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"Angelica" Warrington for Myles Warrington.
I hold my peace, sir? no; No, I will speak as liberal as the north; Let heaven and men and devils, let them all, All, all, cry shame against me, yet I’ll speak.
He has touched my ankle and seen me with my hair down (not intentionally, of course!), so I'm pretty sure I already know what it feels like to be married.Helga Scamander in Helga's Boy Book
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Post 3+ times in three or more class threads during the course of a school year. Must all be done with the same character, be they a professor, student, or school portrait or ghost!

Wake Me Up
Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can't tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start
They tell me I'm too young to understand
They say I'm caught up in a dream

June 6, 1890 - Wellingtonshire at Generic Dinner Party

A cool evening breeze blew against Caroline's cheeks, a calming beautiful early summer breeze that reminded her of home. Home. She hadn't been home in so long that she almost wondered if she ever would be. If she'd ever hear the fishmongers in Boston or the cadence of an American accent the same way. She'd wanted a grand adventure and she'd found one, but now it almost seemed as if it might be coming to an end.

The news her mother had hinted at for months and finally surfaced in the plain pen strokes of her father's candid letter. He had entered conversation with a gentleman about a marriage for Caroline. The marriage of love that Caroline had hoped for was slipping through her fingers faster than she would have liked.

Inside the women of the dinner party chattered as they waited for the men to come through, but Caroline had needed a moment to gather herself, to steel herself for when they did. She had hoped to see Mr. Darrow this evening, their letters had only gained in speed in the past few months, but when she had she found herself obsessing over her father's letter. They hadn't had much of a chance to talk at dinner, but she wanted to put on a bright face for him when she did. Which is why she had excused herself for a moment with the mumbled excuse of how warm the room was.

Now, standing beside the banister looking out of the well groomed gardens she almost felt she had been sleep the past few months, even years, lost in an unobtainable dream that would never come about.

@Evander Darrow

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Amazing MJ set!
On one level, he did not like attending these sorts of gatherings any more than he had used to. On another, he seemed to have softened towards them slightly, even looking forwards to them on occasion... but that, he was realising, had more to do with the company than the event.

It was much harder to deny it to himself when he had moved into the drawing room with the other men, scanning the place for where he might sit and, upon not finding her face amongst its occupants, suddenly having little desire to sit at all. It had taken some time to work up the courage to inquire after her with one of the other ladies - especially as the rest of the party were now calling on some music to be played, something that might have made staying more bearable for a time - but Evander was pleased he had inquired.

Slipping through the open French doors into the cooler air, Evander stepped out onto the terrace, spotting her looking out on the darkened gardens. It probably wasn’t his place to say, but it did not seem much like her, to be alone outside when she was usually so much a social butterfly, flitting about any room with natural form.

For a moment, he thought he had better not intrude upon her, if she did not desire company. Even so, he did not want her to think he hadn’t noticed her absence or didn’t care to know what was wrong, if something was; he need not impose upon her for long to clear up both matters.

“Miss Delaney,” Evander offered quietly, to announce his approach before he reached her shoulder. He glanced at her sidelong, half in warmth and half in concern, trying to discern the expression on her face for some sort of clue to her feeling. “I thought you might have left.”

The sound of her name broke through her thoughts. The voice causing her stomach to jump a bit as she turned to look at the very man she had just been thinking of. She turned faster then she could school the emotions on her face and for a second her worries and excitement shone clearly and equally on her face.

The fact that he seemed worried by the fact that she might have left warmed her, but at the same time her stomach twisted. She had often suspected that Mr. Darrow felt much the same as she did, but he had yet to make any intentions known. At least not enough that she could assure her family that she did not need their assistance.

"I wouldn't have dared with out having a chance to speak with you." Caroline found herself admitting a bit more freely than she would have liked. She gave him a smile that didn't reach fully to her eyes.

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Something was... different. He knew this, because she usually looked so very composed, everything she did well-placed. Now when she looked round something fleeting crossed her face that he couldn’t interpret, something he could fool himself into thinking was a hopeful sign even as the downward turn of her mouth convinced him it was not.

And there it was again, the sentiment he read in her words entirely missing from her eyes. Ought he have come out to speak with her or not? When he was as close as he dared be he fell to a halt, still studying her intently. “I’m glad,” he answered, trying his best to take an encouraging note, though a crease forming on his brow betrayed it. Was he reading too much into it, or did her ‘chance to speak with you’ sound a little more ominous than the pleasant conversation they could usually attest to at a party like this?

“Forgive me if I speak out of turn,” Evander said abruptly, steeling himself with a careful breath but not daring to neglect addressing it while they were alone, “but - is there something the matter?” Had someone this evening caused her some hardship or - offence? Had he done something wrong without even knowing it? (He supposed if she took offence at his prying he would have an answer to that, regardless.)

It was when he made small comments like that that Caroline could feel the small excited leap in her stomach. She gave him a grateful smile, trying to assure him with her own look that she was of one mind on the subject.

Surprise widened Caroline's eyes. So few people could see past her mask that it took her a moment to formulate a sentence. "Yes-" She started automatically, before halting rather abruptly. He looked so concerned, his features so serious and worried that she could hardly deny him the truth. A soft sigh escaped her lips. "Only," How did she phrase this? "I had rather hoped not to worry you on the matter.' Caroline found herself admitting, the cheerful smile dropping from her face as she realized that on this subject she could not lie to him.

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For a suspended moment, Evander felt the clouds clearing in relief that they had dispensed with the fabrications so frequently found in society conversations: maybe she would be plain with him after all.

Only... only, as Miss Delaney sighed and struggled with how to phrase the problem, the relief dropped off and turned to dread. She seemed so very serious; he felt now that he had something to do with it, whatever it was. He had done something wrong, then, and she felt awkward to have to air it. Some slight he had not even noticed himself giving, perhaps - wouldn’t that be typical? Even when he tried his best. Had he been too inattentive tonight? Had he written the wrong thing in a letter? Hurriedly, he silently reeled off the topics they had recently discussed, but he was still left wondering which precisely was the offending remark.

She hadn’t wanted to worry him, she said. He had just fashioned his expression into something stoic, but beneath that he did not feel stoic at all. Perhaps it would be easier to be plain with her, with whatever calamity was coming. “That’s - kind of you,” Evander replied, with the faintest trace of a laugh, “but I’m afraid I would be worrying regardless.” He tried for a smile to soften the blow, to usher it readily upon himself before he talked himself out of enquiring further. “Truly, it cannot be avoided,” he confessed wryly. She could have said nothing at all and he would have still found a way to worry. So. More gently, he pressed, “what matter might this be?”

With the stony look that blanketed his features at her words Caroline realized the truth of his words. Yes, Mr. Darrow, would worry regardless. For a moment she could see a window into their conversations and wondered how much he truly worried over them. Perhaps the depth of his feelings was not entirely unlike her own. That reassurance was similar to the reassurance she felt when a new letter arrived from him or she saw him at an event. A moment of clarity before she found herself wondering. She had never wondered over any man in such a way before, it was rather unlike her. And it was rather unlike her to be so foolish as to unnecessarily make anyone worry. Caroline knew better, knew how to school her features and put on a good face. The fact that she hadn't been able to, or was it that he had seen past them? Whatever way it had been spoke to the situation between them.

With such a pointed question Caroline could hardly avoid delving into the truth of the matter. "I've received a letter from my father." She started, her mouth hovering between a frown and a smile as if they couldn't figure out what emotion better suited them. Caroline wanted to reassure Mr. Darrow with a smile, but then again, she didn't wish him to think this good news. In her opinion it was very much not good news. "He has entered into talks with a gentleman," She started, watching Mr. Darrow's face for the sightless change in emotion so she could change track as needed. Adding in a rush, a statement she hoped would make him understand her own feelings were not behind this, "From a rival company." The frown had won out on her lips now as her green eyes took in Mr. Darrow. "For my hand." The words almost stuck in her throat as she spoke them, no longer did she even attempt to mask her feelings, allowing the disappointment to be written entirely over her face.

She had so hoped that Mr. Darrow would make his intentions clear long before her father felt he needed to take this step. But he hadn't. Instead she had been left wondering if she had imagined the whole thing. When she saw Mr. Darrow it felt clear her returned her own attentions, and in moments of clarity she felt as if they shared the same depth of emotion. But he had never spoken to her of the future, never discussed anything relating to their own relationship. To some degree her pride was wounded, she had never had a man dawdle over her, never pursued a man who had not felt similarly. Yet here she was lost wondering, caught in a dream that was only her's, speaking her deepest fears to a man who had seen a window of them nearing a year ago. Surely there was no way he could not touch on the subject now. But then again, she had thought so before, when they danced so close to the topic only to be spun away in hasty statements that left her wondering.
[-] The following 2 users Like Caroline Delaney's post:
   Elias Grimstone, Jupiter Smith

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Until the last three words of that, he had been confused as to why she might care so much, why she evidently felt some degree of turmoil over company matters. Evander had almost convinced himself Miss Delaney was about to ask him for legal advice.

Instead... he swallowed, his throat suddenly dry.

“I’m sorry -” he said, perhaps reading the disappointment written on her face or maybe only airing the crushing weight of his. But that was not the sort of thing one said to news of a suitor! “I mean - congratulations, I suppose. If you think they are in order?” He had thought... well, it hardly mattered what he thought. She had seemed a permanent part of society here; he had almost forgotten the possibility that her parents, an ocean away, might presume to have other plans. He had never asked her, of course, whether there was any likelihood of such an arrangement - he had just assumed -

He ought not to have assumed. That would have been an intelligent move, wouldn’t it?

“Though I am sorry,” Evander said again, only this time it was an apology on his part: he was sorry that he had not dared to rush into things, because this had only proven that he had missed the opportunity, and it was far too late. Sorry that he had unwittingly wasted so much of Miss Delaney’s time - or had she wasted his? - hardly daring to do more than hope that they were heading in the right direction, and that her hand would still be hers to give in a season or two. But perhaps he had read too much into their continued acquaintance, and she might have known this was coming - and could have warned him sooner if she had actually thought him a proper alternative. He presumed her family’s choice was probably the better suit. (Younger for certain, more handsome and more social, with better connections and a care for shipping. Evander could picture him well.) Whereas he and Miss Delaney would not - make proper sense.

He gazed at her awhile, sure that she did not look as happy as she should. Unless this was her attempt at a warning, and not just the awkwardness of letting him down gently and saying her goodbyes? Regardless, she was really going to think him a fool if he continued at such a loss for words. “I had hoped you might stay for longer,” he explained finally, trying to quash the disappointment still washing over him and looking for a speck of light. “Have his talks... progressed far?”
[-] The following 2 users Like Evander Darrow's post:
   Melody Crouch, Ophelia Devine

Congratulations? That was all he had to say on the matter? Incredulous surprise welled up inside Caroline and a disappointment that she didn't dare examine now. Had she been so wrong to believe his intentions to be more then merited merely a congratulations as if all they had shared had been a few merry conversations and a dance or two? Caroline was so taken aback that she had for a moment forgotten to mask the confusion of emotions that surely fled across her face.

It was beginning to be clear that her expectations on the part of Mr. Darrow were entirely on her side. She should brush the issue off and joke about it as if she held the lightest of souls, but she couldn't. Not with Mr. Darrow. Mr. Darrow who had seen her deepest fears and not turned from her. Mr. Darrow who had written her letters for months and had been attentive at every event she had seen him at. No. She owed him some element truth, after all truth had started this, it ought to end that way as well.

Summoning up her strength she gave him a small smile, one that wavered upon her lips like the gentle waves against the hull of a ship. "I'm not sure." She certainly didn't feel as if congratulations ought to be in order.

There was something in the repetition of sorry that Caroline felt was far from a nicety and she looked at him closer. Would he truly be sorry to see her go?

Silence stretched between them until Caroline wondered if again she had been foolish enough to image something. When finally he spoke and she found herself completely confused with what he might be feeling. If he thought this the end then perhaps there was no time like the present to find out what he had thought.

"I shall be sorry as well." She admitted candidly though failing to mention that the gentleman in question was indeed British. Even if she were to stay in the country it would not be the same. She would never again be as free as she was in this moment.

"It sounds as if they have only just begun discussing the matter." There was still hope for her, perhaps Mr. Darrow did not see that, perhaps this was why he seemed to fluxulate between uncaring platitudes and true sentiments. "I can not help but hope it goes no further." The truth slipped through her lips as she looked up at Mr. Darrow from beneath her lashes, hoping that if he had not seen her interest before he might now. Better to be turned down now then to be lost in the sea of regret and confusion.

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He could feel the evening careening away from him. Things often did. Careen, that was. Fall away. There was an opportunity that was right now tumbling away over the side of the terrace into the darkened gardens below them, and he was standing here at the banister watching it happen.

Miss Delaney was slipping out of his grasp now, and the very worst part of it was that he could almost see it in her face. She wasn’t pleased with the situation, with her father, with his lack of acknowledgement; she said she would be sorry as well, but who was to know how little or how much she meant by it?

She explained a little further, and each new statement struck up a little hope. But, Evander cautioned himself, perhaps she was only telling him all this because she considered him a friend to her, after all this time, all the times they’d seen each other and all the letters they’d sent. They had been able to be candid with each other from time to time. Still, he could not help but think she seemed somehow put out by him, as though there was something more he had done wrong, personally. Miss Delaney had always been so - engaging. He was not quite sure what he would do without her company, at parties like this, if she did become attached to another man.

And now she was doing that thing - giving him that look - that Evander had never quite been able to comprehend, only that the flutter of her eyelashes was very good at scattering his thoughts. This did not much help the deliberation process. “I see,” he murmured, though he still wasn’t sure what to do about it. If he did or said nothing, any chance he had with Miss Delaney - if he had any - would be crushed altogether, he was certain of that.

So. He only hoped he hadn’t misread every bit of eyelash-batting. For all he knew, she might have bad allergies. “And might your father - might you -” Evander said carefully, struggling to form this sentence, “still be willing to consider - another offer of courtship, if it came?”

The still night air surrounded them, from inside Caroline could hear the tinkling of laughter, the notes of a piano. They floated past her as if it were a dream of another life. She clung to each word Mr. Darrow said as if this were the only reality.

The question sent a flutter, no more a leap, of her stomach. He had for a moment convinced her he did not care, but these words... could it mean he felt for her too?

With a tentative smile Caroline looked up at Mr. Darrow, "If it were the right offer, I am sure I could convince him." Caroline took a step closer, closer than propriety would demand. Her next words were soft between them. "If it were the right offer, I would very hopeful." She didn't think she was foolish, reading it wrong, but as she spoke the words she wondered yet again if she had misread Mr. Darrow's intentions again.

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She stepped closer and he resisted the urge to swallow again, or to take the step backwards that propriety might demand. She had to know what he was driving at, now; the surprise was that she seemed willing. “Good,” Evander said faintly. “That’s... very good.”

“I don’t know what you would regard as the right offer -” (was he it? Miss Delaney surely had other, better prospects?) “but if you can persuade your father to wait just a little longer...” If he were to do this, he would need to write a proper letter, which would take a little time. He would certainly need to broach the subject with Charity first before he wrote any letters to Boston at all. He probably ought to introduce himself to the family she had in London first, before properly asking to court her. Ideally, Evander would also be able to take the time to make a detailed pros and cons list before he concluded anything whatsoever, but he fancied now that he had floated the possibility there was not much turning back.

To this end - and by god, hoping no one saw them from inside - he reached out and took her hand into his, slightly shocked at himself but a little grateful for the shiver it sent through him, as if it was a good sign. “I’m not sure I would forgive myself if I didn’t try.”

For a brief moment Caroline found herself again wondering if she had been wrong. Her cheeks began to warm despite herself but as Mr. Darrow continued she was comforted - despite the fact that he seemed incapable of realizing the right offer was a matter of being the right man! She couldn't help the widening of her eyes at that, she had thought herself rather clear on the matter. But he had asked her to stall her father, that was sign enough for her. "I shall try, but I do not know how long he will wait." Nor how long she could. There were certain assurities that any young lady would desire in such circumstances.

Surprising her and stilling some of the remaining doubts Mr. Darrow took her hand. The warmth of his own through her gloves surprised her, an unexpected shock of such an action that felt her cheeks warming further. Her eyes met his as her quiet words lifted the air between them, "I dont think I would forgive you either." Her lips lifted into a smile to soften the truth despite the teasing in her tone.

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He nodded solemnly at the thought that her father would not wait long before reinstating another arrangement to show that he understood, taking that to heart as the warning it was. “I don’t need long.” He had never liked to rush into anything - though he supposed he knew her well enough by now, and Miss Delaney seemed well convinced.

And Evander found he trusted her, implicitly and without reason. He could not say why. He supposed there were probably things they ought to discuss further - plans and preparation and practical expectations - but there was something in her smile and the rosy flush on her cheeks that prevented him. He didn’t want to ruin the moment, or lose it. Instead, he squeezed her hand gently as she spoke (still softly but somehow brighter now, more teasing), and broke into a smile, almost needing to bite his lip to stop abject relief from making the smile too wide in return.

Maybe it was not so difficult, then; this was a step of progress, this was something going right for once, and it felt terribly, unreasonably good. “And I don’t intend to let you down, Miss Delaney,” he murmured, knowing they soon ought to go back inside and rejoin the party - but not wanting, quite yet, to let go of her hand.

Caroline had been mistaken before, thinking him uncaring. She knew that now. Knew it in the squeeze of her hand and the smile on her lips. She should have known, after all she had seen Shawn dither with the object of his own affections for weeks without even letting her know that he cared she was alive. Men, she supposed, were stubborn that way.

"Then don't." Caroline said earnestly bringing her own hand up to clasp his. "And please, call me Caroline."

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He had no idea how she found it so easy, so natural, to do the right thing; to say all that was needed in so few words; to instil a burgeoning sense of confidence he didn’t know he’d had.

Then don’t. Evander certainly hoped that would prove a straightforward order to follow.

He thought - if he were a different sort of man, maybe - that he would have put this opportunity to still better use, bridged another distance, but... that was too much, too fast, especially for a man who had just been pleading for more time.

Her request, though, was not quite so daunting. “Well then, Caroline,” Evander replied, the sound of this shade of intimacy taking him aback slightly, even from his own mouth; nonetheless, he was sure he would be accustomed to it one day, “might I escort you back inside?” He fancied the rest of the evening would pass by in an utter daze.

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