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Chapter 7 : Problem #7
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Maybe we know how the story ends
Maybe it's not even about us
We both retreat to opposing sands
And the love lives on without us
One thing I know for sure is
Love will find a way
Heart's Content by Brandi Carlile
"So Alex, you're coming tomorrow right?"
I remembered these words James spoke to me the night before when I opened my eyes the next morning to a pounding on my door.
I bolted upright in bed.
It was Christmas day. It was Christmas and I was spending it with the Potters and the whole Weasley clan. And James was here to pick me up.
He banged on the door again, and I hollered, "Just a minute! Come on in it's open!"
I ran into the tiny kitchen to greet James.
"Sorry, overslept, be ready in like two seconds!" I said as he stepped into my kitchen, looking almost aprehensive.
He took in my boxer shorts and baggy jumper, my hair still piled on top of my head, nodding. "Take your time."
I dashed into the bathroom, brushing my teeth and quickly taking care of buisiness. Thankfully, I had showered last night before plopping into bed, so I took my hair out of it's constraint and ran my fingers through it, fluffing it up a little. I ran across the kitchen to get to my closet, where I extracted the only skirt I owned, a modest black skirt that was pretty casual, not straight or clingy, but not exactly poofy either.
I picked out a nice, short sleeved cream shirt to go with it, and grabbed my green blazer, sliding it on.
I grabbed my coat off the rack as I entered the kitchen, ready to go. James was observing the room around him, then turned to look at me.
"Sorry to make you wait, I can't believe that I didn't wake up in time."
He smiled. "You forgot to set your alarm, didn't you?"
I sighed. That was what I was missing last night. "Yes."
"C'mon." He shrugged towards the door. "Let's go, Grandmum will worry."
We walked out to the alley behind a building and apparated just over the hill before the Burrow.
"I have to warn you, my Nan will be estatic that you're here. She hasn't seen you in years. So watch out." James cautioned while walking towards the house.
I laughed. "I missed that woman."
"She missed you too."
When we reached the front steps, he went in front of me and opened the door for me, in a grand gesture, allowing me to step through while rolling my eyes. We entered into complete chaos. I could see all the women scrambling around the kitchen, frantic. The smell wafted over to where we stood, and my mouth began to water. I shrugged my jacket off, which James took, and hung next to his own jacket, which he shrug off as well.
"James! Glad you're here! Great to see you again Alex!" Said Harry, as James led me into the den. Harry was sitting with James' uncle Ron, his uncle George, uncle Bill, and uncle Charlie.
"Hi Harry, nice to see you too." I greeted.
"Come have a seat with us, we were just talking about the Quidditch match against Bulgaria." Invited Ron.
James ambled over to the only couch left, and I took the spot next to him.
"So Bulgaria lost then? That's surprising." Said George, continuing their previous conversation.
"That is surprising." Added James. "What was the final score?"
"260 to 110." Said Ron. He looked almost gleeful. "And it's not that surprising, they're all a bunch of wankers."
Harry laughed at that. "Really, Ron? Still? You know Krum retired almost ten years ago."
"What do you have against Krum?" I asked Ron.
"He's a bloody wanker, that's all." Ron said, avoiding eyecontact. Harry laughed again.
"He dated my aunt Hermione in their fourth year." James whispered into my ear. "Never forgave Krum for it, even though the rest of the world somehow managed to forgive him for losing the world cup a few years back as team manager."
I laughed, which made James laugh. Ron scowled, looking suspiciously at us. Harry looked suspiciously at us as well, but a different sort of suspicious. He caught me staring at him staring at the two of us and quickly joined Charlie and Bill's conversation about the current status of Goblins.
"Let's go find some of my cousins." James suggested, pulling me up from the couch by the hand.
We walked upstairs into what was Bill and Charlie's old room to find Al, Rose, Lily, Hugo, Louis, and Roxanne.
"Alex!" Cried Roxy, coming over and giving me a bone crushing hug. "Lily said you were coming! This is so great!" She hugged me again. James caught my eye and laughed at my expression, which was clearly saying, "I can't breathe for Kumquat's sake!". He held back laughter before saying,
"Yeesh, Roxy, let her breathe."
"Shut up James." She said, but reluctantly let go of me.
"Where's Fred?" James asked.
"Picking up Alice." Roxy explained. James nodded. From what Roxy had told me, Alice was Fred's girlfriend. They had met on a trip to India after Hogwarts and hit it off immediately.
"What are you guys doing?" I asked, plopping down next to Rose and Lily. James sat down next to me, and Roxy on the other side, squishing Rose into Lily.
"We were just chatting." Said Lily nonchalantly. She winked at me when James wasn't looking. What's that supposed to mean? I gave her a confusing look and she responded by looking significantly from me to James, and back to me again. I rolled my eyes, subtly giving her the finger. She giggled.
"What's so funny?" Asked James, his forehead creasing.
Lily giggled even harder. I scowled, and Rose caught on too, and joined in.
"Do you know what they're laughing about?" James asked me.
"No clue." I lied.
"James? Could you come here for a moment?" I recognized the voice of Ginny coming from the bottom of the stairs. "You too Al?"
James and Al got up reluctantly before leaving to answer to their mother.
The moment James was out of ear's reach, they sprang on me.
"So Alex, how is James this morning?" Lily asked, cocking an eyebrow.
I decided to feign innocence. "Fine, I guess."
"Did you guys snog last night?" Rose asked.
I broke out into nervous laughter. "What? Why would we snog?"
"Because you guys are obviously secretly dating or something." Said Roxy. I glared at her. So much for backing me up.
"We are not." I said defiantly.
"Then who gave you the hickey?" Lily asked pointedly.
My hand immediately snapped to my neck, remembering last night.
"So, this is it." James said as we approached my place. "Should I walk you up?" He asked politely.
"Sure." I said, rooting around my pockets for the key to open the door. "Might as well make you some tea or something."
"Sounds nice." He said.
I led him up the stairs up to my apartment. I dropped the keys down onto the counter and threw my coat on the rack.
"Go ahead and throw your coat somewhere. I'll put a kettle on." I said, nodding towards James.
We had tea and chatted for a while, cracking jokes at each other. The discussion got pretty intense at one point, I don't remember what it was about, but I remember leaning in really close to James, feeling his breath against my cheeks, warm and minty from the tea. We got closer and closer until our lips were touching, a mad desire for the feel of James' kisses overtaking me. Things got intense fast, and James picked me up from the table and brought me over to the couch, kissing my neck and colarbone, which really set me on. We were only interuppted when we both seemed to realize James' parents would notice if he didn't come home at all before Christmas and the fact that we were making out on my couch.
"No one. I tripped on my way to the bathroom last night." This wasn't exactly a lie, as I had tripped into the bathroom last night, right after James had left, feeling dizzy, as James' lips always seemed to make me feel.
"Sounds like it hurt." Louis mused, obviously not believing me.
"It's not a hickey!" I almost yelled out of frusturation with these people.
"By the way, we included a bunch more people into the bet." Lily said. "Here's the list."
She handed me a piece of parchment which read:
Alex J. (Future P.) -not at all, collective amount
Lily P. - 4 months 15 galleons
Al P.- 5 months 15 galleons
Rose W.- 3 months 10 galleons
Louis W. - three weeks 20 galleons
Hugo W. - two months 10 galleons
Dom W. - three and a half months 10 galleons
Molly and Lucy W. - six months and two weeks 5 galleons
Vic L. - seven weeks 15 galleons
Ted L. - one-hundred and three days 40 galleons
Roxy W. - six months 15 galleons (sorry Lex, but it's inevitable. Just be glad that I did six months, not three weeks like Louis)
Grandpa W. - seven months 6 galleons
George W. - two and a half months 30 galleons
"Are you serious? You know that if i'm wrong, which I'm not, I have to pay one hundred and ninety-one galleons?" I asked incredulously.
"Yeah, and if you're right, which you're not, we pay you one hundred and ninety one galleons." Lily pointed out.
"That's a lot of money." I said. "I am going to be rich..." I looked down at the list again. "Seriously, Louis, twenty galleons on three weeks?"
"I have a feeling I'll be the closest." He grinned. "I will be a rich man."
"How does this even work, if one of you is closet?" I asked, confused. "And how did you get your grandpa in on this?"
"We give half the money to them, and split the rest of it among us." Lily explained calmly. My second question was averted.
I huffed a big gush of air, crossing my arms. "This is stupid."
"You won't say that when you're paying us one hundred and ninety one galleons." Said Al, entering the room again.
He noticed my startled expression, saying, "Calm down Lex, James is still busy."
I scowled at him. He just smirked more.
"So guys, shall we play the game?" He asked.
"Oh are we playing the game?" Asked Fred, entering the room with his girlfriend, Alice, a lean girl with messy, short brown hair.
"Yeah, I reckon so. We were thinking we should inclued Alex, as she's here and James is currently running over to the Lovegoods." Al said, still smirking at me.
"What's the game?" I asked, warily.
"Don't you worry, Lex dear, it's all fun and games. No pressure what so ever." Fred said gently.
Rose and Lily giggled. Why did I not beleive him?
"Let me fetch the others. Be right back." Said Rose, getting up to get everyone else.
Everyone was now gathered in a large circle, the entire Weasley clan minus the adults and James, plus me, Alice and Ted.
"Okay everyone, this is Alex's first time, so let's explain the rules of The Game to her." Began Ted, the oldest, and therefore the leader.
"First rule of the Game is: Don't talk about the Game."
"Second rule: Whatever happens here, stays here."
"Third rule: You must answer every question honestly and fully, otherwise Ted will see to your punishment."
"Last rule: There's no way out."
I crossed my arms, frusturated.
"So, everyone have their questions ready?" Ted asked the group at large.
They all nodded mischeivously, Fred in particular.
Oh Kumquat. They better not ask anything embarassing.
"Have you ever shagged a guy?" Dom asked, the first to go.
Drat. Guess I better scrap the idea of nothing embarassing.
"No." I answered confidently.
"Favorite color?" Rose asked.
"Green." I answered immediately.
"How many boyfriends have you had before James?" Louis asked.
"One. And James doesn't count, we're not dating." I tried not to get frusturated. It would just provoke them.
"Have you and James hugged?" Asked Lucy, sniggering into her palms. It was actually kind of cute.
"Yes." I said, avoiding eye contact. "We're friends. Best friends, I guess."
"Have you guys snogged?" Asked Molly, who then whispered into Lucy's ear, which got them giggling again.
I could feel my blush creeping up my neck. I subconciously covered the hickey with my hand, hiding evidence. "Yes."
There was an outbreak of excited whispers at this, until Ted shushed them.
"How come you and James are friends again?" Ted asked maturely.
"We enjoy each other's company. We just understand each other." I shrugged.
"You just understand each other..." He repeated, thinking hard.
"Brunettes or blondes?" Asked Victoire.
"Brunettes. Blondes tend to be shallow." My ex was also a blonde.
"Who gave you the hickey?" Fred asked slyly.
I blushed again. "Pass." It was one thing to admit to ever snogging james, and another to admit to snogging daily.
"There's no passes in The Game." Grinned Fred.
"Well, it was...uh...James...." I said really quietly and blushing fiercly.James...It was James..."
"What was that?" Fred's grin was even wider, and everyone was sniggering, it seemed.
"Come again?" Fred asked yet again.
Are you serious? How many times do I have to admit it?
"James! It was James allright?" I said, exasperated and completely red.
Fred looked extremely satisfied, and about five people were sniggering. "No need to shout, Alex dear." He winked.
Wow. I really want to smack him.
"Why do you say that you and James aren't dating when you clearly are?" Alice asked next.
"Because we're not! I mean, we've never actually talked about it..." I trailed off.
"You haven't had the talk?" She asked, then shook her head, tutting.
I rolled my eyes. "Next question."
"At brunch that one time, when we ran into you, and James disappeared for twenty minutes, and you were also missing, and then you came back all disheveled-"
"Next question!" I said quickly, cutting off Al and his little satisfied smirk.
"You have to answer Lex." Ted said.
"Fine!" I wanted to scream. "Continue Al."
"What exactly were you two doing together in the men's room together?"
"Just snogging." I said fervently. "Nothing else."
"Have you shagged James?" Lily asked bluntly.
"NO!" I pretty much shouted.
"So are you guys just like snog partners then?" Asked Roxy.
"Lunchtime!" Grandma Molly called up the stairs.
"Thank you Kumquats!" I shouted out loud, tumbling down the stairs, right smack into James.
He caught me by the shoulders, steadying me. "What's the rush?" He asked, grinning. "My cousins annoying you?"
"You have no idea..." I said quietly, so he couldn't hear me.
A/N: I know, it's a short chapter, and it's somewhat of a filler. I just wanted to get something out. Please tell me what you think!
What was your favorite question asked?
Who do you think will win the bet?
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