(1938-11-12) Sad Little Hat
Details for Sad Little Hat
Summary: Fabia returns home intent upon facing the reason why, the day before, she left in such a hurry; and finds that she quite simply can't.
Date: November 12th, 1938
Location: Upstairs at the Three Broomsticks
Related: Family Emergency

Fabia's Rooms

It's dark in Hogsmeade, has been for a while, when Fabia Fairfax sneezes her way through the Floo into the taproom of the Three Broomsticks. She left around noon the day before, barefoot in her dressing-gown and a set of someone else's robes pulled off the back of the office door; she returns in a flamboyant long coat which owes too much to the previous century to fit with her usual style. A little fur hat is perched rakishly upon her gleaming dark red hair.

She has a basketful of brown-paper parcels and the attitude of a woman who's just returned from a pleasant afternoon's shopping; her face is immaculately made-up and set in an expression of determined good cheer. She nods to a few people, bids good evening to the girls behind the bar, but sees that she gets through the Staff Only door expeditiously… even though her elegantly-shod feet then begin to drag, each stair harder to mount than the previous.

The first door on the left is shut. She turns the handle slowly, takes a deep breath, and then opens it and walks straight in. Just do it, sweetie.

The room is gleaming. Anything that could be polished is polished. Anything that could be straightened is straightened. Even the gramophone records have been sorted into alphabetical order and stacked, ready to be selected. Everywhere, vases overflowing with fresh flowers.

Frid rises immediately from his seat as Fabia enters. "Madam!" he greets, dusting himself down and straightening his tie. And then he eyes the basket and moves to intercept it from her. "Would madam care for a little refreshment?"

One step, one single step, into her sitting-room; and Fabia stops. She glances about distractedly, looking at the room without really seeing a difference in it; all she sees is that Frid is in it, and she can't — quite — bring her eyes to rest upon his face. She looks straight ahead at a vase of flowers, without seeing that either, and her chin lowers an inch or so towards the collar of her unusual coat. She lets him remove the basket from her arm.

Frid sets the basket down, moving next to take her coat. He clears his throat quietly, offering again, "A martini, perhaps?" He hesitates, adding quietly, "I apologise for anything untoward I may have inadvertently said, madam. I assure you it was not my intent to cause offence."

"Inadvertently?" Fabia whispers, in a tone which trembles with bitter sarcasm. She unties the belt of her coat and starts on the buttons with quick, nervous fingers. Her gloves are heavier than she normally wears; she is correspondingly less deft. "I can't talk to you yet. She's my friend… And you spoke to her as though— I can't talk to you yet," she repeats. "Please don't talk to me." She pushes the coat off her shoulders onto the floor and stalks into the bedroom, without once meeting Frid's eyes.

Frid is nothing if not obedient, and like a chastened spaniel, sets about retrieving her coat from the floor, and unpacking the various parcels. Had he a tail, it would be firmly between his legs.

In one of the parcels he finds her peacock dressing-gown (someone has folded it, probably not she herself); in another, certain more intimate articles of laundry. The rest are the sorts of things she's always turning up with. Candied violets, cosmetics, evening gloves, six pairs of nylons with novelty heels.

Fabia herself has stepped out of her shoes and shed her smart (but off-the-rack) new light grey tweed suit. She tosses her cigarette case and her long ebony cigarette holder and her lighter onto the bed, and then tosses herself down on her front beside them. She lies there smoking in turquoise satin lingerie trimmed with black lace, her head propped on one arm, her eyes closed.

Her fur toque is on the floor too, a very sad little thing.

And in Fabia's bedroom, fresh flowers. More fresh flowers. It's starting to look like a florist's shop exploded and these were the remains. Frid makes his way silently in, deposits an ice cold martini on the bedside table, and retreats, stooping to collect the sad little hat along the way.

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