(1939-08-08) Nora's Wingman
Details for Nora's Wingman
Summary: Gus and Nora talk about awkward social situations, and getting Nora a boyfriend or something.
Date: 1939-08-08
Location: North Verdic Alley and Rousseau Vineyards

Normally, Honora would buy her potions ingredients from the shop she works at, out of loyalty (and possible employee discount), but with it temporarily closed since the attacks, she's had to travel around more to restock supplies. At the moment - late afternoon - she's walking back from a nearby apothecary with a bag of various herbs, powders, preserved insects, and other strange things. It might be that passing so close to Rousseau Vineyards on the way back isn't strictly necessary, but even though she'd probably deny it if asked, she's kind of hoping to run into Augustin again and this is the only place she knows to look.

Today is her lucky day, apparently, as Gus is standing in the door to his shop, arms casually crossed as he leans against the door frame with his face turned toward the sun. His eyes are closed and there's a slight smile on his lips - appears he's just enjoying the summer warmth.

The potioneer's startled to actually see him; despite passing by here every so often, it was mostly a token gesture to express that she missed him. After staring a moment - Gus is cute all relaxed in the sun like that! - she walks over to him and says, softly, "Hey." Quiet-ish, so as to not startle him badly if he's halfway napping or something.

Gus' eyes snap open, though he doesn't actually seem alarmed. He focuses on Nora, and a cheerful smile spreads over his mouth. "Nora," he says, sounding pleased as he straightens up. "Fancy seein' you here. How've you been?" He glances down at her bags. "Gifts for me?" he jokes. "You shouldn't have!"

Nora blushes, but remains smiling and doesn't, in general, seem as embarrassed as she's been at times. "I should have, but I didn't. These are potion ingredients. Unless you really like dragonfly eyeballs or something." To the previous question, she shrugs. "Bored, more than anything. Shop's still closed, been brewing potions to restock it for when it's back up and running. Rook dragged me along to some dinner thing where," here she makes a face, a look that could be fairly interpreted as 'disgust', "Alphard Black tried to flirt with me. Or at least, tried to be charming. …He did mention you, so I assume you've met."

Gus chuckles and shakes his head. "No, thank you," he says, passing on the dragonfly eyeballs. He nods in sympathy at the boredom, but that turns into an ugly expression at the mention of Alphard Black's name. "I hate that git," he mutters, frowning fiercely. "Cowardly, entitled, self-important, selfish prick of an arsehole." He pauses. "Pardon my language." He looks a bit ashamed to have cursed in front of her.

Nora shakes her head, "Can't fault you. I got away eventually by diplomatically boring him, but he was awful at Rook. …Anyway, I think all those words you used are accurate. I'm plenty happy if I never have to see him again." She shudders. "The worst bit is, it being kind of a family event thing, even without my parents there I still had relatives around that were probably thinking 'Black's a prestigious family, maybe they'll get together!'"

Gus looks slightly disgusted by the entire idea. "I pity the poor girl he ends up marrying," he tells her honestly. "He'll never love anyone as much as he loves himself — and he'll never take responsibility for his own actions, either. With blokes like him, it's always someone else's fault." He shakes his head. "I'm sorry you had to suffer through that."

Nora shrugs, "Whoever ends up with him will be marrying for power or money, anyway, so don't pity them too much. He'll probably have a wife as awful as he is, someday. …So, uh. How've you been?" she asks, attempting to change the subject.

"Heh, true," Gus concedes, nodding. "I've been alright," he tells Nora. "I've been saving up a bit for Lizette - I want to buy her an owl for school. I think she'd like it." Then he gestures inside toward his shop. "Do you wanna come in and sit?" he asks.

Nora nods and smiles. "Sure." A glance at her basket of supplies is followed by a shrug, "These'll keep. They're all dried and preserved things, so I don't need to hurry home." Heading toward the shop after Gus, she notes, "Owls are pretty useful, too. As long as she's good about taking care of pets? She'd have to feed it."

"We never really had pets," Gus admits. "But I think she's ready for it." He goes behind the counter and comes back around again with two glasses and a bottle of the same wine he'd treated her to earlier - it's not even quite half empty. He sits in the stool facing to door, leaving the other for her. "Do you have a plan to get the business back up and running?" he asks. "Er… your boss, I mean? It's been slow going here, lately." He shakes his head. "People just aren't around in the same numbers."

Sitting down, Honora gives a hesitant shrug. "I think they're looking at having one of their relatives come in and help run things? It's kind of the O'Shea family shop, so I'm a little out of the loop. I know they're planning on opening back up soon though." She sets her basket down nearby. "I'm sure this place will recover too."

"Well, that's good," Gus says. "There's still some back-to-school shopping to be done, a lot of families haven't done it. And most of the Muggle-borns still haven't made it here, yet, I think. They tend to come last, from what I've heard." He pours them each a small glass - certainly not enough to get drunk on, but enough to be relaxing. "So. Besides embarrassing family dinners and unwelcome flirting from the world's largest codpiece," he smirks. "What else have you been up to?" He grins at her. "Find any young men who strike your fancy, yet?"

Nora blushes and looks away. Back to her old easily-embarrassed self, apparently. "N-not really," she admits, a very slight stammer present for a moment. "I don't meet a lot of people, really, working on potions and such." She sips her wine, thinking for a moment but seemingly deciding not to voice that though, whatever it was.

"Hm," Gus says. "You need to get out, more. And not to family dinners, either - despite what the Black family may say, they're terrible places to find a future spouse." He snickers into his wine glass.

Nora looks very slightly indignant, "That wasn't really what I meant; some event a few pureblood families were at, I didn't really pay attention to what, but a few of the unmarried ones got dragged along and left to interact with each other while the older ones were politicking or discussing plans or whatever it was they were up to." Then she sighs and nods, "But yes. I probably need to get out more."

Gus raises his free hand in surrender. "Sorry," he says immediately. "I was more making a dig at Alphard than at you." He shakes his head. "I shouldn't let that… ugh. I shouldn't let him get to me. Sorry." He heaves a dramatic sigh. "So how can we get you out and about more?" he asks her thoughtfully.

"No idea," Nora answers, simply. "What do normal people do? I feel like I missed out on social things keeping to myself so much during school. And if I did meet someone I liked, I don't have a clue how to handle that, besides."

"Normal people?" Gus asks. "I supposed you'd have to find one and ask him." He chuckles a bit, and has a thoughtful sip of wine. "I suppose just… put yourself in more social situations. Go out to eat more. Go to the pub, have a pint of butterbeer. Or real beer. Smile at people who look interesting. If a bloke smiles back, give him another smile… then if he comes over and introduces himself, you can sit and drink and have a cozy little chat." He shrugs.

Nora nods. Her expression is sort of… skeptical or hesitant, at the 'smile at people' part. Nervous, then. "I guess that should work." After that, she sips her wine in silence, awkwardly. She doesn't have anything else to say to that.

"Come on," Gus coaxed. "Give me your best Hello-handsome-stranger smile." He demonstrated with one of his own; he dipped his chin a fraction of an inch and looked at her from under his lashes, let one side of his mouth quirk up, then the other, before taking a sip of his wine, still looking at her. Obviously, he was trying to be intriguing. "See?" he says. "That was my best one. Tell me true - does it need work?"

Nora grins; not the attempted smile that was requested, just genuine amusement at Gus's expression. "I think it looks silly if you try. All you'd have to do is smile a little, I think, you're pretty charming normally."

Gus laughs, and blushes a little bit. "You've got to practice, though," he says. "Come on, let's have it. Smile," he prompts. "Smiiiiiiile!"

Nora manages a very awkward looking smile — too self-conscious — and she blushes bright red, kind of laughs at herself, and looks away. "Wait, um. Let me try again." She closes her eyes a moment and takes a breath, building up some courage. "Right. Wow. It's hard to smile in a way that's not weird if you're thinking about it." Still, Nora tries again, looking back up at Gus. It's more natural this time, albeit very shy. She still can't hold it very long; a moment of direct eye contact leads to her looking down to hide her face, flustered.

Gus tries really hard not to laugh at her first smile - he has to bite the inside of his cheeks to do it. But her second one has him smiling back. "That was good," he says encouragingly. "You looked really shy, but that's okay, because that's you. I think a lot of men find shyness in a girl alluring. But don't hide your face, either - they'll want to talk to you, but they won't want to corner you." He grins. "One more try," he encourages. "Then… I think we should make a point to go somewhere… the Leaky Cauldron maybe. You can look around and try it on someone."

Nora blinks. "Won't that fail if you're there with me, though? I don't know a lot about flirting and stuff, but it seems like 'there's an attractive guy with her already' would scare people off?" She uses the distraction of asking a question to avoid another forced smile for the moment.

"No, I'll just be at another table," Gus says. "There in case anyone gets fresh with you. No one has to know we're friends or anything," he tells her. "We could have a signal, like. If I know he's a good bloke, I'll…" he searches for a moment. "Dunno. We'll figure it out."

And with that, the two of them get down to planning their strategy, and how best Gus can be Nora's wing-man.

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