(1939-07-31) Hunting for a Home
Details for Hunting for a Home
Summary: Kaiden and Briar get coffee then go home hunting for him.
Date: July 31st, 1939
Location: London - All Over

Freighter Diner

The outside of the diner is made to look like an old train car and once one walks in the whole motif is that of the train. Red topped swivel stools on chrome pedestals sit at the bar for people to be up close. Several booths line the other side of the train cabin and are set up as if they were wooden seats of small cabins. Through a window behind the bar the kitchen can be seen and all the smells come from within as does the food as it rests on a shelf before it is picked up and delivered. A cabinet sits on one side of the counter with pies sitting within and on each table there is a set of salt and pepper as well as a few condiments. The lighting in here is all from a train and hang from brackets that would keep the lights upright all the time if the train was moving.

Having invited Briar out to coffee at around noon, Kaiden, of course, got there early to make sure everything was in order. And so the young man has been sitting in a booth for the past half-hour, meticulously arranging the napkin dispensers and the little bowls full of creamer and sugar in an effort to assure to his nervous brain that everything is perfect.

Briar loves this diner, more so than anywhere in London, this place makes her feel at home. A wave and smile is given to the waitress that is seating people and she points over to Kaiden. "Meeting him, thanks love. Mmm, can I get a quarter slice of that apple pie with two forks to the table please too? That looks so good." With that she makes for Kaiden's table that's been bombed with OCD. "Hey hey."

Kaiden looks up as he straightens the lid on the sugar bowl and says, "Oh, hey." He smiles and stands up, as his home-trainin' decrees. "How are you?" he asks as he looks Briar over, making sure she's still in one piece.

Briar is much more put together than she was at work. Her floral dress is different, this one has a deeper scoop to the neckline and is a bit shorter in the skirt. Over it she's wearing Jack's old leather coat which she removes and tosses to the wall on the booth bench. Then she leans in to give Kaiden's cheek a kiss with a hug since he's standing. Soon enough though she's sliding into place at the booth and pulling her neatly made and intricately woven with flora braids over her shoulders and down the front of her chest. "I am doing alright. Worried about my job, if I lose it, I realized I probably won't get the credit for the Shop." She chuffs and vibrates her lips in a sigh.

Kaiden slips into the opposite bench and nods to her, saying, "I sent a letter to Phae. Hopefully I can get her to come talk to me about the whole thing and get her to settle down." He takes a sip from the cup of coffee that he's been nursing for the duration of his visit and says, "You're liking it there, yeah?"

Briar reaches across to give his free hand a little rub. "Thank you so much. More than anything really I don't want or like Phae being pissed at me. I forget sometimes how … British many people here can be. I shouldn't have said anything right then and there. But Ria is this delicious bait that I can't deny. I'm sorry I rained on your good news. I really am so proud of you. As for the job, it's not my dream job or anything. If I do lose it, I won't be too upset. I might just see if Oscar's family needs a new employee. But I do love the comments from the families about how much the patient enjoyed the flowers. A sap like that, I know."

Kaiden shakes his head with a soft chuckle and says, "It must be a pure-blood thing. It's all appearances with very little substance. For instance, I love my sister, but her public persona could use a little work. The whole frigid, purist bitch thing doesn't really work all that well." When Briar switches the subject, Kaiden is noticably relieved. He grins as he listens, his eyes staring into his coffee cup, lost in thought. "You still working toward opening your on shop one day?"

Briar thanks the waitress when she delivers the pie and two forks and fills up Briar's cup. The woman seems to know Briar's order well enough that she leaves a good inch of space from coffee to rim and it's evident why as Briar up ends thee sugar dispenser and pours a steady thin stream of sugar while counting to ten. Then two dollops of cream is poured before she stirs the brew up into the syrupy concoction. "Soon as Gringotts will let me. Some bullshit about no experience and being too young and blah blah, a whole bunch of logical, clinical sense. But it still pisses me off."

"Well, prove 'em wrong, Tiger," Kaiden says with a smile as he watches her prepare her coffee. He leans back in his booth and crosses one leg over the other, "So, apart from all of that, how's being all graduated treating you?"

Briar sighs with a smile and a tiny shake of her head. "Amazing, and shitty all at the same time. Lying to my family is an increasing pain in the ass because I'm now living with them, with no leaving for Hogwarts to look forward too. The places I've been scouting all year have lofts above them. So as soon as I have the shop, I'm moving the fuck out of the Crocker's house. Immediately, with a quickness, ASAP. How about you? Are you moving out of the Sykes Mansion? Going to have a fat wallet being on a Pro-Quidditch team. Even as a reserve. That should be enough to get you your own flat somewhere. Some place Dad won't get on your case about the revolving door of girls coming in and out." She grins and pokes her tongue out at him playfully.

Kaiden chuckles softly, "I don't know if revolving door is the proper term. I think I've kinda settled down with all of that." He grins and says, "For a pro-Quidditcher, at least." He runs a hand back through all of that hair and shrugs, "Hopefully I'll be able to set up on my own soon enough. Get out of Arlo's pocket a little bit. Though, I've never been his favorite, so I doubt he'll be all that sad to see me go."

Briar smirks and takes a fork and slices it through the tip of the pie and collects it on the tines so she can lift it up and present it to Kaiden's mouth for the offers. "Best Apple Pie you'll find outside of the US." To talk of Arlo she winces a little. "Can't help but feel a smidge guilty on that. Of course I also feel pride in it too." The smirk grows and she gives him a wink. "So….settled down hmm? With whom?"

Kaiden gladly takes the offered bite of apple pie and chews it happily, saying, "It's pretty good, I guess." His hands move to rest around the mug of warm coffee and he says, in response to her question, "Myself. I've done some soul-searching and come to terms with the fact that I tend to let my self-worth be denoted by the girl I'm dating at the time. That'll just drive you crazy. So, for right now, I'm a lone wolf, as it were."

Briar looks rather stunned and extremely pleased as well. "My. My. I'm proud of you. You really should listen to me though." She teases a moment and then takes a gulp of her coffee. "But what will drive me crazy? Besides the fact it takes two years almost for things I've said to sink in?" A wink is tossed. Then a bit of pie is carved off for herself. "I think it's a perfect time to be single, just after graduation. Allows you to figure out who you are now that you're out of school. Huh?"

"Pretty much, yeah." He grins and takes a long, happy sip from his cup before saying, "I do miss the sex, though. But I'm tired of being that guy who uses women, so no more of that for a while." He chuckles a bit and says, "How are things with you and Xander?"

Briar tries to not look surprised again when he states the new leaf he's trying out. "Again, I'm proud of you. That's very mature of you." Then when asked about Xander she beams warmly. "Good, very good. He's working for the Ghost Division of the R.C.M.C. proud of him too." She then gives him a little cute squint, "You do know that Xander and I aren't together any more, right? We're friends…" 'With benefits' is implied in tone. Like Kaiden they'd miss the sex too much! Briar doesn't have the will power to go without either. "Pretty much since we got back from Winter Holiday." About the time that she went into a panic hearing about the attack on the Sykes house. It was pretty much impossible to convince herself or Xander that she was completely over Kaiden when that happened. So they decided to remain friends, and they have, still very close friends.

"Oh, I hadn't heard that. I guess I kinda got wrapped up in school and being a game-winning machine for those last few months. I'm sorry to hear that, though," remarks Kaiden, trying his best to hide the fact that this is a fairly pleasant surprise for him. He shrugs and says, "I wish I could say I knew what Morgana was up to, but I really haven't heard from her since we broke up."

Briar takes another bite and then offers up another bite to Kaiden, "You know I got this for both of us. Eat up. Morgana? Oh she's with Lucian now. At least she was just after graduation. They are really cute together. It's amazing to see that boy actually be happy. I knew he could be if he got ——." She edits herself and lets it fade there. Of course it's clear she was going to say, 'got away from Ria.' but she demonstrates some tact and censors herself. "So are you going to be a Beater? It's going to be weird for you not having me as a partner, huh?" She snickers and grins warmly.

Kaiden raises his eyebrows at the prospect of Morgana being with Lucian, but manages to refrain from any sort of untoward comment. Stiff upper lip and all that. He clears his throat and nods, saying, "Yeah, I really hadn't thought about it all that much. I guess Palancher will finally have somebody up there who can give him a run for his money." He then happily takes the second offered bite before plucking up his fork and carving one himself.

Briar laughs and shakes her head, "There he is! I knew the cocky Kaiden was still bumping around in there." She winks and takes another bite and sip. She's eaten her share of pie so she scoots the plate towards him. "Do you mind if I smoke?"

Kaiden grins and says, "Well, he'll never go away completely as long as I'm this good." He flashes her a wink and shakes his head, "Of course not. As long as you give me one, too." He takes a bite of the pie and sets his fork down, awaiting an offered cigarette from Briar.

Briar digs around in Jack's jacket for a few moments and she pulls out a couple of cigarettes and a zippo. Both of the filterless cigarettes are placed in her mouth and lit together. She's not wearing a lot of lipstic at all and she manages to not get any on his cigarette in the lighting process. It's passed over to him with a smile through a veil of exhaled smoke. "Ahhh. I tell you, there's not much better than pie, coffee and a smoke for lunch."

Kaiden takes the cigarette and slips it into his mouth, taking a long, content drag from it before exhaling the smoke out of the side of his mouth, "I think you may be right, Briar." He smiles a bit, taking the cigarette from his mouth and rotating it between his thumb and index finger, "Y'know, I missed this."

Briar gets a bit more cozy and relaxed herself. Her legs sliding and brushing against his as she stretches out below the table. An little tap sends the ash into the table's ash tray that she slides to the center of the table, within easy reach for them both. "Haven't had a smoke in a while? Does the coach get uppity about them? I hear some coaches do get uppity about it. No smoking, no drinking and no sex during training. That's at least how they get in America about football."

"Haven't had a conversation with a Briar in a while, more like," remarks Kaiden before taking another slow drag from the cigarette. "And I hope not…don't know what I'd do with myself. I mean…what is there besides cigarettes, alcohol and women?" He chuckles and ashes his cigarette, grinning across the table at her.

Briar chuckles as she exhales so the smoke comes out rather like a sprinkler. "I know. Whatever would you do, your three things, your water, air and food." A playful poking out of her tongue is aimed at him. Another drag is drawn and then exhaled through her nose. "So what are your plans for the day?" She then starts tapping at things that he ever so neatly and precisely arranged. "And why are you nervous?" She knows his tells.

Kaiden shrugs a bit and says, "I don't really know. Training camp doesn't start until next week, so I'm pretty much just a man-about-town." He makes a bit of a 'pssh' sound as he's called out and says, "I'm not nervous. Well, not super nervous. I don't know. I guess I was just worried what you'd think about the new me."

Briar smiles and taps some more things out of place impishly. "New you? If you ask me this is more the old you." The guy she fell in love with. "Or do you mean being the big soon to be famous Pro-Player?" She is keeping her voice down every time she ebbs on Wizarding stuff and when she curses. "Well either way, don't be nervous. I haven't wanted to kick you in the shins or smash the pie into your face once."

Kaiden unknowingly goes about straightening all the things left askew by Briar's shenanigans and says, "I guess you're right. I don't really know what happened to me. Made a lot of foolish decisions and left a lot of people hurting. Hopefully I can see about setting things straight. Still kinda wish I would've laid Alphard out at least once, though."

Briar laughs, "Well, you still could, though that'll mean at least cool down time in the tank at the M.L.E with a fat fine or whatever legal shit the Blacks will throw at you. Might all be worth it though, huh?" A sassy wink and a little movement of her legs has them giving his legs a little sympathetic rub about the topic of a hurtful past. "You were a kid. You had to make those mistakes to learn from them. Personally speaking too…" She exhales another stream of smoke. "…getting hurt was character building. I grew a backbone because of it and got over my whole bad boy thing and found Xander and was very happy. I like good guys now."

"It just might be," Kaiden responds with a chuckle before snuffing out the remnants of his cigarette in the ashtray. "That's good to hear, Briar. You deserve a good guy. There isn't a bad boy around who's worth the trouble." He takes a small sip from his coffee and smiles across the table to her.

Briar smirks as she takes yet another drag, "And a good guy is a rare commodity, what's a girl to do!?" She exhales grinning, "Stay single!" Is her own answer that is followed with a laugh. "Man, it keeps hitting me and makes me grin. You got on the Arrows. That's fucking amazing!"

"Isn't it? I was never a smart kid, but I was always really good at hitting stuff. Thank goodness that actually paid off," says Kaiden with a chuckle as he sets his coffee cup on the edge of the table for the waitress to get to in her own time. He beams across the table at her and says, in a lowered voice, "You slept with a pro-Quidditcher."

Briar rolls her eyes and snickers. "Okay, now I'm tempted to kick you in the shin. Knew it was too good to last. Mmm, I have quite the repotoire of lovers. Pro-Quid, RAF Pilot - may he turn up alive after being stranded on some paradise island, who knows what Luc is going to do…annnnd Ghost Specialist for the R.C.M.C.. Quite the menagerie." She pokes her tongue out again. More ash is tapped into the ashtray and when she takes her next drag she waggles it around between her lips and teeth like she was Groucho Marx.

"You must be doing something right, Tiger," he says with his trademark half-grin. The waitress who refills his cup is greeted with a smile and a quite 'thank you' before he goes about fixing it to his liking. "So, what are /your/ plans for the day?"

Briar beams up at the waitress and thanks her as well when she gets a top off. It's only 5 seconds of sugar this time. A smirk is aimed his direction. "Shooting the shit with you here. Avoiding going home at all costs. You know what might be fun? Finding you a place! Just hunting around, for fun."

Kaiden shrugs and says, "I mean, it doesn't sound like the worst way to spend a day, I guess." He grins at her and takes his first sip from his fresh cup of coffee. "I guess I'll have to call off the line of casual dalliances I had planned for the day."

Briar nods her head with a smirk, "While you do that, I'll go get a paper…" With that she slides to stand up and takes her jacket with her to the ladies room. But first she does lean over to kiss his cheek. She's only gone for a matter of four minutes maybe five. Girls bathrooms are the greatest place to apparate in Muggle zones. When she comes back she has The Times several penny ads and within a folded up paper the barest hint of a few wizarding ad papers and the daily prophet are hidden away in.

Kaiden waits for Briar to return and when she does, he stands up and places money enough on the table to cover the two of them and leave the waitress a generous tip. He smiles at her and leans over to pick up his coat, a light seersucker, and asking, "Ready to go?"

Briar nods with a great big smile. She finishes off her coffee without sitting down and she scoops up the remaining apple pie goo and crumbs with a finger before sucking on it. "Okay now I am ready. Thank you Pam!" She waves to the waitress and then heads for the door. Once outside another pair of cigarettes are lit up and passed out. "We should stop by the corner store and buy you some cigarettes. On the way we can talk budget."

Kaiden rolls his eyes as she starts talking about budgeting and the like, "You are aware I haven't gotten paid, yet, right?" He chuckles and takes the offered cigarette, after sliding into his coat. He straightens his lapels and nods, "But yes, cigarettes are a fine first step."

Briar gives him a nudge bump of her shoulder against his arm. "You've saved nothing?" She groans, rolls her eyes and reaches up to ruffle his hair. "Well, what we should do then is look around here in the East End, or go to Diagon Alley for an apartment there… ?"

Kaiden playfully bats at her arm and says, "I spend it all on women and whiskey, remember?" He grins and thinks over the options before saying, "I think I'd prefer London to Diagon, you know? I've never been the one in my family to be afraid of them."

Briar hmms, "Afraid of them (Muggles)? Is that the source of their (The Sykes) problem, fear?" The corner store really wasn't too far and she pulls open the door and steps in. Taking the time to look over the ads she collected while he makes his purchase. A pen is pulled out of her jacket and she starts to circle places, "What about Clerkenwell? You look like you might - maybe - possibly have some Italian blood… and you'll be spitting distance from that night club all the dancing girls love to go to."

Except for a small park, in the middle of the district, and the occasional church or business, Walworth is packed with housing, with barely any room for anything else. Sprinkled here and there are a few old, larger homes, but most of the district are smaller and poorer houses built right up against each other. Walking through the streets one finds themselves surrounded by people, many wearing old and worn clothes rather than the latest fashions.
Along Walworth road some architectural ingenuity is demonstrated. Small modern boxy one story shops have been built directly in front of and attached to a long row of old Victorian Terrace Housing. So more so than in surrounding areas, the business and residential zones are conjoined twins!

Kaiden slips some money to the clerk in exchange for a brand new pack of Lucky Strikes. He looks over his shoulder at Briar and says, "Clerkenwell could be a good fit for me, yeah. Maybe Soho." He shrugs and slips the cigs into his pocket, waiting until he finishes his current one to open them. He slips back out of the store with Briar and asks, "Where would you live, given the resources?"

Briar also points her pen with the cap between her teeth towards the apartments across the street. "Or there, can be right across from the Diner, and this was one of the areas I was looking into for the Florist Shop…" At the question about her dream place she grins and states, "My place, just kick the Crockers out. Or at last Mom and Lynn, out. Lynn needs to hurry up and marry that idiot that's been schmoozing about since we moved here. Mom needs to go back to America where she can be happy in her capitalist paradise. But if I really really really had my dream place with the means, I would want to find my biological parents, who I think live on a reservation somewhere. I'd build a custom made home on the rez, build my parents a place, take care of the community. But that is really wishful dreaming."

Kaiden grins at her and says, "I think that's a wonderful plan to have, Tiger. Maybe one day your floral shop will blow up and be the biggest thing to hit the free market in the history of commerce." He gives her arm a comforting rub and says, "And maybe you'll have a super generous famous friend to help you out."

Briar chuckles, "Which plan? The one that involves me moving across the planet? It's strange, I don't know if I really would want to move back to America. I mean if shit really hits the fan here I could. They are all about staying out of this mess and I'm technically an American Citizen still, so they have to let me back in." She looks both ways before crossing the street and swinging the door open to the Apartment building. "Let's peek inside and see if it screams Kaiden."

Walworth Apartments
Dating all the way back to the reign of George the IV this Apartment building is both an eye sore, and yet a triumph of endurance! It's falling apart, but the tenants do their upmost with the very little they have to keep the building standing. The handy man who lives in the basement is rumored to be as old as the building and that he can work miracles in keeping the old place being rather comfortably inhabitable. Many of the repair jobs are obvious, like a large piece of the banister of the stairs is light wood while the rest is the original dark wood, though the seam is actually seamless to the touch and eye.

"Well, I mean, I'm certainly opposed to you moving away forever, but finding your parents and setting them up in a nice house seems perfectly reasonable to me. Infinitely attainable, as it were," Kaiden says as he moves inside behind her, shutting the door.

Briar peers about grinnng more and more, she likes this place! "Attainable, just not probable. At. All." She smirks over at him and taps the botton of the pen on her chin. "What do you think? I like it a lot. Hell, I might move in here if those shops didn't have the houses already attached."

"I like it. It's not too fancy, but it's well maintained…" Like Kaiden. He grins and wraps an arm around Briar's shoulder, surveying the room and resting his other hand on his hip. "I like it a lot."

Briar holds all of the adds in one hand while the free hand lifts up to thread her fingers in with his on her shoulder. A friendly little thing, no true promise in it. "Alright…" She puts the pen in her mouth and lifts up the ad to give this place's advert a triple circle. "Do you want to continue, or is this the place?" She doesn't expect that he'll want to stop just aftr the first find, but with Kaiden, who knows!

Kaiden ponders for a moment and says, "I'm definitely thinking about it. Can't be too expensive, which means I'd have more of my signing bonus to live off of until the regular seasons kicks back up." He pauses for a moment and says, "But I do want to keep looking.

Briar nods and as she turns to leave she steps out of Kaiden's arm around her, but she does turn her head enough to give his knuckles a smooch while her fingers slip free so she can head back out to the street. "The diner so close could be a blessing and a curse." She pats his tummy with a smirk. "You'll need to buy those brooms for the big and tall." When she gets out into the sun again she squints and looks about trying to plan where they might go.

Kaiden grins and says, "Can't have these abs disappearing. Got to sell myself as a sex symbol, now, too. Bloody professional sports." He slips his hands into his pockets and looks over at the collection of papers in Briar's hand, "Where to, now?"

Briar bites and chews on the back of her lower lip as he reminds her of his abs. Damn he looked good naked! But she shakes her head to clear it of said visions and snickers. "You'll be fine, you can probably eat the same shit you've always eaten and be just fine." The pen is put across her mouth in her teeth like a pirate and a dagger so she can point to the adverts and then to the buildings of Faraday Apartments then over to Elephant and Castle Apartments. "Wuch'un?" She mumbles out with the pen still in her mouth.

Kaiden slips a pence out of his pocket and flips it quickly before noting the results and pointing to the Faraday apartments, "Those, I suppose. Fate called it." He grins and moves ahead of her to open the door for her to slip into.

Faraday Apartments

A newer art deco apartment building, the Faraday House was built over the site of the house that Michael Faraday was born. Long bold deco shapes make the interior of the building look longer, taller, more open than perhaps it actually is. Strange deco patterns of horseshoe magnets all linked together is the wallpaper of choice that lines the bright long walls. All in tribute to the man who discovered the uses of of the magnetic field, electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis. Magnet Red doors with black lacquered numbers line the robust hallways. The smaller apartments on the upper floors have communal bathrooms. The larger downstairs apartments have the doors set at wider intervals and large deco murals break up the monotony between doorways.

Briar steps in and makes a little hmmm hawwwing face. This place she's not certain about. "Well it's certainly modern…" That's about all she has to say about this place. Brown eyes lift and examine Kaiden's expression for his true opinion of the place. But by her body language she's ready to pop on out of the place in a blink.

"You don't like it, Crocker?" remarks Kaiden as he moves in behind her, his eyes moving around the place with a happy 'hmmm'. His hand slips into his pocket to fish out his pack of cigarettes. He begins tearing a little square out of the foil on top of the pack, "It's very New York."

Briar just gives him a rather cute scrunched up face shaking her head to answer if she likes it or not. "Yes. All sleek and boxy. As far form organic as you can get." The crux of her problem! Briar is an organic girl, she likes her natural woods and color pallatte. "But I'm not the one that's going to be living here, so it's up to you. I'll just give you a hard time about it when I visit."

Kaiden grins at her and says, "Well, fine then. Back across the street, yeah?" He shoves her shoulder playfully as he moves toward the door to open it once more, "It looks a bit too much like that mob club downtown, anyway."

Briar snorts at his comment and shove using it to gain momentum to spin about and march right out. "I thought you liked that club." She smirks but really doesn't care one way or another.

Elephant and Castle Apartments
An old Victorian era apartment building, the Elephant and Castle House has certainly seen better days. Cramped and dim the old Victorian candle sconces could probably provide better light than the flickering lights that dangle from the cracked and sagging ceiling. Despite these quirks and flaws the apartment building isn't dirty, in fact it's well enough kept after. Like a loved one being cared for carefully in their last days. Near black, from all the years of polishing, hardwood floors and wall panels stop at chair rail height and then above the paneling is either the exterior walls sand colored brick, or in the interior walls old victorian brocade wallpaper flakes and bubbles. In some spots the paper has been ripped away. Black doors with brass numbers line the communal hallways. The smaller apartments on the upper floors have communal bathrooms. The larger downstairs apartments have the doors set at wider intervals and some nooks filled with sculptures break up the monotony between doorways.

Kaiden chuckles softly and follows her out, no doubt catching a glimpse at her bum as she walks. "I'm sure I could live without it, darling." The two of them move across the street and slip into the apartments on the other side. "Hrmmm," is about all he offers after stepping into the building and having a look around.

Briar rolls her head in a nod and smiles a bit, "I like it. I don't picture you living here. But I totally should bring Xander here, he would love this old place. It alsmost certainly has to have a ghost bumping around somewhere…" She then smiles to him and tilts her head towards the door in a 'shall we?' sort of way.

Kaiden nods to Briar and says, "Yeah, just a tad bit morbid for my tastes, if I'm honest." He slips over to the door and opens it for her, once more, "I think the first place might be the one for me."

Briar chuckles and sort of forgets herself and leans in to kiss the corner of his mouth at his cheek on the far side of his cigarette as she exits. "We've not yet even really looked around. You wimping out on me Sykes?" She grins and pokes his belly before she skips down the stoop.

Kaiden is a bit stunned by the kiss, but doesn't put up a fight and instead just decides it's probably not the best idea to bring it up at the moment. He just follows along behind her and says, "I dunno. I mean, I guess I should start looking pretty seriously. The sooner I get out of the Sykes manse, the better."

Briar nods and couldn't agree more. "Speaking of generous friends. I might not be famous, but I have a better mind for money and the future than a certain someone, and I have savings. It was meant for the shop, but I figure that I'll just cover first, last and deposits and you can pay me back as soon as that first check comes in." She points to a house they are stolling up to. If you go under your pay grade and don't mind an East End place, you can even probably wrangle an actual house instead of an apartment. But those take a lot more responsibility…"

Kaiden shakes his head at Briar and says, "Tiger, I couldn't take your money…" He's actually caught a little bit off-guard by this and is sounding a little bit emotional at the prospect. He clears his throat and looks over at the house, "I don't think I know enough about home maintenance to deal with owning a house, yet."

Briar gives a little shrug of her shoulders as she comes around to stand before Kaiden and goes through the motions of stealing his pack from him, taking two cigarettes from it and lights them up herself. "The money is just sitting there right now. I would rather put it to a good cause. She gives his arm a rub and then smirks about the house. "Yeah, that's why I trailed off." She teases and then once more moves to walk beside him. "It's not like I'm doing it selflessly. I want a place I can visit where there's no parents!"

Kaiden grins and says, "Oh? So you can sneak your harem in there and have crazy parties while I'm off doing my big-boy job?" As if being a pro-Quidditch player is anything like having a big boy job. He plucks a cigarette from her mouth, his eyes lingering on her lips for a moment and slides it into his, taking a drag from it.

Briar gives him a stream of smoke to the face for his theft. But she keeps on blowing so it disapates rather quickly. "Yep." She gives a broad sassy grin with a nod and saunters off chuckling. Letting him suck away at the cigarette. We'll go over the bridge and poke about the West end. You can buy me some nice wine and some Whatever Booco stuff at the Natrix." She turns around and smirks wryly at him as she lights up another cigarette for herself. "Deal?"

Kaiden watches her saunter off for a moment before breathing an exasperated, "Deal…I guess." He sighs a bit and takes a long drag from his cigarette, once again trailing along behind her.

Briar hmms and as they walk further and further west she's been smoking, thinking and circling adverts or crossing them out. "You know…the Pembridge Apartments aren't far from my place. They are really nice and are pretty affordable considering the surrounding area…want to go check those out? We'll spare our feet and I'll wave down a taxi."

"Sure," Kaiden comments as his eyes move around his surroundings, "This has always been a gorgeous neighborhood, y'know? I mean, I'm sure you don't really favor English imperialism all that much…but at least the architecture was nice."

Briar laughs and shakes her head, there's a blink of a pause but then she's giving him a shove. The other option was to tug him closer. But she's worked on her willpower and isn't after ruining all their talk about being single being awesome and she doesn't want to ruin his celebacy pact with himself. "Yeah, your tea taxing ancestors knew how to build things and lose wars. Good times. Good times." She puts two finger in her mouth and gives a big whistle that should transport him to New York as well and she even leans to wave and catch a cabs attention. Eventually their cigarettes are out but they've got a cab and she directs them to Notting Hill.

"You mispronounced 'strategically retreat', but I won't hold it against you," Kaiden says with a grin as he gets into said cab. It's a fairly quiet ride full of lots of looking out of windows at potential neighborhoods and such and they finally arrive at their destination, where Kaiden obliges to use some of Arlo's money to cover the fare.

Briar hops out of the cab and smirks, "A part of me delights in the fact that you turn your dad's money into muggle currency. It just tickles me. Well, here we are! Depending on the apartment, you might be able to see my room window. Pervert." A tsk and shake of the head scorn him for all of his future peeping tom-ness. She does however let him go first so he can hold the door open and all of that chivalry she pretends doesn't affect her.

Pembridge Apartments
The Pembridge Apartments lobby uses a minimalist style to convey a sense of understated elegance. A wide hallway floored in a simple cherry parquet leads from the large glass double doors at the front entrance to their twins at the back which frame a view of the communal building's communal gardens.
Butter cream colored walls are interrupted on one side by two elevators and on the other by a bank of small bronze filigree postbox doors. A white plaster miniature column, about three feet high, stands exactly between the two elevators holding a vase full of vibrantly colored silk flowers adding a touch of color and cheer to the lobby. The front windows provide a clear view of the Notting Hill streets.

Kaiden chuckles and says, "What can I say? I prefer cigarettes and beer to potions and broomsticks. And I could see you so much easier if you were just in my room, Tiger," he says this with that half smile as he moves to hold the door open for her.

Briar chews on her lip once she's in past him and he can't see her. She knows that he knows that's a big tell that he's starting to break through her defenses. Once she's recovered and he's in the building she gives him a poke. "Right, well then don't complain about me visiting you then."

"If I move here, you can stop by for sugar any time you like," Kaiden says as he moves in behind her. He shuts the door quietly and says, "I actually quite like this."

Briar grins proud that she figure out another good option for him. She isn't blushing, okay she is, but just a little bit. Which is a lot for the typically blush resistant girl. But all these innuendos are getting to her. "It's a bit at the upper side of your budget. But it really is a fantastic place to live. I wish that I had the oppertunity to afford this neighborhood on my own."

Kaiden ponders something over, "I've got a little bit tucked away in my savings. I mean, if you wanted to I could probably afford this place with your help, but…I still feel bad about taking your money."

Briar oohhhs snidely, "So you have something tucked away. Saving it for a rainy whore filled day?" She teases and then goes over to get a pamphlet about the building to look it over with him. Leaning heavily on him she uses her finger to run under the words as she reads about how they are only a hop skip and jump away from fabulous parks, cinemas, Harrod's. But always maintaining the artsy folk community feel that Notting Hill is famous for. "You aren't taking my money, you are allowing me to help out so that we can hang out more and give me a close place to escape from my family, -and- you'll be paying me back in no time. So it's not taking, see!"

Kaiden instinctively rests his hand on Briar's lower back as she moves in closely and he looks over the brochure, "Seems like my kind of community, no doubt. And are you one hundred percent sure, Briar? I mean, it's not a small amount of money…"

Briar smiles and turns to once more face him. "I have 600 Pounds saved away. Abouts, it's been gaining interest since we moved here and I've never made a withdrawl. It really is just sitting there and it's plenty to cover your first and last month's rent and anything for deposits and whatever. Kaiden, you are miserable in that house, with those people. Come be with the people that really do enjoy you. Kay? What you were saying it will be two maybe three months and you'll have paid me back in full. I honestly don't expect that I'll need this money until after winter holiday. Especially if I get fired, that's going to seriously delay my time frame. You see, it's no biggie." She looks him in the eyes. "It's not like I'm giving you the money. I am sure."

Kaiden just sort of smiles at her for a minute. That big, dumb, goofy smile. Not the little half-smirk he gives when he's being cheeky or charming, but that smile he tosses up when he's genuinely happy. A few more moments pass and he just nods, "Okay."

Briar gives a decisive nod when he says okay and she leans in to kiss his cheek and give him a hug. "Alright. We talk to the manager see if there's any vacancies or when there will be a vacancy and then you talk to Arlo and your family, I'll talk to the gobliins. We come back here, put the money down and then the fun of decking it out Kaiden style begins. You'll probably just have a mattress, a table, a chair, one maybe two plate settings to start off with, I'll lend you my radio. But when you get your first pay check we go thrift shopping. You don't want to be one of those suddenly famous people that goes nuts with their first pay check and blows everything on a gold toilet, right? Right!"

"Sounds like a good enough plan to me," Kaiden says, squeezing Briar tightly. "And you don't have to worry about me. I'll be one hundred percent fiscally responsible with that first paycheck. It's the /second/ one that's going towards the golden toilet."

Briar reaches up to pinch the end of his nose as she glowers at him playfully. "You put 3 pounds every pay check into the bank that is a no touchy account. By the end of the year you will have enough money in the pot that will be more than you get paid in a month. A whole month's pay check, plus a bonus every year. If you get a bonus, into the no touchie. If you had done this starting first year you would of had at /least/, not counting interest and bonuses, 252 pounds. Which is what you need for this place basically. See, you should give me a recommendation with the goblins. I'm actually very good with money and business planning. They just see my age and turn up their pointy fucking noses."

Kaiden smiles at Briar and bats her hand away playfully before saying, "Geez, I get it. I've been lectured enough, already." He presses a kiss to her forehead and says, "Thanks for looking out for me, Tiger."

Briar gives a light kiss to his chest as he kisses her forehead cause that's what's in her face when he does. "Always Peter." She murmurs soft and full of everything that made her a Hufflepuff, friendship and caring and willing to work hard for it. "Not lecture, planning." She corrects him with a little smirk and she tickles his sides. "Do you want to do this today before it gets too late? Do you want me to come with you when you tell Arlo? I can wait outside so he doesn't know I'm there, but you do."

Kaiden takes her wrists in his hands as she goes to tickle her and just shakes his head at her, saying, "None of that." He grins impishly and thinks it over, "I don't know. This all just seems like it's happening super fast. Maybe I should get some Dutch courage, first."

Briar grins impishly right back as she angles her hands and fingers to tickle at his inner wrists. "None of what?" She asks ever so over sweetly to feign innocence. "Take you time sweetie. No rush at all, my money isn't going anywhere, unless I get an owl saying the loan is a go. Then swoosh POOF! It's your life, I'm simply offering options, free to take, free to decline, free to take a rain check."

Kaiden smiles at her and pins her hands against her sides, looking down at her with a stern look, "No tickles, woman." He takes another look around the place and says, "Y'know, once I get you paid back, I'm sure I could have a talk with the bank. I mean, my family name has to be good for something, yeah?"

Briar bites on the back of her lip a moment again. The pinning brings plenty of intimate flash backs. "Yes your name is very good - at staying far far away from mine. Thank you Pan but I will be fine. It won't feel the same if I don't work for it myself. But the thought is really sweet." She comes in for a quick peck, generally aimed at the corner of his mouth on his cheek again.

"You know, Tiger, my cheek is over here," he says as he presses a finger just under his cheekbone. He grins at the girl in a sort of 'mmmhmmm' way. His other hand stays firmly clasped around her wrist, unsure of what to do with it.

Briar gasps in mock shock, "It is!? You mean this…" She leans forward to quickly lick up the ridge of his nose. "Isn't your cheek!?" She would have tapped, but her hands are a bit held down at the moment. Her dark eyes sparkle impishly.

Kaiden squints a bit as he's licked and reaches up to wipe off the nasty American cooties. He chuckles a bit just smiles at her for a moment before some cogs visibly turn in that head of his as he does his best to think something over.

Briar knows that look and she shakes her head and starts to take step back to get to the door. "You behave. You might live here soon. Want to start on a good foot." She keeps herself leaned back with a smirk, her eyes locked on him, watching every little twitch. "Are we still on for the Natrix? Or do you want to pop into my place? See if Lynn is home or not, we might get the whole house and I can make some dinner."

"I think I should probably be getting him," Kaiden remarks as he glances at his watch. "Might as well go ahead and break the news to Arlo." He's speaking a little quicker, knowing that he's been found out. He clears his throat and says, "So…I'll see you sometime soon?"

Briar clears her throat and looks around and then back at him. "Not going to walk me to my door even?" Her tone is prodding, trying to get the point across that yes, he's found out, but she might not mind continuing his thought process some place a bit more private.

"Oh…uh, sure," he says, smiling at her. "Sorry, sometimes my chivalry fails me." He moves to open the door for her, running a hand back through his hair and looking a little bit flustered.

Flower Terrace Home
The Notting Hill neighborhood is a rather upper working class area and the residence reflects that to every nook and corner. Carpet covered floors and clean lilac painted walls are freshly scrubbed and painted. This home is comprised of several rooms. A mud room just inside the front door is lined with racks and storage space for outside wear and poor weather accessories. The mudroom leads into a living room area that's adjoined to a dining room which is attached to a kitchen. Within the kitchen there are several appliances such as gas stove, sink, and refrigerator. Often there is storage space under any available stairway. More often than not the floors are all hardwood, waxed and polished dark oak. Upstairs there are three bedrooms as well as a master bedroom. In the hallways as well is one indoor restroom that is located above the downstairs bathroom. Remarkably this house has a rather good sized enclosed backyard, and much like the rest of the house the foliage and greenery is remarkable.

Briar smirks and kisses his cheek as she passes him by on the way out the door. It really is just a step across the street and a handful of houses down to reach the lovely purple townhouse that drips in flowers. She opens the door and shouts in, "Lynn!?" When there's no reply she steps to allow him in if he wants to step in for a minute. "Now what's got you nervous?"

Kaiden grins and steps past her, saying, "I have no idea what you're talking about, Tiger. Nothing ever bothers ol' Kaiden Sykes." It seems like so long since he's been to Briar's house, but the memories of cooking her breakfast over Christmas holiday come flowing back and he smiles fondly, saying, "Looks just like I remember."
You head towards Notting Hill

Briar smirks a touch bitterly. "That's because Margaret will chop off your fingers for each thing that's out of place. Fucking museum." Tilting her head she gives a littl smile, inviting and challenging all at the same time. "You're also a very bad liar. If you would like to get home, don't let me twist your arm."

Kaiden turns to face her and shrugs, offering a casual grin, "Again, I…don't know what you're talking about." He slips his hands into his pockets and asks, "Why are you so curious all of a sudden, huh?"

Briar shrugs her shoulders and looks about all nonchalant but also has a teasing sort of jab at him, "Well you used to be able to talk to me about anything. I still know you well enough to know when you're anxious about something. We made a great team in Quidditch cause we could reach each others body language. And yours Pan the man, is screaming that you're contemplating something and it's freaking you out." She waves a hand about in the air before him, pointing at him like her finger was a honey bee bouncing around his body like a meadow of flowers.

"It most certainly…is not. And stop looking at my body," he remarks with a chuckle, covering himself in a comic fashion. He finally breaks the little act and says, "I've been thinking about you a lot lately, Crocker."

Briar giggles in that way, that certain pleasant melody that has always been for Kaiden alone. "Oh yeah? What about?" She asks all innocently as she wanders hoping he'll follow into the kitchen so she can get some lemonade for them to enjoy after all their summer strolling in the city.

Kaiden moves on behind her, "About…I don't know; I guess how much I miss this." He moves to lean against the counter next to the fridge, his eyes resting on the window and the lovely neighborhood outside.

Briar hops up onto the counter beside Kaiden between him and the window so he's generally looking her direction. "Yep. So have I. Today was a lot of fun. I hope we can do it again sometime soon. I have to say I have totally gotten my hopes up about one of my best friends moving in down the road. Almost can make living here, livable." She is of course keeping it friendly. But throughout theres that tease to it. Like she knows he just might be talking about something more than friendship, but she's keeping it light. Not that she sounds like she'd mind what's going on under the cover-up. She's just having fun with him now.

Kaiden ponders for a minute and takes a deep breath before standing up and swinging around, ending up in front of her, his hands resting on her knees, "Briar, I want to try again. I miss you. All day I've just been thinking about how I've wanted to just take your face and put it on my face and just kiss you for like an hour or something, but I also feel like that would be a bad move because I really hurt you in the past and even though you said that you're past that and it helped you grow, I still feel really really shitty about it…and I just…I don't know. I'm confused."

Briar grazes her lower lip with her upper teeth as her lips slowly curl in a little satisfied grin. "Was that so hard?" One hand rests on one of his hands on her knee while the other lifts up to rake his fingers through his hair sweeping it back. "I know how you feel. Face mashing has been high on my desires list. But you are also right. You know what though? The fact that you haven't and you took the time to think about these things and you're consulting me right now like you are. That says a lot to the point that you aren't that impulsive inconsiderate asshole that really hurt me. I am not willing to leap into things. Throwing caution to the wind. That opens me up for a world of hurt again. However, I love having my best friend back. It feels really really good that he's making a comeback." The hand in his hair slides down to caress his cheek. "We made a lot of good points at the diner earlier. I think we just take it slow, sus out our comfortability levels as it comes. Like this, I like this. Intimate without being snoggy. I like that we can be like this now. So yeah, one day at a time? But know that for the glimpses of the Kaiden I've gotten lately… he's worth at least a try for."

Kaiden smiles softly, reaching up to take her hand and press it to his mouth, his lips tracing over her knuckles, "One day at a time sounds…perfect. I mean…my brain's everywhere, right now. Pro Quidditch is an awesome prospect, but it also means that I'm one serious injury away from having to find a real job. And then there's Ria…she's evil, so that's comforting. But you're calming. Just being here with you…my brain slows down, my heart speeds up and everything makes sense, again." He laughs softly, "Goodness, that came out corny."

Briar smiles softly as he speaks and she smirks towards the end when he mocks what he just said, "Right now, I like corny just fine." She parts her knees enough so he can belly upt to the edge of the counter between them and she rests her elbows on his shoulders and uses both hands now to rake through his hair and caress and massage his scalp. "So long as we communicate with each other about what's going on. I think we'll be good. I don't want being boyfriend and girlfriend again to be some vague end goal. I just want a good happy relationship between us be the end goal, what ever it ends up to be. Granted I do hope part of it is more of this and the sex, the sex was great…"

Kaiden grins at her and says, "Sounds fine to me, Tiger." His hands rest on her sides and he says, "I think my heart might actually explode right now. I wasn't certain which way this would go." He chuckles out of relief, resting his head against her chest and sighing softly.

Briar kisses the top of his head and wraps him up in a tender little hug. "Yeah, took you long enough to get it out. I could guess it was something along these lines when I spotted everything at a right angle at the same distance from each other. Thank you for talking to me about it, and like this. I appreciate it like you can't believe. So I'll tell you what, I really want to know what kissing you good night is like these days." The last part is a whisper, ever so soft into his ear as she nuzzles her face into his hair.

Kaiden looks up at her and smiles softly, "Thanks for having me back, Briar." At her final statement Kaiden tilts his head ever so slightly to the side and whispers, "I've been wondering what it's like all day." He leans in and presses his lips to hers, a sigh escaping from his nose as he does so.

Briar makes a soft little noise when he takes her lips. Her arms wrap around him more tightly but it's all just for a few moments before she exhales next and the kiss melts away and a warm embrace and soft smile are left in its places. "I'll walk you to the door." Is whispered over his lips as she squirms a bit to indicate for him to step back so she can get down.

Kaiden steps back and offers her a hand in hopping down. "Sounds good." He smiles to her and moves to stand near the door, offering her the ability to open it for him this time. His hands move to slip into his pockets and he just sort of watches her, happy as can be.

Briar has a hand on the door knob when she leans in to kiss him on that little neutral zone of more intimate than cheek kiss and not so intimate as to be a lip kiss at the corner of his mouth. "I'll be here if you need me if things go to shit with your dad." A fond rake of her fingers through his hair to sweep it back is followed by a trace of fingers over his cheek. "Or whatever. Whenever, I'm here or at Mungos. At least for now I am."

"And I'll be…hopefully just down the street in no time at all," Kaiden says with a warm smile to Briar. He takes her hand in his and says, "Don't get into any trouble without me, yeah?"

Briar shakes her head grinning, "No promises. This mouth of mine, always saying something that pisses someone off." With a wink she opens up the door and watches him waving often as he goes down her stoop. "See you soon."

"That mouth of yours…" he trails off with a grin, moving outside to stand on the stoop. Fishing a cigarette out of his pack, he lights it and smiles back to her as he begins his walk home, "See you around, Tiger."

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