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Piper sat on her well worn beige couch later that night, thoroughly involved in the movie on the screen of her contraband telly. She sank comfortably deeper into the cushions as she related to the main character of the film. To yearn to be something you never would. To have a father who never let you do what you wanted. To be held prisoner in your own world. Piper’s blue eyes watched, unseeing, as she sang along.
A timid knock interrupted her animated movie enjoyment. Sparing a glance at the clock, Piper brightened considerably. Dinner. Heck yes.
She opened the door, a gigantic grin on her tan face. This fell off when she saw that no one there. What the hell? She looked around questioningly, and then turned around, intent on sulking her way to the couch.
Knock, knock. It was a bit louder than before, but still very quiet.
Piper crept back across the soft carpet and peeked out the door again. And looked down at a mass of blonde curls.
“Jacob…did you knock earlier?” Piper gazed tenderly on her 3 year old nephew.
Said youngster nodded adorably. “Yeah, I did. Aunt Pipe?” He peered adoringly at his aunt.
Piper crouched down to look him in the eyes. “What, Chipmunk?”
He giggled at her use of his nickname. “Are you gonna come to dinner? Oh shoot! I mean…May I escort you to dinner?” He puffed up in pride at finally saying what his Uncle J had told him to say.
Piper played along. “Why yes, Good Sir Chipmunk. I would be delighted if you would escort me across the Kitchen to the Dining Room.” She grabbed a chubby hand and they set off.
Coming into the packed and magically expanded Dining Room, Jacob dragged Piper up to an empty seat next to her mother. He struggled momentarily trying to pull it out until one of the men helped him. Piper sat down graciously, smiling at him. Jacob blew her a kiss and scampered off to sit by his father.
“Pipey-love, what do you want to drink?” Johanna inquired. “Juice, water? Wine?”
Piper rolled her eyes. Her mom was constantly trying to get her to partake in the consumption of wine. “No thanks, Mum. Can’t scrimmage if I’m not up to par.” She shrugged and smiled apologetically.
Johanna nodded. “Course not, hun. I forgot that you are helping them this year. Silly twit.” She took a sip from her own glass, and turned to make conversation with her husband.
Piper stared at her in shock. When the hell had her mum decided to ignore her? Oh well. She turned to the guy next to her. Kyle Flanagan. Yes, Flanagan with the fine arse. Who no longer looked like her twin.
“So, you get to eat with the Big Kids tonight?” Kyle passed her the salad bowl.
Piper decided to be sarcastic. “Yes, I do! And if I be a good girl…I might get ice cream!” She snickered along with him, not noticing her father’s glare.
Oh shit. One word. I’m so fucked. Piper whispered silently to Kyle. “100 galleons says he tells me to move down to the other end.”
Kyle smirked and shook on it.
Thomas spoke again. “Move. Now.”
At Johanna’s gasp and her brother’s objections, Piper just waved her hand. “It’s fine. I’m being a distraction.” She smiled sardonically at Kyle, mouthed ‘pay me tomorrow’ and pranced down the table. “I didn’t even start cursing yet.” She plopped down next to Wood.
Thomas sent her a pointed look, full of warning. Seemingly saying ‘No more’.
Piper couldn’t help it. “Or stripping.”
Wood choked on the carrot he was chomping on, receiving some hard thumps on the back from Piper. He shot her a look of thinly veiled shock before laughing at her. “Do you always say stuff just to spite him?”
Piper wiped her mouth with her blue napkin. “No. Not always. It just happens sometimes.” She drank from her water glass. “Did you see his face when I said that? Classic Pops!” She dissolved into giggles.
Oliver laughed. “No, honestly. Have you tried just being nice? Not so sarcastic? Or ever tried to please him?” He turned to look at her.
Piper’s momentary euphoria died down. “Actually, I’ve been trying to please him since I was born. I do try. He just doesn’t want me to succeed. Don’t quite know why? Jens says I have the talent. But he doesn’t know either. Beats me.” She sighed heartily.
Not wanting to see his new…friend (who he was attracted to) sad, Oliver scrambled to find something to say. “Er…you know what PJ? Maybe he is just trying to help you.”
Piper gazed at him in confusion. “How’s that?” She scooted her chair closer to him so everyone else wouldn’t hear their conversation. No sense in anyone blabbing to the gossip rags.
Oliver breathed in her clean scent, and thought about it. “Nobody knows better what this kind of life entails. Maybe he doesn’t want you to suffer through it. You know, the long days of practice, the stress of games, the excesses of traveling, the dirty side of fame.”
Piper cut in. “I already know about all that crap. I’m a James. No one knows better than we do. I remember what it was like back before he started coaching. Countless days would go by without even hearing anything. But when Pops came home, Oliver. I felt loved. He used to care. I was the apple of his eye. Now you are.” Piper breathed deeply, closing her eyes.
Oliver was silent. Piper had never used his first name before. It was magically. Sensual. Dear Merlin…I need a girlfriend. He nudged her with his shoulder. “You going to scrimmage tomorrow?”
Piper nodded. “Yep, all of us kids are. On the team opposite yours. Unlucky bastard.”
Oliver laughed. “Ooh, lucky us. Are you going to go easy on us? You know? Not show up all these blokes?”
“Yeah right. Now I’m going to work harder and annihilate you. Sodding smug jerk.”
Oliver smirked. “Care to make a wager?”
“You’d better be careful, mate.” Kyle walked up to the two Gryffindors. “I owe her 100 galleons from our bet. And Jason says that she always wins a bet.”
Piper blushed. “Not always. Once I lost a bet with the twins and had to streak through the field next to The Burrow. During a village festival…Can you say embarrassing?”
Laughing Oliver lay it out. “You win; I’ll wear your uniform when we get back to school. I win…” he trailed off, thinking of an outcome.
“If you win; I’ll help you willingly with plays for the rest of the season, watch all of your practices, and dance with you at the New Year’s shebang.” She added the last one quick.
He stuck out one strong hand. “Deal.”
They shook on it.
Piper stood up and started towards her House. “Better get some shut-eye, Wood. You’ll need plenty of time to shave your legs and practice walking in heels before class starts up!”
AN: I know it is really short...next chapter will be longer. I promise! Please Review!
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