Chapter 5 : Communication
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If you have any sense of self-preservation at all, you’ll be in the Hospital Wing like a good, sick little daughter—your immune system always has been on the weaker end. I credit that to being early three weeks, but you know your father, and he says you just don’t eat enough.
I can imagine your face at this exact moment, if you really are where you better be. Are you glancing around all paranoid, looking for someone with a camera watching your every move? If so, it’s a little late. All of your cousins either graduated or haven’t entered school, and I refuse to pay four galleons per owl regarding your whereabouts.
What can possibly be so expensive that I have second years hassling me for unearthly amounts? They’re trying to take advantage of poor old me, and it almost worked. What can I say? She complimented my hair—didn’t even notice that I have two grays! Of course, I had them covered immediately…
I remember the Hospital Wing quite clearly, having spent a good portion of my sixth and seventh years there for routine checkups. You really suck the fun out of everything, even back in my comfortable womb. And really, where else would you be other than on your deathbed?
It’s the only acceptable excuse. Why haven’t you been writing me weekly letters? I want to hear about your life—and boys! What are the boys like? Have your roots started showing? I created an excellent spell for highlights, and we need you to become blonde for me to continue looking natural…
Has something happened, Bumblebee? It’s been two months into school and I’ve received three letters. Now, I promised your father that I wouldn’t pester you, but even Richard knows it was in vain. Did that Potter boy kidnap you? I knew his father—Granddad Montgomery was good friends with him. They always have been a bit too passionate, and I’m not sure it’s in his genes to control himself.
Please write me back, honey. I’m worried.
Your mother (Claudia if you’ve forgotten about me already)
I have some big news—you might want to sit down for this.
I rolled my eyes at the letter my mum sent me, nestling the cupcake-scented parchment into my bag. She always was a bit dramatic, refusing to let me cut my hair for the first nine years of my life because she didn’t want to upset the Hair Goddess, Goldie Locks. Yet I followed her directions, sat down comfortably, reading the attached article.
Bad News, Bears?
“Richard Montgomery, 33, has just announced his retire from the Dallas Cowboys after 16 years of an extremely successful career. The quarterback has been with the team from the start, bringing with him good luck. Together, they have had thirteen consecutive winning season, missing the playoffs once in ’74. He helped them win their first two Super Bowl Championships in ’71 and his final year, ’77.”
Surely I’m reading this wrong. Richard Montgomery, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys? Retired? I know what’s going on. There must be another player by that exact name and occupation, who is also the same age as my dad and started at the same time…
This must be a mistake, regardless. Typo? Rumor? Lies?
“ESPN Magazine: Did you accomplish everything you set out to when first joining the team in 1960?
Richard Montgomery: No, I can't say that I have… I’ve accomplished more. We won the NFL Eastern Conference twice—in ’66 and’67. We won the Super Bowl twice—that’s amazing. We won the NFC Conference four times—in ’70, ’71, ’75, and ’77. We’ve won multiple Division championships. The NFL Capitol in ’67, ’68, and ’69. The NFC East in ’70, ’71, ’72, ’73, ’76, and ’77. All I wanted was to play football. I didn’t really care about winning.”
Yes, this does sound exactly like my father. He has always been the modest type—he says he’s just a decent human being but I think that my grandmother would spank him with a spoon if he acted out.
It just can't be him.
It can't be.
“ESPN: That’s quite the impressive list. Is the parting bittersweet?
RM: Is that even a question worth asking? That’s the only way to describe it! I can't even imagine myself without The Boys, but I know that whatever life throws at me, I’ll be ready. After all, I’ve helped raise a sarcastic, brilliant little teenager. I think I can do anything.”
My dad is kind of a big deal back in the States. Maybe he has this insane stalker who copies him in every single thing. Every. Single. Thing. I know that I would never be referenced as ‘sarcastic.’ Brilliant definitely, but I’m sarcastic? That’s just rude, and not at all flattering to our family—and more importantly, me.
“ESPN: The Boys, is that a nickname for your friends?
RM: It’s what we call members of team. We’ve also been called Big D, the Doomsday Defense—which is really the truth, my job would be nothing without such good players—and the most honored, America’s Team. I don’t know what we did to deserve such a grand name, but it must’ve been something right.”
Fine, I’ve accepted that this is my father. And in this difficult, strenuous, and anything other synonym of the true, acceptance, I have decided to Avada Kedavra him. How dare he do this to our family, to his team—also known as my many non-blood related uncles? He can't just abandon them!
Some can't even do their own laundry.
“ESPN: There are rumors that you were let off. Is that true?
RM: Are there really? I wasn’t even aware. And for the record, no, I have not been ‘let off,’ or ‘fired,’ or even recommended to retire. It’s been difficult traveling back and forth between my home family and sports family, and I don’t want to miss out on any more of my daughter growing up.”
Well, that’s sweet, but I’m still rather pissed off that he can make these huge decisions without consulting me first. Doesn’t he understand that I like going to his games and watching, or that I made friends with some of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders? They even gave me an honorary position—custom uniform and pompoms included—as a DCC.
“ESPN: That’s very sweet. Is she a Dallas fan?
RM: Oh, she’s a Cowboy through and through.”
I reckon he doesn’t know me nearly as well as he thinks he does. Sure, I enjoy going to his games and I’ll make the occasional sign when the times call for it—Super Bowl, anyone? But I’m not so much a Dallas fan, as I am a fan of the Dallas players.
Have you seen Nicolas Swift?
“ESPN: What’s next for the great Richard Montgomery?
RM: I don’t think I’ll ever truly leave Texas—I went to university here and it’s become a large part of my life. I’ve actually been thinking about starting a program here—just because I’m too old to play, doesn’t mean I can't coach.”
Actually, he’s not old at all. I mean, mum had me at seventeen, and dad did as well. He’s only thirty-three—he can still bloody play. Don’t get me wrong, because I love him, but sometimes I love my space as well.
He thinks that I’ve never fancied anyone.
It’s to be expected, of course, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. After all, a 6’4” hunk tends to be a bit overbearing. I don’t know why he didn’t just become a quidditch professional, but American football does make more money.
As in millions more…
“ESPN: You’re starting a program?
RM: The Montgomery Bears, I think I’ll call it. Bears are strong and ferocious, something that my wife likes to joke about constantly. I think they would be a great mascot, no offense to Rowdy.”
Oh, no one cares about Rowdy the stupid mascot. Isn’t that a bit of an awkward name, anyway? Rowdy? He’s a rowdy animal? If it were up to me, he would be named Powerful or Winner or The Best.
“ESPN: Is it true that your friends and family call your home the Cotton Bowl, after your home field?
RM: You’d have to ask them.”
Yes, it’s bloody true. You know, they should have me do a follow-up interview. And then I can confess my love for Nicolas, the most perfect running back to ever live, and we can be happily married with thousands of babies.
After this year ends. I can't just get pregnant like mum—unless Nicholas comes to Hogsmeade for a ‘visit’...
Although, he isn’t a wizard, and wouldn’t even be allowed…
“ESPN: Will you miss wearing the navy, silver, and white uniforms?
RM: Oh, I’ll definitely wear my jersey when the time comes. Just because I’m not playing, doesn’t mean that I won’t watch and cheer my team on. I couldn’t get away from those colors if I tried.”
They should switch to purple and gold.
I absolutely love purple and gold. It’s like royalty.
“After all, I can be a royal bitch,” I mumbled aloud to myself.
“Excuse me?” James asked, sending me a perplexed glance. We were sitting in the Gryffindor Common Room—where I spend most of my time, lately. Apparently Rosier—now known as Evan the Evil—sent a bit of Dark Magic my way, something that was like a mix of Imperio and Confundo. I had been hiding out ever since.
It’s just, first the Cougar Thing, and now the Superman Thing… and let’s not forget that 90% of the school population thinks I am shagging one of the Marauders—and apparently, Peter is the only believable one. Supposedly, I’m paying for it, too.
Oh, Hogwarts makes me so confident.
“Oh, bollocks, just never mind,” I sighed, tapping my peacock-feathered quill against my parchment, and watching as Sirius Black led yet another lady-whore up to his dormitory. Am I angry? Yes. Jealous? Of bloody course not.
“Are you sure?” he asked, actually sounding concerned.
“No, I was actually lying,” I admitted, chewing on a few strands of hair. Have I really picked this habit back up? Gross. “You—you never apologized to me, James. How could you ever think it was okay to just use me as a distraction for quidditch? You thought it was perfectly acceptable to throw me at Rosier? Who does that?”
I had finally let the cat out of the bag. It had been constantly bugging me.
He just... he didn't even consider my feelings.
“I—I didn’t think it would upset you,” he shrugged, sending me a boyishly handsome smile. It wasn’t going to work on me, however. I wasn’t some plaything. “If I’m being completely honest, I thought it would help you loosen up. You’ve been awfully high-strung lately.”
“I’m not your pet, James. You can't just decide what will and won’t help me.”
He looked so sincere, that I couldn’t help but reevaluate the situation. Was I being too harsh on James? He might put on a front of being unapproachable and well, a Marauder, but he was surprisingly sensitive—like a hormonal girl.
Should I lay off?
“So, what’s been going on this week?” I asked him, changing the subject immediately. “Anything special?”
“What?” he asked absentmindedly, playing with the scruff on his chin. I noticed his hazel eyes focusing on someone studying at a desk, and instantly knew who it was. Lily bloody Evans. I slapped him across the face, and he snapped back to reality. She was watching, and giggled slightly. Good, good, that means we’re making progress. “What’s up?”
“Clearly not your attention levels,” I pointed out, leaning back against an obnoxiously scarlet couch and staring at him. He was lounging casually, with his shirt purposefully rising as he ‘stretched,’ revealing a sliver of toned abdominals. Several girls in the vicinity swooned, but the impossible Lily Evans just blushed and looked away quickly.
“I’m sorry,” he grinned playfully, shaking out his raven-colored hair like a dog, but I knew that he didn’t truly mean it. For I rarely got actual apologies out of people—most didn’t think I deserved any. His previous was clearly an exception. “I’ll try harder.”
“I think you’re just a little distracted,” I told him gently, clasping a hand like I see people do in those muggle films when breaking bad news—because getting James away from his Lily flower is bad news. “Perhaps we go upstairs and talk there?”
“No,” he pouted childishly. “I don’t need to focus.”
“James,” I scolded, narrowing my blue eyes, “we need to go upstairs so that we can actually talk, or this is just a waste of both of our time. You might not understand this, but I do have things to do.”
Like homework, I didn’t add.
We can't all have busy social lives.
“We really can't, though,” he told me, frowning slightly but otherwise looking as unaffected to my chastising as normal. He can be such a stubborn git. “Didn’t you see Padfoot earlier?
“So? It’s just Black up to his old tricks,” I explained, letting my disgust seep into my voice and hiding my envy. I mean it isn’t like I fancy him or anything, but boys—over sixth year—aren’t exactly lining up to take me to Hogsmeade. “He brought up another girl—she’s brunette again. What’s up with that?”
“Dunno,” he shrugged, staring at Lily and looking past her at the same time. He had this far away look in his eyes, and I knew that he was imagining their future together—James is a bit of a girl like that. “He said that they were better in bed, but I doubt it. Redheads are the best, by far. Oh, no offense.”
“It’s so recent, too. Two weeks ago he wanted nothing other than a blonde, but now it’s different. Padfoot always has been one to change his mind, so I sort of saw this coming.”
“Doesn’t it get tiring?”
“Doesn’t what get tiring?”
“Shagging girls,” I supplied.
“Does shagging girls get tiring? Bloody hell, no.”
“Well, shagging different girls every day,” I clarified, smacking him on the arm.
What a wonderful existence that would be! Not. Honestly, it’s a bloody miracle that between the two of them, they haven’t gotten any girls pregnant. How did they manage that, anyway? It seems a bit… off.
“I’m jealous,” James said suddenly, and I hurriedly grabbed my parchment and quill, poised to start taking notes. “I haven’t had a good shag in ages, and there goes his latest victim practically glowing.”
My possessions landed on the floor with a clack, and I followed his line of sight. Unfortunately, he spoke of the truth. She was walking towards us—wait, what is going on—with the smuggest grin on her face.
“Oh, this should be good,” he laughed.
I can only imagine what he finds amusing, and then I realized.
“James?” she asked sweetly, her pin-straight brown hair in complete disarray. Is that considered attractive? It just looks like she’s never seen a brush. “Sirius is sleeping now.”
“Okay?” he answered hesitantly, sizing her up as if to check her sanity.
Or maybe he’s just checking her out.
She sent me a smirk, as if to say I-have-both-of-their-attention-and-you-only-have-Pettigrew’s. But maybe that’s just in my mind. I do always tend to overreact—got that from my mum.
“The poor thing,” she cooed, placing her hands on top his arm. “He’s just so exhausted…” she trailed off suggestively, sending him a wink. Oh, gross. “I just thought you ought to know, you know, in case...”
“How very considerate,” I cut her off, leaning forward and sending a sarcastic smile. Merlin, when did I get so… so… so Marauder like? “But I don’t see how this information appeals to us. Regardless, I’ll take it into careful consideration.”
“It wasn’t meant for you, slag,” she hissed.
She just shagged a random bloke, and I’m the slag?
The students of Hogwarts are so twisted—me excluded, naturally.
“Now, ladies,” James clapped, sending us both winks—but there was a very large difference. She simpered, and simply I rolled my eyes. “As much as I would love to watch a cat fight, I don’t have my video camera.”
“You’re such a… boy,” I mumbled.
“Oh, ouch, Bee, that really hurt,” he teased.
“Really?” she asked him, brightening immediately. Wait just a moment—what the bloody hell is going on? Is this normal behavior for a teenage girl? “I love cameras. I’ll do just about anything with a camera involved.”
My eyebrows furrowed and James choked.
“Er, thanks?” I asked, successfully gaining her attention. Again. Oh, this is so fun, she doesn’t want to kill me, or anything. “Now that you’ve said everything you must say, you can run along.”
“Bitch,” she spat, before walking away.
There was a long pause.
“What does she mean, she’ll do just about anything with a camera?” I asked him.
He sent me a disbelieving look, settling on awkwardly petting me (what am I, a bloody dog?) and sending me a smile reserved for people who lack sanity. People like Sirius Black.
“Oh, you are so naďve,” he grinned, “I absolutely love it.”
And then he got up and went to walk away.
“Answer my question, Potter!”
“Sure, just let me think about it,” he said mockingly, stroking his invisible stubble and staring off into space. I sank further into my chair, wondering when my life had gotten so hectic. I really had changed. “How about—nope.”
“Merlin, you sound just like Lily. Do it again!”
“Potter!” Lily Evans and I screamed at the same time. I turned to her, slightly in shock, and she just winked at me. She couldn’t have… could she? Interesting. Was the untouchable Lily Evans eavesdropping?
How very interesting, indeed.
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