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Breathing as quietly as he could manage after the sprint up the hill, he stalked her. She had been secretive and distant for days. Ever since her birthday, if he were completely honest with himself, skipping classes, dodging calls, the works. Now, guided only by the moon and its reflection on her luminous skin, he carefully followed her step for step as they traversed the abandoned courtyard. Focusing solely on her he didn’t see the stone until he toppled over it. Luckily for him there was another, much taller one in front of him. So when he gave a low moan upon impact with the ground and she subsequently turned around, he remained hidden. He looked at his feet and then to the large stone ahead of him.

He could feel some of the blood drain from his face when he realized they were in the magistrates’ graveyard. If they were caught here they would be lucky if all the faced was expulsion. Carefully peering around the base of the headstone he saw Grace shake her head and then her shoulders. An action he had come to recognize, her way of literally shaking off the thought and feeling that plagued her. He smiled to himself slightly as he stood, not realizing how much he had missed her these last few weeks, that even a basic mannerism cheered him. Then he remembered where he was and pressed onward, with a renewed sense of caution. Whatever she was up to must be important for her to risk angering the magistrate. Or, at least he hoped it was important. Relief flooded Mathew’s system as he crossed the gate marking the edge of the graveyard. Until he remembered that the only thing beyond the graveyard was the forest, the reputably haunted forest. Great.

He had to keep himself from jumping at every little noise as they crept through the forest. He did his best to keep to the stones that scattered the forest floor so he wouldn’t add to what felt like a cacophony as he tried to remain silent. If he did make a noise Grace didn’t notice. Instead she kept her path with great assurance, winding in and out of the trees as if she had taken this path before. Several times. The hilly land had crept in on them without his noticing. It wasn’t until he lost Grace behind a sharp outcropping of stone that he saw the massive wall to his left. He was beginning to wonder if Grace could have him under some sort of spell. At the start of the year he was the most observant person at the college, now he felt like he had blinders on. Blinders for her. He rolled his eyes at himself. Likewise at the start of term, thoughts like that would have had him running for the bathroom to hurl. He made the turn around the cropping and stopped dead in his tracks as his face met a palm.

“Matthew Hadder! What, exactly, do you think you are doing?” She asked, an indescribable edge to her voice.

He tried to talk, but before he could she rolled her eyes. Quirking a small smile she shrugged her shoulder again and motioned for him to follow. Sighing at the lack of answers she knew he’d want he diligently followed. They came to a massive wall that he thought, from a distance, to be a moss covered cliff. However as they neared he heard the rustling of leaves and saw it was a giant hedge growing out from the cliff. As they neared Grace started to glow, literally, and a point in the solid hedge opened up forming an archway which they passed through. As soon as they were both across the arch disappeared. The glowing had increased and as he looked around he saw that although she wasn’t glowing anymore, the hedges themselves seemed to glow within with the same light.

Her voice chimed through his wonder, “Would you care for a tour of my secret garden?”

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