• #1 by Honey Bea Flume on 19 Feb 2023
  • the royal dick, edinburgh // thursday, 10 march 2005

    “Edinburgh,” Honey said without looking up from the Witch Weekly she was flipping through. She had convinced Grace to go out, convinced her to just borrow some of her clothes instead of going home to change, had lied when she said that everything longer than that skirt were all in the wash. They had spent most of the day together at Honey’s flat in Hogsmeade–on the very rare occasion they both had the day off–minus stepping to the Thistle for lunch, so they’d had plenty of time in; it was time to go out.

    Grace was stalling, she assumed, and not actually concerned with how short the dress was that she had just pulled over her head. Honey flipped the page and paused, smirking at the small photo of and smaller blurb about Honey and Charlie–well, mostly Charlie–being spotted in pink again, never mind it was at a Portree match. She tore out the page and set it aside for the not-a-scrapbook.

    And that was part of it, wasn’t it? Honey felt bad about not spending enough time with Grace– or just, less time. She might have also been trying to distract her. Honey had already decided, at least, that if things went poorly, it had been Charlie’s idea; if it went well, it had been Honey’s. She laughed under her breath when she realized how that sounded without more explanation, but it was definitely a set up and not a proposition.

    Grace must have figured out she couldn’t stall forever, and Honey looked her over appreciatively. “Looks great,” she said, before tilting her head back to drain her glass (because they had started drinking a few hours ago). Honey stood up and smoothed down the short denim skirt she was wearing, then held out a hand for Grace to take, leading her to the fireplace. It was a quick floo and a little walk away, and Honey dropped her hand when they were around the corner from the entrance to the pub ‘she’ had picked.

    “Right, so–” she said, slowing to a stop and turning to look at Grace properly. “First,” Honey held up her hand between them, her pinky outstretched. “Promise me you won’t leave.” With her other hand she waved off Grace’s expression. “You’ll have fun.” And when she still didn’t look convinced, Honey added: “Would I lie to you?”

    Promise made, Honey led Grace into the pub. Charlie and Sam were already seated at a cozy little table, two pints between them; Honey took Grace’s hand again and led her over to them, looking back just once with a look to remind her that she pinky promised. She let go of Grace’s hand to kiss Charlie, who had stood to greet her–sorry, Grace–before offering Sam a little wave, then pulling Grace a little bit closer. “This is my best friend Grace,” she said, mostly looking at Sam. “This is Sam,” she said, giving Grace’s arm a sharp squeeze to encourage more of a smile.

    “We’re gonnae grab a round,” she said after a beat, now pulling Grace toward the bar.

    @Grace Howard @Charlie Baker @Sam Lynch
  • #2 by Grace Howard on 10 Mar 2023
  • Frankly, Grace would have been more-than-content to lay around Honey’s flat for the remainder of the evening… but, alas, her best friend was apparently getting a bit stir-crazy. Even the usual stall tactics weren’t working, and Grace didn’t know whether to feel mildly offended or amused.

    “Ah,” she replied when Honey answered her latest question, wrestling a bit with the dress she was attempting to pull over her head.

    Honey was four inches taller and a bit slimmer than she, which made things a bit… logistically difficult… when one wore the other’s clothes. Grace suspected that Honey had insisted she borrow something tonight because if Grace went home to change, she certainly wouldn’t be re-emerging until the next day. She’d been traveling a good bit recently and was starting to feel the effects.

    Wiggling back and forth slightly as she worked the (thankfully) stretchy fabric down over her arguably-more-rounded arse, her eyebrows went up slightly as she glanced over her shoulder to check her reflection. Not bad, actually. Maybe she’d borrow this one more often.

    “Looks great.”

    Grace held her hands out palm-up in a sweeping gesture of thanks.
    “You’ve got 10cm on me – I don’t even want to know how short this is on you. Or, y’know, maybe I do.”
    She smirked, taking Honey’s proffered hand.

    A blur of green flames later, they were making their way down the street when Honey suddenly dropped her hand and slowed her step. Grace pivoted instinctively, moving to follow Honey’s gaze – to find it was on her. And in the space between them Honey held up her hand, pinky finger outstretched.
    Grace puffed out her cheeks as her best friend gave her the provisos. It wasn’t unlike Honey to pull something like this every now and then – like a swan boat in the middle of a Welsh December (which all-in-all hadn’t turned out bad, just bloody freezing) – so, while not entirely convinced, she wasn’t inclined to veto it immediately.

    “Would I lie to you?”

    One eyebrow lifted.
    “You really want me to answer that?”
    An instant later, she decided to make that a rhetorical question.
    “Fine, okay.” Extending her own pinky finger, she made the promise.

    Almost the instant they set foot in the pub, though, she wished she hadn’t.

    Her gaze landed on him first, and her mouth tightened instinctively.
    “Mother f—” she hissed under her breath without moving her lips but cut herself off, remembering her promise. He was too far away to have heard – he and, apparently, one of his mates.

    Honey’s hand slipped back into hers, and Grace did not miss her backwards glance: she met Honey’s gaze and tried to smooth out her expression, nodding once to Charlie (who at least had the decency to stand to greet Honey, she grudgingly supposed she’d give him that). Honey dropped her hand to greet him, and Grace pointedly looked away and rested her gaze on his mate instead (who was easy on the eyes, as it was), copying Honey’s small wave.

    She felt Honey close in on her side in short order and give the ‘official’ introduction.
    “Hi, Sam,” she replied, doing her best to relax into a smile just as Honey pinched her arm discreetly, then led her firmly to the bar.

    “You’re joking,” she breathed, just loud enough for only Honey to hear, her brain slowly putting the pieces together. She wasn’t quite sure how she felt about this setup just yet. “How the bloody hell did this come to mind?”
  • #3 by Charlie Baker on 12 Mar 2023
  • They had spent most of the day in the rehearsal space, putting some final (hopefully) tweaks on the record so far. Getting Sam to agree to a drink after a hard day’s graft wasn’t the difficult bit, but subtly suggesting they do so in Edinburgh was. Sam had assumed Fergie might get invited, Charlie had shrugged a non-committal answer – a Flume would be there, so it was halfway to the truth.

    The whole thing had stemmed from a throwaway comment (Sam really needs a shag) that Charlie had made to Honey; she’d responded that Grace, too, was in need of a shag, and it had taken them the same amount of time (seconds) to come up with The Plan. To be honest, Charlie felt a little bit guilty thrusting Grace upon Sam—he didn’t deserve that—but objectively speaking, she was alright to look at, and if it got Grace off his back, distracted her from his girlfriend for a bit, and they both got a shag out of it, well, everyone was a winner.

    They had shared a chuckle over the pub name, gone inside, ordered a couple of pints. Then a couple more. The door opened and Charlie spotted Honey, smiled, then felt the expression wane slightly upon seeing Grace follow her in looking thrilled.

    Charlie stood as Honey approached, one arm wrapping around her in a loose hug; he caught Grace’s eye and did his best to smile nicely – no smirk, no other ill-will. He flicked his gaze back to Honey and pressed his lips to hers, lingering over it a little longer than he probably needed to; "Hello." She stepped back and he sidled back to his seat, lowering into it as the introductions were made.

    The women departed for the bar, Charlie looked at his almost-empty pint and hoped Honey would be getting a full round. He then realised, over the top of his glass, that Sam was staring at him. Charlie held his hands up in mock-surrender. “I’m just looking out for you mate,” he grinned.
  • #4 by Sam Lynch on 14 Mar 2023
  • “Heh,” said Sam – The Royal Dick – this was going to be great. He’d been confused at first, since he was pretty sure Fergie – their mutual Scottish contact – lived in England now with the fiancee, but perhaps they’d all come out to Edinburgh just to enjoy this splendidly named pub. The name of the pub, incidentally, was why Liam wasn’t coming with – Sam and Charlie been joking around too much earlier in rehearsal, when the outing was proposed, and gotten him in a snit. His loss. It really was very funny.

    They sidled in; Sam got them both a round and then – when nobody new materialised to join them – made Charlie get the second, since he suspected he’d offended the barmaid on his first go around, by making what he’d thought was an entirely inoffensive comment about what turned out to be the house beer.

    “We getting dinner, too?” he said, checking his watch, trying to remember when Fergie was usually available, and thus not noticing the pub door open. He looked up only when Charlie stood up to greet – well, that was an entirely different member of the Flume family, with a friend. Immediately he realised he’d been had, so thoroughly that all he could think to do was lift his hand off the table to mimic Honey’s friendly wave ‘hello’. He wondered what Honey’s friend – Grace, he remembered as soon as Honey had introduced them – had been told about him in advance of this little set-up, and whether his gormless behaviour now was falling short of expectations. “Hi,” he said.

    The women swept off to the bar at once. Sam didn’t think he’d done anything yet that required them to discuss how the interaction was going, but he took advantage of their absence to fix Charlie with a look, silently demanding an explanation. “Oh, you’re looking out for me?” he said skeptically. “This was Honey’s idea, wasn’t it? Her friend isn’t getting out enough?” He didn’t know what kind of thinking led women to set their friends up on blind dates.

    But then the other two were returning with the next round. Sam took the fresh pint and set it next to his nearly-empty glass. “Hi, Honey,” he said, before Charlie could start greasing any wheels of conversation. “How’s Scotland?”
  • #5 by Honey Bea Flume on 18 Mar 2023
  • Grace said hi, Sam, and Sam said hi; Honey glanced at Charlie– they were off to a great start. She pulled Grace away to the bar.

    There were a couple people between them and the drinks, so Honey turned to look at Grace– but she glanced back at Charlie and the back of Sam’s head almost immediately. Was she joking? Honey looked at Grace again. “Am no,” she said, narrowing her gaze, a gentle reminder that they had pinky promised. That was sacred, or something.

    Honey shrugged off the question; she wasn’t about to tell her that she and Charlie were discussing how their best mates both needed a shag and wasn’t this a convenient solution? But she had anticipated this, had an answer (mostly) ready. “Well,” she started, less courteous about her volume. “I want to spend time with you, but I also want to spend time with him.” She flicked her gaze in Charlie’s direction but quickly looked at Grace again. “And ye both--” she poked Grace in the stomach– “suck at pretending to like each other.”

    She looked back at the table again, then back at Grace, reaching up to push Grace’s hair behind her shoulder. “Sam’s yer buffer, or whatever.” Between her and Charlie, she meant. Honey slipped her arm through Grace’s, turning them to face the bar. “He just also happens to be single,” she added airily, as if that was a total coincidence.

    It was their turn to order, then, and Honey ordered two ciders and made a guess at whatever the two men were drinking. She dealt with the drinks and the paying before she looked at Grace again, a cider in one hand and a beer in the other. “You promised,” she reminded her, waiting for Grace to grab the other two pints and walk back to the table in front of her– she wasn’t giving Grace the chance to leave. Honey set her drinks down and shrugged her coat off, then sat next to Charlie– maybe too close if she was trying to keep Grace on her best behavior.

    Honey looked from Sam to Grace, then back to Sam, one hand wrapped around her glass, the other applying gentle pressure to Charlie’s thigh. She was mid-sip when Sam said Hi, Honey, and she raised her eyebrows, managing to suppress her laugh and not choke on her cider; how is Scotland? “We’re good,” she said, figuring she would have to explain why he was asking that– if Sam hadn’t already told Charlie all about Honey’s stellar conversational skills.

    “Grace was just telling me about the trip to Austria she has coming up,” she said, misremembering the multiple conversations they’d had about Australia. “She’s a cursebreaker,” she said to Sam, before looking at Grace with a smile. “Aye?”