Chapter 14 : Embarrassment Times Infinity
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I was taken completely by surprise. And I didn’t know how to handle it. It seemed like James was everywhere: his right hand in my hair, his left resting on my waist, his hard, toned body pressed flush against me. The frantic pattering of my heart intensified as he pulled me closer, as his thumb rubbed circles into my skin, leaving patterns that burned under his very ouch. His lips – the very lips that I shamelessly stared at whenever he spoke, that I imagined kissing me time and time again – were soft, warm. My whole being had exploded by the close contact – the excitement that that this was finally happening, the anxiety over my lack of experience. I could hardly concentrate; I could hardly disentangle the mangled web of my thoughts into something that actually made sense. Everything felt amazing – he felt amazing.
And I just stood there.
Despite everything being so right, everything was wrong – it was all wrong. Sure, I was weak in the knees, and my heart was giving a hummingbird a run for its money, and James’s lips felt fucking unbelievable – and all of that should have been perfect, but it wasn’t. And it was all my fault. I was no good at this; I had no idea what I should be doing. I mean, fuck, I was lucky that I had enough sense to close my eyes.
I knew that I didn’t have much time. I needed to respond and it needed to be in like, I dunno, four seconds, because if I just stood there any longer, it could be wrongly translated into lack of interest. Which was the last thing I wanted.
I tried to wrack my brain, searching through the useless piece of shit, for a random snogging scene from a movie. How did this thing work? How did the girl react to an unexpected snog attack? How did she move her lips with his, touch him –
Oh, shit. My hands. Where the fuck do I put them?
My mind was in overdrive. Hands, hands, hands, where do I put my hands? My life would be so much easier if I didn’t have to worry about my hands.
The offending appendages were heavy at my sides and I internally cursed them for being so damn immobile. I mean, anything – anything at all – instead of just hanging there like a limp noodle would be fine! It could be fucking jazz for all I care. Just something. Honestly, this whole thing would be so much easier if my body actually responded to the commands that my brain feebly sent out.
But nope, my body it seems has decided to show its true colors: it’s a harcord arsehole.
After a few more wasted seconds, James’s hand traveled from my hair to the nape of my neck, causing me to involuntarily shiver in response. God, I never wanted him to stop. It just felt so good. But best of all, the action immediately triggered the memory of a snogging scene from some cheesy romance movie to invade my mind. My lifesaver. The bloke’s hands were in similar positions are James’s and the girl had her arms wrapped around the bloke’s neck.
With a newfound determination, I lifted my hands from my sides, the slight tremble from my nerves ignored, and reached up to put them on his shoulders.
…And landed on his chest.
God fucking damn it! Why the bloody hell did he have to be so bloody tall?
Okay, so this was a minor setback – not a bad one. So I didn’t reach my initial destination, but this wasn’t so bad. I mean, his chest felt warm and muscled underneath my fingertips, and I wasn’t going to lie, I really liked touching him – even if it was just my hands on his chest. Just the feel of him – everywhere – was driving me mad. The butterflies in my stomach were having a fucking field day and it was becoming increasingly difficult to concentrate on anything when James’s thumb began to lightly trace my collarbone.
I was just hoping that the potentially embarrassing moans I heard weren’t coming from me.
But maybe they were both of us – I had no idea.
I soon decided that I was going to slowly slide my hands up his chest and to his shoulders, to where I would hopefully – that is, if I could reach – wrap my arms around his neck. It was going to be slow and sensual if everything went alright. Because that was sexy, right? I honestly had no idea.
My hands had only just begun to inch their way north when it happened.
I should have seen it coming, I really should have, because it was only natural, right? But still, the panic sirens in my body began to go haywire when I felt James’s tongue at my lips, begging for entrance into my mouth.
And I didn’t know what to do with a tongue! I mean, honestly. This was the first time that I had ever had lip-on-lip action; I wasn’t prepared or ready for the tonsil hockey. That was madness!
If my mouth hadn’t been attached to James’s, I probably would have started hyperventilating.
It’s a bit difficult to convey how much I had dreaded this very moment for the past several years of my life. I had always been prone to embarrassing myself, and, well, someone sticking their tongue into my mouth seemed like the opportune moment for things to get really messy and made me the perfect target for humiliation. And don’t get me wrong, a bloke snogging the daylights out of me – well, there was nothing more that I could ever want. It was just that the older I got, the more experienced the boys got and here I was, stuck in my perpetual state of purity. As much as I’d like to think that instinct immediately takes over and that I’ll know immediately what I’m supposed to do, there wasn’t much reliability in that.
I was gonna suck. And James was gonna laugh at me.
And then I’d be deemed entirely unsnoggable, branded as a Spinster, and banished into a lifetime of virginal loneliness, left to rot alone in my old age with only the company of my many cats. The police would find me dead in my apartment, my decomposing flesh reduced to food for my hungry and uncared for pets.
It seemed that the success or (inevitable) failure of this moment held the fate of the rest of my life.
So yeah, it was kind of a big deal.
At first I thought, ‘Fuck it, I’ll just go for it.’ I mean, what did I have to lose, except for my life happiness? It was just a tongue; I could handle a tongue. Shit, I ate tongues for breakfast. Tongues were my bitch.
But then I remembered the Cherry Test.
And I lost every bit of confidence that I had briefly built up.
The Cherry Test; I remember that day well.
When Robyn and I were fourteen, we went to this little diner near her grandparent’s house and got some milkshakes. Upon arrival at our table, we devoured our drinks in seconds flat and all that was left was the cherry.
Robyn picked her cherry out of her glass, detached its stem from its plum, red body and smiled at me. “Look what I can do,” she said, and popped the stem into her mouth. Moments later it emerged, daintily tied into a tight knot. “This means that I’m a good kisser,” she told me.
Now, you can’t blame me for wanting to try. I needed to prove that I could in fact pass the test that deemed the success rate of future romantic escapades. I was a Lockwood girl, and by God I was going to tie that mother fucker into a knot.
So I popped it into my mouth – all smug and Spencer-like – and I contorted my tongue this way, and I contorted it that way.
But it didn’t tie. No matter how hard I concentrated, no matter how I contorted my tongue, no matter how much I willed it tie, it didn’t. That cherry stem made me its bitch.
Utterly defeated, I unattractively spit it out onto my plate, glaring at the saliva-coated cherry steam. I looked up at Robyn who seemed to fighting the urge to laugh.
“Does this make me a bad kisser?” I whined.
Robyn arranged her face so that her expression was grave, but there was still a twinkle of mirth in her eyes as she rested her hand on my shoulder. “Yes,” she said solemnly.
We both burst into laughter.
I couldn’t do this. It had been funny at the time, but I couldn’t do this. Every happy feeling had left me and the warmth James had generated was sucked from me, leaving me in a cold sweat. In my utter panic, my hands stopped their quest to James’s shoulders and instead pushed forward on his chest, shoving his body away from me.
James’s mouth left mine with a little pop! and we stood there, eyes wide, staring at each other.
I wanted to take it back immediately. It suddenly occurred to me what my actions would mean to him, how they would be interpreted.
And I didn’t know how to fix it.
James hastily removed his hands from my neck, my hair, taking a large step away from me and allowing his gaze to fall on anything but my face. Even in the dim lighting I could see the shade of red his cheeks had turned. He raised a hand to run his fingers through his hair.
It was too quiet – a sure sign that I had fucked everything up. But I could save it, right? We had made it through the various fuck ups of the evening just fine, now hadn’t we? The only thing that worried me that it had always been James to salvage the moment when everything went wrong. He was better at this; he was good with words. I just panicked and threw them up. Because that was all that I was good at.
But I needed to try.
I went to speak, to explain, but the words wouldn’t come; they were caught in my throat.
James ended up being the first to speak – the exact opposite of what I had wanted. I didn’t want to hear how much I had hurt him; I wanted to make it all better.
“I-I’m sorry,” he stammered, looking at the bit of brick wall above my head instead of at me. “I-I thought that…that you wanted…that you liked…” He trailed off weakly, his hand fisted in his jet-black hair, but I knew exactly what he had intended to say.
I thought that you wanted me to kiss you. I thought that you liked me…
It was at that moment that I wanted to scream; I wanted to grab him by the collar and shake him for being so damn thick. Of course I liked him! Of course I wanted him to kiss me!
But I didn’t do that. Instead I was saved by my inability to keep the word vomit at bay.
“I’veneverbeenkissedbefore.” The words came spewing out of my mouth so quickly that they fused together, forming one incoherent sentence.
The phrase that couldn’t possibly have been English must have startled James quite a bit because he lowered his gaze to meet my eyes. “What?”
It was my turn to turn red. He wasn’t really going to make me say it again, was he? I bit my bottom lip. It vaguely occurred to me that James had been kissing those very lips mere moments before.
If only I had some sort of device that could turn back time, you know? And I’d keep it on a necklace or something so that I could have easy access to it every time I fucked up. My life would be pretty ace if I could do that.
I took a deep yoga breath. Someone say a prayer to the dating gods for me. “I-I’ve never been kissed before.”
There. The words were out there in the open. Do with them what you may, James Potter. Just be sure to remember all the good times we had before you go and step on my heart.
And for the last time, I’m sorry I threw up on your trainers. You’re replacements are lovely.
As I stood there staring at said replacement trainers, I longed for the ability to melt into the floor. Fuck being invisible, fuck having super strength, if I had any super power, mine would be to melt into the floor. That sort of thing would be far more useful for people like me.
But that got me thinking, I was bitten by Chester the other night, and since he was so fan-fucking-tastic, I wouldn’t he surprised if he were a vessel of superpowers, consequently passing on the ability to melt into floors to me!
Maybe if I moved my leg like this, positioned my other foot like that and –
Nope, still here.
I cannot tell you how much being a mortal sucks.
I was cursing my existence for being so ordinary when I was broken out of my thoughts by the sound of James’s voice.
“Really?” His voice was light, playful – exactly what I had been afraid of.
Here it comes: the jokes, the laughter. I looked up with full intentions of merely taking a peak at his expression and then looking back down at his trainers, but what I saw held my attention. James was smiling, but it wasn’t the holding-in-laughter or condescending type smile that I was sort of expecting. It didn’t understand it; he looked a bit, I dunno, smug.
“What do you look so pleased about?” I asked, crossing my arms – both defensive and indignant because I had no idea what the hell was going on.
He shrugged, trying to play it off, but the self-satisfied expression remained in tact. “I dunno, it’s just that I’m your first kiss.”
I felt the temperature of my face skyrocket. “So?”
“So,” he said pointedly as if it were completely obvious. “I’m your first kiss.”
I gaped at him utterly bemused. “I don’t think I’m following.” I paused. “Are you making fun of me?”
“No, I’m just reveling in my awesome.”
It suddenly dawned on me what he was talking about. Was he for real? Feeling all high and mighty because he stole my lip virginity? One look at his face told me yes, yes he was. I whacked him on the arm. “What? Do you want a fucking medal or something?”
James grinned at me, taking a step forward. “Yes. And I want my name engraved in it and everything.”
Before I could get another word in, James’s hands had snaked around my waist and his lips were on mine again.
I don’t know what it is with James and me laying on the ground, but an hour later we were in the park, side-by-side in the grass. An empty plate of fish and chips was between us.
James had just finished pointing out some constellations to me – his favorite being Sirius because he told me that was his middle name.
“Your parents named you after a constellation?” I asked, turning my head to face him.
“Not directly,” he said with a smile. “I was named after someone who was named after a constellation. And my late grandfather. We’re all kind of named after dead people – Al, Lily, and me.”
James snorted and grabbed my hand. “You know, I think that’s why I like you.”
I felt my face heat up, my pulse beat wildly. “And why is that?”
He turned his head to look at me. “You keep me on my toes. I was expecting you to say ‘I’m sorry,’ like everyone else does. It’s refreshing.”
“Or a sign that I’m socially inept. Your pick.”
He laughed. And so did I. And then we turned our attention back to the stars. And then we were quiet.
“What do you want to be?”
“You mean after I get out of school?”
He took a moment to reply. Finally, he sighed and said, “Well, my parents are really important people in the Wi – Non-Muggle World and everyone expects me to be like them. But I don’t know if I want to, you know?”
I nodded. “Hmm.”
“I mean, Al’s lucky because he knows exactly what he wants to do and Lily’s too young to be thinking about this kind of stuff. Me – I’m just a mess.”
“Well, what are you good at?”
James bit his lip guiltily, giving me a small smile. “I can’t tell you.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Why not?”
I laughed. “Ah, I see. Always the Non-Muggle stuff.”
“Oh, don’t give me that. You know I’ll tell you eventually. And remember what you said before? It’s like sex on the first date mmm –”
I didn’t let him finish. With a face as red as a fire truck, I had thrown my hand over his mouth, the rest of his sentence muffled and indistinct.
“What’s your favorite color?” I blurted out, hoping that the question would distract him.
He held my hand by the wrist and pried it from his mouth. “You asked that already, remember?”
I paused. I was suddenly very aware of the fact that I was laying half on top of him. I sat up on my heels, very red in the face and reminding myself to breathe. “Er, Gryffindor red, right?”
He smiled. “Yup.”
“And what is that exactly?”
He bit his lip thoughtfully. “It’s kind of a scarlet red.”
I laughed. “Not that, I mean what’s a ‘Gryffindor’?”
James propped himself up in the grass with his elbows. “We’re kind of treading dangerous waters there.”
He nodded. “I could probably explain it without actually telling you what I am, but I might slip by accident.”
“Oh.” I averted my gazed to the grass, fisting a dozen or so strands in my hand and uprooting them from the ground. It probably wasn’t right of me to take my irritation out on the grass, but it was something to do.
I looked up. James’s expression was soft; I think he understood how frustrated I was. “Yeah?”
“What do you want to be?”
It was a simple question, but one that I couldn’t answer. Everyone was asking me, ‘What are you going to be? What are you going to be?’ and I just felt like screaming ‘I have no fucking idea!’ My head was ready to explode; I had so skills, no special talents to offer the world. And I was steadily approaching my final year of school before university…with no plan whatsoever.
But I didn’t tell James that. I was going to, but the words just fell from my lips. But they felt right as soon as I said them:
“Happy. I wanna be happy.”
James smiled. “Me too.”
“Well this is creepy.”
He stole the words right out of my mouth. I mean, the way he said it was more matter-of-fact rather than shit-scared as it would have been had I said it, but still, my thoughts exactly. James and I were standing at the bottom of the stairs at my front porch. All the lights in the house were off and the front door was wide open.
“Do you think someone broke in?” I whispered, my voice small and shaky.
“I dunno,” he murmured, letting go of my hand and stepping forward.
“Where are you going?” It was more forceful than I had intended, but I was kind of scared. You see, the dark and I weren’t exactly on good terms.
James turned to look at me, raising an eyebrow and the ghost of a smirk on his face. “To go check it out,” he said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
“You can’t do that!”
“Shit, James, I can’t go down the hallway at night to pee without bringing a flashlight, you can’t just go there when there might be some mass murderer in my house!”
“Well, don’t you wanna make sure your mum’s okay?”
“Oh, I’m sure she’s fine,” I snapped, rolling my eyes. “She’s real ace at hide-and-seek and my uncle’s an ex-cop, she knows how to make a weapon out of just about anything.”
That got a laugh out of him. “Well my dad’s sort of a cop for the Non-Muggle World so I’m sure I can handle myself,” he said easily.
James started to continue his way up the steps and I found myself grabbing him by the shirt tail and following close behind, mumbling how bad of an idea this was.
“Shh, calm down, Spencer. Just think happy thoughts.”
“We’re gonna die.”
“That’s the spirit.”
We finally reached the door, the seconds had seemed to drag on for some reason, and James stopped in front of it to inspect it. I, in the meantime, looked around the dark porch, on the verge of having a heart attack. I was breathing heavily and I couldn’t swallow. I wasn’t usually this much of a scaredy cat, but nighttime did strange things to me.
“James, maybe we should just –”
“Well it doesn’t look like a break in.”
“That’s nice, how about we –”
James flicked on the light.
I stood up on my tip-toes and looked over James’s shoulder to see that Freddy was in fact in the middle of the front foyer, sitting in an armchair that he had dragged in from the living room.
“You’re a right tosser, you know that?” The words were sharp, angry.
The weird part was that they didn’t come from James or me.
“I’m the tosser?”
“Yeah, James, you are,” Freddy said, throwing his hands up in the air and standing up from his chair to make his way over to us. “I’ve been sitting here in the dark for Merlin knows how long and you just got to waltz in and be the hero. You ruined everything! You heard how scared she was!”
I squeezed between James and the doorframe to get inside. “You’re such a dickhead,” I spat, whacking and punching Freddy on the arm with all my might.
Clearly I hadn’t gained any strength between now and the last time I physically assaulted Freddy because he sighed as if I were an annoying fly. “Please, James. Can you control your girlfriend?”
“Nope. You unleashed her wrath; now you must suffer the consequences,” James said, laughing.
My heart skipped a beat when he didn’t correct Freddy for calling me his girlfriend.
…Holy fucking shit.
Does this mean that I’m his girlfriend now? I swear, I almost stopped hitting Freddy and hugged him. And then started dancing. Was it possible for a day to be filled with so much suck and awesome at the same time? Because seriously, there were some pretty bad clunkers today, but right now that didn’t matter. I was on the verge of combusting I was so happy.
I had to remind myself to breathe.
With one final and feeble punch, I took a step back and crossed my arms, glaring at Freddy intensely. But I couldn’t hide the hint of a smile that was playing on my lips.
“Does my mum know you’re here?” God, it was so hard to sound intimidating. They say that having children makes some people become softies, but, man, just becoming James’s girlfriend did me in. Seriously, how was I ever supposed to be taken seriously again? I was practically giggling.
Who the fuck giggles when they’re supposed to be scolding someone?
“Nope,” Freddy replied, popping the ‘p’ and raising an eyebrow at me. He seemed to notice the shift in my behavior. I was praying that James didn’t. “She’s asleep upstairs. I let myself in with the spare key underneath the mat. You guys should seriously consider putting that thing somewhere else; it was a bit too easy breaking into your house.”
“Oi! Putting the spare key under the mat is classic!”
“My point exactly.”
The boy in question turned to James. “Yeah mate?”
“Could you get lost?”
Freddy’s expression brightened immediately, his sour mood gone and replaced with the bloke I knew and hated. He began to wag his eyebrows at James and me suggestively which made me want to run over and straggle him. “Sorry, am I interrupting the conclusion to your evening rendezvous?”
“Yes,” James said pointedly. “As a matter of fact, you are.”
Freddy agreed to leave, promising to wait outside for James, but he certainly didn’t go quietly. With a final thumbs up in James’s direction and a quick swat on my arse which made James narrow his eyes, Freddy was out the door.
No one said anything at first. I finally broke the silence.
“So I’m your girlfriend, huh?” I failed; I couldn’t say it with a straight face.
James met my gaze, a small blush creeping onto his cheeks.
“Do you want to be?”
I swallowed. “Do you want me to be?”
After I said it, I wanted to take it back. I found that I didn’t want to hear his answer; I mean, this was a defining moment in our relationship, and that was scary. What if he didn’t want me?
A smirk donned James’s features – something I didn’t expect. “Would you like to be formally asked?”
I snorted unattractively. Why do I always seem to do that at the most inappropriate moments? “No, that’s a bit silly. Do you want me to be your girlfriend or not?”
“Do you want to be or not?”
“I asked you first!”
“Which brings us back to would you like to be formally asked?”
“No. Because that’s silly.”
“Will somebody make a bloody decision here?” Freddy asked, sticking his head through the now open door. “I wanna get a move on.”
“Just go home, Freddy. No one asked you.”
“Yeah, get the fuck outta here.”
Flipping the both of us off and winking simultaneously, Freddy ducked out of the foyer and back outside.
“God, he’s annoying.”
“I can’t believe that I’m related to that fucker.”
“Me neither. You’re perfectly lovely.”
We just stared at each for a moment. “Did I tell you that you look really pretty tonight?” James murmured.
I paused, thinking about it. “You know, I don’t think that you did.”
“You look really pretty tonight.”
I smiled and murmured a thanks – a bit red from embarrassment. But it was a different kind of embarrassment.
The good kind.
A/N: Hi eveyone! The wait wasn't too bad was it? I know I've had worse. But what did you think? They kissed! They're dating! WOO! Now all James has to do is tell Spencer that he's a wizard. Not so hard, right?
Let me know what you thought in a review! I love reading them :D
Self advertisement time! So I just published a new story called "The Month I was a Hipster." It's another James/OC but it's very different from this story - sadly, no Muggles. But it would mean a lot to me if you stopped by and gave it a look. But you're by means obligated to! :D
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