Chapter 14 : Chapter fourteen - Pure Perfection
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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or anything else that you might recognize.
The perfect CI by atellam <3
Chapter fourteen – Pure Perfection
I must be the stupidest person in the world to have agreed to this! I should’ve just screamed no when Joshua had asked me out and run away as fast as possible. That would’ve solved everything and I could’ve been relaxing right now instead of panicking.
Because there is no way in hell anybody, and I mean anybody – even Kat – should have to go through something as tormenting as this!
“Stop wriggling, Gwen, you’re only making it worse.” Victoire sighed for the umpteenth time. “Honestly, I’m just curling your hair!”
“No, you’re pulling it out!” I complained.
“One hair, Gwen, it was only one hair. And that wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t moved!” she pointed out, clearly starting to sound a bit impatient.
I didn’t care if it had only been one hair; it bloody hurt! I liked my hair to be where it belonged, attached to my head, thank you very much.
Why couldn’t I just tie my hair up the way I normally did? And besides, I didn’t agree to this when I let her assist me on getting ready for my date. Vic was only supposed to help me choose my clothes for tonight.
Honestly, he’d better be worth all this shit!
Although I knew he would be.
“Just a few more curls, sweetie, so stay still,” Vic said as calmly as possible, but I could sense her need to snap at me. I forced myself to stay calm and shut my eyes for the few moments it took for Vic to finish torturing my poor head. “There. All done. Now we can talk about clothing.”
“Mirror?” I suggested hopefully, wanting to see what she had done to me.
“Not yet!” she cried as she rummaged through the bag she had brought with her. “Once you have your clothes on, then you can see. It’s all about the finished image.”
I’ll never understand fashion.
“Hmm, what about this one?” Vic pondered aloud, not really wanting my answer.
I stared at her bewilderedly. She was holding up a piece of fabric that looked just big enough to cover a Snitch; there was no way it would stretch enough to cover a human body I definitely wasn’t going to put that on!
Luckily, Vic seemed to agree as she tossed it aside and pulled another piece of clothing from her bag. She had told me that there was no reason to even open my wardrobe; we wouldn’t find anything there that would do for a date with a Healer.
I wanted to be offended by that, but I really couldn’t. Because it was true, I really didn’t own any fancy clothing.
“Try this,” she said, throwing something at me that I easily caught.
“Honestly, Vic. That’s really not me…” I started as I tried to stretch the item in my hands. It was hardly bigger than the last thing she’d held up.
“Humour me? Please?” she pleaded, batting her long lashes at me. She’d spent years perfecting her puppy dog eyes on Teddy – he claimed he was immune, but he melted like butter as soon as she used them on him, the liar.
“I… fine.” I sighed. “I’ll try it, but I tell you right now, I’m not going to like it.”
“Don’t judge it yet!”
I ignored her, inspecting the fabric with detest. “What is this anyway, a skirt or a top? And how do I even put it on?”
“Oh lord, you really are so clueless sometimes.” She rolled her eyes at me and stepped closer to help me get dressed.
Turns out it was a dress, a strapless one that barely covered my arse.
“You look so beautiful.” Vic beamed happily.
“Don’t lie,” I muttered, trying to pull the hem of the dress down a bit for some more coverage. It wasn’t working for me so well; every time I got it to cover my arse, it’d be flashing my chest. Get it covering my chest, and it’d be exposing my arse again. Seriously, why even bother with the fabric at all? I was leaving as much to the imagination as I would if I went in my bra and knickers.
Which wasn’t happening by the way.
Victoire, on the other hand, seemed to love it. “Take a look,” she said, pushing me in front of a mirror.
I slammed my eyes shut immediately, not certain if I wanted to see my own reflection. But after Vic complained about my actions, I took a quick peek.
I think my chin hit the floor and kept on going.
Bewilderment took over as I stared at the girl in the mirror. She was gorgeous, absolutely amazing. Her hair was arranged in beautiful curls, her eyes were all black and smoky, her cheeks rosy. And to top it all was the dress. The girl in the mirror had actual curves! Real curves and not just the sporty ones I was used to seeing.
Which was why that girl definitely couldn’t be me.
“You like it?” Vic asked hopefully, spotting my expression through the mirror.
I wanted to say yes, I really did. But there was just one little problem…
“I do, I do, it’s just…” I started, not really knowing how to finish.
“Just what?” she questioned.
“Not me?” I suggested, smiling in a way I hoped looked apologetic.
“Not you? What on earth are you talking about? Of course it’s you. You look beautiful, Gwen! You always do, but this is what you could look like if you put in some effort every other day.”
“I get that, but… that’s just not me. I don’t care for all this stuff, and I really don’t plan on changing my daily routines just to see this in the mirror. And if I go on my date looking like this, well, I’m afraid I might give Joshua the wrong impression.”
“Oh, nonsense! He already knows what you look like normally, he’ll just be pleased that you’ve gone through a bit of trouble for him.”
“Still, I just don’t feel comfortable,” I said with a small frown. “Please don’t get offended, I know you’ve gone through a lot to make me look like this!”
I could tell she wanted to protest some more, but I was relieved when she held her tongue. I think she saw my side of it too, even if she didn’t want to. “No, you’re right.” She sighed. “Maybe I got a bit carried away. It’s just – you’ve never before let me do anything to doll you up, and I’ve wanted to show you your true potential for years.”
“I appreciate that, Vic, you know I do. But could we tone it down just a notch or two? Maybe five?”
She chuckled. “Yeah, of course. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable.”
But before she could even start taking the beautifying charms off, we heard the front door open and James calling our names. The insides of my stomach turned over immediately.
Oh Godric, please don’t let him come in here and see me like this!
Once again, my prayers were left unfulfilled.
“How are you girls do-“ We never got to hear the rest of his sentence, as he appeared in my bedroom doorway and immediately fell silent at the sight of me.
Perfect, just perfect.
It was so embarrassing and I wanted to just fade away or something. Or at least cover myself. But I couldn’t, so I just stood there, looking extremely stupid in that little thing Vic called clothing.
“Doesn’t she look dazzling?” the blonde woman questioned, a proud beam highlighting her face.
But James didn’t say a thing and as he just continued to goggle, I myself had to turn my eyes away. My stomach had started to prickle once again hopefully, as my heart was sending messages about how James clearly thought I looked gorgeous. I couldn’t and didn’t want to listen, so I kept concentrating on the patterns on the floorboards.
But when he finally gained his ability to speak again, his next word made me snap my head back in his direction.
“No what?” Vic questioned immediately.
“No as in no; I’m not letting her leave this apartment looking like that,” James replied calmly, still staring at me.
“And why not?”
“Because!” was his intellectual protest.
“Whatever that’s supposed to mean, James.” Vic rolled her eyes at her cousin.
“It means that she should look like herself, and not like some – just not like that!” James snapped, finally managing to tear his eyes away from me and glare at Victoire. “Why did you have to make her look like that?”
“You mean the kind you date?” she shot back without hesitation and I could feel the blush burning my cheeks.
“That’s not the point! If she leaves looking like that, he won’t be able to take his eyes off of her!” James commented, irritated by Vic’s reaction.
She was doing this on purpose. After all, we had already agreed that we were going to tone it back a bit. But she needed to release her frustration at me on something and James was giving her the perfect opportunity. Honestly, they were so irritating, both of them. Why could they never have a normal debate where nobody shouted?
“Isn’t that the point?” Vic sneered. “He shouldn’t be looking in any other direction!”
“She doesn’t need to look like that to gain his attention. Do you not know Gwenny at all?”
“Of course I do! But that doesn’t mean she can’t look stunning too! A good impression never hurt anyone, James.”
“She looks stunning every single day! But all that is just making her something she’s not!” he shouted, pointing in my direction, but still keeping his eyes firmly on Vic, almost as if he was refusing to look at me again so he wouldn’t get distracted.
My heart was practically pounding through my chest and I had to remind myself not to get too carried away.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Vic said and I got the feeling that the discussion was headed towards dangerous territory once again. I’d have to stop them this time.
“I’m not being ridiculous! He should like her because of who she is, not what she looks like!”
I closed my eyes for a moment, trying not to let his words sink in too deep and think of a way to stop them. But Vic’s self-control was already gone and I had to act fast.
“Oh, stop it already, James. Who do you think you’re fooling?”
So I stepped in. “Oi! Shut up already, both of you. I’m tired of listening to your bickering! Either you calm down now, or just go and leave me alone so I can get ready for my date!”
It silenced them both and they turned to look at me, even James, although his eyes didn’t quite reach mine – they lingered somewhere lower.
“Honestly Vic, we already agreed to tone this down a lot, so stop arguing. And James, stop getting aggravated by every thing! What’s wrong with you?” I paused a bit as I realised that was a stupid question. “Okay, scratch that, I already know the answer. But stop taking your irritation out on everyone else.”
They both mumbled something pointless as response, dropping their gazes on the floor, but it seemed that they both agreed.
“Good. Now did you want something, James? Because if not, Vic has a lot to do, so…”
“No, nothing important,” he replied, sounding a bit embarrassed.
“Okay, then you’ll have to excuse us.”
“Sure. I’ll drop by before you leave?”
“If you want to.” I nodded.
“Yeah. I – I guess I’ll go then,” he stated, and after muttering apologies to Vic, he left.
I felt bad for being so strict with him, but I had to do it. And I knew he’d understand.
“I love it when you’re being all dominant.” Vic grinned after the front door slammed shut.
“Well somebody needs to control the two of you. You’re unbelievably stubborn and it’s bloody annoying that neither of you backs down!”
“Hey! I backed down the last time,” she protested.
“No, you blurted something stupid and got embarrassed, so it doesn’t really count.”
“It was not stupid, it was true,” she muttered quietly, but I still heard her.
I let it slide; I didn’t want to end up having that conversation with her now.
“Let’s just get me out of this and into something more me, okay?” I said, glancing in her direction in a pleading way.
Vic smiled and nodded, stepping a bit closer to me so she could help me out of the dress and start removing most of the beautifying charms. I closed my eyes and relaxed, letting her work in silence.
“So, have you thought about your date?” she questioned after awhile.
“What do you mean?”
“You know – what are you going to talk about, what are you going to eat – stuff like that?”
I opened my mouth to comment something, but nothing came out. Did I really have to consider what I could eat?
“I guess not then,” Vic said, judging my answer from my expression.
“Not really. I thought I’d just, you know, go with the flow?” I shrugged.
“What if he starts talking about politics?” Vic asked, making me panic instantly.
Oh lord, what if he really did that? I knew nothing, absolutely nothing, about politics! I wasn’t even certain I knew the name of the current Minister of Magic!
“Run away?” I suggested, grinning in a helpless way.
“Oh sweetie. Maybe just politely say that you practise so much that you don’t have time to follow the politics. And please don’t order something as big as you normally do. It might be embarrassing if your portion is bigger than his.”
Was she trying to frighten me? Because that’s exactly what it felt like. I never needed to think about stuff like that when I dated Quidditch players. They always ate huge dinners and understood that I did too. And we talked about Quidditch because it was just easy and both enjoyed it. But what if Joshua didn’t like Quidditch at all, what would I talk about then? We didn’t even have people we both knew from Hogwarts as he was what, four years older than me?
This would end so badly. He’d never want to see me again.
“I’m sure you’ll do great,” Vic tried to comfort me as she noticed my terrified expression.
But I wasn’t feeling so relaxed anymore.
Come on clock, move faster. I want this torture to end already.
I was sitting on my couch, tapping my leg as I anxiously stared at clock on the wall, waiting for it to hit six.
Ten more minutes.
I was a nervous wreck at that point, stressing over and over about the words Vic had said. Even James’s visit later hadn’t cheered me up, even though he had approved my new look.
I was wearing jeans – my own – and some kind of fancy top that didn’t make my boobs pop out as clearly as the first outfit had. All the beautifying charms had been removed and I had only some lip-gloss on – although I wasn’t going to mention it to Vic that all of it had already sort of gone and I hadn’t added more. My hair was on a simple bun and I looked pretty much normal again.
Vic had been clearly disappointed about my look and probably thought that I didn’t stand a chance.
Oh well, at least I could walk.
My leg was feeling a lot better, thanks to all of the practises I had done during the last few days. It only let me down once in awhile, but I could usually prevent from falling on those cases too.
So everything was fine except the fact that very soon Joshua would be here and get immediately bored of me as all I could think of was Quidditch themed topics. Why hadn’t I thought this through before I said yes to him?
And why had he asked me in the first place? How could he possibly be attracted to me?
Come on now, Gwen. Does it really matter? He’s not going to ask you out again so just be yourself. That way you’ll at least get to eat properly and maybe end the night fast.
Or maybe I should call in sick? No? Okay, maybe I should’ve thought of that earlier than five minutes before he was going to be here, then I could’ve possibly convinced him it was actually true.
The knock on the door interrupted my panicky thoughts as my eyes shot to check the clock. He was early. Why was he early? There was no reason for him to be early!
I slowly made my way towards the door, knees shaking profoundly – something that had nothing to do with my previous injuries – I was just so freaking nervous. As I reached it, I took a deep breath and tried to calm down at least a bit. I didn’t want him to see that side of me.
“Hi,” I said with a small smile after opening the door and getting the first glimpse of the handsome man.
“You look beautiful,” he said, a huge smile lighting his face. I prayed that my knees weren’t making too much noise for him to notice as they knocked together at the sight of his smile.
Honestly, it should be illegal to make one feel this way with just a grin.
“Thanks,” I managed to mumble and wished I hadn’t let Vic tie my hair up; I needed it to cover my blush. “I hope I’m not underdressed or anything. I just didn’t know what to wear since you didn’t tell me where we’re going.”
“It’s a surprise. But you’ll find out very soon.” He chuckled, then held out his hand for me. “Ready to go?”
“Yeah, I’ll just grab my coat.” I nodded, reaching out for my warm, woollen blouse.
“Here, let me help you,” he said, taking the piece of clothing from my hands and helping it on me.
My face felt like it was burning, I wasn’t used to this kind of chivalry at all and was perfectly capable of dressing myself. But I had to admit, it did feel kind of nice.
“I see the leg’s working. How’s is it feeling?” Joshua questioned once we were ready and stepped out to the hallway.
“Better. I can sort of walk with it. It still fails me from time to time, but I guess that I just need more practise.”
“I’m glad to hear that. I guess you haven’t been using the crutches then?” he asked, a small, pleased smile dancing on the corners of his lips.
“Only few times at the start,” I admitted as we reached the elevator and he pressed the button.
A moment of silence lingered over us as we waited for the lift to reach our floor. It didn’t feel uncomfortable, but I still couldn’t help thinking that I shouldn’t let it happen too often. I needed to relax and try to keep up the conversation.
Joshua pulled the grilles open as the elevator arrived and let me step inside first, making the bottom of my stomach tingle as his hand brushed my back softly for a small second. I tried not to let it show as I waited him to push the button on the control board that would take us downstairs.
But he didn’t.
Instead he pulled his wand out and cast a non-verbal spell as some white sparks emerged from the tip of his wand as he tapped the control board. To my surprise, an additional button appeared on top of the others. Before I had time to question anything, he had already pushed the new button and the lift shot upwards.
“What in the world?” I mumbled bewilderedly as the grilles opened a moment later, granting us access to the roof of our apartment building.
“Well, I wasn’t sure how well you were walking already, and I had the feeling that you didn’t want the press to get any pictures of you on a date anyways,” he shrugged, looking a bit pleased about my reaction.
And he should be pleased, because it was perfect.
The sky was clear, the sun still shining even though it was starting to get late. We’d have a clear view of the sunset later. The rooftop was even more amazing. It was like a small garden as there were flowers everywhere I looked. My nostrils were filled with the scent of my favourite kind. How had he known?
“I paid attention,” he replied, even though I hadn’t asked anything, but I guess the question was scribbled all over my face. “Everybody close to you seemed to bring you the same kind of bouquet when you were in the hospital.”
“Aah,” was all I managed to comment as I was at a loss for words.
“You like it?” he asked and I nodded eagerly, not really knowing what else to do.
I was feeling stunned and bewildered that he would go through so much trouble just for me.
“Good,” he grinned, guiding me towards a small table in the middle of all the perfection. Joshua helped me take my coat off and that was the moment when I first noticed that it was abnormally warm on the rooftop, even though it was the start of February. I suspected a powerful heating charm.
Joshua helped me on my chair – once again something I would’ve been perfectly capable of doing myself, but still felt oddly delighted about it. I couldn’t quite point out why. My previous dates had never acted like that, and I had never missed it, but now, it just felt very natural.
I tried not to stare too much when Joshua removed his own trench coat and revealed a white button up shirt. It reminded me that I had never before seen him without a coat or the Healer robes and I could feel myself blushing. He was even more gorgeous and my stomach twisted uncomfortably again.
Why was I on this date? He was so out of my league.
“Here you go,” Joshua said, handing me a menu. “Just pick anything you want and tap them with your wand.”
“Okay,” I nodded, still not able to shake the unpleasant feeling. What I was I thinking when I had said yes?
I studied the list for a few moments and finally just tapped the dishes that sounded most appealing, ignoring Vic’s tip completely. After all, it really didn’t matter.
“Wine?” Joshua asked, and I nodded again, letting him pour me some fine looking elf-made beverage into my goblet.
As he sat down, the first dishes appeared on our plates. I quickly hurried to take a bite of my bread so I would have something to do. I didn’t know what to say. Joshua gave me a smile and took a sip of his drink.
“So, how was your week?” he questioned after awhile, breaking the silence.
“Fine, fine. Didn’t really do anything else than practise,” I replied after swallowing my food. “Yours?”
“Long and busy. Had quite a few Quidditch accidents to take care of, so I’ve been at work all the time.”
“Yeah, the Bats versus the Kestrels game, I read about it,” I nodded. “You had all members there after the brawl?”
“That’s right. At least I don’t have to worry about unemployment for awhile,” he grinned, brushing his blonde locks away.
Damn those eyes were beautiful.
“Or never, we like to injure ourselves on regular basis,” I smiled back, dropping my gaze on my plate before I started to drool.
He chuckled at my response. “Do you miss it much then? Playing?”
“Do I? More than anything. I’m getting more bored every day and I can’t wait to get back on my broom!”
“You should take it slow though,” he pointed out.
“Oh, I know. A few minutes flying practise on the first time and slowly increasing the flight time every time until I’m sure I can handle the broom perfectly again. Healer Smith explained it all already.”
“You’ll know it when you’re ready.” He smiled reassuringly, sensing my frustration about it.
“What about you then?” I questioned, wanting to change the subject as fast as possible. “What do you do when you’re not healing poor Quidditch players?”
“Nothing really.” He shrugged. ”I know, I’m quite boring in that area but I work so much that I really don’t have time for much else. Take walks maybe, and visit my sister, but that’s mostly it.”
“No frequent hot dates then?” I teased, surprising myself a bit how easy it was for me to say it.
He laughed, which was a good sign, and I once again was swooning at the sight. There really wasn’t anything more gorgeous than his smile.
“No frequent hot dates. That’s the down side when you’re sort of married to your job,” he chuckled. “Well no, that wasn’t actually true. I work all the time because I have nothing better to do, and they do need all the help they can get at the hospital.”
“Are there really that much Quidditch injuries?”
“No. I help out at the other wards.”
“Right, didn’t you mention something about being bored of you job?”
“Well bored is not really the right word. I do like my job after all. But there really aren’t that many challenges in my ward.”
“Oh? Where would you like to work then?”
“Spell damage,” he replied immediately. “That’s where they need the creativity the most. To search and invent new spells and rare treatments to help the victims.”
“Sounds interesting. How did you end up at the Quidditch ward then?”
“Honestly? Because of my name. Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? The hospital management thought it would be clever to stick the great-grandson of a famous Quidditch player there as soon as possible to gain some headlines and possibly a donation from the foundation of the said player. Didn’t work, and now I’m stuck there, trying to work my way out.”
“Oh, wow. Well that sucks,” I replied, not really knowing how to respond to that.
“Yeah, well, enough of that,” he said with a small shrug. “Tell me something about your childhood then. Was it happy?” he asked and I felt myself freeze for a moment. We were dangerously close to questions about my family.
“Normal,” I said without additional explanations, just hoping that he would get the hint.
He didn’t. Or maybe he did, but he just chose to ignore it.
“Oh, well… only child, pampered, Quidditch maniac from the moment I was born,” I said, trying to figure out how to avoid the subject. “What about you then? You mentioned something about a sister? Any more siblings?”
“Just the one, Melissa. She’s two years younger than me but we’re still quite close.”
“Tell me about her then,” I asked, deciding that maybe I should be in charge of the questioning so they wouldn’t stray out of my comfort zone.
So I asked more questions about his sister, about his job and his other interests. And with every answer I got from him, I seemed to relax more. We liked surprisingly similar things, like Quidditch, Muggle movies and such.
He was a bit of a perfectionist, never able to leave anything unfinished. I also learned that his best friend in the whole world was his house-elf, Hetty, who apparently knew every thing about him that there was to know.
I barely even noticed the sun setting down and the stars lighting the sky, I was too fascinated by him. Joshua kept answering my questions, an amused smile on the corners of his mouth. But he still replied to every single one of them as well as he could.
“This is not how things were supposed to go,” he said eventually as our desserts appeared on our plates.
“Yeah, I had so many things I wanted to know about you but here I am, rambling about my boring life.”
“Boring? Never. It’s a lot more interesting than mine. And besides, all you have to do is pick up a gossip magazine and you’ll learn everything about Gwen Miller.”
“And how much of that information is actually accurate?”
“Surprisingly much, considering that I rarely give out interviews. But I guess James is the one to blame. He’s more open to answering questions, and people know how close we are. They’re bound to get some information about me too.”
“What’s the deal with him then?”
The uncomfortable feeling bubbled inside of me at his question. Of course he too would think that there was something going on between James and I.
“Nothing, absolutely nothing.”
“I didn’t mean that! I meant how you guys met and became such good friends.”
“Oh…” I commented, feeling the blush creeping on my cheeks. “Sorry. People have been pestering us about it lately so I automatically assumed… Anyways, Quidditch, that’s the answer to that and to everything else that’s going on in my life.”
“No worries, although I have to say that I am pleased with your first answer too. I wouldn’t want to get mixed into some sort of drama. I’ve had enough of that to last a lifetime.”
“I’ll tell you later. It’s not an appropriate discussion for a first date.”
“Oh? When do I get to hear it then?”
“Maybe on our fourth date? Yeah, that sounds about right.”
“I’ll have something to look forwards then,” I smiled and made him chuckle.
“It’s not really that exciting.”
“Well, then I’ll keep guessing if we’ll make it there.”
“What’s your prediction then?” he asked, catching me off guard. I had been trying to avoid all kinds of questions where I could embarrass myself. And I’m sure he had picked that, as he soon continued. “I’m no Seer, but I really hope we will.”
“Me too,” I mumbled, pressing my gaze down but not being able to resist the pleased smile that took over my expression.
He smiled too. “So I’m guessing you’d agree to go out with me again on Tuesday?”
“Yeah,” I hurried to say, wanting it more than anything else at that moment.
“Good.” He beamed happily, placing his hand on top of mine on the table.
He didn’t remove it during the rest of the night and I was certain he could feel my pulse vibrating through it. But I didn’t mind, I wanted to let him know how good I was feeling.
Because never before had that happened and it was making me feel confused, in a good way.
It was quite late when we finally left the rooftop and descended back to my floor. Joshua exited the elevator too and walked me to my door.
My heart was beating faster than ever as I kept anticipating what would happen next. Because he wasn’t like any guy I had dated before, I really couldn’t predict how he would act. Would he want to come inside? I doubted it because he had been such a gentleman for the whole evening. Would he kiss me? I couldn’t tell, but I sure as hell hoped he would.
“So,” he started, stopping in front of me.
“So,” I parroted, a small grin on my lips.
Kiss me. Please kiss me.
“I had fun,” he said, brushing a loose lock behind my ear.
It reminded me a bit of James, as he always used to do that, but I quickly pushed those thoughts away. “Me too,” I replied.
“So I guess I’ll be going then. I’ll see you on Tuesday at five.” His hands found mine and I could feel his thumbs rubbing small circles on my palms.
“Yeah, Tuesday,” I repeated, voice shivering a bit as I was starting to grow a bit impatient.
Come on now, it’s just a small movement. Lean forward already.
But he didn’t.
“Bye,” he said, lifting my right hand and pressing his lips on it.
The bottom of my stomach tickled. It was all sweet, but I needed more. I wanted him to kiss me so badly, my mind wouldn’t satisfy for anything less as it had been the topmost thought in my mind for the last hour or so. But he just smiled, making my knees turn into pudding once again, before he took a step back. And then another one.
I forced the fake smile stay on my lips as long as it took for him to turn around and step into the staircase, but as I turned to open my door I could feel it slowly disappearing.
I was just about to turn the handle and open the door, when I felt a soft touch on my shoulder that made my spun around, only to see the smiling face of Joshua again.
“Okay, so I promised to myself that I wouldn’t rush things, but I just couldn’t leave without this.”
And before I got any chance to react to his words, he pressed his lips on mine. He was kissing me. The gorgeous, dreamy Healer was kissing me and my knee failed me for the first time that night. But it didn’t matter, because my hands were already around his neck and his were around my waist, supporting me as our mouths eagerly became familiar with one another.
It was pure perfection, the way his lips moved against mine so softly. I could taste the different fruits that he had had for dessert in his kiss.
I couldn’t picture anything that would’ve topped what I was feeling at that moment, anything at all. It was the most amazing ending for the best date of my life.
“I’m glad I couldn’t resist,” he whispered against my lips as he finally pulled away.
I could feel that he was smiling and I was too. It was all I could do that moment when I tried to come up with something intelligent to say, but my brains were all a big mush. And it didn’t matter anyways, because even if I had come up with something, we still would’ve been interrupted by a very, very familiar cough.
James was staring at us both as we spun our heads in his direction. He was standing in his doorway, dressed in his favourite jogging outfit, apparently about to go for his late night run.
The insides of my stomach practically turned over at the sight of him and the mixed feelings took over my mind. A part of me wanted to push Joshua away, to rush to James, to tell him it didn’t mean anything. But surprisingly there was another part of me that just wanted to ignore him completely and kiss Joshua again.
I was torn between the two conflicting urges for a moment, but then I paused.
My urge to kiss Joshua again was just as strong as my desire to run into James’s arms, and in that instant, I had hope. Not only for this relationship, but for myself as well; maybe I wasn’t as doomed as I’d thought.
“Mr. Potter, nice to see you again,” Joshua said politely, a kind smile on his lips.
But James didn’t say anything; he was too busy examining Joshua’s hands, still comfortably around my waist. James kept biting his lip and I knew it was only matter of seconds before he’d blurt out something nasty. And I wasn’t letting him ruin this one. Not this time.
“Hi James,” I said, trying to sound as normal and cheerful as possible. It worked – I knew it would – and I managed to turn James’s attention to me. “Going for a jog? Want some company?”
“Sure,” he muttered through gritted teeth.
“Great, give me a moment,” I replied, then turning my attention back to Joshua. “I’ll see you in few days.”
“Can’t wait.” He smiled and ignoring James’s presence completely, gave me another kiss.
I really had to restrain myself so I wouldn’t deepen it, but I knew that would only end with James pulling us apart or something like that.
Honestly, that boy has issues.
Joshua flashed me one last smile, nodded a short farewell to James – who completely ignored it anyway – and then headed towards the staircase again. I pulled my door open, signalling James to get inside my flat. As he passed me, I began to prepare myself for a symphony of complaints as soon as we were alone.
And just like I’d thought, the slam of the door broke James out of his brooding and flung him into his monologue “I told you he wouldn’t be able to keep his hands off you! Sleazy git, that’s not how you act on a first date!”
I wanted to laugh, but instead I just let him ramble. I threw my coat on the couch and kicked off my shoes as I made my way towards my bedroom to change into my sweatpants. James continued his speech about proper behaviour in the living room, blissfully unaware that I wasn’t even listening.
Bloody hypocrite, he was a lot worse with his dates. Hell, he even shagged them before he went on a date with them. But in his opinion, that was a completely different matter, because they were all sluts and I was his ‘sister’, which was exactly why I usually avoided moments like the one in the hall when he was around.
For years, I’d managed to talk myself into believing it was jealousy, that he didn’t like me with anyone else because he wanted me. But boyfriends came and went and he never made any move to change the situation we had. When I’d seen him act the same way towards Lily’s boyfriends –much to her horror – I’d pretty much had no other option than to accept the fact that it was just his overprotective side kicking in, and it had nothing to do with jealousy at all.
But he was still a hypocrite.
If I hadn’t always let my heart fool me into thinking that he actually wanted me, I would’ve told him where to stick it a long time ago. But I never did, I just let him carry on the way he was in the living room.
And why would he stop, since before this date I’ve always let him walk all over my so called relationships? I never cared if one of those worked out in the end, but now I did. But this time I was going to do something about it.
“James,” I called, interrupting the list of very unflattering adjectives that was coming from the next room.
“Yeah?” he questioned, appearing on my bedroom doorway.
“Please don’t ruin this for me,” I said, struggling a bit with the words and not sounding as confident as I would’ve wanted.
“I – what do you mean?” he asked, trying to sound puzzled, but we both knew he was completely aware of what I was talking about.
I let out a sigh and searched for all the self-assurance I could find. “How you always aggravate the guys I’m dating. I really like Joshua and I don’t want you acting all ‘overprotective brother’ and scaring him of.”
“Oh come on, that’s a perfect way to see if the guys are really serious with you so you won’t waste your time on wankers like Lynch!” he protested immediately, rolling his eyes at me.
“Sure, I get that, but please don’t do it this time.”
I was tired. I was so tired of it all.
“And what? Just let him treat you poorly without a word, is that what you want? Because I can’t just sit by and let that happen, Gwen!”
“Well of course not. You have my permission to ‘drive him away’ if he treats me badly. But in the mean time, leave him alone, won’t you?”
I was tired of loving James without success, and I was tired of him ruining any other chance I had to get over him.
“I –“ James started, but quickly closed his mouth. I watched him open and close it couple times more as I waited for his reply. His eyes examined me – to see if I really meant what I’d just said – before eventually nodding once. “Sure, if you want me to.”
That surprised me a bit. I was certain he wouldn’t give up that easily, even though it was me who was asking. “I do. For some odd reason Joshua seems to like me even though he’s completely out of my league. So I’d like to ruin things on my own this time, okay?”
I was tired of waking up on the floor unless he was there, and of him kissing me on the forehead as I slept on his chest, knowing that the word ‘sister’ would be the best I’d ever get.
“You’re mental to even think that,” he shook his head. “He should be feeling like the luckiest man alive right now because he was just on a date with one of the most amazing girls in the whole world.”
Yeah? Why don’t you date me then?
“Right.” I just rolled my eyes at him, not bothering to say anything else.
“I mean it! He should really appreciate…” he started, but I interrupted him immediately.
“Oh, shut up already and let me change.” I faked a chuckle, shooing him away from the room.
I didn’t want to hear his compliments about how fabulous I was, at least not before I could deal with them without getting my hopes up.
Because I had made my decision; I wasn’t going to give up this time, I would win this war against my own feelings once and for all. And for the first time in my life, I felt like I wasn’t just making an empty promise to myself. I was completely exhausted, and I was sick of it all. It had to stop.
A/N: See? I told you I'd be fast this time!
I'd like to thank each and every one of you who have read my story and especially those who have spared a little time for me and left a review ^^ love you all!
Huge thanks to atellam and CambAngst who have once again helped me. I don't think I could ever thank you guys enough! Everybody else should check their stories, because they are just fabulous!
That's all from me this time. Hopefully you liked the chapter! Let me know d:
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