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Clare Victoria Basiltree for Christopher Basiltree.
Meddlesome mother, but make her a squib <3
The thought of marrying Cecily Gallivan had occurred to Fitz in the way that the thought of marrying any attractive young lady did: a firm maybe and a hasty step away to more pleasurable topics, like sport or brandy.Fitzroy Prewett in Well. That took a turn.
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Complete five threads where your character experiences good luck, such as finding a sickle on the ground or being saved from a fall!

a bunch of gillyweeds
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March 14th, 1890 (Hogsmeade weekend) — The Painted Lady

Eloquence Higgs checked the bronze clock above a shop sign as she walked down the High Street with her lady's maid, concerned she was running late — but, as it transpired, she was actually a touch early! Outside the Painted Lady, Loq bid a smiling farewell to Shaw, who had an errand to run at Scrivenshaft’s, and entered the tea room alone to meet some of her friends.

Only her friends weren't there yet. Regardless, the waiter recognised Eloquence, and seated her at her usual table by the bay window, which this afternoon boasted a sunny view of Winter merging into Spring. Loq thanked the waiter, and straightened a spoon distractedly — only for it to fall onto the floor with a delicate clatter.  "Oopsy daisy", she muttered brightly, and bent to pick it up... and in doing so noticed something very peculiar on the other side of the room.

Open to any and all in the Gillyweed friendship group.

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Ginny’s brother had dutifully accompanied her as far as the tea shop, where the crowd and other chaperones negated the need for his continued presence. Ginny waved him off pretending she didn’t know that he was slipping away to meet with a young lady he thought none of them knew about it. But he was terrible at keeping secrets and had a terrible poker face, at least to her, and she had noted the way he blushed when he said he had ‘errands’ to run. The only thing that disturbed her was that she hadn’t worked out ‘who’ yet. Someone of quality -knowing her dear brothers snobbery.

As Ginevra moved between the tables of The Painted Lady, she spotted Loq and offered a wave, but as she raised a gloved hand her friend bent over and missed the gesture, and when she rose her eye line was fixed elsewhere. Ginny made it to the table and took a seat, attempting to follow Eloquences eye line, all she saw was other tables, all engaged in conversation, although one table – an ill dressed man sat opposite a woman in garments much finer than his and their conversation looked decidedly heated. ’Oh, I wondered what that’s about?’ Ginny asked as a server brought her a place setting. ’he eh….sticks out’

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^  Look what Lady did  ^
“Who sticks out?” Rosamund murmured in echo, settling down at their table with a furrow between her brows and a slight frown. She hoped they hadn’t already turned to gossip within seconds of gathering, and felt as though she would grow terribly awkward if they were going to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations in the tea shop... though it looked like a few of the neighbouring tables were already doing that.

She deliberately turned over a tea menu so as not to look - Ginny already wasn’t being particularly subtle, and Merlin knew that Eloquence had a dash of curiosity in her - but, even in spite of her reluctance, Rosamund’s eyes soon slid past her friends’ to the opposite side of the room, wincing at what happened next.

The Gillyweeds tended to gather in dribs and drabs, their social engagements (and sometimes courtships!) so time-consuming that it was a rarity to see all girls gathered together at once. So this afternoon saw just a few of them at the Painted Lady, Loq the early bird, followed shortly by Ginny and Rosa. Only her friends could tear her eyes away from the fascinating couple on the other side of the room, and Eloquence turned to smile, eyes a-twinking. The spoon on the floor was forgotten.

Loq opened her mouth to reply, only to whip her head round again as the unkempt man slammed his hand down on the table, saying to his glamorous lady in a very loud whisper: "how dare you!"

"How dare she...?" Loq repeated quietly, leaning in towards Ginny and Rosa, slender fingers folded in front of her face so the strange couple wouldn't see her talking about them — not that they were noticing anyone but each other at the moment. "But she's the one brave enough to be taking such a... interesting companion out to the Lady, for all to see. He should be thanking her. Unless... I wonder what she did to offend him so?"

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Ginny smiled and flashed a thankful smile to the tea girl who deposited a tea cup, and a side plate in front of her. The tea pot levitated and magically decanted tea into her awaiting cup. All the better to subtly check out the goings on in the café. Ginny giggled into the teacup at her friends comment. ’I wonder what they dared to do’ her voice full of the sort of scandalous interest. ’An broken engagement perhaps!’ she laughed, it was entirely speculation, but then as young readers of Witch Weekly, it was exactly the sort of society gossip that any of them could be induced to ready in the renowned gossip rag.

’Oh!’ Ginny exclaimed, as the lady slapped the man full force across the cheek, drawing the attention of the entire café, not just the small group clustered in the corner. There was a smattering of gasps and polite exclamations. ’Oh definitely a broken engagement!’She confirmed in a whisper to her friends, ’But who would want to marry him,’ for all of her virtues, Ginny was the daughter of a wealthy pureblood, the idea of marrying anything other than the right sort was anathema.

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^  Look what Lady did  ^
It was sort of a trainwreck, in the sense that neither she nor anyone else in the room could tear their eyes away from it. It was also very much a trainwreck in terms of a relationship, Rommy reasoned, gleaning quite enough from the slap and the heated squabble.

Loq was wondering where the offence might have stemmed from, and Ginny positing that it was all down to a broken engagement; Rosamund’s heart, privately, went out to the man who, from her perspective, looked like a cruel joke had been played on him. The lady must have had reason in slapping him, she presumed, but also... judging by his appearance (which she did hate to do), they seemed, on paper, quite unsuited to any sort of engagement or arrangement, and he did look a little like he’d gotten his hopes up unduly.

“I suppose breaking off anything in front of half of Hogsmeade is rather daring enough in itself,” Rosamund muttered, biting down on her bottom lip in sheer discomfort. Had it been an accidental encounter, a surprise break, or some callous set-up all along? It would have been enough to shred anyone’s pride. “Well, not her at any rate,” she added wryly to Ginny’s last remark, her fingers tightening on the tea-menu to restrain herself from getting too worked up in some strangers’ lives. “Have we any idea who he might be?”

Along with the rest of the tea room patrons, Eloquence started in dainty alarm as the lady slapped her man friend across the cheek. Loq found herself nodding pointedly at Rommy's remark that both parties were being very daring. She could not help but have suspicions that the pair actually quite enjoyed the drama, or they wouldn't have conducted their courtship in such a public space. If it even was a courtship.

Finally forcing some attention to her tea, Loq took a sip. It was rather colder than it had been when first served, such was the intensity of the distraction. "I have not seen him before", she mused across the table to Rosamund, "but he must be more than he appears. Perhaps he's a writer", she theorised wildly.

"And I think you're right, Ginny — a broken engagement. But... I do wonder if there may have been some misunderstanding. For she doesn't look like she made any such promise." She chanced another glance round at the couple. Sure enough, it looked to Eloquence as if the gentleman thought himself a man engaged; and the lady very much disagreed.

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’It almost certainly is!’ Ginny confirmed, positioning her menu in such a way that she was able to look over the top and watch the couple while seemingly putting a great deal of consideration into sandwich or scone choice.

’Is he?’ Ginny trailed off her nose wrinkled as she struggled to place the man’s name. ’oh you know him!’ she flustered, ’He was that son, you know!’ she continued, struggling for the detail that seemed to be lost somewhere in her memory. ’He was a muggleborn I think, the rich one who had all of those gambling debts!’ She hoped someone else would remember the story. ’He got engaged, then his father died and they delayed the wedding for the mourning, and in year between after the death he lost everything!’ she clarified. They hadn’t moved in the same circles which is why she didn’t know his name, only the salacious details of his demise. ’I thought the engagement was already broken!- but perhaps not.’

Ginny set her menu down finally, no longer needing to observe the couple directly. ’He must have some hope that she will have him yet.’. The serving girl confirmed her order and collected her menu.

@Rosamund Bones @Eloquence Higgs

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^  Look what Lady did  ^
“I can’t believe you remember all that,” Rommy said admiringly as Ginny reeled off facts about the unfortunate man sitting over there. She was really rather impressed at people who could keep up with all that; she certainly couldn’t. She suspected sometimes that keeping up with society gossip was in itself a full-time occupation.

The pair across the room got even louder, and at this point they must have been enjoying the attention - or want rumour to spread fast - but Rommy had to clutch at Eloquence’s sleeve, wincing out of sheer secondhand embarrassment. “Is she getting up? I can’t bear to look,” she moaned quietly.

Loq exchanged startled glances with Ginny. Did they really know of him already? She returned her gaze thoughtfully to the scandalous gentleman, now failing to disguise her curiosity at all, and a look of recognition dawned on her face. She remembered hearing about all this drama, though she very much agreed with Rosemund that Ginny had a particular knack for remembering this kind of business. What a thrill to watch the conclusion play out before their very eyes...

Still watching the couple, Eloquence patted Rosamund's hand as if in sisterly comfort. The young Healer wasn't quite as keen to watch the show, but Loq knew she wouldn't really look away.

"Whose side are we on?" she asked her friends as the lady made to stand up but the gentleman gestured desperately that she remain.

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Mama always said that you should remember a man who is well monied, well married, or who has lost either. she added waggling her eyebrows and laughing lightly. Eugenia Blackwood was every stereotype of the upperclass pureblood socialite one could imagine, and while Ginny had enough of her father's levity to temper the more vicious aspects of her personality and make her a lot more fun than her mother could ever boast of being, she was well on her way to being the socialitic powerhouse her mother wanted her to be, although she was unlikely to ever be considered the successor to someone as austere as Olivia Pendergast and much more like Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick.

'Her of course!' Ginny said, 'What use is marrying if he's going to lose your fortune!' she said, her fan cracking like a whip as she opened it and fluttering before her, 'If you are going to be pretty and penniless one might as well be single while doing it.' she added, as the maid brought her tea, 'Although I believe she has an excellent dowry, and her only brother is very sick, like might not make it sick - which I am sure is why he is so keen'. Ginny couldn't help the slightly cold look she gave him, having now decided to hate him entirely for being so mercenary. There were mercenary matches made every day in the upper classes, but that didn't mean one should drop all pretense of affection.

'Oh god they are! she mused, 'He's following her!' she added in a frantic stage whisper. The man caught up to the lady and grabbed her arm. The teashop fell instantly silent, amidst gasps of shock, as the air was rent with a sharp CRACK as the lady's hand came into contact with his cheek. Ginny stared at the salt shaker in the middle of the table, her eyes casting sidlong glances at the other two, not daring to turn her head, her mouth forming a silent O at the very public spectacle they were privy to.

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^  Look what Lady did  ^
Ginny’s assessment was quite reasonable, Rosamund knew, although she still felt a pang at the sound of such steely judgement, when surely they - or anyone in here - could not profess to know all the facts. Perhaps he was a cad, and only using her... but desperation did drive people to dreadful things, and maybe the couple’s future had started out much rosier.

He did sound very notorious. “Are you sure that there could not have originally been some true affection in the match -?” Rommy countered gently, resolved to give everyone the benefit of the doubt until the last possible moment, whether or not in her head she felt Ginny’s story was the likeliest. “Or passion,” she added weakly, ducking her head as the others did when the slap resounded around the room.

The tea shop was mortally silent until the lady slammed the front door behind her, the bell above giving a jarring jingle.

Ginny was right, of course — they had to be on her side. Not just because young ladies should stick together, but because she was a well-off soul risking her reputation for adventure. The unraveling tale was both romantical and tragic.

But Eloquence still felt rather sorry for the man. She wanted to know his story too. But then Ginny reminded her that the lady he was after had a brother on death's door, and Loq frowned that the man's motives could be so foul. Could was the operative word, though. They were only speculating, after all, and Rommy's utterance of devil's advocacy was not without merit...

Then came the slap. The silence. And the departure. Loq tore her gaze away to exchange alarmed glances with her friends, then joined the lingering silence following the couple's departure. Slowly, the silence was broken by a few tuts and titters, and then the noise levels in the tea room returned to normal (if not slightly higher).

"No matter the full story, he deserved that", Eloquence decided, slicing the small sponge cake in front of them and serving her friends. "He should not have grabbed her." The idea of a man lunging for her like that made her stomach jolt. "But I also think you're right, Rommy. If there was anything at the heart of that match, it was most evidently passion".

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The air hung still for a second as the entire tea room took in the sight of the couple, as the girl turned on her heel and left the shop in a trail of rustling tafetta and indian silks. The gentleman looked sheepish and retrieved his hat from the table where it had been abandoned. For a moment he hovered in the space between the tables, clearly aware of the deathly hush, and for a moment Ginny thought he was going to make a speech, to address the gossip and the sidelong glances. He shifted his weight from foot to foot for a long awkward moment, before rushing out of the tea room after his some time bride to be.

A spoon clattered in a china cup and the spell was broken, the whisper of noise returning to normal chatter at all of the tables. 'Perhaps there was once,' Ginny added wistfully, her own highly Rromantic notions of what love was colouring her view of the handsome but clearly dissolute young man, she answered Ros finally. 'Although I'm sure a gent like that would make my mother have a dragon in shock, I'm sure I should like some passion in a gentleman rather than mere politeness.' she took a sip of her tea, 'Not that any gentleman is looking likely at the moment', she made a joking show of looking to the front door of the shop, 'Oh I wonder if I could catch up with him.'

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^  Look what Lady did  ^
Rosamund finally relaxed, now that the man - gentleman, theoretically - had left the teashop, and she let out the last of the second-hand stress by laughing a little louder than usual at Ginny’s remark as she took her slice of sponge-cake.

“A spoonful of passion would probably be plenty,” she added, almost tongue-in-cheek, as she tipped a tiny bit of sugar into her tea. Too much passion and one’s partner would probably find themselves a patient at the hospital with an aneurysm, if not a broken heart. “But nonsense, Ginny,” Rommy countered with a shake of her head at the not looking likely. “I’m sure there must be someone. You’ve the best prospects of us all!”

She chuckled, still replaying that dramatic scene before her in her mind’s eye. Rosamund thought it rather lucky they had all been here to witness such a scene together: she doubted if anyone else would quite believe it, if they hadn’t!

Eloquence laughed softly at Ginny's faux show of following the scorned bachelor in interest. She had to admit, such a scandal would be amusing — but certainly not if it involved one of her dearest friends. Loq was not an ill-intentioned gossiper anyway, but she didn't let her friends become subjects of even the most harmless whispers.

As the chatter in the shocked tearoom slowly returned to normal volume, Eloquence looked from the door back to the rest of her party. "Rommy's right, Gin — I'm sure you have suitors queuing up for you, whether you know it yet or not. Both of you, actually", she added decidedly. Rosamund's vocation made her a little less of a conventional catch, but Loq loved her for it.

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