Chapter 6 : Flash of a Firefly
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I wanted to use Lee for this chap, but Bellazon was down...
I'm sure you love the twins as well, right?
I could feel the heat off of Alicia’s cheeks when Oliver shut the door behind Lee. She was completely frozen, her jaw lopsided and nearly resting on the table and her eyes the size of saucers. My eyes followed along the table to Bastian, who had the clear expression of fury on his tan face. His palms were against the wood table, ready to stand up if necessary.
“Lee!” shouted Fred, leaping to his feet to hug his best mate. “Are these flowers for me? You silly sod, I like daisies like Jane—not roses!”
Lee did not reply and allowed himself to be hugged without moving. His eyes were on Bastian.
“How was Russia?” asked Katie quickly.
Still, Lee said nothing.
“Did you wear one of those fur hats?” said George. “I would have brought some back for us. Hogwarts get cold in the winter. I remember Durmstrang having those hats.”
“What’s he doing here?” Lee said in a whisper. He lowered the flowers to his side and motioned toward Bastian. “I thought he was in the playoffs. I thought you wrote to him and told him you weren’t going to see him again. Ever.”
Alicia cleared her throat, carefully preparing for her next move. I mentally wished her luck. “Bastian came to visit after Brazil lost in the second round of the playoffs,” she explained calmly. “He came to see me.”
“Why? What’s the point?”
“Can we talk in the living room?” she asked.
I could tell Bastian wanted to jump in and give Lee a few choice words in the situation.
“Am I missing something?” Mr. Spinnet asked loudly. “What’s going on, Alicia?”
“Erm,” she said, obviously forgetting her uncle was even sitting there. “Randy, this is Lee Jordan. He’s in Gryffindor with me, but you haven’t met him yet.”
“And?” Lee said impatiently.
“Let’s go talk in the other room.” Her eyes were settled on the table and I could see them start to reflect the surroundings.
Lee made a move toward the other room, but first paused and looked at Mr. Spinnet. “It’s nice to meet you, sir. I’m Lee Jordan—Alicia’s boyfriend.” He led the way and Alicia followed him, closing the door behind her.
The room was silent for a moment.
“Did everyone else know this?” asked Mr. Spinnet.
We nodded slowly.
“He’s been in Russia for the last week or so,” said Angelina. “They’ve been dating since just after the Easter Holidays.”
“So where did you come into the picture?” he asked Bastian.
“Bastian dated Alicia over the Holidays and for the week after while he visited,” Angelina continued, trying not to let anyone say anything that might get someone in trouble. “They agreed to call it off when he went back to Brazil to play again.”
“But that we’d see each other over the summer,” Bastian said finally. “I wanted her to stay in Brazil with me.”
“If things worked out,” George cut in. “And things worked out between her and Lee.”
“That’s crazy,” Bastian said heavily. “She can’t be happy with him. The whole time I was at Hogwarts he was mad and isolated.”
“Because he wanted Alicia!” Fred shouted and Angelina silenced him with a look.
I stood up and leaned against the door. For a moment it all I heard were whispers, but soon I didn’t need to be anywhere near the door to hear what the pair were talking about on the other side.
“How can you say that?” Alicia’s voice was loud, something I didn’t think I could ever be used to. Usually when she was mad she threw things or threatened people, but yelling was something of a rarity from her. That was usually reserved for Ang. “How can you say that he’s going to use me when he came all the way to the boring countryside of England just to try and win me back?”
“And you’re letting him!” Lee shouted. I heard him slam the flowers onto the coffee table. “You’re letting him woo you with that stupid crap—he’s probably read you poetry by now. Taken you on one of those midnight dinners. Lounged on the beach. All the rubbish I told you we were going to do this summer once I got back—and here you are doing it with another bloke.”
“It’s not even like that. Don’t be so dramatic.”
“Don’t be—what in blazes do you want me to be?” Lee said. “Oh, okay, let’s just have a nice dinner where I eat with the famous ex of my girlfriend who conveniently forgot to tell me in her letter that the ladies-man Bastian Richi is staying in the cottage with her and everyone else—you didn’t even tell me the girls were here.”
“I was busy! I was trying to figure things out!”
“I thought you had everything figured out!”
“So did I!” Alicia cried. Fred made a face from the table. “I thought so too but now I’m not sure…He…he has plans, you know?”
“And I don’t have plans?” Lee asked dangerously. “Or is it because his involve loads of money and fame and mine involves doing what I love and being in love?”
The silence was deafening and I stepped back from the door quickly just in case it flew open. The entire situation was horrible. Bastian clenching his fists at the table. Lee’s bitter voice. Alicia’s confusion. The twins’ irritation.
“Don’t be like this,” Alicia said, a little quieter. “My uncle hasn’t even met you properly yet.”
“This makes it a lot easier,” he said roughly, “you not even introducing me as your boyfriend. He looked shocked—did you even tell him about me?”
“I was going to!” she cried. I twisted my hands around in front of me. “I was going to while we were watching Quidditch and then all of a sudden Bastian just showed up and I had to owl the girls to get them here and—oh, Lee, this is a mess.”
“What am I supposed to do? Walk back out there and pretend I don’t want to kick him in the face?” he asked. “What a pompous git, coming in here when he knew you were happy. He’s made you miserable.”
“I’m not miserable.”
“He’s made you into someone that isn’t Alicia.” Lee said this comment a little quieter than his others and I could tell he was saddened by it. The truth was, I quietly agreed. The past day or so Alicia had been high-strung and panicked and even though her situation was weird and complicated, that wasn’t her. At Hogwarts it was her style to sit back and take life and make choices based on her heart.
Her heart didn’t seem to want to cooperate. She was partly Angelina in her irrational choices, partly Katie in her willingness to make everyone happy, and partly me in her ability to fall for the things she should avoid. But she was not Alicia.
“I’m me,” she whispered. I could barely hear anymore. “I want you to stay for dinner, Lee.”
“Because I want you to. Please.”
I heard a loud sigh come out of him. “All right. For dinner. We’ll decide from there. But it’s mostly because I want to see my mates since I’m still royally peeved at you.”
“Yeah,” she said sadly and I jumped further out of the way as the door opened.
“Like I said,” said George loudly, “the Tornadoes are going to take it and go to the Cup game.”
“You always predict a team for the Cup when you’re making up a conversation,” Lee muttered and slid into an empty seat between the twins. “You’re such a bad liar.”
“Katie tells me that too,” George replied soberly.
“If you wouldn’t lie about things like color preferences for the wedding, I wouldn’t have to call you a liar,” she said, sticking her tongue out at him, but I could tell she was irritated about it.
“So,” Mr. Spinnet said loudly. “It’s nice to meet you, Lee.”
“You as well,” Lee said, trying his best to be polite but his eyes were focused on Alicia’s reddening face from her seat beside Bastian.
“Tell me,” Mr. Spinnet said, “you go to school with Alicia then? Why haven’t I seen you around?”
“My family goes on a lot of summer holidays,” Lee replied, temporarily letting Alicia drift from his mind as he smiled. “After that everyone is usually at Katie’s for a few weeks and I meet up there. But this year I wanted to come home a few weeks earlier for a couple special things and to see Alicia since I had a reason to come back.”
“Good thing,” muttered Fred. Angelina elbowed him in the side.
“Well, I’m glad to meet you. So you lot are in the same year?”
Lee nodded heavily. “Yeah, finally going to be seventh years next year. I can’t believe it.”
“We were just talking about futures before you got here,” Mr. Spinnet said lightly, motioning to me. “Jane said she might want to be an editor for a Quidditch magazine.”
“Did you, Janey?” Lee asked, cocking a brow in my direction. “I never knew that. I guess after finding out you never learned to fly nothing can come as much of a shock anymore.”
“Do you have any plans for after you graduate?” Mr. Spinnet put some vegetables on his plate.
I felt bad for Lee at that point. He had no idea what he was getting into—the act he had to follow. I wanted to do something to avert the attention—quick, I could do jumping-jacks on top of the table and shower Angelina in broccoli. Anything to keep Lee from answering. Anything to keep him from getting looking down upon like I had been during dinner with Oliver’s parents.
“Oh yeah,” he said excitedly. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to go into business with Fred and George. They’re right geniuses, but I’m sure you know that. They’ve offered me a good job in their shop—well, maybe shops depending on how popular they are.”
“No Quidditch then?”
Lee shook his head. “I’m the commentator right now for Hogwarts, but I don’t play. I’m not terrible with a pick-up game, but I just don’t have the talent these people have. Especially Alicia, she crushed most of the Ravenclaw team during our last match.”
“It’s true,” Oliver cut in and I sighed happily. “After Angelina got injured and I had Katie tailing her, Alicia stepped up and scored most of the goals.”
“That’s great to hear,” Mr. Spinnet said. He looked happy, but anyone could see the disappointment in his eyes for having his neice’s boyfriend express the desire to work in a joke shop while the suitor there for her heart wanted to take her to the highest peaks and spend money on diamonds and ice sculptures and other absurd things that no doubt Bastian would think of.
A little part of me wondered why Oliver hadn’t given me anything from the heart like flowers or diamonds or things that Quidditch superstars could afford. Or at least a piece of bubblegum. Did he think now that he had me I wasn’t going away? What if I met someone better? He would have to hold on tight.
Oliver didn’t seem to be thinking the same thing as he finished off his plate and placed it in the sink. “So what now?” he asked to the quiet table, regaining his captain authority as if we were sitting in front of our lockers with scarlet robes pressed against our skin.
“Should we go catch fireflies?” Angelina suggested.
“Are they out?” Fred asked.
She placed her plate in the sink and peered out the window. “There are a few out there. Grab some jars!”
“Alicia,” Mr. Spinnet said, “would you mind cleaning up?”
The twins grabbed a handful of jars and the rest of us left Alicia to the dishes and walked out onto the deck. It was chilly but I wrapped my sweatshirt around my arms and turned to Angelina.
“Let’s do this girls against guys,” she said loudly. “That’ll make it fun. That, and the girls can prove yet again that we’re better.” Angelina beamed and Fred rolled his eyes.
Though it sounded silly to me, the appeal was beating Oliver. It was rare that Oliver had anyone beat him in anything and to have the opportunity sitting right in front of me was tempting. I grabbed a jar for Alicia and me to share when she returned and I let my Seeker-wanna-be eyes adjust to the darkness.
“Think you have a chance?” Oliver whispered.
“Pompous git,” I muttered, prodding him in the side. “If I win you have to agree with me on everything for a week.”
He raised a brow and I knew the stakes had been raised. I almost regretted it just by the devilish smirk that embraced his lips. “All right, Perry. If I win you have to meet me behind the tool shed just after midnight.”
“Because you do.” He opened the lid on his jar.
I was a sucker for the look on his face, so I stopped myself from blushing by turning my attention to Angelina.
“All right. We’re going to catch them for, let’s say, ten minutes and then count them up. Ready?”
“Is Alicia here yet?” Katie asked. “I don’t want to be one girl down—there is already one guy too many!” She laughed.
“You’re telling me,” I muttered George.
“I’m here!” Alicia said, rolling the sleeves down on her shirt. “Did you start without me?”
“No,” I replied, handing her the jar. “We’re sharing.”
“Ready everyone?” Angelina said cheerfully. The twins were sharing a jar. So were Angelina and Katie. Oliver held his own. That left Lee and Bastian next to the fireplace glowering at each other.
I tore off toward the hillside grabbing for the glowing bugs that I so rarely saw. My fingers closed in around nothing for a few minutes as I let the wind whistle through my hair. Alicia was nearby and I saw our jar already had two in it so at least she was doing her job.
Though more than likely she just wanted to get the boys out of her mind.
Oliver seemed determined to win. He rushed over to the nearest patch of trees and I hadn’t seen him so serious about a game since Quidditch. Then I remembered the comment about the tool shed. Did I really want to win? That tool shed sounded a lot more interesting.
But what if he wanted…what if he was thinking about…?
I grabbed two fireflies at once. Oh, hell no. I wasn’t losing. Not now. I couldn’t. Not tonight.
“How many do you have there?” Alicia said, gaping at me as I shoved four into the jar. “You’re catching them like it’s a competition for a country’s happiness or something.”
“Happiness is an interesting word,” I said, out of breath as I tore off toward the pond.
Lee was over there grabbing a few near the water and Bastian was a few feet away. The twins were not too far to their left, catching fireflies by making weird noises and jumping out from behind trees. I doubted it was very effective, but it made me giggle nonetheless.
“I have a few more,” Lee said dully and Bastian handed him the jar. I saw two fly out. “Whoops,” he said.
“Watch it, man,” said Bastian, screwing the lid on tight.
“I could tell you the same thing,” snapped Lee, turning his back and going for another one.
Who had the idea to have them share a jar?
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Bastian stood there in the sand, one hand on his left hip and the other hand holding the glowing jar. “I don’t have to watch anything—I have everything I need.”
“Not yet you don’t,” Lee muttered in return, grabbing another bug. He grabbed it so hard it was squished in his hand and his skin was a pasty yellow for a moment.
I grabbed another firefly and held it in my palm.
“What’s standing in my way?” Bastian asked quietly. “A formality? An over-tempered boyfriend back from Russia? I’ve competed in Quidditch against more than that.”
“I could take you,” Lee said, a bit louder this time. He still didn’t turn around, but I noticed the twins were listening now.
“Oh right, and where are you going in life?” Bastian asked. I could tell this was a side of him even he rarely saw as his face filled with so much color that I could openly tell in the darkness. I felt Alicia as she walked up beside me in silence with the jar. “The back room of a joke shop?” Bastian sneered a bit.
“Hey!” cried Fred suddenly and both boys turned. “That’s our joke shop you’re ragging on!”
“I want to give Alicia what she deserves,” said Bastian, ignoring Fred, “and that is a life of luxury. She’s special and it’s obvious you have no idea.”
“I want to give her what she deserves too,” Lee said. His voice was quiet and I could barely hear him over the sound of Angelina laughing from the cottage. “She deserves better than just money and trips and jewelry. She deserves to be taken care of—and not in the way you want to do it.”
“You want to pamper her and show her off while everyone pays attention to you!” Lee shouted. “Alicia doesn’t need that. She has never needed that. She’s the one that deserves the attention. She’s special enough for an entire group of people and I won’t have her following someone around when it should be the other way around.”
Bastian gaped at him for a moment. “You’re out of your mind. I want to give Alicia everything and you’re going to give her a sappy speech.”
I took Alicia’s hand in my own and squeezed it.
“I want to love her,” Lee said, barely above a whisper.
Alicia shook beside me. I reached over and hugged her tight, smoothing out her hair as she trembled against my shoulder.
“Time’s up!” Angelina shouted from the cottage. “Fred, you better have a lot because I have so many!”
I quickly steered Alicia away before the boys saw we were standing there and I let her stand behind the fireplace so no one would see she was sobbing. I handed Angelina the jar and put my arm around Alicia again.
“All right—Oliver got fifteen.” Angelina paused. “That’s ridiculous. Was that jar all yours?” Oliver nodded. “Okay then. Lee and Bastian got four. Fred and George got eight. What happened? I thought you lot went over by the woods?”
Fred shrugged, looking at the ground in a very un-Fred-ish way.
“Fine then.” Angelina let the fireflies go from the boys’ jars and went to ours. “Jane and Alicia managed twelve. Jane, I saw you running all over the place, that’s horrible.” I tried to smile but it didn’t come. Oliver’s eyes were searching me. Angelina’s finger pointed to the little glowing bugs in her own jar. “And Katie and I ended up with fifteen like Oliver.” It took her a moment to do the math, but when a smile erupted on her lips I couldn’t help but let one onto mine as well. “The girls win by one. How’s that feel, Fred?”
Angelina looked horribly put out. Lee was sulking on the other side of the fireplace. Bastian looked murderous. The twins had identical looks of irritation. Though I smiled, Alicia clung to me, still shaking a bit. Oliver allowed a smile because he had no idea what had happened, but otherwise the game had lost all appeal even though Oliver would be agreeing with me for a week.
I didn’t seem to care at all.
“I think I’m going to go to bed,” whispered Alicia, trying to wipe her eyes on her sleeve.
“Good idea,” I said, walking with her toward the door. I didn’t let anyone in after her and I turned back to the group. “Alicia’s going to bed.”
Angelina nodded slowly.
“Could I go in and talk to her?” asked Bastian.
I shook my head. “She’s not feeling well. I think she needs to be alone.”
He nodded politely. “With that being said, I think I’ll go down by the beach and watch the stars for a bit.” He walked off in the other direction and disappeared on the other side of the hill.
“This is just getting ridiculous,” said Angelina, tossing the last jar into the grass. “What are we supposed to do?”
“I’m going to take a leaf out of Alicia’s book and turn in for the night,” said George.
“Oh yeah, you’re nice and worn out after picking on Bastian the whole day,” said Katie in irritation. She folded her arms and George shrugged in return.
“I’m with him,” said Fred and the twins retreated inside followed slowly by their girlfriends. Katie picked up the jars before returning to the cottage and closed the door with a snap behind her.
“I think I’m going to take off,” Lee said from beside the fireplace. “I don’t think this is going to work.”
Oliver sighed loudly and took a seat on a chair under one of the umbrellas.
That was his way of stepping back and letting me have my way. Of agreeing with me.
“Don’t,” I said suddenly and Lee raised a brow. “Don’t go, Lee. I know it doesn’t look like it now, but this will be over soon.”
“How do you figure?”
“Alicia and I heard you and Bastian down by the lake.”
His ears went red. “I didn’t mean for her to hear that.”
“She started crying,” I explained slowly. “She loves you, Lee. I promise you that. But if you leave I think she might forget it.”
“Why should I have to stick around for her to remember she fancies me?”
I frowned. “Because you’re a stupid boy and stupid boys don’t understand conflicting emotions. She’s stuck between two people that really care about her. But she heard you. She heard you and she needs time.”
He didn’t seem entirely convinced.
“Look,” I said impatiently, “if she doesn’t pick by tomorrow you can go on home and sulk in peace.”
“Fine.” Lee folded his arms. “I guess I’ll turn in too then. No point in being out here with the Brazilian prat-bag.” He pulled open the door and went inside.
I turned to Oliver. “That went all right,” I said quietly, plopping down on his lap and smoothing the hair away from his face. It hadn’t been cut for a while and it was spilling over his ears. “Maybe he’ll do the smart thing and sneak into the sunporch and talk to her tonight.”
“Lee? The smart thing?” Oliver cocked a brow at me and kissed me. “We’ll see how it turns out. It’s in Alicia’s hands now. No more meddling.”
“Tell that to Fred and George,” I muttered, leaning my head onto his shoulder. I was silent for a moment, watching the fire burn beside us, and then I thought of something. “Why did you want me to meet you behind the tool shed?”
My stomach jolted.
“Because I wanted to snog you senseless since you’ve been worrying about Alicia and haven’t had enough time for me.” Oliver tucked a piece of hair behind my ear.
“That’s quite a good reason,” I said, nodding. “But I won. So now you have to agree with me for a week.”
“A whole week?”
“Okay, we’ll cut it to a few days.” I smiled warmly. “But I think I should get to bed since I don’t want to wake up the girls when I go inside.”
He groaned. “All right, but you torture me, woman.”
I beamed and kissed him right below the earlobe to drive him wild. He scowled at me and I turned, walking back into the cottage and looking back for a second before I closed the door behind me.
It was quiet when I got to the sunroom and I could hear Katie snoring from her place on the floor. I slid into my blanket and stared at the ceiling. I could still see around the room since the moon was shining through one of the windows and I tried to close my eyes but failed. It must have been late by then and I found myself drifting in and out of sleep for a while, tossing and turning and listening to Angelina mumble things about freckles from the other side of the room.
My watch read a little after eleven-thirty when the door opened slightly and I watched Lee Jordan wander into the room. Everyone was asleep and I saw him tiptoe over Katie, stifling a laugh, and step around Angelina. He slid in next to Alicia and put an arm around her.
I sat up. Lee jumped. “Don’t worry,” I whispered and Alicia yawned, stirring. “I’m going for a walk.” I gave him a thumbs-up and left the room, closing the door quietly behind me. I leaned up against it and pressed my ear to the wood.
“Alicia?” Lee’s voice was quiet and urgent.
“Lee? What’re you doing in here?”
“I just…I wanted to see you. I’m sorry.”
“What in Merlin’s name are you sorry about?” She yawned again. Angelina mumbled something. “I am the sorry one. I’ve screwed everything up.”
“I’m sorry for not being what you wanted.”
I pressed the tears out of my own eyes.
“You are what I want,” she whispered. “It was all so unexpected. I just got caught so off guard. I didn’t know what to do and then you were gone and he was here and…bollocks, I always screw things up.”
“I’m not giving up. I’m staying. Maybe I thought I would, but I’m not. You have some pretty loyal friends.”
I could almost hear the smile in her voice. “They’re something else,” she whispered.
“I love you, Alicia,” Lee said quietly and desperately. “I always have. And even if you want to spend the rest of your life with diamonds and a Quidditch star husband, I’ll always love you.”
Alicia was crying on the other side of the door. I heard her choke back sobs and I held back my own. “I love you, Lee.”
With that, I stood up and left the cottage for a few minutes, walking out toward the hill. Bastian wasn’t there anymore and I stared at the reflection of the moon, beaming to myself. Alicia wasn’t stupid. She knew Lee was right for her, but there was something about a gorgeous Brazilian Quidditch star that she couldn’t resist. But love outplayed that.
It just took her a little longer to figure out.
“Fancy that tool shed snog?”
I whipped around and found myself in the arms of Oliver Wood. He was wearing soft shorts and a cotton shirt and his hair was ruffled from trying to sleep.
“What’re you doing out here?” I asked quickly.
“Couldn’t sleep with George rolling all over the bleeding place. What about you?”
“Lee came to visit Alicia.” I beamed.
“So you called it,” Oliver said with a smile.
“Things are as good as settled,” I replied and wrapped my arms around him. I could feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand as I kissed his cheek.
“And what about with us?” He pulled me close and his left hand found its way to my lower back.
“As for us,” I replied slowly, “we can go behind the tool shed for that snog.”
“Now that’s what I like to hear.”
A/N: I hope everyoned liked that one. It's actually one of my favorites just because of the emotion driven into it. Please let me know what you think :) I love to hear it, especially on the Lee/Alicia situation. I do love them...
Thanks again to everyone who has been giving their feedback on both this story and Breaking the Quidditch Code. I have this one planned up until 15 right now and Breaking the Quidditch Code planned up until 28 so things are going really well. You guys are so amazing which is why I love updating for you all!
So anyone else want to meet Oliver behind a tool shed?
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