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With Lady Sylvia manuevered out the door, and it locked behind her, Alyssana allowed herself to indulge in a moment of relief. She'd never liked the woman, and was glad to have her gone. But only a moment before she turned her attention to Walter, trying his best to speak over the uncomfortably mushy expounding of Finnegan. If she didn't know about the perfume she might have wondered what had gotten into him, for while he was a flirt this was far beyond his usual affectionate banter. As things stood, the more he said, the harder it was for Alys -- both the needle-sharp twinge of guilt and simple embarrassment on his behalf.

"If Finnegan knows the most, then I suppose we'll have to wait until he's feeling more like himself," she declared, speaking over Finny with the ease of a teacher who'd faced her share of intractable students. "No, there's no need to knock him out, Walter. ...Let me try to speak with him."

And so Alyssana settled herself again in the chair across from Finnegan. "What do I need to understand, Finnegan?" she asked, tone gentler, more patient. She'd already braced herself for the awkwardness of his answer, but if hearing him out would allow them to move forward with other matters, she felt obligated to endure it.
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The First Dilemma of Lady Alyssana Grey
Part III

𝓦alter sighed with relief, β€œIf you think that will help...” He was not about to knock his brother out, but the offer was still standing as some sort of show. He hated to lie like that, but he so desperately wanted neither of the two to be so... And, he knew so much about his brother's truest intentions. There were things he'd rather not hear his brother say. Then again, if Lady Alyssana wanted to go through with it.

Secretly, he held his breath for several moments.

β€œUnderstand?” Finnegan stared at Lady Alyssana with whimsical eyes that slowly wandered as he tried to catch his words to match her gentle tone, β€œI... I am desperately in love with you.” He paused with teeth brushing over his tongue as he tried to quiet himself to better express what he was saying, except a sleepiness fell over him. He would not allow it, though. He wanted to keep this conversation going, now that he finally had her attention, β€œD-desperately. D-did I say desperately? No, I meant madly. Or s-something.”
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Yes, there it was. The potion talking -- would he believe that? It was worth a try, Alyssana supposed. "Finny, do you remember earlier, in the lab? You got doused with one of your perfumes. The same one you used on Miss Evelyn." She tried to keep the thread of accusation out of her voice -- this was more than punishment enough for his misdeeds in that situation, even if Alys hadn't quite forgiven him for it. "Among its effects are severe infatuation."
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The First Dilemma of Lady Alyssana Grey
Part III

β€œπ“o, no...” Finnegan shook his head, β€œNo, shhh. You, no you...” There was determination in him to speak this more eloquently than the gibberish that had caught his voice beforehand. His head shook once more as a hand was, against raised with a finger extended, wagging at her. She was not going to lecture him as she knew to do at the Institute. Now was not the time for such things. He had something more important to implore. There was never a better time for him to explain to Lady Alyssana his feelings. This he knew (as the reader has already understood of him) for moments too many, β€œYou know too little, Alyssa.” His shoulders relaxed and dropped as he looked at her longingly.

Again, he was caught trying to fish for the proper words to tell her. She was standing right there in front of him, giving him her full attention. Nothing he was saying was getting through to her.

The basics. Start with the basics.

What was the question, again?


His hand lowered, β€œI love you, Alyssana, no... Wait.” He shook his head, yet, again, β€œAllow me to start over.” He cleared his throat to the best of his ability, denying anything could possibly have altered his thinking, β€œI have an immunity to my own potions. Why would I not? I have a nose sharper than any dogs, and I dare say that if I were to not have a tolerance, I would be intoxicated all the time... Like,” his head turned to Walter momentarily (who had taken only a breath or two during this conversation) but quickly turned back to Lady Alyssana, β€œDo you understand?”

He pressed his feelings together the best he could, hoping she would understand him. He had so much more he wanted to tell her, but as a rule of thumb:

Let the lady respond, first...
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"I am unwilling to conceed the point, but very well. Assuming you were immune...only a week ago you were singing Lady Sylvia's praises." Alys couldn't help the note of disdain that crept into her tone. "Last month it was Miss Evelyn. How is this different?"
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The First Dilemma of Lady Alyssana Grey
Part III

β€œπ“˜ would beg to kiss the top of your hand right now, my dear Lady Alyssana,” his head lowered in a shameful manner, now with his eyes searching the wooden flooring for the script that he was supposed to read to make all of his wrongdoings better. He had been quite dreaful and awful to the other women β€” and most of all, to his sudden drugged horror, to Lady Alyssana. She had watched him pompously flounce around with other women and not even take any respect of her own delights or disdain for his behavior.

β€œYou over estimate me,” his eyes glanced up at her, in an act of pity that was then taken by her beauty, he dare not look away, even with the sudden shuffle of Walter's feet, uncomfortable in his own shoes as he bore witness to the scene playing in front of him.

The younger man wished it to stop immediately, but no matter how hard he wished, it never came true. It was times like these that he would feel feverish, and with that, he made a small motion to sit in the long legged chair by the table, as he collapsed his head, β€œDo not mind me...” he managed in a displeased wisp of a voice.

And, Finnegan obeyed the man's command by ignoring him and his brown curly hair propped in the folded sleeves of his jacket.

β€œHow could I have been so thoughtless, so cruel...?” He drew in several breaths, trying to remain in his balanced position lest he end up as good as his younger, less intoxicated (or so the reader has been lead to believe this far) younger brother, β€œI cannot bare to think that I have done this to you, to us...” His body lowered onto one knee, reaching out for Lady Alyssana's hand pleadingly. There was a tearfulness in his eyes with flushed cheeks of something yearning to be honest.

β€œI see you so differently, Alyssa. You are above the rest. How dare I, Lord Finnegan Oaks, get anywhere near a lady of such beautiful caliber? You are something so much more precious, rare, and to think the conquest β€” no, the honor of having danced with you in the library for the first time,” he was trying pathetically to read the emotionless expression on her face with his own eyes, bashful with memories, β€œShall any woman be good enough to fair against you? How many of them shall I date to only realize that all the women in the world could not come close to the beauties of Lady Alyssana.”

His words were meant to be articulate, but alas, they slurred awkwardly. The poor man was on one knee, pleading in a voice that was less than gentlemanly as a listless woman stood before him, unforgiving. He could feel his heart breaking in two, and yet still, he had hope. The poor man still had hope. β€œWords are escaping me, Alyssa. My dear, dear Alyssa. Please, I beg your forgiveness.”

And Walter let out a small moan from the corner of the Satyr legged table.


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It took all her control not to snap at Finnegan as he used, repeatedly, the one nickname she could never stand. Christopher alone used it, and more often he used the childish form of "Lyssa". Without even thinking, she pulled her hand away. Perhaps Finnegan had truly realized his thoughtlessness, but would that even last beyond the duration of the perfume's effects?

He called their first dance a conquest, and that was the final straw. The expression in her grey eyes turned cool, her lips thinned to a flat line. "You should know better than to call me that," she said once he'd finished with more "Alyssa"s, her voice distant. She didn't say a word of forgiveness. "Walter...I need to leave. You have my apologies." She grabbed the folded metal form of her wings from where they lay near her chair and held them near her back long enough for her control of them to take over and lock them into their sockets.

Finnegan rose to stop her, but in his current state it was easy enough to dodge around him and make it to her jacket, and then the door and beyond to freedom. Outside Alyssana spread her wings and leaped skyward, and she did not look back. The hated nickname still rang in her ears, and it took some time of the cool wind rushing past before the sound faded from mind. She knew she'd responded too harshly, but she'd also done her best to stay calm. She'd apologize once Finnegan was sober.
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. ❖ .
And So Ends the First Dilemma of Lady Alyssana Grey

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π“Ÿerhaps it would be better to forget

𝓣hat sometimes love dissolves and disappears.


β€œπ“o... No...” Finnegan was in a sudden burst of sobs over having just poured fourth his entire heart to the love of his life. The younger brother, Walter, was sure that the older brother, Finnegan, was indeed heartbroken β€” and for good cause. He felt himself a to be pale in the face as he watched with flustering ability while his beloved Finny cried into his chest over Lady Alyssana.

The site was completely unmanly and perhaps even uncalled for, but all he could do was play the wet nurse (which was not something, I shall have you, as the dear reader know that the young gentleman had in mind nor would have ever dream for his afternoon... as per usual). β€œI have not seen you like this since Lady Madeline...” He let out a small pip of a voice for consoling, but other than that, he was at his wits end trying to explain to his brother that his entire speech was all too similar to the one he had given Lady Madeline.

β€œHu?” His voice cracked as he looked with damp, red eyes at Walter. It was no use explaining to the man over how rehearsed and disingenuous he sounded, upon one knee. His stereotypical charlatan ways had significantly gotten the better of him this time. The best Walter could do was let the man be a buffoon for his emotions as he waited for the potion to eventually reach its limits.

. ❖ .


It was evening when the love potion finally wore off, complete with Finnegan moaning and groaning about some chest pain that he would not have been bothered to mention had his head not been throbbing, as well, β€œWater, Walter...”

Walter already had a glass ready, as this was not the first time in the past half hour that the man had asked for something to alleviate the pain. Unfortunately, he refused to go anywhere near herbs as the shear thought of them triggered his pain. Of course, Walter could not help himself and kindly mentioned Lady Alyssana, β€œShe needs a formal apology. I think you frightened her quite a bit.”

β€œI doubt I frightened her... She does not scare so, so... easily,” Finnegan said with a slight bombastic pedantry that was vainly trying to hide his memories of what had happened between them, β€œWe should let her be until tomorrow. Blast you two, anyhow. What even is the first rule of the my dear, dear perfumery?”

Walter stared blankly at his brother and held his breath. He had broken more than just one when Lady Alyssana prompted him like so. He still felt Finnegan should not have done that to Lady Evelyn, especially since it resulted in a headache afterwards. What a terrible thing for him to have done, and yet he still felt for his brother, as usual. The feelings of empathy would never pass from him, and with that, he took a wet cloth and placed it over the lounging brother's forehead, β€œWe should probably call Lady Alyssana. She ought to be told that you are in the right mind, again...” His voice protested lightly with a glance that not dare look at his brother in the eyes.

β€œFine!” Finnegan suddenly shot upwards, β€œWe'll, we'll call her- ahhh....” His hand spread and pressed his fingers to his forehead, β€œFiddles, heaven forbid I have a day go smoothly for once. This pain is agonizing.” He spoke through the list of reasons why he wanted to fall backwards into the velvet cushion and have nothing more to do with the world as he tried to forget how awful he felt about Lady Alyssana running out on him.

His eyes closed as he took in a deep breath for relief:
It's nothing. She knows I was dowsed. Completely dowsed.

β€œCall her at once, and tell the servants to get the dining room ready.”

And with a drawing breath and several words of agreement, Walter did just that. The murders were of more importance at this point in time. He was glad that Finnegan had finally began regaining his senses.

𝓑ather than...

𝓣hat the pride of the heart may fail.

𝓣hat the lust of the eye may be quench'd.
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Initially Alyssana wasn't sure she wished to join the Oaks for dinner, whether Finnegan was himself again or not. There was something in the younger man's voice, however, that made her think perhaps he would be glad of additional company. "I'll drag Chris away from his work and bring him with me, Walter. If that's alright with you, of course." Walter approved, and it was perhaps forty-five minutes later when the pair alighted from a carriage in front of the Oaks' residence, Christopher hurrying up the path with Alyssana pausing to pay the driver and proceeding at a calmer pace.

Chris had no sooner removed his coat and handed it over to a servant than he made a beeline for Walter, chattering excitedly about his latest experiment in technical terminology. His language was nearly always precise, though he didn't mind the interjection of questions, and was in fact quite used to it. That left Alyssana to regard Finnegan warily.

Although she'd tried to put the entire afternoon behind her, seeing Finny was a reminder of what she'd done -- but she couldn't be the first to bring it up, not after that mess. She had to be sure for herself that Finnegan was back to normal. "Good evening, Finnegan." Though her tone was coolly polite, it hid an edge of concern. She was done being angry, at least.
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Hidden 1 mo ago 21 days ago Post by Briza
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π“˜ broke her heart.

𝓗er father merely broke her life.


Two servants dressed the dining room with silver wear and other pretty things like artistically folded napkins and a table decoration, which hinted of fresh flowers from the garden and oddities that shimmered around some imported, hand carved fox set family; each fox had its own unique visage complete not only with individually carved hairs but amber eyes that saw you from any point in the room. The room was quite a spectacle, even if hastily thrown together.

A lace of wooden vine was articulately sculpted-seeming around the large, trunkish leg of the round cedar table. It stood prominently in the middle of the room, and like all ordinary dining rooms was the center of attention. However, the curation of the dining room itself was less than ordinary when compared to say one that you are probably used to seeing. For time's sake, the narrator will not go into further detail outside of gently pushing the backdrop through the various scenes depicted onward.

The meal (to keep with the times) will be in five courses, and already, the soup of the second course has been giving a charming scent of warmth underneath the floral, wooden decor. The scent did nothing to sway Walter, who was nervous, as always, and his face had been growing paler for no other reason than that his mind and body had nothing better to do than to make him feel faint, as pertaining to the plot. Murder was something that Walter tried to dissuade from his attention, as it was something his brother dabbled with more than often. Unfortunately, these particular murders were holding such importance, the build up of suspense had caused him great anxiety. As well, his older brother was in no shape for proper camaraderie.

He thought to give himself rest when Lady Alyssana arrived, in which he thought as to not just give himself a break but to also give the two older ones some privacy over the matter that had happened earlier. Alas, one of his favorite persons arrived, and with all due respect to the man who had arrived, Walter could not help but feel enlightened and in the mood for engagement. He listened as the other man rattled off so many things, and they were of so many good and solid notes that he no longer felt the forlorn plague of his own heartbreak. Walter was now very intrigued with everything of which Lord Christopher Grey had to offer.

As for Finnegan, he had a new pair of trousers and blouse upon himself. He looked better than before Lady Alyssana had left, but his coloring was still flushed (in a similar manner to Walter's prior to Lord Christopher's arrival if any gentle reader was curious). His head was also still pained, and for this reason, he had his fingers gently pressed to his forehead when Lady Alyssana greeted him. He immediately withdrew them and stood at a more attentive posture when she spoke.

It was not her voice alone that struck a cord with Finnegan; although, if truth be told, her voice alone might as well have been due to the cutting prominence and pronunciation of she worded her introduction. She smelled as if she had a bone to pick. This was not an usual smell for her to wear, but the scent caused Finnegan to forget his rehearsed lines of apology. By all means, he meant to be sincere about it, despite the fact that the apology would have been a lie all in and of itself. Quickly, he made a twitch of a smile with his lips pressed together and then entertained the woman with a small, bright smile, β€œLovely as always, Lady Alyssana.” Finnegan pressed his feet together and stood up at once, with one arm folded behind his back, and the other outstretched for his usual remark as he made his way to her.

β€œYour presence is always welcome here,” he began and bowed to offer his formal acknowledgement of her feelings. He did not wish to make her run away, again, β€œAnd, as you are aware,” he spoke in reference to the first dance they shared in the library. Whether she picked the cue or not was of no importance to him at the moment. It was more or less the prospect of him believing her, β€œI never wish to scare you. I care deeply about you.” As he began his apology, marks were made on a speech he could barely remember making. If he ever was to confess his love to her, he would have to do it in a fashion less than so flamboyant. As the woman was dressed, she was not one for her compliments to be served on the fanciest of crockery. No, she deserved only the most natural type of love. The rest was lust and stardust, and Lady Alyssana in all her courage and fears deserved nothing so fake and charlatan. He had to shake off his very own rust if he wanted to continue.
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Alyssana accepted Finnegan's extended hand and let him kiss it. She didn't have the heart to deny him that, not after earlier. "You didn't scare me, Finny," she told him. "I was concerned at your condition, and angry about some of the things you said, but hardly frightened." She paused, looking up at him. "For what it's worth, you are also owed an apology for my role in that disaster. I am sorry for the trouble I caused you." Knowing he was likely to just brush her words off, Alyssana then disengaged, glancing after the younger men instead. Upon seeing them deep in conversation, she returned her attention to Finnegan.

"So. Walter mentioned some sort of mystery. A murder, yes? Why don't you tell me what you know."
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Hidden 16 days ago 15 days ago Post by Briza
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𝓐s usual, she had spoken not as he had predicted...

β€œOf course...” Finnegan drew in a breath through his nose, nodded with his face still a little pale from the early afternoon debacle. Lady Alyssana smelled as if she meant what she said, which was nothing unusual from her. The truth always smelled brilliant to Finnegan, and thus, he associated this smell largely with Lady Alyssana, even if the bitterest traces of her own prejudice (that genuinely he believed to be had against herself more than anyone) often times danced lingeringly upon her skin -- such as now.

He could smell it more now that she was inquiring about something of mystery, and he could not help but enjoy it, β€œThere has been a series of murders of certain persons,” he began, his lips parting at a less than adequate rate at would have a man who was not hungover, β€œExcuse me, please, have a seat,” he motioned towards a florally decorated chair with a concave back and overstuffed cushion. It was cerulean in color with brass designs.

Finnegan took his own seat in something a little more traditional than cabriolet and drew in another breath. He propped himself upwards with his own arm and the help of the chair's arm. His hand leaned on a fist, and then, following his movement, a leg plucked itself over the other. The hint of silk under his pants could be seen. β€œHardly any of which seem to have been reported in the paper.” His eyes glanced towards the exit of the door and then quickly came to study Lady Alyssaana (perhaps, sitting, now), once more, β€œAnd, before you say anything.” Finnegan straightened his body and drew in another breath through his nostrils. A finger raised to silence the air and all its aromas, β€œMadame Sophronia has summoned me into this.” Swallowing something out of nervousness, he withdrew his placement from the arm of the chair, reached into the inside pocket of his jacket, and from which, plucked a folded piece of paper;

𝓣winkle, 𝓣winkle π“œy 𝓑epertoire,
How I wonder where you are!
Dancing 'round the world, you'll die,
But like a mystery, you're all too shy.


𝓣winkle, 𝓣winkle π“œy 𝓑epertoire,
How I wonder where you are...


. ❖ .
And so begins
___________________________________________________________________________________________
The Second Dilemma of Lady Alssyana Grey
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