The various homes, flats, and other dwellings of London are located throughout the city. You can visit a friend at his home or even have one over or enjoy an evening in with yourself. Your choice!
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by: Coraline Larson
The fragile woman panted and struggled against the tide of panic and adrenaline that threatened to drag her back down into a full-blown anxiety attack, shivering despite the warmth of the bath. When Matt came to her side she held his hand tightly for several minutes until she was calm enough to manage standing and getting out of the bathtub. She clung to his hand like it was a life-preserver thrown to a drowning woman, and what was she if not just that? The storm of memories and emotions that the Dark Lord had locked away had been unleashed in a vicious flood when the magic had been broken, leaving Cora floundering both mentally and physically as she tried to deal with the sudden freedom. She needed to get ahold of herself. Matt didn’t need to deal with this after what she had already put him through…

After a few minutes Cora allowed Matt to help her out of the tub and into a warm towel, slowly making her way back to her bedroom. She sat on the stool at the end of her bed and relaxed a little more as he helped her comb out her wet hair and pulled it back into a simple braid when it was untangled. Cora dressed in the outfit Matt had laid out for her, too absorbed in her own thoughts to realize what she was even putting on, and looked up at the marine when he asked to scoop her up in a blanket. Her voice was still little more than a soft whisper when she answered, a slight crease between her brows denoting her concern.

“I… I don’t want the blanket please… My chest hurts still and… and it feels like an elephant sitting on my lungs… Don’t want to be wrapped up. M’sorry,” she trailed off, looking down at her hands clenched in her lap.
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by: Matthew Cox
No burrito, fair enough. Matt nodded at her request and offered his hand to her.

"That's fine. I was planning on taking you to my room and reading to you. Would you rather I brought breakfast in here and read to you here? Actually, that's a better idea than moving you. Here, lay back...I'll be right back."

Matt stood and padded out. He was overdoing the pampering, probably. She wanted him to be mad at her, wanted validation for the self recriminations he had piled on her...and honestly, a part of him wanted to lay it out. A part of him wanted to rail against her and scream in frustration and beat his fists against the wall...but he was a man and men didn't behave like boys. Sunshine had made his point earlier, but that wasn't who he was. No...scripture was clear: do not repay evil with evil, but instead overcome evil with good. That's what he was going to do...a lot of bad had been done to him, but he'd honor God and himself by repaying with good. Besides, Cora wasn't to blame for what the Dark Lady did. she was as much a victim as he was. She'd repented and was grieving...he forgave her. and he'd keep forgiving until neither of them held the past against her.

He balanced the plates and book carefully and returned to her, handed her her plate of french toast, and then bowed his head to pray. Instead of praying silently like he usually did, he gave Cora the benefit of hearing what he was praying for.

"God, thank you for this day of reconciliation and healing. Guide our steps and thoughts so that we may best honor you, please. Thank you for this food we are about to consume. Thank you for Cora, and the opportunity for us to grow together beyond our rougher beginnings. Amen."

That done, he sat on the bed and crossed his legs. He opened the book and carefully felt the page. Matt found the beginning of the story and took a bite of breakfast before he started reading.

"The Five Orange Pips, by Arthur Conan Doyal...When I glance over my notes and records of the Sherlock Holmes cases between the years '82 and '90, I am faced by so many which present strange and interesting features that it is no easy matter to know which to choose and which to leave. Some, however, have already gained publicity through the papers, and others have not offered a field for those peculiar qualities which my friend possessed in so high a degree, and which it is the object of these papers to illustrate."

He lost himself in reading, abandoning his own breakfast in favor of telling the tale to Cora.
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by: Coraline Larson
Matt’s pampering and fussing and kindness was just too much. With the way he was almost manic in his actions with his quick changes of mind and his speech, Cora was simply overwhelmed. She had expected him to be furious, to rant and rage at her like a madman, not dote on her and be so kind… When he explained his plan to bring her breakfast and read to her all she could do was nod quietly and curl up on her bed, sitting against the headboard with her knees drawn up to her chest as she tried to calm the lingering storm of anxiety in her heart. Everything was just too much… She wanted quiet, but didn’t want to be alone. She knew she should eat something, but didn’t feel hungry and in fact, felt almost nauseous with anxiety. She… didn’t know what she wanted, really, just that the raging storm of emotions, memories, and nightmares in her mind and in her heart was so close to swamping her and sending her into a spiral she wasn’t even sure she could explain even if she wanted to.

Before Matt came back Cora quietly wiped the tears that had slipped down her cheeks away. She accepted the plate of breakfast he handed her and settled against the headboard once more, listlessly picking at the french toast more than eating it. When he prayed over their food she wanted to tell him to stop, not because of the act of praying itself, but rather because she still felt she didn’t deserve his forgiveness letalone God’s. She remained quiet, however, and stayed that way while Matt began to read.
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by: Matthew Cox
The story followed the ebb and flow of Sir Doyle's style. Matt finished the story and bent down to kiss Cora's crown. After the show of affection, he picked up his plate and ate his French toast steadily. She was still anxious and uncomfortable with him. What was he supposed to do? He needed to forgive her for himself. She seemed to have issues accepting the forgiveness. Well, there was nothing he could do for her beyond keep giving her forgiveness.

Matt moved the plates to the floor and then laid beside Cora. She was in a quiet mood, so he wasn't going to ruin that by talking. No, he would give her silence. When she was ready to talk, to ask him why, to yell at him, to tell him to go, to ask him to stay...when she was ready, he would be available for her.

He sighed and spooned her, cuddling in comfortably. One of his arms wrapped around her and pulled her snugly against his chest. "Let me know if this isn't comfortable, okay?" He kissed her scalp again.
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