(1939-05-03) Life-Changing Events
Details for Life Changing Events
Summary: Signe drops by Beryl's flat to swap news, share dinner and show off her new gown. But, Beryl needs to discuss something very important with her little sister.
Date: 1939-05-03
Location: Beryl Crabbe's Flat
Related: Pestering In the Park.

It's just about supper time when Signe stops by, knocking at the door of Beryl's flat. She carries the paper-wrapped bundle that is her new dress in one hand, and in the other a sack containing take-out from a restaurant. Why not make an evening of it, after all?

Despite being known for a predominantly selfish nature, Beryl always seems to make a point of refraining from frivolous magic use whenever her sister happens to be around. Normally, she would flick her wand at the door to open it and admit the guest - but seeing how it's Signe…
"Come in, lovely," she says with a bright smile, opening the door manually and stepping aside. Never one to lounge about at home in uncomfortable daytime dress, she is currently wearing a beautiful sea-green satin robe trimmed with furs. On her feet, she wears satin slippers. It's the weekend, she isn't going out, and this is her sister. Who's going to criticize?

Certainly not Signe. She greets her sister wish a one-armed hug - using the arm carrying her dress - and smiles happily at her older sibling. "I thought, since it's dinner time, I might as well bring something with. I have some coq au vin and a nice crispy baguette. And there was some early asparagus, so I got some that was roasted with butter and a bit of garlic."

"Mmm, that'll be marvelous," Beryl replies with a genuine eagerness. She's hungry at the moment, and should fair alright through dinner. She rather suspected that Siggy would do that, anyway.
Shutting the door behind them, she saunters past the foyer and into the glorious art-deco flat where the living room is sunk ever so slightly into the floor. "Let's not bother with the formality of the dining room table, though. It'd feel too much like home. I sometimes wonder why I even bother having one, as little as I use it." She further remarks, swirling the skirt of the robe a little to one side as she seats herself on the plush sofa. The glass topped coffee table can serve for their picnic spot.

"Well - it'd be rather unfortunate to need it and not have one," Signe remarks, as she starts unpacking things on the coffee table - after leaving her new dress on one of the chairs. "Feel free to open it up and take a look," she offers. "It's such a beautiful gown! I'm going to get some plates and proper silver from the kitchen," she informs her sisters, before moving that direction. Perhaps she'll even track down a bottle of red wine to go with the coq au vin…

Signe will perhaps recall that the gorgeously rounded cabinet with silver handles off to the side just happens to be a fully stocked, elegant little bar with all the necessities of life tucked away within. Modern ingenuity in furniture making seems to know no bounds. Add a little magic, and it gets even better.
Beryl idly tugs at the strings of the wrapped parcel, slowly beginning to unwrap the treasured dress inside: "I happened upon your friend, Mister Cohen in the park today. He asked me - among other things - to pass on his regards to you."

It's probably no surprise to Beryl that the dress is blue - Signe has a pronounces fondness for the color blue. This one is a pale blue satin, with an almost metallic shimmer. The top of the dress it tight - clearly designed to cling to every curve - before flaring out into more voluminous skirts near the knee. Deeper blue beads decorate the bodice in swirling designs that fade the further down the travel. And tucked into the package is a costume jewelry necklace - glass 'diamonds,' with a jewel that almost perfectly matches the color of the beads.
Signe returns with places, forks, spoons and knifes - plus a bottle of red, and two glasses. "You never fail to have just what we need," she remarks, as she starts putting a corkscrew to good use.
"Do you like it?"

Beryl smiles quite pleasantly as she takes the dress carefully from its package. First, she holds it with the one hand and runs the other along the length of the skirt to look over the full of it; then she rises to her feet so that she can let it hang naturally over the one arm and get a feel for the flow of the skirt. "This is absolutely gorgeous, darling!" She exclaims, "And it suits you to a T. But if you make a go of singing at the Natrix, we'll have to get you something like this for your performances. Maybe two or three.."
All musing aside, Beryl glances up at Signe with the bottle cork and remarks with a smirk: "That's part of my job, though. To always have exactly what we need and when we need it."

Signe gets the cork out handily, and pours two glasses of the wine, before setting the bottle aside. "Well - I have one… maybe two gowns of my own that would do. Oh, I wish you'd been there to see it! It was such fun singing on that stage - and Mr. Montague was such a gentleman." Was there a hint of dreamy longing in her tone? Well. The man /was/ rather desirable. "I would not mind in the least singing with him again." She takes a sip of the wine - then starts dishing out the chicken and vegetables, tearing off a hunk of bread to go with them, while Beryl admires the dress.

Signe's dreamy tone isn't lost on Beryl. She quirks one eyebrow slightly at the other, flashing a slightly bemused smile. What harm can there be in a girl taking a fancy to a celebrity? Ladies have been doing it since the days of Mozart - and possibly earlier. As long as Siggy doesn't start throwing her undergarments at the man on stage.
"I'm sure you'll have your chance to. I imagine there would be some demand to have you back after showing the man up at his own game." On that point, Beryl is extremely proud of her sister, and it shows in her expression as she sets the precious dress aside by draping if over a chair.
Of course, that trifling part of their visit being over with might bring to Signe's mind the other reason she came to visit tonight. Now Beryl begins to worry, and it's all she can do to keep the faint touches of anxiety from her features.

"So what did you and Graham talk about?" Signe asks curiously. "So kind of him to ask after me - he's always a considerate sort," she remarks, as she picks up her plate to begin eating. "Mm. The chicken is very tender," she remarks as an aside.

Beryl begins to pick at her food daintily. It's not that she isn't enjoying it - clearly she is - but she's eating very cautiously and slowly. "Oh… he wanted to know how the family might feel about you performing for wizarding folk." Grateful for the excuse to put off their more intense discussion for a few minutes longer, she continues: "I gave him the straight answer on that one and said they could boil their heads if they didn't like it." Is that an evil smirk? Yes, possibly… "I also said if you were worried about ruining the Crabbe name, you could always build yourself up under an assumed one. Be a woman of mystery and all that sort of jazz. People love a little mystique in their performers."

Surprise crosses Signe's features at the topic of their conversation - and suddenly /she's/ the one that looks uncomfortable. "But even under an assumed name - don't you think it'd become apparent that I'm a /squib/?" That would be a distinctly uncomfortable position for Signe to be trapped in - and far too exposed for her like. "And I would hate to cause any strain between myself, and mum and dad. I don't want to… embarrass them."

"You know how I feel about dad," Beryl remarks in a somewhat sharpish tone. Indeed, Signe knows that Beryl could not give two figs whether the man were happy or not. He's never done anything but ignore, belittle or diminish the worth of his legitimate daughters due to his abysmally medieval desire to have sons born into the family. Sons - he never had. And, as far as Beryl's concerned, it's a judgement upon him that he can enjoy to the full.
"Mother, on the other hand…" Now, the older sister sighs, and her shoulders slump a little. She has her own worries where their mother is concerned. It will be far less enjoyable when the time comes to discuss things with her. "Well, never mind, lovely. Just think about it now and then. You never know when you might change your mind. Never just slam a door and walk away."

Yes - Signe knows how Beryl feels about him. But she doesn't have as much luxury to be disdainful of him as her sister does. "I know you would always stand by me, Beryl. But mum and dad - they're the only other family I have." Since the extended family would have nothing to do with a /squib/. And Beryl knows Signe would never do anything that might jeopardize her relationship with them.
"And besides - a squib celebrity? I'd be a target." And she hasn't the courage for that. "I'm not as strong as you. I think it's best if I just stay to the Muggle world."

"Celebrities are always targets in their own right, lovely. If you didn't want the spotlight and the attention it might bring, you should've become a typist." Beryl teases her little sister. Signe can surely tell that she isn't being critical or making a cruel joke. It's probably just to leave the matter to lie where it is for the time being: "Just remember what I said about not leaving doors locked behind you. It's always a good plan to have an alternate exit and path to run to."
The girls enjoy their meal for another moment or two, but Beryl clearly has something gnawing at her mind. She just doesn't even know how to begin her approach to the subject without sounding either entirely too flippant or utterly vague.

"But it'd be worse as a squib - you know that," Signe insists quietly. "I'll remember, though." She just doesn't expect she'll ever follow through on it. She nibbles away at her food, glancing at her sister periodically. After letting the silence drag on for a while she breaks it by asking, "So - were you going to tell me about your beau?"

At least Signe has helped by cracking the situation open a little by mentioning it. However, that doesn't stop Beryl from tensing slightly at the question. An uneasy smile tries to form itself upon her lips, and her fork idly twirls against a bare spot on the plate before her: "In… part. I suppose you could say that, yes."
Beryl's characteristically silver little voice is a bit smaller and thinner than it usually tends to be. Clearly, she's uneasy about something - or something is preying uneasily on her mind, desperate to get out. "Actually, I wanted to ask you a rather complicated question…"

"What is it?" Signe asks, her attention focused on Beryl now. It's unusual to see her older sister quite this flustered, and that worries her a little. "Beryl, darling, is everything alright?" She sets aside her plate, moving to perch herself on the arm of her sister's chair, so she can drape one arm around her.

The fork is laid to rest on the plate quite gently, making very little sound. Now that she's up against it, Beryl has no choice but to draw a slow, steady breath and get this over with. Swallowing, there is but another brief moment's pause before her lips part. "It all sounded so complicated in my mind… now when it comes down to it, the question is only a few words long." She smiles nervously, turning those cool green eyes of hers on Signe's quite seriously. Steady on, Beryl. "Siggy… What would you think if you… How would you feel if you found out that you were going to be an aunt?"

"An aunt?" Signe repeats, surprise on her features that quickly melts into a smile. "That's why you haven't been well? Oh, Beryl, you know I would dote on a niece, or a nephew! Nothing would please me more. But… are you happy about it?" After all - it's not like Beryl's married yet. And she hadn't shown much interest in becoming a mother before this…

Beryl smiles in a way that bespeaks relief. Now the troubling secret is no longer hidden away and under wraps. It's a deeply satisfying relief to get it off of her chest once and for all. "I am happy about it, Siggy. Very happy." She answers in a gentle tone, turning enough to give her sister a warm hug. "It all just sort of happened suddenly. I'm sorry I didn't tell you… I don't know what came over me," She admits. Having been swept along in the passionate love that she and Tiberius share, she really has no logical explanation for her actions or feelings any longer. "But I am extremely happy. I… I /want/ this."

"Then I can be unreservedly delighted," Signe answers as she hugs her sister tightly. "Oh how utterly wonderful! I shall be overwhelmed with impatience all these coming months." Just the thought of holding Beryl's little baby in her arms… "You shall have to give your beau my warmest congratulations."
It's only on these words that it occurs to her… "He does… know of me? Doesn't he?"

Signe's unreserved joy is contagious, but Beryl tries her best to restrain herself. If she lets her emotions take over too fully, she'll wind up in tears. They would be happy ones, but she hates to break down and cry under any circumstance. Despite her best efforts, she does have to sniff away the inclination before speaking again: "Oh, yes - he does know." Gently, she touches her sister's cheek with her hand and smiles: "He knows, and he's just as happy as I am - even though neither of us ever really believed we might be parents one day." A little pause falls between them, and Beryl suddenly laughs: "Dear Merlin, I suppose I'll have to learn how to make baby clothes in order to preserve my sanity during the last months."

Signe can't help but giggle at the thought. "I can show you. As long as we're sewing them, mind. I've never tried my hand at knitting." She remains right where she is, arm around Beryl, and head resting against her. "I'd like to meet him, of course. The father of my little niece." Or nephew. "If you think it's feasible."

Tiberius is elusive at times, and often gone until very strange hours of the day or night. That thought causes Beryl's expression to fall slightly, but she soon rallies and says: "I'll find a way for you to meet Tibs. I promise, I'll see to it."
Underneath it all, of course, Beryl has another concern entirely… that of unemployment. Hector is liable to fire her when he finds out the truth of her current predicament. "I really ought to try to be a little more civil with the family, I suppose," She remarks at length with a sigh: "I may need to fall back on them after a time. I doubt I can keep my job for very long. I need to be more like you."

"Good. I look forward to meeting him."
Signe can't help but let out another little laugh. "Mum and dad are going to have /kittens/," she remarks. A little concern crosses her features, though, when Beryl mentions the possibility of not being able to keep her job. "You know I'll help out however I can," she encourages her sister. And this 'Tibs' - well. It's his duty to take care of Beryl and the child, isn't it?

Sure, and Tibs will do everything in his power to see to it that Beryl and the child are taken care of… but his lot and his fate are tied up with the same heartless employer who may pitch her to the gutter upon learning her situation. As Tiberius is equally at fault, the outcome of his employment will probably reflect hers when all is said and done.
"Everything will be alright, Siggy," Beryl reassures her younger sister with a gently confident smile. "No matter what happens."

Shifting a little and laying her slim hand lightly where the tiny life now grows inside of her, imperceptibly for the time being, Beryl smiles and says: "I hope we manage to agree on a name by the time the kid arrives. I hadn't even begun to think of that yet."

"Of course it will," Signe agrees firmly. "I would never allow it to be any other way. And I mean it - if you need my help with /anything/, it's yours in a heartbeat.
"The name Eugene has such a lovely ring to it, don't you think?" Signe suggests. "I'm also very fond of Catherine. Do you have any ideas yet?"

The two sisters continue to enjoy each other's company as the evening wears on, and they largely keep to happy talk thereafter. Situations may not be wholly ideal, but life is pretty good for the Crabbe sisters right now, and it's nice to be able to enjoy their mutual happiness.

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