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Chapter 19: All A Girl Really Needs
---Chapter 19 - All A Girl Really Needs---
That was that.
Edan wasn’t compatible. I was. Funny how life worked that way, huh?
“Keegan,” my brother said my name in the way someone would try to coax a small child out from their favourite hiding spot. I looked up into his familiar eyes then looked at the Healer, who was staring worriedly back at me. I didn’t even dare look into the other pair of eyes that I knew were boring holes into my head.
“Keegan,” he tried again and placed his hands over mine. “Are you okay?”
Was I okay?
That was the million galleon fucking question, wasn’t it?
But for the sake of him, and the sake of ending this weirdly bizarre day, I nodded. I forced on a smile and looked to the Healer. “Well… when do we get started?”
The Healer smiled warmly. “Well we’ll have to schedule a day for it and find a suitable Healer for this procedure.”
“What about you?” I asked quickly. He seemed capable enough.
“Well unfortunately I will be away starting next week so I won’t be able to be your Healer,” he said slowly and I nodded. Of course this whole bloody thing was going to take a much longer and much more complicated route—anything with my mother always does.
“Ah,” I finally said. “Well, let me know when the… the procedure is set and I’ll be there. But if we’re done here, I’ve got things to do.”
The Healer looked quite taken aback by this and to my mum and Edan’s credit, they both just let me go as I stood up and headed out of St. Mungo’s. Once I was outside in the cold winter air, my coat wrapped protectively around my body, I realised I really had nowhere to go. The girls were going through their own crap and I couldn’t really go home to make small talk with my dad when I had just practically signed my kidney off to his ex-wife, and there was no way in fucking hell I was going to go to Oliver—not after Saturday night.
So where do you go when you have nowhere else to go?
And then it hit me. I moved to a corner behind St. Mungo’s designated for apparation and thought of the place I wanted to go to. Almost abruptly, I felt the familiar sensations of my body being sucked in through a small spot in my abdomen, and the whooshing sensation began to make me feel sick, but as it always did, it stopped just as abruptly. I staggered back a little and looked up at the three-storey white house, all of its windows closed and barred from outside visitors and I smiled at the irony of its formidable appearance compared to the chaos that was waiting for me inside its confines.
I walked confidently up to the house and knocked. I suppose it really was a stupid idea to turn up here unannounced but I knew it’d be okay.
The door was yanked open and standing with a baby locked in on one hip and a bottle in the other hand, Mrs. Nicholson smiled widely down at me. “Oh Keegan, darling, how are you? I’d hug you but…” she gestured to the baby and smiled once more, ushering me inside. “Adam’s just in his room. Go straight on up, love.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Nicholson,” I grinned and cooed at the baby in greeting who just stared blankly back at me with wide blue eyes.
I turned on my heels and practically skipped all the way to Adam’s room on the third floor, my spirits returning to me as the tension in my shoulders relaxed. I shoved open the door to find Adam sitting in his boxers with a magazine flopped open on his bed. He turned at the sound of my intrusion and broke out in a wide grin.
“My lovely ex-girlfriend, how are thee?”
I laughed as I fought off my friend’s embrace. “I am fine. What are you doing?” I asked, jerking my head towards the bed. “I didn’t know you could read.”
“I have many hidden talents, my dearest Keegan,” Adam smiled and then pulled me onto the bed with him. He moved further back to give me some room and propped himself up against the wall. “So you look troubled. I assume you heard?”
“About Miranda and Elbie?” I shook my head sadly. “Yeah, I heard.”
“Bloody ridiculous, huh?” Adam also shook his head then raked a hand through his light brown hair. “Elbie is beside himself. He didn’t mean to break it off.”
“I know,” I replied in understanding. “Heat of the moment I guess. But why isn’t he going to get her back?”
Adam let out a bark of laughter. “Keegan, have you met Elbie? Stubborn as a bloody mule.”
“I guess,” I said, a smile lifting the corner of my lips. “We have to fix it though.”
“I think we should let them sort it out, Keegs,” Adam warned.
“Adam!” I cried out, throwing the open magazine at him. “When have you ever shied away from a scheme?”
“Since… since now!” he picked up the magazine and placed it on his nightstand, away from my hands. “Elbie’s pretty torn up. I just think he needs to sort this out himself.”
“You just said he was as stubborn as a mule!” I pointed out. “We can’t wait for them to see reason and go running back to each other. We have to force it out of them!”
“I’m your bloody captain and you will do as I say or… or fucking laps, Nicholson!” I growled, putting on my ‘Captain Keegan’ face, which had the opposite effect as Adam however as he just burst out laughing. I growled some more and he quickly sobered up his expression and saluted.
“All right, Cap’n, what’s the plan?”
“Are you sure she’s coming?”
“Yes, Keegs, I told you she is!”
“Jeez, no need to get so snippy, Nicholson.”
There was a loud sigh and then, “as much as I love you, I really want to hit you right now.”
I snorted. “Just think of all the laps you’d be doing.”
“What? I… I wouldn’t hit a girl, Keegan!”
“You two shut up!” added a third voice, and I tilted my head to the side to smile sweetly at my date. He tried to frown at me but the quirk in his lips told me otherwise. “I can’t believe you roped me into doing this.”
“Aw Georgie, I did promise you a date, didn’t I?”
“Yeah and I was supposed to plan it, not help you kidnap a person,” George laughed and I could almost feel him rolling his eyes. “But it was quite fun to test out the sleeping powder.”
“I told you,” I replied a little bit smugly. “Didn’t I tell you it’d work like a charm?”
“Shush, here she comes!” Adam quickly interrupted, and the three of us poked our heads through the bush where we had been hiding and watched as Miranda walked into the clearing, clearly confused at what was going.
A little bit over an hour after Adam and I had hatched our very wonderful plan, of which I named the ‘Miranda and Elbie Reunion Love Fest’, I apparated to George Weasley’s house and I gave him some spiel about wanting to go on our date. George was apprehensive at first but once I got him away from eavesdropping ears, I spilled out the plan. We were going to use his special sleeping powder that I knew Fred and him had been concocting on Elbie, stuff him into the back of Adam’s car and bring him to the clearing in the woods by my house. We had then set up a long picnic table covered with a white frilly cloth, and then placed a bottle of champagne and an assortment of finger foods on the table. For added romance, we also strewn flower petals all over the clearing and charmed some birds to sing peaceful soothing songs nearby—it was George’s idea actually. I hope that that hadn’t been the plan for our date because if he knew me at all, he knew I would probably vomit all over his ‘romantic’ date. Anyway I digress, so once we had everything in place, Adam went to get Miranda and tell her that I was distraught and needed her right away or something along those lines.
And well, this was it… Miranda had come and any minute now she was going to notice the unconscious body lying next to the table.
“Keegan?” she called out, turning this way and that. She looked worn out, her hair was in disarray and she was wearing a tatty old t-shirt, her black coat wrapped tightly around her. “Seriously, this is not funny!”
She walked around the table while gingerly touching each of the items and then all of a sudden, she went flying onto the floor. Adam, George and I stifled our laughter, as Miranda scrambled back onto her feet and let out a squeak of shock.
“Elbie! Oh my god!”
“Now, George,” I whispered and he nodded. With a wave of George’s wand, our friend began to stir. He blinked away the sleep from his eyes and looked up.
“Miranda? What… what is going on?” his voice sounded raspy from the sleep but as he sat up, that seemed to be the only side effect from the sleeping powder.
George, Adam and I high-fived each other before turning our attentions back onto the couple before us.
“I have a feeling we just got duped by our friends,” Miranda sighed as she moved to sit on one of the plastic chairs we had taken from my house. Elbie stood up, ran his fingers through his hair before taking a seat opposite her. He kept his gaze down but every few seconds his eyes would dart upwards, watching his ex-girlfriend warily.
“I should have expected this to happen,” Elbie said. “When have our friends ever left anything alone?”
Miranda gave a bitter laugh. “I know.”
“I just didn’t expect to get kidnapped though,” Elbie surprisingly let out a laugh, the sound was genuine and it forced a smile onto Miranda’s face.
There was a pregnant silence that followed and I began tugging at the hem of my jumper anxiously.
“So what now?” she asked tentatively.
I cocked my head. I have never seen Miranda look so vulnerable in my life, and it actually kind of suited her. It made her seem the age she actually was when normally she would try to act a lot older. It was refreshing to see her with her walls down for once.
“You tell me,” Elbie said pointedly. He looked up at her and then looked away again. There was an edge in his tone and I knew he was still hurting from their previous spat—but I hoped it was just that. A spat. Nothing more.
“Elbie,” Miranda began, her voice pleading and quiet. “What do you want me to say?”
“If you don’t know, Miranda, then… I don’t have anything to say to you.”
I was about to jump in and break Elbie’s face when Adam’s hand circled around my wrist and pulled me back down. He frowned and shook his head.
Damn him! Elbie’s being a prick and Miranda’s my best friend so you know what? He most definitely deserves a punch in the face! I crossed my arms over my chest and harrumphed. It would have made him see some sense…
“I…” Miranda’s voice broke and I saw a wave of regret wash over Elbie’s face. “I’m sorry, okay? I messed up.” There was no response from the boy and Miranda fidgeted uncomfortably in her seat. “I shouldn’t have freaked out like I did… but I panicked! I panicked, Elliot.”
Elliot? Wow. I forgot Elbie’s real name was Elliot.
“And how is that supposed to make me feel? My girlfriend panicking over the thought of a future with me, huh?” Elbie snapped, the sound making Miranda flinch.
“It wasn’t that,” Miranda quickly interjected. “It was just the future in general! I was so scared that if we moved in together, everything would fall apart and I didn’t want to lose you. I know now that I was pushing you away all on my own. I just… God, Keegan and I are best friends for a reason!”
What? Okay how the hell did I figure into this?
“I’m just as clueless about emotions as her,” Miranda laughed a little. “We’re both idiots, refusing to see what’s right in front of us but Elliot, I know now just how much I need you in my life, whether we live together or not, I don’t want to lose you just because I’m too scared to move forward.”
Elbie exhaled loudly and a few seconds passed by as we all sat, waiting with abated breath for his reaction, but then he let out a slow lazy smile overcome his features. “Come here, you big mush.”
Tears sprang to Miranda’s eyes and she rushed forward. Elbie wrapped his arms around his girlfriend and kissed her full on the lips, and as mushy as that really was, I couldn’t help but feel euphoric over this turn of events.
“Well done, Miss Riddell,” Adam whispered with a bow.
I half-curtsied, considering we were all still sitting down, and grinned from ear to ear. “And well done to you too, Mr. Nicholson.”
“And thank you for the best date ever, Georgie,” I winked and leaned over to plant a kiss on his cheek. He turned a bright pink and gave me a goofy grin.
We snuck away from the clearing to give the recently reunited couple some privacy and headed back towards my house. George in an attempt to gain some sort of control over our ‘date’ produced a bouquet of flowers out of thin air and got on one knee to present them to me. I dramatically pressed the back of my hand to my forehead and ‘swooned’ at the gesture.
“This has truly been an interesting date,” George laughed once I had graciously taken the bouquet from his hands.
“I’m glad to be of service.”
“See you around, Keegan,” he winked before apparating away.
Adam was the next to leave as he hugged me to his body tightly, apparating soon after. As I now stood in my garden alone, I found that for the first time in days I felt relaxed. I wasn’t absentmindedly clenching my hands into fists nor was I thinking of ways to kill someone. I felt happy. Of course, I was happy with Miranda’s situation, my situation on the other hand was a big and messy flop of crazy, but I fixed my best friend’s relationship and hell, I was going to bask in that glory for a little while longer.
I pushed open the door and walked into the house where my brother was sitting by the kitchen island. His eyes snapped to mine and I instantly regretted coming home. I should have followed Adam back to his house and hid out there for the remainder of the day, but as it happens, I was stuck.
“Hey,” I mumbled.
“Keegan,” he began and I nearly threw my shoe at him in an attempt to distract him from what I knew was coming. “Thank you.”
“You’re not mad at me?”
“No, what? Of course not!” Edan looked at me incredulously for a minute before tilting his head back to laugh. I relaxed immediately in the ringing sound. “I know… this is hard and it’s a pretty messed up situation but I also know why you’re doing it so thank you.”
“Your welcome, baby bro.”
“Biscuit?” he offered and I greedily stuffed it into my mouth, much to his amusement. We stayed like that for some time, just eating and chatting about Quidditch, Cameron, never ever straying towards the topic neither of us really wanted to bring up in this house. Again, I was overcome with a feeling of euphoria. I think things were looking up. I really did, and even my cynical pessimistic brain couldn’t do anything to override this feeling. Something was in the air, change maybe, but whatever it was, I was ready for it. I had my friends who have all proven time and time again that they were always there for me and I had my family. That’s all a girl really needs, right?
“Oh hey, did Dad tell you about tonight?” Edan asked, pulling me from my thoughts.
“Nope, what’s happening tonight?”
“We’re going to the Woods’ house for dinner,” Edan answered nonchalantly. “We leave in half an hour.”
“Half an hour?” I squeaked. “Oh god.”
I dropped my fifth biscuit and ran up to my room, leaving behind my very befuddled little brother. I was panicking. Oh yes, I was definitely panicking to the nth degree.
Bloody hell, how could a person go through such a range of emotions in one day? I mean one minute I was depressed and the next I was happy, over the moon even, and now I was panicking! I mean you know what, universe? I really don’t think it’s bloody healthy!
I began pulling clothes from my wardrobe and throwing them onto my bed in a flurry. Half an hour to get ready is a joke. How was a girl supposed to make herself look presentable in half a flipping hour? It’s not possible, I tell you! Not if the girl didn’t mind looking like a half-crazed tramp!
I was admiring the way a soft blue cocktail dress looked when I realised just what I was doing. I was panicking over dinner. Dinner with the Woods! People I’ve known since I was a toddler. And all because what, I kissed their sometimes aggravating, sometimes entirely too endearing, sometimes insane son?
Bloody hell, Keegan, you have to get a grip!
Oliver is your friend. Nothing more. You kissed him, so what! Get over it! It was just a momentary lapse in judgement, brought on by the devastating news of my mum. Yes, Penny was right. I was just distraught and unable to fully comprehend my issues with her returning back into my life and I sought out some solace in Oliver—that made sense, right? I mean… even if the solace had incredibly soft lips, a hard body and his hands made my body tingle all over; he was just solace.
I sighed, running my fingers through my hair. I had to calm down. No matter what it was, what might have transpired, I was not going to dwell on it.
I pulled on a casual cream v-neck dress, an accompanying navy knit cardigan and black knit tights to help me fend off the cold. I brushed my hair a few times and attempted to put on some make-up when I heard my dad’s bellowing voice from downstairs.
I can do this. Just dinner. Just dinner.
Oh my Merlin, this was the most awkward dinner I’ve ever had!
How the hell did I convince myself that I could do this? Because I can’t! I can barely look at him and all he’s tried to do all bloody evening is catch my eye. I mean this is worse than when I hated him—at least then I knew how to act, like accidentally kicking him in the shin or dropping the gravy boat on his lap. Those were things I could do. Being friends while pretending to forget I kissed him was a whole other situation entirely.
To make it worse, we weren’t being subtle at all. I could practically feel the eyes of Oliver’s parents, Edan and my dad burning holes into my skull.
Oh please, please, please let this night be over…
“So Keegan, do you know yet what your plans for after Hogwarts are?” Mrs. Wood asked me. She was a graceful woman with high cheekbones, big brown eyes and dark sandy hair like her son. From a distance, she was quite intimidating but I knew her as the warm-hearted woman that made me roast on Sundays when my dad had to work late.
“Oh, erm,” I stammered out. I hated this question. “I… maybe… well anything to do with Quidditch really.”
“You don’t want to play?” Mr. Wood suddenly asked, a hint of shock in his voice, but being a man of rank in the Ministry, he was very good at masking his emotions.
“I don’t think my sanity could handle professional Quidditch, Mr. Wood,” I answered with a small smile, which earned me a full booming laugh from both Mr. Wood and my dad.
“Well if you ever want to work in the Ministry,” Mr. Wood winked and I snorted.
“I said I wanted to keep my sanity, not lose it entirely.” This earned me another round of laughter and I smiled, unwinding for the first time since I arrived at the house.
“That’s my girl,” my dad grinned, slapping me gently on the back. “Didn’t I tell you, Bill, she didn’t want to work for the Ministry?”
Mr. Wood chuckled. “I can see her point.”
“Why don’t you write for Quidditch Weekly?” Mrs. Wood asked me. “I think that’d be the perfect job for you, dear.”
“Oh,” I blushed. “I don’t know. I don’t think I’m quite that good of a writer.”
“But you know Quidditch better than anyone,” Oliver pointed out, speaking up for the first time this evening.
“Better than you?” Mr. Wood inquired as one of his eyebrows quirked up.
“No, not better than me,” Oliver rolled his eyes at this as if it was the most absurd question in the world. That irked me.
“Well I wouldn’t be so sure of yourself there, Oliver,” I said, my voice challenging and once again I felt my muscles relax. Arguing with Oliver, now that was something I knew how to do.
“Need I remind you who won the last match?” Oliver rose to my bait and I felt a thrill rush through my body, starting from my fingertips to the very soles of my feet.
“Need I remind you just how much of a…” I glanced at our parents, who were watching us with rapt attention. “How much of a cheat you were.”
Oliver snorted. “Cheat? Not that again, Keegan. If that’s your only argument against me then I suggest you just hand over the House Cup now.”
I slapped the table as I stood up with so much force that the china rattled. “I’m going to fly circles around you so fast, you’re going to get whiplash!”
“Is that so?” Oliver’s chair scraped back and he stood up as well, that obnoxiously annoying smirk fixed on his face. There was a hint of something in his eyes but I couldn’t quite place my finger on where I’ve seen it before. I didn’t have time to dwell on it however because our parents had now started laughing.
“Every time, seriously, it’s like they have no other interests!” Edan groaned, placing his head into his hands.
“So Robert, care to place a wager?”
“What do you have in mind?” my dad asked Mr. Wood.
“Nothing big, just the loser has to pay for the celebratory dinner,” Mr. Wood grinned, his eyes dancing, and I could completely see the resemblance between Oliver and his dad now. They were both unbelievably arrogant but somehow playful at the same time.
My dad returned the grin and put his hand around my shoulders. “You’re on, and let me say, prepare to lose, Bill.”
“Men,” Mrs. Wood rolled her eyes and got up to collect all the dishes. As I was already standing up, I decided to help her and leave the dining room, where my dad and Oliver’s dad were now in a heated argument over whose child was the best.
I followed Mrs. Wood into the kitchen and placed them by the sink. “Do you want me to help wash?”
“Oh, honey, no!” Mrs. Wood chuckled before waving her wand through the air causing all of the dishes to begin cleaning themselves. “Magic, Keegan.”
I laughed. “Of course.”
We walked back towards the dining room together, her discussing her new plans to renovate the house and me listening with interest. I’ve always loved Mrs. Wood. She’s never treated me like a pity case as most adults had done those many years ago; she was the one adult aside from her husband that had given me enough respect and space to know that I had to deal with it on my own. I suppose just as I had seen earlier that evening how much Oliver resembled his dad, I could see how he resembled his mum too. When they cared about someone, it was for life, and they were willing to go out of their way to help that person.
That was how Oliver felt about me, I realised. And he has never once stopped caring about me—and… that thought… was the single most terrifying thing I’ve realised this entire month, bar none.
I walked brusquely up to my dad, whispering urgently to him that I was feeling really ill and I was going to go home early. Concern filled his warm hazel blue eyes and I assured him I was fine but I just needed some rest. With a hasty goodbye to everyone else, purposely avoiding Oliver, I went outside and apparated home.
With unwanted thoughts whirling through my mind, I rushed into my house and up into the safety of my room. I then changed out of my clothes and pulled on my pyjamas, curling up in a ball on my bed. Can someone un-realise something? Can I just forget that Oliver is a good person? Because the thought of him caring about me that much just did not sit right with me. Actually, it made me bloody nauseous!
Good lord, my life was taking a turn for the insane. My mum’s back and wants one of my organs—albeit one that’s not very useful but still, it sounds like something out of a shite horror film. And my friends were equally as fucked up. Well, now that I (okay, Adam, George and I) fixed Miranda and Elbie, it was only Lucy and Seamus that were still pretty fucked up. But still… Oh, and I have NEWTS coming up and I’ve been so bloody busy with my ridiculous life that I haven’t even studied a single thing since the holidays began, not to mention the mock exams coming up in January. Then there was the House Cup that I have to win, especially now my dad decided to put a bet on it.
Bugger it all to hell!
I should just run away and join a circus or something. That still happens, right? People still do that? I could so be one of them acrobats or a fire-breather or…
I looked up and noticeably gulped. “Oliver?”
“We need to talk,” he murmured as he walked over towards my bed. Instinctively, I moved back and I kept doing so with each step he took till I was flat against the wall behind my bed. He looked at me curiously before sitting down.
“What do we have to talk about?” I asked, cursing myself for how my voice squeaked in the middle. I was pathetic. Merlin, I was so pathetic.
I gulped again. His eyes were unwavering as they searched my face for… for what, I had no idea, but it made my body warm up to the point that I had to kick off the duvet. He wasn’t even touching me and I felt like I was on fire. What the hell was wrong with me?
“There’s nothing to talk about, Oliver,” I stated clearly.
“No?” he asked and then he was moving towards me again. He closed the gap between us and I could feel the heat from his body wash over me. He smirked. “Then why do you look like you’re about to fling yourself out the window every time I move near you?”
“I… I do not!” I huffed, crossing my arms over my chest. The movement caused Oliver’s eyes to flicker to that area and something indescribable flashed over his face, but it was gone before I could even assess it.
“You do too,” he responded coolly, the smirk once again perfectly displayed across his face. And with Oliver so close to me, I couldn’t stop noticing the way his hair flopped slightly over his forehead or the way his five o’clock shadow made him seem much older than he was. Most of all, I couldn’t stop noticing his lips. “We can forget it happened… if that’s what you want.”
Yes, of course that’s what I want.
But somehow now that I was face to face with Oliver, forgetting it seemed... a lot harder than I had initially thought. “I… Yes.”
“Yes, you want to forget it?” he asked softly as his eyes roamed my face, lingering a little too long on my lips. I nodded feebly, unable to speak. My heart was pounding in my chest, drowning out everything else except for the person that was currently staring so intensely at me. “Why, Keegan, am I finding that hard to believe?”
I didn’t have an answer to that question but it appeared that Oliver didn’t care. His lips found their way to mine with such speed that I thought my heart had completely stopped working in shock, but once realising that I wasn’t in fact having a heart attack, I became acutely aware of the sensations running through my body. My toes curled from the way his lips felt against mine and my stomach was doing somersaults like its life depended on it.
Oliver moved closer, his hand gripping my waist and his hips pushing my legs apart as he settled his body over mine. My brain having left my body long ago, I found myself responding to his advances with just as much desperation and need that I felt coming from him. I curled my fingers around the nape of his neck and pulled him towards me as my lips moved rhythmically with his. No matter how much I pulled him and how much he moved forward, it felt as if we couldn’t get close enough. I wanted him, it was plain and simple, and I couldn’t deny it any more; the heat in the pit of my stomach couldn’t deny it any more.
Oliver circled his hands around my waist and pulled me down onto the bed and off the wall. It was the only moment our lips were apart and truth be told, I bloody hated it. Without thinking, because hell, when have I ever thought clearly around this guy, I grabbed a fistful of his shirt and yanked him back towards me. Oliver’s eyes widened and I smirked as his lips smacked against mine with such force I was sure it was going to bruise. I could feel Oliver smile against me, and for a while, we lay there like that with Oliver in between my legs and our lips locked in their playful war. But then Oliver left my lips altogether and began kissing his way along my jaw-line, down the curve of my neck till he reached my collarbone where he nipped softly. The sudden contact made me shiver from the base of my spine all the way to my shoulders, and I absentmindedly arched my back towards him and let out a moan.
Oliver pulled away from me and there was that glint in his eyes again. It darkened his irises and made him look both dangerous and intoxicating at the same time; I know now what it is. It was me. I did that.
We smiled at each other knowing that there was nothing that needed to be said. I didn’t know what this meant for our friendship but frankly, I didn’t care. Not today. No, I wasn’t going to think about anything but Oliver today.
He leaned forward again and placed a soft and careful kiss on my lips, and I could feel a smile once again tugging at his lips. His teeth then bit down on my bottom lip and pulled gently earning him another unabashed moan of pleasure, when the front door shut with a loud bang causing both of us to jump a part, me more so than Oliver since I accidentally kicked him in the shin and off my bed. He tumbled to the ground and I rushed over to the side to toss him an apologetic smile.
“Keegan, honey, are you up?” my dad called.
We both froze.
A/N: It's happened!! They've kissed! And what a kiss, eh?? Soo guys, what do you think so far? Leave a review on your way out and tell me your favourite lines! Also, Raising the Stakes is coming to an end... soon, and I'd like to say that when it does happen, it won't be the end for our characters. I am currently planning a sequel/spin-off revolving around Adam Nicholson ;)