chapter fifteen

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hi everyone! huge thank you to everyone who's read, voted, & commented. i wanted to say that i've finally found a faceclaim for emily & i've also updated the cover w/the girl i imagine portraying her. the fc will be sophia miacova, so big thank you to @anirod024 for finding & suggesting her!

"That wasn't ominous at all," I remarked with a scoff, leaning onto the bed behind me. "What d'you guys think he means by fun? Not to be picky of who's helping us—cause I'm thankful we made it here, but after everything . . . are we sure we can trust him?"

   "I get where you're coming from, and it's always good to be cautious, but it's safe. Besides, I think we've earned the right to let our guards down for a little while," Chubs smiled, patting me on the shoulder.

   Ruby nodded along with him, a small grin pulling at the corners of the girl's mouth. "We're teenagers, Emily. We should get to act like teenagers. So, let's go have fun."

"You know what Ruby said earlier?" I spoke up, looking to Liam as he let out a hum in response. "She said this place was like Hogwarts," I laughed a bit, my eyes trailing up to the lanterns she'd pointed out earlier. They hung above everyone that was dancing, illuminated parts of their surroundings while casting shadows on other objects; I suppose it did give off a mysterious vibe. "I can see what she mean now, though. This place is pretty cool."

"Does that make you Harry Potter?" he asked, a smile coming to his face as the fire in front of us shone against his skin, casting a beautifully subtle orange glow.

"Oh, God no," I scoffed out a laugh. "I don't have the leadership and responsibility qualifications." I shrugged, nudging his shoulder lightly. "If anything, I'd be Hermione. She's a badass."

"So, what would that make me? Would I be Harry Potter? Maybe more of a Ron?" Liam asked with a grin, gesturing to himself.

"Doesn't Ron and Hermione wind up together?"

At my words, the boy's eyes widened as he realized what he'd implied in his previous statement. "Oh, no," he guffawed. "I didn't mean—" he cut himself off, noticing the laugh that I was trying and failing to hold in.

"No, c'mon. Ron and Hermione—sure they didn't like each other at first, but I don't know," I smiled, lifting my shoulders. "I kind of liked them together." I looked up, taking note that his eyes were already watching me; a keenness of sorts showing throughout his gaze.

A short, amused breath left his nose as he stood up. "You're something else, you know that?" Liam turned to me and held out his hand. "We should dance," he proposed.

"I don't think I even know how to dance."

"Awe, c'mon. Dancing—it's natural, like it's in our blood. No excuses. Come and dance," he begged, grabbing my hand and beginning to tug on it.

"Um, no. Our blood is made up of plasma and different types of c—" The information I was giving was cut off as Liam grabbing my hand tightly and pulled me to my feet before dragging me over to the hoard of people that were dancing.

We stood face-to-face, both of us peering at the other for a moment and waiting for someone to move.

"I won't hurt you," he joked.

"As if you could," I scoffed playfully and lifted my arms before gently setting them on his shoulders. As soon as I did, I could feel the muscle beneath his shirt nonchalantly tense; the movement was slight, but it was there nonetheless.

"Right. You're the one that got all the powers." Liam's shoulders relaxed as his arms moved around my waist. "You could read my mind and electrocute me at the same time."

I feigned a hurt look, my jaw slacking a bit. "I would never do such a thing," I swore, a giggle leaving my lips afterwards.

Liam gazed down intently at me; something—a feeling that I couldn't quite understand was swarming in his eyes. I cocked my head to the side softly, staring into the blue of his irises as I tried to decipher what the look meant. No one had ever looked at me that way before and it confused me more than I liked to admit. I wanted to know what it meant.

"Why are you looking at me like that?" I asked, the words leaving my mouth in a whisper-like fashion, only to where he could hear them.

"You're beautiful," he said bluntly, taking me by surprise. "You're really beautiful, Em." The confession caused his arms to tighten around my waist and my hands to snake up around his neck, both of us pulling the other closer.

I was stunned, to say the least. No one had ever told me I was pretty before, let alone beautiful. Even saying the word in my head felt foreign when it was applied to myself.

Liam's steps were careful and calculated as he slowly maneuvered us a bit farther from the crowd.

I mulled over the adjective he'd used, letting my head lean onto his chest in the process. I could feel his head lower to meet mine as his hands pressed into my back and pulled me closer. My thumb ran over the fabric of his shirt before my hand met the nape of his neck and rested there. I could feel his breathe fan over the side of my cheek as he rested his head against mine. We both took in the moment in our own way; I was letting our actions burn into my memory like a brand, not wanting to forget anything.

This was unfamiliar territory, making me overthink a few times as we danced, until I pulled my thoughts back from the edge. I wanted to enjoy this—I needed to enjoy this.

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