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Out of Your Depth by BettyMaeStrange
Chapter 16 : CHAPTER 16
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 8


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Revised: c. 6th April, 2012.



|beautiful chapter image of Will by Bear&Fox@TDA!|

For the first time I told you
I feel you in my heart
And I don't even know you
Now we're saying bye, bye.

Nineteen – Tegan & Sara




We arrived in Diagon Alley at ten o'clock. It was just Rose and I; Albus said he'd already done his shopping. I asked him how, and he said that he 'had his ways'. I didn't know what to say to that.

Wizarding London had changed dramatically after the war, at least as far as I could tell from the old photographs. Knockturn Alley was still the same though; shop managers and owners refused the Ministry's offerings of improvement, but I doubted that a few hanging flower baskets, a lick of new paint on the shop windows, and a newly decorated sign would entice customers any more than a Death Eater would appeal to a little girl who hadn't yet got her first wand.

The dark stones paving the streets of Diagon Alley had been replaced with white chalky ones, and the stone of the shop buildings was painted a pale cream.

It represented the new era; it was the time of triumph and victory, and despite being a little too light and radiant, it never failed to brighten the dim spirits of its occupants. Flowerpots sat in every window, and large, cursive writing was etched above the awnings in gold-coloured paint, stating the name of the establishment. This applied to every single shop bar one. But then, who ever heard of a Weasley following the rules?

George Weasley was now one of the most successful businessmen in the whole of Britain. He was an epic philanthropist, donating nearly a quarter of his profits to children and families affected by the war, and those that still suffered in the aftermath. I suspected his contributions were what made parts of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes (or The Three W's, as it had come to be known as) so successful.

After the death of his twin, Fred, it was said that the public expected the company to fail, his grief too great and too much of a reminder of what he had lost. But he was George Weasley, and if anything could have motivated him to continue working, it would be the memory of his brother shouting and swearing in his ear and telling him to 'get off his fat arse and do the bloody work like they'd dreamt of.'

George had branched out into different parts of the Wizarding Community, namely Hogsmeade and the Diagon Alley equivalents in New York, Sydney, Paris, and a small shop in Ireland. It was a global company now, and yet whenever it was acknowledged the original in Diagon Alley came to everyone's mind.

Rose dragged me inside when we passed it, without explanation, and I found myself suddenly surrounded by screaming, delighted children, mini-flying broomsticks, exploding toffees, talking hats, and wide-staring Pygmy Puffs. The noises and colours compiled into one store were sensory overloads, but the looks on the customers' faces were not ones of distress or panic.

'What are we in here for?' I asked Rose. She pulled me further into the store.

'I need to speak to Fred,' she tossed over her shoulder.

We pushed through the masses of children staring at strange-looking objects with admiration and a slight reverence, and out through a door in the back. It led us outside into the snow-falling air, where a chain-linked fence surrounded the back of the store. Two huge dustbins were placed to the left, and Fred was sitting down on a small bench against the right of the fence, smoking a cigarette.

'Freddy!' Rose said, grinning and rushing over to give him a hug.

He gave her a toothy smile and took another drag before grinding it into the ground with his shoe, then stood up and wrapped his arms around his cousin.

'Hiya, Rosie.' He looked seemingly more carefree than he did at Hogwarts. I wasn't sure if it was the feeling of being home or being in the shop that soothed him. 'How're you?'

'Wonderful, thanks,' Rose replied. 'And you? How's your holiday been?'

'Oh, you know,' he said with a slight shrug of his shoulders. 'Busy.'

She looked back at the door, near to where I still stood. 'Yeah, I'm not surprised. They're like a pack of wolves in there.'

He grinned and looked over at the door. His eyes widened as he noticed me.

'Nieves!' He walked over and gave me a hug. 'How are ya, darling?'

I chuckled at the endearment and said, 'I'm good thanks, Fred.'

'Christ, I didn't even notice you there,' he said, shaking his head as he stepped away and gave me a faux-stern look. 'You're as pale as the snow, Nieves. When did you last see the sun?'

I laughed, but Rose clucked her tongue impatiently. 'Yes, her skin tone is worryingly depressing, but that's not what I came to speak to you about.'

'Ooh, she's all business now, eh?' he teased.

Rose scowled and Fred sighed an 'all right, all right, don't get your wand in a bloody knot' kind of sigh. 'All right, Rosie, what can I do you for?'

She narrowed her eyes at him, as if measuring the seriousness of his mood. Apparently satisfied, she stood on her tiptoes and began whispering in his ear. He nodded and Ah'ed and Uh-huh'ed every so often. I frowned. If all she was going to do was whisper about something I wasn't privy to, then what was the point in me being there? Fred glanced over at me a few times. He grinned each time he caught me looking.

Finally Rose stepped away and Fred straightened up, pulling the hem of his black hoody down over his dark jeans. It seemed he had yet to adopt the same stylish apparel that his father and late uncle wore.

'Will do, Rosie,' he said to her.

I blinked. 'That's all you're here for?'

She ignored me. 'Thank you, Freddy,' she called, and pulled on my hand as she walked past. 'See you at Christmas!'

'Rose, what the hell?' I grumbled as we walked back through the throng of children, down the small set of steps, and back out the front door.

'Sorry about that,' she said as the door closed behind her, but she didn't sound sorry at all.

'Would you care to tell me what that was all about?' I asked, my eyes slightly narrowed.

'I'm sorry, Nieves, I can't. You'll know soon anyway.'

'Gee, thanks, I guess that's a comfort,' I said. I started walking away down the street, through the swarm of busy last-minute Christmas shoppers.

'Genevieve, wait!' I waved an apologetic hand behind my head. It was nearing eleven o'clock and I was meeting Will at three and had yet to buy a single thing. Wasting an hour of my time was not something that made me agreeable at that moment, and so I continued walking and didn't turn back, despite Rose's endless callings that were become increasingly quieter.

I walked for five minutes before I pulled my wand from the pocket in the back of my jeans and sent her a Patronus, mostly out of guilt. I'll see you later, Rose. Sorry. Genevieve. X

My Patronus was a snow leopard, which came as a rather stunning revelation to me when I succeeded at casting her over the summer holidays. The creatures were now endangered in the Muggle world; it felt almost sacred to be joined with such an animal. She was a relatively smaller, daintier one than most, but I felt so suited to her with her pale, pale fur and her icy grey eyes. Had I ever trained to become an Animagus, I would have chosen to be her replica. Snow leopards were solitary, well-camouflaged and extremely secretive animals. The comparisons between us were not lost on me.

My first stop was Gringotts. Thankfully the queue was short and one of the goblins swiftly took me to my vault. I handed him my key and quickly filled a pouch with gold coins that I had accumulated over the years. I desperately tried to ignore the high tower of coins that stood in the corner, staring at me accusingly. I felt like even the goblin was watching me, but when I turned back, he was still sat in the cart, staring ahead at the tracks that ended in shadows.

I breathed a sigh as I climbed out on slightly shaky legs and walked back out onto the street, thanking the goblin. He gave me a courteous nod and accepted the five galleons I offered without protest.

I first went into Obscurus Books where I found an Advanced Healing, Volume IV hardback for Rose. Then I went into Slug and Jiggers Apothecary and bought a basic set of ingredients, a mortar, and a pestle. She told me that she wanted to be a Healer, and studying to be one seemed to be all that her interests consisted of.

Ron and Hermione encouraged her to do whatever she wanted, and despite the work that was ahead of her, anyone who knew Rose knew that she would manage it quite capably indeed. I wanted to buy gifts for people that they could use, not just place on their chest of drawers or under their bed and then forget about it, only to find it years later smothered in dust and think, 'What ever did she buy me this for?'

For Scorpius, I bought an empty photo album. When I asked Rose what to buy for him, she told me that he had an interest in photography. Of course, I was a little stunned by her words. Not once had I seen him with a camera, but then who was I to say what he did in the time I didn't see him? The photos could be stuck on the pages magically, secured in small, silver metal photo corners, and if he touched the space beneath each photo with his wand and thought of a few words, the ink that described the caption would flow onto the paper. It was a large book; the cover was made of dark green leather and edged with a golden trim, and the bold, golden words of his name were embedded onto the centre. I hoped he liked it.

I was not frugal with my money on that day. I rarely bought things for myself, and if I did I spent hours afterwards regretting the very moment I had handed over the coins. Buying things for other people didn't seem to have that same effect that day.

Albus was a difficult one to buy for. I had no idea what his interests were other than Quidditch, and he never once mentioned what his plans for the future were. Rose didn't know, either, and when she had asked Scorpius, he was seemingly unaware, too. How did everyone know so little about him when at first glance it appeared that we knew so much? I finally settled on buying him a new pair of black dragon-hide gloves after recalling the amount of holes his current ones had, and then I bought two silver frames, in which I inserted two charmed photos.

One was of the four of us: Scorpius, Rose, Albus and I. We were stood outside, the castle just behind us, bundled in our coats and scarves and hats so that only our sparkling eyes and wide, grinning mouths were visible as the snow whirled around us and the wind whipped at our hair. Scorpius had levitated one of his cameras (something I should have noticed at the time) into the air and spun it around to face us. He had his arms looped around Rose's waist and she was pulled up close against.

Albus and I had looked at them, then at each other, and then he slowly put an arm around my shoulder, and I put one lightly around his waist. They were both barely-there touches, and it affected me more than it should have. Made me smile more than I should have.

The other was of him and me, sitting together in our pyjamas on one of the fences by Rose's house, grinning like lunatics in the early-morning light as Rose took the photo, and his arm was draped around my shoulder, and mine around his waist. Again.

I was leaning towards him, inhaling his familiar woodsy smell that clung to him and his clothes, and only just turned to smile at the camera before I heard the click. And though I was looking at the camera in the photo, Albus was only looking at me, an unfathomable look in his eyes that made my heart ache, before he looked back up and grinned.


+++


I sat on the edge of the stone fountain waiting for William at two o'clock, having nothing to do once I'd bought what I set out to. I assumed that Rose had gone home by that time.

The time it took me to find the presents for everyone surprised me a little; I had spent so much time simply thinking. It was strange having the quiet of my own thoughts for company again. It reminded me of the months before, when the months that everything changed had arrived, and when I was simply led on my white bed, above white sheets, staring at a white ceiling, and looking down at my white skin.

My thoughts had been dangerous then, and I wondered if Albus and Rose and Scorpius and Rory… I wondered what would have happened if they hadn't turned up. Perhaps that was why I wanted their presents to be solely for them. Because I was thanking them more than anything for just being who they were and making me more than I was.

A bell chimed up ahead and slowly I looked around. I pulled my cotton beanie down and wrapped my scarf tighter, tucking my gloved hands under my armpits. The sun was sinking lower, and with it the witches and wizards that earlier walked the streets were disappearing, too, until soon I couldn't see a single person. In one hour it would be completely dark.

'Genevieve?' came a voice from beside me. I looked up to see Will's dark eyes staring down at me with worry. I looked around for a moment, confused as he pressed a warm palm to my cheek. 'Merlin, Genevieve, you're freezing! How long have you been sat here?'

'I don't… I don't know,' I said, confused. How long had I been sat there? It seemed a whole hour had passed since I last moved.

He sighed. 'What am I going to do with you?' he murmured, so quietly I wasn't sure if I'd imagined it. He hooked his arms under my own and pulled me to my feet, catching me as I stumbled.

'Are you sure you want to go? We can leave it for another time, Genevieve,' he said, worry lacing his voice. 'I don't want you to get ill.'

'I'm fine, Will,' I said. He gave me a dubious look. 'I'm serious, I just… blanked for a bit.'

'All right, then,' he said, though I could still hear his scepticism. 'I'm going to apparate us, all right? It'll be easier than walking.'

'Won't someone see us?' I asked, but he shook his head.

'Muggles don't see things they don't want to.'

I closed my eyes as I felt the familiar tug at my navel. When I opened them again we were standing in an alley much the same as any other I'd been in, though the stench of rotten food and bodily fluids was an unpleasant reminder that this was most definitely not the Wizarding World.

We stepped out onto the street, and Will took a firm hold of my hand. We sank casually into the crowds of Muggles that rushed around us, all busy, all talking, all purposeful.

He led me along the street, slow enough to let my eyes register the disorderly buildings and the disorderly people and the strange vehicles known as cars and the lights that illuminated the already-bright sky. I eyed the huge clock that I could see standing erect in the distance, and then looked at the giant spinning wheel opposite it. It was strange what the Muggles thought of as 'attractions'. All I could see was a strange, ugly piece of metal that obscured the sky and continued to squeeze money from people as it turned.

'It's the London Eye,' Will told me, seeing where I was looking.

'Yes, I thought it was,' I said. 'It's… quite strange, don't you think?'

He smiled knowingly at me. 'Yes. Yes it is quite strange.'

He bought me a hot chocolate from a drinks stand on the street, grabbing a few napkins from a dispenser. He wrapped them around the cup in case I burnt myself. I thanked him, taking small sips until the liquid cooled but was still enough to warm my body that felt frozen.

We walked for hours after that, and talked incessantly, too. We spoke about such frivolous and inconsequential things, and yet Will seemed to be so wonderfully interested. We jaunted through the vast Hyde Park until our legs ached and the darkness of the night settled over the city, but still the people moved about us. I wondered if they ever stopped, those Muggles. They were a little like clock-work, and I wondered if they ever need winding back up, if they ever needed to take a break from their technology and their constant spending and their moving, their constant, constant moving.

'I don't think I've ever spoken so much,' I said with a breathy laugh as we walked. Will was holding my hand loosely in his, as he had done for nearly the whole day. There were a few Muggle pubs and restaurants along the side of the road, and I could hear music and the sound of drunken, Yuletide laughter, and voices seeping through the doors.

Will grinned at me. It was a wonder he could still do so with the amount of smiling he had done, but to see him so happy because of me made me feel warm.

'I like listening to you talk,' he said softly. 'Your voice is unsurprisingly as beautiful as the rest of you.'

My eyes widened. I stared at the snow on the concrete ground as we walked. 'That's the second time you've called me beautiful,' I pointed out.

There was a beat of silence.

'You think I'm lying,' he said, staring ahead of him.

'I just… don't think you should toss those kinds of compliments around, Will, even if you do mean it.'

'When am I to say it then?' he asked, genuine curiosity in his voice.

I shrugged. 'I'm not sure. Not to me, though.' Not when there was such a monstrous thing inside me that made me feel as if I could never be beautiful.

'You think you are not beautiful,' he said flatly. He had a way about him that made his words seem so much more like statements than the questions they should have been. Perhaps he knew enough about me to assume, though.

I looked up at him and into his intense, dark eyes. 'Perhaps to others I may be, but I certainly don't see it. And please don't mistake me with false modesty when I say so.'

He shook his head slowly. 'I don't,' he said, and touched my arm lightly, stopping. I paused, too, and ever so slowly he leaned down, stopping when his lips were mere milimetres from my own. 'May I kiss you?' he whispered, and I felt goose bumps beneath my layers of clothing from the touch of his warm breath.

I tilted my head up, ever so slightly. 'You may.'

He closed the small gap and touched his lips to mine so, so softly, the barest of touches. I closed my eyes. His hands rested gently on my waist and mine moved to his hard, broad shoulders. He pulled me closer as his mouth parted slightly and he ran his tongue along the bottom of my lip, eliciting a small, insuppressible sound that was somewhere between a gasp and a moan.

My fingers gripped tightly at his shoulders and still his mouth moved slowly with my own, until I thought his languidness would drive me insane. He chuckled lowly as he pulled away from me, drawing in a quick breath before capturing my mouth once more. This kiss was deeper, more lingering than before and yet still he moved with that torturous slowness.

I felt his tongue slide between my parted lips before it found my own, feeding intensely from my mouth as I did from his, tasting the unfamiliar spice of him that I knew would be so very different from the sweetness of mine. Will stroked his tongue along mine once more, as if searching and trying to remember every detail of my lips and my teeth and my tongue, his hand resting ever so tenderly at the small of my back, before he broke away, taking a step backwards and sucking in a breath as deep as my own.

We stood staring at each other for a minute, both breathing as deeply and slowly as the kiss we just shared, but gradually he began to smile, and soon he was grinning. His entire face lit up so, that for a moment I was stunned and my breath couldn't seem to come.

But it did eventually and I blinked and I smiled back at him, helpless to the tugging at the corners of my mouth. He stepped forward and at first I thought he was going to kiss me again, but he simply raised a hand and ran a thumb over my lips that I knew would be slowly reddening.

'We should go and get something to eat,' he said quietly, and my stomach growled loudly as if in confirmation. I nodded, and slipped my hand into the one he offered.

'Was that alright?' he asked as we walked. I could hear the worry in his voice. He seemed forever worrying what my opinion was of him, but it made me feel desperately wanted, a feeling I knew was dangerous.

I nodded again. 'It was wonderful.'

And it was, I thought, but why do I feel this gut-wrenching guilt? Why do I feel as if I have plunged a knife in his back and betrayed him so much, when I know I have as little claim over him as he has over me?

Three guesses as to who 'he' was.


+++


We made our way through the snow-covered streets, passed angelic children singing Christmas carols and a brass band trumpeting away, around bustles of people doing their last-minute shopping, under lamp posts, decorated with lights in outrageous colours, and swerved between trees that rivalled the ones in the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts. The atmosphere with the snow falling in gentle flurries, though it was all so completely Muggle, had an incredible magic of its own.

Will found us a small café on a relatively quiet street, and we sat down at a wooden, round table covered with a starched cotton cloth in the left corner, the bell at the door ringing as it closed.

The café was completely empty, but quiet Christmas music played from speakers on the ceiling, filling the silence. A middle-aged man with sallow skin and greying hair walked through a door leading to the back room and offered us a tired smile along with a set of plastic-covered menus. I eyed the list hungrily and saw Will watching me, a soft, almost absent-minded smile on his face.

'What?' I mumbled, feeling the slight blush flow to my cheeks.

'Nothing,' he said, just as quietly, and cupped his chin in his hand, resting his elbow on the table. His gaze moved to the menu in front of him, though I could see his eyes flash back up to mine fleetingly as I continued to choose.

'What'll it be?' the owner asked, suddenly standing by my side. I jumped a little at his voice.

'Can I get the chicken sandwich, please?' I asked, and he nodded, writing down the order on a pad of paper.

'Salad, salt and pepper?'

'Yes, please, though no salt, thank you,' I said, handing him my menu as Will asked for a club sandwich and chips, and ordered us both a hot chocolate and a jug of tap water.

The man – Oliver, his nametag said – walked back behind the glass counter and through the door to where I presumed the kitchen was.

'He seemed sad,' I said. Will looked at me.

'Yes, he did, didn't he?' he murmured. 'Probably a long day at work… God knows I wouldn't stay open until this time if I had a business.'

I tipped my head to the side. 'Doesn't your father own a business?'

His face darkened. I bit my lip, feeling as if I'd stepped over some invisible line. 'Yes, he does, though I seem him very little.'

'May I ask why that is?'

He sighed and looked down at the tablecloth, fingers tugging at the loose threads. 'My father… his life was not easy as a child. His father, my grandfather, was a Death Eater. His mother died when he was very young. It affected his mind, I suppose.'

'Affected his mind?' I enquired, though softly, and not unkindly.

'He is… he is so desperate not to be his father that he forgets to be one to me,' Will stated matter-of-factly, though I could hear the bitterness in his tone. 'His business is really more of a child to him than I am, and I have known that for a long, long while.'

Oliver walked over, carrying a tray, and set our drinks and plates down in front of us. We thanked him and he walked off without another word, offering us another of his tired and weary smiles.

'And your mother?' I asked, picking up my sandwich and taking a bite.

'Gone,' he answered simply. I swallowed.

'You don't mean gone as in – '

He shook his head quickly, cutting in. 'No. No, she's not dead, though she may as well be. She left when I was about three, taking a large sum of my father's money with her and travelling to God knows where. She used to send me birthday cards but even that stopped when I reached seven.'

His face was ashen and he ate his food quickly, as if not seeing what was in front of him.

'William, I'm sorry,' I whispered. He looked up sharply.

'Whatever for?' he asked, slightly astounded.

'For making you upset, and making you tell me and – '

I stopped when he started to chuckle quietly to himself, shaking his head in amusement. He took a sip from his mug and set it back down, a smile still lingering on his lips.

'Genevieve, you're too quick to blame yourself,' he chided. 'I'm not upset because of anything you've done. Not at all.'

He sighed and wiped his hands in a napkin. 'I'm upset because you've had to listen to me moan about my life that, let's be honest, is pretty much the same as how everyone else's is going; divorced parents, deceased mother or father, a poor relationship… That's really how life's become after the war ended. There's no life or death situations anymore, and so no one's throwing caution to the wind and getting married or falling in love or having children. They're only ever thinking about the argument they had the night before with their partner or how dreary their jobs are, sitting at a desk, or worrying about money and it's all just endless, petty things that go round and round in a cycle of unhappiness. Perhaps there's a façade of a happy lifestyle, but look through the windows of their house in the evening and it's anything but that.'

He looked up. 'I am so sorry,' he said, sounding like he was astonished with the words that came from his mouth. 'I didn't mean to say all that… I'm not implying that your parents are like that or anyth – '

'I'm an orphan, Will. I don't have any parents so you're very much entitled to that opinion.'

His tanned face seemed to lose all of its colour. 'Genevieve, I am… I'm sorry, I didn't know. I – '

I gave him a slight smile and placed my hand on his. It was strange how different people reacted to that one word. Orphan. I wondered if it would ever bore me. I wondered if one day I'd grow tired of having to admit it to people. I wondered if one day the word would lack any expression and meaning at all.

'Will, it's fine. I like hearing you talk, anyway. You have a very nice voice.'

The left side of his mouth quirked up. 'Not a beautiful one?'

'Not as beautiful as mine, I'm sure,' I teased.

'And you said you were modest…' He was shaking his head in mock disgust.

I laughed, and suddenly the tense atmosphere evaporated, just with a few words. I did like hearing him speak, though. To me, a girl who referred to home as a small white room, the lives of others were infinitely more interesting than my own. And to think we were only teenagers, having barely begun our lives yet seeming to have lived forever with an endless knowledge, endless pain, but endless happiness. We were oxymora within ourselves.

I felt like I had known Will for longer than a few weeks, despite only having really spent a day with him. It was a wonderful feeling to know I could connect with another person so easily and so deeply in such a short period of time. And that kiss… Looking back it seemed so unexpected, so sudden, and yet it felt so natural. But who was I to say? I only had Rory to compare it to and that freaked us out enough.

'Do you have a boyfriend, Genevieve?' Will asked as he paid Oliver, leaving a tip, and we grabbed our coats from the back of our chairs.

I gave him an odd look. 'Do you think I would have been here today if I did?'

'No, of course not, I just… I had to be sure.'

I smiled at him and he held the door open for me. 'Do you have a girlfriend?'

He frowned. 'I thought you'd know that I… Oh, ha ha,' he said drily. I nudged him with my elbow, my hands shoved in the pockets of my coat.

'Do you happen to know the time, Will?' I asked. He peered at his watch.

'Nearly half past ten,' he said. I froze.

'Half past ten?' I all but screeched.

He bit his lip, trying to hold back a smile. 'I take it you were supposed to be back earlier?'

'Just an hour or two ago,' I groaned. 'Merlin, I've got to go, Will. I've had such a lovely time today. A really lovely time, actually.'

He laughed. 'You sound surprised that you've enjoyed my company.'

I grinned back. 'Just a bit.'

He smiled at me, but it was a slightly sad smile, as if the realisation that I had to leave was only just dawning.

'Well, I wish you a very merry Christmas, Genevieve,' he said softly, reached into his pocket, and handed me a black, palm-sized satin box that I eyed with trepidation.

He nodded for me to open it. I opened it and gasped, a hand flying to cover my mouth.

Inside the box was a bracelet. A pure silver piece, made up of small strands that entwined intricately like a vine, and a minuscule rose grew out of it. I twisted the bracelet around, looking at it from different angles. The rose appeared to grow bigger and bigger, fully blooming, small diamonds embedded in their centres, before wilting and dying, and then the whole process began again.

I placed the bracelet back in the box and snapped it shut, thrusting it out towards Will with a shaky hand.

'Will, I – I can't take this.'

He pushed my hand gently back to me. 'Yes, you can.'

'No, please,' I said, panicky. 'This isn't something you give a friend, Will. This is for... for your fiancée, or your wife or your daughter, but certainly not me.'

Will gave me a small smile, as if I was a child who had yet to understand how the world worked.

'Genevieve,' he said. 'I don't care if you hate it. I don't care if you don't want it and it doesn't mean a thing to you. But please, just keep it for me. Wear it, even, if you're feeling a little risqué.'

I couldn't help the laughter that bubbled up inside me at those last few words, and soon we were huddled together, bent over and giggling away like a pair of lunatics. The people who passed us gave us odd looks, though some muttered fondly to one another as if to say, 'Isn't that what we looked like when we were young and so in love? Isn't that what it was like for us?'

I couldn't help but wonder why people said things like that at all, though. Wasn't the whole point of love that it was forever? And if so, why did couples reminisce about those times as if their love for one another wasn't as strong as it was now - as if the roaring flames had dwindled. Perhaps they weren't truly in love if such an intense feeling could weaken over the years that they spent together. Was it not supposed to grow stronger? Perhaps I was young and naïve and didn't understand love. Perhaps I didn't even really understand how the world worked.

I nodded at Will, resigned, and he rewarded me with a tender smile.

'I didn't get you anything,' I said quietly, staring down at the box in my hand.

'I don't want you to,' he said. 'As long as you keep the bracelet, that's a gift enough.'

I looked up at him. He had taken a step closer, and now he hooked a finger under my chin. He bent down to kiss me sweetly, tenderly, delicately. He broke away, his eyes half-closed and smiled at me.

'May I call you my girlfriend?' he asked, and I nodded.

'You may.'



Updated:
c. 6th April, 2012 + added beautiful CI by Bear&Fox@TDA.



Original A/N: [most of which has been cut]

I apologise for the seeming lack of dialogue in the first section of this chapter – I hope it hasn't bored you too much, but it was quite nice to write more narration for a change. As strange as the feeling is for me (and probably sounds even stranger to you), I've realised that I've quite missed Genevieve. When I write now she's barely left alone by the others, so it's been good to sort of re-familiarise myself with her. And for those of you with experience: I know, I know – don't get too attached to your characters, for you never know what might happen.

I'd love to hear from you if you enjoyed this chapter,

As always, Bethan. Xxx
PS. Her curse shall be told in two chapter's time.


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