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Blues in the Night

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Jensen pouts in London.

He pouted in Paris. And Milan. And Tokyo. And Dubai. And New York City.

The pout remains fixed on his face throughout his appointment at Lock & Co. He can’t even enjoy a new hat from the city’s oldest and best hat maker. William went with a fedora this time, as Jensen had a trilby made on his last visit. Typically, William’s professional demeanor calms Jensen down.

“Should’ve gotten a Panama hat,” Chel mutters from her perch on a cushioned guest lounge. “That one looks the same as all your others.”

William reacts in his own, British way with a harrumph and cold silence.

“Let Master work.” Margo’s deep Russian accent breaks in for the first time since they entered the shop an hour ago. Her commanding cerulean eyes pierce the soft lighting in the fitting room. “You make hats often?”

Not one for words, William nods.

Margo nods in return. She's not one for lengthy responses either. They’ve reached an introvert's understanding.

Chel rolls her eyes and continues to try on the samples on display. There had only been three out in the beginning, but as time went on, William’s patience had started to wear thin. He fished out a few additional hats and left them on the lounge. Chel keeps going back to a millinery hat--classic in design, pink in color, with an intricate, exquisite black band.

Jensen owns a similar piece in robin’s egg blue.

This fedora was an impulse item, spurred by a desire to cheer himself up. He placed the order for it while still in Dubai. There is no shortage of fine tailors and hat makers in Dubai, but Jensen made a solemn oath. He is a lifetime customer of Lock & Co. Hatters. His lifetime might exceed that of the majority of Lock & Co.’s clientele, but all the better for their business.

These are not just any high-end hats. They are celebrated items of fashion and functionality. From bold leather-trimmed helmets to gorgeous embroidered velvet caps, there is a hat for every occasion. William translates his talent into timeless masterpieces. No one in the world can rival his expertise. Jensen pays him handsomely for the time and the privilege to sit after hours.

Without conversation, Jensen focuses on William’s hands. Eighty-five years of human life show themselves in those hands. Jensen looks down at his own. Seventy-three years of immortal life hide underneath twenty-six years of human life.

His hands will never know a single wrinkle. Not one age spot, not the slightest thinning of skin.

He had wanted that for Eustice.

“Sir,” William announces, as he has for the past sixty years of their acquaintance. “Your hat is ready.”

Jensen pays William’s rent for the next six months, plus the cost of the hat. He was going to do three, but it is an excellent hat.

Outside, Jensen’s pout diminishes. Margo carries the hat box and Chel whines about London. She was made for warmer climates--for lush, humid nights in Cuba, Puerto Rico, or the Dominican Republic.

“Then go,” Jensen murmurs, tilting his hat. He winks at Chel. “I’m not stopping you.”

Mischief burns in Chel’s eyes. “And leave you here? Looking like that? I don’t think so.”

The unmatched reputation for service and quality does not go unappreciated by their party. St. James’s district offers itself up to their wallets and amusement.  Numerous clubs, restaurants, and shops stay open early into the morning to assuage the heartbroken and the bored.

It’s all about knowing where to look.