Chapter 16 : Chapter Sixteen - Out of Luck
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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or anything else that you might recognize.
Chapter sixteen – Out of Luck
“Erm, Gwen?” Joshua’s voice pierced through my dreams.
I opened my eyes slowly and blinked a few times, trying to get my surroundings to focus. Everything was still dark – mostly thanks to the closed curtains, but there was no bright light coming through the small crack between them. Was it even morning yet?
I wanted to close my eyes again and fall back to sleep, the dream had been so good and I hoped I could continue it again.
“Gwen?” Joshua repeated, reminding me that he had wanted something.
“Yeah?” I muttered dreamily and suppressed a yawn. This whole injury business had really ruined my sleeping routine, I didn’t know how I would be able to get up for our early Quidditch practises when I was finally able to play again.
“Why are you on the floor?”
Okay, that woke me up.
I might have forgotten to mention about my little sleeping problem to him.
I shot up to a sitting position, glancing in Joshua’s direction a bit embarrassedly. He was in my bed, a puzzled look had taken over his gorgeous features – I did a little mental swoon at the sight of his bed-hair look.
“Umm, I have a bit trouble staying still when I sleep and I always find myself from the floor every morning. Not a big deal.”
“Aha… Have you ever talked to a Healer about your problem?”
“Sure, sure, but there’s no real reason for it. Apparently I’m just odd.”
He smiled and I stared at the gorgeous dimples on his cheeks once again. “Well Miss Oddness, not that I don’t appreciate the view, but would you like to come back to bed?”
Shit. I should’ve realised that!
Luckily it was dark so Joshua couldn’t see humiliation too clearly when I picked my – naked – self from the floor and slipped back under the sheets with him.
“Hi,” he whispered as he pulled me closer to kiss my forehead, chuckling at my awkwardness at the same time. “I have to say, this was the most interesting wake up I’ve experienced in awhile. Is it going to be like this every morning?”
“Oh, shut up,” I muttered, punching him softly and making him laugh.
“Anymore weird habits I should know about?”
“Probably, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise.”
“See, that’s why I like you. Everything is so exciting with you, even the simplest things like waking up.”
I just beamed happily and pressed my head against his bare – and unbelievably fit – chest. Apparently it wasn’t just Quidditch players who looked like freaking sculptures.
“Why are you up already? I thought it was your day off?” I questioned after finding a comfortable position.
“It is, but I need to drop by at work. I have some reports to fill out that I should’ve done yesterday but then I would’ve been late and I couldn’t keep you waiting. I really thought I was going to spend the night in my own bed, so I didn’t see any harm in it. My Divination studies back at Hogwarts did nothing to help me foresee this. I probably should’ve studied harder.”
“Am I sensing that you’re regretting your actions yesterday, then?”
“Oh no, not at all. How could a morning in bed with my gorgeous girlfriend ever beat filing reports?”
The bottom of my stomach tickled at the word girlfriend.
He had been cheesy and awkward and absolutely adorable when he had officially asked it last night. Even the fact that he had done that made me grin stupidly. I couldn’t remember anybody actually asking me before – things had always just evolved to that point. But Joshua apparently wanted to do everything properly.
I couldn’t help but smile as I relived it in my mind.
“Well, if you really think that, then you’d better be on your way already,” I said and ran my fingers across his abs. He tensed at my touch and I could hear the small, sharp breath he took.
“I take it all back, just please stop doing that,” he muttered into my hair.
“Because I will be late if I don’t soon get up, and if you continue that, I won’t be able to leave.”
I let out a small hem and continued; I wasn’t going to let him go easily.
Apparently he wasn’t in that much of a hurry as I soon felt him wrap his arms around my waist and pull me on top of him. He kissed me passionately and I smiled against his lips as I realised this was exactly what I had been dreaming about before he woke me up.
After a minute – or maybe ten – of some heated snogging, he let out a very frustrated groan. “You’re evil,” he complained amusedly as he rolled us over and pulled away from me.
I just chuckled and tried not to drool too much as he got out of the bed and started to collect various pieces of clothing from the floor.
“Any recollection where my pants and other shirt might be?” he asked after awhile.
I pushed myself into a sitting position and scanned the floor. “No idea. Maybe living room?” I suggested after a fruitless search.
“You think?” he said unsurely, still glancing around the bedroom. “I’ll have to check.”
“Do you want me to make you breakfast?” I asked, hoping that there was something in my food closet that might count.
“No thanks, I don’t usually eat breakfast. Other than coffee, but I get that from the hospital cafeteria.”
Aww, he was just as weird as I was when it came to that. I wouldn’t have to spend hours explaining that I lost my entire appetite if I tried to eat something on the morning.
“Positive. It’s part of my morning routine. They’d probably get worried if I missed a day.”
“Okay then.” I chuckled at his obsession and stared at his retreating back as he left the bedroom.
Fine, that was a complete lie. I kept staring at his arse the whole time. I wondered if he would consider going pants-less more often.
“I found the shirt but the pants aren’t here,” he called after awhile and then continued amusedly: “I’m blaming you for this.”
“Because you were the one who took them off.”
He might have a point there.
“I’ll help.” I promised, climbing out of my bed and pulling the sheet with me so I could cover myself.
I joined Joshua and together we searched the whole living room, eventually finding the missing pants behind the couch. Apparently we had been in a hurry to get rid of all the clothing that was in our way.
Joshua excused himself to the bathroom and I started to make myself some coffee so I’d be ready when James eventually came to pick me up. I had promised to help Kat move her stuff. I wasn’t really looking forwards to that and would’ve rather stayed home. Luckily I had some time to practise my fake smile and my act.
As always, fate seemed to have other plans for me.
“Oh great, you’re up already!” James said, startling me as he walked in.
Why, Merlin, why?
“What’s with the toga?” he cocked an eyebrow at my outfit and I became perfectly aware of the lack of clothing I was wearing underneath it – I just hoped that the sheet wasn’t a see-through.
“Erm…” was all I managed to mutter.
But I guess he wasn’t even expecting an answer from me as he was already changing the subject. “I just came to check whether you had anything to eat. My closet is practically empty,” he complained, pulling the cupboard door open.
I glanced nervously in the direction of the bathroom, hoping that Joshua would take his time and not come out before I managed to get rid off James – how I’d succeed in that, I had no idea.
“Make me an omelette, will you?”
“I – sure… at your place? You can head there already and I’ll just change my clothes…”
“In fact, I’d like to keep my kitchen clean. I took your advice and cleared few drawers. And tidied the place up! Are you proud?”
“I – you actually cleaned? That’s a first!”
James never really mastered the household charms the way I did.
“Har, har, har.” He rolled his eyes at me.
“I need to see that! We’re definitely going to your place now! I’ll promise to clean up if I make a mess.”
He turned to look at me and I could tell he was eying at me suspiciously. “Why do I get the feeling that you’re trying to make me –” he fell silent for a moment as his eyes concentrated on something behind my shoulder. “Is that your bra on the kitchen counter?”
What?! How did that end up there?!
“Maybe?” I said, squinting my eyes a bit.
“Why is your bra – he’s still here, isn’t he?” James made the conclusion pretty quickly and glanced in the direction of the bedroom. I just nodded as an answer and became even more embarrassed as his eyes dropped on my outfit and he seemed to realise what was underneath it – or more to the point, what wasn’t.
“Right. I – sorry. I didn’t realise, you’ve never let the guys stay the night so I just assumed… sorry,” he mumbled and glanced away from me quickly.
That was actually true, it was usually me who stayed over. I should’ve told him yesterday that I was planning this.
“It’s fine!” I hurried to say, but I wasn’t sure if he heard me since his head turned towards the bathroom as Joshua had decided to use that moment to emerge from there.
I prayed to every single old, dead witch and wizard that James would actually behave for once and preferably not break any bones of my boyfriend’s body.
“Good morning,” Joshua said before settling to lean on the counter.
“I – err, morning,” James replied. “I should probably go, I’m disturbing – I’ll see you soon, Gwenny?”
I stared at James, feeling stunned. He was actually behaving? He was just going to leave like that?
That had never happened before!
“Oh, no need to hurry because of me! I need to go. I’m already late from work.”
“Right… but still, you’ll need to say goodbye and all…”
I could tell that he wanted to say something nasty, all the stuttering revealed it as he was trying hard to act polite but was not used to it. I felt really pleased that Joshua was standing a few feet away from me and wasn’t claiming me like property as so many of my exes had done, James would’ve probably exploded if that was the case.
“No, really, I insist. We’ll have plenty of time later, right Gwen?”
“That’s settled then! Have fun at the game,” he beamed at me before turning back to James again. “Nice seeing you again, Mr. Potter.”
I watched my best friend let out a small sigh. “James. Mr. Potter is my dad.”
Joshua’s smile brightened a bit. “Right, James then.”
“Yeah, nice seeing you too. We should – hang out more, you know, since you’re dating my best friend now and all?”
“Sure, just let me know when and where.”
“You could come to the game with us today, if you’re not too busy and it’s okay with Gwen?” James glanced in my direction and a small grin rose on his lips as he saw my bewildered expression.
“Oh, I don’t want to intrude, it’s your thing after all,” Joshua said politely, sending me one of those gorgeous smiles of his.
“No, really, you wouldn’t be intruding,” James hurried to reassure.
“Thanks, but I really have to pass this time. I’m meeting my sister later today anyways.”
“Fair enough.” James nodded. “Some other time then.”
Joshua came to give me a quick kiss and I promised to let him know when I was back at home again – one never knew how long the Quidditch games took. The blonde man then said his farewells to James too before leaving my flat.
I turned to look at James and narrowed my eyes a bit. “Okay, spill it. Who are you and what have you done to my best friend?”
James just rolled his eyes and started to collect the ingredients for omelette making from my closet. He was grinning though. “It’s nice to know that I still manage to surprise you after all these years.”
“I’m serious! My best friend has never and I mean never acted so maturely around my boyfriends before!”
James let out a sigh. “I won’t deny it was hard, but I promised, didn’t I?”
“Yes,” I admitted, “but when have you ever held a promise like that before?”
“Oi! I have never broken a promise to you!” he stated and then cursed as he managed to drop an egg on the floor.
“Okay fine, but still! I would’ve never believed that you could do it! I’m in awe!” I said as I shoved him away from the supplies before he ruined his breakfast completely. “There’s a catch, isn’t there?”
“No. It’s just, you really seem to like him… and he saved your life so I guess he can’t be that bad,” he told me and shrugged.
“I’m still not buying it.”
“You’re happy with him?”
“I – yeah,” I replied but kept staring at the eggs in my hands as I felt like I couldn’t face his intriguing eyes.
“Happier than with anybody else?”
I nodded even though that wasn’t completely true. There was one person I probably could’ve been happier with but that wasn’t even a possibility.
“Then I’m happy for you, at least until I see him treat you in a way you don’t deserve, then I won’t promise to behave.”
I snorted. “And there’s the James Potter I know and love, you had me worried already.”
“Aren’t you the hilarious one today…”
A small smug smirk took over my expression. “I’m always hilarious, you just have a crappy sense of humour if you fail to see that.”
“Oi! You take that back!”
“Or what? You’ll tickle me? Good luck with that!” I said, laughing at the only ‘torturing’ method he could use now that I was still injured.
“I have succeeded on that!” James pointed out. “Or have you already forgotten Hayden’s party?”
Shit. Did not remember that one! Why did I have to say it tickled? Should’ve come up with another excuse!
“Aah, but you promised you wouldn’t do that anymore, so you’d be breaking a promise if you did!” I said in my pitiful attempt of making him drop the subject. I did not want his lips anywhere near my neck.
“I – Dammit!” he cursed, but then I saw a mischievous glint in his eyes that never promised good. “Then I’ll steal your toga!”
“What? No!” I protested immediately, backing away from him to a safe distance.
He chuckled. “Afraid, are we?”
“I’ll take it back! You have the best sense of humour in the world!”
“Hmph, some Gryffindor you are. I’m disappointed, Gwenny!”
I just rolled my eyes at him as I grabbed my bra from the counter and walked into my bedroom.
“Hey, what about my breakfast?” he called after me.
“It can wait, I’m not taking any risks.”
He fell silent for a moment. “Isn’t that a bit pointless?”
I turned to look at him with a questioning expression from the doorway. “And why is that?”
He was smirking smugly. “Because that sheet really doesn’t cover anything, so I’ve already seen everything you could show me.”
Worst day of my life.
Would it really be that horrible if I succeeded in one little thing today?
Apparently so as every single thing I’ve done has failed.
Like my idea of helping Kat move. Big mistake. I spent almost an hour outside of her flat, waiting as she had a ‘discussion’ about me with James. I don’t think there was a neighbour in ten miles radius that didn’t hear what she thought about me and my motives for helping.
Eventually James managed to talk her over and they let me in – luckily. All her shouting had started to gather an audience and I was gaining some rather nasty glances from a little old lady who lived next-door from her.
Things didn’t get any better inside though. Kat kept following me and watching my every move, making sure I didn’t snoop around her stuff. Honestly, that girl has some real issues about me. But at least it wasn’t a complete waste of my time; I did learn some things about Kat, regardless of her breathing in my neck all the time.
She liked to draw. I accidentally managed to drop one of her folders while levitating it and a bunch on her drawings scattered all around the floor. They were really good, at least from what I gathered from the two seconds I had time to look at them. Kat sort of exploded at me because of that and quickly hid them from my view so I wouldn’t see any more of them.
Other thing was that she really liked Quidditch and not just because of James. There were a lot of Quidditch based things in her apartment; many books that were in my bookshelf too, a really cool Bludger shaped alarm clock and some more amazing stuff that could’ve easily belonged to my or James’s flat.
That made me realise that I’d actually have something to talk about with her if I tried. But it also made me wonder why she hadn’t ever joined our discussions when they were together the first time. Was she just being polite? I really hoped not, because it made me feel a bit bad as I had been keeping those conversations up to annoy her and keep her silent.
Another big explosion came when we finally made it back to James’s flat and Kat found out that James was planning to spend the rest of the day with me. I guess I couldn’t blame her for that at all, she did have a point. It was her first day there. They should’ve spent it together.
I tried to back out of it – to tell James that we could do it another day – but it was his turn to be impossible. He didn’t give in, but he promised Kat that he’d spend the next day with her after he told his parent about the baby.
After that she calmed down a bit. She barely said a word to me when James left us together to pick up some lunch. She just kept unpacking her clothes and even let me put her books in the shelf without keeping an eye on me.
And she didn’t even make a scene when we left, but she did give me a nasty glance. I couldn’t really blame her for that one.
The latest nasty surprise came when James and I got to the Quidditch stadium and entered our team’s locker room. Our teammates were all smiles and cheers, as was Coach, but after all the happy greetings, the first thing he did was push a parchment into my hands with the schedule of my public appearances to boost my image.
I had thought they had forgotten all about it because of my accident, but I guess they had just been waiting for me to get better. I did let Coach know exactly what I thought about it, but he just chuckled and patted my back telling me that he had missed me so much.
He was lying. Clearly he hated me or he wouldn’t make me go through this.
“I mean come on, they expect me to go to Hogwarts? I can’t do that alone!” I complained as James and I left the locker room and I was examining the parchment more thoroughly.
“Why would you ever complain about that? I’d love to go to Hogwarts again!” James questioned, snatching the list from my hands.
“Well yeah, it’s not the castle itself I’m bothered about, it’s the students. How many of them do you think will actually ask Quidditch based questions?”
“It’ll be fine. Coach promised that you didn’t have to answer those. So stop sweating over it so much and think of how much fun it’ll be to see the school again. Hey, do you think they got rid of all that icky stuff from the Dungeons?”
I chuckled at the memory. It had been such a perfect prank, I never could forget the look on that poor Slytherin’s face who opened their common room door and got the full blast of it. I wondered if he got rid of it all.
Freddy and his little inventions, he really took after his dad.
“James!” a familiar voice suddenly called as we were trying to get past the public areas as fast as we could without being recognized. I resisted a frown as I turned around to see the same face that I had already been staring at for far too long that day.
“Kat? What are you doing here?” James asked in a hushed voice, glancing around a few times to make sure nobody had noticed. Luckily no one was paying any attention. They were all staring at the other end of the lobby, hurrying toward corridors that led to the stands. There seemed to be some trouble; I could see the orange robes of the security wizards.
Probably just some drunken fans were fighting, that was the most common cause of trouble around here. That, or bookies trying to make illegal deals, but I never wanted to think about that. Reminded me too much of my dad.
“Oh, well since you were busy and I didn’t want to spend my whole day unpacking. I owled Dylan and he was coming here so I decided to join him. I had no idea that you’d be here too,” Kat answered, batting her eyelashes a bit too innocently.
I was certain she had known exactly what we were going to do and wanted to ruin it.
Or maybe I was just paranoid.
“Would you like to sit with us?” Kat continued.
“Thanks, but we’re going to our team’s stand. More privacy you see,” James explained.
“Maybe we could come there too, or don’t you want to sit with your girlfriend?” another voice asked and we all turned around to see Dylan, Kat’s best friend, approaching us.
I curled my fingers into a fist immediately, remembering my last encounter with him.
“I’d appreciate if you didn’t shout my personal stuff quite that loud,” James hissed at him as the black-haired man reached us.
“And I’d appreciate if you treated my best friend a bit better,” Dylan retorted, a smug grin on his lips. “Because you’ve been quite a twat lately, don’t you think?”
I wanted to punch him so much, I could feel my nails digging into my palm as I clenched my fist hard. That really wasn’t a good idea as there were so many people in the lobby who would surely notice and I didn’t want them to see me. This was after all my first public appearance after the accident.
I kept distracting myself from Dylan by trying to study the people who were moving forward in slow queues.
“That is none of your business.” James snapped. I knew he loathed Dylan just as much as I did. He had told me that after the last encounter.
“Oh? So you can defend your best friend but I can’t?” Dylan asked in a mocking tone and sent a small wink in my way.
James was practically shaking with rage and about to explode, something that really wouldn’t be wise, especially since my eyes spotted a group of reporters entering the lobby.
“Calm down,” I said, placing my hand on James’s arm.
He glanced at me and I nodded towards the queue. Realising immediately what I was trying to say, he took a deep breath and let out a sigh. “Look, I told you I was spending this day with Gwen,” he said to Kat, ignoring Dylan completely. “But I won’t be too late, so we can have another chat or whatever when I come back, okay?”
“Fine,” Kat said, sending an annoyed glare in my direction, which didn’t help with my new plan of getting her to like me.
But as I hadn’t made that much progress with it anyways, I decided to let it go. I most definitely didn’t want to ask them to join us, because that would mean I had to endure Dylan and that was not worth it.
Dylan was clearly about to comment something else, but fortunately we were saved by Timothy, Coach’s new assistant whom we had met just a moment ago in the locker room.
“Er – I’m sorry to interrupt,” the young man said in a shaky voice and blushed as we all turned to look at him. “But I need to take you to your seats now. The game is about to start and Max wants to say his greetings before the players are introduced.”
I let out a small groan. Of course the commentator would want to do that and show the audience that I was coping well. The fans would want to see for themselves that I was fine and would be back on the field soon instead of just listening to the statements that Coach kept giving the press.
But that would also mean that exiting the stadium wouldn’t go as smoothly. The lobby would be swarming with reporters, trying to get a picture of me.
“Yeah, sure thing, Timmy,” James said, nodding to the assistant and then turning to look at Kat again. “I’ll see you later Kat, at my place, okay?”
“Our place,” she corrected before stomping away, towing Dylan after her. I didn’t like the look on his face as he knew James would have a hard time later tonight. I really should’ve just punched him.
“Lead the way, Timmy.” James sighed and we followed the blonde boy towards the door that led to the private parts of the stadium.
I had never actually been up there before since I had never missed a game before my accident. The skybox was normally used by the reserve members of our team as they sat there waiting to see if they were needed.
I nodded my greetings at the familiar faces as we entered the box. I knew them only by their last name since that’s how Coach always referred to them. We never really interacted with them anyways as they had their own practise schedule. I only knew a few who had covered for some of our team members. There were also two completely unfamiliar faces, but I guessed they were the new reserves that would cover for James’s and my regulars who were now on the field.
“The seats on the front row are for you,” Timothy said, pointing towards the empty seats up front.
“Thanks,” James said and I gave him a quick smile too.
“It was nice to see you again, Mr. Potter. It really wasn’t fair that they banned you for so long.”
“Oh, thanks,” James said, scratching his neck a bit awkwardly. “I have to disagree though. It was the right decision. I shouldn’t have done it. But still, don’t regret it one bit,” he added, grinning in my direction.
I frowned a bit at him because he knew perfectly well what I thought about it. It really wasn’t Ryan’s fault since I should’ve been able to dodge it.
“And good to see you’re doing well too, Mrs. Potter,” the assistant then said to me.
The thank you got stuck in my throat as I realised what he had just called me.
“I meant Miss Miller!” he hurried to correct himself. The whole box had suddenly fallen very quiet and everybody was staring at the poor boy who was now turning a lovely shade of beetroot. “I really didn’t mean to… of course you’re not Mrs. Potter! You’re Miss Miller, I know that!”
“Oh lord… this is so embarrassing… let me explain! I’m a huge fan, huge, huge fan of both of you. My friends and I always joke about how you’re practically married because you’re so inseparable, that’s why I accidentally called you Mrs. Potter, because that’s what we always call you… I mean, of course I know that’s not true and…”
Oh Godric, please make him stop! Why is he still talking?
“Okay, now you’re only making things worse,” James suddenly reacted and started to guide the assistant away from the skybox. “We’ll take it from here!”
Timothy muttered his apologies once more and then something pointless that made no sense, before rushing away from us. I could feel my whole face glowing hot, especially after the others in the box started snickering. I just quickly escaped to my seat and tried to pay no attention to them.
“Well that wasn’t awkward at all,” James said after taking his place next to me.
“Yeah,” I muttered, trying to ignore my embarrassment.
“That was pretty funny though. Poor kid.” James let out a chuckle. “I think I’ll start calling you Mrs. Potter from now on.”
“I bet Kat would just love that,” I pointed out and watched James frown.
“Dammit, that’s true. Urgh, things really are changing, aren’t they? I mean, if I have to start watching my words around other women – that really sucks.”
“It’ll all work out,” I said with a small smile and patted his hand. “Don’t worry about it.”
“Let’s hope you’re right,” he said, but his expression told me that he really didn’t believe it.
I didn’t have time to say anything else as that moment the voice of Max Reynolds filled the whole stadium.
He greeted the fans and welcomed them to the match, and then just as Timothy had told us, turned the attention to me and James. Our picture was mirrored on the big screens and the crowd went wild.
I waved lazily at the audience, hoping that they would soon forget all about us when the game started, but I guess that was too much to wish for. After our images disappeared from the screens, I got almost blinded by the sun reflecting from the hundreds of Omnioculars that were now directed towards us.
“I’d like to punch the bloody idiot who invented these damned things,” I muttered to James and stared loathingly at the object in my hands.
James just chuckled as a response. He never was too bothered by anything like that.
Luckily that’s when Max started to introduce the team members and I could concentrate on them instead of the people who were still staring at us.
It was odd, to be in the audience. It happened so rarely; during the last five years I had seen a few World Cup games, but that was it. I didn’t have the time or the desire since the stadiums were always filled with reporters. And everybody knew how well I interacted with them.
I laughed at our teammates who flew past us to give their greetings one more time. A small chuckle escaped my lips as Alex Lynch winked at me when he was circling nearby with his broom – I hadn’t even realized that the game was against Puddlemere United before that.
James didn’t find Alex’s actions nearly as amusing and I was certain that he was dying to pull out his wand and hex him, but he knew it would be pointless – the spell would just backfire. There was a charm over the field that protected the players from all spells cast from the stands. Otherwise there would be quite a few accidents where angry fans hexed the members of the opposite team.
James was distracted from his annoyance as we heard the whistle and the players flew to their starting positions.
I sat on the edge of my seat and stared anxiously at Matt, hoping that he would make the first catch. It was my job after all, or James’s if I was for some reason unable to – Matt rarely even practised it as it was highly unlikely that both James and I would miss the game.
But luckily Matt did perfectly; I could see a smug smirk on his face as he grabbed the Quaffle before his brother could reach it. Matt quickly passed the ball to Simms, who was playing my position now that I was injured.
It was painful to watch. I wanted to be on that field so much; I missed flying more than anything else and to see other people do it when I wasn’t able hurt more than my injuries had.
Frustration was also the topmost thought on my mind throughout the whole game. The reserves were playing a good game, but there were so many things that they could’ve done differently to make their game more efficient. I could tell Matt was suffering too; his concentration was interrupted since he had to make sure the others were reading his moves the right way. That couldn’t have been easy for him.
James seemed to be making the same observations. “No, come on! Dive under him, don’t just pass the Quaffle every time!” he shouted at Adams, his reserve.
I couldn’t agree with him more. “I know, he’s being too careful. He needs to take more risks!”
After many painfully easy distractions, the other team was able to steal the Quaffle and take over the game. I couldn’t watch, I had to turn my Omnioculars towards the crowd and I started to scan it in search for familiar faces, I needed to distract myself.
I saw Freddy sitting in one stand with Hayden, both wearing purple scarves to support our team. James’s parents were there too, as were many other members of his extended family. I quickly passed through the stand where Kat and Dylan were sitting because I didn’t want to watch them more than necessary.
Our team did pick up eventually – regardless of the safe moves the reserves were making – and tie the game. Puddlemere wasn’t too overpowering since they were missing their regular beaters – a big relief for our team! But we ended up losing anyways, only by thirty points though, so I was very proud of our reserves and the whole team. Puddlemere was a though opponent after all.
James and I hurried towards the staircase immediately after the game ended, hoping to make it past the lobby before it got too crowded.
“Urgh, there really should be an alternative route out of here. I don’t want to face the swarm out there. I’ll get enough of their stupid questions as I’m doing the press tour,” I complained as we made it to the long corridor that led to the exit.
“Don’t worry. I’ll take us out as fast as I can. You don’t even have to punch them once, okay?”
“We’ll see about that,” I sulked as we approached the end of the passage.
I could already hear them, their babbling was so loud and excited that it even came through the closed door. A small sigh escaped my lips and James game me a quick smile as a comfort.
“It’ll be fine,” he promised before pushing the last door open.
But it wasn’t fine. It most definitely wasn’t even anything close. It was the most horrible thing ever, but for completely different reasons that I had expected.
The horde of reporters attacked us the moment the door opened. There were a lot more of them that I had anticipated, at least ten times more. I thought it was a bit odd as the cameras flashed in front of our faces. Sure, they hadn’t really seen us for a while, but I still didn’t think there would’ve been so many of them.
That’s when I heard the questions, and it all started making sense.
They weren’t there for me. They were there for James and for the one reason he never wanted them to find out.
“Mr. Potter! Are the rumours true? Is your girlfriend pregnant?”
“When is the baby due?”
“Are you excited to become a parent?”
“How will this affect your lifestyle?”
“Miss Miller, any comments on your best friend becoming a father?”
“James, I heard the wedding is planned to be in June, care to confirm this?”
They were everywhere, shoving cameras on James’s face – Quick Quote Quills floating around, scribbling down exaggerated descriptions of every single expression on my best friend’s face. I turned to look at him, lucky that my eyes were covered with my sunglasses so no one could see the concern in them.
James had practically frozen, just staring at the reporters behind his shades with his mouth hanging open, unable to understand how they had found out. He didn’t seem to be able to move anywhere.
The thoughts were spinning in my head. How was it possible that the press had found out? Freddy was the only one who knew besides James and I and he would never tell, so it had to be Kat. But why would she do something like that? To make things harder for him more than necessary, that just didn’t make sense.
Theories started to build up in my mind, but I didn’t have time to think about them now. I had to get James out.
I grabbed his arm and started to pull him through the crowd. The progress was slow as we were completely surrounded by reporters and fans, all yearning for the truth. I had to shove them out of my way with my one free hand. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to the right direction anymore, but I had to at least try to get us somewhere.
The annoyance was bubbling inside of me, just like it always did in similar situations and I was already squeezing my hand to a fist, ready to punch the next person on my way.
“Miller, Potter, get your arses over here!” I heard a familiar, amplified voice shout over the million questions.
I knew it was Coach calling us, I just couldn’t see him anywhere, but I did get a glimpse of the bright-coloured hat of a security wizard that was trying to make his way towards us so I made a beeline towards him.
I managed to break a few cameras on the way, but I was pretty certain Coach wouldn’t give me a hard time about them this time.
As I reached the security wizard, we got away from the lobby a lot faster. There was more than one and they had cleared the path for us towards the corridor that led to the locker rooms where Coach was waiting for us. He let us past and then sealed the passage after us.
“Care to explain?” he questioned James immediately as the reporters were left to the other side of the barrier and couldn’t hear a word we said.
James was still sporting the same expression. It was like somebody had just shot him with a stunning spell.
“Potter?” Coach waved his hand in front of him and James finally snapped out of it.
“Fuck,” he cursed.
“So it’s true?” Coach asked, looking a bit taken aback now. He clearly had thought it was just a rumour.
“I – yeah. Look, I need to get home now, and hope that I can get to Mum and Dad’s before they hear about this. Mum will kill me if she finds it from someone other than me.”
“Aah, well, you’re out of luck. They’re waiting for you in the locker room.”
Every single colour escaped my best friend’s face at that moment. He stared at Coach, not able to believe what he’d just heard. This day really wasn’t going the way he’d planned.
“Come on,” I said, patting his shoulder and trying to look as calm and comforting as possible. “Better get it over with then, right?”
“They’ll kill me.”
“No they won’t. Maybe shout a bit, but no killing curses, I’m pretty sure about that.” I chuckled, trying to get him to relax a bit
“You clearly haven’t met my mum,” James muttered and started to slouch towards to door at the other end of the corridor. A big sigh escaped his lips as he reached it and he glanced in my direction once more. “It was nice knowing you,” he said before pulling the door open and preparing for the worst.
A/N: Hi guys! It's me again! ^^
So, what did you think? Wasn't Joshua adorable once again? Surprised that James could act maturely? ( I know I am ) Who wanted to punch Dylan like Gwen did? I would be forever grateful if you took the time and left one tiny review with your thoughts. If not, well, I'll still love you and thank for reading (x
See you soon, hopefully I'll have time to write chapter 17 soon. 18 is already ready so new chapters should be on their way very soon (:
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