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The Fashion Games
#1
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April 04th, 1888 — House of Lytton
Open to a hurlable UCAB/MCAB gentleman!

There were very few occasions where Helga was permitted to go to London on a whim, with her mother saying she had no need to wander around the filthy city unless it was for the purpose of finding a suitable husband — something she'd said was "most likely to happen during the season". In her mother's terms, that was a firm no.

Except it wasn't a "no" this time, because she'd had one of her wealthy friends ask her join her posse while they went to the House of Lytton. While the Scamander family was by no means poor, her mother had never seen a reason to purchase her daughter "high fashion" dresses when Twilfit & Tatting's made gowns that were just as stunning and just as functional. Boo. Upon entering the store with her friends, Helga had been absolutely delighted by the twinkling lights — some of which were even coming from the dresses and accessories themselves!

Oh, how she dreamed for a life where she could wear things like that!

In the midst of her distraction, Helga found herself wandering far too close to a gentleman inside the establishment, only noticing her breath of personal space when she nudged his side with her elbow.

"Oh!" she gasped, turning to look up at the gentleman. "I'm terribly sorry. I'm afraid I was distracted by—" No, she couldn't say that. It would make her seem all poor and uncultured. This was a regular sight to rich ladies. "What I meant to say that - um." Well darn diddly. "I meant to say that I sorry, yes!"


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#2
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There were both pros and cons to being a professional Quidditch player and today was most definitely a day where the negatives outshined the positives.

Thomas preferred the company of himself though was not the type to shy away from any form of attention were it given to him. This was one side effect that came from being a Quidditch player for the oldest Quidditch team around and more often than not, he could cope with that. It was only on occasion when someone would recognise him away from the field and that amount of exposure, to Thomas, was more than okay.

Unfortunately for him today was one of those 'than not's'.

Thomas had elected to travel to Diagon Alley for some supplies. There was a nice broomstick store he had been meaning to check out that had received some outstandingly positive reviews from his peers and that alone piqued his interest. Thomas, however, was finding it increasingly difficult to remember the name of the place and as he looked around Diagon Alley wearing a simple loose fitting black robe with a light grey undercoat and black fitted trousers, an almost tormenting scream burst into his ear drums like a spear through fish.

"Mr. Tilcott!" The person shouted; an air of excited bliss emanated from their words and when Thomas looked up to see where the noise was coming from, he was suddenly filled with dread.

Usually Thomas would have no issue with a bit of fan service but this person was known to Thomas. He'd caught them at several games of his and had good reason to suspect they'd found his home. They never really said much beyond his name and that they would be good friends - usually incoherent amidst the nervous laughter - and something about their demeanour made him feel particularly uneasy.

Thomas turned abruptly around and darted into the nearest store he could. It smelled like perfume, tea, and the very seat of luxury with the faintest hint of cinnamon.

Moving cautiously around the store, Thomas nodded and smiled politely toward a few people as they looked toward him; his gaze fixed on the store entrance.

It would be wise to mention at this point that though Thomas was very much aware of the advice to pay attention to his surroundings, he wasn't one to listen to advice very often and no sooner had he entered the store, had he felt a sharp nudge to his side from what felt like someone's elbow.

Thomas looked toward the person and opened his mouth to apologise though it seemed she was intent on speaking first, "I'm terribly sorry. I'm afraid I was distracted by—" A pause. She was very well spoken. Thomas smiled. "What I meant to say that - um." Another pause. Thomas was still smiling though this time it was more amused than polite. "I meant to say that I'm sorry, yes!"

Peering toward the entrance briefly, Thomas focused his attention on this very well spoken, very good looking individual.

"It's, erm, alright." Tommy smiled sheepishly.

It was strange. He was accustomed to being around people - hundreds, sometimes thousands, of them - though one well-spoken lady and poof! All knowledge of social interaction had vanished.

"You did me no damage." Wait. That wasn't right. Thomas was talking to an upstanding woman and needed to ensure his diction was infallible. "Erm, I mean, you done me no 'arm." Now hang on. By this point, Thomas was visibly flustered. "Uh.. You didn't hurt me."

That would have to do. He looked around - finally taking in the sight of the store; he must have been in some sort of fashion place.

"This is beautiful. You must come 'ere a lot," Thomas turned back to the woman whom, by any accounts, was just as appealing for Thomas to look at as the store itself and suddenly he was reminded that he was very much in the presence of somebody who likely spends their loose change on expensive garments like the ones on display, "Mr. Thomas Tilcott. I'm most pleasured to meet you and, er, make your acquaintance."

Being a gentleman wasn't so hard.
#3
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At least she wasn't the only one who seemed out of place here! If the slight wear in his clothes hadn't given away his less-than-wealthy status, his stumbling with his words most certainly did. Not that it really mattered; he seemed sweet and genuine and his name was Mr. Thomas Tilcott? Though by no means a follower of the sport so many gentleman and ladies seemed to be entertained by, it was difficult to escape the names of some of the society celebrities when their name popped up during the Professional Quidditch Tournament a few months back. She nearly had the names of all seven Puddlemere players ingrained in her mind, and she was nearly certain this gentleman was their chaser!

"A quidditch player, huh," she responded curiously, looking up at him with a tilted head. Those sorts were not usually the sorts that enjoyed these kind of shops, so his presence peaked her curiosity. "My name's Helga Scamander," she responded in introduction, lowering her head ever-so-slightly while maintaining eye contact in a playful greeting.

She lifted a single brow, a subtle message that she was looking for some sort of entertaining explanation, though the expression didn't last for long. A smile broke out on her face, and she had to suppress a little giggle. "It is quite pretty; should I assume you don't frequent this establishment?"


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#4
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"A quidditch player, huh," the woman spoke with a curious timbre. Thomas was finding it hard to see past how well spoken she was - was this how the well-made in society generally communicated with one another?

Of course they did. He'd spoken to many upperclass people during his career whether it through interviews, speaking to fans, or talking with people his sponsor needed him to. Though rarely would he partake in engagements with such people; he was usually looked down as beneath those of higher standing. He didn't mind, however, as he was doing something he took great pleasure in doing.

But she knew him and whilst unsurprising given his team's recent performance at the quidditch tournament, he found himself fumbling over his words despite the obvious smile on his face.

"My name's Helga Scamander," she introduced herself and dipped her head; there was a soft endearment to the way she spoke that made Thomas forget, for a brief moment, exactly why he was in the shop.

"That's a nice name, Miss." He continued with his polite, friendly smile before fading to a more neutral expression. Though it was clear she was younger than him, it was also clear that she was most definitely extremely wealthy and most likely had several house elves and servants and probably owned half of Hogsmeade. Maybe. Thomas wasn't sure about that, really. He hadn't really spoken to someone of her standing in an informal situation before. But he had a suspicion.

Should he even be calling her Miss? Was she married? Was it missus? He was never good at etiquette and within seconds of opening his mouth, Thomas found himself panicking and quickly started talking again before she could correct him. That wasn't rude. Was it? "Hah.. er.. Yea'. I play quidditch. I'm a chaser for Puddlemere.  I, erm..." Thomas trailed off, looking cautiously toward the store entrance.

Merlin, Thomas was not good at this. Of course she knew what he did for a living and he was too focused on trying not to stumble over his words as well as trying to make sure his 'fan' hadn't followed him in that he missed her cue for an explanation entirely. At least she was on her ball and seemed to know how to steer a conversation better.

Thomas' gaze moved back to her. Her smile seemed genuine and the chaser couldn't help but return the smile once again, "Yeah. No. Er, I'm just hi-" You're a gentleman Thomas, think of something a gentleman would say, "I'm looking for some, er..." Thomas' awkwardly looked around the room before noticing a stack of loose fabrics. Looking back at Helga, trying to appear confident and not at all as awkward as he felt, he continued; "Fabrics. Yea'. For my broom, you know?"

Perfect.

Unfortunately for him, however, over Helga's shoulder, Thomas noticed a very familiar face peering into the shop window. He hastily manoeuvred himself around Helga so that his back was turned toward the window.

"Okay.. erm. Don't be worried, Miss, I ain't really lookin' for fabrics though you are pret- they are pretty." Thomas swallowed; it was clear communication clearly wasn't his specialty outside of a professional setting, "I'm tryin' to hide from a fan. It ain't-- A pause. He needed to work on his wording, "--isn't bad. But I think they're followin' me. So, erm, would you mind if I stayed 'ere for a bit? I understand if you're busy, with being as successful and, erm, important as you are but, Thomas paused and briefly looked over his shoulder before turning to lock eyes with Helga once more, a friendly smile on his lips, "You seem good company and far better than having to run 'round London hidin'."

Thomas gestured around him as he spoke indicating the surrounding area and chuckled quietly.

Thomas felt a little more at ease as his shoulders relaxed though wondered if he was making an absolute fool of himself. It was likely.

But for now, he was kind of okay with that.
#5
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Helga always thought quidditch players were supposed to be charming womanizers, and while Mr. Tilcott did have a certain charm to him, it certainly wasn't in that way. She glanced back at her friends, who seemed to be too busy messing with the accessories and fabrics to realize that she'd wandered off from the group. Well, if she couldn't have the pretty dresses, at least she had this gentleman's attention to herself!

She had to clamp her lips together in a tight smile to avoid bursting out in a good-natured laugh at his fumbling. He was certainly sweet — that was for sure — but he certainly didn't have a grasp of her wealth or "importance". That being said, he didn't really seem to have a grasp of what the House of Lytton was for, either.

"Why on Earth would you need fabric for your broom?" she teased. "I don't suppose you're trying to start a new trend. Soon Kenmare will decide its brooms need to match its country's kilts! Plaid, ew," she giggled.

His real purpose for being there didn't take long to come out at that point. He was being followed, which seemed both creepy and completely normal at the same time. Weren't quidditch players used to being chased around? Isn't the fame why they went into the sport in the first place? It definitely didn't bring much income.

"Well I'm sorry to say that in your attempt to escape a silly girl, you've only managed to find yourself in the company of a different silly girl," she said, referring to herself.


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#6
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Her smile was something out of a portrait; endearing, inviting, and practically picturesque. It made Thomas feel at ease. He suspected, however, the only reason she was smiling so much was either out of politeness or to stop herself from laughing at him - either would have been okay, Thomas was sure.

Her teasing about the broom made him laugh a little - especially her dig at his rival team. She was right though, Thomas had no idea what he'd use fabric on his broom for if nothing more than to display your teams colours (which evidently are sprawled everywhere anyway). He hadn't really thought his innocent lie out and so he came clean.

She seemed to understand. Thomas smiled at her words and ever-so-politely shook his head whilst they walked through the store.

It was a fantastic place to behold though Thomas was quite certain he had no idea what it was exactly. He'd first thought it was a clothing store - though that changed when he saw the loose fabrics - and then perhaps just a material store. But then he saw the plates. It was a confusing time for Thomas.

It was a strange and enchanting place within the House of Lytton and if it wasn't for the fact half of this stuff cost more than his wages, perhaps Thomas would have ventured into here before.

"No Miss," Thomas stopped shaking his head, his eyes locking with hers momentarily, "You're not a silly girl at all. And you know how I know?"

Thomas smiled toward a passerby who looked rather puzzled - as if he was asking himself where he'd seen Thomas before.

He picked up a nearby piece of fabric and held it against his clothing, "Because you speak well and sound smart. And also you have a good taste in your fashion stuff." He said with confident assurance.

Picking up another piece of fabric, this time a light coloured silken square (most likely intended to be used as part of a swatch), Thomas moved over to Helga and placed it on her shoulder.

He took a step back, "That goes with your eyes. It's real nice," Thomas nodded and paused briefly, "And you're right about Kenmare..." His tone seemed to lift as he began talking about his favourite sport, "The whole team has no coordination. They, er, have... those big leprechauns that fly around. I think it's silly."
#7
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The gentleman didn't seem to gain poise or eloquence with his speech as their conversation continued, which certainly did make Helga seem like the more well-spoken of the two; however, she knew that compared to other young ladies who were born and raised higher on the social ladder than herself, she too was just an ordinary girl. She certainly help but silently soak up his praise (as evidenced by her beaming smile), despite to urge do the humble thing and refute it.

"Do you always pay newly-acquainted young ladies such attention?" she teased. "You may give off the wrong idea if you're not careful." She didn't think too much of his praise (flirting?), as she was positive that a quidditch player would by no means fit the description of her ideal husband, even if he was quick to offer compliments.

She didn't ponder on that thought, plucking the fabric from her hand. It felt expensive, and upon closer examination she could make out its delicate stitching — definitely out of her budget. Ugh, the struggle of not being rich.

"It's nice, but I think it would clash with the warmth of my skin tone," she responded, her eyes still lingering on the fabric. "My skin may be pale, but it's got more of a warm undertone than a cool. It would probably make me look yellow in some lights." She didn't expect him to grasp any of that, though.


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#8
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Oh no. He was coming across as a creep. Thomas certainly didn't intend in this though it wasn't surprising given the circumstance pertaining to their meeting; it wasn't exactly how you were supposed to meet other people (though it would have been Tommy's preference over other, less entertaining, social engagements - like one of Thom's "parties").

Though flirting, he wasn't. Was he? Truthfully, Thomas had no real experience on what flirting was - so it could very well have been that how he was acting was, in fact, flirting. He wasn't one to understand the concept of romance and affection.

"Oh, no, I'm sorry. I was just bein' nice. I don't mean t'sound shady. I was always taught to be respectful and nice to those around me, especially those that deserve it." Thomas nodded with assurance at his words; recalling the time his father told him very similar.

You're a Quidditch players son, lad, so act like one and be a good sport - especially to those with money.

Granted he was very young when his father said this and the context was remarkably different but Thomas had found it translated rather well into his day-to-day life.

Thomas watched intently as she ran the fabric through her hands, her thumbs examining the soft material and intricate stitching. His eyebrows were furrowed as if he was focusing a little too much on the fabric as she spoke about skin tones and undertones and lighting and whatever else it was.

He wanted to understand. He truly, with utmost sincerity, really wanted to; but the words coming out her mouth might as well have been a foreign language of some description. He looked up from the fabric and tried to note her skin and what exactly she meant by warm undertones.

Thomas nodded and tried his absolute hardest to assure her that he was listening (which, in fairness, he was - he just didn't understand) and wasn't the uneducated fool she likely thought he was by now, "Yea'. That makes sense. Because you're probably really warm, especially if you wear something made out of that." Thomas nodded, "You need something that will keep you cool. I understand. Because the colour will make your undertones stay cool because they're warm." Thomas nodded throughout his words with a confident tone.

And, you couldn't fault the guy, at least he was confident in what he was saying.
#9
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She couldn't suppress a laughter from escaping her lips. His words had solidified her suspicion that he had no idea what he was talking about — and surprisingly, it was more charming than not. He'd used the terms 'warm' and 'cool' literally, and she tried to imagine her 'warm' self putting on cold outfits. How silly of a notion!

"Oh, Mr. Tilcott!" she teased, her nose scrunched up in amusement. "I mean the tone of the fabric — the colors! See how my hand looks more peachy, or even yellowish, than it does pink? That means I have a warm undertone," she explained, holding up her dainty hand for him to look.


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#10
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Helga had a nice laugh. It was quiet yet most assuredly sincere and the glisten in her eyes as she laughed reminded Thomas, very briefly, of the happiness he felt when he was asked to join Puddlemere United.

He couldn't quite place his finger on exactly what sparked this connection, but he was certain he was feeling - at least in part - very similar feelings. He was happy and spending time in the company of Helga Scamander was likely the culprit.

Thomas noted the way her nose scrunched as she teased him and the way her lips curled into that friendly smile she wore as she spoke. It was strange, though a good kind of strange. He found himself, in that moment, thinking on his twenty-five years of life and how he'd yet to meet someone whose demeanour was so genuinely comforting to be around.

Thomas raised his hand and placed it under hers, moving himself to inspect her skin more thoroughly. It would have been unsurprising were someone to assume he was leaning in to kiss her hand or otherwise just being weird in general - but he was trying to understand exactly what she meant by her peachy undertones.

And oh my were here hands soft! Thomas swallowed and dropped her hand and looked back into her eyes, a soft smile once again on his lips.

"Oh," he said in response to her calling his bluff, "I see. I've got pink undertones."

Thomas nodded and turned around. He moved quickly over to another pile of fabrics and almost threw it at her in his excitement.

"This suits you better then, Miss. It compliments your peachy undertones and looks good too."

Thomas felt accomplished at the fact he'd found a neutral coloured fabric in a shop full of neutral coloured fabrics.


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