Chapter 13 : Christmas
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‘I’m really sorry, Mrs Potter, but I think I’m going to stay at Lisa’s for Christmas,’ I said.
‘Why? I thought you were enjoying yourself here?’
I tried not to narrow my eyes, but I pressed my lips together. If Mrs Potter’s version of me ‘enjoying myself’ included getting bullied in a playground, shoved down a flight of stairs and having my head messed up by my ex-boyfriend, I’d love to see what her version of me not enjoying myself was.
‘Well, I kind of promised Lisa I’d come and stay, and I wanted to spend some time with Joyce and Michael – you know, Lisa’s aunt and uncle. They’re kind of like my second parents … I mean, apart from you and Mr Potter, of course,’ I added hastily.
‘I get that, Lily,’ Mrs Potter said as she stirred whatever was in the pot with her wand, ‘but why don’t you just stay here for Christmas Day and leave on Boxing Day? I’m sure Mr and Mrs Corner won’t mind. Christmas is only two days away.’
Mrs Potter gazed at me pleadingly. She had the exact same eyes as James – and I couldn’t resist.
‘Oh, alright then.’
Mrs Potter smiled widely at me. I left the kitchen and bumped into Sirius, who had obviously been listening in.
‘So, Evans is staying for Christmas then?’
‘You do know eavesdropping is rude, right?’ I snapped at him. I made my way over to the coat stand to pick up my one.
‘Where are you going?’ Sirius asked.
‘To the park.’
‘Ahh, to see your new boyfriend?’ he chided, sniggering. I put my coat on and glared at him.
‘Matthew is not my boyfriend, he’s only three and I’m not going there to see him. I need some time alone.’ With that, I shot him one last, hateful look and swept out of the door.
As it turned out, Matthew wasn’t in the park, but there were a few little families.
I sat down on my usual swing and started rocking back and forth.
I made a silent vow to never, ever come and stay here again. I was staring at the ground when I saw a pair of feet coming to stop in front of me.
‘Lily.’ It was James. I didn’t bother to look up. Instead, I just stood up and moved to sit on the bench nearby.
‘Lily, don’t avoid me.’
‘Why shouldn’t I avoid you?’ I snapped. ‘The only reason I’m here is because I didn’t want to disappoint your parents.’ He sat down next to me. ‘Why did you do that yesterday?’
‘Don’t act dumb, Potter. You know what I’m talking about.’ He touched my arm, but I flinched and moved down the bench a little more. Even though I wasn’t looking at him, I could feel his gaze on my face.
‘I don’t know,’ he sighed, ‘I guess old habits die hard.’
‘And why did you invite Sirius? You’ve hated him for ages and suddenly you’ve invited him to stay for Christmas. I’ve also noticed you and Courtney seem very close now.’
I felt him shrug. ‘It’s basically tradition now for Sirius to come here for Christmas. He couldn’t go home to … that.’
‘You know – Kreacher and Regulus … and his mother.’ I had no idea what he was talking about (though I knew Regulus was Sirius’s younger brother), so I just nodded like I knew.
‘Right. And why are you sitting here talking to me when you told me you wanted nothing to do with me?’ I asked him.
He didn’t reply. I finally looked up at him. His eyes were fixed on a spot of dried-in chewing gum on the tarmac. His glasses were sliding slowly down his nose and he looked sad.
‘I wish I hadn’t said that, Lily,’ he sighed. ‘Everything I said then – I didn’t mean it.’
‘Even the part about “never stop loving me”?’ I said quietly.
He looked up at me and pushed his glasses up his nose. ‘Except that part.’
‘Oh,’ I said, returning my eyes to the floor.
‘What about you?’ James enquired, shifting a little closer to me.
I opened my mouth to reply, but nothing came to mind. I wanted to forgive him, to let us be together again, but something was nagging me.
How many times had he hurt me?
‘James,’ I said, ‘I’m sorry. I don’t think … I mean, I –’
‘It’s fine,’ he interrupted. ‘I get it. You don’t want me anymore.’
‘No!’ I said hastily. ‘I do, really! I just don’t think now is the right time …’
‘Then when is the right time, Lily?’ he demanded, his eyes suddenly flashing with anger.
‘I don’t know!’ I cried. ‘I’m so confused, James. My life is a mess, and –’
‘Your life is a mess?’ James said, his voice rising. ‘Everything’s about you, isn’t it, Lily? You’d never stop and think about what I want, would you?’
‘What? N-no, I just meant –’
‘I’m sick of you, Lily. I thought I loved you, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe I would be better off with Courtney.’
‘J-James, don’t, please, I didn’t mean to –’ I stuttered. But he was gone.
When you think of Christmas, you think of roast turkey, pudding, a huge, decorated tree and just general all round Christmas cheer.
Not this year.
I got the first three, thanks to Mrs Potter’s wonderful cooking and Mr Potter’s jolly spirit, but I didn’t get the cheer. After my conversation with James in the park, the three of them had been nastier to me than ever.
I usually stayed in the park all day, or shut myself in the room I was staying in. Courtney hung out with the other two, and she didn’t come up that much.
The day before Christmas, I was making my way to the park. The gate was hidden behind a load of bushes. I pushed them aside and was about to walk in when I saw someone crouched in the flowerbeds. It was James. I was about to ask him what he was doing when I remembered he’d probably shove me head-first into the soil. Sticking to the bushes, I edged round to get a clearer view of him. He was using a twig to dig a hole in the compost. There was a small, turquoise box on the ground next to him, tied with a delicate silver ribbon.
After a while, he stopped digging. He put down the stick and dropped the box into the hole. Then he covered the hole with soil again. James stood up and brushed the dirt off his jeans. He made his way out of the park as if nothing had happened.
Keeping my eyes on the little heap of earth where the mysterious little box was buried, I climbed over the fence and crouched at the spot where James had been two minutes before. Using the stick he’d used, I moved the soil aside until I saw the little silver ribbon. Ignoring the dirt, I plunged my hand into the hole to take hold of the box.
I brought it up and wiped the dirt off it. I took a look around. Families were milling in and someone might find me suspicious. I stood up and shook my hand to get the dirt off it. I stuck the box in my coat pocket and walked casually out of the park.
I hoped to see Matthew, but no such luck. I went back to the Potters’ house and straight up to the bedroom. Courtney was in there, putting on makeup, so I just bent down in front of my trunk and shoved the box under my clothes.
‘Where have you been all this time, Lilykins?’ Courtney asked.
‘If it was any of your business, I’d tell you,’ I replied. I reached behind the bed to take out the presents I’d bought for Mr and Mrs Potter and the wrapping paper. While Courtney put on her makeup, I wrapped up their presents and hid them under a loose floorboard.
When she was gone, I grabbed the mystery box and turned myself so my back was to the door. I tugged on one end of the ribbon, which was in a bow, and it fell away. My heart pounding wildly, I opened the box.
‘WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS, WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS, WE WISH YOU A MERRY –’
‘That’s quite enough now, James!’ Mrs Potter yelled over James’s screeching.
Even in the miserable state I was in, it was hard not to smile at the sight of James standing on the coffee table, belting out whatever carols he could remember at the top of his voice.
‘Get down off the damn table, James,’ Mr Potter grunted.
‘Aww, come on, Dad, it’s Christmas morning!’ James complained, making puppy dog eyes at his father.
‘I know, but if you keep … caterwauling like that, none of us are going to be able to hear anything by dinner.’ Mr Potter put down the Christmas issue of The Daily Prophet and stood up.
‘Kevin!’ Mrs Potter called from the kitchen. ‘Come and help me with the turkey – I’m already rushed off my feet!’
Mr Potter groaned.
‘I heard that! If you don’t get in here now, you won’t be getting your Christmas dinner tonight!’
Quick as a flash, Mr Potter was in the kitchen. Go figure.
I was left alone with Sirius and James. Courtney was out and I decided it would be better to stay here and pack for tomorrow than go to the park and waste time.
The fire was blazing in the fireplace, letting off lots of heat. I rolled up the sleeves of my pistachio green top and shook the bracelet down my arm a little. Sirius folded himself into an armchair and closed his eyes, while James was gaping at me. No – not at me, at the bracelet on my arm.
It was a beautiful thing, thin and made mostly of silver but entwined with gold and little lily charms on it. I got it for Christmas – technically.
My heart pounding wildly, I opened the box.
I gasped. Inside was a beautiful little bracelet and a little note. I picked up the parchment and unfolded it.
Dear Lily, it said, I saw this bracelet and immediately thought of you. I love you. Love James.
He must have bought it before the ball. Obviously he was going to give it to me, but then he changed his mind and, instead of maybe taking out the note and giving it to someone else, he decided to bury it so I’d never find it.
I smiled to myself. I slipped the bracelet on my wrist and put the box back into my trunk.
‘Where did you get that from?’ James asked, pointing to the bracelet.
‘It came for me this morning,’ I lied. ‘An owl came in through the window. I think it was from Amos Diggory – you know, he’s in our year, in Hufflepuff.’ Amos was known as ‘the next-hottest boy after James and Sirius, because they come first, you know?’ (That was the official term) and James hated him, because he and I dated briefly in our sixth year.
I tried not to laugh at the sight of James’s face going bright red.
‘Amos Diggory sent you that bracelet?’
‘Yeah. Got a problem with that?’ I asked, raising my eyebrow as I fiddled with one of the lily charms.
‘Yes, because I –’ James burst out. Sirius opened one eye and cleared his throat. ‘I – I mean – no, of course not. Diggory can send you whatever he wants.’
‘What, you don’t believe me or something?’ James demanded.
‘No, no,’ I said, trying to keep the sarcasm out of my voice, ‘I believe you. Just like you believed me when I told you I didn’t want to kiss that bastard,’ I nodded towards Sirius. ‘Oh, wait! You didn’t believe me!’
‘Well, you seemed pretty damn eager to kiss me,’ Sirius commented.
‘No one asked for your opinion, you git,’ I snarled.
‘Now now, Lilykins, it’s Christmas Day!’ he said, laughing.
‘Shut up, Black,’ I snapped. ‘You can’t seriously believe him,’ I said, addressing James.
He shrugged. ‘I don’t know. It seems pretty believable.’
‘Seriously? You think I’d just go around kissing my ex?’
‘Ugh! You are just so … annoying!’ I yelled at him, standing up and storming up the stairs. Halfway up, I burst into tears. I tore down the mistletoe that was hanging in the hall and threw it aside. When I got into the room, I took off the bracelet and chucked it across the room. As I collapsed onto the bed, a small owl tapped at the window. I let it in and took the note off its leg.
Hey, Lily. How’s your Christmas so far? Mine’s been great – my cousins all got me a present so I’ve got about eight now, just from them. Joyce and Michael have got you a present – they’re going to give it to you when you arrive tomorrow. Speaking of which, are you going to Apparate by yourself or do we need to arrange a Portkey or something? Love from Lisa
I turned the parchment over and rummaged around in my trunk for ink and a quill.
Hi Lisa. Merry Christmas! I’m glad someone’s having a good time. To be honest, I can’t wait to get away. James has been messing with my head again – one minute he loves me, the next he’s yelling at me. Sirius has been messing with James’s head, making him think I actually enjoyed it when he kissed me. Courtney’s just been plain bitchy. I made a new friend called Matthew. He’s a Muggle and he’s about three years old, but he’s so sweet. I’ll Apparate round to yours at around ten, if that’s OK? Lots of love, Lily
I tied the note to Lisa’s owl and carried him to the window. The owl jumped off my arm and swooped into the sky.
At least tomorrow this torture would be over.
‘I found this on the stairs,’ said a voice. I turned. Cookies for whoever guesses who it was.
‘Get lost,’ I snapped at him. James held up the mistletoe.
‘You do know that if I hold this over us, there’s no escaping it. And everyone wants Christmas kisses.’
‘I could just run away, idiot,’
‘No. My parents enchanted it so you can’t escape unless you kiss someone.’
‘Ew, what if two guys get trapped under it? Or two girls?’
‘Lily. You are sick. Just get over here.’
‘No. Why should I?’ I snapped. I picked up the bracelet and put it back on. ‘You know, Amos is a very good kisser.’
‘Shut up. I see you’re admiring the bracelet I got you then?’ James asked, raising an eyebrow.
‘No. Amos got this for me.’
‘He didn’t. I checked the park. You were spying on me, weren’t you? You love me so much you started stalking me!’
‘I wasn’t stalking you, you idiot. I was in the park at the time.’
‘With your boyfriend Matthew?’ he jeered, the mistletoe shaking over his head.
‘Matthew’s not my boyfriend.’
‘Then who is?’
‘I don’t have one. It used to be you. If you forgot, I’d check into St Mungo’s to see if you’ve had brain damage. Not that you don’t have it already.’ I said, smiling at him sarcastically.
‘You’re the one with brain damage if you don’t love me. See – super-hot James Potter standing here with a huge clump of mistletoe.’
‘Way to get a girl to fall for you, Potter,’ I said, folding my arms and glaring at him. ‘Now, if you would excuse me, I need to go downstairs.’
He stepped backwards so he was standing in front of the door.
‘Move, James. Honestly, were you dropped on your head when you were born?’ I tried to move past him, but he grabbed my arm and pulled me close to him.
‘Probably,’ he said quietly. I looked into his eyes, unable to resist their lure. The mistletoe he was holding up wavered slightly as we got closer. I raised my hand to touch his face. He closed his eyes and drew closer, moistening his lips …
And then he went reeling back in pain, dropping the mistletoe and rubbing the red mark on his face from the slap I’d just given him.
‘Nice try, Potter,’ I said, ‘but you’re going to have to do better than that if you want me back.’
‘Alright everyone, get to the table!’ Mrs Potter called. Like obedient dogs, we all filed into the dining room to take our seats. The table was already laden with food – sprouts, vegetables, roast potatoes – but the huge turkey was on its way.
I found myself wedged between James and Courtney. James reached under the table and squeezed my hand. For one blissful moment, I forgot we weren’t together. I forgot where I was and I forgot all my problems. But then it all came flooding back to me and I jerked my hand away from him.
Mrs Potter came swooping out of the kitchen, holding a huge tray in her hands. She placed it gently on the table and slowly took off the foil covering it.
I’d never seen a Christmas turkey quite so huge. It took up at least half of the table and must have been about ten times the size of my head.
During dinner, in which many crackers were pulled, I ate so much I thought I might burst. I didn’t touch the sprouts though, because I’d had a bad experience with them in the past (five words: DAD – DON’T TOUCH THE SPROUTS!).
When we were allowed to leave the table so Mrs Potter could get the gingerbread house out, I wandered over to the lounge to sit on the sofa and examine the bracelet James had (buried) in more detail.
On the back of each lily charm were three words etched in tiny writing: I love you.
I noticed James watching me from the armchair. I gave him a little smile but he scowled at me.
‘Dear me, Lilykins, it seems Jamesie doesn’t like you anymore.’ Sirius said, sitting down beside me.
‘It’s your fault this happened in the first place, Black. And I don’t care if it’s Christmas Day – if you dare say anything that confuses him even more, I’ll kick you.’
‘Where will you kick me?’ I raised my eyebrow. He got the message. ‘Oh! Oh, crap! Lily! You violent child!’
‘That’s me.’ I said. ‘Now get lost,’
‘No need to be so rude, Lilykins. I’m only here to help.’
‘Help?’ I said, staring at him.
‘Of course. I don’t want James and Courtney to be together.’ Sirius told me.
‘Why not? I thought you did, so you could have me.’ I said. ‘At least, that’s what it looks like to me.’
‘I did want you. But now I’m not so sure.’
‘Gee, thanks. Seems like no one wants me nowadays.’
‘Whatever. Anyway, I’ve decided I want Courtney for myself. And you can have James, if you want. Do you want?’ he asked.
I looked over at James, who was looking at the fire. Courtney sashayed over to him and sat on his lap, stroking his face and touching his leg.
‘I suppose. I – I mean, I don’t think James and Courtney would go well together.’ I said hastily.
‘You want.’ Sirius confirmed. ‘Anyway, I’m now officially a double agent. Courtney thinks I still want you and that I’m helping her get James, but I’m not. I’ll talk to James and see if I can get you two together … again.’
‘Why should I trust you?’ I demanded. ‘From what I know about you, you’re a devious, conniving, two-faced –’
‘Alright, that’s enough!’ He held up his hands. ‘Yeah, I maybe all those things, but now I’m willing to give it up to help a friend.’
‘We’re not friends,’
‘Not you – James. Poor thing.’ He jerked his head over to James, who was being attacked by Courtney. She was making it very obvious that she liked him – kissing his cheek and cuddling up to him.
‘Yeah. Nobody deserves Courtney – except maybe you. You’re both the same.’ I crossed my arms and tried to look confident, but the sight of Courtney doing contortions over James made me balk. ‘You’re on, Black,’
‘Pleasure doing business with you, Evans,’ Sirius said, and he smiled. He got off the sofa and charged up the stairs. Courtney was still doing gymnastics over James, who was looking very uncomfortable. Her mouth was moving closer to his and I resisted the urge to throw her into the fire.
‘Courtney!’ Sirius yelled. ‘Get up here!’
She sighed impatiently, but got off James and trudged up the stairs. When she was gone, James turned to me.
‘Why were you talking to Sirius?’
‘Why was Courtney trying to seduce you?’
‘I asked first.’
‘I’m allowed to talk to people, aren’t I? I’m not a complete loner.’ I shot back.
‘I thought you hated him though?’
‘That doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to talk to him. You know – drop a few threats, that sort of thing.’ I said, rolling my eyes.
‘And why was Courtney all over you?’
‘Why do you care?’
I didn’t reply. ‘I don’t.’
‘Then I don’t need to answer.’
‘You know what,’ I said, an idea suddenly forming in my head, ‘I’ve got a confession to make.’
‘I wasn’t dropping threats to Sirius,’ I said. When James didn’t say anything, I went on, ‘He kind of asked me out again.’
‘And what did you say?’ I shrugged. ‘You said yes?’
‘Maybe …’ I muttered.
James’s face turned the colour of my hair. ‘Right. So … you’re not single?’
‘Is it just me or is that the dumbest question in the world?’ I said, smirking at him as I watched him sink lower into his armchair.
Courtney came back down the stairs and flung herself on James, who seemed quite eager now.
Did I just make things worse?
I jumped up and flew up the stairs, colliding with Sirius on the landing. I fell on top of him, but immediately jumped up and flattened myself against the wall.
‘What have you done?’ Sirius demanded.
‘I-may-have-kind-of-accidentally-on-purpose-told-James-we-were-dating-again.’ I said in one breath. He looked confused for a moment, then his eyes widened and he gasped.
‘Lily! You complete and utter idiot! Do you have crap for brains or something?’
‘I think so,’ I said sadly. ‘What are we going to do?’
‘You are going to not say anything to James about this while I sort it out.’ Sirius said, looking annoyed. He stomped down the stairs.
Maybe I did have crap for brains.
I was about to run into the room and start sobbing when Mrs Potter called,
‘Here comes the gingerbread house!’
I shot down the stairs as Mrs Potter carried it into the lounge. She put it on the coffee table. It looked exactly like the Potters’ house and there were even little gingerbread people who I recognized as Mr and Mrs Potter, James, Sirius, Courtney and even me.
‘Help yourselves to … yourselves,’ Mr Potter said. I picked up the little redhead gingerbread. It even had little emerald-coloured eyes.
‘It’s beautiful, Mrs Potter.’ I said, studying the gingerbread-Lily carefully.
‘I’m glad you think so.’ Mrs Potter said, smiling.
The gingerbread house was quickly eaten. In no time at all, the beautiful structure was little more than a few crumbs on the platter.
‘PRESENT TIME!’ James roared, jumping at the tree. He looked round at the different parcels. ‘To James, from Sirius,’ he read. He tore at the wrapping paper to reveal a tiny leash and what looked like a homemade mini racetrack.
‘What the hell is that?’ Courtney asked, furrowing her brow.
James snorted with laughter. ‘This is my Flobberworm leash and this is the racetrack for mine and Sirius’s Flobber-lympics. Thanks, mate!’
‘No problem. Right – my turn!’ Sirius bent down by the presents. ‘To Sirius, from Lily. I wonder what it is!’
I smiled to myself as he took off the paper. ‘It’s a dog grooming kit.’ Sirius gaped at it. Then he started laughing. Then he wouldn’t stop.
‘I’m guessing you like it?’
‘It’s the best! Thanks, Lily!’
When I unwrapped my present from Mr and Mrs Potter, I was not expecting what I got.
The wrapping paper fell away and I found myself holding a shimmering deep blue dress. The straps crossed over at my neck and the back was half-filled.
‘What –?’ I said, staring at it.
‘We thought you might like it, Lily,’ Mr Potter said.
‘Like it? I love it!’
‘Great! You can wear it to our New Year’s Party!’ Mrs Potter exclaimed.
‘New Year’s Party?’
‘Yes. We decided we were having a party to celebrate the New Year. Everyone’s invited – your parents included, Lily. And Petunia – if she’s feeling up to it.’ Mrs Potter told me gently. ‘And everyone should come with a partner.’
I stared at her. The Potters had never had a New Year’s Party before. And I needed a partner.
Courtney was in bed and, once again, I couldn’t sleep. I was due to leave for Lisa’s in ten hours, at ten o’ clock in the morning. It was nearly midnight.
I slipped out of bed and crept into the hallway. The light was on in James and Sirius’s room.
I pressed my ear against the wood, keeping a firm grip on the doorknob so it wouldn’t swing open.
I could hear their voices clearly.
‘Me and Lily aren’t actually going out, you know,’ Sirius was saying.
‘Why would she say something like that though?’
‘That girl is mental, I’m telling you. She’s got trouble expressing her feelings about – I mean, she’s just psychotic.’
‘Expressing her feelings about who?’ James asked.
‘If you don’t tell me, I won’t go Flobberworm racing with you.’ James said, his voice sounding dangerous.
‘Alright! She still fancies you, and I know you still fancy her. OK? So just own up and snog her like you used to.’ Sirius sighed.
‘Believe me, I tried.’ James said. ‘She slapped me. I really like her, but she’s being such a bitch right now. I don’t even know what’s going on. Before, I told Lily I was sick of her, but I’m not … it’s so confusing – one minute Lily and I are friends, the next she makes some irritating comment and we end up arguing. To be honest, I’m not sure if us being together is a good idea. But I want to be, because I love her.’
‘What did I say about Lily being mental? I’M SURE SHE’LL CONFESS SOON ENOUGH!’ He said the last sentence louder, as if he knew I was behind the door.
‘… Why are you talking so loud …?’
‘So that Lily can hear,’
‘Lily’s in bed.’
‘Want to go visit her?’
There was a pause. No, no, no. Say no. He’s going to say no. I told myself.
Suddenly the door opened and I backed away from the light, holding my hands up as if I was going to be arrested.
‘What the hell, Lily?’ Sirius said, but he said it as if he already knew. ‘You were outside our bedroom?’
‘Um … no. I couldn’t sleep …’
‘So you decided to listen in on our conversation?’ James said, grinning. Then his smile faded. ‘How much did you hear?’
‘Not much …’
‘Evans, if you don’t tell us, I’ll set my Flobberworm on you.’ Sirius said, looking … serious … but I knew it was an empty threat because Flobberworms were about as dangerous as a wet sock. Might as well throw the dog a bone. I sighed.
‘Oh, no, don’t do that,’ I said sarcastically, rolling my eyes at him. ‘OK, OK, I may have heard the bit where you –’ I nodded at James ‘– confessed about loving me and –’
‘Did you believe it?’
‘I don’t see why I should, considering you don’t believe me about anything. Maybe you were right, Potter. Maybe me and you is a bad idea.’
‘OK …’ Sirius said, ‘Walking away from this conversation.’ He backed into the room and shut the door so the only light we got was through the window at the end of the hallway.
‘You think we’re a bad idea?’ James said.
‘You said it first. And, fine, maybe I don’t think we’re a bad idea. Maybe I do still love you and maybe I think we’ve had enough time apart and –’
I was cut off by James. He’d come forwards and pressed his lips to mine. He pulled away. ‘You know, we still need a Christmas kiss.’
‘Did that not count?’
So I put my arms around his neck and pulled him closer to me. Our lips met and at the same time, the grandfather clock beside Mr and Mrs Potter’s room ding-donged to signal midnight.
Maybe I did get my Christmas kiss after all.
And though we didn’t know it at the time, there was mistletoe hanging right above us.
AN: Ciao! Thanks for reading the latest chapter – I hope I didn’t keep you waiting for too long! If I did, I am extremely sorry. Pwease forgive me *big puppy dog eyes*. So what did you think of the chapter? Liked it? Hated it? Yeah, I bet you thought that ending was extremely cheesy (I did), but I thought it was about time for one. Tell me what you thought and hopefully the next chapter won’t take this long to get up!xxx
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