Chapter 4 : Emma Hughes
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Hope you like it :)
What can I say? I watch Disney regularly! xD And plus, Chelsea Staub's pretty enough to be my OC as well! :P
CI by the awesome Jill aka love_jillmarie @ TDA
Six Years Later
“So, Stella and I, we were thinking we’d have a winter wedding. How does that sound, guys?” James asked from his place on the couch next to his fiancée Stella Gordon, otherwise known as bitch extraordinaire.
Funny how I’ve hated every one of James’ girlfriends.
The Wotter family had gathered for Easter. All the adults were at The Burrow while the children, who weren’t really children anymore, were at The Potter’s Place. James had just announced that he had proposed to Stella and that she’d said yes. I was invited to the Easter shin dig since Rose, Al, Lily and I shared an apartment. Well, not exactly seeing as I lived in the apartment next door, but I was at their place most of the time, so whatever. Al, Rose and Lily lived in the same apartment with me next door and Lucy, Molly and Dom living a couple of blocks down the street; all of us were living in Diagon Alley.
After Hogwarts, I had applied for Healer training immediately wanting to get away from anywhere near James as soon as possible. The rest of my seventh year had been absolutely horrible, I kept running into him every bloody where and for a while it seemed that I couldn’t not be James Potter’s best friend. But, a while later, James gave up on me and I was able to concentrate on preparing for my NEWTs better. As a result, my grades improved steadily and at the end of it all, I’d achieved the grades I required to apply to be a Healer. Yes, I’d forgiven him somewhere along the line, but never really got over it. Rose had told me once that around the time James and I had the fight, James had begun to like me as more than just a best friend, that ‘he’d sort of fallen for me and out of love with May’, in Rose’s words. James relationship with May, though didn’t last for too long after I’d walked off; they’d split mutually the same day we’d...stopped being best friends.
Healer training had been rough for me especially, since I didn’t have anyone with me at that time. But yes, I did make new friends. There were Anna Cord and ironically Stella Moore, they were the only reason that I continued studying to be a Healer and hadn’t dropped out halfway through. We were the best of friends and in fact, they were my flat-mates as well. Stella and Anna were cousins; their mothers were step-sisters. The way they fought reminded me of Al and Rose and for a while, I missed them terribly, especially Rose, who’d been the closest female relative of James I’d had and my best (and only) female friend at Hogwarts as well (I never really got along well with girls of my age, they were too fake and bitchy for my liking.).
I’d somehow managed to get through the first year of training with those two around. Stella, Anna and I had met on the first day of training and instantly hit off. They were both the kind of company I craved and had missed in the past year or so. The second and third years of training, on the other hand, had been absolutely lovely, which in itself was an understatement. Rose and Al had joined us in Healer training. Every fourth Saturday we would go out clubbing and come back home absolutely smashed. The first time, Rose had vomited all over Anna and they ended up bonding over that and became great friends. Al on the other hand, didn’t come with us all the time; only when Anna’s boyfriend came with her - which was every other month generally.
Back in the present, the party had ended and everyone was dispersing to their respective homes; Fred and Roxy to their home not very far from their parents’ places, Louis back to Shell Cottage and Lily prepared it apparate off with Lucy, Dom and Molly when Rose asked her to go ahead saying that we’d be there in a few. Hugo couldn’t make it from America, where he was touring with his band, Magyk. Lily waved a ‘bye at me and I smiled, “Bye, hon! See you soon!” and winked at her. Lily laughed as she spun on the spot and disappeared.
I looked after her with a smile on my face.
I turned my head slowly to see who it was who was greeting me when we were about to leave. My heart skipped a beat as I recognised the face I’d been avoiding all evening. Yes, we’d gotten over each other years ago, but being around him still made my heartbeat increase, my palms sweat and my stomach do flip-flops with that winning smile of his.
James Sirius Potter stood in front of me, a smile on his face. And as if on cue, a cold feeling developed in the pit of my stomach, my heart rate increased drastically and my palms began to sweat.
“Hey.” I breathed, not knowing why he still had this effect on me.
We hadn’t spoken in years.
He stepped closer and I had to crane my neck to look at him. He placed his hand on my left cheek and asked softly, “How have you been?” looking deeply into my eyes.
“I’ve been good.” I said softly, my tone matching his. I closed my eyes, a vague sense of déjà vu creeping over me. I sighed, my breath fanning over his lips.
James leant forward to place his lips against mine – and I stumbled forward.
“Whoa there, Hughes. You okay?” Albus asked, holding me up, a puzzled look on his face.
I blinked and saw that it was Al, not James.
I really need to get my eyes checked.
The whole him placing his hand on my cheek and leaning in to kiss me was just a dream – a daydream.
I sighed, I really need to get over this guy, I thought to myself.
“Yeah. You do.” Al said, a sad smile on his lips.
I smiled up at him and disentangled myself from his arms.
“I said that out loud, huh?” I asked, brushing invisible dust particles off my lilac short dress, anything to avoid looking into Al’s eyes. Just one look into those deep pools of green and I’d confess to anything – even murder. Not that I have killed anyone or anything, ‘cause I haven’t.
Why do I get the feeling you don’t believe me?
“Yeah, you did, Emma. And you’re right, you need to move on.” Al said, looking worriedly at me. I saw him do that through my lashes, not daring to look into those beautiful emerald eyes.
Al was like my little brother, I loved that kid and would do anything for him. Heck, if he asked me to, I would date McLaggen, even though I hated that guy from the bottom of my heart, but al would never do that for me, he knew that I still loved his brother.
“You need to get over James, Emma. He’s engaged, he’s moved on. Why haven’t you?” he continued, lifting my face with his finger so I could look at him.
I closed my eyes and said, sighing, “I don’t know, Al. I’ve tried, believe me. I’ve tried, so hard to forget him. I’ve tried to forget the way he used to call my name, the way his smile used to light my day up and the way he and I used to fight about the silliest of things, but at the end of the day he used to always come and apologise to me, the way his hand just seemed to fit around mine. I’ve tried to forget the way his breath fanned against my lips when he leaned in to kiss me, the way his lips felt against mine, how soft they were, how caring, how gentle they were , as if he didn’t want to hurt me.” my voice broke at the last sentence and a tear rolled down my cheek.
Al pulled me into a trademark Weasley hug and rubbed my back soothingly, “Shush.” he said and placed his cheek against the side of my face. Al was a good six foot three inches and my little frame of about 5’2” fit like a pixie in his huge frame.
“But he did, Al. He did.” I sobbed against his chest. “He hurt me by dating May and all those other bimbos when he knew that we were perfect. He knew that I loved him. I told him, Al. I told him.”
I felt Al’s arms go slack around me. He moved back and said, shock all over his face, “What? When?”
I took a shuddering breath in and said, “Can we go home? I’ll tell you and Rosie there.” I looked around to make sure that no one had seen me breakdown. The hall was empty, thank heavens.
Al nodded and went in to fetch Rose as I pulled on my jacket, when I felt another presence near me. I looked up and saw James standing there, a smile on his face.
“Hey, Emma.” he said.
I looked away and busied myself with finding something in my purse and said, “Hi.” trying to sound nonchalant.
“Look at me, Emma. I think I’m talking to you.” James said, sounding a little pissed; okay very pissed.
“You’ve been avoiding me all night.” he said. It was more of a statement than a question.
“No.” I said, a little defensively. “We just never ran into each other, that’s all. It’s a big house.” I added.
“I would know. It’s my childhood home.” he said somewhat coldly.
I shrugged and didn’t say anything, two could play that game.
A few minutes passed in silence and then-
“Look, Emma. What’s wrong? Why aren’t we talking anymore? I’ve sent you so many owls, not once have I received a reply! I even tried to come over to your place a couple of times; you were never at home, even on Sunday nights! I though you had early morning shifts on Monday?” James burst out.
I sighed (Wow, I seem to be sighing a lot today. Weird)
“Look James, I don’t wanna talk about this now, okay? I’m too tired for this.” I said and made to walk away; when he caught my upper arm and turned me to face him.
“We will sort this out, tonight.” he said in a low voice. “I want to know, why my best friend is avoiding me these days.”
“We haven’t spoken properly since seventh year James. You just haven’t noticed before today. I wonder why?” I added, mockingly and yanked my arm from is grasp, “Maybe it’s because you were too busy sucking face with all those bimbos you had for girlfriends.” I spat venomously.
James threw his hands up exasperatedly and asked, “What is with you and hating all my girlfriends?”
I shrugged and he added, “It all began with May, and now it’s Stell. Why do you hate her so much, Emma? She’s a genuinely nice person!”
“Only when she isn’t hogging you. Oh wait, she does that all the time. Ask Al or Lily, they’ll tell you how much she does that.”
“Al and Lily happen to like Stella. In fact, Stella has asked Lily to be her bridesmaid.”
Traitors, both of them.
“Yeah, well, Lily can’t say no to her future sister-in-law, can she? A person who could make life living hell for her.” I shrugged.
“Does this have anything to do with the fact that you said you loved me?” James asked suddenly.
I felt my whole body go cold and my heart skipped a beat.
I hesitated and began, “N-”
“It does, doesn’t it?” James said, coming closer. “I thought we’d agreed that we’d remain best friends? I told you that I didn’t want to ruin our friends-”
“To hell with our friendship, James! I love you dammit, I can’t just be you friend! I can’t just stand there and not feel anything when you go around kissing other girls. Not when I know that I had a chance that you’d completely mucked up. I can’t not be with you and be with you all the time James. You can’t have the cake and eat it too. You’re going to have to choose, me or your fiancée.” I whispered.
I couldn’t believe I was putting him through this. I knew how much I was hurting him by making him choose, but he needed to make his mind up.
It was going to be me or her.
“Ready to go Emma?”
Al came into the hall with Rose not far behind him.
James and I looked at them, our head swivelling at the same time.
Al stopped in his tracks so suddenly that Rose bumped into him behind him.
“Um, yeah. Let’s go.” I said quickly and grabbed my coat.
I opened the door and walked out into the cool spring night. The crickets were chirping and Mrs. Potter’s lawn was looking green as always and moths were flocking to all the lamps that lined the path leading to the gate.
I walked down the path; not looking back once and felt Rose and Al fall into step beside me.
“Do I want to know?” Rose asked.
I just shook my head, afraid I’d breakdown once again if I opened my mouth.
The truth was; I was afraid of James’ answer. I was afraid that James would choose her, not me; that was why I’d walked away when Al had asked if I was ready to leave. I wasn’t strong enough to be rejected once again, no. I’m sure I would’ve done something I would regret later if I’d stood around to know the answer.
I stared at the glowing TV screen not taking in a word of what the news presenter was saying.
I couldn’t sleep, my words still rang in my ears. The scene played my head again and again like a CD set to loop on the same song.
I closed my eyes.
I was a monster, I didn’t deserve to sit here and watch television like I had no worries.
I had just made James choose between his fiancée(and apparently the love of his life) and his best friend who was in love with him. It was obvious he would choose his fiancée over his best friend, whom he wasn’t even on good terms with.
My hand itched to snatch the phone, call him and tell him that it was okay, he didn’t have to decide, I was backing out.
Out of his life.
But I needed him so much right now. Though everything was perfect, I had my dream job, the best mates and an apartment of my own; I still didn’t have someone to come home to every night. I didn’t have a special someone. I didn’t have someone I was willing o die for.
I looked outside the window. It was pouring; unseasonal showers. Even the gods were crying for me.
A knock sounded on my front door, startling me out of my thoughts.
Who could it possibly be this late at night. I glanced at the clock above the TV stand. It read two am.
I got up and walked quickly to the door and pulled it open, unlocking it.
A drunken looking James stumbled on to me. I quickly held him and straightened him up so he was leaning against me.
‘Oh, wow, James. What are you doing here?”
He raised his hand and opened his mouth to say something. He paused as if trying to remember why he was here. Then-
I laughed out loud and said, exasperatedly “Oh James. Why do you do this to yourself? You know you can hold in more than a couple of firewhiskey's.” I added smirking.
“Hey!” James said reproachfully, even in his drunken state. “I so can!”
I laughed as I lay him on the couch I had been occupying not moments earlier.
“Do you want a Sober-Up Potion?” I asked him as I bustled around making him a hot cup of tea; he was soaked. It looked like he’d coming walking here all the way from his parents’ place where he’d been staying for the weekend.
“Yeah, okay. But I need to tell you something first.”
I didn’t hear him saying that so I continued, “Sugar?”
A silence fell between us once more as I waited for the kettle to whistle indicating the water was boiling, then-
“I’m sorry. Sorry for everything I’ve even done to hurt you, in any way; physically and emotionally.” James said quietly.
I stopped pouring water into the kettle and turned to look at him, “What? Why are you apologising? I should be-”
“No.” James interrupted, shaking his head “No, I screwed up, way back in seventh year; I shouldn’t have said those things about you changing. It was me who’d changed, May did that-”
“No! James, trust me! I was bloody confused! I should be apologising for being such an awful friend. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for your eighteenth birthday. In fact, I’m sorry I didn’t come for the nineteenth, twentieth, twenty-first ones as well, I was being childish. I wasn’t there when your team won the QPL, I wasn’t there when England won the World Cup. But more importantly, I wasn’t there when you found out that you couldn’t play for a whole year because of some ligament tear in your ankle or something like that-”
James cut me off by placing his finger on my lips. His hand was unbelievably steady fro someone so drunk. I looked into his hazel eyes, wondering how in the world I could ever imagine not loving everything about him. I was too far in now, to back out. I couldn’t stop loving him, ever. No matter who he chose, me or her.
Just the thought of not seeing him brought tears to my eyes and I held by back a strangled sob. I held my hand to my mouth and shook my head, “I’m sorry. I can’t do this; not anymore. James, I need to tell you something.”
James looked at me with concern filling his eyes.
I took a deep breath and began, “James, I’m in love with you. I love you; you’re like the air I breathe. Yes, I know it sounds extremely cliché and corny, but that’s just the way I feel about you. I can’t help it. I want you to choose me over her.” I finished looking at him straight in the eye.
James didn’t say anything for a few seconds. Then-
“Okay.” he said, a smile forming on his face.
I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. He’d said okay, just like that. No drama, no crying, no begging.
Then it hit me.
“You aren’t drunk are you?”
“No.” he said brightly.
“Why did you lie to me, James.”
“Would you have let me in if I hadn’t lied?” he asked.
“Yes!” I said somewhat defensively.
He raised an eyebrow.
I sighed and said, “Okay, fine. No, I wouldn’t have.”
I rolled my eyes and said, “James.”
“Emma.” he echoed imitating my tone.
I grinned and threw my hands around him, “I’ve missed you, Potter.” my voice muffled by his shoulder.
He laughed and said, “Likewise, Hughes, likewise.”
I laughed and in the heat of the moment, James leaned in and kissed me on the lips. I was surprised, but I found that I liked the feeling, the feeling of his lips against min. I kissed him back, my hands getting tangled in this hair. James cupped the side of my face with one hand while the other was on my lower back, pulling me in closer.
A few ecstatic moments later, I finally came into my sense and disconnected my lips from his.
Both of us looked away, embarrassed at how we’d let our hormones get the better of us. James apologised once more and I brushed it off once more; then he bade me a goodbye and left saying his parents would be worried if they saw his bed empty. I saw him off at the door, placing a small kiss on his cheek.
Long after he'd vanished round the corner I stood at my doorstep and stared at the spot from where he’d apparated.
It was official, James and I had forgotten the past and decided to put our history behind us. We’d decided to remain friends, nothing more than that for a while and if we saw the need, we’d become more than that in the future.
Until then, we were happy just the way we were. The kind of relationship we had was complicated to explain.
But James was still engaged to Stella. And she had no idea that James and I had kissed.
The kiss we’d shared that night, would remain our dirty little secret.
It’s a quarter after one, I’m a little drunk/And I need you now
Said I wouldn’t call/But I lost all control, And I need you now
And don’t know how, I can do without/I just need you now.
- Need You Now, Lady Antebellum
A/N: This is it! The end! :D
drumroll please! ;)
And great news as well, I'm planning on a sequel! :D Let's see how that works out! :D
For now, it'll be me focusing on my Lily(II)/OC, which I'm rather fond of, having just reeled out a massive 6000 worder in it! :D Be sure to check that out if you can! :)
Thanks for all those who've read and reviewed, as always. Each and every review means a lot to me. You guys have no idea! :)
Over and out, folks!
P.S: Oh yeah, read and review guys! xD