|Don't Stop Believing
Author: solitaireclay07 PM
She was quiet and hesitant. He was curious and talkative. Eleanor and Liam's friendship began with an awkward encounter and, even though they were different, it grew throughout the years. Adorable, serious, awkward and funny snippets from their lives.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Romance - OC - Chapters: 66 - Words: 136,305 - Reviews: 617 - Favs: 76 - Follows: 88 - Updated: 03-24-13 - Published: 04-24-09 - id: 5016571
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Well, don't you look dashing."
Liam bit back a groan. He was in a good mood. Nothing could ruin it. Nothing and no one.
"Tell me, Liam, where are you taking her today that would warrant such a suit?"
Straightening his tie, he glanced over his shoulder to see Olivia leaning across his banister. "Are you sure you don't already know and have been scheming with Conner on how to ruin my day?"
Olivia laughed and quickly made her way up the remaining steps. "I'm not going to spend Valentine's Day tormenting you. " She stopped in front of Liam and leaned up to fix his collar. "Although it would be fun, I'd rather spend my first Valentine's with my husband. I'm sure you understand."
"Completely," Liam responded with a sigh of relief. He had been somewhat worried, especially since he had planned the entire day down to the minute and he didn't need any problems or distractions.
Olivia took a step back, eying his attire. "Now, really, where are you taking Eleanor?"
"Since we're out of Hogwarts and I can finally take Eleanor out on a real date, I made reservations at a nice restaurant-" He stopped at the wide-eyed look on Olivia's face. "What?"
"A fancy restaurant?" she exclaimed with a wide smile.
Liam shrugged as if it was no big deal, but it was for him. He made reservations over a month ago and began setting aside a large portion of his paycheck for this."The best restaurant I could afford," he admitted.
"Oh, Liam!" Olivia squealed without missing a beat. Liam cringed. "Look, at you, being all romantic!"
"I know it's just a holiday and it doesn't mean anything to her, but I thought I'd at least try." He wasn't sure why he was telling Olivia everything, but he was nervous and needed to justify his actions. He knew Eleanor hated the holiday, but it didn't mean that she wouldn't want anything, right? Besides, it was just a date. A formal date. With formal attire. And an expensive dinner.
He groaned and began undoing his tie. "This is a horrible idea. I should just forget the whole thing-"
"No, no!" Olivia immediately grabbed his hands and, although Liam could have easily wrenched them away, he simply stopped and looked at her. "You are going to go to this restaurant and you're going to have a great time with Eleanor and then you're going to tell me all about it or I'll badger Eleanor to tell me all about it – either way, it's going to be extremely annoying – and we'll share Valentine's Day stories because Valentine's Day will be great. Understood?"
He blinked. "Not really."
Olivia growled and pushed Liam toward the staircase. "Go. Now. You're making me angry."
"I didn't do anything," Liam tried to respond, but Olivia just growled again and made a motion with her eyes to leave. It was his room, so he should have kicked her out, but he was already running late. He was supposed to be at Eleanor's house five minutes ago.
He hadn't been to her house since that whole Diagon Alley trip disaster. Her parents probably still hated him because of that disaster – even more so than usual. Liam had a right to be nervous. With another nervous tug on his tie, he took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
The familiar sights of London greeted him when he opened his eyes again. Tripping over his own feet, he quickly made his way down the street and around the corner, stopping next to the steps in front of Eleanor's place.
He just had to pick her up and they would be on their way. It was a few, quick words – that was all – and then he could have Eleanor to himself. He didn't have to deal with her parents for very long at all.
So, before he could talk himself of it, he bounded up the steps and pressed the doorbell.
The door opened immediately, but it wasn't Eleanor. It was her mother.
Liam drew in a sharp breath. "H-hello," he stuttered. He tried to remain calm, but Mrs. Bennett already turned her glare on him.
"Oh, hello, Liam," she said coolly. "I suppose you're here for Eleanor."
"Yes, of course. I mean, yes, yes, I'm here to pick her up-" Her mother narrowed her eyes and stared him up and down, as if judging him to see if it was okay for him to take Eleanor away.
Then, almost with a smirk, Mrs. Bennett turned away to call out, "Robert, we have a guest!"
Why was this happening to him?
"Liam!" He could hear Eleanor rushing down the stairs, her heels clicking loudly with every step. "Mum, what are you doing? Why are you calling for dad?" She brushed past her mother, stopping in between them. "Happy Valentine's Day, Liam." And, without any warning or indication, she leaned forward and gave him a short kiss.
She was undeterred in her actions, immediately wrapping her hand around his arm. When he glanced over, she was looking back at him with a bright smile. It almost made Liam forget about who was standing in front of him until the older woman cleared her throat. Even with Eleanor's reassuring grasp, he couldn't stop shaking and tried to cover it up by shoving his hands in his pockets.
Surprisingly, instead of yelling at them, Mrs. Bennett directed her shouting elsewhere. "Robert, get over here right now!" When she didn't get a response, she pursed her lips and then frantically hurried out of sight.
"What is she doing?" Liam asked.
Eleanor paused before answering, "I have no clue. Do you want to get out of here before we have to find out?"
She laughed and nudged him. "Come on then."
And he thought that was going to be it. They were going to get away from Eleanor's family and enjoy the rest of the day – just the two of them. They would have a great time at the restaurant and maybe even take a walk through the park on the way back. They could actually enjoy themselves for once – instead of being bothered or stressed or angry with one another.
Then, before they could even turn around, Eleanor pulled on his arm.
"What is it?" he went to ask, but the answer was standing in front of him.
Eleanor's father was in the doorway. "Eleanor, honey," he exclaimed, giving her a look that almost looked like sympathy, "your mother has a surprise for you."
"She wants to meet you in the dining room."
Liam felt Eleanor hesitate. "Are you sure? Right now?"
Her father gave a quick nod. "She has something to show you and – well -" He glanced over at Liam and gave him a glance-over, much like his wife did minutes ago. "You might want to cancel any plans or-"
"But it's Valentine's Day!" Eleanor stepped forward, dragging Liam along with her. "We can't stay here!"
As if on cue, Mrs. Bennett rounded the corner, holding out a plate of appetizers. "I made a special Valentine's Day dinner!"
Liam barely heard Eleanor respond "no, no, you didn't." He didn't understand. Why did her mother make dinner when she knew Liam was taking Eleanor out to a restaurant? Did Eleanor not tell her? Why did her father look so apologetic? Why did he feel so sick?
"Mum, you are not doing this-" Eleanor angrily ushered her parents out of the room, leaving Liam to stand in the hallway by himself.
He could hear their shouting. It was still strange to hear Eleanor so clearly and loudly; she barely ever raised her voice. She wasn't ever this angry and he just didn't know how to respond to it. And then there was her mother, yelling back at Eleanor with a harsher tone. Liam could barely hear her father; he wondered if he was even part of the conversation.
"You will sit down and enjoy this dinner I made for you!"
"You didn't make dinner. You panicked when you saw Liam and made dad wave his wand for you-"
"What are you trying to say?"
"I'm saying that you're trying to keep us here because you don't want to let us out of your sight so you used magic to pretend that you made dinner!"
It was almost exactly like the argument before the Journey concert. Why couldn't Eleanor's mother just understand that they were a couple and there wasn't anything she could say that would change that fact? Eleanor was steadfast in all of her decisions; there was no way Mrs. Bennett was going to change her mind.
And Liam knew there was nothing he could do to help this situation. Every word out of his mouth was going to be an attack on their family.
He couldn't do or say anything.
"And I know why you're worried. You have every right to be; you're my parents and you're trying to look out for me, but I'm smart. Don't you think I would have figured out by now if Liam wasn't good for me? I've known for him seven years. Seven years-"
"I don't care how long you've known each other!" Liam winced as a short silence followed. He thought that the conversation was over, but then he heard, "You're too young to be getting married."
Before he could make sense of anything, Eleanor suddenly barged out of the kitchen and grabbed his arm. Then he found himself face to face with her parents again – who, of course, looked like they were ready to jump down his throat.
"We're not getting married!" Liam blurted as soon as they set eyes on him.
Eleanor glanced over at him as if he said something wrong. But it was true! They weren't even thinking about marriage yet – especially not after his Proposal Fail Extraordinaire. So, why did her parents automatically assume they were ready for marriage?
Mrs. Bennett didn't look amused. "Liam, there is no reason to lie to me. You've been nervously fiddling with your pocket since you've been here. Why else would you take Eleanor to a nice restaurant?"
'She's my girlfriend and it's Valentine's Day' should have been his response, but Liam held his tongue. Chancing a glance over at Eleanor's father, Liam saw that he didn't look as upset.
Maybe he wasn't going to die today.
"He's not proposing, mum," Eleanor thankfully interceded, "we've talked about it and we're not getting married anytime soon. Liam's just always this nervous-"
"Well, I don't see why he should be," Mrs. Bennett proclaimed, crossing her arms.
Liam wanted to laugh incredulously, but Eleanor squeezed lightly on his hand and said, "Don't worry about us. We're just going out to dinner and I'll be right home, okay?"
Surprisingly, that seemed to placate Mrs. Bennett. After exchanging a long look with her husband, she finally nodded. "Fine, fine." Then she hesitated and added, slowly, "But I expect you to be home before nine. I don't want you two staying out late."
Liam knew exactly what she meant; she didn't want them to spend the night together. Although they weren't planning on it, Liam wasn't thrilled with the curfew. They only had a few hours left before she was due back at the house. Eleanor must have been thinking the same thing because, instead of arguing, she forced a smile and turned to leave.
"Thank you for...your...consideration," Liam exclaimed without thinking. Her parents stared back at him as if he was spouting off crazy talk. "And sorry for...everything." Before he could say any other stupid remark, Eleanor pulled him out of the room.
"They were going to sabotage your proposal," she proclaimed as soon as they exited through the door. "They made sure that they were going to be there just so they could convince me to say no." She laughed at that, shaking her head. "Merlin, this is ridiculous."
"Do you think everyone expects us to get engaged?" Liam mused. Eleanor paused to look over at him, but she didn't say anything. "Right now, I mean," he added. "I mean, your parents definitely thought I was going to propose to you and I know half of your family thinks we should be married already and I'm just wondering-"
"We're just out of school, Liam," Eleanor replied, "Still teenagers. I don't think we're the right age to be thinking about lifelong commitments."
He could feel his heart beating in his throat. "So this is just temporary?"
"Sorry, sorry, I didn't mean that," Eleanor hastened to explain, "I mean we're too young to be partaking in the...rituals, if you will. I have thought about it. Of course I have. I know that's what you want – marriage and children and an entire life together and sometimes I can imagine it. I think it's something I want too." She chuckled then and added, "okay, now I'm beginning to understand why my parents jumped to the wrong conclusions. If they heard us talking right now-"
Maybe it was her words or the fact that it had been weeks since they had last seen each other, but he couldn't stop from cutting her off mid-sentence with a kiss. Eleanor didn't seem to mind; she laughed and leaned into it.
"Eleanor," he murmured, pulling away just enough to ask, "Do you want to be Mrs. Pritchard?"
She didn't hesitate to respond, "Yes, one day." Leaning back just enough to cock an eyebrow, she quickly said, "but this isn't a proposal."
He grinned, leaning forward to kiss her. "Oh, you'll know when it's a proposal."
Long story short: I got a new job from 5-9 AM (every single day but Sunday) which means my peak writing time of midnight-3 AM doesn't exist anymore and it is so hard to write during the day. The end.
But anyway, here's a chapter. From now on, time will be flying by in this story. The next chapter actually skips forward until May, so brace yourselves.
Thanks for reading!