Looking around the foyer, Mistoffelees Quaxo leaned against the marble banister, arms crossed over his chest. Perhaps it was not the most graceful or polite position, but he was on edge already.
Coricopat Zimmerman knocked on the door to Bustopher Jones' townhouse. A servant opened the door a moment later, "Yes?"
"I'm Coricopat Zimmerman with Bailey and Associates. I'm here to speak with His Lordship as regards his northern estates."
"Of course," The butler stepped aside to allow the lawyer passage. "I will let His Lordship know that you are here."
Mistoffelees straightened from where he was still at the top of the stairs. His position allowed him to hear and see who was coming in, without affording them the same. However, he waited until the Butler made it up the stairs to actually tell him someone was there before stepping out. "Mr. Zimmerman. The lawyer I presume?"
The solicitor's grey eyes moved up the stairs and he nodded, "Yes, sir. That's me."
He managed not to look displeased. "If you'll come with me then? My uncle can not be bothered today and asked me to deal with his business instead." He hoped he didn't sound quite as bitter as he might have felt over that.
Coricopat nodded very slightly, ascending the stairs, "But of course, sir." He knew better than to ask what Lord Jones was doing, it wasn't his business to know. Biting back the other questions that came to mind he finally reached the landing.
Mistoffelees glanced the other over before opening the door to the library, waiting for the other to walk through before closing the door behind them. Not that his uncle had bothered to tell him what this was about or anything. "If you'll sit? What exactly is the business today anyway?"
The lawyer took a seat, withdrawing papers from his briefcase, "Some final paperwork regarding the sale of some properties in the North. Two of the smaller plots of land I believe."
"Right," Mistoffelees said, sitting across from him. Why would that have been too hard to explain before sending him out to talk to the lawyer?
"Can you sign for him?" Coricopat set the papers on the small table between the chairs.
"I should be able to manage," he replied. He was fairly sure he shouldn't, didn't have that authority. But, if his uncle had pushed this off on him, forging would perhaps not go amiss.
"Perfect." He sorted through the papers, finding the ones that actually needed signatures, and withdrew a fountain pen from his inner coat pocket, holding it out to the other.
Mistoffelees blinked at the pen before taking it, looking over the papers quickly. "I assume you've already gone over this with my uncle then?"
"Several times. All we were meeting for today was for the signatures on the papers."
Mistoffelees nodded, reading them quickly. Coricopat watched him quietly, his tail tapping against his leg as he looked around the library. He couldn't recall having been in this room, usually he met His Lordship in the study.
Still reading, Mistoffelees shifted slightly. He'd been home in London for a month and his uncle was having him meet with the lawyer. He seemed nice enough, but the thought was enough to send the fur along his spine up. "Do you work with my uncle much?" he asked to break the silence.
"The firm I work for has seen to his business interests for as long as he has had the estate, if I recall correctly. I, myself only started working with his interests a couple of years ago."
Mistoffelees nodded. "You seemed surprised that I was the one doing his business. He doesn't do this often?"
Coricopat shook his head, "I don't believe I've ever met with someone other than him."
"Oh," Mistoffelees said, taking extra care with the flourish on the J.
"Then again, the only people he normally has to hand it off to are servants or his sister or daughter."
Mistoffelees' mouth twisted slightly. "Lovely. No offense to you, but I don't particular want him to make a habit of it."
"No, that's quite alright." Coricopat considered for a moment before finally asking the question that had been on his mind, "I don't believe I've seen you about before. Have you just returned home?"
"Yes," he said, looking over the final page. "Finished with all the schooling I'll be able to do, with an extended tour around Europe tacked onto that."
"Did you enjoy the Continent then?"
"Yes," Mistoffelees replied with a faint smile. "Have you ever gone?"
"Only to Northern France, I'm afraid, and only once."
The smaller tom nodded. "Well, Northern France can be quite lovely. I tend to be the type that's boring to travel with though-I just want to spend all day in the ruins. It didn't please my traveling companions."
"That actually sounds fascinating. There's never enough time for those sorts of things."
"No, there really isn't," Mistoffelees agreed with a small smile.
"You've had the chance to see some though I'm sure?"
Mistoffelees nodded. "More than my companions would have liked. Here," he said, handing the papers back over, and pausing as he remembered to cap the pen and hand that back as well.
Coricopat glanced over the papers, nodding slightly and accepting the pen again, "Thank you."
"I'm not entirely sure this is the sort of interaction you thank someone for, but you're welcome," Mistoffelees told him with a faint smile.
"It means that the business is completed, so I find that cause enough for thanks, sir," the lawyer returned the smile before placing the papers in his briefcase.
"I suppose so," Mistoffelees replied. "On the plus side, you did not have to actually deal with my uncle today, so you might consider that a bonus. I can see you to the door if you like?"
"I can see myself out, if you have other things to attend to."
Mistoffelees shrugged. "None other than being polite."
Cori rose, "Well, I'm certainly not adverse to it, if it's not bother."
Mistoffelees shrugged again before rising as well. "No bother, not really." Opening the door, he held it for Coricopat before heading for the stairs again.
The lawyer followed him quietly, his gaze flickering around the hall as they made their way to entry. Mistoffelees glanced back, following his gaze around the hall and his mouth thinned slightly. He never much liked his uncle's tastes in decor, and living surrounded by it was not helping said uncle's case much.
They descended the stairs, Coricopat pausing at the door, "Thank you again, sir. Take care."
"Take care yourself," Mistoffelees replied. "Good luck with the rest of your business today."
The taller cat slipped out of the house, closing the door softly behind him and returning to the business offices of his firm. Once he was gone Mistoffelees closed the door and leaned back against it, sighing softly back up at the staircase of the house. Luckily it was mostly empty, but that was depressing in it's own way. Shaking his head at himself, he slipped back upstairs to the library, closing the door after himself.
Back at the office of Bailey's Law Associates, Macavity Hollister was tossing what might have been former case notes into a basket across the room, looking more bored than he would dare if Bailey's door was open.
Coricopat entered, eying his friend warily before stepping through the line of fire and settling at his desk, across from Macavity's. The ginger tabby perked visibly at that. "Cor! You're back. How was the baron?"
"I didn't see him. His nephew dealt with the business today."
Macavity's eyebrows shot up. "His nephew. He has a nephew? He has a nephew that does his business? I feel like there's so much I've been missing."
"Apparently said nephew only just returned form school, followed by an extended tour of Europe."
"Huh," Macavity considered. "The gossip of this town has failed me. That is such a disappointment. Alright, well we know what the lordship is like, what's our new nephew like then?"
"Professional. He seemed a good deal less than thrilled with having to conduct his uncle's business."
"Well, you said he just got out of school? Young then, isn't he? What youngling wants to conduct their uncle's business?" Macavity shrugged. "Correction, noble youngling. Do they ever do anything besides sit pretty and read Latin?"
"Go to ruins." Cori responded absently as he went over the papers, pausing at the sight of the signatures. He'd only checked that there was a signature when he'd glanced through earlier.
"Ruins?" Macavity blinked and tossed a pencil at Coricopat's head. "That's different. Something the matter over there?"
The mottled top caught the pencil and stuck it in his desk drawer, "The signatures."
"What about them?" Macavity asked, his gaze following his pencil's disappearance. He'd have to break into Cori's drawer that night it looked like and recover his fallen pencils.
"They're His Lordship's."
Macavity blinked. "They weren't signed before were they?"
"No. I watched him sign these."
For a moment the ginger tabby paused before grinning. "Wait," he leaned forward, lowering his voice slightly so Bailey wouldn't hear. "You mean the kit forged Jones' signatures? Are you serious?"
"It certainly looks like it. Grab me one of the older contracts, would you?"
Macavity rose, finding one in the files and setting it beside Coricopat. The other lawyer withdrew one of the papers he knew Jones had signed and set it next to the latest contract for comparison. Macavity leaned over his shoulder and laughed softly.
"That is a very good forgery, especially from memory."
"So either he has an amazing memory, has a talent for forgery, or he's done this before," Macavity said, shaking his head.
"Or all three. This was not exactly what I meant when I asked if he could sign for his uncle."
Macavity laughed again, far too amused by the entire idea. "But he said he was sent to deal with it right?"
"He did. He didn't know what he was dealing with, but yes he did."
"Well, he seems to have dealt with it," Macavity said, still with a grin. "Not how I would have expected but there you go."
"Well, at least that's out of the way and I don't have to worry about whether or not I have to go back to get the baron's own signature."
Still chuckling, the ginger tabby returned to his own seat. "And you didn't even have to deal with the baron himself. I'm assuming the nephew was at least more charming?"
"He was decent enough. Not exactly what I'd expect of a nobleman's relative."
"Oh?" Macavity asked, a little too eager for gossip as usual.
"Nothing really of note, just not as egotistical as the ones I usually deal with."
"Interesting. I never even knew Jones had a nephew, and you know how the gossip mill treats Jones. Sometimes I think Hunt has a personal vendetta against the Baron but is unable to come out and say it in the newspapers. Point being, color me surprised here. Besides, I can't have heard that one right. Jones' blood relative isn't egotistical? I was sure it was in the blood."
"Apparently it's not. Do you recall anything Hunt has said in regards to Jones' sister?"
"Not really?" Macavity said considering. "I mean, he tends to leave the queens alone. Something about her being married at some point. She still wears black trimming on all her gowns."
"Hm, well, it's only the two of them as siblings, yes?"
"Yeah, so it's safe to assume it's her kit. Now you've got me all curious about him."
"He's nice enough, less ego than I expected, and apparently like old ruins."
"That just makes me more curious," Macavity informed him.
"Well, it's all I know," Cori informed him, frowning at him slightly.
"Well, now I'm going to have to go and snoop. There goes my evening plans," his partner told him with a grin.
"You could just leave off for once?"
"Naw, this sounds like too much fun."
"Oh for the love of God, Mac, get a life outside of gossip."
Macavity arched a slow eyebrow at him, as if questioning whether he really wanted Mac to pick up on his other extra circular activities.
"You know what? Forget I said anything. Just...you could find something else to do that was legal."
"But anything else is boring," Macavity protested.
"So be bored."
"But that's boring!" Macavity exclaimed, lobbing another pencil at the mottled tom's head.
Cori caught it, putting it in his desk drawer with the others he'd gathered. Macavity glared at him but it didn't last long as he laughed again. "Seriously Cor, you lack a life. All you do is work and other boring things."
"I like my life the way it is, thank you."
"But it's boring," Macavity protested.
"But I like it that way."
Macavity rolled his eyes. "There is just no help for you. Pass me the Smith file would you?" Coricopat located the file and handed it over to the other lawyer before turning back to his own work.
A rather short first chapter.
Victorian Verse is a story that's been gesticulating for the past eight months in the back of our minds. It's quite a bit different this time through though from the first draft we did of the first few chapters. Scenes that were supposed to be fluffy have turned out not to be so.
Victorian!Mistoffelees is especially interesting in that he has a completely different set of issues from most of my Misto muses, and does not suffer from insecurity issues like so many of them do. I still don't know how Mac is going to survive the Victorian era. But there's a reason this is a story set in 1896! Late Victorian era for a reason, and not just because I want to reference a ton of Victorian literature in this story.
I am very excited for this story for a lot of reasons, as there are some pretty interesting and different characterizations for us. There's also going to be several OCs running around this story, either to fill roles or just because they originated off of Felidae 1925 our RP we run and that we liked enough to import them.
Cheers all, and we hope you enjoy the story!