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Chapter 10 : Entering Covert Ops
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ENTER PANIC MODE. What do I do?! Say yes?! Say no?! Do I flip a galleon?! Al's expression was calm and patient, with a tinge of amusement, like he knew that on the inside I was having an inner crisis.
He smiled and spoke eagerly, "Just give me any answer, standing here gawking at the question isn't going to help much, love."
My brain was already swimming with questions and I didn't even have enough brain power to fangirl over the fact that he called me 'love' again. If I was going to date Seb I'd have to get over the fact that I was madly in love with Albus Potter. I really doubt I'd ever get over that. He was imperfectly perfect. WHO AM I KIDDING HE'S PERFECTLY PERFECT I MEAN HAVE YOU SEEN HIM HAVE YOU TALKED TO HIM I'M RAMBLING BUT I CAN'T STOP. Yeah, I don't see how dating Seb was ever going to be a good thing for either of us, I mean, just look what happened with Ben. He just overheard a bit of a conversation and was extremely hurt, I didn't want to do the same thing to Seb.
I looked up at Al and he was giving me his puppy dog eyes, like he was begging me to say 'yes'. I gave a shy grin and spoke up, "Yeah, I guess I'll give it a shot."
For a moment Albus looked moderately surprised by my answer, but quickly returned the smile, "Okay, perfect! I swear you won't regret this, he's a great bloke."
I nodded aprehensively, unsure that I had made the right choice.
"Don't fret, Al, you two will make a great couple," he assured me.
I choked a bit on my own saliva. I wasn't sure if I should be happy or sad that he called me Al, it was a little bittersweet. Sweet in the way that we now share a nickname, but horribly bitter in the way that it made me sound like an old man. I shrugged it off and we began to have a somewhat normal conversation. He rambled on about the Quidditch match and I listened patiently. This comfortable chatter warmed my heart a little, if we weren't meant to be a couple, we could at least be friends. Or friends with the benefit that I get to look at his gorgeous face all day. Either one works.
We spent the next hour laughing and telling stories in the library, I had almost forgot that I was obsessed with his biceps. Almost. He chuckled at my story about locking Robyn's brothers, Matt and Cameron, in a shoe box.
"You're hilarious, Alicia," he said with a genuine grin on his face. "So, when do you want to meet up with Seb? I bet he'd like to chat before you two make the date official."
"I--er..." I didn't really know what to say, I've never exactly made these sort of plans before, "How about tonight?"
The words escaped my mouth before I could even process them. I didn't want to meet Seb tonight, although his burly shoulders were quiet the attraction, I'd much rather chat up Albus and celebrate our new found friendship. But I new Albus would think the idea was grand, so I decided to just go along with my blurted out words and see where that got me.
"We could hang out in the common room tonight! Everyone is going to be out anyway, it's a Friday, so we can talk in there. You should bring Robyn and Brandon, too, just to break the ice, you know?"Albus said.
"Yeah, that sounds great, but just one question... who the hell is Brandon?" I asked.
Al burst into an uncontrollable laughter. I was really confused as to why he was peeing himself laughing when all I did was ask a simple question. Maybe he has a brain disease. In that case I don't know if I want to have children with him. BAHAHAHA who am I kidding of course I do. I guess Emmett will have to inherit the disease gene. He'll be more of the ladies man anyway, while Joshua will have a family to look after. Aw, look at me planning out which of our children will inherit brain disease. How adorable.
Once Albus had stopped crying and giggling I asked him one more time, "Who is Brandon?"
"You're really one of a kind, he's one of your best friends! Brandon Milton? You know, brown hair, really wise, you always yell something about bananas at him?"
Suddenly it hit me, "OH MY GOD YOU MEAN NANNERS?! I'VE CALLED HIM THAT FOR SO LONG THAT I FORGOT THAT HE EVEN HAD A REAL NAME."
"Yes! Nanners! Well, what did you think his last name was then?"
I pondered the question for a moment, "I've just always thought it was Nanners Nanners."
"You thought that his first name and his last name were the same? You really thought his name was 'Nanners Nanners'?"
There was a sudden silence and our eye locked unexpectedly. Both of our mouths began to sneak into bigger and bigger smiles until we were both laughing uncontrollably. Tears were streaming down our faces and we only stopped giggling to say "Nanners" or "same name", which would cause the laughter to increase until we were doubled over on the ground, overwhelmed by humour. By the time we had calmed down, we were still both sitting on the floor of the library. Albus looked at me softly and I gave a weak grin back. I truly did like him, it wasn't just a fangirl's obsession. Well, it started out like that, but I really did get to know him and the feelings didn't go away. They grew stronger and no matter what happened I was always consumed by his hair or his muscles or his eyes or the way he yelled at us during Quidditch and nothing really mattered but that.
My heart sunk. I wanted to tell him right that moment that I didn't want to go on a date with Seb, but I knew it wouldn't matter. He wanted me to date Seb, he encouraged me to, and I wasn't going to cause more issues by professing my love. There was an awkward pause. More awkward than usual.
"So, we should be heading up to the common room, yeah? I bet Seb's in there doing some homework or something," he said, giving me a wink. I nodded, trying to look as enthusiastic as possible. He stood up and held out his hand. I gasped onto it and he pulled me up. We were momentarily holding hands... I didn't even freak out.
We entered the common room side by side, like a couple of old pals coming home drunk from a bar. He shoved me and I shoved him back, it was playful banter. Playful platonic banter. I fetched Robyn from the girl's dorm and Nanners was already sitting with Seb, so the five of us huddled around the small table and Al began to speak.
"How are you all today?"
Robyn furrowed her brow, "Enough with the small talk, Pretty Boy, I want the goods, why are we crammed around this table?"
She glanced at me with a suspicious look and I muttered, "Nothing but cake."
"Alicia's all batty and nervous so it's obviously something uncomfortable. Albus, did you touch her butt or something?"
The whole group erupted into laughter and loud comments.
"NO I SWEAR--"
"Mate, why would you do that?"
"Oi! That's my best friend we're talking about here!"
"MY BUTT IS FREE OF HUMAN TOUCH!"
That shut the group of fairly quick and allowed Albus to get back to talking.
"I did not touch anybody's butt nor do I plan on touching anyone's butt in the near future. My friend Seb wants to go on a date with Alicia and she agreed so we're here to celebrate that."
A moment of eerie silence occurred. Like the calm before the storm. Or the echo you hear before you take a really big poo. And my word, Robyn began to take the biggest poo I've ever seen... right on Albus' head. Well, metaphorically of course.
"ALBUS SEVERUS POTTER THIS IS NOT WHAT WE AGREED ON. I DIDN'T SEND YOU OFF TO DO COVERT OPS FOR YOU JUST TO BLOW THE WHOLE THING UP IN ONE MOVE. THE PLAN WAS VERY CLEAR AND YOU BLEW IT. I KNEW I SHOULD'VE JUST DRUGGED HER, BUT NO, YOU HAD TO GET ALL ETHICAL ON MY ASS AND NOW WE'RE HERE TALKING ABOUT DATES AND HAPPY ROMANCE. HELL NO, PRETTY BOY, I DIDN'T SPEND WEEKS CREATING THIS PLAN FOR YOU TO FUCK IT UP. OH NO." Robyn's screams echoed the Slytherin common room.
Al stuttered, "But I--"
"BUT YOU WHAT?! THE PLAN WAS SO FRICKEN CLEAR I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU MANAGED TO DO A BACKFLIP INTO NARNIA, BECAUSE THAT'S HOW MESSED UP THIS WHOLE THING IS NOW. NARNIA MESSED UP."
"I think we should just tell her the truth..." Al said, looking at me.
I started yelling uncontrollably, "WHAT TRUTH?! WHEN? HOW? WHO? WHERE? WAS I DRUNK? DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH PENGUINS? IT INVOLVES THE ILLUMINATI DOESN'T IT?! I KNEW I COULDN'T TRUST THOSE PENGUINS..."
"Whoa! Calm down, it has nothing to do with any of that..." Albus began, "Robyn was just doing me a favour, she just didn't want you to know."
"What favour? Why didn't you tell me?" I spluttered.
Robyn and Albus looked at each other. "Are you sure you want her to know? This way?" Robyn asked.
"I'm sure," Albus replied and I continued to hyperventilate.
"WHAT WAY? TELL ME WHAT?"
"Alicia, you have to promise to calm down, okay? You can't go crazy when I tell you," Robyn instructed. I nodded firmly, "I promise."
Albus turned to me and held my hands in his, like he was trying to comfort me.
"Alicia..." he said quietly, "Robyn was trying to set me up with someone."
I looked at him blankly, my heart racing in my chest, "Who?"
That's when I fainted.
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