Chapter Twenty-Four

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"This is not what I had in mind," Harry admitted as he laced up his snow boots. Honestly when Meredith took him by his hand and led him upstairs and into the bedroom, he expected something very different. But Harry knew better, and he couldn't keep Meredith away from the sea for too long. Now that she was close, it was going to be a struggle of keeping her away.

"You said something about not wasting the day," Meredith replied, putting on her jackets.

"Yeah." He got up. "And the coldness?"

"You went to the arctic and I'm from the coldness. I think we'll be fine."

Before Harry could come up with another defense, Meredith was outside. This was only day one of their week together, before both of them needed to return to reality. It would be so  hard to go back, but this week with her was well worth it. He had been counting down the days until he got to see her next, and he would do it again.

When Harry came outside, Meredith already waited by the water. He chose this place because he knew how much Meredith loved the ocean. With the sprawling acres around them, he didn't need to worry about paparazzi showing up. Well, he didn't need to be worried about anyone showing up. For the next week, it was just him and her, and there would never be a dull moment.

Harry stopped beside her, staring off into the gray waves.

"I hope it's sunny one of these days." Meredith grabbed Harry's hand and went toward a path. "You mentioned something about fishing earlier?"

He smiled. "I have some poles, if the weather is good enough and there is open water."

She flipped her hair back. "There is this thing called ice fishing."

"I don't think I'm brave enough that cold."

"Oh, you're brave." She squeezed his hand. "Plus, it's only really cold if it's windy." With a smile on her face, Meredith continued down the path by the sea as Harry began to slow. "You're about to say something sad, aren't you?"

"Mere, I'm sorry--"

"Oh here we go," she groaned and turned around. "What now?"

"I didn't-- I wasn't able to protect you."

"Okay?"

"Mere-- I... I'm sorry that I wasn't able to protect you because... that's what I need to do. I should have been there. I should have done more. I should have--"

"Stop, Harry," Meredith groaned. "You're ruining this."

"I'm sorry--"

"Stop." Meredith walked over. Her chest touched his. "I'm a big girl. And, yes, sometimes it was shit-- sorry, you're British, shite," she corrected. Harry tried not to smile, but it was escaped. It only made Meredith's smile grow more. "Neither of us expected the paparazzi to follow me to the middle of northern Wisconsin. I wasn't in New York or London or some other city with a high population. Neither of us expected that kind of turnout. How could either of us see that coming? I didn't realize you were that famous."

Harry let out a bark of laughter.

"But I'm a big girl, Harry. I can protect myself. I don't get hurt too easily. Those stories, I know and you know they're fake. People threatening to kill me," Meredith shrugged, "been there, did that. All those people hiding behind computers, they don't mean anything. I am a big girl. I'm Meredith Fucking Rogue."

She grew solemn. "Sometimes it goes bad. I can't help it. It felt like I was being swallowed alive. But we got through it. And let's be honest, Harry, it'll probably happen again. These things happen. They come and they go, but something that stays is that I love you. So sometimes it's shit, and I won't be able to help myself. I'm going to have to cry and scream.

"But I know you're there, Harry. You'll help me. You love me. I know I'm not alone."

"Mere," he said sadly.

"No. We're happy now. This is happiness. We can do whatever we want. We're free." Meredith smiled. "So what do you want?" She kissed him. "Do you want my body?" She kissed him. "Do you want my mind?" She kissed him. "Do you want my love?" She kissed him. "Do you want everything?"

"I want everything." He kissed her.

Meredith took a step back. "Later." The breeze off the sea picked up her hair, blowing it around. "Harry, can kind of hat are you wearing?"

"I think it's a called a beanie," he said, touching it. "It keeps my ears warm."

"Okay...."

"Why, you don't like it?"

"I hate it. It makes you look like an old dad trying to look cool." Meredith shrugged and walked away on the path.

Harry watched her go. With her back completely turned, he took off the hat and pushed it into his jacket pocket. His ears immediately turned cold. He ran his fingers through his hair, trying to make it look manageable. Once he decided it was good enough, he caught up to Meredith. She was bent down, making a small snowman by the little balls she had. She collected them within her hands and moved away.

"Mere, what are we," he asked, "children?"

"Yes." Meredith chucked a snowball at him, hitting him in on the chest.

Harry bent down to load, but Meredith already threw two more snowballs at him. Thankfully, she had to reach down and reload. Harry threw the snowballs at her, hitting her in the breast and face. She laughed and fell to the ground.

"Careful," she warned. "Those are my money makers." Meredith launched another snowball at him, squarely hitting him in the chin.

"And what about my money maker?" he asked, referring to his face.

"That's why I'm not aiming for your penis," she responded, lofting another at him. Harry ducked out of the way, but Meredith was ready. She hit him in the back. He let out a fake roar. Going down for another snowball, Meredith slipped on ice and went down. Her back hit the ground, and she let out a squeal.

"Mere?"

"Ow," she laughed, rolling on the ground.

Coming over, Harry had the snowball aimed for an easy shot. With his arm raised, Meredith thought he might take it; she knew she would. However, Harry put the snowball aside and bent down to help his love. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," she said, still laughing. "It's a bit slippery. But while I'm doing here...." Meredith lied down, all arms and legs out, and she started to make a snow angel.

"When we talked on the phone, I never realized how much you love snow," he said.

Meredith shrugged. "The first snowfall is always fun and exciting, but I've had snow all my life, it gets boring and it ruins the roads. But, I'm happy now. Snow is good." She patted the snow beside her. "Come on."

Harry lied beside and started to make a snow angel. Meredith lied in the snow now, staring up at the gray clouds above her. Harry stopped and held her hand.

It was silent this far away from everyone else. Waves lapped against the shore of gray rocks, only ten feet away. Birds chirped from somewhere above. Somewhere, animals to and fro. But for now, it was mostly just silence, expect for them. The gray sky went on for miles, like the water did.

"Everything looks so big up there," she murmured, not wanting to disturb the silence. "It makes you wonder, doesn't it, our problems aren't really that bad?"

Harry sighed. "Not really."

Meredith rolled over to him, ruining her snow angel. Placing her head against his chest, she breathed deeply, settling into happiness.

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