Chapter 7 : Chapter seven - New Year's Resolution
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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or anything else that you might recognize.
Chapter Seven – New Year’s resolution
Not that one either.
Maybe this one?
Urgh, never mind.
Merlin, I hate parties.
I actually don’t own a single piece of clothing that I’d like to wear. Why does this have to be so fucking hard?
Stupid, fucking annoying Kat. This is entirely her fault. If she hadn’t stared me like I’d just sprouted a second head or something this morning when I’d mentioned that I was planning to wear my favourite hoodie and a pair of jeans at tonight’s party, this wouldn’t be happening.
And why does she have to be so good at this sort of crap? It’s not fair! She doesn’t have to panic in front of her wardrobe for three hours straight, thinking if this colour went with that, or if this looked like something from the first wizarding war. She does this for bloody living! Dressing people up in clothes that suit them. Getting ready for Hayden’s party would be no trouble for her. I bet she’ll be wearing something absolutely tiny.
I hate pink. It's ghastly, and I don't know why they make dresses that colour.
No, what I don't understand is why girls are expected to wear dresses at all. Why can't we just wear hoodies and jeans to parties? Why are we expected to dress up and look nice? I mean, sure, guys look nice in fancy shirts, but at least they get to wear pants. They don't have to worry about the wind outside lifting their skirt and exposing my choice of underwear to everyone. Oh, Merlin; The Prophet would love that.
And besides I’m a bleeding Quidditch player, not a super model! I should not have to go through this stress.
Stupid, idiotic, annoying –
“Gwen? Are you ready?” James’s voice suddenly called from the other room.
Fuck! What are they doing here already?
“Yeah, just give me a minute!” I shouted back.
Okay, quick decisions. What looks the least repelling? The brown cardigan? No. The red – never mind; I’d freeze. The green blouse? Well, it’ll have to do.
I grabbed the piece of clothing from the shelf, pulling it over my head as I rushed towards the living room. James and Kat were sitting on the couch waiting for me. My best friend immediately flashed a grin towards me and I smiled back, trying incredibly hard to ignore how absolutely gorgeous he looked in his black button-up shirt.
“Hey, Lyn! You look beautiful,” James said and got up from the couch to give me a hug.
“Thanks. You, on the other hand, could’ve at least tried to look good,” I teased.
“What can I say? I’m a lost cause.” He chuckled as he released me.
My eyes found Kat for a moment. She was watching me with a judging glare and a smug smirk. It was practically written on her face how outdated my outfit was. She hadn’t disappointed, wearing the shortest dress I had ever seen, probably one that would be on the cover of the next fashion magazine.
And yes, it was pink.
“Ready to go?” James asked, turning my concentration back to him.
“Yeah.” I nodded.
“Good, let’s go then.” He grinned, holding his hands out for me and Kat to grab them. I ignored the death glare she gave me as she attached herself to James’s right arm, while I just took his other hand. My best friend led us out into the hallway and Apparated us to our destination.
The flashes blinded me immediately when we appeared in front of the restaurant, reporters shoving cameras in our faces and my annoyance level shot off the scale instantly.
“Miss Miller! Any new news on your father’s situation?” they were shouting at me, pushing against each other.
I ground my teeth together, fastening my pace. My hand was still interlaced with James’s as I pulled him and Kat along behind me in my attempt to push through the group of blinding lights. But my pace was slowed down, as the two of them weren’t moving as fast as me. One glance backwards and I realised why.
Kat was smiling to the cameras and answering few questions the reporters were asking. James’s head was spinning between me and his girlfriend as he tried to decide what he should do. I’m sure my disgust towards Kat was showing quite well at that moment and I didn’t want the reporters to understand the whole truth behind it.
So I made the decision for him.
Wiggling my hand out of James’s, I continued to barged through the reporters, ‘accidentally’ leaving a few of them on the ground with broken cameras.
“Bitch!” one of them shouted after me, but I just chuckled to myself as I walked inside the restaurant.
James and Kat made it inside only a few moments after I had, my actions appearing to have put his brain back into motion as he’d pulled his girlfriend away from the camera’s to follow me.
“Was that really necessary?” James frowned at me.
“Yes. They’ve got enough pictures of me already, they don’t need anymore,” I replied.
“You’ll have to pay them again,” he reminded me, but his tone was gentle, soft.
Some of my previous anger vanished, and I shrugged. “So? I don’t care. It’s not like they can do anything else.
“Why were you so rude to them in the first place? They’re only doing their job,” Kat piped up, flicking her hair as the lights continued to flash at us through the windows.
James and I both paused, staring at her, for surely she wasn’t serious?
“What? They were,” she continued as she stared at our disbelieving faces.
“Please tell me you’re kidding? Are you saying you have no problem with the fact that all they do is throw people’s lives – our lives –” I gestured to myself and James “– in front of the whole world? For anybody to see?” I asked.
“It wouldn’t be the worst thing,” she commented.
“Right,” I let out a sarcastic laugh and then turned towards James. “Good luck with her!” I rolled my eyes and left towards the bar. I glanced back once, as I zigzagged my way through the crowds, only to see James pulling the leggy blonde aside, undoubtedly to talk to her about behaviour in front of the Press. It was written clear on his face; the annoyance that she’d answered the questions the reporters had thrown at her.
I reached the bar and ordered a Firewhiskey, smiling at the busy man serving drinks. My gaze wandered around the restaurant while I waited for my drink, trying to spot some familiar faces.
Members of the Weasley family were scattered around the room, their flaming red hair making them easy to spot. My team mates were sitting in one booth near the dance floor, animating quite viciously with their hands as they seemed to be in a middle of a heated discussion with some other Quidditch players. I made a mental note to stay away from that area as I recognized the black hair of Alex Lynch among them.
And also from the stage where a band, what looked very much like a group of hags, was playing some catchy tunes since Hayden seemed to be there. A sigh left my lips as I turned back towards the bartender to accept my drink. Maybe it was a bad idea to come here.
“Hey sweetie,” said Rose, appearing next to me.
“Oh, hi!” I smiled at her and the blonde boy that always seemed to be by her side; Scorpius Malfoy nodded at me in greeting.
“Are you here alone? I thought you were coming with James,” she asked, trying to scan the crowd in search for her cousin.
“He’s here; lecturing Kat about proper behaviour in front of the paparazzi.” I suppressed the grin that was trying to force its way onto my lips.
“Oh, well hopefully he won’t be too harsh on her. She seemed nice enough.” Rosie frowned a bit.
“Yeah, nice…” I commented and gained a hem from Scorpius.
“At least she wasn’t as horrible as the one - what was her name again? - The girl who tried to steal stuff from Uncle Harry’s place so she could sell them to the highest bidder?” Rose’s brows furrowed as the wracked her brains.
Oh yes, that bint was mental.
“Caroline,” I replied.
“That’s right! How do you remember them so well?” she laughed.
“You don’t have to see them more than few times, but I have to endure them every day. The memories have corroded into my mind,” I told her.
And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I spent the whole ten days James and Caroline were together trying to think of ways I could torture her into dumping my best friend. Nothing to do with that at all…
“Aww, poor you,” Rosie chuckled, patting my shoulder sympathetically.
“Tell me about it…” I rolled my eyes.
“What are you telling her, Rose?” James’s voice asked, and I spun around to face him. He was smiling at me but it didn’t reach his eyes. He still wasn’t completely happy with what had gone down outside. Though the fact that Kat was skulking too, made me happy.
“Nothing important.” I smiled, while James signalled the bartender.
“Right.” He nodded, turning to look at his cousin and her boyfriend. “How are you two then?”
“Great, actually, aren’t we Scorp? We just found out he’s getting a promotion next week.” Rose beamed up at her boyfriend, who smiled affectionately at her.
“That’s great! What’s the new title then?” James beamed at Scorpius, clearly impressed that anyone could put that much dedication into any work that wasn’t Quidditch.
“Still an Unspeakable to you,” Scorpius smirked as he scratched his neck a bit embarrassedly.
“Don’t you ever get bored? Of all the secrecy?” James laughed.
“Sometimes,” he admitted, absentmindedly playing with Rose’s hand. “Especially since I can barely tell anything to Rosie. But still, it’s worth it; it’s a great job. And I don’t think you’d mind it that much; seems to be you need all the secrecy you can get these days.”
“True.” James pursed his lips slightly in contemplation, while the frown already on Kat’s face deepened. Her eyes were nailed on me and she wasn’t even bothering to hide her annoyance anymore. I just smirked back and emptied my whiskey glass feeling quite pleased at her annoyance.
This might just turn out to be a great night after all.
“Oh, come on! You can’t be serious? The Tornados have nothing against us! We’re the best team there is!” James laughed at Hayden’s claim.
“Of course you are! But they’re great too. Their keeper and seeker? You shouldn’t get too cocky!” The blond boy grinned.
“Smith is no competition for me and Gwenny! Isn’t that right, Dolly?” James turned to me.
“Absolutely. You should’ve seen our last practise! New records; here we come!” I grinned.
Hayden’s eyes gaze met mine, and I gave him a small smile. Acting great through the whole evening, he hadn’t mentioned anything about his feelings towards me, and I started to hope that maybe James’s words had finally sunk in.
James had mentioned a few days back that he’d had a chat with Hayden; that he’d promised not to do anything stupid. Of course, the sceptical side of me hadn’t believed a word at the time, but seeing him sit there so casually, I smiled a little at the thought that maybe I’d been wrong; that we could make our friendship work again.
“I’m sure.” Hayden chuckled. “I’m sure. But that doesn’t change the fact that you have no concept of just how much they got up to over the break!”
“It doesn’t matter, as there’s no way they’ll be able to beat this little Quidditch star!” James threw his arm around me and squeezed my shoulder, pulling me closer to him.
“You’re suffocating me!” I mumbled against his chest, my attempt to wiggle my way free clearly in vain.
Then again, I certainly could’ve been trying harder, had my heart been in it, and I really should have if I wanted to stick to this plan.
Why, oh why, does not sticking to the plan sound like such an appealing option?
It was James’s fault. If he hadn’t been like this the whole night, hugging me at every opportunity, keeping me company all evening and ignoring Kat’s requests for private time, then I defiantly wouldn’t be falling for this all over again.
Yes; entirely James’s fault.
Stupid, stupid, stupid me. I needed to get out of here.
“I’m going to the loo. You guys want me to grab you anything from the bar on my way back?” I offered, rising out of my seat.
I realised my mistake as soon as they all started shouting their orders at me while I tried to keep track of their demands. There was no way I’d get this right…
“Maybe I’ll just call the waiter here and we’ll give him our orders?” Hayden smiled. I gave him a thankful glance as I started towards the toilets, quickly backtracking though, as I saw Alex standing around, chatting with his friends.
I’d managed to avoid his eye for most of the evening, but the burning looks he kept giving me indicated that he wanted to talk… and most likely something more. I was incredibly grateful he didn’t appear to want a scene however, as that would be the only possible outcome once James saw him talking to me.
With no interesting in leaving on Alex’s arm – particularly with James this close to dumping Kat; I didn’t want to get him angry – I slipped into the Ladies room.
I ignored the gossiping girls there; swooning after my best friend. They didn’t mind me either, just gave me despising looks as I passed them.
Honestly, why did every single girl in the world dream about being with him? It did nothing to improve my chances.
When I exited the loo, I noticed James was waiting for me at the bar with Kat. I arranged my face, careful not to expose my feelings, as I made my way towards them.
“I ordered you a Firewhiskey already.” James grinned as I reached them.
“Cheers, James.” I smiled at him as I sat on a barstool.
“Jamie, can we go dancing after we’ve taken the drinks to the table?” Kat batted her lashes towards my best friend.
I shuddered a bit at the nickname. I knew James would too, as he hated all of the nicknames people had given him over the years. Except for Jay. He didn’t mind that one.
“Maybe later,” he commented as he handed some coins to the bartender who had come to collect the bill.
“But we haven’t danced at all tonight!” She pouted, her brows furrowing and the combination of the two made me want to punch her all the more.
James shrugged, clearly not perturbed by his girlfriends growing annoyance. “I just don’t want to’ dance right now. Maybe after midnight.”
“But we have to be on the dance floor when the countdown starts!” Kat cried. Her voice hurt my ears. .
“Actually… The New Year’s kiss goes to Gwen. It’s pretty much a tradition of ours, so I’ll be with her when the year changes. But you can have the next one.”
“What?” Kat gasped.
I was watching their exchange with puzzled feelings. I really didn’t want to witness any of their fights; I felt awkward even though I hated her so much. But it also was quite amusing to watch Kat’s face turn such a flattering shade of red.
“Yeah, it’s always hers…” His tone was still casual, and that’s when any smart girl would have taken the hint to drop the subject.
But then again, this was Kat.
“You most definitely will not.” the blonde girl stated, nostrils slightly flared.
If she was going to loose it… I didn’t really want to be here.
“I’m sorry, but that’s not really your decision to make,” James commented.
“So what you’re saying is that, even though you’re dating me, you’re going to kiss another girl? That’s your way to bring in the New Year? With her, and not me?” Her eyes flashed, and an overwhelming panic for James’s safety kicked in. It took all of my strength to sit on my hands and say nothing, to avoid hexing her into the New Year.
“What’s the big deal? It’s just a kiss on the cheek.” James shrugged again.
Regardless of whether it was to avoid turning Kat into a toad or because this was turning out to be really awkward, I needed to get out of here.
“Maybe I should go…” I muttered, but James’s hand found my wrist and he squeezed it to signal me to stay right where I was.
“And what if I say no?” Kat asked.
“No?” James raised a brow.
“‘No?’ Yes, ‘no’. What if I’m not okay with that, James? What if I don’t care that she’s ‘just a friend’ and it’s ‘just on the cheek’? What if I say it’s cheating?” she hissed.
James ran his hand through his hair, messing it up further, as he pulled a face, not knowing how to respond.
“Because that’s exactly what it is!”
“Oh, come on! I give her a kiss on the cheek every day, and you never complain about those!” James let out a laugh, clearly finding this ridiculous.
“And what makes you think I’m okay with those as either? Because I can tell you right now, I sure as hell am not. But this is different, James!”
Dear Merlin, she looked like a mad woman.
“No, it’s not.” James articulated each word carefully, staring Kat down as he did so.
Unable to deal with the awkwardness, I pretended to be distracted by something else, only then noticing that a few of the people around us had started to take an interest in what was going on. I opened my mouth to say something, but thought better of it.
James seemed to have noticed though, and grabbed Kat’s hand, starting to drag her away from the rest of the party to continue the conversation in private.
“No, I really don’t want to be there for this. I’ll just head back to the table. Come find me when you’re done, okay?” I gave him a small smile, trying to look like I wasn’t dying inside.
But he just sighed, slowly nodding his head before vanishing into the swaying crowd of bodies, Kat giving me one last murderous glare before she disappeared. I stared after them for a few moments, before I returned to the bar to collect the drinks.
I levitated them to the table where all our friends were sitting and was greeted with very happy cheers.
“Where’d you leave James?” Hayden asked.
“Oh, he and Kat went off to have a talk,” I mumbled, distributing the orders. Finally unable to occupy my hands, I looked up to find everyone staring at me. “What?”
“Something serious?” Rosie questioned and I just shrugged. I didn’t want to admit that I was hoping he’d return alone.
Freddy tapped the side of his nose, nodding knowingly. “I bet he’s dumping her. He’s been really distant to her for the whole evening. He’s getting bored.”
“Fred! You shouldn’t say that! What if he doesn’t?” Jenny scolded.
“He will. I know him. All the signs are there, aren’t I right, Gwenny?” Freddy turned pointedly to me. .
“Let’s just talk about something else, okay?” I suggested, trying to hold my expression neutral.
But after Freddy’s comment, I couldn’t deny that the signs were there. He had been cold towards her, and constantly in my company once again; his tried and true method of pissing his dates off. That’s what I was, his escape from awkward situations and a way to bring out the worst traits in a girl. It always made it easier for them to break up when they were fighting.
“Gwenny’s right. Did you see the news about the crime wave in France?” Hayden said, turning the discussion into a different direction.
“Oh, Godric, that’s been the main topic in my department all week! Everybody’s working to keep it from spreading to England.” Rosie started to ramble about the wizards that had been robbing muggle households in the neighbouring country and I tuned her out, choosing to give Hayden a grateful smile, which he returned with a grin I thought I’d forgotten.
Oh, how I missed this friendship between us. He’d been as close to me as Fred before he’d decided to confess his love for me in the Gryffindor Common Room. I’d been in such shock that I hadn’t said anything before he kissed me in front of everyone. Which of course, had resulted in him being shoved to the floor with a broken jaw thanks to my fist.
eah, I’d been violent back then already, but he still hadn’t stopped loving me.
He clearly had to be mental.
I felt so sorry for Hayden. I hadn’t been able to reciprocate his feelings; already being in love with James. But that’s why I felt so absolutely terrible, because I damned well knew how terrible it was. He just couldn’t hide them like I’d managed to.
But apparently, he’d had finally found something that helped him, and the idea of that gave me hope.
Because it meant that maybe I could do it too.
“What’re you thinking about?” Hayden interrupted, cutting through my thoughts.
“Oh, nothing important. What’s new with you?” I smiled.
“Nothing much, just… you know…” He started to blush.
But I never got to hear his answer, as at that moment I felt a familiar hand grab mine and I was pulled away from the table. Spinning to find the owner of the hand, I found James dragging me towards the dance floor.
“What’s going on?” I questioned.
“Nothing. We’re going dancing,” he informed me.
“Right…” I muttered but let him pull me to the floor.
As we reached it, he wrapped his hands around my waist, mine automatically following and finding their place around his neck. James didn’t say anything, but I could tell from the stiffness of his movements that he was angry. . We kept dancing in silence for the whole song, but when the next one started and he still hadn’t uttered a word to me, I had to say something.
“Please talk to me,” I whispered to him.
“Nothing to tell,” he murmured back.
“Where’s Kat then?”
James didn’t really answer, only a pointless grunting sound escaped his lips.
“You can dance with her, and give her the kiss. I don’t mind…” I said, forcing my voice to stay calm so he wouldn’t realise I was lying.
“Well, I do mind. And besides, it’s too late. I dumped her,” he replied.
“Oh?” I commented quite casually even though the insides of my mind were dancing crazily.
“Yeah. Too much drama,” he said.
“Oh, okay. Well, I’m sorry, you know, if it was because of me again,” I started but James interrupted me.
“Don’t be silly. Of course it wasn’t your fault. It never is. I already told you, she was too eager to please, I got tired of it. And now after seeing how she was with the Press…” He sighed. “And why’d she freak out about something like a kiss on the cheek?”
“Maybe the New Year’s kiss is important to her?” I suggested.
“Then she should’ve said that and not acted all mad and jealous! And she definitely shouldn’t have given me an ultimatum. She should’ve known better, even if she didn’t know everything about me already. We were together for almost a month!” he muttered into my ear.
“She gave you an ultimatum?” I questioned.
That’s always a bad mistake with James. He usually does the opposite if somebody demands something from him.
“Yeah. She said if I gave you the kiss, then it’d be over between us. I told her that she didn’t have to wait and see, because it was already over.”
“Aah, well… girls can be difficult,” I mumbled as I couldn’t think of anything intelligent to say.
“You’re not difficult and you’re a girl. You never make any unnecessary drama about stuff like this. You say what’s on your mind, that’s what everybody else should do too,” he said and sighed. “Why can’t every girl just be like you?”
James let his head drop onto my shoulder and he inhaled deeply, but he jerked his head back up almost immediately.
“Hey! You’re wearing your perfume!” he gasped in joy.
“Yeah.” I smiled.
The best Christmas present ever. He’d given me a perfume he had made himself. It smelled exactly like Ginny’s garden. Needless to say, I absolutely adored it. The broomstick I’d gotten him had paled in comparison, despite how unique the handle was.
“You smell so amazing,” he said, burying his face into my neck. His lips brushed the sensitive spot and my skin suddenly felt electric. The sensation was maddening, and I just couldn’t help it; a shiver shot down my spine.
James pulled away instantly, bewilderment evident on his face.
“What was that?” he asked slowly.
I opened my mouth to make some witty reply, but shut it again quickly as I felt the panic rising in my chest. I wanted to desperately to run and hide, to clear my head, if only for a moment. But his hands were still around my waist, and it made it impossible to escape.
“It… It tickled.” I swallowed nervously.
Please believe me. Oh, Godric, James, please, please believe me.
He couldn’t realise the real reason. I couldn’t deal with the idea that I might have just ruined our friendship through such an involuntary reaction.
I bit the insides of my cheek, focusing my attention on the pain and trying to avoid the panic. My face felt hot, and I hoped James didn’t notice how much I must have been blushing. He was just staring at me; attempting to peer into my soul and find the truth.
I could see it already, the gleam of disbelief in his eyes. He wasn’t buying my explanation.
“It tickled?” he repeated, voice full of doubt.
“Mmhm.” I nodded my head earnestly, not trusting myself with words.
“I don’t believe it…” he stated.
“Wh- what?” I stuttered.
“I mean, after fourteen years of trying, that’s all I had to do to make you tickle?” he asked, eye brows raised, and the beginnings of a smile around his mouth. “Just bury my face into your neck?”
I nodded, hesitantly.
“Oh, wow!” he breathed.
What does that mean?
“I’m going to torture you so much with this! New Year’s resolution; I think so!” He burst into laughter, pulling me even closer than before.
Oh, thank Merlin he didn’t realise - Wait, what?
What does he mean ‘torture’?
“Poor little Gwenny.” He chuckled as he buried his face back to my neck.
I felt his lips again and the shivers rushed again through my whole body. James sniggered, amused, and the added sensation of his warm breath nearly killed me.
Oh, dear Godric, make him stop!
“I’m going to have so much fun with this,” he said.
“Want to know what won’t be fun?” I managed to mutter.
“Yeah?” he questioned, ‘tickling’ me once more.
“The black eye you’ll be sporting if you don’t quit that soon,” I snapped as he pulled away from my neck to hear my answer.
“Oh, feisty!” James grinned.
“I mean it. No better way to bring in the New Year than with a black eye. I swear, that’ll be my resolution,” I stared at him pointedly.
He snorted. “Unfair much?”
“I don’t care,” I told him.
“Fine. Once more?” he pleaded. “Please?”
I glared at him for a moment, but I never really could resist that puppy dog look of his. James’s face lit up as the reluctant sigh left my lips.
“Okay, one more time if you promise you won’t do it again!”
“Are you ordering me?” he smirked.
“Yes! And you better obey for once in your life,” I warned, thinking of the black eye that would match so nicely with his hair.
“We’ll see.” He smiled, a wicked grin, before his face found the spot again and I faked a little giggle to support my lie.
James chuckled amusedly when he finally let go of me. He pushed me a bit further and locked his eyes with mine. His mouth was moving and I bet he was saying something but I couldn’t quite register it since the golden spots in his irises had captivated all of my attention. I had to use all the power in me that I didn’t crash my lips into his when James started to lean closer. Closing my eyes, I hoped with every single bone in my body for him to give me a real kiss this time. But the disappointment took over me once again.
“Happy New Year, sis!” He smiled, removing his lips from my cheek and pushing me to an arms-length.
“Yeah, happy New Year to you too,” I replied, swallowing the hurting feelings.
“Shall we go back to the table?” he asked and I responded with a nod. James took a hold of my hand and led me back towards the table where Hayden was sitting alone. All our other friends seemed to have followed us to the dance floor where they were still swirling happily, celebrating the year 2030.
“Alright there, mate?” James questioned Hayden when we sat down.
“Yeah, yeah.” He nodded and downed a shot of Firewhiskey.
“Good. Pour us some too,” James requested.
“Sure,” he replied, conjuring a few glasses and filling them with the brown liquid.
James turned to look at me again. “Thanks, you know?”
“For being you,” he said with a warm smile. “I can never sulk around you; you always know the right thing to say…”
“Aah, well… that’s what I’m here for.” I chuckled and downed my drink in a vain attempt to hide my embarrassment.
“Why do I even bother with girlfriends? They’re all mental anyway. Besides, I don’t even need one; I’ve got you for all the bonding stuff. I think I’ll just stick to one-night stands from now on.” He grinned at the idea, and I wanted to remove the last thirty seconds of my memory, because that was exactly what I wanted to hear from the man I loved…
“Sounds perfect,” I muttered, shoving my glass towards Hayden and signalling him to pour me another one, but he was too busy staring at his own drink.
“Hayden? Another drink, will you?” I asked.
He snapped out of his trance and turned his eyes towards me, still looking all puzzled and pensive. I smiled, trying to get a reaction from him. It seemed to work; only a bit too well.
“Gwen, can I talk to you about something?” he said.
“Sure. What is it?”
“Erm… I meant privately…” he muttered nervously, the blush creeping up his cheeks.
I opened my mouth to say something pointless as my doubts were stirring up again, but James beat me to it.
“Come on, mate. We talked about this,” he scolded.
“But I really need to…” Hayden started.
“Talk to me about it first,” James said as he stood up. “Stay here, Gwenny, we’ll be right back.”
Before I got to respond anything, he was already dragging Hayden away from the table. I let out a sigh as I stared after them, my hopes of restoring my friendship with Hayden crashing down slowly.
But my gloomy feelings were quickly changed into panic as I saw Alex walking close by. If he noticed me, he’d surely come by to chat as I was sitting alone now. I quickly shot up from my chair and rushed towards the direction James and Hayden had just disappeared.
I zigzagged through the crowd, fighting my way towards the bathroom where I knew I wouldn’t accidentally bump into Alex. I really didn’t want to deal with him right now, my head was buzzing enough from all the alcohol, the news of James’s and Kat’s break-up and Hayden.
I hurried through the lobby and passed the open kitchen door on my way when I heard the familiar voices and my name mentioned. I knew I shouldn’t but I just couldn’t resist the temptation. I tiptoed closer and pressed my head near the door they’d left ajar, in a desperate attempt to make out what they were saying. The people passing by gave me suspicious looks, as I tried to act like I was waiting for someone.
“Come on, mate. Why do you do this to yourself?” James’s voice questioned.
“I can’t help it! It’s just, when she smiles like that, I fall in love with her all over again,” Hayden sighed as a reply.
“But you know Gwenny doesn’t like you like that! You know you only push her further away when you do stuff like that. Do you want that? Do you want her to stop coming to parties like this, because she knows how you’ll act?” James asked.
“No! It’s just, I can see the glimpse of hope in her eyes, then everything goes all blurry and I get the feeling that she’s finally realising that she might like me too. I have to try!” Hayden’s tone was so miserable.
“I know, mate, I know! But you know that she looks at you like that just because she thinks she’ll get her best friend back. She really misses all those whacky times we had together back when we were in school,” James comforted him.
“Yeah, I miss them too. And I’m really trying to get over this all, it’s just hard,” Hayden explained.
I felt so bad; I almost entered the kitchens and rushed to hug him. So what if I didn’t feel that kind of love towards him? I loved him as a friend; maybe that would be enough. Maybe I should just settle for him, Hayden was a great guy after all. And it would make him the happiest man alive if I responded to his feelings.
But luckily the responsible side of me was in control. I couldn’t do that; I couldn’t fake it, not long at least. And it’d really break him to pieces if I did that. I knew, because I could picture myself so easily in his situation. It’d kill me if James ever did something like that to me.
“Just try to suck it up. And who knows, maybe if you could be friends again like you used to, maybe one day, she’ll return your feelings,” I heard James say.
“Yeah, maybe…” Hayden said hopefully.
“At least then I wouldn’t have to worry about her ending up with a tool.” James laughed.
“Thanks, that means a lot coming from you. I’ve seen how you treat the guys she dates.” Hayden chuckled.
“Well I have to! Gwen has an incredibly bad taste in guys. She always manages to pick out the worst kind,” James commented.
“You know, sometimes, I’d swear you were secretly in love with her, and that’s why you loose it when someone so much as looks at her funny…” Hayden sighed, and I wished I could see his face.
“Oh, come on! Are you serious?” James said.
“Yeah… no… I don’t know, I guess not. It’s just, sometimes I get the feeling there might be something else going on with you two. You’re just too close and comfortable together to be just friends.” Hayden shrugged.
My heart stopped beating at his words as I was dying for James to admit that there was something else. But as always, after a long silence that felt like forever, I got nothing but pain.
“Well no, there’s nothing going on. We’re just friends and that’s all we’ll ever be.” The way that James replied, like it was final, made me want nothing more than to curl up in a dark corner.
“Are you saying that you’ve never even considered the possibility?” Hayden questioned.
“No, I haven’t… okay, once, but that was a long time ago and -” James started, but he was quickly interrupted by Hayden.
“Oh, back in Hogwarts; around the time when we had a very similar conversation to this one, but I realised there’s just nothing there,” James answered.
“Oh?” Hayden sounded puzzled.
“I just didn’t see her the way I saw all the other girls at school; she was Gwenny. And besides, after the incident with you, she made it quite clear to me and Freddy that she’d cut all ties with us if we ever tried the same,” James said amusedly.
I, myself, couldn’t find anything amusing in the situation. My whole body was trembling and I was squeezing my eyes shut, forcing the tears to stay away in case they walked out of the room and found me in the hallway.
“Oh, okay,” Hayden said.
“Come on now, cheer up. Let’s go back to Gwenny and you two can continue like you were before this,” James suggested
“Yeah, sure. Though I guess she already knows what I was going to say. I don’t think she wants to see me anymore.” The hesitation was clear in Hayden’s voice, even from where I was in the corridor.
“Hey, this is Gwenny who we‘re talking about; she loves her friends. You know she won’t hold a grudge against you for something like this. Come on,” James said.
“I know, I’m just…” I never heard the rest of the sentence as their steps were closing the door and I had to make a quick escape around the corner. I rushed towards the bathroom and entered a stall, slamming the door shut. I let out a deep breath I didn’t even realise I was holding as I slowly sunk to the floor. The cold tiles felt uncomfortable but I didn’t care, it was still warmer than what I was feeling inside.
I was frozen. How could I’ve let my heart fool me so badly over and over again? I should’ve known already. Hell, I did know this! James didn’t feel the same way, his words had just been the confirmation I’d needed.
But he’d considered it, even once, long ago? That was news. Why hadn’t I noticed it then? I shifted through my memories of that particular day, but there wasn’t anything to suggest that he’d seen me differently. And after all, that was a day I remembered quite well…
I pressed my body closer to the wall, trying to hear every single sound that was coming from the boys’ dormitory. Luckily the common room and the staircase were deserted, it was dinner time and everybody was down at the Great Hall already. I should’ve been there too, I could feel the bottom of my stomach grumbling out of hunger, but I had decided to come and discuss with Hayden about what had happened only an hour earlier.
He’d kissed me, I still couldn’t believe it. Right in the middle of the Common Room too, in front of everybody, he’d just suddenly grabbed me from my shoulders and crashed his lips on mine. I felt dizzy even thinking about it, it had been such a surprise. Never in million years could I have predicted that to happen.
Hayden, my best friend Hayden, the boy who never seemed to be that interested in any of the slutty girls who were always throwing themselves at my three friends, had just confessed his love for me. I’d thought he was just shy or polite, because he was always giving me the awkward glances. Once I even thought he was gay, but never had I even considered that he might actually have feelings for me.
Not that I wasn’t flattered. It felt kind of nice and I possibly could’ve even liked him back, only if it wasn’t for another boy, only if I wasn’t so head over heels in love with my other best friend. I still could see how James’s eyes had grown wider than ever as he had seen Hayden kiss me; it was the sight that had made me overreact a bit. I got scared, afraid that Hayden’s act had ruined everything I had slowly tried to build between me and James.
I had pushed Hayden away, punched him in the jaw and called him every single name I could think of for ruining our friendship. Then I just marched away to my dormitory, leaving Hayden lying on the floor rubbing his chin and a room full of people who were too shocked to even make a sound.
I realised what a git I was when I slammed my dormitory door shut. I’d acted exactly like James did in my nightmares; my biggest fear was that when I finally managed to gather enough courage to tell him about my feelings, he’d laugh. Laugh and tell me I was delirious. Say that I was not pretty enough, not girly or gorgeous enough to be his girlfriend.
That’s the reason why I was here, hiding behind the door now. I had come to apologize, to explain that I didn’t mean to be such an asshole, but I had just panicked. I had waited for the boys in the Common Room, but when they hadn’t show up, I’d tiptoed upstairs. The door was narrowed and I was just about to knock, when I heard my name mentioned.
“But it’s Gwenny! How can you feel something like that towards Gwenny?” I heard Freddy ask.
“How can’t you? She’s amazing! Pretty, funny, fiery…” Hayden sighed.
I knew I shouldn’t be listening, but I just couldn’t help it. I wanted to hear this; I needed to know if Hayden was the only one to feel something like that.
“Of course she is, but it still doesn’t make me want to kiss her!” Freddy laughed.
“Well it made me want to, just her and none of the other girls. Nobody could beat her in anyway,” Hayden said. “Hell, I’d still kiss her!”
“Even though she’d punch you again?” Freddy sniggered.
“Even though she’d punch me again! Which hurt like hell, thank you for asking! She doesn’t need anymore power practises, Potter, just saying,” Hayden chuckled.
“Yeah,” James just replied.
“What’s with you?” Freddy asked.
“Isn’t it obvious? I’m a bit shocked. I don’t know if I should punch Hayden for kissing Gwen or go shout to her for being a git,” James said.
“Don’t shout to her, I know she didn’t mean it the way it came out,” Freddy defended me.
“And why would you punch me? I’m the one who’s in pain here already!” Hayden protested.
“I always do. Gwenny’s not a slut you can just snog like that!” James commented.
“I don't think like that! Didn’t you hear me tell her that I love her?” Hayden questioned.
“I did. That’s the only reason why I’m considering! That and the fact that you’re my best mate too. If you were just another guy I would’ve beat you up already!” James stated.
“You’ve got issues, mate!” Hayden chuckled.
“No, I just don’t want her to get hurt,” James informed.
“I think you’re jealous! You guys have been quite close lately! All the sneaking around together, what’s going on there?” Freddy asked.
“What? Are you mental? Nothing like that! She’s only a mate! I could never think of her like that! She’s just one of the guys!” James said immediately.
“I bet she likes you though, more than a friend I mean,” Freddy told him.
My heart had already stopped beating several sentences ago, but this had me petrified. James didn’t like me back, he couldn’t realise what I felt for him. Not now, not after what I just heard.
But what could I do? I couldn’t just barge in now; I didn’t want to let them know that I’d heard their whole conversation.
“What do you mean?” James asked.
“I don’t know, the way she looks at you I guess. I don’t think it’s the same way that she looks at me and Hayden,” Freddie explained.
“Nah, she just thinks I’m a better friend that you two.” James laughed.
“Maybe… well, I’m hungry, I’m going to grab some dinner. You guys coming?” I heard Freddie jump off his bed.
I didn’t hear what the others answered as that was my cue to sprint downstairs. I rushed to my favourite armchair and concentrated on settling my breath before the boys came down. I was in luck; it took James and Freddy another five minutes to emerge from the staircase, so they didn’t notice a thing.
The two boys looked a bit awkward as they spotted me on the chair, but I ignored their expressions. I felt embarrassed for having feelings for James, feelings he didn’t share with me. Because surely he’d have confessed something like that to his mates, he always told us everything. His first crush, first kiss, first everything. He wasn’t the type of guy who’d hide something like that.
“Where’s Hayden?” I asked as the third boy didn’t follow.
“He said he wasn’t hungry,” Freddie said.
“Oh? Because of me?” I asked.
“Yeah,” they both admitted.
“And because James punched him,” Freddy added.
“I had to!” the other boy defended himself, before turning to me. “And I want a word with you too, G.”
“I’m going to apologize. I was an asshole. But I need food first,” I commented gloomily.
“Don’t worry Gwenny, he understands that it surprised you,” Freddie comforted.
“Good, because he had no right to do that! He should be lucky I didn’t hex him. So I hope neither of you is considering on doing something like that! I’d beat you senseless and never talk to you again!” I muttered.
“Don’t worry, no feelings like that from this direction!” Freddie said.
“Definitely not! You’re like a sister, it’d be just wrong!” James stated.
“Good!” I nodded but inside I was breaking.
That was the first time I made a promise to myself that I would stop loving my best friend…
And yet here I am, eight years later in the same situation; fooling myself into thinking that James might like me, Hayden confessing his love for me, eavesdropping on the boys’ conversation and James unknowingly killing my hope while I fell to pieces.
Almost eight whole years, and I haven’t moved on at all. Still as hopelessly in love with my best friend; more so now, than I had been back then. Eight years and nothing has happened, nothing had changed.
My life officially sucks. Well – no. But I’m pathetic and stupid and going to end up alone if I don’t do something about this all. I need to move on. Starting right now, I’m going to put my childish feelings aside and turn a new page in my life.
My New Year’s resolution is to get over James Sirius Potter!
And Godric help me if I give up this time.
A/N: Heey! I'm here again with a new chapter! (:
Again, I'd love to hear your thoughts about it. Good? Bad? Too long? (x
James and Kat broke up! Did you see that one coming?
And what about Gwen? Do you think her resolution will hold?
I'll be here waiting for your opinions (:
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