Chapter 9 : First Date
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With my heart fluttering and my face feeling increasingly warm, I headed to Hogsmeade with Al. I giggled incredulously in my mind as I thought about my situation. If anyone would have told me a year ago, or even during summer, that this is where I’d be and who I’d be with, I would have died of laughter. Though now that I was here with him, I couldn’t be more thrilled.
We arrived in the middle of the hustle and bustle within a few minutes. Various Hogwarts students were making their way in and out of the shops, talking loudly in groups and shopping for the latest things, or more specifically looking for the best prices on those things. The problem with Hogsmeade was that it primarily was used by Hogwarts students and didn’t get many other people, therefore, the prices were extremely high and sales were a joyous occasion to behold.
As we window-shopped, Al’s hand kept brushing up against mine. At first I thought it was an accident, but it continued to happened several times. On each occasion he would mumble an apology and the tips of his ears would go red. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing at his embarrassment, though I also found it endearing and cute. This little fact didn’t keep me from taking the mickey out of him for it.
I huffed in fake annoyance and put my hand in my pocket. Al’s eyes widened slightly.
“Ugh. Something keeps brushing against my hand. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about it, would you?” I asked with mock innocence. He stammered an unintelligible reply while his ears reddened further. I burst out in a fit of guffaws.
“If you want to hold my hand,” I said in between giggles, smirking at his embarrassed face, “Then hold it.” His ears flushed again, but this time he took my hand in his, rubbing his thumb over it gently.
“Sorry,” he apologized and then continued awkwardly. “I’m not really sure how this whole... thing works. I never date the girls that I’ve... well, you know.” I just stood up on my tip-toes and went to kiss him on the cheek, but instead he turned his face and I kissed his lips (not that I’m complaining). This caused him to smirk and to look a little more relaxed and like his normal self, though he wore a silly, self-satisfied grin on his face.
We continued our stroll in silence until Al spoke up.
“So, where to first?” I looked from shop to shop before deciding where to go.
“How about your uncle’s joke shop? I always love that place,” I suggested enthusiastically.
“As you wish,” he said with a melodramatic flourish of his hand. I giggled and tugged on his hand, leading him to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, feeling happy that he had obviously gotten over his previous nervousness.
Upon reaching George’s joke shop, I was in awe. In fact, every time I went there, I was speechless. The place was addictive and I felt like a kid in a candy store… which I kind of was, if I wanted to have a nose bleed or an upset stomach.
There were rows of various fireworks, candy, potions and other magical mischief-making devices. He even had a small section of muggle “magic” tricks for those people who had a fascination with muggle items, such as his dad, Arthur.
I felt like I was a little child again and I had the urge to run off into the store and try out everything in sight, but I didn’t want to let go of Al’s warm hand.
“I know you want to look at everything, Allie,” said Al looking highly amused. “Go ahead. I don’t mind.” I yanked on his arm.
“I will if you come with me. Please?” I put on my best puppy face. He snickered.
“You shouldn’t do that,” he said between snorts. “You look like a fish.” I just stuck my tongue out at him like the mature person I am. Despite my “fish face” (though I still maintain that it was a puppy face), Al followed me to check out the new merchandise.
For what seemed like forever, I dragged him through aisle after aisle, examining every single item that was in the store with complete fascination. Then, in the middle of my inspection, a man’s voice called out to Al.
“Albus Severus Potter,” boomed a jovial voice. “You just waltz into my joke shop and don’t say hello your favorite uncle.” We turned around to see George trying, but not succeeding, to look stern. The corners of his mouth kept turning upwards until he couldn’t hold it in anymore and he smiled brightly.
Al just scowled.
“Where? I don’t see Uncle Percy here,” he said mockingly. George just raised his eyebrows, not believing him for a second.
“We both know that’s not true. I’m for sure you’re favorite uncle. Percy is just a boring and pompous prat. Don’t make me say your full name again,” he threatened. I snickered silently.
“Really, Uncle Georgie-Porgie? Don’t say my full name. I’m on a date,” he whispered, even though I could full well hear him, and he pointed to me with his thumb. George ignored the jab at him and turned his attention to me for the first time and looked surprised to see me.
“Alice? I didn’t see you there. Nice to see you again. Are you and Neville and Hannah coming over to the Burrow for Christmas this year?” he asked, making light conversation, but I could see a mischievous gleam in his eyes that meant he was formulating a plan and going to say something embarrassing about our date.
“Yeah,” I nodded. “Harry invited us just last week. Mum told me in her letter,” I told him warily, trying to figure out what he was planning. George nodded and then turned his full attention to Al again. He put an arm around his nephew’s shoulders.
“And I see you finally agreed to give this poor bloke a chance. I must say, Allie, you could do much better. My Fred is much better looking than my nephew,” George joked as Al gave him a death glare.
“I think Al looks great,” I stated simply and smiled at Al. George just chuckled.
“Well, of course you do. Don’t think I haven’t seen you checking him out during the past few years,” he informed me with a waggle of his eyebrows. I flushed furiously and stammered as I tried to get words out of my mouth.
“I was just taking the mickey out of you guys. Mostly, I’m just surprised that you finally got up the courage to ask Allie on a date. That’s good. It only took you six years.” Al glared at him more (Merlin, if looks could kill…), but George pretended not to notice and went on.
“But at least you did it sooner than Ron. He took seven years, the spineless git. You’ve got to love him though. Oh, and you didn’t need to get your knickers in a twist over the whole name thing. She knows your whole name already, so you can stop worrying that she won't snog you because you have a wonky name," George finished. Al’s mood perked up and he appeared smug.
“Well, actually we had this arrangement before about—,” he started, but I stomped on his foot before he could tell his uncle about that embarrassing situation. Al cried out and grabbed his foot, hopping up and down. I just smiled innocently at George who was looking very amused.
“Well, it was great seeing you George. I’ll be there at Christmas. Good luck with everything. Bye,” I said hurriedly before dragging Al out of the store by his arm, blushing furiously.
This time, as we were out of George’s sight, it was Al’s turn to laugh hysterically. He was bent over with his hands clutching his stomach and sounded out of breath.
“That is so not funny, Al,” I said, trying to glare at him, but he just looked so bloody gorgeous that it was really hard. I could feel my frown turning into a smile. He took a minute to contain his laughter.
“Yeah it is,” he argued and then continued laughing. “Why does it matter if you practically assaulted me a few times, Allie? George doesn’t care.” I stuck my tongue out at him and smack him in the chest (Even though he probably didn’t feel anything because his chest is rock hard. Bloody quidditch players.).
“But I do. I just don’t want him, and your family for that matter, to think that’s all we are. I don’t want them to think that I’m just another floozy,” I shrieked worriedly, truly wanting to make a good impression on his family. Even though I’d be met them countless times, this was the first time I was talking to them as Al’s...
What were we? I pondered this for a second before Al put his arm around my shoulders, taking me out of my train of thought.
“They would never think that. My whole family knows that I’ve had a crush on you since... well, since forever, basically, so they would never think anything bad about you. Don’t fret, Allie, both you and my family know how I feel about you,” he reassured as if it was no big deal, but a guilty feeling came up again. I quickly shoved it aside. I really liked him, but when he brought up his feelings, I couldn’t reciprocate them. After years of fighting with him, love just didn’t come naturally to me.
“Plus,” he continued on, “they already love you, you know that. Mum always used to try to teach us better manners whenever you used to come over when we were kids because you were so “respectful” and “courteous” and we were “embarrassing little tots that ate like pigs”. It was bloody irritating.” I couldn’t help but smile widely and roll my eyes.
“Fine, Al, but I’m pretty sure that if they thought I was just using you for a quick snog, they wouldn’t love me anymore,” I said, being realistic.
“Oh, so that’s why you’re here?” he said with fake offense, putting a hand on his chest. I felt a grin make it’s why onto my face, but I still rolled my eyes.
“No. ‘Course not, but they don’t know that.”
“Psh, details, details. But enough of that. Why don’t we head to the Three Broomsticks next, yeah?” he asked. I sighed and nodded as we moseyed on down to the Three Broomsticks.
Once inside, we squished into one side of a booth in the back of the room and ordered two butterbeers from the old landlady, Rosmerta, who inquired about Al’s family and how he was doing.
A few minutes later, she handed us our drinks and then we were alone again, or at least as alone as you can be in a packed pub. The main thing was that no one was talking directly to us or sitting at our booth.
“So, Allie. I was thinking that this is going really great, but I could definitely use a little snogging time to make it better,” he said smirking as he winked at me.
“Really?” I asked, deciding to have a little fun with this. I sighed dramatically. “I don’t know, Al. I wouldn’t want you to feel assaulted or anything.” Now I was the one smirking. His face became serious and he brushed a strand of my blond hair behind my ear.
“So you don’t want to?” he asked in a husky voice, his face getting closer and closer to my own. I couldn’t speak and my heart pounded in my chest, so I just shook my head.
“Really?” he questioned again, letting his hand trail down my neck to my back and finally resting on my waist. It felt like a fire where ever he touched me. Again, I just nodded my head in response.
“Liar,” he said, smirking. Then, before I could respond with some brilliant head nodding communication (Notice the sarcasm?) he crashed his lips onto mine. Both his hands were on my waist, pulling me towards him. I ran mine through his ever-messy, jet black hair. His tongue entered my mouth and... We were interrupted. Why in the name of Merlin does that always seem to happen?
We stopped because we heard a girl clear her throat and a boy yell, “PDA! PDA!”
“Bloody hell,” I heard Al mutter under his breath. The two figures that were standing by our table were Sophie and Cole, both looking highly amused.
“I’m guessing you’re enjoying your date,” Cole stated, rather than asked with a smirk on his light brown face. I blushed red while Al just mumbled something along the lines of “I was”. Cole gave an even wider smirk, that gave resemblance to the one Al usually has and Sophie was attempting to hide a smile and a snicker, but losing at that enormously.
“So, are you two enjoying your date?” I asked coyly, hoping to change the subject. Sophie turned pink, but Cole looked unashamed and put his dark, muscular arm over her shoulder.
“Obviously,” he said. “I’m with the most amazing girl in Hogwarts. No offense, Allie.”
“None taken,” I replied and looked at the couple sitting across from us. They looked so cute and were obviously smitten. I couldn’t help but smile.
“Do you guys have any plans for today?” asked Sophie. “Cole and I couldn’t think of anything to do and were wonder—“
Shards of glass flying towards us as the windows broke stopped her mid-word. I could feel the glass shards cutting the right side of my face and body. Al pulled me down under the table until the windows stopped breaking and we stood up to see what was happening.
The door to the Three Broomsticks slammed open and in walked some familiar faces, wands raised. They were the ones that haunted my dreams last night, the ones that were supposed to be dead and gone, and the ones I had seen attacking that muggle family in the Daily Prophet. Death Eaters.
Their silver, shimmery masks gleamed in the light and their dark robes swayed as they silently and slowly stepped into the pub.
Everyone stopped what they were doing, seemingly frozen in place. The only things moving were the eyes of everyone in the pub, watching each move the death eaters took, ready to spring into action. Some looked terrified, their eyes searching for an escape, anyway to avoid the violence that was sure to come. Others had their hands reaching for their wands that were tucked away in pant pockets, fingers itching for a fight. For the time being we just stared at the daunting, masked figures in the door way in anticipation of what was to come.
Then all hell broke loose and the curses started to fly.
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