(1939-06-03) How to Woo Your Wife, Step One
Details for How to Woo Your Wife, Step One
Summary: Charlus comes into Gus' shop and learns the basics of pairing wine and cheese.
Date: 1939-06-03
Location: Rousseau Vineyards

Charlus walks into the shop looking to be a curious potential customer. He takes his fedora off and looks for a hat rank to hang it on before looking around as if not exactly a wine expert.

There is no hat rack, but there is a nice counter, gleaming with fresh polish and with plenty of space to lay a hat upon. And behind that counter is Gus, writing something in a large book - probably numbers. "Hello!" he says cheerfully when Charlus walks in. He gestures to the counter, letting him know silently where the hat can be placed. Gus is dressed in grey robes that rather match his eyes, be-charmed to make it seem like mist is drifting across them, never quite revealing something - is the mist concealing trees and a brook, or figures on an early morning street? Around his left arm is a black mourning band.

Charlus walks over to place his hat on the counter and says, "Hello there. Nice touch on the robes." He compliments before looking around the shop and saying, "My wife and I opened a shop across the street, and I've kept meaning to stop in. This is a nice place."

"Oh, the Artisana?" Gus says. He nods at the compliment. "Thank you, sir. I'm Augustin Rousseau, but you can call me Gus, everyone does." He extends his hand for the other man to shake. "I wanted to stop in and see it. What do you and your wife do there?" he asks curiously. And the man looks barely older than Gus, so the mention of a wife gets his surprised curiosity, too.

Charlus shakes the offered hand and says, "I'm Charlus Potter. It's nice to meet you." He leans on the counter to chat, partially to be neighborly, but he also looks like he will need help picking out a decent wine. He explains, "She's an artist, painter specifically. Don't ever read her poetry if you can avoid it." he advises then gets back to the point. He says, "She is building a gallery there to sell her work, and taking commissions now and again too."

"Nice to meet you, Charlus," Gus says amiably enough. He gets an awfully wistful look on his face when Charlus says his wife's an artist. "How wonderful," he says. "I like to carve, myself," he says. He motions toward the rather well-done wooden window planter just outside, done in a vine motif. "I did that," he says. "Wanted to really have a go at making it… my life's passion, you know?" Then he shrugs. "Life sort of gets in the way, though, doesn't it?" Then he claps his hands together softly. "Were you here for some wine as well?" he asks solicitously.

Charlus nods his head and says, "Maybe ya can do both. Sell wine, and do woodworking too. Sure people don't replace flowerbeds often, but a few here and there is nice and ya got the wine to make ends meet." He has wandered over to check out the planter and nods his head, impressed. He compliments, "You did a knock up job on this. Nicely done." The question of wine gets him to stand up straight again and nod, "I do. I wanted to surprise Dorea, but I know two things about wine… One actually: Nothing."

Gus laughs. "Well… I like to do more than flower pots," he says. "Sculptures, actually. Never been much for painting, myself." He wanders out from behind the counter and starts to lead Charlus toward the wines. "Do you know if she likes red or white or blush?" he asks curiously. "Sweet or dry?"

Charlus admits as they walk, "We haven't tried many wines, and usually it is just grabbing something and hoping it wasn't terrible. I don't think we want anything too dry, but I was thinking I could pick up something to go with it… Like cheese?" He ventures before shrugging and saying, "Help me out. I don't know anything about wine, but I think it'd be a nice surprise if I got it right."

Gus raises his eyebrows thoughtfully. "What… kind of cheese?" he asks.

Charlus pauses and looks to Gus as if that thought had never crossed his mind. After a moment he offers an easy going smile, but says nothing.

Gus tips his head back and laughs heartily. After a minute, once he's got his breath back, he'll try to slap Charlus on the back. "You," he says, "Are adorable." He chuckles some more, and then takes four wine bottles off the shelf and walks them over to the counter. "Have a seat, mate," he says, gesturing to one of the pair of stools on the customer's side of the counter. Gus himself goes behind it.

Charlus laughs as well and rubs his hand through his hair, "I must have missed the day they were explaining wine… and cheese. So it matters what kind of cheese I get too?" He purses his lips as if mentally quizzing himself on the kinds of cheese he knows. He heads over to the stool offered and has a seat, "This is harder than I thought. How did you learn all this stuff?"

"I grew up around it," Gus tells him. "My family has been doing wine for generations. Don't worry, I'll walk you through the basics." He grins and winks conspiratorially. "This is a kind of chardonnay," Gus says, taking out a little box full of miniature bottles of wine, and removing one with a matching label to one of the bottles he brought over. "It goes well with cheese like Camembert, a sort of bloomy cheese with lots of herb flavor." He uncorks the tiny bottle and pours it into a glass, which he pushes across toward Charlus. "Have a taste." There is a silver spittoon that Charlus can spit the taste into, or if he prefers he can simply swallow. It's only a mouthful, anyway. Gus pulls out the matching miniature bottles to the other wines he brought over as well.

Charlus nods his head as he listens. Its that vague sort of nod of a man who is not sure that 'camebert' is a word, let alone a type of cheese. Clueless as he is, he is not a fool. He pulls a notepad from his pocket and begins taking notes. He writes down 'Cardonnay —-> Camebert' then sets the notepad and fountain pen aside to pick up the offered drink and give it a try. He is cautious and even sniffs it before drinking, "That's good!" He says as if surprised. He grins then and says, "Forgive me. The last wine the Dorea and I tried was not good. It looked like mud and tasted like turpentine."

Gus snorts. "Gross," he comments. "Everything in here is excellent, if I do say so myself." Momentarily adopting a French accent and a snooty demeanor, he says, "Rousseau Vineyards accepts nothing less than the finest wines." With a final haughty sniff, he laughs and goes back to being himself. "This is a Cabernet Sauvignon," he tells the other man. "It's a great pairing with cheddar, a good old-fashioned English cheese." He pours a little sample. "The sharper the cheddar, the better."

Charlus lifts an eyebrow at the snooty accent, but laughs and lifts his glass in a toast when it becomes clear that Gus does not take himself all that seriously. He picks his pen up then and writes out the next pairing and says, "That might be a good choice. Dorea likes cheddar." And may have also never heard of the other kind of cheese. He picks up the sample and takes a drink with less caution this time. One sip and he smiles, his eyes alight like a man who is sure he is going to get lucky tonight. "Sold." is all he needs to say.

"Hah-HAH!" Gus says happily. "But I can't let you get away without trying at least another two," he says cajolingly. "This is a Reisling wine," he informs Charlus, pouring out a white wine with a fruity bouquet. "Pair it with blue cheese and she will be in heaven, I promise you." He nudges it across the counter, his face lit up with anticipation. "One of my personal favorites," he adds.

Charlus accepts the sample, but waits a moment to make sure he isn't tasting the other wine with this glass as well. After taking a drink he says, "Thats much… lighter?" He suggests, as if unsure that wording is right. He nods his head towards that bottle as well and says, "I might need to take a couple bottles out of here today." He eyeshifts some though, as if wondering at prices.

Seeing the eyeshift, Gus nods a bit. "Or take your favorite, and come back for another at a later day. Your anniversary, a birthday, perhaps Christmas?" he suggest with a smile. He pours the last sample. "Sauvignon Blanc," he announces. "Very good with mozzarella, that fresh Italian cheese."

Charlus writes that down as well and tries the last sample. Cheeses he's heard of are good. He nods his head to that as well before asking, "How much for the Cabernet sauvignon and the Reisling?" Beat reporters are not known for wealth, however he shows off a smile that hints that it has been a good day, and worth celebrating. Also he has a wife that is worth spoiling.

Gus names the price of each selection. It's certainly a lot more than the mud-and-turpentine wine Charlus has had before, but for something so obviously superior, it's a fair price. "If that's a bit much, we might be able to work something out," Gus mentions, grinning and raising an eyebrow.

Charlus doesn't take the offer at all weird, and infact seems to toy with the idea. He can mow a lawn, or help move furniture, way neighbors in the thirties repay each other. After a moment he says, "I think I'll have to just go with the Cabernet Sauvignon. Dorea and I are lightweights, so it'd probably be a mistake to buy two. Next time I am going to try the reisling though." He stands and gets some shiny coins from his pocket. He grins a bit as he pays for the bottle and says, "Thank you for the lesson. I took notes, so I am a wiser man walking out than when I walked in."

Gus takes the coins and then puts Charlus' Cabernet Sauvignon into a black velvet bag with a drawstring top. Classy! After a second, though, he gives Charlus a hesitant smile. "I was thinking," he says, hefting the Reisling - the more expensive of the two - and glancing at Charlus. "I could give you a discount on this… if you and your wife think a carving of mine is good enough to display in the gallery for sale. It could be sort of a trade," he offers. "Reduced wine for a reduced commission."

Charlus looks to the second bottle, then over to the carving once again. Charlus has very sharp intelligent eyes, and while he may not know wines, there are some things he knows well. He does not hesitate, "Done." he agrees without even establishing what sort of discounts they would both agree to. He offers his hand to seal the deal. Evidently he really was impressed with the carving.

Gus beams and shakes Charlus' hand, his grip firm but nowhere near crushing. "Excellent!" he says. "I'll get something together and bring it over soon, then," he promises. "Then we can work something out, with the discounts."

Charlus nods his head and says, "Dorea will need to de involved with the specifics, however I am sure we can work something out. Have you ever considered making frames?" Even in the 1930's, good frames are stupid expensive.

"Frames?" Gus asks, blinking. "Oh, yeah, frames are easy. I mean… well, depending on how ornate you want it. But simple frames, piece of cake." He snaps his fingers. "I can make 'em like that." He tilts his head a bit. "What kind of frame do you want?" he asks. "For her paintings? How big? With like, gold leaf and that?"

Charlus holds up a hand to forstall more questions and just shrugs, "Sorry, she just tells me about trouble with frames every once in awhile. People who want hand painted art, also want nice frames. It seems like an opportunity for everyone if you can make them. I only know that is sounds like it was meant to be. I don't really know any specifics though." He hands over some more coins, as if willing to agree to a discount, but not expecting anything for free.

Gus considers the coins, looks at the wine, and then puts it into another black velvet drawstring bag before making the exchange. "Yeah, sure," he says. "It's possible. Not the kind of thing I was hoping for, but everyone's got to start somewhere, right?" He smiles at Charlus. "Let me know when it's a good time to come over and meet Mrs. Potter."

Charlus laughs and shakes his head, "No, no. I am sure she'll display whatever you want as well. I was just asking about frames because there might be a demand. If you feel like it, and want to make a few as well, then it's be a thing. If not? Well the shop is filling up, but Dorea has plenty of room for a few more pieces of work. I don't see why she'd mind, but if she does… Well I suppose I'll owe ya some more coin." It is odd that Charlus seems to /have/ money, enough to pay full price at least. When the conversation goes to meeting his wife, Charlus nods and says, "I'll tell her about you and your work over wine tonight."

"Sounds fair," Gus agrees. And it's the beginning of a beautiful friendship, perhaps.

Charlus picks his fedora up, along with the two bottles, "See ya soon Gus." A tip of the hat is given before he heads out.

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