(1938-10-26) Conference Room Conversation
Details for Conference Room Conversation
Summary: Rhyeline goes to Phil for advice after Cassius asks to court her.
Date: Saturday, October 26, 1938
Location: The Daily Prophet
Related: Trust and Intimacy

It isn't typical for Phil to be at work on a Saturday, but it isn't entirely unheard of either. She can be seen spotted entering the offices of the Daily Prophet, juggling a bit of shopping in one arm as she fishes out her notebook. The office is quite, few people are in and judging by the things she is carrying Phil herself only intended to come in for a few minutes.

Rhyeline knew it might be an unlikely thing to find Phil at work. She should have expected the disappointment of finding her desk empty. Leaving no note, Rhyeline clasps her hands behind her back and begins to make her way back out- only to come round a corner and find herself face to face with a Phil burdened with shopping bags. "Oh!" squeaks the little mouse, freezing in place.

Blinking with surprise it takes Phil a moment to react. "Rhyeline!" She cants her head, "Were you looking for someone?" Their last conversation was so awkward she doesn't assume her friend came looking for her. Shifting the shopping from one hand to another to get more comfortable Phil's engagement ring becomes visible, but perhaps Rhyeline won't make the connection. Phil has often turned up in the Cauldron dripping with expensive jewelry after functions and nights out.

"Y-yes, I- I came to find you," murmurs Rhyeline, wringing her hands behind her back. "I- I wanted some… some advice-" Just then she notices the engagement ring upon Phil's finger. Though Phil often wears expensive jewelry- an engagement ring is almost as distinct looking as a wedding band. Blinking, she peeks up at Phil. "Is… is that-?"

"That's sweet. Come and have a cup of tea." Phil heads over to her desk, not really answering the question about the ring, not yet. When she reaches her desk Phil sets her shopping down and puts her notebook into the top drawer. She pulls her wand out of her pocket and sets the tea pot to brewing. "What were you hoping to speak to me about?"

Rhyeline doesn't persist when Phil chooses not to answer about the engagement ring. "Well… it's… it's a matter that- that I'd like to discuss… privately…" Rhyeline peeks through the rest of the office, as if anxious a reporter might be hiding behind a desk, taking down her every word.

"We can use one of the conference rooms." Phil picks up the tray of tea things and heads towards a door," when she sees the serious look on Rhyeline's face. "Come on, we'll be able to speak freely in here." The conference room chosen is a small one with a table that only a few people could fit around, clearly not the one used for staff meetings.

Rhyeline bites her lower lip at the suggestion of a conference room. Finding the chosen room small and secluded though, she calms though maintains a touch of caution. "I… I haven't told Graham yet… not anyone… and… you would- would keep it a secret yes?"

"Of course." Phil pours them each a cup of tea, she sets one down in front of Rhyeline so the younger witch can add milk or sugar as she likes while Phil keeps her own as it comes. Settling comfortably into one of the chairs she looks over at Rhye, "Are you in danger? Has something gone wrong with your treatments?"

Rhyeline eases herself down to sit, just as Phil asks after her 'treatments'. Her eyes flit to Phil's face with a fleeting look of caution before she shakes her head. "No- no… nothing- nothing like that…" Adding milk and a bit of sugar to her tea, she murmurs, "It's… well… I don't suppose there's any other way to put it…" She bites her lower lip. "Cassius has asked to court me…" She brings her tea to her lips, hiding behind the cup as she peeks over at Phil.

This gives Phil pause. "Cassius Malfoy wishes to court you with the intention of what exactly? Marriage? Getting to know you better? Keeping you loyal? Taking your virginity?" The questions are posed carefully, quietly as if Phil were just trying to get a better idea of things.

The last suggestion causes the young witch's warm cheeks to burn with a blush. Hiding behind her tea cup still, she stammers, "M-marriage…" Although in truth, it might very well be a combination of Phil's suspicions.

"Seriously? You're not, that is I never got the impression that you were pure-blooded. I could be wrong. Am I?" Phil doesn't think she is, although she has never expressly discussed Rhyeline's blood status with her.

"No, I- I'm not… though… I am nearly… I think he knows that- that a child I gave him could be considered a pureblood… And- I think being half blood… it would help him more than damage him politically…" murmurs Rhyeline in a rather soft tone.

"I see. But what about his family? I'm not a Malfoy, but even I would have had trouble marrying a half-blood. Are you prepared to accept that a marriage to you might cost him his family?" Phil sips her tea.

"I don't think he would have suggested it if he thought it would cost him his family…" murmurs Rhyeline with an anxious furrow of her brow. "As I- as I said… any child I gave him would- would be pureblood…"

Phil nods. "Yes, I understand that, but you will still be his wife. Have to go places and be seen with him. The child would be accepted, but you aren't the child." Realising how she sounds Phil says, "I am just trying to sound things out. When last we spoke you were very jaded and bitter about relationships. Worried about being in one and what it means for your curse. Have you changed your mind, or do you think a political marriage will solve the problem of your worry over jealousy?"

"I have never witnessed the love you spoke of… I am not bitter… I just- I just see the world differently, I think…" Rhyeline bites her lower lip, looking a touch apologetic. "I am still scared, yes… But not of being a half-blood among purebloods."

"He strikes me as the kind of man who would be discrete with his extramarital affairs," offers Phil in a kind tone. "Respectful. What is it that you are afraid of?" She cants her head as she looks over at her friend.

Rhyeline lowers her gaze, not commenting on what extramarital affairs Cassius might undertake. At Phil's question, she remains silent for a time before murmuring at last, "The unknown… it is like the darkness under a bed." She takes a small sip of tea before peeking over at Phil. Her dark gaze is full of vulnerable apprehension. "I feel death close… And what I want is- is to have mattered… That's all. That is why I don't hide from the danger… I want to serve the cause of Unity… but how… that is the question."

"There is a difference between serving the cause and becoming the wife of Cassius Malfoy. As his wife your responsibilities would be a lot more vast. While he's by no means the head of the family, nor likely to ever be, there is still a lot to being a Malfoy." Phil sets her tea down. "I move in some of the same circles. Have seen his family for years at society functions. I even have a cousin somewhere married to a Malfoy. All of us do." Us being the purest of families. "Do you think you would feel comfortable doing those things? It is a lot different being the focus of attention than being the woman handling the appointment book of the focus of the attention."

"It doesn't matter what I would feel comfortable doing… There is little I feel comfortable doing." Rhyeline can't help but grin just a bit at herself. Taking another sip of tea, she adds, "Cassius understands my limitations… And- and courtship… it doesn't yet mean marriage… Perhaps he- he only asked because- it would be useful to deflect accusations of being a purist to keep me on his arm…"

"It does matter," counters Phil. "It matters because if you grow to despise it that darkness you fear could grow stronger inside you." She takes a breath, "But if this courtship, this marriage is something you want then I can help. You can come as my guest to some of the function".

Rhyeline tucks a wisp of a loose curl behind her ear before taking another small sip of tea. "Yes… it is a danger… If I did not find contentment… the curse would consume me…" Peeking up at Phil, she murmurs, "I am not certain yet. I don't- don't usually focus on what I want… because wanting what I cannot have… that is dangerous."

"Do you think you would be jealous if he got another secretary? Could you contain yourself? I couldn't, but that's part of who I am." Phil knows her own faults and one of them is she is far too passionate at times. "I'd leave Thomas if he ever dared to be unfaithful."

"He /has/ another secretary… I'm still not well enough to return to full-time work," murmurs Rhyline in a soft tone.

Phil doesn't pull her punches when she asks, "Is he sleeping with her?" She rests her hands atop the table. "If you are not well enough to work full-time then you aren't well enough to get married. It will take planning, preparation. Organisation. Believe me, I'm getting the talks already."

Rhyeline folds an arm tight across her middle and averting her gaze, tries to hide that such thoughts affect her more than she'd care to admit. At the mention of Phil's own talks regarding marriage, the little one peeks up at her. "…he has asked you then? For your hand?"

"Rhyeline," says Phil softly. "Did Cassius profess his love for you? Even if he did, he still seems the type to not be faithful. I'm sorry, that's how I see him. Not to say he isn't a decent man, because he is." Letting the conversation pull away from the other woman's personal life to her own Phil nods. "Yes. Thomas and I are engaged, but Astoria wanted us all to get together this weekend and for us to make it in an announcement so act surprised."

"I'm not very good at acting… but- I'll do my best. Congratulations, Phil. I hope that- that with Thomas… you find the love you speak of," murmurs Rhyeline with a soft smile. Lowering her gaze, she takes a long sip of tea.

Phil watches Rhyeline, an odd look flashing across her features. "Do you know something I don't?"

Rhyeline blinks, looking up at her a bit startled. "What? What do you mean?"

"I know Thomas is fond of you and that he went to Berlin hoping if he helped cure you that you would be greatful and agree to date him. I also know that he did that without checking your own feelings first." Phil chews on her bottom lip. "But was there more to it than that? You get quiet whenever I discuss my relationship with him."

"You and I… I think we have lived for long in different worlds. Watching from the shadows, I have seen what lies behind most romantic words. And in the world of politics, no smile should be trusted. I… I was not surprised when Thomas lost interest in me so swiftly…" murmurs Rhyeline in a rather quiet, tentative manner. "But," she adds quickly, "That does not mean at all the emotions between you aren't genuine…"

"I just see my private life as being separate from my work life," says Phil. "I deal with darkness, Rhyeline. I chose to not let it taint me otherwise. But then I can do that. I can keep them separate. You won't be able to do that." She nods slowly, "That right there, what you said, is reason enough to question what Cassius Malfoy really wants from you. He can get a pure-blood child from dozens of women, women who are already pure-blooded themselves. He doesn't need to prove he isn't a purist, by virtue of what he is doing he is standing against purism."

"He trusts me…" murmurs Rhyeline rather softly. "Though I- I believe his affection for me is genuine… there is more to his interest than that. But- the choice is mine… I would be able to continue to serve as his assistant if I chose."

"What would you like to do? How can I help?" Phil knows ultimately Rhyeline will have to make the decision herself, so having raised her concerns the time has come to offer aid instead.

"I was hoping that- that you might shine light on- on dangers I hadn't considered… What I'd /like/ to do… it's often different from what I should do… I'd like to do what I should do…" Rhyeline sets down her empty teacup on the table, not looking up at Phil.

"Alright. Difficulties. His enemies will target you and he is going to make more enemies as he becomes more active, pushing his political agenda. An assistant is a meanlingless target to criminals. You've dealt with shady politicians. I've dealt with criminals. Wives are prime targets. So are children. They won't kill you, they might just be after money. Ransom is lucrative." Phil considers other possiblities and lays them out. "Or it could be that they torture you. It's amazing what a person can live through."

Rhyeline folds her arms over her slender belly, watching Phil with a quiet caution. There is a subtle edge of fear in her dark gaze as Phil lays out the dangerous- but she doesn't seem as affected by her words as one might have expected from such a fragile creature. "Then in the end… it will be a question of whether the good I could do as his wife outweighs the dangers. Love with him- He is a good man and I admire him deeply… even care for him… but love is not a certainty."

"No, love is not a certainty. There is also the darkness you fear. He will have affairs. He's already sleeping with this secretary, clearly, and you don't approve. Which given what you've told me before about working for Magnus I can understand. So you have to decide if you can handle knowing that as his wife or will it make it worse because you will be sharing him." Phil rests her elbow on the table. "Will you be allowed to have affairs? I'm guessing no, because of the scandal."

Rhyeline blinks and furrows her brows a bit. "I did not say he was sleeping with his secretary… nor did I hint if I approved or not."

"Your look implied both," states Phil. "Perhaps I was wrong, but the point about fidelity, jealousy and your fear of being consumed by it still stands."

"Nothing is ever certain in love… for me, I must simply take care to avoid wanting what is not mine to want… Thank you, Phil… for your advice. And- I look forward to- to meeting you and- and Thomas and Phil for… for the official announcement."

Phil laughs softly, "Oh Rhyeline, we cannot decide what it is we want or do not. Want isn't controllable like that. But you can work on how strong your reaction is to that want. If you let it overwhelm you or are sensible." She rises to her feet. "Come, let us part company. I have to get my shopping home."

Rhyeline nods, offering Phil a soft, though cautious smile. "Thank you for your advice… I'll… I'll see you soon." Handing Phil back her teacup, the girl then nods to her before turning to go.

Phil takes the cup. "Take care," she offers then turns her attention to tidying up before leaving herself.

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