Chapter Two - Parties and Announcements
“I wish the dancing would start already,” Alice whispers half way through Mr Potter’s speech, I wish she would shut up and listen – I love his speeches, he is not flamboyant like most famous people and I think that given the choice he would never have chosen to be famous… But of course he never did have the choice which, ironically, makes him a more likeably celebrity.
Standing behind Mr Potter is his family, James is grinning down at the people in the front row and I can see he loves the limelight (unlike his brother and sister who are standing further back in the shadows). Poor Lily, she is having a rough time of it at the moment – she hates public attention almost as much as her brother Albus. I catch James’ eye and he winks at me before shifting his gaze back to someone else. My heart flutters.
Mr Potter finishes his speech to a round of applause and the music starts. Within seconds, Alice has found herself a dance partner as is spinning around the dance floor. I watch as people continue to twirl by me until a hand comes to halt in front of me.
“Care for a dance, Miss Macmillan?” I grin and take James’ hand; he pulls me up and into his arms. “So how are you enjoying the festives so far, Miss Macmillan?” there is a familiar gleam in his eye as he ask me questions in a mock polite tone.
“Very well, Mr Potter,” I retort.
“I hope you do not mind if I abandon you for the next dance? There is someone I feel I should talk to.”
“Oh is that so? And who would this ‘someone’ be? Not one of those Veela women over there I hope,” I gasp in fake horror – James loves to flirt with Veela women and quite often he is successful.
“No, sadly not…” he sighs. “No this is a particular girl who has been causing a fair bit of tension in my family over the holidays.”
“Really? Who?” I ask surprised, I cannot imagine the Potter family tense at all.
“You see the black haired girl standing by herself over there,” he indicates with his head and I spot the girl he means. She is an unusual girl, with long black hair piled onto her head with ringlets escaping all over the place; her skin is ivory pale and seems to shine like moonlight; she is wearing a dark emerald dress that clings to her perfect figure… Once you look at her you realise she is beautiful but she is not the kind of girl who your eyes are immediately attracted to, she has a subtle, mysterious beauty…
“Well that’s Vivian Nott, she is a Slytherin in Al’s year, she is the son of a Death Eater…” I frown, James is really rather prejudice towards Slytherins, especially those connected to Death Eaters, why on earth would he want to talk to her? “Al claims to be in love with her.” Ah, there is the answer to my question.
“In love with her?”
“Yep, I have tried to convince him she’s not worth it but he won’t listen, he says that if I knew her I would understand.” James shrugs. “Dad tells us Al is entitled to like whoever he chooses but mum is less certain – she doesn’t like Slytherins either.”
“How do your parents know?” James gives a cheeky grin. “James… Please tell me you didn’t tell them, no wonder Albus gets annoyed with you if you go and tell your parents everything.” I roll my eyes at him – it is such a James thing to do, tell his parents Albus’ secrets.
“It just slipped out… So anyway, I’m going to talk to her to discover what all the fuss is about.”
“James, is it really your place…?”
“‘Lou, Al slept with her!” he whispers. “Al doesn’t just sleep with people!” Oh Merlin, looks like Albus has landed himself in trouble – any girl he sleeps with (which admittedly is not very many) is immediately interrogated by James, it is amazing Albus still tells James anything. I roll my eyes again and he kisses my cheek, causing my heart to flutter again. “You’re the best Eloise.”
James walks off and I see him approach the poor girl, she has no idea what is about to hit her. James holds out his hand and the girl takes it. He leads her onto the dance floor. He never said anything about dancing. Apprehension grips my heart. I tell myself not to be stupid – James dances with lots of girls, it makes it even easier for him to talk to them… But the apprehension will not let go.
I watch as James spins the girl around the dance floor, his eyes never leaving her face. He disappears for a moment behind a rather large couple and when I catch I glimpse of his messy black hair he has suddenly acquired a new dance partner – his cousin Lucy. Relief floods through me and I kick myself for being ridiculous, James doesn’t fancy Slytherins, he never has and he never will.
“Would you like to dance?” Louis asks, pulling my attention away from James.
“Sure,” I grin up at him. Taking his hand we merge into the throng of dancers, Louis Weasley is in my year, him and James are very good friends so I know him quite well despite the fact he is in Gryffindor and I am in Hufflepuff. According to James, Louis takes after his father, Bill Weasley, rather than his part Veela mother, personally, I can see the Veela in him. He moves with a grace and elegance not usually found in the male species and his red hair shimmers in the light. Basically, he is very handsome and is the second most saught after boy in our year, after James of course.
“You look very pretty, Eloise, I don’t think I have seen you so dressed up before.”
“Urgh, there is a reason for that…” I roll my eyes at him and his mouth curves into the lopsided smile that causes most girls to go weak at the knees. “How’s Isabella?” Isabella Boot is Louis’ on and off girlfriends, as a Ravenclaw I do not know her very well but she seems like a nice enough girl.
“She’s fine; she has gone to France for the holidays.” The song changes and partners shift, Louis keeps hold me though and begins to spin me around again. We chat about little things, enjoying the freedom of the music. Suddenly, Louis raises an eyebrow. “Looks like my dear cousin is going to get himself in trouble if he’s not careful…”
“I think he just took Malfoy’s dance partner off him,” Louis frowns, clearly not impressed with his cousin’s manners – Louis is renowned for his impeccable manners. “Really James,” he says disapprovingly. “Do you know who the girl is?” Louis spins around to let me have clearer look at James and his stolen partner. I frown.
“Nott, Vivian Nott – she’s a Slytherin.”
“Really?” Louis sounds surprised; James is not exactly the kind of person who just picks up Slytherins. I nod, Louis must sense my disapproval. “Well, I guess it is a start, although by the looks of it he just did it to piss off Malfoy,” he smiles, trying to wipe off the frown creasing my forehead. If anyone would be to guess how I really feel about James Potter, it would be Louis – he is one of the most intuitive people I know and coming from Hufflepuff, that is saying something.
The dance comes to and end and with it the Potters take their leave, James just followed his parents out which is unusual for him, he is normally running around making last minute goodbyes and chatting up a girl or two. Oh well, at least I will see him tomorrow.
Godric’s Hollow is a small village, despites its famous inhabitants (both past and present) very few people know where it is and the people living here like to keep it that way. I have been here before, James invited me a couple of summers back and Lily loves it when I come to her parties so I am familiar with the route. As I walk into the village (having apparated a little outside the village due to the anti-apparition spells surrounding Godric’s Hollow) I see several muggle children running up the lane, screaming as they throw little balls that explode when they hit their target, covering them in water – muggles have weird hobbies.
As the population of the village is half muggle, half magical, I do not get the weird looks that I get if I were to say, walk through muggle-London. My robes are a common sight to the muggles here and they seemed to have accepted that there is something different about their neighbours.
“Eloise!” Lily squeals when she sees me approaching their house, she is leaning against the gate, clearly waiting for her guests to arrive. “At last, you’re the last one, well except for the Scamanders but they are always late.” She throws the gate open to let me and I follow her put to her house, behind the back of the Potters small cottage they have an small field which is currently filled with redheads and their families. All of Lily’s uncles appear to be here, with their wives and children, I can just make out Louis chatting away to Molly Weasley, I can see Professor Longbottom and his wife, Hannah, which means Alice will be around here somewhere, Lily’s grandparents, Arthur and Molly and, of course, Ted Lupin’s usual turquoise hair sticking out from the rest.
“Alright there stranger?” my poor, unsuspecting heart gives a little lurch: James is leaning against the doorframe behind me looking terribly attractive. Sweet Merlin, do not let me become a member of his drooling fan-club.
“Not bad thanks, stalker,” I smile at him coyly. “Enjoy your party last night?”
“I did actually…” he looks like he wants to say more but cannot find the words.
At that moment, Albus appears behind him. He glares at his older brother in disgust and turns on his heel to march away. Before I can ask James what he did to upset his little brother like that, the Scamanders arrive at last and Mrs Potter shoves everyone out of the house and towards the lengthy table in the middle of the field. I take a seat between James and Alice, who comes bouncing up to me, full of gossip about last night Ministry do. Mrs Potter is an amazing cook, something she apparently inherited from her mother, and the table is soon covered in dishes of all shapes and sizes.
“Your mother could give the Hogwarts House Elves a run for their money…” I mutter to James, unfortunately his Aunt Hermione, who is sitting across from us, hears me too and begins a lecture on how House Elves do not have any money to run for, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera… I am sure she is a nice lady but really? The House Elves love to work, they take pride in it, so long as they are treated well they do not want to be paid.
Instead of listening to her (I know it is rude but not as rude as some of the things I fear might come out of my mouth if I do listen to her) I look up and down the table. At the head is Lily in the place of honour, looking so much older than fourteen; on her right is her father who looks blissfully happy to have his small field bursting with people; next to him is his Ron Weasley; followed by Fred (who I think is still not on speaking terms with his father for some reason); then Charlie Weasley, who is scarred and burned due to his work with dragons; beside him is Hugo who is gazing at Charlie in adoration, the two of them are in deep conversation with Rolf Scamander, his eight year old son Lorcan and Bill Weasley, discussing dragons and other amazing creatures I have never had the privilege to see. Next to Hugo is his cousin Dominque who appears to be solely focused on the man beside her: Frank Longbottom… well that is a couple I never saw in the making. Next to Frank is Louis, chatting across the table to Lysander Scamander; then Molly, talking animatedly with a guy I recognise as a past Ravenclaw, I think is name is Moon, Luke Moon perhaps. Next is Hermione, still going on about Elven rights; then a tight lipped woman who I take is Percy Weasley’s wife, Audrey who is actually listening to Hermione (albeit with a frown of disapproval on her face – although that might be permanent); next are Roxanne’s parents, George and Angelina, both looking tired and drawn out; Lily’s grandfather, Arthur Weasley, talking excitedly with Albus (who shoots the occasional glare at James) about muggle inventions; lastly Neville Longbottom talking to Ginny Potter who is at the opposite end of the table from her daughter, they are both chatting away with Luna Scamander about the ‘good old days’ when they were at Hogwarts, leading Dumbledore’s Army while Harry, Ron and Hermione where off hunting something… Next to Mrs Scamander is Lily’s grandmother, Molly, who looks relieved at not having to cater for the extended family this time but at the same time, extremely proud of her daughter for managing it. Beside her is Percy Weasley, looking boring, then Roxanne and Rose, whispering about the drama of last night; then Alice, me and James, followed by Lucy Weasley, who keeps staring at her sister Molly and the Moon boy; Lysander is now gazing at something no one else can see, beside him is Alice’s mum, Hannah Longbottom, who is talking quietly to Fleur Weasley who in turn is describing something with a look of excitement on her perfect face – seriously, she is part Veela – then her husband Bill, Lysander’s twin, Lorcan and his father Rolf, with Ted Lupin and his turquoise hair sitting next to Lily’s oldest and favourite cousin, Victoire… I am almost certain they are holding hands under the table.
Wow, thirty six people around one table; that is impressive even for magical standards.
“Oi, Macmillan, she has stopped now,” Alice hisses at me, booting me under the table. I look around to see Hermione has indeed stopped talking and is now looking at the head of the table where Lily has stood up. Bless her, she hates being the centre of attention.
“Uh, thanks for all coming, please, dig in,” she says awkwardly, I smile kindly at her and she rolls her eyes back – she also hates showing her weaknesses. Everyone scrambles for the food, literally, if you want food at a table full of Weasleys you have to fight for it. Lysander looks taken aback and on the verge of tears when he sees there is no food left for him, thankfully, Louis has spotted this too and is giving him some of his own chicken and potatoes.
“So, you going to tell me why you enjoyed last night or am I going to have to guess?” I raise an eyebrow at James while Alice is distracted with gossip from Rose and Roxanne. “And why is your brother mad at you?” I really hope those two questions are not linked.
“Well, it was good and it was bad… It was good at the time but now that I think about it maybe what I did was wrong,” he mutters gloomily – James is never gloomy: it really must have been bad. “You know I talked to Viv?” he starts, I nod, on nicknames already James? That’s quick even for you. “Well, Al was right, once I spoke to hear I understood how he felt exactly. I have never met someone like her, El, she is beautiful, smart, funny (even if she doesn’t try to be) and she just makes me feel… complete.” For once I do not snap at him for calling me ‘El’ instead I just stare at him. This cannot be happening. “The first time I danced with her, I knew she was something specially, something I have never come across before… I couldn’t keep away, my eyes just kept drifting back to her, when I saw her dancing with someone else-”
“-I just couldn’t help it, I was jealous and I took her from him. She didn’t protest but I couldn’t tell if she was happy about it, she seemed pissed off I ‘dumped’ her on Al, I did that because I thought they needed to talk but…” really, James means well but he sometimes has a funny way of going about it. “I kissed her El.”
Excuse my language but fuck. He cannot be serious: she is a Slytherin, the daughter of a Death Eater, friends with a Malfoy and his brother slept with her! What the hell was James thinking?
“I- I think I might be falling for her El… badly.” I just stare at him, the food on my plate as forgotten as the people around me. James doesn’t fall for anyone, he just doesn’t, he likes them, uses them and drops them. He does not fall for them. “Eloise… Say something.”
I am luckily spared having to reply by a muttering at the end of the table. I look over to see Lily standing up again however this time, her smile is genuine.
“I have an announcement to make… well I don’t but some people do,” she grins at Victoire sitting on her left. “It gives me great pleasure to hand over to my beautiful cousin and her awesome boyfriend-” she winks at Ted, “-who have a little something they want to tell you.” Victoire’s mother squeals as Lily sits down and Victoire and Ted Lupin stand up.
“We were going to leave this until later but someone-” Victoire wrinkles her nose at Lily who grins back, “-insisted we tell everyone now. Ted…” she says, indicating he should go on.
“Well, this is awkward but hey… Basically, for some bizarre reason,” Victoire rolls her eyes, smiling, “I asked this incredibly beautiful woman here to be my wife and she has accepted me…” The rest of his words are lost in the sound of cheers and congratulations that shower down on the couple. Lily’s face is alive with delight, I cannot remember ever seeing her so happy: Victoire is her favourite cousin and she has absolutely adored Ted Lupin since she was born; seeing two of her favourite people in the world get married has long been a wish of hers.
I let myself get swept up in the celebrations, let myself get swept away from James and whatever else he clearly wants to say. I do not think I could bear it.
Lily seems to have been allocated the joy of her brothers as well because as I glance around, only James and Albus are still sitting, looking somewhat bitter; even Percy and George and their wives have managed to put a smile on. Fleur Weasley is crying into her husband’s shirt in much the same way as Molly Weasley is crying into her husband’s shirt, Ted Lupin is trying not to get separated from his fiancé while she is being drowned in hugs and kisses and congratulations, he catches my eye and I smirk at him as he sighs. Poor guy.
A crunching sound comes from behind me and I turn around to see James with a hand covering his nose and blood dripping onto his robes. Albus is stood with his fist still clenched, staring in horror at James.
Thank you for reading and please leave a review, I would love to hear your opinions on the characters.