(1938-11-02) Secrets of the Heart
Details for Secrets of the Heart
Summary: Thomas asks about Rhyeline's new-found guards that wait for her outside. As she explains about her courtship with Cassius, the conversation soon becomes a grilling where Thomas demands to know her true feelings about a number of things.
Date: Saturday, November 2, 1938
Location: Books Unbound
Related: Raising Concerns, Cake and Innuendo

Books Unbound has closed, the lights dimmed and Thomas and Jean curled up on one of the sofas. Thomas sits with his book in one hand, his other hand moving to softly petting the small manx cat. His vest is undone and his shoes kicked off, while a half full cup of coffee sits on the table and Thomas's vest is undone. Next to the cup of coffee is a glass ashtray filled with butts and a half burnt out cigarette, still smoking, idly his hand moves from Jean to first pick up the cigarette and take a long hard drag before washing the taste of smoke down with his coffee.

Rhyeline has come once again after hours to have a quiet conversation with Thomas. Not far down the street, her guards dog her footsteps, but never get too close. She peeks into the window with a touch of caution, hoping not to interrupt should she find that Thomas isn't alone. Finding her friend sprawled comfortably on the sofa there, she glances once over her shoulder at her guards before tapping on the glass.

Thomas looks up at the window and pulls his wand out and with a quick flick the door unlocks, his gaze on Rhyeline as he gestures for her to go ahead and come in. Taking another drag off his cigarette his gaze moving back to his coffee as he takes a slow drag. As she entersm "How are you Rhyeline?" he asks curious.

Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, Rhyeline slips into his shop. Her eyes shine with a touch of self-conscious caution. "Hello Thomas… I- I'm alright… I- I hope that… that I'm not interrupting…"

Thomas chuckles softly taking another drag off his cigarette exhaling the bluish grey smoke, "Not at all, does it look like you are interrupting?" he says looking around the empty shop. "I am glad you are doing well enough, how are your…" he stops for a moment, tapping his chin in thought, "Escorts?" he says with a small nod.

"Oh… em-" Rhyeline glances over her shoulder. There they are, standing across the street. "Just… making sure I'm alright." Peeking back over, she hesitates. For the moment, she keeps her distance, standing not far from the door. "I just came by to- to apologize… if- if my offer to- to invest in the shop has- has caused any tension or… anything… I didn't mean to make you or- or Phil uncomfortable…" Her cheeks turn an increasing deep shade of pink. At last, she falls silent and averts her gaze. Wringing her hands behind her back, it seems as if the girl might dart out of sight behind a bookshelf at any moment.

Thomas chuckles, "Ah yes, of course." he says with a shake of his hand, "Wouldn't want you too have to put on any more make up." he says slowly picking up his cup of coffee, "Didn't offend me, I just have to await an appraisal so I do not cheat you or myself. Also need to make sure it is done so that people can not perceive it as part of… your political party." he says slowly, before taking a sip of his coffee, "Nothing else you came to share with me?" he says looking at her slowly, "Like perhaps why all of a sudden you require two escorts?" he says curiously.

Rhyeline hadn't quite considered how the investment might have been seen as a bribe. Certain talk-show scoundrels would love to find a way to twist that to suit their purposes. The girl still seems a touch cautious, but doesn't look as if she might dart out of sight at any moment. Glancing again over her shoulder, she murmurs, "Well… it's… it's a bit of a long story…"

"The best stories are normally rather long." Thomas says taking the finally drag off his cigarette leaning back against the sofa, looking at her slowly, pointing to a chair, "Do tell." he says with a smirk, "I would love to know what Rhyeline has been up to these days, that require two bodyguards." he says with a shake of his head.

Rhyeline's dark gaze flickers to the chair, and then to Thomas' extended finger. She hesitates a bit longer, but then bit by bit, makes her way over. Taking a seat, she murmurs, "Well… I guess that- that the first thing I should tell you is… well… Cassius Malfoy has asked to court me… and- and I accepted…" Avoiding Thomas' gaze, she tucks another loose curl behind her ear. "I hope you understand that- that Cassius… he- though he hopes I might fall in love with him one day… he doesn't require it… and- and there is more to his request than- than that…"

Thomas takes a small sip of his coffee as he listens, "Well congratulations." he says with a small nod, "Though if not for love. Why." he says looking up at the ceiling, "Ah political." he says tapping his chin for a moment, "Continue." he says reaching into his vest and removing his pack of chesterfields and lighting another cigarette taking a long hard drag off of it, his gaze still on Rhyeline.

Rhyeline keeps her head bowed and her eyes fixed upon her hands in her lap. "Not just politics… it's not just a game of power… for me, it's- it's about… doing something meaningful with- with the time I've been given to linger… and- and I feel that- as Cassius' wife I could- well… do the greatest good…"

Thomas nods slowly, "Yes for you it is not." he says with a wave of his hand, "But what about Malfoy?" he says curiously, "And for the Greatest Good?" he says laughing with a shake of his head, "Sometimes I can't believe you Rhyeline." he says shaking his, "So explain to me now, because lets actually sit down and talk about this, like we are analysing something back at the I.M.C." he says, "You put the pieces on the table, you tell me your analytic view points of this, if it was going on in another Country." he says taking a long hard drag off his cigarette.

Rhyeline blinks and peeks up at him at last, biting her lower lip. "…what do you mean?" she asks in a rather soft tone. Hands still clasped in her lap, the girl looks rather cautious- unsure of things as she watches Thomas.

Thomas takes a drag off his cigarette, he reaches into his ashtray and fishes out a butt, sitting it on the table, "Cassius Malfoy, needs to dismiss views that he is a purist." he says slowly, reaching into the ashtray, putting three groups of them off of the single one, "So we have Purist, Moderates and Unity." he says gesturing to each one of the piles. "Well we can already remove Purist from Unity Supporters." he says scooping the group up and putting them back in the ashtray, "Unity is of course one of his supporters" he says with a nod. "Now we just have these annoying Moderates." he says slowly.

"Those pesky moderates, you have to play a fine game with them." he says looking up Rhyeline, picking out three more butts, sitting the first one down, he says "Pure-Blood, Wife Option." he says looking to the pile that represents the moderates, "Oh, I knew he was a purist, blah blah blah" he says flicking the butt that represents the Pure-Blood wife, putting another down he says, "Muggle Wife Option." he says looking back towards the moderates, "Now those who don't hate muggles but have appearances to uphold, Malfoy muggle wife? Scandal!" he says flicking the cigarette off the table, "Ah, Half-Blood Wife, who will give him Pure-Blood children." he says looking to the group of moderates, "Win Win." he says pushing the two cigarettes together, looking up at Rhyeline.

Rhyeline seems as if she doesn't quite know what to make of his analysis. Biting her lower lip, she hesitates a moment more before murmuring, "I… I just wanted you to- to understand my motive for accepting his request…"

Thomas shakes his hand at Rhyeline for a second, "And I want the Rhyeline that I knew at the I.M.C. to actually stop for a second and look at the picture that is being painted." he says shaking his head and standing up, "So continue your story about why you now have thugs following you around." he says giving her a pointed look, "You still haven't managed to explain that one to me."

Rhyeline blinks, gazing up at Thomas with a quiet caution. She parts her lips to speak, but then he asks her to continue with her story. "…they aren't thugs. Cassius is- is worried for me. There is a muggle that- well… he is charming… but he has taken an interest in me and is- well… persistent. Cassius wanted to make sure that he didn't do something innapropriate while I was too- too flustered to speak up… He doesn't need to worry, but I thnk he- he doesn't want to take chances."

Thomas reaches into the ashtray and pulls out another butt, "Ah, but they are just that, thugs. Any man who sells his wand is that to me." he says with a nod, he puts the new cigarette butt between the one representing Cassius and Rhyeline, "Certainly can't lose his courtship to a muggle, how would that look." he says pulling out two more cigarette butts, "The Kind Gentlemen Escorting You" he says moving and putting them to the side and moving the muggle behind them, "And I am sure this muggle is a really threat in Diagon Alley." he says taking a drag off his cigarette taking a seat on the sofa again, "I was the muggle the one who hit you?" he says looking at Rhyeline now, waiting for an answer.

Rhyeline blinks a bit. "No, it- the bruise was an accident… I was half hidden behind a door… and the edge bumped me when someone tried to come in…" More than ever, the girl looks lost as she watches Thomas, not knowing at all what to make of his words.

Thomas rubs his chin, looking to the table taking a deep drag off his cigarette settling back into the sofa slowly, "Then certainly this muggle has cast some hand against you and poses to you some great threat that you as a Witch can not handle." he says his gaze moving across Rhyeline slowly, "Like I said Rhyeline, wake up." he says shaking his head, "As I see it there are two options." he says with a wave of his hand, "One, Malfoy is using you for his political agenda." he says slowly with a shrug, "Or you are both using each other." he says waving his hand a bit, "I however, am not a pawn." he says gesturing to the store, "This is not a piece on political board game." he says leaning in and looking at Rhyeline, "You asked me once, what I thought about the Unity Party, remember?"

Rhyeline's eyes shine with confusion and pain at Thomas' words. Her forearms fold over her belly. Hugging herself a little, she bites her lower lip before giving a small nod.

"Muggles are not to be pitied." Thomas says looking at Rhyeline, "They are brilliant, they strive to better their world, the create amazing arts, they have created amazing thinkers." he says shaking his head taking a deep hard drag off his cigarette, "I admire them… The Wizarding world, is no more ready for the Muggle world, then vise versa, and the Eye of Truth, all this for the Greater or Greatest good and Unifying for thoughts of Pity." he says actually looking offended. "I think the Unity Party, is just purism wearing another mask. You want real acceptance of them, then actually admire them and not pity them." he says looking at Rhyeline.

Though at this point he stands up and just wraps his arms around Rhyeline, giving her a tight hug, "Rhyeline, I would do just about anything for you." he says slowly as he releases her from the hug, "But you are starting to look like a snake, wearing mouse fur." he says looking at her with his blue eyes, "The company you keep, the thugs, how you are starting to act… you've changed." he says with a shrug, "People are going to start noticing. If they haven't already." he continues, "Like I said, you need to sit down and actually look at what you are doing, everything you are doing, like you were at the I.M.C. again…"

Rhyeline is accustomed to listening to arguments against unity, but somehow Thomas' words seem different. The little one grows tense when Thomas swoops down and pulls her into a tight hug. Told immediately after that he sees her as a snake wearing a mouse's fur, she looks stricken. For a moment, she remains silent and still… just trembling a bit as she stares wide-eyed up at Thomas.

Thomas looks at Rhyeline, "I consider you a close friend Rhyeline…" he says taking a drag off his cigarette again, "But that means I am going to be blunt with you, because I don't think anyone else is." he says nodding slowly, "Like I said, I see two options for what is going on." he says sitting back down, "I don't know which one it is." he says tapping his cigarette but softly, letting the ash fall into the ashtray, "I suppose that is up to you to show." he says tilting his head at her a bit, his blue eyes gazing out at her, "So since we are being blunt." he says, "How do you feel?" he says curiously.

Trembling, Rhyeline's dark gaze shines with tears. Asked how she feels, she doesn't move at first. At last, she parts her lips to speak, to answer, but nothing comes. A tear slips down her cheek and she bites her lower lip, looking pained. She tries again, but still nothing. Tears overflow in her eyes. Bowing her head, hides her face in her hands and turns away from Thomas, shivering in silence.

Thomas takes a drag off his cigarette, "How do you feel?" he repeats, "How do you feel about Malfoy? About this Muggle? About Me? About everything I've said?" he says leaning forward looking at Rhyeline, "You need to start figuring out how to feel about things." he says shaking his head a bit, "Tell me I'm wrong. Tell me there is more, tell me…" he says shaking his head, "Anything, you dodge my questions… instead of that, actually tell something, your feelings." he says letting out a deep sigh.

Rhyeline shakes her head and pulls her legs up. She embraces her knees so that she can bury her face in her arms. Her nails dig into her arms as she clings to herself, hugging herself. The guards outside are too far to get a clear look at her, and besides- there's no threat that the muggle would come looking for her here so they aren't as much on guard at the moment.

Thomas takes the last drag off his cigarette, "You have a choice, right here and right now Rhyeline." he says putting his cigarette out in his ashtray, "You either come clean to me about what the bloody hell is going on." he says, before a long pause, his face twisting as if he had just been stabbed, a odd look of pain moving over his features, "Or…" he says slowly, "You can walk out of my shop tonight, not actually talking to me… not actually explaining anything…" he says shaking his head, "But if you do that, don't you dare ever walk through that door again…" he says running his hand through his hair, "Because if you don't trust me enough to tell me the truth, then I'm not your friend." he explains his reasoning, "If I am not your friend, I really am just a piece on the board." he says closing his eyes.

Rhyeline lifts her head, tears leaking from her eyes each time she blinks. Fear and pain shine in her dark orbs as she gazes up at him. Her nails still dig into her arms a bit as she hugs her knees. Then slowly, she reaches out a trembling hand, as if pleading. She parts her lips, but no sound comes. Slowly, she shakes her head.

Thomas says slowly, "I will take that as you actually want to talk this time." He slowly moves over and pulls out his wand and taps his espresso machine, causing it to shake to life, filling up a copper mug, he sits it on a tray putting a bit of cream and sugar on it, before filling up a tea ball, with loose tea leaves plopping it in the mug, he sits the tray on a table next to Rhyeline, "Drink some tea and calm your nerves." he says sitting down on the sofa, tilting his head back staring at the ceiling, closing his eyes, waiting for her to speak.

Rhyeline peeks over at the tray, and then at him. Pain continues to shine in her eyes as does the fear- the caution. She seems scared to trust, scared to remain. All her instincts are telling her to go, to stop reaching out to others. Withdraw back into safe solitude. Return to her books and her work. Still trembling, an occasional tear still slips down her cheek and drops from her jaw. She seems paralyzed by that which makes her as shy, soft spoken and cautious as she is.

Thomas continues to sit there, his head tilted back his eyes closed. One may have forgotten he was even there, before he suddenly, "If you let the tea ball sit in there much longer, it will start to go bitter." he says, obviously his new profession has him making a good deal of tea and he has started to get a internal timer for such things, "Don't want you to not enjoy your tea." he says slowly, still not looking up at her.

In the silence, Rhyeline is given time to calm and compose herself. Averting her face, she wipes at her tearstained cheeks. He may hear a soft sniffle. The sound of his voice makes her pause and peek over at him once more. She glances to the tea. With great care, she lifts the tea ball out of the cup. She sets it aside, but doesn't take up the cup itself. At last, she parts her lips to speak one more time. Her voice comes in little more than a hoarse whisper. "I have loved coming here… and speaking with you… but you think I am a snake… why?"

Thomas holds out his hand, still sitting there with his eyes closed, "I asked you how you feel about all of this, everything." he says putting his hand back down, "It is your turn to answer questions." he says softly.

"Hurts… I want to go home…" Rhyeline tells him, offering him a small bit of truth. Having spoken, she watches him now in silent caution.

Thomas lifts his head up opening his eyes and his gaze settling on her, "Could have sworn I asked about a lot more feelings." he says looking her up and down slowly, "Come on now." he says, "Tell me how you feel about all those things I asked, Malfoy, The Muggle, The Party, Perceptions, My Analytic View on all this." he says nodding, "Then tell me why." he says slowly.

Finding her small bit of truth met with such indifference, Rhyeline hugs her knees a bit tighter and half hides behind her arms as she sits in the chair before Thomas. The pain in her dark gaze slowly grows muted as she watches him. A mask of calm reserve forms with great care upon her tearstained features, sheltering her true innocent nature from sight. It is the mask she wore whenever he caught a glimpse of her serving at the I.M.C as Ambassador Troy's assistant, his little shadow.

At last, in a rather quiet tone, she murmurs, "If you believe I am a snake wearing a mouse's fur, why would you think anything I say is real? Is true? Words should never be trusted. What I've done should be the true measure."

Rhyeline speaks as if in a recital before an audience. Her words are careful and measured as her eyes are calm. "I've convinced you not to risk yourself for me by returning to Berlin, though it could very much help if the one who cast my curse were caught. If I were a powerful one and those around me simply my pawns, what use would I have of you beyond that?"

"Graham is clear and fixed in his caution against Unity. He will never support it and always have reservations. And yet, I consider him a brother- one I trust and care for- why? Why else beyond simple affection? Not protection. He asked to serve as a guard, to replace the ones outside. As I convinced you to not risk yourself, I convinced him. It is for you to interpret my motives. You must perceive the truth for yourself. In a world of snakes and secrets, it isn't wise to trust soothing explanations."

Thomas lets loose a small shrug, his face still stern. "No but when one keeps secrets from friends." he says slowly, "It does create a certain air about it." he says with a small wave of his hand, "You have certainly taken the comment rather harshly." he says taking another drag off his cigarette, exhaling the bluish grey smoke slowly. "Still you are working to justify your actions. Instead of simply speaking the truth to me."

His gaze moves across Rhyeline slowly, "You see, if I learned anything at the I.M.C. is that everyone has motive behind any actions they take." he says with a small wave of his hand, "That is why I want to know how you truly feel, you can be cross with me Rhyeline." he says taking another hard drag off his cigarette, "But trust me when I say I am not the only person looking at events from a purely analytic view, you think other Ministries watching, other people with ties to the I.M.C. are not watching?" he says curiously, "Sitting down and looking at this like a Political Board Game." he says slowly, his gaze still looking at Rhyeline. "So lets start simple shall we, explain to me." he starts taking another drag off his cigarette, "You got that mark that needed make up, don't feed me lies and excuses." he says slowly, offering her a nod.

Rhyeline slowly pushes herself up to stand, rising to her full, diminutive height of 5'1". In a quiet tone, she murmurs, "I've told you. And you don't believe me. I was half hidden behind my front door. Madam Malfoy had come to call. I opened it just a little and she tried to step inside- didn't see I was there. The edge of the door hit my cheek."

Turning away, she adds, "I am slow to trust. It took years for me to trust Annie as I did. You do not know what you ask of me. Your words are harsh. You demand the secrets of my heart. They are not yours to know. I was coming to trust you. And Phil. But no. That was unwise of me. You may believe what you wish of me. I wish you much happiness and success, Thomas."

Thomas takes another drag off his cigarette, "And what you are to bloody hell blind to see, is that I am concerned about you." he says shaking his head, "Even a blind man could see how you have changed recently." he says shaking his head, "The choice is yours, you want to leave then go ahead and leave." he says taking another drag off his cigarette, "No I don't but that for a second, truth be told that sounds like a battered wife excuse if I have ever heard one before." he says shaking his head a bit.

"What you don't seem to realize is that often enough those secrets of your heart? As you so poetically put it, are causing people to look at your differently." he says shaking his head, "You want to mistake this as me hating you when it is the complete opposite, I am concerned for you." he says slowly, "Though you walking out that door and throwing our friendship, will just really let me know how much of a fool I am I suppose." he says with a nod.

"Your actions are not those of one concerned. With such indifference, you don't hesitate to speak words that are like strikes across my hands that were reaching out. Words that cut because of what assumptions they betray. The betrayal they make clear. When I attempt to offer you truth, you cast it aside in favor of your own assumptions. I do not know what change you could have possibly witnessed. You have known me for such a short time. You fell in love as quickly as you withdrew your affections." Rhyeline heads with slow, measured steps to the door. It takes effort for her to maintain her composure. "I throw away nothing. You've ground your heel in well deep."

Thomas takes a drag off his cigarette, "If I am gentle you run, if I am stern you are offended." he says with a small wave of his hand, "If you want to leave then leave, view my actions however you want too, you see, friends are sometimes this thing called, honest, with one another." he says shaking his head, "But you want to keep your secrets, so keep them. I have no time for half-truths and drama." he says shaking his head, "Oh and do tell your thugs, that next time they want to stand across from my shop, to either buy a bloody book or go the hell away!" he says shaking his head.

Rhyeline steps out of his shop without another word. Outside, she takes two steps forward and then stops. Without a word to her guards, she apparates away with a sharp clap. The guards glance at each other, then beyond at Thomas within his shop before they too, apparate away.

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