(1939-02-03) Driving the Driver
Details for Driving the Driver
Summary: Per previous agreement, Frid teaches Cooper how to drive, using his special baby. Stress and drinking ensue. (OOC Note: Their players DO NOT condone drinking and driving.)
Date: February 3, 1939
Location: Outside of Hogsmeade

Even if Frid and Fabia were transitioning from quiet Hogsmeade life to the hustle and bustle of London, Cooper thought it not robbery to tread on her friends' kindness and take advantage of a previously promised driving lesson. So when the weather was clear enough, and just the right amount of snow had melted the pair had driven off the outerskirts of the wizarding village and settled at the side of an empty road. Cooper's lovely saluki, Maggot, sits in the back seat quite and still like the good dog that he is as he watches the interaction between his owner and the valet just outside the driver's door. "Keys please," the blonde auror holds a gloved hand out with the look of an eager teenager on her face. Frid is barely out of the car when she stands there insisting.

"You know we could wait until the summer," Frid insists, keeping a firm grip on the keys until he forces himself to let go of them into that outstretched hand. "Slowly, then. We drive very slowly. And carefully. Maybe we should go and drive around a field for a bit instead. Where you can't crash." He holds up a finger. Wait. And then moves around the front of the car to take a seat in the passenger side. "Sit down, adjust your seat, adjust your mirrors."

It takes two or three sincere and powerful pulls for Cooper to finally finagle the keys out. She's quite strong for a lady her size, but even in his age Frid may still be a bit stronger. "Yes but by the summer you'll all be in London and I'd like to drive you around for a change!" She says brightly, as if this was going to be a piece of cake. "Oh poo a field! We're in Hogsmeade, no one's coming down this road," she snorts, pratically hopping into the drivers seat and shutting the door with an eager 'slam'. Ignoring (or perhaps forgetting in all her excitement) Frid's instruction to adjust herself in the seat she looks about for the ignition. "So does the key go in here?" she asks, ready to get the car running.

Frid winces as the door slams, holding up his hands. "Easy! This is a piece of delicate machinery you're trying to break already! Seat. Mirrors. Don't put the keys in th… I said mirrors first! Miss Cooper!" he chides plaintively. "Come on now, I said I'd teach you, but do you know how rare this car is?"

Cooper has almost plunged into the ingnition until she is scolded and immediately retracts the key, with her hands up. "Okay, okay mirrors and seats first!" She personally hasn't spent too much time in a muggle car, but she's watched cab drivers enough to get an idea. Taking a minute or two, she slides the seat way closer to the wheel for Frid's legs are far longer than hers. And nearly doubting herself, Cooper fixes the mirrors as well just right for her height. That is the angle she's supposed to see right? Oh dear. It'll just have to do. "No, I don't know … ," Cooper looks wide eyed and clueless at Frid. "…How rare is it?"

Frid arches a brow. "With this engine? Less than a dozen made. So be careful with her," he insists, a hand subconsciously stroking the leather interior. "Right, now you've got three pedals in front of you. Your left foot stays on the left one, that's the clutch. Your right foot is going to work the other two, the middle one's the brake, the right one's the accelerator. Got that?" He takes a breath, leaning back in his seat. "Start the ignition, then, god help us all."

Cooper blinks. "Less than a dozen? Is that very little?" she asks, completely unfamiliar with the scale of automobile mass production. But she doesn't fret over it too much for he's moved onto the next set of instructions. Left - clutch. Middle - brake. Right - accelerate. "Sooo … like this?" she says practicing how her feet should be working the pedals and showing them to Frid for confirmation. When she gets the green light, Cooper's face beams again and she turns the keys so that the engine roars to life. Maggot, who was laying down in the back picks his head up with interest at the sound, only to dip his head back down into laying position.

Frid exhales, nodding once more. "Got it, just like that. Ready to pull off, then?" He leans back to look over his own shoulder. "Check your mirrors, check nothing's coming, then clutch down, left hand on the gearstick and into first…" He pauses. "First gear. Away from you and up as far as it goes. Top left gear. Keep the clutch down, that'll keep the engine disengaged."

Is she ready? Cooper was born ready. Look at that posture. Almost in sync with Frid, she too looks to the rear-view mirror and then over her right shoulder. Coast is clear. "Okay … ," she breaths, pressing the clutch all the way down, and then pushing the stick upward. Is that as far up as it will go? Cooper pulls it up more, this time a bit roughly just to ensure she was in first gear. It settles into the proper notch with a somewhat loud sounding 'gadump' and she looks up at Frid with wide nervous eyes to see if that was okay.

Frid, who's looking more and more like a nervous father. Which he is. In a way. This car is his baby. He nods slowly. "Foot on the accelerator now, then, nice and easy, get the revs up until she purrs, then ease the clutch up slowly until it bites. Slowly!"

Right. Foot on accelerator. It revs up as expected. Cooper then slowly eases her foot off the clutch until it … wait what? "Until it bites?" she throws a confused glance to Frid over the term she didn't understand. In her distraction, she releases the rest of the clutch too quickly, and with her other foot briefly floors the gas without thinking.

The car jerks forward briefly, shudders, and stalls, engine coughing to an abrupt halt. Frid closes his eyes for a moment, taking a breath. It's a stall. It's all good. She's not put her into a ditch. "Foot came up too fast," he explains when he's opened his eyes again. "You have to ease it up, Miss Cooper, until… well, you'll feel the car try to pull. You've got to hold it just there when you feel it. Back into neutral and start her up again."

"Uhhhhh…," Cooper nervously says at the odd noises and movements of the car. But when it abruptly stalls, she looks in panic over to Frid. "Oh…okay," she almost sighs in relief. Back into neutral the car goes, and with a twist of the key it rumbles back into life. "What was it again? Clutch down. First gear. Accelerate lightly …," she dictates as she follows the previous steps. "Now let it go of the clutch sloooowwwllyyy…" Is she being careful or is she just trying to make this whole thing painful for Frid? But after a second she says uneasily, "Okay I feel it pull. What do I do?"

Frid clenches his fists and unclenches them, an unconscious gesture as he watches her carefully. "Check your mirrors again, then the handbrake off. Push the button on the end, lift it slightly, then put it right the way down to the floor, and we'll pull off. Just lift your left foot slightly more. Very easy now. Slow."

The rumble of the car under puts Cooper on the edge, but she's keeping still enough to hear Frid's instruction. Mirros check. Handbreak….uhmm… it takes her second to figure it out, but check. And Cooper begins to turn the wheel around. "Okay… slowly," she breaths along with Frid. The clutch is released with all the gentleness she can manage until huzzah! The automobile inches forward. "Oh!" she cries out in surprise.

"That's it, that's it," Frid encourages, nodding. "Hands on the wheel, steer! Nice and slow and we'll ease onto the road. As we get some speed up, so you can start lifting your left foot more. You're doing well, Miss Cooper."

"Frid! It's moving!" Cooper excitedly points out the obvious, but she focuses on the wheel. Nice and slow, as instructed. "When do I release the clutch completely?" she presses her lips together, eyes glued to the road as if she were about to drive on hot lava.

Frid rubs a hand across his beard, flicking a sidelong grin at her excitement. "Just ease it up slowly until you run out. We'll just toddle along to the next gate to pull in again, right a bit… right a bit! Stay on the road!"

Cooper's lips are pressed together, minding her left foot. Until! Whoa whoa too far left. "Ahh okay okay!" she roughly jerks the wheel to the right and ends up veering the vehicle with it. She's also, as Frid will learn, got a bad case of lead food syndrome which weighs down heavily on the gas.

Frid's eye twitches as the engine screams its disapproval, the car trundling up the road this way and that as she corrects the steering. "Maybe… ah… not quite so much on the accelerator," he advises. "We're only in first gear for now. I want to be sure you can stop before we try dealing with gears, too."

"Oh sorry, didn't even realize!" Cooper acks at the sound, and lets her foot off the gas a bit. The car quiets, fights less. "Speaking of which," she says shakily getting her steering under control on the road. "How do I stop this thing?"

Frid flexes his fingers out on his thighs, wiping sweaty palms down his trousers. "When we get to the next gate, check your mirrors, then left foot goes all the way down, then you move your right foot from the accelerator to the brake. From the right pedal to the middle one. Clutch first, then brake, remember."

Cooper perhaps is just slightly less tense than Frid. but it doesn't mean her palms are any less sweaty. At the speed they're going, the next gate takes forever to approach, but she does manage to make it interesting with random uncontrolled jerks and bumps. "So clutch again?" she checks her mirrors and then down the clutch goes! She pulls her eyes away from the road just a second to make sure her foot was transitioning from the accelerator to the middle pedal.

"And then brake, watch the road!" Frid adds, hand half jerking up, ready to take the steering wheel at a moment's notice if the hedges start to encroach too dangerously.

"Ahh sorry!" Cooper squeals, dragging her eyes back in front of her and stomping on the break as an emergency reaction.

All of which throws the pair of them forward as the car halts suddenly in the road, and Frid throws his hands up to the dashboard to stop himself. Still, he manages not to actually swear (it's Frid, after all), and just eyes her for a moment. "Well… ah… a little heavy on the brake, perhaps," he decides euphemistically. "Into neutral, handbrake on."

Cooper gasps, holding onto the wheel to prevent her face from slamming into it. Instead, her cloche hat falls forward onto the dashboard, and her glasses slip off her nose and hang crooked on her face. Even Maggot in the back yelps quietly and pokes his head up into the front to see what's going on. "Sorry …," she sighs turning over her shoulder to look back at Frid behind her lopsided specs. But the car is put back on neutral and the handbrake is put on. "Was that any good?" she asks earnestly.

"Absolutely terrifying, ma'am," Frid responds, deadpan. "No, you did a lot better than my first attempt to drive a motorcar. It takes time and practice, as with most things." He reaches to the inside pocket of his jacket for a hip flask, unscrews the lid and offers it over, a brow raised.

Cooper grimaces. Not quite the response she was hoping to hear but it was at least the truth. "When was the first time you drove a car? And why did you have to learn it?" She gladly accepts the flask, taking a hefty enough gulp to calm herself down before wincing. "And what's in this thing?" she offers it back as quickly as she received it.

Frid half smiles, taking a small swig for himself. "Lagavulin, ma'am, the twelve year old." And then the cap goes back on and the flask is tucked away as though it was never there at all. "I learned from a fellow named Maddock. He was the chauffeur for the household I used to work for, and he used to take all the lads out to show them the ropes, so he could have a sneaky weekend away with his wife… well, she wasn't his wife at the time, but I'm sure you get the idea."

"Hmmm, maybe I'mm still to sober to ignore the bite," Cooper frowns pulling out her own tin of cheap cigarettes and rolling the driver window down just a bit. Since they are picnicking, she too offers to share her fags with the valet. "So you've served in another house then. Not many posh households like that left anymore," she admits. "I'm assuming it was muggle if they were driving about a motorcar. Is Fabia your first magical employer?"

Frid accepts a cigarette and pulls out a book of matches, offering to light hers first before his own, then shaking out the match and flicking it out of the window. "I did my time man and boy in one of the houses in Kensington," he admits, leaning back to enjoy the smoke. "Started out as a junior footman, worked my way up to butler. But then… well, the money wasn't there at the beginning of the thirties, was it? Lots of staff got laid off. I'm lucky I found Mrs. Fairfax, really." No. Not entirely answering the question.

Cooper leans forwards to puff her cigarette into life, before leaning back in her seat to take a deep drag. It's exhaled out the window. Delightful. "Isn't that sort of the way she makes us all feel? Lucky to have her," she grins. "Though it's quite the opposite. She's truly lucky to have found you, really. She'd be doomed otherwise and she knows it." A quick flick ashes the end out the window, "Mmm, Frid. I've been meaning to say -"

"It's one of her many charms," Frid admits, taking a drag and exhaling out of the crack he's opened his window. "But it's not quite the same for us as you. If I didn't have work with her, who knows where I'd find a job, short of the pits… you've been meaning to say?"

"I suppose I didn't think of that," Cooper considers, "You mean you couldn't find work elsewhere perhaps training in a more skilled trade? You're quite good at mending. A tailor perhaps?" She takes a deep drag again and nods, sitting up this time. "I've been meaning to say that I'm sorry for using magic in front of you. I didn't realize it was a house rule, and I don't know why but you seemed rather distant when I turned over that record…"

"I'm forty two years old, Miss Cooper," Frid points out with a wry smile, tilting his head back to puff again at his cigarette. "I think it's a little too late to train in anything else, don't you?" And then she has to mention magic, doesn't she? He pauses, fingers tapping on his knee for a moment. "I'm well aware, ma'am, that nearly everyone I meet in that world is fully capable of… doing things like that. Which makes my position all the more precarious. I don't have the pleasure of being able to, for example, turn a record from across a room. Or cast a curse on anyone. Or more importantly have the ability to counteract it if somebody else did. Magic is the one way I can't protect her, Miss Cooper. Yes, I get a little twitchy."

Cooper snickers, pushing her glasses up the slope of her nose. "Perhaps. Only you're pretty sharp Frid. I'm sure you'd make as good of an apprentice as any other young buck." Her eyes note his uneasiness at the conversation topic. "Hmm…yes that is kind of frightening. A gaping hole when it comes to someone you care for," Cooper nods in consideration. "Do you think, Frid, that you'd feel more at ease if you did have the ability?"

"If I'm honest with you, ma'am, probably not," Frid admits, taking a last drag from the cigarette then flicking the butt out of the window. "If I had the ability, I wouldn't have joined the army as a lad, and I'd take my chances with a rifle at two hundred yards over some green wizard with a wand and an invincibility complex. Shall I drive home?"

Cooper smiles and likewise finishes her own cigarette before tossing it out onto the dirt road. "First of all, it's Cooper. Miss Cooper is what muggle men like to call me when they want to pat my bum. Second, if it's any consolation. Even with magical abilities there would still be ways you couldn't protect her. You can never fully protect anyone really," her mouth forms a hardline. An experienced hard line, which softens into an impish grin. "What? You mean I can't drive home?" Cooper defensively hugs the wheel, only to have her chest lean against the horn causing a loud BEEP. The noise startles her and she relinquishes, "Forget it. You take the wheel. I've been startled enough for one day."

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