(1939-03-13) Compliments to the Chef
Details for Compliments to the Chef
Summary: Rhyeline invites her friend Laurence to join her for lunch and the pair chat for a time about accents and knots. Kahren joins them just in time to overhear Laurence's loud foodgasm when he tastes the fish. When Laurence departs, Kahren remains. She mentions the almost-riot the other night, asking if that had been Rhyeline. Before the meal's end, Kahren shares her support for Unity.
Date: Thursday, March 13, 1939
Location: South Verdic Alley, Cafe Tasseo
Plot: Unity

The sun shines bright in the clear winter sky, but does nothing to warm the frozen land below. Diagon Alley is as cold and frost-bitten as the dead of winter. Rhyeline scurries through the street, bundled up tight against the nip of the light breeze. A soft, wool scarf keeps her delicate nose from getting too pink. The little one is on her way for a bit of lunch, but is navigating the foot-traffic to first visit her friend's broom shop. She arrives not a moment too soon, as Laurence is just locking up for a lunch break. "Laurence!" squeaks the girl, appearing at his elbow. Her young, dark gaze shines bright with such profound shyness as she peeks up at him.

Laurence was locking up the shop, wearing his light grey trenchcoat, a matching fedora tilted at a jaunty angle and he looks up from where he was using his keys and smiles a bit at he eyes Rhyeline. "Hey there little one!" He greets cheerfully. "I was just heading for a meal, little bit to tie me over until dinner."

Rhyeline shifts, hesitating a bit as she gathers her courage. "Mm… would you- you like to- to join me for lunch? I… I was going to- to go to Cafe Tasseo… That's- that's where I got- got most of our breakfasts…" So the food is good.

Laurence tilts his head to the side curiously before flashing a grin and nod. "Of course, your highness." He winks and hmms softly. "But you'll have to recommend what's best to me of course."

A delicate, pink warmth blooms in Rhyeline's cheeks. She can't help but smile and offer a shy nod. "Of- of course…" she murmurs. "Mmm… do- do you like… fish?" She tilts her head to the side.

Laurence considers that. "Of course I enjoy fish, I'm half Greek." And half what else is always the question as when he talks, he sounds like he was born and raised in London. He hmms thoughtfully, adjusting his hat and offering an arm. "One day, I will figure out how to turn fish, into a type of bacon and…I won't even need politics, people will come from miles around, to co-exist peacefully and unify under the banner of…ultimate bacon."

A sweet, impish little giggle escapes the girl at the thought of flags emblazoned with bacon flying all throughout Diagon Alley. "It would be a beautiful sight…" she murmurs. Taking his arm, she keeps close against his side as she walks with him to the cafe. "Their fish is the best I have ever had… well… except for- for the cook's fish… when I was little."

"Mm, it sounds wonderful…the best fish I had may have been…well that's hard to say, I had a…very good friend, she's get the fish fresh off the boat and make all manner of delicious things. The worse fish I had was growing up when my mother would attempt to cook." Laurence pulls a face and shakes his head. "But I shall trust your judgement on this manner."

Rhyeline grins up at Cafe Tasseo and just then, they arrive at the posh cafe. At the Leaky Cauldron, the delicate little witch always looks just a bit out of place. But she seems to fit perfectly with the elegant French decor of this establishment. The host greets the girl with defferential affection as he takes her cloak. At once they are led to a table with a good view of the street outside. The sunlight streaming through the window has warmed the pristine white tablecloths. Once settled, Rhyeline orders them each a plate of that morning's fish with steamed vegetables. She also requests a glass of wine for herself. Looking to Laurence, she hesitates before murmuring, "Whisky? Is… is that what you would care for?"

Content to let the little woman take the lead here, Laurence keeps his fedora but removes it politely when they enter the establishment, doing little things like pulling out a chair for Rhyeline before settling himself down as well. He's quiet though, smiling to himself as she makes the orders and then he just bows his head a bit. "Whiskey will be fine, if I don't lay off the Scotch I'll be skippin' along wearing a kilt before long." He smirks softly. "Thank you."

Rhyeline's hands go at once to hide her smile as she dissolves into giggles. The image of Laurence prancing merrily through the street wearing a kilt, sinking Scottish tunes with a bottle in his hand is too much for her. The waiter sends Laurence a small, appreciative smile. The little one's laughter is a rare thing. By the time she has recovered, the waiter has gone to take their order to the kitchen. Peeking up at Laurence, she murmurs, "You… you are half Scottish… no?"

The laughter brings a pleased smirk to Laurence's lips as he shrugs a shoulder. "You see? Not a sight we be wan-not a sight we would want to see, now is it?" He has to grin a little, giving the waiter a chin-up in acknowledgement before looking back to Rhyeline, blinking at the question as he tilts his head curiously, eyebrow raising a fraction. "Yeah." A small nod. "Oh my father's side."

"My parents… are both French. Except… my father was born here. He met my mother on his travels back to Paris… Did you live long in Scotland? You struggle with your accent sometimes. I… I do too… when… when I'm… upset. Or… overwhelmed by- by other emotions…" Lowering her gaze, she turns a bit pink.

Laurence considers the question, head from one side to the other before he shrugs a shoulder and smiles. "Aye…I grew up there." He finally admits, clearing his throat. "But I had to learn to talk…so people could understand me more, carving…a new identity of sorts when I went travelling." Then his eyebrow raises once more when she mentions 'other emotions' and he just smiles slowly to himself. "Aye, when you're not really paying close attention to how you say things, accents tend to slip around like that."

"I only spoke English to my father… and… I didn't see him very often. So… when I went to Hogwarts, it- it was difficult… I was scared that- that the other children would- would laugh at me if- if I mispronounced something…" she murmurs in a rather quiet tone. Tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear, looking a bit self-conscious, she adds, "Mother was so strict about- about pronunciation."

"Ahh, well I only spoke Greek to my mum, so I know how that is. In a way." Laurence drawls softly, toying idly with a fork. "Well you have wonderful pronunciation dearie, far better than I did and I grew up speakin' English." He chuckles softly.

The subtle blush in her cheeks deepens ever so slightly as Rhyeline smiles. "Thank you… Except… now it- it's often hard… I… I hesitate a lot when- when speaking."

"Yeah, and it makes you adorable, little one." Laurence compliments with a soft laugh. "However, it shows that you want to make sure that every word you say, has meaning…is important, and you take the time to communicate as clearly as you can. Its not a bad thing. Its more than many people even try to do."

Rhyeline's cheeks glow with warmth at such a compliment. No one has ever said such words to her before. "Thank you… I… I appreciate your- your words." She tucks another loose strand of hair behind her ear, shifting a bit in her seat. "Cassius always reminds me… my flaws can- can be my strengths. Are my strengths. And… I should accept them as such. He'd agree… I'm not halting… just- just careful."

"Flaws…some people are flawed, others just have…knots. Things that may seen imperfect or flawed, but are just as important as the rings, like a tree, it has knots and rings and the sapwood…but people often think the knots are bad. Flaws…but they communicate and tell the story of the wood, of how its pulled through challenges and even still has a few…" The corner's of Laurence's lips curve in a hint of a smile before he just waves a hand vaguely. "Well. It seems he's as wise as he is…" He searches for a nice word, he really does. "Blonde." Its a safe word, really. "How is he?"

Rhyeline cant help but giggle before nodding. "Mm… he- he is well… Although… long hours at the Ministry. He is a barrister… /and/ the leader of the Unity Party…"

"Ahh, aye, good times. He stays busy doesn't he?" Laurence sets the fork down. "How are those things going then? I heard about the ruckus and such kicked up the other day, people have been murmuring about it and all."

Just as Rhyeline is about to answer, the waiter arrives at last bearing their lunch and drinks of choice. The little one thanks him with a soft, shy smile before looking once more to Laurence. Taking up her fork, she murmurs, "Mm… things are well… but… yes… I- I think that… that tensions are growing…"

"Thanks mate." Laurence thanks the waiter, picking up his drink in a silent toast to the individual before looking back to Rhyeline and he hmms softly at that. "Well that is an understatement…but I just want to make sure you stay safe. Tensions grow, things get hairy, I'll be up to my neck with worry."

"I'll be alright… I just- just hope that- that… I won't need guards again. But… I am… more resilient than I- I seem," murmurs Rhyeline, hoping to reassure him.

"I'm not worried about your resilience, you're one very very tough and strong woman. More powerful than you think." Laurence smiles softly and picks up his fork once more. "I'd be worried about other things…like losing a very very good friend to the cause that stirs her passion. I treasure the time we spend together and I don't know how many more chances I'll get to sit with you like this, share a meal and a few laughs."

Rhyeline brings her glass of wine to her lips, but pauses at such words. The little one seems transfixed as she gazes up at him. At last, she smiles, biting her lower lip. "I promise… I… I will be careful. I won't try to take a curse meant for another a- a second time…"

"Well that's a relief." Laurence pretends to wipe his brow with a 'whew' and a wink before he takes a bite of his fish, spearing some flesh and veggies and cleaning off his fork in good time, chewing appreciatively and clutching his chest with a hand. "Mm…Mmm…" Slowly chewing. "Oh gods…" Chewing as he groans. "So good, oh..its like ambrosia in my mouth." He quickly takes another bite. Yes, he can be a bit of a playful clown at times, make a soft gutteral noise of pleasure as he chews. "Merlin's beard…why didn't you warn me lassie, I don't know if I can take it…"

Rhyeline blushes furiously at such sounds. Hiding behind that glass of wine, she takes a sip that is a bit too long. She pauses for a breath and bites her lower lip. Not sure at all what to say or do, she just shifts a bit in her chair.

Laurence finishes another mouthful of food and swallows, leaning back in his chair and panting softly as he quickly shakes his head. "Honestly luv, when you say food is good, you have to make sure you warn a person about how good…" He tugs a hankerchief from an inner pocket and dabs at his forehad. "I think…whoa, I think I'm good." He just chuckling though, trying to hide it and look at Rhyeline with wide eyes. "So. Painting. Have you given it a try yet?"

Rhyline shakes her head, too overcome with shyness to speak. Her eyes flit to the food on her own plate, buuuut… she doesn't take up her fork yet. Instaed, she just clings to her almost empty glass of wine, trying her best to hide behind it.

The door opens and Kahren steps in, looking to escape the chill outside. Proper spring couldn't some soon enough for her. She's stepping towards an empty table when the noises at one of the other tables causes her to pause and look over, color rising to her cheeks. She's surprised to see Rhyeline sitting with the rather… /forward/ gentleman, and stops short for a moment. Realizing she's staring a moment later, she abruptly turns away.

Laurence shakes his head slowly and takes a deep breath, taking a sip of his whiskey and licking his lips before he takes another fork of food and watches Rhyeline with innocent blue eyes that are really too icey to be innocent, but he does his best. "C'mon, no hiding. We're out for lunch and we best enjoy it while we can, aye? Besides, Cassius would have my hide if I allowed you to eat food that's gone cold." He looks up to glance towards the entrance, to meet the stare from Kahren and he just looks her over thoughtfully, and offers a small smile before she turns away.

Rhyeline slowly lowers her glass, biting her lower lip. She blinks when Laurence glances away and follows his ice-blue gaze to the familiar girl standing at the entrance. The little one parts her lips to speak, but hesitates. She can't quite seem to summon her voice just yet.

Kahren returned the smile with an awkward nod before turning away, still blushing. Rhyeline's look is missed entirely. She starts walking towards the empty table not too far from theirs, slipping into it silently. If not for her embarrassment, she would have greeted the familiar woman - but it seemed the situation was all too awkward for /both/ of them.

Laurence looks between Kahren and Rhyeline and then back to Kahren and then back to Rhyeline and then back to Kahren before he just finishes another forkful of food and then sts down his fork. "Such a beautiful young lady, should never be forced to dine alone." He comments, getting to his feet and pulling a chair out and to the table invitingly as he gestures towards Kahren. "You both can pretend I do not exist if you like, but come…have a seat. I'm Laurence, Laurence Toulson. And I promise, my display from before was simply a demonstration of how simply divine the fish happens to be, I am not suffering from fits."

"Laurence, this- this is Kahren… Kahren Umbridge. She is- is a healer…" murmurs Rhyeline, finding her voice just in time to make introductions. Peeking over at Kahren, she murmurs, "Laurence is- is a broom-maker…" At last, the little one takes a small bite of fish. Her reaction is far more reserved. Unnoticeable.

Kahren smiles with embarrassment and nods to the pair, moving to the offered chair. "A pleasure to meet you - Mister Laurence?" Was Laurence his last name? She looked unsure.

"Toulson is the last name, lovely, but people call me Laurence." Laurence winks and then looks back over to Rhyeline, head tilting and he doesn't quite sit back down though, reaching into his pocket to pull out enough money to more than cover he and Rhyeline's meals in addition to whatever Kahren wishes to order and he sets it on the table, moving around to gently rest a hand on Rhyeline's shoulder. "Thank you for lunch, little one…I have some new orders to get started on." He reaches for his hat and offers a gallant bow to both young women. "A pleasure dining with and meeting you both, for now I must return to work. If you need me, you know where I'll be." He bows his head and puts his hat back on as he turns to head out of the cafe.

Rhyeline bites her lower lip, disappointment flickering in her young, dark gaze as she peeks up at Laurence. But of course, with a shop to run, he does not have the luxury of taking much time at all for lunch. "Thank you for- for joining me… Laurence. It… it was good to see you." With a subtle blush, the little one watches him go before she peeks a bit self-consciously over at Kahren.

"Oh, I'm sorry you must go," Kahren says with regret in her tone, pulling up her seat. She glances towards Rhyeline briefly, then back up at the man with a friendly smile. "But perhaps another time."

Rhyeline takes another hesitant sip of wine as a waiter comes to ask Kahren what she might like to have for lunch. Once he has gone back to the kitchens, Rhyeline lowers her glass and murmurs, "How are you, Kahren?"

Kahren orders a little of whatever roast they have on hand with vegetables and a cup of warm tea. "I'd ask if I chased your friend away - but that seems a bit silly. He did invite me over, after all. I hope you've been well, Rhyeline."

"I- I have," murmurs Rhyeline with a nod. "And… no, he- he runs a shop of his own… And… he isn't- isn't at all shy…"

Kahren can't help but laugh quietly at that comment. "No," she agrees. "I imagine he isn't. I mean, giving how he was-" well. /Whatever/ he was doing when she walked in. "I heard there was a bit of a fuss in Diagon Alley the other day - that wasn't you, was it?"

"I… mm… I was there, but- but no, I… I wasn't speaking. It- it was Rena Lee… an auror… she was the one who- who stood up before the people," murmurs Rhyeline in a hushed tone that betrays her quite awe for what Rena was brave enough to do.

"Well. If you were there, then I'm going to say it was you," Kahren responds with some amusement. "Any other answer is just splitting hairs. I'm glad you didn't come to any harm - I heard some rather aggrevated talk on the subject. Foolish talk, of course, but aggrevated."

A subtle blush returns to Rhyeline's cheeks. Nodding slowly, she murmurs, "Yes… there was. But… but good things were said as well. A muggle was there… and Rena… they spoke powerful words."

"I'm sure they did. And I doubt their words were wrong, either. People can be so blind," Kahren remarks in a wry tone - before her food is delivered to her. "Oh, thank you. That looks very good." There's even gravy! Lovely.

Rhyeline tilts her head, watching Kahren curiously for a moment before smiling at her delight. "Yes… the food is- is so good here." She looks to the waiter and murmurs, "I… I hope that- that you will tell the cook… how much we have been enjoying his food…" The waiter beams at the little mouse of a witch and with a flourish, he bows and promises to convey the message at once.

Kahren cuts little nibbles of meat, and dips it into the gravy, letting out a sound of appreciation as she eats - though the sounds she makes are much more tame and restrained than Laurence's had been. "I don't come here often enough. But then, I'm usually stuck at the hospital during the lunch hour."

"I… I hope that- that no one had to- to go to St. Mungo's… that night. Is… is that… how you heard?" asks Rhyeline, biting her lower lip.

"Oh, I don't think they did," Kahren answers, not sounding entirely certain. "I happened to be in the Leaky Cauldron, enjoying a mulled wine, when a pair of gentlemen came in and started loudly denouncing the state of decay in our present society. They were asked to leave before terribly long had passed."

"I see…" murmurs Rhyeline, watching Kahren with a hushed curiosity. "And… and you? Have… have you thought more on- on what we once spoke about?"

"Of course I have," Kahren answers. "Anyone with ears to hear and a brain to think would have that on their mind." She lets out a sigh. "But even if I did find your conviction - I'm not sure what a difference it would make. My place is in St. Mungo's - helping any who need it. That's where most of my energy goes."

"We each have our roles to play… Rena is one who stands in front of the large crowds… I can only murmur… but… there is much that- that you could do… just by speaking to others, helping them to see what matters. To join in a chorus of voices, asking the Ministry to take steps that would prepare us for whatever Grindelwald might do…" murmurs Rhyeline, peeking up at Kahren with a quiet hope shining in her young, dark gaze.

"Well, of course I believe the Ministry must do all that they can to prepare for and act against Grindelwald's madness," Kahren states firmly. "I can't abide such hatefulness, and the harm it would do to our society - and the innocents that get in his way."

"Then… then will you come? To- to the next gathering, where- where Rena is to speak? This one… not on the street… Instead, it- it will be like a forum… voices will join hers, broadcast on the wireless so that- that the Ministry might hear…" murmurs Rhyeline.

"Come - and do what?" Kahren asks uncertainly. "Speak on the wireless?" There's a litle color creeping onto her features. "I'm not certain that I can- well. Perhaps. Of course, I may be trapped in a work shift at the time."

"You don't have to speak…" murmurs Rhyeline, knowing well that apprehension. "But… just be there… to encourage Rena… To smile and nod in support. If you have to work though, I understand… but… you could also encourage the other healers to listen. Everyone needs to- to stop trying to ignore the darkness, hoping it will fade on its own…"

"I will try," Kahren promises. "I'll see what I can do." She offers a small smile, before dipping another bite of the roast into her gravy.

Rhyeline's soft smile brightens, pleased and reassured by Kahren's promise. "Thank you…" She takes another small bite of fish. "Have… have you had time to- to play the flute much?"

"Only a little," Kahren admits. "I've been busy with my studies for Creature Induced Injuries." And keeping her Uncle from drinking himself into oblivion every single night.

"You are still studying?" asks Rhyeline, blinking as her head tilts with kittenesque curiosity.

"Healers are always studying," Kahren responds firmly. "But I chose to take a second focus when I reached full Healer last year. So it takes up a good deal of my time. It shouldn't be as bad in a year or so."

"It's… it's good that you pursue what matters to you. When did you know? That- that you wanted to be a healer?" asks Rhyeline before taking another bite of fish. Her eyes continue to shine with interest.

"When I was still a child," Kahren confides. "My father drank a very poorly prepared potion and it affected him badly. He nearly died, and it still affects his health to this day. I was determined to help him, and anyone in a similar circumstance."

Rhyeline bites her lower lip in sympathetic pain when Kahren confides such a memory. "I see… I… I'm sorry that happened to your father." Rhyeline hesitates, bowing her head a bit before peeking back over at her. "Were you a Hufflepuff? You seem like one… so kind… wanting to help others…"

"It shows, doesn't it?" Kahren answers with some amusement. "Yes, I was. And yourself?" She considers Rhyeline for a moment. "I'd say either Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw. I think either would suit."

"Oh… I- I was in Ravenclaw…" murmurs Rhyeline with a bit of a grin. "I… I used to always be hiding behind books…"

"I spent a fair bit of time that way, myself," Kahren agrees with a smile. "But not all of it. There never was enough time in the day for my liking to divide between studies and friends."

"I… I don't think I- I managed that balance well… I had a friend, but- but she would always just sit with me as I read… she was very patient," murmurs Rhyeline with a soft smile.

"She must have been a good friend," Kahren says warmly. "But she must have thought you were worth it. You still keep in contact, I'd hope?"

Rhyeline's cheeks warm a bit more. "Mm… yes… a bit. But… not so much. She… had to go to Scotland. And… is very busy with- with her family. I… I don't like to- to trouble her."

"Since when is it trouble to hear from a dear friend?" Kahren counters. "I would write to her - often as I could. Everytime you have a bit of lovely news. I would include a bit of your troubles, as well, or they may seem insincere. But certainly write her - I'm sure she won't mind/

"She'd want to come back… but… she can't. Her family needs her," murmurs Rhyeline, biting her lower lip.

"Then don't tell her the worst things," Kahren says simply. "I still think you should write her. Perhaps you could even find the time to visit her?" she suggests.

"I do… I write to her when I can," murmurs Rhyeline with a small nod. "But I don't like her to worry." The girl tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, a bit self-conscious. Staring down at her plate, she casts about for a different topic of conversation. "I… um… how is- is your food?" She flushes. Not a particularly graceful subject change.

"Well, I'm glad to hear that," Kahren responds, flashing Rhyeline an amused smile at the awkward change in topic. "It's very good - moist and well seasoned. It would make a wonderful sandwich as well, actually."

"Yes… their food here is- is quite good." Rhyeline's blush deepens and she shifts, fidgeting a little in her chair. "I… I apologize for- for the noises that- that my friend was making. I… I think he- he was just… trying to tease me."

Kahren lets out a quiet laugh. "I don't blame /you/, certainly," she answers with a smile. "It was… well. A bit much. But no real harm done, was there?"

"I… I don't suppose so…" murmurs Rhyeline before taking a final bite of her lunch. "It… it was good to see you again… Kahren… I… I hope that- that we meet again soon. If you like, you- you can come to my flat… I- I have many books there as well that- that you are welcome to look through."

"I would like that," Kahren agrees. "Do you have a piano in your flat, as well? I could bring my flute along," she suggests.

Rhyeline shakes her head. "No… my flat is not a grand as Cassius' home. But… if you bring your flute, I- I would live to listen," she murmurs, offering Kahren a soft smile.

"One of these days when I have an evening free," Kahren agrees, a thoughtful look crossing her features. "Perhaps… Tuesday?" she suggests uncertainly. If Alaric stays true to his word and stays away from the drink that evening.

"Yes, I- I think that would be perfect… But… I will send you an owl if- if something comes up," murmurs Rhyeline as she slowly pushes herself to stand. A waiter comes to clear her plate. Laurence's money was take away earlier.

"I'll do the same," Kahren promises, flashing Rhyeline another smile. "I'm glad to have run into you again, Rhyeline. Take care. And don't make too much more trouble in Diagon Alley," she teases.

Rhyeline grins despite her blush. "I promise… It- it was good to see you… Please… take care." And with that and a little nod, the girl turns and heads off. Back to work.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License