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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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Dance With Me
July 31st, 1890 — Devine Residence, Wellingtonshire, Hogsmeade
Galleon Gala

"You should know," he chuckled as he led his companion to the dance floor, "that I have vastly over-payed for this privilege. They did not have change, you see."

This was as transparent an excuse as a windowpane, for indeed no money was being directly collected as no gentleman worth the name would carry money on his person. Still, it was true enough that he had doubled Eloise Manwaring's listed price—it was for a good cause, after all—and the prospect of dancing with his one-time flame, the woman who in another life would have been his wife, had left him lightheaded. The light pressure of her hand on his forearm did not help, either.

Ten years and Eloise's being an ocean away had not, it seemed, dulled his feelings for her. This dance might have been a mistake after all.
— @Eloise Manwaring
Mood Music

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graphics by lady ♥ —
The price Eloise had set for herself tonight was modest enough to not seem greedy without being the cheapest dance of the night. It had, thus far, prevented her from dancing with the lesser sort, for which she was grateful. Elose was still a Pendergast at heart, after all. She might have married and disappeared from British Society, but she was still just as confident as ever about her status in the world.

A smile as wide as the ocean threatened to split her face as Julius asked her to dance. "Of course not," she responded with a laugh of her own. "Charities never do." If her hand rested heavier upon his arm than it ought to on a man that wasn't her husband, she didn't notice.

They positioned themselves on the floor, and Eloise was immediately lost in his eyes. Fate was a cruel mistress for having kept them apart all these years. "You should know you didn't have to pay a knut for a dance with me."
He rested his hand precisely where it was meant to be, not an inch lower—for the sake of propriety—on her back, using his other hand to take her own. It was as though a current went through them as they completed this circuit, and, for the briefest of moments, Julius could not remember why they were there at all.

"I daresay Mrs. Devine would have something to say about that," came his joked response, but the smile died in his eyes, leaving in its wake something far heavier.
— @Eloise Manwaring

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graphics by lady ♥ —
It was a small mercy the steps of the dance weren't overly complex, for Eloise could hardly think of anything but him and the heat of his hand in hers. Linford was but a blip on the horizon, so far out of focus it was as though he didn't exist. Eloise dreamt of this, of being in his arms once more, but she hadn't expected the connection between them to be as strong as it once was.

"Mrs. Devine's ire is the least of my concerns," Eloise continued in her same joking tone. Though, much like his own expression, the laughing grin didn't quite meet her eyes. Then, in a voice so soft only he could hear she said, "I always have room for a dance with you."
Room. Immediately, Julius became aware of how little room there was between them, the pair having closed the socially appropriate gap between them without realizing it, magnets perpetually drawn to one another. So abruptly he missed the next step, the wizard took pains to remedy the situation, lest they be remarked upon.

"It's been a long time," he mused, "hasn't it?"
— @Eloise Manwaring

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graphics by lady ♥ —
Her eyes widened at his misstep as she too took in how close they had become. They quickly righted themselves into a once again socially acceptable distance, but the loss of intimacy was hard to ignore. "Feels like yesterday sometimes," she sighed.
Like yesterday, indeed, but which part of it? The part where they were young and in love—and foolish—or the part where they had called off an elopement so that she could marry another man and they could both maintain ties with their respective families, summarily breaking both hearts in the process?

"How young we were," he murmured just loud enough for Eloise to hear. How naive.
— @Eloise Manwaring

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graphics by lady ♥ —
Young and free, she thought sadly. Eloise thought knew then what she was saying goodbye to in calling off the elopement. She thought the value of their families came before all, but having spent the past decade with only her sister for company, Eloise was no longer as attached to them as she once was. The perks remained, of course, but what were the perks of an influential family to the life of longing?

The dance had her take a step closer, once more closing the distance between them. Only, when the dance called for her to step away she didn't move as far as she ought to. "Young and happy," she murmured for only his ears.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Eloise Manwaring's post:
   Julius Scrimgeour
Barely a lean was all it would take to kiss her, the distance between them more vertical than horizontal. She was there, so close, and she was his—except she wasn't. It was a decision they had made, together, and now it loomed between them greater than any distance.

And yet, though Julius knew this, he could not move away again, could not even contemplate the idea that the music would end, that they would be forced once more to part—permanently.

His eyes bored into hers as they continued to dance, saying everything he could not put words to.
— @Eloise Manwaring

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graphics by lady ♥ —
There were three words she longed to voice, but knew the timing to be inappropriate. Instead, Eloise focused on the heat of his hand against her gloved on and the feel of his touch on her back. She memorized the dazzling flecks of colors in his eyes as though this dance might be the last time they ever stood so close. It wouldn't, she knew, but they had to be careful of the risks they took. One scandalous rumor and they would both be met with disaster.

Time stretched infinitely as they stepped through the latter half of the dance. Eloise took every opportunity available to step just an inch too close, too put them within a breath from disaster. She loved him just as passionately as she had ten years ago, for it came as easily as breathing.

The dance began to draw to a close, causing her heart to seize at the impending separation. Still, she could think of nothing to say to put off leaving him. Nothing that she would risk someone overhearing, anyway. More than anything, Eloise wished to ask him to meet her somewhere — anywhere — just this once. Though, she knew such a request would be denied.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Eloise Manwaring's post:
   Julius Scrimgeour
"Thank you for the dance," he said warmly, hands lingering a moment longer than those of the other gentlemen on the floor, "Eloise."

It was ill-advised, Julius knew, to speak so familiarly to her in company, but for just this once, he did not care.
— @Eloise Manwaring
[-] The following 1 user Likes Julius Scrimgeour's post:
   Eloise Manwaring

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graphics by lady ♥ —
The familiarity he used was closer to that shared in their letters than what was appropriate in public. And, for a moment, she was so overjoyed to hear her name on his lips that Eloise could think of little else. Her name was magic coming from him, sparks of electricity bursting like fireworks. It was the sea breeze brushed past her on the shore and reminded her of home. A decade of rigid distance, and she was undone by a single word. Three syllables and she belonged to him just as passionately as she had back then.

The moment to return the favor was lost as she struggled to return her thoughts to the present. The dance was over, the partners separating and in search of their next. Eloise hands fell a second after his own, grasping at the edge of her dress so that she may curtsey and leave. She had to leave.

"The pleasure was all mine, Mr. Scrimgeour," she murmured once she was standing once more. "Good evening."

Merlin, save her.

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