April 3, 2005 2:26PM
Blaise came down the stairs of the townhouse and into the living room. Hannah was curled up with a large book and her kneazle on one of the sofas. That was one thing he wasn't going to miss--that damn fur all over his clothes.
He leaned over the edge of the couch. "Mind if I bother you a moment?"
Hannah closed her book and gave him a blank look. He ignores her, avoided her, and now he wanted to talk?
"Right. I'll take that as a yes." Blaise continued on. "I'm working on renovating parts of the Manor right now, I'm still moving back out on Monday. Soon I'll be out of your hair for good. Just wanted to let you know ahead of time."
"You're leaving?" she asked, unable to keep the pout from her voice.
Of course he was leaving. This had been temporary, and it was not as if he talked to her lately anyhow. They'd had a good night where she had felt they had gotten close, and then he'd given her the brush off.
"It was only a matter of time before got pissed off at my mother enough to demand she leave. As soon as I redo all her rooms and the ones Ella used, I'll be moving back into those but there are plenty of guest rooms. It's part of my family's estate, so it's my duty to keep it," he said, shrugging. "I also never thought I'd say this, but I miss my house elves. And I can bring over some horses now that I'm positive they won't be sold when I'm not home."
"So... so it's not... my fault?"
She felt small and stupid for asking, but the other men in her life had blamed her for their leaving. Her job, her odd quirks.
Blaise snorted. It was true that he worried that someone would find out he was staying here and come after her like they had Draco, but he wasn't about to give away that little detail. "If I had a problem with you, I wouldn't play the hero and put up with it. I never would have stayed more than a night."
"I'm just worried about you in that big mansion all alone with just house elves and horses. What if one of them comes back and tries to damage you because you threw them out? And if it's not me, why have you been acting like I have the plague?"
"Why do you bloody women have to have an explanation for everything?" he muttered. With a sigh, he came around from the back of the couch to sit in one of the chairs. "They won't be coming back because they're both banned from the wards, and there's no breaking a Zabini ward."
"All right." Hannah nodded. "I like explanations. Did I do something awkward that made you uncomfortable? I'm sorry about taking advantage. I'd say it won't happen again, but it probably will. Oh my God, you're leaving because I keep forcing myself on you, aren't you?"
He rolled his eyes. "Oh yes, because you're such a whore that you throw yourself at me all the time. I'm sorry, who kept refusing me?"
"I don't want to take advantage of you in a weak moment. I know what that feels like. I would never want you to feel regret that is tied to me."
"I take it back," Blaise snapped. "It is you. You're infuriating. Who the hell said you were taking advantage of me in a weak moment? What the hell is that? So I broke up with my bitch of a girlfriend because she violated my privacy by going through my mail and I threatened to burn her things. Oh yes, I was weak as a kitten after that debacle."
"I forgot you were skipped when they handed out morals. Forget I said anything. I hope the remodeling goes well. If you need help packing, just let me know," Hannah snapped.
She got up and stormed into the kitchen. She needed to make something. It was beyond her why she liked him. He could be so horrible at times. Well she knew why. It was the times when he let his guard down, when he was real with her, that made her like him.
Hannah started slamming ingredients on the counter.
Blaise let out a loud shout as he got off the chair and followed her. "You are so maddening! You didn't force yourself on me! I'm leaving because as much as I appreciate you opening your home to me, I'd rather be at my own home. It's safe there and I don't have to worry about bints like you getting your knickers in a twist about my every move!"
"Well, I'm sorry I don't bend and cow like an insipid feather-brain. Yes, I have a temper, and yes, my knickers do get twisty about the oddest things, but you don't get to choose the parts of me you like and throw out the rest."
She was throwing things into a bowl without even really thinking about it. Hannah started mixing vigorously.
"And the same goes for me, you know. You can't pout like I kicked your damn kneazle if I don't feel like chatting about my day and inviting you do brush my hair every evening! I've been a bit preoccupied!"
Hannah lifted her wooden spoon and flicked gooey dough at him. It hit his face with a splat.
He let out an incredulous laugh. "You bitch."
Hannah flicked him again. It his him dead center in the chest.
"Hey!" he shouted, trying to wipe off the dough from his shirt, but it just smeared it. "This is Gucci! You ruin this and you're buying me another!"
"Oh, am I?" Hannah taunted, flicking more dough at him. "You spend entirely too much money on clothing. You're already gorgeous. You don't need the embellishment."
Blaise filed that compliment for later and started taking off his shirt. No sense in getting it more ruined than it usually was. "Do you always have a food fight when your roommate informs you that he's leaving?"
"I've never lived with any man besides my father, so I wouldn't know."
She flung more dough at him. There was now a chocolate chip on his man nipple. Hannah had an insane urge to go and get that one - with her tongue.
Blaise grabbed a nearby dish towel and wound it up quickly. He'd never mastered the popping hex his grandmother perfected with flourish and happily bestowed on any of her children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren that misbehaved, but he could do it manually with the best of them. Once he'd wound it up, he flicked it hard at her arse.
Hannah shrieked and dropped the bowl in her arms.
Thank goodness she had placed unbreakable charms on most of her cookware. Mainly because most of it had belonged to her mother. She dropped instantly and checked the bowl to make sure it was all right. Her hands were shaking.
He rolled his eyes. "It's a bowl, Hannah, and you can more more dough."
"It was my mother's," she said, holding the bowl closely.
Hannah stood slowly and set it on the counter. She looked at him for a long time. She had gotten used to another person being here. Even when he was avoiding her, it was still nice to know there was another human around.
Blaise folded his arms and leaned against the counter. "It's strange. The last time I was at the Manor, I banished a few of my mother's things to the bottom of the channel. Now if it were Gia or my grandmother's things, I wouldn't dare touch them, but it surprises me how close you were to your mother."
"She was like sunlight. Just amazing, and she loved me so much. There was nothing I wouldn't have done for her. Imagine how you'd feel if someone obliviated your Nonna's apple recipe form your mind. Wouldn't that be terrible?"
He scratched his head. "But how would it be terrible if I couldn't remember it in the first place?"
"Just the recipe, not the memory of having it."
"It'd be impossible. For some reason I can remember everything the woman's made, but I can't cook to save my life." Blaise grinned at her. "You'll have to come have a look at the kitchens at the Manor. They're pretty impressive, if I do say so myself."
Hannah grabbed the sides of his face and kissed him briefly. "You are the most frustrating man I have ever met in my entire life. Did you know this?"
Now he glared at her. "And you're the most fucking frustrating woman I've ever met, and that's saying something."
"I was not saying it could happen. I was telling you to imagine it had. I swear, you haven't any imagination outside the bedroom." Hannah turned pink. "Not that I know about the inside part."
Blaise pulled her back to him when she went back to her cooking and kissed her before she could protest. When he pulled back, he smirked. "This is one thing I will definitely miss when I leave."
Hannah blinked. More than half of her wanted to say then don't leave
. She'd never asked anyone to stay when they'd made up their mind to go, and this was an entirely different situation.
"I feel like I won't see you anyone."
"I might be around the Council still. And we've run into each other out and about."
"It won't be the same," she said, leaning into him and resting her cheek on his gooey chest.
Blaise looked down at her incredulously. She ran hot and cold; it was exhausting to keep up with, and he realized the irony in him thinking that. "Well, you'll just have to come visit me, because I've had my fill of your little monster."
Hannah glared up at him and swatted his chest. "You haven't filled anything of mine, thank you. Nasty jokes like that are how rumors get started."
"I was talking about your damn kneazle. Honestly, people will probably think you kicked me out because I came on to you too strongly or some rot like that."
"Stitches adores you," Hannah protested.
The kneazle in question looked at Blaise form under the kitchen table and hissed in a manner worthy of something possessed by hellspawn.
"I'd hate to see what he does when he gets pissed off at people then," Blaise said lightly. "I just think I'm predisposed to having most animals hate me, except dogs and horses. Maybe that's why bitches seem to flock towards me."
Hannah rolled her eyes and shoved away from him. She now had dough all over her.
"Yuck. I need a shower now."
"What a coincidence, so do I," Blaise said with a grin. "Let's go."
Hannah glared at him. "What would you do if I said okay?"
He instantly reached for his belt and quickly undid it. "You just did so let's find out."
Hannah turned bright red. "I could not..."
She could not even find words just now is what she 'could not'.
"Well unless you plan on showering in the sink down here, we're going to share the single shower in this place. I've been sticky longer," Blaise commented as he stripped of his trousers and headed to the stairs.
Hannah gave a shout and started running, bumping him into the wall as she passed him on the stairs in an effort to get into the bath first.
Blaise grabbed Hannah around the waist and tried to hold her back so he could pass. He'd done plenty of fighting for bathroom rights against his sisters to know how to win. After a battle on the stairs, they both dashed to the lone full bathroom.
She managed to get into the bathroom first, but he wrangled his way into the shower first.
Hannah shouted in frustration.
He likely did not expect what she did next, however. She stripped to her knickers and bra and get in with him. Hannah cast a defiant look his way and vowed to herself not to let her eyes travel lower than his navel.
Blaise laughed as she stepped in the shower, forcing him to lean against the back wall. "How is this fair? You get all the water! I got in here first, and you're not even properly prepared for a decent shower."
"Well, I can't get in here with you of all people entirely naked, now can I? You'd take that as an invitation."
They bickered constantly and she was pretty sure she disliked his attitude about most things, but...
"Even if it's a lie, tell me you'll miss this," Hannah said gesturing between the two of them.
"You taking advantage of me while I'm emotionally delicate and in the shower nearly naked? Of course I will."
Hannah swatted at his chest. "It's not funny. Finding out something like that is terrible. Just so you know, I don't mean to take advantage. I honestly tried not to, but I find myself liking spending time with you."
"Finding out I'd broken up with my girlfriend was terrible for you? I thought you would have been jumping for joy."
Blaise reached past her to one of the body washes he used and started to lather up. He was waiting for her to finish up so he could enjoy a shower without his pants on.
"No, finding out you've been used is terrible," she replied, looking away.
He just had to laugh. "I've been used since I was born. Even when I was in the womb, I was blackmail material. I'm used to it. Don't worry."
Hannah forgot what she was wearing, or not wearing, and hugged him in a comforting manner. That had to be the most heartbreaking thing he had ever said. His behavior made some sense to her after knowing him better. He didn't know what it was like to have someone love him no matter what. Except perhaps Draco, but that was different.
His right arm was trapped in a very awkward place since he was scrubbing his left side when she abruptly turned to hug him. It was trapped between their bodies--his soapy one and her wet one and if he moved an inch she'd probably scream molestation because his arm was right between her breasts.
Blaise froze. "Are you all right?"
"Am I... you're the one..." Then it dawned on her what she was doing.
Hannah turned beet red.
"Oh my goodness. I'm so sorry."
She tried to scramble away, but it was slippery in there. Hannah squealed when her feet slid all around.
As Blaise leaned forward to catch her, the soap on his body washed off and it was hard to keep his footing. He finally managed to put an arm around her waist and brace himself by putting an a hand on the wall behind her. That brought them both flush against each other, except this time they weren't separated by his arm.
"We are in a shower. It might be a bit slippery. If you fall and crack your head open, you know they'll blame me for it."
He didn't particularly care that the water was barely hitting his back and some was splashing off his shoulders and into his eyes.
"How do you seem to affect me and make me do things I'd never do. I am in a shower with a naked man. A naked man who is now holding me."
"I'm not actually naked. I'm still wearing pants." Blaise grinned down at her. "I guess I just have that effect on women. There's a reason Draco called me a boywhore in school. But it's been quite some time since I've enjoyed it as much as I've enjoyed this."
"Don't do that."
"Smirk at me so. I start to not care that you'll break my heart."
"Why are you so sure that I'll break your heart?" Blaise asked, adding the besides past precedent
bit in his head.
"Because the people I see always do. It just happens. There is also the fact that I am pretty sure I am incapable of being what anyone needs me to be in a girlfriend."
Blaise chuckled. "If you are the incapable one, wouldn't that mean I would get my heart broken?"
"Not necessarily." Hannah sighed. "You're a player, and I am inadequate and ill-equipped to be in a relationship. It can never work, but I do find myself horrifically sad that you won't be living here, and it is unlike me to have such a serious talk so undressed with water falling over me."
"I've come to a conclusion about you," he responded, peering at her thoughtfully. "You rely on excuses entirely too much. You will forever be an old kneazle lady because of it."
Hannah frowned. Old kneazle lady? She didn't think so. She pulled him down and kissed him. Would the Old Kneazle Lady do that? No.
He would much rather have done this without the thin, wet clothes separating them, but this was a giant step in the right direction for him. There would be very few opportunities for this in the future when he moved out.
Blaise pulled back. "And when you don't have an excuse, you shut me up another way, and then when we reach a breaking point, you come up with one shitty excuse and run. You've really got to stop doing that. Why won't you let yourself live a little?"
"I... I don't think I know how."
And this was true. She's stopped having fun at sixteen. She was the shell person, not him.
For a brief moment, he entertained the thought of throwing her in with his family for a weekend so she'd get an overabundance of a fun time, but that would be cruel.
Blaise leaned down and started giving her light kisses. "Then why won't you let me show you?"
Her entire brain was screeching at her to say no.
That was something he was not expecting. "Pardon?"
His face said it all. He had not honestly expected her to say yes.
"Oh I knew it," Hannah said, getting out of the shower and grabbing a towel to wrap around herself.
She moved so quickly from his arms he almost smacked his face against the tile. "What the hell does that mean? I just didn't hear you!"
"I just gave you permission to seduce me and your response was basically 'huh'."
Again, he wasn't really sure what to do. For one, he'd never been given permission to seduce anyone. "It was not! You surprised me, is all. You've always had some excuse for dashing in the middle of a snog and so I was honestly expecting you to back out again. You're a creature of habit!"
"Oh just forget it," Hannah snapped, stalking into her room. "It was a silly idea anyway. I should just content myself with being Old Kneazle Lady and be done with it."
If he was smart, he would have given up the first time she refused him. That's what he should have done instead of prolonging this. "Well thank god I'm getting out of here because I hate kneazles!"
She hadn't felt so worthless in a long time. Hannah was forever trying to make herself needed and wanted. She needed a purpose. It was one of the main reasons she decided to apply for the liaison position.
"Yes," she said in a very quiet voice. "Probably best you leave so that I might get back to being predictable." And alone.
Blaise sighed. "If you were truly predictable, I wouldn't be standing here wondering how the hell I always manage to fuck up every moment with you, so you win on that front. But once I redecorate the place and get a few things set up so I move in, I'll figure out a way to repay you for letting me stay. Something tells me a load of galleons and a diamond necklace won't go over well with you."
"Take me riding with you," Hannah said without a thought. "I can pack us a lunch. We could make a day of it."
Had she just asked him out on a date? What in the hell was the matter with her?
Blaise had been toweling himself off but stopped, thinking he didn't hear her. "You want to go riding with me? On a horse?"
"Uh huh," Hannah replied awkwardly.
She likely looked comical with her pinkening cheeks and wide eyes.
Blaise nodded. Perhaps he'd have a chance to throw her into his crazy family after all. "It's a date."
Hannah fidgeted nervously and wrung her hands. She could not figure out what she was doing. It made absolutely no sense.
Blaise chuckled as he passed her to go into the hallway. "Well, if I'm taking you to meet my family, I sure as hell hope it is."