Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Amici ed Amanti – With Friends Like These – Part 8

Lucy Ann mewled in protest when Liam broke their kiss, pressing his forehead against hers as he tried to catch his breath. He had accosted her the moment she'd Apparated into his study.

It was moments like this that left her breathless and unable to form a single thought in her head. Her whole body tingled from just being around him, and when he actually touched her…

Liam playfully rubbing noses with her brought her back to her senses, pushing at his shoulders to gain some distance between them. "You're not going to distract me with kisses!"

He gave her a half smirk, half smile before dipping his head in an attempt to capture her lips once more.

She forcefully shoved him away. "You stepped on my toes all night!"

"Awwah, Goosey! You know it was just an act for Stephie and Mere's sake."

"You could have at least warned me," she pouted. The edge of the desk suddenly bumped into the back of her thighs.

"Then your reaction wouldn't have been real," he whispered as his mouth descended upon hers.

This time when he broke their kiss, Lucy Ann found herself sitting on his desk with no real idea how she ended up there with her legs wrapped around the back of his thighs and her arms around his neck.

"See," he teased, "made you forget all about your little piggies, didn't I?"

She gave him a dark look. "No. They still hurt, badly I might add."

Liam sank to his knees on the thick, deep red Turkish rug that covered the floor of his study, taking one of Lucy Ann's injured feet in his strong, warm hands. She forgot any grievance she might have had with him as those long fingers of his worked their magic. By the time he'd started work on her other foot, she was practically purring.

"I think you've missed your true calling in life," she said wistfully after a while.

"What? A masseuse?" he chuckled. His fingers worked their way up to her calf, kneading the soft skin. "I think I'd make a terrible one."

"I'd think you'd be wonderful at it." A low moan escaped her lips.

"I'd never be able to keep my hands off the beautiful witches." He daringly slid his hands up the inside of her thighs.

Her eyes popped open. "Liam," she warned.

"Mmm," he mumbled, seemingly entranced by the lacy tops of her stockings.

"You are such a naughty boy," she admonished, pressing her thighs together to discourage any further exploration. She didn't trust her ability to be able to say no to him if she had let him continue for much longer.

Liam gave her a cheeky grin. "And you wouldn't have me any other way."

She watched him stand to his full height, drinking in the sight that was her best friend, and now boyfriend. It felt strange to call him that – boyfriend – strange, but in a very good way.

"No, I suppose not." Lucy Ann's stomach fluttered in anticipation.

"I think you want me to kiss you," he observed silkily.

She could only nod her consent, her tongue darting out to moisten her lips. He took a step closer, situating himself between her thighs once more, before finally touch his lips to hers. He kissed her slowly, tenderly, almost as if he was savoring her taste.

He worked his way slowly from her mouth, down her neck to worry a very sensitive spot on her collarbone with his tongue and teeth. Lucy Ann encouraged him to continue with her fingers tangled in his blond locks. He moved up to nibble at her earlobe for just a moment before whispering, "I love you."

She quickly pulled his mouth to hers in a hungry kiss to hide her tears of joy. She didn't think she'd ever grow tired of hearing him say those words to her. That Liam Malfoy loved her, Lucy Ann Honeychurch. It was far more than she could have ever asked for.

"Hey," he said softly, his hands gently cupping her cheeks as he watched her intently. "Is everything all right?"

She gave him a half smile and nodded. "Perfect. Everything is perfect."

"Good." He kissed her soundly as he laced his fingers through hers. "I want to show you something."

She followed Liam up the massive stone staircase that was the center piece of the Malfoy Manor entrance hall. It had been part of the stone keep that was the family seat more than half a millennia ago. Over the centuries, as the Malfoy name grew in stature and coffers filled with Gaellons, the old fortress stronghold had gradually evolved into an elegant gray stone manor house with lush gardens known throughout British wizardom. The staircase and dungeons remained as the last testaments to the family's meager beginnings.

"You love it here don't you?" Lucy Ann asked once they'd reached a set of ornately carved double oak doors.

He smiled. "I finally feel like I'm home."

Lucy Ann knew better than most how much Liam struggled with being a Malfoy. She knew how frustrated he was with his parents seeming disinterest in family history. His father was very closed lip about his parents, always saying he wasn't in the mood to discuss it. She remembered his obsession with finding out everything he could about his grandfather back when he was sixteen. He'd been devastated when he learned of Lucius Malfoy's role in the events that led up to fall of Voldemort.

"So what are you so desperate to show me, Liam Malfoy?" she asked, toying with the collar of his robes. She really wanted to snog him a bit more before she had to leave.

"I'm done," he said with a grin.

"Done?"

"Yes." He pushed the doors open behind him. "Lumos."

The master suite of Malfoy Manor was suddenly awash in a soft glow of candlelight, revealing a fully renovated room.

"Liam," Lucy Ann breathed, staring at the massive four poster bed that dominated the room. Right smack in the middle of the fluffy bed coverings were two cats were curled up together in a tight ball. "It's beautiful!"

"That was my Da's old bed. I had it refinished and all new linens made for it." He followed her into the room as she wandered about, taking in the grandeur. The last time she'd seen the room had been right after he'd moved into the manor, when it had been full of furniture covered in oil cloth and dust.

"You didn't keep your grandparents' bed?" she asked, fingering the new smoky blue velvet bed curtains. The room was a soothing blend of blues, silvers and white – all of Liam's favorite colors.

"Too weird I think," he conceded.

"And your Da's bed isn't it?"

"I'm pretty sure my parents haven't shagged on it, if that's what you're asking."

"Are you sure about that?" Lucy Ann teased.

"Quite," Liam answered, quirking an eyebrow. "As far as I know, my mother has never spent a night in Malfoy Manor."

"Maybe it slipped their minds…" She couldn't help but smile as a look of horror mingled with disgust crossed his face.

"Don't even joke about that, it's not funny."

"Well, it wouldn't be if your reaction wasn't so predictable," she chided, examining the pictures on the mantle over the large fireplace. The family and friends in the pictures preened for her as she slowly ran her fingers over the top of each frame. A baby Rauri dressed in her holiday finest gave Lucy Ann an irritated yawn from the lap of her teen-aged self. She couldn't believe he still had those pictures let alone put them on display.

"Let me show you the rest before I have to toss you out on your cute little arse," he said sternly, but his silly grin gave him away.

"You think my arse is cute?"

Liam closed the space between them immediately, pulling her into his arms. He nuzzled her neck as his hands slipped down to cup her derriere. "Mmm, I like it very much," he growled in her ear.

She couldn't help herself. A nervous giggle quickly turned into a laugh as his fingers gently kneaded her soft flesh. "I'm sorry," she managed, pushing herself from his arms and turning away from him in an effort to get her giggles under control.

He tried to wrap his arms around her waist. "What's so funny?"

"Nothing, really," she managed, pressing a hand to her mouth to stifle the giggles.

"It's apparently something. Now tell me!"

"Okay, okay! I just realized that Liam Malfoy's hands are on my arse."

"That's not the only place Liam Malfoy would like to have his hands."

"Liam," she admonished between giggles, "this isn't the time for that!"

"It was until you ruined it!"

"This is serious!"

"Seriously ruined!"

"Liam! This is a major step in our relationship."

"A natural progression," he mumbled, swooping in to kiss her.

She dodged him. "What do you think you're doing? We should talk about this!"

He pulled her hard against him. "I'm shutting you up." His mouth descended upon hers in crushing kiss, his hands slipping down to cup her arse fondly.

Any thoughts of further discussion on what all of this meant dissipated the moment his tongue plundered her mouth. The only thing she could concentrate on was how good it felt for Liam to be kissing her and how to keep him from stopping.

He broke the kiss just before she thought she might expire on the spot from the sheer joy of kissing him. "Now that you're thoroughly complacent now, I suppose I'll show you the rest."

"Okay," she said giddily, allowing him to take her hand.

He showed her the lavish white and blue marble bathroom that was adjacent to the master suite. There was a huge claw-footed tub big enough for two, a large shower, his and hers sinks – everything she could have dreamed of in the perfect bathroom and all done in her favorite color scheme. She was pretty sure that Stephie and Mere would be pea green with envy at the sheer size of the dressing room. Walls of cabinets for robes, racks for shoes, ornate dressers for lingerie, even a safe for jewelry all in a bright and airy room with a view of the gardens. The only thing it was lacking was the items to fill it. Liam's dressing room held cabinets full of the finest tailored robes money could buy, more shoes than a small army could wear in a year and his Quidditch gear not so neatly put way in the cabinets made especially for it.

"What's that room over here," Lucy Ann asked, motioning towards an almost hidden door once they'd returned to the main room of the suite.

"Just an empty room," came his reply.

"Can I see it?"

"If you want, but it's empty." He opened the door for her and stepped out of her way so she could enter.

Lucy Ann slipped into the moonlit room. True to his word, the room was empty with the exception of two pieces of furniture – a baby cot and a rocking chair. "Why didn't you finish this room while you were at it?"

"I had it cleaned top to bottom and a fresh coat of paint put on the walls, but I figured my future wife would like to decorate as she sees fit," he answered candidly.

"It sounds like you already have someone in mind to be your wife," she said as causally as she could muster. She'd dreamed of being a Malfoy since she was six years old. Everyone had simply assumed that when they'd become of age, they'd marry. But as Lucy Ann had learned early on, things didn't always work according to plan.

He gave her a lopsided grin. "Maybe."

"Da's cot I assume?" she asked in vain to keep from embarrassing herself by throwing herself at his feet and begging him to marry her right then and there.

"Yes, I couldn't toss it out with the rest of the rubbish." She could feel his eyes on her as she ran her hand over the fine wood of the top rail. It made her stomach do flips just to consider what exactly he might be thinking, seeing her in this room. She knew she could picture herself in this room easily, putting an impossibly adorable blond baby down to sleep.

She pushed those thoughts from her head before turning to face him. There was no sense in getting ahead of herself. "It's hard to imagine that he was ever that small," she said in an effort to defuse the mood.

"I don't think he ever was," he said with a grin as he showed her back into the warmth of the main room of the master suite, "but there are pictures to prove it."

"I bet he was adorable!"

"I wouldn't know about all that."

"I bet you were an adorable replica of Da when you were a baby."

Liam looked slightly offended. "I was more adorable, thank you very much. Even Mum says so."

"Okay, okay, you were the more adorable baby," Lucy Ann giggled. "Good Merlin, you're high maintenance, Liam Malfoy!"

He gathered her in his arms, his hands quickly finding their way to grip her hips. "Damn right, and don't you go forgetting it either!"

"You're impossible!"

"I thought you just said that I was high maintenance!"

"I did!"

"Then which is it, witch? High maintenance or impossible?"

"Both! Neither! No both! I don't know!" Lucy Ann stammered between giggles, her face turning bright red.

"I see," Liam drawled. "So you really don't know what you think of me…"

What he thought of her was plainly obvious because she could feel his hardness pressing against her every time he moved, causing desire to flutter in the pit of her stomach. "I know I love you."

"Is that so?" he asked huskily, watching her face intently.

She nodded because she suddenly lost the ability to speak. He'd only looked at her like that once before back while they were staying at that quaint little bed and breakfast in that Italian seaside town. His gray eyes were almost black with his desire for her. "Liam," she whispered.

He kissed her then, kissed her almost as if his life depended upon it. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer because there was too much space between them. He had somehow managed to press her back against the closed almost hidden nursery door. His hands slid down her thighs after he'd expertly divested her of her silk dress robe, encouraging her to wrap her legs around his waist. She tugged at the buttons on his crisp white linen shirt, desperate to feel his warm skin beneath her fingers.

His mouth blazed a hot trail down her neck and shoulder to a silk covered breast, his tongue worrying the nipple into a hard peak. She pressed against him, moving her hips in a slight circular motion in an effort to encourage him to continue. Lucy Ann never expected the little rush of power she felt at the groan he was powerless to stop.

Liam pressed his face into her neck, leaning against her heavily and panting. "Luce, I want you. Please."

She pressed tender kisses to his face and neck. "Yes."

"Yes?" he asked, a hint of desperation tinged his single word.

"Yes," she whispered in his ear, "I want you, too."

He kissed her again, and she could almost taste his relief. Like she could ever deny him anything he asked, especially when he was asking in such a delightful way. Her hands impatiently tugged at his belt buckle. It simply wasn't fair that she was nearly naked and he wasn't.

Liam carried her across the room to gently lay her back on the velvet bedcovering, ignoring her mewling protest when he pulled her hands from his trousers. He stood over her, watching her reaction as he slowly undid his trousers himself. She knew she was being shameless, but couldn't help herself from watching him beneath hooded eyes.

He stood over her a few moments later with a smirk on his face, wearing just his silver silk boxers. His desire for her was unmistakable now. "Better?"

"Not quite." She toed his waistband with a stocking covered foot, feeling not the least bit like the brazen hussy she knew she was acting like. Liam didn't seem bothered in the least, so she must be doing something right.

He chuckled as he captured her foot, tracing a single long finger down the inside of her leg. "I think I have a naughty little witch on my hands." He hooked the lacy top of her stocking, slowly pulling the silk down her leg and tossing it over his shoulder.

She couldn't help the giggle when he started to repeat the process with her other stocking. She was in Liam's bed, being undressed by him and he was calling her naughty. It was almost too much for her. This was her best friend. He was admiring her favorite knickers – the ivory silk ones embroidered with pink rosebuds – the set with the amazing pushup bra (she'd have to remember to thank Stephie later for insisting she needed them!). He called her Goosey. The whole situation was absurd. She was in Liam's bed. He wanted her naked.

And he seemed intent on having sex with her. The tiny giggles erupted into a full laugh. Liam wanted to have sex with her and she wanted to have sex with him. She was having a hard time wrapping her head around that fact.

Liam's lips stilled where they were pressed against her calf. "Does it tickle?"

"No," she managed between giggles, "it's just…"

"It's just what?" he asked, running his hand up her side to cup her breast as he slid up beside her and dropping light kisses on her exposed skin in his wake.

"You and me, this," she gasped as his mouth hit a particularly sensitive spot.

His fingers had managed to find their way under the scrap of silk at her hip. "This?"

"Yes," she whispered, fighting the desire to press her hips up against the movement of his hand.

"Don't you like this?" he asked wickedly as his fingers tangled in her crisp curls. She couldn't fight the urge any longer, bucking her hips against the movement of his hand. "That's what I thought."

The ability to form a coherent thought left her the second his fingers slipped between her folds. Lucy Ann was powerless to do anything now except relax under Liam's gentle ministrations, giving herself to him heart, mind, body and soul. He took his time, slowly stripping her of her remaining clothing, worshipping her body as he went with his mouth, tongue and fingers until she was quivering mess of nerves. She instinctively spread her thighs to accommodate him as he moved over her and claimed her mouth in a tender kiss. She could feel his hardness pressing insistently against her stomach every time he moved.

"Luce," he breathed huskily, burying his face against her neck.

She stiffened slightly, breathing harshly in a sudden panic. An irrational fear that he might be having second thoughts about making love to her gripped her heart.

He slowly started to slide into her wet heat, giving her body time to adjust to him until he pushed past her barrier to seat himself fully inside of her. He pressed his forehead against hers, while trying to slow his breathing. She could feel his muscles tremble beneath her fingers as he fought to maintain his control.

"Oh Liam," she moaned, unsure of her ability to formulate any more words. It was all the confirmation he needed from her to begin to move, to make her his forever.

He mumbled something that sounded like a charm before he began to roll his hips in earnest, whispered a hurried "I love you" in her ear. She slid her arms around his shoulders, holding on for dear life as basic need began to take over and she tried keep pace with the steady rhythm he'd set.

They lay curled together in the middle of Liam's bed amidst rumpled sheets some time later, basking in the afterglow of their lovemaking. Lucy Ann was curled against his side, her head resting on his chest. He drew lazy circles with his fingertips on her side and hip, occasionally brushing a kiss against her temple.

Being with Liam was nothing like she'd expected it would be, and she was not prepared for the overwhelming feelings that seemed to be bubbling up from deep inside her soul. There was no doubt now that this was the wizard she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Liam was every thing she'd ever dreamed of, wanted and expected all rolled into one. A best friend with the most wonderful benefits imaginable. She couldn't stop the tears once they had started to well up in her eyes.

"Hey," he said softly, turning to face her. He tenderly wiped her tears away with the pad of his thumb. "What's all this?"

Lucy Ann couldn't help the smile that blossomed on her lips at the sound of concern in his voice. "It's just-" she started, but found herself yet again at a loss for words. "Just-"

"I hurt you, didn't I?" He buried his face in her neck, muttering a very remorseful apology over and over. "Oh, Merlin, I'm so sorry. I tried to be as gentle as I could, but I just wanted you so much that I couldn't help myself. You know I'd never ever hurt you intentionally right? Never!"

"Liam," she whispered soothingly, threading her fingers in his silky hair. "Liam, baby, I'm all right. Shhh…"

He lifted his head to look at her, his eyes burning bright in the dim light. "Are you sure?"

"I'm positive," she said with a giggle. She didn't think she'd ever feel as warm and happy as she did at that moment. It was finally her turn to be happy and in love.

A big, silly grin lit up his handsome features as his handsome features. "Good! I was worried."

"I love you, Liam Malfoy," she said, tears welling up in her eyes once more.

"Why do you always get teary when you say that? It worries me."

"Because I'm so happy, you prat!"

"Just making sure," he said nefariously as his hand slid over the curve of her hip.

Any response she could have managed turned into a gasp of pleasure as his wonderfully long fingers worked their special kind of magic. Lucy Ann writhed beneath the hot trail of kisses Liam left in his wake as he went about thoroughly exploring her most secret places with his tongue and mouth. She was out of her head, and there was no place she'd much rather be.

"Wow," she uttered after her she'd managed to catch her breath enough to form words. Her heart was still racing. "That was amazing. I had no idea."

"It was amazing." He pressed light kisses along her shoulder, sliding up behind her and gathering her back against him.

"Even better than I ever imagined." She could feel his self-satisfied smirk as he pressed his mouth against the crook of her neck.

"It's always good to know I exceed expectations," he responded proudly.

"Self righteous git!" she spluttered.

"I know," he said confidently, "but you love me."

"It's a good thing, too, because I don't think anyone else could stand your ego!"

"Then I must be the luckiest wizard alive to have caught such a lovely witch with all my obvious faults."

Lucy Ann wasn't sure how long into the night they stayed awake giggling and talking and sharing kisses, just enjoying each other. She drifted off to sleep long after the fire in the hearth had burned low, feeling very warm and safe in Liam's arms.

The room was awash in morning light when she awoke alone. A quick scan of the room told her that Liam was nowhere to be found. She gingerly slid out of the bed, feeling a bit sore and wrapped herself in the navy blue silk robe that been obviously laid out for her. Their discarded robes that had littered the floor the night before had been put away at some point. She knew she should have felt ashamed for the way they'd just strewn their clothes wherever in the heat of the moment, but she found that she couldn't bring herself to care. Byron and Shelley had taken up residence in overstuffed deep gray velvet chair by the windows since the bed was occupied.

A clink of china drew her attention to towards the sitting room where she found Liam reading the morning edition of The Daily Prophet at the breakfast table. He was leaned back with his bare feet up, wearing only a pair of navy blue silk pyjama trousers and mussed up hair. The table held the remnants of a breakfast fit for a king – eggs, potatoes, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, toast, muffins, scones, pastries, porridge, fruit and jams.

"G'morning," she said after deciding he looked good enough to eat.

"Good morning," he said, setting the paper aside and holding out a hand to her. "I dare say you do more for that robe than I do."

She smiled and allowed him to guide her to settle in his lap, wiggling a little to get comfortable and wrapping her arms around his shoulders. He could be so very charming when he put his mind to it. Just one more reason why she loved him to distraction.

"I'm sorry I left you alone, but I was starving and you looked so peaceful, I didn't have the heart to wake you." He dropped a quick kiss on her nose. "I can have Costa make you anything you would like."

"It's all right," she responded, accepting a warm croissant from him. "I'm a bit hungry this morning too."

"I managed to work up quite an appetite last night," Liam said teasingly with a wink.

She couldn't have stopped the blush that quickly colored her cheeks if she'd wanted to. "Liam!"

"Well, I did."

"You are so naughty!"

"And you like it," he teased her, bouncing her on his lap. "Go on, just admit it."

"Yes, I like it very much," she sighed dramatically in mock defeat. He nuzzled her neck, eliciting a delighted giggle from her. By the time their lips met, Lucy Ann was finding it difficult to force herself to focus on anything but the task at hand. "Liam," she managed, pulling away, "we need to talk."

He tried to distract her with another kiss, but this time she managed not to give in. "All right, what do you want to talk about then?" he asked, sounding a good bit put out.

"You, me, us and all of this."

His hand snaked its way up her thigh. "This is what I've always wanted."

"I just want to make sure that you know that this is way more than just a shag for me."

"It is for me too," he replied softly. "I love you, Lucy Ann. I have for a long, long time."

She gave him a lopsided grin while fighting back the tears that were threatening to spill down her cheeks. He had the ability to make her feel like the most loved and cherished witch in the world with just a few simple words. Fate was finally smiling upon them.

"I just wanted to be sure," she confessed, knowing that she was going to end up sound like a silly, insecure little girl. "Wanted to make sure that there were no Bellas lurking about in your cupboards."

"You don't have to worry about her, Luce," he replied quickly, "I haven't seen her since the afternoon I tossed her out on her arse while you were in Rome with me."

"Good." She snuggled against him. "I don't like that slag!"

"Jealous puss," he chuckled.

"And what about Tabitha?"

"Tabby? She's just a friend."

"Uh huh, she's utterly in love with you, you know."

"I know, but she knows my heart belongs to you."

Lucy Ann gave him a very skeptical look. "Then why did she follow you all the way to London?"

"It's called school. She's training to become a Healer."

"Oh."

"Did you know that she was the one who told me to get my arse back to London post haste and make you mine for ever and ever?"

"You know," she said with a grin, "she is rather cute and perky. Maybe we should introduce her to your cousin Griffin."

"Now you're just being a silly puss. He's all ready sweet on someone." He gave her a quick kiss. "Besides, I think we have some other rather pressing matters to worry about."

"We do?" she asked, suddenly very concerned.

"Yes," Liam said gravely, "I think Stephie and Mere are on to us."

"Mere!" she shrieked, bolting out of Liam's lap in a panic. "I'm supposed attend my final robes fitting this morning at ten!" There was no way on magical earth that she'd be able to come up with a plausible explanation that would appease her best friend and her sister-in-law. She was so dead.

Liam caught her before she could escape into the other room, pulling her back against him. "You're not going to make it, seeing as it's nearly half past eleven."

"She's never going to forgive me!"

"She will, if you have a good excuse," he mumbled, lowering his head to nibble her neck as he maneuvered her around until she could feel the edge of the breakfast table pressing against the back of her thighs.

"And what sort of excuse do you have in mind?" she asked breathlessly as he pulled the tie holding her robe closed before sitting her up on the table. He encouraged her to wrap her legs around his waist as he dipped his head to lavish attention to her breasts with his mouth.

She groaned as his fingers gripped the soft flesh of her hips, pulling her hard against him. His desire for her was unmistakable. "This really isn't an excuse," she reminded him as she rocked her hips against him experimentally.

"No," he said a little dazedly as he watched her hands on the waistband of his pyjama trousers, "but it'd definitely give them something to talk about."


"I don't think she's coming," Stephie said with a smirk as she took her seat at the delicate rosewood table in the morning room of Mere's parent's house once more. She'd been off trying to discover the whereabouts of the errant member of the bridal party.

"What do you mean she's not coming? I reminded her last night that the final fitting was this morning," Mere said a little exasperated. It was two weeks until her wedding and her nerves were starting to become a little frayed.

"Oh, I think she's going to come," the other witch baited, "but just not here."

"What are you talking about? She knew the time."

"I don't think she's concerned about time right at the moment…"

"What was she doing that was more important than her final robes fitting?"

"Liam."

"Liam," Mere echoed, sounding a bit a confused before her mind could wrap around what Stephie was hinting at. "NO!"

"Oh yes, on the table in the breakfast nook in the master chambers of Malfoy Manor," Stephie said delightedly. A cat with cream and the canary had nothing on her.

"Shut up!" the bride-to-be squealed. "You saw them?"

"Saw Liam's bare arse, which is quite nice by the way. Rock hard. I could just sink my nails into…" She shook her head to clear her thoughts before she continued. "I wouldn't say I saw them exactly, but Lucy Ann was quite unmistakable."

"Do tell!" Mere had slid up on the edge of seat in a most unladylike manner, dying to hear all the juice details.

"Well, it's not really polite to gossip about one's friends..." Stephie teased.

"And when has that ever stopped you before?"

"True," she sat back with a satisfied smile on her face.

"How do you know it was Lucy Ann and not one of his many bints?"

"I didn't see much, really. Liam's bare arse, legs wrapped around his hips, flash of reddish hair."

"And?"

Stephie threw her head back, closing her eyes and letting loose a long, deep moan. "Ohgodohgodohgodohgod. LIAM! YES! YES! YES! YES! Liam, oh god!"

"That could have been any cheap slag," Mere said on a sigh.

"Yes," she said, sitting up and brushing a few stray hairs from her face, "but would any cheap slag be wearing the silver and green jade elephant bracelet Liam gave Lucy Ann for her eighteenth birthday?"

"That is pretty damning evidence."

"I'm hurt."

"You're hurt? Isn't this what you've been wanting for ages now?"

"Yes, but Lucy Ann hasn't bothered to fill us in on the juice details! How are we supposed to live vicariously through her if she won't share? Selfish bint," Stephie ended with a bitter grumble.

"Maybe," Mere said, trying to be reasonable, "she just wants to keep him to herself for a bit."

"What fun is there in that?"

"Well, I don't think they realize we know that they know we know that they know we know."

"True," Stephie said shrewdly, a very knowing smile lighting up her face, "I have really enjoyed watching them dance to my merry turn the past few months."

Mere snorted in laughter. "I really didn't think you could pull this off, knowing just how stubborn Liam can be."

"You mean thick, darling," the redhead purred. "Liam is thick, not stubborn. And how could you ever doubt me?"

"I will never ever again doubt your ability to make things happen," she said reverently.

"I told you that fate just hadn't had my help yet…"


A/N: Special thanks to nokomis305 who got up out of her death bed to beta this for me.

A/N 2: This is an early birthday pressie for Anni. hugs

A/N 3: Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to review the previous chapters! Also if you want quicker updates feel free to check out my Live Journal (rainpuddle13) or my yahoo group (littleyellowduck).