(1938-07-14) Brown Paper Packages Tied up With String
Details for Brown Paper Packages Tied up With String
Summary: Phil drops into Flights of Fancy to give Laurence a gift and show him some things to help with her comission; que interesting conversations about Muggles, tattoos and just what to do with wood.
Date: 14 July 1938
Location: Flights of Fancy Broomshop
Related:
Characters
PhilLaurence

Flights of Fancy Broomshop
Sunday, 14 July 1938. It was a hot summer morning, already showing the promise of an afternoon thunderstorm. Phil and Laurence meet to discuss her comission, body modification, his love of hags and French stereotypes.

Stepping into a dream, the atmosphere in the room show room has polished white pine floors and soft creamy white carpets embroidered with exotic designs of gold, silver and black thread. when visitors look up, the ceiling has been bewitched to resemble the sky just above the clouds and there's a faint breeze in the room, cooler during the summer and warmer during the winter, adding to the fantasy of being up there amongst the clouds. Seats are provided around tables, each table about the length of a broomstick and the seats cushioned like lounge chairs with soft white upholstry and they match the two couches in the waiting area near the entrance of the shop. Daily periodicals and Quidditch magazines can be found and are easily accessible along with some thicker books about the history of Quidditch and other broom related topics. Exotic and fragrant teas are offered to customers as they browse or sit in consultations.

The backdrop for the front desk are all images of modern day Quidditch players who have agreed to try, use, and model certain broom models that were made for them or their teams. There are also large sketches and drawings of brooms and the like framed and placed within strategic view, displaying the artist's talent and appreciation for the crafts that are for sale. The front desk is made from the same polished white pine that the floor is, a sturdy flat surface long enough to rest several brooms upon and wide enough to service and examine things as needed.

The broom displays are the stars of the room however, sorted by function and price…there are racing
brooms, brooms made for families, even brooms made for young children to name a few. Pre-Made brooms can be found on display in various points in the room but the majority of brooms that are on display are samples of the base designs that customized brooms can and will be made from based on customer need or demand. Moving pictures and posters are framed and placed strategically on the walls between, beside or above displays showing images of Quidditch players in history and other notable flyers. There are desk displays with little Quidditch accessories and Momentos, the occasional pairs of gloves or goggles for sale along with some sort of baked good…cake or pie, sometimes even tarts and the like under a glass cover for customer access.

In a repeat of her performance several days ago Phil pushes open the door of the shop and steps inside, letting it close quietly behind her. The coolness of the interior is a relief from the oppressive heat outside. Britons, magical or not, moan about the weather being too cold and too wet three-hundred-and-fifty-five days of the year and too hot the remaining ten. Today is one of those days. Under one arm she carries a small bundle and dangling from her hand is another, held together with bits of ribbon. The soft fabric of her dress brushes against her legs as she walks further into the shop, all the while her gaze searches for Laurence.

Laurence hears the cooing sound the signals a customer or visitor has arrived and he comes from the backroom, wiping his hands off on a soft cloth and his sleeves are pushed/rolled up to expose his tattooed forearms and there's a bit of sawdust on his nose and cheeks as he squints and sees who it is, the usual welcoming smile softening to something more sincere. "Welcome then to Flights of Fancy…it is very good to see you Miss Philomena…"

"Please, just Philomena," says Phil as she nears him. "I have interupted you, I apologise." She half turns back towards the door, "I can come back later if you wish?" Though something in her tone makes it sound as if she would be reluctant to do so, but politeness dictates she follow his desires. "You have," she gestures towards his cheek, "a bit of a smudge there, Mr Toulson." The sight of it makes her smile for some reason.

"Well then Philomena…" Laurence chuckles softly and shakes his head. "No no…its okay! Really, I was just working on some handles. Shaping and sanding…its okay luv, really." Then he arches an eyebrow and then moves to brush a hand against his cheek, eyeing the dust and oohing softly before using that soft cloth to brush his cheeks and nose off with a soft laugh. "Sadly what I do isn't as clean as some professions."

Phil smiles, clearly pleased he is content to let her stay. "I think it is refreshing to meet someone who does such honest work. So many people these days shove papers around. I suppose I do too." She laughs a bit at that and sets her things down on the nearby table. "I was thinking about you yesterday and thought perhaps it might be helpful if I brought in some of my nephew's things." Phil looks up those few inches that separate them in height. "You missed a little bit, just on the side of your nose bit of a badge of honour," she says with a grin.

Laurence runs the cloth over his face again before peering down curiously at Phil and quirking an eyebrow. "Did I get it now?" He asks teasingly before clearing his throat and glancing towards the table. "Oh? Some of your nephew's things? I do hope I won't have an irate 12 year old rushing in looking for his things without warning…that would be challenging to handle."

The very idea of her nephew doing that has Phil chortling. "Alfie isn't like that, but yes these are some of his things - of a sort. They are things he left with me for safekeeping while they are away this summer. I thought it would be a good opportunity to - I don't quite know how to explain it," she admits and then starts to open the small bundle. From inside she brings out a copy of the Muggle book Ivanhoe as well as some of the odd sorts of things boys (and some girls) carry as treasures; an acorn, a ball of multi-coloured string, a rock that looks to be a different colour when wet and a pair of polarised magnets. "Nor," she says with an uncertain tone as she looks down at the collection, "do I quite know how to explain this. I had not opened it until now."

Laurence is quiet as he watches Phil unpack the little bundle, hand hovering each item as its set down and he smiles fondly as he arches an eyebrow. "You are quite fortunate he's young…and the items are as innocent as they are." Laurence squints as he tilts his head to the side. "You can learn alot about a person by the items they keep."

Phil's face colours as she considers just what Laurence means. "Ah," she quietly clears her throat, "yes, thankfully he is not yet twelve. I think he is a bit young for French letters." That she can even know of such things, let alone speak of them in front of him keeps her face brightly coloured. Her dark head bobs in agreement. "That you can. Also by their shoes." She picks up the two magnets that refuse to stay stuck together and smiles. "He is a whimsical boy." Her head tilts back and she looks up at Laurence. "What were you like at his age? Did you have pockets full of string and odd bits?"

Laurence laughs and winks as he waggles his eyebrows as Phil goes there and he smiles as he continues looking at the bits and bobs, a wistful expression on his face before he tilts his head at the question. "Me? Well I suppose…me-my family, we weren't really that rich at all so every bit of a flower or butterfly or beetle or stone and such was very special. I had lots of little pieces of wood and cogs and such from my father's work and flowers reminded me of my mum…but I've been always been an airhead, things that fly caught my attention."

Phil places the pair of magnets in Laurence's hand. "For me it was stubs of graphite pencils, scraps of paper, sherbert lemon wrappers or a sherbert lemon if I was lucky and a long piece of string I used for cat's cradle and other silly string games." She grins mischeviously, "I liked to play with it and pretend I wasn't listening to people around me. I learned all sorts of things that way." She cants her head to the right slightly, "Magnets are so fascinating aren't they? How it seems at first that only things which are opposite attract but when you study them closer it is more that they are similar but with slight differences." Her Ravenclaw is showing, how stereotypical.

"Hmm…" Laurence rolls the magnets over in his hand, smiling to himself before he has to chuckle at the cat's cradle and string sneakiness and he gives a tiny nod before setting the magnets down, selecting a thin metal binder from a display and holding it just the right distance to drag the magnets around in a circle chase and he looks amused even as he responds. "They are…sometimes its objects that help us understand people a lot better."

Phil laughs softly as she watches him play with the magnets. "Yes, so you have said," she says teasingly. "It makes me wonder what you will make of this." She reaches out and picks up the second bundle she brought with her, the one tied with ribbons. Unlike the first this looks like a gift. The small rectangular box is slid across the desk towards Laurence wordlessly. Smaller than a breadbox but larger than a trinket box it is somewhat heavy and held together with a plaid ribbon. On the top of the box is a label that reads Waterstone's.
Laurence blinks and eyes the second bundle. "…are you nicking your nephew's gifts now as well?" He has to ask, leaning forward and eyeing the box, idly brushing fingertips against the ribbon and he peers at the Waterstone label.

"No," she says. "I was - I probably should not tell you, everyone tells me off for my investigation. Suffice it to say I was in a Muggle shop called Waterstone's on Oxford Street. I saw this and thought of you." She reaches out and nudges the ball of string with a finger. "I had the feeling that you are not given gifts freely all that often." Phil shifts slightly, an unusual gesture for one usually so confident, placing more weight on her hip as she leans against the edge of the desk. "If you do not like it I shall not be offended for it is…" she leaves the rest unsaid.

Laurence narrows his eyes. "Lassie…why would anybody be telling you of for investigating. Its your job isn't it?" Laurence just grins and then looks back to the gift, taking a deep breath. "Aye…I don't get gifts often its…well its been a while. I mean besides Christmas." He hesitates. "The bow is just so well done, I feel bad undoing it…" He is probably teasing as he works on opening it up. "I've heard of Waterstone's…"

Phil doesn't look up from rolling about the string. "I'm investigating a wizard who is using memory charms to steal from and abuse women." She shrugs a shoulder as if it were nothing. "Not everyone likes me doing it or is interested either, the witches he harms have all been unimportant and relatively poor." She looks at Laurence out of the corner of her eye, waiting to see if he opens the box to see the biography on the Wright brothers and their Kittyhawk. "I suppose I am tired of people trying to put me off and ignore these women." With a sigh she stops the ball of string from rolling and places it back into the box she took it from originally. It is as if an observer could see her giving herself a mental shake because her posture is immediately corrected and her gaze becomes more direct again, daring him, challenging him to try and put her off this story.

Laurence picks the book up once things are opened and he stares at it for a few moments, frowning and tracing a finger along the spine before flipping it open and nodding slowly to himself. But the story at hand is what catches his attention more than ever and he sets it aside. "Thank you…" Then to the topic at hand. "You are investigating something really worthwhile. Women are abused enough in muggle society for it to leak over to our own community and nobody speak out or look into it."

"Thank you," she says in turn. "Most that I know feel it is too dangerous or not worthwhile persuing, but I cannot let these women down. Some of them have lost their sense of self because of this man, whomever he is. I have at least managed to convince a friend in the MLE that if I get proof he will take it to his superiors." She shakes her head, "I do not understand how people can turn a blind eye to the suffering of others or feel they have less value because they are a different gender or race or….not born with magic." Dangerous sentiment to share with new aquaintances. "I may have been born pure but I that does not mean I have to be yet another mindless, biggoted automaton."

There's a look of concern that furrows Laurence's brow as he listens closely and he smiles gently. "You care in your heart for people, in general, not defined by what's outside or what they can and cannot do…it is an admirable sentiment." He chuckles softly. "I am very glad however…that you are not mindless or bigoted, it would make our conversations ever so limited."

Phil, in a clear attempt to change the topic, gestures towards the gift, "I hope that it is appropriate and that you do not already have it. I had tailed my lead into a shop across the road so decided to duck into the bookstore and when I looked around realised this book was right in front of me." She smiles up at him, "Perhaps it was fate. In any case I went back later and bought it for you. I somehow felt certain you knew the story of the two brothers." She looks about, "I did not think to bring a gift for your companion, that was lax of me."

Ever gracious he notes the change of topic and quickly shakes his head. "I have to admit, I did not have this book. It'll make a wonderful addition to my library." Laurence rests a hand on top of the book and he smiles. "I have however, heard of them when I was out living in the muggle world. They did great things as many muggles do without the aide of magic." He shrugs and then grins. "Just bring some seed with you another time or biscuit crumbs…she'll forgive you."

At this Phil's eyes widen, "You lived amongst Muggles?" She looks at him differently as if she is properly looking at him - just like she did for the first time only more intently. "We, that is Felicity and I have our house in a Muggle part of London but they never notice it. I have often wondered what it must be like to live without magic. When I am in disguise sometimes I do not use it, aside from the disguise of course, and have found with habit it becomes easier but at the end of the day I still return to it." Her curious gaze drops to one of the markings on his forearm. "Are they magical? I have seen such on a few in an odd village in France but it is rare to see markings on wizards of Britain."

"Aye for many years." Laurence shrugs and lifts his arm a bit, tracing a finger along the various vines and Greek lettering, different tree names in Celtic gaelic and and such that trail up his forearms and he chuckles softly and shakes his head. "Its not that hard…to live without, honestly. You learn to be more creative." He thumbs the side of his nose. "Magical? Nah just memorable…like a way to make sure there are somethings I'll never forget and the like…they aren't very popular amongst Wizards, no."

Phil watches his finger as it moves along his arm. "They are lovely, Laurence. Truly lovely." She raises her head suddenly, realising she called him by his first name, "I do apologise, it just slipped out. I hope you will forgive the informality." She always seems to be blushing around him for some reason. Phil quietly clears her throat, "I once saw a Muggle woman with some. They were not as nice as your's however. Did it hurt? How is it done exactly?"
Laurence holds his hands up. "Its okay, really luv…if I can call you Philomena, you're welcomed to call me Laurence. Really." He looks to his forearms once more before looking back to Phil. "Oh…it hurt, and I'm sure in certain circles they'd be considered a bit…radical." He winks and laughs kindly. "Its done…with needles…and its not that /fun/ to talk about but its worth it."

Phil seems relieved by his understanding and smiles faintly, "Thank you Laurence." She blanches when he mentions needles. "Needles? My goodness, no wonder you do not like to talk about it. Well they are very handsome and suit you somehow." She turns towards the desk and starts to put her nephew's other belongings into the small box they came in. "Will you tell me how you ended up living amongst the Muggles? It is not something many of us do. Unless, you are perhaps Muggle born?"

Laurence grins and shakes his head. "Thank you Philomena." Then he moves to pick up his book gift, tracing a finger along the title once more. He looks back to Phil. "Hm? I decided to live amongst them. After school, I left. I went out and I lived amongst them. I studied different trees, learned new things…"

Phil laughs softly, "Of all the things I expected to hear, 'I studied different trees' was not one of them and yet somehow it is the most suited to who you are, at least the part of you that I know. Can you make brooms out of any kind of wood, say perhaps ginko or mangrove roots - are they even trees?" She turns her hip into the desk, this time not out of nervousness but to be comfortable as she converses with Laurence. "You must have been quite lonely at times, driven to leave behind all that was familiar. Did you travel alone? How long were you gone for?" There it is again, never far from the surface, her insatiable curiousity.

"Different trees, different people…" Laurence waggles his eyebrows and grins before waving a hand vaguely. "For things like ginko or mangrove, they would need to be tempered with something…more secure and sturdy, they have components that can enhance a broom, but its a tricky process…however any wood can technically be shaped in a broom, just won't always be the /best/ broom." He does his best to explain before his lips twist in a wistful smile and he hmms softly. "Almost…10 years." He finally admits with a shrug of a shoulder. "And aye…usually traveled alone. Sometimes found friends in certain places, so stayed a bit longer…returned to 'civilization' so to speak and opened my shop not long ago, and have been back ever since."

Phil gives him a playful nudge with her arm at his eye brow waggling. "I shall never look at a broom the same way again, even already I am thinking about them differently because of you." She watches him, his features and the way he stands as he tells her the brief outline of his adventure. "Ten years, you do not look to be that old. You must have been in the same year as my brother Vincent." She looks again at his marked arms. "Somehow I suspect it was not quite so blase as you make it out to be." Phil raises her head only slightly and looks up at him from beneath her lashes, "I am not so certain this is civilisation, but then again I do not know where your adventures took you. The furthest I have ever been is the Basque region. I bought a beret and a stripped cotton top. No garlic on a rope, however."

Laurence laughs softly at the nudge. "Ahh yes, I love to make women think differently about my broom." He coughs and then hmms softly. "It was amazing…so very amazing." He finally admits. He's quiet for a few moments before sighing softly and then grinning at the comment about her furthest adventures. "Well I suppose you looked adorable in the beret and cotton top."

Phil slips easily into French, her accent - should this be one of the things he knows - is a decent one, likely thanks to a private tutor given her family life and situation. With grand Gallic gestures she speaks of her 'adventure' to the seaside town of St Jean de Luz, its smell of fish and sea and warmth as well as the 'tres beau' young fishermen and the cheeky old man who tried to convince her to marry his son. All the while she does it she is mimicking the behaviour of a typical Basque, undoubtedly able to do so because she watched them closely on her trip. "And that," she says in English, "was that. We were able to find our way back to the nearest port key and came home after a week. Nothing quite so grand and no," her cheeks flush, "touching of brooms took place."

He's not fluent in French, but…hey, he's a dude. He spent time in France, Oui Oui. Laurence follows along well, eyebrows raising as he pays close attention and occasionally chuckles before he taps a finger against his chin. "A pity, but no…fishermen do best with their bait and tackle than they do with brooms…" He does reply with such innocence. "You have a lovely accent."

Phil throws her head back and laughs even as her cheeks turn pink again. "Laurence! You are incorrigable. Whatever am I going to do with you?" She shakes her head bemused then looks at him with a smile. "Thank you for the compliment. I worked very hard at it. I am rather good at accents. I can do a few quite well. It is one of my party tricks, that and a Muggle dance called the Charleston."

Laurence waggles his eyebrows which kills his expression of innocence…totally and he bites his bottom lip before snorting softly and he has to laugh before clearing his throat and nodding slowly. "You'll have to show me one of these days…the Charleston that is, we'll make a party of it!" He winks.

"If you take me flying I will teach you how to dance as if you were in an American speakeasy," agrees Phil. She reaches up to tuck her hair back behind her ear. "I was going to ask you if you would like me to write a little something about you and your work here? For some free publicity, seeing as how the shop has not been open very long? I am asked to write about all sorts of things so I think I can sneak this one into an issue." Her tongue darts out to swiftly run across her lips as she looks at him, seemingly uncertain of how he might react to her offer.

"Deal! And you may not get out of it. I'll take you flying and you'll teach me your sizzling dance moves." Laurence grins and then he hmms softly. "It would be an honor to have you write such an article of course…"

Phil relaxes visibly when he is not offended by her suggestion. "I will not pry or write anything personal, but something to entice people through the door. Once they are inside I fully believe you and your amazing creations will entice them far more than my quill ever could. Would you like a photograph of yourself or the shop to go along with it? I can ask Tim, perhaps or one of the other photographers to come take it." She reaches over to brush a fingertip along one of his tattoos, "But perhaps if you are in the photo you might want your shirt sleeves rolled down. Old hags might faint at the sight of such indecencies as your rather interesting markings and your virile wrists." The corner of her mouth quirks up into a grin as if she were picturing it.

Laurence snickers and shakes his head a bit as he rolls down his sleeves and winks. "I've already accidentally groped a hag since returning to London, don't worry I keep my arms covered up when out in public. Don't want to cause a stir." He hmms softly and looks thoughtful. "So whatever you wish to write or take a picture of you are more than welcomed."

"How does one accidentally grope anyone, let alone a hag? Did you trip and find your hand landing upon her ample bossoms?" Phil enquires with a grin. Perhaps he is corrupting her because something - some mischevious part of her - presses her to ask, "Whatever I wish to take a picture of?" The effect is perhaps diminished by the fact that she is blushing while asking it.

"I did, and they were not ample…my friend, oh Philomena, I will always remember that day. I was so close and yet so far down to her knees." Laurence sighs and takes a deep breath, faking a shudder before he tilts his head to the side. "Well not /whatever/…somethings must be kept a mystery."

Phil cannot help but snigger at the mental image he has painted. "It must have been quite…enlightening for you." She coughs quietly and has to look away before meeting his gaze again. "I wouldn't know what to do with a photo of /that/ anyway. I think it would be nice to have a photo of the shop, it is so beautifully decorated."

Laurence mmmhms softly. "That's one way of putting it." Then he looks thoughtful as he looks around. "Very well…anytime you want to stop by for it…you can stop by, share my little fantasy with the real world."

Phil nods a little. "I will be back then, sometime in the week." She pushes herself away from the desk. "Take care Laurence and do be careful with Alfie's treasures." Phil smiles at him before heading out.

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