Chapter 1 : CHAPTER ONE - PROLOGUE
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“You want me to what?” Evie had half a mind to stick her finger in her ear and wriggle it around, just in case there was some wax built up in there that was preventing her from hearing properly. There was no way in hell that Ellington had just said what she thought he had said.
“You heard me right.” Alright, maybe he had. Ellington leaned back in his chair, propping his hands behind his head. The leather chair, which he had been in his office since around the beginning of time, creaked threateningly as he readjusted his position. “You’re got the lead on this, Evie.”
“On the English National Quidditch team?” She sputtered, still in shock. When Ellington had called her into his office that morning, she assumed he had a question on her upcoming article, or wanted her to follow-up on a tip or something. Never in a million years would she have expected this. She knew it was going to be something big from the second she stepped across the threshold because Ellington had asked her to close the door. Ellington’s door was hardly ever closed, unless he was in an important meeting, usually with the magazine’s owners. The fact that this meeting was important enough to qualify as a door-closed one had made Evie a bit nervous.
And now he was telling her that she was to write the main article on the English National Quidditch Team, whose line-up had just been released to the public in a press statement two days ago. Her green eyes had widened when the words first left his mouth, exposing the pale ring underneath them where the sun didn’t hit. She didn’t understand. The last article she had written had been an interview with the Head of the International Quidditch Officiating Association about how the new rule changes would affect this summer’s Cup. It was hardly a front-page piece. And now Ellington wanted her to write the preview on the National Team? Was he bloody insane?
“Now, you’ve probably thought I’ve gone completely off the deep end,” Ellington continued, reading Evie’s mind. “But I trust you on this. You’re one of the best interviewers that we’ve got, and I want this piece to blow everything else out of the water. We’ve got the monopoly on Quidditch publications, but I’ll be damned if that Daily Prophet sports reporter doesn’t go sticking his nose around the training center.” Evie just nodded, a bit overwhelmed, as she stood in front of his desk.
“Now here’s the breakdown.” Ellington sat up straighter, laying his hands on the desk in front of him. “You’ve got a pass to the Bowman Wright Quidditch Training Center later this week. You’re going to watch a practice, take some notes, get a feel of the place.” Evie was going to watch a practice? She could feel the sweat glands on the palms of her hands kick into overdrive. Bloody hell, he really was serious about this! Ellington seemed not to notice the look of shock on one of his youngest reporters’ face, because he continued with his plan.
“That afternoon you’re to go back to the locker room and interview each of the players. Wood’s agreed to do an interview as well, which is fantastic. You can poke around for the rest of the evening, talk to some other people if you need to. Just get as many notes as possible, because I’m not sure we’re going to get another chance to get in this deep.” Ellington seemed to notice for the first time that the girl he was talking to, normally unable to shut up, had been standing in front of his desk in silence for quite some time. “Erm, you want to sit down?”
“Sure,” Evie breathed gratefully, lowering herself slowly into the straight-backed chair across from him. Her knees creaked slightly as they bent, but she felt infinitely more comfortable sitting down than hovering awkwardly in front of him, her arms hanging by her sides. “So let me get this straight. You want me to interview every single player on the English Quidditch team and then write a front page, major article on it?” There was a note of disbelief evident in her voice. Was this some sort of joke? Was Ellington playing a prank on her? Evie was almost ashamed to admit that her eyes darted quickly around the tiny office, searching for a camera hidden on top of one of the overflowing filing cabinets.
“Yes.” Ellington’s face held no hint of a smile. This was no joke. “Listen, Evie. What I said was true – you’re the best interviewer we’ve got. Half the time Quidditch players can’t string two sentences together without sounding like idiots, but you somehow manage to get good stuff every time. This is a big article for us, and I can’t afford to muck this up.” Evie took another deep breath. Wow. Ellington was dead serious about this. She was going to write the cover article. She was going to write the cover article for their biggest issue of the year. If she did this right, this could be the biggest story of the whole goddamn year.
“Bloody hell,” Evie breathed. Ellington chuckled gruffly.
“Now we’ll go over this all in our meeting this Friday, but I wanted to give you a bit of time to prepare. Sound good?” Evie nodded again, still a bit distracted. Should she be taking notes? She had a notebook and quill at the bag at her feet, but she didn’t want to bend over and rummage through it in the middle of their conversation, however one-sided it was. No, she’d better not. Besides, Evie was pretty sure she could remember this.
“Sounds lovely.” Her voice was still a bit faint, she realized. It was odd hearing it come out of her mouth. She cleared her throat lightly. “When, exactly, am I to go to the Wright Center?”
“You’re there on Saturday,” Ellington told her with a slight grimace. “I know it’s your day off but it was the only day I could get. They’ve just started training, since league’s still going on, and by the time they’ve got regular practices it’ll be too late. I want a jump start on this. Like I said, we’ll cover all this at Friday’s meeting but I wanted to give you some heads up.”
“Thanks,” she replied. “I’ll have to do a bit of research.” She flashed him a small smile, the shock finally beginning to wear off. Bloody hell, she couldn’t wait to owl her parents. And Brandon and Alston were going to be so jealous! “Shouldn’t be too hard, really, with the team this year. MacFarlan’s the only one who’s really new.” Evie was pretty excited, actually, now that she thought about it. She had interviewed players before, but she’d never gotten anything more than just a sound bite from players of this caliber. And these would be full, in-depth interviews! She would get to talk to Amelia Brand! And the Beaters – Jimmy and Ritchie. Not to mention the Chasers, of course, widely regarded to be the best in the world. Clarke, Fisher, and….
“Oh, fuck.” Evie froze halfway out of seat, the gears whirring in her mind grinding to a halt. “I have to interview Noah Bradley.”
AN: Clearly, you don't quite get the big picture yet, but there's lots of fun with Noah and Evie to come! Why do you think she's so hesitant to interview him? Please drop me a review and let me know what you think so far!