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Chapter 25 : Smirks, Cupboard and What Kind of Feelings?
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“Please don’t make me say it again.”
I gulp and look at Albus, squinting slightly through the dim light. The tips of his ears are bright red and he’s tugging at his tie and looking awkward.
“You, uh, have feelings for me?” I blink at him, confused.
“I- uh, yeah. Yeah, I do,” he replies softly. “So this is embarrassing,” he says with a small smile.
“What sorts of feelings?” I ask, blinking frequently.
He frowns at me, and bites back a chortle. “What do you mean?”
“Like, what feelings? As in like or hate of love or dislike. You know,” I press. Albus just looks taken aback.
“Merlin wept, Rena. What do you think? Do people really tend to say ‘I have feelings for you’ when they hate each other? I fancy you, you idiot.” He shakes his head, grinning but looking a bit cross.
“Oh.” I’m completely blank. What do you say to that?
Nothing apparently. For the next few minutes, an incredibly awkward silence suffocates us until Al coughs.
“Say something.” He mutters quietly, and I meet his eyes. He’s looking at me all imploringly and puppy dog like and-
That’s when I lose it.
“YOU ABSOLUTE PILLOCK ALBUS SEVERUS POTTER!” I cry as I begin pounding on his chest in anger. He cowers in shock and covers his face with his hands, yelping little cries of pain. How manly.
“I FANCIED THE PANTS OFF YOU FOR YEARS AND GOT ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN RETURN! I START TO GET OVER YOU AND DATE YOUR BROTHER AND YOU SUDDENLY DECIDE YOU LIKE ME TOO? MERLIN ALBUS YOU PICK YOUR MOMENTS!” I yell. He grabs my flailing arms and pins them to my sides. Damn him and his strength.
As I catch my breath, I look up at him. He looks like something has just hit him over the back of the head. “You fancied me?”
“Duh!” I cry, still breathing hard.
“Why didn’t you tell me?!” he chokes out, eyes popping.
I shrug and pull the “fuck-if-I-know” face. “I figured you didn’t like me! So I didn’t mention it because that would just make our friendship really awkward and weird!”
Albus moans incomprehensibly and sinks to the floor. “What is this then?”
I look around. “A friendship that is really awkward and weird! This is exactly why I didn’t tell you. Merlin Albus, why were you so stupid? You shouldn’t have told me!” I tell him. But, I can’t even get to the end of my sentence. I start to snigger and by the end, I’m laughing.
Looking bewildered, Bus looks up at me. “Why are you laughing?” he asks me, completely nonplussed.
“Because what I just said was completely pathetic and stupid and all of this is so stupid!” I reply in a rush, before the next laughing fit comes on. I look up at Albus and suddenly his eyes crinkle in that way I love and he’s laughing. That just makes me laugh more and as a result, him more, until it’s just one massive laughing fit.
“Please say you cast a silencing charm on this cupboard, Bus, because otherwise we will be found and taken to a mental hospital,” I cough out between another fit as I wipe my eyes.
Albus’ eyes widen and he shakes his head slowly. I stare at him and bat his chest with my hands. “Oh Merlin! We’re stuffed!”
Albus laughs once more and grabs my hands as he says, “Of course I bloody cast a silencing charm, I’m not completely stupid.”
I shrug and grin at him. “That’s debatable…”
He snorts and pulls me closer to him, into a head lock. I laugh and shout in protest and eventually, he lets go. I plonk down onto an upside down bucket beside him and rest my head on his shoulder. He wraps his arm around me and we stare into the near darkness of the broom cupboard.
I stare at the two broken brushes in the corner- probably stepped on by previous couples. I shudder to think who’s been in here before us and what they have done. There’s a cobweb in the far corner and I tremble at the thought there could be a spider somewhere in here. I may not hate spiders like Hugo, but I still dislike them. Our wands are on the floor, still glowing with light. It doesn’t light the cupboard completely, it just means we can see a little better. Al is sitting on a cardboard box filled with ancient cleaning solutions. I suddenly have the horrible thought that we could be breathing in fumes of horrible wizard cleaning solutions that are far beyond their use by date.
Wait, do cleaning solutions even have use by dates?
“We’re complete idiots, aren’t we?” I whisper quietly.
I feel his head move as a nod. “And socially awkward.”
“Incredibly so. We shouldn’t be allowed out.”
I chuckle quietly at my own joke and push my head into the crick of his neck and his rests his head on mine. We fall into a comfortable silence and I push all worrying thoughts out of my head and just focus on how comfortable I am.
That’s the problem. With Albus, I feel so comfortable. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing, or a bad.
“Would you have said yes if I’d asked you out sooner?” Albus says suddenly.
“Before James,” Al confirms.
“Yes,” I say simply. It’s the truth. I would have leaped at the proposal.
“I’m sorry I didn’t ask you out. We could avoided a lot of trouble,” he says quietly. I can sense a trace of bitterness.
“Hey, don’t apologise. I hid my feelings for so long, you didn’t realise I liked you. It’s our socially awkward tendencies kicking it. ” I reply easily.
“And sorry I kissed you,” Albus adds as an afterthought.
“You kissed me? I wasn’t sure whether I was the one who kissed you,” I answer. “Who kissed who?”
“I’m not sure. I think it was a mutual decision,” Albus ponders out loud and I laugh.
“Yes, if anyone asks, we’re saying it was a mutual decision. Besides, neither of us stopped it,” I continue, like Al, thinking out loud.
“I don’t think I could have,” Bus says truthfully. “Felt like I’d missed a lot. Just think of all the kissing we could have been doing if I’d gotten my act together.” He nudges me in the side jokingly.
I chuckle. “Hm, I suppose. Though from what I hear, you’ve had plenty of kissing experience with Sarah!”
“And you with James,” Albus retorts, perfectly civil. I nod in answer. Al sighs and squeezes me, “But it was never like that kiss.”
My stomach twists and my heart seems to speed up. Why does he say these things that just make me feel like this?
“What did you tell Sarah?” I murmur as I shift into a comfier position, still leaning on him.
Albus heaves a great sigh. “That I had feelings for someone else. She guessed it was you.”
“She did?” I frown, taken aback.
Al nods earnestly. “Yeah. She said she’d known all along but hoped it would pass. She was pretty upset.”
“I can imagine,” I say, panicking slightly as I think of how she might act next time I see her.
Another few minutes silence and then,
“Are you going to tell James?” he asks me, barely louder than a breath.
This time it’s my turn to sigh. “Yes. I have to. I can’t pretend any longer.”
Albus agrees and continues speaking, “What are we going to do?”
“Honestly, I have no idea.” I grimace and then wince as I think my next thought. “I don’t know how James will react.”
“Nor do I,” Albus says honestly. “Knowing James, it could be fury, sympathy, complete confusion or they whole ‘whatever’ attitude. ”
“Fantastic…” I mutter.
“You could just break up with him and never tell him, you know. That’s what I was going do with Sarah. The whole, ‘I prefer us as friends’ spiel.” Albus suggests, only half-heartedly.
My heart sinks. I can’t. Not after the “I love you” fiasco.
I shake my head. “No, I couldn’t do that. It’d break James and, besides, I owe him an explanation.”
“You’ll already be breaking him with this explanation. He’ll never forgive me,” Albus says sadly.
I feel awful. I’d forgotten how terrible it must be for Albus- they’re brothers. And then, I realise, I’ve become that evil girl. You know, the girl from the Muggle films that breaks up the brothers or the family or the best friends or whatever and is horrible and self-centred and kisses everyone and ohmyMerlin I’m her!
I do believe I might be overthinking again as a reaction to panicking.
“I’m so sorry Albus,” I mutter.
Albus looks puzzled and replies with a completely confused, “For what?”
“For standing in between your brothers, duh,” I answer, my voice brittle though I try to sound less tense with the “duh”.
“Shut up, Kat,” he says with a laugh. “Don’t blame yourself, okay?”
I nod and we wallow in a depressing silence for a few minutes.
Then a thought hits me. “Shit!” I cry and I spring to my feet, shocking Al and nearly knocking him to the ground in the progress.
“What?” Albus yells, confused and worried.
“Rose!” I reply impatiently. As if he would understand that.
Albus shrugs and lifts his hands up. “What about her?”
“We had a fight and she knows about the kiss. She’s planning on telling James!” I explain, talking quickly as I gather up my wand and extinguish it.
“Ah,” Albus says, nodding in understanding as he grabs his own wand. “Come on then!” he cries as he unlocks the door.
What if she’s already got there? Will she have given me time to explain?
We both leap out of the cupboard into the corridor, which is fortunately empty, and we run at full pelt down the corridor. We push past the stragglers that are headed to their Common Rooms and ignore their cries of protest and anger.
We pant as we continue up the stairs, taking two or three steps at a time. Albus leads the way and shouts down to me encouragements.
Finally, we’re at the staircase leading to the Gryffindor common room. I leap up the last few steps and skid straight into Albus’ back. He’s stopped and my face presses into his back. I stifle an angry and pained, “oof!”.
I’m about to ask why on earth he’s stopped when I peer around him and, suddenly, I understand why. The fat lady’s portrait is hanging open and James is in the middle of clambering out of it. His expression is one of pure anger- it’s thunderous.
When I look into the common room behind him, the entire population of the room looks shocked and are whispering to each other. I see the other Wotters, all looking confused and furious.
And then I spot Rose. For a second, our eyes meet and she looks directly at me. She looks triumphant and her mouth twitches into a small smirk.
A/N WOAH GUYS. ROSE WENT BEHIND HER BACK AND TOLD JAMES! *le gasp*
I know, I’m as shocked as you guys. That was not how I planned the chapter but then I had this other idea and I was like “THIS WORKS!” so here it is. Besides, it’ll make an exciting next chapter. I bet you’re all sighing in relief- finally the drama is starting. It’s going to be a traumatic few chapters, I can tell you. Jatrina and Katbus shippers will be broken. Just saying.
(Actually, I have no clue what will happen, I’m making this up. I usually just have a basic idea and write whatever comes into my head. So far it’s worked very well.)
Anyways, so sorry for the small hiatus- I’ve been really ill for the last few weeks, as has my mum- quite seriously so. So the Christmas break was spent dying instead of writing :) I’m back at school too, which is getting on top of me. I’m currently using this authors note as a method of procrastination so I should go now.
Thank you for sticking with me! As a reward, I’m going to have a short update this time. Please keep reading and reviewing- you all make my day/year/life. I love you all <3
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