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And Then There Was One
#1
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August 4th, 1888 — Black Lake, Hogsmeade Side
Adult heavily preferred
Loretta was sitting in the lake. On the shallow end near the shore but even so, she was in the lake. Loretta wasn't even quite sure how she had ended up here. She had been walking along the shoreline with her chaperone and then something had snagged at her dress. Loretta had jerked a little too hard, sprained her ankle and had ended up where she was now. Her dress was weighing her down and her injured ankle made it so that she couldn't quite move. The chaperone had gone for help since it wasn't like Loretta was going to drown but that didn't make any of this any less embarrassing.
#2
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Gilbert wasn't even sure where he was going. He had set out some hours ago on a walk after he had simply been unable to sit still listening to his worried sister one minute more. Movement helped his brain focus on all of the many ideas he had knocking about his brain. However, by the time he had reached the lake, he had entirely filled up a crumbled scrap of paper he had stashed in his pocket and was now just walking for the hell of it.

Gil almost strode right past the woman who was sat, fully clothed, in the lake. With a loud "Hrmmm!", the young man quickly back pedaled and strode his way over to the shoreline, "Hello there, Miss!" He called out, his legs still fidgeting despite the fact he was no longer going anywhere. "Going for a quick swim?" It wasn't a mocking question, moreso a curious one.


[Image: BorPlA.png]
By Hawke! <3
#3
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Loretta was taken back momentarily by what she personally took to be a mocking question. Any other context for it would make it a stupid question and Loretta liked to believe that other people had some sort of wits about them. "Of course not. I sprained my ankle. My maids gone for help and I would greatly appreciate if you could help me instead of mocking me," she was quite close to tears from both pain and embarrassment. The man didn't need to mock her and add to it.
#4
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Gil's mouth immediately formed into an unspoken 'O' when Loretta explained that she had actually hurt herself and wasn't intentionally swimming. He had never swam with a woman, and his rational thoughts often didn't catch up before his mouth had spouted out the first thing that came to it.

"I'm so sorry. I didn't realize..." He flailed his beanpole arms about as he struggled to explain. Suddenly, he found himself splashing into the water with his boots still on his feet, the bottoms of his pants getting soggy. "I wasn't trying to mock you. I really thought--" He blabbered on without realizing he probably sounded like a lunatic to someone who didn't quite know him.

"Did you fall in? I've done that before. The rocks can be right slippery. Do you think you could walk if I assisted you, or would you like me to carry you?"

He came on a little strong without meaning to, but he was quick to act, at least, now suddenly by her side.


[Image: BorPlA.png]
By Hawke! <3
#5
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Loretta was taken by surprise when the man just came splashing into the water. Her cheeks turned red because this was unseemly somehow, right? She really wasn't sure what was going on but then again, did she ever?

"I did," she confirmed when he asked if she had fallen in. Her eyes widened when the man asked if she would like him to carry her. "Oh, merlin no! I am much too tall for that anyhow, I think I can get by with assistance." Which she was also not sure of since, well, he was a man.
#6
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It wasn't until Loretta spoke again that he realized that he probably shouldn't have just charged into the shallow part of the lake uninvited. It wasn't the proper thing to do, and he could already hear Teddy chastising him for his actions. He always seemed to react before his rational thoughts caught up, but it was too late now.

Instead, he found himself growing awkward when the young woman's response reached his ears. Perhaps, he shouldn't have asked if she needed to be carried. The amount of times he wished he knew when to bite his tongue were too numerous to keep track of.

"If you just grab my arm, then, I could help you to your feet, then, Miss--?" He trailed off on the last word, half wondering if she would supply her name. Either way, he had already reached his arm down, allowing her to choose whether or not she would like him to help her up.


[Image: BorPlA.png]
By Hawke! <3
#7
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That much she was willing to do, at least. "Oh, how rude of me," she said, as if they were at some event instead of wallowing in the lake. "I'm Miss Loretta Browne." She used his arm for help herself up and oh, the pain in her ankle! It sent her leaning haphazardly against the man in a way that made her blush. "I'm so sorry!" This was the most awkward and embarrassing thing ever!
#8
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"I'm delighted to make your acquaintance, Miss Browne," he replied in the same rushed manner the rest of his speech seemed to be in. "I'm Mr. Gilbert Whitechapel," Gil offered, the formalities making him sound a bit awkward as if he were reciting something practiced. Which, he was, really. Theodore and his father had made sure that he could at least function semi-politely in society.

When Loretta ended up leaning into him, he grew even more awkward than usual and started blabbering, "It's alright, Miss Browne! Can't be too easy to walk on that foot of yours. Shall we take it nice and slow? We can at least get you up onto the shore to await the return of your maid." He wasn't used to a female being so close. It was as if the situation didn't compute in his mind, and he tried to pretend like he was just helping out a mate who'd been injured in quidditch or some other activity.


[Image: BorPlA.png]
By Hawke! <3
#9
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"Yes, please. I think I'll be just fine once I'm on shore and can properly use my wand." If it wasn't all drenched, that was. Which, she realized, it probably was. Oh Merlin. "I'm so sorry. My height must be making this worse." She was tall and gangly, in her personal opinion. This would likely be a whole world easier for him if she was one of those tiny, dainty debutantes.
#10
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Gilbert shrugged his shoulders as he slowly helped Loretta make her way toward the shore. "You're just the right height." He answered, practically. They were fairly close in height, which allowed them both to walk normally, aside from the woman's inability to put full weight on her ankle. He didn't have to stoop down, which was always a plus.

"Alright, just a little further, going up the hill a little now," he commented, deciding talking her through the ordeal would make him feel much less awkward. Once they had ascended the small incline, he paused, unsure if he should still help keep her upright, or if she'd be best sitting down.


[Image: BorPlA.png]
By Hawke! <3
#11
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Well, that was nice to hear considering she generally couldn't seem to do anything right. She couldn't even go for a nice walk along the shore right. "Yes, thank you so much for your help," she said as she managed to get to the shore thanks to his help though the small incline was a bit of an issue given her injured ankle. "I think I need to sit," she said, lowering herself to the ground awkwardly.
#12
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Gilbert helped lower Lorette to the ground, being sure to boot any sticks or rocks out of the way that would make her rather uncomfortable. "Yes, that is probably best. It would do to walk on a hurt ankle."

Procuring his wand from his sleeve, Gilbert knelt down next to her. Despite working at Hogsmeade Hospital, he was the furthest thing from being a healer, but he knew a few other tricks to at least help make her feel more comfortable. "I cannot heal your ankle out of fear of making it worse, but would you like me to dry you some while we await the return of your maid?"


[Image: BorPlA.png]
By Hawke! <3
#13
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Loretta was quite grateful for the help the young man had offered to her throughout this ordeal. Settled reasonably comfortably on the ground, she considered the young mans offer for a moment before nodding. "That would be quite helpful, thank you," she said. She was sure that her maid would be along soon to get her out of this predicament. She had been embarrassed enough today and was quite ready to be home in her own room.
#14
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The young man smiled when she agreed to accept his help. Pointing at her wet clothing and shoes, he cast a simple drying spell to hopefully keep the chill away while they awaited the reappearance of her maid. "Is that, at least, a bit more bearable, Miss Browne?"


[Image: BorPlA.png]
By Hawke! <3


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