Ophelia glanced over at Charlie as they hiked through the woods to check on an injured Welsh Green. Her feet slid slightly in the mud from an overnight rainfall, though she caught herself before she fell.
A few more days had passed, and she continued to chicken out on speaking to him about, well, everything. Overhearing the speculations - the fact that she wasn't dating Marcus Flint. It wasn't as though they had much time alone, but every time she got a chance and opened her mouth, determined to finally address the dragon in the room - so to speak - she found the words catching in her throat.
"What happened to being an adult, Ophelia?" a voice in her head griped.
"This is my older brother's mate," she countered.
"So? THAT has nothing to do with why you're pansying out of this," the other voice said, sounding far too much like Daria. "Just admit you're scared and get over it. Time to put on your big girl knickers. In fact, you don't have to say ANYTHING. Just snog the bloke."
Ophelia grimaced at that, knowing that Daria was most definitely in her head.
"Everything alright?" Charlie asked. Ophelia looked over at him, worried he had seen her previous expression. Merlin, she did not want to tell him about the internal conversation she was currently having with herself. He'd think her mad in a heartbeat.
"Fine," she said quickly, smiling.
"Just… you seem a bit quiet today, is all," he said, turning to look back at the trail.
"Oh, ehm, nothing. Just trying not to fall on my arse," she said. "Trail's a bit treacherous." Charlie chuckled.
"Yea, suppose we should have apparated," he said, running his hand up the back of his neck, scratching it.
For a moment, Ophelia wondered what it would be like to run her fingers through his hair and if it was as soft as it looked. Her face then reddened as she almost stopped, slightly taken aback by the thought.
"Focus, Ophelia," she scolded herself.
"Yes, focus on what it might be like to kiss him," Daria's voice countered.
"Fuck's sake," she lamented, hearing Daria's cackle in her mind.
"We're just about there," Charlie said, thankfully pulling her out of her thoughts.
"Oh, good," Ophelia said, climbing up onto a log in their path. She then hopped to the ground and suddenly her feet slid out from under her. With a shout, she went down, landing arse first in a large puddle of muddy water.
Despite how it looked, the only thing smarting at that moment was her pride as Charlie barely concealed a laugh. Well, this was perfect. She was sitting in a pile of mud in front of her crush. Who likely thought she was dating Marcus Flint. Lovely.
"Like you said, bit treacherous," he said, holding his hand out to her.
Ophelia glared up at him a moment, before the idea popped into her head. Before either side of her mind could comment on it, she reached down and grabbed a handful of mud and then slapped it into his hand with a smug smile.
"True, really should be more careful," she said.
Charlie's eyes widened a bit as he looked down at their hands and then suddenly he was grinning as he bent down, seemingly as though he were going to lift her up. Instead, he reached down to her side and then Ophelia felt a plop on the top of her head as muddy water trickled down her cheek.
"Really gotta watch out for those mud puddles, Phillie," he said with a wink.
"Oh, ye're so dead, Charlie Weasley," she said.
Charlie laughed as he took off down the trail. Ophelia grabbed another handful of mud and hopped up, chasing after him.
Sure it was a bit childish, but Ophelia wasn't one to back down from a challenge.
Charlie looked back at her over his shoulder before he dashed into a clearing and then stopped. Ophelia caught up to him, smearing the mud across his face, before turning to look at what had caught his attention.
Her eyes brightened at the sight of a now rather muddy and marshy clearing. Laughing, she spun away from him, pulling her knapsack and then jacket off and tossing them to safety before grabbing handfuls of mud and beginning to chuck them at Charlie.
"Where are those seeker reflexes!?" she taunted as he tried to dodge both, but still got hit by one.
"Oh, you're about to get it, Phillie," he challenged, taking off his own knapsack and then coat, tossing them to the side before starting after her.
Ophelia let out a whoop as she dashed away, barely keeping out of his reach while grabbing more mud and flinging it at him. Granted, the slippery, wet ground didn't help and she found herself getting stuck or nearly falling half the time. In a manner of minutes, they had managed to nearly cover each other in the filth before Charlie finally caught up to her, grabbing her around the waist and lifting her over his shoulder.
"Charlie Weasley! Put me down!" she shouted.
"As you wish," he replied before dropping her into a large puddle.
Ophelia shrieked slightly at the coldness of the water, but she regained her senses enough, to trip him up, causing him to fall. Unfortunately, she didn't take into account his momentum as Charlie toppled on top of her.
"Oof," she grunted as his large body landed on her. Thankfully, he caught himself before his full weight crushed her. Though they both sank a bit further into the mud.
The two of them stared at each other a moment before starting to laugh loudly. Charlie's face was more mud than man and globs of it fell from his hair onto Ophelia's face. She was certain she looked no better.
"You look a right mess, Phillie," Charlie said.
"Ye're one to talk," she retorted. "Seriously need to look in a mirror."
"I happen to think the mud adds to my charm," he quipped. Ophelia laughed.
"Right," she said, barely able to breathe, she was laughing so hard.
She then stopped, though her smile didn't fade as she gazed up at him, realizing just how close they were. She could feel his strong body pressed against hers and his face was hovering just above hers. Ophelia swallowed as Charlie's expression shifted and his eyes moved down to her lips and then back up to her eyes.
Every nerve in Ophelia's body was at attention as the knowledge poured through her mind that he was about to kiss her. She wasn't sure just how she knew this, but she did.
Charlie parted his lips slightly and then lowered his head as Ophelia held her breath. Slowly, he inched forward at an agonizing pace. Just as his lips ghosted over hers, there was a shout from the trees.
Both of them looked over, hearing someone coming through the brush. In seconds, Charlie was off of Ophelia and helping her up as disappointment flooded through her.
Just her luck. Something was finally about to happen and they had to be interrupted. The Daria side of her mind was currently cursing up a storm.
"What the bloody hell happened?" Andrew asked as he and Adara stepped into the clearing. "Get hit by a freak rainstorm?"
"Thought we'd take a dip in a mud puddle," Charlie said, smiling, though Ophelia could see the blush rising through the patches of skin that were visible. Andrew laughed loudly.
Adara smiled in amusement, but Ophelia could see something else in her eyes as she looked back and forth between her and Charlie.
"Well, clean yourselves up as best you can and then we've got to get to that Welsh Green," Andrew said, already walking across the clearing, careful to avoid the puddles.
Ophelia walked over to her knapsack and coat, pulling out her wand and trying to get as much of the mud as she could gone, though she knew she was going to have to shampoo her hair a few times to get all of it out.
"Say, Phillie, doing anything tonight?" Charlie asked. Ophelia looked over at him, pausing in her work.
"No," she said.
"Why don't you come over after supper," he said. Her heart raced slightly as he smiled at her.
"Aye, sure. I can bring the firewhiskey from Oliver," she said.
"Good. Now… let's get to that dragon," Charlie said, pulling his coat on.
"Aye, the dragon…"
Ophelia toweled off her hair before setting it down and reaching for her wand, using magic to finish drying it out. Her eyes fell on the bottle of firewhiskey before she walked over to her wardrobe and contemplated what to wear.
Excitement coursed through her. After the mud fight, she was no longer afraid to have the talk with Charlie. It was obvious that something was there and it certainly wasn't all in her head. Of course, Adara's warning was still there as well, but for the moment, Ophelia was ready to throw caution to the wind. She'd cross that bridge when she got there.
Throughout the rest of the day, there had been looks and secret smiles. Winks. Inside jokes. Tons of flirting. If she hadn't been sure about things before, she most definitely was now.
Charlie Weasley was most definitely feeling some sort of way about her.
"Oi! Ophelia!" a voice shouted from her fireplace. Rolling her eyes, she walked over and sat in the chair in front of it.
"Dreadful timing, Daria," she said dryly as her best friend's face appeared in the embers.
"What? What's going on?" Daria asked, worried.
"Oh, I'm just getting ready to go over to Charlie's," Ophelia said lightly.
"WHAT?! I KNEW IT!" Daria shouted, causing Ophelia to wince slightly. Even through floo, her volume was painful. "What happened?"
"Well, we got into a bit of mud fight today and… he was going to kiss me," Ophelia said, smiling to herself. "But then we were interrupted."
"Bollocks. Hate when that happens," Daria said. "But… you're going over there now?"
"Well, once I'm dressed, yea," Ophelia asked. "He actually asked me to come over."
"Skip getting dressed and just go. Not like you'll need to bother with clothes anyway," Daria said lightly. Ophelia's eyes widened as her cheeks turned red.
"Daria!" she shouted.
"What? Come on, Ophelia. It's not like you haven't had sex before," Daria scoffed. "No need to be a prude."
"Aye, but not… on the first… well… no," Ophelia said, stumbling through her words.
True, she was no virgin, but she could count the amount of men she had been with on one hand. Merlin, what if he was far more experienced than she was. A whole new strain of nerves started up in Ophelia, though she shoved it aside for the moment. She could only handle so much at a time.
"Some of us aren't as forward as ye," she said diplomatically, surprised that she didn't sound jittery. Daria chuckled.
"True. Fine. Get dressed and go see your man. Though take my advice. As soon as he opens that door, kiss him," she ordered. Ophelia rolled her eyes, though part of her didn't think it a half bad idea.
They had been about to kiss just hours ago, as it was.
"Tell me about it tomorrow," Daria continued.
"I will. Love ye," Ophelia said, already standing.
She walked back over to her wardrobe and stared at it a few moments, before pulling out a comfortable oversized sweater that she wouldn't need a coat for that fell off her shoulder nicely. She was just walking down the way even if the nighttime chill had already set it. She then paired it with a pair of comfortable sleep shorts that she knew Daria would approve of as they were a bit sexier than what she usually slept in.
They were just hanging out. No need to put on a party dress. Though at the back of her mind, Ophelia wondered just where things could go tonight. She paused for a moment, considering it. A shiver of pleasure coursed through her at the possibility. Again, she wasn't one to sleep around casually, but part of her felt as though this wasn't going to be something casual.
And part of her was excited to see more of Charlie Weasley. Literally.
She then shook her head and walked over to grab the bottle and then her wand. She slipped into a pair of shoes before stepping out of her cabin. The cold air hit her and she sucked in a quick breath before hurriedly starting down the path to Charlie's cabin.
Though it was dark, she could make out someone just ahead of her dressed in far less clothing than she was. Which was odd. Who else would be out right now and dressed as though they were on their way to a hook-up. Granted, they were isolated on a dragon sanctuary. It wasn't completely out of place that the tamers might get together here and there.
Ophelia slowed her pace when she saw the figure turn and walk up to the porch of Charlie's cabin.
Stopping, she looked around before ducking behind a tree where she could hear and see everything but stay hidden as her blood started running slightly cold. The figure knocked on the door. It opened quickly to reveal a smiling Charlie dressed in a pair of sleep pants and t-shirt. Merlin, that man had a body to die for, Ophelia thought.
The smile slid off his face at the figure.
"Been awhile," she said, and Ophelia immediately recognized Adara's voice. Before Charlie could answer, she grabbed his face and pulled it down to her, kissing him passionately.
Ophelia's heart stopped as she looked away, her breathing coming in haggardly. She then heard a door slam shut and looked back, seeing that Adara had gone in.
Quickly, Ophelia stepped out from behind the tree, making her way back to her cabin as her mind went numb. Once inside the warmth of her cabin, she felt the tears start up and a pain prick at her heart.
Adara had been right. He was a player. He had been playing her and then when another option - an obviously more attractive option - presented itself, he jumped at it. The tears began pouring down her cheeks as she walked over and fell into the chair, leaning over to bury her face in her hands.
How could she be so stupid? She had fallen for it. All of it. And he had been playing her the whole time. Merlin, she had actually been considering sleeping with him that night if that's where things went. She looked up, contemplating flooing Daria again, but decided not to. The sting of embarrassment was still too strong, and she wasn't ready to talk about it just yet with someone else.
Instead, she stood and walked over to the bottle on the table, opening it and then taking a large swig. As the alcohol burned down her throat into her stomach, she felt her resolve harden.
She had fallen for it, yes, but she hadn't fallen completely. At least she knew now before it was too late. At least there was that.
"Merlin, I'm so fucking stupid," she muttered to herself as she returned to her chair, taking the bottle with her. She took another large drink and leaned back.
"Fucking, bloody Charlie Weasley," she hissed, feeling her hurt turning to anger.
She would allow herself to wallow for now, but tomorrow it was back to work with one focus in mind - her job.
And Charlie Weasley could go fuck himself.