Chapter 5 : "Mission accomplished" and "More J-Time"
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P.S. I didn't go over this chapter for mistakes, so bear with me, please!
Chapter 5: “Mission accomplished” and “More J-Time”
Travis and I stood on the doorstep of the Three Broomsticks, staring at the front door.
“You ready?” I asked him.
“I hate collared shirts,” he stalled, pulling at his collar.
I looked at him pitifully. I had dressed him in a fitted t-shirt, with a casual white button-down with grey pinstripes over it, and baggy, faded jeans. Oh, my son is going to be the best dressed kid. “Travis, honey, there’s a reason for the shirt underneath. You’re supposed to keep the button-down open,” I instructed as I unbuttoned his shirt. “There. All better. Now…you ready?”
“I suppose I don’t have a choice.”
I took his hand in mine and led him into the bar. We looked around and found the group sitting at a table at the very back. The two seats between Evans and Corbin Stoker were the only ones vacant, at the round table. I waved, and we went to the bar to order butterbeers for ourselves; the others already had theirs. When we reached the table, I snagged the seat next to Corbin, leaving Travis to sit next to Evans. When he sat down, he muttered a sarcastic, “Nice…” in my ear, making me smirk.
“Hey, guys!” I said. We were greeted by the rest of the group. “You know, you didn’t have to come on the dot….Sorry we’re late.”
“Oh, we don’t mind,” Evans said quickly. “So, how are you, Travis?”
“Um, I’m fine, I guess….”
Merlin, I’ve never seen Travis so boring. Time to take charge. “So! Is everybody staying for break?” I saw mostly nods around the table.
“I’m going to Greece with my family,” said Lena Margoulis.
“That’s fun! I wish I could go to Greece. It looks so pretty in the pictures. Family there?”
“Cool. You know…Travis’s mum is from Greece.” I nudged him with my elbow, prompting him to say something.
“Yeah. Uh, my grandparents still live there. We visit them every other year,” he said, scratching the back of his neck. He was clearly feeling awkward. Aw. Poor Travis. Oh well.
“That’s nice.” A short silence followed.
“So, Travis, are you pureblood?” Corbin asked, over me.
“No, I’m muggle-born.”
“Oh, I am too!” she practically shrieked. I struggled to conceal my laughter when I felt Travis jump slightly. I tried to play it off as a cough, shoving my hands over my mouth. Corbin bought it and pat my back as Travis kicked me under the table, knowing me too well. All worried eyes were on me when an odd sound came out of either my mouth or my nose; I couldn’t tell which. All at once, six voices asked if I was alright.
“Oh, yeah, I’m fine!” My voice cracked on the last word as a new set of giggles came on. “Excuse me; I have to go…blow my nose…or something.” I got up and headed to the ladies’ bathroom. On the way, I heard Travis saying, “Oh, she’s been coughing all day,” with, I could only imagine, a forced smile and a look saying he’d kill me later, for leaving him alone.
I walked into the bathroom and washed my hands, just to waste time. What was I doing here? What were we doing here? Both Travis and I would clearly rather be drinking butterbeers alone at a tiny two-seating table than with that bunch. Who was I kidding? I’d definitely rather be at the castle, getting a new clue from Alec. Oh, was I pathetic. What was with me, thinking about a guy so much, whom, might I add, I have only known for a week? It’s not like I liked him like that, anyway! Oh, no! Definitely not. We were just simply acquaintances. I sighed. Can’t hide in here, forever. Someone came in, so I washed my hands again. I had a plan: go back out there, act sick, ask Travis to bring me back to the castle, and RUN! Nice. Okay. Showtime.
I walked slowly back to the table, maneuvering around the crowds of people. When I was two tables away, I looked up to see how awkward everyone probably looked from a distance, but was greeted by an incredible and unbelievable sight.
I had to look at the neighboring tables to make sure that I was looking at the correct table. There at the table were seven happy faces, engaged in a conversation, looking as though they were – astonishingly – enjoying themselves. Evans looked by far the most excited, and Travis actually looked comfortable with the conversation and even the people. Wow. I never thought I’d see the day….
I took my seat, trying not to disrupt the flowing conversation. I gave Travis an “I’m impressed!” smile and tried to pick up on what was being addressed.
“No! But that’s what’s actually getting them wins!” pressed Shane Clark. “Cooke’s a brilliant Chaser!” Ah. Quidditch. A wonderful subject. Merlin, I should leave the table more often!
“But he’s a ball-hog!” retorted Travis, smiling unbelievingly.
“Well, yes, but at least he scores!” said Haylie Baker.
“No, no, no. That’s not going to get them anywhere near the World Cup,” Jordan Hayden pointed out.
“Exactly! Somebody’s going to pick their – er, his – tactic up and shut him down!” Travis predicted.
“And he’s too much of a show-off to pass the Quaffle added Evans, on his side.
“Oh, I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Everyone knows that the way to win is to distract the other team with Veelas. Now, that’s a good game plan,” said Corbin. “And they’re not that bad for the audience, either.” He wiggled his eyebrows, suggestively. I laughed loudly along with the rest of the group.
“But seriously…Cooke’s a necessity for the team,” Lena tried to convince the other debating team.
“No way,” I put in my input. “Travis is right. Sooner or later, a team is going to cover him for the whole game. And O’Reilly and Vega will not have had enough practice and experience if they get passed the Quaffle. They’ll just be sitting there, playing ‘Hot Potato’ like idiots, until they get hit by a Bludger! I’m surprised no one has tried this plan out, yet!”
“Mm!” Travis, Evans, and Jordan concurred, while Corbin, Lena, Shane, and Haylie shook their heads.
“You guys are unbelievable,” Shane sighed.
“Can we change the subject, please? My head is starting to hurt. I have this exact conversation at the dinner table, every time I go home,” Haylie said, rubbing her temples. We all laughed, and the subject change, by no other than Evans.
“So, I can’t believe it’s our last year!”
Everyone quickly shifted to complaining of the many days we still had left and admitting of their sadness that we were never coming back to Hogwarts, after this year.
I’d had this talk loads of time with James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter, so I sat back in my chair, happily watching Travis who was effortlessly absorbed in the discussion.
Great job, Jenyse! I mentally pat myself on the back. Mission accomplished. At random times, Travis would shoot me gleeful and thankful glances my way, which I returned gladly.
I saw James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter enter the bar. I offered to buy the next round of butterbeers and headed to the bar, intercepting their path.
“Hey, guys!” I greeted them cheerfully. “Eight butterbeers, please,” I added to the bartender. I leaned sideways against the counter, casually.
“Hey…Jenyse,” James replied.
“You seem awfully chipper,” noticed Remus.
“What, did they spike your drink or something?” asked Sirius. All of them were looking at me oddly. They had all thought I’d be miserable. And I actually agreed, until after my bathroom run.
“No,” I said as I took some of the newly filled glasses from the bar counter, “they did not spike my drink. I happen to be having a great time. Travis is getting along with everyone really well. Yes, I’m surprised too.” I managed to get each hand to hold three glasses each. I would have to take a second trip. Oh! Wait! Hello! Marauders in front of me! “Hey, James, do you think you could help me bring these to the table back there?” I nodded in the direction of our table.
“Don’t do it, James. It’s a trap!” Peter warned him.
James seemed to struggle to make a decision. His mind at that moment: Face Decker, with a side of lily OR sanity with friends – sandwich only. Merlin, it was like a fast food drive-thru.
I sighed. “I’ll buy you a firewhisky and a seat next to Evans, anywhere and any time you want,” I bribed. “Just bring those two butterbeers, greet Evans – if you want –, and leave. I just need a hand. Please?” He looked at me, expectantly. “Alright, alright! And more J-Time!”
“Okay, fine. Deal.” He grabbed the drinks off the counter, apologized to the other three faces that screamed, ‘TRAITOR!’, and followed me.
“Thanks, James. So, where did you guys come from?”
“Honeyduke’s. It’s cold out, so we came in here, on our way to Zonko’s.”
“Oh. Did you get me anything?” I joked, not really serious. But now that I thought about it, I really could go for some chocolate at the moment. Or coffee.
“Yes, actually. I’ll give it to you at the table.” Ah. My man. Boy, is Evans lucky.
“Really? Thanks, James! So, j-Time. Let’s go get some coffee when this is over.”
“Sure!” He was enthused by the idea. He knew perfectly well of my addiction. It was like an honor to go on t a coffee run with Jenyse Baccari.
We approached the table and heard Travis, evidently having story time.
“So Jenyse and I were just sitting there, talking, and I felt a sudden urge to push her into the pool…so, I did.” They all laughed. “And she was in jeans and her sneakers, too, wading in the water, yelling at me.”
“Oh, yes. I really appreciated that,” I added, remembering that day. I was furious, but then he offered me his hand to help me out, and I pulled him in with me. And we spent the rest of the day having splash fights in his pool, fully clothed. Fun times.
Everyone laughed, looked up, and were surprised to see James with me. We set the drinks down, and they were passed around. “Hey, everyone,” James said, uncomfortably. “Hi, Lily.”
“Hey, James! Are you joining us?” Evans asked with hopeful eyes. Ugh. Gag me now.
Travis turned to sneer at James, and I kicked his chair with force. “Uh, no,” James replied, “I can’t. I was just giving Jenyse a hand. I’m with Sirius, Remus, and Peter. They’re over there, waiting for me.” He jabbed his thumb over his shoulder at them. “Sorry.”
“Oh. It’s alright.” There was obvious disappointment in her tone and expression. She looked down at her hands.
“Well, thanks, James,” I repeated.
“No problem.” I handed him the money for the firewhisky I promised him. He chuckled. “Thanks, Jenyse. Oh! Here.” He took a box of Honeyduke’s Milk Chocolate out of the pocket of the hoodie under his jacket. Mm! My favorite!
“Thanks! See you later. Around…” I checked my watch; 12:45, “two-thirty?” he nodded. “Alright. ‘Bye!”
All, but Travis, chorused a goodbye. James waved back, then left to his own table.
The conversation at the table picked up again. I couldn’t really focus on the topic. I didn’t even try to, really. I just stared off into space as I nibbled on my chocolate. No one really turned to me for an opinion or anything. After a while, I got kind of bored. Even Travis was ignoring me. The thankful glances had ceased and his gaze only drifted to those who contributed to the discussion. I actually felt a bit left out. Yes, I knew it was silly, and I pushed those feelings away.
But on the discluding went. It was now two o’clock, and still I sat, back in my chair, as though I were invisible. Merlin, I wish I’d never put this whole trip together, I thought to myself. It was so much better when it was just Travis and I; and nobody else.
And as soon as those thoughts came into my mind, a wave of guilt came over me. What the hell was that? How selfish can I get?! Am I really that shallow?! What kind of friend am i? I should be happy that he’s enjoying himself, if not ecstatic. This is what Travis needs. I can’t be the only one he talks to, for forever. I never thought myself to be that selfish. I felt horrible. Someone, just curse me into oblivion! Beat me into a bloody pulp! No one this man should deserve to have friends. Oh, I’m a monster….
I had an inner conflict for the next few minutes.
I– it was just a stray thought. I didn’t mean it.
Sure. You know how regretful you are for bringing him here.
No! I’m not! Was I not elated that he was having a good time when I came out of the loo?
I was definitely happy for him. He had new friends! No more of this asexual rubbish. He’d learned how to hold a conversation. I should be proud of him. I am proud of him.
I sighed, quietly, and of course no one noticed. Tired of myself, I let my mind stray.
Unsurprisingly, I immediately thought thoughts of Alec. I did what I always did whenever I thought about him; I turned everything else around me out. He was so unpredictable, with his moods and even his clues. He went from his not having a family, to his greatest fear which happened to be positively ridiculous. His personality was so likeable and entertaining and warm.
And it should be illegal for someone with such an amazing personality to have such an amazing appearance, too! It just wasn’t fair for the rest of the world. Especially with that incredible smile.
What makes him so interesting and what stumps me the most, though, is his secrecy. What was he hiding? What didn’t he trust me with? Who was he? I’d had a whole week to analyze and think about it; there was no possible way that I had never, in my life at Hogwarts, seen him. I sighed, again, to myself. Yes, I was still hung up on that. Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic…
I tried to pull myself away from the mystery of his presence. I wonder what kind of clue I’m going to get today. I thought of some possibilities. Would it be as deep as his first? Or as light and simple as his most recent? Either way, I doubt I’d care, in the end. Just as long as I learn something new about him, I’m good.
“Right, Jenyse?” Whoa. My name. That’s a first.
“Um, what?” I asked, sitting up straighter.
“You want to open a store or something?” Travis asked me. “Right?”
“A restaurant,” I corrected automatically. Everybody got it wrong. What’s so hard about remembering that it’s a restaurant I want to open? Not a store. Not a shop. Not a school. Not a hospital. I mean, come on! Of all things! Imagine the amount of blood in that place! And yes, people have assumed it to be a hospital. Me open a hospital! Humor me! “It’s a restaurant I want to open.”
“Oh. Right.” Then he turned away to talk to his new friends again.
That sounded so odd. Travis’s friends. Plural. Not just me anymore.
Ugh. I have to get out of here. There were three minutes left before I promised to meet James. I’d been so deep in my thoughts that I didn’t know if the Marauders had left or not. I cased the place for them, and didn’t see any of them. That’s my cue.
“Hey, guys,” I addressed the group, “I’m going to go. James is waiting for me. Sorry.”
“Oh, okay. Thanks, Jenyse!” they chorused.
Travis got up as I got up and he hugged me tightly. He buried his head on my shoulder and whispered, “Thank you, Jenyse. Love you.” Why did this hug feel like so much of a goodbye hug?
We released each other and I left. I walked out into the cold at a fast pace. Pathetically, I felt my eyes watering, but I blamed it on the freezing air blowing against my face. I felt as though I was going to break down, but I quickened my pace even more. I tried to focus on where I was going. I vaguely remembered James saying something about Zonko’s. Glad I had already started in the right direction, I practically ran there. I felt like a fool, bumping into a bunch of people on the way, but I didn’t stop until I was at my destination. I stayed outside for a couple of minutes, to collect myself. I hunched over with my hands on my knees, catching my breath. I didn’t want any of the Marauders to see me in my self pity. Questions would ensue. And I didn’t want that at all. All I wanted was to have a good time with a good friend.
When my heart beat returned to normal, I straightened back up. I ran my hands over my face. Horrified, I felt something wet on my cheeks. My face was so numb that I hadn’t even realized I was crying. I angrily wiped them away. I rarely cried, and I decided I didn’t like it one bit. I took one more deep breath and went into the shop. I spotted them instantly by the magical whoopee cushions that not only made a farting noise, but a farting smell, also.
I walked over to them and cleared my throat before I spoke, so my voice wouldn’t crack. “Hey, guys!” I forced a smile.
They all turned and said, “Oh, hey, Jenyse.” Their eyes turned back to the products before them.
“Hey, I’ll just be a sec. Sorry,” said James.
“Oh,” I shook my head, “take your time, James. I can wait.”
He shot me a sheepish smile and gathered the stuff he wished to purchase. Five minutes later, we were out of there.
I shivered as the air hit my face, and James noticed. He tucked me under his left arm and put that arm around me. Grateful, I wrapped my arms around his waist and rested my head against him. He smiled down at me.
“Why didn’t you wear something warmer? It’s freezing out!” I shrugged in response, and felt him chuckle. “So, Queen Jenyse, where to?”
“Coffee!” I really needed it if I was going to stay alive for the rest of the day. “Any good coffee shops ‘round here, Sir James?”
With a laugh, he said, “I thought you of all people would know.”
“Eh, well I don’t really get coffee here. You should know; I’m always hanging out with you guys on Hogsmeade trips.”
He nodded with a smile. “Well, there’s the Three Broomsticks.”
I winced and hoped he didn’t see. “No thanks. I was just there.”
“Um, that new place…Puddifoot’s or something?”
I made a face. “Too pink.”
“Mm,” he murmured in agreement. “Well, I’m all out.”
I looked around us and saw a small shop at the end of the road. I spotted a sign that said “Coffee.” It looked promising enough. We didn’t even look at the name when we walked in. We ordered our coffee and went to sit down at a small table for two. I was gradually warming up but wasn’t quite comfortable, yet.
“So how was it, today?” James asked.
“Um,” I hesitated, but decided the truth would be best, “kind of boring.” Okay, not the whole truth, but good enough! He smiled knowingly. We both took a sip of our coffees at the same time…and spit it back out at the same time. Ugh! Gross! I stopped my coughing fit and quietly exclaimed, “This coffee tastes like goat piss!”
James burst into laughter. And so did I. And let me tell you – coughing fits and laughter do not go well. I was suddenly grateful that I was with James. Without knowing it, he had cheered me up, if only a little bit. The rest of the time we were together, we spent talking all about disgusting food. I even managed to forget about that morning.
By the time we hugged and parted ways at Hogwarts, I was considerably happy. I even half-skipped to go find Alec.
I skipped around a corner and saw Alec sitting on a window sill, with one of his feet propped up and the other dangling down against the wall. He looked as though he were posing for a movie promo. It wasn’t human. He shouldn’t be allowed to look that good. I crept up on him quietly, with a smirk on my face, and stood behind him.
“Hey, there.” He jumped and almost fell of the sill. I laughed heartily.
He glared at me, breathing heavily. “Don’t you ever do that again.”
“But it’s funny when you get scared! And you’re lucky I decided to be kind and not yell, ‘CLOWN!’ instead.” I laughed, picturing how he would’ve reacted then!
He glowered at me, then sighed when he realized I wasn’t about to let up. “Alright, alright. Let it all out. Ha-ha. Hilarious.”
“Ahh,” I said, wiping tears of laughter away, “I’m sorry, Alec!”
He waited for me to calm down completely, before speaking again. I sat down against the wall he was sitting on, next to his dangling leg, and kind of below him in a way. “So, how was Hogsmeade with Travis?”
My smile was wiped off at that question. I didn’t know what to say. If I told the truth, I’d have to explain myself. And I’d sound like a jealous, selfish arse. I definitely did not want him thinking that about me. I tried to speed up my thoughts, as to not come off as a liar. To him, at least.
“Iiit was fun!” Not quite a lie in the beginning, but by the end, I was bored to death. But Alec didn’t have to know that. “Travis got along really well with everybody. I was really pleased! Then I went to this crappy coffee shop with James. It was really, really fun and hilarious. The coffee was disgusting. Overall, a very enjoyable day!” I tried to sound light and convincing. I twisted my neck to look up at him and saw a slightly tight smile on his lips. Uh-oh. Maybe I wasn’t as convincing as I’d thought.
“Oh, that’s nice. I’m glad you had fun.” I smiled at him, reassuringly. “So, clue of the day?” My grin grew real, as excitement flooded me. I was waiting for this all day. “I…don’t get jealous very often.” Oh, well that’s…nice to know, I suppose. Sadly, that didn’t quite satisfy my clue anticipation.
“Um, okay. That’s good…I guess?” He was staring at me intently. I was getting uncomfortable. Oh! Idea! I jumped up, eager to rid of the awkwardness. “Hey! Come on, I wanna show you something!” I heard him sigh as he jumped off the window sill. At least, that’s what I thought I heard.
A/N: Sooo??? How'd you like it? Or not like it, whichever way. Tell me in a review, please! May as well, huh? The little box is right there! You can do it! As you may know by now, your favorite parts are my favorite to hear. Thanks for reading! Now, review, please!
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