Curiosity killed the cat

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It had been a few months since actually meeting Ivaylo, and they had met up once or twice again, introducing their children who seemed to get on at the time - but they were just children, Hadrian only a few months old, so she couldn't expect any more from them. As much as she'd love for her child to be a magical genius, at the moment he was a bumbling, drooling baby. So much drool.
Ivaylo had filled Sophia in as to who Alana was. There weren't a lot of people that Sophia knew, and once the other girl reached out to her, wanting to meet, Sophia felt herself slightly excited at the thought of having a friend who was involved in this crazy family. Of course, she didn't know if they would be friends but she couldn't refuse a lunch date from someone she didn't know. They made a date, and agreed to bring their children along. It was getting increasingly hard to find a babysitter, and though Sophia loved her mom, she knew that Hadrian was getting a bit chaotic for her poor mom to handle. Apparently Sophia had been enough of a handful herself, her mom mentioning that she didn't want to have to go through it again.
It took awhile for the young mother to decide what to wear. First impressions were important. She finally settled on jeans and a simple top, with some red lipstick to class it up. Knowing that apparation was probably just going to mess her hair up, she didn't even try to style it. But she made her way to the agreed meet-up, ordering water for the table before sitting down and putting Hadrian next to her in a high chair.
 

Alana Finch

Shop Asst. Inner Eye| Mom to Eris
 
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Alana Finch spoke to the hostess and then cut a glance in the direction she'd gestured, taking in the woman seated at the table. Sophia Snow. She sauntered over, her heels clicking as she did. She stopped, glad to see the high chair already hovering into place. "You must be Sophia" Alana stated, her red eyes taking in the woman's very pretty face. "I'm Alana, and this lovely girl is Eris" she added as she settled her daughter into a high chair and began to unwrap the fabric of the baby carrier from her shoulders and waist. As she worked, she looked the woman over and then smiled at her son who was a few months younger than Eris.

Ivaylo had spent years intruding in her life, and she was eager to reciprocate. "So...you and Ivaylo" she declared as she reached for her purse to remove a teether and a soft block, placing them on the high chair for Eris. She pulled her glass of water closer to her, her engagement ring and wedding band prominent on her left hand.
 
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Sophia looked up at a voice that spoke and though she was slightly taken aback by red eyes, she smiled at the lady as she introduced herself and her baby. As Alana got herself settled, Sophia replied. "Pleasure to meet you Alana and Eris. This is Hadrian." She said. There wasn't much more spoken until Alana spoke again. Sophia chuckled quietly. "Yes, me and Ivaylo. Hey, if I had to chose someone, at least be someone attractive, right?" She laughed again, taking out the milk bottle for Hadrian and passing it to him as he reached out, grabbing for it. "I hear you were forced into this mad family as well. Though, I suppose our own families are just as mad for agreeing to their terms." Sophia smiled again, bringing the menu closer to herself, glancing down to see if anything caught her interest.
 

Alana Finch

Shop Asst. Inner Eye| Mom to Eris
 
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"That they are" she murmured. The Zhefarovich men were nearly all good looking, and nearly all ill tempered and stubborn. She would learn. Alana paused in her perusal of the menu and looked up, the woman's tone, her laughter quite annoying. Of course, she was happy. She was being married off to an up and coming leader in the family. Still, Alana forced a smile. "Yes, have you found out just how mad? Have you seen 'the brand' yet?" she asked, wondering if she knew about the family tattoo. "I see you'll probably be fine with the whole baby in a year thing" she insinuated, her eyes moving to Hadrian and back to her menu.
 
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Sophia pursed her lips at the mention of a brand. That had not come up yet, and while she wasn't opposed to tattoos, it they planned on branding her with a hot stick like a donkey; she would have a few choice words to say. But the next sentence uttered from the woman stopped Sophia in her tracks. Was this chick for real? "Do we have a problem Alana?" Sophia started. "Because I did not come to meet you to discuss how much of a tramp I've been." Her family definitely blamed the whole situation on Sophia, but she was always quick to remind everyone it took two to tango. It wasn't her fault she didn't sign any contracts with Lanithro beforehand; she felt it might ruin the mood asking if he asked her to sign her life away.
 

Alana Finch

Shop Asst. Inner Eye| Mom to Eris
 
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Alana glanced up again slowly as if she had not a care in the world, her red eyes looking straight at the woman. She'd said nothing about the woman being a tramp, but enjoyed that she'd gotten the subtext. Alana did, in fact, have a problem with her but she also was impressed. Suddenly, Alana began laughing as she reached for her drink. "Oh, I like you" Alana crowed, a smirk on her face before she took a sip. "Do you know Ivaylo is the one who told me I was pregnant?" Alana spoke as she continued to look at her menu. " Don't worry. He didn't knock me up. The Zs aren't that creepy. They have one of those family tree curtains that tells them everything " she exaggerated for effect.
 
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Sophia held the gaze as Alana looked at her. She had never been one to hide what she was feeling or thinking, and she wasn't embarrassed or ashamed for bringing up Alana's attitude, she just hoped the girl would understand that she wasn't someone to mess around with. Thankfully, she laughed, and Sophia relaxed a bit, a small smile gracing her face when Alana said she liked her. Sophia was somewhat thankful that Alana had a spine and wasn't taken aback by what she said. Alana seemed to be someone that she could actually get along with. Her next few words made Sophia roll her eyes though, she wasn't entirely sure what her game plan was. Trying to scare her out of the family? She didn't really have a choice anymore. Perhaps they wouldn't get along; perhaps they would just butt heads. "No, I didn't know about Ivaylo telling you." Sophia sighed, taking a sip of her drink before continuing. "But of course I knew about that tree thing. How else would they have known about Hadrian? And how you don't think that isn't that creepy is beyond me."
 

Alana Finch

Shop Asst. Inner Eye| Mom to Eris
 
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A small smile remained on the red eyed woman's face. Of course, it made perfect sense that Ivaylo hadn't told her. She was no longer pregnant, and it didn't matter. But if it bothered his soon-to-be wife, then it was worth mentioning. Alana couldn't make it too easy for Ivaylo. He'd involved himself in every relationship she'd been in, leaving her with a feeling of paranoia she sometimes still felt. Shutting her menu as she came to a decision, Alana murmured a small hmm, mostly in agreement as Sophia spoke. "Wait. What? Why would Hadrian...Merlin's hat" she trailed off, a sly smile growing on her face as she came to the answer. Alana tossed her blonde hair over her shoulder. "You are not telling me your child's father is another Zhefarovich." Alana had made the comment she had off hand, mostly on the fact that Sophia had a child so young and wasn't married. She'd had no idea this was far juicier than she'd realized. Eris tossed one of her toys on the table where it nearly knocked over a water glass. "Nice, nice, Eris. You have to play nicely " she cooed as she returned the block. "So how many of them have you, you know?" she asked, red eyes full of judgment and curiosity.
 
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Sophia rolled her eyes dramatically when Alana reacted about Hadrian being a Zhefarovich. Her eyebrows raised, she continued to stare at Alana as she continued to over-react. She let her eyes glance at Eris and then at Hadrian, who was still sitting and drinking his milk; she hoped he didn't pick up any bad habits from Alana's baby. It took Sophia a moment to understand what Alana had asked before it clicked in her head and her eyes narrowed. "Merlin Alana, seriously?" She shook her head. "I'm not sure what you're trying to achieve here. Gossip to run off and tell all the other Zhefarovich mothers? Or are you just trying to make yourself feel better, glad that you aren't the new meat - the new 'drama' anymore?" Sophia shook her head again. "This family really has you wound up, huh? You should come to my yoga classes, maybe that will help you settle down some." She said offhandedly, taking the milk bottle that Hadrian was waving around to show he was finished.
 

Alana Finch

Shop Asst. Inner Eye| Mom to Eris
 
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Alana gave a small half shrug, a very judgmental half smile/smirk on her face. "To be fair, it's not really gossip if it's true and from the sounds of it... the other Zhefaroviches probably already know" she said cheekily as she reached for her water again. Her eyes narrowed at the woman's next words and she put her glass down with some force, sitting up quickly to retort. She was about to speak again when the waitress finally showed up, and Alana placed her order as calmly as she could before returning her attention to Sophia scrutinizing the woman with her red eyes. She was pretty but not that pretty. "So what happened to your first husband? Did he break some stupid family rule and they killed him off?" she asked, wondering who it was but being too proud to ask. Although she was part of the family, she still felt like quite the outsider with everyone except her husband. Sophia didn't need to know that though. She much preferred the woman to think she detested the family, which she did at times, over her thinking she wanted to be accepted by them, which she also did want.
 
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Sophia rolled her eyes at Alana's statement about it being true. She wondered if her eyes were actually going to fall out of her head with the amount of eye rolling she was doing. Had Sophia known how butt-hurt Alana was about everything, she wouldn't have wasted her time meeting her. The brunette didn't respond to the first comment as the waitress arrived, and she gave her order, flashing the waitress a smile. Sophia raised an eyebrow at Alana. "My first husband? Ivaylo would be my first. But enough about me Alana. Let's talk about you. You must be glad that you finally fell pregnant; must be hard knowing you have to do something that you just, can't quite achieve, ya know what I mean?"
 

Alana Finch

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Alana had turned her attention to her daughter, taking a napkin to wipe at her chin. She was teething these days, more and more teeth cutting through each day. It was a wonder she was so cheery considering, but she was. Far more cheery than her mother anyway, especially as Sophia continued to talk. Alana sucked in a breath, her head swiveling quickly to the woman, her red eyes wide. Her chin quivered slightly at her words. She had no idea what she was talking about, no idea the feelings of loneliness, of failure, of guilt that Alana had felt in addition to the fear of her life for having her body fight against her. She clutched the tissue in her hand, hearing her daughter continuing to babble beside her. "That is a low blow" she hissed at the woman across from her. Alana was tempted to toss her water in the woman's face, but her glass was empty. "You'll fit right in with this family" she rolled her eyes, grumbling. "Hopefully this one sticks...otherwise, I'm sure you'll find some other Zhefarovich to attach yourself to" she added, sitting back and glaring at the woman now.
 
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Though one of her hands was there for Hadrian to play with, Sophia's eyes were glued to Alana, watching her reaction. She couldn't help but smirk when she saw that she had hit a sore spot, shrugging her shoulders when Alana said she'd fit right in. That was the plan. She had to smile at the hypocrisy of Alana dishing a bunch of hate and insults, but as soon as one tiny thing was said about her, she flipped her brick. "Alana, Alana," Sophia started, condescendingly. "If you can't handle the heat babes, get out of the kitchen! Though, from what I hear, your husband has an affinity for fire, so you'd think you'd be used to it by now." Shaking her head, and swapping her hand for a toy, giving Hadrian's cheek a soft touch before turning back to Alana. "Now, I'm more than happy to start over fresh, and give no more judgement, but only if it's from both sides. What say you?"
 

Alana Finch

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Alana had not been in a physical fight since her school days, but the woman before her was testing her. Alana clenched her jaw, not willing to give the woman the pleasure of knowing just how raw that would still was. The Chaos joke didn't bug her. She'd heard them all and then some. It was simply the woman who bugged her. Her whole stupid, arrogant demeanor. That she was marrying Ivaylo. Even her dumb voice was irritating Alana.

Still, she forced herself to brighten and give the woman a smile. "Let's. I was only trying to help. If you can't handle me, you won't stand a chance against any of the others" Alana shrugged. "Think of me as the pop quiz before they throw you to the fire, and as someone who knows a great deal about fire" she drawled, "I wouldn't want to see you get burned." Alana made it sound as if she'd been doing Sophia a favor the entire time.
 
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Sophia couldn't help but let a quiet snort of laughter out at Alana's reply. She very much doubted that was Alana's gameplay from the beginning, and especially from the reaction Sophia had gotten out of her, Sophia wondered how Alana had managed to survive in the family. Alana did send her a smile, which Sophia sent back, but she couldn't help but feel like it was a fake smile. She did, however, like the 'burned' comment. "Well, I think I handled myself pretty well, but thank-you," She emphasized the words of her sarcasm, "So much. Your help means the world to me." She responded, still smiling. Luckily Sophia could see their orders on their way, which she figured would help the conversation somehow. "So, Alana, what is it that you do?"
 

Alana Finch

Shop Asst. Inner Eye| Mom to Eris
 
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Alana thought otherwise but remained silent. Ignoring the waitress as she began to set their food down, Alana picked up the glass the woman had just filled. "For work? I work at the Inner Eye, and I also do some freelance writing for Witch Weekly." Alana had been able to sell them a few articles. It wasn't exactly what she wanted to be doing in any regard but she needed to get her foot in the door somehow. "I also spend time raising this cutie and making sure my husband doesn't end up in Azkaban. And you?" she asked, taking a sip of her water as she gave her baby girl's cheek a small squeeze and then handed her a fry.
 
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Sophia listened as Alana gave her reply to what she did. It wasn't the most interesting line of work, but Sophia had promised no judgment and a clean slate, so she kept her mouth shut. She did, however, laugh at Alana's comment about keeping her husband out of Azkaban. Sophia supposed it must be a Zhefarovich thing - none of the ones she had met seemed to be pleasant or 'good'. They all seemed to align with the same evil streak, but Sophia wasn't too fussed. As long as she was on the good side of it, she was happy. Hadrian made a noise when he saw Eris getting a fry, as he clearly wanted one as well, but was still too young to be able to eat it. Sophia shushed him and gave him his pacifier, which, funnily enough, pacified him while he jingled his plastic keys in the air. Turning back to Alana, Sophia replied. "I take Yoga classes and teach Kick Boxing. It's pretty fun, and keeps me fit." She replied, before popping her own fry into her mouth. "And you went to Hogwarts in New Zealand, yes?" Sophia asked after chewing.
 

Alana Finch

Shop Asst. Inner Eye| Mom to Eris
 
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Alana was certain that Sophia was testing her with her comments about what she did, which was basically nothing. The teenager couldn’t help but be jealous. She knew that she worked by choice, but it was to prevent herself from going mad at becoming someone like Sophia. Yoga, she scornfully said to herself. Taking a bite of the sandwich she’d ordered along with her fries, Alana nodded. “Yes. Slytherin, same as Ivaylo” she replied. Alana continued to eat, letting silence take over for a bit though the babies kept up a steady stream of babbling and playing with their toys. Eris was happily gumming her fry to death. Alana had a lot of questions, but most of them didn’t seem to fit the criteria under which they’d formed this truce so they had to go unsaid. “When is the wedding?” she finally settled on.
 
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Sophia picked up her fork and started on her chicken salad. It wasn't as nice as she usually made, and she pulled a little face before just poking the food around as she listened to Alana's response. She nodded her head in response, it figured they would have been in the same house. That would explain why Ivaylo knew so much about her; though it was part of his job in the family to know too, she supposed. When Alana asked about the wedding, Sophia brightened up. She was definitely looking forward to getting dressed up and the celebration. Their families could afford to go all out, so she would. "In a few months actually. It's happening pretty quickly, but I suppose I should have expected that. I assume you'll be coming?"
 

Alana Finch

Shop Asst. Inner Eye| Mom to Eris
 
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Hearing that the wedding was coming up so quickly made Alana wonder if there was a reason behind that. Sophia was seated when she arrived so it was hard to tell, but even the loosest wedding dress wouldn't be able to hide a pregnant belly if that was the case. Alana remained smiling as comments that couldn't be spoken passed through her mind. "Wouldn't miss it for the world" she confirmed.

As she finished her meal not too long later, Alana realized she liked Sophia no more than she had when she'd first walked in and perhaps a little less. "We really do have to do this again sometime" she smiled as she reached for her purse to take out some money to split the bill. The woman had not grown up with a great deal of money, and even now, when she had a great deal more of it at her disposal, she was careful about her spending.
 
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Sophia smiled at Alana, not sure if her not wanting to miss the wedding was a notion that she actually wanted a somewhat good relationship with Sophia, or if it was because she wanted to have more to gossip about. Either way, Sophia didn't mind. She knew it was going to be a glorious day for her, even if it were an arranged marriage, Sophia couldn't help but start to feel excited for the wedding.
As Alana suggested the do it again sometime, Sophia held back a laugh. "Let's. Or better yet, come to one of my classes." She responded with a smile, meaning what she meant about thinking yoga would be good for Alana, before reaching for her own purse. "Oh no - please, let me." Sophia said, offering to pay the bill. Even after Alana said no (which she had expected), Sophia continued to offer her money before Alana relented, though she seemed bitter about it. Sophia couldn't understand why, she was trying to do the nice thing, but she figured that was just the type of person Alana was. Both the women got their children ready, before saying their farewells and departing. Sophia was in no rush to meet her again.

FIN​
 

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