Author's Note: So, this is the final chapter. Oh, don't look at me that way, those who are disappointed. There will be a sequel, when I get around to writing it, with William, Grell, Brienne, Ennata, Ronald, Alan, Eric, Violet, Frieda, Bianca, Ciel, Sebastian, Undertaker, Santino, and Ronald's mysterious crush. More faces will be joining, and some old OCs that I've mentioned in the story, such as Lilliana, Aliyah, Shu, Yanlin, and the girls from the ball.
Disclaimer: I do not own Black Butler, just this story line in particular. And the storylines of the other stories for Black Butler I've written, of course, but that's beside the point.
Difficult Love Chapter Twenty-One
Smiling at herself in the mirror, Grell checked herself over one last time. Her body was covered in a fabulous dress, the sleeves short, the skirt rumpled and the entire thing covered in golden flowers, giving it a Chinese touch whilst still being socially acceptable at the restaurant that she would be sitting in. Her hands were covered by golden silk gloves, reaching all the way up to her elbows, and she couldn't deny the fact that she was still wearing her thigh-high, lace up boots.
A silver chain with a ruby pendant glinted in the candlelight around her neck, and a red bow could be seen at the side of her head, the other side of her head sporting a side ponytail, decorated with red roses. Her eyes were lidded with a dusky pink colour, and lined with black, still noticeable behind her glasses, which she was immensely thankful for. She didn't want to waste time putting on makeup if it wasn't going to be seen. Her cheeks were painted with a pink rouge, making them seem sharper, not that they really needed to, and her lips were painted a bright red. Knowing she looked beautiful, and smoothing her dress down once more, Grell pulled a red wrap around herself, before picking up her children and carrying them downstairs, ready to put them in the pram and wheel them to Ronald's house.
Finally having got the wiggling children in the pram, along with some bottles, a few diapers and a change of clothes should they need to stay the night for any reason, Grell set out for Ronald's, creating a portal to the Reaper realm in her entrance hall and wheeling straight through it.
In the Shinigami realm, though there were many people about in Shinigami London, she still stood out. This wasn't really a surprise to her. Red clothes, anywhere, always meant you stood out, unless you were in a crowd of people in red clothes. Grell passed a ginger haired woman in a dress striped vertically in white and grey, the woman's arms covered in white up to the elbow, where they broke off into pinkish skin until the sleeves of the dress cut the colour off. She turned to sneer at Grell a little, and Grell realised, with a little jolt, that the woman was Jayde Dale, the glasses admin woman who absolutely hated her guts, for some reason or another.
Next, Grell passed the brown haired ex-girlfriend of Jorge, named Adrienne Langley, who smiled a sort of pained grimace at Grell, though the redhead couldn't have said why. Adrienne was wearing a pretty blue hat with ribbons hanging down her back, and a matching, pale blue dress with white trimmings on the bustle, skirt and sleeves.
A woman, who Grell suspected was named Raquel Stevens, walked with Gideon Tucker, one of Grell's co-workers, and she eyed the dress she was wearing with distasted as it brushed against her children's pram. Her hair was curling and black, falling down her back, and her dress was trimmed with grey fur, the rest of it a dark green. Her hat was green and trimmed with a black fur rim, and Grell couldn't help but notice that she was, in her head, comparing their looks to hers. How was it that she was still worried about what William thought of her, when it had been months and months since they started dating, and William had never shown any signs of wanting to be with another woman, and was a father? Sighing, she shook her head, turning away, only to start comparing more women to her.
Isabelle Holmes, a pretty, black haired lady was the next to be compared, a white parasol in her hand that tangled in Grell's hair slightly, causing the two to stop and talk and untangle, before they walked on, Grell having laughed to herself about the big pink bow that was situated at the centre of Isabelle's neckline. It didn't really suit her, looking more like the sort of thing that Violet would wear. Wondering absently, Grell hadn't noticed the next two she had compared to her, until she walked into them.
Furious, Niamh Wilson, a pretty brown haired woman in white with purple trimmings to her dress, and Elizabeth Watts, a woman with dark red hair, dressed all in black, glared at her, before eyeing the wheel of her pram, seeming as if they were deciding whether it was worth the risk of kicking it in their annoyance, or whether they should just let it go. They let it go, when they heard Grell's growl, and saw her bared teeth. When Brienne, clearly a little annoyed, and bared her teeth in a cute, innocent way, just as Grell had, Niamh and Elizabeth had walked on, deciding it wasn't worth the trouble.
Finally, wary of the rest of the people in the area, Grell reached Ronald's house. Knocking on the door and standing back, Grell tapped her foot against the ground and gazed out at Shinigami London, head whipping back around when she heard the door begin to open next to her. Ronald was standing in it, looking a little dishevelled, and blinking sleepily, as though he had just been sleeping. The red lines that indicated where his glasses had cut into his cheek at an angle showed that he had, in fact, been sleeping, probably at a table.
"Are you sure I can leave Brienne and Ennata with you?" Grell asked, eyeing him suspiciously. "You look very tired. I'm sure I could threaten An and Riri to take them, if you can't. I'm sure Vi would love it."
"No," Ronald disagreed, reaching out to see the little babies. "It's fine, honestly, sempai. Besides, you brought them all the way here. No point going out to the outskirts to find Miss Irwin and Miss Shepard now, is there?"
"I suppose not," Grell agreed, drawing her wrap closer around her and fiddling with the fringing on it. "Well, in that case, honey, they're yours for the night. I'll come by to collect them in the morning. Do you think you can handle that?"
"All night?" Ronald looked a little put out about that, before glancing down at them warily. "Do they wake up a lot?"
"Hmm," Grell considered this. It seemed like a lot, she supposed, but that was only because they were so tiring. Besides, sometimes you didn't even know if they were awake, well, sometimes you didn't even know that Brienne was awake. "You won't know if my darling little Brienne is awake," Grell informed him, before turning her attention towards Ennata who was starting to wine, rather dramatically, if Grell did say so. "Though my sweet little Ennata could be heard through a war between heaven and hell, so you'll know about it should she be awake. Honestly, though, you only have to put up with them one night, and it's Saturday tomorrow, so I don't know why you're complaining."
Ronald flushed a little at this, before nodding and drawing the pram inside. "Well, seeing as it's only one night, and Saturday, as you say, sempai, I'm sure I'll survive." He looked up, glancing at the clock on the wall in his hallway. "Now, sempai, I think it's time you best get to your date."
Excitement rushed through Grell, and she felt her face stretching into a smile, before she reached down and kissed each of her children, tickling their foreheads before bidding them both goodbye and stepping back.
"Goodbye, Ronnie," she called waving her fingers and stepping away from him. "Wish me luck."
With that, she created a portal to the alleyway beside the shop, and stepped straight through, ready for her date.
William was already inside, standing by a waiter with white-blonde hair and declining being sat, telling the man that his companion wasn't yet there. He looked up when Grell walked in, and he seemed to relax a little. Perhaps he had been worrying that she wouldn't come, or perhaps he was worrying that Ronald had failed to deliver the message. Either way, when she arrived inside the restaurant, his shoulders seemed a little less tense than they had been before.
Smiling, she walked over to him, linking her fingers with his and seeing that William finally allowed the blonde man to show them to a table, Urien, on the far side of the room, eyeing them warily, eyebrows raised when he saw that Grell's stomach was no longer round with pregnancy. He blinked a few times, and Grell grinned her sharp-toothed grin at him, causing him to shake his head. He looked bewildered, like he was trying to work out if he had had a little too much to drink that night, and had instead had a very odd dream. William, next to her, scowled at him. At least, she thought it was a scowl. It was hard to tell. His face didn't really move much.
Finally, they sat down, Grell ordering a red wine and William ordering a white, both of them talking quietly together. When the waiter returned with their drinks, they were asked what they wished to eat, and Grell found herself ordering a simple chicken breast in a cheese sauce, with a rice salad and roast potatoes, William ordering a dish or lasagne. William, Grell had noticed, was rather keen on Italian food.
"So," she started, taking a sip at her wine and watching William with wide eyes. "Why did you ask me out, Willy-darling? Was there a specific reason?"
"Not particularly," William told her, taking a sip of his own wine and leaning back in his chair slightly, though he was still rather stiff and formal. "I simply realised that we hadn't spent nearly enough time together alone any longer, and though I know we have the twins to look after, we must have some time to ourselves, as well."
"Aww, you're such a prince charming, Willy-darling," Grell promised him, before fiddling with her cutlery and smiling a little, remembering years beforehand. "Though I would never have realised it to look at you back when we were in the academy."
"Pardon me?" Confusion toning his voice, William watched Grell curiously, clearly missing something. Generously, he waited for her to explain.
"Oh, nothing much," Waving it off with a sweep of her hand, Grell's grin stretched, her hair falling silkily over her shoulder. "I was simply remembering you, back when we were in the academy, with that ridiculously messy hair of yours. I don't know why, but I can only imagine you with messy hair when you've just woken up, now, darling."
"I myself cannot imagine me with untidy hair during the day, either," William agreed, taking another sip of his wine and setting it back on the table, his fingers straightening the cutlery before him as he spoke. "I can imagine you with short hair like you had back in the academy even less, though, Grell."
"Oh, darling," Reaching out to take his hand, a little amused at the fact that even when he was supposed to be relaxing and having a good time he was busy tidying things and making things absolutely perfect, Grell teased him gently. "You should know that I would never cut my hair, ever. The idea is just horrifying, after all."
"Indeed," William agreed, before a faint smile curled his lips. "Though I am still unsure as to what you were wearing the day I spoke to Thomas."
"I was wearing a very fashionable outfit," Grell claimed, voice rising dramatically and her arms waving around importantly, dropping the black haired man's hand across from her. She dropped her voice when she realised she had attracted the attention of a handsome blonde man and a pretty, brown haired woman in blue on the table next to them. "Besides, you have to admit that I looked very good."
"You looked silly in my eyes at the time," William informed her, speaking before she could voice her outrage. "However, looking back on it, I must admit that you looked rather feminine, so I suppose you were rather beautiful."
"I was told, by two women at the time, who both looked rather similar, by the way, though they weren't related," Grell began, thanking the waiter as he placed her meal down in front of her, the same process being repeated on William's side of the table. "That I looked very adorable. I think they had the right idea, you know, instead of this whole 'I didn't think you looked very good, but you might have' thing that you're going for."
William had the good grace to look mildly embarrassed. Very mildly, but mildly embarrassed all the same.
"Anyhow," Grell said, brushing it off and leaning forwards. "You have the chance to redeem yourself, my handsome man. I'm wearing a new dress tonight, and I was wondering how you think I look."
"Beautiful, as always, Grell," William informed her, before stopping to chew some lasagne that he had just slipped into his mouth. He swallowed, and continued talking. "I'm supposing that you went to that new dressmakers you were talking about last night?"
"Li Shu's Dressmaking Shop?" Inquired the redhead, her eyebrows raised. She was impressed that William had remembered. "I was sure you weren't listening to that. I'm glad that you were, Willy-darling."
"I was listening," William responded, eyes following Grell's movements as she cut up her chicken and placed it into her mouth, chewing it slowly. "However, I was also thinking. You cannot expect me to listen to you all the time, Grell. You never stop talking. Honestly."
"I do stop talking sometimes, Willy-darling," Pointed out Grell, running a hand over her chest and looking at William coyly, before touching her lips. "And I'm sure you enjoy those moments quite a lot, darling."
A faint flush had risen to William's cheeks, and he looked down, clearly not comfortable with this sort of conversation in public. Then again, Grell doubted if he would be comfortable with this sort of conversation when in private. He may think that the walls were listening to them, or the invisible faeries, or something of the sort. Then again, from what Grell had heard about the Fair Folk, she doubted they would mind much if she and William talked like this. It seemed that they would be rather more amused than anything.
"Of course I enjoy it, Grell," William replied, before taking another bite of lasagne. "But that doesn't mean that I have to listen to your constant speaking."
"I never said you did," Grell pointed out, waving her fork at William a little, before taking another sip of her wine. "Which is exactly why I never complained yesterday that you weren't listening. I just said, now, that I hadn't suspected you were. But I'm glad that you were. Are you sure you were listening this time?"
"Of course I was," Responded William, meeting Grell's eyes again and sipping at his own glass. "I suppose you never expressly told me that you thought I wasn't listening, though you did poke me in the ribs rather hard, which I took to mean the same thing. I apologise. Though what it did mean, I shall never know, I suppose."
Embarrassment tinged Grell's cheeks and her face fell a little, confusion lighting her face before she remembered that she had indeed poked her man in the side the night before. That, though, was because he had left the washing up to her the night before, and she hadn't felt like getting into a fight about it, or annoying him terribly, so she had just poked him rather hard when it came to mind.
"That," she choked out, her cheeks very red, though you could hardly notice it through the rouge she was wearing. "Was because you left the washing up to me, when I was trying to care for our lovely little babies."
Across to the other side of her, a blonde haired woman in turquoise and black tittered, her smile hidden behind her hand as her pale grey eyes met Grell's. Grell nodded at her, before turning back to William, who was looking faintly embarrassed again. Apologising quickly, William just shook his head, before eating the rest of his meal in silence, Grell following suit.
Before long they were done, and their waiter, Simon Clare, came over to ask them for their requests for dessert. Grell chose a strawberry jam tart, with raspberries scattered atop it, and William chose a simple bowl of vanilla ice-cream, which Grell modified, so that the waiter would pour chocolate sauce on it. The stoic man across from her looked a little put out by this, but Grell knew that he would thank her later. Smiling sweetly, she fiddled with her hair, then looked about the room, wondering why, again, she had been asked out. It wasn't normal for William to take her out without a reason. When she turned back to him, William was not in his chair.
Confusion dawned on Grell's face, before she glanced to the side to see William kneeling down next to his chair, and she wondered if his shoe and come undone, though the position he was in looked fairly familiar to Grell. What, exactly was he doing? Hand in his pocket, clearly searching for something, William wasn't looking at her, but Grell couldn't help but feel that her eyebrows were crinkled with bewilderment.
Finally, William looked up at her, his gaze steady, and pulled a little box out of his pocket. Still convinced she was missing something, Grell stayed put, her eyes narrowing at the box. William opened it, before her, showing off the silver band with a large ruby in the middle, little black gems running around the silver band, and Grell stared at it as if it were the reason her head felt so muddled. What, exactly, was William doing, again?
"Grell?" William asked, eyes searching hers, and her head snapped up, realisation dawning on her. William was kneeling before her with a ring in a box in his hands. Didn't that mean…? No, surely not. She had said so herself, William would never propose to her. He would never want to see her walk up the aisle. She then, what was going on? Was he playing some kind of cruel joke on her? But then again, no, William didn't really understand jokes, of that, she was certain.
"Well?" Prompted William, looking a little bewildered by her confusion. He was glancing around nervously, now, the eyes of the rest of the restaurant on them. Grell cocked her head to the side, still unsure about the situation, though she realised, somewhere in the back of her mind, that she was being extraordinarily slow. "Will you marry me, Grell?"
Those words finally woke her up, and she glanced at William with massive eyes, feeling tears brimming. Would she marry him? Wasn't that a silly question? Like she wouldn't marry him! Forgetting all of her confusion, and her adamant belief that William would never marry her, Grell flung herself out of her chair and onto him, arms threading around his neck as he was bowled over onto the floor.
Tears of happiness dripping down her face, Grell felt herself smile into his shoulder, before she pulled her face up and connected his lips to his gently, in a chaste kiss, before pulling away again.
"What sort of a question is that, Willy-darling," she whispered, eyes wide and shimmering, her lips connecting with his again before he could speak.
She felt herself open her lips for him, and their tongues danced as people murmured around them. She knew, in the back of her head, that what they were doing was very improper, and she shouldn't be acting in such an unladylike way in public, but she couldn't help it. William tasted of wine and lasagne as she kissed him, and he felt perfect under her hands. He smelt spicy and clean, and Grell knew that she herself smelt like roses, having sprayed herself with rose water before coming out. Her hands ran through William's hair as one of his hands pressed into her back, the other still holding the box with the ring in it. Finally, they pulled away, both breathing in the same air, and William raised an eyebrow, before sitting up, Grell still in his lap.
"What shall I take that as, Grell?" He asked, causing Grell to gasp once more. William did know how to tease? That was a surprise.
"I," Grell began, a smile rising to her lips as she pulled off one of her gloves and picked the ring out of the box, examining it closely, holding it up to her face to read the inscription. "Would take it as a yes, darling."
"Good," William nodded, pulling Grell to her feet, as he stood up, and allowing her to get back into her chair. The inscription wasn't much, she realised, but it was clearly from the heart. "I love you." It read. "Forever."
Smiling, Grell slipped it onto her finger, before slipping her glove back on, ignoring those who still dared to clap politely, even after her extreme behaviour. Besides, she realised, as her dessert was brought towards her, she was going to do something a lot more impolite with William later. Glad that she had left Brienne and Ennata with Ronald, Grell slipped a bit of jam tart into her mouth, her eyes connecting with William's and a flush rising to her cheeks.
Damn it, she realised as she watched her fiancée scoop up some of his chocolate sauce and ice-cream and enjoy it, I love this man. Forever. And, she knew, she meant it, just as he meant that he would love her forever. Smiling, she watched him some more, wondering just what was to come for them in their lives. Not for the first time, she felt excitement.
Author's Note: So, I'm finished. I hope you enjoy the story. It was a lot of fun to write. As I said, there will be a second story, when I get around to it, and I don't want to make any promises, but I may write a story based around Ronald and his mysterious crush and Undertaker and his Santino Bray. I am also going to write a story for Alan and Eric, connected with this story, and it is possible that I will write a Sebaciel fic and an Elizabeth x OC story that will also fit into the world this story is set it. Now, there are no promises, save for the Alan x Eric and the Grelliam story, but there are going to be more, as I just can't stop writing. It would be painful to stop, so I won't. I hope you enjoyed this story, and keep an eye out for the next one.