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Human Nature by Flavia
Chapter 12 : Fact of Nature #12: Sometimes Ugly Orange Jumpers are Inevitable
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 3


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“Wow Grandma, this is really great.  Wow.  A broomstick.  Wow.”  I said through a false smile as I looked down at the horrid orange garment in my hands.

“That’s the third time you’ve said wow,” Rose said through a half snort/half cough as Grandma turned to see what James thought of his perfectly acceptable burgundy coloured jumper.

“Shut up,” I hissed.  “It’s easy enough for you; you got a nice blue one!” I nodded to the jumper in Rose’s lap, a delicate row of daisies along the bottom hem.

“Yeah but two years ago I got a pink jumper which clashed awfully with my hair and you teased me about it for three weeks!” Rose retorted, keeping her voice low as Lily opened her purple and blue striped cardigan.  “So I’d say we’re even now.”

“Fine,” I grumbled, rolling my eyes dramatically at her.

“So when are you going to tell me about Lu–  ow!  Al!, that hurt!”  Rose held an arm to her ribs where I’d just elbowed her and glared at me.  So did everyone else; Rose and I had unwittingly interrupted the ceremonial opening of Grandma Weasley’s jumpers. 

“Albus, stop beating up your cousin,” Mum scolded me across the room.

“Oh don’t worry Ginny, she probably deserved it,” Uncle Ron chuckled, a twinkle in his eye.  Auntie Hermione gave a groan of ‘Oh Ron’ before everyone turned to watch Dominique open her parcel.

“Can you stop asking me in front of other people please?” I growled at Rose when the focus of the group had left us again. 

“Fine, but you’re telling me tonight.” Rose grumbled, still rubbing her sore rib.

After dinner, when we were finally excused so the adults could have a long, boring catch-up, Rose seized my arm and dragged me upstairs, not letting go until she’d locked us inside Uncle Ron’s old bedroom at the top of the stairs.  It was a tiny room and you could see where the paint on the walls had faded around countless posters and hangings, all but one which had been removed. 

“Right, start talking,” Rose demanded, sitting on the bed and crossing her legs as if to indicate she meant business.  “How long have you had a crush on Lucy?”

“Pushy, aren’t you?” I replied sourly.

“That’s not an answer,” Rose smirked.  “Now quit stalling and spill.”

“Ok, well since a week or two after the start of term,” I admitted, knowing I couldn’t delay the inevitable much longer.

“Wow...that’s a while.”  Rose looked slightly surprised.  “Why didn’t you just ask her out Al?  Then she wouldn’t have had to go out with that McMillan prat.”

“Ask her out?  Oh wow Rose, that’s amazing.  You know the thought of asking her out never actually occurred to me!” I snapped sarcastically.

“Well why didn’t you do it then?” Rose was unfazed by my sarcasm, having encountered it in previous arguments and discussions in the past.

“It’s not that easy!” I moaned, walking over to the window to stare out at the inky sky.  “I wanted to but McMillan got in first and then when all that stuff happened, well it would have been insensitive to ask her out then and I didn’t know how much she cared about the git.  And the guys kept saying she’d say yes out of gratitude because I stunned McMillan, but I wanted her to say yes because she wanted to!”  I stopped and took a deep breath before turning back to look at Rose.  For the first time in the conversation, she’d lost the smug expression and looked slightly lost for words.

“Wow, you really do like her don’t you?” She eventually said. 

I rolled my eyes and sat next to her on the bed. “Caught up, have you?”

“Well I knew you were interested in her but I thought it was just...you know...you thought she was pretty and wanted to snog her,” Rose shrugged.

“Well I think that too,” I mumbled.

“So...you, like, want her to be your girlfriend?” Rose asked, turning to face me.

“Yeah,” I almost whispered, feeling slightly self-conscious after my rant.

“Wow,” Rose breathed.

“Exactly,” I said.  “Now do you understand why I’m not so keen to jump in there and ask her out?  What if she says no?”

“Fair enough,” Rose nodded, looking thoughtful.  “Well, what if I do a bit of detective work, see what I can find out about her feelings?”

“You would do that?” I asked hopefully.

“Sure,” Rose smiled.  “What are cousins for?”

“I always thought that you were just put on this earth to frustrate me,” I shrugged, to which Rose responded with a punch in the arm.  “Just don’t tell her that I like her, ok?”  I added in a serious tone and Rose nodded.  We made our way back downstairs before our absence became conspicuous, and joined the others.  Rose made her way over to where Lily, Lucy and Roxanne were giggling about something while I joined Fred, Louis and Hugo, who were playing exploding snap.  Grandma came in at some point with hot chocolate and mince pies, which kept most of us going, although Lily was half asleep against Dad’s shoulder by the time we flooed home for the night.

“Straight up to bed you three,” Mum said, stifling a yawn herself as she kissed us all goodnight.  It was a sign of how tired we all were that even James didn’t put up a fight at being told to go to bed.  I trudged up to my bedroom, pulled on my pyjamas and was about to open the window to let Kenrick out for the night when I realised I had forgotten to do something important. 

“Sorry mate, you’re going to have to deliver something for me tonight, ok?” I said as I retrieved the small velvet bag from Hollingsfield & Sons Jewellers from my top desk drawer.  I also took out a piece of parchment and a quill and sat at my desk, thinking for a moment for the perfect words to write.  Kenrick looked at me with annoyed eyes, his head tilted disapprovingly at my sudden request for his services in the middle of the night.  “It’s for Lucy, ok?  You like her…remember Lucy?” I said, reaching out to gently stroke the feathers on his head in that affectionate way that Lucy did.  Kenrick seemed to understand and hopped forward, his large eyes flashing at me with anticipation, all annoyance gone.  “Yeah, I thought you’d like that,” I chuckled, trying not to feel jealous that it was Kenrick and not myself who was going to see Lucy on Christmas morning.  “Just let me write her a note.”

I tried to keep it light, writing something about my new jumper and hoping the whole present wouldn’t freak her out too much.  Should I say something to make it seem less stalker-ish and more of a friend thing? I thought to myself.  I pulled the bracelet out of its casing, hoping to get some inspiration as I held it up to the lamp light.  The little unicorn spun on the chain, reflecting multi-coloured light across my desk.  It really was an amazing creation; sure it was pretty to look at, but when it was shining its beauty like this, making everything else sparkle and shine, well that’s when you realised how unique and precious it was.  Suddenly, I knew the exact thing to write.

I saw this recently and it reminded me of you, you’ll understand why when you open it.

Would she understand my hidden message?  Probably not, Lucy didn’t seem to understand the influence she had over people; she wasn’t aware of her own beauty, but in any case, I was still hopeful that she would like the bracelet.  I was just signing off when Kenrick leaned over and impatiently nipped my finger.  “Alright, alright!  I’m nearly done!” I snapped as I scrawled a final sentence and wrapped the present in brown paper.  I wish I’d thought to buy something prettier , Mum probably had some Christmas paper left over somewhere but I wasn’t sure where she stored it and I wasn’t about to go blundering about the house in the dead of night on Christmas Eve and risk waking everyone up. Kenrick hopped from one foot to the other as I tied the parcel to his leg, giving him a few owl treats for good measure.  “And don’t flirt with her too much,” I warned, only half joking, as I opened the window to finally let Kenrick out for the night.  I watched as he was swallowed up by the night sky and then pulled the window closed, extinguished the lamp and crawled into bed, my thoughts with the tiny little package, now flying across the country.
 



“Al, would I be able to borrow Kenrick please?” Mum asked, sticking her head out the kitchen window.  James, Lily and I were practising Quidditch in the backyard, shooting an old quaffle at the fork in the plum tree in our garden.  I had to admit, Lily was getting awfully good and I wouldn’t be surprised if I found myself playing alongside her in the near future.

“Yeah, I think he’s asleep in my room,” I called back.  “Do you want me to go get him?”

“If you would dear, that would be a big help.” Mum smiled at me before ducking her head back inside the house and closing the window again.  I didn’t blame her; the afternoon had become positively freezing, though the hour of Quidditch had certainly warmed me up a bit.

“How come you need Kenrick?” I asked Mum as I brushed the snow from my coat and hung it on the hook inside the kitchen door.

“I’m sending off New Year’s Party invitations and he’s the only owl not off delivering mail at the moment,” she replied, not looking up from the parchment she was writing on.  “I’ve left it a bit late this year but hopefully people can still make it.”

“Right, I’ll be back in a minute,” I said, jogging up the stairs to my bedroom.  Kenrick was sitting on top of my wardrobe, his head under his wing as he slept soundly.  “Kenrick, come on, Mum needs you to do a job,” I said, holding my arm up towards him.  Kenrick lifted his head and looked at me with his glassy eyes for a moment before burying it beneath his feathers again.  “Oi!  Don’t pretend to be asleep, I know you heard me!”  I snapped, standing on my tiptoes to try and reach him better.  My fingers were about an inch away from his wing when a loud tapping at the window startled me.  I spun around in surprise to see a fluffy and slightly wind-blown barn owl sitting on my windowsill.  Forgetting about Mum’s request, I rushed to open the window, a flurry of cold air flying in with the bird, which landed neatly on my desk and shook its feathers.

“Who’re you?” I asked the bird curiously; it responded by leaning over and using its beak to tap the small parcel it was carrying.  Curious, I untied the parcel before scooping a few owl nuts out of the bowl in Kenrick’s cage and giving them to the bird.  Kenrick, having given up all pretence of being a asleep was now watching the barn owl warily, though he didn’t move from his perch atop my wardrobe.  I sat down at my desk and detached the piece of parchment from the front of the parcel.   My heart gave a jolt as I recognised the handwriting inside the note, even before my eyes found the name at the bottom.

Hi Albus,

Hope your Christmas with your family ended well, and I don’t know what you’re talking about, an orange jumper sounds brilliant!  Thanks for my Christmas present, the unicorn is very cool.  Here’s your present, I’m sorry it’s so late but I’m hopeless so you’ll have to deal with it!

Hope you’re enjoying your holidays,

Lucy

‘The unicorn is very cool’… what did that mean? I stared at the page for another minute, my mind trying to comprehend the words and analyse what their hidden meaning might be.  Of course it could just mean exactly what it says, a cynical voice in my head goaded me.  I turned my attention to the package, wrapped with gold paper featuring glittering Christmas trees.  It was a square shape, obviously whatever was hidden in the package was inside a box, so I had no idea what it could be.

“Al?” I heard Lily’s voice in the hallway and approaching footsteps.  In a panic, I shoved the package and letter inside my desk drawer; jumping to my feet, I realised the delivery owl was still hopping about on my chest of drawers, so I hastily pushed the window open and almost shoved the poor creature outside.  I’d only just got the window closed again when I heard the knock on my door.

“Yeah?” I said casually, and Lily’s head popped around the door jamb.

“Al, Mum said she sent you up here to get Kenrick ten minutes ago and she was wondering if you’d forgotten.” My sister said.

“Yeah, he’s just being a bit stubborn,” I said nonchalantly, pointing towards the wardrobe where Kenrick sat watching us both.  I scooped a few of the stray owl nuts left behind by the delivery owl and held them out to Kenrick.  “C’mon mate, it’s not even for me, do it for Mum, ok?”

He didn’t look too impressed, but at least this time, Kenrick flew down to me and took the owl nuts from my hand, though he did nip me a little harder than usual as he did so.  Lily simply shrugged her shoulders before disappearing down to her own bedroom, and I delivered my owl to Mum in the kitchen, giving the ‘he wouldn’t come down from the wardrobe’ excuse once more…after all, it wasn’t exactly a lie now, was it?

James stuck his head through the door at that moment, annoyed that Lily had decided to give up on Quidditch practise for the day and insisting I come back and re-join him.  Unable to resist a bit of one on one training with my brother, I pulled my coat back on and headed back out to the plum tree. 

It wasn’t until later that evening, when mum sent us upstairs to wash up for dinner, that I remembered the package hidden in my desk.  I washed my hands as quickly as possible, before slipping back into my room and retrieving the present.  I carefully pulled off the wrapping paper and placed the small cardboard box on the desktop.  The words Trenworth’s Take-anywhere Trainer were emblazoned across the front of the box and a smaller label, reading Seeker Model was indicated on the side.  I stared at the box in surprise, not exactly sure what it was, but curious to open it up and find out.  Before I had a chance to do that however, my bedroom door flew open and James barged in.

“Oi, you coming down or not?” He said, stopping short when he noticed the box on my desk.  ‘Hey, what’ve you got there?”

“It’s nothing,” I said, trying to shove the box back inside my desk, but my brother was too fast for me.

“Blimey, that’s a Trenworth’s Take-Anywhere Trainer.  They’re really new, how did you get your hands on one?” He exclaimed, picking up the box before I could stop him.

“You know what it is?” I asked, trying to snatch the box back from him.

“’Course I do, there was an article about Trenworth’s in last month’s edition of Spellbinding Sports.  They’re new on the market but have some pretty incredible ideas that are going to change the way we think about Quidditch training,” He said, not taking his eyes off the box the whole time he was speaking.  “The Take-Anywhere Trainer is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.”  He sounded like he'd swallowed that article he'd read.

“Yeah, well it’s mine,” I said, finally managing to regain possession of the box.

“Where did you get it?” James asked as I prised the seal open and began carefully removing the pieces inside.  “These are new…like really new.  When we went in to Diagon Alley just before Christmas, I asked about them at Quality Quidditch Supplies and they said they hadn’t come in yet.  How did you get your hands on one?”

“It was a present; a Christmas present,” I shrugged, hoping he’d let it drop.

“A present from who?” James prodded, obviously not willing to let it drop.

“From a friend,” I said, hoping I sounded casual.  James simply raised an eyebrow at me and folded his arms across his chest.  “Fine, it’s from Lucy.” I said, turning back to the brass tablet and two tiny Quidditch players now standing on my desk top.  “Now do you know how this thing works?”
 



“Lily darling, can you please go and find my peach blossom cake tray?  Thank you dear.  Rose, could you go and see if your mother is finished with the temperature charm outside yet.  Oh and Albus and James, your uncles need some help with the tables outside.” Grandma Weasley stood in the middle of her kitchen, tossing orders around.

“Yes Grandma,” we all chorused obediently, before heading off to our respective jobs.

“How am I supposed to help with the tables?  I’m not supposed to do magic!” I whispered to James as we made our way to where Uncle Bill and Uncle Charlie were using their wands to set up tables in the garden.

“Just use magic anyway,” James shrugged.  “There’s so many people here that nobody would notice if you cast a few spells."

I will notice,” Auntie Hermione’s voice caught us off guard, causing us both to jump in surprise.  “Albus you can go and help Rose get the tablecloths out of the laundry cupboard and then lay them out.”  With a shrug, I turned around and walked with Rose back the way we came.

“So have you heard from Lucy?” Rose asked as I climbed to reach the huge tablecloths shoved in the back of the top shelf of the narrow cupboard.

“Yeah,” I mumbled noncommittally, dropping the first sheet sized cloth down to her.  “You?”

“Of course,” Rose shrugged.  “She’s coming tonight you know.”

“I figured as much,” I replied, glad my head was hidden inside the cupboard where my cousin couldn’t see the bright red blush that was probably covering my cheeks.  “Mum mentioned the Bells were coming.”  I dropped two more tablecloths down and reached for the last one which was tucked behind some old beach towels.

“Well that all makes sense now.  I did think you were wearing a little too much cologne.” Rose drew the last word out teasingly.

“Shut up,” I snapped as I jumped down, final tablecloth in hand.  “Do you think it’s too much?” I added quickly though, smelling my shirt anxiously.

“You’ll be fine,” Rose laughed.  “You’re gorgeous, just act normal and you’ll be fine.  Now come on, we’d better get these outside before Grandma sends a search party off for us!”

It wasn’t long before guests began arriving, some apparating, though several families chose to floo in since it was slightly less hassle with underage witches and wizards.  I figured the Bell’s would be likely to do this, so I hung around the Burrow’s sitting room, trying to look inconspicuous and hoping Grandma didn’t spot me and dole out more tasks to do.  I wasn’t the only Potter inside though, besides Dad, who was busy greeting our guests and Mum, who occasionally popped her head in to say hello to people, James seemed to be lurking around just as much as I was, no doubt waiting for the arrival of the same family as me.  A few mates from school arrived with their families, but I managed to avoid getting dragged out in to the garden for a chat about Quidditch or studying.  Twice, Rose walked past, rolling her eyes at me.

“Tell me when she gets here would you?” She mumbled the second time.  “She is my friend too, you know.”

Eventually, just after the Smarts arrived (Ernest Smart works that ministry with Dad), a tall, vaguely familiar man climbed out of the fireplace.  As Dad greeted him, two younger men followed him in to the sitting room, two young men I instantly recognised as Lucy’s brothers.  My heart started to beat quicker as I edged my way towards the fireplace, reaching the edge of the mantelpiece just as the flames sparked green again.  A delicate hand reached out from the fireplace as its owner began to climb carefully out from the flames; a small, female wrist followed the hand, and hanging from it was a familiar silver bracelet and crystal unicorn charm.

Without thinking, I reached out and took Lucy’s hand, helping her step on to the hearth rug.  She ducked in to the room and straightened up, her eyes turning to meet mine.  Her face held a slightly surprised smile for about two seconds, before she tripped and plummeted towards the floor.  Instinctively, I reached out and caught her before she could injure herself, holding her shoulder until I was sure she was stable on her feet again.

“Whoah there Bell!” I laughed nervously.  “I see you haven’t reconciled that argument you seem to be having with gravity.”

“Yeah, well gravity started it,” she joked, and I couldn’t help the smile I felt forming on my lips.  Before I could say anything else to her though, I heard the all too familiar squeal of Rose behind me.  I stepped back as they hugged, not wanting to look too suspicious.  I glanced around the room and saw James talking to Alice, both of them looking suitably nervous.  My attention was soon pulled elsewhere again as I realised Dad was greeting the Bell family.  I wondered briefly what my parents thought of Lucy, if they liked her or not.  Of course they like her, who wouldn’t like Lucy?  I told myself as the girl herself left the room arm in arm with Rose.  Darn it, she’s gone already!  I slipped out of the room and walked silently through the kitchen, hoping I wouldn’t be noticed and assigned another job before I could find Lucy again.  Everyone seemed busy enough though, and I made it out to the garden safely.

Lucy and Rose were standing a few feet away, talking to Fred and Louis.  Dominique and Lily were just joining the group and I strolled over to them casually.

“Freddy, stop being such a git,” Dominique sighed.

“Fred’s being a git?  Wow, there’s something new!” I teased as I slipped in next to Lily, managing to seamlessly enter the conversation that continued to revolve around teasing Fred.  Louis eventually suggested we go toss some Gnomes, and instantly, Lucy’s interest was sparked.

“Gnomes?  As in garden gnomes?” She asked, and I didn’t hesitate to answer her before anyone else could.

“Yep, Grandma and Grandpa have a whole colony of them living in the garden,” I said, smiling at her enthusiasm.  “Gnome tossing is a Weasley tradition.”  A tradition I am more than willing to personally initiate you in to.

“Gnome tossing?” Rose reappeared.  “Oh come on, we’re in nice party clothes, we don’t want to go Gnome-tossing!”  Lucy looked down at her rather stunning blouse for a moment, biting her lip as she thought.  I watched her carefully, hoping she wasn’t going to be as prissy as Rose about this.

“I’m willing to risk it,” She shrugged.

“That’s the spirit!” Fred said as he and Louis headed for the side garden.  Rose, Lucy and I all turned to follow the others who were migrating to the gnome-infested patch of the yard.

“You’re a hopeless case Lucy Bell,” I heard Rose mumble.  I looked over and caught Lucy’s eye, sharing a knowing smile with her.

“Lucy…Lucy!  I need your help,” Alice Bell came running across the lawn to us.  I watched her curiously as she clutched Lucy’s hand, a slightly panicked expression on her face.  I wonder where James is?

“You guys go ahead, I’ll be there in a second,” Lucy said to us.

“Sure,” Rose replied, grabbing my arm and steering me away from the two sisters.

“I wonder what that was about,” I said, glancing back over my shoulder to where Lucy seemed to be calmly explaining something.

“I’d say it’s none of our business,” Rose said, still pulling me along as we made our way around the side of the house.  She sat down on an old tree stump and folded her arms.  “So have you decided what you’re going to do tonight?”

“Huh?” I said, craning my neck to try and spot Lucy coming to join us.

“Have you decided if you’re going to kiss her tonight?”

“What?” Rose had my full attention now.  “What makes you think…?”

“Well it is New Year’s Eve, Al.  Isn’t there some superstition about kissing the person you want to be with for the rest of the year or something?” Rose raised a very smug looking eyebrow at me; I simply glared in response as I plonked down on the stump next to her.

“Wouldn’t that be a bit strange though?” I asked.

“Actually it’s kind of the perfect excuse; if she asks why you’re kissing her, you just tell her it’s a New Year’s thing.”

“Would you stop saying the K-word so loudly!” I hissed, and just in time, because Lucy chose that moment to appear around the corner.

Rose had the decency to keep her mouth shut for the rest of the party, but she continued to shoot me rather significant looks all night, especially when I was talking to Lucy.  When she started making kissy faces though, I found myself resisting the temptation to jinx her.  I couldn’t do that of course, since she and Lucy seemed to be joined at the hip for most of the night anyway; if Rose thought I was going to attempt to kiss Lucy with her standing right there watching on, she was more delusional than I thought.

James spent the entire evening with Alice Bell, and I would have liked to have said something to Lucy about it, made a joke or some witty comment, but I wasn’t game enough to try being clever to Lucy in front of Rose.  Midnight eventually came, and my frustration was mounting, because I’d lost sight of Rose and Lucy; I’d been trying to keep close just in case an opportunity to catch some time with Lucy presented itself, but now they seemed to have disappeared.

Dad carried out Grandma and Grandpa’s old radio and tuned it in to a station that was broadcasting the countdown to the New Year.  Everyone gathered around as a cheerful male voice crackled out of the wooden box.

“…and we’re only moments away from the countdown now, so make sure you have your glass full, ready for that New Year’s toast…”

I craned my neck to scan the crowd, sure that Lucy and Rose must be somewhere in the throng.

“Now’s your chance if you want to take it,” A voice said in my ear and I jumped in surprise before turning around to face Rose. 

“What?” I said, confusion evident in my voice and probably on my face too.

“I’ve just left Lucy alone over there,” She pointed through the crowd where the familiar shine of Lucy’s hair could be seen, “So you can sneak in for a quick kiss now before Fred gets near her.”

“What?” I said again, panic now joining the confusion.  “Fred?”

“Just get over there!” Rose hissed with a cheeky grin as the man on the radio announced the beginning of the countdown.

“Ten…” Everyone chanted as Rose shoved me in Lucy’s direction.  I froze, suddenly unsure what I should do.

“Nine…Eight…”

Deciding to take the opportunity I’d been presented, I began making my way through the crowd to where Lucy was standing on her own.  The countdown had reached ‘five’ by the time I slipped in next to her, and she looked around at me in surprise.  I smiled at her, hoping the nerves I suddenly felt weren’t showing.

“Four…Three…”

My heart was racing as I watched Lucy counting down, her eyes on the old radio.

“Two…”

This is it Al, you can do this, just kiss her!

“One!  Happy New Year!” Everyone cheered as music blared through the old radio.  People turned to those around them, sharing hugs and kisses through their laugher.  Lucy turned to face me and smiled; it was enough to encourage me to reach in for a hug and I breathed a quick sigh of relief when she happily wrapped her arms around my neck.  My thoughts raced as the familiar woody-berry smell of her hair tickled my nose.

Ok Al, you can do this, all you have to do is lean down and kiss her.  But what if she pulls away?  She might slap me!  No, I don’t think she’d do that…although she did it to McMillan when he tried to have a go, didn’t she?  But our friendship is different, she’s knows I’m not like McMillan…doesn’t she?  Look – you just need to try it, just kiss her.  Just do something before she wonders why you haven’t stopped hugging her!

Realising the hug had been going on a little bit longer than was normal, I loosened my grip on Lucy’s waist.  She pulled back slightly, but didn’t step away from me, so I kept my arms around her.  She left her hands on my shoulders and looked up at me, the glimmer of a question in her wide, brown eyes. 

“Happy New Year Lucy,” I said, not able to tear my eyes away from her own.

“Happy New Year,” She whispered is response, biting her lip as she continued to stare at me.  I wanted in that moment, more than anything, to just lean in and kiss her.  It felt so right to hold her and I almost believed for a second that Lucy felt the same way.  Before I could bring myself to act on my desires though, Lucy’s attention was drawn elsewhere.  Standing nearby, slightly separated from the group, James was achieving with Alice what I hadn’t been able to with Lucy.

“Holy Merlin’s Knickers!” Lucy exclaimed, her hands flying to her face in shock.  My shoulders felt suddenly cold as her body heat left them.  I let my hands drop to my sides, conceding the fact that the moment we had shared had passed.  The funny thing was, even though I was disappointed in myself, I was still pretty proud of James.

“About bloody time,” I muttered, causing Lucy to smile at me knowingly.  Before she could speak though, Alice pulled away from James, and what had seemed like a moment of success for James only seconds before, now looked like a disaster.  Alice said something unintelligible and then took off, running towards the orchard.  Without so much as another glance at me, Lucy took off after her sister, disappearing into the darkness of the fruit trees, leaving me confused and without any hope of getting that kiss.
 



AN: Oh I am sooo sorry, both for not updating in forever and because this chapter really isn't my best work!  But I hope you enjoyed it all the same.  I've done a bit of work on the next chapter, so hopefully you won't have to wait anywhere near as long for the next chapter as you did for this one.

You know I love your reviews, so please leave one, and I'll try to reply to them all asap!

P.S. Sorry if there are lots of typos in this chapter, it's pretty late and my proof reading may have suffered!

Here's a little bit of what I've been working on for the next chapter:

“Good thing I’ve just eaten lunch,” I laughed, and she smiled back at me, whether from amusement or pity, I wasn’t 100% sure.  I wanted more than anything to stand there and chat with Lucy for the rest of the afternoon, but I didn’t want to look to eager and desperate.  Leave her wanting more…isn’t that what they say?  Plus, my conversation was pretty pathetic so I decided it was best to cut and run.

I gave her a little awkward wave and continued towards Hagrid’s hut, when I was overcome with the urge to look at her one last time.  I glanced over my shoulder, and surprisingly she was still standing on the top step, looking at me, looking completely adorable as a few stray snowflakes fell around her.  At that moment, I don’t know what came over me, but it was if just seeing her caused my brain to malfunction and the words seemed to slip out of my mouth of their own accord.  “Get inside Bell, it’s freezing out here and you don’t want that cute little nose of yours getting frostbite!”

In the split second after I heard myself say those words, Lucy’s cheeks flushed a bright shade of red and her eyes widened slightly in surprise, a small, stunned smile frozen on her face.  I spun back around and hurried across the lawn, my own cheeks burning with embarrassment at what I’d just said.

Cute?  CUTE!?!?  Oh bloody hell Al, way to play it cool! 

 
 


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