Chapter Twenty-Five

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Night soon came, settling dark over the couple, making them return inside. They had groceries to last a week, and a car in the garage unless they wanted to go anywhere. Meredith didn't mind staying, as long as she was with Harry. He was in charge of cooking, as Meredith settled down to tell him a story how she recently lit an omelet on fire.

"Remind me to never let you cook at Kensington," he said. "You may take the whole thing down."

"Little did you know, I'm actually part of the resistance," she said.

"Really?" Harry arched an eyebrow.

"Yes, I'm here to take down the whole monarchy. First job, infiltrate the monarchy via you, someone who hasn't chosen a mate, and to use my charms to get you to love me."

"Done. And the second part?"

Meredith paused. "Um... bring down the monarchy?"


"I clearly didn't think this out." She shook her head. "Because I fell in love with you, I'm a terrible spy."

Harry came over, setting food down on the table, and kissed her deeply. "Be a double spy. Tell me everything you know about the resistance. Where's the money? How many backers? Who are they?"

"They're mostly Scottish," Meredith replied with a smile.

"Shocking." Harry went back to the kitchen and grabbed the rest of the food. Meredith watched him from the table. "What are you looking at?"

"Your fine ass."

Harry blushed. "Thank you." Sitting across from her, she was sad not to see it anymore. His cheeks continued to be red. "So what's the plan for tonight? We have movies and such. I know you're tired, so we could just head to bed afterward."

"For sex?"

He almost choked on her his water. After all this time, he forgot how blunt she was, but he remembered how much he liked it. "For sleep," he corrected.

"Oh, darn." She snapped her fingers. "Now how are you going to get your Christmas present?" Meredith took a bite of her food.

Harry laughed. "Eat the food, Mere."

"Will I need energy for later?"

"Because of that, you can't have me tonight," he said toughly. "We're going to bed."

"Who said I needs you to have fun?"

Smirking, Harry took a bite of his food. Meredith continued on with her bantering. Since she was so good at it, no help was necessary from Harry. He laughed as Meredith told stories of university, and it was always an exciting experience when she mentioned her nights as an RA. It seems, like in the last four months, she had so much to tell him, and she always a flavor of humor. Though Meredith disagreed, Harry thought she had the more interesting life. His days were meant in structure, and so were hers, but how she so easily floated humor in dark moments made him laugh.

As Harry did the dishes, Meredith went upstairs, presumably to take a shower and get ready for bed. It was a long time. When Harry came upstairs, she was still in the master's bathroom. He looked at her flung open suitcase, with everything lying about. She was obviously on the search for something.

"Harry?" she called from the bathroom. "Are you there?"

"Yeah? Anything wrong?"

Meredith flung open the door and leaned against the doorway, pursing her lips. "No." She tilted her head to the side. "Do you like it?" Meredith pointed at the shirt. It was boring in most every way, except claiming that Minnesota was the best state with an outline of the territory.

"I do."

"Good," she said, walking over to the bed, "it's yours."


"Merry Christmas." She kissed him on the lips. "Happy Christmas. Whatever." Her lips began to burn at the touch.

"You're wearing it," he smiled.

"If you want it, you'll have to take it off of me."

Harry chuckled and backed off. "Your present first." He went over to a set of drawers and pulled something out. Groaning, Meredith flopped down on the bed. "What?" he asked.

"It's going to be great, whatever you got me, and I got you a shirt."

He smiled at her. "You're different than all the other girls I know, especially because I got you a book for Christmas."

"Was it expensive?"

"Yes, but I think you'll use it."

"If it's a bible, I won't."

Harry laughed and brought a box out. It was plain and wooden. The wood was meant to protect the precious book inside. Meredith wasn't exactly sure what book it was, but it was certainly important. He held the box in front of him, ready for her to open it. Meredith was hesitant. After meeting his eyes, Meredith accepted her fate and opened the box.

Inside did rest a book, old and torn, but it held deep stitching along the sides like someone had put it back together. It looked sturdy enough. Yet, she didn't want to touch it. The paper had turned crispy and yellow, curling along the edges. As if water damage had soaked the book, the pages flopped around and broken. Yet, all of it together, it was beautiful.

"Does that say what I think it says?" Meredith whispered.

"Yes," Harry responded.

Inside the box was one of the very few first copies of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets of the Portuguese.

"Oh my God," Meredith said, not allowing herself to touch it.

Realizing Meredith wouldn't, Harry carefully reached inside the box and pulled out the box. "It's sturdier than it looks. It's been put back together a few times," he admitted, "but it's all better now. You can read it for your heart's desire."

"Harry," Meredith whispered, "it's too much. I--"


"I can't give anything really back to you."

"I love you," he said. "I realized early on that you don't like expensive things or people buying you things. You don't... have a lot of nice things. Let me give you something nice. It's okay to have nice things."

She sighed. "What if I break it?"

"You won't." He kissed her. "And if that wasn't enough...." Harry walked away from her and grabbed something else from the drawer. "I promise this one wasn't expensive. Close your eyes." Setting down the book carefully, Meredith closed her eyes and held out her hands. She heard him come back to her and he placed a heavy wrapper in her hands. "Open."

Looking down, Meredith laughed. "Well, you've out done yourself now." In her hands, she held a British Kit Kat. "You're serious right now?"

"You said Kyra ate yours."

Meredith smiled. "Well, I guess you should have your t-shirt now, no matter how shit it is."

He chuckled. "It's good."

"Not as good as it's going to get."

Meredith slipped off the t-shirt, flinging it across the room. Harry's blue eyes grew. Taking a deep breath, he tried to contain himself. Meredith stood in front of her boyfriend in new lingerie. It was deep green, matching her eyes, with black lace. Little fake gems on the bra gleamed in the light. However, the fake gems wasn't what his eyes. The bra fit her perfectly, showing off her beautiful assets, along her panties. The green bra matched the panties, which revealed much. Meredith shifted her weight, and he couldn't help but watch her move. Harry swallowed.

"Do you like it?" she asked.


"Good." Meredith batted her eyelashes. "Now, get me out of these panties," she said sexually, "because they're very uncomfortable."

"Well," Harry smiled, "if you insist."

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