A Magical Roleplaying Experience 

 #30423  by Jude Darlington
Location: Magic Neep Grocery • Date: Fall 2003

For the last few weeks, Jude's diet had been constituted of frozen meals, he and his new wife had prepared in prevision for her extensive North American tour. While he appreciated the time-efficient diet, he could not help but feel lonely every time he took a small container from the icebox.

In an attempt to feel a little less alone, Jude had decided to make a trip to the Magic Neep to buy a few ingredients. Perhaps preparing a fresh homecooked meal would help him feel a little less deserted.

Standing in the middle of the produce aisle, Jude was waiting for a craving to appear and provide inspiration.
 #30660  by Sen Watanabe
The last thing Sen needed on his list were carrots. Why? Because they were nutritious, versatile and most of all cheap. And he could eat them without having to prepare anything in advance. The wizard's trolley was almost full as he rolled up to the produce aisle. Two bottles of Scottish whiskey, a family packet of salt and vinegar crisps, a loaf of sourdough bread, several bottles of pre-made pasta sauce, a tub of hummus and a jar of orange marmalade sat in the spacious shopping basket which Sen lugged through the grocery stall.

He was just approaching the produce aisle when someone caught Sen's attention. He stopped in his tracks and peered at the stranger. They had met before, Sen knew this for sure. But where? He couldn't place a finger on it. It was only then did the French-Japanese man realise that he was staring. And by then it was probably too late. His unrefined gawking had most likely been noticed by now.
 #30715  by Jude Darlington
The squashes were nice, perhaps he could make a nice soup or roast one in the oven. Oven-roasted squash, a nice quinoa salad and a piece of salmon? Jude smiled to himself. As far as homecooked meals were concerned this would be a modest meal, but hopefully, it would provide some comfort.

Hand hovering over the squashes, Jude caught a glimpse of the man looking in his direction. Under the bright store lights, it took him a few seconds to recognize the man. Realizing he had been looking too long to be able to subtly dodge the encounter, Jude offered a gentle nod of acknowledgment.
 #30753  by Sen Watanabe
There was no denying that the other man had noticed Sen staring at him. How could he not? Even if they were to have never met before, Sen's demeanour had always been on the shadier side. Anyone would notice someone like him staring if he were to ever pay anyone the slightest attention.

His steps towards Jude was cautious and uneasy, like a cat scoping a foreign environment. "Jude, was it?" Sen found himself saying as he slumped up to the other fair-haired wizard. He could remember the taste of strong whiskey and soda-stream cola in his mouth, shitty music and an undisclosed fascination not previously experienced.
 #30793  by Jude Darlington
Jude nodded, the man had an impressive memory considering how inebriated he had been. "Nice to see you again, Sen." Attention drawn to the other man, he forgot all about the squash he had been choosing.

They had met while Jude had been attempting to indulge in his frowned upon proclivities. His impending wedding had been his excuse to satiate his visceral desires. It had been meant to be his last time, he had been determined to become a faithful husband. His plan had not quite been successful. Jude had never gotten his last dance.

"How was the hangover the next day?" He asked with a smirk.
 #30883  by Sen Watanabe
The sullen accountant had not anticipated for the other man to remember his face, let alone his name. It had been a rare moment of Sen's life to meet someone who clawed at the frailest threads of interest. People were boring, dull and stupid in Sen's opinion. Jude hadn't been boring or dull, that was for sure. The latter could only be decided over time. After all, Sen was not one for abrupt first impressions. Especially when booze was involved.

"What hangover? I didn't drink that much," Sen replied despondently. He shifted his shopping basket to his opposite arm. The bottles of spirit clanked merrily together.

"How was your wedding?"
 #30932  by Jude Darlington
"Ah, a man of experience," Jude countered as he identified the sound of bottles coming from Sen's basket. Know-how would explain the lack of hangover.

Jude smiled widely as the mention of his wedding brought back a deluge of happy memories. "It was a joyous event." Though his marriage was peculiar, it was a happy one. "Very festive," he added. "But tell you what, my wife is out of town and I am tired of eating frozen meals. I thought I could cook something for myself. How would you like to join me?" Because his marriage truly was a happy one, but there was always underlying loneliness. A loneliness Sen had come close to eliminate.
 #31359  by Sen Watanabe
Sen could imagine how the wedding would have gone. Lots of booze, enough food to feed a small nation state, wretched jingling music that no one really listened to outside of weddings... The last time Sen had attended a wedding had been a distant cousin of his, and it had been a traditional Japanese wedding. No room for church bells or bouquet throwing.

His first instinct was to immediately turn down whatever social invitation was thrown at him. But something seemed all too appealing about a home-cooked meal from someone he knew that he wouldn't mind the company of. It beat the cold sausages, canned tomato soup and bread he had planned on rationing for the next few days.

"Can you cook well?" the darker-haired man found himself asking, his voice bloomed with curiosity.
 #31528  by Jude Darlington
"I have yet to address an official complaint," he bragged with the humility of a peacock.

Raised in a rather traditional household, Jude had not been allowed in the kitchen. He had watched with envy as the house cook had taught his sister a few cooking and baking charms. Making up for lack of experience with a lot of enthusiasm, he had quickly learned how to prepare a few well-received meals.

"But even if the meal disappointing, the company will certainly make up for it," he winked confidently.
 #31837  by Sen Watanabe
His beetle-black gaze fell to the bottles of whiskey in his basket. The label sneered back at him with a loose and ugly maliciousness. Whiskey labels always reminded Sen of his own loneliness, of sitting at home reading and re-reading the glossy packaging of whatever he was binge-drinking that night.

"Drink with me," he found himself saying. It was a command, not an amicable request. "This whiskey really is one of the finest for its price," Sen added hurriedly. He of all people knew his whiskeys. For him, it was just water that burned and made him forget.
 #31872  by Jude Darlington
Feeling as though he was being called to duty, Jude dared not abandon his compeer to a lonely evening of drowned sorrows. Another minute spent under the store's blaring lights suddenly became wasted time. They would do with what they had. It was each other they craved, not the products surrounding them.

He agreed to Sen's invitation with a faint nod. He placed the content of Sen's basket next to his own and paid for the lot. "Let's go to yours," he advised.
 #31902  by Sen Watanabe
Lets go to yours.

A cold shudder escalated down the plane of Sen's spine. Did he want this potential friend to see how sad and miserable he was? Would he judge the empty bottles, the spilling ashtrays, the empty tins of baked beans overflowing in the recycling bin? Would it matter that Sen didn't even have a proper bed? Just a futon mattress with a macabre book on Greek tragedy for a pillow?

Well, Sen thought to himself, there was no point hiding anything. If Jude were to judge the state of his home, then Sen didn't want to take the effort to know him either.

"Lets go pay for this and I can apparate us out of here."
 #32013  by Jude Darlington
He waited for Sen to place the content of his basket next to his own and offered to pay for the lot. "It's the least I can do," he argued since they had decided to spend the evening at Sen's.

"Lead the way," he grinned as they finally left the store. He did not know if Sen would take his arm or his hand to apparate, but in prevision, for either, he made sure to carry his bags on one side.
 #32712  by Sen Watanabe
Sen nodded and abruptly turned to where the checkout was. Ungainly and awkward, he walked with his eyes firmly glued to his feet and wordlessly paid for his spoils. Once his transaction had been approved he waited patiently by the exit for Jude to follow suit. He felt jitters in his stomach, like a school boy. It was disgusting.

"Lets go then?" He reiterated again as he extended his arm up for offer, his beetle-black eyes darting quickly to hopefully catch a glimpse of the other mans expression.
 #32794  by Jude Darlington
Jude's hand wrapped around Sen's wrist. He was apprehensive, but not devoid of excitement. He was no stranger to improvised invitations to semi-strangers flats, but the purpose of his impromptu visits was usually clearer.

Sen carried a certain aura of mystery which likely contributed to Jude's attraction towards him.