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Chapter 22: The One with Loads of Fluff
“I –I...” She stammered, and I rolled my eyes. Leaning coolly against the doorframe of the alcove, I took in the homewrecking bint that had the nerve to show up at my house and practically molest my father under the stairs.
“Merlin, no wonder you’re marrying rich – are you honestly so stupid you don’t know how to introduce yourself? This is when you tell me your name, and then you offer to shake my hand. Basic manners, you know.” I cocked an eyebrow at her.
My father frowned and closed his eyes. She blushed and blinked a little. I glared. Did Dad honestly think that I was going to live with her?
I’d have shoved my cereal spoon down her throat to kill her before the week was over.
“I’m Louise Cooper – it’s... it’s lovely to meet you,” Bitch Lady held out her hand – which I was pleased to see was shaking slightly – and blinked at me with her mascara-plastered eyes. I snorted.
“Sorry, Lulu, but I’m not going to shake your hand. I only washed them ten minutes ago, and I don’t want to get them all coated in slut.” I shrugged sadly. She flushed, her eyes flicking over to my father.
“Summer, be nice –” Dad sighed, but there was no real conviction to his words. He knew I wasn’t going to be nice to her.
“Don’t tell me what to do,” I snapped at him coldly, for once not caring whether he would lose his temper. I wanted him to lose his temper. If he lost his temper then I’d have even more of a reason to scream blue murder at him.
Instead of wasting my eyesight on him, I flicked my eyes back over to my new mummy and stared her up and down, paedophile style.
She was short – shorter than I was, anyway; maybe around five foot three. She had long blonde hair that hung just past her boobs – which, it might as well be said, looked fake – in long plastic curls. How much hair lacquer she’d put on them was beyond me.
Her eyes were brown, but not brown like James’ – they were cold, slightly too big for her face, and rimmed with so much kohl that I’d have been surprised if she could get it all off at night. Her lips were painted hot pink, which matched the strapless boob-tube thing she was wearing.
Yes, a boob-tube. In December.
I glanced down at her skin tight jeans with my lips pursed in lemon-sucking pose, my nostrils flaring in distaste as I realised that I owned the same pair, minus the strategically-placed tear on the left arse cheek.
I glared at her skinny arms. A diamond-encrusted watch was swinging off one of her wrists. It was the female version of the watch I had bought James, but with a pink strap as opposed to brown.
And since I had bought one, I knew how much they cost.
No doubt it was a present from Daddy Dearest.
“So tell me, how much money are you planning on conning out of my father before you fuck off and run away with Paulo the chimney sweep?” I asked coolly, blinking at her innocently. She gaped at me again. The woman was like a standing goldfish.
“I – I’m not planning to –”
“Do you realise that if I was a year older or you were a year younger, then we would have been in Hogwarts together at some point?” I glared at her as even more colour drained into her cheeks. Maybe some of the dye from her boob-tube is seeping into her skin.
“I – well, I – um... I - you might know my sister.”
I blinked at her. I might know her sister? What the fuck was the point in telling me that random piece of information? I don’t give a flying monkey whether or not I might know her sister.
“Fucking wonderful,” I snapped back.
“Sarah Cooper – her name is Sarah Cooper,” I snapped my head up to stare at her so fast that I’m pretty sure I was about a second away from snapping my own spinal cord. Sarah Cooper? My father is marrying Sarah’s older sister.
Sarah was one of my roommates. I didn’t really have anything to do with her – in the words of Dominique Weasley, because I was an ‘antisocial cow’ – but she was best friends with the other one of our roommates, Esme Boot.
“So I have to go back to school next week and tell one of my roommates that my father has left my mother to marry her skank of a sister?” Louise blinked, looking a little disappointed.
What, did she think that because I happened to know her sister I might jump into her arms, give her a huge tight hug and tell her that I was so glad that she was now going to be a part of my family? Yeah... no. I would shove the bitch off a cliff before I did that.
“Oh – I didn’t realise... I – Summer, look -”
“Don’t call me Summer.”
My voice was the vocal form of the word ‘ice’. It was practically splintering. Maybe if it splinted enough, I could take one of the icicles and kill her with it. She’d deserve it.
“What am I supposed to call you?” She looked confused, her heavily pencilled eyebrows furrowing slightly. I liked the fact she was confused. It made me feel like she was stupid. I liked the idea that she was stupid.
“It doesn’t really matter what you call me, because this is the last conversation we’re ever going to have,” I shrugged, and my dad sighed.
“You’ll have to talk to her at the wedding, Summer,” he muttered, and I raised an eyebrow at him. And suddenly, despite my efforts to hide it, I let out a giggle.
“At the wedding? Do you honestly think that I’m going to go to your wedding?” I laughed again, and my dad shifted uncomfortably.
“Look, Summer, I think we might have gotten off on the wrong foot –”
“Oh, where did you get that impression, bitch? From the fact you split up my parent’s marriage and are the reason for their divorce? The fact you’re a gold-digging slag? The fact that my mother is having to move back in with her parents at thirty eight, because you’ve had her kicked out of her home of twenty years? The fact you’d just tried to convince my dad to stop letting me spend his money so you could have more? The fact that you’re eight years older than me and you’re going to be my stepmother? Or the fact that I’ve known you for all of four minutes and I already hate you? Take your fucking pick.”
With one final glare in their direction, I turned around and stormed back to the entrance hall, then back through into the ballroom and over to the bloke that was sitting in a chair in the corner, a bottle of beer clutched in his fist.
I reached him quickly, pulled his hands off his knees and dropped down onto his lap, wrapped my arms around his neck and buried my face in his shoulder.
James patted my back awkwardly.
“Erm, Summer? You alright there, love?” James asked quietly, bobbing his knee up and down slightly like you would if a small child sat on your knee after falling over. I just pressed my face harder into his shoulder and didn’t say a word.
James brought his bottle up over my shoulder and took a deep sip. The bottle was cold. It nudged my back. I didn’t like it.
“Summer, tell me what happened,” James said suddenly, setting the bottle down on the floor in front of his seat and wrapping both of his arms around my waist. He was probably wondering why we were hugging so much lately.
We’d probably hugged more in the last week than we had in the rest of the time we’d known each other. I prayed it wasn’t a sign I was going soft.
“I just met sodding Louise, and she’s stupid and blonde and she was trying to get my dad to cut me out of his bank account or some shit like that, and she’s the sister of one of my roommates, and she’s awful and I hate her and she’s going to be my stepmother,” James kissed the top of my head. I immediately shut up.
“No, don’t stop talking,” James said suddenly, shifting me on his lap so the side of my face was pressed against his neck and he was looking down at me. He was so close that he looked like he only had one eye.
James the Cyclops. Has a nice ring to it.
“I have nothing more to say about her,” I sighed, and James’ expression looked almost pitiful. I hated that. I didn’t want bloody sympathy.
I mean, I know my mother is a hard woman to live with, I’ve known her for almost as long as he has, but she sounds even worse. I mean, how could he be stupid enough to want to marry her?
Can he not see the reason that she’s marrying him? Or can he see it, but just doesn’t care? Why would he want to spend the rest of his life with her? She’s not going to look like a slag forever – once she loses her ‘looks’, he’ll just be stuck with a gold-digging bitch with boobs that look like a pair of tube socks stuffed with bowling balls.
“Do you want to dance again?” I asked suddenly, and James jumped a little, and then chuckled. Kissing the top of my head again, he leaned away to raise an eyebrow at me.
“You want to dance with me?” James laughed, and I dug my elbow into his stomach. Maybe I should sharpen my elbows with a giant pencil sharpener, so when I jab him it hurts more. Do you reckon it would hurt to sharpen your own elbows?
“Do you not want to dance with me?” I asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
“No, I do – not this kind of dancing, but hey. It’s just... well; I don’t remember you ever wanting to dance with me before. And I especially don’t remember you ever offering.”
I shrugged, hopped off his knee and pulled him to his feet.
Dragging him back onto the dancefloor – ignoring my father when he stormed back through the doors of the ballroom, looking ready to kill (sans Louise, I was pleased to note) – I wrapped my arms around his neck and rested my head on his chest.
James was a little tense. I blinked up at him.
“What’s the matter?” I asked quietly, and James shrugged.
“It’s just strange. One second you’re ignoring me, and the next second you’re showing up at my house, crying, or asking me to dance with you, or trying to fucking kiss me, and the next second you’re announcing that you have a new boyfriend, and then you’re screaming at me, and then you’re refusing to speak to me, and then you’re telling me you miss me – can you not just pick a personality and stick to it?”
I blinked, a little hurt. I lifted my head off his chest and stared at him.
“Why are you being like this? We were getting along – why are you trying to fuck everything up?”
James rolled his eyes but kept his hands on my waist, the pair of us swaying awkwardly as I watched his mouth twist as he struggled for something to say.
“I just – do you have any idea how goddamn frustrating you are? You’re just so hard to deal with – I feel like I don’t even know you anymore, you just switch personalities at the drop of the hat. I just – I don’t know how to – I – what the fuck were you and Albus talking about before?”
I blinked and cocked an eyebrow.
“Is that why you’re being all funny? Because I danced with Albus when he asked me to?”
“No! I just – what did you talk about, anyway? Can’t you just – you – you know how I feel about him! Why would you speak to him when you know how angry he makes me? I mean – you – he ruined me and you! He is the reason that you and I never –” James broke off, glaring down at the floor. I moved a little closer to him and tilted my head so he was looking at me instead.
“He is the reason that you and I never what?” I asked quietly, and he pressed his lips together.
“Nothing,” he grumbled petulantly.
“Why are you so angry with me? I know I’ve fucked up a lot lately but we’ve been getting on – why did you suddenly have to be all grumpy?” James’ eyebrow rose.
“Grumpy?” He asked, questioning my word choice. I glared at him. Now was not the time, James.
“Yes, grumpy. Now answer the question.” James clearly misunderstood what I meant, and translated ‘answer the question’ as ‘don’t answer my question, but ask me your own in return’. I could kick that boy in the shin, I really could.
“Why don’t you ever tell me how you feel? Why don’t you trust me?” James looked up from the ground and stared right at me, suddenly standing very still but keeping his hands in their loose position on my hips.
“I do trust you,” I replied honestly, because it was the truth. I did trust James. I trusted him more than I trusted most people.
“Then why won’t you tell me how you feel? What are you so afraid that I’ll do if you tell me? I trusted you – I told you about Natalie and Albus, and everything they did!” I blinked at him, dropping my arms from his neck and resting them from his shoulders instead.
“You told me about Albus and Natalie when you had next to no choice – you threw a hissy when I asked you what happened originally!” I said, glancing around as our argument got a little louder. I noticed my father drinking a large whiskey next to the bar, a sour expression on his face, his eyes focused on James and I.
I glared at him over James’ shoulder.
“But I still told you – you and I used to be so close, and now we barely speak – if you’d spoken to me in the first place then maybe we would still be like we used to be.” One of James’ hands slid up from my hip and slid it into the back of my hair. His eyes were sad.
“So what are you saying?” I asked, tilting my head sideways slightly so that my cheek was pressed against his wrist. James smiled a little at my uncharacteristic cuteness.
“I want you to talk to me – I want you to actually act like I mean something to you. No – I don’t want you to act like I mean something to you, I want to actually mean something to you. And I want you to show it.”
“Didn’t anyone ever tell you?” I whispered, and James raised an eyebrow at me questioningly. “Want never gets.” James rolled his eyes. “And you do mean something to me, you twat.”
“Sure I do,” James muttered grouchily, moving his hand from my hair so he could brush his thumb along my cheekbone. I kissed his thumb when it reached the corner of my mouth.
“James, you mean a hell of a lot to me. You should bloody know that – I can’t believe you don’t.” Thinking back to a few nights ago, to our conversation, I grinned a little. “After all, you’ve got to mean a lot to me if we’re going to be best friends forever.”
James rolled his eyes as I batted my eyelashes innocently.
“You’re a nightmare, you,” he smiled, but I could tell he was joking. I dropped my arms from his shoulders and I wrapped them around his waist, pulling him closer to me in a tight hug. From under his arm, I could see my dad slam his drink down on the bar, gesturing angrily at us to my mother.
My mum smiled at us and shook her head at my dad, swanning away before he could properly kick off. He glared at us again, and then stormed back out of the ballroom. I smirked into James’ chest.
“Prove it,” James said suddenly, and I jumped a little against his chest. Pulling my head back, I frowned in silent question.
“I mean – I just – you... you don’t ever act like I mean anything to you. And I know you’re saying I do, but... I just... prove it.”James shrugged, evidentially giving up on trying to phrase it a little more tactfully.
Prove that he means something to me? I began to contemplate the pointlessness of the conversation – how could he have been doubting meaning something to me, when he’d been my best friend for six and a half years? I wanted to kick him in the shin for being so dense.
I scanned my brain desperately, looking for anything I could use to ‘prove’ to James that I did give a shit about him. But nothing came to mind.
And that’s when it hit me. It hit me like a nugget in a gold mine, like a rock off a roof, like a pigeon that smashed into a window – it just hit me. I spent a second to revel in my own genius, and then pressed my hand against his jaw.
James was always complaining that I never told him how I felt – what if I told him how I felt, about everything? What if I spoke to him for hours? Told him that I trusted him more than I trusted anyone else, told him that I had realised, on the night that I had found out about the divorce, that I needed him... he’d have to believe me.
“Stay with me tonight,” I whispered, pulling James in for a hug so that my chin was resting on his shoulder. I could feel James’ eyelashes against my cheek as he blinked rapidly from next to me.
“What?” He breathed, and I leaned back so I could look him in the eye.
“Stay with me tonight. We’ll talk.” I said, brushing my thumb along the stubble on his cheeks. He should really shave that. It would be all itchy if someone snogged him. Not that anyone would snog him, because I’d rip their tonsils out for trying.
“You want me to spend the night with you?” James cocked an eyebrow at me, looking a little shocked.
“Well, yeah – we did the other night, at your house...” I said slowly, blinking at him. James was steadily turning the colour of a tomato, his mouth hanging open slightly.
“Oh! Shit, you just meant you wanted me to actually spend the night here...” James flushed again, looking a lot more than mortified, and I frowned at him. Did someone put something in his beer?
“Well, yeah what did you think I – shit,” I gaped at him.
“No, sorry, just ignore me, I misunderstood,”
“James, I – sorry, I didn’t mean it like that – I mean, I would like you to stay with me, but –”
“No, seriously, ignore me – I’d love to have another sleepover –”
“I just thought we could talk – I could prove I trust you, or whatever,”
“No! No, that sounds excellent! Tip top! I’d love to talk tonight – just talk, I mean –”
“Yeah, I mean, I have Jack, and –”
“Exactly! I mean, we couldn’t... you have a boyfriend, and...”
“It wouldn’t be right for us to... I mean, we’re still a bit weird, and we couldn’t...”
“Right, so I should just –”
James jumped a little as he realised that my hand was still pressed against his cheek, and I flushed a little as I hastily removed it. James was shuffling his shoes, and I was trying not to focus on the fact that his hands were once again loosely holding my hips.
“I’ll... I’ll go tell my mum that I’m staying here tonight...” James murmured, gently stepping out of our embrace and cocking his head to where his mum and dad were standing in the corner, laughing over something with Lily.
James blinked at me for a minute, smiled a little shyly and then scarpered over to his family, and I quickly scanned the room for some alcohol.
Grabbing a long champagne flute off a passing waiter – and downing it in one, I should probably add – I glanced around for my dad. I swear to Merlin, if he’s disappeared with Blonde Bitchsnot again then I will hunt him down and flay him alive over a bonfire.
As I was scanning the room, I caught sight of James talking to his mum and dad in the corner, and I couldn’t help but stare. He really did look good in a tight black suit, white shirt and thin black tie, his shoulders looking broad beneath the blazer – I could have jumped him right there in front of everyone. He looked lean – for once not looking like he’d been abusing the gym equipment.
God, he looked fine. I jumped a little when I realised I was basically perving on James Potter.
I flushed and quickly headed over to the bar, filling my glass with some expensive mulled wine from some place in California that I couldn’t pronounce the name of.
James really is good looking. He looks even better without a shirt.
So when you think about it, it’s all basic maths. I mean, James equals gorgeous. And then James minus shirt equals even more gorgeous. So, if you continue the basic pattern, then James minus shirt minus trousers should equal even more gorgeous. So maybe, for the sake of being the next Pythagoras and earning a fortune, I should test out my theory.
I mean... when you think about it...
I mean, he had assumed that was what I meant. Does that mean he was thinking about it? Shit, is that going to make tonight really awkward? Shit, what if something does happen? Would I have to tell Jack? I couldn’t do that; it would really hurt him...
I... fuck, this is why I don’t do feelings!
“Summer?” James was standing behind me, and I whipped around to see his livid expression behind my head, a new glass of champagne clamped tightly in his fist. He looked pissed. What did I do?
“What?” I asked quickly.
“They – they won’t let me stay here tonight. Because it’s Christmas Eve, and that would mean I wouldn’t be at home on Christmas morning, and they won’t...” I blinked a little, wondering why I felt as disappointed as I did.
“Oh. Alright. Well, what can you do?” I sighed, shuffling the bottom of my heels on the floor. James sighed, and suddenly his arms were around me, pulling me into a tight hug. He kissed the top of my head, and brushed his thumb down my nose.
As weird as that was, at least he didn’t miss my nose and stroke his thumb down my eyeball instead. That would probably have hurt.
“I really want you to talk to me,” James sighed into my hair, and I smiled a little into his chest. To be honest, a small part of me was relieved that our conversation had been put off for a while. I had no idea how I was going to start it, what I was going say – how I was going to say it.
I mean, I trusted James, but... but it was too hard. I didn’t like talking about it. He’d always respected that before. He’d never asked me how I felt about him before. Why now?
“Well, what if we met up on Boxing Day? We could go down to the promenade or something and go to the arcades – I haven’t been to the arcade in years.” James chuckled into my hair and stepped out of the hug, cocking an eyebrow at me.
“You want to go to the arcade to talk?” James smiled, and I rolled my eyes.
“No, I want to go to the arcade for a day out – but we could do the whole sleepover thing on Boxing Night,” I wound my arms around James’ neck and rested my head on his chest. James drank some more champagne over my head.
“I don’t think it’s called Boxing Night, you know.”
“It could be.”
“No, I think it’s just called Boxing Day, and then the night of Boxing Day.”
“That would be Boxing Night, then.”
“Can you not agree with me on one thing?”
“Minty, where are my mum and dad?” I asked the house elf, dropping down into a seat the abandoned dining room table and pulling a plate of bacon and sausage towards me. Minty blinked at me with her huge tennis-ball eyes.
“Mrs Lancaster has gone to visit some friends in Cornwall, and Master Lancaster has gone to spend Christmas morning with Miss Cooper. Your mother asked me to pass along her dearest Christmas wishes, and to tell you that your presents are under the tree in the main living room.” I blinked.
“Oh. Thanks, Minty. And merry Christmas.” The house elf smiled broadly at me, sank down into a curtsey and then headed off to do house-elf things. I glared at my breakfast.
Alone on Christmas Day. Fucking wonderful.
Neither of my parents had come back by the time the morning of Boxing Day rolled around, and in a bout of teenage depression, I had woken up before the sun was up and was all dressed and ready for James by seven thirty. When he was most likely still snoring.
I think it is pretty clear to see, that I am, officially, a twat.
So I instead decided to bug Minty, and spent the next hour and a half moaning to Minty about the unfairness of having best friends that all played Quidditch, and wanted to race you. You, pathetic little sport-hating you, versus a bloke half a foot taller, with longer legs and fitness levels to rival a racehorse.
But eventually the clock rolled around to nine o’clock, and I decided that James had been blessed with enough time to get himself up, showered and dressed.
Why did I tell James to pick me up at my house whenever he was ready? I should have told him to meet me at the arcade at a specific time. Then I wouldn’t have been hanging around the house like a giant lemon, looking for something to do.
So deciding that I was bored of waiting for James, I stropped my way to my dad’s study and hunted around for a Howler. Why a Howler? Because I was in a bad mood, and if I couldn’t yell at James then I wanted something to.
Grabbing a quill and a pot of my dad’s most expensive ink, I started to scribble a message.
Get your arse down here as soon as possible, because I’m bored and lonely and I need someone to talk to. After getting this, you have ten minutes to get here. If this Howler woke you up, then you have five. In a bit, my darling little baby boy,
I had just penned the last word when there was a loud hammering on the door, and, jumping violently in shock, I accidently knocked over the pot of crimson ink I had been using. It seeped along the desk and dripped all over the carpet, leaving stains that looked strangely like blood.
I blinked at it and considered cleaning it up, and then realised that it was my dad’s ink and my dad’s study, and therefore I didn’t give a shit whether or not I’d spilled ink on the floor.
So stepping over the patch, I headed out of the door to the sound of a gruff male voice talking to Minty. I rolled my eyes and dropped the Howler into the soil of a nearby potted plant.
I rounded the corner and again felt the urge to smile – I am becoming far too cheerful; I’m going to have to work on that – as I saw James leaning against the doorframe of our front door, clutching what looked like a stitch in his side and panting heavily.
He looks like he’s just run a marathon. Maybe he had. Maybe he’d been doing a bit of fundraising before he got there. I wasn’t sure. I didn’t care.
“Hey,” I grinned, and before he could say anything I had flung my arms around his waist and pulled him into a choking hug.
James choked and groaned as my arms dug into his sides, but patted me awkwardly on the back and made no attempt to buck me off him.
“Um... that’s a... warm welcome. You high, Summer?” I pursed my lips and pulled myself out of his arms, grabbed my bag with one hand and his hand with my other, and towed him out of the door like a toddler at an airport.
And like a toddler at an airport, he nearly tripped over his own feet.
Honestly, that bloke is smooth.
“Oi, that was on my half! Stick to your own half, woman!” James shrieked indignantly, bashing my blue plastic fork out of the way with his own blue plastic fork. I stabbed his thumb in retaliation and quickly stole another of his chips when he yanked it back.
Scowling, James flicked some tomato sauce at me. Mature.
“You know, next time we buy a portion of chips, we’re getting separate ones. First you smother them in enough salt to give anyone a heart attack, and then you hog them all! Bloody bint.” I grinned at him through a mouthful of chips.
James rolled his eyes, trying hard to stay annoyed, but he couldn’t suppress his grin.
“You know you love me,” I winked, smirking as James flushed a little. He stabbed a fork with a little more violence than was strictly necessary.
“Don’t get your hopes up, sweetheart. We’ll see how I feel after our lovely little conversation tonight.” James cocked an eyebrow at me and went back to stabbing his chips, shovelling them into his mouth with the passion of a bloke on the back of a gritting lorry at Christmas time.
“Don’t remind me,” I scowled, chewing on another chip. James chuckled.
“Why’d you offer to do it if you don’t want to?” James asked, picking up a few chips with his fingers and dumping them into the little pot of tomato sauce in between the pair of us. As he shoved them into the pot, some of the sauce splashed up and splattered along my hand, causing me to shriek.
You know that king that had the red hot poker shoved up his arse to kill him? Yeah, well I probably sounded like he did when he sat down on the thing.
And as I’m sure you can all tell – it was very sexy. How James didn’t leap across the table to snog my face off was beyond me.
“You little shit – that’s horrible. I hate tomato sauce!” I whined, flapping my hand about in the air as I glanced around for a napkin to wipe the crap off my skin. Knowing my luck, it could have sunk into my skin and changed me into a giant tomato.
James rolled his eyes, grabbed my hand and dragged it towards him. The edge of the plastic table cut into my stomach, and I scowled.
James grinned at me, winked and ran his tongue up the top of my hand, licking all the tomato sauce off my skin. I squealed and tried to bat him off with my other hand, but James was having none of it.
Laughing, I leaned across the table and tried to smack him off my poor, now-infected arm, but James just grinned and dodged. I launched myself out of my chair and slipped around the table, desperate to free my arm from bein slobbered all over by James.
Dropping onto James’ knee, I wrapped my free arm around his neck and used my knee to try and shove his chest away from me, but James was apoplectic with laughter and put up no fight.
After squirming myself free, I went to push myself off James’ lap, but he didn’t seem to like that plan. James wrapped his arms around my waist and held me on his knee, dropping his chin onto my shoulder and shaking with laughter.
I resisted the urge to biff him over the back of the head.
“Aww, Summy, don’t you want me to hug you? Come on baby, let’s hug it out. Cuddles!” James simpered into my ear, squeezing my waist tighter and laughing as I tried to fight my way out of his embrace.
A few of the other people in the random muggle cafe we were in started to watch us, an old lady at he table next to us nudging her husband in the side to tell him to watch us.
I considered glaring at the nosy old bat, but James squeezed me so tight that I squealed instead.
“James!” I scolded, but it just made him laugh louder. “James, I’m being serious – people are looking at us. Let me go!” I could practically hear James’ eyes rolling, but he reluctantly dropped his arms and let me crawl back to my own seat, much to the disappointment of the nosy teenagers sitting by the window.
“Aww, Summer – you never were a fan of showing emotions in public, were you? Oh wait – no... I’m recalling a certain afternoon, during which the inhabitants of Hogsmeade were treated to a lovely view of both your and Kyle Davies’ tonsils...” James smirked at me as I flushed and shovelled a couple more chips into my mouth.
“That wasn’t a display of emotion,” I snapped back, running the last chip around the edge of the plate to pick up any fallen salt. James smirked.
I hate that smirk. We should make it illegal.
If we all teamed up and made a petition, then the government wouldn’t be able to ignore us for long. And then they could hook James up to a couple of electrodes, and whenever he smirks... they zap him!
I grinned as the image of James flopping around like a fish on the ground filled my head. He stared at me warily, as you would if someone started grinning like a twat in front of you, for no apparent reason.
“So what are we doing for the rest of the day?” James asked, lolling back in his chair, throwing his arm casually over the back, like a regular cool kid. Ice, man.
“Going to the arcade – they’ve got all those old fashioned games that you find in carnivals, and stuff. They have this big plastic hand that you grab hold of, and when you put your money in, it becomes like an arm wrestle – but it’s really strong.” James rolled his eyes.
“Please, love – it’s strong to you. It won’t be strong to the likes of me.”
I cocked an eyebrow at the swollen-ego statement, and took a sip out of my bottle of sparkling water. I don’t know why I chose sparkling water instead of regular – it tastes like processed piss. But I was desperate after the salty chips – I felt like my throat was made of sandpaper.
Wincing, I swallowed down the ‘water’ and rolled my eyes, as James tried to hide the fact that he was clenching his fists under the table to make his muscles seem more prominent.
“Well alright then, strong man – I’m just gonna nip the loo, and then you can prove how strong you are.” I grabbed my bag and headed to the door labelled with a crude image of a blob balancing precariously on top of a triangle, and James pulled out the money for the bill.
He always snapped my head off if I tried to pay for food. Gryffindor git.
“What the bloody fuck is with these coins? These ones are just a midget version of the others – how do the muggles not get confused?”
James held up a two pence piece in one hand, and a penny in the other, blinking at me with a furrow between his eyes. He’s got big eyebrows, not I think about it – but he’d look strange without them. It always makes me laugh when men have feminine eyebrows.
My gaydar instantly goes off, which James thinks is hilarious. He didn’t think it was so funny when it turned out I was right, one summer when we were both fifteen, and the bloke asked him out on a date.
He was even less amused when I accepted on his behalf, and the bloke tried to take his number.
“Because one is bigger than the other, obviously. If it says that the machine needs a two pence, then you use the bigger one – if you try to use the wrong one, it won’t work.” I rolled my eyes as James groaned.
“This is so confusing – I swear, muggles are all secret genii,” James muttered, swinging the money bag from his wrist as he glanced around the arcade. I cocked an eyebrow at his use of the Latin plural of ‘genius’, but didn’t question it.
“Well, it’s the same as a galleon and a sickle being different sizes – it’s no more confusing than that.” I shrugged, and James frowned.
“Yeah, it is.”
“No, it isn’t.”
“Can you seriously not stop arguing with me? It’s like you have an addiction.” James snapped, briskly strolling off towards a flashing machine covered in pictures of bikini clad women. I rolled my eyes and followed him, only to find him blinking cluelessly at the screen.
“What’s wrong with you?” I asked, as James pulled out a couple of coins and held them in the palm of his hand.
“What am I supposed to do now?” James asked, staring at the sliding metal shelf that was piled high with mountains of pennies and two pence coins. I started to laugh, grabbed the coins out of his hand and shoved one of them into a slit in the top of the glass.
It slid down the clear plastic tube and landed on the sliding metal shelf, where it was quickly pushed out onto the main shelf of the machine by the other coins. Looking thrilled, James shoved a few coins into the holes in the glass himself, and his face lit up in delight as a few coins finally slid down the front of the machine and pooled to the bottom of the bucket.
James dropped to his knees and scooped them into his hands, his eyes bright and his grin so ridiculous that I couldn’t help but laugh. He was just too adorable.
“Summer, I won something!” He said excitedly, pushing the coins he had won back into the machine. I dropped down onto a nearby chair and watched him, chewing on my thumb nail.
“Yeah, you’ve probably won about a whole twenty pence.” I rolled my eyes as James scowled at me, tossing a penny at my head.
“Why do you have to see the negative side of everything? Can’t you just be happy for me? This is really cool!” I rolled my eyes and forced a sarcastic smile onto my face, all teeth and gums. James rolled his eyes again.
“One day you’re going to go blind with all this eye rolling you’re doing,” I informed him snottily, flicking my hair over my shoulder and fiddling with the ends of it, “and I won’t even feel sorry for you when you do. In fact, I may laugh.”
“What? You may make a positive noise? A positive reaction to something? Why, I do believe that I can see flying pigs – yes, here they are! They’re flapping around the ceiling – come down, piggies! Come down!” I scowled.
“Well, you’re clearly insane if you think that there are flying pigs in here,” I snapped back.
“Wow, excellent comeback there, Summer,” James grinned, and I scowled at the carpet. Rough, scratchy, blue shit that was plastered all over the floor of the place. It would probably scour all the skin off your body if you fell over on it.
“Shut up, prick,” I snapped. James grinned.
“Well, cheer yourself up with thoughts of the lovely heart to heart that we’re going to be having tonight,” James laughed, and my scowl deepened. It’s going to permanently carve its way into my face if I’m not careful.
“Shut up,” I snapped again, but James just laughed louder.
“I mean, just think of you and me, all curled up on your bed together, spilling our darkest secrets and talking about how we feel about everything... our feelings, our emotions...” James could barely get the words out around his snorting.
“Shut the fuck up, you’re making me nervous,” I snapped again, and James was clutching the machine to stop himself falling over with laughter.
“We could make friendship bracelets, and talk about all of our ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends, and cuddle, and how we feel about current issues going on in the world, and tell each other secrets that nobody else knows...”
“Shut up!” I snapped again, jumping off my chair. “And I don’t have secrets!”
“Summer, you have more secrets than anyone else I know – you never speak to anyone. Of course you have secrets.” James stepped forwards and wrapped his arms around my waist, pressing his forehead against mine. “And I want to know them.”
James smirked as I gaped at him, digging him in the waist with my elbow.
“I’m not telling you any of my secrets, twat,” I grumbled, and James scowled before kissing the end of my nose and releasing me.
“Come on, let’s go and have a go on the slot machines – I want to win some real money,” James grinned, and seizing my wrist, he stated tugging me off towards the Over-18s section of the arcade. I hoped he had his fake ID with him.
“OI! Fucking prick – move out the fucking way, that was my shot!” I screeched, jabbing into James with my elbow as I waved my plastic gun in the air. James stomped on my foot and tried to shove me out of the way himself, shooting at the target that was meant for me.
“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, Summer!” James crowed, shooting the gun as fast as he could at the cardboard cowboy.
“Fuck off, prick, or I’ll shoot you,” I yelled back. You know, I really am a lovely person. I should get an award. Possibly a Nobel Peace Prize.
“I am so going to down my slush faster than you,” James said, grabbing his mango slush between his palms and grinning at me over the top of his crazy straw. I rolled my eyes and pulled my own strawberry and kiwi slush in front of me, accepting the challenge with my special vampire smile.
“Bring it on, Potter,” I laughed, closing my lips around the top of my straw. James winked at me and leaned down to his own cup, leaving fingerprints on the cold condensation of the cup.
“Three, two, one – go!” James yelled, attracting the attention of the majority of the grimy milkshake place we were sitting in. I grinned and winced as the ice went straight to my head – slushes are cold. I don’t know if anyone ever told you that.
“This cinnamon swirl is so good – you really have to try some of this,” I grinned, breaking off the edge of the pastry and shoving it into James’ mouth before he could respond.
“Fuck, that is good,” he muttered around the food, spreading the wooden floor in front of us with crumbs. After the rain had struck, we’d taken our pastries and ran to a nearby wooden marquee-style thing, which was circular and filled with wooden benches. “Gotta say, though – I reckon this muffin is ever better.”
James pinched a chunk of his blueberry muffin and shoved it into my mouth, much like I had done to him. I chewed quickly and swallowed it, and nearly scowled when I realised when it was actually nicer than my cinnamon swirl.
But I wasn’t going to let him know that.
“Mmm... that is lovely. But I think mine was nicer,” I smirked, and James turned to me with his mouth hanging open.
“Nuh-uh – no way,” he snapped back, and I grinned. And so the argument began.
“God, that was tiring,” I sighed, pulling my key out and smiling at the glittery heart keychain that James had given me, after winning it in the arcade. James pushed the door open and I stumbled into the hall, holding James around the waist to keep myself steady.
“It was fun though – we haven’t just had a day out like that for ages,” James grinned, pulling me down onto the nearest sofa we passed and kicking his shoes off onto the hearth of the fireplace.
“The last time we did something like that was when you, Freddie and I went to that theme park and Fred kicked his trainers off at the top of the rollercoaster. You know – they hit that woman and we had to run because she wanted to sue Fred?” James grinned, and I dropped my feet onto his lap.
“Oh, that was funny,” James laughed, and I closed my eyes after lolling my neck back onto the headrest.
“It was,” I sighed, “especially when Fred got confused between the cooked parsnips and the chips and started spitting them out all over the ground, screaming ‘rabbit food’.” I laughed.
“Yeah,” James sighed, for lack of having anything better to say. But I didn’t mind the silence.
“Oh, they smelled amazing – and when they had just come out of the oven and the chocolate chips were sort of melted and the cookies were all crumbly and warm, and the caramel sort of melted and... aww, they were gorgeous...” James grinned, remembering the one time we had made cookies together.
The state of the kitchen afterwards had meant a lifetime cookie-making ban for James and I, enforced by Ginny Potter.
Life sucks, what can I say?
“They were delicious – I would live off the things if they wouldn’t make into the human equivalent of a beached whale – ” I started, but I was cut off by a cold voice from the doorway, seeping into the room like poison and infecting the innocent couch that never did anything.
“And exactly who do we have here?” My father asked, and I sat up at the speed of light, pulling myself out of James’ arms. My father was standing at the door, his arms crossed over his chest and his polished shoes tapping on the floor impatiently.
“You know who this is – he’s been my best friend for six years,” I said coldly, as James rubbed his hand over the back of his head to try and flatten down his hair.
“And at no point during those six years have I ever walked in on the pair of you snuggling on a couch, I have to say,” Dad said snidely, stepping into the room and pulling off his blazer, draping it unnecessarily over the back of an armchair.
“Well, isn’t that wonderful?” I snapped. “And you know Daddy, it’s so nice of you to return home – tell me, did you enjoy spending Christmas with your whore, having ditched your family?”
James frowned from next to me. I hadn’t told him about the fact both of my parents had fucked off the day before.
“Do not call her that –”
“I’ll call her what I like – and do not tell me what to do. You lost that right when you left my family.”
“Summer, I don’t think this is an appropriate conversation to hold in front of non-family members, so shut your mouth.”
“You little – Merlin, why I listened to my parents and married your mother is beyond me. I could have saved myself all of this trouble.” I felt my eyes fill up with tears, but I refused to blink. I was not going to cry. Not in front of him. No.
“Yeah, well sorry you got stuck with me, Daddy. I’d like to point out that I didn’t ask to be born.” My father sighed and ran his hand through the thinning hair atop his head.
“That’s not what I meant, Summer. You know I care a lot about you, you’re just angry.”
“You don’t give a shit about me. I don’t know who you think you’re kidding, but it’s certainly not me. You love me, sure, because I’m your daughter – but you don’t care about me. You never have.” I shrugged, and James stared down at his knees. I would have felt sorry for him, but I was too busy being angry.
“Look, I want to go. James is staying the night, so we’ll see you in the morning. Maybe. If you haven’t left to go and shag Lulu again.” I shrugged and grabbed James’ hand, pulled him off the couch and started to tow the pair of us out of the room.
“Wait there, young lady – which bedroom will Mr Potter be occupying?”
“Like Hell – he’s not sharing your room.”
“Yes, he is.”
“No, he isn’t.”
“Erm – yes, he is.”
“Summer, if you think for one second that I am going to let that boy share your bedroom, then you have another thing coming. I am the head of this family, and what I say goes. You will do as you are told – he can sleep in the room next door. I think him being allowed to sleep in your wing of the house is generous enough of me.”
I glared at him, my hand clutching James’ so tight that I probably crushed a few of his bones.
“Fuck off,” I snarled, and before he could react I had began to run, pulling James along with me.
“Why is your house so big? How do you find your way around this place?” James asked, lying on the bed with his hands clutching the stitch in his side, wheezing like the mirror over the fireplace in the Burrow. I rolled my eyes and grabbed a bottle of water from the desk, tossing it between each of my hands.
“Well, I have lived here for nearly eighteen years. You kind of get to know your way around. Amazing that, isn’t it?” James grinned a little and pulled my pillow down from the head of the bed to make himself more comfortable.
“What time is it, Summer?” James asked suddenly, and I glanced at the watch – my watch – that was around his wrist, which was flopping off the edge of the bed.
“Half nine, why?”
“Do you reckon it’s too early to go to bed? I’m absolutely shattered.” James sighed, and shifted slightly on the bed. I pulled a pair of fluffy trousers and a t-shirt out of the wardrobe, wondering whether that was the right kind of thing to wear.
I could always have changed into my shorts. But then again, my house was like a giant freezer, and my feet would have most likely fallen off with frostbite during the night.
“Nah, I reckon we can go to bed now. Do you want something to sleep in? Or do you have something with you?” James flushed a little and closed his eyes, scrunching them tightly in that way that children do when they’re trying to convince their parents that they’re actually asleep.
“I... I kind of forgot, this morning, to pack pyjamas... I got up quite early, and I knew you wouldn’t want to be kept waiting, so I sorta rushed out the house and... forgot.” James was speaking fast – too fast. Like he thought I might attack him for forgetting his pyjamas.
“It’s alright, you can borrow something. I’m sure I have some board shorts somewhere.” I shrugged, pulling open a random drawer to look.
I saw James blinking at me in the mirror.
“You’re not going to yell at me?” he asked, blinking at me in shock. I frowned. Do I really yell at him that often?
“Why would I yell at you?” I asked, confused.
“Because... because I forgot my pyjamas. And stuff like that normally gets on your nerves. And when things get on your nerves, you get annoyed. And when you get annoyed, you yell. Are you feeling alright?” James peered at me as I blinked.
Am I really that bad?
“I – I’m not going to yell at you for forgetting something, James. Am I really that awful to you?” I grabbed a pair of baggy board shorts that my mother had bought about three years ago for reasons unbeknownst to me, and tossed them to him.
“No! No, it’s not that, it’s just – I – look, forget I said anything.” James scratched the back of his head, and we both lapsed back into an uncomfortable silence. I tugged at a stray thread on the bottom of my shirt.
Why did all my shirts seem to have stray threads? And why do I have so many awkward moments in my life?
“Okay – um, are you alright sleeping shirtless? Or you can sleep in the shirt you’re wearing... if you want. Or I could go and steal something of my dad’s – but keep in mind that I did warn you that his tosser-ness might rub off on you, and then you’d have to stop speaking to me because I would begin to hate you.”
James laughed, and pulled his shirt off over his head and dragged on the shorts that I tossed him. You know, for something that was originally bought for me, they fit him scarily well.
“I’m gonna go – I’m gonna go change into my pyjamas. Brush my teeth. All that. Yeah. Back in a second.” I grabbed my clothes and scurried out of the room, anxiously checking the hallway to make sure that my dad wasn’t storming around, trying to drag James out by the collar of his shirt.
I bet he regretted putting a lock on the entrance to my wing.
“You have a comfy bed. It’s comfier than mine. Have you put a charm on it?” James asked as I padded back into the room, casting a sceptical glance over the knitted socks I had pulled on. He’d understand when he woke up shaking in the middle of the night because it was so fucking cold.
“No, we just bought it from India when we went on holiday there – cost a fortune, but it’s as comfy as a cloud. Amazing, isn’t it?” I dropped down next to him and slid under the duvet and the sheet, thanking Merlin that Minty had put a hot water bottle between the covers before.
It was amazingly toasty. Toasty enough for me to use the word ‘toasty’.
“Your bed is so comfy. I’m going to steal it. I’ve officially decided. Tomorrow, I am stealing your bed.” James said confidently, sliding under the covers with me. I cocked an eyebrow at the ceiling and rolled my eyes again.
“Um, two things. One – if you want to steal something, doesn’t it normally help not to tell the person you’re stealing from that you’re going to be stealing from them? And two – how exactly are you planning to steal a bed? It’s not like you can slip it under your jacket. You’d have to be wearing a marquee.”
James laughed and he shuffled his head from side to side, making himself a homely little dip in the pillow.
I turned on my side so I could stare at his profile like a creeper. Becoming bored, I decided to start taking the piss.
“You look pretty at night,” I sighed dreamily, and James turned on his side so he could laugh. Flicking me on the forehead, he sighed happily.
“Aw, thank you. You know, I do try very hard to look pretty at night. Loads of expensive cream and washes and whatnot, and I wear a special balm on my lips at night to make them extra soft. Wanna test them?” James smirked.
“Fuck off, pervert,” I snapped back, pursing my lips.
“You know you love it,” James grinned, snuggling down further under the duvet as the temperature seemed to drop even further. That was the problem with a house the size of ours – no matter how many heating charms you put up, they just couldn’t keep that place warm for long.
And it was piss annoying – especially in the dead of winter. In fucking England.
One of my hands was flat on the pillow in front of my face, and James smiled softly before sliding his hand across the gap between us and twisting his fingers between mine.
I smiled softly and pulled on James’ hand, pulling him a little closer towards me on the bed and wondering whether or not he would notice if I pulled his eyelashes out during the night and stuck them onto my own eyelids. Would they stick? Would they suit me? James looks gorgeous with his long, curly eyelashes, but maybe I’d look like a tosser.
“Summer, are you considering pulling my eyelashes out during the night and sticking them onto your own head?” James cocked an eyebrow, and I glared at the bedding.
“No,” I muttered petulantly.
“So, that’s a yes, then?”
“Shut up, you.”
“Nah, I don’t think I will.”
“Oh, be quiet.”
“I don’t like you much, anyway.”
“I’m sure you don’t.”
“You know, every now and again I think I might hate you.”
“Of course you do, Summer.”
“I do! You’re a git.”
“Nah, you don’t hate me.”
“I do. I’ve officially decided.”
“You don’t hate me. You love me. Just admit it.”
“I would rather die.”
“You love me.”
“I don’t. You’re a twattish meanie.”
“A twattish meanie that you love.”
“It’s okay to admit it.”
“I mean, most people do love me. So it’s only natural that you do too.”
“How did your ego actually manage to fit through the doorframe of my bedroom? I’m amazed.”
“Summer loves James, forever and ever and ever. SUMMER LOVES JAMES, FOREVER AND EVER AN-”
“Shut up! My dad is in the house somewhere – for all I know, my mother could have come back without me realising. He’ll probably break in and rip your head off if he hears you yelling things like that.”
James suddenly went silent, and he moved our hands down so they were on the bed as opposed to between our faces, a frown appearing between his eyebrows that hadn’t been there before. I gulped. It looked like the conversation was about to become serious.
And I was shitting myself.
Well, not literally – because that would be disgusting. But figuratively speaking.
“Summer, did you parents leave you alone yesterday?” James asked slowly, one of his eyebrows quirking a little as I glanced down at the top of the bed quilt to avoid his gaze.
“A little. Maybe. Ish. Just a little bit.” I muttered, glaring at his fingernails.
“How can someone leave you a little alone all day?” James asked flatly, and I glared a little harder at his nails. Maybe if I glare at them hard enough, they’ll just fall off.
“Alright, they left me alone all day. My mum went down to visit someone in... Cornwall, or something, and my dad went off to be with Louise fucking Cooper. Yeah, leave your daughter and your wife to give thousands of Galleons worth of presents to the cow you’re marrying. That’s what decent blokes do.”
James blinked, the crease between his eyebrows deepening even further.
“Your parents left you alone all day on Christmas day? Did they even get you presents?”
“Of course they got me presents. They left them in the living room. I opened them with Minty, and she made me a hot chocolate after that. It wasn’t too bad.” James’ lips had curled up into a scowl.
“I can’t believe they did that.”
“Really, James, I’m not bothered. I reckon they wouldn’t have showed up last year if they had anything better to do. But I’m really not arsed – I would have just fought with them if they had been here, anyway.”
“No parents should leave their child on Christmas.” James said, his voice ringing with finality. I blinked a few times at his determination, and then nodded a little into the pillow. James shuffled a little closer towards me on the bed and wrapped his spare arm around my shoulder.
“Well, you can take it up with my dad tomorrow over breakfast, if you see him,” I laughed, and James snorted into his – my – pillow.
“Yeah, I’ll just tell the man that suddenly hates me and thinks I’m shagging his daughter that I think he’s a shitty parent.”
“Sounds good to me.”
James and I once again returned to the silence of before, but for some reason it was awkward – much more awkward than it had been when we were at James’ house. I mean, I’d had ‘sleepovers’, for lack of a better word, with James before, but this one was different. Maybe it was because I knew I was supposed to be talking to him – that’s what I’d promised if he agreed to get out of the huff-mobile with me – but I just didn’t know what to say.
I just wanted to snuggle – yes, snuggle. I, Summer Lancaster, did say snuggle – and fall asleep, and then have everything return back to how we had been two months ago.
But hey, my guardian angel must have fucked off for a night, because a time turner did not just drop out of the sky and flip everything back to the way it had been before.
But James did not want to lie there in silence and wonder how they managed to paint such intricate patterns onto my ceiling – or even why anybody had bothered to paint such strange pictures onto the ceiling. He wanted to do something that involved mouths and was not snogging.
Yes, it was the wonderful concept of talking.
You know, sometimes I could have sworn that he wasn’t a real bloke. There must have been something wrong with him. He’d known Freddie for too long.
“Summer, what are you going to do after the divorce is finalised? Are you going to live with your father and the new woman, or are you and your mum getting your own place?” James’ thumb started to run down the back of my hair.
“My dad originally planned for me to live with the bitch and him, but I wasn’t going to be able to do that without knocking her out with the couch, so I’m moving in with my mum.”
“Um, small point – how would you knock her out with a couch?”
“Shut it, you. The only downside to that is that my mum is moving back in with her parents until my dad buys her a house, and she has no idea how to live in the real world.”
“What do you mean?”
“I told her she was going to have to get a job, because Nana and Grandpa Greengrass couldn’t support her indefinitely, no matter how much fancy-arse inheritance money they got from their pureblood parents and their parents before them. And she was just so fucking clueless – I have no idea what she’d do for a job. She couldn’t even do something basic because she’d think it was below her. The only plan I could possibly think of that would not involve her spending all of our family’s money and getting into raging arguments with my dad about needing more money from him is if she married another rich man.”
James blinked at me again, as my rant began to get louder and a little more frantic.
“And I’m not being funny, but how many men do you know that are as rich as my dad, have a nice big house, are willing to accept her nearly-eighteen year old daughter with a bad attitude and spend a fortune on a woman with the personality of a dead fish? Oh, and they’d have to be good looking. Right James, how many men do you know that tick all of those boxes? Hmm? How many?”
“Summer, are you alright?” James asked warily, and I pulled my hand out of his so I could punch the pillow in frustration, all the stress of the last week building up.
“No! No, I am not fucking okay!” I said, panting too hard between each word. “But no one gives a shit how I’m doing, do they? No! They’ll fuck off to do whatever they want on Christmas day, and neither of them even bothered to call to wish me a fucking Christmas greeting, but then when I get angry, I’m the one with a bad attitude. I’m the one acting like a spoiled child, I’m the one who needs to grow up and get a grip – urgh! Life is just – just – urgh.” I flopped my head down onto James’ chest and clenched my fists so tight that my knuckles began to strain white against my skin.
James didn’t bother trying to speak again; he just pulled both of his hands out of mine and wrapped them around my waist into a tight hug.
“Didn’t anyone ever tell you, babe? Life isn’t fair.” James muttered, leaning his head down so he could kiss the top of my head.
I just chuckled softly into James’ chest and found myself wishing, for once, that he was wearing a t-shirt – at least that way I wouldn’t feel bad for getting his chest all wet.
“Shush, love, shush,” James murmured again.
“Sorry about this,” I eventually sighed, “I know this probably wasn’t what you envisioned when I asked you if you wanted to have another one of our sleepovers. I kinda wish we had made brownies and had a water fight with the hose in the back garden.”
James chuckled a little.
“Pfft. Who wants to make brownies and have water fights with their best friend when they can curl up in bed with them and listen to them whinge about how much they hate life?” James asked loftily, and I could practically hear him batting his eyelids at me.
“Exactly. Besides, a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips,” I giggled, and James snorted.
“Excuse me, what?” James asked, and I glanced up from his chest to see him cocking an eyebrow at me.
“A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips – it’s an expression. It means that the food might taste good while you’re eating it, but the taste won’t last forever – the fat lasts a lot longer than that does.”
James blinked at me, still looking a little confused.
“It’s basically just a stupid expression made up by some middle aged bint that was trying to convince herself to work off her middle-aged puppy fat.” I rolled my eyes and James smirked, a slightly dreamy look appearing in his eyes.
“I really want some brownies now,” he whined, and I jabbed him in the stomach with the tip of my finger.
“Did you not listen to me when I just told you that all of that fat would go straight to your hips?” I chuckled, resting my chin on his chest so I could look at his face properly. “I might not fancy you as much if you had fat hips.” I smirked.
But James didn’t seem to see the funny side, because his face dropped a little and his hand suddenly slid up so his hand was resting on the back of my head.
“You fancy me?” James asked softly, and I rolled my eyes.
“Nah, I snogged you for a year because I had nothing better to do,” I snapped back, my voice strangely playful for... well, me.
“You’ve never told me you fancy me before,” James said suddenly, and I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at him.
“Well, I thought it was pretty obvious,” I said pushing myself off James’ chest and sitting up straight, James’ hand dropping back down the bed with a dull thunk.
“Yeah, but... you just never said it, that’s all,” James flushed a little. “Trust you to wait until we’re not snogging anymore before you bother to mention it.”
I chuckled a little, and moved closer to James so that my nose was only a few inches away from his.
“Well, I can say it again if you’d like me to,” I whispered, winking conspiratorially as James’ grin grew a little and even more flush crawled its way into his cheeks. And then he was nodding. I cocked an eyebrow and he winked at me.
“Oh, fuck off,” I laughed.
James just rolled his eyes and smiled good-naturedly, his eyes crinkling merrily at the sides. And then he was speaking – and for once I didn’t mind.
“Oh, fuck it. C’mere, you.”
And then he was kissing me.
disclaimer: nothing in this chapter belongs to me. none of it.
hello :D sorry about the cliffhanger... again. but hey, at least this was a quick update. but sadly, a quick update means a slower update next time, because i need to actually write the chapter... :( booo. but anyway. there hasn't been a cliffhanger for about... three chapters. so i thought i'd add another one. mwahaha.
i'd love to know what you thought about pretty much a whole chapter of james & summer action :D
ellie :) xx