"French onion soup!" Bellatrix exclaimed, as she and Jeremy walked hand-in-hand through the main part of the city near where they lived.
He looked where she was pointing to a small restaurant with a blackboard displaying the special of the day as "French Onion Soup."
"Hungry again already?" he chuckled.
Bellatrix jabbed him with her elbow and said, "Just because you've obviously never had to eat for two, I'll let you get away with that."
Jeremy raised his eyebrows, but didn't press the subject, "Luckily, I did manage to find my wallet before we left."
Bellatrix smiled slightly and pulled him towards the door.
Minutes later, they were sitting across from each other at a cafe table with the warmth of the soup creating a haze between them. Bellatrix had her eyes closed as she inhaled the delicious smell, "It smells heavenly..." she crooned.
Jeremy certainly agreed with her, but he found it funny that she was so affected by soup. Either way, she seemed to be in a good mood, so he had nothing to complain about...In fact, he had everything to be pleased with: here he was with the girl of his dreams, they were married and expecting a baby, and right now, it was almost as if they were dating...no, he didn't think it got much better than this.
He must have looked as distant and satisfied as he felt, for Bellatrix suddenly focused on him and asked, "What? You're looking like someone who just forgot where he was. Why?"
He met her eyes and immediately lost himself in them, "You're just...amazing."
Bellatrix's brow furrowed, as if she was trying to figure out if he was being serious, or if he was trying to tell her she was exaggerating the food a bit without getting under her skin. It took only a moment for her to confirm he was serious, and she smiled slightly, "I guess you're not so bad yourself."
Jeremy felt the corner of his mouth twitch. He did love her so much.
They ate quietly, but Bellatrix knew Jeremy watched her more than his food, even though she rarely raised her eyes from her own soup. She wondered what he found so fascinating about her...it was as if he was more interested in her than anything else, and she couldn't figure it out. He hadn't seemed this way in school, so why should he suddenly be so taken with her? Could he really be in love with her? ...Did she really want him to be?
That question took her by surprise. Did she want him to be in love with her? And what if he was? Would it change anything if he was?
Then another question came uninvited to her mind: was she falling for him?
"Kasica..." Bellatrix said, looking up only to find his eyes already focused on her.
"Yes, Dear?" he murmured.
"Do you think we'll ever get back?" she tested.
Suddenly, a look of sadness crossed his face, "Do you want us to?"
Bellatrix bit her lower lip, "I don't know...do you?"
Jeremy's eyes searched hers, "Honestly? No, I don't."
Bellatrix's eyes widened, "But...that's three years of your life that you missed...and here you are, stuck with me - no loopholes at all - for the rest of our lives. You can't choose who you married...what's so great about that?"
Jeremy reached across the table and took her hand, "What's so great about that? Bella...what's not great about that?"
Bellatrix looked completely taken aback.
"Look...this is like...this is what I've wanted since I first saw you. And I...don't know if I could ever get you to marry me in the past. Bella, this is all I ever dreamed about," he whispered, "I don't want you to be unhappy, though."
Bellatrix thought of pulling her hand away and leaving him sitting there.
But she didn't.
"I'm sorry, maybe I'm just not good at communicating my thoughts. I didn't mean that I was happy you're stuck with me...I'm just trying to say you're the only person I would ever want to marry. I'm sorry you don't get a chance to choose," Jeremy said.
"That was awful," Bellatrix said, barely thinking about her words, "It was better how you said it first."
Jeremy gaped at her.
"It was...sweet," Bellatrix couldn't believe she had actually just said that.
"Oh...thanks," Jeremy said, sounding stunned.
"Well, let's go," Bellatrix said.
"Yeah..." Jeremy replied, his voice still sounding dazed.
They left the cafe hand-in-hand and Bellatrix shivered at the sharp change from the warm air inside to the chill autumn afternoon outdoors. Jeremy smiled and pulled her against him, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. She looked up at him with a smirk, then put her arm around his waist to stay close. Never in a million years would she have thought she would be acting this way with a Hufflepuff halfblood, of all people...and one that she had hated for so long, but she really felt as if she had no control over herself. Maybe she really was falling for him.
Twenty minutes later found the two in the middle of town, walking down the sidewalk towards the circular area where a band was playing.
"Feel like dancing?" Jeremy whispered.
Bellatrix looked up to make sure he was serious, then smiled slightly, "I didn't know you liked that kind of thing."
"With you? Yeah, I love it," Jeremy chuckled.
"You've never danced with me before," Bellatrix reminded.
"True. So do you want to try something new with me?" He took both her hands and began to sway with her against him.
Bellatrix leaned into him and put her head on his shoulder, taking one hand from his to wrap around him. There were other couples around them, but Bellatrix could fade them out easily, to her surprise. It felt nice to have someone act like he really cared for her as Jeremy did...oh, how she hoped this was forever. Yes, she had finally admitted it to herself: she had fallen hard for Jeremy Kasica...but she would not be telling him any time soon.
Jeremy was thinking over the day, wondering how he had been so fortunate as to end up in this reality with, of all people, the girl he most wanted. This had been the most perfect day of his life. He had actually kissed her, he had gone almost the entire time without having her get mad, he was dancing with her now...it didn't get any better.
As the song drew to its end, Bellatrix looked up at her partner and found him gazing down at her. She felt the sudden urge to kiss him, and their close proximity was doing anything but helping her ability to resist these strange impulses...but she didn't. She smiled lightly, and then rested her cheek against his chest once again. She had to keep control of herself as much as possible.
As the last notes died, Jeremy brought their joined hands to his lips and kissed hers softly, then she stepped back from him slightly. It was quiet for a moment as Bellatrix's eyes searched Jeremy's, and then a new song began, and he pulled her back, whispering, "I wish this day would never end."
Bellatrix sighed audibly.
Jeremy smiled to himself as he held her close.
The music went on for a few hours, but Bellatrix and Jeremy barely noticed how much time passed. They didn't talk much, just enjoyed each other's company.
After the band had finished their performance and had begun to pack up their instruments and leave, Jeremy embraced Bellatrix lightly before letting her take a step back. Their hands were still twined together as they stared into each other's eyes. Neither of them felt like breaking the silence: it was just such a perfect moment.
After a few moments, Bellatrix happened to glance up and see the clock above the town circle. Nearly four hours had passed, "I'm starving," she said.
Jeremy laughed, "Then by all means, let's get you some food."
She smiled as he released one of her hands so they could walk side-by-side as they looked for some place that appealed to them.
Suddenly, Jeremy felt himself grabbed by the arm and pulled in to a rough, back-breaking embrace that drove the air from his lungs. Only one person he knew hugged him like that...but it couldn't be...
"Oh - gosh - Justin -" he gasped.
The man immediately released him and said, in a strong Irish accent, "Sorry, mate, I just didn't expect to see you here."
Jeremy massaged his side, wincing, as he said, "Didn't expect to see you either...augh! Why do you have to break all of my bones every time?"
Bellatrix was just watching them in confusion. She thought she recognized this new person...probably if he was one of Jeremy's best friends. The shaggy blond hair and dark green eyes did look somewhat familiar.
"And you've brought the Mrs. with you, as well, I see," Justin said, turning to Bellatrix to kiss her cheek.
"Ugh!" Bellatrix shuddered and jumped back, looking horrified.
Justin looked confused, and then realized Jeremy had gone quite red and looked as if he was about to murder Justin. He held up his hands in apology, "I didn't mean anything by it, you know how I am. Sheesh, chill."
Under her horror, Bellatrix couldn't help but burst into laughter seeing Jeremy glaring up at Justin, who was at least a head taller.
'He's so freaking cute!'
"Never, ever do it again, or I swear I will have to kill you," Jeremy practically growled. That was a side Bellatrix had never seen of him...
"So protective, as always. Guess I should've learned my lesson earlier," Justin just chuckled at Jeremy's anger.
"See that you learn it now," Jeremy muttered.
Bellatrix stepped closer to him and took his hand. He turned to her, and saw something like adoration in her eyes. Jeremy could almost forget that there was anyone else around...if that anyone else hadn't meant Justin Kelly.
Just those few moments soothed his nerves enough so that he could speak to Justin in a friendly tone, "What are you doing here anyway?"
Looking surprised by the sudden change in attitude, Justin replied, "Thought I'd visit some friends around here. Haven't seen you since school."
Jeremy raised his eyebrows, "Wait a second...how did you know I was married?"
Justin threw his head back and laughed.
"What's so funny?" Jeremy frowned.
Shaking his head, Justin replied, "Your question - it was just ridiculous! How did I know you were married? Good grief, Brother, you were only completely obsessed with her for forever...and you only spent the entirety of seventh year with her! Hey, I can tell a couple when I see one!"
Jeremy looked skeptical, and he thought Bellatrix seemed to share his thoughts.
"Hey, how about you come over to my hotel sometime. I'll be here for awhile...maybe tomorrow?" Justin suggested, "Catch up on the past few years."
Jeremy exchanged a look with Bellatrix, and clearly saw that she was horrified by the suggestion, "Justin-"
"It's right over there," Justin said, pointing down the street to a small hotel, "Just drop in if you get the chance, alright? I'm meeting somebody in five minutes, so I need to go. See you."
"Bye," Jeremy said, "Bellatrix, are you alright?"
She gave him a blank look, and said, "Of course."
They continued on their way until they found a restaurant that was acceptable to Bellatrix's particular taste. They ended up seated at a moderately fancy table for two in a candlelit room surrounded by couples whispering and staring at each other. Bellatrix didn't seem to mind that, so Jeremy guessed she didn't care how much like the others they looked.
The ordered their food when the waitress came around, and were soon asked by another waitress if they wanted red or white wine.
Jeremy glanced at Bellatrix and she just bit her lip to keep from smiling, so he said, "Red."
As soon as the waitress left, Bellatrix giggled slightly, taking Jeremy completely by surprise. He'd never heard her giggle like that...but it totally stole his heart all over again. He didn't even realize he was staring at her until she opened her eyes slightly to see him through her lashes.
She was still smiling slightly, but his expression seemed absolutely awestruck.
"You alright, Kasica?" Bellatrix asked.
He blinked, and then said, "Are we still on a last name basis?"
She suddenly reached across the table and took his hands in hers and looked into his eyes, now serious, "Please tell me I'm not making a stupid mistake..."
He raised one of her hands to his lips and kissed it, letting his lips linger on it as he whispered, "I swear I will do everything in my power to make sure you aren't."
A/N: I know, odd place to end, and this chapter seems kinda everywhere to me, so please tell me what you think :)