Chapter 10 : ten.
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“Do you trust me?”
The brickwork was harsh against my shoulders as I shifted, Freddie’s hand splayed above my shoulder, the other on my waist.
The look I gave him was supposed to convey the disbelief that he’d ask such a stupid question. His smirk was fleeting and wolfish as he laced his fingers through mine and stepped abruptly away. Our hands seemed to linger, linked, then he was silhouetted as the camera bulb flashed bright once more, sparking across my retinas.
We walked quickly past the reporter, who jumped up and raced beside us eagerly.
“Freddie, Freddie, who’s this? What’s your name? How’s Juliette taking this? Is she a fan? Freddie! Freddie!”
I hated his little ginger moustache and his gleeful eyes, every muscle tensing as he pushed closer, scampered in front to get a frontal shot, scuttled behind as Muggles passed by looking confused. Weasley must have sensed something (or felt the sweat on my palm, he’s not the emotionally sensitive type) as he curled an arm around my waist and yanked me into his side. The toe of my sandal stuttered over a paving slab, near flooring me before Freddie grabbed my upper arms and pulled me (in)elegantly up again.
More voices joined pesky moustache man and, glancing back; then there was a whole herd of them galumphing down the pavement, cameras aloft.
“Shit,” it’s like my brain has taken over my mouth in a moment of stupidity, thinking the word but not really processing it and it’s too late. Realising I’m staring at him, Freddie’s eyes flash once in amusement and satisfaction and his lips curve slightly before he grabs my hand once more, fingers grazing my cheek as his face comes closer to mine –
He damn near pulled me off my feet as he took off at a dead sprint. I swear my arm left its socket for a moment, then slammed back in as I begged my legs to move after him.
The reporters give a good chase, cameras waving above their heads as they shout loudly.
“Merlin, Merlin, Merlin,” my fingers clutch my sides as a stitch breaks out, breath ragged as Freddie too-long-legs yanks me along as though I were a Chihuahua on the end of a pink fluffy lead. My feet feel as though they’re not even touching the pavement with each stride.
“Here,” he’s not even out of breath as we veer off into a side alley, just throws a smirk over his shoulder as he screeches to a halt and I slam into his back, arms wrapping around his middle to keep on my feet. “Hold on!”
Apparation is a bitch. Especially after bloody mohitos.
“Ohsweetmerlin,” wrapping my arms around my belly, I squeeze my eyes shut as tightly as I could and try to get a grip on the swirling world. The dull red of my eyelids does nothing to mask the fact that the world was spinning madly and the mohitos were threatening to make a reappearance. Plus my breath was still rasping at my throat, and three stitches stabbed at me.
“I’m sorry, Eva,” it was hard to determine the inflictions in his voice, whether sincerity was there or not. Straightening up and cracking my eyelids open a fraction; I peer at him.
“This date was repayment for you getting me off a drunken apparition charge,” the realisation hits me suddenly, a smirk finding its way to my lips, “and you just drunkenly apparated.” Pressing the heel of my palm into my side (as if rubbing the stitches was going to help), it was vaguely amusing to watch Freddie’s response.
His jaw tightened, eyes hardening to flint as he sucked his cheeks in. I could sharpen knives on his cheekbones, but then he breathed out and did the annoying one shouldered shrug. “So it would seem,” his murmur was soft, his eyes sharp as he trained his gaze on my face. “But I’m not drunk.”
Raising one eyebrow, I noted happily that my stitches had nearly gone. “You’re undoubtedly above the limit,” it’s too satisfying not to point out, to labour the point. It seems to have hit the right nerve, as his caramel eyes darken, forehead pinching into a discontented scowl. “So, I guess we’re square.”
The way his jaw juts out reminds me of thirteen year old Eoin. His leather shoes scuff along the ground and he kicks a stone. “Suppose,” he grunts.
“Excellent,” I beam widely. “Now, where are we?”
“Backend of Diagon Alley,” he looks up at me and the scowl is gone. “I’ll walk you home.”
“I know my way from here-”
“Evie, you’re drunk! Someone could take advantage-”
“Like you, you mean?” I like to think my tone is enough to silence him due to its iciness, but it was probably more due to the lack of sincerity behind the offer in the first place than my intimidation techniques. If he walked me home, it would lead to a goodnight kiss, and it was all too easy to fall into bed with the wrong guy when you faced an empty bed. His gaze was unfathomable, dark and heavy as though he was pretending he could hex me with his eyes.
The spell was broken by his head snapping up and an annoyed exhalation as his ears trained on some commotion far off. “Reporters,” he growled.
“Go,” I rolled my eyes at his conflicted expression. “Thank you for this evening. It was… interesting.”
“Yeah,” his lips twisted into a wry, empty grin.
“See you around.”
The way his eyes held mine made it feel like I’d made him an unbreakable vow. “Okay.”
Freddie Weasley spun, muttered a word under his breath, and was gone with a crack, disappearing into thin air.
Sweet Merlin, Harriet was going to murder me.
Having been left by one of the most sought after wizards of all time (Witch Weekly: June addition) the only sensible thing to do was to go and drink more. Thankfully drinking seemed to unite people, so upon entering The Silver Snitch pub already slightly inebriated I quickly made friends.
Slurring, blurred, shouting, alcoholic friends. But sometimes you’ve just got to take what you get.
“Tequila!” I wasn’t sure about beardy boy, his beard was a feeble attempt, patchy and reminiscent of a mangy dog.
But tequila was an excellent idea.
“Brillybobs!” Harriet’s vocabulary had a way of invading everyday life. “Gooooood idea,” I smiled at beardy, and slapped a hand on the bar. First to make a dramatic statement (more alcohol please bartender yessir) and second to hold myself upright. Pesky legs had decided they were two steps behind my brain and it was an effort to hold myself upright.
Placing the salt shaker beside the row of shots (our little group was rapidly expanding) the bartender accepted beardy boy’s payment and dishes out slices of lemons like a mother to a group of hyperactive kids at a birthday party.
“Let’s do bodyshots!” the way beardy boy clutches his designated shot and slice of lemon makes my stomach do a little twist at the thought of consuming anything that’s touched his skin, and it’s too late anyway as my shot glass is empty and there’s a burning in my mouth alongside the zing of lemon.
One girl trips into me, slings an arm around my neck. “Evieeee,” she slurs, and we both giggle, having bonded in the bathroom over our identical need to pee. “Karaoke?” Her blonde hair is now a ragged mess, having been elaborately curled and pinned when I walked in. Her make up smudged around brown doe eyes, she’s wasn’t the usual suspect for a midweek piss up. Her eyes had a vaguely desperate edge to them.
Karaoke is a brilliant idea. We cannot sing, but we do anyway, belting at the top of our lungs. All the classics, some new ones, voices reaching pitches that should be inhumane. The boys joined in, all of us yowling and collapsing into fits of giggles. Beardy boy actually has a half decent voice, but his crooning reminds me of Freddie and my face twists as I recognise the song as one of bloody Law’s.
Then Juliette suddenly starts bawling and slips down the wall to be a crumpled, crying mess on the floor. Snot and all.
“Wassamatter?” to protect a state of a girl is a natural female reaction, it seems, as I squat beside her and try to heave her up the wall. Staggering under her weight, we manage to make it to a corner table and she slumps into a chair, hands covering her face, shoulders shaking. The bartender places a glass of water on the table with a heavy sigh.
“Make sure she pukes outside,” he says in a monotone.
“Juliette!” scraping her hair out of the snot and tears, I try and sit on the chair next to her. Miss a bit, end up squatting beside it before managing to heave myself up.
“He- he said we weren’t even together!” I duck as her hand flail wildly. “I feel so… so used and dirty, my friends think I’m a liar and my life’s a mess!” she dissolves into tears, hiccoughing and using her hands to scrub at her face. Handing her a napkin, I pat her back comfortingly.
“It’s okay, it’s okay. All men are tosspots,” maybe we could form some club, the recently dumped. Tequila shots as the initiation. We could have debates over lemon and salt or cinnamon and orange. Though judging from the mess that Juliette currently was, tequila shots might be her undoing.
“He’s so famous and I didn’t know why he liked me, I felt so good and special and chosen!”
“Tosspot,” I confirm.
“And his best friend had to tell me – I got dumped by his friend. He used to sing that song to me!” she blows her nose on the napkin and scrubs her fingertips under her eyes, and I listen to the song that beardy boy’s still crooning and it hits me like a hammer, straight to my stomach which clenches in disgust and anger as I look at Juliette and how she cries.
Freddie Weasley, you bastard.
It was one of the conundrums of life, alcohol. It only seemed to be when you went to the toilet by yourself that you realised how drunk you were.
Palms flat against either side of the cubicle, peeing seemed to be both hysterical and incredibly hard. Hiccoughing, I could taste tequila.
Managing to pee successfully (and even pull my dress back into order) I peered into the mirror above the sink and evaluated my life decisions. The outcome was they all seemed to suck. I drove Tommy away; I was living in some shitty flat in Knockturn Alley, had just been on a date and photographed with a serial heartbreaker whose ex was outside in a heartbroken mess.
Tripping through the bathroom door, I was met by a concerned looking bartender.
“Your friend’s outside,” he grunted, looking pissed off as he summoned a mop and bucket full of soapy water.
Juliette is sitting on a chair outside, shakily smoking a cigarette. Pushing her blonde hair out of her eyes, she peers up at me. “I’m sorry Evie,” she mumbles.
“It’s okay, sweetie. I’m just down the road. C’mon,” heaving her up, I pull her arm around my shoulders and sling another arm around her waist. “Let’s go home.”
It’s an effort to get Juliette home, her leaning heavily on me and me not being the most sober person in the world, but we manage it. Half-lugging her up the stairs, it takes me a few attempts to get the key in the door and then shove it open with a kick when it sticks in the frame. It flies open, bouncing on the hinges and slamming against the wall behind it. The sudden noise shocks the flat, Juilette giggling a little.
“Nice lady,” she murmurs as I dump her on a chair and start yanking out the sofa bed.
“Tommy! Tommy!” it’s instinctive to yell his name, is shouted before I can stop it and I freeze, on my hands and knees under the sofa bed as I try to click the bloody hinges in place.
“Eva?” the voice makes me jump, whacking my head on the metal frame of the bed, and I crawl out swearing and rubbing my head, tears filling my eyes.
Eoin’s face is the picture of confusion, glancing between me and Juliette slumped on the chair.
“I’ll do that.” He bumps me out the way with his hip, then shoves me towards the kettle in the kitchen (all two strides away). Clicking it on, I watch as he secures the sofa bed up effortlessly, then pulls out the blankets and pillows from the cupboard. Arranging them on the bed, he stops and looks over at Juliette, then at me.
“Don’t ask,” I mutter, pouring water into two chipped mugs. Shrugging, Eoin pulls Juliette’s shoes off and (gently) manhandles her into the bed before flinging a blanket over her. She stirs, muttering quietly, her blonde hair a halo on the pillow surrounding her make-up smudged face.
Picking up both mugs, I carry the tea through to the bedroom and place them on the nightstand. Eoin follows me in, looking concerned.
“Evie…” He opens his arms out wide and I walk straight into them, smushing my face into his chest. Crazy, unreliable Eoin.
Pulling back, I run a tired hand over my face. “Can you sleep in here tonight?” A smirk crosses his face so I feel compelled to add, “no sex.” Smoothing my hair with one hand, Eoin presses a kiss to my forehead.
In the bathroom I change into one of Tommy’s old t-shirts and boxers, brushing my teeth as I scrub the carefully applied make-up with water. Eoin is shirtless when I walk back in, sipping his tea and looking the picture of domestic bliss. Clambering over him, I wriggle under the covers on my side and curl my hands around the mug. The tea tastes minty from the toothpaste and slightly disgusting, but in true British fashion I chug it down anyway.
Stretching out, I wriggle closer and rest my head on his shoulder.
“You’re drunk,” he accuses, resting his chin on the top of my head.
“How was the date?”
I groan quietly. “That’s his ex-girlfriend.”
“Ah,” he pulls the duvet up around us, in a little Eoin-Evie cocoon. “Do I need to beat him up?” his accent thickens, a rough edge marring the melodic lilt. “Smarmy git.”
“No,” I yawn widely and clutch the duvet closer. “It’s fine.” Burrowing further under the duvet, I put my back against Eoin and grin sleepily as he turns, pulling me back to him so we’re flush, legs entwined.
“Night, Evie darling.”
AN: once again, I am so sorry for the wait! But here it is, wooohooo. A mahooosive shout-out to silverashes, who had a computer glitch and didn't finish a review so PMed it to me! You sweetheart
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