Welcome to Charming
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

keeping me on the edge of my seat
July 10th, 1891 — The Apothecary, Diagon Alley

For probably the first time in his life, Cameron had begun dreaming about essays, boiling cauldrons, and early-morning quidditch practices. While his younger self might have identified them as nightmarish symbolism, his current self knew exactly what they were: a desperate need to be back at school, even if it meant facing all the parts he dreaded. He awoke from each dream with a sense of longing, and a sense of disappointment as well—disappointment that he was in his Irvingly bedroom, his wand tucked away and unable to be used, and his Hogwarts robes folded in the trunk at the end of his bed.

It might have been that longing that spurred his trip to Diagon Alley the next day, or maybe it was a natural need to be in a more magical atmosphere than Irvingly had to offer.

He'd made his rounds. Fudge & Sons—a secondhand bookshop—an owl emporium—and then, finally, the Apothecary.

As a younger student he'd never felt comfortable inside apothecaries, only because he'd been so insecure in his knowledge of herbology and potions that he hated having to admit that he couldn't tell the difference between a fairy and a doxy wing. Now he was older, more confident, and... well, at least better-educated, and with his hopes still set in the direction of a healing career, he couldn't help himself.

And apparently, neither could Alice.

She was the only one in the store when he entered, and she was right there. He froze in place, his gaze caught on hers as he fought the urge to flee (as if that would have helped!). Finally, he swallowed the thickness in his throat and his pride, and offered a tight smile.

"Shopping so soon?" he asked, as if he wasn't there doing the same thing.
@Alice Dawson

The infrequent trips to London and letter exchanges with her friends were the only two sources of happiness keeping Alice from tethering on the edge of a meltdown. A few days prior she had made her intentions regarding school known to her silent heartbreak they had readily agreed with her assessment. Four educations would be too heavy a burden for an already struggling family, and five would absolutely break them. Besides, by sixteen Alice's mother had faced a similar set of circumstances and had survived it just fine. She would have a future somehow, just not the one she had always envisioned for herself.

After assisting her father with the set up of their stall, she had slipped away to Diagon Alley. With her more frequent trips to London, Alice was becoming more comfortable with its twists and turns than she had been a year ago. Then again, a year ago she had believed being guided around was charming. Oh how wrong she was.

Her first stop was always to the apothecary, for at least if she was discovered by a friend or relative she could easily explain it away as a ingredient finding mission for her mother. It didn't matter that her pockets were empty or that her mother had less knowledge of potions than Alice herself did. The excuse was all that counted in the eyes of the world, or at least rhat was what she hoped to be true.

The apothecarist had smiled knowingly at her and excused himself to the back for a moment upon her arrival. He was never gone for longer than a minute or two, but Alice had stopped in enough times now that he knew she wasn't a thief. In truth, all she wished to do was immerse herself within one of her favorite environments. An enjoyment that soon drew to a close when none other than Cameron Gillenwater stepped into the shop. Worst still, he had thought it appropriate to engage her in a conversation.

"Picking up some ingredients for my Mother," she lied, using her ready made excuse. Her hands were empty and she kept her gaze on a spot behind Cameron, but he couldn't classify her as argumentative this time, which given the way they last parted was really all either of them could hope for.

Amazing set by Bee!
[Image: aNalFd.png]
She answered him, which was a step-up compared to their time at school spent pretending the other didn't exist while in close vicinity to each other, but it was almost more awkward now; they didn't have anyone else to turn around and talk to, nobody to pretend to hear calling their name, and nothing to accomplish in a short amount of time (unless Alice was in a rush, which she didn't look to be).

"No luck yet?" he asked, his gaze dropping to her hands, which were empty.

"No," Alice shrugged. She could easily pretend to have investigated the shelves and leave empty handed, but to do so would then mean her escape from home would be significantly shortened. "Well, don't let me keep you. The shop keeper should be back in a moment," Alice then added, offering them both an obvious out of this awkward encounter.

Amazing set by Bee!
[Image: aNalFd.png]
Alice wasn't exactly subtle in her offering of an out, but Cameron wasn't sure how to gracefully exit the conversation without also exiting the Apothecary (which he wasn't sure he could do gracefully, either). So he stayed.

He moved to the counter and peeked through the glass top, looking at some of the more expensive ingredients the shop had to offer. "Did he go to fetch you something?" he asked, all the while wondering why dragon scales cost so damn much,

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