Chapter 14 : My Knight In Shining Armour
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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. I also don't own McDonald's either, even though their food is delicious!
another wonderful CI by just.a.willow.tree@TDA!
“Are you sure? Because I can talk to my Mum if you want? She won’t be angry at you at all, I promise.” – Albus Potter
You know those mornings that you wake up and you think it’s really late but it’s actually really early? Yeah, it was one of those mornings for me. When I woke up, it felt like I’d slept in until about two in the afternoon but when I looked at my phone it read 09:34am which really surprised me. Turning over, I saw James facing towards me and with his arm hanging over my waist again. His mouth was opened slightly, snoring quietly and his black hair flopping onto his face looking absolutely adorable. The weight of his arm wasn’t as heavy as it was the first few times it had happened… and thinking about it, he’d always had his arm over me whenever I had woken up. It was always there and I hadn’t even noticed how safe it made me feel until now. I lifted it up gently, manoeuvring myself sideways and away from James without waking him up before placing it back down on the bed slowly. He subconsciously drew it back to him, tucking it by his side and let out an almighty grunt in his sleep, it made me giggle before I stopped myself because he moved slightly. When I saw that he was still asleep, I slipped downstairs and into the kitchen to make myself some breakfast. The room was completely empty as it seemed like I was the first one awake today. I rooted through the cupboards, trying to see where all the breakfast stuff was kept and came across some honey porridge that nobody had touched yet. I took the sachet out, poured the oats into a bowl (after searching for one of those), put milk in and then placed it in the microwave for three minutes.
“Good morning, Elle.” Someone said behind me and I nearly screamed before I turned around to see Harry walking into the deserted kitchen, sitting down and opening a newspaper.
“Morning, Harry.” I replied with a small smile, “Do you want some porridge?” I asked to be polite.
“Yeah thanks.” He nodded his head so I got out another bowl and did the same routine again. I placed the bowls down in front of where we were sat and we started eating in silence, the only noises were the clanging of our spoons on the ceramic bowls.
“Harry…?” I asked quietly, setting my spoon down in the bowl and watching as he looked at me in surprise.
“Yes? Is something wrong?” He also put his spoon down.
“No, nothing’s wrong,” I reassured him and he relaxed a little, “I was just, uh, wondering something…” I started nervously.
“What is it? I’ll try and answer as honestly as possible but just be warned that I have a horrible memory,” we laughed, “So I probably won’t remember a lot of stuff.”
“It’s alright,” I toyed with the spoon handle, “I was just wondering… how did you, you know, know you were… in love with Ginny?” it was a really personal and awkward question considering I was meant to be in love with his son and I had only known Harry for a week and a half.
“I guess… erm…” he seemed a bit shocked by my question and averted his eyes down to the table then around the room as if the answer was going to be written on the ceiling or walls.
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to answer, it was a personal question.” I shrugged, going back to eating my food and feeling stupid for even asking it.
“No, it’s fine,” he smiled, “I guess, we went through all the bad things of the Second Wizarding War and she still wanted to be with me and vice versa. She supported me leaving in my seventh year even though she knew it was dangerous for me,” he explained seriously, “Those were the clinchers, I think.”
“I can’t really remember how I knew specifically… I just knew.” He added and I nodded my in response. The atmosphere wasn’t as tense as I thought it was going to be to be honest, we just carried on in silence as Harry read through the newspaper.
“Anything interesting?” I asked, breaking the silence again.
“Not really, wanna read it?” he moved it towards me and I took it with a smile, skimming my eyes across the page and reading the smaller stories quickly.
“That reminds me actually…” Harry brought my attention back onto him.
“You know that magazine article from a few days ago?”
“Oh yeah.” I mumbled, averting my eyes from him because it was still embarrassing for me that Harry knows about my past.
“Well, I managed to get it banned from being written in other magazines, newspapers or any publishing media for the next two years,” he said, “I know that it doesn’t really help because it’s already out there but by the time the ban is lifted, everyone’ll have forgotten about it. I know what it’s like to have horrible things written about me but back then I didn’t have anyone to stop it from happening… the least I could do was to stop anyone else feeling like I did.” I was in complete shock. I didn’t know that he had done all this for me, just to make me feel more comfortable around them all and to not make me feel embarrassed. My mind couldn’t process any words to say and I couldn’t have been more grateful to Harry for helping me out this much.
“Thank you so much, Harry,” I smiled warmly, wanting to embrace him like he was my Father and not the one I had now, “You didn’t have to do any of that for me but thank you so much.” He patted my shoulder reassuringly and it didn’t feel awkward, it felt like I had been a part of this family for years and I couldn’t have felt more guilty and cared for simultaneously than I did now. It was creating a confusion of feelings and thoughts inside my head and I didn’t know what to do.
“It really is no problem,” he finished off his porridge, levitating it into the sink, “I see how happy you make James. It’s so refreshing from his relationship with Courtney.” His face scrunched up a little at the mention of her name.
“Everyone else seemed to like her though?” my eyebrows knitted together in obvious confusion. I knew that Ginny, Lily and Al liked her but I’d never heard Harry’s side of the story. I also knew that she had cheated on James with his best friend but I wasn’t sure that the rest of the family knew about that incident and I didn’t want to mention it because it wasn’t my secret to tell. If James didn’t tell his family, then there was a reason and I was going to keep my mouth shut.
“There was something off about her. I don’t know what it was,” he leaned against the kitchen counter as I ate the rest of my warm porridge, “But I just couldn’t trust her at all. I knew James didn’t… especially as the years went on,” he blushed a little, “I’m sorry, you probably don’t want to hear any of this seen as you are his fiancée.”
“No, no. I want to hear this. We’ve never really talked properly about his relationship with her and I want to know.” I answered truthfully, something inside of me wanted to know what their relationship looked like from an outside source.
“Well…” he started but trailed off and scratched his jaw, “I don’t know, they were alright for the first year. A few arguments happened, like every couple so I just shrugged them off because they made up straight away afterwards anyway,” he crossed his arms and sighed, “They had a really bad argument one night and he moved back in with us, refused to talk about it and I started feeling uneasy,” that must have been when he found her in his bed with Joe, “But, again, I shrugged it off because they got back together again but they never trusted each other from that point on. James would always be so irritable and high-strung, it annoyed us all because he would just snap for no reason. The only time he properly smiled was when he was with Fred but other than that he was a moody bastard… excuse the language,” we both chuckled a little when he realised he had sworn in front of me for the first time, “I think that that relationship was so poisonous for him but he didn’t see it. They were on and off for two years after that argument but he would always be in two moods. When they were together he would be angry, snappy and just downright disrespectful to everyone. When they had split up he was sulky, moody and a tad depressive. No-one could snap him out of these moods and he always promised that he would never get back with her when they had split but a few days later, she would be coming round for dinner like she used to.”
“And they’d get back together?” I urged.
“Yeah,” he nodded his head, running his hand through his hair like James did when he was nervous or trying to be charming, “But with you… it’s completely different. He’s genuinely happy and he smiles a lot more than he did with Courtney,” I blushed heavily at his compliments, “And for that I am eternally in your favour.” He patted me on the shoulders again before leaving me in the room in silence to ponder what he had just said. It just made me even more confused at the bundle of thoughts and feelings that I felt. The Potters were just so nice and welcoming to me immediately like I had always been James’ fiancée. I stood up, put my empty bowl in the sink and began manually washing it because it at least distracted me from the mess running through my head at the moment.
“Hey, did you not hear me?” someone said behind me and I spun around to see James, his arms crossed and staring at me with a concerned expression, “You alright?” he asked but I didn’t hear him, still too preoccupied with mine and Harry’s conversation. He poked me on the cheek to try and get my attention and I jumped a little.
“What? Yeah?” I muttered, finally acknowledging his presence.
“I asked if you were okay…?” he repeated and I nodded my head, putting a fake smile on my face.
“Yeah, I’m great.”
“Are you sure? You looked a little distracted.” He arched an eyebrow at me, putting his hands on my hips whilst my hands were resting on the kitchen counter behind me.
“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine.” I mumbled again but obviously he didn’t believe me because even I knew my voice sounded off.
“Elle, you can tell me if something’s wrong. You know that right?” he looked me dead in the eye.
“I know, it’s just…” I trailed off, picking up the tea towel and drying my bowl.
“I don’t know whether I can do this anymore James,” I sighed and brought my voice down to almost a whisper, “Your Dad, he…” I trailed off again, turning away from him to continue drying the bowl even though it already was.
“What did he do?” he asked, “Oh my God… does he know?!” he hissed, making me whip round to calm him down.
“No, he doesn’t James,” I replied reassuringly, “I just feel like maybe I shouldn’t be doing this… I feel so bad on your family James. They’ve accepted me so quickly, I just feel so guilty about this whole thing.”
“Do you wanna know why they accepted you so quickly?” he asked which made me intrigued to know the answer so I let him carry on, “You remember that night when I proposed?” I nodded, “Annabel, Vic and Teddy’s daughter, never likes anyone new in our family. It’s like she knows whether a person is good or bad, she is usually either horrible to them or ignores them. She doesn’t mind voicing her opinions out loud either, even in front of them,” he explained, “So when you came round, we all waited to see how she’d react to you and when she was completely nice to you, we were a little surprised. And it’s very rare that she ever likes anyone. That’s why they all accepted you so quickly.” He finished, looking at my probably bewildered expression in amusement.
“But… that’s just… ugh!” I ran my hand through my hair in frustration, “I still don’t know whether I can go through with this!” I looked up at him in confusion and desperation for an answer.
“I can understand if you wanna call it off and go home.” He Smiled at me kindly which just made me feel even worse.
“But I’ll get you in trouble with your parents and that’ll make me feel guilty as well.” I replied, showing him my dilemma.
“So what if they might be a little disappointed,” he shrugged, “I just want you to feel as comfortable as possible and if it means not doing this… then so be it.”
“Why do you do that?” I asked after a while of silence.
“Do what?” he looked confused.
“Make me want to do everything you ever say because you say it so nicely.” I rolled my eyes, a small smile playing on my lips.
“It’s a gift I have, people are powerless against it.” He joked smugly, puffing out his chest with a smirk on his face.
“Unfortunately.” I rolled my eyes again as I sighed.
“So… what are you gonna do?” he asked after a beat.
“Wasn’t my answer before clear enough?”
“You’re going to go home?” he looked disheartened and I had to laugh, “Why are you laughing at me? It’s not funny.” He pouted.
“No, you big idiot, I’m not going home.” I slapped him with the towel, putting the bowl back in the cupboard before standing up straight again.
“Okay, good,” he sighed in relief and sat in a seat on the bar, “Now that’s out of the way… can you make me breakfast? I’m actually quite hungry.”
“Are you really?” I raised my eyebrows in surprise.
“Yeah.” He pouted adorably and my heart did that weird thing where it decided to stop beating for a few seconds.
“That’s tough luck, isn’t it?” I pouted back.
“Because I’m not making you breakfast.” I giggled when his mouth dropped open in protestation.
“But please?” he begged, sticking his bottom lip out and widening his eyes.
“I can teach you how to make your own breakfast therefore you don’t keep asking me to make it.” I grabbed his arm and hauled him back next to me, ordering him to get out a frying pan.
“What now?” he looked at the thing as if it was offending him greatly just by being there.
“We need ingredients.” I smiled up at him, pulling on my ‘Kiss the Cook’ apron that Al had bought me and all the ingredients for pancakes.
“We’re making them from scratch? Why can’t we use pancake mix?” his eyes widened.
“Because pancake mix is for lazy people.” I retorted, measuring out the flour before cracking 2 eggs into a mixing bowl.
“Elle?” James caught my attention as I was telling him to whisk.
“What?” I looked at him as he leaned down to peck me on the lips, “What was that for?” I asked in confusion.
“Just doing what your apron says.” He winked and I rolled my eyes at his attempt to be charming.
“You’re so cheesy.”
“But you love it really.” He smirked, continuing to whisk until I said that was enough. I added a pinch of salt to it, mixed it even more then put a small amount of butter into the pan, making sure it had melted. Then I held my hand over James’ as he poured a bit of the batter into the pan.
“There’s your first pancake.” I slid it onto his plate, sprinkled a bit of sugar on it and rolled it up.
“Yay!” he exclaimed, his face brightening up considerably as he munched on it happily.
“Aren’t you just adorable?” I pinched his cheek and he scowled at me.
“Shut up and make my pancakes woman,” My eyebrows raised in surprise and I put my hands on my hips in what I hoped was an intimidating glare. It worked as he gulped, “Sorry love, I’ll make my own pancakes.” I laughed at his expression when he put more batter in, making more and more pancakes. He kissed me on the lips every so often and he did it again when he was finished eating.
“You had a bit of sugar on that one,” I laughed, licking it off my lips with my tongue and watching James lean back tiredly with his hands behind his head, “You’re tired, go back to bed James.”
“Nah, I’m alright.” He sat up straight, rubbing some sleep from his eyes.
“Seriously James, go back to sleep and I’ll wake you up in an hour.” I rested my elbows on the bar, facing him and taking in his tired features. It made him look so much more attractive and his voice. His voice. Fuck, it was so sexy, deep and scratchy that I was really trying hard not to let my imagination wander whenever he spoke.
“You sure?” he yawned, stretching his arms over his head so that I got a good view of his arm muscles rippling and the ‘V’ on his waistline when his shirt rode up a little.
“Mmhmm. I promise I will wake you up in an hour.” I nodded my head, kissing him on the lips again as he walked around the bar and back upstairs. I quickly grabbed Treasure Island from the library and sat in the dining room, near the back doors, reading.
“Morning, Elle.” I looked up and saw Al stood in the doorway of the kitchen/dining room looking quite sheepish.
“Morning, Al, you okay?” I dog-eared the page and put it down, tucking one of my legs under the other.
“Yeah, it’s just… I couldn’t help but overhear yours and James’ conversation before…” he said quietly, averting his eyes to the floor and I think I might have looked a little startled, I could definitely feel the blood from my face dropping to my feet from dread.
“And…?” I replied just as quietly, scared of what he’d say.
“I only heard little snippets but… I just wanted to say that Mum wouldn’t be that disappointed if you cancelled the wedding.” He said and I could suddenly breathe again. Phew, thank God he wasn’t about to say what I thought he was. He still didn’t know that James and I were faking.
“Al, don’t worry, it’s all been sorted. It was just nerves and I think I’m still recovering from the shock of it happening so fast and what happened yesterday at the dress shop,” I explained, “It’s a little overwhelming but I’ll get used to it. I mean, it’s only been one day, right?” I could tell I was trying to convince myself more than I was trying to convince him.
“Are you sure?” he came and sat next to me, “Because I can talk to my Mum if you want? She won’t be angry at you at all, I promise.” He said unsurely.
“No, it’s alright, Al. The wedding’s still happening and I’m okay with that.” I nodded my head in what I severely hoped was a convincing way.
“Okay, just checking,” he smiled and I ruffled his hair, “You seemed a little freaked out when I heard. And I didn’t mean to eavesdrop… I was just…”
“Intrigued,” I giggled at his blushing cheeks, “Ah, it’s alright, Al.” I shrugged, opening my book again and beginning to read from where I left off. He stood up, made his breakfast, sat down to eat it and we stayed in silence until Ginny, Harry and Lily walked in.
“Oh good, you’re already up,” Ginny smiled when she saw me and started making something for herself and Lily to eat, “We’ve got a lot of work to do today so if you’re ready, you can go wake James up and get dressed and we can get started.”
“Okay, I’ll be back in a minute then,” I put the book back in the library and walked upstairs into our shared bedroom where James was lay on top of the duvet sleeping. I picked out some dark blue, high-waisted shorts, a tie-dye multi-coloured shirt and brown leather sandals to wear and headed into the bathroom to get changed, “James,” I nudged him in the shoulder gently, “James, it’s time to wake up.” His eyes peeled open slowly then he began to shift himself into a sitting position, rubbing his eyes.
“What are we doing today?” his tired voice was so hot. Have I mentioned that before?
“I dunno, your Mum just said we’ve got a lot of work to do so get dressed.” I shrugged, sitting on the bed next to him, only noticing now that he had no top on.
“Okay, gimme a minute and I’ll be ready to go.” He heaved himself up and headed into the closet, coming out a few minutes later in a plain white t-shirt and ¾ length cropped jeans. We walked back downstairs holding hands into the kitchen where Ginny was just finishing up.
“Are you both ready?” she looked up expectantly and we both nodded our heads.
“Okay then, everything’s set up in the living room for you to choose so just go in there and I’ll be there in a minute.” She ushered us into said room where there was a bunch of different types of chairs set up in the arrangement of a normal wedding ceremony with massive rolls of fabric next to that, then right in front of the window section was lots of flower bouquets which I’m guessing is what I would be holding down the aisle. It was incredibly bright, blinding and the majority of the colours in the room where white.
“Wow, there’s a lot of stuff to sort through…” James whispered, looking round the room in surprise.
“And that’s not all we’re doing today either,” a voice came from the doorway and we both spun around to see Ginny coming into the room, “We’re also going to a catering company to design the cake and choose the snack foods we’re having afterwards in the villa. Then we’re going to a vineyard to pick a bottle of wine as well.”
“That sounds exhausting,” James huffed, chucking himself onto the sofa and relaxing, “Elle has the final decision about everything.” He added, closing his eyes and leaving me stood there with a shocked expression.
“But you have to help me, at least sometimes! I can’t choose everything!” I protested, looking round at all the cluttered furniture and flowers.
“I don’t need to tell you what flowers you’re carrying down the aisle.” He shrugged, his eyes still closed.
“Fine, those.” I pointed at a bunch of pink tulips in a beautiful bouquet with some small ball-shaped flowers.
“You have to pick properly.”
“I’m not picking properly unless James helps me.” I crossed my arms childishly, staring over at my ‘fiancé’ until he opened his eyes and rolled them at me.
“Didn’t we say we’re going with the blue theme anyway?”
“Well, choose blue flowers then.” He flicked his wand and all the flowers had sorted themselves so that the blue flowers were in front of all the other ones.
“Thank you, that wasn’t hard was it?” I rolled my eyes at him and begin looking at each bouquet, “I quite like these ones… what are they?” I looked at Ginny, who was watching me choose quietly.
“I think they’re Plumbago flowers mixed with lilac Begonia’s in a bouquet.” She answered, flipping through a small flower chart.
“I like these, I think these ones would be nice because it’s pastel colours which will go with the bridesmaid dress and the whole pastel blue theme.” I held them up, inspecting them happily whilst Ginny cleared all the other flowers away. I put them back down to the side so I knew where they were and so we could keep them safe until next Monday.
“Right, onto the chairs and what carpet you want down the aisle.” Ginny ushered me along. The chairs and carpet were easier to pick out, I just chose a plain white Chiavari fold-up chair with a plain white silk carpet that would go down the aisle in order for me to walk down more efficiently and without me tripping.
“Where are we going now?” I asked as I helped James and Ginny move all our stuff away in preparation for the ceremony in five days.
“We’ll go to the catering company so that we can sort out the cake then the snack foods, then we’ll apparate to a vineyard to choose the wine.” She organised and we both linked arms with her. When I opened my eyes, we were on the corner of a basically empty street and right in front of us was a large food shop with about a dozen wedding cakes in one window then a bunch of different pastries in the other.
“Looks posh.” James whispered in my ear and I nodded my head, pulling my nose up into a snobby expression which made him laugh.
“Hello?” Ginny called out when we entered and the delicious smell of cookies, cakes and other pastries filled my nose and I took a huge sniff.
“Hola! How may I help you?” a man wearing a chef’s uniform came scurrying out the back.
“We’re having a wedding next Monday for my son and his fiancée, Elle, and we were looking for a cake and some small snack foods for after the ceremony.” Ginny explained as myself and James stared round at all the food hungrily and greedily.
“Yes, we can help with that. Have you any specific cake flavours you want?”
“Red velvet.” I answered just as James said,
“Chocolate.” And we both stared at each other.
“Have you ever had red velvet cake before? It’s the most mouth-watering cake in the world!” I turned to him with my arms crossed.
“Please!” he scoffed, “Everyone loves chocolate so you can’t go wrong.” He argued defensively.
“Chocolate’s boring though! It’s a safe option.”
“Chocolate is not boring,” he gasped offended, “Take that back right now.”
“Chocolate. is. boring,” I pronounced each word slowly with a smirk on my face. James suddenly grabbed me and started tickling my sides mercilessly, “Stop! James!” my stomach was hurting from laughing so much and I couldn’t breathe.
“Uh, guys…?” Ginny got out attention again because we’d both forgotten we were in a shop in public. Woops.
“Sorry,” I blushed heavily, holding James’ hands around me so that he couldn’t tickle me, “Carry on.”
“So it’s between red velvet or chocolate?” the chef, whose nametag read Mario, asked.
“Yeah. Personally I think we should have red velvet because it’s better than chocolate.” I answered.
“Trust me, when it comes to food you should go with my answer,” James interrupted, “I’m very serious when it comes to my food.” I snorted.
“Please, don’t make me laugh James!” I giggled, “Anyone puts a plate in front of you and you hoover it up without checking to see what it is.” Ginny and Mario laughed whilst James tried to tickle me again.
“I do not!” he protested.
“You so do!”
“You do, James.” Ginny joined in, nodding her head and laughing with me.
“Well, we can split the cake so half of it is red velvet and the other half is chocolate?” Mario finally spoke after listening to our banter.
“That might be better because then you can both get what you want? Or you can get one cake with two layers and each layer is a different flavour?” Ginny suggested, looking at Mario to see if he could do that and smiled when he nodded.
“I like the two-tier cake idea because people can choose which one they’d prefer rather than getting one big cake that’s split into two.” I agreed, nodding my head then tilting it to see James’ facial expression. He was nodding his head as well, practically drooling at the fact that we were going to eat some food now.
“We’ll bring out slices for each cake and then we’ll move onto the other food, okay?” Mario went into the back room whilst James, Ginny and I sat around a small table next to a large window. He came back out with three plates that had two slices of cake on each, one chocolate and one red velvet.
“Mmmm, that’s really good.” Ginny hummed appreciatively when we had all eaten the red velvet cake slice after the chocolate cake.
“Told you.” I smirked at James victoriously. He laughed sarcastically, shovelling the rest of his cake into his mouth whilst sulking.
“So are we definitely having a two-tier cake?” Mario asked. Both myself and James nodded our heads but I then added,
“Can we have the red velvet being the top layer?”
“Hang on, why can’t we have chocolate as the top layer?” James looked offended once again.
“I recall someone saying not so long ago that I have the final word when it comes to this stuff.” I pointed out, feeling James place his hand on my thigh which meant my breathing hitched.
“But didn’t you say a while ago that you can’t choose everything by yourself?” he smirked smugly and I glared at him until I couldn’t resist it and started to smile, “If you so wish you can have red velvet as the top layer.” He said quietly, his face hovering right in front of mine. My heart was pounding loudly in my chest when I realised how close his face was and I tried to make my breathing sound normal. Stupid James.
“Okay, that’s settled then,” I smirked, turning away from him and looking at Mario. I could practically feel James pouting at the fact I didn’t give in, although it was incredibly hard not to when he had this hold over me, “We’ll have the red velvet flavour on top with the chocolate underneath.”
“Sounds like a sex position.” James whispered in my ear making me almost choke on my own spit and my face flood with colour, his hand that was still placed on my thigh was making it difficult to form a coherent thought and sentence in my head. Once again… stupid, also incredibly hot, James.
“Right, I’ll bring out a selection of foods and you can choose, okay?” Mario wheeled in a food cart that had a bunch of food on it. It all ranged from sausage rolls to custard tarts to salad sandwiches. Once we’d tasted at least a bit of each food we settled on the sandwiches, profiteroles with cream, small prawn dishes and a few of the custard tarts.
“I am so full right now.” I moaned, clutching my slightly bloated stomach and regretting having something for breakfast. I should have known that we’d be testing cake and foods today so the smart thing would have been to skip breakfast so I could actually eat the food.
“I’m not.” James exclaimed gleefully, wrapping an arm around my waist whilst I did the same.
“You’re never full,” I rolled my eyes and nudged him with my hip, “Are we going to the vineyard now?” I asked Ginny.
“Yeah, we’ll apparate just down from there and then walk down. It shouldn’t take us more than two minutes at the most.” We took her arms and I closed my eyes almost immediately, only opening them again when I felt that we had landed. The smell of grapes and grass hit me instantaneously and I inhaled until my nose stung a little.
“Man, I love this smell.” I hummed with a happy smile on my face. James squeezed my waist, staring down at me with a small glint in his hazel eyes.
“I think you smelt better when you came back from that hike, you smelt nice then.” He said.
“Well you practically did inhale me,” I giggled when he laughed. He wrapped his other arm around the front of my waist, lifting me up so that I was rested on his hip, “James, I’m not a child.” I threw my head back in laughter which gave him the perfect opportunity to plant a kiss on the centre of my neck. My head snapped back so fast I think I got whiplash and I hit him on the shoulder. He eventually set me back on the ground but turned around, crouched down so that I could hop on his back for a piggyback ride.
Once I was securely on his back, he set off in such a fast-paced run that a little scream escaped my lips at being taken by surprise, “Come on! Let’s get drunk!” he shouted as he charged past his Mum. I could hear Ginny laughing behind us as we reached the entrance and James slid me down onto the ground again, wrapping his arms around my waist and tickling me.
“Hey! That wasn’t nice! Taking me by surprise, you evil boy!” I hit him on the shoulder repeatedly whilst he simultaneously tickled my sides.
“I’m not a boy,” he pouted, “I’m a man, the manliest man ever.” He buried his face in my neck and pretended to sniffle.
“Come on James, we need to go inside.” I cooed, rubbing his back and trying to keep my laughter in. He was being so adorable and playful today that I was feeling so youthful, like I was a teenager again and I didn’t have to think about all the responsibilities I had.
“No, you’re being mean to me!” he said in mock-baby voice and I swear to God I nearly swooned right there and then.
“Aww, I’m sorry, Jamesy. Of course you are the manliest man ever.” I said quietly in a small, Motherly voice and he lifted his head away from my neck with the most gorgeous puppy eyes ever.
“You mean it?”
“You’re not acting like it now,” Ginny laughed, breaking the moment, “You’re both like excitable children. It’s adorable.” She pinched James’ cheeks and they burned bright red.
“Muuum! You’re embarrassing me!” he whined childishly and I laughed.
“Come on, let’s go and choose some wine.” She headed inside, followed by me then James.
“By the way, do you wanna go out and get some food tonight? Just you and me?” James asked me quietly as Ginny went to talk to the guy behind the front desk. There were a few posh-looking couples stood talking to experts around the room, holding glasses of red or white wine, sniffing it, swirling it in the glass and then sipping it. Once again I stuck out like a sore thumb, especially with the clothes I was wearing.
“What about everyone else?” I turned in his arms and wrapped my arms around his waist, my fingers trailing lightly around his back of their own accord.
“I’m sure they can live without having you there for one night.” He teased and I rolled my eyes, his voice was just a little scratchy all of a sudden.
“Okay, where are we going? Nowhere fancy please, I’ve had enough of not feeling like I fit in to last a lifetime.” I muttered, my eyes drifting towards where Ginny was stood again.
“Hey, it shouldn’t matter if you don’t fit in,” he lifted my chin so that I was looking at him again, “You’re Elle and from what I can tell, she’s funny, snarky and downright, unbelievably, impossibly nice to everyone. I can see why you were sorted into Hufflepuff.”
“That’s more of a curse than a blessing if I’m honest, I can’t even be mean to Valerie or Courtney. Even though they deserve it.”
“Sometimes being nice is better than being horrible. If you’re being horrible, you’re giving them incentive to be horrible right back,” He answered, “Be the bigger person and all that.” Ginny interrupted us before I could reply something.
“Guys, are you ready?” she asked and we nodded our heads, following her and the guy behind the desk into a separate room. I think we may have tasted about six different wines before finally agreeing on the 2006 Penfolds Grange red wine.
“I’m officially beat!” I slumped down onto the living room couch as soon as we arrived back at the villa, James following suit and moving my legs to rest on top of his thighs.
“I know what you mean, I’m absolutely knackered.” He breathed out, closing his eyes and resting his head against the back of the couch.
“My feet are hurting so much, I really should have chosen better shoes.” I peeled off my brown sandals and sighed in relief when my ankles and toes were free. James grabbed my right foot and started to massage it and I let out an involuntary groan.
“Better?” he smirked, moving onto the next one when he’d spent a good amount of time on that one.
“Much, thanks.” I shuffled around until I was comfortable and closed my eyes, listening to the sounds around me and enjoying the free foot massage I was receiving.
“Elle?” I opened my eyes at the female voice in the room but when I did, it was quite dark outside and James had disappeared somewhere. A blanket was slung over me and I figured I had fallen asleep and James had grabbed a blanket and laid it over me.
“Hmmm?” I looked up at Lily with sleepy eyes and moved slowly so that she could sit down.
“You’ve probably forgotten but could I have my phone back now?” she asked sheepishly and I nearly smacked my forehead in stupidity.
“Yeah, yeah of course! Sorry, I had it with me and I was supposed to give it back to you this morning but I completely forgot!” I apologised, fishing it out of my short pockets and handing it back to her. She checked it quickly with an excited expression on her face but it suddenly dropped to a saddened one and she dropped the phone into her lap, “What’s wrong?” I sat up, chucking the blanket onto the other chair and putting a consoling arm around her.
“He hasn’t called or texted me. At all.” She mumbled and I knew who she was talking about. Oliver.
“Well, we’ll text him back now and just wait to see if he’ll reply.” I took the phone off her and quickly typed a reply, giving it back to her so she could read over it before she sent it.
‘Lily: So sorry I couldn’t reply, I was super busy helping Elle sort out her wedding stuff. It wasn’t a lot of kissing, just a little xxx’
“I don’t normally send him kisses.” She said quietly after she sent it.
“You should have said or deleted them or something.”
“No, I wanted to send him kisses this time. I don’t know, maybe as a sorry or to see if he’ll respond with them?” she ran a hand through her hair.
“You really like him, don’t you?” I let her put her head on my shoulder and slowly stroked her arm, an unwanted memory surfacing in my mind.
“You have no idea.” She replied. I had a reply on my tongue but I couldn’t find the heart to say it because it would make her suspicious of mine and James’ ‘relationship’, if it even was one anymore.
“I think you should go and have dinner, don’t think about him too much and know that what happens, happens,” I shrugged once she’d lifted her head off my shoulder, “I know it’s not the best advice I’ve ever giv-.”
“Elle, it’s enough you just trying. I know it’s hard to give advice to someone when you’re in a happy relationship yourself but thank you so much for trying to understand.” She gave me a quick hug and stood up to go for dinner and I couldn’t have felt more helpless or guilty in my life. My hand fell onto my lap whilst my arms dangled freely as I squeezed my eyes shut.
“You ready to go for dinner?” James’ voiced made me snap my head up.
“Yeah, let’s go.” I sighed, standing up and following him out the front door of the villa.
“What’s wrong?” he looked down at me, his eyebrows knitted together in concern.
“Nothing’s wrong, I’m just tired,” I shrugged, hoping he’d believe me. He stared at me for a few more seconds before giving me the benefit of the doubt and letting it go, “How come you didn’t wake me up before?”
“I knew you were up early this morning so I just let you sleep. Plus, you look adorable when you sleep,” he tapped me on the nose and I blushed, “Oh, and you snore cutely as well.”
I gasped, “I do not snore!”
“Oh yes you do! It’s so cute!” he pinched my cheeks and I had to hold back from tripping him up as we walked to wherever we were going.
“I’ll show you cute when I chop your fingers off.” I glared at him.
“You sleep with your mouth open a little as well and you curl up in a ball.” He kept on talking, ignoring my intensified glare on the side of his head.
“Please stop talking.” I moaned, covering my face that was as red as a tomato probably. He grabbed my hands and pulled them away from my face with a boyish grin on his face.
“Hey, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s adorable.” He laughed sincerely, pulling me to him and planting a sloppy kiss right on my lips.
“Shut up and let’s just get some food, I’m starving.” I clutched my belly when it rumbled loudly as if to further prove my point.
“What do you want? Fast food?” he pointed to a McDonald’s in front of us, “Or some greasy Kebabs?” he pointed to a small kebab shop just a little further down from McDonald’s.
“McDonald’s!” I exclaimed and practically dragged him inside. We both ordered a chicken nugget Happy Meal each, playing with our toys whilst we were eating, “Hey!” I cried in protest when he nabbed one of my chips so I reached across the table and grabbed about four chips and stuffed them in mouth before he could react.
“I only took one! Now, I have to take three to make it equal.” He stared at me in shock and went to grab my chips but I pulled them out of his reach, as well as my nuggets. A lot of people, mainly older people, were looking at us condescendingly in that way that clearly said ‘Ugh, act like a grown up please’.
“Nuh uh, my chips.” I swallowed my mouthful difficulty and then proceeded to stuff the rest of the down my throat as fast as possible.
“You really are one of a kind, Elle,” he laughed, copying me and shoving the remaining chips in his gob. We stood up, put our rubbish in the bin and carried our toys in our hands back towards the villa with me trying to inconspicuously hide my yawns but hiding miserably, “Come on sleeping beauty, let’s get you to bed.” He swooped me up in his arms suddenly. Talk about sweeping me off my feet.
“That means you’re my knight in shining armour.” I mumbled sleepily, snuggling myself into his chest and inhaling his delicious aftershave.
“Sure it does princess,” he whispered back, laying me down on the bed when we reached our bedroom, “Now, go to sleep because we have a big day ahead of us tomorrow.” He added mysteriously but my sleep-filled mind couldn’t process the statement because all I could think about was falling asleep. When James climbed in beside me a few minutes later, I immediately curled up next to him and smiled happily when he wrapped his arms around me.
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