(1937-11-16) Mocha, Coffee, and at last, Tea
Details for Mocha, Coffee, and at last, Tea
Summary: Magnus enjoys a bit of fun tormenting his little assistant before his cousin arrives and the conversation turns to family matters between the two.
Date: Friday, November 16, 1937
Location: Cafe Tasseo

It is a fall day. The weather is freezing and clear.

Cafe Tasseo - Diagon Alley

Named for the art of Tasseomancy (Tea Leaf Reading), the posh Cafe Tasseo offers complimentary tea leaf reading to its customers. The cafe has a sort of French elegance to it, but it is much less flagrant, which makes it pure British. The chairs are all padded dining chairs of mahogany and golden embossed fabric one would expect to find in a Louis XIV style without all the pomp of leaves and flanges, just smooth curvaceous lines of mahogany. The use of mahogany, gold and pristine white is throughout the spacious room.

The ceiling is a floral mosaic of white and gold with chandeliers and light fixtures dangling from the mosaic in appropriate places. The gold gilding continues into the walls, accenting raised relief panels on the columns between the windows. The panels share the floral motif of the ceiling, intricately crafted down to the last detail. The windows themselves are just as magnificently turned out; the top quarter is draped in gold shades, the bottom half covered by white sheers, allowing the patrons privacy yet letting ample light through the uncovered section of glass.

Even during the noonday rush, this posh café maintains a quiet atmosphere of refinement that other establishments, bursting at the seams for their low-priced fair, can’t afford. The bright sunlight of the clear fall day streams through the sheer curtains, warming the pristine tablecloths despite the freezing chill of the street.

At one of these tables under a window, Rhyeline sits alone with a cup of coffee and a plate containing two scones, lightly dusted in powdered sugar, accompanied by strawberry jam and clotted cream. It has yet to be touched and so it seems the girl has only recently arrived. As pale and delicate as ever, her gaze is glazed as she stares absently through the window, lost in thought.

It's been a fairly slow day for Magnus; he's been away from Whitehall for the majority of this week in order to deal with several wizard dignitaries who are engaged in negotiations at the Ministry building. Today, however, things have wrapped up early, so the ambassador has made his way to Diagon to pass the time until his evening engagements. It's quite chill outside, and as he steps into the warmth of the cafe he shudders lightly. When the door closes, he pulls his thick grey overcoat from his frame and hangs it on a hook, then proceeds to the counter to order an espresso and a cinnamon roll. When they come up, he turns to find a seat, and his eyes catch Rhye almost immediately. He doesn't say anything, quite yet, merely stands in place and observes her, waiting to see if she'll notice him.

Though lost in thought, when the man stands watching her, it draws the girl from her reverie. Lifting her gaze, she blinks once and murmurs, “Good afternoon, Magnus.” Though her table is set only for one, there are three empty chairs pulled up to it. Indicating the place across from her with a fingertip, she asks, “Would you care to join me?”

"Of course, Rhyeline. Thank you," Magnus replies, his voice soft and cordial in the relatively peaceful atmosphere of the cafe; he makes his way over to the young woman's table and sets the plate and cup down, then lowers himself into the indicated chair. "It's good to see you out and about. You weren't already planning on meeting someone, were you? I don't want to impose myself."

“No, s-“ Rhyeline stops abruptly to keep the accidental ‘sir’ from being completed. Her gaze flickers back and forth from her coffee to his eyes before she continues quietly, “I had thought I might run into Mr. Malfoy here. Unfortunately, it seems he has not been seen much the last few days.”

A smirk tugs at Magnus's lips when the girl nearly uses the honorific, but he ignores it otherwise. "I don't think he'll remain incognito for too long. From what I know of the man, he's the type who prefers regular amounts of public exposure." Not unlike himself. He's left his leather gloves on up until now, so he removes them and pockets them. His long fingers come back up to the table's surface clutching a sheaf of papers. "I have some missives, here, courtesy of the German Authority's current representative. Would you like to take a look?"

“Yes, of course,” she says, reaching out to accept the papers. “Would you like me to compile a summary report for you?” Rhyeline’s cheeks are still the slightest shade of pink after having caught the Ambassador’s earlier subtle smirk. However she tries to keep her features clear, hiding any signs of meekness or shyness.

"That would be appreciated. There's a good deal of information to go over, so don't feel the need to hurry." Magnus's smirk remains for a second or two, then disappears as he reaches down for the miniature espresso cup. The scalding liquid is sipped with careful delicacy; he doesn't look terribly interested in his pastry yet, unsurprisingly. His pale eyes linger on the woman's face briefly, perhaps in observance of the subtle flush of color - but it appears that he doesn't think it's anything of note, because his gaze soon wanders to the window instead.

Rhyeline nods slowly as she her dark gaze drifts across each page in turn. Stacking them carefully, she the rolls them up and tucks them into the right pocket of her jumper which has clearly been charmed to be bigger on the inside. Lifting her gaze at last to the man, she watches him for a time. The café is quiet, but no one is close by and so there is no need to be concerned that they will be overheard. “I have been following the papers, but they don't share much that is new. How are things progressing?”

Magnus looks preoccupied while he's looking out at the busy street, but his attention quickly snaps back to Rhyeline when she speaks. He considers her words, then shakes his head. "Towards the same end. The Germans are continuing their posturing unabated, since the rest of Europe thinks they can be placated with a table scrap or two. The German wizards claim indifference, but many of them are busy pulling strings." He lifts his cup of espresso and takes a larger drink, now that it's cooled.

“I see. It doesn’t seem that there is much to be salvaged in terms of diplomacy. The question that remains is what our role in the conflict is to be.” Pausing, Rhyeline takes a small sip of the velvety mocha, sprinkled with cinnamon. “The choice is presented as one between staying hidden and doing nothing or stepping out of the shadows and taking the reins of the muggle world.” Peeking up at him, she is quiet for a moment, studying his features before she asks softly, “I have been wondering. What is your opinion, Magnus?”

"Mmm," Magnus responds, though it's not entirely clear whether that's an affirmative or simply an indication that he's listening to Rhye. He finishes off his espresso - of course, there wasn't much to begin with - and sets the cup back down on its saucer. He still doesn't look very likely to go for the cinnamon roll, at this point. His grey eyes alight on the girl's when she questions him, and he leans forward in his seat. "As an ambassador, my job is to maintain a personal stance of neutrality." She /might/ catch a slight hint of agitation in his gaze - he's not ready to hold this conversation with her, yet. In order to distract the girl from that obviously-evasive answer, he shifts slightly in his seat. His foot - momentarily bereft of its corresponding dress shoe - slides casually up her calf. "Why the sudden interest, Rhyeline?"

At such a diplomatic answer, the girl nods in acceptance and lowers her gaze, having expected this more than anything. A slow, silent sip is taken. There is a subtle, apologetic note to her gaze as she peeks back up at him. But feeling the foot sliding up her slender calf, the gamine grows perfectly still and her eyes widen. Clinging so tightly to the porcelain cup in her hands, she stares up at him like a mouse caught in the steady stare of a cat. A sudden, deep blush noticeably warms her pale features.

When he notices the sudden change in the girl's expression, Magnus's smile crooks at one corner. His eyes remain locked on hers, and he pointedly picks up the small fork and knife on the table and slices into the previously abandoned pastry in front of him. He raises a small bite of the pastry to his lips and puts it in his mouth slowly; one of his toes trails up and down Rhyeline's calf as he does. "You haven't answered me, Rhyeline. I don't recall that you've ever asked me for my opinion in anything other than a professional capacity, before this." His foot returns to his shoe and he tilts his head slightly to one side, waiting.

The girl quivers as his foot rubs against the smooth flesh of her calf. At last, just as he returns his foot to his shoe, she squeaks and her delicate form gives an involuntary flinch back in her chair. Biting her lower lip, she gazes up at him, trying to keep her features clear and smooth, though the tight grip she has on her cup of coffee betrays the intense emotions within. At last she speaks in barely more than a whisper, “I wanted to know so that I could better serve you.” Pulling her cup of coffee closer to her chest, and keeping her ankles crossed and tucked under her chair, she adds, “Sir. I am your assistant.” In the clear light of the afternoon, her eyes seem to shine brighter than usual.

Magnus's pale eyes stay on Rhyeline's for several seconds before lowering marginally at the sight of the girl biting her lip. He sets the fork and knife down, then slowly raps a set of fingers on the tabletop. "You'll find out my opinions in due time, Miss Diderot. And I fully intend that you will serve me to the best of your ability." He smiles, though his eyes have narrowed just a bit, and leans back in his chair with a soft laugh. "You are my assistant, and you're doing a fine job. I think I'll be having another espresso. Would you like another drink, then?"

Rhyeline’s eyes shine, almost glisten as she stares up at him. Despite the vulnerability of her manner, the girl’s guarded gaze remains steady and her features are kept clear. Lowering her gaze at last, she nods in acceptance. “Yes, sir. Thank you.” The mocha in her cup is almost gone anyways.

"You have a day off, tomorrow, Rhyeline. I'll owl you those papers the day after. Or did you think my threats were idle?" Magnus smirks and lifts himself to his feet, leaning over the table so that his lips are a few inches away from the girl's ear. "Unless you'd like to arrange an alternative form of penance." Laughing softly, the gaunt man stands straight and paces towards the counter, snatching the empty espresso cup before leaving. He politely requests another from the cashier, keeping his back to his assistant for the time being.

Rhyeline gazes up at Magnus, cheeks the deepest hue of pink possible for her ashen features. Sitting across from him as he stands, she clings tight to the nearly empty mocha in both her hands. As he draws back from having whispered into her ear, at last her mask of calm cracks and in her glistening eyes flickers the subtle edge of fear. Once left alone at her table, she closes her eyes and quickly sips the last of her mocha before setting aside the empty cup. Placing her hands in her lap, her fists are clenched as she takes slow, steady breaths, trying to smooth her features clear once more.

Magnus is currently standing at the counter of the little cafe, his back to Rhyeline, who is seated at a nearby table. He waits for the cashier to finish his order - two drinks, a small cup of espresso and a larger cup of mocha - and after paying up and offering a polite smile, he turns and walks back to the table. The mocha is placed gingerly in front of his assistant, and after setting the saucer with his espresso down across from her, he sits and steeples his fingers on the table. One of his dark brows lifts, and he picks up his fork to tear off another small piece of the cinnamon roll, smiling… kindly? It's difficult to say; there's a hard edge to his gaze. "I haven't forgotten what you did for me, Rhyeline. Have some of your drink, you look rather pale."

The door to the high end cafe opens and shuts regularly in the course of a day, and sometimes it brings that little wisp of sunshine called Veruca. She just misses Magnus at the counter, but it's pretty hard not to recognize him, even from behind, and she pauses to watch his path as it takes him to the table with a pretty little witch. Getting herself a cup of tea, one eye on that particular table, Veruca eyes the couple, before she is served and she decides to say hello to her dear cousin. Only a few steps have her at the table, a pleasant smile going to Magnus. "Dear cousin, what a surprise to see you here."

Accepting the mocha from him, she peeks up at him just a bit. With an obedient nod, she brings the mocha to her lips. The whipped cream on top, sprinkled with cinnamon and cocoa, keeps the drink from burning her. Resting it back down upon the tabletop, she keeps it close to the edge, close to her chest. The approach of Magnus’ magnificent cousin causes the girl to pause. Still clinging to the warm mocha in her hands, she gazes up at the woman. As she speaks to the ambassador, Rhyeline lowers her eyes to her mocha and does her best to smooth her features, hiding the vulnerability of her gaze, the shy meekness of her manner.

Magnus takes the bite of the cinnamon roll that he'd sawed off a moment before, then sets his fork back down. So far, other than those two small bites, the thing is still entirely intact. He watches the seemingly meek girl across from him as she takes a drink of her mocha, then looks up at Veruca as the woman addresses him. The smile he returns to her is genial, though he chooses this moment to pick the epresso up and take a dainty sip of it. "Good afternoon, Veruca. I don't believe you've met my assistant, Rhyeline Diderot." The ambassador glances sidelong at Rhye and grins. "Rhyeline, this is my cousin, Veruca Max." The wizard taps a single long digit in front of an empty space at the table and chuckles. "Please, join us."

Veruca directs a smile to Rhyeline, but there's no particular warmth in it. It's her usual reserved, polite smile for strangers. "Miss Diderot, a pleasure to meet you." Her dark eyes linger on the younger witch for a moment, assessing her without attempting to hide it, and she inclines her head, apparently not having found anything untoward. Her gaze slides to the indicated spot, then to Magnus. "I would hate to impose."

As Magnus ventures to introduce the two, Rhyeline lifts her eyes and meets Veruca’s assessing gaze with a rather reserved demeanor of her own. Nodding respectfully, and in a voice as soft as one would expect from the look of her, the girl murmurs, “The pleasure is mine, Ms. Max.” For a moment, her gaze flickers from the man to his cousin.

After observing the polite interaction between the two women, Magnus shakes his head and leans further back in his seat, one leg crossing over the other. "There would be no imposition, cousin. I needed to drop off some paperwork with Miss Diderot. We were just engaging in idle chit-chat." The man chuckles and reaches up to adjust his tie. "Did you and your date enjoy the dinner the other night, then? I'm sorry I had to depart a bit early."

"If you're sure," Veruca says, moving to sit in the empty chair, setting her teacup down and nesting her purse in her lap after she crosses her legs. She's about to automatically correct him that it wasn't her 'date' at the MacCurry party, but then she realizes, Keenan actually was her date. She smiles pleasantly to Magnus, "We did enjoy the evening very much. Did you get a chance to take a tour around the house?" Rhye isn't being ignored, a quick glance from Rue assures that she will be addressing this 'assistant' soon enough.

As the conversation turns to topics between the cousins, the girl’s gaze flickers back and forth between them for a moment or two, before she then looks back down into her mocha, doing her best not to intrude. It is a much practiced skill of hers, to sit without drawing attention to herself as Magnus goes about his business. However it is rare that she would be sitting directly in front of both of them instead of discreetly off to one side.

"Only a little, but what I saw looked very impressive. The MacCurrys have done well for themselves, clearly," Magnus returns, his voice not /quite/ a drawl. He finishes off this next cup of espresso after tilting the tiny vessel back, then sets it down with a clink and folds his hands over his lap. "I got a moment to speak with Mr. Malfoy - he's an interesting fellow. Do you know much about him?" His voice is casual, and it's only after a pause that he looks over to Rhyeline and smiles thinly. "If Miss Diderot had been less indisposed at the time, I would have asked her to accompany me."

Veruca takes a sip of her tea, letting her eyes drop for a moment as Magnus answers her question, and then goes on to pose one himself. She takes her time with answering, as she usually does, putting her teacup down and settling back in her chair. "I cannot say that I know much about him, but we have talked, he and I. He's quite charming." That would be known as 'stating the obvious'. "Very persuasive and quite a good speaker. I saw him briefly at the little party, but we didn't have a chance to talk for long." That was, in fact, just as Rue's date showed up. A small smile touches her lips, and her eyes shift to Rhyeline. "That would have been charming." The words are smooth, and give no indication if it would have actually been charming or not. She addresses her next words directly to Rhye. "I'm surprised I've not heard tell of you before. Have you been here in England?"

Having been hiding behind her cup of mocha as she took a particularly long sip, she is caught a bit off guard when the conversation suddenly returns to her. Blinking, she lowers the cup, and for just a fraction of a moment, her little pink tongue sneaks out to make sure there is no mocha mustache left over. Looking to Veruca, the girl bows her head apologetically and explains, “I have been recovering from a recent illness. The ambassador has been very kind to allow me to continue as before. I served as his assistant during his time in Germany, you see.”

"My impression of him was the same." Magnus was evidently hoping for something more, but there's no point in trying to squeeze water from a rock, as they say; he idly pushes the cinnamon roll in front of him back and forth across its plate, the corners of his lips lifting as Veruca goes on. "She would have been a very charming date, yes." His pale eyes settle deliberately on Rhye's for a brief moment. He's teasing, clearly, although he quickly turns back to Veruca and clears his throat. "I've been spending some time with Jocunda, lately - have you run into her yet? I'm sure she'd be glad to see you."

Veruca's eyes remain on the girl as she speaks. "I'm sorry to hear about your illness, Miss Diderot. I trust you are feeling well these days though?" There's a curious glint to Rue's dark eyes, as she tries to imagine this little slip of a witch as Magnus' assistant. Actually, with her quiet manner, it's not that difficult. The curiosity turns immediately to light surprise at news of another Sykes cousin. "I didn't know Jocunda was in town these days, I'll have to seek her out. It's been quite a while. Is she still playing that game? With the brooms?"

Rhyeline merely nods in reply to Veruca’s polite inquiry and remains silent as the conversation turns to family matters. Out of respect for their privacy, she averts her gaze to the two scones still sitting patiently upon a little plate next to her mocha. After placing a spoonful of clotted cream, and one of jam upon the plate, she takes up the first scone and begins to carefully cut it into pieces.

"Well, after her little adventure across the Atlantic, she seems to have calmed down about that," Magnus says, chuckling mildly as the conversation turns towards familial subjects. "From what I've heard, she's been out on the town quite a lot - I can't imagine her parents are terribly thrilled about it. But she's holding a steady job with the Ministry." This last is said approvingly, and Magnus picks up his fork and knife once again to saw off a small piece of the roll. "How's your profession, Veruca?" His eyes flick up very briefly at his cousin; there's just a hint of cruel humor there.

Veruca nods at news of Jocunda's feat. "I'll make it a point to send her an owl." The reaction to her cousin's question about her job is a bare lift of one brow, and she directs her pleasant smile to him once more. "Things have been splendid, how very kind of you to ask, Magnus." She lifts her cup, unhurried, for a sip. If she noted any humor, cruel of not, it doesn't show.

Having placed a small amount of clotted cream and strawberry jam upon the piece of scone, the girl takes a delicate bite. Once it has vanished past her lips, she peeks up at the pair only briefly. Just as Veruca is taking a sip of tea, the pale gamine is sipping from her own white china cup. Her dark gaze peeks over the brim and lingers upon Veruca’s refined features.

Magnus nods at Veruca's summary of her professional life. He doesn't appear to be terribly interested in the rest of his roll despite his playing with it; he takes the last bite which he's got impaled on his fork, then sets both fork and knife down, his gaze drifting back and forth between the two witches. "That's good to hear, cousin. Rhyeline, Veruca works for MacCurry Manufacturing as an executive assistant. Your job descriptions probably aren't terribly dissimilar, aside from the fact that she works in business and not international politics." He smiles congenially at both of them.

A light of amusement flickers in Rue's eyes, but her lips remain merely pleasantly curved. "I'm sure we have a lot in common," Veruca says agreeably. She brings up her cup for a last sip, eyes sliding to a large clock over the counter. "I'm afraid that I should be getting on my way, I've a meeting to prepare for." She moves to stand, her eyes settling on Rhye. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Miss Diderot. I hope to have chance to talk again soon." To Magnus, she holds out one hand instead of coming in for cheek kisses. "Magnus, I shall talk to you soon."

At Magnus’ explanation, Rhyeline nods and says, “I see.” Of course, in her mind, business and international politics are worlds apart, but her gaze seems no less respectful as she watches Veruca. Setting down her cup of mocha, the girl with deference to her. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Miss Max. I hope you have a pleasant evening.”

"I look forward to it, cousin. Do bring Mr. O'Shea around, one of these days. I should like to get to know him better." Magnus grins, accepting the woman's hand and brushing it lightly against his lips. Regardless of the veiled barbs, there's still affection in the gesture. "Your company is always valued, Veruca. Keep in touch." He drops her hand so that she can take her leave, his gaze moving back out the nearby window.

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