(1939-02-11) Into the Woods Part I
Details for Into the Woods Part I
Summary: Needing an escort to the Forest of Dean to complete a mission, Rena telegraphs Guy for a lift.
Date: 1939-02-11
Location: On the Road
Related: Where Shadows Gather

Whatever Rena Lee's friends and relations think of Guy Grosvenor, he's always come through for her when she’s needed a hand. Now that she's asked him for a ridiculously big favor via telegram and he's come through yet again, her estimation of the man has only grown.
It's bright and early, and Rena is standing just inside of a pub, waiting eagerly for the squadron leader to appear in his gorgeous car to pick her up and convey her to the Forest of Dean.

And there is a roar of the sports car outside of the pub. And the Squadron Leader limps in: "Ah, Miss Lee! Ready and raring to go?" Guy gives a smile, "I rather thought this sounded suspicious, so I've brought my revolver."

Just wait until Guy hears the sketchy details of why he's carting the young Auror several hours outside of London. If he thinks it sounds suspicious now…
All smiles and brightness, Rena replies: "I knew I could count on you. No idea why we might need it - but one never knows. We are going into rather uncharted territory - for me, at least." She admits wryly, pulling on her gloves.

Guy asks, "What? Out of London? Or in some other way. You'd probably best let me hear the details."

Rena smirks as she moves out toward the car with Guy. It is winter, and she still turns her collar up against the cold when she comes out into the open with a little shiver.
"Both, to be honest," Rena says with a light chuckle. "I've never been so far outside of London before and the thing I 'ave to do when I get where I need to be is rather… unusual. Nothing to do with magic." She adds the last bit rather quickly. For whatever reason, she prefers NOT to use magic in Guy's presence. "Are you sure you're alright with dragging me all the way to the Forest of Dean? It's an awfully long trip."

Guy says, "It's not dreadful. As a distance, I mean. It's all about how fast you drive. Let me know if you're getting uncomfortable, won't you?" His eyes twinkle, "And where in the Forest are we going? Rather large, as I recall."

Rena withdraws a slip of paper from her handbag. Well, really, she tries to look nonchalant as she does so, but her hand slips into the bag rather further than it really ought to be able. Once it is in her hand, she flashes a sheepish smile and hands it toward Guy: "According to this, it's an area near Cinderford - not terribly far into the forest, but still a ways. I'm a poor judge of distance. I didn't even know if I could manage the trip and the search in a day. But I will try."

Guy says, "Oh, it will only take a couple of hours to get there. Assuming we don't get stopped for speeding, of course!" He chuckles, and starts the car up. Yep. Crank handle action. And then a move around to the driver’s seat, "Depending on timing, you can drive some of the way back, if you want.""

Rena chuckles: "I 'ave been lax on my driving lessons, 'aven't I?" she asks, settling into the seat comfortably. Despite whatever people like Graham think she should feel like when she's with Guy, she's anything but unsettled by being alone with him.
"I 'ate to admit it," Rena begins, once they are on their way, "But I've pulled you in on some pretty dark Auror business. I'm probably going to get in trouble, one way or another. But I know I can trust you on your word as a gentleman not to talk about it." There is a pause and she quirks one eyebrow: "Right?"

Guy gives a firm nod, "I rather suspected it might be something of dubious safety, hence the revolver." He smoothly steers the car through the traffic, "What sort of dark business?"

Rena stops herself a moment, making a rather ironic face before working up the courage to explain the mission she is on: "I… well; I'm looking for a grave - a shallow one." In the forest, undoubtedly. "It might not be the easiest to find in the world, when all's said and done. Because the fellow 'as been IN the grave for the last six years."
What kind of morbid woman does he have in the car with him? Rena almost cringes.

Guy sighs, "I'm assuming this is official business, then? I mean, that your people will be covering it up if we find something. I do have a spade in the boot though, in case of snow."

Rena casts a regretful glance in Guy's direction now, seemingly remorseful in dragging him into wizarding business. "Yea, it is official, I'm afraid. But I needed your 'elp." She explains hurriedly.
"See, I 'ad to get to the forest and find this grave; but 'ow was I to get there? If I went by train, that would do fine, but I'd have to walk into the forest with a shovel in 'and. And 'ow unsuspicious would THAT seem?" A little roll of her eyes is given.
"Then I thought: Well, I could fly. But, the weather is against me, and I would 'ave to fly at night, probably." Stopping a second, she attempts to add humor to the situation and ask petulantly: "'Ave you ever tried to fly on a broom while 'olding a map in the dark? It just can't be done."

Guy laughs, cheerfully, and hands Rena a map, from the glove box. "Right. Well, try and find your way." And he puts his foot down, the car accelerating into the dark

As they journey on, Rena feels obligated in some regard to explain slightly further about the dead man they are trying to find.
An Auror attacked another Auror unprovoked some months earlier, claiming that they had information that incriminated the other as a traitor, essentially. They further claimed that this information came from a trusted snitch who went underground.
"Oh, 'e went underground alright. Several feet under," she says darkly as an aside to Guy. "Apparently crossed a vampire the wrong way and was done in for 'is troubles. The point is though, this man can't 'ave given the information the Auror claimed. 'E was already dead and cold for six years. It's all a big, dirty conspiracy, you see? And worse, a smoke screen blocking progress on an important case."

Guy groans quietly, "Vampires? You're joking. So I should have packed silver bullets?" And the foot eases a bit, "But it sounds like you've got a lot of checking up to do, if things are to make sense."

"Oh no!" Rena answers quickly, laying a hand on Guy's arm: "I don't think we'll run into any vampires out there. At least," she frowns thoughtfully now, "I 'ope not." Reassurances are not Rena's strong suit. "But, then again, I got the information on that piece of paper from a vampire. Paid …a price for it, too. Not even sure just what, yet." She admits, suddenly narrowing her eyes and sitting back in her seat to ponder the issue.
Laughing suddenly at her own worries, Rena then lightly shrugs it off: "Of course we won't run into any. As long as it's daylight, we'll be fine."

Guy nods, and guns the car around a curve: "Just so you recall, it was Holmwood, the future Lord Godalming that was the hero in Dracula, not Grosvenor, the awfully long way from being Duke of Westminster. I don't fancy myself with a stake. And I don't know any doctors who've made a study of the Occult."

Rena casts a sidelong glance at Guy, attempting to keep a straight face. After a moment, she fails, breaking out into light-hearted laughter: "Don't worry about me. I can 'andle myself." She says with an air of confidence that is quite well known to the man by now. However, there is a hint of uncertainty behind her eyes. "The deal I made was basically for the vampire to decide on 'is price and collect at a later date. Deferred payment."
She's smart, isn't she?
"Not sure what 'e wants. Didn't want to drink my blood, so… 'ard to say."

Guy lets out a groan, "Never ever buy without knowing the price, Rena! Really, I'm surprised nobody's told you that!"

Now, Rena seems thoroughly abashed and she sinks down in her seat and seemingly into her overcoat. Looking very small, she tucks her arms around herself and looks guiltily up at Guy: "I know that now. I don't know what made me say it at the time. I was unnerved and… the first price 'e asked was my ring," Rena says unhappily, now looking away. "I couldn't give 'im that, now could I?"

Guy nods, slightly, "I suppose not. Although if he didn't specify which ring, you could have given him any."

"Oh no." Rena says, still quite unhappily and averting her gaze from Guy. "The Vampire was VERY specific. Said that 'e 'eard of my engagement and wanted a sentimental token as a reminder of the days when 'e was still living. 'E absolutely meant my engagement ring." Her voice catches and she holds her left hand instinctively with the right, hugging it to herself with a worried expression: "That's all that I've got."

Guy gives a smile, "Sorry. Too much time on Classics when I was a child. What you say and what you clearly meant can be two very different things."

Now Rena's eyes return to Guy, accompanied by a tiny smile. "Lewis Carroll?" She asks simply, remembering the words from the story.
"I'm trying not to think about the Vampire, though. I made my bed and I'll 'ave to lie in it when the time comes… whatever 'is price ends up being. I do 'ave 'is word that 'e doesn't want my life." Rena adds helpfully.

Guy accelerates a little more, "Good. Because I'd really rather not have to find out if bullets do work on the Undying."

"I don't expect you to fight my battles for me," Rena says quietly, still rather shrunk down and small in her seat. There is a small pause though, and her dark eyes drift toward the man curiously: "You would protect me if I was in trouble though, wouldn't you? Or try to, rather…" Not that she has any delusions of how much Guy cares for her. She does believe him to be a chivalrous gentleman, at least.

Guy nods, "Absolutely! For one thing you're the absolutely most decent witch I've ever met." Which, given Guy's family is probably not saying much, "And secondly you're a friend. I draw the line on having an 'accident' with a live ammunition firing from the Spitfire though. Questions tend to get asked about that sort of thing."

Brightening somewhat, Rena begins to slip out of her self-contained little shell once more. Sitting up straight in her seat, she squirms a little as she tries to get more comfortable.
"Well," the girl says at length with a wry expression, "I shall try not to get on the bad side of any dragons, then. That's the only thing I can think of that'd be large enough to warrant the assistance of a spitfire." A mirthful glint shows in her eyes here.

The woods finally appear, and the roads get smaller…

The only oddity that may have come to the pair's notice as they journeyed onward into the English countryside, is that there does seem to be a rather frequent appearance of police, both along the roadway and in the distance. They look, for all intents and purposes, as though they are combing the countryside for something. At one point, they even sight a pair of bloodhounds trailing through the underbrush with their handler.
Rena seems to be increasingly awed and worried by their presence. It's going to make her sketchy job even more difficult. It's also no surprise when at last; one local constable along the road as they near the forest flags them down commandingly. He has something on his mind…

Guy pulls up, "What's the matter, officer? Someone escaped from prison, or something?" It's the relaxed drawl of the Officer and Gentleman

The officer seems slightly taken aback by Guy's words: "As a matter of fact, you hit the nail on the head, sir." He remarks drily. "Three men; the Curtis brothers; all desperate men and violent criminals. They escaped prison two nights ago and are presumed to be headed this way." A pause and he regards the petite redheaded girl in the seat beside Guy with a smirk: "I was going to warn against picking up any stray passengers, but it seems your vehicle is already occupied." A small pat is given the gleaming beauty of a car, and the officer steps back: "Keep your eyes peeled and stick to the roadways and towns. And keep your bird there from harm." Another smirk and he waves them on.
For her part, Rena just blushes and looks like she wished she would have used an invisibility spell on herself before they came to a stop.

Guy nods, "Right ho, officer." He puts the car back into gear. And furthermore, he doesn't dispute the identification of Rena as his bird. They pull away, and he notes: "Awful coincidence."

"Bloody hell!" Rena says crossly, folding her arms across her chest. "Why the devil did I 'ave to pick a time when a couple… alright, three criminals are on the loose. And here no less." She looks like she could just bury her face in her hands and cry. "I'm not even worried about running across them. What are the chances of that?" Rena adds quickly, and irritably. "It's the police I'm worried about." Priorities aren't the young woman's strong suit, either.

Guy says, "I don't believe in coincidences, Rena. But yes, the police may well complicate matters considerably. There's a few options, the simplest of which is we call it off for the night. But we could always press on, today, or we could get a room at an inn, pretend to be married, and sneak out overnight to do the digging."

Still frowning and on the verge of what comes dangerously close to a sulk, Rena is lost in thought until Guy makes his suggestions. Now, both eyebrows arch, and her eyes quickly flick over to the man. An amused smirk tugs at the corners of her mouth, and she lets out a small laugh: "You are clever. I like option number two. That's brilliant!" After a moment, of course, a blush begins to tinge her cheeks. Pretending that she's married to Guy… could get awkward, given her history with him. But she can handle herself, can't she?

Guy chuckles, "Right ho." He digs in his pocket, and produces a couple of rings. "See if one of them fits you." Now, Guy, why DO you have a couple of wedding rings in your pocket, precisely?

Rena looks between Guy and the rings, and then back at Guy once more with a nonplussed expression. After a moment, she tries to stammer something… only to break out in a small, tight laugh as she takes a smaller band. Holding it between her finger and thumb, she peers through the tiny hole at Guy critically and smirks: "Dare I ask?" Not really expecting an answer.
Rena's engagement ring is carefully slipped off and dropped into her bag; and the faux wedding band slipped on. Fortunately, it's a good fit.

Guy chuckles, and tucks the spare away, "Well, obviously respectable hotels don't like unmarried people dropping in for some fun. So, it's sensible to be prepared!"

Rena can't help but blush a little more darkly, giving the wedding ring a little thoughtful twist on her finger. Guy knows by now that this is an odd little nervous habit she's acquired over the recent months since she began wearing a ring. Usually when she's thinking about things she shouldn't be.
"W-what about names? When we get there, I mean. What names should we use?" Rena just accepts the fact that Guy has done this sort of thing before and asks without qualm.

Guy says, "Oh, Mr and Mrs Smith is traditional. They'll like my cash, and won't ask too many questions!"

Rena suddenly buries her face in her hands, unable to contain her laughter. The whole situation is so awful and downright ludicrous. Graham would KILL her if he knew what she was doing now. "Guy, you're terrible!" She says muffledly, peering through her parted fingers now at the man. "And you make me feel absolutely wicked for doing this."

Guy laughs, "What? We've already established that I have had lovers. What, you expected me to pleasure them in a haystack or a wood, or something?"

Now both hands drop and Rena looks at Guy aghast. "Of course not! I mean…" she exclaims quickly, also snapping her mouth shut and pulling back in a hurry. Her face could not possibly get any redder if she were wind-burned by a winter chill. Quickly, she averts her eyes and looks to the countryside whizzing past them as he drives on. They are rapidly approaching the town of Cinderford. Now, Rena says absolutely nothing to not further incriminate herself.

Guy says, "I hope you can provide silence when we sneak out. I'm not precisely light on my toes anymore, I'm afraid!"

"I'll manage the mischief somehow," Rena says quickly, finally managing to bring herself to look over at Guy once more. However, an impish glint enters her eyes and she narrows them slightly at the man: "Are you saying that you can't get up to your shenanigans as easily as you used to?" She asks playfully. "Or are you just out of practice?" Hopefully she doesn't mean that she's volunteering - even if it might sound that way.

Guy chuckles, "I'm not used to sneaking out of the bedroom I've taken a young lady to, if that's what you're asking!"

"Oh well," Rena says with a little shrug. "I'm just 'elping you to shake things up a bit. Breaking out from the ordinary." She stops and laughs to herself, looking down at the ring on her finger with a little incredulous shake of her head: "Alright, Mister Smith - time for me to put my married face on and hope that nobody notices that I'm a complete and total rookie." Here, the young woman rolls her eyes a little at herself. She /is/ a complete rookie. And there's no way in hell she's going to be able to stop herself from blushing.

Guy says, "Oh, that's fine. Newlyweds on a driving tour it is! Oh, actually…." And he pulls into the village, stopping at a small store. There, he buys a suitcase, which he puts the cars toolkit into: "Doesn't do to arrive without luggage!"
Shortly thereafter, Guy pulls up finally in front of an Inn. "I imagine you want me to do the talking?"

Still dying of embarrassment inside, Rena draws a breath to steady herself. Looking to the heavens in a 'God Forgive Me' sort of way, she nods: "Yea, you'd better. Since you apparently know all the ropes and I don't."
Momentarily forgetting the whole newlywed ploy, she pops open the door and slips out of the car by herself. She's so used to doing things on her own.
"In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say — dear," Rena smirks at Guy.

Guy goes and gets the suitcase, and marches towards the door: "Ah, sorry we're late!" He calls out, "Smith? Double room?" And then when he's greeted with a look of confusion, "You got my wire?"

Rena's arm is slipped through Guy's, and her expression and demeanor are that of a cute but nervous little newlywed bride. It's not that hard of an act to pull off. She did used to be on stage, after all.
A wide-eyed, innocent look and a sweet little smile are turned on the hotel clerk. He fumbles around the desk momentarily, checking and double checking as he apologizes… only to come up empty. One eye is slightly narrowed at Guy: "There have been no wires. None to reserve a room under the name Smith, sir."

Guy gives an exasperated sigh, "The problems of a touring holiday." A ten shilling note is placed down on the table. "A double room, please."

Eyebrows arch at the note and the man considers it briefly before a tiny smirk shows. He accepts it and says: "We just happen to have one available, overlooking the forest." The Inn is located on the very edge of the woods, rather conveniently.
The registry book is turned toward Guy now. His money is welcomed with open arms. And Rena? She just keeps looking innocent, even if she blushes a little.

Guy signs in. Mister and Mrs. Smith, London. A neat signature at that. Then he picks up his suitcase: "Up here?"

The clerk nods, and smirks rather knowingly for a flicker of a second as he glances at the signature. A key is handed over, and he motions up the stairs. "Second door on the right. You can't miss it, Mister Smith." The look narrows in on the meek little redhead then, and Rena quickly dodges it. Tugging Guy's arm nervously toward the staircase, she just wants to get out of sight and away from the scrutiny of the clerk.

Guy unlocks the door, opens it, and brings in the case. "Right ho. In we go, Mrs. Smith!"

"What, you aren't carrying me across the threshold?" Rena asks as she passes through the door, quite obviously sarcastic. She wouldn't expect him to carry things that far.
And so, making a mockery of the institution of marriage, Rena and Guy install themselves in their bedroom to wait for a chance to carry out their mission.
As usual, nothing to do with Rena ever goes quite according to plan.

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