September 16, 2019, 06:09:12 PM

Author Topic:  Bicycle built for two [Joanna]  (Read 69 times)

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Graeme Becker [ Professor ]
43 Posts  •  30  •  Heterosexual  •  played by Louise
  • I am my own worst critic. As in I am not good at criticising myself. I am fantastic. Well done me.
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Bicycle built for two [Joanna]
« on: July 26, 2019, 04:12:59 AM »
Since that first meeting at the Three Broomsticks, their reunion, it had been his pleasure to see Joanna on a semi-regular basis, whenever their respective work schedules allowed.  Was she his girlfriend?  Graeme didn’t know and hadn’t felt the need to stake such a claim.  Jo was not the kind of woman you could presume to possess anyway.  She kept him on his toes but also kept coming back, so as far as he could tell things were heading in a positive direction.  The relationship was quite different to the casual romantic flings he was used to and, in many ways, much more rewarding.  He might not be sure of where things were heading for them; however, there was one thing of which he was certain – Joanna was fast becoming very special to him.

Graeme couldn’t stand still while he waited at the prearranged time and place for their latest date.  He hopped from one foot to the other, literally bouncing with excitement.  As much as he usually enjoyed the time he spent with Joanna, on this particular occasion he had something pretty great to share.  When she arrived he leapt forward eagerly to embrace her and didn’t hesitate to immediately draw her into a kiss.  “Ooops, sorry.”  He apologised insincerely as pulled away, a huge grin on his face.  “I forgot my manners.  Hello Jo.  It’s good to see you.”  Normally he showed her more consideration and restraint than to initiate such abrupt and unexpected physical contact but in this instance his excitement had overridden his good sense.  It was not advisable for one’s health to rush a Hit-witch on the street, yet Graeme thought he could get away with it without being jinxed or arrested.  His cheeky smile said as much. 

With a flourish, he produced a single flower in his hand – or rather a single stem bearing several clusters of small star-like flowers of a vibrant pink colour.  “Bouvardia.”  Graeme announced as he presented the token of affection to Joanna.  “Or firecracker bush, if you like.  Although I promise that it bears no actual explosive qualities!”  He gave a little chuckle at his own joke.  Unnecessary though it was, he liked to present a flower to Jo on every date.  A single daffodil, a Bird of Paradise, a bright orange Gerbera…  All magically preserved to stay fresh and beautiful.  If Jo kept them then she could build herself a rather irregular bouquet.  However, he didn’t know if she was that sentimental.  Graeme just had an appreciation for the language of flowers.  The Bouvardia he had chosen for tonight symbolised enthusiasm for the future.

“Oh, and change of plans.”  He said, steering her away from the restaurant.  “I thought I’d take you someplace special tonight.  A surprise.”  Graeme knew that she liked to be in control and so hoped that she would try to find his spontaneity exciting, rather than frustrating or alarming.  Joanna was headstrong and smart too, not at all the type to be easily bamboozled or seduced by traditionally romantic words or gestures (or at least to let him see such things having any effect on her).  However, he rather enjoyed the challenge of trying to woo the reticent witch.  Taking her hand gently between his own, Graeme’s voice was soft as he asked, “Please, just let me whisk you away?”  Eyes pleading as they bore into hers, he waited patiently for her answer.  Finally, consent granted, he gripped her waist firmly and turned on the spot. 

They left the London street behind and reappeared on a hillside, overlooking a small lake - or rather a ‘loch’.  It was dark, with no man-made lights in sight; just the soft glow of the stars and moon overhead, the glint of the water below and a dim outline of snow-capped mountains on the horizon.  A dense bank of fog hung to the side of where they stood; partly a product of the Scottish weather, partly made up of protective enchantments he had laid around their destination.  Leaving Joanna’s side for a moment, he stepped forward and with a wave of his wand, set to opening up a gateway for them.  The fog resisted briefly, swirling with an odd sense of hostility, but then as the security measures identified him it gave way, opening up into a long white tunnel.  Graeme reached for Joanna’s hand and gave it a squeeze before leading the way through.  He knew that she must be very confused, but any questions she had were going to have to wait just a little longer.  A test of trust for Joanna perhaps.

It was a little eerie passing through the fog but soon they were out on the other side where the land lay clear before them.  And there it was – an old stone cottage, its walls white and roof red.  It was not a glamourous structure but still held a certain charm, especially against the backdrop of the loch.  No snow had yet fallen on these lower lands, still the air held a biting chill.  Warm light radiated from the cottage windows, an inviting sight on a cold winter night.  “Shall we head inside?”  Without waiting for an answer he lead the way past a frosted vegetable patch and up to the front door. 

Inside the cottage was subtly bigger than the outside suggested (a perk of magical enhancements).  The room they entered was large and open, compiling a shared lounge, dining and kitchen area.  The old stone floor was well worn and layered comfortably in places with soft rugs.  A fireplace crackled pleasantly in one corner, filling the place up with warmth.  The furnishings were sparse but looked new: a leather couch, a writing desk, a dining table and chairs.  The kitchen itself was modern and well-appointed with a range of utensils and appliances.  A pot of stew simmered on the stove and a loaf of bread was baking in the oven; the mixed cooking smells making the cottage seem veritably homely.

“This is mine.”  He finally explained, turning back to Joanna with a slightly bemused smile.  “It became official last week.”  Graeme was a little bit mystified by his own maturity.  It had been his intention to spend the Christmas break catching up on the travel he’d missed over the term, however, as the weeks had lead up to it, the 30-year-old had found himself looking at real estate instead.  He didn’t know if it had something to do with the stability of his new career as a Professor or maybe the progression of his relationship with Joanna…  There was no way that he was done seeing the world, but he was starting to think that it might be nice to have someplace, or someone, to come home to.  Feeling a little proud of himself for being such a grown up, Graeme held his arms wide as he gestured around the room.  “So, what do you think?”  He enquired cheerfully.  It was interesting that he’d done this, yet even more so that Joanna was the first person he’d wanted to share it with. 

@Joanna Hennings
« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 04:17:46 AM by Louise »

Joanna Hennings [ British Ministry ]
111 Posts  •  28  •  Heterosexual  •  played by Ann
Re: Bicycle built for two [Joanna]
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2019, 06:53:42 PM »
She felt like a schoolgirl. Honestly. Graeme made her feel slightly giddy and that butterflies were exploding in her stomach. So despite the fact that she usually despised woman who did this, Joanna had spent a considered amount of time getting ready for their date(?) No, she really didn’t like that word. Nice meal anyway. She was looking forward to going to this restaurant, it was meant to do absolutely lovely desserts, and Joanna certainly had a sweet tooth.

So she had spent time getting ready. And then time sitting there doubting her outfit and hair choices. And then time changing her outfit and hair. And then more time examining her faults in front of a mirror. And then time berating herself for caring so much about her appearance. And then time changing back into what she had originally been wearing because she shouldn’t be trying so hard.

And Joanna refused to look at herself again in the mirror. Her hair was probably too flicky for her liking but she was not a teenager! She had more important concerns than her Merlin-damn hair. It still wasn’t growing out fast enough for her liking… Although, a small secret part of her that didn’t really like to admit these things, the short length was actually growing on her. It felt more practical most days. And Joanna was a Practical Person. Capital Ps intended.

Satisfied, or as satisfied as Joanna could be, she left to apparate to the restaurant. And had barely appeared before she was greeted with a kiss. Well, Graeme could certainly kiss. She returned it eagerly, wrapping her arms lightly around his neck, before drawing away at the same time as he did. “Hi,” she said airily, trying to come across as Completely in control. Giddiness was not an attractive quality in a nearly thirty year old! She responded to his grin with her own slow smile. “It’s good to see you too.”

Oh, another flower. “Thank you.” She said gratefully. Joanna liked flowers, she did. Especially charmed ones that she didn’t have to change the water of or throw out when wilted. But like, a flower every time they met up? It just seemed a bit… much. She certainly didn’t get him anything. Booze. Occasionally. And most of the time she drank it too. The pleasure of her company? Hahahaha.

“Shall we go in?” Joanna asked, turning to face the restaurant eagerly. “I heard they do this wonderful chicken dish.” But even as she talk, Graeme was turning her away. “Where are we going?” She asked, a little bit put out. Joanna was not the sort to enjoy plans being changed at the last minute. Spontaneity was not her friend.

She quickly melted though with his tone. “Fine, but I better still get fed!” Of course Joanna, why was everything about food! She really had to work on stopping sounding so obsessed. Well, at least admitting it out loud anyway.

Allowing Graeme to apparate both of them to a new destination, when they had settled, Joanna looked around. They were in the middle of nowhere. It was pretty sure, but where was her dinner? Graeme was possibly romantic enough to set up a picnic but she would honestly much prefer to eat indoors. They could set as many warming charms as they liked, Joanna would prefer a roof and actual fire. “Where are we?” She asked, unable to hold her tongue for a second longer.

Graeme didn’t answer but instead directed her through the fog. Oh great, now her hair was going to get all frizzy! But of course, she didn’t say that out loud because she was not someone who was obsessed with her appearance. Only food apparently. As he seemed reluctant to answer, Joanna tried to hold her tongue. He had said a surprise so she was just going to have to accept it. With difficulty anyway.

Oh. Thank Merlin. A house. They weren’t going to be eating outside. Praise be.

But why were they there? What was this? Questions buzzed in Joanna’s head as they made their way through the crisp garden into the cottage. It was certainly warm and cosy inside which was a bonus. And the smell of freshly baked bread wafted through the room. Another bonus. At least there was food. She turned, eyebrow raised, to Graeme, waiting for an explanation as to whatever this was.

His!

Well that certainly was an explanation. A very, very surprising explanation.

“You bought a house?” She questioned, just to clarify that she wasn’t misunderstanding things. “Like, you. Put money down on somewhere that isn’t a hotel? Or abroad?” Joanna was sure her face said it all. A bit of astonishment. A bit of wonder. A ton of curiosity. Why? “It’s very nice.” Was all she could think to say. “Where are we?” Joanna could honestly say if she had had to guess what Graeme’s surprise could have been, this would have been the last thing on her mind.

Graeme Becker [ Professor ]
43 Posts  •  30  •  Heterosexual  •  played by Louise
  • I am my own worst critic. As in I am not good at criticising myself. I am fantastic. Well done me.
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  • *
  • *
  • Shipper Sandbox
Re: Bicycle built for two [Joanna]
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2019, 01:51:22 PM »
“Yes,” Graeme laughed at Joanna’s clear and justified surprise, “A house.  But we can call it Hotel Del Becker, if that makes it less strange.”  His grin was wide as her watched her face, trying to imagine what kind of thoughts might be passing through her mind.  No doubt some reflection on his past history of only living in temporary accommodation.  Briefly he was distracted by the amusing prospect of actually running a hotel himself.  The cottage was too small for that sort of thing, but… maybe a B&B?  Shaking his head to clear it, Graeme laughed out-loud again.  It was still a little unclear even to him what his intentions were for this new property but the 30-year-old was fairly certain it wasn’t to take up a career in hospitality. 

Leaning in close, Graeme reached up to stroke Joanna’s hair gently, the edge of his hand brushing against her cheek.  Despite Joanna’s self-consciousness about her light brown hair, he always thought it looked nice and felt soft under his fingertips.  He liked to take the opportunity to touch it when he could.  “I thought maybe staying in one place would not be so bad… if it were with the right person,” he murmured softly, locking eyes with Joanna for a second so that there could be no doubt who he was talking about. 

Realising he had ignored her query about their location again (and knowing how Jo hated to be kept out of the loop), he scrambled to fill her in.  “Scotland,” he answered quickly, “Somewhere in Caithness county.”  Abruptly leaving Jo’s side, he strode across to the writing desk and began riffling through a jumbled pile of parchment.  In his haste some pieces were knocked onto the floor but he ignored them.  “I had a map around here somewhere.”  Graeme explained in a cheerful tone and continued searching.  Of course he hadn’t thought to leave the map somewhere more accessible – though he should have anticipated Joanna’s curiosity – and it had evidently become buried under other disorganised papers.  Finally pushing aside a draft of his new book, he found the carefully inked picture of the surrounding countryside.

The map bore no marking to represent his cottage, since it was charmed to be unplottable.  It hardly seemed necessary to have high security but such things were Graeme’s speciality and he’d set them up by habit.  Handing the map over to Jo to peruse, he put one arm around her shoulder and kissed her on the cheek.  “That’s the loch outside,” he commented after a moment, pointing towards a small body of water on the map.  “And here,” he drew his finger over to a mark like a cluster of buildings, “is the closest town.  Within walking distance.”  Graeme had yet to try the walk himself but had been told it could be done within half an hour if one walked briskly – or longer if one took the time to enjoy the Scottish scenery.  “Over there,” he drew Joanna’s attention almost to the edge of the map, “that’s the North Sea.” 

He drew back from Joanna then but only so he could look more clearly upon her face. “I hope you like it,” Graeme gushed with a boyish excitement that belied his age.  “You’re welcome to come and go as you please.  Anytime.  Even if I’m not here.  Feel free to change anything you want too, rearrange the furniture, whatever.  I want you to be comfortable.”  Joanna mattered to him, so naturally her opinion mattered too.  It meant a lot to him that she enjoy spending time in his new home.  “Besides,” he joked casually, “I don’t really know how to decorate anyway.”  The ex-Auror, Security Consultant and current Professor could easily admit that ‘interior design’ was not one of his strengths.  The place only looked as nice as it did because he hadn't been there long enough to mess it up yet.

There were ideas only just forming in his mind and in his enthusiasm Graeme was probably not thinking through the implications - instead he leapt on them blindly.  This could be a place for both of them; to share.  It could be a place they could be together, just the two of them; no roommates or siblings or anyone else.  Beaming happily at Joanna, he suddenly blurted out, "It could be our place if you wanted."

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