(1938-11-19) Cheating
Details for Cheating
Summary: Astoria and Cooper finally have a drink together, in Muggle London, but not without Fabia poking her nose in. Also, sailors and a Rolls Royce. This log is NSFW and has some adult content.
Date: November 19th, 1938
Location: Black Friar Pub and Streets of London
Related: After the Riot: Community Forum.

Making her way through crowds is something Cooper seems to be well versed in. So well versed in fact that she manages to make a neat little parting of people for Astoria to exit the Community Hall with ease. "I'm rather tired of the wizarding world right now," she says with some irritation while she lights a cigarette. Flagging down a cab she adds, "There's this place I like near Black Friar's Bridge." And the ride takes them all the way down by the Thames, and when they've stepped out she shoves her hands in her pockets and presents the pub to Astoria. "See! Much better. No angry riots!"

Astoria enters the cab with a bit of trepidation, but makes no verbal complaint. She exits it with a raised eyebrow, followed by a brief smile. "No angry riots," she agrees, nodding several times. Looking towards Cooper, she gestures towards the pub, saying, "I had no idea you knew anything about muggle London. I admit, I know nearly nothing at all!" She closes the cab door. "Shall we?"

Cooper indeed makes no ceremony by introducing any muggle artifacts to Astoria. She'd rather show than tell, by providing a confident lead with the way she handles the cab. "Well then let me be your guide," she grins opening the door for Astoria like the gentleman she is! This time of the week the pub isn't as full as it could be, littered with blue collar harbor workers. Therefore it's easy for the two of them to find a seat at the bar. "I'm a magbob, therefore I like coming out to places like this. In fact I live in a muggle part of London," she admits easily to the journalist, choosing to use the archaic wizarding term of endearment and then orders a beer for herself, "So tell me what's the larger story you've been working on.

Astoria follows Cooper inside, and takes care to avoid any carousing sailors by, well, moving close to Cooper. Such a gentleman, indeed. She finds a seat at the bar right next to Cooper and orders a beer, too. "Do you?" she asks, resting her cheek against the palm of her hand. "Do you find it pleasant? I cannot imagine living… well. I suppose I'm rather spoiled." A pause. "Well, it's a rather long story. It's… hm. A historical frame for the political agendas and parties that we now face?" she asks. "And, in addition, an examination of those politics, too. Of course that is a rather generic explanation. I can be more specific, if you like."

Patting down her pockets again, Cooper pulls out another cheap cigarette offering one to Astoria. She quite simply needed another since that cab ride had burned out her old one! "Oh! My flat's been set up with the 'conveniences' that I like to put in. But I was raised without them so I can manage," she nods. Can she really? Her pants are never really ironed. "Christ, that's very very detailed assignment. Highly relevant though. Go ahead and explain more if you think it would help. Is this something you came up with on your own or did your editor give it to you?"

Astoria watches Cooper light up with a small smile. She laces her fingers together, watching the other woman with keen, focused eyes that don't blink often enough. She answers quietly, "It's of my own design. Most of my assignments are. I'm afraid most of assignments are rather specialized." She pauses. "Well, let's see. The first article discusses the advantages and drawbacks of secrecy since the passage of the statute. For instance, did you know we used to live alongside muggles in near-absolute harmony? Of course you did. More surprising, though, is the slow growth of wizard prejudice. Emphasis on bloodlines, for instance, is a recent emphasis - probably within the last two hundred years," she explains, quietly. After all, they shouldn't be overheard.

Cooper runs a thumb over her lip in thought and says, "Hmmm well I don't think I did know that…wasn't too great in History of Magic, I'll sadly admit." She sheepishly grins and takes a sip of her beer. "These are very, very expansive topics to address in a news article. I think if a story of this was posted in the Prophet, I'd read it but I'd still linger for more answers." And then, a lightbulb goes on in Cooper's head, "Ever considered making this work into a book? Something more … comprehensive, you know?"

"It is a bit much for a single article, but they tie into one another… intricately," Astoria explains, resting her chin on her palm again. "I admit, though, it's going to be difficult. I may end up answering questions from leaders in another segment." After the question, Astoria adds, "Possibly. The Daily Prophet might approve something more comprehensive. The first article hasn't left my desk, yet, though. It is exceedingly close, but." She shrugs, and forces herself to smile.

Cooper takes a drag only to exhale in the other direction. "Well you should get it into book form eventually. Research like that is important, //especially/ now with everything going on," she points out. But her eyes catch the forced smile, and with a tilted head she asks, "But …?"

Astoria lowers her head a little as the beers arrive. She begins to reach into a pocket of her clothing, but then pauses. "Oh, I don't… carry…" she says, looking between bartender and Cooper. Hopefully Cooper does. In addition, she adds, "It's… a lot of work. All of this," she gestures to the air, "is wearing. The climate is so horrible right now. I detest it. But I also won't let myself stop. It's my own fault, really - and, I know it, but it does nothing to make the matter easier." She sighs. "Sadly."

Cooper waves her hand to Astoria in a 'never you bother' manner, and offers the right amount including tip to the bartender. "Hmm … ," says the auror, observing the writer very carefully, "Sounds like someone is stressed! And I would know because I am stressed all. the. time." Though with that cheery face who could tell? "I know many a bright and brilliant woman who are exactly like you. Like trains. Can't stop them. Always going always pushing. Because sometimes it's better to be preoccupied with accomplishment than all the other ugly thoughts their minds can conjure up." She makes hand motions to the bartender - tiny, two. "What's that name you said you used to be called? Wretchly, was it?"

Astoria listens quietly to Cooper, eyes widening slightly as she continues. Perhaps due to the auror's impeccable reading, or mayhaps just offense, her features begin to narrow and sharpen while a gentle, but noticeable, frown spreads across her lips. "Have you," she replies, tone neutral, despite the expression. A moment later, she adds, "It was. Why do you ask?" Her shoulders stiffen a little, and her back straightens.

A cloud of sable furs and French scent descends upon Blackfriars Pub. Fabia has arrived in London too early for another appointment (she began dressing, after all, at half past two in the afternoon) and she recollects some mention of a certain friend of hers planning to drink here this evening… But what's this? Two friends of hers. She sneaks up between them, as much as a woman like her can, and touches both their arms at once. "Girls?" she purrs, leaning in.

"Oh certainly! And guess what. They get things done! With little regard for themselves, and that can be an okay thing. Like when I dress the way I dress," Cooper gestures to her ill fitting clothes. Though something about that makes it seem like stress isn't the only factor and that perhaps poor taste comes into play. "But it is bad, when you're starting to get physically weary! So this is what I recommend as temporary medicine." Just in time, the bartender brings two shots of whiskey to place before the two women. Cooper slides a tiny glass over to Astoria, "I ask because that's a curious and terrible name that likely would have made me fume when I was little. Fortunately - or unfortunately - for me no one could remember my name any-AH!" The touch of Fabia startles her suddenly, almost making her spill her shot.

Astoria listens to Cooper's explanation quietly, features easing… slowly. Her shoulders relax a little and she leans backwards, right into the hand of Fabia Fairfax. Travers. Who? She turns slightly, styled hair managing to shift ever-so-gracefully along her back. "Fabia," she says, smiling gently. It's true, the older woman has a rather settling spell upon Astoria; she relaxes, and smiles a little more than she was previously - especially after Coop practically jumps out of her skin. "Cooper was just complimenting me on my determination and fortitude. I believe we were about to share a drink. Care to join us?" she wonders, looking between Fabia and Cooper.

One girl jumping as though she'd been set on fire, another unconsciously shifting to show herself to best advantage. Yes, Fabia has arrived. She beams at them both indiscriminately, and leans in still further to kiss their cheeks; Cooper's first, because she's in a sorry state, and Astoria's perhaps a trifle more lingeringly. "I should adore to join you," she sighs happily. "I'm expected somewhere later, but I was ready so early, and I recollected that you," she casts a glance at Astoria, "mentioned you'd be cheating on me with a different pub tonight, and I thought… well, why not look in?" She lets go of their arms; she unfastens her coat, giving them a glimpse of diamonds and low-cut blood-red satin beneath it. Fabia Fairfax is a redhead who wears red. "Oh, where should I sit?" she asks charmingly.

Just because Cooper constantly looks like she's in a sorry state doesn't mean she actually is in one! "Good god Fabia, you frightened me." To be fair, she has a tendency to be jumpy. "Though you're just in time for us to partake in some reckless behavior. Your specialty of course." The blonde orders one more whiskey shot, delivered timely and scoots to the next chair over, "Here have my seat. My arse has already warmed that one up." She snickers. See perfect gentleman. A deep drag and she quickly exhales so she can raise her shot glass up toward the others, "To cheating on one's usual pub?"

"It was Cooper's idea," Astoria says, not hesitating to throw the poor woman under the bus. Winking, grin clearly… well, something, she watches Cooper depart her barstool with interest. "I do enjoy the rustic atmosphere," she notes briefly. While Cooper speaks, she picks up her glass of whisky and gently swirls it, letting the bottom of the glass glide across the counter top. "To cheating," she replies with a nod.

Inclining her head with languid gratitude toward Cooper, Fabia hops up onto the barstool which has been so thoughtfully warmed for her. Her coat falls further open; she crosses one leg over the other at the ankle, very demurely, but all the same, there's a slit in her gown… "To cheating," she murmurs, giggling to herself, peeking out of the corners of her big green eyes at first one of her companions, then the other as she knocks back her whiskey in one. She slams the glass down on the bar and breathes out a sigh of pleasure. "I've a new appreciation for the rustic lately," she confesses. And for the looking-glass behind the bar, in which she can't help admiring herself — and the rest of the scenery. "Heavens, there are quite a few sailors in here tonight…"

Cooper is unapologetic, "Before Fabia came and invaded my social life, drinking was usually my idea." The shot is consumed whole and with a hint of a grimace before chasing with a inhale of smoke. "Much better," she sighs, putting out the butt to her cigarette in an ashtray before pulling out another. At the mention of sailors, Cooper blinks and looks about the room. "Mmm yes! One was checking out your bum on the way in Astoria. Didn't want to tell you since you're so new to this neck of the woods," she grins wickedly and points to a blonde muscular one, wearing his wonderful naval hat none the less - That one. And then to Fabia she explains, "Astoria here isn't too familiar with muggle London." She whispers the wizarding term.

Astoria drinks her shot slowly, taking several seconds to savor the horrid, yet delightful burn that stings her tongue and throat. She finally finishes, and she takes a moment to wipe beneath her lower lip. "Hm?" she asks, looking over her shoulder towards the strapping, blonde sailor. She turns back with a small smile. "I must admit, he's handsome. But not quite my type." She msut like them thin. Or something. "It's true, I've rarely set a foot in it. I did recently see some muggle theatre, though. It was delightful." She takes a sip of her beer.

The shot of whiskey must have some company somewhere deep inside Fabia's silks and furs; for she's giggling hopelessly at the other two. "Oh, have we ourselves a London virgin?" she asks Cooper, fishing inside her coat for… yes. Her twelve-inch ebony cigarette holder. Her little silvery purse is on the bar; she pops open the clasp and searches it for her cigarette case, which she knows must have been dutifully packed by Frid. There it is. Ornate silver, monogrammed with 'FF'. To Astoria, she says, "This is my town, sweetie; you must let me take you out one evening, when I've more time to spend…" She fits one of her exotic black and gold cigarettes into the holder, and brings the tip of it to her lips, holding her cigarette against Cooper's in a very familiar way to get a light for it. "Mmmh," she breathes, exhaling smoke. She adds, eyeing Astoria, "If you don't want him, sweetie, I'll have him," in a tone wistful and considering.

"A London virgin," Cooper smirks and repeats, and doesn't think twice about holding the cigarette forward for Fabia to catch a light on. "You know with all this talk about Germany and an impending war, these military and naval boys just get younger and younger. And they're so desperate for affection, using potential death as a reason for why you need to have them tonight at this very moment. I feel like I'm living in a feast." She snickers and finishes off her beer before taking another drag. "I do miss having more of a challenge though. I will say that much." Hungrily, she eyes a tall darker haired one in the corner. "Mmm, that one. I want that one."

"It might be best to stop saying that word, ladies. A gentleman may get the wrong impression, and I detest the ones who fawn and drool," Astoria notes with a smirk. She focuses on Fabia. "Oh, you will?" Astoria asks, looking towards Fabia with some relief, which is expressed by a brief smile. She sips her beer, glancing towards Cooper. "My! The two of you. Um, well. Now I feel as though I am left out." She looks around the bar, passing each face, muscled chest, exposed forearm, rough hand… with a shake of her head. Finally, her eyes settle. Pants, long sleeves, v-neck, fine… bosom? Bar wench. "I, erm," she says, shaking her head. Her neck blushes a little. "Oh, now I don't know. Perhaps a few more drinks, first," she concludes, and swiftly sees to draining her beer.

Fabia looks where her friends are looking; she giggles again, and blows a smoke ring. "Oh, very good choice…" she murmurs to Cooper. She smirks. "But what are you going to do about it, sweetie? Make him come here? Or would you like me to go and get him for you? I will if you like; I know just how…"

"Behold! A London virgin!" Cooper projects in Shakespearean theatrical fashion, her arms wide and open to present Astoria to the room. It's loud enough to catch the attention of a few nearby lads, who suddenly take notice of the light-haired woman and seem to completely ignore any hawkish traces in her features. And tapping on the bar, she summons for another beer. "There. Now you have no excuses, love," she winks to Astoria. And to Fabia she laugh and takes the cloche hat off her head and says, "Oh no, I've got this one, darling. I just need to borrow some of this." In the oh so familiar way they've been functioning, Cooper leans closer to Fabia to run a run a ring finger in an almost sensual way over the woman's bottom lip. A smirk appears, as she dabs the stolen lipstick onto her own, giving her lips a healthy enough tint. A tad bit of hair smoothing, her glasses tucked away into an inner pocket of her jacket, and my! Who knew she could look feminine? "Ladies, best of luck on all your endeavors," she gives a half smirk and then with a confident swagger approaches her target within a group of other sailors. Her cloche hat is strategically placed on the head of another sailor as if to say 'hold this for me darling, will you?'

Oh, Cooper. Fabia throws back her head and laughs, at hearing Astoria so presented to the assembled patrons of the pub; and then she looks inquisitively at Cooper; and obligingly parts her lips to give the younger woman all the access she requires to her lips. She could have thought of more amusing ways of transferring the colour from her mouth to Cooper's, but this isn't without its charm, is it? She laughs again, admiringly; "Very pretty. Have a marvelous night, sweetie, and don't forget to tell me all about it later," she tells Cooper, petting her arm again. But then she lets her go; and watches her technique with interest from afar. She leans in closer to Astoria, eyes still upon Cooper and her new friend. New friends. "Are you sure you don't want one too?" she teases, her slightly-paler pout almost brushing against Astoria's ear.

Astoria stares at Cooper. Stares! She opens her mouth, eyebrow rising, and begins to speak, but just then a young man catches her eye and the words seem to lock in her throat. As the other two women exchange color, she says, "I'm not a virgin!" and the man smirks; he leans against a table and watches the three women. To Fabia, Astoria practically sputters. "Oh, I don't know. Possibly! I feel this may go horribly!" she notes, blush rushing up the rest of her neck.

"She's really not," Fabia says helpfully to the man who is watching Astoria so closely; she giggles again, and twines her arm through her friend's. "Well, make up your mind, sweetie," she whispers. "Shall you have a lovely young sailor tonight? Or shall I give you a lift back to Charing Cross? I have a car and chauffeur tonight…"

"I really shouldn't, I think," Astoria says, blush deepening. "I'm not drunk enough for that," she continues, fiddling with her hair, and forcing herself to grin. She looks up towards Fabia. "Oh, you brought a car? How wonderful. How delightful! I don't mind if you bring a sailor," she adds.

The glance Fabia gives the nearest party of sailors might best be described as 'ravenous'; she draws her lower lip between her teeth and sighs. "Not tonight." She shakes her head, and places it for an instant upon Astoria's shoulder. Lifting it again: "Well, if you're sure you don't want to," she says, "shall we?"

The car is a brand-new Rolls Royce; and it is idling just outside. The uniformed chauffeur has been warming himself in the front seat (what a crisp November night!) but leaps out at the sight of Fabia, and holds the door open for the ladies. The back seat is gloriously upholstered, as befits such a luxury automobile. There are fresh red roses in several small vases bolted to its walls, and the leg-room is almost infinite. Fabia lifts the telephone to speak with the driver in the front; "Charing Cross Road, please, sweetie," she says, and gives a few more specific directions to the vicinity of the Leaky Cauldron. She hangs it up and turns to Astoria, beaming, "I like to drive, but sometimes it's sweeter to drink and be driven."

Astoria's blush dims a bit as Fabia draws near, and, moments later, she breathes a sigh of relief (though, it is quiet). After they exit the bar she looks over the Rolls with a small smile. "I quite like the look of this automobile," she notes, having seen so many others of plainer variety. She notes the driver, who she nods to, before getting into the back seat. Apparently, she has become quite accustomed to Fabia's… style. The interior doesn't phase her. It's Fabia, after all.

As they progress down the road, Astoria crosses one leg over the other and clears her throat. Without moving her face, her eyes glances towards her host, and she manages a small smile. "Would you have really slept with that sailor?" she asks. A moment later, "Wait, wait." She moves closer, putting a hand on Fabia's left thigh; it squeezes, most likely for proper balance, before Astoria plants a teasing nip on Fabia's lower lip. "I wager you're disappointed in my decision. I'll make it up to you," she says, inhibition, quite suddenly, lost. Oh dear.

The Rolls Royce purrs along through the London streets; it's Fabia's smirk, perhaps, in the back seat periodically illuminated by the street-lamps they pass, which suffices to invite Astoria closer… And then her lips part immediately at that impetuous touch, and she reaches up, casually disarranging Astoria's hair, as she draws her into a real kiss.

When they part, she breathes against her friend's cheek, "I might have. I've picked up men like that before. But I have," her manicured fingernails scratch gently at Astoria's scalp, "someone expecting me tonight…"

Astoria's hand tightens briefly against Fabia's thigh, but it doesn't pull the fabric higher or lower. Her lips don't tease when they meet Fabia's, but they do… linger. "You're so much… more than I imagined," Astoria replies. "Did I ever mention how glad I am you decided to stay?" Astoria retreats a little so that she can watch Fabia's reaction in what little light is filtered through the windows. "Then I shouldn't disturb your makeup," she adds, grinning. Oh, but she wants to.

And Fabia's reaction? A soft, fond smile, fading gradually into mischief. "Sweetie," she giggles, "makeup exists to be fixed… How glad are you?"

Astoria studies Fabia while biting her own lower lip. She shifts a little, rotating her hips and legs until she can face the older woman properly, and without holding so firmly onto her thigh. Once settled, Fabia's dress gets pushed back a little, and Astoria's hand finds purchase on skin, or stockings. "I'll show you," she replies, before leaning in for a longer, deeper kiss.

London rushes by, its lights and sounds completely ignored in favor of far more intriguing pursuits.

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