Chapter 3 : That Girl
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Chapter three: That Girl
I’ve always loved being a part of a large family. Growing up with a bunch of cousins that are mostly your age is great, in essence. There is never a dull moment with the Weasley clan. However, I sometimes find myself in situations where I would happily steal my mum’s time turner and go back in time to make sure certain relatives of mine never get married and produce children.
The first thing I see when I step out of the fireplace at the Burrow is…well, nothing. It was quiet; no one was in the living room. This was odd considering all the Weasleys would be here today. My family couldn’t be the first on here. That just wasn’t possible.
I stepped into the kitchen rather nervously, and felt relieved when I spotted Aunt Ginny and Aunt Audrey leaning against the counter. Well, I wasn’t particularly happy seeing Audrey, but at least it meant things were basically normal. No one in the family liked Audrey- except for Percy- and her kids were rather bratty. Okay, so Molly’s not so bad, but Lucy is the biggest drama queen/Satan child you will ever have the misfortune of meeting. So what if I’m the only member of the family who thinks that? Doesn’t mean it’s not true.
The whispered conversation my Aunt’s had been holding stopped abruptly when I walked into the room. It sounded like they had been arguing, but I have no idea what about.
“Happy Christmas, Riley.” Aunt Ginny said pulling me into a tight hug. Audrey barely spared me a glance. I have the feeling she doesn’t like me. The feeling’s mutual, bitch.
“Where is everyone?” I asked Aunt Ginny after wishing her a happy Christmas as well. I heard Rose and Hugo mumbling about something in the living room and then the sound of the front door opening and slamming shut.
“Everyone’s out front.” Aunt Ginny told me. Why anyone would choose to be outside in the cold snow on Christmas morning was beyond me, but I went out anyway.
Most of the family was out there surrounding something I couldn’t see. I edged closer to see what the commotion was about, and saw James and Al in the center of the circle showing off their new broomsticks, Nimbus 3000s.
So much for seeing the look on James’s face.
“It’s supposed to be the best model yet!” Uncle Charlie said wistfully. He used to play Quidditch back in his Hogwarts days and could have played professionally, from what Uncle George tells me, if he hadn’t gone off chasing dragons.
“There’s no way we’re going to lose to Ravenclaw in the next match.” Fred said eyeing the broomsticks enviously.
“I’ve always preferred the Nimbus series. The Firebolts may be fast, but the newer models lack decent handling.” Uncle Bill said as if he was the master on all things broomstick.
“What’s the big deal? They’re only bloody broomsticks.” Lucy said in her shrill voice. She looked utterly bored with the whole thing. Silly Lucy, she should know to never insult Quidditch in this family.
There was instantly an uproar over my dear cousin’s statement, but I decided not to join in. I already fight with Lucy enough; I might as well save my breath and let someone else have a go at her.
“Riley!” A singsong voice called to me and I was instantly enveloped in a hug by none other than Dominique Weasley. She was so elegant in the way she held herself up and swept her beautiful strawberry blond hair out of her eyes. I know it’s only been a few days since I last saw my best friend, but I sure did miss her.
Dom is one of those people who I can bitch about my life to and get nothing but support back. Complaining about all the crappy things in our sad little lives was our favorite past time and I really needed to let off some steam. Sorry Lily, but when it comes to angry rants, Dom’s the girl I go to.
The moment Dom released me from her death hug she grabbed me by the wrist and dragged me inside. I guess the shock of the Potter boy’s new broomsticks had died down because everyone had drifted back inside. I saw Teddy and Victoire snuggling on the couch, and Rose and Scorpius were doing the same on the floor by the fireplace. Excuse me while I vomit.
Uncle Bill and Uncle George seemed to be arguing over something while their wives, Fleur and Angelina, were talking animatedly about some new fashion shop that opened in Diagon Alley. Granddad Arthur, Nana Molly, Lily, and Roxanne were trying to persuade Uncle Charlie to cut his hair, while Uncle Percy crossed the room to go into the kitchen. I saw no sign of my own parents or of my godparents.
Dom dragged me all the way up the stairs and steered me into the first empty room she could find, slamming the door behind her.
“Guess what!” She squealed. “Guess what, guess what, guess what!” Her hands were clamped together in excitement and she was bouncing from foot to foot.
I had absolutely no idea what she was getting so worked up about, and it was all slightly amusing. Dom was one of those people who I never liked to stand near because she was just so damn pretty that I looked like a hideous troll in comparison. I know she’s part Veela and everything, but the girl still rivals Victoire in the ‘most beautiful witch’ contest. I’ve never seen her look this excited before, not even when she was told she would be Victoire’s maid of honor at her and Teddy’s wedding over the Easter holidays.
“Okay, what?” I asked thoroughly interested now. It wasn’t everyday my cousin acted like a five year old being given a Honeydukes chocolate bar, you know.
Dom beamed at me with sparkling blue eyes. Merlin I wish I had her eyes. They were so much nicer than the dark brown ones I got stuck with. I wonder if she’d let me trade eyes with her for a day. There must be a spell for that. I should ask Rose.
“Jay Soares asked me out!” Dom burst out and all thoughts of spells to steal my cousin’s eyes vanished.
“What?” I asked in astonishment. “Jay Soares?” I half hoped Dom would look at me the way she would if antlers started growing out of my head and tell me to get my hearing checked because she said someone with a completely different name had become her new boyfriend. Not Jay Soares. Not the guy I have been in love with since I was eleven.
Oh wait, Dom doesn’t know I love him. Damn.
I only half listened to Dom’s story of how Jay- my Jay- approached her at platform 9 and ¾ just as all the students joined their families back on the first day of Christmas break. She says he was really nervous, but charming and sweet like he always is. So he proceeded to ask her out and of course, seeing as you would have to be stupid or down right mental to turn someone like him down, Dom said yes.
Damn her for being part Veela.
It’s not like I didn’t expect something like this to happen sooner or later. A guy as good looking as Jay Soares wasn’t going to be single forever. But why oh why did he have to date Dom? Sure, my cousin is the most beautiful girl in all of Hogwarts and any girl that says otherwise is lying to themselves. And sure, Dom’s also funny, smart, athletic, and still my closest friend after six years at Hogwarts. Ok, I really don’t stand a chance.
You see, this was one of those times when I seriously consider stealing my mum’s time turner. I could stop Bill and Fleur from getting married and Dom would never have been born. Then I would have Jay all to myself.
“Uh, Riley?” Dom asked and I realized how stupid I must look just standing here with my mouth hanging open. This definitely wasn’t the reaction she had been looking for.
I clamped my jaws shut and forced a smile on my face. I caught sight of myself from a large mirror hanging on the wall and I looked anything but happy. The fake smile made me look mental.
“Wow,” I finally choked out. “You and- and Jay.” Of all the things to say and that’s what comes out. I need to end this conversation now. “I have to go somewhere!” I burst out suddenly, and I ran from the room leaving a very hurt and confused Dom behind me.
* * * *
I spent the majority of Christmas day hiding from Dom to avoid any awkward conversations and questions she might ask as to why I was acting so strange. This resulted in me also hiding from Lily because Dom was using her to help find me.
So while I managed to stay away from my two favorite cousins, I spent my time with different members of the family. First I joined Rose and Scorpius, but they started snogging passionately in front of the fire, so I left them to it. I tried to start up a conversation with Teddy, but he was being pressed for details about the upcoming wedding by Aunt Fleur and Victoire. Moving on. I kept my distance from Molly and Lucy because Molly was weird and Lucy, well, hated me, and I couldn’t even talk to Roxanne because she spent most of her time following Lily around, whom I was trying to hide from. I tried to talk to Hugo and Louis, Dom’s younger brother, but Lorcan and Lysander Scamander soon joined us and I have to admit, those twins were really weird. They’re always talking about nargals and how gnome saliva has amazing powers. It’s all mumbo jumbo to me, so I decided to stay away from them. I finally decided to settle with Al, James, and Fred. From the day I was having, the three of them seemed almost normal. Almost.
“All right Riley?” Al said as I sat down next to him on the floor of my dad’s old room at the very top of the Burrow. James was smiling at me from where he was lounging across the bed and Fred was staring out the window.
“I’m bloody fantastic.” Al must have heard the sarcasm in my voice, but decided not to press me any further. This was one of the wonderful things about Al. Instead of provoking me like his idiot brother does when I’m mad, he knows where to draw the line. Sure, he has his moments of idiocy, but they rarely showed when I was mad. Al didn’t want to die at an early age.
“Is that sarcasm I detect?” James asked. He had his head off the bed and was looking at me upside down making his jet black hair even messier than usual.
“How perspective.” I rolled my eyes.
“What’s the matter?” Fred asked. He walked over and shoved James off of the bed and sat down in his place. James scowled as he picked himself up off the floor.
For a moment, I almost considered telling my cousins what was going on. Fred and James may both be older than me, but only by a year, and have proved themselves to be surprisingly supportive at times. James was practically my older brother. We grew up together along with Al and Rose and, granted, he was a complete idiot at times, I knew I could trust him.
Fred I wasn’t as close to. He and James were good friends and we have played on the same Quidditch team for years, but we don’t have the same relationship James and I share. Fred was the school prankster, rivaling that of his father and our late Uncle Fred. He looked just like Uncle George with the bright red Weasley hair, the mischievous blue eyes, and the hundreds of freckles.
Al I knew I could tell, but there was something holding me back. Maybe it was the fact that Jay was Al’s best friend, along with Malfoy, or the fact that I had a crush on my best friend’s boyfriend, but I decided I should keep my mouth shut. So, instead of ranting about all the feelings I harbored for Dom and her new boyfriend, I did what anyone in my position would do, even though I’m horrible at it.
“Nothing,” I lied.
Christmas dinner was served in the too cramped dining room in the Burrow. The long table was groaning under the weight of Nana Molly’s delicious cooking. I don’t know how that woman managed to make so much food for her family. And we’re Weasley’s! We live to eat!
When I entered the dining room, I spotted Dom and Lily immediately. I could feel Dom’s gaze on me, so I quickly dropped into an open seat in between Rose and Teddy.
“Aw Scorp you’re so cute when you eat mashed potatoes.” Rose giggled. Oh Merlin, kill me now.
That was what it was like all through dinner. I was stuck listening to Rose and her boyfriend make sickening comments that only couples could make and trying my best not to puke. Teddy wasn’t much better since he was with Victoire. If only I wasn’t a coward.
Dinner seemed to last a lifetime. Al and James started flinging cranberry sauce at each other, which distracted me for a few minutes, until Aunt Ginny threatened to burn their new broomsticks if they didn’t stop. It was quite funny to see Al’s glasses splattered with cranberry sauce.
All through dinner I could feel Dom eyeing me, and the one time I looked up, her expression was half angry, half confused. I can’t really blame her. One second she’s telling me all about her new boyfriend, the next I was running away from her. It was stupid of me to avoid this problem. I should have just told her I fancy Jay! I’m not exactly the kind of person that likes to express her feelings. I always keep my anger, or annoyance, or exasperation bottled up inside me. One day I’m going to explode, and I feel bad for any unfortunate souls are in the vicinity. I’ll end up getting chucked into Azkaban for first degree murder.
Once dinner was over, I left the dining room as fast as possible. I didn’t think I would be able to listen to Rose and Malfoy fawn over each other for another minute without strangling one of them.
I was starting to feel a bit claustrophobic inside the Burrow, seeing as the whole family seemed to be grouped in the living room, so I decided to head outside for some fresh air. The old snow crunched under my feet and I pulled my coat tighter around me as I made my way to my favorite place at the Burrow. There was this large oak tree in the yard and when I was younger I would climb up it all the time. I had discovered these two branches that formed a really good sitting place, so know, whenever I feel the need for some peace and quiet, this is where I go.
I climbed up the tree easily thanks to years of practice and settled myself in the fork created by the two branches. My breath fogged and I rubbed my hands together to keep my fingers warm. Now that I was totally alone, I could finally think about what I would do with my Dom problem.
A part of me wanted to kill my cousin for getting with the bloke I fancy, but I knew that would be irrational. Dom doesn’t know I like him, and neither does Jay for that matter. On that note, I can cross off ‘kill Dom’ from my short list of possibilities.
Another part of me wanted to confide in my cousin/best friend, but I also don’t want to do that because I don’t want to ruin this for Dom. She may have had a ton of boyfriends before, but it’s so rare to see her truly happy with a bloke. If she really likes Jay, who am I to end their relationship before it begins? Besides, what would I even say? ‘Oh, by the way Dom, I’ve fancied your boyfriend since I was eleven.’ Yeah, like that wasn’t going to happen.
The last part of me (and a very small part at that) just wants to be happy for Dom and be done with it. But I know that’s not going to happen. Jay Soares has the power to melt my heart with just a smile. Sorry Dom, but I couldn’t stop liking him if I tried.
Footsteps. I’m almost sure I heard footsteps. Yup, those were definitely footsteps. Oh Merlin, please don’t let that be Dom! Shit, I was hoping for just a few more moments of peace. Is that too much to ask? Maybe they won’t see me…
“What the hell are you doing up in a tree?”
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