Chapter 5 : Chasing
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Grayson didn’t quite know where to go to find Sally. He wasn’t that close with the Potter’s whom she was related to, and he certainly wasn’t going to bother Holly on her honeymoon with James. An owl with a letter would certainly find her, but he was unsure if she was used to that system of communication. He could owl Ginny Potter of course. She would help him.
Grayson apparated to the hill, and he walked toward his home. He saw Mrs. Herrington tending to her garden round the front.
As he approached he called out, “Good morning Debbie!”
Debbie Herrington turned about, a little slowly in her old age, and smiled at the young man. “Good morning, Grayson.” The wrinkles around her eyes stood out in the bright sun as she continued to smile at him.
“Did you need anything from me this morning?” he asked her politely.
“No, not today, son,” she said turning back to her gardening. “Just don’t forget to bring the wheely bin to the road tomorrow. The walk has gotten to be a bit much for Mr. Herrington and I.” She upturned some dirt with her trowel.
“No problem,” Grayson said admiring the old lady’s work. She may have been old, but she sure kept her gardening prowess. “I’ve got to write up some letters, and then I’m off to see my coworkers tonight at a pub, so I won’t be home for dinner.”
Grayson turned to walk towards his personal door when Debbie said, “Oh, Grayson, I almost forgot! How was the wedding?”
Grayson tried not to smile too broadly as he said, “It was brilliant.”
The Leaky Cauldron was packed by the time Grayson arrived. He had to maneuver around a few people to even see into the pub. He spotted Kate and Schmitt over by the rear of the bar and tried to catch on of their eyes.
“Grayson!” a female voice squealed. She pulled his arm, dragging him toward her.
Grayson looked down at the woman who was pulling him to a table full of women.
This little woman was Grace Vegara, one of the more popular girls at his time at Hogwarts. She was also friends with Layla Cottin, who was in love with Grayson, and even by those terms, that was an understatement. Grayson braced himself for the impeding set up that was about to occur.
“Layyylaaahhhh!” Grace sing-songed as she approached the table. “Look who I found sneaking around the front door!” She pulled up an extra chair for Grayson to sit in, but he politely pretended not to see and continued standing as he smiled civilly at the women at the table.
Layla smiled a shining smile at Grayson, and immediately started fiddling with her hair. Layla was a nice girl. She was smart, driven, and intelligent. She had long light brown hair that had a nice shine and wave to it, and she was always pulling it to one side and laying it over her shoulder whenever Grayson was near her. She had been Head Girl at Hogwarts, and was in the same year and house as Grayson.
Since Layla was always around Grayson at school, in the same classes, prefect duty, and quidditch practice (she was an exceptional seeker) he preferred his free time to be filled with people that weren’t her. Not that Grayson didn’t like her, he just didn’t like being around someone who was obviously obsessed with him. Layla was continuously singing his praises whether he was around or not, and whenever they were together all she would talk about was school work, and how amazing and brilliant he was and how she was inspired to be more like him. She even promised that she would live up to the expectations that she believed he had created for her, which were more of expectations of the witch and woman she believed would fit his ideal woman. To Grayson it seemed that Layla’s whole existence was to mold herself into someone he would love.
“Hullo Grayson,” she said quietly. Quiet women were better than obnoxious loud women in her opinion. That way she wouldn’t distract Grayson’s brilliant mind.
“Layla,” he said nodding his head. He looked at each woman at the table individually and addressed them with a smile. “I hate to disappoint, but my friends are waiting for me. I really can’t stay.”
“Oh, don’t be a poor sport,” Grace said. She had an obnoxious voice. “Sit with us for a while. We haven’t seen you in ages!”
“I really do apologize, but I don’t want to keep my friends waiting,” he said in a civil voice. Grayson just wasn’t a rude person. He would not however be forced to make conversation with a woman whom he did not wish to speak to.
“I can see you’re busy,” Layla said in her most pleasant voice. “We can catch up later?”
Her question sounded more like a request. Grayson wasn’t going to give her any promises. “I’m sure I’ll see you around.”
With a nod to the women at the table he departed their company and walked quickly toward Kate and Schmitt.
“Hi Grayson!” another female from school said as he walked by.
“Excuse me,” he said. He didn’t even say hello.
“You looked pissed off,” Schmitt said as Grayson pulled back his chair with a one sharp tug and sat down.
“Just a bit annoyed with the witches right now,” he said. He took a swig from the beer that had been awaiting him.
“What, now you don’t like the attention?” Kate asked incredulously.
“I never really liked it at all, but I had a better tolerance for it before,” Grayson said rubbing his face with his hand.
“This doesn’t have anything to do with a certain article in Witch Weekly, does it?” Schmitt asked with his goofy grin plastered on his face.
“I don’t think so,” Grayson said looking confused. “The witch who interviewed me just asked me questions about my achievements and charm work. I was pretty surprised when she didn’t ask me anything about relationships like they usually do with the men they interview.”
“Have you read the published article?” Kate asked, her eyebrows raised.
“No,” Grayson said. He was starting to grow worried.
“You might want to, mate,” Schmitt said cracking up. He reached over to another table and picked up a copy of that week’s magazine which had been abandoned by the previous reader.
Grayson held his hand out for the magazine and read as quickly as possible. His mouth fell open when he got to the insider interview given by Dom Weasley. His eyes flew rapidly across the page, his grip on the magazine tightened.
“’And I know for a fact that he is single?’” he quoted from the magazine. “This is ridiculous. I haven’t spoken to Dom in a year, how does she know if I’m single or not?”
“Are you?” Kate asked, narrowing her eyes.
“Well,” Grayson said unsure of where he and Sally stood at the moment. “It doesn’t matter, but this would explain why all these women are bothering me more than usual!”
“Ha!” Schmitt said. “I wish I had women to bother me.” Kate shot him a look and then looked away trying to hide her disappointment.
“You wouldn’t notice if they did,” she mumbled under her breath.
Grayson pretended that he didn’t hear her, and put down the magazine. “I’m going to have to stop giving interviews,” he said slumping over his beer. “They’re bringing me too much unwanted attention.”
“That’s not a good idea,” Kate said. “If you leave the papers in the dark, they’ll ask more people like Dom to give them information on you.” Grayson nodded like this was a fair point. “Just wait for it to die down. Maybe not come here or to Diagon Alley for a while. No one really knows where you live, and since you live with the muggles, they wouldn’t dare try to come find you.”
“You guys won’t give me away, will you?” Grayson asked hopefully.
“What?” Schmitt asked. He was looking at Grace from across the pub. “You mean where you live?”
“Right,” Grayson said. “Stop looking over there Schmitt. They’ll think we’re talking about them.”
“I can’t get a girl to look at me when you’re around,” Schmitt complained. He shrugged, and looked at Grayson suspiciously. “Why is this bothering you so much anyway? You’ve always been popular with the ladies and you dealt with it before. You were even charming to them, but now you’re suddenly turned off by it all. Any reason?” Schmitt looked at Grayson expectantly.
Even though Schmitt was a big goof ball, he was still pretty quick. Grayson shrugged and said, “No.”
Kate scoffed and said, “Sure.”
Schmitt and Kate shared a knowing smile. “What’s her name?” Schmitt teased.
Grayson rolled his eyes and said, “I’m not telling you two.”
“Ooooo, so there is a girl,” Schmitt said, his eyes dancing with mischief. “Tell us all about her.” He propped his chin up with his hand and leaned forward acting like a common school girl.
Kate giggled and said, “Come on Grayson. We’re your friends. We wouldn’t rat you out to a paper.”
“I never said I wouldn’t,” Schmitt said in a mock serious tone, placing his hand on his chest before returning to his former position. Kate pushed Schmitt on the shoulder.
“What? I’m only kidding.”
“I’d rather not talk about it here,” Grayson said, looking around at all the people present in the pub.
“Oh, don’t be shy,” Schmitt appealed. “Are you going to tell us her name at least?”
Grayson sighed and said, “Her name is Sally.”
“Sally?” Schmitt said, motioning for Grayson to move on to her last name.
“You two don’t know her,” Grayson said smiling.
“What do you mean we don’t know her?” Schmitt asked thoroughly confused.
“You mean she didn’t go to school with us?” Kate asked curiously.
Kate gasped. “She’s not in school now, is she?”
Grayson made a sound of disgust. “Kate, I would never.”
She held a hand to her chest and said, “Oh thank god.”
“Who is she then?” Schmitt asked. When Grayson didn’t answer he continued with, “If she didn’t go to school with us, isn’t in school now, was she a homeschooled witch?”
Grayson only shook his head. He smiled at the confusion on their faces. He wondered how much they longer they would assume that Sally was a witch.
Schmitt started clapping and shaking his head in disbelief. Grayson looked at him bewildered.
“Really, I would have never pegged you as that kind of guy, Grayson,” Schmitt said, finding the whole thing hilarious yet impressive at the same time. “How you nabbed an older witch, I don’t know, but if that’s what you like, good on you, mate.”
Kate just shook her head and said, “I doubt it Grayson, she’s probably that girl he met in France when he studied abroad last year. Remember her?”
Schmitt nodded and smiled at the memory of Valerie. “Ahh, Valerie,” he said in a heavy French accent. “I thought that that ship sailed.”
“It did,” Grayson said simply.
Kate looked confused now. “If she’s not someone we know, a younger or older witch, or even a foreign witch then…”
It seemed as if Kate was starting to figure it out but was too reluctant to guess that Sally might be a muggle. It wasn’t that taboo anymore, but it was still a touchy subject to some. She was politely refraining her suspicions in case Schmitt shouted out his disbelief and caused a commotion in the pub. If it got out that Grayson Goldstein was dating a muggle, the papers would go mad with the news.
Schmitt was still a little behind but he was starting to add it all up. Just as Schmitt started to look shocked as an incredulous grin spread across his face, the bar maid came up to the table and said, “Grayson Goldstein?”
“That’s me,” he said looking politely at her.
“An owl delivered this here for you,” she said handing over a small letter addressed to him.
“Thank you,” he said taking the letter and nodding to the bar maid.
“Who’s it from?” Kate asked immediately.
Grayson ripped open the letter and read hastily. It was a reply from Ginny Potter.
I am happy to hear from you! Sally was here this morning, and told me you were the secret wizard she danced with at the wedding last night. She’s a wonderful girl, as I’m sure you’ve found out. I gave her your address, so she may send a letter. She laughed when I told her you didn’t have a phone number. It’s odd for her as she’s used to a ring on the telephone than an owl pecking at your window. I assume you’ve already gathered not to owl her since you owled me, but here is her phone number if you want to use a public one to call her, or here is her address in case you just want to ensure a meet with her. It may be a bit toward but she may understand given the strange circumstances. It was a pleasure to here from you!
The rest of the letter consisted of an odd formation of numbers and then an address.
Grayson got up from his seat and said, “I have to go.”
“What?” Schmitt asked.
“Where are you going?” Kate inquired.
“I’m going to use a telephone and find my woman,” Grayson proclaimed and walked away.
“I knew it!” Schmitt shouted. “You’re seeing a mug-“
But he was cut off as Kate did the only thing that would shut him up and distract him at the same time. She held his face and drug out the kiss a bit longer than was necessary. Schmitt didn’t stop her though.
When she pulled away and said, “You idiot, you almost told half the people we graduated with that Grayson is seeing a muggle,” all Schmitt was doing was smiling wide at Kate.
“I thought I saw you staring at my lips today,” he teased as he pulled her chair closer to his.
“Bugger off,” Kate said half-heartedly, a blush creeping up her cheeks.
“You sure?” he asked her playfully. He pouted his bottom lip out and said, “Katie Kate, don’t play me that way.”
“I’m not ‘playing’ you,” she said offended at the teasing. Schmitt was only stupidly assuming they were still joking around. “That kiss wasn’t a joke, Everett.”
“Everett?” Schmitt said referring to his first name. “That’s my father. I thought you liked Schmitt.”
“I do!” she exclaimed, “but I have no idea why!”
Kate got up left a seven silver sickles on the table and left the Leaky Cauldron.
“Kate!” Schmitt called out looking thoroughly confused. He ran after her, but she had already disapparated by the time he got to the back alley.
Grayson found what the muggles referred to as a ‘pay phone.’ It looked awfully similar to the visitor’s entrance to the Ministry of Magic. He had scrounged up some change from various strangers and stared at the key pad. He pulled out the letter and started punching in the numbers and waited, but nothing happened.
He picked up the black phone connected to the box with a cord and put it up to his ear. A lady he had never heard before was telling him to add the change required then call the number. He sighed a breath of relief. He deposited the money, then pressed the numbers.
The phone began to ring, and it rang again and again until he heard, “Hi, it’s Sally!”
“Sally! Can you hear me?” he asked, but she continued talking right over him.
“I’m not at home right now, but if you leave me your phone number and a message, I’ll get back to you.”
Then there was a beep. Grayson didn’t know what to do, so he said, “Sally? Are you there?” No response. “It’s Grayson. Ginny gave me your number.” He paused. “I don’t know what I’m doing to be honest. Is this some type of message retrieval system or something? How will you get back to me?” He stopped and realized how dumb he must sound to her. “Well, uh, I hope you do. I don’t have a number to give you though. I’m calling from a box.” He didn’t understand. “This is so bizarre. I thought you were supposed to be able to speak to me on this thing.” The women’s voice from before starting speaking to him again. “Shoot, some lady is asking me for more money, and I haven’t got it. She’s gonna kick me off the phone. I miss you, I’ll see you soon.”
He returned the phone to its holster like hang device and exited the phone box. He had no choice. He was going to have to find her.
Sally paid the taxi and got off at a long drive. It was a quaint cottage like house with a beautiful garden in the front. She walked tentatively toward the house wondering if this was odd for wizard standards to turn up without a word of notice.
Once she got to the front door she knocked politely and waited. A small elderly woman answered the door.
“Hello,” Sally said with a smile. “I’m looking for Grayson. He said that this is where he lives.”
The old woman smiled brightly at her. Sally wondered if she was his grandmother.
“He’s not here at the moment. He said he went to dinner with some of his work friends. I’m not sure when he’ll be back,” she said still smiling. “Are you a friend of his?”
“Yes,” Sally said, not sure what to say.
“What’s your name dear? I’ll leave him a message that you stopped by.”
“Sally,” she said politely. “Sorry to come unannounced. I met him last night at the wedding, but he didn’t give me a number, only his address.”
“Yes, he’s an odd boy,” the old woman said. “He doesn’t own a mobile like all of you young people do. He’s a doctor too, you think he would have a pager! The boy doesn’t even use the tv in his section of the house. He seems more like the bookish type anyway, I suppose.”
Sally smiled and said, “I think you’re right.” This old woman was definitely a muggle. She had no idea her tenant was a wizard. Sally tried not to laugh. “I’ll get going then. Thank you.”
“It was nice to meet you, dear,” the old woman said. They waved a goodbye and she closed her door.
As Sally walked down the drive, she wondered whether Grayson preferred muggles to his own kind.
Grayson waited and waited outside Sally’s apartment door. He knocked and called out her name, but no one answered. He nearly decided to apparate in, but thought better of it in the end, so he sat down and waited. She had to come home sometime.
Sally arrived at her apartment building at nine pm. She wondered whether she should try again going to his house again tomorrow or if there would a phone message left for her on her home phone. Even Sally didn’t have a mobile.
She walked up to the third floor, and started to look for her key when she heard someone move down the hall. She looked up and stopped right where she was, unable to move.
“Grayson,” she said breathlessly. “How long have you been sitting there?”
“Long enough,” he said roughly as he pulled her to him and kissed her hard. As he let her go he said, “Hi.”
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