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by: Jen
Saturday, September 3, 2011
9:00 a.m.

Oh, this was ridiculous! Edith had come to the park here in Diagon Alley with every intention of meditating--or at least trying it. She'd figured with the school-aged children back at Hogwarts, she surely wouldn't have to deal with too many people. Sure, she'd figured there would be the old couples taking walks, perhaps a few people out on jogs. She'd even figured there would be the mother with her toddler at the swing set. She had never figured on the mother with her toddler at the swing set with a baby in a carrier on the ground beside her as she pushed her son. The baby was crying, and the mother was simply ignoring it. Apparently she was one of those types that believed in letting a baby cry it out if they didn't need anything, and apparently, the mother had decided with a mere glance the baby had just wanted attention.

But she was determined to tune it out. Her co-worker, Pete Sanders, had told her she couldn't tune anything out or let go of anything and that she was way too high-stress. She was determined to prove him wrong. So, Edie crossed her legs again, smoothed her yoga pants, straightened her posture, closed her eyes, and rested the back of her wrists against her knees, her thumbs and index fingers curled to meet. Focus on the breath. In, out, in, out, in, out... Don't let it get to you, Edie! She could feel the tension forming, however. But no! It would not be a losing battle. In and out, in and out, in and out... Her brows raised, though her eyes remained closed. In and out, in and out, in and out...

Didn't they say something about imagining a room where you're happy? Yeah, but all she could find at first was David's living room and the couch they had one spent night after night cuddling on and talking. And now all she was seeing was babies--crying.

Focus, Edie, focus... In and out, in and out... "Oh for the love of--!" she exclaimed, her eyes snapping open as she suddenly rose to her feet to go walk over to the mother and tell her to do something about her baby or she would. However, she was never to make it over there because...
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by: Berenice Pangbourn
There were some things you just couldn't get in Hogsmeade. The shops were good, don't misunderstand Renn, but certain things needed the specialized shops of Diagon Alley. Or rather Knockturn Alley, since they were both becoming one in the same pretty quickly.
It had changed, just in the six months she'd been away too. Berenice had avoided Diagon Alley in the first half year of freedom - it was so big, teaming with witches and wizards (if not quite as much as the old days) and Renn feared meeting anyone she recognized. Her husband was still out there somewhere, with his death eater friends... No, Berenice planned to keep herself and her daughter as far away from that life as possible. She'd refused to allow her daughter to be raised in that kind of abusive home - and there was no way in hell she was going to be dragged back there. Elise deserved better, and Renn was going to give the little girl that even if it killed her.
But you couldn't avoid the Alley forever, so on the morning of one of her days off, Berenice had fastened her own traveling cloak around her neck, ignored Elise's complaints that she didn't like hers, and they were off.

Now, a good three hours later Berenice had finished. She'd spent a good chunk of her pay check on ingredients for her potion store, as well as a book or two that had caught her interest. Elise had been so good in the shops, if a little excitable when she saw all the potion ingredients in the different jars (A fascination Renn herself did not understand), but now was getting restless.
"Parrkk" Elise begged, pulling on the bottom her her mother's cloak to get attention. Renn was torn. She wanted to get out of the Alley as quickly as possible, but looking down at Elise's face (damn it the young girl really did have her mother wrapped around her little finger), she nodded. What was half an hour in the park going to do? What were the chances of Death Eaters roaming the grass?
"Alright, baby girl. But hold mommy's hand until we get there."
Elise's face broke into a huge smile and she nodded happily, teaching up and taking Renn's hand which wasn't clutching her purchases.

It had been going so well, until they got to the park gates. Apparently "hold my hand until we get there" only meant until the gates for the little two year old. The moment they were in the park Elise released her mother, and tore of in search of the play park.
Berenice's heart missed a few beats. She couldn't stand her daughter being out of her sight.
"Elise Paige, get back here NOW!" But the young girl ignored her.
Oh for the love of Merlin...
Berenice started of after her daughter. It wasn't that she was fast, but Renn was weighed down and thrown of balance by the shopping, so catching up would be harder.

Elise giggled, her mind soly focused on getting to the slide. Just a pity that the child was so single minded, because if she'd been more aware of her surroundings she might have noticed a pair of yoga pants clad legs heading towards her. But Elise didn't notice, and ran straight into them. Elise bounced backwards, and tripped over her little feet and fell backwards. She landed on the ground with a fair thump. Two beats passed as Elise looked up at the woman, before screwing up her face and let out a howl.

Berenice was just around the corner when the sound of her child shrieking reached her ears. The potion supplies dropped from her arms along with the books and clattered to the ground as Renn took of at a full run.
He was here, he'd recognized her.... Scenarios whirled around Renn's head as she turned the corner, reaching for her wand as she did.
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by: Jen
A crying child who was able to walk and talk was certainly the last thing on Edith's mind as she approached the mother, so she wasn't looking down. Therefore, when the little girl ran into her (or did she run into her?) just as she was raising her hand to yell at the woman, she was surprised and let out a little scream of her own only to stare in shocked surprise as the little girl fell and began to cry. Oh crap. Oooooh shit. What did she do now? What did she do now? She looked around a moment later a little helplessly, hoping to see the child's mother, but she managed to overlook Berenice and kneeled down to be eye level with the child.

She stared at her, wide-eyed. Crying child. Right in front of her. How did she make it shut up? It had to shut up. Now. Right now. The sound was atrocious! But she could feel herself melting a little. The little girl was adorable, absolutely adorable! Whoever had this one was one lucky woman indeed. "Shhh..." Edith said gently, trying to give the child a reassuring smile. "Do you have an owie?" she asked, not sure if that would be the right word the child was used to, but hopefully she would understand. Again, she looked around for the child's mother, desperate for help, and spotting Berenice finally, she got up.

"I'm sorry! She came out of nowhere, and...fell," she stated, figuring the falling part was quite obvious. The drawn wand was a little much, though, and was what gained the hesitant "fell." "I think she's ok, though. Maybe a little surprised or scared more than anything?" Thank Merlin the mother was here! She couldn't take more of the crying. On the plus side, the other mother had seemed to take her children away from the scene--probably because of the agitated way she'd approached her only moments ago before this child had thrown her off course.
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by: Berenice Pangbourn
The two year old wasn't badly hurt, a child making as much noise as Elise was barely hurt badly. No, if she was quiet then there would be a problem, quiet meant a concussion or some similar head injury.
But that Elise didn't mean the cries were any more bearable. Renn was somewhat used to it, but for people who only had very limited access to children find it very hard to deal with. Eric had never been able to stand his own daughters cries and just snapped at his wife something like, " Berenice can't you control it?" or " Berenice I swear if you don't make it stop I will!"
Some people just couldn't deal with that sound, but it was a sad day when one of those people as a child's father.

Elise nodded, rubbing her eyes with her little fists.
"Owwie..." the baby girl repeated.

As Berenice turned the corner, wand now in hand, she half expected too see her husband with Elise in hand. Renn always needed to expect the worst in her life, her luck had never been amazing. Yet that's not what she saw. Elise was one the ground, obviously having fallen, with an older woman standing above her looking perhaps more terrified than her daughter. Renn relaxed somewhat, her wand hand lowering slightly as she hurried too the pair.
" Oh baby girl I told you not to run, come here." She bent and scooped the little body up into her arms. The wails quickly turned to snuffles as Elise stuffed her thumb into her mouth and wound her hand into Berenice's hair. She loved her mother's hair, it had acted like the little girl's comfort blanket for a long time. The little head rested on the older woman's shoulder as Renn lent over and kissed her daughter's forehead.

Once she was sure her daughter was fine Renn pocketed her wand and glanced up to the woman. She looked older than herself, and slightly less unnerved if that was possible.
" I'm sorry, when Elise runs she never really sees where she is going. I hope she didn't get in you way ... Well... she must have..." This woman had clearly meant her daughter no harm - Renn was not blind, just a little on edge.
" She's fine - the amount of times she's fallen over... My little hurricane," She glanced affectionately at the little blond head of her daughter. She looked so like her father... It was the one good this that Eric had given her, " I'm just sorry you got in the way. She screams bloody murder but... No she's alright..."
Elise sniffed and wriggled in her mother's arms so she was more comfortable and Renn allowed the little shifts, bending herself to her daughter's movements as not to drop her and keep her happy. Story of their life, Renn bent and accommodated to keep her daughter safe and happy, and would if it killed her.
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by: Jen
"Ah, don't worry about it," Edie replied, waving it off. Now that the kid wasn't crying, she wasn't half bad in her opinion. It was actually kind of cute the way she was burying her face in her mum's hair. "You're a lucky woman, you know. Not every day you see a kid that cute." She shrugged and moved to put her hands in pockets she didn't even have, which lead to her crossing her arms. She felt awkward at the moment, which was not a feeling she was used to. "I'm Edie, by the way," she said, though she didn't offer a hand. Perhaps it wasn't the right time to go for a hand shake. The mother's hands were busy holding her daughter, after all. She had no idea how heavy the child was and how strong the mother was, after all.

"So, I, uh, guess you probably want to get her laughing again, huh?" Edie said in an awkward fashion. She didn't often converse with perfect strangers--at least not unless they were threatening her because of the fact she was holding a camera or if she was doing an expose for The Flash, which she'd been working on for a while now, actually. She really needed to get that out. But yeah, that talking to strangers business was Celene's job, the reporter's job. She was just the woman behind the camera, taking the incriminating photos no one wanted anyone to see.

But still, being in the news business had helped Edie's already innate sense of curiosity develop, and she couldn't help but wonder why the woman had pulled the wand. Perhaps she would never know because she wasn't about to ask at this point, and if the woman wanted to spend time with just her daughter and not with the random stranger her daughter ran into, then she would never get the opportunity to slip in the question ever-so-casually during conversation. Still, maybe a name of some sort would give her a starting point--at least, if it was a very rare first name. Something she could research, find out about. It was really none of her business, but she couldn't help it sometimes.
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by: Berenice Pangbourn
Berenice practically glowed with pride as Edie complimented her daughter. She was nothing if not a proud mum, and her daughter was near perfect in Renn's eyes, no, scratch that she was perfect. Elise was the one good thing that came from her arranged marriage, and the little gem had made every harsh word, stony silence and even slap flung worth while. Because, even at the end of it all, Renn could look into her daughter's face and know she was safe and 100% hers.
"Thank you. She'll count herself lucky she doesn't take after me when she's older" That was true. Elise's blond curls and icy blue eyes had come straight from her father, but they were so beautiful.

A smile spread across Renn face as the woman introduced herself, "It's nice to meet you. I'm Renn" Not Berenice, not anymore,"And this is Elise."
She nudged her daughter gently, "Elise can you saw hello please?" Elise peaked out from her mothers shoulder, before raising one hand and making a scrunching motion with her hand - an Elise hello.

Oh the young girl would be happy and laughing again soon enough. Children Elise's age bounced back, she wouldn't be scarred or anything from this event.
" Oh she'll be alright... Although," Oh crap, " I left my bags back there, when she uhh.. Started crying. Do you mind if I just -" Renn shifted her daughter further up so she could dig into her pocket for her wand. She grabbed it and pulled it out pointed it behind her.
"Accio Bags, accio books."
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by: Jen
Edie smiled warmly, barely containing a laugh, when Elise raised one hand and scrunched her fingers in greeting. It was so cute! Kids like this almost made her want one of her own one day--almost. Then, she thought of all the crying and the poopy diapers and the late nights and the dependence one would have on her, and the thought would just as quickly leave her mind. She hated crying, couldn't stand foul smells or cleaning up gross things, and loved her sleep and independence far too much to ever consider one of these little...creatures. Still, this one was cute, and she wasn't too fussy.... Oh, shut up, stupid maternal instinct, she thought to herself.

When Renn began to mention her bags, Edie began to feel a little panicked. She made it a policy not to hold children--especially when they were so bloody cute like this one--and here she was going to have to hold her while Renn went back to get her things, wasn't she? Of course she was! Because the lady wouldn't ask her to go and grab her belongings for her. Most people were far too distrusting of strangers. Then again, Elise is obviously far more important than whatever's in those, she thought to herself. It was enough to calm her down--especially when accompanied by the sight of Renn pulling out her wand.

"Oh no, not at all," she said as Renn began to summon her bags and books. Well, that was a relief, but what now? She didn't seem to be in a hurry to leave, and Edie was uncertain what to say. She didn't often socialize with random strangers in the park. In fact, she didn't often come to the park. Her morning jogs were usually around the block rather than the park. Sure, it wasn't as pretty, but at least she was usually unbothered. What was her life coming to? She needed to stop being anti-social and be willing to meet more people. Sure, she had things to hide from the average person, but that didn't mean she couldn't be friendly or social as she once truly was.

"Have a good time shopping?" she asked, indicating the bags. Yeah, that was just a great conversation starter there. Now watch Renn think she was thinking about finding out what she'd bought just so she could steal it or something. She really was out of practice, wasn't she?
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by: Berenice Pangbourn
No offense to Edie, but Berenice would never allow her daughter to be held by anyone she didn't know and trust, and particularly not while she was out of eye sight. It wasn't that she didn't trust the woman, well that's exactly what it was, but she didn't trust anyone. When you had something as precious as the little girl currently snuggled into her shoulder, you couldn't take any chances. Perhaps it was something you couldn't understand unless you had something of your own that so special you knew you'd throw yourself in front of a wand for them. Some people didn't think they would ever be able to feel like that, Berenice had been one of them, but when she'd found out she was pregnant, and met that little ray of sunshine 9 months later, she's realized just how much someone could love another person.

Only a few seconds after Renn cast her spell, she heard the familiar whirl of her possesions flying through the air. They came to a rest at her side. It looked like they were all there, excellent.

Renn smiled at the woman's question.
"I did thanks. I do love the Alley. The Hogsmeade shops are good, but they don't carry some things."
She was about to say more, but yet again Renn decided she felt like interrupting. She had obviously made a full recovery after her ordeal and was ready to go again.
"Sliiide!!" The little girl, bounced, in an attempt to get down. Berenice sighed, glancing at Edie, "Sorry," before looking back to her daughter.
" The slide, and no further do you here me Elise Paige? If I say come back you come right back? Alright?"
The girl nodded eagerly, so Berenice let her down. The children's slide was only a few feet away, what trouble could her daughter get into there?
Elise toddled of, and after watching her for a moment or two, she looked back to the woman.
"Sorry... Where were we?"
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by: Jen
Edith nodded her agreement at Renn's first statement. "Besides, Hogsmeade shops so obviously tailor to the students, especially with the Alley back in business. It's kind of sad, though, I rather enjoyed shopping there again and reliving my school days," she replied, her last few words covered by Elise's demand for the slide--not that she really minded. She shrugged when Renn offered an apology before turning back to her daughter and giving her instructions. It was good to see a mother so firm with her child. Most mothers these days let their children get away with murder. It really was sad.

When Renn turned her attention from her daughter, who was happily heading for the slide, Edith shrugged again. "Oh, nothing important. Just talking about Hogsmeade versus the Alley these days." What more was there to say on the topic? She didn't know, but maybe Renn had something of her own to share on the topic, and Edith was still struggling to find something to talk about. She supposed if all else failed, they could swap memories about their Hogwarts days. Maybe they'd find an acquaintance or friend they had in common to talk about or something. Perhaps even a shared hated professor? At least assuming this Renn woman had attended Hogwarts. Edith couldn't say for certain she remembered seeing Renn during her school days, but Renn could be considerably younger than her. After all, people had babies and got married so much younger these days sometimes. It was ridiculous to her. Then again, she had almost been one of them.
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by: Berenice Pangbourn
Well Edie did have a point there. Hogsmeade was for the students, with only a few exceptions within the village, where she worked for one. The Hogshead was definitely not aimed at the teenagers of Hogwarts. In all honestly Renn would far not work in a place like that herself, but beggers could not be choosers. Berenice had been that desperate for a job, any job, she'd had no choice but to take the first job available. You couldn't be picky when you had rent to pay and a child to feed. The pay wasn't good at the Hogshead but it was enough, and right now that was all Berenice needed.
"Oh I used to love it. Back at school Hogsmeade trips were the highlight for me. School's just back actually, it can't be long before the first Hogsmeade trip. It will be interesting to watch them from the perspective of being an adult in the village."

Despite the conversation, Berenice found her eye drifting to her daughter, just to keep an eye on her she promised herself. After all Elise was still little, and could be steam rolared by older children if she wasn't careful. But she was happy, carefree, giggling to herself as she slid down the slide and ran around for another attempt.
"So," Renn smiled when she finally tore her gaze away from her daughter, "What year were you in Hogwarts"?
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by: Jen
Edith smiled, chuckling at her comment that it would be interesting to watch the students from an adult perspective. However, before she could ask if Renn meant she was planning to go over on Hogsmeade weekend to observe or if she worked there, Renn asked what year she was in Hogwarts. "Oh, I graduated spring 2000," she replied. "I was a good ol' Gryffindor. How about you?" she asked, meaning the answer to both questions, of course. The girl was definitely younger than her, but it would be interesting to find out just how much younger--especially if she claimed the same house. Years changed one's features quite a bit, after all.

She knew she had changed and not all for the better. Perhaps as a person, she had changed for the better (though some people debated that fact), but look-wise? She could see herself aging, and while she might not have a million wrinkles, she certainly didn't look quite as young. Such was life, though. And she would rather have the toll of time on her looks than be perpetually stuck in the days of her youth. After all, Hogwarts years might have been exciting, but there was still so much related to those years of life that was unpleasant, and kids were cruel. Adults still were, but at least there was some subtlety to it that children and teenagers lacked.
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by: Berenice Pangbourn
A Gryffindor! It was always good to meet someone from the same house - it meant that, if nothing else, you had something in common. People of the same house tended to stick together, even those from different years. After all they were all away from home together, so your house did become a second family, it was impossible not to identify with those who were going through the same thing.
"I was a Griffindor too," Renn's face broke into a smile. School years had been the best of her life, before she'd been married off to the the highest bidder. She'd gone to class, done homework with friends, laughed with others... She'd been a normal teenager, but that had ended the moment she'd graduated. Perhaps she should feel cheated out of her later teen years and twenties, but Renn didn't. 6 years of pure hell yes, but now a life time of watching her little ray of sunshine grow up. Sure she wished she could have gained her daughter under different circumstances, but if that really was the only for her to gain that little girl she'd do it all over.

" 2000? So I was what... First year when you were fourth? I didn't graduate until spring of 2004..."
Why did that sound so familiar? Who else was a fourth year when she entered the school, and then it hit her.
Oscar and Richard.... Oh shit. Her elder Slytherin brothers had been the same year as this Edie? Well that made this more than a little dangerous in her opinion. True Edie had been a Gryffindor and her twin brothers Slytherins but they must have crossed on more than one occasion. She did not need the dots between herself and her siblings connected. No one could know where she was and who she was, no one could be trusted. Even people who meant well could mess up and tell someone, who would tell someone else and then eventually word would get back to a member of her family. If they found out where she was Eric would not be far behind, and she was never going back to him.
Her smile faltered for the smallest of seconds before Renn plastered it back over her face to hide her nerves.
"It's odd that I can't remember you... We must have met before."
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by: Jen
Edith smiled at Renn's comment she'd been in Gryffindor, too. Well, that just went to prove she hadn't known everyone back in the day. She had her group, and she'd stuck to it for the most part after a certain point in time. Such was the nature of people, she'd noticed. Commonalities drew friends together, and while it was possible for others to find their way into groups, sometimes it was difficult and unlikely when people were of school age. She nodded at the other woman's estimate of the age difference. "Mmm...sounds about right," she agreed.

Edie couldn't help but notice when Renn's smile faultered momentarily, but before she could even think about asking her what was wrong, the smile was plastered back in place and the younger woman was talking again. "We must have," she acknowledged. "I can't quite place you either, to be quite honest. We must have been part of different social circles or something, I guess. I didn't really hang out in the common room that much, either, so if you did or were equally as willing to wander and walk about as I was, that could explain it." Ok, that sounded weirdly phrased, but whatever. You couldn't be perfect every time you spoke.

"Were you friends with other people my year?" Edie decided to ask after a moment's pause. "Maybe I knew someone, knew of you indirectly or something?" It wasn't like their not knowing each other during their three years together in the same house at Hogwarts was important or anything, but still, it was something to keep conversation going for now. She figured maybe if they knew someone in common they could talk about them. There were several people she had lost touch with after school and the whole little fiasco she had with David. Maybe she knew what had happened to them.
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by: Berenice Pangbourn
Well Berenice kind of wished she never who each other knew from their school days, it was dangerously close to lying for her own comfort zone. She didn't like lying, since it always came back to bite you, and that would be her undoing. She was lying enough as it was, slapping more on top of those necessary ones would surely be her undoing.
So perhaps she shouldn't lie out right, maybe just by omission. Stick to their own house and kind of forget about the other three.
" Yea I was one of the common room seat hoarders... Which might explain it..." That was just where her friends had chosen to hang out, there, or out in the grounds if it was sunny.

" Your year? I'm not so sure... I can't think of anyone off the top of my head. Maybe my year, Benjamin Hudson, Uriana Blackthorne? they ring any bells?" Honestly Renn hated how she'd let her friendships with school friends die, just because of her Husband. Well, she said "just because" but the last time she'd been contacted by someone from her school days Eric had turned his wand on her. Her hand went to the ring fused to her finger, touching it as a reminder. She tried to twist it, for the millionth time, and just like every other time it refused to remove. She hadn't been able to keep up those friendships then, and she could now, could but couldn't. No one could know, that included old friends.
" I can't think of any Gryffindors from your year..."
Not for the first time Renn thanked whatever God was up there that there wasn't a whole lot of family resemblance between her and her and the twins, especially with her charmed hair. The only thing that ran in her family were the grey eyes. All the Moxley children had the same eyes. But people wouldn't notice that, not unless it was pointed out... Right?
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by: Jen
Hudson didn't ring any bells for Edith. However, Blackthorne did, but why was that? All she could figure was that she must have taken her photo for the paper at some point or another or seen her mentioned in an article of some sort. Oh, wait.... Maybe.... "Urania?" Edith repeated. "Describe her to me?" She was pretty sure she didn't recognize the name from school, but there was no telling. Still, there were other avenues to get to know people in her life these days. The Order was the main one, and she was pretty sure that was probably where she knew her from. A meeting or something, perhaps. That was at least bringing an image to mind.

Of course, Edie realized there was ultimately a flaw in asking Renn to describe Urania to her. If the other woman hadn't seen her in person or in the paper since Hogwarts, it was possible she wouldn't know what she looked like and the description given could therefore be different than the image she had in mind of who this Urania lady was.
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