(1939-02-11) Uncertain Tea
Details for Uncertain Tea
Summary: Hector and Beryl drop into Cafe Tasseo late in the evening and encounter Rhyeline, her guards and Kahren
Date: 1939-02-11
Location: Cafe Tasseo

The hour grows late. In an hour, Cafe Tasseo will dim its lights and ask its patrons with the greatest deference to return in the morning. Until then, Rhyeline sits alone at a table near the window, staring at the steady flame of the small, ivory candle. A cup of cocoa rests on the table beside a plate of rich, dark-chocolate cake. The little one manages to snag a slice of strawberry with the next nibble of cake she takes onto her fork. Standing not far on either side of her, a pair of rather imposing guardwitches keeps watch over her.

— It is no surprise that Hector Carrow is awake and around at this hour of the evening. He is dressed warmly in a dark brown 3/4 length coat with a soft green scarf around his neck. At his side is Beryl, and the two appear to be entering together. In his right hand there is a lit cigarette that Hector takes a long slow drag from even as he is entering before puffing out the smoke and walking through it. "I have no doubt that we will find buys Miss Crabbe. However we need to screen the right ones before anything moves forward. As ever, we must remain patient."

Rhyeline grows rather still as Hector's voice disturbs the cafe's silence. Slowly, she sneaks a peek over at him and the alluring woman who accompanies him. Her guards are unfamiliar faces, but watch Hector and his lady-friend with expressions of stone. A foe-repelling ward is in place around the girl.

It may be a little unusual for Beryl to be seen out and about with her boss, but it certainly isn't all that shocking. She does work for Carrow, after all. As plain and straightforward as Hector's clothing may be, her own stand out in stark contrast. Deep crimson is the colour of her elegant overcoat, and the collar is lined with rich black fur.
A sidelong glance drifts up toward Hector, cool, and yet shrewd at the same time. Her nose twitches slightly at the odor of those cigarettes he likes to smoke, but she does break into a half-smile: "Patience is a virtue that no one was ever able to hammer into my head, Mister Carrow - but I am learning."
With so few patrons remaining within the cafe, it's little wonder that her eyes easily find Rhyeline sitting by herself. However, she does nothing more than slightly quirk an eyebrow in the young woman's direction.

— "So far I have no needed to use an actual hammer." Hector replies with a thin smile. "Which is good." The joke is spoken plainly in a flat manner but is still followed by the same smile as he take a seat not too far from where Rhyeline is sitting, however if this is on purpose or not is unclear. What is clear is that the man has noticed the two guards by now and sits so that he is facing Rhyeline. The smallish table can seat four comfortably. "However, you will be needed in the transactions to come. I suspect your talents will prove useful." His deep baritone voice speaks clearly and makes no effort to be quiet in the cafe. They are just talking about business after all… only now does Hectors soft bronze eyes meet with those of Rhyeline for a brief moment as he butts out his cigarette in an ashtray.

Rhyeline bites her lower lip at the subtle disdain in Beryl's quirked brow. Bowing her head, she takes up her cocoa and warms her hands against its sides. As she listens, her dark gaze remains fixed upon the half-finished cake upon her table. Slowly, she sneaks a peek over at the pair, just in time for Hector's bronze gaze to meet hers and hold it in place. Her hands tighten slightly upon her cup.

The joke is not lost on Beryl. In fact, she finds it amusing, judging by the airy laugh that accompanies it, quick off the mark.
After they arrive at the table, she removes her expensive coat smoothly, pleased to hang it on the back of her chair before taking the seat in a graceful manner. Even as Hector puts out his own cigarette, she reaches into her purse to withdraw her silver cigarette case. Opening it with a tiny click, she tilts her head to one side as she extracts the dark Kretek from within: "I'm glad to know that my talents are appreciated and needed, boss. I was beginning to think I'd lost my charm and was only good for filing papers anymore."

Again, as the case is flicked shut with a tiny movement of her hand, Beryl's own eyes are drawn to the meek woman - but more so to her guards. The look in her gaze appears to shift toward mild curiosity, if anything.

A healer's work schedule can at times be difficult and varial. And then there's the issue of thoughts weighing heavily on the mind, keeping one awake. All of this combined to create one healer who needed to sleep - but found she wasn't sleepy at all.
Chamomile seemed a good solution, and so Kahren slips into the tea shop, glancing around and smiling when she spots Rhyeline. "Why, hello again," she greets the woman with a smile. The man sitting nearby seemed passing familiar - the woman with him rang no bells, however.

Rhyeline blinks, the spell of Hector's gaze broken when Kahren greets her. Her guards spare Kahren a brief glance, but for the most part, Hector and Beryl are of far greater concern to them. "Good evening," murmurs Rhyeline in an especially soft, quiet tone.

Late as the night may be, it would seem that more customers continue to drift their way into Tasseo as the evening slowly wears on.
Beryl regards Kahren with a cool, vague smile as she withdraws a slender cigarette holder from her handbag. Inserting the dark Kretek into it, she then slips the holder between her teeth delicately. Now that she is situated nicely and sitting pretty, she flicks a silver muggle-ish lighter in her hand to ignite the strange cigarette. Soon, an exotically scented smoky aroma drifts from Hector and Beryl's table and the lighter is slipped back into the purse. "Someone you know, Mister Carrow?" The auburn-haired woman queries her boss, nodding faintly in the direction of the mousy one and her guards.

— Hector nods to Beryl's question and lets his drift gaze toward her as he speaks. "Yes. Ms Rhyeline Diderot." There is an inquisitive look in his eyes as he regards his associate. "I would have thought that the guards would have given her identity away to you… considering her involvement with Mr Tripe." The man seems intent on poking the bonds between their ridiculous relationship at every opportunity, perhaps keeping her trust in her lover wavering and unsure. "How is our mutual coworker these days? I haven't heard much about the two of you in quite a while. At the very least it seems that you've figured out how to reign in his idiotic outbursts."

"Are you alright, Rhyeline?" Kahren asks softly as she steps closer to the woman's table, pitching her voice not to carry. Yes, the slight woman had been soft spoken before, but this time she was nearly inaudible. She takes a moment to glance up at the two guards, before returning her attention to the brunette, concern on her features. She remains standing, for the moment.

A subtle blush warms Rhyeline's cheeks when Hector's words reach her ears. She lowers her gaze as she takes a small sip of cocoa. Kahren's question lifts her eyes once more. A quiet caution lingers in her young, dark gaze as she peeks up through her lashes at Kahren. She answers with a small, silent nod before she sneaks a glance over at Hector and Beryl.

"Ah…" Beryl responds, her gaze flicking toward Rhyeline once more. The tone is flat, matter of fact, and devoid of goodwill - or any kind of will, really. Rheyline is only the daughter of an old associate for whom Tiberius shows great loyalty; and nothing more. So the man says, anyway… She can deal with that.
Something unexpected flashes in Beryl's poison-green eyes, but quickly cools into the dimness of an ember when Hector pokes a barb at her with regards to Tiberius. "Our mutual co-worker has a tendency of getting into more hot water than a Scotsman's tea bag," the woman replies dryly, taking a menu into her hands. Casually glancing over the paper, she adds: "I have perhaps managed to smooth out this ridiculous situation with Constable Menzies, however. Provided he stops needlessly antagonizing her for old time's sake." Oh yes, there is a slight hint of annoyance in her voice - but it is clearly directed toward the absent Tiberius, and not at Hector for asking.

— There is a pause as Hector takes in this information, noting the comments regarding the Constable being involved. When she begins looking over the money he replies with a polite smile. "Well then perhaps we should invite her over and smooth the waters a bit?"
Without waiting to hear any reply from Beryl the man raises a hand and waves toward Rhyeline. "Ms Diderot." He calls across the cafe. "Please join me and my associate for a cup of tea. You friend is also welcome." It would seem that Hector is neither worried about the guards or anything else that may have happened between Rhyeline and Tiberius. "I insist."

Kahren follows Rhyeline's glance, then looks back to the other woman. She pulls out a chair for herself at Rhyeline's table without invitation and slips into it, leaning towards the brunette to ask in a quiet voice, "They haven't been bothering you, have they?" The guards seem a little unhappy - but they seemed unhappy with the shopkeep at Unbound Books, as well.
And then the man is speaking to them, and Kahren glances over to him, an uncertain expression on her features. She'll let Rhyeline decide, however.

Rhyeline bites her lower lip as she watches Beryl with a hesitant caution. Looking to Kahren, she gives a small, shake of her head. At Hector's invitation, the little one glances over, hesitating. She looks to Kahren, but when Hector insists, she peeks back over. She rises with a rather slow, careful grace. Warming her hands once more against her cup of cocoa, she approaches, but peeks over her shoulder up at Kahren.

"I'm sure that Tiberius would disagree," Beryl replies to Hector with a wry smirk. "However /I/ do agree. If the opportunity arises, I will invite Constable Menzies to the office. She was most interested in my former career."
Coolly, Beryl's gaze shifts back to the other women and her fingers elegantly clasp the long-stemmed cigarette holder with poise. A milky haze of smoke slips through her delicate nostrils like a dragon might do, but she offers them an encouraging, decidedly warm smile as they approach. "Good evening, ladies," she intones, withdrawing the holder from between her lips briefly. "Miss Diderot," firstly to Rhyeline, she speaks, then turning to Kahren. "And Miss… I'm so sorry. Your name is -?"

— As Beryl makes introductions Hector is content to sit and watch as the pair begin to head in their direction. His bronze eyes focus on Kahren since she is someone new to him and nods in a polite manner to them in turn. "Good evening to you both. Please sit." Hector appears to be enjoying a casual bit of tea as he pulls out his own silver cigarette case and opens in, plucking out a smoke and lighting it shortly after. Once this is complete he offers a cigarette to each woman in turn. "I'm not sure we'll have much long before the cafe closes so I thought that we might chat a while in the time we have."

As Rhyeline rises to join the others, Kahren glances at the abandoned piece of cake - then with a slight shrug of her shoulders, picks it up to bring it over for Rhyeline. "Umbridge," she supplies for Beryl. "Kahren Umbridge. And you are…?" she asks in return. She sets down Rhyeline's cake before taking a seat, and accepting one of the cigarettes with a polite smile. "Thank you," she adds.

Rhyeline hesitates, not yet sitting. Though she has taken in Beryl's seemingly warm and encouraging smile, the girl doesn't seem to trust it. Peeking over at Hector as he offers her a cigarette, the little one takes a small step back. "Forgive me… I… I shouldn't linger… I… I was about to leave…"

"A pleasure, Miss Umbridge." Beryl says with a gracious nod directed at Kahren. "Beryl Crabbe," she introduces herself matter-of-factly. Her smile remains in place, though she tips her head a little to one side as Rhyeline seemingly can't wait to withdraw and flee the scene. Unruly auburn locks drift onto her face, only to be flipped back with a tiny motion of her head: "What a shame," she pouts, sinking back into her chair and placing the cigarette holder back between her lips. "Perhaps we can get acquainted another time - if only for the sake of our mutual friend, Tibs."

— As the woman takes a cigarette Hector nods and adds after Beryl, "I am Hector Carrow. I am glad to meet you Ms Umbridge." However before he can say any more it seems that Rhyeline is not going to be able to sit for tea. There is no expression of disappointment on his face however, only a thin smile and a gentle nod of his head. "Please don't let me keep you if you are needed elsewhere. It was a pleasure to see you again even if it was for a short time."
With that the man turns back to Beryl and Kahren while taking his lighter out again to light the cigarette for Kahren. "You are welcome to stay or leave as you please if the two of you are together." He adds.

"Miss Crabbe, Mister Carrow," Kahren responds politely - but as Rhyeline expresses her attention to leave, she gives them both an apologetic smile and rises. She steps in close to Rhyeline, one hand resting lightly on the woman's arm as she murmurs softly towards her ear, "You're sure you're okay? Do you want me to walk out with you?"

Rhyeline nods to Hector Carrow with quiet respect. With another hesitant glance at Beryl, she takes a small step back. But, when Kahren draws close, the girl pauses and tilts her head to listen. The little one bites her lower lip a moment, before giving a rather small, shy nod.

Kahren and Rhyeline take their leave rather hurriedly, as do the mousy woman's overly protective and paranoid guards. Beryl's gaze wanders after the odd little quartet as they vacate the premises. Finally, she withdraws the stem from her mouth and leans in toward Hector unhurriedly, regarding him through slightly lowered lashes: "Here, I always thought your choice in cigarettes was the bane of social situations. Clearly I appear to be a far worse pariah." Her tone is languid, but obviously joking behind the laziness of her remark. A tiny flick of her finger taps the ash from the end of her Kretek into the ashtray located on the table. "My apologies, boss."

— Hector only grins as he watches them leave and then turns toward Beryl. "You and me both it would seem." A long drag is taken from his cigarette before the call comes out from the cafe owners that they place will be closing soon. "I'll walk you home Ms Crabbe. You can bring me up to speed on what exactly happened between that woman and Mr Tripe."

Kahren gives Rhyeline's arm a light squeeze, then turns back to Beryl and Hector. "My apologies - another time," she offers, as she returns the cigarette with a wry smile. "Mr. Carrow, Ms. Crabbe." Then she moves back to Rhyeline to wrap an arm loosely around her, walking with her towards the door. "We really should find an opportunity to practice some music together," she remarks as they're stepping outside. "There's this composer in Austria-" And then the door swings closed, cutting off the rest of her words.

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