Chapter 12 : Lord Callum Conway
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"What about these?" Dominique asked enthusiastically over her shoulder to Jocosa. Jocosa dropped the bouquets she had been inspecting at another table and came to view the one's Dominique was now speaking of. Dominique held a bouquet of yellow daisies in her hand, embellished with a white ribbon to tie the lot of them together.
It had been weeks since Cadmus' death, and as such, everyone was slowly recovering. As fast and as far as recovering could go when it came to the loss of a loved one, of course. Ignotus was more reserved, and Dominique noticed he smiled less, but he was on the right track to once again living a life with a sense of normalcy. Just the other day he smiled for a good minute: a record length since Cadmus' death. She had been patient with him. She understood where he was coming from; she didn't pester him with unnecessary things, just as he didn't go out of his way to question her either. She gave him his space when she knew he needed it, and she was doing her best to ease the blow of the death of his brother's.
Since that day outside Ignotus' house, she hadn't spoken of the tale of the three brothers to Ignotus. She knew it was only another burden for him, and so she hadn't encouraged him to live his life prudently or anything of the sort. She could tell he was nervous, though. She'd sometimes see him flinch at minor outbursts, such as a sudden knock on the front door or a dog bolting across the street, and in those moments, she knew he was wondering if Death was striking again, when he would strike again. She knew she could ease the pain by telling him - as the story had told - that he would live a long life, see a son grow up, and greet Death like an old friend. But she just hadn't found the right time to do so, and she believed bringing anything up of the sort would only set him off again. And now that he was having better days more and more, she liked to just watch him smile and occasionally share a laugh.
They had also not shared any more romantic moments since the night of the wedding party. She often wondered if he would kiss her, embrace her, or even hold her hand, but then she had to remind herself that Ignotus lived a different life than she always had. She tried to be understanding and patient with that as well, but she thought that night of intimate kissing meant they could, perhaps, become something. Whatever that something may be in the 1200s, if he were to begin courting her.
She wondered if his lack of intimacy was also due to his brother's death and his time of mourning, but it had been three weeks and she had yet to receive any evidence that persuaded her one way or the other. And she couldn't deny the constant feeling in the back of her mind that there was another force at work also. Something else was keeping him wanting to be intimate with her; she just didn't know what it was, and it was itching at her. It was yet another subject she wanted to speak to Ignotus about, but in his saddened state, she was doing her absolute best to refrain. And perhaps it was also nothing, and perhaps it was this was an area of the 1200s that she lacked better understanding of.
It was just hard to sit by and smile at him and pretend like she wasn't longing for more every second she was around him. She had dated boys back home; she had had her fair share with relationships that she thought was love, and even a one night stand had been thrown into the mix early on into her Auror training. She liked to consider herself experienced when it came to dating, but there was something different about Ignotus. And it wasn't just because he was from 1234; if it was, she knew she would also be head over heels for other men as well, such as Edmund or Callum. But she wasn't. It was only Ignotus. There was something about that night when they had kissed: how right it had felt, how exciting and new. She wanted him to kiss her again, and as such, over the past three weeks, any contact sent shivers throughout her entire body. Like when he would still occasionally trail one of his fingers down her arm as he walked past her, or how he caressed her hand for only a moment when they ate dinner. And only when they had dinner alone. If Eirene was with them, Ignotus was careful to refrain from physical contact. After a few weeks of observing his actions, it didnít take a fool to put the two together. Dominique just couldnít figure out why he wanted to refrain from touching her in front of his mother. Perhaps it was still due to the customs of his time, but she tried not to let it bother her. Despite all that, they were actions that said nothing of what she could truly be with Ignotus, she knew they were still physical expressions of affection.
She just wanted more.
So she knew she had an ulterior motive when she was out that day, strolling about the town's streets with Jocosa. She and Jocosa had been taking trips out into Godric's Hollow more and more these days while Ignotus became more reserved, but Dominique loved her time with Jocosa. She had grown close to the woman, and she now considered Jocosa her friend. Dominique could tell Jocosa knew this as well; she noticed how Jocosa acted differently from when Ignotus was around or wasn't.
She and Jocosa had been out to fetch a few things that Ignotus and Eirene needed, but Dominique had also had the idea to stop by a man's florist and purchase flowers to adorn the table at the house with.
Jocosa's head inclined as she inspected the yellow daisies, and she delicately fingered the bunch of them. "Perhaps," she pondered.
"And what about this one?" the voice of a man suddenly said from behind the two women.
Dominique and Jocosa gave a jump and turned around to see the man who had joined in with them. Jocosa immediately dropped into a curtsy at the recognition of the man, and Dominique, remembering in quite delay that he was a lord, did so as well.
She held the skirt of her red dress in her hand with the daisies as she fell into a brief curtsy and then smiled to Callum Conway.
She almost didn't recognize him, having only met him twice, but she quickly placed a name with the face. Callum was tall and broad, his shoulders thick and sinew from years of yielding a sword. He had long, dirty blonde hair to his shoulders, tan skin, and a narrow jaw. His eyes were a striking shade of blue, and it was those blue eyes that she remembered so vividly about him. When she had first met him, he had been alive and at ease at the Strathclyde wedding party, and that liveliness had been an echo of those shades of blue. Then the second time she had met him had been the following day at Cadmus Peverell's funeral. She hadn't talked to him much then, just as their introduction had been brief the night before, and his visit at the funeral had been brief.
Callum chuckled, twirling a rose in between two of his long fingers. "Oh, please," he laughed, and a genuine smile reached his face. "I should think you would remember from our first meeting. Please, no such formalities."
"I am sorry, my Lord," said Dominique with a smile, careful to speak without contractions.
"Yes, well," he said, changing the subject, "never mind that. What brings you here on this beautiful day, my Lady?"
"Jocosa and I were looking for some flowers to buy. For Lord Ignotus' home. That house has seen happier days; certainly a few daisies will brighten up the place," said Dominique, and she half turned back to towards the table of flowers before her. Jocosa did so as well; Dominique knew it wasn't in Jocosa's rightful place to speak unless she was spoken to, so she knew Jocosa would continue their search of flowers.
Callum Conway moved to lean against the table of flowers as he watched Dominique turn from him. He let one of his palms rest against the table, and he placed the other one nonchalantly over the hilt of his sword, strapped to his waist with his leather belt.
"Certainly," said Callum in agreement. "That house has seen happier days. How kind of you. I presume Ignotus is not with you today on your outing, then?"
"No," said Dominique, and she eyed him from her peripherals, a smile tugging at her lips. "So if you were hoping to speak with him, I am afraid I cannot help you."
"I was not looking to speak with him," Callum said in a husky voice. "All I wanted was to speak with you, my Lady."
"Is that so?" she chuckled and glanced at him fully. She caught the corners of his mouth tugging into a grin, and she turned back to set the bouquet of daisies down. "And why were you wanting to speak to me, my Lord?"
While looking at Callum, Dominique noticed the small chuckle that escaped from his throat. It was brief, and she could tell he wished it to go unnoticed. He bit his bottom lip, and in that bite, he was doing his best to hold back a smile, and he remained quiet. In those actions, she could tell there was something else he wanted; he had an ulterior motive, but it wasn't one he was willing to share.
She felt her cheeks flush at that and she turned away from him to look back to the flowers. What did he want? Was she being hit on?
"You looked like you could use some help in your decision. Clearly those daisies are a wrong choice," said Callum, his attempt at coming up with a clever line.
"You think?" she joked after a brief burst of laughter. "I am fairly certain I have far better judgment in flowers, my Lord."
"Perhaps," he said casually, and he turned from having his back to the table so he was facing the flowers and he was shoulder to shoulder with Dominique. "But I am certain I have the better judgment on what suits you."
He reached into the pocket of his trousers and pulled out a gold coin. In one fluid motion with his thumb, he flipped it to the plump woman behind the table, and with the single rose he held between his fingers, he snapped its stem and delicately tucked it behind Dominique's ear, pulling her curls out to frame it perfectly against her face.
"There," he said with a smile, his fingers lingering on the ends of her blonde hair. "This proves it. Roses. They certainly suit you best, my Lady."
Dominique blushed again. She couldn't help it. She wasn't attracted to Callum, but one thing was obvious now. He was hitting on her.
How was she to respond? Did she thank him? As she stood before him, still with shock and unknowing what to do next, she noticed his smile of success as he turned his head from her. Just when she felt her heart begin to race, she was thankful for the voice of another.
"Callum!" the recognizable voice of a man shouted. "There you are!"
Callum Conway let a small grunt of annoyance escape from him as he straightened and turned away from the table and to Edmund, who was approaching them at a jog. Edmund came to a stop before them, panting slightly from the run with his holster about his waist. He wore a brown, leather vest, unbuttoned and hanging loose, over a white tunic, and brown trousers tucked into his leather boots. He pushed back his brown hair as he looked to his friend.
"Edmund," Callum nodded in acknowledgment to his friend, and when Dominique inspected Callum's reaction closely enough, she thought he actually appeared disappointed to be interrupted by Edmund.
"We were going to the archery range. Why did you run off?" asked Edmund. He looked to Dominique, and they both inclined their head to one another in greeting.
"Because I spotted this rather beautiful and distressed damsel and thought I would offer my services," said Callum with a cheeky smile.
Dominique let out a small burst of laughter at Callum's blunt and conceited comment. Edmund grinned too, though, despite how ridiculous it seemed to the both of them.
"Your services?" questioned Edmund with a chuckle. "Really? In flowers?"
"Sure," said Callum with a role of the shoulder. "I am a man of many talents."
"Really, Edmund," said Dominique to him. "I can rather manage flower picking myself. I am sorry to have pulled Callum away from you. Please, feel free to take him with you."
"Not bothering you, am I, my Lady?" questioned Callum with a laugh.
Dominique only chuckled under her breath and shook her head. She finally selected a bouquet of white and wild flowers. She showed them to Jocosa, who nodded in approval, and Dominique paid the woman behind the table.
"Well, then, perhaps you would like to accompany us to the archery range?" asked Callum.
Archery? Dominique didn't know if it was a particularly good idea for women to go to archery ranges, but archery. It was something new to her and something she had not taken the time to discover yet while in 1234. The idea of watching archery seemed intriguing to her; even more so, she had the strange desire to shoot a bow herself. She wanted to go with them. She looked over her shoulder to Jocosa, and together they shared a silent exchange. With their eye contact, Jocosa seemed to understand her question. Jocosa smiled and nodded. Pleased, Dominique turned back to the two gentlemen.
"Certainly, my Lords," she responded.
Callum gave a victorious grin and held out his right arm. Taking a bold step forward, Dominique let left arm hook into his right and he escorted her away from the flower stand. Jocosa obediently followed behind them, the basket of things they had recently purchased while out and about tucked under her arm. It held many herbs and other potions ingredients that Jocosa may have found strange as to why Dominique was purchasing them, but she had her reasons. And those reasons were meant for her, and her alone.
Dominique flashed a smile to Jocosa, who seemed to smile back like an eager little girl when she knew her friend was speaking to someone who was romantically interested in them. Dominique then understood why Jocosa was so excited to watch Callum and Dominique together; Jocosa had noticed Callum's flirting as well. Dominique had a brief moment of a panic, wondering what flirting and such meant in 123, especially if she reciprocated it. Which she had slightly. She forced away the thought. She wasn't attracted to Callum, not really. Sure, he was a handsome and strapping man, but her feelings for Ignotus seemed to put up a blockade to all other romantic thoughts for any other man. She wasn't trying to be a flirt with him; she was just being friendly. She had noticed that being with Callum was easy. He was such a free spirit that her difference in personality due to the times and his spirit made for an excellent collaboration.
She turned back to face the path on which they walked, Edmund on Callum's other side, and she looked to Callum who smiled down at her.
"Tell me, Lady Dominique," began Callum with great interest. "Where are you from? What is your home like?"
She briefly blanched. She hadn't been asked by anyone what her home was like or where she was from, and now that she had, she didn't know what to say. All of Godric's Hollow had been fed a lie. They couldn't know the truth. How could they? Only Ignotus knew the truth. Not even Eirene had been told the whole truth. Ignotus had lied to his mother for her because they both knew how it would sound: it would sound ridiculous, and surely the both of them would have been thought mad. Not only that, but being stuck in 123 with her true past known, she would not have been given the same respect she currently had. Status was important here; Dominique had learned that from the beginning.
But what did she tell him? Eirene had been told that she was from somewhere else, somewhere Dominique didn't remember and had no recollection of what had happened. Eirene and Ignotus had then lied themselves, Ignotus lying for a second time, saying that Dominique was the daughter of one of Eirene's friends who had been through an accident, and that was why she was currently the Peverell's ward.
Where was the silver lining in what she could share with Callum while still being truthful?
She began slowly, carefully, and created a mixture of "I am from Cornwall. I used to live in a cottage by the ocean. It was a beautiful place. Wonderful family."
She faltered. Where did she go from there? She knew Cornwall wasn't all too far from Godric's Hollow. They could reach it after maybe a week's ride on horse, and even more, she could apparate there in a matter of minutes, but no one knew that. Not even Ignotus. It hadn't even occurred to her to share or show the advancements in appration. If Cornwall was reachable, then people would wonder why she wasn't attempting to return home after her 'accident?' She hadn't even determined what her accident was.
If she had an attachment, those in Godric's Hollow would help her to go home? And where could she go? Be taken back to Cornwall where she could stand along the shore where Shell Cottage would be built in 800 years?
She realized she had to get rid of all attachments in order for people to believe that she had no reason to even try to leave Godric's Hollow.
"Then there was the accident," she found herself saying. "A fire. They died. All of them. That is why I came here. I had no one left in Cornwall. I do not remember much about it anymore. I believe I have shut out the memories. They are too painful to bear."
"I understand," said Callum solemnly. "How horrible that must have been for you. I am sorry to bring up painful memories."
"It is fine, my Lord," she said in a quiet voice. And after all her lies, she found that her next words were true. "While the last I have were painful, there were also many happy memories over the years."
"So," began Callum uneasily, and Dominique could sense that he was debating whether or not to speak of something happier, "you have no family left?"
"No, my Lord," she answered, and while she knew she was happy here, it was a desolate feeling, to renounce the entire family who was living happily in the 2000s without her.
"I am so sorry. I can only hope the Peverells have welcomed you into their home like one of their own," he said kindly.
"They have," she said admirably. "Lady Eirene and Lord Ignotus have been wonderful to me, even during their times of mourning."
"Yes, it is extremely unfortunate to lose two great men so soon, and so young. Ignotus has become rather reserved lately, has he not?"
"He has. I try to speak to him, but some days he just is not willing to participate. He needs to let someone in. Perhaps he will listen to you, my Lord," suggested Dominique. "You are his friend. Please. Take him out one day soon. Perhaps to a pub, or on a hunting trip, or - "
She was immediately out of ideas as to how young men spent their free time with one another. If she were at home, she would have recommended they play a game of Quidditch together, or quite the same, that they go out to a pub, bar, or club one evening to let loose. But she wasn't too familiar with how these men bonded, but she knew it was enough for Callum to catch her meaning.
"Most certainly, my Lady," he agreed. "I believe that is a marvelous idea."
Their conversation subsided as they reached the small archery range on the outskirts of Godric's Hollow. Dominique hadn't been over on this side of the village yet; she had no reason to. She knew what it looked like in her own time. It was just an open area with tall grass now, one on which she could often recall watching her cousins play a game of Quidditch on occasionally.
The range was simple. It only consisted of targets at one end of the field, and a wooden fence with a gate allowed those to enter.
At the gate she pulled her arm away from Callum's, and she and Jocosa leaned against the fence as Edmund and Callum entered. Dominique and Jocosa entered conversation as the men gathered their bows and quivers from where Edmund had set them down before setting off in search of Callum. They began to shoot at the targets; they took their time and seemed to be in deep concentration from the moment they placed picked up another bow until they released it. In between each shot they would share jokes with one another. Dominique was aware of the moments when they would lower their voices so they couldn't hear, and then she would notice Callum glancing her way with a cheeky smile, and then Edmund would laugh in reply.
Dominique ignored the obvious fact that Edmund and Callum were talking about her. It didn't matter to her, and she knew it certainly wasn't over anything bad. So she let them have their fun. She was more fascinated in watching the men shoot. She had never seen archery with her own eyes, and now that she was, she was absolutely fascinated by it. She wished she could join the men in the range and shoot for herself, but she knew that wasn't likely to go over well with Ignotus when he found out. She didn't know how involved a woman could be with archery, so she decided to play it safe and result to watching for the day. Perhaps Ignotus could teach her one day.
Dominique wasn't aware of just how much time went by since she had arrived at the range with Callum and Edmund. She was enjoying herself, chatting with Jocosa and watching the men shoot at their targets. Each of the targets at the end of the range had at least one arrow in them, some on the outer edges of the circle, some towards the center, and every now and then one had struck the bullís-eye.
The sky was beginning to illuminate an orange glow about the village as it began to set in the distance, painting everything a beautiful color, and Dominique was still laughing by Jocosa's side when she heard her name called from a distance.
She turned around to see Ignotus jogging down the path to the archery range. Dominique was aware of Jocosa clamping her mouth shut in mid-sentence and standing up straight.
"Ah! There he is!" Callum's voice boomed from within the range. A chuckle was obvious as he teased Ignotus. "The finest archer in all of Godric's Hollow!"
Ignotus disregarded Callum's words entirely and turned to Dominique.
"Dominique! My Lady, there you are," he breathed as he came to a stop in front of her. "You have been gone all day. You had me worried."
She didn't know why, but she immediately felt guilty for causing him worry. "I am sorry, my Lord," she answered truly apologetically. "You knew I was out for the day with Jocosa. I am sorry if I should have come home sooner."
"No, no," he answered finally. "Do not apologize. I should have known my worry was for nothing."
His look changed then. Dominique watched him wipe his fear and worry from his face in a single sweep. It was gone, or if it wasn't truly gone, he had begun to hide it well from her. She then only understood just why he had the right to be so worried. He knew Death was after him; what if he thought Death would make an attempt at her in order to lure Ignotus into Death's grasp? She felt even more guilt at the thought.
"Although I did not expect to find you at the archery range of all places," said Ignotus with much confusion. His eyes moved from Dominique to Callum some distance behind her who had stopped his shooting to watch the two.
"Yes. Well, Jocosa and I ran into Callum earlier this afternoon and asked us to accompany him and Edmund to the range."
"I see," answered Ignotus, and he seemed to disapprove of the idea. Dominique wondered why, but she knew that was a question for later. "Well, it is late. We should be returning home."
She knew it wasn't a request, but more a demand. It was easy enough to tell that Ignotus didn't want her at the range or with Callum. Dominique nodded and moved into Ignotus' side without question. She looked over her shoulder to the two men and gave them a parting wave. Even as they turned to leave, Ignotus without a word to his two friends and Jocosa fell into step beside them, Callum called after them. "Say, Ignotus!"
Grunting, he turned around and looked to Callum with impatience.
"How about one shot? Come on, my old friend. For old time's sake!"
Ignotus gave a hefty sigh, and Dominique could feel him beginning to reject Callum's question, but she gently nudged him in the ribs with her elbow and jerked her head towards the range, hinting he should at least shoot one arrow.
"Fine," he muttered and stalked off towards the range.
Dominique couldn't help but let a smile reach her face at the thought of watching Ignotus shoot a bow and arrow, especially after Callum's comment about what a fine archer he was. Ignotus hopped over the post that separated the range from the spectator's section and took Callum's bow and a single arrow from his offering hands. In one swift movement, Ignotus placed the arrow in its rightful position and pulled the bow up, his left hand holding it steady, the right pulling it back, the feather of the arrow gracing his cheek. He closed one eye as he held it steady and aimed. In the next moment, he let loose on the arrow and it soared down the range and struck the target in the dead center.
Callum grinned and clapped Ignotus on the back as he lowered the bow. "As I said," chuckled Callum. "The finest archer in all of Godric's Hollow."
"Please, Callum," said Ignotus dully. "You exaggerate my talents."
"Certainly not," he said, shaking his head. "Listen, Ignotus. You should have some fun. What say you to a hunting trip? Just you, me, and Edmund."
Ignotus pursed his lips and finally nodded. "All right," he said. "Just the three of us. Like old times."
"Wonderful," said Callum and he waved goodbye to Ignotus as he left the range, hopping over the post and sauntering back to Dominique and Jocosa.
He fell into step beside the women in silence, and Dominique finally urged him into conversation. "Why do you dislike Callum?"
Ignotus looked to her in surprise, his mouth opening in shock. "I do not dislike Callum. He is a dear friend of mine."
"Then why do you act the way you do with him? You're not like that to Edmund. Just Callum."
Ignotus pursed his lips as he debated on how he should answer her question. He knew the answer in its full truth. He did like Callum; he did, but Igntous understood his ways and how he was a romancer. He had his way with women of lower class and then left them. He didn't like the way he flirted with Dominique because he knew she deserved something better. He didn't want Dominique getting tangled up with Callum and he didn't want to see her hurt by Callum, but even more so, he didn't want Callum to think that Dominique was a woman he could fancy and then abandon.
Besides, Ignotus didn't even know if he had any right to reveal is jealousy and protection for Dominique when he had treated her the way he had since Cadmus' death. He had tried to disregard all romantic contact with her, for he knew he was a betrothed man. But every day was becoming a harder and harder battle. He didn't know what to do: whether to marry Brigid and abandon the truest feelings he had ever felt for a woman, or did he disappoint his mother, leave Brigid, and give everything up for Dominique?
No, he knew he couldn't be that way with her. It wasn't fair to her. He had no claim to her, and he wouldn't until he made up his mind.
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