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The Power to Charm

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Chapter 6

18 months later

"I'm going to expect you to come back next week with the first three books of Milton's "Paradise Lost" read and annotated. And when I say 'annotate,' I'm not talking about reading it only once. I'm talking two, three, maybe even four times if needed be. Please be prepared to discuss them. Remember, we won't be meeting on Monday and Wednesday." Sarah said as she began to pack up her rustic leather satchel. It was a gift from Lucy and Dylan when everyone found out she truly was going to spend an academic year at Oxford.

Looking at her watch, she tried not to stress about the time. It took her a while to get used to the British way of time telling, but everything else came with simple ease. It didn't take long for her to pick up the lingo, appreciate the food, and know when to look right versus left. She had some help, of course, but if there was one task she refused to take on it was driving in the United Kingdom.

Walking out of the building which housed her class, Sarah ran her hands over the stone, feeling the bones of the architecture. She still couldn't believe that she was finally at Oxford, and she was incredibly happy. Skype allowed her to stay in touch with her former classmates and friends back home in America, and it surprised her a bit to know that some of her classmates placed bets as to how long it would take before she and Jareth Kingston got together.

The fellowship was going well, but Sarah wasn't entirely sure her future lay at Oxford. The University of Kent was interested in her based on her academic research, but there would be conditions for her acceptance and they all hinged on one particular man.

Exiting the building, Sarah wasn't expecting to see her fiance of two weeks waiting for her. Jareth Kingston had surprised her with a single carat diamond ring in their Thai food from their favorite local place in Cambridge. She remembered his proposal as if it happened yesterday.

"Let's start a wolf pack Sarah." Jareth said as he saw the realization hit her face.

She didn't remember even saying yes. One moment she heard his words, and the next he was gleefully smiling.

"It was my mum's." Jareth said as he slipped the ring on her finger. "I think my father never intended on passing this to me, but let's be honest, I think he likes you more than he likes me."

"What are you doing here?" Sarah asked, surprised, shaking herself out of her flashback.

"I thought I'd surprise you and pick you up. We've got a fifty minute ride from here to Heathrow, and I know you're probably already worried about us getting there on time."

"Well, I don't have my bags."

"I put them in the car." Jareth said, smiling at the thought that he knew exactly what she was going to ask.

"Future husband, you've thought of everything." Sarah said.

"Of course, future wife." Jareth said before kissing Sarah.

Normally, Sarah hated such pet names, but such things seemed to work for them. Their relationship, once completely established, was so lovely in its simplicity. Jareth still jokingly accused her of being uptight every now and again, but it was something she found endearing.

"Come now. I can't even begin to tell you how lucky I was to find a parking spot. I'm pretty sure it belongs to someone else, so we best get on the road."

Wrapping an arm around her shoulder, he asked, "So, how is the class going?"

"It's good, but I think that maybe I'm assigning too much work."

"You're teaching a class at the most prestigious school in the United Kingdom and you're worried about assigning too much work?" Jareth said.

"Maybe I'm overthinking it."

"Sarah Williams, overthinking? No way!"

Sarah scoffed and looked up at Jareth.

"Admit it, you wouldn't have me any other way." Sarah added.

"We do indeed balance each other out."

"I really am looking forward to getting out of town for a few days."

"Darling, we're getting out of the country. Who would have thought yours truly would have been personally invited to Dylan and Lucy's wedding."

"True." Sarah said jokingly.

"Oh come on, we're all friends now. I have to give them credit for knowing that something was up between the two of us."

"I'm sure Holly will be happy to see you."

"I sometimes wonder if that bartender at Harvey's ever had to get a restraining order on her." Jareth joked.

"Probably. She did stay on to teach other there." Sarah said, clutching Jareth's hand that was around her shoulder. "Did you get any writing done today?"

"I reckon I got in about three or four chapters, but I think I might do some editing on the plane. I don't know. One minute it's clear and the next it's hazy." Jareth said as he unlocked the car that would take them to the airport.

"I once read that Stephen King was notorious for writing a bunch of stuff and then giving it a rest for a year or two before returning to it."

"Don't tell father that! I'm still shocked that he's fine with me pursuing writing as a career."

"Thanks to me!" Sarah added before getting in the passenger side of the car.

"Yes dear, thanks to you." Jareth said with a hint of false annoyance.

"I can't help it that Mr. Kingston likes me so much." Sarah said.

"Father is going to make sure that William Shakesmeow gets fed, and he sends his love."

"Oh, how domesticated you've become Jareth Kingston." Sarah said as his car came into view.

"That's a stupid name for cat." Jareth said.

"Yeah, but you love him all the same." Sarah said.

As Jareth drove them to Heathrow, Sarah asked, "Do you think we should share our wonderful news with all of our old classmates?"

"Why should we hide it?" Jareth asked.

"I don't want to take anything away from Dylan and Lucy's celebration. It's their wedding."

"Well someone's eventually going to notice a particular type of a ring on a particular finger, and I'll be damned if you remove it for the sake of being sensitive to others."

"If someone asks then I'll confirm it. I just don't want to steal anyone's thunder."

"You worry too much. I'm sure everyone will be overjoyed and Lucy will throw some hideous bouquet in your direction. The only thing they might get their knickers in a twist over is how you didn't tell them all sooner."

"Well, I haven't chatted with anyone in the last few weeks. Everyone's been so busy. And you need to be nice!" Sarah said.

"I am being nice. I don't even see why we should go through all the pomp and circumstance of a wedding. I'm perfectly happy popping in to Vegas on the way home."

Sarah laughed before adding, "No! My father would kill me! I'm his only daughter, and I can't take away his one opportunity to walk me down an aisle. Plus, I thought we agreed that we'd have a long engagement."

"Yes, but what if Kent wants you to stay?"

"Could you see yourself in Kent?" Sarah asked seriously.

"I see myself where you see yourself. However, I don't see myself in a place where tornadoes or typhoons are a major occurrence. Nor do I see myself in the Arctic Circle."

"No sense of adventure? I have indeed domesticated you! In all honesty, I'd like to stay in the UK, but I wouldn't mind returning to the States."

"Me too." Jareth said before grabbing Sarah's hand and kissing it.

"I'm still keeping my surname." Sarah randomly added.

Jareth rolled his eyes as he continued to drive.

"But what about our children? Think of them at least?"

"Children? You want children Jareth Kingston?"

"I want children with you."

"They will have your last name."

"Sarah Williams-Kingston. That sounds like rubbish." Jareth jokingly said.

"Well, get over it Brit boy. So, tell me more about your latest writing. I'm interesting in seeing how you've combined modern noir with fantasy." Sarah said as she stared at the window.

"I'm thinking that once I get in a few more chapters in my book that I should pursue getting a literary agent."

"That's a good idea."

"Until then, I think I'm going to take that writing job for that local UK blog. It'll be good to earn some extra money, and I'll have some creative freedom to focus on subjects that I'd like to focus on."

"So you'd be a journalist?"

"I think that's a bit of a stretch, but I'd get to write about the stuff I know and enjoy. Great restaurants. Book reviews. It wouldn't be anything official."

"It sounds like you'd be able to work from home."

"Yep, so that way I can stay on top of the house cleaning." Jareth cheekily said.

"Touche!"

The two were silent for a few moments before Sarah asked,

"Did you pack the wedding gift?"

"We shipped it to them weeks ago, remember? We got them that fancy french press coffee thing. What is it with college professors and french presses?"

"I remember you talked about sending them a copy of the Kamasutra to which I distinctly remember threatening you with no physical contact unless you changed your mind."

"Our sex life is amazing. Why not share it with the rest of the world?" Jareth asked.

"The rest of the world is not two of our friends."

"Oh come on, it would have been funny."

"No it wouldn't have been." Sarah replied, trying to stifle her laughter.

"Just think, we could have dog tagged what we tried and put post it notes on the things we especially liked." Jareth said, lightly nudging his fiance's arm.

"You're ridiculous sometimes."

"Yes, but you wouldn't have me any other way."

As the two continued the drive towards, not only Heathrow, but their future, Sarah looked at the man she once loathed and grabbed his hand. She appreciated the fact that the two didn't have to talk to one in order for them to understand what the other person was thinking. They also didn't have to engage in small talk just to avoid any awkward silences.

Later, Jareth pulled into the parking area for the airport. Turning off the car, he noted to himself that they were well ahead of time with their schedule. The two could grab some food and a drink before boarding their plane, and Sarah would most likely want to sleep a bit on the flight.

"We're going to a wedding." Sarah randomly stated.

"To the future Mr. and Mrs. Dylan and Lucy Rhee." Jareth replied before kissing Sarah's hand.

He never ceased to be surprised with the way things turned out. He got what he had wanted since the day he saw Sarah Williams step foot into their seminar class. In the beginning it was about attaining the prize, never about building a life with her. As he watched Sarah absentmindedly pin up her hair, he suddenly grew excited with the thought that one day he would look at her and not see his girlfriend or fiance. He would one day see his wife. He would one day see the mother of their children. His steady rock of support in a world that could easily tear anyone to shreds.

"Ready future wife?" Jareth asked before exiting the car.

"Ready future husband." Sarah replied.