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Chapter 1: A Very Gryffie Holiday: Romanian Holiday
Dear Mum, Dad, and everyone else,
I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it home for Christmas this year. There’s too much work to be done and I have to stay here in Romania to take care of it. Hope you have a great holiday, even though the best kid in the family won’t be there.
P.S. Don’t eat the peppermint sweets Fred and George give you. They’ve confided in me some unpleasant results of their consumption.
Charlie sighed as he plopped down onto the comfiest chair in his room in Romania. He lived in a building with all the other people he worked with and they all had their own rooms. His room wasn’t what you’d call big, but Charlie liked it for its simplicity. It contained only two armchairs, a coffee table, a dresser, and a bed. It was all he needed since he was almost always working outdoors with dragons.
In fact, he had just returned from a long day’s work. He had thought he would possibly be able to get out of working Christmas day, but alas, he had ended up putting in ten hours of hard labor.
He leaned his head back and let his eyes close shut. He thought back to all the Christmases he had passed at the Burrow; how wonderful they had been. Charlie had always cherished his family but it was only then as he sat alone on Christmas that he realized how truly lucky he was to have them.
Being alone on a day meant for spending time with family was hard for him and he wished more than anything that he was able to be back at home, teasing Ron or helping Fred and George pull a prank on Percy.
He wasn’t sure how long he was lost in these thoughts, but they were interrupted by a knock on his door. Surprised, he got up to answer it. He hadn’t an idea who would be coming to see him, especially on Christmas.
Pulling the door open, he saw Elizabeth Harper, a girl a year or two younger than him who had come to Romania a few months before to help deal with some of the financial tasks for the business Charlie was a part of.
“Hello,” she greeted, a nervous edge apparent in her tinkling voice.
“Hello, Liz,” he replied, trying to hide the surprise he felt at seeing her there.
She blushed and glanced down momentarily before speaking up again. “I umm… I brought cocoa,” she stated, lifting her arms gently to show the two mugs of steaming cocoa she was carrying. She handed one of them over to Charlie’s awaiting hands.
“Thank you,” he responded, grateful for the warmth the drink provided. “Do y—do you want to come in?” he offered.
She grinned widely and nodded. “Yes, that’d be great.”
Liz followed him inside and followed his suit by placing her cocoa down on the coffee table. He stared at her, though not meaning to. She had shiny brown hair that had perhaps once been shorter but hadn’t been cut in a long while and had grown far past her shoulders and striking blue eyes that stood out against her fair skin. She was gazing back at him with those eyes, causing him to flush and glance away.
He hadn’t ever admitted it to anyone and had never even entertained thoughts of his desire becoming reality, but he had always fancied Liz in a way that made his pulse race and his skin feel like it was burning.
“I’m sorry to barge in on you, especially on Christmas, but I knew you were spending the holiday alone and so was I and I just thought it’d be nice to… spend it with you,” she admitted.
“Don’t be sorry,” he told her in a voice hardly more than a whisper. He didn’t want to speak any louder for fear of his voice cracking because of the awkward timidity he felt in her presence. “I’m glad you came,” he managed to get out smoothly.
She blushed again and covered her face with her hands to hide her embarrassment. “Merlin, I’m so hopeless,” she said with a tone of defeated exasperation. “It’s just… Well. I really like you, Charlie. And to be honest, it’s driving my crazy. I stood outside your door for about ten minutes, debating whether to just walk away or to risk making a fool out of myself by coming in here and – well, anyway, it seems like I’ve succeeded in making a fool out of myself.”
Charlie couldn’t help the small smirk that appeared upon his lips. She was flustered and a bit embarrassed, but she had never been more beautiful to him and he had never felt so attracted or drawn to her as he did right then.
“Oh, don’t smile, Charlie,” she pleaded, though she didn’t sound truly mad. “I’m humiliated enough as it is.”
“You shouldn’t be humiliated, that’s why I’m smiling,” he told her, the grin growing bigger on his face.
She cocked her head to the side curiously, wondering what he had meant by that. She didn’t have to wonder long because in a flash, Charlie was closing the space between them and gently planting his lips on hers in a tender kiss. His hands moved up into her hair and he pulled away after a few blissful moments.
“Happy Christmas, Liz.”
“Happy Christmas, Charlie,” she whispered, her eyes fluttering shut as she leaned in to capture his lips again.