I awoke to a light tapping sound on my window and I groaned, burying my head further into my pillow, attempting to block out the sound. It was at that moment that I remembered the strong arm around my waist, hauling me back closer to its owner’s chest, my previous pillow, and the soft pair of lips nuzzling my neck as he yawned. He meaning James, of course. I didn’t suddenly leap out of bed in a panic like some oblivious girls might have done, I was well aware of what we’d done last night, and I was only slightly uncomfortable with the fact that we were currently lying naked in my bed together, with Fred in the next room snoring blissfully. To be honest, I felt relaxed.
"James” I mumbled, groaning slightly and shuffling in his arms as I tried to sit up.
“No…” he moaned as he slipped his arm back around my waist and tried to drag me back towards him. “Stay. Sleep. Cuddle.”
“James, there’s an owl at the window” I chuckled, ruffling his hair as I slipped a fluffy jumper over my head and clambered out of bed, quickly crossing my room to open my window.
“Hello my lovely” I pulled kissy faces at my owl, allowing him to nibble my finger affectionately as he hopped onto the inside windowsill and stuck his leg out for me.
There were two letters attached to his leg, and when I untied them he let out a soft hoot and flew out onto the sheltered roof of the building just outside, where he could watch Diagon Alley through tired eyes.
“Who are the letters from then?” James grumbled as he sat up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“Naomi” I grinned. “And…” I stopped as I read the second name warily, slipping my knickers on underneath my jumper before I sat down on the edge of the bed.
“And…?” James prompted me as he pulled his boxers on behind me.
“Oh… nobody important.”
“Nobody always means somebody” he chuckled. “Come on, Lise” he appeared suddenly behind me and grabbed for my letters, wrapping an arm around my waist as I flinched away from him.
“James!” I shrieked as he threw me back onto the bed and hovered above me, his body pinning me down as his eyes scoured my body for where I’d just hidden the letters.
“Are they up here?” James wiggled his eyebrows as he slipped a hand up my jumper, brushing his fingers along my abdomen and along my sides, paying way too much attention to my chest area if he wasn’t trying to cop a feel.
“James” I giggled, wriggling out of his grasp underneath him, making his grin widen even more.
“Come on Lise” he slowly kissed up my neck, his breath making me shiver subconsciously. “Who is it from?”
“Fine” I rolled my eyes, pushing my hands on his chest so I could sit up in between his legs. “It’s from Robert.”
“What? You two-timing me?” James teased with twinkling eyes. “No… wait, don’t tell me, you’ve just cheated on Robert with me, right?”
“Shut up” I rolled my eyes at him as I hit his stomach lightly with the back of my hand. He just smirked at me, briefly leaning in to kiss me lightly on the lips before settling into the pillows behind me, his legs either side of me as I rested on his chest to read.
“Well? What does the letter from lover boy say?”
I opened the parchment and scanned the letter briefly. “He’s just replying, said he’d love to see me again…” James raised his eyebrows. “… And he wants to introduce me to this girl he’s met at work. Apparently he really likes her but he wants my opinion.”
“Ha! Tough luck, Lise” James snorted. “Sounds like Darcy’s playing hard to get!”
“Oh shut up” I tutted. “You know it’s not like that. He’s just a friend of mine, James.”
“Not to him you aren’t” James muttered but his mouth then remained closed as I read through the rest of the letter.
“Oooh, look James, he says he’d love to see you, and Fred as well, he wants to see how you’re getting on at Arrows!”
James scoffed and wrapped an arm more securely around me, dipping his head to kiss my neck once again. “He just wants to try and impress you by saying he likes us.”
“Merlin, James, you’re an idiot” I rolled my eyes, but couldn’t help but smile at James’ pout and move to kiss him softly on the lips.
“Alright, alright, you’ve got me persuaded… we can do it again…” James mumbled against my lips as he lifted his hands up my jumper to grab at my hips seductively.
“I have to read Naomi’s letter” I breathed, enjoying teasing him as I shuffled into his lap and opened my second letter.
You may be forgiven if you come to Hogsmeade (of course I don’t have a date you nitwit), it’s the first Saturday of October. Which is actually tomorrow, but knowing you you’re not likely to have any plans that don’t involve me, well except for maybe with your new friend Debbie who sounds nice, but seriously, I better not be being replaced woman! Meet me at the Three Broomsticks at twelve, I hear from Albus that Fred and James are coming up today, but please keep me as FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE from Fred… I’m not looking forward to that awkward situation. By the way, yes, I guess I am friends with Albus, he’s actually lovely and is completely on my side about the whole Theo thing, and he’s convinced me that’s he’s worthy of being my friend Rae’s boyfriend (that’s how we got talking, thanks to Rae he found out about Fred). Anyway, we’ll have a proper catch up tomorrow, be there or I’ll hunt you down! (I can apparate now, you know!)
James snorted into my shoulder as he read the letter as I did. “Keep her away from Fred? No way, it’ll be so funny!”
“James, seriously” I glanced at him with narrowed eyes. “If you make them awkwardly bump into each other or anything, I’ll…”
“You’ll what?” James raised his eyebrows mockingly and I pursed my lips.
“I’ll never have sex with you again” I replied loftily, to which James’ eyebrows rose in surprise.
“There was going to be an again?!”
“Well, I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed myself last night…”
“Don’t worry, I definitely enjoyed myself last night” James kissed my neck softly again, making me tingle slightly.
“Alright, well, it may have happened again, but if you do anything to…”
“Yeah, yeah, I get it” James rolled his eyes. “If I do anything concerning Fred and Naomi that would be actually hilarious, by the way, I will have to suffer…”
“You promise you won’t then?”
“Fine” James sighed heavily, but still kissed me on the lips with a smile playing across his lips. “But I can’t help it if they do it themselves.”
“So…” I grinned. “Hogsmeade today?”
“Yeah” James shrugged. “I might sort of be missing my little brother, and I want to make sure Lily hasn’t gone and got herself a million boyfriends, Al’s a bit more lax about her security than I am.”
I rolled my eyes. “Honestly, James, Lily is fifth year, I’m fairly certain that you were pretty much shagging your girlfriend in fifth year.”
“Who was my girlfriend in fifth year?”
“Melanie Davies, remember? The one with the massive…”
“The clingy one?”
“I like that you remember her that way” I smiled softly as I kissed him again.
“So, how come I don’t remember you having any boyfriends then?”
“Oh…” I sighed as if the answer was hard to find. “Couldn’t have anything to do with the fact you hexed practically every boy that ever came within an inch of me, could it?”
“You need protecting! And so does Lily!”
“Protecting from what?” I laughed and James puffed out his chests arrogantly.
“Boys that will break your heart!”
“You broke a fair few hearts in your time, James!” I wagged a finger at him, tutting with a grin plastered over my face. “Don’t you remember those twins in sixth year?” James blushed slightly. “So isn’t it a bit hypocritical of you to say…”
“Oh, be quiet” James grinned before pulling my lips to his and shutting me up with a warm kiss.
“LISE!” Naomi squealed as she threw herself into my arms with a huge grin plastered across her face.
“NAOMI!” I yelled back, laughing as we grabbed each other tightly, causing most of the Hogwarts students around to glance at us with raised eyebrows. “Bloody hell, I’ve missed you!”
“Oh, me too! Merlin, Lise, just come back to Hogwarts!” Naomi giggled as she wiggled out of my grasp and clasped my hands in hers, sighing heavily. “I have so much to tell you, babes.”
“How about we chat over a Butterbeer?” I suggested as I squeezed her hands, tugging her towards the door of the familiar pub. “I’m freezing.”
In a matter of minutes we had squeezed ourselves into a warm corner of the pub, the chatters of the other pub visitors drowning out our conversation from prying ears.
I took a long, careful sip of Butterbeer as Naomi recounted her tales about life at Hogwarts.
“Well… I haven’t actually seen Theo that much, to be honest. Once or twice maybe in classes, and he always gives me this pitiful look, as if he’s waiting for me to cry over him or something… But honestly, I feel like I’m over it. In fact, I think it was the whole Fred thing to be honest, it made me realise how great it can be to be single and shag around, and how I’m still attractive enough to get boys, I don’t need Theo at all really.”
“That’s, erm… great, Naomi? A bit disturbing about Fred really, but…”
“So, anyway” Naomi clapped her hands together, cutting me off swiftly. “Tell me about you and James, what’s going on there?”
I instantly blushed and Naomi raised an excitable brow.
“Oh my merlin! You’ve snogged him, haven’t you?!” Naomi grinned, and I shook my head blushing further.
“Worse” I squeaked and took another steady gulp of Butterbeer.
Naomi shrieked and slopped half her Butterbeer down her front, waving her wand madly to siphon it off as she spluttered at me. “You didn’t?!” she gaped at me before a satisfied smirk slid across her face. “Fucking merlin! You actually shagged him!” Naomi grinned and patted my hand in congratulations. “When?”
“Last night…” I mumbled and Naomi shrieked again.
“Merlin, Lise! So, are you going out now, or what?”
“We, um… didn’t talk about it…”
“Oh” Naomi’s face fell. “Well that’s awkward.”
My cheeks burned as I thought back to this morning, realising how stupid I’d been not to even think to ask James what this meant for us now. I mean, we’d slept together, that changes a lot of things.
“Thanks a lot, Naomi!” I groaned, throwing my face into my hands with a moan. “I’d forgotten all about talking about it!”
“Wait…” Naomi seemed confused, her eyebrows were furrowed and there was a peculiar expression on her face. “It wasn’t awkward for you this morning?”
“No, not at all” I replied instantly. “It just felt… comfortable, you know? Like it was… right.”
“Are you in love with him?” Naomi pressed, resting her chin on her hand and fixing me with a serious expression.
“You didn’t tell me that before” Naomi pouted, slumping backwards in her seat with crossed arms.
“It’s a new development in my feelings” I replied with a slight smile, and Naomi couldn’t keep her smile off her face.
“So… it wasn’t awkward this morning for you…” Naomi mused. “And you said it felt right and comfortable… There’s only one explanation.”
“That’s what happens when best friends sleep together?”
Naomi shook her head with a happy smile. “He loves you back, Lise.”
“No he doesn’t!” I gasped, the back of my neck turning hot in embarrassment.
“Why wouldn’t he?”
“Because… Because he’s James! And I would know if he…”
“Lise, don’t be thick now” Naomi laughed slightly. “You were drunk when you slept together, right?”
“How did you…?”
Naomi shrugged nonchalantly. “Oh, that’s just usually the case… Anyway…” Naomi waved an impatient hand at me. “Waking up after a night of sex with somebody you, on principle, shouldn’t have sex with, is always awkward. The worst case is that you’re best friends with one another… which is what you and James are. But it wasn’t awkward for either of you… because it felt right for both of you.”
I considered what she was saying for a moment, but then quickly shook my head. “Stop giving me false hope, Naomi! He doesn’t…”
“Hey Lise!” a familiar voice called through the crowds, and the pair of us looked up in bewilderment. “Hey Naomi!” they called again, as they waved a jovial hand in the mass crowd of people, fighting their way over to us.
“Albus!” I grinned, standing up to hug the boy I considered my little brother. “It’s been ages!”
He wrapped his arms easily around me and squeezed me tightly.
“Merlin, Al, how much have you grown?!” I laughed as I stepped back into my seat. “You’re practically a man now!”
Albus rolled his eyes at me and took the seat beside the pair of us. “I’ve always been a man, Lise. Anyway, you don’t mind if we join you, do you? There’s no more tables left and we’ve been gagging for a drink all morning… don’t want to interrupt your gossip though…”
“It’s fine Albus” Naomi grinned, tucking a stray strand of blonde hair behind her ear. “Who’s we anyway? Don’t tell me you’ve gotten Rae to get your drink for you?!”
“What kind of boyfriend do you take me for?!” Albus exclaimed, a hand to his heart as he looked horrified. “I’m meeting Rae later, she’s with all your mates, I’m just catching up with James and Fred right now.”
“You invited Fred to sit with us?” Naomi hissed in a low, murderous voice. “Why the hell would you do that?!”
Albus fixed her with an amused gaze. “Come on Naomi, you’ll have to see Fred when you visit Lise, you might as well…”
“No!” Naomi moaned. “It will be so awkward! Albus I can’t believe you!” Naomi glanced up in horror as Albus began to wave over the pair at the bar. “No! Stop waving them over, Al… no!”
“Hey” James grinned as he and Fred appeared with an armful of Butterbeers. “Thanks for letting us interrupt your girly time, you two” James nodded to Naomi and I as he squeezed into the booth next to me.
Naomi shot him a funny look, and instantly looked at me with raised eyebrows, making me blush slightly and widen my eyes in warning at her.
“Erm… Hi” Fred grinned sheepishly as he slipped in beside James, his eyes meeting Naomi’s warily. Naomi, who was sat directly opposite to him, blushed heavily and looked down at her lap silently.
“Well” Albus clapped his hands together. “This is nice isn’t it?” he grinned eagerly around at us all.
There was a small silence as Naomi and Fred attempted to look at anything but each other and I was distinctly aware of James’ hand brushing my thigh.
“So, anyway, Lise, what have you been up to since I saw you last?” Albus grinned at me and I smiled back, clearing my throat to attempt to diffuse the tension in the small booth.
“Oh, well, I’m working at Witch Weekly, and it’s um… great…”
“Oh, yeah! I saw your interview with Robert Darcy!” Albus grinned, and I grimaced slightly as I felt James tense beside me at the mention of Robert’s name. “It was great, Lise. You’re not getting it back on with him are you?” Albus waggled his eyebrows suggestively and I blushed heavily at Naomi’s distinctive amused snort.
“Oh, no!” I replied quickly. “It’s not… he, erm… he likes another girl” I glanced anxiously at James, who had a hard expression on his face.
“Apparently” James muttered harshly, and my cheeks tinged a darker shade of red. I glared at Naomi’s amused smile.
“Oh, sorry Lise” Albus shot me a small smile. “Did you try it and he…?”
“Merlin, no!” I gasped, absolutely horrified with Albus for pressing the subject topic and making the situation much more awkward than it should have been. “He… he wrote to me, mentioning it, he wanted me to meet her… it’s a friendly thing” I shot James a look and he turned his head away from me slightly.
They all seemed to notice James’ action as everybody fell extremely silent and Fred coughed awkwardly as James shifted in his seat.
“Hey everybody” Rae grinned breathlessly as she suddenly appeared in front of the booth. Naomi smiled gratefully at her friend, who was too busy being kissed by Albus, who had immediately jumped up to greet her, to notice any tension in our little booth.
I’d never really met Rae properly, but she seemed lovely, and must be if she was friends with Naomi and Albus’ girlfriend. She shot me a friendly smile as Albus helped her out of her coat and she fluffed her hair with one hand.
“I hope Albus and I aren’t butting in on your double date thing here” Rae gushed innocently, with a small smile on her face. “Naomi, you didn’t tell me you were meeting Fred” Rae raised her eyebrows slightly at her friend and Naomi blushed deeper than the Gryffindor red.
“Rae” Albus sighed sadly. “This isn’t a double date, the boys and I just interrupted Lise and Naomi’s catch up because there weren’t any other tables left.”
“Oh” Rae gasped, quickly shooting Naomi an apologetic look. Naomi, however, didn’t seem to notice as she was currently glaring heavily at Fred.
“What?” he finally snapped. “What have I done? You’re the one that’s practically told the whole population of Hogwarts about it!”
“I only told Rae! Because she’s one of my best friends! Just like you would tell James!”
“But Lise already knew, and obviously Rae didn’t keep her mouth shut, did she? Because Albus knows!”
Rae instantly blushed and bit her lip as she looked down at her shoes, and Albus, being the chivalrous boyfriend that he is, instantly jumped to his girlfriend’s defence.
“Oi! Fred, don’t be a dick about it!” Albus smacked his cousin upside the head. “Rae only talked to me about it because she was worried about Naomi!”
“What would be wrong with Naomi? We only slept together!” Fred fixed Naomi with a tight glare and she glanced pleadingly at Albus, who didn’t seem to notice, not even when Rae tugged on his hand desperately.
“Because Naomi was really upset! She’d just been ditched by Theo, and then she’d had a rebound with you… and she didn’t know what to do and she was…oh…” Albus suddenly stopped and glanced apologetically at Naomi. “Naomi, I…”
“Don’t worry about it Albus” Naomi snapped, a look a cold fury across her face as she narrowed her eyes at him. “Just tell the whole world everything why don’t you?”
Naomi ignored Albus as she gathered her things and made as if to leave the booth.
“Naomi, don’t…” Fred began, reaching to grab her wrist but recoiling as she glared at him furiously.
“Fuck you, Fred Weasley” she spat, before pushing through the crowds and stalking out of the pub.
“I’ll go…” Rae sighed, reaching to pull her coat back on but I shook my head quickly.
“No, I will” I flashed Rae a smile as I slid along the booth seats and slipped my coat over my shoulders.
“No, Lise… I need to talk to you… don’t go just yet…” James stood up hurriedly and got out of the booth behind me.
“Can’t it wait James?”
“No” he replied nervously. “It’s about last night, I…”
“Later, James” I squeezed his hand and smiled as I left the pub, distinctly hearing Fred say, “What the fuck happened last night?”
I finally managed to track Naomi down, she’d stalked off to sit on a bench just down the lane from the Three Broomsticks and I’d spent an hour making her feel better.
Eventually, she’d wiped the last of her tears away and demanded we visit Gladrags to make her feel better and forget all about Fred and his words of ‘We only slept together’.
It wasn’t that Naomi fancied Fred or anything like that, she’d explained to me. It was just that she’d realised that when she was with Theo, sex had meant something… it had meant affection and love. Now, Naomi had realised, it wasn’t like that, because she was single, and she’d lied when she’d said she was over Theo because she still missed him like crazy.
After a few more hours together I’d walked Naomi back up to the castle gates. We leant against the gates for a while, finishing our debate about what James could possibly want to say to me later.
“You should head back to school babes” I sighed to Naomi, who’d scrunched up her face in an expression of distaste.
“Can’t I just quit Hogwarts and come and live with you?”
“You’d have to get a job” I laughed. “Hogwarts is nicer.”
Naomi shook her head at me. “It seems you’ve forgotten how boring school is. And I’m going to have to put up with Albus’ whiny apologies for weeks now, not to mention Rae’s pep talks” Naomi groaned and rested her head back on the gates. “Please can I come live with you?”
“I live with Fred, remember, that might be a bit…”
“Urgh, yeah” Naomi rolled her eyes. “I suppose I don’t have a choice then, do I?”
“Nope” I laughed, tugging on her arm and attempting to push her through the gates.
Naomi wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me in for a tight hug. “You have to write more alright? And if there isn’t another Hogsmeade, I’ll see you at Christmas” Naomi grinned as she pulled away from me.
“Sure, you could come and stay with me for Christmas if you’d like?”
“I thought we’d just…”
“I think Fred will be staying with his parents for some of the holidays” I shrugged. “I’m not sure… but maybe? It would be nice.”
“You doing anything with your family for Christmas?” Naomi asked and I bit my lip.
“Don’t know, Mum’s been away with Edward for a couple of months, I don’t know if she’ll be around, and Dad… well, he hasn’t spoken to me since the whole thing started.”
“He came to apologise, you know” Naomi smiled slightly at me. “Your Dad, I mean. My mum owled me, saying that he’d come to apologise to my Dad for everything. He seemed to regret it a lot.”
“Probably because he’s got more press attention now” I murmured angrily and Naomi shook her head at me.
“Mum said she thought he’d been quite affected by your Witch Weekly article… I think he’s quite sorry Lise.”
I sighed at her and pushed my hair back from my face. “If he was sorry Naomi, he would have written to me, or visited me… which he hasn’t. He’s just lying about it all.”
“You never know” Naomi reached to hug me tightly again, one last time. “Don’t forget to write, to tell me all about your later with James, alright?” Naomi winked and set off back to the castle, turning back to wave at me one last time before she disappeared from sight.
With a heavy sigh, and then a crack, I disapparated.
A/N- hope you liked it! This chapter’s really long, and although it’s only got a little Lise and James action, it’s all coming up next chapter! I’m thinking there are only a few more chapters to go now, I may go over my thirty chapter limit that I set a long time ago, but I’m not sure. To be completely honest with you all, I haven’t quite finished planning the exact ending yet! Please don’t forget to review, they always get me writing a bit faster, and I’m quite down at the moment as the reads on this story have gotten a lot lower! L Lots of love to all you fantastic readers, next chapter will be up as soon as this one is out of the queue! (P.S sorry for the weird spacing, they wouldn't let me post this chapter without it for some reason!)