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Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1891. It’s time to join us and immerse yourself in scandal and drama interlaced with magic both light and dark.

Where will you fall?

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As clocks and other timepieces were expensive, working class folk who could not afford to rise with the sun could employ a “knocker-upper” to tap on their windowpane at a scheduled time. Knocker-uppers would work through the night and into the early morning. — Kayte
But then Miss Dempsey paid her so great a compliment that she wanted to hurl herself over the edge of the theater balcony in delight.
sobing alone in front of a haunted piano

Best Laid Plans
July 6, 1891 - Darrow Home, Swallowbury District, Irvingly

It was clear after only three days that Miss Charity, her new niece, did not like her. They had arrived home early on Sunday morning and had spoiled her with gifts from their travels that evening, and yet when Evander left for work on Monday morning Caroline was left with the realization of what she had suspected being the truth of the matter.

Of course Caroline was determined to change this, but it would require finesse, so she hatched a plan and the second day he was gone she put it in motion. Stopping in the doorway Caroline watched Charity at her lessons for a few moments before she lightly rapped on the doorway to make her presense known. "Excuse me." She said gently, "I thought, given the circumstances, that a break from lessons might be welcome." She explained to the governess before looking at Charity, "It is a warm day, and I rather thought we might go swimming in the lake, if you would like." She told the girl with a smile. "A bit of an adventure." She added with a shrug, trying to make it seem as tempting as possible to a young girl who likely wanted nothing more than to escape from lessons. Merlin knew at Charity's age Caroline had always been desperate to escape her lessons.
The following 1 user Likes Caroline Darrow's post:
   Charity Lloyd

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Amazing MJ set!
Charity had given both Uncle Evander and Miss Delaney—who she never actually called Miss Delaney, but she could be defiant about it in her head all she wanted—the stiff upper lip since they'd returned home from their honeymoon, having abandoned her for a solid two weeks. No amount of convincing on anyone's part had been enough to make Charity warm up to the idea of a new aunt, not when she was still so stuck in the mindset that Miss Delaney would begin to show her true colors any day now.

Except she hadn't. Not on day one, which she'd expected. Not on day two, when she'd smiled at her at breakfast and asked what she was reading in the afternoon. And now it was day three, and Miss Delaney was at her door, in her space (which, rude, because she hadn't stepped within a ten-foot radius of Miss Delaney's bedroom), and was offering to take her... swimming?

Her pulse picked up. Oh dear Merlin, this was the day Miss Delaney intended to drown her in the lake. And Uncle Evander would think Uncle Alfred had simply failed to teach her how to swim well.

She'd always liked to imagine how she would die, but being murdered by her evil step-aunt was probably at the bottom of her list.

"I don't like swimming," she said, which was definitely a lie and in hindsight one Miss Delaney could probably see right through, because just a month ago she'd been raving about how she could hold her breath for eighteen seconds and open her eyes underwater.
The following 1 user Likes Charity Lloyd's post:
   J. Alfred Darrow

cutest set ever by MJ <3
"Oh." Caroline was careful to keep her face merely thoughtful at the girl's response. She was sure she had heard Charity exclaiming about how long she could stay under water. That was it! "Then I suppose I shall have to be impressed by a tenfold by your ability to hold your breath for so long." She added innocently.

Really, was Caroline so horrible that children could not stand her? She had never truly thought so, but Charity seemed determined not to get on with her - indeed she seemed almost as determined not to like Caroline as Caroline felt to like the girl.

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Amazing MJ set!
Miss Delaney was goading her into getting into the lake, and she felt rather pleased with herself by her ability to see through her tricks. She would not go to the lake, and she would not meet her maker that day.

"If you're looking to be impressed by someone, you ought to as [Maid's Name]. She told me she can hold her breath for thirty-five seconds—more impressive than I'll ever be. She'd be happy to show you if you ask nicely," she offered, trying to sound as convincing and genuine as a nine-year-old girl who didn't like her uncle's wife could be.

cutest set ever by MJ <3
"Ah, but I should much rather take pride in your actions." Caroline added guilelessly. "Besides, I am sure you can achieve a whole thirty five seconds with practice." Something occured to her, "Why, I could even teach you." Yes, this was a good idea. Then, because she rather felt that she ought to explain herself she added, "My brothers and I use to swim every summer when I was a girl."

Although the thought of water did remind Caroline of this past spring. She was determined not to let the events of the shipwreck disuade her from the water, but the thought of staying under... Well it was a fear she was going to have to get over before it really got worse. Then there was the matter of Evander's dislike of water and his own fears, but well, when they returned home before he did and safely reported their adventures all would be well. He couldn't fret then for he would have them back safe before he even knew to start worrying.

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Amazing MJ set!
I should much rather take pride in your actions. Charity bristled at her words. As if Miss Delaney would ever take pride in her—n fact, she was probably looking for the first excuse to send her up to the attic with no supper. What better way than to trick her into doing something stupid at the lake and then tell Uncle Evander all about it?

Charity crossed her arms over her chest and shrunk back, trying to keep a scowl off her face. "Are you going to tattle on me if I say no?" she finally asked, wondering if this was a I'm doomed if I do and doomed if I don't type of situation.

cutest set ever by MJ <3
Tattle on her? Caroline's shock was unaffected, "Why no!" Then she added, trying to remain the adult in this situation (how odd to think that she truly was one now, she had been the baby of her family her so long), "I see no reason to. If you do not wish to swim then certainly you may return to your lessons." Although what child would choose lessons Caroline was not sure.

She was just going to have to resign herself to finding something else to, one, do at the present moment, and two, to entice Charity with in the future. She really did wish to start on the right foot with her new niece but the girl was having nothing to do with it. Caroline was much too good at reading people to ignore that simple fact.

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Amazing MJ set!
Ah-ha! She had won! Miss Delaney was giving up, which meant Charity had properly established herself as a forced to be reckoned with, not some weak-willed little child. She didn't have to swim (a shame, since she actually liked swimming, but she'd like it far less with the expectation of drowning) and she could return to her lessons without needing to entertain her uncle's new wife any longer.

"Maybe later," she said, trying to keep her voice even and innocent and everything good, "we can go to the library. I've almost read every book on my shelf. That's thirty-two books, just so you know." The last thing she wanted was Miss Delaney actually tattling on her for refusing to spend time with her—because it seemed like something she'd do—so she might as well get something out of any time they did have to spend together.

cutest set ever by MJ <3
"I should very much enjoy that." Caroline's smile was not affected this time. She absolutely adored reading, being as she was often left to her own devices and she loved stories of far off places it was a passion she indulged. "Or perhaps, if you would like, we might even get you a thirty third book." Caroline found a gentle teasing tone in her voice. "Maybe," She lowered her voice conspiratorily, "Even thirty-four and thirty-five." To be honest she would likely buy Charity any number of books, it wasn't as if she couldn't afford it. Her father had, afterall, settled a great deal of money on her. Enough that they could likely have afforded a home in the nicest section of Hogsmeade if Evander so chose. She doubted he would, but one never did know.

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Amazing MJ set!
She nearly hesitated when Miss Delaney so easily agreed, because thwarting Miss Delaney's murder plans seemed like the sort of thing that would bring out some sort of reaction, but it hadn't. There wasn't some way she could commit murder at the library or bookstore... right?

No, that was silly. Definitely a reach. This had to be some deflection, Miss Delaney's way of regaining her trust so she might later be lured into the lake. (There were worse ways to build trust, though, and the idea of a thirty-third, thirty- fourth, and thirty-fifth book nearly brought a grin to her face. Nearly. She would not allow the wretched woman to worm her way into her heart!)

"If you would like to," she said, phrasing it in that specific way so it would leave no doubt as to who desire those extra books. This might be a test—she wouldn't have Miss Delaney make her out a beggar to Uncle Evander. She didn't need those extra books.

At least, not that badly.

cutest set ever by MJ <3
"I should very much like to." Caroline replied gracefully (if words could be consider graceful). "I have been pursing your Uncle's library and I can tell you it needs a great deal of expanding." Caroline went on. Really Evander did have quite a nice library, but when it came to books that Caroline found interesting and those she suspected that Charity found interesting, Caroline found it quite lacking. "I believe you may be the perfect person to help assist me in that endeavor." Another smile, this one gentle and encouraging. Books, she could certainly bond with Charity over books.

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Amazing MJ set!

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