Chapter 3 : James Potter
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My heart pounded furiously as I gripped the door frame for support. All of the air had escaped from my lungs; it felt like I had just seen a ghost. Unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable. This wasn’t possible. This was another dream I was about to wake up from, only to find that I had imagined it all; just like I had at the train station and on the couch. Another weird yet somehow very realistic dream. That’s right; a dream. It had to be. There was no other way.
And yet there he was; right in front of me. Close enough to touch, close enough to run my fingers through his untidy hair. I immediately suppressed the desire to do so. I bit my lip. Why did I feel so strange around him? Even in my dreams I felt like a mess; my heart beating out of my chest, butterflies in my stomach. And I was no better in real life.
How the hell did he get here? I found myself wondering. Not that I was complaining or anything, it was just that I thought he wasn’t real; he couldn’t have been. It just wasn’t possible.
My eyes assessed him, soaking in his appearance and he, to my surprise, seemed to be doing the same to me. He was better looking than I had remembered. I sighed; definitely swoon-worthy. I’m pathetic, I know. Don’t judge.
Our eyes finally met. He appeared to be extremely amused by my previous outburst and I failed to stop myself from flushing with embarrassment. Why did this sort of thing always happen to me? Does the universe really hate me that much? If you ask me, it’s a little excessive. The universe needs to get a life and quit making mine suck. Seriously, get a hobby. Like scrapbooking or watching birds. Anything other than making me shout “I will not show you my boobs” at the mega-hottie-of-the-century. Although in my defense, I had every right to flip out; being the object of Danny’s affections can be very stressful!
And to be perfectly honest, boys scared me shitless. At age seventeen, I still had absolutely no experience with those possessing the Y chromosome. My parents really screwed me over when they decided to send me to an all-girls boarding school all those years ago. I should have just became a lesbian; life would have been so much easier.
He cleared his throat, ending the silence between us that seemed to have lasted a lifetime. “Um,” he finally began, looking like he was trying very hard not to laugh. “Expecting someone else?”
I froze. Fuck, how do I answer this without sounding like a lunatic? “I thought you were my stalker” was clearly an unacceptable response. Why did I have to be such an awkward dork while he was so cool and sexy? Why universe? Why?
“Er…yeah. Sorry about that. I swear I’m not usually so…mental.” My voice was surprisingly smooth when I spoke; a massive contrast to how I felt on the inside. God, this was awkward. And scary. I felt as if I was an author speaking to one of my main characters. It was like I was J.D. Salinger and he was Holden Caulfield. And we were talking. In the entrance to my father’s flat. How strange.
“Oh, no. No need to apologize,” he replied wickedly, a grin playing on his lips. “That was truly spectacular. The next person who greets me at the door has some very large shoes to fill.”
His light, teasing tone made me feel a little more at ease; I was in my element: banter.
I raised a single eyebrow at him, a skill I happen to be very proud of and quick to show off. Don’t give me that look, you know you would too. “Glad that you find the deterioration of my mental state a source of entertainment.”
“Oh, there was little effort on my part. You did that all by yourself,” he replied coolly, taking a step closer to me, his eyes still locked on mine. His face had lost all signs of playfulness and suddenly fell serious.
“Well, I live to serve.” I swallowed, my palms suddenly feeling sweaty. My heart spiked and pounded in my chest frantically. He was just so close; it scared me almost as much as it excited me. I cleared my throat, trying to regain my cool. “So, tell me, what brings you here?” My voice didn’t sound as confident as it had previously.
His serious expression vanished almost as quickly as it had appeared and he returned to smiling. “Oh, right, I almost forgot. I’ve come to return…” He trailed off as he shoved his right hand into his pocket and, to my utter dismay, pulled out a familiar object covered in purple rhinestones and sparkles. “…this.” He handed it over to me.
“My phone,” I mumbled, utterly confused; I hadn’t even realized that I’d lost it. I must have looked like a duffer the way I turned it over and over in my hands as if I had never seen a cell phone before. I looked up at him, my eyes wide. “But how did you-”
“You left it on the train,” he supplemented hastily, cutting me off. I furrowed my eyebrows in puzzlement. “While we were talking, you set it down on the seat and later forgot it when you left.”
I gaped at him, absolutely bewildered. I was well aware of how unattractive I probably looked with my jaw on the floor but I was too baffled to be concerned with that. All I knew was that that wasn’t how I remembered us meeting; his version certainly didn’t include a secret platform or any crazy stick-carrying people. Something was really fishy here…
When I didn’t say anything, he continued. “I went after you and tried to give it back at King’s Cross but I lost you in the crowd.”
I continued to stare at him in shock; I was speechless. We stood in silence for a few moments as I tried to wrap my head around everything he said. This was unbelievable! The other day I had convinced myself that our meeting on the secret platform had only been a dream but when he appeared at my door I thought that it confirmed that I didn’t make it up; that our encounter actually existed. That there was a world few knew of, a world filled with adventure and curious people. My own personal Wonderland. And now, he was telling me of a train ride together that I didn’t even recall! I felt so mixed up; I had no idea what was reality and what was make believe anymore. So many things didn’t match up, didn’t make sense. What about the old lady who may or may not have drugged me on the train? She was there; there was no questioning that. I was certain of it: I had found the wrapper of the chocolate she gave me in my duffle bag the night before…
Wait a minute.
Tearing myself away from my thoughts, I brought my attention back to James and eyed him suspiciously. At the current moment, I wasn’t sure if I admired him or was flat out appalled. Either way, I was going to beat that fuck at whatever game he was trying to play. “So,” I said slowly, feeling pretty smug for figuring him out. “You’re saying that we met on the train.” It wasn’t a question.
It was his turn to be confused. “Uh, yeah.” He stared at me as if I was a completely loon.
“You were sitting with me.”
“Yeah. I was right next to you. Don’t you remember?”
I ignored James’ question and continued with mine. “…And I left my phone on the seat.”
“Yeah.” He was starting to sound pretty frustrated with me but was trying to keep his expression smooth, to not let it show. I, on the other hand, was doing my best not to burst out laughing.
You know, I’ve never been a calculating person who enjoyed annoying others in any way shape or form but, God, this was fun!
“And you found it there.”
“Yeah, Spencer I did!” he exploded, throwing his arms up in the air in exasperation. “God, what is so fucking confusing about that? I mean-”
“My phone was in my duffle bag.”
In an instant, James’ face visibly paled and I think he may have stopped breathing. My lips pulled into a victorious smile. Mission accomplished. Who has the upper hand now, you tosser? Spencer. Lockwood. Fuck. Yeah.
James was opening and closing his mouth like a goldfish, unable to speak. Oh how the tables have turned…
“You’re a lovely actor, Mr. Potter.” I said sweetly and winked at his horrified expression. “Not to mention a thief as well. Who’d a thunk it?”
Is it sadistic of me that I’m enjoying this? That I find pleasure in making James, not only uncomfortable, but wish he was dead? Absolutely. Am I ashamed? Hell no.
With one last smirk at him, I grabbed the door and slowly shut it in his face. I turned around and leaned my back up against the door, laughing quietly. I couldn’t help but be impressed with myself; I have never kept so much composure around anyone of the opposite sex before (family, my mum’s boyfriends, and Danny Greco do not count). Ten points for Spencer! Now if everything had gone according to plan, in a few seconds he’d be knocking again in three, two, one:
There was a frantic banging on the door.
I took my time to reopen the door. “Oh, you again?” I asked in mock-surprise.
It all came out in a rush.
“Iwasn’tgoingtokeepyourphoneIswear!IplannedongivingitbackthemomentItookit.Ijustwantedtoseeyouagainthat’sall.” I don’t think he breathed once.
And to be honest, neither did I. That was the sweetest thing anyone had ever said to me. Completely messed up, but sweet. I just wanted to see you again. Those words rang in my ears over and over, becoming imprinted in my mind.
Stealing a phone just to see some girl again. That sounds like the plot of some cheesy romantic comedy from the 90s….
…I love cheesy romantic comedies from the 90s.
Somebody please hit me. I think I’ve finally fallen off of the deep end. I mean, finding this whole situation attractive is absolutely sick and deranged. If Danny had done anything remotely similar to this, I would not only have been super creeped out, but beating the shit out of him. But this is different, I told myself. This is James.
I know it shouldn’t have made a difference, because stealing is stealing, but it did.
James was breathing hard, weighing my reaction, and he nervously ran a hand through his hair, messing it up further. His brown eyes held my blue ones and refused to release them. But that was fine by me; I didn’t want to look away. I could gaze into those eyes forever and I would be fully content.
“Make it up to me,” I whispered, not trusting my voice.
He seemed surprised by this response and blinked a few times, unsure if he had heard me correctly. “What?”
“Take me someplace and make it up to me,” I repeated, this time a little louder. My heart was pounding furiously, afraid of the possible rejection. He did say that he wanted to see me again, didn’t he? He’ll accept, right?
To my relief his lips curved into a crooked smile and he extended his hand for me to take. I was left breathless.
Without even a moment’s thought, I placed my hand in his, feeling the comfort and warmth. I felt myself go on fire and, if I wasn’t mistaken, he felt it too. We stared at one another in amazement.
James Potter, where have you been all my life?
I stared lovingly at the half-eaten cotton candy that James bought me, being the perfect gentlemen he is (er, it wasn’t half-eaten when he bought it, just to be clear…that’d be gross). He was watching me with an amused expression on his face as we walked hand in hand through the street fair.
I looked up at him (no, seriously, I had to look up; the boy towers over me). His grin was contagious so I couldn’t help but do so myself. “What?” I asked.
“Nothing, it’s just funny how something like cotton candy can make you so excited. It’s cute.”
Oh my God, he just called me cute. Try. Not. To. Hyperventilate. “Why of course it excites me; this purchase is a rarity, monumental even, as it’s not everyday the fair comes to town. And cotton candy, my friend, is the treat of sweet-delicious-goodness.”
“True, but it makes your face get all sticky.” He reached over and poked my cheek, his finger becoming attached to my skin for a moment’s time. We both laughed and I wondered if he felt the same electric sensation that I experienced whenever we made contact with one another. I hoped that he did; it was a strong response, at least for me. Even now, the way that he was willingly holding my hand. That sort of thing never happened to me. Blokes just didn’t react to me in that way. For example, when I was twelve, my mum had forced me to participate in the play at the community theatre and the boy who played my love interest seemed utterly repulsed at the idea of having to touch me. It’s a good thing we didn’t have to snog, otherwise I think I would have died of humiliation from the fit he most likely would have thrown. As you can tell, I’ve never been popular with the boys. And as stated earlier, going to an all-girls school didn’t exactly help the matter.
But don’t get me wrong, boys have liked me; mostly the creepy-stalker guys whose life mission is to get laid, but that counts for something right? (It’s pathetic, I know, you don’t have to tell me it does just to make me feel better). Now, you’re probably wondering how I got to be so fortunate as to have all of the Danny Grecos of the world swoon over me. It’s because I’m nice to everyone, at least that’s my best mate Robyn says. According to her, blokes like Danny Greco target me because I initially went out of my way to be kind to them and all that jazz. Big fat mistake my part, I guess. But it’s my cross to bear.
I’m also informed by the oh-so-wise Robyn that the reason I don’t have normal guys all over me, is because I’m the kind of girl that you’d have a real serious relationship with and most blokes our age are just looking for the physical stuff. Apparently, I’m the type of girl they want bring home to their parents and marry. I hope that she’s right and not just making that up to make me feel better.
I haven’t decided yet if it does or not.
James squeezed my hand gently, breaking me away from my thoughts. I looked up at him and smiled at what I saw: messy raven-colored hair, soft brown eyes. He was just so effortlessly handsome. I know I keep mentioning that but it’s true! Just taking a quick glance at him would leave me breathless.
“How do people like you stand being so good-looking?” I heard my voice blurt out before my brain could rationalize the statement and stop it. My face became hot with embarrassment instantly. God, Spencer, you just don’t say things like that to people! Do you want to create a massive awkward moment? Or to ruin your very high opinion of him by potentially finding out that he’s conceded? If the action wasn’t so socially unacceptable, I would have banged my head against the wall right then and there. But I decided against it because it would bring a lot of stares and an unwanted suggestion to make a trip to the loony bin.
Things to do when I go home: train myself to learn to think before speaking by slamming my head on my desk repeatedly.
James looked ahead of him briefly and laughed before turning back to face me. “I don’t know, you tell me,”
I shook my head and looked ahead of me. We had stopped walking and I had let go of his hand. “You don’t mean that.” He couldn’t have. Me extraordinarily attractive? Nope, absolutely not. He was just trying to be nice and not hurt my feelings. He was probably afraid that I’d make a scene and burst into tears if he didn’t tell me I was pretty or something. Which would not happen…I think.
Even though I wasn’t facing him to see, I knew he was watching me; I could feel his eyes. “I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t,” he said softly.
I shrugged, not sure what else to do or say. I wasn’t sure if I believed him and I didn’t want to voice this because I didn’t want the topic of our conversation to be focused on my insecurities. I wasn’t going to be one of those girls.
Still not looking at him, I felt him grab some of my long, brown, hair and play with it in between his fingers. “You don’t see yourself very clearly,” he said simply. “And you may not see what I see, but it’s definitely there. You’ll someday realize that.” He let go of my hair and took my hand. “I can’t believe that someone can be as beautiful as you and not even realize it.”
My jaw dropped and my breath caught. He thought I was beautiful…wow. “Are you being for real?”
James rolled his eyes. “You’re hot, Spencer, accept it and move the fuck on.”
Charming, isn’t he?
I bit my lip and smiled. “Thank you.”
He grinned at me and started walking, pulling me along with him. “C’mon, you wanna go on the Ferris Wheel?”
I nodded simply.
I’d go anywhere with you, James Potter.
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