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 [ SUDDEN JOY ], tag: lily/emily!
nicolai phillip mulciber
Posted: Nov 19 2011, 03:19 AM


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emily jean wellbeloved
Posted: Nov 20 2011, 08:59 PM


23 | little wars, small victories.
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Posts: 306
Member No.: 507
Joined: 23-November 10



( we got too much time to kill, like pigeons on a windowsill. )
user posted image user posted image
( we're made up of blood and rust looking for someone to trust. )
When Emily thought about it later, she couldn't believe her luck.

Because here she was - nervous, mild-mannered, soft-spoken Emily, Emily who had never been in a relationship before Emily, Emily whose face flushed at the slightest provocation - here she was, having lovely, pleasant conversation on a lovely, pleasant afternoon with someone who was quite more than lovely and pleasant. She was here, in her own apartment, with Nicolai Mulciber, and they were cooking lunch. Together. Together, after weeks of lunches and crossword puzzles and even the occasional dinner, he was sitting on the purple sofa in the sitting room and they were talking and he said how lovely she looked even though she was wearing a thick white sweater and jeans and her hair was a mess. (That said, they were the skinny jeans she had stolen from Olive - and really, she had been trying, trying very hard, to wear things like dresses and tights and flats, to wear little cardigans and jackets instead of thick sweaters, to color coordinate her outfits so she looked better, nicer, more noticeable - something that she had done… for him? Or maybe for Sloane Rackharrow, she didn't quite know.)

Her face had turned a deep shade of red when he said this, and so, feeling awkward and unable to reconcile everything that she was feeling, she stood up and made her way to the kitchen, the safest place she knew. Her mouth kept moving without conscious direction, prattling something about how they had to start cooking now, and then, a few minutes later, she had him kneading the bread. But clearly he didn't take cooking to be as entertaining or as liberating as she did. Flour dust settled on his pants, slipped underneath his fingernails, little details that Emily had always liked but would have put the fastidious Nicolai in tears. She watched him struggle with the bread for a few more minutes, and then, biting her lip to keep herself from laughing, said, "Until it's dry, but, oh gosh, here, let me do it." Emily moved next to him, so that her wrist brushed his, so that her hips were at an uncomfortable, precariously close distance, and began to knead the dough herself. "It's really gooey right now, but once we knead it out it'll get dry and you'll know when to stop. But, see, you don't want to squish it, you want to roll it. Like clay. It's kind of an intuitive thing, i guess," she said with a nervous laugh. She reached across him for the jar of flour and sprinkled some more across the bread, then continued to knead.

After a moment, she said, "See? It's getting dry already."

And what, pray tell, are we making? You've kept it a secret and I'm terribly curious?"

She sprinkled more flour on top. "Well," she began in an exaggerated voice, "if you must know, this is the batter for focaccia bread, which is my favorite kind of bread, and then, while the dough rises, we're going to throw together a spinach and artichoke spread for it" - she pointed to a small infantry of ingredients lined up on the opposite counter - "and then this morning I made that lobster bisque I was telling you about so we'll just have to heat that up again." She pointed to the silver soup pot resting on the back burner of the stove. "And I think the dough's ready," she added, giving it one more knead.

Emily glanced down at the flour that had settled on their arms and pants, and then took the dough and placed it on the far counter, throwing a towel over it so that it could rise. Although she was trying to convey the impression of having thrown together the dish and simply giving it a try, the truth was that she had practiced this lunch three times before. And she was positive, absolutely positive, that it would work. "So after about twenty minutes it can go in the oven, and in the meantime we can make the dip." She offered him her best smile. Even though Emily usually cooked by herself, made too much food that mostly went to waste, usually made things because it was the one thing she knew was safe, she had to say that she liked cooking with someone else. Really, she liked the idea that the lunch they'd be sharing was something they'd both worked on together - a team effort.

She brushed flour off her pants - because, after all, these were Olive's skinny jeans that she'd altered because Olive was a normal height and Emily was an Amazon woman, really - and then made her way to the counter that held the rest of the ingredients. "So, I think it takes a fourth of a cup of these cheeses," she said, pointing to some wrapped cheeses on the counter, "and then I'll peel this garlic clove, and if you can measure out the basil and the garlic salt and put them in this bowl…" For a few minutes they lapsed into silence as they measured and mixed and stirred - Emily began to drain and chop the artichokes, then Nicolai measured the mayonnaise, and so on. She took the mixing bowl in the crook of her arm and began to stir the spread together, then folded the spinach and the artichoke inside. "I love spinach, it's a bit of a dirty pleasure of mine." Then she thought back to the first dinner - first date? she didn't know - they had had and added, "But I suppose it's not like haggis."

She looked at his hands for a while, and something ticked away in her chest but she didn't know what it was. They were the hands of someone not used to cooking - coated in flour dust, they made an incongruous picture. "So, when you think all that's ready, we can put it in the oven to bake and melt, and then we just have to wait for the dough to rise." Emily leaned against the counter and ran a hand through her hair. "I do hope this isn't too out of your element. Or, at the very least, you're enjoying it at least a little bit." She smiled, and then felt her face flush again. You're talking too much, Emily, a voice told her.

Sometimes, Emily was rubbish at hiding what she felt.

& you light up my night.
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i hope this is alright! it's not my best post, i'm afraid, but it's there?

nicolai phillip mulciber
Posted: Nov 24 2011, 04:53 AM


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emily jean wellbeloved
Posted: Dec 2 2011, 04:28 PM


23 | little wars, small victories.
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Group: Civilian Admin
Posts: 306
Member No.: 507
Joined: 23-November 10



( we got too much time to kill, like pigeons on a windowsill. )
user posted image user posted image
( we're made up of blood and rust looking for someone to trust. )
I can assure you that any time I spend around you, I am enjoying myself.

Emily smiled back at him nervously. "Oh, that's good to hear," she said hurriedly, and then quickly turned to the cupboard before she could say anything stupid. She reached a slender arm up to the cupboard knob (being tall was sometimes advantageous, she had to say) and then threw it open, eyes looking over the stacks of plates and cups and bowls she kept there. She put one hand on a speckled bowl and then bounced on her feet for a second before looking back at him. "I'm having a nice time too."

Then she pulled the speckled bowl from the cupboard and set - more like dropped - it on the table. "Well, I think I'll just put it all in a nicer bowl and then we can put it in the oven with the bread, once the dough rises." Emily looked at the speckled bowl with admiration and began to scoop the ingredients from one bowl to the other. "My sister June painted this bowl. She's a bit of an artist, see. More than a bit of an artist, really. A lovely one. And I even have one of her paintings in my room, the colors swirl in the prettiest way, I always wish I had her talents. But really I'm no artist myself, so it must have skipped a few sisters, I mean, I can't mix two colors together to save my life. I tried once, and then I decided I had best…"

Oh, she was talking too much.

Emily stopped - she was prattling on about something that wasn't interesting to him, she off her rocker, frightfully dull. She put a hand to her mouth, embarrassed, then set the spatula on the edge of the sink. Ducking under the open cupboard door, Emily then began to collect two plates, two bowls, two glasses, holding them as best she could. "I'm talking too much. I'm boring you to death and the table's not even set." She slipped past the edge of the counter and began to set everything on the table. "I think just… two spoons and two knives will do fine." Emily smiled at him as best she could. "Would you mind handing them to me? They're just in the top drawer by where you are. And then, oh, the napkins. They're… oh, they're in the middle drawer by the calendar."

She glanced around herself for a moment. The bread steadily rose under the towel, the speckled bowl continued to hold the spinach spread, the oven clicked as it waited for the bread and the spinach. But then she looked at Nicolai, holding the napkins and cutlery, and she felt a distinct change in the air, a shift in the very fabric of the apartment. A pause filled with something, and she didn't know what it was.

"But I think this'll be splendid, I do hope you'll like it? I guess it's better than what the ministry serves, maybe?"

Like usual, Emily decided to solve the problem by opening her mouth, which never, ever opened this much when she was around anybody else, ever.

Emily didn't actually know if the food at the ministry cafeteria was good or not, seeing that every day she usually brought her own lunch, but she was going to wager that it wasn't perfect. (Emily's lunch was always the same, a coronation chicken sandwich on a kaiser roll, with three slices of pita bread and a little dash of hummus, and it was always the same because coronation chicken was the best kind of chicken in the world). They began to set the table. Emily continued to talk. "I've never actually had it," she said, "because I bring the same lunch, you know, but it always sort of looks dull in color, and this'll be pretty, at the very least, because lobster bisque is always a pretty color, and it's like… haven't you had a meal where it tastes wonderful but it looks completely unappetizing? Or sloppy? I always hate that. Even though that's what always happens to me. Like, oh, once I'd been baking a cake for my sister May - well, May and June and August since they're triplets, but I was baking them each a cake - and I flubbed up the icing so the little scalloped edges were all droopy and, I mean, the cake tasted fine, but the decoration was so wrong and then the little roses didn't stay and they sort of melted into little pink pools on the cake and it looked so sloppy and awful. But it tasted fine, just looked terrible, and oh, oh, oh, piss off, I've done it again, haven't I?"

Her face turned redder than her hair; she turned back into the kitchen and pulled the towel over the dough, which had risen appropriately, in the time it took Emily to make a complete fool of herself. "I do this to you every day, don't I? And I never have anything interesting to say, either."

She bent down and pulled out the drawer under the oven. A mess of muffin tins, cupcake tins, smaller muffin tins, large baking sheets, small baking sheets, cooling racks, and the like blinked up at her. Emily began to sift through the mess - it occurred to her that a summoning charm would do the trick, but her wand was in her bedroom. Instead, she searched for the proper baking sheets by hand, meaning that a rather dissonant sound emanated through the kitchen. Upon finding it, she yanked them out and then slammed the drawer shut with too much force. "So the bread will take… twenty minutes to cook, and it's… 12:07 now, so that means 12:27. And oh, then the spinach spread," she added. She placed the bread and the speckled dish on their respective baking sheets and slid them into the oven. "You'll have to let me know when it's time. I'm always forgetting. I don't have a good watch, I guess!"

She leaned against the counter, trying her best to will her face back to its usual pale shade; when that didn't work, she hoisted herself up onto the counter and became very interested in a loose thread on her sweater. She swung her legs back and forth - a nervous habit of hers - so her black flats kept swinging and hitting the bottom cupboards and drawers. Oh, piss off, Emily, she said to herself. You're ruining everything.

& you light up my night.
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when i said emily wouldn't shut up i was not kidding
nicolai phillip mulciber
Posted: Dec 13 2011, 03:27 AM


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emily jean wellbeloved
Posted: Dec 24 2011, 08:48 PM


23 | little wars, small victories.
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Group: Civilian Admin
Posts: 306
Member No.: 507
Joined: 23-November 10



( we got too much time to kill, like pigeons on a windowsill. )
user posted image user posted image
( we're made up of blood and rust looking for someone to trust. )
Emily had several, rather unpleasant memories from school tucked away in the back of her mind, crisp and clear memories of stern professors instructing her to "use her words." "Speak up, Miss Wellbeloved." "How on earth are you going to pass your exams if you can't talk?" She'd always been the quiet Wellbeloved, the unassuming one, the one who never really had anything… important to say. And then she stood within three feet of Nicolai Mulciber and suddenly she couldn't stop talking. Her stomach flipped in knots and her heart beat faster than it ever had - a different sort of beating than, say, the day she'd flipped over a man's dead body, or the day she had to speak Italian for the first time. This was nervous and frightened but somehow happy. Thrilled. Exhilarated. Any of the adjectives would work. It was somewhat akin to the feeling she'd had in her sixth year when she was head over heels for Russell Dawlish, her partner in defense against the dark arts, but no matter how she tried, no matter what she told herself, it didn't go away.

It didn't go away.

He brought his hands to her face.

It wouldn't go away.

They were nice hands. Soft. Dry. She thought of Russell Dawlish; his hands were always sweaty. Nicolai's weren't a thing like his.

My conscious could hardly take it. Please?

Emily took a deep breath, and then another. "I'll try, I'm sorry," she said.

Shit.

"And - and I'm sorry - for saying sorry - all the time."

Her stomach kept turning over. Her face did not get any less red. "I just…I don't want to be poor company. I mean, you didn't have to come over today."

You won't get anywhere if you can't use your voice, one of her teachers had said. This was her fifth year. Career advice. Emily had stumbled something about how her mother had taught her French and then, because she'd picked up French so easily, Spanish, and she'd taught herself Portuguese and was working on German. Her head of house had raised a thinly plucked eyebrow. And all of that means… what, exactly, Miss Wellbeloved? Emily's face had grown red. You won't get anywhere if you can't use your voice. Then she'd cleared her throat. Mice do not get jobs at the ministry, she added before handing Emily a pamphlet about ministry interpreting.

She thought of Dahlia, headstrong, independent, fierce, confident Dahlia, Dahlia who somehow had all the answers and all the cards in her hand. Dahlia who had everything figured out. Dahlia would have known how to fix the situation. She'd have some witty remark, supremely placed, something sharp and biting and caustic but just soft enough to defuse the tension. Emily was not so quick on her feet. Emily was woefully inarticulate when it came to impromptu. Emily was going to have to muddle through it and try not to embarrass herself or start to cry or faint or vomit or any of those options. She tied her fingers into a knot and then untied them - only to fiddle with her fingers again. "It's just… I don't want to bore you, not when you've been… when you've been so nice to me."

What would Dahlia do?

Look him in the eyes, a voice in her head said.

So she forced herself to look at him, as best as she could, trying so hard for her eyes to meet his, and she said, before she even knew what she was saying, "You've been so nice to me, and I don't want to be a bother, not when, not when… I like you very much, Nicolai."

And I hope you do too, she thought to herself, but her teeth clamped down hard on her lip before she could say that, too, walk into some other blunder, say something else so stupid.

She was in her sixth year again, and Russell Dawlish was walking down the hallways with Rosemary Merrythought, and he'd simply been telling her that her hair looked nice because he felt bad for her and wanted to copy her notes for the end of term exam, and he hadn't liked her at all. Wasn't this going to end the same way? Hadn't he just taken her out because she'd told him she'd never been on a date before? Because no man had ever taken much interest in her? Because she was going to be a spinster, living at home with several dozen cats, when everybody else had found somebody, she was going to be alone. Wasn't that the reason for everything?

"I like you very much," she said, repeating herself more to her than to anyone else, and as she did so, a little voice in the back of her mind told her no.

A little voice in her head was telling her he had taken her out, he had had lunch with her, he was cooking with her, because he liked her. Not because he felt sorry for her. Because he saw something in her - some elusive quality that Emily didn't find in herself, because Emily was a cesspool of self loathing, but he found it anyways and didn't want to let it go.

And couldn't it be Emily's, if only she used her voice?

& you light up my night.
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merry christmas, shan! c:
nicolai phillip mulciber
Posted: Dec 27 2011, 12:30 AM


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emily jean wellbeloved
Posted: Jan 16 2012, 09:21 AM


23 | little wars, small victories.
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Group: Civilian Admin
Posts: 306
Member No.: 507
Joined: 23-November 10



( we got too much time to kill, like pigeons on a windowsill. )
user posted image user posted image
( we're made up of blood and rust looking for someone to trust. )
Emily was more romantic than it looked. In school she had read thick biographies of all the great historical romances, even the ones between the muggles, and sometimes they made her cry. She had sometimes caught the passing glance of somebody she worked with and spent the rest of the afternoon daydreaming. She read trashy French romance novels with impossibly buff men and curvy women on the corners, and she sobbed when the leads didn't get together at the end. She still hoped that her good friend Callie ended up marrying her fiancee, and she still hoped that August and the girl he fancied would have something together someday. Emily was a supporter of love, never one of those girls who thought love didn't exist, or that love was a stupid little chemical reaction, a little firing (or misfiring) of the brain.

But Emily believed in love without ever having actually been in love herself - unless you counted Russell Dawlish, and Emily didn't. Really, you could take it a step further to say that Emily believed in love, but not for herself. She did not think she was the kind of person that got to fall in love, mostly because falling in love implied that there was someone who loved you back, who was there to catch you on your great fall of love. With that in mind, then, she had kept quiet and resigned herself to a life of being the Wellbeloved family spinster - because she was positive Dahlia would marry someday, and so would her next eldest sister, and the triplets, too, and she'd become the exotic foreign aunt who brought all the best gifts - with a dozen cats and a passport full to the brim with stamps.

Nobody had ever told Emily these things: it was something she'd assumed all her life, just as she assumed that she was mediocre and assumed she was entirely unassuming.

I like you, too. Very much.

Her face flushed.

He wasn't feeling sorry for her.

He genuinely liked her.

Was that really what she was hearing?

I'd like very much if you said you'd attend with me.

She had almost, almost forgotten about the gala until then - the culminating event of the year. Without a donor to sponsor the event this year, her mother had done backbends to organize the event for Christmas Eve, and unfortunately, Emily couldn't extend her stay in Vienna until Boxing Day, when the whole thing would be over with. So then she had begged to stay at home, or if that couldn't work, work in the kitchens making the refreshments. "Mum, please," she'd said. "I don't have a date. I'll never have a date. Do you remember how embarrassing last year was?"

Her mother pulled her eyeglasses from her nose and set them on the table. "So you can go by yourself," she said, and the look on her face meant that she was no longer accepting discussion. Emily, in a show of disrespect that hardly ever surfaced, let out a long, exaggerated sigh and flounced from the room, upset with both her mother and herself.

"Of course I know about the gala," she said, face still red. "Mum's been planning it since July." Then a small, slow smile slid across her face - still the timid, nervous ones she usually gave him, but much more radiant, in a way - and she reached out for his hand, setting hers on top of his. "I would love that." Her voice was small - a mouse voice. She tried to stand up straighter, to use her voice. "That would be… that would be so nice."

Her hand was smaller than his. "That would be wonderful." A bird flapped its wings outside. "Oh, you haven't any idea how wonderful that would be."

Oh, Emily was a supporter of love: a true believer, if you will. She believed in happy endings. She believed in love stories and romance novels and poetry all the same. And she was quite possibly beginning to think that if she were falling, if she had already fallen in love, somebody was going to catch her if she didn't ruin everything. Or somebody had caught her already.

Somebody had caught her already, and she was looking at him now.

"I'll have to find a dress, you know," she added. "A fancy dress. I don't have any fancy dresses. I mean, I can't wear a sweater to the gala." Then she laughed a little. "Well, if I did wear a sweater to the gala, would you mind?"

& you light up my night.
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ouch, this is very short and very late and i apologize!
nicolai phillip mulciber
Posted: Jan 24 2012, 02:52 AM


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