Chapter 2 : Attempting to Move On
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Author's Note: Here's chapter two. The way I'm writing this story is with all odd chapter numbers being from Molly's perspective and all even chapter numbers being from Finn's perspective. That may change as the story progresses onward, but for now that's how it'll be, at least until Molly is back in England for a vacation and to visit with all her family. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this chapter as it was fun for me to write.
Lovely chapter image made by Branwen @TDA!
Finn had barely had a chance to sit down behind his desk to fill out a report on the enchantments he had tried on the latest batch of cursed artefacts from old vaults when his co-worker, and friend, barged into his office. It seemed there was always someone interrupting him when he sat down to write out paperwork at the end of the day. Paperwork was his least favourite job, but it had to get done and he preferred to get it over with as quickly as he could. However, it was hard to finish the paperwork when co-workers constantly stuck their head in his office to see what he was up to.
“So are we still up for drinks later?”
Finn sighed, looking up briefly at his friend before going back to the sheaf of parchment before him. “Of course, I just have to finish this report of the artefacts I tested today.”
“How’s that girlfriend of yours?” Connor said, still not getting the hint that Finn wished to be left in peace while he finished the paperwork. “What’s her name? Denise is it? Or is it Nadine?”
“It’s Christine,” Finn corrected, “And we broke up about a week ago.”
“Ah, which means you’re back on the market and looking for another lucky lady to fall in love with.”
Finn put the quill down, sighing heavily before looking up at his friend who had settled in the chair in front of his desk. He was tired of his friends ragging on him when it came to his love life. It was bad enough he could not find a woman he could fall in love with and possibly settle down with, but he could deal without the constant harassing of them recalling how many girls he had dated.
“Maybe this is a sign saying you should stay single for a while,” Connor went on before Finn could think of a way to respond. “You know, go out to a couple clubs with the rest of us and dance with a bunch of ladies without worrying about all those attachments. Just loosen up for a change. Who knows, you may find the lucky lady you’re destined to be with that way.”
Finn snorted, he highly doubted that.
Besides, the fact still remained, the girl Finn had fallen in love with was in a different country—no, in a different hemisphere. He had not been able to feel the same about any other girls after Molly had broke up with him toward the end of their final year. It was actually kind of pathetic now that Finn was thinking about it. For all he knew Molly could have found another guy in Australia where she was working as a Herbologist.
The thought of Molly with someone else made his stomach knot up. He knew he should be over her; it had been seven years since he had last laid eyes on her, yet she still had an effect on him despite being on the other side of the world. Some things would never change.
“I know it isn’t your style,” Connor said. “But maybe all you need is a wild night out to clear your head before you start looking for another serious girlfriend.”
“You’re right about that,” Finn said. “It’s not my style, and I won’t fraternise with a bunch of different ladies. I’m a one-woman kind of man.”
Connor rolled his eyes. “You know what I mean, mate.”
Finn did know, but he chose not to involve himself in the escapades his friends went on to woo ladies. There was only one woman he wanted to be his, and since she had been out of his grasp he had to find another that made him feel either the same or more. Really, the women of London had nothing on Molly and he was about ready to give up on ever finding a suitable wife. He wanted Molly back in his life; she had brought out all of his best qualities.
“Look, I really need to get this paper work done and it isn’t getting done with you distracting me,” Finn said, taking his frustration out on his friend since the person he wanted to take it out on wasn’t even in England. “I’ll meet you and the rest of the guys at Leaky in around thirty.”
“Alright, then,” Connor said, standing and leaving the office before he stuck his head back in. “But you’re coming with us to that new club that just opened up. I think Todd said it was called Wands and Snitches; he’s supposed to write a review of it for the Daily Prophet so we’re going with him.”
“Gee, how touching,” Finn said sardonically. “Are you sure you want poor me tagging along, crushing the formidable group’s mellow?”
“Oh, enough of your tongue,” Connor said, rolling his eyes. “You’re going. It’s about high time you learned to let loose some.”
“Of course,” Finn replied, “because apparently I don’t know how to have fun anymore now.”
“Oh, what will we ever do with you, Harper?”
“Simple,” Finn said, always ready with a snarky reply. “You would find some other poor sod to take pity on and leave me be, but that doesn’t look like that’ll be happening anytime soon so I’m stuck going to bars with you prats.”
“Harsh,” Connor said, though still smiling before he finally left so Finn could get his paperwork finished.
But now that he was alone in his office, Finn could not concentrate on the paperwork before him. He put it all down on Molly having wedged herself to the forefront of his mind yet again. When any one of his friends badgered him about his personal life, it always made him think of her and what they could have had if Molly hadn’t broken up with him. It was all her fault that his heart still strummed for her, no matter the distance between them. She had to still think of him the way he thought of her, had to.
It took him nearly an hour to finish writing up his reports for the day, and when he had finished all he wanted to do was go back to his flat. But his mates were waiting for him at The Leaky Cauldron for a round of drinks. He would go make an appearance, but he would slide out before the others headed over to Wands and Snitches. Night clubs were not his scene at all and he imagined that he would be wicked uncomfortable if he ever went to one.
He locked his office door and headed down the hall toward the lift, passing his manager’s open office door on the way as he normally did and dropped his paperwork in the mailbox that hung on the wall outside it.
“Oh, hey Finn, finished already?” His manager, Michael, said as he dropped the stuff in the slot holder.
“Yeah, about time, too,” Finn replied. “It took me long enough.”
“You alright,” Michael asked. “You seem like you’re about a million miles away.”
Finn shrugged. He had spoke to his boss about Molly in the past and how he could not find any one girl that could measure up to how he felt about her. His manager was only five years older than Finn, and treated him like a younger brother. Of course, Finn had Declan, but it was nice to have another person to talk to when his brother wasn’t available.
“Just some things Connor said made me start thinking of a certain woman a while ago,” Finn said. “And now I can’t get her out of my head, but I don’t really want to talk about it.”
Michael chuckled good-naturedly. “Well, if you want to talk about it, then I’m here when you need to get it off your chest.”
“Thanks,” Finn replied. “See you tomorrow.”
“See you, mate.”
Finn passed few people on his way out of Gringotts and was waved to on his way out the main entrance/exit by most of the goblins. He got on with everyone he worked with.
The moment he stepped out of the great doors of Gringotts, Finn took in a sharp breath of air before releasing. He made his way through Diagon Alley as the sun set behind the buildings on the west. He could feel the temperature in the air start to drop the further the sun sank, but it was not unbearable – mainly because he was wearing a long sleeved button-up shirt with the top couple buttons undone.
When he arrived at The Leaky Cauldron, Finn instantly found his friends due to the loudness they were already causing. He had no idea what he would be walking into, but it would surely be entertaining, whatever it was. Deciding he would wait until one of his friends noticed his presence; Finn stood a couple feet from their table and observed the scene unfolding before him.
What he saw with his eyes was Todd laughing and pointing at whatever Nott had on his face, or maybe he was doing something to inhibit all the laughter at the table in which case Finn could not tell since Nott’s back was to him. While Connor and Avery just laughed, holding their stomachs and bent over while gasping for breath. His friends were such goofballs that it was a shock they had not started to age backwards because they showed no signs of maturity. Most of the time they didn’t that was.
“Finn!” Conner said, catching Finn’s eyes when he straightened back up on the stool. “We were wondering what was taking you. I thought you would have been done long before now after I left your office.”
“I would have,” Finn replied. “But my mind was preoccupied with other things while I tried to get everything done.”
“Molly?” Nott asked, as he looked over his shoulder at Finn from the stool he was perched on. “Or have you finally moved on?”
“What do you think?”
That was all Finn felt like saying, not caring to elaborate, as he dragged a stool over to their table before sitting down. He was only putting in an appearance, he had no plans of tagging along on their bar hopping crusade in the least.
“Are you fellas ready to order now?” Hannah asked, “Or should I wait and come back in a few?”
“Nah, we can order now,” Connor was the first to speak up out of the group. “I’ll just take a Butterbeer for now.”
“Firewhiskey for me,” Finn said, his friends shifting their glances his way. “What? It’s been a long day.”
“Long day of thinking of a certain someone,” Nott muttered just audible enough for Finn to catch the words before fake coughing. “I’ll take a Firewhisky as well.” And the rest also ordered Firewhiskey.
“Alright, one Butterbeer and four Firewhiskeys coming right up,” Hannah said before heading back behind the bar to fix their drinks.
“It’s not like you to drink heavy on a work nights,” Connor commented. “Care to talk about what’s bothering you?”
Finn shook his head. “No, I’m fine. It was just a long day and I’m glad I’m off. Can we move on and talk about something else now?”
“Okay, then,” Connor said, “if you say so. But just so you know, it doesn’t do you any good to keep it all bottled up like you’re doing. You need a night out; should reconsider going to the Wands and Snitches with us later.”
“Nah, I still think I’ll pass on that,” Finn said. “But thanks for the invite.”
When Hannah brought their drinks over before returning back to the bar, Finn wasted no time at all in taking a chug of his Firewhiskey. He winced slightly as it burned going down his throat and into his stomach. But it helped his muscles relax a bit regardless of his adverse reaction to its strong taste.
“Uh oh,” Nott remarked upon seeing Finn’s gag reflex. “Finn is going to spit out his drink again.”
It was a bit of a running joke that Finn could not hold his liquor down, even though he had only ever thrown up a couple times from drinking too much. On the other hand, he did not drink often, as Connor had reminded him it was a work night when he first ordered the Firewhiskey. He was responsible and level-headed as opposed to his friends, who still party’d it up every weekend – and even some week nights.
His friends all backed up, shielding themselves with their arms and hands outstretched in front of them in attempt to block anything that comes out of Finn’s mouth in a projectile-fashion. He rolled his eyes, sighing at their lack of maturity as he downed the rest of the mug in a few gulps before standing from his stool.
“Where are you going?” Todd asked. “Party is only getting started; we’re about to move on to Wands and Snitches.”
“Home,” Finn said. “It’s been a long day and I’m ready to fall into bed and sleep.”
“Mate, what’s happening to you?” Avery inquired.
“I’m growing up, something you guys should try, too.”
Without waiting to hear anyone of his friends’ retorts to his statement, Finn shut his eyes and spun on the spot to Disapparate out of the pub. When he opened his eyes he was in the flat he shared with Nott. The place was as it had been when he left that morning for work, which was to say it was messy with newspapers strewn on table surfaces with a mix of clean and dirty clothes on the furniture.
However, there was one thing different from that morning and it happened to come in the form of his older brother’s owl that perched on the top of a cupboard. Upon noticing Finn’s entrance, the owl swooped down to land on his shoulder and Finn untied the letter that had been attached to its leg. His brother was always checking in on him, whether in person, or through owl post or Floo fire call.
He sat down in an armchair as he unfolded the letter and read it. Apparently, according to his brother, his family was getting worried about him because he had not dropped by for a visit in almost a month. That was another thing. His family was close and would get anxious when anyone of the members dropped out of contact for any stretch of time, sometimes as short as a week. He had a good excuse for not dropping by for dinner at his parents’ manor, but his family would hardly call work a proper excuse for not visiting.
It looked like he would have to schedule to meet up for lunch with his brother to see how the rest of the family was. His father would probably also show up to lunch since his dad and brother worked in the same magical law firm as solicitors. And his father would more or less guilt him into a family dinner while catching up over lunch. Of course, it was not hard to guilt Finn into something, especially since he loved his family. It was just hard to visit since he worked and lived in London since his parents’ manor was located in Ireland. He could Floo or Apparate, but by the end of the day he often was too tired to muster up the energy to magically transport such a distance.
Regardless, Finn decided he would fire call his brother to schedule a time they could both meet up for lunch during that week or the next. Standing and setting the owl on the back of the chair, Finn grabbed a pinch of Floo powder from a pot on the coffee table before striding over toward the fire place and throwing it in. He got down on his hands and knees to stick his head in as he said his brother’s address.
He closed his eyes as his ash and flame swirled around his head, making it feel as though his head were spinning around on his shoulders, before opening them once all felt still and calm. In front of him was his brother’s living room, but he could not see Declan anywhere in the room.
“Declan,” Finn called in the hopes his brother would hear him. “Declan, you home?”
A few more calls later and Declan was crouched before him on the rug. Somehow his brother looked older, like he had aged considerably since the last time he had seen him. He knew that Declan stressed over some issues he dealt with as a solicitor, but he felt as though his brother may be stressing over something else entirely.
“So the baby brother lives,” Declan teased him. “We’ve been worried about you, mate.”
“I’m fine,” Finn said, raising his brows half in frustration and half for emphasis. “What about yourself? You don’t look good at all.”
Declan sighed, shoulders drooping slightly. “I’m fine. Work has just been extremely busy lately. And Chelsea feels like I’m purposely ignoring her, so I’ve had to deal with reassuring her that I’m not.”
“I don’t see why you’re still putting up with her, mate,” Finn said. “She hasn’t even taken any effort to get to know you like you have her.”
“And I’m close to breaking up with her, Finn,” Declan replied shortly, “So I could do without the third degree.”
“I’m sorry,” Finn said.
“It’s alright,” Declan said. “Look, I’m sorry for snapping, it’s just my patience are just about shot as of late. But enough of that, why’d you call? Did you get my owl?”
“Yeah, I was wondering when would be a good time to do lunch.”
“How about next week on Tuesday,” Declan asked. “The rest of the week is packed full for me.”
“Works for me,” Finn said.
“Alright, see you then,” Declan said. “Now, I’d hate to cut you off, little brother, but I need to get some sleep because I have a client meeting early tomorrow morning.”
“That’s alright, I’m pretty tired myself,” Finn replied.
After Finn and his brother had bid each other good night with promises to meet up next week for lunch, he pulled his head out of the fire place and went to get ready for bed. It was not until he was getting into bed that the thoughts that had been pushed to the back was brought to the forefront once more; they were thoughts of Molly. And thus began Finn’s sleepless night as he tossed and turned in an attempt to get some kind of rest. She would always get to him. Some things would never change.
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