Chapter 7 : Awkward Situations
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“Do you ever stop drinking?” I heard from my right. I didn’t need to turn my body to know that Adam was next to me. I grunted in response, taking a sip of the perfectly aged scotch. “Well, make that two then.”
I watched as the barkeep set down a glass in front of Adam and poured him some scotch as well. I had come to terms with the fact that Adam was old enough to drink only a couple of years ago. Yes, I understand he’s only a year younger, but I will always picture him as that scared first year who asked me to talk to the Sorting Hat to make sure he’d be in the same house as him. He spun the glass around in his hand, then took a large gulp.
“Thought you didn’t like scotch.” I said, watching as he cringed slightly.
“I don’t.” He told me, turning on the swiveling bar stool. I raised an eyebrow, but didn’t press any further. I’d just have his scotch when he decided it was too strong for his liking. Wimp.
“Why are you here anyways, Vi?” Adam asked me. I didn’t know how to respond to that. Do I tell him that I just snogged James Potter? Do I tell him that even though I knew better, I was helping a man cheat on his wife? Should I say “I’m a homewrecker”?
None really sufficed.
“Drinking.” I responded blandly. He sighed at me and gave me the look. You know the look. This look made you feel like crap. This look made you know that the person giving it thought they were better than you. The look made you want to smack the crap out of the person sitting next to you.
“That much was obvious, though thank you for informing me,” He said in a monotone. I didn’t even dignify that with a response. I took another gulp from my scotch, the ice rattling inside. “Now tell me the real reason.”
“Long day.” I drawled. “What brought you here?”
“Speak for yourself.”
“There you go.”
Adam grinned at me, but he didn’t realize that I was putting truth behind my words. He just thought it was our common banter back and forth. I sighed, staring into the glass. I really needed a hobby that didn’t end in me getting a massive headache the next morning. Everyone always says that alcohol is not a solution, but I find it to be mighty distracting. Already on my third glass, the man at the end of the bar who was giving me googly eyes was finally beginning to look semi-attractive. I just needed a couple more glasses before I didn’t have to squint to pick out his nice qualities.
“How’s the new job going, then? I take it not so well?” Adam tried striking up conversation. The job was actually going extremely well. I was good at being a healer. I always knew I would be. I had worked my arse off to get here and now that I was, it felt amazing. Yet there just felt like something was missing. I guess when I was younger and pursing this path, I had James. I mean, I sort of did now, but snogging someone else’s husband does definitely not constitute the full package.
“It’s stressful.” I mumbled, because it really was stressful sometimes. Just the other day an accident victim came in and we couldn’t help her. I had to go with Healer Bennett when he told the family that the girl had died. I had to watch the look on the little sister’s face as she realized her big sister wasn’t coming out of the room.
I took another long swig of my drink and tapped it again for the barkeep to refill.
“I can see that.” Adam mumbled back. I turned with an ice cold glare towards him.
“Don’t judge me, Mr. Perfect. You don’t get what it’s like!” I hissed. Adam’s eyebrows disappeared above his hairline.
“The Auror doesn’t know what it’s like to have a stressful job? Please enlighten me, then.” Adam was good at coming right back with his own hiss. I rolled my eyes and let my eyes wander around the room. I really wasn’t up for a fight with Adam. It wasn’t worth it when I was slightly tipsy and knowing that he would win just based on the sheer stress of our jobs.
The man at the opposite end of the bar was still giving me googly eyes. He still wasn’t attractive enough to give attention to. The Leaky Cauldron was slowly filling up with more and more people. As it was a Friday night, I shouldn’t have expected less. There was a group of older men sitting at a table, laughing at one another as one told some joke. They really don’t grow up. There was a group of people who looked like they had just gotten out of Hogwarts, all laughing and shoving each other playfully. I felt a pang at that. I used to be like that. Adam had turned away from me and was currently talking up a pretty blonde who had come to get drinks for her and her friends. Ugh. Blondes. Sad to say I used to be one.
That was when I felt someone’s weight slightly shake the bar as someone plopped down next to me. I swiveled around and saw Freddie Weasley with a large grin on his face upon recognizing who he had just sat next to. The thing about Freddie was that he was never upset. Sure, he had his episodes where he might get a little violent, but he never had a smile of his face. He never did things half arsed. When he smiled at me, it was the same old, million galleon smile.
“Well hey there, Vi!” His voice was slurred and I could feel the fire whiskey dance across my face as he spoke. Oh Freddie, you never surprise me.
“Wotcher, Fred?” I said, taking a sip from my scotch. He swayed a little, flagging down the barkeep. The man came over to him, raising his eyebrows.
“I’ll have what this lady’s having!” He chirped. He then immediately turned back to me, leaning on the bar, his head in the palm of his hand as he gazed longingly at me. Oh boy. “I missssssss you, Vi! Why did you stop talking to me? It wasn’t my fault Potter’s a prick! I thought you loved me too?!”
“Fred, that’s not how it went,” I tried, but I knew better than to try to reason with Fred Weasley. Especially when drunk. “Who are you here with?” I tried to change the subject.
Fred spun around, eyes wild as he searched the crowd for his group. “Oh! I’m here with Al… and Rosey… and Lily! Come sit with us!”
I cringed. I hadn’t talked to Rose since she had told me to talk to James. I knew she’d ask me about it and I still hadn’t made sense of it in my head yet. It had only happened a couple of hours ago. Plus, Al was James’s brother. They were close. Hell, Al had followed me around like a lost puppy when we were younger, just because his older brother liked me, therefore he had to like me too. Lily was the largest girl crush on me ever as well. She adored everything I did and looked up to me like a sister.
“I’ve got Adam here. Can’t leave the bloke!” I said, reaching behind me, but grasped thin air. Spinning in my seat, I noticed Adam was gone and so was the blonde he had been chatting up. So much for sibling loyalty.
“Adam?! WHERE’S ADAM?! I MISS HIM TOO!” Freddie bellowed, searching around, nearly toppling into someone in the process. I quickly got up from my seat, grabbing onto his elbow to steady him.
“No, he must have left! Let’s go to your table, yeah?” I dragged him away before he could attract more attention than he already had. Rose immediately smiled at me upon seeing me dragging Freddie back to the table. Al and Lily shared a shocked look, not sure what to do. I didn’t blame them. The few times I had seen them in public, I had ducked and ran for cover. Now I was waltzing over to them like nothing had happened. Classy, Violet Price.
“Lookie who I found!” Fred bellowed, the large smile on his face showing that he felt like he just struck gold. No one else really mirrored his expression. In fact, Al and Lily has pressed smiles reluctantly onto their faces and Rose blinked a couple times, being as impassive as ever.
“Wotcher?” Was all I was able to form. For being a former Gryffindor, I sure lacked a lot of social skills. In my defense, we were called the “brave” not the most “social”. Yet I couldn’t help but see a little of James in both of his siblings. Albus had his set jaw and Lily had his curious eyes. I found myself unable to look at either of them, my cheeks burning.
“Sit, sit!” Rose finally said, after what felt like an eternity of standing in front of them all. I scooted in next to Rose, relieved to get out of the metaphorical spot light. Freddie eased in next to me, sitting a bit too close. If I remembered correctly, that was Freddie.
“What have you been doing lately, Vi?” Lily tried to strike up conversation, but I could see how stiff her shoulders were. I knew under normal circumstances, if someone hurt a family member, Lily was the expert at tearing them apart. I had even helped her a few times. Now was different. I was practically family and she didn’t know how to react.
“I’ve got a healing internship.” I told her. Her eyebrows raised and Al forced a smile onto his face again. Oh Al. I know you’re still mad at me. I can see it in your eyes. He was never good at hiding is feelings.
“That’s excellent! Congratulations, Vi. You deserve it.” Al said, though I could hear the strain in his voice.
“Did you do that thing we talked about, Vi?” Rose asked, her attention pinned directly on me as Al and Lily fell into conversation. I pursed my lips, unable to find the words to say to Rose. I mean, I had tried. That counted for something, right?
“Not exactly…” I mumbled. Rose sighed disappointedly at me and took a long drink from her glass. Freddie was humming to himself in the seat next to me, pinned against my right arm.
“What do you mean by that?” Rose pressed, not letting me get away with it that easily.
“We just…er…” I began, staring down into my hands. I felt ashamed of myself. Sure, do something wrong once, you have an excuse. Do something wrong twice, you’re just foolish. The first time, I had chalked it up to drunken escapades. This last time….I didn’t have an excuse and no matter how many I looked for, the heat and passion of the moment really didn’t suffice.
“Hello Potters!” I heard the singing voice before I saw her, but knew I regretted sitting in this booth. Veronica appeared around the corner, her shining blonde hair flipping with her every move. I felt like I was going to be sick.
“Veronica! Didn’t think you’d actually show,” Lily said bluntly, blinking a few times up at her sister-in-law. Veronica giggled, making a random gesture that I think was supposed to look innocent and to brush Lily off. It kind of looked like Veronica was flipping her off to be honest.
“Of course I would show! You lot invited me, didn’t you?” Veronica accused, looking at each person individually. Freddie just has his goofy grin on his face as he continued to hum to himself. Al looked down into his glass, unable to make eye contact. That was his sign that he was stepping out of the conversation. Lily pursed her lips. I could immediately tell that Lily was not a fan. Rose, however, smiled at Veronica warmly.
“Of course we did! Sit!” Rose chirped. You didn’t have to tell Veronica twice. She was quickly shoving Al over, making plenty of room for herself. That was when her eyes met mine and she faltered slightly, her frown appearing on her perfectly carved face. Just as fast as it had appeared, it was gone, replaced with her plastic smile.
“Oh, I didn’t even see you there! Blended right in with all the Wotters!” Veronica laughed to herself, no one else joining in. I found myself remembering just what I was doing right before she had arrived at her flat yesterday. I could feel James’s hands on my hips, moving my shirt….
“I’ve got to go, actually!” I squeaked, shoving at Freddie’s shoulder. He surprisingly got the hint (which was a very new trait) and stumbled to his feet, letting me go. “Nice seeing you all. Tata!”
Tata? What kind of loser says “tata”? I wanted to smack myself on the forehead, but was too busy scurrying away to notice the strange looks I was getting from the table. Bloody great job, Vi. You should get a metal.
It was decided. James Potter was a prick. Not only that, he was a git. He was testing me. After years of not seeing me, he had to make sure I was still a good person. So in doing so, he threw himself at me to gauge my reactions. Under normal circumstances, a girl who was snogged by a married man would cut the nonsense. Not me. I continued the passionate snog and even tried to deepen it. James had then probably deemed me the biggest slag on the planet and was telling all of his mates how easy I was. I would soon be receiving shagging invitations to those sleazy sex parties that people had.
Makes sense, right?
“Violet, are you okay?” I heard, snapping me out of my thoughts. I turned to see Healer Bennett staring at me with his large eyes, studying me carefully. I wondered how long I had been staring at this patients chart. Probably thought I couldn’t read or something. I hadn’t registered a single thing, but handed the chart back to Bennett, plastering the best fake smile on my face.
“Mm’fine.” I mumbled. I really wasn’t. It had been a few weeks since I had bumped into any Potter or Weasley and I was still finding it difficult to get any of them out of my head. I had watched Albus’s angry stares. I had seen Lily’s betrayed eyes. I had been scrutinized by Rose. Freddie had…well, Freddie was just Freddie. He never counted. Yet worst of all, I had sat across from a married woman, knowing I had snogged and shagged her husband. Not to mention after weeks, I could still remember how his hands felt as they roamed my body. I could still feel the fire on my lips every time I closed my eyes.
“Ms. Wallis, you should be fine to be discharged tomorrow morning. I will have a nurse come in with the details later.” Keith told the elderly lady in front of us, ignoring my blank stare. I wasn’t even sure what was wrong with this patient. I felt pathetic. She still smiled warmly, the wrinkles in her eyes showing that they were not only wrinkles, but smile lines as well. I couldn’t resist smiling back as Keith guided me out of the room. His gaze was immediately on me, his eyebrows furrowed.
“You’ve been doing great these last few weeks. You’ve been working extremely hard and have been putting so much work. I have never had a better intern.” He told me, but something in his voice made me realize there was a big BUT coming. I always felt that whenever Keith was talking, I was supposed to sit on the ground like a child and look up at him, just because that was the type of respect you had to show him.
“Thank you.” I muttered. Keith let a small smile flick across his perfect lips.
“Normally I would never say this, especially not to someone trying to be a healer, but you need a little time to have fun. You’ve taken home countless files and I do not believe you have given yourself a single day off.” Bennett had a worried expression. The kind of expression you got when your mother thought you had an eating disorder because you didn’t eat her rock hard meatloaf or when your father heard you had broken up with your boyfriend and wasn’t sure what words were comforting enough.
But it was true. All of it. Over the past few weeks to get everything off of my mind, I had dove into my work. I had taken home files to make sure that I had not a second of free time. I had worked the most hours possible so that I didn’t have to chance letting my mind drift (even though it still did). I even walked with other healers when Bennett wasn’t around so that I didn’t look like a pathetic intern. I needed the excuse of being a healer trainee.
“It’s all fine, really. I love healing.” I told him, trying my best to make my most convincing smile. I never seemed to master it, apparently. Keith looked right through it, placing his hand on my shoulder and guiding me down the hall.
“I commend you for that. I do.” He began. “Even healers needs lives. Why don’t you accompany me to this gala tomorrow night, yes? It is a benefit for the WPW.”
I wanted to tell him no, but if I did, I knew that I would just get badgered about this more and more. Plus, showing up to a wandless, poor wizarding event with the best healer around on my arm was probably not too bad for my credibility. The more I walked and thought about it, the more I realized that maybe I deserved this a bit. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to go to this benefit and dress up. Maybe it would take my mind off of things.
“Yeah, count me in.” I told him. Keith clapped me lightly on the back, a smile spreading across his face.
“Great! I will pick you up at seven, then!” He told me and before I could say another word, I watched his cloak wave behind him as he entered his office, clicking the door shut behind him.
Had I just agreed to another date with Keith Bennett?
“Do you like this one?” I asked, turning around as the key lime dress hugged me a bit too tight. Adam pursed his lips in disgust. Well, that answered that. I returned to the dressing room. Maybe it wasn’t my best idea to pick Adam, the man who could barely tie a tie, to come dress shopping with me.
“Can’t you just wear the black one? That one was nice!” Adam called as I shut the dressing room door. I began to shimmy out of the too-tight dress.
“It was too simple!” I called back. The black dress made me look like any other ordinary girl. I wanted to make a small statement. I wasn’t just James Potter’s ex or the woman that Keith Bennett had brought to the benefit. I was a new woman. I was Violet Price and damn it, I would look amazing in a dress.
“You’re impossible.” I heard Adam mutter. I stuck my tongue out (even if Adam couldn’t see it) and began to pull on an emerald colored, floor length dress.
“You just don’t understand fashion.” I countered, fumbling with the zipper. No one quite understands how bloody hard it is to zip a dress by yourself? You felt like your arms were going to dislocate themselves from their sockets just to get the bloody thing to close.
“Neither do you.” Adam grumbled. It was true. I really didn’t have much of a fashion sense. I just threw on whatever was there and went out the door. This didn’t mean I didn’t have necessarily nice clothes, it just meant that if given the choice between doing my laundry or wearing the ‘WEIRD SISTERS’ t-shirt, I’d go with the latter.
“And this one?” I asked, ignoring his comment and stepping out of the dressing room. I did a small twirl and Adam nodded his head. The emerald dress was silky smooth against my skin and reached the floor. It had an innocent neckline, but a non-existent back. It hugged my body rather perfectly and made sure to hide all the fat that had developed over the years.
“I think that’s the winner!” Adam announced, immediately hopping up from the “man chair”. You all know the chair. It is conveniently placed right outside of the dressing rooms for the men to sit down on while the women try on a ridiculous number of clothing. “Let’s go get me some ice cream like you promised.”
I rolled my eyes, but returned to the dressing room to change into my regular clothing, ready to buy this dress. I had been given short notice to go to the gala with Keith, so the only person who I could convince to come dress shopping with me was Adam. I had to bribe him with ice cream. Yet as I thought more about it, he really was the only person who I would have invited anyways. Who else would I have taken? Pam from work? We hadn’t spoken in weeks. Was it sad that that was all that I had?
As I bagged the dress and was pulling on my clothes, I heard a loud, shrieking laugh from outside the dressing room. Gathering my things, I peeked my head out to see that Adam was already gone, probably waiting outside of the store since his “job was done”, as he likes to put it. Weirdly, there was no one else within my view. Pursing my lips in confusion, I chalked it up to the lack of sleep I was getting as a healing trainee. As I took a few steps out of the dressing room, that was when I saw the tall blonde, smirking at another tall blonde, flipping through a dress rack.
I don’t know why I did it, but before I could blink, I was hiding behind a mannequin. Why did I not want Veronica to see me? Good question. One I didn’t have the answer to. The main reason was really because who the bloody hell goes dress shopping by themselves? I think I really did have a problem. Veronica pursed her pink lips as she pulled a dress off the rack and then placed it back. I was really pathetic, trying to eavesdrop on her conversation with her friend/whoever the bloody hell she was with. But let’s be honest, you’d do the same…
“I really hate these benefits that James drags me to.” Veronica whined, pouting as she looked at the blonde woman with her. The woman rolled her eyes and held up a peach dress.
“This one?” She asked. Veronica shook her head, returning to her searching.
“I just mean, he knows that there are so many other things we could be doing with our time than going to some benefit for wandless people.” Veronica said, flipping her blonde hair over her shoulder. Aha! So Veronica hated wandless wizards! Well, I couldn’t blame her. It was a bit of a drag.
“Like shagging?” The woman with her said innocently. I saw Veronica blush slightly as she shot a glare towards the woman. The woman smirked at her, rolling her eyes. “You need a good shag, sis. You’re grumpier than normal.”
Aha, so this woman was Veronica’s sister. Makes sense, they looked very similar. Same blonde hair, same pouty lips, and same beauty. It made me sick, really.
“James and I’s sex life is none of your business.” Veronica tilted her head in the air, turning away from her sister. I felt my stomach flip at the thought of their sex life. I couldn’t bear to hear much more.
“That means that it is non-existent, yes?” Her sister walked closer to make sure no one could hear. I barely had heard it myself had I not been purposefully listening in.
“We are both very busy!” Veronica defended, though I could see her cheeks turning redder by the second.
“You have to make time for that sort of thing, love.” Her sister tried, and probably failed, to get through to Veronica. Veronica huffed, turning away and going to a rack closer to me. I felt my breath hitch in my throat, but Veronica was too wrapped up in her conversation to even notice I was near. “So how long?”
There was a long pause as all I could hear was the scraping of hangers against the metal rack. And then Veronica answered. “Six months.”
I knew that I should feel sorry for Veronica. She hadn’t shagged her husband in six months! Yet a certain part of me couldn’t help but feel relieved. It gave me a lot of answers. It wasn’t like I was the woman on the side because James didn’t get enough satisfaction from his wife. No. I was the woman on the side because James didn’t get anything from his wife. I mean, it wasn’t acceptable, but it made more sense. Of course someone like Veronica was amazing in the sheets. No way in bloody hell would i be replaced by Veronica Potter. It was pathetic to think I was better than her in bed.
“What about his ex? Didn’t you say she was at your house when you came home not too long ago?” Veronica’s sister asked, attempting to change the subject. Oh no. They were about to talk about me. I looked around, trying to find an escape route, but I was stuck. Veronica had moved down to the rack right in front of the mannequin I was hiding behind and her sister was blocking the aisle towards the front door. I wanted to whimper, but was too afraid of being heard.
“Don’t even get me started.” Veronica muttered. I felt myself perk up. What did Veronica have against me? I mean, besides the fact that I had shagged her husband and snogged him senseless….not that she knew either of those things…I think.
“Don’t like her?” The sister asked, her attention turned directly on Veronica. Veronica sighed, placing a dress over her arm to try on and continued on her search. For people like her, you never went into a dressing room with just one dress. It was a rule.
“She’s fine, I suppose. There’s just…something. I don’t know what it is. She always looks guilty of something.” Veronica rambled. Yeah, I looked guilty. I shagged your bloody husband and you didn’t know. I felt the need to throw up at the mere thought of the situation. “Plus, she was James’s first love and all of that. No one can compete with a first love.”
“But that’s what it was, Veronica. A first. You’re his last.” Her sister placed a delicate hand on her shoulder and Veronica’s faced glowed with pride as she looked at her.
“I suppose you’re right, Ally.” Veronica sighed, looking away as she placed another dress on her forearm.
I immediately felt sick and needed to leave. I don’t know what I thought, but Ally was right. I may have been the first one to catch James Potter’s attention, but Veronica was the last one to do that. She was the one who had gotten married to him. She was the one who had been with him for the past years that I hadn’t. She was the one that loved him unconditionally and stood by his side. I had left. James had chosen her. I felt my head spinning as I stumbled to my feet. I didn’t bother to try and not get noticed. In doing so, I stumbled straight into the mannequin I had been hiding behind and she toppled right over, a loud crash resounding in the shop.
It was one of those awkward moments when two people are caught. I was caught eavesdropping and Veronica had been caught talking poorly about me. We both were frozen, eyes glued on one another, waiting for the other one to react first. Neither of us moved. It was like time was standing still. I didn’t know what to do and apparently, she didn’t either. Ally and the front desk clerk had both scurried over, picking up the mess I had made. When the front desk clerk began to pull the mannequin back up, I found myself able to snap back to reality, assisting her.
“I am so sorry.” I told her. Her old age had made the weight of the mannequin hard to handle on her own, but with my help, we got her on her feet. “I wasn’t watching where I was going.”
“That’s okay, love. You like the dress, hmm?” The woman gestured to the dress in my hands. I nodded and she took it, going back to the counter to ring me up. I found myself turning back to Veronica, who hadn’t moved and was still staring at me, her expression still frozen on shock. Before I could embarrass myself more, I dashed away, paying for the dress and quickly leaving the shop.
Author's Note: SOOOOOO I found my direction with this story and I'm finally going with it!! What do you guys think of it? Do you hate it? Like it? Think I'm not going fast enough? Think I'm going TOO fast? COME ON! GIVE ME YOUR OPINIONS! I'm never going to know where to improve unless you tell me...
That being said... review review review! Make me a happy author ;).
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