Sisterly Smalltalk

Corrie's Flat

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There's a faint frown on Jean's face as she sits at the kitchen table. Partly concentration, partly a question, the frown purses her lips and gives her a faint crease between her brows. It's the phone cupped to her ear, though, that seems to be the real source of it, for all that her finger trails over the surface of an old weathered page in one of the books that lays open before her.

"Yeah. I hear you," she says, sounding faintly testy. "It's just… are you sure it's worth the risk? That takes you awfully close to Hendon."

Pause.

"Yeah, I know, but — "

Beat… beat… beat…

Sigh. "Alright. Fine. But, if you haven't called me by eight, I'm calling Merc. Got it?"

A nod.

"Yeah. Yeah-yeah. Whatever. Don't care. Call me."

-

"Jean?"

It's Corrie's first assumption when she returns to the flat to find the door unlocked. None of her other siblings have a key, and Tristan's taking a few days out in Devon before promotion of their new album gets underway.

When she catches the tail end of the telephone conversation, she grins. She doesn't mind Jean stopping in at all, and she knows her own life has been far too hectic lately to have spent much time with the younger Kavanaugh.

Holding up two large green grocers bags she nods toward the ice box but doesn't say anything else until the phone conversation is ended.

Two bowls are taken down and placed on the counter, and ice cream is scooped into them before she slides one across the table toward Jean.

-

Jean turns as she hears the door open. She thought she'd locked it behind her. Oh well. It's just Corrie. She gives her sister a semi-distracted wave, still holding the phone.

"Uh-huh. Whatever. I'll talk to you later."

With a snap, she closes the cell and shoves it back into her pocket.

"Hey," she says in greeting to Corrie, now. She smiles at the ice cream and pushes the books aside. Tucking a pencil into the one open book to mark her page, she flips it closed.

"How goes it?"

-

"Thankfully busy," Corrie replies, gathering spoons and dropping one in Jean's bowl.

"Checking up on Min?" Her brow raises slightly, though she doesn't press any more than that. It's not really her business, and if Jean's here, she's safe… for the moment.

Noting the books on the table, she spots the journal still on the shelf, and thanks the stars that Jean didn't wind up grabbing it as well. She's not at all certain if she wants to share the 'black sheep' history with her youngest sister yet.

"Lost a chance at a new contract, wound up working with Amber Bardot." Beat. "Celebutante. Keeps me on my toes with her shenanigans."

-

If Jean knew half of what was happening in Corrie's life, she'd debate the assumption that she's safer with her sister than she'd be elsewhere. Indeed, she'd probably give her sister a good piece of her mind… and then smack her. But, fortunately, she doesn't know enough to even contemplate it.

Lucky Corrie.

As it is, she shrugs in response to her sister's question. "You know how it is. Boys. Jump first; think later."

To be fair, she's as disinclined to share her more harrowing experiences with her sister as Corrie is to share with her. Go figure. Regardless, it's only a matter of time before she spots that other journal.

For the moment, however, she gives Corrie a lopsided smile. "You know, maybe you ought to just bite the bullet and make your own company and advertise yourself the way you do others. Bet you could make a go of it." She picks up the spoon. "Ta."

As she scoops up a spoonful, her head cants. "Weren't you already working with Amber Bardot? What's the new contract?"

-

"My own contract, no longer working under Randall's." Beat. "I got out of that one." Corrie clears her throat, jabbing her spoon into the ice cream as she settles herself onto one of the chairs. "I did have another lined up, but that fell through at the last moment."

There's a grin on her face though, so things are likely not that bad for her.

"I've got a partial deal with Celia Collins right now. I may become her PR agent here in the UK if the promotion I've set up for her goes well." That's honestly a rather big deal to her, though she's not saying that much.

"I'm… actually working on something of that sort. Building up a few clients, networking to get others." Beat. "I love the freelancing aspect of it, but I'd like to be able to keep up with the flat too."

There's a slight pause as she eats a little of the ice cream before asking, "How did your examinations and final theory papers go? I saw them on Dr. Watson's desk."

-

Ok, see, it still bugs Jean that Corrie just waltzes in and out of Dr. Watson's office like that. It makes her feel like her sister's purposely checking up on her, which is really, really annoying. Still, barely a flit of that emotion flickers across her face. Instead, she gives a bit of an off-hand shrug and an easy smile. "It went. I passed; that's the main thing."

Passed? Jean is known among the faculty as a solid, highly-capable student. Most of her marks sit at the B+/A level.

So, she chuckles now. "Likely get the official marks in the mail tomorrow or Monday."

Her head cants some. "So, what was the contract that you lost? You didn't really like dealing with Randall anyway, did you?"

-

Almost as though reading her sister's thoughts, Corrie grins. "Don't worry, Jeannie. I wasn't checking up on you. I had a spot of research for the man. I needed to have something verified, and to check out a line of our ancestry." The grin shifts into a teasing smile and she looks away. "Don't worry. I've not got designs on him. It's purely professional, I assure you."

Beat.

"I never doubted for a moment that you'd pass. Are you looking into any summer positions at the uni? Research assistant perhaps?" That's simply genuine curiosity, since she knows it's something her baby sister would do.

"Oh, that. Well, I was going to sign on with Reese Entertainment Media." Beat. "To continue working with Tris."

-

"Yeah," Jean says lightly, swallowing a spoonful of ice cream, "there are a couple positions there I mi — I'm sorry. With who?"

The girl's spoon falls into her bowl and she stares at her sister. "Mum would kill you if you took a job with a dynasty!"

Even if it is to look after Tristan.

"What were you thinking?"

-

"That it was a very lucrative contract, and that they'd leave the lot of you the bloody hell alone?"

Corrie shrugs a little, quietly eating her ice cream. She leaves out the part about considering the contract as a way out of future… debt. She also leaves out her little 'crush'.

"Besides, the man running the entertainment sector isn't all that bad." He did, after all, go out of his way to ensure her safety. "His mum was a witch, I'll have you know."

-

"Right," Jean says with a snort. "The bloke you brought home to see Mum." 'Cause that was one of Corrie's more 'brilliant' ideas, as far as Jean's concerned. Sure, she understands the reason for it. She can even concede that it might have been necessary. But, still…

"Yeah. And I heard he's cute. I get it." She shakes her head. "Why would you think that a) they're interested in us, anyway, and b) that joining them would possibly protect us? If they want to come after us, Corrie, they will — deal with you or not. That's what they do. You know that."

-

"I didn't actually bring him home to meet Mum," Corrie replies defensively. "It's not important, honestly. Let's just say the deal didn't go through, I've found other things to occupy my time." Beat. "Business things."

Rolling her eyes toward the ceiling, she shakes her head. "Because I'm not daft, Jean. I would've had it put in a legally binding contract." Laughing she glances down at her bowl. "I think he'd much prefer the term handsome over 'cute', but that's just picking at semantics."

She needs a distraction, she realizes. Tapping the spoon in the bowl, she tries to come up with something good.

"I promised you a new spell."

-

"You are too daft," Jean retorts in true sisterly fashion. "Because you know full well, if they come after us, chances are pretty good they'll have taken you out first, now aren't they?" Interestingly enough, her concern isn't for the family; it's for her sister. Because, the girl figures the Kavanaugh coven can handle itself well enough. Corrie, however… it's no wonder Mum worries so much. She's not sure who's worse: Corrie or Min.

Letting out an irritated sigh, she pushes the bowl of ice cream aside and flops back in her chair. She snirks as Corrie corrects her assessment of 'cute' to 'handsome'. But, the snirk becomes a choke of a disbelieving laugh.

"Oh, my God. You fancy him."

She rolls her eyes, now, and just laughs. On the bright side, the tension drains from her. And, as Corrie grasps at a distraction, she laughs more.

"Don't think you can change the subject just like that," Jean replies. "You do owe me a spell. At this rate, you're going to owe me a whole grimoire. But, don't think I'm going to let you off the hook that easily, either."

-

"If," Corrie says off-handedly, "they wanted to get rid of me, they've had plenty of opportunity." Rhys could easily have had her just 'disappear' rather than hide her away at the Silver Oaks. "Stop worrying so much, you're starting to sound like me."

Blinking, she shakes her head. "I do not fancy the man." To throw her sister off anything along that trail, she lifts her shoulders. "I've been spending time with Connor again." Besides, it's a rather awkward situation to fancy a man who's left you in the lurch through no fault of his own. Something she's been reminded of not long ago.

"I'm not changing the subject. I'm merely diverting the attention off of myself for a few minutes." She flips her hair over her shoulder, then carries her bowl to the counter.

"I'll get the knockback spell from my books."

-

Jean waits patiently, now. After a moment or two, she reaches for her ice cream again and picks up her spoon. No sense letting the stuff go to waste.

"So how is Connor, then? Enjoying himself, as always?"

The only reason she lets the whole matter drop is that she knows there's no point beating her head against a wall. That, and the knockback might be interesting. It'll be interesting to see if it's anything like the 'toss' she has down.

-

"Connor," Corrie calls from down the hall, "is Connor, yes." Enjoying himself indeed — going home with the writer.

"He's definitely a bit of a calmer presence than Tris, though I really don't think it'd take much."

It's not a large leather bound book that she brings with her — these spells are not grimoire material. At least not yet. It's honestly a small file folder, filled to the brim with odds and ends of torn pages. Things that Glynis has shared with her over the years. Items that she's saved for to pick up in the Undercity. Odd spells that she found tucked into books back home that no one had peeked at in centuries.

"Here it is," she says, pulling the old, yellowed page from the folder. "I've been trying to make a digital grimoire, like we were talking about. Scanning some of the newer pages in, rewriting other spells from memory or copying these ones out. Once it's complete, I'll toss the lot of it on a flash drive for you."

-

"That'd be brill," Jean says, genuinely enthused about that idea. "Say," she adds, putting her spoon down again. "You ever hear tell of St. Callum's Cross?"

She picks up some of the books scattered around and places them into neater piles, giving a little more room on the table. Then, she shoves back her chair and takes the bowls and spoons out to the kitchen counter to get them out of the way.

-

"I could have done that."

Waiting until Jean seats herself back at the table, she pulls out the knockback spell, and sets it in front of her. "It's a tad more powerful than our toss, I find. Quicker to cast too if you're really in a bind." It's generally Corrie's favorite cast and bolt spell, unless she's caught off guard with a reflection spell — one that is quickly going to be part of her repertoire once she winds up back in the Undercity.

"St. Callum's Cross? It sounds familiar, though I can't place it." Beat. "Actually it sounds like the name of a boy I went to primary with."

-

Jean returns to the table and barks a laugh as she sits once more. "Who? Callum de la Croix? Yeah. Maybe." She shrugs now. "Just something I came across when I was reading, the other day. Dunno what it is, either. But, I don't suppose it really matters."

Of course, there's no canonized saint by the name of Callum, which would only reinforce the likelihood of it being entirely spurious.

"So, let's see this spell, yeah?"

-

"What were you reading?" A point of reference might help jog a memory. Then again, it might not.

"Yes! That'd be him. Good lord. I don't think I've ever laughed as hard as I did when he tried to hop the fence and Duke bit him in the arse." Corrie grins at the silliness of the memory and then shakes her head.

"It's there. Let me look up the toss, so you can compare them, yeah?" Grabbing the grimoire, she flips through until she finds it. The book is flipped around toward Jean, set beside the knockback spell. "The wording is a tad different, and there's a gesture. I've been trying to work it so that it only needs the gesture, but so far no such luck. Still have to whisper the words."

-

Very rare (not to mention very powerful) is the witch that doesn't need to use words. Even with a sorcerer spell. Perhaps even especially with a sorcerer spell.

"I've been working on a bit of a wind spell, past little while," Jean admits. "Stronger than the toss, but a whole lot harder to control."

She scans down the spells and starts to dissect them in the manner she usually does when starting to learn something new.

-

It's not going to stop Corrie from trying. Having the upperhand, especially with how her life has been going lately, is a very good thing.

"So it was something you read in a book from Glynis, or in one of our grimoires?" Corrie makes a mental note to do a bit of research on St. Callum's Cross when she's got a bit of spare time to type things into the handy search engine.

"Elemental spells tend to take a good deal of control." Beat. "Though with practice, you'll get it down."

She's quiet a while as Jean starts to study the spells. After several moments, she gets up to retrieve the journal. "I've a good notion why we're missing quite a bit from some of the grimoires," she says quietly.

-

Jean shakes her head, now. "No. Nothing from Glynis," she says, glancing to her sister. "It was referenced in one of my Humanities text books. Snippet of a poem or inscription or something. Can't even remember what it was actually related to, but I thought it sounded interesting. I mean, there is no St. Callum, that I know of."

Still, she spends a few moments with the spell, and copies it out onto a piece of lined paper she has at hand.

-

"In one of your texts?" Corrie blinks at that, then shrugs. "I'll look into it. See if I can't find some reference." In one of the grimoires, in anything that she's gotten from Glynis, in old story books. It's not like she's got much else on her plate with only two clients — one she's keeping out of the media, and one she's trying to promote on new media outlets. "I'm due for a stop at the book shop anyhow."

Tapping her fingers on the journal, she very cautiously slides it over to her sister. "I can't let you take this because it technically doesn't belong to me." Beat. "Though one of our great-whatever aunts wrote it. She was… something of a black sheep, I suppose. I had to get Dr. Watson to do a bit of digging to even find her, since she was removed from the grimoires and the family trees."

-

Jean arches a brow at that news. She glances at the journal and then picks it up. Turning it over in her hands, she examines the cover and then opens it. "Who was she?" she asks now, skimming lightly down the first page or so. "What did she do to get herself redacted?"

'Redacted'?

Kid's spent too long in university.

-

"Gwendolyn Arielle Bishop," Corrie replies. "Younger sister of Constance Grace, whom we're descended from."

Biting the inside of her cheek, she shrugs in a half-hearted manner. "Made a deal with a vampire, supposedly." There's no indication of what the deal is, or to whom it pertains, just the offhand remark. "To protect her family from another vampire." Beat. "Edward. I'm not certain if you've seen his names in the older grimoires or not. Mum and Rose keep them pretty well guarded."

-

When don't Mum and Rose keep everything well-guarded. There are days, were you to ask Jean, she'd be perfectly willing to accuse them of information hoarding.

Still, the younger woman arches a brow at that bit of information. "Edward? Seriously?" The deadpan expression on her face suggests very clearly that she is NOT a Twilight fan. Or, if she is, she's so not on Team Edward.

She glances down to the book in her hands. "How much of it have you read?"

-

"I honestly did not make up the name," Corrie says with a laugh. "Though I unfortunately did not have quite the same reaction." She's heard of those books, not touched them, but heard of them. It's hard not to when you have a client that claims she's going to marry Robert Pattinson.

"The entire thing. Several times. She's quite detailed." Beat. "Though a lot of it is fluff about her beau at the time. You know how the Regency was."

There's a pause.

Fingers tap lightly upon the table, and she glances toward her sister.

"I can't let you take it out of the flat. As I've said, it's not mine and I may have to return it soon."

-

"Yeah, well, if she's says that he sparkles anywhere in here," Jean says, lifting the book meaningfully, "I'm calling 'bollocks'."

Still, she starts skimming. "Do you have a scanner?" she asks, now, glancing to her sister. "I could spend an afternoon, here, scanning it for you, if you want."

A beat.

"Who did you say gave this to you?"

-

"There's one in the office." Corrie doesn't mind if Jean has a copy, honestly, or if she herself has one on the off chance she does need to return it. She also doesn't mind having a digital copy to add to the grimoires she's building.

"Do you honestly think I'd believe it if it mentions sparkles?" Beat. "I'm certain it's not the full story."

Expelling a small puff of air she quickly says, "I didn't."

-

Jean cants her head at that. "So? Who gave it to you?"

It's a valid question. And a pertinent one, in Jean's mind. Sources are very important. And really, really easy to manipulate.

Thinking about it, it occurs to her that there are some simply anti-counterfeiting field tests she could perform on the book; things she learned in school, no less. Things she could also convince Dr. Watson to teach her, if he didn't mind the intrusion over break.

She files that idea away in her internal 'to-be-pursued' folder.

-

Corrie bites the inside of her cheek again, contemplating whether or not to let Jean know the actual source.

"Would you believe the vampire charged with keeping our family safe?" Pushing her chair back, she gathers up the grimoires, and the knockback spell, tidying everything up nice and neatly.

"Care for a cup of tea before you start the scanning then?"

-

Jean stops. "Come again?"

Because… you know… she's really sure her sister just told her the book came from a vampire. More specifically, a vampire charged with protecting their family.

Yep. She's calling 'bollocks' on this one.

-

"I told you. Gwendolyn Bishop made a deal with a vampire." Beat. "To protect her family. It's all written in there. Dr. Watson located her in the church birth records of the time."

Corrie makes a face. "I do know how it sounds. That was my reaction at first too." Beat. "And I'm not entirely inclined to believe a soulless creature, but the timelines meet up with what's written in it. Including the fact that an Edward was harassing the family from our own grimoires."

-

Jean regards Corrie for a long moment, eyes narrowed. "Yeahyeahyeah, let me get this straight: A vampire gave this to you. One that, supposedly, is charged with 'protecting'" (she sketches quick quotes around that word) "our family."

A beat.

"Now tell me how many pints he bought you before he sold you that story."

She lets out a long sigh and slowly shakes her head.

"Right…" she says slowly, then, pulling it together. "Even if this Gwendolyn Bishop is related to us and did get involved with a vampire," and, yes, she's willing to accept that, "why would this vampire choose to continue to protect us? What's in it for him?"

-

"If nothing else, Jean, I trust Dr. Watson's research. Gwendolyn Bishop is related to us." Corrie may not trust Aidan, but she does trust Sean. At least in so far as that he knows how to find things that others can't.

"Presumably nothing, except another witch." Beat. "Which is why I told you to keep away from him weeks ago."

Which is even more prudent now.

"Besides, I never said that he was still protecting the family. Just that it's what she charged him with."

-

Mm-hmm… Jean purses her lips as she listens to Corrie's explanation. "So, does this mean you're still dealing with him in some way?"

Sure, she remembers the interdiction against associating with Aidan. Like it was ever a problem for her? In the first place, where on Earth would she find enough money to afford anything on the menu at Flare. In the second, she's not exactly a club rat, so unless he starts hanging out at the bike couriers' pub or on campus, there's no fear of that. And, finally, Jean figures she's got her hands full enough with Min to bother burying herself in the trouble Corrie seems to actively pursue.

-

There is a slight pause as she attempts to suss out how best to answer that question. Corrie taps her fingers atop the table again and says, "I've got clients that frequent the restaurant." Technically not a lie.

"Celia Collins is doing her book signing there." As a for instance. Never mind that Corrie set the entire thing up, and the location was her choice.

Though she will add a bit of a warning. "He has seemed to have made… friends… with Dr. Watson. I've seen them together at a pub."

-

Jean's brows dip. Dr. Watson? Friends with a vampire?

All that does is tell her that the vampire must be really good at passing as human. Because, Dr. Watson — she's sure! — is usually a pretty good judge of character. That makes the monster even more dangerous. She makes a mental note to check out his picture online. See if it's there on his restaurant's website.

She lets out a thoughtful sigh and, slowly, her expression shifts from an open scowl to a wry twist. "So, basically, you went from flirting with a dynasty to courting a vampire?"

Trust sisters to skew things out of proportion.

"And you think Min and I get into trouble…"

-

Oh, the vampire is extremely good at passing for human. So much so that Corrie often forgets what he is. It's the eyes, the expressions, the nearly human emotions.

"Bloody hell, Jeannie. You make me sound like a monster." Chuckling, she shakes her head. "It's hardly like that. It's work, yeah? I got my boys a record contract, which is what they deserved. I'm trying to land a new client, so we're using venues that she's comfortable with." Beat. "Honestly, I'm dealing with the day woman there." For the most part at least.

-

Jean just shakes her head, now. "You're just lucky Mum doesn't know about all this."

Yet.

She lets out another sigh and leans back, picking up the book. "Well, if Dr. Watson says this thing is genuine…" She'll buy it.

"And there's nothing in the books at home on her?"

-

"Unless Rose has them at her place? Not a thing. I've looked." Beat. "Twice."

Corrie grins at her sister, then gets up from the table to actually make them some tea. "There's quite a bit Mum doesn't know. I'm sure she'd have my hide three ways from Sunday if she ever thought for a moment that I knew sorcerer magic, let alone that I'm sharing it with you."

Taking down the teapot and filling it with water, she nods toward the office. "Get on with you then. I'll bring a cuppa in as soon as it's steeped. A snack too." Then she'll be off to get ready for meeting Celia Collins this evening for coffee.

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