Chapter 37 : The Lighthouse
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For MoonyisthebestMarauder. Thank you so much for all the amazing reviews you left while reading. You are so thoughtful and kind!
To my underwhelming surprise, Dad hadn’t gone out to indulge himself in ice cream. In fact, he hadn’t gone much of anywhere. There were empty take-out containers reminiscent of our lives before Lou scattered around the flat and a few hardened breadsticks on the kitchen counter. When asked what he did all weekend, Dad replied, “Nothing.”
What a whiner.
Then again, I had half a mind of accusing him of doing something interesting. Mostly because I would have answered “nothing” if he asked me, and my weekend was far from a nothing weekend. In fact, getting drunk, seeing Roger, Ang’s pregnancy scare, and even getting a massage didn’t count as nothing. I couldn’t wipe it from my mind, even as I put my dirty clothes in the hamper. Angelina’s expression of relief when she saw the negative test.
If anyone could handle something like that, I was certain it was Ang. She was mature, level-headed, and would make a perfect parent. But she was seventeen. In my opinion, that was too young. Maybe it was just too young for us. Still finding out what we wanted to do with our lives. Still trying to decide if I really wanted to be a Quidditch writer or if I wanted to do something else. I had to concentrate on me for a while.
Wait, why was I thinking about me? Oliver knew all about the charm.
I thought about that conversation. I would invite Oliver over to the flat (while Dad wasn’t there so he wouldn’t be able to A-K Oliver for deflowering his daughter). I’d stand there, wringing my hands in front of me nervously. My face would be flushed. Nervous. And I’d probably just blurt it right out. Just like I did about sex. I was a blurter.
“What?” Oliver would say, his jaw falling lopsided. I wondered if it would be with disappointment or with anxiousness.
“I’m pregnant,” I would say in a whisper, nerves exploding in my gut.
What would happen next? A hug? A bite of his lip? A jog out of the flat? A letter saying he’d moved to Australia and he was wishing me the best of luck? A glint in his eye that suggested his future was over?
I shook my head, leaning against the wardrobe for a moment. My heart was racing, pounding against my chest painfully. Why the hell was I thinking like this? I wasn’t the one with the pregnancy scare. I wasn’t the one taking the test. Waiting the agonizing three minutes. That wasn’t me.
And yet my mind was consumed with Oliver’s reaction.
I slammed the laundry bin closed even though a beige shirt was spilling out. Didn’t care. I fell on the bed. Damn it. If I couldn’t tell how he would react to that, how could I tell how he would react to anything else? Why did I need to know? Why the hell was I going through an internal fifty questions today? I rolled over and stared at Mum’s picture. No. I wasn’t open that can of Quaffles today. I placed the frame face-down on my bedside stand.
“Have fun, Pumpkin?” Dad offered a strangled smile as he leaned against the door frame, hands stuffed in his pockets.
“It was all right,” I admitted. “Interesting.”
“I get afraid whenever you use that word,” he noted, brow arching. He looked tired. “Nothing bad happened, did it?”
“Not really,” I said, straining my back to grab a quill and a sheet of parchment. “Just some drama with the girls. Roger was there though.”
“Oh!” Dad said with a happy laugh. “Does Oliver know? I’m sure he’s not too keen on it.”
“Oliver’s not keen on anything,” I mumbled, biting my lip.
I’m ready whenever. Just got back. Dad’s alive.
“Looks like love-letter quality to me,” Dad said, moving forward and reading over my shoulder. “What a regular novelist you are.”
“It’s just quick,” I shot back. “He’s coming to get me.”
“Where are you headed?” Dad said.
“Um…” I glanced around for something—anything—to get me out of disappointing him. Nothing flew to my aid. “I’ll clean the toilet.”
“Good girl.” He ruffled my hair. “How long?”
“Should be just tonight,” I said. “I’m really not sure though.” I made a face.
“You okay, Jane?” He sat down at my feet, weighing down that half of the bed. Grabbing my feet, he started to massage them like he used to do when we were watching the Quidditch Network over the summer before my fifth year.
“I’m all right.”
“You don’t look all right.”
“Calling me ugly?” I smirked.
He pinched my toe. “Don’t you let those girls replace me,” he said. “I’m still your best friend.”
“I’ll take you to all the wild parties.”
“They’ll mistake me for your date,” Dad replied with a casual shrug. He had a pompous grin I rarely saw. “I’m just so damn good-looking.”
I straightened up my room for a while, blasting music as loud as I possibly could. I needed to keep my mind away from things like Peter, Roger, pregnancy, and the impending doom of the conversation I was about to have. I had a bad feeling. Not just the usual “I might get a shit grade on this exam” feeling. Oliver was never a “we have to talk” sort of bloke. He was more of a…I’m going to talk at you because I’m losing my temper…sort of bloke. He was either going to give me ammo again or tell me this isn’t worth it.
But I wanted to fight for him.
I shook my head. This was exactly what I wasn’t supposed to do. I had been in my room for an hour attempting to drive those thoughts away. I’d have a whole night to think about it once I was actually in a room with Oliver. And I was forced to think about it.
When he told me how it was too hard to be together and he wanted to go have some random hook-ups with Bridget before he settled down and had an actual girlfriend.
I threw my fist into the pillow. Bugger. I needed a drink. Or a shower. Or something. I needed the girls. Or Roger. I needed Mum.
I glanced over at the overturned frame. “Shit,” I whispered, putting it back upright. She was staring at me. Disappointed? I couldn’t tell. I rushed out of the room, only to feel like I’d been punched in the stomach as I stopped dead in the hallway.
Oliver and my father were sitting on the sofa watching Quidditch. I could hear the announcers.
“I think that hit was illegal,” Dad was saying with a nod. He was eating something. It was in a bowl. “I’m telling you, Oliver. Illegal!”
“Was not!” Oliver shot back, laughing so hard his voice was echoing a little off the walls. “It was totally legal. Wasn’t in the Keeper’s zone.”
Dad was eating a salad. We didn’t have salad. Did he order a salad?
That’s when I noticed two large paper bags of groceries on the counter. I crept over to them in silence, grabbing a few things and putting them away. More lettuce. Eggs. Crisps. All sorts of supplies.
“When d’you think Jane’s going to notice you’re here,” Dad said with a chuckle. “She’s in a cleaning frenzy in there. You didn’t break her heart again, did you? She cleans when you mess with her head.”
Oliver choked a little, obviously buying time. “Well, in fifteen minutes it’ll be an hour,” he said, checking his watch and I nearly lost my balance right there. He’d been in my flat for forty-five minutes?! Where the bloody hell was I? “And no, I haven’t broken her heart.”
“Yet?” Dad glared at him, wiggling his eyebrows in what he probably hoped was a threatening way. It wasn’t.
“We just…we need to work a few things out before she goes back to school is all,” Oliver said, his jaw tightening. “I think.”
“One of these days Jane’s going to realize she’s too good for any boy and live with cats the rest of her life, you know,” Dad said.
“Jane doesn’t even really like cats.”
“Shows what you know,” Dad said. “Well, it’s true. But that’s not the point. She’ll live with owls.”
“I’ll live with the girls, thank you,” I said stubbornly, putting my hands on my hips.
Both of them wheeled around with equally stupid looks on their faces. Oliver’s mouth was open.
“Yes, even though they’ll be off snogging their boyfriends all the time,” I said simply with a shrug, turning, and going back into the kitchen. Dumbstruck expressions achieved. I stuffed the lettuce into the bottom drawer, hoping we weren’t going to forget about it, and grabbed a glass for water.
“You ready then?” Oliver asked. He was in the kitchen archway now.
“Could have been ready forty-five minutes ago,” I said matter-of-factly. “But someone didn’t let me know you were here.”
“Is that a shot at me?” Dad said, finishing off his salad and tossing the bowl in the sink. He reached in the fridge and grabbed a bottle of firewhiskey. “I was having a rather good time, you know. Two blokes talking Quidditch. One obviously knowing more because the younger one doesn’t know an illegal hit from a legal one…”
Oliver chuckled. “I’m sorry,” he said. “Whenever you’re ready is fine with me.”
“I’m ready.” I wasn’t actually ready, but I brushed past him and walked into my room. Nothing was packed. I grabbed a small bag and started stuffing things in. I would probably only need an outfit for tomorrow and some pajamas. My stomach ached from seeing him. He was right out there. Laughing with my father about Quidditch hits, fight on the beach seemingly forgotten.
I knew that was too good to be true.
I stuffed a few extra things in the bag. I really had no idea what the night would entail. Crying? Laughing? Hitting? Hopefully only one of those three. No, not hitting.
“I thought you said you were ready.” Oliver used his foot to force the door all the way open. “Is this my umbrella? Perry, you never returned this.”
I glanced over, blush forming on my face. “Nope, it’s mine,” she said. “It was a gift.”
“From bloody who?” he said, crossing his arms. He was still examining the black umbrella.
“Who?!” His eyes snapped up.
“It was at this thing,” I said, searching the wardrobe for pajama bottoms. They’d gotten away from me. “I had to dress up and whatever.”
“What event?” Oliver said. He picked up the umbrella and twirled it around. “You didn’t tell me about going to any events.”
“It was ages ago,” I replied. I grabbed a pair of boxers, but they were the pair with the hole in them. I’d meant to get rid of them so many times, but they were comfy and I liked wearing them around the flat.
“Ages--?” Oliver wrinkled his nose. “Jane, what event did you go to where a bloke gave you an umbrella? Who was it? Why do you still have it?”
“Jealous?” I asked. At least our banter was back to normal. Well, as normal as it could be while he was accusing me of getting umbrellas from random boys.
“Of course not,” he said a little too quickly. “I’m just curious.”
“Well, you should be jealous,” I said lightly, nudging the wardrobe door closed with his hip. “The boy fancies me.”
Oliver huffed. “You gunna date him then?” he asked, obviously trying to mask his jealousy with silly questions and a macho expression.
“Sure,” I replied with a nod. “I can’t deny I have feelings for him.”
His jaw damn near hit the floor. “Jane!” he said. “What?”
My expression exploded and I busted out laughing, leaning against the dresser for support. “Oliver,” I said through the laughter, tears in my eyes. “I’m talking about you, you sod!”
He looked dumbstruck. Twice in one hour was a record.
“You’re…” Oliver paused and looked down at the umbrella. “Oh, you’re just rude.”
I shot him a cocky wink and zipped my bag closed. “Now I’m ready. Unless it’s going to rain you’d better just leave that here.”
“But it’s mine.”
“I said it was a gift,” I said, moving past him back out into the hallway. “You don’t want to get that bloke angry. He has a sassy temper.”
“I’ll take my chances,” Oliver mumbled and stuffed the umbrella into his back pocket.
“Where are we?” I glanced around, my expression mirroring his previous dumbstruck one. I’d let him take my hand after we left (assuring Dad I wasn’t going to be abducted) and apparate us somewhere. He refused to tell me where. And I realized why.
It was stunning.
The air was filled with the salty smell of the sea. It was early in the afternoon, from what I could tell by the sun, and we were on the edge of a sandy beach. One direction the beige sand stretched out toward the ocean. Which one, I didn’t know. The waves were in the distance, mostly calm. To my left was a weedy meadow of crisp grass and plants that tickled my thighs. A few trees sprouted up in the distance, but other than some boats in the distance, we looked to be alone.
All except for a large lighthouse sprouting just to the north. It was on a bed of rocks, painted red and white with years of erosion evident on its sides.
“New England,” Oliver replied as if it was obvious. He started toward the lighthouse, feet sinking into the soft sand with each step. His hair whipped around in the wind.
“New--?” I didn’t know how to reply, so I scrambled after him, bag slung over my shoulder. “Why are we in New England?”
“You said you wanted to get away.”
“I meant to…Diagon Alley or something.” I gaped at him, but learned to close my mouth after some sand got in it. “I didn’t mean across an ocean.” I looked over. The waves were making their way onto the beach, one by one, and sinking back down.
“You weren’t specific, sorry.” I could hear the grin in Oliver’s voice. He climbed the steps to the lighthouse and reached in his pocket, pulling out a rusty brown key.
“How?” I said.
“Use your imagination,” he replied, turning the key. He led the way into the dark lighthouse. “C’mon. We’re going upstairs.” He shut the door behind me, engulfing us both in darkness. The only light was coming from the spiral staircase in the center. “I’ve got some things up there.”
“What? A hotel?” I laughed weakly and followed, shoes slipping on the concrete floor.
“You’re impossible.” Oliver mounted the staircase, footsteps echoing as he went.
I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the black walls and rod-iron staircase. It was something unlike anything I’d seen before. I’d never been in a lighthouse. I’d seen pictures of them, of course, but never thought I’d be climbing up the organs of one with my boyfriend. What a strange day.
When we reached the landing my breath was caught in the back of my throat. The space wasn’t large, but it was round, circled with windows. The glass showed years of wear and was almost cloudy. There was a giant light in the middle, which was dusty and unused. A small cot was in the corner, just big enough for two, covered by a thick green blanket. Pillows were scattered on the floor next to a basket and a cooler.
“You wanted to get away,” Oliver replied quietly, noticing where my eyes moved.
“Apparently,” I mumbled, moving around the room toward the pillows. I glanced out over the water. The view was something I couldn’t describe. Endless green water. Overcast skies. Waves starting to crash onto the rocks. Tranquility at its finest.
“So.” Oliver ruffled his hair a bit. He was frowning. Back to reality, I supposed. “This is the…getting away.”
“Brilliant,” I said, suddenly letting the situation set in.
“Have fun at the spa?” Oliver asked awkwardly, kicking off his shoes. He sat down on the cot. Across the room from me.
“I did,” I replied formally. I sat down on the pillows. I suddenly wished the room was bigger.
“Did Dodger?” It was only a matter of time until that came up.
“He did,” I said. “I’m pretty sure he got a facial at some point.”
“Why was he there?”
“He was there with some of his teammates and the production assistants.” I felt like I was on trial. “We met Peter at the bar and Roger was one of his friends.”
Oliver narrowed his eyes. “I don’t trust Magpies.”
“You don’t trust anyone,” I mumbled. “Anyway, the boys helped us out because we were a little…well, I had a few too many.” She chuckled. “As I’m sure you noticed.”
“I still can’t read half of that letter.”
My cheeks colored. “That’s probably for the best,” I mumbled. “It was all innocent. I hope you’re not actually upset about it.”
“You’ve always been a bit daft when you drink, Jane.” Oliver shot me a smirk and my stomach fluttered. “Look, we need to talk.”
“So said your letter.” I absently fluffed a pillow in my lap. “I still can’t believe you sent me a letter right when I got to the spa. I spent the entire weekend...”
“Going through how you were going to break up with me in my head,” I said loudly.
“What?” he repeated.
I let out a small sigh and set the pillow back beside me. “Go on, then,” I said. “Like a band aid. There’s no need to drag it out.”
“Hold on a second,” Oliver said, his amber eyes trained on mine. “I thought you were going to break up with me over all this. You’re the one--you said you didn’t know if it was worth it.”
“I was drunk and mad,” I said. “It doesn’t matter what I said.” I paused. “Wait, you’re not breaking up with me?”
“Not if you’re not breaking up with me,” he said, moving down to his knees and crawling toward the pile of pillows. “If so, then I will most certainly get to that first since girls always seem to get the one-up on me when it comes to breaking up.” He became level with me, brushing a piece of hair away from my cheek.
“I’m not breaking up with you,” I whispered. “Not yet.” I moved over and Oliver flopped down on the stack of pillows. “I do agree with you, though. We need to talk.”
“So let’s talk.” He looked relieved. Not just in the sense that he didn’t have to clean out the fridge and discover moldy mushrooms. No, like a weight had been lifted off his chest. He was smiling a little, the corners of his mouth tugging upward. “What should we start with?”
“Us.” I leaned against the cold wall and stared at the cot he had abandoned. “We need to figure this out. Be honest. Be brutal.”
“You going to be brutal?”
“I’m going to try.”
Oliver’s hand moved to mine and tangled our fingers together. He squeezed. “Let’s do it, then.” He cleared his throat. “I don’t want to lose you. I refuse to lose you. I’d rather fight with you than make love to anyone else.”
I glanced over. “Did you just say make love?”
“Out of that entire sentence, that is what you take away?”
“Seriously, though. Make love?”
Oliver groaned. “You’re insufferable.”
“You’re fancy.” I snickered and squeezed his hand comfortingly. “I agree, though. I want this to work. I just...sometimes it’s hard for me to imagine it working this year.”
“Tell me your fears.” He looked up, chin angles reflecting against the dying light.
“I’m scared we won’t see each other enough and we’ll grow apart naturally,” I replied, staring at our hands. “That we won’t see each other for a month and you’ll come visit and we’ll just sit there. Staring at each other. Guilty because you brought another girl to a function and I wrote more letters to Roger or something.” I chuckled weakly. “Then sometime around December we’ll just call it quits because it’s too hard.”
“Or that I’ll freak out because I’ll go upstairs after Charms to finish a stupid essay and I’ll walk in to find all three girls with their beaus getting frisky in the dormitory, to which I’ll huff and walk out and have to deal with Libby painting her nails and offering up a manicure,” I continued. “Or that you’ll go to all of these events and meet all these people and one day you’ll discover one girl who is everything I’m not.”
“Then I’ll certainly hate her,” he interrupted.
“She’ll be beautiful and strong and brave and funny,” I said, ignoring him. “And you’ll start innocently hanging around her for someone to eat bagels with and then it’s movies and dinner and introducing her to your parents. And of course, they’ll love her because she has two parents and is a radiant star instead of riffraff.” I moved my free hand through my hair in frustration. “You’re going to fall in love with her and write me a short letter in your chicken scratch barely detailing the breakup, leaving me at Hogwarts without a way to kick your ass.”
“Jane, how much of this stuff do you actually think about?” Oliver whispered.
“All of it,” I admitted. “I think about what that weekend at the Burrow was like without you. I felt abandoned, even though none of it is your fault. I just can’t imagine going from seeing you every day at Hogwarts to every once in a while.” I sighed again, this time lighter. “I didn’t take advantage of it when I had you.”
“You have me.” Oliver squeezed his hand again. Mine was tingly. “We’re going to come up with a plan. It’s going to be hard and we’re going to have to work at it, but we’re going to figure this out.”
“What are you fears then?” I said, my body weak with vulnerability.
“Mine?” he said. “I’m Oliver Wood. I’m not allowed to have fears.”
“Jerk.” I nudged him with my elbow.
“I’m scared you’re going to realize you deserve better and leave me,” Oliver said. He wasn’t looking at me anymore and I could see a tint of pink to his cheekbones. “I’m scared you’ll wake up one day, realize you don’t have to put up with my shit, and go owl Dodger or Peter or Liam fucking Denters about it and they’ll come running. Because really, Jane, they’ll come running.” He laughed a little, but it was shallow. “I’m scared you’ll drift out of my reach. That you’ll get sick of waiting for me and move on.” He paused for a moment, clearing his throat. “I’m scared I will be far away and I won’t be able to make you happy.”
“How do you mean?”
“I mean you’ll be upset about something,” Oliver said. “Whether it be something little like a mark on your Transfiguration--no, I take that back, you’re amazing at Transfig--Potions test or an argument you got into with Ellis. Or maybe the twins exploded pus all over your new sweater. And I can’t be there. All I can do is read about it and you can retell me the tale every other weekend or something. It kills me. I want to be there for you every day. To hug you and tell you it’ll be okay. To kick Fred and George’s asses if they so much as look at your sweater wrong. And to help you study for your next Potions test. But I can’t be there. And that’s what worries me the most.”
It took me a long time to reply to him. Oliver Wood. This boy I spent years of my life wanting to throw off the side of a cliff, spilling his heart in a lighthouse. No wonder he wanted to go so far away. If anyone overheard they would surely make fun of him for his feelings. My heart was swelling with each poetic word. This was why I was in love with him. Because for Oliver it wasn’t about fame or glory or a mindless relationship that got him to the next best thing. He cared about me, not just about him. He cared about what made me happy or sad or frustrated. And he wanted to make it better. Perhaps all those years of making it progressively worse finally reversed.
“I’ll just kick the twins’ asses and say it was from you,” I whispered and he turned his eyes on me. “I didn’t know you felt that way.”
“Jane, I feel that way,” Oliver said roughly. “I can see you’re troubled. You’ve been troubled this whole summer, and most of it was because of me and my idiocies. But some of it was you--internally, I mean.”
“I’m confused,” I said. “I know some of it was my fault.”
“No, no,” Oliver said, shaking his head and adjusting his body to place a pillow behind his head. “I mean you’re figuring out who you are. And I want to be there for that.”
“Who I am? What’s that mean?”
“You’re figuring out you’re more like your mother than you originally anticipated,” he replied. “And you’re finding out what you want to do with your life. What your likes and dislikes are. Allowing yourself to let go and just take chances.”
Oliver squeezed my hand again and tugged at it, as if trying to get me to respond or acknowledge what he was saying. I just stared, heart racing painfully. Every word that came out of his mouth was perfection. It was correct. All of it. My entire summer journey so far had been finding out who I was. How my life intertwined with my mothers. Looking to her for any sort of advice. Letting my father guide me and protect me. And learning from my own mistakes, as well as the mistakes of my friends. Seventeen was a new, ripe age.
“Do you like who I am?” I asked.
“It wasn’t until I realized who you are inside and out that I knew I was in love with you,” Oliver said seriously. “No ninny in a short skirt or some Quidditch Daughter is going to change that. Besides, I doubt any of them would throw lip-gloss in a fight.”
I smirked. “Speak for yourself,” I said. “It’s not my fault you were lighting up the whole store by stripping in the middle of it.”
“Oh yeah?” he said, sitting up instantly and peeling off his shirt, tossing it aside.
I, rightfully, might I add, stared. This summer had been good to Oliver Wood. His almost-daily practices toned any bit of his body that had a doubt and dished-up the portions that I already wanted to eat off of. Each movement created another angle and my eyes wandered down to the small path of hair below his navel.
“Pervert,” he mumbled, amused, and lay back down.
He chuckled and tugged on my arm, pulling me down to his chest. He wrapped a strong arm around my shoulders and held me there, tight. “How about a plan then? To set your beautiful mind at ease?”
“A plan would make me feel better.” I leaned my cheek against his warm skin and closed my eyes. “You really think it’ll work? I mean...even disregarding all those things we said at the Burrow.”
“Jane,” Oliver said, his voice serious again, rough. “I love you. I never want you to doubt that. I will do everything in my power to convince you I deserve you. Even if I don’t.”
I kissed his chest, lips lingering for a moment. “Let’s come up with a plan.”
We stayed lounging on the pillows for ages, words wandering to ideas and straying to dirty images. It wasn’t my fault he was shirtless. Most of the ideas were nixed because of timing, like him popping up to interrupt my History of Magic class to give me a present. But he was trying. We were trying. We were fighting for each other.
“Every other weekend in Hogsmeade for sure,” Oliver said. His eyes were closed too, his legs stretched out in front of him as his fingers moved gently down my back and back up. “I’ve already checked the schedule and on a couple of those other weekends I’m smuggling you out of the castle to go to a couple games. In a suite. Yes, the girls and the gits can come too.”
I smiled. “Should I bring poms and be a cheerleader?”
“If you wear something low cut and a short skirt.”
“So everyone can see and you can get distracted?”
“Worth it,” he mumbled, smile etched into his voice. “I hope you don’t have too much going on on the weekends your seventh year.”
“Oh, I do,” I replied. “It all has to do with you.”
He chuckled. “I’ll let you schedule time to spend with Libby as well. I know how well the two of you get along.”
“Oh, we’re practically best friends,” I said, flicking his stomach. He twitched. “I bet we can even Floo once or twice a week. You can stick your head into the common room.”
“Sounds dangerous,” Oliver replied, laughing again. “You might have an audience. No discussing dirty things then?”
“I’d appreciate the other girls of Gryffindor tower not salivating on the floor.”
“We’ll keep it professional.” Oliver twisted and kissed my forehead. “Only discuss politics and the lovely color of your eyes.”
“And my legs? Those will have to be off limits.”
“Oh, no,” Oliver said. “That I cannot possibly agree to.”
I smirked. “I’ll take what I can get,” I said fondly and snuggled further into his body, my arm wrapping around his middle. “So every other weekend in Hogsmeade, some other random weekends for games, and Flooing every so often. And frequent owls.” I paused, taking all of this in. “I actually think we can do this.”
“You have faith in us again?” he asked.
“I never lost faith,” I said. “I just got a bit derailed.”
He chuckled and moved his hand into my hair. “So tell me about the spa,” he said. “Was it the girls weekend you hoped it would be? Even though you had one too many at the bar and realized you couldn’t write legibly?”
I smiled. “It was great,” I said. “Seriously. It was relaxing and the massages were glorious. Roger and I had a great discussion and Peter was so sweet.”
“Because he wants you.”
“He doesn’t--” Well, that wasn’t true. “He did agree that if you were jealous it would be a lifetime achievement.”
“I’m not jealous,” Oliver insisted. “I have you. He doesn’t.”
“He did brush my hair behind my ear once.”
“I’ll kill him.”
I laughed and kissed his chest again. “He’s innocent,” I pressed. “You have nothing to worry about. Besides, he doesn’t get me as riled up and angry as you do. That’s important.”
“So you had your facials and fluffy bathrobes and boozed up with Peter and Roger.”
“Who’s bloody Colin?”
“Their mate,” I said, giggling a little. “Don’t worry, he had eyes for Katie.”
“What about bloody George?”
I squeezed his side. “Relax, will you?” I said. “We were having a laugh. I am perfectly capable of talking to blokes who think I’m good-looking without falling in love with them. And them for me.”
“I bet Peter is in love with you.”
“Shut it,” I said. “We had a really good time. Well, we had to make a pit-stop to the store but other than that, it was great.”
“The store? For what?” Oliver asked. “Don’t they have everything there you need? Isn’t it one of those resort spas?”
“Did you look up my spa?”
Oliver paused. His cheeks were pink again.
“Making sure it wasn’t a sketchy stripper spa?” I teased, squeezing his side again and feeling him twitch from it. “Come off it, Oliver, you’re protective and you know it.”
“I trust you.”
“I know you do, but that doesn’t stop you from being jealous.” I snickered and leaned up to give him a small kiss. I realized how long it had been since I kissed Oliver. It felt like years, though it was only days. It was soft and tender, something out of an advertisement in a glossy magazine. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Go on.” He brushed his fingers against my cheek.
“Do you know--you know--the charm?” I blurted.
“What charm?” he said.
“The--the one.” I bit my lip. That was stupid. “Like, do you do the charm? Before we...you know...”
“I really wish I knew what the hell you were talking about, Jane.”
“The charm!” I said. “Before we have sex!”
Oliver’s eyes widened. “What makes you ask that?” he said.
“Do you or don’t you?”
“Of course I bloody do, Jane!” Oliver said loudly, his body going rigid with nerves. He pulled out of my embrace and sat up, ruffling his hair. “I’m not stupid. Why are you asking me this?”
“Do you know if the other boys do it?”
“Considering George and Lee aren’t sleeping with their girlfriends I can only assume you’re talking about Fred,” he said.
“Angelina had a pregnancy scare.”
His eyes were the size of the light in the center of the room. Terrified. Anxious. Mystified. He stumbled to his feet and back over to the cot, but didn’t sit. Instead, Oliver paced. “What do you mean, a pregnancy scare? What happened? She’s not actually pregnant is she?”
When I imagined all of Oliver’s reaction to me saying it, this was similar to what I imagined to be panic.
“No,” I said. “That’s why I called it a scare. She was scared. But she’s not.”
“How did this come up?”
“She threw up during massages and thought it was morning sickness.”
Oliver kept pacing, his face flushed with worry. “And what about the charm then? Does Fred do it?”
“I don’t know. That’s why I asked you.” I shrugged, shoving pillows behind my back so I could be more comfortable sitting against the wall. “Ang said she doesn’t know. That’s why I...sort of wanted to ask you...because I saw what she went through and I wanted to make sure we were...you know, safe.”
Oliver wouldn’t look at me. “I do the charm every time,” he said quickly. “I promise. We’re safe. We were safe.” The way he corrected that was interesting.
“We had to get her a pregnancy test,” I went on, wanting to get it off my chest. “Which you have to wait three minutes for. It was a long three minutes.”
“She freak out?”
“Yeah.” I nodded. “I think she saw her entire life flash before her eyes. Talked about not being able to be a captain anymore. Living situations. Fred trying to name it something absurd.”
“I’d be concerned about that too.” Oliver finally sat on the cot and put his head in his hands. “I can’t believe that happened. We’re too young to be thinking about things like that. About families and children. I still have problems taking care of myself. Sometimes I forget to eat and Michelle has to remind me.”
I bit my lip. “Can I ask you what your reaction would have been if I told you I had a pregnancy scare?”
His eyes snapped up. “Oh my god, did you?”
“No, idiot,” I said. “Just answer the question.”
“I honestly don’t know,” Oliver breathed. I could tell his heart was racing. His face had gone pale. “I guess it depends on when. If you just walked up in this lighthouse before we talked and told me I probably would have panicked. But after all of this, I might have only mildly freaked out.” He moved some shaggy hair away from his eyes. “I guess that also depends on your thoughts on it. If you were freaking out and upset or if you were calm or if you were happy.”
I was about to reply, but stopped. I spent so much time dwelling on what Oliver might have thought, I didn’t think about my own gut reaction. What would I have done?
“Just keep using that charm and we won’t have to worry about it,” I said, offering him a sideways smile.
“Ang going to tell him?”
“I don’t know,” I replied. “At first I didn’t think she would, but by the time we left I have a feeling she might casually let it slip in conversation. Just to watch him freak out.”
“I’d like to see that.” Oliver smiled. “Jane, I want you to know something.”
“You going to teach Fred the charm?”
“I want you to know that no matter what, we’d have a plan and we’d do everything we could do solve it,” Oliver said. “Whether you wanted to...you know...keep it. Or not. Or what.” He looked nervous and glanced outside like there was something very interested on the water. “I’d be there. No matter what. Besides, a kid would be cute for publicity.”
Oliver Wood was standing there, not freaking out. Not offering a polite confession that he would move to Greece or go out for milk and not return. He wasn’t saying he’d try and talk me out of it or that he would get a test done to see if it was his. No, Oliver was taking responsibility, leaving it up to me, and saying he would be there.
Admittedly, his words were exactly what I wanted to hear and exactly what I feared hearing. They meant this was serious. Not just a relationship. A serious relationship. One that I couldn’t just walk away from without a heartache, regardless of fault.
I stood up, padding across the round space and sat down on the cot beside him. I took his hand. “One day,” I said quietly with a smirk, “When this conversation comes up again, I’m going to repeat those words and watch you stumble over your response.”
Oliver leaned his forehead against mine. “I will deny everything.”
“My dad would kill you,” I said, laughing again. “He’s still convinced I can’t date.”
“Rightfully so. Men are brutes.” Oliver pressed his lips to mine for a lingering moment. “I have to protect you from the likes of them.”
“You need to protect me from you,” I said, kissing him again.
We spent the evening locked in each other’s arms, lips together or talking. Discussing our past, arguments on the Quidditch pitch, poison at his parents’ house, and throwing things in a shop. We discussed our connection. Our likes. Our dislikes. What we really think about Lee (everything positive, of course) and our favorite things about each other. All about my new internship with Valerie Gig. We lit a pair of candles when the room darkened so much I could barely make out his face and spent a random half hour just listening to each other breathe.
I didn’t know what it would be like once we left the comfort of the lighthouse, but I didn’t much care. I traced my fingers against his hot skin, creating thin red marks in abstract patterns. “Oliver?” I whispered after our silence led to the heightened sound of waves hitting the sand below.
“I was really scared for us,” I said.
“I bet I was more scared.” He kissed my forehead. “When you get mad you get really mad.”
“Well, when you get mad you say stupid things like if I fell in love with a Slytherin that’s how it would be,” I retorted. “Never in that drunken monologue did you say you’d fight for me.”
“It’s inferred,” Oliver said, smile in his voice. “You’re mine. I already told you I’m not letting you go. I will fight for you until you tell me you don’t want me anymore.” He paused. “Which, by the way, I’m not looking forward to.”
“You say that like it’s going to happen.”
“I still have fears,” Oliver noted. “And most of them relate to you.”
“They’re stupid fears,” I said. “I’m happy. Really. Quite. Happy.” I smirked and ruffled his hair, kissing his cheek. “Not with Dodger. Not by myself. With you.”
“I’m being rather romantic this evening,” he said after a moment. “I really hope you don’t get used to this. Or tell the twins about it. Or anyone. They won’t believe you.”
I kissed his cheek again. “Oliver?” I whispered, lips brushing his jaw line.
“Yes, love?” His arm moved around my back, pulling me toward him.
“I love you,” I said. “And some days I can’t stand you. And that makes me love you more.”
“I love you too, Perry,” he said gruffly, leaning forward to catch my lips in his. “Always.”
We fell into another kiss, tongues tasting each other’s skin. My clothes eventually fell to the ground beside the cot, the blanket wrapped tight to our bodies until the last candle burned out.
A/N: A whole chapter with Oliver! Well, pretty much. Almost. Darn you, Mr. P, for getting in the way of that :) But Oliver was shirtless, which certainly has to make up for it...right? I hope so. Yummy!
I hope you all liked the chapter! It was fairly intense to write. And it was mostly dialogue, which is always fun as well. Did you enjoy it?
Up Next: Dad time, some Harpies, and a suggestion
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