Chapter 1 : Chapter I
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fantastic chapter image by dora winifred at the dark arts! thank you lore :)
Georgina hated Sundays. Somehow, she always woke up feeling like a complete slob, and the very first thoughts that flooded her always had something to do with going to work the next day. Not that she minded her job awfully. It was just bloody hard for her to get out of bed on most days. She went down the stairs of the old, creaky apartment and picked up the newspaper, the day’s post as well as her monthly issue of Witch Weekly from the post box. She sauntered back up the stairs, yawning and tearing open the envelope that was signed by her mother.
This is just to make sure you’ll be coming home for Christmas. Dad will be back from Nottingham and Will and Stu have promised they will come too. To make sure they will, I told them to buy the turkey. I’ve also written to Susanna, and she said she’d be thrilled to join us, and promised she would ask Septimus to come too. I know you always fancied him, so don’t try to deny it. Wear something nice.
Also, I rang up your friend at work, Dez Dervish, and she says you’ve been a bit off lately. I know it seems paranoid of me to go around questioning your office staff, but since you don’t tell me anything, you really don’t leave me with much of an option. I wish you would call up so that we could have a little chat, just some girl to girl. Stop making me feel like I gave birth to three boys rather than two.
I also hope you’ll do a bit of shopping before Christmas, and refurbish your wardrobe. Keeping all the old dresses you wore five years back doesn’t magically make you fit into them. And shoes. You need new ones. It’s just not acceptable to wear clogs all around town, Georgie. I thought you would know that by now.
I’d like you to know that I’m throwing a bit of a party on New Years, and it’s just for you. When I say that, I mean I hope you find yourself a decent bloke there. There will be plenty, because everyone from my Book Society is coming, and that includes all the fit ones. So, yes, I suppose you will find your ‘soul mate’ there, and hopefully he shares your obsession for proper grammar.
I hope everything else is well. I know you’re making a great deal of money but that doesn’t mean you have to just put everything into the bank. You never know when the Goblins might just run away with it.
Wilma and I are going to a Muggle salon today to get ourselves ‘styled’. It’s expensive compared to Witch Weekly’s DIYs but it’s worth a shot and I want to look ravishing for the New Years party. It’s a month long spa thing that you can do in instalments. When you’re not too busy poring over Runes, maybe we can go over it sometime.
Write back soon. And by soon I mean within this century.
Georgina was outraged. She was positive that her mother was getting nuttier and nuttier by the day. There was nothing wrong with her clothes! And how dare she call Septimus to dinner! Georgina groaned and slapped her forehead. There had to be some way she could avoid that dinner. And the New Years party. The thought of being at a party full of her mother’s Book Society friends made her cringe, and she was certain that none of the ‘fit blokes’ that her mother had mentioned were truly fit.
She sighed and opened the other letter. One was from Susanna, telling her that she better get her mother admitted into a mental ward somewhere. Her best friend also said that she would not be attending the Christmas party, but Septimus was going for some odd reason unknown to her. Georgina rolled her eyes. If Susanna wasn’t going, she definitely wasn’t. She did miss her brothers though. She hadn’t seen Will and Stu in close to a year, since Stu got married and Will set up that butterbeer business in Chester. She had seen her father only last week, when he had come by to see if she was still alive.
Georgina collapsed onto the sofa and sighed. Her mind wandered to her Hogwarts days, and what a ridiculously massive crush she had had on her best friend’s brother. Septimus was very easy to like, though, so one could hardly blame her. He was smart (and not the bookish sort. In fact, he almost never read, and it made Georgina wonder what was feeding his intellect), good looking (more of the cute sort, rather than the oh-my-god-get-in-my-pants sort), a bit arrogant (which somehow was an immense turn on to Georgina), confident and athletic. Most importantly, he knew where to put his apostrophes and the difference between ‘lose’ and ‘loose’. This made him all kinds of perfect, of course.
As is the case with every romance, there was a catch.
Septimus and Georgina hated each other. Or, well, they pretended to. They were constantly arguing and disagreeing and insulting each other. He was always trolling her, and she was always reprimanding him for being a total twat in general. Which, as we all know, only means one thing.
They were madly in love.
Now is a good time to talk about Georgina. She is bizarre. And I don’t mean the Lovegood sort of bizarre. She was just...different from most people her age/from her generation. She was average, appearance wise. She was small made, around five feet two inches, and had dark hair that she preferred to wear loose most of the time. Jeanette’s grandmother’s nose, that had skipped two whole generations, had surprisingly found its way onto Georgina’s nose. But it was her eyes, warm and hazel, that she liked the best. Some said it looked like chocolate, some like wood. But most agreed that it was like smoothened amber in the light of the sun.
Georgina didn’t think she was exceptionally good looking, and sometimes she thought of this as a good thing. If I were better looking, she told herself when she was a child, after a miserable experiment with a Witch Weekly hair cut, I’d be sure to have loose morals and a ton of boyfriends I don’t really like. Which was not true, because not every good looking person in the world had loose morals or a ton of boyfriends they didn’t really like.
She was 26 and had a strange love for Runes. She had applied to Hogwarts for a position to teach, but was yet to receive a reply. Georgina claimed to be a feminist, but on the inside, she was the hugest romantic you would ever find. Not to mention that she was not half as uptight as people thought her to be. Well, in a manner of speaking. And I say this because she really didn’t know how to have fun. She was silly, and she liked to read books, but she never partied or got wildly drunk. Not to say that that is the only way one can have fun. She just didn’t agree with the conventional way of having fun, or the ways most people her age would resort to.
But she was a total prude. She had never been kissed and had never had a boyfriend, so the possibility of her virtue being intact clearly does not have to be discussed. Could you blame her mother for wanting to take control of her nun-like daughter’s failed love life? And it’s not like it didn’t bother Georgina. Like hell it did.
So there she was, sitting on her sofa, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She tore open the cover of her Witch Weekly digest and her deep eyes scanned the page. There was a scantily clad witch on the cover, blowing kisses at Georgina’s face. WANT TO SHED SOME STONES? ASK CELESTINA WARBECK HOW! FIND OUT FROM ROMILDA VANE, THE DEEPEST, DARKEST DESIRES OF THE CHOSEN ONE, HARRY POTTER HIMSELF! WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT EVERYBODY’S FAVOURITE QUIDDITCH HERO? READ OLIVER WOOD 101!
Ah, Oliver Wood. That was an entirely different topic altogether. If you are someone who has ever been in love with a celebrity – and I mean, quite literally, in love – you will know exactly how it was for Georgina Linn. In her eyes, every man in the world ought to aspire to be like Oliver Wood. She was around fifteen years old when she had first watched him play. She wasn’t quite sure how she had fallen in love with him. She just knew she had.
Let me tell you something about being in love with someone you have never met.
Your entire fictional relationship is based on nothing but assumptions.
So to her, Oliver was exactly her idea of a Dream Guy. He was well mannered, modest despite being the best bloody keeper of his generation, he was a complete family guy, didn’t drink, didn’t puff any of that awful Muggle stuff, was courteous, romantic, spontaneous, and somehow, was always saying the right things at the right time.
Right. Let’s move on.
Georgina turned eagerly to page 38 and swallowed. There was a full page picture of Oliver Wood, shirtless, mind you, and bottomless by the looks of it. He was holding his broom stick, and his perfectly toned body was visible right up to his belly button, leaving fangirls only to fantasize of his possibly hairy (by the looks of it) nether regions.
Georgina was a little stumped. It seemed uncharacteristic of such a lovely boy like himself to go around taking daredevil photoshoots of this sort, let alone letting it get printed in a magazine that two-thirds of the witches in the world were reading. I say two-thirds because Witch Weekly does not publish in Romania, Turkey and Asia.
Tearing her eyes away from his torso, her eyes flitted over the text in large print. Oliver Wood 101 – The Quidditch Hero Like You’ve Never Seen Him Before. In smaller text below the title, Georgina saw the name Daryl Jones, Senior Editor. Looking back and forth at the picture and the title a few times, she decided to go ahead and actually read the interview, or article, or whatever the hell it was. She already had a bad feeling about it, just looking at his taunting torso.
It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m in the lobby of Grubknock Plaza, waiting for the receptionist to tell me it’s time for my one-on-one with none other than Quidditch superstar Oliver Wood. Everybody who follows Quidditch is well aware of the sort of character Oliver is – soft spoken, modest, respectful and charming. I hope by the end of this interview, you will not be convinced otherwise. Oliver is all that and more. He’s like a tiger, disguised as a school boy. He has animalistic needs and qualities, but in the eye of his ardent fans, he is a complete gentleman.
The receptionist tells me that Mr. Wood is expecting me in his room on the third floor. For a moment I wonder why a man like him (read: a man with so many extravagant and luxurious houses all over England) would want to stay in a hotel, no matter how fine and lovely the Grubknock is. I make a mental note to ask him when I see him.
At first sight, I’m blown off my socks. He lounges on a particularly large divan like a royal, his flies undone, giving me a perfect view of his Merlin underwear. He sees me and makes no attempt to cover up, but offers me a great, wide smile and offers me a seat. Still very much a gentleman, he orders a glass of firewhiskey for us both. Once the small talk is done with, I can finally ask him the questions that millions of girls have wanted to know.
Daryl Jones: Most of your fans are curious as to whether you are currently in a relationship or not. Or let’s just say, they’re getting into a right fit not knowing.
Oliver Wood: I can’t expect them not to, curious little bloodsuckers. (Laughing) And well, yes, I suppose I am, in a manner of speaking.
DJ: Would you mind elaborating?
OW: Yes, I do have a girlfriend. But we’re in an open relationship. We’ve agreed that we’re both allowed to see other people.
DJ: Then it’s not really a relationship, is it? (laughs)
OW: Well you get tired of banging strangers and you want someone who knows what you want, so I guess that’s the purpose of our relationship. Next question!
He downs his firewhiskey, and I can tell this is going to be an intense interview. This is a man who is not afraid to give details.
DJ: You’ve never given such a personal interview before. This leads to misconception among the masses. What kind of an image do you think you have with your fans?
OW: Honestly, I think they think I’m a bit of a...Good Samaritan shall we say? And I really respect how they think I’m a lot of great things –
DJ: You come across as modest and very gentlemanly.
OW: Yes, and to be honest, I try my best to be just that. But that’s not to say I’m a total prude. I’m a guy, I like messing around, having fun, you know.
DJ: Do you think your fans will be surprised to see this other side of you, that they’ve never seen before and is very different to how you come across on the Quidditch pitch?
OW: I am the same guy, really. I haven’t done anything nasty and I’m really thankful for everyone that been behind me for all these years. But I think it’s bloody unfair because there are people like me everywhere, except they’re stuck in nine to five jobs. I’m a ------- (expletive) Quidditch player so I get noticed and shoved into the ------- (expletive) limelight. I like to have my bit of fun, but everything goes under the scanner when you’re a celebrity or whatever.
DJ: It annoys you, basically?
OW: Yeah, like hell you know? (He signals to the man at the other end of the room to get him another shot of firewhiskey.) I’m not complaining. I’m just saying that if people can’t accept this “side” (uses two fingers to emphasize with quote marks) of me, that’s their problem not mine.
DJ: You’re not afraid that they might label you as a reckless person?
OW: Whoever it is that’s labelling me probably hasn’t got a ---- (expletive) to do with his life, so he’s trying to eat off mine. I don’t care. I really don’t. If people want to label me and accuse me, they can go right ahead and I won’t give a ---- (expletive). I’m not going to change my way of doing things just because someone said I should.
DJ: And what is your ‘way of doing things’?
OW: I don’t understand why Quidditch players have to act so proper and saint-like all the time. After a long day on the pitch, I come back and I like to have a bit of a massage. If I say I want a female masseuse, it lands up in the front page of a newspaper somewhere. I was not the best looking bloke there ever was when I was in school, so I think I can afford to have a bit of fun. So, yeah, I ask a random girl at a game if she wants to get to know me and in the papers they make it seem like I asked her for a free ----- (profanity) when all I really intended was to play some chess without either of us having any clothes on. I mean, everything gets blown up in the press and even more so when you’re a celebrity.
Georgina’s stomach squirmed unpleasantly. She couldn’t read anymore. She turned the page and found more pictures of Oliver sans clothing with a strategically placed bludger. There were some older photos of him with a gaggle of girls, and dancing on top of a table at, by the looks of it, a bar. By now, Georgina felt sick. No, she felt betrayed. She skimmed the next two pages and reached the concluding paragraph.
This is Oliver Wood uncovered. His school teachers say he was a level-headed boy with big ambitions. What would they say after reading this interview? Has he managed to conceal his true identity, and in the process give his humongous fan base a completely erroneous impression of himself? Is Oliver Wood the example of fame getting to ones head? There is no denying that he is gentlemanly, but the rest of the adjectives with which he is normally described (and is very fitting to that of a school boy) hardly sums him up. I am just a devilishly good looking bloke making the most of my life, he says with a haughty grin. Not only has he completely reversed people’s impression of him, but he has possibly caused a bit of embarrassment to his team. Nevertheless, this Quidditch sensation likes to live large, and it doesn’t seem to be affecting his game at all, so why worry? And don’t they always say that a bad boy is loved as much as the next Prince Charming?
Georgina snapped the magazine shut and closed her eyes. She could not bloody believe it. Oliver, her Oliver was a complete reckless Casanova, with loose morals and a girlfriend who didn’t mind him sleeping around. In short, he was a complete slag. Georgina felt deceived...betrayed even. She didn’t even know this bloody wanker, yet she was close to tears. Wouldn’t you be, if your idea of a perfect man turned out to be a partying scallywag who was probably getting underage girls pregnant? She sighed loudly and took in a deep breath. It was just an interview. Daryl Jones had probably just made the whole thing up, to earn a few extra bucks. Nothing like a big story to land you some galleons, right?
But more than anything else, Georgina felt bloody foolish. The only consolation was that she probably wasn’t the only one. How could she have fallen in love with a complete ARSE like him? She had spent more than ten years just assuming that this absolute prat of a human being was a god-sent gift to womankind.
Oh bugger, she thought. She felt embarrassed for defending all those times (particularly to Septimus, who hated him) and standing up for him. She had made excuses for his sometimes lewd behaviour, stating that he was probably intoxicated or rubbishing the rumour on the whole (even though there was pictorial evidence).
No. She would not let herself get ruined by some two-faced arse hole. She had to take her mind off it.
Ah, the Christmas dinner.
When your mother tells you that assuming things is dangerous, listen to her.
Georgina was driving to South Kensington, the radio in her car blaring some terrible music that somehow, most wizards seemed to enjoy. She was going to have fun and nothing was going to get in her way.
“So yes, jump on my broomstick and ride me to neverland,” sang Georgina loudly. She pulled into her parents’ front yard and hopped out of the car. It was just getting dark. The ride from Preston to London had taken her around six hours. She couldn’t be bothered. Nothing was going to ruin her day.
She rapped noisily on the large oak door and it swung open to reveal her father. Andrew was a small made, chubby man, with a prominent chin and a bald patch on his head. His eyes were like Georgina’s.
“Georgie!” he cried, enveloping her in a bone crushing embrace. “Jeanette, Georgie’s here!” he called out to his wife. Georgina heard some cutlery clatter around. Her mother rushed to her, blond hair bobbing around, and hugged her.
“Oh, I thought you’d find some silly reason to skip dinner,” she said, knowing fully well the way he daughter functioned. “Good thing you’re here. The guests will be here in another twenty minutes.” She scanned her daughters clothes and shrugged. “Not bad.”
Georgina rolled her eyes. It was true, she had made an effort to look nice. She was wearing the newest dress she had, which was a sort of cobalt blue shade, and was made from some gauzy fabric. Her black heels shined against the wooden floor, and Georgina felt like a more daring version of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.
She helped around, setting the table and bringing out the nicest plates, for about half an hour till the bell rang. The Morris family had arrived, as had the Moskovitz family. The house seemed to have shrunk, with the more number of people stepping inside it.
More and more people arrived and Georgina began to feel a bit lost, and images of a scantily clad Quidditch player attempted to invade her mind again. Before they could, someone tapped her on the shoulder.
“Oh,” Georgina’s eyes widened when they met a pair of blue ones. “Hello.” She said timidly. Why did she always have to sound like such an idiot?
“Having fun?” asked Septimus, smiling cheekily at her.
“A ball,” she replied, rolling her eyes. “You’ve cleaned up nicely,” she dared, a look of appreciation on her face. He chuckled.
“Not doing so bad yourself, George,” he said, giving her a thump on her shoulder. Why did all guys seem to treat her like one of them? Especially the ones she liked. “What are you looking so unhappy about anyway?”
“You’re the last person I’m telling,” she mumbled, blowing a few stray hairs from her face. He looked affronted.
“Why not?” he asked, crossing his hands over his chest. Georgina snorted at his maturity.
“Because you’ll just bloody laugh at me,” she told him, and it was the truth.
“Oh come on. I won’t if you’re truly distressed about it,” he said, and Georgina fell for the look of honesty on his face.
“Oliver Wood is a total jerk,” she said, a little loudly. Septimus snorted.
“Took you long enough,” he mumbled. Georgina sighed.
“See! I told you!” she exclaimed angrily.
“Sorry, sorry!” the boy apologized at once. “Alright, why is he a total jerk?”
She wanted to stay silent, but ended up exploding. “Did you read that interview Daryl Jones did in the newest Witch Weekly edition? No, I don’t expect you. Ugh, he is so vile I never even thought...he’s so different! Two faced slick git,” she spat angrily. “Makes people believe he’s son of Merlin and what not while he lets people take pictures of him without any clothes on – ”
“Woah,” said Septimus, holding a hand up. “You saw his – ”
“NO!” cried an exasperated and embarrassed Georgina. “There was bludger covering it,” she mumbled, before realizing how ridiculous that sounded. Too late, for Septimus had burst into peals of laughter.
“It’s not bloody funny,” she mumbled, but she had a huge grin on her face.
“Told you he was a slick git,” said Septimus, recovering from his bout of hysteria.“Never believed me, did you? See, I know the way blokes work. You were so convinced that he was a perfectly lovely piece of ass – ”
“That’s how he made himself seem,” said Georgina, raising a finger. Septimus rolled his eyes.
“Girls are so naive,” he said.
“You, my friend, have earned yourself ten minutes of male bashing,” she said, scowling at him and opening her mouth, about to give him a lecture on how women were far more intellectually ahead compared to men. But Septimus promptly picked up a bite-sized snitch and stuffed it in her mouth. She scowled even more.
“There will be nothing of the sort tonight,” he said. “Did my sister tell you if she was coming?”
Georgina swallowed. “She said she had promised her office friends she was going to their party. What are you doing here anyway? All your friends have enough of you?”
Septimus feigned hurt. “I’m so wounded you would even think that,” he said. “The food’s better here.” He said and Georgina rolled her eyes at him.
“Men,” she said, earning another very hurt look from Septimus.
“You know, I think it’s a good thing you figured out what a complete arse hole wood is,” he told her. “There was no other way you’d stop fantasizing about him. And anyway, how are you supposed to find yourself a real bloke if you’re too busy dating someone in your head?”
“I was not dating him in my head,” she said, matter-of-factly. “And I don’t need a bloke.”
“Right,” he said, smiling at her and making her stomach do an awkward little flop. Had he heard it? “You don’t need a bloke, Georgina Linn,” he said, taking her hand and leading her towards a small group where people were dancing to Celestina Warbeck. “You need a champion.”
Oh, he was flirting. Yes, the twinkle in his eye and the by-now fully formed smirk was not suggesting otherwise. She rolled her eyes at him. They were dancing, a bit awkwardly, but enough to make Georgina feel light headed. She looked everywhere but at his face.
“Doesn’t this count as fraternizing with the enemy?” she asked, staring at the wreath that hung on the kitchen door. She had never been this close to a boy in her life.
“Definitely,” Septimus agreed, and then threw her a challenging look. “And I dare say you’re enjoying it.”
Bloody troll, she though, the heat rising up to her cheeks. “You’re a troll,” she told him flatly, hoping he wouldn’t notice the slight increase in the pitch of her voice.
“Bloody good looking one, at that,” he said, grinning and Georgina smiled, not even bothering to deny it. He’d know she was lying, what was the use?
“So...a cousin of ours is throwing a New Years party,” he said, clearing his throat and looking quite uncomfortable. “We’re allowed to bring a plus one. Want to come?”
Had he just asked her out? At this point, Georgina was certain her brain had been hit by lightning. The hairs on her neck began to stand up. “Ah...sure,” she said, although it sounded more like a ‘sure?’ than a ‘sure’.
“Great,” he said, clearing his throat again. Georgina paused to think. Was she making him uncomfortable? Brilliant, she thought with a grin. Most big headed prat I know and I’m making him get all sweaty in the hands.
“Find something amusing?” he asked, confidence back and challenging her with his intriguing eyes.
“Nothing at all,” she said, shaking her head but smirking happily.
For all she knew, he would be snogging her next.
Author's Note: Somebody please ban me from writing fanfiction x__x