(1937-12-24) Christmas Cheer
Details for Christmas Cheer
Summary: Veruca and Simon bump into each other on Christmas Eve.
Date: 24 December 1937
Location: Harrod's, Knightsbridge

It's getting late in the afternoon on a crisp Christmas Eve, and last minute shoppers are out in abundance around Harrod's in Knightsbridge. But, there are many smaller shops in the area also seeing their fair share of business, and it's from one of these that Veruca emerges. She steps from a small, unobtrusive jewelers shop, carrying a small cream colored sack in one hand. A cheerful "Happy Christmas!" is given to the shopkeeper before the door is pulled closed, and Rue turns her attention to the street, pausing to button the long woolen coat she wears. It's a bit large on her, and not quite as fashionable as she normally sports.

Simon finds himself…decidedly alone on Christmas Eve. Though, it's quite understandable as the man single-handedly dashed two chances at having a relationship in one fell swoop. This shows on the man's face as he walks down the street. He was spending a bit of time back at his family's home, but as his mother is suffering from alzheimer's, it's a bit hard to be around for more than a few hours. And so, here he is, walking down the street, wearing his usual uniform with a brown, wool coat over it, humming softly to himself as he takes in the view of the snowy London.

The little sack is hastily tucked away into her purse, which looks rather small but it seems to fit just fine, the purse tucked under her arm, and Veruca steps out into a break in the flow of foot traffic. Or almost a break, as the step puts her nearly in the path of the uniformed man.

Simon finds himself nearly running into Veruca as his attention falls elsewhere. Luckily, he decides it's probably a good idea to look where he's going before he knocks somebody down, and his eyes fall square on Veruca, who gets a soft smile and a dip of his head, "Oh, hello there, Miss Max. Merry Christmas."

Veruca brings her hand up automatically, held out toward the man's chest defensively. But as her eyes fall upon him properly, recognition is there even before he speaks to confirm it. "Lieutenant Moore, please forgive my misstep. I should have been paying better attention." The words come quietly, her expression pleasantly neutral with a slight smile.

Simon dips his head in apology and says, "No apology necessarry. I was the one who should have been paying more attention." He chuckles softly and he says, "You are looking well, Miss Max, if you don't mind me saying."

"That's very kind of you," Veruca says with an inclination of her head to the compliment. "I trust you have been well also?" The inquiry is volleyed back lightly, with a note of actual interest.

Simon wrings his hands together as he was a bit silly and forgot to wear his gloves today. He smiles softly and says, "As well as can be expected, I suppose. I've been coming to terms with things about myself as of late, and that's always a fantastic time. It's necessarry, though."

Veruca glances down to the man's hands, but alas, no warming spells allowed on muggles. While she doesn't wear gloves either, she seems oblivious to the cold. Her dark eyes lift to his face at the words, holding veiled curiosity. "I do hope it's not proving an unpleasant time," she says.

Simon shrugs a bit to her and says, "I suppose some might take enjoyment in realizing that there's a lot of work to be done when it comes to dealing with people. It's not the most fun I could be having, but it's something that I must do." He chuckles softly and says, "Enough about me. How have you been, Miss Max?"

It seems that they have shared a realization of late, and Veruca is able to nod her agreement with sincerity. His question draws her slight smile again. "I have been well, it's kind of you to ask." She glances back at the shop, adding, "Picking up a gift that didn't get completed until the last minute." Swinging her gaze back to the military man, she inquires politely, "Are all your holiday preparations complete, Lieutenant?"

Simon smiles and nods to her, saying, "That's good to hear." He finally decides to pocket his hands to try and stave off the chill a little bit now that they've been warmed up slightly and says, "Eh, I don't really have any holiday preparations to do. I imagine I shall stop by a liquor store on my way back to the base, so I can have a bottle of something to drink by myself. Getting in the spirit, as it were."

Veruca's eyes lift a measure. "What a coincidence, Lieutenant. My next stop is just up the road. I've a special order to pick up at a little shop that deals in intoxicating beverages." It's actually a potion shop with a liquor shop front, catering to a diverse clientele and able to produce certain rarities. "Would you care to accompany me?"

Simon nods to her and says, "Surely. It would be an immense pleasure to take some time to catch up a bit." He'll of course offer his arm to her, as it is the gentlemanly thing to do and will lead her down the road if allowed. Otherwise, he'll just walk along beside her.

Veruca is just as apt now as at any time to be comfortable with the trappings of chivalry, and there is no hesitation in tucking her hand into the well intended arm. Stepping along beside him, her pace unhurried, Veruca turns her head enough to have the gentleman in her sight as well as the way before them with an easy shift of her eyes. "And, if it's not being too bold to say, I hope things are progressing well with youself and your lady friend? I hope she got over her vexation at you that day." The day said lady friend threw a pie, badly, at the Lieutenant. The words come with a measure of concern, and without malice.

Simon chuckles softly, though it's more like jagged exhalation than any expression of joy or good humor, "No, she..uh doesn't quite fancy me anymore. I can't say that I blame her, of course. I must admit that I was a proper fool in the way that I conducted myself for a while there." He looks down to her and says, "I really am sorry, Miss Max."

"I'm sorry to hear that," Veruca murmurs, commiseration in her tone. Despite having merely witnessed her gentleman talking to another garnering such a strong reaction, Veruca isn't entirely surprised at the outcome. She gives his arm a light, reassuring squeeze. "It's all forgotten here, Lieutenant. The shop is just up here," she adds with a nod a few more doors down the way.

Simon chuckles a bit, and this time it's slightly more good-natured. "Yes, well I'm sure she's run off and found a man who won't lie to her like I did. I should really try to track her down one day and tell her how sorry I am. Making amends, and all, y'know?" He walks up to the door, releasing her from his arm as he holds it open for her, saying, "After you."

"It's very possible," Veruca says agreeably enough. She's stopped going to the Cauldron, for the most part, preferring other establishments in the neighborhood of the Alley, so has no news on Elly and likely wouldn't bother passing it on if she had. The man's arm is released and Veruca steps into the shop first, the ring of a bell announcing their arrival. It's a very well stocked shop, with shelves full of all manner of muggle intoxicants. The back room holds special orders and other more 'exotic' blends. Behind the counter is a very large man of apparent Indian descent.

Simon smiles as he steps in, but his eyes fall on the man behind the counter and subsequently roll. He sniffs a bit and says, "Nice place." He then moves off to inspect one of the shelves, in search for something incredibly clear and strong. Though, it's a liquor store, so it shouldn't be all that hard.

Veruca nods to Simon, but steps immediately toward the man at the counter, her smile growing more broad. "Good evening, Mr. Patel," she says smoothly. The man being addressed is already smiling, a gold tooth flashing in the glare of electric light. "Miss Max," he returns, in an accent more British than Indian. "Right on time, as always. Let me get your order." Veruca merely inclines her head, as the man is already on his way to the back room. The dark haired woman's attention returns to Simon, and she takes a step nearer. "See anything you like?"

Simon has some incredibly dark notions going through his head, such as the one that includes his father being killed trying to quell the rebellions in India, but he manages to stave them off for now, turning to look over his shoulder, "What? Oh…yeah. I think I might take home a bit of rum. I'm feeling rather island-y, I guess."

Being both from an elite family and an entirely different world, Veruca has no idea of Simon's struggle right now. Her eyes go to the shelves he's looking at, raising immediately to the top. Best is always on the top shelf. Her eyes light on a bottle, and she reaches to tap it with one finger. "Like this?" It's pricey and one of the best brands.

Simon reaches up and takes the bottle down, giving it a twirl in his hand, "Leave it to you to pick out the thirty dollar Appleton Estate." He chuckles softly and says, "I think I shall have it, anyway. Why not splurge every once in a while?" The man himself is from a bit of an elite family, though probably noone that Veruca's ever heard of. A family that was too busy fighting wars to end up in politics or business.

Veruca reaches to stay the man's hand once he's got the bottle, brows arching in a challenge he might remember. "I would like that to be a gift of Christmas cheer from me to you, Lieutenant, if I might?" Clearly, there are no grudges held on her part against the officer.

Simon goes to put the bottle on the counter, but stops as he's stayed by Veruca. He looks up to her and says, "Are you sure, Miss Max? I assure you that I have more than enough funds to cover it." His eyes rest on her features expectantly.

The smile blossoms again, perhaps more easily than he'd ever witnessed it before, and more sincerely reaching her eyes, and Veruca nods. "I am quite sure." Her attention swings away as the Indian proprietor returns, what is obviously a bottle wrapped in a brown paper sack. "I'll have these both, Mr. Patel, if you please." The transaction is speedy, mild pleasantries exchanged, a comment made about her taste in whisky, and both bottles are in her possession at last, each in it's own bag. The rum is offered to Simon with a smile. "Happy Christmas, Lieutanant."

Simon makes sure to distance himself from the counter as the man returns and instead leans against the window, looking out into the snowy city streets with a mild smile on his face. Once everything's all wrapped up he'll stand up straight and accept the bag, saying, "Thank you very much, Miss Max. Happy Christmas to you, aswell."

Veruca moves immediately for the door, tucking her own parcel against herself and wrapping her arm around it. When there's no muggle around, she'll tuck it into her purse, charmed to hold any number of things. For now she carries it. If Simon is quick on his feet, she'll let him open the door, otherwise she'll pull it open herself and go out into the brisk air first.

Simon of course makes it to the door first, as it is his duty. He smiles as he lets her slip out and moves on after her, tucking his own bag against himself and pocketing the other hand. He looks to his watch and says, "It seems I should be getting back to the base, Miss Max. Lots of paperwork to do while everyone else it out and about. I'll uh…I'll see you around."

Veruca walks a few steps, giving Simon enough room to exit the shop, before she turns back toward him. His movement is noted, and she nods. "And I have to finish up the last of my holiday tasks. It was good to bump into you, Lieutenant Moore." Although she thinks it improbable unless they bump into each other again by accident, Rue nods politely to his words. "Do take care." Her hand is offered out, nearly hidden by the too long sleeve of her coat.

Simon takes her hand and shakes it softly, saying, "You aswell, Miss Max. And thank you very much for the Christmas present. I'll put it to very good use." He smiles warmly and releases her hand, dipping his head to her and pulling the coat tightly around himself before he begins his walk back to the barracks.

Veruca watches him go for a moment, eyes thoughtful. As her head turns to track the muggle's path she lifts her shoulder, bringing the coat closer by a measure as she takes a breath in. The scent of the coat entices a smile to curve on her lips, and she sighs, turning to go on her own way. One more stop, and then it's just a game of waiting. She wanders off slowly, as a few white flakes fall once again.

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