Welcome to Charming
Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1893. It’s time to join us and immerse yourself in scandal and drama interlaced with magic both light and dark.

Where will you fall?

Featured Stamp

Add it to your collection...

Did You Know?
Queen Victoria was known for putting jackets and dresses on her pups, causing clothing for dogs to become so popular that fashion houses for just dog clothes started popping up all over Paris. — Fox
It would be easy to assume that Evangeline came to the Lady Morgana only to pick fights. That wasn't true at all. They also had very good biscuits.
Check Your Privilege

Husband Material
30th April, 1892 — Darrow Dinner Party, Irvingly
Evander couldn’t quite believe that Caroline had actually invited her.

And to make matters worse, the woman wouldn’t leave Caroline’s bloody side! Evander would have liked to be Caroline’s mute shadow, standing quietly by her while she mingled with their guests for the evening – but no, Mrs. Warbeck had gotten there first. As if she was still playing the part of supportive husband! Merlin!

Evander ought to be grateful for all she had done, probably. He had gotten a letter of apology from her after the incident, which spoke to her integrity, and Caroline had told him some of what had occurred in those days he had been out of his own body and Delilah Warbeck had been inhabiting his clothes and house and life. On the whole, it could have been much, much worse. It even sounded as though Mrs. Warbeck had been almost – well, a good interim spouse. And she and his wife were apparently friends now, which was...

Well, not ideal. Evander wasn’t sure how to cope with the fact that someone had been intimately aware of what it was to be Evander Darrow; it was a blessing it had not come up as a topic too raucously at dinner (and Alfred had been the double of a vampire, which was as good a way as any to divert the topic when it arose); but eventually, dinner was over and they were back to mingling, and Evander could not actually avoid her forever.

It was only because he couldn’t bear to play cards, though, that he approached her now, Irvingly dark and still outside their parlour windows. “Mrs. Warbeck,” he said politely, all the awkwardness confined to the expression in his eyes as he glanced at her. “I hope you’ve been enjoying your evening here? Er, thank you for coming, I should say.” A safer opening than I don’t understand how you and my wife are like old friends, or thank you for being a half-decent husband to Caroline in my absence, or dear Merlin, I am so dreadfully sorry you had to be me for even a minute, at any rate. Perhaps they wouldn’t even need to bring it up at all?
Delilah Warbeck

The following 1 user Likes Evander Darrow's post:
   Caroline Darrow

It was a weird feeling, being willing back inside a house she’d been so desperately trying to escape only a few weeks prior. At least this time Delilah was here as herself and didn't have to pretend to wear the face of Evander Darrow nor try to convince his wife she was him. Her time as Mr. Darrow had been interesting, and well, she’d tried to apologize to him for some of the things she’d done as him, but it had been difficult to encompass ten days to a man she knew little about.

He seemed quite secretive despite living a boring life (just as she herself enjoyed!), and she found herself not wanting to talk about what it was like to be him because he didn’t want to talk about her being him.

It was all rather confusing. At least she’d made a new friend in all this, although it was hard to not like Caroline, especially after spending so much time with her. She was the only person she truly knew at the dinner party despite mingling with quite a few of the faces during her ten day stint, and it was rather difficult to not follow her around. But dinner was over and Delilah couldn’t be under Caroline’s feet the entire evening.

She found herself glancing out the window at Irvingly, mind wandering to what it would be like to live amongst muggles all the time - her parents would be thrilled. Her attention was drawn to Mr. Darrow as he spoke, and she couldn’t help but smile gently at him. “Mr. Darrow.” Delilah nodded at him. She hadn’t expected him to approach her, and she hadn’t decided if she was going to approach him. “I have been, thank you. I know it must be weird, seeing me but I do appreciate the invitation. Mrs. Darrow is a true delight.” And she was. She certainly wouldn’t have reached out if she thought otherwise.

Then, with a small laugh that she quickly covered with her hand, Delilah couldn’t help but add, “I hope she wasn’t too angry with you.”

The following 1 user Likes Delilah Warbeck's post:
   Elias Grimstone

[Image: SV8k8re.png]
Weird seeing her? Evander smiled thinly. “Not as strange as I suppose it is to – see me?” he remarked, because he had not seen her so much as she had seen – and been – him from head to toe. His face coloured; he hadn’t meant to bring it up, after all. (But perhaps it was better to be plain, and get it all out of the way – if he did not say anything, he was sure she would still be thinking of it.)

At least her addition, Mrs. Darrow is a true delight, soothed some of the awkwardness. “Angry with me? No, no,” Evander murmured, surprised by that assumption. “Not at all,” he said, lest Mrs. Warbeck felt some misplaced guilt for her part in the confusion, as if she had chosen it any more than he had. “I daresay she must have been almost disappointed to have me back,” he said, feigning that this was a joke – but Evander was not in the habit of making needless jokes, so perhaps he believed it a little, himself? And maybe it was easier to speak his mind to someone he scarcely knew? Evander would not have admitted it to anyone else, of that he was sure. “For it sounded as though she had a pleasant enough time with you.”

She laughed quietly as he seemed to embarrass himself. It was no secret that she had masqueraded as him for a while, and she knew now how terrible of a job she’d done. No wonder Mrs. Darrow was always questioning her when she said something Mr. Darrow wouldn’t say, although she prided herself in the way she’d smoothed over most of their interactions. She took a moment to look at him, once again pleased she wasn't just staring at a mirror, willing herself to be Delilah Warbeck again. “I would be lying to say I am not relieved to see you, although the purple hair is a little strange.” Delilah responded as her lips twitched into a smile. It was becoming easier and easier to spot who’d been in their shoes.

She nodded then. Of course Mrs. Darrow wouldn’t be angry, but it was something she had to make sure of herself. Her lips twitched in amusement, as if a wife could ever be disappointed to have her husband back - Delilah was beginning to worry just how she was going to friend-zone her, and how she could convince her to not only kidnap, but take care of her own two children, lest she was stuck as him forever. “It’s easy to flatter a woman when you have a woman’s intuition, Mr. Darrow.” Delilah tilted her head. He was certainly much different than what she’d expected, yet very much the same. “I think without that, Mrs. Darrow would have been even more suspicious than she was.” 

It took some time for Delilah to catch on to her; whenever did something that very un-Evander like, Mrs. Darrow would pose his name as a question. It was her understanding she needed to backtrack and try a different approach. Half the time it worked. The other half the time she used nightmares and spacey thoughts as an excuse. She grinned at him. “Your favorite dress she wears is blue.” Then she winked at him.

[Image: SV8k8re.png]
He flinched (almost laughably) at the mention of purple hair: he needed no reminders of it, when he was doing his very best to not catch any glimpse of his reflection in mirrors or silverware, as if he could pretend his way through the shame of having it. That Mrs. Warbeck and Alfred and an odd congregation of people were also sporting it did not help Evander feel better about it. Not in the least.

Oh, and perhaps that was it: perhaps it was just a woman’s intuition, and not some deficiency of his own. And flattery? Was flattery thus the key to have kept Caroline in such steady, reasonable spirits, even with an intruder in the house (and in her bed)? Evander’s mouth pulled into a frown, for he had always considered flattery a tool for sycophantic toadying, and little else. Flattery was somehow akin to lying, a magnifying of features and a blurring of flaws: and they were already married, their courtship long over, so what cause exactly was there to flatter one’s own wife?

Evander curled his hand more tightly around the post-dinner drink he was nursing and tried to come up with an appropriate way to interrogate this. The grin – and the woman’s wink – was so unexpected that Evander’s grasp slipped a little, and his face coloured for it. He cleared his throat, abashed, cheeks still pink for the content of her last statement just as much as its delivery. Mrs. Warbeck’s instincts were – rather extraordinary, actually. If Evander was not generally horrified by this he might have been impressed. “Oh. Right. She was, er, wearing that blue when we got engaged,” he admitted, awkwardly.

If Delilah had to guess, Evander Darrow was not a people person; or at the very least, not very good at reading people. At all.
She hadn’t meant to embarrass Mr. Darrow, as she was simply supplying some of the flattery she’d just spoken about. As he cleared his throat she couldn’t help but grin at him. “Well, that was just a lucky guess then, Mr. Darrow. Every woman owns a blue dress. If I had woken up as your wife, I may have called your blue vest my favorite and just hoped you had one.” Although she highly doubted he wore any sort of color and that the conversation would have come up at all. Part of her was thankful that it had been his wife she’d woken up to next to.

She raised her cup toward him in a sort of cheers before she took a sip of it. “Although, I would like to give you kudos for remembering the color dress Mrs. Darrow wore during your engagement. How long have you been married?” A simple question, yet a prodding one. She assumed them to be newlyweds, given that his wife was currently pregnant (although she and her late husband had trouble keeping their hands to themselves every day of their marriage).

The following 1 user Likes Delilah Warbeck's post:
   Evander Darrow

[Image: SV8k8re.png]
Oh. Evander understood what she was trying to say – the sort of white lies she’d expressed in her time as him.(She had obviously done a better job of blending in than he had during the incident – he wagered she hadn’t gone fainting on anyone.) In any case, he feigned a laugh at the explanation, and wondered, absently, if he was entirely tasteless and unimaginative for sincerely liking blue.

This awkward conversation felt half-salvaged when she gave him a compliment that he didn’t need to blush at. (Of course, Evander did blush at it, but that was neither here nor there.) “Oh,” he exclaimed, internally a little pleased that she thought highly of his attention to detail – until he remembered that the events in question had hardly all unfolded decades ago, so it was not much of a feat at all. “Ah, we married in June,” he admitted, “so – er, a little less than a year.” Caroline was young enough that this hardly reflected at all on her, but the fact of it did make Evander rather self-conscious, because – if he had ever had a prime, he would certainly have been past it.

Trying to do due diligence in seeming equally interested in turn, Evander glanced at Mrs. Warbeck. “And how long have you?” Been married, he meant, quite unaware that he was putting his foot in his mouth by it. He suspected longer than he had; at any rate, she seemed more comfortable with the whole concept.

Delilah laughed as she awkwardly clapped her hands together, careful not to jostle the cup in her hand too much, lest she spill the liquid down the front of both of them; she’d already embarrassed herself by being under Mrs. Darrow’s feet all evening and spilling alcohol all over herself would be the cherry on top. She’d never show her face around here again and she quite liked the friendship that was blooming between herself and Caroline. “Newlyweds. That’s certainly a very exciting time.” She drew the words out slowly so as not to be too excited over the matter. Was she a romantic at heart? Absolutely. Being a newlywed had been one of her favorite times, given the newness of the relationship and what came with it. She didn’t say it, not wanting to put more awkwardness into existence between them, but they’d welcomed their first child within their first year of marriage, too.

“Oh.” Delilah blinked slowly at his question before she crossed one arm over the other just to give herself something to do, and then took a long sip of the liquid. The cup dangled loosely between her fingers. It hadn’t been a question she anticipated, but then again it wasn’t as if she expected Mr. Darrow to know the ins and outs of her life as much as he would his own. There was no possible way for him to understand the simple question he’d thrown at her was a loaded one, and one she hadn’t been asked before - she had answers ready and loaded for most things people threw her way when it came to mourning her husband.

“Well, I suppose it would have been six years in February.” There was no suppose - Lila knew exactly how long she’d been married and was consciously aware of how long she should have been married. She didn’t bother to tell him the details of the after because Mr. Darrow was a smart man and could certainly discern between past and present tense. He hopefully wouldn't ask so she didn't have to speak on it.

[Image: SV8k8re.png]
He smiled, trying to be just as bright about it. Perhaps that was what she had seen when she had lived his life, but... Newlyweds, she said, which sounded all sunshine and roses, like they ought to still be in some delightful honeymoon phase of it all – and all that did was make Evander think of the dreaded places they had been, the miscarriage and the threat of losing her and the arguments they’d had. He was no doubt a disappointment to her, and scared of the future; failing at marriage already...

And failing even at small talk. Evander did not often find himself able to read reactions in the moment, but even he could see Mrs. Warbeck suddenly radiating discomfort. (Discomfort, he knew well.) And no wonder why – would have been. Oh, he was a fool.

“Oh, I’m dreadfully – didn’t know – did you lose him long ago?” Evander stammered, the sentiments getting muddled and the apology not quite making it out into the air, though he hoped she could read it in his eyes and the sudden paleness of his face. He had lost so much of his family, and been so afraid on so many occasions of losing Caroline, that he had almost forgotten it could happen to other people too. “Of course, you don’t have to –” answer, he added in a hurry, wide-eyed. We can talk about anything else.

“Mr. Darrow, I appreciate your sentiments. Thank you.” Delilah tried to interrupt him as he kept burying himself, but then she merely smiled softly at him and inclined her head toward him. “It was last year, during the hurricane. He was a good man, but I have two children who are a constant reminder of who he was.” Her lips pursed together as she offered little else about Zachary, although she hadn’t been mentally prepared to speak about him at all. She missed him.

It made sense now why Caroline constantly said Evander, because the more she talked to the man, the more she realized she must have been acting very strange. She wondered what his experience had been like, as he didn’t seem to want to talk about it. (It wasn’t as if Delilah had expected to make friends with the woman she saw naked and then ditched right before breakfast to stalk her own home, but here she was. She quite enjoyed the company of Caroline Darrow.)

Her eyes flicked to his face. “May I ask you a question?” She was going to, anyway, but still paused long enough to take a sip from the cup still in her hands. “How in the world does the door to your office work? I think the people around your office thought I was crazy when I actually tried to go in and couldn’t get the door open.” It had taken time to track down what Evander Darrow did for a living, and then she felt obligated to show up at least once. By that time she was worried she was going to be stuck as a giant man for the rest of her days.

The following 1 user Likes Delilah Warbeck's post:
   Evander Darrow

[Image: SV8k8re.png]
She had been polite enough to answer him, but Evander regretted asking at once. Still, he endured her answer about the hurricane in stiff sympathy, thinking of how very close Caroline had come to losing her life in that storm – but not about to linger on the subject and drag them both into misery.

More misery, anyway. Mrs. Warbeck had saved the day, however, with a question he might have called impertinent at any other moment but was eminently grateful for now. Evander’s sheepish expression did not fade, but he did manage a slight, embarrassed laugh. “Oh,” he began, shaking his head at the thought of fake-him blundering about the Ministry and making a bad impression of himself – no offence to Mrs. Warbeck, but he was sure he had looked a real fool.

Well, more of a fool than usual, because – “You see, you always have to knock first,” he confessed, because the door had been, as long as he’d worked there, peculiarly petulant about politeness. Everyone has to knock before it’ll open, myself included,” he explained, almost apologetically. (And yes, people had long gotten a real laugh about Darrow regularly knocking on his own office door, but by this point Evander privately found it soothing, some odd little obsessive-compulsive homecoming ritual.) “If you try to force it open with the handle or the key, it simply won’t budge.”

Delilah was happy to have the conversation shifted away from her late husband to something much more manageable, even if Mr. Darrow had been avoiding the body swap conversation all evening. It was probably the one thing they actually had in common at this point, although she found he wasn’t a terrible conversationalist, despite the awkwardness that enveloped them. She hadn’t come face to face with whoever had worn her face yet, but Lila was certain that she’d be just as awkward as he was.

“Knock first.” Delilah echoed with a laugh as she shook her head. “I would have never even considered doing that.” In hindsight she should have felt bad about making him look like a fool but she worked with what she had at the time. She raised her glass to him, her lips softening into a slight smile. “I haven’t met the person who went masquerading as me, and I honestly don’t think I want to. From what I’ve gathered, they didn’t even try to show up at St. Mungo’s. At least they were friendly with my family.” Which was probably for the best – she couldn’t imagine how much damage could have been done if someone was trying to fake their way through healing someone.

“Will you ever owl whoever you were?” Curiosity got the better of her as the question slipped past her lips before she could swallow it.

[Image: SV8k8re.png]
“No,” Evander echoed wryly, at her – quite understandable – struggle with his office door. “No, I suppose that’s fair.”

He had been so aware of her having briefly been him that Evander had neglected to consider that someone had been an imposter in her life, just the same. His regard for her softened a little further at this, because at least she felt the natural temptation to forget they had ever existed. Still, he nearly choked when she asked if he would contact them – because, dear Merlin, she did not know the half of it.

“Oh, no, nooo, I don’t think so,” he said hastily. Some disaster that she, a woman, had been privy to his body – but the form in which he had been trapped had been rather more confusing. A slight female form, but a wardrobe full of men’s clothes – a life he didn’t understand. Evander might have tried to unravel it further, but he had already concluded that he did not possess the imagination to ever comprehend some people.

No, he would burrow back into his own life rather contentedly, the whole experience be damned. “I am quite happy to bury the whole affair and never think upon it again,” he confessed, the sentiment growing a little dry and droll because, after all, he was talking to a living reminder of it. He leant over the side table to pour himself and his current companion a new drink each, passing one to her as some kind of secret pledge. “If you are, that is,” he added. If Mrs. Warbeck or Caroline brought it up again – well then, he would merely be condemned to suffer.

Tilting her head, Delilah watched him curiously; whatever had happened to him must have been far worse than what had happened to her, but she supposed not a lot of people came away with a new friend. Or got to meet the person who wore their face. She wasn’t sure what she’d do if the roles were reversed, but she had a feeling that it would involve cowering in her room or hiding away at a friend’s house. (Surely Jess wouldn’t mind her just randomly showing up for a place to hide away for a few hours.)

Of course his reaction made her laugh, and Lila quickly covered her mouth because that was super rude of her. Whatever he’d go through was definitely worse, there wasn’t a doubt. Curiosity would eat away at her and her imagination would go wild, but she didn’t know Mr. Evander well enough to press for details —- and if she did, Delilah wasn’t even sure he’d tell her. Maybe she didn't want to know? Well... that was a lie. Of course she did.

She took the drink he passed her without question and raised her eyes to look at him, a soft smile tugging at the edge of her lips. “I am happy to put this behind me too. It was… an experience.” Her mind drifted to the purple hair and after it faded (Merlin, it had to fade eventually, right?), she’d be pleased to not think about it again. Maybe a few years down the line she might laugh about it, but now wasn’t the time. “Although I did promise I’d visit Caroline, so I’m not sorry it happened.” Delilah reached out to clink her glass against his. “To burying things in the past.” And to new friends; she’d grow on Evander yet.

[Image: SV8k8re.png]
He didn’t know quite what she could be picturing to make her laugh so at the possibilities, but he knew better than to ask. And at least she had tried to stifle it.

He returned her toast with a dry smile of his own, and took a hearty sip of it to prevent himself from remembering about how much she knew about him and his life now. Maybe it was for the best that she did not stay a stranger; a friend may be more inclined to keep things to themselves. Perhaps, in time, he would even forgive her for the egregiousness of sincerely making friends with Caroline.

View a Printable Version

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)
Forum Jump: