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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

She wished she had forgotten the events of that masquerade. She wasn’t sure what had come over her that night, but there were certain things that couldn’t be unfelt. That was the reason it still crossed her mind from time to time, strange flashes of sensation, his hand on her waist or that look in his eyes.

He had been a stranger then – but she had guessed, then, that he was a cad. Estelle had been proven right in that. It had taken time to scour society, to pin him down – for a terrible week she had thought she had unwittingly kissed the Hogwarts flying instructor – but she knew his identity now. Maxime, a Ministry man on the rise. French. Just as insufferable in attitude as he had seemed that night (nothing in the water that night was responsible for that). She had caught glimpses of him often enough since then. And he had never so much as approached her, probably had forgotten her completely, because every time she had seen him since, he had been sauntering up to some other woman.

This had the odd effect, usually, of filling her with spontaneous, incandescent rage. Estelle had been in a fine mood as she arrived at this garden party, but then she had seen him out of the corner of her eye. She had eased out a forget-me-not from the grand bouquet and set the wreath of delicate blue on her head.

If the day had been transformed to a revenge mission, it was going decently. He was part of the same game of Pall Mall, as she had intended. She was rather behind on the croquet course, but biding her time. On her next turn, she ignored the next obstacle completely and swung her mallet, hard, until her ball had struck his and sent them both flying, far beyond the bounds of the game and the rest of the party. She tucked her mallet under the crook of her arm and stalked off to the distant spot, not deigning to look about on the pretence of seeing whose ball she had hit until they were quite alone.

Then she offered him a cold, wordless look.
Timoleon Maxime/Gus Lissington

The idea of a garden party with magically enchanted flowers was a daft idea — Leo didn’t need any reasoning to be nicer to someone, or flattering to someone just because their flower had that meaning. If he spoke to someone, they should be grateful that he was even giving them the day of time; Leo was, after all, better than everyone here. The English should be pleased that a Frenchman would bother to spend time here to better their society. Who the hell decided what a flower even meant? Being the last to admit he didn’t know anything about flowers, Leo had randomly plucked a pink carnation from the bouquet and pinned the boutonniere to his jacket.

I’ll never forget you.

Didn’t notice any differences between the flowers until he saw her during a game of Pall Mall, but all he did was snort quietly under his breath — debutantes took everything so personally. So Leo continued to ignore her during the game, focusing on winning. He was better than everyone else here and he had every intention of making sure that his group knew it. That was, until Miss Malfoy smacked his ball and sent it off course, earning a low growl from him. She didn’t seem to care which earned an eye roll from Leo once he’d stepped away from the group, swinging his own mallet over his shoulder.

Problem, Miss Malfoy?” He arched an eyebrow at her once they were out of earshot, although he was stepping forward toward her before he could stop himself. Leo stopped almost in front of her, blue eyes narrowing at the woman. (Girl, really, given that she couldn’t figure out how to act like an adult.) The game was forgotten for the time being. “Or are you just having a moment?” Like girls tend to do; emotional beings, the lot of them.

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   Estelle Malfoy

[Image: hcVkGp.png]
Thank you Stef for this beauty<3
He had followed her, but hadn’t granted her the decency of any real space – in some subconscious instinct, Estelle had raised her croquet mallet slightly across her body, across her hips, as if she could bar him from getting any closer and taking liberties with her again.

Her lips had already pursed at his opening gambit. She didn’t know what she had seen in him. (In that intense blue stare. In the scathing comments curling from his lips.) She misstepped, foot rolling over the balls she’d knocked here. Yes, I have a problem,” she hissed, and he knew full well what it was. “But you can rest assured,” Estelle ground out, trying to regain her footing and the higher ground here (because this was her ambushing him, after all), “if I ever had a moment, as you say, it shan’t happen again.”

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   Anthony Alderton, Timoleon Maxime

Leo couldn’t help but chuckle at her defense — a croquet mallet, like it would do much damage to him if she chose to use it against him. He had strength and magic on his side, although he couldn’t help but tilt his head and appraise her silently. Miss Malfoy was as much of a threat as a fully clawed kitten. Still, she was seething at him, but she hadn’t said no to him when he’d kissed her, so it was all on him, no matter how much her brain wanted to tell her that.

Then she tripped and Leo almost let her tumble to the ground simply because she would deserve it, acting on emotions. It had been what… almost half a year since they’d spoken? Miss Malfoy had to let it go. Anger and envy weren’t a good look for her pretty face. Finally taking pity on her — it would do neither of them good if she tumbled to the ground drawing unwanted attention or she came back to the game muddy — he stepped forward and wrapped his fingers gingerly around her arm to keep her outright. And if she hit him with the mallet, more power to her, but Leo didn’t think she had it in her.

Stepped forward into her space though as his other arm came up to rest against her hip, fingers light against the fabric of her dress. “And yet here you are Miss Malfoy, having another moment. Pray tell, what do you want this time?” He moved to step forward again, to lean into his space, only his foot rolled into one of the balls, causing him to lose his own balance.

The following 2 users Like Timoleon Maxime's post:
   Anthony Alderton, Estelle Malfoy

[Image: hcVkGp.png]
Thank you Stef for this beauty<3
The way he laughed! It wasn’t fair that he could laugh at her, where other people in her life quailed and cowered when she was less than pleased with them. And of course he had the luxury of laughing. Unfortunately, she did not – and nor did she have the luxury of bludgeoning his face in with her mallet, however she might have liked to.

Before she could fully recover from her awkward stumble, his hand had found her arm, and she was too shocked to shake herself out of his grasp. Instead she froze, and as his other hand settled on her hip – she resisted the urge to close her eyes, because hadn’t forgotten that feeling, no matter how many months it had been – the mallet she had raised in defence slipped back down towards the ground with a muffled thud. Estelle might have flushed at that, except that at that moment his pride was also taking a little fall, and in spite of herself she clutched at his arm to steady him in turn, no matter how angry she was at how close this had put them. She didn’t like how extraordinarily stupid it made her feel.

“I want an apology,” she breathed, channelling all that fury into the demand. “I could have been ruined because of you.” It had only been a kiss, he might say, but Estelle felt quite sure that it had been more than just a kiss, and if anyone had seen, Merlin, she would still have borne the stain of it on her reputation for good.

The mallet dropped back toward the ground and she steadied him in turn so they didn’t tumble to the ground; how terrible that would have been, as the last thing Leo wanted was for someone to think he was taking advantage of her. He had, of course, but that was beside the point. His hand remained curled against her side as he furrowed his eyebrows at what she wanted. He almost laughed again because that was absurd, thinking that he would apologize for kissing her. Debutantes were easy to ruin and she had been a willing victim.

Lips curling into a smirk, the hand curling around her waist moved to her face, where he used his knuckle to tilt her chin toward him. “And if I don’t want to apologize, Miss Malfoy?” Leo breathed out. “What if I want to ruin you? Kiss you again?” Timoleon enjoyed the fire that came with Miss Malfoy; she could be crass and angry, but she didn’t let people walk all over her. They were one in the same, cut from the same cloth in that aspect. He took what he wanted, but in this instance, as he caught her gaze, Leo was going to make her work for it. He half expected to be hit or shoved, but then again she was a woman he couldn’t quite get a read on in terms of how she’d react.

[Image: hcVkGp.png]
Thank you Stef for this beauty<3
They were already much too close for propriety’s sake, and even if Estelle had assured that they would be well out of sight of the garden party for this little encounter, she really ought not to have placed herself in it at all.

Particularly not now that he had put his hand below her chin, and tilted it upwards. Estelle’s lips parted slightly, because now she had to face the question of him kissing her again – which was, of course, the last thing on earth she should be doing. Particularly when he was so infuriatingly entitled about it. So rather than stepping back, she stayed where she was, her face not too far from his, and her tone low. “Perhaps the world doesn’t exist purely to give you what you want, Mr. Maxime,” she pointed out, still simmering with the urge she shouldn’t have. Her hand came up to smooth out a crease of his jacket against his chest. “And if you do – if you ever prove the reason my chances of a good marriage are lost – you should know I will gladly ruin you in turn.”

She didn’t know if he would take the threat seriously – but it was an honest threat. There were plenty of things a lady could say if need be, and Estelle had never been anything but proper before. Anyone would believe her innocence or her victimhood, before they did his. He kissed me against my will – he promised me we were engaged – I didn’t know what was happening. Estelle was not above a useful lie. She wondered if that would change his mind.

He didn’t mean to laugh, but he did, sharp and almost bitter as he watched her part her lips like she expected Leo to kiss her again. He wanted to, not because he had the desire to kiss her again, but because he wanted to watch Miss Malfoy war with herself. Half expecting her to step back at that point, his own lips pressed into a frown the moment she opened her mouth — the woman was always sharp witted, and he hated that her words caught him off guard.

Leo forced out a chuckle, his thumb brushing against the soft skin of her cheek. “The world exists purely for my entertainment, and I take whatever it is that I want.” Blue eyes flicked up to her face, his body unmoving as she smoothed out the crease of his jacket. “I’m not sure anyone would want to marry you anyway, not when you keep having moments like this.” He murmured quietly, bringing his lips closer until they ghosted over hers. “But I’d like to see you try to ruin me. We could make it a game, who can ruin the other quicker.” She might be able to play the victim, but he was a high ranking ministry official with a clean record — who was to say she wasn’t playing him to get some form of status?

“Tell me you don’t want this, Estelle.” Leo skipped over all formalities. The hand on her hip drew her in closer, but Leo didn’t dare kiss her. She was going to have to want it, but now he found that he did want it simply because she wasn’t quick to give into him. Well played Miss Malfoy, well played.

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   Victoire Malfoy

[Image: hcVkGp.png]
Thank you Stef for this beauty<3
She could restrain herself when he brought his lips oh-so-close to hers; could ignore the sensation of his hand on her cheek or the other around her hip; but what she couldn’t ignore was the quip about no one wanting to marry her. That stung. So, before she could help herself – “And it’s no wonder that no one in their right mind would want to marry a self-obsessed cad,” she snapped. Perhaps the lack of marriage prospects was not the low blow to him it was to her, but nevertheless – she doubted he would get far if he tried to court anyone. Chasing skirts and promptly discarding them wouldn’t win anyone over for long.

(But he was dreadfully convincing in the moment, wasn’t he?) Unwillingly, Estelle’s breath left her body when he pulled her a little further in, and between her body pressed against his and the way he had called her Estelle, her tongue might betray her at any moment. She leant into him, but at the same time her grasp tightened on his arm, fingers sinking in hard as if she could make this man feel something real, as if she could possibly hurt him somehow. “And don’t call me Estelle,” she said, tone clipped and mouth so dry in spite of herself that she had to swallow in anticipation. I’m Miss Malfoy to you. She didn’t know if he really wanted anything, or just wanted to fluster her for fun, but she wasn’t going to give in and look weak. Not again.

“Take what you want, if you like,” she dared him, tilting her chin up haughtily. She knew he wanted her to beg him and she refused. “But I’m not in the habit of playing games to lose.” She may not like her chances in this – how was a woman to come out blamelessly in society if anyone called her a harlot? Estelle was certain she had the uphill battle here – but if he tried his luck and began the race to ruin, she would make sure he came out of this the worse. (And if part of her did want it, and want it badly, she wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of saying it to his face. She would just have to suffer through self-denial instead.)

So he’d struck a nerve with the girl, talking about her marriage prospects… or rather, lack of them. Estelle Malfoy wasn’t a name he often heard, and he wondered how much that killed her. Every debutante wanted attention, names on dance cards and to be the envy of every other woman in the room. He could do that for him, if he wanted to. The thought made Leo grin, predatory and all teeth before he was barking out a sharp chuckle. “You’ve considered it. A ministry man who’s going to be the actual minister one day —” Leo was full of himself, but it was good he had aspirations, no? There wasn’t a woman alive who didn’t want to be married to someone with a name like Timoleon Maxime — and if there was one, she was just a straight up idiot. “So what does that say about you, darling?”

He was goading her and front what he could tell from the way her fingernails were digging into his arm. It stung more than he thought it would, but not enough to make him even involuntarily flinch. No pain would be worse than being forced to turn into a bloody werewolf every month. Leo didn’t say anything, not when she pressed into him as he was pressing into her, and damn if the woman wasn’t someone intriguing. Not many people stood up to him, didn’t do his bidding the moment he asked for it. Leo hated her for it.

“I think I can call you whatever I want, Miss Estelle Malfoy.” Leo purred. And as she dared him to take what he wanted, well, he didn’t need to be told twice. He kissed her, boldly and out in the open where anyone could stumble upon them, one hand moving to gently cup the back of her neck. Take what you want… Leo wasn’t one to play games to lose either. Whatever she was playing at, he’d turn it back on her and win this silly little game they were playing. It didn’t matter that he’d been goading her own, trying to get her crack because in the end Leo got what he wanted — a kiss from Estelle.

He abruptly pulled back before he could swipe his tongue across her bottom lip. “I don’t like to lose either. But I am in the habit of making sure others do.” Game on, was what he was telling her. He could ruin her before she could even conjure up a thought on how to do the same to him.

[Image: hcVkGp.png]
Thank you Stef for this beauty<3
If she hadn’t considered it before – marrying someone like him – Estelle couldn’t quite deny that she was considering it now. Apparently he had ambitions, as well as an abundance of self-confidence. For all his flaws (and he had them in spades, she wasn’t so deluded), she thought she would do rather well as a Minister’s wife. (It commanded instant respect, instant popularity – and who cared about the husband when she would be the socialite of the moment without needing to try at all?)

But Mr. Maxime was a cad and a rake and he wasn’t going to marry her or anyone if he was always so focused on having his fun, on leaving swathes of ruin in his wake. She hated him. She hated him with a passion she had rarely felt for anything. But if he truly wanted something (not her, maybe, but the Minister’s job), she could use that in their game – so maybe there were ways to ruin him and his chances after all.

He had condemned them into playing the game now, anyway, because he’d surged forwards and kissed her. Estelle opened her mouth under his, breathless and hungry and angry at him for daring to, and she balled up her fist in his shirt at his neck to keep him there. He pulled back before she had had enough of him, and she scowled at him thunderously for it. Fine. Have it his way.

“Well, good luck with your games and your election,” she drawled, pushing him backwards to regain a little her space (and her sanity). She leant down to pick up her mallet, and without even bothering to use it this time, merely kicked at his croquet ball to send it careening out further into the mud. “We’ll see who loses next time, shall we?”

She aimed the mallet at her own ball, sending it the right way instead, and left him there, stalking back to the game as though nothing had happened between them at all. Next time, she had said, though – because, unfortunately, she was already thinking about when she might get to kiss him again. This was a dangerous game indeed. But Estelle had decided she wasn’t finished with him yet.

She was compliant as he kissed her, huffing and puffing but still so eager to allow him to take what he wanted; it was the only reason Leo lingered as long as he did, hungry and needy for a woman he couldn’t possibly want, but in some vein he did. She was crass and mean, giving it as good as she could take it — he knew he wanted a wife who was seen and not heard, someone entirely different than who Miss Estelle Malfoy was, yet at the same time the thrill of how she’d react, always so unexpectedly, was refreshing. He pulled back and she scowled. It was a wonder Leo didn’t drop dead where he stood.

“Thank you for your unwavering support,” He purred, stepping back as he was pushed. Their little game was over for now, but he was sure it’d pick right back up where they left off next time their paths crossed. Blue eyes tracked his ball straight into the mud, and he couldn’t help but laugh. It surprised Leo, and he shook his head. “I never lose, Estelle. So you better bring your best game.” Knew she hated being called by her first name, he hadn’t earned that right yet, but he still did it to get under her skin.

As she went back to the game, Leo retrieved his wand to bring it out of the mud before he hit it back toward the game. He stayed far back, away from the woman, but somehow he couldn’t help but keep his eyes off her. Their little game was just starting, and she had no idea what she was getting herself into.

[Image: hcVkGp.png]
Thank you Stef for this beauty<3

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