Chapter 1 : when you're feeling down
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Disclaimer: The title is taken directly from one of my personal favourite ABBA songs, “Take a Chance on Me”.
You love weddings, though you’re not exactly sure why as you are not a very sentimental person. You’ve only ever seen one and that was your sister’s wedding. It didn’t go as smoothly as planned, but you also weren’t on the guest list, and Petunia was a little less than pleased to see you sitting there in the front row next to your parents, who looked more excited to see you than witness their eldest daughter’s wedding to that detestable walrus of a man.
To say that the reception was disastrous is a polite way of putting it.
This time, though, this time, you’re invited and honestly, you can’t wait for the main event. The mere thought of Frank Longbottom marrying his sweetheart sets your heart aflutter and not for the first time, you’re glad things ended between the two of you when they did.
When Alice presented you with the invitation, you were thunderstruck. You aren’t best friends - not by a long shot. She’s two years older than you and much more mature. She’s tall, poised, and elegant whereas you’re short, off the cuff, and unkempt. There is always a genuine smile fixed on her round face; her smile can light up a room. Ninety percent of the time, you’re scowling. However, when you asked her why she invited you, of all people, she laughed, a dainty little sound that made you feel barbaric.
“I wouldn’t have gotten to know Frank without you,” she answered, her kind blue eyes twinkling as she tucked the gold encrusted envelope into your waiting hands.
It’s true. If you hadn’t dumped Frank after six months of dating in your fifth year, Alice wouldn’t have found him in the Owlery, alone and defeated, and they wouldn’t be together. It’s a nice sentiment, knowing that your venomous words are the reason why Alice Harper is finally fulfilling her childhood dream and marrying her knight in shining armour.
Mounting the steps of the quaint church, you cross through the threshold and immediately, guilty strikes you. You try to remember the last time you attended a proper service. It must be three or four years since your parents gave up dragging you out of bed during the summer and forcing you into nice clothes. As you walk down the aisle, looking for an empty seat, you can’t shake the feeling that, from his position on the cross, Jesus is glaring at you for opting to curl up in your bed for a few extra hours of sleep rather than worship Him.
It creeps you out, but you ignore it as an older gentleman scoots down and offers you the seat he’s just vacated. Smiling in thanks, you smooth out the seat of your dress and sit down. It’s a simple number, your dress is. Soft green, made of silk organza. The skirt is flowy, swishy even. It’s perfect for dancing, but you know for a fact that you won’t be of that at the reception. You don’t know how to dance and even if you did, you wouldn’t have anyone to twirl you about, to sweep you off your own feet, which are sure to be aching by the end of the evening. It was rather dumb idea to wear such spiky heels, even if they do make your legs look twice as long.
“Are you by yourself?” the old man asks.
Startled by the sound of his voice, you turn your head in his direction and see that he’s smiling kindly at you. “Yes - well, no. Er, I don’t know?”
The old man chuckles. “Well, which is it? Yes or no?”
“I’m not here with a date, if that’s what you mean,” you explain, feeling silly as a blush stains your cheeks. Red cheeks, red hair. What a combination. “However, I am waiting for a friend.”
“Oh, that’s nice.” He folds his hands in his lap and sighs, tilting his head back to look at the ceiling of the chapel. “This is a beautiful location, don’t you agree?” he says conversationally, glancing at you out of the corner of his eye.
You hum in agreement, too distracted by your minute inspection of the decorations to form a verbal response. There are calla lilies everywhere - secured to the pews with gold ribbons, wrapped around the gold candlesticks strategically placed a few rows apart, shoved into the arrangement on the altar. The sight makes you smile, but it’s a bittersweet smile. Calla lilies were your mother’s favourite flowers and you can still remember bending down, your knees cracking, to lean them against her tombstone.
Blinking away tears, you continue to crane your neck this way and that, noticing Alice’s accent of choice is gold. Gold ribbons, a white runner trimmed in gold piping. There was even gold script on the invitations.
White and gold, gold and white. They compliment each other nicely, you decide as you reach for a hymnal and absentmindedly begin to flip through it. Pretty, but not something that you would want for your own wedding. It’s too mild. When you have your big day - if you have your big day, you want it to be loud, memorable, not soft and generic. Though you must admit that there is something beautiful in the simplicity of the decorations.
On second thought, maybe white and gold isn’t such a bad idea.
Crossing your legs, you bounce your foot in anticipation, both for the ceremony and the arrival of your friend. The old man is still admiring the ceiling, which, had you taken the time to look at it, is quite stunning. All high arches and golden-winged angels. Complimentary lighting included.
Before too long, the anticipation becomes too much and you twist around in your seat, staring down the doorway. Where is he? He’s not the type to keep someone waiting, not when he’s promised to show up. Maybe he’s lost. It’s a pretty difficult church to find, especially since it’s located in the Muggle world. Despite the rationality, you can’t help clenching your fists and gritting your teeth. You aren’t high maintenance person, but you hate being kept waiting.
Finally, after what seems like hours, you see him. The sunlight streaming in from outside provides the perfect backlighting, liberally highlighting the streaks of fading blonde amongst the sandy mess. Immediately, your anxiety fades and your lips pull back into a smile at the sight of his friendly face. Standing, you raise your arm to wave him over, but lower it slightly as soon as you see who’s behind him.
Of all the people in the world, it just has to be him.
You should have expected this. They’re friends, after all, Frank and Potter are, but you have no idea why. Actually, that’s a lie. You know exactly why they’re mates: Frank was captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team and everyone who is anyone knows that Potter’s the best Chaser they’ve seen in years, which explains his Captaincy. Not that his level of skill, which, admittedly, is impressive, matters. No, what matters is that the stupid git himself is trailing behind your plus one, looking entirely too dishevelled to be attending a wedding.
Perhaps stupid git is too strong a phrase.
You don’t hate him quite like you did back in third year, but he’s still annoyingly persistent and immature. But, you remind yourself, he’s also funny when you take the time to listen to what he has to say instead of stalking away when he opens his fat gob. And, as he sees your raised hand, smiles, and tugs on Remus’ sleeve, pointing in your direction, much too handsome in his white button up and freshly pressed black slacks. He looks unbridled without a suit jacket, but, for some reason that’s way beyond your comprehension, instead of making him look sloppy, he looks nice, something you never thought possible for Potter.
Well, you suppose, there’s a first time for everything.
Before you know what’s happening, they’re standing right in front of you. Remus is wearing a smile and, by the looks of it, some of Potter’s clothes; you don’t want to sound mean, even in your head, but they’re too nice to belong to Remus. Briefly, you flick your eyes at Potter, who’s ruffling the back of his black hair, and wonder if he always gives people the clothes off his back or it’s a one-time only deal.
“Sorry we’re late,” Remus says with an apologetic smile. “We got lost.”
“I figured as much,” you laugh, twisting the mood ring Petunia gave you for your tenth birthday around your thumb. It’s old, leaves a green circle around your finger when you wear it, and doesn’t at all go with what you’re wearing, but it has sentimental value and you hardly take it off anyway. “So,” you begin, pinning Potter with a suspicious stare, “who’s fault is it?”
Potter lifts a hand, looking uncharacteristically sheepish. “That would be mine.” His voice is smooth, like honey, but nowhere near as sticky nor as sweet. It’s fluid, like water, but thicker. Richer. You can’t explain it, but even when you were arguing with him, you’ve always thought he had a nice voice.
You raise an eyebrow and snort, but don’t say anything as you want him to continue, if only because you enjoy seeing him make an idiot out of himself.
“I thought the address was 145 Talcum Street, not 154 Tinsel Lane,” he explains with a grimace. “So we went to the chapel there and,” he pauses to exchange a glance with Remus, who looks properly horrified, all colour gone from his welcoming cheeks, “Merlin, I wish we hadn’t.”
Maybe it’s the mysterious note in his voice or the mischievous glimmer in his eyes that piques your interest. You don’t know and frankly, you don’t give a damn. You just want him to get to the point already; you hate to be kept waiting.
“Why? What happened?” you ask eagerly, though there’s a demanding undertone to your voice that you’re not at all sorry about. In the back of your head, you feel like a nag, but you can’t help it. You have to know.
Potter can sense the excitement in your voice and his eyes, a pretty hazel, flash with life. It’s an odd contrast to the frown on his lips. It hardly makes sense, but then you remind yourself that nothing about James Potter seems to make much sense these days and you’re better off leaving it alone.
Before Potter can answer, a gentleman with dark brown hair and cheery green eyes steps up to the pulpit. He’s dressed in a dapper suit, though you think he could do without the ridiculous fedora perched atop his head. Hats went out of style long ago.
“I like his hat,” you hear Potter whisper to Remus.
“Very Connery,” the other boy nods in agreement.
You roll your eyes. Boys.
The man clears his throat and taps the microphone experimentally. “Uh - hullo. I’m Alfred Harper, Alice’s father,” he greets with the same lopsided smile that makes Alice so damn endearing even when you want to punch her in the face. “First of all, thank you so much for coming out today. I can promise you that’s it going to be a very beautiful service. That being said, the ceremony is about to start, so if you would all take your seats, that would be appreciated. Thank you.”
He steps away from the microphone and hurries back down the aisle.
“Well, you heard the man,” Remus says, a wicked gleam in his eyes as he gestures towards the uncomfortable pew. “Sit down.”
You fix him with a fierce glare. “Don’t think you’re getting out of this,” you articulate, swinging your eyes over to Potter, who gives a little start at the force of your gaze. It’s hard to fight off the satisfied smile; at least someone is still intimidated by you.
You wish that Potter would swallow that ridiculous grin on his face, but a part of you, big or small, you’re not sure, but a part of you wishes it would remain in place for a little longer. Though it brings back insufferable memories of the Prat Prince Potter, it’s also cute. Boyish. Normally, you don’t find boyish very attractive, but, you have to admit, it works for Potter. In fact, the whole cleaned-up look works for him. Maybe if he dressed like that more often, you would give him a chance. Possibly even let him take you out and buy you dinner. If it doesn’t go well, at least you get a free steak.
“I wouldn’t dream of it, Evans,” he replies wryly, the boyish grin turning arrogant.
As he takes the seat on the other side of Remus, a grimace overtakes your lips. Just when you think he’s growing up, he whips out the surnames, something you thought was a thing of the past. But apparently not. It’s back to the childish name-calling and petty arguments that, no matter how much you deny it, deep down, you find enjoyable.
However, when the organ begins to play, the frown falls from your face, replaced by a wide, excited grin. You feel like a child about to ride her first rollercoaster, you’re so giddy.
The first of the bridesmaids and groomsmen make their way down the aisle. The bridesmaids dresses are very pretty, a soft gold with white trimming, and the groomsman looks incredibly handsome in his tux. By the time Alice is escorted down the aisle on her father’s elbow, tears are brimming in your eyes. She looks like a vision, Alice does, in her puffy, princess-like wedding gown and with her honey locks pulled back from her face.
Beside you, Remus sucks in a breath of air and leans down to whisper to you, “She looks stunning.”
“Yeah,” you agree, too caught up in the moment to say much else. Your foot twinges, but you ignore it. Stupid heels.
As Alice’s father gives his daughter away to Frank, you suddenly remember why you love weddings. There is something so powerful, so profound in watching two lovers commit to each other, in witnessing the exchanging of vows and the first kiss as husband and wife. Watching the newlyweds take their first steps to the rest of their lives together.
A tear slips out of your eye and when you go to wipe it, you take a glance at Potter, imagining him up at the altar wearing the same expression of unabashed joy that’s on Frank’s face, though you’re not sure why. The moment passes and the priest instructs you to sit down. Smoothing the seat of your dress, you focus on the ceremony, refusing to look in Potter’s direction, even though every nerve in your body wants you to.
You’ve always been good at ignoring things, like how horrible the Cannons are and the blatantly obvious.
After Alice and Frank dash through a rice rain shower to the horse drawn carriage waiting for them at the end of the sidewalk, it’s time for the reception. The reception is being held at a separation location that, according to the usher you asked on your way out, is only a few blocks away from the chapel. So, once the newlyweds’ carriage takes off, you decide to walk. Apparation would been easier, but it’s such a nice day outside that you want to take advantage of it.
You’re halfway down the street when you hear your name being called.
Stopping and turning, you see Remus and his ever-present sidekick, Potter, jogging towards you. You wish they wouldn’t. It was difficult enough, not looking at Potter throughout the length of the ceremony. Though you want to talk to Remus, though you want to catch up with Remus, you don’t want to deal with Potter. Or continue dealing with him, anyway; you’ve already had your fair share of his obnoxiously dishevelled hair and quirky smile.
“Prat,” you mutter under your breath as you fold your arms over your chest, the very picture of impatience. Thankfully, with their long legs and wide strides, it doesn’t take very long for them to catch up.
Remus smiles as he draws up beside you. Bowing slightly, he offers you his elbow. “Shall we?” he asks, adopting a ludicrously pompous voice.
Looping your arm through his, you beam and say, “Lead the way.”
You expect Potter to interject or wallop his friend across the back of the head, but he does neither. In fact, he doesn’t even flinch. As cool as a cucumber, he slips his hands into his pockets, hunches his shoulders, and follows you down the sidewalk like an obedient puppy. Even though it’s a nice change of pace and you’re glad that he’s not whinging like a spoiled brat, you have to admit that it’s very odd.
Despite the pain in your feet, the walk to the reception hall is pleasant. Remus engages you in conversation and Potter throws in the occasional remark, most of which make you turn your head and snigger into your shoulder. But not once does he speak directly to you. It’s like he’s finally paying attention to the boundaries you set into place years ago and he’s not stupid enough to cross them, even if you are in such good spirits. While there is an undertone of satisfaction that, finally, Potter is starting to learn, you wonder if it’s too late.
Remus opens the door for you when you arrive at the reception hall, another silly smile on his face. With a gracious nod and a playful, “Why thank you, my good sir,” you enter the building and gasp. It’s beautiful, decorated in much the same manner as the chapel had been, though the lighting is much softer here, drawing out the richness of the gold accents. It’s all so lush, so pretty.
A sign on the wall proclaims that the Longbottom wedding is in Banquet Hall 3. You lead the way, desperate to sit down and get this ruddy death traps off your feet. The hall is crowded when you enter. People are seated at the circular tables or hanging about in small clusters, chatting amongst themselves with flutes of champagne gripped lazily in their hands.
Behind you, Potter issues a low whistle and nudges Remus in the side. “Looks like an open bar, mate,” he says, the suggestive note in his voice mirroring his mischievous expression.
Remus sighs and rolls his eyes. “How many times are you going to bring that up? It happened so long ago.”
Potter shrugs, grinning that stupid, quirky grin of his that isn’t quite straight, but isn’t lopsided either. “I dunno. For as long as it’s still funny and I reckon that’ll only get funnier with time.”
You glance back and forth between them, searching for any sort of explanation, but they don’t elaborate. Pouting, you say, “I hardly ever understand what you lot talk about.”
“That’s probably for the best,” Potter replies with a wink. “Right, I’m going to get something to drink. Do either of you need anything? A water? A white-wine spritzer?” He waggles his eyebrows at Remus, who blushes a deep crimson.
“No, thanks!” Remus says in a rush, making a shooing motion with his hand.
Potter pulls a face before turning and walking towards the bar.
“Do I even want to know?” you question as you watch Potter lean against the bar and order a drink with all the nonchalance of James Bond.
Again, Remus flushes. “I got a little - er - tipsy last Christmas at the Potters’ Annual Christmas Ball and,” he averts his eyes to the floor and drops his voice, “I may or may not have tackled a Christmas tree.”
You blink at him dubiously before bursting out with laughter. “Merlin, Remus, how many drinks did you have?” By the bar, Potter is engaged in what looks like an intense conversation with a pretty blonde with mile long legs and boobs so big, you’re surprised she hasn’t toppled over yet.
“That’s the embarrassing part,” Remus says, drawing your attention away from the bar. “I don’t know the exact number, but I think it was around three or so.”
You snort unattractively. “I didn’t take you for a lightweight,” you tease good-naturedly.
Remus grins and once again, you fall into amicable conversation until he suggests that you find your seats. As luck would have it, the shell-white name cards above each of the place settings say that you and Potter have been seated at the same table with an additional seat on your right side reserved for your plus one. You sit down and continue talking with Remus, absentmindedly playing with the tines on your fork. It’s not until Potter joins you at the table, looking severely flustered with a half-empty tumbler of Scotch in his hand that you realise he doesn’t have a plus one.
For some reason, this upsets you. Why didn’t he invite someone to come along with him? Surely, Sirius would have been the perfect person to bring to the wedding; they were best mates after all and, up until fourth year when they proved you wrong by getting into a nasty fight, you thought they were attached at the hip.
Frowning, you turn to Potter and address him for the first time. “Where’s Sirius?”
He starts at the sudden sound of your voice, sloshing the remains of his drink down his front. You reach for the same napkin the same time that he does and your fingers brush. Though there isn’t an intense electrical shock, the feel of his rough, calloused fingers along the ridges of your knuckles sends a chill through you. Fighting back a shiver, you retract your hand and mutter a quick apology.
“S’okay,” he assures you, swiping at the spots on his dress shirt with a napkin. A few more swipes and most of the stain is gone. Satisfied, he looks up and meets your eyes. You’re surprised to see a swirl of grey streaking through the mossy brown of his irises.
Remus clears his throat loudly, interrupting your moment. Breaking eye contact, you flash him a thankful smile. “You were saying?” he prompts.
Flustered, you repeat your earlier question.
Pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose, Potter says, “Sirius was supposed to come, but a family emergency came up.”
You’re confused. You thought that Sirius cut off all ties with his family when he moved in with Potter last summer. You tell Potter this with a furrowed brow, not sure what to make of the curious expression on his face.
“You knew about that?”
“Everyone knows about that,” you state in a tone that suggests the obvious.
“Oh,” Potter mutters, not expecting this response.
“So,” you press, feeling like the nosy nag that you’re always accused of being, “what happened?”
A muscle twitches in Potter’s jaw as he clenches it. For a minute, you think you’ve said the wrong thing and upset him. You don’t think he’ll respond, but give you the cold shoulder. He surprises you, though, by treating you to an answer.
His voice low, he says, “His father died.”
Against your will, you suck in an audible gasp, clapping a hand to your mouth. Though you have never met Mr. Black and only heard heinous things about his treatment of Sirius, you still feel sorry for the boy because you, too, know what it’s like to lose a parent. It’s a horrible feeling, like someone’s delved a hand into your chest and ripped out your heart. The strive amongst the Black family members isn’t exactly a secret, but still, a death is a death, even if the person who’s died isn’t the most pleasant.
“That’s horrible,” you whisper behind your fingers.
Silent, Potter lowers his head, staring at his hands in his lap. He’s tearing the napkin into shreds; his opposition to your statement couldn’t be more blaringly obvious.
Before anyone can say anything else on the subject, one of the bridesmaids announces that the bride and groom are about to make their first appearance. Excitement floods your body as you rise to your feet (you still haven’t taken off the heels and your calves scream bloody murder), but it’s a tainted excitement, dragged down by the black cloud that is death. It’s a feeling you hoped you wouldn’t experience for quite some time, but still, it’s there and something tells you this isn’t the last of it.
Frank and Alice make their appearance in the doorway, their arms linked and faces aglow. You’ve never seen two happier people in the world. They’re met with outrageously loud applauses and several wolf whistles, the loudest coming from the tall, lean boy a few seats away from you. You glance at him out of the corner of your eye and gasp again when you see that he’s already looking at you. Flushing, you avert your eyes and sit down in your chair.
Dinner begins and conversation round the table commences. Thankfully, the petite brunette across the table is a Chatty Cathy and can’t seem to let anyone say more than three words without interjecting her opinion or going off on some tangent. Though annoying, it saves you from having to make small talk with Remus and Potter, who chat with themselves as well as the other guests. More than once, you catch the blonde with the big tits looking over at your table, eyeing Potter hungrily.
Annoyed, you stab at your roasted potatoes and chew fiercely. Every time a waiter walks by, you snatch a flute of champagne and down it. No one notices. By the time the speeches commence, you’ve already drank four flutes. You feel a little dizzy, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Another round of glasses are passed out amongst those who want them and, seeing an opportunity, you seize a glass, clinking glasses with everyone at your table.
All too soon, the speeches are over, Mr. Harper has danced with Alice, and the cake’s been cut.
Like a typical teenaged boy, Remus leaps to his feet to get pieces of cake for everyone at the table. How he’ll manage in one trip, you’re not sure, but before you can offer to help him, he takes off like a bullet amongst the throng of people, all of whom are beginning to gather on the hardwood dance floor as the band has started playing. Though you don’t know much about the technical side of music, you enjoy it and the band is very good. The singer’s voice is fluid and as people start coupling up and twirling in one another’s arms, you think that Alice made the right choice in getting a brass band opposed to booking the new underground rock group, The Weird Sisters.
One by one, your fellow tablemates partner up and venture out on the dance floor, leaving you all by yourself. You don’t mind, really. It’s nice to have a moment alone in a room full of people. Besides, your feet are killing you and you don’t have a rhythmic bone in your body. Still, you can’t help running your fingers over the fluid fabric of your dress and sighing. It feels marvellous in between your fingers and you can only imagine what it would feel like, fanning out and slipping against your skin as you dance and dance until your feet have blisters and your lungs burn from lack of oxygen.
Taking another sip of your bubbly, which tickles your nose as you let it linger on your tongue, you watch the couples on the dance floor enviously. As you watch them, you see a flash of blonde and scowl. Expecting to see the Big Breasted Bimbo in the strong arms of James Potter, you can’t keep your eyebrows from jumping to your hairline when you see it’s Remus Lupin, not James Potter who’s got his arms around her trim little waist.
Suddenly it makes sense. James didn’t chat up the blonde just like the blonde wasn’t looking at James all throughout dinner. For some reason, you let out a shaky breath, almost as though you’ve been holding it the entire evening. And maybe, just maybe, you have. Maybe that’s why Potter suddenly isn’t Potter anymore, but miraculously James. It’s such a swift transition that it knocks you off your feet and you have to grip onto the table to keep from falling backwards.
“Whoa there!” comes that smooth, fluid voice, that rich, delectable voice that you once detested but now…well, you weren’t quite sure how you felt about it, but it was the farthest thing from loathing. He places a hand on your shoulder blade and helps you into a sitting position. “You all right?”
Pushing your hair out of your eyes, you nod. “Y-yes, I’m fine.”
“I think you’ve had a bit much to drink,” James comments, the mirth detectable in his voice as he takes the glass of champagne from your hand and sets it on the table.
“Yes,” you agree, smiling tightly at him, “I think I have.”
“You need to work it out of your system.” He removes his hand from your shoulder and holds it out in front of your face. “Here.”
You stare at his proffered hand, dumbfounded. “What are you doing?”
James pins you with one of those pointed looks that could rival Petunia’s, but your stuck-up sister is the last person you want to think about as his hazel eyes bore into yours. “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m asking you to dance.”
“I don’t know…”
“Oh, come on, I’m not going to bite you.” He wiggles his fingers.
Sighing, you slip your hand into his, trying to ignore the fierce tingling spreading through your skin. His hand is warm and his grasp is light, yet assertive, almost as though he expects you to fall over. He starts to lead you towards the floor, but you hesitate.
“Wait!” Supporting your weight on his hand, you bend over to unlatch the clasps on your heels and kick them off. “There,” you say with a smile. “Much better.”
Returning the smile, he takes you to the edge of the dance floor.
“I should warn you now that I can’t dance,” you say as you face one another. You have to crane your neck to look up at him, he’s so tall. Or maybe it’s you who’s too short.
He drops your hand and stares at you. For a moment, you think he’s reconsidering his decision to dance with you, especially while you’re slightly intoxicated. Fear bubbles up in your stomach and once again, you feel ridiculous, but his voice stops you from fleeing the floor.
“Hop on,” he says, much to your befuddlement.
“Hop on,” he repeats, nodding towards his feet.
The realisation strikes you and a blush creeps onto your cheeks, spilling down your neck until your entire upper half is flushed. “You want me to stand on your feet?”
“No,” James says with a shake of his hand. “I want you to dance.”
With a shaky breath, you agree. You take a tentative step towards him until there is little distant between you. The heat radiating from his lean body is mesmerizing and you want to envelope yourself in it; you want his arms to circle around your waist and hold you close if only to be near to his wonderful heat.
Placing a hand on the crook of his elbow, you step onto his feet, playing with your weight so he won’t feel how heavy you really are and suddenly decide that you’re too much of a heffer for him to support. Once both feet are situated on top of his, you feel light, weightless, and coupled with your still spinning head, you nearly slip off, but James grabs you, nice and gentle, and secures you into place.
A certain delicate hesitancy taints his grin as his hand glides down your side until it’s resting on the slight curve of your waist. Despite yourself, your breath hitches in your throat when he pulls you closer to him, so close that your nose is but a millimetre away from his neck. You breath in his scent, your eyes fluttering. He smells of cinnamon and the outdoors.
Slowly, you wrap your arms around his neck.
Then you start to sway.
It’s a simple rhythm at first. Back and forth, side to side. One calloused hand holds you close to him by the waist while the other is holding your sweaty palm. Taking a chance, you intertwine your fingers with his. This time, he’s the one who lets out the smallest of gasps. Briefly, his eyes meet yours and your eyes widen at the wicked glimmer.
Suddenly, you’re not longer rotating in a small circle. James is wheeling you about the dance floor. Instead of feeling stupid, you feel light as air. Like you’re floating on a cloud. You didn’t peg James Potter as a dancer, but then again, you’ve been wrong before.
His movements aren’t fluid, but that’s mostly because he’s carrying his weight as well as your own. You don’t know the name of the dance or if it even goes with the tune the band is playing. Quite frankly, you don’t care. You haven’t heard the music in the background since James extended a hand and asked you to dance; your heart is beating much too loud, overpowering everything other than the bespectacled boy in front of you.
You can’t see straight, you can’t breathe properly, and your heart feels as though it’s going to bust out of your chest, but you don’t care. Your nose skates across the underside of his jaw and you press yourself closer, his torso aligning with yours so tightly, you can feel the tight muscles of his abdomen.
When he comes to a stop, you fear that the dance is over and that you’ll have to return to your seat, alone and morose for the rest of the evening. Surely women will begin to snatch up James once they’ve seen what he can do. For some reason, you’re panting, all of your breath seeming to have left your body. It doesn’t make any sense, especially since James is as still as can be.
You look up into his eyes once again, astounded at the array of colours there. While you’ve never thought that hazel eyes were ugly, you’ve never considered them beautiful either. Everyone tells you that your eyes are stunning, the perfect shape and an absolutely brilliant colour, perhaps the most beautiful eyes in all of the world - or at least Britain.
You disagree because, at that moment, you’ve never seen anything more perfect than the imperfection of James’ eyes - the soft green, the warm brown, the misplaced streak of silver.
The very pink tip of James’ tongue pokes out of his mouth and he looks as though he’s trying to find the right words to say. He’s struggling and you want to help him, just like he helped you when you nearly fell flat on your arse.
So, you do the only thing that makes sense in a rapid succession of seconds that have your head spinning faster than anything before.
You push yourself onto your tip-toes and kiss him.
And while you’re kissing him, his warm lips pressed against yours, you know that this is the best wedding you’ll ever go to. Except maybe your own.