Chapter 4 : four.
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“Merlin, woman! You crazy girl, what was that for? I could-”
“Shut up, you’re not even supposed to-”
“Ladies,” I interject easily, glancing between the two with one eyebrow raised. “Cool it. Now, Harry, where’s this magical transportation device?”
After a huff of annoyance, Harriet trots down the alley in search for the portkey. Eoin just stares back at me as I glare at him.
“Got it!” she strides back (only missing one step when she almost goes over on the ankle of her heels) and holds out the portkey before her. Eoin checks his watch as I take a hold of the empty champagne bottle.
“One minute,” he informs us loftily, then smirks slightly at the portkey. “I think this is the most pretentious portkey I’ve ever seen.”
“As long as the champagne has been emptied into glasses and will be served to me, I don’t care.” I shift my hold on the portkey as Eoin’s hand joins ours, his hip bumping mine as he sends me an amused sideways glance. Harriet doesn’t join in with the ridicule, her teeth gnawing at her lower lip as though she were nervous or something.
“Five seconds,” Eoin counts down, and I swear I see Harriet mouth fuck before I’m yanked off my feet and sent spinning into god knows where.
There’s no elegance to arriving by portkey, not when it’s not your usual form of transport. I land on top of Eoin, sprawled upon his chest, knocking the air out of both our chests. Harriet lands on all fours, then leaps up as if the soft turf of the garden has scalded her palms. Eoin and I lay there for a moment, composing ourselves, then flinch as there’s a laugh nearby.
“Harriet! Sweetie!” shoving myself off Eoin, I manage to scramble upwards. Eoin follows suit, tugging at his robes to straighten them up. A tall, leggy brunette in a navy blue dress that is just to die for is smiling at Harriet in a near patronising way.
“Lola,” Harriet ducks her head, cheeks burning in. “Um, this is Evangeline and Eoin,” she introduces in a bumbling way, one hand waving towards us. I smile politely, nudging Eoin to do the same. There’s an awkward pause, the woman sipping from her champagne flute before smiling once more.
“Well, I’m supposed to show you where to go, so follow me.”
We all obediently traipse after her. I place my hand in the crook of Eoin’s elbow, using it to lever my heels from the immaculate lawn with each step. Harriet struggles on without aid, whereas Lola simply seems to glide across the grass.
We struggle across the lawn, and then hit a purple flint path. It’s then I realise that the lawn we’d just been on wasn’t the garden, despite the ordered flowerbeds and the beauty of the flowers. It was merely a side garden, somewhere to land from a portkey.
The main garden was massive. About the size of a Quidditch pitch. The air was heavy with the scent of the flowers that tumbled from flowerbeds. A fountain of a centaur spewed aquamarine water to water nymphs at its feet from its open mouth. In the flow of the water, pictures of presumably the happy couple formed, then dissolved to make way for the next one.
“Fucking hell,” Eoin muttered, taking in the scene. Round tables had been cleared of the meal just eaten, but there was a buffet table being set up along the walled side of the garden. The ivy was the perfect backdrop to jugs of pink lemonade and dainty quiches. Waiters and waitresses in dress robes circulated with silver platters, offering champagne and posh things on toast.
“If this was Ireland everyone would be bladdered,” Eoin murmurs to me. “There’s a free bar!”
“If this was normality, everyone would be bladdered,” I point out. “There’s a fucking string quartet.”
Harp music drifts over the clearing, people slow dancing. Laughter rises up from huddles of people. Glancing around, I can’t help but clock all the famous people.
“Eoin,” I whisper loudly, knocking back some champagne and squinting through the bottom of the glass at a messy haired boy with green eyes. “I think that’s Albus Potter. Albus freaking Potter.”
We share a glance, replace our empty glasses on a passing tray and grab full ones. Harriet glances over to the pair of us as Lola takes her wrist and begins to lead her away. Be good she mouths our way. Eoin smirks, wrapping one hand around my waist.
“We are going to have a brilliant time, my sweet,” he promises me with the hint of a smirk.
“-and I opened the door and he was just standing there-”
The group (mostly composed of middle aged women) dissolve into hysterics, me included. Then I snort, and everyone grows more hysterical, sniggering into their champagne flutes. If someone had told me this morning I’d be casually having a conversation with (well, listening to) Ginny bloody Weasley about her delicious son I’d have pointed them towards the nearest apothecary. But no, she’s here, looking stunning with her red hair tied elegantly into a knot.
Eoin disappeared into a gaggle of women who adored his roguish Irish charm, then reappeared somewhere near the bar, chatting up some blonde girl. Ginny Weasley smiles around the group, seeming every inch the calm and sophisticated woman the society pages in Witch Weekly portrays her to be.
“So, Ginny,” the women of the group seem to fit her name into every single sentence uttered. As if anyone needs reminding where the social ranking lies amongst us. “How’re the rest of the relations?” an innocent enough question, perhaps, but everyone’s head suddenly snapped towards the petite woman.
“I think my nephew may be showing his face…” she says slowly, gauging reaction.
“Which one?” Ginny Weasley winks at the question and moves away from the group, gliding across the turf in her heels.
The group tightens, and I’m pushed out. Not unfairly; I’m simply not a part of their friendship group. Or bitching group. I glance around the garden and spy a bench, the perfect perch to remove one’s shoes. Only on the way to said bench the lights that had taken over from the fading natural light stuttered out, leaving a gloom. Blinking furiously, I try to make some sort of sense out of what was happening by squinting around. The string quartet has fallen silent, an uneasy muttering stirring amongst the guests. Then suddenly the lanterns that have been casting a bright glow flicker back on, though dimmer and in different colours.
“Good evening. We’re Law.” Everyone twisted simultaneously to stare at the stage, and then erupted into action. The younger women screamed excitedly, rushing towards the wooden stage. Bodyguards moved into action, chanting charms with their wands aloft to hold the crowd back.
Curiously I step closer, looking at the stage. It seemed the guy from the Leaky had been telling the truth and this wasn’t some elaborate ruse. His dark eyes sweep over the crowd as he plucks at the strings of his guitar. The blonde – Ronan – nods at him. A drummer begins a steady, slow beat; a cellist sweeps his ivory fingers over the vast instrument, sandy hair falling into dreamy eyes. Then a tiny blonde girl with a slash of red lipstick, her hair framing her face in soft waves I can only dream of takes her place behind a piano.
The first stroke of her fingers across the ivory keys gives away its magical nature; the sound of the instruments combined together is ethereal, rising into the night. A hand grips my elbow, making me jump, until I realise it’s just Harriet, her eyes wide in excitement as she stares at the stage.
“He’s so hot,” she half squeals in my air, nails digging into the skin of my inner elbow. “This is so different to their usual style, it’s weird!”
After half a minute or so of the instruments (during which Harriet drags me closer to the stage, elbows out in full force) Freddie steps closer to the microphone, grasping it with two hands and beginning to sing in a low, husking voice. Not as clear as the one he sung my name in. Watching him and remembering that surreal night makes me shiver slightly.
“Cold?” Eoin materialises at my side and wraps an arm around my waist. “Your little friend’s gonna wet herself in a minute,” his breath stirs my hair, rising goosebumps on the side of my neck. He presses a drink into my hand, fingers brushing mine. Impulsively (because I’m drunk; that too) I turn my head, lips brushing against his. Freddie croons a love song, something about forever and ever and some other bullshit everyone knows doesn’t mean jackshit.
“Evie-” Eoin’s blue eyes have darkened to the midnight blue of his borrowed dress robes. I grin, place a chaste kiss against his nose, his cheek, then his lips.
Eoin huffs and rolls his eyes, wrapping an arm around my shoulder to pull me flush against his side. “Keep doing that and guys will get the wrong idea,” his accent is stronger, his voice lower. I smirk, bumping my hip against his before pulling away from him.
“I’d better go keep Harriet company before she starts flinging her knickers about,” I smile at him as I step away. “Be good, Eoin, and no strange women in my flat, please.”
It’s only when I no longer have Eoin anchoring me that I’m perhaps a little more than tipsy. I find Harriet looking a little hysterical and dance for a little (unsticking my heels is a hard move to try and work, but I think I did it) before going to get another drink. I lean against the bar and watch the band, at Freddie’s teeth as they flash white, as girls strain against the charms and the bodyguards, hands flailing. How he easily reaches out, fingertips grazing theirs, before jumping back onto the stage in one elegant movement.
The elder generation have faded, retreating to the massive house whom the garden belongs to, or hanging around the edges looking on fondly. Law abandon the soft, love drenched songs for what seems to be more their repertoire, the cellist and the pianist harmonising in chilling backing vocals, Freddie’s voice clearing, then dropping again, easily hitting each note with a flair that seems oh so characteristic. The same flair in the roll of his hips, the way he loosens his tie, his eyes flicking over the crowd, his lips turning upwards ever so slightly at the corners.
The barman presses a cool cocktail into my hand with a smile. I nod my thanks, sipping the sweet drink, eyes flickering over the garden to try and locate Eoin, wondering if it was rude to try and find a way home. Considering we didn’t know the bride (her name was Emily and she was stunning; though her lip curled when she addressed Harriet in a way that made me dislike her instantly) we could probably get away with it.
“This one’s a little different. A rewrite of a Muggle song,” Ronan introduces the next song with his smooth Irish timbre smoothing each word.
“It’s called Owl Me Maybe,” Freddie concludes, and his lips twist into a small smile. He strums a few chords, the cellist and the bass guitarist and Ronan on his guitarist all joining in. The pianist jumps from the stage, disappearing into the gloom, followed by a bodyguard.
Closing his eyes and smirking, Freddie begins to sing. “I just met you and this is crazy, but here’s my address, so owl me maybe,” he laughs a little on the words, the guitarist smirks and Ronan rolls his eyes. The lyrics suck, but the deliberation over each syllable makes the song sound like a heartfelt ballad.
Glancing over the crowd who’re still fully absorbed, swaying and dancing and singing, I decide to leave them and go for a walk to clear my head. First I yank off my shoes, my toes curling into the cool grass as I leave the booming music behind me. Following the wall of the garden, I find a gap and go through, marvelling at the next garden I find myself in. Glasses are strewn over the ground so I levitate them before me, knowing all too well how annoying it was to clear up after drunkards.
Levitating the glasses before me, I set about heading back towards the main garden. Voices behind me make me step aside, a quick glance revealing a few guys and a girl. It’s only as they got closer under the dim light of the lanterns that I recognised them as the beloved band members. Freddie and Ronan were deep in discussion, the rest of them exchanging lively banter between them.
A couple of bodyguards follow the group, keeping a sharp eye out. A burly blonde one spots me and steps forwards, flanking the group on my side. It catches the attention of Ronan who glances over, spies me and pauses for a moment. It was enough for Freddie to notice and he too looks over, his brown eyes widening in recognition. He nudges Ronan and mutters something; Ronan scowls and presses his lips into a thin line.
“The fair maiden!” Freddie pauses and throws his arms wide open, attracting the rest of the group with his cries. Half swivel to look at him, half at me. A blush stains my cheeks.
“Bam, c’mon,” Ronan half growls. Freddie stands still for a moment longer, staring at me in a way that makes me feel strange, then smiles.
“I will find you before the end,” he says quietly, smoothly, before walking away with the rest of them, leaving me wondering whether it was a threat or a promise or a mixture of the two.
Ah singing! Ah a glimpse of Freddie! The lyrics of 'Owl Me Maybe' are a spin off from Carly Rae Jepson's song 'Call Me Maybe', she's signed with Interscope Records, yay. So no copyright intended theree.
Oh and Eoin is pronounced Oh-in, just like Owen. Just spelt in a cool Irish way (I now have two Irish boys, oh dear).
Thank you so so much for the lovely reviews, they make my day! You little sweetie pies!
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