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Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1894. It’s time to join us and immerse yourself in scandal and drama interlaced with magic both light and dark.

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It’s quite unusual for a caster's patronus to be their favourite animal, but very possible that it will take the shape of a creature they’ve never before seen or heard of. — Amy
As he fell, Ford recalled the trials of Gulliver during his interactions with the Lilliputians.
Potato Wars

We Found Love
February 14th, 1894 - Love At First Sight Ball

This was their third dance and Sadie wasn't sure if her aunt was amused or exasperated at this point. Sadie had opted for a pink dance card, because it was far more fun, but was starting to think maybe she should swap it out for a plain white one instead. It wasn't her fault Mr. Ashford kept catching her eye!

"I think we're going to get in trouble soon," she giggled as she took his hand for the galop. It was considered improper to dance more than twice with a gentleman and that was only if something was already established! Mr. Ashford had been a true gentleman, sending flowers and calling appropriately since their first meeting in December, but Sadie wasn't sure what, if anything, this could mean for the future. It was silly and naive of her to think that the first gentleman she'd ever properly danced with or spoken to would be a serious contender for courtship, but it was leaning that way!

Tonight she was wearing a new dress in a pretty dusty rose sort of color. It was draped nicely, trying to accentuate the curves she didn't have, but her aunt had insisted and it did look nice. "I might have to switch to a normal dance card after this." Which would mean her time with Mr. Ashford would be limited, but they were already pushing societal conventions, even if the theme of the evening was to blame!

Jeremy Ashford c/o Sisse Thompsett

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Jeremy chuckled, but Miss Sinclair did have a point. In the occasions he had seen her since they had met he had enjoyed each one. Despite her youth she was wonderful company. So when she was once again at a ball, well it was only natural his gaze drifted to hers. And yet hers seemed to do the same thing. And then he'd be stepping forward to ask her to dance and away they would go. He had enjoyed her company, but enough so that he knew he wanted to do things right by her. Raising eyebrows at a Valentines day event was not what he had envisioned.

"You may be right." Jeremy admitted, with a smile he was sure was more sheepish than he would have liked. Thankfully the steps had them look forward and he led them through the quick steps.

After the first round of kicks Jeremy could finally glance at her, again noticing how well suited the gown was for her. He'd been very careful with the line that stood between them, but he could feel the hope for a future this evening. Perhaps it was because of the foolish nature of the ball, but he did hope to make as good an impression on Miss Sinclair by the time of her debut as she had on him already. "If you do I will have to trade in my boutinere." Jeremy found himself adding, once again grateful that the galop had pointed his face away from her to lead her carefully through the steps following the couples ahead of them.

It was hard to keep up a conversation in a galop, he preferred slower dances for those occasions. Typically only taking to the floor for a galop when he had been directed to dance with someone he did not enjoy discoursing with. But he tried with Miss Sadie because if he wasn't to draw attention to his interest in her before she was ready, this would be the last chance this evening. "It's a shame really, because I quite enjoy your company. " Surely she knew that by now, didn't she?

Perhaps it was for the better that they were not afforded an easy conversation through this dance. The spinning out and back again would hopefully conceal her fond smiles in his direction. "Perhaps we could wait until my aunt says something." Her looks said enough, but Sadie could pretend not to know what she was aiming for if not given a direct request.

Sadie flushed from the compliment, but hoped it was hidden by the pink already on her cheeks, evidence of her efforts on the dance floor. Fortunately, though they weren't able to step away and back again to give her a moment. "I quite enjoy yours as well." She managed once they were facing one another again. It was perhaps a little bold, considering they were walking a fine line, with her not having officially debuted into society yet, but perhaps she could forgo the whole thing completely? Wouldn't that be something? Mr. Ashford had been a true gentleman so far and she hoped his intentions would continue.

Fortunately, the galop was a quick set and Sadie made sure the keep her eyes cast elsewhere as they made their way from the dance floor. She kept her hand on his arm however, and nudged him toward the refreshments table, making sure to keep her gaze looking forward. "We aren't the only ones," Sadie noted a Miss Twiglett on her third dance with a gentleman who looked like he would rather be anywhere else. "Perhaps just a few minutes more." She sighed, catching herself from looking up at him.

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They could, he supposed. But he was rather certain that as a gentleman, and one with his respectable behavior heretofore, he would be expected to know precisely what to do even if her aunt didn't mention it. He was, thankfully, not given the opportunity to have to object to her as a gentleman should, by the next series of flurried movements required of them in this dance.

Her cheeks had the warm flush to them that could be from dancing or from her own admission as she faced him. He rewarded her honestly with a gentle squeeze of her hand, reassuring her that it was alright she felt that way, that she had told him as much. His own heart warmed at the thought that she too enjoyed her time with him, that this was not just a one sided thing.

Jeremy found he was grateful when she slipped her hand back on to his arm at the end of the and allowed him to guide them over to the table of refreshments. In that moment he wanted to glance down at her with a fond smile, to see her own reactions, but kept his gaze forward to keep from getting them into further trouble.

"Indeed." Jeremy agreed conversationally as he saw several other couples returning to the floor that had just been dancing. But that aside he still didn't wish to risk it, not with Miss Sinclair. "I don't think a conversation over a cup of punch will give them much more to gossip about." Jeremy agreed, "That is, if you'd like punch Miss Sinclair?" His hand paused on the way to grabbing her a cup and he had to resist looking at her again. How often he must look at her in their normal conversations.

"You needn't give up your give up your dance card." He added keeping his tone conversational even though he knew he'd dislike watching her dance with anyone else though. He would have to live with it, he didn't want to force her into something she didn't want and wagging tongues had a habit of making that happen. "I shall turn in my boutonniere so you may continue to enjoy the ball." It was a very small sacrifice since he had two reasons for taking it in the first place. The first was to have a chance to dance with Miss Sinclair, the second being it had been expected by his friends all of whom had taken one as well. The thought of those friends dancing with Miss Sinclair set him ill at ease but he was a gentleman first and foremost.

Hopefully a glass of punch and a few more moments of conversation wouldn't hurt. She was willing to take the risk however, determinedly to look anywhere but in her aunt's direction in case the woman was trying to send her signals or call her over. "Punch is perfect." Anything cold to help with the flush.

Accepting the cup gratefully, Sadie took a refreshing sip and sighed. "Oh, that's very kind of you." She smiled softly. The pink dance card was rather fun, but with the two of them compelled to dance every time they caught the other's eye, it was getting less and less practical. At least if it was only one of them, they could still make eye contact without it being a problem. The larger problem was, though she knew she shouldn't be quite so stuck in her ways already, Sadie wasn't sure she wanted to dance with anyone else. It was hardly proper, she wasn't really officially out, though of age clearly, to be so enamored with one man. The first man who had shown her any attention. It made her look like a willy waif in one of her romance novels.

"It would probably be better if I returned to a normal dance card, I'm sure my aunt is dying to fill it." She passed him a pointed look that hopefully said she did not agree. Since they were here for an undetermined amount of time, until her uncle was able to travel again, her aunt had jumped into the winter social events with gusto. Perhaps it was to distract herself, or perhaps to truly see if she could find Sadie a match before the actual season began when she would likely get lost in the shuffle.

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With a nod Jeremy kept his gaze on the glass at hand and poured the red liquid into it before handing it to Miss Sinclair. It took a great deal of effort not to look above her hands as he did so, he preserved and then distracted himself by pouring himself a glass as well.

The thought of a filled dance card without him in made him feel irritated, which was entirely illogical. After this evening, however, he rather hoped that society at large would know of his attentions to pay suit to Miss Sinclair. "You speak as if she has not already filled it." He'd seen more than one matron filling in dance cards for their charges this evening as they twirled about with their magiked ones instead.

"She may very well have," Sadie laughed over the rim of her cup, nearly looking at Mr. Ashford as she did and catching herself just in time, swinging her head toward those currently on the dance floor. It really would be good for her to trade in her dance card soon. She sipped at her punch for a moment, wondering how best to go about it. Perhaps if she got to it first she could just fill it with nonsense and spare herself the trouble. Her aunt would likely want to try and fill it, but Sadie was also thinking half the dances were over by now...

"I can't decide," she chanced a glance in his direction, but kept her gaze fixed on his cheek. "It seems so silly," she admitted. Silly and a little presumptuous; they had been enjoying one another's company, obviously, but to think that he would want to spend the majority of the evening with her was a stretch.

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"You can't decide," Jeremy prompted kindly, trying to parse her words together. "If you ought to exchange your card? Or if you'd rather she did fill up a dance card for you?" Jeremy certainly hoped that her aunt hadn't done such a thing. He might know what he ought to do, but that did not make him entirely generous when it came to his time with Miss Sinclair.

"Sometimes it is the silly things that can be the most difficult choices." Jeremy found himself saying, the words flowing through his lips with little thought. It was one of those moments when he hoped it made him appear more sagely than unhinged. Perhaps the words made no sense all together. "But I am happy to assist." Really he would do quite a bit to put the lady's mind at ease. The merest suggestion he could do something and he'd likely agree to call upon her in the morning - in all candidness he was simply looking for an excuse to do just that.

Bless his patience. Sadie felt a little disoriented at the moment and he never failed to make her feel like it was normal when she was off. "Just the dance card. I would staunchly prefer if she didn't fill a regular one." At the beginning of their little soft debut experiment, she had been eager and excited and enthusiastic about filling a dance card; it had been the whole point! She'd wanted to prove she could do it, could be a regular debutante and have a successful social season.

It seemed she was doing better than she could have hoped for.

"You're too kind," she smiled at him, careful not to directly catch his eye. Their three dances already was pushing it just a bit and she'd rather not hear about it from her aunt or anyone else for that matter. If she opted for the normal dance card though, she would regrettably, if appropriately, be pulled from his company. Like she'd said, a silly conundrum, but one she was still unsure as to the answer for. "Perhaps I shall trade it out and just guard it carefully." Only add if she wanted to. "The evening is past half over anyway." And as much as she would like to, she couldn't exactly monopolize Mr. Ashford's company for the entirety of it.

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There was some sense of relief in her answer, that she would rather steer her own dances this evening. He would be much too bold to even think to himself that this was because she preferred his company, but he did feel as if this were some way tethered to himself. The swell of hope, unbidden, rose as she mentioned guarding a regular dance card. "It sounds as if you have your mind made up Miss Sinclair." He found himself telling her. "May I be so bold as to hope you won't guard against callers tomorrow as well?" Because if she were to turn in her card well he suspected he would not be able to pay her much more additional attention either this evening.

Oh! Mr. Ashford planned to call at the house tomorrow!? Sadie's blush deepened and she found herself lost for words for a moment. Tongue-tied and genuinely a little shocked, she blinked a few times before recovering. "You flatter me to think that there would be more than one." Though Sadie truly had no say in who was allowed to call at the house, she certainly didn't think her aunt would turn him away!

"I can put in a good word, however." She would of course have to tell her aunt and give her time to plan for any visits that might occur. It wasn't the season, so Sadie wasn't sure if the rules were different during this time of year, but it would be rude to turn him away! Turning her card in would only buy her so much more time in Mr. Ashford's company for this evening, but if she had a visit tomorrow to look forward to, she would likely get through it much easier. "Having that to look forward to would be nice." She said, putting a voice to her thoughts, though in a much more concise manner.

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"I only speak the truth, Miss Sinclair." Jeremy assured her, having to stop himself before he looked into her eyes to ensure she understood his sincerity.

He certainly hoped that it would be more than nice for her to look forward to, but they were both bound by the proprieties of society, their words strung tight with things that could not be said. "I would look forward to it as well, if you wished it." Because he certainly wouldn't show up if she was not inclined to see him. It was skirting the edges of things given that she wasn't out yet, but he was increasingly sure of where this would lead, where he wanted it to lead and was willing to toe a few lines if he could see it through.

"I would indeed like that very much." Maybe she could wiggle a ride out of this. Mr. Ashford had said he also enjoyed the pass time and if he were to ask it would be much harder for her aunt to say no. "It is a slight too cold to promenade but perhaps a ride?" She would plant the seed of interest now and see what would come of it tomorrow when he arrived. Plus walking around just for the sake of it was just a little boring, even if it was necessary. Sadie had done all of the right training for an actual debut and was pleasantly surprised to find it sticking in her memory better than anticipated. It had been a while since she'd had a terrible headache and reset some of her memories. Hogsmeade was turning out to be better for her than ever anticipated!

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"Then I shall trust you to put in a good word." Merlin he wished he could look at her right now, watch her face light up, to find that his imaginings of her face were indeed true. But he wouldn't risk that.

"If you're Aunt allows it, perhaps we might." He allowed, but given how she had been injured before he highly doubted she would be allowed. He would ride to her home though, tomorrow, likely the sight of the horse alone would make her happy. And if nothing else he might even be allowed to let her meet the steed. She knew she would like that.

"Tomorrow then?" He asked, capturing her gloved hand in his own and bowing over it.

It took all of her willpower not to seek out his gaze, but knew that would only lead to another dance and they couldn't afford the attention. "Until tomorrow, then." It would be terrible and wonderful at the same time to get through the rest of the night without his company, but she would have to take solace in monopolizing this company during their visit. She would not be allowed the same candidness she had at the moment, but still, she would make the best of it.

"Try not to have too much fun without me." She entreated as she untied her pink dance card from her wrist. Perhaps that would release the magic. She tucked it in her pocket and planned to exchange it at her next turn about the room. Sadie chanced a glance up as his handsome face and smiled.

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