Of Fire and Flowers

Chapter 7

Light was shining on Riza's face, and she groaned and rolled over into something warm, and slightly squishy. Nuzzling her face into it and welcoming its warmth, she heard a chuckle.

"Comfy?" Roy asked, and Riza looked up. Realizing she was cuddling up to him, she pulled back quickly and sprang out of the bed.

"N-no!" She stuttered, and walked out the room blushing wildly. She located her bag and pulled out her wash stuff, a towel and clothes for the day.

"I'm sorry for not waking you earlier." Roy said, coming out into the hallway "But you looked so happy just sleeping so I left you be."

"How long were you watching me?" Riza opened the bathroom door, and put her wash bag and towel inside. Roy grinned.

"An hour maybe?" He said, and laughed as Riza's mouth dropped open "It was fine. Your snoring is very relaxing to listen to."

"I do not snore!" Riza said back, flustered. She entered the bathroom again and slammed the door shut. She couldn't be bothered to leave her clothes outside since she was having a quick shower, and instead brought them in with her, dumping them on the cold floor. She spent some time figuring out how to turn on the shower, and then how to get it to a good temperature.

Finally, she slipped off the clothes she had worn since the previous morning, and climbed into the bathtub, standing under the shower. The hot water was so welcoming on her skin, Riza settled in right away. Finding her wash bag, she grabbed her shampoo. Squeezing a small amount out onto her palm, she started to work it through her hair, inhaling the scent of rose deeply. Rose had always been her favourite flower, mostly because of its scent but also because it looked pretty but could prick you if you were not careful.

She washed the suds out of her hair, and then used a body wash. Feeling a lot more clean, she turned the shower off and stepped out. She quickly dried herself with the towel, and put on her clothes for the day. This consisted of a white lacy spaghetti-strap top, with a pink skirt and matching cardigan. She had been given these clothes by Olivier to help her fit into the classic 'Central girl' look. Riza had been confused as to why Olivier would have these sorts of clothes in the first place, but the way she explained it seemed that the men at the garrison had given them to her as a joke present once. They were a little too big for Riza, especially in the bust, but she wore them anyway.

She towelled her hair dry, and then put it up. She stepped out of the bathroom, and watched Roy's mouth open as she entered the main room.

"Bathroom's free." She said, blushing a little under his gaze "You stink. Go and get a shower."

"Yes Ma'am!" He mock saluted, and entered the bathroom with his own wash stuff and clothes. Riza rolled her eyes.

Her stomach grumbled, and she realized with a sigh that there would be no food here. Looking around, Riza decided to make a list of everything that they didn't have, that they would need.

Starting from the living room, she decided they needed to make the place look more 'lived in'. The sofa was in good quality, however Riza decided they would need a throw and some cushions for it. They would also need a rug, a coffee table and some ornaments to go on it. She would also need to get some photo frames, and a camera. With a sigh, Riza realized that all her worldly possessions would be back in her apartment in central, including all the photos of her and her friends. This had including some of her and Roy from a long time ago, which she had treasured.

She noted this all down, along with pots, pans, bowls, and other cooking stuff and cutlery for the kitchen.

Moving on the bedrooms, she decided the sheets for the double bed could stay, but the ones in the single room were beyond repair. It appeared something had chewed many hole in it, which made Riza wary about the issue of mice. Pushing this out of her mind, she decided that the singled bedroom would be hers, and Roy could have the double bed. They would need a wardrobe each, and also bedside tables.

"What are you doing?" Roy asked as he came out of the bathroom in just a pair of trousers. Riza looked at his chest, her eyes trailing down to where Lust had skewered him so years back and he had sealed it with fire.

"It's pretty ugly, isn't it?" He said, rubbing it. He laughed a little "I guess we match, huh?"

Riza smiled softly, and nodded.

"Yeah, I guess so."

It was gone ten by the time the two of them got out of the house. There had been a brief panic about where they would get the money to pay for all of the stuff they needed, but Olivier had sorted it out for them somehow. She explained in a note that she had sent pretty much all of the money from their accounts into one joint one, and she had done it so that it could not be tracked. She had made it seem that a relative had passed away, and the newlyweds had been given a large share of the money.

Even though it was quite a small village, there was a large market down near the train station. Just before they arrived, Roy reminded her that she needed to act like Lena, and not like Riza.

"What's the difference?" Riza replied, crossing her arms. Roy smiled.

"Lena adores shopping." He said "But Riza despises it."

"Fair point." She shrugged, and then smirked "But you have to remember, Claude adores spending all his money on the love of his life!"

"That's good, then." Roy chuckled "Because Roy does too."

Riza blushed, but smiled anyway.

When they arrived in the market, the first shop they came to was a clothes shop.

"Claude!" Riza giggled "Let's see what adorable clothes they have!"

"Fine, fine." Roy laughed, amused at Riza's acting "Let's go in."

They entered the shop, and were greeting by a teenage girl, who couldn't have been more than sixteen at the oldest. As soon as she saw Roy, she blushed and started to giggle.

"Why, hello!" She said, smiling coyly "Welcome to our humble shop! How may we serve you today?"

"We're looking for some clothes." Riza replied in her own ditzy voice. The girl looked at her briefly, and then went back to Roy.

"Yes, it's as my wife says." Roy told the girl "We just got married, and moved here last night."

"Moved here last night?" The girl thought for a second "I know! You must've moved into that old abandoned house!"

"Well, there was defiantly no-one living there, if that's what you mean." Riza replied. The girl laughed, a little too hard.

"You are so funny!" She said. Riza laughed along, a little awkwardly.

"Anyway." Roy cut in "We need to buy some clothes. There are a lot of things to do this morning."

"Of course." The girl looked slightly taken aback at Roy trying to hurry her on, and stepped back, letting the two walk around the shop and pick out things to buy. Roy bought a new pair of shoes, three pairs of trousers and seven shirts, one for every day of the week. Riza allowed Roy to pick out clothes for her, and she ended up with two new pairs of shoes (one flat and one with heels), four skirts, a pair of trousers and a hefty amount of tops, a number Riza had lost count of a long time ago. The price came up so high that Riza was sure the card Roy used to pay was going to reject, but it didn't, and the two left the shop.

"That girl was…" Roy paused trying to find a good word "Interesting. To say the least."

"Tell me about it." Riza rolled her eyes. Roy was carrying all the bags, and even though she could see that he was struggling with them he would not let her carry any.

The next shop a carpenter's, and Riza and Roy bought a coffee table, two bedside tables and two wardrobes. They exchanged small talk with the owner of that shop too, and found out that the house they were living in belong to an old man who had passed away five years ago. The house had stood empty ever since.

The next shop they went to was a home ware one, and again they were greeted by a curious owner who wanted to know who they were.

"Welcome to my store! How can I help?" A large, middle aged woman greeted Roy and Riza as they entered the store. Two small girls, who were clinging to her skirts, looked up nervously.

"We just moved here." Riza explained "We're looking for things to stock our kitchen, and also decorate our home."

"You came to the right place!" The woman laughed loudly. She looked to the two girls "Gemma, Emma, go and fetch some drinks and a snack for our customers. The young lady looks famished, poor thing."

"It's fine, really." Riza cut in "You don't have to."

"It's my pleasure!" The woman replied, a no-nonsense tone to her voice "Think of it as our welcome present to you!"

"Thank you, that's very kind." Roy replied, smiling at the woman "We would be happy to accept your offer."

"Good! My name is Marge, by the way! Marge O'Donnell. The two angels are my two nieces, Emma and Gemma. Their mother passed away not too long ago, the poor duckies."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that." Riza replied. She felt Roy's arm on her back, and only barely managed not to jump away in shock.

"Our names are Claude and Lena." Roy said, nodding with his head towards Riza when he said her false name "Mr and Mrs Fenn. We got married not too long ago."

"I knew you were together!" Marge squealed like a little girl, which was quite alarming "You both just give off that feeling of an adorable couple!"

Riza smiled to Roy, who smirked back.

After the two girls had brought back their drinks and snacks (Which seemed to be a cup of milk each and a cookie) Riza and Roy made small talk with Marge until they were finished. Riza tried her hardest to be dainty as she ate, but the fact that she had not eaten yet that morning and that her eating patterns were all mixed up meant she wanted to cram it in and then ask for seconds. She somehow managed it though, and once her cup was drained of the sweet liquid she and Roy started to pick things out to buy.

In the kitchen section, they bought two cooking pans (One medium sized, one small), a frying pan, a large mixing bowl, a set of kitchen scales (Just in case Riza wanted to get into cooking, Roy had said), baking trays, cake trays, cupcake trays, a large set of cutlery, dinner plates and cereal bowls, cups, saucers, all the things you would need in a kitchen.

Marge, of course, was ecstatic that these people were buying so much from her store.

In the rest of the store, they bought a load of cushions, a throw for the sofa, seat covers for the dining chairs, photo frames, bed sheets for the little room and little trinkets to go around the house. Riza decided that shopping was a lot of fun.

By the time they left, they were a lot of money lighter and a lot of goods heavier. As they passed the carpenter, a young man ran out of the store and stopped them.

"Hey!" He greeted them "I'm the carpenter's son. My father told me to come and ask you if you want to leave your bags with the things that you ordered, and he can deliver them all together straight to your house. It is a long way to walk with all that stuff."

"It is." Roy said, looking at Riza and then smiling "Thank you very much. How much extra will it be?"

The man looked slightly surprised, and shook his head.

"It will cost no extra." He said, quickly "Think of it as a thank-you for bringing a beautiful woman to this village."

Riza blushed, and even though she could feel Roy tensing up beside her he laughed.

"I see." He said "As long as none of you men-folk try to steal my wife away!"

The carpenter's son laughed as well, and took the bags from Roy. He staggered under their weight, but managed to get them to the van where the rest of their things they had bought from the carpenter himself were.

"Shall we head back?" Roy asked "After getting some groceries, I mean."

"Hold on." Riza said, looking down "I want to go to the pharmacy first."

"The pharmacy?" Roy asked, looking at her "Want me to come too?"

"No, no." Riza looked away "It's fine. I'll meet back up with you in the grocers."

"Well…" Roy thought about it "If you say so."

Riza nodded, and walked off to the pharmacy on her own. She had been thinking about doing this all morning, and now that she was actually going she felt nervous.

As she entered the shop, the shopkeeper greeted her as all the others had. She looked around the shop, and found what she was looking for on a shelf slightly hidden away from the others. Picking up the box, Riza swore her heart was going to burst out of her chest.

She paid for it, asking the shop keeper to put it down on 'Claude's' card and giving them the number of it. She had the box wrapped up in brown paper, and left to go and find Roy.

As he had said, she found him in the grocers.

"What did you buy?" He asked. Riza smiled.

"Nothing." She said. Roy shot her a look, but continued to collect up food items he thought they would need. He bought vegetables, fruits, milk, butter, meat, fish and even some baking supplies.

"You know, I'm not going to bake." Riza said, frowning "I haven't baked in years."

"I can remember your cooking." Roy said as they picked up the last of the things and moved towards the counter "It was so delicious, I always begged you to make more."

"Yes, but that was before." Riza replied. Roy just grinned.

"I have my ways of getting what I want." He said. Riza just rolled her eyes.

"If you say so."

They paid for the groceries, and headed back to the house. Their stuff was delivered by the carpenter a few seconds after they arrived, and the delivery boys (Including the carpenter's son, whose name was James) helped them to get it all into the correct room.

After they left, Riza left Roy decorating, and once she had the kitchen all stocked she started to make a simple lunch of French toast.

"Mmm, that smells so good!" Roy said, putting his arms on Riza's shoulders. She shrugged.

"It's just French toast." She said, but smiled anyway "I'm glad you think it's good."

After the meal, Riza decided it was time. She picked up the brown parcel, and took it into the bathroom. Opening it up, she read the instructions.

'It's now or never.' she thought to herself.


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