Chapter 9 : Chapter 9
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“Fred,” Julie said as she walked over to Fred, “Can I ask you something?”
Fred turned around to face her and instantly felt the usual jitters that filled his stomach when he saw her, he gave her a smile that he hoped wasn’t too goofy. Since their date a while ago, they hadn’t really brought up the subject of anything happening between them, Fred himself has been too terrified to ask her out and Julie it seemed, had gone back to acting like normal, although she did smile at him a lot now.
“Yeah, sure, anything you want.” Fred said, leaning back on the counter behind him, hoping that he didn’t fall off of it and embarrass himself.
“Is there any chance that you can cover my shift tonight? I’m meant to be working until nine.” she asked, before sniffing. Fred noticed that her eyes were a little bloodshot, her nose was a bit red and she looked quite pale. “I’ve got a cold. I feel like absolute shit and just want to get into my pyjamas and go to bed.”
Fred tried not to picture what pyjamas she would be wearing as he began feeling a blush creep up his cheeks. He nodded at her.
“Yeah, that’s fine,” He tried not to show that he too was tired, he had been working since about seven this morning to let the delivery of products in and he was feeling absolutely shattered. “You go home and get some rest, I’ll cover your shift tonight.”
“Thank you so much Fred,” Julie said, moving forwards and closing the gap between them.
Fred panicked a bit at her closeness and leant forwards just as she opened up her arms to hug him. Fred realised that he had misinterpreted the moment between them in horror, as Julie came towards him for what she thought would be a hug, but thanks to Fred caused their lips to come together, Fred having thought that she was going in for a kiss on the cheek.
She pulled away from him, her hand flying to her mouth as she said, “Oh.”
Fred instantly felt his face burning in embarrassment.
“I’ll see you later Fred, thank you again.” Julie said with a smile on her face, as her fingers touched her lips, shocked at what had just happened. Fred couldn’t believe he had done it either, sure they had been on that great date and were flirting all over the shop, but they weren’t going out yet. Julie waved goodbye to him as she walked out back to collect her stuff, Fred waited for her to leave before he put his hands over his face and attempted to curl up into the fetal position on the floor. Hugo had interrupted Fred’s self loathing.
“What the hell was that about?” Hugo cried with laughter, Fred had stood up straight and had brought his hands down from his face, to look over at the door, giving a sigh.
“Everyone saw that you know?” Hugo said, indicating the various customers who had all been watching the scene unfold before them, yet had done nothing to warn Fred that Julie had only been going in for a hug. Fred tried not to glare at them all, if they had warned him he wouldn’t be this embarrassed.
“Tell me again why you’re not going out with each other?” Hugo asked Fred, as they both walked over to the counter to serve the customer that had walked over to it.
Fred took the items before ringing in the prices on the till, “That’ll be four Galleons and six Sickles please. Would you like me to gift wrap this?” he took the money and waited for the customer to leave with their goods in a bag, the customer having turned down the gift wrapping service, before answering Hugo.
“We’re just not okay?” Fred admitted with a sigh, as he leant on the wall behind him and crossed his arms in front of him, Hugo had stolen the only chair that was available.
“And why not?” Hugo asked him, wiping the side with his sleeve; Fred noticed that he seemed to have a habit of doing that, it couldn’t be healthy.
He gave a sigh as he shifted on his aching feet, wishing that Hugo would get up, he’d only been here for an hour he didn’t need the seat as much as Fred did. “I don’t know? I think I ‘m just waiting for the right time to ask her.”
“You could have asked her after the date,” Hugo told him, moving on to wiping the till with his sleeve. “That would have been the right time.”
“I know,” Fred admitted, “I should have but I just got scared,”
“Are you scared that she’ll reject you?” Hugo asked, finishing his wiping and looking up at Fred. “I’d be scared of that if I were you.”
“Don’t say that,” Fred said, shaking his head, “She will say yes. Won’t she?”
“Did you not see how she ran off as soon as you kissed her?” Hugo asked an eyebrow raised in question, “I thought you were going to take her eye out with that gigantic nose of yours.”
Fred’s hands flew up to his nose in shock, it wasn’t a gigantic nose. “She didn’t run off, she had a cold and wanted to go home. Plus my nose is not gigantic, its normal sized.”
“If being the size of a Quaffle is normal,” Hugo muttered.
“It’s not my fault that Roxanne hit me in the face and broke my nose at Christmas last year. How was I meant to know that it would heal crooked?” Fred told him angrily. “But this isn’t helping me at all. We’re meant to be talking about me and Julie.”
“So she’s gone home because she has a cold, and you kissed her knowing that she was ill?” Hugo asked disgusted, “She’s just given you her cold. She obviously doesn’t like you if she’s trying to kill you off already. People normally wait until at least twenty years of marriage before attempting that.”
Fred tutted at him and rolled his eyes as another customer made their way towards the counter, their arms laden down with purchases.
“Don’t be an idiot, Hugo.” Fred told him, Hugo took the items from the customer and began to ring them up on the till, finally getting up off the chair. Fred wanted nothing more than to sit on it, but he had to serve instead
“Did you find everything you needed ma’am?” Hugo asked politely with a smile, the customer nodded her head as she handed over the money and took her purchases which were now in a bag, and waited for her change. Hugo gave the money to her with a smile and a wish for her to return.
“I’m not an idiot, I’m speaking the truth. She obviously doesn’t like you if she’s running off screaming when you kiss her.” Hugo stated, turning to look at Fred as there were no more customers to serve.
“She wasn’t screaming.” Fred said, getting annoyed with Hugo now, why did he have to work with such an annoying person. Hell, why was he related to such an annoying person?
“Well, now that you’re out of the picture, maybe I’ll ask her out.” Hugo said with a quick flex of his nonexistent arm muscles. Fred’s eyes were wide in horror at the thought of Hugo asking Julie out, they went even wider as he thought about Julie saying yes to Hugo, then they’d get married and have children, and Fred would always be around babysitting for said future children whilst they go on holidays and be loved up in his face.
“I will not look after yours and Julie’s future children.” Fred shouted loudly at Hugo, before running around the counter and off towards the stock room, planning on taking one of the business owls and sending Julie a letter asking her out. Anything to stop her making the biggest mistake of her life and marrying Hugo, she needed to know that he liked her liked her.
“You can’t stop the inevitable Freddie,” Hugo called coming after him with a laugh. “You can’t control destiny, it’s obvious that me and Julie are meant to be, or at least until someone better comes along, like her brother or cousin.”
Fred shut the door behind him as soon as he made it into the stock room, locking it so that Hugo couldn’t get inside. Hugo banged on the door a few times before laughing and walking away, making sure Fred heard that he was going to be asking Julie out once she got over her cold.
“Why must I be related to such a jerk?” Fred asked himself out loud.
“I ask myself that question everyday son,” his father’s voice was heard from across the room. Fred walked over to where he heard his father’s voice and saw that he was sitting in the ‘Development’ room, where his father worked on making new products. A potion was bubbling away in the corner emitting a small nasty smell.
“What are you doing in here?” Fred asked, peering over at the cauldron that was a foul green colour and smelt of mould.
“Trying to work on something, but I’m not getting the potion’s right. I’m not sure what’s wrong with it.” George told his son, glancing over at the cauldron before looking back down at the parchment in front of him that was covered in writing and symbols. “I’m also hiding from Hugo; it’s the only place he knows that he’s not allowed. God only knows what would happen if he was allowed to touch anything back here; probably try to take over the world.”
“That sounds like something that he would do,” Fred admitted, leaning on the desk that his father was sitting at.
“So what’s he done to make you hide in here?” George asked him, looking up at Fred.
“Hugo’s threatening to ask out Julie so I can’t, so I came in here to ask her out through a letter.”
“You can’t ask people out through letters Freddie, you need to ask them face to face.” George told his son honestly.
“Well then what am I meant to do?” Fred asked his dad, hoping that he would help him out and come up with an idea that would hopefully get Julie away from Hugo for a while.
“You could always invite her over to our house for dinner, say that it’s a work get together, then you can talk to her.”
“The only problem with that is that Hugo would be there.”
“I’ll just invite Harry over and then Hugo would be distracted, easy job.” George said with a small shrug.
“What about Uncle Harry? Why should he have to suffer?” Fred asked. His poor uncle quite often had to face being stuck with Hugo by other members of the family, when they needed a break from the boy.
“He can handle Hugo, don’t worry about him.” George stated with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I’ll talk to your mother tonight about when the best time for this is and then I’ll send out the invites. It’ll probably be a Sunday as we close early then.”
“Thanks dad.” Fred said with a smile, before going to walk back towards the door so he could go back out to the shop floor. He stopped and turned back around.
“Can I stay in here with you for a while?” Fred asked. George looked back up at him and a smile crossed his face.
“No chance on earth Freddie, go and face Hugo like a man.”
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by Amy Sellers