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Chapter 11 : James' Visit
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^^^ Magic_Phoenix is far too good to me.
“Hey, guess what?” Lily asked as she plopped down on the end of the bed. I looked up at her and smiled a goofy grin, which made her chuckle.
“What?” I asked, and I tossed some of the curls off my face.
“James is coming for a visit tonight! He’s even bringing his wife, Jennifer.” She smiled widely and her eyes danced with happiness. Lily absolutely adores her older brother.
She thinks he’s like some sort of God or something.
“I didn’t know James got married.” I said. The bloke is only a year older than Albus; he turns nineteen in a few months, and he’s married already!
“Yeah, he proposed to her during Christmas Dinner at our house when he was in Seventh Year, so that was last year, when we were in the fifth. They got married over the summer. I did have an invitation for you, but you were on holiday at the time so you couldn’t come.” She said, shrugging and tossing her red hair over her shoulders.
“Aww, I would have loved to come to that.” I moaned, and she grinned. I’ve always had some kind of freaky obsession with weddings, they’re just beautiful. It’s something to do with the amount of love and happiness in the air. I love watching everyone’s face light up as the bride walks down the aisle and the way you can just read on the groom’s face that he thinks she is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen in her life.
“I knew you would have, that’s why I invited you.” She smiled again.
“So when does James get here?” I asked and she started grinning again, looking like a kid that had just been told they were being taken on a surprise trip to Disneyland.
“In about an hour. They’re staying for dinner tonight and then they’re sleeping in Al’s dorm. They head back tomorrow evening, so we’ll have dinner with them tomorrow as well.”
I couldn’t help but grin wider at just how excited Lily was. If I didn’t know about her low tolerance for caffeine I would have assumed she’d drank about twelve mugs of coffee.
“Was his wife’s name- wait, are you talking about Jennifer Goldstein?” I asked, and my voice shot up about fourteen octaves.
Lily nodded, looking amused at the imbecilic shock on my face. Jennifer Goldstein was James’ best friend from First Year up until Fourth Year, when she became his first girlfriend. His first and last, he dated her right up until they both left at the end of Seventh Year. How idiotic do I have to be not to realise straight away that she’s the Jennifer in question?
Jeez, am I confunded or something?
HOLD YOUR HIPPOGRIFFS FOR A SECOND, they were engaged for seven months before school broke up, and they just forgot to mention to me that were engaged.
There’s a word that we use for something like that. And a tone we say it in.
The tone is sarcastic. And the word is charming.
“Of course I’m talking about Jennifer Goldstein. No, wait, Jennifer Potter.” Lily amended, and I chuckled weakly.
Fucking hell, Jen Potter. I always knew that the two of them would end up married; I just didn’t think that they would do it a couple of weeks out of school. I let out a low whistle and Lily nodded and rolled her eyes, showing that the name sounded just as weird to her as it did to me.
James and Jen got the romance that most people dream about. Best friends, high school sweethearts and then husband and wife. They’ll probably announce that Jen is pregnant tonight or something.
Bloody hell, they probably will and all.
Ooh yeah, I’m going to make an unofficial bet right now, that Jen will have a kid by the time she’s twenty. If she’s dating her husband by fourteen and married by eighteen, she clearly doesn’t have any strong opinions on taking things slowly.
“I just can’t believe they got married fresh out of school.” I admitted, and Lily nodded, grinning.
“I know, Mum and Dad couldn’t believe it, nor could the rest of the family, when James just stopped eating in the middle of dinner and gets down on one knee. I thought he was tying his shoelace at first, and carried on eating. And then Jen started crying, so I looked up, and James had this massive rock in a velvet box, and he asked her to marry him. Oh, and she said yes.” She tacked on the end.
I rolled my eyes. “Really?” I said, and she grinned sheepishly.
“Yeah. Turns out James bought the ring from the bank account Mum has been saving up for him since he was a baby, and he didn’t even tell her. She didn’t mind though, she adores Jen, everyone does, and she was just so glad that he was so happy in his life.” Lily’s eyes were slightly bright and she laughed at herself before brushing her sleeve along her bottom lash line.
I gave her a quick hug and kissed her on the cheek. She really is the most precious thing you’ll ever see in your life when she talks about her family.
“So is the rest of your family pleased they got married?” I asked.
“Holy Merlin, yes. Everybody absolutely adores her, even Uncle Percy, and he hardly likes anyone. I think it’s because she actually quizzed him for an hour on his report about the standard length of robes for Hogwarts teachers. She was nearly crying by the end of it, but she won him over fair and square.” Lily grinned and I laughed.
Mocking her Uncle would forever be one of the most entertaining things to do at a Weasley/Potter dinner.
I’ve attended enough of them myself to know.
“It’s quite funny though, Albus thinks Jen is amazing and he’s well chuffed that James is so happy, but Mum is pestering him to get into a serious relationship, and she won’t listen to him when he tells her all he wants to do is play Quidditch. James played Quidditch too, but he always wanted to be an Auror, whereas Al wants to play Quidditch professionally.” Lily grinned and I laughed.
Poor Al. Being coerced into finding a nice girl just because his older brother jumped the gun and got married.
“It was hilarious though. A few weeks after the wedding Mum asked Albus if he knew any nice girls and he said sure, he knew plenty. She got all excited and asked why he didn’t ask one of them on a date, and he said...” Lily stopped here and tried to get her words out between giggles.
“And... he said...” At this point she dissolved into giggles and I just let her calm down.
“And he said he didn’t believe in incest, so he couldn’t ask any of them on a date!” Lily laughed.
She laughed like a hyena for what seemed like ages, whilst I sat there in silence. I couldn’t see what the joke was, to be perfectly honest.
“I don’t get it.” I said eventually, and Lily looked at me, looking even more amused than before.
“Mum didn’t get it at first either. So Al explained that the nice girls he knew were actually me, Rosie, Roxy, Luce, Mol, Dom and Vicky.” Lily started laughing again and this time I joined in. It actually was a very Albus-esque answer.
“Mum started pleading then, saying there surely must be one girl that wasn’t part of his family that he enjoyed spending time with, and he said there was one but there was no way he would ever ask her out, she felt more like a sister to him. James pointed out that Jen was like a sister to him at first, but Albus was adamant.” She leaned in so she was only a few inches away from my face. “Can you guess who the girl is?”
I thought about it for a minute but came up blank.
“I don’t know. Who?” I asked, and Lily rolled her eyes, muttering ‘should have known’ and ‘clueless’.
“You, you little dumbarse.” She grinned and I blushed. It was nice that Albus considered me a sister like I considered him a brother, there’s nothing like family love, you know.
“Mum and Dad spent the whole of the evening trying to convince him to ask you out, and all of us just sat there with tears streaming from our eyes we were laughing that hard. Mum and Dad couldn’t figure out why we were laughing. And then Roxy stopped laughing long enough to tell them that the girl they were talking about was my best friend, and they realised which Vanessa they were talking about. They hadn’t realised they were talking about you, Vanessa, they thought he meant a Vanessa in his year.” I snorted and Lily started giggling then.
It was odd to know that Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny had spent an evening trying to hook Al and I up. In fact, it is disturbing.
I shivered and Lily thumped me lightly on the arm.
“He is my brother, you know. Keep your shivering to yourself.” She smirked, and I knew she was only messing around.
I tucked one of my curls behind my ear and went back to reading the textbook I had been studying before Lily interrupted me. I had just found my sentence again when Lily ripped it out of my hand and chucked it behind her, where it shot along the floor and skidded to a halt just in front of the door.
I was sure the next person to step through that door was going to trip over and snap their neck.
“James and Jen will be here in an hour, we need to get ready!” She said, her eyes wide and surprised.
“Why? He’s your brother and she’s your sister-in-law; you don’t need to get dressed up for them.” I said, sitting up a little straighter and fluffing my pillows again, as they had fallen a little flat. Lily’s mouth fell open and her expression was so goddamn funny I couldn’t help but laugh, which resulted in me being clipped around the ear.
“YES WE DO NEED TO GET READY! Jen is bloody gorgeous and I don’t want to look like a troll in comparison. Now what should I wear?” Lily moaned, and I rolled my eyes.
But, being the tip top friend I am, I got up off the bed and walked over to her wardrobe.
I know, I should get some kind of award or something.
An hour later I showed no resemblance to myself, but a great resemblance to some brand new Barbie doll. Lily had used her wand to straighten all of the curls out of my hair, and plastered my face in so much make up I could barely make an expression.
When she had done all that, she stood in front of her wardrobe in her underwear for about five minutes, moaning about how normally she doesn’t bother to get changed out of her robes for dinner, so she has nothing to wear.
Eventually she had settled on a floaty blue summer dress of mine.
Now, you may have picked up on the key word. Summer dress. And it is the middle of October.
I had rolled my eyes but kept my gob shut, as my ear was still stinging.
I had just thrown on one of my dresses, which I seemed to have a never ending supply of.
I had been patient throughout the entire ordeal, but when Lily started stressing about shoes I whacked her over the back of the head with the textbook I had been trying to read.
Would you believe, she didn’t even feel the hit, she just started worrying about whether or not it had messed up her hair.
The girl’s such a freak. And I mean that in the most affectionate and loving way possible.
“James!” Lily screamed, and she launched herself at the man waiting with open arms next to the Weasley/Potter end of the Gryffindor table.
I glanced around and saw that the rest of the family was already there, as we were a couple of minutes late getting down. Trust them to choose now to become punctual.
“Well, sit down family!” James cried, grinning, and he plopped back down on the bench next to Jennifer.
I went to sit down but then hesitated. I feel a bit like a geg, this is supposed to be a family dinner, and I’m intruding a little bit.
Albus noticed my hesitation and grabbed hold of my hand, yanking me onto the bench next to him and rolling his eyes at me. I grinned at him sheepishly.
“Van, you know you’re practically family.” He said, and his tone indicated it was the most obvious thing in the world. I smiled at him gratefully and he gave me a rough, one armed hug.
“Besides,” Roxanne chipped in, “You’ll be part of our family officially one day when you marry H-” She was cut off by Lily slapping her over the back of the head, Hugo elbowing her in the ribs, looking frantic, and Louis kicking her hard in the shin under the table.
I stared at them in confusion and Roxanne flushed red and shook her head. “I just mean, you’re like a sister to most of us, so you’ll be part of the family...” She trailed off, looking embarrassed.
I shrugged and let it go. I wasn’t really interested anyway.
“Anyway,” I said awkwardly, “It’s nice to see you again, Jen.” I smiled at the pretty brunette who grinned back and waggled her fingers at me.
I glanced at James who seemed to be having a silent conversation with someone across the table from him. I went to look at who he was talking to, but I stopped when James’ voice echoed across the room.
“Fucking hell, Hugo, you don’t... Oh my Merlin, you do! Bloody hell, what happened? Why aren’t you sitting next OW!” James stopped mid sentence as Al reached over the table and bitch slapped him across the face.
I snorted into my steak, as did the rest of the family.
“Very manly, Al.” I grinned. He shot me the finger.
“She doesn’t.” Hugo said quietly. Everyone else looked at their dinner, but I peered at him in confusion. He was talking to James, who was staring back at him with a furrowed brow.
“Why not?” He asked incredulously.
Hugo shrugged and then noticed me looking at him. He slapped a very fake grin onto his face and smiled at me reassuringly. I frowned.
My spidey sense is tingling – it’s telling me that there is something going on here that I’m not involved in.
Huh, well, so much for me being ‘part of the family’.
I aggressively speared some asparagus on the end of my fork and shovelled it into my mouth, showing my usual level of elegance as I ate.
I looked up when I realised nobody was talking.
Most people were eating their dinner, but there was one person who was watching me.
James. He had a confused and almost angry expression on his face as he stared at me. I smiled back at him warily and he looked down at his dinner, after flashing me a brief, half hearted grin.
Getting tired of the silence, I racked my brain cells for something interesting to say, but came up with nothing, so I settled for something boring that I hoped would start a conversation.
“So, how do you two like married life?” I asked, and Jen and James grinned at each other before looking at me.
“I love it.” Jen said, smiling so widely you could see all of her perfect white teeth. “I know it seems like we were a little young, but I just love being married.” Her voice was so filled with contentedness that my face broke out into an enormous smile.
James nodded and took hold of Jen’s hand. “I love being married too.” He said, and he leaned down to kiss Jen on the lips, so softly and caringly it made tears spring up in my eyes.
I wish I had someone that loved me as much as James loves Jen. I wish I had someone I could love as much as Jen loves James.
“Vanessa?” A voice said, speaking loudly over the babble that had broken out amongst the family. Hey, look at that, I did get a conversation rolling.
“Yeah?” I asked, looking up and around for whoever was talking to me.
My eyes fell upon Hugo’s face, and I wondered whether or not he would notice that my cheeks flushed slightly pinker than they had been before.
“Can you pass me the asparagus? It’s, um, next to you.” He spoke quietly, but his eyes were boring into my own, freezing me to the spot. My lungs stopped cooperating, and my head began to spin. I needed to blink, my eyes were watering at stinging but I could look away.
And then he dropped his gaze.
I breathed in deeply and dropped my eyes to the table, trying to blink away the moisture in my eyes from holding them open for so long. I tried to keep my hands steady as I reached out to pick up the platter of asparagus. I didn’t even notice that the whole table had gone silent, watching the two of us.
I held it out to him and tried to think of something to say.
Here you go, oh and by the way, I’m desperately in love you.
No, keep it light, keep it cool, and keep it normal.
“Numfurrr.” I said, and I cursed myself inwardly. Gee, thanks brain, I don’t know how on Earth you managed to come up with that.
Not. – (I did think the ‘not’ was implied, but let’s be honest here, some of you aren’t the brightest, and may need me to advertise the sarcasm in my sentences. No offence like.)
Hugo smiled at me and he took the platter out of my hands, laying it down on the table in front of him, but not taking any food off it.
Ok, that’s odd. What is the point in asking someone to pass you the food if you’re not going to eat it? I suppose he changed his mind once he got it, I do that all the time.
I looked back down at my plate and cut off another slice of steak, popping it into my mouth and chewing quickly. The rest of the table slowly returned to their normal conversations. I shovelled some roast potatoes into my mouth and chewed them quickly, blushing when Al made a comment about me eating like a cavewoman.
When dinner was finished James looked at Jen and she nodded. James grabbed a glass and a spoon and started to tap it, like they do in weddings. Everybody looked up from their own conversations and stared at him, their eyebrows rising when he saw how wide his beam was.
“We have a little announcement.” James said, and he looked at Jen to continue. She nodded and he took a deep breath.
“Now, you’re supposed to wait three months, and it’s only been two, but we wanted to tell you all today, so... We have some news.” He looked at Jen and waved his hand as if to tell her to finish.
“I’m pregnant.” She beamed, and all the girls screamed at the same time the blokes started clapping and thumping James on the back.
“So that’s why you got married.” Lucy said, nodding her head.
Everybody shut up and stared at her. James started laughing and leaned forwards to mess up her hair.
“Luce, we’ve been married three months. And she’s two months pregnant. I thought you were the bright one of the Weasley kids.” He laughed, and a large amount of indignant cries echoed around the table.
James honey, I love you and all, but with a family as huge as yours, that was not really the smartest thing to say. Especially when they’re all sitting with you.
“Anyway, congratulations!” I said, and I leaned across the table to give a massive hug to Jen, who was wiping her eyes and beaming. “You guys really deserve it!”
As soon as I pulled away from Jen, James scooped me up into a massive hug and kissed me on the cheek. I could feel slight dampness on his face, and I realised that he was crying. I hugged him tighter and kissed him on the cheek too.
“I mean it, James. You really do deserve it.” He patted my cheek clumsily and pulled back, smiling apologetically at someone, but averting his eyes before I could see who.
The rest of the evening passed in pretty much the same fashion, with congratulations and drinks and hand shaking and hugging and laughter and tears.
But as Lily and I headed back up to the dormitory, a bittersweet feeling filled me. They were so in love it was almost infectious, and so happy that it made you smile just looking at them, but seeing a couple as perfect for each other and happy as Jen and James just reminded me that I had nobody.
Lily may also be single, but she was in love with Lysander, and she was such a wonderful person there was no doubt in my mind that she would get him in the end.
I’m in love with Hugo, and...
HOLY MERLIN ON A MOTORBIKE, I’M IN LOVE WITH HUGO!
I’ve been saying to myself for a day now that I love him, but I never really sat down and embraced the fact. But no, that’s ridiculous, I can’t love him, I’ve only been speaking to him for two bleeding weeks.
But I do. I love him. And he is still dating the she-devil. Bloody marvellous.
I slammed my head into my hands and ignored Lily as she looked at me with raised eyebrows. She held out her hand to try and comfort me but I shook her off. I just needed to be alone with my thoughts right now.
I need to figure this all out. I love him, and he doesn’t love me. I need to find a way to fix that. Pronto.
I hope you liked it :)
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