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Oh Baby Baby
#1
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April 9th, 1890 — House of Lytton

Marcus' schedule would be full in the following days, seeing that society women were preparing their wardrobes for the coming season. Thank God for Miss Binns, she might not have been very fashionable, but she made an excellent assistant. Marcus wouldn't have managed without her good organization skills, seeing that his weren't especially good. His brain was too preoccupied with his creative ventures!

His next meeting would be with Miss Magdalene Cadden. Marcus liked that girl very much. The two had worked together for her first season and now her second season was upon them. It was a pity, he found her really pleasant, but he supposed that her appearance didn't help her find a husband. Redheads weren't most people's cup of tea. But that's where Marcus came to help, by designing beautiful dresses for her, which would make her stand out from the crowd!

She had come with her mother, though she had left them now, to see some new catalogues Marcus had mentioned. He preferred not to have mothers for such meetings, they all wanted all sorts of outdated things for their daughters! Thankfully, most mothers didn't think twice to leave him alone with their daughters. Marcus really didn't strike you as the sort of man to seduce your daughter and lead her astray. (There were some speculations about him being a confirmed bachelor.)

At some point, as he was making pieces of fabrics in various colours float around Miss Cadden, so he could decide on a colour palette, the girl seemed to become dizzy. "Miss Cadden! Are you alright, should I fetch your mother?" He got up from his seat and walked up to her to help her sit in one of the armchairs offered for the ladies.



@Magdalene Cadden


[Image: S4Z7kbh.jpg]
set by lady
#2
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Season was coming once more and that meant new dress - something that would have excited her a month ago, but now just made her stomach twist in dread. She had seen a healer yet, but she wouldn't, not when that would require admitting what happened. She wasn't sure why she'd agreed. It wasn't like her, but everyone had seemed just a little bit off at that ball, but there was nothing she could to prove her suspicions. Other than what she'd done, the whole night seemed a bit blurry. She could remember who was there but not what they'd said or done. Which made wrapping her head around that night harder.

She'd bit her lip as long as possible, trying to keep any outward signs of discomfort off her face and thought she was managing decently well until she had to prop herself on a nearby table to stay upright. Her hand clenched tight, gripping the wood so hard that the skin around her knuckles turned white. A few seconds of breathing and the spell would pass, she'd found. Lena had a brief second to hope no one had noticed before Mr. Lytton quickly dashed her fears. Drat. While she quite liked the man and his work, he was a bit too observant. He was offering her a chair and wait had he said something about her mother?

"No, no, no," Magdalene rebutted, stuttering slightly. "No, I'm fine, there is no reason to fetch my mother." Green eyes flashed as she quickly glanced around the store, desperate to see her mother - or anyone other than Mr. Lytton - has noticed her spell. And while sitting did sound nice, she didn't want her mother to think something was wrong. "I'm fine now, Mr. Lytton, I can stand. Thank you though. What were you saying about colors?"


[Image: mag2.png]
i love rune sets.
#3
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Miss Cadden really didn't want her mother. Was there a problem with the girl, perhaps an underlying sickness? Some mothers could be really annoying when they were worried about their children's health. Marcus' mother was like that, she would freak out whenever was a sign that one of her children or grandchildren was getting sick. Made a dragonpox out of a simple cold! Marcus supposed that was because medicine wasn't as good in her time and she wasn't so wealthy, perhaps, in order to afford the best of it.

"You are pale as a sheet!" Marcus commented and took a seat in an armchair next to hers. "I couldn't really talk about your ideal colour palette with you in such a condition!" He tried to make a joke, so she'd relax a bit. She seemed really tense. Almost ashamed about getting sick.

"Is everything alright, Miss Cadden? I don't suppose you've touched one of those Pictish artifacts!" Marcus had been following the story closely because he was afraid of touching one and getting sick and dying. He had instructed Miss Binns to be very careful about any new objects entering the shop.



[Image: S4Z7kbh.jpg]
set by lady
#4
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It wasn't her mother that was the problem, it was herself. How in the world was she supposed to tell her mother she was pregnant without even being engaged let alone married. They would have her hide. She'd be sent off to some foreign relatives - if she was lucky. If she wasn't? She'd be disowned and cast out. While she had enough education and okay enough grades to get together a job, she didn't even know how one went about finding one. Or how one found housing? Frankly, she couldn't even tell someone how to budget for food. And of course, there would be a period of time she couldn't work - how would she support herself then? Would anyone even hire her? Or would she be tossed out and labeled a prostitute? Would the only way she could ever support herself would then be to actually become one? To actually become a prostitute? And then, of course, there was the darker path her mind took. Listing the very small amount of ways she knew to rid herself of the baby. Surely there was someone she could trust enough to procure her an abortionist. But who did she know that would even know that? That was the problem there. And it wasn't like she could just go around asking her friends if they knew if she decided she wanted to take that path. Well, if she ended up a prostitute, one of her coworkers would be bound to know an abortionist. The last thought made her chuckle darkly, though it came out sounding more like a strangled choking noise.

She faintly acknowledged Marcus's joke, but while she heard it, she could barely process what he said beyond a surface level, too much of her brain already dedicated to her little mini freak out. Was she pale? She didn't feel pale. Could one even feel pale? "I'm always pale, Mr. Lytton," she croaked, though when she spoke again her voice sounded a bit less strangled, "I'm a ginger, sir, it is part of the requirements."

"Pictish?"
Lena parroted, confused and started out of her panic by his unexpected statement. She faintly remembered something about artifacts being stolen a while back but she hadn't been keeping up with the news all that much. If it wasn't something she'd need to know for small talk at a ball, she hadn't paid it much mind. "The cursed things I've heard everyone talking about? No, no, nothing like that. No curses - at least not external ones." At least he'd stopped asking about her mother.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Magdalene Cadden's post:
   Marcus Lytton


[Image: mag2.png]
i love rune sets.
#5
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Miss Cadden had such a sense of humour! Marcus might have laughed at her self-deprecating joke but he was currently too concerned about her potentially being cursed. And she hadn't denied being cursed! She had said that she wasn't externally cursed, which meant...

"So you are cursed?" Marcus asked in a concerned voice.




[Image: S4Z7kbh.jpg]
set by lady
#6
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Was she cursed? Technically, in her eyes, yes she saw her situation as a curse, though she supposed that was poor wording considering what was going on right now. "No, not," she started, breaking off, and finally allowing herself to fall back into the chair, sagging slightly as she sat. She couldn't see any way out of this without lying and digging herself into another hole or telling the truth. Mr. Lytton wasn't the type to back down without an answer and she wasn't sure how good of a lie detector he was - or how good she was at lying.

"Nothing like that Mr. Lytton. I'm fin-" she stopped, realizing that she couldn't say she was fine, not when it was such an outright lie. And she was tired of lying and she'd have to do it another seven months. Would it hurt if one person knew the truth? Mr. Lytton saw dozens of women and yes, he liked to gossip, but she never once remembered him telling her anything about someone else that could be compromising. He had to have dozens of secrets floating around in his head. "I made a mistake, Mr. Lytton and I don't know how to fix it."


[Image: mag2.png]
i love rune sets.
#7
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It was true that Marcus knew many of his customer's secrets, mostly about their financial states. How delighted Witch Weekly would be to find out that some of society's wealthiest customers weren't so wealthy after all and instead clung to a facade until their daughters found wealthier husbands. He also knew of some husbands who didn't do that well in the bedroom, from their wives who complained that even in Marcus' dresses they couldn't... raise their performance in the shared bedroom.

He suspected now that Miss Cadden had a secret of her own and he felt truly concerned about whatever was troubling her. He liked Miss Cadden, he liked most of his customers, really.

"What is it, Miss Cadden?" Marcus asked softly.



[Image: S4Z7kbh.jpg]
set by lady
#8
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She wanted to share but she, she didn't want to say it. Didn't know how to say it. It was one thing to confess to her mistake in the silent abyss of her own head another to say it aloud for another to hear and judge. Green eyes flickered to her mother, where she still stood on the other side of the shop, flipping through the catalog. How much longer they had, she wasn't sure.

"My monthlies," she whispered, a edge of horror and terror creeping in, "I missed them."


[Image: mag2.png]
i love rune sets.
#9
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What a shocking revelation! Marcus' eyes widened and mouthed a 'What?!'. His eyes followed hers towards Mrs. Cadden who was thankfully so focused on the catalogues that she hadn't even noticed that her daughter had felt unwell.

"It can happen during periods of stress, I've heard," Marcus finally said after he had composed himself. He had a customer who really wanted to get pregnant, resulting in her anxiety making her monthlies belated. He didn't really understand in detail how the female fertility circle worked, but he still had a better understanding than your average man.

He didn't want to think that Miss Cadden had done that resulting in her period being late. First of all, she didn't look like the sort of young woman to go around sleeping with random men! Had she fallen in love with someone she wasn't supposed to, perhaps? Marcus felt somewhat sympathetic towards that scenario -- he was romantic himself and he had had feelings for a woman above his station for a while.



[Image: S4Z7kbh.jpg]
set by lady
#10
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"Yes, stress will do it," Lena started, the realization that she was talking about monthlies with a grown man she wasn't related to horrified her, but it was pushed back by the overwhelming feeling of relief as finally saying what had been choking her. "But... there was this ball. Back in February. It was for Valentine's Day. The drinks... they had to have been spiked with something. I just don't know Mr. Lytton. I never would have done... it... normally. The staff working the event, they... they kept telling people there were these back rooms and they if they staged that would they do something to the drinks as well? I would not do that, I swear."

"I... I just don't know what to do. I'm... I'm not married, I'm not even engaged. I don't know anyone who'd marry me. I'm not ready to be a mother. I cannot have a baby. I cannot be pregnant. I do not even know how to support myself let alone another... living creature! And my... my mistake is going to hurt my sisters too."



[Image: mag2.png]
i love rune sets.
#11
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And just like that Miss Cadden had told him everything. It was a lot of information to process and shocking to boot. Miss Cadden had apparently been drugged and forced to do something against her will. The thought made Marcus feel sick, it made him feel angry that someone could play such a horrible scheme on the poor young woman!

Even though Miss Cadden was nothing more than a customer to him, he suddenly felt really invested in her case. His brain began to work, looking for a possible solution for her problem. If only he had a brother, he would have tried to convince him to marry her. (Even though he liked the young woman and felt for her, she really wasn't his type to want to marry her himself.)

"That is terrible!" Marcus commented quietly, as to not make anyone hear them. "So you are certain?" There was a probability that she wasn't with child. The loss of her virginity was salvageable. More than one encounter was needed for a woman's body to truly become comfortable with the act. He'd been with women before and some of them had been virgins.



[Image: S4Z7kbh.jpg]
set by lady
#12
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Watching his expression morph prompted her to clamp her lips shut, unsure now if she'd made a mistake in telling the designer about her mistake. There were so many people he could tell, she had no way to guarantee his silence. Her family wasn't powerful or well known and no matter what circumstance she found herself in the idea that she could force him to keep his silence through magic disturbed her. Something she would never do. Though a tiny voice in her head insisted that she'd never thought herself willing to have premarital sex but look where she was now. But things that would impact her were far different than those that would rob another of their free will. Regardless, she wasn't even a capable enough witch for most of that magic.

She nodded, her movements harsh and disconnected. Even if it wasn't for the symptoms matching what she'd heard other society women complain of, she just knew. "I just don't know what to do. I can't keep it? It isn't just my status on the line but But Gethsemane and Elisabeth. Oh gosh, Elisabeth hasn't even come out yet. And you may think me vain to say this - but I would have no clue how to live on my own. How to work or buy food - or find a house. I like where I am, I like not having to worry if I'll eat the next day. I like my creature comforts. But, but at the same time, it is a human too? And I was the one who made the mistake, don't I have to live with it?"


[Image: mag2.png]
i love rune sets.
#13
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In all honesty, Marcus himself wouldn't be able to live as a working-class man. He had been able to build a career in fashion because his father had already been involved in the textile industry. He had left him just enough money for Marcus to make his beginning. If he hadn't been born into some money and connections, he would have never probably become a fashion designer. He would likely end up working at a Ministry department, like the Portkey office, or something.

Life was even more difficult for women. Especially ruined women. All the respectable positions for women would be crossed out for Miss Cadden. Marcus thought that he couldn't even hire her at Lyttons, because no customer would want to shop from someone who gives employment to single mothers. Society was harsh like that.

Marcus didn't really know what to say. He wished that he had a solution for her there and there. He wished that he liked her enough as a woman to do the heroic thing and ask for her hand, so he wouldn't let her carry that burden on her own. He wished that he had a brother to introduce her to.

"We'll find a way, Miss Cadden," Marcus finally said. "There is a way."



[Image: S4Z7kbh.jpg]
set by lady
#14
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She was silent for a moment,  blinking rapidly, stunned. "You?" she started in a sputter. "You are going to help me,  Mr. Lytton?" The look on her face implied she was quite sure she believed what the designer was saying. "Why would you help? You owe me nothing. It might be one thong to ask you to keep my secret or ask advice but to actively help? You have no reason to."

He put himself at risk offering to help and regardless,  she'd come up with so many ideas of things tp do that just seemed impossible that someone else's could find something else that would work seemed equally impossible. The portions seemed like her best bet,  but she didn't want to die - and she didn't even know how to go about obtaining one. And honestly a small part of her, an admittedly very small part - didn't want to kill it.  But doing nothing would wreck her whole life - and her sisters' lives as well.


[Image: mag2.png]
i love rune sets.
#15
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Her question made him realize the weight of what he had promised.

"If I can help, then I will," Marcus replied, sort of taking back his previous self-assured statement. He really wanted to help her but, now that he'd said that, he realized that he didn't know how. He had never had to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. The sort of women he occasionally had sexual relations with were the sort to know how to prevent one.



[Image: S4Z7kbh.jpg]
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#16
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She sighed, the tension in her shoulders slipping out as she curled in on herself. Her predicament might have put more pressure on Marcus, but have someone willing to help her,  well that took some of her stress off. Someone who might have answers. Even if he didn't himself, he could ask around fat more discreetly than she ever could.

"Thank you, Mr. Lytton. I mean it, even if we're don't find any answers, I have no idea how I could ever repay you for your help. If you ever think of anything, all you have to do is ask and I will see to it to the best of my abilities."


[Image: mag2.png]
i love rune sets.


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