(1938-09-15) The Fish Is Excellent
Details for The Fish is Excellent
Summary: Brei and Rhyeline intend a pleasant dinner together; but Rhyeline has neglected to do something she told Ismene Malfoy she'd do, and is obliged to mollify her by offering free grub.
Date: September 15th, 1938
Location: Rhyeline's Flat and Cafe Tasseo
Related: The last time Ismene and Rhyeline spoke.

Rhyeline's Flat

A door with stained glass window panels reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's water lilies distinguishes this red-brick flat from the others on either side.

The mudroom opens onto a foyer with stairs leading to a second floor. A long hallway runs alongside the stairs through to the back door. The foyer opens to the right onto the parlor with an adjoining dining room. From the dining room, the kitchen hides tucked into the back of the house. Upstairs, a master bedroom and a guest bedroom allow for guests or even a flat mate. Outside behind the flat, surrounded by tall brick walls, sits a small garden.

The scent of an ever crackling fireplace intermingles with that of brewing coffee and the pure white roses in the bay window facing the street. Gentle lighting lends the flat a warm and cozy atmosphere.

Brei settles down in the living room to wait while Rhyeline goes up to change. The dark haired witch smooths out her dark blue dress and glances around relaxing while she waits for Rhyeline to return. Its early evening and the sun hasn't completely set yet. Brei for once isn't wearing black but rather a very dark blue dress with long sleeves and a loose flowing skirt. She sits gracefully in the chair with a small smile on her face.

The doorbell rings; through the water-lilies darkly may be seen a compact female figure beneath a veiled hat of immodest proportions.

When Brei opens the door to her, the hat's owner regards her for a moment through the veil and then lifts it away from a small, pale, suspicious, none-too-lovely face in late middle age. Something about her says 'witch' rather than 'Muggle', be it the antiquated black bombazine gown which doesn't match the period of the hat, or the silver pomander hanging from her belt, or simply the too-knowing quality of her gaze as she inquires, "Who are *you*?"

Brei frowns a bit at the rather direct and slightly rude question. Still she does blunt quite well. "Brei Montague…who are -you-" She eyes the older witch suspiciously with an intent blue gaze not bothered by the woman's own stare. "I take it you are an aquaintence of Miss Diderot? Or one of her healers perhaps?"

The grumpy old witch on the other side of the doorway draws in a breath through her highly-bred nostrils; and answers, "My name is Ismene Malfoy. I am desirous of a word with Miss Diderot if she is at home, and if she has not requested that you keep her callers standing on the step all evening."

"She is upstairs getting changed so we may go out to dinner. You may come in and wait if you wish Madam Malfoy." Brei replies in aslightly more polite tone stepping aside to let the older witch in. She has heard the womans name in certain circles dealing with potions and knows the name at least if not the face. Closing the door once the Madam is in she goes back to her spot in the living room. "I would offer you tea but it is not my house. However please do feel free to sit if you like. I'm not sure when Rhyeline will be down but its shouldn't be too long."

"Thank you."

A precise inclination of Madam Malfoy's head, courteous but not deferential; and then her dignified little black figure sails past Brei and the staircase (a quick glance up, in case there's some sign of Rhyeline, which as yet there isn't) into the parlour, with the assurance of one who has been here before and knows just where to find a comfy chair. Which she does.

But, having found it, she sits only upon its edge, with her plain and practical black handbag upon her knees.

She looks up at Brei and her genealogical bent takes over. "Montague, you said? … A grand-daughter of Luciano Montague? Or of Dante?" And from the shrewd manner in which she pronounces the latter name, it seems entirely likely that she is thinking of certain headlines in the Daily Prophet.

Brei settles into her own chair giving the woman a calculating look before she replies. "Dante Montague is my grandfather yes." He tone is slightly clipped as if family is bad subject for her but she maintains an air of civility and politeness after all its not Ismene who cuased her family troubles after all. She studies the older woman a moment before glancing towards the stairs.

Rhyeline peeks into the room, wide-eyed and biting her lower lip. Her long hair hangs loose with a bright red ribbon gathering it at the small of her back. She is wearing an elegant witch's robe of cream-colored silk. It hugs her narrow waist to show off her subtle curves.

Now that Madam Malfoy has placed Brei, beyond doubt, upon her mental map of the wizarding world, and stuck a pin firmly in her, she almost smiles: a faint glimmer of satisfaction, at any rate, crosses her etiolated visage.

She is on the point of uttering some further remark when, hearing a step, she turns toward the doorway and sees Rhyeline framed within it.

"Good evening, child," she says instead. "You look pretty." It sounds more like an observation of fact than a compliment per se. "Some grand occasion, I suppose?" she asks drily. "I'll not keep you long from it."

Brei smiles faintly as Rhyeline returns. "You look lovely Rhyeline." That is a compliment and the dark hair witch glance between the two carefully. "Is this a private matter? I would not wish to intrude if so. I will wait near the door." With that Brei rises and slinks past heading for the door. She puases to whisper something softly in Rhyeline's ear as she passes. It is breif and the she is out of reach and earshot.

A noticeable blush emerges in Rhyeline's snow white cheeks at Ismene's remark. It only deepens at Brei's compliment. The little one parts her lips to speak as Brei excuses herself, perhaps to invite her to remain. She pauses to listen to the whisper and before the mouse has found her voice, Brei is gone and Rhyeline is blushing brighter than ever. Hands clasped behind her back, Rhyeline looks over to Ismene and approaches like a well-mannered young girl.

Though she's a small woman, sitting down, all the power in this tableau rests with Ismene Malfoy, as, with black-gloved hands clasped upon her bag, she looks unwaveringly into Rhyeline's face. She lets her come quite close before she speaks.

"I have not received," she says, quietly, firmly, "the letter we discussed."

Rhyeline's eyes widen as the memory of the letter she was supposed to write flashes in her mind. "Oh! I- Please, forgive me. This week has- has been rather hectic in the world. I've… I've been preoccupied with work for your nephew." Biting her lower lip, in the hopes of somehow smoothing things over, she murmurs, "I will write it tonight, I swear. And… and in the meantime, would- would you care to join Brei and I for dinner?" An invitation which in polite society means Ismene would not be expected to pay.

The elder witch looks with profound consideration at the younger as she stands up, slipping the strap of her handbag over her left wrist. "You young creatures would have far more pleasant a meal without me," she warns, veraciously, "but it's tempting to stay with you long enough to remind you to go to your desk and not your bed at the end of the evening."

"Please, you would honor us with your presence, Madam Malfoy," murmurs Rhyeline, stepping back to allow the venerable witch room enough to stand.

Flattery will get you — somewhere, some of the time. "Then I shall accept your invitation." And she inclines her head, really almost graciously.

A soft, relieved smile appears upon the young girl's lips. Dipping into a graceful little curtsy, she murmurs, "Wonderful. Let's get going then. My fireplace is connected to the floo network, or we can aparate." Glancing to the foyer, she adds, "I will fetch Brei," and she scurries off to find the other girl. The kitten seems full of excitement.

Cafe Tasseo

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.

The restaurant is a place frequented by the wealthy and powerful. As an assistant to powerful and wealthy men, Rhyeline has been a common patron of this place, such that the waiter recognizes her by name. They are shown to one of the best tables and the service is excellent. Finally, Ismene can avoid the grievances she usually has with the Leaky Cauldron. Rhyeline has ordered a plate of evening's fish as well as a glass of wine.

A Malfoy is at home anywhere she decides to be at home, even if she's dressed for it thirty years ago rather than today; the senior member of this small party of witches sits next to her young hostess and orders, after due perusal of the menu, the same fish (done very rare) and a different, sharper-tasting white wine (a few knuts more a glass, hardly worth noting). And then she strips off her tight-fitting black leather gloves, revealing thin white hands, upon one finger of which is her curious heavy silver hanged-man signet ring. Her gloves go into her bag, and her bag between herself and the arm of her chair.

Brei gracefully takes her seat other the other side of Rhyeline and orders a plate of pasta with shrimp and vegatables in it and a glass of brandy. She makes a bit of a face when Rhyeline and then Ismene order the wine. A half Italian with an aversion to wine? Apparently so. She looks to eah of her companions and finally speaks. "So Rhyeline…how do you know Madam Malfoy? I have heard of her but we did not actually meet until today." She gives the woman in question a curious look indicating that she too could answer the question if she is so inclined.

In the hopes of calming her nerves, Rhyeline drinks from her glass of wine (pinot noir) perhaps a bit too deep. Peeking over at Brei, her gaze flickers briefly to Ismene before she murmurs, "My mother wrote Madam Malfoy a note in the hopes that she would be kind enough to take an interest in my case."

"And the case *is* an interesting one," Ismene Malfoy allows, tasting the bitter brew she has chosen for herself with every appearance of satisfaction. Her eyelids lower slightly as she swallows. "I have a course of potions in mind for Miss Diderot, though the precise proportions, the dosages, I have not yet settled upon… But come," she says in a voice louder and firmer than her previous murmur, "this is hardly a subject for the dinner-table."

Brei nods and takes a drink of her brandy. She eyes the older woman semi-curiously. "And what would you suggest as a topic appropriate for dinner Madam? I myself am fond of debates on politics and philosophy but perhaps that is also a bit too heavy a subject?" There is a shine to her eyes as she speaks glancing to Rhyeline breifly. "What do you think Rhyeline? What is a good subject to discuss over a good meal?"

Rhyeline was hoping she wouldn't have to say much as Brei and Ismene began to carry the conversation. But then, Brei asks her to bring up a topic. The little one takes another long sip of wine before murmuring, "Mm… well, em… perhaps- perhaps we could speak of… em…" Besides politics and business matters, Rhyeline doesn't have much skill for conversation. Blushing bright, she falls back into silence and takes up her wine glass once more which has been refilled.

"Really," drawls Madam Malfoy, "you must be a great success in your line of business, Miss Diderot; you listen so much and so well you've forgotten how to talk." She sniffs at the girl, and drinks a little more of her wine. "Miss Montague, I prefer a philosophical discussion to almost aught else. But if you can think of a topic, any topic at all, upon which we might succeed in drawing out Miss Diderot, in persuading her to some definite statement, then that is the topic I should choose. For its novelty, if for no other reason."

Brei smirks at Rhyeline's expression as she is put on the spot. "Oh my…I believe I have rendered her speechless…I hope I didn't break her so soon." She smiles wickedly and turns to Ismene. "Forgive me Madam Malfoy but I'm fairly certain you just asked me to do the near impossible. I am made to scare small children and insult the intelligence of those who annoy me. I am not the most social of women…" She takes another drink, her tone is rather teasing but its still has some bite to it.

Rhyeline keeps sipping wine as if it were tea, hiding in silence behind the glass. The staff is so graceful about refils that the little one scarecly notices just how much she is drinking. The pink in her cheeks spreads into a steady glow of mild intoxication, although Brei's words certainly deepen the blush. More wine. A bite of fish, gaze averted.

It may be Rhyeline's silence, and the palpable nervousness contained within it, which draws that low, arid laughter from Ismene Malfoy; or it may be something Brei has spoken aloud. She's looking between the two of them in a way which leaves it unclear.

And then, "Scaring children," she murmurs, with an amused look at Rhyeline. It is, after all, both of them. "You two played together at school, I suppose? Or did you cross paths after some other fashion?"

Brei gives Rhyeline a look. "Slow down or I will have to give you the same treatment you gave me…" The tone is more playful than scolding though but Ismene's question is answered soon after. "We both worked in the I.M.C. for a while. I was also a year ahead of her in school but we didn't interact much until we left Hogwarts."

It's a bit too late to slow down, but the little one pauses and sets down her glass at Brei's remark. Peeking over at Ismene, Rhyeline murmurs, "At school, I didn't really speak to anyone. I had a friend who did her best to bring me out of my shell, but- Brei and I didn't really meet until recently." It seems a bit of wine helps to loosen the little one's tongue.

"My late husband was connected with the I.M.C. for a time," Madam Malfoy mentions, between bites of fish; but rather than allow that seed to sprout a conversation of its own, she goes on to say, "A year's difference in age is a great deal, isn't it, among children? So much is learned and experienced in each of those years, to set one apart from those who come just twelve months after… How fortunate that as one ages such things matter less and less." She sniffs, which is just her way of punctuating, and signals for the waiter to pour a touch more into her glass, for however little such things matter she doesn't care to fall behind the younger generation, especially not when they're paying.

Brei takes a bite of her food concentrating on eating for a few minutes. She listens to Ismene speak and ocassionaly glances over to Rhyeline. Once she is done with her most recent bite of food Brei nods to the older woman. "Age does tend to make ones veiws shift. Though I was largely anti-social at school and only associated with others when I had to….that is still a habit of mine though I suppose its starting to fade slightly…I will always be rather selective about my company though." She sips her drink again observing the pair with a faint smile.

A soft smile touches Rhyeline's lips as she peeks over at Brei. "I suppose neither of us were very sociable. And yet we both chose to go into the I.M.C. That is… until Ambassador Troy-" The smile vanishes as if it never was. In her mild intoxication, her emotions are less concealed. The sadness is clear to see in her dark, expressive eyes.

Madam Malfoy glances from Rhyeline, to Brei, to Rhyeline. "The fish," she says at last, "is excellent."

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