Chapter 15 : The Thing About Stilettos
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The date that evening certainly hadn’t started out promising, and as they sat down for dinner at the restaurant, it didn’t get any better. The instant they walked in the door they were recognized, and once the Maître d’ had them situated at their table, he walked off towards the kitchen with a smarmy smirk on his face rather than going back to the entryway to greet other guests. Kenzie had to grimace thinking he had gone to gossip with the other employees, and she saw her friends sporting similar expressions, no doubt thinking something along the same lines she was.
After that Daphne and Darren kept glancing at Kenzie and sharing worried looks. Almost as if they thought she was a time bomb, as if they were expecting her to break down at any give second. The pair of them seemed to be back on good terms, but their actions weren’t helping Kenzie to forget the Howler she had just received. If she was being honest, she was still feeling like someone had knocked her clean off her broom with a Bludger hit to the stomach. It was a blow she was having a hard time recovering from.
It was because of this that she was actually afraid to speak to or look at Oliver. She feared she’d see something in his cold expression that really would break her nerve. Still, she couldn’t expect him to act like nothing bad had happened between them, or that she hadn’t hurt him by acting like a right prat. Sure he’d been in the room to hear mothers cutting words, but why should she expect sympathy from him of all people? Not that she really wanted it anyways.
All she really wanted to do was curl herself up in bed and try to get some sleep in hopes it would erase her mother’s haunting words from her mind. Even so, she had promised to come out tonight, and she felt like she couldn’t back out. Especially considering she was there with Oliver. She didn’t want an attempt to bail out on the date due to her fragile countenance to be misconstrued as simply an excuse to get away from him.
She had resolved herself to brave the night, even if that meant putting on a fake smile and finding any and every menial activity to distract her from having to look at her friends. She took an unusually long time unfolding her napkin and smoothing it across her lap, and she painstakingly adjusted the position of her silverware, diligently working not the maintain eye contact with anyone. It was awkward considering she was amongst friends, but she desperately didn’t want to talk about it with everyone, and she certainly didn’t want to see their pity.
She was all too happy to stare at the menu and contemplate her options even as their waiter came to fill up their water goblets and introduce himself, mentioning some specials for the evening’s service. “This evening the chef has featured a wonderful selection of seafood for your pleasure. As a starter you have the option of fresh Newfoundland oysters on the half shell served with a delightful champagne vinegar minognette. And for main course you have the additional options of lemon stuffed grilled Bronzino or a raw surf and turf option consisting of wygu beef tartare top with raw quail egg served next to a Hamachi and sunchoke Carpaccio.” There were murmurs of approval all around table, so the waiter felt comfortable enough to hastily add an extraneous thought while staring down Kenzie and Oliver. “For those of you who won’t be interested in raw or seafood options, for…whatever reasons,” He said the words a bit too duplicitously not to be implying a specific meaning, “we of course have a full menu of other more suitable choices that I’m sure you will find just as pleasing. I’ll just give you a few moments to look everything over.” When he turned on his heel and left them, he was oblivious to the fact that he had managed to piss off three of the four people at the table. He seemed to take their reaction as confirmation to his conjecture rather than realizing that Daphne, Darren and Oliver all wanted to throttle him for his tactless and incorrect presumption.
Daphne had been taking a sip of her water, and had almost spit it out through her nose upon hearing the mans gratuitously added thought, and Oliver was now gripping his menu with white knuckles clearly incensed. Even Darren had stiffened angrily once the man so indiscreetly implied that Kenzie wouldn’t be able to order any of the specials due the delicacy of her supposed pregnancy and the limitations that would now impose on her eating habits. Luckily the one person the words were meant for had not gleaned the implications considering she was pointedly trying to avoid everyone.
The only reason Kenzie looked up from her menu at all was to pat Daphne on the back after hearing her friend choke on her water. “Go down wrong pipe?” She asked her friend concerned.
Daphne looked at her a bit strangely, but when she realized that Kenzie either hadn’t been paying attention to the man, or hadn’t understood his double entendre, she gave her a wide-eyed nod with furrowed brows as her only response. She hoped her odd expression hadn’t drawn attention to the situation.
Once Kenzie went back to reading her menu, satisfied that her friend could breath properly even if she was acting strange, Daphne shared a relieved look with the boys across the table. It was a blessing that she hadn’t caught on, especially considering her new sensitivity to the topic due to the recently received Howler. Hopefully the rest of the night there wouldn’t be any more unnecessary reminders about it. Though of course, they all should’ve realized that was too much to wish for.
When the waiter finally came back round to get their drink order, the three angry persons stared the man down displeased. He seemed puzzled as to why, and so did Kenzie. She wasn't sure what was going on, but she could feel the tension and she didn’t like it. No one was giving the man their drink order so she figured she’d break the ice, not to mention she was looking forward to the numbing prospect of some much needed alcohol.
“May I please have a glass of your house Malbec?” She asked politely. She wasn't prepared for the hubbub her friends made after hearing her request, and she looked at them all as if they had grown horns.
Daphne audibly in took a sharp breath, and in a high-pitched voice squealed, “Yes me too! Malbec sounds divine!”
Darren followed her lead, trying to draw Kenzie’s attention away from the troubled and disgusted look the waiter was directing at her. “I agree,” He sputtered. “Might as well bring us a whole bottle.”
Oliver joined them in their efforts, actually holding the wine list up in front of Kenzie’s view of the man and his belittling expression. “Right, sounds perfect. Just bring us a bottle of your house Malbec and four glasses.” He hoped to Merlin the man had the sense not to say another word or else he might have to resort to violence.
Unfortunately their server was a bit thick and he hadn’t caught on that he shouldn’t discuss the subject. He pursed his lips sourly as he snatched the wine list from Oliver’s grip a bit aggressively. “You mean three glasses I presume.” He said while narrowing his eyes at Kenzie and coming off extremely haughty. “Wine is not appropriate for women who are expecting. It’s not good for the baby.” He informed them all, speaking as if he were reinforcing the known fact to irresponsible people who already aware of it but refusing to act appropriately.
When everyone at the table turned to look at him, mouths ajar and appalled, he just lifted his chin in the air self-righteously. It was as if he thought the hostility towards his unwarranted behavior was due to their abhorrence of doing what was in the best interested of an actual baby. It almost seemed he felt it was his civic duty to protect the unborn child from them all by degrading Kenzie for her evidently immoral drink choice. He stuck to his guns even after registering their expressions, and before anyone could get a word of protest or denial out to set him straight, he had turned on his heel and made his way back to the serving station.
Kenzie was taken aback at his attitude towards her and didn’t waste any time in getting up and hastily making her way to the ladies room. She stumbled out of her seat, feeling herself beginning to hyperventilate as her throat constricted and her heart threatened to stop beating. She willed herself not to spill tears over the words and opinions of some ignorant, idiot waiter, and instead took some large protracted breaths trying to regain composure and the ability to breath. It took a moment, but she did eventually calm down. It also helped to know that if she lingered too long, Daphne would be on her tail making sure she couldn’t hide for an extended period of time and mope. The last thing she wanted to do was talk about all the unkind words and assumptions being thrown her way, they were on a date for Merlin’s sake! Preparing to go back out to the table, she took a last few settling breaths, splashed a bit of water on her face, fixed her makeup, and walked out of the restroom to face the rest of the night.
Her plan was to go straight back to the table, but she halted, a wave of confusion coming over her as she glance towards the waiter’s station. Oliver was standing there. He looked extremely put out and was crouched over, glaring directly into the eyes of their server. Neither of the pair had noticed her yet, and she couldn’t help her own curiosity, so she stayed to see what they were so heatedly discussing.
Oliver had the fellow by the tie of his uniform, and had yanked him so close that their noses were almost touching. His whole demeanor was threatening. “Let me say this to you once, and slowly so your imbecilic mind can grasp it! She’s not fucking pregnant!” he growled murderously at the cowering man. “You must be the stupidest wanker to have ever been permitted a wand! I don’t care if she orders fish, firewhiskey or oysters, for fucks sake! She’s not bleeding pregnant, and it’s not any of your bloody concern anyways.” He seethed, his color turning darker. “You better fucking give her what she wants without so much as another degrading comment or so help me I will curse you so badly you won’t even be able to make it to St. Mungo’s!” He was snarling at the poor fellow. His tone was vicious, and unlike anything she had ever thought his alluring Scottish accent capable of. Oliver let go of the man’s tie roughly and he stepped back hoping to release his tension. He tugged on the bottom of his own suit jacket trying to dispel some of his anger, but it didn’t really work. “Bring us two bottles of your best red and white, and don’t you dare let me catch you even glancing at her the rest of the night.” He snapped at the frightened man, having every intent to leave it at that. However, he couldn’t help himself, he was too incensed. He rounded on the man again. “Actually, you know what? Why don’t you find us a server who has some wits about them! I don’t want to end up in Azkaban because some sodding idiot decides to humiliate a decent woman based on the rubbish he reads in the tabloids! You’re bloody lucky I haven’t asked to speak to your fucking manager. Keep your ruddy comments to yourself from now on, yeah? Now bugger off before I decide to do something I’ll regret!”
The man looked like he was going to wet himself, and given the opportunity to get away, he bolted and didn’t look back. Oliver glared daggers at his back, trying to quell his rage. After smoothing out his suit, he went to turn towards their table but he saw Kenzie standing there, wide-eyed at having seen the whole spectacle take place. She immediately looked to the ground once he laid eyes upon her.
His whole demeanor softened immensely and he approached, placing a gentle hand under her chin and lifting her eyes to his so he could search her face. He looked concerned and the warmth in his beautiful amber gaze was something she had missed. “Are you okay Kenz?” He asked brows knitted together.
She forced a small smile, but had to look away from him, shrinking away from his touch. “Yeah I’m fine, it was stupid of me to let him get under my skin.” She said softly.
Oliver’s worry didn’t go away, “I’m not talking about that arsehole, although he could do with a lesson in manners…I’m talking about the Howler Kenz.”
She gulped and had to blink back tears, angry at her own pathetic feelings. She turned her body slightly away from him wanting to escape.
Oliver saw this and his jaw tightened anxiously. “Let me take you back to your flat. You don’t need to be out tonight. Daphne and Darren won’t hold it against you, they’ll understand.”
Kenzie shook her head. “I’ll be fine.” She saw he was about to object and she met his eyes purposefully, daring him to say more. “Really,” she insisted, “I’m not your problem Wood. Stop worrying about me.” She turned on her heel and headed back to the table wanting to leave it at that. She sat back down giving Daphne a reassuring smile, although it never really reached her eyes. “So, what are you planning on ordering?” She asked, attempting to make conversation so as to steer the topic away from her emotional well being. Daphne looked at her sadly but understood her position and thankfully didn’t push her, neither did anyone else.
Dinner went by relatively smoothly after that. They were left alone for the most part, although a few young kids came by and asked Oliver and Darren for autographs. Still, that didn’t necessarily mean that things weren’t awkward for the times in between interruptions when they were supposed to be making conversation like the friends they were. It was obvious every one was treading carefully and around a certain subject.
Kenzie could feel Oliver’s eyes on her the whole time, but she refused to look at him. She knew if she met his gaze she’d see his concern, and that would do nothing but make her feel worse. Instead she chose to engage in dialogue with Darren and Daphne. However, by the time they had finished their meals and declined dessert, she could tell that she was being a tad intrusive. She felt kind of bad about it, which is why when everyone went to move on to Pariahs, she tried to bow out gracefully.
“I’m not sure if I could handle Pariah’s at the moment.” She tried.
Daphne gave her an anxious look. “You’re right, we should probably just go back to the flat.”
Kenzie shook her head vehemently. “No, no!” She insisted. “I think I’ve ruined your date enough already. You guys go on without me, I haven’t been much fun anyhow.”
Daphne shook her head and glanced warily at Oliver and Darren before stepping closer to her best fried, voice now a few volumes lower. “Are you sure you can handle being alone right now?” She questioned rightfully, trying to keep her voice down so no one else could hear. It didn’t work.
Kenzie was about to respond that she’d be fine when Oliver cut in. “I’ll take her home so she won’t be alone.” He offered. “You and Darren deserve a night out. Go make a fool of yourself with your horrible dance moves.” He insisted trying to lighten the mood a bit.
Kenzie really didn’t want to be left alone with Oliver considering the way things had panned out the past couple of times they had been by themselves. Even so, the hopeful look Daphne gave her was enough to make her concede. She clearly wanted to spend some more time with Darren, and who was she to deny her that? “Yeah, you guys go have fun. Wood will make sure I get home safely.” She gave a small smile, but Daphne didn’t look too convinced by it. To make it right, Kenzie rolled her eyes and grabbed Oliver by the arm, yanking him off in the direction of their new flat and giving no one the chance to object. She gave a wave behind her to give it a sense of finality. “Don’t bring her home unless you have to Guadinino!” As an afterthought she added, “But I expect you to be a perfect gentlemen or I’ll…figure out something bad to do to you!” She knew it didn’t sound threatening, but it was the best she could come up with at the time. Nevertheless she was pleased to hear chuckles and the pop of Disapparation behind her.
Happy that she was at least able to convince someone to have a good night now that Daphne and Darren had gone on the Pariahs, Kenzie dropped her hold on Oliver’s arm but continued walking in the direction of her flat. He didn’t object or even comment, and her hope that he would just Apparate home so she could walk in peace was just too much to ask. The silence was awkward, and it didn’t help that Kenzie was trying to walk ahead of him and act like he wasn't there. Soon enough though, her feet began to get sore and it was all she could do to keep ahead of his long strides. She was walking side by side with him before long. Neither of them really said a word until he noticed that she was falling behind while stepping lightly and taking shorter strides. Platform stilettos definitely weren’t meant for eleven block treks around an area of the city that sported a majority of brick roads.
Oliver glanced at her with a lifted eyebrow as she tried to carefully pick her way across the street. “Regretting your shoe choice?” He asked offhandedly.
Kenzie shrugged, “I wasn’t until now.” She confessed. “I love these heels but they’re killer.”
Oliver nodded to himself looking straight ahead, “Piggy back ride?” He offered casually, peeking at her out of the corner of his eye.
Kenzie looked at him sideways, wondering what he was on about considering last time they had spoken he had practically been spitting venom. “No, but thanks for the offer.” She told him. “I don’t need you to throw out your back or something.” She tried.
He scoffed and looked at her as if she were daft. “Right…because your hundred twenty pound lanky arse would really tire me out. Hop on before you break your ankle on the cobbles.” He told her squatting down in front of her blocking her progress.
Not really left with much of a fighting chance in the argument, Kenzie did as was told, thankful for the chance to get her feet off the ground. Of course, as he stood back up, and her legs were forced to wrap themselves more snuggly about him, she had to squawk ungracefully and whip a hand round to her backside to ensure her dress didn’t ride up all the way to her hips. Due to the suddenness of the movement, Oliver had to quickly grab hold of one of her bare legs and the arm still round his neck in order to guarantee she didn’t land her arse on the street. After he was sure she wasn’t going to fall, he just hefted her back up into position so she could securely hold onto him. It was all much too easy for him, and she felt kind of like a ragdoll because of it.
“Sorry about the flailing there.” She apologized embarrassed at her lack of grace as she tried to get comfortable on his back and hold herself up so he didn’t have to. “My feet feel better now that they’re off the ground, but my arse is feeling the draft. I was trying to pull my dress down and I’m afraid I wasn’t that effective. If you see any one staring, do me a favor and let me down so I don’t give them a show.”
Oliver smirked and chuckled a bit. “Will do, although I can’t promise I’m not going to try and sneak a glance using our reflection in the windows we pass.”
Kenzie flushed slightly and there was silence for a moment as her mind raced. She decided to break it, hoping to stop herself from reading into things and get her stomach to stop fluttering. “Thanks, by the way.” She told him softly.
He looked a bit confused. “For the piggy back ride?” He asked before responding quickly, “Don’t mention it, we’re making better time now anyways.”
Kenzie shook her head, “That’s not what I meant. I meant thanks for what you said to that waiter.”
Oliver’s face turned dark at the reminder. “Bloody numptie he was! I’m just sorry I didn’t punch the sodding wanker right there at the table.” He muttered menacingly.
She laughed bitterly, “Yeah well, it wasn’t the worst thing that was said to me tonight” she was referring to the Howler, “and I’m sure I’ll hear worse in the future. I just need to get used to it.”
Oliver shook his head bewildered at how she could think it was her responsibility to take the abuse. “You shouldn’t have to.” He told her. “None of these arses know what they’re on about, and all the lies certainly aren’t of your doing.” He paused looking contemplative, as if he was wondering if he should come out and say what he wanted to.
Kenzie could see the internal battle he was waging just from her view of his profile. “Out with it then.” She told him. When he tried to look at her questioningly, she clarified. “Just say what you want to say. I promise I won’t get tetchy.”
He still looked apprehensive, but against his better judgment he did as was told. “It’s just—how could your mother say those things?” He wondered aloud sorrowfully. “She couldn’t possibly have meant them, right?” His trepidation was apparent while he posed the question. He knew he was getting into sensitive territory given the serious subject.
Kenzie gulped slightly, she had been pondering the same thing all night if she was being honest. She just wasn’t sure if she was prepared to talk about it seeing as she hadn’t really come to a conclusion about what to think. Still, she felt the unadulterated need to defend her mother, so she found herself speaking before even realizing it. Once she started she felt like she had to finish. “I think to some extent she did mean it, not that she doesn’t love me or anything. I know she does.” She added quickly before amending, “Well at least in her own way.” She sighed and hoisted herself up around Oliver and tightened her grip on him with her legs. He subconsciously moved hands to her thighs during her adjustment just to ensure she stayed up right. She tried to pay it no attention and attempt to explain the situation a bit better. “I just don’t think she said it to hurt me, ya know? She’s a bit careless like that. Spits out the truth without really realizing that her words can sting, probably something she picked up from my grandmum. You just kind of have to accept it I guess.” Talking about it and actually trying to explain it to somehow made it sting a bit less. Like she was beginning to see where her mother may have been coming from although she couldn’t necessarily condone it.
Oliver still wasn't buying it. “That’s rubbish. You shouldn’t have to just accept it! You could tell her she’s being cruel. It might actually save you some pain in the future.”
She shook her head. “But I don’t think she was being cruel, or at least not intentionally anyways.” Kenzie sighed. “I’ve always kind of felt a bit sorry for her, I guess I cut her a lot of slack because of it. She got pregnant by a married man when she was sixteen and it was all at the encouragement of my grandmother.”
“Wait, what?” Oliver asked dumbfounded, spinning around as if he was going to come face to face with her even though she was on his back. When he realized his awkward mistake, he cleared his throat embarrassed and tried to recover by restating his question. “What do you mean your grandmother encouraged it?” He asked before beginning again in the direction they had been heading.
“What I mean is,” she began by chuckling at his spinning. Her laughter faded after she realized the subject they were on. “When my grandfather passed, apparently he left the family in financial ruin. They had been wealthy, and my grandmother was used to a certain lifestyle.” She was regretting her decision to talk but had told him the beginning so she might as well be forthright. “She knew she wasn’t really getting any younger, so she put pressure on my mom to find a wealthy husband who could provide for them instead of finding a solution herself.” Kenzie sighed knowing how screwed up the women of her family were going to sound. “When she saw the Austrian prince take an interest in my mum, she told her to sleep with him in hopes he’d fall in love and leave his wife. He never did, but my mum did end up pregnant with me. My grandmum convinced her to keep me as leverage, but she died quite suddenly soon after. It was a heart attack, my mum thinks from stress.” She didn’t know why she added that that little extra bit but she felt it necessary. “My mum still kept me despite her mother dying. And rather than use me against my biological father like she had been instructed, my mum only asked for help he was willing to provide. She never received anything except requests for pictures, and the like, as means of proof that I was actually his daughter. Evidently, when I was five, the pictures were enough for him to believe that I was his and he paid her off to keep me away and never tell his wife.” She had finished with her story, but she wasn't quite done talking. “How can you really feel anything but sympathy for her?” She questioned rhetorically. “She was so damn young and apparently those types of things weren’t that uncommon among aristocrats too long ago, especially in French circles. Old habits die hard though. Even after that my mom was looking to marry rich, it’s like she was trained to think that was what was most important.”
“I can’t imagine living like that.” Oliver commented distastefully. “Did your mother tell you all of this?” He asked curiously.
Kenzie shook her head and pulled herself up again, looping her hands further down his chest and around his neck. Somehow she was feeling comfortable enough to rest her chin on his shoulder. “No, Frederick told me.” She tried to explain, “When they were going through their divorce, I threw a fit and said I wanted to stay with him because I thought he cared about me more than she did. He told me the truth of it all, trying to make me see that wasn't the case, that she did actually love me. At first I locked myself in my room. I eventually came out but I was still hurt. I mean, what kid really wants to hear that kind of story? A couple years later I realized that even if she wasn't really the best at showing it, Lola had kept me, and raised me, and loved me despite the fact I wasn't her choice. Hell, the night I was conceived was probably one of the worst memories of her life, and her mother of all people convinced her it was for the best. I’m surprised she can look me in the eye if I’m being honest.”
Oliver shook his head, “You’re mad. I’m sure she thinks you’re the best thing that ever happened to her, regardless of everything she went through. They say all mothers are infatuated with their children, and that they truly fall in love after their first born.”
She really couldn’t argue with that, and she didn’t want to. She hoped it actually was true, plus she wanted the attention off of her. “So what ‘bout you?” She asked. “How’s your relationship with your mum?” She could feel him stiffen underneath her and felt sorry for her question. She quickly added, “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to talk about it. I’m sorry, I had no right to ask.”
He shook his head. “Don’t be daft Kenz, of course you have a right.” He told her flatly, “You just told me all about yours for Merlin’s sake. It’s just a sore subject with me is all, as I’m sure it is with you.” He clenched his jaw before preparing to segue into the story he felt he owed her. He let out a long breath. “My biological mum died in the First Wizarding War, a couple months before my second birthday. She was enrolled in the Auror program at the ministry when she had me, and my grandparents took care of me so she could complete her training. She was killed by Evan Rosier in an ambush in Tinworth because of bad information.” He said it all rather quickly, as if it was easier that way. He wasn’t done though. “Funny thing was, up to that point my father never knew I existed.” He told her uncomfortably, “She never thought to tell him I guess, even though she gave me his surname and a middle name belonging to one of his brothers. Maybe she was too scared, or something, I never really got an answer… But my dad, he found out he had a son at her funeral. My grandparents told him, thought he had a right to know. He was shocked at first but immediately insisted that he take over for them. They wouldn’t agree to it to begin with, but he practically lived at their place trying to spend time with me. After that, when I was three, they allowed me to move in with him. He still took me to my grandparents every weekend, and it was probably a good thing too because we were living with my two uncles at the time, my father’s brothers.” He smiled slightly thinking about it.
Kenzie couldn’t help but mimic his expression. “Three Wood’s brother with a three year old? Merlin! Kind of sounds like a sitcom!” she told him lightheartedly, “How old were they?” She asked curious.
“They were young.” He asserted. “Too young. My dad, Declan, was the oldest, but he was only twenty-one. My Uncle Douglass was twenty and my Uncle Jason was nineteen. All three of them were Quidditch obsessed loons and had me riding toy brooms before I could run properly. I took to it with a passion apparently. Dad always said I was a ham, that I was always trying to impress everyone. Said I usually succeeded too.” He laughed. Though afterwards his expression turned a bit somber. “I don’t really remember all that much of it, but we lived with them up until my Uncle Jason died in ’81, I was five. Evidently he was good friends with the Potters and Sirius Black and their crowd. They were dorm mates together, and good friends or something. Everyone says that’s why he was targeted. After his death, my dad moved us back to his hometown, Balnahard Scotland, and he moved his girlfriend in, Regan Wescott. They eventually got married. She’s who I called mum and who’d almost pop a vein every time I’d go flying off to Staffa. She handled me and my dad like she’d always been a part of the family, she was quite amazing.” His voice had gone quiet and his eyes had a far off look.
All of a sudden, Kenzie felt herself being lowered to the ground. Were they already back to her apartment? Damn! She was enjoying the conversation and she had the distinct feeling she was close to finding out something even more significant. She felt her feet hit the pavement and stood up. Oliver turned around to face her, and, although he readily met her gaze, she couldn’t decipher the look there. She paused, biting her lip, wondering exactly what she was noticing in his eyes. She never figured it out.
Oliver cleared his throat, and rolled forward on the balls of his feet. He was waiting for her to say something, or do anything. “So we’re here.” He tried to relieve the tension.
She came out of her trance, starting abruptly before turning red and apologizing profusely, fishing in her purse to distract herself from her humiliating behavior. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was staring like that. Merlin I’m a bloody embarrassing git. I’m so sorry.” She stumbled out awkwardly while looking into the depths of her bag as a way to hide her blush. She found her keys and chanced a look back up at him through her lashes. She didn’t know what to say so she grasped onto the first thing that came to mind. “Thanks for the piggy back ride.” She gushed quickly. Afterwards, she wanted to smack herself in the forehead with the palm of her hand. Really? That was the best she could do? She sounded like she was in primary school! How come she had to act like such a prat every time he was around?
Luckily, her unease went over well with Oliver. A small adorable smile crept its way onto his lips before he suddenly burst out in laughter, chortling amusedly at her and breaking out into a grin. “You really have such a way with words D’masi,” He teased as he smirked roguishly. He then chipped her on the chin affectionately, his eyes glimmering, “But hey, you’re welcome to a ride anytime.”
The unintended pun caused her to stare blankly for a moment, but then she couldn’t help the ungraceful snort that escaped her mouth, thinking about the offer he had seemingly left her with. She immediately felt another wave of mortification and brought a hand to her lips as if she could take it back. The humiliation didn’t last long however, the reaction he had after catching onto the reasoning for her unattractive commotion, was a throaty chuckle that caused goosebumps to erupt from her toes to her neck. She shuttered visibly trying to shake the feeling and he noticed, although he didn’t interpret it correctly.
“You’re shivering,” He told her, a gleam in his eyes, “You should probably get inside…or at the very least, pull down your dress a bit.”
She cursed and tugged on the hem of her skirt realizing her ass had practically been hanging out. He was looking at her, an attractive grin decorating his features as she tried to cover herself up. She flushed not knowing what to say. “Do you want to come inside?” she offered awkwardly.
A wider grin slowly worked its was onto his face, but after a moment he shook his head though he was still smiling. “Its probably best I don’t.” He maintained. He was tilting his head curiously as he looked at her.
Her eyes found the ground and she bit her lip trying to ignore the feeling of rejection twisting in her gut. She nodded as her response, just waiting for him to walk away; he didn’t. Instead he took a step forward towards her. His proximity made her glance up and meet his gaze.
His brows were knitted together as he searched her face. He looped a stray strand of hair behind her ear, letting his fingers linger softly on her cheek. “Are you okay?” he asked in all seriousness, anxiety present in his expression.
She flushed slightly, but nodded her head and met his eyes, feeling at ease while looking at him for the first time since her epic blunder. “Thanks to you I am.” She told him truthfully. Seeing his skepticism she chuckled, “I’m being honest, truly. Explaining the situation with my mum to you, it kind of gave me the perspective I needed to put her, shall we say …” she searched for the right word, “…harsh words, behind me.” She paused before quickly adding, “And your story…It was nice to hear. And, well, it helped me take my mind off of, well, me.” She shrugged then laughed slightly shaking her head. “Merlin I’ve just made it seem like I’m so self centered I’m always thinking about myself!”
His expression remained indiscernible although he grinned a bit. “I know you fancy yourself as thick D’masi, but you know if you need anything, even just to talk, you can come find me right?”
She had to hold back the smile that threated to split her face in half. She bit her lip and looked up at him happily, nodding bashfully. “Same to you.” She offered swiftly. “I know I’m hard to get along with, and that I’m crazy neurotic, but you can always come find me if you need anything.” She insisted. “And thanks again for, well everything, especially the piggyback ride!” She finished with a grin.
The smile he supplied her with was so genuine and full of mirth it filled her with pleasurable warmth. “C’mere you.” He said grabbing her by the wrist and tugging her towards him playfully. He wrapped her in a hug and planted his lips on the top of her head for a prolonged period of time before pulling away and looking at her contentedly. “Good night D’masi.” He said simply, turning and walking away, not letting go of the hand he had found until he was too far to do otherwise.
Kenzie watched him leave, trying desperately not to forget the feel of his calloused fingertips on her own. When he was finally out of sight she turned to her door and made her way up to her flat.
A/N So there may or may not have been a few spoilers in this chapter…if you know what I’m talking about and picked them out you are quite possibly my favorite person of all time, and at the same time I’m sorry but it needed to happen. I can honestly say I didn’t think it would happen so soon, but hey it did and I liked the way things panned out :) Thoughts? Reviews?
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