(1938-01-30) Resignation
Details for Resignation
Summary: After hearing about Elly's engagement to Jack third-hand, Reece congratulates her…and says goodbye.
Date: January 30, 1938
Location: Leaky Cauldron

Another day of business come and gone. Another early morning clean-up and preparation for the next opening of the Leaky Cauldron. Reece steps into the kitchen with a bin full of glasses to be washed, his barman's rag still slung over his shoulder. He's been quieter than usual, lately. Between bouts of dispensing serene advice to customers, he has kept largely to himself, his brow consistently furrows in introspection.

Elly has had many night shift at Mungo's lately, that and studying always studying. Doing her best lately to juggle study, Mungo's, friends, love life and the Cauldron. She's not very good at it and it's showing on her face. Always smiling though, happy, swoony, on cloud nine, even though she also looks like she's on a razor edge about to fall off while balancing a dozen spinning plates on top of long poles. She can almost hear one of those poles toppling and the plates crashing down around her when Reece steps into the kitchen. She's got her cheeks pooched out some as she's shoveled some egg and toast into her mouth like some starved beast. Toast crumbs scattered over her St. Mungo's robes she's still wearing. A very guilty smile is tried at.

Reece returns the smile. It's strained, but he does his best. Setting the bin down at the sink, he pulls back his sleeves and starts to dunk the glasses and scrub them by hand. "I heard the news…about you and Jack. Congratulations, Elly." Try as he might, there isn't much cheer in his somber tone.

Elly brushes the crumbs from her robes and tries to look less of a mess. "Oh? Oh! I'm so sorry Reece!" She covers her mouth looking absolutely mortified and apologetic. "I am so sorry. It's been a whirlwind. I barely remembah meself sometimes." Like she just did. "That was 'orrable of me. I am so so sorry. How awful. I con't say it enough…"

Reece nods, glimpsing up at her only for a moment, that pained smile flashing once more. "Of course. You're busy. Things slip the mind when it is…otherwise occupied."

Elly comes closer and reaches out a hand to rest on his bicep. "Reece…I didn't understand. I didn't know. I was 'orrible to ye, in so many different ways, I wish I 'ad done fings different like. Will ye be able to forgive me?" Tears tremble in her eyes as she tries to lean and look into his.

Reece meets her eyes, his own now squinting curiously. "What didn't you know, Elly?"

Elly swallows but immediately gets chocked up. "Wot I was doing to ye. To us. I meant everyfing I said. When I was wif ye. I feel like I was split into three different women the last few months. I couldn't see beyond the trees. What 'arm I was doin. Setting up two people tha I do love very much for a big whollop of 'urt. I fink some part of me knew…s'why I didn't wish to choose. But it was the worst fing I have evah done in me life, an' I am so sorry."

Reece sighs, shaking his head. "You always knew how I felt, Elly. You also knew I wanted you to be happy, no matter who you chose." He lifts a hand toward her face, but stops short of touching her cheek. "What hurts isn't that you chose Jack. What hurts is that you never gave me the same chances you gave him…and that you told the world you had said yes before you told me no."

Tears tumble down that nearly touched cheek. Elly sobs softly and nods. "I know, that's what I'm so so sorry for Reece. I was a coward an' I 'urt ye more wif it. 'E makes me 'appy, so 'appy tha I got thoughtless an' cruel to ye, an' tha's unforgivable. I 'ope tha ye con. But I understand if ye 'ate me bloody guts now. It 'urts me too. It's why I hid. I con't say enough, 'ow sorry I truly really am."

Reece nods slowly. Though he is as calm as ever, there is undeniable sadness in his eyes. "He makes you happy. That is what is important here. I know he'll treat you well, and that makes me glad. But…I can no longer be a part of it." He takes a deep breath, centering himself. "It's high time that I travel again. There is a world to see out there, and even I have only scratched the surface of it."

Elly gasp-chokes and shakes her head immediately going to try to cling to him. "You con't of Reece, please. Don't go! I need ye, we need ye. The world is in a terrible state, please don't leave. I'll be so worried sick. I con't loose ye both to this blasted horrible War! Please. Please Reece."

Reece gently takes Elly by the wrists to lower her hands for her. "Shhh. I mustn't let fear constrain me, nor should you." He meets her gaze, taking on a gravely serious face. "I can't stay here, Elly. This is no longer a place for me, and Jack deserves better than to have a once-rival present every day."

Elly staggers back still sobbing and hugging herself now. "He's going to be in this War Reece, he's going to leave me, very soon, tomorrow maybe. We's just making the best of the time we've got. I'm so sorry for wot I did to ye, an' I know I'm still being 'orrible an' selfish. But please don't go. Please. I con't lose ye bof."

"This is his home now. Not mine." Reece turns back to the sink, picking up another glass to wash. "I'm not doing this to get back at you, Elly. I would never do that. But I'm…unbalanced. I can't live like that. I need to find myself again." He frowns suddenly, looking sidelong toward her. "Making the best of the time you have. Elly…please tell me that the thought of losing him wasn't a consideration in marrying him."

Elly wipes at her face and is trying to collect herself, but she keeps hiccuping for breath to the point of that it's obviously painful. "This *hiccup* is boff yer *hiccup* 'ome! *hiccupp* Dammit!" She fans at her face and tries to breath, but she's having a bit of a panic attack.

Reece would like nothing better than to wrap her in his arms, and pet the pain away. But that is no longer his place. "I'm sorry. But that isn't so. Not anymore. It's for the best, Elly. You and Jack need a space of your own, and I need…well, as I've explained. I need a journey."

Elly looks up at him as she's trying to breath, eyes begging him to let her get herself together before they continue this talk because his mentioning still needing to leave and her without the breath and voice to argue with him still has her in a panic.

Reece gives her a moment, occupying himself with the washing of glasses. Even in these difficult times, as he prepared to depart, he has work to do and he'll see it done.

Elly goes to the window and opens it up to gasp for breath and feel the cold air on her face. After a good minute she turns about finally. "Please, please don't try to talk me out of it. Ye are so wise, and so calm, and so wonderful, an' ye make me feel so foolish. I know I'm being daft. But I do love him, he does make me so very happy. But aye, time is so very fleeting for us Reece. Tha Hitler bastard is going to take my Jack away, and only he knows when. My Jack, my beautiful Jack, my Cheeky Beggar is going to be put into some tin contraption, flung into the air for Nazi target practice Reece! I con't… I con't…" She's fanning herself again and spins around and pants and clings to the open window sill.

Reece turns to look at her, gripping the edge of the sink to keep himself from moving to her. "I'm not trying to talk you out of anything. Your decisions are you own, and I will respect them. He's a good man, Elly. He's worthy of you, and it's clear that he adores you. Cherish him."

Elly sniffs and nods but stays facing the window, "I do, I do cherish him. It's why I'm marrying him! But ye promised I'd nah lose ye. I'm losing ye boff now. I'm losing everyone Reece. Wot did I do so wrong tha I'm losin everyone. I con't do this on me own. I con't."

"I will always be your friend, Elly, and you will always be in my heart." Reece looks down shamefully, "But in some respects, I must break my promise. I'm sorry. Had this gone as…as you'd told me it would, things might be different. But this was a blow, Elly. A devastating blow that even I cannot easily recover from. Even if I stayed, I would not be the man you know. He is gone. Now I must seek distance and solitude, so that I might rediscover myself."

Elly breaks down, sobbing in a little curled up ball that slides down the wall below the window. "Then go! Get out of 'ere! I don' have friends tha break such a promise as ye have. Get out! Go off on yer marry adventure. I knew it! Knew ye wouldn't stay, that ye were hanging about to see if ye could get the Cauldron Princess before ye just up an' left again. GO!" While she looked up partially amid her screaming the last 'Go' is the last she can take and she buries her face in her knees and arms.

Reece isn't one to let emotion overwhelm him. He takes it in, feels it far more deeply than any observer would imagine, and releases it…most of it, anyhow. There is always what he keeps for himself. Be in joy, fear, contentment, or even heart-wrenching pain, he never forgets. He finishes his last glass, setting it aside to dry. He gives Elly one final, saddened look. But there are no truthful words to soothe her pain. So he does the only thing he can do honestly. He leaves.

Elly is slapped mentally by the slapping noise of the kitchen door swinging shut. "Reece!" She calls after him and quickly as she can she gets up and runs after him. She can't let him go like that. The slapping of the door in her mind flashed so many dreadful scenarios in her mind. She can't let any of them happen, not after she said those things. "I'm sorry!" She's never run so fast since she was a child in play, but she must get to him, throw her arms around him and hug him close. Must part with good, not bad.

Reece does not linger. Serene or not, the pain is fresh and omnipresent. He is already to the alley door, pulling on his coat, when she approaches. But he lifts a hand to stay her, keeping her at arm's reach. "I know, Elly. I know."

Elly chokes up again when he stills her, "Please, just let me hug ye good-bye?" Her little hands twisting in the air, itching to just hug him. Her eyes fill with pleading need.

Reece inhales deeply through his nose, releasing it in a heavy sigh from his lips. With a hint of trepidation, he lowers his hand, and steps into a hug. Every raw instinct in him cries out to release his pain in tears. But stronger than his pain is his love, and it is that he draws upon for strength. Because he loves her, he must leave her, so she can be happy. That is what he tries to wordlessly convey to her in that embrace.

Elly clings dearly to him and has the grip of a bear it seems when she's desperate enough. She places a kiss onto his shoulder through his jacket and with a hard swallow she leans back, just enough with a little nod. It's very clear that she understands why he's leaving. But it doesn't make it any easier. "I love ye, come back to me - to us some day soon. But ye go, be safe. Cause powers help ye if this is the last time ye think ye'll see me, aye?" She clears her throat and rights up more and looks into his eyes. "Write to me. Ye know how I love tales of your adventures." She takes a deep breath and puts on a smile, it's sad but genuine as she adjusts and tucks him into his jacket and gets on his scarf in that preaning way of her.

It is only with remarkable willpower that Reece lets go of her. He release her he must. Suitably padded against the cold now, he opens the door to the alley. Looking back with the beginning of warmth in his smile, he nods. "Look for my letters." Time seems to slow down as the door swings shut, taking her out of his sight, and him out of hers.

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