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Chapter 9 : Waiting...and more Introductions
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Hello my poppies!! How are y'all?? the ninth chapter is up and this is from Al's POV...sorry for the long wait, and I hope you enjoy the chapter!! as always, read and review!!
“Al C’mon” said Dana.
“OI, get your arse in here” that was Rose.
“You’re gonna be late, Al” Hugo, calm as ever.
“We’re gonna be late!” Lily wailed.
“You don’t want us to miss the train, do you?” Ian asked, mildly amused.
“I swear, Potter, if you don’t get your stinking butt in here this instant-“ Rose again, charming as ever. I don’t know what Scor sees in her to be honest.
“Don’t be rude, love” Scor, my saviour from the she-devil I call my cousin.
“Well, he deserves it!”
I rolled my eyes.
“C’mon mucker; you Do want to go home for Christmas, don’t you?” James said, putting a hand on my shoulder and gently steering me towards the platform where the Hogwarts Express stood spewing out steam. I turned reluctantly and followed him.
“What were you looking at?” asked Dana, curious.
I had been staring at the road leading to the Hogsmaede platform for the past quarter of an hour.
“Whom were you looking for?” asked Fred, wiggling his eyebrows at me.
“Nothing” I mumbled and made my way to the compartment.
We all sat ourselves in the compartment, and I resumed staring down the road through the windows. It took a while for me to realize that people had gone quiet and were staring at me, half-amusedly half-warily and Rose exasperatedly.
“Ooh, what a snappy retort!” said Fred
“Yeah, wonder how he comes up with those” said James
“Shut it” I snapped.
“Stop it Al, you’re overwhelming us with your brilliantly thought comebacks” said Ian.
I didn’t deign that with a response, my eyes continued their search for the one person who was absent from the gathering, the one person who was a last-minute invite.
“All of us are here, right?” said Hugo quietly, counting.
“Yeah...” trailed Dana, searching my face for answers.
In case that didn’t clue you in, I hadn’t told the others that I had invited Layla home for Christmas.
Not even to Dana.
And by the looks of it, Layla hadn’t told Dana either.
“Well, I have other things on my mind other than the eccentricities of my half-brained cousin” said Rose and promptly dragged Scor out.
No need to guess where they were going.
The train started moving, and as we gained speed, I slumped back on my seat, feeling down.
She had decided not to come after all.
The others had started a raucous game of Exploding Snap and I decided to get away from the noise and teasing before I started shouting my head off at everything and everybody.
That would make a charming image.
Quite the gentleman, I am.
My mother would be so proud of me.
No wonder Layla wanted to be with me so much, which is why she decided to come to my place the minute I asked her to.
I was that irresistible to women.
I made a quick trip to the restroom and splashed my face with cold water, trying to shake off this stupid feeling of doom. I mean, my friends were there, my cousins were there, I didn’t know why I was so upset over a person I didn’t even want to invite in the first place and a girl whom I’m not sure even likes me.
Not ‘like’ likes me, general likes me.
I made my way back to the compartment and found that my team had been considerate enough to buy me lunch and get me chocolate. I do love them.
We were done with the food quite fast enough and I was nibbling through the last bit of Chocolate Frog, trying to participate in the conversation, when I heard a soft knock on the compartment door.
I swivelled around to look at the person who was knocking, and I found the breath knocked out of me.
She was there.
She was looking meekly at everyone and then turned to look at me.
I was still holding the piece of Frog in my hand, I’m sure my mouth would be smeared with chocolate (like I said, I’m quite the charmer) and I looked at her like a gobsmacked goldfish.
The others looked at me, then her, at back at me, like they were watching a silent rally. Nobody knew how to react with me over there (they didn’t know I invited her, remember?) and they didn’t know how I would react to Layla’s presence.
They didn’t know the emotions battling in me, did they?
We kept staring at each other, and then she slowly gestured with her eyes to the door.
Dana was the first to recover.
She pulled open the door and tacked Layla with a hug so fierce I was surprised the girl held her ground.
“Omigawd! Omigawd! Omigawd! Omigawd! Omigawd!” she screeched, jumping up and down, causing us all to stuff our fingers in our ears, including Layla.
“Shut Up Robbins!” Rose shouted, finally silencing her.
Ah, to be able to hear again.
“Hey” said Hugo, smiling at her, “Come on in”
Why was she smiling at him like they knew each other for their lives?
He is MY cousin and she is MY-
SHE IS NOT MY ANYTHING.
Dana pulled Layla into the compartment, and the others squished to make room for her. I don’t think it was a coincidence when she ended up right opposite to me.
Before I could say anything, James and Fred literally bounded to her and pulled her up from her seat and into a hug that quite literally buried her.
I narrowed my eyes at the pair of them, and before I could do anything about it, Ian had also hugged her, followed by Hugo and Lily.
I wish I could burn them through looks.
Then, -I couldn’t believe my eyes- Rose had gotten up and given her a hug, followed by Scor.
Rose hugged her.
Rose hugged her, and she was even smiling at her.
MY COUSIN ROSE WEASLEY.
AND SHE EVEN ALLOWED SCORPIUS TO HUG HER, AND DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
She just stood there smiling fondly at them while Scor talked to her.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE UNIVERSE?
By the time everyone had settled down, (I was the only one remaining in my seat) I looked at her, cleared my throat and said, “Hey”
“Hey” she replied, smiling back at me shyly.
Why does she have to do that?
Can’t she see what it was doing for my heart rate, that tiny shy smile of hers?
Does she want my heart to overload and burst?
“So” started Dana “What are you doing on the train? I thought you were staying at Hogwarts this year?”
The others ears picked up at this.
Layla’s eyes quickly flashed in my direction and in the instant our eyes met, she understood that I hadn’t told them.
“Um...” she hesitated, biting her lower lip.
I wished she wouldn’t do that.
She is so not helping matters here.
Why am I thinking stuff like this, again?
“What is going on you guys?” asked Ian, curious.
“I decided to not to stay at Hogwarts this year” she said quietly.
“And you didn’t tell me? Tell any of us?” asked Dana.
“It’s not that guys, I decided this pretty recently and I haven’t had a chance to meet any of you since”
Whoa! They were all friends?
And they spoke to each other, like frequently?
So I was the one who was last to make friends with her, was I?
I don’t like this.
I don’t like this at all.
Rose shrewdly looked at me and then Layla. If anybody had the possibility of figuring out the truth, it was Rose.
The girl was too brilliant for her own good, if you asked me.
I could see the spark in her eyes as the truth dawned on her and shook my head a bit to silence her. If they were gonna find out, it was gonna be from my mouth.
“Okay, so where are you going then?” asked Fred
“I’m going to spend Christmas with a-“ she hesitated, “with a friend” she finished, resolutely looking at everybody else except me.
“OOOOHH” exclaimed Lily, “So who is this ‘friend’?”
“It’s not like you think” said Layla, a blush starting to creep her cheeks.
“Is that a blush I see, Lewis?” said James, winking at her.
She blushed even deeper.
Curse you, James.
(Or maybe not, thanks for deepening that blush, she looks adorable)
“Okay, spill. Who is the guy?” said Hugo.
“Guys, please-“ she started, but before she could get anything out of her mouth,
“I invited her home for Christmas” I said.
Every head turned to look at me, and I felt like I was in a very bright spotlight.
“What?” chorused several voices, and every expression was one of stunned disbelief.
If I hadn’t been on the receiving end of all that, the looks on their faces would have made me laugh hard.
They continued to stare at me, and the silence was getting awkward.
Layla was still determinedly not looking at me, she kept staring at her hands twisting in her lap.
“Does this mean that you’re the-“started Dana, sounding wary.
“Of course not, Dan! C’mon!” I said, going defensive “It’s not like that”
“Does Mum know?” asked Lily in a hushed voice.
“Of course she does, Lily!” I said, rolling my eyes at her.
“I don’t understand what’s going on here” said Scor, looking puzzled.
“I’d say” muttered Ian.
“Look, you guys, it’s not a big deal. I saw her the other day and we spoke and she told me she didn’t have a place to go to for Christmas and I invited her as a friend. That’s all. Don’t over-think this”
Several people opened their mouths to question us further, when Rose cut in, saying “Leave it you guys”
They all looked at her.
“It’s best not to discuss this. Not to mention we’re being extremely rude right now” she nodded at Layla, “We’re glad you’re spending Christmas with us. It will be truly lovely” then she looked at me and said, “Al, that’s a wonderful idea, asking Layla to spend time with us. Dana would love that and so would we. Thank you”
I nodded at her, and she smiled at me, giving me a slight wink.
Rose Weasley, cousin extraordinaire, saviour, and my best friend in the whole wide world.
The rest of the journey was a blur of laughter, fun and teasing.
Before we knew it, the train had puffed into platform nine and three quarters, and we were soon pulling our trunks through.
I was the last to leave the compartment and found Layla waiting uncertainly near the door.
“What are you waiting for?” I asked her, panting.
She just shook her head at me and clutched her trunk tighter.
“Get down, you’re blocking the way” I said and pushed past her and made to walk when I noticed she was still standing in the same spot.
I turned and helped her with the luggage and hopped back down, and looked at her.
“Are you nervous?” I asked her, narrowing my eyes.
I’m a brilliant one.
I should be giving medals for my ability to decipher human emotions.
She nodded meekly, looking at the noisiest and most boisterous gathering.
“They’re alright” I laughed “C’mon” I held my hand out to her, and to my surprise she took it and followed me silently.
We approached the gathering when I heard a voice shout out, “I thought you had grown too old for hugs, young man”
I grinned and gave my Mum a tight hug and said, “Never”
“Have you all got your trunks? We need to leave soon” she said, moving away.
“Albus” said a man’s voice and I turned to look at my godfather grinning at me.
“Uncle Ron” I said, giving him a man-hug as he clapped me on the shoulder.
“Aunt Hermione!” I shouted noticing the woman who was hugging Rose and Hugo, almost tackling her with my hug.
“Easy, there Al” said Ron, while Hermione laughed.
“You’ve grown so tall” she said holding me at arm’s length “You’re looking more and more like-“
“Dad every day, I know” I finished grinning at her. She smiled and kissed my forehead.
“Hey, where’s Dad?” I asked, noticing that he was missing.
“Your Dad had work, he couldn’t come” replied Mum, coming back for my trunk and trolley. “He says he’s very sorry and that he’ll be home early for dinner”
“Wish I had work” muttered Uncle Ron, putting his arm around my shoulder and glaring at Scorpius talking to Aunt Hermione right now.
“Uncle Ron-“ I started, trying to defend Rose, when he looked at someone behind me and said “Ahem. Aren’t you gonna introduce us Al?” he nodded toward where Layla stood, clutching her trolley.
“Oh I’m sorry” I said hurriedly, “Mum, Uncle Ron, Aunt Hermione, this is Layla. Layla Lewis”
“Hello, love” said Mum, giving her a hug, “We’re so glad you could come and spend Christmas with us”
“I hope that’s not a trouble, Mrs. Potter” Layla said, smiling at Mum.
“Nonsense!” scoffed Uncle Ron, “The more the merrier” he said, shaking her hand.
“Glad to meet you, sweetie” Aunt Hermione hugged her too.
“You too Mrs. Weasley” she said.
“Oh please dear, call me Hermione”
“Yeah, call me Ron. None of this Mr. Weasley stuff” said Uncle Ron.
“She didn’t call you Mr. Weasley yet, you dolt” retorted Mum, “And while we’re at it, call me Ginny. I’m not that old to be Mrs. Potter yet”
Layla grinned at all of them.
“Well, we’re off to put the trunks in the car” said Ron “Help her Albus” he shot a meaningful look at me.
“Subtle, Ron” muttered Aunt Hermione, while Mum shook her head at him.
My Uncle, the epitome of tact.
I turned to look at her, still grinning, and found her smiling at their retreating backs as well.
“Shall we?” I asked her, making my way to the barrier.
“Yeah” she nodded,
As we were pushing our trolleys together through the barrier I said, “See, I told you they were alright! Nothing to be frightened of!”
“They are very nice” she smiled at me.
Merlin I don’t think I’ve seen her smile so much around me.
“You seem happy” I remarked.
“I am” she replied, looking into my eyes. “Thank you” she said, gratitude evident in her voice.
“No problem” I said, smiling at her.
Another happy smile.
“If you were scared of meeting them, then what would you do when I introduce you to my dad?” I asked teasingly.
“Oh” she groaned, as we made our way out of King’s Cross to the car waiting for us.
so?? How did you like this chapter?? I must admit, I wasn't very happy with it...I have better things coming up for you guys though in the next chapters...more twists and love connections and broken hearts...can't wait to start writing all that!! sorry for two continuous filler chapters...anyways, you know what would make me very happy...that's right, REVIEWS. so please please read and review, they mean a lot to me...until we meet in the next chapter, keep reading and following the story!!
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