Chapter 7 : Realizations
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Vivian spoke from her seat on James’s bed, swinging her legs back and forth as she lay on her stomach reading Persuasion.
“You’re the one that wants to sit around all day and read”
James spoke as he lay on the bed next to her, reading over her shoulder.
“You know there are other indoor activities we could partake in.”
James whispered into Vi’s ear, making sure to run his lips over her neck when he finished talking. James was glad they had been able to work through the events of two nights ago. He felt more confident knowing his love wasn’t one sided-she still wouldn’t say it, but James knew it to be true. The only thing that bugged him still was her secret. This whole time he was struggling with his own mysteries, he hadn’t thought that Vivian could have some of her own.
“I understand never reading her work, but how have you never even heard of Jane Austen? What school did you say you went to? I don’t believe you actually graduated.”
James’ continued to trace her collarbone with his lips trying to pull her out of the book.
“I was much more fond of extra-curricular activities.”
He spoke between kisses.
“I don’t know what you think you’re doing, but until Wentworth gets off his high horse I am in no mood for this.”
Vivian couldn’t help but smile as she tried to stand her ground and James knew her resolve was weakening.
“What if you just skipped to the end then, seeing as I know you’ve read this before.”
James asked with his forehead pressed against Vivian’s-the two playing a game of staring chicken as James’s thumb caressed her shoulder.
“Right, um…was not expecting anyone to be home…well this is sufficiently awkward.”
Teddy Lupin spoke from the doorway. Vivian turned completely pink and James groaned as he climbed off the bed.
“Seriously Teddy? Don’t you have a wedding to plan or a job to be at?”
“Yes. Yes dear brother I do because I am not living off my parents.”
James laughed half-heartedly.
“Right. I’m sure my dad isn’t helping with the wedding at all”
Teddy elbowed James out of the way as he pushed his way to the woman he was much more interested in talking to.
“You must be Vivian.”
After standing from the bed, Vivian smiled before shaking the man’s hand. He looked familiar, but Vivian couldn’t place why. Teddy turned to talk to James again, knocking Vi’s book to the ground from the dresser it sat on.
“It’s nice to see Jamie wasn’t making you up this whole time. I’m his older, more attractive…how are we related again?”
The two boys bickered as Vivian picked up her book, noticing something moving in the dresser drawer.
“We’re not, which is why I’d appreciate if you’d stop popping in uninvited.”
James said before yanking on Teddy’s shirt collar.
“Fair enough, I’ll knock next time, put a bell around my neck or something.”
James hollered as Teddy found ways to hesitate in the doorway. Vivian opened the drawer slightly to get a better look. There, in her boyfriend’s dresser was a moving picture. Not just a magical photo, but a photo of Harry Potter himself with his arm around his wife and three kids fighting over the center position.
“Alright, alright fine I’ll go, but your mum’s going to be mad when I go back to her house without what I came to borrow.”
Vivian’s eyes narrowed at the man in the doorway, then at the other man who continued to argue with him. She slowly shut the drawer, too disturbed to take a second look. She did a double take of Teddy-she had seen the man before. The more she looked over at James, the more familiar his features also became.
“What’d you call him?”
Both James and Teddy stopped arguing to look at Vivian, both curious as to why it mattered.
“Lupin? That’s his last name.”
Vivian shook her head back and forth as the two boys started to bicker back and forth again. Was this real? Could this seriously be happening in front of her? If the man in the doorway was Teddy Lupin, Godson of the Harry Potter, then who was he fighting with? Surely he couldn’t be James Potter, surely she would have known if she were dating a wizard, especially one of such renown. She couldn’t stand it anymore; her own thoughts were enough to crowd her mind without the two boys arguing back and forth.
“Ya know, you two seem to have a lot to work out and I really should be getting back to the store anyways, I’ll see you later okay?”
Vivian spoke quickly as she passed by the two men, slipping away from the hand James had held out to stop her.
“Vi, Vi wait are you sure?”
He followed her down the hall.
She nodded, not making eye contact; she just had to make it out the door. If she could make it out the door she could make it to the bookstore before she broke.
“Okay…I’ll come by tomorrow, coffee?”
He asked, not sure why she suddenly wanted to leave, but attributing it to his annoying friend.
“No, because I have that thing tomorrow, but later, I’ll see you. It was nice to meet you Teddy.”
She hollered before turning and darting down the stairs and out the front door. She was in too much shock to process the information completely, all she knew was she had to get home. She didn’t look back to see the Potter she had just left or the photographer who took a shot of her doing it, she just kept walking until she was in her bookstore. Then she kept walking to the back and began to shelve what had found their way to the floor. One, two, three books in and then she finally snapped out of the shock and transitioned into the terror. She had been dating a wizard, she had been dating the son of the Harry Potter, she had fallen for one person who was out of her reach and it was already to late to get out without hurting anyone. So there, in the back of the store surrounded by novels of romance, comedy and tragedy Vivian sank to the ground and wept.
“What does my mum want anyways?”
James asked pushing passed Teddy on the way to the kitchen.
“Nothing, I made that up so I could get a better look at your Muggle.”
James smacked Teddy in the back of the head before he spoke again.
“You didn’t have to embarrass her like that.”
Teddy sat on the counter in the corner.
“S’not my fault. I waited any longer you two’da been more than snoggin.”
James rolled his eyes.
“It’s not like that.”
“Oh, it’s not like that eh?”
Teddy asked in a mocking tone.
“You two have been together how long now?”
“Four months together, she’s sleeping over and you want me to believe you’ve not shagged? ”
James tossed a dishrag, which Teddy avoided.
“It’s not like that, alright mate? We fall asleep talking sometimes is all…literally in the middle of conversation that one.”
He laughed at the thought.
“You two are pretty serious though”
Was the next question. James smirked, but didn’t want to answer. Teddy punched him in the shoulder, knowing that look all too well (he had worn it whenever they teased him about Victoire).
“Let me get this straight. You storm out of your apartment after being dumped, only to walk across the street and find the love of your life? Your life is seriously too perfect.”
James stepped away from the counter he had been leaning on and began to pace back and forth.
“Shes’ a Muggle Teddy.”
Teddy furrowed his brow after opening James’ fridge and trying to see if there was anything to eat.
“You saying you’d prefer a witch? I thought you swore off witches after the Sophie scenario.”
“I don’t care one way or the other Teddy…the point is that she might.”
Teddy shook his head.
“I’m not following your logic. You said Vi’s perfect, then she’ll listen when you tell her the truth.”
“And then what?”
James asked, his voice rising as his frustration started to build.
“You know what the papers would say if I brought a Muggle into this family. She’d have to endure the press, the stares. Taking her into this world she’d have to adjust to much more than magic. And what if she didn’t want to? What if she wanted me to give it all up and run away to Ireland or Spain or America? What if she thought I was some freak and never wanted to see me again?”
Teddy let out a soft chuckle, leaning on the fridge door, and James glared at him.
“Are you seriously laughing at me?”
“Sorry mate, but you’ve got it bad. You’re sitting exactly where I was two years ago. Trust me kid don’t do some stupid dance. I wasted years with Victoire playing stupid guessing games, so I’m going to give you some wonderful advice: Tell the poor girl.”
James scoffed thinking of the last big news he told Vivian.
“She freaked out when I told her I loved her Teddy, I can’t even imagine her face when I tell her I’m a wizard.”
Teddy let go of the fridge door and it slammed shut before James was even done talking.
“You told her what?”
“Yeh Teddy and it didn’t exactly go over well so you understand my hesitation with more big news.”
James rested his head on the counter top. He felt like this conversation had been said before. He and Teddy would talk and he’d be ready to tell Vivian and every time he lost all courage once actually facing her. Teddy crossed the kitchen and put his hand on James’s back.
“You’re in too far to keep secrets James. If you love the girl, you’ve got to pluck up the courage. If she can’t accept you for who you are then she’s not as perfect as you thought…I mean wasn’t that the point to begin with?”
James lifted his head from the counter and smirked. Once again, Teddy was right. Here he was telling how different Vi was; yet he was afraid she was going to act just like those he had run from.
“I mean you’d think magic’s royalty is a step up from unemployed mummy’s boy.”
Teddy teased, messing up James’s hair like Harry used to do before winking and disappearing with a ‘crack.’
“Why hello there James. Vivian! James is here to see you!”
Nan hollered up the stairs of the bookshop before turning back to James.
“That is why you’re here isn’t it? I’m not sure you’re aware we sell books here also if that’s why you came…”
James laughed at the elderly woman, it was easy to see where Vivian got her wit. Nana smiled in response and nodded towards the stairs.
“She’s probably still in bed, hasn’t been herself today. I’d be careful though, she was reading Poe last I noticed.”
James wasn’t sure of the reference, but noted the warning before headed up the stairs. He knocked on the door he knew belonged to Vivian and waited for a response.
“Go away Nan.”
He heard Vi’s voice through ragged breaths. He put his ear to the door to hear better, concluding Vivian was crying.
“It’s James Vi…are you alright?”
He asked twisting the knob and pushing the door open slightly only to have it slammed shut in his face.
“Bloody Hell Vivian what’s wrong with you?”
James asked after getting over the initial shock of the door slammed into his nose.
“Just go away, please.”
Vivian managed to get out after pulling in her tears and clearing her throat.
“Leave me alone James.”
James let his forehead rest on the door before speaking again.
“No Vivian. You’re obviously upset and if I’ve done something I want to apologize for it.”
Vi bit her lip to stop it from quivering because of her holding back tears. She couldn’t talk to him- she couldn’t see him again. Not now that she knew the truth. Because the real truth was that she couldn’t be with him. The problem was that she wasn’t ready to let him go. She knew she had to, a Potter couldn’t be found associating with a Squib. She had to let him go and make sure that he forgot about her.
“Listen. I don’t know what I’ve done, but if you’re willing to forgive me will you meet me tonight to make it up to you?”
He asked the wooden door.
“Out by the Red Lion? I’ll be there at seven alright Vi?”
James tapped lightly on the door before finally sighing and headed back down the stairs. Vivian sat on the other side of the door, having sunken down to the floor. She no longer cared to hold back her tears. She heard the bell on the door ring as James shoved it open and she rushed to the window to watch him leave. He stopped a few steps away from the store and looked up at her before she quickly dodged the window. That wasn’t enough; he wasn’t going to just give up. She was going to have to give him a reason-to his face so she was sure he understood they were over.
After peeking out the window again to be sure he was gone, Vivian stormed down the stairs and to the back of the store where she knew she’d find her Nana.
“I told you I didn’t want to see him. I thought after what you’ve put me through you’d listen to my one request.”
She shouted, only to have her Nana continue with her work.
“I’ve put you through nothing darling, don’t be overdramatic.”
“He’s a Potter Nana! James Bloody Potter and you knew that! You knew the second you saw him and you didn’t say anything to me!”
Vivian accused and her Nana finally stopped shelving books and turned around. She sat the Lockhart book on a nearby counter and patted it a couple times as she searched for the right words.
“Vivie darling. You’ve seen photos of James Potter before, I remember Alec speaking of his sister back when they were still courting. You aren’t mad at me for not telling you love, you’re upset with yourself for not realizing sooner.”
Vivian scoffed and crossed her arms.
“You know what’s going to happen next Nan. You knew what I was getting into and that it was going to get me hurt and you let me walk right into it anyways.”
“You deserve every opportunity to be happy Vivian. I can’t give you magic, but he could. I see the way he looks at you Vivian darling, he’s smitten.”
Vivian stared at the back of the store as her grandmother spoke, trying to ignore what she said. It was getting harder and harder to ignore as her Nan spoke straight to Vivian’s fears.
“I knew it was fate Vivie…He’s you’re chance. To change your mind if you wanted to, to go back to that world. Or to take a chance in this one.”
Vivian bit back the tears instead shouting in fury.
“This isn’t just some life lesson Nan, this is my bloody life!”
“Than it’s about damn time you did something with it girl!”
Nan fought back.
“Quit hiding behind me and my shop and go live…before it’s too late. You made a choice years ago to leave that world, and I think it was the right choice…at that time. But I can’t let you dry up in this store like one of my books Vivian. I can’t bare to watch it.”
Vivian felt the tears starting to work their way up as her grandmother rushed across the back of the shop and wrapped her arms around her granddaughter who fell into them and began to sob. She was right, Vivian was too afraid of doing anything for herself-finding success in her world. Because what did Muggle success even mean? Nothing to her family, nothing in comparison to what they could do, so why bother? Mediocrity, PHD-what’s the difference really?
“He’s going to leave me Nan. He’s going to call me a freak and my whole family will be shamed.”
Nan pushed her hair from her face and patted it endearingly.
“Not the James Potter that’s been in my story, but you don’t have to tell him if you don’t want to. You have a choice to make, but it is your choice Vivian. It wasn’t mine to make for you. And the wizarding world can blow it up their arse if they don’t accept someone as special as you.”
She added at the end with the same fight she had in her youth. Vivian actually laughed between her sobs and she began to calm herself down. She knew what she had to do, not just with James but also with her life. It took her Nan practically calling her a sissy to realize it, but she figured it out nonetheless. She couldn’t be with James. She couldn’t be in his world without shaming her family and his, and that was something she knew she’d never forgive herself for. But Nan was right- she couldn’t just sit around the bookstore anymore; it was time for a change.
A/N: Secret's out! Well Vivian's anyways. What do you guys think? Will Vivian give James a chance? Even more importantly, what will James say when he finds out who Vivian really is?
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