The two newly mended seventh years trudged quietly towards the Gryffindor Common Room. Oliver’s revelation had sent him into a deep brood, and Piper was close to returning to the Hospital Wing. To see if Pomfrey had anything to prevent a coronary.
Stepping onto a moving staircase, she leaned casually against the rail. Nonchalantly, she turned and asked him another question.
“They really aren’t going to let you go?”
“Nope. My mum thinks it will corrupt me. She has an obnoxious fear of me coming back a raging alcoholic.”
Piper snorted to stifle her laugh. His mother’s concern brought to mind many Firewhiskey/Butterbeer fueled New Year’s Eve parties. The last night at camp was a blowout. And Piper’s Birthday Party.
She recovered quickly from her snort. “It’s not that bad. Usually.”
He stopped, waiting for the staircase to stop moving and looked at her. “How would you know?”
Piper shrugged, feigning disinterest. “I always go.” She looked at her nails, waiting for any outbursts. “Oh! I bet I know how to get your parents to let you go! Send them an owl tonight telling them that my mum and dad will be there, along with my older brothers. They can be your chaperones! And I’ll owl my mum to tell her to send an owl to your mum, telling her the same thing.”
Wood brightened momentarily, and then asked, “What did you mean by ‘you always go’?”
Piper’s mind raced to find a good cover story. Piper James was an expert bull-shitter.
“Er- you can’t tell anyone. My family lives close to the James family. I grew up with the kids. But don’t tell anyone.” Stepping up to the Fat Lady, Piper smiled considerably brighter. “Hello Vivian! Have you thought anymore on what we talked about?”
The fat lady winked at Wood and sent a scathing scowl at Piper. “Yes, I have. My answer is still no! I do not need to start a ‘fitness program’. I love the way I look! And where would I do this exercise anyway missy? Hmmm? Even if I did run, I would give myself a black eye. Have you ever seen a Fat Lady run?”
Oliver looked over at Piper who looked slightly flabbergasted. “Um…Sochio?”
As the Portrait swung open, Oliver motioned for Piper to proceed in front of him. Mainly so he could laugh at her. Honestly, who offered to arrange a fitness program for the Fat Lady? It was ludicrous. But the crazy girl was on to something with her owling scheme. “Oi! Prewett!”
She whirled around, red hair flying; causing Oliver to contemplate what she would look like flying on a broom, the wind in her hair, a flush covering her cheeks. I really need a girlfriend. Especially if I’m thinking of Piper Prewett in that light.
“Are you really going to owl your mum?” If there was a way to get to the James’, Oliver would take it.
“Yeah. If you are going to owl yours, that is.” She blushed a little, dragging a hand gracefully through her curly red hair.
“Okay,” he started towards the stairs. “I’ll see you there hopefully, right?”
She shook her head and smiled. “Hopefully.”
Or my ass is grass.
The two parted ways at the stairs, going their separate ways to owl Oliver’s mother. Piper had absolutely no intention to owl her mum. She knew her mum would agree to be Oliver’s ‘chaperone’. Bounding into the doorway of the Seventh’s dorm, Piper received a scathing glare from her roommates. Not that she cared. They had no real ambitions in life. Kind of a negative outlook, eh?
Settling onto her bed and pulling the curtains, Piper pulled out some parchment and transfigured her blanket into a desk of sorts. She chewed on the ends of her quill while thinking on what to right. Something her dad would kill her for if he ever found out about it.
Mrs. Wood, This might sound rather odd, but I am writing to you on behalf of Piper Prewett. My name is Piper James. I am known to all of Hogwarts as Piper Prewett to ensure both my sanity and some sort of privacy. It came to my attention today after a conversation with your son, that you plan not to allow Oliver to attend the Annual James Winter Training Camp this upcoming week.
Ma’am, I must request that you rethink your decision. Oliver was hand-picked by my father; his invitation was even written by my father. All of the others were authored and addressed by yours truly. Most of the other attendees were scouted and selected by myself and my brothers. Oliver is the only person who was selected by my father alone.
Furthermore, a spot in the Training Camp is one of the only ways to procure a spot at Puddlemere’s upcoming tryouts. A good showing at Camp basically guarantees a spot within the Puddlemere program, as well as recommendations to almost every other organization.
Okay; now that I got all of the official sounding stuff out of the way.
My parents run a tight ship. My dad and brothers are busy, keeping the men busy and out of trouble. My mum and I keep the order. Mum is very adamant about parent’s wishes, and I am sure she would watch out for Oliver like he was her own.
All in all, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. If you do choose to allow Oliver to participate, just send me an owl, and I will have Mum (Johanna) contact you. I’m sorry to bother you around the holidays, but I thought it rather pertinent.
Happy Holidays, and Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Piper James
P.S.-PLEASE keep this, and my real name, a secret. My dad will flip out if he finds out I involved myself in his team. Even though I do it all of the time. Where would men be if women didn’t mettle in their affairs? Probably lost somewhere, refusing to ask for directions.
Piper sent the letter and lay down, anxiously awaiting her response.
Three days later, Piper stared out the large window in her sitting room. Watching the snow fall. In the massive James estate, there is about four separate parts. Main House, where Piper’s mum and dad lived; the Quidditch Training Facility; a large pool; and Piper’s house. Really Piper’s House was the old wing off the back of the house, but everyone referred to it as her house. Within the sanctity of her House, Piper had freedom. No one told her how to live her life, or how much of a disappointment she was. Like her father frequently liked to do.
All day, Piper had watched the guys arrive. Including Oliver. Thank God. Two days before, on Christmas Eve, Mrs. Wood, who Piper was instructed to call Kira, had sent Piper a reply to her letter. Piper could not remember the last time she had felt so relived. Maybe it had been when she got her House.
Anyway, about two hours after Mrs. Wood’s owl arrived, another owl came by. Not recognizing the owl, Piper cautiously let it in. The penmanship was even undeterminable. But when Piper opened it, she knew exactly whom it was from.
She smiled, thinking about that letter. It was the only correspondence she’d had with anyone who wasn’t immediate family in the last few days. Looking around at the red sitting room, Piper tidied a few pillows, and straightened the books. Her sitting room was silent. The muggle TV that her dad didn’t know about was off. She had no house elves to watch it with. The family’s house elves and Piper frequently watched the telly over the summer, and sometimes during holidays. But not today.
It was the First Dinner. Or the FD or WD, short for Welcome dinner, as Thomas called it. Piper scoffed at her dad’s propensity to use initials for everything. And everyone. He was why Pomfrey called her PJ. He used initials for everything. Titles, people, places, maneuvers; you name it, there was undoubtedly an initialed abbreviation for it. Except for her brothers, Jensen and Jason. Piper deduced that they were referred to as ‘Jense’ (rhymes with fence) and ‘Jase’ (rhymes with space) because they had the same initials. You couldn’t call them both JJ.
The night of the FD, all of the house elves were ordered to work the dinner at the Main House. Leaving Piper all alone. Dammit.
I could really use a cupcake right now. And maybe a peach smoothie. Mmm.
Piper apparated to the kitchen of the Main House, which looked like a larger version of her own. Where were the damn cupcakes? Piper looked up and down the prep tables, and the counters. Finally, she spied them in the corner. She scuttled towards them reaching out to filch one and indulge.
Cupcakes were the best food ever. Piper had a list why.
Reasons why Cupcakes are Tops:
2-they come in any flavor
3-the texture; soft, crumbly, delicious
4-they are portable
5-they are convenient
6-they are cupcakes! Cupcakes are TOPS! Dammit.
Savoring the lemony richness of the cupcake in her hand, Piper looked around for Bompski. Bompski was Piper’s favorite House Elf. Or rather, Piper was Bompski’s favorite James. Bompski was a short, even for a house elf, crotchety old bag. Who adored the sarcastic Piper, and detested Thomas. And most other people for that matter.
“You be needing a smoothie young mistress?”
“Ahhh!” Whirling around, Piper screeched and knocked over a tray of food. “You scared the shit out of me!”
“Watch your mouth little one,” Bompski ordered. “I’ll get you one…a peach smoothie, right?”
Out in the main dining room, the guests all jumped at the loud commotion in the kitchen. Thomas James shook his head in a disapproving manner and waved off the guys who had gotten up to help. “That’s just PJ. Graceful as a damn cow, that one is.”
Oliver put his fork down and pondered his comment. How weird is it that his daughter and Prewett have the same nickname. Probably just coincidence; his daughter was probably named something like Petunia.
Oliver had yet to see Prewett, or her errant parents. Jason James, who was seated to Oliver’s right, said that she’d make herself seen tomorrow. Thomas didn’t like her to distract the men.
Thomas James, Oliver decided, was a powerful man. Powerfully built; monopolizing conversation skills, and a man of powerful emotions. He was fairly tall, probably an inch or two shorter that Oliver’s own six-foot two. His shoulders were as wide as a refrigerator, and he had a rugged face. Offset by his piercing blue eyes and wavy blonde hair.
Coach James had introduced his boys during his speech. Jensen James was stockily built, quite a deal shorter than his dad, and younger brother, and much calmer. Same blue eyes and wavy hair though. The eldest James, he hovered around age 27, and had two children. Maddie, and Jacob, ages 3 and 5. He seemed a complete opposite to his younger brother.
Jason James was very tall, probably on the north side of six-three. Outrageously tall for a seeker, which was usually a position for a compact player. Aerodynamics, you know. Jason’s whole disposition was sunny. Forever laughing, and loud. His hair was lighter, and shorter than his brother’s, but he had the same blue eyes. Eyes that looked hauntingly familiar. Jason was 22; having graduated from Hogwart’s when Oliver was a third year.
Mrs. James was a beautiful woman named Johanna. How Thomas James had come to marry her boggled Oliver’s mind, but he thought that there was a stricter side to her. That took shit from no one. She sure seemed sweet. Cascading locks of strawberry blonde hair rippled over her shoulders, bringing out the green flecks in her stormy grey eyes. Yes, Oliver had the hots for Johanna James. Weird.
“Oh fuck me and beat me with a shovel.” Man, Oliver thought, that girl was a clutz.
“Jason!” Thomas barked. “Go help your sister. Escort her elsewhere. See that she makes no more disruptions.”
Jason popped out of his seat and sprinted to the kitchen.
In the kitchen, Jason encountered his sister, hopping mad and covered in what appeared to be raspberry sauce. His happily swiped a finger on her arm. Yep, definitely raspberries.
“Come on PJ. Dad’s gonna blow a flippin gasket. I’m to ‘escort you elsewhere and see that you cause no more disruptions’.” Jason sent a scourgifying spell over Piper and grabbed a large watermelon from the nearest counter.
Piper looked wearily at the watermelon, then at her brother. “Um, you aren’t going to whack me with that to get rid of me are you?” She scooted away slowly.
He grasped her by the arm and chided her cheerfully. “Course not, you dork. Got to hide you from prying eyes.” He started to walk them out the door, through the dining room. “Wood has been asking about you all night. Got a boyfriend?”
Piper snorted and gagged a little. “Yeah right.”
They walked across the dining room with no problem, Jason shielding his little sister. Dropping a kiss onto her forehead when they got to her wing, he ruffled her curls. “Don’t forget! Early morning run tomorrow. Are you ready?”
Piper recognized a challenge. “Are you? I am the pacer. I’d better be ready.” She hugged him and skipped off to bed.
Back in the dining room, Oliver was pondering PJ. PJ James, that is. Why did Jason cover her up with a watermelon?
“That tornado of chaos was my girl PJ.” Coach James stated gruffly, staring down the guys sitting around the table. He was joined by Jensen and a returning Jason at the head of the table. “PJ is completely off limits. Keep your hands to yourself. Any sort of personal contact with her, or harassment, results in immediate expulsion from the grounds. Got it?” He glared down his prospects.
You know, for someone who doesn’t seem keen on his daughter, Coach is really protective. Oliver looked at some of the other players; a few looked dejected.
Thomas noticed them and reiterated. “Off. Limits.”
AN: Yay for chapter two. I’m still feeling this story out, so help me out by reviewing. Suggestions are always welcome, as well as general comments. I know pretty much where it is going, but it has a few kinks. I might redo some of chapter one…make it a little funnier. I don’t know. Please Review!
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