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     Try and Try Again (One-shot)

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    AuthorMessage
    Rhian Kael

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    Dragon Trainer In Training

    Occupation : Bartender at Hookfang

    PostSubject: Try and Try Again (One-shot)   Sun Mar 04 2018, 22:37

    September, 2040 || Hookfang Bar

    "Thank you, Ric," she greeted, sliding the pint glass closer on the wooden bar top. Rhian was more than grateful that Tess had agreed to arranging these dates at her own home away from home: Hookfang. Not one to trust others, let alone strangers, the brunette wanted to know that she was safe in some way at least.

    No matter who walks through that door.

    It was only a few weeks into her first set of classes at the Academy, and she was happy to get a free day off where she wasn't working. While she didn't mind Flooing over to work her shifts, she hadn't had many days to just relax and not think about classwork and essays. What with Anatomy and Health classes filling her mind with so much vocabulary, she was hearing the words in her sleep.

    Just as she was about to ask the portly man behind the bar about the morning, someone walked through their main door. Tess had sent the message along that she would be sitting on the stool farthest from the door. It would give them privacy from the general bar area, but she was also close enough to the staff door in case she needed it. Paranoid much? her conscious teased her.

    As he walked closer, Rhian had to admit her heart was speeding up. Whether from excitement or fear she wasn't exactly sure. He was quite handsome, golden blond hair and a rather dazzling smile. In a suit and tie, he was a bit overly dressed for their more casual surroundings, but Rhian was again thankful to her best friend - no matter the funny looks from her co-workers - that she'd picked out something for her to wear on this thing. A close fitting, knee-length dress, matched perfectly with the dark teal heels the other brunette let her borrow. More than uncomfortable, she was glad that the man quickly sat on the stool next to her so she wouldn't have to try maneuvering in this getup.

    "Rhian, right? I'm Bryant." He extended his hand to shake hers and Rhian followed suit. She watched as his brilliant smile faltered a bit as his eyes looked down to their hands.

    So caught up in the strangeness of this new experience, the girl didn't even catch where his eyes had gone. "Something the matter?" The first sign of trouble and he hasn't even gotten a drink yet.

    "Oh, it's fine. Tess mentioned you were a...you know..." he gestured to the crescent moon on her hand, plain for all to see. Her eyes drifted down and her heart sank. Of course! The other girl had mentioned knowing him from the men her family was looking to pair with the youngest Holmes.

    Seeing her frown, the man backtracked quickly as he signaled to the bartender for another of whatever she was drinking. "It's totally fine, I mean. No problem. I'm sure you're just great, no matter where you come from."

    Wait...WHAT?! Rhian couldn't believe her ears. Literally. Did she have something in them? Was her time alone spent pouring over books making her go deaf? "Excuse me?" Maybe....maybe he'd meant something else. She tried to keep a civil enough smile, giving him the benefit of the doubt, but knew it didn't reach her eyes.

    "Well, you're Muggle family, of course. But I've met loads of Muggleborns who turned out just fine in spite of it."

    He didn't get a chance to pick up his pint, as it landed on his head, the glass still in the bartender's hand. "Get out, mate." To his credit, Bryant didn't argue. Rhian cast a quick Scorgify on the area, an apologetic smile at her friend, and hung her head in her hands.

    "This is gonna be tougher than I thought."


    *   *   *   *   *


    Fixing her hair in the mirror one last time, Rhian sighed deeply, hoping for the best. Can't be worse than last time, she rallied. Or at least she hoped that was true. Really, she felt bad when Tess asked how it went, seeing the absolute fury in the other girl's eyes at how that man had acted. Not one for swearing, Rhian had practically laughed herself to death at the words tumbling out of Tess.

    Tonight she'd wanted to go for something a bit more...covered. In tailored slacks and a butter-soft pink blouse, she still wished she could wear flats. At 5'2", the added height was a bit of a necessity, really.

    She left the ladies room and headed towards the designated area of the bar. It must have taken her longer than she'd thought, because a man was already seated next to the stool she'd left her jacket on, a beer in hand. Tugging her sleeve down in case, Rhian circled his chair and slid into her own, her hand moving to the glass so as not to be available.

    "Malik?" Her eyes quickly scanned him: a bit more casual than the last guy, he'd opted for a button down and dress pants, no tie. Rhian couldn't help a bit of tension leaving her shoulders.

    His smile wasn't so forced, she noticed, and she rather liked the way it wrinkled the skin around his eyes. "Yes. I hope you're Rhian, because damn!"

    Rhian let out an uncomforable laugh. "Well, yeah. Um...thanks?" She took a sip from her drink, hoping to move things to something other than herself. "So, you work at a Bakery? I bet it's a terrible tease having to be around that every day."

    The man relaxed back in his chair, clearly comfortable enough in his surroundings. "I do. Though I don't really have a problem with it. I'm not a huge fan of deserts." Rhian's hope dwindled even more, but she nodded along. "Besides, all those posh twits can't get enough of them. Business is always booming, so I'm just happy to have the day out."

    Her jaw dropped. Had he...? "So, where's your shop again?"

    "Merrywind. Not a fan of the neighborhood, but the pay is good and I get some good stories out of it."

    Furrowing her brow, Rhian's eyes slid down the bar to where Ric was waiting, watching. She shook her head ever so slightly, thankful that he was there and ready to step in. Really, he was a godsend in this situation, a fatherly man who worried after her. She wasn't sure she'd be doing this if not for him.

    "Do you have something against Purebloods, Malik?" Rhian tried to keep her tone nonchalant, not able allowing herself to jump to conclusions.

    His hands raised in a 'What can you do' gesture. "They're fine and all. My dad's trying to make some arrangement or other. But in my experience, they all think they're too good for the rest of us."

    Rhian had nothing more to ask. Her best friend was everything to her. If the man she was dating couldn't be bothered to respect her, than there was no point in continuing. "Well, thank you for coming, but I don't think this is going to work out." She slid down off her stool gently, trying to keep her smile on her face when a hand shot out and grabbed her wrist.

    "Oh come off it. You're leaving so soon?" His eyes scanned her from head to toe then, his height practically towering over her. "Least we can do is have a bit of fun." Somehow, his other hand found it's way to her backside.

    Barely a moment later and he was across the room on his own arse. Wand in hand, there were all manner of things Rhian could say to him, but she didn't. Tears sprang to her eyes out of sheer hatred, as she turned on her heel and rushed to the back rooms. She didn't leave until the bar closed, still shaking from the encounter.


    *   *   *   *   *


    Third time's the charm! A few weeks after the last disaster, Tess had taken longer with her suggested set up, stating that she wanted to be absolutely sure on this one. The last two had been horrid, leaving Rhian in despair at the idea of ever finding someone that she could finish a conversation with, let alone a date.

    But this one wasn't from the Holmes family files of potential matches, or even a local worker in Tess's old district. She'd told Rhian she'd met him on campus, a fellow Healer who'd went to Beaubatons back when she had gone there. They'd met up again in classes the previous month, and the other girl said he seemed like a good guy, honestly.

    Rhian had battled with the suggestion to try again. Yes, she was a Muggleborn, she couldn't help that. And yes, her best friend was a Pureblood, and she wouldn't help that. So whoever she was going to continue spending time with was going to have to live with those realities.

    She'd conceded to the dress and heels again, hoping to look more confident than she felt. Early as always, her hope started to fade as she looked at the clock once more, noting it was now twenty minutes past their agreed time to meet. Draining the last of her pint, she stood and pulled on her light shawl.

    "Sorry, love. Guess you can't catch a break," called Donny, their newest barback. He'd been on only a few weeks, cleaning and stocking the whole place so the others could do their job. He'd heard, along with everyone else, about Rhian's terrible run-ins as of late.

    Just as she was going to respond, the door flew open, banging on the frame as the wind caught it harshly. "Oh bloody hell!" The man in the doorway pulled the heavy wood closed, his hand moving to his hair in an attempt to tame it back into place. Looking around, his eyes settled on Rhian across the room. An apologetic smile slid across his face as he approached. "I'm so sorry I'm late. There was a problem at the library and I just couldn't leave them on their own." He stopped in front of her, not getting settled yet. "If you're not royally pissed at me, I'd really like to buy you a drink still."

    It had all happened so fast, Rhian still couldn't get her mind around the man in front of her. The bluest eyes she could ever remember seeing, and hair a pale blond, he was about the prettiest man she'd ever seen. And pretty was the word! He wasn't overly tall, as guys went, but then he didn't have to be with the small brunette. He'd stopped rather close to her, in his haste, but she didn't feel threatened by his proximity. Something about him just put her at ease.

    "No," she blinked. "I mean yes!" Crap. "I mean...." Her fingers twisted at the ends of her shawl. "A drink would be lovely."

    The conversation flowed easily, as they talked about their first year at the Academy. Heath was working part time on campus, saving up for a flat of his own next summer. A Halfblood with no agenda it seemed, Rhian set aside her reservations and was finally able to relax a bit. He'd even told her about wanting to be a Healer, how both of his parents were, back in France. Overall, things were goinging...well, nice!

    The time passed without either of them really noticing, and before they knew it, they were the last ones left. A quick look around them as the music drifted into nothing, Heath let out a soft laugh. "Think they're telling us it's time to go?"

    Rhian smiled easily. "Yeah. We should probably head out." They gathered their things, left some coins on the bar, and headed out the door. The wind had died down to a soft breeze. A few lanterns on the outside of the door allowed them to see easily. Worrying her bottom lip, not really knowing how to end a date, Rhian went back on some niceties she and Tess had discussed. "I had a really nice time."

    Tentatively, Heath's hand found hers, his thumb ghosting gently across her knuckles. It was the only contact they'd had so far, but it was oddly comfortable. A blush crept up Rhian's cheek. "I did too. Would it be too much to ask to see you again?"

    When did he get so close? she wondered, realizing that he was only inches away from her, their heights not too different in her heels. Swallowing down a strange feeling, Rhian looked down at his mouth, wondering if he was going to kiss her now. That's what people do,
    right?
    "No, that sounds wonderful." Her voice was doing some silly breathless thing she didn't recognize. He smiled...

    And then stepped back, dropping her hand. "I'll owl you," he spoke softly. With a small turn, he popped out of sight as the front door opened, Donny coming out with the keys in his hands. He asked about the date and Rhian couldn't stop smiling.
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