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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.

Where will you fall?

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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.
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Stag Night
6 March, 1894 — Greengrass Home

Ford's new bedroom on the recently built third floor of their Bartonburg home was bigger than any room he'd lived in before, though smaller than the ones he'd stayed in with Macnair or Tycho. It boasted a bed twice the size of the one in the tiny room he'd left behind downstairs, though he wasn't sure that was entirely necessary. He imagined marital duties, when and if they occurred, would take place in the room across the hall, currently empty but soon to be inhabited by the newly minted Mrs. Greengrass. But it did come in handy tonight, because it gave him and Cash plenty of room to spread out while they worked their way through the first bottle of gin.

The third floor only contained the two bedrooms. He'd chosen the one to the west thinking perhaps he'd be able to catch a glimpse of the Black Lake through the window, but it was obscured by the density of the neighborhood between them and the park. All he could see out his window was their garden and a sea of other Bartonburg addresses. But he'd been in her room, to check that everything was ready, and he'd noted that from her window the brightly colored rooftop of Ty's house could be seen, so he didn't regret his choice of room.

"I have a question," he announced to Cash. After a slight pause, he allowed, "It might be more of a when we've had more to drink question."
Cassius Lestrange

Set by Lady!
Cash wasn't often in Ford's house. They usually met elsewhere; Ford's house was full of people, and Cash's was far from neutral territory. But Ford would be married in two days, and now the house was bigger — taller — and so he was sitting on Ford's new carpet and drinking gin.

What had he felt, two days before his wedding? He'd been with Angie, Cash thought — sitting at her tiny kitchen table and trying to figure out how he was supposed to do this.

He tilted his head at Ford's question. "Go ahead," Cash said, "And we can drink until I want to answer it."

MJ made this!
"Alright," Ford agreed, though he wished he'd waited until they'd had more to drink to bring it up in the first place, because now he didn't want to ask. He hadn't thought through any good way to phrase it — but he also suspected that he could probably think about it for another three hours and still not come up with any way to ask it that felt ideal, so maybe it was better to just get it over with? He didn't have to ask, of course, but if he didn't ask then he wouldn't get an answer... and it wasn't as though he could ask someone else. Cash was on a very short list of people who Ford knew with certainty (or at least reasonable certainty) were qualified to answer it, based on relevant life experience, and the other two people on the list would have been significantly more awkward.

"It's about sex," he admitted, cheeks flushing. "With women. How you make it — nice?" he said the last word with extra inflection, as though he wasn't at all sure it was the adjective he was looking for.

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   Tycho Dodonus

Set by Lady!
Cash flushed back at Ford, and took a sip of his drink. He'd had a bad feeling this was the track the question would go. A few nights before the wedding, debutantes were thinking of what would happen on their wedding night. (Or so Cash had heard.) And they weren't alone — their future husbands were thinking of the same thing.

When he'd gotten drunk with Angie a few nights before the wedding, he'd asked her the same question.

"We need to have more to drink," he said, "and then I can try to help you."

MJ made this!
Cash's response made Ford briefly consider climbing out his own window. He'd done this to himself; he'd asked. He was now definitely wishing that he hadn't, and wondering what Cash must have thought of him, and would have nothing to do now but continue fretting about what Cash must have thought of him until the subject came up again.

"For her," he clarified hastily. "I'm not worried about —" But he obviously did not want to finish that sentence, so instead he cut off abruptly and took a drink. Following that he topped off his glass from the bottle, then passed it to Cash, his shoulders sagging in an unspoken apology.

"I'm worried about the first time," he admitted. "That I'll fuck it up once, and then get stuck there forever."

He was worried about a lot of other things, too, when it came to the wedding night: that she had already been with someone else she liked more than him; that someone had taken advantage of her and she would be traumatized and not want him to ever touch her; that he'd spend the whole time feeling guilty about Tycho. But this was a concern that made the list, too; that she might just find the experience entirely underwhelming and lose interest in any future endeavors, and he would be condemned to a bad sex for the rest of his life.

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   Cassius Lestrange

Set by Lady!
Cash accepted the offered bottle, took a large gulp of his drink, topped off his drink, and set the bottle down in between them. This was the same thing he'd asked Angie, a few days before marrying Adrienne. This also confirmed an obvious suspicion: that Ford had not slept with Miss Farley.

"The first time is the hardest for them," he said quietly, "But — I don't think it'll be fucked up forever." Even if Ford was asking these nervous questions, that at least meant he was thinking about sleeping with Miss Farley, which was more than Cash suspected of some men marrying women.

MJ made this!
Ford had heard that, about first times, but he doubted it applied in this case. He'd said the first time to Cash but it certainly wasn't his, and he didn't expect that it was hers either. But none of his past experience was especially relevant here, and he didn't know what she'd gotten up to in the past and had already determined never to ask.

And he could not admit any of this to Cash, anyway, so he nodded as though this was sound advice and took another drink. "I hope not. You hear about — married women talk about it like it's a chore, don't they?" he said. Not that he had heard this personally from anyone as he didn't make a habit of talking to any married women about their sex lives, but it seemed to be the general impression in society: unspoken but well understood. "But that's so bleak. Spending your whole life like that. I just want — I feel like I'm not going to do anything right," he admitted. "When it comes to being a husband. So I want to do something right."

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   Cassius Lestrange

Set by Lady!
"You're going to do many things right," Cash retorted. Even if Ford wasn't quite ready for this, he'd be better off than many husbands — he was a good person, who was incredibly empathetic when it came to other people. (It occurred to Cash that he had maybe never verbalized that thought. He took a sip of liquor instead.)

"But — sex is something I've tried to make decent. For Adrienne," he added. He wasn't a bad person for Ford to ask this question, was his point.

MJ made this!
Ford chewed his lower lip. Cash might have been saying this because it was the sort of thing you had to say, if someone said they were worried about messing everything up. Cash was also, historically speaking, sometimes a disaster, so maybe he meant that Ford was going to do fine by comparison (which did not necessarily mean he'd be doing well). Even if neither of these were the case, there were a lot of factors here that Cash didn't know, and couldn't. The fact that Ford was in love with someone else, for one. The vast amounts of debt. The crimes he'd been steadily committing for the past year.

So the first remark wasn't as reassuring as it might have been, and Cash's description of the act of sex as decent was hardly a glowing one, either. Sex with Tycho was fantastic — but obviously he could not expect the same here. There was a wide spectrum between fantastic and bleak and Ford really had no way of determining what the most reasonable bar was on which to pin his expectations. Maybe "decent" was the most he could hope for, at the end of the day.

"Can you do all the same things?" he asked. Some of the positions he was used to seemed as though they might be tricky or even impossible, given different angles — but he didn't really know. He hadn't ever been especially well-acquainted with women's anatomy beneath their skirts, so maybe he was filling in the gaps in his knowledge all wrong.

Set by Lady!
Cash shrugged his shoulders at Ford. His flush was glowing steady and would not go away, so he took another big gulp of liquor. His embarrassment didn't dissipate, but he felt more capable of offering advice with every sip of gin he consumed. "Kind of," he said, "In some ways."

It was hard to explain. He sometimes felt so disconnected from sex with Adrienne that he really was not qualified for this. But he was also sure that if Ford had anyone else to ask, he would ask them.

"Their — breasts," Cash said; the flush had expanded to his neck. "Are more sensitive."

MJ made this!
Sensitive could mean that he ought to avoid touching them, so as not to irritate, or that he should pay special attention... he considered asking which it was, but Cash was red down to his collar already, so Ford thought perhaps he ought not to press for details. If there was something he really needed to know, Cash would get around to telling him, now that Ford had expressed how inexperienced he was. Which — maybe he shouldn't have, given the story they were supposed to be selling about this engagement, but he had to assume Cash had already mostly known it was all bullshit.

He took another drink. "I don't know if she'll want to," he admitted. "Because of the thing in the coat room. So we might — not, for a while. I don't know." He still wanted to feel ready for it, in case, but it was fairly probable (by his reckoning) that his future sex life might be ruined anyway, no matter how much advice Cash was able to give him on the subject.

Set by Lady!
Cash was relieved that Ford hadn't asked about breasts. He took a long draw of liquor and grabbed the bottle, topping up both of their glasses. This was rapidly shaping up to be a night that would be helped along by liquor, and not just because Ford only seemed to be honest with Cash when he was drunk.

"What happened in the coat room?" Cash asked, blunt. They weren't in the pub this time — maybe Ford would actually tell him.

MJ made this!
Ford didn't know why Cash was asking; it wasn't as though it made any difference now. But there was also probably no harm in telling him, or at least telling him part of the truth. He'd had his three weeks of selling this story. The wedding was in two days, so it was unlikely anything was going to derail it... and Ford assumed that Cash already knew what had happened, at least in the rough sense.

He shrugged and picked up his glass. "The Minister's wife found the pair of us in a coatroom with her dress all undone," he said. This was common knowledge by now, or at least part of the story that was commonly being told. His purpose in saying it was the period at the end of the sentence: the unspoken implication that nothing else from the commonly told story was accurate. He sipped his drink and shrugged again. "I only got there a minute before Mrs. Dempsey."

Set by Lady!
Mystery solved; Ford hadn't slept with Jemima Farley. Cash had felt pretty confident about that for a while, but there was some amount of vindication to his chest to know he'd been right. So Jemima Farley's dress was undone, and Ford had found her, and so had Mrs. Dempsey, and now somehow it was Ford's fault that they were getting married.

(Cash was still determined to solve that last piece.)

"Maybe she won't want it that night," Cash said, "But I imagine she will eventually."

The following 1 user Likes Cassius Lestrange's post:
   Fortitude Greengrass

MJ made this!
Ford nodded. That was his estimation of things, too — or maybe his hope, rather. He wasn't chomping at the bit to sleep with a girl he hardly knew in two days, but he was going to be married to her forever — forever was a long time to go without any intimacy whatsoever.

"That's good to hear," Ford said, then on realizing that might not be entirely clear: "That you think she will. It's — I don't think I could stomach it if she didn't — you know. Want to." This maybe went without saying. "But like, actually want to, not just — you know, feeling like she had to."

Set by Lady!
Cash nodded, understanding. "I asked Adrienne if she was comfortable with it," Cash said. He was worrying his fingers against the buttons of his shirtsleeves. "On our wedding night. And if I could kiss her. And all of that. She was. I don't — I don't think I could have if she wasn't." He had not particularly felt like he had other options, but he did not think that he could have managed it if Adrienne did not want to try — Cash had always supposed that he was lucky that she had not been frightened.

MJ made this!

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