Lyall could not believe how enthusiastic Hope was. Almost immediately as they got home, she began planning a wedding. Before the day was over, nearly everything was planned to the finest detail, including a Boggart topped cake.
"Who are you inviting?" Lyall asked, looking up from the Daily Prophet as he ate his breakfast at the kitchen table. Hope was scribbling down notes at the moment in her favorite notebook which appeared about two inches thick. Hope blinked at him. "Come on. I know that half that book is full of wedding plans. Surely you've picked a few guests?"
"Yes, well that's the thing I've been wanting to talk to you about," She told him as she placed her quill down and shut her book. Her fiance did the same with his paper.
"Don't be shy," He told her across the circular table. The room was filled with a quick silence as Hope picked her words.
"Well, all my friends and family... They're muggles of course."
"Mhm..." Lyall listened.
"Thats the thing, Lyall," She said. "They're muggles that are clueless of this world. Do you reckon its safe to invite them?" Lyall was a little surprised at her words.
"Well, that depends. How many people in your family know about our little world?" He asked, leaning forward slightly.
"No one." She said quietly, looking away at the ground near the side of her chair.
"No one? Not even your parents? Your brother?" He asked, a little astounded. Hope shook her head, the tight curls in her hair bouncing. "Hope, I don't expect you to tell everyone down to your aunts cousins cousin. Believe me, I'm happy you haven't. But don't you think that someone as close as your parents should know?"
"But... but don't you think that they will think that you're weird? That they won't approve of this?" She asked, looking up at him slightly. Lyall was becoming more surprised by the second.
"Why should we care? The least we can do is tell them the truth." Hope looked at him for a moment. Finally she gave a small nod.
"I guess you're right. I'll invite them as soon as an owl can get to them."
"No no. The wedding is in a month? You're telling them today." Lyall told her as he got up and carried his empty plate to the sink where a floating wash cloth was eager to take it from him.
"How will I ever do that?" She asked as she watched him.
"Pack a bag, lovely. I'm leaving for work in ten minutes. You'll spend the day with your parents and I'll pick you up after work. I only have a four hour shift today."
"Don't you think its a little inappropriate to just stop by so suddenly?" She said as she stood slowly, looking expectantly at Lyall.
"Since when have we cared?" He spoke with a smile. He waved his wand and a large purse swept out from a closet into her arms. "Pack what you need. I'll be on the outside when you're done."
Just a few moments later Hope exited the house and shut the door behind her, the tattered gargoyle knocker smiling at the two of them as they walked from the front step together.
"Accio broom," Lyall spoke with a wave of his wand. A shabby broom almost instantly zoomed to his side.
"Are we seriously taking that?" She asked with a smile as Lyall strapped his briefcase to the back of the broom.
"Well apparating can get rather boring you see?" He told her as he mounted the broom. Hope just stood idly by his side. "Come on." He urged her. "It's not that bad."
"But won't we get seen?"
"No problem there. I know a little charm that could fix that." Lyall held his wand up. But she still stood glued to the over grown lawn. Lyall smiled, remembering that she had never actually been aboard a flying broom before. Snatching her hand, he pulled her onto the broom behind him and immediately hovered the broom above the ground so she couldn't jump off. She gave a little shriek and wrapped her arms around him tightly. "I won't let anything happen to you, I promise," He said solemnly as they zoomed away from their house.
Hope was obviously very nervous, perhaps even terrified as they zoomed at top speeds high above the clouds. But she wasn't the only one. The man she clung to for dear life was having his own troubling thoughts as he soared the broom across the sky. He had only met Hopes parents once briefly when they had only been dating for a couple weeks. And none of them had the slightest clue that he was a wizard. Lyall hadn't really thought about breaking the truth to them very much. But now that it was about to happen, again, he was considering the worst that could happen. The clouds parted below them and he could see the cluttered buildings of muggle settlements and began to descend.
Hovering rather high above a specific house that Lyall remembered to be the Howells house, he turned his head and called back to Hope through the gentle wind that was whistling in his ears. "This is where I'm gonna have to leave you, lovely."
"What?!" She shrieked at him. "Lyall bring me to the ground right now!-"
"I'll be back by two!" Lyall bucked his broom and sent Hope flying off of it. Her scream was cut short as Lyall cast a charm onto her. It was as if her body had become as light as a feather because she gently began to float down to the ground as if she had an invisible parachute strapped to her. Hope smiled up at Lyall as he zoomed away towards the heart of London.
"You must be joking!" He fused as he approached the broom rack. His day of sitting at a desk with practically nothing to do was over and he had made his way back up to the main floor of the Ministry. But as he approached the place where all brooms were stored for the day, since no one usually liked piling their broom in their office, he found that the spot he remembered keeping his broom was empty. "Where is my bloody broom?!"
He was receiving looks as he strode angrily around all the other brooms, checking to make sure that he hadn't put his broom in a different spot. Finally, excepting the fact that it was no longer there, he began to desperately scan the crowd, standing on his toes to try and see anyone pushing through the people with a broom in their hand. But he was left with nothing. Not a single scrap of evidence or a lead of who had his broom. He just had to accept the fact that it was stolen.
Lyall walked angrily through the crowd, pushing past anyone that got in his way or even walked a little slower than his pace. The only thing that he had to look forward to now was seeing Hope, and hopefully, her parents. He threw the floo powder into the fire, having to make an extra effort to not yell his destination at the flames. The wizard had barely even appeared out of the usual alley way when he apparated. Lyall now stood at the end of the walkway to the Howell house hold.
Lyall had to take a deep breath to slow his heart rate. Why am I so nervous? Its wasn't as if he were about to go admit that he were some rogue, murderous dark wizard. He was a good person, just a little different from what muggles would consider normal. Lyall forced his first step and used the momentum to push himself towards the door.
It was slightly ajar when he reached it, so he gave a little tap as he opened the door.
"Hello?" He called down the hall in the most friendly voice he could manage, still slightly furious about his broom being stolen. No one responded. He was certain this was the right house. Maybe he ought to call a little louder. Shutting the door behind himself, he called again.
"Hello? Anyone home?" He began taking a few nervous steps down the hall. As he was approaching an entrance way along the corridor, Hope came into view, sitting on a chair in the next room. Lyall couldn't help but notice her reddened eyes, the evidence of tears being present.
"Hope!" He said with concern, striding into the room to comfort her. As he walked into what must have been the living room, he noticed them. Hope's mother, Andrea sat on one side of a sofa while her father stood in the middle of the living room, his arms crossed. No matter, Lyall did not falter in his steps towards Hope. "What's wrong?" He asked her quietly. She looked up at him with dejection.
"You," Bellowed a deep voice. It was her father. Lyall turned to face him.
"David," He said cheerfully as he extended a hand. "How are you?" Lyall looked up at the towering man. He was much taller than he remembered. He spotted Mr Howell's mouth open behind his bushy mustache.
"Where the hell has my daughter been for the last eight months?" He spoke, his voice tainted with rage. Lyall was caught by surprise. He had expected a more friendlier welcome.
"Wh- what do you mean sir?-"
"You know damn well what I mean," He shouted in his face. "You come along for just a few months and you and her just decide to run off? Leaving nothing but a letter delivered by some ruddy bird?" Lyall cowered back slightly, giving Hope a side glance as he stood before her father. This is what she had been crying about, Lyall now realized. Mr Howell's face was turning red with rage as he looked down at him. Lyall tried his best to show every sign of respect that he could muster in a situation like this, for he was afraid that this man was about to strangle him any second. A man such as him could do it easily.
"I- well I-"
"Brainwashed her?" This was the last thing Lyall was expecting Mr Howell to say.
"What was she trying to tell me?" Mr Howell scratched the top of his head that was covered in thick, blond hair dramatically. "Oh yeah. A wizard?" Lyall felt his stomach fall. Oh how he wished that Hope hadn't told them this at the moment. It was the last thing he needed when he was trying to explain something. Two people that thought he was crazy.
"She told you, did she?" Lyall said in his most calm, polite voice
"So my concern is that you've brainwashed her or you're just some kind of freak," Mr Howell spat at him.
"Dad, that's not true-" Hope piped up
"Quite young lady!" Her father barked back
"My apologies, Mr Howell," Lyall spoke gently. "But I couldn't brainwash someone if I tried."
"Then obviously this girl has mental issues to be hanging out with a lunatic like you! A wizard? What is this rubbish?!" Mr Howell bellowed. Lyall could feel Hope grasp his hand from behind his back tight. She was crying. He knew this without having to look. He would be upset too if his own father had insulted him like that. Behind Mr Howell where Hopes mother sat, Lyall spied her blue eyes, identical to Hopes. The whites around them were growing red as well as she silently sat, pretending to be looking at a picture on the wall. Lyall felt a new anger flicker in his chest as he turned to look back at Mr Howell.
"Well, sir. I never took Divination at my school, but I can tell that Hope and I have a great future ahead of us as husband and wife," Lyall spoke firmly. He felt Hopes grip tighten on his hand. Mr Howell looked as if he were about to explode. The mighty man took a step back in disbelief. Lyall knew what was coming.
"Get out of my house. Now!" He bellowed at the young wizard.
"Gladly," Lyall said as he gripped Hopes hand and pulled her up from her seat.
"What? You think you are leaving with her? You really are crazy!" He yelled with a psychotic sounding laugh. "She's staying here!"
"Well, I think that that decision is up to, Hope..." Lyall said as he turned his head to look at her. She looked back into his eyes. A smile peeled across her lips that were painted a magnificent red. "Appears she is coming with me, sir."
"Get your hands off her!" Mr Howell roared as he finally lost his control and lunged at Lyall, hands extended. The image looked all too familiar. Almost like the shape that Hope's Boggart took the shape of. Lyall could see Mrs Howell's long, brown hair flick in its pony tail as she jumped form her seat.
"David, no!" She cried as she reached for his shoulder. Lyall made for his first instinct: to pull his wand from his pocket. Using his free hand, he thrust the wand forward at Mr Howell. Lyall didn't know what to expect, but thankfully, Mr Howell stopped dead in the line of fire of the deadly magical weapon.
"No sudden moves, sir." Lyall said to the room that stood still. "I could leave you staring at the ceiling, wondering what hit you." Surprisingly, Mr Howell obeyed, so Lyall took the advantage of having the moment to talk.
"Tell anyone of these events without my permission and there will be a whole department of the Ministry looking for you. Believe me. Not fun," He said this almost threateningly. Lyall quickly reflected on the time he attempted to contain a Boggart without Ministry permission.
"Now," He said much more calmly, lowering his wand a little to see that the Howell couple was cooperating, "an owl will be sent your way with our wedding invitation, just in case you change your mind." Lyall gave a sly smile at them, especially at Mr Howell. "I would love to stay in touch with my parents-in-law."
And before anyone had a chance to blink, Lyall apparated. With hope in his hand, she joined him on the instant journey back to their home...