1800′s enemies to lovers my beloved <3 as always, please reblog/leave feedback
apologies that some sections are rushed... i’m a procrastinating college burn-out with a job, so please be kind to me! i’m exhausted!
word count: 5.8k
warnings: language, mentions of misogyny, victorian sexual content for thy freaks
- moodboard -
• • •
Blair Lancaster wholeheartedly loathes Mr. Styles.
He always licks his thumb and forefinger before turning the page of a regency romance novel. She internally sympathizes for whomever takes home the book that was in his grubby hands.
He clears his throat far too often for her liking in the hushed space of the library. She is starting to wonder if he caught the deadly tuberculosis infection and has a secret scheme to spread it across the entire city.
He blatantly studies her and the other women like a hawk with beady eyes. She likes to compare him to a vicious predator hunting their unguarded prey.
Perhaps Blair does not loathe him. More so a deeply rooted dislike for the man who supervises the group crammed around the small wooden table in the alcove.
No seats provided, only standing on aching feet.
In the public library of Boston, New York, women are required to segregate themselves from the men by sitting in the alcove if they wish to read or write letters. Reading, however, proves to be rather dreary when all they are given are novels about how a lady should properly act or ones that revoltingly mock their intellect.
There is a more covered reason as to why they are confined to the alcove — library loafers.
Women have only just been allowed to use the library, and with that, there is concern for whether they are in danger from the men that lurk and loiter around the bookshelves and desks, leering at the ladies who just want the freedom of reading words in weathered pages.
The hickory alcove is decorated with paintings of foreground femininity, yet the intended purpose is a façade.
See, the nook is still visible to other sections of the library. Almost a resemblance of a shadowbox for the male gaze, a stage of sorts so that they can observe the moral spectacle of well-behaved women.
That is why Blair Lancaster detests the man who sits on his chair, a throne more like, flicking through the pages of a far more interesting story than the one she holds.
Mr. Styles is the one who polices their behavior, making sure no one is stepping out of line or provocatively reading something they are not supposed to. Well, Blair likes to test that limit every once in a while out of sheer apathy.
When the book she is reading starts to bore her to death, she ponders ways to aggravate him.
In the past, she has sighed loudly after turning each page for ten minutes until he had to snap his fingers to warn her to stop otherwise she would be kicked out. She has also pretended to fall asleep with her head on the table, purposely reaching her arm out to knock the book on the floor with a loud thump, resulting in him huffing and standing to pick it up for her.
One instance, she gave herself a paper cut and dripped her blood on the page of the book she was given so they would have to throw it out. She could tell by the look on Mr. Styles face that he knew she had done it to be a pain in the neck.
Today, she decides to clear her throat every time he does. There are only four other women in the room, and Blair knows they enjoy it when she breaks the quiet atmosphere to bring some entertainment to the dull atmosphere.
"Enough," Mr. Styles commands right away.
Blair just smirks and continues reading the same sentence over and over until she becomes blasé again. After a couple minutes pass, he clears his throat and she mimics him again.
"Blair Lancaster, if I could have a word with you?"
She internally rolls her eyes. She hates being treated like a schoolgirl in detention, lectured and spoken down to as an inferior.
"What is it, Mr. Styles?" she questions as she walks up to him, feigning faux innocence to pester him even more.
He gives her an intense stare. "Do you fancy being expelled from this library?"
"I think there is something in my throat," she lies with a pout. "The book I was given might be too old and dusty."
"Hm," he monotonously hums. "I must say, that was a terrible fib. I expected a better excuse."
Her lips twitch. "I do not fib. Spring allergies are wretched right now, have you heard?"
"Your hands fidget when you lie." He jerks his head to the table. "Behave, otherwise you will be kicked out."
The conversation, if it could even be called that, dies quickly as Blair goes back to her spot.
The remaining time she spends in the library is filled with drooping eyes and raw, bitten nails. There is nothing she could possibly do to make time pass any faster as she watches the grandfather clock chime when the small hand ticks to the number twelve. Blair promised her father that she would be home for lunchtime, so she sets the book that she only read two pages of in the wooden bin and gives Mr. Styles an icy glare before leaving the library.
On her walk home, she relives every encounter she had with him that day. Every facial expression, every unspoken word told with every glance. She buries all the intrusive thoughts that dangerously cross the streets of her mind.
However, he creeps in like noxious venom at dusk. When her satin curtains are drawn and the orange sun says her farewell, Blair cannot help but think about him after she blows out the candles beside her bed.
His eyes of marjoram green that cast her arcane and discreet glances that only she notices. She wonders if she will ever get close enough to find specks of gold in them, or if they crinkle when he laughs, lighting up with radiance that has never been revealed to her. If they soften when he reads a particularly romantic line in a novel, perhaps of a love confession or a subtle touch.
His slender fingers that flip through the worn pages of distinctive novels. She wonders how they would feel trailing her arms, leaving goosebumps in their wake, or how they would feel in her mouth, the pad of his thumb parting her wet lips. The way they would stretch inside of her, so deep that it would burn and ache with pleasure.
His mouth with cherubic pink lips that pout and glisten in the sunlight that filters through the windows of the library. She wonders if they feel as soft as they look, pliable and sweet if she were to taste them. She will not taste them, but it is nice to dream about such flawless physicality of a man.
Mr. Styles may be unbearable and arrogant, but that does not dismiss his obvious allure. He is nothing but a pretty face that haunts her at nightfall, hung high in the gallery of her mind like the moon in the starlit sky.
A complicated façade.
The spring season thunderstorm has blown over the newspaper stands and matted down Blair's curls as she traverses up the slippery brick steps of the library once again. Violent rain hits the cobblestone streets downtown, umbrellas over heads and coats over the less fortunate fill the streets as they all maneuver to the closest shelter. Blair has forgone any protection from the storm as she passes through the familiar threshold with a saturated dress and dripping strands of blonde hair that is a shade darker due to its wetted state.
As she looks around, she notices that the library is completely barren of townsfolk expect one stout man who bustles up to her and huffs a discreet, displeased breath when he sees the puddle of rainwater slowly forming where she stands. She grimaces when muddy footprints stick to the soles of his ivory boots.
"Good evening, Ms. Lancaster," he greets with a formal tip of his cap. "The unfortunate weather has sprung a leak in the alcove ceiling, so you will be relocated to the main room."
Blair nods, attempting to hide the eager smile that threatens to pull at her freckled cheeks. It will be alleviating to not have to tolerate being confined in a stodgy room with Mr. Styles for one day. She hopes she will have the whole room to herself so she can conceive a plan to sneakily grab a horror fiction book to read while thunder rumbles outside the clerestory windows.
She follows the man who, if she remembers correctly, is the chimney sweeper that is usually
found by the fireplace with black soot dusting
his forehead as he coughs up a storm stronger than the one currently shaking the bookshelves. Speaking of, the first thing Blair notices when she enters the candlelit room is that the bookshelves are all locked up with hexagonal metal cages that the flickering flames dance off of.
The presence of the man is no longer felt beside her, but there is someone else she can feel the burning gaze of.
A lightning flash conducts her attention to the far corner, and simmering rage crackles through her veins.
Mr. Styles is sat on the windowsill with his legs crossed over one another, jeweled fingers delicately holding a book as the relentless rain pelts the pane behind him. A cup of steaming tea is placed on a saucer next to his thighs, the sight of the brown liquid coating Blair's throat with immediate warmth.
He wears a pink silk shirt with small, puffed sleeves the color of ballet slippers, or perhaps the shade of blush that spreads across his face when she catches his not so subtle glance at her pebbled nipples under her soaked dress.
Blair's first step towards him creates an echoing creak on the wooden floor. "What business do you have being here?"
He smirks before licking his thumb to flip the page. "Have you forgotten that this is my place of work?"
She swallows down disgust. "I would rather sit in the alcove and let the leakage slowly drown me than sit in here with you."
He looks up, running his eyes up and down her figure. "From the way you look like a sopping mess, it seems as though you already have."
"A bit preposterous coming from a man with puffy princess sleeves."
A hummed and humorless laugh sounds from his closed lips. Blair is quiet as she treads closer and walks her fingers along the top of the leather couch, the fireplace popping and hissing to fill the dead silence, blazes of orange releasing glowing embers that fizzle out beautifully on the kindling.
"I figured you would be the only one here today," Mr. Styles speaks up after an elongated pause.
Blair stands next to the fire to dry her still dripping dress. "Yes, well... a thunderstorm is quintessential weather for reading."
"I cannot argue with you there." He closes his book and stands up. "This tea is for you. I figured since you will be stuck with me in this room, I should attempt to make it as pleasant as possible."
She narrows her eyes at him. "You made tea for me?"
His throat bobs. "Walking here in the rain is the quickest way to get ill, Blair Lancaster. You should know better."
"Is it poisoned?"
The click of his boots become muffled once he steps on the floral rug that she stands on. "I am not as cynical as you make me out to be in your head."
"Do you know what is cynical?" she asks, pushing her wet bangs out of her eyes.
"Divertis-moi, ange de la pluie."
(Entertain me, rain angel)
Blair ignores his French that she does not understand. She has heard him use the language countless times before if any immigrant women are misbehaving in the alcove.
"It is dreadful coming here every day and not having the freedom to read what I want," she says with firmness. "Some days I do not want to read in my dreary bedroom, so I seek equanimity in this elegant library that does not even respect me. How cruel, and yet I still come here for a view other than my father's uninspiring workshop."
All Mr. Styles does is clear his throat and set the tea down on the shelf above the fireplace.
Blair wants to pour the hot liquid down the back of his neck.
"What am I supposed to read if all the books are locked away?" she adds with a defeated tone.
He twist his rings and jerks his head to a red book on the table. "I was instructed to provide The Scarlet Letter."
Blair admires the chipped spine and fading cover. "I have not read that one yet."
"Deeply rooted misogyny is all that fills the pages. I find Nathaniel Hawthorne to be glorified as an author to a ridiculous degree."
"How promising," she mutters. "I suppose it is better than reading about all the things I could do for my dutiful husband when he comes home from war."
He looks down at the floor and scrunches his nose with a grin. "You have heard of Jane Austen, yes?"
"What?" Blair confusedly asks. "Of course I have. There is no one who captures blooming romance quite like her."
"And did you see anyone else in the library when you arrived?" he furthers questions while taking a step closer.
"N-no," she stammers, looking around the empty room. "Only the chimney sweeper."
"Then follow me."
In the blink of an eye, Mr. Styles is walking out of the room and up the spiral staircase in the corner that leads to a place Blair has not been able to discover yet.
She carefully grabs the tea and a candelabra, then catches up to his long strides. Eventually, she is lead to the top and down a dark, narrow aisle where there are books upon books lining the walls and even some stacked high on the wooden floor.
Mr. Styles takes a tiny silver key out of his trouser pocket and unlocks a shelf on the left side. "It will be our little secret, hm?"
Blair marvels at all the different romance and gothic titles that reveal themselves when she holds the flame up. Wuthering Heights, Little Women, Vanity Fair — all gracefully worn through use and over time.
"I was once told by the owner that there was nothing important up here," she tells him as her fingertips trace the cover of Persuasion. "I never quite believed him."
He stands behind her and she can feel his steady breaths on her neck. "I apologize on behalf of him. Not a charming man, that one."
Clark Bennett is his name. A tall, middle-aged rich man who sets the misogynistic rules in place. She sees him roam past the alcove on seldom occasions, silently examining the women through his circular glasses. Never one to initiate conversation, yet always the one to give disapproving glances. It angers Blair how someone could be so hateful. All of the other women are too afraid to speak out about the invidious environment he has created.
So Blair turns around and looks at the man who she despises, but is the only one who seems to care what she has to say.
"Mr. Styles," she begins as she brings the candle up to light his face, "I feel unbearably suffocated in a place that is meant for comfort. As a woman, I cannot even read in this library without arbitrary rules that bring me unfathomable misery and rage. It is torture to sit and read drab sentences with no emotional attachment to me."
"You can call me Harry," he simply responds.
She scoffs at his blatant disregard. "Did you listen to a word I said?"
"Yes, Blair." He licks his lips and clears his throat. "I realize this world hinders your ability to prosper as a woman, but I cannot change the rules. I do not have the power, so please accept my offering of letting you read something other than shameful, discriminatory novels. Is that alright with you?"
She drinks the tea that is now lukewarm before replying, "Is this a trick to get me in trouble? I will not be fooled, Mr. Styles."
"Harry," he corrects. "And no, I am not a bloody scoundrel. There is no reason for me to con you."
"There are plenty of reasons. Money, exposure, praise."
He scratches his jaw. "Do you take me for a man who would do such a thing?"
"Yes." She takes another sip of the herbal tea. "I take every man for a schmuck. You are no exception."
He leans his head back against the bookshelf and smiles. "A schmuck?"
"A cretin. Or a muttonhead. Personally, I like to call men ratbags."
His eyes crinkle as he lets out an echoing cackle.
Blair blows a strand of hair out of her eyes. "This is not a laughing matter."
"Mm, but it is." Harry pushes his body off the shelf and moves to tower over her once again. "You fascinate me with your unwavering temerity."
"Is that why you stare at me in the alcove so often?" she daringly inquires. "Because I fascinate you?"
He inhales deeply. "Je te regarde à cause de ta beauté éthérée. Je ne peux m'empêcher de compter les taches de rousseur sur tes joues ou de regarder le battement de tes cils quand tu survoles les pages. Est-ce que cela répond à ta question, bien-aimé aux yeux bleus?"
(I stare at you because of your ethereal beauty. I cannot help but count the freckles on your cheeks or watch the flutter of your eyelashes when you skim the pages. Does that answer your question, blue-eyed beloved?)
Blair blinks and shakes her head. "You are speaking nonsense to me. I do not know any French."
"I spoke the truth. That is all you need to know."
She sets the tea and candelabra on the floor. "Anyway, I would very much like to read Jane Austen. There is only so much time in the day, yes?"
"Of course," he says above a whisper. "You seem particularly interested in Persuasion."
"Is it any good? I have not gotten around to reading it yet."
Harry grabs the book and holds it out to her. "You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope... I have loved none but you," he quotes from memory. "That alone should convince you, no doubt."
Blair absentmindedly nods as she becomes distracted by the thin necklace he wears — a cross symbol, one relating to Christ. Curiosity grows as it glimmers from the quivering candle flame next to her feet.
She holds the flat pendant between her fingers. "Are you religious?"
His sloped nose is almost touching hers from the close proximity. "Moderately. I sin, but I see no point in asking for forgiveness. I suppose you can interpret my level of religion however you may."
She stares at his parted lips a second too long before meeting his eyes. "What sins do you commit?"
He covers her hand that is now fidgeting with the pendant. "My sins are sensuellement privé."
Blair can feel his calloused thumb brush her knuckle. "What does that mean?"
"It means they are done in private, fille curieuse."
Her hand flexes under his large one. "Very well, then. I will not ask further questions."
Harry removes his hand and begins to lock the shelf back up as Blair sets her tea on the flat surface of the book. He clears his throat, but this time it doesn't bother her as much.
"Let us read, shall we?"
The field of jasmine flowers are in full bloom as is the month of May.
Budding dogwood trees sway under the grey sky as Blair traverses to her favorite open patch of land to sit against the trunk and read her book like she does every Friday afternoon. The bottom of her white dress almost touches the dirt path that weaves throughout the flourishing meadow with her lace parasol above her head in case the sun comes out.
She has been coming to the serene area for months, sometimes needing an escape from the four walls of her room. She is able to bring her own books that she has gotten for her birthday over the years. Although she prefers to read in the library, even when given terrible books, she enjoy the quietness and atmosphere of the place nonetheless.
When Blair makes it to her signature spot where the line of dogwood trees shade over the jasmine bushes, she stops in her tracks when she sees someone already there.
And oh, does her blood boil.
Mr. Styles — Harry — is sat up against the trunk of a tree, ankles crossed while he nonchalantly reads from the open book in his lap. He wears a cream colored ruffled blouse with a black vest over the silk fabric and matching black flared trousers are provocatively tight against his long legs.
When a tiny twig snaps underneath her feet, his eyes glance up from his book. He immediately brings it up to block his face, and Blair could almost laugh the his ridiculous action. She is seething with rage because how dare he invade the only place she can get some much needed peace and quiet?
"What are you doing here?" she interrogates.
"Reading," he flatly replies, not looking up from his book.
"Yes, but why here? This is my spot."
"I usually come here Wednesdays when I do not work, but I was told my help was not needed at the library today. So... here I am."
She grinds her teeth. "Can you go somewhere else?"
He glances behind each of his shoulders. "Did I miss a sign on my way here that said Blair Lancaster's Designated Reading Spot?"
Blair gives up arguing with him and sits against the bush across from him. She is thankful he is not talkative, so it should not be a problem finishing her book in the same proximity as him.
After a few minutes of silence, she can feel his gaze on her, but when she looks up, his eyes are on his book. She subtly tries to read the title, but his large hands cover the front.
"The Portrait of a Lady," Harry murmurs as he turns the page.
Blair furrows her eyebrows. "Pardon me?"
"The book in my hands," he explains, showing her the cover. "The new novel by Henry James."
"I... I did not ask."
He breathes laugh through his nose. "Well, you keep looking at the cover so I thought it would be gentlemanly to save you from straining your eyes so much. Getting cataracts at such a young age would be no fun."
She ignores his sarcasm and opens her own book. Harry immediately leans forward and snatches it straight from her loose grip.
"Give me that back!" she exclaims, mouth open in shock.
He lifts it above his head and opens it. "What does Blair Lancaster read when she is not provided chauvinist books in the alcove?"
She stands up and puts her hand on her hips. "That is nothing of your concern."
"Venus in Furs," he reads from the spine with a drawl and growing smirk. "This is quite an erotic choice, chérie."
Her cheeks go red as he flips through the pages filled with risqué words of desire and submission. "Give me my book back or I will scream until the flowers wilt."
Harry ignores her as he dramatically reads, "I love her passionately with a morbid intensity; madly as one can only love a woman who never responds to our love with anything but an eternally uniform, eternally—"
Blair takes the opportunity to yank her book from him while he is distracted. "I truly pity your wife and children for having to live with your irritating nature."
He tuts. "I do not have a wife nor children, so you are wasting time by pitying a foolish illusion you have created in your head."
"Well," she begins with a bitter laugh, "it comes as no surprise that you are not married. I think I would burn myself alive if I had to share a home with you."
"For someone who speaks so ignoble of me, you think about what it would be like to be around me quite often," he responds smugly.
"You are an insufferable man, that is all."
She draws her mouth back in a snarl. "It is a terrible shame you have a handsome face that is nothing but a façade for who you actually are."
He slowly stands up and sticks his hands in his pockets. "Who am I, Blair?"
She exhales and looks up at the wispy clouds. "A lonely man who sits in the alcove, making sure the women are woebegone. A boring man who does nothing but be a nuisance to everyone around him."
Harry takes a step forward and jerks his chin up. "Go on."
"I detest you." She leans in close so he hears every word. "Every dratted thing you do or say is exasperating."
He takes a quick glimpse at her lips. "Do you use such foul language around your mother, Blair Lancaster?"
She clenches her jaw and turns around to begin walking the path she came from. "You make me furious."
His footsteps in the weeds get closer as she speeds up. Even the sound of his boots stomping on the plush grass aggravates her. The way he can never let her have the last word, or how his eyes tell a different story than what comes out of his pretty mouth.
She thinks she is far enough away from him, but suddenly two large hands clasp onto her hips and breathlessly stop her in her tracks as her book falls to the ground.
"If I make you furious," he murmurs deeply in her ear, "then you make me a fucking madman."
His chest is pressed against her back as they both inhale and exhale heavily, butterflies flying around the flowers and cicadas chirping in hidden places of the meadow.
"You challenge me and I pretend that it provokes me," he continues with a flex of his hands. "It does the opposite, Blair. It makes me fucking lust for you."
She lets Harry's confession seep into her skin like liquid poison. "You... you are reprehensible. I cannot stand you when you speak lies."
He presses his nose into her neck. "You render me weak. I think about you until I ache."
Blair gulps when his damp lips trail along her pulse point. "Every word that leaves your abhorrent mouth is concocted to debilitate me."
"Your ice blue eyes are an ocean I would gladly drown in."
Her knees almost give out. "I will stuff my book down your throat if you do not stop blathering."
"You would like that, wouldn't you?" he rasps.
"Jesus wept, I hate you!" she shouts as she continues walking.
He grips her wrist and spins her around. "Look at me when you say you hate me."
"I hate" — Blair licks her lips and points a finger at his chest — "you."
Harry takes her fingers and brings it up to her wetted bottom lip. "These," he whispers. "I could write eternal poetry about them."
"Stop it this instant."
He moves her finger to trace the freckles dotting the apples of her blushing cheeks. "The brightest constellations should be envious of these."
Her eyes soften much to her distaste. "Please," she says, not knowing how she intends the word to come across as.
"Tell me what you want, mon rêve céleste."
(my heavenly dream)
Blair looks down to his mouth. "I want you to shut up."
His knuckles brush her collarbone. "Do you? Or do you want me to use my mouth for something else?"
"How dare you assume that!"
"Stop looking at my lips, then."
"I am not! Stop analyzing me!"
"Your cheeks are pink. Why is that?"
She groans. "B-because... because I—"
He bends down slightly to be eye level with her. "Look at me."
Her walls crumble when she sees nothing but hunger as she meets his eyes. She gives in, because if she is going down, let it be in a blaze of craving desire. She cannot bear the thought of not touching him at least once, as much as he hates to admit the fact.
Blair unclips the button by her cleavage, never breaking eye contact with him as his posture straightens and his gaze gradually lowers. She maneuvers the dress over and down her shoulders, letting the loose garment pool at her feet. Harry drops to his knees in front of her, pulling down her underwear and then gently taking off her slip-on shoes.
"Lay down," he gruffly commands.
She obeys, the flowers surrounding her naked body as her blonde hair fans out. Harry spreads her legs open and places his forearms next to them.
"How do you need me, Blair?"
"Your fingers," she instantly replies. "Please, I need them inside me."
He tuts mockingly. "Not even a minute ago you were telling me I was reprehensible, but now you beg like a whore."
She should slap him for his degrading language, but it only fuels her lust. Her hips desperately jerk up to meet his knuckle that runs along her inner thigh, and he moves it up even further until it reaches the coarse hair growing around her pelvis.
"You are," she breathlessly says, body writhing when his mouth lightly brushes her clit. "Y- you are... God, please just touch me. Please, Harry."
She is already dripping with arousal and his fingers are so close to where she needs them most.
"Say my name like that again and I will do whatever you ask of me, darling."
"Harry," she moans while arching her back.
His fingers finally stretch her open, two knuckles deep in her pulsating walls, creating a burning sensation throughout her entire body. She has dreamt about how deep they would go, curling and thrusting to bring her inconceivable pleasure. It feels better than she imagined and she is seeing stars as his thumb applies pressure to her clit.
"Look at me, Blair." He uses his free hand to grasp her jaw. She opens her eyes and gets lost in his own. "Who else has touched you? Hm? Tell me."
He hits a particularly deep spot that has her whining like a pleading fool. "M-many others, however they all left me empty and unsatisfied."
"Did they make you cum?" He moves his hand to press against her lower stomach. "Did they leave you with that lingering ache in your belly?"
"No. Do you know why?" she responds, the pressure of his large, warm hand unraveling the knot of her forthcoming orgasm.
"Tell me all your secrets, fleur de ma vie."
(flower of my life)
"They never used their mouths." Harry looks up with impure eyes and runs his tongue over his bottom lip. "Fingers can only provide so much pleasure, but a pair of pink lips like yours could make me fall apart completely."
"Is that right?"
She bites her lip with a smile. "There is only one way to find out, yes?"
He takes his fingers out and spreads her thighs further open, her arousal sticking to her sweaty skin. "I suppose so."
The second his tongue licks a long stripe from her opening to her clit, Blair cries out for all the birds and flowers to hear. He laps up all her wetness like sweet syrup on a delectable dessert. He kisses and nips in all the right places like he has known her body for ages, latching and sucking her most sensitive areas until she is clenching around nothing. Low, guttural groans and whimpers leave him when she gives him a raspy moan and hooks her legs around his body.
"I need— I have to cum, Harry. It aches."
He hovers over her and rubs circles on her lower stomach. "Let me see your eyes while you fall apart from underneath me."
Blair looks at him as his words push her over the edge. She cums, her body flaming and twitching from the release. Harry sits back on his knees and unties his long and frilly bow, using it to clean the remaining arousal around her core.
She stands up on shaky legs, panting with tingling skin as Harry grabs her dress and helps her put it back on.
"Still hate me?" he whispers in her ear, clasping her buttons with delicate fingers. Blair can hear the smug smile through his voice.
She rolls her eyes. "Maybe... maybe a bit less than yesterday, I suppose."
He pokes his tongue in the inside of his cheek. "What if I did this?"
Blair is taken aback when he kisses her deeply, holding the sides of her neck and making her stumble a little from the forceful passion.
"Hm?" he adds as he pulls away. "How do you feel now?"
"I dislike you," she says with a rasp.
Another kiss, one that sends heat spreading through her cheeks and butterflies in her stomach.
She pulls away this time and tries not to show her smile. "I tolerate you."
One more long kiss, ending in several pecks until she lets the smile take over her flushed face.
"Je changerai d'avis un jour."
(I will change your mind one day)
"Will you ever tell me what you are saying?"
"No need." His thumb strokes her cheek. "I can always teach you."
"Excuse me?" she inquires with a quirk of her brow.
"At the library," he softly elaborates. "I give French lessons on Mondays in the study room. There should be some time slots open if that interests you."
She contemplates for a few moments before responding, "Well... I think that would be an adequate way to spend a day rather than in the alcove."
"Is Blair Lancaster admitting that she would not mind spending time with me? Am I dreaming? Have I lost my bloody mind in this meadow?"
"Enough of that," she mumbles. Her protest ends in a squeal when Harry bends down slightly to nip at her neck. "Stop it! That tickles!"
Harry just smiles and bends down to pluck a jasmine flower from the cluster surrounding her feet. He then grabs Venus of Furs and flips through it for a minute until he stops at a specific page towards the end.
Blair watches him lay the flower down as a horizontal bookmark, the thin stem acting as an underline for a quote.
You have corrupted my imagination and inflamed my blood.
hope you enjoyed!
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