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Chapter 6 : Step Forward
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And I'm also sorry for this chapter. I know you're waiting for the story to begin, and I keep giving you fillers. I'm not pleased with this chapter at all, but like all the other fillers, it's necessary. I have a lot of characters and background stories to introduce, but I promise you that this is the last filler! And this time, I know I'll be able to keep the promise because guess what? I've already written the next chapter.
I'm actually writing chapter 12, and let me tell you, it's dramatic! You're going to miss these boring fillers where nothing really happened :)
Anyways, I'm done rambling now. Just remember that I don't own anything you recognize.
After finding the perfect dress, we headed home to Dom and Jay’s apartment to get some rest. I had tried to tell Dom that staying at a hotel would be just fine, but she had refused to listen and forced me to stay at her place. They had a lovely three bedroom apartment, which was situated in an old building but was completely renovated. It must have cost a fortune, but money wasn’t really a problem for Dom or Jay.
I mean, Jay was a quidditch player for the Chudley Cannons. They had always been a losing team; but during the last five years a really rich wizard had invested a lot in them and they had been able to buy great players. Now they were one of the top teams, and Jay’s salary was probably not modest.
Dom came from one of the richest families in England and France. Before the war, the Weasleys didn’t have much money, but afterwards they became loaded. Dom’s mother’s family wasn’t exactly poor either, and her trust fund was pretty well filled. She worked as a model, and she did both muggle and wizarding jobs.
So basically, they probably didn’t have any problem to afford the place at all.
When we came home, Jay was lounging on the couch; talking to a guy I had never met.
“Well, if it isn’t my favorite emigrant” he grinned, getting up from the couch to hug me. “It’s about time you came to visit; you’ve been hiding over there for too long” he said as he gave me a bone crushing embrace.
I chuckled. “I’ve missed you too, Jay.”
“This is my friend and team mate, Gabriel Clarke” he said, gesturing towards the other guy.
He had dark, curly hair and kind green eyes. “Pleasure to meet you” he said politely as we shook hands.
“You too” I said and smiled, happy to meet a quidditch player who wasn’t a complete douche.
Because let’s face it; most of them were. I had met the guys on Jasper’s team several times, and they refused to stop with their sexist comments and flirtatious remarks. Even some of the ones who had girlfriends flirted with me. It was disgusting.
We sat down on the couch, wanting to rest for a while. Dom began telling Jay about our day, and she couldn’t hide the excitement from her face. She was grinning and her eyes were sparkling. Jay was sitting next to her, holding her hand and listening intently. I couldn’t help but smile goofily at how cute they were together. You could tell by just looking at them that they really loved each other. They really were the perfect couple.
“So I was thinking maybe we could head out for dinner tonight?” Jay said when Dom had finished telling about our day.
I nodded, but Dom bit her lip, looking at me guiltily. I raised my eyebrows, not really liking that look. Whatever made Dom send it, it couldn’t be good.
“Er, I kind of promised Rose that we’d eat with her and Scorpius. She really wants to meet you” she said, looking at me.
“That’s okay” I said, “I want to meet her too.”
Dom bit her lip again, and when she opened her mouth I was sure that wasn’t going to like what she had to say. “Well, Scorpius told Al, and he wanted to tag along too. Then Freddy found out, and he told Roxanne. Who told her dad, who told-“
“Okay, stop it” I snapped her off. “You’re telling me that we are going to have dinner with your entire family?”
“Not all of them!” she said quickly. “James is at a training camp in Scotland,” thank Merlin, “Hugo and Lily were busy with work, and well, Percy and his family weren’t asked. Also, nana and grandpa are visiting Charlie in Romania.”
I stared at her. “You’re kidding me, right?”
She blushed. “No, I’m sorry. You know how my family is!” she exclaimed, and I suddenly realized what Harry’s mysterious “I’ll see you soon” had been about.
I groaned. “I did not sign up for this” I whined. “Don’t you think the shopping was enough torture?”
“Oh come on Al” she said, using a nickname that earned her a glare. “It’ll just be you and me. And Jay. And Al, Rose, Scorpius, Harry and Ginny. And mum, dad and Louis. And Fred, Roxie, George and Angelina. And oh, Hermione and Ron.”
I buried my head in one of the pillows. “I’m too tired for this” I said, muffled by the fabric.
Jay patted my back. “It’ll be fine, it’s just dinner. And also, it’s not the whole family so it’ll probably be calmer and quieter than usual. You’ve got nothing to worry about” he said, ruffling my hair.
“Pass me the salt!”
“Haven’t you learned the magic word?”
“So Allie, you actually survived shopping with my sister?”
“Just give it to me!”
“I heard that the ministry in America is way cooler than here”
“Not until you say the magic word!”
“Is it true that the World cup will be played in America?”
“Hey! My potato looks like Jesus!”
“JUST GIVE IT TO ME ALREADY!”
“What? Seriously? COOL!”
Yeah, dinner with the Potter/Weasleys was really quiet. Not tiresome at all.
I should have known this. In fact, I couldn’t understand why I had believed Jay in the first place. Maybe I had just wanted to feel better.
Dinner with this family was always chaos, no matter how many we were. Something always happened: someone exploded the food, got into a fight or did something really weird.
Like seeing Jesus’ face on a potato. Three guesses who would be stupid enough to do that.
Actually, you don’t even need three guesses. There was only one person who was capable of such comments, and his name was Fred Weasley.
I swear, the poor guy must have been dropped on his head as a kid. Multiple times.
The evening had started out alright. When we arrived, I was immediately attacked by people. A hundred hugs and ‘I’ve missed you’s later, we began the small talk part. I told everyone what I was doing, and they seemed impressed.
Despite my dramatic outburst, I was glad to meet all of them again. I had just preferred meeting them in small groups instead of this giant get together. Because really, gathering almost twenty Weasleys in one house was bound to be messy.
The chaos started when we sat down for dinner, and when Fred uttered that stupid comment I felt like banging my head towards the table. Meeting everybody again was fun, but also exhausting. Luckily, I sat next to Al, who at least tried to hold a conversation in a normal tone.
After dinner, I ended up in the living room with Al, Rose, Scorpius, Roxanne and Louis. Dom went off with Fleur, Hermione, Angelina and Ginny. Apparently, they were going to look through wedding magazines. Ron and Harry were cleaning up and George, Bill, Fred and Jay were still at the table, talking about quidditch.
I was lounging on the couch next to Al, who had his arm thrown lazily around my shoulders. The fact that he was the brother of my ex might have made that weird, but we’d always been good friends so even though we hadn’t met in years it still didn’t feel awkward. Scorpius and Rose were snuggled up at the other end of the couch and Roxanne and Louis were sitting in one of the armchairs: Roxanne in the seat and Louis on the armrest.
“It’s weird” Al began. “It’s been five years, but it doesn’t feel like it. It feels… natural. Like it’s always been this way.”
“Yeah, you’re right” I agreed.
“That’s because you belong here” Roxie said, grinning. “You’re a part of this family, whether you like it or not.”
“Yeah, that’s true” Louis agreed. “Nana Molly will be so disappointed that she didn’t get to meet you.”
“Well, I’ll be back. There’s the dress fitting, the hen party and the wedding. And I’m sure Dom will find more excuses for me to come.”
“I hope so” Rose said. “We’ve all missed you, you know. You’ve been away for far too long.”
“I’ve missed you guys too. I’m sorry that I didn’t visit you earlier; but I’ll try to do it more often now” I said, feeling guilty as I realized how selfish I had been when I just cut off my contact with all of them.
“You don’t think you’ll move back to England?” Al asked, looking like he already knew the answer.
I sighed. “I don’t think so.”
We were all silent for a while, probably thinking about the same thing. A part of me wanted to live in England and be friends with this group again, but the other part loved my life in America. And also, going back to my old life would be impossible. As long as James was around, nothing was ever going to be the same. Just because things felt good now that he was away didn’t mean that going back would work out.
“Well, now that our dear cousin has screwed up we’ll just have to find you another one” Roxie smirked. “If we get you to marry one of us, you’ll be a part of this family whether you like it or not.”
I rolled my eyes. “What a fantastic idea.”
“I’m serious! Can’t you marry Fred or something?”
I looked over at the dining table, where Fred was sitting. He was currently laughing loudly, throwing his head backwards making everyone see right up his nose and all of his teeth.
I shuddered. “You want me to marry that?” I said, pointing at him.
She looked over, and shrugged, obviously not surprised by her brother’s behavior. “Okay so he might be a bit dumb sometimes” she said, causing me to snort. “But he’s, er… Charming.”
I laughed out loud, and Al and Louis joined in.
“Alright, so he’s a stupid oaf. But you can marry someone else, there’s always Al or Louis!”
Al rolled his eyes and Louis blushed.
“I think you should just drop this, honey.”
“Oh don’t you dare ‘honey’ me” she threatened. “What’s wrong with them?”
“Let’s see. I’m the brother of her ex, and if Allie and I started dating it would probably be a tad bit embarrassing. Not to mention that James would probably kill me. And Fred would mix up our names. The poor kid can barely remember his own, for Merlin’s sake” Al said, rolling his eyes. “And Louis here is only nineteen, and far too innocent for Allie. He’d probably wet his pants on their first date.”
“Hey!” Louis cried offended, but couldn’t help but grin.
We all laughed and Roxanne grumbled an incoherent response before falling silent.
We continued to talk about all kinds of stuff, and time went by quickly. When Dom came to tell me that we were going home, I was surprised at how late it really was.
When we had said our goodbyes (and I had been forced to promise to come back soon) we apparated back to the flat, and stayed up talking a bit more before going to bed. As I lay down in one of the guest rooms, I felt happier than I had in several months.
Despite Fred’s stupid comments, the chaos at the dining table, the hundreds of questions I’d had to answer and Roxanne’s weird wedding idea, I had had a lot of fun.
Being with the Weasleys had reminded me that while my life was in America, I still had people that meant a lot to me in England. It had felt like I had never left, and my relationship to them was the same, despite the lack of contact.
They had given me a nice feeling, something I hadn’t expected to feel.
I had felt at home.
The next morning I walked into the kitchen, where Jay was eating breakfast and reading a magazine. When he caught sight of me, he quickly shoved the magazine away, trying to look innocent.
I narrowed my eyes. “What are you reading?”
He yelped. “Nothing!” he said quickly. Too quickly.
Honestly, the guy couldn’t lie at all. How Dom had managed to believe that he was having an affair was beyond me.
“Give me that” I said and snatched the paper from him. As I looked at the front page, I gasped.
The words “The mysterious girl returns” were spread at the top, and beneath them was a picture of me and Dom. It was taken the day before, in Diagon Alley. We were holding a cup of coffee each, and I was laughing while Dom had a big smirk on her face.
I quickly turned to the right page, and started reading.
Allison Reed, the girl who went from being a nobody to the hottest gossip in England over a night, is back in London. She was spotted in Diagon Alley yesterday, with one of her old friends: Famous model Dominique Weasley. The two of them were looking at wedding dresses, most likely for Dominique’s upcoming wedding (read all about it on page 12!). Sources tell us that they seemed to be having a good time, but that Allison couldn’t keep the façade up all day.
“Whenever Dominique looked away she had a sad look on her face. She tried to smile and look happy, but it wasn’t hard to see through it. The poor girl is clearly still heartbroken” an anonymous source tells us.
The reason for Allison’s heartbreak is, as we all know, famous heartthrob James Potter. The two of them started dating in their seventh year at Hogwarts, and according to our sources, they were an it couple. Everybody thought they would last forever, including Allison, but playboy Potter had other things in mind. He secretly started dating Celine Jones (sister to pop singer Aleksander Jones), and while he thought he would get away with it, the truth came out. Poor Allison was devastated, and rumor has it she didn’t leave her bed for a week.
“It was terrible” a close friend of hers tells us. “Despite his reputation, Allison really thought they would last forever. When they didn’t, she completely fell apart.”
After graduation, Allison fled the country and moved to America. She has been living there since, and hasn’t returned until now. The hurt has been too much for her to even be able to look into her old friends’ eyes. Is her visit in England a sign that she is finally getting over James Potter?
We want to believe it, but everything points at the opposite. Sources tell us that Allison hasn’t had a boyfriend in five years.
“She’s had lots of offers, but she keeps pushing them away. She just can’t get over James.”
Also, the fact that Allison chose this weekend contributes to our suspicions that she isn’t over her first love. This particular weekend Puddlemere United has their annual training camp in Scotland (see pictures of hot quidditch players in action on page 20!). And who plays chaser on that team? Yes, you guessed right: James Potter. We want to believe that it’s not a coincidence, but the facts are too strong to ignore.
The sad truth is that while James is enjoying his bachelor life, poor Allison is still trying to mend her broken heart.
There were several pictures in the article. One picture of me, sitting at a table looking thoughtful, while Dom was talking to her mum on the phone. I did look kind of sad on that one, but I was actually thinking about which dress store to go to.
Then there was another one; one of me and James. It was taken on one of our dates in Hogsmeade. I was wearing a beanie and a coat, and was holding James’ hand, grinning widely. He was grinning too; and we really looked like the sickly cute perfect couple we had been.
Lastly, there was a picture of James at a bar. He was surrounded by girls and had a big smirk on his face, looking very satisfied.
I scrunched the paper to a ball and threw it on the floor, seething with anger. “What a fucking piece of SHIT!” I screeched. “Are they fucking serious?!”
Jay looked a bit scared at my sudden outburst. “Er, it’s just an article” he said, trying to calm me down.
Needless to say, he failed. “JUST and article? It’s all lies, and the worst part is that people will actually believe that shit!” I yelled, kicking the scrunched up paper.
“Hey!” Dom exclaimed as she entered the kitchen. “I was going to read that.”
She picked up the magazine and tried to straighten it out. When she did, she caught sight of the front page, and her mouth turned into an ‘o’.
“Oh indeed” I snarled, glaring at her. “I can’t believe they wrote that article! And those “sources”, who the fuck are they?”
She flipped to the right page, quickly scanning the article. When she was finished, she put it away and sighed.
“Allie, you know that they write all type of shit. You can’t let it get to you.”
“But it’s lies! They make me sound like a pathetic little girl while Potter sounds like the coolest guy ever. It’s not fair!”
“They just write what they think people will want to read. Seriously, they write stuff like that all the time” Jay said, trying to calm me down.
“Yeah, last week they wrote that I was pregnant, and that my father had forced us to get married because he didn’t want a bastard child.”
“And don’t forget when they wrote that I paid your dad to be allowed to go out with you” Jay added, and Dom laughed.
“Yeah, that was funny” she said, looking at him affectionately.
“You’re laughing about this?” I said disgustedly. “There is nothing to laugh about!”
Dom sighed again. “Look, we are famous; we just have to deal with it. There’s no way they are going to stop writing about us, so it’s a complete waste of time to even care about it. We just have to let them write whatever they want, and try to laugh about it.”
“But you’re letting them get away with it! You should find a way to take them down.” I said, pointing angrily at the magazine to emphasize my point.
“How? If we manage to take down a magazine, a new one will pop up later. There’s nothing we can do. I’m sorry that you’re dragged into this because of us, but please just try to ignore it” Dom said calmly, leaning against the kitchen counter.
I sighed, trying to calm down. “I’m just upset. Ever since Hogwarts, I’ve been trying to move on and do something with my life. And I have succeeded. I have a great job, great friends and no matter what their stupid “sources” say; I have dated. The fact that they make me look like a weak little girl upsets me.”
Dom walked up to me and put her hand on my shoulder. “They might not know it, but we do. We know that you’re something special, and isn’t that more important?”
“Yes, you’re right. I shouldn’t let it get to me. After all, it’s not the first time they write about me” I said, feeling ashamed of my angry outburst.
“And it won’t be the last” Jay said, smiling.
“No, probably not” I sighed. “Sorry for leashing out on you Jay.”
“No problem, I’m used to it” he said and glanced at Dom, who luckily was oblivious to his taunting.
I snorted, and Dom cast me a questioning look. I just shook my head and shrugged, and she went back to reading the magazine.
“Ugh” she said, scrunching her nose up. “They’re writing that I’m currently putting myself through starvation to lose weight for the wedding.”
She took a big bite of her peanut butter toast, her eyes not leaving the article.
Jay and I exchanged amused looks. “As if that would ever happen” I muttered to him and he snorted.
“What?” Dom asked, looking up.
“Nothing Dommy dear” Jay told her, putting an arm around her shoulder. “Nothing at all.”
Oddly enough, she seemed satisfied with his answer and went back to reading about her alleged anorexia while shoveling down toast down her throat.
I smiled at the irony of it all. If only the editors of Witch Weekly could have seen her now. It would definitely have shut their stupid mouths up.
And that was it. I know it's short and a bit boring, but like I said: It will get better from now on.
I found it kind of hard to write the Weasley characters, because I don't want them to be too cliché. Like Dom being loud and bitchy. "My" Dom is supposed to be genuinely nice and happy, but with a dangerous temper (she is part-veela and a Weasley, after all). I don't want her to be a dominant bitch, though. And I know that Fred might seem like the stupid moron he's often portrayed as, but you'll see a different side of him further along. I see him more like a really caring guy who's just a bit too blunt sometimes, and who has a tendency to take things a bit too far when he's doing something for someone else.
I'm rambling again, but what I wanted to say was that there's more to my characters than this chapter shows, and that you'll see that later on. Gosh, why couldn't I just have written that to start with?
ANYWAYS (god I'm tired today), I am once again sorry for the wait (both for the chapter and for something to actually happen). I'll TRY to get the next chapter up asap. It just needs a bit of editing, so I'll hopefully manage to fit it into my ridiculously tight schedule.
And lastly... If you guys would leave a review, I would be very happy :)
Lots of love,
... Oh and by the way, chapter title is a song by a Swedish indie band called Kite.
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