle Toni and Gilbert were too dreadfully busy to take her... and she never did know when Ludwig was working on a new project.
"Oh, danke..." Self-consciously, she smoothed a hand down her skirt again, a small smile on her lips. But his next statement confused her. "Steam?" How would that remove wrinkles? Sarah couldn't help her soft laughter. "Lady Lili, steam will dampen the fabric just enough that, with careful handling, you can coax the fabric to lay the way you wish it to." The blonde noblewoman nodded, eyes bright with curiosity. Perhaps one day, she could see how that was done.
Post by Ludwig Beilschmidt on Oct 21, 2012 15:17:57 GMT -5
Ludwig nodded as Lili spoked, happy she got some enjoyment out of her lessons. While it was flattering that she was focused on not disappointing anyone, Ludwig sincerely doubted she could ever come close to disappointing him, not to mention his brother. "You could never be a disappointment," he reassured her, his voice serious. "As long as you're working hard and keeping yourself happy - I'm sure Gilbert would tell you the same thing." Gilbert might even remove the 'working hard' part. But whatever happened, Lili had already passed a difficult life. That she had made it this far without breaking down or losing sight of herself was impressive enough.
Ludwig had to suppress a smile at the obvious excited reaction he got for his invitation. "What?" he blurted out, upon hearing the word 'inconvenience'. "No, no - you wouldn't inconvenience me!" Ludwig assured the young woman quickly. "The company would be nice. Places like that can get quite oppressive if you go alone, and Gilbert's usually too busy with his work to come with me." Rubbing his chin with his thumb, Ludwig frowned briefly in thought. "How does this sound: next time I plan on going, I'll send you a message, and if you want, you can join me. Your, uh, friend can come along too of course." He gave a polite nod to the woman sitting next to Lili. While he didn't know the girl personally, she seemed to get along well with his cousin, and wasn't as oppressively strict as that aunt of hers was.
The girl further got herself into Ludwig's good graces by explaining quickly and succinctly how steam could be used to straighten fabric. Although he'd been looking forward to answering (he was always a little bit proud of his work and his knowledge), Ludwig deferred to Lili's maid and nodded approvingly once she'd finished. "That's exactly right," he affirmed, folding his arms across his chest and relaxing back in his chair. "Steam can be used for a lot of things, not just power." That field, however, was the one he liked to work with the most. "I've built steam presses like that before for some of the other nobles," he explained, "so if you want one, I've already got the plans completed. It wouldn't be too difficult for me to make. But that's up to you, of course." Even if Lili decided not to bother him with the project, Ludwig decided it would be one of a few gifts he'd be giving her come the holidays.