(1939-07-22) Dropping out and Moving Up
Details for Dropping out and Moving Up
Date: 1939-07-22
Location: Leaky Cauldron

Esther is out of her uniform; wearing a smokey grey woolen jumper and tight black slacks as she sits in the Cauldron and reads. One hand holds a folder; a glossy outside showing the rather impressive facade of the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts; her other the Slytherin Badge severed from her robes. While she slowly flips through one, the other is gently twirled in her fingers, the wild-haired girl reading the afternoon away.

"Esther Lowe," Gus says. He's just come in from the street, hoping for a hot meal. "How're you? It's been a while." He looks from her Slytherin badge to the folder in her hand, curiosity in bright grey eyes. He's still wearing a mourning band around his arm, over light grey robes. Under that is a pair of black slacks and a white shirt. The pair of them are positively monochrome.

"Augustin." Evelyn notes quietly, turning to glance at him before her eyes return to the folder. "Glad to not be returning to Hogwarts; for one. A sentiment you might share. How have things been for yourself?" The drama in the snake pit would have been just missed by Augustin as well. One of the few occasions where Slytherin business escaped the Dungeon. "You look well; regardless."

"Heh," says Gus. He gestures at another chair at her table. "May I?" he asks. Then he shrugs. "Oh, you know, things are what they are. My little sister is starting school next year." He lifts his eyes briefly to the ceiling. "She wants to be Gryffindor." Amusement quirks his lips up at the corners for a moment. "I opened a shop down the street with my father," he tells her. "We're selling our wine. We're doing… pretty well, actually. Are you allowed to drink, yet?" he asks. "If so, stop in for a glass, on me." He nods at the compliment and grins. "Thank you, Esther. So do you. What is that you're looking at?"

"A lion? I'm unsurprised. It seems to be the aspiration of many." Esther states quietly. "The boldest wish to be Lions; the smartest wish to be Ravens; the slyest wish to be Snakes." She doesn't mention Hufflepuff. But who does? "I'm glad for your success. I might drop by at some point in the future… We'll see where time takes me. For now? The Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts." A pause. "… With my reputation in tatters it's best to focus on my skills away from Hogwarts."

Gus takes the seat, since she didn't object, and leans on his elbows. "Your reputation in tatters?" Gus asks, blinking. "Well… cor, that's not good. What happened?" He looks genuinely concerned for her, and he tilts his head to one side, eyes focused on hers, looking for all the world like he's giving his undivided attention.

"I held people accountable for their actions. They took exception to it… As they didn't have enough support in our house to challenge me and mine; they brought it to the student body and slandered me." It's an incredibly simplified version, but mostly true. In-house, Esther had more than enough support to weather the storm. "And those who would support me. I had been debating attending WADA anyway, but they aided my decision." She tilts her head to the side, seeming like she's already distanced herself from the situation. "So be it."

"Held who accountable for what actions?" Gus asks for clarification. "Sorry," he says immediately. "You don't have to tell me. I've been away for a while, though, so I don't know what all is going on, you see." He gives her a sort of helpless-looking shrug.

"Dating a man of ethics. Making simple errors of judgement. Refusing to acknowledge the assumed superiority of inferior people. Cowards and children playing at being adults." Esther's cool judgement of others is simply how she's learned to deal with it. Either laugh; cry or stop caring. "It is of no consequence anymore. How are you enjoying owning a business then?"

"Hm," Gus says. "Well… of course I don't know the details, but… don't let anyone tell you who you can love, or who you shouldn't love. As to the rest," he shakes his head thoughtfully. "I personally try not to think of anyone as inferior, really. Saves me a lot of headaches." He lifts his eyes to find the nearest passing waitress, and signals to her that he's ready for food. "Enjoying?" he repeats. "Not so much enjoying as… you know. Doing what needs to be done. Now that Mum's gone, it changes things. But it's not bad, the shop. Customers are usually nice, too. And it keeps Lizette in hair ribbons and Chocolate Frogs, so that's a plus." He grins at the thought of his little sister.

Esther allows herself a brief chuckle. "Sometimes I think it would be easier if I didn't. However I think the judgement is in my blood. For what it's worth, I'm very sorry for your loss. Might be that I don't always get along with my Mother but… What you went through is still the nightmare of anyone's still a child."

The smile slips right off of Gus' face and he looks down at the table for a few seconds. He has to clear his throat before he can speak. "Thank you," he tells her. "We're getting through it, together. Papa is… better. Lizette has recovered the fastest of the three of us." He takes a deep breath and looks up at her again. "So who is your boyfriend?" he asks curiously. "Someone I know?"

"It's unlikely." Evelyn admits; even though the two probably shared a year. "Zayn Shafiq. He's very business minded… Otherwise he'd be joining me at WADA. Although I question just how Hogwarts will help with business economics; his family will not be moved and it would be poorly advised for me to make a big deal of it by speaking up. How goes your own quest for love?"

"Oh, yeah, I know him, sort of," Gus says, nodding a bit when she says her boyfriend's name. "Seems nice enough." He shrugs a bit, not knowing about advanced Hogwarts education, himself. "I seem to be doing alright," he says, regarding business. "But maybe it's more about… cementing alliances while in school that will open doors later in life. I think my Papa said something about that, once. It sounds good, anyway." His eyebrows dart upward at her last question. "Er… it doesn't," he admits. "My last girlfriend " that'd be Eibhlin " dumped me, what? Two weeks after I dropped out. You know. After Mum died. So. I'm not exactly eager to trust a girl again. Besides, I'm so busy with the shop, and taking care of Lizette." He sighs.

"Ah." Esther responds with a pause; frowning a little bit. "I suppose if you're after business that's what you need to do. I'm more of an artist; so business contacts are less required." And a Dancer, but let's not volunteer that just yet. "And for what it's worth… I'm sorry that she did that. Not a very emotionally considerate course of action.

"I seem to be drawn to girls who don't much care if they hurt me," Gus mutters with a pained look in his eye. He shakes it off and gives her a bashful smile. "But that's a… a dull topic." He brightens a bit at the mention of art. "Are you?" he asks. "See, I didn't know that about you." He leans forward a bit. "I wanted to study art," he tells her. "But… life, you know. It gets in the way. I still do what I can, here and there, though. I've got a sketchbook back in the shop, if you'd like to come and see it? Have you got anything I can see?"

"Some people attract that. Other people interpret that." Esther bows her head a little bit in thought. "My cousin still thinks that I'm one of those people." There's a pause. "Perhaps I could come by in a few days though. There's plenty of time."

"Sorry," Gus tells Esther. "And yeah, please stop by any time. I'm there most days from open to close, with a break for lunch. Usually here. Bring your boyfriend, too. I'm always up for time with another man of ethics." He grins at her. "Looks like I'm going to have to go hunt down my food - the waitress hasn't come over here once. Good luck at your new school, and all."

"The blessing of schooling in London is that I think I get my Lunch off." Evelyn notes, getting to her feet slowly. "I'll see you when I see you, regardless."

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