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Chapter 17: The One That Changes Everything
"Natalie!" Albus shrieked, pushing me away from him and leaping to his feet so fast he was almost a blur. I leant my pounding head against the cold stone behind my back and he stumbled over to her, dragging his hands through his hair.
She wiped away the tears streaming down her face and brought her hands forward to smack Albus repeatedly on the chest, shrieking something unintelligible as she sobbed away. I winced at the volume and closed my eyes slightly, trying to block out the bright lights from the torch bracket.
"HOW COULD YOU? YOU PATHETIC, CHEATING LITTLE ARSE – I BLOODY HATE YOU, YOU'RE A BLOODY GIT, ALBUS POTTER!" She shrieked, calming down just enough to make her words separate. "I CAN'T BELIEVE I TRUSTED YOU! I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT YOU CAN'T TRUST A BLOKE THAT WOULD HAVE AN AFFAIR WITH HIS BROTHER'S GIRLFRIEND!"
What? Have an affair with his brother's girlfriend?
His brother is James (wow, ten points to Summer) and James' last girlfriend was Natalie, so for Albus to have an affair with his brother's girlfriend...
What the fuck is going on here?
"Nat, Nat, just listen to me, please!" Albus said, not trying to defend himself but letting her smack him on the chest over and over as she began to cry again.
Honestly, the girl is like the Wailing Wall. She just never shuts up.
"Natalie!" He protested again, and she stopped hitting him long enough to fling her arms around his neck and pull him into a chokehold hug, his face buried in her blonde curls and her sobbing into his shoulder.
"I love you, Al; you can't keep doing this to me! I can't put up with your crap any longer." She wiped her eyes again on the side of her hand and Albus clutched her waist tighter.
"I love you too, Nat. I love you too." Albus said, honesty resonating through his every word.
A derisive laugh snapped me out of my confusion, and Albus pulled away from Natalie just in time to have James swing his fist out and punch him straight across the face.
Albus staggered backwards, blood already pouring out of his nostrils and his hands desperately cupping his nose to try and stem the flow. But James didn't seem to be done yet. He threw his arm backwards again, before ploughing it straight into Albus' stomach. Al leant over in agony as Natalie screamed – does that girl ever shut up? – and James went for his wand.
"James, no..." I slurred from my pathetic position curled up in the corner.
I had never seen him this furious before. Angry, yes. He was angry when he found Kyle Davies trying it on in that classroom, he was angry when he found out about Lily's first boyfriend last year, he was angry when he accidently drank Bowtruckle piss instead of pumpkin juice because Fred switched them. But never before had I seen him this furious.
James froze at the sound of my voice, turned to shoot me the most disgusted look I had ever seen in my life, before turning back to his brother.
He pressed his wand against the hollow of Albus' throat and backed him against the wall, his lip drawn upwards in a furious scowl and his eyes practically spitting acid in fury. Albus was the colour of a sheet – his brother was quite clearly on the verge of hexing the shit out of him.
"You arse." He snarled, his voice only a millimetre above a hiss. "You are the worst human being I have ever had the misfortune to come across, you complete ass. I can't believe your my fucking brother, I'm ashamed to be related to you – first you snog my girlfriend, then you sleep with her, then you fucking have her break up with me for you, and then when she asks my permission for the two of you to date officially, and I say fucking yes, she finds you snogging my best friend. You don't deserve her, Albus, you really don't. Now fuck off before I hex your ugly little shitty head off."
I started to shake. I don't get it. What's going on?
There was a sick sort of thumping in my skull, and I closed my eyes to try and block out the light. Your heart isn't supposed to beat in your head, is it?
"Natalie, I'm so sorry. He's right, I don't deserve you." Albus whispered, and I opened my eyes a crack to see that James still had him pressed up against the wall, his wand still pressed against his throat and his lips drawn up in sick amusement.
"Oh, you're sorry? Well, everything is fucking FINE then, isn't it? Because you're sorry. Well, I don't know what I was making a fuss about, because Albus Potter is quite clearly sorry." James sneered, and Albus went a little whiter.
Who knew James could be so completely terrifying?
"James, let him go." Natalie whispered, laying a hand on the arm pressed against Albus' chest and prying James off his brother.
I focused on the pounding in my head to suppress the urge to leap to my feet and beat the little whore off my James. I bet she (and he, for that matter) thinks I don't know what they were doing.
James took a step back and jammed his wand into his back pocket, his hands clenched into fists so tight that I'm surprised the bones in his fingers didn't snap.
"Why do you do this to me, Al?" Natalie whispered, brushing some of his fringe out of the dried blood on his forehead. She pressed her lips against his swollen ones for a moment and then pulled back. "Why did you kiss someone else when you knew what I was out there doing?"
Albus sighed and leaned his head against the wall, closing his blackening eyes.
"I don't deserve you. I stole you from my brother, and you're such a good person – I was willing to hurt my own family to get you, what does that show you about me? I thought – I honestly believed that James would say no. I know how much he hates me, and I didn't think he would agree to letting us date in public – and I knew you wouldn't do it without permission, and I didn't want to fall out with my brother again."
Natalie wiped away a few more stray tears and Albus took a calming breath.
"And I wanted to get back at him. I thought he would say no, that you wouldn't date me then – and then I found Summer. Don't blame her; she's off her head drunk. I don't even know if she can hear me right now, she's had that much to drink."
Uhm, I can hear you. I had a few drinks; I didn't carve my eardrums out with a giant spoon.
"I kissed her. And somehow that led to a rather, ahem... heated snog, and then you two showed up. I never intended for you to see, Nat. Or you, James." He turned to look at his brother, who stuck his middle finger up in reply. "I'm spiteful and selfish and I don't deserve you, Nat. That's why I did it – and I'm so sorry I hurt you."
Natalie started to cry again – seriously, she'll probably drown all four of us in a minute, with the amount she's crying. Fucking hell, the girl should just be crowned Queen of the Water Works.
"Promise not to do it again." She whispered, and Al's eyes flew open in shock. Well, they opened a little bit. They're so swollen now that he can barely move his eyelids. "Promise not to do anything like this again and we'll work through it – together."
What. An. Idiot.
And fuck you, the bint at the back who is simpering and going 'awh, how romantic!'
"I promise." Al said, stumbling over his words in his haste to get them out. He flung his arms around her waist and scooped her up off the floor, kissing her so gently that even I began to feel a little sentimental.
If only I could get rid of this pissing headache.
But seriously – that girl really is a twat and a half. I mean, what kind of bint breaks up with James? Have you seen the ass on that boy? You're dating a bloke that looks like James – you don't break up with that. In fact, you barely leave the dorm to go lessons if you've got that.
Hang on a second – why is Al kissing Natalie, if James and Natalie were just out snogging by the lake?
Shit, this is hurting my head. I'm just going to ignore that for now.
Al gently laid Natalie back down on her feet, before turning his back on her and facing James, whose back was pressed against the wall and whose hands were clenched into fists so tight that I would be surprised if he was ever able to open them again.
"James, mate –" Albus began, but James' hand was up to silence him before you could blink, his expression set in the ugliest sneer I had ever seen, his eyes just daring Albus to even bother to try and talk to him again.
"I don't ever want to speak to you again." James said coldly, after a pause that seemed to last forever. He glanced upwards and locked eyes with Natalie instead, his conflicted eyes setting as he made a decision. "Either of you." Natalie's mouth fell slightly agape and Albus' eyes widened as he realised that his brother had just practically disowned him.
"James – I'm your brother! You can't –" Albus began, but before he could even formulate the end of the sentence, James had ripped the torch bracket off the wall and chucked it across the corridor at the speed of light – Al's seeker skills was the only reason that he didn't get decapitated.
"I- I..." Natalie began, tears rolling down her cheeks again and her fingers clutching at the roots of her blonde hair.
"Just go. Both of you. Just fucking go. You can date, get married, get fucking pregnant, I don't give a flying shit – but keep as fucking far away from me as possible whilst doing it."
"I – you two are brothers, you can't stop talking to each other over me, please, don't –" Natalie started, rubbing the backs of her hands across her cheeks to try and get rid of the tears that just fucking seemed to never stop falling.
"It's not over you." James said, flicking his hand in her direction to dismiss her. Natalie immediately fell silent.
"Come on, Nat, I think we ought to go." Al said after a minute or so of awkward silence, during which James dug his fingers into a crumbling part of the wall, Natalie cried a little more and Albus stared at James as though this action alone may convince him to change his mind.
"Finally." James snarled, and Al sighed, before grabbing Natalie by the wrist and tugging her off down the corridor. The tapestry swung shut behind them with an echoing swishing noise, and the corridor was plunged into silence.
You'd think that would diminish the headache, but no.
Apparently the gods have not fucked up my life enough – see, this is why I don't drink. Fucking James and his stupid messing with my fucking mind.
I waited for James to talk – to explain, to admit that he was getting back together with Natalie or that he had just fucked her down by the lake or to just fucking explain what the shitting hell was going on here – but no.
James just stood there, his eyes clamped shut, his hands clenched into fists again and his jaw locked in anger.
And yet he still didn't say a word.
"James?" I eventually whispered, and his eyes slowly cracked open, flicking over to me. But the scene I had subconsciously pictured involving him explaining everything and then a bit of snogging – or would that be weird, because I was just snogging his brother? – was destroyed spectacularly when he shot me a look of absolute loathing, before turning on the heel of his converse and storming off down the corridor.
I sat in silence for a second before I realised what the utter hate on James' face must have meant.
I staggered to my feet and clambering after him, my hands flying to my temples as the pulsing pain in my forehead doubled. Alcohol is the invention of the fucking devil, I swear. It should not be allowed on this planet. It shouldn't.
People should just take fucking essence of euphoria instead; does the same stuff without the fucking pain in the arse aftermath.
I stumbled down the corridor, following the sound of his thumping footsteps and the clanging of metal as he angrily shoved down any suit of armour that he passed. That didn't help the balance issues I was already having – you try being half blinded and trying to play leap frog over the helmet of a metal man.
Not the easiest task in the world, I'll tell you.
"James!" I yelled, and there was a sudden, ghostly silence as James' furious footsteps stopped echoing down the corridor to me.
I glanced around, trying to figure out where the fuck I was in the middle of my swirling surroundings, when the footsteps started again – softer this time, but getting louder. And then he was in front of me, his hands wrapped around the tops of my arms and my back being pushed up against the wall.
But this wasn't like the other times when James had me against a wall – when his lips were on mine and he was most likely not wearing a shirt.
No, this time his face was squarely in front of mine, his eyes alight in fury and his jaw clenched together so tightly I'm surprised his hadn't cracked half of his own teeth. His look alone nearly poisoned me – he looked more than furious.
The way he stared at me made me feel like he didn't even want to look – to even think about me.
"How could you?" He hissed, his lips only inches away from my own – but this time it was not a good thing.
"James, I'm sorry, I don't – I can't feel my head, I don't know what's going –" James didn't release my arms, he didn't step back and he didn't free me from the bubble of pure loathing he seemed to have built up around us.
But he did tip his head back and laugh. Not his normal laugh, not the laugh that made the corners of my mouth twitch, even when I was trying to stay pissed, the laugh that often made me join in, the laugh that made me smile – this one made me sick.
It echoed loudly around the corridor, mocking me – taunting me.
"You bitch." He hissed, and my eyes widened in surprise. "You absolute fucking bitch – what did we agree yesterday? Yester-fucking-day?" I opened my mouth to try and respond, and then realised that I couldn't remember.
"To be best friends forever?" I suggested stupidly, and before I could stop it a giggle had escaped my lips. It was the alcohol talking – this is what I get for never drinking. It means I can't hold my liquor and then I turn into a prat and a half when I drink.
If my friends were nice then they'd have forced me to drink in the past, to avoid situations like this.
But no. This is entirely their fault. It has to be. And Albus Potter's fault, for wandering the castle at night when he should have been somewhere else, nowhere near me.
James' expression went from furious to livid, and then it clicked – he thought I was making fun of him. And that's when the penny dropped and I realised what we had agreed only yesterday. But James wasn't going to give me a chance to correct my mistake.
Finally releasing my arms, he pushed back off the wall and strode over to the other side of the corridor, where he adopted a lofty and mocking tone, his eyes alone nearly burning me.
If looks could kill, I'd long have been in the mortuary by now.
"Yesterday, Summer, you and I came to an agreement that we weren't going to snog other people. This means that the only person we were going to kiss was each other. Now, when we made this little agreement, you seem to have decided that someone in this castle was above this little rule." James sneered the word. "Because I have to say, when I decided I was ready to commit to just snogging you, I did not expect to find you in a corridor with my little brother's tongue shoved down your throat."
I closed my eyes.
"James, I'm sorry," I started, but James began to laugh again – this same hair-raising laugh from before.
"SORRY DOES NOT MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER!" He roared, spit flying everywhere and his hands turning white as he clutched the window ledge next to him. "SORRY IS JUST A FUCKING WORD – ANYONE CAN SPIT OUT A SORRY! THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU CAN GO AROUND AND FUCKING SNOG PEOPLE'S BROTHERS! DO YOU NOT THINK I'VE BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH WITH HIM AND FUCKING NATALIE?"
I froze slightly, a few tears spilling onto my cheeks, despite my previous mocking of Natalie for doing so.
"HOW WOULD I KNOW, JAMES?" I screamed back.
I knew, deep down I knew, that I was in no position to be yelling at him – but I was angry. I was angry that he was angry at me, that he had clearly been through a lot and never told me about it. I was angry that he didn't seem to trust me as much as I trusted him - and I ignored the fact that I had done little to deserve his trust lately. So I continued to scream.
"HOW WOULD I KNOW WHAT YOU WENT THROUGH WITH NATALIE? THE LAST TIME I ASKED YOU, YOU STOPPED TALKING TO ME! WHY COULDN'T YOU JUST FUCKING TELL ME, WHY COULDN'T YOU TRUST ME AS MUCH AS I TRUSTED YOU?"
"RIGHT, BECAUSE YOU'VE DONE SO MUCH TO DESERVE MY FUCKING TRUST!" James spat back, his hands tearing through his hair as he glared at me.
I breathed heavily for a moment and contemplated whether to take the risk I was planning to – he couldn't get any angrier with me, after all. And that was what made my decision.
"Tell me what she did to you, James. Tell me what she did – her and Albus. Tell me." James' jaw clenched together and his eyes spat fire – but it was out in less than a second, replaced with a kind of bitterness I had never seen before.
"You of all people have no right to ask that, after what you just did." He said quietly, and I stood in silence as I waited for him to finish.
He needed to talk about it, whatever it was. Clearly it was still bothering him – and whether he wanted to tell me or not, he needed to. For his own sake, not mine.
"Tell me." I breathed after a moment. I prayed the pulsing in my head would go away as he began to speak, because it was making it exceedingly hard to concentrate.
"Natalie and I had been dating for two years." James sighed, sinking down to the ground and laying his head against his propped up knees. "I decided that I wanted her to finally meet my family, so I brought her over to the burrow and she met everyone. They got along well – Albus and Natalie particularly so. I never thought anything of it – they'd spoken before, after all, even if it was only to exchange pleasantries."
I bit my lip as I waited for him to continue. There was an odd punching feeling in my gut every time he said 'Natalie', and I wasn't sure why.
"Over the next few months I noticed things, but didn't say anything. They went out of their way to speak to each other, that kind of thing. They sent each other personal Christmas cards – that one I thought was extremely weird. But I let it slide. I was in... love." James choked the word out.
I clamped down on my tongue to stop myself being sick.
"It was a few months after that when things got really weird – Natalie was always busy, Al was never around and he avoided me like the black plague when I did see him. He wouldn't look me in the eye, and he once tried to start a conversation with me about whether Slytherins were bad people, people who would hurt their own family – and was that why he was put there? I didn't know what to make of it. I was a fucking twat."
The language shocked me a little – some of Angry James was sneaking in and overpowering Calm James that had been speaking before.
"She never wanted to have sex; she always claimed she was tired." James rolled his eyes at my horrified expression. I do not want to think about him and Natalie doing it. I'm having enough trouble keeping my lunch down, thanks. "But despite that, I noticed that she was always wearing really fancy underwear – what was the point, if I wasn't going to see it?"
I gasped softly as the pieces started to fall into place.
"She had hickeys – hickeys I hadn't given her, mixed in with the ones I had. She had no free time for me, she was always off somewhere and she was just plain jumpy and weird when we finally did get together. She wouldn't talk to any of my family – even Al, or so I thought. She avoided them all in public. That was about a month before we broke up." James ran a hand through his hair and banged his forehead against his knees a couple of times.
I wanted to crawl over there and give him a hug, but I knew better. The nostalgia was masking the fury that I knew would be returning soon.
"I confronted her about it, eventually – I'm not stupid, I knew she was cheating on me. She denied it, cried, sobbed, begged me not to break up with her because she 'did love me'. I knew she loved me. And I knew that she most likely loved the other person too, or she wouldn't be doing this. You know – that was the first time I had ever felt second best in my whole life. I couldn't stand it. So I didn't break up with her – another mistake. I told her to break it off with other guy – whom she hadn't even admitted was real – and left it at that."
I frowned. This story looked like it was going to have a happy ending. Only I knew it didn't.
"For three weeks or so, things got better. We spent more time together than ever before – talking mostly, we didn't even snog that much. I was beyond thrilled – I thought I had my girlfriend back, finally. And then, well, I was walking back from a late Quidditch practice one night when I realised I hadn't spoken to Al in the longest time – and I felt bad. So I headed over to the Slytherin common room to ask him to have breakfast with me the next day."
I closed my eyes when I realised where it was going.
"Some kid let me in – I headed up to his dorm, went in and found Natalie and Al snogging on his bed in their underwear." James' voice cracked slightly and he cleared his throat to try and hide it, his eyes boring into the wall as I brought back things he didn't want to remember. "They pulled away, got dressed – and I just stood there. I couldn't believe it."
He took a deep breath and rammed his elbow back into the wall behind him, his teeth biting down furiously on his lip in frustration.
"My own fucking brother had stolen my girlfriend – I found out later that she had tried to call things off with him, and he convinced her to choose him instead. Over me. His own brother." I felt sick.
I hated Albus Potter, all of a sudden. And then I remembered what I had been doing only twenty minutes before.
James had every right to hate me.
"So I stood there, pathetic and idiotic, and told her to choose. Stupidly thought she might actually choose me – I wasn't used to being second best, remember. Al was my little brother; surely she wasn't going to choose him."
I blinked slowly a few times, and then finally spoke. James jumped, as though his had only just remembered I was there.
"She chose him, didn't she? She stood there and chose him over you."
James nodded slowly.
"Then she was a twat, James." I said truthfully. "She was quite clearly insane," James cut me off.
"Funny, because you did the same thing." James spat coldly.
I opened my mouth to protest, but he wasn't finished.
"Maybe he is better than me, and this is just nature's sick way of trying to drum it into my skull." The bitterness in his voice made me feel physically sick again, and I prayed no one would be sitting in the grounds if I had to chuck up out the window.
"Don't be a twat – you're ten times the bloke your brother is, James," I protested weakly, but he shot me a poisonous look so strong that I quickly clamped my lips shut.
"You didn't seem to think so, since you had your tongue shoved down his throat twenty minutes ago." James snapped, and a little of the colour that the alcohol had been keeping down rushed up to my face with a vengeance.
Why the fuck did I do that?
And then I remembered. But James didn't seem to care, because he ploughed on with his rant.
"I mean, what the fuck is it, Summer? Am I just not enough for you? Because people have started to find out, it's no fun for you anymore so you decided that you'd get your thrills from someone else instead?"
I opened my mouth to protest, but James was nowhere near finished.
"God, I can't believe I was so fucking stupid – actually trusting you. You have all the rights in the world to snog whoever fucking floats your boat – but you didn't have to promise me first." And for the first time that night, the anger in James' eyes was tinted with something else – hurt.
My stomach rolled again.
"Why the fuck should I have trusted you?" I asked angrily, suddenly furious that he got to sit there acting like a fucking saint and martyr when he had done exactly the same thing.
"What the shitting hell is that supposed to mean?"
"You really are a snotty bastard, you know that?" I snarled, and the hurt filtered out of James' eyes as he glared at me, poisonous once again. "You have the fucking nerve to stand there and have a go at me for breaking some fucking pinkie swear, when you fucking went and did it first! You were the fucking reason that I did it too!"
James was now staring at me in a way that suggested he was slightly fearful for my sanity. Right. I am only ever taking essence of euphoria again. Vodka quite clearly does shit to my brain.
"I haven't snogged anyone other than you for a fucking year, if you don't count Erin!" James yelled, shoving himself to his feet and taking a step towards me, his eyes blazing and his hands clenched into tight fists. "And you fucking well better not count Erin, because I only did that to make you jealous and you know it!"
"YOU WERE FUCKING SNOGGING NATALIE OUT BY THE LAKE BEFORE, I FUCKING SAW YOU!" I screamed, and James' mouth dropped open. "STOP STANDING THERE AND LYING TO ME, JAMES. JUST FUCKING STOP IT."
"I haven't touched Natalie since she chose my prick of a brother over me." James said quietly – and I almost wished that he would start yelling again.
His voice was now low, full of resentment and bitterness and one hundred times worse than when he had been yelling. His eyes were staring into mine, but it wasn't the comfort that it normally was, it wasn't filled with friendship and smileyness and all that other happy shit that they normally were. They were dead. He was tired arguing. He was tired of me.
"I saw you." I muttered, once again flaunting my incredible inability to stop talking about something when I really knew that I should have.
"What did you see, Summer?" He sighed, rolling his eyes – he was just humouring me. And I intended to catch him out. "Do enlighten me, when exactly did you witness this alleged sacrilegious snogging between my ex-girlfriend and myself?"
"I was walking down by the lake – Fred had left his kimono and fan down there, and he was going around biting people in the common room until someone agreed to go and get it for them." I whispered into the silence. "I was already having a shit day, and I just wanted to clear my head. I had just gotten Fred's shit and was walking back through the trees when I saw you – you and Natalie. On a romantic walk around the lake. I snapped – I couldn't handle it. I thought... I thought the two of you were going to start dating again. And I'd be nothing."
James eyes flicked upwards suddenly and something flickered through them before they quickly died and went back to the cold brown they were before.
"That wasn't a fucking romantic walk, you bint." James growled, before his head snapped up and he was suddenly shouting again. "She was fucking asking my permission to date MY FUCKING BROTHER, BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T WANT TO HAVE TO SNEAK AROUND ANYMORE. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? I HAD JUST FUCKING GIVEN THEM MY PERMISSION. AND THEN WE WALK IN ON YOU AND THE SHIT HIMSELF SNOGGING!"
I recoiled against the wall, pressing one of my cheeks to the cold stone to try and smooth the swirling in my head. Everything was fuzzy. All I could hear was the echoes of James' yell.
"You... didn't snog her?" I muttered, and James let out a quick bark of derisive laughter.
"You said you were already in a shit mood – why?" James said suddenly, his head snapping sideways to stare at me again. It was like he was trying to catch me out, trying to find some hole in my story so he could find something else to yell at me about.
"My parents – my parents have had another fight. I got a letter this afternoon – just after you went to sit with Al at dinner."
"What did it say?" James muttered, and I pulled the dog eared parchment out of my pocket and handed it to him, trying to ignore the fact he avoided my hand like I was infectious.
I already knew what the thing said, off by heart. The words bothered me, though I knew my mum hadn't intended them to when she wrote them – she was just angry, she wanted someone that she could rant to without being reminded that she was married to the bloke and needed to try and play the dutiful wife. She wouldn't have wanted something like that to bother me. But it did. The words had manifested in my brain, making little nests and holes were they weren't wanted – it scared me.
Other people's parents fought. Mine bickered. They didn't fight.
Your father is without a doubt the lowest form of rot that I have ever had the misfortune to come across – he has been working away from home for four weeks now, and I've been left home alone the whole time. And guess what I have just found out? That the business trip he is on is with his very attractive, twenty five year old FEMALE colleague.
And no, I am not being overly paranoid – when I asked if he was going with anyone, he told me he was going with Fat Harold from the office below. You know, the one that tried to ask you out at your sixteenth, and your dad took him outside and we haven't heard from him since? That one.
So I flooed him and asked him about it, and he just completely dismissed me – then he apparated home, and started yelling bloody murder at me for not trusting him. Long story short, darling, the dining room is being repaired but I have to eat my dinner in the dining room on the third floor now. That table was a favourite possession of mine, that's why he did it. God, he is just a spiteful, rude, arrogant, hateful man.
Sorry darling, you don't need to hear this. I love you. I miss you. I'll see you at Christmas. Write me.
James frowned slightly.
"I don't understand. Your parents had a fight, so you snogged that prick that my mother tells me I am related to?" James cocked an eyebrow at me, just daring me to tell him that it was true.
"Don't be fucking stupid." I snapped, rubbing my fingers on my temples. "I was annoyed because of the letter, I went down to the lake and saw you and the bitch and thought you were getting back together – so I went to the kitchens and got drunk. I remembered how happy you guys always seemed as parties, when you were smashed, and I wanted to try." James' mouth fell open. "I didn't even drink very much, but I must have a very low tolerance or some other shit like that."
"Then?" James snapped, annoyed I had stopped talking.
"I was trying to find my way back to the common room, and I found Albus. He looked nervous, and so I sat down next to him and started talking – half of it was gibberish, but he just sat there and let me talk. And then – I wanted to do what he wanted to do. Get back at you. So when he leaned in to snog me, I didn't stop him. I didn't know what I was doing James – and you might hate it, but you are practically the fucking twin of him – I was confused. I – I don't know."
I dropped to the floor and put my head on my knees.
James didn't even attempt to comfort me – I wasn't surprised.
"You want to know what I was considering today, Summer?" He asked quietly, and I lifted my head off my knees to stare at him. "I was wondering whether or not we were being stupid, and I should ask you to be my girlfriend. And you know what? I had nearly decided just to bite the bullet, give it a go and ask you out on a date."
My mouth dropped open.
"But you can be bloody fucked if you think any of that is happening after all this shit. I can't believe you did this shit to me – I'm supposed to be one of your best friends!"
"You are!" I tried to say, but if fell on deaf ears.
"This is done." James said loudly, and I blinked in confusion. "The snogging, the meeting up, the not snogging other people and all that shit – it's done. We'll go back to being friends. You can go and snog some other bloke that will put up with your shit. And I'll go back to doing whatever the fuck I want."
"You're not – you're not going to snog me anymore?" I asked, frowning as I took in what I was saying.
"I don't trust you, I'm so fucking angry right now I feel sick, and I just want to be left alone – I barely even want to look at you again, Summer, but our friends are going to notice something if we don't keep up appearances. But we're done. As far as 'we' go – it's all over."
James shot me on last glare, hurt prominent instead on in the background, before turning on his heel and swishing off down the corridor.
The flick of his robes around the corner was the last thing I saw before I started to shake, tears started to leak out of my eyes – hey look, I'm turning into Natalie – and I clutched my stomach, the roots of my hair, anything.
James can't be done with me. I need him. He can't be.
But I know he is.
disclaimer: none of this belongs me, and i own nothing you recognise.
woah. so, heavy chapter, huh? just a whole chapter of furious james... which is fun, you know. this chapter depresses me. i didn't want to write it, which is why it didn't come out as fast as the past few. it makes me very sad. but it had to happen. if something big didn't happen, neither of them would bother to change anything.
so sorry about this, and please don't be too angry at me ~ things will get better, i promise. i actually planned the next four chapters, so i'm no longer flying it all blind.
OH. just remembered ~ thank you so much for the amazing number of reviews on the last chapter. i still stare at the little number with a really stupid expression on my face. i look like a right idiot. but seriously. it's 68 as i'm writing this. that's insane. so thank you so much!
ellie :) xx