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Chapter 8 : Eight
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Everybody started to cheer and I nearly dropped my glass from the shock. I don't share the enthusiasm. The thought of flying a hundred feet in the air on a charmed branch actually makes me feel a little sick. Surly that's a sign to change what I write about.
Someone sat down next to me and I looked up. Emma smiled at me and dropped her bag down onto the floor. I looked accusingly at her and she frowned. “What's up, Nel?” she questioned.
“Seriously,” I said coldly.
“Nel,” she nudged me.
“Why didn't you tell me, Emma?” I asked desperately.
“Tell you what?”
“You know what,” I snapped.
“Give me a clue,” she tried.
“I saw James Potter the other week. He told me you got the job and wanted to know why you weren't answering his owl,” I said coldly.
“Oh,” Emma muttered.
“So, why didn't you tell me?” I repeated.
“I didn't know how, Nel,”
“So you were just going to leave and make up excuses for all the misses matches and press conferences?”
“No, I was going to tell you. There was never a right time,”
“You always said you'd leave. But I thought you'd tell me when you applied for something like that,” I said quietly. “I mean, you're a great journalist. Why would you go into admin?” I asked desperately.
“The money's really good and I still get to meet people. It's a really good job, Nel. And for someone coming straight out of journalism. . .”
“What's the money like?” I enquired.
“At the Club everyday?”
“Yeah. When Potter's out at meetings I run the office,” she said.
“When do you start, Emma?” I asked finally, smiling.
“Next week,” she beamed. “After tomorrow I'm done with journalism,”
“What's the dress code?” I asked curiously.
“Have you been to the club?” she joked.
“Smart beyond belief,” I joked.
“If you're not wearing skirt suit you won't be let in,”
“Do you have a load of skirt suits?”
“A few,” Emma shrugged.
“Let's go shopping,” I urged. A wide smiled spread across Emma's face and she silently nodded. I stood and hitched my handbag up onto my shoulder. We walked over to the exit and a confused guard
“The game isn't finished yet,” he stated.
“Yeah, but I've just remembered I was supposed to interview Ireland's keeper,” I replied.
“I just reminded her,” Emma said and rolled her eyes.
“So, we need to go,” I added.
“Do you want me to owl the game over to you?” he asked as we were out of the door.
“That would be excellent,” I smiled. “Nelissa Finnigan of the Prophet,”
“And Emma Shandy,”
“Where do you work?” he asked.
“There's no point in sending it to me. I'll be the England Manager's PA this time next week,” Emma said happily.
“Thank you,” I laughed. Then we walked out and started down a steep wooden staircase.
* * *
Emma and I were out for hours. I was supposed to be working, but she said she wouldn't be able to see me much once she started her new job. Apparently being James Potter's PA is a full time occupation. It means late nights, early starts and weekends. When James work, you work. And James is always working.
In the end she had to leave because her editor wants an article out of her before she leaves.
On the way back to my office I spent my time thinking up excuses of why I'm two hours late from a match. But when I got to my desk they all went out of my mind. Gavin was walking towards me, practically skipping. I tried to not look scared.
“Something came for you when you were gone,” Gavin said.
“What?” I asked. I never get things delivered here (apart from Josie's birthday presents).
“Here,” he said and threw a letter down onto my desk. I looked at the envelope. It was written on England's Quidditch Club's stationary and in James's script. I broke the seal and pulled out the thick parchment. I unfolded it with Gavin still watching me with interested eyes.
I understand that you are a very busy woman with many commitments. But I would like to propose a meeting between us. If you are able to attend I will be expecting you in my office at England Quidditch Club at five o'clock this evening.
I am sorry for the short notice, but it is quite urgent. I look forward to seeing you.
“Well?” Gavin urged.
“He'd like to have a meeting at five,” I explained.
“I don't know,” I shrugged.
“I knew it,” he muttered. “He wants to give us that interview,”
“Use your brain, Nelissa,” he sighed. “You have an hour. Go home and
prepare,” he ordered.
“You sure?” I asked in disbelief.
“Yeah, as long as you fill me in tomorrow,”
“Great,” I smiled. Gavin walked away and I gathered my things together. I shoved them into my bag and pulled on my coat. Then I started to walk through desks and towards the staircase. I waited until I reached the street outside and apparated.
I reappeared in the hall of our flat and walked through into the living room. “Josie!” I called. I heard shuffling from her bedroom and she walked to meet me. I dropped my bag and grinned at her.
“You're home early,” Josie commented.
“Gavin let me,”
“You seem happy,” she commented.
“I'm seeing James in an hour,” I explained.
“A date?” she asked excitedly.
“No, a meeting,” I muttered.
“Oh, is that good?”
“I don't know,” I shrugged. “Anyway, I need your help. What shall I wear?”
“Come on. Let's go and choose something,” she urged. We walked out and into my bedroom and Josie flopped down onto the bed.
“Are you going out tonight?” I asked.
“I'm seeing him again,”
“I still don't know his name,” I reminded him.
“You don't need to,”
“Give me a clue, Josie,” I tried as I flicked through my wardrobe.
“Do I know him?”
“Is he good looking?”
“Very,” Josie laughed.
“Have you shagged him yet?” I teased.
“I shagged him the first night I met him again,”
“I will find out,” I warned.
“Just you try,” she laughed.
“Do you think I need some new underwear?”
“Do you plan on showing him your knickers on his desk?”
“No,” I laughed.
“Are they matching?”
“Of course, what do you take me for?”
“Why don't you wear that pencil skirt with that frilly blouse,” she offered.
“So, kind of business-y, but sexy,”
“But you can wear your red lippy and red heels with your hair down to make it more 'hello',” Josie said and I nodded along.
“Is it David?” I asked as I changed my skirt.
“No,” she laughed. “I'd never go there again,”
“Good try, but wrong,”
“When am I going to find out?”
“When it gets serious,”
“Isn't serious?” I asked, pulling on a blouse.
“I don't know, Nel. It's complicated,”
“How? You can tell me about it without using him name. Seeing as your being so secretive,”
“He's seeing someone,”
“You're the other woman,” I gasped.
“Don't make it worse than it is,” she sighed. “He's engaged to
someone and their getting married in a month's time,”
“Oh dear,” I muttered.
“She's pregnant with his child,”
“Three months I think,” she said and bit her lip.
“And you want to get involved in that?”
“I think I love him, Nel,”
“But he's going to be a Dad. You'll split them up and become step-mother,” I told her.
“The woman he's marrying is awful, Nel! He deserves me,”
“It's not because of the . . . erm . . . Nimbus thing, is it?”
“No, he has his own money,” she replied.
“Okay,” I breathed. “But Josie-”
“Nel, you need to go,” she said. I looked at my watch and my eyes widened.
“Shit,” I spat. “We will talk again later,” I promised. She smiled and nodded. Then I kicked of my shoes and swapped them for my blood red heels. I let my hair down and fluffed it out before smothering on scarlet lippy. “I'll see you later,” I said and picked up a bag before apparating.
I appeared outside the entrance to England Quidditch Club. The doors opened for me and I walked quickly through to the desk. A woman was scribbling away on a parchment and looked up.
“Welcome to England's Quidditch Club. How may I help you?” she asked, her voice light.
“Hi, I have a appointment at five,”
“Can I have the name?” she asked.
“Nelissa Finnigan for James Potter,”
“Okay,” she said, looking down at a book. “His office is on the top floor. He doesn't actually have a PA at present but if you just knock I'm sure he'll be ready for you. If you just follow the corridor round once your out of the lift,” she explained.
“Thank you,” I smiled. I walked through a corridor until I came to a row of lifts. I got inside and pressed my thumb down on the white number seven. It moved and I waited for the doors to open.
When I was out I walked past people working until I came to a glass wall. I pushed open a door and found myself in a spacious room with a settee, desk and coffee table with a water machine in the corner. In front of me there was another door and I knocked. After a minute James opened it and let me through.
His office was large and expensive, with a large glass window that overlooked the training pitch. His desk was large and dark and there was another settee in the corner, opposite filing cabinets with Quidditch related pictures hanging on the walls.
“You're office is fantastic,” I said in awe. James laughed and led me over to a chair in front of his desk.
“I don't notice it,” he replied.
“You realise I work at a desk. I don't even have my own office,” I said.
“But you don't come in on weekends,” he teased.
“It's good to see you again, Nelissa,”
“Thanks, you too,”
“You look nice,” he commented.
“I've just come from work,” I lied and laughed. “Why did you want to see me? Your letter was brief,”
“Yes, sorry about that,” James said. “I don't know if you've heard. It's early days. But before I tell you I need your word this won't make the papers, at least not yet,”
“I'm a reporter James,” I reminded him.
“I know, that's why I'm asking for your help, because you're a good journalist,”
“Help with what?” I asked.
“My keeper's wife has gone missing. He's refusing to play another match until she's found,”
“That's understandable,” I reasoned.
“But by refusing to play a match he's creating a bad image for me. I get accused of not handling things well and if he plays I get accused of not taking his emotional welfare into consideration and being cold hearted,” James explained.
“It's only words. A bit of bad press,”
“Yes,” he agreed. “But the people who have the power to decide against me becoming Manager next season read the papers,”
“But you're the boss here. There aren't people higher than you,” I said.
“That's right,” James agreed. “But every season people get together and there is a vote about who becomes Manager. This season I got ninety eight percent of the votes. If I get bad press when it comes to next season I could get none,” he explained.
“Okay,” I nodded. “But what do you want me to do?”
“I need you to find her,”
“I don't work with crime,”
“I know, but this could be your chance to. If you do this and take all the credit you could change what you write about,”
“How would I work?”
“This would be a private arrangement. We'd have to work closely together, meet one another often. But if you do this I give you permission to write the story,”
“What about an exclusive interview with you?” I asked hopefully.
“You drive a hard bargain,” James sighed. “Exclusive interview with myself on the story, but none of that are you single, when was the last time you got laid bullshit,”
“Are you single?” I asked.
“Yes,” he nodded.
“Alright, deal,” I smiled. James outstretched his hand I took it warily.
“I don't like contracts with reporters,”
“You have my word,” I replied.
“That's good enough,” he smiled.
“I'll take some holiday for a few weeks and get started next week,” I said.
“I'll pay you twice what your paid at the Prophet every week,”
“That's not much then,” I joked. I stood up and picked up an envelope with Nelissa written in James's script. “Guessing this is mine,” I said.
“Yes,” he nodded.
“I'll talk to you once I know something,”
“Brilliant,” he replied. Then I turned away, walking out of his office.
Thanks for reading and feel free to review. It's getting interesting now x
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