Chapter 13 : Chapter 13
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“So will I see you tomorrow?” I ask Pete hopefully. It was Friday night, the end of an impossibly busy week at work, especially since the weather had changed and the early Christmas shoppers were out in force and required a never ending supply of hot drinks and sustenance.
He shrugs noncommittally.
I try not to let my frustration show, and keep my tone light and easy, “Only it’s my Saturday off tomorrow and...well...maybe it would be good for us to have some time alone.”
“I’ll see, okay. I might have plans.” He says gruffly, shrugging on his coat and turning away from me.
“Oh... right. OK.” I mutter to his retreating back.
On my walk through Diagon Alley I try to tell myself that I shouldn’t really be surprised by Pete’s cold response, that he’s been incredibly hard to pin to down since our failed attempt at date night. And that mostly it’s just jealousy and it’ll blow over once he sees that James and I are just... well I don’t really know what we are...friends? Co parents? Anyway, once Pete sees this things will get back to normal or at least some semblance of how they were.
But I can’t help but hope that it doesn’t take that much longer for this realisation to occur because to be quite honest I’m beginning to loathe this new standoffish person Pete has become and I want the old one back.
Saturday nights with the boys were always messy but frankly I’d forgotten just how messy they could be, especially since we were celebrating. After a hard fought game of quidditch that afternoon we’d secured ourselves a place in the quarter finals of the Quidditch League something that our team had not achieved for a good twenty years as everyone liked to remind us.
My teammates and I had already visited the Leaky Cauldron where we’d or more accurately they had drunk their bodyweight in Fire whiskey before we had relocated to The Black Dragon. As I looked around the group now, it would appear that during the short trip down the cobbled street Dougie Flynn our mountain of muscle beater had somehow lost his shirt and Johnny O’Hara was slurring a proclamation of undying love for a mystery blonde who had joined us along with a group of other scantily clad wannabee QWAGS (Quidditch wives and girlfriends).
Indeed a second rather buxom blonde is fluttering her ridiculously thick an obviously fake eyelashes at me. Sensing danger I quickly announce that I’ll get the next round in, which receives a drunken cheer. I weave my way though the darkened room, brushing past couples locked together on the dance floor and accidently elbowing another proprietor. Luckily they seem too drunk to have noticed.
When I finally reach the bar, I ask for a simple round of Butterbeers for the extended group, thinking that something a little softer would probably do them the world of good. As I wait for the order I turn around and face the insides of the club, resting me elbows on the bar top. I casually survey the scene, usually I would be the life and soul of a celebration like this but my heart’s just not in it tonight. Merlin I’m only just twenty four and I don’t feel like partying anymore, what’s happened to me?
Fatherhood, a quiet voice answers, for I would indeed prefer to be at home with my little girl and... I try not to let my thoughts go there, who am I to think that she would even consider giving me a...what was it now fourth, fifth chance? But if only she would.
I am roused from my thoughts by two things, firstly my round of drinks appearing and secondly a soft hand brushing against my arm. I glance over to find a girl, no, a woman, and a rather attractive woman at that with silky dark hair and piercing blue eyes, “Want to dance?” She asks, showing off a rather lovely smile and nice set of pearly whites too.
I consider it for a moment, if only she was... the thought crosses my mind and I realise that no amount of nice hair or good teeth would ever change that.
I smile at her in return, “Maybe another time.” I say gently, “I’m heading off actually.”
To her credit she smiles graciously and doesn’t push it, merely watches as I send the round of butterbeers over to my teammates and head for the door.
Diagon Alley is almost completely deserted at this time of night. I am alone except for a couple walking maybe fifty meters ahead of me, arms around each other’s waists.
It reminds me of Hogsmeade trips, where Abi and I would wander through the village, my arm casually laid across her shoulder, hers around my waist, thighs brushing against each other.
The couple ahead of me have stopped outside one of the shops. The woman giggling tipsily as she struggles with the lock.
I am only a few meters away from them when the woman finally manages to open the door. Flicking on the light she turns to face the man and gives him a come-hither smile. She withdraws into the building letting light illuminate the man’s face for just a moment before he quickly follows after her.
I stop in my tracks my brain slowly registering what or rather whom I had just seen.
“Ow, that bloody hurt Al.” I say rubbing my shoulder, where he had just punched me.
“Well I had to do something to bring you down from the clouds.” Al says.
“I’ll give you clouds... you know some of us have more important things to think about than our weddings.” I say sarcastically, watching Al shrug on another black dress robe that from what I can see is exactly the same as the previous twenty three.
“So what do you think?” he asks once again.
I pause, “I think I like the first one you tried on better.”
Al sighs, “Well which one was that?” he asks glancing around at the discarded piles of robes.
I run a hand through my hair, unable to keep a smirk from gracing my lips as I watch him sift through the black heap of material, “Hell, if I know mate, they all look the same to me.”
Al stops sifting, and looks up at me, “You’re messing with me aren’t you...James you wanker, I don’t know why I made you my best man.”
I laugh, “Well I don’t know you didn’t ask Lily to come and do this with you, you know she loves this kind of crap.”
Al groans, “You’re right.”
“And they say you’re the smart one.” I add lightly still grinning.
Al throws me a withering glance before he shrugs of the robe and pulls his own jumper over his head, surveys the scene of destruction runs both hands through his, and then glances at me, “Pint?”
We casually make our way to the Leaky Cauldron and order two Butterbeers then find ourselves a comfy spot in one of the corner booths.
After a few refreshing mouthfuls, Al pipes up, “So what’s with you today anyway?”
Instantly I’m thrown back into the Alley last night and what I saw.
Not really knowing where to start I mutter a very unconvincing, “Nothing.”
“Give over, you’ve been away with the fairies all day.”
I sigh, trying to think off the best way to explain without giving anything away, “Okay so hypothetically speaking, I may have hypothetically seen a friends hypothetical boyfriend kissing another hypothetical woman.” I pause before adding, “Hypothetically of course.”
Al nods in understanding, “And you’re hypothetically unsure if you should tell said hypothetical friend that you saw the said hypothetical event.” He concludes, “Since when did you have friends that were girls?”
I sigh exasperatedly, “Let’s not get sidetracked here.”
Al takes another swig and then narrowing his eyes asks, “Do you like her, the ‘friend’?”
“What does that have to do with anything?” I respond, crossing my arms defensively.
“I don’t know, that’s what Lils would ask if she were here.”
I make to protest but Al speaks before I can, “You want my help, answer the question.”
I’m about to tell him to stick his question where the sun doesn’t shine, but I think better of it, I could really use a second opinion on this, so instead I try to formulate an answer, “No, I mean... possibly...a little you know...” I stop and take a deep breath, “Yes, I like her a lot, but nothing will ever happen.”
Al makes a triangle with his fingers and taps them together, “Ahhh so she’s an ex then, it’s not Jen is it? ‘Cos that girl was truly awful.”
I roll my eyes, “No it’s not her.”
“Thank Merlin, who could it be...” Al muses, talking to himself, “Can’t be Ashley ‘cause she hates your guts...definitely not Lil’s mate whatshername Kat-Ki- Kelly that’s it... could be....”
“Al, focus, what do I do?” I interrupt exasperatedly.
“Alright give me a minute.” Al says grinning, loving the fact that he’s getting under my skin.
I’ve finished my beer by the time he speaks again, “Look I don’t know.”
“Seriously, it took you that long to come up with ‘I don’t know’.”
“Well it could go either way, you could tell her and somehow through the pain of it all and the support you would undoubtedly give her she realises that she’s madly in love you or she could think that you’re a desperate jealous dick, out to ruin her happiness and want nothing more to do with you.”
“You sound like Witch Weekly, you know that right.” I say shaking my head disparagingly.
“Hey it’s not my fault Emily leaves them lying around alright.” Al responds, “Anyway you want my advice... tell her, if it was me I’d want to know.”
I nod. Shit, he was right.
I’d just have to break her heart yet again and hope that this time she’d plump for option A.
A/N Again sorry for the slow updating, I decided to change the original plan for this chapter so I hope you liked it.
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