Camille DuBois Arrives at the Foxx's Den
(( This is a collab between myself and xMayberry, who plays Atticus Foxx brother to Nadine Adams, the proprietor of the Foxx's Den, a public house in Oakston. Though the reasons are mysterious, if you have characters staying at Mrs. Hatch's for school or boarding, do feel free to gossip about Camille's sudden disappearance from the house! ))
The hired coachman dropped Camille's trunk unceremoniously on the frozen ground. She pulled out her coin purse and held out a thrupence for his trouble, but by the time she looked up with the coin extended, he was already reseated and driving off, so eager was he to be discharged of his duty amid the howling winter wind. The hour was late enough that all the other boarders at Mrs. Hatch's and her students had already retired when the lady of the house asked Camille to leave. (It was of course in the lady's interest that word not get out about the unsavory knowledge she had learned of her now former boarder.) For an establishment such as the Foxx's Den, however, the night was still young, and so plenty of candlelight from indoors lit Camille's way as she dragged her trunk through the door, the effort causing the hem of a carmine dress to peek out from 'neath her fawn cloak. The door snapped shut and she was suddenly very conscious of her noisy and surely unexpected entry.
There was music playing and people chatting idly as they tucked inside the warm inn for some food, drink, and company. Only those in the immediate vicinity noticed the woman enter at all and even then only turned to acknowledge that someone had indeed come in, and then went back to their own respective evenings.
It was then that Atticus bounced spryly down the stairs behind the bar with two plates of food that he carefully navigated to the dining room before delivering the plates to the designated table. (Cadi O'Shea having eloped, he was left without a barmaid that particular night.) He wiped his hands with a rag he kept on his shoulder and made his way to the front room to check on the new arrival. "Welcome," he said with a smile, but it quickly fell in concern and curiosity as he realized who his new guest was. "Camille." His voice lowered. "Are...you alright?" It was clear she wasn't. He frowned a bit and grabbed her trunk, heaving it up and motioning for her to follow him to a quiet corner.
She glanced warily about the room and gathered her skirts to follow. She only half noticed how easily he lifted her case. Her eyes only betrayed the smallest hints of embarrassment. She showed no signs of crying or other distress. To the contrary, her expression became more resolute with each passing moment.
He set her trunk down in front of an empty table and pulled the rag off his shoulder before holding out her chair and glancing around to make sure Nadine had not returned.
She took the seat silently, but wasn't clear why she was being directed thus. With any other person, she might hold her head high and state simply that she wished to rent a room. With Atticus, she found herself rendered speechless, all too willing to accept his direction.
Once she was seated, he took his own across from her and sighed, running his fingers through his red curls. "What happened? Are...are you in trouble?"
She flit her eyes in a sidelong glance as a substitution for rolling them outright. "Define trouble." Her tone was matter of fact, and would seem unfeeling to any who did not know her very well.
"Well. You were not entirely eager to speak with me at all last I saw you and yet here you are. In my inn. With your belongings. So either you're in some kind of trouble, or..." He couldn't help but be humorous, at least a little. "You missed me and deeply regretted being so cold toward me," He teased with a boyish grin. "Yes. Perhaps you're in no trouble at all."
She fixed her eyes on his and frowned. "And my reasons for appearing here must be personal, why exactly? This is the nearest inn to Tyrhampton, but if I must go yet another town over, I assure you I will."
"Then why didn't you if you hoped to avoid me? That is my point." He sighed and sat forward a bit. "Do you prefer a room with a window facing east or west?"
She waved dismissively. "It makes no difference to me." She elected to make no response to his accusation of avoidance. If he did not even realize that /that/ ascribed personal motive to her actions, she'd surely make no progress in her argument.
A bit disappointed in her refusal to communicate with him, he nodded shortly and stood. "Very well. I'll get you a key. John will take your trunk up." He waved over a large man. "Could you take this up to room 4 please?" John nodded and smiled quickly at the woman. "May I?" He motioned to her trunk, while Atticus walked off to make his notes and fetch the key.
Camille was mostly unresponsive, but made no protest, only an almost imperceptible nod. She watched the crowd, the sight of which would have been practically meaningless to her in London. But here, it seemed utterly foreign and everything she was trying to leave behind.
Atticus returned with the key as John left with her trunk. He set it on the table, hand lingering over it for a moment before he lifted it with a nod. "Enjoy your stay." He gave her a small smile and started back off toward the bar.
Her expression softened somewhat as she watched him walk away. She picked up the key and fingered it before retiring upstairs, wondering if it was a mistake after all to lean on someone who thought he knew her...