(2018-05-11) Stolen Property - On Second Thought
"I want to see this horse. Once this is all resolved."
antonella 
castiglion-capello.jpg
Summary:
Cesare seeks out Antonella to offer some additional information that might come in handy tracking horse thieves.
Related:
A third installment of morosina's horse thievery.
Misc Info:
There's only a little bit of blushing.
cesare 

Evening at Palazzo Capello is blessedly quiet, though there is a particular tension among the few servants still tending to their duties, an awareness of the conte's Very Foul Mood and what it might mean for all and sundry. At the moment, whensoever the doorman lets the guest in and, with all appropriate formality, announces his arrival, whether he'd like it or not, Antonella is conversing quietly with one of the maids. It would seem, given the, "Yes, signora," that's issued before the plump woman moves off, that instructions of some manner have been given. Still, worry creases the teen's features when she turns to acknowledge Cesare, wide-eyed and uncertain.

From behind the doorman, Cesare wears his best 'really?!' expression when the man does the formal announcement, the proclamation of his name leaving him rubbing the knuckle of his thumb into his eyesocket and mumbling about using a nom de plume in the future. But at least the fuss successfully summoned Antonella, at whom he points and says, "Is there somewhere we can talk?" Implied: relatively privately, at least.

Antonella considers quietly for a moment, a little grin quirking her lips. "I'm sure my sisters would love to hear of the scoundrel I brought to my room." That, however, is accompanied by a look toward the stairs which she soon moves past, favoring a different exit instead. This one leads to a library, spacious and well-appointed, with fine paintings of rolling hills and pastoral fields on the walls. It's dimly lit at the moment, only a few lamps offering any illumination, the sun low enough in the sky that it's of little help. Still, it's private enough, removed from the rest of the activity beyond, the door closed easily enough. More seriously than her earlier words, she says, "I hadn't expected to see you again so soon." Which, unfortunately, has her more wary than excited.

"It might be the most obvious cover-story, but…" Cesare trails off, teetering a hand that he proceeds to trail along the furniture while he follows Antonella. Once inside the dim library, he gives the space a dubious once-over, some question on the verge of being poised before he shakes it off and refocuses on his hostess. "I don't know what to do with that comment," he confesses frankly. "So I guess I'll just cut to the chase. Did you wind up finding that horse?"

Antonella looks more than a little perplexed by his uncertainty. She might be glad she's not pressed to explain, an odd touch of relief clocked in the slight sinking of her shoulders as he moves on to ask about the stallion. "No," comes promptly, though she's quick to clarify, "Not that I'm aware. I'm not precisely participating in the search. I'm left here waiting for word." Beat. "And there's been none to suggest it's been found yet."

Arms crossed high on his chest, Cesare reacts to the knowledge of Antonella's side-lined role with a flash of surprise, a quiet, "Huh," that gives it voice. But moving on. "All right. Well, if they're following that info that I gave you the other night? Tell them they're barking up the wrong tree. But I think I might know the right one, or at least a more likely starting point."

Antonella shows neither shame nor regret for her current role in all of this. Hadn't she done her part? Isn't she doing her part now? Her chin lifts at the prospect of new information, eyes widening. "Alright," is soft-spoken, encouraging. "Where should I steer my darling conte and his search party?"

"Darling conte," he repeats beneath a small chuckle, shaking his head for a second. "You steer them to this address." Cesare unfolds one arm to hold out the torn corner from a sheet of paper, an address written there in a barely-legible hand. "But you should know." He retracts the paper to add his caveat. "I don't think the lady's really involved. She's just a go-between, runs some stables, really not a 'responsible party,' like you said the other day."

Antonella reaches for the paper as soon as it's revealed, her hand drawn back ever so slightly when it's pulled away, held there in stasis, at the ready. "A facilitator," she offers to express her understanding. "We aren't looking to disrupt the very structure of our complexly layered society. We want only to recover the stallion." Those fingers still in the air give a little wiggle as she adds, "And to punish the responsible parties, of course."

Cesare weighs Antonella's sincerity for a second, paper still retracted, then slowly nods acceptance. "Okay then." He turns over his hand and unfolds his fingers, extending the creased scrap until it hits the end of her index finger. "Right, a facilitator. Perfect word for it. There's a good chance she'll know of any horses changing hands where no one's looking."

Antonella probably doesn't know how to be insincere. One might wonder how she wins anything when playing cards. Perhaps context matters. Whatever the case, she's being honest here, and she waits until that paper touches her fingertip, flashes an odd smile, then catches it between her digits to tug it back. "I appreciate this. I'll do my best to keep this all as clean as possible." She stares for a second, like there's a question she wants to ask, though who knows if what comes out is what had her eyebrows drawing together like that. "You're welcome to stay. I could have some wine brought in…"

Having reliquished the address (with the name 'Nera' at the top of it), Cesare refolds his arms, noddig to her initial remarks, then waiting out the staring. "Nah, I don't really sit. In people's library and drink wine, I mean. The night's young and all that." He starts toward the door, swinging in that direction but not lifting his feet yet. "You should come out sometime. Play cards."

"There's always the afternoon for that," Antonella asserts idly of sitting in libraries and drinking wine. It sounds like there could've been more, a slight lift to her voice implying the impending pitch of how very nice it is to sit in libraries and drink wine, but it never comes. She's a touch distracted, color rising to her cheeks unbidden, though the dim lighting may well make that a touch trickier to catch. Harder to miss is the earnest warmth in her words as she admits, "I'd like that," before hurriedly adding more decisively, "I will. Once this is all resolved."

"That reminds me. I want to see this horse. Once this is all resolved." Cesare repeats her words with a snap of his fingers at himself for nearly forgetting, then puts his feet to motion. "Good night, good luck." He doesn't seem to expect Antonella to show him out, or even a doorman, honestly.

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