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Chapter 1: Welcome to Miami
The afternoon sun beat down on Hugo's tanned skin, burning his face and neck and making him too hot to the touch. He pulled at his collar as he stepped into the hotel's lobby and made his way to the front desk. Even after nine months, he still wasn't as used to actually living and working in Miami as he thought he would be by now, previously only coming on holiday, and it was so hot; all he wanted was to get changed and jump in the pool.
Opening up another shirt button and embracing the air conditioning, delightful shivers running down his spine and tickling his skin like caressed fingers, Hugo leant across the desk and waited patiently for the receptionist to turn around and acknowledge him. She made her way back to the front and jumped at the sight him. It took all he could not to burst into laughter, seeing her warm, brown eyes widen in shock and her mouth hang open, then frown, her eyes narrowed as she slapped his arm.
"God, Matt, you scared the hell out of me," she said, trying not to shout, but her voice was still slightly higher than her usual. She couldn't keep a straight face for much longer as she watched small beads of sweat drip from his hair and forehead down his red cheeks and chin. Giggling a little, she picked up a spare towel from behind the desk and threw it at him. "Here."
"Thank you," Hugo said gratefully, opening it up and wiping his face. She followed him as he circled the desk to get to the elevator, knowing exactly what his question would be. "So, Jess, summer is here, anyone new? Anyone in my league at all?"
Jess laughed again, her lips curving into a soft smirk, and she nodded to the other double glass doors, the doors which led to the pool and outdoor bar. She beckoned Hugo over with a finger and they leaned in closely to whisper. "New guy checked in last night and went straight to his room. Today he checked the hotel out, had lunch and a few drinks in our restaurant, and then went outside to the pool." Jess nodded to the door again. "He's still out there. And he is gorgeous; dark hair, darker than yours, bright green eyes, muscular build but not overly so, and I swear his smile is hypnotic." She sighed, not sure whether her thoughts of him should be content or disappointed. "I really hope he's not in your league."
Hugo tried to figure out where he was the last time someone was described to him that way; all he remembered was talk of a man whose smile made them do crazy things. "What's this guy's name?"
"It's so unusual, but I think it suits him," she giggled again. Hugo rolled his eyes; he just didn't understand her thing for names in a guy, like that was the thing to look for. In Jess’ case the more unusual the name, the better chance the guy had of spending the night. But his was the eyes, always would be. There were no secrets in a person’s eyes; they couldn’t hide anything from Hugo. And that was how he liked it.
Her gaze left him for a second when she heard the door open and she stood up straight. "There he is," Jess whispered, trying hard not to stare and point.
Hugo turned slowly, caught his eye and turned back quickly. "Holy shit," he muttered, covering the right side of his face with his hand.
"Hey, Skander," Jess called out, waving him over, and in that moment Hugo wished he'd just gone straight to his room, that he'd never asked about the man coming their way. He stopped at Hugo’s side, the man’s intoxicating aroma surrounding him, clouding his judgement. He hated that cologne.
"Good afternoon, Jess," he said, smiling at her, his eyes never leaving her face as he leaned against the desk. "It’s lovely to see you again."
Hugo could've sworn he heard the girl squeak. Damn he hated that smile, too, and what that one simple gesture could do to a woman. Or a man, he silently admitted. "Skander, I want you to meet my friend, Matthew Granger. He lives here in the hotel." She pointed to Hugo. "Matty, this is Skander Dolohov."
Hugo dropped his head to the counter briefly before faking a wide grin and holding out his hand, facing him properly. "It’s nice to meet you, first time in Miami?"
Skander took hand. "First time in America actually, but you already know that." Hugo pretended to look confused. "Oh, don't be like that, Matty, acting like we don't know each other."
Hugo squeezed their still joined hands together tightly, until Dolohov grimaced and pulled back from his grip. Then he smirked, knowing he'd got to Hugo in such a short time. "You two have met before?" Jess asked.
"Went to school together," Skander answered her before Hugo got a chance to deny anything, leaving him the only option of nodding in agreement. What the hell is he planning? What's he going to say about me?
"Were you close?" she asked, this time awkwardly. "I sense tension."
This time Hugo got the first word in. "He's my ex."
Hugo contained his glee, watching her look visibly disappointed by his confirmation that her new guy was definitely in Hugo's league. He chose not to tell her that she probably still had some sort of a chance, if the man was still in denial. He knew it was all down to jealousy, he'd never hated Jess for any reason. But Skander Dolohov had been his in Hogwarts and, despite the time apart, he still rather liked the idea of being the only person to have been able to get to the supposedly unattainable and unbreakable man at his side. Hugo had no doubt that there was still no one else who had been able to do what he had done; Dolohov would never let them.
He wanted to keep it that way.
Hugo ignored the glare sent his way, said good bye to Jess and walked away to the elevator. He wanted to shower and change before he went out to dinner. He tried not to think about what Skander may or may not say while he was gone. "Welcome to Miami, Lover," he called out on his way.
Hugo stepped into the lift not being able to help feeling smug, despite his anxiety; he'd got the last word in, too.
A/N: New story for a new challenge. And my favorite kind of crime/auror mystery; the confusing kind. They're certainly more interesting. ;)
I hope you enjoy this new story, in a brand new setting, with my all time favorite character; Hugo Weasley. :D
Edited. Thank you AC for reviewing this for her challenge and helping me improve. I hope it's better now.