Chapter 3 : Chapter three - A Birthday Surprise
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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or anything else that you might recognize.
A gorgeous image of Freddy and Jenny by atellam ^^
Chapter three – A Birthday Surprise
“So, what’s the plan for Friday?” Fred Weasley asked as he threw himself on my couch.
I glanced at my other best friend amusedly as he made himself comfortable. “Hayden picks James in the morning," I started to explain. "I don’t know what he has planned, but after they're done, he brings him to his parents’ house when we have lunch at noon. Then it’s your turn to spend time with the birthday boy and I’ll come back here to put everything in order, because at six it’s cake time with the clan. Then our team mates insisted that I bring James at the club since they have a surprise for him too. After that it’s my time.”
We were of course talking about this weeks Friday which was James’s birthday. I was playing the mastermind behind the organization once again, like every single year.
“Sounds like a busy day for you,” Freddy said, brushing his hand through his red curls. He had the most amazing hair in the world – right after James’s of course.
“I don’t mind.” I shrugged.
“I know you don’t.” He gave me a big, warm smile before letting out a big yawn.
“Rough night?” I asked, examining his features more closely. Now that I was paying attention, I realised I should’ve seen it from the dark circles under his eyes.
“I had a fight with Jen,” he revealed and a small frown appeared on his face for a moment.
“Oh? I hope nothing bad.”
“No, no, we fixed it up already. Stupid thing really. She saw one customer flirting with me and got all jealous, I was tired from work so it provoked me and so forth…” He sighed. “Just didn’t get much sleep because of that.”
“Well, I’m glad you worked things out. I like her,” I said truthfully, endorsing it with a smile.
“That’s a first,” he snorted and I stuck out my tongue. “It’s true, you never like any of the girls we go out with!”
“Correction, they don’t like me, so I don’t bother either,” I pointed out. “But Jen’s different!”
“She is!” Fred beamed dreamily.
I smiled at the sight of him. It was printed so clearly on his face; Freddy was in love. My other best friend was finally growing up, something I thought that would never happen. It made me feel so happy for him and also a bit relieved since it was him and not James who was moving forwards in his life.
“So James didn't want a party this year?” he asked then.
“No, he told me he wanted a nice and relaxing day, no drinking this time,” I replied, “I guess it’s because we have a game on Sunday.”
“Aah, yeah. His hangovers do last a long time,” Freddy grinned, probably feeling amused since he was like me – we were never hung over.
“But anyways… What’s new with you?” he added then, pushing himself to a sitting position.
“Same old, same old. Just me and my boring life,” I answered, unable to prevent the small smirk that found its way to the corners of my mouth.
“James would die if he heard you say that,” he laughed.
“I know, I’m just kidding!” I chuckled. “We were actually thinking that someday around next week we’d go bowlering or what ever it was called. You know, that muggle sport where they knock down pins with a ball? Sounds so weird that we just have to try it.”
“Bowling?” he suggested, finding the right Muggle term that I was searching for.
“That’s it! Do you and Jen want to come with us?” I smiled as the thought popped into my mind, “We could make it a real competition!”
“Sure, I’ll just check it with Jen, but I’m certain she’ll be okay with it,” Freddy agreed, before the realisation finally hit him. “Unless you are planning that we play in teams! Because there is no way I am playing against you and James, you are too superior as a team!”
“Oh come on! We’re not that good!” I protested, trying to sound sincere.
We actually were that good. Nobody ever beat us in anything.
“Nope, that’s where I draw the line!” he stated firmly, crossing his hands in a stubborn way.
“Okay, okay, individual gaming only. Or maybe girls against boys?” I propounded.
“Now that I could agree to!” he grinned, looking more pleased with that version of the plan.
“You’d still be on the losing team,” I teased.
“We’ll see,” he chuckled, “So, did you manage to get your present for James ready this time or do you have something else planned?”
“I did! Finally! I thought it would never be ready!” I let out a relieved sigh.
“Can I see it?” Freddy asked, sounding curious now.
“No, I don’t have it yet. I’m picking it up tomorrow,” I said with an apologizing frown.
“Aah.” He nodded. “Still, I think that’s the best gift ever! James will go mental.”
“I know,” I smiled thinking about my best friend’s expression when he would open his present.
I’d gotten him a pensieve. It was something that I’d been planning for a long time already but when I’d finally found a person who could make one, my mood had crumbled down. Pensieves took years to create and even wizards who were experts in making them could not do it every single time. That’s why they were so rare. But I had ordered one anyways. And now five years later it was finally done.
At least I’d had enough time to choose the memories I wanted to include with it, because believe me, there were many to choose from. But eventually I had come up with twenty of my favourite moments with James. They were all stocked in tiny flasks, ready to go with the pensieve and I had a perfect way I’d give it all to him but that was a big secret. Only Freddy knew about it.
“Man, your gift is so much better than mine,” Freddy groaned a bit bitterly.
“What do you have for him then?”
“I’m taking him to see the Muggle monster truck show!”
“Oh lord, he’ll love that. He was just talking about it the other day, sulking about the fact that it was on his birthday and he couldn’t go.”
“Perfect! We’re going to spend a really manly hour. Drink a few beers, eat some hot dogs, whine about girls, you know the drill.”
“I’m so jealous!” I frowned. “I get to spend my day in front of the stove, cooking his food.”
“Like a perfect little housewife should,” he teased, wiggling his eyebrows.
I burst into laughter. “Oh yeah, shout that in front of his girlfriends. I don't think they hate me enough.”
“I can never understand how they can’t see that you‘re nothing but friends,” Freddy shook his head, “I mean, it’s so clear! The way you guys look at each other, there could never be anything romantic there. Girls are so blind.”
Luckily he didn’t notice how my amusement suddenly died.
Friday came quickly. I woke up early and did my normal morning routines, including a jog through the nearby park as I wouldn’t have time to do any other kind of exercise during the whole day. After taking a shower and putting my clothes on, I headed to James’s flat.
I went straight to the kitchen, grasping in my hand a bag filled with breakfast supplies. I flicked my wand to put the coffee dripping and then emptied the bag. There were all his favourites. Toast and some honey, eggs, bacon and peaches, and then some pumpkin juice. I set the table and put a mixed bunch of flowers in a vase. They were all from his mum’s garden and I just couldn’t refuse to sniff them. An amazing potpourri of different flowers filled my nostrils. Though the flower bunch didn’t smell nearly as good as the garden truly did, but close enough. It was my second most favourite fragrance in the whole world, right after James’s aftershave. The garden smelled like heaven and I knew it was my best friend’s favourite scent too.
After I was done, I tiptoed towards his bedroom and silently opened the door. A smile rose to my lips as I stepped into the room and got the first sight of him. James had almost fallen out of the bed; his whole upper torso was hanging over the edge. His brown hair was even messier than normally and there was some drool on his cheek. He looked so endearing. I wouldn’t mind at all waking up to that sight every morning for the rest of my life.
The light that was shining from the doorway apparently disturbed James’s sleep since he stirred a bit and a groan left his lips.
“Oh come on Miller, this is way too early,” he murmured.
“Sorry, but I’ll have to feed you and get you ready since Hayden’s picking you up in an hour,” I smiled apologetically even though he couldn’t see it through his closed eyelids.
“You have to get me up first,” he muttered, swinging himself back on the bed and disappearing somewhere under the sheets.
“Fine, fifteen more minutes, but then you’ll have to get up,” I commented and took a few steps towards the door.
“Where do you think you‘re going?” the voice called from the bed.
“Err, to the living room. You just said you wanted to sleep more,” I scratched my neck confusedly.
“No, I just don’t want to get up yet. Come snuggle with me for awhile,” he said.
My heart probably stopped beating for a few moments when I tried to figure if I had really heard him correctly.
“You’re nuts,” I commented.
“No, I’m the birthday boy and you have to do as I tell you,” he stated childishly.
“Oh lord…” I complained but obeyed nevertheless.
I knew it would be a mistake, I’d feel so crappy later but hey, I really couldn’t say no. Nor did I even want to. The few seconds of happiness would be it worth it.
I climbed into the bed and went to lie next to James. His hand appeared from under the blanket and he pulled me closer, throwing the cover over me too.
“Hi!” his hazel eyes twinkled very near mine and I could feel his warm breath on my skin.
“Happy twenty-five,” I smiled, trying to concentrate on keeping my head clear as his closeness was bedazzling me.
“Don't remind me,” he murmured.
“That you’re old?”
“Oi!” he protested and tried to tickle me.
“We’ve been friends for over fourteen years and you still don’t remember that I don't tickle?” I shook my head trying to look disappointed.
“I’m determinate. I will succeed one day,” he grinned.
“You won’t,” I replied.
He sighed disappointedly. “You’re so boring.”
“Will you cut me off like you do to your girlfriends when they get boring?” I asked innocently.
“Never,” he replied kissing my forehead and then pulling my head closer to his chest.
I tried to hold my breath as his scent was intoxicating me; I was afraid I’d lose all my inhibitions and just start snogging him. That wouldn’t be awkward at all, right?
James kept me close for a good ten minutes before I reminded him that we had to get up. He released me and I instantly felt emptier. I hated myself for letting him torture me this way. But what could I really do? We’d been like this for a very long time; it’d be weird if I suddenly started acting differently with no apparent reason. I tried to cover up my miserable state by rushing into the kitchen to see that everything was in order. James followed right after me, completely oblivious to what was going inside my mind.
“Aww, you made me breakfast,” he said happily. He was always so easy to please.
“Like it’s the first time,” I rolled my eyes at his direction but tried to avoid looking straight at him.
“You should make me breakfast everyday,” he pointed out as he sat down on the spot I had set for him.
I laughed. “Hah, you have girlfriends to serve you. I do this only on special occasions.”
“Hmph,” he pouted his lips and then grabbed a piece of toast, “So, where’s my present?”
“You’ll get it later. It’s Hayden’s turn first.”
“Aah, saving the best for last?” he asked.
“For sure,” I replied smugly.
“But no drinking tonight, right?” he asked hopefully, glancing in my direction as waited for me to confirm it.
“That’s what you wanted.”
“Good because I’d die in the game otherwise. My hangovers keep getting worse,” he told me.
“Another proof of your oldness,” I sneered.
He threw a piece of bacon at me.
After James had eaten he went to the bathroom to take a shower and I started to clean the breakfast dishes while determinately pushing all the hurtful thoughts aside. I had just finished scourging the last plate magically when there was a knock on the door. James was still in the shower so I went to open it. A wave of discomfort siphoned over me as I spotted the blonde man standing in the hallway. But I wasn’t the only one as I noticed a dim blush colouring his cheeks at the sight of me.
“Hi, come on in,” I tried to sound normal.
“Thanks,” he muttered. "I know I’m early…”
“Don't worry about it. James isn’t ready though. He’s still in the shower,” I said as I let him enter through the doorway.
“Oh…” he commented.
And then the silence came.
The awkward and quiet moment that could’ve been cut with a dull blade.
Man did I hate this.
This was exactly the reason why I avoided being alone with Hayden. It’d been freaking seven years already. Why couldn’t he just get over his crush? Or at least hide it? It wasn’t that hard, I did it all the time. Things would be so much easier if he could do it too. Everything could be normal again.
But no, there we were, standing in the same room, both of us just staring at the walls or our feet. I kept listening at the sounds of the running water, hoping that it would shut down soon. I guess it was my lucky day (for once!) since it did and soon enough James emerged from the bathroom with only a towel around his lower body.
Yes, I blushed.
And then turned my head quickly away while I tried to hide the very visible swallow. Stupid best friend who looks like a Muggle sculpture with every single perfectly toned muscle showing quite noticeably. That image would haunt my dreams for a long time, especially the thin line of hair under his navel I happened to get a glance of.
I wondered if I could manage to do a little spell without anybody noticing and make his towel drop down so I could see where that line led to…
“Hayden! You’re here already!” James interrupted my dreaming.
“Yeah, happy b-day oldie,” Hayden grinned turning immediately back to the fun and confident guy I’d once known.
“Thanks!” James smiled, “I’ll get ready quickly”
That was my cue.
“Um, I’ll be going now! I’ll see you at noon,” I hurried to say before he got a chance to disappear into his bedroom and leave me alone with Hayden again.
“Oh, okay. Thanks for the breakfast, sweetie, it was amazing,” H sent a warm smile in my direction.
“No problem,” I beamed.
“Later, love,” James continued, waving his hand to me and then walking to the other room.
Hayden glanced at me nervously.
“Bye,” I said quickly and then rushed through the door to apparate away from all the awkwardness.
Few seconds later the beautiful residence of the Potter family appeared in front of me. I touched a certain spot in the huge iron gate and it swung open, granting me access to the front yard. I walked across the path towards the big oak doors and stepped inside the house.
“Hello?” I called.
“We’re in the kitchen, sweetheart!” James’s mum’s voice answered.
I found my way there to see the four other members of my favourite family eating breakfast.
“Hello, dear! Are you hungry?” Ginny Potter asked me with a kind smile.
Her trademark Weasley red hair was up in a bun and she was wearing an apron, all ready for our forenoon in the kitchen. I absolutely adored her. She was one of the nicest people I knew but at the same time so strong. And my idol as she was the best female Quidditch player I had ever seen, I still had a lot to learn to be on the same level with her.
“No thanks. I already ate with James as I made him breakfast,” I lied so she wouldn’t force me to eat something, “But I could grab a cup of coffee.”
“I don’t know how that boy would manage without you,” she shook her head amusedly as she went to pour me one.
“Eat scrambled eggs and bacon everyday?” Lily suggested.
“Nowadays he can also make burnt steaks with dry potatoes,” I grinned, remembering the last time he tried to cook us a meal after losing a bet to me.
“Maybe we should have bought him a cooking book instead of the motorcycle?” Harry said, making me chuckle.
I had been very intimidated when first meeting James’s dad. Well who wouldn’t! Famous Harry Potter, the saviour of the wizarding world. One could expect someone superior and self-righteous, but Harry was actually quite the normal guy. Really modest at least! I’ve never heard him talk about any of the things he did back when he was young in a bragging way. No, he was always directing the credit to somebody else. Either it was Hermione Weasley who came up with the plan, Ron Weasley who smashed the Horcrux or Neville Longbottom who killed the snake.
James’s little brother Albus was sitting in front of his dad. He seemed to be half asleep, napping over his bowl of porridge and occasionally nudging awake for a few seconds. He looked so different from his brother. With black hair and emerald green eyes, he was the spitting image of his father, just like Lily looked exactly like Ginny. Personally I thought James had gotten the best deal as he was the mixture of both of his parent’s best features, but who am I to judge? I was in love with him; of course I’d pick him over every single person on this planet any day.
“You can still change it,” Lily grinned.
“James would go on a killing spree,” Albus commented behind closed eyes.
Harry and Ginny quickly glanced at me nervously as the words left Al’s mouth. They were always jumpy in front of me when the discussion turned into darker subjects, especially murders, even if it was just a joke. It was pointless since I wasn’t that delicate. I could talk about people getting killed without thinking about my own mother. But I knew it was because they had seen me in my weakest, crying days against James’s shoulder and they couldn't do a thing to help me, just let time pass. It always made me feel better though, to know that they cared so much for me even though I was just the best friend of their son.
“So you finally got him the bike?” I asked.
“Yeah, I guess he was old enough,” Ginny answered with a defeated sigh.
“Not if you listen how he was whining about it,” Lily grinned amusedly, not even lifting her eyes from the magazine she was reading.
“Lily!” her mother warned.
Ginny just rolled her eyes and turned towards me. “Shall we get started then?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I nodded.
Ginny and I would be preparing the food for the birthday meal. It was just for the closest family members, including James’s grandparents and also his godparents Ron and Hermione Weasley. All the rest of the relatives would later come for the cake and coffee at my place.
While we worked hard in the kitchen, Harry and Albus were in charge of cleaning the house and Lily was to set the table, decorate the dining hall and then inspect the work the boys had done. Merlin knows they need chaperoning!
They all left to do their tasks and left me and Ginny alone in the kitchen. She handed me an apron and we started to work.
“So, what did you get for James or is it a secret?” she asked after we had made some good progress.
“It is, but I guess I can tell you. I got him a pensieve,” I said.
Ginny’s eyes widened and she turned to look at me properly. “Did you make it all by yourself?” she asked immediately, assuming that because we usually exchanged self-made gifts.
“Lord no! With my grades? You should know better, after all I only aced my Charms exam,” I admitted amusedly and then told her the whole thing I had planned for him.
“Oh wow, that really is an amazing gift,” she told me, a warm beam taking over her expression. “So, what else is going on then? Is there anyone special in your life at the moment?” Ginny asked after I had thanked her.
“No, not right now,” I shook my head.
“What happened to Alex?” she asked casually.
Now how did she know about him?
“Lily,” Ginny revealed after I questioned her. “She keeps me updated with the gossip as you two don’t tell me anything.”
“Sorry,” I smiled apologetically.
“You can repay it by telling me what happened,” she offered.
I pondered my answer for a moment. What had really happened?
Alexander Lynch was the chaser of Puddlemere United and an extremely gorgeous guy. I had dated him for a few months, but I had ended it a bit over a month ago. Not that I didn’t like him, I guess I sort of did. Or at least I liked the fact that he made me feel really good about myself with his constant compliments. But he was quite the player and a womanizer, which is the reason why James absolutely loathed him. And at the end of one drunken night they had gotten into a fight, a real Muggle style brawl. So after two broken noses, a broken jaw, several smashed ribs and a whole lot of bruises, I decided it would be better if me and Alex just went our separate ways. He was quite shocked about it; I think no girl had actually broken up with him before. James was ecstatic though and that’s all that really mattered at the end.
And yes, I was perfectly aware how pathetic I was, but I really couldn’t help it.
“Umm, I guess we were just too different, and then there was the whole different team member business,” I lied and did a little shrug.
“Oh, okay. Well, I hope you will find a guy who treats you like you deserve,” Ginny responded, “I think James will take care of that though. I’ve listened Lily complain about his over-protectiveness for years. Gets that from my side of the family, their uncle Ron was exactly like that too.”
I laughed. “So I’ve heard.”
We continued preparing the food, our discussion concentrating mainly on Quidditch. It was really nice to talk about my favourite subject with another woman who had played in the mostly male league. She knew the pressure there was, the need to shine, because there was always a guy waiting somewhere around the corner for you to mess up.
Ginny and I were still in the kitchen, doing finishing touches to the meal when James appeared at the Potter house a bit before noon.
“And here are my two favourite ladies, working hard to feed their most beloved man,” he grinned, wrapping both of us in a hug.
“Happy birthday, dear,” Ginny smiled and kissed his cheek.
James glanced at me, offering his other cheek so I would give him a kiss too. I did, after rolling my eyes and making sure he saw it.
“You’re wearing an apron,” he sniggered at me.
“Shut up, or I will make you wear it for the rest of the day,” I gave him a playful shove.
“I would rock it. As do you,” he then winked and slapped my arse.
“You’re such a jerk,” Ginny commented, shaking her head amusedly.
“Thank you, I’ve been telling him that for years. I’m glad somebody agrees with me,” I teased and James pouted his lips. “I do still love you,” I continued and his face lit up.
“I know, sis,” he smirked and then bounced away.
Ginny gave me a smile and I responded it with my fake one.
How did James always manage to throw the sister comment into the moments when it would hurt the most?
It was almost nine o’clock when James and I apparated at the downstairs lobby of a popular wizarding nightclub, Peacock. The day had gone by quickly. After a great dinner Fred had picked James up and I headed back to my flat. Ginny came over to help me and we prepared a huge quaffle shaped cake which we had enjoyed with the whole Weasley clan at six.
Now it was the time for our team mates’ surprise. I had no idea what they had in mind as they had been so secretive about it and didn’t want to tell me since rumour has it that I can’t keep secrets from James. All they had informed me was to bring James to the club at nine o’clock.
The lobby was empty so I figured the guys must be waiting upstairs. I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach, as I had my suspicions about this. I tried to stay calm; the guys had promised that there wouldn’t be a party since I had told them what James had said, but already the idea of meeting them in a nightclub had made the warning signals of my mind go off. And as always I should’ve listened when my guts tried to tell me something. They were always right.
“Surprise!” The whole insides of the club exploded into cheers as we stepped into the dark room.
The lights flicked on and people started to applaud. I stared dazedly all over the huge space; I could see hundreds of people, all holding their preferred beverages and waving at us cheerfully. The place was decorated with colours of Pride of Portree and a huge banner was floating in the air, congratulating my best friend.
“You promised!” James hissed to me from the corner of his mouth as a small group started to walk closer.
“I didn’t know! I made them swear that there wouldn’t be a party, I told them you didn’t want one!” I defended myself helplessly.
“Oh relax Potter, it’s not her fault. We didn’t tell her. But we didn’t actually break the promise either…” Matthew smiled.
“Meaning?” James asked.
“Meaning that the Sunday’s game is cancelled! There is something fishy going on with the Appleby Arrows and they are banned from playing games before it all gets settled. We won the game already by 150 points, granted by the snitch,” coach McGormack lowered his voice so everybody wouldn’t hear him.
I was staring at my team mates quite bewilderedly as I couldn’t really digest what they were saying. Or why they were doing all this! They knew I had the whole day planned out already, I had told them we could only spend a few hours there as it would be time for my present after that. How could they just walk over me like that? How could they…
My internal shouting was cut short at that point since I happened to glance at James. He had been looking a bit annoyed at first, but now after hearing that the game would be cancelled and there really wasn’t any reason for him not to be drinking, his expression had changed into quite a positive one.
“Oh wow, this is what you call a birthday surprise!” he managed to say.
“So what do you say, birthday boy? Do you want your party or not?” Matthew grinned. “Of course, if the lady of the household agrees too, because I think this will mess her plans,” he then added to me.
At this James seemed to remember that I had been oblivious to all this too and he turned to look at me with a puzzled expression. I knew what it meant. He didn't want to disappoint me, but he really had wanted this party after all. So what choice did I really have? Be all selfish or be the best friend…
“Like I could ever say no to a party? I can give my present later,” I smiled and the guys cheered loud.
“You sure?” James confirmed, still not convinced.
“Of course. You’ll get it first thing in the morning. Go have fun,” I nodded.
“You’re the best,” he grinned giving me a quick kiss on the cheek.
Two seconds, that’s how long it took for our team mates to drag him away from me towards the counter. I watched after them and my smile slowly faded away.
“Cheer up,” a voice from behind me said and I turned to look at Freddy who had apparently just arrived.
“You knew about this?” I asked as I gave him a quick hug, surprised to see him there.
“Just got an owl from the guys,” he revealed, giving me a sympathetic smile.
“You go have fun too, I’ll beat James’s arse tomorrow for not noticing that he hurt your feelings,” he said.
“No, no, that’s really unnecessary. Let him have his party and good mood. And I’m happy for him getting his party, I really am. I was just sad for selfish reasons since I would have wanted to throw it,” I hurried to lie.
“And since this ruins your cool plan?” he asked.
“Yeah, but it doesn’t matter. It was a boring one anyways,” I shrugged.
“No it wasn’t! It would have been the coolest thing. Isn’t there a way you could do it again?”
“I guess, but not tomorrow and I’m really dying to give him the gift… So it really doesn’t matter. Just don’t say anything to him or he would feel bad,” I smiled.
“If you say so… You want to head to the counter and get smashed?”
“Yeah, more than anything,” I agreed.
So we started towards the counter too and I once again supported the fake smile on my lips, trying not to look in James’s direction as I knew he would immediately realise it wasn’t authentic. But I was just too disappointed to conjure a real one yet.
For my plan had really been a good one, James would have loved it. I had found a movie theatre that had been closed because of a renovation. I had managed to put some charms over it so it would be deserted for the whole evening today and we could have had the whole place for ourselves. I had found a spell that would have allowed me to project the memories from the pensieve to the big screen, so we could have sat on the back row together and watched all those happy moments through the whole night until the morning when the charms would break and we would have to leave. I couldn't do it all again tomorrow since the spells had been a bit tricky and I had needed an approval from the Ministry of Magic to do magic in a Muggle neighbourhood. I really couldn’t get it again for tomorrow, I wasn't that famous that I could just prance into the Ministry on a Saturday morning demanding to do it all again.
So yeah, thanks a lot guys…
Freddy and I arrived at the counter and ordered some shots and a bottle of fire-whiskey. I drowned the shots immediately and then started to sip the fire-whiskey in a bit slower pace. We were halfway through the bottle when Freddy’s girlfriend Jen arrived. I greeted her and we chatted for awhile but then I quickly realised I couldn’t deal with the two of them at that moment. I really did like Jen, she was an amazing girl but I just couldn’t stand the lovey-dovey look on Fred’s face. It was just too sickening in my state of mind at the time and it really wasn’t making me feel any better.
After excusing myself, I circled around the club, stopping from time to time to talk with familiar faces. I kept keeping track where James was so I wouldn’t bump into him before I was feeling like myself again. But I didn’t have to worry anyways. He was too busy greeting friends and basking in the favour of a group of skanks who were fighting for his attention. He didn't need me.
“Why the long face? Did Potter beat another boyfriend of yours?” a voice from somewhere behind me asked as I just had stopped to scan the room for a few seconds.
I spun around quickly to see the handsome face of Alexander Lynch staring at me with his piercing dark blue eyes.
“Alex, hi. What are you doing here?” I asked.
“My lovely brother invited me,” he nodded towards Matthew who was standing nearby and was right in the middle of a drinking contest with the Tutshill Tornados keeper Jeremy Smith.
“I didn’t think you would come to James’s party even if invited,” I pointed out, eying him a bit curiously.
“Well, I wouldn’t have if it was just him, but I knew you would be here too,” the familiar smirk danced on his lips.
“Alex…” I started with a tone.
“I missed you, G,” he said, grabbing my hand and giving it a little kiss.
“You shouldn’t,” I sighed.
“I know that,” he smiled. “But you are just too damn good to forget, Wildcat,” he added with a wink.
“I’m going now,” I shook my head to him.
“Okay. I’ll see you later, sexy,” he said smugly.
“Oh yeah, I really outshine the other girls here,” I laughed sarcastically as I walked away from him.
I was wearing a hoodie (surprise, surprise) and a pair of jeans. Not really my sexiest outfit especially compared to the other girls at the club who were wearing the most miniscule dresses possible.
“And still my eyes will be on you for the whole night,” I heard him reply.
A shiver of pleasure shook my body as I walked towards the counter again. I really didn't have any loving feelings towards Alex, but I could not ignore the huge amount of sexual tension between us. That’s what the two months with him had been like, pure lust. Our little encounter reminded me how much I actually needed that. I did yearn for him to touch me again like he used to if nothing else.
And just like that I started to feel a bit better, at least enough so I could push my own disappointment aside and start to enjoy the party more. Because meeting with Alex had reminded me how stupid I really was. I could not sulk after something like that, this was James’s day and he should get to do what he wanted. And since he seemed to be having a good time, I should do that too. Maybe I could even find somebody to keep me company later.
But first I needed more alcohol so I went back to Freddy and Jen and ordered some more whiskey.
James appeared by our side only a few moments after I had gotten my bottle. He was accompanied by four girls, one sluttier than another. Two of them were hanging onto his arms, while the other two just tagged along, pushing their half naked bodies towards him every moment they got. James was supporting a smug look, apparently feeling proud of his conquests. That was the only look on his handsome face that I didn’t like to see. It always made me feel sick as the insides of my stomach tightened.
“Here are the two most awesome persons in the whole world… and Freddy,” James smiled to us.
“Oi!” the read-head protested and tried to sound offended but was unable to hide his amused grin.
“Having fun?” James asked as she shook the girls off, wrapped his arm around me and kissed my cheek.
One of the girls actually growled angrily at that and I spun my head in her direction, feeling a bit surprised. Usually they weren’t this obvious immediately. But I didn’t even feel bad that knowing that she would be history soon as James had heard it too and was now eying at her with an annoyed expression.
“Of course, now that you’re here with us,” I smirked, turning his attention back at me.
Luckily glares can’t kill, because I gained four extremely nasty ones.
“I missed you too! Girls, have you met Gwenny yet?” he introduced me to the slags.
All four of them instantly formed fake smiles on their lips as James turned to look at them.
“Oh, it’s so nice to meet you, Gwen! I have been your biggest fan for years. I wish I could play Quidditch like you!” one of them beamed as she praised me.
The disgust didn't leave her eyes.
I just stared at her numbly for awhile, before ignoring her completely. I hated the kiss-arse-type the most.
“Did you see Andy already? He said he had something important he wanted to discuss with you,” I turned to James.
“Nope, I need to find him then. Soon…” James replied and stole my whiskey glass.
“Get your own, you arse,” I objected.
“What’s yours is mine,” he just grinned drowning my drink.
“Don't make me beat you up.”
“You could never beat me!” He laughed then grabbing me from my waist and lifting me up on his shoulder.
“Oi! Let me down, you git!” I roared and tried to pound his back.
Fred and Jen were doubling with laughter and the four girls were practically boiling from rage. When James finally released me, they were on him instantly, desperate to tear his attention away from me.
“James! I thought you had a place you wanted to show me,” one of the bitches batted her lashes.
James examined her for awhile, probably racking through his brain trying to figure out what he had discussed with this particular skank.
“Oh, right, yeah! Let’s go! I’ll see you guys later,” he grinned to us. “Ladies, if you will also excuse us for a while too,” the ‘Lover boy face’ was on again as he wrapped his arm around the-you-know-what-kind-of-girl.
James winked to me and then led the girl away from us. The three who were left behind, grunted angrily and left also. Fred sniggered amusedly and I started to bite the insides of my cheek to keep me distracted from the fact that James and the bitch were probably heading to some back room to snog. But Jen was looking at me with a very puzzled expression that made me feel quite nervous. She couldn’t have possibly noticed anything from my expression, right? I had kept it under control even though I had wanted to punch James for being so blind.
“I think I need to go to the loo,” I muttered and hurried away.
I rushed through the gang of people, zigzagging my way towards the toilets near the exit. Some cold water to splash on my face was exactly what I needed now. I opened the door to the ladies room but halted at the doorway. My eyes grew wide and I spun quickly around as I heard some moans and low grunts coming from one of the booths. I had not thought about that! It hadn’t even occurred to me that James had gone to shag the skank in a toilet booth. I rushed away towards the balcony, desperately trying to stop the sounds echoing in my mind.
I reached the terrace and breathed in the cool December air. My hands were shaking from the shock and I grasped the railing to steady them. Never before had I come so close to actually witness a situation like that. The pain in my heart felt unbearable and despair was successfully taking over me. Why did it have to be like this? Couldn’t I just get over him and find happiness from somewhere else?
I inhaled deeply and watched as my breath fogged around me. The lights of the Muggle London were shining brightly underneath me, completely unaware of the magical side of the city where the club was located. They all could be looking directly at the balcony where I was standing and see nothing. It was just an empty spot in the sky for them.
Empty, what a perfect word to describe my feelings at that moment too.
I wanted to hate everybody. Every happy couple inside the club who were wallowing in their love, every single girl inside the club for being so flirty and anxious that they were practically fucking James in front of me. And most of all I wanted to hate my lovely best friend for being so blind and not noticing what he was doing to me.
But I couldn’t. None of this was really their fault. This was all because of me, all because I wasn’t strong enough to resist my foolish feelings or just tell James and get this all in the open. I was the only one to blame for this so I did deserve to feel this all. Maybe, if I felt miserable enough, I could finally stop loving him.
“Again with the sad face, I thought I cheered you up already,” a voice purred into my ear and arms wrapped themselves around my stomach.
“I’m not sad, just a bit tired,” I replied without turning to look at him, “Wasn’t planning to party tonight.”
“Oh? Maybe you should go to bed then,” his tone was suggestive.
I let out a small hem.
“I miss you so much, baby,” his lips brushed softly at the spot behind my ear he knew would make me crazy.
“That’s not a good idea,” I said though I really didn’t want him to pull away.
“Maybe I don’t mind if Potter beats me up. Because you definitely would be worth it,” he whispered as he planted kisses on my neck, “And don’t say you don’t want it, because I can feel you shivering like so many times before.”
“It’s just…” I started but couldn’t actually think of anything that I could say as a protest.
And why was I resisting anyways? Here he was offering me just the thing I needed. I knew it would be great with him and it would save me from the trouble of attempting to flirt – very badly – with some random guy who could turn out to be a disappointment. And it’s not like I could get it from the one person I really wanted. So why the hell not?
I spun myself around to face Alex. A smug smile rose to his lips as he could already see the answer from my eyes before I even opened my mouth. And when I did, no words came out as he instantly silenced me with his lips. They were eager, passionate and familiar. I let myself sink with the comforting feeling as I responded to his kiss and wrapped my hands around his neck while my mouth explored his.
“Why did we ever give this up?” he breathed between the kisses.
His hands brushed the back of my thighs and he hoisted me up so my legs wrapped around his waist. I could feel the railing pressing painfully on my lower back but I didn't mind. It helped me to forget the other aching inside of me.
“My place or yours?” his heath-filled voice reached my ears.
“I don’t care, lets just go somewhere,” I replied.
But neither of us could break the kiss that moment. Alex’s hand travelled under my hoodie, still remembering the right spots that would make me aroused. A moan left my lips and his eyes shot open. He dropped me on the ground immediately.
“Oh come on G, you know what that sound does to me! We need to leave now, or I will tear those clothes away from you right here and now! And I won’t care if the whole world sees us,” he panted heavily, grabbing my hand and pulling me with him back inside before I even got the chance to respond.
We zigzagged through the people, hurrying towards the lift that led downstairs to the apparating area. But we didn’t get to leave that easily. Just as we passed the bathroom doors, James appeared from there with his whore. A small smile appeared on his lips as he spotted me but it disappeared as fast as it had emerged when he realised who I was with.
“No!” I heard him state as he made a beeline towards us.
“Shit,” I muttered.
“Don't even think about it, Lynch!” James raised his voice as he drew closer.
He grabbed my other hand and tried to pull me away from Alex but the other one didn’t let go of me either.
“I don’t think this is any of your business, Potter!” he sneered.
“Of course it is. She’s my best mate,” James snapped.
“James, please,” I started.
“Shut up, Gwen,” he turned to me angrily, surprising me completely.
“Oi, don’t you talk to her like that!” Alex stepped in the middle of us straight away, trying to push me behind his back.
James eyes narrowed very ominously, which was never a good sign. Alex saw it too and his free hand squeezed into a fist at once.
“Please Alex, let me handle this,” I said as I placed myself back between him and James.
“Yeah, sod off, Lynch! You have no business with her,” my best friend glared at him.
“Oi! You don’t make decisions for her!” Alex started again, trying to get past me but I blocked him.
“Shut up both of you!” I raised my voice, pushing the two men away from each other.
“Please, just give me a moment, Alex,” I said then, grabbing James’s hand and pulling him a bit further from the other boy.
The girl who had been hanging from my best mate’s arm didn’t release him but tagged along.
“Leave, bitch!” I hissed as I realised that.
“Hey, you don’t get to order me around! I -” she said to me but James interrupted her.
“Just go away!” he said.
The girl looked like he had just slapped her. “But James…” she whined.
“He said go away. Do you really think you mean something to him?” I snapped to her.
“Are you going to let her talk to me like that, James?” she asked.
“Just go away,” James repeated and the girl went all pale.
Guess she had been dreaming about a white wedding already after a quick shag in the loo.
She let out a sniff before rushing away.
“Hope you’re happy now,” James muttered to me.
“Oh yeah, like you cared about her one bit. You would have ditched her anyways in few seconds. I just did your dirty work for you,” I narrowed my eyes.
“Why are you angry with me? I should be the one shouting here since you seem to be stupid enough to fall for that bloody gits charms again!” he shot back.
“It really isn’t any of your business,” I reminded.
“Oh come on Gwenny, not this again!”
“I do not have to ask your permission if I want to be with somebody.”
“Of course not! Just don’t choose him!”
“And why not?” I asked, narrowing my eyes.
“You know how I hate him!” he replied like it should’ve been obvious.
“I’m sorry James but I don’t select the persons I want to fuck based on the fact if you like them or not. And why should I? I don’t hear you asking my opinion either!” I retorted.
He actually blushed on my words. On the contrary to me, his whole face flushed scarlet fairly visibly.
“Exactly! There's something for you to think about, James, and don’t you dare comment anything else! I’m going leave with Alex now so I can go shag his brains out! There really isn’t anything you can say to that, since that part of my life has nothing to do with you!” I hissed to him, directing all the suppressed vexation from the day.
James didn’t say anything, just stared at me with a puzzled expression. I couldn’t take it so I just marched away from him without looking back. He didn’t try to stop me this time.
“We’re leaving,” I stated to Alex and grabbed his arm on my way towards the lift.
Alex shot James a victorious glare as we reached the elevator and I shot one annoyed glance at his direction too when I was closing the golden grilles in front of us. James was still standing in the same spot where I had just left him, the sadness shining through his hazel eyes. I felt bad instantly and wanted to run back to him but Alex’s arm around my waist was holding me back. I could not do it. I could not choose James over everything else once again. I had to do this; it would be for my own good. Because all I wanted during that moment was to forget everything about my best friend for even a teeny tiny moment.
I forced my eyes away from him and let Alex pull me into a kiss when the lift shot downwards. I pushed every other thought away from my mind, just concentrating on the mouth that was exploring mine. But even though I felt I was slowly falling towards the comforting numbness, I could not get over the crestfallen gaze of the man I loved.
A/N: Phew, that was a long one!
So, James’s birthday! What do you think? Did Gwen do the right decision when she left with Alex? Do you think she will get over James? And what about Alex? Did you like him and do you think they will continue their relationship? What do you think will happen next?
Once again I would loooove to hear what you think of this all! Apparently people are reading this since the counter keeps climbing up in a steady pace (:
Ta-ta for now!
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