1994-10-07: A Funny Pair of Magpies


Sechnall_icon.gif Tiana_icon.gif

Scene Title A Funny Pair of Magpies
Synopsis Sechnall and Tiana run into each other in Muggle London. Literally.
Location Park Lane
Date Oct 07, 1994
Watch For A collision, suspicions and Tia's Odd Choice in beverages
Logger The Big Bad Wolf

It's a gray, cloudy day in London, and the occasional spurts of light rain seem to have emptied the sidewalks of pedestrians somewhat. Still, a few stroll here and there either out of necessity or stubbornness. One of these is an average-looking fellow, a bit on the thin side, who is walking on the side of the street that borders Hyde Park. His clothes are rather eccentric, featuring a very old-fashioned brown peacoat and scarlet vest that look almost Victorian-esque. Compounding the oddity of his appearance is a long wooden pipe that is currently crooked in one corner of his mouth. He doesn't seem to be going anywhere in particular, and has a thoughtful, almost glazed expression, his doleful brown eyes flitting between the ground at his feet (presumably so he doesn't trip) and the cloudy sky every now and again.

Stepping out of the front door of her apartment complex, an inhumanly beautiful woman nods once to her doorman and opens up a rather large, lime-colored umbrella. She's dressed well, today; stiletto heels and a short, tight black skirt show off her long legs, while a similarly-colored blazer exposes so much chest that a lacy navy bra can be seen. Her dark hair is pulled up into an elegant twist and large sunglasses cover her eyes even on such a cloudy day. Her pace is quick, even as she speaks into a black cellular phone; very fast and in a Slavic language. She doesn't really see where she's going, much less the oddly dressed gentleman she is currently on a collision course towards.

The appearance of the unusually attractive woman might make most men do a double-take, but Sechnall is so absorbed in whatever his current train of thought is that he fails to even notice her. He lifts a hand to gently remove the pipe from his mouth, expelling a thin stream of smoke as he does: it actually has a rather pleasant odor, smelling something like a mix between rum and vanilla. Unfortunately he completely fails to acknowledge the woman who happens to be barreling in his direction, since his eyes are still drifting lazily skyward to observe an interestingly-shaped cloud that is in the process of evacuating its condensed moisture on some area of London a mile or two away.

With the habitual irony one only sees in movies and cheap telly programmes, Tiana happens to catch sight of Sechnall. Unfortunately, by the time she does, inertia has taken hold - blasted laws of physics! - and she has no recourse but to thrust her umbrella up in the hopes of avoiding any injudicious punctures. Stumbling into him, she - for the first time in a long time - feels unsteady on her rather ridiculous heels and ends up falling backwards through empty air, headed for a crash-landing on the damp pavement if something isn't done.

Indeed, irony does seem to be in the air today; Sechnall also completely fails to notice the impending collision until the very last moment, when his eyes suddenly dart down to take in the form of the high-heeled woman as the remaining few inches between them disappear. She *might* notice the faintest hint of a snarl transform his face for an instant (a decidedly odd change of his otherwise placid features), and he jumps back slightly. It is not, however, enough to keep him from reeling back on his heels and pinwheeling a bit. But, with surprisingly quick reflexes for someone who looks so - well, scrawny - he leans forward slightly, trying to circle an arm around her waist before she falls backwards.

Considering her own leanings towards such facial expressions in times of unguardedness, that snarl seems to catch the entirety of Tiana's focus. So distracted is she by that simple facial tic, that as his arm winds around her waist and her body subconsciously steadies itself against his, she doesn't even bother with her usual 'tricks'. "Forgive me, sir." Her soft soprano voice is heavily accented with a Slavic flavor, each inflection carefully planned to project a sensual innocence. "I was not watching my steps."

As soon as it becomes evident that she is not going to fall over backwards, Sechnall steps back quickly, obviously flustered by the sudden proximity to her. In fact, his normally pale cheeks turn a bright shade of red, and he shakes his head apologetically, all traces of the hostility he'd momentarily displayed gone. "N-no, so sorry, I should have been watching my step.. ah.. you are not hope, I hurt? Er, wait, no - I mean, hurt, I.. hope..?" Apparently he isn't the most gifted socialite, and the fact that she is quite possibly one of the most physically attractive people he's ever seen doesn't seem to help matters much.

The people that pass them - though not as great in number as would be seen perhaps on a more fair-weatherd day - cannot seem to help their stares. At the same time, a wide berth is given the dark-haired woman. Fear and adoration in simultaneous doses. How odd. "Oh no, sir. I escaped unharmed, thanks to your quick reaction." The smile she offers him then is soft and a bit sheepish. Or rather, it is a perfect imitation of what sheepish should look like. As his cheeks color, that smile grows, just a little. The woman ducks her head, furthering the image of embarrassment - whether she feels it or not - and a single curl falls from her twist to rest over one cheek; a line of black against the pale smoothness of her skin.

"Th-that is.. I'm glad," Sechnall stammers, seemingly unable to take his gaze off of the woman. Eventually, though, he manages to do just that - whether out of embarrassment or simply shyness - and glances away to stare at the pavement a few feet away. Once he manages to do that, there's just the very slightest narrowing of his brown eyes, though the reason behind it remains unclear. "Ehm.. just out of curiousity, your accent - it is, erm.. Czech? Albanian? I h-hope you don't mind my asking.."

"I do not mind at all. It is Romanian, actually." The more uneasy Sechnall grows, the more at ease Tiana seems to become. Extending her hand, palm down, her smile brightens. "My name is Tiana Moldavia. It is a pleasure to meet you….?" She trails off then, leaving an obvious opening for him to insert his own title.

For a few seconds, Sechnall simply stares at Tiana's extended hand as if in hesitation. Finally, he reaches forward and takes it in his own, shaking it once very lightly rather than kissing it. His eyes remain firmly affixed to the ground, although his lips have settled into a much more natural, pleasantly polite smile. "Romanian, I see.. v-very interesting. It is, er, quite lovely," He remarks, the color flaring in his cheeks once more before he clears his throat to continue. "Ah, Sechnall Swancoate. Very nice to meet you, Miss Moldavia."

"Tiana, please," the woman insists softly, settling her umbrella over one shoulder and twirling it lightly. Eyes of pale blue flick about their surroundings - she is nothing if not cautious - before settling on his face again. Reaching out with one perfectly manicured hand, she touches her fingertips to his chin and gently presses upwards, forcing him to look at her. "There was no harm done, honestly." She offers him a gentle, but controlled smile. "I was just on my way to have a cup of coffee. Would you care to join me?"
Jack has connected.

Her request is met with a quick nod from Sechnall, who is too distracted by her sudden touch to respond properly. His lips curl down just slightly as he's made to look up at the woman, although the expression is quickly replaced by an almost-dreamy smile. "O.. of course.. er.. that sounds wonderful," He breathes, unable to glance away at this point. Still, there's a slight flash of something (Defiance? Anger?) in his otherwise mild, slightly watery chestnut-hued gaze. "I.. am afraid I am somewhat unfamiliar with the city.. p-perhaps you could lead the way?"

Intruigued by that flash of emotion, Tiana spends another moment studying Sechnall's face before nodding once and turning her body so that she can wind her arm through his. "There is a little bistro shop just on the corner here." And so, with umbrella in one hand and resting on her outside shoulder, she sets off down the pavement, on Sechnall's arm in such a way that passersby would think him the leader. It's a subtle talent that has served her well these past seven years. "What brings you to London, Mister Swancoate?"

Though he appears to relax a little once Tiana's gaze is no longer locked on his own, Sechnall's tension is replaced just as quickly once she loops her arm through his own. He glances down half-unwillingly before her movement prompts him to follow suit. "Ah.. I am, er, visiting an old acquaintence. Yourself, Miss Moldavia? On.. vacation?" His use of the title seems unintentional, probably a result of his over-polite nature asserting itself in spite of her earlier plea to use her given name.

"Ah, no. I am…in the process of moving here." She brushes that strand of hair off her face again, this time tucking it behind one ear. "Tiana, please," she reminds him gently. As the pair approach the little corner cafe, the crowd seems to thicken, and it's only sheer luck that there is an open table. "Where is it you call home?"

"Er, yes.. Tiana," Sechnall responds slowly, trying to concentrate on his surroundings as the pair approaches the quaint little cafe. He arches a brow at the single unoccupied table, but quickly follows her towards it, and once they near it he actually steps forward to pull a chair out for her. "H-home? Ah, I live in Diag— er, that is, I come from a small city in Ireland," He says, frowning slightly at the verbal stumble and looking visibly irritated at himself for an instant. "Nothing so large or grand as London, I'm afraid.."

A gentleman, and one who isn't roleplaying some fantasy as one of her clients. How rare! "Ireland? How exotic!" Which, to her, it would be. Still, her voice remains…unnaturally pleasant; each desired emotion displayed to a too-perfect degree. "I have not had the pleasure of visiting the Emerald Isle." With a grace that should be banished from the realm of human possibility, she takes the offered seat and scoots herself forward. "I am afraid that I have not traveled as much as I would like. It is a luxury I hope to afford myself the pleasure of soon." Her napkin is placed delicately on her lap. "Tell me about your home?"

With the slightest hint of a smile at her apparent fascination, Sechnall takes a seat across from Tiana. After settling into place he folds his hands together in front of himself, interlacing his fingers and staring at the patterned tablecloth. But looking at her is rather unavoidable without seeming rude, especially once she speaks to him, so he glances up at her eventually, watching her movements with an almost mystified expression. "My home.. er.. it is nothing exceptional, I assure you. Just a small.. er.. cabin, in the woods. Outside of the city," He explains, not-very-convincingly. "And you, Mi— Tiana? Do you live in London?"

"A…cabin?" The word is not one Tiana appears to be familiar with, but before she can question further, a young blonde waitress approaches to take their order. Funnily enough, though she can't seem to keep her eyes off of the Romanian woman, she stands as far from her as she can manage, her hip coming dangerously close to brushing Sechall's shoulder. "I would like a cherry mocha latte with a dash of chile pepper, please." She pauses then, turning to her companion to indicate that he is free to order, waiting until after the waitress leaves to continue conversation. "I do. As a matter of fact, I live in a flat not very far from where we ran into each other." She smiles a little at her own cleverness in that particular turn of phrase. "What city is it you live outside of? Why seperate yourself like that? It sounds lonely."

"Ah, yes.. it's, erm.. a small log house, of sorts.." Sechnall seems slightly confused about how to explain what a 'cabin' is, especially since he's never really actually been in one. Describing Swancoate Manor as a 'cabin' may have been slightly misleading. Or, you know, just plain lying. When he notices the waitress (and it takes him a moment, since most his attention is devoted unwaveringly to Tiana), he frowns slightly. "Just a tea for myself, please," He says softly, his gaze going back almost immediately to the woman seated across from him. "City? Oh, y-yes - Limerick. I'm, erm.. well, you see, I also own a.. medicine shop," He says, sounding as if he has to sift through his vocabulary to settle on that word - 'medicine'.

"Oh?" Now that seems to pique Tiana's interest. "Like an - oh what is your word? - an apothecary?" The waitress returns with two steaming mugs, places them in front of their respective recipients, and ducks back into the kitchen without a word. "You must be very well off then, no?" It is ventured politely, in that subtle tone that allows the conversation to close if he so wishes. It's the manner of a woman used to dealing with rich men - some of whom want the opening to discuss their wealth, and some who don't. "Why would you not have the store inside the city? Better business where the customers are, I should think." She's teasing. It's so painfully obvious that she's teasing, but there's no real concrete pointers to /why/ it's so obvious. Just like every other emotion she displays or elicits, there is no explanation as to /why/; there just /is/.

"Yes.. something quite like that," Sechnall admits, glancing down at his cup of tea once it arrives. He reaches out and picks it up gingerly, blowing on its surface a bit before taking a tentative sip and setting it back down with a slight clink. "Erm.. well-off.. I.. well, I suppose I have always been fortunate enough not to have to worry about fiscal matters too much." That reply, while being rather vague, would seem to be enough to confirm her suspicions - at least, he doesn't seem to do anything to deny them. "But, erm.. actually, the shop is inside the city. Just in a.. well, a slightly less-frequented district." If he's aware of her overtones it's not apparent - he seems to be taking her questions quite literally. Then again, there's still a sort of glint of suspicious awareness in his eyes that suggests perhaps he's not quite as clueless as he seems. "And what is it that you do for a living, then, Tiana? Erm, if you don't mind my asking, that is.."

"Legal Secretary." The lie rolls smoothly off of Tiana's tongue, and yet somehow she makes even those words drip with sensual appeal. It's something she's made herself get used to. Apparently London isn't so proud of her whores as Bucharest is of hers. A sip of her strange blend of spicy-sweet coffee buys her a few moments of silence. It's time she uses to watch her companion closely. Finally she picks up her mug and wraps her hands around it to warm them, leaning back in her seat and crossing one leg over the other. Regarding him a little longer over the rim of her cup, she finally breaks her silence with a softly-spoken, well-controlled question. "What is it about me you distrust so, sir?" No introduction, no explanation for her supposition or question. Just…her inquiry.

Sechnall raises his mug of tea once more, taking a long, slow sip as he ponders over her answer. "Legal secretary," He repeats, smiling slightly. The steam rolling off of the hot liquid helps to clear his head a bit, but it's a temporary reprieve, because her questions floors him. The mild-mannered fellow stares at her, obviously taken aback, before his features twist into something more.. sharp, almost vulturine. The smile remains, but it doesn't reach his eyes, and while he still can't take his attention off of her, his own gaze seems to have become stonier. "Miss Moldavia, you'll have to forgive me.. it's just that I don't get out much, and I sometimes find it difficult to relate to others - especially to someone as clearly striking as yourself." His bumbling manner apparently gone for the moment, he idly swishes the tea around in his mug, looking down at it before letting a crooked smirk creep over his lips. "The tea here is good, but I prefer the specialty brews they make at the Leaky Cauldron. Have you been there?"

That change in his expression seems to vindicate something to Tiana. There's a flicker of satisfaction behind her icy blue eyes. "That is reasonable, but I confess it is not what I had expected to hear from a businessman like yourself." Her smile turns just a little predatory, an expression that shouldn't be attractive on anyone - but is. It's lost a moment later anyway, overshadowed by the perfect picture of confusion. "I apologize, Mister Swancoate, but that is an establishment I have not had the pleasure of visiting. They have specialty brews? A home-grown ale, perhaps?" Neither face nor voice give away any hint that she knows what he is inferring. That could be honest ignorance - either because she is foreign or because she really is a Muggle - or she could just simply be that good at lying. Who knows? Still, she seems comfortable enough, even taking another sip from her coffee. And yet… The way she's draped herself in the chair so artfully… She /looks/ at ease, but could that position /really/ be comfortable?

"N-not so much a businessman as a scholar with a penchant for commercial experimentation, I'm afraid," Sechnall stammers, that momentary surety that had infused him gone - or at least hidden. "Really? Well, that's a shame - you ought to stop in sometime. They do serve a most delightful mead, if you can stomach it. Quite strong." He lifts his mug one more time, takes a final sip, and sets it - apparently emptied - on the table. Then, with deliberate slowness, he rises and bows stiffly from the waist. "But, I'm afraid I really should be going.. my friend will be expecting me soon, and I have to get back to the shop sooner or later. A review of the inventory is long overdue. It was v-very interesting to meet you, though."

"Oh I think you'd be surprised what I can stomach." There's a mysterious little smile flirting along Tiana's lips at that. Oh, all her clever little one-liners and no one ever /really/ appreciates them; though to be fair, it's a bit like expecting a stranger to understand an inside joke… An inside joke with yourself; that's healthy. "Where would I find this…Leaky Cauldron?" She sips again from her mug and watches him rise and bow. "Certainly, Mister Swancoate, a very interesting meeting indeed. I hope it will be one we repeat in the near future."

That comment only gets a slightly puzzled look and another arched brow from Sechnall, unfortunately; the jest is indeed largely lost on him. "Oh, well - it's over on Charing Cross Road. Funny-looking little place, quite easy to spot.." He nods in reply to her farewell, his eyes settling on hers again for a few brief seconds with that same hint of self-possession he'd shown earlier, though this time he keeps it more concealed. His lips part in a timid smile and he clears his throat, pushes his chair back into place, and fishes enough money out of his pocket to pay for them both before setting it on the table. Actually, it's /far/ too much money - but he either doesn't seem to understand its value, or doesn't care. Or both. "Ah, y-yes.. that would be most pleasant. Good evening, then, Mi— Tiana." After a final appraising look at her, he turns on his heel and half-flees, walking off in the direction of Hyde Park once more.

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