Did you know?

The Language of the Flowers was a popular method to express feelings where words might be improper, but did you know other means of doing so? Some ladies used their parasols, as well as their fans, gloves, and hankies to flirt with a gentleman (or alternatively, tell them to shove it!). — Bree

— Submit your own —

Iola Hitchens for Elladora Black. The Blacks' black sheep.
This boy, then. He wasn't new. Wasn't one of the worst people in the common room, those rotten rich boys - like Mr. Jailkeeper - who could not fathom a world beyond their own farts. Was a good working class lad, so he'd heard. Had a bit of a weird looking face, and a bit of a weird thing for preaching. Still.

Aubrey Davis in The Under-Sofa

— Nominate a quote —

Post at least once with the same character every day for a month.


Out of the Fog and Memories
November 4, 1888 - Outskirts of the Swallowbury District, Irvingly

For the month that followed the incident with Mr. Delaney Nimiane had been shaken. It felt like her engagement all over again. Hope and love built up on a foundation of lies that could only hope to crumble, like a house built on sand. She had known better and yet she had still dove into it.

What scared her the most was the fact that the three days she had spent with Mr. Delaney had been the happiest that she could ever remember. Happier than her engagement, happier than her stories, happier, even, than her childhood. No amount of stories and writing could take away the knowledge that love of her own was more dear than the love she wrote for a character. She would know, for in the month that had passed she had buried her thoughts in Magdalene's story and had even started several new stories as well. Notes and half written phrases were littered across the writing desk in the parlor and yet it didn’t take away the knowledge that the happiness wasn’t truly there. Had it ever been?

She should have felt more happiness and success in the fact that just yesterday she had sent her final draft of Magdalene's story to her publishers and yet she felt hollowed out of all emotions. Worried about this latest development Nimiane had spent half the night up in her room writing , much to Marli’s disapproval. What sleep Nimiane did manage was restless and full of half formed thoughts and dreams she didn’t wish to dwell on when she woke.

Morning found her taking tea in the sitting room, a cream shawl wrapped around her sage green dress for the chill that had seeped into the room. Her fingertips were stained with ink from the night before and dark circles under her eyes had barely been covered by Marli’s careful hand. It didn’t matter there was no one to see her today anyway. There hadn’t been in a month. It seemed almost useless to have Marli carefully style her hair, but as Nimiane had every day of her life, she had sat still through the morning ministrations. Perhaps what she needed was a walk to the village, the cool air to clear her head and shake this feel of emptiness. Yes, that was what she needed.

Donning her dove gray cloak Nimiane set forth on the path from the cottage that led into the village. Insisting that she should go alone, she was grateful for the solitude. After all, she had nothing to ruin, why take a chaperon any more. Morning fog lingered this far from the village, making it hard for her to notice the shape of someone walking her way. But when she did she froze entirely unsure of what to do, for surely, sure that could not be Mr. Delaney making his way toward her.
Shawn had been at a bit of a loss of what to do following his days with Miss Belchant. He's been frustrated, a little bit angry, and even quite confused. He'd felt quite bad rushing away from her after the affects of the amorentia had worn off and he'd hardly left his study as a result. And then there had been Caro. He should have known she wouldn't have let him simply dwell on yet another lost love. If it was even love. He couldn't be sure anymore, especially thanks to the turn of events about the letters. Why would anyone have even thought he needed to be paired with anyone? It almost felt a cruel joke after all he'd been through during his time in Britain.

So he'd thrown himself into his work as he was apt to do. He'd worked tirelessly trying to secure the deals for the new shipyard in London. It didn't matter how hard he worked though, the deals weren't going to be finished in time to leave before the winter seas became an issue. It didn't look as if they'd be spending Christmas in Boston this year after all. Not to mention a certain dark haired beauty kept distracting him by coming back into his thoughts. And during one evening after imbibing a bit much on some bourbon, he found himself in Caro's company and unable to get away from her. She made it quite clear that he needed to pull his head out from the water and do something about the obvious feelings that still seemed to linger. He'd finally gotten her to leave when he said they'd be staying in London through at least the spring and then he'd been left with his own thoughts.

Was there more to what he felt for Miss Belchant?
Had there been a grain of truth to the love tainted letters?
Or was it all just curiosity of what could have been?

It took a few more weeks but Shawn finally decided he needed to at least speak with her. And in person. He needed to apologize, even. Surely she was struggling herself, right? Or maybe she'd forgotten and moved on the moment he'd all but fled from their picnic. He didn't know but he needed to know.

Dressed in a simple black suit with no embellishments, he followed the familiar pathway that lead up to her cottage. He'd forgone flowers this time, unsure if they'd be welcomed or not. He had been rehearsing what he'd say the whole way there, walking a bit slower than usual out of fear and worry for how this interaction was going to go. But then he found himself face to face with the woman that had plagued his thoughts, and even his dreams, since he'd left her a month prior. All words he'd rehearsed in his mind fled him in that very moment as he took the sight of her in.

The morning fog cast an eeriness around her but there was no mistaking the dark hair or big dark eyes staring at him. "Miss Belchant," he said simply, American accent tentative as he regarded her from a close but still respectable distance, "I thought perhaps we might need to talk."

Help me, it's like the walls are caving in
Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I just can't
it isnt in my blood
Coding thanks to Lynn!
There was no mistaking the voice, the deep accented tones that had briefly held in their thrall. Despite it all her heart sped up at the simple sound of his voice, thumping nervously in the confines of her chest. “Mr. Delaney.” Nimiane greeted politely, her quiet voice seeming to fill the air between them as his gray eyes regarded her. What ever was he doing here? Nimiane’s mind tumbled and tripped with thoughts as she tried to maintain a demeanor of calm, despite her stomach leaping and her heart’s unsteady beating.

It seemed in impossible that after a month Shawn Delaney would return to her doorstep, for surely that was the only place he could have been headed down this path. He looked almost as haggard as Nimiane felt herself. Lines etched into his forehead and his eyes more gray than blue. Nimiane wasn’t sure what to make of all of this and at his comment she could only nod before remembering herself.

Certainly.” Her own voice agreed tentatively, barely more than a whisper. They were “Would you like to speak inside?” She added, remembering to make her tone just a tad louder. Trying to remain polite despite her own confusing turmoil. How could she be happy and desolate to see him again? How could hope still build in her chest at the sight of him? There could be nothing more, surely he only wished to speak with her to say she’d never see him again. He could have left well enough alone in that case, she would have understood. But his appearance despite that only made her hope that he was like one of the gentleman in her stories, in the stories of the girl’s she heard and thus left her warring with herself.
Shawn nodded, grateful that she was agreeable at least to the idea of talking with him. He was nervous as all get out, fearful she'd have rejected him outright and sent him on his way. He wouldn't have blamed her, not in the slightest. Even if they had been under the influence of such a potent potion, he had still hardly acted the part of a gentleman. And then he'd waited so long to finally come and see her. He was surprised he wasn't being sent on his way with a slap to his face.

"Inside would be nice," he said softly, taking a few steps forward so he wasn't quite so far away but still far enough for propriety sake, "So long as your agreeable. I'll try not to take up too much of your time." He just needed to let her know that while he may have been infatuated with her initially against his will, it didn't change that he still felt a bit of something toward her. What it was exactly, he wasn't sure. Either way, he'd have his say and then be on his way. He didn't want to hold her up from whatever her own plans had been, especially if she didn't have any of the same inklings of feelings for him as he had for her.

Help me, it's like the walls are caving in
Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I just can't
it isnt in my blood
Coding thanks to Lynn!
Nimiane’s heart sped up. Her foolish heart. Her heart that knew better. But still it betrayed her with its rapid thumps in her chest as he agreed to come inside. Her breathe even caught in her lungs as he stepped forward. Surges of memories, half buried in her mind, burst forth of him approaching her, his warm hands taking her own and his breath mingling with her own. But he stopped a polite distance away. Trying to collect herself Nimiane gave him a small tentative smile and nod. “Certainly. I have nothing but time.” The words slipped unbidden over her lips and she turned back toward the cottage before he could see the pale pink blush spreading over her cheeks. It was true though. She had nothing but time. That was all that was left of her life in truth, unmarriable as she was. She had her writing and her stories to keep her company, but the hope of something more had sunk in and now she felt the minutes slowly passing her by as if she had had something to use them on but lost it.

She led them back toward the cottage, carefully on the dewey path that lead to the front door. Despite every rational thought in her mind she could not keep her traitorous heart from pounding. Breathe. She reminded herself as she quietly opened the door and led Mr. Delaney into the sitting room where they had first met. Nimiane turned to face him, trying to keep her face neutral, as if her heart and mind weren’t playing tricks on her.

Will you have time for a cup of coffee?” She asked, still remembering that he preferred coffee to tea. She had made sure that the staff picked it when Mr. Delaney had first told her and they still had some left. Turned out that her butler was overly fond of it. Nimiane still preferred her tea, but she couldn’t offer Mr. Delaney something she knew he did not prefer, no matter what the history was between them.
Shawn winced slightly at her words. She likely didn't do it on purpose or even mean to make him feel bad but the mention of having nothing but time hit him in a way he hadn't expected. He felt guilty, that was for sure, and it only seemed to hit home that much harder when he began to imagine how she'd spent all the time it had taken him to finally muster the courage to come and see her. He should have come sooner, should have actually listened to Caro, but he hadn't. And, as a result, he had no idea how badly he may have hurt the woman before her.

He followed her easily enough, knowing the path to the cottage rather well by now. He'd visited plenty during the amorentia hazed days so the path was all but seared in his mind. He was silent the entire time he followed her into her home and into the same sitting room he'd first seen her. He couldn't help but to watch her as they entered, taking note that he still felt the same strong feelings over her beauty even now. He may have initially been prompted by the amorentia but he couldn't deny that she was a rather beautiful woman. Not the typical beauty most would want but he wasn't the typical gentleman either.

He was surprised to hear her offer coffee as he stood near a chair waiting to sit. The surprise was evident in the widening of his eyes as he looked to her. "That would be lovely," he ended up saying, hoping his voice didn't falter or betray his own nerves. Surely the shock of being offered something that she knew he liked would cover any of that.

Help me, it's like the walls are caving in
Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I just can't
it isnt in my blood
Coding thanks to Lynn!
At her offer his eyes widened and she gave him a small almost mournful smile. She could chalk it up to all the lessons her mother had once given her on being a proper hostess, but Nimiane knew that it was more because she could not deny the fact she wanted to do something to make this man happy. Despite everything that had happened in those whirlwind three days. She nodded at his acquiescence, “Please, sit.” She gestured to the chair he stood near. “I’ll see if Mrs. Pattington will bring some in.” Before anything further could be said Nimiane slipped out of the room.

The moment she stepped into the hall that led to the kitchen she felt as if she could breathe for a moment. Her thoughts whirled wildly but she pushed them to the side and tried to focus on the current task. Coffee and tea. She could certainly handle that. She’d handled worse conversations over tea before. At least this one wouldn’t include an engagement ending for there had never been one in the first place.


Back in the parlor Nimiane gave Mr. Delaney a tentative smile. “It should only be a moment.” How her cook managed to make tea so quickly was something Nimiane could not quite understand. She knew magic was involved, but her own attempts to brew tea seemed to take much longer, granted that likely had to do with the magic.

Nimiane took a seat perched on the couch, letting the silence fall over them. Mr. Delaney had clearly come here to say something, it was only proper that she allow him the time to do so. Nervously Nimiane smoothed a hand over the green satin of her dress, the dark ink on them contrasting in a vivid manner that her mother had always hated. What would her mother have thought of this situation? She'd have told Nimiane to keep her chin up and expect nothing but the best. But what was left to expect in Nimiane's life. She supposed there really was only one thing that Mr. Delaney could want, although why he had waited for a month to do so was something she could not quite understand. Surely this was to tell her that there was absolutely nothing to remain of them. The very thought set Nimiane's traitorous heart thumping again barely concealing the fact that despite the irrationality of it, Nimiane wanted nothing more in that moment then to be wrong.
All Shawn was able to do in that brief moment of her asking him to sit and then saying she'd see about getting some coffee brought around was to nod mutely. It wasn't really like him to be without things to say. Though he was far from an overly talkative sort, he still never felt as though he couldn't speak. This was all out of his realm and had him decidedly quite off as a result. It was frustrating but certainly not at any fault of her own. If anything, Miss Bellchant was being the perfect hostess even if their circumstances were rather strained and awkward at the moment. Maybe he really shouldn't have come.

But as he settled in his seat and thought on it all, he knew he had to come. He had to at least let her know, no matter how she might feel, that he hadn't taken those days lightly in his thoughts. Even if they were a bit of a blur, he had enjoyed himself in those days and enjoyed her company. It was, perhaps, the first time he'd actually enjoyed the company of a woman since the days if Imogen. Which was really saying something. It had been years since he'd seen the woman he was supposed to have been married to in that moment. Instead, she was married to another and had a whole brood of children of her own. It had been a hard pill to swallow and one that still stung to even think of. It was also the reason why he'd hardly let himself get comfortable in London. There had been no reason to be there anymore. At least, that had been the case prior to meeting Miss Bellchant and now he was thoroughly confused and unsure of his future.

His thoughts were jarred back to reality as she reentered the parlor and moved to sit on the edge of the couch away from his own chair. Her smile was tentative at best and his own was quite similar as a result. Though he nodded to acknowledge her words, nothing but silence followed as he tried to gather his thoughts. They were erratic in that moment, unsure of where to start or what to really say. This could all go wonderfully or miserably. There was no way of knowing and that made him terrified. It was almost more terrifying than braving the seas during a winter storm.

"Look, Nim-," he paused, unsure if he should even call her by her first name still before correcting himself, "Miss Bellchant, I wanted to talk with you about those three days." Those three quite amazing days. "I hardly acted the part of the gentleman, at least, I'm sure I should have acted in a better manner. But that potion, it had a way of making me act without much thought." And he was beating himself up for that. He had never been the type to force anything on a woman, he'd been raised better than that. And, that was perhaps what worried him most. That he'd taken advantage of her in a moment she couldn't control either.

"I'm not the type of man to force affections or anything on a woman," he continued on, eyes falling to his own hands clasped together in his own lap, "And I just wanted to make sure you were okay. That I hadn't.. hurt you. I'm upset that someone would so willingly risk causing such things, not considering how the fall out could hurt those involved."

Help me, it's like the walls are caving in
Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I just can't
it isnt in my blood
Coding thanks to Lynn!

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