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Chapter 1: Prologue: Marshmallows, Fudge and some Unexpected News
“Mate. Get up!”
“I have no idea how Al got locked in that cupboard mum, I swear.” I mumble, burying my head deeper underneath the patchwork quilt Nana Molly sent me as a present last Christmas.
“Doorbell. Your house. Get up and answer it you lazy sod!”
“I’m sorry Aunt Fleur, I didn’t mean to push Dom down a hill, I just sort of fell into her.”
Something soft and heavy collides with the back of my head, causing me to jerk awake. What the hell? Squinting painfully, I peer around the front room of my flat; the curtains are drawn so everything’s dark and I can’t make out much. Scorpius is sprawled out on the sofa opposite me; one eye open, one eye closed, and a pillow lies on the carpet not far from my head. It takes my genius brain a good minute or two, but eventually I manage to put two and two together.
I dive for the pillow and hurl it across the room. It lands several feet west of my target.
“Nice shot.” Scorpius comments smoothly, chuckling.
“Shut it!” I snap, grinding my teeth and rubbing my eyes groggily.
Scorpius Malfoy is a slimy, pompous, prize-winning wanker (in case you haven’t already guessed). He also happens to be my best friend, which is unfortunate right at this moment in time because it means that my conscience forbids me to hex him straight to tim-buck-two. We’ve been best friends since our first year at Hogwarts when we were both sorted into good old Gryffindor house. He can be cool at times – though not as cool as me mind– but he gets my jokes and he’s pretty lenient with rule-breaking considering the fact he used to be Head Boy.
Hmm, maybe he gets his astounding ability to be a wanker off his dad…or his granddad. They’re both massive wankers - even Scorpius agrees with me on that one. See, he doesn’t get along with them very well; during our Hogwarts years he used to always spend the summer at my parents’ house, and he has his own flat now so he rarely steps foot in Malfoy Manor these days. To be honest, If I was him, I probably would want to stay on better terms with his family - they are after all filthy stinking rich - but their money doesn’t seem to matter to Scorpius for some reason. I suppose that’s because his Gringotts account is already teeming with gold the lucky git.
He’s not that bad looking either you know. He has brown, bowling-ball eyes and annoyingly perfect floppy, silver-blonde hair that’s apparently ‘all the rage’ these days. Never-the-less, he could never dream of beating me in a beauty competition. I still haven’t figured out how he gets more girls though, it must be to do with his wealth or something.
I feel absolutely awful!
“How much did we drink last night mate?”
“Dunno mate,” Scorpius says shrugging, “can’t remember a thing.”
The doorbell. I glance at my watch. It reads eight o’clock in the morning. Who the bloody hell goes around knocking on people’s doors at eight o’clock in the fudging morning?
“Yeah mate?” I reply, crawling back under my quilt.
“I’m a good-looking guy, you understand that don’t you?”
“Can’t say I do mate.” I lie, secretly cursing those stupid sodding bambi-eyes of his.
“As a good-looking guy,” he continues mid-way through a yawn as he pretends not to have heard what I have just said, “you can understand how important it is that I get my beauty sleep, can’t you mate?”
You know, I’m not entirely sure where he’s going with this but he’s really starting to annoy me now.
“Therefore you can understand where I’m coming from,” he states matter-of-factly, grinning at me in a roguish manner, “when I say answer your door now or I will throw you out of your own flat and make you into a homeless person.”
I ponder on the idea of being homeless for a moment. Mr. Man (whose current residence happens to be the bus stop down the road from where my flat is) seems to be forever yelling stuff at people and whiffing of cheese. I wouldn’t mind yelling stuff at people and whiffing of cheese; sounds like quite the unproblematic happy-go-lucky carefree life I’ve always envisaged myself having if you want my honest opinion.
“There’d be no more relaxing bubble baths if you were living on the streets you know.” Scorpius continues silkily, as though he can read my mind.
Damn it, I hadn’t thought about that.
“No scented candles or steaming mugs of hot chocolate with those little marshmallows in them.”
I gasp. No marshmallows? How could anybody even consider the prospect of living a life without marshmallows? “Fine, wait here!” I stumble to my feet and hurry off to go and slam my front door in somebody’s face. My head feels like it’s been cracked open with a hammer and I‘m pretty sure I’m about to hurl any second now (all over Scorpius’s face if I can get to the git in time). Tiptoeing, I quietly make my way out into the hall and peer through Betty. Betty’s the hole in my front door that I’ve never really worked out the proper name for. I squint until the figure on the other side becomes recognizable. There’s a very pretty girl stood there, no older than twenty with long blonde hair.
It’s Mila! Mila as in the girl I’ve had a crush on since I was eleven years old. Mila as in the girl I had a one night stand with at a party last year. Mila as in Mila Greengrass, Scorpius’s cousin! If he ever finds out about that he’ll murder me; he will actually tear me apart limb by limb. Forget the fact we’ve been best friends for almost a full decade now; if he ever heard the news that I’d spent the night with his only cousin (and incidentally the closest things he’s ever had to a sibling) I could kiss my stunning face goodbye forever. For the first time this morning I’m suddenly very concerned about the way I look. I run a hand through my hair anxiously and take a glance at myself in the hall mirror. A sexy boy dressed in Chudley Cannon boxers stares back at me. He has silky chestnut brown hair, abs of steel and a bum to die for. This is a boy I have seen many times before…well, in my head I have but he’s not actually there yet. He will be one day though; I’ve started doing crunches ever since the revelation hit me that Quidditch does absolutely nothing for your upper body and hair dye wouldn’t be that bad an idea either (I hate having my dad’s boring black hair, it does absolutely nothing for me). I glance in the front room. Scorpius is fast asleep again. As quietly as I possibly can, I close the door to the landing.
What the bloody hell do I do now?
And then it hits me. Of course, I’ll hide. Why didn’t I think of that before? I crawl ninja-like up the stairs so as not to make any noise, and tiptoe into my bedroom. Unlike the living room downstairs, it’s painfully light in here (light because I’ve never bothered to get curtains, and painful because I’m still nursing a killer hangover). Right now my bed looks more inviting than ever. Hmm, but not a very good place to hide though. My eyes scan the rest of my room. There’s nothing else in it except my beloved Sparkrocket broomstick stood solitarily in a corner and…aha, the perfect hiding place! I tiptoe over to my wardrobe and throw the door open.
The only snag in that plan happens to be that there’s already somebody hiding in it.
What the fuck?
I squeal (yes, I, James Sirius Potter, twenty-year-old wizard who usually enjoys taking up the role of alpha male in any given situation, actually squeal) and fall over onto my backside.
A boy with dirty blonde hair, no older than eighteen, crawls out of my wardrobe with a massive grin on his face.
“Hey Buddy!” he says bending down to shake my hand like it’s the most natural thing in the world for somebody who’s just crawled out of your wardrobe to do. “Hope you don’t mind that I crashed in your wardrobe last night; your bed wasn’t very comfy.”
I squeal – again - in fear and yank my hand from his grasp. “Who the bloody hell are you?” I yell in exasperation, stumbling to my feet and taking several steps away from this insane person.
The guy furrows his eyebrows, “It’s me…Lorcan. Don’t you remember?” There’s something cheerful but also serious about the way he speaks that makes me worry even more. I give him the mate-you’re-crazy look and shake my head.
“You’re funny,” he says chuckling “Of course you do! Last night you, Scorpius and Al all turned up drunk to my brother’s party.”
“I don’t remember a thing about last night.”
“Me neither,’ the boy says frowning. “Well… I do seem to remember a club, and Al shaving his own hair off, and I think Scorpius got a tattoo that all of you seemed to find hilarious, and then I think you stole some muggle’s car and crashed it into a canal.”
I blink. “Cool” I can’t help but say before I quickly return to mentally debating whether it would best to knock him out with something or sit on him until some help arrives.
Then something suddenly causes me to freeze. It’s the uninviting sound of my front door being opened. Crap! I begin to hyperventilate. “Scorpius, what are you doing here?” My stomach does a sudden flip; even the sound of her voice still makes me feel slightly queasy. Queasy in a good way I mean.
“Mila?” comes Scorpius’s voice next. He sounds surprised, but not angry; I take a moment to breathe a momentary sigh of relief. Then I go back to hyperventilating again. “W-what are you doing here? Did my dad send you?”
Say yes, say yes! I pray under my breath.
“Well – I – no, I was actually hoping to talk to James, is he in?”
Shoving this Logan bloke to the side, I dig frantically through the heap of clothes in my wardrobe. “Aha!” I yell, pulling out a crumpled T-shirt. It’s my very favourite one that my very favourite cousin Rose (or Roz as I affectionately like to call her even though she completely despises it) brought me for my twentieth last month. I pull it on and take a moment to glance down at my chest and chuckle at the message printed across it: ‘I shook my family tree and a bunch of nuts fell out.’ Mum didn’t really appreciate the joke when she saw me wearing it for the first time but alas, not every Weasley-Potter can be blessed with the same amazing sense of humour that Roz and I were born with. I hurry over to the door, curse quickly and then hurry back to put some pants on. When that’s all done and dusted I make for the door again.
“Wait here and don’t move Logan” I order him.
He just nods “Anything for you buddy.” Weird kid.
I get as far as the landing. It’s dark here too as there are no windows. Maybe I could just wait for a bit? What the hell am I going to do now? Mila, the girl I’ve been nuts about for years and years has suddenly decided to turn up on my doorstep, completely out of the blue without any warning whatsoever! I can’t think for the life of me why; all I know is that every time I see her I end up breaking out into a nervous sweat and my voice goes all dry and girly. The last time we had a proper face–to-face conversation we were both pissed as a fart.
Man up James! You’re a Gryffindor for Merlin’s sake! Stop making a big deal out of nothing!
But this is a big deal. Scorpius probably already has his wand out ready to hex me. I don’t want to die yet; I’m far too young and gorgeous! There are so many things I still need to do with my life; like teach my baby cousin Louis how to give wedgies and knock out that Patrick sod that my little sister’s supposed to be dating.
“James, Mila’s here” Oh Merlin’s underpants, it’s Scorpius calling me from downstairs and he doesn’t sound happy at all.
“Shit!” I squeak under my breath. A few seconds of silence follow; I wonder what will happen if I just creep back into my room, hide in my wardrobe as originally planned and never come out again ever. It really is a comfy wardrobe you know; I’m not at all surprised weird people want to sleep there. I could lock myself in magically and try to find the entranceway to Narnia. Wait, do they have hot chocolate and marshmallows in Narnia? They have Turkish delight I suppose. Yuck, I hate Turkish delight; it tastes like Aunt Audrey’s perfume! Oh screw it!
I take a deep breath…and then another…and then another. After twenty more deep breaths I make my way downstairs slowly, trying to look as care-free as I possibly can. It works until I manage to get a glimpse of her stood in my hall way. She looks so wholesome in a buttermilk-yellow cardigan and knee-length navy dress. Her sea-green eyes are wide and anxious and she’s biting her lip in an agitated way. Wow. She’s so beautiful (this is weird, because I’m pretty much as uncomplimentary as it gets with girls. Perhaps that’s why they don’t like me very much. It’s the only reason I can think of really.) Scorpius is stood at the front door, still in his boxers. He’s frowning suspiciously so that as a result I end up missing the last few steps and have to lunge to avoid falling over. Lame.
“Hello Mila, what brings you here?” I croak with as much normalness as I can muster (which I have to be honest isn’t much). She gives me a nervous smile and glances warily at Scorpius.
“Erm – I was wondering if I could speak to you James.” She says quietly. I can detect fear in her voice and this doesn’t do anything to comfort me at all. “It’s kind of important.”
I feel myself go beetroot red, “yeah,” I say, “I mean sure, come in!”
To my surprise, she turns and walks around the side of my flat out of sight. I blink again. Does she want me to follow her? I glance at Scorpius. He’s definitely clocking on now. I can tell because every time he’s onto something he does this weird slanty thing with his eyebrows that he keeps doing now.
“Mate…” he says, narrowing his eyes at me accusingly. I gulp and laugh nervously. What happens next neither of us are expecting. Mila returns to my doorstep and she’s wheeling something across the threshold. It doesn’t take me long to do the math. What little colour that is left there drains from my face almost immediately when I realise what all of this is about. Scorpius doesn’t waste any time putting two and two together either. His face has gone blank now but he’s breathing heavily as his eyes dart from me to Mila to the wheely-thing and back to me again.
“Where should I…” she begins nervously. Unable to speak at all I just point to the front room. My head is buzzing, my palms are sweating and I’m feeling sick again. I stand there in the hallway; a lifeless statue. Scorpius grabs me rather roughly by the arms and nudges me into the front room. I collapse into an armchair and don’t speak or move or do anything. I just stare at the wall.
THRUM! THRUM! THRUM!
There are muffled mutters coming from somewhere. They get louder and more heated by the second but I’m too far past it to identify any sound that isn’t happening inside my head right now.
THRUM! THRUM! THRUM!
Why oh why oh why does this have to happen to me? I’m a good bloke, I don’t deserve this! I’m not responsible enough to take care of one of these things. Merlin, I still am one of these things!
“James!!!” Scorpius manages to shake me out of my reverie, but I can tell my eyes are still glazed over because he’s rolling his in agitation. For the first time ever, he looks panicked. I’ve never seen Scorpius look panicked before. “James, tell me it isn’t true,” he pleads with me desperately, “tell me you didn’t sleep with my cousin!”
I stare at him, completely dumbstruck.
Scorpius lets out a painful whine and turns away from both of us.
“James,” Mila says tearily, beseeching me with her eyes; her glittering sea green eyes, “please understand, I didn’t tell you because there was already so much stress in my life and we’d hardly spoken since... I –“
“-Never mind him,” Scorpius interjects, a painful look on his face, “you didn’t tell me Mila, what the hell? I’m your cousin! I’m supposed to look out for you!”
“I’m sorry Scorpius.” She pleads desperately, “I – my parents, they would have kicked me out if they’d found out. I couldn’t risk you telling them so I left town as soon as I could, stayed with a friend until Jacob was born, I couldn’t tell anyone! I was scared! Don’t you understand?”
Scorpius doesn’t look like he does. Regardless he turns away from her to face me instead.
“Mate! You slept with my cousin!” he yells angrily at me.
“I – I…” I seem to have forgotten how to put a sentence together.
“Leave him alone Scorpius,” Mila snaps all of a sudden, hurrying forward to block the path between the two of us.
“No! Mila I want an answer from him –“
“-can you please just back off Scorpius, I know you’re angry but frankly this is none of your business.”
“None of my business?” Scorpius yells exasperatedly, practically red in the face now “You’re my cousin and he’s my best mate! How is this none of my business?”
“It was just a drunken mistake, it meant nothing!”
I have no trouble processing this sentence. Brilliant, now you can add being metaphorically punched in the stomach to the growing list of feelings I happen to be experiencing right at this moment. Scorpius closes his eyes and remains silent. When he eventually opens them again he looks a lot calmer.
“Right,” he says quietly before turning to me, “Well then there’s only one thing that can be done to put this right. James, go shower and throw on a suit – or…anything you have that isn’t too casual.” His eyes rest on my T-shirt and I can tell he knows that this is pretty much as casual as it gets for me.
“Why on earth would he do that?” Mila inquires slowly. Yeah, come to think of it why would I do that?
“You’re getting married!” Scorpius states, pulling me roughly to my feet by the arm and I begin to hyperventilate again.
Really? Married? Is there no way we could negotiate this?
Luckily, Mila looks infuriated by his suggestion.
“Not a chance in hell Scorpius!” she yells angrily.
Scorpius blinks in surprise. I mean it’s almost as if he believes that what he just proposed was the most normal and obvious idea in the world. Remind me, why am I best friends with a Malfoy again? “What – but –“
“- I am sick of people telling me what to do with my life! First, my parents disown me because I won’t give my son up for adoption, and then you think it’s perfectly natural to just click your fingers and expect me to get married to a guy that I hardly even know!” She’s full on glaring daggers at him now.
“Look,” I interject nervously, finally able to find my voice, “why don’t we all just take a breather guys.”
They‘re both too busy glaring at each other to take any notice of me.
“Well if you don’t marry him then how do you expect him to support you?” Scorpius demands in exasperation.
“I don’t need him to support me!” Mila states, brandishing her left hand at him. Scorpius’s eyes widen when he spots what’s sitting on her finger. “I’m engaged to someone else.” She tells him simply as though we haven’t already guessed, folding her arms across her chest to signify the end of the conversation. You know, the prospect of being a father at twenty years of age is pretty devastating but to be totally honest, I think this piece of news tops the lot for me.
“Wh – what?” Scorpius splutters.
Ignoring him, Mila turns to face me. “Look James, I realise this may have come as a shock to you but…I want you to be a part of Jacob’s life too. Matt and I are going to bring him up of course but –“
“Matt?” Scorpius interjects with disgust.
“Yes, Matt!” Mila snaps, glaring at him like he’s stupid.
Scorpius sniffs. “Well what makes this Matt so much better than James?”
Yeah, what’s this Matt got that I haven’t?
Mila rolls her eyes in disgust “Look, I love Matt so can you please stop being so childish about the whole thing and just respect the fact that I’m marrying him.”
Scorpius shrugs passively, “whatever, I’m tired of having this conversation. If anyone needs me I’ll be in the bathroom - not getting James’s cousin knocked up.” Hang on a sec, which cousin does he mean? Seriously, because if it’s Roz I’ll punch his fudging lights out!
Scorpius exits the room without a second glance at either of us. I feel completely sick now. Me…a dad…that can’t be possible, it can’t be! Mila smiles at me nervously and takes a seat on the sofa. I sit awkwardly back down in the armchair opposite her.
“So, how’ve you been since…” she looks away from me uncomfortably, “…you know?”
“Oh – err good good.” I say smiling gingerly at her, “you?”
Oh Merlin I’m actually going to hurl.
“Well, I’ve been pregnant, but other than that good.”
I laugh politely at this. Another long awkward silence follows. Any minute now…
“Are you still reserve seeker for the Chudley Cannons?” she asks in an attempt to keep the conversation going.
“Yeah,” I say blushing.
Mila nods slowly again smiling “so, how do you feel…about all of this.”
“I feel…good.” I lie.
Mila smiles, clearly relieved by this. “Oh good, because for a moment there I was kind of worried that maybe you didn’t want anything to do with – “
“-Oh no,” I yell hurriedly “I’m happy for you – happy for me I mean.”
She nods slowly again, “right…well, would you like to see him?”
I blink taken aback. Does she mean me?
She stares at me expectantly. Right on cue a foul smell hits my nostrils. Oh crap it’s happened…I’ve finally pooped my pants! Mila must have spotted me wrinkling my nose because her attention turns at once to the wheely-thing.
“Oh – err, Jacob’s nappy needs changing.” She says, grinning nervously. “You know what, I think I have some back at the flat, would you mind watching him while I go and get them?”
No. Merlin please no. I’m not ready to take on that kind of responsibility yet!
“S-sure.” I assure her nervously, rising at once to my feet. There’s another awkward silence, then something unexpected happens. She rushes forward and hugs me tightly and it’s just about enough to bring back the butterflies in my stomach, despite the fact that I’m now feeling incredibly sick. I pat her awkwardly on the back, not sure of what else to do. Her hair smells pleasantly like strawberries, like it always used to. I inhale deeply before she lets me go.
“Well…goodbye,” she says shyly, giving me one last smile. She disapparates before I can do anything other than wave her farewell.
Well, that was kind of weird.
I glance over at the wheely-thing that’s been left in the middle of the room. It’s facing away from me so I can’t see what’s inside it, but a few gurgles and that non-inviting stench of poop seem to confirm that there’s a baby in my flat. I consider the possibility of going over and taking a sneak peak, but an unexpected yelp from upstairs manages to distract me.
“JAMES! WHAT THE HELL? WHY ARE YOU HOUSING A HOMELESS PERSON IN YOUR BEDROOM?”
Oh shit, I forgot all about him!
A few seconds later, Scorpius comes bolting into the room, followed by the creepy Logan bloke.
“I opened the door and he was just stood there.” Scorpius splutters, “Hang on, where’s Mila?” he asks suspiciously, peering around the room.
“Mila?” the Logan bloke inquires, narrowing his eyes and staring around the room warily, “who’s Mila? I don’t know anybody called Mila.“
“Really? Why on earth wouldn’t you know Mila. I mean, it’s not like I only just met you last night and invited you back to my flat to take a kip in my wardrobe…she left to go and get some nappies for…our baby.”
Whoa, that sounded weird. Let’s just call him…baby from now on. The ‘our’ thing is just way too inappropriate for the present and foreseeable future considering my heart has just been stepped on by some pretty-boy loser called Matt.
“Oh, is she coming back?” the Logan bloke enquires in interest. “Can I meet her? You have so many friends…I don’t have any friends, or at least I didn’t until I met you guys. Say, why’s there a pram in the middle of your room James?”
Seriously, who the hell is this guy?
Scorpius glances at him in suspicion but doesn’t say anything,
“Yes she is,” I reply feeling slightly irritated by this bloke now “no you can’t and none of your bloody business –“
It’s the sound of somebody disapparating out in landing.
We all turn our attention to this, expecting Mila to walk through the door any minute now.
Instead some bald bloke wearing glasses who incidentally I have never seen before in my life storms into my front room fuming. Seriously, these weirdos need to stop breaking into my house.
“BASTARDS!” He yells, glaring furiously at us all individually.
“Oh, hey Al, how’s it going buddy?” the Logan bloke asks, grinning at him.
Hold up, what did he just say?
I look back at my most recent intruder and then gasp when I realise who it is.
“Al mate. You’re bald.” I say, grinning at his new shiny egghead.
Al’s my younger brother. In case you haven’t already gathered, he’s a bit of a psycho (see according to my Uncle Ron both of our parents used to have anger issues when they were teenagers and Al just happened to inherit the gene from both of them – Lily got a bit too which is probably why she always tries to beat me up whenever I attempt to hex any guy with male genitalea away from her). He’s never really been this bad though – at least not bad enough to shave off his own hair – but I guess the day he moved in with Sara was the day he kissed goodbye to his sanity (Sara’s this girl he met about a year ago. When we found out he was moving in with her last month, Scorpius and I were both furious. The woman is a complete control freak who forever goes on about me and Scorpius being a bad influence on Al. We all used to be good friends until that bitch came along). She’s sucked all of the fun out of him and now he’s worse than Uncle Percy which (trust me) is a really devastating thing to admit.
Bald Al grinds his teeth in fury. “I know I’m bald” he hisses venomously, glaring daggers at us all, “would you mind explaining to me why I’m bald though?”
I glance over at Scorpius and he winks at me, even though he’s still probably pissed at me for impregnating his cousin with my sperm and I’m still pissed at the prospect of him possibly fancying my cousin. See it’s at times like these when two blood brothers such as us need to take time out from our busy schedules of hating each other to make fun of those who must be made fun of.
“It’s weird James, if you look closely at his head, you can sort of see your own reflection staring back at you.” Scorpius says chuckling.
I grin, ‘say Scorpius, do you have a red marker?”
“Sorry mate, I don’t,” he replies, “what d’you need a red marker for?”
“Well, see I was considering drawing a nipple on his head, I think it could really complete the new look.”
“Haha draw a nipple on his head,” The Logan bloke suddenly wheezes, doubling over “it’s funny cause then your head will look like a boob Al.”
Bald Al grinds his teeth.”Very funny,” he spits, “now which one of you did it?”
Scorpius and I swap looks of innocence. “We have no idea what you’re talking about Al.’ we both chime grinning.
“You shaved it off yourself.” The Logan bloke interjects all of a sudden.
We all turn to stare at him “Who the hell are you?” Bald Al demands rudely.
“Lorcan Scamander,” he says beaming at him with the kind of admiration a child has for his father, “don’t tell me you’ve forgotten me too? I’m your new best friend.”
Bald Al glares at him disgustedly, giving off the impression that Lorcan is the last person on this earth he would choose to have as his best friend.
“I say, what’s that on your arm Scorpius?” Lorcan inquires, pointing to a bandage on Scorpius’s right bicep that up until that point we had all failed to notice. He’s grinning to himself which suggests he already knows what it is. Come to think of it so do I.
“Oh shit!” Scorpius whines, examining his arm in horror and disbelief. “Please don’t tell me that that’s what I think it is.”
“I don’t know, maybe you should take the bandage off and check.” Lorcan suggests gleefully, winking at me. Seriously, is this guy for real? Scorpius does a ginger job of removing the many bandages.
“Crap,” he whimpers, “I absolutely hate tattoos…and my mum’s gonna to kill me when she sees this.”
When he finally finishesI crane my neck to read what Scorpius’s new fashion accessory says. And then I see.
“You bastard!” I eventually hiss quietly, staring at the tattoo in disbelief.
Scorpius’s eyes are wide with horror as he too stares at his arm. I’ve caught you out now you fucker.
“Yeah?” he eventually splutters, “well…you had sex with my cousin!”
“Hold up, what did he just say James?” Bald Al suddenly demands, doing another incredibly accurate impression of our Uncle Percy. I swear he gets better at it every time. In fact, I’d say he’s pretty damn close to perfecting it now.
I grind my teeth and, ignoring Bald Al who seems to have gotten angrier since the bald gate, pounce on Scorpius. We both fall on the floor and roll about slapping each other for a few minutes. Eventually Lorcan and Bald Al succeed in pulling us apart. “Hey! Knock it off the pair of you!” Bald Al yells, holding me in a headlock. I struggle and kick but it’s useless. My amazing muscles don’t seem to be working today. I think they decided to take a nap or something because I’m not usually this weak. Really, I’m not! Lorcan (whose face has gone beetroot red with the massive effort of having to restrain a much stronger and burlier Scorpius by the arms) looks slightly confused. “But...I don’t understand, last night you two thought it was hilarious.”
“That’s because we were drunk you moronic toad!” I yell, attempting to free myself by biting Bald Al’s arm.
“I’m sorry,” Lorcan apologises, looking hurt all of a sudden, ‘I was just trying to cheer everybody up, I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.”
I stop struggling. Now he’s made me feel guilty. Me, James Sirius Potter; Quidditch extraordinaire and complete stud who never ever feels guilty about anything! Argh! Curse those puppy dog eyes! Scorpius has stopped struggling and is looking guilty as well.
“He started it.” He mutters sulkily.
“Did not!” I moan, sticking my tongue out at him. He glares at me, but sticks his tongue out too.
Finally I stop struggling and Bald Al lets me go. “What was that all about?” he asks, frowning at the two of us. I point to the tattoo on Scorpius’s arm. It probably isn’t a good idea, but I don’t realise this at the time. Geniuses can’t think of everything you know.
Bald Al cranes his neck to read the name inked permanently onto Scorpius’s skin. His face goes blank. Then he really lets the sneaky git have it,
“That! That is what you’ve wrote on your arm?” this time he isn’t yelling. Instead he’s made his tone so patronising and superior that even Uncle Percy couldn’t hope to compete with it. “Are you serious? Are you actually serious? You’ve wrote that on your arm. Really?”
With the exception of myself, Scorpius is the coolest guy I know. It is for this reason exactly that I cannot quite believe what I am now witnessing. Scorpius, who has gone bright red, seems to be incapable of meeting anybody’s eyes. Not even Logan’s.I never thought I’d see the day.
“That my friend is what I call a fucking shit joke.” Al repeats. “You are going to live out the rest of your life, with that name on your arm. Do you feel clever now Scorpius? Do you feel cool?”
“No.” Scorpius sniffs, staring down at his shoes.
“Because I don’t think this makes you cool Scorpius. In fact I think this is pretty low even for you. I hope you’re proud of yourself. You’ve let everybody down. You’ve let me down, you’ve let James down, and most importantly you’ve let yourself down, and – what the hell is that!?”
Bald Al is staring at the wheely-thing, eyes suddenly blazing. Crap and I was just staring to enjoy watching Scorpius being told off by my cynical, big-headed, slightly-psycho, younger-but-far-more-mature brother.
“Oh that?”I say awkwardly, “it’s a long story.”
“James knocked up my cousin and now we have James Junior in the world.” Scorpius gabbles quickly, pointing at me with an accusing finger.
The sneaky bastard! First chance to take the moral high ground he gets and he pounces on it.
“Are you being serious?” Bald Al splutters. He’s so appalled by this news that he’s lost all grace and superiority. Now he sounds more like my father. “James, how could you be so stupid? Did you not even think to use protection?” You see? Why not just draw a lightning bolt scar on his forehead and have done with it?
“Look mate, I’m having a hard enough time dealing with this news as it is. It still hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Bald Al turns to Scorpius, “and you knew about this?” he yells in exasperation.
Scorpius backs away, worried now “Woah, I only found out today mate.”
Oh, cheers for the support. Mate.
Bald Al huffs and turns to face me. “And Mila’s the mother?”
“So where is she now then?” He asks, his eyes scanning the room as though he’s waiting for her to just magically appear out of thin air.
Hey, I made a funny!
Come to think of it, he has a point. Where is she? I glance at the clock; she left nearly ten minutes ago now, how long does it take to go and fetch a few nappies?
“Uhm – she’s gone to get some nappies. Baby needs changing.” I say, though I’m not sure whether it’s him I’m trying to reassure or me.
Bald Al automatically wrinkles his nose. “What’s that envelope doing there James?” he asks, pointing at the sofa where Mila had previously been sat. We all turn our heads in that direction to stare at a little white envelope resting on one of the cushions.
“Shit,” Scorpius says, scooping it up and examining it. He glances up at me anxiously. “It’s addressed to you mate.”
I feel my throat dry up once more. Now I know this can’t be good.
Scorpius holds out the envelope for me to take. I do so with a shaky hand and slide my finger under the seal. Clearing my throat as best as I can, I begin to read the letter out loud.
I’m so sorry. I’ve had to leave town. I promise I’ll be back within a month. Tell Jacob I love him.
A/N: Hey guys, just a few things you'll need to know as background for this story. James, Scorpius and Rose and Dom are all twenty. Al, Sara, Fred and Molly are nineteen. Lorcan, Lysander, Hugo and Roxanne are eighteen. Lucy, Lily and Louis and Patrick are all seventeen. Please revies, it's great to know what the readers are thinking!