A Magical Roleplaying Experience 

Stories taking place in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.
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 #37055  by Sen Watanabe
 
He didn't know why, but walking down the corridor of the Wizarding Acadamy of Dramatic Arts to what was probably his first party in years urged Sen's memory to recall reading a muggle book called The Great Gatsby. He had picked up the book only a few months back at a second-hand bookstore in muggle London, and honestly thought little of the American classic. He didn't know why Nola's 25th party made him think of a muggle book set in New York in the 1920s, but it did.

It was the character, Jordan Baker, who famously said, “And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties, there isn’t any privacy.”

And wasn't she right, Sen thought to himself as he neared the door where the birthday girl had told him to go. The noise carried throughout the hallway. Drunken slurs and jovial yells torpedoed off walls, indicating that the party was well on its way. He knew that was incredibly late, at least two hours behind schedule, and not very fashionable at all. But at least he was here, as much as he wanted to pull a no-show. He figured that Nola didn't deserve that much, especially after everything he had put her through, and all the seas and waves he had dragged her under.

Hands shoved in the pockets of his navy pants, the wizard nervously pushed the door open.
Last edited by Sen Watanabe on 25 Mar 2020, 01:05, edited 1 time in total.
 #37056  by Nola Fitzralph
 
At some point in the heady night, the game players had dispersed to all corners of the auditorium. Nola laughed and twirled around from circle to circle, glass never fully empty, glamour charms by a girlfriend from the Academy's makeup artistry department keeping her face impeccable. There were more shots, more wishes, more pictures, more gifts from people who hadn't the slightest clue what she actually liked besides of alcohol.

She laughed till her sides ached and her cheeks flushed.

At some point in the glittering night, Nola momentarily stared into the throngs of her guests—racers she once raced against or aside whose careers were still rising strong, Hogwartians she had not seen in years who seemed to be doing so well, Academy classmates who loved what they did and were good at what they did. They were all here to celebrate her, and yet, Nola didn't feel celebrated. They were friends who she spoke to a few times a year at best, schoolmates who greeted one another often enough in the hallway to give the illusion of friendship, former rivals and colleagues whose careers continued to bloom long after she laid her withered past to rest.

What really was Nola trying to celebrate, precisely? "Don't be so dramatic. We all know you'd forget to bring a present whether or not you actually got an invitation," she coquettishly chided her one-time boyfriend from teenagehood, giggling as she swatted at his chest. Arundael had grinned at the joke, gesturing to her with freshly opened bottle of bitter, "I heartily agree, and drink as my rightful punishment."

It was mostly a joke, anyway.

At some point in the spinning night, the newly-turned 25-year-old slipped out to the bathrooms, flashing Francis a middle finger on the way out. What possibly was so captivating about Villiers that he hadn't left her side all damned night? Was it because Villiers was successful, and clever, and witty, and—as much as she hated to admit it—pretty?

She should have worn blue, like Villiers, instead of white and silver. Blue always made Nola's eyes stand out.

It was as she made her way down the empty hallway back toward her party when she recognised the male moving to enter the auditorium. Nola halted short a couple of steps away, doe eyes swimming with all the shots she had already taken widening slightly.

"...Sunny?" her voice echoed lightly, uncertain.
 #37057  by Sen Watanabe
 
And there it was: the voice belonging to the sole reason he had dragged his sorry arse out of bed that evening. His heart grunted from deep within his chest. It trembled under the layers of clothing Sen wore- a grey V-neck sweater, an unironed white shirt, as the old nickname tumbled off Nola's tongue. With leaden steps, he slowly turned around.

"Hi Nola. Looks like I made it to your party, would you look at that?"
 #37141  by Nola Fitzralph
 
She had glanced to the doors more times than she could count throughout the night. Nola looked for the familiar, brooding face in every group as she flitted from one to the other. She reassured herself at each disappointment that he would come, eventually, at some point, even as the minutes trickled by and the shots lost their stinging edge.

Would you look at that.

"Sunny," his oldest friend gasped, breathlessly, as she ran—heels clicking frantically—and launched herself at him, arms throwing themselves around his neck with the uninhibited assurance of someone who knew they would be safely caught before they fell.

"You came, you came, you came," she rambled into the nape between his neck and shoulder, a perceptible hint of relief unknowingly slipping through between the excitement in her voice.
 #37148  by Sen Watanabe
 
The entirety of her feminine decorum hit him like a tsunami- perfume, loose hairs and all. He staggered a little under the enthusiasm of his embrace, the soles of his feet urging roots to grow as he felt her weight, her happiness.

"I did, didn't I?" the accountant echoed back, a skeletal hand finding a place to rest upon the small of her back.

He held her awkwardly, in the way a man who did not find himself in the company of women often held a lady. Tender, heedful, as if made of delicate glass.

"I'm sorry I'm late," Sen's voice echoed against the half-moon of her neck. She smelled nice. Like home, if that even had a smell. "The Tube was busy, know what I mean?"
 #37311  by Nola Fitzralph
 
Sen's feeble explanation prompted the birthday girl to raise her head from where it was buried, though her arms still refused to disentangle. Behind his neck, her fingers had unknowingly linked together as if to turn herself into a chain to wear with him always.

Nola gasped, wide-eyed and dismay brimming in expression.

"The Tube? How horrible! You can't take the Tube, Sunny," she cried mournfully, the rife emotion giving away her significantly diminished sobriety, "what if you get robbed?"
 #37441  by Sen Watanabe
 
The tube was a scary mode of transport and that went to say for any magical individual who wasn't accustomed to the non-magical part of life. It wasn't Sen's ideal way to get around, but he wasn't going to explain to Nola that he had spent the entire evening hurtling from Oxford Street to Harrod's in Knightsbridge then finally Selfridge's to because, Merlin forbid, he had forgotten to buy a present until the very last minute.

A tiny jeweled butterfly barrette in a modest rose gold sat ominously in his pocket. He had placed a last-minute charm on the darned thing so that the gemstone that made up the butterfly's wing would match depending on what the user was wearing that day. It was a stupid, dumb, pretentious gift. But when had Sen ever gone and bought a gift for anyone? Let alone a gift for a young vivacious witch?

"I got this for you," the wizard decided to respond with as he eased himself from her grip, his mind briefly wondering would it be better if he had gotten robbed. That would be a valid excuse to miss a birthday party, right?

He presented Nola the little barrette. "Oh, and this..." Next, a mild scuffle with his coat pocket and then a crumpled piece of paper. The butterfly clip and the wad of torn parchment lay in his hand.

"It's proof that I owe you one dinner and one dinner only. Anywhere you want and I'll bring you out and pay. But only one dinner." Sen explained to his friend sternly. "You can choose some bullshit haute cuisine with twelve courses but only one."

Then, a genuine laugh. The first of the night. "They're both horrible, lame presents. Sorry," Sen mused with a dry grin. He hadn't gone through the trouble of buying a gift for someone in a long time. His father's birthday didn't count- that was more a formality situation.

"You look very nice in that dress."
 #37917  by Nola Fitzralph
 
In her very nice dress and her drifting liquor-fuelled haze, Nola blinked at the trinket and the crumpled parchment in Sen's hand that stretched out toward her. She drew in a sharp breath and felt it catch in her throat.

She had thought it would be rum.

It was not rum.

For a moment, her gaze followed along the hand and the arm till she looked up into Sen's familiar face—dark-haired and dark-eyed with a crooked smile that replaced what was usually a dark expression.

She had almost began to think he was not going to show up.

Yet, here he was.

A smile broke across her face, brilliant and irradiant, so much that he may well have told her he'd plucked the stars out of the sky for her. Nola reached out a hand to gently touch a delicate wing on the butterfly, as if to be absolutely sure that it was not only a figment of her imagination. The bejewelled trinket trembled lightly underneath her touch and lured a laugh to bubble giddily from her throat. Nola eagerly shifted a step forward, tilting her head slightly toward Sen as if in an offering.

"Help me put it on. I knew something was missing about my look."