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To Catch a Falling Muggle by PhoenixPulse
Chapter 3: A Typical Summer Breakfast
As Freddie, James, and Denny quietly trekked downstairs, they were surprisingly greeted by Albus, James’ fifteen year old brother munching on a slice of toast, reading a book; Roxanne, Fred’s twenty year old sister sipping coffee and reading The Daily Prophet; and Dominique who was also seventeen and was spreading some cream cheese over her bagel.
“I thought no one else was awake!” James said, looking rather startled by his three relatives who greeted them with a nonchalant ‘good morning’. Albus looked up from his book, a wry look of discontent painted on his features.
“It’s hard to sleep when the room right above you sounds like they’re having a little mini party.” Sniffing, he returned back to his book and Denny resisted the urge to laugh. Albus could act a bit uptight like his uncle Percy without truly recognizing it.
“Yeah, what’s with the whole partying at eight in the morning anyways? It’s not cool that we weren’t invited.” Dominique pouted and bit out of her bagel. “I figured you guys would come down eventually, so your bagels are on top of the counter.”
Lining up, James and Freddie attacked the large pile of bagels waiting for them, each taking two whole bagels, leaving Denny with only a crusty, burned half. Sighing, she took her place at the table beside Freddie and in front of Roxanne. For a brief few seconds, there was only the sound of chewing, gulping and paper rustling filling the quiet atmosphere.
“So…” Freddie awkwardly started, eyeing everyone around the table in hope that someone would strike a conversation. Roxanne slightly peered from behind her newspaper, the cover page disguising her slightly quirking mouth that hid behind it. Freddie’s sweet innocence though, skimmed right over it, but Denny caught it brighter than daylights. The eldest girl was watching her brother, her chocolate brown eyes dancing with mirth.
“So Freddie,” Roxanne began, casually lowering her paper down to seize the opportunity to torment her brother. “How about that girl you so desperately are trying to hook up with?” She lifted her coffee mug to her lips and drank. Meanwhile, James and Denny choked on their bagels, caught in surprise by the sudden attack on the currently flushing boy.
“Mind explaining Freddie?” James asked, wiggling a dark eyebrow and thumped his chest with his fist. Freddie mumbled a quiet ‘no’, automatically stuffing his mouth with as much bagel as possible. Denny meanwhile, stomped on Freddie’s foot, earning her a cold stare from her friend.
“Lies!” Denny hissed. “We know you’re lying Freddie. Please share.”
“You mean they don’t know?” Roxanne dramatically gasped, eyes widening, and Dom allowed a giggle to escape her lips. Freddie knew though that this was Roxanne’s way of getting dirt on him. Why? He didn’t know. It was something they tended to do against one another just for fun, only this really was a secret he pleaded with Roxanne not to tell. Dom knew though. Of course she would know. Roxanne and Dom shared everything with each other.
“Know what Freddie?” Denny pressed. “Who’s this lucky girl you fancy so much?”
“No one in the moment, I sw—” Freddie began, but was cut off immediately by an excited Dom.
“Oh, you would never guess who she is in a million years!” Dom wickedly blurted out. “She’s the last person who would ever cross your mind.” Freddie scowled.
“Shut up!” He hissed angrily, jabbing the butter knife at the direction of Dom, who just smirked.
“Whoa, whoa, wait a second here, Freddie!” Denny said, moving her gaze towards a simpering Roxanne and Dominique. “How come Dom knows but James and I don’t?” Freddie swallowed, and shot daggers at Roxanne.
Now look, you cow! Freddie thought to himself, his hostility directed to his sister. I swear, if she finds out, I’ll be telling Kellin Wood how he’s the first actual bloke you fancied! Ha-ha!
“It’s my entire fault really.” Roxanne piped up, claiming the responsibility after seeing her brother’s irises flare with new life. “I forced it out of him, and me and Dom can’t help a juicy gossip.”
“Well, I can’t help but want one right now as well.” Denny answered with a straight face, eying Roxanne seriously, not realizing that Freddie was chewing wearily on his lip. Roxanne however shook her head no, and her excuse tumbled from her mouth in a smooth fashion.
“Nope, I’m sorry Dens, but spoiling the secret to one person is enough damage. I will tell you, it’s quite a shocker though.” Roxanne winked at her brother, who murmured a couple of swears under his breath while Dom smiled innocently and happily at the ceiling.
“Well, let me ask just this,” James jumped in. “Would Freddie ever have a chance with her?” There was a silence as Dom and Roxanne exchanged a glance, Freddie going rigid as a board. Al peered up from his book and watched them with short-lived interest before rolling his eyes and sighing.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid! And yet it’s something so obvious…” They could hear him whisper to himself. Albus was always the sketchy one of the family…
“You know too?” James cried out at his younger brother who snorted.
“Of course I know.” Albus said, dog-earing the page on his book and shutting it close. “Some friend you are if you can’t even notice you’re best friend’s twitchy movements.”
“Oi, I’m not twitchy!” Freddie cried out defensively, eyeing Albus with contempt. Albus sneered at his cousin and crossed his arms challengingly.
“Oh, ouch, want some ice on that burn?” Roxanne mocked teasingly as James cocked an eyebrow.
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” James demanded, glaring at his brother.
“Oh nothing important,” Albus sneakily grinned, helping himself to some orange juice before continuing his marked place in the book. James was about to open his mouth when Dom cut in.
“Look, drop it James. Al’s not revealing anything. It’s why he would make the perfect Unspeakable. He’s creepy and knows everything like that. It’s no use. But to answer your question, no; Freddie’s going to have to play it rough if he wants Mystery Chick to like him back. Sorry Freddie, but that’s the ultimate truth.”
Denny whistled and thumped Freddie on the back, winking at him and jabbed him hard on the shoulder. Freddie on the other hand was sitting there, mouth agape in shock.
“Ya’ like it rough, eh?” she whispered loudly in a husky voice, making Freddie blush a deep, dark red, so dark that it was visible even in his deep tan complexion. Meanwhile, James was sitting there, idiotically grinning like a madman.
“No offence Freddie, but if you so happen to win this ‘Mystery Chick’, you do know your girl’s going to be the one wearing the pants, right?” Roxanne sputtered in her mug of coffee, coughing and looking at James in confusion.
“I’m sorry, but she’s going to be wearing the what?” She asked as Dom thumped her back.
“The pants,” James clarified. “It’s a figure of speech declaring the dominant role of the relationship. Basically, ‘The Man’; Freddie here’s too sweet, he’s a pushover. If this Mystery Girl is truly bad ass, Freddie’s left to wear the skirt—he’s gonna be the one wearing the dress.” Dom and Roxanne laughed while Denny ruffled the top of Freddie’s head.
“Uh, I’m right here guys.” Freddie blurted out, feeling more embarrassed than ever. He poked his head towards the center of the table, desperately trying to lock eye contact with all who were sitting around.
“True that.” Roxanne nodded. “Freddie’s got a lot to learn; when he told me about her, he seemed more frightened than smitten. It was as if she might pop out of nowhere and chase him with a knife. Freddie needs to man up, James. He’s gonna need it when he’s all out in the world alone. There’s gonna be some crazy chicks out there that would be clawing on his shirt. Freddie won’t make it alive.”
“Ouch! Roasted!” Albus crowed loudly from behind his book, smirking at Freddie.
“Toasted,” Dom pitched in.
“Fried-banana coated!” Denny concluded, grinning like a Cheshire cat.
“Oh shut up!” Freddie whined, and hid his flushing face in his folded arms. Sympathetically, Denny patted Freddie on the back, trying to suppress all the giggles in her system.
“It’s only true Freddie. We’re only telling you the truth. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” She said as gently as she could muster. Dom threw her had back and laughed as James sat there, covering his silently snickering face. Albus was biting his lip hard while trying to focus on his book and Roxanne was grinning unabashedly at her brother’s humility.
“Kill me. Kill me now,” Freddie groaned, “why me?” His words were muffled and barely comprehendible as he hid his face, still buried in his arms.
There was a sound of numerous footsteps from the hallway and in appeared two red-headed girls, slouching into the kitchen.
“Morning Lily, morning Rose.” Dom cheerfully greeted from the table. Rose sleepily grinned and waved to everybody, an arm surrounding and supporting a tipsy, thirteen year old Lily.
“What’s wrong with Lily?” James asked, suspiciously eyeing his baby sister who collapsed into a seat beside him, hiding her face in her folded arms. Freddie slowly peered up to observe the situation with his younger cousin. It was clear the topic was moving on forward and Lily was taking the spotlight—much to his relief. Rose was sympathetically stroking Lily’s fiery, layered, short hair which was sticking up in all different directions.
“The poor lovely had a bad night, let’s leave it at that.” Rose said, tucking a layer of her own coppery red locks behind her ear. James raised an eyebrow, watching Rose closely like a hawk as she went into the kitchen to fill herself a cup of coffee. When she arrived within a matter of seconds, James was still eyeing her expectantly.
“What?” Rose snapped as she sat beside Albus who was watching Lily with concern. Lily still had not spoken a word or lifted up her head…
“Nothing,” James sighed, slouching back into his seat. “I just want to know why my baby sister’s acting all funny, that’s all.”
“Well, if you must know, that muggle boy called it off last night through the phone.” Rose said, and peered over to see what book Albus was reading. Lord of the Flies. James straightened up a bit while Albus automatically shut his book and tossed it upon the dining table.
“Hey, I was reading that!” Rose snapped, glaring at Albus, and reached over to grab the book.
“What boy?” James demanded. His eyes then opened with realization, and then narrowed into slits. “It was that fifteen year old punk wasn’t it?” He asked. “What was his name again, I couldn’t recall? Hayden…Hardin...or was it Marlow?”
“It was Harlow!” Lily snarled, her head snapping up, her cold tone making everyone jump in their seats. “And just drop it. Don’t speak his name!” Her eyes sparkled furiously and it was clear she spent all night crying. Her tousled hair was sticking up like a straggly lion’s mane; she looked like a stray cat.
“We were only wondering about him Lil. None of it was meant to be offensive.” Dom said soothingly, reaching over to take her hand. Lily sniffled a bit and looked away.
“Whatever, I don’t care.” She said as bitterly as she could muster. “If he can’t accept me for who I am—” she broke off and her voice began to wobble.
“Lily, what are you trying to say?” Albus asked dangerously.
“I didn’t mean too!” Lily squeaked in a high pitched squeal. “I couldn’t keep it from him. I thought he would understand!”
“Lily…” Denny began slowly, feeling that she might just know where the frantic thirteen year old was heading with this. “Go on, you can tell us. We’re all family here.” Roxanne and Dom nodded vigorously as James draped an arm over Lily’s shoulders. Albus’ face was hard as he kept his silence and Rose just sat there, loudly slurping her coffee and rustling the pages of Al’s book.
“Don’t tell the adults, please don’t!” She begged, once again in tears. “I bewitched a letter this last year. I told him everything. I told him that going to a private school was just a lie. I told him all about Hogwarts and the train, and everything! I sent him magical moving pictures of Quidditch games and the hippogriffs Hagrid taught us about. I charmed the letter so that when he opened it, he would hear my voice. And…” Lily broke off “I used your owl James. I used Gwendolyn.”
“And…?” James asked, gently prodding his sister forward with her story. Lily glared at her brother in a seething fashion.
“What’s more to tell? He left me hanging for the rest of the year and told me specifically last night over the phone that he didn’t want to be with a freak like me!” Lily cried out. At the word ‘freak’, James stiffened and Albus flinched.
“You’re not a freak, Lily.” Dom consoled. “We’re just different, and sometimes we need to remember that it’s our permanent lifestyle that so many won’t accept.”
Denny nodded in agreement, only because she was never the expert on the subject of love, if this was about love at all. Dom knew some things though, out of everybody who was sitting around the table.
James was always too ignorant of the feelings girls possessed around him. He rarely bothered to notice his admirers; he just went on with life by the motto of YOLO, sometimes snogging a girl or two, but preferred the single solo way of life. Albus had always been the secretive and quiet boy who kept mostly to himself, reading books above everyone’s comprehension and often spoke with cryptic, hidden meanings, scribbling poetry and rhymes inside textbooks that held rather deep and grueling meanings. Roxanne always withdrew from a relationship before being dumped to avoid the heartbreak; therefore she always was too scared to love because she feared of becoming overly attached. Denny cared less about love and thought the whole subject was nothing but rubbish. Freddie had his own relationship issues of being the one ‘wearing the skirt’, and Rose was undergoing a pressure of sexual tensions with Scorpius. So of course, it would be Dom to talk to her thirteen year old cousin about the pitfalls of love, considering the fact that she was rejected by Teddy herself.
To put it plain and simple, they all had rather warped thoughts and lifestyles regarding the subject of love. It was pathetic really…
“He’s too old for you anyways, Lily. He’s fifteen, and you’re thirteen. That’s a pretty big difference.” James added in sternly. Denny snorted and rolled her eyes while Dom shot daggers at James. Everyone in the family had encountered Harlow at least once, and though the male relatives were always a bit protective, they all agreed that he was a decent bloke, despite his rather edgy, sharp sense of fashion and aspiration to have his garage band being noticed.
“It’s a two year difference James, big deal. And they’ve known each other for three years now. It’s not like they just met. Besides, they were friends; I highly doubt there was anything romantic behind this. Lily just admitted to being a witch because she trusted him. It’s not like she was going to elope with him forever. If anything, she might just fancy him and having his trust was like a little plus.”
“I want my baby sister safe!” James countered coldly, slamming his fist upon the table. “I don’t want some overage punk…”
“James, shut up mate, Lily Flower’s crying!” Freddie interrupted, quietly observing the situation unfold. James opened his eyes in alarm as he turned to face his baby sister whose back was gently shaking as she hid her face in her arms.
“Damn, sorry Lil,” James muttered, scooting his chair next to hers and draped an arm around her, rubbing his cheek on her straggly hair like a cat brushing up to their owner. Denny smiled at James, thinking of how sweet he could be when he really wanted to. There was a silence around the dining room table, apart from the turning of book pages and the loud slurping of coffee.
SLURP. SLURP. SLURP. SLUUUURRP. Rose lowered the coffee mug and sniffled a bit, then unattractively cleared the phlegm in her throat.
“Salazar’s snake, Rose, shut up!” Roxanne cried out after having enough of Rose’s slurping filling in the silence. Rose stared at her cousin with a blank face and blinked. Raising an eyebrow, she made a grab for her coffee mug, but Dom and Roxanne cried out together, “DON’T!” Rose paused as her fingers wrapped around the mug handle and she rolled her eyes.
“Honestly Rose, I think it’s best if you slurp somewhere else.” Denny deadpanned but Rose sighed and slurped away anyways.
“Killjoy,” Roxanne murmured under her breath. “She’s spoiling the moment. You just don’t see sibling bondage anymore these days… ” Roxanne began to rant in fast gibberish under all her muttering, no longer coherent to those around her.
“Oi, look who’s being the sourpuss this morning!” sang a jubilant male’s voice entering the dining room. His vibrant orange hair was spiked up with hairspray and gel while his cologne was extra strong today. He was wearing an ironed, pink polo and cargo shorts that didn’t have a single wrinkle. It was Rose’s brother, Hugo.
Denny wrinkled her nose and Roxanne chucked a balled up napkin at him.
“Just because you’re gay, doesn’t mean you have to go around the house spreading your gayness to everyone you see. It’s Saturday. It’s the summer. Everyone’s going to play Quidditch and get muddy as hell. Stop being so spiffy and classy.” Roxanne whined, but Hugo rolled his eyes.
“You’re playing Quidditch, I’m not.” He said in a matter-of-fact voice.
“Oh? And where are you going then?” James asked, crossing his arms and cocking an eyebrow. Cocking eyebrows were habitual, and no Weasley missed out on a Quidditch game, not even Hugo, who usually just soared around on his broomstick, high in the air above the game and forgetting his goal as a chaser.
“I’m going to see miss lovely Finnigan today. We’re going shopping!” He declared as he patted down his already ironed shirt.
“Besides, we have coupons to every shop at the mall. We’ve been saving it all up for the greatest clearances today.” He pulled his cell phone out and began to primp himself, using the black screen as a mirror. “Well, I’ll see ya guys later. I can’t leave Jessica waiting! And she said she saw a new guy working at H&M. She said he looked finer than the abs of Zeus. You know that that’s fine if he surpasses Zeus…and his abs…”
“You’re fourteen Hugo.” Freddie blurted out, his tone flat and expression vacant.
“And my hormones are on steroids, higher than Merlin himself!” Hugo sang. Making his way to the front door, he stooped down to kiss Lily‘s head and patted her on the back.
“Cheer up, Lily Flower; I’m sure Harlow would come around. He’s a good man for you and you’re beautiful girl, don’t you forget it!” And so he left, singing the song “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction, swinging the front door open and shutting it close behind him, his voice still audible, even if coming from outside…
“Don’t you ever worry about him?” Denny asked cringingly as she eyed Rose, who was busy reading Al’s book. Rose shrugged.
“Hugo’s happy. Why should I be worried?” She asked.
“I don’t know…he’s just too…gay?” Denny grinned awkwardly and Rose peered up, narrowing her eyes.
“I’m hoping that wasn’t supposed to be an insult, because my brother’s sexual orientation has got nothing to do with who he is…”
“It wasn’t aimed to be. What I meant was…”
“Hugo just likes to be happy.” Dom cut in before anything got too nasty. When Rose and Denny clashed, it was terrifying, and their fights usually sent everyone to seek shelter. “It’s in his nature to spread love and harmony. Hence the name Hugo. It has the word ‘hug’ in it.” Roxanne nodded in approval and James just shrugged. It was as if Dom’s answer was the answer to all the questions. Albus however sulked, stating that hypothetically, Hugo meant “heart, mind and spirit.”
“But…” Denny began.
“Drop it.” Freddie advised and everyone wearily took a brief glance at Rose who was sitting there, eyes narrowed and lips pursed.
“So who wants to help me teepee Harlow’s house?” James asked in a loud voice. Everyone stared at him with quirked eyebrows and he shrugged.
“Okay, no one? That’s cool too, just a suggestion.” He chuckled uncomfortably as Lily shot him a piercing glare.
“And we’re all cooped up here for all summer?” Asked another voice coming into the kitchen. Their heads all swiveled around to find a bare-chested Teddy grinning with his wife Victoire, his arms around her slim waist. Dom blushed and looked away. It was clear she still hadn’t gotten over her crush.
“Yep, I’m afraid so.” Roxanne grinned back, slinging an arm around Dom’s shoulder, subtly squeezing it to comfort her.
“Well then, Merlin, save us all!” Teddy declared and Victoire giggled, turning around to kiss her husband softly on the lips. Victoire obviously still didn’t know of Dom’s little secret, and Denny fought the urge to run directly in between them. She was a strong supporter against PDA. James then lifted his glass, halfway full of orange juice with pulp sticking to its sides.
“To one hell of a summer.” He toasted.
“Summer.” Roxanne, Dom, Freddie, and Denny echoed, raising their mugs and glasses.
Indeed, it was bound to be a hell of a summer.