I looked over at Fred with a confused expression on my face. “You’ve got a plan?” I repeated, the music sinking deeper and deeper into my brain. “That’s nice, guys, really, but I don’t think—”
“Sit right there, Janey,” Fred said, shoving me down on a nearby sofa and walking over to a table now packed with glass bottles.
George leaned back beside me. “We’re going to make this an actual party.”
“And how are you going to do that?”
“By being ourselves, obviously,” he said with a grin, “and teaching little Danny boy how to throw a real party.”
Fred was standing on one of the end tables now with a few drinks in hand. “Ladies and gentleman!” he called and the music was turned down several notches. “I would like to present the newest members of the Gryffindor Quidditch team—Danny Ellis and Jane Perry!”
There was clapping and I blushed a bit.
“Even though Jane is the legs of the pair, Ellis proved himself worthy by throwing himself a party!” cried Fred and the room laughed. “So now, since Danny boy is obviously oblivious in the art of party-throwing, I give you—the table of goodness!” He pointed to the large table filled with liquor bottles. “Help yourselves! Our lovely bartenders will be able to pour any drink you’d like! Have fun and be sure to catch a glimpse of Perry’s legs before you say goodnight!”
I narrowed my eyes as everyone laughed again (Angelina hit Fred hard). This was his brilliant plan? Get everyone liquored up and have them stare at my legs? Why hadn’t I just walked upstairs?
George put a sloppy arm around me. “What d’you want to drink, Janey?”
“Nothing, thanks, George,” I said, removing his arm and standing up. “I think I’ll pass on the party.”
He made a face. “Why? Don’t want to boast about your position on the team?”
“I don’t really want to boast about my reserve position, no,” I said, smiling a little. Katie was across the room getting a drink from one of the seventh year bartenders. “Why don’t you go teach Katie the art of booze, huh George?”
He stared for a moment, but in the end agreed and I watched him wander over to Katie, who was red in the face upon seeing him.
“Think they’ll finally end up together?”
I turned, my expression immediately hardening. “Sod off, Wood,” I said. “You’ve already screwed up enough of my night.”
“Because I didn’t let you have a tea party with that git Davies?” Oliver folded his arms.
“Because you thought you had any say over what I did,” I retorted, narrowing my eyes. With that, I smirked pleasantly at his speechless expression and made my way up the spiral staircase and into the girls’ dormitories.
To be alone in there was a rare treat and I used the time to catch up on some homework that I hadn’t even thought about since before trying out for that stupid Quidditch team. What was he getting at anyway, I thought as I turned the pages of my Potions book. He had originally been trying to humiliate me, but that didn’t work and I was almost killed in the process. Was he still trying to out me by getting me to spill my secrets during a team dinner or a game in which Ellis was hurt?
Blimey, what if Ellis got hurt?
I’d have to play. Real Quidditch. I just couldn’t do that…Ellis had to stay healthy no matter what—even if I wanted to throttle the little git for breathing.
I laid back against the pillows and stared at the ceiling. It had been a while since I had any peace and quiet, and it was about time I get some.
I must have drifted off to sleep listening to the distant sounds of party cries, because I jerked awake when Alicia came rushing into the room a few hours later.
“I can’t ruddy believe this!” she said, slamming the door behind her.
I rubbed my eyes and sat up, staring at her blurred figure. “Eh?”
“Now Ang has Freddie boy and they’ve been snogging for the better part of two hours under the staircase…and Katie and George finally went somewhere to be alone…good that they’ve noticed each other but here I am with NO ONE!”
“Well, I’m here,” I muttered, unable to think of something with substance to say.
“No, you’re there, Jane. I was down there. Both the other girls were gone AND both the twins…my amusement!” Alicia cried, flopping down onto her bed. “And what’s worse is Wood is so bloody excited about something that happened earlier that he’s not even worth having a conversation with.”
“Excited about what?”
“What do you bloody care? You hate him anyhow,” Alicia snapped. Then her expression softened and she took a deep breath. “Sorry. Sorry, I’m not mad at you, Jane. He didn’t say what it was…just that it was about Dodger.”
She nodded a bit. “Yeah, something about a tea party.” Alicia shrugged. “I need to find me a man, Jane. Fast.”
“Who do you fancy?” I asked, now fully awake.
“I don’t fancy any of these blokes,” she replied, covering her face in pillows. “I should just jump on a plane to the States or to France or some rubbish.”
“What, no Switzerland?”
“Too indifferent to me,” Alicia said and then chuckled.
I stood up. “I’ll go take inventory of the boys,” I said, brushing out my hair. “Then I’ll come back and report to you. We’ll find you someone worth your time…even if it is a Hufflepuff.”
“Don’t you dare,” she breathed, but giggled a bit.
The common room was still packed when I walked down there and a little bit louder than when I left it. Everyone seemed to be impacted by the drink and girls were practically falling all over boys. I could see Angelina and Fred under the stairs.
There was Henrik Lyand. He was a tall seventh-year, but didn’t know rubbish about Quidditch and knew everything about Transfiguration. He was cute, though. Nate Eltopeo was the same way—couldn’t tell a snitch from a Quaffle (which made me wonder how these two blokes roomed with Oliver Wood for so many years). He was less cute, but had a nice body.
Who was I kidding? Alicia wouldn’t even hear the name of a bloke if he didn’t have either Quidditch skill or knowledge. Certainly not Roger…I almost blushed to myself as I looked around the room. I mean, it could be Roger that I tell her, but I would by lying to myself if I thought that peck on the cheek felt like nothing.
Oliver Wood was sitting on the sofa with several of his fan girls around him on the floor. It looked like he was telling some exciting story about catching a Quaffle. Libby was beside him, her hands clutching his arm in anticipation to the story. What a bunch of bollocks.
Wood. I could tell Alicia she should try and make a move with Captain-man. How would that go over, though? Alicia had always seemed to think of Oliver as a big brother and less a….well, man. Oh well. It was worth a shot, especially with Henrik and Nate being the other two close contenders. I turned.
“Perry! Oi, Perry, come finish my story!”
I groaned. Oliver was drunk and wanted me to finish his damn story. I turned back. “What, Wood?”
“C’mere!” he cried, breaking contact with Libby and outstretching his arms. “C’mere and tell the girls what happened.”
“We were there,” muttered Libby darkly, “we saw what happened.”
I did not walk over for Oliver, but instead to keep the scowl on Libby’s face. “What story are you telling, Wood?”
He smirked drunkenly and put an arm around Libby, eliminating the scowl. “The one about practice. You caught that damn snitch pretty good…but what I want to know…is why didn’t you catch it sooner, Perry?”
I chuckled lightly at him. “Because I didn’t see it sooner, Wood.” Poor drunk Wood. I smiled at Libby, who scowled again.
“Yes, you did,” he continued. “I saw you look right at it, going for it, and then stopping and turning the other way. I wanted to know why.”
Having not expected that, my eyes widened and my cheeks started to turn red. Now I was wishing I had consumed a few drinks so the blush could look natural. “Wood, you’re drunk.”
“Sure I am!” He raised his glass in cheers with himself. “But I know what I saw.”
“Okay, then,” I said, backing up. “I’m just going to go talk to Alicia upstairs now…”
“Tell her Lee is available,” said Oliver, laughing.
I raised a brow.
“It’s obvious she wants to get a bloke since both of her mates have them and Lee just broke up with his pansy of a girl,” Oliver said. “So tell her Lee is available.”
I went out on a limb. “Why, you with Libby here?”
Libby went an intense shade of magenta while the girls around them shot her dark glares.
Oliver, on the other hand, laughed. “I’m a single stud, Perry. But, if the right girl wanders along, I might be willing to make an exception.” With that, he laughed.
Not wanting to both with a drunken interpretation, I walked back upstairs to find Alicia sleeping soundly on her bed, slobbering a bit on her pillow. I would tell her that Lee was available the next morning, if she still cared.
Turns out the next morning she didn’t care at all. Alicia spent most of the morning sulking while Katie made kissy faces at George and Angelina and Fred snogged over toast. Alicia spent the bulk of the following school week sulking and took is so far as to not let any of the Chasers or Beaters copy her Charms work. I, however, had a full list of answers before the start of class.
Even as we walked over to the team dinner on Saturday night, Alicia was slumped with her arms folded. Ang and Katie didn’t notice—their arms were locked with Beaters’ arms and they were both laughing at some joke or another.
I glanced over at Ellis, who was walking with a skip in his step. “Why so happy?” I asked.
He grinned at me, reminding me irritatingly of Oliver as he did so. Very pompous. “Because, Perry, I’m going to a team dinner with the ever-victorious Gryffindor Quidditch team. And I’m on the team.”
I nodded. “Sure, buddy,” I muttered as we entered Hogsmeade. “I just hope your try-out wasn’t a fluke.”
“You wish it was a fluke,” he retorted quietly so only I could hear.
I wheeled around. “You’re a twit, you know that?”
“I’m a talented twit, Perry.” Ellis brushed past me and into the pub.
Oliver had reserved the back room of The Three Broomsticks so we could have a decent team dinner without the distractions of drunks and other Hogwarts students. It was dark in the back, but several candles lit enough to see Oliver at the head of the table (already drinking a pint).
I took a seat toward the end of the table, not wanting to be anywhere near him at the moment. Alicia plopped down beside me.
“All right,” Oliver said as he stood up. “This is our first team dinner this year with the entire team. I’m glad you all could make it.”
“You bloody made us,” said Fred. He was ignored.
“So, we need to talk about teams and tactics. We need to talk about our first match against Hufflepuff. We also need to talk about Ravenclaw because the way the teams are set up, we’ll probably end up facing them in the Final if we get that far.”
“Talk about Ravenclaw now?” asked Angelina, leaning back in her chair and raising a perplexed brow. “Wood, it’s still early in the year. We shouldn’t even be thinking about them now.”
“Hi, nice to meet you,” Oliver said, “I’m Oliver Wood. The captain.”
She scowled. So did I.
“Anyway, about Hufflepuff…” He pulled down a screen and slides began to flash before the group. It was boring since none of the Hufflepuff players were much good anyway—not even a good feint out of them. Still, Oliver insisted on pointed out the breaks in pads on the Chasers and how one of the Beaters couldn’t hit from his backhand if his life depended on it. I yawned several times.
The food eventually came, but I was hardly hungry because I had been snacking on chips from inside of my jacket pocket. It was good food, and helped me ignore some of the speech Oliver was making up until I heard the words, “Roger Davies”.
“He has to be stopped,” Oliver said loudly, taking a bite out of a chicken wing and chucking it back onto his plate. “That bloke is trying everything this year to get under my skin.”
“Apparently he’s trying it on Perry.” George snickered and Oliver shot him a surprisingly dark look. “I heard they met up in the Entrance Hall the other day—tell me, Janey, you going to date the bloke? All the girls fancy him.”
“I don’t think you need to know either way, George,” I muttered, tossing my napkin at his face.
“I bet she is,” Fred said, surveying me from the other side of the table. “He’s got the looks…”
Oliver rolled his eyes. “Jane isn’t going to date the enemy. She knows how damaging that would be to our team.”
My eyes snapped up. “Excuse me?”
He ignored me. “But anyway. Davies is dangerous. The only reason he’s even interested in Perry is because she made reserve. He’s trying to screw with me.”
“If I only made reserve, why isn’t he going for someone else? Like Alicia?” I said loudly.
“Why don’t you just shove it in my FACE that I’m single, Jane!” Alicia cried suddenly.
“Erm,” I muttered. She was staring down at her untouched food. This was so unlike her to be flustered by something like having a boyfriend. “I’m single too, Alicia.”
“Who cares who is single?” Oliver said loudly. “He’s using you, Jane and I’m going to protect you from that.”
Ignoring the fact that he called me Jane, I looked up at him darkly. “And how are you going to do that?”
“I’m going to have you use him right back.”
“Use him right back. Find out his secrets. Find out what he’s ruddy up to.”
“I most certainly will NOT be doing any of that,” I said loudly. This was ridiculous. Roger was a nice boy and he was charming over all. “Change the subject, Wood.”
“Then you’re condemning the team to fail!”
“I’m the RESERVE! I don’t think arrogant Ellis here is going to crack.”
Despite my obvious dig, Ellis nodded triumphantly.
“FINE!” Oliver cried, throwing the screen pointer onto the table. It landed on George’s potatoes. “Then DO NOT DATE ROGER DAVIES!”
I stood up quickly, almost knocking over a glass of water. “I’ll do whatever the bloody hell I want to do, Wood! You least of all are going to have any influence on what it is—you know what? I have better things to do than hear you go on about Hufflepuff’s pad problems and how Roger is out to get everyone!” With that, I turned toward the door.
“Team dinner isn’t finished, Perry.”
“Sod off, Wood,” I muttered, slamming the door behind me as I left.
The Three Broomsticks was packed with people. I tried to fight my way through, occasionally hearing pieces of conversation or taking an elbow to the ribs. Finally, when I managed to get outside into the chilly fall air, I plopped down on a wood bench.
The nerve of him. It was his stupid fault I was even on the team. Either that, or my pride, but my pride was never at fault as much as he was so that couldn’t even be in the equation. I tried out for the stupid position. I wasn’t good enough. Arrogant Ellis got it—that should have been the end of the story. Nevermind that I saw the snitch a few times before I caught it, Ellis was just flat-out better. The end.
Now, after I finally found someone I thought was attractive that MAYBE I wanted to think about seeing again, all of a sudden I’m condemning the team to a certain death. Would their brooms catch fire if I was to have tea with Roger? I wouldn’t think so. Even if he wanted to use someone to jab the team, it would be the single girl ON the team, not the single SEEKER that doesn’t have a shot in hell of ever MAKING the team (and it should stay that way).
“All by yourself? I thought dear brotherly love Wood scheduled a team dinner for tonight.”
I glanced up. “I could say the same for you…minus the team dinner bit.”
Roger smirked and took a seat beside me on the bench. “I’m enjoying the air…I do that a lot, hence when you caught me in the middle of my walk.”
“Did it finish well?” I asked, smiling at him.
“The end was not nearly as eventful as the middle, I’ll tell you that.” Roger chuckled and leaned back. “So, tell me, what’re you up to?”
“Getting away from sodding Wood for a while,” I replied. “He really gets on my nerves…sometimes I don’t think he realizes that I’m only a reserve on the team and I don’t need to know all this crap about the Hufflepuff Beaters…”
Roger nodded. “About the gaps in their pads?”
I nodded. “Heard it before?”
“He was telling me about it last year before Ravenclaw played the Puffs. Really boring nonsense.”
“So,” I said, remembering the conversation that I had just finished with Wood. Apparently I could not date Roger Davies. “How about that cup of tea?”
Roger smiled widely. “I thought you’d never ask, Jane.” He stood up and offered his arm as he had done the previous weekend.
I took it and smirked as he led me off toward some café as he talked about how beautiful the trees were in the fall. That had nothing to do with Quidditch. Getting in my head—rubbish.
I chanced a glance back at the pub and was surprised to see Oliver Wood leaning against the doorway with a scowl on his face. I flipped my hair when I turned back toward Roger.
Going to get tea definitely qualified as a date.
A/N: Yeah, it was a short filler chapter, but I assure you--more is to come! And hopefully quickly now that school is over for the summer and I only work. I hope that you enjoy--reviews are wonderful and spark my inspiration, also favorite quotes are welcome! Thanks for reading!