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Aphrodite by smashed_crayon
Chapter 1: A little about The Jeremy Incident.
- spectacular chapter image by shudder @ tda -
With that name begins (and hopefully ends) the entire history of my teenage romance. No couga hunting, playboy facades or one night stands for me.
Well, none of most of those things.
For me there only was – and ever will be – one girl. That was it. I couldn’t have fallen for someone else even if I had wanted to. My heart had been stolen forever.
It didn’t seem fair, to me, that one, single, ordinary girl (that’s that’s a lie, by the way. Replace ordinary with mind-boggling and you get the real picture) could do all this to me. And by all this, I mean sweaty palms, croaky throat, and a tendency to worry.
About my hair.
The shame of it all! I mean, when would the torture end? It has been seven bloody years, for Merlin’s sake! Ever since the day I set eyes on her, I’ve been smitten. It was almost love at first sight, if you take away a couple of heated, argument filled minutes.
It all started on the Hogwarts Express, back when I was a little fellow of eleven years old. I was wandering around with my cousin Louis, in search of an empty compartement to rest our tired bottoms in, when it hit me, quiet literally, hit me. She rammed straight at me, her trunk painfully slamming into my leg, the cat in her arms lashing out with viscious claws from the impact.
I sill have the scar on my left forearm to prove it.
“Shit,” She had cursed, in her sweet eleven year old voice. “Pebbles, are you alright?”
With great shock and offence, I realized that she was talking to her cat. I disentangled my limbs from her trunk, shot Lou a scathing glare for chuckling at me, and crossed my arms.
“Your cat just mauled me, you know,” I said smoothly, holding out my bleeding arm, “I’d recommend a claw trim, if not some hardcore sedatives,”
The girl looked up from where she was nuzzling her cat’s grey fur, shock filling her wide green eyes.
Well, they weren’t exactly green, per say. There was a little bit of light brown in there, too, and some gray. They were like a light green, with a smudge of hazel. But not completely hazel. I don’t think there actually exists a name for the colour of her eyes. I did make one up, though. Grazeleenue. Gray, hazel, green, and that bit of blue on the end for the little dot of sky colour in her left pupil.
And that’s just another day in the life of James Potter.
“Excuse me?” The girl had said, letting out an offended sounding noise, “You want me to sedate Pebbles?”
I gulped. I had never been scolded by a girl before. Well, except for Nick. But she didn’t count as a girl because she swears worse than my dad and plays Black Dragons on the Wizbox.
“I was just saying…” I mumbled, staring down at my feet. “It hurt,”
The girl scoffed and rolled her eyes, carefully placing Pebbles down on the floor, and turning the full fury of her Grazeleenue eyes on me.
“It hurt?” She repeated, sounding very dubious and a little mocking, “Well, it seems you just got beaten up by a cat,”
“Brilliant,” I deadpanned, scowling darkly at her lack of concern, “I guess I can tick that off my list,”
“Your list?” Now she looked confused. “My mum told me to never trust a boy with a list,”
I glanced at her in surprise, momentarily shocked out of my anger. What did her mum have against lists?
“That’s silly,” I stated rather bluntly, earning me a disapproving glare, and a rather haughty raise of the chin.
(Even now that I’m at the mature age of seventeen that girl can still reduce me to a mess of quivering nerves)
“You know what I think?” The green eyed girl hissed, placing her tiny little hands on her hips and glowering straight up at me. “I think that you are a mean, bigheaded, selfish, heartless, vainglorious… assface!”
I frowned. Vainglorious? (At this stage, the insult ‘assface’ didn’t particularly bother me, as I had grown up around five older cousins. I had heard much worse, trust me.)
“Yeah!?” I riposted, taking a deep breath and searching through my relatively… smallstorage of vocabulary, for something that would sound particularly threatening, “Well you’re… altristic!”
I turned to Lou when I said this, with a proud smirk on my face. He smirked back and gave me the thumbs up, mouthing good one.
Or victory was short lived, however; as soon as the word left my lips, the girls eyes widened to the size of Quaffles, and she burst out into loud, hysteric laughter.
“Who have no idea what that means, do you?” She said finally, once she had calmed down a little. My blush had been growing stronger and stronger the more she laughed, and now I looked like an overripe tomato. With sunburn.
“Umm…?” Was my answer, as I stared down at the ground in shame. I had just been made fun of… by a girl. This had never happened to me before! Even that time when Roxie pulled my trousers down in front of a whole assembly of family and close friends a couple of Christmases back, I had managed to hold my head high and make the joke about her, and not me.
But right now, I was speechless.
“Don’t worry about it,” The girl laughed, flicking her smooth blonde hair over her shoulder in one graceful movement, “I thought that was quite cute, actually.” She gave a tinkling laugh and looked up at me through her eyelashes, smiling sweetly.
Now, you must remember that I was a mere lad of eleven back then, and even though I was well on my way to being a strapping young fellow, I had yet to be confronted with the wonderful female invention of flirting.
So this was all new to me. And, come to think of it, it should have been new to Aphrodite, too; I mean, who tries to seduce fellow snotty munchkins at the age ofeleven? But anyway, that’s what happened, and my immediate reaction was to look at her in confusion and wonder if she was a little disturbed in the brain. To me, it just looked like she had a serious case of bipolar.
“Umm…” I said again, glancing over at my cousin for support. He just shrugged, though; even though the bloke was already more attractive than I in both speech and looks, no first year girls had hit on him yet, either. So he was just as lost as I was.
“I’m Aphrodite Dash,” The blonde girl said, holding out her hand. I took it gingerly, half returning her enthusiastic smile, “But call me Aphrodite and I’ll gouge your eyes out. Dash is fine,”
I gulped and nodded, “James,” I said, “James Potter. But you can call me Jem. Everyone does,”
Aphrodite nodded, and her grin widened, flashing me all of her perfectly straight, perfectly white front teeth. “I’ll see you around then, Jem,” She said brightly, “And don’t worry about Pebbles; He’ll forget this soon enough. He’s a very forgiving cat, you know.” And with that, she leant over, gave me a quick peck on the cheek, and strutted off.
A quick peck on the cheek.
That was like, Woah. Screw first base, back then, a kiss on the cheek was a bloodysixth base. I was in awe. Dumbstruck. Blushing like a bloody loon.
“Umm…” I uttered for the third time, turning to face Louis. I felt like my limbs had been glued to my side and turned me into a bright red, human diving board. My heart was beating at ten miles an hour, and my stomach had turned into a mess of fluttering butterflies. Lou was staring at me open mouthed, his angelic blue eyes wide with shock.
“Wow,” He said, staring over at Aphrodite’s retreating figure. “Wow, man. What was that like?”
I couldn’t answer, though. All I could think about was the softness of her lips, the graceful swish of her hair, the sparkle in her grazeleenue eyes. I was in love, quite simply, though back then my inexperienced mind couldn’t quite grasp that fact.
I spent the rest of that train ride, and the Sorting, and the Welcoming Feast fretfully wondering if she was going to come up and talk to me again. She didn’t have myundivided attention, of course; my mind was also filled with awe at the great castle, at the ghosts and the Black Lake and the floating candles. Not to mention fear of the Sorting. But still, I thought about her a fair bit that night. And the next morning, I was certain that something extraordinary was going to happen between us.
Well, it didn’t. Actually, she flounced straight past me without a backwards glance.
I felt terribly betrayed. I had been certain, in that innocent way that eleven year old boys have, that what we had shared had been something extraordinary. But for all I knew, she could have kissed every little boy in that train and not thought twice about it. This was where things got dangerous; because now, added to my already quite large attraction to her rosebud lips and sunbeam hair, was that burning desire you get for the unobtainable. I didn’t want to have her, no – I needed to have her.
Up until third year, I guess you would have called what I felt a sort of ‘cute, little, pre-puberty crush’. I didn’t fully understand why I was so attracted to her. I just knew that I wanted to spend all my time in her glowing, breathtaking presence, and that the urge to attack her cat and earn myself another kiss was getting stronger and stronger by the day.
But then the hormones kicked in, and after that, not only was I dreaming about hersmile, but I was dreaming about the lips in that smile, and the curve of her hips, and her long, slender legs, and…
I felt like I was going crazy.
The worst part was how I acted around her. I was a pretty confident fellow; resident prankster, I strutted through the corridors with my best mate by my side, everybody around sighing in awe. And I could (excluding a couple of deluded exceptions) get any girl I wanted – I had dated, Aphrodite couldn’t take that pleasure away from me – and I never felt like I was lacking words, or embarrassed, or socially awkward.
But around Aphrodite… Well, then it all changed. Then I was pitiful. It was sad. Nick once told me that she felt less pain looking at photos of dead puppies than watching me when I was around Aphrodite.
It’s that bad.
It actually took her a couple of months to remember my name, despite the fact that we shared the same friends. One day, halfway through the second term of our first year, she had turned to me at breakfast and said; ‘could you pass me the pumpkin juice, please, John?’.
John. She broke my poor, sensitive heart that day, I’m telling you.
But that wasn’t the worst of it.
Once, in fourthyear, we had been placed in the same detention (courtesy of Louis’ ingenious idea to set fire to the charms classroom. Lou, Nick and Andy escaped unscathed, but Aphrodite and I weren’t so lucky). This detention meant I had two hours of alone time with her, in which she couldn’t run away even if she wanted to. I had already decided a week in advance that I wasn’t going to put this wonderful opportunity to waste. I had plucked up my courage and got the conversation going, and despite a few awkward hiccups on my part, it was going very well. She even laughed at my tap dancing banshee joke, which, I must say, is very funny thank you very much Louis. I was over the moon with joy.
And when, finally, it came time for us to part, she leant over and gave me a hug.
Now that I was fourteen, hugs had slunk back down to their rightful place back in first base, but that didn’t take away any of my happiness. I had fresh hope in my heart.
“See you around, Dash,” I had said, smirking my Super Sexy Smirk™. I was so sure this was going to work.
“Yeah,” She answered, “See you, Jeremy.”
Was I Voldemort in my past life? Grindelwald!? Hitler!?
Come on, tell me I wasn’t Voldemort.
Funnily enough, my luck hasn’t improved much since then. I mean, she does know my name, and we’ve even shared the rare inside joke (So a Centaur, a Sphinx and a Banshee were sitting at a bar…) but other than that, I’m as invisible to her as every other girl in the world is to me.
“Jem, put a smile on your face, it’s your birthday tonight. People are actually looking forward to this, believe it or not,” This was my cousin, Nickie, speaking. She was lounging next to me on the couch, her long legs propped up on the coffee table in front of her. I granted her quick sideways glance, before staring back down at my balled up fists, my expression carefully grumpy. “Hey, Dash may even acknowledge you tonight! She can’t come to a party and not know what it’s for.”
“Does it matter? She has a boyfriend,” I sighed, finally voicing the news that had been running through my mind all afternoon. “That sodding golden haired git isn’t nearly good enough for her. He looks like a sodding cherub! I’ll sodding kill him if he so much as eyes any other girl at my party, I swear.”
“You say sodding one more time and I’ll stuff this scarf down your throat. Besides, you don’t think anyone is good enough for Dash. I don’t see how Tim is any different to all the other boyfriends she’s had.”
“Pfft, Tim…” I muttered darkly, staring at the half knitted scarf resting in Nick’s hands. It was a strange thing about Nickie, her knitting. She was more of a son to Bill than Louis was, but as soon as she took up the needles, she seemed almost… feminine. “I’ll tell you how he’s different,” I continued, unfolding my fists painfully, “Aphrodite is seventeen. That means that any guy she’s with from now on, she could actually…sleep with.”
To my indignation, Nick burst out laughing at my words, “You poor, deluded soul,” She muttered fondly, patting my arm like you would pat an abandoned kitten’s small, weeping head, “That girl’s been sexually active since sixth year. And you know it, too, you just won’t admit it.”
I scowled, but she did have a point. A short moment of silence followed her words, in which I stared bleakly at the blank wall across from me, and Nick clicked her knitting needles together in a rather demonic manner.
“You know what?” She said finally, breaking the peaceful trance I had nearly worked myself into, “Maybe Dash would like you better if you stopped calling her Aphrodite. Just a thought.”
“She’s a being of love and beauty, Nick, I couldn’t call her anything else even if it made her want to maul me in frantic, heated passion!”
“That’s disturbing, Jem. Please don’t,”
“Anyway,” I continued, ignoring her quip. This matter we were discussing was a continual mind debate for me. I thought about it way too often, “She could start by learning my name! Jeremy. Pfft. How does that sound like James in any way?”
Nick sighed and placed her knitting down her lap. I glanced at it quickly, raising my eyebrows slightly at its lumpy shape. What was that supposed to be, exactly?
“That was in fourth year, Jem. You guys had hardly talked.”
“She kissed me!”
“Yeah, after you mauled her cat! Look, just drop it. Go and get ready for your party.”
I scowled and returned to my grumpy staring down of the wall. “I don’t want to party,” I sulked.
“Oh I can’t deal with this right now! I’m going to go get Andy.” With a huff, Nickie threw her woollen something down on the couch and turned her heel, quickly hurrying through the semi crowded common room and up the winding girl’s staircase. I watched her go with a frown on my face, glowering at any nosy git that cared to look my way.
I was mad.
As soon as Nick’s red hair had disappeared up the staircase, my gaze flitted back to the wall in front of me.
I hadn’t even wanted a party in the first place. It was Lou’s idea, this whole thing, and he only organized it because it gave him a good reason to feed Andy some firewhiskey to get her to sleep with him. That was a lost cause from a start, but the poor sod never gave up.
Anyway, who was I to talk? My Aphrodite situation was even more pitiful than his futile attempts to get laid.
Well, speak of the devil.
“Hey Andy,” I answered tiredly, glancing up at the girl standing in front of me. Her curly brown hair was pulled up into a messy bun, and the light freckles dusting her nose were nearly invisible in the dim afternoon light. I tugged at her hand to get her to sit down next to me, but she held strong, the look on her face ominous and nearly frightening.
“Nick told me you were sulking again,” She said sternly, placing her hands on her hips. Most would find it hard to look intimidating at a height of five foot four, but Andy managed just fine. “She wouldn’t say why, but if it’s because of Dash, you’ll be gracing your seventeenth birthday with two black eyes. Now, what’s up?”
“Jeremy, Andy! Jeremy!” I replied, looking at her in desperation, “In what way does that-”
“Jem.” She stated simply.
“Jem. Jeremy, Jem, don’t you see the similarities? It was just a misunderstanding,”
“What about The John Incident?” I retaliated.
“John and James are easy to confuse. I mix up my Jacks, Jakes, Johns and James’ all the time,”
“It’s been three years. Get over it.” Andy sighed and pushed a loose curl behind her ear in one rough movement, “You can’t stay hooked on this girl, James, it’s driving you to insanity.” She pushed Nick’s unfinished scarf out of the way and threw herself down beside me, lifting a foot and placing it on my jittery knee, “And stop twitching your leg like that, it makes me nervous,”
I wondered if I should warn her about Louis’ plans for tonight. That boy could be childish and disturbingly feminine at times, but when it came to girls and the joys they could bring, his resolution was of steel. I knew Andy wasn’t the kind of girl to fall for that kind of crap, but I felt clearer of conscience if she knew what was coming. “What would you do if Louis made a move on you again?” I asked her, keeping my voice carefully nonchalant. I had to ease into this topic if I didn’t want to end up with those two black eyes she had threatened earlier. I felt Andy’s leg stiffen on mine, and when I glanced over at her, it was to find fuming hazel eyes glaring back at me.
“I’ll make sure he never gets the urge to hit on anyone again,” She replied, her voice one notch calmer than her raging exterior, “And do you know how I’d do that, James?”
I winced and glanced down at an area I wouldn’t generally talk of in public. Come to think of it, maybe it was Louis that needed the warning.
“I have a date, anyway,” Andy added, pulling absentmindedly at a strand of her hair. I glanced at her in surprise. Well this was news. Andy tended to be, ah, ratheraggressive towards most guys who expressed any kind of sexual interest in her. I was suddenly very eager to find out who had finally managed to melt the Ice Queen.
“Interesting.” I said, perking up slightly. I gave her nudge and waggled my eyebrows childishly. “Who with?”
Andy twisted around to stare me straight in the eye. I held her gaze, wondering what all the intense ogling was about and feeling like she should answer my question some time soon. As I was about to ask again, just in case she had not heard the first time, she looked away and scratched her head as if thinking about something particularly difficult.
“Remember that time you hooked up with my little sister?” She said suddenly, turning back to face me. I gulped, and nodded, a muscle in my eye jumping at the memory.
I had never seen Andy so enraged. She had screamed for two hours straight and thrown hexes and jinxes and punches in equal amount. After all the yelling had stopped she had fallen silent. Calm. Serene.
This was a lie. The relaxed exterior was one that told you you had really blown it this time. When you see the peaceful face, with the impassive eyes and the straight mouth, look at her nose. You will notice the flared nostril ridges.
And you will know death is near.
“What about it?” I asked, trying to not to show how much she had scarred me that day. My eyes widened. “What have you heard!?”
“Nothing.” Andy frowned. “But say the situation was reversed. Say I had been the one hooking up with Albus. What would you have done?”
I blew out a breath of air, trying not to laugh at the thought of Albus scoring a babe like Andy. The pure ridiculousness of it. I shrugged at her question and said, “I’d probably give him a high five and rant about how he has finally become a man.”
“Brilliant!” Andy answered brightly, pulling her leg off mine and standing up. “Because Al’s my date. Glad you approve. See you tonight then!” And with that, she took off in the direction of the Portrait Hole. Before I could let out a startled, very manly squeak of surprise, she had already disappeared from my sight.
Al and Andy? Al and Andy. Andy and Al!
I raked a hand through my hair, quickly inspecting the half crowded common room for a sign of my baby brother’s spectacled face. He wasn’t hard to miss with that ridiculous crop of dark knots perched on his head.
I mean, seriously man. The key is to keep the hair ruffled. Not sleek and shiny, not scruffy and tangled. Ruffled. The illegitimate baby that was made when neat and messy got it on.
“Oi, Albus Severus!” I grunted, when I finally spotted him jogging down the boy’s staircase two at a time. He stopped in his tracks to shoot me a scathing glare, before begrudgingly making his way over. I stared at him imposingly as he approached.
Now that I was paying closer attention, I did realize that Al seemed to have put some extra work into his dishevelled look. His unkempt hair was swept up just so, his bedraggled shoes nicely scuffed and yes, those creases his T-shirt were definitely done by a fine hand.
“What do you want?” He asked me, his bottom lip pulled out into a pout. At sixteen, he was nearly more of a child than little Lily.
But not really. Because Lily was still a child. She was still my baby, an innocent being of goodness and virtue. She didn’t bother with the grown up worries of sex and boys and possible pregnancy, a condition which would send her into a whirlwind life of crack and caravan parks, before dying an early alcohol induced death and leaving her quintuplets in the care of her perpetually stoned husband.
Because sex it bad, kids. It will get you nowhere in life. And if you can’t control your hormones, at least use protection!
But like I was saying, Lily was still a little girl. She was still delicate, and still needed my strong, manly protection, and when I found her shirtless in a broom cupboard with Isaac Wood the Slytherin Quidditch Captain last week, it was because they were studying chastely for her upcoming potions exam. I have not yet found a reason for her lack of a shirt so please don’t ask me how that came to be I don’t want to think about it.
“Sit down, brother, we need to talk.” I said solemnly, patting the empty space on the couch beside me. Al raised his eyebrows and, ignoring my patting hand, took a seat on the chair across from me. I sighed. “I’m going to ask you a question, and I would like you to answer me truthfully.” I began, my theatrics all for the benefit of my little brother. Al remained unfazed. “Will you or will you not be attending my seventeenth birthday party with one Andira Jones?”
I don’t know quite what I had been expecting. A wide-eyed glance of surprise. A sheepish smile. A look of pure terror as my little brother thought of all the terrible things I could do to him for going out with one of my best mates. Or maybe, hopefully, a gleeful smirk that stretched across his face as he leapt up in victory and shouted a proud “Ha! Got you! How did you enjoy this incredibly un-humorous joke of ours?”
But I got none of these things. Instead, Al was arrogant enough to just grin and sit silently, staring, his hand twitching as he suppressed the urge to run it through his hair. I stared back in a slightly less amused manner.
“So?” I urged, starting to get a little impatient. “Are you?”
Al had opened his mouth to answer, and as I sat with uncontainable trepidation, perched on the edge of my chair in excitement for his wise words to come (please tell me you have an IQ level sophisticated enough to handle sarcasm) our conversation was suddenly interrupted by a boisterous blonde male dressed in red Quidditch robes.
“So my plan is now complete; I will pour a large amount of alcoholic beverage into a tall glass of raspberry lemonade – that is, after all, Andy’s favourite drink. I’m no savage when it comes to the art of seduction, man, I do research – anyway, drink made, I will then charge an unimportant but innocent looking minion to bring it to her. She will not suspect a thing, and once her senses have been blurred to a point where she will not recognize even my angelic face, I will make my manly moves. It’s foolproof, really. What say you, Jemington?”
Meet Louis, my best mate. He’s a charming fellow somewhere deep down, trust me.
“Ah, bad timing, my friend,” I said lightly, slapping my cousin good heartedly on the arm while sending a shifty sideways glance at my little brother. Al looked positively baffled, poor thing. I decided to help him out.
“Albus, let us continue this conversation at a later date. Louis, Andy’s our mate you’ll make it awkward she’ll punch you in the face please choose another girl.” I took a deep breath. Being a peacemaker was a lot harder than Nickie made it seem. “On another note, gents, what do you think we’ll be eating for dinner?”
“Boobs.” Responded Louis childishly, his blue eyes alight.
“My fist.” Al growled, glaring at his older cousin. I rolled my eyes at Louis and frowned at my brother.
“That makes no sense, Albus.” I kindly informed him.
I would have been happy with my brothers wittiest comeback (‘your face’ being his best. It gets me every time) but his dramatic deserting of the couch and proud flick of the knotty head wasn’t half bad either. I watched him go with a frown on my face.
“I’m not related to him.” I said to no one in particular, before turning around to face Louis, who was slouched over the couch next to mine. He stared back at me, oblivious to what had just gone down. I decided then that if Al was going to date Andy (there are too many things wrong with that sentence) he would have to earn her, and protecting her from guys like Louis was part of the deal. I would therefore not warn Louis of Andy’s unavailability, and wait for Al to confront Lou himself tonight. Preferably before the raspberry lemonade has been served.
I felt a hand touch my shoulder softly, sending unexpected goosebumps down my arm. A couple of seconds later, after hearing a cheery “Hey boys!” from behind me, I understood why.
“Evening Dash,” Louis answered good heartedly, sending me a sly (not really. I’m just being kind) smirk and a wink. My feelings for Aphrodite amused him greatly, and he had long ago decided to make a sport of teasing me about it. I attempted to smirk back at him, all the while trying to shoo away the nerves that had materialized in my stomach with the sheer strength of my brain power.
“Oh, and happy birthday, Jem.” Aphrodite continued, removing her hand from my shoulder (where it had fitted so perfectly) and stepping into view.
I was so absorbed in her messy blonde plait, wide smile and short skirt (Merlin bless the Hogwarts uniform system) that it took me a while to notice the haughty blonde rat pathetically attached to her perfect hand. I glowered at him quickly (let’s not make it too obvious, here) and inspected him with the critical eye of competition.
He was tall, a little lanky, and obviously way too proud to be holding the hand of this goddess-like lady. The way he stared smugly at the back of her head as she made light conversation with Louis was making my blood boil.
“So, Tim,” I started, trying to keep my tone good-natured, “I hear you play keeper for the Ravenclaw Quidditch team.”
Tim gave me a curt nod. When he answered, his voice was surprisingly low and husky for such a meagre excuse for a man, “That’s right.” He said.
I smiled thinly and gritted my teeth. I didn’t like this Tim character very much. He was irksome. He irked me.
And I was going to have to try my hardest to pry him away from Aphrodite’s side. I knew just who to ask for help; this was Rose’s territory.
Where was that girl when you needed her?
A/N: Hey! Here you have my first attempt to write from a boy's perspective, and it's actually very fun. Tell me what you thought? Reviews are the best!!
Thanks for reading (: