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Chapter 4

In his arms

Sophie felt overwhelmed with emotion. She was angry, sad, shocked and the one that filled her mostly was pure bliss. She was once again in his arms, where she belonged. Why had she been away from him for so long? She simply couldn't comprehend anything other than the fact that he was there holding her, dancing with her.

Howl's heart felt as if it was going to explode. She was in his arms. He could feel her body on his. Oh how he missed having her with him. He was in ecstasy. But both were ripped from their bliss when the band finished the song and Jessica's voice ripped through the room.

"Who on EARTH do you think you are mister?! " She said pulling herself through all the couples to reach Sophie and Howl. With Sarah, Markl and Ivy on her heels.

Jessica stepped forward and tore Howls hands from Sophie's waist.

"Let go of her" Sarah said in a soft but threatening voice.

"Sophie let's go" Jessica said taking her hand and trying to pull her off

"Jessica, what's gotten into you? You're causing a scene" Sophie said trying to pull he arm out of Jessica's grasp. She was right though. The band had not yet begun to play and most eyes in the hall were on them.

'It doesn't matter Sophie. We just have to get you away from him" She said, winning the battle between Sophie and herself and pulling the silver-haired girl behind her. Sarah followed then and tried to settle Sophie.

"Markl?" Howl said turning to the boy

"Master" He replied with a softer tone than when he last spoke to him

"Oh Markl" Howl said again, pulling the boy into a friendly hug

"Um sir? Might I ask why you're hugging my boyfriend?" Ivy asked

Howl then let go of his former apprentice. "Markl who is this?" He said turning to the girl

"This is Ivy. My girlfriend" Markl said proudly putting his arm around her waist

"It's nice to meet you Ivy" Howl said addressing her

As he was about to bow to her his eyes caught onto a certain girl who Jessica, or according to him, the girl who re-ruined his chances with Sophie. It was Fiona. 'That little schemer.' He though.

"Markl, I would love to catch up but I'm afraid that I must go and catch my beloved" Howl said and with that he left to catch up to the girls who were leaving.

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Sarah was trying to get Sophie to walk out whilst Jessica and Fiona were talking.

"Sarah, why did you do that" Sophie asked, feeling defeated.

"Fiona informed us off him and all of his traits" Sarah said with a distain in her voice that Sophie had never heard before.

"What did she say?" Sophie asked

"We couldn't let that womanizer get a hold of you Sophie" Jessica said coming up to them. "I wouldn't allow it"

"Come on Sophie, I think its best that we left" Sarah said

With that the girls made their way to leave. Once they were outside Fiona said that she had forgotten her cardigan inside and wanted to retrieve it.

"You go on; I'll see you at home. I'll bring Markl and Ivy with me" She said turning away to go back inside.

The other girls walked off and Fiona stood outside. At that very moment a flustered Howl ran into the gardens.

"Hello Howl" Fiona said

"Fiona" He replied with a sneer

"I see you remember my name" She said

"How could I not. After you used a spell on me to make me kiss you back and then befriending the very girl you broke me apart from. I believe you name would have stuck"

"Oh Howl" She said with a sweetly evil tone turning toward him "Sophie is really a lovely girl and it's terrible for me to have to hurt her but in order to do what I have to do sacrifice must be made."

"What is it that you've set out to do?" He asked curious as to why she had done all she had done

"My dear Howl. My job is simply to see you never happy ever again. People like you don't deserve happiness. All I had to do was sent the first blow and the catalyst that followed was added bonus. You have no-one now and Sophie has Jessica and Sarah. Who by the way believe you to be evil, so say goodbye to her now Howl. You'll never see Sophie again" Fiona said, revealing her motives.

"But why?" Howl asked as his heart twisted in pain of never seeing Sophie again after this.

"Because like I said Howl, people like you don't deserve happiness." Fiona finished. And with that she went inside to find Markl and Ivy and leave.

Howl couldn't leave it at that. Fiona was a witch and was turning everyone against him. Then Howl had it decided. He would visit Sophie tonight. At midnight.

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Sophie, Jessica and Sarah had arrived back at their home in the shop. Jessica fell into the lounge.

"All that excitement at the ball has me tired" she said kicking off her shoes

"Jessica don't behave so unruly" Sarah said sitting neatly on the one-seater

"I think I'm going to go to bed early tonight" Sophie said as she went to make her way up the stairs.

"Wait Sophie" Jessica said halting Sophie and making her turn around "We should really thank Fiona. Who knows what that terrible man might have done to you had she not warned us"

Sophie thought about Jessica's words for a bit

"Yes. Thank you Jessica. I'll be sure to thank her in the morning" Sophie said now going up the stairs.

'Yes thank her. Something seems off about her though' Sophie thought 'I don't even know why I'm thinking these thoughts. Fiona is a nice person who wouldn't want to hurt me' She tried to justify 'but what if it's not me she want to hurt. What if it's Howl?'

Sophie reached her room and began to change into her night gown. She looked at the clock in her room. 11 at night it read.

Sophie sighed and lay in her bed and fell asleep.

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Howl was in his 'castle' pacing up and down in front of Calcifer

"I don't even know where she lives. This is a stupid idea" He said to the fire demon

"Is she worth it?" The demon replied

"Huh? What kind of a question is that?"

"Just answer it."

"Yes. Sophie is VERY worth it." Howl said, sitting down on the chair in front of the hearth

"Then you will go" Calcifer said simply "You will explain everything to her and she will understand and forgive you"

"But how can you be so sure that she'll take me back" Howl asked

"You said so yourself that she missed you. A womans hear is capable of great anger but also great love and forgiveness" Calcifer said insightfully

"But I fear that all her love and forgiven for me has gone" Howl said in despair

"You won't know unless you go. Oh look at the time, 10 minutes to midnight. Plenty of time to find her before midnight"

"You're right. I will go" Howl said getting up off of the chair grabbing his jacket and heading towards the door.

"Thank you Cal" He said turning back to the demon. Howl opened the door and was off.

"Just bring her back Howl" Calcifer said to no-one.

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Howl had wondered through the streets for ten minutes until he finally came upon what he was sure was where Sophie was. Just as he reached the door the clock had struck twelve. The door then opened and standing there was Sophie in her night gown holding a cup of warm milk.

"Howl" She said surprised

"Here I am Sophie" He said approaching her. He went into the house, removed the milk from her hand and placed it on the table.

"And I promise I'll never let you go again" and with that Howl had taken the smaller girl into his arms in a warm embrace.

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