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November 23, 1889 - London, Flint Townhouse

Ace, close your eyes!” Lucille cheerfully admonished as she hastily glanced out the window as if her husband might garner the very nature of this trip from the streets of London that passed outside the carriage window. She had to reassure herself that there was absolutely no way that Ace might have any suspicions of their destination as she had not even remembered it herself until last month.

Beneath them the carriage bumped and jolted over the cobblestone streets of the city, each movement causing Lucille’s stomach to lurch, a common occurrence these days that she was learning to deal with. At least the smells of the city were masked through the thick doors of the carriage, a fact she was incredibly grateful for.

Lucille pulled her attention back to her husband. “Don’t force me to blindfold you!” She waved a thin sliver of fabric at him in a manner both menacing and teasing. Suspecting that Ace might try to peek she’d even been practicing a charm to keep it securely across his eyes if need be.

Since the idea had occurred to Lucille and she had dreamt up this plan a month ago she had excitedly anticipated this day. She knew exactly how she wanted it to go and could not wait to finally unveil her project. However, now that the day was finally there, her stomach was full of butterflies. She had anticipated the first surprise, but not the second that waited for the couple at their destination and she could only hope that Ace’s reaction was as enthusiastic and happy as she hoped it would be on - on both accounts.

Another glance out the window showed that they were nearing their destination and Lucille, not quite trusting her husband to keep his eyes closed determined that the blindfold would indeed be needed. She turned to him in a coquettish manner and held the fabric out, “Humor me?” Ever the good wife she waited until he acquiesced to her actions before she moved next to him, her gentle hands wrapping the sliver of silk over his eyes and then securing it in a loosely held knot behind his head. Using her charm to secure the blindfold from slipping, Lucille felt rather confident about ensuring everything remained a surprise. To reward him for his good behavior she pressed a kiss to his temple just as the carriage came to a stop.

We’re here!” Her excitement was more palpable in her words than her nervousness, thank Merlin. She quickly straightened up then held out her hand to help Ace. “Let me help you.” Hopefully he wouldn’t mind the role reversal for this brief moment. Lucille almost skipped out of the carriage, grateful that their coachman had already offered to help Ace - and with no questions asked. Once the trio stood on the sidewalk in the quiet upscale neighborhood of London just off of the Strand, their coachman returned to his perch and Lucille looked up at the doorway.

The dark wood door stode out from the stone facade of the large terraced townhouse. The Flint House as it had long been called, had been abandoned over well over a decade as Lucille’s mother had largely kept to their country home on the Flint’s traditional lands. Before this year Lucille had only half remembered the house from when she was very young and her mother had still hosted social gatherings during the Season. With most of their set being in Hogsmeade when Lucille had come out she had hardly even considered the opportunities such a holding would provide. But ever since her mother’s solicitor had visited in October she had begun to think of other possibilities for the home. Since then she had visited the house and then instructed her servants to open it again, cleaning years of dust and grime from the home, uncovering the furniture, placing live plants around. When she had visited yesterday she had been quite happy with how it had turned out. Now was the moment of truth, would Ace love it as much as she was coming to love it?

Giving him a gloved hand she guided him up the steps with a, “Careful, dear, steps.” At the top of the stairs the Butler opened the door for them and Lucille smiled at him, aware that this had to be rather a site to see. But the Flint servants were well trained and wouldn’t dare say a thing about their mistress’s antics.

Inside the bright entryway greeted them, black and white marbled floors, large windows, and a twisting staircase that captured the eye as it led up to all three of the main floors of the house. Servants quarters were on the last floor and accessed by a separate back staircase. Marble planters of fresh green plants were placed decoratively down the hall of the entry way and each lamp and banister had been polished to perfection. The door to the right was open revealing the large wooden ballroom, with mahogany paneled walls and large windows. On the left was the sitting room decorated in green wallpaper with elegant sage colored furniture and a luxurious rug, a marble fireplace with an intimidating portrait of Lucille’s father and mother stared down at the room. Down the hall past the door to the sitting room was the formal dining room, with its mahogany table and chairs and dark wood walls. Then there was the doorway to the gardens in the back, the glass doors displaying the now maintained garden in the best display late autumn garden could have in London.

Nervous and excited, Lucille shifted from one foot to another, catching the scent of freshly aired and cleaned rooms. Normally she loved the smell but today it made her feel queasy. Then again that could also be her excitement (or was it nerves) about her whole plan. She reached up to the back of Ace’s head and gently undid the knot, allowing the fabric to fall around his shoulders away from his eyes. “What do you think?” She asked anxiously, entirely forgetting to have told him that she owned the townhouse they were now standing in, and precisely what she meant by showing it to him in such a manner. Instead she simply shifted around to see his face, peering anxiously at him as if his very thoughts were the only thing that mattered - which, if she were being honest, they were the only things that mattered to her at that moment. She pressed her hand into his, giving his a quick squeeze, as if that might help him answer her sooner.

@Ace Lukeson

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Thank you MJ for an amazingly Lucy set!
Being surprised in a good way was not something that came as a common occurrence for Ace. His wife seemed to be changing that as their new marriage progressed. He enjoyed how happy it made her to come up with new ways to surprise him. Their marriage was one he was grateful for.

While the blindfold was an interesting touch, he hesitated a moment due to fear of bumping into something while wearing it. But he did indeed humor her and wore it obediently with a smile.

When he no longer had the blindfold on, he looked around the room with curiosity. "Darling. Who's home is this?" He asked with genuine confusion. It was a beautiful home, but he didn't recognize it. Were they meeting a friend?

Magic by Elaine!
That had not been what she expected him to say, Lucille keenly felt the disappointment in his reaction Oh, she had done this all wrong. Had botched her very attempt at surprising him, stumbling over her own excitement.

"Ours! Well, mine, really." She started practically stumbling over her words in an effort to correct her previous mistake. "I mean," Lucille took a deep breathe to steady herself. "It was my parents, when mother's solicitor visited me last month he reminded me of all my holdings, and well… I had forgotten the Flint House and thought I might surprise you with it." She beamed at him, as if that alone might make up for her previous lack of explanation. "Do you like it?" Her very tone admitted to the importance his answer would hold with her.

[Image: xsLWWd.png]
Thank you MJ for an amazingly Lucy set!
Of course he hadn't meant to be a disappointment to his darling wife, he was simply a little confused. This was not something he had expected in general, but he was far from upset over the matter. He was genuinely interested, which he hoped was important to her.

'Mine'. That word did hurt his pride a little, but he kept that far away from his expression. He didn't want to hurt her due to his own pride. It was just... a bit odd to think of not being the soul owner of something in their marriage. But it was to be expected. She was an heiress as much as he was an heir. He wasn't going to let those thoughts stay in his head as he smiled at her and glanced around again. "It is rather lovely, my love. Did you do some recent decorating?" It seemed like certain things were fresh, new. Perhaps it was just because everything was so new to him.

Magic by Elaine!
At her explanation Ace graced her with a smile and looked around with what she perceived to be renewed interest. A smile broke out on Lucille's lips, really more of a grin if one were to be honest. He'd even noticed that it may not have always been in such a state. "I did!" Lucille began, taking his hand into her own. "I had the staff air and clean the downstairs, but it's the upstairs that I truly redecorated. Come, I'll show you." She eagerly tugged him toward the stairs with an almost prideful smile.

She continued to explain as they went, "It's been closed up for so long I barely even remembered coming here as a child. But once I saw it... well I thought perhaps... we might make it our own?" Pausing on the steps Lucille looked at him rather sheepishly, as if embarrassed by the idea. She did not intend to imply that she was unhappy living with his family, but they had land and properties of their own and she did rather wish for some freedom. Of course there was the task of running the household still at Flint Mansion but Lucille thought that perhaps they could find some balance between the two holdings.... if Ace wished it. It could not be only Lucille's happiness that determined such things, for, after all, that was not what marriage was about.

[Image: xsLWWd.png]
Thank you MJ for an amazingly Lucy set!
Everything was lovely. Not what he was used to, but that was to be expected when one did not live in said house. "How long did all of this take? I've never had a need to restore or air out a home before." Which was true. He had yet to get around to doing much with his father's fancy hideaway besides full moon preparations.

Make this place their own? This did spark an interesting thought. More space to themselves. Lucille being able to feel more comfortable as a Lady of the house. "I had been considering such an idea, actually. More space for ourselves. As newlyweds. Of course, mother will be sad to see us go. She loves having company. But she certainly will understand. She was a newlywed once as well." Perhaps some space between them moving out and Christmas break for his siblings would be good for her. Some space to truly work through what had happened to her.

Magic by Elaine!
I’ve had the servants working on it for a month.” Lucille told him joyfully, still surprised she had managed to keep it a secret from him the whole time. She had thought several times that she would slip and tell him, but it had all gone beautifully. “I had half the staff of the manor come work on it.” She admitted, not mentioning the designer she had also hired.

Her heart trilled to hear his words, she squeezed his hand to show her support of us an idea as she began to lead him upstairs again. But she didn’t want him to be concerned with his mother, only with them. “It’s not so far from her, that we could still visit.” She told him with an encouraging smile, worried now about telling him of her thoughts toward moving back to the Flint Mansion since he hadn’t exactly said he’d like to move here. “Perhaps once we have all adjusted then we might spend some time out at the manor as well?” She asked him, looking at him from under her eyelashes as if her very charm might convince him.

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Thank you MJ for an amazingly Lucy set!
This was all so impressive. A nice surprise to be revealed. "It truly is wonderful, darling." How she had been able to not announce it sooner was a mystery to him, but a good surprise was a rather nice change from the drama that they had dealt with recently.

He squeezed her hand gently in return, giving a loving smile. "Indeed. And travel would not be too difficult if magic were to be used as well." The floo network was a method of transportation that he preferred greatly over others.

Lucille's next comment made him think for a moment. Distance had its pros and cons, but really, they would certainly want space. Especially when they started having their own children. Placing his free hand on the hers, he nodded slightly. "I like that idea." He said softly.

Magic by Elaine!
At his praise Lucille beamed, he hadn't even seen the best parts yet though. She was determined to show him those soon enough though, hoping that he would like it as they went through everything. She could see it, this place being their home, this place being someplace that they could the erase their pasts and simply live their lives together, build them together and be a family, despite everything they had both been though.

But first she needed to focus on their current conversation. She nodded, knowing, however, that magical travel would be a bit more complicated in the coming days then Ace might anticipate, but she didn't wish to spoil his thoughts on this. Instead she nodded in agreement, an encouraging smile on her lips that held on while she waited to hear his answer, wondering if he might have anticipated this. She almost didn't move, didn't breathe as she waited. She almost missed his answer, almost missed his gentle words, but as they sunk in a broad grin crossed her face and she wrapped her arms around Ace in excitement. "Oh Ace! You shall love it! We will make it a proper home!"

Then she hugged his hand to continue the tour, eager to move on to the next surprise. She turned left down the second floor hallway and led him to what had once been her mother's room. Her father's just across the hall. These were the rooms she was the most proud of. Lucille threw open the door and light spilled across, silvers and light blues decorating the room and almost seeming to emit light themselves. "This will be my room," Lucille started with a smile. "I had the most work done on this room and your's. It was drab and all dark wood and red and black. Your room too." Her nose wrinkled showing her distaste as she crossed the hall and opened the door to his own room, decorated in dark blues and golds. "If you don't like it, I can have it redecorated." Lucille told him, almost more of a question than a statement.

After the bedrooms she showed him the dressing rooms and parlors of each of their rooms and then started back to the center of the house, passing the stairway explaining, "Upstairs are the guests rooms, the servants quarters are the next floor up, but only the servants stairs go that far up." She passed several doors before finally stopping at the door for the room she had not anticipated redecorating yet. Perhaps she should have thought of that. Instead Lucille pushed it open to find a bright and clean room in front of them. The room was fairly sparse, only a cabinet, rocking chair, and crib occupied it, but Lucille turned to Ace with a soft, anxious smile, "This will be my next project." She told him, looking up at him with soft eyes. "I think we have plenty of time to finish it before July, don't you think?" Her heart beat against her chest as she let the words linger between him, waiting for his response, her fingers shook as she watched, waited. Hopefully she hadn't botched up this surprise up as well.

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Thank you MJ for an amazingly Lucy set!
Her happiness was everything, and he hugged her back eagerly. Oh, so this was love? To be so joyed to bring joy to the one you love? It was a little different than with family, but that really was the point, wasn't it?

The halls themselves were gorgeous, but the rooms truly were spectacular. It seemed as though her room was a feminine version of his house colors. Whether that was true or not, he liked to think that was the intention. "I love it, darling." Other comments of awe were made as they passed between the rooms.

When Lucille stopped and opened the door, Ace didn't really anticipate looking into this room quite yet. Of course, he didn't know of this surprise any more than he had known of the entire house. At first the words hadn't even fully clicked in his mind. "With your talents, I'm sure it wi-" he stopped as it sunk in. He looked at her for a moment, blinking. The smile was slow at first before it beamed across his face and he hugged her. "Really? Oh Lucille? Can it be?" He asked, excitedly pulling away so he could look at her properly.

Magic by Elaine!
For a moment Lucille felt certain she had botched this surprise as well, but then she saw the understanding dawning on Ace's face, his warm arms enfolding her in a comforting hug. She nodded despite the fact that he could not see it, feeling tears welling behind her eyes for some reason she could not explain, but a smile spread across her features. Telling him made it all the more real and while Lucille knew, had always known, that this was what was expected of her, what was expected of a marriage, she was absolutely terrified. Terrified and thrilled. A little baby all of her own, a person to be a mix of the best parts of her and Ace, to be loved by them and cherished. The words caught in her throat but she met his eyes as he pulled back, "Really." Could he feel her shaking beneath him, excited and scared and happy all at once?

"I spoke with the family healer yesterday," She explained trying to make sure she told him everything properly this time. "He expects, if everything is alright, that it will be here by the end of July." Unconsciously Lucille's hand fluttered down to stomach, resting reassuringly on their little one.

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Thank you MJ for an amazingly Lucy set!
The fact that she was shaking slightly was understandable. This was big news. Being a parent was something that neither of them experienced before. They would have to find a nanny, and later a governess. So many things ran through his head of things they might need and things they would need to do.

Looking at her, his heart melted. He knew they could do this. Together. "Oh Lucille. You will make a wonderful mother." He said softly, placing his hand on hers.

Magic by Elaine!
Lucille wasn’t entirely sure why part of her had expected Ace to be upset with her. After all she had always known this was what her duty in life was. To marry and give her husband an heir. But some part of her wondered if it was too soon, if maybe he had wanted her just to himself for a while longer. And what happened when her body began to change? It already had, subtly her her breasts had begun to spill out of her corset, her hips pushed at her bustle, no swell yet but she knew it would only be a matter of months before it did. What would happen after she had birthed the child? If she even survived, that is. Would she ever return to the small petite size she knew her husband loved when he so hungrily looked at her alone in their rooms?

Ace was right too, part of her worried about what kind of mother she would be. She had loved her mother, but for so many years she had felt like she was on her own. This child would never feel that. Would never feel the sting of a mother too caught up in her own pain that she didn’t have time for them. No, she and Ace were different than her mother and father. They had married for love. They would make their family a happy one, much like she remembered seeing of the Lukesons before the past few years had happened. “Thank you.” She smiled shyly at her husband, wondering at his complete confidence in her. “And you shall be an amazing father.” She assured him, reaching up and kissing his cheek. She could see it in the very tenderness he was treating her with.

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Thank you MJ for an amazingly Lucy set!

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