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Subject:Applebee, Tamsin
Time:10:54 pm
I'm not sure why Grandmother gave me one of these. I think she'd heard from one of the Healers at St Mungo's that a lot of people were using them as part of therapy and that's why she thought it would make a good housewarming gift, but as for what I'm supposed to write in the thing... I mean, I'm alright, aren't I?

They really weren't kidding when they said the new training regime was going to be hard work, I think I've found muscles I didn't think I had before.

Home game today. Barring any accidents I won't be playing, but it's good to get the season officially underway.

“Well, this has been an excellent start to my Saturday evening,” Penelope said, flexing her toes from where she inclined on a sofa in a beauty parlour. She was waiting for the pedicurist to finish up with Tamsin and flicking through a magazine - Women’s, not Witches, Weekly, as the salon was a Muggle one. Magic did have many benefits, but there were certain things it couldn’t replace, and the sensation of having your feet submerged in soapy water, then exfoliated on route to getting your nails done, was one of them. She gave a contented yawn and reached for her cup of tea.

Tamsin was in complete agreement as she lay back on the salon couch, inspecting the new paint-job on her toe-nails. Given that she wasn’t as used to the Muggle world as Penelope, she had been a bit un-nerved at the whole process at first. However, the sensation of such a pampering was incredible, and she felt lucky that her friend had been able to recommend the place.

Keeping her feet still as the nail technician finished drying off her toes in a rather non-girly black and white pattern, the Chaser took a sip of her own tea. “London really does seem to have its benefits. I think I’ll like it here.”

“It is a great place to live,” Penelope agreed. “You discover something new about it each day, and there’s so many facets of it to explore. And having a place on the outskirts, I get the best of both worlds. I still miss Lancashire though; it has its own charm.”

With their current location in mind, she hadn’t been able to request Harpies colours, but she had asked for the dark green and gold job to be done on her toenails, lying glibly to the girl that she had South African heritage and wanted to show her true colours for the upcoming Springboks tour. The staff member - an Australian - had bantered with her good naturedly throughout the process, and fortunately had not discussed any team members beyond Percy Montgomery, the handsome first five eight for the national team and the only South African rugby player that Penelope had heard of.

“I feel the same about Cumbria” Tamsin replied, deftly ignoring the fact that she had only been living there full time since disowning her aunt and uncle. “It’s perfectly suitable for when you need a slower pace of life... but then sometimes you just need something else entirely” she added, pausing to admire the job the woman had done, and making the mental note to give her a good tip.

Sitting up to get off the technician’s chair, she stretched carefully, not wanting to knock anything over. “I think I’ve nearly got the matter of living quarters sorted, anyway”.

“Yes, and with - transportation - making things more convenient, there’s little need for a place directly in the centre of things,” said Penelope. Her toenails now dry, she handed back the flip flops to the waiting woman with a smile and slid her feet back into the pair of closed toe shoes she had worn into the salon. Pausing while she got up and paid for the pedicure, she added, “Really? Did you find a place by yourself, or are you flatting?”

“Sharing, in theory” the other girl replied, doing the same herself at the other counter. “I found a couple of potential places not far from... the centre of town” she said, catching herself before saying the name of the wizarding shopping district. “I’m just waiting to hear back from the guy who’s got the spare room in the better flat.”

“Well, you know the thing with men. They don’t always get back to you when you want them to.” She gave the girl at the till a knowing wink, smiling at the connection even though in reality, Penelope had been talking about something entirely different. This was why - her own lineage aside - she had trouble relating to wizards who insisted that Muggles were so different to themselves. It was always easy to find common ground, if one was willing to try. “Shall we get out of here?” she asked Tamsin. “Go find a more...local, drinking hole to drown ourselves in?”

Tamsin chuckled, and briefly turned to the other cashier who enquired as to her own pedicure. She knew little about Muggle sports, but enough from some of her Muggleborn team-mates to be able to bluff her way through a joke about painting her nails in Kiwi colours to piss off her ‘South African’ friend. They were of course, in reality, the colours of the Falmouth Falcons, which she had chosen for a laugh.

“Yes, let’s” she told Penelope, saying a polite goodbye to the staff before leaving. When they were well out of earshot, she kept her voice lowered to continue the conversation in more... usual means. “He plays for Caerphilly, they have training this week.”

“Interesting, and just as well you didn’t get your toenails painted in their colours,” Penelope quipped, equally sotto voce. With it being the lull in between the shopping centres closing and the evening entertainment ventures kicking in, there was a lull in activity, and she judged the bathrooms to be as good a place as any to Apparate. Making sure that there was no one about, she opened the door to the disabled toilet and gestured Tamsin inside. “Shall it be the Leaky, or do you have anything else in mind?” she asked. For her part she was up for somewhere she could dance, which...wasn’t the Leaky Cauldron.

Double checking with a glance of her own, Tamsin followed her friend inside, having first looked at her watch. “How about a quick drink first and then head out when the rest of the bars are open? I’m not in the mood for staying there too long, it’ll be quiet.”

“Yeah, it is very quiet.” Penelope paused, bracing herself for the impact of Apparation, and then appeared in Diagon Alley a moment later, Tamsin popping up beside her. “What about the Green Dragon afterwards? That seems to have a-” she grinned impishly, quoting with her fingers “-younger crowd. And you’re certainly getting old when you start using language like that.”

Tamsin giggled in response to her friend’s air quotes. “What does doing that say, then?” she asked, repeating the mime as they walked towards the pub. And sure, the Green Dragon’s fine. We went there on our last team night out, there’s usually a decent atmosphere on a weekend.”

Opening the door that led onto Diagon Alley and letting Penelope enter first, Tamsin scanned the crowd on her way in. “Definitely the older crowd tonight”, she replied. “Look at us, we’ll fit right in!”

“Yes, especially once I’ve put my dentures in,” Penelope opined. In actuality she looked just like what she was, a professional woman in her early twenties enjoying a well-earned Saturday night. She had dressed in a versatile manner, wearing a jumper over jeans and heels and reasoning that once they headed out for real, she could shrink down the jumper and her day bag and stuff both into the evening clutch she had brought with her. There were advantages to being magical too. “I think I’m going to start with a pint,” she announced as they threaded their way towards the bar. “Yourself?”

Tamsin smoothed down the skirt of her dress a they sat down, making sure she was sitting in at least a vaguely ladylike fashion atop the stool. “I think I’ll stick to the wine” she replied. “Last time I went out, I mixed my drinks and really shouldn’t have” she added, thinking of the bloke she’d pulled in the bar of this very pub.

“Good plan,” said Penelope, signalling Tom for their drinks. Deceptive to her size, she could actually pack away quite a bit (something her older colleagues assured her would change once she hit her thirties) and found beer good to start off with.

She ordered a bowl of chips to go with her lager and Tamsin’s wine. It was the weekend, so there was no reason why she couldn’t indulge. Had she known of Tamsin’s exploit, she may have been mildly surprised - not so much due to the random bloke (Penelope had a habit along those lines who went by the name of Marcus Flint, and thanks to her profession, she was virtually unshockable) - but that Tamsin had found him here, of all places. “I like your dress, by the day. Did you get it at Madam Malkin’s, or Twilfit and Tattlings? Or is it from the Gladrags catalogue?”

“Twilfit and Tattlings” she replied. “I got my first paycheque on Thursday, and given the match fee bonus included, I thought I’d treat myself to an extra indulgence than I might have normally. Plus I popped in to see how Sally was getting along, and I did hear there were some nice pieces in this season” she said contentedly, knowing that in this case, the gossip had been right. She found it difficult to dress for her shape, sometimes, being short and not especially curvy, but she was pleased with the way this particular outfit had turned out.

“Having said that” she continued, “flat rent deposits and bills might take up some extra for the next few months, but I like to think I’m sensible enough with money to know when I can afford a treat.” Spending the year abroad during the war had taught her that. Teaching Assistant wages in a school like Beauxbatons weren’t high, and she had only ever been part time.

“Oui, et j’ai besoin de quelquechose nouveux aussi dans mon...wardrobe?” Penelope trailed off with a good natured grimace. She was aware that like herself, Tamsin had spent some time in France, but unlike her friend, Penelope’s stint had lasted a mere six months and she was therefore functional rather than fluent in the language. Still, she enjoyed slipping into the language from time to time, both as a sort of in-joke and to demonstrate just how rusty she had become. “Not so much because what I have is old. I’m just bored with it. And how is Sally these days?” Penelope had seen the former Slytherin recently herself, with all her wheelings and dealings involving the charity match, and her own outfit on the day having come from the shop. But things seemed to happen very quickly within a week or two.

Tamsin grinned. “It’s ma armoire” she said, somewhat amused that despite being far from one of the brightest students in her year, and particularly as someone who enjoyed the practical far more than the theoretical, she had managed to actually remember the French she had learned whilst in Europe. There may have been a war on at the time, but Beauxbatons was somewhere she had actually felt safe. Safer than she would have been if she’d stayed in the UK, anyway.

“Well, from what I gather. They seem to be very busy in the clothes shops on Diagon these days... probably from coming up to Winter, or something” she said, thanking Tom as he brought over their drinks and the chips.

“I’m looking forward to the influx of new stock in Muggle shops myself,” Penelope said, smiling a ‘thank you’ of her own at Tom as he arrived. “Though I usually buy magical clothing for outerwear; those have the advantage of heating charms on coats and protective spells on anything suede or that isn’t already waterproof.” She cracked into a grin at Tamsin’s comment. “It’s ma armoire? That sounds a lot like mon amour. Though shopping and love are interconnected, obviously, especially in France.”

Tamsin took a sip of her wine as she listened to Penelope. “I didn’t get as far as Paris very often, but even in the cheaper Muggle shops, there were some very good finds. I did find shopping in the Wizarding areas easier though” she mused across the top of her glass. “There are some fantastic places when you know where to look. I got some useful tip-offs from the older girls at Beauxbatons” she laughed, realising that it sounded a bit silly to have been taking fashion tips from 16 and 17 year olds... though in fairness, they really did know what they were talking about. “I stayed in the village with Gran mostly, though.”

“French girls seem to have an ingrained sense of style - both them and the Italians, if I were to lower myself to typecasting,” Penelope said with a smile which suggested that she wasn’t taking herself all that seriously. “I still have a few things from France that I wear these days. But I was an au pair there, and both of the children in the family were boys, so they weren’t exactly much help.” The family had also hired her due to her proficiency in English, which meant that her acquisition of the local language had been limited to mostly outside the household. “The older boys however, well, they have a certain je ne sais quoi, wouldn’t you say?” she added impishly.

Tamsin chuckled, her mind wandering back to thoughts of Pierre - the young man she’d had something of a casual not-quite platonic friendship with during her time in the country. He was a Muggle, but his sister attended Beauxbatons and had been one of her best pupils, and they had met when the school held an Open Day at Christmas in 1997. The relationship had only lasted for some three and a half months, but it had taken her mind away from the worry about what was going on back home.

“There are certain ones who aren’t so bad” she finally said, nearly choking on her mouthful of wine as a tall, dark young man approached with his equally attractive friend, tapping her on the shoulder.

Seated across from Tamsin, Penelope had realised the presence of the two men an instant before her friend, and was reaching across to nudge her and bring her attention to them, but one of them beat her to it. Giving the other girl a moment to recover, she smiled up at their new additions. “Can we help you with something?” she asked. Pleasant and polite, but with enough brevity to make an escape if needed.

Listening to the men - who introduced themselves as Luc and Thierry - it became clear that their ever so slightly dodgy attempts at remembering the French language had been overheard. Wizards nor far off their own age, they explained they were in London from the French Ministry of Magic and were having a night off to look at English Wizarding haunts. Tamsin looked at her friend and raised an eyebrow, just enough as if to ask - ”Well, what do you think?”

Penelope gave her a shrug back; what was the harm? ”Excusez-moi pour mon francais,” she told the two men. ”J’en parle comme une vache espagnole, mais mon amie parle meilleur que moi.” The two men laughed obligingly at her comment about speaking French like a Spanish cow, a standard remark for those who were less than fluent in the language. “Were you at Hogwarts for the Tri Wizard tournament?” she asked, switching back to English. “We both graduated the year before, but one of my friends officiated and he said that the Beauxbatons representative was quite something.”

“Oh no; that was before our time,” responded Thierry smoothly. “But we recall Fleur Delacour; it is quite difficult to do otherwise. She is now Fleur Weasley, isn’t she?”

“Yes, and that means my friend is now her brother in law,” said Penelope. The conversation had served a secondary purpose of establishing that the two were of an age with her and Tamsin - not that she was planning to indulge in any activity where this would be an issue. She introduced herself and Tamsin, then after catching the Hufflepuff’s eye, added, “We were just going to have the one drink and then head off to the Green Dragon. Would you like to come along?”

Tamsin had an impressed look on her face at this point - obviously Penelope was intelligent, but the Hufflepuff found it particularly clever that she had established the young men’s age and linguistic ability so quickly. She gave her a subtle nod to consent to the suggestion, and when they expressed such a suggestion to be “parfait”, she smiled at Luc and allowed him to help her off the precariously tall bar stool.

“I knew these shoes were a bad idea for sitting down in” she grinned at Penelope before picking up her glass and leaning against the bar instead.

“It’s just a matter of practice,” said Penelope, scooting off her own stool rather comfortably. “Like many other things in life.” She winked at Thierry, then screwed up her nose exaggeratedly, taking most of the innuendo out of her previous comment.

“I play Quidditch, none of us are especially graceful off a broomstick”, Tamsin laughed, finishing the remains of her glass and setting the empty back on the bar. “And those of us who say they are are lying”.

“So in that case, watch out,” Penelope quipped to Luc, who seemed to have latched himself onto Tamsin quite readily. “If she has her way with you, then your toes will be black and blue by the end of the night!” Luc frowned, then laughed once Thierry had translated the idiomatic expression for him. It appeared as though his grasp of the language wasn’t as quite as thorough as ‘her’ Frenchman’s. “Do we need to side along Apparate you there, boys?” she asked breezily, adding with a wink, “And no, that’s not an excuse to get close to you. But you may not know where the Green Dragon is if you’re unfamiliar to these-” another twinkle in her eye “-fine shores.”

Tamsin had noticed Luc’s attentions and was not displeased by them. She had decided she was going to be sensible tonight, though - with regards to men, at least - and that was a promise to herself that she thoroughly intended to keep. When the boys acquiesced to Penelope’s suggestion, she held Luc’s arm, and with a loud ’crack!’, disappeared from the bar.

Left alone with Thierry, Penelope smiled up at him. “I, on the other hand, am a rather able dancer,” she said, then linking her arm with his, followed the first two out of the Leaky Cauldron.
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