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Cosmo Zabini for Calliope Riley.
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Her niece's humility was an admirable thing and had the added advantage of leaving Temperance feeling as though she was constantly rendering Blythe dumb with her words of wisdom and encouragement.Temperance Fairchild in Messiah
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Save Me From This Lullaby
Ace handed her, his water, she could see it in his eyes - the pity. It was the same as everyone else. But she gave him a small broken smile. “Thank you.” She murmured, unsure if it was for the water or his sympathy, but still the tears threatened, one even escaping down her cheek.

It was mortifying, crying at a ball. Lucy looked away, discreetly brushing away the tears that threatened to spill over her lashes, a pink blush creeping into her cheeks. She took a deep breath as her mother had always coached her and turned back to Ace, putting on a brave smile.

See? I told you I’d dampen your evening.” She determined bravely, a small sniff punctuating her statement. “I apologize. You didn’t want to hear all that.” Her training kicked in with her embarrassment and she was quick to try and change the subject. “How is your sister finding married life?” Lucy had attended the former Miss Lukeson’s wedding to Mr. Nott but she had almost felt the bride thought herself to be at a funeral. Lucy understood exactly what she imagined the woman to be feeling now.

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Thank you MJ for an amazingly Lucy set!
Those tears, he did worry that his sister had shed tears like those. Trapped in a marriage she had never wanted. Ace nodded to the thanks, though not sure where it was directed at. The sympathies or act of kindness? He couldn't be sure.

He knew society expected her to hide her upset, but he didn't feel it necessary. It was an overwhelming situation at best, and a miserable one at worse. And it seemed that the young Miss Flint had found herself at the latter option.

"I wouldn't say that. With everything else that has happened, this feels quite normal by comparison." The bite, his mother coming back, his cousin being cursed to be deformed because of a mistake the two of them had made, it was really abnormal and overwhelming. But she only knew about two of those things. Maybe one, did she hear about his cousin?

From the topic of one arranged marriage to another. He found himself holding in a grimace. "She's... adjusting." That was the politest way he could find to describe it. Miss Flint's and Avril's situations felt all too similar.

Magic by Elaine!
"Oh?" Lucy tried to consider what Ace might have meant. She suspected he was mentioning his family, after all they had gone through the death of their parents last summer to the mother's survival and kidnapping. Then there was the marriage of his sister. Lucy felt certain that she had heard something else this summer, but she couldn't place her finger on it. She had been so caught up in her own situation that the situation of a past classmate hadn't truly stuck with her.

Adjusting. A polite way of saying she was as miserable as Lucy suspected she would be. "I hope she…" Lucy paused trying to find the right word, her mind still foggy with her own discomfort. "Finds happiness in her new role." Lucy finished, meaning the words with utmost sincerity.

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Thank you MJ for an amazingly Lucy set!
"Yes. My families losses, my mother's miraculous - though shocking - return, Avril's arranged marriage, and my cousin's accident. The last of which I do, with deep regret, have had some involvement in. A potions accident." His turn to confide in her. He thought the arrangement portion of Avril's marriage was public knowledge, though it might have been confined to the dredges of Witch Weekly.

Ace gave a grateful smile. With all of the wedding stuff happening, it had felt that the only people concerned with Avril's feelings were Ace, their mother, and their siblings. As well as Uncle Hubert and his branch. But still, it was very nice for someone not of the family to express an interest in his sister's feelings. It was... touching. "Thank you."

Magic by Elaine!
As Ace spoke Lucy felt less and less self-conscious for her own outburst. Since they left school it seemed that Ace had a rougher lot in life than Lucy. The fact that Lucy had only just stumbled on misfortunate paled when she considered everything Ace told her. She had heard of his mother’s return to them, the case involving her disappearance, the arranged marriage of the eldest daughter, but she had not heard about his cousin. “I’m so sorry. Is your cousin alright?” Lucy reached toward him without thinking, only noticing that he seemed to be upset himself. He really did deserve better company than herself.

How are your other sisters handling all the changes?” Lucy had met the youngest sisters only a few times, once at the wedding this summer. She still remembered meeting one of the younger ones last summer. She had seemed such a sad little thing then. Lucy could only wonder how she was holding up with all these changes.

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Thank you MJ for an amazingly Lucy set!
He was not attempting to make her problems feel any lesser. He didn't see them as lesser. Not in a belittling sort of way. More of, at least her problems could possibly get better. Miss Flint's hand on his was a comfort. He didn't draw away, or make a note of it verbally. "He's fine physically. Still adjusting though. The potion left him deformed. His mother isn't much of a help, a bit too judgemental if you ask me. But I try to be there for him."

And there she went again, taking an interest in his sister's wellbeing. Something he didn't expect from others, but appreciated very much. "Jolie has been distant. Sybille... she's mad at me. I didn't tell anyone besides the aurors when I originally found out about our mother. In case it was not true." And the werewolf thing. She was also mad about the werewolf thing.

Deformed. A soft gasp left Lucy’s lips unintentionally. “I’m so sorry.” She could hardly imagine what guilt Ace must be feeling if he had played a part in this. She squeezed his hand gently, surprised that he had not pulled it away. Her blue eyes looked into his trying to show him her silent support. “Are you alright?” Concern layered her question.

They’ll come around. Sisters always do.” Or at least Lucy thought sisters ought to. Her closest experience to sisters was Nora, Helga, and her cousins and on that last one Bella still had not. Although Lucy never had quite understood why Bella hadn’t confided in her and let her help. “You were only trying to protect them.

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Thank you MJ for an amazingly Lucy set!
The gasp made him hesitant. Wondering if he shouldn't have mentioned his cousin. But those thoughts were quickly diminished when she spoke. He watched her, seeing her sincerity. "I'm... I'm in shock. It's quite overwhelming."

He smiled a little at her reassurance. "I do hope so. I hope they see my reasons and view them as good ones." He admitted. This was really the first time he had ever really talked to someone about this. It felt nice to get this sort of thing off of his chest.

Magic by Elaine!
Lucy wondered if anyone had taken the time to see how he was doing, to make sure he was okay. His response suggested no one had. “If you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here.” Lucy knew what it was like to suffer quietly when no one thought you ought to. Or at least she thought she did, maybe not to the extent he had, but her own family had been touched my enough scandals to feel she ought to be able to relate, or at least lend a sympathetic ear.

I’m sure they will.” Lucy assured him.

It was then that she realized her hand was still on her own. Lucy blushed and quickly brought it back to grab her drink. What had she been thinking? She was getting married in only a few months. What did he think of her forwardness? Lucy looked up at him under her eyelashes. He probably thought her a harlot for being so forward. But she had only wanted to help ease his pain.

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Thank you MJ for an amazingly Lucy set!
His mother tried, she really did. But she had her own coping to handle. And Avril... well she was busy with trying to adjust to her own life. Their younger siblings needn't be put through having to comfort their older brother. Aunts and uncles had their own lives, with varying ideas of how to help anyway. "Thank you. You are very kind."

She pulled her hand away, which did distract him a little from her words. There was a sense of... disappointment? It was a comfort. Then he blushed a little at truly thinking on the matter. Actually blushed. He glanced around a little, curious as to see if anyone actually noticed. No, too busy enjoying themselves. He didn't think less of her. And with that, he looked back at her and smiled a little once more.

Lucy was surprised to see Ace’s cheeks turning pink as well. She looked back down at the glass of water he had given her and took a small sip. An idea suddenly coming to her. She wasn’t as dizzy anymore and she didn’t want to leave him on a sour note.

I think we both need something to cheer us up.” She determined with a bright smile, despite the warmth in her cheeks. “Would you mind a dance?” It was awfully forward of her ask him, but she found that she didn’t want their conversation to end. She wanted it to continue to linger in its oddly comforting presense.

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Thank you MJ for an amazingly Lucy set!
He didn't want to leave her side either. Despite the stressful topics, he was having a nice time. It was nice to talk to someone. To admit how stressed he really was.

The bright smile of hers was contagious, as it brought one to his face as well. The forwardness was quite refreshing, to be honest. "I would like that very much."

Magic by Elaine!
At his words Lucy’s smile broke widely across her face. She stood up, a hand on the table to steady herself just in case the world decided to start spinning again. With her other hand she reached out to him, the white silk of her gloves brushing his fingers. “Shall we?

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Thank you MJ for an amazingly Lucy set!
Ace had a smile of his own to accompany hers. He took her hand and stood as well. "We shall."

Magic by Elaine!

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