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Chapter 8 : Quidditch Banquet
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Beautiful chapter image by JoanneK @ TDA!
If there is one thing that is a big deal to the Quidditch Association (other than the actual games themselves), it is their banquets. There are two held each year. Every single team was invited. The first was the opening Quidditch Banquet. This consisted of everyone meeting each other. Rookies were introduced by the team managers to the rest of the teams. Captains were announced. They served a lot of food. Quidditch players dressed up in their nicest dress robes and press was a frenzy. Well, at least that’s how I saw it from the American side of the banquet hall. I’m sure the real stars got far more attention than what I’m leading on.
Tonight was the opening Quidditch Banquet. Sally had ordered my dress robes (I had approved them) months ago. Everyone had been talking about the banquet for weeks. Ever since I had come to England people seemed to find it necessary to bring up the banquet. You could be eating dinner and someone would bring it up. You could be taking a piss and someone would ask if you were going. Only the elite (and the pathetic teams) went.
“Ouch that hurts!” I yelped at the stylist who was twisting my hair around her wand. She sighed at me, shooting me a dirty look in the mirror.
“Are you almost done?” James whined from my couch. He was dressed in his dark grey dress robes, his hair a natural mess. The stylist had offered to put something in his hair to tame it, but he quickly denied.
“Almost,” The stylist said through gritted teeth. Needless to say, we were getting on her nerves. You can’t blame me, though. She was really hurting me!
“Who has a banquet on a Monday night, anyways?” I asked, yelping slightly when I felt another tug. I was going to be bald if I wasn’t careful.
“Quidditch days are different than the rest of the world’s days,” James told me, staring up at the ceiling with little interest.
“There, I’m done,” the stylist said. I peered at my reflection. How had it taken her that long to just make my hair wrap around my face in curls? Sure, the make up did look pretty good, but I could’ve done that myself. I huffed, but rushed to get my dress on. I didn’t glance back at James. He’d have some smug comment to make.
My dress fell to the ground, brushing slightly against my toes. The fabric was silky soft (which was why I approved of it so fast). We were required to wear our team colors (which was a bitch when I had to wear bright orange for the Meteorites). My dress was dark grey with a large white flower on my left collar bone. The only strap was thick and wrapped around my left shoulder. The back was bare, but it was hot out! I’m sure everyone would understand. The heels were something I wasn’t prepared for. I wasn’t worried. My team would still be towering over me.
I checked my reflection in the wall-mirror opposite of me. James’s jaw had dropped when he had seen me. I liked making him drool. It seemed that everything was back to normal. It was as though we had never had sex. James had even cracked a joke about “shagging me by the end of the night if I was lucky”. I nervously chuckled at that. Nevertheless, everything seemed fine. My hair was in place and my dress hugged me in all the right ways. Thank you, Quidditch.
“Mr. Potter and Ms. Jacobs!” A wizard squeaked from behind his clipboard. His large mustache hid his mouth, but he was smiling at us. I think. “Your father is going to be your escort.”
The Quidditch Banquet was being held in a magically enhanced muggle warehouse. We had all been instructed to apparate into a safe house where an auror would escort us to the banquet. There were so many celebrities going to the banquet that they found this necessary. Only high-end teams were instructed to do this. I felt flattered that I was included. Then again, I still wasn’t used to the whole “famous” thing.
“Can’t we have another auror take us?” James asked, gritting his teeth. I felt his arm squeeze my hip. I winced against the pressure.
“No, I’m sorry. Since there are two players, he put it upon himself to escort the both of you,” the man told us, gesturing for us to go towards Mr. Potter, who was waiting at the door. James looked ready to throw a hissy fit.
“I’ll do all the talking, okay?” I told him, grabbing his hand and giving it a squeeze.
“Hello!” Mr. Potter said cheerfully. He was either a great actor or was used to putting the events of a few days ago behind him. I was betting the latter.
“Hi, Mr. Potter,” I said, giving him my best smile. James grunted at my side.
“Shall we?” He asked, opening the door for us to walk out. James was first out, shoving past his father. Mr. Potter looked affronted, but immediately hid it with a smile.
“How long of a walk is it?” I asked Mr. Potter as we took off down the street. I now understood why we needed escorts. I was afraid someone was going to jump out of the shadows at any second.
“Just a few blocks, nothing major,” He said, letting James walk a bit in front of us. I wasn’t sure if James could hear us or not. I thought I’d try it out.
“He just…he means well,” I told Mr. Potter. He sighed, nodding his head at me.
“He’s a lot like me: thick-headed….or so Ginny likes to tell us,” Mr. Potter told me, stuffing his hands in his pockets.
“I’m nothing like you!” James called back to us. Mr. Potter looked ready to retaliate, but thought better of it.
“I just want what’s best for him,” Mr. Potter mumbled, making sure I was the only one that heard him.
“You don’t think Quidditch is?” I questioned.
“It’s not that,” he said, running a hand through the little hair that he had on his head. James did that. “He’s my son. I want what he wants, but he just doesn’t realize what he deserves.”
“And what does he deserve?” I asked, crossing my arms. It’s harder than it looks when you’re walking.
“He deserves to be happy. He deserves everything, Genevieve,” Mr. Potter emphasized.
“Call me Gigi,” I told him. Did people not get that I hated my full name?
“I’ll call you Gigi when you start calling me Harry,” He said, a smirk playing on his lips. Oh, touché.
“Well, Harry, James seems pretty happy to me,” I said, watching as James fluffed his hair in a store window. He was more of a girl than me.
“That’s because of you. Before you came here, he was all about Quidditch. He didn’t let himself enjoy anything else. Now, I actually see him getting out and enjoying the little things. Call me the pushy father, but I don’t think he should give that up. He shouldn’t give you up,” Harry told me, watching James as well as he looked to be mumbling things to himself.
“No, it’s not me that’s doing all of that to him. Trust me,” I told him, holding my hands up in innocence. It couldn’t be because of me. This was all fake. All of it. I felt the familiar pang of guilt as I saw the down-cast face of Harry staring at James, watching him intently.
“I wouldn’t be all too sure, Gigi,” Harry said, a small chuckle escaping his lips. “He’s falling for you.”
I didn’t respond. I didn’t have words. I’m sure it was his dream for his son to find someone, but that someone wasn’t me. I’m sure James would find love someday; he was an attractive guy. The guilt began to itch at me again. For some reason, I felt the need to tell Harry what was going on. Was he a leglimens? You’d think from all that he’s done, he would be that powerful. I guess I won’t question it (though I really would like to). He would’ve known about James and I’s scam by now.
“Are you two coming or not?” James asked in an irritated tone. The dim lights of the streets began to get brighter, so I knew we were getting close. I rushed to James’s side, knowing I had to be seen attached to his hip. I felt rather pathetic, but I guess it’s what you do in this business. Harry cleared his throat, gesturing towards the mangy looking warehouse door. The building looked like it was ready to collapse on itself. The windows were boarded up and the door was rusted all around. Magic, don’t let me down now.
“I’ll see the pair of you after,” he told us, opening the door. When I peered inside, I wasn’t ready for what I saw.
The whole place was booming. There was cameras flashing every which way and everyone was just so beautiful. People were laughing and chatting with one another. There was an extravagant chandelier hanging over us once we entered. The marble floors made my heels click as we stepped onto it. The place was magicked larger, but I still didn’t feel like there was enough room for everyone. There were so many celebrities and so many different press people that I felt almost suffocated. If I were claustrophobic, this would not be my scene.
I was about to be pulled forward by James when it seemed everyone took a notice to us. Cameras began flashing in my eyes and reporters began to yell things at me. It was worse than my press conference when I joined the Falcons. James placed his arm around my hip, pulling me closer to him. I may have felt safer, but nothing could protect me from these vultures.
“Just smile and nod, yeah?” James whispered in my ear. A cool tickle went down my back as goosebumps formed on my skin. I flushed slightly, but nodded as I let a small smile form on my lips. I heard a lot of shouts about ‘marriage’ and press asking me if I was pregnant, but James seemed to know exactly what to say. I was eternally greatful.
“Now, now leave them alone! I told you all you could be here, but that does not mean I do not have authority to throw you out on your arses!” a man shouted. Immediately the press scattered. The man that came forward made my heart stop and a gasp escape my lips. It was the president of the Quidditch Commission. He had taken it over once his father had passed a few years ago. He was known for his charming white smile and his tanned skin. His black hair flipped over his hazel eyes as he came towards James and I. I swear, my heart stopped beating.
“Mr. Daniels!” James called in an enthusiastic voice, shaking his hand. It seemed the two were already acquainted.
“James you know you can tell the press to sod off, right? Don’t always have to let them give you the fifth degree,” he said to James in a joking tone. James flashed him his own smile.
“You know I like the attention,” James said. They both laughed. I let my own nervous laugh mingle in.
“And you must be Genevieve Jacobs!” he turned towards me, surveying my outfit. My voice became lodged in my throat. “I’ve heard so much about you! Amazing game against Puddlemere last week!”
“Thanks,” I squeaked. James looked down at me with a confused look. My face grew hotter as I studied the marble floor.
“No need to be shy, love. You’re family now,” Ethan Daniels, the man voted most eligible bachelor, said. I nodded, but still was unable to speak. This was unbelievable.
“We better go find the boys. Matt probably got his head stuck in the punch bowl again,” James laughed, pulling me away from Ethan Daniels (yes, it is necessary to say his full name).
“We just talked to Ethan Daniels,” I stated.
“Yup,” James said, popping the ‘p’.
“He complimented me,” I stated again, a large grin forming on my face that wouldn’t go away.
“You’re going to hear that a lot tonight,” James said, peering over by the punch bowl to make sure Matt hadn’t dunked his head in. No sign of Matt.
“From who?” I questioned. James looked at me with a shocked expression.
“You’ve been to one of these before, haven’t you?” He asked. I shuffled my feet. Of course I had. Except I was by all the other Americans. Press didn’t go over there. Not even other teams went over there.
“Don’t be stupid,” I told him. He laughed, pulling me closer into him as a few people from the Cannons walked by. They were known for being perverted.
“Right, you were on an American team before,” James said, smirking at me. I hit his shoulder.
“Nothing wrong with that!” I defended. He snorted very unattractively.
“Yeah, nothing wrong with it if you’re American,” James emphasized. I was about to hit him again when I heard a girlish shriek and someone embraced James, nearly shoving me on my ass. I pretty much ate her blonde hair.
“Oh my god, James! Did you get more fit? I think so,” the girl said, grabbing onto James’s arm and giving it a good squeeze. James loved the attention (of course), so I saw him flex. A blush began to creep up my neck. The girl was gorgeous and supporting a black, very short, gown. Her blonde hair flowed down her back and seemed to have its own glow. She was probably part veela. That’s why James was looking at her like that.
“Course I did, love. Had to stay looking amazing,” James joked. The girl giggled, lightly tapping James on the shoulder. He grinned at her giggle. I felt immediate irritation towards her. I coughed rather loudly. James’s eyes were glazed over when they came into contact with me. I raised my eyebrows and I saw the blush form on his cheeks.
“Oh! Right! Er-Michelle, this is my…er, Gigi,” James said. The tall blonde, Michelle apparently, turned towards me. Her expression immediately fell as she studied me. I felt short and more importantly, I felt extremely unattractive. I shuffled my feet, but felt extremely determined to stand my ground.
“Oh you’re the new Falcon, right?” She asked in a patronizing tone. I clenched my jaw. It was girls like this that made me start fighting back at Salem.
“Yes, I am,” I said, going around her and linking my arm in James’s. He seemed slightly reluctant, but let me do so.
“And James’s new girl, correct?” she asked, but she was looking at James, not me.
“Yeah,” James mumbled. I stomped on his foot when Michelle wasn’t looking. He let out a small grunt, glaring at me. I glared straight back. At least he could pretend to be enthusiastic to be dating me.
“Well, I’m sure you know who I am, then,” she said, flipping her hair over her shoulder. Honestly, I hadn’t a clue who she was. I studied her, trying to pull up her face in my head.
“No, I don’t,” I told her honestly. James snorted at my side, but didn’t intervene. Michelle’s pale face grew a bit of color.
“Well, I’m Germany’s head cheerleader,” she explained. Ah, so she was a Veela. “And I dated James last year.”
I felt like someone had slapped me. I suppose James and I hadn’t talked about past relationships, but to have this sprung on me was a bit shocking. I wish I would’ve had a little bit of warning. I felt my jaw clench as I stared at her. Had he really kissed her? He had kissed me. He had had sex with me. Which he probably did with her. Which he probably meant to do. I felt the familiar pang of guilt again.
“Oh?” Was all that came out of my mouth. She smirked at this, a small victory for her. Whatever. I could beat her on the pitch. Was that what James wanted, though?
“Well, nice to see you, James!” Michelle chirped, kissing James on the cheek. “And nice meeting you, Jay-jay.”
“It’s-“ I started, but she was gone. James was staring off after her. I scoffed in disgust.
“What?” he asked. I smacked his shoulder and he flinched.
“You didn’t tell me you dated a veela!” I hissed in a low voice. He shrugged as though it was nothing.
“Don’t take it to heart, love. Every male has his eyes on her. She’s using her powers,” another female voice said. Except when I let my eyes fall on this woman, I recognized her right away. Her short blonde hair and the scar right below her jawbone were so distinct, you’d be stupid if you didn’t know who she was.
“You’re Erlah Cosgove,” I stated. She laughed at me, but nodded.
“And you’re Gigi Jacobs. The pleasure’s all mine,” she stuck her hand out. Flabbergasted, I shook hers.
“How are the Harpies doing?” James asked, finally bringing himself into the conversation.
“Well, the Falcons are doing better. You sure your mum doesn’t want to play for us again?” Erlah asked. James laughed, but shook his head. I don’t think I could play against Ginny. The minute I shoved myself into her I’d feel horrible.
“I think she’s getting too old for this stuff,” James chuckled.
“Worth a shot,” Erlah said with a shrug.
“So did you come here to find out our plays or are you trying to steal my girlfriend from me?” James asked. I nervously laughed as Erlah chuckled. It was common knowledge that most of the Harpies did more than just play Quidditch together.
“She’s pretty and all, but I’ll leave her to you,” Erlah winked at me and I felt my face flush. “Everyone wants to get a good look at the new Falcon. She’s big news.”
”I am?” I questioned. She nodded at me and when I glanced around, I actually did notice a few eyes on me. It felt oddly good.
“I’ve only been telling you that since we got here,” James said, reaching up to ruffle my hair (a habit he had picked up). I slapped his hand away before he got the chance.
“You two are so cute together!” Erlah said, a big grin spreading on her face. Neither James or I looked at each other. I felt the heat on my neck and rubbed it. It was still odd for us to hear that compliment. No matter how true it was.
“Thanks,” James managed to mumble.
“Oh, before I forget…“ Erlah reached onto a tray that was floating passed and pulled two wine glasses off, “Welcome to the European Quidditch Association. A large step up from A.Q.A.”
She raised her glass to my own and clinked. I watched her as I sipped the wine, but she downed the whole thing in one gulp. Should I try to do that too? I did, tipping my head back slightly. Unfortunately, it went down the wrong pipe. I nearly dropped the glass as I began to cough violently. James smacked me on the back, to which he received a punch to the stomach as I doubled over.
“Love, you’re going to be getting these all night. I wouldn’t try to down them all if I were you or you’ll be drunker than a skunk,” Erlah told me, laughing as she walked away. I straightened up, my eyes watering. James was looking at me with amusement.
“Well aren’t you just a charming date,” I mumbled. He looked at me with confusion as I rolled my eyes.
“Oi! Love birds!” I heard the familiar call from Matt. Matt was waving his hands around violently, gesturing for us to come towards him. As we did, the room suddenly spun around. I felt my legs go out front under me as a chair pulled me directly into a table. I gasped in shock as James slid next to me, Matt on my left. They had equally shocked expressions. As I looked around the room, it seemed I wasn’t the only person shocked. Everyone was now sitting at a round table, a banner from each team hanging above the respective tables.
“That was awesome!” Adam called, smacking his hands on the table in excitement.
“Glad you thought so, Mr. Freeman,” a voice responded, booming over the whole banquet hall. We all turned to see Ethan Daniels standing on a stage-like podium. He beamed at everyone as they laughed at Adam’s expense.
“To our rookies: welcome! To our players: welcome back! We here at the Quidditch Commission picture this year to be the best yet!” Daniel said, as everyone clapped in agreement. “Now, let’s start off this banquet with a bang. Let’s start off with the American Quidditch Association. Respective managers please make your way to the stage as well.”
Slowly, about five managers made their way towards the stage, a big plump man leading them. I even saw the small frame of the Meteorite’s manager. He absolutely loved me. He had actually cried when he saw the Falcon’s manager at our final game of the season. I smiled to myself, but clapped at appropriate times. Each team introduced rookies and again, we clapped respectively. I remembered being up there my first time. I nearly peed myself when I looked out at the crowd. I glanced around to notice no one was really paying attention. James was poking Chris in the side with one of the forks in front of him. I had to elbow him in the gut to get him to stop. Apparently Chris’s threats of death weren’t enough.
Next came the Australian Quidditch Association which everyone seemed to turn away from. People clapped at the proper times, but it seemed that more eyes were set on the European teams around. I felt guilty, but I didn’t bother to pay much attention myself. Hey, Australian Quidditch Players are boring. It seemed that everyone was awaiting the European Quidditch Association to go up. When I say everyone, I mean it. Cameras were at the ready as the last Association left the stage. I held my breath as the European Quidditch Association made their way to the stage. I felt James squeeze my hand under the table. Matt smacked me on the shoulder extremely hard. My stomach hit the table from the force, but I didn’t care.
“Let’s start out with the Great Britain and Ireland League, shall we?” Ethan Daniels stated. Thirteen managers stepped forward. Mr. Collins, our team manager, was amongst them, beaming with such pride. He was staring at our table, grinning from ear to ear. I would’ve smiled back, but I felt my stomach flip with nerves. Everyone’s eyes would be on me. Being on a pitch is different. You don’t see all the stares and hear the whispers. I could see and hear them now.
They went in alphabetical order. People were paying the utmost attention. These were the rookies and captains you would see on the front cover of magazines and the people playing for the international teams come spring. I was amazed at the size and talent I saw. Anyone who had made a name for themselves was standing before us, a smirk or smile placed on their faces. People cheered unnecessarily loud and cameras lit up the whole stage. The Arrows had three rookies. The Ballycastle Bats had four. The Catapults had two. The Cannons (which James nearly jumped out of his seat to see their captain) had none. I held my breath as Mr. Collins waddled to the podium.
“As the manager of the Falmouth Falcons, I had to find the best talent to replace Harley Chilton. Now I went all the way to America to find that talent and I think we did a damn good job at replacing Harley!” Mr. Collins built up. My stomach flipped as a few people cheered in agreement. “We have one new chaser this year and she will be making history, I’ll tell you that. Gigi Jacobs, come on up!”
I felt like my legs were going to give out from underneath me. Flashes blinded me as I made my way to my feet. James gave me a little tap on the butt. People all around laughed at it, but I felt my face flush with embarrassment. I nearly crashed into the Wasps’s table. When I finally made it to the stage, I gasped in shock. From up here, you could see every single famous person in the history of Quidditch. I even saw Harley Chilton sitting at the front most table with fellow retirees. I nearly collapsed into a puddle. Mr. Collins wrapped his arm around me as people cheered and clapped loudly. I thought my eardrums were going to fall out.
“We have also had to replace our captain this year. This man has been with our team for a few years and has already showed how dedicated he is to the game. Now, Gigi, don’t get too excited. Just because he’s your boyfriend doesn’t mean he’s not going to treat you like rookie,” the whole room laughed at Mr. Collins. I nervously chuckled. I was still in shock. “James Potter!”
James sauntered to the stage, smirking as cameras flashed in his face. He seemed far too used to it, because he didn’t even flinch. He patted Harley Chilton’s back as he walked passed him. James slapped a few people’s hands who reached out. It was like he was a superstar. I guess he sort of is. Everyone looks up to him. I found myself smiling as he took the steps two at a time to get on the stage. He shook Mr. Collins hand and before I knew it, he stepped over towards me, grabbing my face and slamming his lips onto mine.
I froze, unsure of how to react. His lips were ridiculously soft upon my lips. His hands were softer than I expected on the back of my neck. I felt a flutter in my stomach. A few people wolf-whistled and a lot of people cheered. James pulled away, not meeting eye contact as he smiled at the other teams. The kiss barely lasted a few seconds, but my lips were still tingling as James grabbed my hand and pulled me off the stage and into our seats. He practically carried me to our seats.
“What the hell was that?” I whispered harshly to James as eyes seemed to finally fall off of us. I flipped my hair out of my eye. James studied my expression. I saw a small tint of red in his cheeks, but it easily could’ve been from the heat of the lights on our faces.
“Made us look more like a couple,” James whispered back, leaning far too close to my face. His breath tickled my neck and I leaned away from him in a huff. It wasn’t the fact that he had kissed me that bothered me. It was what I felt while sitting here, the tingle of my lips and the flutter of my stomach, that bothered me so much.
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