Chapter 2 : Game On
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Harry’s Mystery Girl
We’ve identified the Ginger Top
We’ve put a name to the face. The girl seen with Harry Potter at the world cup in Japan was none other than Ginevra Weasley reserve seeker for the Holyhead Harpies. We confirmed this fact with the League.
Holyhead Island is the home of the Harpies, a beautiful landscape quiet and remote. In the middle nowhere, which was almost everywhere on the island, was the Harpies resident pitch. The stands were empty. Green flags with gold talons on them blowing in the breeze. It was so quiet you would never believe the place got so loud when the snitch was released. The only noise was the voice of the assistant coach counting as the team went through their morning workout.
“How was the match,” Ann asked as they did pushups.
“It was amazing”
“I saw you and Harry in the papers,” chuckled Sara, “who’s that girl”
“I prefer woman,” they all laughed.
“Let’s stop with the chit chat ladies,” Madame Dubuffet hissed. “Mount your brooms”
Madame Dubuffet was the head coach of the Holyhead Harpies, she was a tall slender woman who always wore her hair pulled back into a tight low ponytail, and she had black hair with strains of gray running through it. She was a retired ballet dancer turned renowned Quidditch player turned award winning coach. She was intimidating as hell and ran a tight ship.
“UP,” Dubuffet shouted.
“I should have taken your advice,” said Ginny as they began to hover. The players grabbed their brooms and swung their legs to the side so they were sitting side saddle. When the whistle went they let go of their brooms and hung by their legs. At the next whistle they pulled themselves up only using their legs.
“So all I have to do to get you to listen to me is have Rita Skeeter slam you,” laughed Ann.
“She can say a lot of things about me but I’d rather she not talk about my appearance,” Ginny huffed as she let herself fall back as the whistle went.
“Miss. Weasley,” Madame Dubuffet walked over to where she was hovering, “I want to see you in my office after practice.” She blew her whistle, “UP!”
Ginny sat in front of her coach’s desk feeling like she was back in school and was going to be given detention. She was waiting rather impatiently staring at the team poster on the wall behind the desk, several of the players pointing and making faces at Ginny. She was probably going to scold her for talking. It was completely unfair seeing she wasn’t the only one gabbing. The office door open and the coach came in and took a seat at her desk.
“Ginny you’ve shown some great improvement since you began training with us and for the rest of the week I would like you to join first string practice,” she began bluntly.
Ginny’s eyes lit up, she was not expecting this at all, “oh my god I’d be honored!”
“Great that means you’re back here a 6am tomorrow until noon then back a 2pm.”
“Yes of course”
Ginny ran from the office, she was trying to hold her happy dance until she was alone in the hall. She was so excited but then she remembered she’d just been photographed with Harry Potter. That’s why she got this, that’s why Oliver told her to claim him. She let her shoulders fall and dragged her feet back to the changing room.
“I only got asked because of Harry.”
“Well at least you got asked you have to start somewhere.”
“I just want to play.”
“Then do it by any means necessary,” said Dean. Ginny came to bother him at the Krestals home in Kenmare, to update him on her life, she spends a lot of time with him. It all started last summer when she found out who really touched her and she apologized profusely. They began hanging out and just kept at it. He’s also the one who got her into the try out for the Quidditch league. The rosters go through Wilford’s office and he may have slipped her name in. “Please just don’t pull a Barry Ryan. I spent the better part of my day scheduling charity events to boost the team’s image although ticket sales are through the roof.”
“So he cheats on his wife at a whore house and people buy tickets? That’s the stupidest thing ever…” She watched him move around the manager’s office. It was a junkie space filled with Krestals paraphernalia, charts on the wall of the team’s progress within the league and another for the international tournament.
“It’s because everyone’s talking about him,” Dean shrugged. “Remember it’s all a game Gin. Now which one of these do you like better,” he held up two team photos, “there for the children in the pediatric wing a St. Mungos.”
“The one on the right,” this was all ridiculous. She was getting to train harder because she was dating Harry Potter. The Krestals were selling out seats because their star player was on the cover of every paper in the UK for cheating on his wife and somehow sending photos to ill children would make it better. She wondered if she would ever understand.
The crowd was going wild it was such a rush and what made it even better was the fact that Ginny was the one rocketing higher and higher into the air racing the Seeker of the Ballycastle Bats. As the fans roared, at that moment she knew this was it, she loved the sensation… and with a hop from her seated position on her broom she whipped her arm through the air and closed her fingers around the snitch.
She hovered there for a moment watching the wings flittering between her fingers, she was astonished really, it wasn’t the first time she caught a snitch but it was the first time it meant something.
When Ginny hit the ground she was immediately hoisted onto the shoulders of her teammates. She was so wrapped up in the exhilaration of her catch she completely forgot why she had gotten playing time to begin with. This was the best feeling in the world. When they finally put her down she joined in the celebration she couldn’t contain her excitement. Not that they were anywhere near a league win but she made a contribution bringing them a step closer.
“Three cheers!” Madame Dubuffet shouted in the changing room, “hip, hip!”
“Excellent season opener ladies let’s keep it up!” For such an exciting moment Madame Dubuffet seemed to celebrate with a straight face.
“Great job,” Ginny was congratulated by her teammates, well most of them anyway.
“Yes it was truly inspiring,” a woman with curly blonde hair that was currently pulled to a knot at the top of her head approached Ginny.
“Thank you Comet,” she said with as much disdain as Comet had for her. Her name was Comet Rae, not really, she was actually Constance Rae Whiner but she didn’t publicize that. She was the starting Seeker for the Harpies but not today.
“I wouldn’t let this stroke of luck go to your head,” she said bumping pass her to the showers.
Comet was not an easy person to get along with, although most people found some way around it. She and Ginny however never got along. After open try outs she got a call back for the Harpies, Comet was helping with drills and Ginny beat her to the snitch four out of the six times during the exercise. They didn’t get off to the best start and most likely they were going to stay there. She pushed that to the back of her mind and decided to focus on the joy of her first catch.
“I can’t believe I missed it,” Harry rushed to the door when he heard Ginny coming into the house.
Ginny beamed, “who knew I was actually going to get to play.”
“I heard it, you were amazing,” he hugged her and picked her up. “We have to celebrate. Champagne?”
“Go settle in, I’ll be right back,” he went down to the kitchen. You could hear him singing my girl caught the snitch all the way down.
Ginny went into the living room and sat down on the couch. She looked around the room. The once dingy space she spent three summers ago in was clean and looked like a home. Well sort of, Harry’s space was void of odds and ends. There were only two photos on the mantle, one of her and another of him with Ron and Hermione.
He wasn’t a man of many possessions so it seemed right. She assumed the space would fill up as he grows and probably as he gets more of the house done. She slipped her feet out of her shoes and tucked them under herself on the couch. His new couch was comfortable.
The door to the living room swung open and Harry came in with champagne and a couple glasses. He sat down next to her, “I’m so proud you,” he said as he popped the cork on the champagne. Ginny giggled as she watched him catch the over following foam into one of the glasses. “You think you’ll get to play again?”
“I have no idea,” she said accepting the glass he handed to her. She took a sip and placed the glass down on the end table. Ginny doesn’t drink, although the league set guidelines about alcohol consumption due to the number of drunken escapades of Quidditch players. The reserves were not bond to such rules however alcohol was unhealthy and she didn’t want anything to ruin her game on the bench or not. But it was a special occasion so a sip wouldn’t hurt.
“I’ll be at your next match. I can’t chance missing you again.”
“I would love to have you there but ah… there’s still the chance you’ll just be watching me sit.” Given what she had learned over the past week the truth was if he showed up she probably would get playing time. She kind of didn’t want him to come. She would feel as if she was using him. She reached for her glass of champagne and took another sip.
“Are you alright?”
“You just seemed to get so sullen all of a sudden.”
He reached out and ran his hand through her hair, “Yeah.”
“It’s been a long day,” she shrugged. “And I’m hungry what are you going to burn for me?”
“Nothing but I’ll buy you something. What do you want?”
She leaned over and kissed him. “Something savory but also a bit sweet,” she smirked.
Ginny was in the kitchen at the burrow waiting for her tea to be ready. There was a tap on the window she went over and pulled it open, an owl dropped a letter and immediately flew away. She opened up the red envelope with gold writing. She had been invited to a dinner party at Oliver Wood’s house. She was surprised but mostly worried because it was black tie. She had nothing to wear and given the comments on what she wore to the World Cup she figured she’d need help. The only person she could think of to ask she really didn’t want to.
Ginny sighed. She went to the stove and turned off the kettle. She went to the fireplace and tossed floo powder in. She stepped in and said, “Shell Cottage.”
She stepped out of the fireplace into the living room, “hello!” Ginny shouted into the small house. The living room was covered with beige furniture, the walls with baby pictures, and there were random toys thrown about.
“Gin is that you,” Bill said coming into the living room.
“Hey,” she hugged him. “Is Fleur here?”
“No she just ran to the market, she should be back any minute,” he said leading her into the kitchen. He had papers spread across the table where he was working.
“Where’s Victoire?” She asked taking a seat.
“She’s upstairs napping and awesome job on that snitch.” He grinned, “I was pinned to the wireless.”
“Thank you I’m feeling pretty good about it myself,” her cheeks flushed and she smiled slightly. She wondered how her best big bro could make her so bashful.
“So what’s going on,” asked Bill.
“Um I got invited to this dinner party and I’m sort of having a fashion crisis,” Ginny sighed. She really didn’t want Fleur’s help. She was all blonde and ethereal and could make men swoon with a look. It was annoying. Not that she was jealous, she had been told she was attractive but there was just something about the woman she didn’t like. She seemed so vain which made this trip seem appropriate. She assumed her best big brother wouldn’t fall for her shallow charms but apparently he too got stuck in her web. Now being married for two years and sometimes seeing them in private moments when they think no one is watching her brother may have been drawn into something else. “Apparently appearance matters.”
“In your line of business”
“It’s just Fleur has such lovely taste…”
The backdoor opened, “let me help you with those,” Bill said getting up and taking the bags from Fleur.
“Merci, Bonjour Ginny,” Fleur said politely.
“Hi, I need your help.”
“Yes what’s up?”
“I need help finding something to wear to a black tie dinner at Oliver Wood’s house?”
“Oh he’s so cute,” smiled Fleur.
“I take no offense to that,” said Bill unpacking the bags.
“Ginny grab your handbag,” Fleur said. “Don’t wait up Bill,” she kissed him on the cheek.
“Where are we going?” She said following Fleur to the floo.
“The most fashionable place in the world,” she said before they disappeared and reappeared in another living room.
“Where are we?”
“At my parent’s house”
“We’re in France!”
“Oui, they’re not here it’s just easier to apparate to Paris.”
“Oh I don’t think the dinner is that serious,” said Ginny following her through the lovely house. “I was just thinking I could borrow something from you. A few tailoring charms…”
“Don’t be silly,” she opened the front door and allowed Ginny out first. “This is going to be fabulous,” she pulled Ginny into her and apparated.
Fleur paraded Ginny through a bunch of stores she had never heard of. She had her in one extraordinary piece of art after another, Fleur always looked great but she was so simple. Ginny wondered how and why she knew where to find all of this. Ginny was also concerned with how much this was going to cost her. She was the one who was asking for help yet she found it necessary to argue with Fleur over everything she picked out. Too much sequin, too many feathers, to revealing, Ginny managed to find something wrong with everything.
“Come out Gin let me see,” Fleur called from her seated position outside of the changing room where she was enjoying her complimentary champagne.
“I don’t know,” she was hesitant about coming out. She felt silly.
“I’m sure you look lovely.”
Ginny sighed and pulled open the curtains and stepped out.
“Oh!” Fleur said standing, “you look absolutely perfect.”
“Really,” she fidgeted with the skirt nervously and stood in front of the full length mirror. She was wearing a long black gown with a plunging neck line. It had a skirt part that was flowy and she was showing cleavage but at least it wasn’t covered in feathers.
“Oui, you should wear your hair up. You look absolutely gorgeous,” Fleur stood behind her in the mirror and pulled her hair back so Ginny could see what she meant. “It’s tres jolie.”
Ginny looked at her reflection, she wasn’t sure. “I think it’s to revealing.” She couldn’t believe she was gown shopping to go to a fancy dinner party. She thought her collection of sundresses was as formal as she would ever get.
“No… it’s understated sexy. You really look amazing Ginny,” Fleur said sincerely.
Ginny turned around to look at the back of her dress. She could do this, she took a deep breath.
At eight o’clock on Saturday a man in a top hat and tails showed up at Ginny’s front door to escort her to Oliver Wood’s house via flying carriage. She was happy she listened to Fleur because when she arrived at Oliver’s house not only was the paparazzi in frenzy at his gate but she had never seen so much glamour in one place. The women in gowns and formal dress robes, jeweled from head to toe and the men in tuxedos.
Oliver Wood had a very lovely home. His foyer receded into the sitting room which was filled with guests. A couple of people walking around serving h'orderves and a bar set up in the corner. His place was quite posh and he was so young, Ginny never thought he’d be this elegant. She didn’t think he was sleeping on a futon or had a coffee table made of pizza boxes but she wasn’t expecting this.
“Ginny, I’m so glad you could make it,” Oliver said approaching in a flourish. He kissed her on the cheek.
“Thank you but I don’t think I belong here.” She nervously pulled at her long black thing.
“Of course you do you’re a gem, there is someone who is dying to meet you,” he said leading her into the living room. “York,” a man with dark curly hair turned around, he was wearing all black with a shiny green tuxedo jacket. “This is Ginny Weasley of the Holyhead Harpies.”
“Yes I know,” he kissed the back of her hand.
“Excuse me,” Oliver said before walking away.
“Why would the lead singer of The Bent Broomsticks want to meet me,” she asked trying to hide her excitement.
“You’re a legend.”
“Oh yeah, I ride that bench like no other.”
York laughed, “You seem unimpressed with all this.”
“I haven’t been immersed in this enough for it to have an affect me,” she explained.
“I think it’s kind of cool.”
She smiled, “well after I attend a few more of these parties you probably won’t be saying that.”
“I have a strange feeling I will be, let’s get you a drink,” he said leading her over to a bar that was set up in the corner. “What’s your poison?”
She didn’t know, she didn’t want to order something that was appropriate for a sporting event which is her general taste but she didn’t want to order something she thinks is sophisticated but turns out not to be. She decided wine was the best choice because people say a bit of red wine is good for you. Then she thought red wine was better suited for dinner, I can’t believe I’m going through all this mental anguish for a drink, “I’ll have a very dry glass of white wine.”
The bartender nodded, “and for you sir?”
“Scotch rocks… So Ms. Weasley where is Mr. Potter tonight,” he asked.
“At home, the invite was for one,” she explained, “however he doesn’t like stuff like this anyway.”
“That’s a shame, he might want to always be around to keep his eye on someone as beautiful as you,” the bartender put their drinks up on the bar. He handed her, her glass of wine.
Ginny felt her cheeks burning and she was slightly uncomfortable. She’s been pursued before but he was a man. Technically Harry was too but she’s known her nineteen year old other half for years. They grew up together and she doesn’t feel like a grown woman and she has trouble picturing him as a grown man. “Thank you,” is all she said before taking a sip of her wine. Which was totally disgusting but she wasn’t going to let that show.
“So where are you from,” York forged on with his questions.
“Ottery St. Catchpole”
“Really I’m from Devon too, my mum would like it if I visit more,” he chuckled.
“I think my mother would like it if I visit less.”
“Excuse me everyone,” Oliver raised his voice over the crowd. “Dinner is served.”
The doors to the dining room opened to reveal a long table set for all forty guest. There were a couple of porters helping them fine their assigned seats. Ginny was seated between a woman with a pointy nose in a huge cloud of nauseating perfume and a man whose cummerbund looked as if it was going to pop off.
“Ms. Weasley,” the man turned to her, “Albert Cummings.”
She shook his hand, “how do you do?”
“Wonderfully thanks, I was hoping I would get a chance to speak with you this evening.”
“Oh really, how have I sparked your interest,” she asked politely. Although given how hard he was trying to keep his eyes up she knew exactly what sparked his interest.
“I’m a huge Harpies fan,” he smiled.
“It’s always nice to meet a fan,” of my chest, she thought with a sneer.
“I’m also the head of sports programming for the Wizarding Wireless Network. You’re definitely someone we should get on the radio.”
She chuckled, “I don’t know what I’d talk about.”
“I’m sure you could come up with something.”
“Perhaps where you got your lovely dress,” the woman on the other side of her chimed in.
Ginny looked over to her, “thank you but I must admit I had some help picking it out.”
“Who doesn’t have a little help sometimes,” she flourished her hand. “It’s nice to have someone parade you through the best shops.”
“I know what you mean,” she agreed. She wasn’t about to tell her the person who helped was her sister in law and she argued with her over every dress and settled on this one. “I was being escorted through Paris when I picked this up.” She was beginning to get it, act like your hot stuff and you are hot stuff. She looked up and down the table as the first course appeared on their plates. York was sitting next to Oliver who was at the head of the table. He was leaned over speaking to Oliver quietly. They both looked down the table at her. She blushed and looked away.
After four courses, a bit of light dancing, and Ginny pretending as if she knew what she was doing she was ready to call it night. She was tired and her feet were killing her.
“Ginny thank you so much for coming,” Oliver said walking her to the door.
“Thanks for having me it was wonderful.”
“Glad you enjoyed it… you took my advice about Harry.”
“What do you mean?”
“The photos of you with him are everywhere, pretty easy PR you didn’t have to pay for. Quidditch is hard work both on and off the field.”
“What’s with the free advice?”
“You’re innocent in all this, it’s cute but you won’t survive. I know that we don’t really know each other but I liked your brothers. You Weasley’s are good people so I thought I’d help you out.” He opened the door for her and followed her into the night air, he signaled the valet to bring a carriage around. The photographers were still gathered at the gate.
“That’s really nice of you but I don’t think being pictured with Harry will get me to first string.”
“People like to be nosey, always keep them guessing,” with that Oliver pulled Ginny in and kissed her. Her eyes were wide. She was totally caught off guard. She knew she shouldn’t be letting this happen but she closed her eyes and got into it because Oliver Wood was an amazing kisser. He pulled away and smirked, “have a goodnight.”
The carriage pulled up and he opened the door for her, “goodnight,” she said quietly, Oliver closed the door.
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