Well. Not a lot of guesswork today.
'Not a lot of building either.'
Might I interest you, Ms. Bred, in taking tea with me?
'Are you inviting me to sup with you?'
I am. Despite his words, he sounds a little less sure now.
'Big spender, are you?' She indicates the spread provided behind door number twelve.
Perhaps she should have let it go. He's bristling now, a wild animal only rudimentarily tamed, and he's clearly beginning to shy. She puts a hand on his arm to stay his impending flight, and reassures him, 'I'd love to join you.'
I'm afraid my options are limited in the castle. He sounds rather stiff. That had definitely been a misstep. They aren't quite ready for teasing.
She's about to panic thinking he means he has limited options for company, but he seems to sense that, or perhaps he took just the tiniest conceivable peek into her thoughts at the sight of her widened eyes and slightly offended expression. But to be fair, she practically thrust those thoughts at him, and for some reason he wasn't Occluding even the slightest at present...
For meals, that is. It's hardly a Hogsmeade weekend.
'That's an excellent point, and why isn't it?'
He can think of any number of reasons, it's midweek, for one, school is not precisely in session, for another...
'I mean if you were to wish to go to Hogsmeade, it shouldn't present any difficulties, should it? It's the holidays, for goodness' sake.'
Ah. Well as you should know, we're short staffed at the moment.
'You also have far fewer students here than usual.'
Sadly, they have neither classes nor assignments to keep them occupied at present.
'As if they ever spend vast quantities of time on those assignments,' she laughs. An appointment of Lucius' Board of Governors, she's doing her practical and has been assisting the current DADA instructor long enough to know that of a certainty. In fact, that's how she'd first caught the Potions Master's eye, by demonstrating little to no interest in Gilderoy, beyond the purely professional that is. It had vexed the strutting Peacock no end. Discovering she held the buffoon for largely incompetent to boot had been the icing on the torte for Severus.
'Surely the others should be able to hold down the fort until you return?'
He smirks, While I'd like to think I'm indispensable...
'I'd never dream of suggesting you weren't.' Her eyes twinkle mischievously, in a way very unlike Albus'.
I imagine you are correct. From the quintessential Slytherin, the ambiguity presumably isn't coincidental. They should be able to make do without me for a couple of hours.
'Splendid. I consider it practically settled then. What do you say I invite you to dinner this coming Saturday?'
You? Invite? Me?
She's learnt her lesson with this skittish colt and doesn't smile.
'Yes. Me. Inviting. You. Saturday? I assume you'd prefer the Three Broomsticks to Madam Puddifoot's.'
He blanches, not having thought this through to that point.
'I'll take that as a 'yes'.'
Not to be outdone, he rallies. But if you find pastries more palatable when purchased, perhaps you'd accompany me to Puddifoot's for afters.
That gets her attention, she can see the effort it took. Evidently her surprise Floos all too clearly, and he feels forced to explain. Rosmerta does a good kidney pie, but her desserts are wanting.
'No need for such radical measures,' she tries to throw him a line. As yet unreassured, he instantly deflates.
'Should we find ourselves... wanting after dinner, I'm sure we can grab... something here instead,' comes the impish reply. It earns her a sharp look. Almost innocently, she continues, 'The elves are quite talented. Possibly some of their apple marzipan cake?' And then most hopefully she adds, 'In chambers?'
She's rewarded with a look of utter befuddlement that has her grinning like Professor McGonagall when spying a flock of Avised canaries. Dipped in clotted cream even. 'Now what do you say to that tea?'
Taking his arm, she leads him towards the staff lounge.