Chapter 1 : The Bet
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I don't own Harry Potter or How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
Concrit and advanced critiques are encouraged and greatly appreciated. Any sort of feedback, really. Enjoy:
“Oh crap, oh crap!” Norah Marlowe muttered to herself angrily, scrambling through bustling corridors of Glam magazine’s headquarters in an attempt to reach her office and manage to clock in on time. Thus far, her prospects were looking bleak.
“Hi,” she grunted distractedly to her colleagues as she rushed by, pushing into her cubicle and literally falling into her seat. She let out a heart wrenching sigh, lamenting the difficulties of her life. Fresh out of Hogwarts, Norah was still having a hard time adjusting to the realm of work at Glam; being in Ravenclaw hadn’t exactly prepared her for this type of writing. She sniffed, wishing she had a serious job, in real journalism. But in order to get hired by The Daily Prophet, she needed to get experience somewhere, and Glam was as good a place as elsewhere.
“Marlowe!” an annoyed voice hollered at her.
“Oh crap,” Norah muttered again, squeezing her eyes shut and straightening up in her seat, wishing that this wasn’t happening. She just couldn’t deal with it right now. Slowly, she turned around to face her supervising editor, Marc Norton.
“Yes, Norton?” she asked innocently. He was only a few years her senior, yet still felt the right to act superior. Although she supposed he was naturally cocky; Norah knew that Marc Norton was widely considered to quite hot. By others, that is, not her.
“You’re late. Again,” he barked. Next, he proceeded to wave a stack of paper in front of her face vigorously. “Marlowe. What is this?”
“Er--” began Norah, reaching for the papers. She barely managed to squeak out, “My article for--” before she was interrupted again.
“Well, that much is obvious,” snapped Marc acidly. “You need to proofread better than this; I caught five spelling errors and numerous grammar mistakes. Shape up already.”
Norah glared at him from under her eyelashes. “What’s your problem, Norton? Lay off. There are no spelling errors in there, and you know it.”
Marc barely managed to keep his poker face for longer than a second before bursting out laughing. “True.” He tossed the pages onto her desk. “Good work, Marlowe.” He paused. “I received your owl--the one about giving your more serious assignments.” He grinned. “You know, I’m sure most of our readers would agree that critiquing hairdressers and spas are quite important.”
“Know what, Marlowe? I have your next assignment here with me, actually. I’ll make you a bet. If you can actually accomplish this task and produce a fitting article, I’ll give you more serious assignments.” Marc chuckled to himself, as though thoroughly enjoying a private joke. “Personally, I don’t think that your prospects are all that bright though. Four others have already failed before you.” He paused to let that sink in. “You in?”
Norah shrugged. “Cut the suspense and give me the assignment already, Norton.”
“The topic of your next article is How to lose a guy in ten days. I dare say that you are single at the present time, are you not? Perfect. I expect the finished product on my desk and ready for our next issue in eleven days time, Marlowe.”
Norah gawked at him. “Isn’t this like… immoral or something? To lead someone on? Furthermore, ten days? Are you out of your mind?”
Marc looked at her contemplatively. “Well, technically speaking, ten days includes snagging and then losing. Shouldn’t be a problem for someone with your looks and talent, yeah?” Seeing Norah about to protest, he added, “Unless, of course, you’re scared of failing…”
Norah looked at him with determination shining in her eyes. “Oh ho, dream on, Norton. I’ll win this bet, you wait and see.”
“I’ll be waiting.”
Norah didn’t see, but as she turned away, Marc Norton was smiling at her, pleased with a job well done. Norah, the newest duckling to be taken under his wing, was much too stiff. She needed to learn how to relax and have some fun.
“Bugger, mate,” James chuckled appreciatively. “How long did this one last? Three days? Four?”
“A week,” muttered Sirius darkly, looking out the window. “Say, where is Lily, anyway?”
“Out shopping,” James replied dismissively. “But you--”
“Come on, lay off, alright? It just wasn’t working out is all.”
James looked at him mock penetratingly. “Sure. Of course. Except that’s what you said for the last--hmm,” here he counted on his fingers, “eleven chicks too, right?”
“More like seven.”
“Admit it,” James prodded. “You’re such a playboy, Padfoot. You are a play-ah!” Ignoring a venomous glare from his best friend, James continued, “It must get lonely in that bachelor pad of yours, no?” He relaxed, spreading his arms out along the leather sofa. “Look at how comfortable I am, being a one-girl guy.” He gestured around. “You could have all this too, you know. This happiness.”
“Yes, well, you and Lily are soul mates, Prongs. Can’t argue with that. Besides, I just haven’t found someone that I can imagine being with long term.”
“And by long term, you mean more than a week, right?” James laughed again. “Sorry, mate, just couldn’t resist. Aww, come on, you know that couldn’t stick with one girl for longer than a week.”
Feeling his blood boil at the challenge, Sirius shot back, “Of course I could.”
James shook his head. “Sure, the ladies are attracted to your good looks and charisma and whatnot, but it never lasts. And you know it. So, I’ll make you a bet.”
“Yeah. You need to make a girl fall in love with you and stay together for ten days. Think you can do that?”
“Of course!” Sirius scoffed hotly. “You’re on.”
James smirked evilly, looking as though he had an ulterior motive. “Alright! Let the fun and games begin.”