Once a Player
To say things were tense the next day would be an understatement. Ophelia avoided looking at either Charlie or Adara, though was sure her cheeks were flaming red. This time from anger rather than embarrassment.
Not to mention, she woke up to not only a raging headache from the firewhiskey, but an overcast sky with everyone saying that a storm was coming in. Well, that was just perfect. A stormy day to fit her stormy mood.
The entire sanctuary was out working to prepare, making sure the injured dragons were brought in closer to the camp and the various shelters and buildings were reinforced.
And just her luck, Andrei told her to go with Charlie to check on the dragons to the north of the camp just after lunch. Spending the afternoon with rain threatening to fall at any second alone with Charlie, while she attempted to pretend nothing was wrong was proving to be far too difficult. Ophelia cursed her inability to hide her feelings and wished she could be more like Daria in that aspect.
Turns out she had a temper every bit as explosive as her brothers when pushed. Though it wasn't as though she was just angry. No, she was also hurt and embarrassed, though at least thankful that neither Charlie nor Adara had seen her last night. And that she had found out the truth before she had truly made a fool of herself.
"So… where were you last night?" Charlie asked, finally breaking the tense silence that had gone on for the last 45 minutes they had been working. They were nearly finished with this task and Ophelia was grateful that soon she could go stew in the privacy of her cabin. "I waited up for you, but you never came. Nearly came to check."
Ophelia nearly snorted but stopped herself. Sure, he waited. She had seen Adara go in with her own two eyes.
"I got tired," she lied. "Sorry."
"Oh… well…" he stopped checking the structure they were inspecting and turned to her, a look of concern on his face. "Did I… did I do something to upset you?"
She didn't stop the snort this time, though quickly turned away.
"No, ye did nothing of the sort," she said, her voice harsh even to her own ears.
Merlin, when had she gotten so bitter?
"Okay… is something else wrong?" he asked. "You seem out of sorts today."
"I'm perfectly fine," Ophelia said, finishing up her work and stepping back to inspect it. She was thankful that was the last bit they had to do.
The sky looked as though it was about to rip open any second and had turned an odd shade of green. In fact, it had gotten exponentially darker in the time they had been out. While she was largely happy to get away from Charlie, she didn't want to be caught out in the rain either.
"You don't seem fine," Charlie said, still studying her.
"Forgive me if I dinnae like being played," Ophelia muttered, turning away.
But Charlie's arm shot out and he grabbed her, spinning her back around to face him, his own a mix of confusion and hurt.
Bugger, he had heard her.
"What was that?" he asked. Ophelia huffed and yanked her arm back, rubbing it slightly.
"I ken that it's the thing to do - that it's yer thing to do - but I dinnae much like being another notch on yer belt," she shouted. Charlie looked confused.
"I don't know what you're talking about, Phillie," he said.
"Oh, shut it, Charlie! Adara told me all about yer little ploy. Going after flings and all. Leading poor women on and then dropping them when it's no longer convenient for ye. That's not the sort of thing I like," she shouted.
A look of realization came over his face as he stepped back and rubbed it with his hand, a slight groan coming from his lips.
"You can't listen to everything Adara says," he started.
"Oh, save it, Weasley," Ophelia spat. "I saw ye with her last night!"
His face froze in shock before he took a step towards her.
"I can explain-"
"Oh, shut it! I don't want to hear yer excuses!"
She then spun on her heels, stomping off a bit before pulling out her wand and apparating to her cabin. Just as soon as she arrived, it was as though the heavens opened up and hell fell out.
The wind was howling as rain pelted the roof and thunder and lightning cracked through the sky. Ophelia shouted in anger as she stomped her feet. Yes, it was childish, but she was in the comfort of her cabin, so she didn't much mind it.
How dare he? Going on with all those other women and then having the gall to tell her that she shouldn't listen to Adara, especially after she saw him kiss her and then pull her into his cabin. The absolute nerve. But at least she knew now before she made an absolute fool of herself with him.
Walking over to the stove, Ophelia waved her wand, starting up some tea in the hopes it would calm her down. She pulled off her coat and hung it up, then paced around the small room a bit more.
Once the tea was ready, she took her mug to the table and figured she would at least get some work done while she was holed up inside for the night.
Ophelia wasn't sure how long she had been working, but her tea had long gone cold and she still hadn't made much of a dent in her stack of paperwork - mostly due to the fact that she couldn't concentrate on it to save her life. It had gotten dark rather early because of the storm, so she wasn't even sure how late it was either.
But she definitely was not happy when someone pounded on her door. She stood and walked over, pulling it open and immediately glaring when she saw Charlie standing there, soaked through.
"I'm no in the mood," she spat, starting to shut the door.
"It's Colonel," he shouted, putting his hand up to stop the door. "He's not in his cave and I'm not sure where he is."
Ophelia's heart nearly stopped as she took in the storm outside. With his injured wing and leg, there was no way he could fly to safety. Without a word, she spun around and grabbed her coat and wand, then rushed back to Charlie.
"Where would he go?" she asked, tugging on her coat as she shut the door. She stopped on the porch as she looked out at the storm. Even though the porch was covered, she was already getting wet from the rain blowing all about.
"There's a few spots off hand," Charlie said, grabbing her hand. "We'll start there and then see."
Without giving her a chance to answer, they disappeared.
"COLONEL!" Ophelia shouted, though she wasn't sure if the dragon would be able to hear her over the storm.
They had been searching an hour and she was soaked to the bone and up to her knees in mud, but she pushed through the cold and the wet, not wanting to stop until they found the injured dragon.
"He's not here!" Charlie shouted. "I think we have to go back!"
"No! No until we've found him!" Ophelia shouted back, pushing her hair out of her face. She didn't have much luck as it was now plastered to her cheeks. Charlie looked around at the dark forest and then higher up the mountainside.
"I think I see a cave up there!" he shouted, pointing. "Let's go and regroup! Decide where to go next out of the rain!"
Ophelia huffed and nodded, following him up the hill. She slid in the mud and nearly fell until Charlie turned and caught her. Once she was set right, Ophelia continued trudging up and away from his arms. Though she was distracted by finding Colonel, she still hadn't forgotten her anger at Charlie.
They finally made it to the cave and Ophelia pulled out her wand, lighting the tip as she gazed back into its depths. She then heard something and froze.
"Charlie… I think something's in here," she whispered. She felt Charlie at her side, her eyes trained forward.
"Just… no sudden movements," he replied softly. "Stay here and I'll check it out."
Ophelia nodded and stayed put as he slowly made his way further into the cave, suddenly worried they were about to be ripped to pieces by whatever wild animal was currently sharing their shelter. Charlie stopped as the noise started again, and a tuft of flame shot out farther into the cave. It was then that Ophelia saw the glittering purple eyes.
"Oh, Colonel," she said, starting after Charlie.
"Wait, he could be hurt and in pain," Charlie said, putting his arm out to stop her. "He'll act out if he's hurt and I'd rather not be turned into barbecue."
Ophelia swallowed as Charlie started cautiously towards the dragon, his hands up. Ophelia knew she should stay back, but couldn't help as she inched forward behind him, all thought for her safety leaving her mind as all she worried about was Colonel.
"Hey there, mate," Charlie said gently. "It's just me and Ophelia. I only want to check that you're not hurt."
More of Colonel came into view in Charlie's wand light as he grew closer, though his black scales easily bled into the darkness surrounding him. Ophelia held her breath as Charlie crouched down in front of the dragon. Colonel raised his head and stared at Charlie then puffed a bit of smoke in his direction. Ophelia breathed a sigh of relief as Charlie stepped over to the dragon and placed his hand on his snout.
"Can't really tell in this light, but I think he's okay. Just hunkered down for the night," Charlie said, pulling his knapsack off.
"Are ye afraid of storms, Colonel?" Ophelia asked. The dragon huffed and shook his head. "Course not, ye brave, silly dragon, ye."
She turned, seeing Charlie had pulled out some lanterns and was lighting them up, making the cave a bit easier to see in. He then stepped over and started inspecting Colonel more closely.
"Seems alright," he finally said, stepping back. "But he's not moving until this storm passes. And dunno about you, but I'd rather not go back out in it. Looks like we're here for the night."
Ophelia scoffed slightly.
"Bet this was yer plan all along," she muttered, though it still managed to echo through the cave.
"Believe it or not, no," Charlie replied, his voice clipped. "I'd rather not be stuck in a cave with you when you're like this."
"Oh, and it's my fault, then?" Ophelia asked.
Charlie sighed and shook his head, not stopping in his mission to get a small fire started a ways down from Colonel.
"No, it's not. But I wish you would let me explain," he said tensely.
He got the fire going and then pulled out some blankets and other camping supplies.
Ophelia walked over and grabbed a blanket, spreading it down on the ground. She nearly sat a moment before remembering she was wet and covered in mud. Quickly, she cast a few spells, cleaning off as much of the mud as she could before drying herself off. She then sat on the blanket and looked up at Charlie.
"Explain," she said shortly.
Charlie sighed and stepped to the other side of the fire, pacing in a small circle.
"Look… so… Adara and I… we did have a thing a few years ago," he said. "But I ended it when she didn't want to get serious." Ophelia snorted, earning a reproachful look from Charlie. She motioned for him to continue. "Every so often, she likes to start it up again. And I went with it a few times… it gets a bit lonely out here sometimes, but… then I stopped that. About a year ago. I think she only told you that shite because she's jealous."
"Oh, so what was last night?" Ophelia asked, completely missing the fact he had just said that Adara was jealous of her.
"That was Adara trying to start it up again, but I sent her away after she kissed me and forced her way into my cabin," he said, staring at her. "And I would have done the same thing even if you weren't coming over. I really haven't been interested in anything with her for a while now."
Ophelia didn't speak at first, seeing the intensity in his eyes. She then huffed and looked away.
"No that it's any of my business," she said, though she could already feel the wall she had put up beginning to crack.
She wanted to stay angry at him and not to give into the hope that what he was saying was true. But at the same time, she wanted it to be true. To know that there was nothing with Adara because he wanted to be with her.
"But… it is," Charlie said. She could hear him walking and looked back just in time to see him dropping to his knees in front of her. She sucked in a quick breath, seeing how close he was. "It is your business because… because I fancy you, Phillie. Well, no, I feel this is a bit more than that, but…" Charlie stopped fumbling through his words as his eyes met hers again.
"I care about you. More than just a… one-night thing or a casual fling," he said. "I know what Adara told you, but that's… that's not really me, Phillie. I'm a relationship bloke… to the point that I don't really have many because it's hard here… but… this… if it's something… I don't want it to be something casual…"
Ophelia couldn't speak for a bit. All she could do was to just stare at him as his words sunk in. He cared for her too. And not like Adara had said. The sincerity in his eyes told her that he was being truthful. And well, she should have known he wasn't like that. He was her brother's best mate and she knew from their shared history that he had never been a player. Not at Hogwarts. Not afterwards.
She suddenly felt a bit foolish for how worked up she had gotten. But then again, she was operating off what Adara had told her - which she now knew wasn't true.
"Ye care about me?" she finally asked. Charlie nodded eagerly.
"I do," he replied.
"I, ehm… I have feelings for ye too," she said, feeling slightly dumb. Merlin, she wished that had come out better. Charlie stared at her a moment before a grin slowly broke out across his face.
"You do?" he asked. Ophelia rolled her eyes, starting to smile herself.
"I just said so, ye numpty," she replied. "And in case ye didnae notice, I did just get worked up because I thought ye were with someone else."
"But… what about Marcus?" he asked, worry still clinging to his eyes. Ophelia snorted.
"I told ye. Just a friend. No even sure I'd call him that… we ended up at the same club just before I left and he asked to hang out when I got back… still havenae decided if that's such a good idea considering he and Ollie bloody hate each other," she said.
Charlie dropped his head in relief a moment and then looked back up at her. Something had shifted in his eyes and the feeling that he was about to kiss her washed over her. But this time, Ophelia knew there was no way anyone could interrupt it.
And she didn't want them to.
Charlie leaned forward, his hand coming up to caress her cheek. He then pressed his lips firmly against hers.
Ophelia wasn't quite sure why people always described kisses as though fireworks were going off and sparks were flying everywhere. She had never felt a kiss like that, and this wasn't different in that aspect. But there was definitely something there that hadn't been there the other times she had been kissed.
A warm buzzing ran through her as she leaned towards him, moving her lips against his. She felt him run his tongue along her bottom lip and found herself parting her own, allowing him in. It was slightly rough, but gentle at the same time as his hand slid back into her hair, pulling her closer. She brought her hands up to his chest, feeling the solid muscles under his wet shirt.
Despite his worry early, there was a sureness in his kiss. Not so much that he knew he had her or knew what he was doing. But that he was confident in the connection they shared.
Charlie continued leaning forward until she was lying on the ground, his large body on top of hers. She ran her hands down his chest and then back up as she wrapped her arms around his back. The kiss became more heated as he pressed against her and she felt his muscles rippling in his back.
Charlie's hand moved from her hair, to her neck and then ventured down, hesitating slightly before he gently grabbed her breast, massaging it. Ophelia moaned against his lips, her body arching against his at the sensation.
Merlin, part of her hoped he would never stop kissing her if it was like this. Never stop touching her. Never had a man set her aflame the way he did. The sensation was overwhelming and all encompassing. Part of Ophelia wondered if she should be frightened by the intensity of it, but the other part of her enjoying it quickly quieted the fear.
His hand then moved over to the buttons on her shirt, starting to undo them. Slowly, she started to come out of her lust-induced haze a bit to realize that a cave was definitely not where she wanted to sleep with Charlie for the first time. But the other side of her mind once again overrode that thought as his fingers brushed against her skin, the calloused pads rough but at the same time nearly had her shaking with want.
Charlie's lips left her mouth and she gasped for air as he moved to her neck, still undoing the buttons of her shirt.
"Charlie," she whispered, barely able to speak.
"Mmm," he murmured against her skin, the vibration sending shivers up and down her body.
"Charlie… s… st… stop," she breathed, barely able to get the words out.
"Hmm?" he replied, still kissing her neck.
Somehow, Ophelia managed to brace her hands on his shoulders and push him away from her. He looked down at her, breathing heavily as he stared down at her in slight confusion.
"As much as I'm enjoyin' this," she managed to get out. "I'm no so sure a cave is the best place." He stared down at her a moment and then smiled softly, nodding.
He rolled off of her and for a moment, Ophelia worried, but he then wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close to his chest as he kissed her forehead.
"Likely right. It's a bit damp," he said. "And we've got an audience."
They both looked over at Colonel, who huffed at them in disapproval, before lying his head on his front paws away from them. Ophelia chuckled as she looked back at Charlie, finding his easy smile back.
She pressed a kiss against his lips.
"Though I have to admit, ye most definitely are my first choice of who I'd like to be stuck in a cave with," she said. He grinned down at her and then looked over at his knapsack.
"Well, I can make us a bit more comfortable," he said, looking back at her. She made out the slight blush that came over his face in the firelight. "I mean… not for… that…"
Ophelia laughed loudly and then kissed him again.
"I ken," she said.
They got up and Ophelia quickly did up her shirt as Charlie pulled out a few things from his knapsack and set about to getting an air mattress set up and then tossing the blankets and some pillows on it.
"How did ye pack all of this so quickly?" she asked as she pulled off her coat and then walked over to the mattress, sitting down on the edge of it to pull her boots off. Charlie was doing the same next to her.
"Ehm, well… there's always the chance we've got to go off and track a dragon down. Keep an emergency pack ready at all times," he said.
"Ah, makes sense," Ophelia said.
"Got food and tea as well, if you're hungry or cold," Charlie said.
"I'm no hungry," Ophelia said, turning to him with a smile. "Though I've a better idea than tea to keep warm."
Charlie returned her smile as they crawled under the blankets and Ophelia settled into his arms again, finding it rather comfortable wrapped up in him. Charlie was apparently a walking furnace, his body heat more than warding off the chill of the cave and the storm.
"Not how I was expecting that to go," Charlie said. Ophelia chuckled.
"What? Getting stuck in a cave wi' me?" she asked playfully. He laughed softly.
"No, I mean… that's not how I had hoped to tell you. Wanted to make a more… romantic gesture… or something," he said, frowning slightly.
"Well, it's no how I would have expected, but… at least we got it out in the open" she said. Charlie smiled down at her and then pressed a gentle kiss on her lips.
"That we did."