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by: Eric Pangbourn
#8491
Friday, 3 February 2012
10:00 p.m.

Freedom was an odd thing. Eric had been given a strict set of instructions and a warning that his every move was being tracked before being let out an hour ago. If he went within a certain distance of Berenice, the spell would be triggered. He would need to figure a way around it, but all in good time. Tonight, he would enjoy his first meal as a free man in his own clothing. It wouldn't be Azkaban slop or, despite his and Liam's joke, Brussels sprouts. It would be something served at Liam's fine establishment, The Abby.

Eric took a shower the first thing when he arrived home and changed into some comfortable clothing, trimmed his hair and styled it, and cut off the beard he had been sporting. A bit of aftershave later, and Eric felt and smelled himself again. He inhaled deeply as he closed his eyes and simply relaxed. The feeling of the carpet beneath his feet, the feeling of warmer air on his skin, the feeling of soft cashmere on his skin.... If Berenice hadn't decided to do what she had, this all could have been his without an end. And perhaps, just perhaps, he wouldn't be hellbent on ensuring that this was never taken from him again.

With a look at himself in the mirror, Eric decided he looked presentable enough and went to grab a jacket and slip on shoes. Then, he apparated to the pub.

Once inside, he went up to the bar. No need to waste time with a table when he would be dining alone tonight. Besides, this would afford him more opportunity to see the wife Liam had spoken of. "Evening," he greeted the cute thing that welcomed him. "Is Kara in?"
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by: Kara Viridian
#8564
Kara was just taking out the last of the bottles to the bins in the back. Seamus complained that he shouldn't be letting her do the heavy lifting, but stubborn Kara decided that he was just being a silly man who wanted to show off his muscles to the new waitresses. She'd been carrying the bottles, and completing a lot of the heavy lifting since before Seamus even started, so that was her argument. After setting the empty crate next to the trash bins by the sinks, Kara wiped her hands on a towel and set out to the front of the house, where she was met with smiles and greetings from a few regulars who sat in their usual spots at the bar.

"Kara? There's someone here to see you." The girl, a petite young brunette, a fresh-out-of-high-school hire, was her new hostess and waitress in training.

Kara felt terrible for having forgotten her name, but she smiled anyway. She was definitely new, she noted, as she spoke in a professional manner which was stiff compared to the candor between her, Henrietta or Seamus even. "Thank you." She said. But the man she gestured towards, was no one she'd ever seen before. He was a very tall blond man, fair skin, with a thin frame. Could be someone with questions about the area, if he was new to these parts. The names of the O'Donnells that ran the Abbey were well known, for good and bad reasons, so hopefully he was there for good reason. It might have made her a bit uneasy, but Kara walked towards the stranger with a kind smile. "I heard you're looking for Kara, may I ask...who you are?"

If he was from the Guard, she had nothing to hide. Hell, if he was a Death Eater appointed to find her, directly from Williams or whoever the hell else was running the show, she was being a law abiding citizen. She'd just have to contact Markus, if they needed paperwork.
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by: Eric Pangbourn
#8653
Eric shrugged slightly before replying suavely, "Oh, just a first-time customer who's heard a lot about you and your waitress skills." He offered her a smile. "Eric, though, if you need a name." He wouldn't tell his last name as there were plenty of Erics in this world but few who had the name in correlation with the last name "Pangbourn." He'd rather not deal with the stigma that would come with being identified nor the potential shying away that might happen if she related him to her husband's whereabouts. Then again, she could ask him a bunch of questions, and frankly, that wasn't what he was in the mood for this early in the evening. Perhaps after a few drinks had loosened him up but no sooner.

"I here your fish and chips are something to die for."
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by: Kara Viridian
#8672
Kara noted that the blond man was almost as tall as her late husband. He had a kind enough face to deem him trustworthy, but Kara wouldn't let her guard down that easy, not in this world or any other. She offered an uneasy, skeptical grin as she listened to his introduction and she nodded. "A pleasure..."

She offered the man a seat in the nearest booth, gesturing for him to move towards it. "The best. Is that what we can get you? And a drink, perhaps?" idle chatter...she wasn't sure how or why he came for her specifically, but she'd find out, soon. It was all about customer service an hospitality, so she started there to ease into the conversation some.
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by: Eric Pangbourn
#8678
Eric took the offered seat, thanking her as he scooted in just enough to be comfortable. Booths were always such unsophisticated pieces of furniture, and he avoided them at all costs in the wizarding world. Robes and booths were not entirely friendly with one another. Thankfully, it was the discomfort of too much material rather than too little, yet he supposed that didn't matter now that he sat here in slacks and a button-down.

"Best whisky you have would be wonderful, dear," Eric replied. Some women in today's society would be offended by such a term from a stranger. Frankly, Eric couldn't care less. She was Liam's wife, and thus, he had no ulterior motives with her. She was easy on the eyes yet not his type. There was a strength behind her eyes that didn't sit well with him.
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by: Kara Viridian
#8683
Kara nodded. "Coming right up."

She headed back to the bar and from the top shelf, fetched one of the Old Malt bottles. Seamus was a good whisky connoisseur and found a damn fine one from a shop in Soho, so he insisted they carry it here. Not too many folks ordered it because of the price, but the stranger asked for the best one in the house.

She returned to his table with a tumbler and the bottle in hand, pouring it in to a little less than a third, unless he preferred more. "This one's fairly smooth. I've been told it's lovely."

She offered him a light smile, though wary since she wanted to come up with a good enough reason to ask why he'd asked for her. "Can I get you anything else, sir?"
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by: Eric Pangbourn
#8731
"Thank you," Eric replied and rose the glass to her before taking a sip. Well, that would likely cost him a pretty penny, yet he could care less. His bank account had been sitting there untouched aside from alimony. He could live a little tonight then see about his job after the weekend. With any luck, he could return and find himself back into the swing of things. It would be good to have a routine lest he fester away dreaming of his revenge and rush it all far too quickly for his liking. No, this had to be carried out just right to be anything worth carrying out and to avoid much long-term risk to his person.

When Kara asked if he wanted anything else, Eric took a moment to contemplate. He wanted to ask her questions, yet how did you ask her the sort he wanted to know without coming across as creepy and thereby warranting a non-answer? He could mention Liam, yet perhaps if he listened, he'd hear the answer to what he wanted to know without having to say anything about Liam just yet. "I'll have more of that when the glass is empty. And some malt vinegar when the fish and chips are ready. Maybe keep a few of the...rowdier patrons away from here, if you can." He meant the youthful crowd who made the majority of tonight's clientele, naturally.
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by: Kara Viridian
#8769
"Sounds good, luv. Be right back." Kara gave him a friendly smile and walked away. She'd check on his order from the kitchen a couple times but they weren't quite ready yet. She helped man the bar, filling a couple of pints at the tap since most of the stools were pretty covered and waiting for their orders. She tried not to look over as often towards the man she'd just served, but she had an odd feeling about that one. He seemed like he meant well enough and she didn't have much to fear about him. It was just a strange feeling.

The hostess from before was staring, no, gawking at this new stranger. Kara just shook her head as she watched her, but all in good fun. She couldn't blame her for staring at a relatively handsome man in a bar...but she'd have to be careful with said staring. She made a mental note to whisper something to her about the younger guests, to seat them at a distance from his booth.

"Order." Seamus was on the line tonight, and he rang the bell for the fish and chips order that Kara was to send over to table three, the tall blond man. Eric, was his name.

"Thank you." She said, smiling at him through the window. Kara grabbed the vinegar as he'd requested it before, and trotted back over to his table. She presented it before him, and sat down the vinegar with some extra napkins. "Here you are. Nice and fresh, do be careful." Kara tried not to linger, but she waited a few seconds after setting down his order, to see if he would need anything else from her.
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by: Eric Pangbourn
#8871
Eric gave the woman a smile, looking up at her with his eyes only then glancing at the food. "Thank you," he told her, reaching for the malt vinegar and opening it. "You haven't any clue how much I'm looking forward to real food after the past few months." He chuckled quietly and shook his head before shaking the malt vinegar over his fish and chips. He tentatively grabbed one of the chips and blew on it a bit before taking a bite. It was still warm. He'd have to let the rest sit before eating more, but he savored the flavor. "Your fine establishment lives up to everything I've heard so far," he told her.

That was all he had to say for now, and he figured she had other customers. Still, he hoped he could glean information before he mentioned the woman's husband. Given the time apart, how likely was it she had strayed? A woman such as this one was pretty enough and confident enough she could easily have her choice of men, though if she was the marrying sort, she likely would have limited to one other. And who could blame her? Time apart from one's spouse was difficult. There were certain needs which went unsatisfied.
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by: Kara Viridian
#8875
Kara had heard some strange remarks while working here for some time, but this struck her as a very odd thing to say. She nodded with a smile as she cleaned up the table that had just cleared up behind him, and she swiftly returned with the bottle of the Old Malt, giving him a refill as he'd requested. She figured she might even leave the bottle here in case he wanted more, as he seemed honest enough. "Well, as I said, I hope it lives up to its reputation for you, sir." She said, in regards to the food. But when she was finished pouring to the invisible line she'd set for herself, Kara stopped when she heard him mention that he'd heard about this place before.

It wasn't a complete left-field sort of remark but it always made her ears sort of perk up in curiosity. She tilted her head and looked at Eric, intrigued by him in more than one way. "What have you heard? And from where?" She asked, in a friendly tone. Everything leading up until now meant Eric had come here based on recommendation from someone who had highly praised this place. She'd have to thank them, if they were a regular. "If you don't mind me asking. It's always a relief to know this place is doing something right for the community."
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by: Eric Pangbourn
#8880
Eric offered a smile. Simple enough question and, he supposed, something that he would expect from someone invested in their establishment. "You know how word travels, especially when you're friendly to our sort." There was no way that Kara wouldn't grasp that he was referring to being a wizard. She seemed smart enough and was surely used to such talk. "I've heard plenty of friends speak of the food and drink and the," he motioned around, "atmosphere. I could imagine it being quite relaxing here during the week when students are studying for their exams as they do."

Hopefully the response was satisfactory and comradely enough that he could get away with the statement he decided to follow with. "It seems the things I've heard about your dedication to your establishment is true, too. A young woman such as yourself here rather than home on a Friday night. No wonder everyone says the customer service is good. Has to be good for the morale."
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by: Kara Viridian
#8994
Luckily Kara had enough folks on staff to handle the dinner crowd starting to peek in, because she was far intrigued by this newcomer that she just wanted to sit down and chat with him. And not like that even. Sure, he was a looker. Handsome, charming, with a mysterious allure that seemed to reel her in. But Kara wasn't attracted to him like that, it was just his way of speaking and how he painted the picture with his words, though somewhat vague when she was craving more detail. Alas, Kara didn't sit down with him, as it felt unprofessional and ill-timed, and would perhaps scare off the new patron. She settled for standing at the edge of his table, sticking around for a little longer than she anticipated.

"That seems rather specific," She tilted her head with a smile, "Who are these friends of yours talking about me and my 'fine establishment'? And yes, I practically live here. There's no night out with the girls or curl up with a book. There's sleep, and then there's work. That's what my husband used to say."

Kara rarely brought up Liam, but it seemed to flow and it felt right. She hadn't worn her ring in some time either, but her hand felt naked without it.
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by: Eric Pangbourn
#9093
"Used to say?" Eric replied. It seemed a sore point for her, perhaps a bit different than Eric imagined a woman would react to her husband's imprisonment. Perhaps he was reading into it, however. He had never been particularly good with human emotion. He knew enough to manipulate and guess, but he found it strange to try to guess when he was no longer that young boy trying to impress a girl or that man married to a woman who loathed him and he wanted nothing more than to control to prevent a second affair from occurring.

It was strange as well to hear Liam spoken of by someone. Until this moment, Liam had just been the bloke he'd made friends with in Azkaban. Granted, until a few hours ago, he'd been in Azkaban with him, so that could more than account for the strangeness. It made him feel... well, there was no word for it but wistful. He'd enjoyed their talk at meals. He almost missed it right now but for the fact his spirits felt lifted being away from those life-suckers known as Dementors.
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by: Kara Viridian
#9099
Kara offered a solemn nod. "My husband he..." She drifted off somewhere, searching for something to focus on, anything at all, so she wouldn't just lose it right there. It had been a while since she straight up brought up her husband in a conversation, and with each time she thought to, it didn't get any easier.

She wasn't wearing her ring, as the stranger may have noticed, but she wasn't about to point it out either. For what? The stranger had nothing to do with her marriage or personal life at that. "This was his before we were married. He's...gone. So I'm doing my best to keep this place open. It's what he would have wanted." The response was ambiguous enough, she knew. Yet the pain felt very clear. She missed him.
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by: Eric Pangbourn
#9131
There was loss in her voice. That much was clear to Eric. Well, that was a good sign for his friend. It still meant little in his grand scheme of trying to find information. It was possible to miss your husband yet find yourself with another if for nothing else but comfort. It seemed plenty of people did that, but what did he know? Perhaps it was impossible for Eric to view females completely capable of maintaining fidelity. They were the emotional sort. Husband gone, likely destined to die, and someone there at the right moment? Perhaps it was unfair to cast his opinion of Berenice on other women, yet how could he not? Even his own parents had seemed happier in others' arms until the other found out.

At the very least, now that she was leaning where she was, he noticed there was no ring. Perhaps things now shifted to neutral. She missed him but no ring. Available yet not available emotionally. Or something like that. Eric wasn't entirely certain of the psychology behind cheating. He'd not done it.

"'Would have wanted'?" Eric repeated with a nod. Well, did she even know he was alive? Now he wasn't entirely certain what to think. "Well, good on you," he told her. "I'm sorry for your loss. It can't be easy." He looked forward to whatever end Berenice would meet personally, yet he understood most people didn't nurture such hatred toward former spouses.
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