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Chapter 5 : Take my breath away
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Look at what Sjoeks @TDA. made for me - and you!
March arrived far too fast, and before I knew it we were the sixteenth already. Maya was sitting cross-legged on Cat's bed, while the latter pranced around her room, surveying me critically.
"I still think it's a bit tight," she sent a questioning glance at her sister.
Maya yawned. "The dress is fine, Cat, and I'm the bride. I decide, you minions agree."
Cat snorted, but gave in, pushing me towards the mirror. "I can't believe that since the last time you tried the dress on was only a week ago. You just get rounder and rounder..."
I pretended to slap her. "Thank you for reminding me that I look like a planet."
"You do not," Maya gaped at me with indignation. "Just get a proper view of yourself, will you?"
The dress was beautiful, made of burgundy silk that flowed down to my knees. It had no straps, and marked the space between my bump and my breasts. I smiled. "Maybe I don't look like a planet after all."
"You still like it?" Maya beamed.
"Love it?" She insisted.
"So you're in a good mood?"
"Cat, tell her."
"Hey, why me? We agreed you would be the one to tell!"
I rubbed my temples in frustration. "What is it you need to tell me?"
"Well," Cat started uncomfortably.
"The problem is that Liam's parents are very traditional," Maya continued. "So in your condition..."
"You couldn't have gone alone, and so basically, we just kind of, um..."
"Got you a date, who needs to pretend to be your fiancé and the father of this child."
"You... What?!" They had the decency to look ashamed. "Who in the name of fuck did you find that would accompany me, and pretend such a dumb thing?"
"He's not exactly pretending," Cat didn't dare cross my unfaltering gaze. "I've asked Oliver."
I let myself crumple into Cat's plush armchair next to the window, and buried my face into my hands. "What exactly did you tell him?"
"That Liam's parents were very traditional, wouldn't have you pregnant with a fatherless child at their son's wedding, and that he was the only civilised guy I could think of to chaperone you."
I groaned. "What about the reception and the night after the ceremony?"
"You'll have separate rooms, it's all arranged."
"Fine," I threw my hands up in irritation, "but I will get back at you for this. Both of you!"
They merely high-fived each other, and I couldn't help but laugh.
Still. That was going to be one awkward evening.
I fiddled nervously with the braid that hung over my shoulder. It had been decided that I would not be a bridesmaid, not that I minded too much. It just meant that here I was, playing couple with Oliver, and that I could not possibly have been more uncomfortable about the situation.
The ceremony was beautiful. Maya had walked up the aisle, radiating in her pearl white sheath, her short black hair spiking out at every angle, crowned by a wreath of white roses. And of course, being the pregnant emotional fool that I was, I cried when she and Liam exchanged vows.
All while holding Oliver's hand – Oliver who, might I add, looked irritatingly hot in a tux.
I was increasingly annoyed with my hormones by the time we settled down for dinner in the small castle that had been rented for the post-wedding reception. As if to worsen things, we were seated at the close family table, with the happy couple, Cat, her father, and, oh joy, Liam's parents, who seemed particularly keen on prying into the nonexistent relationship between Oliver and me like members of the Spanish Inquisition.
"So," Liam's mum started, "how long have you two been married?"
"We're actually not married yet," I said as calmly as I could muster. This woman made me want to pour my bowl of gazpacho all over her prim beige dress.
She gasped, horrified, and a neatly manicured hand flew up to her mouth. In comparison, my black and white fingernails looked bright. Yes, I had bicoloured fingernails. Let me be creative, will you?
"But goodness me, how do you justify your condition then?"
I was so very tempted to answer something along the lines of "You know, when a man and woman love each other very much", but Oliver got there first.
"It was an accident," he cut smoothly, "we were engaged before anything happened but when Kim found out she was pregnant we decided to postpone the wedding."
She nodded with compassion. "Of course, I fully understand. When is the baby due?"
"End of July," I unconsciously patted my bump.
"So you will be marrying soon after that, I suppose?"
"Probably in October or November. I prefer autumn weddings."
I stared at Oliver with disbelief. No, I had not been the one to say that last sentence.
Do not stare at me like that. It is not a sign that we are destined for one another.
"Ah," Liam's mother perked up, "the music is starting. I'm sure you want to dance, please do go ahead."
Oh, hooray. I am literally jumping with joy at the prospect. But Oliver obviously did not give a flying Hippogriff's ass about whether or not I wanted to dance as he had already grabbed my hand in his.
It had all started like this, I realised as he placed his hands around my waist. But no matter. He didn't know, and didn't need to. I wiped the thoughts away and smiled up at him.
"Can you even still hold me properly, with my small whale diameter?"
"You'll always fit in my arms," his grey eyes bore into mine.
I knew he was only saying this because he had to, but I got the butterflies again.
Wait, no. This was stronger than butterflies.
"Oliver," I whispered, "the baby is kicking."
"Stop saying she, you have no idea!"
"Whatever you say, Willows, I know it's a girl."
"Anyway, that's not the point. Would you give me a minute? The nasty little bugger, let's keep it gender neutral, just decided to press on my bladder."
He laughed, releasing me. "It's a she."
"Bullshit," I scoffed. "As soon as I get back here I'm willing to bet this is a boy."
Oliver was waiting for me just outside the loo, arms crossed and looking very pissed.
"Never, ever, leave me alone in such circumstances, I've been assaulted by three girls who seemed to imagine they would be the next brides."
I linked my fingers with his, laughing. "There. Do you feel safer now?"
He pulled me closer to him. "Yes. Come on, let's go outside."
We walked out to the gardens, still hand in hand. Music and light were streaming from the windows, and Oliver bowed down to me.
"May I have this dance?"
I blushed, but nodded, as a slower song came on.
Watching every motion in my foolish lover's game
On this endless ocean finally lovers know no shame
I was scarily aware of Oliver's touch burning through the fabric of my dress, our faces very close, my fingers playing with the hairs on his neck, as we twirled around.
Take my breath away
In romantic movies, this is the moment where the beautiful heroine leans forwards and kisses the bloke. In real life, that's when you slip on the damp grass and fall over on your arse.
I grinned at Oliver as I tried to stand up, then winced. "I think I might have sprained my ankle. Could you, uh…"
He crouched down, wrapping my arm around his shoulders, and helped me hobble up. "I think we should go back in before Cat sends a search party."
"Cat is probably dancing herself away, we shouldn't worry about her."
As it turns out, Cat was not dancing, but animatedly talking with someone I recognised as Liam's brother.
We had barely walked in when Maya's voice echoed loudly over the noise.
"Ladies, it's time for the bouquet throw!"
Oliver elbowed me, groaning. "Those are the bints from earlier, and I don't like the way they're eyeing me at all."
I looked over in the direction he was indicating, and, indeed, three girls were checking Oliver out, sending an occasional murderous glance my way. "Don't bother, I'm pregnant enough for them to stay away."
He let out a small laugh. "Maybe they still think I'd fall for them. How about we act more couple-like just for the sake of annoying the shit out of them?"
I scooted in a bit closer to him, while he possessively ensnared my waist, resting his hand on my hip. "Like this?"
He leaned in, brushing his lips against my temple. "I was thinking more like this..."
I grinned at him – I seemed to be doing that far too much lately – then gently pushed him away. "Stop making me lose my focus, I want to watch them fight till death for the bouquet."
Said bouquet had just been tossed into the air, and was currently flying straight into my face. All I had to do was keep my arms crossed, and someone else would be murdered for catching it. But no, my arms decided to act without my permission, and I suddenly found myself holding the bloody pursued object, Oliver holding me close enough for me not to get trampled.
The crowd dispersed, grumbling, while Cat walked straight up to me, smirking a smirk I did not wish to see.
"You do know that those flowers you caught are charmed, right? They truly do go to the person that will get married next."
I smacked her with the flowers.
Care to remind me why we were friends?
I stood in the doorway, disbelief clear on my face. This was Cat's definition of two rooms? It looked awfully similar to a single room with a lone king-sized bed. Oliver coughed uncomfortably.
"We can always split up the bed," he suggested.
"I don't think it's such a good idea," my tone said the exact opposite, "if Liam's mother decides to barge in tomorrow morning for whatever reason, she won't understand why we're not sleeping together, let alone how the bed separated itself."
"Fine, as you wish. Where are you pyjamas, in here?" He motioned to my leather bag, propped on an ornate chest of drawers.
"What pyjamas? I sleep naked," I declared as seriously as I could muster. Oliver turned a deep shade of maroon. "I'm joking, Oliver. Yes, they're in the bag, could you please hand it over?"
The pyjamas I had packed were suitable for the occasion: plaid chequered blue and grey trousers, and a grey tank top. No lace, no frills. Thank Merlin.
I was quick to snuggle under the covers after showering and casting a spell over my ankle, a book in hand. I'd been wanting to settle down and read it for quite some time, and was fully captivated by it by the time Oliver walked out of the bathroom, wearing a pair of boxer shorts and a grey shirt with Puddlemere lettering across it. If Cat saw us matching like this, she'd have the time of her life, only for the hundredth and fifty second time that day.
"What are you reading?" Oliver slipped under the covers next to me.
I tensed, nervous, while the baby gave a strong kick.
"It's called Arcadia, it's a play by Tom Stoppard."
"Oh. Is it good?"
"Yep," I put the book down, staring at Oliver curiously. "Can you say something?"
"Just say something. Anything, just speak."
"Okay," he sent me a glance that clearly stated that he thought I was mad. "Like what?"
The baby gave another powerful kick, and I winced.
"Nothing. I just wanted to check something."
We lapsed into silence, each of us staring at the ceiling.
"Kim, what're you going to call it?"
That was unexpected, and it took me a few moments to answer. "I don't know. Cecile. Elise. Sasha. Grace. Luke. Andrew. Aidan. Jerome."
"And until then, you're going to continue saying it?"
"I suppose so."
"We have a tradition in my family, you know. Nicknaming the baby."
I smiled. "What were you?"
"Leprechaun," he grinned. "My sister was Lilliputian."
"You have a sister?"
"Anna. She's twelve," his eyes sparkled. "Just made it as Chaser on the Gryffindor team."
"Quidditch runs in the family then," I teased.
"It's a religion," he agreed.
"What about Bludger?" I was struck by inspiration.
"Your nickname tradition. I like it. So what about Bludger for this one?" I indicated my stomach.
Oliver burst out laughing, and the baby kicked in agreement.
I knew it. It was reacting to Oliver's voice.
Merlin's polka-dotted purple sock.
Where does that leave me?
I didn't have much time to ponder, because Oliver had finally quieted down. "Bludger it is then. About Quidditch though, why don't you play?"
"I do, just in a less obsessed way you guys do. I'm a pretty good Seeker, I simply didn't want to make a career out of it."
"What do you want to do then?"
"I wanted to be a member of MLES, but when this pregnancy is over, and Bludger," I grinned, "is born, I highly doubt that'll be possible. I might become a teacher then, I don't know."
"But don't you like flying?"
"Of course I do! It's just not something I want to take as a professional. There are other things than Quidditch in life. I promise you," I nodded dramatically.
He played along, widening his eyes in mock horror. "You don't say!"
Pardon me? I do not giggle. Ever. Bitches giggle. Crystal giggles, which means relatively the same thing. But me? Hell no.
"You know," I mused, "I haven't flown since nearly six months."
The look on his face was not faked this time. "Six months?! Don't you miss it?"
"I haven't got the choice. I used the school brooms last year, I haven't got my own, and Cat's stays at Puddlemere all the time."
"Would you want to go flying?"
"Now?" I perked up.
"Why not?" Excitement lit Oliver's face up. 'I've got my broom with me."
I stared at him, eyebrows raised.
"I shrunk it, it's in my bag," he was already out of bed, having hopped into a pair of track pants, and was putting on his shoes. "Come on."
I gave it half a second of thought, but the prospect of flying again was too good to be refused. I pulled a sweatshirt over my head – well, would you look at that? A Puddlemere sweater! What a wonderful coincidence! – and a pair of old All Stars, while Oliver charmed his broom back to its normal size.
"Hold my arm, we'll Apparate to the roof and leave from there."
It was colder than I thought, but that didn't matter. I wrapped my arms around Oliver's chest, yes, if you must know he had amazingly defined abs that I could feel through the fabric of his shirt. That doesn't matter either.
"We're lucky," he pushed off the roof with his foot, "there are a lot of clouds, so we'll just fly through and over them."
I don't know how long we stayed in flight, but I hadn't felt this free since a very long time. We were quite reasonable: no diving, no loops, nothing that could have disturbed an apparently asleep Bludger. Flying wasn't recommended for pregnant women, though at this stage the risks were very limited.
Oliver turned his head around, grinning at me. "You do know we've almost reached France by this stage, right? We're approaching Normandy!"
I smiled back. "Should we get closer to the ground?"
He nodded, and manoeuvred the broom while I quickly cast a Disillusionment charm over our little expedition.
We were indeed in Normandy. I had come here as a child, on the beaches of D-Day. I happily took my shoes off, wiggling my toes in the damp sand, as Oliver shrunk his broom and slipped it into his pocket. We walked side by side to the sea, not making a noise.
The water was freezing, but I waded in nonetheless, rolling my trousers up to mid-thigh. "Your turn to follow me," I extended a hand out to Oliver, who was waiting uncertainly at the limit of the sand. He took his shoes off as well, discarding them next to mine, and walked over to where I was.
"I know, and so are you," I smiled brightly, linking my fingers with his. "We didn't come all the way over here to just go back."
We were knee-deep in the water by this stage, and Oliver pulled me close to him, gazing at the ink-black surface that spread before this.
We both opened our mouth at the same moment to speak, then shut it again, strongly resembling fish out of the water.
"Sorry, go on," I apologised.
"No, you start."
"Oliver, I insist."
"So do I, you start."
"Oh, just get on with it, will you, you stubborn..."
He was cut off as a tremendous wave knocked us both headfirst into the water.
I was the first to emerge, followed a few moments later by a spluttering Oliver. We both sat in the water in stunned silence, before simultaneously roaring with laughter. It was only after we stopped to breathe that I realised what an awkward position we were in.
I had fallen on top of him, and was sitting on his lap, facing him, one leg on each side of his body. How it was even possible to tangle ourselves like that underwater, I had no idea.
But you know what? At this stage, I was tired of lying to myself, of lying to others.
I pushed a strand of wet hair out of Oliver's eyes. My breath caught in my throat, as I realised exactly how close we were to one another: almost forehead to forehead.
"It doesn't matter," he interrupted me quietly. "It really doesn't."
And so I leaned in and kissed him.
A/N: Don't kill me, please. I will update soon, but my life has been hectic at the moment, and I barely have the time to write, except on the weekend. Stick with me?
A few questions for you: boy or girl? What'll Bludger really be called? What's going to happen now that Kim and Oliver have kissed - twice in two chapters now, and this one was not for the mistletoe!
Liam's mum? Gazpacho down her dress as well?
I do not own the song Take My Breath Away by Berlin (it's also the soundtrack of the movie Top Gun, directed by Tony Scott and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson). Arcadia is the property of Tom Stoppard.
I certainly don't own Normandy.
Oh, I also wanted to warn you: I'm getting CIs for this story. If you see it pop up as updated, it'll probably be because of that. Chapter 3 now has a beautiful image of Cat.
Don't forget to leave a review, they are the best moments of my long and tedious days. You all rock my socks :)
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