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Chapter 17 : The One with the Beautiful Aussie
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Jess led me over to the long banquet table and showed me to my seat. There was a little paper plaque in my place with my name on in gold script. Ooh, fancy. I sat down as delicately as I could and looked around to see who I was placed next to. To my surprise, Professor Dumbledore sat down next to me on my left and tipped his pointed hat in greeting.
“Evening Lily,” he smiled, his blue eyes staring at me over his half-moon spectacles.
“Good evening Professor.”
“How are you enjoying the banquet?” he asked. I bit my lip and tried to think of something polite to say.
“It’s been a bit strange,” I admitted. “I didn’t even know that there was a gobstones club.” Dumbledore smiled crookedly.
“More of a political party actually Lily,” Jess cut in from the right of me. Political party? Oh god. Jess stood up from her seat again and flashed us a grin.
“Ah Mr Wilson and his wife and son are here. Excuse me whilst I show them to their seats.” Jess scurried off and greeted the family of three. She looked so proud and elegant, it was weird.
“Mol,” Jess called to the other end of the table. Molly popped up and glided over, her long dress sweeping across the floor. “Would you be able to show Mr and Mrs Wilson to their seats next to the Swedish minister?” Jess smiled subtly at Mr Wilson and he nodded approvingly. I imagine it was in Mr Wilson’s best interests to be placed next to that particular minister. Jess took the sons’ arm and pulled him over to Abi, who was sitting opposite me. The son looked around our age and had suntanned skin and bright blue eyes. He had a head full of curly blonde hair and looked almost elegant in his charcoal grey dress robes. I glanced over at Abi and noticed that she was drooling. Literally. I tapped a space on the table in front of her and gestured to my mouth before he was dragged over.
“Abi you’re leaking from the mouth,” I whispered. She touched her fingers to her chin in surprise and then blushed and muttered thanks, wiping her face clear of lustful drool.
“Guys,” Jess said finally reaching us. Abi looked like an excited puppy; she was practically bouncing in her chair. “This is Charlie Wilson, Charlie this is Lily and Abi.” She pointed to each of us in turn and I smiled politely but I was pretty much ignored. The moment he turned his eyes to Abi, his face lit up.
“Charlie is Australian Abi,” Jess said pointedly with a not-so-subtle wink which we all caught. Abi had a thing for Australian accents (they made her almost pass out, she loved them so much). Abi and Charlie both blushed and I grinned. Oh this was going to be fun.
“Hey I’m Charlie,” he said holding out his hand for Abi to shake. She instead shrieked in pure joy and excitement and ignored his outstretched hand, opting for throwing herself at him in a bear hug instead. Abi released a bemused Charlie and looked up at the ceiling.
“Thank you God!” she cried before sitting herself down and grinning like a maniac. I turned away from Abi and Charlie and looked down the table for the rest of my friends. Remus was sat a few chairs down from me on the right, currently in conversation with Peter and a man a few years older than us by the looks of things. Sirius was to my left, next to Molly, and I could hear from here that he was complaining about the lack of food. I didn’t realise I was actually looking for him until I spotted him near the end of the table. James was sat next to a pretty young woman, with long blonde hair and high cheekbones. They were deep in conversation and I couldn’t help but feel jealous and slightly annoyed that he looked so enthralled by her. She wasn’t even that pretty anyway. Stupid woman. Okay she was undeniably gorgeous and she was soaking up all of James’ attention. Why was I even jealous? We were friends, it’s not like I’m his girlfriend or anything.
The sound of a spoon clanging against a wine glass pulled me out of my internal denial. Jess was on her feet, with her glass in hand and a broad smile on her face. Molly was stood next to her, beaming around at all the guests.
“Right well we just want to start off by saying thank you to everyone who’s hear tonight, it means a lot that you could all make it to our third annual gobstones banquet.” Third banquet? Third? And we’re only hearing about it now? What?
“Onto a little business,” Molly began. “As you all know we’ve been working with many of you for the past three years to develop the gobstones club into much more. A political party.” Oh god they were actually serious.
“ Now is when we begin our move into the ministry. With all of your support the NCGP could be a major success and we could be in power within two years,” Jess finished. My god. Was this actually a thing? Were they planning some sort of hostile takeover?
“But this will all be spoken about in private later so for now, let’s tuck in!” Molly cried, sitting down with a flourish. Jess sat down as well and everyone cheered (Sirius the loudest I think) when food appeared on our plates. I looked down in disappointment at my food.
“Jess are these snails?” I whispered to Jess. She nodded, looking a little ill.
"Oh Merlin what are these?" Sirius cried from the other end of the table. "Dear God, it’s oozing!"
“We didn’t think this menu out very well…” Jess admitted, pushing the snails around her plate with her fork.
"Look," she said. "Copy me." Jess shook out her napkin and laid it across her lap. She covertly checked both ways before spooning up the majority of the snails and dumping them in her lap. She then neatly folded her napkin up and slipped it into her purse.
"Jess!" I whispered. "You're going to ruin it!" Jess grinned.
"Don't worry, it’s a rental." We giggled and she held the purse between us as I did the same.
"By the way Jess, third banquet? Third?" I said. "Why were we never invited before?"
"We didn't want you guys to embarrass us," Jess replied completely seriously.
"Us? Embarrass you? I'm not sure it's possible." I said in return. Jess simply shook her head and turned to the woman next to her and I turned to Dumbledore. His snails were all gone but I had a sneaking suspicion that he had eaten them all instead of disposing of them in a purse like Jess and I.
"Professor," I said, putting my fork down. "Why are you here?" My eyes widened when I realised how impolite that sounded. "I mean- erm you know because you must be very busy and all-" I added hastily. Dumbledore smiled and held his hand up, cutting off my rambling.
"It’s quite alright Lily. I'm the club's Supervisor." I raised my eyebrows incredulously.
"But sir, this isn't a club!"
"Of course it is Lily."
"But sir, the trophies on the shelves are all for bowling!" I cried in exasperation. Dumbledore reached into his robes and pulled out the same trophy which decorated the shelves.
"This is a bowling trophy," Dumbledore said, showing me the trophy. Then he pulled out the exact same trophy.
"And this is a gobstones trophy. You see?" he said. "Completely different."
I sat, unable to form a response when the next course arrived. The rest of the meal passed in more disgusting food and idle chatter. Once everyone had eaten, Jess and Molly stood up and set up a little projector at the front of the room.
"Well guys, before dinner is over and the dancing and mingling starts up we figured we'd have a little presentation! These are our competition pictures!" Molly said with a grin. Jess slipped a picture down and it was projected onto a white sheet of paper.
The picture was off Jess, Molly and Dumbledore in front of Big Ben, with big grins and thumbs up. The next picture was of all three in the exact same pose this time in front of what looked like the Empire State building in America. Jess flicked to the next one and this time the were in front of a pyramid.
"Okay this is ridiculous!" I said. I didn't realise that I was standing or shouting until I noticed everybody staring at me. Well go big or go home.
"These are just the same pictures of you three just in front of a different famous landmark! And those trophies, are BOWLING trophies! I'm not entirely sure what the NCGP is-"
"National Competitive Gobstones Party," Dumbledore cut in.
"What is even going on?" I shouted. "I don't know who half you people are and I'm really surprised that Jess and Molly do because they spend most of their free time shoving fireworks into Slytherin's common room!" I was breathing heavily by the time I had finished and I imagine absolutely red in the face.
"I'm sorry everyone," Jess said.
"Lily's a bit of an alcoholic." Molly stage-whispered.
"I AM NOT AN ALCOHOLIC!" I screamed. Jess came over and very calmly took my arm and sat me down in the corner. She passed me a glass of water.
"She's just going to drink it off," she announced to everyone. They all nodded and smiled. Everyone left their seats and the orchestra started up again, causing people to start dancing. I took a deep, calming breath and vowed to cool down. This was probably just a ridiculous dream. The waiters popped back out again and I grabbed a glass of whatever they were handing out and downed it in one. I think it was firewhiskey because it burnt my throat on the way down. The world seemed a little brighter after that, although the edges of my vision did get a little fuzzy.
I watched the people dancing and laughed as Charlie got up from his seat at the table and held his hand out to Abi.
"Do you want to dance with me?" he asked with a charming smile. Abi grinned and nodded. He led her over to the dance floor and awkwardly at first put his arms around her waist. After a few minutes, he got a little braver and pulled her close, wrapping his arms around her.
"So where do you go to school Charlie?" Abi asked, bending her neck a fair bit to look him in the eye.
"The Australian Institute of Magic," he replied, his gaze never leaving hers.
"That's a pity," Abi said shyly. "We won't get to hang out again." Charlie grinned.
"Ah but I start Hogwarts on Monday so that shouldn't be a problem. Dad says business is better over here." Abi's face lit up.
"Really? But don't you dislike being used to give your dad a better political standing?" Charlie shrugged and winked.
"Normally I would but I've already made a very pretty friend so I shouldn't have any issues." Abi laughed and winked back. Using her entire right side of her face, mouth and all. I stifled a giggle.
"Hey Abi are you having a stroke?" I called out. She stuck her tongue out at me and Charlie laughed.
"Shut up Lily, you're drunk." I grinned.
"At least I can wink."
"What was that Lily, are you still slurring your words?" Abi joked. "Better drink more water."
"Aw don't worry about it, I think your wink is adorable," Charlie told Abi. She blushed but looked like she had just about died and gone to heaven.
"Erm thanks, I think your accent is adorable too."
"I know, the bear hug and prayer gave you away a bit," Charlie replied, pulling her a little closer. If that was even possible. Their bodies were tightly pressed against each other yet it seemed that they still couldn't get close enough.
"You know what?" I said to no one in particular.
"What?" James asked, popping out of nowhere.
"Jesus James, you gave me a fright!" I clutched my chest with my hand.
"Sorry, so what were you going to say?"
"Oh yeah," I said. "I'm going to bed." So maybe I had embarrassed Jess and Molly a little. Just a little.
A/N- Woah I know I got this done like super fast! Well for that we can only thank my darling Abigail for being a slave driver. She's been a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to getting enthusiastic about this story but erm I've created a biiiit of a monster. I honestly think she's more in love with Charlie than fanfic Abi.
Anyway reviews and favourites are adored! And the next chapter should be out in a few days, Abi has me at gunpoint.
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