for chrisfack, because she's Amanda. haha.
I froze. I couldn’t figure out any other reaction considering Oliver bleeding Wood was standing across the store staring right back at me. Freezing seemed like the thing to do, especially since Alicia was doing it too. She stiffened even more beside me.
There was so much loathing welling up inside me, but I had no idea why. Usually when I hated someone I had a reason for it. I looked from his tousled hair down to his shirt and to his hands clasping the hanger so hard his knuckles were white. I wanted to hate him so bad—but really, what did I hate him about?
Well, he was a sodding jerk when we fought. He even stuck up for Bridget.
Yes, that was what I was upset about.
Bugger, I sounded like Katie. This was stupid.
No, I hated
Oliver Wood. He was as bad as…as bad as broom splinters on the Quidditch pitch—no!
No, I was over Quidditch at the moment. We were as broken up as Oliver Wood and me. I couldn’t stand Quidditch either (Well, maybe the Harpies were still okay, but definitely not Puddlemere. Well, their other players were okay but I heard their Keeper was just rubbish).
I couldn’t help myself. I stared. I didn’t know what else to do. My feet were stuck to the floor and my hands were attached to the clothes beside me. Merlin, how stupid was I? I was in a clothing store staring right at my ex. Someone poke me in the eyeball.
Oliver broke the eye contact, turning to the person he was with. It wasn’t (thank the Quidditch Gods) Bridget, but it was a middle aged woman with very good hair and a fancy bow tie. She was biting her lip.
“It won’t work for the shoot, dear,” she said, pointing at the blue shirt beside the green one he was clutching. “Go try on the green one. I think there is a fitting room open.”
Katie and Angelina were standing outside the room, Katie making faces at her dress. How could they not have seen? Or heard?!
“I’ll just try it here,” Oliver muttered, catching sight of them.
My heart sank at his voice—the accent I had once considered so dishy and amazing. Now it made me feel a bit sick. Still I couldn’t move. I wished Alicia would rush me out of here or take me to St. Mungos. At least there I could say something—I could throw something at the pompous git!
He reached down and pulled off his shirt, draping it over the other clothes and I had to stop my jaw from dropping. When I thought Oliver Wood couldn’t possibly work out any more, his body becomes more toned. People could eat
off of that. He ruffled his hair and tried on the green collared shirt, leaving it open in the front. Fuck, he was even tan.
I continued to stare like a stupid girl.
“Oh, Oliver Wood!” The clerk popped her gum one last time and came tearing down the aisles. She was lucky we were the only ones left in there or she would have decapitated someone. “Oh my gosh I can’t believe
you’re in here!”
“I thought this was a Muggle shop,” mumbled Alicia. “Didn’t know we’d have the Shriekers in here. Blimey.”
I watched her stand on her tiptoes and ask for an autograph.
Oliver glanced over to me. He smirked arrogantly. “Of course. Would you like a hug too?”
She squealed. Alicia covered her ears.
“Jane?” she whispered. “Are you okay? Do you want me to escort you out of here?”
I shook my head furiously. I watched his pompous arse wrap the twit clerk in a hug, sticking his face in her hair and signing three different papers for her.
“My mates won’t believe this!” she shrieked.
“Tell them it wasn’t a dream.” He winked at her.
Alicia poked me. “Am I supposed to stand up for you since we’re best mates or are you going it alone?”
I shrugged. “He’s still your friend.”
“Not much of a friend, didn’t go to Katie’s.”
“You didn’t invite him.” I went for another shrug but stopped. “Oh, what am I saying? Hex him if you want! Hell, I do. Bad.” My fists curled tightly around the hanger I held and suddenly I wanted nothing more than to make Oliver Wood feel every ounce of pain I felt while cleaning my entire flat and painting my nails a horrible shade of purple and breaking down completely in front of my best friends. Puffy eyes my sodding ARSE I wanted to hate him more than I hated him my first five years of Hogwarts!
Oliver looked over to me once more and smirked again. “I don’t think the green is going to work for my new spread in Quidditch Weekly promoting the upcoming matches. It might blend too much into the grass. Us famous folk have to stand out, you know.”
I had absolutely no idea how it happened and I (of course) had absolutely nothing to do with my wand appearing in my hand. I would never do something so foolish as send an entire display of mint lipgloss at him, but somehow it happened. He didn’t duck, either.
Most of them broke and Oliver was covered in various shades of mint which were plumpers as well. How exciting.
“Perry!” Oliver roared, gaping at me and trying to unstick his fingers from the gloss. “I thought you were more mature—no, of course you’re not.”
“Safe for you to say after that smirk,” I shot back. “How many fan girls have you been with since? Is it safe to say at least ten because I’ve got a betting pool with Fred and George.”
“You’re so thick headed.” He righted the display with his wand. “So sorry, Lyvine, my ex enjoys making scenes at clothing stores.” The woman nodded and excused herself to the loo to clean up. “You have such a temper. Couldn’t you just go back to doing whatever it was you were doing and ignore me?”
“And miss an opportunity to break the routine of World Famous bachelor Oliver Wood? I couldn’t possibly.”
Alicia laughed from beside me.
“Anyway it’s none of your business who I have been with,” he continued, cleaning the shirts as the clerk watched in horror with new gum. “More than you, I’m certain.”
“Or just box of Bludgers Bridget? Where is she, anyway?”
“She’s up the street in the perfume store—oh, sod off, Perry
“Come on, Wood, don’t want to talk about it?” I leaned forward. I wanted him to snap. I wanted him to try and hex me right there in the shop because I could see in his eyes he wanted nothing more than to do so. “Don’t want to talk about how stimulating a conversation is with her? Or I’m sure you’re looking for the other
type of stimulating, aren’t you?”
“What in the…” Katie appeared beside me with her bag. Angelina was frowning a few feet away. Clearly she did not agree with my lipgloss antics.
“I said sod off, Perry. You’re clearly unbalanced. Your friends should get you out of here before you embarrass yourself further.”
“All calm and put together, aren’t you? You would be though, wouldn’t you?” Why wouldn’t he just snap? How could he be so calm? “You always want people to see something other than reality—you’re a master at covering everything up. Your past, your father, your feelings. What a pro you are, Wood.”
“Don’t bring up my father.”
“Why ever not?” I shot him my best impression of his own pompous smirk. “You brought up my
father during a team meeting.”
It worked. “That was different and—why the fuck am I even talking to you? We’re broken up. Go your separate way. Go practice flying or something. Call up Davies and ask him for lessons on how not to fall off your broom.”
I shrugged. “All right then, Wood.” I turned to the girls. “Ready to go?” They nodded in a way to suggest they were both shocked by my turn of emotion and confused as to why we were leaving (Alicia looked in need of popcorn). Leading the way to the door, I chanced one glance back at Oliver. He was fuming, still cleaning up my lipgloss disaster. He looked up.
“Good luck with Bridget,” I said confidently, pushing open the door. “You’ll need it considering you probably have to read the Prophet aloud for her every morning.”
I ducked as a display of jeweled bracelets went flying for the door and crashed just to my left. “Bye, Wood!”
“You shouldn’t have done it,” Angelina said as we made our way into Diagon Alley for smoothies and cake. “I don’t care he gave you that pompous attitude and provoked you. Jane, it was stupid.”
“I don’t care,” I muttered. I stared at the order board, wondering if I should get mango or strawberry. “I can’t stand him. He knew it would get to me. He wanted me to do it.”
“So that makes it right?” she said.
She groaned. “This thing with you and Oliver has to stop.”
“It did. With lipgloss—well, and jewelry. That could have really hurt if I didn’t have amazing Seeker—I mean, if I didn’t move fast.”
I decided on mango. It was a safe bet and I was ready to place the order when I heard a scream from behind me. I flew around.
Angelina laughed since she was being practically mauled by Fred. He had a tight grip around her waist and their lips locked almost immediately. “What are you doing here?” she cried, hugging him again.
“Doing a little Quality Quidditch Supply sale shopping,” he said. “You girls are looking wonderful. New makeup?”
I chuckled. “Good to see you, Fred. How have you been?”
“Fantastic. Okay, well, not so much but it’s always better to tell people you’ve been fantastic.” He glanced at the smoothie sign. “I’ll have a peach.”
“Mango for me!” I said, paying for the pair and letting the girls order.
“Janey, feeling any better lately? You look good.”
“Good now that I just threw a whole display of lipgloss at Wood.” I beamed.
“What? Why?” Fred lowered his voice as the girls fought over which flavor they wanted and how much cake they could fit in their faces. “What happened?”
I told him about the shopping experience (even that obnoxious fangirl) and ended with a huge rack of crystal jewelry flying at my head. “He’s unbalanced.”
“He did that to you?” Fred made a face. “That’s a bit crazy, isn’t it?”
“Well, I did throw the lipgloss.”
Fred frowned. “Are you okay though?”
“Oh yeah. I, unlike him, know how to duck.” I smiled, grabbed my smoothie from the counter, and helped Fred pick a table under a beige umbrella. “It wasn’t bad…I just saw him and everything came back, you know? It’s not the same as seeing him in a stupid magazine or on television. He just—well, he pissed me off.”
Fred draped an arm around me. “Good on you then. He seriously has a lot of nerve though—oh, Ang, do sit next to me. My left side was a bit cold and I was hoping you’d warm it up for me.”
She nestled in beside him and Katie took the seat beside me.
“How’s Lee?” Alicia said, practically drooling on the table to figure it out. “He hasn’t sent me a letter since you boys left. Has be found a new woman?”
“He’s bleeding annoying, that’s what he is,” Fred replied. “Always whining—why can’t we go back? Leesh is gunna murder me! Blah blah blah
, I don’t care. He’s a complainer, that Lee. Get him out of that habit, will you?”
“I would if I could see his sorry arse.” Alicia smiled.
Fred rolled his eyes. “Get on your broom and do it then! Am I forever going to be matchmaker? Ang, make them stop.”
She laughed and patted Fred delicately on the head. “Aw, let the poor boy relax. He’s had a tough week I’m sure.”
My head wheeled around so fast I was sure my neck snapped. There was Katie, poking at her smoothie with the end of her straw, not making eye contact with the rest of us. She looked coy, staring down at it, and I could barely see her bite the corner of her lip. She needed some of that mint lipgloss; her lips were looking a bit chapped.
Fred gaped at her. “Erm, he’s…well, he’s breathing. Being a right pain in my arse, but he’s breathing.”
“Um. Good then.” She swished the smoothie around more with her straw.
I stared down at my own mango drink. I couldn’t stop thinking about him—something that made me even more furious. I wanted to erase Oliver Wood from my head. That didn’t work the first time, though because he just showed up in a Muggle clothing store (with a witch clerk, damn it) picking out collared shirts for a photo shoot. What right did he have taking off his shirt right there in the store?
He wanted me to think about him. He wanted me to think about him with his sodding shirt off. I wasn’t going to give him that satisfaction even though I couldn’t get the damn image out of my head. It certainly wasn’t my fault he went to practice every bleeding day and worked on all those muscles. I thought his muscles had muscles, but in a sexy Scottish sort of –NO! Not in that way at all.
In an I hate his fucking guts
sort of way.
“Janey, you okay?” Fred leaned down while Angelina scolded Alicia for ditching the straw and pouring the smoothie in her mouth.
“Me?” I paused, thinking. “Not really.”
He surveyed me. “Neither am I.”
Katie was silent all the way up until Fred left. He had a fake smile planted on his face as he walked the opposite direction out of The Leaky Cauldron and I was certain there was more baggage on his back than need be. I felt it on my own as well.
“I bet George keeps talking about how horrible I am,” she said and this time her voice was filled with an irritation like mine was while fighting with Oliver.
“Mmmm,” Angelina said, careful not to tread on anything. We turned down another street, looking for shops.
I held my breath as we passed the only perfume shop on that street. I glanced inside. It was closed that day. What in Merlin’s name?
“It’s not like I did anything absurd anyway. Things fell apart. Am I right?”
I rechecked the hours. Definitely wasn’t open at all.
“Sure,” Alicia said. “Shall we check in here?”
“He’s just not the right guy for me. He’s not. I’m over him. I’m ready to get back out in the dating world.”
“I don’t think we should,” I said lightly. I stared through the shop window Alicia was in front of. “I was in here a few weeks ago and the sizes are so strange I couldn’t find anything.”
“Could you lot just listen to me for one bleeding second?” Katie cried, making a few passers stare. “Everyone listens to Jane go on about Oliver but no one listens to me talk about George!”
“Don’t make this about me,” I snapped, continuing on. “You have your own issues and I’m not involved.”
“How can you even say that?” Katie said. “You’re supposed to be my best friend!”
“Not if you’re attacking me every time I turn around!” I stopped and turned back toward her. Ang was looking skeptical and Alicia nearly rolled her eyes. “Why are you on my arse anyway? What did I do to you?”
“This is ridiculous! I break an engagement
and you’re throwing lipgloss at your ex boyfriend! What are you even fighting over? You both panicked and got stubborn? That isn’t news to anyone but you.”
I gaped at her. This was not Katie. I knew she was going through a hard time and therefore did not indulge in my sudden urge to push her into a garbage bin. She was all out of wack with this George situation, but that didn’t make me any less angry with her.
put this on me!” I yelled. Alicia grabbed for my arm. “You’re the one who broke up with George over fucking napkins!
Give me a break, Katie. And I thought Ang and Fred broke up over something stupid. Napkins? Yeah, napkins and you were so caught up in having the perfect relationship you never bothered to take the next step and have a real damn relationship since you got engaged! And you know what is so messed up?” I paused, taking a deep breath and Alicia dragged me back a few steps because Katie and I were staring daggers at each other. “It’s so messed up that it took your pointless, ridiculous breakup for me to realize mine and Oliver’s was just as fucking stupid!”
With that I turned and marched back up the street.
“Jane?” Angelina called after me. “Does this mean we’re done shopping because judging by your complexion and Katie’s white knuckles I think it does.”
“Yeah, Ang. It does.” I narrowed my eyes. “I’m going to hit the loo in here and apparate back to Katie’s.”
“Are you talking about me?” Katie screamed. Her hair was sticking up a bit.
“Yes! I’m talking about you and your damn
Ang put a hand over my mouth. “Let it go, Jane. You know what she’s going through right now. Let it pass.”
I knew she was right. As much as I wanted to scream at Katie and throw lipgloss at her, I knew Angelina was right and I knew if I was in her position I would (unfortunately) be making the same stupid mistakes. I also knew she was doing it because she knew no matter how much she got under my skin, we would still be best mates.
Damn that logic.
I pushed past a few people shopping and comparing bra sizes as I made my way to the loo with the girls following close behind. I could hear the huffs and the moment I was sure no one was peeking through their stall, there was a loud crack and I was gone.
I threw my clothes in a bag, frustrated, and even managed a paper cut on one of the custom décor cards on the bedside stand. Bugger. I didn’t care about wrinkles as I tossed in dresses and sweaters and slippers. I just wanted some time away from being constantly harassed by the engagement-breaker. Okay, that was harsh. By Katie. But still, she was being an annoying sod.
“Leaving?” Ang leaned against the doorway. “I think we’re all heading out in a little bit. Turns out the time at Katie’s was a bit of a recipe for disaster.”
“Agreed,” I said with a brief smile. I grabbed for my underwear. “I think I’m going to go meet Amanda or whatever my dad wants me to do. I’m sure she won’t get on my nerves about Wood.”
“She was just being Katie, you know.”
“I know, which is why I don’t hate her or anything. I just need to get out of the line of fire.” I stuffed them in my bag and turned to her. “I hope she knows I’m not peeved at her or anything, I’m just peeved in general.”
“Did you mean what you said about Oliver? About you realizing your breakup was rubbish?”
I nodded slowly. “Unfortunately, yeah.” Averting my gaze downward, I sighed. “So thanks for that, Kait.”
Ang chuckled. “Things will blow over, Jane. They always do with us. We’ll just take some more time to enjoy summer and you can go spend time with Mr. Perry and try to avoid magical things while talking to his new girlie friend.”
I was about to reply when I saw a familiar red head appear at Angelina’s side. She jumped, falling back against the door frame as she stared up at Fred Weasley.
Only, he didn’t look like Fred Weasley. His hair was tossed like a mop on his head and there were scratches failing to blend in with his litter of freckles. There was also a bruise appearing below his right eye and his robes looked messy and torn.
“What in blazes happened?” Angelina breathed, taking his tattered clothes into her hands. “Oh my god, Fred!”
He made a face. “I just wanted to see you off since I’ll be keeping George from destroying the Burrow for the next couple days.”
“Did George do this?” Ang gasped.
“No, of course not.” He looked down. “So, yeah. Erm, it was good seeing you again, Janey. Ang, well, I love ya, woman.”
“Fred, what the hell happened?” Angelina was on the edge of her rope, not nearly yelling.
“I cornered him, okay?” Fred admitted, backing away and looking ashamed and humiliated. “I got peeved at Wood for being such a dick to Jane and I went and confronted him about it. He was ace cool about it, but that pissed me off more considering what he’s done to her—and I lost my temper a bit.”
“Fred, tell me you didn’t.” I put my face in my hands.
“So I sort of whipped out my wand and hexed the cheeky git, but he got me back. You can tell. He told me I was a loon because you were the one that hurt him, but in the end he gave me some ice because he appreciated how protective I was.” He groaned. “I feel like a right git.”
“You know you don’t have to take sides just because we broke up,” I explained. “I’m still friends with George even though him and Katie broke up.”
Fred sighed. “I know. I just—you can just see it in your eyes how much he hurt you. I can’t stand that.”
“You’re ridiculous, Fred. I threw a display at him. I think he’s injured enough for one photoshoot outing.” Chuckling, I patted him on the back. “Thanks, though. It’s nice to know you care enough to attack your ex Quidditch Captain.”
“I do care. I think it was the shorts that brought it on, really.”
“Oh, don’t you start with my legs, again! Snog your woman so I can get going!” I laughed and stuffed a jacket into my bag so Angelina and Fred could kiss by the door.
Even though I couldn’t believe what Fred did in my behalf, it made me feel much better. After zipping my bag I gave him a huge hug. “Thanks, Freddie, even though you got your arse kicked. You made me feel better about panicking and being stubborn.” Ang shot me a look. “I’m sure I’ll talk to you soon—we’re still on for the Burrow, right?”
“We’re always on for the Burrow, Janey.” Fred grinned. “Tell your pops I said hello. It’s a shame we haven’t been by yet but with George in a right state I don’t think it’s a good idea. He’ll just tell George exactly what I’ve been telling him—he’s a right git.”
I nodded. “Keep telling him. Maybe it’ll sink in.” I hugged Ang. “I’ll see you soon.”
“Alicia and Katie are in the lounge. I saw them disappear in there while you were packing.”
“Do I have to?” I moaned.
She nodded like a mother. Bollocks.
Lugging my bag over my shoulder, I left Ang and Fred to snog in the vacant bedroom while I trudged to the second floor lounge. Alicia was repacking her suitcase, positioning every t-shirt correctly so the bag didn’t bulge. “I’m off then,” I said coyly.
Katie glanced up from her knitting table. “Oh. All right then. Tell your dad I send my love.”
“Will do,” I said awkwardly. Alicia came over for a hug. “I’m sure we’ll meet up again soon before school starts.”
“At the Borrow?” Katie nearly snorted. “I’ll just see you lot after that. I’m sure there will be things—I know my parents are talking about some fundraiser or another.”
I shrugged. “Sounds good. Well, see you.” I hurried out, feeling more awkward with my friends than I ever had. What a horrible day. It was the first time in a long time I was glad to be separated from them for a while.
That feeling didn’t last a terribly long time once I dusted off my clothes outside of the flat door. I pushed it open. “Dad! I’m home!”
“Pumpkin? I’m in the kitchen, come on in!”
I tried to put on a smile, but I felt horrible. I wanted to crawl up in bed and sulk for several hours since my mind was focused on Oliver and Katie and the girls and Fred. What rubbish it was! At least I would get a chance to spend quality time with Dad and tell him all about the breakup and how Katie and George broke their engagement over napkins and—bugger.
Lou Beckett was in the kitchen.
She looked nervous as she helped Dad chop various vegetables by the sink.
“Hi there, honey. I didn’t know you were coming home tonight.” Dad smiled. He was wearing a green apron. “Want me to make you something to eat?”
I shook my head. “I’m not hungry, thanks. Good to see you again…erm…”
“Call me Lou.” She smiled warmly. “Are you sure, though? We’re making pasta salad with all of this.”
“I’m fine. Um.” I had no idea what to say. Dad still didn’t know Oliver and I broke up and I wasn’t about to go through a monologue about Katie and George while Lou was chopping green beans for pasta salad. “Actually I had a pretty rough day so I might just go to sleep early.”
“Oh! Oh, lovely, Amanda’s in your room now.”
Lou smiled. “My daughter. She’s a bit younger than you, but I’m sure you’ll get on quite well. Just tell her you’re going to sleep and she’ll rush on out of there.”
I wanted to ask why the hell Lou’s daughter I hadn’t met was hanging around my room, but instead after seeing the laughter in my father’s eyes while chopping, I changed my mind. Instead, I carried my bag down the hall and pushed open my bedroom door.
Amanda was a short girl with mousy brown hair and a plump face. She had on an outfit of blue while poking around in my desk drawers and jumped a few feet when she noticed I walked in.
“Oh!” she cried. “You must be Jane.”
“I am Jane. And everything in this room belongs to me.” I surveyed her and set my bag down gently on my bed. “That includes the items in that desk and the slippers on your feet.”
She blushed. “I was just looking.”
“And trying on apparently.” I rolled my eyes. Even though I liked Lou, that didn’t mean I had to enjoy her daughter (especially when her feet were in my slippers). I took a deep breath. Okay. I could give her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps my mind was clouded from being irritated with Katie and fighting with Wood.
“So you like fiction?” Amanda continued her quest about my room and even checked a shelf for dust.
“Fiction? I suppose.”
“I was just wondering about the books in your trunk. If I had a trunk full of strange things I would definitely lock it or Mum would think I was loony. Are you loony, Jane?” She motioned toward my now open trunk which was packed with spell books and potions ingredients.
“What a nice question to ask someone when you first meet them.” I shut the lid of my trunk and locked it manually. It had been a while since I’d done it without use of the wand currently residing in my pocket. It was hard giving Amanda the benefit of the doubt.
She couldn’t be older than fifteen. I knew this because of the way she carried herself. It reminded me of Danny Ellis strutting about the castle.
At least I didn’t have any other objects out she could annoy me with. I sighed, ready to tell her I was going to sleep early and she’d have to snoop around in the living room instead (honestly, did Dad think it was a good idea to let the girl run around in my room?), but she cut me off.
“I really love this skirt.” She held up the clothing item previous stuffed into the back of my wardrobe. “Can I borrow it?”
I glanced to my left. The doors to my wardrobe were open and every article of clothing was sorted into piles based on color and hung based on cut. I groaned. “No, you can’t borrow it. You can, however, scoot your nonfiction-loving arse out of here so I can go to sleep.”
A/N: Holy crap Oliver! Shirtless! Squee moment? I think so.
Thank you all for your amazing reviews, they really help me write and a lot give me random ideas, which is always a good thing with this story. What do you think? Especially about Katie asking about George. I know she wasn't the nicest girlie in this chapter, but like Ang said, she'll get through it. Favorite quotes? Peach or mango?
Next chapter: a guest appearance from a Bludger expert.