Chapter 3 : World's Most Idiotic Plan... Again?
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I am so sorry it took me so long to update, but I had some problems with posting the chapter.
But to make it up to you, here's a new chapter! I hope you like it!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
World's Most Idiotic Plan... Again?
Flying into our office, resembling a wild monkey out for it's food, is the Rose Weasley and she furiously launches herself at James. She even succeeds in knocking him, actually them, to the ground.
I step aside, startled and at the same time happy that I was spared by my usually suckish luck.
"Nice to see you too, cousin." James moans from beneath her.
But Rose ignores the whole being polite and saying hi thing.
"WET!" She screams, her face flushed and her ears crimson.
Both James and I frown as we scan Rose for any signs of water, guessing it to be the source of mentioned wet issue.
But there's no such thing. Not even a drop.
"What?" James asks, his voice damped under Rose's weight.
"WET!" She repeats even more fiercely.
"I heard you the first time around! The problem here is that I don't really understand what you're trying to say!"
Rose huffs and finally stands up, releasing James.
That's when we come face to face.
I remember Rose as this tomboyish, tough and petite girl with frizzly red hair and a dangerous bright look. But that's not the Rose that's now standing in front of me.
Even though I can still detect her tough persona and her devilish smirk, Rose Weasley is a woman now. Tall, slender, almost completely speckless and with a winning smile. Her wild hair is now tamed, falling in round, shiny curls down her back and she's not wearing her sweatbands any more. Instead, a dark sparkly fillet is peaking from her bouncy hair. And she's even wearing earrings!
I notice that, for the first time since I've been meeting Rose around the school, she's towering me by a few inches. Thank Merlin she was more petite than myself back at school. That made her at least a bit less frightful.
After gazing at me with no tact what so ever, a wide smile creeps onto her plump lips.
"You're that journalist girl, aren't you?"
Surprised, I look at James, searching for an explanation.
Why would Rose know anything about me besides the fact that I was the Head girl? Even with that, almost no one knew who I was.
James just shrugs.
"Um, yeah. Yes, I am."
Rose suddenly pats my back. I stumble a little. And I realize that no matter how feminine she may look, Rose will always be tough.
I regain my balance fast and try to smile.
"You, like, planted the first seed!" Rose says amazed, staring at me for a moment.
"I'm sorry, what?"
I don't hear her answer as James gets irritated by the fact that no one's paying him attention.
"Not to rain on your parade, Rose. But you were saying something about someone being wet, if I recall correctly."
Rose twirls to her cousin, her long curly hair swinging behind her. It almost looks like it's moving in slow motion. Like, flowing in the wind, shining on the sunlight...
I'm totally not jealous.
Rose laughs loudly. It's the most warm-hearted laugh I've probably ever heard.
"No, silly. Nobody's wet. It's W.E.T.-Wedding emergency thingy." Rose says rolling her eyes like it's the most obvious thing.
A matter of fact everyone ought to know.
"Oh, Merlin." James' face falls immediately. "Rose, couldn't it wait?"
Rose seems like she's thinking his words through for a second.
But it only lasts for so long. "Well... No. Come on! I'm the bride! You're all engaged in pleasing my every wish. It even says so in our contract."
She finishes smugly.
James sighs. "Rose, there's no such thing as..."
"You're getting married?" I cut James' speech short because I'm slightly...
Hm, what's the word?
Dumb-struck. Yeah, I think that's it.
Not that Rose isn't bride material. Just, I never pictured her doing all these traditional lady-like things.
Rose squeals(!), I presume because she's happy that she can gush about her love life to yet another person.
"Yes! Isn't it great?!"
I nod my head slightly and her eyes turn to an even lighter shade of blue.
"And guess who it is! I bet you, you won't be right." She smiles like a little girl who just got her first Barbie doll.
Even though I can't imagine Rose Weasley ever being fascinated with such girly toys.
I don't even open my mouth and Rose is already shrieking.
I'm left speechless.
Not in a 'Oh, that so weird.' way. But in a 'Aliens have just danced in pink bikinis in front of me and asked for an autograph.' kind of way.
Translated... What the bloody heck?!
Because, I seem to remember her yelling at Scorpius in the Great Hall that she'd rather not marry at all than have to spent her eternity with a snobbish self-centered, pretentious, cold jerk like him.
Forgive me if it comes as a surprise to me.
Plus, now that I think about the idea, I wonder how all the people around her can handle her temper right now. Weasley anger management issues plus all the craziness that comes with planning a wedding... How is her family even still breathing?
"Oh." Is all I manage to utter after a long pause.
Rose begins to laugh, her curls flying all over her shoulders.
"I was expecting such a reaction. You were the one that wrote about our incidents, after all."
Incidents? She calls them 'incidents'?
Boy. Rose Weasley obviously has no real idea about her past deeds' epic proportions.
"I'm a little surprised, yes."
"I'm sorry." James bounces into the conversation again and Rose decides to give him the time of the day again.
"Rose, as you can see, we are working. I have no time to help you."
"No buts!" James interrupts her trying to look all stern and serious and fails completely. "Besides, I'm not your crisis-to-go-man, either."
"I know that." Rose rolls her eyes again.
I have a feeling she does that a lot when with James.
"But my W.E.T. man is currently unavailable. That's why I'm here to begin with."
"And why exactly is he unavailable?" James scans Rose's face as if trying to dig deeper into her story and find a way out for himself.
"'Cause... He is the W.E.T."
"Albus is what?"
Rose sighs shaking her head. "I can't go to Al for my problem, because... he's the problem."
"Oh." James suddenly smirks while crossing his arms on his chest. "I think I'm going to like this. Do carry on, dearest cousin."
Rose bites her lip like she is revaluating her decision to tell James about the whole thing. And who blames her, really?
"Al doesn't have a date for the wedding."
A silent moment passes.
But it is immediately followed by James' hysterical laughter.
"It's not funny." Rose glares at him with passion.
"No. You're right." James wipes a tear from his eye. "It's just sad. I mean, the bloke's been single since the year of 2005!"
"You mean, from the day he was born?" I frown.
"Exactly!" James nods his head at me. "He's almost 23 years old now. At the prime of his life. And what does he do? Marries his career. It's pathetic, really."
"Hey!" Rose points her index finger in his way, not amused. "Just because you haven't found your dream job yet, doesn't mean we should all loose passion for ours."
She then crosses her arms tightly.
I remember her like this. Feisty, tough, 'Don't cross my path when I'm angry!' Rose. She's still got it.
James blinks a few times, the comment obviously not leaving him indifferent.
"But Al's gone too far and you know it."
Rose shakes her head at her cousin and turns to look at me. "Let's not bother Tatum with our ridiculous family issues."
But the moment he lands his warm eyes on me, they get this glorious spark I never saw before. It makes me feel uneasy.
His face turns into one gigantic smile.
"What?" I stutter, fear creeping in my veins.
I have a bad feeling about this. Why else would James smile so maniacally at me?
"Tell us, Tatum.."
He strolls over to me and plucks his hand over my shoulders.
It was so long ago that I felt his touch like this. Well, it wasn't completely like this. It was...
"What are you doing on September the thirteenth?" James interferes with my thoughts.
I glance at him confused. But then, realization hits me like a stick over my head.
* * *
I have one very distinct memory of Albus Severus Potter.
The seventeenth of October, 2021
"Will, can you please not chew into my ear?!" I glared at her while attempting to concentrate on my writing.
"Wha-? I no- doin- tha-." She muttered, her mouth full of food.
I swear, I sometimes thought all that Willow did was eat. And still, she managed to be so fit. I just didn't get it.
I still don't, by the way.
I raised an eyebrow at her.
She sighed. "Ok, fine."
She mumbled a bit more before inching away from me to give me some space.
"What are you writing anyway?" She tried to peak at my article.
"The usual." I smile. "You should try it. It's fun."
"What, writing about James' love life is fun to you?" She said after reading what I wrote.
"Er, ok. Not that particular subject, no. It isn't fun, at all. But other than that, it's a thrill!"
Willow sighed again. "I really thought you'd go for something else."
"What do you mean?" I looked at her, confusion attached to my face.
"I never pictured you as a journalist."
Cue awkward silence.
"I didn't mean to insult you or anything." Willow attempted to redeem.
"I just thought we'd go on wild adventures together." Her eyes lit up. " You and I, traveling the world, hunting dragons..."
"There is no such a profession as the dragon hunter, Will. Merlin, you're such a weirdo sometimes."
"Well, look who's talking!"
I turned around as my boss ran into my chair almost knocking herself down. She quickly straightened herself, acting like nothing happened.
Sunshine Lloyd was in no way a sunshine.
Maybe it was a protest against her parents for naming her after something bright and shiny.
Merlin knew I secretly wished to join her.
Chief, as everyone called her on her demand, has always been wrapped up in black clothes and a dark frown.
I got the chance to see her again three years ago. At the time, she was working at 'Witch Weekly' and still not smiling. But since that place is Hell itself, I don't blame her at all.
Chief slammed a paper in front of me.
"Your new story! Want it ready by tomorrow!"
I examined the piece of parchment with interest before picking it up.
After I finished reading it, I looked up at her.
"Albus Potter won the 'Young potion master competition'? Hasn't that thing happened just fifteen minutes ago? How did you find out who won this fast?"
Chief smiled, her golden eyes piercing mine. "I have my sources."
Chief always 'had her sources' which she never revealed. I don't think it was about protecting the person's identity. Rather, it was more about the mystery effect. Chief liked to seem mysterious.
"Do the interview as soon as he gets here."
"No buts, Kenward! Are you a journalist or not?!"
"Good! Now get me that god damned interview! By tomorrow!"
She marched off furiously, just as she approached us minutes before.
Chief was... intense, to put it that way.
But this time around, I thought, she really overdid it. How was I supposed to interview Albus? It was probably the most difficult task ever.
First, he'd be tired from the trip.
Second, everyone was going to attack him with questions as soon as he got back.
And third, Albus Potter was so shy that I couldn't even remember the sound of his voice. As I wasn't sure if I ever heard it in the first place.
After I persuaded Willow to take me to the Ravenclaw's entrance to wait for Albus to return from France, she swore she would never listen to me again.
She did, though. 'Cause I'm just that wise.
I mean, not that I don't get her need for, what did she say... ? Yes, adventure.
But she shouldn't be so vile. She should support my choice! 'Cause that's just what friends do. Right?
But when we got there I too asked myself-what the heck was I thinking?!
Giggling Hogwarts' girls were forming a rather large and loud group. I even got a glimpse of one girl squeezing a picture of Albus. Where the bloody hell did she even get one, with him being so private?
I cursed silently to myself. But I decided to not give up so easily. So, I wasn't left with any other choice but to stand in the crowd and just-wait.
Willow's gruffness just got bigger when a clumsy first year accidentally hit her in her leg.
Seriously, a first year? Here? What is becoming of this world?
I glanced at Will shortly, just to check if she was still as pissed as before. She wasn't. She was actually even more furious. At this rate, I wasn't expecting to live through the night.
Twenty minutes later, though, Albus Potter was ready to make his entrance.
Now, I have seen Albus Potter before. But it was never so... direct. We would occasionally pass each other in hallways. Or in the Great Hall. But that was it, really. Albus was known as a person who liked to keep to himself. So, for me to have an actual conversation with him, it was almost impossible.
Definitively impossible, I thought back than.
But the way my life's been progressing these days, I'm beginning to doubt that theory.
It was just a brief moment. A brief contact. His eyes sank into mine. Or was it the other way around? His shade of emerald was something I'd never seen before. Only in the newspapers, on his father. But to see it in person was different. It was... captivating.
I saw panic flaming in those eyes. Fear. Maybe even... Loneliness?
But I shrugged it of. Albus had a huge family. Why would he ever feel lonely?
He furiously grabbed a coat from his rucksack and as soon as he passed it on to himself, Albus Potter disappeared into thin air.
* * *
"Why can't you just find someone else for him?!" I hiss at Rose and James as we are enjoying butter beers at Leaky.
It's one of those weirdly hot days and I feel like I'm choking in my own sweat.
Ewww. Gross mental image.
"Well, we could try..." Rose begins but, of course, James doesn't let her finish.
"But Tatum, it's perfect! Al knows that you and I used to hang out..."
Used to hang out? Seriously? Does he really believe we did that? It was merely a few parties. And on the last one...
I try not to choke on the memory. But it's still hard.
Merlin, I'm such a pathetic little heart broken girl, aren't I?
It all feels so real again. 'Cause he's here. And I'm here. And he's pleading me with those deep brown eyes of his. It's like we're at Hogwarts all over again. And I just want to be his friend. I just want to help him. Do whatever he wishes...
"I'll just tell him that I met you unexpectedly, which so happened anyway..." James smiles in that wicked way of his when he's engrossed with something. "I really wanted to invite you to the wedding. And you don't have a date... It's perfect!"
That's what he thinks.
Rose seems to agree with me as she protests. "It doesn't make any sense. You could take her to the wedding, as well. Why should Al believe that he needs to do that?"
My heart skips a beat. I glance at James. What if...
"Rose, I'm going with Vanessa. Have you forgotten?" He fires back annoyed.
And... Bam. Right into my face. Again. I swear, James is programmed to do this to me, over and over.
"Oh, right." Rose sighs rolling her bright eyes. "Vanessa."
She almost hisses at the name.
James raises his eyebrows at his cousin. "Do you, by any chance, have something against Vanessa?"
"Oh, don't get me started..."
"Guys!" I decide that it is time to step in and save the day.
I don't get enough credit for this, I tell you.
"Why would I do this, anyway? I mean, what's there in it for me?"
Yes, I like to have some benefit from these kind of situations. When I don't really see why I should do it otherwise.
I was in Slytherin, ok? That's just the way we roll.
"Well, you..." Rose wanders out for a moment.
She must really be freaking out about this wedding when she wants to let a complete stranger (Aka, me.) to attend the ceremony. Not to mention the party.
I guess she kind of likes me because of my stories. But is that really enough to let someone participate in such a huge event in your life?
I presume Rose is just one of a kind. She's just peculiar that way.
Rose finally gets an idea which she announces with snapping her fingers. "You'll get our interviews! Exclusively. Scorpius and I have been dating secretly at the beginning. But the media found out about us just three weeks ago. They're thirsty for the sensation that will obviously be our wedding (James snorts.). But you, Tatum..."
She puts each of her hands on my shoulders and gazes at me fiercely and dramatic. "You'll be the one getting the scoop."
I play with the idea in my mind.
Of course, I know I have so much to gain. Writing about their wedding would surely make me at least slightly more famous than I am right now. Which is... Zero factor of famous.
But do I really want to interfere? Do I really want to get myself involved with this family again? I admire Ginny, I do. But I don't believe I'm quite ready to have to deal with the whole clan. It's intimidating!
"I'll... get you back on that. Ok?"
Rose smiles nodding her head. But I can detect that sly smirk of hers, like she is convinced she already won the battle.
"Merlin, Tatum, where's your sense of adventure?" James rolls his eyes at me. "No wonder you weren't in Gryffindor."
I turn to glare at him.
Where's... where's my sense of adventure?! Well, he wouldn't know, of course. Because he was soaking in firewisky!
I have this wild desire to jump at him and, and... I don't know. I'm confused. I can't even tell hate from love. Or love from desire. Or desire from infatuation. How am I supposed to know what I want to do to him?
Human emotions suck. They just turn your brain into gray mash without any functions.
If I could just forget everything... Or wake up and realize that I was just being silly. And move on already! For Merlin's sake!
I gaze at James again, my first wish to attack him slowly burning out. It's replaced with a sensation that I can not identify.
* * *
The thirty first of October, 2022
James stormed in, his face red from running, I suspect. He gazed around the room distraught until spotting me before our fireplace. He paced to me and when I picked my head up, it was already too late.
James grabbed my hand, my book falling to the ground with a loud knock.
I was confused.
Sure, James and I were sharing a room and it resulted in more conversations between the two of us. But it never really got passed some random themes, mostly about Hogwarts and it's wicked ways.
"You and I. Room of Requirement. Halloween party!"
He pulled me out from our Head's common room before I even realized that I was in my Care Bears pajamas. Well. Just... perfect.
But then I focused on James.
I soon figured there was something utterly wrong with him. The way he was walking, his steps short and rapid, not looking at me, his nails almost jabbed into my hand.
"James, is something wrong?"
He suddenly stopped. After he turned around, I stepped back.
I never saw him like that before. His eyes were red, his face pale and there was no sign of his famous smirk.
"I just want to have fun tonight, okay? Just that."
I hesitated a bit, worried that this was the worst idea of all his ideas that I knew of. But I gave in. I somehow knew he needed it. I knew it would make him feel better.
And it did.
It was just the beginning of my downhill path that I took that night.
I wasn't supposed to let him do that to me. But I didn't have the will to resist. Because... He's James. And just one look is enough to convince me that the most stupid idea is nothing but sheer brilliance.
And here I am again. Doing... what? Exactly the same thing I did that night at Hogwarts.
And I know it's utterly wrong. But it seems like I just don't care.
'Cause... he's still James.
And I'm afraid he always will be.
A/N: Again, so sorry about the delay. I hope you enjoyed this. Tell me what you think!
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