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Neville Ashton

Joined: 01 Jan 2016
Posts: 12
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Can Be Found: At home or at work.
100.00 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:30 pm    Post subject: Good News Reply with quote

It took Neville a few days to gather enough courage to knock on the door to Mataya De Luca's office. She had been more than patient with him when Nellie had died, though he had never asked for special treatment. He had, in fact, never asked for anything. He was just happy to be employed and considered himself lucky to be working at the theater, but that was before he'd met Demi and asked her to marry him.

Even when the theater was in mid-season, it was a rare week day when Mataya could not be found somewhere in the building. Neville was in luck today; she'd been pinned behind her desk by Charles, who needed her signature on various money-related issues, and that meant she was definitely open for business. She glanced up at the knock on her door. "Come on in, pull up a pew!"

Neville heard the boss lady's voice behind the door and winced a little, hoping he wasn't catching her at a bad time. "Hello," he greeted her a little bashfully as he peeked into the room. "Am I interrupting? I can come back." Or not.

Mataya's expression of studious annoyance switched up instantly into a bright smile at the sight of the nervous musician peeking around her door. "Neville! Oh, come in, you're not interrupting anything," she said confidently, putting down the paper she was reading to give him her full attention. "You're in early, aren't you?"

"A little bit, yes. If you have a moment, there's something I'd like to talk to you about," he started, edging further into the room and closing the door quietly behind him. He didn't yet take a seat, though he knew it was expected of him.

"I always make time for my people," Mataya insisted, raising a brow above her smile. "Sit down, I won't bite you. To be honest, it's a relief to catch a break from all the reading." She chuckled cheerfully.

"I can imagine," he said, knowing it must take a lot of work to keep the theater running smoothly, and here he was there to pester her about something. "I'm sorry to interrupt. I know you must be busy," he apologized again, clearly nervous. No, he wasn't going to turn in his resignation or anything like that.

"I'm never too busy for my people," she nodded firmly. "Now sit down, and tell me what I can do for you. You're not interrupting anything, and you don't need to apologize."

He took a seat in the chair opposite her, folding his hands neatly in his lap - hands that were his bread and butter, whether it was playing the piano or the cello. "I'm probably being a little presumptious, and I don't want to put you on the spot, but I'm wondering if it would be at all possible to get an advance on my salary." There, he'd said it. The worst she could say was no.

Surprised by the request, but not unpleasantly so, Mataya's smile gentled as she studied him for a moment. "I'd need to know what reason you have for asking, Neville," she told him, almost apologetically. "Advances on salary are generally for specialised circumstances, such as family needs."

"You're right. I should just apply for a loan," he said, moving to his feet. "I'm sorry to have bothered you, ma'am. It won't happen again," he told her with a strained smile, privately cursing himself for being so stupid.

"That wasn't a no, Neville," Mataya pointed out with a smile, pointing to the chair for him to take a seat once again. "I said generally, not always. And I am exceedingly nosy, though I promise you that your reasons will not leave this office. If you're in some kind of trouble, let me help. Even if you're not, let me help. Just tell me what you need."

He paused, turning back and retaking his seat, though he was feeling ridiculously humbled by asking in the first place. "I'm not in any trouble. In fact, things are going rather well. That's why I'm here really. I know it's rather sudden, but I met someone recently."

Never let it be said that Mataya De Luca was slow on the uptake. She knew enough about Neville Ashton to understand the implication in what little he had told her, and a slow smile touched her lips. "Oh, I see," she nodded. "Congratulations." One hand rummaged through the papers on her desk for her cheque-book.

"Thanks," he replied, a soft smile brightening his face a little, though he was still feeling awkward. He'd never asked anyone for anything before, and he didn't really like asking now. "I wouldn't ask except, well ... things have been difficult since Nellie died." He didn't want to get into a long explanation of the financial woes that had followed draining what meager nestegg he'd managed to save. "The truth is, I'm getting married again, and I'd like to buy her a ring. Nothing too extravagant, mind you, but something nice. I just need a few weeks' advance pay, and I think I can do it," he explained.

Mataya's smile deepened as he spoke, truly delighted for him, but she knew enough not to make a fuss as she might have done for someone else. "How about I advance you the performance bonus for the Spring Gala instead?" she suggested. "You've never missed a performance, I have no reason to think you'll miss any of these, and it's what you would have had coming to you in a couple of weeks' time anyway."

"I know I should just wait, but I'm afraid I already proposed," he explained further. And without a ring. "It was rather sudden." Not to mention unexpected. "I would really appreciate it," he added, struggling against the blush that wanted to creep into his face.
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Neville Ashton

Joined: 01 Jan 2016
Posts: 12
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Can Be Found: At home or at work.
100.00 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"It's as good as done," she promised him, opening the chequebook to sign over a generous performance bonus to him - more than he would have received at the end of the run, but he wasn't to know that, was he? Tearing off the cheque, she handed it to him with a grin. "Drop her name at the box office and get her free tickets to whatever shows she'd like to see," she suggested to Neville. "She's family now."

As relieved as he was, he didn't even look at the cheque to see how much it was written for. He'd look at it later and probably wonder why it seemed a little higher than expected. "I'll do that," he told her, his smile widening. "Thank you. I really do appreciate it," he said, as he moved to his feet again, assuming he had taken enough of her time.

"It's always a pleasure to make someone smile, Neville," Mataya assured him, her own smile wide and warm. "Word of advice? Don't go looking for the perfect diamond. Wait until you see a ring that you can imagine on her finger for the rest of your life. It doesn't have to be expensive or extravagant to mean the world to the woman wearing it."

He was wise enough to take her advice to heart, though he wasn't really sure what kind of ring he was looking for yet. He knew what his bank account could afford now, and he just hoped he could find something suitable that wouldn't break his budget. Then, there was the wedding to think of and a change of residence, but all in good time. "I'd like to find one that that suits her. One that sparkles like stars in the night sky," he said, turning just a little poetic.

Well, if that didn't prove he was in love, nothing would. Mataya nodded to herself, tucking her chequebook away. "Try Spirit Crystals in New Haven," she suggested with a wink. "All sorts of unique little creations in there. And congratulations again. Just let me know when you need honeymoon time."

He flashed another smile, genuinely grateful, as well as relieved. "We haven't set a date yet, but I'll let you know when we do. Like I said, it was kind of sudden," he told her, chuckling a little at the memory of it, obviously a little more relaxed now that she hadn't chased him out of her office or given him a lecture.

"Sometimes that's the best way," she chuckled gently. "Now shoo, I have about a bajillion things to sign that absolutely have to be signed today, apparently." She laughed, nodding to him before turning her attention to the desk in front of her once more.

"Thank you again, Ms. De Luca. I really do appreciate it," he told her for what had to be the third or fourth time. He didn't bother to promise that she wouldn't regret it or that he'd make good on his committment to the theater, as he believed he had proven himself reliable already and had never before asked for any favors, but this once. With that said, he started back toward the door to let himself out.

"It's my pleasure, Neville." Mataya watched him out through the door, tapping her pen against her cheek. What a lovely surprise to brighten her day. The last time she had spoken to Neville Ashton had been in the immediate aftermath of that appalling incident that had claimed his wife's life ... and now look at him! Staring at the door, a mischievous smile crossed her face as a happy thought occurred to her. Raising her phone to her ear, she dialed the extension for Charles, her manager. "Hey, Charlie? Hop along to my office, would you? I want to discuss a pay rise." Setting the phone down, she grinned to herself. Neville was going to get a lovely surprise in his next pay packet.

Though he was not poor, he was not rich either. The raise in his pay would come as a surprise, but one he'd appreciate, and the theater would benefit by having a cello player who not only loved his work, but put everything he had into his music and then some. Only a few months ago, everything had been decidedly unlovely in the life of Neville Ashton, but now ... things were definitely looking up.

((Many thanks to Mataya's Player for playing along!))
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