Chapter 25 : Ho Ho Hopefully
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“I don’t believe you,” Dom stated, her pink lips pursed. She looked down at me with a disbelieving expression, brushing away a few strands of her silver hair as she did so.
“But it’s true!”
“But I still don’t believe it,” Dom responded, shrugging a shoulder. “The Corinne I know does not stand up for herself, least of all to Freddy.”
I had—of course— decided to tell Dom about the Freddy incident as soon as she’d woken up. I hadn’t been able to tell her yesterday because I didn’t get back from Roxy’s until it was fairly late, and she’d already been asleep. I’d actually had to wait a couple of hours for her to wake up, because—despite it being Christmas— Dominique Weasley always got her twelve hours of beauty sleep, so help her Merlin.
And being the shit friend I am, as soon as she’d blinked a tired eye open I had pounced, telling her the entire Freddy story instead of wishing her a Happy Christmas. But seeing as she had grinned from ear to ear as I told her the story, maybe I wasn’t as shit a friend as I thought.
And you know, I wasn’t sure whether or not it was the fact that it was now Christmas, the day practically trademarked for being the happiest time of the year, but I was in one of the best moods I’d been in since… ever. Or at least, before the whole Beauxbatons transfer program was announced. But either way, this good mood was something I was going to hold close and try to never let go. I hated being so mopey all the time.
“Well you better believe it babe,” I said, knocking my hip against Dom and doing a weird wiggle. “Because I did. It’s like I’m a new woman.”
Dom broke out into a smile as I said this and then cupped her hand around her eyes pretending to look confused. “Who are you and what have you done with the real Corinne?”
I pretended to think it over before shrugging.
“I locked her in the Hogwarts bathroom,” I responded. “She’d been getting on my nerves a lot lately.”
“Aw, I liked her though,” Dom said, putting on a fake pout. “I mean, she was my best friend.”
“So then does that mean I’m not your best friend now?” I asked, pretending to look hurt.
“Oh don’t be silly,” Dom said, rolling her eyes and shoving me playfully. “You’re always my best friend.”
Dom then jumped off her bed and over to her closet, where she rifled around the bottom of it. After tossing a few things around in search for whatever she was looking for, she made an “A-ha!” noise, before pulling out a large present with a pretty pink bow. She then skipped back to where I was sitting on her bed and handed it to me with a smile.
“And now it’s gift time!” Dom announced, as I took the present from her. I clapped my hands excitedly.
“Yay! Let me get yours!” I responded, before walking over to my trunk and pulling out Dom’s gift. Seeing as I sucked at wrapping things (and yes even with spells I sucked) it wasn’t the most sightly of presents, but I had stuck the shoddily wrapped gift into a gift bag with lots of tissue paper to try and make it look more presentable.
So you know, it wasn’t that badly wrapped… although compared to the neatness of Dom’s it did look kind of shitty. Damn her and her amazing wrapping ability. I swear she could be Martha Stewart in her next life.
“Okay, now… open!” Dom announced, and as soon as she did we began to peel apart our gifts (although Dom was much slower about it. She was the type of unwrapper that acted as though she was about to reuse the gift-wrap).
“Wow, Dom! This is gorgeous,” I announced first. Dom was still in the midst of unwrapping her gift, but looked up to gauge my reaction as I held up what she had given me.
It was a red dress with long sleeves and an open neckline that looked like it’d hit just above the knees (my favorite length) in a fitted silhouette. I also couldn’t help but notice the unmistakable Dragon & Grindewald stamp on the tag. The dress was gorgeous, and it must’ve cost a fortune.
“I was thinking you could wear it to Victoire’s Christmas party tonight,” Dom said, as I ran my fingers over the soft material of the dress.
“Of course,” I responded. Seeing as I hadn’t had an outfit planned for the Christmas party, this dress was going to save me a lot of effort. “Thank you so much Dom. It’s perfect.”
I then leaned over and gave Dom a hug. After I pulled away, I gestured to the gift I had given her, which she still hadn’t finished unwrapping. “Now finish opening your gift!”
Dom eagerly turned back to her gift and began to unwrap it again (her turtle like pace becoming a bit faster) until she finally gave up on keeping the wrapping paper in tact and tore it all away. When she saw my gift, she squealed.
“Ohmigod! I’ve been wanting this for ages,” Dom exclaimed, clapping her hands together excitedly as she pulled the large book I had given her into her lap.
Mind you, I did not just give my best friend in the world some stupid book. I had given her a collector’s edition modeling book full of bios and portfolio pictures of all the previous Witch Weekly Models. The book had cost more than I’m willing to admit (but an arm and a leg may have been lost in the process) and I had had to get it specially ordered since it was so insanely hard to find. But seeing as Dom stalked models and wanted to be one herself, I had put the effort in to get it for her.
“I just can’t believe you got it for me! It’s amazing,” Dom continued. She then reached over and hugged me hugely, while I grinned back.
“I figured you’d like it,” I responded with a shrug.
“I love it,” Dom said grinning at me. She began to look down at the book, a smile still on her face as she scanned the pages. She then pointed out a couple of her favorite models to me, while I nodded along in interest, before putting the book up on her bookshelf. “Tomorrow I probably won’t say one word to you because I’ll be too busy memorizing that book.”
“Don’t make me regret getting it for you,” I said playfully. “I can’t have a book stealing my best friend away!”
Dom laughed as I said this, her smile causing her eyes to sparkle. After a moment, her expression faded to one of deep concentration. It seemed she had other thoughts tugging at her mind. “Co?”
“Does it make me a dampener if I mention that this is like… our last Christmas as kids? Next year, we’re going to be all grown up and will have jobs and new lives and—”
“I told you that we are not thinking about those things until the end of the school year,” I interrupted, holding a hand up. I hated being reminded of how much things were going to undoubtedly change in a year’s time. It scared me too much. We would no longer have school to keep us together.
“I know,” Dom said, biting her lip. “It’s just really freaking me out. I don’t want to grow up.”
“I don’t either,” I said with a sigh. “But everyone has to grow up at some point.”
There was another pause as we both let the words I had spoken sink in.
“Ugh, I’m sorry I’m such a downer,” Dom said, interrupting the silence and shaking her head as if clearing her thoughts. She straightened up. “I shouldn’t have brought it up. We need to think about happier things. Like the fact that it’s Christmas, my favorite day of the year.”
“Yup,” I agreed, nodding my head. “And that we’ll get to watch Wyatt get the third degree tonight from George!”
“Ooo, you’re right,” Dom said, her eyes lighting up as I spoke. “That’s going to be the highlight of my day.”
“Mine too,” I responded. “Wyatt’s going to faint.”
“Or cry,” Dom added.
“Or both,” I amended.
“Right well,” Dom said, “seeing as we need to be at Victoire’s in,” Dom looked at the clock hanging in her room, “four hours. I suggest we go downstairs, eat some brekkie, exchange gifts with the family, then come upstairs and get ready for the party. Sound good?”
I nodded. “Sounds great.”
“A few words of advice,” Dom began, her hand resting lightly on the doorknob to Victoire’s new flat as she looked at me. The black velvet dress she was wearing was cinched at the waist with a skinny red belt, and she tapped her red-heeled foot as we stood outside the door. “Use a coaster, don’t sit on the furniture, and don’t touch anything that’s not food. Victoire’s kind of insane about keeping her flat in tip top condition.”
“Got it,” I said, nodding my head.
Dom then, seeming satisfied, squared her shoulders and opened the door to Victoire’s flat, looking as though she was prepared for battle.
“Dominique!” Victoire exclaimed as soon as we entered her flat. She was donning a knee-length silvery blue dress that matched her eyes, and her hair was pulled back into a French braid. She looked like a mother or something, which was weird considering she was only two years older than us. “How lovely it is to see you!”
“I just saw you yesterday,” Dom muttered, as Victoire swooped in to give Dom a tight hug.
“Well it was simply too long,” Victoire exclaimed, before turning to me. “Oh Corinne! It’s good to see you also. How do you like the flat?”
With that, Victoire gestured behind her to the most ornately decorated flat I think I’d ever been in. It looked like a place the queen would holiday at, with the overly dressy couches, luxurious lamps, fancy knick knacks and lavish statues cluttered around the house.
In other words, it was a bit… much.
“It’s lovely Victoire,” I lied, not wanting to be rude to her at her own Christmas party. “You really… outdid yourself.”
“Aw you’re too kind,” Victoire said. She then gestured over to an area she had set up that composed of a long table laden down with fancy looking foods. There were various people loitering around, all of them I recognized as Dom’s aunt’s and uncle’s. “You two look a bit peaky. Go eat something.”
“Yes, let’s,” Dom said, giving Victoire a tight smile before grabbing my hand and pulling me over to the food area. Once we got there, Dom started piling hors d'oeuvres onto her plate furiously.
“This flat looks absolutely ghastly,” Dom announced, picking a piece of cheese off her plate and biting into it. “I can’t believe she took such a lovely flat and ruined it like this.”
“It’s not that bad,” I reasoned.
“You’re right. It’s worse,” Dom stated. “She has a fucking marble statue of a cherub in here. Who the fuck does that?”
I looked to the statue in question that Dom was speaking of and observed the way it’s eyes bugged out, so that no matter where you stood it looked like it was staring deep into your soul. It was a bit creepy.
“Okay, is it just me or does that statue really freak you out,” a voice I recognized as Frannie stated, cutting off whatever lame answer I was about to come up with. Dom and I turned around from our conversation to see Frannie and Theo standing behind us, dressed as though they’d just walked off of a runway. Dom, Frannie and I all squealed upon seeing one another, before joining into a group hug.
“Girls,” Theo replied, rolling his eyes at us as we pulled away. “You all act like seeing each other is some big event or something. Where’s my hello?”
“Aw you’re such a baby,” I announced, before pulling Theo into a hug and ruffling his hair. “It’s good to see the both of you.”
“Although I feel we should still be mad at Frannie,” Dom commented, giving Frannie a glare. “Didn’t you arrange the entire plan of locking us in the Room of Requirement with Tyson and Chaise?”
“Are you friends with them again?” Frannie asked.
“Yes… but that’s not the p—”
“Then I should be getting a thank you,” Frannie stated. “You lot were being so damn stupid and stubborn that I had to put my foot down and intervene.”
“You always love sticking your nose into people’s business’s, don’t you?” Theo stated.
“Oh shoo! I do it with the best of intentions,” Frannie responded. She then turned to me and Dom. “Now, where are those friends of yours that we helped you get back?”
“Dunno,” Dom said, shrugging her shoulders. “Tyson’s coming with his cousin, and I don’t see either of them here yet. Wyatt’s probably going to try and not come since he has to meet Roxy’s dad. And Chaise is… probably not here also.”
“Ah Chaise,” Frannie said, slinging an arm around Dom’s shoulders. “You two back together yet?”
“Nope,” Dom replied popping the ‘p’.
“Why not?!” Frannie demanded, looking surprised.
“Because she snogged someone else,” I chimed in. Dom shot me an annoyed look and I just grinned.
“You snogged someone else?” Frannie asked, her mouth wide in incredulity. “Who?”
“Nobody,” Dom said quickly.
“Oh Dom, don’t be coy,” I said, elbowing her in the side. “She accidentally snogged her cousin’s snog buddy: Aidan Finnegan.”
“You snogged your cousin’s snog buddy?” Frannie asked, looking at Dom in shock. “That sounds like something Corinne would do.”
“Oi! I would not—”
“I didn’t know they were snog buddies,” Dom continued, talking over me. “I had only seen them snogging once and it had been so long ago that I forgot.”
“Which cousin was it?” Frannie asked, scanning around the room at the sea of people. “There’s so many of them here. Your dad’s side of the family is massive.”
Dom began to look around the room, searching for Rose to point out. “She’s over there. The one with the fake blonde hair standing by….”
Dom trailed off as she squinted her eyes at her cousin and then she looked at me. “Isn’t that your sister?”
I snapped my eyes over to where Dom and Frannie had been looking to see that Rose was indeed standing with Bailey. What was she doing here?
“You have a sister?” Frannie asked, looking at me with wide eyes. Theo looked just as surprised.
Right. I guess I had never really mentioned my sister to either of them before.
“Erm… yes?” I said.
“She does look a lot like you,” Theo said, seeming to inspect Bailey.
“Oh shit, I just made eye contact with her,” Frannie said, quickly jerking her head towards me. “Woops.”
“Ugh Frannie! Now she’s going to think I’m talking about her,” I said.
“It’s not my fault!” Frannie argued. “You should’ve mentioned you had a sister!”
“We don’t really talk…” I said, feeling uncomfortable.
“Weird,” Theo said, after a moment. “I couldn’t imagine not talking to Frannie.”
“Yeah well,” I began, “it’s not by choice.”
I decided to take this time to inspect my nails, which were painted a shimmery gold color, and I noticed a chip. And I have to say, this was probably the thing that I was the most annoyed about. Chipped nails suck.
“Right well this has gotten sufficiently awkward,” Frannie said. “So to change it up, my maman has Theo and I’s present for you, so if you two want to go find her you can open it and be happy again.”
“Ooo presents!” Dom exclaimed excitedly. “Maman has our gifts for you guys too. So I say we split up, get the gifts, then regroup, kay?”
“Divide and conquer,” Theo said, nodding his head seriously.
“Oh I’m sor—”
“No worries, Corinne,” George said, interrupting my apology and smiling at me amiably. “I understand how easy it is to get distracted when pillow pets are involved. They kind of consume your soul.”
George then gestured to the pillow pet of a dragon I was holding in my hand that I had been focused on when I had bumped into him. Theo had given it to me as a Christmas gift along with some of my favorite holiday candy, which I had already almost completely eaten.
After Dom and I had found Tante Gabby and gotten our gifts, we had met back up with Frannie and Theo and opened the gifts in front of each other. Frannie had laughed at the mixed drinks starter kit I had bought her, seeing as she was becoming quite the alcoholic, and Theo had loved the fireproof gloves I had gotten him. I had, of course, died over the new shoes Frannie had given me, which were a simple pair of designer patent leather ballet flats that were charmed so they changed colors depending on the outfit. And I think considering the fact I'd been carrying the pillow pet Theo had given me around ever since I'd opened his gift, it was obvious I loved it.
So, all in all, it had been a pretty successful gift exchange.
After we had opened all of our gifts, I had decided I needed more food. So I was now making my way back to the food area, and as we already know, I managed to bump into George, who was currently wearing a red and green bowtie to keep with the Christmas spirit.
“Isn’t it cute though?” I said to George, holding up my dragon pillow pet so it was eye level with him.
“Of course it is,” George said, nodding his head. “But sadly, I have to go and grill the guy who’s trying to take my baby girl away from me, so we’ll have to continue this conversation later.”
“Wyatt’s here?” I asked, my tone showing my surprise. I hadn't seen him or Chaise or Tyson yet. I assumed it was because they were still spending time with their own family before heading over here.
“Yeah, he’s right over there,” George said, gesturing over his shoulder. “He’s the one with his arms around my daughter.”
“I know what he looks like,” I stated with a roll of my eyes. “He’s my best friend, remember?”
“Right,” George said, still not taking his gaze off of Wyatt. I decided to follow his gaze, and I noticed that Wyatt was looking over at George, seeming extremely nervous at the glare George was sending him. He then noticed me standing with George and mouthed a ‘help me!’ when nobody else was looking. I also noted that Freddy was inexplicably absent from the group, which meant he was probably meandering around some other part of the flat.
“He’s nervous you know,” I said, hoping that George would use this knowledge and go easy on Wyatt. “And he really is a great person.”
“Yes well, he still has to pass my tests first,” George stated.
“Yeah, you know, I’ve got to throw him into ten different hypothetical situations involving my daughter, and-depending on his response- he’ll be deemed worthy.”
“Hypothetical situations?” I arched an eyebrow.
“Yep,” George responded, nodding his head like it was the most normal thing in the world. “Like what he would do if a building they were in began to burn down, or worse, if he was with Roxy when she passed a pet store. She’s always trying to buy pets wherever she goes, and it’s getting to be a bit of an issue since we don’t really have room for all the animals she wants. She needs someone who will put their foot down and say no.”
“Isn’t that your job?” I asked slowly.
George seemed to think about this for a second before laughing lightly and clapping me on the shoulder. “Oh you’re funny. Anyways, I really should be getting over there. The grilling must commence and all.”
“Okay…Good luck,” I said, as George began to walk away. I then found myself suddenly standing alone in the middle of Victoire’s house, holding a stuffed dragon pillow pet.
Man, I really needed to find friends. Fast.
“Corinne!” a high-strung voice I recognized exclaimed, causing me to cringe as I forced a smile on my face and turned to Victoire. She had been scurrying about the apartment all night, freaking out at random guests for forgetting to use coasters and hovering over family members as they ate because of her newly imported Polynesian carpet. And as she hurried over to me, her kitten heels click clacking against the hardwood floors, resembling nothing short of a drill sergeant, I suddenly wished for an escape route.
“Yeah?” I asked Victoire, looking back and forth around the room for anyone to rescue me. Because if I knew Victoire, the only reason she was talking to me was so she could ask me for a f—
“Do you think you could do me a favor?” Victoire asked, confirming my thoughts as she looked at me sweetly. But I think we both knew better. We were nothing more than acquaintances, and even that was a stretch.
“Um… sure?” I said, because despite the fact that Victoire and I had a confirmed dislike for each other, I was a guest in her overly decorated house and it’d be rude of me to answer with anything but.
“Do you think you could go to the kitchen and check on the house elves,” Victoire asked. And yes, she had indeed gotten house elves specifically for the event because who else but Victoire would see it fit? “They’ve been taking ages on refills of the pork rillettes and some of the elders are getting antsy.”
“Yeah, course,” I said, and even though I was annoyed that I was listening to her, I was happy to have something to do. A girl could only stand around with a stuffed animal for so long without looking like a right weirdo.
“Thanks, you’re a doll,” Victoire said, blowing me a kiss before walking away. Probably to go find Teddy, who had become her personal lapdog for the evening.
With a new mission in mind, I made my way over to the swinging doors of Victoire’s kitchen. When I entered, the clattering of various dishes met my ears, as I observed what had to be about twenty house elves bustling around making food. However, the thing I noticed most were the two people standing in the corner of the kitchen, who didn’t seem to notice me enter.
“I don’t know what you’re expecting of me, Scorpius,” the girl, who I recognized as Rose, said tersely, her voice carrying over the clatter.
Scorpius was looking at Rose with furrowed eyebrows and then ran his hair through his hair with a sigh. I found myself idly wondering when Scorpius had arrived, because that meant Tyson was here, but decided against breaking into the conversation and asking.
Because something was definitely going on. And seeing as I was nosy and carrying a pillow pet around, it seemed like my job to listen.
“I’m not expecting anything,” Scorpius responded agitatedly. “It’s just you’re so… so… different now. What happened to you?”
I noticed Rose’s mouth flatten. “Nothing happened to me. I’m fine. What do you care anyway?”
“I care because I can,” Scorpius responded. “I mean really, Aidan Finnegan?”
Rose sniffed and looked away. “It didn’t mean anything.”
“Exactly my point. That’s not you,” Scorpius said, pointing at her to enforce his statement. “I don’t like what you’ve become.”
Rose straightened up at Scorpius’ words and smoothed down the front of her skirt self consciously. “Well… I don’t think you’re in any position to have a say in what I do. You broke up with me, remember?”
And then Rose turned around, probably ready to make some really dramatic exit but it was cut off when she spotted me standing at the kitchen door, still clutching my stuffed animal and staring at the two of them in shock.
I mean… I never saw this coming, Rose and Scorpius had… dated? When had this happened?
“How much did you hear?” Rose asked me, her eyes narrowing. Well, I guess she wasn’t one to beat around the bush. Scorpius was standing behind her staring at the two of us, a stricken expression on his face.
“Uh… You know… just bits and pieces really. I was just trying to ask the house elves about the pork ril—”
“I don’t care,” Rose said, cutting off what was sure to be some rambling explanation as to what I was doing eavesdropping on what I now presumed was a very intense conversation. “I’m just going to cut to the chase. You’re going to tell nobody what you’ve heard. Alright?”
So, I guess their relationship was a secret then.
“Erm… right…” I said, beginning to back away. And you know, I should’ve at least done what Victoire asked and checked up on the house elves for Victoire, but there was only so much a girl with a stuffed animal could handle at one moment, so I figured Victoire would understand.
Okay, Victoire probably wouldn’t understand, but I figured she probably wouldn’t find out that I never checked up on the house elves because really- how do you find those things out?
And with that in mind I scurried out of the kitchen and down the halls, trying to wrap my brain about everything I had just witnessed. And once I thought about the idea of Rose and Scorpius having a relationship, it suddenly didn’t seem so far-fetched. I mean, Tyson had seemed a bit surprised when we had caught Aidan and Rose snogging in the broom cupboard. Maybe Tyson had known about it all along. Not to mention Scorpius had been in a good mood the day Dom and Aidan had snogged, effectively ending whatever was going on between Aidan and Rose… And Dom had mentioned something happening to Rose that made her get all bitchy and cold.
Had that been the break up that had caused that?
Just as I was beginning to come to a conclusion about the Rose/Scorpius love affair, someone decided to interrupt my thoughts by placing a hand on my shoulder.
“Hey have you seen—Oh it’s you.”
I looked up from where my eyes had been transfixed on the ground to notice a familiar pair of brown eyes and sandy hair staring at me. Her signature high ponytail was hanging in a bouncy coil, and her pink lips had now turned into a pout.
It looked as though she was seriously regretting tapping me on the shoulder. Which, you know, she probably was considering how much she’d been avoiding me at school. I guess she had just thought I was some random passer-by.
“Yup. It’s me,” I said. And because I suddenly had grown balls I continued speaking. “And if it’s Rose your looking for, she’s currently having a heated discussion with Scorpius so I’d leave it be.”
“Ugh not again,” Bailey sighed, seeming to be talking more to herself then me. “I swear if he breaks her heart again, I’ll kill him.”
“Again?” I asked, and I immediately regretted it when Bailey’s head snapped towards me, and her eyes narrowed.
“Yes. Again,” Bailey said, but she didn’t explain it further. Instead, we both stood there, me coming to the realization that I was still holding my stuffed dragon, as Bailey studied me.
Looks like this stuffed dragon was seeing more drama in the short time it had been with me then the months it probably took for it to get mass produced and sold in stores. Who woulda thought.
I didn’t know why neither of us left after Bailey had made it clear she wasn’t going to explain anything further. I didn’t know a lot of things to be honest. Like why we had come to a point where we couldn’t even have a conversation with the other, without the omnipresent coating of hostility between us.
And- for some reason- it seemed to only make sense for us to continue standing there in silence, letting all the unsaid words float around like we were standing in the middle of a snow globe.
Because there were so many things I wanted to ask her. Like how she was, how mum was. If she knew about dad moving away. I wanted to ask her if she remembered that time when she used to be afraid of Voldemort being in her closet, and only I could take her fears away. I wanted to know if she remembered a time that she didn’t hate me.
I decided I needed to break the silence.
“Right, well I should go… Happy Christmas, Bails,” I said, and even though I know she hated the nickname I said it anyway as a reminder of what we used to be to each other.
Bailey’s face softened for a nanosecond—her mouth smoothed out and the pinch between her eyebrows that seemed to be permanently etched into her face whenever I was around, relaxed.
But then, Bailey sighed, and she suddenly seemed just so… tired. Like she was no longer the little sister she used to be. And maybe she wasn’t. “Happy Christmas to you too, Corinne.”
And that was that.
“You know, I’d say this party isn’t half bad,” Dom announced, grabbing the bottle of firewhiskey that Tyson had nicked from the house elves and taking a rather large gulp. “I mean we’re all together, there’s good food, and we have booze. That’s more than I could hope for at a party thrown by Victoire.”
Everyone else let out a hum of contentment, and then Dom began to pass the bottle of firewhiskey around again. The lot of us (Me, Dom, Wyatt, Roxy, Tyson, Chaise, Frannie, Theo, and yes a certain raven-haired James) were sitting on the floor of Victoire’s basement (question: Did a place count as a flat if it had a basement?), while everyone else at the party was still upstairs. We had all snuck away after someone (aka Tyson) had accidentally knocked over one of Victoire’s vases, before she found the broken shards and freaked.
“Oh don’t be harsh. Victoire knows how to throw a party,” Tyson said, taking the bottle of firewhiskey from Dom. “Don’t you remember her 17th birthday? That was pretty legend.”
“It was only legend because of us though,” Dom stated flippantly. “I mean, Chaise was the one who decided it’d be fun to get all the oldies completely trashed, and Corinne was the one who ended up snogging Belissa’s boyfriend which is what led to the incendio charm that burned the place down.”
“Belissa and Jacque weren’t dating,” I interjected, trying to make myself not look like a slag. “He broke up with her!”
“Yeah, ten minutes earlier,” Wyatt said, rolling his eyes. “And he broke up with her because of you.”
“Well that’s not really my fault,” I said. “I never told him to do it.”
“Corinne, don’t you get it?” Theo said, a smirk taking over his features. “If a guy even thinks he might have a chance with you, he’s going to break up with his girlfriend. It’d just be stupid to pass it up.”
“Aw you’re so sweet,” I said, pinching Theo’s cheeks and then ruffling his hair. “But you’re only saying that because you dated me. You’ve got to make all your exes look good so that you look better.”
“Maybe,” Theo said, shrugging his shoulders and laughing. “But if it makes you feel better, you’re the best of the exes.”
“Of course I am,” I responded, slinging an arm around his shoulder. “We were a good couple.”
“The best couple,” Dom chimed in, nodding her head. “I hated being seen with the two of you. Made me feel like a lonely old troll.”
“Boo hoo,” I said, sticking my tongue out at Dom. I then spotted the firewhiskey, which had made the rounds to James, and I gestured for him to give it to me. He handed it over slowly, and our eyes locked for the briefest of moments, before I snatched the bottle and took a gulp.
“You know, we only have like an hour left of Christmas,” Dom stated, looking forlorn. I think she liked Christmas more than any other day in the world. In fact, in third year when we make our own perfect world for a Charm’s project, her’s had been dubbed Snowglobia and was a city in which every day was Christmas. So, I guess it was expected that she’d be sad with only an hour left of her favorite day.
“Thank, Merlin,” Wyatt chimed, earning a glare from Dom. “I can’t wait to get away from this party. Mr. Weasley’s been grilling me with these weird hypothetical situations every chance he gets.”
“He likes you though,” Roxy told him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “I overheard him and my mum talking about you.”
“Really?” Wyatt said, looking pleased. Roxy nodded and a grin broke out on Wyatt’s features. “Well what can I say, I just have a way with the parents.”
“That you do,” Dom said, nodding her head. “My parents are like in love with you.”
“But your parents like me more, right?” I asked, suddenly feeling defensive.
“My parents like you more than they like me sometimes,” Dom said, not seeming at all affected by this. “They have this idea that you’re the mature one out of the two of us.”
“I wonder where they get that idea,” Chaise stated, rolling his eyes in a teasing way.
“Hey! I am mature,” Dom argued, wagging a finger at Chaise.
“Of course you are,” Chaise deadpanned.
“I don’t appreciate your sarcasm.”
“Who said I was being sarcastic? You must’ve come up with that conclusion all on your own.”
I rolled my eyes as Dom and Chaise continued to banter, and turned to Theo, who was sitting next to me. “Their sexual tension is through the roof right about now.”
“Isn’t it always?” Theo responded. Back when Theo and I had dated, we used to always discuss how meant to be Chaise and Dom were. And two years later it was seeming we were right. They were just both too stubborn to admit it, once again.
As Theo and I laughed, I couldn’t help but notice a familiar pair of eyes remaining trained on us as we interacted. But I ignored James’ gaze as Theo and I continued to banter back and forth when—
“We’re out of firewhiskey!” Frannie exclaimed, breaking everyone out of the separate conversations they had started to have. She had a large pout on her face as she turned the bottle over, proving to us that it was indeed empty.
“Frannie, did you drink it all while we weren’t looking?” I joked, making a jab at her love for alcohol.
“Ha, ha,” Frannie responded with a flat expression. “We need more. So you and Theo need to stop flirting with each other and one of you needs to get me more.”
“Oi! We were not flirting,” I responded, rolling my eyes. I couldn’t help but notice James excuse himself after Frannie began to speak, and the corner of my gaze followed him as he exited up the stairs and left the basement.
Huh. Wonder why he left. Not that I cared. You know, I was just curious.
“What’s so bad about flirting with me?” Theo asked, pretending to be offended and pulling me back to the conversation. “I think I’m quite the catch.”
“You keep telling yourself that,” I said, patting Theo’s head as though he were a child.
“Firewhiskey. I need some. Now,” Frannie commanded.
“Okay, okay. I’ll go,” I said, pushing myself off the floor and walking to the stairs that led up to the rest of Victoire’s place. “But you guys better miss me while I’m gone.”
“We always dooooo,” Dom sing-songed, putting a hand over her heart. I think it’s safe to say she had had a bit more alcohol then the rest of us.
I laughed at this, before turning around and heading up the stairs. Once I reached the landing of Victoire’s apartment, I walked to the kitchen as stealthily as I could. Luckily, as a girl, it wasn’t weird that I had my purse with me, so I would easily be able to smuggle another bottle of firewhiskey down to the basement. Because despite the fact that we were all legal, it didn’t look good for us if we openly drank in front of the elders. Not to mention there were some youngin’s here and we didn’t want to set a bad example.
So, as I quickly snatched another bottle of firewhiskey (oddly enough, Victoire’s place was stocked with alcohol) from the cupboards while the house elves weren’t looking, I put the bottle in my enlarged purse, and then made my way back out of the kitchen. Just as I was walking down a hallway to get to the basement, I halted.
Sitting against the wall, hands resting on his knees and looking down at his hands, was James. I found myself wonder why he was here instead of downstairs with everyone else, and before I could even register what I was doing I had walked over to James and sat down next to him.
I blame it on my holiday spirit and the alcohol I had running through my system.
James looked up at me as he felt my presence, and he raised an eyebrow. I ignored his questioning look.
“Not enjoying the Christmas holiday?” I asked, gesturing to the fact that he had been sitting in the hallway, alone, until I came along.
“It’s fine,” James said noncommittally. “You?”
“It’s alright,” I responded, sinking myself deeper into the floor. Might as well get comfortable. “Would probably be better if my parents would speak to me and my sister didn’t hate me, but that would obviously be too much to ask.”
“That’s family for you,” James said sarcastically. I continued to stare at the wall in front of us and didn’t say anything. James then turned to the side and studied me. “Do you know why your sister doesn’t like you?”
I sighed. And you know, considering there was alcohol in my system and also the fact that there wasn’t really much James didn’t know about me, I answered him. “She thinks I abandoned her when I moved in with my dad.”
“Oh.” James was silent. I wasn’t sure if he was putting it together in his head that it was inadvertently him and Freddy’s fault, but I didn’t much care if he did.
“It’s the same reason my mum doesn’t speak to me either,” I continued. I didn’t know why I kept talking, but for some reason I thought it made sense.
James was silent again, his eyebrow furrowed at my words. I assumed he probably didn’t know how to respond. Because really, how could you respond to something like that? It was kind of awkward for me to bring up.
“Do you ever think about contacting your mum?” James asked, breaking the silence and causing me to focus. “Like you know… owling her or something?”
“I’ve thought about it,” I responded. “But there’s nothing really to say.”
“But maybe there is,” James said. “You’d be surprised how many words there can be.”
I sighed. He clearly didn’t understand the severity of the three year speaking drought between my mother and I. “Words aren’t enough sometimes,” I said quietly. “She probably wouldn’t even respond to me anyway.”
“You could at least try.”
“Can we not talk about this?” I asked, feeling myself growing steadily more uncomfortable. I didn’t want to think about my mum anymore, and I didn’t want James to keep pressing the issue. I mean, granted, I did kind of pull myself into this conversation, but now I was pulling myself out.
“Sorry,” James said, holding his hands up as through surrendering. “Just thought I was helping.”
“I don’t really need help,” I said softly. “I don’t like talking about it.”
“Understandable,” James responded.
Another heavy silence hung after James spoke, our breathing the only thing to fill the quiet. I don’t think either of us really knew what to say. And while I kept telling myself in my head that I should get up and go back down to where the others were, for some reason I remained sitting next to James.
I guess that’s why people say alcohol makes you do stupid things. You know, if that hadn’t already been proved by the fact that last time I had gotten drunk, I had spilled my family secrets out to him, and the time before that I had snogged him.
“So,” I began, not liking the stillness that the quiet brought. “Get any good gifts from the family?”
“I guess,” James said with a shrug. He didn’t expand on it.
“Well…. What’d you get?” I tried again.
James ran a hand through his hair. “The usual Weasley stuff from my aunts and uncles. You know, a jumper, books, quidditch stuff.”
“What’d you parents get you?” I asked.
“A check,” James said. And for some reason, this seemed sadder than all the other things I had discussed with him. Checks just seemed so… cold coming from a parent. Even gift cards were better. “My parents didn’t have much time to get gifts this year. And you know... I'm too old for that stuff anyway.”
“Right,” I said, feeling the awkwardness seep in. James ruffled his hair, seeming embarrassed.
I looked at the clock hanging on the wall. There were only ten minutes left of Christmas.
And even though James and I weren’t friends and I didn’t like him and there were a million reasons I could’ve just laughed at him, I didn’t. Instead, I felt this feeling of solidarity with him. And it was because of this feeling that I reached into my bag and pulled out the bottle of firewhiskey I was supposed to be bringing to Frannie.
“Well,” I said, holding out the bottle of firewhiskey. “I think that you need this more than Frannie does.”
I then handed the firewhiskey over to James, as he watched me with confusion. I then gestured for him to take it. He studied me for a couple seconds before finally reaching out and taking the bottle.
“Happy Christmas,” I said, after he had taken it, offering up the most meager of smiles. James noticed this too, and made a small smile of his own.
“Happy Christmas to you too, Corinne.”
And feeling like I had done enough good deeds for the day, I got up from my spot next to James and walked away. Just as I was about to head down to the basement I glanced over my shoulder to get one last look.
James was staring after me. His eyebrows knitted together and his hazel eyes sparkling with curiosity. I gave him a small wave and turned around before heading down the stairs.
I only hoped that Frannie wasn’t going to kill me when she realized I’d walked down empty handed.
A/N: Kay, so I'm going to start of this author's note with saying that I'm sorry. I'm sorry this update took longer than I'd hoped. I'm sorry it's been taking me longer than usual to answer reviews (but don't worry, I'm all caught up now!) and I'm sorry if you didn't like this chapter. I didn't like it much either, so we're even in that aspect.
I don't know why, but recently writing this story has gotten harder for me. I blame it on the fact that I'm getting very close to the end (and I still kind of am a bit foggy on where exactly I'm going to end the story), and I also only have like 5 or 6 chapters left to wrap everything up. And for some reason, I thought it'd be a good idea to come up with a million subplots.
And speaking of subplots! I've addressed like, a million of them in this chapter. So now, I'm going to ask you about them: Did you like George's ideas on grilling Wyatt? Did you like Theo making his appearance? How about Bailey and Corinne's conversation? Rose and Scorpius'? And finally: How did you feel about the James/Corinne interaction?
In other (boring) news, I did this summer thing with the college I'm going to and I absolutely love it. All the classes I'm taking are supposed to be super fun, and everyone is so so nice and I made lots of new friends!
So, if you've made it this far down my authors note I just want to say thank you, I love you, please review (because those will keep me motivated to finish this story) and also....you're amazing. Because I think everyone deserves to know that their amazing, and my readers are truly the most amazing people in the world. Love you guys.
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