Chapter 20 : Chapter the Twentieth
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I want to spend it with my Hogwarts girls as I miss them so much. It makes me really sad because we promised each other we wouldn’t lose touch but I only occasionally get a letter from Lisa. I have no clue what the others are up to.
All this time passed and I just forgot about them. It makes me sound like such a shitty friend. So I decide to write them all a letter to meet up. I really hope they can come out. I just want to go to a Muggle nightclub and have some fun with them. I haven’t had much time off lately, it’s been crazy how much I’ve been working. I’ve hardly seen Elliot either but at the moment I think my friends take priority.
I Disapparate to Diagon Alley where the post office is so I can mail the letters. I really should get an owl.
Ah well, I wrote my phone number on the end (both the stupid mobile and the home one) so I’m praying they also jumped on the wagon of getting more integrated within the Muggle world.
I walk around Diagon Alley for a bit, pop into the Apothecary to see James – who looks delighted that I’ve paid him a surprise visit – and then pop by the Leaky to say hello to Hannah and the others. Henry is so excited to see me again, he literally picks me up and twirls me in a circle crying out loudly that he’s missed me.
Bless that boy.
After an hour of roaming Diagon Alley, I Apparate to Elliot’s place to give him a quick hello – he is also swamped in work as the Quidditch World Cup will be happening this year and they need to prepare for it so I don’t stay very long. He isn’t in a good mood (he never is when he’s surrounded by paperwork) and then I pop by the Burrow. I’ve taken to visiting Grandad a lot just so he won’t get lonely. He doesn’t mind though but half the time he’s usually in the back fiddling with the car and because his hearing isn’t one hundred per cent, he never hears me.
I make the two of us a tea and he tells me all about his progress with the car. “I think it’s nearly ready to fly!” Grandad says excitedly. “But don’t tell your mother yet, she’ll most likely try and take it away from me.”
I laugh. “I promise I won’t, Grandad. But it goes invisible doesn’t it?” He nods with a big smile. “Then Mum shouldn’t worry about anything!”
He ponders that for a moment. “Well… the invisibility only lasts for a few minutes. And it can’t go too high up in the sky because the clouds make it go all funny…”
I want to shake my head. I now see where Mum’s coming from. I don’t tell him that though. “Ah well,” I say. “You’ll just have to work on it a little longer, hey? And at least Louis is helping you!”
“And Lucy. She has a knack for all those Muggle contraptions. Only just found out about it recently! She’s hoping to join the same department I was when I worked at the Ministry,” he says proudly. “She and Louis would be working together if she gets the job.”
That’s news to me. “That’s great! She’ll be good at that!” He nods and then he talks to me about Lilycakes. I notice that his voice gets a bit wobbly while we talk about it but he keeps a brave face. I smile and tell him that business is good – although it is a bit of a fib. “Although, I’ve hardly had a day off!” I say sadly. “This is my first day off and nearly everyone is busy.”
“Lucky,” Grandad says. “I never get a day off.” I laugh and he smiles kindly at me. “I know you’re working hard but it will be worth it one day. It’s going to pay itself off.”
I smile at him and then finish off the tea. “Anyway, Grandad, I better get going. I’ll see you later?” He nods and I give him a kiss on the cheek before Disapparating with a crack!
I land in my own bedroom (I’m getting really good at that lately, it’s great!) and then poke my head out. “Glitter?” I call.
“Lily!” he screeches. “I have just had the most amazing email! Look at it! Look, look, look!”
I run outside and he’s bouncing up and down, pointing to his laptop. I fix my glasses up and peer at the screen, quickly reading it. I gasp. “Oh my god! Are you going on a cruise ship to perform?!”
He nods excitedly. I think he has tears in his eyes. “Oh, Glitter! I’m so proud of you!” I give him a big hug and kiss his cheek. He hugs me back and spins me in a circle, sobbing happily.
“Only ten people got picked and I was one of them! Can you believe it?!” he says, wiping at his eyes.
I grin. “Of course! You’re a bloody good dancer, Glitter! Your mum is going to be so proud!”
He beams. “I know. And the best part is I have to fly to Australia – that’s where the cruise is – and spend a week there before going on an eight day long cruise! And I get to travel all the islands as well! And free non-alcoholic drinks!”
“Oh my god!” I say, my hands going to my mouth in shock. “Can I come too?!
He laughs. “If only. I’ve responded and I start going to practices soon. I have three weeks to learn it all here and then I spend the whole week in Australia practicing it. Like I know the main stuff – we had to learn it for our auditions – but they’re going to clean it up, add or remove parts so it’s not going to be too hard. I can’t wait!”
“I’m so happy for you,” I say honestly. “That’s fantastic. Oh my god.” I can’t think of anything else to say so I just hug him again.
“Oh by the way, you got a couple of letters before. By owl,” he says nonchalantly, gesturing to the breakfast bar. He sits back down at the dining table and starts tapping away at his computer as I open up one of the letters.
Lily! I haven’t heard from you in so long! I miss you so much! Tomorrow night I can go out, I’ll meet you at 8:30 (I heard it’s free entry before 9!). Can’t wait to see you again! – Lisa xx
I’m so glad Lisa can make it! I do a small cheer and then open the letter from MJ. I know it’s hers because it’s written in spiky orange ink. It was her signature ink at Hogwarts.
Hey, Lil! Thanks for inviting me but I’m currently in Paris – have been for a while. Sorry I can’t make it but drink for me! Have fun and happy twentieth :)
Aw, that sucks. I’m surprised the owl got all that way so fast though! Then I look and see that on the bottom of her note she wrote that her Mum received it so she quickly Flooed over to give it to her and then waited for her so she could send a letter in return. I must thank Emma-Jane (her mother) for that lovely deed when I next see her.
I hope Lara can come but knowing her (or not knowing her since I haven’t spoken to her since… forever) she’ll probably just turn up.
I start cooking dinner for myself – Glitter is going out with his friends to celebrate – and sit down on the couch, feeling a bit lonely. I haven’t been alone in a long time and I haven’t wanted to be. I shake my head and turn on Glitter’s laptop to watch some reruns of Doctor Who.
My birthday has been quite uneventful. Mum had the people who could take the day off come over for lunch and Elliot joined us for a little bit before dashing back to work. I got a lovely bangle from him – a silver one with a little star dangling on it – and mostly just some money from everyone else. I’m not complaining though because the shop isn’t going too well at the moment and money has been tight. I’m trying not to stress out because we’re making our budget but only barely.
Eventually I return home and start getting ready for our night out. It’s just the Hogwarts girls (Lara responded and said she could come which is great!) so it’s going to be like old times.
Not that ‘old times’ ever constituted going out to a nightclub. This is actually the first time I’m going out to one of these things. It’s weird. I’ve never really been one for those types of things but I know if I don’t go I’m going to regret it. I’m only young once.
Carpe diem. YOLO. Live fast, die young.
I let Elliot know where we are going in case we need him to come rescue us (our track record isn’t that great with alcohol and he offered) but he didn’t laugh when I said that. I think it’s just the stress.
Although I wish he would just suck it up and be happy for today. It is my birthday. I don’t want my boyfriend to be in a grumpy mood. Is it that hard to plaster a smile on your face for a few hours?
I decide to take a taxi so I can try and see if I can memorise the route. We are always told, ‘Don’t drink and Apparate,’ so I want to have my options open.
I pay the driver with my birthday money and then get out of the cab, seeing Lara and Lisa waiting in the line. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LILY!” Lisa screeches out, holding her arms out for a hug. I run to her and give her a big hug.
“Oh my god, I’ve missed you. I’m so sorry for being a lousy friend!” I break away from Lisa and give Lara a big hug. I join them in the line and give them apologetic grins.
“It’s okay!” Lisa says. “We’ve all been lousy, to be quite honest. So what have you been up to? How’s the bakery?!”
I laugh and tell them all about my life for the past year – they offer their condolences when I tell them about Nana – and then ask them about their lives.
Lisa is still working in the Department of Mysteries. She’s moved out with a work colleague in a small house in the outer city. Lara is still living with her parents and keeps switching jobs but seems happy.
This sounds mean, but I feel like my life is the only exciting one. The others just seem to have such bland lives but I’m constantly doing something. It’s weird.
Lisa gasps, “Did you hear about MJ, though?” Lara grins, obviously knowing what happened to MJ.
“You mean her living in Paris?” They shake their heads so I ask, “What happened?”
Lara and Lisa exchange a smirk. “She’s pregnant! That’s why she’s living in France! The guy who knocked her up lives in France and wants to be close to the baby and he couldn’t get a transfer to the UK but MJ could and so now she lives there! They aren’t dating – I think they have a ‘friends with benefits’ scheme going on – but she seems alright. I talk to her Mum occasionally and she says that she’s happy so…” Lisa drifts off and watches my reaction.
I blink. “Woah. This might sound mean but—”
“If it were to happen to anyone it would be MJ?” Lara guesses accurately.
I grimace. “Am I a bitch for thinking that?”
Lisa laughs. “Of course not. Even she knows it. I sent her a letter when I found out and she actually said, ‘Yeah, of course it’d be me. But ah well. I’ll have this baby in March and become all mothering and shit,’” she says with a grin. I laugh. Typical MJ.
“I’ll have to send her a letter then. Congratulating her? And March?! She’s due soon, then!” I say incredulously.
Lara nods but before she can say anything we’re at the top of the line and the security guard asks for our IDs. He barely glances at them but grunts at me, “Happy birthday,” before lifting up the rope to let us in.
“Thanks!” I call over my shoulder and then walk in. The music is so loud, even out here where we drop our coats off. It’s basically vibrating the whole place. Lisa gestures to us to follow her so I grab her hand and Lara’s and we push our way through the throng of people. She gestures to the bar to get a drink and we nod. We may as well start as soon as we can.
“I’m paying for this drink!” Lisa screams at me. “Consider it a birthday present!” I laugh and then Lara screams too, “I’m paying for your next one!”
“Can I pay for the one after that?” someone asks from behind me. I turn around and see an unfamiliar guy smiling at me.
“Er… no, sorry,” I say unsurely.
“Aw, why not?” he says. “You got a boyfriend or summat?”
“As a matter of fact,” I say, “I do.” His smile drops. “And I don’t know you all too well. I’ll just stick with my friends and you can stick with yours?” He nods and then walks away, leering onto the next girl. Creep.
Lisa bought me a vodka orange and I can hardly taste the alcohol in it, making me drink it fairly quickly. Lara buys me a Quick Fuck and then I buy a Slippery Nipple. I giggle at the names. Who names drinks? Shots always have the best names, though.
The alcohol has already started getting to me so then we deem it appropriate to dance. We shove our way through the crowd and then start lurching and jumping around like everyone else is doing. I get about four drinks spilt on me, three guys and one girl hit on me, I lose track of how many times my feet have been trodden on and countless elbows to the back.
But this couple takes the fucking cake. They’re in a passionate snog – and other things that are not appropriate for public eyes – and using me as the wall or whatever. I keep trying to move away from them but it’s like I’m attached to them. I turn around and push them roughly but they end up falling on top of me again.
Not only are they practically having sex on top of me, they’re sweaty and sticky and touching my own skin. I want to bite the hand near my shoulder but then I turn around. “GET OFF ME!” I bellow in one of their ears. They jump. Is it even two people? I’ve begun to believe they’re just one big blob. “I’ve been trying to get you off me for the past ten minutes! Go in the bloody loo to snog, you animals!”
They don’t look that embarrassed but they stalk off bitching about me. I ignore them and continue dancing with Lara and Lisa who are laughing loudly at me at the same time as trying to remove somebody’s creepy hands circling their waists. They’re both getting hit on which makes me laugh.
We keep returning to the bar to get drinks and I don’t know how many we’ve had but I am feeling very drunk right now. I just want to rest my head and have a little powernap. But first I need to pee.
“Do you wanna pee with me?” I ask them loudly, putting my arm around Lisa so I don’t fall over.
“Yeah,” Lara says. “Let’s go pee together.”
Lisa giggles. Then that causes all three of us to giggle and we stumble into the bathroom. I squint and hold my head because it’s so damn bright in these bathrooms. I stagger into the cubicle – with quite a lot of banging – and brace my hands on either side of the cubicle.
A wise man once said, ‘You only know how drunk you are once you try to go to the bathroom.’
That man is right. I’m drunker than I thought I was. I can hardly sit down. I close my eyes and just fall down and thankfully I land on the seat. After weeing, I struggle to lift my knickers back up my legs and then smooth my dress down. I stumble out of the cubicle and wash my hands, still squinting because of the brightness.
I look in the mirror and I look like a mess. My hair is all over the place, my eyeliner is smudged from the sweat and my glasses look lopsided.
I don’t care though. I’m having fun. So much fun. Fun fun fun fun.
Lara comes out and says, “I think I’m going to be sick.”
“Go to the toilet to be sick,” I say. “Don’t do it at the sink that’ll be gross.” She nods but then dashes back into the cubicle, pushing someone out of the way. “Sorry,” I apologise to the offended girl. “She’s just being sick.”
As I say that I hear her retch and then a splatter. “Get it all out, Lars!” I call out. “Better out than in!”
Lisa comes out of her cubicle laughing. “Is Lara being sick?” I grin and nod and she laughs even harder. “I’ll tell you what, Lil, being on your period and drunk is pretty hard. All I’m saying is thank god I wore a black dress because there’ll probably be a lot of leakage.”
I laugh as Lara’s sick again. “Do you think we should help her?” I ask, closing my eyes and letting my head fall back.
“Nah, she’ll be ‘aight soon enough,” she mumbles. “Lara, you okay?”
“Perfect!” she calls out before retching again. I giggle. After a few minutes Lara stumbles out of the bathroom, wiping her hand across her mouth. “Blergh,” she says. I giggle again and she washes her mouth out.
“Ew, you got some on your dress,” Lara – I mean, Lisa – says, pointing to her collar.
Lisa—Lara groans and I say, “Never fear, I have a cloth!” I pull out an old handkerchief with my wand underneath it. I whisper, “Tergeo,” and the sick gets siphoned away. I throw the handkerchief in the bin and then try to wink at Lara but I can’t do that at the moment.
Lara thanks me and then we go get one more drink before going to the dance floor again. We continue dancing and drinking (except Lara, she’s a bit put off at the moment so she’s sipping on water) until the lights start to brighten. We groan but go to the coat place to get our coats.
We pull them on once we’re outside – as it’s still extraordinarily hot indoors but freezing cold outdoors – and I tell them, “I’m going to call Elliot. He said he’d pick us up.”
“Is he okay with picking us up?” one of them asks. My eyes are closed and I can’t be bothered to work out which one it is.
“Pfft! Of course!” I say. I open one eye to squint at my phone screen and then click Elliot’s name to make it start calling him. He answers on the first ring. “Can you please pick us up? We accidentally used all our money up on drinks and can’t afford a taxi. They’re going to sleep at my place so it won’t be too expensive and stuff. Thank you. I love you.”
“Alright,” he says and he doesn’t sound amused. Of fucking course he isn’t amused. He’s being a right arse on my fucking birthday. That boy needs to stop being so douchey. It isn’t that hard to pretend to be nice.
I hang up and say, “He’s on his way. Let’s just have a nap, ‘kay?” We sit down against a wall and all close our eyes. Too soon, I’m being shaken by Elliot.
“Come on,” he says, not looking happy at all. I don’t say anything except scowl at him and then totter into the cab where Lisa and Lara are already asleep. I laugh but as soon as I sit down I’m asleep too.
Again, we’re being awoken and I say jokingly, “Remember when you carried me? Would you do that again?” He didn’t laugh so I say, “I’m joking, Elliot. You should try it sometime. No need to come up with us. We can navigate fine. See you.” I go to stomp off but then I stumble and Elliot catches me.
“I’ll come up with you,” he grunts, holding onto my arm.
I jerk my arm out of his grip. “No. I don’t want you too. You’ve been in a shitty mood all day – on my fucking birthday – and I just don’t want to look or speak at you for a while. Go home.” I walk off and grab Lisa and Lara by the arms to walk them up the stairs. We eventually get to the apartment and Glitter laughs at us. He sets the girls a mattress up and then goes to bed. I take my dress off and put an old shirt on but don’t bother with the pants and curl into my own bed, not bothering about my makeup.
I feel like shit.
The next morning I feel disgusting. I feel sticky and gross. My mouth is dry and tastes funny. I put my glasses on and jump straight into the shower. I make the water cold and with a pang, I think of Elliot. I know I’m pissed at him but I do feel a bit bad for saying what I said. He’s been under a lot of stress lately—
Yeah, but so have you, a small voice in the back of my head says. It’s definitely true. I have been under a heap of stress and I didn’t lash out at him. Especially in September after Nana died. I was so busy with work, trying to get it all sorted out and everything was still raw but I never once got angry with him for being… him?
I scowl. I’m not letting that boy use ‘I’ve been stressed’ as an excuse. When I get out of the shower, Lara and Lisa are just waking up. “Morning, girls,” I say in amusement but I still feel like shit.
Lisa groans. “Shh…” Lara laughs because she threw it all up she’s fine and she just drank water for the rest of the night. Damn her.
“I should get home. My parents are probably wondering where I am,” Lara says, standing up.
“Want any food?” I ask but she makes a face. Yeah she may feel fine, but the thought of eating definitely didn’t agree with her stomach. I laugh, say bye to her – Lisa just grunts – and start drinking some water.
Eventually Lisa rolls out of bed and she says, “Thanks for letting me stay. Want help putting the mattresses away?”
“Nah,” I say. “I can do that. See you soon?” She nods and then Disapparates with a groan.
I put the mattresses away with a wave of my wand and then the phone rings. I answer it with a, “Hello?”
“Lily, it’s me,” Elliot says. I immediately scowl. “Listen, can I come over? I think we need to talk.”
I huff. On one hand I want to talk it out with Elliot and then feel happy but on the other hand I don’t want to even think about him. After a long pause I say, “Fine. Come over at two.” He agrees with those terms and I say a short bye before hanging up. Bloody tosser.
I take it easy for the next few hours and then suddenly it’s two. At ten past there’s a knock at the door. I’m so tempted to not answer it and just stay on the couch or in bed all day but I flick my wand at it, making the door swing wide open to reveal Elliot.
“Hey,” he says nervously. I don’t respond. He sighs. I still don’t make a sound. He closes the door and walks over to me, standing over me. I scowl up at him.
“Lily,” he says softly. “I’m sorry.”
I break my silence. “Are you sorry? Or are you just saying that because you feel like you have to? Out of all the days you could have been an arse, you couldn’t have picked a day that is NOT my birthday?!” I spit. Okay so maybe I don’t want to just talk it out, maybe I want to yell at him.
A flash of anger passes over his face. “You know I’ve been under so much stress—”
“Well, guess what, Elliot?!” I say loudly, cutting him off. “So have I! I recognise that you’ve got a shitload of work to do but SO. DO. I. I run my own business! You think I don’t have constant paperwork to do?! You think it isn’t stressful for me making sure we make the monthly goal?! Do you really think lashing out at me is the answer?! I never lash out at you because of my work! I tell you if I had a bad day but I still make an effort to be nice! You didn’t! You just expect me to understand and get over it!” I take a deep breath still scowling at him. My head throbs but I ignore it.
“Oh, but come on,” he says angrily. “You knew what running a business would entail—”
“And you knew what working in the IQA would entail!” I snap, standing up and dropping my blanket. “Don’t you dare say, ‘You should have expected it,’ because I could say the same damn thing, Elliot.”
I can tell he’s looking for an argument but he knows I’m right. If he had a serious issue and I was wrong, I’d probably admit it. But not him. He’s too stubborn.
He rubs his face tiredly. I stop my glaring. “Look, if you’re having a hard time,” I say, “I’ll be there for you. But we hardly see each other anymore so I can’t help you.”
“And that’s my fault is it?” he says. I shake my head but he continues, “You’re always working, Lily. It’s just this time I’m always working too and so now we never see each other! You know, you could make more of an effort!”
He withers under my glare. “Make more of an effort?” I ask dangerously. His eyes widen and I hiss, “I make so much of an effort. Nearly after every single shift I have I visit you and if I haven’t seen you in ages I stay the night and go to work with less sleep than I usually have. I have to wake up at four in the morning and sometimes I only get four or five hours sleep because I make an effort. So don’t you dare tell me I don’t make an effort to see you. I WARNED you about this when we first started dating so you KNOW how much of an effort I make to see you. I honestly could not try and on the TWO days I have off I could use it to catch up on my sleep, but no. I use it to spend time with you!”
“Well, I’m sorry if I want to spend time with my girlfriend. Gosh, I must really be an arsehole, then!” he says nastily.
I want to slap him. I grit my teeth and say, “Get out. I don’t want to talk to you for a long time.” When he doesn’t move, I raise my voice, “GET OUT!” My voice cracks but I don’t let it deter me. I point my wand at the door and it swings open with a loud bang. He storms out and slams the door shut behind him.
As soon as the apartment is silent again, I fall on the couch and start to sob.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who is BBC's creation
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