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Author Topic:  small talks too much [dennis]  (Read 130 times)

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Edith Holthouse [ Writer ]
2825 Posts  •  24  •  snuggly when drunk  •  played by cstine
small talks too much [dennis]
« on: June 08, 2021, 04:33:01 AM »
monday afternoon, 5 april 2004

Edith didn’t love the offices of The Quibbler. They were cramped (”cosy”) and smelled (”incense for good vibrations”) and always, somehow, so warm (no reason for that one). But she didn’t really work for the magazine, not technically. She was still freelance, so she didn’t qualify for deskspace-- not that she’d want it, anyway. She just dropped off articles, three at once, usually, and picked up paychecks. Today was no different.

Except: Dennis. Their office times hardly ever overlapped, yet there he was. Edith blinked a few times in quick succession before she pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose, not because they were slipping, but because she was stalling. She needed to talk to him, but the last time she had attempted conversation with him--December, maybe?--it hadn’t exactly gone anywhere, and she was pretty sure it was through no fault of her own. It certainly hadn’t gone the direction of her book, which is where it needed to go now.

Technically, she could put it off a little more; the book wasn’t due out for another month. And even more technically, she could put it off indefinitely, because she didn’t mention him by name. He’d know she was talking about him, when he read it--if he read it--because she had written about herself in far greater detail than that one article she had written about herself, the article he had also somewhat featured in.

Ugh, this would have been so much easier if they were already talking. Or drinking. Or both.

She’d been staring long enough that she practically manifested Dennis looking in her direction. She lifted a hand in a small wave before she dropped it quickly to her side again. She took a deep breath and stepped toward him. “Hiya.” It was a cheerier greeting than she was feeling, but she also didn’t want to acknowledge how awkward she thought this was going to be. “D’you wanna get a drink?” She waited a beat, twisting her hand on the strap of her backpack, before she added: “I need to talk to you.”

@Dennis Creevey
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Dennis Creevey [ Hogwarts Adult ]
405 Posts  •  TWENTY-ONE  •  love him & he'll love u  •  played by EVIE
Re: small talks too much [dennis]
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2021, 04:55:40 PM »
Work had been pretty quiet for Dennis, recently. It already didn’t pay rent and bills most months, but there really hadn’t been a lot for him to do since the end of winter. He’d been picking up other odd jobs to get through — which wasn’t the worst, he thought, clumsily pushing the office door open with his shoulder. He was careful not to bend the large envelope in his hands. Odd jobs weren’t the worst, especially at the moment when coming in made him a bit anxious because —

— Ah, there she was. Dennis blinked, slowing a little, planning his course of action.

It had been… He didn’t know how long. His stomach felt a little tight seeing her again; last time she’d tried to talk to him he was fairly sure he’d said maybe three words — likely all monosyllabic. He hadn’t really been doing well back then (‘then’, being, well, aside from the broader sense, which would be more like years — at least from Autumn until Recently). The end of last year seemed to have already taken on the kind of blurriness that only years-old memories ought to have, so Dennis wasn’t exactly sure how things had faded out, aside from the fact that it was unequivocally his fault.

And Dennis was Dennis; of course he felt bad (anxious/irritated/sad/nervous) about that.

She was looking at him, so he looked back (of course), but her expression didn’t really change for a moment and he almost checked over his shoulder to make sure she wasn’t staring at someone else. Then she waved.

Cool. Feeling a little relieved, Dennis waved back, matching the smallness of her gesture.

He’d seen her a couple of weeks ago, but she hadn’t seen him, and he’d lingered in someone else’s office for longer than he needed so they wouldn’t have to make awkward conversation. At a particularly dramatic point, he’d even thought about quitting his job. It had just — as it often did — seemed easier to just disappear entirely, rather than subject her to the discomfort of dealing with the mess he’d made.

She approached him with a purpose and Dennis raised his eyebrows a fraction in polite curiosity, expression otherwise fairly blank. What he did not do was immediately launch into an apology, as he’d envisioned he might. The distance between them shrank as they approached each other.

“Hey,” he said, feeling a bit apprehensive as he tried (failed) to match her energy. “Uh,” Dennis glanced down at the large, yellow envelope in his hands. “Yeah — sure.” He felt a little flustered; things might have been that direct and easy back in August, but he really hadn’t been sure what their dynamic would be like now, after he’d basically dropped off of the face of the earth for several months. He hadn’t expected any kind of August-ease. But he didn't have plans, and he'd never say no to her, so.

“Lemme jus’ drop these off,” he said, holding up the envelope for her to see before glancing over her shoulder. “One sec.” Dennis moved past her, making sure not to bop her with the skateboard sticking out of his backpack. He took the whole ten seconds it took to walk a couple of metres, put the envelope down on the desk, write a note, walk back out, to gather himself. Did it work? Undecided.

"Hey," he said again unnecessarily. He let her start walking, falling into step. "Where are we going?" he asked, his mind running through a list of bars they'd gone to semi-frequently last year.

Edith Holthouse [ Writer ]
2825 Posts  •  24  •  snuggly when drunk  •  played by cstine
Re: small talks too much [dennis]
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2021, 08:07:05 PM »
Uh, he said--not that she was expecting him to enthusiastically agree right away, but--and Edith glanced down when he did, looking at the envelope in his hands, assuming that meant he was working and just taking a second to decide how best to turn her down-- Sure. Edith nodded, blinked a couple times. Okay, this was good; this was nowhere near the difficult part of the conversation, but she already felt accomplished, regardless. He hadn’t seemed like he wanted much to do with her lately, or five months ago, the last time she had bothered and--

“Right, yeah.” She nodded again, taking her eyes off him for a second to glance at the envelope again. “‘Course.” She stepped to the side, giving him space, and nodded again as he walked away. She turned, barely, to see where he was headed, looked down at her feet before he could spot her watching him.

Edith smiled, almost, as she looked up to see Dennis heading towards her again. “Hey.” They were off to a great start. “Dunno,” she said, pulling open the door to the street and letting him step out ahead of her. She caught up after two steps, before the passersby on the footpath could separate them. They were heading in the general direction of Hackney—though they weren’t about to walk there—and she motioned vaguely ahead of them. “Can go to the Ship and Anchor.” She used the same hand to scratch the side of her nose before she let it fall to her side.

It was weird to think about how much time had passed since they had last talked, especially after several weeks of seeing each other fairly regularly, having drinks, being close to normal. She wasn’t sure what she had done to ruin it, but her breakup was fresh and she was living with her parents so she could not have been not annoying. Whatever. “I live in Hackney, now,” she said after a few more seconds. “Have for a few months, actually.”
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Dennis Creevey [ Hogwarts Adult ]
405 Posts  •  TWENTY-ONE  •  love him & he'll love u  •  played by EVIE
Re: small talks too much [dennis]
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2021, 01:02:09 AM »
He slowed once he was out of the door, waiting for her to catch up. Someone walking the other way bumped into him and the two of them apologised at the same time. Edith caught up to him and he glanced her way, trying to look unfazed by the whole situation. “Yeah, sounds good,” Dennis said, nodding. She’d said she needed to talk to him, and they weren’t yet talking, but if they were heading to a bar then he probably couldn’t expect that to happen until they were at least a couple of drinks in. He’d been trying to drink a little less recently, but tonight he was going to suggest shots.

“Oh really?” Dennis asked, raising his eyebrows. “Where in Hackney?” It made sense that she’d moved back to London by now. How long since her breakup with Elias? It had happened in summer last year; he remembered, because they’d spent a lot of the rest of summer hanging out together. He tried not to cling to and overthink the ‘actually’ in a few months, actually. He felt a twist of regret; he should know that already.

“I’ve been thinking about moving back to the city,” Dennis admitted. She’d come to his house once, many months ago, and he’d told her all about his housemates Doomer Pat (and his tendencies towards conspiracy documentaries) and Marian (the French coder he’d crushed on for the first six months of living there). It felt like a long time ago now. “Or at least into a house with other wizards,” he added with a small shrug.

Edith Holthouse [ Writer ]
2825 Posts  •  24  •  snuggly when drunk  •  played by cstine
Re: small talks too much [dennis]
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2021, 05:58:27 AM »
“North part,” she said, shrugging, watching her feet over a particularly cracked part of the pavement. She didn’t elaborate, or ask if he remembered her flatmate Emma from school— talking about the past, even something as easy as do you know her? could lead to something she’d only be comfortable talking about with a pint in her hand.

He said he might be moving and she glanced at him before looking forward again. “Yeah?” She’d been to Whitstable with him once, and it was nice—Edith liked the sea—but it wasn’t London. Drinking was complicated; apparating or not, catching the train or just completely missing it; or, Dennis’s most recent option of just not seeing friends at all, apparently having no need to figure out how to get home after. She twisted her hands on the straps of her backpack again, trying not to focus on that too much, because he was there now.

“Oh— yeah.” Living with wizards. “My flatmates are.” She pointed—probably unnecessarily, as they had made this walk a few times before—at the next crossing, the pub across the street. It wasn’t the best pub, but it was the closest one of their pubs, and she wasn’t about to waste more time walking (even for cheaper drinks) and convincing herself not to talk to him about the book. She didn’t say anything else as the crossed the street and pushed the door to the pub open; she was too focused on what she needed to say later.

She slung the strap of her backpack over the back of the barstool, claiming a spot at the end of the bar, away from everyone else. She sat, glancing only briefly at Dennis before she stared straight ahead. “The bitter,” she said with a nod to the barkeep, expecting Dennis’s rum and coke order.

She waited until she had a drink in her hand—and had had a couple swallows of it—before she looked at him again, angling herself toward him just the slightest bit. “I, er—“ she paused, sniffed, tapped her fingers on the bartop. “I’m writing a book.”
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Dennis Creevey [ Hogwarts Adult ]
405 Posts  •  TWENTY-ONE  •  love him & he'll love u  •  played by EVIE
Re: small talks too much [dennis]
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2021, 02:45:20 PM »
Absentmindedly, Dennis drew maps of Hackney in his mind. North? He nodded. In the very vague and uncommitted glances he’d taken at rental ads, he’d been looking at places in Brixton, but that was south of the river and, well, an hour on the Victoria line was such a long time just to—

Dennis blinked. He glanced at her when she said something about her flatmates, a paranoid part of him checking quietly that she couldn’t read his mind or something. Clearly, he was getting a bit ahead of himself. He’d been doing a lot better this past month or so, but relaxing around her again was always going to be a bit of a task, after he’d more or less disappeared without explanation. Probably. Dennis couldn't really remember it; it was always a bit foggy at the edges.

He’d imagined every possible interpretation she could have had for his withdrawal, every possible way she might feel, every reaction when or if they ever spoke again. He’d imagined this, of course —  the casual, small-talk-until-we’re-drinking mode that they both felt so much more comfortable in — but he’d imagined worse things more frequently, because he couldn’t help himself.

She beat him to the door and Dennis hovered a moment, letting her decide where they were sitting. At the bar itself? Cool. More exposed, but easier to order drinks. “Uh, rum and coke,” Dennis said. He hadn’t been in a bar in a little while, had been trying to avoid them. His default order was easiest to fall back on.

Dennis went to drop his backpack on the ground, then thought better of it at the last moment and lowered it instead, remembering that his camera was inside. He straightened up, angling himself more towards her than the bar, and took a deep sip of his drink (he already knew he’d need more than a couple — goodbye, paycheck!)

“Oh yeah?” Dennis said, raising his eyebrows, waiting for her to continue.

Edith Holthouse [ Writer ]
2825 Posts  •  24  •  snuggly when drunk  •  played by cstine
Re: small talks too much [dennis]
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2021, 09:12:56 PM »
Edith had another swallow, glancing at Dennis over the rim of her glass as she did. He said oh, yeah? and Edith nodded, setting her glass back on the bartop, not letting go of it because that would be wasted effort in a minute, when she needed another drink.

“Yeah,” she said simply, giving her glass a quarter turn as she stared at it. It would have been nice if he had said anything more than that, but she didn’t know what she had been expecting-- Dennis was two sips into his drink so two words was par for the course. “Yeah,” she said again, turning far enough toward Dennis to knock her knee against his; she hesitated for half a second before moving her leg back into her own space.

“It’s… like an expansion of the column.” Both the Quibbler version and the Prophet version. “Like--” she inhaled, going over how she had explained it before, deciding if she had to be as discrete with the details as she had been with the other people she had explained it to. Probably not. “Fix or six of the interviews--” it was six, exactly-- “That are more or less connected. More of a narrative on those.”

She swallowed; she didn’t launch immediately into explaining the rest--that half the book was about her--in favor of having more of her pint, draining it to its halfway point.
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Dennis Creevey [ Hogwarts Adult ]
405 Posts  •  TWENTY-ONE  •  love him & he'll love u  •  played by EVIE
Re: small talks too much [dennis]
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2021, 11:06:54 PM »
She turned to face him too and he wished he’d been sitting just a little further away. He rested the toes of his weathered sneakers on the stool's little footrest, trying not to fidget.
                                                 
Dennis fought a quiet internal battle while she spoke, trying to decide whether it would be worse to give himself away by finishing his drink too quickly, ordering another one when they’d barely sat down, or to do this sober. He just wasn’t very good at it — the whole being-social thing. He overthought everything she did, coming to (probably) wrong conclusions, and never knew what to say. It had been nice, for the few months last year, where he’d felt comfortable almost all of the time. Where they’d made jokes sober, even referenced some of the shit they never talked about, sober.

“Right,” Dennis said, nodding slowly. “Wow.” She wanted to talk about her book because it had to do with stuff they used to talk about all of the time. Just her work, really — not like “their thing” or whatever, but still. It felt kinda good that she still wanted to share shit with him; it undermined some of his worst imaginings about how she viewed him now. Hmm. Dennis bit the bullet and finished his drink, placing the glass back down on the bar smoothly like he’d been sipping water. He caught the bartender’s eye over Edith’s shoulder and sat up a little straighter in his seat.

“That’s really cool, E,” he said. Nickname. Shit. The bartender arrived and Dennis ordered himself another drink and two shots, not asking her if she wanted one. If she didn’t, he’d drink them both. “How far through are you?” he asked, turning back to her, pocketing his change absentmindedly.

Edith Holthouse [ Writer ]
2825 Posts  •  24  •  snuggly when drunk  •  played by cstine
Re: small talks too much [dennis]
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2021, 11:54:18 PM »
Right. Wow. She’d take it.

She nodded, had a bigger swallow as he finished his drink. There was more she wanted to say, but-- it would be easier if she had more to drink, if he had more to drink. She hated that that was how she wanted to have this conversation, mostly hated having to have this conversation at all. He should have known about the book from the start. He would have heard about it in September if he had bothered to spend time with her anymore. She opened her mouth to say something, wanting to ask what had happened, what Edith had done to  ruin things.

But then he said it was cool. Called her E. Edith smiled and stared at her pint, blinking a couple times before picking it up and having another swallow. Dennis ordered another drink, and shots--she assumed one was for her--and Edith nodded as she watched the exchange, sipping her pint again.

“Right, yeah, it’s uh--” she inhaled, then blew air out through pursed lips. “Went to print today, I think.” She had waited so long to tell him about it, hadn’t she? She had tried, several months ago, but she’d be kidding herself if she claimed she had tried very hard the past few months. “I, uh--” she scratched her nose, leaning back as the bartender approached again with Dennis’s next round. She hesitated for a second before reaching for one of the shot glasses, tapping her fingers on its side before she tossed it back.

“I expanded my column, too.” The one about herself, she meant, and she assumed he'd know that. She blinked, made a face at the taste of the liquor as she set the small glass back down on the bar with a soft thud. “A lot,” she said, glancing at Dennis, trying to catch his eye. “More of…” She brought her hand up and moved it through the air between them.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2021, 11:55:24 PM by Christine »
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Dennis Creevey [ Hogwarts Adult ]
405 Posts  •  TWENTY-ONE  •  love him & he'll love u  •  played by EVIE
Re: small talks too much [dennis]
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2021, 03:12:21 AM »
Dennis raised his eyebrows, a half-smile appearing as he glanced at her. “Jesus,” he said, sounding appropriately impressed. He nodded, looking down at his drink. He assumed he’d know, already, if he hadn’t disappeared. She must have written it so fast; he remembered her bringing up something about a book when he was lying on the floor of his bedroom, half asleep. When was that? Near the end of summer? He did the mental math.

He felt relieved when she reached for the shot, no questions or pointed looks offered. He reached for his, too, drinking it quickly before starting on his other drink. There was a certain level of drunkenness which, upon being reached, seemed to fade most of his neuroses into the back of his mind, and Dennis was impatient to get there. “Should we have toasted your book?” he asked, smiling a bit. Was it too soon to order more shots? He often thought he should just order a whole lot at the start and go from there. Less work for the bartender, too.

“Right,” Dennis said again, glancing away. “Yeah, I mean. I read that, mostly.” He gave a one-sided shrug. He’d kept up, sort of, with her writing. Especially back then. Not so much these past few months; he’d been really focused on himself, first in the worse way, but now in the better way. Sort of. Hopefully.

He could feel her eyes on him and he glanced up to meet them, nodding before he took another long sip of his drink.

Edith Holthouse [ Writer ]
2825 Posts  •  24  •  snuggly when drunk  •  played by cstine
Re: small talks too much [dennis]
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2021, 03:39:33 AM »
“Right.” She waited until he was done talking—she hadn’t had to wait long—before she said anything. She had another drink, glancing behind the bar again. She thought he had read them all, but she must have been making that up. Still, he worked at the magazine. (And she thought they were friends, but she couldn’t focus on that now.)

But was he really not going to say anything else? That column— she had finally written about herself, mostly due to Dennis’s prompting, and she had written about that, about him. She hadn’t mentioned him by name but he had known— because they had talked about it after, and that was even before they were friends. It was hard not to think about how they talked more then.

Edith looked at him again, blinking once when he finally looked at her. But he still wasn’t saying anything, because of course he wasn’t. She couldn’t decide if she was better off waiting, sitting and drinking and getting him more talkative; or if she should just say ‘fuck it’ and leave, trust that he would read the book, mostly. And then they could go back to not talking.

“Er—“ it wasn’t a good start but it bought her a couple more seconds. She blinked a couple times, deciding to just get it over with. “I wrote about my war stuff—“ she glossed right over that bit, heading right to the next. “And being an obliviator.” She paused to draw a breath. “Meeting you.” She waited a beat, but not long enough for him to say anything (ha), hoping it sunk in that she was talking about that morning in the hostel. “We never really talked about it.” They had but it was very brief; she had tried but there had been so much else that had been easier to talk about, and that was saying something.
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Dennis Creevey [ Hogwarts Adult ]
405 Posts  •  TWENTY-ONE  •  love him & he'll love u  •  played by EVIE
Re: small talks too much [dennis]
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2021, 02:15:48 PM »
He could feel himself fucking up in real time. She obviously wanted something that was more, well — something. More words. The right words. He put his drink down for a moment to shrug off his jacket. As he twisted a bit to hang his jacket off of the back of the stool, Dennis took a brief break from the eye contact, the hesitation in her tone and the weightiness that all of this seemed to have, suddenly. He picked the glass up again right away, though. Took a long sip, then was back into it.

Her war stuff, yep. Right. Obliviator? Dennis raised his eyebrows slightly, his gaze slipping from hers and landing on the bar’s sticky surface instead. He nodded, then stopped nodding so he could finish his drink. Meeting you. Dennis frowned a little at that, glancing back to meet her eye. He parted his lips to speak, but then she did, and he shut his mouth. He was quiet for a moment, wondering if the list was going to continue on, or if this was where the conversation had been heading the whole time. She didn’t continue.

“When we met,” he clarified. It was supposed to be a question, but it came out more cautious than questioning. We never really talked about it, she said. He felt defensive, but tried not to let it show. Defensive against what, exactly? He couldn’t be sure. It had all just happened so long ago that it felt pointless — or, not just pointless, a little destructive, really — to dredge it up now. Dennis looked away from her again, trying to catch the attention of the bartender so he could order more drinks. “You wrote about that,” he said quietly — another not-question.

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