It was lucky my skirt was family appropriate because Oliver came out of his bedroom a few minutes later wearing a nice collared shirt and pressed pants. He smiled sideways at me.
“So this is how I’m going to be introduced to your parents?” I said nervously, pulling my skirt down as far as it would go. “You’re going to yell at your dad about Quidditch and I’m going to stuff my face pretending that we’ve been together for longer than two weeks?”
Oliver made a face. “Yeah, that’s pretty much it. You don’t have to go if you want to wait until the end of the summer to meet them, but it’s a good possibility I will have disowned them by that time so I thought this would be easier.”
I rolled my eyes. “I wish I could bring the girls.”
“Reinforcements?” he asked.
“Just be yourself, they’ll love you, Jane.” He wrapped me in a hug and I finally managed a smile.
I wasn’t quite sure what constituted as “myself”. I had my same features and I decided against the thick sarcasm as Oliver’s mum opened the door. She was wearing a fancy blue cocktail dress and her hair was tied up, showing diamond earrings the size of my fist.
“Hey, Mum,” Oliver said, kissing his mum on the cheek as we entered the enormous white foyer complete with a mahogany desk and a painting in a gold frame.
“Good to see you, dear,” his mum replied and took our coats.
“Mum, this is Jane Perry.”
“Erm, hi, Mrs. Wood.” I sounded like an idiot and it didn’t help that those words sounded so strange coming out of my mouth.
I could be a Mrs. Wood one day.
Don’t—Oliver Wood was a stupid sodding prat.
Reflex from the last few years. I had to really watch that.
“Oh, please,” she said with a smile. Oh, blimey. That was where Oliver got his smile. She looked beautiful. “Call me Diane.” Thank God she said that because Oliver never told me her name and that could have been potentially awkward.
“It’s lovely to meet you,” I said stupidly and smiled. I hoped my smile worked as well as it did on my dad. But probably not because she turned and hurried us into a hallway that was nearly as tall as the Entrance Hall in Hogwarts and into a dining room that could have fit most of the Gryffindors comfortably. I recognized Oliver’s father right away as he sat behind an empty china plate.
“Dad,” muttered Oliver, taking a seat on one side of the table. I hurried to sit across from him.
It was silent. Atticus Wood nodded to his son. I breathed in the awkwardness.
Why the hell did I decide to come?
“Dad, this is Jane Perry,” he said forcefully as if to deny the rumors that my name was JoJo or JayJay or whatever.
“Charmed,” his father muttered and I had to stop myself from making a bitter face.
I felt like I was worth more than a “charmed” and then I wondered how many other girls Oliver had invited around the house to see his father. Sure, it could have been the fact that Oliver was probably about to get reemed about his choice of Quidditch teams, but I was a pretty girl with a knowledge of sports…that had to get me some points, right?
“Dad, can we just get on with this?” Oliver said suddenly and I jumped.
“Get on with what?” Mr. Wood set one of the forks down and smiled at his son.
“You haven’t owled Brazil, have you?”
“Well, I went to a meeting today with Puddlemere and everything is set for me to start practicing with them and be their new Keeper. Brazil already has a Keeper. It’s a done deal. There’s no use arguing.” I could tell Oliver wanted nothing more than to throw the entire table (expensive china and all) at his father, but was restraining either for my sake or his own.
“You can be on Brazil’s reserve team then,” his father replied.
“I don’t—I already told you I don’t want to be on a reserve team. I want to go to the big leagues now. I can be traded later if I hate it but the team is really nice and I like them a lot.”
“Oh, who gives a damn if the team is nice?” his father cried. “They haven’t won a Cup in decades! No one is going to take you seriously playing for them—might as well go play for the Canons and get it over with! Or just go play for the Harpies, Oliver.”
It wasn’t over apparently.
“You told me you got four offers. Why don’t you go to the Tornadoes—they’re still in the playoffs and if their Keeper gets hurt you could still be called up. That’s quite the spotlight.”
“I’m not playing for the Tornadoes,” Oliver said forcefully.
“Who else did you get? The Finches? Play for them. Ah, who am I kidding?” Mr. Wood said, laughing loudly. It was a malicious laugh. “You don’t have the gut to play for the Finches. You need real stamina to play for a club like that. You’d fit nicely on the Harpies. I’ll contact Brylls Myers, he’s the General Manager. I’ll get you a try-out.”
“Mum, is dinner ready?” Oliver shouted toward a door I could only assume went to the kitchen.
“Almost, Oliver dear!” she shouted back.
I was counting down the seconds. The milli-seconds. Oliver was shooting his father a look of daggers and then suddenly I knew why he was the way he was. Why he told me those things in the Astronomy tower (should have snogged him right then…) and in the tent at the Quidditch retreat. I was now not very fond of Mr. Atticus Wood.
He was a bit of a jerk.
“So Janet,” Mr. Wood said suddenly and I nearly fell out of my chair. “Do you play Quidditch?”
“No,” I said quickly and then realized that probably docked my points so I continued. “Well, I’m a Seeker reserve for the Gryffindor team, but Dan Ellis is the best there is so I don’t play much.”
“Are you going pro after you graduate?” he asked, folding his arms in his lap.
I was being drilled. This was twenty questions about Jane Perry and he didn’t even get my name right. Oliver was looking at the grains in the table.
“Um, no, probably not,” I said quietly. “I have a real passion for Transfiguration so I’ll probably do something with that or maybe work on the administration part of Quidditch because I really love the game.”
That was all he said. Just that. No more questions.
He hated me. Shit shitty shit
. I was off to a really fab start.
“Dinner’s finished!” The door opened and Diane Wood appeared with a large silver tray and plenty of plates of food.
Thank Merlin. Thank Dumbledore for that matter. Thank everyone within a mile radius.
She placed a plate in front of me and I stared at it for a minute before I realized what it was. Vegetables. Lots of them. Broccoli and potatoes and carrots and lettuce. I tried not to make a face.
“I hope you’re a vegetarian, Jane,” Mrs. Wood said lightly, taking her seat as she finished handing out plates. “We live by it here. There won’t be any little ducklings killed on my watch.”
I stared at the food. It looked good enough, so I took a bite.
I watched Mr. Wood eat a whole three carrots in one bite. Mrs. Wood cut her potatoes into thin slices before eating them. Oliver just crammed the food into his mouth.
Where could I hide this?
I took another bite.
. I usually loved vegetables of all sorts, but I think she drugged mine.
Blimey. What if Mrs. Wood drugged my food?
“So, Jane,” Mrs. Wood said, pausing between slices of potato. “What is it that your parents do?”
“Uh, my dad works in the Department of Magical Games and Sports in the Ministry and my mum died when I was around five,” I said quietly, trying to analyze my response before I gave it, but there was no tiptoeing around my dad’s lack of a cool job. He just did paperwork.
“Ministry, huh? No Quidditch players in the family?” she asked soothingly.
“No, afraid not,” I said. Was that what this entire family was about? Judging by the look on Oliver’s face I was right in thinking that.
There was another one of those answers. Apparently I was zero for two.
“And did you get to play as the reserve this year?” Mr. Wood asked.
“Yes,” I replied. Finally, a question I could answer with a Quidditch-appropriate response. “I played in the Quidditch Final and we won.” I beamed and I saw Oliver smile.
“How long did it take you?” Mr. Wood asked.
“I’m sorry—how long did what take me?”
“You said you were the Seeker. How long did it take you to catch the Snitch?”
I gaped at him. “Erm, I really don’t remember. It’s hard to keep a concept of time up there I think.”
Mrs. Wood took a sip of her wine. “I read about it in the Prophet, dear,” she said. “It lasted about an hour.”
“An hour, huh?” He nodded and took another bite. “Interesting.”
Shit. Zero for three.
Oliver? Could you just be a doll and jump in here and SAVE ME? You know, just talk for a minute. Take the heat off of how I don’t plan on playing Quidditch, no people in my family play Quidditch, and it took me a stupid hour to find the Snitch, nevermind that I had JUST LEARNED TO FLY.
“Is there anything else we needed to talk about?” Oliver asked quickly.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
“How about that you’re making a stupid choice and you can’t expect us to support you on it?” Mr. Wood said, putting down his fork and knife to stare darkly at his son.
“That’s fine with me.” Oliver finished his broccoli and shrugged.
How did he eat that? I looked down at my own food and it was barely touched. I took another bite of the carrots and nearly puked.
“So you’re all right with us cutting you off?”
” Oliver’s face went lopsided.
“Yes,” Mr. Wood said, taking a sip of his wine. “Your mother and I agreed that it’s for the best until you can realize what a fool you’re being by signing with Puddlmere.”
“Okay, look,” Oliver countered. “You said you’d think I was a failure until I signed with a team, and now I signed with a team and you’re just cutting me off?”
“I never said that,” his dad said, “but now that you mention it, if I ever said something like that I would have meant a team worth signing with—like the Finches.”
“I’m not going to sign with the Finches so you can live vicariously through me!” Oliver shouted. The table shook a bit.
I pushed some of my potatoes into my napkin. Why didn’t Oliver’s family have a dog or something?
“You’re being cut off, Oliver,” Mrs. Wood said finally. She sighed. “You’re being cut off until you can sign to a decent team with a decent reputation and find a decent girl with a Quidditch background. You need to quit running around with riffraff reserves, dear.”
“All right, I’m leaving.” Oliver stood up and tossed his napkin down on the table. “C’mon, Jane.”
I leapt up and followed him toward the hallway. I glanced behind me. “Erm, nice to meet you I suppose.” I tried to smile, but it was too forced so I stopped.
“Oliver, get back here right now.” Mr. Wood didn’t even raise his voice.
“Go to hell!” Oliver yelled right back. “I don’t need your damn money and I don’t need your insults. And I hope the Tornadoes destroy the Finches in the second round.” He opened the door, waited for me to leave first, and then followed, slamming it as hard as he could behind him.
Oliver didn’t speak the entire way home. We Apparated near his flat and he unlocked the door in silence. I didn’t know what to say. He looked devastated, but in such a way that he knew what was coming.
He tossed his cloak in the corner and put the kettle on the stove.
“Yeah?” He didn’t look over.
“I’m glad Alicia wasn’t dead,” I said and he turned and smiled.
“I’m sorry, Jane,” he said softly and I walked into the small kitchen, wrapping my arms around his waist. “They’re terrible. I didn’t think—I thought for sure they’d just have a go at me and just ignore you.”
“I’m impossible to ignore. You know that from experience,” I muttered.
He smirked again. “Well, that settles that then. I’m cut off from their money and I’m playing for Puddlemere.”
“Well, good for you,” I said, still unsure of what to think about the entire thing.
I hugged him tighter. “Hey, my dad is going to ask you about your intentions so don’t worry about it.”
“So I should tell him it is my intention to completely wing it, have no intentions, and if we have a drunken night under the mistletoe then I’ll just let it happen?”
I punched him in the side.
I spent most of the next day contemplating the dinner at Oliver’s parents’ house. I knew it didn’t matter and that Oliver had already let it fly into the back of his mind, but it freaked me out. I thought I was good. I thought I was in the clear—I looked cute and innocent in that skirt and I played Quidditch! Sure, my dad didn’t and maybe I was just the reserve, but at least I knew about the sport.
At least I wasn’t Libby.
No. At least I wasn’t her. She would have probably liked those wonky vegetables though.
Stupid Libby. This was all her fault.
“Jane? Are you still in bed?”
I groaned. “No. I’m up. I just don’t want to get out of the bed.”
“Just because you’re on summer vacation doesn’t mean you can sleep until past two.”
“I’m not sleeping!” I whined.
“Get up and do something with your life.”
“Something like what?” I cried.
“Something like scrub out the toilet.”
“You do it! You’re the one with the wand!”
“That’s it,” he said through the door. “Once you turn seventeen you’re doing seventeen years worth of chores you haven’t done because of that excuse.”
“Daddy, nooooo!” I cried, rolling over again. “I’ll get up later.”
“What happened yesterday, Pumpkin?”
I heard the door crack open.
“Oliver’s parents hate me.”
“I’m sure they don’t hate
you, love.” The end of my bed lowered as Dad sat down.
“No, they really hate me. So much that they called Oliver out on running around with riffraff.” I sighed loudly. “I’m riffraff.”
“That’s ludicrous—you? How could they think that? Did you tell one of your jokes, because Jane, sometimes they get a little racy
I groaned into my pillow. “No, Dad, I didn’t tell a joke. I did, however, tell them that I have no intention of playing professional Quidditch, none of my family members are famous Quidditch players, and it took me an hour to catch the Snitch.”
“And that’s why they hate you?” He placed a hand on my arm.
“That’s pretty much it. I’m such riffraff.”
“So they’ve got high expectations for Oliver then?”
I nodded. “They tore him a new one for signing with Puddlmere.”
“Why? That club has great potential.”
“That’s why. Because they wanted him to sign with the reserve team for the Finches or the Tornadoes.” I rolled over and made a face. “Oliver’s dad played for the Finches a long time back and got hurt so he couldn’t play anymore. Now he has some ritzy job and he’s cutting Oliver off because he thinks Oliver is making a stupid choice. And running around with riffraff.” I smiled.
“Well, I happen to know that riffraff usually clean out toilets so you certainly aren’t riffraff.” He bent down and hugged my tight. “And if Oliver doesn’t think so, I suppose that’s all that matters. But it doesn’t—considering you can’t date a Quidditch player.”
“According to you I can’t date anyone
,” I muttered, stuffing my face back into the pillow.
“Too right you are.” He ruffled my hair and stood up. “I’m going out tonight so are you all right for dinner?”
“Where are you going?”
“What? Dad’s can’t go have fun?”
I gaped at him. “Not that I’m aware of.”
Dad smiled warmly. “I’ll be back later on. You know how to get a hold of me if you need anything. There are leftovers in the fridge and some money on the table—Muggle and wizard money. And I’m sure if you beg enough Oliver will cook you something.”
“Oliver is at training camp,” I muttered.
“Well, then it doesn’t matter how much whining you do.” Dad beamed and closed my door as he left.
So much for looking forward to summer. It was stupid. I was bored.
Oliver was off at training camp and I couldn’t even pick a fight with him. Lee was in Russia somewhere contemplating whether or not to actually write a letter or just send a postcard. Alicia was probably playing Quidditch with her siblings in her stupidly enormous yard and I was sure George was having Katie over to his parents’ house for dinner so she could show off the engagement ring and Mrs. Weasley could fall over with shock. Fred was probably being Fred and throwing Angelina into some pool or water or just trying to snog her face off and take back his own record.
And here I was. Sitting in my room under my quilt while my dad went and had fun doing adult stuff, my friends did fun friend things, and my boyfriend practiced with a professional Quidditch team.
No bleeding fair.
I rolled over and snatched a roll of parchment and quill off of my bedside stand.
Quit having more fun than me.
Summer is horrible.
Was that desperate enough?
Stop snogging Fred so you can write to me.
Well, it was the truth.
After you’ve taken Mrs. Weasley to St. Mungos for shock, write me back.
I’m horribly bored with Oliver training with Puddlmere.
Not that you’re a second resort.
Only you are.
That should just about do it. All of my friends would be forced to feel bad for me and at least write me a letter detailing how much they adore me and how much they miss me and that they will gladly cut their fun short just to spend loads of time with me.
Until then, though, I had the flat to myself. I forced myself out of bed and put on some decent clothes so in case some mysterious person showed up at the door I would be prepared. I tied my hair up and wandered out into the living room, flipping on the Quidditch network and shuffling into the kitchen to try and find something to eat.
Summer was too boring.
The rest of the day was equally as mind-numbing. After I sent the girls’ letters out with Dad’s owl, Kiwi, I planted myself on the sofa with a plate of leftover pizza and watched some first round playoff games. The day dragged on and on and I knew I was really pathetic once the duplicate commercials started coming on and there was an advertisement for Natural Wizard Enhancement which is when I knew it was late.
I placed the pizza plate in the sink and yawned, having worked hard to do nothing all day while my friends probably had exciting things happen to them like winning awards and kicking gnomes or something. Just as I was about to shut off the television, a knock at the door scared the bollocks out of me and I fell over the coffee table with a loud crash.
“Shit!” I cried, rubbing my shin as I limped over to the door. I glanced through the peep hole and—what in the world—how?
I ripped the door open. “Why are you here?”
“I have no idea.” Oliver looked out of breath. He was completely soaked and his Puddlemere Quidditch robes were sticking to his skin. Breathing heavily, he leaned against the door frame, getting the entire surface wet. “I wanted to see you.”
“You romantic sod,” I said lightly, pushing the door open further so he could come in.
He walked past me and tried to shuffle his shoes on the welcome mat.
“Why are you all wet?” I asked, forcing the robes off of him so he stood in my living room wearing a wet t-shirt and shorts. I hung the robes over the tub in the bathroom and raised a brow.
“It’s raining,” he said. He was blushing.
“What’s going on, Oliver?” I asked, pushing him into the bathroom and giving him a towel and blanket.
“Nothing!” he said through the door.
“Oliver Wood,” I said through gritted teeth.
He didn’t answer. Instead, the door opened and he came out without a shirt on and with the blanket wrapped tightly around his waist.
Insert: me melting.
“Don’t gawk,” he said, but Oliver smiled warmly. “Or do. It’s fine with me.”
“So tell me what you’re doing here.” I grabbed a glass of milk and returned to the living room to find Oliver on the sofa watching Quidditch. I snuggled up next to him and pulled another blanket over us. His chest was warm.
“I told you already. I wanted to see you.”
“Why? It’s nearly midnight. You couldn’t wait until tomorrow when you don’t have training?”
He made a face and smiled. “No. I told you already, I just got you. I don’t want to go back to an empty flat—and by the way I realized last night that I don’t have any photos of you so we’ll have to change that.”
I grinned. “I’m sure my dad will give you some humiliating baby pictures of me in the bath, so don’t worry about it.” I yawned loudly and turned the television down a bit. The Magpies were winning.
“I look forward to it.” He wrapped an arm around me and stared at the game. “Where is your dad anyway? Shouldn’t I be getting kicked out right around now?”
I shrugged. “He’s out doing dad things apparently.” I yawned again and closed my eyes.
“Exciting.” Oliver yawned as well and ran a few fingers up and down my arm.
I was silent for a while, listening to his breathing the same way I did during the retreat so many months ago. It was steady now that he wasn’t out of breath and I nearly fell asleep before the Bulgarian cheering jerked me away from my thoughts.
“Oliver?” I whispered, yawning again.
“I’m glad you came.”
He kissed my forehead. “I’m glad too. Go to sleep, love.”
“Kay.” I let myself drift off against him and didn’t wake until several hours later when I heard the door open. Oliver was asleep by then and his mouth was a little lopsided as he snored softly. I didn’t move but kept my left eye open slightly so I could see whether or not Dad would pull Oliver out by his collar (shit shit shit, he wasn’t wearing a shirt. Or pants. Well, he was wearing boxers and a blanket, but I don’t think Dad would take that as a good thing) and throw him into the rain or punch him in the head.
“Jane?” he whispered.
I didn’t move. I just watched out of the corner of my eye.
I saw him smile, pull the blankets further up to my collar bone, and flip off the television. Then I heard his bedroom door shut and we were in silence again.
With a grin, I kissed Oliver lightly and let myself drift back to sleep on the sofa.
There's chapter 2! And yeah, I posted a few days early. I was just excited so you guys got a present :) So...I bet you all love Oliver's parents, right?
I have a quick little thing to say: I just started a new story and I put the first chapter up. It's called Breaking the Quidditch Code and it's a James II/OC. I was wondering if some of you would go check it out since it's new and hasn't been circulating as much as Keep Away. And it has to do with Quidditch. So if you like my writing style have a look if you wanna. If not, that's fine :)
But more importantly, what do you think about chapter 2?