(1937-10-18) First and Last
Details for First and Last
Summary: Ranjali joins Cooper for the date she agreed to before the mess with Magnus, and catches her up on the recent changes in her life. Cooper tries to get to the bottom of Ranjali's supposed drunken mistake.
Date: 18 October, 1937
Location: Fleet Street Bistro
Related: The Morning After

Fleet Street Bistro, London
Thu Oct 18, 1937

It is a fall night. The weather is warm and fair.

The bistro hosts white table cloths and a basic design on every table of a single flower in a vase and a pair of salt and pepper shakers. The napkins are cloth and the chairs are very basic but the shapes are art deco. There are a few tables set outside but the majority are inside the restaurant. Little tables with two to four chairs are all around and give just enough room for people to sit comfortable in the relatively small space of the restaurant. Small pieces of artwork hang about on the walls and accent the decor. Two doors sit at the back of the restaurant are marked in and out and are for the staff to go in and out from the kitchen. The staff are dressed very plain with white shirts and black pants and are quite adequate at what they do.


Earlier in the evening Cooper came around Mungo's with a cab to save ever-beautiful Ranjali from her dreaded place of work, bringing with her a modest bottle of wine and a single red rose (because she was advised that's what good dates bring to the first one). The two made their way through muggle London until the arrived at a small bistro the Auror picked out earlier, and with the agreement that they'll talk about their magical origins as ambiguously as possible, they sit to begin their dinner. Cooper herself is dressed in a simple blue blouse that brings out her eyes, but the slacks remain, even though they're clean and pressed today. Her hair's done up neatly this time, the glasses are left at home, and she really tried her hand at lipstick, but it looks like someone helped her pick out the shade because there's no. way. in. hell. she could have picked out a flattering color all on her own. "I hope the wine isn't too much. It's a really nice one I picked out from 1930. Was going to bring chocolates at first, but then I figured I might as well get something we could both enjoy together," she smiles brightly, working on her salad. "Please tell me what you've been up to as of late. You look much better since the last time we had lunch."

Ranjali was waiting just inside the hospital entrance when Cooper arrived, and stepped out to meet her almost before the woman could finish getting out of the cab. She's back to her usual self, in general, polite and friendly if somewhat reserved, though there's a happy glow about her of the sort that hasn't been seen in the healer since her school days. Her choice of dress is different than usual, though. She is wearing a dress of deep purple silk that is draped loosely over her form. The dress is paired with a fitted gray coat and black shoes, as well as a pair of large earrings, heavy beaded clusters that hang down halfway to her shoulders. Her hair is tucked into a small black hat, which is removed to reveal a simple twist held in place with some pins when they reach the bistro.

One more thing about her is different. For the first time, when offered a gift, she looks quite uncomfortable. Though she accepts the rose, she gives the wine a wary look, and when she is finally asked about it looks up from her water apologetically. "I… I fear I may not drink alcohol again for some time, Mi- Cooper. And though it is hardly polite dinner conversation, I believe you deserve to know why."

Excellent. The wine elicits the exact reaction Cooper had hoped. Furthermore, the return of Ranjali's usual demure tendencies certainly put the Auror at ease, but also add more questions in the pool of them she had already. So when she sense the healer is about to tell her, her side of what happened, she plays innocent. Mid-way through shoveling a pile of salad greens into her trap, Cooper looks up cluelessly at her date and asks, "Oh? Why ever not?" Like how it is with all their meals, the words come out muffled with food. "Wine was a poor choice then, I see." She frowns apologetically at the bottle.

"No, really. Its an excellent choice. The problem is with me." Ashamed, Ranjali looks down at her plate. Picking at her salad with her fork, she forces the confession out. And as she does so, the glow of happiness fades from her face. "I-I… woke up somewhere strange… a few days ago. And it seems… I had gone to the Cauldron the night before. Though I don't remember this. All I remember is the next morning. I woke up… in Mr Troy's house. In h-his… bedroom."

Cooper chews on her salad like a cow. She even freezes with the slow stupid look of anticipation on her face as Ranjali struggles to get the words out. Her jaw dropping wider as every detail drips slowly out of her date's mouth. "In Magnus' bedroom?" she chews more quickly and swallows her food. "Don't tell me that you…" Okay, so Cooper's actually doing a rather subpar job of acting shocked. She's certainly better at this, but for some reason she feel she can't lie to Ranjali. At least not at this very moment. "Okay…actually, I should let you know…," she sighs guiltily and puts her fork down before looking back at the woman. "I kind of already knew. I heard it from Magnus himself…" Her guilty frown becomes guiltier but this time for different reasons.

Ranjali is staring at her plate, as looking at her friend is too much to bear while she speaks of the event in question. And as Cooper makes her own admission, her hands, which had been moving around in an attempt to make it look like she'd eaten some of the salad, become quite still, hovering over the plate. Eyes closing, she tilts her head even farther down, so that her face is almost entirely hidden. "You… you knew?" Her grip on her fork tightens, the knuckles standing out starkly white against the rest of her darker skin.

Cooper licks her lips before she bites them, giving the healer a minute to deal with her clear embarrassment. Oh, she hopes she took the right avenue by telling the truth. Honesty is the best policy, according to everyone ever, except for liars. "I knew," she murmurs quietly but quickly adds, "But…please don't be mistaken. I don't think any less of you for it. You were vulnerable and he was a vile arse for it. I don't care how inebriated the two of you may have been. He knows better than to treat a lady thusly." She pauses to let her stance sink in, and lowering her head to try and match the level of Ranjali's gaze she asks quietly, "Would you…like to talk about it?"

There is a very long pause before Ranjali finally releases her grip on the fork. It clatters to the table as she sighs shakily, and starts to shake her head. "N-no… no. I just… want to… " And then she can't bear it anymore, and raises her hands to cover her face. "I feel so disgusting. I can still barely believe it. Even if I didn't approach him as he says, I would never have believed I would do such a thing… "

Cooper grimaces. Oh boy. Maybe she should have waited till they were alone to talk about this. Not caring about the judgmental stares directed at her from others, she slides her seat over to Ranjali's side of the table to try and put an arm around the woman if she'll let her. "That's what I said, dearest. I never once thought you capable of doing it. Not in a million years. So if you have any worry of what others may think, just know that no one has any bad opinions of you," she tries to comfort the woman. "Do you really not remember anything from that night? Not what you had to drink? Who else you interacted with?" She's trying to poke around and see if someone may have laced her with something and when.

Ranjali leans into the embrace, beyond caring for the moment (or perhaps forgetting) that they are in public. "I don't even remember going to the Cauldron. The last thing I remember is leaving the hospital! And then I just… woke up." She shudders, but manages at least to keep from sobbing.

Cooper lets Ranjali, be holding her firmly so that her friend knows its okay to be upset but also tenderly to just help sooth her. It's a good thing their closeness is being taken only for female companionship. Or else they might have just gotten strange looks for a different reason. Damn judgmental muggles! Patting the healer softly on the back she listens to her account and for a second Cooper pauses, a detail catching her ear. "Leaving the….Ranjali, were you drinking on your way out of work?" she asks curiously.

Ranjali pulls back instantly, to stare at Cooper in sudden anger, "No! Genev- no! I would never! I've barely had enough liquor in my life to fill three butterbeer bottles!" Wiping angrily at the few tears that had managed to squeeze their way out, she turns her face away. "You don't believe I would… w-with Mr. Troy, but you believe I would dishonor my profession by drinking while at work?"

Cooper acks when the distraught healer breaks herself free her comforting arms. Again, she grimaces upon realizing she's hit another sensitive spot. And so she tries her best to calmly explain herself. "No…it's not that it's just," she bites her lip as she gets that same look she always gets on her face when the gears begin to turn in her head. Leaning an elbow against the table she says thoughtfully, "There's really no reason as to why you wouldn't remember the trip to the Leaky Cauldron if you didn't start drinking until then. Perhaps you ate something before you left then? It's possible someone could have slipped you something that would make you act inappropriately and forget everything…."

Ranjali's shoulders slump, the anger leaving her as instantly as it came. Of course, she's an Auror, she's used to trying to figure things out. "I'm sorry." She murmurs. "I'm just… not quite myself still. Forgive me." She thinks about the question, her face still flushed from her outburst, and slowly begins to shake her head, "Nothing out of the ordinary. My usual tea and lunch from the top floor. And tea, again, from the break room. But everyone uses those tea sets. Every day."

"Lunch from home? Left unattended at all in the break room or what not?" Cooper asks curiously, wanting to rub her eyes in though, but she stops herself realizing she'll smudge that makeup stuff she put on. Pausing to realize where she was currently and who she was with. "Oh look at me. Silly Genevieve. You're not at work," she talks to herself and with a warm smile gives her cranium a knock with her fist. "I really didn't intend for such an sour topic to enter the conversation. I only meant to show you a good time. So let's have one, yes? Your skin looks absolutely radiant in that shade of purple and I'd rather not soil it by making you all red and puffy." So Cooper slides back over to her side of the table, back to her salad. "But tell me, does anyone else know of this ordeal? That way I know to keep quiet."

"No, from the tea shop upstairs." Ranjali corrects, offering a shaky smile in return. She even manages a chuckle for the compliment, though she's sniffling at the same time. "Thank you." She offers, before sighing. "Two people, that I know of. Audrey came to find me, the next day. I, ah," She reaches up nervously, checking to make certain her hair is still in place, "I've been staying with her, since then. And she told her friend… Mr. Montague, from the Natrix."

Cooper's colored lips purse a little at the name Montague, and she clears her throat before turning back to her salad. "I see … well then Ranjali, you have my strictest confidence. As far as I know, this never happened," she gives the woman a wink and looking at the wine she adds, "And we'll go out to a sweet shop and gorge on cupcakes instead, hmm?" Cooper, of course, will take the wine home for herself. It's damn good wine. "I'm sure you're already doing this but…avoid Mr. Troy if you can help it. I'll make sure he keeps his respectful distance on my end as well. And it's wonderful that you have such a good friend in Miss Taylor. Though if you don't mind me being a bit forward, I'm certainly glad agreed to come with me this evening. I'm assuming she's…okay with this date?" The last question is asked with some caution.

Ranjali is chuckling again, and starting to nod. The nod becomes hesitant as Audrey is brought up once more. And suddenly she's blushing again. All the way to the tips of her ears. "Um, actually… not exactly. You see, ah… that is part of what I need to tell you. We, ah.. well we're going to go to India for a few weeks. Mr. Montague suggested it. He's even offered to arrange for a house, t-to give me some time. That's why I was ready when you came, I only went to the Hospital today to arrange for the time off."

Cooper let's out an 'oh', slightly surprised at the mention of a trip. And for some reason…slightly miffed. She's unsure why. "A few weeks…wow…well, that's all so sudden," she says forking the rest of her salad. "Does that mean I'll have to wait a while for a second date then?" She bites her lip and looks up at Ranjali. Come on silly, healer. Go on and say it.

Ranjali looks down at her plate again, biting her lip. "It, ah… yes, its sudden. Very. But… " Very slowly, she sighs and forces herself to look back up, her eyes scanning Cooper's face worriedly, "It means… that it is unlikely there will be a second date."

"I see," Cooper says, mouth forming a straight line. Yes, she's pretty miffed. She's never been rejected by a woman before, so the feeling comes as a rather strange surprise. "Well, that's fine. You gave me my chance, so…let's just enjoy tonight, hmm?" The warm smile returns to the Auror's face. "Don't worry, I'll keep my end of the deal. Things will return to just as they were. As long as you're okay will still having lunch with me, that is. I kind of like having someone around to make sure I eat on occasion." She gives the woman a sheepish grin.

Ranjali is still very uncertain, though she smiles and nods a bit. "I'm sorry." She offers, even though she's nearly certain its the wrong thing to say. "The last thing I want to do is hurt anyone. And you've been so wonderful, like… " A sorrowful expression passes across her face, but she shakes her head and smiles again, "Well. I would like that, to have lunch still. If it is alright with you."

Cooper tilts her head at bit a the sorrowful expression. "Like a sister? Or like a friend? Ranjali, either is fine with me," she smiles assuringly and warmly in the way only a Hufflepuff can. "And I'd like that very much."

Encouraged, Ranjali smiles more heartily, and nods. "Like either, or both, it doesn't really matter. I just don't want to stop spending time with you." She reaches out suddenly to take Cooper's hands in her own, squeezing as she smiles even brighter, "Thank you, thank you so much for being my friend."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License