(1940-05-15) To Talk of Many Things
Details for To Talk of Many Things
Summary: After tedious Ministry meetings, Guy meets Rena at Black Friar's Pub to catch up.
Date: 1940/05/15
Location: Blackfriar's Pub
Related:
Characters
GuyRena

Guy stumps on in, greatcoat wrapped around him, and his gas mask package over his shoulder. He's looking tired, and a little more grumpy…. more so than at the wedding, anyway… and of course, more 'himself'. He looks around, and cracks a smile, though. "Ah, Mrs Faulkner!"

"G'on, Guy - you don't need to rub it in." Rena says laughingly. "I'm still just plain old Rena - or Irene if you happen to be Birdie."
As she speaks, the young redheaded woman practically skips over to Guy, quickly closing the distance between them. Naturally, she then throws her arms around him and gives him a warm hug. This is the old Rena back again. Bright-eyed, happy and looking in-the-pink of good health. "I've missed you so, you old reprobate!" She says, finally releasing him so they can find a place to sit. "What's got you looking more cantankerous than usual? You looked a bit grim as you came in."

Guy glances around, and lowers his tone, "Meeting at the Air Ministry. Not really able to talk in detail." Ah. But it's not made him happy.

Rena's expression falls slightly, and her gaze drops momentarily: "Oh… one of those kinds of things," she answers quietly. She's gotten rather used to that with Birdie. "Well - ne're mind for now." She remarks after a second, bringing her smile back to a degree.
"Have you had anything to eat? Just time for a drink? I never know how long you RAF boys have got before you have to run off again."

Guy says, "I've got time for a drink, and I'm bloody starving!" He chuckles, "The WAAFs at the ministry are all top hole administrators, but they can't make a bloody sandwich between 'em. I've got my ration book!"

"Well, that'll never do," Rena replies with a disapproving frown as they move to an empty table. "Maybe someday you can actually come to my- our house. Wouldn't that be grand? I promise you, you'll be well fed and downright spoiled if you do. You know Birdie likes the finer things."
Seats are taken and the young woman just can't seem to stop talking. Where is her off-switch?
"Oh! I hope you're proud of me, Guy. I don't know if Birdie's told you or not; but, you're looking at a volunteer air warden! I just started this last week." Judging by her beaming smile, she's as pleased as punch.

Guy gives a broad grin, "Ah, excellent. So, you'll just hide all of London… at least during the house of Darkness?"

Rena chuckles and offers a wry little smile: "I wish I could 'ide… hide all of London. Wish I could hide the whole country so nobody ever got hurt… I don't suppose that's possible, though." Guy has known her long enough to know that she desires nothing more than to keep absolutely everyone safe - as irrational as that wish might be.
"But, I'm doing my part, at least. I couldn't join the WAAFs, so I had to do something. What would people think of an officer's wife who seemingly sits around on her hands and lets the boys do all the protecting?" She asks, before remembering another detail. "Oh! And Birdie says I can plant a Victory garden in the small yard out back. I don't know anything about gardening much, but I'll learn, sure as sure." She really is getting into the whole doing-her-bit thing. It seems to fit her like a glove.

Guy gives a cheerful smile, "Well, I'd love to see it, that's for certain. Which part of… ahem… London is it in, your house?"

A server arrives and Rena hastily puts in her order for food. She actually has an appetite herself, for once. Everything is so strangely normal about her right now.
When she can no longer avoid the question about her place of residence, the young woman's cheeks tinge with a slight blush, and she looks down at the table, somewhat abashed: "Well, you see… it's - it's in Sloane Square. Never thought I'd live any place so grand." Pausing, she glances up and gives a self-conscious little laugh: "Get me, the showgirl from Wapping living like a proper toff's wife, yea?"

Guy also orders, calmly offering his ration book. "Well you _are_ a proper toff's wife now, aren't you?" That gives him a faint chuckle, and then he also orders a beer, and shakes out a cigarette. When the server departs, he says, "It's going to get a bit dicey from time to time, I suspect. Although if the army and the French can hold the Hun, and push him back a bit, it'll get better."

Rena has a habit of needing to keep her hands busy when something is nagging at the back of her mind. As she listens to Guy, she idly toys with her fork, madly focused on it for the moment. After a brief silence, and without looking up, she asks: "Guy, I know you probably can't answer me, because Birdie never does… but, is it ever going to come to it that you boys 'ave to leave the country? You know… not just patrol over 'ere to keep us safe." She has a fair idea of how war works, but she doesn't know if the RAF means to dig in on the home-front or charge into battle across the sea, someday.

Guy gives a faint smile, "No plans to deploy us to France or anywhere else yet. But who knows what the future holds, eh? There's the Med…. and here, and France. And… well… some other places too."

The young woman does her level best not to show how deeply troubled the thought makes her. But, her voice is thick with restrained emotion when she does finally speak again. "I don't know what I'd do if either of you truly went away for a time." She refuses to let her mind wander toward either of them going away permanently. "I think I'd go out of my mind worrying about you, wishing I were there to help, somehow."
Finally bringing her gaze up to meet Guy's, Rena smirks a little and adds: "I warned Birdie already that if 'e ever goes missing, I'll turn over the bloody earth and sky to find 'im - and the same goes for you."

Guy gives a little nod, "Well…. thanks, I suppose." He pauses, and leans forward, to say gently, "I'm on borrowed time anyway, Rena. You know that. By the odds I should have bought it last time at least… oh…. three or four times over." He gives a slightly rueful smile, "But I'll try and avoid inconveniencing you."

It doesn't take much to tip Rena over the edge. However, she does her damnedest to blink back tears before they have a chance to spill over and spoil everything: "Guy, please don't say that." She says quickly. "I know it's true, but… please don't. I can't bear the thought of…"
She stops herself there as her voice catches, and it takes a moment for her to regain her composure. Lifting her chin and drawing a deep breath to calm herself, Rena says: "Time is precious. That's why I made myself promise I would spend less of it crying and worrying about you two - and more of it enjoying the time we've got together. If anything ever does happen… I've a lifetime for tears later."

Guy produces a large clean handkerchief and slides it over, "I'll do my best not to! And even more for Birdie!" He gives a chuckle, "Besides, knowing my luck, I'll probably end up flying a desk, the way things are going at the Ministry."

Rena offers a thankful smile and accepts the handkerchief so that she can daintily erase any signs of distress in a hurry. Sniffing faintly, she gives Guy a look and shakes her head: "Poor man, I know how you feel about desk work. What do they want to pin that sort of job on you for?" She asks, furrowing her brow. "You're probably the best pilot in the squadron." She loves her husband dearly and has absolute faith in his abilities, but Guy is the more experienced of the two.

Guy says, "Well, been at a lot of these strategic briefings, where it turns out most of the Staff Wallahs have only done peacetime flying, except for the head men, who are of my vintage." He gives a wry smile, "I'm probably the most senior Squadron Leader in the Service. I blame being out of the game from '19 onwards!"

"I can't ever make up my mind, one way or the other," Rena says with a sigh. "Part of me wants both of you tucked safe away behind bloody desks so that neither of you ever gets hurt. But, the other half - the one that isn't so selfish - knows that it would drive both of you mad, and you'd be terribly unhappy letting others do the fighting while you sat around directing things."
The food arrives, then, and once the plate is set down before her, Rena seems eager to dig in. For someone who usually eats like a sick bird, she seems to be doing better than ever in all the time Guy has known her. "So, as much as it worries me to death, I'll be unselfish and wish for you both to get the jobs that would make you happiest. Just don't force me to mount a rescue mission, because it'll get me thrown in prison." The Wizard Ministry is so merciful and just…

Guy chuckles, as he too launches into his meal, without inquiring too much what went into the pie. "Well, we serve where we're told, but honestly, I think they have better heads than mine to try and decide that sort of thing!"

Swallowing before making a remark, Rena can scarcely be blamed for laughing a little: "You're a man of action, you are. Nobody knows that better than I do, I reckon." Pausing thoughtfully over her food, the young woman tilts her head as though recalling something. Indeed, her mind is wandering back to the mission he accompanied her on when he actually rescued her from death - or quite possibly worse. "I still owe you several times over, you know. I owe you my life at least twice. I've never had a chance to repay you for that."

Guy blinks, "Twice? I can really only think of once." He sounds a bit confused.

"Yes, twice." Rena answers, her voice and manner becoming somewhat subdued. She toys with the food on her plate with her fork for a long moment before enlightening Guy further. "The night you met me on the bridge, just out there… when I was so miserable and lost." She hesitates briefly before adding: "Fact is, you saved my life again that night. I might've done something very foolish if you hadn't come along."

Guy pauses for a long moment, and then says, "Well… fairly sure you wouldn't have, in the end. But… it's all turned out for the best, eh?" He picks up his pint, to cover the momentary surprise, presumably less at the truth, than at her admitting it. And in a public place. "And, you know, you _have_ helped teach me that not all of you chaps are the devil… and you set me up with the right people to get my leg sorted a bit."

Well, Rena is always full of surprises. And, she has a bad habit of never knowing when or how to keep her mouth shut. Fortunately, there ought to be enough noise in the pub to cover their conversation. However, moving on from the momentary discomfort of that subject, she smiles brightly: "I'm awfully glad that they've been able to help the pain - at least a little. All I've ever wanted was for you to be happy and well. But, I resent you saying that I'm not a devil. I absolutely am a devil… or a minx, at the very least." She adds, pointing her fork briefly at Guy with a feigned devilish glint in her eyes.
Falling back to her meal the young woman downs a few bites before slowing and then coming to a rather pointed stop. For a moment or two, she doesn't seem quite right. But then, she recovers with a little shake of her head and glances at Guy: "I- I was wondering, if I could ask a hypothetical question of you, about piloting and all…"

Guy pauses, and then nods, "Go on…?"

The young woman's brow furrows again, while she ponders exactly how to phrase the thing. "Is …is it worse for married pilots? I mean, is it harder for them to concentrate on the job when they've got worries on their mind about the girl they've got at home?" Breathing a sigh, she scrapes at the food on her plate before adding: "I guess what I'm trying to ask is, is it better to keep certain things from Birdie if things are turning serious with the war? I don't want to make his job harder for him."

Guy considers that, "You're bearing in mind I've never been married?" He considers this, with another slurp of beer. "It's all about concentration. About being in the moment. So, yes, I've seen people who got distracted by things make damn fool mistakes." He gives you a serious look, "However, he could get distracted by thinking you're not telling him something, couldn't he? I'd sort of play it by ear, you see?"

In a moment of rare discretion, Rena's gaze slips over the room and she seems to be gauging whether or not it is safe to say anything further on the matter. A few more patrons - rather noisy ones at that - have entered the pub, making anything she says (if she's careful) rather difficult to eavesdrop upon. But still, she seems hesitant to go on.
Reaching into her handbag, she withdraws a dainty little writing pad and a regular Muggle pen. Quickly, she scratches a little note onto it and takes a deep breath before sliding it across the table to Guy. "What about telling him he's going to be a father?" It reads.

Guy pauses, and then bursts into a grin, "Yes. I would. Soon as you're sure."
Guy then takes another glug, and gives up on his pie. "Yes. I would." He looks reflective, "It'll give him something to live for, you know?"

The tension quickly melts away, and a warm, sunshiny smile returns. She may be blushing and looking a bit self-conscious about the whole affair; but really, she's never looked so happy in all the time that Guy has known her.
"I'll tell him as soon as I can, then," she answers quietly, unable to erase the smile. "What about you? I'll need someone to name Godfather, you know." She asks teasingly.

Guy nods sagely, "I'd be delighted. You know I would!" There's a faint smile, "Ask me when you're sure, eh?"

"I will." Rena replies, her smile becoming somewhat more wistful. "It might be jumping the gun a bit to assume right now, I suppose… I just hope…" After everything, of course she hopes for that one thing she has longed for the most.
"Call it woman's intuition to say I am sure now. But, you're right, I should wait to be absolutely sure." Rena admits, her shoulders slumping slightly. "If it is true, I sure picked an awful time for it, didn't I?" She then asks with a wry smile.

Guy gives a shrug, "Oh, there's never a good time for it, I'm told. What with one thing and another, we've had the War. The Great War I suppose I should call it now. And then we had the twenties, when everyone wanted to let their hair down. And the Crash, and the Depression, and then the War Threats, and now this War. There'll never be a good time, will there?"

Feeling a little better, Rena manages to down another bite or two of food while Guy talks. Then, giving a thoughtful look toward one of the sayings carved into the stonework of the pub, she says: "I suppose that's true. But… there's always hope for the future, even if now isn't so grand. I can't think of anything more hopeful than new life - a new day and a new chance. Can you?"

Guy gives a little gulp of his beer, finishing the glass. "Exactly! Oh, we'll give Hitler a kicking. Though it may take a few years."

"Oh, who does Mister 'Itler think he's kidding?" Rena asks contemptuously. "We'll knock sense into 'im before long and show 'im that we're never going to stand for his nonsense. Him and his lackeys will wind up crawling back to Germany to lick their wounds if they ever really try to take us on face to face. There's nobody to 'old up their end of the bargain in a man-to-man situation, yea?" She says with a defiant tone in her voice. She really is a feisty little patriotic girl.

Guy gives a faint smile, "Well, the French can be real scrappers too, you know. I think it'll be alright

"Why, Guy! You've always spoken with such contempt about the French when we've talked about them in the past." Rena says, feigning shock and surprise at the sudden praise for the French in a fight." She can't help but tease him about it. He and Birdie can be such Anglophiles when speaking of other cultures.

Guy gives a little shrug, "Well, they're allies. They're not clever, and their generals are shocking. But their men? Oh, they can scrap!"

Rena's dark eyes sparkle with mirth, and she shakes her head. "You and Birdie are a mass of contradictions, you know it?" She remarks, taking up her glass. Pausing a moment, she raises it then and says: "To Britain and her allies - and to my two favorite pilots in the whole world."

Rena laughs and takes a sip of her drink: "Now who else would my favorite pilots in the world be?"

Stopping a moment, Rena looks across the table at Guy, possibly trying to commit a happy moment to memory before the fleeting peace has left them. "Right now, I feel like everything will be alright, Guy. Somehow, I just… know it will be." One way or another, they will all survive and endure as best they can, come what may with the war. And, if she needs to go on alone one day, she'll find the strength to do so in the memory of those who have made such a difference in her life.

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