The establishment wasn't what he was generally used to, but it was around what he was becoming used to. The sort of place that always has hearty, filling food, but just has a vague 'claret' for wine, and 'white' on special occasions. She didn't order wine, and it surprised him when she admitted she “didn't much care for” it. She ordered cider, which made him smile at the 'West Country' style of it (and inwardly chiding himself remembering her talking on how difficult being stereotyped is). She went on that a wine seller had just set-up in her village [which was not where she was actually born (the city of Manchester), but was the place she considered her homeland] not many years ago, and her family had not developed a great taste for it [But years later the low cost of mushroom wine would lead to her drinking more of it]. Alfred's grandfather was foreign, and though he spoke that his father tried to shed any custom in favour of climbing British society, wine on the table was something that still carried on. He missed his grandmother, but had never met his grandfather. Robert-whom he explained was his older brother-had been born before the senior Roberto Cassius had died, but he had not. The 'Roberto' name was a tradition, the firstborn sons giving it to their firstborn sons. Roberto Cassius the junior had shown his dropping of the foreignness by dropping the 'o' for his firstborn, and that Robert had taken to being called 'Robin' anyway. Alfred gave a sad laugh at recalling his grandmother always calling them "Robin & Alfie". And of her teaching her grandsons her husband's language and customs behind her son's back. He'd gotten her auburn hair which his mother hated, but he was fond of (Mostly because it was a way to remember her by). Most of his family was a sort of blond, even his father's rubbish moustache grew blond. His mother had a dark black which she had even began tinted to keep it that way despite Alfred's suspicion it was going grey. He asked her about where her bright ginger hair had been inherited from, and received a scrunched-up nose & frown in reply. It was from her father--whom she never met but that she was told she favoured her looks from. Except she had her mother's eyes & rounder face, Lorel's voice soft and on the verge of cracking at speaking of her mother that she only remembers vague feelings & the scent of, but that she misses so terribly. Lorel hates to admit that she feels this way, pulling on a 'strong' cloak for it. It is a pain that in 15 years has not faded, the early confusion slipping away, but the sharpness still being there. It wasn't that her family had discouraged grieving as others would, but it was something she had not really done especially at such being used as a weakness by other children & adults. Lorel says none of this however, just going quiet for a moment, examining her glass. Alfred doesn't know how to respond, not having to be a detective to hear the tone. He feels a small creep of fear, wondering if he has spoilt their conversation & the mood. Should he comfort her? Is that too forward? If she were a client he'd reach over and take her hand, but a client is rarely seen again after a case, and this Miss Lumbry is so interesting he plans for future contact. He decides to be brave and reach over, but stops when he hears the clink noise and the tap at his elbow. He's knocked over his wine, the liquid splashing gently, flowing in a trail across the table. They both rush to stick their napkins down, the reaction time almost synchronised in the speed. The deep red mess being added to by a theft of other table's napkins. When the server returns they seem very unhappy, but with a great effort of Britishness, wordlessly sits the plates down and scoops the napkins onto the empty tray. There is a feeling that the server's delay in bringing more wine is deliberate to express their annoyance. "This is small, so the staff might have to launder items themselves. Larger establishments-or well to do-contract out. Or we are thought foolish." That lovely grin again, and the air seems to have improved.
They both have healthy appetites, but Lorel eats with a look of relish that one would not expect from a woman of her build. The roasted pork is as satisfying as most often is from these types of establishments, and brings the nostalgic sense in the stomach. Their conversation changes to more on Alfred's vocation, and it's something that she is enraptured with. 'Detective work' had never been something she had put many thoughts on before, and still might not have if Mr. Cassius did not have such joy when he spoke of it. This was something he was proud of, and that he was devoting his life to, with such a prospect being happy more than daunting. And even happiness in that the task was daunting. It is very hard to not admire someone who can follow a path so whole-heartedly, that knows the facts of what that paths brings, and the problems, yet continues because of capability & happiness. And it is because Alfred knows the status problems, and the difficulties, along with how proud he is that Lorel cannot help but be a little charmed.
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