Aveline's gaze caught my own and she murmured something to Charlie who nodded and waved to me before he turned to leave.
"Gabrielle, what are you doing here?" she asked, taking my hand and leading me into her office before shutting the door. "I thought you were in Romania."
Sitting in the chair she motioned to, I set my bag on my lap and frowned. "You know about Romania?"
Aveline nods and settles next to me, using her wand to summon the tea pot and cups from the other side of her office. I watch as the china sets itself on the small table in front of us and Aveline leans forward to warm the tea. "I know you went there for the holiday. I didn't know you were back, Gabrielle."
I continue to frown, watching Aveline's calm _expression as she dumps several tea leaves into the cups. "Did you know about Nicholas?"
"Nicholas?" Aveline asks, her dark eyebrows furrowing in confusion as she glances at me.
"Nicholas Paul Coza. Did you know mother was arranging my marriage to him?" I can't help the accusation in my voice and I instantly regret it when Aveline turns to me in surprise.
"An arranged marriage?"
I nod and sigh as I relax. Mother's betrayal had me questioning everyone around me, unfairly so. "She didn't tell me. She left me there." I tell her about my trip, as well as Nicholas and mother's actions. Aveline stares at me as I speak, her lips parted slightly and when I finish she looks away, appearing deep in thought as she leans forward and settles her forehead in the palm of her hand. "Aveline?"
"I didn't know, Gabrielle. I am sorry. I know how much you love Fred Weasley, and I would have told you if I had known."
I reach out and touch her arm gently. When she looks at me, I smile softly. "I believe you, Aveline. I came here to tell you that Fred and I are leaving for a few days. Mother will be home soon, and I think Nicholas will be looking for me."
"Are you sure leaving is a good idea?" she asks. "Running away isn't going to make this situation any better."
"I'm not running away," I assure her. When she lifts an eyebrow doubtfully, I smile again. "I promise. I just need some time to figure out how to tell mother about Fred." Aveline hands me the tea cup and I watch as she stands and begins to pace, looking uneasy. "Are you all right, Aveline?"
"I'm fine." Her anxious movements tell me otherwise, but I sip my tea and say nothing. Finally I set the cup down and watch her. "Why did you divorce Whizzy?"
"What?" she exclaims, her eyes wide as she turns toward me. "What kind of question is that?"
"I'm curious," I admit with a shrug. "You seemed so in love at the holiday party."
"In only a few weeks? No way." I shake my head. "Did he cheat on you?"
"Did you cheat on him?"
"Gabrielle Delacour!" She breathes, hands on her hips as she stares down at me. "Il n'a eu rien à faire avec la fraude et il n'est pas quelque chose que je souhaite discuter en ce moment." ("It had nothing to do with cheating and it's not something I wish to discuss right now.")
"Néanmoins l'aimez-vous?" I ask quietly. ("Do you still love him?")
I see the pain flash in her eyes briefly before she looks away. I don't like to presume I know everything about the people I love. But I knew Bill and Fleur were in love, and watching Whizzy with Aveline at our party, I felt the same way about them. There is something in the way a man looks at a woman, and vice versa, that you just know that they're meant.
Aveline finally sighs softly and brushes her hair behind her ears. "Il n'importe pas comment je me sens maintenant, Gabrielle. Mon mariage a fini et il est pour le meilleur. Veuillez laisser tomber le sujet." ("It doesn't matter how I feel now, Gabrielle. My marriage has ended and it's for the best. Please drop the subject.")
Knowing it's best not to push any further, I stand and hug her tightly. "I'll owl when I know when we are coming home. Please don't tell mother. I want to speak with her myself when she is home."
Aveline kisses my cheek. "I promise. Be careful and don't get into any trouble."
"I never do," I remind her with a grin. As I leave her office to talk with Fleur, I pray to the Elders that Aveline will find happiness again. Whatever happened between she and Whizzy would surely be settled someday and they would reunite. Being with Fred now, finding my own soul mate...I felt optimistic for Aveline and Whizzy. After all, I knew true love could never be completely severed. I only hope that soon they realize it for themselves.