Chapter 13 : Gingernut
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Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.
“Elle, wake up! It’s time to go sort out your wedding stuff!” someone, I think it was Lily, was knocking quite loudly and obnoxiously on the door to our bedroom.
“Okay!” I yelled back because she just wouldn’t stop knocking.
“Get out of bed and get dressed,” she shouted, “And if you’re not ready in 20 minutes, I’m coming back and knocking again until you do.” The footsteps died away and I groaned loudly, slinging my arm over my face.
“She will actually come back if don’t get out, you know.” James mumbled sleepily from beside me.
“I don’t wanna move.” I replied just as sleepily. He moved his arm from over my waist and pulled my arm away from my face with a lopsided grin before he unceremoniously pushed me out of the bed.
“There you go! You’ve moved.” He chuckled before stretching himself out on the bed.
“Hey! Totally uncalled for.” I protested. James laughed again so I jumped back on his back and sat there, happy when he grunted in pain, “Ha ha!”
“Oof! You know, for someone as small as you, you’re surprisingly heavy.” He wheezed, his back muscles contorting and flexing and it was distracting me.
“Are you saying I’m fat?” I gasped, pretending to be offended to see him try to correct himself and it worked.
“No, you know I didn’t mean it like that… I just meant that… you’re not fat…” he spluttered as I stood up on the bed and made to move away. He caught my ankle which sent me toppling back and landing with a gentle thud on the mattress with James straddling me and his hands pinning my arms up near my head, “You’re not fat Elle. You’re nowhere near fat! You’re perfect the way you are, okay?” he complimented and I blushed but continued to glare at him, “I’m sorry.” He sighed.
“Nah, I’m only messing with ya.” I broke out giggling but couldn’t really move because I was being pinned to the bed, “You should have seen your face.” I made, what I assumed was, a good imitation of his face when he was spluttering out his words.
“You’re so funny.” He hovered his face in front of mine.
“I know, it comes naturally.” I smirked, not really noticing that James’ face was getting closer to mine until our noses brushed and he planted a tender kiss on my lips. Without even thinking, my body reacted and began kissing him back. The kiss started out as just a normal peck but then as we continued, it became more passionate and forceful, the sexiness heightened by the fact I was pinned to the bed. James’ tongue ran along my bottom lip, begging for entry and I let him, opening it so he could plunge his tongue inside. In return, my tongue flicked a sensitive spot on the roof of his mouth and he groaned in response, rolling us over so I was now straddling him but he was sat up so our chests were pressed together. His hands instantly went up the back of my shirt, making me shiver at his touch as he ran a finger along my scar and the other hand was holding me firmly against him. My hands wound themselves into his messy, bed-hair, clenching and pulling his head back slightly. He tugged on my bottom lip with his teeth, making me moan into his mouth and move one of my hands from his hair to his chest where I splayed my palm. As my desire increased, my hips immediately started to grind a little on his lap and James responded by gyrating his to match my speed.
“Elle, wake up! It’s been 20 minutes and you’re still not ready!” Lily began knocking furiously on our door again, completely shattering the sexual tension and I pulled away from him, realising how far I was willing to go if she hadn’t begun knocking again. I blushed hugely before pushing myself off of James’ lap and hastily running towards the door.
“I’m up! I’m up!” I opened it to find Lily stood with her hands on her hips and a stern expression on her face. She was wearing a beautiful, figure-hugging maxi dress that really showed off how in-shape Lily really was, the autumnal colours made sure that her auburn hair didn’t clash. She was practically glowing in the Spanish sun coming in from our balcony.
“Good. Now get dressed so we can go shopping!” her expression turned to a giddy one as she squealed and I remembered that I had to go wedding dress shopping today.
“Okay, I’ll be down in a minute.” I closed the door before turning back to face James tentatively.
“You better get dressed, wouldn’t want to make them wait any longer.” He smirked, leaning against the headboard with his hands behind his head smugly.
“Okay.” I coughed awkwardly, turned around and headed into the bathroom, pulling on a pastel blue playsuit and a pair of light-brown, leather sandals, “Bad Elle!” I smacked my head on the cabinet next to the mirror, “You really shouldn’t have done that. This is not real, James does not like you and it’s just a silly crush that you will get over when this is finished…” I whispered to my reflection in the mirror to reassure myself but even I could hear the doubting tone in my voice, “Morning!” I smiled happily when I walked into the kitchen, determined to focus all of my energy on pretending to be over-the-moon about this wedding and not about the fact that my attraction towards James was increasing largely.
“Good morning! Are you excited?” Lily squealed again, dragging me down into a seat beside her before putting some diced fruit onto my plate for breakfast.
“So excited!” I grinned as wide as possible whilst snacking on the pieces of fruit, “What time is it anyway?”
“10am. We got you up early because Mum and I are taking you down to an amazing Spanish wedding boutique that sells the dresses but has like a mini photo-shoot so you can choose which one you like best.” Lily explained.
“And it’s all magical so the make-up and hair is done super-fast and we have permission to apparate right into the shop.” Ginny added with just as big a smile on her face as Lily had and it made me feel incredibly guilty.
“Okay, sounds exciting.” I replied, shaking my thoughts of guilt away and eating my food in what I hoped was a happy way. It seemed that the Potter women had coordinated on an autumnal colour theme today because Ginny was wearing shorts in a coppery brown colour with a white tank top.
“Well, if you’re done…?” Ginny looked at me and I nodded, “Then we’ll go straight there now.” All three of us stood up, with Lily and I holding onto either of Ginny’s arms before we turned on the spot and found ourselves in a very posh-looking shop.
“Oh wow, it looks so…” I whispered as it was very quiet.
“Demure?” Lily suggested.
“Yeah.” I turned to her and smiled before turning back to take in the sight. The floor was a creamy colour and looked so soft that I was tempted to just reach down and run my hand through it. A divide stood against a wall to the far right but was entirely made up of mirror glass, showing the dimensions of the room 5 times over and a huge, circular platform was lay in front of the mirrors so I’m guessing the bride could stand on it when they saw themselves. A long, beige leather chaise was laid to the right of the mirror with two pure white side-tables on either side and a single couch of the same fabric on the other side of the tables. To the left of the mirrors was a curtain dividing the main shop floor to the changing room and a little vanity desk where make-up and hair products were neatly packed away. To the left of the shop was a large white-screen with faded pink flower petals strewn on the floor, a professional camera stood proud in front of the screen and was pointed down at the ground as it was not being used. The place looked incredibly demure, like Lily had said, and I felt so out of place in here. If anyone stood out like a sore thumb right now, it would be me.
“Hola Mrs Potter!” a woman who looked in her late-forties with jet black hair pulled into a way too tight bun greeted Ginny with a firm hand-shake. She wore a pastel blue two-piece suit with a white button-down shirt on underneath that had a girly frill on the collar. The blue blazer also looked too tight, like she couldn’t breathe and I wanted to just lean forward and undo the one button on it. The pencil skirt was alright but it was weird seeing a slit on the side rather than on the front or back, and it was a very large slit as well.
“So glad that you could accommodate us on such short notice.” She smiled and took her hand before turning to me.
“Ahh, this must be the bride,” she cupped my face in her hands and I was shocked because I was expecting a hand-shake like Ginny, “Beautiful! You have wonderful cheekbones, my love. Probably won’t need a lot of make-up.” She complimented and I blushed at her bluntness.
“Thank you.” I replied embarrassed.
“Hola Ms Potter,” she turned to Lily next and shook her hand too, “Right, shall we get started?”
“Yes, let’s. I was thinking bridesmaids first so that we can figure out what colour scheme we wanna go with and the theme of the wedding, you know?” Ginny was in her element, raking through the dresses on the racks almost instantaneously. I was a little shell-shocked to say the least at the drastic change between the two women.
“Sit down, relax and have a glass of champagne. We’ll hold up dresses and you decide.” The woman gently ushered me to the chaise and stuck a champagne flute in my hand, “My name is Elena, by the way.”
“Okay… Elle.” I stuck my hand out and she shook it finally before joining Ginny by the racks, Lily came to sit by me with a champagne flute in her hand as well.
“Do you know who you’re having as a bridesmaid yet?” she asked and I was torn. I felt a little forced to choose Lily because she was right here and she had been so helpful to me the past week but then Charity would be upset that I didn’t choose her because I was the maid of honour at her wedding. Molly is my best friend as well and I would wager that she’d be pretty pissed if she found out that she wasn’t the bridesmaid.
“Erm… I’m not sure.” I mumbled, taking a sip of the champagne and shivering a little at the bitter after taste.
“Don’t feel pressured to choose me Elle just because I’m here. I don’t mind if you choose your sister or Molly.” She smiled kindly.
“Are you sure? I feel guilty.” That sentence had such a deeper meaning, I just noticed.
“Yeah if you want to choose your sister, choose your sister.” She reassured me.
“Okay,” I sighed in relief, “Well, you’re about her size anyway so you can try them on for me today, if you want?” she grasped my hand squeezed it.
“I would love to.” Her grin grew wider and she kept hold of my hand.
“What about this?” Elena held up a horrible bright orange dress with a low V-neckline.
“No, it would clash with my sister’s hair because she’s ginger as well.” I answered, wincing a little at the brightness.
“Okay, okay,” she put it back, nodding her head in understanding, “How about something like these?” she pulled out two dresses this time. One was a beautiful, understated pastel blue with a sweetheart neckline and a small, crystal broach right on the waistline where the fabric bunched together. The other was a deep royal purple that looked as if it came down to mid-calf but was a Cinderella-type dress, puffing out hugely with layers of darker purple netting underneath.
“They’re both beautiful.” I held my hand out and she passed both of them to me to keep hold of as they carried on looking.
“Any particular colours you had in mind Elle?” Ginny asked, observing a light pink dress before deciding against it and putting it right back onto the rack.
“I don’t really know what colours go best with like a dark ginger colour.” I shrugged.
“Mainly greens, neutral colours, navy blue and some pastel colours.” Elena answered without lifting her head away from the dresses.
“Green is out of the question,” I crossed that one out, “Maybe a light peach colour or a tan sort of colour. I don’t want in-your-face colours really.”
“We can work with that.” Ginny then started looking through each one with much more vigour. In the end, she picked out another 2 dresses that were floor-length this time. The first one was a light peach colour that was made of a chiffon fabric, the top half of the dress was fitted with an assortment of diamantes just below the breasts like a belt and up onto the elbow-length sleeves. The second was a sleeveless tan coloured, also made of chiffon, that had a sweetheart neckline and was also fitted at the top. It was simple and classic and I just fell in love with that one straight away.
“Lily, you coming to try these on?” Ginny caught her daughter’s attention and she followed her Mum into the dressing room with the 4 bridesmaid dresses. All I could think about, however, was that they were spending even more money on me and all of it was sham. I wasn’t getting married to James because I truly wanted to and I couldn’t believe that I had agreed to this still.
“So this is the first dress…” Elena announced as Lily came out wearing the deep purple dress. It didn’t sit right with me, mainly because I thought it looked a bit too depressing seen as it was a darker colour and that it really didn’t go well with Lily’s hair colour, “I’m guessing by your face that it’s a no.” she ushered Lily back into the dressing room and I sat back in the chaise, staring around the room, avoiding where the wedding dresses were, whilst occasionally sipping the champagne and Ginny and Elena helped Lily into the dresses. Lily came out a few minutes later wearing the peach coloured floor-length and stood in front of me, twirling it round happily which in turn made me smile at her.
“I like this one, it’s really floaty and light.” She picked up the hem and swished it round her slowly.
“I like it as well,” Ginny stared at the dress but I could tell there was something she was not saying.
“But…?” I urged her.
“But maybe not the sleeves, they look a bit too over-the-top with the diamantes going down them.” She answered sheepishly.
“Yeah, I agree. I think it’s too OTT.” Elena nodded her head seriously and ushered everyone back into the changing rooms to try on yet another dress. I went to take another sip of champagne but saw that I had finished my glass and so I stood up and wandered over to where the wedding dresses were finally. Just looking at them was making me emotional, I was getting married… oh my God, I was getting married in one week! My hand ran over each dress slowly, feeling the softness or coarseness of each one. I was alerted to a coughing sound behind me so when I spun round, Lily was standing there in the light, pastel blue dress looking radiant.
“Oh wow… that one looks beautiful!” I gushed, coming to stand forward and inspecting the dress myself, “I love this one already!”
“I like it too. It’s not too over-the-top but it still stands out a bit more.” Ginny agreed once she’d stepped out the dressing room but when I looked at her, I saw that she was wearing the tan dress that I had been in love with 5 minutes ago. It hugged her figure, pushing her boobs up a little and coming to rest a few centimetres above the ground. The fitted top, now I looked closer, had wrap-around detailing around it and it looked so intricate yet simple.
“That one is gorgeous too…” I trailed off, looking between both of them completely torn, “Oh, I don’t know which one to choose!” I put my hand under my chin, my blue eyes scanning each dress and weighing the pros and cons in my head of each one.
“Well, why don’t we leave these two as your favourite choices and once we figure out which dress you want we can see which one looks better with it. Okay?” Elena organised and I nodded, it seemed like a sensible thing to do, “Right, you two get changed and come and help us once you are ready,” She ordered Ginny and Lily back into the dressing rooms, “And you and I will start looking for your perfect dress.” She smiled wide at me and guided me back over to the wedding dresses. There were a multitude of dresses that I wanted to try on because they just looked so beautiful but Elena told me that I had to be harsh with myself and choose dresses that were worthy of a princess because I deserved nothing less. It made me a little bit uncomfortable if I’m honest because it was like a constant reminder of what I was doing.
“Okay, I like this one.” I immediately saw one that looked magnificent and handed it to Elena, who hung it up on my own personal rack.
“What about this one?” she held up one that I had already been past.
“No.” I scrunched up my face and went back to looking.
“How are we doing?” Ginny asked when she emerged, hanging the two bridesmaid dresses on the rack with the dress I had picked out.
“Only picked out one dress so far, Elena said I have to be harsh with myself.” I chuckled, focussing on picking out the right dresses.
“Well, I’m sure you’ll come across one that you’ll like.” Lily reassured me, helping me look and actually picking out a really nice dress that I added to the rack. In the end, we only picked out one other dress because there were no other ones that I really wanted.
“Right, let’s get you into the first one and do your hair and make-up, then the photo-shoot.” Elena picked the first dress off the rack and shooed me into the dressing room. I slipped my playsuit and sandals off slowly, called Elena in and stood still as she pulled the dress on for me carefully and zipped up the back for me. She held a hand out for me, guided me out the dressing room and to the pedestal so I could see what it looked like on me.
“Wow, you look so beautiful Elle!” Lily gushed when she saw me, smiling widely and clapping giddily.
“I totally agree, the dress looks beautiful on you.” Ginny smiled admiringly at me and it suddenly made me really wish my Mum was here to help me with this. The smile on my face was completely wiped off my face and was replaced by a gobsmacked one when I saw myself in the 5 mirrors. The dress was a strapless, ball gown dress with a sweetheart neckline that cinched at the waist, a cream coloured sash wrapped just above the waist line and diamante-embroidered flowers where all over the left hand side of the top-half.
“Oh, Elle please don’t cry. You look gorgeous!” Ginny came forward and embraced me. I didn’t even realise that I was crying until she pointed it out so I wiped my face in shock to feel the wetness of a few tears that had slipped down my cheek.
“I, uh, wow… okay…” I stuttered, feeling really overwhelmed right now, “I just wasn’t expecting this…” I mumbled quietly, staring at myself in each mirror, one-by-one until I was convinced that it was definitely me stood on the pedestal wearing a wedding dress at age 22.
“You look gorgeous in this dress Elle, it is just wonderful!” Ginny whispered to me and I looked at her but instead of seeing Ginny, I saw my Mum. Her long ginger hair, brushed over her shoulder and her deep, probing blue eyes that I had inherited were gazing deep into mine.
“I wish my Mum was here.” I sniffled, wiping away even more tears as Ginny embraced me again, stroking my hair and shh’ing me gently, “Sorry, I’m supposed to be happy.” I murmured once I had calmed down, brushing my eyes roughly to get myself to stop crying and looking weak.
“It’s okay, I wouldn’t expect you to be over the moon without your Mum here to help you,” Ginny reassured me quietly as Lily and Elena strategically moved over to the make-up and hair stations so we could talk privately, “But we are all here to help you and even though I cannot replace your Mum, I will try my best to be a Mum to you.” she brushed a stray piece of hair away from my face and rubbed my upper arms gently.
“Thank you so much Ginny, it means a lot to have you here.” I managed a small smile and it was like an unspoken agreement was put in place from that moment onwards that Ginny was going to take over the motherly role for me as much as she can. And I was grateful. Especially knowing that she understands that she could never replace my real Mother.
“It is truly no problem at all Elle.” She whispered, “So, should we get this photo-shoot under way?” she said louder and I nodded my head. She helped me off the pedestal and we both walked over to the hair and make-up stations so Elena could work her magic on me.
“Like I said before, you have lovely cheekbones and a wonderfully clear face so you don’t need much make-up.” Elena cupped my chin her hand as I sat down on the small stool, “Let’s get started then.” She put a light foundation on me, some powder and then got started on my eyes. I watched as she put on a light cream base, with darker beige in the corners and made me blink my eyes as she applied mascara. She then put a light tan coloured bronzer on my cheeks.
“Let’s move onto the hair,” she murmured to herself, brushing through it and just staring at it for a while, occasionally running her fingers through it, “Your natural colour isn’t blonde, is it?” she asked suddenly.
“No, it isn’t.” I answered, not liking where this was going.
“Well, how about we go back to your natural colour? It’ll look so beautiful if it was natural. What colour is it?”
“It’s ginger… and I haven’t really been ginger for years now.” I replied sheepishly. I wasn’t going to go back to being ginger because there was a chance I’d see Valerie again and I wasn’t going to be ginger when I saw her again.
“Don’t you think it’s time to go back to your natural colour?” Lily asked and I felt ganged up on. I was surrounded by 2 other gingers and if I say why I wasn’t going back ginger then they’d get a bit offended.
“Er… I just, uh, I… okay, fine. Let’s go back to my natural hair colour.” I gave up, sinking a little in my seat. Ginny and Lily grinned widely and Elena got out her wand and started muttering some spell under her breath. Suddenly, the ginger roots that were already starting to come through lengthened until all of my hair was ginger once again.
“No offence Elle, but you look so much better as a ginger than as a blonde.” Lily smiled kindly and I just smiled back slightly.
“What kind of hairstyle do you want?” Elena asked, now fingering my new hair.
“Whatever you think goes better with the dress style.” I replied, letting her have free rein because she was so much better at this stuff than me. She straightened my hair quickly then curled the ends slightly, pulling ¾ of my hair into a tight doughnut bun and leaving the bottom layer down and slinging it over my shoulder, curling them even more. She then placed a plain silver hair-band across the top of my head, sticking silver flower pins into the bun slowly.
“There we go! All done,” she announced and I quickly checked over my appearance in the mirror. I truly looked beautiful… just like my Mum in fact and I almost cried again but I held myself back, “Now, if you come over here we can get started on the photo-shoot and then move onto the next dress.” I stood on the white screen, being careful not to squash the flower petals into the ground.
“How do you want me to stand? Or sit?” I asked, stood there awkwardly as she moved the camera so it was in the right position.
“Just sit down on the sides of your legs with your arm holding you up and your head looking down at the ground.” She ordered and I did as I was told. It felt weird not wearing any shoes so I did my best to hide my bare feet under the layers of fabric. She took a few pictures of me in the same position and figured that was enough for this dress and I walked back into the dressing room, slipped the dress off with Elena’s help and put the next one on. It was a simple A-line dress with cap sleeves that fanned out at the bottom and I didn’t like this one quite as much as the last one because it didn’t feel right for me. We went through the motions of doing my hair and make-up then pictures again until I was to put on the last dress. I think the 3rd one was definitely my favourite out of all of them because it was a simple sweetheart neckline, plain white trumpet shaped dress but it had a white lace overlay that had a square neckline that meant that a little of bit of skin was shown on my chest before the neckline of the dress underneath the overlay started. The back dipped down to my mid-back with lace edges and a cream belt wrapped around the middle and was tied into a bow on the back. It was elegant and statuesque at the same time, showing off my figure but still quite modest as well.
“This one, without a doubt.” I said as I stood the pedestal, admiring the radiant dress at every angle and not really thinking about my scar all that much.
“Are you sure?” Elena asked, holding the other two dresses away.
“Yep, definitely this one.” I nodded my head firmly, still staring at how beautiful it was. She put the dresses back on the racks, beckoned for me to come and sit in the chair whilst she did my make-up for me again. This time, she put light pink blush on the apples of my cheeks and doing a faded smokey eye on my eyes to make the blue stand out a bit more, she left my lips bare this time unlike the bright red last time and then moved onto my hair. She curled each strand of my hair from about half way down, pulled two pieces of each side of my hair and did some intricate braid around the back of my head, pinning them in place and letting my ginger hair flow down my back.
“Yes, I agree with Elle. This one is definitely the best one for you, I can see that now you’ve had your hair and make-up done.” Ginny nodded her head in agreement and Lily was still stood there with an excited smile on her face.
“You alright Lily?” I chuckled and she seemed to come out of her shell.
“Yeah, I’m just really excited for this wedding!” she squealed, clapping her hands together and standing to the side of Ginny whilst Elena ordered me to stand facing the camera smiling.
“I can’t smile now that you’ve told me to!” I protested, trying to smile happily was hard when Elena kept telling me that it didn’t look real. Well, I wasn’t exactly going to smile properly if I knew I wasn’t really in love with James and that his family would be disappointed in me when they found out that it was all fake.
“Think of something happy then!” she rolled her eyes and waited with her finger on the button for when I actually smiled properly. I tried to think of a happy memory but I couldn’t really think of anything that wouldn’t make me cry either way.
“Don’t you have any happy memories of your Mum from when you were younger? Or think about when James proposed to you.” Lily urged me and I couldn’t help it but as soon as she mentioned James, an involuntary smile crept its way onto my face until I was smiling widely with all my teeth showing.
“There we go! Just keep thinking about whatever you’re thinking about.” Elena persuaded happily, clicking away at the button as she moved me into a different position every few minutes, “Okay, all done!” she announced, pointing the camera down at the ground and going over to the pictures on the screen.
“Lily and I will get back into our bridesmaid dresses and stand next to you so you can see which one would look better.” Ginny smiled, grabbed the two dresses off the rack and hurried into the dressing room, leaving me to stand and watch Elena delete and sort through each picture.
“It’s nearly 2 o’clock? How come you’ve not had any other customers?” I asked because it was something that had been bugging me for a while.
“People ring and book appointments and they usually tend to last for 2 hours at the most but when Ginny Potter rang, I had to clear my whole day because I wanted to make sure her first daughter-in-law was properly looked after.” She answered, sending off each picture to print, “So that’s why I’m here and not one of my assistants.”
“You own this shop?” my mouth dropped open.
“Of course, I have other assistants who help me with some other clients but high-profiles ones are the ones that I take care of personally.” She smiled, telling me to sit on the chaise and handed me another champagne flute.
“Well, thank you so much. I wouldn’t consider myself high-profile, I’m just Elle Underwood from a dingy apartment in Guildford, near London.” I chuckled, sipping slowly.
“You’re getting married to James Potter, first-born of Harry Potter, the guy who killed Voldemort… it’s a pretty big deal.”
“I never thought about it like that… he’s just James to me.” My eyebrows knitted together in confusion. It was true, I’d been more nervous about meeting Harry than anyone else because he was the Boy-Who-Lived and I never really thought about the fact that James was his first-born so there was a lot of pressure on him to be just like his Dad. He was just plain, old, annoying yet very-handsome James to me.
“I think that’s why he likes you so much.” Ginny emerged, hearing what I’d just said and smiled at me. I blushed, embarrassed that she’d heard what we were talking about. Lily came out next and I took that as my cue to stand in between the two of them so I could see which one would look better with my wedding dress. God that felt weird to say.
“The blue one looks better, I think.” I compared the two and came to my conclusion, “Just because it goes with my eye colour and it’s more noticeable next to the dress.” I added.
“Yeah, I agree.” Lily and Ginny nodded their heads.
“Okay, so the blue bridesmaid dress and this wedding dress?” Elena double checked and I nodded my head. We all went into separate dressing rooms to get back into our clothes and exited again, “I’ll take these off you and keep them safe until next Tuesday then. Here are your pictures from today and I’m glad you found what you were looking for.” Elena smiled, handed over a small album with my pictures from today in it.
“Thank you so much Elena, you were really helpful!” I hugged her, pulling back and letting Lily and Ginny say their goodbyes too.
“It’s no problem, I hope I shall see you all soon for this one’s wedding.” She winked at Lily, who blushed bright red and I nudged her in the shoulder.
“Shut up, you’re so embarrassing.” She hissed in my ear before we apparated back to the villa.
“Right, next on the agenda is location and then the invitations.” Ginny clapped her hands all business-like.
“Can we have lunch first because I’m starving?” Lily moaned which made Ginny stop in her tracks.
“OH! Of course, sorry! I’ve been so preoccupied and excited for this wedding that I completely forgot we’d already skipped lunch!” she apologised profusely and then bustled into the kitchen to start making us some sandwiches.
“She’s so excited, it’s like Christmas has come early. It’s hilarious.” Lily chuckled and walked with me into the kitchen, following a giddy Ginny.
“Well, she’s more excited than I am at the moment so I’ll just let her because I’m pretty sure I’ll be worse when it gets closer to Tuesday.” I laughed along with her.
“Why aren’t you excited?” Lily’s eyebrows dropped heavily. I stuttered, why did you say that Elle? Why the fuck did you say that? You idiot!
“I was just thinking about how I really wished my Mum was here.” I covered up my little blip and started picking my nails again, hoping she’d think I was upset. I mean, I was upset, I just wanted her to believe it.
“Oh right…” she said quietly, “I’m sorry about your Mum, Elle.” She gave me a quick, one-armed hug before sitting in her seat again properly.
“It’s fine Lily, it wasn’t your fault.” I replied. No, it wasn’t your fault Lily… it was mine.
“Here we go,” Ginny put the sandwiches on the dining room table and sat down next to us, “Now while we eat I thought we could talk about the location and if you have any ideas of where you would like it to be.” She turned to me expectantly but if I’m honest, I wasn’t really bothered about it being in a church and would much rather it be somewhere close to the villa so that we could have the reception here, if we were even having one.
“Somewhere near here because I don’t know whether we’d want a reception to be honest.” I replied, nibbling on the sandwiches timidly.
“James?” Lily stood up and shouted towards the entrance to the foyer.
“Yeah!” came his quietened response.
“Come into the kitchen a sec!” she shouted back and soon enough, I could hear his footsteps coming down the stairs whilst I tried to act casual. I hadn’t seen him since this morning and I was trying to calm myself down and not think about what happened in the bedroom.
“Yeah, what’s up?” he stood in the archway but I couldn’t look at him, “Wait? Who’s this? Where’s Elle?” his voice was really worried and I was confused before I realised he was talking about me and I wasn’t blonde anymore.
“James, I’m right here.” I chuckled and recognition was displayed on his face. It was absolutely adorable that he was so worried about me but then again, he was probably putting it on in front of his family.
“Oh, well… that’s different,” he came towards me, inspecting my hair with his fingers, “Why have you suddenly decided to be ginger?” he asked, confused again.
“Ginger’s my natural hair colour, I just dyed my hair blonde in Hogwarts.” I explained.
“Oh,” he murmured, “That makes sense now.”
“What? What makes sense?” now it was my turn to be confused.
“Where Gingernut came from? You know when Domenic called you that the other day?” and I blushed, it was not a good idea to bring that up in front of Ginny and Lily. They knew about my whole stripper thing but it was still embarrassing for me.
“Yeah, yeah.” I mumbled silently praying for him to shut up.
“Well, I like it. You look even better,” he Smiled, “If that’s even possible.” He leaned down, brushing the hair behind my ear and kissing me so gently.
“Anyway, that’s not why we called you down,” Lily coughed, breaking us apart but it was too late, I was already utterly dazed from the kiss, “We were gonna talk about the location, get your opinion.”
“Yeah, Elle says you weren’t going to have a reception… just the wedding.” Ginny added hopefully. I could see she desperately wanted to have the reception but James understood that a wedding would be just too much for me already without the added stress and guilt of a reception.
“No, we definitely just want the wedding. Something small and close to the villa.” He seemed to be on the same wavelength as me and I was grateful that he said the exact same thing as me.
“Maybe the beach?” I suggested, looking up at James who was stood behind my chair, leaning against it ever so slightly.
“The beach is a lovely idea and we could have it at sunset. You’ve seen a sunrise but never a sunset, it’s even more spectacular.” He said, a little glint of excitement glowing in his brown eyes.
“Okay, that settles it then. We’ll have the ceremony on the beach at sunset then.” I smiled round at everyone although Ginny’s was a little smaller than Lily’s and James’.
“We’d have to mail the Spanish Ministry though and ask if we can set up a few barriers to keep unwanted visitors out.” James pondered, looking up at his Mum, who stood up, nodded and walked hurriedly out the room.
“Okay, now we’ve sorted out the location, we just need to sort out who’s coming and do the invitations.” Lily put the plate away as we all moved into the library. James and I were sat cuddled up on the sofa, Lily on the floor with a piece of paper in her lap and a pen in one hand and Ginny was sat in a chair by the window, penning a letter to the Spanish Ministry.
“Elle, who do you want to come?” Lily looked at me expectantly and the moment that I dreaded was here. I didn’t have many people to invite which was a bummer given that my family was quite big.
“Charity, obviously, Darrell, Gabby and Ruari.” I concluded as Lily wrote down everyone’s names and then looked back up at me expectantly again, “That’s it.”
“Don’t you want to invite your Grandparents? Aunt’s? Uncles? Your Dad? Norah?”
“No, no, no, no and hell no.” I scoffed, looking down at the ground with my eyebrows screwed up.
“I just don’t want them there.” I said monotonously.
“Lily, do you reckon Granddad and Grandma will want to be there?” James distracted Lily for me as she went into a huge rant saying that,
“Of course they’ll want to be there James! Are you stupid? You’re like the 3rd Wotter kid to get married!” and so their names were added to the list. Molly, Fred, Teddy and Victoire’s names were added as well. Molly and Fred were our best friends so they were obligated to attend and Fred was gonna be James’ best man. James was Teddy’s best man at his wedding and basically his older brother so he just had to come, according to James. It was nearing tea time when we’d finally managed to finalise who was definitely coming, after much arguing between Lily and James, so we walked into the dining room for something to eat.
“We have another ginger being added to the family.” Al teased when he saw my hair colour had changed.
“Shut up Al.” I rolled my eyes.
“Why did you dye your hair blonde anyway?” James turned to me as Ginny asked the question. I avoided everybody’s eyes and stared down at my food before answering.
“Er, I used to get teased about it in Hogwarts.” I muttered quietly.
“Oh… Valerie?” Al inputted oh so helpfully.
“Yeah… she was the main one.” She was the only one.
“But there were plenty of ginger kids in Hogwarts, majority of them were Wotter’s… I don’t understand why none of us heard about this?” Lily said confusedly.
“I wasn’t really friends with any of you lot until Molly in 2nd year and even then I didn’t tell her about it,” I shrugged, “It doesn’t matter now anyway, I’m back to being ginger.”
“And it looks good on you.” Harry complimented.
“Thank you.” I blushed heavily. We carried on eating and moved back into the library when we were finished to start the invitation designs.
“What colour was the bridesmaid dress?” James asked.
“Like a pastel blue, why?”
“I think that should be our colour for the whole thing, the colour of the writing in everything, the flowers and other stuff.” He replied nonchalantly but I could tell he was freaking out because I was too but inwardly.
“Yeah, that’s a good idea but whose going to write it?” I looked round at the 3 other people in the room.
“Lily’s got good calligraphic handwriting so we can write what she’s going to put before she writes it properly.” Ginny pulled a piece of paper towards her and we all started drafting what it was going to say. When we’d finished the first card, I held it up and both James and I read it silently;
‘You are cordially invited to the union of;
Elle Kathleen Underwood
James Sirius Potter
On: 23rd June 2030
Where: Beachfront of the Oasis Villa, Malaga, South of Spain
RSVP to Ginny Potter’
“Yeah, that looks good. Let’s get to work duplicating them then.” James looked at me as I nodded, we all got out our wands, duplicating each one before Lily wrote each person’s name on the envelopes.
“Right, we’ll send these off and you all go to bed because we have another big day tomorrow as well.” Ginny pointed between myself and James so we did as were told.
“It’s strange, isn’t it?” James suddenly said as I was walking towards the closet to get changed into my pyjamas.
“What is?” I turned to face him.
“That we’re both so calm about this whole thing… it’s strange,” he mumbled, staring up at the ceiling from the bed, “I thought I’d freak out more about it than I am.”
“I’m sure we will when it gets closer to the actual… day.” I couldn’t seem to say wedding in front of him anymore.
“So…” I trailed off awkwardly, “I’m just going to go get changed.” I pointed to the bathroom so obviously.
“Yeah.” He replied just as awkward as me. I quickly shut the door behind me, stared at myself in the mirror until I hit myself repeatedly over the head.
“Why are you acting like this Elle? You’re making it so obvious that you like him. Stop it.” I mentally psyched myself to go back in there and be as calm and collected as before.
“Hey, so I’ve got changed.” I pointed out again and I just wanted to slap myself so hard that I knocked myself out. What the hell was that Elle?!
“I can see that.” He smirked and I rolled my eyes, slipping under the covers and tapping my fingers on my stomach.
“I didn’t know you’re middle name was Kathleen.” James broke the silence again.
“What?” I asked before I understood what he said, “Oh, well… you never asked.”
"I can’t believe I never asked you… you know my middle name…” he seemed disappointed in himself.
“James, it’s fine,” I chuckled to myself, “Who is Sirius anyway?”
“My Dad’s Godfather, he was my Granddad’s best friend apparently when they were at Hogwarts. You heard of the Black family?” I nodded my head, “Well, he was a part of that family but the name’s died out now anyway because the last living male heir’s died and all the women had to change their last names obviously.”
“Wow… that’s so…”
“Boring, sorry. Everyone use to say that when I told them the story but I was always interested by the stories of my Granddad and his best friend.” He said sheepishly, his cheeks blushing just a little from what I could tell under the lamp light.
“I wasn’t going to say boring,” his eyes snapped to mine, “I was going to say interesting as well.”
“Really? Or are you messing with me?”
“Yes, really.” I laughed.
“Any interesting stories about your middle name?”
“Not really, it was my Mum’s name though.” I sighed sadly, avoiding eye contact with James.
“Can I see the dresses you tried on today?” he distracted me again so I wouldn’t have to think about my Mum.
“You can see the other two, not the one I decided on because that’s bad luck.” I teased, levitating the album towards me. We both sat up, James’ arm around my back as I opened the book, being careful not to show him the last dress. Each picture moved, as they were magical, some just smiled happily at the camera moving ever so slightly, some were laughing at someone off camera and some were just staring wistfully out the window.
“I’d love to know what you’re thinking about in that picture.” James pointed to one where I was staring towards the window with a slight smile on my face before my gaze dropped to the floor.
“I was thinking about when I was younger, sat by the fire as Dad played the guitar, Charity hummed along and Mum plaited my hair for me. Norah always used to get really jealous and try to pull out my hair because she wanted better plaits than me but Mum would always say that hers looked better even though it didn’t.” I answered truthfully, sniffling a little as I remembered.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you cry.” He wrapped his arms around me as I closed the album and out it back where I had levitated it from.
“Sometimes it’s better out than in though, right?”
“Right…?” he said awkwardly.
“You just don’t wanna get stuck with a crying girl.” I said in a fake-bitter voice.
“No, that’s not it at all! I totally agree with you!” he stuttered adorably.
“James, I was joking,” I chuckled, kissing his cheek, “I’m fine, honestly. It was a happy memory that I’m glad I have.” I lay down on the bed, switched the lamp on my side off and closed my eyes.
“Okay.” I felt him lay down beside me.
“Sweet dreams, Elle.” He reached his hand forward and grasped mine, giving it a tight squeeze before he planted a soft kiss on my forehead.
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