Chapter Ninety-Two

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Even on the icy banks of Wisconsin Point, there wasn't much a breeze. Late bloomers of seagulls that hadn't gone south yet hung around on the shore. These seagulls, which had come down from Canada for winter, sat on the ice and skimmed along the surface for fish that had moved upward. While the sun hid behind clouds, Meredith watched as the hidden sun crossed the sky. She knew she needed to start the trek down to the Twin Cities before it got too dark.

"Are you cold?" Meredith asked her boyfriend.

"No." Harry wrapped his arms around her. "You keep me warm."

Meredith's cheeks flushed. Grabbing a hold of his hand, she brought him closer to the ice. The snow had built up along the shore, and ice crystallized over the water. Soon enough, as the winter grew on, all the water would be frozen over. For now, it was just ice cracking and trying to refreeze.

Ice cracked under her red rain boots, having changed before driving out here. She threw on a heavy jacket too, not as heavy as Harry, who wore a heavy jacket and a sweatshirt. Meredith's big green jacket kept her just warm enough, filled with feathers. She unzipped in a little, which allowed the cold to nip at her chest.

It calmed her a little. Her jacket was just a little heavy, threatening to pull her down, and Meredith did her best to look outward. She had been feeling this way for a while, just wondering when she might tip off.

"Mere, are you okay?" Harry asked.

Her head hurt. "Migraine."

"They're coming more often."

"Yeah," she breathed.

"Do you want to go back?" he asked. "You can sleep. I can drive. Will that make it better?"

"No," Meredith lied. "I just want the water." Their gloved hands were positioned together as they walked along the ice. Thankfully the sand made it a bit easier, yet Harry still managed to slip. They went tumbling down. "Shit!"

"Mere!"

"I'm fine," she growled, lying on her back. If her head hurt before, it boomed now, like a constant rumbling that never ceased. Black and white dots danced in front of her eyes. The clouds roamed her vision, blending with the sky. "I think I'm just going on lay here a while."

Harry laid beside her. "Mere, are you sure?"

She laughed, which hurt her head more. "Yes, of course. It will pass, like they always do."

The gray clouds hovered above her. The clouds kept the coldness away, leaving it to a bit snippy. Now, laying on the shore, if Meredith closed her eyes, she pretended it was summer. The sun beat down and there was always a breeze off the lake, except for today when it calm. It scared her, like the world might come crashing down.

Opening her eyes, Meredith stared at the clouds. Harry shifted next to her. His eyes fell on her, but she didn't look next to him. Transfixed on the sky, it was like she already made her choice, on her way to London. Harry was waiting.

"Harry, look," she whispered.

His eyes found the sky, and above, seagulls flew past. "I don't really like seagulls."

At least fifty overhead, neither of the humans moved, becoming one with the ground. It was only a question if the birds would take a shit, but Meredith liked to remind herself that it was good luck. The birds circle them.

"Mere, maybe we should get out of here," Harry warned.

"Stay perfectly still."

If he moved, the birds had somewhere to aim. Harry stayed still.

The birds hovered and then landed around them. The seagulls plucked at the ground. The little orange feet flapped as they walked. The orange beaks attacked each other and then eventually settled around them.

"What now?" he whispered.

"Don't move." Sitting up, Meredith looked around at the birds, and all the black eyes stared back at her, unblinkingly. Her green eyes passed over all the birds. None of them flinched. Slowly and steadily, her hand reached toward the birds. The birds didn't blink, so she stuck out her hand out a bit more. One bird flopped forward, nibbling at it. She brushed her fingers together, and another bird hopped forward.

"Seagull whisperer," Harry murmured with a smirk.

Meredith smiled. "Wait for it." Slowly, she stood. The black, beady eyes of the birds followed every movement of Meredith. Her hand slowly went out to the side, and then her other hand raised too. With all eyes on her, even Harry's, Meredith dropped her hands. And then in one fluid motion, Meredith threw her hands into the air. All the seagulls flew off in one motion.

"How the he--" Harry jumped to his feet. "How did you do that?"

"Magic." Meredith's eyes slid over to him. "Also, I had old bread and made them focus on it. Seagulls aren't too hard." She shrugged. "At least they didn't get violent." Her footsteps cracked the icy sand as she trekked.

Harry's mouth was left agape. Harry's eyes trailed after her. Something told him to follow his girlfriend, yet his feet didn't move. His hand moved, feeling his breast pockets. He had been so scared on where to put it, and some part of him knew he didn't need to bring it to Minnesota or Wisconsin. It was meant for London; he had a plan. While Harry preferred to whisk her off to somewhere romantic, take her back to Africa and somewhere more romantic-- but Meredith was too stubborn for that.

Before he knew it, it was in his hand, glittering in the light. He hoped the ring wasn't too much. Meredith already wore rings, which she would be forced to remove to make room for the massive rocks that would, hopefully, be positioned on her finger. It was all a matter of time and hope. He had the hope; he had the love. Yet a rotting feeling made Harry's heart sink: yes or no.

"Mere?" Her name escaped his lips before he could stop them. His heart thundered, scared what was about to happen. And he collapsed to one knee. His chest ached. His head hurt. Yet he felt the most brave.

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