Chapter 12 : In Which We Start a Revolution
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That said, I'm sorry updates have been taking so long, but I should have more freedom now that I don't have to worry about research papers for awhile.
Also, Quick Side Note: I know the image quality for this chapter image isn't great, but anyone who's tried to take an actual picture of fireworks knows that that's probably actually pretty accurate, so... Just ignore that.
Anyway, things start to get a little crazy in the next few chapters, so bear with me. ;)
In Which We Start a Revolution
The rest of the month dragged on at an agonizingly slow rate, but didn't hold any more disasters, which might be seen as a small mercy in all the madness that typically surrounds November.
By the time December arrived, the whole school revolved in a relative state of turmoil, though of the admittedly regular Hogwarts-Before-the-Christmas-Holidays brand. November ended with an expected drop in temperature and a long-accepted but dreaded restlessness. Detentions were as hellish as ever, but involved considerably less James Potter (after the desk incident, the professors had deemed it best that James and I serve separate detentions, rightly so). The final dredges of autumn were slowly sucked away, and even I'll admit that "grumpy" could describe me at almost any given moment as the wind gained a sharper edge and the trees were stripped bare.
The end of autumn brought an even more rigorous (though, personally, I found the word 'insane' to be more fitting) workload, a severe case of restlessness, and unfairly cold weather; I spent what little free time I did get grumbling and complaining.
Still, the only thing worse than the last weeks of November was December.
"Argh, it's so cold even the bloody ghosts are complaining!" I groaned as I ducked into Professor Griffith's classroom.
Bailey shook her head and laughed as she pulled out a chair. "Try again, love; ghosts can't feel cold."
I huffed. "They can when it's bloody cold enough to freeze the arse of Merlin himself." I winced as my chair made a grating noise against the ground and slouched grumpily in my seat.
Tara giggled and slid into her seat beside me. "Where do you even come up with these?"
I was about to give her a snappy retort when I noticed the detention schedule on Griffiths' desk and brightened. "I'll have lots more time to come up with new ones once I'm free from detention for good," I said loftily.
Tara laughed. "Still going on about that, then. Well, for the fifth time today, congratulations."
I bowed and returned the grin. "Just think: In a few short weeks, I'll have finished serving all of my detentions, and then I can kiss the nights of scrubbing bedpans goodbye forever."
Tara raised an eyebrow. "Forever's a long time, love, especially if you have to go that long without getting more detentions."
I shrugged. "I'll be a perfect angel. I've learned my lesson."
More like I'd done my time and gotten better at not getting caught, but same difference.
Tara rolled her eyes and motioned to the blackboard at the front of the room, which listed the ingredients we'd need for the potion that class. I can't say I took the time to read it, but I'm fairly certain what we were meant to be making was a Wit-Sharpening Potion, and I figured the less I knew, the less I could muck up. Tara seemed fine with it, anyway, having experienced many of my potions mishaps first hand.
Tara stopped me from dumping the armadillo bile into our shared cauldron, and I shot her a cross look. "What?"
I received an amused laugh for my troubles. "Firstly, you're supposed to add the Ginger Root first, and secondly, that cauldron's got a false bottom, love."
I deflated a bit. "Oh." I narrowed my eyes and inspected the cauldron. "Well, then where's a bloody working cauldron?" I demanded, eyeing Griffiths with vengeance as he walked by.
Tara sighed. "I've got one, but you can only have it if you promise not to start accusing Griffiths of being the long-lost brother of Severus Snape again."
I huffed. "I never... " Wait. "It was one time!" I protested, realizing about halfway through that Tara had a point. "And he was being inexcusably suspicious!"
Tara raised an eyebrow and gently set the cauldron down. "He was wearing a black robe, love, and you decided that meant that he - "
"Alright, alright," I grumbled, hastily grabbing a handful of Ginger Root and shoving it at Tara. "What do I bloody do with this, anyway?"
Tara shrugged. "Hell if I know." I met her eye and laughed before Griffiths walked by and we hastily opened our books to the correct page to at least make it look like we were working.
I held up the Armadillo Bile as she stirred (I was no longer to be trusted to stir Potions, but that's both reasonable and irrelevant). "Godric, this smells worse than the boy's dorm," I gagged.
Tara wiggled her eyebrows. "And you'd know," she laughed.
"Argh, you're worse than... Well, never mind, you're the worst of all of you," I groaned.
Tara shrugged. "If you wouldn't give me the opportunity, it wouldn't come to this," She defended. "Anyway," She continued as she surveyed the instructions, but cut off and groaned. "We weren't supposed to stir that clockwise."
I raised an eyebrow. "Nice of you to say 'we', since we both know it's my fault," I laughed. "How do we fix it, then?"
"Erm... Add more Ginger Root?" Tara shrugged helplessly.
I nodded. "Right," I paused and glanced at the cauldron. "So... What can I actually do that I won't muck up?"
Tara raised an eyebrow and motioned out the door. "Go get more Ginger Root." She paused after seeing my less than eager expression. "Please?"
I groaned and pushed out my chair dramatically. "Fine, but if I bring the whole closet crashing down, I'm blaming you."
Ah, oblivious foreshadowing. But enough of that.
Tara nodded with mock solemnity. "That seems fair." She waved and grimaced at our brown-looking potion. "Good luck, then."
After giving Tara a wave goodbye - just in case - I trudged out of the classroom and over to the worn-looking door at the end of the hall, which squealed at a pitch I didn't think humans could even hear when I opened it. Inside of the small closet, I was welcomed by a small cloud of swirling dust and a putrid smell. Dusty bottles perched precariously on cluttered, ancient shelves, and the only light filtered in through a grimy window.
I finished my survey with a resigned sigh and stepped in.
"Surprised to see you in here, Simmons. It must mean you haven't blown up your cauldron yet."
I briefly debated making a run for it, but decided I was too far gone; I'd already crossed the threshold.
In lieu of a proper escape route, I narrowed my eyes, turned determinedly away from James, and began rummaging through the shelves. I rolled my eyes somewhat petulantly, although he couldn't see. "I think you'll find that I've not blown up my cauldron more days than I've blown it up," I said, probably a tad too triumphantly. Small victories, yeah?
I heard laughter behind me, but I was determined not to turn around.
"Brilliant. I'll go tell the first years you've surpassed them, then."
I moved on to another shelf, though by that point I was having trouble remembering exactly what I'd gone in there looking for. "I'm sure you'd fit right in among the taller ones," I retorted, squinting my eyes to read a particularly nasty-looking bottle and wincing at the contents (I think it had something to do with the Draught of Living Death, so I moved on in a hurry).
I heard a scoff, this one probably justified. "Simmons, I'm a good six inches taller than you."
I huffed. "I'm fun-sized."
James laughed, this one more genuine. "You're the size of a goblin," He said bluntly.
"Then you're a troll!" I shot back, almost hitting my head on an overhanging shelf as I moved to search another wall. I carelessly moved a few bottles onto a lower shelf to read them and hoped that by the time someone noticed that they were out of place I'd be gone.
"Whatever you say, Griphook."
I narrowed my eyes. "Well, the bigger they are, the harder they fall." I did my best not to gag after catching a whiff of a particularly potent bottle and yanked open a lower drawer. I'm fairly certain I managed to singe some of my nose hairs, but that may not be altogether relevant.
I heard a scoff. "Charlie, I've witnessed someone throw you so hard into a shelf it broke," James sounded exasperated by that point, but I was more concerned by the cloud of dust that seemed to be trying to suffocate me.
After regaining relative control over the breathing situation, I huffed. "It was a cheaply made shelf," I defended, trying not to wheeze, "And I didn't need your help taking out Singer during that fight," I added huffily.
It was a lie, of course, but even I hadn't known I was still that bitter.
"So you're mad at me for trying to keep you from getting hurt," James deadpanned. I could practically see him shaking his head, though I wasn't sure if it was out of exasperation or anger.
I closed the drawer I'd been rifling through with a thud. "I am, mostly because I didn't bloody need you to," I snapped.
I whirled around to move on to another shelf and found myself running square into James' chest.
Merlin, I was short.
James glanced down at me and shook his head. "I'm not going to apologize, if that's what you want," he told me, eyes meeting mine.
His gaze was steeled with a challenge, so I tilted my chin up, held his gaze, and tried to ignore the pounding of my heart. James took a minuscule step closer and I think I forgot to breathe.
"It's not," I muttered, glancing down at my feet, wondering when it had gotten so hot.
When I looked up again, his gaze was still on me, searching.
The smell of the potions in the closet seemed overwhelmingly strong, and two people suddenly seemed like far too many for the space. A few voices drifted vaguely from the classroom. I almost winced at the pounding of my heart, and would have been willing to bet that the rough, dirty floor was swaying beneath me. The stale air seemed charged with something, but I doubted I'd even be in that situation if I had the slightest clue what it was.
I shuffled backwards to allow myself to breathe again and felt my shoulder blade make contact with a shelf.
A bottle clanked behind me.
I had just enough time to wince at the spilled Pomegranate juice before the closet erupted into a swirling mist of heavy, awful-smelling smoke.
We took that as our cue to leave.
"Godric, what is that?" I gasped out as we stumbled out of the supply closet.
The fumes were vaguely pink and smelled a bit like burning rubber. I gagged and gulped in as much clean air as I could after escaping the smoking closet. Professor Griffiths and about half the class came running into the hall, probably to watch the debacle and see what we'd done that time.
So much for serving the last of my detentions.
I heard a groan next to me and saw James wincing at the smoke. "Bloody salamander blood and pomegranate. Who the ruddy hell decided to store them on the same shelf?"
I glanced at the closet, remembering my carelessness in resolving the bottles - not that I'm admitting to anything - and winced. "Shit."
. . .
For all the good students who've yet to experience the hell of being summoned by the Headmistress, I'll be the first to warn you that it is not a pleasant experience.
I'd spent a good five minutes after the incident assuring teachers that I had not, in fact, meant to flood the school with potentially poisonous smoke, and the next ten minutes convincing them that the fumes were not, in fact, actually poisonous. The initial questioning had slowly developed into a flurry of efforts to find spells to fumigate the halls, most of which proved futile. I found it inappropriately hilarious that the teachers at a magic school resorted to just opening the windows and hoping it was windy enough to fix it, but decided it was best not to laugh. I've still got some sense of self preservation.
The literal and metaphorical smoke had barely cleared from the halls when I'd gotten word from a smug looking fourth year that I was wanted in McGonagall's office, which was never a good sign.
I ended up wandering off to her office on my own after being abandoned by my apparent escort, and walked in with the beginnings of an escape plan forming. I sat down numbly.
After a few moments that were stretched into centuries by the silence, McGonagall nodded at me. "Miss Simmons," She acknowledged, and then seemed to contemplate something as she surveyed me.
I squirmed and looked determinedly away from her.
After a few more seconds of agonizing silence, I heard a sigh and tore my gaze away from the window. McGonagall looked at me more warily. "Do you know why you're here?"
I assumed I had a pretty good idea, but had learned (from experience, unfortunately) not to confess to anything until I'd at the very least been accused.
I gave an unconvincing shrug. "Erm... I would assume that it's nothing good," I muttered, inspecting the desk with more interest than was probably necessary.
"Objectively," McGonagall nodded, "You're correct."
I almost shrugged again. It wasn't like I'd been expecting to have a pleasant visit drinking tea and laughing over my misadventures. I'm not the bloody Chosen One. Though that may just be a myth...
A grandfather clock ticked in the corner of the room, and several portraits eyed me with varying degrees of disappointment; I'd never liked that Phineas Nigellus chap. Rain pattered against the window, leaving the glass foggy and obscuring the view outside, which I'm fairly certain was my only chance of escape. I wondered briefly how difficult it would really be to throw open the window, however foggy, and jump to freedom -
"Miss Simmons, are you listening?" McGonagall's sharp inquiry cut into my escape fantasies.
"I - erm, yep. Yes. Definitely listening." Definitely not a terrible liar.
McGonagall shot me a pointed look, but didn't press the issue any farther. "As I was saying, I'm aware that fifth year is quite stressful for some students, but there is no excuse for the decline in your behavior as of late."
I winced. "I haven't actually been..." I started feebly.
"You've earned a combined tally of 82 nights of detention this term," she said bluntly.
I almost gaped. Of course, I wasn't naive enough to believe I hadn't earned myself a certifiably insane amount of detentions, but I'd never actually thought about how much they all amounted to. Then, I never really thought much about detentions except that they were miserable and far too easy to come by.
Still, 82 bloody nights of my life wasted serving detention. Godric, and I wondered why I never had any free time.
McGonagall barely paused to glance at me before continuing. "As you know, the school policy is that all detentions must be served by the term's end for you to earn credit for it." McGonagall shot me a pointed look.
I stifled a groan, because by that point I had a feeling I knew where the conversation was headed.
"You've served 61 thus far, will have served 79 by the end of the term, but will still have three detentions left to serve at the end of the term," McGonagall sighed and surveyed me, waiting for a reaction. "Which is why we must ask that you stay at school over break," She finished.
I held back a groan and made a mental note to first ask my mates which of them were staying over break and then to beg all of them not to leave me. I nearly grimaced imagining spending the holidays in the near-empty castle, celebrating with the ghosts and teachers and House Elves and whatever the hell else lurked in that sodding castle.
I sighed. "I guess I'll write my mum, then," I muttered and did my best not to sound too sulky.
McGonagall nodded. "Your parents will be informed of the nature of your stay over break," she told me.
Oh, Godric, no. Mum would skin me alive.
"Oh, erm... That won't be - " I started a bit frantically, but was quickly silenced by McGonagall.
"It would seem it's quite necessary, Miss Simmons," She said, clearly trying not to sound too exasperated.
I bit my tongue and nodded. "Is that all, then?" I asked, trying not to sound too hopeful. I was absolutely dreading the holidays, but knew that there really wasn't much I could do to plead my case. I'd burn that bridge when I came to it.
McGonagall shot me a contemplative look and then sighed. "Mister Potter will be staying under the same conditions, and it would do you good to remember that your feud and the chaos that follows it will not be tolerated. You two are difficult enough as it is."
The last part seemed a bit mumbled, and I wasn't sure if I should be proud or offended.
I nodded. "Yes, Professor." I glanced a bit longingly at the door.
McGonagall, seemingly noticing this, looked amused, and showed mercy. "You may go, Miss Simmons, but do try not to add to your list of detentions."
She didn't have to tell me twice.
. . .
"This is a bloody outrage!"
I glanced up from my food long enough to see Fred storming toward us, and I nodded vehemently as I shoveled a forkful of potatoes into my mouth, but said nothing.
Sarah raised her eyebrows. "So I take it James told you that Griffiths' detentions put them over the edge?"
Since James and I had been separately informed of our grim fates for the holidays, the news had been slowly circulating through our year. Tensions had grown considerably past what would be considered healthy and moved closer toward mob mentality in favor of stringing up Griffiths, though that was mostly because half our year was upset that the Hogwarts' golden boy was separated from his famous father for break. With three days left in the term, students were already growing restless, and the fact that they had somewhere to aim their frustration did not bode well for the Professor, though I was fine with that.
I vaguely acknowledged the conversation, but put most of my concentration towards not choking on the mountain of potatoes I'd managed to shove into my mouth.
Fred nodded, and glanced briefly at me. His stormy expression changed to one of concerned disgust, and he turned back to Sarah. "Is she okay?"
I could only assume he was talking about me, since I didn't bother to look up. I grunted and tried not to wince as I swallowed more than one is probably advised to swallow at once.
Sarah waved a hand dismissively. "She gets like this whenever she's upset; she'll be fine, provided she doesn't accidentally swallow a chicken bone."
I wanted to protest that 'she' was right there and was very liable to beat both of them with said chicken bone, but knew that a) Sarah was right and b) Any attempt to speak would only end badly for all involved parties.
Fred raised an eyebrow. "Is that not a genuine concern?"
I sent him a rude hand gesture and took an unhealthily large swig of pumpkin juice.
The thought struck me that I'd developed some creative coping mechanisms over the years, but then, who hasn't?
Fred raised an eyebrow. "That's charming, Simmons, really," he muttered, then turned to face the rest of my roommates. "Anyway, forcing a student to stay during holiday is an obvious violation of our rights as students, regardless of what it says in the bloody rules, so what are we, as the proletariat of this school, going to do about it?"
He was met with a few blank stares. I did my best to chew contemplatively.
Fred shook his head. "Honestly, I'm disappointed. No one's got any bright ideas? No proclamations of rebellion?"
Bailey quickly put a hand over Tara's mouth to muzzle her, which received a mildly concerned glance from Fred. She shrugged. "She'd start her own rendition of that one French musical where everyone dies again if I removed my hand, and trust me, it's better that you don't ever need to hear that."
I had to agree.
"Anyway, I'm not sure that fighting back is really - Tara!" Bailey yelped, cradling her hand. She received several quizzical glances, which she first anwered with a glare at Tara."She just bit me!"
Tara shrugged dramatically. "You were silencing me. That has to be a violation of my rights. I thought we stood together when it comes to human rights," Tara said, doing her best to sound slightly hurt.
Fred looked at Sarah, probably startled. His was met with an eye-roll from Sarah, and I chose to ignore them all in favor of choking down (emphasis on "choking") a large serving of mashed potatoes.
Fred coughed. "Anyway," he began, still looking mildly worried for our collective sanity, "Let's get back to Griffiths. And revenge."
. . .
If I recall correctly, the revenge plot had actually begun with Fred setting off a prototype firework of somewhat debatable quality, but that's not to say the events that lead up to it were lacking in dramatic effect.
The entire hall had carried an air of anticipation all morning and the Gryffindor table was thick with stifled giggles. The fifth year Gryffindors, (sans me, of bloody course) sat huddled at the end of the table with expressions suspicious enough to warrant an investigation, and the rest watched them with varying degrees of anxiety evident on their faces (I think I saw Lucy Weasley exchange a few stern words with Fred, but I can only assume that he did what any good cousin would do and ignored her).
Of course, I managed to disregard all of this in favor of drinking my tea sullenly until Fred clambered onto a table, sent James an incredibly unsettling grin, and sent a solitary red flare from his wand.
That certainly got my attention, though I can't say it was for the best.
"Oi!" Fred yelled, in case some one had failed to notice his bloody flare. There was expectant silence. "As I'm sure all of you've heard by now, those two," He motioned towards James and me, "Got themselves enough detentions to need to stay here for break." I looked around frantically for the fastest escape route as Fred faced the teachers and continued, "And we, being the fifth years, specifically from Gryffindor House, have come to the conclusion that they shouldn't need to stay alone."
I slouched in my seat and determinedly ignored all of the gazes on me and shook my head, because by that point I had a good idea where the situation was headed.
Godric, I was surrounded by lunatics.
Fred grinned wickedly and continued. "So, if you're going to keep them for break, you'll have to keep all of us, too."
At Fred's cue, Sarah and Sean mirrored his grin and shoved an alarmingly large pack of fireworks onto the middle of the Gryffindor table, and before anyone could say "bad idea", the Great Hall had erupted into what I thought at the time could be a very colorful, loud, and fiery death trap.
The situation escalated quickly from there.
"What the hell, Jordan?" I yelled over to Sarah, who seemed a little preoccupied with flinging dung bombs at any Professors who dared to come close enough.
Sarah offered me a devious grin. "Brilliant, isn't it?"
Yep - Lunatics.
I grumbled something I probably shouldn't repeat and surveyed the chaos.
The entire hall was a mess of people rushing to get out or grab their bags or take shelter from the next volley of dung bombs, and the air was hazy with smoke. Various projectiles hurtled through the Hall, taking out a few candles for their trouble. There was some sort of pond near the Hufflepuff table, and I was fairly certain that at least two students had already fallen in. Someone had broken out the Peruvian darkness powder, and to be honest the dark corner of the Hall was starting to look rather sinister.
Most of the younger students had filtered out of the hall to avoid being implicated in the debacle, and the older students sent us wary looks from the exits. The professors hurried around the Hall in varying degrees of panic, though I'm about eighty percent sure I saw Professor Lupin grinning at Fred at some point. Peeves, naturally, had been drawn by the chaos and gleefully flung ink at passersby as Professor Wolgomott frantically brandished a broom at him.
I scanned the room briefly for the ringleaders and glowered upon finding them.
Merlin, why couldn't I have been in Ravenclaw?
"For Godric's sake, Tara, get off the table," I yelled over the noise as I approached.
Tara stood on the Ravenclaw table surrounded by an array of tableware that had been charmed to dance along with whatever song she was screaming. She sent me a maniacal smile in response and continued to yell a song that I was pretty sure had something to do with revolting, but thankfully I couldn't really hear.
"Simmons!" Fred grinned upon seeing me and spread his arms to motion to the chaos. "Isn't it beautiful?" He grinned.
I raised an eyebrow. "I'm pretty sure Sean's just lit the 'Puff's table on fire."
Godric help us all.
I huffed and spared a glance to the front of the Hall. A few Professors watched me cautiously, already resigned to thinking that I'd had a part in the disaster. I rolled my eyes at Fred. "Tosser," I muttered, and then more loudly, "I've got to go. If I'm seen associating with you lot, I'll still be serving detentions after I graduate."
Fred nodded his understanding and shot Bailey a thumbs up as she gleefully unleashed a small army of pigmy puffs into the hall.
That right there is why Gryffindors are to be feared above all other Houses.
I hurried to the Gryffindor table to avoid having my head sawed off by a fanged frisbee, and ended up diving under the table for shelter from a particularly close volley of fireworks. I pushed a bench to the side and crouched under the table cautiously. Hoping that I was out of range of anything inherently harmful, I peered through the gap under the tablecloth to watch the scene unfold.
It was almost scary how little time it had taken to turn the Great Hall into such a disaster.
"It's a little like watching a muggle horror movie." I nearly hit my head on the table as I whirled around to face Potter, who shot me an unapologetic grin. "Didn't mean to startle you, but now that I have, I can't say I regret it."
"I've got to invest in less moronic House mates," I grumbled, rubbing the back of my head and lowering myself into a sitting position to avoid further head damage.
James raised his eyebrows, and I looked away and tried to focus on the fireworks still crashing above our heads. "Was that directed at me or that lot?"
"Yes," I muttered, turning my attention back to the chaos in front of me.
There was a pause, followed by a flash of red light and another crash. "Alright... So how many weeks d'you think they'll get for this, then?"
I shrugged and winced as a bang echoed through the hall, followed by the stern yells of several professors. "Dunno, but it looks like Griffiths's about ready to skip the detentions and send them to Azkaban."
I heard a laugh, and it took a lot more effort than I'd care to admit not to turn to face James. "He probably could, too."
"He'd probably have done it by now if he could," I grumbled, tracing patterns on the wood of the bench in front of me.
"Oh, you'd be there by now for sure," James assured me.
The explosions were growing marginally less frequent, so I supposed the professors were starting to regain some semblance of organization, though there were still fireworks crackling above us and a small army of pigmy puffs hopping around the Hall.
I narrowed my eyes and did my best to keep my focus on the scene in front of me. I tugged the tablecloth down as a group of professors walked past, though I couldn't see much except their knees. "I might still end up in Azkaban for murder," I grumbled, and made the mistake of glancing behind me.
I glowered at the responding smirk. "Is that a threat, Simmons?" James asked, watching me with too much amusement for my taste.
"Yes," I snapped, crawling to face him completely, "and that bloody smirk is what's going to motivate me to follow through," I finished with a glower.
James smirked at me. "What smirk?"
"Bloody hell, that one, you prick!"
Tara's singing cut off abruptly and I heard about 300 plates crash against a table. A final, solitary dung bomb was flung across the Hall and a firework fizzled out somewhat anticlimactically.
"I'm not smirking," James insisted, ignoring what remained of the debacle. He held up his hands in a gesture of mock surrender and bloody smirked.
"Would you stop?" I huffed, crossing my arms petulantly and leaning my back against the side of the bench.
The smirk melted into a grin, and James leaned marginally closer. "Make me."
Whatever I'd been trying to say caught in my throat, and I silently cursed myself for even meeting James' gaze in the first place. I did my best to take a breath and scooted marginally away from James and closer to the bench, which subsequently scraped backwards and tipped.
I ended up sprawled on the ground for my troubles.
I groaned and started to sit up before noticing the feet currently inches from my head and wincing. I leaned back on my elbows and cursed inwardly, debating whether I should try the "maybe if I close my eyes it'll go away" approach. It didn't work.
I heard James grumbling something under his breath (probably about my clumsiness) as he crawled out from under the table after me, followed shortly by a muttered curse.
"I shouldn't even be surprised," Professor Lupin muttered with an expression that conveyed both extreme exasperation and mild amusement.
At least no one was smirking anymore.
A/N: Thanks for reading! I have to say, it was a lot of fun to write Charlie finally confronting James about his smirk, because I feel like that's been a sort of recurring problem for her ;)
Anyway, I know I promised that things would get crazy, and they sort of did, but this chapter did not go at all as planned, so... Sorry for that. (I do have an outline, I swear!) :)
That said, thanks for reading, and please feel free to give feedback, be that positive or negative. I honestly live for reviews. :) Thanks!
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