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Chapter 15 : Finding Yourself but Losing Another
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Beautiful chapter image by vendetta@TDA!
All your life you are aiming for something. Goals can change, yes, but there is always something you are aiming for. Whether it is graduation, a career, a family, and even retirement, you always have something you have your eyes set on. Most of us may never even reach our goals. Some of us settle for whatever comes in front of us. That doesn’t mean we stopped trying for it. All it means is that we’ve come to realize our goals were unrealistic. It just means that we faced reality. We can’t be dreamers. We have to be realists.
I stared at myself in the reflection that was coming off of the ice cold water in Grandma’s small pond in her backyard. Small ripples passed through when one of the fish swam passed, but I could still see the outline of my face. Yet there was something that I couldn’t see. Something that I don’t think I’ve seen since the Cannon game. Emotion.
It was mid November. The Quidditch league had a week break while the International Team was picked. All the team managers and coaches got together in a large conference room and argued to the commissioner why their team members deserved to represent the designated country. By that Saturday, they held a ball and announced who would be playing for what team. For some it was the most nerve-wrecking time of the whole season. For me, it was a time to go back to Wisconsin.
I had grown up in the same house my whole life. We had never moved. The Jacobs had always been a very simple family. Grandma had the simple pond in her backyard that I used to come practice fishing in. The little tadpoles and guppies were always an easy catch. They ate just about anything. She had a very private and secluded yard. Her only neighbor was a wizard with far too many cats. This was where my father used to take me to practice flying. This was where I had fallen in love with Quidditch.
I sighed, standing up and away from the pond. I shoved my hands deep into my jacket pockets and started my decent back to the house. Everyone was probably here already and was waiting on me for dinner. I pulled my jacket as tight as I could around me. Surprisingly, it was freezing cold out. No, there wasn’t snow on the ground quite yet, but there was quite enough biting wind to make you feel like winter was upon us. I sped up, trying to get into the warmth that was Grandma’s house that much faster.
The warmth hit me like a bludger as I walked in. I slipped out of my shoes and hung my coat and scarf up on a hook. Sure enough, everyone was there, all jackets neatly lined up (which was shocking since no one was neat in our family). I came around the corner into the kitchen and immediately grabbed the oven mitt from Grandma as she was going to grab the large ham out of the oven. She gave me a disapproving look.
“I’ve got it, Gram.” I told him, giving her an identical look. She sighed at me, giving up on the matter.
“I can do it myself, you know!” She began to stir the beans sitting on the stove top. Gabby danced around me, grabbing a bottle of wine from the fridge.
“Want some?” She asked, holding it up to my face.
“Please.” I told her. She nodded, going back into the dining room where I could hear everyone’s chatter. I brought in the ham and set it down smack in the middle. The modest chandelier hanging above the table lit up the entire room. I could vaguely hear Jenny and Ethan arguing over Carter’s eating habits. Jenny was perfectly fine letting him eat what he wanted. Ethan believed that Carter needed to eat better.
“I pity your children some day, Ethan. Brussel sprout baby food day in and out.” I joked. Ethan turned a playful glare to me.
“Our children will be amazing!” Gabby protested, pouring wine into a glass for me.
“I wouldn’t talk, Gigi. Your children aren’t going to know the difference between the Unforgiveable curses because they will have their noses too far up their broomsticks.” Ethan stated with a huff. Everyone immediately started to laugh.
“What children? You think she’s going to have children? That’s a joke, right?” Jenny joined in. I shifted in my seat awkwardly.
“Who knows. Maybe someday.” Mom added, smiling down at me from her spot at the table. I forced a small smile her way. Let’s be honest, there was no way I was having children and she knew it.
“She’s got to find a guy first, Mom.” Jenny said. I shot Jenny a glare.
“I could find one if I wanted to!” I told her. She raised her eyebrows at me.
“Then why don’t you? It seems perfect James Potter wasn’t good enough. Who is, Gigi?” Jenny asked, leaning forward to hear my answer.
I paused. It wasn’t that James wasn’t good enough, it was… well… I don’t know what it was. He was charming, funny, and fantastic at Quidditch. But Quidditch was the problem. I wasn’t in Europe to date the famous James Potter. I was there to play Quidditch. That’s all there was to it. I wasn’t looking for a romance or a fling or whatever James and I were. I didn’t need the distraction from the game. I didn’t want that kind of distraction.
“I’m not looking right now, Jenny.” I told her sternly. She rolled her eyes, but dropped the subject. Everyone took their respective seats and began to idly chat over the delicious ham dinner.
“So Gigi, think you’re going to make the international team?” Dad asked from across the table. I smirked at him.
“My stats were extremely high for the first half of the season. Mr. Collins doesn’t see why I wouldn’t be at least a reserve.” I told him. That was a lie. Mr. Collins said he would be arguing, throwing fists, and putting out threats if I didn’t get on the International team.
Over the last month I had dedicated my breathing to Quidditch. I hadn’t let up. I mastered every single play that Coach Smithson could throw at us. I lifted weights upon weights until I saw bruises on the other boys’s chests from my throws. I ran every morning. I did the formalities of interviews. I smiled for cameras. I let James drape his arm over me (though he truly didn’t want to anymore). I had become Gigi Jacobs, the Gigi Jacobs. There wasn’t any coming down from this.
“I want to be on the International team too!” Carter cried.
“Give it 20 years, little man.” I said, winking at him from across the table.
Talk went on like this for the next couple of hours. Most of the time if was one of us getting targeted by the rest, but that was a Jacobs family dinner. It wouldn’t be one without someone getting food thrown at them (which I had thrown at Ethan). I had almost forgotten what family felt like, being all the way in Europe for months. It felt good. It felt refreshing. Maybe there was hope for finding myself again. Realizing my purpose.
I watched as my family was all sitting in Grandma’s living room, laughing and joking with one another. I know I shouldn’t have felt this way, but I felt like an outsider looking in. They were all so happy. They were all so joyous. They had one another. Sure, I had them too, but it wasn’t the same. I was all the way in England; they were all less than 10 minutes away from each other. They could call one another; they had to write me letters. I smiled with all of their jokes, but it didn’t feel the same. I felt like a stranger to them. I’ve never felt worse.
I went back outside for fresh air. I felt suffocated. I felt more alone than I have felt in a long time. I did this to myself. I was the one that pushed everyone away and I was the one that had to deal with the consequences. Fame sure is nice, but it’s nothing without being able to enjoy it with the people you love. I found myself under Grandma’s large apple tree. It was the one that we always use to collect apples from and bring them inside for Grandma to make apple sauce with. It was the one that Dad had me jump out of to learn to trust my broom. I sat down with a huff, not caring if my bottom froze to the trunk.
At least I’d have an excuse not to leave.
“Whatcha doing, kiddo?” I heard my Dad ask, coming up and sitting down next to me. I sighed, running a hand through my hair.
“Just sitting here. Thinking.” I told him, kicking at the dirt on the ground as I brought my knees up to my chest.
“Talk to me, honey.” Dad said. I looked up at him and it was all I could do but not cry. Dads always make you feel like you’re 8 again, trusting them with your life. You would fall and they would make sure you were okay. They would catch you when you jumped from the apple tree. They would protect you from the monsters under your bed or in your closet.
There wasn’t a damn thing Dad could do now.
“I’m fine.” I chirped. Even I didn’t believe myself.
“Genevieve.” Dad demanded. I sighed, a piece of hair flying with the breath I exhaled. Maybe I’d feel better if I talked to someone.
“It’s just... I thought coming back home for our break would really help me. I thought that maybe I’d be reminded why I became so dedicated to the game. Don’t get me wrong, I love Quidditch with all of my heart, but I just feel so… lost lately. Quidditch isn’t supposed to be about dating a teammate or scandalous photos. Quidditch is just sort of letting me down, you know?” I tried to explain. Dad nodded his head along with everything that I said. I held my breath. Dad never said much but when he did, you knew it was the real deal.
“As much as I love that you’re a Quidditch star, Gigi, you should not wrap yourself around it. You’re twenty, you’re not supposed to be anti-social and so focused on your career. This is the time when you’re supposed to mess up and enjoy life. You’re supposed to fall in love and get your heart broken a few times. Don’t punish yourself for one minute for enjoying something other than Quidditch. Even if it is James Potter.”
I sat there for a moment, contemplating what he had said. Dad was never wrong. Maybe I did need to enjoy life a little bit more. Maybe I did need to branch away from Quidditch. But I had worked so hard to get where I was. What if I did something that put it all at risk? I couldn’t do that. It wasn’t right of me. Plus, I had fans and a team that were counting on me. I couldn’t let them all down all of a sudden. I couldn’t make a bad image for myself. I couldn’t do half the things my dad wanted me to do.
“Thanks Dad.” I mumbled. He knew I wouldn’t listen to his words so with a sigh and a kiss on the top of the head, we both returned inside. I barely had a chance to move when Gabby and Jenny were already at my side when I walked in, dragging me towards the fireplace.
“What’s going on?” I protested, stopping them before they had a chance to take me to Merlin only knows where.
“We need sister time.” Gabby explained to me. I furrowed my brow at her.
“By that she means we are going to get drunk in England!” Jenny exclaimed, a wide smile on her face. I didn’t like this idea one bit.
“We cannot go clubbing in the country that I play Quidditch in!” I told them.
“Yes you can. We can drink free all night!” Jenny told me. I sighed, rolling my eyes. Sometimes Jenny gave me the biggest head ache.
“Go have fun, you prude!” Ethan called from his spot on the couch where he was showing Carter how to put a play airplane together. I was not a prude.
“Come on. If you don’t like it, then we can leave whenever you say, okay?” Gabby explained calmly to me.
“Merlin help me.” I mumbled and they both took that as there hint that I was in.
“I read that this was the hottest club in southern England!” Jenny said, her heels clicking rather annoyingly on the ground as we walked towards a large, colorful club. I was already regretting this.
Jenny and Gabby had taken to raiding my closet once we had gotten to England. Somehow they had found the smallest black dress I own and made me wear it. They even did my makeup and my hair. I probably looked like a stripper. I refused to look at myself in the mirror. Gabby had gone more modest, matching her personality (and mostly because she didn’t want to be hit on since she’s engaged). Jenny, however, had a dress that probably was smaller than mine and was bright red. It showed off just about everything except for her privates.
“Wow this line is long.” Gabby mumbled. She was right. The line was a good block long and didn’t look like it was moving. I went to go wait at the back when Jenny grabbed my arm to stop me.
“Do you forget who you are? What’s the point of going clubbing on the magical version of the Strip if we don’t use your stardom to our advantage?” Jenny said before dragging us all to the front of the line. I heard small mumbles from people as some recognized me.
“Jenny, I don’t want special treatment!” I protested, but kept getting dragged to the front.
“Too late for that honey.” Gabby told me, laughing as Jenny got us to the front, a large smile on her face. She didn’t even have to say anything. The guard took one look at me and removed the rope and let us in. I expected people to protest (like they do in the movies), but everyone just went back to their idle chatter as we entered.
The club was even more crowded than I had anticipated. People were back to back, strobe lights flashing, music way too loud, and drinks floating above everyone’s heads. Security stood at every corner, preventing anyone from doing anything too wild, but it didn’t look like they were paying any attention to the crowd. There was a large staircase on the far wall, leading to an upper level that looked to be roped off. There was a good amount of people up there as well, but definitely not as much as down below.
“VIP section!” Jenny cheered, grabbing both of our hands as she immediately dashed for the staircase.
“I feel like I’m being used.” I told Gabby as we dragged ourselves along the far wall. Gabby shook her head at someone as they came towards her to dance. She laughed at me and flipped her red hair out of her face.
“Honey, you are.” Gabby winked. I rolled my eyes. I shouldn’t expect any less from Jenny.
“Why hello Ms. Jacobs! Come in, please.” The guard said and he pulled the rope aside. “Who are your guests?”
“My sisters.” I mumbled, watching as Jenny lit up with pleasure at being let in to a VIP section. We climbed the stairs (which was really hard in these heels) and when we reached the top, we were immediately greeted with a margarita in our hands.
“I could get used to this.” Gabby said, nudging my hip as we walked further in. There were so many famous faces that I wasn’t sure if I was the most famous one up here. I recognized a few singers, movie stars, Ministry personnel, and even a few Quidditch players that nodded their head upon seeing me. It wasn’t a frenzy of people trying to say hello to me like it would’ve been below. It was calm, cool, and very loud.
I still felt out of place. This wasn’t something I normally did. Hell, I rarely went out at all. I normally was too busy sleeping and then getting up early to hit this kind of crowd. I was too wrapped around Quidditch to even think about going to clubs or meeting cute boys. This dress just felt uncomfortable to me. I felt like it wasn’t suitable for a Quidditch player. I felt like it wasn’t suitable for me. But I would play along for the sake of Jenny and Gabby. They were only trying to help and for that I was grateful. I still had them.
“Shots! I’ll go get shots!” Jenny cried, gesturing for the two of us to sit on the large bar stools that were around a small little table. We did as Jenny rushed through the crowd and straight over to the bar.
“How’s the wedding planning going?” I asked Gabby. Gabby was getting married next summer. She rolled her eyes at me, patting my arm.
“Darling, you don’t talk about things like that while you’re in a club. You talk about scandalous things! Things you normally wouldn’t feel comfortable saying to me!” She shouted over the music. I felt a blush creep on my cheeks. I didn’t know club etiquette. I took a sip of my margarita, hoping it would give me some encouragement.
“You and Ethan having good… err.. sex? “ I tried. She immediately busted out laughing at me. “I don’t know what to say, Gabby!”
“Tell me about Potter.” She said when her laughter calmed down. I looked down into my green margarita.
“Nothing to say.” I mumbled. I wasn’t even entirely sure she had heard me, but before she could respond, Jenny was on her way back.
“To sisterhood!” Jenny shouted, setting down all the shot and smirking as she clinked them together.
“Yeah! Bloody England!” Jenny screamed, in her worst fake British voice. I found myself doubling over in hysterics, as did Gabby.
We were drunk. We were more than drunk, probably. If that’s at all possible. Gabby had already attempted to climb up on the bar and fell smack on her face. Jenny had made out with two (very attractive) men. One was a talk show host and the other was a beater for Puddlemere United. I was currently trying to get myself up on the railing so that I could see the entire club. It was higher up! It doesn’t help when you’re as short as me!
“To Bloody England!” I said, taking a shot glass that was floating by and downing it. I laughed as I stumbled off of the railing and crashed into Gabby. Luckily, she managed to keep us both up right. Barely.
“Oi! Gigi!” I heard someone shouting my name.
“That’s meeeee!” I called, spinning around as I tried to find the culprit. Suddenly, someone grabbed me around my waist to stop me and I was face to face with Matt Hankin.
“Matt!” I squealed, wrapping my arms around him. “I missed you! Did you know that? I really did miss you.”
“You’re pretty drunk, huh?” He asked me, chuckling as he pulled me off of his chest.
“Yes she is!” Gabby sung, swaying back and forth to the music.
“What are you doing here?” I asked him, looking around to see who he was with, but there were so many people that I couldn’t tell.
“The boys. We’re celebrating!” Matt told me. I furrowed my eyebrows.
“Celebrating what?” I asked him. That’s when Chris came up, stumbling into Matt. He was just about as drunk as me, if not more so.
“Gigi! What are you doing here?” He asked, though I could barely understand what he was saying through his slurs. His blonde hair was unkempt, falling into his face and his blue eyes were shining ten times brighter than normal.
“Drinking. What are you celebrating?” I asked him. He took a long drink before answering me.
“My wife is pregnant! I’m going to be a dad!” He screamed. The whole top level cheered at this, though I was sure they all already knew.
“But what about Quidditch?” I asked him stupidly. He paused for a second, thinking this over too.
“My contracts up after this year. Family is more important.” He slurred. Drunk or not, I knew he truly believed in what he was saying.
“So who’s all here?” I asked, standing on my tip toes and looking towards the bar (because that’s where you can always find a Falcon). Before either could answer, James Potter’s eyes were on me in seconds. He froze, holding a tall fire whiskey in his hands. I fell back onto the balls of my feet.
“Oh.” Was Matt’s response as he saw where my gaze was.
“Oh dear. Jenny’s running to the bathroom. Be back!” Gabby shouted, shooting off after Jenny. I suddenly didn’t feel too well myself.
“Hey Gigi.” James had made his way towards us and was now standing in front of me. I glared daggers at him. I wasn’t sure why I was suddenly so mad at him, but all I saw was blind rage.
“You’re a jerk! You’re a…big jerk face!” I stumbled over my words. Matt and Chris looked at me in confusion. James raised his eyebrows at me in boredom.
“Is that so?” He asked dully.
“Yes!” I shrieked. He sighed, crossing his arms like he would rather be anywhere else than listen to me drunkenly yell at him. This just made me more upset.
“Anything else?” He asked. I didn’t have anything else, but I’m sure I could come up with more.
“Yeah!” I hissed. I raked my brain for more. I had to have something. “You are bad in bed!”
He rolled his eyes, not at all impressed with my insults. Damn it. I thought that was a real good one. Don’t guys hate to be insulted about their bed skills? Though who was I kidding, James was a master underneath the sheets. He knew how to work his hands and his mouth and…well, you get the picture, right?
“How drunk are you?” James asked, though I could hear it in his voice that he didn’t truthfully care.
“Wouldn’t you like to know.”
“No, Gigi, I don’t particularly care, but you are my teammate. If you make a fool of yourself, it reflects badly upon us all!” I could hear the irritation in James’s voice. He was getting mad too.
“Oh you mean it would look bad on us as a couple, right?” I corrected him, a wicked smirk on my face. Seeing James mad would be the highlight of my night.
“What? No, that’s not what I said.” James growled. His eyes were now narrowed slightly.
“So if I just…I don’t know, made out with Matt here, you wouldn’t mind?” I raised my eyebrows at him. I saw his jaw visably clench.
“What? Don’t drag me in this, Gigi!” Matt took a step away from me and James smirked, thinking he had won.
“Snog whoever you’d like, Gigi. I won’t care.” James defended. I felt the anger boil within me. It was a challenge. A challenge I was determined to win. I looked around in the crowd for someone, anyone, that would make James mad if I kissed. The smirk on my face grew wider as I saw my target.
“All right. Fine by me!” I sang, skipping in the direction of Harley Chilton. I didn’t have to see James’s expression to know he was on fire.
“Hey Chilton!” I called as I got closer. Chilton was a good head or two taller than me, twice as big, and his dark hair shone better in the light. His square jaw line had a few scars in it from numerous bludgers to the face, but he was still more attractive than half the men in this club. He smiled upon seeing me.
“Jacobs! How’s the team?” He asked me. I glanced over my shoulder to see James staring straight at us, a stone cold expression on his face. Before I gave myself an opportunity to answer Chilton, I slammed my drunken lips against his own in the sloppiest kiss of my life. Harley got into it. And what I mean is, he pushed me up against the wall and shoved his tongue straight down my throat. I felt sick. I felt like gagging.
That’s when it stopped and he was suddenly gone. I opened my eyes to see James having him pinned against the bar by his collar, shouting profanities in his face. I gasped as the whole room was now staring at the pair. James was half the size of Chilton but that didn’t stop him. I stumbled over to them, pounding on James’s back for him to stop, but that didn’t matter. James gave Chilton one swift punch to the jaw and he was out. The whole room gasped as the security finally made it over to us.
“I’m leaving!” He told them before they had a chance to kick him out. I was in utter shock.
“What the bloody hell-!” Matt said, running up to us. James stared straight at me, ice daggers coming from his eyes.
“We’re done.” He growled at me, shoving past me as security escorted him out.
I suddenly have never felt so sober in my life.
Author's Note: So, I made you wait forever and now I give you this? What the heck, right? Torture me later, read and review now. Tell me what you thought! Gigi finding herself meant losing James! She deserved it, right? Did James overreact? Should Gigi have even went clubbing? What do you think of the Jacobs girls? A little too much trouble to handle? Let me know!
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