Chapter 6 : Collecting Rocks
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After many days of experience I had come to one conclusion; Victoire Weasley was insane.
It always seemed funny before, when Dom complained about Vic at school, but once I had to live with her myself, on what would possibly have to be the most stressful season of her life, I felt sorry for Dom. It was almost as painful as living with my parents.
Vicky's morning jogs had become a morning chore. We'd tried everything we could think of to avoid them, even locking the bedroom door one night. So what did Vicky do to avoid that problem? She climbed through the window. And because it meant that we were running half an hour late she made us run extra-fast to keep along with her schedule. If being a reporter didn't work out for her then she definitely had a career as an army commander.
It wasn't just the running that made Vicky seem crazy. We've all seen or heard about those insane brides somewhere or another but Victoire was taking it to a whole new level. We had sat through dress fitting after dress fitting for what seemed like hours on end trying to find Vic her perfect dress, yet even in dresses that looked stunning on her, she found a fault. Either the colour wasn't two white or the buttons were the wrong size or even that the inside of the dress was a bad colour on her. Firstly, everything was a good colour on her. Secondly, nobody would see the inside of the dress!
Eventually, Vicky had decided the only way the dress would be perfect was if she designed it herself, so that is exactly what she did. And again, Vicky had found another future career in fashion design, as the dress was more beautiful than anything I'd ever seen in my life. Plus, that was only the drawing of it, so it must look absolutely breathtaking in real material.
By the time Thursday came, we had successfully chased up every late RSVP, found Victoire's dress and gone to three hair practices for Victoire on the day. Everyday, Shell Cottage seemed to be filled with a few of the bridesmaids and ushers, for whom Vicky gave a task to before she found something else she had to do. Today however, Vicky was going to work. This gave Dom and I the ridiculous idea that we might actually be able to sleep in past six O'clock but Vicky arrived promptly and ready to run. Unfortunately, we still had to join her.
The repetitive routine had made the challenge easier, however no less painful. I thought being away from Hogwarts would mean being away from the school and their strict timetable, but I'd trade that for this one in the blink of an eye if I had the chance. I knew the schedule by now, and so did Dom. We would both get up, dress for running, brush our teeth, go running and complain about how crazy Vicky was, return, shower and dress properly, eat breakfast while complaining how crazy Vicky was for giving us this crazy task.
I picked up an apple from the bowl on the counter, tossing an extra one to Dom. She caught it easily, being much more agile than I ever was, and sat around the table, taking a bite out of it. It was at that moment that our guests for the day decided to join us. Luckily for me, it was the same people who joined us on Monday.
Freddie and Jamie walked out of the fireplace, Jamie's eyes brightening instantly when he realised I was still here grinning and bearing the torture Victoire was putting me through. I think even Dom was surprised I hadn't left yet, and was nearly desperate for me to so she could move into Ryan's flat with us for the summer, though with such a small flat and so many people, I think the idea of moving would be near impossible. Unless I wanted to go back to my parents which I didn't want to do.
Anyway, Jamie had a cocky grin on his face, making me fear what he knew about our little Monday nap. As many of the duties this week had been bridal duties (no groomsmen aloud!), I had managed to avoid this particular idiot and the problems he would bring. I should have realised that I couldn't avoid him forever.
He strolled over, Freddie hot on his heels, and took his seat next to me, ready to say something stupid to me. I rested my head in my hands, turning to Dom before I could even look him in the eye and attempting to bring up a conversation with her. She smiled and giggled in reply. Dom had always found the situation funny, the fact that her cousin shamelessly flirted with me and admitted his love to me in front of everyone. Maybe it was because she actually liked her cousin. Maybe because she didn't get embarrassed as easily. Or maybe, just maybe, this was because it wasn't happening to her. I can't even begin to imagine what she would do in this situation.
"So, Lexi..." Jamie began, before Victoire finally did an action that made up for all the silly early morning run. She entered the room carrying four boxes, her walk filled with determination and control.
"Jamie, shhh" She told him, before dropping the boxes infront of us all with a loud thud. "To write the name of the guests on, I would like you to go and collect pebbles from the beach around here. It would just really mean a lot to me if we could have a little piece of our childhood home at the wedding in France"
We sat still, not making a sound as Vicky dictated to us the exact pebbles we should collect from the beach. They needed to be about the size of our palm, no bigger no smaller, they needed to be nice and smooth, not rough at all and they needed to be a clean, greyish colour. Nothing else would do.
"Well go!" She shouted at us once her instructions where over.
"Hold on a second. You want us to go to the beach and collect two-thousand pebbles and put them in these boxes?" Freddie asked.
"Two-thousand and fifty" She corrected him. "It shouldn't be too hard, I have put an undetectable extension charm on them after all"
"But Vic, you've only given us a day, how are we meant to get them all in such little time?" Freddie asked.
"Because there are four of you and if by this evening, if you do not have at least half of them I will become very, very angry and intolerable" She explained with a sarcastic smile. "Get it done"
She grabbed her coat and headed towards the fire place, where nearly every wizarding Weasley had been coming in and out over the last week.
"You mean that up until now Vicky's been tolerable?" I asked Dom, who signed and turned away from me, almost embarrassed.
"I mean up until now she's been normal for her, believe me, you do not want to see her when she is mad. It's like... scary" She told me, shuddering at the thought.
"Then I guess we should go" I suggested, grabbing one of the boxes and heading to the door. The others grumbled there agreement and followed me down to the beach. I turned around and looked at them when we were by the sea, who were all just standing about, a bit clueless as to how we should proceed.
"So I guess we should have a plan for this and what we're going to do?" I offered, and while Dom and Freddie mumbled their agreement, Jamie responded enthusiastically, loudly voicing his agreement with me.
"So Lexi, what do you think we should do?" He asked, and I inwardly cringed at this. It's an embarrassing idea isn't it, Jamie Potter, the heart-throb son of the saviour of the wizarding world acting this desperate?
"Well, I would say we all aim to collect one-hundredandfifty stones each, and after that, we can take a forty-five minute break" I suggested. Dom and Freddie answered with a groan of 'Fine', as they were probably plotting some prank to play on Vicky. Then again if she was really going to be as bad as Dom said she could get, I did not want to be around or have anything to do with it.
Turns out, finding one-hundredandfifty pebbles is a lot harder to do than it sounds, and we ended up spending the entire morning searching up and down the beach for them. I in particular seemed to be struggling with the task. Potter on the other hand, seemed to be gliding through it easily, and finished the task by eleven O'clock, while I was barely half-way done when it came to one-thirty. We were going to have to break for lunch anyway, considering we had been out here working since eight-thirty and the summer weather meant the heat was nearly unbearable. I was starting to get tired and really annoyed, I just wanted to finish my hundred now so I had less to do in the afternoon.
"Alright Potter, how did you do it?" I asked.
"Get your pebbles so quickly? Did you use a spell or something?"
"Then how? How did you manage to find so many so quickly" I begged, which he probably loved seeing me doing.
"I'll help you Lexi, just on one condition" He suggested to me.
"What condition?" I asked. It was bound to be something stupid, like I had to go on a date with him or kiss him or something. I'd rather search the beach till midnight, then face the wrath of Victoire Weasley than do either of those.
"You need to stop calling me Potter" He stated, surprising me. It's not that I didn't agree with it, I thought it was a reasonable suggestion. It's just, well, I didn't really understand it.
"Why? It's your name isn't it?" I replied.
"No Lexi, My name is James. You can call me that, or you can call me Jamie like everyone else but just stop calling me Potter. It just makes you sound so...bitter" He told me. The sad part was I could kind of see where he was coming from.
"Fine" I replied. "Now, Jamie, will you help me find some pebbles?"
"I'd be happy to" He smiled, before looking over at Freddie and Dom, who seemed to be in their own little world looking at the ground walking far further along the shore than we were. Occasionally they'd bend over and try to snatch up a pebble on the ground, before the other could even see it, shouting how close they were to the mark that I had set and couldn't even reach without Potters help. "Can you keep it a secret from Fred and Dom?"
"If I must" I sighed and after checking that the two weren't there again, he guided me back further from where we were to a little place up by the sand-dunes. We walked a little further for less than a minute until we came to the edge of the sea. A blanket of pebbles covered the sand, and they all seemed ideal for Victoire, the correct size, the correct colour, the correct shape. I laughed at this. Only Potter would be able to find such a little short-cut like this.
"Well this makes sense!" I exclaimed, picking up one of the rocks and tossing it into the air.
"I've told you. I'm smarter than you think" He smiled, before picking up one of the stones. "So how many was it that you needed again?"
"Fifty-seven" I recited. "But do you mind if I join you here this afternoon to get my remaining hundred for the day? I'd like to finish, you know, today"
"Go for it" He proclaimed, filling up my box with the remaining pebbles. He counted them off as he did so, and the box just seemed to be getting even more heavy. It wasn't long till my number was done and we were heading back along the beach in search of Dom and Freddie. We found them eventually, arguing over a pebble.
"I'm done now, Lexi's done now so when you guys want to finish we'll eat lunch" Jamie told them, and with Freddie's moment of distraction, Dom snatched the pebble off of him and threw it into her box.
"Yes! I'm done too!" Dom announced, and Freddie groaned, continuing walking along the beach to find one more.
He found it eventually, and we all headed back up to the cottage to grab a sandwich. Vicky had left another box outside, where we each poured in our one-hundredandfifty stones before wiping our feet and entering the house. In total, the box outside only had six-hundred stones, meaning we needed to collect another one-hundred each today so Vicky wouldn't kill us. Then again, she would probably find something wrong with them and find the need to kill us.
Lunch was awful. It was great in the sense that Jamie didn't ask me out once but when you tasted it, it truly tasted appalling. It meant that I was never going to let Dom even attempt to cook for us again.
With the revolting after-taste of what Dominique passed off as a sandwich in our mouths, the four of us picked up our boxes and headed back to the beach. The warm sand fell through our toes as we stepped on it, and I closed my eyes, savouring the wonderful moment of being here.
When Freddie and Dom had gone off on there march along the shore, I looked back at Jamie, and together, we sneaked away to the land of the pebbles. It didn't even take us two hours till each of our boxes held one-hundred pebbles, meaning our task for the day was completely done.
"It really is beautiful here isn't it?" Jamie said, and I turned around to look at what he was looking at. His voice had surprised me, as I'd only heard the sound of the waves crashing against the shore before. But now that he had mentioned it, all I could look at was the beautiful sky, pink and orange, that seemed to merge with the horizon. This picturesque view was a kind of beauty you hardly ever saw, even at Hogwarts. So natural and calm, a serene area that was usually make-believe.
"Yeah" I breathed out, unable to draw my eyes away from it. I just wanted to take a picture or even paint one, just so I could stare at this view for ever more. "It really is"
I turned around to see Potter who was smiling in a laughing way.
"What?" I asked, feeling slightly confused.
"You've spent the entire afternoon with me and you haven't complained once" He answered.
"Do you want me to?" I replied. "Besides, it's because you haven't asked me out once"
"Do you want me to?" He mocked me, before turning away and looking back at the captivating scene. I smiled at him, before picking up my box and continuing collecting.
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