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"Angelica" Warrington for Myles Warrington.
I hold my peace, sir? no; No, I will speak as liberal as the north; Let heaven and men and devils, let them all, All, all, cry shame against me, yet I’ll speak.
He has touched my ankle and seen me with my hair down (not intentionally, of course!), so I'm pretty sure I already know what it feels like to be married.Helga Scamander in Helga's Boy Book
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27th July, 1890 — Ari & Dionisia’s House, Bartonburg
@Dionisia Fisk
Funny how the time flew, how days became weeks became months and in the blink of an eye their son was more than a year old. Still, he remembered well how things had been little more than a year and a half ago, and for the most part he was grateful for how his life looked now.

The rest of him, naturally, was still wading through the guilt of it.

But this evening had been almost a dream, his shift over early enough to spend some time with Elliott before putting him to bed, and Elliott evidently so tuckered out by the nanny that there had been no time for tears. He had lingered a while in the darkened nursery, enjoying the peace in there and the gentle rise and fall of his breaths.

When Ari padded back out, busy undoing a button on his shirtsleeves to roll them up more relaxedly, he met Dionisia on the landing with a fond smile. They were so often like ships in the night, with her shifts nowadays. “He must have been exhausted,” he said softly to her, so that she could revel in this too, “- he was out like a light.”

Pulling the door a little more closed behind him and beckoning her over towards one of the other rooms so that he could speak a little louder, Ari added conspiratorially: “We’d better make the most of it, hadn’t we?”

(He was thinking he might start reading a new book, himself.)
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   Elsie Beauregard, Frida Lestrange

A good mother always put her child first, but Dionisia was not a good mother. She was good at pretending to be, and although she loved her son, she struggled to bond with him in the way she'd once envisioned a mother should bond with her child. Perhaps it because he was a bastard, and she was afraid that he would one day grow to look like his father—his biological father—instead of either of them. Perhaps she resented him for forcing her to marry a man who deserved so much better than a sham marriage.

Ari didn't love her. (Well, that wasn't right. He loved her in a way nobody had ever loved her before: not romantically, but more than family. They had a partnership built around their shared love for little Elliott, even if Dionisia struggled to understand how a man could take so easily to raising a child who wasn't his own.) He'd never wanted to be with her, though, at least in that way.

She wasn't sure if he wanted him that way either.

Ari was handsome and he was kind. He was everything she'd once imagine she wanted in a husband—if she was ever to marry. It was only the circumstances of their marriage that prevented her from harboring romantic feelings for him. She didn't deserve his love. She didn't deserve him in her life at all. But there he was, standing in front of her on the landing, minutes after putting their—her—son to bed for the night while she was still dressed in her work uniform.

She smiled at him and opened her mouth to bid him goodnight, but was taken aback by his sudden beckoning. What did he mean, "make the most of it"? He couldn't possibly... no. Ari didn't want her, nor had he ever wanted her before. Not like that. Of course, from a realistic perspective, he couldn't have been thinking of anything else, could he? He was her husband, whether they'd intended to marry or not. There were no other women in his life from her knowledge, and simply because they hadn't consummated their marriage before didn't mean they never would.

Her stomach twisted with discomfort, and yet she felt compelled to follow him, if only to figure out what he meant. She entered the door behind him, her brows having unconsciously furrowed with confusion.

"I suppose we haven't had much time for it, have we?" she said, because it was the only thing she could say without turning bright pink.

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   Elias Grimstone

lovely set by Lady!
Ari fought the urge to raise an eyebrow at her response. He felt her sentence would have made more sense if it had just ended agreeing that yes, we haven't had much time. Either of them, individually, given all the parenting; ‘for it’ threw the sentence off a little strangely. What was she talking about? But maybe he’d misheard. 

At any rate, she’d followed him towards his room, so at least they didn’t have to whisper now. “By the time Elliott’s in bed, I’m usually half-asleep myself,” Ari remarked lightly, trying to keep his confusion to himself. He stepped towards her in order to reach around her to the bookshelf behind her, having intended on showing her the book that had been sitting there for a month or two, still unread; he thought she might be interested in it too. That said - the closer he got to her, the more disconcerted she suddenly seemed to be.

Strange. Ari had presumed they had been getting along quite well as the unlikely housemates they were.

“Though I suppose you’d still rather catch up on sleep than anything else?” He added, pausing where he was to survey her; because the irregular mediwitch shifts she had were by all accounts more exhausting than his days, even when she finished at nightfall. He knew he’d been just the same when he was younger - and still, he worried that Dionisia worked herself too hard.

Dionisia smiled, but it didn't reach her eyes. She watched him carefully, examining his every move, and finding herself more surprised at his casualness than anything else. Had Ari forgotten about their arrangement? Had he finally decided that their marriage ought to be more than just a show? She doubted it in the back of her mind; she hadn't gotten as much as a peck on the lips from his since their wedding day, and he'd only touched her with the fondness of a family member or friend since.

It was because of this that she found herself slowly backing towards the bookshelf as he neared her, her eyes growing wide with every step he took in her direction. Ari was not the forward type, and yet he neared her without as much as a hesitation in his step.

But then he stopped and, instead of reaching for her, grabbed a book instead. Was this his idea of seduction? If so, she didn't like how he was being overly vague and avoiding the matter. On top of that, he had to go and make things more confusing by asking questions she wasn't sure she had the correct answer to. Was "no" consent for him to make a move—and more importantly, would she be lying (to both him and herself) if she she simply wanted to retire for the night? She'd never been one to flee in stressful situations, but her fight-or-flight response was nearly failing her as the overwhelming urge to make a move towards the door overcame her.

She merely shook her head.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Dionisia Fisk's post:
   Melody Crouch

lovely set by Lady!

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