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Chapter 2 : The EX-pert journalist
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I had never lived with boys before. My mother and father divorced when I was five, and we moved to France with my four sisters. Even our dog was a girl. Needless to say I was entirely unprepared for the disaster that was Oliver Wood’s living habits.
Despite having a bedroom, he would be up until the early morning hours planted in front of the television. I forbid going out to pubs for at least the first month, so the floor of my living room was littered with glass bottles that he didn’t bother to clean and I didn’t have time to clean. He smelled like the wrong end of a pig until I had finally convinced him to shower consistently by following him around with cheap perfume and spraying him and his drinks until he went into the shower. He managed to keep his dirty laundry in his room, but since he never bothered to close his door, that didn’t really help much.
The only time Oliver showed any form of motivation was when he was sneaking out of the house to go to the quidditch pitch. I didn’t much like the idea of having to live with him in the first place, so I thought it was almost cruel to charm him in the house. Unfortunately this was the fourth time he had slipped my grasp this week, and the bad press was just getting out of hand. Something had to be done.
“We’ve been trying to get him to come down for almost an hour now,” the team captain, Alex, explained exasperatedly to me, “We’re ready to go home, but we’ve been instructed not to let him practice alone. He keeps evading us.”
“WOOD, GET DOWN HERE NOW!” I didn’t need a charm to ensure that he heard me. I may not have learned to be messy living with five other women, but I learned how to be loud.
“When I’m finished!” Wood retorted coldly.
“Oh that’s it, I’m done with this. Give me your broom.” I shouted at Alex.
He looked quizzically at me, but the look on my face conveyed that I was not going to ask him twice and he reluctantly handed over his Firebolt. I inhaled sharply and kicked off from the ground.
“Oliver, don’t make me chase you. Get down to the ground now.” I yelled to his back as he batted away a quaffle that had been charmed to repeatedly fly towards the goal.
“Ah, Adelynn, I thought you couldn’t fly. Oh well, at least you can help me practice.” He hit one of the quaffles towards me and I slipped out of the way just in time. He was playing right in to my plan, although he didn’t know it. Goodness, I’m good at my job.
I started speeding toward him and he began laughing lightly smacking another quaffle in my direction while mentioning something about “not wanting to hurt me,” and “taking it easy on me.” Good, perfect, keep talking.
He hit another one in my direction, only this time I didn’t avoid the charmed ball. It hit the broom square in the tail and sent me toppling off of it.
“Shit, Adelynn!” Oliver cried as he nosedived toward my falling body.
He caught me while I was still at least 15 feet from the ground, but he was obviously shaken. He cradled me in to his body(which I have to admit, felt so warm on this chilly October afternoon.) and landed as gently as he could muster.
I nearly had to pry his arms from around me in order to pull away from him. I stood with my arms crossed for warmth until Oliver dismounted his broom and walked over to me putting a hand on my shoulder. I looked up and saw worried blue eyes gazing back at me and I almost felt bad for him. Almost.
I snatched the broom from his light grasp and started walking off the field. Before I left the pitch completely I pulled out my wand and called Alex’s broom back from where it had been hovering in the air. The entire team was too busy gapping at me like fish out of water.
It took all of one minute for Oliver to meet me at the base of the stairs heading to the locker room. He was fuming.
“I can’t believe you would fall off of your broom on purpose. What if I hadn’t caught you? You could have died.” He was fighting to keep his voice low. My guess was that he didn’t want his team to know any more about this ordeal than they already did.
“To be honest, I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist.” I replied coolly.
“You really think you’re that beautiful? That I just couldn’t resist rescuing a damsel in distress?” His voice was getting notably louder.
“Seriously? Is that what you think of me. We’ve lived together for almost a month and you still think I’m the kind of person that would use her looks to get her way?” I was becoming agitated. That comment hit dead on to a really sore spot of mine. “You want to know why I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist? Because you’re a damn professional quidditch player. My goal was to excite the athlete in you, not the hormonal teenage boy.”
Oliver’s face reddened and he stumbled over a few words before I raised my hand up to show that I wasn’t interested. I started smoothing my braid down and took a few deep breaths before continuing.
“Listen, I’m sorry if I embarrassed you, but you aren’t making it very easy to be overly kind either. You need to put in a little effort where other people’s lives are concerned.”
Oliver sat down on one of the steps and put his head in his hands. Slowly he rubbed his eyes and ran his hands through his hair. He looked defeated. I really hadn’t meant to deflate him like this, especially not today, of all days. I needed him on top of his game, but it was something else that made me sit down next to him and nudge him playfully with my shoulder. I couldn’t tell you what that something was, but for the first time in a long time, I felt motivated by something other than my job.
“Okay, I’ll cut you a deal, and I don’t cut many deals.” I smirked slightly as I said it; it was so true. “If you can promise me two things, I’ll let you hit the town a couple of nights this week to test the waters.”
“What are the conditions.” Oliver looked at me skeptically, but I could see a light returning to his eyes.
“Well first, I would greatly appreciate no longer living in a pig sty. I’ll even help you clean, but you have to promise not to live so shabbily anymore.”
“I guess I can do that for you. It was starting to gross me out anyways.” It was his turn to nudge me lightly, and smirk at that. It was probably the first time I’d seen even a hint of a smile in two weeks. He had a really nice smile.
“Okay then, number two. You have an interview with a reporter for a quidditch magazine in about two hours. I need you to promise to be on your best behavior, and give your best answers. If you can do that, you’re free to go out.”
Oliver looked up at me and raised an eyebrow before asking, “Who is the reporter?”
“It’s a surprise.”
I brushed off Oliver’s dark green button down and straightened his tie. He looked extremely uncomfortable in clothing that wasn’t either a quidditch uniform or jeans and a t-shirt, but at least he managed to make uncomfortable look attractive. He grumbled slightly when I made him pull a pair of dress shoes from the depths of his closet instead of his overly-worn-in sneakers, but he managed to get through most of the process with little actually whining.
I looked him over. Gwen Wright was going to eat him up. She was the perfect person to conduct Oliver Wood’s first post-accident interview. She always had a knack for portraying quidditch players in a positive light, especially the good-looking ones. She was tall, leggy, and blonde. Her father owned the magazine she worked for, but she was actually a talented writer when it came to pleasing her female audience. She managed to make quidditch fun for most women, and when you get the woman on the player’s side, her significant other is soon to follow. This interview was Public Relations brilliance.
It was also my way of having a little bit of fun. The magazine world had been buzzing with who I was representing now, considering I was very choosey with who I gave interviews with my players to, and because of this I had also chosen to Ms. Wright out of the loop as well as Oliver. This was going to be a fantastic day.
When I had finally convinced Oliver that he was ready to get on with the interview, he touched my shoulder so that we could apparate. A strange tingle ran through my spine, but very few people tend to touch me in any way other than a handshake, so it was probably just a new sensation. Yeah, we’ll go with that.
We apparated in to a part of the building far in the back of the newsroom. It was a private corridor where all of the permanent writers had offices. I had been here many times. This magazine also staffed plenty of male writers who took quidditch seriously enough to write fair stories about the Harpies, so I frequented this area of the building. Apparently, Oliver was no stranger to this part of the building either. The moment he had his bearings post-apparition he jerked to a stop.
“Who are we here to see?” He questioned quietly.
“You’ll see. This is an excellent opportunity and this interview was part of our deal remember?”
Oliver nodded and began moving again, but his actions were notably different. He was incredibly aware of his surroundings and his expression had hardened dramatically. As we made our way through the maze of doors his agitation grew rapidly.
“I never pegged you as the stalking type, Oliver.” A silky voice came from behind us.
I was standing directly behind Oliver, so I couldn’t actually see who was speaking, but I knew her voice. Gwen Wright was on her way back to her office, and the mere sound of her voice made Oliver’s fists clench.
He spun slowly on his heels and I stepped out from behind Oliver.
“Oh, I see, you’re Adelynn’s new client.” Gwen sneered while she spoke, and for once, I felt like I actually looked more attractive than she did. “It makes sense. She has a knack for bringing life to a hopeless cause.”
“That’s enough of that.” I inserted, stepping forward. “You will treat my clients with respect, or you can tell your father that this magazine will never have another interview with one of my companies clients.”
“Oh calm down, you silly little girl. Oliver and I have a history, don’t we honey?” Her green, heavily make-up covered eyes fluttered in Oliver’s direction. I could almost taste the fake honey she was pouring on to her words and it made me sick. Was she always this way, and I just hadn’t noticed before?
Oliver looked away and she laughed, “Oliver and I used to be engaged, which is why I assumed he was here on a personal call. My engagement to Reginald Finley was just announced in the Prophet this week.”
“Reginald Finley? The heir to the main creator of the Firebolt?”
“That very one. So I’m sure you can see why I thought Oliver was here in a fit of jealousy.” She had pushed her shoulders back an raised her nose trying to look superior, but it just made her look like she had caught wind of some of the crap she was trying to sell.
Before I could comment, I had the set of double doors at the entrance to the hallway slam shut. Oliver was gone.
I began to walk after him, but before I left, I couldn’t resist one final dig, “Enjoy your life with Reginald as his trophy wife. I went to school with him. He and his boyfriend were very happy back then.”
Although Oliver had gotten a significant head start on me, I knew the shortcut to the bottom level and was able to head him off just as he reached the entrance. I grabbed his arm and pulled him in to the hallway so that we could apparate back to our flat.
The moment we were safely in the flat, Oliver stormed to his room and threw the door shut with all the force he had. I decided to give him some time to cool off.
I poured two cups of tea and set them on the table that I had just cleared off. I figured cleaning was the least I could do since I had seriously neglected my research and taken Oliver in to this situation in the first place. I felt awful. I should have never taken him to see that awful woman. I should have known that he had been with a quidditch reporter, even if it was something he tried to hide. It was my job to know and monitor every part of his life.
It had been almost an hour since we had gotten back and the slamming and shoving noises had finally stopped in the room. I tool this a sign that it was safe to try conversation.
I knocked softly on the door and quietly said, “Oliver, can we talk?”
I nodded, expecting this sort of reaction, “I am really sorry.”
I began to walk towards the table when I heard a soft click of the door opening.
“It’s not your fault. You couldn’t have known. Her father hid our relationship very well.” He said, sighing heavily and tossing something in front of me on the table before sitting down and pulling his tea towards himself.
I picked up the object and flipped it over between my fingers. It was a ring. A gorgeous, easily two carat, diamond ring with intricate designs etched into the gold band. It wasn’t really my style, but I could tell it was expensive, and I could tell it was an engagement ring.
“Was this…Were you and Gwen…” Oliver cut me off before I could stumble over anymore words.
“Yep. Engaged. She broke up with me about a week after my accident, when the healers were still debating my eventual return to the team.”
“Oh wow, I’m so sorry.”
Oliver nodded and tuned his eyes towards his tea. His face was expressionless, but I had seen the pain in his eyes. It must be killing him. Less than four months after she breaks her engagement to him when she finds out he may not be able to play quidditch anymore, she has a new, wealthy, and well-known new fiancé. Damn, this girl worked fast. I’m assuming in every possible way as well.
Oliver drank his tea slowly, having nothing to add to his explanation.
“I think we need something stronger than this tea. Do you want to go out with me tonight?” I asked, trying to sound cheerful.
He raised his eyebrow as a smile threatened the corners of his lips.
“Oh, I didn’t mean like that. I only meant that we both need a drink after today, and it’s pathetic to drink alone.”
“I guess we could go out. You can’t act like my mother though. You have to let me drink.”
“You aren’t allowed to get trashed, but I’m not going to police you.”
“Then I guess we’re going out.”
“Can you give me an hour or so? I need to shower and get ready?”
“We can save time and shower together?” Oliver suggested wiggling his eyebrows. “I mean, there is only one shower in the apartment.”
I rolled my eyes and shoved him lightly. I liked that he was starting to feel better, but I wanted him to know that there would be no funny business between the two of us.
“How about I just go first, and you can shower after I’m all done. That way, you can think of me while you shower, and I wont have to hear anything because I’ll be blow drying my hair.”
I smirked at him and winked playfully before shutting myself in the bathroom and locking the door.
After turning on the water, I leaned against the closed door and sighed. The only image in my head was the one of him in nothing but a towel when we first met. Great, just great.
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