(1939-01-09) Tendrils of Smoke
Details for Tendrils of Smoke
Summary: After encouraging Rhyeline to try her first cigarette, Hector warns her about Tiberius.
Date: Thursday, January 9, 1939
Location: Cafe Tasseo
Related: He's a Rogue

Few would care to venture out in such weather. The cobblestone streets of Verdic Alley are slick with ice and a wind of bitter cold brings with it flurries of snow outside. The warm opulence of Cafe Tasseo stands in stark contrast to the merciless cold of the evening.

After a brief encounter with an advisor to an unnamed Ministry official, Rhyeline remains sitting in silent contemplation. Gazing out at the dimly lit street, the girl warms her hands against the sides of a cup of tea. A pair of guardwitches sit a discreet distance away. It would seem that after the unpleasantness at the Sykes Gala, another has been added to her retinue.

— "Ah." A deep baritone voice speaks out from behind the woman. "It is a genuine pleasure to see you again." The voice is cool and flat in tone. When the young woman turns she will see Hector Carrow standing behind her with a lit cigarette in hand that is being brought to his lips once more. He is bundled up in a three-quarter length jacket of dark brown fabric and a scarf of soft green. His expression is only slightly warm as he sends a thin smile in her direction. "Perhaps you would allow me the pleasure of sitting down for a cup of tea with you? Maybe this time I would even be given the opportunity of knowing your name now that Ms Potter is not around. She can take her job so very seriously." Hector takes a drag from his cigarette…

Rhyeline gives a soft squeak when her slight flinch spills a few drops of tea. A blush warms her cheeks as she peeks with quiet caution over her shoulder. Catching sight of Hector, the shyness in her young, dark gaze deepens. However, there is a hint of curiosity in the slight tilting of her head. A few tables away, one of her guards fixes her attention on Hector, while the other glances over on occasion, reserving most of her attention for the rest of the establishment.
"Rhyeline Diderot…" she murmurs, pronouncing her surname with a flawless French accent. Holding her cup of tea close to her chest, she seems to be waiting for him to join her.

— With a nod he moves around to take a seat across the table from the young woman, seemly unaware of the guards watching them. His soft bronze eyes peer over the table toward her as he waves down a server to order a new pot of tea. "It is nice to meet you." Hector says plainly and with a clear tone that indicates that they both are aware that he is simply making the normal pleasant converstion. He follows it with another thing smile. "My name is Hector Carrow. There are a few extra names cramed in there as well, but for times sake I'll skip them." Another drag is taken from the cigarette, finishing it off, before he tosses the butt away and begins to pull out a silver case to get another. Once it is held firmly between his lips he reaches out with the case, offering the woman a cigarette should she want one. "I won't be offended if you decline."

Rhyeline blinks in recognition at the name Carrow. And of course, should he follow the affairs of one particular branch of the Carrow family, her name might have been familiar to him as well. It's not every day someone is disowned for their reckless abandon over a girl. This girl. "Pleased to meet you, Hector Carrow…" she murmurs, following along in the dance of social graces.
For a moment, the girl looks a bit lost when offered a cigarette. No one has ever offered her one before. At last, her blush simply deepens a bit and she gives a small shake of her head. "No, thank you…"

— It isn't hard to read the reaction of the her face at the offered cigarette and in response Hector nods slowly before placing the case, still opened, on the tabletop between them. "The offer remains quite literally on the table." The man grins before he opens a silver lighter and ignites his cigarette, taking a long drag. The light is similarly placed beside the case, well within her arms reach. "I only offer because, if I am going to be honest, you look like you were trying to get away." The smoke trails in lazy streams from his mouth as he speaks in that baritone voice, his posture relaxing into the warm wooden chair.

Rhyeline gazes at the cigarettes upon the table as a kitten observes the flickering of a candle. Peeking up at him through her lashes, her head tilts once more to the side. "…I do?"

— The man simply nods as he tea finally arrives. "I find it a rare thing to see a beautiful young woman sitting along in a cafe at this hour of night, drinking tea alone." Hector explains as he take a hold of the teapot and begins to pour himself a glass. The strong oder of Earl Grey wafts within the cafe and is even enough to cut through to scent of his expensive cigarettes. "You are either not a social creature and chose to avoid the company of other, but if that were true you would have found some excuse that would have stopped me from joining you." He grins as he lifts the tea to his lips and takes a tenative sip. "That and you almost took a cigarette."

At the scent of Earl Grey, Rhyeline brings her own cup of tea to her lips for a long, slow sip. Her dark gaze remains fixed upon Hector's austere features, lingering upon his cold stare. "The cigarettes are… an escape?"

— "It's something new." He replies simply. "I suspect you've never smoked a cigarette before?" The man sets down his tea and smiles, lifting his own lit cigarette to his lips and inhaling. He lets the smoke out in a long relaxing looking breath and tilts his head in the same direction as hers, mimicking her slightly. "Maybe you should try one. No one is here to admonish you afterall… it may be your best chance to be bold in the face of convention." A wink is sent her way as he tone is purposefully playful and daring.

The tendrils of smoke ensnare Rhyeline's attention for a moment before he recaptures her gaze with the slight tilt of his head. The subtle hint of warmth in her cheeks deepens. Once more, she looks to the cigarettes upon the table. As she considers them, she takes another small sip of tea. At last, she peeks up at him once more. Cautious as a kitten, she sets down her cup of tea before for a single cigarette. She bites her lower lip, looking a bit lost as she peeks up at him for guidance.

— With that same thin smile on his face Hector half stands and reachs out to take the lighter. A flick of his thumb later and a bright flame is held out before her. "Place it between your lips and move the end over the flame, then breath in." It's a simple enough set of instructions, however Hector does feel the need to add… "You will cough at first, but the discomfort will pass before you finish the cigarette." His eyes sparkle in the low light. A sight that is more emotional that anything his expression has produced up until now. His own cigarette is held in his other hand, slowly smoldering in the cool air of the cafe.

Rhyeline gazes at the flame for a moment before mimicking he way he holds his own cigarette between his fingers. Placing it to her lips, she leans in closer. The little moth draws a small breath and almost at once squeezes her eyes shut with discomfort as she coughs. Her cheeks burn with warmth as she peeks up at him, eyes glistening as she covers her mouth. A delicate ribbon of smoke ascends with slow grace from the subtle glow of her cigarette.

— The lighter is snapped shut and placed back on the table beside the case as Hector leans back into his chair and takes another drag from his own smoke. "Now… I promise that was the worst of it. The next one won't be nearly as uncomfortable." His promise hangs in the air along with the smoke, wafting in the air around them and slowly disapating into the room. "Congratulations Ms Diderot." His cup of tea is raised now in a shallow salute as he smirks. "You are now a very dangerous looking woman."

Rhyeline blinks when told she looks dangerous. She doesn't seem to quite know what to make of this statement. Had all the students not returned to Hogwarts a few nights before, the little one might have most easily been mistaken as one of them. Holding the cigarette between her slender fingers only makes her look like a young girl doing something she shouldn't. After a moment of hesitation, she looks back down to the cigarette and cautiously brings it to her lips once more. Squeezing her eyes shut, the coughing lasts even longer this time. The fragile creature folds an arm across her middle, half hugging herself as she looks to the cigarette through a blur of tears. She peeks up at Hector with a vulnerable look of embaressment.

— His eyes narrow as he watches her cough harder this time. "Well… it can be different for each person." A laugh emits from the man, it's a dry sound that is genuine is some manner. "Don't try to fight it so much. Just breath as normally as you can. There's no reason to take such deep breaths." The explination is given just after he took in a lung full of the acrid smoke. While his words are spoken the smoke trails from his mouth, as if to illustrate just how normal it is once a person can relax into it. "Take a moment and have some tea." The request is supported with a somewhat pleading tone. "Please. No need to rush yourself."

Rhyeline rests her wrist upon the table, arching it a bit with the cigarette still betweein her fingers. With a subtle hint of relief, she hides behind her cup of tea for a long, slow sip. Her dark gaze lingers upon his now with a brighter hint of curiosity. "Bailey seems cautious of you…" she murmurs from behind her cup.

— "I am sure she does." Hector replies with a smile and a nod as though this was a line of conversation he expected to have with the woman once they got comfortable. "She used to work for me. A long time ago." The man explains smoothly as he sips at his team while smoke continues to drift between them. "In truth we worked very well together. Sometimes an investment would go under, leaving those at the sinking end with more than a little hostility held toward my company." A hand is placed on his chest as he takes another drag; he continues to tell the tale. "Sadly she and I did not see eye to eye on some things. That and our… hrm… relationship had become more complicated than I'd perferred to have with an employee." No more details are given at the moment, but instead Hector leaves that last tidbit where it is. left to stew in the womans mind. The lurid possibilities behind his words remaining unclear.

Such innocence shines in her young, dark gaze, and yet Rhyeline takes in the intended implication of his words with little more than a curious blink. Setting down her cup of tea, she takes a small sip of smoke from the cigarette between her fingers. Much smaller, and the cough that follows is slight. "I have appreciated her presence." The end of her cigarette glows faintly as she takes another small draught. "But now… Tiberius holds her role?"

— His arms spread wide as if to draw her attention to him sitting across from her. "Notice that I am not warning you away from her. Ms Potter is an excellent guard and I am heartened by the fact that she is your guardian." The mention of Tiberius causes Hector to pause for a short moment before he nods once more in an affirmative. "That is correct. Which reminds me to once again apologize for the behavior of my employee that evening in the tavern. I wish there was something I could do to show just how unfortunate I felt that situation was."

Rhyeline has not forgotten. She knows the rudeness Hector refers to. The acrid words Tiberius had shot at his employer had rather shocked her at the time. But now, she lowers her gaze, looking to the evanescent tendrils of smoke rising from her cigarette. "There is no need… Tiberius… he has been most kind to me…"

— The soft bronze eyes of Hector settle on the woman as she looks at the table, his expression remaining placid as they drink tea and smoke. The next words that come from the man are spoken with a mild interest as he says them. "How interesting." Leaning forward now he smiles and nods his head toward her, as if to indicate that she continue. "He had not told me that he apologized to you in person."

Rhyeline blinks, biting her lower lip when a bit of ash drops from the end of her cigarette and onto the pristine table cloth. She peeks up at him, a bit lost, but she pauses at that smile of his. Silent, she studies his eyes with hushed curiosity. "No… but… he has been kind to me."

— "Ah." He replies with a nod that is eventually followed by an expression of understanding. When a moment passed the man sighs before taking another sip from his tea. "Ms Diderot… I feel obligated to express a level of concern regarding Mr Tripe." Those eyes look away for the first time in the conversation, a note of regret in his expression. When he looks back Hector continues, "You see… kind as I am sure he has been to you, I would appreciate that you remained somewhat guarded. The man has an unfortunate past as a thief… I caught him breaking into my own home and was barely able to disarm him and convince him to join me in more legitimate endevours." Once more Hector sighs before adding. "I suspect old habits dire hard when a beautiful mark enters his sights."

"I see…" murmurs Rhyeline, gazing into her cup of tea with a quiet reserve. As his words settle, she closes her eyes and takes a slow, silent sip. "Yes… my brother… he told me to be cautious as well… But… I thought… he was just being over-protective after- after what happened that night… at the gala…"

— For a long moment Hector remains silent while watching the woman. His teacup is set aside as he leans over and places a rough hand on hers. "I am terribly sorry to be the bearer of this news my dear. Please know that Mr Tripe is attempting to change his ways. He may slip into his past a few more times before we are able to bring about a new mindset and a new life for himself." With a pat on her hand once more Hector leans back and takes another long drag from his cigarette. There is a short pause as he seems to consider something else, something that had been nagging him for a while now. Without an expression of anything other than honest worry he then asks a very straight forward question. "He told you I was some sort of monster… didn't he?"

Rhyeline's dark gaze lingers upon his hand over hers as he speaks. Like a fieldmouse caught under the shadow of a hawk, her hand remains perfectly still. He has his answer at once with the quiet look of genuine surprise. "No… Of course not." But now, I seed has been planted in her mind. Should he?

— Hector laughs now, as if a sudden weight has been lifted and he can relax a bit more. Putting out his now completely smoked cigarette in the tray that contains his tea. Now that his hands a free he leans back, clasping his fingers together over his chest. "I figured he'd be that far along already to be honest." Hector explains with a grin. "It's an old con. If I guess right he's probably not far away from explain to you how his employee is some maniac who has him trapped firmly under his thumb by some sort of spell or threat." Hector shakes his head as if to dispell the thought of such a stupid thing actually being true. "It's supposed to make you feel pity for him and having seen that look in your eyes now, I suspect you would have tried to help him. Which is exactly where he wants his mark to be… trusting and eager to help him in his dire time of need."

Rhyeline takes in Hector's laughter, his relief, but most of all his words in watchful silence. Though bright and expressive, her eyes show no hint of shame at her naivete- only hushed curiosity. "I will be cautious," she murmurs, she murmurs with a small nod before lowering her gaze to sip the last of her tea. "And yet… you keep him?" she murmurs, peeking back up at him.

— A nod is given. "He has talents that make him good for the job. He knows the streets and the scum whom live there and… well, to be honest, I think I see some of myself in him." Hector shakes his head and and smirks, his hands pointing in unison to the cigarette held in her hands that is now burnt down almost to her fingers. "You may want to be careful with that." The warning is given with a smile before he continues. "He's ambitious. Rough around the edges… yes, but he has potential."

Rhyeline looks to the cigarette between her fingers. Upon seeing how close the dying embers have come, she panics and drops it with a soft squeak onto the pristine table cloth where it begins to singe a hole. A vigilant water approachs at once and with a flick of his wand, the cigarette vanishes and with another flick, the cloth is mended. Cheeks burning with warmth, Rhyeline gives an apologetic nod before peeking back up at Hector.

— Chuckling as he watches her fumble Hector begins to stand. "Well, this has been a much more interesting conversation than I had expected." The comment is followed by his hands reaching out to take the case and lighter from the table. They find their way to his pockets before he continues. "I must once more apologize for ruining your evening with this sort of information. You probably were not looking for reasons to suspect Mr Tripe of anything other than being a kind man."

Rhyeline peeks up at him as she warms her hands against the sides of her cup of tea. Despite her many sips, it is still full. "No… but I appreciate your concern. I assure you… it did not ruin my evening. Good evening, Mr. Carrow."

— As the man begins to leave he stops in the doorway before turning back and reaching into his pocket with a smirk. He once more opens his case and plucks out a cigarette only to place it on the table beside her teacup. "One for the road." The man remarks with a wry grin and a wink before turning and heading out of the cafe and off toward his home.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License