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Chapter 4: An Interview with Mister Wood
“You have got to be effing kidding me!”
“Edie, that’s brilliant!”
“—first interview since he’s back on the team—”
“—going to look so good on your CV—”
“DID I MENTION PUDDLEMERE?!”
Dean and Seamus have always been supportive to me, though they are much more verbal about it after six pints. It doesn’t hurt that their team, the Haileybury Hammers, won the match. I am sitting on my sofa with a congratulatory bottle of beer (the one they managed to set aside for me) and beaming brighter than I ever have. Seamus and Dean take turns alternatively punching my shoulder, ruffling my hair, hugging me and then shoving me.
I completely missed the match because I stayed at Le Chat Noir, even after Rose. I spent an hour poring over her notes, most of which were accurate. Apparently Rose hadn’t done much research, as there wasn’t a photograph of Wood to speak of. But I wouldn’t be going into the interview empty-handed. My obsession with Quidditch has allowed me to glean some information over the years.
Seamus sits back, smacking a hand over his forehead, “I can’t believe you get to do his first interview since the injury!”
“What’s that supposed to mean? Just because I’m a woman, it doesn’t mean I’m any less passionate—”
“Jesus Christ, Lennox, I didn’t mean you-you. I meant Witch Weekly., of all things. I dunno, I just never saw it as the type of magazine to have any interesting stories. No offense.”
Seamus sighs, “Plus, I’ve been Wood’s biggest fan since Hogwarts. And have you ever even spoken with him?”
I try to remember. Honestly, I can’t even picture what Oliver Wood looks like. From my calculations he was four years ahead of me, which means he graduated before I had become interested in Quidditch. Being from another Hogwarts house didn’t help.
“Well, no,” I mumble. “But that doesn’t have anything to do with being a good journalist.”
Seamus ignores me, “To think we were in school with the tosser! And look at him now. I never even got to talk Quidditch with him! I tried, but he always just kind of stared at me funny...”
Dean raises an index finger, “That’s because you followed him everywhere and couldn’t formulate a proper sentence. I’m pretty sure he thought you had the hots for him.”
I snort, “Yeah, didn’t you follow him into the locker room before a match once?”
“Even though he was showering?” Dean adds.
Seamus throws up his hands, “All right, all right, let’s not waste time dwelling on the past, mates! So, where exactly is this interview again?”
“The Hog’s Head at ten. Nobody will be there to get in the way…” I say suspiciously. Then I realize why he’s looking at me like that, “Seamus, no.”
“Come on Edie, please!” he begs. “I just want to get a look at him!”
Dean quirks an eyebrow, “And you’re certain you don’t have the hots for him.”
“Bugger off!” Seamus beams him in the forehead with a bottle cap, and says without missing a beat, “It’ll be perfect. It can be just a casual run-in.”
“Seamus, nobody is going to believe that you just happened to be in Hogsmeade, almost ten years after you graduated, the day that a Quidditch player you used to stalk is visiting. Besides, I’m nervous enough. I don’t need you staring from across the room on top of everything.”
“Tell him, sister,” Dean clinks bottles with me. Seamus grumbles but says no more, apparently quelled.
I take the last swig of my beer. It’s getting far too late. I should have been in bed hours ago, though I know sleep will be hard to find. Happiness is still bubbling inside me as I stretch widely, “You two had better stay here again.” I point a stern finger at Seamus, “No drinking and Apparating.” The last time that happened, the poor bugger Splinched himself and had to regrow one of his toes.
“I know, I know,” he mumbles, eyeing his left foot.
I am still wearing my stupid grin as I brush my teeth, change into pyjamas (instead of falling asleep in whatever I’m already wearing, like usual) and carefully select an outfit for tomorrow morning (rather than scraping dirty clothes off the floor.) It’s a time of change.
When I trek back to the kitchen for a glass of water some time later, I notice that my small den/dining room/rubbish storage area is still lit up by the two-way mirror. Seamus is snoring loudly, splayed out on the larger of the two sofas, but Dean is watching a Muggle football match. He’s loved it his whole life, even though Seamus and I would pick Quidditch any day. I fill my glass with water and return to sit beside him.
“I can’t believe this,” I say happily.
“I know, like Ukraine could actually beat Italy,” Dean grins, knowing what I’m actually talking about. He rests his arm on the sofa behind me. “I’m happy for you, Edie.”
Although I’ve always been awkward with sentiment, I manage, “Well it’s all because of your brilliant work landing me the internship. So thanks. It’s been interesting, to say the least, but this whole article would never have happened without it.”
“Don’t thank me yet, Wood might turn out to be a complete arse.”
After my glass of water is finished, and it’s late enough that I may actually be able to sleep, I rise to my feet. “Well, goodnight then.”
“I doubt I’ll get any rest with that racket going on,” he looks at Seamus, who releases a grizzly-like snore on cue. “All the same... 'night, Edie.”
It crosses my mind to ask if Dean would rather sleep in my room with me, but something about that feels weird. I suppose we just haven’t reached that point in our bro-lationship. With a parting grin I crawl into bed. And for the first time in what feels like forever, I drift off to sleep genuinely pleased with the way things are headed.
Unfortunately, the pleasant feeling only lasts for the six hours that I am unconscious. The morning starts off when I awake thirty minutes later than intended. Then it turns out the dress I laid out has an enormous hole, from when I once drunkenly dropped a lit cigarette on myself. I had totally forgotten about it. In a flurry of panic I rush into the living room and try to awake Seamus, who is surprisingly good with clothes-mending charms. But even grabbing his shoulders and shaking them doesn’t budge him. That man has got to be the world’s heaviest sleeper.
I tear through my wardrobe, finally coming across a blue dress that is both clean and modest, and throw it on. Then, just when I am about to Disapparate I smear my mascara everywhere, which Dean has to awkwardly wipe away because I don’t have time to run back to the mirror. Finally I am grabbing my shoulder-bag when I realize that I can’t locate a quill left right or center, even with Summoning Spells, and HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO INTERVIEW SOMEBODY WITHOUT A BLOODY QUILL?!
“Just take mine, you’ll be alright,” Dean assures with a vaguely terrified look. He hands me the expensive artist’s quill I bought him. After blurting a thank-you I turn on the spot, and with a loud crack I am finally gone.
It turns out there is an absolute downpour in Hogsmeade. And I have just Apparated right into the thick of it. With a rather unbecoming shriek I scurry beneath the awning of The Hog’s Head. I mutter a quick charm and warm air jets from my wand. Doing the best I can without a mirror, I dry my hair and clothes so that I no longer resemble a lake monster. When I am finally settled I check my watch. 10:02.
I open the door and poke my head in, but there is only the barkeep and a very old witch drinking sherry. No Oliver Wood. I stand beneath the awning, nervously drumming my fingers on my arms. Did he get here early, see that I was late, and leave? With each splash through the puddles my head jerks up, but it’s never him. I really should have tried to find a photograph of him, as he obviously doesn’t know what I look like.
I check my watch again. 10:16. I head inside and claim a small table, ordering what turns out to be a bucket-sized mug of coffee. No wonder Hagrid came here so often; the mug is almost too big for me to lift with two hands. Not the tastiest of brews, but it’ll get the job done. On the table I neatly lay out a roll of parchment, Dean’s quill, a small silvery recording orb that I sort-of-accidentally nicked from Witch Weekly, and the giant folder of notes.
Time passes. Soon it’s 10:45 and I’m running out of excuses for this Oliver Wood.
I am rereading the notes for the thousandth time, when I the rusty bell over the door clangs. I glance up and see Viktor Krum striding in. My stomach lurches in horror. I do not want him to recognize the girl who kicked him out of the pub last night. I hunch over in my seat so that I’m obstructed by the giant coffee tureen.
After a moment I dare a peek. Krum is standing near the bar, wearing those daft sunglasses even though it’s rainy for one, and two he’s indoors. Then I realize that he’s probably covering up his black eye. I wonder what he’s doing here. The longer I watch him, the clearer it becomes that he’s waiting for somebody.
Then, several things happen at once. Viktor Krum turns in my direction and does a double-take. At the same time I snatch up a page of the Daily Prophet to hide behind. The bell clangs again as the door opens, and I see a very hung over Seamus trying his best to look casual as he saunters in. I’m furious and I don’t have time to think about it—Viktor Krum is making his way over to me.
Bugger, bugger, bugger, he recognizes me.
Then I actually read the paper in front of my eyes and am confronted with a photograph of the very same person. Same unruly brown hair, stocky build, and crooked nose. But this article is not about Viktor Krum. I read the headline: OLIVER WOOD TO RETURN TO PITCH. The resemblance is unmistakable.
NO EFFING WAY.
The man who claimed to be Viktor Krum is almost to my table. He’s taking off his sunglasses. The name I am too horrified to say is on my tongue, threatening to spill over…
“Oliver Wood!” Seamus throws up his hands in the worst mock-surprise I’ve ever seen.
Wood turns to him, clearly confused. I’m actually thankful for Seamus, because I’m incapable of producing more than a gurgling sound at this point. This cannot be happening. This cannot be happening. This cannot be happening. Wood looks perplexed as Seamus makes his way over, deliberately not meeting my eyes. He struggles to shake Seamus’s hand—is he still drunk from last night?
Everything makes sense. Wood looked so familiar because he plays for Puddlemere. Sure he’s been out for a season, but could I totally have forgotten what he looked like in that time? Or did I really fall for the fake accent? That's why his friends laughed every time he spoke—because he was doing a horrible impression. And he punched out a man for cheering on Bulgaria, because he’s for Puddlemere through and through.
“Finnigan?” Wood mumbles uncertainly. Seamus looks like he’s going to faint. I can hear Wood’s true Scottish accent clearly now, and drop Dean’s quill before I snap it in half.
“Yeah! Seamus Finnigan! Fancy running into you here, I had no idea!”
“Yes, what are you doing here, exactly?” I am standing beside Seamus before I even realize it, practically hyperventilating. Wood towers over us both.
Ignoring me, Seamus turns to the barkeep, “Get this man a pint! On me!”
“It’s eleven o’clock in the morning, Finnigan,” I say acidly. I only use his last name when I’m furious. I see a worried look flit across his face.
But Oliver Wood just shrugs, “I’ll take a pint.”
I drop my arms incredulously, but Seamus practically squeals, “Of course! Right away!” And he scurries over to the bar. Wood watches after him as though he’s still not entirely sure how they know each other.
Thrusting a hand out, I say through gritted teeth, “Edie Lennox. I’ll be interviewing you today.”
He smells like a liquor cabinet as he studies my face, “What happened to Rose?”
“She didn’t tell you?”
He shakes his head and yelps when I subconsciously crush his hand with mine. “Sorry,” I grumble. This is really just shaping up to be a marvellous day. “Rose isn’t writing the article anymore. I am.”
Seamus returns with two pints, all smiles. I fix him with a very serious look. But Wood says, “Cheers!” and drains his glass in one long go.
Seamus and I are both staring, me in horror and Seamus as though he had just found his future husband. Wood smacks his lips and smiles pleasantly, as if nothing unusual just happened. Seamus releases an elated little chirp.
“Right,” I put my hands on Seamus’s shoulders, forcing him to turn around. “So nice of you, thank you,” I growl and shove as hard as I can. He shuffles dejectedly over to a corner table with his pint. His eavesdropping will be distracting, but there’s nothing that can be done about it now.
Later, his ass is mine.
“So, shall we?” says Wood.
I turn, arms crossed. He’s looking as though this kind of thing happens every day. “Do you seriously not recognize me?” I fire.
A nervous look crosses his face. “Oh, erm,” he shuffles his feet and winces. After a moment he manages, “So are you...the girl from last night?”
“Yup,” I say flatly.
He massages the corners of his bloodshot eyes. No doubt he is in a lot of pain. “Oh, God. I’m so sorry,” he actually sounds like he means it. I notice that he’s still in the same clothes from the night before. He looks so pathetic, with his hair tousled and his black eye, that I almost want to forgive him.
Then he says, “I didn’t mean to leave, I just figured, well, you were asleep, and didn’t want to have an awkward morning. Bit ironic now, isn’t it?”
My jaw has dropped.
“Because...we’re having an awkward morning anyway...”
“I’m not the ‘girl from last night,’ I’m the barkeep who kicked you and your ridiculous friends out!” I begin to count his list of atrocities on my fingers, “You told me your name was Viktor Krum! And then you pissed all over the girls’ loo, not to mention threw up in it, and then you kissed me, and then you punched a guy out!”
Oliver’s face has gone from pale white to beet red by the time I finish. Behind me, Seamus is cackling away and pounding his first on the table. I had left out the bit about Wood kissing me when I relayed the story to he and Dean. I whirl around, whipping out my wand, “And don’t even get me started on you, Finnigan!”
“Oi!” the barman yells, shaking me from my rage. “If yer goin’ ta do that, take it outside!”
Suddenly I remember that we are in public. I push my hair away from my burning face, trying to calm down. My first official journalism job is not going as planned, to say the least. Slowly I regain my composure, and the barman settles with a warning look. He pretends to wipe down the counter but I know he’s watching us like a Muggle soap opera.
Wood puts a hand over his face in humiliation. “So,” he mutters, “I really did all that?”
He groans. “This is certainly a first.”
“I’m sure it is.”
“Those guys… They kind of bring out the worst in me.”
“Totally their fault,” I quip.
He looks at me from between his fingers, “That’s not what I meant. I just, uh, try too hard to impress them sometimes.”
This is a strange thing for him to say. A silence passes and I imagine going back to the table, collecting my things, and leaving (but not before giving Seamus a sucker punch to the back of the head.) Then I remember Lisa and her granola-eating, mountain-climbing, organic-hemp-vegan-yoga breathing exercises, and inhale deeply. This is my one shot at a journalism career, I think. One shot.
“So, the interview…?” he says uncertainly.
“Let’s just get this over with.”
He lags behind me to the table and I gesture violently to the empty chair. He plops down, stiffening in pain and groaning under his breath. Oh yeah, he’s definitely feeling last night. I’ve certainly been in the same boat, and recently. If I were a nicer person I would take pity on him, but today I’m not. So instead I take my seat and stare darkly across the table as he massages his temples.
“You don’t have any pain-relieving potions, do you?”
“No,” I bite. Then I push my tureen of coffee across the table. “Just drink some of that, it should help.”
He miserably obeys, and is able to lift the giant mug with his much-larger hands. I study him. There's got to be a way I could turn this around. In fact, it could be easy. Maybe last night had actually been the perfect back-story to an exposé—the kind that the Oracle Underground publishes. “Washed-up Quidditch heartthrob Oliver Wood black-out drunk, making a complete arse of himself in public. Kissing a complete stranger. Even masquerading as a different person.” Witch Weekly will eat this bollocks up.
I decide to leave nothing out.
I tap the recording orb with my wand. It whirrs to life, its glow softly pulsating. Interlacing my fingers, I decide to let drunken Oliver do all the work for me. A smirk spreads across my freckled face. It looks like I’ll be getting my story after all.
“So, Wood,” I say. “Why don’t you start by telling me what you do remember from last night.”
Author's Note: So there you have it, official interactions with Oliver! Unless you count when he was pretending to be Krum... Please let me know what you think, I do so love hearing from readers! Did you like it? Hate it? Did anyone fall for my little trick?
Major updates 11/5/14: Quite a few things changed in this chapter, namely Oliver's character. I will try to make this brief! (Deep breath)
As it now explains (in this chapter and the next) Oliver does not take his interview with Edie seriously. He only did it because his team manager thought it would be good for him. Instead of giving stupid answers for no reason--"more flattering uniforms for Knight Bus drivers"--he's toying with her. She's too proud and stubborn to notice it, but will soon realize it. This now explains why she's so angry with having him as an interview subject. The lack of value he puts in her role as journalist (the thing she values above all) infuriates her. Oliver doesn't like the press. He's a private person, and doesn't want them meddling at all. Therefore his responses to her questions are sarcastic; therefore he didn't mind showing up drunk. He's very sorry for the way he behaved in the pub, when he knew her only as a barkeep. But he's got a bad taste in his mouth from the press, so he cooperates minimally for the interview.
Gorgeous CI by angelic. @ TDA