A/N: I'm back. Don't hate me. The chapter is really long to make up for the wait. For something resembling an explanation, check the note at the end.
“I hate my life.” A very glum sixteen year old boy told me one morning about a week later. Smith was sitting at the kitchen table, absentmindedly shredding a piece of toast on his (mostly full) plate.
Having reached an uneasy truce in our relationship, I glanced in his direction with what I hoped was an interested and sympathetic expression. “Why?” Sure, I could have come up with a better question, but it was seven in the morning, I hadn’t had my coffee, and my head was still ringing from an argument Kenna had started the night before over something completely ridiculous. I mean, who the bloody hell cared if my shirts hung to the right or the left of my trousers in the wardrobe?
Smith sighed gloomily. “It’s summer. It’s a Tuesday. And I’m up at seven in the morning because I go to bloody camp. What’s not to hate?”
I grabbed a handful of granola out of the box in front of me and chewed thoughtfully. “Aren’t you the one who chose to go learn all these wonderful and complicated things instead of chasing after girls and adventure?”
“I was eight.” he groaned. “How the hell was I supposed to know then that girls are more interesting than the elemental properties of Transfiguration?”
“Mate, I have to tell you, even at eight, I would have known that.” I retorted, barely able to hold back a chuckle.
“Yeah, well, I’m considerably smarter than you are.” Smith shrugged as if it was a proven fact. If it wasn’t highly probable that he was correct, I would have decked him.
“Yeah, well, I’m the one who ended up with all the women.” Oh, two could play this game.
Smith scowled. “If it weren’t for the fact that I’m stuck here with the two of you, I’d have plenty of women.” he muttered.
“You can leave any time you want.” I offered. “No one’s keeping you here.”
Cue another sigh, the kind that only a teenager in the throes of pathos and drama can pull off. “I already tried. Mum said I have to stay here until school starts up again because it’ll be a learning experience for me.”
“Aren’t you getting enough learning experiences from that camp of yours?”
Smith scowled. “That’s what I said. Then Mum told me this was a different kind of learning experience and that I should appreciate it for what it was.”
“Let me guess.” Kenna’s voice came from behind me. It startled me to the point that I dropped the box of granola, upending it over the mostly clean kitchen floor. “You asked Mum if she wanted you here to learn ‘what to expect when you’re expecting’ or some such nonsense.” She walked over to the refrigerator, swung the door open, and began rummaging through it. “And clean that up, Ollie.”
“Actually, yes.” Smith shoved his glasses further up on the bridge of his nose. “But then I asked her if she was trying to encourage me into teenage pregnancy.”
Kenna laughed so hard she hit her head on the top of the fridge. She promptly removed herself, and I saw with a measure of distaste that she had a jar of what appeared to be pickle juice and a container of marshmallow cream, which I knew from experience she would probably combine. To avoid seeing her actually consume it, I hastily applied myself to the task of cleaning up the mess I had made. Of course, Evanesco isn’t exactly a slow-acting spell, so this took far less time than I would have liked. I turned my gaze back to Smith, who appeared to be watching his older sister in abject horror.
“Sure, baby brother.” I refused to look in Kenna’s direction since I had no desire to see her concoction. “Mum was obviously born yesterday. She definitely thinks that I’m a kind and loving sister who would never think of telling her about your sexual exploits just to torment you. Failing that, she knows that, because I love you, I would encourage you in said exploits and never try to foil your Grand Master plan for the seduction of innocent teenage girls.”
Smith considered that for a moment, a slight frown creasing his forehead. “Fuck.” he finally groaned, his head slumping to the table.
Kenna laughed gleefully. “Poor Smith.” she taunted him. “Are you just now realising that’s precisely why Mum wants you here? She knows that, as your older sister, my primary business is to interfere in your life incessantly. Plus I’m just mean, and I’d never let you get away with it.”
Smith mumbled something incoherent. I assumed it was something along the lines of “I hate you, go die.” but I didn’t ask.
“Couldn’t you just go to some bint’s house and seduce her there?” I put forward helpfully.
Smith glared at me. “The girls at camp aren’t very interested in me, or any other bloke, for that matter. And the Muggles around here are too stupid. It’s one thing to not know the difference between a Krup and a terrier, but these bints think there’s no difference between a bubble and a banana!”
“Well, think of it this way.” I pointed out. “If you had children with one of those bints, at least they’d be of normal intelligence.”
He sent a scathing glance in my direction but managed to stay silent for once. Kenna, not surprisingly, could not.
“I have an idea!” she said brightly.
Oh no. Not good. Helplessly, I glanced in my wife’s direction, more scared by what she was plotting than what she was eating. The last time Kenna had an idea, Witch Weekly ran a four page article, complete with conveniently-edited photos, on the time I was accidentally locked naked in a storage closet at the Puddlemere pitch, only to be let out two hours later by a very amused James and Coach Ryan.
And by accidentally, I mean Kenna thought it would be a way to bring in more fans. Of course, she neglected to inform anyone of her plans, so after the pictures ran (underneath the title “Buff Quidditch Star Plays in the Buff”), the stadium was positively mobbed by women and men who wanted to...get my rocks off, as I believe the saying goes.
“Somehow I know this is a bad idea, not a good one.” I muttered. Kenna threw a pickle at me.
“Oh, hush. It’s a brilliant idea!” she exclaimed. “Smith, if you can convince one of these girls to come home with you by tomorrow, I’ll let you have sex with her in my house.” Kenna’s eyes gleamed in a way that was both familiar and frightening.
Smith eyed his older sister suspiciously. “What’s the catch?” he asked. “I know you’re not doing this out of the goodness of your heart.”
Kenna positively cackled.
No, really. It was a very frightening experience for all who were present. “Silly Smith.” Her voice became high pitched and gleeful. “You know I don’t have a heart!”
I rolled my eyes. “Not that this isn’t endlessly fascinating, love, but could you please stop being melodramatic and get to the bloody point?”
Kenna stared balefully at me. “Fine.” she sniffed. “See if I ever include you in one of my brilliant plans again!”
“The day you stop roping me into your ridiculous ideas is the day I’ve died and gone to heaven.” I retorted. I got another pickle to the face for my pains.
“Hmmph. Fine then. Baby brother, since you have been nothing but polite, I’ll tell you what the catch is. You can bring the girl here, but you won’t be alone. If she can manage to spend an hour in my company—well, and Ollie’s too, I suppose—without running for cover, you’re free to have sex as much as you want. And I swear not to tell Mum.”
“Please don’t involve me in this.” I begged, but Kenna ignored me.
“That’s all I have to do?” Smith considered.
“Well,” Kenna hedged. “I’m not promising to be on my best behaviour, if you know what I mean.” I groaned. “She’s going to have to put up with crazy Kenna, not normal Kenna.”
“What’s the difference?” Smith muttered.
“I’m in a generous mood, so I’ll ignore that.” Kenna said blithely. “But if she can manage not to run screaming from the house, you’re free to do whoever and whatever you want.”
Smith stared at her for a long moment. “I’d like to point out that who I choose to have sex with, and when and where I choose to do so, are absolutely none of your business.” he said at length.
Kenna snorted. “Since when has that ever stopped me?” Smith rolled his eyes.
“Never.” he retorted. “But it should.”
“You never answered her question.” I interjected helpfully. Smith gave me a death glare while his sister cackled again.
“He’s right, you know.” she pointed out. “Answer the question, baby brother.” Smith mumbled something under his breath, shoving his still-uneaten food around his plate. “What was that, Smithy-poo?”
He looked up at that. “First of all, Kenny-wenny, if you ever call me that again, so help me Merlin, I will steal your spoon, stab your husband, and tell Mum all about that time the two of you were having sex in the bathroom instead of watching me like she told you to. And secondly, I said ‘fine.’ But I have a couple of conditions.”
Kenna blanched. “You would not tell Mum about that.” she accused.
“Isn’t it wonderful that was the only thing that concerned you?” I asked. “What am I, a flobberworm?”
She rolled her eyes. “Like he’d actually be able to catch you long enough to seriously injure you.” It sounded something like a compliment.
“I would too tell Mum, and you know it.” Smith insisted. “And that’s not the only thing I’d be able to tell her...”
“Fine.” Kenna crossed her arms over her chest. “No more stupid nicknames. Name your conditions.”
He adjusted his glasses once more. “Well, first off, no trying to convince anyone that I have a sexually transmitted disease.”
“What?” she interrupted. “But – “
“Kenna.” I said firmly. She huffed at me.
“Oh, fine. I suppose it wouldn’t be fair. What else?”
Smith thought for a moment. “No mentioning our deal, or that I want to have sex with her, or specific details of your sex life. And no cooking.”
“What?” She sounded genuinely befuddled. “I can at least understand most of that, but why no cooking?”
He smirked. “Because it also wouldn’t be fair if she ran away due to food poisoning.”
Kenna’s hands immediately went to her hips. “I may be strange....and violent....and loud....and many other things, but I wouldn’t deliberately poison someone.”
“I didn’t say you’d do it on purpose. I just meant your cooking is horrendous.” Smith chortled to himself, which was probably not a good thing, as Kenna immediately threw a plate at his head. He managed to duck, but she still grazed his cheek, leaving a red streak.
“Be nice or I’ll tell Mum about the time I caught you and your little friends looking at pornographic magazines.” she told him.
Smith stood his ground. “Oh, big deal. I’m sure she’d rather think I was looking at some magazine than getting the neighbour girl pregnant or some such nonsense.”
Kenna smiled wickedly. “Oh, sure.” she agreed. “But since I’m referring to you at age eleven, I’m sure she’d be appalled. After all, she raised you better than that. And to have you so interested in something that clearly promotes the subjugation of women.....she’d never let you out of the house again.”
“Do you both realize how utterly ridiculous you are?” I interjected. “Either come to a bloody agreement, or I’ll tell your mum that the two of you stood around in the kitchen for” I glanced absently at the clock. “half an hour, attempting to determine whether or not her baby boy would be allowed to become sexually active in this household.”
“You’re such a spoilsport, Ollie.” Kenna grumbled. “But fine. One hour, no sex talk, no cooking, no STDs. Agreed?” She stuck out her hand.
Smith stared at her for a moment. Gingerly, he stuck out his own hand, as if he was afraid she was going to assault him. “Agreed.” They shook on it, and Kenna poked him in the forehead.
“Not that this isn’t touching, but shouldn’t you be off for genius camp? After all, even you can’t convince a girl who’s not interested to have sex with you in only a couple of hours.” Smith grinned at me.
“Maybe not, but I can certainly try.” He shoved away from his chair and darted into the living room, presumably to Floo himself off to wherever boy genius wizard camps were held.
I glared at Kenna. “This isn’t a good idea.”
“Hey, you’re the one who kept me focused and on one topic for more than five minutes at a time.” Kenna said derisively. “Blame yourself, Ollie.” As she’d done with her brother, she poked me in the forehead.
“Bloody hell, woman, why do you keep doing that today?” I asked peevishly.
She smirked. “Because there’s absolutely nothing you can do to retaliate, seeing as I’m spawning and you’d worry about harming my precious cargo.”
“Did you just say spawning? And precious cargo? In the same damn sentence? How does one person even manage that?”
Her smile was impish. “I’m just special, I suppose.”
“Sure.” I muttered. “Special ed.” Anticipating violence, I quickly moved out of harm’s way, but Kenna just laughed.
“I didn’t think you even knew what that phrase meant, Mr. ‘I’m so pureblood that I....bleed....pure....blood.”
“That was horrendous, and you know it.” Obviously, my owlish stare did nothing but amuse her, as Kenna continued to giggle. “But yes, I know what it means.” I should have stopped there, but I was, as usual, unable to keep from teasing her further. “I bullied James into telling me what it meant after I heard several people use the phrase to describe you.”
She poked me again, this time much less gently. “You’re unnecessarily cruel to me.” Though her hands fisted on her hips, Kenna’s eyes glinted with laughter. Obviously, the thought of tormenting her only sibling put her into the best of moods.
“Aye, and you’re unnecessarily violent towards me.” I countered. Kenna rolled her eyes.
“Only because somebody has to wear the pants in this relationship.”
I cocked my head at her, feeling one eyebrow shoot up into my hair. “Are you implying that men are supposed to be physically abusive towards their wives? Or was that just another general comment disparaging my sensitive nature?”
Kenna thought about that for a moment. “Nope. Just a general comment.” she finally decided. “Because let’s face it, you are obviously the female in this relationship.”
There she went again. I knew Kenna was only teasing, but it occasionally irked me that she insisted on commenting on the fact that I am unnaturally in tune with my emotions (for a bloke, at least). Every time she made some comment about how she sometimes doubted my sexuality, I felt this absurd need to prove my masculinity. Or some such nonsense.
But I’m Oliver Wood, for Merlin’s sake. My masculinity has already been proved, thank you very much. Everyone but Kenna knows this: seeing how she’s my wife and she is the most stubborn mule of a woman to ever walk the Earth, I guess it’s understandable that I might feel it necessary to prove this fact to her once and for all. Of course, my methods of proving myself often consisted of – what was it that Kenna was always accusing me of trying to do at Hogwarts? Oh, right – ravishing her senseless. She didn’t seem to mind overmuch.
And aye, I’m aware that she disparages me just because she’s trying to provoke me into said ravishing. I still can’t help it.
“I am not the female.” I said heatedly, unable to ignore it. “You are the female. I thought we’d established this, given that you are the one growing people inside of you.”
Not to be outdone, Kenna smirked at me. Over the years, I’ve come to understand exactly why she was always screaming at me about how the next time someone smirked, she was going to permanently alter his face with her spoon. Smirking is obnoxious. “Well, obviously, you’re not very good at being the male, because it took eight years for you to plant the children that are growing inside of me.” She mimicked my tone and did her best to make what I’m sure she thought was an accurate portrayal of my ‘angry face,’ as she so often called it. She failed.
“First of all, you crazy bint, it only took five years,” I rolled my eyes at her, which evidently she found annoying, as she proceeded to glare at me intensely. “seeing as it took you three years to seduce me – some womanly wiles you have. And secondly, seeing as we’ve at no point in time actively been trying to get you pregnant, the time frame shouldn’t count against me.”
“Eight years.” Kenna repeated mulishly. “It’s not my fault you were silly and spent three years doing nothing.”
“Well, being as you knew I wanted to wait, and you were very determined not to, I’d say yes, it was.” I folded my arms across my chest. Kenna didn’t look impressed. “I mean, if you’d been paying any attention to all of those girly lessons, it wouldn’t have taken you nearly that long to wear me down.”
She sniffed. “It’s not my fault that you chased off every bloke I was ever interested in. Maybe if I’d been allowed to date as I pleased at Hogwarts, I would have been better at it, since you so obviously find me lacking.”
Obviously, this was not going the way I wanted it to. Somehow I’d forgotten that Kenna was bound to be unusually sensitive for several more months. That didn’t mean I would ever understand how she could think I found her unappealing, but it would explain why she was looking at me like I was the scum of the earth.
“I do not find you lacking.” I told her firmly. She sniffed again and pretended to make herself busy by putting dishes in the sink. “Kenna.” she refused to acknowledge me, or even to turn and face me. Fine.
I snuck up behind her and flung my arms around her waist. “Bugger off.” she hissed.
“No.” When she tried to escape my grasp, I just tightened my grip. My chin rested on the top of her scalp, and though Kenna didn’t sound pleased, at least she wasn’t trying to strangle me. “We’ve been over this before.” I said calmly. “Do we need to go over it again?”
“Yes.” Her voice rang with stubbornness, and her answer didn’t surprise me in the least.
“I don’t find you lacking.” I repeated. “In any way. You know that if I did, I wouldn’t be able to resist trying to fix you.” She gave no answer, not that I’d expected one to begin with. “I do find you insane, incorrigible, nasty, bullheaded, sarcastic, and confusing. But you’re the one that I want.”
Kenna tilted her face back so that she could look at me. “Probably because I’m the only one that can put up with you and your enormous ego.” she retorted, but she no longer sounded hurt or angry.
I couldn’t hold back a smile. “Aye, there’s that.” Kenna stuck her tongue out at me. “Of course, there’s also the fact that I love you, but you’re right. It’s probably the ego thing.”
She squirmed out of my grasp. Used to her complete inability to tolerate my ‘messing with her,’ I assumed she was going to start walloping on me again. Instead, she just stared for several long, uncomfortable moments. Then she grinned. “Gee, Ollie, are you sure?” she asked, eyes dancing with good humour once more.
“That I have a large ego?” The glance I sent her clearly said I had doubts about her intelligence. “Yes, I’m sure. After all, you’ve told me that I do often enough.”
“Don’t you try and purposefully misinterpret my question, Ollie. You’ll ruin my good mood.”
“Alright, fine.” Living with Kenna had caused me to pick up some of her habits, including her frequent and dramatic sighs. Which, I might add, I masterfully employed just at that moment. “Yes, Kenna. I am absolutely, one hundred percent, completely sure than I am in love with you.”
Her grin turned wicked. “Prove it.” Naturally, of course, Kenna’s solution to any argument, or any normal conversation, for that matter, was to either beat me into submission or distract me with sex. Occasionally she tried to do both, but that had a history of failure.
“You’re insatiable.” The words lacked any accusation, and Kenna just kept grinning.
“And you’re a pushover.” she countered. “We’ve established this, remember?”
She was easily distracted by a kiss. Of course, so was I, but that’s beside the point.
The point being, of course, that for once, I had the upper hand. When I managed to tear my mouth away from hers – difficult, I’ll admit – we were both breathing heavily. A glance at the clock made me start. “Looks like you’re going to be late for work. Healer Kane is going to be upset, don’t you think?”
Kenna swore viciously. Though I would have been completely fine with letting her...take advantage of me, it was some small satisfaction to know that for once, I was the one making her tardy, rather than the other way around. “Oh, I’ll get you for this.” she muttered. Before I could helpfully point out that it was entirely not my fault that she lacked any semblance of time management, she continued. “I’ll be back at three. You better be here, because you are going to help me torment whatever misfit Smith sees fit to bring back here.” Her expression darkened, and she pinned me with stormy eyes. “My brother is not having sex in this house, or anywhere else, if I can prevent it. He’s way too young.”
“Then maybe you shouldn’t have taunted him or offered him an opportunity to have sex whenever he wanted. All he’d have to do would be find a girl who’s unflappable – and you know he knows a girl at camp who is.” Honestly, Kenna exasperated me sometimes. Her logic just didn’t function half the time, but if I told her that, she’d just say I was being unsupportive and difficult.
“Why do you have to be so unsupportive, Ollie?” she glared at me. “Besides, if this mystery girl was that unflappable, he’d never be able to get past first base with her because she just wouldn’t care.”
“You never told him he had to bring a girl he actually wants to have sex with.” I pointed out. Kenna’s mouth gaped like a dying fish.
“I...you...why didn’t....” she babbled. “Well, we’ll just have to make her un-unflappable, then, won’t we? Now stop arguing with me, I’m already late. And if you aren’t here to help me make sure that Smith stays his virginal self, at least until he goes back to Hogwarts, I am going to name our children Bork-Bork and Ding-Dong, so help me Merlin.”
Before I could even begin to think of formulating a response to that, Kenna had disapparated. That left me to brood by myself, wondering why I’d ever thought marrying her would make my life easier.
Bork-Bork? Ding-Dong? The names were so ridiculous that I highly doubted even Kenna would carry through with her threat. And yet....she was just contrary enough to do it anyways, or insist on pronouncing normal names as her alternate insanities. I could clearly picture some terrified person asking Kenna the baby’s name, only to have her respond with “Bork-Bork.” And then the poor, unfortunate soul would ask how it was spelled in the hopes that he or she was just profoundly deaf, and Kenna would spell it as Alice or something.
It didn’t seem out of character at all.
Un-unflappable?? Where in the bloody blazes does she come up with that stuff? If I had a Galleon for every time I’d wanted to know how exactly Kenna’s mind worked.....I wouldn’t have any Galleons at all. Mostly because I am petrified by the very idea of her thought process.
Un-unflappable. They should just kill me now.
True to her word, Kenna arrived home at five minutes past three. Her hair had escaped from its updo, her robes were covered in what looked like fur, and she was sneezing violently. “Some idiot tried to transfigure his brother into a crup. I got stuck with fixing things.” she explained after she caught me staring. “And now I have to clean myself up, and you have to stand guard and make sure Smith doesn’t sneak into the house until I’m ready.”
“A crup?” I asked. Kenna didn’t answer, as she was presumably changing into something comfortable and not furry. A few short minutes later, and she appeared back downstairs, looking ready to commit murder, or at least a serious felony.
“You. Couch. Now.” she gestured toward the living room, and when I wasn’t quick enough for her taste, she grabbed hold of my wrist and physically dragged me with her. Mental, she is.
“I still think this is a bad idea.” I muttered. Kenna glared as she sat down next to me.
“And I still think it isn’t, so it appears we’re at an impasse.” she retorted. “And I get points for using an awesome word.”
“You do not get any points.” Maybe it was dumb, but at least arguing with Kenna over stupid things kept my mind off the fact that we were about to do really stupid things (as I was sure we would). “’Impasse’ is not that awesome of a word. Now if you’d managed to work ‘lugubrious’ in there somehow, I would be impressed.”
Kenna cocked one eyebrow. It irked me that she’d managed to convince me to teach her how to do it. Partly because it annoyed me, and mostly because I did it so much better. “Impressed enough to bestow wild sexual favours?” she asked.
A laugh escaped. “No. Not that impressed.” I told her.
“Damn.” Kenna glanced sideways at me, considering. “You’re absolutely no fun now that you’ve hit middle age.”
“You’ve been hanging out with Smith too much.” I muttered. “And if I’m middle aged, so are you. After all, you’re two months older, remember?”
“Fine.” she huffed. “But your prime is now. Are you sure you want to give up this opportunity?”
“Opportunity?” Even for Kenna, that was a stretch. “What opportunity? The opportunity to get caught – again – having sex by your overprotective younger brother, who will no doubt try to cave my face in?”
She thought about that for a moment. “Yep. That opportunity.” she said, just before she tried to suffocate me by holding a cushion over my face.
Smith, of course, chose to walk in precisely as our positions reversed. From the look on his face and the way he stopped dead in his tracks, I assumed he was appalled to me crouched over his sister, holding the cushion like a weapon.
“Why?” he asked no one in particular. “Why do I have such horrendous timing?”
Kenna pushed me off of her. “Oh, stop.” she rolled her eyes at him as she sat back up. “We were arguing, not having sex.”
“I was arguing. She was trying to kill me.” I countered. Kenna poked me in the abdomen.
“Will both of you please stop?” Smith roared. “YOU ARE EMBARASSING ME IN FRONT OF MY GUEST.”
We stopped bickering fairly quickly. Neither one of us had noticed the petite, pretty brunette standing next to him. “Sorry.” Smith muttered to her. “They’re insane. Don’t mind it.”
Eyes huge, the girl stared at him. “Your parents let you talk about them like that to their faces?” she whispered. Smith’s face contorted in disgust. Before he could respond in the negative, Kenna interrupted.
“Merlin’s pants!” she exclaimed. “Do I look old enough to be his mother?” Face thunderous, Kenna glanced at me for support. “Ollie, how come you didn’t tell me I look that old? And how could anyone be silly enough to think that Smith is our child?”
“But...” The girl’s lower lip trembled. Evidently Smith wasn’t as smart as I’d thought. He’d clearly picked the most sensitive, wishy-washy girl he knew. Stupid tosser. “He looks so much like you.”
“Kenna.” I warned. “Be nice.” Turning to whoever she was, I attempted a smile. “We’re not his parents, and as my wife so graciously pointed out, neither one of us is nearly old enough for that.”
“Really, it’s more your childish behaviour that gives you away.” Smith retorted. “Mia, my parents are in Africa. I told you this. The short, angry one is my sister, and the big, ugly one is her husband.”
Kenna rolled her eyes. “I am not short. I am of average height for a female. We’ve been over this, baby brother. And for the record – Mia, is it? – I’m nine years older. Not nearly old enough to spawn him.” The smile she shot Smith was more like a baring of teeth. “And also for the record, Ollie might be ugly, but he’s much bigger than you. Not to mention all the Quidditch muscles. He could beat you into a bloody pulp.”
“You’re feeling violent today, aren’t you?” I asked. “I’m not beating anyone into a pulp.”
“Quidditch muscles?” Mia looked very confused, and I wondered if Smith had just picked up a random girl off the street instead of one of his brainiac camp friends. “I don’t understand.”
Smith took pity on her. “Ollie here plays professionally. Muscles are all he’s good for.”
She still looked confused. Then her eyes widened even further, if that was even possible. “Ollie? As in...Oliver Wood? The Oliver Wood?”
Kenna draped an arm over my shoulder and smiled venomously at Mia. “That’s right.” she said acidly. Her fingers started digging into my flesh, she was gripping me so tightly. “And I’m just the luckiest woman in the world! Because we’re married. To each other.” she clarified. Smith groaned. Mia looked chastised.
“I’m so sorry.” she blinked rapidly. “I didn’t mean to imply that I wanted to –“
“Yeah, well, let’s keep it that way.” Kenna didn’t bat an eyelash. As gently as possible, I tried to pry her fingers away. She wasn’t having it.
“Kenna.” At the sound of my voice, she turned to glare at me.
“What?” she snapped.
“Behave.” I told her. “And would you please stop trying to tear away my flesh? I need this shoulder, you know.”
She sniffed, but complied. “Fine.” As her arm fell away, her expression morphed again, this time into a far more pleasant one. “Sorry. I’m hormonal. Why don’t the two of you sit down?”
“More like bloody mental.” Smith muttered. “Sorry, sis, but we were just going to go upstairs and –“
“Smith Liam Alexander Appleby,” Kenna hissed. “you sit down right this instant. I am just trying to be a part of your life.”
I had to admit, if I didn’t know Kenna at all, I would have thought her sudden tears were genuine. She’d never been a very convincing actress, but something about those hormones probably made it easier for her to cry on command.
Mia was obviously convinced. “Smith.” she murmured. “You’ve hurt her feelings. Let’s just sit down, okay?” He looked unconvinced, but something about her expression must have changed his mind. Probably the whole sex thing, I suppose.
“Fine.” he sighed, collapsing into the nearest chair. “Hello, Kenna. My day was fine, how was yours?”
As usual, Kenna showed her complete lack of interest in anything that....didn’t interest her. She totally ignored him, focusing all of her attention on his companion. “I like you. You’re very polite.” she announced. There was something about the set of her eyes that made me nervous, but I kept silent.
What? I have a very healthy sense of self-preservation, thank you very much.
“Thank you?” Mia still sounded confused. Kenna made some sound that I think was supposed to be a laugh. In reality, it sounded like a cross between an Augury and a demented maniac. Not at all reassuring, let me tell you.
“You’re welcome.” By this point, Smith was eyeing his sister nervously. I guess I’m not the only one who recognizes her madness when he sees it. “So, how long have the two of you been dating?”
“Dating? Um...we’re not....” Mia blushed delicately, and if looks could kill, Smith would have already dismembered Kenna.
“Oh?” she asked absently. I tried to catch her eye and once again impart my belief that this was a fucking horrible idea, but she pointedly ignored me. “That’s funny. Smith, I could have sworn you told me –“
“I didn’t tell her anything.” Smith assured his friend. She didn’t look like she believed him. In fact, she was staring at him like he’d just made her queen of the world.
“Hmm.” Kenna was probably trying to look thoughtful, but nobody other than an idiot would have bought it. “Well, maybe you didn’t need to tell me, then.” she finally decided, voice bright and eyes positively radiating mischief. “The two of you remind me so much of Ollie and I at your age.” She turned to look at me and attempted a soulful expression. “And just look how well we turned out!”
I groaned. If it was possible to sink into the floor until everyone around me turned sane, I would have. “Come on, Kenna.” I whispered in her ear. In hindsight, that probably made things worse, as I’m sure Mia interpreted it as some weird lovey-dovey garbage. “You’re going a little far, don’t you think?”
Kenna giggled, but her eyes shot daggers. “Of course not, silly.” She was clearly trying to communicate something along the lines of ‘Ding-Dong. Bork-Bork. Remember the children,’ but honestly, enough was enough.
“Are you saying that you think Smith and I will get married?”
Smith and I both glared at Kenna. She smiled sweetly. “That’s exactly what I think. You’re just obviously...so perfect for one another.”
“Don’t pay any attention to Kenna.” I told starry-eyed Mia. “She’s pregnant. It messes with her head, and now she thinks everyone should be married and having babies.”
“Being pregnant has nothing to do with it.” Kenna countered. “I just think they’d be so cute together!”
“We’re not getting married.” Smith said firmly. Both women ignored him. I shot him a pitying glance. Had he really expected to come out on top? He knew Kenna was crazy. And because they were both bleeding idiots, he was probably going to walk out of the room with a fiancé, whether he liked it or not.
Mia smiled brightly. “Oh, I know. I’ve always thought the same, but knowing you do, too –“
“Mia.” Smith tried again. “We’re not getting married. My sister is crazy. She’s crazy and she has no idea what she’s talking about. How could she? You only met” he glanced at his wristwatch. “twenty minutes ago. Not to mention the fact that just before now she thought you were trying to seduce her husband.”
She glanced at him shyly. “You don’t have to be shy, Smith.” Her words were accompanied by a girlish giggle. “I mean, our chemistry must be outrageous, if it’s already so obvious. And we haven’t even kissed yet.” Her voice turned dreamy, and Smith stood up in outrage.
“That is precisely the point!” he yelled. “We haven’t done anything. And we’re not going to, because we are NOT. GETTING. MARRIED.”
Kenna glared at him. “Shut up, Smith. You know it upsets the spawn when you yell.”
Mia looked at her with adoration. It made me want to vomit. “Are you really pregnant? What’s it like? Is it wonderful? Have you picked out a name yet? Smith and I will have to work on that eventually, so if you could give me some pointers...”
“Mia.” I cleared my throat. She blinked at me. “Kenna is really quite...” I didn’t know how to finish my sentence in a way that wouldn’t get me killed in my sleep. “Maybe we should leave the two of you alone to discuss your...er, relationship.”
It was a copout. I knew this. I also didn’t care. There were enough screaming fangirls in Quidditch. From experience, I knew that I really did not want to be around when Mia’s bubble burst and she finally realized that no one was marrying her crazy arse, least of all Smith.”
Kenna and Mia both started talking at once, and I made a cowardly attempt to flee the room. Smith’s irate voice stopped us all. “WOULD THE LOT OF YOU KINDLY SHUT THE FUCK UP FOR TWO SECONDS?”
Seeing as there were no responses, he continued. “Mia. You’re a very nice girl, but I’m not going to marry you.”
She actually had the gall to roll her eyes. “Well, of course we’ll wait until we’re both finished with school, silly!”
“I am not going to marry you.” he repeated firmly. “We are not dating. We will not be dating. And I am not going to get married.”
Her lip quivered again. “But....why?” she wailed. “I thought we had something special!”
Smith looked around for a few moments. When it became clear that nobody was going to interrupt him, he finally spoke. “I’m gay.” Since that obviously confused Mia even further, he continued. “I don’t like women, Mia. I’m attracted to other blokes. That’s why.”
Stunned silence accompanied this announcement for two long, drawn out minutes. Finally, Kenna found her voice.
“What the hell did you just say?” she asked. I wanted to ask the same question.
Smith glared at her. “I. Like. Blokes.” he said through gritted teeth. “Clear enough?”
A/N: Well. That only took me a year to write.
I know I've been conspicuously missing for quite some time. I apologize for that. As some of you know, I'm a junior in college. Some of you might not know that I am a music major. People who say being a music major is easy are completely wrong. It is just as difficult as any other college path. To make a very, very long story short, music majors are required to take more classes than most other people. This is not because of difficulty; there are just more individual subjects that have to be packed into four short years. Again, they're not necessarily harder or easier classes, there are just more of them, and they are worth less credit hours than non-music classes so that people will graduate on time. So while most people can take four or five, maybe six classes, and be at 15 hours, I have never taken less than seven classes a semester. This doesn't sound like much, and it's not an excuse for vanishing. But when combined with rehearsals, jobs, more rehearsals, voice lessons, practice time, rehearsal, and the sheer amount of studying, I have very little free time. This past semester was not actually that bad because all of my classes were interesting, but last year was incredibly difficult for me. Suffice it to say I hated my major, hated school, hated my professors, and had very little time. When I had the time to write, I didn't want to because I was so miserable with life.
However. I forced myself to continue, mostly because I'm stubborn and refused to give up something I loved so much. This chapter was actually mostly finished in January. But I never posted it because I hated it; I hated the way I'd written it, and it didn't go along with the plot I've been trying to set up. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't figure out a way to edit it and make it right. I just didn't have any inspiration, or a real desire to write. Don't get me wrong; I never forgot about this story, or any of my other projects. I love Oliver and Kenna (and Smith), and I love all of you for giving me so much encouragement over the last year. I thought about this story frequently - I just couldn't figure out what to do with it.
As I mentioned, this past semester went much better for me. I'm back to enjoying my major, my school, my writing, and life in general. There were many times I sat down to write, and I did get somewhere. But I chose to focus my energy on studying and practicing for once, because...well, the real world approaches. And I was super busy. But now I'm not. And I'd just like to clarify one more thing: this story is not abandoned, nor will it be. None of my projects are. I simply can't update at the pace I used to. I won't be waiting a year to post the next chapter. But updates will be every few months (possibly faster when I'm on breaks).
I know you guys probably don't care, but I felt that people deserved an explanation. And a monstrously large chapter. As the queue will close soon, I will probably spend the next couple of weeks responding to all my reviews, as well as attempting to write the next chapter of both this story and Deliverance. So. Thanks for your patience and encouragement. I hope the update pleases you, the ending freaks you out, and that you'll all be kind enough to leave me a review, if only to say what a horrible person I am for making everyone wait so long for such a crappy chapter. Happy Holidays!
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