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#1
Private 
Midday August 13th, 1889 - Padmore Park

The three weeks following the diastrous run in with Ben had brought about a dramatic change in Melody's demeanor. Gone was her halfhearted attempt to find a partner, and in its place was someone hyperfocused and driven. Seeing her former flame up close like that again had reminded her how much she had enjoyed spending time with him. He was infuriating and charming and lovely and Melody was just as lost in him as she was two years ago.

Merlin, she needed help.

She wasn't sure how this afternoon with Dianna had come about, but she was grateful for it nonetheless. It'd been ages since she'd spent time with a friend outside of the relentless social calendar that was the season. In fact, Melody couldn't even remember the last time she had been able to escape the life at all.

"I heard you fainted the other night, have you been alright?" She sincerely asked. So many of their counterparts would be quick to judge her friend. Melody was merely concerned for Dianna's wellbeing.


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#2
The fresh air was pleasing this time of day. While the debutante was more used to strolls in Hyde Park, she equally loved travelling to Hogsmeade to visit her good friend. And whats more it wasn't something on her agenda that she felt she had to do. She respected the working class who had regular hours, but she knew some would agree with her if she said that being a debutante was a job in and of itself! Schedules never ceased, and it was a constant state of being cordial, polite, yet not too withdrawn, Merlin forbid you must remember to not send the wrong signals!

At the mention of her fainting spell, Diana's cheeks went rosy with embarrassment. She glanced down demurely, slightly pursing her lips at the memory. "Yes," she said, laughing gently. "Unfortunately you heard correctly." She figured her lady's maid had merely laced her dress too tightly, but it could very well have been merely the combination of heat, corset and atmosphere. Every debutante fainted on the occasion where their corset was laced too tightly, but it was still an embarrassing thing to have happen. One must be demure, not weak!

"I'm alright," she adjusted her parasol to compensate for the sun shining rather brightly today. "Mr. Scrimgeour was gallant enough to help me recover, and he took me to the balcony so that I might get some fresh air."


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#3
A brief flash of intense irritation went through her at the mention of the Scrimgeour name. Melody still hadn't forgotten - nor would she ever - that Anabelle was who Ben decided to be with following his return to England. Anabelle! The harlot with the already questionable reputation. Melody despised the woman, and had determined a long time ago that she would never forgive her distant cousin's actions.

Julius, however, would've been quite the catch if not for the drama of last year. He was handsome and kind. Melody had even considered disregarding the familial tie at one point and flirting with him. It was for the best that she hadn't, what with the deplorable situation that family found themselves in. "He was always very kind towards me." She commented in return. Bella on the other hand...

"It's a shame that his sister ruined them. He had quite the future before she came along." Ben's part couldn't be ignored either, and Melody supposed she should've been grateful to have dodged that scandal. Except, Ben hadn't seemed to be so...wrong when they were connected. She must've been viewing him through rose colored glasses. Love had made her stupid beyond measure. Never again.


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[Image: rVeL1F.png]
#4
That he was. Diana smiled, knowing society would probably chatter about how his social standing was such a shame considering his character. Personally Diana was of the opinion that no one chose their family, it was an inevitablilty. She loved her mother dearly, but sure enough Allegra Fawley was relentless in reminding Diana of the scandal that had befallen the Scrimgeour family and how tainted they were in the eyes of society. She wasn't wrong, was the issue - though Julius Scrimgeour made a fine bachelor due to his temperament, there was another thing to be said about his standing in society. It would take a while for him to be seen as a proper bachelor again.

"Quite the shame," she said, discreetly taking her wand and casting another cooling charm on her skirts - how Muggle debutantes were expected to traipse about in this weather and not tolerate it without magic was beyond her. They must have more fainting spells than she did! "And he is so amiable, Melody," Diana said in a slightly imploring fashion. "I don't even know if he is in contact with his sister as of late!"


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#5
"He would be wise to avoid contact with her." Melody replied quickly. Siblings or not, Annabelle had nearly destroyed her family. Julius would be a fool to allow that hussy back into their world. He had an unmarried sister to think of! Poor Araminta was already starting off well behind the rest of the debutantes. She would be lucky to snag even a low level ministry worker. "That's a stain you never quite get out."

Melody fanned herself slightly as they walked. The sun was beating down upon them and the breeze helped only slightly when wearing as many layers as they must. "If she were my sister I would disown her immediately as I'm sure he has done." Melody was hardly going to point out that they were distant cousins - she didn't need Bella dragging her down too.


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[Image: rVeL1F.png]
#6
All of what Melody was saying was indeed true. Despite this, she couldn't help but feel a bit of sympathy for Mr. Scrimgeour. "Do you really think it'd be that simple to disown such a member of immediate family?" She inquired, a genuine curiosity in her voice. She was thinking of her siblings. She couldn't imagine saying goodbye forever to Octavia or Henry. Both were so close to her growing up - Henry so wise and caring, and Octavia such a shy, nurturing spirit that to say goodbye to them would be to say goodbye to part of herself. "I understand the repercussions of having a family member shame the family like that, but do you think it might be that easy moving forward?"


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#7
Melody slowed their pace to a standstill and looked over at her friend. "No, of course not." Was there more to Diana and Julius' relationship than they were letting on? Was this her way of testing out the waters? Melody frowned slightly before continuing, "I couldn't envision a life where I no longer spoke to my siblings. But if I were in his shoes - the patriarch of a disgraced family with an unwed sister who had done nothing wrong, I would have to act in her best interests." Araminta didn't choose to share Bella's face or fate. One twin had utterly destroyed the life of the other, it was a tragic situation for all involved.


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[Image: rVeL1F.png]
#8
Again, Melody was quite right - Mr. Scrimgeour as the head of his family at present, had things outside his present interests to think of, however that didn't mean he should have had to make those decisions, in Diana's opinion. Their father was more to blame than Mr. Scrimgeour himself. Diana fell into a pensive silence, nodding mutely before continuing on. Though she knew there was little more to say on the matter, she took her free arm and entwined it with Melody's free one so they would walk further in-sync. "Yes," she said finally, sighing as she observed the activities of the other park-goers. "Yes, Melody I do believe you're right."


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#9
Of course she was right, though Diana needn't the additional reminder. Julius would have to raise his family's reputation significantly before someone like Diana could marry him. Not one to push on when there was little reason to, Melody gestured towards one of the nearby trees and asked, "would you like to set the picnic over there?"


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[Image: rVeL1F.png]
#10
She was lost in thought before the matter could be pressed upon any further. Being the good friend Diana knew her to be, Melody had suggested a spot to lay their picnic. With chaperones not far behind them, they were free as they pleased to wander about where they wanted to, and Diana was grateful she had a friend like Melody who liked the appearance of an empty schedule combined with a picnic and a beautiful day.

She set the basket down and gave a discreet little flick of her wand, which saw the blanket do a dainty spin in mid-air and flare out onto the ground. Another flick and the contents of the basket danced out in front of them. "Enough about myself," she said matter of factly, glancing back at Melody. "How have you been?"


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#11
She settled upon the blanket and watched the basket unload its hidden treasures. The sandwiches and fruits flew about daintily as the teapot took the most level spot between them. "I'm well." Melody stated. It wasn't as though she could start on about her forbidden love - definitely not with their chaperones listening. "Quite well. This Season has been going smoothly."

It wasn't. Not in the least. But Melody wasn't about to put a voice to her worst laid fears.


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[Image: rVeL1F.png]
#12
Diana knew Melody enough to know that there were things being left unsaid - things that were more suited to the privacy of a parlor room where they weren't at risk of falling upon searching chaperone ears.

The corners of her mouth turned up and Diana responded smoothly with the idle chatter that was expected of them both by their chaperones. Soon she saw the chaperone's spines loosen indicating they'd lost curiosity in the mundaneness of the afternoon. Save for vibrancy of Melody's company, Diana thought herself quite in agreeance.


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