Chapter 1 : SHE HAD SOME TEA
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Until they’d had him knocked out in Gloria’s basement, nobody really knew what’d happened. Pippa had been yelling something absolutely insane about tying him to a chair and gagging him, but nobody really heard over her. And anyway, that was Pippa. Two and a half weeks ago, she’d been raving something about the Glorious Revolution and an execution. Daphne was rolling her eyes. Gemma wasn’t listening. Josie really was getting something to gag him with.
But, to begin there would be to begin too early.
Somewhere along the story, it began with, “Hello, I’m James Potter.”
And then it ended with a basement, a dozen bottles of firewhiskey, and James Potter tied to a chair.
Daphne Pucey didn’t really know James Potter. Well, of course she did, but she didn’t. And perhaps, that was the point.
She met him at one of those elitist, stick-up-their-arses socialite parties. She wasn’t a socialite, of course, but she was. That was hardly the point. Daphne was a trailblazer with a perfect smile and good breeding, which was all she needed to qualify as one.
She was a prodigy in every way in the Magical Law Enforcement Squad, only that she wasn’t. She was the type of prodigy that required five hours of solid work behind the scenes, which isn’t much of a prodigy in anything but praise.
They met through her Auntie Astoria’s circle of friends. She knew Scorpius. Scorpius knew Rose. And Rose knew James.
Daphne had worn her nicest silk robes – green, to match her eyes, and she’d done the sort of swaying stand that usually got men like James Potter talking.
He’d been charming. Observant. Wonderful, really.
It had been so ridiculously easy to begin fancying him. And she’d really needed the luck. Here he was – a charming single man, good looking and intelligent actually paying attention to her!
There was hope!
Then a redhead strolled past the crowd and put an arm over his.
He’d given Daphne a nice smile.
“Josie, this is Daphne. Daphne, this is my girlfriend Josephine.”
And that had been that.
She’d emerged from the rejection with the most perfect man the cosmos had ever spat out, but she’d done it with some dignity.
Even when, to her utter horror, he’d proceeded to snog the redhead in front of her.
Whatever happened to hygiene?
And then, for every week afterwards, she sat with him on bi-weekly interdepartmental meetings. His girlfriend(s) would come as the meeting wrapped and coddle him off lunch. (This was their order: Redhead, blonde, blonde, brunette, the redhead from before, and finally, another blonde.)
Damn the blondes.
Even if Daphne was blonde herself.
Phillippa Lee was his assistant, or as she called herself – undersecretary/minion.
Because every villain needs a minion.
He gave Pippa paperwork. Every damn day, the damn office would open up and there she was, rifling through rubbish paperwork.
And then he’d pass her by, oozing attentiveness and charm and she’d have to look up and chirp, “Alright, Mr. Potter?”
And he’d say: “Fine, thanks, Phyllis.”
And she’d smile (her name was Pippa, damn it – it wasn’t even hard to remember!) and she’d get back to the paperwork. And he’d transmogrify his self-righteous, charming, perfect, overrated arse back into the realms of his office and that’d be that.
And she’d sit there, mumbling to herself.
Maybe it was because her name was Pippa and that was why she had such rotten luck. She’d had top marks in Hogwarts. She was a nice enough girl to people who either mattered or didn’t really know her. It had to be the name. Pippa. It sounded like a bloody lollipop and maybe that was why everyone stepped right over her.
Gloria Atkins was a Weasley, except nobody really knew it.
The current Weasleys were flagged by the public and watched apprehensively: Perfect Victoire, icy Dominique, gorgeous Louis, idiotic Fred, enigmatic Roxanne, prim Rose, prudish Hugo, spotless Lily, sociable Albus.
And of course James.
She’d grown up around the whole lot of them and they adored each other. She was the girl next door, hilariously funny, always well spoken and necessarily kind. As sweet as chocolate.
She liked James. Really, she did. They’d been best friends for ages and somewhere inside, she thought that he might have fancied her if they hadn’t been. It made her sad to think about, but at all other times, he was busy driving her up the wall with his fifty thousand girlfriends, his nice eyes, and complete and utter ignorance to everything that she was.
Gemma Clarke was the girlfriend before Josie and after that-one-blonde-girl.
She’d been intent on keeping him, taming him where nobody else could. She’d been resolved, you know, and that was the worst part of it, because she’d honestly bloody believed.
And it hadn’t made sense!
She was intelligent – the rising star of St. Mungo’s. She was attractive. She was independent, never too clingy, voiced her opinions and had a cause in everything that she did.
They’d spent five and a half months together – that’d been a new record for James’s girlfriends. And oh, he’d been just lovely while it lasted. Attentive, kind, careful…she’d really thought they could last it out. Even with the thousand and five hours she worked weekly.
She’d never admit the grudge she held to anyone, but Merlin knew the tabloids had made a spectacle of shooting down her love life entirely. She was too prim, too above that kind of salacious rubbish. She’d barely batted an eye at the horrible headlines, the unflattering pictures of her emptying the rubbish bin or shopping for dinner, the digging up of the Quidditch match of fifth year, the interview with her ex-stepsisters and other things besides.
They’d been successful.
She hadn’t had a date since last September. Even a look at the headlines got her redfaced all over again and it sent all potential suitors running for the hills.
Given the chance, she’d have been after James Potter with a dishpan.
Josephine Ainsworth was carefree.
He dumped her too. After that Gemma girl and before that, that Charlene girl.
It didn’t matter really. She hadn’t thought they’d get married or anything and it had been fun while it lasted. If she were to be honest with herself, it was a relief. No more cameras or gossip or ridiculous socialite events to attend in ugly tight dresses. No more worrying about James being strung along by another leggy blond, or keeping James’s attention on her or trying to impress his ever expanding family. All there was to worry about now were the tulips outside her flat and the rent and all the visitors of The Love Lampoon.
But all the same, she was roped into the Incident of the Basement.
In the end, it happened like this:
Daphne met Gloria. Gloria knew Pippa, Pippa’s sister knew Gemma. And they met at Josie’s.
In the beginning, it started like this:
Daphne was balancing a large pile of books and a cup of tea.
That cup of tea changed everything.
Welcome to The Heartache Squadron, a story of mostly angry women and some coincidences! This was posted because Gina (justonemorefic) spent way too much time on the banner for me to waste it.
In case anyone was wondering, the order of women on the banner matches the order in the summary. Here's my little imaginary cast list:
Jessica Stam as Daphne Pucey
Ashley Greene as Gloria Atkins
Thandie Newton as Gemma Clarke
Boa Kwon as Pippa Lee
Cintia Dicker as Josephine Ainsworth
I know I've got more WIPs than healthy at this point, but this one's quite short and should hopefully be posted until it's complete! Let me know what you think of the girls, the odd style, and of angry women in general. They seem to be everywhere. Trust me, I know. And don't forget to review!