Chapter 3 : I Don't Even Like Onions
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Award for the smexiest CI ever goes to AlwaysAvery @ TDA
How are you?! I haven't heard from you in like, weeks. I was going to call you, but my phone got lost in Milan (bet you anything that Anna Schezbitchy-face stole it). Anywho, what up in London? How's Jinglebell? Tell me everything!!
I love India! We're in Delhi for the Will's India Fashion Week, but though work is a gigantic bitch, it's awesome. The food is amazing, and there's this really cute designer guy who asked me out for coffee! The clothes are the best part- and I don't care what you say, I'm buying you a sari, you'll look gorgeous.
Call you as soon as I get a new phone. Tell Jinglebell I love him, and for Christ's sake, find a guy!
Wish you were here!
I fold the letter, smiling faintly at my sister's excessive use of exclamations marks.
Even when we were children, Bianca was always the bubblier, prettier one of us, with her disarming smile and charisma. In comparison, I was introverted and rather plain. And while she went around playing dress-up with Mum's make-up kit and high heels, I pestered Dad with questions about his adventures as an Auror.
Our parents were slightly disappointed when Bea didn't get her letter from Hogwarts, like I had. First Squib in the family since my great-aunt Greta. I am not proud to admit, though, I was a little relieved. For the first time in a long time, I had something special that my little sister didn't.
But although I had my magic and my books and Hogwarts, Bea had her beauty and charm. At sixteen, she was 'discovered' by this modelling agency, and the world of high fashion saw Bianca Bates arrive with a bang.
I was happy for my sister. Still am, as a matter of fact. But I'll be lying if I say I'm not jealous that while I've lost my dream job and am stuck mothering an insolent git, my little sister gets to travel the world and live her dream, and yet she finds her work a 'bitch'.
Sometimes, I think people don't realise how lucky they are.
James Potter's apartment was elegant, stylish, and quite large- and he did not offer to show me around a single inch of it. Good Manners? Etiquette? What are those?
A good half an hour after I'd first arrived, I wander back into the hall to find none other than the Lord of the House, draped over a breakfast bar stool and nursing a mug of coffee. He's no longer half naked, barefoot in a loose white T-shirt and his same sloppy jeans from earlier, and his supermodel-esque shades are absent.
“Hey, what's up?” I say. I know. I'm speaking somewhat politely to someone who not sixty minutes ago very courteously informed me to dump my stuff wherever.
It's Hugo, I swear. Being around him for long durations of time makes me a dazzling little ray of golden sunshine and whatnot.
He glances up from his mug and seems to notice me for the first time. “The sky,” he answers, dry as a bone.
Jeez, someone is so clever.
“Well, would like some breakfast?” Here I go again. “'Cause I'm starving.”
He says nothing, just grunts like a prehistoric caveman, which I take to mean 'yes'. Honestly, his eloquence is astounding.
I set about preparing sandwiches- chopping the onions and tomatoes, buttering the bread. All the time, James continues to watch me over the rim of his mug. It's disconcerting -not to mention creepy- but I'm more frustrated by the fact that he wouldn't even act like a normal human and make an attempt at small talk.
“Aren't you going to help?” I ask, when he still hadn't said anything after several minutes.
“You're the hired help,” he replies, shrugging nonchalantly, “And no olives in my sandwich.”
I am sorely tempted to slam down the knife in my hand and tell him to make his own fucking sandwiches. Instead, I take a deep breath and continue dicing the olives with a savage force that's probably unnecessary.
“Here,” I say, and push a plate towards him.
He polishes it off even before I've taken two bites of my own breakfast. Pushing aside his plate, he uncoils himself from the stool, stretches languidly and makes to walk away.
I frown. I really wasn't expecting any praises for the food, but a simple 'thanks' would've been nice.
“Where are you going?” I quiz.
He turns, his hazel eyes glittering darkly. “Somewhere I am not interrogated every twenty bleeding seconds,” he snaps.
For a moment, I can't think of anything to say. “I was just-”
“Babysitting me?” He interrupts, “Fantastic, but no thanks.”
With that, James walks away to his room, and I'm left staring after him.
Wanna meet 4 lunch at TSS?- H.
I look at the text on my cell phone and bite my lip thoughtfully. Hugo and I lunched together most days, usually at the Silver Snitch in Diagon Alley- it had been our tradition since graduating Hogwarts. For the past four months, our daily ritual was one of the only reasons I got out of Bea's flat. Now, however... Mr. Potter's words ring through my head. Stick to him like a shadow. Would going out for lunch count as defying his orders?
Then I give myself a mental slap on the cheek and snap out of it. James, despite his behaviour, is a grown-up man, not a toddler. It's not like he'll set the house on fire while I'm out or anything.
Defiantly picking up my phone, I quickly type out a reply to Hugo.
Sure. See u. -A
“I'm going out!” I call from the foyer, shrugging on my jacket. From unknown corners of the house, James yells a muffled reply that distinctly sounds like “Don't give a fuck.” Charming.
I go down the elevator, across the lobby and out of the building in record time. A block away, I find a deserted alley- perfect for Apparating. A few seconds of feeling like the last few dollops of toothpaste being squeezed out of the tube, and I find myself on a sunlit pavement in front of a cozy little restaurant.
“You're late,” I hear a voice say, and turn to find Hugo sitting under a shady lemon-yellow umbrella, presumably waiting for me.
“On purpose,” I reply, plopping down on a chair opposite him, “I wanted to give you enough time to ogle Madam Wanda in peace.”
Hugo's ears turn an alarming shade of red hearing the name of the curvy, pretty owner of the Silver Snitch (who's a distant relative of Madam Rosmerta of the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade). His school-boy crush is funny to watch.
Hugo grumbles some indistinct protestations, and then goes inside the restaurant to order our lunch.
Over plates of Caesar salad, spaghetti bolognese, French fries and a jug of Butterbeer, Hugo and I talk about -what else?- James Potter. Our conversation goes something like this:
Me: I think James hates me.
Hugo: He doesn't hate you, he hates the situation. He's an international Quidditch star stuck with a nanny to look after him, who lives in his house- of course he hates it!
Me: I'm not exactly dancing with joy about it either. But at least I tried to make an effort!
Hugo: The thing is, James never quite grew out of that angst-ridden-teenager-who-can't-confront-his-own-inner-demons-and-takes-it-out-verbally-on-other-people-instead stage.
Me: James has "inner demons"?
Hugo: Not the point. James is like an onion-
Me: An onion?
Hugo: An onion. You have to peel him one layer at a time, and sometimes you'll weep, but you'll find something worthwhile inside.
Me: I don't even like onions.
And so on. Most people, including me at times, find it unbelievable that Hugo and I became, and still are, friends, because we're almost polar opposites.
Unlike most typical life-long friendships forged at Hogwarts, ours did not begin on the Hogwarts Express or during the Sorting Ceremony. In fact, I didn't even know that someone called Hugo Weasley existed until our Third year.
I was your clichéd Ravenclaw nerd, who was a grumpy little loner and a permanent fixture in the Library. Hugo was the Hufflepuff, who, having been abandoned by his cousin and best friend Lily Potter when she got Sorted into Gryffindor, haunted the corridors alone and friendless like a jilted puppy.
Rose Weasley knew me because she too frequented the Library, especially during her Fifth year. She knew Hugo because, obviously, he is her brother. She was the one who decided to get the two lonely souls in this epic saga all chummy-like, and do her good deed for the day, which is why one fine afternoon I found this gangly kid with mousy brown hair and too-big glasses sitting on my usual table in the Library.
At first, I hated Hugo. He was too chatty and too stupid and too sunny and optimistic for my gloomy and dour disposition. I called him names, was mean to him even jinxed him once, but the persistent little bugger never gave up trying to be my friend.
Then came the day of the Incident, when we both saw this troll-like boy ripping pages from and writing on my beloved Library books.
There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and facing down a considerably larger Sixth year who committed such acts of unspeakable evil as disfiguring Library books is one of them.
Hugo takes the rest of the day off from work, once again blaming a throbbing headache (they're going to think he's got brain cancer or something). We spend the rest of the afternoon wandering around Diagon Alley, visiting Fortescue's ice-cream shop and freaking out over all the new flavours, then tasting at least eight different samples, and Flourish and Blotts, where Hugo buys me the Vampire Sojourns series, and I gift him an elegant eagle-feather quill in return. We stop by his Uncle George's shop, and find his cousin Fred, who allows us to run around the place like a couple of unsupervised five-year-olds.
I think Madam Wanda added some Essence of Euphoria to the Butterbeer she served us, because by the time we make our way to the Leaky Cauldron for drinks, Hugo and I are shrieking with laughter and arguing in voices that scare the other people at the pub.
“Sky-diving is a amazing sport,” Hugo declares, cutting across me, “and I know, because I work in the Magical Games and Sports Department.”
“But sky-diving is Muggle,” I contradict loudly, and a witch in red robes turns to glare at me, “idiot Muggles and their idiotic 'yolo'.”
“But it's true- you only live once!”
“Hardly reason enough to do reckless shit that'd probably get you killed!”
“I don't care- I'm going sky-diving next week,” Hugo proclaims, and I scream, “Over my dead body!” and the same nosy little red-robed witch from before loudly informs her friend that a couple like us belong in St. Mungo's.
I return to James' flat in a much better mood than I left it in. Like I said, being in Hugo's company for long durations of time changes my inner Norwegian Ridgeback into a tame Pygmy Puff. The day may have started horribly, what with that nightmare and coming here and James Potter, but it was almost over.
“Peace and quiet,” I mutter to myself, extracting my wand from my purse, “and a mug of hot chocolate and Vampire Sojourns: The Legend…”
I tap the knob on the door with my wand, pushing it open, only to have my mouth fall open for the second time that day.
Remember how I was worried James would set fire to the place in my absence? Yeah, this is much worse.
The scene could be right out out of a young-adult novel's description of a nightclub- same loud, loud music that set the walls throbbing, same dim lights and stench of alcohol and sweaty bodies, and the same unholy number of people.
Hardly daring to blink, I fight my way through what, just this morning, was the pristine white living room of James’ apartment, but now resembles the kind of place where a scantily-dressed, heavily-lipsticked teenage girl may turn up to get drunk and make some stupid decisions. Everyone was clad in black- see-through fabric and leather and all, and their limbs jerked about and heads swayed in some wild parody of dance.
“Hey!” A bloke dressed all in these really tight leather trousers that make me wonder how he ever put them on, shouts at the top of his lungs to be heard over the strains of Baby, bitches ain't no Snitches blaring from the stereo, “the stripper is here!”
The stripper? What the fuck?!
Immediately, someone pulls my arms hard enough to jerk it out of its socket, and I'm carried through the mob like a leaf in a river current, right up to a long silver pole.
I'm pushed onto the raised platform around the pole and barely manage to stop myself falling by grabbing the pole. Like a pack of hungry wolves cornering a defenceless prey, the crowd starts chanting “Strip! Strip! Strip!”
What the actual fuck? That’s all my brain seems capable of thinking. Thank you so much, my intellectual functions, for abandoning me at such a time. Panicked, I look over the heads of the crowd to see none other than James Potter, leaning against the makeshift bar in the far end of the room, casually chatting to some random girl.
Immediately, I jump from the stage and pushing and shoving my way through the booing crowd, reach James. He glances sidelong at me, and then turns away pointedly, like I'm invisible.
I’m pretty sure that’s the exact moment I see red.
Not caring a bit what he'd say, I grab his hand and pull him, out the door and into the corridor outside his flat.
“What the hell,” I demand, turning on him, “is going on in there?”
He takes an insouciant sip from the glass of Firewhiskey still clutched in his hand; the amber liquid glimmers in the dim light. “A funeral, obviously,” he answers at last, “my pet Flobberworm died.”
I think my eyeballs just might pop out of their sockets, I'm so shocked. “Your friends thought I was a stripper!” I exclaim in a voice constricted with anger and disbelief.
“And you just had to be such a whiny bitch about it. Personally, I don't see what the big deal is.”
This person is unbelievable. “James Potter, how dare you-”
“Hey,” he interrupts me then, face calm but eyes shining dangerously, “Who are you, my Mum? You are no one to ask me how I dare. It's my house, my rules. I will do what I want, when I want. And if you have a problem with that, kindly fucking leave.”
Then he walks back in, slamming the door shut behind him.
A/N: Finally, chapter three! The response to the first two chapters, meanwhile, has been phenomenal. I was not expecting so many favourites or reviews. Thanks ~IceCubism, Holly_Mist, charlene, sour_grapes_snape, TimeSeer, AlexFan, missclaire17, LoonyLovegood11, SheildSnitch3 and MaryAnn, as well as all my other readers.
*Do you dislike olives in your sandwiches like James? Or something else?
*How was the story of Addie and Hugo's friendship? :)
See you soon (hopefully),
Edit 28/4/13: The bit at the end has been expanded.
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