Chapter 29 : The Madness of a Wedding
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I finished that year with my best grades ever, as I was using it as a way to distract myself. I had also passed my apparation test, with Alice, Scorpius and Louis. Rose had failed, something that annoyed her no end.
Al also passed, if you guys were curious.
Trying to move on from Albus when I had to see him at school, was no easy task. However, I knew that if I didn't do anything that summer that I would drive myself mad thinking about him. So I made some very busy plans for myself.
Mum had moved-- temporarily-- to San Francisco, as she was helping Madam Maulkin open a store out there. Mum's job was to walk around the Wizarding Community there and learn what people wore and then make designs that they would like. It was Mum's dream, as she was able to be in her favorite city and design clothes, while still getting to meet people. What made it even better, was when I decided to spend the entire month of June with her there.
I had never been one for large cities nor had I liked America when Draco, Astoria, Scorp and I went to New York City when I was 13-- but I fell in love with San Francisco. It was beautiful and the food was amazing. Mum and I did many muggle tourist things, like going to the zoo and walking across the Golden Gate Bridge. I even got to go to a baseball game, though I don't understand the appeal of the sport. It was so boring. Then again, I was comparing it to Quidditch.
Astoria was worried that I would get bored there, since Mum had to work most weekdays and wouldn't get to spend time with me but she was wrong. On most days when Mum had to work, I would simply walk around the city. It's amazing and huge, yet the people were quite nice compared to those in London. There are so many little neighborhoods that I got to explore but I found that my favorite was North Beach. Lots of wonderful Italian food there.
I found myself thinking of Al a lot when I went walking. Mainly because a part of me still really wanted to share all this with him, to write him and tell him how in love with this place I was. I wanted to know what he was doing and if he missed me like I missed him. However, as time went on and I explored more of the city, I found myself thinking less and less about Al and more about what I wanted and my future. Instead of focusing on the past or what one boy was doing, I was thinking about how I could move here or how there were many places that I hadn't seen, even though I really wanted too.
I told Matilda that, and she explained that it's something that San Francisco does. She came to San Francisco with a broken heart and the city had cured it.
And I wasn't really sure if it was the city or getting to spend time with my mum. I learned a lot about myself by spending time with her. We told stories about our lives but we would mainly just hang out. She was a weird mix between a friend and a mother-- partly because she knew that all the mothering she could do might not work at that point. So we bonded a lot and did a bunch of stuff together that we had always wanted or thought we wanted. We lived like muggles but were always grateful that we could apparate back to our apartment in the Wizarding Distract of the city. I also learned a lot about her too. She hadn't seriously dated since Cormac, but when I arrived in San Francisco, she told me that she had been seeing this guy, Brian. I spent a lot of time with him as well, and I really like him. He was good for her and treated her well. He had grown up in San Francisco all his life, attended Salem's the same time Mum was at Hogwarts, and owned an apothecary. Mum had told him that I loved Potions, and Brian offered to let me shadow him a few times, when I got bored from exploring the city. I never got bored of the city, but I did shadow Brian and I loved it. I decided that I wanted to work in an apothecary after Hogwarts, something I had never thought about before.
One of my favorite memories from the entire trip was one night when Mum, Brian and me were hanging out in Matilda's apartment. It was one of my last nights there and Mum had bought a bottle of wine for the special occasion and we were both cooking in the kitchen. Brian was in charge of music that night and he was choosing muggle songs from when I was just a kid. I didn't know any of them, but then a song came on that was basically the theme song for all girl's nights everywhere. A song that was so poppy, you couldn't help but dance and sing at the top of your lungs with your best friend. Once Matilda heard the opening chords, she screamed and flicked her wand so the volume was turned up. She looked at me, and I don't know if it was a mother daughter connection or the fact that this was a song that had been around for ten years that no one ever got tired of, but we started screaming the lyrics at the top of our lungs and dancing around the kitchen. Brian didn't join in, despite our attempts otherwise, and instead just watched us scream at the top of our lungs in the kitchen. What I didn't realize was that Brian took a picture, a picture he gave to me the day I left. It was of Mum and me, jumping around like idiots and singing to each other.
I was really sad when I had to leave. I had fallen in love with this city and the life that I was having with Mum. Mum kept telling me that she would be back in England at the end of the summer, and anytime she mentioned it when Brian was around, I saw his face drop. So, despite the fact that I really wanted her there near me, I told her to stay. Madame Maulkin's had offered her the management position at the new store and she had such a great life there-- I couldn't ask her to leave it. I didn't even want to leave it.
So she didn't. She stayed in San Francisco, something that I wanted to do.
But I didn't, instead, on July 1st, I apparted over to Cormac's house in Wimborne.
When I met Cormac's family with my family, it had been decided that it would probably be a good idea to spend some time at his house getting to know his wife and kids, since they were also my family. This may have also been influenced by the fact that Ellory asked if I could sleepover at some point that summer and that Jacob is the most adorable brother ever who wouldn’t get off my lap.
Though it was hard to beat the amazing experience I just had, going to Dad's was amazing in a different way. Though I didn't get to wander around a foreign city, I did get to play with the siblings I never had. Becca taught me how to cook and I spent most of my time getting to be a part of a family that I thought I would have never gotten the chance to be a part of.
And I loved it. I really did. I loved getting to spend time with my sister and learn that my brother is really weird, yet strangely intelligent at the same time. Becca and I managed to bond instantly, which didn't happen with Dad. Dad and I had to work to get over our awkwardness, something that didn't happen until we went to Puddlemere United game. We bonded over our love of sports and the fact that we both yelled at exactly the same dumb calls by the ref.
That game also was the first game that James ever played in. He was on the reserve team, but then one of their chasers got hurt and James got called up. He played great-- as expected--and fortunately I got to see him after the game since Lily saw me there and dragged me over to where all the team's family members wait. Unfortunately, Al was there, which caused some awkwardness, though I mainly just talked to Lily. Dad, Harry and Ginny were all talking, something about how Dad once went to some party with Hermione and then threw up on Snape. I wondered where Annalise was, and Lily told me that she was in healing school and that this was the only game that she had ever missed. Finally, James came out and I said hi and introduced him to my dad and then left, before I could make eye contact with Al and lose all progress I made getting over him.
Dad picked up on the awkwardness between Al and I and asked me about as we were walking out. I ended up telling him the entire story, which led to me crying on his shoulder on a bench.
But hey, it brought us closer together.
When my month with them was over, I didn't have that same feeling of not wanting to leave that I had in San Francisco. I didn't want to leave the people, but I couldn't wait to get the hell out of Wimborne. So on August 1st, I went back home to my family at the Malfoy Manor.
I had missed them. Even though I had gotten to have amazing experiences with Mum and Dad, I had really missed Scorpius being next door to me and Astoria yelling at me to wake up. I missed Ryan randomly popping in and making me bake with him, though he didn't have much time for that with his job down at the Daily Prophet and his relationship with Lysander. I missed going down to Diagon Alley with Alice and Rose.
I missed my normal life.
So the month of August was spent doing that. Living my life with the people that I loved more than anything in this world and who had been there with me through everything. They had seen me at my worst and they still loved me.
What made it even better was that I was over Al. I didn't want to try to get him back and I didn't miss him. I didn't wonder what he was doing or if he had moved on. When it came to Al, I found that I just didn't do anything any more.
And on September 1st, when Scorpius and I got on the Hogwarts Express and sat down in a compartment with our friends, I didn't even think about why Al wasn't there or if he was coming, as I had in past years (though mainly that was because I was annoyed with him and didn't want him there). In fact, I didn't even think about him, until he showed up, pulling Lana in by the hand.
It was only then that my feelings stung a bit. But only a little. It was more the image of seeing him with someone else that hurt more than anything.
Unlike my sixth year, my seventh year wasn't spent focusing on my relationships and the relationships of my friends. This was partly because nearly all my friends were in a happy relationship. Scorpius and Rose were the old married couple of the group, Louis was still floating between girls, and Alice and Will were still dating, but not officially boyfriend and girlfriend. And whenever I got tired of hearing about the latest girl Lou hooked up with or Scorpius and Rose were being too cute for their own good, I'd go hang out with my Puffers. While Caleb and Anna were similar to Rose and Scorp, they weren't very big on PDA, making it easy to be around them. Oliver and Mary had hooked up this summer, but realized that there was no physical chemistry there, so while the flirting between them was still there, they moved on to other people.
Despite the fact that my friends were busier than bunnies most days, I never dated or hooked up with anyone that year. It wasn't because I was still pining over Al, hoping that because him and Lana broke up in October that he'd realize that he still had feelings for me even though we didn't talk. I just decided that I didn't want a relationship. I wanted to work on myself and stop doing things that were self destructive or impulsive.
Which was actually kind of hard. Because there were times when I really just wanted to make out with someone. What made it even more difficult was that Freddy, my former snog buddy (okay so it was twice, but still), was now working at the newest branch of Weasley's Wizard Wheeze in Hogsmeade. I spent a lot of time down there and despite the fact that sometimes I'd really need to snog someone and he'd be looking really, really good, we never kissed. Flirted, yes. But never actually kissed. I knew that while I enjoyed snogging him, I was not emotionally attached to him, so I shouldn't snog him.
Another reason as to why I didn't get into a relationship was something that I had decided because I realized that once Hogwarts was over, I was going to be gone. I didn't mean gone like I'd be leaving school, but gone like I wouldn't even be in the country, something I had only told my families and none of my friends.
This decision was made in November. We were beginning to think about our jobs after school and all that. I had mentioned it in my letter to Mum and she had told Brian, who then told me that one of his friends who ran another apothecary in San Francisco was looking for someone to work for them full time making medicine. I wrote Brian's friend, Mitchell Zambo, and after a series of letters and interviews, was offered the job, which I accepted immediately.
So while most people were still sending out applications and finding roommates for once the school year was over, I had already figured everything out. I didn't tell Rose and Alice until December, when they asked me if I wanted to get a flat with them in London. It was hard to tell them that I was leaving, but I did, though my face was stained in tears. When they asked me why, I couldn't give them an answer because I didn't know. I just knew that for once in my life, this was the only thing that made sense and didn't seem like madness.
From that moment on, I spent as much time with everyone as I could. As I took my N.E.W.T.S and graduated, I made sure that I spent as much time with all the people I wouldn't see for a while when I left. But at the end of the day, no matter how much time I spent with them, it wouldn't have been enough. They were the people who I had spent the last seven years seeing everyday and suddenly I wasn't going to be seeing them at all.
And that scared me.
The night before I left, I was lying in my bed at the Manor when I realized just how scared I was. I was excited, yes, but I was out of my mind scared. I began to wonder if I made the right decision.
Before I was even aware of what I was doing, I crept into Scorp's room. He was still awake, reading some book that Rose gave him, and didn't even look at me as I walked slowly to his bed before climbing in. It wasn't until I curled into a ball that he put the book down and turned towards me.
"I'm scared," I said softly. "I'm going all the way across the globe. There's going to be an ocean and a country in between me and the people I love. Yeah, Matilda will be there, but I won't have my whole family. I won't have my friends. What if this was a mistake? What if I should have taken a job here instead of going so far away?"
"It wasn't a mistake," Scorpius said, pushing some hair out of my face.
"How do you know?"
"Because I know you," Scorpius said. "You'll be fine, no, you'll be great. You'll take The City By The Bay by storm. Yeah, it'll be hard. But just because you're far away doesn't mean that you won't have your family or friends. We'll always be here for you. No matter how far you go."
"What if I fail?" I asked.
Scorpius shrugged. "Then you fail. Then Dad will make you come back here and sort your life out, while your Mum says failing is a part of life while you Dad says that everyone needs to make their own mistakes. Don't worry about failing. You have a whole group of people here rooting for you. You have 2 dads, 3 mums, 2 brothers, 1 sister, 1 cousin and a million other people to fall back on. You'll be fine."
"I'm going to miss you, Scorp," I said softly.
"Yeah," Scorpius said. And, though he denies it to this day, I could have sworn his eyes teared up. "I'm going to miss you too, Addie."
6 years later and I did not fail. I did not go back to England because I was too afraid. I had managed to stay in San Francisco, become one of the top medicine makers in the area, make friends, and become happy.
Everyone visited me from time to time. I didn't get to see everyone as much as I liked, but that was the price of living in California. Alice and Will had fallen in love with the States and one year had even dared to go on a road trip across the country. Caleb, who had broken up with Anna when she moved to Greece after graduation, had actually moved to San Francisco as well a year after me when he got the chance to be the Junior Sports Editor of the SF Magic, the San Franciscan Wizarding paper. He had moved in with me, temporarily, only to end up becoming a full time roommate. We had a great time together and, since I hadn't made super close friends since Hogwarts, had become one of my best friends, along with Rose and Alice.
One night, I was cooking dinner for me and Caleb (it was my turn) when Caleb walked in the door.
"Honey, I'm home!" Caleb said jokingly.
"Hey!" I said. "Just one second, I'm putting the chicken in the oven."
"Okay," Caleb said, coming into the kitchen and setting his bag down on the counter. "Need any help?"
"Nope," I said, as I shut the oven door. "Did you go to the post office today?"
"Yeah," Caleb said, reaching into his bag to pull the mail out. "I didn't even have to say what apartment we were in. The people there know exactly where we live because of all the letters going in and out of here. I'm pretty sure that without you, the owls wouldn't get the proper exercise they need."
"Oh, shut up," I said, walking over to him. "Anything interesting?"
"Well besides the letters from your Dad, the Malfoys, Ellory, Jacob, Ryan, Rose, Alice, and Scorp, which are all for you," Caleb said. "And the one letter from my parents to me, we do have one more letter than normal. And what a surprise, it's for you!"
"Can you open it for me while I change?" I asked, taking my apron off. "I'd like to change out of my work clothes before we eat."
"No problem," Caleb said, tearing the letter open and reading it. A smile cracked on his face. "You're going to want to read this before you change."
"Why?" I asked, walking over and taking the letter from his hands.
You are formally invited to the wedding of
Annalise Madeline Swan
James Sirius Potter
"Fucking finally!" I said. "It's about time she said yes!"
James had been asking for Annalise to marry him for about a year now, but she had turned him down time after time. He even made big elaborate plans to propose and each time she said no.
"Here, there's another note," Caleb said, handing me a note with James's recognizable scrawl on it.
I did it! She said yes! About fucking time too. I was about to lose my mind. Funnily enough, she didn't say yes when I did really elaborate things, only when we were watching TV (bloody wonderful muggle invention, you should get it. You should especially watch Doctor Who, that's mine and Annalise's favorite show. It's actually the show that I proposed during) and talking. I told her that I could do this forever and she said that she could too, and then I got down on one knee, told her I wanted to do this for the rest of our lives and that she was the only girl that I loved and that I ever wanted to love and would she do me the honor of being my wife. She finally said yes. After all that work with the fancy proposals and all I needed to do was propose while Doctor Who was playing. Who knew.
I hope you'll be there. I miss you! You can even bring Caleb to the wedding, just as long as you come. In fact, if you don't come, I will personally leave my wedding and kidnap you so you're there.
I smiled down at the letter. "Well," I said, looking up at Caleb. "Looks like we're going to a wedding in June."
"We?" Caleb asked, raising his eyebrows.
"That's right," I said. "You get to be my date."
"Oh joy," Caleb said. "I've been your date before, hell I was your boyfriend at one point, and I would rather not do it again."
I punched him in the arm. "You're annoying."
Caleb shrugged. "Probably true. But the bigger question is, why don't you actually find a date to bring to this thing?"
"Oh, okay, I'll just go pick from the large amount of blokes lined up ready to go out with me," I said.
"I'm serious, Addie."
"I am too!"
"You sure that you finding a date has nothing to do with the fact that a certain ex of yours might be there?" Caleb asked.
"Well, let's see if you don't go an ex of mine won't be there," I said. "So unless you're talking about Fred, I don't think any exs of mine will be there."
"I'm talking about Albus," Caleb said and, despite the fact that it had been 6 years since I had seen him, my heart lurched slightly. "You're telling me that you not bringing a date has nothing to do with the fact that he's going to be there and that you haven't really moved on from him?"
"I have moved on!" I said. "I haven't even thought of him for six years until you said his name! I have had boyfriends, hell I've fallen in love with someone else!"
"You weren't in love with Hunter-"
"Yeah I was!" I said, slightly annoyed that Caleb brought Hunter up. Hunter was my ex who I had dated for a year and a half before he broke up with me because having a long distance relationship from San Francisco to LA was too much. Which was total bullshit. "Trust me, Caleb, I was in love with Hunter. If I wasn't, I wouldn't have slept with him. You know that."
"Okay, you have a point there," Caleb said. "But you only started to date him 3 years ago. You didn't date anyone for 4 years after Al."
"I didn't date anyone seriously," I said. "I dated people. I just didn't get into a relationship with them because I was focusing on myself and my job. Besides, how could I even have feelings for Al when I haven't seen him for 6 years?"
"Well maybe that's why you don't want to bring a date," Caleb said. "Because you think that if you do, you'll realize that you still have feelings for him and be stuck with some poor sucker all night when really all you want to go do is fuck Potter."
"Caleb, even if I do wind up having feelings for him, it doesn't mean he'll feel the same way!" I said. "For all we know, he's married or engaged or gay!"
"Gay?" Caleb asked. "Really? You think he could be gay?"
"Okay so maybe not gay, but the other two are still likely!"
"Alright, I'll wager you," Caleb said. "Ten Galleons says that Potter isn't married or engaged or in a relationship and that you guys hook up at the wedding."
"Caleb, this is stupid-"
"There's no harm in a bet, Addie," Caleb said. "If you're right and there are no feelings there, then you'll have ten extra galleons. So, do you take this bet?" He held his hand out.
I shook my head, knowing that there was no way in hell Al would still have feelings for me. Or that I'd have feelings for him.
Oh, what the hell.
I could always use ten galleons.
"Fine," I said, shaking his hand. "Deal."
I pinned some of my hair back so that it didn't hang in my face during the ceremony.
It was weird. I was back at the Manor, a place that I hadn't been for 6 years. I still saw Draco and Astoria, it was just normally they came to visit me or I saw them when we went to Christmas at Dad's house. So to be back here, in my room, was weird.
Although, to be fair, it really shouldn't even be called my room anymore. The room was nothing like the way I decorated it. When I moved, I told Astoria she could redecorate my room since I probably wouldn't need it anymore. And she did just that. She changed everything, even the bed sheets weren't the same. It looked nice, but it was just weird, since this was my room for most of my life and now it looked nothing like the way I remembered it. The walls were a soft green instead of the aqua it was before and instead of the many pictures I had of my friends and family, most of which were in my new apartment in San Francisco, there were art pieces.
Caleb was staying in Scorp's room, which also had gone through dramatic changes. We decided that it would be best if we came back to England two days before the wedding so that we could adjust to the time difference and rest better.
After doing one last glance over what I was wearing-- a light pink lace dress that went to my knees-- I walked over to Caleb's room.
"Dude," I said, opening the door without knocking, something I severely regretted.
Because he was standing there in only his boxers.
"Caleb!" I said, shielding my eyes. "Put some clothes on! God, why does this happen to me with this room?"
"You were the one who walked in without knocking," Caleb said. "Okay, I have pants on. You can uncover your eyes."
I pulled my hand away from my eyes and glared at him. "You would think that after four years of living with me, you would know that I never knock."
"Yes, well you've never walked in on me before," Caleb said, buttoning his shirt up. "Besides that one time I brought that girl over and you told us to shut up."
"You guys were being loud and I had work to do," I said, shrugging and taking a seat on the bed. "Not my fault."
Caleb shrugged. "Could you help me with my tie?"
"Is it a bow tie or regular?" I asked as I walked over to him.
"Bow tie," Caleb said. "Bow ties are cool."
I rolled my eyes and began to tie his tie.
"You look good, by the way," Caleb said. "Al's going to go crazy when he sees you."
"He is not," I said, looping the fabric. "Because he doesn't have feelings for me."
"But you still have feelings for him right?" Caleb asked.
Although my default was to say no, I found that I really wasn't sure. Though I had moved on and never really thought about him, I couldn't help but wonder if this was because of the fact that I hadn't seen him. When we were at Hogwarts, it made it much more difficult to actually fully move on, to admit that I didn't have any feelings for him, because I still had to see him.
But now, I was an hour away from seeing him. I didn't know if I was going to talk to him before the ceremony or if the first time that I saw him would be when he was standing next to James at the alter. And that thought brought butterflies to my stomach. Now, whether they were butterflies of excitement or nervousness, I wasn't sure. Either way, there were butterflies.
"I'm going to take your silence as a yes," Caleb said.
I pulled his tie tightly. "Just put your jacket on and we'll leave, okay? Draco and Astoria left already."
"Alright, I'm coming, I'm coming," Caleb said.
"There's my favorite cousin!"
Ryan attacked me with a huge hug, but his cry did manage to grab the attention of everyone near us at the wedding.
"Don't let Scorpius hear that," I said. "Otherwise he might be hurt."
"He already knows that we will never have the bond that you and I do," Ryan said, letting go of me to embrace Caleb. "How have you been, Caleb?"
"I've been good," Caleb said.
"Still living in sin with my cousin?"
"Nope, since that would require sleeping with each other," I said. "And we don't do that."
"Oh, right," Ryan said. "Since you're still in love with Al and everything."
"Okay, no," I said. "One, I was never in love with him. There is a difference between falling in love and actually being in love. And two, does everyone seem to forget that I have moved on? I had a boyfriend and everything!"
"Yeah, but Hunter wasn't your type," Ryan said. "He was short with blonde hair and was obsessed with country music. Trust me, you were lucky to get out when you could."
I rolled my eyes. "So when does the bar open?"
"After the ceremony," Ryan said. But he pulled a flask out of his jacket. "But I did manage to sneak a little something in for us."
I took a sip, before scrunching my nose. "What the hell is that?"
"Tequila," Ryan said.
"More like disgusting," Caleb said, handing the flask back to him.
"You both are so immature," Ryan said, taking a sip himself.
"We're 24," I said.
"Immature," Ryan said, looking off in the distance. "Well, I see some ladies that will be very happy when they see you, Addie, so I'm going to leave before they stampede us."
"Excuse me, but I see some very attractive girls that I need to talk to," Caleb said, making his way over to a group of Annalise's cousins.
"Save me a seat?" I asked.
"Of course," Caleb said. "What kind of date would I be if I didn't?"
"I mean, you are going to pick up other girls," I said. "So you aren't that good of one anyway."
"Women," Caleb said, rolling his eyes. I laughed.
I made my way over to where two girls were standing. One, with her bright red hair and a emerald green dress was holding hands with a tall blonde bloke, while the other, dark haired and wearing a light blue dress, was arguing with a guy with dark hair and deep blue eyes.
"You have to be kidding me!" Alice said, looking at Will like he was insane. "We aren't going to Iowa again! We just went there two years ago on our road trip. It was beautiful, yes, but there was nothing to do! We need to go some place like Belize or somewhere we have never been before we go back to Iowa."
"Iowa was great and you know that," Will said. "Don't hate on Iowa."
"I'm not hating on it," Alice said. "I'm just saying that there is so much to see in the world. You can only sell so many Wizarding travel books on Iowa."
"I don't know," Scorpius said. "I thought the cow tipping sounded pretty cool. Maybe we could do a boys trip to Iowa, while the girls go to Belize."
"Scorp, you are not tipping any cows over," Rose said. "Not when you have a full time job that barely lets you take time off, even when you want only one day for a wedding."
"An auror's job is never over," Scorpius said, wrapping his arm around Rose. "I'm sorry that I don't get to spend more time with you."
"Well," I said. "It's good to see that you two are still sickeningly in love."
Rose ripped herself away from Scorpius. "Addie?" she asked, almost as if asking confirmation. I nodded and she came running at me.
"I've missed you so much!" Rose said. "How's San Francisco? I'm so sorry I haven’t been able to visit since I did two years ago, the Ministry has kept me so insanely busy-"
"Rose, it's fine," I said. "You know exactly everything that is going on in my life, even if you aren't there to see it."
"Hey, move, I want to hug her too," Alice said, pushing Rose and pulling me close. "I've missed you, Ads."
"I've missed you too," I said. "How are book sales?"
"They're great!" Alice said. "I just need to figure out the next adventure to go on. The road trip was such a hit-- I have had so many people tell me they're doing it because of my book! It's amazing, really, I'd love-"
"Hey, you can catch up later," Scorpius said. "I'd like to hug my only sister, if you don't mind."
I smiled at Scorpius and went into his arms, the place that I felt safe for so long, a place I hadn't been in a while.
"Merlin, I've missed your hugs," I said.
"Only my hugs?"
"Meh, I guess I've missed you too," I said. "Since I haven't seen you since Christmas two years ago. Thanks for not showing up this year or visiting me."
"I've been busy!" Scorpius said. "I haven't had time to just pop across the pond."
"Yeah, yeah," I said, waving him off. I turned to Will and hugged him. "How have you been? How's your uncle?"
"He's good," Will said. "He's getting old though. Sooner or later he's going to just give me complete control of The Pitch, even though I basically run the place already."
"Business has been good?"
"Never better," Will said. "Especially when the famous author Alice Longbottom comes in and discusses her travels."
"Yeah, well if I don't get another book out soon, me being there won't help," Alice said.
"You know, you could come live with Caleb and I for a while," I said. "Really get to know San Francisco and tell people what to see and what to skip. In your last book you talked more about the road trip part, so maybe you could focus on one city? Or you could do some international travel. If you need a travel buddy, I'd be more than willing to go with you."
"I'll keep that in mind," Alice said. "Because this one just wants to go to Iowa. Besides, I've missed hanging out with you. Do you think-"
"Al! We're over here!" Scorpius said, interrupting Alice and waving.
If I thought I was nervous before the wedding, it was nothing compared to now. Suddenly my stomach was full of butterflies, to the point of where it was uncomfortable, and I subconsciously reached up to make sure my hair was okay, something Rose saw and gave me a small smile for.
"Hey," Al said when he reached us.
"Dude, when is this ceremony starting?" Scorpius said. "The invitation said 4, and it's 4:15 already."
"Apparently the bride is having some sort of meltdown," Al said. "Though I think that it's Mum, crying because of how beautiful Annalise looks or something equally ridiculous."
I looked down at my shoes, a cute pair of nude heals that I had bought especially for the wedding, trying to ignore the fact that Albus was standing three feet away from me and hadn't even noticed I was there.
But I noticed. Because holy fucking Merlin, he looked good. I don't know if he just got better with age of if I had forgotten how attractive he was or if that tux was really working for him, but he just looked good. His hair was shorter than I had ever seen it, but it worked on this new him, since he never would have been able to pull off that short of hair when we were still in school. He had also filled out more, making him look wider and stronger, not to mention how good his jaw line was.
Despite all these changes, there was one thing that stayed exactly the same. And those were his eyes. The eyes that had haunted me for the past six years, eyes that I always compared people's too. Hunter had beautiful blue eyes, but they were nothing compared to Al's. Those were the eyes that I loved, the deep green that showed every emotion even when his face didn't show any.
"Tell them that there's no rush to start the ceremony," Rose said, perking up a little. "Because I know that I would much rather catch up with my best friend right now than go straight to a wedding."
Al frowned. "Who-"
And that was when he noticed me. His eyes scanned over the group but stopped when they got to me.
"Hey," I said softly.
"Hi," Albus said. I could tell he was surprised, but he tried to hide it.
"Oh look, they're ushering people to the chairs," Alice said, grabbing Will's hand. "We better go find a seat."
They ran off, Scorpius and Rose close behind them, leaving me and Al alone.
"So, how have you been?" I asked.
"Good," Al said. "I've been good."
"I would assume so," I said. "Because you look good. I mean, you look like you've been doing well."
Al allowed himself to give a small smile. "Yeah. You look like you've been doing well too."
"I have," I said. "Thanks."
"No problem," Al said. We stood in an awkward silence for a few moments before he spoke again. "No one, um, no one told me you were coming. Then again, I didn't know that Louis was going to bring Allie either."
"He brought Allie?" I asked, shocked that Louis would bring her. Allie was Lou's on again, off again girlfriend, who his entire family hated. With good reason. She told them that she thought Quidditch was stupid and walked all over Louis. "Merlin, I was hoping I'd never have to meet her."
"Well it looks like today is your lucky day," Albus said. "You get to see how lovely she is."
"Wonderful," I said. "She made him stop writing me because she thought that I was trying to seduce him, despite the fact that I was dating someone and over 3000 miles away."
"Yeah," Al said, getting uncomfortable when I mentioned that I was dating someone. I wanted to clear things up, I wanted to tell him that I was only dating someone at the time but I wasn't dating anyone anymore, that I was single, totally and completely single and totally and completely ready to snog him and be with him since I never really got over him.
Just fuck my life.
It had been six fucking years and I was still not over a bloke who I barely had a relationship with.
"Well, I have to go and make sure James is ready," Al said. "You should probably go get a seat, since the ceremony is starting soon."
"Yeah," I said. "Well, see you later?"
"Sure," Al said. "Yeah, sure."
As he walked away, I took a deep breath and resisted throwing myself off the highest building to avoid the fact that I was still not over the bloody arse.
When I sat down next to Caleb, he looked over at me with a smirk.
"Did I just win the bet?" he asked.
"No," I said. "But you were right about one thing."
"And what was that?"
"That I still have feelings for the bastard."
The wedding was beautiful. I would be lying if I said I managed to go through the entire ceremony without crying. Then again I wasn't the only one.
"When we first met, it was anything but love at first sight," Annalise said, starting her vows. "To be quite honest, I hated you. I thought you were a jerk and immature and a complete and total pighead. You would constantly pull pranks on me, sometimes even sabotaging my schoolwork, and ask me out. For most of my seven years at Hogwarts, I cursed your parents for creating you. But then, one day you showed me that there was a decent guy down there and I decided, what the hell, I may as well give you a chance." Everyone laughed, even James. "And I'm so glad that I did. Because once I said yes, you were the guy that everyone always told me you were. You were sweet and protective and annoying as hell and not that arrogant jerk that you sometimes pretended to be. And before I knew it, I had fallen in love with you."
I wiped my eyes and heard a sniffle to my right. I turned and saw Caleb with tears in his eyes.
"Are you crying?" I whispered.
"No," Caleb said. "My allergies are just acting up."
"And right when I fell in love with you, I never stopped," Annalise said. "Even though I spent 6 years hating you and arguing with you and insulting you, one day, I just didn't. One day, I realized that all I could think about was you and I couldn't get you out of my head. I could only think about how attractive you were and how you were a good friend and not all the times you had insulted me in the past. Everyone was telling me that we were going to happen, that there were feelings there, but I didn't want to believe them because you scared me and it was easier hating you."
I looked down, remembering when I had gone through this feeling, at the same time Annalise was. Despite my will not too, my eyes went straight to Al, who was standing right next to James.
"And I loved you. The minute I decided not to hate you, I loved you. There was no in between. We still fought all the time but you were no longer being annoying or insulting me. We were simply fighting because that's what we do."
Albus looked down, as if he was remembering the same thing that I was. All our countless arguments and yelling at each other over small things. How we made a bet to stop fighting, which failed epically, since we still fought all the time.
"And I look forward to a life of fighting with you, but more than that, I look forward to a life of always making up and always loving you. Because I love you, James Sirius Potter, and I will never stop. I will fight against you, I will fight with you, and I will always fight for you."
"Wow," James said. He wiped his eyes. "Way to make me feel manly right now." That earned a round of laughter and once James composed himself, he looked back at her. "Though you said that it wasn't love at first sight, for me, it was. I saw you and that was it, I was sold. I wanted you and only you. Granted, that didn't work out very well since I did go out with other girls, but in the back of my mind, it was always you. All that stuff that I did when I was annoying, I did it because I wanted you attention. I didn't know how to get your attention and I figured bad attention was better than no attention at all, so I took it. For seven years, I took you yelling at me and hating me, because I knew that at least I was on your mind."
I thought back to what Rose said to me when I decided to move on from Al. How he would constantly bother me, because that was the only way I would pay attention to him. Tears came to my eyes, and I suddenly wasn't sure if I was crying because of how beautiful the vows were, or if it was because James and Annalise's story was so similar to mine and Al's. And how we never really got to complete our story.
Apparently, I wasn't the only one thinking that, because Al looked over at me. I could tell he was surprised to find that I was staring right back at him, but he didn't look away.
"When you said yes to me, I couldn't have been happier. Suddenly, you were mine. You weren't anyone else's, you didn't hate me, you were my girlfriend and you wanted to be with me. And when you told me you loved me, I was on an infinite high. I hadn't lived a life where I was always second best or some other cliché crap like that, but knowing that you chose me made me feel better than I had ever felt. You made every fight worth it. I had never wanted to be with anyone else and once I had you, I wasn't going to let you go. And I will never let you go. For as long as I live, I don't care what happens, I am never letting you go."
I will always fight for you.
I am never letting you go.
I couldn't help but wonder if that was what made James and Annalise's relationship work, when mine and Al's didn't. Yes, there was that whole factor of the fact that he didn't trust me, but at the end of the day, we let each other go. Instead of fighting for each other, instead of finding a way to make it work, we both threw in the towel and let each other go. I did it because I thought that was Albus wanted, and it never occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, it wasn't. Maybe he was waiting to see if I was letting go of him, to let go of me.
Caleb nudged me in the arm, causing me to break my eye contact with Albus.
"Tissue?" Caleb asked, holding a napkin up. "Your make up is beginning to smudge."
"Thanks," I said, taking the tissue before I looked back at Al. But he had already turned back to James and Annalise, as the preacher announced them man and wife.
"I never knew that Will and Alice could dance!" I said from my table. It was later that night, around 8, and we had moved from the beautiful outdoor ceremony under a large party tent. A lot of people were out on the dance floor, some were leaving and a few, like Rose and I, were sitting down at the tables, eating cake.
"They love dancing," Rose said. "They probably won't come off the dance floor until it's time to leave, and even then you probably won't see them until the morning, since dancing puts them in quite the mood."
"So don't be insulted when they leave suddenly," I said. "Got it."
I ate my cake, laughing at Scorpius, who was dancing with Rose's grandmother.
"She's probably asking him when a wedding like this is going to happen for him," Rose said, shaking her head.
"Well, it's a very good question," I said. "Do you plan on marrying my brother, Rose Weasley?"
"Well, considering I've dated the guy for eight years, I'm going to have to say yes," Rose said. "If he ever asked."
"He'll ask," I said. "Eventually. It might take him a while though."
"That's fine," Rose said. "I would like to continue my career before I settle down. So maybe in like 4 years." I laughed and took a bite of cake. "What about you? Any plans of marriage soon?"
"I'm pretty sure you need to be in a relationship with someone in order to get married and as you know, I'm currently more single than ever before," I said. "So it probably won't happen anytime soon. Which is fine. I'm currently very happy being single."
At least, I was happy until I would look out and see the person that I still had feelings for dancing with his whore of an ex.
James invited Veronica St. Clair.
And I know that it had been 8 years since I saw her and poured my drink on her, but I still hated her.
Albus, however, didn't appear to feel the same.
"I know that you've denied it before," Rose said, pulling my attention away from them. "But are you sure there's nothing going on between you and Caleb? I mean you guys do live together, you brought him here as your date..."
"Oh, Merlin, no," I said. "Love the kid. But no. We're probably the only two heterosexual people who have lived together and never slept together simple because we both don't want to. We're too good of friends. Besides, that would be impulsive and self destructive, two things I stopped being in sixth year."
"I was just checking," Rose said.
"I've told you many times before that nothing was going to happen between me and him again," I said. "So why the need to ask?"
Rose sighed. "He's going to hate me for saying this. But Albus was asking me about you guys earlier."
My heart sped up. "Why would he do that?"
"I don't know," Rose said. "When I asked why he cared, he said he was just curious."
I deflated a little. While there was always the possibility that he was lying, I knew that Rose could spot when Al was lying better than anyone. And I didn't want to get my hopes up that he was feeling the same way when, for all I knew, he really was just curious and that moment we were having during the vows when were both reflecting on our relationship was something I just made up in my head.
Rose was watching me, intently. "You still have feelings for him, don't you?"
"It's complicated," I said.
"Well, I've got all night."
I sighed, knowing that Rose wasn't going to let me walk away from this.
"Yes," I said. "I don't really think I ever stopped. I just moved on." I sighed. "It's not like it matters anyway. It's been six years. I doubt he feels the same."
Rose, uncharacteristically, was quiet, causing me to look at her.
"Why are you being quiet?" I asked. "You know something don't you?"
"Okay, Albus hasn't told me anything himself," she said. "These are just my beliefs from the way that he's acted the past six years."
"I think he did the same thing you did," she said. "I think that he moved on, instead of losing feelings. Actually, I know he did that. He told me so. That summer, after sixth year, we talked about you. He told me that the only reason he really made himself move on, to really give his relationship with Lana a try, was because you had let go. He had been hurt, time and time again, and he didn't want to try again with you if you didn't want it, if there was a chance that he'd be hurt anymore. So when you took off that necklace, he forced himself to move on. And I can't help but feel like this is all my fault."
"What?" I asked. "Why?"
"Because I was the one who told you that you needed to move on!" Rose said. "I didn't even think about if that was Al wanted, I just assumed. And I shouldn't have. Because I ruined the chance of you getting back together. I was going to tell you when you got back, I was, but as soon as I brought him up, you started talking about how you had moved on and were over him and I realized that it was too late for it. And I hated that. I hated that I ruined your chances at getting back together."
"You didn't ruin our chances, Rose-"
"Yes I did!"
"No you didn't!" I said firmly. "Yes, you told me to move on. But in the end, I was the one who did. You didn't know what Al was feeling and you were right, I should have moved on that point. I should have fought for him." I looked down. "Earlier, when James and Annalise were saying their vows, I realized why me and Al never made it, even if our feelings for each other were strong and even if we both didn't want to move on. We didn't fight for each other and we let the other go. We thought that was what each other wanted. Let's face it Rose, Al and I were screwed up long before you got involved. We never were going to last. So stop blaming yourself."
Rose let out a small laugh. "Al said something similar when I told him. Is it bad that I still want you guys together?"
I shook my head. "No. Because trust me, you aren't the only one."
"Talk to him," Rose said. "Just please, clear the air between the two of you. Let him know that nothing is going on between you and Caleb and see if he feels the same way that you do. And if he does...maybe you guys could start over."
"Rose, I doubt that's going to happen," I said. "It's been six years. We're completely different people. For all I know, I only have feelings for Albus the 16 year old and I'm not going to like his 24 year old self. And vice versa."
"I don't know," Rose said. "I strongly believe that if two people are meant to be, they'll love each other at any age, once they find their way back to each other."
"Yeah, but Al and I aren't meant to be," I said. "Nor were we in love."
"But you could have been."
"Yeah," I said. "Yeah, we could have been. And that's what leaves these lingering feelings. Is knowing that I was actually falling in love with him and could have been completely head over heals for him. We could have made it last for a long time. But we just stopped, right in the middle. The what could have been kills me."
What Could Have Been was up there with What If. They were both dangerous places to go, especially when it comes to relationships, so it was better to just avoid thinking about it all together.
Sometimes though, sometimes it was hard.
Especially when ever since I saw Al, all I could think of are What Could Have Beens.
At 11, I decided that it was time to go. Caleb had already left, with one of Annalise's cousins that he had been chatting up all night, so I was left to walk to the apparating station alone. Like Caleb, Astoria and Draco left a long time ago, same with Alice and Will, though I suspected the latter were in a bit more of a hurry. Scorpius and Rose were still at the wedding, but they were slow dancing, so I decided that it was best if I didn't interrupt. I figured that I would just have to see them both before I left tomorrow.
I took my shoes off, since they were beginning to hurt, and begin to walk down the trail to where the Potter's had told everyone they were able to apparate.
I turned around to look at the voice to see Al running towards me. He stopped when he saw that it was me, but then continued making his way towards me.
"Um, people, especially the girls, aren't supposed to walk by themselves," he said. "Just in case something were to happen to them."
"Oh," I said.
"I was going home anyway," Al said. "So I figured I would just walk with whoever was in front of me, which was you."
I nodded. "So, did your parents think that girls wouldn't be able to protect themselves and that's why they insist that they don't walk alone?"
"Actually, it was James's idea," he said. "He deals with a lot of sexual assault cases and he has become extremely aware of just how common it is. So he wanted to make sure that everyone got home okay." I nodded. "You should see him with Lily, he barely lets her go anywhere by herself for fear she may end up needing him next."
"Because it's not like Lily can't take care of herself or anything," I said.
"Yeah, he seems to forget that most of the women we know can take care of themselves," Al said. "Some of them even move across the globe by themselves and are perfectly fine." Al elbowed me. "But then again, you always were able to take care of yourself better than most people."
I smiled and I couldn't help but think back to what Rose said. Could Al really still have feelings for me?
"So where's the boyfriend?"
And there goes that idea.
"I don't have a boyfriend," I said, slightly annoyed.
"Oh, come on," Al said. "Yeah you do. Isn't that why Adams is here?"
"Caleb is here because he's my friend," I said. "Your brother said I could bring him."
"So you aren't living with him?"
"No, I am."
Al scoffed. "He must fucking love that."
I scowled at him. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"Just that he must love living with you," Al said. "Since he gets the milk for free."
"What?" I asked.
"Well, there's no way in hell you guys aren't hooking up," Al said.
"Actually, there must be a way in hell, since we aren't," I said.
"Bull fucking shit," Al said.
"Oh, like you have any right to say anything," I said, my voice raising. "I mean, let's face it, you're totally hooking up with Slut St. Clair aren't you?"
"What does that have anything to do with this?" Al asked, his voice matching mine.
"It has everything to do with it!" I said. "You can't act like I'm doing something terrible for living with my friend, when you're going around hooking up with some whore!"
"She is not a whore!"
"As you said earlier: bull fucking shit! Why do you even fucking care if Caleb and I are hooking up?"
"Because you could do much better than him!" Al said. "In fact, you have done better than him!"
"Yeah and look at where that got me!" I said. "I fell for a guy while I was dating Caleb and then I screwed things up and let him get away! I didn't fight for him when I lost him because I was a fucking cowered."
"You weren't a cowered, you told the entire school you were falling in love with me!" Al said. "And then you didn't do anything about it!"
"Because I was letting you make the next move!" I yelled. "How the fuck was I supposed to know if you felt the same way? I put myself out there, I made a total idiot of myself and you never even had the decency to say anything!"
"What was I supposed to say?"
"Whatever the hell you were feeling!" I said. "I've never been able to tell what you're feeling! I can read other people and how they feel so well but when it comes to you, I'm a complete moron! I didn't understand that you constantly starting fights with me was you trying to get my attention or that you didn't trust me. I didn't understand that you felt the same way about me. And right now, I have no idea what the fuck you're thinking, all I know is that I'm going totally insane right now because after 6 years of not seeing you, after 6 years of thinking I had moved on, I suddenly realized that I haven't! I suddenly realize that the only person I want right now is you and you look so fucking good. I realized that I can be happy as long as I don't see you because if I see you, all the feelings come back. I realize that I never stopped falling in love with you, it was just on pause and I know that if I spend any more time with you, whether it be arguing or just being in your company, that I will fall more and more in love with you because that's how it is with you. I don't know why and I don't want it to be that way, but that's how it is. I'm falling in love with you Albus Potter and I really don't want to and I have no idea what you're feeling so if you could please move and let me go-"
Albus did move. But not in the way that I expected.
He walked forward, cupped his face and pressed his lips against mine. I dropped my shoes and wrapped my arms around neck, pulling him close to me.
He pulled away and rested his forehead on mine. "I have wanted to do that for the past eight years. Does that clear up how I'm feeling?"
I smiled at him. "Just shut up and kiss me."
The next morning, I woke up to the light shining through Al's windows at his apartment. I rubbed my eyes, trying to wake myself up a bit more to find a way to get out of Al's arms without waking him up in the process.
I somehow managed to do this and got dressed very quietly, glad that despite our haste, all of my clothes were only inside his room and not down the hall. I grabbed my shoes and was about to tip toe out of the room, when Al's voice stopped me.
"Where are you going?"
I turned towards him, almost guiltily, and couldn't help but smile at how adorable he looked, blinking at the bright light coming in from the window.
"I was just going to go to the Manor," I said, walking back towards the bed. "Eat breakfast and all. I need to make sure that I'm ready to leave tonight."
Al nodded, his eyebrows drawn into each other. "So...you were just going to leave? You weren't going to talk to me about this and just leave and pretend it never happened?"
"No," I said, sitting on the bed. "I just...I haven't done something like this in a long time. Ever since sixth year, I've tried my hardest not to make impulsive decisions without thinking of what might happen afterwards. So that means no random hook ups or jumping in bed with people or getting drunk. So to suddenly sleep with you, when I have to leave in two days...I'm confused. I didn't think it through and now I don't know what I'm supposed to do or how to handle this."
"Well for one, you don't run away," Al said, with a small smile. "Look, I know that this was an impulsive decision. But have you ever noticed that we tend to do things and then fuck them up because we're too rash when it comes to each other? We get in arguments, one of us says something stupid and the other ends up pissed. You decide to tell the entire school you're in love with me-"
"There's a difference between in love and falling in love!"
"-and I assume that you don't want me to try. I hear you were hooking up with Louis and I break up with you without asking what the hell happened. You take off your necklace and I assume that you've moved on to Fred."
"You knew about that?" I asked, slightly ashamed.
"Yeah," Al said. "Lana told me. I was pissed. Didn't speak to him for a couple months afterwards. But the point I'm trying to make is that with us, we always are impulsive. That's our relationship. And yeah, maybe we shouldn't be so impulsive when it comes to each other, but we are. You can't change something that comes naturally."
"Maybe," I said, biting my lip.
"Look," Al said. "I have spent the last 8 years thinking I was over you. And then one look at you and I realized that I wasn't. I realized that you were still the girl I wanted. I wasn't sure if you were that girl that I liked for six years when I was an idiot teenager, but once we started arguing last night, I realized that even though you look a little different and I haven't spoken to you in a long time, you're still the same girl in your heart. And us sleeping together meant something and I know it meant something to you." He leaned forward and rested his forehead on mine. "Don't walk away. I don't want to make the same mistakes we made when we were 17. So if you're scared, that's fine because I'm really fucking scared too. But I'm all in if you are."
I reached out and grabbed his hand, interlacing his fingers with mine.
"So where do we go from here?" I asked.
"We start over," Al said. "And hopefully not screw it up."
I smiled, knowing that this time, even if I did screw up, I would fight for him and I wouldn't let him go.
A/N: Wow. I'm done with the story. All that's left is the epilogue.
I'd like to dedicate this chapter to someone who has given support since she started reading it and someone who helped make this chapter possible. Laura aka sour_grape_snape on HPFF aka teamstarkid7, thank you for supporting me and this story and giving me the advice I needed in order to make this chapter. You're such a wonderful person and an amazing writer and I am so lucky to have a support system who gives me an honest opinion and friend in you.
So what did you guys think?
This chapter was never supposed to happen. Originally, I planned to have it where Al and Addie get back together in their sixth year. However, with the change I had in the chapter before this, where I had Addie totally decide to move on, I realized that suddenly them getting back together didn't seem like a good idea. So I was stuck on what to do, because I always try to make my stories realistic and the idea of her moving on only to end up with Al two weeks later didn't seem right. I knew that, realistically, Addie would have to grow and learn who she was before she got back together with Albus. She needed to learn who she was and live her own life and change her ways. She had a hell of a lot on her plate at the end of last chapter-- she suddenly had a whole new family-- and I didn't want her to wallow anymore. Because you don't wallow. You have to decide to move on and do it. So that's what she did.
And I’m glad she did. I like this chapter much better than what I was going to write and managed to put out 10,000 words in 3 days. Normally I'm lucky to get 3,000 words in 3 days. This just seemed right and I personally like it.
Please let me know what you thought! Follow my blog!
Ido not own Doctor Who, all roghts go to the creaters and writees of the show.
Only an epilogue left. Can you believe it? The story is basically over.
Lots of love to you all! <3
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