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In this alternate universe, Lord Voldemort is dead, but so is Harry Potter. Factions continue to fight, Hogwarts educates the next generation of witches and wizards, and the Ministry of Magic does its best to hold everything together.

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Durmstrang Graduate
Durmstrang Graduate
Elsie Norton
24 : Alumnus
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A Changed Woman

on Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:01 am
Claire Bishop rarely had visitors, and it was even more rarer for her to find any sort of pleasure from their company. She was usually on the next task, the next day, the next fire that needed to be put out and any distraction to that was unwelcome. But looking at the bright eyes and freshly-cleaned face of Cameron Roosevelt was a refreshing sight in more than one way.

Cameron was exactly the sort of person she should have never enjoyed. Wealthy and privileged, he reeked of money and opportunity, and a youthful face unmarred by worry lines. She only even knew the young man through Elsie, an assigned escort meant to keep the girls in line. It had been wishful thinking, at best, as a Norton with her mind made up could not be changed. Cameron had been from another world but he was down to earth enough to provide her a bit of respite from Elsie’s latest schemes. But it had only ever been that -  she had never expected to be legitimately impressed by him.

“So Guatemala was three months and the Tongan islands-“

Cameron waved a hand. “Tongan islands had more to do with my friend Kapo’s quest to meet his grandmother. If there was a charitable action that trip, it was how much their family fed me.”

Claire shook her head. “I’m amazed. Your father must be-“

“Mortified, you’re right,” he interjected, as Claire tilted her head sympathetically. “Apparently, his investors don’t think I’ll be a proper replacement and he’s out of options. Brady’s begun schmoozing him and it looks like he’s on track to take over. Dad’s not happy but a well-behaved nephew is a much better option than a rogue son.”

“I’m sorry,” Claire said. “For what it’s worth, I think you’ve made the right choice.”

He grinned. “That’s why I visited you first. It’d be nice to hear some encouragement before-“

“Knock knock! Claire, I refuse to eat at the cafeteria, we’re going- oh.” Elsie stopped and pursed her lips. She looked between the two and then fixed her gaze on Claire. “Brutus.”

Claire and Cameron sputtered into laughter, Claire strangely feeling sixteen again. Elsie was not so amused.

“I’m glad my exile from my own social circle is so funny to you both, but I’m in real pain here.” She tilted her chin, straightening her posture into her classic battle stance. It wasn’t hurt beneath her chocolate eyes but a growing wrath.

Cameron put his hands up. “I just got in, Els. I had to pick up some papers for my travel here so I popped in. I didn’t send an owl because Claire said you usually stop by on Thursdays for lunch.” Elsie’s head whipped towards Claire who confirmed the story with a nod and then her face relaxed as she put her hands out to Cameron. He chuckled and stood, hugging her and pressing his lips to her cheek. “You look great. How have you been?”

He collapsed into the chair but she remained on her feet, swaying from side to side, clearly pleased to be at the center of attention once more. “Absolutely lovely. Except you know that Claire had been abandoning me for domestic pursuits, right?”

Claire rolled her eyes. “She means Sophie.”

“Oooh,” Cameron said, nodding. “Claire was telling me. She was also telling me Avery wasn’t the only one that has a new beau.”

Elsie shrugged, leaning against the doorway, speaking in a haughty, airy tone, “Yes, I suppose love is flitting about.” Her eyes narrowed on Claire and her shoulders hunched. “You’re going to eat in the cafeteria, aren’t you?”

Claire shook her head. “I can do the bistro if you can wait an hour. Otherwise-“

Elsie groaned. “I’ll go alone, then.” She perked and reached out to tousle Cameron’s hair. “I’m assuming this means drinks tonight, so I’ll see you when you pick us up at the apartment.” She glanced at Claire. “If you beat me there, I wanna wear the blue dress, so don’t get your heart set on blue.”

And the woman was off, having almost immediately face planted into an intern hurrying down the hall – a convoluted mess of grace and bungling. Claire leaned back with a sigh, reaching up to readjust her bun. Cameron slowly turned to eye her, giving her a strange look. Claire’s eyebrows quirked upwards. “What?”

“It’s just… you said her new boyfriend is some artistic, rich man from Paris and she… didn’t want to talk about him for half an hour?”

Claire shrugged. “She’s probably all talked out. There was a point in time where I could recite his schedule. She just... doesn't anymore?"

Cameron now lifted his eyebrows. "So you're telling me that Elsie's a changed, independent woman."

Claire frowned. "You know. That reminds me..."

- - -

The door opened and Elsie smiled, certain that the devious curl of her lips was accenting her oh-so-innocent dimples. She leaned on the doorway and flicked her eyelashes. "My lunch plans fell through. I'm in distress."
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