AN: I know this is old and I know this fic is totally and completely AU now, but it was pointed out to me recently that I never posted this epilogue here. I hate leaving things unfinished, so I sent it in. If you read the fic a long time ago, I'm sorry for the oversight.Epilogue Friday July 18 – 6:09 pm
Stepping out of the fireplace, Liam glanced around the living room to find that he was totally alone. Not only did the house seem empty, but it was also quiet. Too quiet. The only sound was that of the rain beating against the windows. Most people would find the atmosphere relaxing after a long day at work, but not Liam. In fact, he found it rather puzzling and worrisome.
He left his briefcase next to the sofa and went in search of Roarke for some answers. He headed directly for the office at the back of the house expecting to find her reading over some documents, as she always requested quiet while she worked. Not wanting to disturb her too much, Liam gently rapped on the door and peaked inside.
The pair of dark gray eyes that looked up at him didn't belong to his wife.
"Aiden?" he said stepping into the room.
"Hey," was the only reply.
The boy had obviously been playing outside for most of the day. His face was slightly smudged with dirt and his dark hair was windblown. "What are you doing?" Liam asked glancing down at what the boy had in front of him.
"Trying to beat this Troll." It was a wizard game somewhat similar to chess, but the pieces could play on their own when only one player was available.
Liam watched on as a blue troll smashed a club over the head of a green troll. "I hope you're blue," he added when the green troll finally fell. "Does mum know you're in here?" Roarke rarely let any of the children play in the office.
"Yeah. She said I could when the rain started."
"And where is she?"
"Upstairs with the other sheilas." He gave a nod to the steps and rolled his eyes.
Liam smiled. "I take it they are participating in some sort of girl talk that just disgusts you?"
The boy nodded. "I think that's why mum took pity on me and let me in here."
Liam ruffled his son's already messy hair. At ten years old, Aiden had little to no interest in anything feminine. "Sorry I left you alone with all the females. You and I will do something manly this weekend, ok?"
Aiden's eyes twinkled. "Quidditch? With no girls?"
"Sure, but you know that Miah will probably want to play."
"I doubt it. She's too busy looking frilly for her boyfriend."
Liam frowned. "Boyfriend?"
Aiden's eyes focused on his game once more. "Yeah, that guy she met a few weeks ago. She hasn't stopped talking about him all day."
Liam suddenly became very nervous. Miah has a boyfriend? More than that – she has had a boyfriend for a few weeks? And no one told me?
Seeing that his son was obviously more concerned with his game than discussing anything relating to girls, Liam excused himself and headed for the stairs. Near the top he heard what could only be described as giggling coming from his eldest daughter's room, which was odd since neither Miah nor his wife were known to behave like silly girls. Gwenyth, certainly, but not Miah or Roarke.
The door to Miah's room was cracked just enough to allow Liam to peak in without making his presence known. Gwenyth was holding up some earrings against Miah's face.
"I think these would look wonderful!"
Miah swatted them away. "I'm not sticking holes in my ears just for a boy."
"But they will draw his attention to your face," the younger girl explained.
"First a necklace and now earrings." Miah sighed. "You sound more like Schuyler everyday."
Liam stifled a chuckle. Schuyler Black had at one time tortured Miah about her tomboy ways. Miah, being a year older and several inches taller, spent many a family holiday knocking her cousin down in the dirt simply to stain whatever pretty outfit Schuyler might have been wearing. It had only been in the last few years or so that the two cousins started accepting each other for whom they were.
"Gwen, you know your sister doesn't like jewelry," Roarke said, running a comb through Miah's dark hair. "How are you going to wear your hair?"
Miah shrugged. "I'd like to do something different, but nothing…" she looked up at her mother. In unison the two of them said, "too girly." Again a laugh broke out between them.
Gwenyth rolled her eyes and flopped down on the bed, flicking her blond hair as she did. "I don't understand you. If it were me, I would wear long dangle earrings and have mum do my hair all up with curls."
"Sean doesn't like that sort of thing. He says it makes girls look phony. He likes a more natural look." Miah primped her hair a bit and looked up at her mother. "What do you think?"
"Believe it or not, I think that you would look very nice with your hair up." She grabbed a handful of hair, twisted it around, and placed it on top of Miah's head. "And see here, it shows off the neckline of your blouse – draws more attention to your shoulders." Miah cocked her body just enough that the blouse slipped down to reveal a bare shoulder.
"Ohhh!" Gwenyth said with wide blue eyes. "Sexy!"
That was all Liam could take. This had to be stopped right now before the child went out half naked. Opening the door without so much as a knock, Liam asked, "What's going on?"
All three of them turned around in surprise. Only Roarke smiled. "Liam! We weren't expecting you home for another hour." She didn't sound deceptive, but then why hadn't she told him anything about this?
"Uh-huh," he nodded. "Was Miah supposed to be gone by the time I got home?"
"No," Roarke said, her smile fading. "Not at all." She tilted her head at him with a frown. "Is there a problem?"
Liam looked back at her with wide eyes. "No one told me Miah had a boyfriend!"
Gwenyth chose that moment to giggle.
Miah sighed and shook her head in annoyance. "He's not my boyfriend.
"Not yet anyway," Gwenyth added.
Miah shot a nasty look at her sister. "You're not helping things."
"Miah, don't worry about your sister," Liam said stepping closer to his eldest daughter. "Right now I just what to know what's going on."
A gentle hand on his arm pulled him toward the door. "Oh really now, there is no reason to be upset. Come with me and I'll explain everything while Miah finishes up in here." Roarke smiled at him, still tugging on his arm.
Reluctantly, Liam allowed himself to be led into the master bedroom where Roarke closed the door to insure some privacy. Liam didn't waste any time in getting to the bottom of things. "Who is this boy? And how long have you known about it?"
Roarke folded her arms and leaned against the door. "This isn't anything serious, Liam. It's just one date."
"Why is it that no one wants me to know who this boy is?"
Roarke opened her mouth and then shut it again. "His name is Sean. He and Miah met up when she went to that film a few weeks ago."
"Film?" Liam asked in near disbelief. "He's a Muggle?"
"Do you have something against Muggles?"
"No but I do find it interesting that you don't find any harm in letting our daughter date someone who has no clue about our world."
"And what sort of harm are you talking about? Miah knows better than to expose him to magic. For a seventeen year old girl, she is pretty capable of keeping a secret."
"Obviously," Liam retorted and slumped onto the bed. "Well, she's not going out dressed like that."
Roarke frowned. "And why not?"
"There was more skin showing than cloth."
"It's the latest fashion, Will. Trust me, it was the most decent one in the store."
Liam gaped at her. "You bought that for her?"
"Yes, and I think it looks rather nice."
He shook his head and opened the door. "Well she's not wearing it."
"Liam, wait." Roarke said, stopping him. "Think about this for a moment. Our tom-boyish daughter is dressing up for a boy. Do you really want to barge in there and tell her she's going about it all wrong? After all, it was only a year ago that a certain father I know tried desperately to get her to wear a dress."
Liam exhaled slowly. "Point taken. I just…" He bit at his lip. "Let me talk to her for a moment. I promise I will be as compromising as I can be."
He headed for his daughter's room with a slight glance back. He stood outside her room and thought for a moment on how to approach this without sounding too much like a stodgy old man.
"Miah, girl, can I come in?"
"Sure dad." She was still sitting at the mirror, fussing with her hair. "Are you angry with me?"
He sighed. "No, I just wish you had told me. May be I could have prepared myself a little bit better."
She shrugged. "I dunno. Talking with your dad about boys is kind of…well…you know."
"I understand. I also understand that this boy is a Muggle."
She looked up at him with a worried expression. "You're not angry about that, too, are you?"
Liam smiled. "No, I just want you to be careful."
"I will be. Mum already gave me a speech about that."
There was a long pause while the two just smiled at each other. Liam licked at his lips, wanting to ask her to please change her clothing, but knowing that it was silly for him to ask such a thing. She was growing up and it was time for him to accept it. I'm being an old prude. Surely I'm not so old that I've forgotten what it is to be young.
I especially remember what I was thinking when I was alone with a pretty girl.
Wanting to ease his troubled mind, Liam asked, "Can you tell me anything else about this boy…this Sean fellow?"
Miah shrugged, "He's cute and he's really cool."
She smiled dreamily. "Oh dad, he is so talented. I can't even believe how good he is. I mean, I've seen your stuff…and you're good…but his stuff is so over the top. It's just so imaginative. Sometimes I have to remind myself that he is a Muggle."
Rather confused about what "stuff" she was referring to, Liam asked, "What are you talking about? What is so imaginative?"
"His art," she said pointedly.
A chill passed over Liam's skin. "His art? This boy is…an artist?"
"Yeah, didn't Mum tell you?"
Liam stood up in alarm and went to the door. Out in the hall, Roarke looked back at him with a half smile. "No she didn't. Excuse me for a moment." He exited the room, grabbed Roarke's hand, and pulled her back into their bedroom.
"An artist? She is dating an artist?"
"It appears so."
Shaking his head, Liam said, "Oh, no she is not!"
Roarke groaned. "Come on, what did you expect? She has oohed and aahed over your old art books since she was little. She still has that drawing you did of her as a baby up on her wall. It's her form of romanticism."
"Romanticism? We're talking about Miah, here, not Gwenyth. Miah – who enjoys sports and comes undone at the sight of pink and purple."
"Regardless of those facts, Miah is still a girl, Liam!"
"And she will be out with a boy!"
"That's usually how it works."
Liam looked at her incredulously. "I don't like it, Roarke. I know what this kid is up to. I know what is going to happen tonight. And if it doesn't happen tonight, it will happen the next time they see each other."
"And just what are you afraid will happen? That he will draw her?"
"Yes! Remember that once upon a time I was a teenage old boy with a knack for drawing pretty girls."
Roarke crossed her arms. "So then I wasn't your first?"
Liam froze. He swiped a hand through his hair and over his eyes.
"I see," his wife said with a smirk.
"Now wait, how did this end up being about me? How did I end up being the one in the wrong?"
"You're not in the wrong, but you are being over protective."
"But I know what…"
"Yes, and so do I." The remark startled him and left him slightly confused. "Now it is you who is forgetting that I once fell head over heals for a talented artist."
Liam sighed. "Then you should know that when I draw you I'm usually having dirty thoughts."
Roarke smiled, "I know. And how long was I able to resist you?"
"Not too long."
Roarke gasped. "Liam Zetter! I resisted you for quite some time."
"Not once I drew you."
Roarke thought for a moment. "All right, so our first kiss came after you drew my portrait."
"Which is why I am worried."
"Oh please! She is allowed to kiss a boy. I don't know why you are being so prudish."
"I'm not being a prude. I'm a concerned parent who happens to know quite a bit about boys using art to flirt with girls."
"No, you're a father who wants his daughter to date anyone who isn't in your profession."
"Hey, I'm an architect. Big difference between that an art. If she were interested in an architect…"
"You know, it really doesn't even matter. It's not as if she is going to marry this boy. It is a date, plain and simple."
"MUM!" Miah's voice rang out, halting the conversation. "Can you help me, please?"
Roarke turned away from her husband. "I'm going to go see what she needs. It would be best if you put on your brave face and didn't let her know how upset you are about this. Believe me, I know how difficult it makes things when your father doesn't approve of your boyfriend."
Liam hurried up next to her. "Hang on, is that what this is about? You approve of this boy because it reminds you of our situation when we first dated?"
"No, I approve of him because there is nothing wrong with him. He's a nice boy who happens to do some drawings every now and then. Do you know what his real love of life is?"
"No," Liam said hesitantly.
"Going to the movies. That's where he's taking her." She smiled up at him.
"The movies? Again?"
"And to some burger place. Nothing fancy or inappropriate."
Liam ran a hand through his hair. "I suppose I can handle that."
"Good, now come with me to tell her that."
They walked together to Miah's room. Just outside the door, Liam whispered into his wife's ear, "One more thing. If she comes home with a sexy, half-naked drawing, I will personally put a curse on this boy."
Roarke suppressed a laugh. "That's funny. I recall my father making a similar statement about you once." She winked at him and entered Miah's room.