- "I'll make sure to think of you while I bathe in a tub full of galleons."
- —Tessa to Pamela Francis in Fucking Cockroach
Tessa Van Patten was the second born child to a pureblood father and muggleborn mother. Though the family had little in the way of money, they managed to scrape by though perhaps would not have had Tessa's mother not had unfortunate luck in the fertility department. She did produce three children but there were quite noticeable age gaps between them and after a rather difficult time with Jetta that almost resulted in her demise, she seemed incapable of bearing more children, though this was more of a blessing in disguise as they could not afford to feed any more mouths and live in some semblance of comfort, no matter how basic it was.
Tessa was not satisfied with the way she was brought up. An overly critical eye developed from a young age as she swiftly began to see flaws in her parents' way of handling things sooner than most might. Her mother was often complaining to her father of their financial state which often provoked the stressed man into a temperamental outburst. He was not a cruel man by normal standards but he put great pressure upon himself and his temper was not as patient as some. He didn't often strike his wife, but occasionally she would push him too far. The few times Tessa witnessed these occurrences were enough to convince her that she needed no husband to enjoy a comfy lifestyle. She wanted to succeed where her parents had failed, she wanted to live her life without succumbing to ridiculous notions such as love or to bend to the will of some husband only interested in fathering children by her. That wasn't to say she had anything against having children, merely little interest.
At age eleven, Tessa received her Hogwarts letter and went off to join her brother at the wizarding school, the strain on the family's income increasing with the addition of double school fees. Thankfully by the time Jetta was old enough to attend the school, Ludolph had already graduated and so there wasn't the added strain of triple fees. Tessa was sorted into Slytherin, her quick tongue and intellect pushing her in the direction of the more intelligent of the house groups but her driving ambition and determined nature to succeed swaying the hat's decision toward the house of the serpent. She was not like a lot of the other Slythrins; she cared little for gossip, blood purity or status. Her objective was to be conscientious and achieve something better than both her parents.
Upon graduating with admirable grades, her problems began. Her father insisted she marry as soon as possible - a source of many heated arguments and the occasional threat or sharp hit around the face. It was during one such argument - a more heated one than usual - that she had threatened to leave and never return, going so far as to reach the top of the staircase before being held back by a firm hand reaching out and grabbing her by the hair. A yelp, a few shouts and curses, a struggle and a loud thud later and Filbert Van Patten lay dead at the bottom of the stairs, his neck having snapped with a loud crack that had immediately induced vomiting from Tessa. Disgusted with herself, she fled the family home without anything but the clothes on her back and tried a hand at living the life of the street.
She didn't like it. Not one bit.
Determined not to return home to face the inevitable questions, nor to admit a private sort of defeat to her father, she thought she sought to prove him wrong - she would support herself better than he had done for the whole family and without a husband. Of course, she didn't care how she did that, so long as her father wasn't proved correct. It was this and a little helper called 'fate' which brought her to her first brothel. Fascinated in a strange way by it all, she observed the people around her with curiosity and soon found a desire to run such a place herself. She didn't like the process of selling herself particularly but she liked the money. If she could run such a place, she could earn and have the power and feeling of success she craved.
The brothel was on it's last legs however due to a large debt owed and before long, a nineteen year old Tessa was out on the street fending for herself. Without a brothel to provide her with clients, she had to become more independent and find people to earn an income from. Being overly ambitious, she took to lurking in the more respectable areas of London and was arrested one night for indecent exposure. Sentenced to seven months imprisonment and separated from her wand, it soon became apparent that she was with child. Much to her aggrivation, she had no way of safely getting rid of her child and in the six month of her imprisonment, she gave birth to a baby girl. A very disgruntled Tessa left the infant with the name Lorna before she was taken and passed on to a workhouse, though not before the middle name 'Virginia' was pushed upon the infant in the hopes the child would turn out differently from her prostitute mother.
A month later, Tessa left prison and went on to find a new place to work as though she had never had a child. Once she was free of prison, her desire for independence pushed her to find a defense mechanism of sorts and so it came to be that she was captivated by the idea of becoming an animagus. It took her a good few years before she could successfully transform into the form of a red fox but she managed it, though she never registered, preferring not to be watched by the Ministry. Her patronus also takes this form though she's never had to use it.
Tessa worked in such a way until 1877 when she left the brothel and escaped to Hogsmeade to start her own 'business' and capitalize on exclusivity. Cunning and quick thinking, she managed to build up a decent reputation soon enough, networking herself and promoting herself through whatever means possible and acquainting herself with as many possible customers as she could. Her 'business', which she named the Maison de Vénus, flourished, bringing in a generous sum of profit and affording her a comfortable lifestyle.
In October, Tessa's long lost daughter found her way to Hogsmeade. She was reluctant to accept her at first but Lorna has since become a permanent fixture.
With Lorna turning eleven, the prospect of sending the girl to school or keeping her home became a matter of consideration. Tessa decided to send her to Hogwarts, hoping the girl wouldn't waste her education. She was somewhat dismayed to learn that Lorna had not made Slytherin but in fact been placed in Gryffindor. In the very early hours of September 3rd, the Maison de Vénus was burned to the ground - Tessa managed to escape with her money and her life. This put her out of business for a few months while she made plans and found extra funding for the rebuild, thanks to Leon Lupin. Tessa spent a short time in Paris during November, justifying it as searching for young witches to work for her as well as scrutinizing the high class brothels of the French city, which she did but also to escape upon finding out that she was expecitng. Shortly after returning, she made the acquaintance of her Dutch grandmother for the first time.
The new brothel, named The Painted Lady, was finished in December and opened December 20th to the public. It is located on Hogsmeade's High Street and has a public facade of a tearoom while secretly it opperates as a brothel. The public belief is that the tearoom is owned by a French widow, Eleonore Lévesque, an alias Tessa made up for herself.
Tessa is a woman of above average height as she stands at 5'6" and proudly so. She is slender with a generous helping of curve, leading her to weigh a little on the heavier side of average though this doesn't visibly show. Her wand can be found residing in her right hand and her clothes are usually of deep scarlet and violent dark pinks that flatter the figure. She earns enough that she can afford to clothe herself decadently which she justifies as being necessary to uphold the aesthetics of her establishment.
Her hair is of a luscious chestnut hue (though this can vary as she invests in potions to occasionally change her hair color) and usually kept in gentle curls or, sometimes tied up but not always. Her lips are usually painted a shade of red to compliment her attire and though her eyes are a rather unremarkable brown color, they are enhanced by the long lashes that accompany them. On her lower back is a tattoo of intertwining roses that lie just short of reaching her hip bones on either side which were put there by a sailor who lacked the money to pay for her fully.
Personality and TraitsEdit
As far as Tessa's personality goes, she's a caniving, shrewd woman who knows how to get what she wants. As a Slytherin during her time at Hogwarts, she was perfectly suited to the house, embodying both the ambitious and sly traits typical of the snake house. She boasts intelligence and a knack for dealing with money which she covets above all other things.
Where people are concerned, Tessa reserves a facade of charm for those she needs to keep sweet in order to get something she wants but where those she believes she has nothing to gain anything from by being so, she is generally cold and uninviting. She finds it much easier to deal with men than women which is why she is suited so to her line of work, and why she lacks a great number of female friends. Tessa is not quick to trust, rather defaulting to distrust unless adequately persuaded otherwise.