(1939-09-30) A Songbird in the Chippy
Details for A Songbird in the Chippy
Summary: Signe stops by the chippy for a bite to eat and gets acquainted with Katie.
Date: 30 September 1939
Location: Hind's Fish and Chips, Waterloo, London

It's shortly past the thick of lunch hour, which happens to be Katie's favorite time of day. With the rush over, she can actually spend a little time talking to the customer who come later, and many of them have become regulars and friends. She's just seen Mrs. Philips to the door, parting with a cheery goodbye, and is once more back at work wiping down the three small tables. The signboard touts cod and halibut as the fish of the day, with apple crumble and bread pudding for afters, and the little chip shop is clean and tidy.

Running errands is always hungry work, and so as Signe strolls past the chip shop, she slows and considers it for a moment, the man following some short distance behind her coincidentally pausing to study a news stand. She remembers the chippy - she'd been in one with Graham before. Pulling the door open she steps in, a few sacks in her hands. "Good afternoon," she greets the woman washing the table warmly, as she studies the board listing the day's offerings. "Oh, gracious. Having to choose between apple crumble and bread puddng? How could one possibly make such a decision?"

Katie straightens from her task at once, turning a beaming smile on the new arrival. "Afternoon, ma'am, welcome to Hind's." She steps over so she's behind the counter, giving a soft laugh to the woman's dilemma. "Well," she offers, "we've been known t'give a treat t'particular customers an' serve up half of each." Her apron is smoothed down, an absent, habitual gesture, and it protects what looks like a simple but well kept dress of a plain blue cotton.

"I don't suppose I qualify as 'particular?'" Signe asks with a slightly amused smile. "I'd be willing to pay a few pence more, if that helps? And could I get the halibut, some chips, and the peas?" She sets her bags down on a chair as she talks.

"Few pence more? Pssssht," Katie dismisses lightly, giving her hand an airy flip. She turns, calling back through the passway into the kitchen, "Halibut, chips an' mushy, Da. 'Alf an' 'alf for afters." The echo comes back, as it always does, in a deep male voice, "Aye, Bug." Spinning back around, Katie motions toward the nearest table, where the bags already wait, "Please, make yerself comfortable, I'll get yeh a nice cuppa while yeh wait."

"I appreciate it, thank you," Signe says warmly, taking a seat as directed and pulling off her gloves. She tucks them into her bag, and rests her elbow on the table, chin sitting lightly on her fingers.

With a pot of tea always fresh, it's a matter of a minute for Katie to fill a cup and bring it to the table with a small pitcher of milk. Everything else for tea is already off to the side on the table. She sets the things down for Signe and backs away. "It's a lovely day to be out and about," she ventures, thinking how you'd hardly even know there's a war on. For now.

"Oh, it is," Signe agrees as she stirs in a little milk and just a little honey before taking a sip. "You couldn't ask for better weather this time of year, I think." She glances towards the shop's window, spotting the man tasked with keeping an eye on her today lingering about outside, with a newspaper in hand. She returns her attention to Katie with a smile. "This tea is lovely. Thank you."

"Welcome," Katie says, the smile returned. While the two were exchanging pleasantries a boy slipped into the room from the kitchen, and he waits for a pause before he knocks on the counter to get Katie's attention. She turns, talking as her hands move, "Oi, Jack." He doesn't return a verbal greeting, but instead makes hand movements back at her, a questioning look on his face as he stills. "No, no," Katie says, and signs, shaking her head emphatically. "It's done already, an' I've left the last of it for tonight. Go on then," she adds with a shooing gesture of her hands. There's a distinct good humor and fondness in her voice and in her posture toward the young man, and she's laughing softly as she turns back to Signe. "Brothers. Daft things."

Signe is curious as she watches the exchange, her eyes focusing on the way their hands move. Between growing up in the wizarding world, and then moving in music circles, deafness is completely foreign to her. "I wouldn't know - I've only a sister, and I suspect I'm the daft one. Was he talking with his hands?"

That observation makes Katie laugh again, and the question gets a nod. "Aye, he was. Sign language, that is. Our Jack was born deaf," she explains easily. "So we all learned that when he was jus' tiny." Now that she doesn't have to use them for talking, Katie's hands clasp in front of her.

"Deaf?" Signe asks. "You mean he can't hear? Oh I can't even imagine…" Her expression is a mix of sympathetic and horrified at the idea. It's even worse than being born without magic. "The poor dear."

"It's not s'bad," Katie says cheerfully. "We've a bit more care about some things, but our Jack's never wanted for anythin'. Does't even know th'difference." She takes no offense about the touch of horror, she knows well enough that it's not something a lot of people understand or have ever dealt with.

"I, well, I suppose he wouldn't," Signe agrees, though the thought still doesn't seem to sit well with her. "I'm a musician," she offers to Katie, by way of explanation. "A singer. I just can't imagine what I would do in a world without sound."

Katie understands better with this, why the woman would seem almost shocked at the idea. The slightly younger waitress nods, "Most don't think of what it'd be like t'be without hearin'. There's so much we take for granted. The sound of traffic in the street. The warning of a siren. Music."

"Oh I hadn't bothered to think much beyond music. I'd have no means to make a living." And just the thought of losing music grieves her. "I suppose… traffic could be a problem. If you were turned away from an approaching car, and you couldn't even hear the horn…"

"A million things we never really think of otherwise," Katie says with a matter of fact nod. Her brows lift, a curious spark in her eyes. "Are yeh a performer then?" She looks more closely at Signe, looking carefully to see if she looks familiar.

Signe nods in confirmation. "Jazz mostly - I sing frequently at at Natrix, these days. Though right now I'm performing in an opera, actually." She sips her tea again, letting out a quiet sigh. As nice as it is out - there is just a hint of a chill in the air. Fall creeping in.

There's a bare frown as Katie tries to place the club, but it's a little bit above her social standing. But her lack of knowledge is dismissed with another lift of her brows. "An opera? Cor, that's brilliant. Yeh must have a lovely voice then."

"I think I do," Signe agrees. "And it takes a great deal of practice - hours, most days. But I enjoy it, and I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunities to develop it. More people could be quite accomplished singers, I think, if they had the same opportunities to persue it."

"I like t'sing," Katie notes, "but I don't know I could make a livin' at it. An' the chippy takes a lot of time," she jokes lightly. "Yeh said the club is called th'Natrix? D'yeh sing there every night?" Maybe she could see if Xander has ever heard of it.

"You'd never know with trying. And it is called the Natrix," Signe confirms. "It's a lovely club - and an Italian restaurant, as well. But I don't sing every night, no. Especially not right now - with the opera. And after that I'm taking a bit of a break for my sister's sake. But I can't imagine I'll stay away from the stage for long."

Katie nods, "I'll have t'tell my fella an' see if we can't come by t'hear yeh sometime. Is it a very fancy place?" She'd probably have to get something new if it is. New to her, anyway, because Prudence probably has something suitable she can borrow.

"It's nice - but not formal," Signe explains. "No need for white ties, or coats with tails. Most of the gents are in suits though, if that gives you a notion."

There's a broad grin from the redhead, "Ah well, Xander looks brilliant in a suit, so I'll have him bring me then." Surely he wouldn't say no if she asked sweetly. There's a ding from the kitchen, drawing Katie's attention for a second. "Lunch is ready for yeh. Would yeh like t'have it here, or were yeh plannin' t'take it away?"

"I'll look forward to seeing you there, then, and meeting your Xander," Signe answers warmly. "Here, please," she adds as she sets down her teacup after another sip. She's looking forward to this - she gets a little tired of all the Italian fare, after all.

"Won't be a tick then," Katie promises, scooting back around the counter to gather up the other woman's meal. It's all set out, with an extra napkin or two, and the custard is on the side of a dish that holds a half portion of each of the desserts. She looks it over, taking a mental inventory, even as she asks to be sure, "Is that everything I c'n get yeh for now then? Maybe a splash more tea?"

"A little more tea would be lovely. Thank you so much," Signe answers warmly. Smiling, she adds, "Sydney Cole, by the way. I don't believe I introduced myself."

Katie's smile is wide and open, "Miss Cole. Katie Hind, at yer service." She goes to get the teapot, refilling for Signe and leaving her room for more milk. Another customer comes in so Katie goes to help him, and she only pops back to ask, "Does everything suit yeh?"

"Everything's just lovely. Thank you very much, Miss Hind," Signe agrees in kind. She sprinkles her food with vinegar before she starts to eat, and though she doesn't finish everything, she clearly enjoys the meal before paying for it, and getting on her way.

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