Chapter 13 : Unexpected
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For drifting. You are very right about how BTQC and Hormones are different, starting with the OC.
Everything was white and blurry. Objects moved in front of me. I didn’t wear glasses, so I couldn’t figure out why the hell I couldn’t see. My arms felt heavy. So did my eyelids. Everything was a dull ache and my head pounded.
“Freddo? You in there?” Someone was squeezing my arm. Like feeling for a muscle.
Buy some tickets to the gun show.
“Freddo, it’s Dad.”
I kept blinking. His red hair was coming into focus. “Dad?” I said, questioning it.
“Right here.” He squeezed my arm. The room was kind of cold.
I was in a room.
“Where?” I said stupidly.
“You’re in the hospital wing,” Dad said softly. “But you’re fine.”
“Don’t feel fine,” I muttered, blinking a few more times. The fuzzy outlines were beginning to sharpen. There were more people in the room. “Mum?”
“She went to refill your water because James drank it all,” Dad said and he slapped James on the back of the head.
I turned my eyes to my cousin. His face was scratched and covered with dirt. He was still wearing his Quidditch robes. What the hell.
“You had a fall,” James said as if reading my mind. Frames.
“How?” I said, trying to make out the rest of the small crowd. Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny. Rose. Molly. Albus.
She was across the corridor on another hospital bed, her legs swinging before her. Her eyes were fixed on a book.
“Rox,” I said. She looked up.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I knew she didn’t want to be there. She probably wanted to be upstairs studying with Scorpius Malfoy, but she was here. In the hospital. I had no idea what happened, but suddenly I was reminded of when I skinned my knee when I was nine and Rox wouldn’t leave my room until it was properly bandaged and I had ice to stop the swelling. She brought me her teddy bear to make me feel better.
“Kennel knocked you off your broom,” James said, recapturing my attention. “It was way too deliberate.”
“He get a foul?” I said. I still couldn’t really lift my arms. How far had I fallen?
“We did,” Rose said.
“I may have taken matters into my own hands.” James flushed and Uncle Harry nudged him. “Whatever. I kicked his ass.”
I laughed, but my chest hurt. “How long am I going to be in here?”
“Just the night. They want to make sure there wasn’t any lasting damage.” Dad ruffled my hair. “We’ll stay if you want though. I’ve missed the hospital cots.”
“I’m fine.” I waved him off. My arm flopped lazily at my side. “I can survive. James has unconsciously volunteered to bring me sweets.”
“I’m so considerate,” he muttered.
“You’re awake!” Mum shoved James out of the way and kissed me on the cheek. She was the beauty in every room and this was no exception. I appreciated that my Dad smiled every time he looked at her. “How do you feel?”
“Hurt,” I guessed. “And a little drugged.”
“Can’t blame you.” She kissed my forehead. Then my cheek again. “Do you want us to stay with you tonight? I’m staying with you.”
“Mum, it’s fine.” I shook my head. “I don’t know what you think is going to happen to me. The worst part is over.”
“For you,” James said. “I’ve still got ideas for that guy.”
“Any motivation?” I asked.
“He was gunning for you,” he replied. “Didn’t so much as blink at me. And I was playing way better than you, for the record.”
My eyes fell upward, examining the ceiling. Kennel was gunning for me. He was after me for some reason. But why? He was a bulky third year. We didn’t have any classes together. The most I knew about him is he was a sucker for a pretty face. Gee mentioned she asked him for a pumpkin juice a month ago and he got her six.
I looked at James. He was thinking the same thing.
Andrew sodding Parise.
James told me it was probably going to suck. The afterparty. Because of course Gryffindor had still won, even a Beater down. Rose got the Snitch and the celebration ensued. The team visited for a few minutes, but I could tell they were itching to get up to the party. I sent them on their way.
“If you feel like sneaking out,” James mentioned softly. “I’ll leave the door propped.”
Right. I couldn’t move my body without sharp pains. Like I was in any condition for a party. I’d have to be wheeled up there.
He frowned and left, moving to the side just as Annie walked in. “I figured I’d wait until everyone had gone,” she said. She leaned over the side of the bed and kissed me for a while. “How are you feeling?”
“Injured,” I replied. I felt groggy. The drugs were moving in and out of my system and I felt my hand in hers. “I fell.”
“I saw,” Annie said, her eyes shaky. “I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Me too.” The blankets were warm so I shoved them off.
“James messed up Kennel pretty bad,” she said softly.
“He’s got my back.” I chuckled, but it hurt again. I didn’t mention we thought it was Andrew who had put Kennel up to it. “They say I’ll be out tomorrow. I have to heal.”
Annie glanced over her shoulder at the door and then back to me. “Do you want me to stay with you tonight? I’ll sleep in the chair if you’d like. So you’re not alone.”
“You’re sweet.” I smiled up at her. I was lucky to have her in my life, as shit as I’d been lately. I was trying, though. We were spending a lot more time together. Studying. Chatting about the shop. I was even starting to teach her to fly. “But in about ten minutes I’ll probably be completely out. You’ll be bored.” I squeezed her hand. “Go have fun with Ollie. We’ll see each other tomorrow, okay? I’m not keeping you down here when there’s a party upstairs.”
“I’ll stay if you need me to,” Annie said, kissing me again. She was smiling.
“I need you to have a good time,” I said and kissed the tip of her nose. “Go on then. I’m going to sleep off this fall and all these drugs that are making me want to snog your face off in the hospital wing.”
She giggled and left, swinging her hips as she went.
Not fifteen minutes later I was fast asleep in a drug-induced slumber.
It was somewhere around eleven when I picked up a book and started reading. No course books. Just a novel. For pleasure. Something that had already been sitting on the bedside stand.
I jumped and everything hurt again. “Could you not?” I said, looking up into the smirking face of Ryan Davies.
“At least you can get some reading done.” She moved to the bed beside mine, sitting cross-legged on the sheets. “Nursey around?”
“She’s asleep.” I jerked my head toward her dark office. “It’s late. What are you doing down here?”
“I’ve come to congratulate you on Gryffindor’s win,” she said.
“No, you didn’t. You hate Gryffindor.”
Ryan shrugged. “Still good on you for surviving. Who else would I send origami swans?”
“Gemma?” I said. I dog-eared the book (causing her to twitch) and tossed it back onto the bedside stand. Too many dull words anyway. “What are you really doing down here?”
Ryan groaned and moved her eyes to the ceiling. “So sue me for making sure you were all right.”
I thought about Ryan from the grass earlier today. The venomous words. Now she was in the hospital wing making sure I was all right. I had half a mind to ask her if there was any Polyjuice in her past.
“I know,” she said as if reading my mind. “But I felt bad, okay? I didn’t really sit in with the Hufflepuffs. I was just fucking with you. And I didn’t mean what I said about your sister or your family.” She paused. “I meant what I said about Gryffindor though. Fuck that house.”
I actually snickered at that and noticed the pain subsiding. “You’re one to talk.”
“So accept my apology so I don’t blame myself for you being in the damn hospital,” Ryan said.
“Blame yourself? Kennel went after me.”
“I know, which is weird since Potter was out-playing you.”
“Wonder why.” I shot her a look.
“You have to stop letting me get in your head, Weasley.”
I looked at her. “Ryan,” I said seriously. “You’re always in my head. You’re pregnant. With my kid. I’m going to be a father. You’re not anywhere except in my head. I’ve been so fucked up since I found out because I can’t make sense of any of it and you keep going between hating me and tolerating me.”
She frowned and for once I saw the color on her cheeks rise.
Alert the presses. Ryan Davies was embarrassed.
“I know I haven’t exactly made this easy,” she muttered and then looked at my obvious expression. “Fine. I haven’t made it easy at all. It’s just hard for me, okay? Watching you have a life and a girlfriend and Quidditch and parties.”
“If you haven’t noticed, this is the second party I’ve missed.” I smiled a little and sank further into the pillows. I could almost feel the party raging upstairs.
“Listen, I could have any bloke I wanted,” Ryan said seriously and she wasn’t being arrogant. She was being honest. I knew it was true. Ryan was beautiful and smart and unearthly sexy. She could wear a garbage bag and still be best dressed. And she knew it.
She could snap her fingers and anyone short of James would fall into her lap. James would take two snaps.
“Why don’t you then?”
Her laugh was hollow. “My charms only get me so far when I have something growing in me.” Ryan adjusted on the bed, leaning back and placing her hands behind her head. “Once word gets out, every guy will run for the hills. Why shouldn’t they? They’re still kids. We’re all still kids.” Her voice faded at the end and it tugged at my heart.
I’d been whining so much about Annie lately. About how things were rough between us. About how she’d been spending so much damn time with Parise. How we weren’t as close as we had been.
But it wasn’t such a terrible problem to have. I was linked, but I could leave. I wouldn’t, but I could. Ryan was trapped in this cycle and she was right again. I couldn’t think of anyone at Hogwarts who would step up and say hey, let’s keep dating even though that makes me either weird Uncle Brutus or a potential step father.
“Not that I need a man,” Ryan added. “Because I don’t. Though a good snog every once in a while doesn’t hurt.”
I looked over and half her body was covered by my own pillow. “You know I’m not going anywhere, right?”
“Unfortunately.” Ryan’s vacant expression faded into amusement. She moved onto her side and looked over at me. “So.”
“So,” I echoed. “We’re doing this hospital thing way too often lately.”
“I want you to come to the next appointment,” Ryan blurted.
“Yeah. I have an appointment next weekend. Saturday afternoon. I want you to come.” She wasn’t looking at me anymore and her face was the closest to bright red I’d ever seen it.
And for some reason it made me smile.
“I’d be honored,” I said and she flipped me off for being such a tool.
That was the Ryan Davies I was so familiar with. At least this way it wasn’t after I held her hair beside a toilet.
I sank back into the bed and let out a sigh. “It’ll be nice though, right? Going to an appointment. A real one this time. I’ll pay attention and even take notes if you need me to. I guess I’ll bring along ice cream to make up for that mishap before… but seriously, Davies, I was pretty peeved at you. I’ve taken a lot of shit since you told me and my sister is a soft spot for me.”
She didn’t reply.
“We can take it one step at a time, though,” I continued softly. “Maybe one day we’ll tolerate each other. Hell, maybe one day you won’t loathe Gryffindor, though I doubt it, hmm?” I paused. “Ryan?”
Like a bad movie transition, Ryan was snoozing comfortably in the other hospital bed. I smiled a little and stood. Kind of shaky, but okay. I tugged the blankets up over her and tucked her in. Then I kissed her forehead and returned to my own hospital bed to sleep off the rest of the drugs and pain.
True to his word, James told me all about how horrible the party was. Horrible in the sense that he now had blackmail on two of our roommates and someone slipped Molly a shot of Jameson so she let Rune go to second base. Typical Quidditch party, really.
At least Rose was off our backs for the week. She gave everyone Tuesday’s practice off.
“So you can finally sleep?” asked James.
“When was the last time you slept?” I prompted over breakfast. “Summer?”
“Before I turned eleven,” Rose snipped and returned to her seat with Albus at the Ravenclaw table.
Speaking of which, Albus still looked distraught and frazzled. Anyone would be happy with the team he put together, but it wasn’t going to beat ours. Unless Andrew Parise sent someone else gunning for me.
We were working on getting to the bottom of it, but Parise was too happy-go-lucky to give us anything on him. His angle was Ollie and Annie. He studied with them, brought ice cream up from the kitchens for them, and at one point stuck his robes over a puddle for Annie to walk to class.
Class A Douchery.
Sorry, Annie, but I wasn’t going to stick my robes in a mud puddle.
Maybe I should have, in hindsight.
On Thursday morning I checked the clerk schedule at the library. I then returned later that afternoon with a tub of ice cream and left it on the empty front desk. The study tables were empty. The whole library was empty, which I was thankful for, since Ryan arrived early.
“Looks like you’re doing some sucking up,” she said, tossing her bag into a corner.
“Can’t hurt,” I said. My eyes moved from her stomach to her eyes. “How’re you feeling?”
“Like shit. Surprised?”
“Hardly.” I jerked my head toward the tub. “That should help.”
“Inside the tub.”
Ryan smirked. Today she looked tired again with soft purple lines under her eyes. “Thanks, Weasley.” She took her position behind the desk and opened the tub.
“Don’t you have to clock in or something?”
Out of the top drawer she drew a metal spoon and tug into the ice cream. Ryan Davies was not the kind of girl to go on a date and order a chestnut salad. She didn’t give a single shit how she looked while eating or what she ate. She shoveled the ice cream in her mouth, all the while eying me suspiciously.
“Is this to get out of going to the appointment?” Ryan asked after a while, mouth still partially full.
“What? No.” I’d almost forgotten about the appointment since I couldn’t exactly write it in my calendar.
“I know what day it is. You don’t have to go. I was just being nice. I don’t need you there.”
“You never need me there,” I said with a small smile. I leaned against the front desk, elbow pressing into the granite. “But I want to be there. You didn’t tell me what day it was.”
“Same day as that lock-in.”
The Seventh Year Lock-In. Tradition Extraordinaire.
Ryan’s eyes were pressed on me. There was something about brown eyes I always appreciated. How they flew below the radar. How captivating they were. How much they made me want to make poor decisions.
“Should I bring ice cream?” I asked.
I took the spoon from her and dipped it in the ice cream. I took the bite while watching her. Like a bad romcom.
“I have germs,” Ryan announced.
“So do I,” I said.
“I don’t share food.”
“I didn’t ask.”
She was trying not to smile. “Can I ask you something?”
“Other than that, you mean?”
I laughed and tossed the spoon back in the tub. “The ice cream inspection is complete. Go on then.”
“How are things with you and that Annie girl? It’s pretty obvious she doesn’t know. I mean, she hasn’t come at me and I haven’t had to punch her in the innocent little face yet.” She said it all very dead-pan.
“She doesn’t know,” I agreed. “And things are all right.”
She was quiet for a while, picking at the ice cream with the tip of the spoon. It reminded me of Roxanne with her peas at dinner. “Just don’t ignore her because of this. She seems all right. Very straight-edge like you. You should try and make it work.”
“We’re together. Something’s working.” I shrugged. Talking about my relationship with the mother of my future kid was awkward. That entire sentence was awkward.
“Think about it.” Ryan did a fake smile and walked into the back room to clock in.
I knew she was right. There was something about Ryan that was always a little right. Annie and I had been moving further apart for ages now and I wondered if there wasn’t too much distance to pull us back together. I had to try, though.
I cared about Annie. A lot. Sure, we didn’t have an ideal relationship but we had something. We had fun. We laughed. We talked. We had chemistry. The snogging was great. And we were friends.
I really had to give it a shot. I had to fix this more than just saying things were going to be okay.
When Ryan returned, I was gone. Trying to figure out how to fix things.
This was not a new concept.
“Freddo, you’re in a tux. Stop.” James was lounging on his bed making faces at my ideas. It was easy for him since Ollie was smitten. No idea why.
I pulled the tux jacket off, slapping him in the face with it. “Can I keep the bow tie?”
“Really?” He grimaced.
“Bow ties are cool.” I shrugged and looked in the mirror. Black slacks. White shirt. Black bow tie. Sort of messy hair, but the sexy kind. “Okay, what about the flowers?”
“You brought three bouquets.”
“To pick from!”
“This is too complicated!” James whined, pushing the pillow over his face. Mox was in the corner playing tic-tac-toe with himself. “Just put them all in one vase and give them to her. Bigger is better, Freddo. Also give her a broom. OHMYGODRIC GIVE HER A BROOM.”
I rolled my eyes. “She’s been flying three times. I don’t think it’s quite time to get her a broom as she refuses to kick off on her own.”
“Get her a dog.”
“A lab.” He smirked.
“Then can we keep it?”
“Did I say get her a dog? I meant get us a dog,” James explained. Mox nodded wholeheartedly. Still trying to figure out the Gemma thing. “Aren’t flowers enough? Why are you going through this anyway? You’ve already got her.”
“Trying to keep her,” I said. “And make some things up to her.”
“You mean like grinding with Davies?”
“We were not – ” And then my face was red. I was not grinding with Ryan Davies. It was a slow song. But still. It was warm in there.
“Then you’d better get chocolate.”
I held up the heart-shaped box straight out of a Valentines aisle.
“You’re pathetic,” James muttered and pulled a potions book over his face to pretend he was asleep. Or to really go to sleep. It was anyone’s guess with him. “Go on. Win her heart. Bring me back a souvenir. OH! And when you come back to shag can you just do it in her room? Make Ollie deal with that for once.”
I blushed harder. “I don’t think it’ll escalate to that.”
“No of course not,” he said halfheartedly. “Mox. This is a sex-free zone tonight. Stay out with your Ravenclaw toys.”
Mox went red and stumbled into the bathroom. He then gurgled some mouthwash so that was promising.
I could do this. I could make everything up to Annie. We’d been on the mend lately anyway. We’d been talking so much more. Smiling. Kissing. We’d been working through our problems.
I needed her in my life. She was that wonderful constant. The person who’d been there for so long to keep my life steady. And I really fancied her.
I just had to push aside my situation with Ryan and concentrate on us for now. We had to keep taking steps forward. Keep falling for each other.
I took James’ stupid advice and put all the flowers together in one vase. It looked a little odd, but it was full. Then I messed up my hair, grabbed the chocolates, and headed down to where Annie was sitting with Ollie and Parise in the common room. They were studying on the couches, Annie’s legs on Parise’s lap and Ollie stealing his quill.
I cleared my throat.
“Oh, Godric, what is this?” Parise said, snorting with laughter. Ollie elbowed him.
“Hi, Fred,” Annie said, looking up with her giant eyes. They really were abnormally large. Like a deer.
“Annie.” I nodded with a nervous grin. “Want to take a walk?”
I should have considered the opening line. I would have considered anything other than that, including “do you want to get married” and “how about we name our first hamster Rome?”
“Sure.” She closed her Charms book and slid it onto the table. Then she pulled her legs slowly from Parise’s lap and slid on her shoes. Slowly. All of this happened way too slow and I was forced to stand a meter or so away twiddling my thumbs while Andrew laughed under his breath and Ollie tried to figure out what was happening.
“Come back soon,” Parise said with a smarmy smirk. It was a weird look I wasn’t comfortable with. Maybe it had something to do with the Quidditch game.
Annie took my arm and we walked into the hall. I gave her the flowers and chocolate. “Look,” I began, gaze falling all around her. “I want to make this right. I want to work on this because I really care about you. A lot. And I know I’ve been rubbish at communicating lately and I’ll take the blame for that.”
Annie placed her hand on mine. “Stop blaming yourself,” she said. “You have a lot on your plate with all of the shop things and your last year of school. I haven’t exactly been up front with you either.” She kissed my cheek.
“So I want to start fresh.” I opened the chocolates and ate one because I was nervous. Ew. Grapefruit. “I want to take you out again and have our date nights and kiss and fall asleep next to each other.” I squeezed her hand. “I miss us.”
She ran her thumb along my hand. “Freddie, you’re so amazing.”
“Do you like the flowers?” I grinned and shook the bouquet with my other hand.
“You know how to put on a show.” Her face was bright. I’d hardly noticed how fair her skin really was. “But is this really right?”
“What?” I stopped shaking the flowers.
“I think I’m going to call it quits,” Annie said.
“Was it the chocolates?” I didn’t quite know what was happening.
Annie was standing in front of me. Sweet, mature, loving Annie. Saying the word quit.
“It wasn’t the chocolates.” She moved her hand up my arm, rubbing me reassuringly. “I’m sorry, Fred. I don’t think we should see each other anymore.”
She handed me back the chocolates.
I stared. “Is there someone else?” I blurted. Then I shook my head. “I’m sorry. That’s stupid. I don’t mean to insinuate anything.” If I would have said that to Ryan I would have been punched right then and there. “I’m sorry,” I repeated.
“Actually,” Annie began softly.
My eyes snapped up. What.
“I’m sort of seeing someone else right now.”
What a sentence. Arrow. Dagger. Machete. Right into the heart.
“Present tense?” I ventured, assuring myself that my voice box was intact.
“I’m sorry, Freddie. I wanted to tell you.”
She handed me back the flowers.
Suddenly I felt very silly in my bow tie with my flowers and chocolates. “Oh. Okay.” There was no easy way to escape this situation. This entire school. There was no simple way to go about fixing any of it.
“But you’ll be happy, you know? You’ll find that person that’s right for you. It just wasn’t me. I found someone I’m happy with.”
That’s when I saw it in her eyes. Her whole face. I saw it before I even left the common room.
Annie was seeing Andrew Parise.
For once, I couldn’t decide if he really fancied her or if he was willing to do anything to unhinge me and get me off the team.
“I hope you’re happy,” I stammered. That was the only thing I could think to say. Everything felt a little numb.
Sure, I hadn’t been boyfriend of the year, but I cared about Annie. I cared so much I think I forgot to tell her how much I cared. I kept trying so hard to protect her and not hurt her, I was the one standing in the hallway with the heartache.
Annie smiled a little, patted me on the cheek, and returned to the common room.
I dropped the flowers and the chocolates (I kept a handful) and made my way downstairs. The last place I wanted to go was into the common room with Parise lounging on the sofa knowing what had just happened. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing the hurt all over my face.
Damn Weasley genes. It was impossible to hide things like that.
A/N: Poor Freddie just can't catch a break.
UP NEXT: Hogsmeade and a serious realization.
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