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Catherine Smith for Percival Adlard Jr..
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This would have been very disturbing anyway but then Pet's eye popped out and started rolling along the bottom of the boat. Great. Maybe she would be so fortunate as to have a kraken surface nearby and pluck her off the ship with one of its tentacles and kindly drown her. Petra Sleptova in Land, Ho!
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I Had a Heart
December 23rd, 1889 - Hogsmeade Christmas Market

It's time to start over and move on.
My grandma keeps going on about the New Year.
She says "you can't miss what you forget."

Historically, the charm of the holidays brightened Melody's mood considerably. Her mother organized beautiful decorations for their home, her siblings were all reunited under the same roof, and everyone was simply happy to be together. It was by far her favorite time of the year. That was, at least, every year but this one.

Maybe it was due to her impending marriage to a stranger or her run ins with Ben over the summer, but she felt heartbroken and vulnerable all over again. The joy of the holiday's couldn't extend deep enough into her spirit to allow her to enjoy it. All Melody felt was an increasing level of dread with every passing day. It was far too late to find a suitor she could reasonably enjoy building a life with, and Ben. Melody couldn't even recount what transpired in the shack without wanting to break down all over again.

She wandered through the Hogsmeade Market with an enthusiastic Mrs. Bradley in tow. They stopped randomly at various stalls so the older woman could search for the perfect trinket. Judging by the older woman's excitement, grandchildren had to be a joy to be around. Melody, however, was shopping solely for the promise of mulled wine at the end. Maybe that's how she would get through this Christmas - drunk.

They paused at another stall, this one housing different spiced candies, when Melody spotted Lis' brother. A warm, fuzzy feeling blossomed in her stomach as she gazed at him. When had they last spoken? He hadn't been home when she visited Lis earlier in the month. October, maybe? She pulled Mrs. Bradley away from the cinnamon candies and walked over to him. "Mr. Adlard! How lovely it is to see you. Did Felicity join you today?"

Beautiful set credit goes to MJ
[Image: rVeL1F.png]
Percy had found himself with some time of his hands and had, rather on a whim, headed to the Christmas Market set up in town rather than staying in and reading a book. As much as he enjoyed reading he had done an awful lot of that lately. To the point where every time he considered settling down in his sitting room book in hand he heard Lissy or Cat telling him he needed to get out more. So he had. He’d gone to the market and was now pursuing the stalls for some last minute gifts. It never hurt to get a little something extra for everyone.

His attention, however, was taken from the stall of scarves he was looking at by a voice. Glancing up, Percy noticed Lissy’s friend Miss Finch heading toward him. He’d had always felt the fondness toward Miss Finch that welled in his stomach, had he not? The same type of fondness he felt for all the friends he knew Lissy was close with. They watched over her, made her happy, how could he not feel a fondness for them in some way. Not unlike the fondness of a cousin, he imagined.

Good afternoon Miss Finch.” Percy bowed in greeting giving her a smile. Last he had seen of Miss Finch was at his father’s when she had visited for a supper with Lissy - an ill disguised match making attempt in his opinion. But her company then had been enjoyable enough, although he doubted she felt much the same about himself.

Unfortunately she did not.” In fact Percy hadn’t even thought to ask her to accompany him, especially since he was still looking for a gift for her in particular. “What brings you to the market today?” He added.

Wonderful set is a work of art from Lynn!
Lis' absence was disappointing but not entirely unexpected. With an ailing parent and a job to work, Melody couldn't very well think Lis was free to wander the market as she pleased. "I'll have to visit her another day." She commented easily. The Season was mostly over now, freeing Melody from the majority of her obligations as a debutante. There would be parties to attend for the New Year, of course, but not the chaotic calendar to attend to otherwise.

Not that she would have another year of it, though. This time next year she would be miserably settled into her marriage with a probable swollen stomach. Everything that she was signed away with one fell swoop.

"Oh, I was wanting to go for a walk. There's too much going on at home." All her siblings were home for the holiday, causing the usually quiet house to be deafeningly loud. Melody could hardly wait for January when they would be gone once more and she would be left to her thoughts. "And you?"

Beautiful set credit goes to MJ
[Image: rVeL1F.png]
I’m sure she would enjoy a visit from you.” Percy said easily enough, afterall his sister, while busy, was ever the social being. And, Percy thought, could use time with the living. Time with their father was bad enough, time with their ailing father was not something that Lissy should have to endure without the reprieve of people her own age.

It highlighted just how much Percy did not know of Lissy’s friend when she explained wanting to get out of the house. While his sister was a social creature it had never really occurred to him that all of her friends might not also be the same. But like he was to Quin, Percy supposed not all friends reflected each other. Miss Finch indeed sounded rather like himself when he had lived at home. “That I can understand.” Percy nodded, often seeking solitude himself, something he was sure Lissy had impressed on Miss Finch in the years the ladies had been acquainted.

Ah,” Percy started with a chuckle, “I admit I’m rather in a bind. I’ve yet to find a gift for Felicity.” He looked at Miss Finch, wondering if perhaps she might like some company given how cheerful she had been to greet him. “Perhaps you might wish to assist me?” He asked with a smile, finding that he didn’t dislike the idea of them spending more time together.

Wonderful set is a work of art from Lynn!

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