Chapter 12 : Chapter the Twelfth
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“Ginny is that you dear?” Nana calls out.
I reply, “No, it’s me. Lily. Where are you?”
“Out the back!” is her faint response. I walk outside and see Nana Molly sitting in the unusually warm sun with a big hat and a photo album. She has a tissue in her hands and I sit down next to her gently. “Hello, dear,” she says, kissing me on the cheek. “How have you been?” She wipes at her eye and I notice that she’s looking at a photo of Uncle Fred. The only reason I can tell its Uncle Fred is because he has a jumper with a big F on it. The photo of Uncle Fred waves at me.
“Hey, Nana. I’ve been good. Busy, but good. Are you okay?” I ask, holding her hand in comfort. She smiles sadly at me.
“Yes, I am, dear. It’s still hard, though. It’s thirty years next year. I can’t believe it’s been that long since I’ve lost one of my sons,” she says, her voice shaking.
I let go of her hand to give her a warm hug. “You know he’s always watching over you,” I say softly, smiling fondly at the picture. He looks exactly like Uncle George – aside from the ear and that Uncle George has wrinkles. Don’t tell him I said that, though.
“Oh, I know,” she says confidently. “It’s just not the same. I can’t make sure he’s okay and I can’t fuss over him and I never got to see him grow.” Her hands trace the outside of the photo gently. He dodges her fingers a bit, laughing.
I don’t know what to say so I just rest my head on her shoulder like I used to when I was little and she would read me Babbitty Rabbitty. Her hand automatically sneaks behind me to play with my hair. I smile and she says, “I wish he’d gotten to see all of you. He would have loved you all.”
I still don’t know what to say but then Nana closes the album gently. “Enough of that. I haven’t offered you a tea yet. Would you like a cuppa?”
I grin. “Yes please, Nana.” She smiles and I help her get up and lead her to the kitchen. “I’ll put the album away, Nana?” I gesture to the book tucked under her arm and she nods so I quickly run up the stairs to put it away in the spare bedroom.
I walk back to the top of the stairs and see that the main bedroom door is opened. I decide to close it (Nana likes us to close doors) so I quickly walk over there and see Grandad sleeping on the bed in his undies. I shudder and rush back downstairs, wanting to get as far away from him as possible.
“What’s wrong, Lily?” Nana asks, taking one look at my horrified expression.
“Grandad was sleeping on your bed in his pants,” I say, grabbing my mug of tea. “Thanks, Nana,” I say, gesturing to the tea.
She sighs. “He likes to sleep in his pants, no matter how much I argue with him. He’s a stubborn old man. Did you want some biscuits?”
“Ooh, yes please,” I say. I sit down and the two of us talk. I tell her about Elliot who is now my ‘official’ boyfriend. She’s happy for me, and says that she can’t wait to meet him. I fidget uncomfortably.
I’m hoping that I can prolong the meeting between him and all of my family as long as possible. I love my family and all, but they’re actually psychos. They get so weird when people bring a boyfriend or girlfriend over.
I remember once Al bought his girlfriend for a birthday dinner and we scared her so much she refused to ever talk to him again. Al was absolutely furious but we didn’t mean to scare her. She was a perfectly nice person but…
I guess I can be counted as part of the crazy as I did participate in accidentally scaring her.
I don’t even remember what we did to her. I think we were just really invasive and got too personal too quickly.
“And how is your bakery going?” Nana asks me, pulling me out of my own thoughts.
I smile. “It’s going good. I’ve gotten a place and the renovations have just started,” I say, feeling so excited (and poor, it’s so strange having no money again) that it’s happening so soon! “It should be ready for the new year. I’m hoping to open it in early January but I just need to find workers.”
“Lily, if you need me to help you around,” Nana says, “I’m more than happy to help. It’ll be nice to get out of the house occasionally.”
“Really?” I ask unsurely. Nana isn’t exactly young, I don’t want to make her ill or something.
She smiles fondly and pats my cheek affectionately. “Of course. I could come in every second day and help clean or even help bake?”
She asks the last bit as if her talents aren’t good enough for a bakery. Who did she think I learnt from? “Of course!” I say. “I learnt from the best.” I wink and she laughs and we continue drinking our tea and chatting. Grandad Arthur comes down and joins us after his nap and Nana starts going off at him for sleeping in his pants. He waves it off and I laugh, watching them argue. They’re so funny when they argue because Nana is so bossy and Grandad is so laidback compared to her.
But then Nana will roll her eyes and look at him and I can really tell that they still love each other. It’s sweet. I don’t know if Grandad realises he does this, but if he isn’t talking to someone, he’ll just stare at Nana with a small smile if she’s in the same room as him.
“Anyway, I better get going,” I say. “I have to go to work the dinner shift tonight. I haven’t had a proper day off in such a long time,” I say wistfully.
“That’s the problem of retirement,” Grandad says, “we never get a day off.”
Nana smacks his arm and says, “Don’t overwork yourself, dear. Make sure you look after yourself and get enough food in you!”
I laugh. “I will, Nana. Thank you for having me.” I kiss both their cheeks and wave to them before going outside to Apparate back home to get ready for work.
I’m meant to meet James for lunch but he’s late. As usual.
I’m sitting and waiting for him, getting angrier by the minute. I told him that I was going to see Elliot after I had lunch with him and I can’t be late because last time I was late and I still feel bad.
Twenty six minutes late, he finally shows up. I glare at him when he sits opposite me. “What?” he asks, completely oblivious.
I reach over and smack him round the back of his head. “Ow!” he says, rubbing his head and looking at me angrily. “What was that for?!”
I say through my teeth, “I told you not to be late! You came twenty six minutes late! Now I’m going to be late for my date with Elliot!” At the mention of Elliot, James grunts and immediately looks away from me with a guilty expression. I exhale angrily. “You purposely came late, didn’t you?” I say in exasperation.
“Maybe,” he mumbles, still not looking at me.
I roll my eyes. “James, I’m a big girl. I can handle myself. Stop being a big brother for a moment.”
He finally looks at me with half a smile. “I’m always going to be a big brother, Lily. You’re my little sister, no one is good enough for you. We could be in our nineties and I’ll still be a big brother. I don’t have an off switch.”
My anger dissipates in a second and I grin. “Aw, Jim. You can be a real softie, you know that?” I say, honestly touched that he cared so much about me.
He scoffs, “Nothing about me is soft. Everything is hard – wait, no. That came out wrong.” I raise an eyebrow, fighting a grin and he laughs.
I laugh and say, “Anyway, what did you want to order?”
“Whatever the slowest thing is,” he says, looking at the menu. I give him a look and he crumbles. “Fine. I think I’ll get a steak sandwich. What did you want?”
“I’m going to go with a chicken sandwich,” I say, standing up but James forces me to sit down and tells me that he’s paying for it. I sit down without any arguments because what are brothers for if not paying for your lunch?
He comes back shortly and we talk. I really miss James. Funnily enough, I feel like we talked more when I was in Hogwarts and he wasn’t (well, we talked the most when he was still at Hogwarts but not including that) because I regularly sent him letters. Now all I did was work.
“I miss you, Jim,” I say sadly.
He grins. “Of course you do. I’m your favourite brother.”
“Pfft…” I don’t look at him. “I don’t pick favourites, where do you get that idea from?” I pick at my nails.
“Because of the way you refuse to look me in the eye,” he says, laughing. “Everyone knows I’m your favourite but you’re my favourite too.”
“Now I feel bad for Al,” I say. “He’s no one’s favourite.”
“Oh, he is so Uncle Charlie’s favourite. It’s so obvious!” he says. I think about it and realise he’s right. Uncle Charlie always got Al the best Christmas presents. Thank god for the Secret Santa because now that has stopped.
“True,” I say. “But Uncle Bill favours Dom so much. He’s the worst out of them all. She could literally ask for a flying house and he would try and give it to her.”
“Uncle George is like that with Roxy, though,” James points out. After thinking about it, I realise he’s right. He’s probably worse than Uncle Bill. Seriously, Roxy could murder someone with no excuse and Uncle George would still find a reason as to why they deserved it.
That’s why he hates Jack (her on/off boyfriend) so much. But what he doesn’t realise is that Roxy is generally the one that cuts him off (or does something really bad) to break them up but they’ve actually been going on for a long time now with no breaks. I think they’re nearing two years without a break-up.
But yeah, in his eyes Roxy is a perfect angel and can do nothing wrong. It irritates Fred to no end because when they were young Roxy used to do all sorts of naughty things and then blame it on Fred. Auntie Angelina generally knew when she was lying though and usually had to step in before it ended up in a massive argument.
Ah, family love.
Eventually I’m ten minutes late for my date with Elliot and I give James one big hug and run out of the place, promising that I’d spend more time with him.
I Apparate to Elliot’s house and knock on the door, feeling terrible for being late two dates in a row. The door opens and before saying hello, I say, “I’m so sorry for being late twice in a row.”
Elliot laughs. “Don’t worry about it.” He pulls me inside and gives me a kiss. I grin and he says, “You haven’t actually said hello to me yet. I’m very hurt.”
I close the door with my foot. “I’m very sorry, Mr Wood.” I brush the non-existent dust off of his shoulders. “I just have no manners.”
“I know,” he says sadly. His hands snake around my waist and pull me in closer towards him. “It’s not very polite to not say hello to your host.”
I smirk and say, “Fine then. Hello.”
He thinks about my hello with a small frown. “Since you said it so late – and you came late twice – I think I should get something extra.”
I giggle but then straighten my expression out. “I think that would be very prudent.” I lean forward and brush the tip of my nose against his. His eyes close and I kiss his cheek gently. His breathing is rattled and I kiss the corner of his mouth. Getting close but not close enough. He moves forward to capture my lips in his but I move back and dodge him.
His eyes spring open, revealing the warm brown irises underneath. “What?” he asks, looking extremely confused.
I laugh. “Oh, did you think your present was a snog?” I ask in mock seriousness. He looks like a kitten who’s lost his toy. I grin and say, “Actually, I was thinking I could bake you some cookies.”
His eyes soften. “You know me too well,” he says with a grin. I bite my lip to hide the massive, shit-eating grin that’s on my face. “Come on, let’s get to the kitchen.”
I nod and drop my coat off at the door. I also take my shoes off and leave them at the front door before following him into the kitchen.
“Okay,” I say, rubbing my hands in anticipation, “what do you have?”
He pulls out a prepared mix and I raise an eyebrow in bemusement. “What?” he asks in confusion, looking at the mix. “It’s still in-date and everything.”
“We’re not using a prepared mix,” I say. “We need plain flour, plain sugar, butter, eggs, chocolate chips, peanuts, baking powder and vanilla extract.”
Elliot looks into his pantry. “I have flour, sugar, chocolate chips and…” He then opens the fridge and says, “I also have eggs and butter. I think we’re going to have to do a grocery run.”
I shrug. “Sure thing. Let me just see how much you have because it mightn’t be enough.” I poke my head in the pantry and see that there is less than half a cup of flour. I give him a look and he grins innocently. I roll my eyes and see that there’s enough sugar but only half a pack of chocolate chips. Oh well, they can be used to eat.
“So where are the shops?” I ask Elliot, walking to the door to put my shoes and coat back on.
“Oh, we can walk there. There’s a little village thingy about ten minutes away,” he says. “I purposely picked a place close enough to get to without a car.”
I shudder. “My cousin tried making me drive a car the other day – he had to get his community hours up so he could graduate or something – and it stressed me out so much. I kept crying.” Elliot laughs and I poke his waist. “Don’t laugh!” I say, although I’m laughing as well.
He grins and says, “Anyway, should we go before they close?” I nod and walk out the door, letting Elliot lock everything up. I stick my hands in my coat pockets and smile at Elliot who’s looking mighty fine today.
He holds out his hand just enough that if I don’t take it, it doesn’t look like he’s been left hanging and just enough that he is asking me to hold his hand. I grin and slip my hand in his and walk closer towards him.
We walk to the shops, talking about various things and thankfully there aren’t many hills so the walk isn’t too tiring. We would Apparate but it’s a Muggle area and we don’t want to scare them and/or break the Statute.
We finally arrive and it’s a little village type of thing. There’s a bakery, a small ‘supermarket’, a lolly shop, a liquor store and a newsagency. It’s so quaint.
We go into the small supermarket and pick everything up but we also get a bottle of tequila with limes (Elliot promises he has salt back home so we don’t buy it) because we’re so classy.
“We should play a drinking game,” Elliot says when we’re walking back to his place.
“We should,” I agree. “But what game?”
He thinks about it. “How about every time you know something about baking that I don’t?”
I snort. “Elliot, we’ll be hammered before we even get to sift the flour.” His eyes are blank and I say, “See, we’d have to take a shot right now.” He laughs and says the reverse. “Then we won’t be getting any tequila,” I say with a grin.
“How about every time you act high and mighty for knowing more about cooking than I do we take a shot?” he asks, grinning at me and nudging me with his elbow.
I shift the bag from my left arm to my right arm so I can smack him lightly. He laughs and I say, “How about every time we eat some cookie dough?”
He thinks about it. “That seems like a good deal,” he says. “But I feel like we’ll get quite drunk because I can’t resist myself with cookie dough.”
“Neither,” I say laughing. “Perfect match.”
“You know it,” he says with a wink. I laugh and we continue talking until we reach his place again. He opens the door and lets me in first, like a true gentleman. I walk to the kitchen and place the shopping bags on the bench and start pulling the ingredients out. Elliot has the tequila but I have the limes and the salt, so I quickly wave my wand over the limes so they cut themselves in quarters.
Elliot finally joins me and gets out the tequila. “I feel like we should take one shot for good luck. Ja feel?”
“Ja definitely feel,” I say with a grin. He has a blank look on his face and I sigh, “Never mind. But yeah, we’ll have a shot. For good luck, of course.”
He nods seriously and pulls out a couple of shot glasses and quickly pours the tequila out. “Alright,” he says, shaking salt on his hand, “let’s go?” I nod and grab his hand to lick the salt off him (I’m being a bit daring) and wink at him before drinking the shot. I make a face and quickly bite into the lime, grinning at Elliot’s astounded look. Gosh, tequila is so strong. But it’s probably one of my favourite shots.
I spit the lime out into the garbage and then turn back to him. “Aren’t you going to take your shot?” I ask cheekily.
He shakes his head. “I can’t believe you licked the salt off of me. I should lick the salt off of you.”
I grin and say, “Why don’t you?” I put some salt on my neck and arch it out for him. He looks even more shocked and I say lightly, “Elliot, my neck isn’t going to be arched all night.” He snaps out of it and then licks my neck before quickly taking the shot and biting down into the lime.
He coughs and spits the lime out. “So should we get started on the baking?” he asks. I nod and he quickly presses a kiss to my cheek before measuring out 500 grams of flour. I start lining the trays with baking paper and set the oven on to 200 degrees Celsius.
We start to chat as we prepare everything. “Okay, here’s the serious bit,” I say, cutting Elliot off his spiel about the morons at his work.
“What is?” he asks, looking confused.
I take a deep breath. “It’s the part where,” I pause for suspense. Elliot leans forward and I whisper in his ear, “where we join all the ingredients to make the cookie dough.”
He jolts back and puts a hand on his heart. “Oh god.” I nod sombrely and he says, “Do you think we’ll be able to resist the cookie dough?”
I make a face, thinking about it. “Maybe. If we’re strong enough.”
He takes a deep breath, closing his eyes and nodding. “Let’s do this,” he says the words as if it’s traumatic. He opens his eyes again and I can see the mischievous glint in them. I fight a smile.
I pick two of the bowls up and look at Elliot seriously. He closes his eyes as he nods. “One… two… three,” I say, pouring the eggs and the butter into one bowl.
“It begins,” he says ominously. I nod and then wave my wand over the bowl to mix the egg and butter together. Elliot makes an upset noise and I break the sombre tone by bursting into loud laughter.
“I’m sorry,” I say, still laughing, “I can’t hold it anymore.” I pour the rest of the ingredients in without acting all pretentious and depressed.
He shakes his head in mock disappointment. “You’re no girlfriend of mine, Lily Potter.”
I tut and dip my finger in the mixture and wipe it across his cheek. He gasps and I giggle. I go to run away but he says, “Come here, you!” and wraps his arms around my waist, pulling me back towards him.
I laugh loudly and say, “Put me down! We need to keep making the cookies!” He holds onto me tighter and puts his whole hand into the mixture and slaps it on my face. “HEY!” I say, squirming as the mixture drips down my neck. We didn’t add all the flour at once in case it got too doughy but I realise now that that was a bad idea.
I should have added all the flour at once.
He laughs loudly. “Now we’re even.”
“That’s bull!” I say. “You have one line I have a whole bloody cheek!”
He laughs again and shifts me. His arms must be getting tired. “Yes, but yours was uncalled for. Mine was just revenge and the revenge is always bigger than the first move. Everybody knows that.”
I tilt my head to give him a flat stare. He laughs and kisses my clean cheek. I wipe my dirty cheek on him and then quickly reach out to get the bowl. I then throw it all over his head and some does get on me but it’s a good price to pay to see Elliot dripping in cookie mixture.
He drops me and says, “That was uncalled for, Lily.”
I say, “But revenge is always the bigger than the first move. Everybody knows that.”
He shakes his head like a dog. The mixture splatters all over his kitchen. “But you were the one who started this! You can’t give out revenge?”
“‘Give out revenge’?” I quote with raised eyebrows. “What is it, a dish?”
“Well revenge is a dish best served cold,” he quips with a grin. I laugh out loud and he then throws a fistful of flour at me.
I start coughing and then grab the pack of flour as well and tip it over his head again. He makes a noise of outrage and soon enough, we’re head to toe covered in – what should have been – cookie dough. The kitchen is also completely covered. Thank god for magic.
We stand there, laughing our heads off. Elliot is definitely covered in more of the ‘mixture’ (I grew up in a household where food fights were the tradition for James’ birthday so I know how to play the food fight game) but I still feel so sticky and gross.
Elliot then bows and holds out his hand. “May I have this dance, madam?”
I giggle and say, “You may.” I take his hand and he pulls me into the starting waltz position. He pulls his wand out of his trouser pocket and flicks it at the direction of the living room. It’s a song I’m unfamiliar with but it’s extremely catchy and definitely not waltz material but Elliot starts waltzing me around the room anyway.
I’m laughing but I follow his lead. He twirls me around and then releases my hand. I look at him and then he beckons me to run to him so I do and then he picks me up and twirls me around properly. I laugh and hold onto him even tighter.
“Out of my league, old school chic,” he serenades me out of tune. I laugh and tell him that I have no idea what he’s singing. He puts me down – still singing – and resumes waltzing me around the room. “Baby you’re so classic!”
I laugh and he continues to serenade me and waltz us around the place.
This has been one of the best nights of my life.
HAPPY 2014, HPFF! Hope everyone had a great 2013 and hope everyone has an even better 2014! Hope you enjoyed the chapter! :)
Disclaimers: the 'ja* feel/ja* definitely feel' was from the movie 21 Jump Street which is the property of Columbia Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
The lyrics Elliot sings are from MKTO's Classic and is not mine.
Fun fact: Classic just came on. I don't think it's a coincidence, haha!
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