(1940-07-26) Breaking Bad News
Details for Breaking Bad News
Summary: After a skirmish over the channel, Faulkner has apparently gone down with his plane. Guy finds Rena to break the news to her before she hears it through official channels.
Date: 1940/07/26
Location: Faulkner Residence

Guy rings at the door. There'd been the sounds of a car. Not unheard of in this part of London, but much rarer than previously.

After a long moment, the door of the Faulkner residence opens, revealing a properly dressed, prim, dark haired maid in her late twenties. She gazes at the RAF man briefly before speaking. "Yes sir - how may I help you?" Maggie asks.

Guy takes off his hat, and runs a hand through his hair, before replacing it. There is more than a little of the aviation fuel about him, and he's wearing a flying jacket and silk scarf over his uniform tunic. "Is Mrs Faulkner at home? I know it's late, but… it is rather urgent."

It may come as a slight surprise to Guy, but the maid blinks and steps back from the door, opening it for him immediately. "Pardon the liberty, sir," she says respectfully, "You must be Squadron Leader Grosvenor. Missus Faulkner's given orders that if ever you came by - day or night - you were to be shown in."
Ushering Guy into the rather grand home, she closes the door behind him and offers to relieve him of his coat and hat. "Missus Faulkner is upstairs working in the nursery, sir. Shall I call her down or show you the way?"

Guy says, "Um, if you bring her down, but maybe get Cook to make some tea, before you go up, eh?" Ah yes. He assumes there will be a 'Cook'. "Thank you……" His voice trails off, letting her fill in the gap, "Miss….?"

The maid pauses and gives Guy a pensive look. Something is wrong…

"Just Maggie, sir." She answers with regard to her name. She is a Squib, as well, and she does not tend to advertise her surname openly. "I'll see to it right away." A pause, and she escorts the RAF man the short distance from the foyer to the formal parlor. "Please, make yourself comfortable, Mister Grosvenor." She adds before parting ways with him, leaving him to survey the room while she arranges for tea and goes to locate the mistress of the house.
The room itself seems to be very Birdie-like in every detail, save for the lovely piano, which must surely belong to Rena. It's almost painful to see the happy little reminders around the room which prove that the Faulkners are indeed a happy couple - including their beautiful wedding portrait, a mere few months old.

Guy doesn't sit. Doesn't remove his jacket. It's almost like he's steeling himself to stay, rather than flee, and is leaving his options open. He limps to the curtain, and twitches slightly at the blackout curtains, getting them just 'so'. His hat turns in his hands between times.

In days past, Rena would have come rattling down the stairs two at a time upon hearing that Guy had come to call. However, she is a bit over four months along at this point, and not quite so capable of running like a lunatic at the drop of a hat. But still, she does hurry.

"Guy!" She calls out, absolutely full of sunshine and cheerfulness as she enters the room. She looks absolutely radiant. Apparently, she paid little mind to Maggie's demeanor, being preoccupied with whatever she had been doing upstairs.
"I'm so glad to see y…ou," the little redhead finally begins to take notice, and the smile fades on her lips. Normally, she would run up to the man and throw her arms around him; but now, she stops dead in her tracks and simply looks at him apprehensively.

Guy looks grim, "It's Birdie…. I don't know if he bailed out. It was over the drink. We got bumped." There's a helplessness to his tone, "I'm _sure_ he's not Gone West. But… well, he's missing. Thought I'd better get here before the letter."

The young woman's expression remains quite dead as Guy speaks. She does not scream; and she does not cry. She just… stands there, like a cold little waxwork, not even drawing breath as the colour drains from her features. After the painful first few moments have passed, she draws a sharp breath like someone waking from a nightmare. Backing away, she looks dazed - apparently in shock - and as though her legs might give way beneath her if she doesn't sit down.

Maggie could not have picked a more inopportune moment to arrive with the tea tray. Pausing in the doorway, she can tell by one glance between the pair that something dreadful has happened to the master of the house.

Guy steps forward with a bit of a limp, and guides the woman to a seat, "He'll turn up, I'm sure! Just a matter of time. You'll see…"

With Guy's help, Rena finds herself safely situated on the sofa so that she cannot fall. Despite the warmth of summer, she feels as though a chill has entered the room, and a shiver runs through her body. Maggie, in the meantime, sets the tea tray down as quietly as humanly possible, looking warily at her mistress. "She's been so ill, lately, sir. She only just started to get better…" The maid says, stepping back and wringing her hands slightly. "I should send for a healer before she has another bad spell."

"No!" Rena barks, with uncharacteristic sharpness. She may be in shock, but not shocked enough to be spoken of as if she weren't there. Then, turning her gaze up to meet with Guy's, she says tensely: "Where? Where did he go down?"

Guy pauses, "Channel. Just south-east of Dover. I was… a little busy… to watch. Sorry, Rena. Numbers weren't in favour of me being able to… you know. Keep my eyes on anything not in the immediate area."

Rena's jaw tightens and flexes. Her dark eyes are filled with hurt; but also, a fleeting look of betrayal. It's human nature to want someone to blame when terrible things happen, and Guy is a convenient target.
The moment passes, and her better nature returns, causing her gaze to drop away from his, shamefully. "You… you're trying to be kind, saying there's hope." She says at length, her voice, tremulous. "If he's in F-france… if he's alive… he's as good as dead. Ain't he?"

Guy shakes his head, "No. No, there's chaps still fighting over there. Guerrillas. So, if he's with them, they might manage to smuggle him out, to Spain, or Switzerland, or somewhere. And if he managed to get his kite down, or get to the French coast to bail out, he might be a POW. It'll take weeks before we'll know that, though."

At this moment in time, Rena cannot conceive of having to sit on her hands and just wait for answers - for the seemingly inevitable news that she is, in fact, a widow. His words sink in, but they come up against her irrational side.
"I can't… I can't," she says abruptly, pushing herself to her feet. Although extremely unsteady, she seems hell-bent, and runs past Maggie toward the stairs. However, she stumbles, only five steps up from the bottom. Gripping the banister, she sinks to her knees and then collapses under the strain of a silent, heart-rending sob that takes her down. These were just the kind of hysterics Guy was probably hoping to avoid.

Guy pauses, a bit helplessly, looking to the other Squib. Yep. Male helplessness. "Um…. chin up, old girl! You'll see! He's a tough fella. He'll pitch back up, with a tall story and some French wine."

Rena remains on the stairs, her head buried against her arm as she tries to regain control over the sobbing.
If Guy feels helpless, Maggie feels more-so. She's new to all this. She gives Guy a look and gestures toward Rena, mouthing: "Go To Her!" She can only assume, given Rena's warm words regarding Guy that she loves him very much as a friend, and she needs him desperately right now. Bloody men. Never knowing what to do in times of crisis.

Guy stumps over, and sinks down to sit on the stair next to her, putting a leather clad arm around her, "Look… he'll turn up, old thing, alright…?"

Sniffing sharply, Rena finally comes around enough to shift her position and sit up slightly. Burying her face against Guy's chest, she clings to him and says: "What's going to happen to me if he doesn't? What about the…" She can't make herself finish the question. What if Birdie never lives to see his child - their child - and she's left to go on without him?

"I swore I'd look for him if he ever went missing," Rena adds, with sudden grim determination.

Guy looks stunned, "No! No! Certainly not! The war is no place for a lady, still less a pregnant one!"

"But… but I can't just sit by waiting to hear my man is dead!" Rena replies, desperation rising in her voice. "He could be lying out there, wounded and needing help. He could be starving and cold and lost.. I HAVE to find him, Guy. I //have to."

Guy pauses, "Look…. if you can tell _where_ he is, then someone else can go and get him… but do you think he'd thank EITHER of us if you took risks?"

Rena's shoulders sag under the burden of recalling Birdie's strict admonishment. She may have promised that she would always find him; but he, in turn, told her that she was absolutely, unequivocally NOT to do so under any circumstances.

"He would be furious with me," she admits, finally. "And with you for letting me."
Now, she sounds as broken as she looks, and the little redhead asks: "What am I to do, then?"

Guy says, "Get… well… someone to help, perhaps?"

Rena bites her lower lip and her glance drifts thoughtfully. The wheels and cogs are turning in her mind. Whom could she rope into helping? No matter who, she risks getting them into terrible danger and trouble… How fortunate that she works with lunatics possessing very little concern for self-preservation on a daily basis.
"I'll find someone," she murmurs at length. Then, her eyes return to Guy, and she pleads for reassurance: "He… he's been trained for this, right? He can take care of himself? No matter what happens…"

Guy nods, "Absolutely! We all deal with how to evade and escape, eh!" He doesn't mention the possibility of going down in the sea, and what survival times are like, even in midsummer. "And he's an old Warhorse like me. I started in the Infantry, you know."

In fact, she may recall just how good he is with a pistol on foot.

Rena watches Guy carefully as he reasons with her, as if trying to be one hundred percent sure that he isn't just saying this to comfort her. A faint smile shows briefly: "I… I'd forgotten you began there," she says softly. It seems strange to think of both of the dearest men in her life, having been fighting in that horrible war when she had not yet been born.
"A-and, like you, he's a good shot," she adds, somewhat wistfully. "Taught me well, he did."

Guy gives a firm nod, "And look, if you can work out where he _is_, I'm _sure_ some sort of arrangement could be made… although damned if I know how we'd explain it."

"You could just say you saw exactly where he went down…" Rena offers, somewhat unhelpfully. She was only inside of a plane once - and nothing stressful or untoward happened. It's a bit irrational to think that anyone could have seen so well, under the circumstances.
"If I find out something - I'll work something out." Rena adds with calm resolve. At least she seems to have recovered from the initial shock. She's doing far better than she used in that regard.

Guy gives a brisk nod, "I…. " He keeps his arm around her, "Look, none of my other chaps are cleared as night fighters, but we'll stand to at Dawn.. I really need to get back to be with em… be ready for the morning."

Rena draws a slow breath to steady herself, and she nods reluctantly. "I know. You've got to take care of the boys."
She then sits up fully before leaning in and kissing him on the cheek softly. Seeing the mark left behind by her lip rouge, she smiles faintly and brushes it away quickly with her thumb. "Thank you for everything, Guy. I mean that."
Subconsciously, Rena then lays her hand on the small swell of her abdomen and murmurs thoughtfully: "Mummy and your godfather will think of something… It's going to be alright."

Guy gives a nod, and a squeeze, and then he's on his way.

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