Chapter Five - Breaking Hearts and Unwanted Revelations
I just cannot believe it… Vivian Nott is pregnant. How could James have been so stupid? Besides, I didn’t think they had done… that. They were only together for a few days as far as I was aware. How is this even possible? It takes me a moment to realise James has started talking again…
“… So now I can never be with her, I just cannot see how we can ever make it work. But I love her Eloise, more than I’ve ever loved anyone before… and probably more than I will ever love anyone again.” I have to physically stop myself from flinching at those last words.
“What do you mean James? Surely this just means that you have to stick by her… Be by her side through it all… You’ll have a connection to her that cannot be broken…” Oh Merlin, this is killing me inside, I cannot believe that I have lost James forever… Because it is forever, he will be with Vivian Nott… he will probably marry her… and I will be alone.
“Lou…” he looks at me for the first time, a slightly amused glint in his otherwise sorrow drowned eyes. “… It’s not mine.”
“It’s Al’s… remember? That was why this all started, that was why I ever spoke to her in the first place. Because she slept with Al… she never slept with me.” Oh. Right. Oops. I almost giggle at my stupidity but then I see how much this is hurting James and I am immediately silent. The tension that built up in me when I had thought I had lost him, releases somewhat and I am able to relax enough to pull him back into my arms and let him cry… for the second time in a week. How could Vivian do this to him? I know it’s not really her fault but still….
“James… things will be okay. I know it doesn’t seem like it now and it might not seem that way for a while yet but you will move on, you will find someone else… someone who loves you and needs you, you and no one else.” Like me. I have to bite my lip to stop myself actually saying those words. “Things are the way they are and no amount of tears will change that, I know it hurts, probably more than I can imagine, but it will get better in time.”
“But Lou… I love her.”
“I know honey,” and I love you. “And I’m sure a part of her loves you too but she and Albus, well…”
“…are having a baby,” he finishes for me.
“Yeah.” Oh James, what can I do to make it hurt a little less? “Albus is going to need your help James and I know it is going to hurt you badly to give it to him but you are his brother, his older brother, and he needs you.”
“But she doesn’t love him…”
“You can’t know that… maybe she does in her own, unique way. Besides, at least she will have Albus with her and not some dumbass who would have ditched her completely once he found out. At least you can trust Albus to stand by her side…”
“I think that’s part of the problem Lou… I don’t want him to stand by her side. I want him to ditch her so that I can be there for her instead. It would hardly matter to me that the kid wasn’t mine… I would do anything for her Lou. Anything.”
“But that’s not going to happen, James, and you know it. Albus is better than that. He’s your brother.” My words are harsh and blunt but I can see no other way of getting through to James. I can see his heart is crumbling to dust and I want to help him – I need to help him – I just don’t know how.
“I just cannot believe it… How can I be with anyone else?” he sighs. “I love her.”
I close my eyes to hide my breaking heart. James.
James and I had walked back to the castle in silence, both lost in contemplation. I could not believe Nott was pregnant, it was just such a shock, and that the child was Albus’? It just didn’t fit… Neither of them seem the irresponsible time. However, these thoughts were few and far between, my mind was preoccupied with holding James together.
“Thank you… for always being there for me Eloise, I honestly do not know what I would do without you.” James states as we reach the castle doors. I just smile, trying to hide the joy those words evoke in me… the joy mingled with the bitter knowledge that he will never see me as anything more than the girl who was always there for him. I am just the ‘girl’. Just the ‘friend’.
The days begin to blur together as we prepare for NEWTs and although I have to study hard, I always manage to find time for James. In fact, right now I am on my way to the Library to meet him.
“James… Tell me the truth,” someone says, just around the corner. “I’m one of your best mates; you know you can tell me anything.” I know that voice… Rob Watts. “Is there anything going on between you and Eloise? Actually… what is going on with you and Eloise, because there is definitely something going on? I’m not stupid.”
I freeze in my stance, just outside the Library door. Oh Merlin. This is so not good.
“Eloise? As in Eloise Macmillan?”
“No… as in Eloise Hoodwink, the famous astronomer,” Rob snorts sarcastically.
“Jeez Rob, don’t be stupid!” James laughs, causing a knife like pain to course through my stomach. “Lou is like my sister...!” Clenching my jaw, I try to supress the agony in my chest at his words. I know that is how he feels but that doesn’t stop it hurting. Turning on my heel, I hurry away from the Library as fast as I can, I will make up some nonsense excuse later but right now I cannot be near James… it hurts too much.
And so the weeks pass… studying, daydreaming, comforting, hurting, smiling, laughing. James’ pain begins to lessen although the shadow of loss is still evident on his face, to me at least, everyone else seems to think he has moved on and that the events never particularly bothered him in the first place. I know otherwise.
Outside, summer is well and truly on its way. I wander out to our usual spot to see Callum and Frankie being extremely antisocial again. Rob is lying in the grass a little way off and James and Alice are paying a game of Wizard Chess – which Alice is winning as per usual. Sitting next to Rob, I watch my two best friends. James is smiling, something I haven’t seen him do in a while but the smile doesn’t reach his eyes. It never does anymore. Alice is smiling too, a smile that lights up her whole face as James tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. Oh dear Merlin. What is he doing?
“Hello, Eloise?” Rob is waving a hand in front of my face. “Did you hear anything I just said?”
“I’ll take that as a no,” he laughs. “I said-”
“Lou,” James calls, making me jump. “Come and help me, Alice is way too good at this game, I need back up!” he whines. Forgetting Rob, I jump up and head towards James and Alice. The latter gives me a secretive smile and I frown at her. “You’re amazing,” James tries to mess up my hair as I sit down beside him. My heart gives its customary lurch.
The rest of the afternoon passes in a similar fashion, we all stay down by the lake – the boys (minus Callum) and Alice even go swimming. James tries to throw me in but I threaten to hex him and he backs off, smart move Potter. Frankie and Callum are all over each other; at this rate I will be surprised if she isn’t pregnant by the end of the year.
“Hey Eloise,” Martha Finnigan smiles as she comes to sit beside me. “They are disgusting,” she wrinkles her nose at Frankie and Callum. “Someone needs to tell them to get a room!”
“We’ll get Alice to do when she comes out the water,” I giggle, looking away from the offending couple.
“Who do recon is hotter: James or Louis?” Martha asks with a wicked grin on her face, I shield my eyes and pretend to study the boys jumping off the rocks. I already know who it hotter.
“Louis, definitely,” I lie. “What?” I exclaim at the disbelieving look on her face. “He’s part Veela! I want Veela babies!” I snort in mock indignation. Martha just laughs. “What about you?”
“Probably Louis as well,” she smiles, plucking at the grass by her feet. I can tell she is dying to ask me something, I mean why else would she come over here just to talk to me? I like Martha but we are not particularly friends as such, she is a Gryffindor like James and I know the two of them are quite close, I think they even dated last year. “Um… How’s your brother?” And there you have it - wait, what? My brother?
“What, Rob?” I ask in surprise and she blushes. Ha. That’s funny. “Uh… he’s good, why?” Oh I am so mean but torturing her is just plain funny.
“Uh, no reason,” she mutters. “Is he still with that girl- Fenella or whatever her name was?”
“Fatima?” She nods. “I’m not sure,” I pretend to ponder. He’s not by the way; they broke up a month ago because she cheated on him with some rich guy… I never liked her. “Maybe.” Martha’s face falls. Oh I am cruel. “Oh no!” I almost shout, as if just remembering. “I think he dumped her because she was a skank!” Martha’s whole face lights up and I cannot help but giggle. “I think he might be coming to Hogsmeade in a few weeks…” I trail off and I swear Martha might just burst in a minute.
The door to the dorm creaks open and I sit up straight in bed. It is about bloody time Alice Augusta Longbottom!
“Where have you been?” I hiss into the darkness.
“Why are you still awake?” she hisses back.
“Because I was worried about you!”
“There really was no need, I was with James.”
“Oh Merlin Eloise,” she giggles.
“What do you mean with James?”
“What do you think Lou?”
“No!” she squeals. “We were just making out, that’s it!”
“Night Lou,” Alice sounds happy.
“Night,” I mutter.
Huh? James and Alice? I knew he was flirting earlier but I didn’t think he would… He is still in love with Vivian. Surely he cannot have actually moved on already. He was so torn up. But then again, he is James Potter, he doesn’t do things like everyone else. A part of me is really, really mad at Alice but I supress it because let’s face it, she doesn’t exactly know how I feel about him does she? If she makes James happy again… Maybe it is a good thing… I fall asleep with these thoughts mulling around in my head.
The next morning I am awoken by Alice jumping on my bed.
“Come on Lou!” she whines. “You have to help me look good!” Huh…? I crack my eyelids open to see Alice’s face inches from mine. As punishment for waking me up, I breathe heavily on her. “Eew! Eloise that is disgusting!”
“Serves you right!” She glares at me. “Why do you have to look good anyway?”
“Because of James of course,” she rolls her eyes and my heart squirms. So it wasn’t a dream. Something is actually going on between Alice Augusta Longbottom (my best friend) and James Sirius Potter (the love of my life). Well isn’t that just bloody fantastic. At least with Vivian I didn’t have to hear all the gory details from her – Alice is going to tell me everything, she is that kind of girl. And I am going to have to grin and bear it, pretending that I am completely happy for her and all the while feeling like my heart is being ripped out… Oh boy this is going to be fun. “Oh he is so wonderful Eloise.” And so it begins: operation torture Eloise Grace Macmillan (I’ve really got a thing for middle names today). “And he is such an awesome kisser… I just hope it won’t be weird because I have known him since forever and everyone always thought it would be you he hooks up with but now it’s me,” she sings. “I’m so happy Eloise- Eloise, are you okay?”
Try, uh… no?
Maybe I heard her wrong…
No. No I heard her just fine.
Everyone always thought it would be you he hooks up with… That is what she said. I am not going mad. She said that… right? Me. Everyone.
Oh Merlin please let this not be happening. Make her take it back; I did not want to hear that, I don’t ever want to hear anything like that ever. Everyone thought he would end up with me. I thought I had hidden it so well. I thought no one knew.
“Eloise…?” Alice’s voice sounds distant. “Are you okay?”
“I’m- I’m fine… Just, um, tired…” What a pathetic excuse. Before she can say anything else that might cause me to crumble, I shove my duvet off and stubble into the bathroom, shutting and locking the door behind me.
All the way to the Great Hall, Alice is practically jumping off the walls. Pretending to listen to her ramblings about how perfect James is – I don’t need to be told, I already know – I lose myself to thoughts of all the perfect times James and I have had. It just doesn’t seem fair somehow that I have been in love with him for so long and yet my best friend is the one he goes for… and I just don’t understand how he got over Vivian Nott is quickly. Maybe I read the signals wrong, maybe he was not as into her as I thought I was, maybe he was not actually in love with her at all. But I know James – he has never been that way with any other girl, it just does not fit that he would be over her already.
“Lou, are you even listening to me?” Alice laughs as my expression changes to something akin with a rabbit caught in the headlights. She does not wait for a reply but races ahead into the Great Hall, no doubt to go and suck face with the love of my life.
Wow, that sounded pathetic.
Reluctantly, I follow my best friend into the Hall only to be greeted by the sight of a rather subdued Gryffindor table. James is nowhere to be seen but I spot Albus looking like he wished the ground would swallow him whole. James’ cousin Rose is sitting a few seats down shovelling food into her mouth as if this was her last meal on earth. Even Roxanne looks torn and I always had her down as the one with solutions to any problems. How odd… I wonder what has got the entire extended Weasley family into such downtrodden spirits.
“Eloise!” someone calls from the Hufflepuff table and u drag myself out of my thoughts and head over to where Alice is now talking animatedly with Amanda Smith. “Eloise have you heard?” Amanda exclaims as I join them.
“Heard what?” I frown.
“Al is married,” Alice squeals. Oh dear Merlin. “I just can’t believe it! I’ve known him my whole life, it just doesn’t seem like something he would do! This is absurd! Are you sure Manda? Maybe someone heard it wrong…?”
“No, look,” Amanda pulls out what looks like a copy of yesterday’s Evening Prophet. “See, it says right there: Vivian Iris Nott, daughter of Theodore and Iris Nott, weds Albus Severus Potter, son of Harry and Ginny Potter, 11th May 2022.” I just stare at the words. This is going to kill James. This is what is wrong with the entire Weasley family.
“Who is Vivian Nott anyway?” Alice asks.
“She’s the girl who was with James for a few days after the Easter Holidays,” Amanda explains. “I’d never heard of her before but now she’s everywhere – first James now Albus. That must be awkward!”
“Oh Merlin, her,” Alice’s eyes widen as she remembers Vivian Nott at last. As if on cue, Vivian Nott herself walks into the Great Hall. Almost everyone turns in sync to stare at her only moments before the whispers break out. I watch as she makes her way to the Slytherin table and sits down next to Scorpius Malfoy. I have to admire the way she manages to hold her head high even when she knows everyone is talking about her.
“It gets worse though,” Amanda stage whispers. Alice leans her head a little closer. “Apparently…” she looks around as if to check there is no one listening. “Apparently, she is also pregnant-” Alice gasps. “-with James’ baby.” I watch as Alice’s face falls, she looks heart broken, betrayed, I cannot help but want to ease her pain, especially when I know there is no real cause for it.
“That’s not true,” I sigh reluctantly. “She is pregnant but it’s not James.” Alice’s face perks up a bit but Amanda frowns.
“Well whose is it then?”
“His brother’s… Which I’m guessing is why she married him,” I have to refrain from rolling my eyes at Amanda. She is a nice person but she does love to make a drama out of everything.
“But why would they get married?” Alice asks, a tiny frown etched on her face in concern for her childhood friend.
“I don’t know,” I shrug. “I think her family is quite traditional and would view it as a disgrace for her to have a child out of wedlock… And Albus is a Gryffindor, they are supposed to be chivalrous – he would never let someone suffer if there was something he could do about it,” I reason. “I guess he’s like his dad in that respect.”
During our free period, Alice and I meet James and Louis by the lake. James is acting especially carefree today but I can tell it is just an act. Alice seems to buy it though as she fawns all over him. Louis and I briefly discuss Albus and Vivian, according to him, James already seemed to know. We also watch James and Alice for a bit.
“You’re James’ best friend right?” I ask hesitantly. He nods. “Do you think he is really over Vivian Nott?” Louis turns his usually smiling blue eyes on me and frowns.
“Truthfully? No, I don’t think he is.” I nod, thankful that someone else at least saw what I saw.
“So him and Alice…?”
“Alice is a lovely girl, we grew up together,” Louis begins. “But she is not really the type of girl that would or could make James happy in the long term.” I nod in understanding. “I know she is your best friend so I do not want to insult her in anyway but I think for James, she is just a fling. There is nothing there that would keep them together but I can already see that she has let herself become much more emotionally involved than he has and I’m worried that he is only going to end up hurting her.”
“Thanks,” I smile slightly and Louis looks relieved. “I’m glad someone else sees it too,” I explain.
“Eloise, someone needs to talk to him about it I think and well, the last time I tried he just blanked me and walked off… I think he might listen to you. Do you think you would at least try?”
“Of course,” I sigh. Poor James, he must be having such a hard time right now, especially when half the school still think Vivian is pregnant with his child rather than Albus’.
My opportunity to talk to James alone does not come until the following day when Alice goes to help Hagrid with something. We are just sitting in our usual spot by the lake and he is lying in the grass with his eyes closed, I do not want to disturb his peace but I know I have to.
“James…” I begin hesitantly. He just hums in reply. “James, we need to talk… about Alice.”
“What about Alice?”
“James, I know that to you, Alice is just another fling but she thinks it’s something more, I think you need to talk to her so that you’re both on the same page – I just don’t want either of you getting hurt,” I explain.
“Who says Alice doesn’t mean something to me?” he asks and I can tell he is going into his stubborn mode.
“James… I know you are still in love with Vivian Nott.” I spit the words out in a rush, they have to be said but I hate the pain I know they will cause him. Why? Why do I always have to be the one to talk to him about these kinds of things? When he does not reply, I carry on. “You cannot just use a girl like you are using Alice, she thinks you genuinely care about her – and I’ve no doubt that you do but not in the way she thinks you do. It’s not fair on either of you and this will only end badly if you don’t sort it out.”
James does not reply. In fact, he gets up, shrugs and walks off. Looks like I had the same amount of success as Louis. I hate seeing him like this… he has just become so disinterested in the world and it is killing me inside. I wish there was something I could do to help him. I wish that this stupid fling with Alice would help him but I cannot put one person’s happiness before another’s and this fling is only going to hurt Alice and I cannot let that happen.
Once again, I find myself lying on my bed staring at the ceiling. When did my life get so complicated? I wish I could just go back to the days when James was my best friend (who I just happened to be in love with) and he was happy and Alice as dating the Gryffindor a couple of years above us and the only thing we had to worry about was our OWLs. Those were the simple days.
Jolting me from my thoughts, the door to the dormitory slams open and Alice comes tumbling in with tears streaking down her face. Sometimes I wish my best friend did not always wear her heart on her sleeve.
“Alice, what’s wrong?” I ask although I suspect I already know.
“He just dropped me-” she chokes through more tears. “Like I never meant anything to him. He just ended it. he was so blunt. He wouldn’t even look me in the eye… it was like he didn’t even care that he was hurting me!” she sobs, collapsing on my bed. I pull her into my arms and stroke her hair, trying to calm her. “He said he wasn’t interested and that he never had been! He used me Lou! James Sodding Potter used me! I thought I would be different because I was his friend, I thought that maybe that would actually mean something to him!” she continues to cry and I can do nothing but rock her gently and wait until she has run out of tears.
At last, Alice stops crying and falls asleep, exhausted. I tuck her into my bed before creeping out of the dormitory. Slipping unnoticed out of the common room, I head towards the Astronomy Tower. I have long ago given up trying to figure out how I always know where James is, it has become second nature to me now. I think I just know him too well… Much better than he knows me. He is standing by the edge, leaning out and gazing over the grounds.
“James,” I hiss into the darkness. He jumps, startled, before recognition appears on his beautiful features. “How could you do that to her?” I hiss again and he frowns. “Alice has spent the last hour crying her eyes out because of you, you insensitive jerk!”
“I can’t believe you, she is your friend! Couldn’t you have just talked to her and explained everything? Why did you have to be so blunt about it? Couldn’t you see you were hurting her?”
“Eloise!” he snaps. “I don’t get what the problem is?” he sounds angry. He never sounds angry towards me.
“The problem James? You just broke my best friend’s heart!”
“You told me to!” he protests.
“No I didn’t!” I exclaim, outraged. “I told you not to hurt her! And then you go and do this?”
“What are you talking about Eloise? You said that I should end things between me and her so that she wouldn’t get hurt and that’s exactly what I’ve done so don’t go and turn this on me when you were the one who told me to do it in the first place!” he shouts. I am shocked into silence for a minute at the way he has twisted my words from earlier.
“James-” I choke out.
“You need to sort yourself out Eloise because right now you aren’t making any sense to me and I can’t be dealing with this. I simply did what you told me to do and now you’re mad at me for doing it. I thought you would always be here for me but clearly I was wrong.” James’ voice drains of any emotion as he talks and with the last knife like sentence, he walks past me, not even looking at me, and back into the castle without another word.
Well done James Potter, you just broke two girls’ hearts in one evening.
Sorry for the horrifically long wait, please forgive me I had really bad writers block for this story but here it is... I'm not overly impressed as this chapter is the work of several attempts, I hope it all makes sense but please correct me if it doesn't, I just wanted to post it for you all. Thanks for reading,