Chapter 7 : Two Hours. Seventeen Minutes. And Forty-Eight Seconds.
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Two hours. Seventeen minutes. And forty-eight seconds. That is the measured length of time I spent in the bathroom scrubbing my skin raw to attempt (attempt being the key word) to remove the scrawl that had vandalized my forehead.
Two hours. Seventeen minutes. And forty-eight seconds.
And it was still bloody there.
Yes, that is correct. After two hours, seventeen minutes, and forty-eight seconds of hard labor, a faint outline of the phrase CRAZY BINT still remained on my forehead. But after two hours, seventeen minutes, and forty-eight seconds of non-stop scrubbing, faint outlines were good enough for me, as the foul inscription would have to come off eventually. And if eventually turned into never, well, Freddy Weasley might need a new pair of balls. Actually, as the thought came to mind, this disablement was becoming more and more tempting, because along with sporting such a wonderful adjective and noun usage to describe the likes of me, I was now the proud new owner of a red forehead. A brilliant start to what had already been a thrilling day, if I do say so myself.
I suppose this is God’s way of punishing me for running away.
I haven’t decided yet whether or not I deserved it.
Warranted or not I was pissed. And I mean pissed. Which I think is pretty understandable. I mean, I looked like a complete and total moron and it was all dumb fuck Freddy’s fault. And I didn’t even get to have the satisfaction of kicking his arse for it because the stupid bloke left to spend the day with his cousin who, if there was anything in genetics, was probably just as stupid as him.
And to think, this all occurred because he got a hold of the Lucky Charms box before me.
My existence is pretty pathetic.
Rubbing what were supposed to be soothing circles into my aching and peeved head, I made my way to my bedroom with my eyes closed, humming softly to myself. After walking into several walls and doorframes, I officially swore off walking around my house blindly and finally made it into my destination. I opened my eyes and smiled. Lounging on the hardwood floors of the room was my kitty-cat, Chester; just the sight of him caused my mood to brighten instantly.
“Hey there, hot stuff!” I greeted excitedly as I got down on the floor to lie down next to him. Nuzzling my face into his fur, I wrapped my arms around my furry ball of awesome and squeezed him gently, causing him to growl in my ear. You see, Chester doesn’t exactly like me but I like to pretend that PDA just makes him nervous and that we’re actually the best of friends. It makes me feel better.
So, despite his many protests, my grip my cat did not falter, and I soon launched into a huge venting session of the events of recent days. Like several other occasions, Chester silently glared at the ceiling as I ranted, waiting patiently for me to finish and finally release him.
And I know what you’re thinking: Wow, you talk to your cat? That’s not weird or anything. And my answer to that is: yes, I do converse and have in depth discussions with my cat regularly, thank you very much. You see, my cat, Chester, is cooler than your cat. He is cuter than your cat. He is more badass than your cat. And to top it off, you wish that you could trade your piece of shit cat for the glorious being that is my cat.
He is just that amazing.
Now, I realize that Chester, remarkable as he may be, cannot understand a single word of my ramblings, but when has something like a language barrier ever stopped me? No, he must sit through these venting sessions whether he understands/cares or not because he is my cat and that is his cross to bear.
Frankly, I don’t even know why he hangs out in my room anymore; it would be so much easier for him to avoid me if he didn’t spend time in my habitat.
I bet you one million pounds that if I could read his thoughts every time I entered the room, it would go something along the lines of: “Oh God, it’s her.”
Good thing he’s fat as fuck and can’t outrun me.
After my very heartfelt rant on the woe that is my life was at last completed, I gazed into the very blue eyes of the one they call Chester. They were just so mystical and…blue. I could stare into them all day; I really could. I’m telling you, just one look into those exquisite eyes and you become complete mush and suddenly life doesn’t suck so much. Everyday is Free Balloon Day. Coupons for TV Dinners grow on trees. Girls don’t throw up on the boy they like’s shoes. Mums don’t shag blokes who are twenty years their junior. Said bloke does not deface your forehead. People shit out rainbows. It’s really great, it really is.
And I got this warm fuzzy feeling in my gut. His mere existence just made me so happy. It was at that moment that I knew that there was no one on this entire planet who I loved more than that little bugger. Who cares if he hates me? Who cares if he’s staring at my neck, probably contemplating how much trouble he’ll get into with my mum if he just goes for my jugular? The fact of the matter is, is that I love him. And there is nothing that he can do about it.
So suck on that, Chester.
I suppose that once I had finally shut my trap, Chester thought that his presence in my company was no longer required but this was false, as I wanted to have some more non-consensual cuddling time with him. But Chester would have none of this. He squirmed around a bit in my arms and ‘meowed’ in a tone that sounded something like “Get the fuck off me bitch,” but I didn’t release him until the psycho finally sunk his teeth into my skin as a last resort.
Once Chester had made his great escape, I was left alone in my room with indentations of kitty teeth on a wounded arm. Alone. On a Friday. How rich.
Needing to get out and blow off some steam, I walked over to the little record store near my mum’s house that I usually went to when I was lonely with nothing better to do. The owner knew me pretty well, so as you can probably already tell, I went there a lot.
You see, I didn’t have that many friends at my mum’s. I mean, I grew up in that house before the divorce and had a lot of mates when I lived there but things changed once everything got messy between mummy and daddy. She got the house. Custody of me was equally shared. I lived in two different locations. When I got older, I went away for school. I changed. The girls in my neighborhood changed. We drifted apart. The most we did now was an awkward wave or smile when we passed one another on the street and strained conversations at neighborhood parties. At my dad’s, I had Robyn. At my mum’s, I had no one.
So I went to the record store. And I passed the hours alphabetizing the records. The owner, Mr. Carlson, hated me for it; he insisted on organizing them by year of release but I argued that his shop was a ghost town because not only were record players nearly extinct, but nobody could find what the fuck they were looking for. It’s 2022; nobody remembers what year Far Side of the Moon came out in anymore.
So alphabetized them. And then he fixed them. And then I did it again. It’s a vicious cycle that I will repeat until it finally gets old. My mother insisted that I stop goading the ‘poor old man,’ but it was too late; I was already in too deep. You see, people like Mr. Carlson need an annoying teenager to bother them; gives them something to do. I mean, he didn’t get many customers, so how else was he going to spend his day? He needed my company as much as I needed his. It’s pathetic and sad, but it’s also true.
“Spencer, I swear to God, if you come in here and alphabetize those goddamn records one more time…” was how I was greeted when I stepped into the store.
I put on my brightest smile that was reserved especially for him. “Why, good day to you too, kind sir. How’s the wifey, Mr. Carlson?”
Mr. Carlson sighed heavily, taking off his glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose. “I mean it, kid: you’ll be the death of me.”
I strolled over to the cash register he was standing behind and sat on the counter solely for the reason that he hated when I did it. This earned me a scowl. “Oh, don’t say that, Mr. Carlson. We’ve been becoming the best of friends.”
He threw a fiercer glare in my direction and after about a minute, sighed in defeat at the realization that I wasn’t leaving. “You can start in the 1970s; I have an easier time fixing up those for some reason after you’ve screwed them up.”
“I’m on it,” I said, pushing myself off the counter and onto my feet. After a salute in the grimacing Mr. Carlson’s direction, I sprinted over to the section labeled “70s Rock” to begin my work.
“Oh, and Spencer?”
I stopped and pivoted so I could look at him directly. “Yes, Mr. Carlson?”
“Nice forehead,” he snickered.
Damn. I had forgotten about that. Forcing a smile, I replied: “Why thank you, Mr. Carlson. Always the charmer.”
With a mental reminder to myself to knock Freddy’s teeth out the next time I saw him, I continued my journey to the records and pulled out the first one. Paul McCartney: McCartney. I turned the album over in my hands and examined the cover, my eyes glued to the scruffy, dark haired man’s face.
“Damn, you hot sonofabitch,” I muttered, low enough so that Mr. Carlson couldn’t hear.
I stared at the cover lovingly for a solid three and a half minutes (who cares if the bloke’s ancient now, back then he was fit) before I continued with my alphabetizing. After about a half hour, I had a good portion of the records in an order that fit my standards and was to my liking. 1970-1974 already done and over with, I had moved onto 1975 and came across Fleetwood Mac’s eponymous album.
“Great album,” I murmured to myself, scanning the track listing on the back cover and nodding in approval at the titles. Rhiannon, Landslide, just some really solid and great songs. I didn’t have a talented bone in my body, but I sure as hell got a kick out of good music; it just killed me. Nothing like laying on my floor listening to a montage of songs that just spoke to me, you know? I’d give anything to have even an ounce of talent, though. I sometimes thought that if maybe I was good, I would be a musically inclined individual in the next life.
Or maybe I’d be completely and totally screwed over and be the tone-deaf nitwit I am today.
Mildly depressed by the idea that I’d never get to be a rockstar, I put the record in its rightful place with the ‘F’s and without even really thinking about it, glanced up at the shop window.
I ended up doing a double take.
Strolling down the street, just happening to be passing by the record store, was none other than James Potter. And he was with, guess who, Freddy Weasley. My eyes nearly popped out of my head. I just couldn’t believe it. He was right there. And he was with that shithead. Unbelievable. I was just about to run over to the window and press my face against the glass, watching the pair in amazement, when I remembered that I had dignity. Not a lot of it, but it was still there.
But obviously I didn’t have enough, which was evident by my next move.
Not giving the slightest flying fuck that I wasn’t finished alphabetizing, I dashed out of the shop without a single word to the rather bemused-and let’s be honest-delighted Mr. Carlson.
When I got outside, I was immediately hit by the heat radiating off the blazing sun, my skin warming instantly from not only that, but nerves. My heart was racing in my chest; I could hear its heavy pounding in my ears and I was almost certain that the people surrounding me could hear it too. He was so close and my body ached to just run over and throw my arms around his neck and jump on him back, but I wouldn’t risk approaching him. No, not after what had happened, not after how I humiliated myself last time.
So instead, I did the most Danny Greco-esque thing I’ve ever done in my entire life: I swiped today’s paper out of the hands of the nearest person, ignoring their hollers and protests, and trailed behind James and Freddy, using the newspaper as a shield of sorts. I was at a safe enough distance behind them that I couldn’t make out any of their conversation. The flaw in the plan was that they would be able to see me very clearly if they happened to turn around but that’s where the newspaper came in.
I am such a creeper.
Please note that this next moment I describe is not one I am proud of.
I felt jealous of Freddy.
Can you believe that? I sure as hell couldn’t! Get this: I was following them down the street for a few blocks watching the two of them laugh and joke around. And then all of the sudden, I felt this surge of emotion flow through me-and it wasn’t rage for Freddy’s parents’ rash decision to fornicate without protection and thus leading to his unfortunate existence. No, I was actually jealous. I wanted to be the one that James made laugh by his witty comments. I wanted to be the one who punched him playfully on the arm for being a pain in the arse (side note: how does he even manage to be so fucking adorable and endearing while pissing me off?) He was the only person that I actually wanted to annoy me. And I wanted to annoy him back. I wanted him to tickle me until I couldn’t breathe. I wanted him to hold me close and kiss me in the rain. I wanted to get lost in conversation, or banter, with him. In the short period that I had known him, I had really come to enjoy his company. I missed him; I wished that I hadn’t run away. I wished that I had taken my chances and seen if he would have come back for me. I wanted to be with him. And I was jealous of the fact that Freddy was fortunate enough to be in his presence.
I started wondering how the hell Freddy even knew James. I mean, wasn’t the loser supposed to be spending the day with his cous-
James is Freddy’s cousin. That’s kind of funny in a not-so-funny way. I mean, they were probably swapping embarrassing stories about me! James was probably telling Freddy about me throwing up! And Freddy was probably telling him not to take a chance on me because I was a crazy bint! A crazy bint who doesn’t know how to share her cereal! OH MY GOD, MY LIFE HAS SUDDENLY GOTTEN TEN TIMES WORSE.
Bloody hell, I’m paranoid. They probably aren’t smart enough to have made the connection that they’re talking about the same person-if they are discussing me at all. I mean, Spencer is a perfectly common na-
Fuck, they’ve probably figured it out.
I suddenly lost all of my nerve. I hadn’t actually thought about approaching them in the first place, but now I was just anxious following them.
Just as I was about to turn around and go back to Mr. Carlson’s to return to my alphabetizing, thus aborting Operation: Stalk-James-and- Freddy-but-the-Latter-Only-Because-he-was-with-the-Former, James dropped his water bottle and turned around to pick it up.
Totally caught off guard by this sudden movement, I froze and held up the newspaper to cover my face a second too late. He had seen me; I knew he had, for we had briefly made eye contact. I had been caught. And I was scared shitless.
I swallowed hard. I wondered if he would come over to me; I wished, prayed, that he wouldn’t, but knowing my luck, that would be exactly what would happened.
And I was right.
Twelve painfully slow seconds later (believe me, I was counting), a hand gently lowered the newspaper that was concealing my face.
And in that moment, I stood face-to-face with James Potter. And I wanted to run so badly, but I couldn’t; my feet were planted to the floor beneath me.
Neither of us spoke at first, we just stood there and stared at one another; studying the other’s face. His hair was wild; sticking up all over the place. It was nothing unusual for him, but it was the first thing I noticed. If I wasn’t so mortified, I would’ve laughed. His eyes were the next thing that stole my attention. They were unreadable, expressionless-just like the rest of his face. I wanted to know what he was thinking, what he thought of me, but at the same time, I didn’t want him to say anything at all.
Finally, running a hand through his hair, he cleared his throat. “You’ve been avoiding me. Why?”
My heart stopped beating and I felt my face flush. It was so embarrassing to have to admit the fact that I had been too much of a coward to face him. “Does throwing up on your shoes ring a bell?” I asked finally, after long hesitation. A nervous laugh escaped from my lips, which caused me to blush even further.
This, for some reason, was not the answer James had been expecting. His eyebrows furrowed together. “Well, yeah, but-” He abruptly stopped midsentence, squinting his eyes and leaning forward a little bit as if trying to get a better look at something. “Why is there reminisce of the words ‘Crazy Bint’ written on your forehead?” His tone had immediately shifted from the serious ‘I mean business’ to the one dripping with amusement that I had come to know and love.
I felt my face flare up for the third time since this conversation began. Again, I had completely forgotten about that. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I looked past James and at Freddy who was looking on the scene with curiosity and my eyes narrowed instantly.
Freddy for some reason, took this as his invitation into the conversation and ran over, slamming into me full force, and subjecting me to a dramatic hug as if we hadn’t seen each other in ages. The hug was one-sided in case you were wondering. “Ah, Spencer, my favorite batshit, crazy, bird in all of London,” he cooed.
I struggled against his vice grip that refused to falter.
Well, this is annoying.
I supposed this was how Chester felt when I embraced him.
Looking up, I gave James a pleading look; my eyes silently begging him to peal his cousin off of me. But the expression on his face was one that I didn’t understand; he was looking back and forth between me and Freddy and seemed torn between being hurt and upset or just plain angry.
I tilted my head to the side, confused at what he had to be mad about; he wasn’t the one who was being tortured, practically molested, by a great big oaf, who refused to let go.
Wait a minute. He doesn’t think that there’s something going on between me and Freddy, does he?
I was about to open my mouth and say something offensive to Freddy, as my subtle way of reassuring him that I was in no way interested in his cousin, when James finally spoke.
“Wait a minute, you two know each other?”
At the same time a rather grumpy “Unfortunately,” and cheerful “Yup!” were spoken.
Freddy turned so that he was facing James, but still didn’t release me-if anything, his hold actually got tighter. I grimaced at the closeness. “This is the girl I was telling you about,” he said, bouncing up and down excitedly. “Her mum’s the one with the nice-”
“Oi! I’d prefer if you didn’t discuss your sexual escapades with my mum in front of me, thank you very much. Accidentally walking in on it was traumatizing enou-”
Muttering obscenities under my breath, I heard James sigh in relief and chuckle lightly. I looked up at him to see a huge, almost goofy, smile plastered on his face.
“You mean, Heather a.k.a. ‘Balloon Tits’ is Spencer’s mum?” he asked, his voice dripping with that cheesy, phony attempt of shock that bad actors from commercials on the telly possess.
“You betcha, Jim-boy,” Freddy replied, completely ignoring me. “Her plentiful cleavage is known far and wide, across the plains of Europe.”
“Don’t talk about my mum like th-”
“I hear, that in Germany, they refer to her as ‘Fraulein Grossenbustenhalter,’ which in rough translation means Miss Over-the-Shoulder-Boulder-Holder.”
Freddy and I both froze and stared at James in awe.
“What the fuck?”
James bowed at his cousin’s praise and winked at my expression of horror.
WHAT IS IT WITH TEENAGE BOYS AND MY MUM’S BIG BOOBS?!?! AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHY DIDN’T I INHERIT THEM?????
I mean, when Danny Greco saw them for the first time, his eyes nearly popped out of his head. Evidently, Freddy had the same reaction upon first sight. And he didn’t waste any time telling James all about them.
For the billionth time, my life sucks so much and I-whoa, are my eyes deceiving me or am I no longer being hugged/strangled by Freddy?
HOLY GUACAMOLE HE LET GO OF ME. FREEDOM AT LAST!
It seemed that while James was spouting out possibly made up German, Freddy was so impressed that he had dropped his arms and released me. Internally, I was doing flippin’ cartwheels. I was having, like, a fiesta in my brain. With a piñata and maracas and shit. The whole shindig.
But despite the celebration, I was also reminded of how he had written all over my face and suddenly I was livid.
I poked Freddy violently on the chest. “You, mister, are a complete fuck! You wrote on my face while I was asleep and I spent two hours, seventeen minutes, and forty-eight fucking seconds trying to get it off and it’s still there. I hate, I loathe, and I despise you so much right now. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW!”
“Whoa, talk about whiplash,”
“SHUT UP FREDDY, NO ONE LIKES YOU.”
James burst out hysterically laughing at this while Freddy jutted out his lip in a pout. Grabbing me by the wrists, James pulled me into a hug and rested his chin on the top of my head. I tried my best not to swoon.
“Oh, Spencer, how I’ve missed thee and thy random bursts of rage,” he declared.
I smiled widely, my mood immediately shifting. “Wow, James, I didn’t realize that you were so worldly; fluent in not only German, but Shakespearian.”
James suddenly pulled away from our hug, which I was enjoying way too much, holding me at an arm’s length distance away. “This reminds me; you have to make it up to me for avoiding me.”
I raised an eyebrow. “And how am I expected to pay this apparent debt that I owe?”
“I am taking you out for coffee,”
“I don’t drink coffee.”
“I am not taking you out for coffee.”
I laughed. “I do drink hot chocolate though,”
James rolled his eyes good-naturedly. “I should have known.”
Just to mess with him, I pretended to be offended and said “Fine, if you’re gonna be like that, I won’t go.”
“But you have to,” he informed me with confidence, his eyes glistening with mischief.
“And why is that?” I asked curiously.
“Because tomorrow’s my birthday and therefore you have to do everything I say.”
Wow; I wasn’t expecting that answer. I smiled sweetly at him. “Really? How old are you going to be?”
“Seventeen,” he told me proudly.
Three months. I, Spencer Olive Lockwood, am three months older than him. Three. Fucking. Months.
I was becoming my mother and I didn’t even know it! I was well on my way to becoming a cradle snatcher! This is how it always began: first, it’s going be just three months older and then three years and then six and then BAM! I’m in prison for dating a thirteen year old. DEAR GOD WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?!?!
The more logical part of my brain immediately dusted the cobwebs off its surface and squashed the freak out that was escalating for no apparent reason. So, I’m three months older than him? Big deal.
(You see? The spring cleaning worked!)
“Well, in that case birthday boy, how ‘bout we quit standing around and go for that hot chocolate?” I amended with a smile.
“Hey!” Freddy exclaimed, interjecting into our conversation. To be honest, I had completely forgotten about his presence. “You two can’t just leave me here!”
“Watch us,” James replied cheekily, taking a hold of my hand and pulling me along down the street. I felt a flow of excitement flow through my body at his touch and butterflies erupted in my stomach. The two of us locked eyes and James opened his mouth to say something but our little moment was interrupted by Freddy’s protests, which could still be heard in the distance, so James turned his head and called back: “I’ll see you tomorrow at the Burrow, okay?”
We both laughed at Freddy’s rather obscene and inappropriate reply to our abandonment. James rolled his eyes and smirked. “I swear, the bloke can’t get enough of me.”
I bit my lip and smiled. “I can see why,” I answered truthfully. “You’re quite a character, Mr. Potter.”
A/N Hello, my lovely readers! This is my longest chapter yet; I hope that you enjoyed it! I apologize if the ending kind of sucked, but in my defense, I wrote it at two in the morning :D But James returned! As promised! What did you think of that? Are you excited? I sure am!!!! Let me know what you think in a review! (Which, by the way everyone, I am so excited by the response I am getting by this story; thank you so much! You're all so wonderful and sweet!) :D
Disclaimer: I unfortunately do not own Harry Potter, Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac or any of their song titles/albums that were mentioned in this chapter. Also, I can't take credit for Fraulein Grossenbustenhalter; I stole that from the musical, Spring Awakening :D
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