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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.

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a little boat adrift
#1
November 6th, 1891 — Angelica's House, Bartonburg

This whole thing had started with a list, back in January, and now it had progressed to a series of lists. Lists of arrangements to make for the wedding itself; lists of people who ought to be told before the invitations were sent; lists of things to have packed for the honeymoon; lists of preparations for married life on his return. Lists of pros and cons about the current situation, which kept popping into his head despite his attempts to banish them. Logistics were easier to focus on than anything else. Easier than feelings or explanations or difficult conversations.

(Should he have added Arthur Pettigrew to that list of people to tell before the invitations were sent? He sort of already knew, in general terms. There was no reason to suspect he would care. Still.)

Pro: There was so little time between now and the wedding, and so much to do, that they didn't really have time to get into the difficult conversations. Con: Since Angelica was a widow and didn't need a chaperone when taking tea with her fiance, there was nothing stopping her from ambushing him with one anyway, if she really wanted to. Pro: If she was planning to strike up one of Those Conversations, at least she hadn't done so yet. Con: They were only two minutes in to tea.

"I'll send a realtor here on Monday," he announced. If he was hoping the busywork would prevent them from having a serious talk, he'd have to ensure the busywork stayed front and center. Besides, it was something that needed to be done; they clearly couldn't keep two houses after they were married. That would give rise to exactly the sort of rumors they couldn't afford. He didn't even know whether she rented or owned this house, but either way it would have to go. He could make it up to her later by buying her a bigger, nicer one somewhere else, if she wanted it. "How much of the furniture here do you want to keep?"
@"Angelica Vorona"

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#2
There was too much tea at the table. Angel stared at her favorite samovar looming over the two other teapots crowding the service tray. She would have everything perfect for Emrys' arrival. There was the way she took her tea in Russia, the boring bleakness of standard English afternoon tea, and something she'd had one of her staff hunt down in Cardiff. The Selwyns were Welsh and the tea Welsh; perhaps there was some popular blend that would remind her fiancé(!) of his Welsh childhood. The tea had to be perfect because, truth be told, nothing else was. But, Merlin, that is just too much tea.

Six days ago, she was still Professor Vorona; today, she was merely a witch unmoored. It had been a shock to say goodbye to her students the way she did, more surreal still to explain the sudden change to her colleagues. Today, she was a woman watching pillars of her independence crumble without warning. She needed this space - they needed her to have this space. It was eight days until the wedding and Angelica had begun her strategizing the moment he proposed (Well, the moment after she stopped thinking Emrys capable of the cruelest sort of jest anyway). For this marriage to succeed - and it would, Angelica already made her decision - both of them would need time and space away. Naturally, his Bristol estate was expansive and they could easily spend the day at hope and never cross paths, but the need for space was symbolic as well as literal. Her maintaining a second property meant she could disappear and give him the reassurance of privacy. It meant she could lock herself in her study and spend the day buried in translations or arithmetic equations for alchemy. Her home, her little haven, was a symbol of her independence and it would be sold to a realtor come Monday.

Angelica had written, destroyed, restarted, and hexed her list of marriage expectations multiple times. Perhaps, if she could identify exactly what she expected, Emrys would seem less... resigned to their marriage and future. Maintaining her own property was an essential part of marital happiness for them, she was certain, but here she was, grieving for the material things that made her house her own. "Are you certain we cannot at least keep the home through the honeymoon? There is a week still between Monday and the wedding. I know it might seem silly, but if I am forced to spend the last week of my widowhood with my family, I will most certainly commit some act of violence." Her cheeky smile came and went in record time as she saw his eyes evaluating her furnishings.

Few things in her home matched the beauty of Emrys' own designs, but Angelica had her favorite pieces. If she could truly force him to make room for her things was another story. She was keenly aware she would be living with him at his home. It would not be hers, there would be little that was hers now, and the thought was nerve-wracking. Could she truly force her things (beautiful, timeless pieces, thank you) into his space and expect him to see her as anything but a nuisance? "I will take very little with me. I do not want to interfere with your designs." Her smile was genuine: Emrys Selwyn had an eagle's eye for beauty and decoration. Angelica wasn't fool enough to mess about with his things, not when she found his style still so complementary to her own. She needed little encouragement to join him, she already adored his home, but being a guest and being the lady of the house were different things.

Angelica was gone on her mental train of thought for what felt like hours, but within a few beats, she turned to him cautiously, her mind a scattered mess of 'what ifs' and wondering. "I suppose I will only take the essentials, as I would hate to clutter your home." It was still firmly his home in her mind, there was nothing that belonged to her but hope.
WC: 684
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#3
Emrys' ear caught on the phrase your home, and he briefly considered correcting her, but didn't. She would be living there soon enough, so it was reasonable to say our home (particularly after he'd just articulated his plan to ensure her previous home was inaccessible to her very soon), but it had been his home for long enough that it still felt a bit strange to think of it as anything else. He'd had the house renovated and built expansions, and he'd taken great care with the design of every room. He had known when he started on his quest for a wife that marriage would mean ceding some of his authority over the house to a woman, at least for some time, but it was still difficult to reconcile internally. It was also thematically a bit too close to one of those serious conversations he was hoping to avoid.

"I very much doubt any realtor I find will be so efficient as to find a buyer for the house in less than a week," he pointed out. Side-stepping the conversation about your house or our house seemed best for the moment, and in the meantime he could lay to rest her concerns about having to move back in with her family. Moving twice in such a short span of time would be monstrously inconvenient — if for some reason it did become necessary for her to leave this house before the wedding, it would probably be more logistically sound to move her things straight to his house. She could stay in a hotel in the meantime, or he could. "But if we start the process now it will make things smoother once he does. You have sufficient staff to see to packing things up? Or should I send someone?"

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#4
He was right, of course. She was being fearful and he, somehow, had become the rational part of this equation. Given his ludicrous opinions on marriage and how it had gotten them here, Angelica wasn't certain he still was capable of rational thoughts about their situation. She should be grateful. Dealing with  realtors, the logistics of combining homes, neither of these things appealed to her and if he wished (or at least offered) to handle such boring masculine things as real estate, she wouldn't interfere. "I am sure you are right. Just nerves, I suppose." It would be deadly to leave that dangling, so she clarified, "Could you imagine sharing the next week in your childhood home with all of your siblings and their families in residence? It would be enough to drive someone mad." Angelica doubted palaces were large enough to make such arrangements tolerable, but her family had a particularly dangerous 'snake to firebrand' ratio.

She bristled slightly at the insinuation that she was somehow lacking a staff. She wasn't raised in a barn, of course her staff could handle matters! "My staff are perfectly capable and have seen to me faithfully for years; they are capable of packing." Hands aching for distraction, she reached for her own cup, letting the strong bite of the Russian tea calm her defensive reaction. "My apologies," she offered him, her frustration still evident. "You are only trying to assist me, I know. I -" She paused, reluctantly surrendering her teacup back to its saucer. "I do not know how you can seem so stoic now. I can barely keep my seat."
WC: 270

[Image: 3yopnb.png]
MJ made this miracle!
#5
Emrys pursed his lips at her last comment. Stoic, indeed. He didn't know how to respond to that. This was the only way he could get through it all; he had to keep busy and detached or else he'd begin to feel overwhelmed. Getting into that felt dangerously close to one of those conversations he was trying to avoid having, though, so he didn't explain; instead he went backwards a step to what she'd been saying directly before.

"I wasn't sure you kept a full staff while you were at Hogwarts. I'm glad to hear they have it well in hand." He could easily have spared someone from his home to help with the tasks, but he felt that it might feel something like an invasion to have his people packing her things. They also couldn't be expected to understand the history or sentimental value behind any of Angelica's possessions when they hadn't worked in this house before.

"Of course, that's the next order of business," he continued briskly. "I expect we'll have some redundancies in the staff between the two households. Since household staffing is traditionally dictated by the lady of the house I will leave those decisions to you, but I should like to be informed if you intend to let any of mine go." Emrys was rather partial to his servants — they were all discreet, which was invaluable — but he recognized that this wasn't his territory as the man of the house, and that this wasn't a hill worth dying on if she was also partial to hers. Hopefully the servants she wanted to keep would be able to adapt to working in a larger house well enough.

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