Chapter 54: Visit
Erela felt something soft press against her forehead when she cracked an eye open. "I'm about to go out now," Markus said quietly and kissed her on the lips while he strapped his belt on.
"Work hard," she yawned.
"I will," he smiled and gave her a long kiss on the lips. "I love you."
"Love you too," Erela replied sleepily before Markus left. She stretched her arms and legs before she sat up and ran her fingers through her chaotic mess of hair. She had kept it short the past three years so she wouldn't have to worry about keeping it nice while she was running off "fighting crime." It was a decision she had made when fighting off Landon in his werewolf form came to mind and remembered how often her hair was in her eyes.
Even when it was pulled in a ponytail or in her oh so famous braid, she knew she wouldn't be that lucky if she kept her hair that long.
Erela covered her naked body with her robe when she plucked her clothes off the floor and threw them into the laundry basket before stripping the blanket, comforter, and sheets off of the bed. With her body covered in sweat the day before and the sex with Markus, everything needed to be cleaned.
After she dumped everything in the wash, she went back upstairs and took her usual thorough shower. She thought about what she could do before work in a couple hours. She had some chores to do. Maybe she could go and visit her friend while she was at it. It had been a while since she had seen her anyway . . .
Once Erela was done with her shower and got dressed, she Disapparated and appeared in a bedroom. "Hello?" a woman's voice called.
"It's me," Erela called and ruffled her still wet hair.
The bedroom door opened and there stood Laila with her sandy hair pulled back into a ponytail. "Hey, Erela," she lightly smiled and hugged her.
"Hi. Sorry I came without messaging you," she apologized.
"Not at all," she shook her head and walked out the room. Erela followed after her and heard a child singing to herself just downstairs.
"How has she been?"
"She's been singing a lot," Laila lightly smiled and turned around the corner into the living room. In there, there were toys scattered everywhere and a little four year old girl with emerald hair sat in the middle of it singing along to a Disney movie. "Hey, muffin. Erela came to visit," she informed her daughter.
As Erela got closer, the little girl turned to her. Her grey eyes looked up at the Auror's and immediately felt a pang of guilt electrocute through her body. She really had her father's genes. The odd colored hair. His eyes.
She was really Stacee's child . . .
Laila had told Erela before they graduated from Hogwarts that she was pregnant. It was another excuse for her and Stacee to get married quickly. Out of guilt, Erela tried to visit Laila and Stephanie as much as possible. She was responsible for Stacee's death and she wanted to try and make up for it by helping take care of the family Stacee never lived to see.
"Hi, Ela," Stephanie smile and ran over to hug Erela.
"Hi, Stephanie," she smiled and hugged the small girl back. "You've gotten so big. I love your headband," she complimented and brushed her fingers against the fake sunflower petals.
"Mummy made it," the young metamorphmagus girl grinned a toothy smile.
"She did?" she asked in that forced surprise that children often reacted positively to. "Did you tell her thank you and pay her with a hug and kiss?"
Stephanie swayed back and forth with a mischievous grin, her emerald hair faded into a sneaky and mischievous shade of olive, planning on something and Erela recognized what she was about to do. "No."
"No? No?" Erela chuckled and tickled Stephanie. "What do you mean "no"?"
"I mean yes."
"Liar!" Erela laughed and continued to tickle her. Stephanie's hair changed color to happy bright yellow. Her laughter was contagious as she struggled from Erela's wiggling fingers and only laughed louder the more she tried to escape.
"It's the truth!" she giggled.
"Well go and thank her again," Erela giggled and stopped tickling the small girl.
Stephanie stood up and toddled over to her mother, whom crouched down and accepted her daughter's hug and kiss. "I love you, Stephanie."
"I love you too, mummy. Thank you."
Erela lightly smiled and stood up to remove her coat. Laila pet Stephanie's hair that slowly turned back to emerald green and planted a kiss on her forehead before she said: "Now go play." Stephanie waddled back to her television and sat in front of the screen and continued to watch her program. "Want me to get you anything? I have water, milk, orange juice—oh wait, have you had anything to eat?"
"Not yet. I can go get something afterwards though," Erela shook her head as she followed Laila into the kitchen where the dining table was.
"No no, I insist," Laila shook her head, whipped out her wand and waved it about. The pots and plates came to life and eggs levitated from the fridge. "How do you like your eggs? It has been a while."
"Sunny side up," Erela nodded and took a seat at the dining table. "Thank you. I'll pay you back later."
"No need," Laila shook her head and cracked the egg at the edge of the frying pan. "How's Markus?"
"He's well," she shrugged. "Busy and happy as always."
"Good. Have you two discussed the day yet?"
Erela merely shook her head. "Not yet. It's not a good time yet," she answered and looked down at her orange juice that floated into her hand.
"What's keeping you? It's been two years since he asked you. Are you . . . do you not want to marry him?"
"No . . . it's not that . . ." she muttered. The eggs on the frying pan sizzled and cried when Erela continued, "Nothing is stopping me. I REALLY DO want to marry Markus . . . but . . ."
She scratched the back of her head as she thought of the question. She wasn't entirely sure WHY she had kept it on hold for that long. She was happy with Markus, she loved him, they had steady income to take care of themselves, and they had a job to support one another. What WAS the hold up? "It's . . . hard to explain. I really don't get it either. It just doesn't feel like the right time at the moment to settle down, you know?"
Laila pursed her lips and nodded. "Well . . . I hope you come to a conclusion soon. He's a good guy," she said and slid her plate over to Erela.
"I know," the Auror mumbled and ran her fingers through her hair before she started on her breakfast.