(1940-01-17) Saturday Evening at Rosie's
Details for Saturday Evening at Rosie's
Summary: Ludae and Hephaesta's first date at Rosie's in Hogsmeade.
Date: 1940-01-17
Location: Rosie's Caff

Ludae is already in Rosie's, having gotten there a little early because she wanted to be sure she got what she needed from the herbology shop. Of course, that particular package sat on the table, and Ludae glanced nervously at it while she took a sip of the cup of tea she ordered while waiting for Phae to arrive. If she arrives, of course. Ludae, much to her chagrin and unease, is also considering the possibility that Phae would blow her off in favor of studying or some new invention she's working on. She takes another sip of tea to help calm her nerves, and once again glances towards what she picked up from the shop; a dozen roses, white in colour, wrapped up in an overly pretty manner because Ludae made the mistake of mentioning to the shopkeep that it was for a first date.

It isn't a great leap of logic to imagine Hephaesta getting lost in some project. Anyone that had seen her all week would swear she was just as preoccupied as usual. Well, anyone other than Ludae, whose appearance would regularly induce a blush and a quiet smile. The truth, of course, is that Phae has been preoccupied all week with anticipation about the upcoming date, making it difficult to focus on her work. At least one minor explosion in the workshop could reasonably be attributed to her distraction.

But in spite of all concerns, when the door of the caff opens, Phae's distinctive click-whirr can be heard as she enters. She has donned a dress that her mother purchased for her this year (which she swore she would have no use for) — a demure blue affair with poofing sleeves and a cinched waist. Spotting Ludae, she takes a deep breath and, quite unexpectedly, her face lights up like the sunrise in a beaming smile.

Ludae is trying not to stare at the entrance of the cafe, instead distracting herself with other people milling about on their own business, or the decor, anything really to distract her from how excited and nervous she is. The redhead, herself, is wearing a fern green affair, a simple dress, sleeveless with a modestly cut neckline, and a thin blue belt around her waist. A small charm hangs from the buckle, an accessory for both decoration and for luck. Her heart starts pounding when she hears that familiar click-whirr that announces Phae's arrival. She looks over at the other Ravenclaw girl at the same time she is spotted, and can't help a bright, happy smile from appearing on her own face.

Setting down her cup, Ludae stands up from the table, walking over to meet Phae halfway. "You came," she says, still smiling as she bites the corner of her lip. "I was half afraid you wouldn't…" She hesitates a moment, hands clasped in front of her, held up close to her chest while she just… looks at her for a moment, blue eyes shimmering with joy. Then she steps forward, putting her arms around Phae in a warm, tight hug. It only lasts a moment, and when Ludae withdraws from it she's still beaming. "You look…" Ludae pauses a moment, her cheeks coloring a little pink. "Um, you look lovely…"

Hephaesta stands speechless at first, half unable to think of what to say, half afraid of saying the wrong thing. The smile seems to be the right thing, so she keeps at it. She squeaks in surprise at the sudden hug, but it's over before she has the wherewithall to try to respond with her own. "Thank you," she says meekly. "So do you." She allows her eyes to drift down, realizing that this is the first time she has really looked at Ludae like this. She feels a flutter in her stomach…a sensation she hasn't felt since her days with a certain other red-haired girl. "I think we sit down now." She is taking her role as the closest they have to an expert on date protocol seriously.

Ludae bites her lip and blushes, nodding her head. "Oh, uh, r-right," she stammers a little. It's clear that Ludae is nervous and a bit flustered, herself. This is the first date she's ever had, and it's with a fellow housemate… If things go poorly, there could be a lot of awkward tension between them for the rest of their time at Hogwarts! No pressure, though. "Our table's right over here," she says, gesturing and then walking with Phae to where she had been sitting earlier. "I, um… A friend of mine mentioned that it's, uh, traditional to give someone flowers or candy on a first date," she says, "Since I was the one who asked you… I got you these…" Ludae picks up the bouquet of roses off the table, offering them to Hephaesta. "They're called Rainbow Roses… They're white now, but once you put them in water, they'll bloom a brilliant red… they bloom again for six more days, each time another color…" She chews her lip nervously, unsure if Phae would actually like them.

Hephaesta's lips part as she takes the roses, a touch of pink colouring her cheeks. She stares at the flowers in awe. "That's incredible. Some sort of hydrosynthetic reaction in the pigmentation? It must be a remarkably complex exchange of energy. Are they wizard-bred, or is this a natural plant?" Phae takes her seat, eyes still fixed on the bouquet in rapt fascination.

Ludae, after a moments hesitation, helps Phae to her seat by holding the chair out. It's something she's seen done by others on dates, usually men with pretty women, but since she knows that Phae is the most female of the two of them, Ludae takes on that role with a modecum of uncertainty. After Phae is seated she gets herself settled, smoothing her dress over her thighs nervously. "Well, ah, I do believe they're natural plants," she says, "But I think they were bred in order to single out the plants that produce the most brilliant colors when they bloom." She chews her lip, and smiles with a giddy, uncontrollable sort of glee that Phae likes the little gift. So far, things could not have gone better for Ludae.

"This is truly remarkable," Phae muses, finally tearing her eyes away from the flowers to look at Ludae. "Thank you, Ludae. They're perfectly lovely. Will you help me take care of them? It would be dreadful if my brown thumb killed them."

Ludae gives a nod of her head, smiling. "They're not difficult to take care of," she says, "You just clip the stems and put them in a vase with water… Beautiful as they are, unfortunately they only last for a week after that… I don't know of anyone who's managed to keep them alive longer." She frowns briefly, but then smiles happily again. "I'm just glad that you like them. I wanted to, um, get something special. For you," she says. Ludae bites her lip again, blushing at how nervous she's acting. She can't help it, though. She's been thinking about this since they came back to school this year, and then the last week of anticipation built up… Well, Ludae could hardly contain how happy she was to finally be here. After a moment, she snaps back to where they are and what they're doing. "Oh! Um, would you like some tea?" she asks, sitting up a little more to reach for the teapot, ready to pour it if Phae would like some, "The waitress should be by in a moment, too."

Hephaesta nods eagerly, gently setting the roses down on the table. "I'd love some tea, thank you. Earl grey, if you please. Actually…I got you something as well." Phae grins excitedly as she digs into her little handbag. She produces a tiny wooden box, wrapped with a blue ribbon, and slides it across the table to Ludae. "I hope you like it."

Ludae blushes a little, and she nods her head. Conveniently, she was drinking that very tea herself, and a cup is poured for Phae before Ludae settles back down again. She chews her lip nervously as she looks down at that wooden box when it's produced. It's so small, but Ludae knows that doesn't mean much in the wizarding word. "For me?" she asks, looking up at Phae with a shy smile, before she turns her eyes back down again and gives the ribbon a gentle tug to untie it and open the box to see what's inside…

When the hinged lid is opened, a little mechanism elevates the object inside. The object itself appears to be a tiny brass flower pendant attached to a chain. Hephaesta nibbles at her lip, staring expectantly with wide eyes at Ludae's reaction. "I spent all week on it. I'm sorry if it's a little crude, but I wanted it to be ready for today."

Ludae gasps softly, and her cheeks color again - really its a wonder she doesn't pass out with how much she blushes. Her eyes wide, fingers held in front of her lips for a moment as she gazes down at the tiny brass pendant. "Phae, it's… It's lovely," she says. She looks up at Phae again with a smile, blushing brightly. "Thank you so much, it's… it's the nicest thing anyone's given me." Ludae gingerly lifts it out of the box, holding it delicately in her hands as though any rougher treatment might destroy it. "Could you, um, help me put it on?" she asks hesitantly. Her hair is a bit long to make the task of doing so easy on her own.

Hephaesta nods eagerly. "Of course." She rises with care, as always, stepping around the table to take the pendant. "Lift your hair, please?" When those silken ginger locks are moved out of the way, Phae pauses a moment, catching herself staring at Ludae's bared neck. She enjoys a private smile at that, and drapes the chain, clasping it at the nape of Ludae's neck. "There's one more thing," she says, drawing her wand out of her sleeve. Pointing it at the pendant, she incants, "Lumos", causing the tip of her want to glow with light. At that moment, there is the faintest clicking sound from the flower, and it's head begins to spin, its brass petals opening to reveal a silver-coloured disc in the middle, engraved with an "L".

Ludae nods her head, biting her lip as she watches Phae rise. She hands her the pendant, and then gathers up the long locks of her hair to pull them aside, revealing her bare neck, head leaned forward. She blushes softly as Phae seems to hesitate a moment, but then she's lowering the pendant past her face, and Ludae chews her lip as it's clasped. Once Phae is done, Ludae lets her long hair fall back into place about her shoulders. She gasps softly when Hephaesta points her wand at the pendant(and by association, herself), but the innocent incantation, followed by the subsequent opening of the flower pendant, makes her cheeks burn and her heart practically melt. "Oh, Phae," she murmurs softly, as she gazes down at the pendant, "I… I don't know what to say…"

Hephaesta tries not to look too proud as she reclaims her seat. She gives Ludae a little shrug. "Say you like it. Oh…and I would keep your hair away from it when it opens and closes. I couldn't quite get the charms right to repel hair. They're mostly for keeping small bits of hair out of the mechanisms, not long, hair like yours."

Ludae smiles and bites her lip, nodding. "Well, if it gets caught I suppose I'll have to come find you to help me with it, won't I?" Her cheeks are still pink and she can't stop smiling. "It's a really amazing gift, Phae," she says, "I don't like it, though. I love it. It's really the best thing I've ever gotten and…" She pauses, hesitating nervously as she glances around, leaning a little closer to say more softly, "It means so much more that it's from you… I'll always cherish it."

Hephaesta tilts her head curiously at Ludae, eyes twinkling with delight at her appreciation of the gift. "I'm glad you like it. Love it!" She corrects herself quickly, giggling. It isn't often that Hephaesta can be seen showing much emotion. Her face has a way of completely transforming when she allows herself to smile and laugh. "I've been thinking all week. I feel just awful that I really don't know much about you. I know you're brilliant at herbology, and that you must be very brave, with how you behaved at the Pantomime fire. But I never took the time to learn about you when you were tutoring me. I hope you'll forgive me…and maybe tell me more about yourself?"

Ludae blushes at that, and she chews her lip a little. "Well, the same goes for you," she says, "I, uh… I enjoyed the time we spent studying together, and I've always wanted to, um, get closer to you…" She hesitates for a moment, and her cheeks flush deeply as she admits, "You don't know how many times we've been sitting beside each other and I've just wanted to, um…" She glances down shyly, trailing off a little. What the hell, it's a date, right? She lifts a hand, reaching over to Phae to take her hand gently, just lightly holding it to see if the gesture might be returned. Ludae glances up at Phae through her lashes, lip caught between her teeth again as she habitually does, cheeks flushed rosey pink. Not that she meant to distract from the original request, of course.

Hephaesta does not retract her hand, but watches Ludae with a kind of wonder. It is the touch of her hand that breaks her out of mere observation. That contact sets her heart beating a bit faster, and those butterlfies in her stomach flap furiously. She had not fully admitted to herself before how she had missed this sort of innocent connection with another person. She turns her hand under Ludae's, curling her fingers into the other girl's. "You're so sweet," she says meekly, "and so pretty."

Ludae hadn't quite expected that. Those words, at least, spoken so timidly from a girl she has always admired for being so brilliant and confident. When her fingers close around her own hand, Ludae's heart leaps in her chest. She can hear it pounding in her ears. Her cheeks redden, and she can't help a shy, broad grin from spreading across her lips. "Thank you, Phae," she murmurs softly, "I, um… I've always thought you were so beautiful… Kind of, um, intimidating, really." She leans on her elbows now, her other hand resting on Phae's while she holds it gently. She looks up at the other girl, still blushing. "Um… I'm not sure where to start, though," she says, "About me… Um… is there anything you want to know, in particular?"

Hephaesta blinks in surprise. Intimidating? Her? If her brother Archie were here, he'd be laughing his head off. "I hope you don't find me intimidating now. I'm really quite harmless. But let's see. Where are you from? I cannot recall if I've seen you outside of school. Perhaps on Diagon Alley. Where does your family live?"

If anyone laughted at the two of them now, Ludae would likely sock them right in the mouth! She's a feisty redhead, after all. Timid usually, but when she's angered, run for the hills! She giggles softly, though, and shakes her head. "Um, not as much, no," she says, "But I still think you're beautiful." She smiles and raises her brows slightly at the question. "Oh, uh… I'm surprised we haven't mentioned this to each other before… I guess studies always got in the way of being friends," she laments momentarily, "I'm from just outside of Guildford, it's in Surrey. My parents own a country home there. Um, m-maybe you could come visit sometime over summer?" Luda smiles again. "How about you?" she asks, "Do you live in London, yourself?"

Hephaesta's brow lifts up in surprise. "You're joking. We're in Surrey as well! Just south of Cranleigh. That's where the main estate is, anyhow. We've also got a townhouse in London, in Bayswater. We're back and forth between the two all the time. Usually depending on Mother's mood."

Ludae gets a surprised expression on her face at that revelation, too. She actually laughs, taking one of her hands away from Phae's to cover her mouth. "Well, then, you'll certainly have to come visit, then," she says, smiling brightly, "It isn't far at all… Only five minutes by broom, I imagine…" She bites her lip again, blushing. Here the girl she had a crush on all this time was practically right down the road from where she grew up. "Though I admit, you likely have a much more, um, grand home than I grew up in… It's comfortable and modest," she admits, "But it's no mansion. I wouldn't even call it an estate, really…" She blushes a little.

Hephaesta winces apologetically. "I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to flaunt our wealth, I promise. I really don't even think about it." The Mulciber aren't the richest wizarding family, but for generations they have lived very well on royalties and the sale of their many patents. "Anyhow, I'd love to visit. We'll have you at the house as well. Mother will want to invite your entire family, I'm sure. She loves a party."

Ludae shakes her head emphatically. "Oh, n-no, um, I didn't mean it like that," she says, "I've never thought of you as one of the, um… more pretentious families around here… You've always been very modest, I think." She smiles again. "It's something I've always liked about you, Phae." She bites her lip though at the mention of her family joining them. "Well, it's only me and my parents," she admits, "Are you… Um… There wouldn't be any problem, would there? I mean, my… my mother's a muggle, after all, and I know how some people feel about them… I don't want to presume one way or another, I just… I feel it safer to ask, with everything that's been going on lately…"

Hephaesta tightens her fingers in Ludae's hand, shaking her head firmly. "We are not like the Blacks and the Malfoys. 'A Mulciber measures a man by the skill of his hands and the depth of his mind.' That's what my father always says." She points to the little clockwork flower around Ludae's neck. "Most of that is based on Muggle technology. I think Muggles are positively brilliant, myself."

Ludae smiles at that, the butterflies in her own stomach fluttering when Phae squeezes her hand like that. "I'm glad to hear that," she says, "I guess that makes sense, then… If you had any prejudice I don't think you'd be wasting your time with Muggle Studies." She bites her lip a little, and smiles. "The only skill I have with my hands is with herbology," she admits, "I don't think I could make something as beautiful as what you've made me…"

"I'm sure that's not true," Phae admonishes. "I've seen what you can get plants to do. It's positively lovely. If I had just left my broom tree in your hands, it would certainly have fared much better." These days, it's trying very hard to grow into a proper tree on the Mulciber estate in Surrey. "Tell me more about you. What is your plan? Where do you see yourself in five years?"

Ludae giggles softly at that. "Ooh, on to the tough questions, eh?" she says with a light tease in her voice, "I want to work for the Ministry of Magic, actually. I'm hoping to get an internship with the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Hopefully in the Beast Division." She grins a little. "And hopefully, um, in a nice little place of my own," she adds, blushing as she looks down at the table shyly, "With a nice, pretty girl to come home to…" With the way she's being so shy, of course, there's a good chance that at this point in time she's hoping that girl turns out to be Hephaesta.

The implication brings a blush to Phae's face, highlighting her faint freckles. "I'm sure you'll achieve everything you set out to do. I…have a confession. I hope this won't put you off." She nibbles at her lip as she braces herself to admit that, "I don't really…get along with animals."

Ludae smiles, and waves a hand dismissively. "Well, its not like I'm going to be bringing my work home with me or anything," she admits, "It's just what I want to do with my career… At least, right now." She shrugs her shoulders. "I've heard of plenty of witches and wizards changing course after leaving school, anyways." She smiles again, and asks, "What about you? What do you want to do after we're out of school? Aside from, you know, continuing to invent the most amazing things."

Hephaesta breathes a bit easier when Ludae isn't horrified at her poor relationship with fauna. "I'd like to do exactly that. My like father and grandfather before me, I'll be an inventor. I've already got a very good relationship with Macnair Manufacturing. I apprentice every summer in their research and development department. They were the ones that helped me to build Gizmo, and they desperately want to buy the patent if I ever get him to work efficiently enough."

Ludae's brows lift again in surprise. "Already?" she asks, "And you're not even out of school…" She smiles brightly. "That's really amazing, Phae. I knew you were brilliant, but I didn't think you already had something lined up like that…" She chews her lip a little. "Speaking of confessions, though… There's, um… Well, there's something you should know about me, too," she admits, "But… I can't tell you here. I don't, um… I don't want it to get out… I just… It's been weighing on my mind all week and if we're going to, um… continue to do this… I think you deserve to know before things get too… involved." Of course, she seems nervous now, shy and a little worried that Phae might react poorly to her own secret.

Hephaesta's eyebrows come together in a look of concern. "Is it bad?" She quickly shakes her head. "Never mind that. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. You've been perfectly lovely to me. I don't want you to feel as if you must tell me something uncomfortable. Maybe…maybe if things turn out…that we get closer." She shrugs abashedly. "Then I'm sure I'd like to know everything. But you're under no obligation now. Am I talking too much? I'm sorry…I'm a little nervous."

Ludae bites her lip gently, just watching Phae while the girl goes on like that, looking so adorably nervous. She's nervous, herself, but she nods her head. "W-well, it's something… Um… I -want- you to know about me," she admits, "Because it's… it's part of who I am. I don't think it's -bad-, just… I'm different, and I don't want you to get the wrong idea about who I am." She takes a deep breath to calm the unease in her chest, and she smiles at Phae shyly. "I think you've been wonderful to me, too, Phae," she says, "That's why I want to, um, be open with you. Though… maybe it is better to wait until we are closer… or at least a more convenient time, when we're alone with one another."

Hephaesta's hazel eyes peer at Ludae. She's piqued that Ravenclaw curiosity, and now it's bound to linger in Phae's mind. Slowly she nods, "Alright. Whenever you're comfortable." She offers an encouraging smile, squeezing Ludae's hand again without even thinking about it. "You know…I really don't know how to measure how close we are. You say I've got experience at this, but I don't think my experience was typical. I quite often acted like a fool, and I'd really rather not do that this time. So…I'm afraid I really don't know how we're supposed to go about this." She smirks, giggling softly.

Ludae nods her head, blushing softly as she considers Phae's words. "I'm, um, I'm not sure either," she admits, "I mean, this is all so new to me, I just… I don't want to make any mistakes, or do anything stupid or embarassing. It's just so hard to think about what I'm doing when my heart is racing and after all this time feeling like I've wanted to get to know you we're finally sitting here talking and holding hands and I feel like I just want to kiss you and-" Ludae's mouth was moving a bit faster than her brain for a minute there, and she cuts herself off when she realizes that little bit slipped out. Speaking of not wanting to make mistakes, Ludae gets an aghast expression on her features as all the color drains from her face for a moment. "I-I-I mean, um, oh gods," she stammers, as all that color comes rushing back two-fold as embarassment sets in.

Once again, there is that wide-eyed look of surprise, stunning Phae into silence. For a few painfully long seconds, she just stares at Ludae. Then the colour flushes her cheeks, turning her whole face bright pink, and she ducks her head abashedly. But it cannot hide the smile creeping onto her lips. She swallows hard and says quietly, "You…want to kiss me? Right now?"

Ludae doesn't notice that smile just yet, the redhead a little too embarassed about letting that slip to look up at Phae, her own eyes on her feet. She bites her lip and nods her head in answer to the question. "W-well, um, a-any time, really, would be really nice t-to kiss you," she murmurs shyly.

Hephaesta can feel the heat emanating from her face. Stars above, is anyone else hearing this? She doesn't dare look to see if there are other eyes on them. "I th-think…um…well…maybe…um…" She stammers on, trying to find the words to convey the thoughts she isn't even sure of yet. Finally she forces herself to stop and take a breath, and whispers, "Maybe…soon."

Ludae blushes deeply and bites her lip. She glances up at Phae, watching her for a moment. Ludae could feel her stomach fluttering, her legs feeling like jelly, her head swimming… Then she's standing up, half-leaning across the table on one hand. The other goes to the back of Phae's neck, just touching gently as Ludae leans in and presses her lips to Phae's, right then and there. It's a gentle kiss, sweet and almost chaste, and it only lasts for a few moments - which might just feel longer to the two of them. Ludae pulls back a little bit then, cheeks flushed, eyes shimmering as she looks into Phae's, and she murmurs softly, "I'm sorry, I… I couldn't wait that long…"

Hephaesta most definitely did not expect that. She squeaks in surprise, eyes turning to saucers. Her first impulse is to pull away in shock. But…Ludae's lips are so warm, the kiss so sweet and earnest, that the urge to retreat rapidly drains away, her eyes flutter closed, and she drifts away into the moment. When she is released, she takes a shuddering breath, and touches a fingertip to her lips in disbelief. She cracks her eyes open to look at Ludae, still blushing fiercely. "W-…wow."

Ludae blushes warmly, and does back off a little, so she's not right in Phae's face when she opens her eyes again. She bites her lip at that response, her cheeks flushing deeper. "Th-thanks," she murmurs, glancing around, wondering if anyone just saw that. "That, um…" She bites her lip, looking nervous again for a moment, but still smiling with a shy inner joy. She leans in closer to Phae to murmur softly, "That was my, uh, f-first kiss… Whatever happens from here on out… that was worth all of it…"

"Really?" Hephaesta's smile could melt ice cubes. "I…I don't know what to say. Your first kiss," she murmurs, touching her lips again. "Was it good? Please tell me it was good." She is suddenly overwhelmed with the fear that she gave Ludae a mediocre first kiss…even if she didn't give the kiss at all.

Ludae takes Phae's hand in hers again, holding it between both of her's, and giving a gentle squeeze. "It was everything I dreamed about, Phae," she says, and she bites her lip gently, smiling happily. "I think you just ruined my career though," Ludae tells her, "There's no way I'm going to pass any of my classes when all I can think about is kissing you like that again…" She smiles, though, obviously jesting about that - what kind of Ravenclaw would she be if she couldn't pass her classes? She's just going to have to do it while sighing dreamily about Phae at the same time.

Hephaesta giggles softly at the joke, breaking a bit of the tension. She takes a deep, slow breath, choosing her words carefully. "That kiss was…wonderful, but surprising. It was so…sudden, and demanding." She nibbles at her lip, cheeks flushing again. "I…I liked it. I don't know where we're going from here. But if this is the side of you I haven't seen…" she shrugs bashfully, "I could stand to see more."

Ludae bites her lip gently and she blushes a little. "Well, um… I think I know a place we, uh, could go," she murmurs hesitantly, unsure if Phae would be along for it but after that kiss, well, Ludae could stand to show her more of that side of her. She doesn't really understand it herself, but there's something about Phae that makes her want to act, rather than wait.

And Hephaesta is right back to stunned surprise. What a wild griffin ride it is with this girl! "I…wh-…right now?" She keeps her voice low and conspiratorial, lest anyone overhear. There is temptation in her eyes, but also caution. "I…I don't know. Maybe…we should wait?" It's as much a question as a suggestion.

Ludae shrugs her shoulders, biting her lip, glancing around the cafe. "Maybe," she says, "It's not like, um, I'm asking to get a room at the Three Broomsticks or anything, I just… Thought it might be nice to go somewhere a little less…" She glances around, gesturing at the cafe in general. "Full of prying eyes and ears." She smiles at Phae, and gives her hand a gentle squeeze. "If you want to," she says softly, "The last thing I want is for things to move too fast… Its just… everything up until now… I just couldn't stand it if I ever had to look back at this day and ask myself 'what if'."

Hephaesta places her other hand on the table, joining it with their other clasped hands. "You have a compelling philosophy," she says. "But I don't think you have to worry. I cannot believe I'm the one saying this, but…you've caught my interest, Ludae. You are very unique. I like that."

Ludae giggles softly and blushes at that, grinning broadly, if shyly. "Oh, you have no idea, Phae," she murmurs softly. She bites her lip gently for a moment, looking up at Phae's eyes through her lashes. "But if I want anyone to know everything there is about me, it's you." She smiles warmly at Phae.

Hephaesta tilts her head, peering curiously at Ludae. "Well, then I shall try very hard to be worthy of that discovery." She gives Ludae's hands a squeeze, just as a waitress arrives to take their meal order.

Fade to Black

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