Chapter 7 : Momentary Mixup
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Lovely image by avra @ TDA.
“Who’s that from?”
Jamie turned around quickly with the letter pressed firmly to her chest, a light blush covering her cheeks. Angelina’s hazel eyes focused intently as she crossed her arms loosely over her chest, a knowing glimmer in her eyes.
“No one,” Jamie mumbled in the smallest voice possible. She turned back around and scratched the familiar owl’s neck, smiling as it let out a small, affectionate hoot. “Off you go, Gerulus.” She watched as the owl flapped its wings and soared out of the window of the back room of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. “It’s no one,” Jamie insisted.
“Who’s no one?” George asked, popping out from behind the curtain which lead to a room holding the more dangerous products.
“Jamie got a letter again from that ruddy little barn owl,” Angelina replied.
“Gerulus is not a ruddy little owl. He’s just getting old,” the brunette defended as she slipped the letter into her back pocket.
“The blasted thing keeps showing up here if you’re not at home. Pecking at the window and all. It could easily make a person right mad,” George admitted with a chuckle. Jamie took a cautious step back, reaching into her pocket and guarding the letter. “Gimme it, Jay.”
“It’s none of your business,” she reminded him politely. The letter seemed to add an unneeded weight in her pocket as she continued to back up, the countertop brushing against the back of her legs. She was cornered. ”Just the daily news from back home.”
“Your family’s owl is black. That owl is definitely all sorts of brown,” George pointed out, watching as Jamie pulled the letter from her pocket and clench it tightly to her side.
Without warning, Angelina swiped the letter from behind, holding it up in the air and opening it. She scanned it as Jamie reached up, trying to swipe the letter back into her possession. Sighing in frustration, she put her arms down as Angelina walked over to George’s side, eyes still intently fixated on the McLaggen’s scrawl.
“Give me that back,” she hissed, crossing her arms and scowling her fiercest scowl in Angelina’s direction. The other girl simply arched a brow before returning her eyes to the letter.
“My dearest Jay,” Angelina started, glancing at George who looked quite puzzled but interested none the less. “Last Saturday was a real treat, a slice of heaven if you will,” she continued.
“Angelina,” Jamie warned, her body becoming tense.
“What the bloody hell is that?”
“Shush, George,” Angelina muttered, swatting his hand away as he reached for the letter. “I do hope you will grace me with your presence this evening at the The Bombay Brasserie. What a wanker, name dropping and everything.”
“Give me that.” George muttered soft curses as he snatched the tattered letter from his girlfriend’s hands, quickly skimming the contents. His expression soured up instantly. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“What?” Jamie asked with wide eyes.
“You’re still going on dates with that blasted tosser?”
“Cormac is neither a wanker nor a tosser, thank you very much,” Jamie spat back defensively.
She had gotten so much lip from the entire Weasley family after Ginny came across a stack of letters from Cormac. Needless to say, the gossip Queen herself could hardly contain her rage and the whole Weasley family joined in on their displeasure. It had been Mrs. Weasley who had initially voiced her issues with Jamie’s taste in men. It went something along the lines of ‘how on earth could you go from such a brilliant charming young man to such a dimwitted git’. From then on it was a never ending battle to hide her rendezvous with Cormac McLaggen, which was a lot harder than one would believe. The Weasley women were very sharp and very nosey. George could contend for the worst out of the whole lot though. It was down right infuriating for Jamie to sit through a Cormac bash session.
“He kind of is,” Angelina murmured offhand, peering over George’s shoulder to read the last line of the letter. “I await your reply, my fair maiden.”
“How many dates have you been on with the toss--”
“George Weasley, I’m gonna kick your ruddy arse if you don’t pipe down and lay off the insults,” the feisty brunette warned as she clenched and unclenched her small fists at her side.
A small bell sounded off in the distance and the tall redhead made a move to go attend to it, but Angelina placed a hand on his shoulder and nodded. The couple exchanged a quick peck and Jamie had to restrain herself from letting a gagging noise slip from her lips. She disappeared behind the curtain that led to the store, leaving Jamie and George alone. The petite girl glowered at the dusty wooden floors as the tall male turned his back to her and stared out the window blankly.
This was ridiculous. Jamie had, for almost four months now, put up with the excessively cute relationship between George and Angelina. She had done her best to push aside all feelings she had for him and even went so far as to try to make peace with Angelina. The two had hit it off once he was out of the picture. Cormac was at first only a distraction, but as one date turned into two which turned into about twenty, well he had started to grow on her. Technically, they were dating, but it wasn’t entirely official, more of an unspoken agreement.
”Thank you,” Jamie murmured softly as Cormac opened the door to the lavish yet quaint restaurant tucked in the streets of London. The moon was full, peeking through the French doors that led to the patio where couples could be seen dancing to the slow, melodic music of the live band. “How did you find this place?” she asked in awe.
“My father is friends with the owner’s wife. He’s a muggle, but she’s a witch. Quite high up in the Ministry these days.”
Cormac gently took her hand in his and helped her down the steps leading out of the patio doors, smiling his thousand-watt smile before placing his hand on her waist and slowly moving them to the rhythm of the music,
“I’ve never been on a--”
“Date?” he offered. His eyes almost looked hopeful as they looked at her expectantly.
“I’ve never been on a date like this before,” Jamie smiled, heat rising in her cheeks as he spun her with ease.
The boy’s lips curved into a pleased smirk as he shifted his hand to the small of her back, holding her body to his as they moved slowly. She rested her forehead against his, their lips mere centimeters away.
“Hello, anyone in there?”
“Huh?” Jamie blinked, shaking out of her daze and looking up.
“How could you possibly go from my brother to that shady bloke?”
“Don’t bring Fred into this,” she whispered sharply, stunned by such a low blow. “You said it yourself. I need to move on.”
“Well, job well done on picking that winner,” George shot back sarcastically, rolling his eyes.
“You’re such a stupid git.” Jamie averted her gaze but could still feel his eyes on her. She wanted nothing more than to apparate away. Running away seemed to be the easiest option. “Bloody pathetic,” she sighed.
“Does it even matter to you? You’re happy so get your big nose out of my business,” Jamie practically growled. For a second, she could’ve sworn there was hurt in his eyes--only for a second though.
“Does it even matter to me? Of course it bloody well matters to me. Are you barking mad? You were my brother’s girl. You’re...you’re like a sister!” Ow was all that Jamie could think about. “And, you better damn well believe I would never let any sister of mine date such, such scum!” George replied, his voice growing louder with each passing second.
“He’s not scum, you git!”
“He’s a no good tosser!”
“You’re the tosser,” she spat back in defense.
“Really? I’m fairly certain that if you’d ask who was the bigger tosser, everyone in their right mind would say McLaggen,” he retorted coldly, his eyes narrowed in her direction.
“Well, maybe if you hadn’t jumped after the first broad who blatantly showed interest, we wouldn’t be in this predicament,” she whispered, her eyes widening as she realized what had just slipped.
“So now it’s my fault that you’re with that twit?”
“Essentially, yes,” Jamie said with a shrug.
“What in Merlin’s name are you blabbing about now?” George groaned, throwing his hands up in frustration.
“Let me put it this way. That ruddy no good bloke who has his head so far up his own arse?” she started.
“You mean the one who you fancy?” George asked with hesitation.
It wasn’t clicking for him and she knew it. She could tell by his blank stare that he wasn’t putting two and two together just yet. The poor girl had said too much and there was no escape. How was she supposed to turn back now without George pestering her for all of eternity? She inhaled deeply and held her breath, hoping everything would disappear if she did so. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.
“Staring right at him,” Jamie said, her face drained of emotion and her body tense.
Realization washed over George’s face. His mouth hung open slightly as he stared dumbfounded at Jamie, who could only stand there. This would be the moment where she would normally burst into tears and run away, but not this time. George opened his lips to speak but she shook her head, swallowing the lump in her throat before walking forward and snatching the letter from him. His mouth twitched slightly as an inner conflict began waging itself against his resolve.
“Let me have my bit of happiness,” she whispered, blinking away the prickling feeling behind her eyes. He reached out his hand to touch her arm gently but she disappeared with a blink of an eye, leaving him more confused than ever with his jaw hanging open.
“My life is over!”
“You’re being irrational, darling.”
“No, I’m not!”
“And she says Natalia is the drama queen.”
“Edward, please. Not now.”
This sort of banter had been going on for nearly an hour now. The distressed brunette refused to sit down no matter how many times her mother pleaded with her to take a deep breath and relax. Jamie paced back and forth through the living room as her father excused himself and ascended the stairs, muttering under his breath as he kept his nose buried in the Daily Prophet in his hands. Her mother sat on the couch with a concerned expression.
“He’s probably laughing it up with Angelina right now,” she whined, panic overtaking her. She continued to pace until her mother rose from the couch and took her daughter by the shoulders.
“Sit down, now,” she demanded sternly.
“How could I have been so bloody stupid? Me and my big trap, getting me into trouble, as always. I can never show my face--” Jamie huffed as her mother forced her to sit down on the couch.
“You will stop this nonsense right now, young lady. You’re overreacting.”
“How can I not? This is barking mad! Nonsense! He’ll never look at me again. Probably thinks I’m just trying to replace Fred with a look-alike. Maybe I am? I’m a no good, awful wench.”
Jamie rose to start her pacing yet again but was pulled back down by her mother’s grip on her wrist. Groaning loudly, she crossed her arms and began counting backward from one hundred in her head. Her mother simply sighed, shaking her head as she took Jamie’s shaking hand in her own.
“Take a deep breath.” Jamie obeyed, her shoulders shrinking and lips turning down in a frown. “One, this isn’t the end of the world. Two, did you give George a chance to say anything?” She shook her head and took to staring at the floor. “Why not?”
“I got scared and apparated away when he tried to say something,” Jamie replied in a small voice.
“Then how do you know he’ll never look at you or speak to you again?”
“I....don’t really, I suppose,” she replied hesitantly. Her facial expression soured as a smug grin played at her mother’s lips. “Mum,” Jamie whimpered pathetically.
“Come on, dear. We’ll have a bit of a supper and you can simply relax. Your dad loves having his little princess home,” she grinned, squeezing Jamie’s hand affectionately.
“But, I have a date tonight, Mum.”
“With that lovely McLaggen boy?”
“Yes, that’s sort of what started all this drama. George and Angelina ganged up on me. It was right awful. Unfair really, if you ask me. I never went that far when they first started seeing each other,” Jamie grumbled, her irritation toward the two flaring up again.
“I’m sure Cormac will understand, Jamie,” her mother replied.
Nodding, Jamie put on her best attempt at a smile. The two embraced in a short hug and arose from their seats in the living room. She excused herself as her mother called her father down to start dinner. Jamie stepped outside and walked to the makeshift hut where Jet, their black barn owl, rested when it wasn’t flying about delivering letters. She scrawled a quick reply to Cormac, letting him know she’d be more than happy to go to dinner with him, but perhaps another day later on this week would be best.
“Take this to Cormac, all right love? Be quick about it. Be safe, too,” she murmured softly to the bird, stroking his neck as a small smile formed on her lips. He nuzzled her hand with the side of his wide face and flapped his wings once, disappearing into the dusky sky, sending feathers flying in every which way. “Little bugger,” she chuckled to herself.
“Do I have to go, Dad?” Jamie asked softly as he wrapped his arms around her shoulders.
“Yes, dear,” her mother interjected. Jamie shifted her hug to her mother and sighed softly. “It’ll be all right, Jamie.”
“Your mother’s right.”
Jamie smiled as she nodded her head slowly. She bid her parents farewell one final time and focused on the center of her stomach, the familiar tug of apparation pulling at her. Not even a second later she landed in her dark living room. It was freezing, almost as if someone had left a window open. The moon barely peeked through the dusty curtains hanging from the window, casting shadows across the room. She sighed as she wrapped her arms around herself loosely, brushing away all negative thoughts as she walked to the window to see if it was open.
“Jamie,” came a low, masculine voice from the kitchen, causing her to turn quickly. Her heart raced quickly and the hair on the back of her neck stood on end as she raised her wand in the general direction of the kitchen. George appeared from the door slowly with his hands up. “Jay,” he said, pleaded even,
“What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing here?” Jamie whispered harshly. She placed her wand back into her pocket, frozen in place as the redhead made his way toward her.
“You just left me there. I had to talk to you,” George admitted sheepishly.
“How long have you been waiting?”
“The whole time. Don’t worry, everything’s in one piece,” he assured her with his best attempt at a smile. Jamie’s face remained blank, her eyes focused on him. “Why didn’t you ever tell me?” he asked. He reached out and brushed his fingertips over her arm lightly, causing her to jerk back slightly. “It’s been two bloody years almost. Two! You could’ve said something.”
“Rest assured, I wasn’t thinking of anyone the first year,” Jamie replied coldly. “Besides, Angelina was in the picture by the time I realized it. I was hoping--”
“To hell with Angelina!”
“Why do you even care?” Jamie asked. She was slightly taken aback by his outburst. If she hadn’t been confused before, she certainly was now.
“I,” he started, trailing off as he began to rub the back of his neck. “I don’t know, I just do. You’re like--”
“A little sister, right?” Jamie scoffed with a roll of her eyes.
“You were my brother’s girl. I couldn’t...I wasn’t...I wasn’t supposed to think of you as anything else.” His features darkened as he turned his head, the shadows of the moonlight falling upon his face. He looked confused, almost torn between thoughts as Jamie gazed at him nervously.
“You were there for me, like no one else was.”
Her voice was but a whisper as her eyes glazed over, tears forming in the corners threatening to cascade down her face. George edged closed and dragged his thumb lightly over her cheek, smearing the tear and mascara across her smooth skin. Jamie pushed his hand away weakly and looked down--anything to hide her shame.
“No. No Jay this or Jay that. No, just stop it. Let me have my happiness. Why did you have to even bother coming, George? You’re gonna ruin everything,” she whimpered as her body shook with small sobs. “I’m happy with Cormac. Happy, you hear?” Jamie’s voice rose as she looked up, pushing him back slightly.
“Are you really?” he asked, moving closer.
“Yes,” she breathed as George wrapped his hands around her arms gently. She focused her red, puffy eyes on him. He began to lean down but she pressed her hand firmly to his chest. “Don’t.”
None of this made sense. George had never ever showed that he had feelings for her. Or had he? Jamie raked through her memories, trying to sift through any sort of sign that would make his actions at the moment a bit clearer for her to understand, but it was hopeless. Fred had always been in the picture so she had never paid attention to what his brother had done.
“Jay-” he moved closer to her.
“Why would you jeopardize Ange?” She backed up slowly, feeling the back of the couch brush against her legs. “It’s not worth it,” Jamie insisted, blinking away the tears. Her mind was encouraging her to keep pushing George away but her heart yearned to have her wrap her arms around his neck and never let go. “Please, just go,” she whispered.
“Why?” came the reply, but it sounded so distant and far off.
Strong arms moved around her body and pulled her to a broad chest. Jamie couldn’t move, but it was so hard to will herself to want to move from his grip. A large hand massaged her lower back comfortingly as lips pressed to the top of her head. She shut her eyes tightly and took in the enticing scent of cologne, meshing with the body pressed firmly against hers. Nothing made sense. Pain seared through her resolve, followed by a numb bliss as those oddly familiar hands moved to her hips.
“Fred,” she breathed, opening her eyes and looking up at the boy staring down at her. All she saw was hurt in his eyes. All she felt was his body stiffen and his hands slide from her hips abruptly.
“I’m not Fred,” George reminded her.
If she wasn’t mistaken, his tone held a bit of anger, but his face only showed the hurt she had just caused him. His lips were pulled taught in a grimace, his eyes narrowed. Jamie’s heart ached with regret as she mentally kicked herself for saying Fred. He would forever be the love of her life, but to slip up like that made her feel downright pathetic.
“George I didn’t mean it, I’m sorr--” she reached out to grab hold of his shirt but he disappeared just as she had not some four or five hours ago. “Sorry,” she ended, tears falling freely. Her knees felt weak and the room began to spin around her. Slowly the walls began to fall. No--she was falling, her knees crashing down against the hardwood floor. A splitting pain bolted up her leg, but Jamie pushed it away as she crumpled to the ground. “I’m so sorry,” she cried, her tiny frame shaking violently as her sobs consumed her.
What have I done?
Author's Note: Another fail on my part, but alas the next chapter is up! Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave a review!
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