(1937-11-02) A Healer's Gotta Eat
Details for A Healer's Gotta Eat
Summary: Another chance meeting between Keenan and Veruca that turns into…. a date? Maybe not quite.
Date: 02 November 1937
Location: Northeast Diagon Alley
Related: The Royal Wand In Shepherd's Bush

Northeast Diagon Alley Diagon Alley
Fri Nov 02, 1937 ((Thu Oct 25 23:00:24 2012)) (C,1)

It is a fall night. The weather is cool and stormy.

Diagon Alley is the largest collection of Wizarding businesses in the United Kingdom so it is no wonder that people always come here for their shopping needs. Especially just before school starts this crooked little alleyway is filled to the brink with people, vendors and even a few charlatans. Even at the late hour there are people milling about as the alley becomes more about socializing and less about shopping once most of the businesses close up for the day.
At this northeastern side of the diagonal alley notably the hodgepodge buildings that lean at precarious angles over the alley are numerous shops of all sorts, shapes, and sizes. A fancy shop looms right beside another shop that's so rickety it leans against the nicer shop. Tall numerous leveled buildings make the bare little lot beside it seem all the more empty. This sort of whimsical mismatchedness ends here in a cul-de-sac surrounded by looming buildings to the northeast while the bulk of Diagon Alley extends crookedly to the southwest.

It was a dark and stormy night… actually, it is. Unsurprisingly, it's raining on London once again and someone forgot to tell it that it's not allowed to rain on Diagon Alley. So, while the Alley is still crowded, even after many shops have closed, there are still witches and wizards milling about, most seeking shelter in doorways and having a Friday evening natter before going on their way to wherever it is they go on a Friday night. Veruca has taken care of the last business of the day, and she exits the Post Office after sending off the last of the invitations to the approaching MacCurry housewarming party. As she steps out of the building she pauses, taking in the street and those out in it. She really was the last patron out, as the door shuts behind her and a solid click tells of the door locking for the evening.

The chartreuse of Healer robes are meant to stand out in a crowd, so that they can easily be identified in emergency. They also stand out in crowd on the gloomy, storm darkened evening. The ginger head of the tall, lanky, man that makes his way along the edge of the street contrasts with the almost screaming color, but not too painfully so. He pauses to hold the door for an older couple exiting Twilfit and Tattings, and gives them a pleasant enough nod before he continues on his way. His hands have returned to his pockets, but the rain doesn't seem to bother him enough to hunch his shoulders as he passes the owlery on his way home.

Veruca's keen eyes easily pick out the distinct color of the healer's robes, and her eyes lift from the color to… ginger hair. Well well. She decides to stay in the doorway, and shifts to lean lightly against the doorframe, protected from the rain by the building's overhanging roof. There's a momentary internal debate: let the healer pass by or speak to gain his attention. His path seems about to take him close enough that she could speak up without raising her voice, so she does. "Lovely evening, Mr. O'Shea."

Glancing skywards, so that a few drops pelt him the face, Keenan nods. "Aye, Miss Max. Lovely day fer frogs an' fish," he agrees, then glances back down to her. "Ye should not be standing around out in this weather, even if it is warm for November. Especially when you must be at yer best in a couple night's time."

The smile that pulls at her lips seems to come easily as Veruca regards the tall wizard. "I do believe that your shift at Mungo's is over, or at least you are on break to be out here. Are you licensed to practice in your spare time? And are you quite sure you want to? All work and no play, after all, Mr. O'Shea." She uses his name formally again, because he did say that her allowance to call him Keenan was just for the night they met.

"May I walk ye on yer way, Miss Max?" Keenan offers, his hand coming out of a pocket so that he can crook his arm for her. "I am currently taking a break from my duties tae find somewhat ta eat. Then I still have a few hours left before I'll be headin' home tae rest. There is some kind of shindig happening at the MacCurry mansion this weekend, did ye know? It sounds like it might be a spledid way tae unwind after a long week of work."

There is no hesitation as Veruca tucks her hand comfortably into the offered arm and steps closer to Keenan to accompany him. "I was thinking about something to eat as well, since I'm done for the day. Although I wouldn't dream to impose on you and invite myself along," she adds with a smile. Stepping lightly over a puddle she nods her head, which is safe from the rain because of a handy little charm that's not yet faded. "I have been assisting Mrs. MacCurry in it's planning. And were you planning to attend then?"

"Ahhh, I wouldnae count it an imposition at all," Keenan replies agreeably. "Although, I admit tae being in a fair bit of a quandary over this Macnair event. Perhaps ye could be of some assistance. For instance, is this going tae be fancy dress, or fancy casual, casual? What sort of attire should I wear?"

"Perhaps the selfless healer would allow me to buy him a meal in gratitude for his outstanding service to the community?" she speculates lightly, glancing sideways at Keenan. Her steps match his fairly easily, and in avoiding another puddle she bumps him lightly. Pesky puddles! Don't look down, there's really a puddle there, trust me. "It will be a formal affair. It is the Macnairs, after all," she adds with a soft laugh. "And I'm sure it will please Mrs. Macnair, to have those she works with in attendance." Veruca isn't displeased with the notion, either.

Keenan gives the offer consideration. "I'm afraid that would make me feel a right cad, tae take yer generous offer, an' then be running out on ye before ye've even finished ye're dessert," he prevaricates. "Ah, yes. I did have a feeling I would have tae be shaving fer this event. Here's my predicament, an' maybe ye can help me. Most times a gentleman will show up tae such an occasion escortin' a lass, unless he wants people tae think he's such a sorry sort of a man that he cannae be finding one. But there's this lady that works there, that I just may be interested in, an' if I'm showin' up with some nother lass, it might send the wrong signal tae her. But if I don't show up with a lady, she may lose interest in me, because if other lasses aren't interested enough tae come with me, then why should she be?"

In a smooth, practiced movement, Veruca slips her purse under the arm tucked with Keenan's, and lets her now freed hand come to rest lightly on his arm. "I would never wish to make you feel a cad, certainly." The rest of his words get her consideration for a few steps, not being one to speak hastily. "That is quite the dilemma. Of course, then there is a third option you may not have thought of, I'm afraid. You could show up with a lady, and the one you may be interested in could lose interest because you appear to be otherwise attached." She frowns lightly. "Hm. Well, I have to say that I'm glad I'm not in your position, Mr. O'Shea. Have you thought to ask this woman you may be interested in?"

Keenan nods his head slowy as he considers, and pauses in front of the door to a small pub, smaller than the Leaky Cauldron, but looking a little more 'upscale'. "Will this do fer ye?" he asks, reaching a hand to hold open the door if she agrees. "I admit I hadnae thought of the third option. I was just assumin' that she would be 'working' fer the night, an' her having a date might be frowned upon. It is a most excellent idea, I'll send a request to her place tomorrow. Perhaps she will be free tae accompany me." He gives her a grin. "A most excellent suggestion, I thank ye, Miss Max."

Veruca barely glances at the pub before agreeably nodding her head, "Perfect." She pauses for him to speak, and her smile surfaces once more. "It's my pleasure to have been able to be of some help. You must let me know the outcome." Her hands slide from his arm, having had quite the opportunity to appreciate it's musculature, and she steps into the pub first, then moves aside to let the gentleman take care of getting them a table.

Apparently Keenan comes here often on his break, because they're gestured to a booth when they walk in. Once they're seated, he gives her wink. "Ye may rest assured, Miss Max, that ye will be the first to know the outcome. Hullo, Charlie," he greets the man that brings over a mug of dark ale with a thick, foamy head.

"On break again, Healer O'Shea?" the waiter asks as he sets it down. "I'll put yer order right in, and a menu for the lady?" is asked as the menu is produced.

As Veruca slides into the booth seat her skirt shifts, rising slightly on her leg. Either she doesn't notice or she doesn't care, as she doesn't adjust it. Her purse is put aside, and she watches the exchange between the two men until the menu is offered. A pleasant smile is directed at the man, "Do you have a house salad, perhaps? That would be wonderful, with a cup of tea, if you would."

Charlie retains his hold on the menu and nods. "As you wish. It will be right up." He spins on his heel and lets the two have their privacy.

Keenan's eyes return to Veruca's face after watching the waiter head to the kitchen. Lacing his fingers behind his head, he leans back, stretching his legs under the table and pushing his arms up straight. Although they are not in danger of actually touching hers, they pass close by as the reach their fullest extent, then he pulls them back to sit more regularly in the booth. His hands come to rest behind his neck, his arms on the back of the booth for the moment. "So, tell me, Miss Max. What does an executive assistant in yer position, do? I have a feeling that working for a family like the Macnairs, it's nae just typing letters an' sitting around looking pretty."

Veruca lets her arms come to rest on the table, leaning slightly forward as her hands clasp, fingers laced. Interesting, their body postures; his so open and unabashed, her own more closed and reserved. When she then looks up, it's to meet Keenan's gaze without falter as he stretches. She's aware of how near his legs come to her own, in the way that one is when there's that flicker of attraction. "I do a bit more than that, yes," she says agreeably, her smile coming a touch easier still. "Meetings with clients, with and without Mr. Macnair. Attempting to keep him to his schedule. It can be a bit like herding cats. And tell me," she counters, "What do you do with all of your time at St. Mungo's?"

"Ah, sounds like Mr. Macnair is trustin' ye with quite a bit of responsibility," Keenan muses. "I admit, I was surprised tae see 'assistant' on yer card after seeing ye with those gentlemen the other night. Ye seemed pretty much in control yerself." He waves one of his hands, letting it fall next to him on the booth, the other following shortly after to rest in his lap. "Tis simple. I heal people. Dawn tae Dusk."

Veruca looks pleased at his words, which perhaps has something to do with the dig her cousin took at her upon their last meeting. She knew the little jab for what it was, but really, to call her suited to being a mere 'secretary'. "Prior to taking this position, I was in business for myself. I thought this would be an interesting change." Her hands unclasp, the right one lifting to rest her thumb lightly against her lips as Keenan answers her question, an unconscious gesture perhaps borne of her smoking habit. The hand drops again, "Well that does sound simple." She looks at him thoughtfully, her eyes a shade even more direct with their bare narrowing. Many would boast of their great feats and how many lives they saved this morning alone.

Keenan nods, "ah, that explains it. Ye already knew tha ropes when ye took yer current position." He raises his eyebrows a bit in response to the narrowing of her. "Ye were expecting something else?" he asks curiously, and he scoots his rear end back in the seat, bringing him more upright so he can lean his forearms on the table, and seeming to remember his mug just as Veruca's tea and salad are brought to the table, along with his own corned beef and cabbage sandwich.

Now it's Veruca's turn to sit back, allowing ample room for the waiter to set her plate down without crowding the table. "No, I don't suppose I was expecting something else. Most men would be only too happy to go on endlessly, patting themselves on the back. But I get the distinct impression that you aren't like most men." Her eyes have already shifted to her salad by the time she finishes what she is saying, the words coming lightly, and then she looks up to the waiter with an inclination of her head. "Thank you."

Keenan lifts his arms for his plate to be placed, one of those arms occupied with taking the pint to his lips for a long swallow. He sets it down, and looks at his sandwich, figuring how he's going to pick it up. Once his fingers are wrapped around it, he gives a chuckle and looks up. "Aye, they're amateurs. They don't realize that ye have tae wait until ye know tha lass well enough tae know just what ye should be bragging about." With a wink from those incorrigibly sparkling green eyes, he lifts his sandwich for a first bite.

Veruca can't help but smile again as she looks to his sandwich, but there's a certain cast that is musing more than amused. From the size of the sandwich, one might surmise, if one gave it thought, the the ginger wizard is a man with a healthy appetite, indeed. Perhaps healthy appetites. Her attention turns to her salad, taking her fork in slender fingers, as she remarks, "But it's just so many words without proof and facts to back it up." For a salad, it looks delicious, the lettuce fresh and coarsely chopped without being unmanageable, the dressing light, an assortment of vegetables giving it more body.

Keenan shakes his head as he chews his bite of sandwich. He rests his elbows on the table to maintain proximity of food to mouth. Once he swallows, he gives a nod. "Ah, but see, that is the art of it, Miss Max. What these other lads don't understand. When ye find what impresses a lass, then ye work on makin' sure what ye tell her is true… just in case she's goin' tae be checkin' on yer stories." He's still grinning broadly as he takes another bite, and it appears that he intends to finish the entire thing in short order.

Veruca isn't shy about digging into her salad, if in something of a more reserved way. Again, that contrast in their styles. But she does have appetites of her own. She lets the conversation dwindle to a silence she doesn't feel uncomfortable with, giving Keenan ample time to make a dent in that monster of a sandwich. When she does speak again, it's with a question. Perhaps an intent to slow him down so he doesn't choke on his food? Nah. "Do you live in London, Mr. O'Shea?"

Keenan nods, although he swallows not only his bite of sandwich, but also a swallow of ale. "Around tha corner, in fact," he adds. "There's a comfortable flat on tha third floor of Niamh's shop. Even has my own entrance at tha side, so I don't have tae go through the shop." He pauses, and then adds, "MacDiarmada's Apothecary," he clarifies. "Mum was a MacDiarmada, so it's kind of stayed in tha family fer generations."

His own flat. It's own entrance. These things get filed in her mental little black book page on Keenan, right by 'green' and 'Bushmills'. Random bits of information that, who knows, might be useful one day. As he speaks she works on her salad, lightly touching her napkin to her lips as she swallows before speaking again. "I'm familiar with the shop." While not anything of a regular customer, she has stopped in once or twice. Perhaps she may more, it is rather convenient. Again she'll let the silence have it's moments, so they can both continue eating.

Keenan nods once, unsurprised as most people are. He finishes his sandwich in short order, though, and most of his ale, and checks the time. "Miss Max, it has been a pleasure tae share my recess with ye. Perhaps next time I'll ask the personal questions an' find out more about ye're delightful person. Regretfully, though, I must cut this short an' head back tae work." He slides out of the bench and gives Charlie a wave. "Night, Charlie. Be seein' ye tomorrow." As he talks to the man, possibly distracting Veruca's gaze in the same direction of his own, he places his money on the table. He must know the menu well, as there's enough for both their meals and a proper tip. "Good night, Miss Max."

"It has indeed been a pleasure, Mr. O'Shea. Perhaps we'll bump into each other at the Macnair's party." She remains seated, and doesn't miss the man's attempt to be sly, but she doesn't point it out, either. It may not even be unexpected that he pays, while she would have willingly. He was oddly good company. Her eyes are thoughtfully on him as he makes his exit, and then she motions Charlie over to the table. "I wonder if you might have something chocolate. Something… decadent." She sits back as he goes to the kitchen, a slight, almost satisfied smile on her lips.

An envelope arrives addressed to Miss Veruca Max, and inside is the thick kind of manila card that is usually delivered on a fancy silver tray by a servant in large houses.
There is a simple decorative embellishment in green ink around the corners of the front, and inside is the same neat, legible, yet unflourished handwriting that accompanied the bottle of wine.

My Dear Miss Max,
If I may be so bold as to address you as such…
There is a formal event occurring at the Macnair Mansion this weekend, at (time on invitations inserted here), to be precise. I would consider it an honor if you would consent to accompany me to this august function, and delight me with your presence for a good portion of the evening.
If you are agreeable, please apprise me of what time and where I may be meeting you.
Yours sincerely,
Keenan N. O'Shea

An owl delivers a message back to the Healer, and it waits for him at Mungo's until he has the time to retrieve it from the front desk. A simple cream notecard with an embossed M marking the front, tucked into a matching cream envelope. The handwriting inside is spikey but elegant.

Dearest Mr. O'Shea,
I would be honored to to have you as my escort to the Macnair affair. Since I will be there early helping with the last arrangements, I will make sure that it is known your arrival should be brought to my attention immediately. I look forward to seeing you.
Very truly yours,
Veruca A. Max

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