Who: Taliesyn Robards, Jennie Hopkins
Where: Jennie’s place
When: 4 January 2002, daytime
Tali couldn’t even remember what exactly Jennie had told him at the previous reading and whether any of it had “come true”, but he did recall feeling surprisingly pleased about his life afterward, and that counted for something.
So he was back for more. He knocked politely.
Jennie couldn’t really remember what had transpired last time — most of the Helga’s Hill residents she chatted to in the journals were a bit of a blur, honestly — but as soon as she opened the door and saw his (rather distinctive) face it came back to her. “Ah! Suppressing strong feelings. How’d that work out for you?” She ushered him inside as she watched him closely for a reaction, genuinely curious what had come of their last reading.
“It gave me a terrible heartache so I gave it up,” said Tali matter-of-factly. “No more of that.” Which wasn’t strictly true. If he didn’t suppress everything he felt towards Idris he would have decked his brother by now. It was on his New Year’s Resolutions. He knew it won’t ever happen. Maybe on Dec 31st. After which he’d have to leave the country.
He shrugged off his coat. “How have you been?” he enquired. Politely.
Jennie considered fishing for more details, but then she decided that he probably didn’t have anything too interesting to report. And she had a lot of readings to get through this weekend. She’d just have to see what the cards revealed.
“I’ve been fine. Busy,” she said, somewhat pointedly, as she whisked his coat away and pointed him to the waiting chair while she hung it up. She was ready to get down to business. “Alright,” she said, seating herself opposite him and flipping over the hourglass that marked their time. “What’s on your mind? General forecast for the New Year? Questions about anything — or anyone — in particular? We can go as specific or as general as you’d like.”
Tali shrugged. He didn’t have anything particular to ask. Well, maybe he did, but he didn’t want to jinx it. And he didn’t want to know the answer. If the answer was negative.
“Could you see specific time frames? Maybe just the next couple of months. And about people I know, I guess. Family. I don’t need to know if any prime ministers are going to be assassinated.”
Jennie nodded and briefly considered the three decks laid out on the table before selecting the one that seemed most suited to the task at hand. “The cards are always fairly specific to the person being read for,” she explained, as she held out the deck to him. “No major world events and that. Here, cut it.” Belatedly she realized that she had forgotten to offer him some tea or water, but she was liking the vibes she was getting from this deck, and didn’t want to interrupt things now. The reading wouldn’t take long; he’d survive.
He did as he was told. His mouth was dry in nervous anticipation. He squirmed a little in his seat. “So…”
Jennie let him squirm in silence for a while as she studied the cards as they were laid out before them. But it wasn’t long before she started making decisive pronouncements. “Now, that’s interesting. This card represents a move, like a move forward, or at least a clear change. But this one, here—” she tapped it — “It’s a move as well, but more like, a return.” She pondered them a moment longer, absentmindedly holding up a hand for quiet in a gesture that might have seemed rude if she wasn’t so clearly lost in thought. She seemed to be looking at the cards quite intently but in fact her eyes were closed.
They suddenly sprang open. “Based on where they are in the spread, I’m saying this one — that’s a literal move. You won’t be living in the same place much longer. This one, though, it’s more… metaphorical. And it’s got a not-so-good feeling about it. It’s like reopening an old wound.” She finally caught Tali’s eyes again. “Does that sound right to you?”
Tali’s face fell. He had so many old wounds… so in that sense it wasn’t surprising. “Um… yes?” He cleared his throat. “Yeah. I guess. Where am I supposed to live, then?”
Maybe Dorothy thought the bloodied clothing episode was too much.
Jennie frowned at the cards. “Unclear. Not far, I’d say. I don’t see an ocean crossing or anything like that.” Sometimes people wanted their readings to be so specific. “If you’ve been meaning to get rid of some old clothes and things though I’d say now’s a good time. I always like to do that before a move.”
She pushed her hair behind her ear and looked over the cards once more. Out of her own personal curiosity she was trying to get a sense of his love life, but nothing jumped out at her. It mostly felt like… family stuff. Old baggage. She felt a stab of irritation again that Wayne wouldn’t let her deal some cards for him, but pushed it aside and reminded herself to focus on the task at hand. The sand in the hourglass was running out.
Tali folded his arms across his chest defensively. “If I got rid of old clothes I wouldn’t have anything to wear.” Even the waistcoat he wore now was second-hand. But it had belonged to his father and it was a gift and he’d been thrilled to receive it, so, he supposed he’d just wear that till it fell apart.
“Any good news?” he asked helplessly.
Jennie made a huffing sound that signalled what she thought of Tali’s wardrobe. But he was a client, so she didn’t elaborate.
“A move could be good news,” Jennie pointed out. “And this card here… could be good or bad. It’s triggered by a snap decision — see, this one here? The fool… but being a bit of a fool isn’t always a bad thing. it’s hard to say how it turns out. You could be careful with your decisions over the next few months and you might be saving yourself a lot of heartache… or you might be missing out on something wonderful.”
Jennie smiled a bit of a Cheshire cat grin. It drove some people crazy, but she kind of loved it when the cards were ambiguous like this. And not just because it meant her clients could almost always look back and say she predicted things correctly. No, she liked it because life was unpredictable, even with the cards to show the way, and it was interesting to leave the choice’s in people’s own hands when the stakes were high.
“You want my personal opinion?”
“I bet you love giving personal opinions.”
“I’ll take that as a yes,” Jennie said smoothly. “I’d do the impulsive thing. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?” Tali didn’t strike her as the impulsive type, so she figured a nudge in that direction was warranted. For one thing, if he made the hasty decision it meant he might have an interesting story to tell her in a few months.
“So there you have it. An unexpected move, an old wound, and a leap into the unknown,” she summarized, sweeping the cards back into the deck. “You’re going to have a busy 2002.” Who’d have guessed his life would be quite so eventful?
“Nothing ventured, nothing pained,” Tali shot back. He made a face. This reading hadn’t made him quite so happy. And now he was also thirsty.
“What an unexpected response from a man in ten-year-old robes,” Jennie replied drily. No, Tali didn’t seem the type to rush headlong into anything, including but not limited to a clothing shop. “Do you reckon they’ll get their Hogwarts letter soon?” She smirked, amused by her own joke, then abruptly changed the subject when she spotted the last sands of the hourglass trickling down. “Ah, time’s up! Hope you enjoyed it. And don’t look so glum, the cards weren’t as bad as all that.” It was all in how you looked at it, really.
Urge to stick his tongue out at Jennie. Well, that wasn’t how you treat people. So he didn’t.
“Anywhere but Slytherin,” he said drily. “And I don’t think you’d tell me if they were worse.” He sighed and stood up with a wince. He’d forgotten he pulled a muscle over Christmas.
Jennie scowled when he impugned her honesty. “I’ll have you know I’m the honestest girl in the business,” she protested. OK, well, except on the rare occasions when it suited her to embellish her interpretation a bit. Like for Heidi MacDonald and the case of the missing shoes. But still, “I pride myself on not sugarcoating anything.” She handed him his coat. “What’s the point of paying for a reading if you’re just going to get watered down mush? Speaking of which…” She held out her hand.
Tali fished some money out of his pocket and counted out the correct amount. “Could have told me I’m going to be very rich soon and I’d part with all of this,” he said casually. “But I appreciate your integrity. Thank you.”
“I think people would catch on if I tried that with all my clients,” Jennie pointed out, pocketing his payment. “Come back in a few months and let me know how it all worked out.” She wasn’t sure if she would be seeing him again, at least for a reading, but if things unfolded as she’d said they would… There was always a chance.