(1937-12-16) An Unexpected Rendezvous
Details for An Unexpected Rendezvous
Summary: At a dark, dangerous time of night, Jacqueline snags an unwitting little mouse from a terrible fate and whisks her away to safety.
Date: Sunday, December 16, 1937
Location: South Verdic Alley

It is a fall evening. The weather is cool and clear.

South Verdic Alley

Often considered part of Diagon Alley by the masses, Craeft Alley looks much the same as Diagon proper, with shops of all sizes often leaning against each other or leaning out over the walkway. Here in the Southern end of Craeft Alley, nearest the turnoff from Diagon, the only real difference is the walkway itself is a bit straighter, and then only a bit.

Sunday night, and Diagon Alley is rather quiet, in truth. Most people are home, doing dinner, most shops closed though some are still open. Still, it's not exactly a populated time of the evening, much less week. A woman in a dark jacket with a black cap hiding most of her screaming red hair rests in the arch of a doorway, smoking a cigarette behind a cupped hand and staring down one of the darker alleyways where something is happening in the shadows.

Peeking out from under the brim a rust-red cloche pulled over her dark, loose waves of hair, a little mouse makes her way up the street from Diagon Alley. Upon passing Black Apothecary, her steps slow and her gaze lingers upon the darkened interior of the shop. Having been distracted, when she turns and suddenly notices Jacqueline standing immediately next to her in the arch of the next doorway, Rhyeline flinches back with a sharp, startled squeak.

The squeak draws the attention of the shadows in the alleyway, which Rhyeline probably has not noticed, but Jacqueline certainly has. Immediately, her pale eyes drop from the men towards the little woman in front of her and she laughs warmly, reaching out and pulling the mouse of a woman into a tight hug. "I wondered when you'd get here!" She calls, as if she had been waiting for the woman this entire time. She spins around, turning the mouse to be the face towards the alleyway instead of herself, fingertips reaching up to inspect the woman's cheeks. "Have you been eating, my friend? You're looking pale."

Another little squeak of a mewl slips from the girl when Jacqueline suddenly pulls her into a tight hug. Though she parts her lips to speak, to perhaps let the woman know she must have the wrong person, no sound comes. Instead she is whirled around, adding a bit of dizziness to her bemused state. As her pale features are inspected, and this whirlwind of a woman comments on her pallor, a soft hint of pink warmth emerges in them, her shyness deepening as she gazes up at her. Though normally so aware of her surroundings, she seems entirely distracted by the woman before her, and the men go unnoticed for now.

"Do you speak, dear? I know it has been too long. Perhaps we should get you tea, warm you up!" And suddenly Rhyeline's arm is being commandeered, the slightly taller, pale woman holding on tight and leading the way down the alley towards one of the few open places, the rare book shop. Hopefully the owner might have some tea on hand to warm them up, and a door to shut them out of the alleyway. Jacque smiles like nothing is wrong at all, two good old friends walking arm in arm

Having intended to go to the Fox's Treatises and Rarities anyway, she allows herself to be conducted down the alley. The little one’s steps are shorter and she seems to have to scurry to keep up. It isn’t until they are safely inside that the girl seems to finally find her voice. It is as soft and hesitant as one might expect. “Em… excuse me, miss. I think… I think you must have me mistaken for someone else.”

Fox's Treatises and Rarities

Although small and cramped, there's nothing dark or dank about this tiny bookshop. The shelves are neatly organized and always free of dust and cobwebs, featherdusters constantly making the rounds to keep them that way. None of the books are easily available in Flourish and Blott's, as the owner specializes in old, rare, and very hard to find texts. The rarest are kept behind the counter, the showpiece being a first edition copy of 'Ephemeris of Bryn yr Ellyllon,' by Gwalltafwyn Snowdon, dating back to the Sixteenth Century. Also behind the counter is a comfortable easy chair and a nice fireplace, usually kept burning during business hours, with a cauldron hook, just in case the proprietor should desire to make a cup of tea. A door there leads to the back of the shop as well.

Inside, the redhead relaxes just a bit more and immediately lets go of Rhyeline, instinctively stepping to the side of the door that doesn't have windows near it, so her frame is hidden. She lingers there, no real interest in browsing the shop it seems. She gives a careless half smile, "Sorry about that, luv. Just… you might have drawn the attention of some unsavouries down the alleyway. I didn't want you to get in further trouble, best we got you out of there fast."

Rhyeline’s dark gaze shifts to the shop’s main counter, and blinks at the sight of the shop’s assistant set to mind the shop tonight. Jacqueline’s words snag the girl’s attention though, and looking up at her with startled alarm, she says, “What? Unsavories? What… what do you mean?”

"Men in the alleyway there. A young woman, pretty, vulnerable, walking all alone this time of night? Not many people around? Thank god I had my eyes open. But, you should be safe now. I'd recommend you apparate home, or at least don't go out the front." Jacque gives her a shining, lovely little smile, as if she were the hero that saved the day. She then carefully pulls off her cap and shakes out her own messy red waves.

Sudden fear shines in her eyes as she realizes what almost happened. Looking through the glass panels in the door, she gasps at the sight of the men there. The mouse rushes forward to hide from view next to her savior, clinging to her arm. Though in truth there are only a few inches different in height, but with the contrast between Rhyeline’s slight meekness and Jacqueline’s fearless confidence, the girl seems tiny in comparison.

That wasn't really expected, but with the little mouse of a woman's hiding and clinging, Jacqueline slips back into the persona of quiet hero. She wraps one arm around the woman's shoulders and holds her safe and close. "It's quite alright, young lady… Nothing happened and you are safe now, I promise. Those ruffians shan't bother you one little touch!" Jacque's voice has the middle class accent of London's working class, but she's also got a husky confidence behind it all.

“I didn’t notice them at all. Normally I- I…” Rhyeline’s voice falters. Biting her lower lip, she draws just a bit closer, gazing at the door with a scared, haunted look in her eyes. But then after a moment or two, she seems to realize that she is hugging Jacqueline’s arm and pressing rather close. “Oh! I- Forgive me…” she murmurs, drawing back. Keeping her head bowed, she peeks up at the woman with a profound shyness. "Em… my name is Rhyeline Diderot. Thank you very much for… for protecting me there."

As the redhead is let go, Jacque straightens out a bit more and carefully adjusts her cloak so it's no longer wrinkled. It seems she's just a bit more meticulous than one might actually expect. She smiles a bit warmer and reaches over, patting the woman's shoulder almost motherly. "Rhyeline? I am Jacqueline Strathcona. But Jacque is just fine… and no issue." Her name is pronounced Jack, but with a French, rolling J. "I've found myself in a few tough spots when looking at antiques in other countries. Developed an eye for the wrong sort of people."

Rhyeline speaks with a delicate, pristine English accent with just a hint of French influence. She has no trouble pronouncing the soft ‘je’ of the woman’s name. “Jacque. Thank you. I… served in Berlin for two years as the assistant to Ambassador Troy. I had to learn to be very careful of my surroundings but… I must have been distracted tonight.”

The offer draws that lingering, warm smile from Jacque, but she shakes her head. "No. No, dear girl, sadly, I have to be on my way. While I had thought to come in here tonight, time presses and I've other people to meet. I am just glad I could help. Perchance another time." With that, Jacque bows her head, turns on the ball of her foot, and confidently walks back out towards the alleyway before the sharp crack of an apparition echoes in her wake.

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