Chapter 2 : II
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Also, a reviewer let me know that James eyes are not actually green, but for the sake of the story, pretend they are.
So please review? :D
A/N : MUST READ: I am an American and--like most other Americans--I know little about any other country outside of the US. I originally put Ellie in Oxford University having not paid attention at all to it's location and only on its architecture. I have changed it to Imperial College London (ICL) because that is still a really good school. Note that the architecture is much more modern. For the sake of the story, pretend that it looks just like Oxford. Also, the location is not completely accurate for this college either, just know that it is almost in the heart of London.
“Oi! You’re tardy for work!”
Ellie’s eyes opened lazily taking in the numbers 8:21 on her digital clock. Her eyes shut for another two minutes before snapping open. 8:23. Her legs dropped from her bed quickly landing with a loud thud as she clumsily ran to her work shorts lying messily on the floor beside her work shirt and apron. She looked at her clock groggily 8:24 and realized that she had not set her alarm to seven the previous evening. She was now twenty-four minutes late.
Ellie ran out of the apartment yelling “Bye!” as she went. The streets were busy, as they usually were at 8:29 on a Tuesday morning. The sky was overcast and the air humid with the distinct moist smell in the air. It was going to rain today, not that that was unusual. It’s London, it’s a miracle when it’s not raining.
I miss you! It’s been so long since I’ve talked to my favorite cousin! You must come visit me in London because I haven’t seen you in forever plus I know you haven’t been to the city in ages.
Oh wait! I forgot how much of a wanker you were though! Because you were definitely in town yesterday Mr. PORTLAND and you didn’t stop by to visit me. Though you did a leave a lasting impression on my wonderful MUGGLE housemate. Do me a favor and don’t make a move on her next time you want coffee. She’s a little too nice for you and your grotty intentions.
PS: Grow some balls and come visit me! I really do miss you!
James recognized Dominique’s handwriting almost immediately upon opening her letter. It was very defined with small, messy, and a distinct feminine touch. Her handwriting was as crazy as the blonde herself. That’s one reason why the two were always so close, she was blunt and cared little for what others thought of her. Perhaps due to her mother’s controlling tendencies and strict rules or her father’s calm demeanor and acceptance of everyone and everything. Maybe it was a combination of the two.
James and Dom grew apart once graduating from the walls of Hogwarts. She went on to pursue a muggle degree and escape the familiarity of the Potter/Weasley clan. “I want to meet new people who don’t know a thing about me or my family,” she’d said. James went in the opposite direction, embracing his fame as he became an international quidditch star with the Kenmare Kestrals. Most of the wizarding community knew his entire name, birthdate, family history, quidditch history, test scores, dating history, and top five things he looked for in a woman. He’d graced the covers of dozens of magazines and been interviewed on every wizarding radio show there was. Yet when he needed to escape his reality Dom was his go to gal.
That day at the coffee house was different though, James was looking for an escape from his reality, not a reunion with an old best mate. His family brought enough stress into his life as it was, add Dominique pretending she’s a muggle and that’s icing on the cake. Dominique is never someone James could avoid though; she finds a way into his life under the most peculiar circumstances. It’d been seven months since Dom had made any contact with him, yet here she was crawling back into his life, using a girl no less. She’d always hated James gallivanting around with women who threw themselves at him for his fame, good looks, and fortune. They’d call themselves in love until she became too inconvenient for James’ lifestyle. Undoubtedly, Dominque was worried James would try and bring Ellie into the chaos he calls his life. She wasn’t reaching out to reconnect, she was attempting to push him away further in an, albeit, subtle and good natured manner.
”You’re leaving again? Is it going to be like last time when you didn’t talk to me for five weeks?” James asked, clearly flustered as his cheeks grew red with anger. He stared at his strawberry-blonde cousin who sat dejectedly on the sofa before James. Her back curved, lips pouting, eyes pointed at the floor, and her fingers fiddled with one another.
“No,” she forced out, voice soft but strong, “It’s not James. Why can’t you just trust me not to leave you James?”
James’ demeanor softened. His once folded arms fell to his side, “You’ve done it before Dominique.”
“James you’re never alo—“
“You don’t get it, do you Dom?” His eyes were angry once more as he stood staring down at his cousin, “You left me with this life. You don’t understand what it’s like living in the shadow of the Harry Potter, savior of the world! Having to always prove to everyone that I’m not my dad without being a disappointment. I can never be myself except around you! When you leave, I’m alone! Don’t you get it Dom?! If you leave again, you’re basically telling me to go fuck myself.”
“You chose this life,” Dom finally raised her eyes and met fierce emerald green ones, “I’m doing this for me James. I’m always there for you; you’re always there for me. But I’m never there for me. I’ve been trying to live this crazy life with you and it’s time I go out and do something for me. You’re right, I don’t know what it’s like to live under the shadow of the wizarding world’s savior. I do know what it’s like to live as a child of a Weasley though. Believe it or not, you aren’t the only person who’s expected to be like their parents James.” Dominique stood up, “Your life isn’t half as bad as you make it out to be. It’s only shitty because James Sirius Potter isn’t the one living it, James ‘Son-of-Harry’ Potter is. You expect more out of yourself than your father does who would be proud of you whether you were an international quidditch star or a not.” She grabbed her suitcase by the front door then looked at James, “I’ll never permanently leave you. I’m just leaving you until you’re ready for me to comeback.”
Those were the last words Dom ever uttered to James. He never received a letter, a present on his birthday, an “I-Miss-You.” She was gone from his life. Therefore, her subtle warning to stay away from Ellie meant as little to James as dirt. He wanted to piss Dominique off and what better way than to get close to her roommate.
James looked at his clock, he was supposed to meet with Scott in fifteen minutes to discuss Scott’s pay raise for making the recent tabloids disappear. Instead of waiting, James grabbed parchment and a nearby quill, Scott, you’ll get a thirty percent bonus with your next check. Went out for coffee.
“Another rainy day in London,” Jim voiced, breaking the awkward silence that’d taken over the back of the Café Coffee store. Ellie was currently laying her head upon the desk pretending to sleep. Business had been irregularly slow. Their boss wouldn’t be pleased with the amount of money they’d be losing having to pay three employees for sitting on the arses most of their shifts. The sky looked awful covered in nothing but dark grey clouds, and the addition of it being slightly cold, business was not booming.
Ellie hated wasting an entire day away at work doing absolutely nothing. She’d expected the store to be busy therefore she didn’t bring any reading material or homework. Of course, the one day she doesn’t bring her school books to work on a rainy day is the one day it’s not actually busy. She could be studying for an upcoming test; instead, she was stuck in the back of the store with Jim and Veronica.
Veronica was labeled as the store’s bitch (by Jim). She spent most of her time filing her nails, reading a gossip magazine, or talking about her boyfriend—king of the douchebags. Veronica was never rude to Ellie, they got along fine as long as the conversation steered more toward her. Veronica was slightly taller than Ellie with dark skin and dark brown eyes. Her dark black hair was either pulled into a curly tight bun or straight and loose pony tail. She was attractive and she knew it, hence her bitchiness.
Jim hated Veronica and refused to work with her if there was no third member party. Though, this request was unfair for any third worker who got stuck with them on a slow rainy day. The majority of conversations Ellie, Jim and Veronica had been having were closer to arguments than calm discussions with Ellie attempting to stay neutral. She prided herself in being able to see reason in situations where others could not, like. She thought of logical solutions and goals for others.
“That’s not true! When you pay for you food at the grocery store at the self-pay registers, the way they make sure you’re not stealing is by using a weight scale where your grocery bags are!” Jim argued.
“Obviously! I wasn’t even talking about that you idiot,” Veronica countered.
“What were you talking about then?”
“I don’t even remember.”
“Yes you do, you just don’t want to admit that you were wrong and I was right.”
“I don’t see how you can possibly be so—“
Bing “Oh thank god,” Ellie said, standing up, “Why don’t you two just stay in here, I’ll handle the customer.” Ellie quickly entered the front of the store and was greeted by two of her favorite regulars: Thomas and Margaret, an old married could in their early seventies. They met fifty years prior and have been together ever since.
“Hello!” Ellie greeted cheerfully.
“Well aren’t you happy to see us,” Thomas noted sporting his usual grin.
“I am, I’ve been trapped with dumb and dumber for the last hour and it’s been entirely too slow.”
“Are those two at it again? When will they just get married all ready?” Margaret asked waving her hands in the air crazily.
“Apparently never. There is literally a foot of sexual tension between the two of them that they just refuse to acknowledge,” Ellie chuckled. She looked at them for a moment as the store got quiet, “Did you two want your usuals?”
Margaret smiled sweetly at Ellie, “Of course we do sweetie.”
Ellie began preparing the Chocolate Cappuccinos as the bell rang once more. She felt the air of Jim and Veronica pass by her as a few people entered the store. Once finished blending the two drinks she made her way to the register but was intercepted by Veronica, “Do you know him?”
Ellie looked passed her and made eye contact with James Portland. She quickly looked away and back at Veronica. “Sort of. Why?”
“Well, he wants you to take his order,” she glanced at the two drinks in my hand, “Are those Tom and Margie’s?”
“Yeah,” Ellie handed them over and made her way to the Ordering Station, “Hey what can I—“
“I actually just wanted to talk to you. This is the only way I know how to. I haven’t been able to get you off my mind for a couple days,” James interrupted leaning in slightly.
She gave him a skeptical look, “Do you even remember my name?”
“How could I forget Ellie? Now the question is, do you remember mine?”
Ellie rolled her eyes but a smile still graced her face, “What would like to talk about James?”
Ellie forced herself to make eye contact with his sparkling hazel green eyes. She looked away quickly, “Someone gave me a word of advice about you.”
James cocked his head to the side, “And what was that?”
“To stay away.”
A laugh bubbled from his throat, “And are you?”
“Am I what?”
“Going to ‘stay away?”
Ellie smiled up at the gorgeous man before her, “Yep!” His confident stance weakened slightly after, but he managed to hold his head up high.
“Interesting. You do understand that I’m going to make that absolutely impossible don’t you?” He placed his hands on the counter and leaned in.
“I do now,” she smiled at him and he returned it. Ellie looked around the Café Coffee only to see one customer left from the previous series of orders. She spotted Jim pouring milk into a blender and sending a questioning look her way. She ignored it and turned back to James, “Look, I don’t mean to sound rude but are you ordering anything?”
“Of course not!”
“You’re just going to stand there looking at me?”
“That was the plan.”
“You do realize I’m at work don’t you?”
“When a customer comes in, I must take their order…”
“Meaning you must move.”
Ellie crinkled her brow, “…Well you can’t sit down without ordering anything.”
“Okay, well take which ever pastry is your favorite.”
“Fine,” Ellie went to the pastry cooler. Her eyes scanned over each dessert until it landed on her favorite: carrot cake. She quickly placed it in a bag and handed it over to James who hadn’t taken his eyes off her, “It’s going to be two pounds.” After digging in his pockets, James placed the money on the counter, “Thank you.”
“Anything for you,” he said. Ellie couldn’t help but place a small smile on her lips. It’d been a long time since a guy as attractive as James showed any interest in her. Her last boyfriend, if you could call him that, was cute with dark skin, light brown eyes, and a smile that could knock any girl off her feet. Unfortunately, he wasn’t too understanding when she couldn’t just skip class or work to hang out with him and he broke up with her after a month.
“You know,” she said to James, “I do have to work so I’m going to the back.”
He grabbed a newspaper than took a seat at a table in the corner, “I’ll be waiting.”
“It’ll be a couple hours, but feel free ring the bell if you need anything,” Ellie told him as she disappeared into the back.
*Two hours and twenty Café Coffee blends later*
“When do you work next?” James looked up at the sound of the man’s voice behind the counter. He was speaking to Ellie who was standing in front of the backdoor with a book bag on her back. He came to know this man as Jim from the other girl’s, Veronica’s, constant nagging. James assessed Jim earlier in worries that he was potential competition but came to the conclusion that Jim’s 5’10” thin frame, shaggy blonde hair, and square glasses had nothing on James. It was clear that Ellie had no particular interest in the guy and their relationship was purely platonic to her, but occasionally Jim would clearly check her out when her back was turned or she was busy with customers.
James could understand why Jim would show interest in her. She was short with a thin frame that was fairly toned. She had nice breasts that weren’t big but definitely not small. I nice size for her build. Her arse was neither big nor small but had definite shape to it. Her blonde hair was long, though constantly tied up while at work, and her eyes were big and hazel. She was very good-looking James could admit. Though the girls he dated were usually lingerie models or long-legged beauties from Brazil who stood at 5’8”, he could make an exemption for her though, especially given the circumstances.
“What’s today? Wednesday? I don’t work until Friday afternoon,” she said, “Why?”
Jim shrugged, “Just wondering when I’d next see you.”
“I’m sure, I’ll see you later. Bye Veronica!” she walked away from her coworkers and into the customer’s area. She made her way to the entrance door with a book James hadn’t noticed before in her hand. She was reading the back cover, clearly enthralled, as she continued to blindly walk towards the door.
James stood, “You know you should probably look where you’re walking.”
Ellie halted, her eyes quickly finding James at the table he’d originally sat down in, “I didn’t know you were still here. I thought I saw you leave earlier.”
James began moving toward her with a smile on his face, “I had to run an errand.” He’d gone to a nearby flower store to pick out a bouquet of pink roses he’d strategically placed on the table behind him. He turned around, grabbed them and kept them behind his back as he turned back to Ellie, “Speaking of which, I got you something.”
Ellie raised one eyebrow and crossed her arms over her chest. She leaned on her hip that cocked to the side slightly. She looked suspicious, “You did now? What could you have possibly gotten me?”
He pulled the roses from behind his back and held them in front of him, “Pink Roses mean friendship, I was thinking we could start there.” She took the bouquet from him and as much as she wanted to say ‘thank you’ she didn’t understand his intentions.
Her lips curled into a small smirk and her eyebrow lifted once more. She glanced at James and then back to the flowers in skepticism, “I accept the flowers but I don’t understand why you got me these,” she looked down at the pink roses, “We’ve spent a total of ten minutes talking, flowers are a bit—“
“Extreme?” James offered.
“Sure. You could’ve just asked to hang out. I would’ve said yes.”
James nodded, “I didn’t think you’d make it that easy for me.”
Ellie smirked, “I’m not playing hard to get James WhatEverYourLastNameIs. I’m simply making myself available for friendship and unavailable for anything else.”
“Right…because you were told to ‘stay away.’”
Silence engulfed the two of them as they stood in Café Coffee. He stared at her, eyes scanning every detail of her face trying to understand why she was so adamant on following his cousin’s instructions. “You shouldn’t listen to Dominique, she doesn’t know anything about me,” he found himself saying.
Ellie’s eyes brightened and her lips curved into a smile, “So you two are related,” she chuckled, “interesting.”
James’ immediately became confused, “How is that interesting?”
“Well, you say she doesn’t know you very well yet she saw right through the James Portland act. I have no idea how—out of all the possible James Portlands that probably live in London and look like you—she figured out that you were actually her cousin without even seeing you but she did. So if you ask me, she knows you very well.” Ellie raised her eyebrow at him with a smirk placed on her face and her hazel eyes sparkled with amusement, “I’ve got to go to class. You can walk with me if you want but either way I’m leaving.”
She didn’t wait for a response and walked out the Café Coffee door without a glance back to see if James was following. There were many benefits to walking Ellie to her class and continuing his pursuit.
One: she was an attractive girl who raised his levels of libido more than most of the women he dated, perhaps because she was so different than his stereotypical girlfriend. She was a muggle, short, less curvy and more compact. She was not already wealthy or trying to pursue wealth and had a clear goal for her life other than model and have sex with famous men. There was also the key fact that she had no idea he was anything more than Dom’s cousin. She was clueless about his hectic life and he could act normal (almost) around her.
Two: she was playing the very fun game of cat and mouse—even though she was in denial. It was rare for James to engage in a relationship with a girl who played hard to get. Witches who weren’t related to James were attracted to James because of his looks, his family, his fortune, and his connections overall. They didn’t want to get to know him or make it hard for him to get to know them. Their goal was to attract James so they could get all the benefits that came with him. Ellie was playing hard to get, she’d heard James was a heart breaker and wasn’t the best to be in a relationship with. Now James had to work and show her that there was clearly more to him than good looks.
Three: Most importantly, it would piss of Dominque, the ultimate goal. James knew that there was a chance he’d fall for this girl or that she’d fall for him. James decided that doing this just to piss off his cousin who abandoned him was not the most intelligent idea, but he also understood that the look on Dom’s face when she woke up and found him in her apartment with her roommate would make all the repercussions worth it.
James quickly left Café Coffee and followed Ellie after noting the flowers he’d given her were left disregarded on one of the café’s tables. He quickened his pace until his steps fell in line with hers.
“Let’s start over,” he began, “I’m James Potter,” he stuck out his hand for her to shake unsure if a kiss on the cheek would wash over well with her.
“Ellie, Ellie Addison. Pleasure to make your acquaintance,” she ignored his hand and instead curtsied and stuck her hand out toward his face.
James immediately took the hint and gently grabbed her hand and pulled it to his lips, kissing it delicately while holding eye contact with her, “Well Miss Addison, back to the nineteenth century are we?.”
She smiled, “We are. Should we continue on our way?” James nodded and they continued walking down the sidewalk towards Imperial College London. (A/N: Refer to previous A/N if you have not already done so)
“Tell me about yourself,” he opened looking straight ahead. Through his peripherals, he noticed her look over at him before looking forward again.
“What would you like to know?”
“Where are you from?”
“I lived in Derbyshire until I was eight.”
“Why’d you move?”
“My parents got a divorce; I left Derbyshire with my dad and moved here. Probably the best decision I ever made,” she laughed.
“Why do you say that?”
Ellie let out a breath of air, “Well, Derbyshire is filled with rich, arrogant arses that look down on anyone who isn’t like them. My mother fit in great there and she wanted me to be just like her. So to sum it all up, if I’d stayed with her, I’d be a Class-A bitch.”
“And no one likes a Class-A bitch.”
“Exactly, I mean seriously, would you date a Class-A bitch?”
“I have, many different ones,” James said quietly, looking down as he said this.
“Not the best relationships right?”
“Right, their too dramatic and their bleeding annoying!” he said over enthusiastically.
Ellie laughed and smiled towards James who was already grinning from ear to ear. Their eyes made contact and her smile diminished almost instantly. She turned her head away from his and held a determined expression upon her feminine features. James looked forward as well and spotted Imperial College London a couple blocks away. Its architecture reminded him much of his teenage years at Hogwarts. It resembled a castle with beautiful well-kept gardens and lawns and the youthful atmosphere as young adults walked around and through the campus. (A/N: Again, if you haven’t already, please refer to A/N at the beginning of the chapter)
“You can’t do that you know,” Ellie said.
James ruffled his hair, “What?”
“Be nice and funny, that makes everything more difficult for me you know.”
“I’m sorry? I didn’t know that those were bad qualities to show to others. I’ll keep the nice and funny down to a minimum then,” James smiled. Ellie didn’t smile as she continued to look forward, “It makes you want to jump my trousers doesn’t it?”
“What?!” she immediately stopped walking and looked at James.
He grinned, “It’s okay if you want to bed me, I won’t tell Dom. It’ll be our little secret. But you know, I can’t make it that easy for you. You’ve got to work for it. Take me out to dinner, buy me some ratatouille and then we’ll see,” Ellie smiled, “Better yet, why don’t I take you to your favorite restaurant, buy you dinner and carrot cake and then you can have your way with me.”
Ellie laughed and continued walking beside James who immediately placed his arm around her shoulder, “I can have my way with you huh?” They turned into the campus, “Alright fine, here’s my number,” she pulled out a pen from her bag and grabbed the arm that wasn’t around her. He watched her write numbers across his forearm, “This is my building but give me a call and we can talk about it.”
James nodded and stared at his forearm dumbfounded by the numbers she’d written. He hadn’t even noticed her disappear into the building he was standing in front of. He looked up suddenly and analyzed his surroundings. The campus was big with tons of students walking around him, he spotted an area where there were no people walking in nor out of. It was an alley that was decently well lit, but ignored none the less. He walked into it and looked at his forearm one last time in confusion.
He looked around himself to ensure he was not being watched and then proceeded to apparate.
“Bloody hell! What the devil are you doing here?” came the screeching voice of his cousin, Rose Weasley. She had her arm placed on her heart as if she’d had a heart attack.
“Oh thank Merlin you’re here! I need your help!” James announced.
Rose rolled her eyes, “I’m going to kill Scorpious for not putting the apparition barricades up.”
“Oh good, that boy needs a good arse kicking.”
“He’s not a boy James, he’s a twenty two year old man, get that through your thick skull you nitwit.”
“Aren’t we friendly today.”
“What do you want James?”
He pulled out his forearm, “What in-the-name-of-Voldemort do these numbers mean on my arm?”
She looked at his forearm and then back at him, “Who gave you a muggle telephone number?”
A/N: Disclaimer: I have never been to Derbyshire and I’m sure there are plenty of nice people that live there.
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