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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?

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The first patented espresso machine was in 1884 by Angelo Moriondo. — Fallin
They hadn't been thieves before, at least. Noble had not been a murderer before either. Now he was one. Did thieving make a difference, at this point?
but the system is done for

I Guess My Heart Ain't Worth it Anymore
Torie all but held her breath for the entire walk. She tried not to move, to hold on and not to distract him as they made their way toward the cabin. Fortunately it was short, if only because she had a myriad of emotions warring to get to the surface. She wanted to be obstinate, that she didn't need his help, but she knew she did; she wanted to keep her arms held around him tight and never let go, but she couldn't. She had no idea what to do and so she stayed quiet, concentrating on the steps he took and though he stumbled just once, Torie trusted they would get to the cabin just fine.

Which they did and she would have laughed under any other circumstances as he kicked in the door, but instead all she did was nod at his explanation. Torie exhaled slowly, trying not to focus on the throbbing stabs in her ankle. She was far more worried that he was doing to attempt the walk back to her wand by himself. At a complete loss, she waited for him to make the next decision, deciding herself that if he was to walk back to get her wand, she would hobble to the door to watch the entire time. "Why don't you sit a moment, take a break." She suggested gently. That would be the prudent choice. Let him recover a bit before trying the trek again.

[Image: Torie-Gold-Sig.png]
Back to blonde mid-August '93. Boo.
As he released Ms. Torie and felt her pull away from his touch as anyone was wont to do when being put down, Anthony felt a pang at the loss. She was warm and fragile, and at least for the few minutes he’d held her, she’d been safe. He brushed the silly feeling aside and straightened, running a hand tiredly across his face. At the lady’s prompting, he turned a weary look in her direction and nodded. She was right. He should sit a moment.

The cabin was filthy, evidently remaining unused in the wake of the eldest Foxwood’s death some many years ago. Anthony didn’t know Atticus to lead particularly long hunting parties either so the idea of finding much here seemed scant. Still, he pulled aside another of the crates and settled himself upon it, close but not too close to Ms. Torie. He offered her a sheepish little smile. “Thanks,” he hummed.

There was an awkward silence then, the kind he’d been trying to ignore since the beginning of all of this. The obvious elephant in the room was no longer obscured by imminent danger or threat. Anthony ducked his blue gaze away in embarrassment at the thought. He’d behaved abysmally, all around, and now was at an extreme disadvantage with knowing what to say. About any of it.

He hadn’t yet processed much, even after his conversation with Lucy. He knew that in the end it had turned out to be amortentia that forced his cousin’s loose lips and pushy nature - which in retrospect made sense given what he knew of Basil - but it didn’t excuse the fact that he, Anthony Alderton, had tried to stand in the way between them at all. (Or, that particular evening in the lady’s distress, had /not./) Cheeks burning with chagrin, Anthony let out a soft breath. He had a tremendous amount of guilt built up about not behaving a gentleman but it seemed too late to apologize now. What could he possibly say?

Shifting instead, and deciding it was for another moment, the brunette stood anxiously. “Ah, how are you?” He asked. “Can I get you anything before I go back for the horses?”

Victoire Malfoy & muse song (it's especially fitting because tombé means fall lol)

© darling MJ for this spectacular sight
Torie was torn between looking at anything but Anthony and staring at him specifically to make sure he was alright. He looked worn, unlike what she was used to, and she feared he might be worse off than he was letting on. Everything settled uncomfortably in an awkward layer around them, as thick and as stifling as the dust on the furniture.

His questions surprised her and she looked up at him, one eyebrow quirked. Surely he had to mean in that very moment, her ankle, but for a brief moment she thought he might mean generally and she wouldn't have known how to answer. Life was a little miserable, even now, months later after their argument, the night that had effectively stripped her of all she had wanted in life. "I'm fine," she liked of both her ankle and her overall wellbeing. "It's not as bad as the broken leg at the Sanditon." That whole fiasco had been too much. She still walked with the slightest of limps and now it would no doubt be worse.

"Are you sure you are well enough to make the walk?" Having her wand would be essential to them getting home, but Torie was uncertain about his fortitude to get the horses and get back without complication.

[Image: Torie-Gold-Sig.png]
Back to blonde mid-August '93. Boo.
Studying Mr. Torie’s face against his better judgement, Anthony searched for any hint of continued discomfort. What he saw there tugged at his heartstrings making the brunette avert his gaze after a long moment. He hated the fact that she was unhappy and in pain, at least one of these in part due to his family’s interference in her life.

He nodded and stepped away as she asserted she was fine. Idly, Anthony wondered a bit about the broken leg but didn’t dare to ask. It wasn’t his place to be concerned for her overall well-being anymore. He’d lost that privilege the night he’d walked away from her. Instead, he gave a half-hearted shrug and forced a reassuring smile onto his face. “You know me, Ms. Malfoy,” he teased gently. “Always ready to jump when necessity requires.”

The words cut at his sentiments even as they were on their way out. Bloody lies, all of them. He had been there, her knight in shining armor, time and time again — until the one night it mattered most. He wasn’t to know then what he knew now, but it still pained the brunette to think how she’d reached out only to be slapped away. He was not innocent, by any means, and ached to apologize to her for it. There just hadn’t been a moment yet and frankly, Anthony was terrified to open up that can of worms. What was he even supposed to say? Would it rip open a wound that had finally started to scab over? He couldn’t do that to her, to put her through the awkwardness and trauma of it all again. So, he didn’t - again. He merely straightened and moved towards the door.

Victoire Malfoy & muse song (it's especially fitting because tombé means fall lol)

© darling MJ for this spectacular sight
Torie nearly rolled her eyes at him. Yes, he had played the white knight in the past and she had been all too willing to let him. Now it felt different, stiff, cheapened, more out of obligation than want and it made her want to scream. It made her feel like a complete fool. "Of course." Merlin she just wanted to go home. This was getting ridiculous. She shouldn't still be pining away for him. He had made himself very clear and still did and she hadn't any idea why she couldn't just move on.

"Be careful," She found herself sighing as he moved toward the door. Despite her uncertainty, she didn't want him to injure himself any further. Hopefully neither horse gave him a hard time either. The sooner they could get some help, the sooner they could be rid of one another and she could go back to trying to pick up the pieces that seemed to keep scattering at the most inconvenient moments.

[Image: Torie-Gold-Sig.png]
Back to blonde mid-August '93. Boo.
The stilted little reply was so polite, so expected, that it stabbed at Anthony more than he cared to admit. He was getting frustrated, namely with himself in all of this. Why did he expect anything more of the lady? They’d cut their thread, it shouldn’t feel like a weight: this continued nagging expectation that one of them ought to do something. He’d done enough by this point, thank you. (And yet, the sound of those two little syllables rocketed around in his head cracking the glass around his heart with every reminder. Of course.)

Anthony moved towards the door and didn’t look back as a bid to be careful landed on his shoulders. His face had twisted into something he didn’t dare let Ms. Malfoy see as he crossed the threshold and moved awkwardly back down the bank. The clouds of an early morning fog had begun to darken without his notice. It would likely rain soon if the gust of wind pressing his thin clothes against his frame was any indication. Anthony sighed.

It wasn’t a long trek across the small gorge, especially carrying only his own weight this time, and before long the brunette had reached the scene of the crime. He could clearly see where poor Victoire had taken her tumble, the imprint of her boots leading to the spot a jarring reminder of their reality. If only she’d had the small box he’d tried to give her, perhaps none of this would have happened, he thought bitterly. It was conceited to think her calling him for assistance sooner would have prevented much, but Anthony held onto the thought as his frustration only grew.

Turning away from the footsteps, he made his way towards the horses. Digging around in Ms. Malfoy’s saddle bag for her wand, he was tremendously relieved as his fingers wrapped around it. The thing was cold in his grip, unfriendly much as he imagined its owner was right about now. He tucked it quickly in his back pocket and gathered up the two creatures before turning to make his way back. There was no sense in riding one of the two; with his head as dizzy as it was and irritation beginning to seep into his movements, Anthony didn’t trust himself.

A cold drop hit him square in the forehead then. Blue eyes darted upwards as an expletive followed, another drop and then a third plinking around him. Of bloody course it would rain right now! The brunette huffed and quickened his pace. The sound of water hitting blades of grass was calming as it slowly grew, the trickle of the river beside him adding to the cacophony. By the time Anthony reached the cabin again however, he was soaked through, white dress shirt pressed into his skin. He made quick work of tying the horses to a post just outside before stumbling back over the threshold with a stormy look. “It’s started to rain,” he growled, more to himself than to his companion.

Cold now, Anthony made quick work of stripping his waistcoat. He dropped it with little elegance over one of the crates to dry before making his way towards the dank, dusty fireplace. It took only a single try, his anger channeling into the wand and warning it not to play any tricks, before the thing was lit. Finally, dropping to a crouch before the warm glow and holding out his hands (wand safely tucked into his back pocket again), Anthony sucked in a deep breath and held it. He needed a moment to regain politeness before they called for help. A crack of thunder hit just over the small cabin.

Victoire Malfoy & muse song (it's especially fitting because tombé means fall lol)

© darling MJ for this spectacular sight
Torie watched him go without trying to make it obvious. As soon as he was a good distance away, she hobbled to the door to keep an eye on him. As frustrated as she was, the last thing she wanted was for him to collapse or something of that nature trying to solve their problem. She watched until he was out of view, leaning heavily on the door frame

She opened the door as the rain began, hearing it hit the roof and it blew some of the wind out of her sails. This whole situation was far from ideal, but she supposed at least she wasn't completely alone. She hoped Anthony wouldn't judge her too much, even if neither one of them seemed keen to be stuck together for the time being.

As he came back into view, Torie noted he looked alright and had the horses with him, so she quickly stumbled back to her crate, hoping to look as nonchalant as she wanted to feel. Her ankle was absolutely throbbing and so she put it up on the crate next to her seat, hoping some elevation would help. He came breezing back in, his mood apparently as stormy as the skies and so Torie remained silent, deciding to take off her boot and see how bad the damage was. A fire was lit and she supposed the arrival of the rain meant they were staying put for a little while longer.

Waiting him out for a few moments, unsure as to how to best interrupt his pensive mood, Torie busied herself with her ankle, too flustered herself to realize she was exposing half of her leg in this process, but she needed to do something about it. Clearing her throat, she waited another beat before quietly requesting, "May I have my wand please?" That he had used it with little difficulty was momentarily lost on her, but she knew she would need to care for their injuries.

[Image: Torie-Gold-Sig.png]
Back to blonde mid-August '93. Boo.
Crouching in front of the fire like this, Anthony felt petulant: like a child that needed scolding. He was being impossibly rude and to a fault. He was not normally so frosty, and Victoire (probably) didn’t deserve it. He tried to rein in his irritation but it was hard. It wasn’t until her sweet voice actually cut through the tension that he managed. Looking over his shoulder at her, prepared to hand the item over, Anthony was startled by what he saw.

Now… Anthony Alderton was no prude. He’d been with (albeit only a few) women before, and he’d seen his fair share of ankles and legs. But this particular specimen was not one he’d imagined he’d see ever, especially after the events of the New Year! Face warming, the brunette stood abruptly and knocked over one of the nearest crates. It rattled tellingly to the side and sent some small creature scampering. “Er— of course,” he replied gruffly, averting his gaze and crossing the space over to her with stilted control.

He didn’t know why he was being such a moron. They were both adults after all. What was an ankle really, anyway? Besides the one appendage that led to something else that he couldn’t stop thinking about—Sorry,” the brunette said stupidly, face now quite enflamed.

Victoire Malfoy & muse song (it's especially fitting because tombé means fall lol)

© darling MJ for this spectacular sight
That Anthony seemed some sort of flustered by her exposed calf, Torie couldn't help the satisfied little chuckle that escaped. She winced as he knocked into a crate, however, wondering just what was going through that thick head of his.

"Come now, you cannot tell me you've never seen a bright purple ankle before?" The tease left her lips before she could stop herself and Torie had to turn her attention back to her throbbing ankle to hide the blush on her own cheeks. The bruise had blossomed across her dark skin, though Torie didn't quite know what kind of injury it indicated, she did know that she would need to wrap it somehow to keep the swelling down.

At least with her wand back in hand Torie could do something about it. She looked around, finding a dust cloth over a nearby cabinet. She summoned it easily, sectioning off a long strip. The question was, what did she do now? She had no healing experience, had only had minor injuries aside from the broken leg at the Sanditon, but that had been properly handled by a qualified healer. That was all she had to go on, she remembered them saying the more stationary the injury was, the less it would hurt.

"Ah, do you mind?" Surely he had to have a better idea?

[Image: Torie-Gold-Sig.png]
Back to blonde mid-August '93. Boo.
The sweet tease Ms. Malfoy shot at him rocked something in Anthony’s embarrassed, stilted person. He relaxed marginally, glad that she’d broached the subject and taken all the air out of the swelling in his chest. He was still mortified to a degree, but a sheepish little smile caused a dimple to appear in his cheek as he shrugged. He had seen plenty of injuries in his time, mostly from siblings or quidditch, but… well. He still couldn’t quite manage to drag his mind from the gutter.

Deciding to focus on the injury itself, especially as the lady summoned a piece of cloth and then gestured to him to help her, Anthony squared his shoulders. He could do this. He accepted the cloth from her small hand, cheeks still quite pink and burning hotter as their fingertips brushed, then squated beside the crates she was perched upon. He cleared his throat.

Er, so generally a tourniquet type of wrap is meant to stop blood flow,” he reasoned, looking at the cloth in hand and then back to her ankle. “But sometimes, when horses injure themselves, we wrap their legs for stability,” He began to work as he talked, hoping the babbling would distract them both from the brush of his fingers against her skin. “The last time I wrapped Sam it was his left rear hock because he’d tripped into a gopher hole while out one evening. He was ultimately fine, but the wrap helped with swelling and lameness.” At this, Anthony shifted slightly, losing his balance. He bumped into the crate and made to catch himself, hand coming to rest on the still exposed portion of Ms. Victoire’s leg. Her skin was soft and pale, just as he’d imagine it would be.

Something warred within him then to both snatch his hand away as if burnt or let it rest there just to see what she’d do. In the end, Anthony’s blue gaze flickered up to hers and - still red in the face - he sucked in a small breath. He didn’t know what in the hell he was daring to do but his thumb moved as if with a mind of its own, rubbing a gentle circle on her thigh.

Victoire Malfoy & muse song (it's especially fitting because tombé means fall lol)

© darling MJ for this spectacular sight
Something in the air between them finally broke and Torie let out a quiet sigh of relief. Having something to do helped she supposed, but as Anthony moved to start the task, she sucked in a breath she held for longer than seemed possible.

It was hard to focus on his over explanation (though she caught his comparison to a lame horse), Torie rather thought he was talking too much and nothing she didn't already know. Of course she didn't say as much because she was too busy trying not to squirm against the warring sensations of discomfort in her ankle and the thrill of having his hands on her leg.

It all happened so quickly that she barely had time to register what was happening until they were much closer than they'd been before. His hand was warm on her thigh, her skirts having shifted as she'd moved to steady him, her own hand landing on his shoulder to prevent him from falling on her. Frozen, she met his gaze, uncertainty furrowing her brows ever so slightly.

Then, everything lurched into motion again as the pressure on her thigh changed and something in her snapped back to reality. Everything came bubbling to the surface and she didn't know what exactly to do with the pent up energy, so she curled her fingers into the fabric of his soaked shirt and tugged him closer, pressing her lips to his.

The following 1 user Likes Victoire Malfoy's post:
   Timoleon Maxime

[Image: Torie-Gold-Sig.png]
Back to blonde mid-August '93. Boo.
Anthony was still in half a haze as his gaze caught Ms. Malfoy’s perfect blue one. It was almost a mirror of his own but softer, sweeter, and lighter in so many ways. He’d once thought to himself that if they ever married and had children, he wanted them to have her blue rather than his. In this moment, children were the furthest thing from his mind however as the thrum of his heartbeat in his chest practically ached. He knew better than to take liberties. He’d prided himself his whole life on being an utmost gentleman. So why was it, as her small fingers curled into his sopping wet shirt, he suddenly had the most bizarre urge to alleviate himself of clothing altogether.

A crease formed in Ms. Malfoy’s brow, an evident sign of unease, but before Anthony could dare to do anything about it, those small fingers were tugging him closer. He reacted on impulse rather than rationality. The space between them dissolved and Anthony reciprocated Ms. Malfoy’s - Torie’s - kiss with urgency. He poured every ounce of pining apology he could manage into that one moment, shifting closer to her than he otherwise might have dared. Fingers continued to rub absently at her bare thigh, but his free hand came up to gently cradle the back of her head as if terrified she might fall away again.

When they finally parted for oxygen, he didn’t move far. There was a question in his gaze but one he didn’t dare utter aloud for risk of insulting Torie and breaking this spell apart. Instead, Anthony hesitated for only a second and then kissed her again. This time was still urgent, still painfully apologetic, but he ventured forward more daringly than he had before. His tongue swiped gently against her lower lip, savoring every precious second he could manage. If this was the only opportunity he had to ever hold Torie this way again, then by Merlin he was going to take it.

Victoire Malfoy & muse song (it's especially fitting because tombé means fall lol)

The following 1 user Likes Anthony Alderton's post:
   Victoire Malfoy

© darling MJ for this spectacular sight
For a split second she thought she'd made a terrible mistake. After everything that had happened, Torie wouldn't have blamed him if he'd rejected her once more, but that was far from what happened.

Everything else faded away, the pain in her ankle, the awkwardness of a moment ago, even the musty smell of the unused cabin was pushed to the background. All she could feel was the weight of his hands, his kiss and the moment; she had certainly never been kissed like this before.

There was an urgency to it she didn't quite understand, but she was too wrapped up in him to think past the humming of her pulse and the feeling of everything falling back into place where it belonged. Her hands tightened their grip, her free one coming to join the other, landing softly between his collar and jaw, his skin warm beneath her fingertips.

When he leaned back, Torie sighed softly, trying to catch her breath, but she had no time to. Words seemed pointless and she was relieved at being spared from having to find any. A small gasp met the sensation at her lower lip, lips parting as a shiver ran through her. She pressed closer, needing that reassurance, holding on, trying not to drown in him.

The following 1 user Likes Victoire Malfoy's post:
   Anthony Alderton

[Image: Torie-Gold-Sig.png]
Back to blonde mid-August '93. Boo.
Anthony still wasn’t sure what had come over him. He tried as best as possible to think through his actions: to cross reference the fact that Torie was inexperienced, the difficulty of their situation, the fact that she was a lady of pristine reputation, and his own humming desire to not make an ass of himself but— the various facets seemed to conflict as he continued to react on impulse rather than rationality. Her small hands served as encouragement too, as they settled on his shoulders and provided some stability. Anthony ached for this moment to mean something, to reconcile whatever awful rift had formed between them. Could they just erase the past few months and start again?

The feeling of Torie opening up so easily for him as he kissed her a second time almost made Anthony think so.

Her small gasp sent a thrill down his spine. He ought to be ashamed of himself for acting in such a rakish way but instead, the brunette felt a small sense of pride. He was the one insighting these perfect little reactions. Possibly the first, ever. It was a gift in and of itself, an allowance, that he didn’t take lightly. As Torie pressed closer, Anthony’s hand on her thigh brushed further up, more in an attempt to hear that soft gasping noise again than any real intention. With her ankle as it was and the fact that he would not be crossing that line regardless of what happened, he was careful not to move too quickly. Elsewhere, Anthony kissed and explored as much as he was able, urgency giving way to longing. He kissed Victoire with all the ache of a pining, lost puppy finally come home.

Victoire Malfoy & muse song (it's especially fitting because tombé means fall lol)

© darling MJ for this spectacular sight
Torie knew somewhere deep down this was not how they should be solving the problems between them. It was hard to rationalize however, when there was physically very little space between them; yet it wasn't close enough. Torie felt the unyielding, overwhelming desire to have her body against his somehow, anyway she could manage it.

From their somewhat awkward, uneven position, she wasn't sure what to do next, lost entirely to him and his lead. It was hard to focus on anything but his hands and his lips on her skin, a sharp inhale or a heady sigh the only response to his wandering touch. Still she wanted more; if this was going to be how they fixed things, then so be it.

Slowly she slid her hands to the top button of his shirt, managing to loosen a couple, just enough to slip her hands beneath his collar. The sensation under her fingertips of going from soaked shirt to warm skin had her humming out a little satisfied sigh as she leaned back for air. Her breathing was quick and heated, face flushed, eyes dark and curious as she searched his face for any indication of where this was going.

[Image: Torie-Gold-Sig.png]
Back to blonde mid-August '93. Boo.
There was a line somewhere in the ground here and Anthony searched for it fruitlessly as his creeping touch was rewarded. He could have grinned against Torie, pleased as he was with himself for drawing out her soft sigh. Instead, the brunette shivered slightly at the feel of cool fingers against his skin. Buttons came undone and the sticky wetness of his shirt was alleviated slightly as hands made their way across his collarbone. Too content with their situation to bother feeling guilty anymore, Anthony wondered if she wanted this as badly as he did… On the one hand, he had no intention whatsoever of ruining her and then backing away, skirting all responsibility. But on the other, he knew better than to think this would easily solve any of their problems. In fact, if they went too far, it would only create more. He knew this and yet the little alarm bell in the back of his mind was muted by the flushed look on Torie’s face as she pulled away and gave him a curious glance.

Her pale skin was red and warm to the touch, beautiful pupils blown wide. He wanted to memorize that look, etch it into his mind so that he’d never again make such a stupid mistake as to hurt her. Anthony rubbed his thumb gently against her thigh then, by now having reached the fold where her dress prevented him from going any further without hiking it up himself. He knew he should say something, that one of them ought to speak and push this train off the current track, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Not yet, something whispered.

So, leaning closer again, Anthony pressed a soft kiss to the corner of Torie’s mouth, then another against her cheek, making his way gently along her jawline to her ear, then down her neck just to where the collar of her dress prevented him from going any further. It was both a blessing and a curse. He sighed against her soft skin before pulling away again and letting the hand wrapped around the back of her neck slide gently to her shoulder, down her arm, and settle on her waist. This was it. This was the moment he should say something.

Victoire Malfoy & muse song (it's especially fitting because tombé means fall lol)

© darling MJ for this spectacular sight

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