(1938-12-23) Snide Speculation
Details for Snide Speculation
Summary: When Andromena realizes who Rhyeline is, she and Alphard speculate (not too quietly) over who she might be. At Rhyeline's table, Euphemia and Tiberius advise her not to pay them any mind.
Date: Monday, December 23, 1938
Location: Sweet Temptations
Related: This scene immediately follows:Petals of the Clouds

It's a cold winter afternoon with snow that continues to flutter to earth.

"Honestly? I never really understood how he could stomach the smell. The beasts are all fantastic, but I could never work in a place like that. Grand-papa is.. well.. different than the rest of the familiy." Like a nasty barely civilized beast while the rest of the Blacks tended to be fairly aristocratic in their appearence and demeanor both. "But the snake was pretty great."
Entering the sweet-store was a tall and handsome youth that oozed privilige and better-than-you arrogance. He had a pretty young female on his arm, their heads together as they talked. Though there were no bold public displays of affection, there were still subtle hints of intimacy about their bodylangauge. Slightly reserved - especially for a pair of teenagers - but definetly there. "I hope there's a table free.." because in this time of year, Diagon Alley was just.. hideously bloated with ugly plebian masses.

"I'm sure there is…some reward to be had for him." Andromena would have ventured to say: maybe he just hates people, but it was Alphard's grandfather and he naturally knew him far better than she! Plus, it would have just sounded rude. However, she did agree that the stench was beyond awful. It could be tolerated only for a small period of time. In fact, whenever they went there next she hoped it was with a real purpose in mind other than browsing, so that their stay was not prolonged. Andromena had sniffed Alphard on the way here, muttering, "At least it didn't leech into your clothes."
But of course, she still smelled of that alluring perfume he so liked.
"Hm…hey, over there looks like a good spot," Andromena pointed out to Alphard as they discussed the potential ordeal that was seating. Quite luckily, the particular place she'd seen just so happened to be rather neglected by the common crowd. Might of had something to do with that guard watching two women not all that far off. Andromena was oblivious to it.

Rhyeline sips her cup of cocoa, sitting alone at the window as she waits, hoping for her friend to return upon completing a bit of business outside. The guardwitch continues to watch her with a impassive expression, stern as stone. The girl peeks over at the arrival of yet more students. Bringing her cup of cocoa to her lips, she takes a long, slow sip. Her gaze lingers upon them. She doesn't expect to be noticed by the students. After all, she never used to be. However, she has changed a great deal since her years as the mouse hidden behind the books. The guard keeping such a close eye on her is a testament to the attention she draws these days.

"He's a widower, you know. After grand-mama died, he just prefers his beasts to regular company. It was terribly tragic. He really loved her deeply!" And like that he could make his muggle hating grandfather sound like the romantic broken hearted gentleman! "We don't really see that much of him. It was why I wanted to step by. He had a lot of his mind, though."
In school and in private Alphard would sprawl out in a boneless and cool slouch. Now that they were under public scrutiny he sat instead with a straight backed posture, pround and superior to his surroundings. His imperius stare wandered the interior of the shop, eventually coming to rest on Rhyeline. Mostly because he noticed the guard. Anyone with a guard duty was obviously important enough to be worthy of a bit of attention. "She looks vaguely familiar, doesn't she? Anyway, what do you want to drink?"

There was a guard? Oh dear. Andromena really needed to step up her game when it came to the powers of observation. But since when had she ever had the chance to spend much time around people who needed guards? Her gaze swung back to the petite woman, politely scrutinizing if such a thing were possible, before sliding away once again to stare at the menu board.
"Hm…yes. Can't quite put my finger on it, though." She looked like perhaps a recently graduated student. Maybe a year or two ago? Andromena could not be sure, but she had such an air about her. "A float sounds nice," Andromena answered Alphard. Despite the cold weather, she wasn't really craving something warm like hot chocolate. Vanilla ice cream and that one fizzy soda were a particularly delicious combo that Andromena would rarely pass up in a shop such as this.

Rhyline blinks when the pair of students take notice of her. No doubt, it's a bit foolish for an adult to seem shy of students. However, the girl can't quite seem to help it. Quickly, she lowers her gaze and brings her cup of cocoa to her lips, half hiding behind it.

Andromena could not help but think that Rhyeline bore a resemblance to someone. Who she could not be sure, but the thought really niggled at her. Unfortunately, there came a moment when their eyes locked, and even if both of the girls looked away…Andromena now felt compelled to greet her. That sort of social obligation had to be observed once eyes met! As Alphard went to get their drinks, Andromena, seated not all that far off, managed a shy, "Hello." And hoped little more would come of it. There! Social niceties met.

Rhyelne peeks at Andromena from over the brim of her cup. She lowers it, slow and hesitant. "Good afternoon," she answers with a small nod. Her accent is clear and delicate, with the most subte hint of French. She sits alone at a table near the window. Her guard stands not too far off, keeping an eye on her.

Even Adults need candy. Tiberius, suited, enters the Sweet Shop. Weirdly, he has plans for some candy, that aren't wholly malicious. So THIS is the other business that he'd abandoned Rhyeline for? His entrance is noted by the guard, who fixes the Rogue with an aggressive stare. But says nothing, when he notices her charge, and smiles at the slight girl. Daughter of an 'old (possibly former) friend', indeed. "Miss Diderot. I hadn't expected to find you here." He greets as well.

Andromena has French ancestry…but her accent has none of that foreign lilt. In fact, she barely spoke French, and was currently being tutored by her cousin in the hopes of pleasing dearest mother with the newly acquired skill. Rhyeline is given a polite smile as Andromena clasps her hands before her upon the table while she waited for Alphard's return. Nothing worthy of note for the woman's guard here! Just some equally shy teenager making the smallest of small talk. Andromena can't help but be glad when Tiberius arrives, making it so she can fade into the…background…
Had he just said Diderot!? That certainly explained a lot.

Rhyeline blinks, peeking up from her cup of cocoa to Tiberius. Although filled with a shy caution, she offers him a small nod with a soft smile. "Yes… Lilith- we came to have a bit of cocoa. And cake… but- she had to leave…" Biting her lower lip, she peeks out the window. It seems her friend has vanished to put out whatever fire she got called outside for in the first place.

Andromena spies a relative, an aunt to be exact, and she takes a moment to go greet her and show off the present Alphard got her. The young man in question is, of course, told so he didn't return to an empty table bewildered by her disappearance.

"Unlucky." Tiberius comments. He doesn't ask her guard, either, but looks to Rhyeline and gestures to the vacant seat. "Well, my own pressing engagement has been postponed, if you'd appreciate the company?" He smiles kindly back at her. Although he has no interest in cocoa or chocolate - Aside from a dozen chocolate wands. But that's a different story.

The door opens and the figure of Euphemia can be seen from underneath a heavy deep red cloak trimmed in golden fur. Removing the expensive looking cloak the blonde smiles faintly as she glances around breifly and makes her way over to the counter to get a cup of warm coffee for herself. Once she has the coffee she heads for a table near the window. She pauses just when she is about to sit seeing a familer face not to far from her. With a faint smile she approches Rhyeline and inclines her head to the woman and the man nearby. "Hello again. It seems we are developing a habit of running into each other Miss Diderot. Would you and your companion mind more company?" She looks from the dark haired woman to Tiberius with a calm sort of curiousity.

"Yes, I- I would," murmurs Rhyeline with a small nod. She pushes the small cake closer to him. There are two forks. Her friend left before she had a chance to begn her half. The girl pauses upon catching sight of Euphemia. Her dark gaze widens as the girl is suddenly overcome with a profound shyness. That happens when one is in the presence of a much admired author. Never mind that her own father is quite famous. The girl parts her lips to speak, but can't quite seem to find her words yet. And so with a small nod, she indicates a third chair at her table.

Euphemia is quite unknown to Tiberius. He takes the seat on offer slowly, looking up at the elegant woman - Although Rhyeline steals his gaze again, as she ever does. He takes the fork, although doesn't dig into the cake yet. Merely toys with it, teasing it between his fingers. "Please, join us, Miss." He speaks on behalf on Rhyeline, when her words fail her so spectacularly. Giving her a smile instead.

Andromena has returned to her seat, and her aunt, after cooing at her necklace, disappears into obscurity.

A soft chuckle is given at Rhyeline's shyness and Euphemia seems quite amused and also pleased that she can get such a reaction. Carefully draping her cloak over the back of her chair she takes the offered seat with a smile. Setting her coffee cup onto the table she looks between the two of them before Rhyeline steals her attention completely. "Now I do believe I said I would tell you about my newest book…provided you are still interested? If you are I propose an exchange of information."

Very belatedly Alphard returned to the table with the pair of drinks, having been distracted by a couple of students whom he'd felt obliged to belittle and humiliate with a few cruel words. Then their parents had gotten involved, too, and he'd obviously had to look down his nose at said adults as well. All of which had contributed to the smile he was wearing when he finally settled in opposite to Andromena once more. While she'd gone for something cold, he rather enjoyed his warm beverages. But there wasn't just hot chocolate in it, rather there was a mountain of cream twice the size of the cup itself floating ontop. "What did your Auntie want?"
His gaze slid towards the next door table, which had suddenly grown a little crowd of its own. "No wonder I didn't recognize her if she dies a tiny death every time someone looks at her. And still I can't pin point her. Last year graduate, perhaps?"

Rhyeline peeks over at Tiberius when he supplies the words she couldn't seem to summon. The subtle warmth in her cheeks deepens as she watches him. However, when Euphemia shows such interest, the girl seems positively overwhelmed. Interested. Yes, she nods. However, at the exchange of information, she bites her lower lip. He dark, expressive eyes betray far more than her words ever could. The suggestion draws out caution in the girl, however her curiosity over the new book is just as powerful. Biting her lower lip, she glances to Tiberius, almost as if seeking reassurance before looking once more at Euphemia.
Before she can make an attempt at answering, Alphard's comment reaches her keen notice. Flushing deeply, her hands tighten upon her cup of cocoa and she lowers her gaze.

Tiberius resumes fly-on-the-wall mode. Rhyeline might recognise the same facial expression as when Lilith had joined them earlier. Although he's not retreating in any way, shape or form. He sighs a little bit at Alphard's words, observing the boy before tapping the fork against the plate with a delicate 'ring', enough to get her attention. "Miss Diderot…" He murmurs kindly, meeting her eyes. "Disregard that. You remember how confused and annoying teenagers can be."

"She just wanted to say hello, but since she was here I had to show her your gift to me," Andromena informed Alphard with a contented smile. The necklace was worn in plain view, well, plain view now that she wasn't bundled up within her winter robes. Those were draped over the back of her chair. Today the young woman was clad in a sharp skirt and blouse with a half-jacket that only served to be fashionable, little ankle boots at her feet and a pair of ever-essential ladies glove completed the affair.
"She's a Diderot," Andromena said in a quiet voice, leaning over slightly to share this little bit of information with Alphard. "I overheard her name dropped." That mountain of cream sure looked appealing. That was how Andromena liked her hot chocolate too, but…she had a rootbeer float to enjoy! The young woman totally missed Rhyeline's deep crimson flush, absorbed as she was with her drink in that next moment.

A golden brow raises at the words from the teenager nearby and Euphemia looks to Rhyeline with a soft expression. "My dear..the words of others have power yes but you can control how much power they have over you. If something is said about you that you do not like then you have the power to ignore it or to change it." The blonde reaches for her coffee taking a slow considering sip watching those dark eyes and thier expression. "Now did you want to learn about my newest book or would you rather talk about something else?"

Alphard blithely ignored Tiberius, though he did keep looking at Rhyeline with a rather critical expression. "Diderot?" Of course Alphard didn't read fiction, and most of the time really couldn't care less about history. Unless it was somehow directly relevant to him; like how his ancestors were magnificent, or why Slytherin was the most glorious of the Founders. Lazily he took another slow sip from his cup, which left him with a moustach of cream for the two seconds it took him to wipe it away. His voice dropped a level since Andromena was going whsper mode. But a really sharp ear could probably still catch the words. "I don't remember a Diderot at school. You know, perhaps the guard's not there to protect her, but to keep her from running away anytime someone addresses her. Do you think she'll jump if I say boo?"

Rhyeline's dark gaze flits to Tiberius when he taps the spoon against the plate and murmurs to her. Although the warmth in her cheeks does not fade, she offers him an appreciative little nod. Peeking up at Euphemia, she just clings even tighter to her cup. It would seem that Euphemia's encouragement has only added to her shyness. She hesitates before offering a small nod. "A-another time… I- Perhaps… perhaps you would- if you ever have- have time… You would care to come to Berylwood for- for tea?"
Rhyeline lowers her gaze when she again hears Alphard's voice. However, his suggestion just seems to make her blink and glance over at him. Though he was trying to be mean, the absurdity of running away for such a reason, and the guards keeping her in place, just puzzles her.

It's getting crowded in here. Tiberius is beginning to feel restless, too. The thief isn't used to such crowded moments, but it seems pursuing Rhyeline attracts company and comment. Such a frustrating girl. And yet still, she makes him smile. Wordless, he eases the small fork into the half-cake that was initially offered to him, and gently pushes the plate back towards her. "Some people aren't worth your time, Miss Diderot." And others are cruel bastards that you swear unbreakable oaths to. His expression shows brief annoyance at the memory.

"Shy people aren't the sort that have to be guarded so they don't run away," Andromena informed Alphard with a confidence that came from knowing. "Now if she were some sort of repressed, rebellious daughter of an over-bearing father, then I would agree with you." Sip sip of her drink. But Rhyeline was so obviously not that sort of woman that it was almost painful even to Andromena; who was herself not the most social of butterflies.
"And anyway Diderot. You know, the author." Andromena and Alphard are seated at a table not all that far from the group of adults currently being discussed, and there are two drinks between them. They're seated close, as one might expect, but are by no means hanging all over each other.

Tilting her head to the side and sipping her coffee again before setting the cup down Euphemia considers the offer a moment before smiling faintly and nodding to Rhyeline. "I think I would like that very much. I believe I can can make time whenever you think would be best. Did you want to set a time now? My schedule is quite flexible, its one of the good things about being a writer." That smile almost turns playful at the last part and Eupehmia studies Rhyeline quitely waiting for a response with patience.
Variel enters with an odd scarf and a bit of parchment in hand. The scarf is odd because it is a snake- dark green and active. The note is two words, neither of which is interesting sans conteqxt.
Variel comes in and threads through to the confections counter, pausing there to resesrch its contents.

When Rhyeline looked in Alphard's direction he gave her his most brilliant smile, pearly white and handsome, and didn't the bastard know it, too. There was nothing at all about his expression to suggest he'd ever said a cruel word to anyone. He lifted his cup of hot chocolate and saluted her. Then, just because, he added a sly wink as well.
"So perhaps the shy girl routine is just an act, and beneath it lurks a monster capable of acting out in every way a father would despair of." With a smirk he nudged Andromena with his shoulder, and teased. "It's always the seemingly shy ones you have to watch the closest, you know. Anyway. Diderot.. author. Actually I think I met someone like that at a party thrown by one of papa's friends this summer. Dreadfully boring one, too. Everybody was old and talking Ministry stuff. And not the interesting kind." Was there a hint of a whine to his tone? Perhaps.

And here Andromena had been preparing to defend that author Diderot was not one of the writers of the romance novels she read, even if he did have that one really steamy scene in his latest book - you know, just before the really gruesome death of the star-crossed lovers. A total shocker, too. Nobody would ever suspect the man that wrote such happy-go-luck books so fondly remembered from her childhood to turn so decidedly grim, and let's face it, risque.
"I don't know…" Andromena mused, grinning as Alphard nudged her ribs. "Sometimes a shy girl is just a shy girl. Oh! Maybe she has a stalker?" Andromena leaned in again to speak in hushed tones. "The sort that just absolutely obsesses over his victims until he can get his hands on them and…" Her voice lowered even further. "Do unspeakable things to them until he wrings the life right out of their bodies and dumps them in a dark alley somewhere." Andromena spied Variel as he entered, and would attempt to wave if he was paying them much attention.

Rhyeline takes up her fork and plucks a small piece of the moist, dark chocolate cake from the plate Tiberius nudged closer. "Perhaps… tomorrow afternoon?" suggests Rhyeline, looking up at Euphemia with only subtle hesitation. Rhyeline does her best to ignore the conversation between the two teenagers. However, at the mention of a stalker, the girl grows rather still. Of course, her guard betrays nothing. Her expression seems carved in stone.

Tiberius hears that. And he chuckles softly, finding the idea a little bit amusing. Sadly for poor Tiberius, he's a little busy in the momentary amusement to notice that Rhyeline has taken the words inward in whatever sense. Although he does calm himself a second or two in.

Euphemia nods slowly taking a final sip of her coffee. "That sounds like a good plan. Very well I will seee you tommorow then. Now I do believe I had an errand to run before I came in here….excuse me and have a good day." She notes the expression of the woman at the mention of a stalker. She sets her cup down and rises picking up her deep read cloak and wrapping up in it. She gently and subtly brushes aginst Rhyeline on her way out the door her hand 'accidently' brushing the top of the womans head in hope of distract her from any unpleasant thoughts. She pauses at the door sending Rhyeline a breif yet warm little smile and then she is gone.

"You have such a ghoulish imagination, Meanie," Alphard said with a laugh as Andromena murmured her quiet little theory. "The books you read.. I think they might just have warped your mind a little bit." Not that he actually seemed to mind. With another chuckle he sipped from his drink. "Well. I can see her being a natural victim, but I'm not really sure if she has that star shine it takes to attract a proper deranged and absolutely fanatically enamoured stalker. Bit mousy, you know?"
He looked down at his cup, noticing it was empty. "I really should be going, I suppose."

The gentle, rather subtle stroke across the top of her head distracts Rhyeline at once from her troubled thoughts. The girl blinks, looking up in time to catch the brief, but warm little smile from her favorite author. Rhyeline's dark gaze positively shines and the warm glow brings a soft smile to her lips. She takes another bite of cake. Glancing to Tiberius, she hesitates a moment before murmuring, "I- I also had- had one more errand to run… but… it was lovely to- to see you…" For the moment, she seems to be ignoring the two teenagers and their conversation.

Tiberius gently rubs his beard, watching Rhyeline again. Thankfully Euphemia makes her goodbyes, and he's kind enough to tilt his head at her. "I've nothing further planned, Miss Diderot. I am lucky in that my employment makes… Few demands on me, daily." He rises, slowly, and then offers the shy girl his hand, to help her up. And they say chivalry is dead. It clearly exists, in the heart of a man who steals from others to survive. "Might I escort you? Capable though your current security may be."

Andromena grinned at Alphard, utterly ignorant of any real distress she may be causing with her idle, if morbid, imaginings. In fact, she has no idea she has been overheard. Unlike her handsome male companion, Andromena would never intentionally act cruelly without just cause! Then again, in Alphard's defense, he probably always had just cause. The point being: Andromena was a softie.
"Yeah, you're right," she agrees when he mentions leaving. "Glad we could hang out today, though." Because it had been really very a nice. A day just to themselves, with no school and no parental obligations.

Alphard leaned in to make a feather light brush of his lips against Andromena's cheek, the first (and now last) actual show of affection he'd given the girl since they arrived. "I'll see you."
He gave Rhyeline a passing look on his way to the door, his smirk bemused. Then he was gone!

Rhyeline pauses when he offers his hand. But then, her soft, warm little smile grows. She places her warm, delicate hand in his. With his help, she rises to her feet with a slow, careful grace. Her guard shifts, not too pleased. However, she does not intervene. "Thank you, I- that would be… lovely." She lowers her gaze and takes up her crismon scarf. Its color matches the ribbon gathering her long, loose curls at the small of her back. She begins to wrap it round and around until her neck and nose are concealed.

Andromena was not long in departing herself, but unlike Alphard she didn't look at either Rhyeline or Tiberius. She just makes her exit, because what else had she to stay for?

Delicate, warm flesh. She's so light, he barely notices the change in weight. The moment causes a momentary blip - A beat skipped, the man not struggling at all physically - Although his gaze dips for a moment, as he assists her to his feet. "It would be a pleasure…" No objections to her covering her face - It's cold outside, after all. And not everyone has the rugged, manly strength to deal with the cold that Tiberius has. He's kind too, to open the door for her, and wait for her to walk out.

Rhyeline pulls up the hood of her furlined cloak and at last she is ready to venture back out into the light afternoon snow still fluttering to the earth. With a small, appreciative nod, she passes under his gaze and out of the shop. "Thank you… I- I was just on my way to- to Twilfit and Tattings…"

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