Chapter 2 : Two
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Maybe that’s why he needs me. He has a stupidly high IQ, brilliant organisational and business skills, and a photographic memory. But no imagination. That’s understandable when you have to watch Quidditch for a living. Thank Merlin I don’t anymore, I don’t miss the Sports Correspondent days in the slightest.
“Do you want another glass, Nel?!” I heard him call from the kitchen.
“How much is left?” I asked, knowing he could hear me.
“About two glasses worth,”
“Just bring the bottle,” I shrugged. I heard him chuckle then he walked through the door holding a glass of red wine for him and half a bottle of rosé.
“Very classy, sweetheart,” James commented as he sat down next to me on the sofa. I took the bottle from him and glared. I poured it into my empty glass and took a deep gulp.
“I’m being resourceful,” I retorted. “There’s no point in wasting a perfectly clean glass,”
“It’s not difficult to wash it up,” he replied and removed his wand from his pocket and laid it on the table.
“We’ll, one day you’ll be old and all your magic would have shrivelled up. I’m not going to be charming your dishes,”
“You plan on staying with me for that long?” James teased.
“Unless you want to go back to Charlotte,” I replied and pulled a face. I watched James laugh and he wrapped his arm around my waist.
“You’re not still on about that are you?” he asked and I shrugged.
Charlotte Abel dated James for six months before me. I only discovered what she actually looked like two months ago. We were shopping and she came over kissing his cheeks like some kind of
vulture. She’s French and blonde and part veela. And she’s also the niece of James’s auntie.
“She’s another reason why I should stay far away from my family,” James added a little bitterly.
Oh, she also cheated on James with his brother. Not the nicest of women.
“Erm . . . speaking of your family. I need to talk to you,”
“You’re not cheating on me?” he joked.
“No,” I huffed and folded my arms.
“No, you’re not. You’re rubbish at keeping secrets, Nel,”
“I’m not,” I snapped and he raised one eyebrow. I hate it when he does that. “Well, you know when you came in I told you about me shadowing the investigative department in the Ministry,”
“At the moment they’re based in the auror office,”
“No,” he frowned.
“I had a little chat with your dad,” I said and he dropped his arm from around me.
“I didn’t have a choice. I’ve been made to take this thing. Its only for two months,”
“Two months is a long time,” he stated plainly.
“He doesn’t have to know we’re together. He didn’t even recognise me,”
“But he will. That man has to know everything,”
“Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I mean, when was the last time you spoke?”
“Seven years ago,” he admitted.
“See, that’s a long time. I mean in seven years time you’ll probably be grey,”
“Thanks,” he muttered sarcastically.
“In Lily’s last letter she wrote that she thought he wanted to see you,”
“No, drop it, Nel,” James snapped and stood up, pulling his tie off.
“Okay, sorry,” I said and raised my hands defensively. “Did you cancel everything for the weekend?” I asked. James smiled and walked over. He sat down and kissed me hard on the lips.
“Erm . . . yeah,” he shrugged. “Is Josie ready for the big engagement party?”
“Oh, yeah. You know if you’re late because of stupid work I’ll be really mad,”
“I know,” he commented.
“Well, everything’s sorted and Josie’s nearly moved all of her stuff out into the holiday home,”
“You mean the holiday home that’s now her permanent home? With Greg?”
“If you mean the mansion in Corwall then yeah,” I smirked.
“It must be nice to be rich,” he commented and I snorted into my glass.
“You can’t talk. Don’t pretend I’m not beggar on the street poor compared to all of you,”
“I wouldn’t go that far,” he laughed. “Besides, your looks make up for it,”
“Thanks,” I joked. “Listen, now Josie’s moved out I’m there all alone. Paying the rent all alone,”
“That is tricky,” he commented, hiding his smirk.
“I wanted to consult your business mind,” I said and wrapped his arm around me, kissing his hand.
“I can only see one solution,” James said very seriously.
“Yes?” I asked hopefully.
“You’ll have to move home with your parents,” he finally said and I glared, poking him in the side.
“Or there is another way. But you’d have to ask me,”
“No,” I shook my head defiantly.
“Do you need a hand moving your stuff into the Finnigan household?”
“I can’t ask you. The girl never proposes,” I stated.
“I’m not proposing,”
“But it’s one of the steps in a relationship. It’s like if proposing was a novel, moving in together would be its sequel,”
“No wonder you’re a journalist. Those metaphors have put me in my place,” he teased.
“I suppose Charlotte would have asked you, the French whore,”
“Alright,” James laughed loudly. He stood up and started to search in my bag.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m doing this properly,” he stated. Then he closed his hand around something after throwing my bra I had took off earlier at me. He walked over and got down on one knee, taking my hand. “Nelissa Finnigan, would you do me the great honour of moving in with me?” he asked curtly. I laughed as I looked down at him.
“Yes!” I exclaimed shrilly. Then James opened my palm and placed my keys in it. He stood up and came towards me. We kissed deeply and felt his hands around my waist. He guided me down onto the sofa and I struggled to place the keys on the coffee table. Mmmmm.
He'll show up. He just has to show up. He promised me and I warned him. He may have missed Mum's birthday, but he had to attend that meeting – life or death he said. Then there was that dinner, but we'd only been dating for one month then. Now is different. We've been together for ten months and it's Josie's sodding engagement party. If he doesn't apparate on the gravel of Lively manor I'll kill him with one of his own bludgers.
“Nel!” Josie called and I turned around to see her walking happily towards me with a hand on her hip, showcasing her very expensive and absolutely gorgeous ring. “We're starting speeches,” she informed me.
“Okay,” I muttered.
“No sign of him?”
“No,” I frowned.
“Well, he's always so busy. He probably just got held up,”
“Stop making excuses for him. He's not getting out of this one,”
“Don't shout, you know it sends you all red in the face,” she teased.
“Shut it,” I replied, causing Josie to smile.
Then a loud pop sounded, I straightened up and drew myself up to my full height. As he walked nearer I could finally make out James. All perfect and handsome in another expensive suit. As he got closer I could hear the crunch of the gravel under the soles of his shoes. He saw us and a large smile spread across his face. How can I be pissed off at that smile.
“Go easy,” Josie warned playfully.
“Hello Josie,” James smiled lightly. “I can't apologise enough, I know it's Greg and yours big night,”
“It's okay, James. You haven't missed the speeches, and there's still tons of wine left for you,” Josie replied.
“Good, I'm sure Nel will fill you in tomorrow,” he nodded and wrapped his arm around me. “You look beautiful, sweetheart,” James told me and kissed me full on the lips.
“I'll see you inside, Nel,” Josie said and gave me a wary look. I watched her walk back inside and rounded on James, flinging his arm away.
“Where the bloody hell have you been?” I rushed.
“I'm sorry,” he replied, looking down.
“That doesn't answer my question,”
“I know, but I didn't think you'd want to go into it right now, right here,”
“What's wrong with here and now?” I asked, gesturing around frantically.
“Outside in the dark?” James questioned.
“It's still light,”
“From the lamps,” he said, holding in a laugh. I looked to the lamp posts on either side of the door and scowled at him. “Come on, Nel,” he tried.
“Are you going to tell me?”
“Not now,” he replied smoothly.
“Fine,” I huffed and crossed my arms across my chest. James bit his lip and I turned, marching towards the doors.
“Nel!” he called, but I ignored him. “Nelissa!” he said, then I heard him running before I was lifted off my feet. James carried me inside and set me down in the entry hall.
“James!” I shrieked and hit him softly in the arm.
“Why are you being so huffy?” he asked me.
“Because you haven't given me an answer yet,”
“Fine, I was at a meeting,”
“I knew it!” I declared.
“It was important,”
“So is this,” I snapped.
“I know,” he sighed deeply. “Josie is your best friend and she's engaged. But I've already started making it up to you,”
“What do you mean?” I asked, eyebrows raised.
“I've booked time off. I'll be all yours, I promise,”
“No meetings, no business contacts?” I questioned.
“Just you and I and some new scenery,” he said, taking my hands.
“Where?” I breathed anxiously.
“Paris,” James smiled. I let out a sound of excitement and he grinned. I flung my arms around him and pressed my lips happily and longly to his.
“For how long? One week or two?”
“Three,” he muttered and I kissed him again, stopping him in mid speech. “Days,” he finished. I frowned deeply.
“James,” I groaned.
“It was the best I could do, love,”
“Paris?” I asked.
“Paris,” he agreed. “Two weeks,”
“Can't wait,” I said and kissed him one last time. Then I took his hand and pulled him towards the doors to the hall. We walked inside and I saw Josie hurrying our way.
“Just in time!” she exclaimed. Then she held her wand to her throat, obviously getting ready to make some announcement. “My beautiful Maid of Honour!” her voice exclaimed and the hall cheered. I smiled in thanks and made a move towards Josie as everyone went back to their drinks.
“I need to tell you something,” Josie said happily.
“I think I'll go and find Greg,” James thought aloud and smirked as he kissed me on the cheek and left us.
“Have you made up?” Josie asked as she pulled me out of the hall and into a parlour.
“Of course,” I laughed. “What is it?”
“We've set a date. Just spoken to the priest,”
“What? Really?” I gasped.
“In three months time!”
“Josie! Are you sure?”
“Of course I am! It was either then or wait for a year. We're looking at dresses tomorrow, you and I,”
“Finally,” I smirked and she pulled me into a hug
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