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Chapter 2 : So... I'm Engaged?
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Disclaimer: Unfortunately I do not own Harry Potter, it belongs to J.K. Rowling. Although if I did I'd be writing this stuff from my beautiful beach house in Malibu.
another brilliant chapter image by clowder@TDA!
“Are you gonna say anything or are you just gonna stand there with your mouth open?” - James Potter II
My head was pounding and I cursed myself for drinking this much. Never again in my life! It felt like someone had taken one of them small plastic kiddie hammers and was smashing it as hard as they could against my skull. Not to mention I was feeling like every move I made was enough to make me throw up.
“Ugh!” I grunted when someone ripped away my nice warm bed sheets.
“Elle, get up and get this down you. You’ll feel better.” It was Molly and she was shouting, well it felt like she was shouting.
“Be quiet… my head is hurting.” I whined quietly into the armchair of the couch and curled up to preserve my body heat.
“Yeah, I know. This’ll help I promise.” She chucked a small vial at my shoulder and in it was a purple-ish liquid. I was a little suspicious about it, giving it a small sniff before retching, “Just drink it, Elle.” She ordered me sternly and I did as I was told.
The headache and nausea went away almost instantaneously and I nearly kissed Molly in happiness.
“That’s so much better, thanks, Moll.” I smiled, sitting up and seeing that I was still in my black dress from last night.
“You’re bag’s over there if you were wondering where it was.” Molly pointed near the front door where my little handbag was leant against the wall. Inside was a change of clothes, face wipes, deodorant, keys etcetera, etcetera.
“Cheers, I’ll get changed and get out of your hair.” I promised, swinging off the couch/my bed for the night, grabbing my bag and going into the spare bathroom.
“It’s no problem, stay for as long as you want!” she called through the door but I didn’t want to impose. I quickly slipped off the dress and pulled on my black leggings and a dark blue jumper that reached just below my arse. I then pulled my blonde hair into a ponytail, leaving my side-fringe free and exited.
“What time is it?” I asked casually, heading to the kitchen where Dom and Molly were eating slices of toast between themselves.
“It’s half one, why?” Dom said through a mouth full of food.
“Oh! Shit! I’m late for work!” I grabbed a bite of toast and quickly headed to the door. When I opened it, James Potter was stood comically with his hand raised as if he was about to knock. He coughed awkwardly as we both stood there,
“Uh… is Molly in?” he looked over my shoulder.
“Yeah… one sec…” I mumbled quietly before turning over my shoulder and shouting, “Molly! It’s for you!” and turning back to James.
“Thanks.” He chuckled at me.
“Sorry, excuse me.” I shuffled past him awkwardly, brushing my shoulder against his as I ran down the corridor. I just about made it to the café but was 10 minutes late for my shift.
“I am so sorry I am late, Michelle!” I hurried to the back, forgetting I was in normal clothing and shoving my apron on.
“And where have you been?” she arched her eyebrow at me. Michelle is my boss, in case you hadn’t noticed.
“My friends wanted me to go out last night and they didn’t know I had work today and they let me sleep in,” I rambled, “Of course I’m not blaming them because I should have told them but I was kind of distracted.”
“It’s fine, just work.” She rolled her eyes at me and ushered me forward, not mentioning anything about my choice of clothing. The lunch period was always the busiest so I was rushed right off my feet, making sure everyone got their lunch and coming back for re-fills that I didn’t even notice that James Potter had come in at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
“You’ve got an admirer.” Another blonde waitress, Kelly, nodded to me as she walked past me, nodding me towards the front of the shop where James was sat, watching me.
“Can I help you?” my fake-waitress smile was immediately plastered on and I walked up to him, holding a small pad of paper and my pencil hovering above ready to take his order.
“A lot actually.” he smirked up at me, leaning casually on his clenched fist.
“Right…” I looked at him unsurely, my pencil hovering above the paper awkwardly.
“I’ll just take a cup of coffee please.” He seemed to be aware of my nervousness and ordered something.
“Okay, I’ll bring that right to you.” I nodded, glad to be away from him as I slowly made him the cup of coffee he ordered.
“How did it go?” Kelly came up to me, getting a slice of chocolate cake from the glass case, she was acting as if the meeting was some sort of blind date.
“He ordered coffee.” I answered, rolling my eyes when she looked away from me to stare at him dreamily.
“Did you get his name?” she asked.
“It’s James, he went to my school actually.” I don’t know why I added that but it seemed appropriate, like a silent warning to Kelly.
“He’s so hot!” she blurted before going back to her customer and serving him the cake slice, occasionally sending James flirtatious glances.
“There you go.” I placed the coffee down on the table in front of him and turned to walk away.
“Wait! What time do you finish your shift?” he called out, making me turn around with my eyebrows raised.
“In about an hour, why?” I narrowed my eyes in confusion.
“No reason.” He smirked smugly and sipped his coffee. I rolled my eyes and carried on with my business, not forgetting that James was still sat in his seat by the front door.
“Elle, can I have a word in the back please?” Michelle called and I began to worry, I thought that I was gonna get in trouble for James staying in the shop until I was finished.
“Is it about James? Because I can get him to leave?” I started nervously.
“No, it’s not about… James,” she arched her eyebrow, she was a master at that I swear, “I was talking with some of the other waitresses and I’ve come to the decision,” oh God, she was gonna fire me, “That you haven’t had a day off ever since you started here and I think you should have at least a month off starting next week.” She looked at me sternly.
“I don’t need time off, I’m fine working… honestly.” I protested desperately, I couldn't have time to myself. That would only end badly.
“No, my decision is final. You are having time off and that’s that. Or would you like to find another job?” Damn.
“Fine, I’ll have a month off but after that I’m working straight away again.” I bargained.
“That’s fine by me,” She held her hands up and dismissed me, “You can leave now, here’s your pay.” She handed me a ten pound note. It wasn’t what I was usually paid but I didn’t work for a full day on a Saturday so that was why I didn’t get paid as much.
“Thanks Michelle.” I said even though in my head I was screaming and swearing expletives at her. I walked back out, putting the shoulder strap of my bag over my head and pulling out my purse so I could put my muggle money in it.
“So… now you’re off work, care to come to the Leaky Cauldron with me?” James asked, making me jump and drop my purse onto the floor with a start.
“Brilliant! Thank you very much!” I said sarcastically, picking up my purse and dusting off the disgusting London dirt from it.
“Not my fault you’re very jumpy all of a sudden.” He shrugged with that same smug smirk on his face.
“I am not jumpy, I just don’t like people sneaking up on me.” I rolled my eyes, depositing the money in it and putting it back in my bag.
“What do you say?” he asked, shoving his hands in his pockets.
“To what?” I had completely forgotten his initial question.
“Coming to the Leaky Cauldron with me? I wasn’t kidding when I said I needed your help.” He seemed a little desperate now and my curiosity was peaked.
“Why me?” I asked but I found myself walking with him towards said destination.
“Because you’re the only person who’ll make it seem believable.” He said vaguely and pushed open the door to the pub for me. I walked in and grabbed a booth near the back.
“And what would make you think that I want to help you? I don’t even know you.” I tried to arch an eyebrow at him like Michelle does but it didn’t work out as well as I initially thought.
“Well, for starters, you walked with me to the Leaky Cauldron so I’d say you are curious as to what my help is and second, you are sat here questioning me instead of walking away.” He pointed out and I scowled because he was right.
“What kind of help are you talking about?” I leaned forward. James went to order something but I declined saying I had stuff to do so there was no point in me getting anything.
“I need you to pretend to be my ‘fiancée’.” He said quietly, blushing and avoiding my eyes. My mouth dropped open in shock and I just stared at him.
“I-I’m sorry… w-what?!” I yelled and the whole pub turned around to stare at me, making me blush too.
“It’s a long story,” was all he said, “Do you need to do anything in Diagon Alley?” he changed the subject.
“Erm…” I was caught off guard by his sudden change, “Yeah, I need to go to Gringott’s.” I mumbled. He stood up and started walking so I had to hastily stand up and follow him to the bricked wall. He quickly tapped a certain brick and they moved to reveal the entrance.
“Why are you going to Gringott’s?” he asked, making conversation. What the hell was his deal? Asking me for help and then not even telling me what it was besides ‘I need you to pretend to be my fiancée’?
“I need to change my muggle money into wizarding money.” I found myself answering even though I didn’t particularly want to until he told me what he was going on about. My head was racing with a million different thoughts.
“Can we help you?” a scratchy voice alerted me to the fact that we had reached the desk where you make exchanges.
“Yeah, could I exchange this for wizarding money please?” I put the ten pound note on the counter and the goblin looked at it in disdain. He took it and rooted underneath the counter for money, producing two Galleons and three Sickles. I held in my sigh at how little it was but every galleon, sickle and knut counted towards my goal.
“Thanks.” I took the money and headed back out, “Will you explain now?” I put my hands on my hips sternly, facing James to see he was staring at me weirdly.
“Not here,” he grabbed my hand. Ee headed back out into muggle London and towards the nearest park, “Here’ll do.” He sat on a secluded bench and I hesitated before sitting down next to him but with a small space between us.
“Explain. Now.” I said simply, looking at him seriously.
“Basically, I’m sure you read about my last relationship,” he sighed and I thought back to all the Witch Weekly magazines that Molly had bought that had James and his girlfriend of nearly three years on the front page. I didn’t know much about it really because I tried not to judge but she was the sort of girl who you’d expect James Potter to be going out with, “My family are still convinced that I’m not over her… so I invented this girlfriend that I had been dating for the past two years in secret so they’d get off my back but…” he sighed again, “They want to meet her and they can’t because she doesn’t exist. Then Molly and them lot went out last night, I knew it was a scheme to get me out so I told them I was getting an engagement ring for her and it’s getting so complicated because I’m not getting married.” He scoffed.
“And why do you need me? Just tell them your reasons. I’m sure they’ll understand.” I placed my arm on his shoulder awkwardly.
“I need you to help for like a month to prove to them that I don’t care about her anymore,” that was a lie. It was a well-known fact that James wasn’t over her, “I can’t tell my family, you don’t understand. They’ll just think I was inventing this girlfriend to cope with losing her.” I wasn’t about to point out that that was exactly what he was doing.
“I’m sorry James… I still don’t understand, why me?” I was genuinely curious. Surely he knew many other girls who would jump at the chance to pretend to be his fiancée.
“Because you’ll be more believable if my family have never met you.” he explained.
“Hate to be a bummer but Molly, Dom, Fred and Al know me. I’ve been friends with Molly for years and Dom kind of just happens to be there sometimes,” I pointed out as well, “And I met Fred and Al last night when I went out with them.”
“Ah… that’s why you were at Molly’s,” he nodded his head with a smile as if that explained everything, “Don’t worry about Fred and Al, they were probably already drunk enough not to remember your face,” he said and I got a little offended, huffing and standing up to walk away, “Hang on, no sorry! I didn’t mean it like that!” He ran and stopped in front of me, stopping me from going any further.
“I’m not doing it James… sorry but you’re just going to have to explain to them that you made it up and deal with the consequences.” I shrugged, glaring at him and walking round him.
“I’ll do anything! Please!” he pleaded, catching up to me, “Do you have anything you want? I can pay for it. An apartment or a car or something.” He bargained and I stopped. I only had about fourty-three galleons left and I could pay for the Healer Training Programme that I had wanted to sign up for ever since I left Hogwarts.
However, I never had enough money to save up and pay for my apartment rent as well so I ended up being kicked out and living at my sister’s house. Five years, five whole fucking years and I was still so far off actually being admitted. And James comes into my life with this ridiculous request and if I did it, I could finally become a Healer. But then I’d have to pretend to be his fiancée for however long it takes.
“You do, don’t you?” he looked down at me with a renewed smirk, “Just do this for me and I’ll pay for anything… please!” his tone implied he was ready to get down on his knees and beg. Oh God, I was in such a rut. If I said yes, I’d be given the money to start training and quit my stupid job. If I said no, all that disappeared along with the vision of a plush looking apartment to myself with a fully-working kitchen, a separate living room and a massive bedroom. Just for me and knowing that I had paid for the apartment and could continue to pay for it.
“Fine. Fine, I’ll do it.” I sighed, knowing I’d just opened myself up to a whole lot of shit. Before I had the chance to react, James had picked me up off the ground and twirled me round in the air.
“Thank you! Thank you so much!” he cried with happiness, “But there’s one other thing…” he looked down at the floor when he put me down.
“Oh God… what?” I asked a little apprehensively.
“We’re not actually engaged yet…” he looked up at me, wincing slightly and thinking I was going to slap him but I didn’t understand what the problem was.
“It means I’m going to have to propose… and I told Freddy that I’d do it tonight at my Nan’s family get-together… in front of everyone.” He pawed the ground and my mouth dropped open in shock again, “It was just to get him off my back as well but it looks like we’re actually going to have to do it…” he had the grace to look embarrassed and ashamed.
“Y-you… I, uh, just… w-what?!” I stuttered oh so attractively.
“Which means we’ll have to go ring shopping now so I can get a ring… I didn’t actually get one last night because the plan only really formed this morning,” he rambled, “Are you gonna say anything or are you just gonna stand there with your mouth open?”
“What the fuck am I supposed to say to that?!” I hissed.
“I dunno…” he shrugged, too nonchalantly for this whole thing.
“Oh God…” I breathed heavily, looking around me for any signs of escape.
“It’s okay… you don’t have to pick a mega big ring.” He reassured me but he had no idea what was running through my head. He seemed to think I’d relaxed, grabbed my hand and pulled me with him, looking for a ring shop. I was practically being dragged in a daze. What have I let myself get into?! Why the hell did I say yes? God, I’m such a selfish bitch. Why me? Why me?
“This one’ll do… given the circumstances.” He shrugged sheepishly. He pushed open the door and I felt like I was about to face Voldemort himself, I was seriously feeling that much dread. My eyes were immediately drawn to a beautiful engagement ring that literally blinded me as I walked in. It was set in a dark blue velvet case and the ring itself wasn’t big, it was just very… silver. I figured it had a lot of diamonds in it because of the amount of zeroes on the end of the price tag.
“That one’s nice, you want it?” James came up behind me, placing his hands on my waist and I tensed up, “Just play along, it makes it more believable.” He hissed into my ear and it took a while before I actually marginally relaxed.
“No, it’s too expensive.” I turned away from where I was stood, practically drooling at it. It was weird that I was ring shopping with someone that I was not in fact marrying, or knew all that well actually, but pretending to be engaged to. I thought I’d be doing this when my life was actually sorted and I wasn’t sponging off other people and with someone I genuinely loved.
“I don’t care if it’s too expensive, if you like it, I’ll buy it.” He scoffed, placing a kiss on my temple as the shop owner had just come out the back to see us. It was all so weird that I actually thought I was having a strange dream and that I'd wake up in a few minutes when Molly violently shakes me awake, like she always does.
“Ring shopping, eh?” he guessed.
No, we’re hunting horcruxes… sheesh, you’d think a room full of rings was a giveaway.
And he was working in a fucking ring shop?! Why else would people come in here if it wasn’t for ring shopping? Idiot. I looked up at James, whose arm was now around my shoulder, and he looked like he was thinking the exact same thing.
“Yeah, she’s not found one she likes yet.” He answered kindly.
“Just take your time, I could help if you’d like…?” he drifted off so I would tell him my name.
“Elle.” I answered, unhooking myself from James as casually as possible and coming forward to look at the rings that were, obviously, the cheapest ones.
“We have a wide range of rings, each with different carats of gold or silver in each or you can have personalised ones.” He was trying to lead me to the more expensive rings but I was adamant.
“I’m not looking for anything fancy.” I continued looking through the different ones under the glass in front of me.
“Elle, honestly, I mean it when I say money is not a worry.” James rolled his eyes, coming forward to place an arm around my waist again. Making me tense up almost immediately.
“I know but I don’t want anything too fancy,” I replied adamantly and he gave up, “That one. I love that one.” I eventually pointed out a beautiful silver ring with a very small diamond in the centre.
“Are you sure?” James looked at it unsurely as the ring guy took it out and I tried it on my left hand, it looked absolutely perfect.
“Yes, this one is perfect for me.” I held it away from my face to study it and I smiled, forgetting that it was all pretend for a second.
“Okay, we’ll take that one,” James smiled at the server, “Is it okay if I come back and collect it later? I have some stuff to take care of before.” The guy behind the counter looked between us with a knowing glance and I felt myself blush. This was the most embarrassing thing that I’d ever had to endure.
He thought we were about to go home and have hot, passionate, newly engaged sex. God, like that was ever going to happen but James didn’t say anything to discourage him, in fact he looked down at me with a smirk. This was so embarrassing! Ground, just swallow me up please?
“Sure, we’ll keep it in the back. Do you know how long you’ll be?” he asked. Without breaking eye contact with me, James replied,
“About an hour.” And I had to refrain from rolling my eyes. We walked back out and once we were a good distance away from the shop, I quickly put a good distance between myself and James. Roughly shoving his arm off me.
“God, he probably thinks we’re going to be having sex for an hour now!” I moaned, covering my red face embarrassingly.
“We could be.” James winked at me and I hit him on the arm, glaring at him.
“What ‘stuff’ have you got to take care of anyway?” I asked, changing the subject swiftly away from the image.
“You,” he replied and then hastily added when I blushed even more, “But not in a sexual way. I just need to make sure we’re prepped for tonight. We need to make it plausible.”
“Oh… okay… where are we going?” I asked, when I realised we were just walking around randomly.
“To yours, wherever that is.” He stopped in the middle of the pavement causing the person behind us to swear and swerve around us quickly.
“Well I’m, uh, currently living at my sister’s.” I mumbled quietly as my face flushed even redder.
“Oh, we gonna apparate there?” he asked, having the decency not to say anything.
“Yeah.” I answered, pulling him into a deserted alley where no-one would see us and apparating to my sister’s.
“Elle, is that you?” I heard my sister shouting as I opened the front door.
“Yeah!” I shouted back before turning to James, “Fair warning… my niece and nephew are a bit… overwhelming.” I warned him before said children came running from the living room.
“Lellie!” Ruari leapt into my open arms and I twirled him around like I usually do.
“Hey kiddo! Whatcha been doing today?” I asked, not putting him down and motioning James to the living room from where he was loitering awkwardly from outside.
“Mum let me watch TV and I watched Spongebob all day!” he yelled loudly, fidgeting out my arms as he saw the TV was still on. I put him down as Charity turned round, a bit shocked that James was here, and stood up suddenly.
“Hey!” she hugged me like she usually did, “How was work?” she questioned, deciding to ignore the elephant in the room.
“It was busy, as usual.” I rolled my eyes, picking up Gabby and blowing a raspberry on her stomach.
“James, is it? Hello.” Charity stuck her hand out formally and James took it.
“Yeah. Nice to meet you Charity.” He smiled nervously, his hands shoved casually back in his jean pockets.
“What brings you to my house?” she asked suspiciously, taking Gabby off me and turning to me.
“He’s, uh, helping me with something then we’re going out for dinner.” I answered as nonchalantly as possible for me, “So… we’ll be in my room, if you need me.”
“Elle…?” she said warningly.
“God! Not like that, Charity!” I scoffed and zoomed up the stairs with James hot on my heels.
“Sorry about that, she likes to question me a lot.” I apologised shutting the door behind me and becoming really nervous that James was in my bedroom. It seems a few people were assuming I was having sex with him… brilliant.
“It’s fine… your family is quite normal compared to mine,” He laughed, sitting on the edge of my bed, “Nice wall decorations.” He smirked.
“Shut it! It’s not my room… well, it is for now but when Gabby needs it, it’s hers.” I explained. So what if I had My Little Pony wallpaper? Stupid, judgemental idiot.
“Okay…?” he raised an eyebrow. How do people do that?!
“So, what is this ‘stuff’ you need to sort with me?” I asked, crossing my arms and not sitting down because to be honest, I was a little nervous to.
“Firstly, we need a story of how we met. Already got that covered… we met at your café, I came in and we talked on your break, I asked you out… much like today really but we can add minor details here and there,” he explained rapidly and I had to genuinely listen if I wanted to hear everything he was saying, “Second, we’re going to have to know a lot about each other but I doubt anybody’s going to be asking us any serious questions other than, how we met and about the engagement.”
“Right… I think I got all that.” I nodded unsurely.
“And I’m going to have to help you pick something to wear. They probably have an idea of what you might look like so I want to avoid that image all together especially if they think I’m getting engaged.” He stood up and walked to Gabby’s wardrobe where all my clothes were stashed for now. All I had was my work uniform, a few summer dresses, some jeans, trackie bottoms and plain tops in there. James pulled out each dress before deciding he didn’t like them.
“Do you not have anything else? Something that looks a little girl-next-door-y.” he asked, closing the doors.
“Not really, I could ask Charity though,” I exited the room and shouted down the stairs, “Charity, could I borrow a dress for tonight please?”
“Sure… make sure you get it back to me though!” she shouted back.
“Let’s have a look in her wardrobe.” I motioned for James to follow me into the main bedroom and opened the small wardrobe. He searched for a few minutes before bringing out a long maxi dress that had a floral pattern all over it.
“This is perfect!” he held it up against me and smiled, “This one will do. Do you have any flats or sandals you could wear with it?” he asked when we walked back into my room.
“I have my work shoes.” I pointed to a pair of black dolly shoes in the corner that I had forgotten to wear for work today. I was still in my jumper, leggings and boots.
“No, they won’t go at all. Hmmm, what size are you?” he suddenly asked.
“Oh no, you aren’t buying me shoes for just one night!” I protested.
“I’m buying a bloody engagement ring for one month! Shoes are nothing compared to that.” He pointed out and I shut my mouth.
“Size 6.” I huffed grumpily.
“Great, I’ll leave you to get ready and I’ll come and pick you up at half five?” he placed the dress on my bed and I walked him to the door.
“Okay, see you at half five.” I stood awkwardly in the doorway. James surprised me by placing a swift, chaste kiss on my lips and pulled away with a smirk, “You’re going to have to be more convincing if you want my family to believe it.” He chuckled and apparated away.
That got me thinking, I’m gonna have to pretend to be the stereotypical newly engaged girl. I’m gonna have to snog him, and I mean, properly snog him. Oh dear God… I quickly ran back up to my room and hopped in the shower, quickly washing my hair and body. I had no idea what to expect tonight and the only thing I had to go on was James’ description of how he wanted me to look, which was ‘girl-next-door’.
When I got out, I dried my hair with my wand and waved it just a tiny bit so it looked natural, leaving it down. By the time I had finished all this, it was five o’clock and I had half an hour to get ready. I pulled on the dress, putting the dark blue knitted jumper that I was wearing earlier over the top because I think it made me look cute-sy, plus it matched the blue patterns on the dress. Ugh. Then I put a little bit of eye-liner on my top lids, some mascara and I pinched my cheeks to have a little natural colour to them. Then I was ready to go. My nerves were just all over the place when James turned up, holding a pair of beige coloured, leather gladiator sandals for me to quickly slip on. They were absolutely perfect for the outfit and James agreed.
“The jumper’s a nice touch.” He smirked and I hit him over the arm.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this.” I rolled my eyes, saying goodbye to Charity, Ruari and Gabby before apparating with James to The Burrow.
“Just calm down, hopefully everything will be fine.” He reassured me, grabbing my hand as we approached the door. I could hear loud chatter from inside as James knocked on the door hard. A few seconds went by slowly until an old woman, with slightly greying hair, opened the door, smiling warmly at James and then in shock at me.
“James, dear, it’s so lovely to see you!” she gushed, pulling him in for a hug and kissing him on the cheek.
“Hey, Nan,” he embraced her back with a genuine happy smile on his face, “Nan, this is Elle… the one I’ve been telling everyone about.” He stepped to the side and announced this as if I was his greatest treasure and I blushed violently.
“It’s lovely to finally meet you,” she pulled me into an unexpected hug but I hugged her back anyway, “What am I doing? So rude of me,” she mumbled to herself when she let me go, “Come in, come in! The adults are inside and all the kids are outside.” She explained as James let me go in first. My heart was pumping so loud I was afraid everyone could hear it.
“Don’t be nervous, everyone will love you. Just like I do.” James looked down at me with such genuine emotion that I almost believed him. Almost. But then a crashing thought came into my head, he was probably pretending you were his last girlfriend.
“James is right sweetheart! We’ve waited this long to actually meet you that everyone will be so welcoming.” James’ Nan, Molly, reassured me. James’ arm wound round my waist as I tried so hard to relax but all I could think about was that the Weasley/Potter clan was a very big family.
“Let’s do this.” He whispered, more to himself than me, and headed into the living room. He decided to go first instead of me this time and I was grateful. The conversations of adults in the room slowed to a hush and then to complete silence as they looked between myself and James.
“Hey everyone… I want you to meet my girlfriend, Elle.” James announced rather nervously and I was too. I could see Harry, Ron, Hermione, Bill, Fleur, Charlie, George, Angelina, Percy and his wife all staring at me in shock. Ginny was the first to rush forward and give me a hug.
“Oh, it’s been so long that I’ve wanted to meet you! You’re different to what I imagined,” she let me go to have a proper look at me, “But it’s a good different!” she added after seeing that maybe she’d possibly offended me.
“Thank you.” I blushed.
“Nice to meet you at last, Elle.” Harry was the second and held out his hand. I shook it nervously, I mean I was meeting the guy who defeated the Darkest Wizard of all time, “No need to be nervous, just a normal guy.” He held his hands up and smiled soothingly at me. I was then passed around each member and they all said how happy they were to finally meet me after hearing James harp on and on about me for two years.
“Can I have my girlfriend back please?” James joked, coming to stand next to me and I relaxed a little more because at least there was someone that I knew, slightly, there, he kissed my temple and I fake-happy smiled.
“Let’s go outside and sit everyone down, yes?” Nanna Molly announced, shooing everyone outside. That’s when I realised that I’d been too caught up in meeting everyone else to realise that Molly was going to be outside.
“Guys, guess who’s finally brought his secret girlfriend?” The older Molly shouted over the cluster of people outside. I’d never realised how big the family actually was until I saw all of them together… there must have been around thirty of them now, well it looked like there was. The others all were quiet as the parents went to sit down in their seats.
“Oh my God! Elle, is that you?!” I recognised Molly’s voice instantly and winced at the undisguised anger in it.
“Hi.” I said sheepishly. She charged forward with Dom on her heels.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were secretly dating my cousin for two years? I’m supposed to be your best friend and best friends tell each other things!” she shouted, everyone had gone quiet now and were listening to her rant.
“I… just, uh, I…” I stammered nervously.
“Molly, leave her alone. I was the one who told her not to tell anyone, including you.” James glared at her harshly before she backed off.
“I still can’t believe you kept it a secret from me. Me of all people! I’m the nosiest git there is!” she laughed and I hoped she’d forgiven me. She was really good at disguising her anger unless it was really bad.
“Not in front of my kids, Molly!” a girl I recognised as Victoire, scolded her as she covered her little girl’s ears.
“Oh, get lost Vicky.” Molly rolled her eyes and dragged me to the table to sit next to her. Everyone left the seat next to me open as James was supposed to sit there, obviously.
“So, how did you two meet?” Rose was the first one to start asking questions, James told me on the way here that she would be. Scorpius, her boyfriend, was sat next to her and rolled his eyes.
“Well, I was at work at a café in London. It was a muggle one and he just walked in one day,” I started telling the story whilst James sat there with a fond smile, his arm slung over my shoulder with his index finger drawing lines or shapes on my neck or shoulder occasionally, “I was on a break and thought I’d talk to him because there wasn’t that many wizards, that I recognised, that come into the café. I said hi and everything and we ended up talking for ages. I almost got fired but he took me to the Leaky Cauldron after my shift, and yeah.” I finished lamely, smiling up at him as he kissed my temple again.
“Awww! That’s so cute!” Roxanne butted in, clapping happily. She was one of the youngest of all the Weasleys/Potters, being in her last year at Hogwarts.
“Thanks.” I smiled a little nervously. It was so weird, I was surrounded by a massive family and they all believed that I was his girlfriend and pretty soon, they were going to believe that he was proposing to me. I was pretty much introduced to the rest of the family as we ate and people were asking us questions, thankfully I could answer a few and the ones I couldn’t, James did.
“Soooo… best friend, why did you keep it a secret?” Molly finally looked at me when we all stood around after eating. The question managed to bring everyone to silence again as they looked at us. We didn’t prepare an answer for this and I could see James fidgeting nervously next to me so I improvised,
“We wanted to keep it a secret because, well because we wanted to see if we were serious about each other before telling anybody,” I looked up at James to see him smiling, thank God, “Because we all know about that happened with his last relationship being in the news and stuff.” I shrugged and could feel James’ arm tense up.
“Makes sense.” Molly nodded her head and I inwardly blew out a sigh of relief.
“Molly, leave them alone. They probably have answered more questions than they really needed to tonight.” Molly’s Mum looked at her sternly.
“Yes Mum.” She dropped her gaze to floor and glared at it.
“James… why does Fred keep smirking at me like that?” I asked him, looking away from Fred’s smug face worriedly.
“Fred, stop it.” James glared at him with a knowing glance and Fred smirk grew wider.
“Why are you smirking at me?” I asked him blatantly because he didn’t stop.
“No reason.” He chuckled and that’s when I noticed most of his family were watching us eagerly.
“James, everyone’s staring at us.” I whispered.
“I know, they’re waiting for me to propose.” He rolled his eyes and whispered back to make sure no-one could hear.
“Oh.” Was all I said.
“Are you Elle?” Victoire’s daughter tugged on my dress to get my attention.
“Yeah, what’s your name?” I knelt down so I was on her level.
“Annabel Roselle Lupin.” She stated proudly.
“That’s a lovely name, how old are you?” I asked, ignoring the weird looks I was getting from Victoire and Teddy.
“Six and a half.” She smiled, holding up her fingers to show me.
“Wow! I have a nephew that’s six years old too. He’s called Ruari.” I explained before she grabbed my hand pulled my off to the bottom of the garden suddenly, “Where are we going?”
“I found something and I wanna show you!” she said, still dragging me along.
“Ooh, what is it? I love finding things!” I put on the voice I use to talk to Ruari.
“It’s a pond and there’s lots of tadpoles in it! Mummy won’t let me take any home!” she moaned, pointing into said pond with short fingers.
“That’s so cool,” I whispered, looking where she was pointing and seeing tiny little spots darting around the pond, “But you know why you can’t take them home right?” I looked at her, she was sat on the floor with crossed legs and I copied her.
“Because their Mummy will be worried about where they are. It will be like someone taking you home without telling your Mummmy. And your Mummy will be worried.” I explained.
“Oh, I understand that. I don’t want Mummy to be worried.” She said so adorably that I wanted to cuddle her in my arms.
“No we don’t.” I heard a scuffling behind me and I looked to see James had Fred in a headlock and was play-fighting with him, a small smile briefly flitted across my face.
“You’re very pretty.” I turned back to Annabel, her fingers were twirling through my hair.
“Thank you, so are you.” I smiled at her and she beamed back up at me.
“Hey… erm… can I speak to you, Elle?” I looked up to see James stood there, scratching the back of his neck.
“Sure, what’s up?” I grabbed his offered hands and was pulled up off the floor, dusting the grass off my behind.
“Annabel! Come here and leave James and Elle alone!” Victoire called to her daughter, who stood up and ran off to her Mum. Her blonde hair whipping behind her as she skipped back happily.
“I’m going to propose now… so, you know, get ready.” He whispered, putting his hand in his pocket and pulling out the small box.
“Oh God, what do I do?” I whispered nervously.
“Just pretend to be shocked then overly excited.” He advised before getting down on one knee and opening the box. Instead of the ring I was expecting to see, the small one I had picked out, he had gone back and bought the other one that I had been drooling over and my hand flew to my mouth.
“James…?” I gasped out of pure shock. He really shouldn’t have bought me that ring, as much as I liked it, it was too over the top for me and I preferred the other one.
“Will you marry me?” he said loud enough for the rest of his family to hear him. I stood there in shock for a few seconds and they dragged out slowly, then I saw the look of James face and plastered a big smile on my face. Remembering that I needed to pretend to be over-excited.
“Yes!” I said loudly as well. He breathed out a sigh of relief, slipped the ring on my finger and picking me up in a fast spin. When he placed me on the floor, his lips crashed onto mine and we started snogging. Now I would be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying this, because I was, it was just… a snog and that was it.
“Ahem.” A cough forced us apart and I put my head in James’ chest to hide the bright red blush that was now on my cheeks. Maybe we got a bit carried away, “Here.” I noticed Nanna Molly was holding a champagne glass to both me and James.
“Thanks.” I mumbled embarrassingly and took it off her, she motioned for us to join everyone else, who also had champagne glasses.
“Wishful thinking, don’t you think? For all you know, she could have said no.” James chuckled with my arms still around his waist.
“With the way you’ve been looking at each other all night, I doubt she would have said no.” Ginny pointed out with a melancholic expression on her face. I think we’d managed to fool them, I thought as I gave James a smug smirk to which he reciprocated.
“A toast then?” Arthur, I hadn’t seen him appear, held his glass up, “To a happy and long marriage!” and everyone chorused with cheers, James even leaned to down to kiss me again.
“Oh, get a room!” Molly broke us apart again and I stuck my tongue out at her. I had got a system now, I was just going to pretend that he was a celebrity or that guy that I really liked in Hogwarts for this whole thing. And that way maybe it would be over faster and go smoothly.
“We will.” James responded making me blush and whack his chest again.
“James!” I whined, covering my face again. Why did he make things so embarrassing all the time?
“Anyway, we must be off. It’s Annabel’s bedtime.” Victoire left with Teddy and her daughter after saying goodbye to everyone. Slowly, the family members trickled out until it was just me, James, Lily, Al, Fred, Molly, Ginny and Harry left. Even James' grandparents had retired for the evening.
“I’m so happy and proud of you son.” Harry clapped James on the back and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek before departing with Ginny.
“We best be off as well, need to get you home.” James looked down at me with a raised eyebrow.
“Ew! I don’t need to know that James!” Molly moaned, putting her hands over her ears.
“Not like that Molls.” I rolled my eyes and said goodbye with everyone before apparating with James outside my sister’s house.
“Well done! They actually believed it!” James smiled widely, handing me the ring box and I took the ring off and put it in the box, “This is probably going to be easier than I thought!” He ran a hand through his hair.
“Yeah… goodnight,” I opened the door. James gave me a smile and apparated on the spot, “Oh God… if the next month is gonna be like that, I think I’m going to die an early death.” I muttered to myself.
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