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 #23452  by Nik
Eliza Amelia Lucy Villiers | Fifteen | Slytherin
Location: Villiers Household, England • Date: New Year's Eve, 2001

Eliza loved New Year's Eve. She loved making resolutions and starting afresh. She loved taking up a new hobby or learning a new task. She loved the fresh page that always came with a new year. Most importantly, however, she loved celebrations.

For as long as she could remember, the Villiers family would host. huge New Years Eve celebration in their large country home in the Surrey countryside. The house was surrounded by empty fields, the perfect place for a very large and very loud party.

Eliza stood out on the patio of the larger of the two livings rooms. For December, the weather was unusually mild. Eliza faced the wind, her long blonde hair flowing behind, a bottle of some very sweet alcoholic beverage with a very low percentage resting on the table next to her. Even though Eliza wasn't older enough to drink she was always promised one or two alcoholic beverages usually smuggled to her by her eldest brother.

The music inside pounded away. Eliza thought about the many plans she had for this upcoming year. So much she wanted to achieve. And soon her plans would start falling into place.

Eliza checked the watch on her wrist.

One hour until midnight.
 #23463  by Everevna

"I see you have gone astray looking for the actual party, sister dear."

The hubbub of drunken, jubilant guests momentarily trickled through the gilded patio doors of their home before the second eldest of the brood carelessly pushed it shut behind her. Immediately she could feel the winds of midnight eve on her bare shoulders and arms. The chill was thankfully bearable under the influence of fine liquor—one of which she cradled in a delicate crystal glass in the palm of her hand, and which she raised surreptitiously at her sister.

If only it meant she could take another sip out of it guilt-free.

And she did, but perhaps not merely a sip.

It took an occasion like New Year's Eve for their home to be filled so decadent with music, and noise, and life. In any other day, one must tiptoe about the hallways and whisper beneath one's breath, for Circe forbade some noise should revive yet another of Mother's all-consuming migraines. Keeping one's silence was all she had known growing up. At times, it grew louder than life, deafening.

No wonder Father turned elsewhere for some semblance of feeling alive.

Still, she had to admit that their mother knew how to host a soiree. And of course, all of their outfits for the night had to be chosen and vetted by the matron of the household. Hers was a cascading, watery column of pale gold silk which left her back bare and which skirt roiled like a desert in a sandstorm. At least it gave her an abundance of mobility to move and dance in. Tamsin liked that.

Even if she'd like it better if her boyfriend was here for her to dance with.

He had his own fetes, naturally, and she had no one to blame but herself for still having not told her family about his existence. Speaking of lovers...

"I think you'll find that the Wolverstones' boy has gone quite astray trying to find his beau, too. Tell me," Tamsin tilted her head back at her sister from where she leaned over the railing, a teasing smile tipping her rouged lips, "Are you planning on deigning him a dance at all tonight?"
 #23494  by Nik
"Just taking a quiet minute to myself. Hardly a crime is it?" Eliza replied to her older sister, turning to face the party happening indoors now, a smirk on her lips. Inside she watched as couples danced to the music, chatted by the fireplace or poured themselves yet another drink. So much was happening and this was when Eliza was happiest.

She loved the hustle and bustle of parties. Especially parties in her own family home where everyone knew she was. She loved not being able to cross a room without being stopped to tell her how beautiful her gown yes.

"Why thank you," she'd reply, "Mummy got it made especially for tonight."

Others would ask her how school was going or if there were any boys in her life at the moment. Yes, she loved having the attention on her, that much was obvious.

Eliza let out a small laugh as her sister asked her about the Wolverstone boy. "Oh please. Do you really think I'd go for him. He's been obsessed with me since we were young." While yes, the Wolverstone's came from money which was a vital part of her checklist for boys, the eldest son did seem a bit...odd. "I'm pretty sure I saw him pick his nose and wipe it in his shirt earlier." Eliza glanced up at her older sister.

"That shirt was a designer shirt, Tammy. Designer"
 #23501  by Everevna
Tamsin exhaled a breath of bemusement from her nose as she absent-mindedly swirled around her eaux de vie in the polished crystal glass. It amused her to watch her younger siblings fumble about as they sipped life in teaspoonfuls. All was very endearing to observe, if only for the whiff of nostalgia that once upon a time that had been herself.

Ironically with the older of the Wolverstone offspring, but that was besides the point.

It was just a little bittersweet to think that she had once been that innocent, and clueless, and blissfully unaware. The older sister would strangle anyone, boy or man, with her bare hands if it meant Eliza would remain that way for just that little longer.

Or perhaps that was too morbid. Poison would be much, much cleaner.

"Oh, but Alfred doesn't care, don't you see?" she drawled, not without a touch of mocking air, and certainly with an abundance of imagination. "Half of Alfred's closet is designer, and the other half is custom-made in his size by Mummy dearest herself. Mummy had been sewing Alfred clothes since he was a baby, you see. Mummy has also been wiping his snot for him all his life. You must forgive that he doesn't know what to do with his own snot."

The farce did not last for long before she burst out in laughter.
 #23543  by Nik
Eliza looked up at her older sister as she spoke. Her eyes were fixated on hers as she spoke of the Wolverstone boy, a smirk growing on her lips with each word she said. As Tamsin finished, a small silence grew between them as they both struggled to hold in their laughter. Eventually, the silence ended as the two both erupted into laughter right there on the patio. She was almost certain she saw Mr. Egerton and his wife share a look of disgust but Eliza didn't care. These were the moments she appreciated most with her sister.

"Tammy stop." Eliza pause to catch her breath. Eventually, she shook her head and took a sip of her drink. "I mean, he has been obsessed with me since we were toddlers. Unfortunately for him, he still acts like one." Eliza prided herself on the fact that she was quite mature. Well, so she would say anyway. She constantly tried to imitate the air of maturity that her eldest brother and sister always gave off and often questioned how anyone could be so...childlike.

After the two calmed down, Eliza turned to her sister. "How's your evening been? Any boys in there catch your eye? I know a few catch mine." she joked.
 #23558  by Everevna
Tamsin released another bemused breath from her nose before she turned. Never one to remain poised, the young woman immediately propped her elbows on the cool marble ledge as she leaned against it. She did not immediately answer, instead taking an unblinking sip of her drink.

"The catch in your question there is that I don't look at the boys," she eventually quipped a touch teasingly, even if was not without a cavalier air of self-assuredness. Still, Eliza's sister knew what she meant. Any other year, Tamsin would have indulged herself like any other person. There was rarely a shortage of willing and amorous sons of family friends or business associates that vied for a dance or a walk through the gardens or a tour of the house.

This year was different. Not the men; her. It simply wasn't interesting. It all became rather uninspiring, really, this charade of romantic networking.

Strange, how the heart influenced the inclinations of the mind.

"Unless, of course, they are somehow in dire need of medical attention," she did not forget to qualify her statement. "Don't let that plant any ideas in that head of yours."
 #23745  by Nik
Eliza gave her eldest sister a look at her reply. A look that said, You know that's not what I meant. However, the look on her face changed to a smile at her next sentence as she thought of all the possible ways to make her sister fall in love with some boy from another rich family.

"You know Mother would only be delighted if you told her you were seeing one of the Millington boys, or..." she looked inside to see if she could spot someone her sister could possibly fancy, "Or how about that new guy that's working for Daddy...Alec I think his name is." she linked arms with her sister and lay her head on her shoulder. "Mother might even leave her room for once to congratulate you. Wouldn't that be something."
 #23768  by Everevna
The older sister leaned her head affectionately against the younger's as the pair stood, backs facing away from the garden, facing inward to the milling, dancing, and laughing guests behind the glass patio doors. Tamsin took a long sip from the crystal glass. She humoured her little sister, if only that it made Eliza happy.

There would be no Millington boys or personal secretaries, but what Eliza did not know did not harm her.

It was too early anyway, and her family had no place in her relationship with Ciceron.

Alice's older daughter exhaled a short laugh at the remark about their mother. "Today was quite the experience, wasn't it?" she spoke, referring to their mother's temper tantrum during the banquet preparations earlier in the day.

"At least she's happy now."

And just as insistent on trying to meddle with her love affairs, but less endearing.
 #23822  by Nik
The youngest of the Villers siblings rolled her eyes as her sister spoke. "Look at her now. Floating around the room without a care in the world and just a few hours ago she was giving out to me for closing a door too loudly." Eliza let out a sigh of frustration. She watched her mother for a moment as she buzzed around the room, from one person to the next. Laughing at all their jokes and offering them more refreshments when they ran low. She was such a professional at all of this by now.

"I hate when you and Oli aren't here you know." Eliza unlinked from her sister and instead grabbed her hand with both of hers. "Margot and Arthur are great but they don't understand the frustration like you do." Eliza walked to the table she had left her drink on and took a sip.

"I think when I leave Hogwarts we should get a flat together." Eliza twirled in front of her sister, her dress following her as she spun, the ballerina in her clearly coming out. "Imagine how much fun that would be!"
 #23823  by Everevna
Tamsin tilted her head to regard the littlest of the quintet when Eliza took her hand. She smiled indulgently as her twirling sister chattered away.

Sometimes the older sister wondered if it was not that Margot and Arthur didn't understand, but that they simply didn't care. And not in the way of malice, but in the way of understanding. Perhaps, after all, Margot and Arthur were the good children, the truly dutiful ones. They had always been the ones to resemble their mother in disposition. Like Alice, they preferred the quiet hallways that the others dreaded as dull and family holidays that did not require much physical activity.

Tamsin wished she had her younger siblings' composure with their mother.

She didn't. Not even after what she knew that none of them did.

"Now there's an idea." Tamsin narrowed her eyes with genuine curiosity, tilting her chin slightly at the other blonde. "Wouldn't you want to have your own home? That you can decorate and arrange as you wish?"

She lifted the glass in her hand briefly in her sister's direction.

"I remember when I first got my own place. It was quite the experience."
 #23928  by Nik
"Of course I would," Eliza said in reply, as though what her sister said had been a stupid question. "But I have lots of time to do that when I'm old and grey with whatever man I end up marrying." Eliza laughed gently. In her head, that was how she saw her life playing out. She'll get a good job, find a good husband and raise good children. That's what would be expected of her and that was what she wanted..for now anyway.

"Well if we don't move in together I want to move closer to London to be near you and Oli. I'm always so isolated here." Eliza pouted, the teenage angst in her truly showing itself. In reality, it wasn't all too bad here. Most of the time she was actually in the family home, Oliver or Tamsin seemed to be present anyway.
 #23929  by Nik
Much like his sisters, Oliver loved family parties. However, where Eliza loved to be the centre of attention, Oliver did prefer to stick to the sidelines. That was not to say he didn't socialise, of course, he did. But in a much more subtle way. Oliver would make his way around the edge of the room. A conversation here with an old family friend, a brief discussion with a potential business partner following quickly afterwards. Events like this, for Oliver, were all about making connections and he never let that slip.

On the run up to midnight, Oliver found himself in a conversation with an old friend of his fathers. Of course, being the dutiful son that he was, he made sure to greet and hold a conversation for the appropriate amount of time. Just as he was beginning to grow tired of the conversation he spotted his two sisters out on the veranda. Quickly, Oliver said goodbye to his acquaintance and made his way towards the door.

"Did I just hear my name being mentioned?" Oliver asked as he stepped out of the busy room and out into the fresh country air that Surry always seemed to be so full of.
 #23956  by Everevna
"Goodness, your hearing has really improved lately," the older of the two girls quipped with amusement at the approaching suited gentleman, offering him a light smirk over their little sister's head.

"We were just discussing the joys of moving out of—" Tamsin trailed off momentarily, raising her glass to gesture at their surroundings, "Well, here. Any words of wisdom you may care to impart?"

Tamsin briefly pressed a kiss against their little sister's head before leaning her cheek against it and gazing at Oliver.

It comforted her to know that Eliza was not always in the oppressive, stifling environment that was their childhood home. Hogwarts had its share of dramatics, but Alice Villiers' histrionics were unparalleled. Certainly, they were all trained experts in handling melodrama.

It would do Eliza a world of good to live away from home as soon as she graduated.
 #24423  by Nik
Eliza smiled as her eldest brother joined in on the conversation. It was true that she was always happiest when she was with Oliver and Tamsin. The three had a bond that was not present with their other siblings. It was out of no ill will towards their other siblings but for some reason, the three of them just clicked. Always had and always will.

"I think we should all move in together. That would be great." Eliza suggested with a curt nod. "Although," the youngest of the siblings tapped her wrist, "Time's ticking and if you don't find a boyfriend or girlfriend soon you know mother will be on it for you. And Merlin knows who you'll get then." She teased with her siblings.
 #24424  by Nik
"Look, I wouldn't be where I am now if I wasn't aware of every time someone mentions my name in conversation." The eldest of the Villiers siblings replied an air of mockery in his voice.

Oliver nodded in reply to the youngest Villiers. Yes, living with the two girls he treasured most in life would be a good way to live. But he also knew that it wasn't only his mother that was pressuring him into settling down soon but he also had his father on his back about learning everything there is to know about the family business. All Oliver wanted to do with enjoy his twenties and not have to think about any added pressure from his parents.

"That would be great. But realistically, you would never want to live with me. I never clean up after myself. You should see my kitchen in my flat in London. I clean it whenever mother actually decides to visit me for once."