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 Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now (Jozalea)

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Joshua Murray
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PostSubject: Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now (Jozalea)   Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:37 pm

The chill in the air fled with Winter as Spring came to England without a second glance. The gardens of Furz Croft and the new Murray dwelling had come in to bloom with the flowers capable of growing at this time of year, the sun put warmth in to the cheeks of those who moved outside, and April slowly turned in to May. The beauty of both the gardens of the Surrey manors came from the hard work and dedication of both his Azalea and his own hands. Time that had been spent together, ensuring that both gardens would look as presentable to the outside world as was expected of the little neighbourhood. Both of them had rejoiced when the first buds of the multiple plants that had been planted had sprung up through the ground, proving that his Azalea still had what it took to be the Herbologist they both knew she could be.

As May crept in to being, so too did his Azalea's first day of university. A day that he knew her to be both excited, and apprehensive about. They hadn't discussed the latter, they hadn't needed to. There was the ghost of apprehension in his Azalea's eyes one morning as she looked up from her large books on different Herbology methods that had caught Josh by surprise. Momentary surprise. In one fluid motion he'd been at the witch's side, hand resting protectively on the back of her seat as they went over each method together to help reassure her that she knew these things. When they'd read through it together, Josh had gently prized the book from his Azalea's fingers and moved to sit opposite her, flicking through the book unnecessarily as he fielded question after question her way, in any order from the book.

Each one had been answered expertly, as Josh knew they would be, before he pushed through to the next one, barely having to say a word past the questions he posed. It had been enough to get his Azalea's confidence back up once more, and Josh couldn't help but smile back at her as she thanked him for everything he'd done for her. Again.

With each day they spent with one another, Josh allowed his Azalea the greater freedom with Ethan. Taking care of the child's feeding, changing, bathing, sleeping habits, whatever the witch wanted to do, Josh allowed her that fun, sitting back and watching her take care of their son with so much enthusiasm that it was hard for the blond not to put his arms around her waist, and whisper the truth softly in to her ear.

Ethan is our son, the words were so easy, but they would have sparked the opening of a million questions. Questions that he couldn't be sure his Azalea was ready for the answer to, not yet, at least. Each time the urge grew to tell the truth, Josh would excuse himself from the room, allow himself a moment before he could return to the conversation. Being around his Azalea and Ethan was not easy, not when he knew the truth, but he knew that it would be worth it, eventually.

The time that they spent together brought them closer each day, the boundaries of their friendship blurring with each moment. There was no talk of what they were, what they might be, or whether his Azalea felt the same. It was a difficult process to contend with for the blond, but he never pushed the boundaries further than his Azalea allowed. Waiting was not easy, it never would be, but they were growing closer to the moment that his Azalea would be his.

***

The morning of his Azalea's first day at the university had come around, and Josh had promised the night before to pick the witch up, and drive her to the university for her first day. It would have been quicker to apparate, or Floo, of course, but Joshua had wanted to see her to the university for the first day. To ensure that she didn't feel nervous. At nine o'clock that morning, Josh's car rolled in to the drive of Furz Croft, the engine humming softly as he parked it before the Harrington home. Ethan remained at home with the staff, allowing Josh to continue with the two seater sports car. His Azalea was ready and the door had opened promptly after his knock at the door.

They'd driven in relative comfort through to the city, Josh listening as his Azalea expressed her last minute worries, and went over her knowledge with him once more. A fond smile had touched his smile as she spoke, invoking the question of 'what' from the witch as they drove. Josh had shook his head slightly, not knowing how to explain to the witch exactly what he was thinking, feeling in that moment. Instead, he'd opted to reassure once more that she was going to do really well, and she had nothing to worry about.

When they'd arrived in the car park of the university, Josh had moved around the car to help his Azalea out of the car, and they stood before the tall buildings for a moment, drinking it in. Josh remembering his own time at the university with indifference, whilst... well, he couldn't say what he was thinking, truthfully.

After a moment, Josh had turned to his Azalea, denoting that she had best hurry on in, else she'd miss her lecture. With care, the blond had pulled her in to his embrace, a 'good luck' hug, he supposed before letting her go.

"You're going to do great, A-Azalea." Josh reassured her once more. "I'll pick you up at five." He added, pausing with a small look of uncertainty. "Dinner, tonight?" The blond asked, watching as his Azalea smiled hopefully at the offer. "With Ethan and I, of course."

With the acceptance of his offer, Josh watch as his Azalea hurried off to her classes. His eyes never left the witch until she disappeared from view. The building consuming her whole in that moment and leaving him beside the vintage vehicle that had been turning a number of heads. Another few minutes passed before Joshua returned to the vehicle, listening to it roar in to action before he sped back off towards home.

***

The day had passed much too slowly for Josh's liking, five o'clock did not come soon enough. As the hours passed with the staff hurriedly preparing a five course meal, setting the dining room for dinner, and otherwise ensuring that this evening would be perfect, Josh grew more and more restless. It was odd, having his Azalea so far away from him after so long of them being so close. But he had to be patient, knew that tonight was a good opportunity...

The finest champagne had been brought out from the wine cellar for the occasion. Ethan had been dressed up in a shirt, dickie bow, trousers and smart shoes, matching his father's suit colours for the evening. The room had looked perfect as Joshua had left his son with the staff once more, climbing back in to his car to go and pick his Azalea up.

Just after five -- knowing his Azalea wouldn't be out the moment the classes let out -- Josh stood against his car, waiting for sight of his Azalea from the buildings. His grey three piece suit moved lightly in the wind, but the blond remained unmoved for the rest of the time. Only as his eyes picked out the beauty of the American witch did he stand up straight, retrieving the plant from the passenger seat beside him. Where many men might have opted for varying colours of roses, lillies, or perhaps run with the cliche of choosing the same flowers as the witch's namesake, Josh had done none of these.

No, the blond had instead opted for a plant he knew his Azalea would appreciate.

Not bred with magic, though, this would be his Azalea's next challenge.

The vines were only just shooting in to life, but he was sure his Azalea would appreciate them no less.

Tied with a little, green bow, Josh waited for his Azalea to come closer before he moved towards her. "How was your day?" Josh asked, opening his arms for the witch in a manner that had seemingly become all too natural now. His discomfort of being touched did not extend to his Azalea, the male had found in the last number of months as he acted in a manner that would not suggest he was of traditional Pureblood upbringing. "I got you a present, for completing your first day of university." The man added, presenting the witch with the plant and waiting for her verdict on it.

"I'm hoping you'll be able to thread magic in to the vines," he added softly, hoping to spark perhaps a memory, or even the idea of trying. They were doing so well, nothing was going to stop them now.

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PostSubject: Re: Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now (Jozalea)   Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:36 pm

Ethan was fast becoming the gravitational force around which Azalea's life had begun to revolve. If asked to explain, even the witch couldn't say how a few weeks had turned her into such a devotee of the child who barely understood her presence in his life but she couldn't help it. Her breaths rose and fell with each lilt of the child's laughter, gurgle, even cry.  Her heartbeat quickened at the anticipation of seeing him and an odd feeling of peace enveloped her when she held the baby in her arms, as if she was complete after such a long time.

To Josh's credit, if he had noticed her unhealthy attachment to his son, he had done a very good job of appearing not to. Every time they met, she had barely to ask before the baby was being handed to her to play with, to rock to sleep and in most cases, just to look at. The brunette's own father had noticed a spring in her step as she left each day and broached the subject carefully. Uninterested in the neighbor at first, Kit Harrington's ears had perked up when he heard there was a child involved.

Azalea knew he didn't mean it, no one actually meant it. But automatic reactions like these were what set her on edge, what made her feel as if she was still being treated like a sick person. It was no one's fault really, and it was also the reason she drew closer to Josh every day. He didn't think she was sick, didn't feel she needed protection from the world. He was happy to hand his son over to her, trusting she would harm neither the child nor herself in the process of being with Ethan.

As the days passed, the witch started to realize more and more that everything good in her life came associated with the blond. From her own independence to the genuinely interesting, intelligent and insightful company to the slight heat and electricity that existed between the two, Azalea was almost certain her recovery would not have been possible without him. They were friends, very good friends, and yet Josh was the most proper person she had ever known, even with more than half her life's worth of memories lost. Yet sometimes, when he stood on the front step of Furz Croft and kissed her politely in greeting or farewell, the young woman couldn't help but think he wanted to do more. The thoughts were fleeting and dismissed as her own hyperactive imagination moments later but in those moments, those thoughts existed. And if she was honest with herself, so did the wish for Josh to follow through on them.

But when the wizard made no such moves, Azalea came to understand the polite gestures for what they were. Perhaps in another life, she would have considered making the first move but she had much more to fear than rejection this time around. No, if things got awkward, she may not get to see Ethan as often as she'd like - and that was slowly becoming a notion too horrifying to even consider.

As her university dates drew nearer, the witch made it a practice to gather up her books and papers, tuck her laptop in her bag and head over to Josh's where she could both be with the baby and study. Still wary of bringing Ethan over to her own home, the brunette spent time with the toddler there, sometimes in Josh's presence, sometimes on her own. The man had cashed in on her offer to babysit and often let her be with the child while he was away at work. It was on one of those evenings when she had her journals spread out on the coffee table and Ethan hugged close to her that Josh had found her - asleep on the comfortable sofa.

To him, it had probably seemed like nothing, just a tired witch falling asleep mid studies while attempting to rock the baby into dreamland. But for Azalea, it was the first time she had fallen asleep without a potion since... Since she'd been staying with friends. Azalea had tried not to look too shocked at what had happened, no need for Josh to know of her dependency on sleep inducing drugs. But when she'd been dropped home to Furz Croift (Josh always insisted on either walking or driving her back no matter what time of day or weather it was), the witch had dashed in and ran up to her room to consider the impossible.

She could fall asleep around Ethan Murray.

Her first thought had been to tell dad, and she was halfway to the door when she realized Kit would not be as amazed as she was with the new development. Already unsure if it was wise of her to spend so much time with a child that wasn't hers, Kit would no doubt worry. And telling Clara was as bad as telling dad. Which left very few people she could confide to. Victoria probably wouldn't understand, her brother... was not on speaking terms with Azalea. In the end, the witch realized two things: the number of people she could confide in she could count on one hand, and there was no one she could tell this participator secret to.

***

The first day of class almost crept upon Azalea without notice. What had seemed weeks away was suddenly tomorrow and despite her many hours of preparation, she felt inadequate, overwhelmed and under prepared. So it was a good thing that Josh decided to give her a ride to her first day, his calming presence permeating through to her, making her believe she could do it because he believed she could do it. Azalea had still yet to figure out how nothing phased her companion but she was glad to borrow that feeling sometimes, at least to calm herself down.

When he asked if she would like to join him and Ethan for dinner, of course he was met with a gracious yes, nothing involving his son would ever draw a no from the witch's lips. Azalea only hoped he never found out the extent to which she was devoted to that little boy, it would frighten him away faster than anything in her history.

The first day turned out to be more about introductions than anything else. Introductions to her fellow students, to the faculty, to the university grounds, to academic writing formats and different magical and muggle research methods. Some of the students around her clearly knew each other, their familiar groups and cliques already formed while others simply hung round, unsure what to do. Had she ever felt this way at Salem, the witch couldn't remember. Lunch was thankfully a walking and eating affair which saved her from choosing where to sit and who to sit with, and by the time the tour was over and the lecture part of the day had begun, Azalea chose wisely to sit behind a chattering group of people who seemed to only be here to catch up with each other after a long summer apart.

Which was how Azalea first met Cieran Hamilton.

Every school, class or gathering had the one gossip queen, the brunette knew. And Cieran Hamilton was this batch's gossip queen. Dressed to impress in a pink shirt and bright red trousers complete with scarlet bow tie, he would have looked comical had it not been for his over serious features and frameless glasses that eluded to his prowess in academia. Over the next two hours, Cieran told her everything that wasn't on the tour itinerary. He told her which professors didn't mind a tardy submission, which administrative members were a pain in the ass, who the hottest boy in university was ("Jacques Clement, I could just eat that french pastry up, yum yum") and who the meanest girl of their batch was (Stay away from Zara, the last person to piss her off was never heard from again, for real"). It came as no surprise that his gossiping ways ensured he enjoyed a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, which Cieran very generously transferred to Azalea by the end of the day, firmly cementing her place in the group.

So by the end of the day, Azalea was walking towards the pick and drop point not alone but among almost a dozen newly made friends. All of whom stopped their general chatting and playful bickering when they saw Josh's car up ahead. For a moment, the entire group save Azalea held it's breath, then Cieran let out a low whistle, echoing everyone's sentiment.

"Holy crap, is that..." Sloan began only to shut her mouth promptly, as if someone outside the group would be able to hear her. Her fiance beside her was more focused on the vehicle than the wizard behind the wheel.

"That's Joshua Murray," Cieran whispered in her ear, apparently fearing being heard by the blond somehow too. "He... What's he doing here?"

"Erm," the witch began starting to feel self conscious as all their eyes seemed to be glued on Josh. "He's probably here to... Erm, pick me up." As one, all their gazed swiveled her way, the questions clear in their eyes but nowhere near their lips. "See you guys tomorrow then," she hurriedly wished before separating herself from the group and walking off towards the waiting car, doing her best not to break into a run.

Azalea reached the blond with relief, trying not to imagine everyone's gaze on them as Josh greeted her like he always did, by reaching over to give her a small peck on the cheek. What he did next though, was enough to make her forget everything else.

"I'm hoping you'll be able to thread magic in to the vines,"

"Its perfect, thank you so much,' she beamed, accepting the plant from him with sparkling eyes. How he had figured she didn't like flowers she didn't know, but he had also chanced upon something she could actually nurture. Azalea didn't know how but she was going to thread magic into it as he suggested.

As per his query about her day, the witch tossed a furtive look towards her friends, all of whom were still unashamedly gawking at her and Josh. "I think you just made an impression on my friends," she managed with a laugh as he walked her to the passenger side and then opened the door for her. "No one was looking at me like that a minute ago, so I have to assume its you. Are you a famous movie star and not telling me?" The last part was a joke mostly, though looking at his sleek, immaculate profile, the witch wouldn't even be surprised if he was a media celebrity of some degree.

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PostSubject: Re: Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now (Jozalea)   Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:25 am

Josh's eyes watched his Azalea with care as she took the plant, wondering if there was a spark of recognition in the sparkling eyes, or whether the plant just appealed to the witch. He couldn't be sure in that moment, but the male simply gave a small smile at the thank you, knowing that the witch before him genuinely meant it as she held on to the plant almost as carefully as she always held Ethan.

"We can work on it together, if you'd like, A-Azalea." Josh added, once again opening up the window of opportunity for the two of them to spend more time together. Especially when it came to the magical manipulation of plants, there was no time more satisfying for Joshua than watching his Azalea in her nurturing ways, making the care for others -- people or plants -- look so effortless had always been something that captivated him completely.

As his Azalea spoke of her friends, Josh's eyes moved to the group of people she'd emerged from the school with. They'd been inconsequential to start with, but now that his Azalea had made reference to them, Josh knew he would need to make note of them. From the male with the outlandish coloured outfit and bow tie, to the evident couple, the group was full of different people. None of note, though, Josh noticed, and inwardly wrote them all off once more.

Josh's attention returned to his Azalea a moment later, though, amusement playing on his lips at the idea of being a movie star. Shaking his head as he settled in the car beside the witch, Josh replied easily. "I came to university here, remember?" Not really telling the witch who he was still. "Top of my year, there's a picture somewhere in the halls. That's probably all." He explained, still not inclined to tell his Azalea that his family was one of the most powerful residing in the United Kingdom. No, his Azalea did not need such burdens at the moment. His titles didn't change their relationship.

Turning the key in the ignition, the car beneath them roared in to life, and after a moment, the two were pulling out of the university. Conversation moved to his Azalea's recounting of her day after a light prompt from Josh, and the blond contented himself with listening wholeheartedly about everything she had done, who she'd made friends with, and what the course would be promising in the next few weeks. The excitement from his Azalea was enough to make Josh feel lighter, and he knew that tonight was going to be the night.

The duo returned to Josh's home as they had planned, and Josh had aided the witch from his car and up the steps. Dinner would be ready and waiting for them now, as per Josh's instructions, and true to form, the dining room table was already full of copious plates of steaming vegetables, a centre piece of both a beef joint and venison, and all the trimmings of a traditional roast dinner with it. The smell filled the room as the two of them entered the room, reinforcing the mild hunger Josh had been feeling on their return. Ethan sat in his high chair waiting patiently for their arrival, a napkin tucked in to his little suit applied by the staff who had made themselves scarce upon hearing their master's return. A soft gurgle left the boy's lips as he noted the arrival of the lady who had become a source of comfort, and Josh looked to his Azalea with a knowing smile.

"Happy first day of University, A-Azalea," Josh noted, motioning for her to take up her chair beside Ethan. After helping her in to the chair, Josh moved to her other side, sitting carefully. "I hope you're hungry." He added, looking over all the food that was, obviously, too much for the two of them to eat themselves.

Dinner ensued with their usual comfortable conversation, Josh aiding his Azalea to fill up her plate with a wide selection of vegetables. The meat went untouched by the witch -- not a surprise to Josh -- and then he filled his own plate in the same manner. The food was rich with flavour, clearly prepared by a well skilled chef, and as the two of them finished their plates, Josh's attention moved to focus on his Azalea who was, once more, besotted with their son and helping him with his own food.

The witch was carefully cleaning the remains of mushed carrots from Ethan's chin when Josh spoke, his words carefully chosen for this moment.

"A-Azalea..." He spoke softly, not wishing to make the witch jump from her current task, or to remove her attention from their son if she did not wish to. His Azalea didn't need to be looking at him for him to be able to deliver the next lines of conversation. "I wanted to say thank you, for everything you've helped me with in the last few months. For opening your house to me so willingly when I was just a stranger to you. Few people would have done so, but I'm glad you did. We've become good friends, I feel. You've become a great aid to me with Ethan, a debt I could never repay...

"And, A-Azalea," Josh's hand moved to carefully envelope Azalea's free left hand in that moment, gently signalling that he wished to have her full attention now. That for a moment, Ethan could wait because this was important, for them both. "I wanted... Would you consider something more? With us? I know this is vastly old fashioned to ask so formally, but would you consider us evolving our relationship in to... courting, I believe the term would be?" The blond asked, the formalness of his proposal falling easily in to something comical. However, the terms might be comical, it was clear in Josh's features that he was anything but.

The offer was genuine.

Joshua Murray had simply never had to ask before.

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PostSubject: Re: Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now (Jozalea)   Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:54 pm

Azalea was already considering the conditions in which she could cultivate the wine when Josh offered to work on it with her, making her rich brown eyes light up. No matter how many times he did it, Azalea could never get used to quite how genuinely he was interested in everything she was. With Josh, the witch had never once felt ignored or cast aside in favor of a more captivating subject.

Josh's world seemed to revolve around her, and Ethan, as silly as that sounded in her head.

But perhaps that was his talent? That he made everyone feel important and heard when he spoke to them. Azalea knew from experience it was a rare trait to not get distracted and continuously give complete attention to something, so she did not question it. So many things about Josh were extraordinary but in such a good way, the brunette didn't wan to ruin it with answers.

The better part of their conversation throughout the car ride revolved around her day, and a large part of it was dedicated to her awe of the two large greenhouses the university boasted. This led to the possibility of her getting her own greenhouse eventually at Furz Croft but probably not anytime soon. Hesitatingly, Azalea admitted her father's concerns about her newfound independence but left it at that. Vague details were best at this point and the good thing about her companion was that he never pushed for more information.

As the car rounded the driveway of Josh's new home, Azalea stopped speaking, the anticipation written clear across her face. Gentle joy radiated from the witch every time she was near Ethan and it was getting harder and harder to hide how much she wanted - needed - to be around the child. Josh seemed to understand which was why he gently helped her out of the vehicle and guided her in straight to a completely set table and a waiting Ethan in his high chair, almost as if reprimanding the two adults for being late to tea.

"Hello," Azalea greeted the toddler as Josh handed him to her. "How is the bestest baby in the world today?" Ethan merely gurgled as she buried his tiny form to her chest, taking a deep whiff of his tiny head. He had been bathed, cleaned, dressed, powdered and made ready. How Josh managed it all, she didn't know but if there were awards for being a great dad, her friend was definitely in the running.

Te food laid out for them was objectively lovely, Azalea didn't need to taste it to know so. In the months she had known Josh, the witch had come to understand he always arranged for the best. josh not only had a taste for the finer things in life but things most people probably couldn't even dream of. In fact, if she thought about it, the most mediocre thing he seem to harbor an affection for was... her.

The woman tried not to think too much of this revelation as she divided her attention between father and son, keeping up a conversation with Josh while ensuring Ethan ate the food prepared especially for him. Azalea had noticed over the weeks that she didn't have to do much to ensure the little boy stayed clean. Unlike other babies, Ethan seemed to be remarkably self aware. Never once had he fisted his food and tossed it around in a tantrum so common of most children his age.

It was as she was in the middle of pointing out his good manners when she felt Josh grow silent - his way of gently steering the topic elsewhere, but not steering but letting the current line of conversion come to an end with his silence.

"A-Azalea..."

Despite the warmth and her contented state, the brunette felt a shiver run down her spine, as if someone had opened a window somewhere and an icy draft was coming for her bare flesh. Ignoring the sensation, the witch put down the napkin she had been using to wipe some of Ethan's food from his chin. She looked at Josh, her eyes leaving Ethan completely for the first time since they had entered the house.

As the blonde continued to speak, Azalea wanted to stop him, to tell him no thanks was owed, that in fact it was she who owed so much of her health and sanity to the father and son who had came into her life so unexpectedly. But no words came out, and perhaps it was a good thing because what Josh said next would have rendered her speechless anyway. The situation would have been funny, but Azalea couldn't think of one funny thing about it. All she could feel was... deep validation.

She hand't been wrong, or at least not completely wrong. The heat and electricity she so often experienced when she and Josh were alone... was mutual. And not entirely unwelcome if she was understanding him correctly. And... and that something more would definitely involve the baby boy beside her, the baby boy that made ehr so happy, she could dance. The baby boy who gave her so much pace, she could sleep.

But as Josh finished, the witch realized he was too good for her, they both were. Josh knew nothing about her, and Ethan certainly deserved better than a liar. So instead of saying yes, instead of saying how desperately she wanted to be with baby and how Josh was the most validating and necessary person in her life a that moment, the brunette lowered ehr head.

"I don't want you to think I'm ungrateful," she began, not meeting his gaze because she felt tiny, insignificant, a mere shadow of who she was two minutes ago. That was the thing with Josh, he made her forget who she was, how tangled and twisted her life was. And largely, Azalea had kept up the illusion, liking who she was with him and his son. But now those two Azaleas would have to become one and the same again, and this one was a lot less deserving of Joshua and Ethan Murray than the one of two minutes ago had been.

"You and Ethan are... probably the reason I wake up most days, crazy as that sounds. You've been... Kind isn't the word, you've made me feel..." her voice cracked in that moment, her eyes threatening to well over but the witch fought back the tears. He deserved an answer, he deserved to know it was her and not him. "Necessary," she finally managed, choking out the word. "I've never felt necessary, not that I can remember. And... And that's another thing, I don't remember thing... I need to tell you or this will all be under false pretenses."

A traitorous tear left her eyelashes, diving off the steep surfer of her sharp cheekbones and landing in the napkin over her lap. Azalea hoped it had gun unnoticed but when had anything gone unnoticed by Josh? "I think... Maybe we can take Ethan to the nursery... I probably shouldn't talk about this in front of him. But I don't want to ever lie to you," she added, shaking her head determinedly. No, she would not risk ruining the best connection she had at this point with lies.

Especially when... even if it was a small chance... He might be alright with the truth.

"And after you've heard everything, if you still feel the same way, could you ask me again please?"

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PostSubject: Re: Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now (Jozalea)   Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:20 pm

"I don't want you to think I'm ungrateful,"

The words that came after he was finished with the question he had not known how to phrase, despite his best efforts brought the lightest of hints of a frown to Josh's features in that moment. Controlling his eyebrows to not deepen the frown was a battle well served in that moment, because Josh knew that looking deeply upset with the words, or confused, or any multitude of feelings was not going to help his Azalea.

The blond sat quietly as his Azalea tried to explain away her worries about his question, how she had been keeping things from him. As if he didn't know everything of his Azalea that he could ever possibly need to know. Had the moment not been as tense as it was in that moment, there might have been a single peel of laughter escaping from Josh's lips. But now was not the time.

The mention of removing Ethan from their presence made Josh shake his head softly.

"You don't need to tell me anything, A-Azalea." Josh assured the witch, his voice soft in that moment as the errant tear stained the napkin now resting in his Azalea's lap. "I know everything I need to know of you, and with time, you can tell me everything else that I need to know. I've come to know you don't remember everything from your past. But, forgive me for making assumptions in this moment, what we will have, it will be the future. What has happened in the past does not matter...

"You, Ethan and I can build a future, A-Azalea, so long as we are honest going forward."

Josh left it at that, leaving everything open. He didn't need to know about the past, because he already knew. How she had been taken by a stranger, how she had been kept so poorly it had weakened her almost beyond repair, how she'd thought through it all and become the woman sitting opposite him today.

"I would very much like to be with you, A-Azalea, you should know that."

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PostSubject: Re: Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now (Jozalea)   Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:35 pm

She had expected Josh to hear her out, to weight what she said against his earlier offer of... of what they could be. He had a child after all, he couldn't expose Ethan to someone dangerous or deceitful. But when he spoke again, Josh didn't sound like he thought her to be either.

"But what if.." she began, trying not to imagine the scenario she was about to outline. "What if you find out someday... And realize it is important. That you're with someone who's so fundamentally damaged.... What if its too late and I can't live without Ethan anymore?" As much as it pained her to say it, it had to be done. And she doubted it would be very long until she could get to the point where life without the toddler would be unimaginable.

No, even if Josh decided he wanted nothing to do with her starting right now, she knew she would never recover from the loss of the baby she had only known a few weeks.

Just like she would never recover from the loss of the child she had carried, and had stolen from her.

just like she would never recover from Adrienne's sobs as she left the house.

just as she would never recover from knowing that her daughter was out there, but just outside her reach.

"I want to be with you more than I can ever remember wanting to be with anyone," she managed, trying to keep down another sob at the brutal honesty made her want to crumple up in shame and dependency. "But I don't want pity or kindness, I need..." she paused struggling with the words that would not come forth because she had humiliated herself enough for a lifetime.

Instead, the raised her tear streaked face to Josh, willing him to read her eyes. Willing him to understand like he always did.

Willing him to show that he needed her as much as she needed him and his son.

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PostSubject: Re: Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now (Jozalea)   Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:54 pm

Josh's head was softly shaking as his Azalea began to speak once more, trying to insist that there was something she had done that would mean he would not feel the same way as he had felt since the very first time he'd seen her in the Greenhouses in his second year. "There is nothing in this world that you can tell me that would make me change my mind, A-Azalea." Josh assured the witch, reaching forth to gently take the witch's hand to reaffirm that he was not lying in that moment. That there truly was nothing the witch before him could do that he would change his mind. He knew everything of her, there was nothing there that would change how he felt.

"And, you will never be without Ethan."

It was a barely spoken promise to the witch, but it was there. It didn't need to be told to the world, only his Azalea needed to hear those words.

"I want to be with you more than I can ever remember wanting to be with anyone,"

Josh's heart soared hearing those words. Jubilation filling his veins as a smile broke out on to his features. His Azalea... his Azalea had finally admitted to him after all these years, of her own free will, in her own chosen words, that she wanted to be with him. Whilst he had never envisioned the witch telling him through tears, in between sobs, Joshua Murray would take this scenario to his grave.

His Azalea wanted to be with him!

"But I don't want pity or kindness, I need..."

"I know," Josh replied softly, not needing to hear it, but understanding as he always did when it came to his Azalea. He had always known what she needed, that was how they had come to where they were today. "I know, my A-Azalea." The blond assured her once more, before leaning in very, very slowly but with a clear purpose. Placing a soft kiss on his Azalea's lips brought forth a familiar sense of adrenaline, the familiar pull of needing more that no other woman had ever instilled inside of him. Kissing his Azalea would always have that effect, always make him feel breathless in the aftermath as his heart raced in celebration.

"I won't... I can't ever let you go, A-Azalea. You're all I will ever need."

The whispered words were like a promise to the Gods, a softly spoken prayer that only his Azalea would hear. He'd never wanted anything more than his Azalea, and now, more than sixteen years later, his Azalea was finally seeing things from his prospective.

Now, more than ever, he could not afford to let her go.

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PostSubject: Re: Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now (Jozalea)   Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:16 pm

She really shouldn't have been surprised at this point that once again, josh understood everything without her having to say it. The witch simply wanted to curl up and cry herself into an exhausted stupor if he chose to go and take Ethan with him. Especially since he refused to hear the whole truth, something Azalea knew would come back to haunt them in the future.

But the more he spoke, the more she wanted to believe everything he said. His hand was warm on hers as he confirmed he knew, that he understood what she needed right now and possibly for the remainder of their time together.

As his lips touched her, for the first time Azalea felt... demand in the action. Gone were the polite pecks on the cheek or gentle kisses on her knuckles. This time, Joshua Murray kissed her like he'd been waiting to kiss her his entire life.

Like he truly needed her.

The brunette responded instinctively, leaning into the kiss and allowing him access to the part of ehr she could not remember but feel. Alien sensations bubble inside her as his lips pressed to her, and under them all, there was a hint of soemthing she could not ignore.

"I won't... I can't ever let you go, A-Azalea. You're all I will ever need."

Fear.

Fear that she had just leaped off the brink of an abyss into complete darkness.

Their dinner lay forgotten as Josh moved closer to her, sweeping her up from the chair only to support most of her weight, her knees close to jelly from the headiness he was inducing in her.

Soon after, they put Ethan to bed. And began the long winding journey of discovering each other in all new ways.

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