Staring down the road after Marianne (who promised to come get her if she needed to go back and pick up more things), Mandy finally decided it was time she went inside. She hardly noticed the interior of the lobby (although she did manage a hello to the two men at the front desk), and made her way over to the elevator, dragging her luggage behind her. She got off on the third floor, and headed down the hall to number 3B, her excitement and nervousness mounting with every step. She knocked lightly on the door.
Steven looked up from his book at the sound of the knock and hurriedly marked his place, jumping up from his seat at the kitchen table. He assumed it was Mandy, as she was supposed to be arriving today, and he looked quickly around the flat, wanting to make sure everything was perfect. Nothing could get in his way of showing her what a good housekeeper he could be, and how the flat would suit to two of them just fine. The doorknob turned in his hand, and he grinned as it pulled away to reveal his girlfriend.
"...Hi," Mandy said, a wide smile appearing on her face. "Sorry I'm a bit early, but M-Marianne had to work..." Then, unable to hold it back anymore, she let her shoulder bag slide to the floor and threw her arms around him, hugging tightly. "I m-missed you," she murmured.
Instinctively, Steven slid his arms around her and held her tightly. "I missed you so much," he whispered into her ear. Tee past few days had been so long to him without her, and now they were together again.
"...You reckon we should take this show inside? I don't really fancy giving the neighbours a show," she replied, pulling back a little a moment later.
"They're hard up for some first rate entertainment," he winked, bending over to pick up her bag for her.
"Well, let them have their entertainment... At someone else's expense..." She picked up her shoulder bag and followed him inside, shutting the door behind her. She took a look around then, taking everything in.
Steven grinned and sat her large bag down right inside the door. "This is the com-living room."
Mandy nodded, and continued to gaze around the flat. It was much smaller than her old one (understatement of the year), but that was to be expected, obviously. And the two of them didn't need a large amount of space, anyway. "This is nice," she said truthfully. "I like it here already."
"I thought maybe later we might...play around with it a bit, you know? Between the two of us we know enough charms to make the decor feel like home." Steven wrung his hands nervously, praying that she liked it.
"Sounds like a plan... Th-this place does need a bit of colour, I th-think..." She smiled again, practically dancing on the spot. "...I still can't believe th-this is all happening! It seems so... so surreal..."
"You better believe it," he said, walking up behind her and wrapping his arms around her waist. He rested his chin lightly on her shoulder.
Mandy closed her eyes for a moment, still smiling. Then turning somewhat in his arms, she kissed him on the cheek. "Oh, expect m-me to be saying th-that for a while...."
"Mmm, d'you want to see the rest?"
"But of course!"
Steven let go of her and took her hand, leading her through an archway and into the kitchen. "Guess which room this is."
"Hmm. Th-the fact that th-this particular room has such items as a stove and a refrigerator only makes the guessing much more harder..."
"...You know I'm only kidding..."
"Yes, well, this is the kitchen...where we will lock Kevin and Lisa in should they ever come to visit....though we'll need to put a door on it beforehand," he joked.
Mandy laughed at that. "Yes, a door would be rather useful, I agree..."
He nodded to the table in the corner. "That would be our lucious dining table."
"And, funnily enough, with just enough room to sit two comfortably..."
"Guess we won't be having dinner guests," Steven replied.
"Things'll be more intimate that way," she said, stealing a glance over at him.
He flushed slightly and looked to the ground.
Mandy smiled. "Not that that's a bad thing, of course..."
Steven's eyes met hers. "Good."
"So yes. Kitchen and living room I have seen. Where to next?"
"You have a choice of which you'd like to see next, the bedroom or the bathroom. Both are quite charming."
"...How about the bedroom last?" She asked, blushing faintly.
"Alright..." Steven led her back out of the kitchen, and through a small door to the right of the archway.
"...Lots of space, storage," Mandy muttered, half to herself when seeing the bathroom. "Good, good... A... little plain looking, but th-that can be easily fixed..."
"And it's quite functional," Steven tacked on.
"We done in here?"
Steven opened a second door in the bathroom, opposite the one they had entered through. "Ladies first."
Mandy shot another smile his way before stepping through the doorway, which led, as she expected, to the bedroom. Their bedroom, she noted with a bit of a giddy feeling. It was modestly sized, and she was pleased with its overall appearance (although she again noted that a bit of colour could liven it up a bit). She made her way over to the other side of the room, which had a door that led out to a small balcony. Said door was unlocked, and Mandy stepped out into the July sunlight, breathing in sharply when she realised what a good view she had, despite only being on the third floor.
Steven paused for a moment, watching Mandy take in the room, a smile on his face. This is the moment he had been waiting for, for her to be there, for them to be in their room. Both of them. He followed her out onto the balcony, resting his elbows onto the railing beside her.
She squinted as she looked around, as she had neglected to put her sunglasses on. "Th-the view from here is stunning," she murmured. "You can see th-the park and everything..."
"It's why I didn't take the one on the first floor, though it was bigger..."
"I'd rather have th-this..."
"I thought so."
Mandy smiled and leaned against him, her head resting on his shoulder. "You know I'm a... a complete sucker for th-things like th-this... Perfect place to see th-the sun rise and set."
"Reminded me of the Astronomy Tower...last October...."
"Mmm... Good m-memories, those..."
Steven slid an arm around her waist. "And now here we are...our own flat...our own balcony..."
"LIke I said before... it feels surreal..."
"But it IS real."
"I know... And I couldn't think of a better person to be experiencing this with... Of course, I'm just slightly biased..."
"Only slightly?" Steven pretended to pout.
"Completely," she clarified.
Mandy smiled again. "To change th-the topic somewhat... Have been rather curious about th-this... Why did you choose to get a flat here?"
"'Twas where my job was," he responded.
She had forgotten about that, in everything that had happened... "And where's th-that to?"
"Er..." Steven looked away, out over the city.
"...Not ready to tell m-me just yet?"
"I'd rather show you," he replied.
"Show me, huh? Hmm. Th-this is making me incredibly curious as... as to what, exactly, your new job is..."
"Patience," Steven said.
"But you know how impatient I tend to be..."
"That's why I always remind you, my dear."
Mandy grinned. "Well, perhaps one day all your... all you reminders'll kick in and have some effect..."
"Of course, th-that could be quite some time down th-the road..."
"You know what I would like to do quite soon?" asked Steven suddenly.
"Go right ahead..."
Steven laughed. "Well, now you're anticipating it!"
"And what's the m-matter with th-that?"
"I can't do it if you're expecting it!" exclaimed Steven , turning around and leaning his lower back against the railing.
"And why not?"
"I said so."
"Oh, and what you say goes, I suppose, right?"
"Yes. Because I wear the pants," he nodded.
"...But you're wearing shorts now!" She joked, knowing full well what he meant.
"Oh, shush you."
With that, Steven leaned over and kissed her firmly.
Mandy murmured a slight sound of surprise, but quickly gathered herself together and kissed him back.
Steven removed himself from the railing and wrapped her arms around her. Pulling his lips back from hers, he whispered: "Don't say a word."
Steven laughed and shook his head, catching her lips on his once more.
Mandy smiled into the kiss, her hands working their way up his arms. "...You m-miss this as m-much as I have?" She asked a few minutes later, when they had broken apart slightly.
"Moreso," he murmured, resting his forehead against hers.
"And y'know... Th-the doctors have told me th-that I can go back to life as normal, pretty much... Save any extensive reading or anyth-thing..."
"You don't have to read anything," replied Steven, adding a wink.
She grinned again. "No, I wasn't expecting to..."
"Why, you have plans?"
"Perhaps..." Steven began to pull Mandy back into the bedroom.
"M-my my... What a surprise," she said, still grinning, blinking as she came out of the sun back inside.
"You can't say I don't deserve it..."
"It has been a m-month since we've done th-this..."
Steven kissed her again, not wanting to prolong his love for her any longer.
In the privacy of the bedroom, their kiss deepened, and went on longer than any of the other ones they had shared outside. When Mandy pulled back a nice bit later to get some air, both were breathing on the heavy side.
"I missed holding you in my arms," Steven breathed, his fingertips playing at the hem of her shirt.
"...Just as m-much as I m-missed being in them, I bet..."
Steven nodded and kissed her again lightly. "I can't believe we're finally together...alone..."
"Believe it," she told him, in much the same fashion as he had used with her earlier on.
He smiled and pulled her back towards the bed. "I don't think I do..."
"Mmm... Now look who's th-the doubtful one," Mandy murmured, brushing her lips across his.
"You might have to prove it," Steven whispered.
Steven grinned and kissed her forehead. "You'll think of something..."
"You seem to have m-much trust in m-me," Mandy replied, returning his smile.
"I trust you with my life."
"Mmm... Glad to hear it."
"I love you," Steven said.
"I know..." She stood up on tiptoe to kiss him again.
"Do you love me?" he asked, playing.
"What do you th-think?"
"Of course I do, you prat..."
Steven grinned. "That's all I wanted to hear."
She smiled too, slipping her hands under his shirt and beginning to rub over the bare skin on his back. "You'll know I'll always answer with th-that..."
"I still like to hear you say it," he replied, pulling her back onto the bed on top of him.
"Mmm..." She placed her hands on either side of him to help her balance, and kissed him again, a few strands of hair falling in her face.
Steven wrapped his armd around her, turning her over so that she was lying on the bed next to him. "D'you like the mattress?"
"It's comfortable, yes..."
"...Why do you ask?"
"I want you to like everything," Steven explained.
"But I do like everyth-thing..."
Steven leaned over and kissed her on the forehead, the nose, and then the lips.
Mandy rolled over a little, positioning it now that he was the one on top. She smiled against his mouth before kissing back, a hand going up to bury itself in his hair.
Steven placed both of his hands on either side of her head, and he bent down, kissing her neck slowly.
She tilted her head to the side, making his job easier. "Mmm..." she murmured, a soft moan escaping her lips. "Keep going..."
Steven did as Mandy asked, his kissed trailing lower on her neck. His fingers picked up the bottom of her shirt and began to slide it upwards.
The kisses continued to trail lower, outlining the collar of her shirt. Mandy's eyes drifted shut after a few moments, and she lifted herself off the bed just enough to make it easier for her shirt to come completely off.
Steven carefully let her shirt fall to the floor behind him, and his lips reconnected with her skin, teasing her with his tongue.
She inhaled sharply as he moved over her, and she managed to reach her hands around to his back, lifting up on the end of his shirt, attempting to remove it.
Steven pulled away from her momentarily, helping her to slide his shirt off his back.
"...Much better," she said with a smile, as his shirt drifted down to rest upon hers. She gently pulled him back towards her, and began to kiss him again.
Mandy's skin was warm against Steven's and he smiled into the kiss. His hand slowly slid down her side, stopping at her hip.
"...Love you," she murmured, fingers trailing lightly over his back and up and down his arms.
"I love you," he whispered in her ear as he slowly unzipped her skirt.
Mandy opened her eyes somewhat a while later, not realising she had fallen asleep after.
Steven held her tightly in his arms, his chin resting on top of her head. His breathing lifted his chest in regular increments as he slept on.
She smiled softly to herself, content to remain where she was. She twirled a lock of hair around her finger, waiting for Steven to wake up.
After a moment, his eyes fluttered, and he smiled. "Mmm...Mandy..."
"How long've we been asleep...?"
"No idea... But the sun's still shining through..."
"That's the good thing about here," he told her, "we can sleep whenever we like..."
"...in whatever we like..."
She smiled again. "Mhmm..."
Steven laughed at that and kissed her forehead.
"...And we won't have to... worry about nosy roommates."
"Except each other."
"Yeah... But th-that's better th-than, say, three or four."
Mandy's eyes closed again. "Speaking of roommates... Have you heard from Kevin or Lisa since the summer began?"
"No. I tried ringing Lisa up the other day, but her mother said she had left for Switzerland already... I have no idea where she's to."
"Hiding from Kevin in the Alps," laughed Steven.
Mandy giggled. "Well, I wouldn't put it past her..."
"That's probably why she's uncontactable..."
"But why would she be hiding from you and me? We don
t set her off like Kevin does."
"Maybe she thinks Kevin is going to use us to contact her?" tried Steven.
"I'm only joshing, Mandy."
"Maybe I'll owl her soon and see what she's up to..."
"And tell her about my new... living accommodations."
Steven grinned. "I think she already knows..."
"About you living here."
"When did you tell her?"
"Steven bit his lip. "I didn't tell her."
"...Th-then how did she find out?" Mandy asked, puzzled.
"He knew too?"
"Er...well...I had to tell someone..."
"And he has a big mouth."
Mandy laughed. "Also true."
Steven laughed as well. "Which I temporarily forgot..."
"Apparently so, yes."
"Can you blame me?"
She smiled. "No, not really."
"Good, then. You can write Lisa tonight."
"Of course, th-there is th-the small issue of how I'm supposed to get it to her..."
"Well obviously, but I haven't got an owl."
As if on cue, a small bird hooted from the kitchen. "I do."
Mandy blinked. "Where's he to?"
"The kitchen, I think," replied Steven.
"The kitchen? It's a wonder I never noticed..."
"I think he just got back," admitted Steven, "he wasn't here earlier."
"Ah. Th-that would explain things th-then..."
"...I'm hungry," Mandy said suddenly. "But I don't want to get up to go get someth-thing."
"Was that a subtle way of telling me to go get you something?"
"Maybe, m-maybe not..."
"Now th-there's a name I've never been called before..."
"Well, I'm calling you it now."
"...And whatever for?"
"For messing with my mind!" exclaimed Steven.
Mandy smirked, staying silent.
"What do you want?"
"At the m-moment, food."
"What sort of food is what I meant."
"Oh. Hmm. Good question."
"Hold your horses! I'm thinking!"
"Oh, Merlin, we'll be here for a week..."
"Hey!" She thwaped him in the arm.
Steven snickered lightly.
"I will not be here for a week, thank you very much..."
"Then what's your choice?"
"Um? I can't make 'um'."
Mandy's reply to that was to give him another smack in the arm.
"I didn't you that hard... did I?"
Steven paused and made a face at that. "No."
"Th-then why did you make it sound like I did?"
"So you wouldn't do it anymore!"
"But now th-that I know it doesn't hurt..."
She laughed. "Oh, I'm only m-messing around... I won't hit you every time I th-think you're being a prat..."
"Only every other time?"
"Gee, thanks," he said sarcastically.
"Anytime," Mandy replied with a grin.
"...what do you want to eat?"
"Something cold, I th-think..."
"Oh, I don't know..."
"Well I can't make that, either..."
Mandy refrained from hitting him again. "Surprise m-me then."
"Fine," he said, stretching and rolling away from her.
"You're welcome," he grunted, shuffling out of the room.
Mandy smiled again and sat up, one hand grasping a hold of the bedsheets, the other going up to comb through her tangly hair. She debated whether or not to get dressed, and after a few moments, decided that she would. Or partly, at least.
Steven returned a few minutes later, two bowls in his hands. "Ice cream?"
"Ice cream's fine. What flavour is it?"
"It was a lucky guess..."
"...So I'm right?"
She grinned and held out a hand to him.
Steven handed her one of the bowls and sat down on the bed.
"Sweet M-Merlin, you put enough in here! I'll be eating th-this the rest of the day!"
"Got any more complaints while you're at it?"
She pretended to flick a spoonful of ice cream at him.
"That wasn't a complaint..."
"I'm not complaining!"
"No! You're only pretending to throw the food I slaved so hard over at me!"
"And what is difficult about taking a tub of ice cream out of the freezer and scooping it into two bowls?" Mandy asked, eating a heaping spoonful of said food.
"I had to use the stubborn scooper!"
"And what was so stubborn about it?"
"I tell you it is!"
Mandy grinned as she continued to eat her mountain of ice cream. "It couldn't have been that hard to work..."
"It could have!"
"You having trouble with an ice cream scoop..." She shook her head. "Never th-thought I'd see th-the day..."
"It's a stupid ice cream scoop!" Steven defended.
"But th-they're easy to work!"
"Not this one!"
"Here. Let m-me see it th-then..."
"What?! Don't be ridiculous!"
"I'm not being ridiculous!" She flopped back on the bed, bowl still in hand. "But," she said with a giggle, "the way this conversation is headed is certainly ridiculous..."
Steven rolled his eyes. "You tire me."
"I tire you?"
"You wear me out!"
"...By doing what?"
"You just do!"
"Ah, but you m-must have a reason..."
"'Because' is not a reason!"
"Not not not!"
"Too times infinity!"
"Not times infinity plus one!"
"Plus infinity and one!"
"Plus infinity and infinity!"
"Plus whatever the amount we're currently at!"
"Ditto that for seven!"
"Ten zillion plus one!"
"Ten zillion plus ten zillion!"
"Plus a billion!"
"Plus yourself? You're not a number!"
"I am too!"
"You are not!"
"Not not not!"
This was getting ridiculous, but neither of them wanted to be the first one to give. "Not not not not!"
"Too too too too too!"
"Not not not not not not!"
"Too times seven!"
"I'm not a number either!"
"Yes, you are!"
"Why you think I'm a number!"
"Because you're worth a billion other girls!"
Well. This was a new angle to their pointless bickering. Mandy didn't know what to reply to that.
"Don't you have any sort of rebuttle?"
"Not to that, no."
A giant grin spread across Steven's face.
"...But you haven't won!"
"I have too!"
"Here we go again!"
"We are so!"
Mandy placed her ice cream bowl on the nearby night table and then immediately buried her face in a pillow.
"What are you doing?"
"Conceding," came her muffled reply. "This has gone on far enough..."
Steven paused. "I win."
"This time, and this time only."
He bounced more.
And he did it more.
He stopped. "No." Bounce.
"If you won't, I shall be forced to take drastic measures..."
Steven laughed and continued bouncing.
"I'm warning you..."
And with that, Mandy sat up and promptly tackled him.
"Mrph!" was all he was able to get out before she threw him on his back.
"What did I say?" She asked looking down at him, hands on his shoulders.
"You would be forced to take drastic measures..."
"And so I tackled you."
"Proud of it."
Steven glared up at her.
Mandy simply smiled, looking completely innocent.
"Nope," she said again.
She shook her head, trying to hold back a smile.
"If I get off, what's in it for m-me?"
"I got you ice cream!"
"You did, yes. Point?"
"I got you ice cream!" he repeated.
"I believe we've already established th-that fact..."
"Without me, there would be a lack of ice cream!"
"I could've gotten it m-myself..."
"You're too lazy," he argued.
"I am not!"
"I am not!" She protested.
"You didn't have to go get the ice cream for m-me!"
"But I did!"
"But you didn't have to."
"But I love you," he said.
Mandy smiled down at him. "I know you do, but still."
"I still love you?" he tried.
"I could've gotten th-the food m-myself," Mandy corrected, shifting so that she was sitting on his stomach, a leg on either side.
"Well, yes, I s'ppose..."
"...And why are we continuing to argue over th-this?"
Steven shrugged. "We have nothing better to do?"
"I'm sure there's m-more interesting th-things we could be doing..."
"Don't laugh at me!" he said defensively.
"Sorry." The giggling stopped, but a smile remained. "Couldn't be helped."
"You're so mean to me!" he wailed.
"I am not!"
"Argh, here we go again!"
Steven laughed at that. "Right you are."
"But of course!"
"Always are," he replied with a wink.
Mandy grinned. "Glad you th-think so."
"You would have hit me had I said any different."
"You know me too well."
"I know you know."
"I don't know," he laughed, "I'm not making much sense."
Mandy giggled again. "No, you're not."
"Make me," she said again.
Steven sat up quickly, kissing her forcefully.
Mandy gave a muffled sound of surprise at his action. "...What was that?" she breathed, once they had broken apart.
"Was shutting you up," he responded playfully.
She blinked. "Well, it worked..."
"Do it again."
Steven laughed. "No."
Steven looked up innocently at her.
He shook his head.
"...Please?" She asked again, giving off the sad puppy-face look. My, how the tables had turned...
Steven couldn't resist that face! He reached up, pulling her face down to his.
Mandy managed a smile before he kissed her again, every bit as intense as the last time.
"How's that?" he asked after a moment.
"Good... But keep going..."
"...but I don't wanna," he whined.
"No," he teased.
Mandy pouted again, pretending to be upset.
"...don't do that!"
"'Wah' is not an answer!"
Steven leaned up and kissed her again.
Mandy managed to kiss him back this time, not being caught off guard as much.
Steven slid his arms around her waist, pulling her off from on top of him.
A muffled "Mrph!" was all Mandy could manage as she slid off him, back onto the bed.
Steven pulled back and gave a her a dominant look.
She gazed up at him, her eyes locking onto his. "...More," she murmured.
Slowly, Steven kissed her again, brushing his tongue against her lips.
Mandy let him continue with that for a few more moments before mimicing him, running her tongue over the outline of his lips.
He ran a hand up her cheek, tangling it into her hair.
She nibbled lightly at his lower lip, trying to get him to open up his mouth a little.
Steven obliged, opening his mouth against hers.
Mandy took full advantage of that, and slid her tongue inside.
He moaned low in his throat, pulling her closer.
Well. This was the first time he had done anything like that first. Mandy kept on going, liking the feeling of being in control for once.
His breaths became more ragged as time wore on, and he was completely in her hands.
Finally, she pulled back the slightest. "...Liked that, did you?" She asked against his mouth, still teasing with her tongue.
"Mhmm," he murmured.
"Want more?" She asked, her hands wandering about.
She practically crushed her mouth against his in reply as her hands moved lower and lower.
"Impatient," he laughed against her lips.
"Mmm... But can you blame me?"
"Well then, enough with th-the talk..." She murmured, going back to what she had been doing moments before.
Steven returned to his actions as well, sliding his hands down her sides.
Mandy slowly moved her kisses away from his mouth, and her lips brushed over his jawline, working their way down to his neck.
Steven moaned lightly at her touch, his hands roaming her back.
Mandy worked away down his neck, across his collarbone, and back back up, reversing what she had just done. She completed the circle of sorts with another kiss to his lips.
Steven smiled against her kiss as his breath became heavy.
Mandy deepened the kiss, enjoying the feeling of being the one in control. Her hands began to wander about again, one eventually moving up to tangle in his hair.
Some time later, Steven kissed Mandy one last time, smiling at her like he never had before.
"...Why are you looking at m-me... like that?" She asked, after he had pulled back.
"Because I can't stop."
"Can't stop what?"
"Looking at you," he explained.
"... But you've got th-this... different sort of look on your face this time."
"Because I've never loved you so much before."
She blushed faintly. "And what made you decide th-that?"
"Nothing. Everything. You."
"So it was just completely random? Nothing... happened that suddenly makes you love m-me m-more now, than say, th-this morning?"
"Mostly," he nodded, "yes."
Mandy smiled and leaned in, resting her forehead against his. "Not th-that I'm... complaining or anything..."
"...I should hate it if you were."
"...But I'm not, so you don't."
"Of course not," he reassured her.
"Good," she murmured, stealing one more kiss. "Love you too."