(1939-02-22) A Father Learns
Details for A Father Learns
Summary: After forging a letter to Silas' father, Aldius, Genevieve gets caught by her mother, pulled out of school for that Saturday, and explains the current situation. Unaware of the deceit, Aldius reaches out to man in question, only to find himself confronted by Genevieve herself.
Date: 22 February, 1939
Location: Undisclosed Diner, Diagon Alley
Related: This log is the culmination of a number of letters between Silas, his mother, and lastly Genevieve.
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Some things don't fall exactly as they're intended. The forged letter had been caught, although it had certainly caught the desired attention. Aldius Meliflua, father to one Silas, had reached out to Jenny's father immediately about the owl he was sent. Curious, a request to meet the other ma had been made. A diner would be the setting, some place barely known, to not allow the other man the advantage of home ground.
He sits there now at the table. He's dressed starkly, much like his son does —- robes so purple they almost seem black unless the light hits them just right. Every bit of piping is a stark silver, glittering. Along the shoulders, almost invisible unless one looks hard, runes of seeming Celtic origin cover the fabric in intricate, organic patterns. A pair of matching, leather hide gloves lay on the edge of the table near him, a fox-headed cane leaning up against them.
To look at, his relation to Silas is almost unmistakeable. Certainly, he's thicker built Silas clearly carries his mother's body type but the cut of the jaw, the shade of the eyes, that somber, serious look on his face, could only belong to Silas' father. Hair that was once jet-black but over the years has been peppered with the occasional strand of silver, not grey or white, flows down in a strait, center-parted cascade to nearly the tips of his shoulder, sheared cleanly and clearly once there. Thick eyebrows bush over his eyes, and a slightly thin goatee, thicker at the base and molded to a point but a bit of beeswax, finish the look that sets him apart from his son, although it might be important to note the two spots of silver that appear on either side of the chin in that goatee, as if rubbed that color by intense thought.
He's already ordered, a teapot in the center of the table, and two place-settings, one already filled with an amber liquid and steaming. And so he waits, eyes surveying the room.

In no world could Genevieve Solomon be confused for her father, at all. Not when the door swings open. What's admitted is a rather tall specimen of a female, who's impression Silas had left on her wardrobe is used to shameless advantage this evening. The slacks are neat, pressed and silky enough to lend credence to her figure and the swell of her hips as well as those legs. A sheer solid black in soft feminine chiffon. The blouse was another story, professional but again, feminine. Purple. Rich. With just enough ruffle down the front to lend her an edge that's far kinder than she seems to possess these days.
A slight waist is complimented by the fastening of her robes, a single button there in the middle. It helps pronounce the ruffle on her blouse, while tapering at the waist and then, flaring wide again to leave her slacks in plain view with just the barest hint of her belt. And, she doesn't stand around waiting long either, when her eyes settle on what could be Silas in ten years? That bulk in five, perhaps but surely he had longer on the salt and pepper?
The click of boot heels beneath mark the changing path as the girl makes her way in his direction, a polite smile on her lips that doesn't entirely reach her eyes.
"Mister Meliflua, I presume. Good evening." As if she'd expected to be there all along and fate had not, for once in the entire mess, smiled on her and her nerves weren't shot from the plethora of ways everything could go wrong weren't gnawing apart her insides and destroying what little appetite she had that remained.

As Genevieve approached, Aldius had been talking to a young serving-girl, whatever he was saying to her in hushed tones, a hand on her wrist, had her blushing from the tip of her ears, to the tip of her nose, and clearly below a neckline that is borderline obscene. She playfully bats at the man's shoulder before spotting the younger girl approaching, and walking away with a shake of her head.
Aldius turns as he's approached, and a single brow lifts, eyes traversing the newcomer with a clearly evaluative gaze. "Now Angelo," he says, his lips spreading into a thin grin that doesn't quite meet his eyes, "I know you were barely a third year when I graduated… but it seems to me that I don't recall you being quite so…" he looks up at her from his seated attention, motioning to a chair across from him, "…tall."

"You may call me Solomon," Jenny offers, her tone polite but formal, lacking the hint of a tease that had dipped within Aldius' own. He was handsome. She wasn't blind. Nor was she a hermit. That two complete strangers had inadvertently dressed to match and appeared to be meeting no doubt a measure of what had sent the serving girl running, but not before Jenny managed a, "Whiskey on the rocks, thank you." Because at the very least, she was going to get a drink on her birthday.
"My apologies, Meliflua, but my father, currently away on business - is not going to make it. I do hope that you will forgive my standing in his stead." A question that wasn't, for all it came with the loft of a brow, and undoing the single button of her robes so that the hung open, the purple vine climbing against the lower hem dancing in the light - Genevieve claimed a seat for herself, opposite.

The bemused look on Aldius' face doesn't waver, although there's a momentary darkness behind his eyes at the younger woman's presumption, "Well, Solomon," a jest is gone from the voice, and instead a hand moves to grab the teapot, "if it's you I'm to meet with, how do you take your tea?" A simple question, and he begins to pout some of the amber liquid into the cup nearest her, "Cream? Sugar?" She might have ordered a whiskey, but this was to be at least an approximate of a proper English meeting.
"I must admit that I'm a touch disturbed, after the nature of his letter, that I would then be further chastised by being left to speak with someone other than him. Are you, then, duly authorized to speak in his stead on matters pertaining to business and future contractual obligations?" Had Sy ever mentioned that his father was a lawyer?

He hadn't, but that didn't seem to be stopping Genevieve from keeping her seat, as if he'd never said a disturbing thing at all, despite the charges started mounting in her head. With it, came a sense of comfort, because if it came to such, charging a child? At Hogwarts? Over a tiff over her boyf—former, boyfriend?
"Plain, with an inch of room at the top, thank you." Manners, after all. They hadn't left her yet. Not completely.
And as she settled into a position of comfort, hands neatly folding before her on the table, elbows missing from it, she continued, "Though I would think that you would desire to speak to the author of the letter, rather than someone who hasn't a clue that it exists yet. I do hope I wasn't wrong."

And that bit causes Aldius a bit of pause, the brow lifting again, and the smile coming back in force. The tea is poured to the precise measure she requested was poured into the cup, plain as she asked, before he grabs his own cup, taking a sip.
"The author." He says, looking her over again, "Meaning I didn't pull myself back from trade negotiations between the Ministries of Turkey and French Syria because a respected member of the local Ministry threatened to pull back implied fiscal support of my son because of some slur my wife made against the Solomon line."
He looks the young woman over again, "Interesting. I've been out of the country since September of last year. Clearly I've missed something. Please… fill me in. You have my rapt attention."

"No. You pulled out of trade negotiations because some caff of a girl is taking a path in which there is a chance for amends to be made, before things become more nasty than they already have." The tea was collected and sipped, once for politeness, before it was nestled off to the side, during which Jenny let the silence linger as the server returned with her whiskey.
Then she settled back into a position of decidedly greater comfort. "You look like him." An absent statement, but one that said much, while saying little.
"As for the letter, consider it…a glimmer of the future. Your wife, in the meantime, is ruining my name and crushing your son. Along with his future. Perhaps," an assessing look, tempered only because of his profession and the implied lack of knowledge, "Because you have granted her too long a leash."
"And no. I did not mean to imply that his future was me. It isn't."

"I would hope so. He is my son, after all." Aldius takes another sip of his tea, watching her for a moment before he replies. "Adrianna will do as she desires. She's done so in nearly everything all her life. You should ask your mother some time about her… and your uncle… and how we came to be wed. It tells quite the store in and of itself." He then leans back as well, looking over the table.
"You'll forgive me… but I'm simply coming to the realization that my wife is meddling in my son's relationships — there's no other reason I can comprehend for her to do this otherwise… and we'd frankly assumed some time ago that he'd wind up alone, or perhaps chasing something else."
A look at Genevieve again. "However, your letter confuses me. Perhaps you could start from the beginning? Explain to me who exactly you are to my son, what my wife has done, and why you would have nothing more to do with his future. Pretend I'm coming into this story fresh and uninitiated."

"I've spoken to my Uncle already," Genevieve answered, "As well as my mother. Both of whom I addressed before I arrived here, this evening." It's simply done, there's no heat to it. A casual observation.
"As for forgiveness…," it trailed. But no more was added to it. "I shall, I think, let the story tell itself and what you find missing, when you are finished, I shall later fill in. In this manner what you are initiated with is not the biased opinion of a third party, but rather the truth between two. A fair request, no?"
And one so offered, that saw her dipping within the lapel of her robe, drawing out a neatly bound collection of parchments, the script varying upon each but perfectly in sync with the people of his life, come to be laid on the table before him.

The letters are taken, although a look goes to the young woman as Aldius sees the script on them. From mother to son, son to mother, and all manner in between. Things he knows his son would have kept well-hidden.
He says not a word as he goes over each document, eyes scanning them , often going from one ot the next, then back again, tracing connections and counterpoints. His face is not impassive… it darkens with each letter. Silas had spoken of the evils of both his parents… his mother's had shown readily. His father's, however, as only just recognizable in the pure anger that lights behind his eyes. Upon reading the last one… Silas' defeat and surrender to his mother, the hand holding the paper involuntarily clenches before he catches himself, placing the paper down.
"First, Genevieve Solomon, I cannot apologize for my wife's actions… but I can apologize for her implication of my complicity in them. This… this goes beyond anything she's ever done. The claims… the assumptions. This is… infuriating. And I am placed in a position such that…" He then shakes his head with denial.
"I don't know who my son was to you, Miss Solomon… but I've never seen him write of anyone, or anything, as he has you. So I must ask… why do all this, if you don't intend to be in his future? If that's the case, your part in his story's already done."

"I see…I see so much of him in you, Mister Meliflua," Jenny remarked, allowing herself the barest trace of a smile. It was not one of pleasure, unfortunately, despite the piece of her that'd have been overjoyed to see anger at Sy's behalf.
"He has that quality of yours in himself. The way he approaches things, no matter the situation, no matter the rumor. A gift for finding the good…and the truth. And perhaps some of your smile. With a tendency to draw out the qualities in others that are also good. He's an exceptional person and regardless of what your wife has to say and may imply, he is…he is so very worthy. Of life. Of love. Of his dreams."
She was not going to cry. She was not. She wasn't.
"I forgive you, but…forgive me when I say that it goes to the stipulation that you aid him, least by default of inaction you become an accomplice in his jailing. You're son…,' she began and while she did not drink the whiskey, her knuckles tightened as she turned the glass around in her palm, a gesture of familiarity based on a need for comfort, coupled with learned restraint.
"I love him, Mister Meliflua. And I have…since the day he asked to be my friend. When the idea of us was a game for others, an amusement for ourselves and a shield, to hide the truth of a relationship that my own mother would not have approved and then…it wasn't a game anymore. It was truth and to be quite frank, I was remarkably unworthy. I hurt him and I ran away. Until I realized that there was only so long and so far I could run. So I came back. And while you may call it no more than the foolish whimsy of youth, I had every intention to marry him, because it would take nothing less than a lifetime to show him precisely what he means to me." Another pause, another turn of that glass and she did, for long moments simply stare at the amber liquid.
"But it was not to be and you have seen why. So…I may love him, but it is not a love that I can share. I may desire to be there, but mine is not a shoulder I can offer. But you can. It's the last gift I can give him. His freedom. The right to choose his own path. To follow his dreams. Without the gilded bars of a cage. And you can do that, because you are his father. Because that is something that he can take from you, that he can accept without feeling indebted. Without thinking it the meddling of a girl who can not accept a no. You can do that, Mister Meliflua, because he can not know that I was here. I want no strings, real or imagined on his freedom."
It took…effort to keep her voice level, but the occasional break threatened to creep in and it was the devil to keep the emotion from outpouring from her eyes in tangible proof, but she managed. Barely. But she managed.

"You describe a young man I don't know, Solomon." Aldius states, leaning forward now. "And you accuse me rightly enough… as a boy he was always so quiet, reserved, attached to his nanny and completely foreign to his mother and I. And I allowed it." He frowns, finishing off his tea, letting the quiet linger.
"And I can see where you'd not want him to know what you've done. If he's as like me as you claim… I think he's relish having someone fight for him. You're not taking on a small woman in taking on my wife as you have."
His lips purse, "Her plans are over. He already has his freedom from this point forward. You have my word on that. The line was crossed when my wife called worthless a woman whose blood clearly runs with enough strength to make our shared House proud…" There's a grin, "And I can see a great measure of Teddy in you as well. And I have an inkling someone isn't finished yet with her plans."
"But don't discount your love yet. You read these letters too, I assume. I hope you read his words. He clearly didn't think you unworthy. Even the reason he chose to set you aside… so he wouldn't be a burden to you." He pauses, "No matter what we do here, I can see his soft heart. I don't know him… but I imagine he is going to feel remorse at making the wrong choice, once he finds his father would never has supported his mother's threats."

"Then get to know him," Genevieve pressed, "There is no reason in the world to excuse it away. Life is full of decisions, Meliflua. Some we make because we believe them best. Whilst hindsight offers perfection. He is not so lost to you yet that…," the smile was bittersweet, "He would not wish to see the bridge rebuilt. Upon that, you may trust me."
But it was his words then, to see her fall quiet. The smile small, but tempered, a keen eye could spot the sadness that lingered at its edges. "I am fighting a battle that is not mine," her voice was quiet and the glass of whiskey in her hand turned now in a steady constant circle; somewhere to focus everything that didn't need to be in the conversation, the strength of the emotions keeping her knuckles white.
"To know that I am fighting, that I would…it would do as you say, add remorse for feeling as if he made the wrong choice. And that is why you will not tell him. And that is why you will not lead him to believe that it was wrong." At least her voice grew in strength, as she continued.
"Tell him that he has passed the last test and you've seen the truth of his convictions, tell him that someone told you of his misery at school. Talk to him and let him convenience you of his need for freedom. Spin it as you will, but make it his. Build his strength the way that only parents can, with kind lies and with love. Give him that. Please?"
Of her love, she said nothing. She was freeing him to fly, to be sure. Simply… not to her.

"On one condition," Aldius says with a smile, "YOU make her overstep. You've started your game… you finish it. You make her cross the line, I will take her down, and I will build my son up, as you ask." He smiles, "But… just as you ask for this for yourself… do something for me: don't give up on yourself."
"You might have technically done something grossly inappropriate. Possibly illegal. And I can't imagine how your parents are going to deal with you. But you value my son enough, love my son enough, to do this. I will not betray your trust… but I can think of no greater match for this family. Of all things, my wife certainly was completely wrong in that."

"That…that was..," the breath was deep and admittedly shaky. "Your son taught me something of my worth. I should be able to repay his kindness." But, it was already done.
"You gave your word," a hint of a frown ghosted, "She has already crossed lines, you said so yourself. Why should I have to press needlessly beyond when I have already won?" A shake of her head, a sip of whiskey, now that it wouldn't be considered beyond weak to drink it.
"As for my parents, my Mother already knows. Papa is away on business and she found your letter. Which is why I'm here, on a Saturday, after she hauled me out for a decidedly thorough talk. Apparently…she doesn't care overly much for your wife, which would have made things more interesting in the beginning, I'll admit, without my having to manipulate her in the dark. I have apologized. As always, she was proud. I am advised to come directly to her next time, but she was proud." A hint of a grin, slight, but there shone through.
"But there is nothing illegal in what I've done. I wrote a letter, impersonating my father who will not press charges, even after my mother's forced to explain it. At best the embarrassment would fall on those who fell for the prank."
"Do you think it worth the hurt it could cause him, me driving her to the edge?"

There's a frown that crosses his own features now, as Aldius looks across at Jenny, dismissing the talk of illegality, as it seems a less pressing issue. "Frankly, I meant it more to outline what you've done for him. Be that as it may, frankly, UI will keep my word regardless… my son needs free of the trap she set for him, and I can certainly do my best… but I also know that he and I… are fare more separated than should be. You've already remarked on this. And I fear short of actually speaking to him personally, he may think my actions a trap A lie."
"He's going to hurt either way, Solomon. That much is clear. Forget my request, I rescind it. I just hope the boy has people who will convince him that it's truly me."

"Why don't you do it yourself?" Jenny inquired, tilting the glass just enough so that she could try and balance it on its edge, without letting it spill. "I mean, you're a barrister, right? Convincing people of things is your job. Go speak to your son, Mister Meliflua. Go give him the time he deserves. Get to know him. You took time out of your schedule to meet with someone over a threat to his future…why can't you take the time for him?"

"Habits, perhaps." Aldius offers, staring at Jenny again for along time with eyes focused entirely on her. "He was his mother's son… and I was a busy man. You convict me, Solomon, a bit. But you're right. Perhaps another set of games isn't what is called for here."
His own cup and saucer he spins lightly on the table. "I gave you my word. And I will. Tonight. I'll send the owl, and he and I will speak tomorrow. All day, if that's what it takes." Then the eyes go back to her, "A pity, though… it sounds as if, were it not for my wife's meddling, some day in the future I would have been able to call you daughter. I would have liked that. You seem one well suited to our name. But I keep getting the feeling, from your words here, your claim that his future wasn't you, that you don't see that any more."
Not a question. "I can only apologize for the hurt my family has brought you and yours, Solomon."

"There is more to life than games," Jenny said simply, offering a little bow of her head. "And there is a truth to seeing when they need to end. In all honesty, the only game I ever cared for is Quidditch and in truth, it is still the only one that I prefer. That's why I struggle within the house. But what I do, however, is play when there is need and someone needs a new lease on life. Because in the end, we're all just people, all just trying to get by. I couldn't watch her kill his spirit."
Shaking her head, Genevieve nudges the glass away, leaving it sit beside the cooling tea. "It's been…interesting talking with you, Meliflua. And fruitful, I hope. You'll do right by your son. As I said, it's in him to rebuild bridges rather than see them burned."

"I can only imagine." He then shifts in his seat, and stands. Tall. Very tall. Silas may have some more growing to do. He moves, coming a quarter of the way around the table, before reaching a hand out to the younger woman, his palm flat, rather than sideways, "But please… for what you've done for my family… call me Aldius. No matter what, you've proven yourself a friend of my family… doubly so with your actions concerning my wife, and bringing her to my attention. And I hope that, no matter what, that doesn't cease."
"I only wish it hadn't taken this to open my eyes."

Genevieve stands, one hand smoothing at her slacks as she settles her hand in his; flat, before the pressure was applied to see them both turned sideways, a proper shake. "I have proven myself a friend of your son, Aldius. And his interests. That it benefits you is a good thing, but…don't try to make it more than it is. And perhaps, perhaps, a letter of writing stating your intent not to press charges when I mangle your wife's face would be lovely. After all, it is my birthday and I do need a little something out of all of this for myself." The smile had teeth in it.

A brow raises again as Genevieve refuses the friendly gesture, but he doesn't seem to be upset by any means. Instead, he lets her turn the offered hand into a shake, and chuckles. "I'd prefer my wife not be wounded too badly… but I'll see what I can do. Her attacks on you have been well, documented, after all." He looks at the letters. "I assume you found a way to take those from him s that he would not know, correct? I'm loathe to think of the panic he might feel if he noticed them gone."

"Oh, he's probably worrying them. But, how delightful for you, you can twist it into your story of convincing him that you care. After all, you can't expect me to think of everything. I'm only a poor little school girl." Though the look in her eyes glimmered full of amusement. To say that it was all kind, would be a boldfaced lie.

Aldius offers Genevieve a pleasant, calculating look. "I can see why he took a shine to you. Well, your secret is safe with me. I will return them to him, and will be vaguely mysterious as I do so." He then turns from her, gathering the letters up. "This has been an… enlightening exchange, Miss Solomon." A looks goes to her again, as he then gathers up his gloves and cane. "I hope our paths cross again, and without all the subsequent drama or subterfuge to precipitate it."

"Thank you, Mister Meliflua," the young woman replied, offering a little bow of her head before she fastened the center button on her robes and then, for a moment, let her gaze slide down his. And for the first time, a rare but genuine grin cracked her lips, making the points sharp. "And, my compliments on your tailor." A wink came with it and to the tune of rumbling chuckle, Genevieve turned and left.

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