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🎄Christmas 69
[Hogsmeade] Whistle While We Work

Started by Talia Bryce, May 26, 2021, 02:26:48 am

Talia Bryce

Mid December 1969

    Christmas was one of Talia's absolute top holidays. Mainly how cheerful it made a majority of others around her, being able to decorate and of course wrapping presents was the highlight of the year for the young woman. Typically she would spend the holiday partaking in various family traditions, especially the last so many years after begging to stay at Hogwarts as long as she could during winter break. Having been back home she had been wonderful but now once again at Hogwarts and with more responsibility she was back to missing out on things with her family. Truthfully it hadn't bothered her one bit to be unable to attend the annual party with her extended family. If anything she was relieved to not have to constantly dodge questions about her work and why her little finger was empty still. Mainly she got the interrogation from her grandmother but like a bloodhound her aunts would swarm to chime in with their own thoughts on the matter as soon as someone even mentioned a man being in her life. Granted, last year her aunts had rolled their eyes and mysteriously never brought the topic to light. Lia doubted it was due to their disinterest and more to them trying to pull some type of reverse psychology on the young woman.

The one thing she wasn't going to miss out on thankfully was decorating. Returning to Hogwarts, Lia had been worried about fitting in with her fellow professors and staff within the castle but everyone had been friendly, for the most part. One person she felt she had gravitated more and more towards had been the librarian, Rose Pemberton. She had been kind to Talia the moment she arrived which Lia appreciated more than she could express. Hopefully her Christmas gift could fill in for the words Talia lacked to show her gratitude. That however would have to wait as today she was happier than a niffler in Gringott's. She and Rose were on a mission to shop for Christmas decorations to set up for this year's celebration. Hogsmeade had seemed the best choice and quickest especially without being able to apparate from the castle. Although if Talia was honest she hated that form of travel. It always made her stomach twist in the most unpleasant of ways. A bit of fresh air wouldn't kill them. And to top it off she had gotten her hands one of the older sleds she had seen people use during her time at Hogwarts. Of course she had watched her peers sled from the comforts of a cozy fire through snowy windows while she studied but she was older now and could afford to live a little, for once.

She had decorated the sled a little with some transfiguration spells to add some sparkle and festive look to it. If they needed to bring anything back to the castle it was going to travel in style. Grinning at her handiwork, Talia waited outside for Rose so they could head into town for the day. Rubbing her hands together covered in bright green mittens her mother had knit for her and sent with at the first sign of snow, Lia couldn't help but grin like a Cheshire cat waiting for her friend to appear. Finally!

"Rose! Look!" Unable to contain herself she waved towards the redhead and pointed to the sled, showing it off like a model on one of those Muggle game shows her father had become so recently obsessed with.

Rose Pemberton

The term had been tumultuous so far with quite a few ups and downs. While Rose's focus had initially been taken up by one Harold Prendergast, she'd grown to appreciate another new colleague even more. Warm, friendly and outgoing Talia Bryce had been a gift. They were close enough in age to have common ground beyond a shared occupation. What had started out as casual chats about flowers, lemonade recipes and teaching methods had grown into a fledgeling friendship between the two women. It was nice. Rose had been so isolated for the last few years that having a fellow young woman around felt like coming up for fresh air. It was amazing to have a person on the team who didn't look at her with a benevolent grandparent kind of twinkle in their eyes.

Even better was having somebody to go shopping and decorating with. She still needed a few Christmas presents and, in addition to that, she fancied tying one of the spiced hot chocolates that the local cafe in Hogmeade was serving. That definitely wasn't something she could have talked Professors Montgomery or Slughorn into. Not to mention that it would have been weird to go out with a man thirty to forty years her senior, even if it was just for hot chocolate.

It was therefore with a sense of genuine excitement that arose stepped out of her quarters to meet Talia. Except, almost the second she poked her head out of the castle gates she was almost assaulted by a mail owl flying so close to her head she could feel its wings touch her cheek. What the...? Then a noise. Rose spun around only to see that the bird had impacted the castle wall.

"Oh, Bubo," she sighed, turning around to check if the heap of feathers was okay. The bird looked at her sheepishly turning its head. Okay, probably no serious damage had occurred. Still, she picked up the owl carefully just to be sure. Aside from some ruffled feathers he seemed alright.

"Go find Hal," she told the owl who now looked at her with apparent confusion. "Hal, you know. Mr Teacup. Owl treat provider, he who ignores you in favour of books." Her explanation didn't seem to help the bird in figuring out what it was supposed to do. Rose helplessly set it down beside the gate to the castle. "Come on, in with you. Go, go, go." Bubo looked at her with his giant black eyes, blinking at her in that way only owls could.

"Bubo, I'm gonna be late," Rose wailed. "Go in, find Harold. Okay." She turned around and started walking away, hoping the owl would return to its owner if she pretended to no longer pay attention. Except, when she cast her head over her shoulder the idiot bird was following her, hopping along the path. Rose groaned.

"Bubooo, go away." She was just about to launch into another attempt when she heard Talia calling out to her.

"You did that?!," Rose cooed as soon as she saw the sled, Professor Prendergast's mentally challenged owl momentarily taking the backseat in her list of priorities. "That's so adorable. How did you get that glitter effect?"

"Where to first? Well... Except ...." Rose turned her head over her shoulder again to see Bubo closing the gap between them. "I seem to have a fan today. Lemme try to get rid of him again."

Talia Bryce

Talia blinked a little shocked as Rose arrived with a companion. "Yeah-nifty Transfiguration type thing I learned, but uh-" She was going to ask still wondering what the owl was doing following Rose but opted to just go along with it. She gave a nod at Rose then the owl. "Ah! Well, how do you do Mister, er Misses? Owl." Talia gave a mock bow of her head before returning to focus to Rose with a clap of her hands. "Right! I was thinking we could start with something possible to fortify us pre-shopping frenzy?" Might as well start the trip off properly. Her family tended to indulge in some hot chocolate while shopping for each other each year so it only seemed fitting to continue the trend here at Hogwarts. Especially since when Lia really thought about it.. Rose was the closest she had to family here even with the short time they had known each other. The other staff were perfectly alright but she didn't feel she meshed quite as well as she had with the librarian. "I hate to admit I haven't been to Hogsmeade in years so I'm hoping you know of a good spot!" Grabbing the sled she readied for their adventure to town. Should she tell Rose now she already had the entire trip practically planned out? Talia bit at her lower lip unable to keep it in.

"I did bring an itemized list, hope that's alright. Plus, I did a bit of figuring with time and how long we could spend in each place to maximize shopping." She peeked at Rose trying to gauge her reaction. "Or we could wing it?" Hastily she added the last part worried she would send Rose and their feathery escort fleeing back to the castle. Winging it made her heart race a little but recently she had found herself living a little more on the wild side. No lists? No schedule.. She could do this. Lia sucked in a breath and forced a smile. "Kidding!" Great gobstones she better make light of the fact she had almost sounded like a crazy person with timed shopping excursions. "Of course let's start with trimmings and work our way through town? We can do Honeyduke's last, it'll probably take a lot longer there than any of the other shops, ya?" Having friends was this weird new thing Lia was absolutely floundering with. Thankfully Rose was such a kind soul.

Rose Pemberton

"He's a Mr Owl, Bubo in fact," Rose supplied helpfully. "And even more annoying than is owner, Professor Prendergast. He crashed into the castle wall earlier. I think somethings not quite right with his head."

Rose tried to shoo the bird once more time, but without much success. Bubo just hooted at her and blinked some more.

"Go sleep," Rose tried to reason. The owlery is this way." She pointed in the direction of it, but Bubo was still not moving.

"Here's to hoping he'll get bored eventually. So, shopping..." Rose tried to gather her thoughts.

Itemised shopping list? Sure, Talia was always organised but that seemed like rather a lot of effort to have gone through. Hopefully, that wouldn't stop them from having some fun with their trip as well.

"Um, Talia," Rose said rather awkwardly, "I'm not sure that's gonna work. I have a vague idea of what I need, but I was hoping to look for some presents as well. I still don't have anything to give to .. umm... you know..."

She blushed, not really wanting to discuss this any further than she had to. "And I think I might have to find something for Oliver and Tristan too. They're Grace's good friends and we were thinking of popping over to Godric's for Christmas and spent some time with Mrs Addington. We do miss her every day."

She continued to talk nervously about what was on her shopping list. "...and I don't know if I should get a tree this year. I suppose the one in the Great Hall would be enough, but what if Grace is disappointed with that?"

At last, she started moving, realising that the longer she stood here talking, the less time there would be to find what they were looking for.

Talia Bryce

"Bubo!" Talia chortled and nodded as she laughed. She would not have pegged Prendergast for an owl guy. Sure, they were great for sending letters along and could be good company but how did he manage to remember to even feed it? "Aw, oh no Bubo! Poor fella." Lia cooed in the owl's direction. A wide grin split her features as Rose tried to shake the companion free from her. She patted part of the sled where the owl could perch and ride along as they walked.

"Um, Talia,"

Lia blinked at her colleague and both brows raised. Right, yes.. the list had been a bit much, she was still navigating this whole having friends thing. Presents eh? Her smile faded, turning her face to try and hide it. They both seemed to be holding something in as Rose's voice faded and cheeks flushed.  Nodding here and there in understanding she adjusted a hand on the rope to the sled so it wouldn't slip from her glove. Talia grinned as she thought about Rose's daughter, Grace. She enjoyed being around the girl and found her to have a good sense of humor.

Rose made a move to start start and Lia matched her stride. She wasn't sure what to touch on first. Her own mind was muddled with dark thoughts and frustrations but today wasn't the day to dwell on that. Plus, by the sound of Rose's voice she wanted to be sure to put her own worries aside and try to help instead. Sucking in a breath to fill her lungs and clear her own thoughts, she turned her head to face Rose as they walked.

"I think a tree would be great! I'm sure Grace would love it and it could be fun to decorate together?" She was going to miss out on plenty of traditions not being home but it was such a good excuse to not face the music so to speak. "Maybe just something a little smaller to set on a table?" She puffed a breath of cold air, swirling as she passed through it. "A nice fir could smell lovely. I'm sure we'll pass by something." Lia thought of the trees at home her father would bring home and a warmth pressed against her. "Sure, the one in the Great Hall is fab but you can't sit in the dark and just enjoy the lights twinkling without any interruptions."

"I need to do some shopping as well..." She chewed on her lower lip and murmured a little absentmindedly. "What were you thinking for Grace? " Raising her hand to push back the knit hat a touch further on her head to keep it from slipping into her vision, Talia wondered what it was like to have a child to take care of. She had bought for her sisters just fine but there had to be layers of stress as a parent. "Is it going to require a trip to Zonko's?" She kidded a mischievous smirk flashed in Rose's direction.

Rose Pemberton

As soon as Talia suggested it, Bubo hopped onto the sled, perching himself at the helm as if captaining a ship. Rose burst out into a little giggle. "Can you try to tell him to go back to the castle, Talia? He seems to listen to you."

"Well, anyways, Grace I already have some things for," Rose explained. "She has been asking for a broomstick because she wants to practise more to join quidditch. And you know what the school brooms are like. So I managed to do that in London a couple of weeks back. Got a manageable payment plan for it too without any interest. The shop keeper must have really, really liked me. I'll also wrap some sweets for her. She loves anything with caramel. No Zonko's though, my poor nerves couldn't take it. She's enough of a troublemaker as is."

She thought about it for a moment. "We could find something there for Ollie and Tristan though. I'm not opposed to be an agent of chaos." Rose grinned as she imagined Tristan's mom being pranked. Not that she didn't like the other woman, on the contrary, but she really ought to laugh a bit more.

Rose gathered her thoughts as they walked a few more paces. "What are your plans for the period? I think Albus said you were staying at school? Do you want to come over and celebrate with us? I think we'll have to see my parents on the 26th and then we'll probably be off to Godric's on the 27th or 28th, but, you know, before that. I couldn't bear to think of you alone in your quarters. Have you not got anyone you could be visiting?"

An expression of genuine concern had settled into Rose's features. Talia seemed so lovely. Even if things were strained with her family, no friends or boyfriend she could spend time with either? That had to be really sad and frustrating.

 "Umm...there's also something I need some help with. What kind of Christmas present would you get for a handsome, middle-aged gentleman? As far as I know he likes books and clocks, but getting something like that is a bit unimaginative, now is it?"

Talia Bryce

Lia grinned down at Bubo and gave a mock pout towards Rose. "Aw, but then we wouldn't have our fearless captain!" She laughed alongside Rose and felt a few strands of tension snap against her chest. Lia had wound herself up the last few weeks but could feel herself fraying and breaking loose. To be able to genuinely laugh and in the company of someone else was a welcome change of pace.

"Oh!" Talia imagined the look on the young girl's face as she tore into the wrappings and was met with the sight of a broom. Her expression lit up as she walked, thinking of how her own mother had done all she could for her siblings and herself each Christmas. If she ever were to have children shehooed she would be at least half the mother Rose was. The reminder of what that also required burned like hot coals.

"She's going to love it." Forcing the image of twinkling blue eyes from her thoughts she focused on the crunch of the snow beneath their boots and Rose, Bubo perched happily on the sled. Reality, not something she had to pluck out of a dream. "Wellll... just look at it like you're the purveyor of fun times. If you pick their poison for them maybe it'll cause less chaos than them finding their own. Controlled chaos or something along those lines." The corner of her mouth pulled up on one side, blinking away a few snowflakes clinging to her lashes.

"I-Yes." Lia gave a nod and let out a heavy breath, sliding the sled gently up and over a small mound of snow holding it steady so Bubo wouldn't be tossed off. "I could probably be of more use here than home." Which wasn't entirely a lie but was missing a few extra reasons. The expression on Rose's face crept a smile back into Lia's features. "I might take you up on that!" She chirped. It had been a kind offer and far more than Lia felt she deserved. "I wouldn't mind a day to relax and celebrate, thank you."

Trudging forward Talia perked up. Shopping was always something she enjoyed immensely especially for a gift. The hunt for the item and then all the wrappings was just as delightful as watching the person open it.

"Hmmm." Brown eyes lifted overhead in thought. "Books and clocks..." Wracking her brain as if she were sorting through books or papers of information stored within her head, Lia mulled over the inquiry. "Is that more of a work thing or personal hobby though?" Maybe a good balance of both in the gift? Practical and sensible but fun and personal? "What about a pocket watch?" Hmm not those could be pricey. Lia caught herself and added, "Or a nice chain for one? My father always broke his from having a nasty habit of always checking the time, pulling on it all day." That might be as far as her clock knowledge went. Books on the other hand... "We could always stop and see what's new in Tomes and Scrolls? They might have a new shipment in we could browse?" maybe she could find something for-wait... no... Her heart deflated for a beat, visibly altering the expression on her face.

Rose Pemberton

Controlled chaos? Maybe Talia had a point there. Still, giving her daughter ammunition to harangue the rest of the faculty with seemed like a bad idea. "Well, you can pick which prank you want played on you in your class then. I'm sure we can find something that suits your tastes." She giggled again, enjoying this little chat where there was no need to be serious or professional.

The matter of a present for him seemed to remain complicated. "He's hard to get to know well," Rose admitted. "And he has everything... well maybe except enough tea. He's always talking about tea."

She was still pondering when she noticed that her friends mood had soured. Again. She'd observed it a couple of times over the last weeks where Talia had gone from being sweet and bubbly to dull and looking like she was hurting. Thinking on it, Rose thought that it had started after Talia had taken a brief trip to relax and spent some time doing something she enjoyed. Had she gone to see her family? Rose didn't know what was really going on there, but the wistful look in Talia's whenever family came up was an indication.

"Are you alright, Talia?" Rose asked gently. "You seem a bit distracted lately. Did something happen? I'm told I'm a good listener."

Well, not really. She'd manipulated Harold into spilling his worries by placing a rune on the back of his hand. The image came into her mind suddenly and sharply. What kind of person was she becoming in his presence? And then there was what she had done at the ball. Ugh, she most decidedly had been a bad friend to Prendergast, but that didn't mean she would be this way with Talia. Their relationship was a lot less complicated. And she liked Talia.

Talia Bryce

Pulling at the sled, Lia rolled her shoulders back as if trying to shake the emotions from her. "Tea.. Puddifoot's might have a seasonal brew to choose from?" A warm drink sounded heavenly right about now. She should have bundled up a little more for their walk.

"Are you alright, Talia?"

Something scratched at the inside of Lia, gnawing to get out. She had been struggling to hold back but it was threatening to break free. For awhile she had worried opening the tap a little to release some pressure would result in everything flowing from her at once. Controlled chaos... however. Talia took a breath in through her nose, cold air sticking to her lungs making her cough. Lia could trust Rose, she knew that. She might even be able to give better advice than her other so-called friends. Perhaps she could see an angle Talia hadn't come to yet, a road she hadn't taken that could turn things around.

"No." She started, the admission aloud stabbed at her cutting deeper than the cold wind against her skin as the two made it into a clearing. Lia let out a breath.  "Men are confusing." Sifting through all the things she wanted to say and was maneuvering through internally, that seemed to be the general conclusion she came to. "One minute well.. one minute they're one way and then the next..." Her mouth contorted and brows lowered. She turned to look at Rose hoping she could follow the mess she was trying to convey. A flicker of frustration curled into a small tendril of anger. "They talk about women being fickle but men are so.. so.." She struggled for the right word plenty coming to mind, almost too many. "Irritating." She peeked down at the owl riding along. "No offense Bubo."

Rose Pemberton

A guy? This was big news. Out of all the things Talia could have brought up, this one came somewhat unexpected. Rose couldn't even say why. Everyone wanted somebody in their lives to loved and to be loved by. It was one of those things Rose understood to be pretty universal. And still, somehow she hadn't expected this at all. A little smile tucked at the corner of her lips. Presumably a man in Talia's life would be a good thing.

Though, from the sounds of it, Talia was far from happy. Maybe he just a one-sided thing then? That could be hard. Rose tried to make sense of what Talia was telling her. So she'd met a confusing man, who'd been hot and cold with her and now she was irritated? Gawds, didn't that story sound ever familiar to her. She'd basically been living that exact same feeling for the last few months. Except in her case...

"They're oblivious, slow to understand and extremely frustrating. Tell me about it." Rose sighed. "I never have any luck with men. I've not really seen anybody in a very long time." She didn't really have time for somebody in her life between working and taking care of her daughter. Of course, that didn't meant that there wasn't a person she had a bit of an infatuation with.

"Wouldn't it be nice if they could all be a little bit more like Bubo here. Just quietly be around without any of the usual complications?" Bubo turned his head to look at Rose, clearly understanding that he'd been mentioned in conversation.

"Yes that's right," Rose cooed at him, "I was just saying you're the perfect you. Quiet, solid and .... okay a little bit dumb, but we'll overlook that because you're a very handsome barn owl." She laughed again and gave Talia a look to try and gauge her friends mood. Was this excited falling in love level stuff, or her having a fight with somebody she fancied? A breakup perhaps?

"So your irritating guy, is he at least very handsome? From how you sound I sense he has an awful lot to make up for otherwise."

Talia Bryce

A sigh of relief slipped from Lia as Rose spoke. Thank Merlin she knew what she meant. It felt good to get it out finally and stung far less than she anticipated. Nodding as Rose spoke Lia felt more and more comfortable with her. Oblivious, check. Frustrating, double check. Sounded pretty accurate to her.

"Exactly." Another nod from the professor as she walked. Laughter bubbled up as Rose cooed over to Bubo. If only indeed... Her laugh tapered off back into a sigh as the two made it out of the forest, Hogsmeade coming into view.  

"-is he at least very handsome?-"

Talia nodded slowly, an image of Odhrán conjured as soon as Rose had asked. The memory knocked the wind from her. Odhrán sitting next to her at the conference, the mischievous smirk playing on his lips as he looked from her to her journal sitting in her lap. It was clear in her mind's eye as if she were reliving the moment all over, butterflies flitted from her stomach to throat. Dark curls... twinkling blue eyes, his lips. The sled caught on a something and wrenched Lia from her daydream.

"He is...He really is Rose." Talia breathed. She cleared her throat and stopped to kick the rock from under the runner off to the side of the pathway. She might as well just tell Rose who it was. If there was a chance she knew him then it could work in her favor, help her to better make sense of him and this situation. "Rose," She started partially breathless from exhaustion and the cold. Lia pulled off one of her mittens and rubbed at her eyes before slipping her hand back into it. Switch the sled strap from one hand to the other she began to walk again towards the bridge leading into town. "Do you know Odhrán Ó Dálaigh?" Slowly the question left her, a timid look as she half turned to glance at Rose so she could take in her reaction.

Rose Pemberton

June 05, 2021, 08:20:58 am #11 Last Edit: June 05, 2021, 08:44:32 am by Royal_Poet
"Oh, you've got it bad," Rose commented as she watched her friend give in to her daydream. This guy had to be quite something to have Talia swooning like this. Rose was just about to say a word when the sled snagged on something, bringing her friend back down to earth.

"What does he look like? You know I don't have anybody, so I need some details here. The last guy I had coffee with was Professor Montgomery and... I mean you know Sid. About 250 years old and usually covered in niffler hair and spit." Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration, but still, the Professor was old enough to not even register as a sexual being on Rose's radar, instead being firmly placed in the eccentric grandfather category together with Albus Dumbledore.

"Orrin you say?" Rose thought about it for a moment but that name didn't ring any bells. She thought she'd met a guy called O'Daly at the ministry before, but she had no idea if he was called Orrin. There was little chance though that he was the man giving Talia daydreams. He was a little short, too heavy and the colour of his hair was an unflattering shade of reddish blond. No, there was no possible way Talia could be referring to that man. "Can't say that I do, I am afraid. You'll have to introduce him sometime. Is he Irish? His name sounds Irish?"

Something clicked in Rose's head. Hadn't Talia mentioned some sort of medical conference in Ireland before. She supposed Talia would have had to have met the man there. Good for her. Apparently she had spent her time with something other than taking notes and studying after all.

"So what's your Irishman like?" Rose's imagination was running away with her as she pictured a country potato farmer with broad shoulders, a big smile and a rather stereotypical accent. She'd never been to Ireland, but from how her father talked about it, it was poor and miserable. Rose remembered that her dad had hired a whole bunch of Irishmen as temporary workers for his ship-building company. She'd watched them as a child, looking too skinny in clothes that were old and worn.

Hopefully for Talia, it he wasn't a miserable fellow like that. Though Rose supposed if he was it explained why her friend didn't seem all that happy about having met somebody.

Talia Bryce

June 05, 2021, 02:09:01 pm #12 Last Edit: June 05, 2021, 02:13:01 pm by Mooni
Lia's cheeks burned. She absolutely had it bad. Whatever had taken hold of her that day had done so with such ferocity she could still swear her head was spinning and lights danced before her eyes if she stopped to think about him for too long. The comment about their fellow colleague, Professor Montgomery had brought a laugh to brush against her lips. He was another casualty of Talia's lack of observation when it came to men. Montgomery seemed friendly and competent but she never had been one to look at men as if she were hunting for one.

"Yea, Odhrán." She hadn't said his name in weeks and had forced herself to almost unlearn it altogether recently with how angry and hurt the thought of him made her. Now she had said it twice in the span of a breath, as if he was so deeply a part of her already she was gasping for air before she drowned.

A mixture of emotions buzzed inside her as her chin bobbed in response to Rose about having not known him. That could be for the best... or not. Lia decided to go with the latter. "At this rate you might see him before I get to." She pushed air from her lungs and brushed at her hat back again as it encroached into her vision once more. "Indeed he is." The soft tilt of his voice tickled again her memories. It hurt... another turn on the vice attached to her heart.

Rose was unfailingly kind.. here she was not only running into town on a wintery day to shop for others but was genuinely letting Lia unburden herself without batting an eyelash. Talia wondered if Rose knew what she was doing for her? It might have seemed a small thing to "talk boys" and let Lia unload her thoughts as if she were spilling them into a pensieve but the truth was Lia had never been presented with this type of friendship before. It made her heart full or at least as full as it could be with a giant man sized crater smack dab in the middle.

"O-oh," She hadn't expected herself to be digging deep in that direction and not fueling her anger by voicing frustrations. She was used to people asking about the bad-thirsty for any little crumb of gossip or drama... especially if it was Mags. Her expression melted into a small smile as an image of him washed over her. Why was he so easy to return to? She found herself not nearly having to dive as deep as she did for the bad, all the good she had experienced and pleasant parts of him filtered to the top of her more immediate thoughts.

"Kind," Lia started. Not something that had been first to her when thinking of him prior to the conference. If she had known Rose and had asked Talia that very question last year her response would have been more along the lines of arrogant or bossy. That might still be a part of him but it wasn't how she saw him anymore. Her smile broadened.

"He's brilliant and a talented healer." A small trickle of gossip bled at the edges of her thoughts but she continued. "We worked together before on some cases, well sort of together. Not together, together I mean he had referred to me as a nurse and been rather sharp." Strange, she really hadn't expected to go from that to this with him now existing in her the way he did. "To top off his accomplishments and.. ugh his almost irritatingly unfailing intellect he has the bluest... eyes.. Rose, I swear you could drown in them." Heat rose in her cheeks again and filtered through the rest of her body.

"He's got this sturdy set of shoulders," She straightened her back and held herself just so as if to highlight to trait. "His clothes fit in all the right places and lines on his face... the way his one brow lifts and jaw sits just so when he's about make a smart remark. The most gorgeous-" She paused feeling herself flush even more. "Gosh, and his hair..." She was back to swooning and began to feel light headed, almost giggly like the two of them were twelve and sitting under the covers whispering about their secret crush. It was replacing the anger she had been carrying with a strange bubbly feeling in the pit of her belly.

"We.. we went on this date, at least I think it was a date I have no idea honestly I've never even been on one how absurd is that. So I guess I have nothing to compare it to but wow," She drew in a breath and held it only letting it out in a stifled partial laugh. Talia wanted to go in  "Rose this is so bad." She froze at the end of the bridge into town and stared down at the white fluffy snow hugging around her boots. Her chest fluttered and breath caught in her throat she felt like she may suffocate.

"I don't know what to do..." She had to pull herself together. No tears this was insanity. No man had ever made her this hot and cold, so sure yet so confused all at once.  "Things were going so well and then I just kind of grabbed him and kissed him and I've-never-done-that... and now I havent heard from him in almost a month! I've ruined it!" Talia blurted.

Rose Pemberton

June 06, 2021, 10:02:38 am #13 Last Edit: June 06, 2021, 05:32:02 pm by Royal_Poet
Rose listened to Talia was a soft smile. Okay, the woman was lost, completely in love with this Orrin, handsome Irish healer of mystery. The more Talia spoke, the more Rose thought her beau sounded just a little bit too good to be true. Kind, intelligent, pretty eyes, a nice set of shoulders, it all reminded Rose of somebody else: the most irritating, stupid, annoying and all around useless man she knew. At least Talia had gone on an actual date - unlike her and... Well maybe. She wasn't sure if it was a date. This really was just a little bit too close to home.

What?! She'd kissed him?

"Talia!" Rose cried out in shock. "Really, you kissed him? Oh, how could you?!" Rose wasn't sure if this was her upset with her friend, or her upset with her own past self. "I thought only I was stupid enough to do that," she confessed a moment later. "I kissed ... well someone, doesn't matter who... at the Bannatyne Ball in London. It didn't work out very well." Rose could feel a flurry of tears coming on, remembering her out of line behaviour that night. She'd been so angry, and so taken with him. It had been a fatal combination.

She bit down on the inside of her cheeks, trying to regulate her emotions. She would not cry over him. That was one step too far. She was a strong, independent woman and he was married. She'd known it wouldn't lead to anything. She had no right to be upset when it was her who had behaved in an inappropriate manner. There had been no understanding. She had just... done.

They weren't talking about her though, this was Talia's moment.

"I'm sorry Talia, err... that was uncalled for. I'm... still a bit raw after what happened that night. Anyway, you mentioned a date. How can you not be sure if it's a date or not? Did he ask you out? Where did you go? What did you wear?" She had about five million additional questions, but these ones would do for starters. Hopefully her friend's story would have a happier spin to it then her own.

They crossed the bridge into Hogsmeade and looking down at the sled, Rose suddenly noticed that Bubo was gone. Had they lost him? She stopped, looked around and found the bird suddenly next to her, rubbing his head against her leg. Rose sighed, picked him up and put him back on the sled. "Don't worry Bubo, I'll get you home safely. I think I owe your master that much."

Talia Bryce

The pitch of Rose's voice as she said Talia's name made her wince, shoulders flinching upwards. Yes, she knew she had been an idiot. She felt like she was about to be scolded and reminded of the proper social standards that men and women had to keep. Lia held her breath, ready to be reprimanded but perked up her head. Wait-she had done it as well?! Talia was intrigued at this news. She felt relieved to not be the only one to get so swept up in the moment, it made her feel far less like a crazy woman simply reacting to hormones or whatever that had been..  the wine perhaps.

The tone in her voice however signaled a tug at Talia's heart, sympathizing with her new friend and gleaning Rose's own encounter had been far worse than her own. Ugh-men!  Talia wanted to reach out and squeeze her hand in reassurance or give her a light hug but judging from the look Rose had held she knew all too well that may just break whatever dam the woman had built up to hold back what was brewing within. She had felt it ever so keenly as well when visiting her mother one day and a simple shoulder squeeze had done her in.

The truth of it stung Talia and hearing Rose having had a similar run in refueled her frustrations. Why were men so difficult? Clearly it wasn't just Odhrán now. It made Lia send out a little thank you to her past self for having stayed so oblivious to any prior boys she may have fallen prey to. The more inquisitive side of her brain was too busy wondering if it could've saved her this intense heartache she was currently grappling with had she gone through the motions a couple of times prior however... practice makes perfect and all that. She quite possibly could've had the tools necessary to help move forward from this pain. Ah well, it was too late now..  at least she had Rose. Who seemed now to be lost in her own memories...

"It's alright." A smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. If anything she had needed the jolt and appreciated that Rose was the one to give it to her.  She was rapid firing off questions about the date now and Talia scrambled to gather her thoughts in a concise manner.

"I'm pretty sure it was a date." Talia had absolutely nothing to go off of in truth. Maybe it had been more of a work dinner but then shifted to something else halfway through? Maybe just something for him to do that evening instead of returning home? Did he make it a habit to take out women during conferences??! Talia squashed the thoughts immediately, stamping them down so she could clearly answer Rose, undistracted. 

"I think it started as a joke?" She let out a sigh and organized that day in her head as if pulling out a scrapbook with carefully laid out elements. Best to start at the beginning...

"We were in line to buy some items from the conference... He did his typical grumpy old man smart remark thing he always does," Why was she now finding that endearing...ugh.  "I made a remark back about why he was there, sort of..well not so nice." She had been trying to take a dig at him for all the times he acted high and mighty in her presence at Mungos. Carefully she continued,  "Then he turned it around on me, as if I was trying to get him to look at my notes on something... and said he could 'be persuaded' look them over at dinner that night." That had been how it was, hadn't it? Oh sweet mother of Merlin! Revisiting the conversation made her panic. He had been teasing her! She seethed having let him get the best of her. This entire time she thought she had been matching his whit, calling his bluff. Had it really just started as a mere footnote on his most likely lusty novel of conquests verbally and otherwise?! Talia's face burned red hot.

"I-I wore a um.. a black sort of dress with lace in spots," She was so mad she couldn't think, her hands motioning along her chest as she tried to describe the dress she had borrowed. 

"We met outside the uh-main building and he took me off to," Her voice was starting to waver from a swirly froth of anger, shame, and confusion. Lia took a quick second to clear her throat. "This island where you could see his home, sort of... and then this fantastic restaurant he said he takes his sister to." She was cracking, splitting into tiny little fractures.

"We had dinner.. and I maybe had some wine-only two glasses. It all seemed to stop time but also before I knew it we were outside and he was there in front of me..." Her thoughts floated freely and made her feel lightheaded. "He-well.. he kissed my cheek right? But like just one of those quick sort of, social niceties in greeting type kiss.. I think?" Thinking about it made the spot on her cheek burn. She had never been involved in high society but had seen others do the quick one-two. She pulled her hands from her mittens, now sweaty from the walk and more over the anxious energy vibrating in her arms.

"I was going to go, he asked if I was alright to travel and offered to take me back but-" His eyes. They had dazzled and danced in hers and it had felt so good. In that exact moment she had wanted him so badly it had crashed over her in an overwhelmingly intense way. "My body moved on its own I swear. I grabbed him, kissed him and.. and apparated. That was that."

And that was that.

Those words had struck her harder than she anticipated. Talia looked to Rose, seeking some sort of guidance. Some bit of something to help sort everything out, make some sense of it.