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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)
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Christmas In The Air
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24th December, 1888 — Magdalena's, Diagon Alley
December had been busy. The whole latter half of the year had felt busy, like time was rushing by, like his high spirits had sent the whole world into triple speed. Mediwizard work was always manic, but setting foot downstairs in the bakery in the mornings had very much the same effect: Maggie was always working tirelessly. He loved it, but what he loved most about the shape of his life was when they weren't working, when he didn't have to slip into bed after a late shift and she forced to slip out of bed far too early in the morning to fire up the ovens.

But it was Christmas Eve, and she had at last shut up shop, the scent of mince pies and festive food wafting up the stairs after her as she came into the bedroom. Lorcan looked up from where he had been splashing his face with the water in the hand-basin and beamed at her, pleased to steal even a little time with her. Doing away with the towel with a swift flourish, Lorcan ducked over to pull her in towards him by the hand, so that he could press a quick kiss to her mouth.

"I almost wish we weren't going to Ireland tomorrow, now," Lorcan said, with a wistful little grin. It might be his family he felt obligated to see - however rocky his relationship with the rest of the Connollys, there was no place like it on Christmas Day - but now that it finally looked as though he might have a quiet moment with Maggie, he wouldn't have minded spending all the holidays here alone with her, devoting the whole season to blissful selfishness.


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Maggie had known the holidays would make for a busy time in the bakery. She'd grown up in a bakery, after all. But being the owner and sole baker of the shop brought on a whole different sort of challenge. Mr. Beasley had been a great help in making sure she always had the large quantities of items she needed and the new help had definitely done their part. But, she had been made well aware that she needed to consider bringing in a second baker to help her out. They certainly would have been nice to have for that first holiday season. She'd somehow made it through though but was more than exhausted by the times she had managed to get upstairs to sleep.

Christmas Eve, however, meant for an earlier night. The shop would be closed at a decent time so that others could enjoy their evenings with their families. But most of all, so she could spend a nice long night with Lorcan. There hadn't been much time for such times together since they'd all but reconciled and come to find out the feelings were strong and real between them. And, with plans to go off to his family's home the following morning, she really needed a night spent with just him.

With a sigh as she wiped her hands off on her apron, she was sure she looked a sight as she stepped into their shared bedroom. Her face was flushed with the heat and exhaustion from the busy day and dusted with a good layer of flour and other spices. But a grin was quick to spread and match his own as he pulled her close and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. It allowed for her to taste a hint of the spices leftover from the day as she grinned up to him.

"As much as I'd love to stay right here in this room," she started, nodding her head to the bed, "In that bed, we both know we can't do that." She had yet to meet most of his family since the elopement debacle. He'd met his brother, learned that the flirtatious gene ran strong in the Byrnes, and met his cousin. That one hadn't gone over as well. But with her own bit of scandal behind an elopement, Maggie no longer cared much of what the petite red head thought of her. She reached up to brush off a smudge of flour on his cheek that had likely come from her own face, ignoring the many loose tendrils of her own hair that had fallen loose throughout the day.


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"Oh, but you don't really want to go," Lorcan protested, finding it hilarious and a little vexing that she was the one with better resolve than he, she was now trying to convince him about their obligations. He almost didn't want to subject her to the family - the Connollys were nothing, really, like her family, the only thing in common perhaps their close-knit nature (once close knit, he reminded himself: Maggie's family had had its own share of strife) - and if not for Maeve's unintended elopement overshadowing his, he might not have proposed it.

And, keen as he was to go, to still be a part of his family, there was this, here and now. Maggie mightn't have been what he imagined - anything like what he had imagined - but she was his family now, ready-made, her hand so warm against his face that she might have been pulled out from the ovens with her baking. She brushed something off his face and he, teasingly, blew lightly on her nose, watching the flecks of flour fly, before he pulled back and started coaxing another lock of her hair out loose, revelling in the way all the loose wisps made a frame around her face.  

"And I wouldn't mind," he argued; shamelessly, for the sake of it, his eyebrows waggling at her gesture towards the bed.


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Maggie laughed at his words, knowing full well he was right. It wasn't so much that she didn't want to meet his family but simply that she quite enjoyed when it was just the two of them. They didn't have many options for such, not with how busy the bakery was getting and the odd hours he was often stuck working. But this holiday meant, promised, time that just the two of them could share. She knew that and she longed for it. Unfortunately, she couldn't allow it. She didn't want to see him alienated from his family the way she had been. And though they were coming around, her mother had even stopped by the shop once, she knew that a large wound had been caused by her sudden elopement and subsequent shop opening.

She laughed again as he blew on her face, nose crinkling as she shut her eyes to avoid any of the flour bits getting in them, before smiling to him as he pulled at her hair a bit more.

"Want and need are two entirely different things though," she answered simply as she continued to rub her thumb against her cheek even though the flour bits that had been there were long gone now, "We have to, at the very least, make an appearance." They could do that at least, surely. "But then, maybe, after we've been there long enough we can come back here," she added, mimicking his own brow waggling as she tried not to laugh.


Marvelous MJ Masterpiece
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#5
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If he hadn't been so happy otherwise, he might have worried more about her first remark, the difference between want and need. Because she didn't really want to go to the Connollys. He did, of course, as much as he feigned his complaints about it now. But it was an obligation to her, and undoubtedly not one she expected to enjoy, good as she had been about agreeing for his sake, anyway. Lorcan held out some hope that that would change, in time, else...

He was too happy, though, buoyed by her presence - the only thing that really made the cramped upstairs of this house come alive - and the precious rareness of any moment with her, to care. "After we've been there long enough," Lorcan repeated, and he was grinning even as he argued, plaintively, "...How come I can never get you to come back here that easy? You spend long enough downstairs every day."

Lorcan knew why. She had to work. Running a bakery was hard work. (Harder when she did near all the work - too much of it - herself.) They needed to make a living how they could. Blah, blah, blah. It was not, perhaps, surprising that Lorcan had not spent a great deal of time prior to proposing this marriage trying to discern how they were going to make time to be married, given that they had never intended to be this kind of married at all, and also given that Lorcan was not much disposed to discerning anything.

Still, it was a bloody shame, and he wouldn't mind throwing away their Christmas Days if he had, well, any other days with her. How could he even put any effort in towards trying to be an attentive husband when she was scarcely ever around for him to give his attentions to?




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