Chapter 80 - Bossy Delicious Tarte

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∞ 80 ∞


Lucius and Valentina had fallen into a comfortable pattern. Lucius came over three days when he was in France and Valentina managed to arrange at her cleaning jobs to start early on Fridays so that she could leave earlier. Lucius would bring a basket of lovely ingredients each time (all Magical, so therefore cruelty free and organic, although he left out the part about them being Magical) and Valentina would cook and do his Muggle studies homework which he had passed of as general social studies of the poor, which he had to do to satisfy some 'complicated public law suit' he had explained in the briefest, vaguest fashion. It was often something like an hour of labour on each side of a two hour lunch, so neither of them were working too hard and both said goodbye each day feeling contented (and full).

With Valentina being highly sensitive and Lucius only just beginning to dip his foot into the role of charming conversationalist, sometimes he said something he thought would be rather amusing to a Muggle or something he meant merely as a factual observation, but it seemed to wound her feelings greatly. Only just beginning to dip her toe in the practice of hiding her feelings, the injury would instantly show with a look he had privately coined: "The Velvet Swaddledoe Look" after a cute Magical animal known for its large, dark, doe eyes and exceedingly forlorn appearance. (Well, perhaps it was the Swaddledoe look when it wasn't that bad and SILENCE when it was really bad. He didn't know where frowning and sticking her nose in the air much like his deceased wife had done and then giving him the silent treatment for slightly less time fell on the scale. He hadn't quite worked it all out yet but he knew it wasn't good.) He tried to hold his ground a couple times, but eventually found (as it had been with his deceased wife) the best thing to do was to give in and apologise.

He thought muggles were supposed to be sharp tongued and leather skinned – especially the women. This girl was worse than a Witch! One day he simply said: "You are a strange girl. You do so many strange things." Then by her sulky reaction, he realised he had hurt her feelings and felt terrible. He thought she was rather too sensitive, but he felt awful just the same and made mental notes to avoid hurting her feelings more in the future.

She was hard to understand because even with the haughtiness that did somewhat reminded him of Narcissa, her characteristics otherwise were very different to the women he had so far known – all Witches of course. Samantha Hegges, the judge and Hermione Granger were the closest to Muggles and he hardly knew either of them enough to say he 'knew' them, but both of them seemed highly level headed and not at all overemotional. On the other hand, genetically they were still Witches. So, as far as real Muggles went, he had no one to compare her personality to. (There was the Little One's mother, but she was so stereotypically 'Mugglish' in her unappealing crudeness, there was no point in comparing.) Valentina had broken all of the stereotypes and so he wasn't sure if it was the stereotypes that were largely false, or if Valentina really was a very strange girl as he had surmised.

She was amazingly sweet and affectionate towards him (which he couldn't help but enjoying) but she didn't get over things easily, which drove him mad! If he did something to upset her, it lasted! And she wasn't giving in either!... Come to think, of it those traits were what he was used to in most of the Witches he had ever known well, although he knew very well that all Witches were not that way. Yet unlike those Witches –and unlike what he expected in Muggles– she wouldn't ever show a temper, she would just cut him off mid sentence (sometimes quite arrogantly) walk away in silence and remain unresponsive. Or if his indiscretion was really bad, he would get the little hurt, Swaddledoe look without the haughtiness. (Or was it the other way round?) Getting the, COMPLETELY OPPOSITE, usual, sweet, overflowing effervescence to return afterwards was near impossible unless he gave in and apologised – or gave her a cuddle, at the very least. Although he did not show it out of his own obstinacy, the look made Lucius feel like an absolute grunt and just knowing he had upset her when she was so lovely to him, invariably caused him to try hard to indirectly make up with her in other ways, even when he didn't give in outright.

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