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Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1892. It’s time to join us and immerse yourself in scandal and drama interlaced with magic both light and dark.

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During the Victorian era, knitting became a staple of a well-bred woman. Queen Victoria is even reported to have been a fan of knitting herself. It was during this time that knitting wasn’t just restricted to plain yarn fabrics, but changed to involve bead and lace knitting. — Fallin
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This has nothing to do with you; it's me versus me
#1
November 24th, 1891 - Irvingly Arms
The Irvingly Arms was on an extremely short list of places in Irvingly that Arthur was able to go to; most of the square was out, as he had to avoid the casino, and other than the Howlers pitch and Ben's house, there wasn't much else going on. But he'd wanted to make this as easy on Ben as possible. Especially because Arthur wasn't sure how to begin to describe today's crisis — (which had actually happened the night before) — it was embarrassing.

It was especially embarrassing because his marriage was on the track to being better. (As long as one ignored the existence of Emrys Selwyn, which Art ignored whenever he was thinking about his wife.) And now this? He didn't know how to explain it to Desdemona, let alone to Ben, and drinking after practice seemed the only solution.

There was something nervous about his energy, a twitchy call-to-motion that he couldn't quite get rid of, but other than that there wasn't anything unusual about the way he was carrying himself.

Art had been at the Arms for a quarter-hour, and was halfway to buzzed by the time Ben got there. He was seated at a booth and rose his pint glass in Ben's direction when he saw him enter.

@Reuben Crouch

[Image: AAgFt3c.png]
set by MJ <3
#2
There was a time in his life when Ben would have thought absolutely nothing of a last-minute summons on vague (or rather, nonexistent) premises. When he was twenty-five he would have assumed that whatever was going on, it would be a fun time. He probably would have cleared his schedule for the following morning as a precaution, anticipating a hangover. These days, however, last minute plans seldom turned out to be much fun. Anything that came up with less than a day's notice had to be urgent. They were adults now, with adult responsibilities, and people who would miss them if they canceled plans, so things like this didn't happen lightly. If it was urgent, it was not a far cry to imagine it was an emergency.

He's gambling again, Ben had guessed as he went through his daily routine at work. He had a big fight with Desdemona and she kicked him out. He had a fight with Desdemona and she left. Something terrible happened to his mother. Something terrible happened to Gwenog. The list of possible things that could have been behind the letter was endless. None of them were good. At least there was nothing in the Prophet about it, whatever it was.

Ben told Melody the vaguest possible outline of where he was going when he left — dinner with a friend — both because she still didn't like or trust Art, and because if she'd asked for any details he wouldn't have known what to say. Consequentially he felt almost like he was a teenager sneaking out of the house when he walked into the Irvingly Arms. He shot Art a brief smile when he spotted him and bought a drink before making his way to the table.

He looked good, at least compared to the worst-case scenarios Ben had been expecting. He looked fine. Hopefully that was a good sign. Ben dropped into the empty seat across the table and propped one arm along the back of the booth. "How long have you been here?"
#3
Art wished he'd spent any of his day trying to figure out how to explain this, practically. The trouble was, he knew exactly how to explain the mechanics of it. It was just deeply embarrassing, especially since he hadn't been drunk for the incident. Somehow, this was more embarrassing than the gambling, even if he'd acted on it first — at least he'd expected that.

He flashed his typical grin at Ben. "Just twenty minutes or so," Art said, "I headed over after practice wrapped." He was going to have to figure this out, as he'd drug Ben here with practically no warning, and they were far too old for that. He was going to have to manage it first, though.


[Image: AAgFt3c.png]
set by MJ <3
#4
"Great," Ben said, with a nod. He had no actual opinions on that piece of information whatsoever. He didn't know why he'd asked in the first place, except that it was something to say. Ben was the sort of person who was used to filling the silence with small talk. He was good at this sort of thing and had skated through most of his life on charisma, so before he'd even had a chance to think about it another totally pointless but pleasant question was on the tip of his tongue. He clamped his mouth shut just in time to prevent it. He could ask how's practice and they could banter about the latest addition to the Howler's second string for the next twenty minutes, but that would just mean Ben spent longer trying to figure out what had happened that had gotten Art to summon him here.

He wasn't used to silence between the two of them and it immediately made him uncomfortable. The feeling probably wasn't helped by their environment; this was not the sort of place to have serious conversations, and serious conversations were the only ones Ben had with long pauses in the middle, so now he just felt awkward. He took a sip of his drink just to keep himself from falling back on the banal small talk again.
#5
Arthur didn't know what to do with the silence. He shifted in his seat in the booth; took a long sip of his drink. He had asked Ben to come here, which meant he was going to have to say something about last night eventually. He couldn't just avoid it forever. Not with Ben, at least — he could probably get away with avoiding it with his wife.

"Things are better with Desdemona," Arthur blurted after a beat; there was faint color in his cheeks.

The statement was true. That was what had gotten him in trouble — except maybe trouble was the wrong word — last night, in the first place.


[Image: AAgFt3c.png]
set by MJ <3
#6
Ben blinked. "That's good," he said, and it was. It wasn't exactly as reason to call him out for a last minute meeting, though. It was more the sort of thing that came up over morning coffee.

"Things are going well with Melody, too," he supplied, not because it was relevant but rather because he couldn't stomach sitting here and not saying anything of substance much longer.
#7
"That's good," Art said, because it was good when Ben wasn't miserable even if Art hated Melody, deeply. He let another beat pass. "Something weird happened, though," he finally admitted; a flush rose in his cheeks. "Dez wouldn't want to talk about it." He hadn't asked, but he could be sure of that.


[Image: AAgFt3c.png]
set by MJ <3
#8
Ben frowned. Something weird wasn't very descriptive, but something Desdemona wouldn't want to talk about did cast an ominous cloud over whatever it was. "Dez wouldn't want you to tell me about it, or Dez wouldn't want to talk about it?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. The two options implied very different things. There were plenty of things that Desdemona probably wouldn't like Art sharing with Ben. He wasn't sure if Dez liked any of Art's friends, but if there were some, Ben was fairly certain he wasn't on the list. And women in general could be particular about sharing things they thought ought to be secrets of their marriage... or at least, he'd experienced that with Melody on a few occasions. So something having happened that Desdemona wouldn't want Ben hearing about wasn't saying that much. Something having happened that Desdemona wouldn't even talk to Art about was something else entirely.
#9
Arthur was tracing a pattern in the condensation on his pint glass with one finger. He nearly regretted having brought the previous night up at all, but he'd had to talk to someone, and he didn't know how to even begin describing the situation to his wife. "Both," he said, and then, with a sheepish shrug of his shoulders — "More the latter." Desdemona would have found the whole thing horribly embarrassing even if she was just talking about it with Art, he knew.


[Image: AAgFt3c.png]
set by MJ <3
#10
By now Ben had exhausted his patience to wait for Art to bring it up himself. Whatever had happened, it was bad — and he and Dez hadn't been great to begin with — and Art clearly didn't want to talk about it. Except of course he did, on some level, because he'd asked Ben to come in the first place. It wasn't like prying it out of him had been Ben's idea. He just wasn't in any rush to get to the meat of the conversation, apparently. "What happened?"
#11
Art swallowed. He looked at his pint, but that felt weird, so then he looked at Ben's hands. "Desdemona and I hadn't been —" his mouth twisted and his voice dropped, if it weren't for the wife he would have opted to have this conversation in Ben's house — "together, since she lost the baby."

That was enough of a confession on its own that he needed to leave space for whatever awkward response Ben had to it, and never mind the actual problem.


[Image: AAgFt3c.png]
set by MJ <3
#12
Ben blinked. He had not been expecting this confession. They'd never really talked about relationships in that level of detail, so this was coming out of nowhere. They had talked about relationship problems before, but it always came with a strange degree of dissonance. Whatever Art and Desdemona were going through in the moment, their relationship was still fundamentally different from Ben and Melody's, because of the way it had started. Ben was never going to be able to really relate to anything Art told him, because he was never going to experience things with that same lens. So this was doubly awkward, first because it was about sex and second because even if it hadn't been, Ben wouldn't have known what to say.

What he said was: "Oh."

He took a sip of his drink to fill the space. It took him a second to realize that this didn't actually answer the question he'd asked. None of the little pieces of information Art had fed him throughout this conversation fit together in a way that made sense. Things were better with Desdemona, but she wouldn't want to talk about whatever had happened. Something had happened, but when Ben had asked about it Art had instead told him what hadn't been happening. There had to be some kind of connection between all of these facts, but Ben couldn't see it.

Something happened. Something weird. It had something to do with the fact that Art and Desdemona hadn't been sleeping together for over a year. Ben's cheeks flushed as he considered the possibilities and wondered if he would regret asking what it was.

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