The races were an exciting annual event that Farren usually looked forward to. However this year was turning out more odd than pleasant. Typically her family all sat in a box together and stayed there the majority of the day enjoying the races, drinking, gambling, and in general having as good a time as could be had in formal clothing and full public view.
For many various reasons this year everything had gone sideways. The Bennetts had largely left England for the summer on various holidays doubling as international business trips. The extended Abercrombie clan were attending local events in Scotland for some kind of village jubilee. Pyxis was somehow detained on some business from the ministry - taxation audit or something he'd shodily explained. Her grandfather for the first time owned multiple aethonan that had raced earlier in the day and most of his time thus far had been consumed with related business outside the box. Her mother and grandmother, though technically with them, had spent the majority of the day in the Lestrange family box with their little gang of Death Eater friends.
Farren and her father, Rawdon, had been sat in the box alone more than not. This left them vulnerable to constant social attack from anyone who pleased to wander past their box. While some of the company was welcome most of it was not. Rawdon despised most human contact and Farren hated being forced to converse with people she didn't know or care about for the sake of appearance alone. Business and social climbers stayed the longest and were the most annoying. Drinking their champagne and eating their fine foods, undoubtedly subject to lesser quality fare in their own seats. All in all neither of them were having very much fun and Farren was quite sure they'd end up in the Rosier box sooner rather than later. Better their company than none or the dull droning of upper middle class social climbers seated in some kind of company box.
"Rennie, didn't you go to school with this chap?" Rawdon asked absently as he thumbed through the program for today's races.
Farren leaned over looking over his shoulder. A picture of Lorcan O'Dwyer and his steed were on the page, moving slowly in a regal manner. Her father bringing up the O'Dwyers at all made her pulse quicken ever so slightly. Of course it made sense, Lorcan did this, professionally, but for a moment it made her wonder if all the security that had been forced on her house was not just external.
"No. The brother," she said simply looking away from the book hoping that would end this topic. Though now she was thinking, surely Declan was here. Obviously with them not being public it would have been impossible to attend together but she was now starting to think about all these things which plagued her about the burden of going public.
"Aha. Right," Rawdon said flipping the page to read Lorcan's odds in the betting guide, "Darren was it? No. Donald."
"Declan. His name is Declan," Farren responded curtly.
Rawdon chuckled, "Leave it to the bloody O'Dwyers to come up with a name more Irish than rubbish beer and a green potato."
Farren's eyebrow arched and she glanced sideways at her father. "Hilarious," she said softly with a little sigh, "Where is Pyxis when you need him to laugh at low punches at the Irish?"
He was amused with himself and reached out to pick up her wager slips she'd left on the ledge in front of them. Smirking a little he thumbed through them reviewing her bets, "Fifty galleons on Kiteworks Ferry? Farren, are you joking? His ods are 9/1, you're losing money there my dearest."
"I know. He's a rubbish mount but my friend Lottie Bulstrode's father owns him. Put a lot of family money into starting a abraxan program himself. She's all in as well. So...at least this way I can say I was supportive? It's just fifty galleons," Farren shrugged a little. It was a stupid wager but Lottie and her family were decent enough people and the kind that kept tabs on your level of dedication as a friend.
"Oy, leave it up to Fitzgibbons Bulstrode to put all his spare time into owning a rubbish horse," Rawdon said with a sly smirk.
"Part of a rubbish horse," Farren corrected him matter of factly. Her father laughed and threw back the remainder of his drink before slamming down his glass joyfully.
"Probably the rump, not even the good bit of the horse," he snarked, clearly deeply amused at his own jokes. Farren smiled, unable to not snigger at the low hanging fruit.
"As thrilled as I am to listen to you desmearch the Irish and other people's horses, I'm feeling a bit stiff. I think I'll go for a walk along the concourse before the next race," Farren rose from her seat and started pulling her little black lace gloves on. Per usual she was decked out in a stunning couture ensemble, a structural blue brocade midi skirt dress with an elegantly defined black bodice with wide shoulder straps. Her hair was done up neatly and simply, an elegant avant garde black hat perched on the side of her head. She'd accessorized with tasteful vintage topaz and citrine stone jewelry, the yellow citrine bringing a pop to the blue and black ensemble. Her father patted her hand, sending her on her merry way before waving over the poor house elf standing bored in the corner of the box to doll him out more drink.
Somehow when she was outside her box social rules seemed flipped. Why this was so she didn't understand but such was the case that as she moved along the concourse behind the boxes of prominent people she was not to be addressed by just anyone. It was assumed she was a lady on a mission, making a specified social call at another box or tending to personal needs. People nodded politely if they happened to catch each other's gaze as she passed but no one approached her directly. She made it down the stairs at the center of the elevated rows of boxes, descending to the lower concourse of the fancy boxes they sat in. This ledge provided a wide walkway, extending out over the cheaper seats below them where the spectators were forced to look upwards at the flying race action just above them. Along this wide concourse, the railing decorated with fine flowers and greenery, people could stand as close to the tracks as a spectator could safely get while still having a prime view.
People milled about here, chatting, drinking, and passing time between races. Thankfully with the early races well over and big events yet to come it was rather quiet and she easily found herself an isolated spot along the railing to gaze out into the space before her and stare at nothing or turn her gaze down to the cheap seats below her. She had entirely spaced out, fixated on the workers setting up the spells on the gates where the abraxan would load to start the race when she realized someone was closing in on her directly. Glancing over her shoulder she used the brim of her hat largely concealing her face to take stock of who was approaching her and if she should plan a swift move or not.
The figure was unmistakable, his walk and form instantly recognizable, even out of the corner of her eye. She turned to face him, beaming under the brim of her stylish hat, a warm, genuine smile. But he was with someone, escorting someone, for a second she panicked before quickly realizing who the woman with him was. Merlin's beard, was he mad? She wasn't sure if it was brilliant or daft to introduce her to his mother like this. Perhaps being in public in a neutral place was a wise choice but this was the way she'd meet literally anyone. Shouldn't they be meeting in private if she was to be introduced as the future Mrs. O'Dwyer? Was he having second thoughts? Her mind ran down ten tracks at once as they approached her. Certainly that was impossible. They were in love, she could feel it so certainly, he was setting up a longer play.
"Hello," she said in a silky pleasant voice as he greeted her. "I'm quite well thank you," she said, her eyes landing on his for a split second and she was sure she felt a kind of charge between them not too dissimilar from the magic in the air at the race park around them. His mother was elegant, stately even, she did not know much about her other than what she'd known in school. Curse breaker, stern seeming, and rather sharp looking in an elegant manner. "Mrs. O'Dwyer," she said, bowing her head and giving a tiny polite curtsy at the witch she knew would soon enough be her mother in law. "I'm pleased to make your acquaintance ma'am," she smiled politely at her and nodded, "Indeed, I enjoy the races. My family are what I believe you might call 'horse people', grew up with them, love them very much, even if my childhood gelding is more of a pasture pony than not these days."
From under the brim of her hat she cautioned a quick glance at Declan. How would Mrs. O'Dwyer find her? Would she pass muster and win over a new mother in law? Surely she would, she was highly agreeable so far as mums went. "You both must be thrilled to be watching Lorcan later today. Declan has always said nice things about him."