(1937-12-22) St Mungo's Christmas Gala 1937
Details for St Mungo's Christmas Gala 1937
Summary: The annual St. Mungo's Christmas Gala.
Date: 22 December, 1937
Related: None

The yearly St. Mungo's gala is taking place in a large ballroom not too far away from the hospital itself. This large ballroom has high ceilings with paneled walls with the slightest hint of Art Deco in their decor. The tables are covered with cream linens with golden plates and goblets that are polished to to shine in soft light. Hints of red and green are splashed across the room, and a very large Christmas tree that is settled behind the bandstand. On the other side of the room there is large bar, is keeping the alcohol flowing through the evening.

Dinner has already been served, and another fine meal was provided to those who have come out this evening, and now that it has finished, the band has started up in earnest welcoming people out onto the dance floor. Several of the higher ups in the Hospitals Administration Staff are out and about, brown nosing to the donors who have given graciously this year, and hoping for another donation by the time the evening is over.

Clover has been seated most of the evening, but now that dinner is finished, she is lingering by the bar, talking with one of her old mentors. She is wearing a deep purple v-neck dress that has a very low and open back. Her blonde hair is held up and off of her neck by a very elaborate comb, and she is wearing matching jewelry. While shes been taking it easy most of the night, she waves off offers for her to rest because of her condition. She once again has plans to dance the night away. Zephyr is here, speaking with friends and generally schmoozing with the guests.

Usually when Healer O'Shea comes to the Mungo's Gala, he's coming straight from work, and though he may change into more formal clothing, he's usually just taken a shower and cleaned up. He also usually tries to sneak in as unnoticed as possible. Tonight, it seems that his razor is seeing more action in the past few days than it has all year. He is again clean shaven, and his hair falls back smoothly from his forehead. His formal wear is impeccable, and he has a beautiful witch on his arm. Her sparkling silver gown is striking against the darkness of his suit, and enhances her fair skin and raven colored hair. He glances to the smooth dark hair, and his eyes stray to the spray of silver flowers clipped just behind her ear. To her whispered question he gives a nod, and a smile that's echoed in his green eyes.
This entrance causes more than a few of the older nurses who know the Healer, and his mother, to put their heads together in speculation. It's a speculation that has continued through the evening as the two have stayed at each other's side throughout dinner, and during the socializing afterwards. Now that the music has started, the ginger healer turns to his date, and bows in a polite request to lead her to the dance floor.

Vanessa hasn't anyone on her arm, unfortunately, as Maudlin's been detained on family business, and she's not sure for how long. The squib nurse's invitations came by virtue of her new position with the Ministry, and thus, she's not yet exactly a familiar face around the Hospital, although some might recognize her. She's currently wearing a lovely black evening gown, although, as she's wont to do, she lets her hair remain somewhat loose, rather than up in the usual styles. She smiles at people passing by, a small plate of food in one hand as she mingles.

Donner is standing near the bar, far away from the dance floor, clutching a brightly colored drink like a lifeline. He is wearing black and white formal robes. They fit well enough, but lack those tailoring finishing touches that betray it as an off-the-rack outfit. He stammered his way through dinner, managing not to creep out any of the donors, and now just has to put in an appearance before he can escape. Wide-eyed, he avoids making eye contact with anyone and prays no one tries to talk to him.

Ranjali has been seated at a table not far from Clover's, enjoying her own dinner happily. She's stayed as close to Audrey as she did during the SSS meeting the night before, which is to say even closer than she tends to be. Whenever possible, she's kept a hand on the singer's arm or hand. Now, though, she sits by herself, looking around happily while the blonde is swept up briefly by a group of admirers. She's dressed in blue tonight, a daring saree of topaz blue, her midsection visible(gasp!) through the sheer fabric wrapped up over her shoulder. Her own hair is up, held into a chignon by two combs studded with gems of the same color. Seeing Vanessa and Donner, she stands and with an amused glance passes the man on her way to her friend's side, "Enjoying yourself yes, Healer Jones?"

Veruca is quite familiar with events such as this, but not so much with being the object of at least a measure of speculation by some of her date's friends and co-workers. Despite her awareness of this, or perhaps because of it, she is at ease on Keenan's arm with a smile ready for each new introduction. Still, there is a broadening of her smile, and perhaps a touch of relief in her eyes at his request for a dance. Reaching to slip her hand into his, Veruca is ready to follow wherever he leads.

Clover smiles as she people watches for a moment, spotting Veruca and Keenan heading to the floor. Than again, they're hard to miss with such a bright and striking dress that Veruca is wearing. Another fantastic outfit catches Clover's attention, and she slides over to Ranjali and Donner. "Evening you two." She says with a smile. "I've been meaning to come see you with that dress Ranjali, it is absolutely fantastic."

Keenan grins as he looks off the floor and gives a nod. "One dance," he tells her. "I've had tae share ye all night. Now I just want some time with ye all tae myself, an' this is tha only place I can do that. Then we'll do some more of tha talking that needs tae be done." With that, he leads her to floor, and tries to lose the stares of the old crowd by taking her right to the center of the swirling crowd. Unfortunately, the fact that he knows how to dance, and his partner has obviously studied the art from a young age, and the two move together so well is cause for more wagging tongues.

Vanessa, spotting Ranjali, starts to make her way over towards her friend, grinning. As she recognizes Donner, she smiles at him as well. "Ranjali. Healer Jones. How are the two of you doing tonight." She glances around, another smile directed to Clover, who she's met, but only briefly in passing, and who's name she doesn't know…

Better late than never, and technically dateless, Edwarlinda Malfoy has finally pulled herself out of her townhouse to catch a few people on the town. She's dressed for the night too, her body clad in a sweeping red strapless gown, skin tight from the chest to her stomach but then pooling onto curve emphasizing red draping. Her platinum hair is done in careful pin curls all across her head and she's absolutely stunning. She looks like some winter queen of snow and blood. Ice eyes flicker around the room, considering all those present.

Blushing faintly, Ranjali ducks her head as she peeks in the direction Audrey was pulled off to. "Thank you. It was a gift from my mother. You look stunning, yourself. That color is just wonderful on you." She turns to smile at her friend, as well, when she approaches, "Oh, Vanessa! You made it, I'm so glad. Have you met Healer Macnair… oh my." Edwarlinda's appearance does not go unnoticed by Ranjali, whose blush grows just a tad darker as she takes in that daring gown.

Moving easily into Keenan's light embrace, Veruca's eyes linger on his face, trusting his lead without question. She doesn't attempt to talk over the music, but she does draw toward him once or twice, pressing more closely for a moment to speak near his ear. As they move out of a turn, her eyes are caught by the splash of red and platinum. Leaning in once more, Veruca informs Keenan that a mutual acquaintance has been spied in the form of "There's your Lindy." With a smile she motions with her head, in case he needs more specific a direction.

"Yes. I love nothing more than idle chatter with people I don't know with the capability to end my career," Donner says with a tight lipped smile. He nods to Vanessa, saying, "Hello again." He swirls the drink in his class, it's still full; he obviously hasn't drank any of it yet. "Good evening. You look stunning? as well Healer Macnair." Catching sight of Edwarlinda across the room, he takes a stiff gulp of his drink. There's definite 'oh shit' vibes coming off the man.

As the dance comes to an end, it doesn't take much of a search for the red to catch Keenan's eye, and the timbre of his smile changes. It gains something of fondness, and perhaps some relief as well to see his friend there. Taking Rue's hand in what is becoming a familiar gesture as he pulls her hand through to his arm, he lightly kisses her knuckles before laying the graceful fingers to his sleeve. "Aye, it appears Lindy has made it after all, shall we?" With that, he leads Veruca from the floor directly towards the Malfoy Woman in Red. Once he's found his way to Edwarlinda, he grins, then gives a wink out of his corner of his eye and a quick whisper to his date. "Lindy-lass, I'm glad tae see ye made it. May I present tae ye, Miss Veruca Max. Miss Max, this is my best friend, Miss Edwarlinda Malfoy." There's a wicked sparkle in his eye as he says to Eddie, "I promised I'd introduce ye."

Poor Donner gets a pass, for now, though if the Malfoy realizes who it is, he might be in trouble. She elegantly sweeps past him and towards her friend and his date, a crimson smile decorating her lips smoothly. "Rue. Good to see you again… and I appreciate the introduction, Keen, though I see my suspicions were correct. My words, of last evening… stand." She then smiles a bit more and bows her head in both their directions. "Congratulations. I hope you both are very happy… and if you break his heart, Rue, I may just have to peel yours, you know… So… be gentle with it?" Eddie's joking. Surely. Right?

"I would have her send me one as well.. well maybe next fall or so." Clover says as she looks down and smirks. The red dress also catches her attention and she raises her brows. "That one is eye catching." Looking back to Jones, she gives him a wink. "You you clean up nicely as well, I've always said that work would be more entertaining if we wore something more than those horrid robes. Than again.. I'd hate to have to pay the cleaning bill on this dress because something spilled at work."

Vanessa smiles, and offers her hand to Clover. "Ah yes, Healer Macnair. I believe we met in passing in the tea room some days ago, but I didn't remember your name. It's quite a pleasure." She turns to Donner. "Thank you again, for coming so quickly the other night, Healer Jones. I do hope that the patient is doing better." As for Ranjali, "Rani, at some point tonight, I'd like to talk to you for a bit. I think I need to catch you up on…some…" She trails off, and goes almost as white as Donner when she sees Edwarlinda, recognizing the distinctive Malfoy appearance.

Ranjali chuckles softly as she hears Donner's answer, and nods to Clover. "Oh, indeed. She does love picking out clothes for others, I'm certain she'd be glad to. Sometimes I think she should have opened up a little clothing shop of her own." She continues to glance from Edwarlinda to Audrey, missing as she does so the visible reactions of Donner and Vanessa. "Oh? Well, yes of course, I'm certain I can step away in a moment… Miss Malfoy!" She calls out raising her voice at the end, as the woman comes closer to them to speak with Keenan and Veruca.

Veruca casts something of a questioning glance at Keenan's whisper, but there is no time to question it before he is introducing her to the woman she already knows. The word congratulations draws a bare rise of one brow, and the Malfoy's words don't seem to outwardly frighten Rue. Her smile remains warm as she releases Keenan's arm to take Eddie's hand in greeting. "I can only give you my word that it's the last thing I would ever do, Eddie. But I would expect you to do no less. I'm very glad you decided to come out tonight, you look stunning." Her eyes shift at a voice, and Rue notes Ranjali, one of the women from the play's opening night, and she releases Eddie's hand, stepping back closer to Keenan.

Donner laughs mechanically. "I don't know how the muggles do it, wearing white. It seems like such a poor choice for the line of work." Truth be told, he's a fan of the chartreuse. To Vanessa he says, "Oh, ah, yes. We got him sorted right out. Nothing so out of the ordinary after all." He sounds a little disappointed at the patient's recovery.

Keenan raises his eyebrows at Edwarlinda's friendly threat. "It's a 'big sister' thing," he tells Veruca. "She's older, so she thinks we young ones can't take care of ourselves." He does, though, when his arm is free, step forward to give Eddie a hug. "I am glad tae see ye out, an' lookin' as smashin' as always. Ye've missed dinner, so ye needn't worry about tha smell of food. An' I really should be giving my best wishes to Clover, tha gala has been going well." He pauses. "Have ye met the younger Mrs. Macnair?"

Clover take Vanessa's hand and smiles. "Yes I believe we did, but please, call me Clover. I'm off the clock after all." She says with a smile before turning to Rani. "Nothing's stopping her from doing so! Once I have.. returned to my normal size I will let you know." Shaking her head to Donner she shrugs. "Perhaps they like to see every random fluid they come in contact with by the end of the day. I know I do not."

Eddie's head turns as she hears Ranjali calling her name, a warm smile tossed in the woman's direction. "Ranjali! Good evening… lovely to see you!" But it seems Eddie is going to be introduced to someone else right now, so her eyes trail back to Keenan and she tilts her head. "Ah… I am certain we have passed each other but no, I've never been formally introduced." And then her pale eyes finally last on Veruca, a warm smile pulling at her lips again. She's a bit tired under the surface, but she's hiding it well tonight. "Thank you, you are looking amazing yourself. No wonder Keenan's gone barmy over you." Eddie winks.

Keenan clears his throat as Eddie mentions his name and 'barmy' in the same sentence. "All right, ladies," and after Veruca's hand is once more on his arm, he offers the other to his friend to guide them across to Clover. Yes, the half blood Irish wizard has two of the most gorgeous pure blood witches in the room on his arm. "I didn't know ye knew Ranjali," he mentions to the Malfoy woman as they make their way across to Clover's table, and he does smile in Ranjali's direction as well. Then they reach Clover.

Ranjali steps forward to greet Eddie, Keenan, and Veruca as they approach, smiling and nodding warmly. She remains silent as the woman greets Keenan's date, offering the dark-haired woman another bright smile. Chuckling with Eddie's words, she nods. "Indeed, you look gorgeous, Miss Max. Its so very nice to see you again. And yes, Miss Malfoy and I are acquainted. She's at the hospital often enough." Looking from Clover to Eddie, she smiles brightly, "Oh, but have you two met? I'm certain you'll have so much to talk to, considering… "

Veruca looks amused by the use of the word 'barmy', her attention turning to tame her smirk and greet more party guests. "Miss Winterthorne, how nice to see you again." Dark eyes travel appreciatively over the woman's unique attire, complimenting with warmth, "You look lovely." Keeping her arm tucked into Keenan's, she takes a step closer to him, and greets her boss's wife, "Clover, what a wonderful job of organizing this."

Vanessa is underacted, as Clover shakes her hand. "Then Clover it is, at least when not working. And please, call me Vanessa." As Keenan, Veruca, and Edwarlinda approach the group, though, she does go a bit pink, and looks down. After all, this is her family's social circle, and while she's no longer ashamed of being a squib, she's still a bit skittish of encounters within it.

While Eddie can make a few good guesses as to what Ranjali is suggesting, she arches a brow, "Considering…?" She dares to ask, looking Clover up and down for one moment before pausing, "Hold that thought." As a waiter comes past with a whole tray of champagne. "Stop, boy." She commands, scooping up half a dozen and change glasses. Two for Donner, given with a wide, Cheshire cat smile, and then one for Vanessa, Ranjali, Keenan, Veruca and Clover. "Anyone who doesn't want theirs, give it to the gentleman over here. He needs to relax!" Eddie pats Donner on his handsome little head for one moment, grinning headlights, and then she looks back to Clover, Ranjali, and the others. "Sorry. That needed to happen. So… as we were saying. Yes. Quite lovely."

"I only had a small part in the planning process." Clover says to Veruca. "I'll stick with Vanessa when we're off duty as well." Clover responds with a smile. Raising her brow to Ranjali, she is about to comment when Eddy passes out the booze. Not one to turn it down, she'll hold it up with a small toast before she takes a slow and careful sip. She over did it the other night, and after all this is a work function. However once she's home, all bets are off! "I don't believe we have met formally, but your name does sound familiar." Of course Malfoy is a name she knows well, and she knows well, and she knows it goes with her Mother in Law that she is /so/ fond of.

Keenan raises an eyebrow along with Eddie when Ranjali mentions her 'considering' and looks between the two. He's about to open his mouth to make proper introductions when the icy blonde is suddenly handing drinks all around to them, and two to Healer Jones. His eyebrows nearly reach his hairline, but he quickly smooths his expression with one sideways nod. "Yes, Clover," he begins when he's recovered from the surprise. "This is my friend, Edwalrinda Malfoy. Eddie, I'd like you to meet my closest confederate in the halls of Mungo's, Mrs. Clover Macnair."

Donner suddenly feels -much- more charitable towards Vanessa, for he is also looking down, seeking wisdom in his half-empty glass, and feeling skittish. He's about to excuse himself and go have a bit of a lie down when suddenly he has three drinks awkwardly crammed into two hands. No! How did this happen, that's what holding the first one was supposed to prevent! "N-no! Ah, no, that's not necessary, I have work in the morning," he stammers, which is a complete lie. Typical of schedules, the biggest stick in the mud at the party is the one with the next day off.

Someday there will be a social event that Maudlin will arrive on time to, until that time hell is still toasty warm, and the stars are still in the sky. Better late than never she moves into the room where the party is taking place. Her blond hair has been bound up in the latest Muggle fashion and she is dressed in a long hunter green silk gown that clings to her body and has slit in the skirt of the gown that goes mid-thigh. That slit shows off her long legs. Elbow high gloves that are of black silk hide her arms. She slips in quietly and she takes her time scanning the crowd.

Ranjali's blush renews itself under Veruca's look and compliment. "Thank you." She takes the champagne glass from Eddie, almost immediately placing it on the table (yes, she places it near Donner). Notably, she didn't drink a drop the other night, either. In fact, she even left early. "Yes, you look… I think ravishing is the word, Miss Malfoy." As she turns back, she notices finally poor Vanessa, and slips around to slip an arm through her friend's. "Have you meet our newest member, Miss Mills? She'll be working with us as a go-between with the Muggle hospitals."

Considering no one actually mentions what she and Clover has in common, Eddie just glosses over the matter with a smooth smile, arching a brow to Donner, "Oh, Keen there has a wonderful hang over potion. Drink up. Relax, it's a night for all of us to enjoy, no?" And then she is looking back to Clover, nodding warmly, "It's a pleasure to finally meet you formally… Please, just call me Eddie, really. Keenan insisted I come out to this little shin dig and I figured I could use some fresh air. I really appreciate it, and I am glad there are people to keep him sane around Mungo's." Ranjali and Clover are encompassed with a smile as Eddie says that. Then she's looking back to Vanessa and she gives a little nod, "Vanessa Mills. The Squib, yes. I remember… Glad you are still out and about in society, dearie. Your family were all real bastards about the matter, weren't they? Well, fuck them all, enjoy yourself and keep up the work you love yes?" Eddie offers with a grin, as if she didn't just use the worst of language.

Veruca is content to fall silent after thanking Edwarlinda for the supply of drinks. She does pay attention to the conversations eddying about, but unless she has something particularly pertinent to add, she will sip her champagne and listen.

Donner's eyes goes WIDE at the kind of language Edwarlinda uses so casually. Then he drinks up, because what must she sound like when she's upset? Placing the empty glass on the table takes more concentration than it should.

Ranjali winces a bit at Eddie's language, but keeps her smile in place. "Miss Malfoy, I do hope you'll forgive me. I've been meaning to check in on you, but I've been so busy. How have you been? Have you spoken with Elly yet, or are you choosing a different Midwife?"

Vanessa is shocked, but pleasantly so, by Eddie's language, and by her support. "Um, why..thank you, Miss Malfoy. I have to admit that I'm in full agreement." As Ranjali speaks, though, she smiles. "And congratulations!" She goes quiet, taking the opportunity to look around, and when she spots Maudlin, her smile truly grows! "Please, everyone, do pardon me," she says, and makes her way over to where her eagerly awaited companion is. "Maudlin, Love. I'm so glad you made it."

Looking to Donner, Clover raises a brow and murmurs a quiet sentence. "Are you sure you're in early tomorrow?" She isn't! That's for damn sure! She smiles to Eddie and nods. "Than you may call me Clover. Mrs. Macnair makes me think of.. someone else." She says with a smirk. "My husband is around here some where. He had better return soon, or I will have to find myself a new dance partner." Clover isn't phased by the foul language, she just smirks at the woman and red and continues her conversation. "We keep each other sane, which was great when we were taking all our exams."

Keenan is sublimely used to Eddie's language. In fact, he seems to find something reassuring in her language. He reaches out a surreptitious hand to assist Donner in placing the drink on the table and gives the man a wink. "Don' worry. I'll make sure ye don' feel it too much in the morning," he tells him in a low undertone. His attention is drawn to Vanessa, and he gives a little more attention to the woman. "Miss Mills, is it? I don't believe I've run inta ye yet in tha halls. An' sanity in a Healer is overrated," he tosses over his shoulder to his two friends, before he turns his attention to the nurse again. "A liaison to muggle hospitals?" the tone of his inquiry encourages her to elaborate a little. He may not be actually talking to Veruca at the moment, but his free hand does rest on hers, his thumb lightly caressing along the wrist.

As Eddie was in great moods, passing out drinks, swearing for fun, just starting to relax, it all crashes and burns as Ranjali asks that question. Just much of Eddie's confidence goes. Where as Clover is married, a ring on her finger and a man somewhere near, Eddie is clearly quite alone at this party. She wears no ring, and the question just makes her blink awkwardly. "…Ah… Elly, I guess… is taking care of it." Is all she says. She then leans over, grabbing a glass off of the tray and knocking back a hard gulp of the champagne, even if her stomach may hate her for it later.

"I agree with you Ms. Malfoy." Maudlin tells Eddie with a grin. "How is my favorite Auror doing? Sounds like the cat is out of the bag!"
It is then that she meets Vanessa half way there. Her green are bright as she kisses Vanessa on the cheek and takes her arm. She leans over and whispers into her ear.

Ranjali's lips part, her own expression falling as she notes Eddie's change. "Ah… oh. Um, well, good then. Excuse me for a moment?" She slips back through the crowd, offering Maudlin a somewhat subdued smile, and moves off to find Audrey before they completely lose track of one another.

At his coworkers assurances that drinking heavily tonight will have zero repercussions in the morning, he says flatly, "In that case bottoms up." and takes a small sip of champange. "Miss. Malfoy. is that wise?" Donner asks, taking his time over each word. He would have asked more delicately, but everything is sort of… buzzing.

Vanessa nods as Maudlin takes her arm and whispers into her ear, the pair returning to the group. She does notice the change in Eddie's attitude, but doesn't comment on it, although she does shoot the woman a sympathetic glance.

The question of the wisdom of her drinking makes Eddie smirk just a bit more. "Probably not… but what life is worth living if it's wise and boring?" Eddie's gray eyes turn behind her, dancing in search for the drink boy but he's no where close now. She gives an unhappy little huff, shaking her head. Maudlin's comment about the cat being out of the bag makes the stunningly dressed woman smirk just a bit darker. "You might say that." She looks less than thrilled. In fact, she looks downright pissant now. Needless to say, the Mafloy woman isn't brimming with joy about this blessing.

Seeing that Eddie doesn't look to pleased with the topic of conversation, Clover does her best to change it. "You have to tell me where you got that dress, it is absolutely stunning." She says with a smile, before she laughs at Keenan, sanity may be over rated, but occasionally it's needed for our jobs."

Vanessa nods as Maudlin takes her arm and whispers into her ear, the pair returning to the group. She does notice the change in Eddie's attitude, but doesn't comment on it, although she does shoot the woman a sympathetic glance. At Keenan's question, she nods. "I'm a nurse at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea. The Ministry has hired me to also keep a watch there, in case patients from our world turn up, or a Muggle should appear having caught a wizarding bug." She frowns, glancing over at Donner, as that very situation led to her meeting him the very first day she was working.

"Understood." Maudlin reaches for a drink, it is going to be a long night. She takes a sip and smiles as she raises it towards Eddie. The others are offered a smile and a bow of her head in greeting. For now she is quiet as she listens and remains on Vanessa's arm.

Keenan nods at Vanessa's answer to the question and gives her a grin. "That is a great idea," he agrees, but the decidedly colder temperature coming from Eddie's direction pulls his attention. "Excuse me," he says to all three ladies, turning Veruca back towards Eddie and Clover before he gently disengages from her.

His long strides take him towards the open bar, and he grabs two glasses of a the shorter and stouter variety. As Eddie's mood turns more sour, and she notices the alcohol boy is nowhere near, he slides up next to her, and gently puts the drink into her hand. "Lindy's always turned heads wherever she goes." He gives her a moment to down her drink before he asks, "would ye dance with me, Lindy-lass?"

Ranjali returns after a moment, smiling again though far more timidly. She keeps to the edges of the group, choosing to remain silent after she takes in Edwarlinda's greatly changed expression. She's also holding a drink, though it contains only non-alchoholic cider.

The drink which is pressed into her fingertips is examined quietly and Eddie brings it up to her nose to sniff it, checking to see exactly what she's drinking, unless it's just the champagne. If so, she knocks back another gulp of it, apparently now determined to get sauced for the evening. "Thanks, luv." And his question of the dance makes her frown just a bit. "Go, go dance with your lady. I'd be poor company right now. Just going to enjoy my drink." And then she's looking back to Clover and smiles just a bit again, "Ahh.. I have a personal tailor who does most of my work, but I'd be happy to owl you his name. He really is brilliant. Suppose I'll be using him even more in the coming months." She sounds less than excited.

Donner shrinks back into himself as Eddie's expression turns darker. He takes a consoling sip of his drink. This is starting to become a bad idea. "Ummmmmuggle. had… splattergrout," Donner slurrs. His face has flushed and his eyes aren't quite tracking where exactly everyone is. Barely more than one drink has put Donner practically on his arse.

Veruca does speak up now, to politely disagree with Edwarlinda. "I think a turn on the dance floor with Keenan would do a world of good, Eddie. Don't worry about me. Perhaps Healer Donner will be requiring a dance partner." If he can still feel his feet.

Veruca does speak up now, to politely disagree with Edwarlinda. "I think a turn on the dance floor with Keenan would do a world of good, Eddie. Don't worry about me. Perhaps Healer Jones will be requiring a dance partner." If he can still feel his feet.
Keenan has reconnected.

Vanessa kisses Maudlin's cheek. "Darling, we absolutely must dance this evening, but I was hoping we might get a chance to talk to Ranjali beforehand." She smiles, and turns to Rani. "Would Audrey mind terribly if we were to borrow you for a few minutes, dear?

Hearing Donner's slurred speech, Ranjali frowns a little, and steps his way. She may be amused when he's being his usual self, but there's more worry than usual in her for someone who's had more than he can possibly handle. "Healer Jones?" She raises a hand timidly to his shoulder, "Are you alright? Perhaps you should sit down for a moment.. " But then Vanessa is stealing her attention, and with a small smile she shakes her head, "No, as long as its only for a moment. I promised not to leave her for long."

The look that Keenan exchanges with Veruca as she insists on Eddie dancing with him can only really be understood by those who have a true love of their own. Then he turns to his friend. "Ye see, I've learned nae tae argue with Miss Max," he tries to catch Eddie's eye and speaks low to her as he once more urges her to the dance floor.

"Ah, yes that would be fantastic." Clover says to Eddie as she reaches down to touch the skirt of her dress. "See, that was my favorite part, the excuse to buy a whole new wardrobe. Did you know that they have fabrics that will expand with you? I found them to be very fascinating." Though as Keenan takes her off to the floor she gives them a small wave. Turning to Ranjali she nods. "Go on ahead, I'll keep an eye on him." Though she gives a look to Vercua, one that says.. I don't think Donner will be dancing.

It doesn't really seem Eddie is going to be able to dodge this. So, she finishes the second glass of whatever Keenan handed her and then sets it down, offering him her bare arm and nodding towards the dance floor. "Well, well..fine…" Then she's looking back up to Clover, listening to the comment about expanding fabrics. Her nose wrinkles a bit…"I… I am not certain I like at all the idea of my wardrobe OR my body expanding. But… that is good to know. Excuse me while this man drags me off." And with that, Eddie does disappear to the floor.

Maudlin eyes Eddie and for a moment and she smiles as she calls to her and Keenan. "I get the next dance." She then turns to Vanessa and grins. "I would love to dance, why are we taking Ranjali away?" She asks her and then she smiles at Ranjali, before she looks over at Donner. "Healer Jones, slow and steady, there is no race."

Vanessa smiles back to Maudlin. "Because I owe her an explanation." She turns to Donner. "Please, Healer Jones, do try to take it easy." She then turns, and heads off towards a corner, where she waits for Maudlin and Ranjali to join her.

Ranjali is frowning curiously, but she follows without a fuss, sipping her drink once she arrives to stand at Vanessa's side. "An explanation?"

Donner is working on standing. Dancing is a little out of his league right now. "Yes, I think I'll… sit." He sits heavily into one of the chairs surrounding the table. "S'not my fault," he mutters. It's not! It's that horrible woman's doing! How did the blame shift on to him?!

With a nod Maudlin follows them to the corner. Her expression is one of curiosity. She smiles and sips her drink while she walks.

Veruca studies Healer Jones for a moment, then motions toward one of the servers, murmuring when she is closer. "Would you bring our friend a very large glass of water, please?" she asks, immediately sending the girl on her way to fetch the beverage to rehydrate the tipsy healer. If she notices Clovers look, there is no indication, as her eyes stay assessingly on the lightweight Donner.

Vanessa smiles apologetically to the exotic healer. "I thought that I just needed to explain, Ranjali." She blushes, as she takes Maudlin's hand, squeezing it softly. "Maud and I had met by chance a couple of weeks ago. Afterward, for whatever reason, she invited me to visit Hogsmeade. The whole visit there affected both of us." She looks down at the floor for a moment, then at the blonde witch. "I invited her to dinner at the Cauldron last week, the day after we all talked here, in fact. One thing led to another, and…well…" She smiles, the expression blissful. "It was all so sudden."

Keenan winces as he's unable to get Eddie away before the talk returns to something about pregnancy. He easily surrenders his own whiskey, and lets her finish it before they head out to tha floor. "Ah, ye should know, Lindy-lass. Us Irish lads are persistent, 'n' persuasive, an' we usually wear a woman down until we get what he want." He gives her a grin. "Now, just dance with me, an' forget tha rest. Besides," he twirls her around deeper into the crowd of dancers. "It's yer fault I'm such a good dancer, an' now ye have ta pay tha price by indulging me."

Clover is standing near a table with Veruca and Donner. She has a glass of champagne that she is slowly sipping on but she's mostly looking bemused at her intoxicated coworker. Reaching her hand in to her tiny purse, she'll pull out a small vial and hand it over. "Here.. take this now and you shouldn't feel so horrible in the morning." Ahh hangover draughts, how would budding apprentices and journeyman get through their classes with out it?
Clover has disconnected.

Ranjali shakes her head a bit, smiling. "There's no need to explain, Vanessa. I'm so happy for you both. Certainly I was curious, but there was no need to worry." Stepping forward, she reaches for one of each of their hands, "Believe me, things with Audrey were no less surprising for me. Even if they did happen a bit more slowly."

Donner moans a thank you when water and is produced, and that he sips slowly and with decorum. The hangover draught and holds on to it, but right now he needs to concentrate on keeping his insides inside.

In an uncharacteristically sympathetic move, Veruca rests one hand lightly on Donner's shoulder. She's both been and taken care of someone in this situation, and while typically she wouldn't really choose to notice, this time she seems actually a little concerned. "Perhaps, Healer," she says gently to the man, "You might need some assistance getting yourself homeward. Please do say so." If not herself, there are surely many who would see the man safely on his way when he chooses. Until then, she will linger nearby, while her date sees to a dear friend.

"There is an explanation for everything but this. I cannot explain it. We are slow to a point." Maudlin tries to explain as she gives Ranjali's hand a squeeze. "You can feel free to question or interrogate me at anytime." She says with poor attempt at humor. "I also wanted to see if you could have lunch with me sometime Healer for I wish to ask a favor of you." Maudlin then looks over at Vanessa and says to her with a wink. "I thought this was slow." This is said in a gentle teasing tone. She leans over and kisses Vanessa on the cheek.

A protesting sound is made in Eddie's throat as she settles in against him, dancing smoothly, trained and elegant as always. Eddie is truly quite lovely when she lets herself be, even if she's closer to 40 than 30. "I'm dancing, I'm dancing, see? Happy now?" She asks with a little huff.

Vanessa giggles at Maud's words, then returns the taller woman's kiss. "Anyway, as I said, we were both just completely overwhelmed. But this isn't the time." She turns to Maudlin. "Shall we go and dance, my darling? After your dance with Miss Malfoy, of course."

Keenan chuckles. "Ah, I'm a man… isn't there some rule that we're never supposed tae be satisfied?" he asks. "Or is that women…" He notes Veruca over Eddie's shoulder as they turn, and the green gleams before he turns his partner again. "Question is, are ye happy, now?"

"A favor? Of me?" Ranjali is more than curious, but she nods without asking more. "Well of course. I often have visitors come for lunch at the Hospital, you'd be welcome to drop by anytime. Or I could meet you somewhere as well, if you prefer." She smiles once more at them both, stepping aside to they can head to the dance floor, "Feel free to drop me an owl anytime."

"Me? Happy?" That makes Eddie frown a bit more, her eyes meeting his for a heartbeat before she quickly looks away. But, in that moment, he can see a lot. She's not happy. She's lost, and tired, and really quite scared. But she's doing her best to hide it all and keep a confident front. "I am fine, Keen. And you should dance with your lady."

Donner shakes his head once, but cringes at the way it makes the room wobble. "No, m'fine, I'll take- knight bus." He's not meeting anyone's eyes, as much from embarrassment as inability at this point.

"That I shall." Maudlin tells Ranjali. "Thank you, so much. I appreciate it more than you know." She offers her a bow of her head and then she moves with Vanessa to head out to the dance floor. "Do you think I should cut in?" She asks this of Vanessa.

Taking their joined hands, Keenan brushes at Eddie's cheek. "It'll all work out, Lindy-lass," he says quietly. "Ye've got all o' us here with ye, an' if I have ta come camp out at ye're house while Sloan's workin' so hard, I will." The mention of his lady brings a warm glow to his eyes. "Aye, don' ye worry. I'll dance with ma lovely lady, all night if I have ma way." He pulls Eddie a little closer for a hug as the music winds down. "We can take ye home, if ye like."

Veruca's hand takes a light grip on Donner's shoulder, squeezing then releasing quickly. She leans near his ear, murmuring lightly, "Don't worry, pigeon, we'll see you home safely." The words have a reassuring note to them, conveying the woman's resolve that the clearly inebriated healer will be safe and sound this evening. It's in the Christmas spirit, after all, and has very little to do with her being softened by a good man.

Vanessa is about to nod to Maudlin as the music ends. "Go ahead and ask her, love, that is if she does decide to stay." The squib's smile has not left her face, as she almost pushes her beautiful companion out onto the dance floor.

Edwarlinda shakes her head gently to Keenan, even as he pulls her in for that tight, warm hug. She returns it tightly, rubbing against his back. "No, no… You all stay and enjoy yourselves. If I stay longer I'll just drink more and then it'll be a true mess. I can get home just fine on my own. Kiss your lady love for me." She kisses his cheek and then begins to let him go, leading in the direction of Veruca.

With a nod of her head to Vanessa and a smile Maudlin moves towards Eddie and Keenan. Once she is near them she stands at a respectful distance. "May I please cut in?" She asks in a kind tone. "If not I do understand."

Clover is simply watching Veruca as she tends to the healer. There is a faint smirk on her lips, and she attempts to hide it behind her glass. Christmas spirit indeed. "It looks like you may be needed back on the floor Miss Max." She says, gesturing to the dance floor. "Go on ahead, I'll keep an eye on him." Clover may be off the clock, but it's hard to not step in and play healer.

Better late than never, yes? People still work even if there is a gala. But when that shift ends, Maureen arrives with a vengeance. She is sporting a gossamer blue gown with shimmering silver jewelry, bracelets, earrings, and necklace with a falcon pendant. Alas, she does come alone.

Keenan chuckles and says something quietly in Eddie's ear that, judging by the gleam in his eyes and upward smirk of one corner of his mouth must be quite wicked. Hopefully, it's all he needs to convince her to accompany him, and it's then that he notices Maudlin. "I think Miss Malfoy is ready to retire for the evening, but it is kind of ye tae ask. Perhaps another time?" With a polite smile, he continues on to Veruca. "Miss Max," he says warmly when they join the table. "Between work and the gala, I find I'm fading quite fast. Would ye mind takin' me home an' tuckin' me intae bed? Perhaps we can stop an' drop Miss Malfoy off on the way?"

"Another time then." Maudlin says with a bow of her head to them. "Perhaps we can speak Eddie later in the week, another early morning perhaps? Good Sir, may you have a lovely evening." She then backs away and goes to get another drink before hunting down Vanessa again.

Vanessa is waiting at the edge of the dance floor when Maud comes off, and immediately is back at the side of her sweetheart. "Ah well, another time. Although I can't complain too much." She does briefly go over to Eddie. "I do hope you feel better soon, Miss Malfoy, and perhaps we will have the chance to get to know each other better." She offers her hand.

While Veruca doesn't pander in gossip, she knows more than her fair share of it. While she chooses not to reveal certain things she knows about people, there is a lot stored in the little black book in her head. Including volumes of information about squibs and their families. Keenan gets a loving smile as he returns with Edwarlinda, and she says softly to her healer, "I think we can get everyone home safely that we need to."

Ranjali dissapears into the crowd again, seeking her starlet. But then, the starlet in question is off with a group of admirers (mostly, yes, male ones) and is quite flirtatiously accepting the praises she's being showered with. And so its not long at all before Ranjali returns, looking almost as unhappy as Edwarlinda had, to take a seat beside Donner.

A small laugh crosses her lips and Eddie waves it off to the group gently, "I'm fine, I'm fine… nothing to feel better about. Keenan here just doesn't care for me to drink more and, possibly, my stomach will thank him for it in the morning. But yes, you all have lovely holidays! It was nice to see the group. You be safe, sounds… enjoy your families.." Eddie gives a few blown kisses to those there before settling into heading out with Keenan and Veruca when they are ready.

Hmm. Where to go? First? A drink! With a cup of punch in hand, she spots Maudlin getting a drink and Vanessa sidling right up. "Ah. Hello you two. Now whatever happened to you avoiding Mungo's for fear of something bad happening, hmm?"

Taking Vanessa's hand Maudlin leans over and kisses her cheek again and then whispers something to her. She looks happy as she starts to drink this drink. Her eyes are scanning the dance floor and the guests that are around them. She looks to Maureen. "Mo, you look lovely tonight. What happen to you getting David out and about?" She offers her a wink. Then she grins. "Oh, Vanessa works here. I am here with her. Outside of that I will be hard pressed to come into these hallowed halls."

Veruca will happily give her care of Donner to Clover and Ranjali, putting her attention firmly back onto Keenan and Edwarlinda. As an arm slips around the waist of Keenan's best friend, Veruca gives her a squeeze. Eddie might have noticed a vastly different Veruca than their few meetings have given her reason to suspect, a change no doubt brought about by the caring ways of a good Irish man.

Donner takes the hangover draught, and wonder of wonders does feel a little bit better. Between that and sitting quietly, he's almost rallied. He notices Ranjali out of the corner of his eye. "'M never living this down, am I?" Welcome, Ranjali, to the Table of Woe.

Ranjali is more than happy to worry about Donner rather than the attentions Audrey is paying to that group of young men. Offering the man a sympathetic smile, she shakes her head. "Likely not. But take heart, it truly could be far worse. Trust me." As though his woe is contagious, her own expression darkens even farther. Memories of the reason she is pointedly /not/ drinking anything stronger than cider are the last thing she wants to dwell on tonight.

Vanessa smiles at the new arrival. "Hello, Maureen. How are you doing tonight." She's about to say something when Maudlin whispers in her ear. Nodding, she replies in kind. "If you'll pardon me," she says, giving Maud a soft kiss on the cheek, then heading over towards Ranjali. "Ranjali, would you care to have this dance?" she asks.

As Veruca offers support to Eddie, Keenan takes Clover's hand and leans down to brush a kiss on her cheek. "Lovely party, Clover," he says. "I actually enjoyed tha Gala this year. I'll see ye in a couple days." Straightening, he gives a grin to the beautiful ladies, and takes a breath. He offers his arms to them, and may even, on the way out, lean a little sideways to press a kiss to Veruca's temple. But that couldn't be, the old nurses will argue when Mildred relates the last tidbit. Because that could be love, and everyone knows Healer O'Shea is the most confirmed bachelor ever.

Maureen hmms skeptically at Maudlin. "That's not what you said to me earlier." She sips her punch and gives a look about the gala. "Anyway, I didn't ask him. I had to work and he has a late shift so it wouldn't have worked out anyway." There's a mild shrug offered. "I'd have liked to have gotten in a dance with Keenan though. At least so I could innocently step on his toes once or twice. It seems he's departing."

"This is why I love you Mo." Maudlin says to her with a laugh. Her green eyes are on Vanessa as she watches her movements and there is a smile on her face. She gives a glance at Maureen again. "I said a lot of things, but you noticed I am drinking, this will help my stay here." She teases with a laugh. "Besides you really need a bed warmer." She teases again. "Have you unpacked?" She asks her.

Ranjali blinks as Vanessa approaches. "Oh! Ah… " She looks from the woman to Donner, biting her lip worriedly. "I really shouldn't leave him. I'd love to, though." She offers the other woman a worried smile, obviously torn.

Clover smiles up to Keenan as he kisses her and leans in to return it. "Yes, you take care of everyone, and I'll see you in the office later." When Vanessa comes for a Dance with Ranjali, Clover reaches over and touches her arm. "Go. One of us needs to be out on the floor, and it looks like it's not going to be me. I've got an eye on him."

Maureen gives an absent sort of nod as her eyes skim the crowd for eligible bachelor/ettes and foot stomping options. "Mmhmm. Just finished up. Furniture arrived. I hired that nice lad you mentioned to put in some plants.. they won't bloom this year mind you. Not without some help. But I'll see it right. Things going well with Vanessa?"

Donner waves his coworker on. "Go, have fun. Someone should, tonight. As long as I am sitting, the room is hardly spinning."

Vanessa nods, and smiles, about to sit down next to her friend when Clover steps in. "Ah, there we are. Please, allow me this pleasure, Rani. You look like you need it." She offers her hand to her friend, to lead her out onto the floor.

Ranjali looks over to Clover, gives Donner one last worried look, then nods. "I… alright then." Standing, she takes Vanessa's hand and steps out onto the dance floor with her friend. "Really, its alright." She assures the girl, trying to smile more bravely. "I'm just being silly."

"Please my dear, you know he has an older brother." Maudlin points out to her. "Hodges says he is good eye candy in the summer." She offers her a wink. "Very good, I think I found a good bed warmer. I am more than just little fond of her. She filled my mind while I was working; none have ever done that to me. We are taking it slow." That is said with some amusement. "Not really, we should though. But there is sense that time is running out." She says this honestly to Maureen. "Any good foot stomper? What about that man over there. Little grey in the hair and he has no ring?" Her gaze then goes to Clover and her charge, then it moves to Ranjali and Vanessa.

Vanessa nods, as she leads Ranjali out onto the floor, and begins to dance with her, taking the lead. "Honestly, dear, you are. I know you're scared of losing Audrey. I'm the same way about Maud, for different reasons. But I can see how much she truly adores you. I may not be the best judge of people, but I can see that she would never hurt you intentionally."

Ranjali swings easily into the dance, her movements betraying that she is far better at it than the average enthusiast. "I'm sure you're right." She murmurs, unable to risk a glance in the singer's direction almost every time she is spun the right way. "Truly, its… its a failing of my own."

Donner shakily gets to his feet. With a hand on the chair back, he's pretty steady on his feet. "Thank you, I apologize for my behavior here tonight and assure you it will not happen again," he tells his shoes. "I can see myself home. Thank you."

Vanessa smiles at her friend, sympathetically. "We all have our failings, Ranji. And we all need to overcome them. It's part of being human, whether or not we're Wizard, Muggle, or Squib." She takes a breath, as the music ends. "You dance beautifully, dear. Now, if I might make a suggestion, why don't you go drag Audrey out here onto the floor. I'm going to do the same to Maud." And with that, she grins, and heads directly for her beloved.

Ranjali nods, though suddenly nervous. "Yes, yes I should do that… " Biting her lip, she watches the starlet for a moment longer before finally gathering her courage. At which point she squares her shoulders, walks straight into the group, and pulls Audrey out of it and onto the floor for a dance that is, between their combined talents, quite entertaining.

Vanessa smiles as she watches Ranjali drag Audrey to the floor, then has to stifle a yawn as she makes her way back to Maudlin. "Darling, I wanted to dance, but I think I'm just about done for the evening. Shall we head home?"

Maureen throws her gaze towards the indicated fellow. "Marcus? No thank you. We danced at last years gala. /I/ didn't have any toes left and that's hardly my plan for the evening. I just bought this gown." She steps aside with Vanessa's arrival. "Shoo. I'll go pester Ranji. I'm sure there's some gossip I missed earlier in the evening."

"I think my dear that it is wise." Maudlin puts her now empty glass down and offers Vanessa her arm. "Mo, have fun and we need to tea so we can gossip." She offers her friend a grin and then she is ready to leave. "Shall we?" She asks Vanessa.

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