A Magical Roleplaying Experience 

Welcome Back! It's time for our 20th Start of Term!

 #37108  by Tamsin Villiers
Tamsin's hand that twirled the glass stilled.

It's not you, right? There was a different voice that suddenly cut through the pulsating music and thrumming conversations all around them. The Villiers daughter turned her head instinctively toward the cluster of friends, former schoolmates, and her brother. You didn't create this mess. You just went along with it.

Gaze settled back on Francis, expression giving way for once from its characteristically unfazed amusement.

You didn't start it. It's not your fault.

They were different words, different contexts. There was nothing to compare. There was nothing to be.... unsettled about. Tamsin lifted her glass, draining almost half of its newly refilled content.

"Right. You were only the knight in shining armour who saved the day. A true romancer. I'll be sure to pass the story on to our medic staff."

Her smile had returned. She hoped it masked whatever that might show in her eyes.

"Keep up, Friis," Tamsin abruptly tapped his glass with her own, "or do athletes not play fair in career downtime? Skills rusting from self-isolation? Are you still vying for force feeding?"
 #37114  by Francis Friis
Suspicious eyes peered over the rim of Francis's glass, complying with Tamsin's goading, but remaining quite aware of the curiosity revealed in her response and expression. Francis finished all but a splash of his ale, topping it off with a wince and a belch that was quite impressive, which Francis noted with, "Pass that one on to your colleagues, as well!" But a more somber tone crept in as the American set his tankard down and leaned in, the buzz of alcohol on his lips.

"Had some trouble with a couple shining knights of your own?" he wondered aloud, thinking that he'd make a great detective. Maybe it wasn't exactly that, but there was something on Tamsin's mind.
 #37117  by Tamsin Villiers
A lack of them, the younger woman thought.

Wrinkling the delicate bridge of her nose at his belching, Tamsin leaned back slightly from the older male and placed the tip of a lithe finger against his chest to nudge him back.

"Is this the American form of courtship display?"
 #37120  by Francis Friis
"It's working," Francis played, grinning as he delicately plucked Tamsin's finger from his chest, as if it was small, tender animal being removed from a trap that was begging to be sprung. "Already got your hands all over me."

"Anyway," Francis went back to the drinks, working to top his off again. "What's got you all thoughtful, all the sudden?"
 #37124  by Tamsin Villiers
"Don't exaggerate it," Tamsin tucked a stray lock behind her ear with the hand he relocated.

"It makes you seem starved."

She turned away from him, assessing the assortment of hors d'oeuvre for something that struck her fancy.

"And I'm always thoughtful. Not a quality you typically seek for in your women, hmm?"
 #37125  by Francis Friis
"Thoughtful is fine as long as they're also constantly pointing out what a desperate fool I am," Francis replied, popping a cracker in his mouth. "Anyway," he went on, still chewing, "I can be thoughtful too, though it may surprise you." He washed down his snack with a swig of ale. "You're avoiding my questions a bit, eh, Villiers?"

Just as he may have caught the tail of a lead on Tamsin's personal life, Francis was suddenly like a dog distracted by a squirrel.

"And what if I am starved?!" he asked, chewing again. "And why do you think I only go for idiots? Give yourself some credit, Villiers. Regardless of my intentions with you, you're probably the smartest one here."

There was a trickle of wit woven into the racer's glib charm.
 #37129  by Tamsin Villiers
"That is absurd," the younger woman exhaled a slight scoff, reaching for a piece of cheese which she slipped between her teeth as she looked toward the athlete.

"I am certainly the smartest one here."

Tamsin chewed on her own piece of cheese, swallowing it before she continued, "And a starving crup will pounce on any bone he finds. Not that, of course, it is your intention, to find bones. You've simply came, altruistically, to celebrate a former colleague's birthday." She quirked a groomed brow and offered a blithe smile at the birthday girl as they met one another's gaze across the room, prompting Nola to scowl and shoot dagger glares at Francis before she moved to insert herself between Margarita and Tamsin's brother.

"A former colleague who is rather fond of you, I think. Perhaps the bone has been found."
 #37130  by Francis Friis
"What? Nola?" Francis offered a look of disdain, which was quite unfair. Nola was beautiful, intelligent, fascinating and hilarious. But Francis would never tell her that! Besides.. been there, done that, the whole deal.

"No bones here, or there," Francis went on. There was only a slightly nervous edge at what might be on the verge of revelation. "You have so little faith in my pure intentions?"
 #37144  by Tamsin Villiers
A true lady might have bristled at a man's display of contempt for another woman, even if they might have no love lost for that woman. Tamsin, however, seemed distracted as she picked up a water biscuit and a piece of cheese, though she did offer a delicate snort of amusement from her nose at his question.

"Do you truly want the answer to that?"

Her tone was rhetorical, despite the accented lilt that denoted it a question, and her hand hovered between the two trays before settling on another piece of cheese to complete her sandwich.

"One might begin to think you care about my opinion of you."
 #37165  by Tamsin Villiers
Tamsin allowed Francis to tip more framboise into her glass, which she promptly made use of to rinse down her finger food. Lowering her glass, the young woman leaned against one palm on the table and rolled her head as she responded to his persistence with an almost-moaning noise from her nose—all at once innocent and a touch childlike as it was strangely feminine.

"Francis, Francis, Francis," she sighed a touch more dramatically than she typically sounded.

"Not everyone has a gallant knight the way your lady does. Is it kind to rub salt in one's wound so? Can I not mourn in peace?"
 #37170  by Francis Friis
"Ahhh, that's it!" Francis looked delighted. Any insight was welcome, but insight that implied struggling was especially tasty. "Bit of a dry spell, hm? Well tonight could be the night! Look at the opportunity that surrounds you!"

Francis spread his arms wide and did a slow circle, gesturing the entire surrounding space, though presumably indicating the men residing within, specifically.

"And she isn't my lady," he corrected, returning his attention to Tamsin with a correcting finger point in her direction.
 #37183  by Tamsin Villiers
"Have we not established that I am the smartest one in the room?"

Tamsin tilted her head briefly with a slight frown, as if mentally revising her words.

"There is a contender, I will admit," she corrected herself with some hint of regret, "but he is unfortunately a full blood relation." In fact, there was another contender for that title, at least an equal rival, though the former Slytherin selectively left her out of her accounting process. What Orla didn't know would not hurt her.

"Anyway, you are right. His lady, not yours."
 #37256  by Francis Friis
"You don't have to be smart to be a shining knight," Francis pointed out. Though, he followed with a slight wince, predicting how the statement could be turned on him.

Surprisingly, Francis was rather unfazed by Tamsin's jab. He knew what she was doing and he knew she was wrong. He was sure she was.

"You're talking about things you know nothing about," he said defiantly. "It's clear you read nothing but those pathetic gossip columns."
 #37257  by Tamsin Villiers
It wasn't bullseye, but for once the older male had made it closer to her truth than he might think.

Tamsin might have immediately flipped past the gossip column during her breakfast paper-reading, and still occasionally did, but sometimes, just sometimes, lately, they reeled her in like a moth was drawn to the flame. It burned, each and every time.

"I thought you said all news are good news," she replied innocently.

"Enlighten me, though. One does appreciate a firsthand account, straight from the source."