Chapter 9 : A Crusting of Cake
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To Allie, for her previous review telling Roger, "No. Get out. No one invited you." haha
My eyes were roughly the size of tea saucers. I stared at Roger for a moment, mouth totally lopsided, and took in his features. He was as tall as I remembered him from a few weeks back, brown shiny hair that fell delicately around his tan face and eyes that could suck anyone in for a fair amount of time. He had a Magpies shirt on that clung to his skin and looked as if it had been washed one too many times and if matters couldn’t have been worse, he was smiling.
“Oh my—Roger!” I said, leaping to my feet, frustration temporarily erased. “My God, how are you?”
His beam widened. “I’m doing great actually—this summer has been fantastic so far.”
The hallway was quiet around us and our voices echoed off the walls.
“Yeah, mine too. It’s been really busy.”
Roger eyed my birthday sash and itchy tiara. “I knew your birthday was right around this time. Finally seventeen, huh? I bet you’re glad you can hex anyone you want now.”
I smirked. “You don’t even know,” I replied with a chuckle, leaning against the wall. “I made things fly around my room this morning and then broke half of them—then fixed them.”
He laughed. I remembered that laugh. “That sounds like a very Jane thing to do. So how are the girls?” I liked that things weren’t awkward. It wasn’t a bad break up. I didn’t hate Roger Davies because he didn’t do anything that warranted hatred and though I never opened up to him, he didn’t hate me either it seemed.
I shrugged. “They’re the girls, you know. Ang is doing just the same, George asked Katie to marry him, and Alicia just spent a few days having to decide between Lee and Bastian…again. So they’re pretty much the same.”
“I just saw Bastian—he looked a bit put out to be honest but now I see why.”
I ran my fingers through my hair and looked down at the floor. What if Oliver walked out that door and saw me talking to Roger Davies in the hallway? That wouldn’t be good. But he was in there chatting with Bridget Dung-head so I lifted my head and continued the conversation.
“Yeah, he was convinced he’d win her back.” I shrugged. “Too bad, though.”
“Poor bloke.” Roger stuck his hands in his pockets. “Good to hear about George and Katie. They really deserve each other. But how has your birthday been so far? Enjoying the Cup? What’re you doing out here in the hallway anyway?”
I chuckled. “Had to get away for a few minutes. It was getting crazy in there and the game is so hard to follow.”
“I went to find some painkillers for a headache since I can hardly follow the Chasers.”
“I had a question to ask you,” I said suddenly, remembering what Bastian said before. Roger raised a brow. “Did you end up getting an offer to play professionally? I know you did wonderfully at the Final until I stole the spotlight.”
He chuckled and ruffled his hair for a second. “Actually, yeah. I got picked up by the Magpies; I’m playing for their reserve team now.”
“Wow, congratulations! That’s so exciting!” Even though it was awkward, I reached over and hugged him. Roger smelled like grass and daisies.
He smiled. “Yeah, it’s nice. Our box is a few down and there’s way too much food. Did any of your team get picked up? I know most of them are sixth years but I’d be surprised if Wood didn’t after half of those saves—especially the ones he made on me.” Laughing, Roger shifted his weight to the other leg.
“Actually, yeah. Everyone got at least one offer. The girls all got the Finches, which would have been good for them to play together, but we’re all going back next year.”
“When you say everyone, you mean…”
“Yeah. Me too. I got an offer to play for the Tornadoes reserve team.”
“Jane, that’s crazy! That’s amazing!” Roger placed his hands on my shoulders. “Congratulations.”
“Thanks.” I blushed. “Obviously I’m going back to school and have no desire to go pro since I can hardly stay on a broom, but it was a nice confidence booster of course. And Oliver got an offer from Puddlemere to play on their actual team so that’s why we’re in this box watching the game.”
His lip twitched a bit. “How is Wood then?”
I flipped around. Oliver was standing just outside the door to the Puddlemere box, closing it behind him with a snap. His eyes were on fire and I could see his fingers tightening.
“Good to hear it,” said Roger. “I heard about you getting picked up by Puddlmere. Great team.”
Oliver rolled his eyes and I wanted to hit him. “Thanks. Jane, what’re you doing out here? The time-out has been over for ages.”
I shrugged. “Just wanted to get out of there for a bit.”
“Ang said you were threatened by Bridget.”
My face instantly colored. “I am most certainly not—how could I be? She has less brains than Libby does.”
“Bridget?” Roger asked. “New woman, Wood?”
“She seems to fancy him enough,” I muttered, averting my eyes again.
“No. Not a new woman. I already have a woman and she’s being stupid.” Oliver crossed his arms. “The girls are asking where you are and another round of drinks is being served.”
I shrugged. “I’ll be there in a second.”
He leaned against the door. He wasn’t leaving without me.
What a git.
I turned to Roger, rolling my eyes at the entire situation. “It was nice talking to you, Roger.”
He nodded. “Likewise. Erm, good luck in there.” He made a face.
I snorted. “Like I need it.” I smiled and turned away from him with a brief wave.
“Owl me if you want to catch up sometime, Jane. All I’m doing is training all summer so I have plenty of time.” When I turned back I saw Roger’s bright grin.
“Maybe I’ll do that. Enjoy the game.” Pausing, I pushed the door open to reenter the box. “Oh, and Roger?”
“Go Tornadoes.” With a smile, I disappeared into the box with Oliver purely livid beside me. It was a nice feeling. Now I didn’t have to be jealous or angry or whatever at Bridget. I could just bask in the glow of him being furious at me for conversing with Roger.
Which is all it was. A conversation. With an old friend.
Well, ex boyfriend.
Which could potentially be the same thing.
“What was that about?” Oliver whispered, grabbing my arm and forcing me back toward the bar. I wondered how many drinks he had and settled on at least four.
“What was what about?” I knew I shouldn’t play mind games when he was intoxicated, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t. “I went into the hall for a few minutes and Roger showed up.”
“How else do you think it happened, Oliver?” I asked quietly. “Though I’m sure it was hard to notice anything with Bridget’s head so far up your—”
“I just can’t believe you were out there with him. Him. Of all people.”
“We were talking about our summers!” I countered, louder this time. “I told him about mine. He told me he was picked up by the Magpies. End of story.”
“Conveniently forgot to mention being with me then.”
I rolled my eyes. “We were only talking for a minute or two. Relationship status didn’t come up yet, but I’m sure that was next on the list.” Placing my hands on my hips, I thought about rolling my eyes again. There didn’t seem to be a limit on eye-rolling referring to the stupidity of the conversation.
“Do you think that if Libby was here I’d talk to her?” he snapped.
“Yeah, well, I wouldn’t either,” I said with a lofty chuckle. “She’s a prat.”
“That’s not my point!”
“What is your point, Oliver, because I’m having a hard time seeing it behind the jealousy and suspicion.” Narrowing my eyes, I turned and went back to my seat.
Luckily, Bridget was now nowhere to be found, which I felt meant she went to powder her nose or do something Libby-like and adjust her butt in her dress or something. I flopped down, scowling, and Ang looked over.
“Okay, Jane,” she said in irritation. “It’s your birthday. You’re at the Quidditch World Cup. In a private box. What the hell are you sulking about?”
I tried to turn my attention back to the game. “They shouldn’t serve alcohol here.”
“Why not?” said Fred with a giggle, kissing Angelina on the ear quickly. “It’s brilliant—get us all liquored up so we can celebrate properly and we don’t have to down a bunch of drinks right when the Tornadoes take it!”
“Because people get stupid and irrational when they drink,” I muttered.
“What happened?” whispered Alicia, poking her head over my shoulder.
“I talked to Roger in the hallway.”
I could tell Fred, Angelina, and Alicia almost spit their drinks all over themselves. Fred actually choked for a moment.
“You—what? Why is Dodger here?” Alicia asked.
“He got picked up by the Magpies so he’s in their box I suppose.”
“Did you have a fight? Did he call you a horrible person or something?” Ang asked.
I shook my head. “No, he was lovely actually. We just talked about how our summers had been up until now and I told him about everyone getting offers and he told me about getting an offer to the Magpies. That was it.”
“So why the mood?” said Fred.
“Because Oliver walked out there.”
Angelina made a face. “And that wasn’t good of course.”
“Nope.” I kicked my feet up onto the bar in front of us. “He’s good at getting jealous and snapping my face off.”
“And the alcohol didn’t help I bet.”
“Not one bit,” I replied. Oliver sunk back into the chair beside me with another drink in his hand. The Magpies scored and the box got a bit quieter.
As the game went on things only got worse for me. Everyone around me kept drinking since the Seekers were no nearer to catching the Snitch and I leaned back and watched the blurs on the field. Fred was whispering things into Angelina’s ear and she kept giggling. Katie’s legs were rocking back and forth under her chair and Alicia made up a song about broomsticks and it was rather inappropriate. Lee kept blushing.
Oliver stayed quiet. I stayed quiet.
Bridget, however, did not stay quiet.
After returning from powdering herself or applying eyeliner or whatever it was that red-dressed girls did, she plopped down on the bar directly in front of Oliver. Which meant she was in the way of the game. He didn’t move or speak, just stared where he was looking before. Which was now directly at her chest.
Looking at them.
I wanted to gape at him and throw a quill at his face, but instead I tried to ignore it. He was jealous of Roger for no reason. I wasn’t going to be jealous of Bridget (dung-for-brains-Bridget nonetheless) just because she was throwing herself at him.
And he was looking.
“Oliver, I missed the last goal, who scored it?” she asked in a delicate tone.
“The Tornadoes scored but I’m going to miss the next one if you don’t move.”
There was my boyfriend. Found him.
Bridget made a face. “But Oliver, I thought we could talk.”
“We talk enough—this is the World Cup.” He reached out and pushed her to the side a bit as the Magpies went streaking up the pitch passing the Quaffle at speeds that made our team look like jelly. I wasn’t watching the Chasers, though, my eyes were focused on the hand he put on her waist to move her.
“So, Jane!” Bridget said, changing tactics and I immediately hated her for it. “How long have you and Oliver been together? We don’t get to talk about significant others very often so it’s quite lovely to meet you.”
I groaned. “A few weeks,” I said.
“Only a few weeks? How tragic.”
Angelina coughed from beside me.
“Yes, how tragic indeed,” I said. “But isn’t it unbelievable that as time goes on we end up being together longer? I thought it was purely magical.”
She raised a brow. “What do you like best about him? I think it’s his muscles.” She giggled and put a hand on Oliver’s arm.
That was the arm I touched. The arm muscle I liked. What was she playing at?
“I think it’s his ability to tune out the truly repulsive,” I said slyly.
Alicia snorted and tried to disguise it as a cough as Angelina did. Unfortunately hers failed and she started giggling. Lee covered her mouth.
“I’m not really sure what you mean by that,” Bridget said and I thought I could set an eye-rolling record that day. “I really think it’s his muscles though. And those pretty brown eyes. I’ve been trying to get him to go get drinks with me—as friends of course—for days now but he just won’t listen. Silly, Ollie.”
Yeah. It was Libby. Well, it wasn’t Libby, but it was at the same time. Why did Oliver attract these sort of women?
I glanced down at myself quickly. No red dress. No cleavage. No stupidity. No urge to call Oliver “Ollie”. I wasn’t a Libby, was I? Certainly not.
I thought back to running at him in the hallway of his flat and tackling him to the ground to snog his face off. Did that make me a Libby? Was I going to be a bunny for Halloween next year and not even realize it?
Fred would have a field day with that.
“Why do you think he won’t get drinks with you, Bridget?” I asked and Lee covered Alicia’s mouth again.
“Probably because of you I’m guessing…being you’re his girlfriend and all that.” She folded her arms and looked a bit put out. “But I think that’s silly. We’d just be going as friends. If something ever happened between us it would be a decision because your relationship wasn’t strong enough to compete with our chemistry.”
She looked completely serious. It was apparent she had given it a great deal of thought and I wanted to puke. Oliver didn’t move and Angelina had a look of horror on her face.
With that, I stood up and walked over to the bar. I ordered three shots, downed all three, and then ordered another drink with lemon in it. When I walked back to my seat I realized Bridget had taken it and was now trying to coerce Oliver into getting her a drink. He continued to watch the game as the Tornadoes scored.
What was he playing at? All right, so Bridget was an idiot, but he didn’t set her straight. He didn’t explain to her what was going on like he did to Libby and I knew it was because I had just talked to Roger. Roger wasn’t trying to get me to have drinks with him! He wasn’t telling Oliver that if things happened between us it was because my relationship with Oliver wasn’t strong enough.
I stared at Bridget, wondering if I could fling the lemon at her eyeball and not get thrown out of the box. This was my birthday. She was a twit.
“C’mere, Janey,” said Fred and I glanced up. Angelina chuckled. He waved me over to his seat and I followed, standing in front of him and blocking his view of the game. He patted his lap and dragged me down so I was sitting on him.
Though we were friends I had only sat on Fred’s lap a few times because of death threats from Angelina. She looked as if she was enjoying herself. I glanced at Fred. He was smiling and put an arm around me.
“There,” he said gently, “now you’re getting the birthday treatment. What kind of drink is that?”
I beamed and put an arm around his neck, hugging the freckle-faced git. “It’s a good one, Fred.” Laughing at the wonder of my friends, I turned my attention back to the game in enough time to see the Seekers streaking across the pitch. Everyone leapt up, including Fred, so I was leaning against the bar and watching the Keepers stop in front of their hoops to observe and one Chaser actually dropped the Quaffle.
There was an eruption of cheers through the stadium and on the mega screen the score was updated to 320-200 in favor of the Tornadoes.
I threw my arms into the air, almost spilling my drink, and started screaming, thinking of my dad at home in our flat watching the game on TV. I ordered another drink and downed mine, vowing to enjoy the fact that I was at the Quidditch World Cup even though my boyfriend was a git and I was standing near Bridget.
For the following half hour drinks were passed around the box without stopping. I tried ones with cranberry and something with a chopped strawberry and plenty of straight shots and by the time Oliver’s teammates said good night to celebrate in the tents and Liam kissed my hand I was stumbling with my arm caught in my birthday sash. I chose to ignore Bridget as she leaned against the granite bar and told Oliver about how his eyes shined and I also chose to ignore Oliver as he big headedly told her he knew.
The entire field was in an uproar when we made it back to our tents. Celebrations were going on everywhere and I was handed a drink from someone two tents over. Of course I dumped it out because he told me my hair smelled like lilacs, but it was nice all the same. Fred started a fire and soon we were passing bottles of firewhiskey around and enjoying the sound of Katie singing a song she didn’t know half the lyrics to.
“Janey! Alicia! Here’s your present!”
I looked up and Lee was carrying a box out from one of the tents. He opened it next to me and I gasped, staring at the beautiful cake inside. It was scarlet and gold and covered in an enormous amount of frosting, topped with a wonky looking lion and letters that spelled out, Happy Birthday Jane and Alicia.
“Blimey, this is brilliant!” I cried, reaching over and putting my index finger right into the lettering of my name. I stuck it in my mouth. “And delicious!”
“Jane, you’re horrible,” said Angelina. “Share with everyone.”
I made a face. “I’ll share with Alicia.”
She beamed and stuck her finger in it as well.
Though Oliver laughed with everyone over the win, he didn’t speak to me as the night wore on. I didn’t mind since he had plenty to think about since Bridget asked him numerous times to have dinner with her, but I still noticed it and that irritated me. Things were supposed to be fine between us since we argued at Alicia’s cottage and made up. He arranged a trip to the World Cup for my birthday.
That sort of a gift was so much better than roses from Russia.
Yet I sat around the fire, slightly put out, singing the Tornadoes’ song.
“Janey, are you all right?” Fred asked, sinking down beside me. He put an arm around my shoulders and squeezed.
I stared off toward the others surrounding the fire. Alicia had half her face covered in cake and Angelina helped. George was passing the mostly-empty bottle to Katie as he yelled something about diving techniques and Lee tossed another log onto the pile in the middle. Oliver was sulking silently across from me.
I frowned. “I’ve been better.” I paused, heaving a deep sigh. “You know what’s rubbish about that? It’s my birthday and I’m telling you I’ve been better. I feel like such a whiner.”
He smirked. “If I had people grumpy with me for stupid reasons I’d be whining too I reckon.”
“I just don’t understand it,” I said loudly and the girls looked over. I swayed a bit on my seat and Fred caught me before I swayed too far. “I don’t get why when I don’t do anything wrong I get a shitty birthday. Do you know what the deal is with that, Fred?”
“Karma?” he asked, smiling again. “Maybe it’s because you’re just so beautiful karma wants you to have a craptastic birthday.”
“Good try,” I mumbled.
Suddenly I was angry, the different drinks welling up inside of me. This was ridiculous. Oliver was across from me sulking about what? About nothing. About me talking to Roger for a little bit? Or about Bridget? I hated Bridget. I wasn’t threatened by her.
Yet part of me was.
“Try not to think about it, okay?”
“That’s rubbish!” I said, louder than before. Fred jumped back a bit. Alicia stopped eating her cake. “I’m not going to sit here in a sash and tiara and smile like everything is fine! It’s not. I was having a good time. I even tried not to think about this crazy woman hitting on my boyfriend—I walked away! I’m not threatened by that—eugh! Peanuts have more brains than she does!” I was on my feet, pacing back and forth. Oliver’s eyes were on me. “No. No way. This is my birthday. I wore a blindfold to get here.” I swayed again. “You know what I did? I talked to Roger Davies in the hallway. Shocker, right? I know. Shocker. Guess what we talked about, Fred? We talked about the summer. We talked about Quidditch and teams and the fact that I got an offer from a sodding team. We talked about that.”
Fred looked like he didn’t want to be in the conversation anymore. Poor, Fred.
“He didn’t flirt with me. He didn’t make any attempt to ask me to take him back like Bastian did—we just ran into each other and talked. And what does Oliver do? Yeah, yeah, I’m talking about you—what did you do? You blew this whole situation out of proportion because you’re a cheap bleeding drunk and you don’t trust me as far as you can kick me!” I kicked some sand at him. “I can’t stand this—how could you? I’m going to sulk now, you see this?” I plopped back down beside Fred. “I’m sulking because of Bridget. Even though I know better. Here I am sulking. Watch me sulk, Oliver.”
I pouted, trying to be convincing, even though Fred was laughing into his hand.
“Is that all?” Oliver said, not letting an expression come through on his face.
“Do you have anything to say?” I asked.
“I think you’re being a right git,” he said.
That was when I stood, walked around the fire, and punched Oliver in the arm. I would have hexed him if I remembered where I put my wand, but punching was good for the moment and he flinched, grabbing his muscle.
“What was that for?” Oliver yelled, grabbing my arm and pulling me closer.
“That was for being a good-for-nothing prat on my birthday!” I cried, punching him in the arm again.
To my surprise, Oliver laughed. He pulled me again and I landed with a thump on his thigh. “C’mon, let’s talk,” he said.
“Talk?” I asked angrily. “I just told you everything you need to know—you’re being a prat. I talked to Roger. You let Bridget throw herself at you. You yelled at me stupidly. So I yelled at you. You’re ruining my birthday!”
He wrapped his arms around me and pressed his chin into my shoulder. “Sorry,” he whispered. “I just—you know what I think about him.”
“I do,” I said, my anger sliding down. The others looked away. “But just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean I can’t talk to them. And just because I dated someone doesn’t mean we’re going to find a closet and snog while you’re watching the game.”
Oliver let out a sigh. “Don’t hate poor Bridget.”
“And why not?”
“Because she’s dumber than a box of Bludgers and likes my pretty face.” He smiled.
“I’m not sure why, you’re quite the jerk, Oliver Wood.”
Part of me wanted to keep yelling at him, but I was exhausted. I knew it wasn’t over, especially since he swayed under me and the fire swam back and forth to my eyes, but since we were both still a bit intoxicated I figured letting it go would be the best option. He seemed to think so as well since he rested his cheek on my back and drew hearts with his fingers on my arm.
I should have seen what was coming when I talked to Roger, but I did nothing wrong.
Looking at the tents, I knew immediately I wanted instead the comfort of my four-poster where I could close the hangings and trap myself away from arguing. I should have known it wouldn’t be easy being with Oliver. I knew his attitude since I had a similar stubborn one and both of us conflicted on so many things.
But he wanted what was best for me.
I shivered as he trailed his fingers down my spine.
“About ready for bed?” Angelina asked as the noise died down around us. There were still several parties going on, but for the most part it looked as if four in the morning was the party limit for the Cup.
“I know I am,” said George, stretching lazily. “I’m exhausted. Katie, just pick a color and go to bed. It’s too late to be talking about wedding rubbish. We have too much time.”
She narrowed her eyes from her seat beside Alicia where they were comparing color swatches of pink and green. Alicia still had cake on her face.
“I should be off too then,” I said, standing up. Oliver nearly fell off his chair. “I’m pretty tired. Night then.” I smiled weakly and left toward the tent, spotting a disgruntled Oliver before I closed the flaps behind me.
Okay, so maybe I should have given him a good-night kiss and told him how glad I was we weren’t fighting anymore, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. That image of Oliver leaning toward Bridget over the bar was sinking deeper into my brain (stupidly) and I couldn’t shake it. Sleeping on it sounded like a better plan.
I’d see him alone in the next week anyway in London. We could talk then. We could snog then as well and everyone knew snogging made things better.
I pulled the blankets up over me as Katie threw her pillows around in frustration. Alicia passed out before taking her shoes off. I wondered if writing on her was appropriate, but decided against if after Angelina drew a pair of snitches on her forehead.
“What a day,” muttered Katie, climbing under her own blankets.
“Is that in a good sense or bad sense?” I asked.
“Then I completely agree.” I rolled over and stared at the tent material. I listened to them fall asleep, Katie snoring angrily, and then I heard the pitter of rain drops against the ceiling. Rain could only complete the night.
I turned toward the door and nearly jumped out of my skin.
Oliver pressed his hand to my mouth so I wouldn’t scream. His hair was soaked and I could see the drops on his blue shirt. I glanced around to see none of the girls had woken.
“Are we okay?” he whispered roughly, the Scottish coming through as I smelled alcohol on his breath. “I can’t sleep.”
I tried to smile. “I think so,” I replied, placing his hand in my own. “I feel like I need to sleep on it. I’m just so worked up.”
“What can I do? I feel like a prat for ruining your birthday…not that you’re not entirely innocent…but what can I do?” He looked desperate and sincere, something Oliver hid for the most part in his day-to-day activities.
I scooted over on the bed. “Lay with me.”
“Angelina might hex me.”
“Then you’ll get hexed.” I opened the blankets. “Seriously, come lay with me.”
Smiling, Oliver curled next to me, his arms holding my waist and his breath on my neck. “All right. Let’s fix this tomorrow, okay? I can’t stand being upset with you.”
“Then don’t,” I said, grinning. “I’ll be upset with you.”
He snorted quietly.
A/N: Oh, Roger Davies. What a character he is. And a dishy one at that. I hope everyone enjoyed the chap. I had to take a minor break in studying like insanity to post this and it looks like the break between will be a little longer for the next just since Finals week is next week--but I have about half of the chapter done!
Anyway, I wanted to say thanks for all the wonderful reviews so far! You are all so amazing and it makes me want to write all the time. The weather is perfect today, but alas, I shall write about Wrock and Web Comics for papers instead.
Thanks again, feel free to let me know favorite quotes, scenes, etc. That always helps for the way I continue writing my characters! Happy Almost-May!
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