A Tisket, A Tasket (Open)

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A Tisket, A Tasket (Open)

Post  Madeline Adele on Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:13 pm

New job, new country, new house, new haircut. Memere had made an inordinatly large fuss over her grand-daughter going to London. Had she been the least bit concerned when she shipped her off to Paris? Smiling faintly out the window, Madeline told herself that memere was just glad to see her doing so well. Finally out on her own, responsible for no one but herself. She was almost thirty, and it had taken her this long to get away. Her faint grin spread wide, filling her eyes with blissful joy. Her entire family was behind her. Come summer, there would be no going back for two months to listen to how she had failed in life. No poorly concealed questions about her love life, or her desire to 'settle down'. There was little doubt in her mind that the old woman wanted her out of the house just as bad as she wanted herself out of it.

The cab driver pointed out shops and places he thought she might consider a point of interest. For the most part she tuned him out, but a lively marketplace caught her eye as he mentioned that it was only open on the weekends. Once her things were set up in her new house, Madeline made her way back with her denim grocery tote. The variety of fresh selections in the wintertime held her captivated as she shopped. All thoughts of a mother hen grandmother fled when she began pricing clementines and artichokes. Fresh spinach and pears found their way into her bag, along side chives, mushrooms, and one especially delicious looking passion fruit. Nothing could brighten up the french woman's day like fresh groceries and the promise of cooking in the evening.

Something about the routine of it, the freedom of it. Some recipes required a meticulous attention to detail, while others were mere guidelines for your imagination. There was nothing you couldn't do, with the right tools. Knowing that her tools were all on their way to her, brand new machines and utensils that memere had insisted on buying for her. Madeline didn't mind though, it saved her own money for more important things, and she knew that her grandparents had the wealth to share. An so, she had the freedom to buy two jars of preserves, one for cooking and one for eating straight out of the jar. Her only limitation was what she could carry.

After an hour or so of meandering from table to table, picking up a thing here and a thing there, enjoying the sights and smells of a place that was so very not french, Madeline made her way to the street with the intention of hailing a cab. The snow hadn't been a bother so far, but after a terribly long fifteen minutes, it began to bite though her coat and gloves. When asked, a man told her that cabs were rare in Grove End. It was such a small town, he said, that everyone mostly walked. Thanking him, while making a mental note to get a vehicle very, very soon, Madeline squared her shoulders and began the long walk back to Highgrove.
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Re: A Tisket, A Tasket (Open)

Post  Dr. Gunner Bjorgen on Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:37 pm



Gunner Bjorgen's car wasn't much suited for grocery shopping, he had to admit. In earnest, it wasn't much suited to most things save for his rather particular taste in things, but then, Gunner Bjorgen wasn't much suited to grocery shopping himself these days. The small trunk was just large enough for anything he needed, and though he'd once been quite the chef in his own way, he could scarce find excuses to bother these last few years. Up until Nadiya's recent arrival, he had not entertained company of his own since he'd left the far more favourable climes of Baton Rouge. He had largely subsisted on quick meals like stir-frys, or on meals that could be thrown into a slow cooker some time around lunchtime, and then left unattended until he could tear himself away from his work in the evenings. Or, worst case scenario, he simply ate in the dining hall at meal times, though he did have to admit that this was for more palatable since the arrival of the dark, new chef from France. he had barely found excuse to speak more than two words to the fellow at a time, but in his own small way he appreciated the introduction of The Continent to their droll little lives.

But, as it happened, Gunner Bjorgen had indeed been doing a little shopping of his own in the village that day. His trip through the market place had been quick and efficient, and then on to the tiny corner shop he had gone, for a few provisions less rural, and an armful of newspapers and magazines. Heaven forbid that he allow this remote outpost to push him behind the times and current events, after all. He did not intend to stay here forever, and certainly not if Crane had no notions of following through on discussed aspirations. he would give it some more time, of course, but if they had sent him away to the countryside in hopes that he would do his duty and be quiet, they were sorely mistaken. Gunner knew only too well that there were a number of other companies out there who would appreciate and appropriately welcome his rather specific skill set and experience. Such a place as Highgrove was far below him by now, and he suffered it only for sake of a future that was looking less and less sure as time went by.

The drive from Grove End to Highgrove House was a short enough one, through deserted and narrow country lanes, over bridges and across fields and small valleys. He couldn't much complain about that, as this place was rather something out of one of those glossy-pages photography books on the quaint charms of rural England. It did little to soothe his sense of abandonment and his predictions for banjo music, but it was aesthetically pleasing, especially with the snowfall still laying in deep drifts through gullies and ditches that would be emerald some months from now. He very almost didn't stop when he spied the lone woman walking ahead, bags laden with groceries, no doubt from the market place. it's her own fault, he assured himself, that she didn't have the forethought to borrow one of the cars. And perhaps she wanted to walk. But Highgrove was some good three miles off yet, and the flimsy weather predictions had called for strong winds today, with a chance of additional flurries. So, sighing, he slowed his Jaguar as he approached, and pulled it along side her with the driver's window closest to her. No electric windows, thank you very much. Winding the glass down manually, he put on his best polite smile and peered into the woman's face. Interesting.

"Were you heading to Highgrove?" It was a fair assessment, since there was little else out along this road but woods, valleys and a small lake. Today was not much of a day for hiking or picnics. "I don't believe we've met. I'm Doctor Gunner Bjorgen, the head of psychiatry up at Highgrove House. If you're heading that way I'd he happy to give you a lift." There was room enough in the trunk still for her bags of groceries at least, so it would not be quite so much like a clown car as it might have been if he'd bought more.

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Re: A Tisket, A Tasket (Open)

Post  Madeline Adele on Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:31 pm

The problem with long, winding roads through a snowy European landscape is that it is beautiful, quiet, and gives you a good time to think. With her groceries in hand, Madeline fought not to think too much, but every hill gave her a longer and longer road ahead, almost as if the world wouldn't let her go home until she had given herself a good talking to. She tried to think about what kind of trees those were, right off the side of the road. They had no leaves, and their bark was pale and striped. She imagined that the trees would had large, thick leaves in the spring. They would leave a fresh, earthy smell on the wind as it cut though their forest. Sometime in the late summer, a fire would catch under all that foliage, burning up all the dead leaves and scarring the trees that lived though the mania. New life would come of it, new flowers and shrubbery, maybe even a new tree to replace those who didn't survive the blaze. The thought of such a fire, roaring so close to her stretch of road, warmed her and put a smile on her face. She knew the warmth of such an inferno, the strength of it. But the smell, that would be a rich, fireplace sort of smell, cackling and popping to it's own musical score.

The sound of a car engine shook Madeline back to her senses. What was she doing, fantasizing about that sort of thing? I ought to be ashamed, she told herself. No wonder people thought I had committed those terrible crimes. She shook her head, reminding herself that she was not, not an arsonist. If she didn't believe it, no one else would either. The school couldn't be too far ahead, she needed to get back on track, focus on her new job and new responsibilities. She couldn't work if she was fighting her own internal monologue of what happened, or what people thought happened. That was her past, and she needed to put it behind her. Like France. Like the States. All of it.

The slowing of the car engine made Madeline turn around curiously, and look. It was a small sort of car, something she expected to see filming a 100 mile per hour car commercial on roads like these. Instead, it was slowing down to a standstill next to her. She forced her wind-chilled face into an eye-warming smile of hopeful gratitude, and bent over a bit to see him better. "Oui, sir." She nodded, taking in as much of the gentleman's appearance as she could. Clean shaven, clear eyed, finely dressed, and in a very nice car. And a doctor to boot, it seemed. Her hopeful smile broke open to a thankful, happier smile that showed her practically perfect teeth. "Oh, thank you so very much."

Practically giddy with the prospect of a ride, she laid her grocery bags neatly in his truck before coming around to the passenger side door. Taking off her thick coat and giving it a good shake, she politely turned it inside out and folded it over her arm before sliding into the seat. Her uncle would roll in his grave if he thought she didn't know better than that. Once the door was closed, she offered him a handshake, light and delicate. "Thank you again, doctor. My name is Madeline Adele. I just started working at Highgrove, in fact I believe tomorrow is my first day." Her face flushed, wondering what her superiors would think of her tomorrow. How could a woman who didn't have the forethought to ask about a car or assure a ride home, take care of and be responsible enough to look over their students? She would be on the plane home within a week. She laughed nervously, hoping to cover her mistake. "I didn't expect Grove End to be such a small town, to not have a taxi service."
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Re: A Tisket, A Tasket (Open)

Post  Dr. Gunner Bjorgen on Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:18 am



Despite her perfect manners and flawlessly opalescent smiles, Bjorgen could see right through her breeding to the pit of nerves stirring below. It was a blessing and a curse for him sometimes, this training. It had altered the way he saw people forever, and now there was no going back. He could not simply sit through polite conversation at dinner without watching every little tell, without picking apart the choice of words for flaws or hints at other thoughts, other feelings. If it left him somewhat aloof, then he supposed that must just be the way of things. For while it might seem like a curse at times, the higher brain functions beyond his neatly cropped head of hair insisted that it was indeed a blessing. A gift. He didn't need anyone else in some deeper, human connection capacity, and worse than that, he didn't want anyone else that close to him. But, somewhere below the higher brain functioning, a tiny voice did concede that it became tiring at times, to constantly pick apart everyone he knew and everyone he'd just met for the first time. It had become hard to surprise him, and sometimes he missed the thrill of the old days, when he had to do real leg work to figure out the puzzles.

All the same, his polite smile, and his handshake, were impeccable. Briefly he considered how many strange women he'd picked up in this very car after just meeting them for only a moment, on some rainy street corner of the more 'reputable' disreputable areas of England's great cities. Few were as well mannered and cultured as this woman, to be certain, and it was almost refreshing to have someone who appeared more wholesome sitting there for once. He could almost, just for a moment, pretend that he wasn't that man who sought out the company of the fairer sex for a price, only to share illicit goods from Columbia later with them in some overpriced hotel room. He could almost, just almost pretend at being the respectable and upstanding gentleman he was supposed to be. Almost. But not quite. His path had veered too far from the truly reputable and respectable by now, and he fancied his father was right after all. Not that he'd ever admit it.

"Well, not to worry, Ms. Adele. I'm afraid the brochure doesn't quite relate how... remote we really are from the rest of the world. But for the future, we do have some faculty cars at The House, if you've a license. If not, I'm sure one of the other members of staff would be only too happy to have an excuse to go into town, such as it is." He smiled kindly, not a hint of condescending or mocking as the car eased smoothly away from its stop, under an experienced foot at the clutch and hand at the stick shift. No wedding ring, naturally, and not even the suggestion that there had ever been one. Nor will there ever be. As a young and invested witness to what exactly marriage was made up of, Gunner had sworn long ago that he would never tie that particular noose around his neck. Of all the things in the world he didn't wish to become, The Married Man was near the top of the list. Domineering and steely-browed patriarch with some meek and submissive woman simpering in his shadow. No, thank you. He was better off alone, he'd decided. Still, it was somewhat heartening to have another person in the car whom he had not paid to get in. Not that he would admit that either.

"I'm afraid life out here can be a little droll. I hope it doesn't scare you off entirely. When the weather is fair there are some very scenic walks nearby." Congratulations, Thomas Cook. That's a very fine vacation brochure you've just written. He smiled faintly ironically, his attention on the road. He was far from making an ass out of himself, and he knew it well enough not to wear some mask of bashful, schoolboy embarrassment. Pleasant small talk, that was all. "And if you ride, some of the staff take the horses out to the village in the afternoons, when it's quiet. ...Which, I'd be remit in mentioning, is most of the time, I'm afraid." Highgrove was nearing by then, the seconds to arrival ticking away as they rolled beneath the tyres of the Jaguar. If she had walked the distance, she wouldn't have been back for some time yet, but now the distance seemed nothing at all. "If you don't mind a quiet life, it's pleasant enough, I suppose." But I'd rather be in Baton Rouge. Or London. Anywhere but out here, in the middle of fucking nowhere. He didn't show any signs of his disdain for the place as the car slithered beneath the jagged shadows of the winter trees, and then between the posts of the front gates. No. All is just fine and dandy at Highgrove. "And here we are. Did you want me to drop you off at The Terrace? The hike down from the house is a little ways, and I wouldn't want you to have to carry those groceries all that way."

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