Chapter 11 : Therapy
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October 11th, 8:49 P.M. –June and Stella’s flat
“This color looks all wrong,” Stella groans, looking down at her nails. “I should have known better than to get my nails painted fuchsia. Ugh, everything about this day has been lousy.”
She lies across the couch dramatically, with a ‘woe is me’ expression on her face.
I sit on her legs, forcing her to scoot over. “I think we both know why you’re in such a sour mood,” I tease her in a sing-song voice.
“Is that so?” she snarls.
“Yup, because your beloved James left today for quidditch matches in Poland and won’t be back for a week,” I reply with a wicked grin.
This earns me a kick in side, “Hush up, that’s not the reason. I don’t love him; I could care less that he’s gone, he should stay there for a month!”
Note the defensive behavior, really helps her case…
Just then, there’s a tapping on the window, and I can see a large barn owl perched on the window sill. Stella makes some more groaning noises and I take that as my cue to go to the window because Merlin knows that she won’t.
I pry the window open, which tends to get stuck from time to time, and take the letter. “It’s addressed to you,” I say, tossing the letter towards her.
The letter hits her, and she sits up hastily to open it. As her eyes skim across the page, I can see her expression brightening.
“Well, what turned your frown upside down?” I ask, returning to the worn-in couch.
A giddy smile crosses her face, “James invited me to come see one of his matches over the weekend, and he says he can arrange a portkey to get me there and everything.”
I smile at her knowingly, her reaction to the letter only further proving my point. She quickly notices the look I’m giving her, however, and tries to act nonchalant. “I mean, I’m just excited about seeing a professional quidditch match, I haven’t gone to one in years. Plus, I really love Poland. They make great sausage…” she trails off, struggling to keep her tone uninterested.
I realize that getting her to admit she fancies him isn’t worth the struggle at the moment, so I let it drop for now and pretend to believe she really got that excited over the prospect of polish sausage.
We then spend the next hour looking over pictures of the Polish quidditch players. Stella buys a book every season that compiles the rosters of the professional teams and pictures into one convenient place. That way she can know which ones to keep an eye on, even though we both know there’s only player she’ll be keeping an eye on.
(Here’s a hint, his name starts with J and ends with ames Potter)
“Okay, enough creeping on the quidditch players; I’m getting a headache from trying to read all these long polish names,” I say, closing the book. “Let’s talk! I feel like with our busy schedules, we haven’t had a decent chat in a while.”
She pulls her legs in and sits cross legged on the couch, “You speak the truth sista; it has been too long. So tell me, what is new in your life?”
“Work was rubbish as usual, except lunch was a real laugh. Connor came and joined Leah and I, and it turned into a mini food fight. But then Mrs. Carey returned from her meeting and we had to clean it up at lightning speed. Leah still had a piece of lettuce in her hair when she walked by us; the look on the old cow’s face was priceless,” I say, laughing at the memory.
Stella gives me a slightly concerned look, and runs a hand through her long blond hair. “I know you’re going to be annoyed at me for saying this, but just be careful about how much time you spend with him. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the bloke, and we work together all the time, but the way he looks at you sometimes…” she trails off, shaking her head. “I just don’t want any more drama between you and Albus. You’re finally your old self again, and it would break my heart to see you be that upset again.”
I lean in and give her a hug, “I know have my best interests at heart, but don’t worry, Stell. I’m not planning on letting anything mess up my relationship with Al any time soon.”
After we separate from the hug, she offers to make some tea. We both head to the kitchen, and she sets a kettle of water to boil on the stove. Our kitchen isn’t grand by any standards, but I actually quite like it. Stella and I have added plenty of personal touches to make it our own.
Like the fridge, for example, is adorned with pictures and tons of random magnets. My favorite thing is the picture Stella’s little sister Sierra drew of Stella riding a hippogriff. She’s drawn twice as big as the hippogriff and her hair is purple.
It really does her justice.
Stella took it upon herself to purchase all the plates, cups and cutlery, so we have neon green forks and some of the dishes are bewitched to insult you if you forget to clean them up. She thought it was hilarious when I nearly choked on my carrot after being called a filthy slob by a bright pink cup.
That very same pink cup is placed in front of me by Stella, who then fills it up with the raspberry tea, my favorite kind. “You certainly won’t forget to clean this cup up when you’re done with it,” she says with a devilish wink.
I laugh and roll my eyes, taking a nice long sip of the tea. It always makes me feel better, but I’ve had something nagging at me since this afternoon, and I don’t think it will go away until I talk about it. “I noticed something weird while I was visiting my dad today,” I say, mindlessly tracing my fingers across the surface of the wooden table.
“What was it?” she asks curiously, slowly drinking her own tea.
“As strange as it sounds, I think he might be dating someone,” I say, feeling weird saying the words out loud. I can’t imagine my father going on a date with anyone.
I explain to her how when I went over, I saw a bouquet of flowers, just like last time. When I asked him about them, he hastily claimed he bought them to add a little color to the house. But they were still wrapped up like they were going to be given to someone, and my father isn’t really the type of guy to buy flowers for no reason.
“I can’t think of any reasonable explanation for the flowers, other than he must have bought them for someone. And you don’t generally give flowers to your friends, so what if he has a secret girlfriend?” I question, face crumpling at the absurdity of it.
“Would that be bad if he did?” she asks back, trying to gauge my reaction.
I take a moment to think about it, “No, not bad, just weird. I want him to be happy and not so lonely, but it’s such a strange idea that he could be dating someone and then not even tell me about it.” I respond, still staring down at the table.
“I see,” she nods. “If I were you, I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions. He might have actually just bought the flowers on a whim. And if he really is seeing someone, I’m sure he’ll tell you when he’s ready. You guys have a great relationship; he wouldn’t keep something like that from you if he was getting serious with anyone.”
“You’re right, I guess I won’t worry about it for now,” I concede, draining the last of my tea. “Thanks Stell, you’re the best friend/therapist a girl could ask for.”
“They don’t call me Dr. Stella for nothing,” she says with a wink.
I roll my eyes with a laugh, “No one has ever called you that.”
She chugs down the end of her cup as well, “Actually, there was this one time I told a bloke I was a medical student so that he would ask my number, but I suppose that doesn’t really count.”
I laugh, remembering hearing that story. Last summer, she had a crush on this guy who lived near her who wanted to be a doctor, and would only date girls who wanted to be doctors, too. She even bought a mobile phone so they could communicate. She decided he was boring after a month, but she still has the phone because she realized she could know keep in touch with hot muggle boys.
“Now let’s go back into the living room,” she says after putting our dirty dishes in the sink. “There’s a movie starring lots of attractive men that is calling our name!”
October 13th, 12:14 P.M. –Ministry of Magic
“You have some jelly on your face,” I laugh, pointing to the purple glob on Al’s face.
The laugh echo’s in the empty room. There’s a cafeteria area where most people eat their lunch, but Al managed to find a conference room that wasn’t being used today, so we are borrowing it temporarily.
He wipes it off with his finger and licks it, “Slimy goo; my favorite!”
I give him a soft kick under the table, playfully faking a gag. “You’re disgusting. And since when do you bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch?”
“Since I moved in with Scorpius Malfoy and neither of us ever remembers to do the shopping. It was either this,” he says, waving his peanut butter and jelly around, “Or expired pumpkin juice. I figured I’d be better off with the sandwich, even if I think jelly has a weird texture.”
Al finds the most random reasons in the world to dislike foods. He didn’t eat oranges for months because he didn’t like the citrus smell that got on his hands after peeling them. There was a certain type of biscuit he wouldn’t eat for years because the noise was too loud when he bit into it. Most recently he discovered that jelly is too slimy for his liking.
I just shake my head, smiling at the odd creature that is my boyfriend. He’s my very own weirdo-prince charming. “This weekend I’m taking you grocery shopping, seeing as you and Scorpius are incapable. Stella will be at James’ match in Poland, so I’m completely free to help you stock up on food that doesn’t involve jelly.”
“Thank Merlin, because if it goes on much longer, Scorp and I will most likely starve,” he says, tossing the remains of his sandwich in the trash. “By the way, you should let Stella know that a bunch of my family is going to the match as well. My parents, Uncle George’s lot, Rose, and Dominique are going so far that I know of. She could meet up with them if she wanted, I know her and Rose are good mates.”
“I’ll pass on the message. But if they are all going, why aren’t you? Did things actually not get any better between you and James?” I ask, eyebrows creasing with worry.
He shakes his head no, explaining that things are going fine between them, pretty much back to how they used to be. “There are plenty of other matches I can go see, and when I heard Stella was going, well I figured I wouldn’t go so I could have you all to myself for a weekend,” he says, blushing slightly. “We haven’t had a solid block of alone time in forever. This lunch break is the longest time we’ve had with just the two of us since we helped my grandmum two weeks ago, and even then my family kept popping up.”
I flash him a huge grin, “Al, since when did you become such a sweetheart!” I tease, leaning across the table to give him a quick kiss. “I’m glad you aren’t going to the match, a weekend with just you is exactly what I need.”
We chat for the rest of our lunch break, thinking of things we could do this weekend. Besides the necessary grocery shopping, the weekend is completely open for us to do whatever. He goes off on a long tangent about how he’s always wanted to go apple picking, but I’m sidetracked by his green eyes. You’d think I’d be used to them by now, but every time I stare at his face for long periods of time, my mind goes into la la land. It’s like a beautiful eyes- induced coma.
Eventually he notices the time, and brings me back to reality by saying we both need to get back to work. I sigh, throwing away the remnants of my lunch. Why couldn’t I get paid to stare at Al all day? Sure, I’d probably win the award for creepiest job in the world, but I’d be so good at it! And I would enjoy it much more than filling out paperwork.
Looks like I’m stuck in the transportation department until that job becomes available.
October 16th, 10:08 A.M. –Marvin’s Family Grocery and Deli
“June, I’m so confused, how can milk be powdered?” he asks, raising an eyebrow. “Muggles buy the most bizarre things!”
“Yeah, because a wizard buying newt eyeballs is much less strange,” I chuckle, rolling my eyes.
“At least newt eyeballs are practical; they can be used for potions,” he pouts, scanning the shelves.
The closest grocery stores to Al’s flat are all muggle owned, so he’s having a bit of trouble figuring things out. For the most part he knows what to buy, after all, food is food, but there are some things he’s never seen in his life. It’s actually pretty funny to watch.
“Scorpius loves cereal, let’s get some,” he says, grabbing a box of corn flakes.
“Um, maybe not that brand,” I say, glancing at the box. “I know it’s on sale, but the cartoon on front is a one-eyed tiger. That seems a little bit sketchy.”
He laughs, noticing the eye-patched tiger as well, “Good call. I’ll grab this kind; it’s got a friendly looking panda bear on it. Nothing sketchy about that!”
We continue shopping, filling up Al’s entire cart before I need to grab another one. He was not exaggerating when he said that they had no food; our shopping list is nearly two pages long! It takes quite a while, mostly due to the fact that Al doesn’t know where anything is, but we manage.
I send Al to the deli section to pick up some sliced ham and turkey for sandwiches while I scour the dairy section. They didn’t have milk, cheese, yogurt, or anything, so I stock up on all the basics. I even throw in a carton of chocolate milk because I happen to know the boys love that stuff.
He returns ten minutes later with the meats and a smile on his face, “Look at me, I’m such a competent adult. I am capable of purchasing lunch meats,” he teases with a wink.
“I’m so proud!” I tease back. “And we’re almost done with the list. We just need some fruit and crisps, which I think are in the next isle over,” I say, walking over to isle six. I stop abruptly, however, when I see who is in that isle. I whip back around, nearly crashing into Al. “Actually, I think the crisps are on the other side of the story, let’s go that way!” I say frantically, trying to push him in the other direction.
“The sign above the isle says ‘snack foods’ you goon,” he says, pointing to the sign. “They’ve got to be there.”
He pushes me forward and turns into the isle when he sees what I saw.
He takes a sharp intake of breath, “Blair…”
“Albie! Oh my gosh! It’s been too long since I’ve seen you,” she gushes, tottering over in her five inch heels to give him a hug.
Seriously, who wears heels like that to the grocery store? And, not only is she wearing heels, but she’s also got this hoochie skirt on and a V-neck that really accentuates her quaffles. I’m wearing a t-shirt and jeans; an outfit normal people wear to go food shopping. Maybe she thinks it makes her look ‘sexy’, but in my opinion it seems like she’s trying too hard.
She’s just a total slag.
“Hey there,” he says, stiffening awkwardly at her touch, looking over to me.
She breaks the hug, noticing how he’s looking at me, “And who do we have here? I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced,” she says with obnoxious cheeriness that is totally an act. She also happens to know exactly who I am.
Al puts an arm around my waist, “This is my girlfriend, June.”
She flashes me a huge smile, “Pleasure to meet you! You’re one lucky girl to have a guy like Albie,” she says with a twinkling laugh, pinching his cheek. “Make sure you’re good to him.”
“Oh, I am! And the pleasure is mine,” I smile back, matching her tone. “What a funny coincidence that we’d run into one of Albus’ old pals here, isn’t it?”
She laughs more, placing her hand on his shoulder. She sure is a touchy feely kind of person; I really wish she would go be feely with someone else’s boyfriend.
“Well, I shop here all the time! Albie and I are neighbors, so I’m actually surprised we don’t run into each other more often,” she says, that awful smile never leaving her face.
“Neighbors? How fun is that!” I say in a high pitched, falsely happy voice.
“The funnest! Now, I won’t keep you two any longer, we all have shopping we need to get done after all! We will have to catch up soon, Al,” she says to him with a playful wink.
Funnest isn’t even a word.
She’s a slag who can’t speak English. What a fantastic combination!
She turns away like she’s going to leave and Al quickly becomes consumed by the bags of crisps in front of him. Annoyed, I roll my eyes and grab a random bag off the shelf.
“I would go for the fat-free if I were you,” I hear quaffleboobs whisper, suddenly turning back towards me, giving me the once over. “Better yet, maybe you should skip the potato crisps all together,” she says in a falsely kind tone.
Okay, somebody hold my earrings. This witch is going down.
A/N: Hello! I'm pretty excited because this is my fasted update ever! I thought you guys deserved it after months without an update. I didn't get much response for the last chapter, so I hope I didn't lose all of my awesome readers for taking so long. Let me know what you think so far, I love to hear from all of you :) And thanks to everyone who has favorited/reviewed so far, you make me smile.
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