It was your typical August afternoon, warm and sunny, and Mandy Brocklehurst decided that it was high time she payed a visit to the café that was located down the street from her flat. Steven had been there a few times already, and had raved about it, so she decided to check it out for herself. She needed some fresh air anyway, having spent the whole morning inside (with the exception of one minor outing). After leaving a note for Steven, Mandy grabbed her sunglasses and the latest book she was reading and headed down to the café, eventually taking a seat at one of the outside tables.
It was late afternoon - the time when motorists fought to take control of the roadways as they got off of their 9-to-5 jobs - when Steven arrived at the flat, calling out for his girlfriend. He found her note, so perfectly written and signed with a loving heart in which their initials "S. C." and "M. B." were written, with the little plus symbol in the middle. A grin crept toward his face and he changed into Muggle clothing - simple shorts and a short-sleeved polo. With a wave, he greeted her as he walked down the street, anxious to hear what she thought of the café.
Mandy motioned for him to join her, grinning as he slid into the seat across from her. "I take it you found m-my message all right... How was work today?" She had some news she wanted to share, but was interested in knowing how his day went first.
"Usual," he replied with a grin, "Glad we put up the new cooling charms. It's so blasted hot anymore." Steven still hadn't told Mandy where he was working, but she knew it was somewhere without Muggles, as he wore robes to work every morning.
"It has been rather warm out lately... hasn't it? ...Quite odd for here, actually. And is the time ever going to come when I'll actually get to know what th-this mysterious job of yours is? You've been at it over a m-month now, and I'm still completely in the dark about it..."
"Eventually," Steven promised, reaching out and clasping her hand in his. "I promise. But, how was your day, love? What did you do?"
"Not a heck of lot, actually... It was too hot out earlier on to be out, so I m-mostly just stayed in with the fans on full blast... But I did go out for a couple hours this morning..." She neglected to say where, exactly, or what she had been doing, but that was all part of her news.
"So long as you're being careful...I don't want you to get too hot and get sunstroke or whatever it is you get when you get too hot..." Steven realised he was rambling and paused. "Where did you go this morning?"
"London," Mandy replied, almost bouncing in her seat now.
"London!" Steven exclaimed, lowering his voice when an older couple at a nearby table hissed at him. "London," he repeated, "I thought we agreed on no traveling until you were fully healed..."
"I am fully healed... just about. But I went to the doctor and... he gave me clearance. Both to do the travelling," She paused, as she sneezed, "-and to try for my Apparation license..."
"Bless you," Steven commented, studying her face, "Wait...slow down now. The doctor gave you clearance? Full clearance?"
Mandy nodded. "Mhmm. Full clearance."
Steven grinned. "And what about your Apparation license?"
"I tried for it this morning..."
"No!" Steven's jaw dropped.
Mandy nodded again. "I did..." She said, grinning.
"What happened?" he asked, quite curious.
"...I passed!" She exclaimed happily. "First try, too. Isn't that great?"
"Sweet Merlin!" Steven looked quite shell-shocked, "I can't believe it! This is...wonderful!"
"Isn't it? I was really, really nervous about trying for it, and I almost wound up splinched, but I didn't, and I'm a little shocked I passed, but I did! And then I wondered what you were going to say about it all, seeing as I never told you I was going to try for my license so soon..."
"I had no idea you sly fox!"
"I didn't know what you'd say about it... I was afraid you might even try to stop m-me."
Steven nodded slowly. "I would have, but I'm so glad you did it!"
The grin was still on Mandy's face. "I got real sick of having to depend on someone to bring me everywhere, so I thought it couldn't hurt..."
"I still can't believe this..." Steven shook his head.
"You not... mad at m-me, are you?"
Of course not!"
"Good to know... It kind of sounded like you were."
He shook his head fervently. "I'm estatic."
Mandy merely grinned as the drink she had ordered a few minutes prior arrived at their table. She mumbled a "Thank you" to the waiter and took a couple sips.
Steven gave her a
t00by grin and nodded. "This is smashing..."
"When do you th-think you'll try for yours?"
"Soon as I can," he nodded, "and here I was believing I'd get mine before you!"
Mandy laughed. "Caught you off guard a little, didn't I?"
"More than a little!"
"Well, hurry up and try for yours," she said, absently stirring her drink. "It'll m-make things much more convenient."
Steven gave her a Look. "I can only go so fast as I can, Mandy...I have work and all..."
"Why won't you tell me what that is?"
"In time," he assured her.
"But it's been well over a month since you started!"
"I know...I know...but, can't you just trust me?"
"Well, yes... But... What's the harm in me knowing?"
Steven pouted slightly. "Don't you trust me?"
"With my life..." Mandy replied, taking another sip of her drink.
He flushed slightly and lowered his eyes. "Then wait," he murmured, "for me."
"...All right," she said with a sigh. "But... I don't want to be waiting another month for you to tell m-me."
"Just a few more weeks..."
"How much is 'a few'?"
"Less weeks than a month and more than one," he offered.
"I guess I'll have to wait... I've got no other choice, do I?"
He grinned once more. "No, you really don't."
"You love keeping me in the dark about things, don't you?"
Steven cackled. "Oh...yesss!"
Mandy made a face at him, but smiled afterwards. "It just better be worth it, that's all... But th-then again, your surprises almost always turn out good, so I really shouldn't be worrying about it."
"I know!" He looked slightly offended. "What're you worried about?"
"I don't know... I'm not making sense this afternoon, don't mind m-me..."
Steven laughed. "Alright."
"I'm still in a bit of shock over this morning, so..." She grinned again, and drained what was left of her drink.
"...and you think I'm not? This is....so great I cannot think of a good adjective for it!"
"My thoughts exactly... I'm in quite the happy mood now, needless to say."
Steven grinned. "I'm glad to see it."
"For once... You don't have to work or anything tonight, do you?"
"What would you like to do?" asked Steven, leaning back in his chair.
"I really have no idea... I hadn't planned on doing anything this evening.... But I th-thought you might have to work again, but seeing as that's not the case..." Mandy shrugged.
Steven shrugged as well. "We're already out..."
"Well... Was there anything you wanted to do?"
Mandy laughed. "I can see we're going to get far with this... What say we just head out for walk or something and if we see something... Be spontaneous."
"And when we're spontaneous...at least we get somewhere," he agreed, making to stand.
"Precisely." Mandy stood up as well, and after digging around in her pockets for a moment, left enough money on the table to cover the cost of her drink. She stuck her book in her bag, and they left the café, slowly making their way down the crowded street.
Steven took her hand in his, squeezing it lightly as they rounded the corner.
"You want to head into the park?" Mandy asked, as they approached it. "It'd be less crowded than these streets..."
"Sure," he agreed, looking around him and taking in the beauty of the city.
"This is nice," Mandy murmured, as they walked further and further away from the cars and the noise. "We ought to come in here m-more often... It's nice and peaceful..."
"And not quite as dangerous," Steven laughed, remembering the time Mandy had almost walked out into traffic.
She blushed faintly, remembering the same incident. "Mmm... No cars to run me down."
"At least not any of a large size," he added, looking pointedly at a toy car that went racing by them, a small boy following.
Mandy giggled. "Very true..." she replied, as the boy's mother tailed him, scolding him for taking his brother's toy. "but that can't cause much damage, thank heavens."
"Perhaps a bruised toe."
"Which is nothing..." They swerved a bit on the path then to avoid a little girl who was concentrating on eating a double scoop ice cream cone and who wasn't watching where she was going. Mandy grinned as she heard the girl exclaim that this was the 'bestest ice cream in the whole, wide world', and suddenly realised she had a slight craving for the dessert as well.
Steven, too, looked with envy upon the young girl. "Say, Mandy..." he began.
"...how would you like some-"
"...ice cream?" She guessed.
He grinned. "Read my mind."
"Just luck, I suppose," she replied, grinning back. "...But yes, I would."
"Good, because I do too," Steven admitted, squeezing her hand.
"There should be a vendor around here somewhere... There always is, in the summer..."
"What kind would you like?" asked Steven, seeing one a few yards away.
"Strawberry, I think. I haven't had it in ages... But I have money..."
"Me too," he shrugged, "Mmm....Strawberry..."
"...What're you going to get?"
"Chocolate," he grinned, "What do you think??!"
Mandy shook her head, laughing. "Stupid question, that was..."
"But you never know... One day you might have a change of heart and go for something other than chocolate..."
"That's the same thing, practically!"
"...white chocolate?" he continued.
Mandy merely shook her head, face still covered by her hand.
"I suppose I should just learn to accept it... You'll never give up your chocolate..."
"I might be 'suaded..."
Mandy raised an eyebrow. "Oh, really?"
"Really," Steven replied, "Only I would need a reason..."
"A reason, hmm? And what exactly did you have in mind?"
Steven only gave her a pointed look.
"...Stupid question, right?"
Steven laughed, nodding,.
Steven wrinkled his nose. "Fine then..."
Mandy grinned. "Well, if you'll try something other than chocolate ice cream..."
"...alright then, what about mint chocolate chip?"
"That still has chocolate in it!"
"Oh, right..." Steven paused. "What about...vanilla?"
"Vanilla's good. No chocolate."
"Alright. Just vanilla..." He murmured to himself: "...with chocolate chips."
"...What was that?"
"...nothing," he lied.
Mandy raised an eyebrow but didn't say anything as they made their way over to the ice cream vendor and payed for their cones. She took a couple licks of her strawberry one before glancing over to him and noticing the chocolate chips embedded in his scoops of vanilla. "You're hopeless," she said laughing. "But I tried..."
"It's vanilla!" he exclaimed, "Sort of..."
"Well, I suppose I should give you credit for the fact that you're actually eating a flavour other th-than chocolate..."
Steven nodded and held it out to her. "You know you can't resist it's chocolatey goodness."
"You know me too well..." Mandy took a few licks from it, and he had to practically pry her away from it.
"...and you said chocolate was bad," he murmured, taking it back and licking it.
"I said no such thing!"
"You insinuated it!"
"Ok. I am not getting into this argument with you again...."
Steven laughed triumphantly.
"You know we could be at it for hours..."
Steven looked at her, amused. She hadn't clarified what 'it' was too well.
"...Arguing, you prat," she added, noting the look on his face.
He laughed again and finished off his cone.
Mandy finished her own a little while later, and by now they had walked over to the other side of the park, with the sun beginning its descent in the sky.
"I like how long it stays light here," Steven commented.
"Well, it is August..."
"And it usually stays light for a long time in the summer..."
Steven nodded. "You're right."
"'Course I am," Mandy said with a grin.
"You always are," he played along.
Mandy laughed. "Glad to know that that's been drilled into your head so soon," she said, teasing.
"Of course, I'm always right as well..."
"Well, we both can't be..."
"Yes we can!"
"'Cause I say so!"
"Which is your reasoning for everything..." She replied with a grin.
Steven grinned. "And very good reasoning it is."
Mandy laughed again. "Whatever works, right?"
"...Listen, you want to keep walking or head on home? I'm getting eaten alive by flies by standing in this spot..."
Steven smacked a fly on her arm. "Hmm, I say we head back."
"Sounds like a plan."
Steven took her hand and turned them back the way they had come.
"Ah... Air conditioning..." Mandy murmured, once they had stepped into the lobby of their apartment building. "Finally... It's like a bloody oven outside..."
"It's not that bad," Steven said, waving hi to the security guard.
"Yes it is..." She insisted, jabbing at the 'up' button on the elevator. "I'm not used to this sort of heat..."
"Oh," Steven shrugged, leaning against the wall.
"it's never this hot here anyway, not normally. We must be having a heat wave or something," she said, as the elevator doors opened.
"Maybe someone cursed the city," he snerked.
Mandy laughed. "Probably, for all I know..." They stepped inside, and Steven pushed the button for the third floor.
"Which would be ironic, in a sense," he laughed as the doors closed.
"Just would be," Steven mused.
"I'll just take your word for it, I guess..." Mandy said, as they rode the short distance up the elevator.
"It's just that...here's the first place we've been in seven years that's non-Magical, and to have our lives so affected by a Curse would be ironic," he explained.
"Ah.... Gotcha," replied Mandy as the elevator came to a stop and the doors opened. "I get it now."
Steven nodded, stepping out of the elevator after her.
"Sweet Merlin, is the air conditioning not working on this floor, or what?" Mandy muttered as they headed down the hall. The heat had hit them in the face like a fist. "It's like a bloody sauna!"
"Oh, that's it!" Steven exclaimed, running into their flat (after he unlocked it, of course) and grabbing his wand. He came back out. "I'm doing the damn cooling charm."
"Thank you. The one I did this morning has long worn off..."
Steven did the cooling charm, and sighed happily as it took effect.
"Oh, that's loads better..." Mandy murmured happily as she entered, bending down to take off her sandals. "Thanks."
Steven grinned to himself before walking over and picking Mandy up by the waist. Laughing to himself, he carried her the rest of the way into their flat and closed the door behind them.
"Hey! Put me down!" Mandy exclaimed, grinning as her sandals dropped to the floor.
"Hmm...how about not," Steven laughed.
"How about yes?"
"Oh, fine, you win," Steven sighed, setting her down.
"Thank you... Hey! No tickling!"
Steven grinned as he began to tickle her sides. "Sorry, what was that? I can't hear you!"
"Steven.... St.... Stop..." Mandy managed as she laughed, trying her best to get away from him.
Steven had a tight hold on her, not letting her go anywhere.
At least he had ceased the tickling... somewhat. "Enough already!" She protested good-naturedly. "Stop... Pleasey?"
"Again with the pleasey!" he exclaimed, pulling his hands away.
"It works, so why not?"
Steven shook his head. "Makes you sound like you're five!"
Steven only blinked at her, not having a reply.
"What? And it's not like you don't act a little childish every now and again..."
Steven stuck his tongue out at her.
"See?" She exclaimed triumphantly. "You just proved my point."
Steven retracted his tongue and frowned. "That proves NOTHING!"
"Not again!" Mandy wailed.
"Is it really that hard for us to not go off on that wavelength every single day?"
"Yes," he nodded seriously.
Mandy sighed, and leaned back against him. "Guess we'll just have to live with it..."
Steven slid his arms around her waist. "I find it quirky," he whispered in her ear.
"Interesting... What else do you happen to find quirky, if I may ask?"
"The way you use the word 'pleasey'. The fact that you cannot go a single day without reading a book." He paused, letting her digest those.
"I have to read... I'll go mad..."
"I know," he grinned. "So will I."
"We are such typical Ravenclaws... Not that's there's a problem with that, or anything..."
"I should hope not! I love my books."
"And so di I. Amongst other things, of course."
"What else do you love?" asked Steven naively.
"Why, I'm surprised you even had to ask that..."
"...I did," he admitted.
"You should know by now what I love most in this world..."
"Close, but try again..."
Mandy shook her head. "Nope. I'll give you a hint. It's right here in this room."
Steven looked around. "The telly?"
"Another hint. This "thing" isn't really a thing at all..."
Mandy laughed. "No... C'mon, Steven, think...."
Steven stood there, biting his lip in thought.
"Another hint. It's standing right behind me."
Steven looked over his shoulder. "That ugly plant you won't get rid of?"
"It is not ugly, thank you very much! But no... That's not it either."
Steven finally sighed. "Won't you tell me?"
Mandy turned in his arms so she was looking at him face to face. "It's you, you prat."
"Me?!" Steven tried to look surprised.
Mandy laughed. "Don't look so shocked."
"And why not?" demanded Steven.
"Because I thought that that answer would be quite obvious."
"You're a tricky woman!" Steven said in defense.
"I've never thought of myself that way before..."
"And is that a good thing?"
"Depends," he shrugged.
"On how you see it, silly."
"Oh... Right. Stupid question..." Mandy laughed, shaking her head. "I'm horrible today, I swear..."
"I know," he laughed with her.
"The heat must've gotten to my brain."
Steven shook his head. "Nah."
Mandy opened her mouth to reply, but all that came out was another giggle as his hands began to wander, tickling her again.
"...no giggling," he instructed seriously.
"But you're... tickling me..."
"Am not," he lied.
"You are so!"
Steven tickled her harder.
"See? You... are!" Mandy exclaimed, trying once again to escape, but failing.
"Tickling? Who? What?" Steven continued tickling her.
"St... Stop... Please... I'll-I'll do anything..."
"Anyth-thing..." She repeated, still squirming about. "Within... reason..."
Steven cackled. "Anything?"
Steven stopped and let her catch her breath.
He grinned at her. "Now, about that anything..."
"Mmm... What about it?"
"That all depends on what you want to do..."
"How about a kiss?"
"Oh, I could go for that, I think..."
Steven closed his eyes. "Alright, I'm waiting."
Mandy grinned and rose up on her toes to gently kiss him, resting her hands on his shoulders.
Steven opened his eyes. "You can do better than THAT!"
"I know... I was merely getting started..."
"Mhmm," she said, and proceeded to give him exactly what he wanted.
Steven smiled into the kiss, pulling her closer.
"...Any better?" She managed to ask, breaking away slightly a few minutes later.
"Thought it might me..." Mandy murmured, before returning her lips to his.
Steven kissed her softly, running his hands up her back.
"Mmm... What say we move this little show elsewhere, perhaps?"
"Like the bedroom?"
"Unless you'd rather not..."
"I'd love to," Steven smiled, kissing her forehead.
Mandy smiled back, slowly pushing him backwards into said room.
"Ooo, anxious, are we?"
Mandy's response to that was to promptly silence him the only way she knew how.
Steven kissed back roughly, opening his lips against hers.
She took that as an invitation to slip her tongue into his mouth as she leaned up against the doorframe, pulling him closer to her.
Steven kept his balance by placing his hands on the doorframe on either side of her head.
Mandy's hands began to wander then, and she slowly began to run then down his sides, stopping at the hem of his shirt.
Steven moaned slightly against her mouth, reaching down and brushing her hair lightly.
Mandy slipped her hands underneath his shirt, and began to work them up his bare back, her mouth still rather attached to his.
Steven held her face in his hands, pulling his lips away from hers and kissing her lightly on the nose.
Mandy took that opportunity to gulp in some much-needed air, breathing heavily as her hands continued to roam about.
Steven smiled down at her as he slid his hands down to her waist.
Mandy's eyes fluttered shut once more, moaning softly as his hands slipped underneath the material of her tank top.
He kissed her once again, sliding her tank over her head.
She moved her hands out from underneath his shirt and up over her head, to aid in getting her top off faster (which was flung somewhere inside their bedroom), and then went about the business of removing his shirt.
Steven laughed as he leaned over, helping her to remove his shirt.
"Mmm... Much better," Mandy remarked with a grin, as said shirt went flying. She leaned up to kiss him again, slowly distancing herself from the wall, which had begun to dig into her back.
Again, Steven wrapped his arms around Mandy, pulling her backwards towards the bed.
"Ooh, anxious are we?" She asked, echoing his statement from earlier on.
"Shush," he whispered against her lips.
Mandy giggled, wrapping her arms loosely around his neck.
"Uh-huh, I see how it is..."
"See how what is?"
"Quite descriptive, that is."
"Shush up and kiss me..."
"Oh, I'd be happy to..." And so she did.
Steven kissed her back hungrily, running his hands up her back.
Mandy opened up her mouth against his, moaning again as she did so.
Steven leaned back against the side of the bed, pulling her down with him.
Mandy eventually tore her mouth away from his and slowly began to trail kisses over his face and down his neck, teasing a little with her tongue as she did so.
Steven moaned low in his throat as he drew her closer, running his hands up her back.
"...Love you," she whispered in his ear a few minutes later.
"I love you," Steven returned, rolling so that he was now on top of her.
Mandy pulled his face closer, and lightly traced the outline of his lips with her finger before replacing her finger with her mouth, and kissed him again. Her hands began to wander again, moving lower on his body.
"Mmm, Mandy," Steven whispered, reaching behind her back to unclasp her bra. "Did I tell you that I love you?"
"You just did... A few minutes ago..."
"I'm saying it again," he smiled.