(1939-05-14) Welcome Advice
Details for Welcome Advice
Summary: Returning to London after an eventful and unsettling trip, Rena takes solace in the Leaky Cauldron until Hector gives her some unlooked for, but welcome advice.
Date: 1939-05-14
Location: The Leaky Cauldron

— The evening is running late but even now the place is full to the brim with patrons of all shapes and sizes. There is a thin layer of smoke in the air as the many people drink and talk, the background noise a swollen rumble. Hector Carrow is sitting alone at a small table beside the entry drinking scotch and smoking an acrid smelling cigarette. His soft bronze eyes scan over the daily wizarding newspaper as he slowly, methodically, lifts the smoke to his lips and takes purposeful drags. As the smoke slowly drools from his lips he turns the page, often looking up as he does this, scanning the crowd in a somewhat laconic manner. He is dressed in a simple black suit with his off white dress shirt undone a few buttons. It's clear that the man is relaxing after a long days work at his utterly and completely legit business that has no ties at all to organized crime or underworld dealings.

Normally full of bobbins and bounce, Rena is fairly known around the Leaky Cauldron and the general vicinity of Diagon Alley these days. But, a good deal of her reputation comes from that vivacious demeanor, and an unbeatable personality. However, tonight, she slipped into the Cauldron quietly - rather like someone who didn't particularly wish to be taken notice of. It's called the walk of shame, and Rena isn't used to walking it.
The distinct stench of acrid smoke from Hector's cigarettes has managed to give him a little space due to patrons preferring to keep their distance from the smell. However, it looks like an ideal spot to the petite redhead, and she slinks over to the table next to his. Taking a seat, she lays her coat to rest around the back, leaving her Auror Initiate badge glinting softly in the light.
Pausing a moment, Rena leans on the table and rubs a hand across her forehead. With her, she has also brought a stiff looking drink. Hopefully she's off-duty.

— The man does not see the woman enter or sit down, and as such does not notice the drink the the manner in which she's walked. When he looks up again during a page turn he does however notice the new arrival. It does not take long for him to place a name to the face. "Hello again Ms Lee." Hector speaks to her in a deep baritone voice, his expression as easy as he peers across his table at her. "Good evening." There is little chance that she remembers him from the street all those months ago, however in his line of business… well, the illegal part anyways… it pays to know who the local law is and what they get up to. Luckly for him this particular woman was hardly ever not in the news, which made keeping tabs somewhat easier. "Meeting someone?" The question is asked with a long, slow, blink of his eyes as he watches her.

Rena was about to take a sip of her drink when Hector spoke to her. Needless to say, his sudden greeting startles her.
Slightly shaken, she sets the glass back down on the table, and her dark eyes dart toward Hector quickly. He's the only one near enough to have spoken - and indeed, he is looking at her. Unfortunately, there is no sign of recognition in her gaze as she stares back at the man.
"I… I'm so sorry, sir," Rena recovers after a flustered moment, remembering her manners. "I'm afraid you've got the advantage on me." Now the warm little smile is flashed - though still quite puzzled - and she continues: "Forgive me if we've met and I don't recall your name. A-and… no, I've just returned from a trip outside of the city. Not quite ready to go ho- erm, needed a little pick me up, that is. It was a long trip."

— His head nods slightly at her reaction as it was not unexpected in the slightest. "I can understand that." Hector admits with a thin smile before taking another drag from his cigarette. "We met a few months ago on the street. We were simply walking in the same direction, however I did not give you my name at the time." The explanation is straight forward and as such he doesn't add much to the topic of conversation at the time. "My name is Hector Carrow." The man's eyes turn down to his paper for a moment before he folds it and places it on the table. Leaning back in his chair he looks across at the woman. "Pleasure to meet you once again."

Rena searches her mind when Hector attempts to remind her of their brief encounter. At first, there is nothing - but at length, it begins to dawn on her. A rather grim evening it was, beset by early winter rain. She does remember now.
"Of course! 'Ow stupid of me. The child threw mud at me and you remarked that children could be cruel because of their upbringing and all." Smiling more warmly, she turns to face him more fully: "Awfully glad to meet you as well, Mister Carrow. Again, that is. Formally this time."
He seems like quite the gentleman by Rena's standards. "Carrow - there was a gentleman by the name of Carrow who worked at the Ministry not long before I came there. But, 'e owns a book shop now. I'm sure I've gone and filled almost all the available shelves in my cottage at 'Ogsmeade with books from there. Is 'e a close relation of yours?"

— "Very few of my relations are close. I tend to stray from the Carrow line in most things outside of my business." Hector explains as he now clearly has given his full attention to the woman. There is a moment as he pauses to consider her words and those that she had not spoken, or at least stopped herself from speaking, only moments ago. "It sounds like a comfortable place to be. It's odd that you would choose to be away from there and instead sit in a busy tavern like this after a long trip." The man chuckles mildly and shrugs. "With a stiff drink no less."

"I…" Rena starts, glancing at the drink on the table before her. There it sits, untouched. And suddenly, she remembers why she wanted it so badly when she first came in.
"I don't live there all the time, you see," the young woman attempts to explain, quite poorly. "I live 'ere in Diagon Alley with my… my fiance." Colour rises in her pale cheeks quite hotly. "I only stop there occasionally when I 'ave a chance - or if the job takes me out that far and away from London. I rather wish I were there right now."
Her hand has been creeping unconsciously toward the drink all this time. The woman is clearly a bit of a nervous wreck, even if she is trying to conceal the fact. However, she does offer a faint smile before taking a sip from the glass to steady her nerves. It stings quite visibly, judging by her face.

— "Ah." Hector remarks with a look away as he also lifts his drink to his lips for a sip. The scotch is not the best in a place like this, but it will do for now as the man tends to avoid home as well. However for totally different reasons that he suspect Rena to have. "Congratulations." He adds after a moment. "I do not recall a ring on your finger the last time we met."
There is another awkward moment that passes before the man nods once more and looks back at her. "I will not pry into your personal affairs Ms Lee, however I will note to you that it is fairly clear that you are distraught and that you are avoiding him for some reason. I suspect that he is probably waiting for you to return and would notice such a change."

How appalling that Hector can so easily tell from Rena's demeanor that she's distraught and trying to avoid her fiance. If she had half an ounce of volition, she would throw back her head an object, like any red-blooded woman. And yet, under Hector's keen gaze, she can tell all too easily that he would see through any lame attempt she might make at denial.
"Does it stand out all over me?" Rena asks with a faint and forced smile. "I'm doing my best to replace what courage I've lost with some liquid courage, as some like to call it for that very reason." Rather abruptly, she grips the glass and takes another larger drink of alcohol. It's rough, and it goes down rough. But, the burn is stimulating, at least.

— "Well… yes, it's rather plain." He explains with a light chuckle before he finishes his scotch. "If I were to provide you with some unasked-for advice I would recommend that you instead of think a pleasant moment that you two shared instead of whatever it is you are avoiding." The man leans forward now, his cigarette finding its way to his lips again, a drag is taken. "Something that you can focus on. It's either that or simply confront it." The advice is solid, it's something that anyone can use and it's also total bullshit in the mind of Hector Carrow. A man who has little time for such pleasant relationships problems and who avoids them when he can. "However… being drunk is not going to help. You'll either slip up or you'll make everything that much more obvious."

The man's words of wisdom actually cause Rena to stop with the glass mid-air. He's right, and she knows that he's right. Surprisingly, the glass begins to lower to the table once more, unfinished; and Rena's gaze becomes keenly focused on Hector. It is a searching look, one that almost asks why he is bothering to offer such help to a near-stranger… But then, her eyes soften and drift into an appreciative expression.
"Th-thank you, Mister Carrow. I can't imagine why you're being so kind but… thank you. I… you may well 'ave saved my 'ide tonight. I think I can safely say that I owe you one."

— "It's no problem my dear." Hector replies as he stands. The cigarette is put out in a tray on the table and the man begins to pick up his personal items as he makes to leave. "I hope that you are able to head home soon. This is actually a dreadful place to sit alone if you aren't someone like me already." His bronze eyes peer across at her before he bows his head ever so slightly in farewell. " Enjoy the rest of your evening Ms Lee."

Hector Carrow may be an unusual man, but a gentleman from the ground up. At least, that's how Rena sees it. He takes his leave of her, and she murmurs her thanks again, bidding him goodnight. It takes curage, but she leaves the remainder of her drink untouched and rises from the table after only a minute or two. She pays for the drink and then heads for the door. She will take his advice and sort things out with a clear head - which takes a good deal more bravery than the other option.

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