You Say It's Your Birthday
June 9, 2005 6:00 PM
She liked that they were alone and kissing. Hannah also liked that despite his firm resolve to not make out at anyone's place of employment, that was mostly what they ended up doing when he was here.
Hannah used her wand to throw a locking charm at the door. She did this without coming up for air, so it was possible she locked the wall rather than the door.
Blaise almost paused when he heard some paintings on the wall rattle, but his lips trailed across Hannah's cheek, and he wasn't interrupting this for anything. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything. I'd hate to be blamed for work not getting done."
"I'm finished with my work for the day. I was going to nip off early."
She was twenty-five today and had been feeling a little pissy about it. Her father had not even rang her to say happy birthday.
"Excellent. Let's get the hell out of here," Blaise said quickly. "Locking charms or not, I feel like someone's going to knock the door down."
"Where would you like to-"
Her mobile phone started ringing. Blaise looked confused. Hannah held up a hand and answered.
It was her father. He wished her happy birthday and asked if she would be spending it alone.
"Thank you, Daddy. No, I'm not going to celebrate alone again. I have... plans, I think now."
He rambled for a moment about how good it was that she had friend now. Then bid her farewell. Short and to the point, her father.
"Thank you, Daddy. I'll see you soon. I lo-"
He hung up. Hannah sighed and flipped her mobile closed. She smiled at Blaise.
Blaise had tried to listen to the conversation, but the person on the other side was speaking too softly. "So, I gathered that was your father, but what are you supposed to be celebrating?"
Hannah sighed and looked away. "Today is my birthday. Until you showed up, I was planning to spend it as I usually do - kneazle, book, glass of wine. I'm lucky I got a phone call. He usually doesn't remember. He gets his days confused a lot."
He didn't know how to address that part, so he tried to focus on the positive. "It's your birthday? Why the hell didn't you tell me first off? I could have done a party or something."
"It's not... my mother was always the one who did the cake and the parties. It's not that big of a deal. I get to spend the rest of it with you. That seems good to me."
After rolling his eyes, Blaise stood. "It is too a big deal. I could have at least gotten you a present." He looked down at his watch. "It's still a bit early. Let me take you shopping, get you a dress so we can have dinner and maybe go dancing. Much better than being along with that hellspawn you call a kneazle."
"I... you don't have to buy me anything, but dinner and dancing sound lovely. I have dresses. Would it be slow dancing? Because that would be even better."
"But dinner isn't a present. It's just... dinner. A dress would be a present." He was trying to convince himself that he wasn't whining about the whole situation. Blaise hated improvising.
Hannah rolled her eyes. "Do you know you're whining about not being able to buy me a dress? You're not going to stop until I relent on this, are you? Fine. Let's go buy a dress. Nothing too expensive. I mean it. And I mean expensive by my standards not yours."
He'd started to grin but that fell off his face. "Does that mean we can't go out of the country for said dress? The designers here are bitchy sometimes. You're turning, what, twenty four? Twenty five?"
"Even more reason for celebrating. All twenty fifth birthdays should be extravagant."
"We are not going out of town. I'm sure Gladrags or Madam Malkin's has something perfectly suitable. You're just being prissy because you didn't get to surprise me with something that I would likely insist cost too much and you needed to return."
Blaise crossed his arms. He was not
being prissy. "At least let me take you to London proper. That's my half-way point."
"All right, but you are not to go crazy."
She slipped her shoes back on and grabbed her suit jacket. They walked to edge of the wards and Blaise disapparated with Hannah in tow.
He took them to a small alley where there were concealed doors to little wizarding boutiques. Most of them specialized in melding Muggle and Wizarding styles together--using Wizarding stitches but Muggle cuts and vice versa. Diagon Alley was great for pure Wizarding clothes, but he thought Hannah would appreciate these more.
The first shop they went into was an express tailor shop, and the best in England. Blaise looked Hannah over critically. She would look stunning in emerald. "See anything you like?"
"I'm not really a dress up sort of girl. I choose my clothes more for function rather than style. Just choose something you wouldn't be embarrassed to be standing next to."
Blaise rolled his eyes. That didn't help him at all. "Just pick something out that you like and go from there. I don't know what to choose for you because I don't know what you would choose for yourself."
Hannah grabbed a sensible black skirt that would probably hit her about the knees and a black blouse. She could tell by his face that he was not amused.
"I wasn't aware we were going to a funeral."
"And I told you that I pick clothes for function. I have no idea what to choose."
"Oh sweet Merlin," he muttered as he started looking through racks of clothes. It had been a long time since he was starting over on a wardrobe, because that's what he knew he would be doing soon. The clothing she had stood no chance.
When he came to the first half-decent cocktail dress he found, he quickly pulled it and held it up for her inspection.
"Where's the rest of it?"
He glared at her.
"It just seems very short, and sort of bare up top. I'm not used to being that uncovered in public."
Blaise put it back and pulled out a dress that, unlike the last one, had sleeves. Well, it had a sleeve that covered an entire arm. Surely this one was better. "I can do this all day, you realize."
"Where's the other sleeve? That seems weird. What if I get cold on one side? Does it have a one-sleeved jacket to go with it?"
"That's how it's made, Hannah," he sighed. "One sleeve. It's fashion. Does any of this look the least bit appealing?"
Hannah sighed. She supposed she could not get out of this one. She started perusing the racks more seriously. She held up something that was bubblegum pink and had ruffles.
Hannah sighed and started digging some more. She pulled up something and almost put it back, but then she didn't. She was studying the dress. It was short. Very short, and bright green. It was unlike her. It had a collar, but gaped in the middle. She'd never be able to wear a bra with it. It sort of crisscrossed in the front and had a sash that was a large green ribbon. It cover everything, but the valley between her breast. Strange.
"Ah," Blaise said with a small grin, leaning around her to look at the garment. "That I like. Perfect color as well. Want to try it on?"
Hannah smiled. "You want me to try it on, so I will."
The look on his face about something as simple as a the idea of that dress on her made her feel pretty. Hannah moved to a dressing room and quickly changed. Hannah was reluctant to remove her bra, but she did in the end. She took a deep breath before stepping out to reveal the dress.
"I need you to zip the back please."
Blaise mindlessly looked at other things but as he glanced up to see Hannah presenting her bare back to him with the green fabric pooling at her lower back, all he could do was blink. "Sorry?"
"I need help with the back."
He shook his head and walked over to her, slowly sliding the zipper up. She faced him and he couldn't help the whistle. "You look fabulous."
"So you like this one then? Well, now I know how to please you. Green, flow-y, but short and lots of bare skin peeking out."
She smiled brightly.
Blaise smirked and nodded to the cashier. "Come on. You can wear it out and then we can get a good dinner spot. Any preferences?"
"That doesn't go with those shoes," the cashier remarked.
Hannah rolled her eyes, but that cashier was quite right. Her shoes did not work with such a dress.
"I like Chinese or Japanese."
Blaise made a face as he looked down at her shoes. He wasn't used to doing shoes as well. "A pair of black heels in... what size do you wear?"
Hannah was about to answer when a nearby salesgirl was suddenly standing there holding the heel-iest heels Hannah had ever seen. She slipped them on, surprised when they actually fit.
"Ah excellent. Erin, you're amazing, as always. Are they comfortable?"
Hannah felt a little silly. She was all tall and exposed now.
"They better be," Blaise said, looking down at them. The heels really made her legs look longer, not that he didn't need to be staring at her legs all day. "We're going dancing, and I don't want you to have hurt feet for your birthday."
Hannah looked at herself in one of the many mirrors in the store. She looked different. Her hair didn't go with the ensemble now. The buns were strange. Functional for work, but not for dancing. She undid them and did a straightening charm on her long hair before testing it and flipping it around a little. She pulled her lipgloss from her bag and walked close to the mirror to reapply it. She caught Blaise staring in the mirror. He had the oddest look on his face.
Hannah turned. "Are you all right?"
Just a flip of her hair and some lip gloss and she was happy. It was so vastly different than the hours of primping it would have taken any other female he took out. She didn't want him to spend money on her, and she was happy with a non-public birthday. It was... strange.
"I'm fine." He turned to the cashier and signed a draft note letting them gather the correct amount of money. A copy appeared when the saleswoman tapped her wand to it and he pocketed it. With a grin, he turned back to Hannah. "Ready? Anything else you want?"
Hannah slipped her arm through his. "Not anymore. Thank you."
Her grin was about to split her face. This was turning into a lovely birthday. New dress, new shoes, handsome date, dinner and dancing. Yes, this was good.
Once they were back in the alley, he wrapped his arm around her waist and apparated her to another small, concealed alley. This one had a few upper class restaurants. He was in no mood for the gawkers in Diagon Alley. You went to places like Allegra's to be seen more than the food.
The doors opened for them and Blaise led her in. He gave the maitre d' a smile. "Two tonight, Brickman."
With a quick bow, he was off securing a table for them. Blaise looked down at Hannah. "Is this all right? It serves a bit of everything."
"Did we just come in a secret entrance? You do realize the I would have been perfectly fine with something at the Leaky. You didn't have to get fancy. It's nice that you did, but this place looks expensive, Blaise."
He rolled his eyes as they walked through the tables and booths to their own table. "You are dressed up and deserve better than the Leaky for your birthday."
"I hope my boobs don't fall out of this dress when I sit down," she whispered to him.
Blaise chuckled and held out her chair. "There are charms in the fabric that will help it cling to the skin. Don't worry about it."
Once she was seated, Blaise sent for one of their better bottles of wine and sat himself. He already knew what he wanted, so he sat back and watched Hannah go through the menu.
"Good grief. You weren't kidding when you said they served a bit of everything. What would you recommend? I'm not sure I could decide. I don't want anything too heavy, but I certainly don't want to be one of those 'I'll just have a salad' girls. I despise women who don't eat because it might make them look bad. Like a bloke isn't going to find out you eat."
He chuckled. "I think I have a finer palate than you do and you might not like the things I do. I was brought up on fois gras, caviar, and pata negra. Just pick anything. If you don't like it, order something else."
"I had caviar once. Then someone told me it was fish eggs and I vomited. Quite a lot, actually. Hmm, I think the pan roasted chicken and wild mushrooms sounds good." She smiled at their waiter. "I know you can't tell by the dress, but I'm not very adventurous, and can I have a salad with that? One of the house ones with a vinaigrette on it?"
He nodded yes.
Hannah smiled brightly. "Excellent."
"I think you're plenty adventurous, you just don't make time to go on adventures. Hence why I am here."
A waiter came by, delivered a glass of water, their wine, and took their order. "I believe my lady will have the pan roasted chicken with wild mushrooms with a house salad and vinaigrette. I'll have the Stifado
with melitzanes me lathi
and dolmathakia me rizi
The young man nodded, diligently wrote everything down, then disappeared.
"What in the heck did you just order? And I am so not adventurous. I was going to read aloud to Stitches tonight. Well, on my way to being a crazy cat lady. I expect you'll let me get back to that lofty goal once you're finished with me," she joked.
Blaise chuckled at her cat lady joke. "It's Greek. In short, I ordered rabbit, aubergines, and stuffed grapevine leaves. It's hard to find decent Greek food here. I've been in the mood for it recently."
"I've never had Greek food." Hannah was thinking how unworldly she must be next to him and wondered, yet again, what he saw in her. "Have you ever eaten cheese from a spray can?"
He made a face. His youngest sister Dona inhaled the stuff. "That is not cheese. It's yellow goo."
"Potted meat from a can?"
He made a face.
"A marshmallow toasted on a twig? Raw bikkie dough? Hot air popped corn? Candy floss?"
"I don't like marshmallows, the taste of uncooked dough makes me nauseous, the only way I like my corn is buttered next to a meat and I don't know what the hell candy floss is."
"Oh my. I am getting you candy floss. It's sugary goodness. And we are microwaving popcorn. You'll like it."
Maybe she did have something to offer here.
"If I want sugar, I'll eat sugar," Blaise replied. "How the hell do they make it?"
He was spoiled by his family. Everything he ate was fresh. Food that had ingredients he couldn't pronounce or knew where it came from worried him.
"They melt the sugar then spin the liquid into fluff. Like cobwebs, but tasty. You'll like it. It's sticky and we can lick it off of our fingers."
Blaise decided to take her word for it. Hannah's salad came out, as did his grapevine leaves. He sipped his wine as he watched Hannah smile up at the waiter. "Any more bizarre foods you want me to try? Keep in mind for every food you make me eat, you have to eat something of my choice."
"I'm not eating fish eggs again. You can not pay me to. But I would like to get you to eat a beet crisp."
"Well I get first turn." Blaise held up one of the stuffed grapevine leaves. "Try it."
"I have plenty of leaves right here," Hannah said, gesturing to her salad.
Blaise made a face at her, so she leaned forward and opened her mouth, her eyes closing slightly.
The stuffed leaf was relatively small and she was able to eat it in one bite. He couldn't resist swiping his thumb against her bottom lip as he pulled back. "What do you think?"
Hannah chewed. Not what she was used to, but not bad either. She was distracted by his thumb and nearly choked. That had made her all shivery. There was quite the possibility of her being indecent on the dance floor later.
"Well you didn't throw up, so that's encouraging."
By the time they finished their starters, the main meal came out. "Ah, excellent. No one can cook rabbit like the Greek."
Hannah smiled at him. They were just eating, and she was having a wonderful time. This was already the best birthday she could recall since her mother's death. She was definitely smitten with him because of it. Well past smitten if she were honest with herself.