Miss Georgina de Vitis swishes out of the Graduate lounge, her cheeks flushed, and then stops dead. She takes a breath, one hand lifting to rest on her chest, and then walks more calmly towards the stairs. A tap on Raleigh’s door, and she pauses there.
Raleigh Montague pauses in the act of scoring a red pen right across a badly-written page and calls, “Come in”.
Miss Georgina de Vitis slips into the room, closing the door behind her, leaning against it. “May I visit?” Her cheeks are flushed, her eyes glittering with what looks like temper.
Raleigh Montague rises to his feet as the lady enters the room, eyebrow raised. “But of course.” He gestures to the tufted chairs opposite his own, even as his surprise gives way to a smile that is not bereft of a hint of welcome. “A drink?”
Miss Georgina de Vitis nods, her lips tight for a moment, “Definitely.” She takes the chair, her eyes flickering to him, her hands clasping in her lap. “Thank you, definitely.” She takes a breath, steadying herself.
Raleigh Montague goes to the little cabinet and pours a small glass of claret. “Trouble in the library?”
Miss Georgina de Vitis shakes her head, the colour slowly calming in her face, “No, no, the library is fine. I was just… discussing things with Sir Andrew and Kurzik, and the comments about the Mano Rossa were upsetting… they are ..they have been kind to me, despite everything, you know.”
Raleigh Montague hands her the drink and settles down at his desk again, his eyes on her face. “Quite. I understand you feel a loyalty to that organisation.”
Raleigh Montague quietly says: Whether they deserve it or not.
Miss Georgina de Vitis takes the drink, blinking a little rapidly, “To the people.” His second statement gets him a quick look, a warning spark in her eyes. She takes a sip before she inhales slowly, “I understand that perhaps their behaviour is not what your people would like, I understand that…”
Raleigh Montague leans back in his chair, long fingers caressing the pen, capping and uncapping it. “Then you also understand that their behaviour to former members of their own guild is reprehensible, to put it plainly. Including to you.”
Raleigh Montague says: And that is perhaps what my colleagues were alluding to.
Miss Georgina de Vitis closes her eyes for a moment before she opens then, the glint in her eye not reflected in her calm voice, “To comment on their behaviour is one thing, but to suggest they are so … uneducated that they do not know music exists, or thump their spoons against their pasta plates is distasteful to me.”
Raleigh Montague chuckles. “Indeed? But that is a reputation they themselves take great pleasure in maintaining, is it not? Right down to the hair oil and the thug life mentalities, not to mention those – hm – rather interesting titles.”
Miss Georgina de Vitis gives him a thoughtful look, her expression suddenly polite, and she puts the glass down. “I can see we differ on this topic.” There is a polite coolness to her voice and she gives him a smile that doesn’t touch her eyes, “I fear I am interrupting, Dr Montague. Do forgive me.”
Raleigh Montague glances amusedly at the lady. “Not at all. I am pleased to have been of service – albeit briefly.”
Miss Georgina de Vitis rises from the chair, giving him a nod, “The pleasure was mine.” A polite nothing, and she turns, quietly shutting the door behind her.
Miss Georgina de Vitis opens the west door.
Miss Georgina de Vitis leaves west.
Miss Georgina de Vitis closes the west door which locks as it closes.
(Later that day.)
The graduate lounge is a warm, comfortable place, with a few snug leather couches and armchairs placed around the room and a warm fire crackling in the hearth. A bookshelf stocked with choice reading material is against one wall and newspaper boxes sit on either side of it. Small paintings decorate the panelled walls for those who would rather while away the time admiring some art. All in all a wonderful place to relax away from the stress and whining of the student Assassins.
There is one obvious exit: east.
Mr Carter is standing here.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley opens the east door.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley and a cornflower blue cloud arrive from the east.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley closes the east door.
Raleigh Montague says: Ah, d’Ackerley.
Raleigh Montague says: Pull up a pew.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley sits in an armchair.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley nods at his teacup. “Montague. I believe I have been pewed.”
Raleigh Montague is in the act of snipping his cigar and grins. “How was your day?”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley thoughtfully says: Dramatic.
Raleigh Montague raises an eyebrow. “That sounds wearisome.”
Raleigh Montague asks: Not the students again, I hope?
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley shakes his head. “No, no. Female issues.” His tone carries a slight dismay.
Raleigh Montague lights his cigar and leans back, watching the window where Carter is deep in conversation with someone. “Then I shall inquire no further. I believe one’s marital discords are best left behind at home.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley chuckles. “No, I’m afraid not. I just don’t want to speak poorly of a mutual female acquaintance whose company you appear to enjoy.”
Raleigh Montague looks blank for a second, before his eyes become amused. “Oh yes, I do recall something. I had a very brief visit from the lady in question, although I doubt my answers pleased her better.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says: Mm-hmm, she seemed quite… upset. I’ll do my best to keep a distance from now on, I have had… dramatic ladies enough in my life.
Raleigh Montague sympathetically asks Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: Did she stomp on your cravat?
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says to Raleigh Montague: Hah. No. Just slammed the door on Kurzik and myself.
Raleigh Montague mutters something that sounds like ‘dear, dear’ before leaning forward, and speaking more quietly, so as to keep the conversation between you both. “I do not quite understand the reason for the temper; they have after all treated her very shabbily.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: The lady seems to feel otherwise.
Raleigh Montague quietly says to Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: She left my office rather suddenly, protesting she had interrupted me, just as I was trying to ascertain what was happening. Mind you, I empathise; Aell was quite enough drama for me.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley softly says: Quite so. Ladies can be quite… ” He lets the sentence trail off.
Raleigh Montague’s eyebrow, and brief expressive nod, conveys a world of meaning. “Quite so, quite so.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley shakes his head lightly. “As I said, I do not wish to speak ill of people. Suffice it to say, I will be keeping my distance as to avoid a repetition of today’s… scene.”
Raleigh Montague nods thoughtfully. “You are right; I am fond of her company. I suppose this is what one calls the spot between a rock and a hard place, eh?”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says to Raleigh Montague: I’m sure she will calm down and forgive you.
Raleigh Montague quietly asks Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: Until the next time I dare to have a differing opinion?
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: I cannot offer you much advice, old boy. Three marriages have taught me never to pursue a woman when she storms out, since she is trying to teach you to be on a leash when she does.
Raleigh Montague amusedly says to Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: Oh, Aell taught me that well enough.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley nods his agreement. “Aye, she was ever a temperamental one as well. I cannot have to do with it.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: I felt sorry for the poor fellow, Kurzik. He seemed rather caught between chairs.
Raleigh Montague raises an eyebrow. “Indeed? The new Master of Assassination?”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: Aye, quite. They are friends, as it turns out.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: He seemed rather… uncomfortable, bridging the gap between his friend and his house master. None of his fault, of course.
Raleigh Montague amusedly says to Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: Indeed? She never mentioned him to me. I do not think I know the chap, save for a nod or two in the hallways or the Big Hall.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: Oh, he’s quite all right, good natured bloke, keen sense of humour, sharp tongue.
Raleigh Montague nods at you, and then nods at an acquaintance as she passes. “And this is why, old chap, I never bother with relationships. There is so much stepping about and stepping around that one wonders where one is half the time.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: If not for a very insistent young lady on a boat I would be in complete agreement with you.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: Fortunately she forgives my curmudgeonly ways.
Raleigh Montague finishes smoking his cigar and laughs. “You lucky so-and-so, d’Ackerley.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley simply says: I know.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley softly says: My temper was perhaps a bit short already given that we were speaking of music and music studies. You might know that that is somewhat a sore area for me.
Raleigh Montague quietly asks Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: My dear chap. You know very well that we harbour no love for the Genuans in this guild, particularly given recent circumstances. Communication with them has completely collapsed over the past year, and things are at a very low point. Why should you not be entitled to your opinion?
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley shrugs lightly. “I usually do not bother to argue with women.”
Raleigh Montague says: Actually, I have not bothered to argue with anybody in years, for it is quite a waste of time. It is much easier to agree to disagree.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley nods. “That as well. However, ladies often are prone to theatrics and I have absolutely no patience for that.”
Raleigh Montague shrugs. “As are some gentlemen. However, I agree that I do not have the time or the patience for dramatics.”
Raleigh Montague amusedly says: I believe there is a good opening with a local theatre company for it in God’s Collar, however.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley laughs softly. “Oh, I should have been delighted to join them when I was fifteen. Now, though? I’d rather not bother with it.”
Raleigh Montague grins. “Speaking of fifteen-year olds, your little ninja is alive and well.”
Raleigh Montague cryptically says: The man she dispatched outside her front door, however, is not.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley asks: Aye, you said. Do tell, what happened?
Raleigh Montague leans forward again. “It will do us both good, although I would appreciate it if you led the way, to make inquiries with her. She is – interfering – with somebody’s affairs up in Ankh, although I do not know whose.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley honestly says: Surprisingly, not mine. I can try, but please remember that we are not exactly on friendly terms.
Raleigh Montague says to Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: I did my best to find out, and failed. She is – exceptionally good – at covering her tracks.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: She is, yes. I shall make inquiries, however.
Raleigh Montague looks amused. “I can probably handle myself if she comes calling, but our proximity to each other makes me wary of making any further moves, you understand.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley nods. “That, and the fact that you and I are friends. She will likely think us to be in cahoots.”
Raleigh Montague nods as he picks up his cigarette case, in preparation for wandering back to his study. “That too. Come, d’Ackerley. Let us leave the guild to its own devices and head north. It is that time of the evening, I note.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley stands and closes his coat. “Indeed.”