(1939-02-06) Jazz. Nice.
Details for Jazz. Nice.
Summary: Frid takes Rena out for dancing with his mates. Gaillard and Nox show up.
Date: 6th Feb 1939
Location: Soho
Related:
Characters
FridRenaGaillard

It wasn't until Wednesday afternoon that a neatly written note was left with Auror Lee, apparently left for her by an older, well dressed gentleman who nobody could really describe after he'd left, despite being in an entire office full of law enforcement officers, trained to notice details. Still, it's not as if that's the sort of thing that would stop Rena's colleagues from commenting about her mysterious gentleman friend. Often. In fact, most of Wednesday afternoon and almost all of Thursday.

But now Thursday night is here, and waiting politely just outside the tube station at Leicester Square, dressed in a somewhat less formal suit than usual and smoking a cheap cigarette, is Frid, ready to lead the way to the small cafe at the corner of Chinatown where he and his friends have found to go dancing of a Thursday night.

Rena - being a fairly good-natured and even-tempered creature - was able to take the jokes and ribbings directed at her after the arrival of the note. However, she exacted her own quiet revenge by refusing to explain the situation or divulge who the gentleman was. They could all stew in their own juices, for all she cared. She lives a cleaner life than a lot of the law enforcement officers.
The office is forgotten now, however, as Rena emerges from the tube station. Although wearing her overcoat, one can see a good deal more stocking visible than usual below the hem. She must be wearing a shorter skirt than usual in anticipation of the possibility of dancing. More surprising however, the redhead isn't even wearing a hat.

All smiles and bright eyes, Rena catches sight of Frid and hurries over to meet him. "I 'ope I'm not late." She says, her words carried away on a breath of steam in the cold air, nearly lost amidst the noise surrounding them.

"Even if you were, I'd forgive you," Frid insists easily, giving her a smile as he looks her over, then offering his arm. "You're well, Miss Rena? I was a little concerned you wouldn't get my note, but I only had your work to go on to try to track you down. Why they won't just install a telephone system, I don't know."

"It's been a mad week. I'm awfully glad to get away from the job and everything for an evening." The young woman replies with a faint smirk as she slips her arm into Frid's. "Cor, I don't know!" Rena replies with an exasperated roll of her eyes. "I've been trying to teach friends of mine about learning to use telephones. Not that I expect it'll catch on." Why does the wizarding world so enjoy putting ridiculous obstacles in front of progress? She'll never understand it.
"Oh! What should I say about myself to your friends? They might not be too interested in where you picked up your little friend from, but just in case, shouldn't I 'ave a story line?" Rena asks suddenly. Then, allowing herself a small snicker, she looks mischievously up at the man, adding: "With the same last name, I suppose you could say I'm your cousin or niece or something."

"If I say you're my cousin or my niece, you'll have every one of them drooling over you before the end of the night," Frid warns her as they step off towards the cafe. He drops his cigarette end as he goes, grinding it into the pavement with the toe of his shoe. "I shall tell them the truth, Miss Rena, that I picked you up late at night in the park."

Rena cannot help but laugh a little. Amusement sparkles in her dark eyes at the notion, but she simply gives a little nod: "Alright then. And I shall use the line I use with my old girlfriends from the theatre. I've moved up in the world and I'm a secretary for a doctor. If I said I was still on stage, your friends would want to know where. At least with the secretary story, there's no chance of anybody caring /who/ the doctor is."
Halting her chatter briefly as they reach the cafe door, Rena flashes an excited smile of anticipation at Frid: "I 'ope I make a good impression. I've been looking forward to tonight." She can already hear music drifting out toward them.

Frid groans as he holds the door open for her, then steps in behind to take her coat. "They'll want to know why I was at the doctor, and, trust me, after a few beers, it's not going to be a comfortable conversation. What are you drinking, Miss Rena?"

Laughter escapes Rena, and she shakes her head at Frid, stifling back the giggle with her hand: "Alright then, leave me a dark 'orse if it makes things more comfortable. Just say you met me under a lamppost in the park and leave it at that. Maybe it'd be fun to be a woman with mystique for once." She /is/ known for being an open and honest book with people.
Slipping out of her coat for Frid, a pretty frock with a pale green satin top, and a peacock blue skirt. Fancy enough to show she's not a cheap woman - but also casual enough for a place like this. Her eyes widen with delight as she takes in her surroundings, and it's a moment before she remembers to reply: "Fond of gin and tonic, myself - if that's alright."

"Gin and tonic it is," Frid agrees as he leads the short distance to the bar, catching the eye of a group of men and women over at the back of the cafe by the dance floor and lifting a hand to them. Drinks are ordered, a G&T for her, of course, and a pint for him, and then, juggling both drinks, her coat, his hat, and her hand on his arm, he leads the way over to his group of friends. "Rena Lee," he introduces, giving each a nod in turn. "Ted, Shuggy, Sam, Sam's wife, Daisy, Willy and some bloke we try not to admit to knowing, hey Frank." There's an easy smile or two given, a few hands thrust out towards Rena to greet her, the usual ironic cheer when Frank is described, and a seat pushed out for her.

Although often shy amongst wizards and the like, Rena just seems to blossom when she's with Muggles. It feels like being /home/ in some way. She shakes hands and offers her warm, friendly smile around in greeting as she is introduced to each of Frid's friends. She doesn't feel out of place here at all.
"Glad to meet you all!" She says brightly, taking the seat offered and smoothing her skirt a little as she sits down. Jokingly though, as the G&T is placed before her, she flicks an amused glance at Frank and asks innocently: "So tell me, why is Frank the odd man out?"

"He's Welsh!" one of the lads pipes up. "He's part baboon!" calls out another, doing the obligatory monkey noises, before Frid grins and explains. "Frank's ex-navy," a chorus of boos and drumming on the table from the boys while Sam's missus just gives Rena a long suffering smile and a roll of her eyes. "The rest of us all served in khaki. He's all right, though. For a puddle pirate."

A ladylike sip is taken of gin, just in time for the raucous explanations of Frank's misfit status to erupt around the table, causing her to almost choke on the drink. Hiding her smile behind the raised glass, she flicks a sympathetic glance at Sam's missus in return, but she can't help laughing. She finds their antics amusing.
"Aw, Frank's just a nonconformist," Rena teases the group, now looking toward Frank with a playful glint in her dark eyes. "A misunderstood rebel, maybe!"

Frid gives Frank a pointed poke on the shoulder, grinning easily. "Oi, hands off, boyo. Miss Lee's my dance partner for tonight. Well, for the first dance anyway," he allows, pausing to take a good swig from his bitter. "You boys will have to just stare, forlorn, at what you're missing out on." He sets down his drink and offers his hand once more to Rena, along with a good natured smile. "Let me take you away from these louts. A dance, ma'am?"

It seems like Rena can't possibly stop smiling tonight. No politics, no business, no shop talk. Here in Muggle London, she's just a girl who likes to dance and enjoy an evening out like this. It's so liberating just to be /a person/. She'd nearly forgotten what it was like.
A warm glance drifts toward the others around the table as Rena accepts Frid's hand. Rising to her feet with an animated grin, she moves with him to an empty place on the dance floor. She's scarcely been able to sit still all this time, and it's little surprise that her feet are already keeping time with the music as she gets into position with the man.

The band in this evening, a local band, aren't spectacular, but then what does anyone expect at the back of a very ordinary looking cafe on the corner of Chinatown? Still, they're in tune, and the music's catchy enough that Rena and Frid aren't the only two up dancing. Of course, if they had been, no doubt Frid would have failed to pluck up the courage to ask her. "I did warn you about my friends," he apologises as he pulls her in towards him, then spins her out again.

"They say it's one of the better jazz joints in town," someone's languid remark drifts not too far from the threshold, carrying, for all its apparent offhandness, through smoke and saxophony alike, "although I have wondered, now and again, what that can mean, exactly. I mean, it's not as if we're in New Orleans. It's not as if being a good jazz joint is necessarily, even, tantamount to being a good thing. And yet, here we are. The best jazz joint, perchance, in Chinatown."

His introductory homily concluded, floating forth on an obliging aureole of feminine giggles - one trickling from a kittenish creature with a half-caste complexion, the other originating from a fine, fair, buxom pair of much-abused…lungs - Gaillard Beauclaire, Esq, emerges from his evening's following, his thin hair at his fieriest and fakest, his chilly eyes almost groggy with scepticism and vermouth.

Rena laughs lightly, tossing her head a little: "Oh, nonsense. Your friends are fun! I think so, at least." The young redhead steps lively, turning out and then back to Frid, and swiveling her hips smoothly as she returns to a closed position with him. "'Ave I said anything to complain?" She then asks cutely, looking up at him with one eyebrow quirked.
An instant later, the rather strange and auspicious looking gentleman arrives with an entourage, and Rena makes kind of a bemused face in his direction. "Talk about things the cat drags in…" She murmurs.

Frid looks towards the door as she does, brows furrowing just a little. "Ah. You're acquainted with the gentleman, I assume?" Another step out, another turn, although Frid's attention is more towards the door than his feet right now. It shows. "Something I ought to be worried about? We can probably all just go somewhere else, if you'd rather?"

"Not acquainted, actually," Rena admits with a small shake of her head, sticking close to Frid as they dance now. "Famous sort of an upstart, though - I know that." She remarks in a whispered undertone, glancing up at her partner. An ironic twist enters her smile now, and a hint of the devil in her eye: "The sort of 'igh-class begger who brings down the neighbor'ood whenever they drag themselves and their entourage in off the street."
Pausing a moment, Rena then adds: "Might be more fun elsewhere, if you've got a backup plan in mind."

As for Mr. Beauclaire, he remains blissfully unaware of the valet and the auror's not wholly approving surveillance (and even had he an inkling, that blissful unawareness would only become lofty disdain.) After a word with one of the manageresses, a comfy if somewhat befugged corner reveals itself to be at his command (journalist, she heard; literary critic, he didn't say), and he reclines happily with a cheroot and a rum baba, watching his two newish acquaintances dance together in a style more frenetic than elegant. Watching, all in all, seems much more his thing, even if right now, in fact, he is watching to small effect…

"Mister Gally Beckley," Frid supplies to his dance partner. "Fancies himself as some sort of writer, from what I can gather. I wouldn't trust him as far as I can spit him… sir," he adds as their dance brings them closer to that corner he's claimed, and it would be rude to pretend he's not seen the man.

"I feel like dancing," the tall blond that was tucked and settled cozy against Nox's side replied; eager eyes on the dance floor while her fingers flirted against the curve of her partner's waist as the pair made their way inside. One blond. One brunette.
"Of course you do. And when the first bloke looks in your direction…," Nox began, whilst Bray smiled.
"Then I'll be sure to invite him to join us," the blond finished; smiling cheekily and nipping at the woman's jaw.
"One day, you're going to stop inviting home the people who parade about our lawn…," Nox complained, offering a hint of a pensive expression.
"And one day, you'll realize that the entire street isn't your lawn, Moody."
"One day," Moody agreed, in a lazy murmur. "Now be a good girl and go get us some drinks."

"Mister Lee," Gally replies neutrally, more out of surprise than politeness. "Do give my best to your employer. She had rather a funny turn when we met last, as I recall. I do hope she's feeling better." But his light shrug is hardly sincere, and he sucks that cheroot and nurses that distinctly delicate glass of rum as if casually proscribing the best remedy…to funny turns and funny encounters alike. The rather outre, hurried looking redheaded young lady does receive the benefit of a bold stare, in itself savouring of more real interest than the bare words he offered her 'gentleman friend'.

"I'm sure she will be touched by your concern, sir," Frid responds, ever polite, although his posture does stiffen just a little as he turns and whisks Rena away in the dance. It's not a huge dancefloor, but he's heading definitely away from the disconcerting rum drinker, and as the music comes to a finish and the applause dies down, he leads Rena back over to his table of a half dozen friends, all getting quietly (and less quietly in one or two cases) drunk and having a good time.

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