Another early present...enjoy! Happy Spring!
I shoved a few pairs of clothes in my bag—a bathing suit since Alicia’s uncle lived in the middle of nowhere and had a pond in his back yard, sweatshirt for the cool English evenings, and several other oddities that would come in handy in the country. Oliver was sitting on my bed, watching me with an irritated expression.
“I still don’t see why you have to go right now,” he muttered, handing me a few hair bands.
“I let you read the letter,” I said, out of breath. I grabbed a few rolls of parchment. “It said immediately. As in right now. She needs me.”
“She has two other best friends!” he countered. “I bet Angelina isn’t doing anything. You told me she isn’t. I bet she’s there already convincing Bastian he should be back in Brazil.”
I rolled my eyes. “That isn’t the point.”
“It’s my day off, Jane.”
“And Alicia needs me,” I repeated, grabbing a novel to read outside and a few sugar quills.
He sighed dramatically. “What am I supposed to do then?”
“Go visit the twins or something.” I tied up the bag and surveyed my room to make sure I didn’t miss anything else. I was completely out of breath by then and my legs felt like jelly since I ran back from Oliver’s flat. “I’m sure they would be more than glad to see a Quidditch star.”
He narrowed his eyes. “I guess that makes them the only ones.” Oliver stood up next to be, obviously sulking, but I didn’t care. “When are you getting back?”
“Not sure. Depends on how long this takes. But I’m sure when it blows over if I’m still there you can come and stay with us when you’re off of work. I’ll owl you, okay?”
“All right. Send me an owl and update me.” Despite being completely peeved at me for leaving, he managed a smile and kissed me lightly. “How are you getting there? You don’t have a fireplace.”
I smirked devilishly. “Dad makes me one every time I want to travel. He’s gotten quite good at it. But I can’t get right into Alicia’s so we use the outdoor fireplace off of the back deck behind her cottage. I hope it’s not raining out there, I hate using that thing when it’s raining.”
We walked into the living room to find Dad watching the Tornadoes/Finches game.
“If the Finches win tonight it’s all over,” he said, not taking his eyes away from the screen. “They’re headed for the Cup. They’re leading the series three to two.”
Oliver’s jaw twitched in irritation.
“Apparently their Keeper just got injured,” he continued. “They just called someone up from their reserve team. He’s not very good so I’m betting the Tornadoes have a shot to even the playing field and go for a game seven.”
“Daddy, can you make me a fireplace?”
“Where are you headed?”
“Is she okay? I didn’t know you were going.” He glanced at my bag. “For a couple of days.”
“She’s fine—just girl stuff.” I tried to smile, thinking about what she must have been going through sitting in her living room with dishy Bastian Richi.
Dad grabbed his wand off the end table and muttered a few things toward the wall. In place of our photo table was now a grand marble fireplace with a mantle and stones lining the outside.
“Show off,” I said and smiled. I turned and kissed Oliver. “I’ll let you know what’s going on as soon as I can.”
“What?” I whispered.
He nodded to my dad.
“Oh, should we not snog in front of my dad?”
Dad cleared his throat. “You should get going instead of snogging, Jane.”
“Yes, Dad.” I smiled widely as Oliver colored further. “I’ll be back in a few days, Dad. I’ll send word if I have to stay longer.” Turning toward the flames, I threw in some Floo powder and shouted, “Spinnet Cottage” as I stepped inside.
Luckily, it wasn’t raining when I arrived and I smiled as Alicia’s uncle’s cottage came into view. After her dad died when she was young she didn’t tell us about it. Instead, she came back from the holiday break in our second year with tears in her eyes and her lips nearly sewn shut. It took us a week and a pound of Honeydukes chocolate to coax it out of her and after we did Fred and George had to do a skit where they dressed in drag in order to cheer her up again.
During the summers Alicia lived with her uncle in England and, from what I saw each time I visited, he was as much of a father figure as my own dad was to me.
Nowadays, Alicia’s mum lived in France with her two younger siblings that went to Beaubatons. They didn’t see much of each other since her mum was a society woman that didn’t want anything to do with Quidditch, but I knew as well as Alicia did that the entire family cared deeply for each other.
The Spinnet Cottage was larger than most, set out in the middle of the country with meadows surrounding it and a thicket of trees starting in the back yard. There was a pond just over a nearby hill that we used for swimming during the summer weeks and a large garden her uncle tended to and tried to force us into taking care of during many lectures about responsibility.
I knocked lightly on the back door, adjusting the strap of my bag on my shoulder. “Alicia?”
She ripped open the door before I finished her name. “Jane, thank god you’re here! I figured you’d be the first to get the letter since Katie’s at the Burrow and Ang is all the way in Wales.” Alicia stepped out onto the back patio and closed the door behind her. “He’s here.”
“So I saw in your letter,” I said with a smile.
She looked completely out of breath. “I don’t know what to do—he’s just sitting in my living room chatting with my uncle about Brazil and how they just got swept in the playoffs in the second round so they’re out.”
“How did—okay, please explain to me what’s going on.”
“That’s what happened. They got swept because he sodding sucked as a Seeker the entire series and then the day after he just showed up here at the door demanding I take him back. I told him about Lee—my voice shaking mind you
—and he said he’d show me that he was way better for me instead of Lee and that he was going to win me back. I tried to kick him out but then Uncle Randy invited him for tea and Jane, I don’t know what to do! Randy loves
“Well, do you want him gone? Or do you still fancy him?”
Alicia blushed. “I don’t—well, I didn’t. Not when I was writing him before. But I hadn’t seen him—the crushed look on his face—the desperation in his eyes. I just don’t know anymore.”
“Spare the lecture,” she snapped, leaning against the door. “I just need help.”
“Help with what?”
“Help with finding out who I effin’ fancy!” she cried. “You know the worst part? Randy loves him. He hasn’t even met Lee since every time I see him over the summer it’s at the Burrow or in London and he’s always out of town when you lot come and stay here for a few days. And now I’ve got this Quidditch Superstar in my living room with all of these good looks—Uncle Randy said we’d have cute babies
—and all this damn talent and then Lee will come back and I’ll introduce him to a Quidditch commentator with bad grades and that is going to work for the twins one day.” She made a face.
“Do I even have to tell you that you sound ridiculous?” I asked, dumbfounded. “Because if you’re judging who you date based on what your uncle will think about his future, I think that’s pretty horrible.”
She frowned. “Yeah, you’re right. But still. It’s dishy, delicious Bastian.”
“Let’s just go inside so I can put down my bag and assess the situation.” Pushing past her, I opened the door and we walked into the kitchen. “This situation better be dire too, because it’s Oliver’s day off and he was peeved at me for coming.”
“Good old Oliver Wood,” she muttered. “Always willing to help a friend.”
I smiled and kept going into the living room. It was dark in there since the curtains were drawn and the Finches/Tornadoes game was still on. Sure enough, Bastian was sitting on the sofa in front of the window and Mr. Spinnet was multitasking between The Daily Prophet and the game. Since he was Alicia’s dad’s brother it was easier for everyone to call him Mr. Spinnet instead of Randy—he still bugged us about it but it was a hard habit to break after all those years.
“Jane!” Bastian leapt to his feet. I had completely forgotten about his wonderful Portuguese accent. “It’s so good to see you again—‘Licia didn’t tell me you were coming!”
I smiled warmly. “It’s great to see you too,” I replied, giving him a small hug. “Yeah, the girls and I decided to surprise her for a few days. I was getting bored in London.”
“I thought it would be so exciting,” he said, still beaming. “I’ve only been there a few times, though.”
“I’ve lived there too long.” I tossed my bag into the corner and plopped down next to him so Alicia didn’t have to. “But I didn’t know you’d be here—what brings you to this part of the world instead of the jungles of Brazil?”
He smiled that wonderfully dishy smile. “A lot of things actually, but we can talk about that later. You said Angelina and—Katie right?—are coming?”
I nodded. “Yeah, they should be here sometime soon.” I sighed and turned to the game. The Tornadoes were up.
“’Licia told me you and your Captain ended up together.”
I blushed. “Yep. Just after the Quidditch Final.”
“Oh, so you got to play?” Bastian smiled. “Dan didn’t get too upset I hope.”
“He was hexed, so yeah, I played.” Why was this more about me than it was him? He was the Brazilian bloke sitting in his ex’s uncle’s cottage, not me.
“So you did well then? Caught the Snitch in record time and all that?”
I snorted. “I’m no Ellis.”
Alicia’s uncle looked up and nearly dropped the paper. “Wait—hold on. Jane played Seeker in the Final? I thought you had motion sickness.”
I blushed again. “Yeah…about that…”
“Jane confided in us, thanks to an outburst by Oliver, that she never learned to fly.” Alicia smiled elatedly and I narrowed my eyes.
“No!” cried Bastian, turning to face me with a dumbfounded expression on his face. “From your confidence I thought you could fly so well.”
“She’s wobbly,” Alicia continued, “but she has talent. Once again, thanks to Oliver. But she caught the Snitch and won the game—against her boyfriend of the time no less.”
“That Davies fellow, right?” Bastian asked and I nodded. “He has a lot of talent. I wonder if he got any offers to play after school. I would have given him a few good reviews.”
“Probably,” I muttered, thinking about the way Roger and Bastian hit it off during dinner and the way they talked about Quidditch. He was so lovely—to me, to my friends, to their Quidditch superstar boyfriends. Roger would have shoved me out the door if Alicia sent a letter begging for help.
But I had Oliver now. It wasn’t in his blood to let anyone do anything that didn’t directly affect him in a positive way.
Still, though. It would be nice.
“Oliver got four,” I added about the offers, trying to keep my mind off of the genuine romantic personality Roger had.
“Wow,” said Bastian. “That’s outstanding—though I would have rather seen him in Brazil, now I know why he didn’t take us up on that.” He motioned to me. “Where did he end up deciding to go?”
“Puddlemere offered him a spot on their actual team instead of their reserve team so he went there. Plus, it’s in England so that makes it easy to see each other.” I smiled at the thought, trying to get our previous bickering off of my mine. “He got offers from the Tornadoes, Finches, and the Irish International team.”
“And did you get one after that Snitch catch?”
I blushed again. It seemed like a growing trend. “Actually, yes. From the Tornadoes for their reserve team.”
Mr. Spinnet gasped. “You only played one game and you got a scouting offer?”
Bastian nodded. “You must be amazing.”
“I’m really not—it was a lucky catch and I was wobbling all over the pitch,” I said, the temperature under my skin beginning to rise as more and more attention was focused on me. Alicia looked as if she was happy to be out of the limelight for a while and part of me wondered why she was. She was the reason I was here. She was the one with the ex boyfriend sitting beside me. She had the dad that loved the ex boyfriend. “Alicia got one too!”
They both rounded on her and quickly Alicia’s expression went from amused to horrified.
“You did? Where?
” Mr. Spinnet cried.
“Finches—but it doesn’t matter. I’m going back to Hogwarts for another year anyway.” She made a face and flipped me off when the guys weren’t looking. “The league’s probably just desperate considering everyone on the team got at least one.” She shot me another look. “But anyway—Jane plays Quidditch! Surprise, right? Oh, and she’s dating Oliver now. Dishy. Drama. Katie’s engaged. Quit talking about me!
I chuckled and checked the score. The Tornadoes were still up, this time by thirty. I felt a bit guilty for not watching the game with Oliver.
Oh well. I had to stop thinking about him and start thinking about helping Alicia.
With…whatever she needed help with.
“So Jane,” Mr. Spinnet said offhandedly, “have you met Mr. and Mrs. Wood yet? I know you said you had only just started dating Oliver, but I met them last year at a fundraiser and they have…erm…high hopes for him.”
“I did meet them,” I replied with a grin. “Apparently I’m riffraff.” I would never get tired of using that word. It was like a new piece of my Oliver-dating personality. It made me feel strangely dangerous. Like I was going to walk down a dark alley in London and stab someone all while not flossing my teeth.
Danger. Jane Perry the riffraff.
“They—did they even talk to you?” Mr. Spinnet asked, his jaw nearly hitting the floor in disbelief. He ruffled his dark hair. “Out of all of the girls I’d call you riffraff last.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Alicia hazardously and Bastian chuckled. She went red.
“You’re number one.” Mr. Spinnet laughed and turned back to me. “But you play Quidditch. Last summer you told me you wanted to be on the admin board in the Ministry.” He folded the paper in his lap and thoroughly gaped at me.
I made a face, adjusting my positioning on the sofa. “That’s not how they saw it,” I muttered. “I’m the reserve. I played in one game. I took almost an hour to catch the Snitch. My dad works for the Ministry. I have no Quidditch in my family. Therefore, I’m riffraff.”
“They sound horrible,” said Bastian thoughtfully and he gave me shoulder a bit of a squeeze. “My parents would never say things like that to Alicia.”
I saw her expression drop instantly. “Well,” I said quickly, “She’s a fantastic Quidditch player that wants to go pro—so she’s off the hook.”
“How did Oliver take that?” asked Mr. Spinnet, leaning forward in his chair. “Not good I assume.”
“Not so much. So unwell, actually, that he stormed out and his parents cut him off of their money—not that I complained about leaving. That food was dreadful.”
Bastian smiled as the Finches scored.
I couldn’t stop thinking about Oliver, even when Alicia tried to push everyone’s attention to the new coat of paint on the porch out front. He was probably sitting in his flat with that same glass of orange juice and his pajama pants watching the game.
Damn, I was a bad girlfriend.
No! I was helping my friends. Chicks before bros or whatever that saying was.
I flew out of my seat and rushed behind Alicia into the kitchen. Angelina was standing there with a bag over each shoulder and a curious expression on her face. “What’s going on?” she asked. “I got your letter but—are you serious or did you just want me to get here fast? You don’t have Jane’s sarcasm so I couldn’t tell.”
“He’s in there.” Alicia pointed toward the living room and I heard Bastian laugh loudly at something Mr. Spinnet was saying.
Angelina gasped. “Holy—oh my gosh, what are we going to do?”
I frowned. “Convince Alicia she doesn’t fancy the bloke.”
Alicia narrowed her eyes at me and Angelina gasped again. “You—wait, you what?
“I never said I did—I just. Well. I don’t know right now, okay?”
I rolled my eyes. “Anyway, glad you’re here. They all just found out I can fly and was offered a position with the Tornadoes even though someone here didn’t bother telling her UNCLE that she got an offer from an international Quidditch team.”
“It never came up!”
“Oh, yeah, because nothing could transition into Oh Holy Hell, I got an offer to play Quidditch professionally!” I said roughly.
“Anyway,” Alicia snapped, shoving Angelina’s bags on a chair at the table, “let’s just go back in the living room and wait for—”
“Okay, is he seriously here or were you just trying to get me here because I swear to MERLIN, Alicia,” said Katie, storming through the back door with four bags and a scowl.
“Oh, he’s here,” said Angelina, helping with the bags and dusting a bit of Floo powder off Katie’s shoulder. “He’s in the living room watching the game.”
“How did he—why?
“You tell them,” I said, “and I’m going to put the bags in the sunroom.” I gathered up Katie and Angelina’s bags and lugged them down the hall and into a small sunroom facing the side yard. I could still hear the game going on and while I was alone I took out a small slip of parchment and addressed a letter to Oliver.
I’m sorry. I’m not really sure why I feel bad considering I shouldn’t, but I do. I wanted to watch the game with you. I wanted to spend the day with you since it was your day off, but duty calls. You know, girl stuff. Bastian is here. And Alicia’s uncle loves him. He’s convinced he’s going to win Alicia back and the worst part is I think she still fancies him. Which is obviously pretty easy. You were mentioned a few times. It may sound as cheesy as you, but I miss you already.
I nearly scribbled out the last part, but instead I folded it up and before I returned to the kitchen I tied the note to the Spinnet family owl, Lemon, and watched her fly off toward London.
“Jane? What’re you doing? Not helping me with this situation, that’s for sure.” Alicia’s voice echoed through the small hallway and I poked my head out of the sunroom, scowling heavily at her.
“If you’re not careful I’m going to ask him to Hogwarts for Hogsmeade weekends,” I muttered and she looked scandalized.
“What were you doing?” she asked, dropping the annoyed tone and running a few fingers through her hair.
“Sending a letter,” I said, arriving back into the kitchen. Angelina and Katie were both entertaining Bastian by then.
“Yeah. He’s at home alone on his day off.”
She frowned. “I should send another letter to Lee.”
Alicia sighed. “This is a disaster, Jane.”
That night the group of us spent hours playing Exploding Snap in the sunroom. The Tornadoes won the game, forcing a pivotal game seven, and I knew at least Oliver would be happy about something that night (and my dad, for that matter). Bastian told plenty of jokes and explained to everyone about losing in four games at the hand of the Magpies, which no one was shocked about considering they had won the European league so many sodding times.
He was wonderful company, much to the displeasure of Alicia who seemed to be internally weighing her situation the entire time.
All while Lee was hundreds of miles away speaking bad Russian and looking at heavily-painted Cathedrals.
When everyone was far too tired to lose another eyebrow (which Angelina and Katie had to patch up since I wasn’t seventeen yet), Bastian retired to the guest room and we girls set up our sleeping bags. Alicia turned out the lights and sighed heavily into the darkness.
“So,” she said finally, “what am I supposed to do?”
“Like we can really tell you,” said Katie. “What do you think?”
“I can’t even begin to get through all of my thoughts,” she replied slowly. “My head feels so clogged.”
“Try and sleep on it I guess,” said Angelina. “We’re here for you, but you have to make the choice.”
“When is Lee going to be back?” I asked quietly.
“Not sure—a couple days he said.”
“What kind of eggs do you want, Jane?”
“Scrambled please, Mr. Spinnet.” I let my chin fall onto my hands as I sat at breakfast the next morning. The other girls looked equally as exhausted, but Bastian was bright and awake with a glass of milk and an orange.
“Are the boys coming to visit soon?” he asked.
Katie shrugged. “I know the twins aren’t busy. George said his mum was already fussing over wedding stuff even though we won’t even think about getting married until after we graduate. But you know Mrs. Weasley—she always has to fuss over something. And I know Fred doesn’t have anything to do since Angelina is here.” She paused quickly. “And Lee is in Russia, as you know.”
“Yeah—what about your Captain?”
“Angelina’s the Captain now,” Alicia said happily, patting Ang on the shoulder and she groaned. “But Oliver is doing training stuff I’m sure. Right, Jane?”
I nodded. “He has early morning stuff today but is free tonight and all day tomorrow.”
“Why don’t you invite them over for the night so poor Bastian isn’t outnumbered?” He mixed eggs in a saucepan with his back to us.
Angelina looked overjoyed at the thought and Katie beamed, but I wasn’t sure how the twins would react to being there while Alicia fought to figure out if she fancied her ex Quidditch-star beau or their best friend. Not to mention Oliver being new to the league and spending time with a youthful superstar.
“That sounds fine. I’ll owl them,” said Ang and she became significantly more awake once she did that.
I, however, ate my breakfast in silence, thinking of all the things that could go wrong with the combination of the twins’ protectiveness and Oliver’s irritation level—especially with me at the moment once he found out it wasn’t an emergency where Bastian was holding a wand to Alicia’s throat.
They arrived around three, thanks to the speediness of the Spinnet family owl, and the girls and I were in the back garden discussing a pro-con list involving Bastian and Lee. Bastian had gone inside to get glasses of water for all of us.
“FRED!” Angelina leapt to her feet, knocking over at least two potted plants, and rushed to her boyfriend who had just stepped out of the backyard fireplace. He dusted a bit of powder off of his shoulders and gave her that Weasley twin beam in return.
“Ang!” he said, obviously not trying to be too eager, but giving that up completely when she nearly tackled him in a hug. They were snogging in under ten seconds.
Katie greeted George in a more dignified way. They were engaged, after all. They hugged and he kissed her on the cheek (probably since they had been together the entire break anyway) and held her hand as they made their way back over to Alicia and me.
“How goes it, Janey?” asked Fred, flopping down on the garden wall, trying to wipe the lip gloss prints off his cheeks.
“Not bad,” I said nonchalantly, my eyes pressed to the fireplace.
Everyone else seemed to notice that too.
“You owled Oliver, right?” asked Alicia softly.
“I’m sure training is running late or something,” I added quickly. “He can Apparate if he wants to anyway. I’m sure he’ll be along sometime.”
I sent him that letter. That…please don’t be mad at me letter. It was very big of me to say I was sorry about anything, especially something I felt I shouldn’t be sorry for in the first place. So he should be there right then. Should have walked right through that fireplace with his cute Puddlemere robes and that cocky grin I had grown so accustomed to seeing.
Instead, the twins melted into conversation about how they were going to gain a ridiculous amount of weight over the summer thanks to Mrs. Weasley’s cooking and Fred explained how he would have to work out to keep his “sexy body” that apparently Angelina loved so much.
She rolled her eyes, but there was a rosy tint on her cheeks.
“So Bastian is here then?” George said offhandedly. He was very good at playing it.
“Yes, he’s inside getting us drinks,” I explained, giving him a warning look.
He ignored it.
“What’s he playing at?” George continued. “Alicia, didn’t you write him to tell him you were with Lee? And maybe throw in how great of a bloke Lee is and how he doesn’t shove girls to the side because he’s so bleeding famous?”
“Erm, yeah. I don’t exactly remember what it said.”
“Then what is he doin’ here?” Fred said, still wiping as he found more traces of cherry staining his cheeks.
“He’s trying to win her back,” said Katie quickly.
“And why haven’t you kicked him out already?” snapped Fred.
“Because,” Alicia said finally, louder than before, “my uncle adores him and asked him if he wanted to stay a few days since he’s this stupid Quidditch star and Uncle Randy wants to talk sports with him. It doesn’t help that he’s ridiculously charming either.”
The twins’ narrowed their eyes. “Yeah, okay,” muttered Fred.
“Shh,” I snapped, watching the back door open and Bastian walk out with water glasses on a tray.
“I brought two more!” he said loudly, shutting the door with a snap. “I saw you two had gotten here—finally, some men to talk to!” Bastian chuckled heavily and the twins tried to laugh through gritted teeth.
Where was Oliver? This wasn’t going to be good.
“Does everyone want to go out by the pond and relax?” asked Alicia suddenly. “It’s really warm and we could put our feet in.”
“I’m in!” shouted Angelina, dragging Fred to his feet and toward the hill not too far away.
“Coming, Jane?” asked Katie as she let Bastian in front of her with the waters.
“Erm, yeah,” I said, still looking at the fireplace. “I’ll be right there. I’m going to go to the bathroom quick.” Smiling, I watched them disappear over the tiny hill toward the pond. For a moment I just stood there, watching the small flames disappear behind logs, but after a while my temper rose and I marched over to the fireplace, threw a handful of Floo Powder in, and made my way to Oliver’s flat.
I needed to know the reason he wasn’t there.
And if it wasn’t death or projectile vomit, it wasn’t acceptable.
A/N: Hey everyone! Another quick update for you all! I hope you enjoyed it.
Poor confused Alicia :)
Thanks to everyone that has left me love so far :) I appreciate it. Which is why I update so darn fast for everyone! I get so inspired, haha. So...favorite quotes?
And most of all...are you glad you get your characters back? Finally some Ang, Katie, Alicia, Fred, and George! I made you wait long enough...