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Trying not to love you by Elenia
Chapter 4 : Chapter four - Good Behaviour
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 30


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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or anything else that you might recognize.






Beautiful CI by atellam <3





Chapter Four – Good Behaviour

To say I was feeling shitty the next morning would be the understatement of the century. I fucking hated myself. The image of James’s sad expression had haunted me all night and I hadn’t slept at all.

Why had I acted like such a fool? He’d only been trying to protect me from getting hurt. Not that Alex would have hurt me, but James thought he might and he was usually right about everybody. I really should have trusted his judgement. I should have just… just…

Oh, who am I kidding? I know I’m just making up excuses, all because I’ve worked myself up into thinking that one-day, he might actually want me. That one-day, my own emotions would be reflected in his eyes. And even though I know it isn’t going to happen, I still end up at his side eventually, letting him talk me into dumping whichever guy I’m currently dating.

Which of course, was the exact reason I had snuck out of Alex’s apartment immediately after he had fallen asleep. I had apparated home, but my own empty flat hadn’t helped me to feel any better. It only reminded me more about how horrible I felt.

I wondered where James was and what he had done after I’d left the party. Gotten drunk? That’s for sure. Shagged another girl? Most definitely. But was he home or somewhere else? The latter I think, since he never brought anybody back to his place with him. He only invited girls over after they’d dated for at least two weeks. It was a privacy thing most of all, I think. He didn’t want the whole world to know what his apartment was like, so I guess he didn’t want to share it with the girls he knew he didn’t have a future with. During the years we’d lived here, I think only three girls had seen his place, though none of those affairs had lasted long afterwards either. James’s longest relationship ever had lasted for the grand total of a month, and that had happened back at Hogwarts when we had been in our fourth year. He isn’t really the committing type when it comes to relationships, unless of course, were talking about friendship because every single one of those has lasted from the moment he had decided that he liked the person and wanted to be friends. Like in our case…

It was September first and I was standing in the Leaky Cauldron; I was grasping my broom excitedly and examining the crowd of other ten-year olds. The pub was filled with parents and their children, each one of them had a different model of broomstick in their hands. All of us were there for the same reason: to participate on Pride of Portree’s Quidditch camp for kids. I had been waiting this for years, ever since daddy had told me about it for the first time.

He was standing by my side, looking extremely proud of his daughter. I was probably the shortest kid there, but still proudly holding a real broomstick in my hands and not the children’s version some had brought with them. I hoped that none of them ended up on the same team as me.

“Are you thirsty?” My dad asked.

I shook my head; I was too excited to even think about something like that. I just wanted the clock to strike twelve so the registration would finally start. But I still had fifteen minutes of anticipation ahead of me.

“Well I am. I’ll go get a drink. Wait here, won’t you, dear?” He smiled and I nodded again.

I watched as he walked towards the counter and wished that he would hurry back so we would be among the first ones to sign in. Not that it really mattered, since everybody would get in, but I still wanted to be the first. I wanted the organisers to see how much I supported the team and how eagerly I wanted to be a part of this all.

“Are you really ten years old?” A voice asked from behind me and I spun around.

A boy was standing there with an amused grin on his lips, but I barely registered what he looked like, I was far more interested in the broom in his hands. That was always the best way to see if people were even worth talking to. If he’d turned up with a kid’s broom, he probably couldn’t even fly and was here only because his parents had made him. But if it was a proper model, then he’d be worth maybe half my time, because it meant he could fly, even a little, and chances are, liked Quidditch too.

And to be honest, that’s really all I cared about.

Peering at his broom, I realised it was the latest Firebolt, meaning he must be a fairly good flyer. No parents would buy their kid one of the best brooms in the market if they’d crash it the moment they kicked of the ground.

Unless his parents were rich… then they might not care if he went through ten brooms a day. But I guess it was the way he was holding his broom that made me go with the first choice. The broom seemed to be his most priced possession; he held it so delicately. Quite the same way I was carrying my Ventus.

“Yes, why?” I replied.

“Because you’re tiny! You’re as tall as my sister and she’s three years younger than me!” he stated, laughing in surprise.

“I just haven’t grown yet, but I will!” I informed him.

“Are you sure?” He smirked.

“Yes! It’s you who should be worried, you might not grow anymore! You might be taller than me now, but what if you stop while I keep growing, huh? What then?” I pointed out.

“Maybe… but I doubt it,” he said confidently. “You know, Ventus is a tough broom to handle; you sure you can manage it?”

“It’s more of a challenge than a boring Firebolt,” I retorted.

“You’re snappy; I like you! I’m James, what’s your name?” He laughed.

I narrowed my eyes a bit. I couldn’t quite figure out if he really was complimenting me or just teasing.  Everyone underestimated my skills because of my height, but hopefully not for much longer. I would grow, I knew that. Mummy and daddy were both tall, so I was determined to be too.

“Gwendolyn,” I told him.

“Wow, that’s a long name! Do you have a nickname?” he asked.

“No! I don’t like nicknames, everybody calls me by my real name,” I said.

“Sure thing, Gwen,” he smiled. “Do you want to be my friend?”

“Gwendolyn,” I corrected. “And maybe… if you can fly faster than me.”

“Oh, I’m sure I can.” He smiled smugly.

“We’ll see,” I replied as I eyed at the clock, hoping that daddy would come back already.

“What? Don’t you believe me?” he asked.

I just shrugged as an answer. I didn’t know. He could be a really good flyer, or maybe he was just so arrogant and pampered that he thought he was an amazing one.

For some weird reason he seamed to be pleased with my answer.

“Well, I’ll prove it!” he stated.

I chuckled; he really did seem determined about it. Maybe he was good after all and I wouldn’t have minded having a friend who was as passionate about Quidditch as I was. At least we’d have something to talk about. I didn’t like to hang out with the girls in my neighbourhood since all they talked about was clothes and makeup, and I didn’t really understand how they found that so interesting.

“Hey, do you like pranks? I need to get back at my cousin, Freddy, for the one he pulled this morning. Feel like helping?” He asked.

“What did he do?” I frowned.

“Oh, you know. Dyed my hair orange and put a note on my back that said ‘I heart Chudley Cannons’. I didn’t even notice it; I just kept wondering why mum and Aunt Angelina were laughing at me the whole way here. Luckily mum pointed it out before I walked in or I would have died of embarrassment.” He scowled at the memory.

I chocked back the laughter, determined to keep a straight face. “That is funny. Though I doubt people would have taken it too seriously. Nobody likes the Cannons.”

“One of my uncles does; has for years...Talk about loyalty.” The dark haired boy rolled his eyes. “Yes or no? Help me or not?”

I didn’t get to answer, as at that moment my dad returned from his trip to the counter.

“Hello?” he said, eyeing at the boy curiously.

“Oh, hi daddy. This is - umm… Jacob, right?” I tried to remember what his name was. I hadn’t really paid attention until he’d mentioned the fact that his hair had been orange.

“James. It’s nice to meet you, sir!” He corrected me, smiling at my dad.

“Right… James.” I nodded.

“Nice to meet you. Are you here by yourself?” Dad asked.

“Nah, my mum’s back there somewhere,” he answered, waving his hand vaguely towards the other side of the pub. I tried to scan the crowd, in search for a woman who would look like… James wasn’t it?  But instead I found something that captured my interest immediately and made me grab my dad’s hand.

“Daddy! That’s Ginny Potter! It is, isn’t it? Why is she here? Is she part of this somehow? Or maybe she is starting her career again and she is transferring into Portree? Do you think that could be it? Oh look, she is looking at us now! I think she is smiling. Is she coming this way? I think she is! Oh Daddy, what should I say to her?” I started to ramble. Well, who wouldn’t when they saw their all time favourite Quidditch player? I had always been the biggest fan of Pride of Portree but Ginny Potter was just the most brilliant female player that had ever existed. Too bad she didn’t play anymore.

“Calm down, baby girl. I’m sure she’s just coming to say hello since we’re talking to her son.” Dad smiled down at me as he brushed my hair out of my eyes.

“What?” I gasped, and turned to look at the boy again.

He was staring at the approaching woman, looking a bit annoyed. Now that they were close, I could see some resemblance. They both had the same warm brown eyes and from what I remembered, his smile was quite similar to hers.

“Hi, I hope James isn’t bothering you too much…” She said, ruffling her son’s hair, as she reached us. The boy let out a grunting sound and tried to fix it back the way it was before. A task that couldn’t be very hard in my opinion, as it had been quite messed up to begin with.

“No, no, not at all, Mrs Potter! It’s nice to meet you. I’m Gregory Miller and this is my daughter Gwendolyn.” Dad introduced us, shaking Ginny Potter’s hand.

“Hello, Gwendolyn! Are you excited about the camp?” She beamed at me.

“Y-ye-es,” I gave her a very shaky answer.

“You’ll have to forgive her, I think she’s a bit in shock. She’s been watching you play for years.” Dad chuckled and I blushed. Luckily, it didn’t show.

“Oh! A Harpies supporter, are we?” she asked.

“N-no, just you. I support the Portree,” I managed to mumble.

“Well in that case, I’m honoured. I hope we’ll see you in the league one-day too.” She beamed again, and I nervously smiled back.

“Thank you,” I replied.

“Maybe you and James will both play for Portree. That’s your biggest goal in life, isn’t it?” She chuckled, turning to look at her son.

“Yeah,” he muttered.

“Come on, we should go find Freddy and Aunt Angelina. The registration should open any minute.” She turned to us before they left. “I hope I’ll see you both around.”

We nodded in farewell and I stared after the receding mother and son, thinking that he was probably just another one of those kids who played Quidditch just to please their parents. But that was before I heard him hiss to his mother, “I told you to stay in they background, mum. I don’t want anybody to treat me differently because of my name; I want to do this on my own! What’s the bet she thinks I’m only here because of you? It wouldn’t be the first time…”

Then again, maybe he was as passionate as me. Maybe he could beat me after all…


And that’s exactly what James had done; he beat me by one second, topping the scores and leaving me in second place. I was a bit disappointed, but also happy that he had been so determinate to win so he could be my friend. It was nice, since I never had had a really good friend before. Girls didn’t like me that much because all I wanted to do was play Quidditch and boys misjudged me all the time, so I rarely liked them either. But after that Quidditch camp I finally had a friend who was into the exact same things that I was. We sent letters to each other during the year and when we started Hogwarts the next September, we became inseparable; best friends in the whole world. Wherever he was, I was too and it worked vice-versa, if I was off somewhere, he’d be right behind me. When I was thinking about something, he’d already said it. Even the separate dormitories didn’t keep us away from each other, since I ended up spending most of my time at Hogwarts sleeping on the floor in his room anyway…

Throwing myself on the couch and burying my face in a pillow, I wondered at what point this had gotten so ridiculous. James and I never fought, and I mean never. We’d banter and bicker and tease and complain, but we never really fought. Not really. And I’d never just walked away from him like I had last night. I should go and apologise, but knowing James, he wouldn’t be home yet. I had a better chance of finding him in the morning.

I took a shower, trying to clear my head so I could sleep, but that didn’t work. I just rolled around in my bed, stressed about James’s reaction to my apology. Would he be angry? Disappointed? Or something else entirely?

Tossing and turning for hours with these thoughts in my mind, I didn’t sleep at all, so when the clock struck nine, I decided to sneak into James’s  apartment and have a ‘hangover recovery breakfast’ ready for when he woke up. Grabbing the present I was unable to give him the night before, I left my apartment and tiptoed across the hall and into his. Careful not to wake him, in the slight chance that he was home, I placed the Pensive on the table and grabbed one of the Quaffle shaped notes he had on his fridge.

‘I’m sorry, J. I didn’t mean what I said. Please forgive me. I hope you like your present. Love, G’

I looked at the pathetic apology, but I’d never been good with the written word. Deciding that at least I’d made a gesture, and that the ball was now in his court, I busied myself with making his food. If he wanted to forgive me, he could.

I didn’t deserve to be called a Gryffindor; I was such a coward.

Placing the steaming plate next to his present, I pulled out my wand, waving it over the food, until I was satisfied that it would stay fresh until he was ready to eat it.

I stepped back to examine my handiwork, when a deliberate cough from the doorway startled me.

It was the same girl that I had chased away from James before I’d left last night. My eyes grew larger than ever as I stared at her, astonished by her presence in James’s apartment, that I think I went mute; I just opened and closed my mouth like a Grindylow on land. The idea of her being here confused me.

When my brain finally confirmed what my eyes refused to believe, my mind went into overdrive. What the hell was she doing here? How long had she been here? How had she gotten in? No, no, that one was clear; James. She couldn’t have gotten in without him, which meant he’d brought her back with him. But what would possess him to do that? Was he so angry with me that he’d break even his own rules?

As the girl looked me over with a frown, I became painfully aware that I was only in my pyjamas, which consisted of an old top and shorts. Not that I was underdressed or anything. I mean, she was wearing only the t-shirt James had been wearing last night, but it still left me embarrassed. I hadn’t bothered with my dressing gown, not expecting to run into anyone. Least of all her

“I thought I heard a noise coming from in here,” she sneered at me.

“Sorry, didn't mean to wake you,” I said.

Wait – why the hell was I apologizing to her? I had every right to be in here. Then again… she probably thought she did too.

Slut.

“Oh, you didn’t. I was feeling too good to sleep and was just about to wake James up for another round, but decided to check what the racket was about first.” She smirked as she said it.

Yep. Definite slut. 

Why are you doing this to me, James?

“Right,” I replied, grinding my teeth together.

“Surprised to see that your little plan didn’t work, huh?”

What plan was she talking about? The one where I throw her out of the apartment window? Because that was sounding like a pretty good plan right about now.

And seriously, I know she just spent the night in bed with my best friend, but honestly, did she have to rub it in my face and lounge in the doorway like that, wearing his shirt? It’d smell like her for weeks.

“Err…” I looked at her curiously, wondering what the hell she was trying to say.

“You know, when you tried to make him jealous with Alex Lynch and hoped that he’d ditch me for you?” she said, in a tone that implied I was the dumbest person in the world.

“What?” I almost laughed at her accusation, still plotting the easiest way to knock her out. Luckily she seemed to be thick. It might help cushion her fall after I pushed her out the window for looking at me like that. Some people just had no manners these days.

“Has the bludger really hit you that hard, or have you always been so slow?” She scowled at me.

The blond bimbo was calling me dense?

On second thought, I could see how I was currently giving that impression. Something to do with the baffled look and how my head was cocked slightly to the side in confusion.

“Right… Well let it go on record that you’re completely mistaken, and that it’s none of your business who I choose to leave parties with anyway,” I said, more than irritated by this point.

“Perhaps… But just so you know, I’ve had my eye on James Potter for years. You have no idea what I’ve done to get here, and I’m not going to let you come in and ruin it for me with your breakfast making and best-friend alibi. You mess this up for me, and I’ll mess a hell of a lot more up for you,” she hissed.

Was this girl serious? Did she really think she was in any position to bully me? Or that I’d just roll over and let her? Didn’t she see last night that James and I were best friends and that he valued our friendship over her? Or had she been too busy staring at his arse to notice?

The look she gave me, combined with the hilarity of her empty threat, left me doubled over in laughter. Oh lord, how she thought she could stay over once after a night of his drunken escapades and it meant that she lived here! She had no idea who James Potter really was if she thought that he’d let her try and walk all over me like this.

“What’s so funny?” she snapped, and I laughed harder, knowing it was annoying her.

“Honestly? You. I haven’t laughed this much in years… oh, Merlin! This is brilliant.” I focused on steadying my breathing, although I eventually had to shut my eyes. Every time I looked at her scowl I’d start laughing again.

“And what’s that supposed to mean?” she snapped.

“Absolutely nothing. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about me. I wish you the best of luck with him,” I sniggered.

She’d bloody well need it.

Flicking my wand over the table to cast one last protective charm, just in case the slut got ideas – like trying to vanish it – I waved at the bitch as I left James’s apartment, hoping my laughter echoed across the hall.

She wouldn’t last a day.

I went back to my place and curled on the sofa under a blanket, where at some point I managed to fall asleep. Well, fairly sure I was asleep, or otherwise I had a purple Hippogriff infestation in my apartment, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do about that. But luckily they vanished when I was jerked awake by the sound of my front door slamming. I had barely even managed to open my eyes when I was pulled into a hug.

“I’m so sorry,” James muttered into my hair.

“No, don’t be silly. You don’t have to be sorry; all you wanted was for me to not get hurt, and I was stupid and didn’t listen, when you were just trying to look out for me,” I sighed happily, as his arms tightened around my waist.

“I meant that I was sorry for ruining your birthday surprise for me last night, but you’re right. I’m sorry we fought. We never fight, and I don’t like it. It’s weird and unnatural to be angry with you.” He scowled at the thought and I wanted nothing more than to snuggle into his chest. “But really, Gwen… I can’t believe I ruined your plan. I’m so sorry, about all of it.”

“Hmph, he promised he wouldn’t say anything,” I groaned.

“Who?” James asked, holding me at arms length now, a look of curiosity on his face.

“Freddy? Who else?” I raised an eyebrow, wondering what he was talking about.

“Oh, he didn’t say anything! Mum told me. No – correction – mum shouted at me.” He gave me a sheepish smile of apology.

“She shouldn’t have. I wasn’t mad because of that. A bit sad first, but you wanted the party, and as the birthday boy, how was I to deny you?”  I smiled. And yes, I lied too.

“Hit me around the head? You do all the time anyway.” He said at this point, and I chuckled. “I’m a jerk for not realising that you obviously had something awesome planned. But I just saw booze. And then I made you feel bad about Alex. It really isn’t any of my business to say who you can and can’t be with. I felt shit about what I’d said as soon as I saw you leave. You looked so upset, and knowing it was all because of me… Oh lord, Gwen, I felt horrible. I’m so sorry. Really, I am. I messed up twice in one night, didn’t I?”

Yeah, then you brought that slut home, and she defiantly counts as a mistake too.

So I think that ups the count to three mess-ups in one night. Well done, James! 

“I’m sorry for hurting you too. You know I value your opinion; how much it means to me. I just felt so out of place as it was and Alex was an easy escape option…” I trailed off.

“You don’t have to explain! Let’s just… just forget all about it, okay?” James suggested.

“Yeah, forgive and forget.” I nodded in relief.

“Good.” he grinned before hugging me again, where we stayed for a while in silence, my mood lifting with ever passing second.

Eventually releasing me, he smiled. “Phew. Our first real apology now that I think about it. I think went quite well considering the circumstances.”

“I know! Let’s never fight so we don’t have to do that again though…” I agreed.

“Deal.”

“So, what did your mum want?” I asked, trying to direct the discussion onto a brighter topic. 

“To see your present, which I hadn’t even opened because I was still…” He coughed, and I saw a blush creeping up his face. “…sleeping.”

“Sleeping?” I raised a brow.

“Well, yeah. But you know… naked and… not alone. Most embarrassing moment of my life.” He shuddered. “And I bet mum’s too.”

“Oh,” I commented and started to bite the insides of my cheek so I wouldn't say anything stupid.

“Yeah… I really couldn’t tell mum the truth; that she was just a random girl I’d hooked up with for a shag, so I had to lie and tell her she was my girlfriend.” He pulled a face.

“You poor boy…” I rolled my eyes sarcastically.

“This is exactly why I don’t bring girls home. I don’t have any recollection of what even happened last night after you left. All I remember is slouching towards the bar and ordering the biggest bottle of Firewhiskey they had,” James admitted.

“I saw her when I brought in your gift.” I refrained from making any other comments.

“Yeah, she told me. Kat. That’s her name by the way. I don’t think you knew…”

How fitting…

“I didn’t,” I replied.

“Yeah. Well, anyway... She said you were really nice, and that it was really cute how you made me breakfast. You remind her of her best friend apparently,” he told me.

I should have known she would take that approach. Many had tried and failed to come across as friends with me, just so he’d let them stay around longer. It did work, for maybe two days...

And how someone like her even had a best friend, I had no idea.

“Oh, really?” I asked, my voice filled with scepticism.

“Come on now, was she that bad? Really? I mean, she’s not the worst, right? At least I hope not, I have to take her out later. She got all excited when I called her my girlfriend and I think Mum would find it suspicious if I ended it immediately…” He frowned at the thought.

“At least she pretends to like me. Most of them just tell you straight out,” I shrugged. The girl deserved some credit, even if I would have been happy to look out the window and see her flat on the pavement.

“They’re all just afraid of you,” he scoffed. “Besides, it’s not their fault you’re so big and scary…”

“Oi! I am scary!” I exclaimed, rising up onto the balls of my feet, trying to give myself height.

He raised an eyebrow at the attempt, but smiled all the same. “Sure you are, Doll.”

“Hmph.” I pouted, crossing my arms over my chest.

“Aww, did I hurt your feelings?  James laughed.

Perhaps. I punched him, which he repaid by tackling me to the couch in an attempt to tickle me. He failed - as always - so it quickly became a brawl; also as always. James always felt the need to beat me in something, and since I couldn’t win against someone his size, wrestling was a natural choice.

I did put up a fight though; I was sneaky and I definitely knew how to cheat. But after a good fifteen minutes, he managed to pin me down where I was unable to move. I scowled at him as I forfeited. “You know, I don’t think it counts if you’re twice my size. Something tells me it gives you an unfair advantage…”

“Ha! You’re just being a sore loser, jealous that I won, yet again!”

I rolled me eyes, refusing to get into that conversation again. “So… what did you think of the Pensieve?”

“Well… I don’t really know…” he started. “Are you freaking kidding me? It was the best present ever! I can’t believe you organised that and I didn’t have a clue!”

“Well, good.” I smiled at him before a knock on the door interrupted me. I shot James a puzzled look, as I wasn’t expecting visitors.

I got up from the floor and walked over to the door, slowly opening it to reveal James’s dad, Harry.

“Oh, hi! Are you looking for James? He’s in here.” I smiled and opened the door wider, ushering the Auror in.

“No, no. I actually had some news for you… but it’s probably a good thing that he’s here too,” he said with such a serious tone that I was immediately aware that something big was going on.

Harry stepped inside and was greeted by a puzzled looking James. “Hey there, dad.”

Smiling briefly at his son in greeting, Harry turned to me with a look on his face that clearly read he didn’t want to tell me whatever it was he was about to. “Um, do you want to sit down?”

“O-okay?” I said nervously and took my seat on the couch.

James’s hand found mine almost immediately, as we watched Harry pace for a bit before taking a seat in the armchair opposite us. 

“I guess there’s no easy way to say this, but I just thought you probably would want to know about it before it reaches the papers tomorrow…” He ran his hands through his hair, and if the moment weren’t so nerve wrecking, I would have smiled, because James did the exact same thing all the time. 

“Dad, you’re freaking us out. What’s happening? What is it?” James sounded as nervous as I was.
But I wasn’t certain if I wanted to hear it anymore. I had a fairly good guess what, or more accurately who, it might be about.

“It’s your dad, Gwenny. They’re considering letting him out because of good behaviour,” Harry muttered, watching me carefully for my reaction.

James’s hand took on a vice-like grip around mine, but I barely felt it. I was just staring at Harry’s worried expression quite numbly. I could feel everything fleeing my mind, just one single thought stayed and it kept echoing in my head over and over again.

Good behaviour.

They were letting my dad out because of good behaviour. I’m sorry, but since when did murderer’s get let back into society for ‘good behaviour’, as they liked to put it? More like good acting, call it what it really is.

Both James and Harry were examining my expression, trying to figure out what I was thinking, waiting for me to crack or burst into tears.

But I wasn’t quite there yet.

My mind was just jamming on one question. “Why?”

“I suppose they want to set an example to the prisoners; that with good behaviour there might be a chance to have their sentence shortened. Of course, it wouldn’t apply to those charged with life behind bars, or murderers. Mainly lighter sentences,” Harry explained, but his face told me he wasn’t happy about it either. 

“My dad is a murderer,” I pointed out.

“It’s not the reason he was sentenced for.” He sighed.

“Right…” I nodded, still numb with the news.

“Look, it’s not certain. His name was just on the list for consideration. Two of the ten will be released,” Harry said. “So there’s a good chance that this is just an unnecessary warning.”

I nodded again, letting the silence fall.

“I’m sorry -” Harry started, but I cut him off.

“No need to, I’m quite fine,” I said with absolutely no expression.

Just numb.

“It’s big news -” he began again, but I started to shake my head.

“No. You said it yourself, he might not get out. It would be completely pointless to stress about this before we know anything else for sure,” I commented.

Still numb.

“But-” James opened his mouth for the first time, but I didn’t want to hear it either. I just wanted to be alone. I needed to figure this out by myself and I couldn’t do it while they were both staring me with those damned concerned expressions.

“No - drop it, okay? I just…” I didn’t know how to finish that sentence; so I just stood up, worming my hand out of James’s. “Thank you for letting me know, Harry. I really appreciate it.”

Then without another word, I walked into my bedroom, closing the door behind me. I let the darkness fall upon the room, not even bothering to light my wand or open the curtains; I just headed straight to my bed, curling up under my blanket. I didn’t feel like facing anybody right now.

All I wanted to do was cry.

For I was certain my dad would be one of the released prisoners. He was a brilliant actor, fooling mum and I for all those years, hiding his debts and explaining away where the money had gone. If we hadn’t thought anything suspicious, he’d have no problems convincing the guards that he was a role model murderer.

Ha! What an oxymoron of a sentence, ‘role model murderer’.

I just couldn’t understand it. How could something as simple as good behaviour cut five years from a prison term? They had absolutely nothing to support the claim that once he was free, he wouldn’t go back to his old ways. He’d gotten messed up with the wrong people, and had killed his wife – my mother – because of it. How could someone use him as a good example to other prisoners?

On the other hand, did it really matter that much? I’d have to face this day eventually, either now or in five years. It wouldn’t change the way I was feeling. I never wanted to see my dad again. I didn’t want to have anything to do with him, so what did it matter when he got out?

The two conflicting thoughts were fighting inside my head when I heard the knock on my door. I stayed silence, but my lack of reply didn’t stop the door opening and closing a few moments later.

“Gwen?” I heard James’s voice.

I ignored him. I didn’t feel like talking. Not even with him. I was still numb.

What if dad did contact me? What would I do then? I’d never thought about how I’d deal with that situation, him just appearing back in my life. That was something I had been pushing into the background, convincing myself that I would think about it when it became more of an imminent problem. Although now could well be that time; I had suddenly lost five years because of his good behaviour. He’d act his way out of there, act his way through life and ruin everything. Again.

I felt my mattress move as James sat down on my bed. I was hiding under the blanket and didn’t want to look. The thought of him there would have normally made my heart beat faster but now everything just seemed slow, numb. Even his presence couldn’t make me feel better.

“Gwen?” James repeated, and I felt his hand on my back, even through the blankets. “Please talk to me, sweetie.”

“I’m napping,” I replied.

“Oh?” he commented. Then the mattress shifted again as he joined me under the blankets. “Then I guess I’m napping too,” he said.

His arms wrapped around my waist and he pulled me close, hugging me as tight as possible and I knew the words that came with the hug; that he’d be there for me as long as I needed him, and even when I didn't.

And of course, that’s when the tears came.

One lone drop fell down from the corner of my eye and ran off my cheek onto the pillow. Another one followed…and then a third. I tried to blink them away but they kept forming, faster than I could get rid of them.  Soon the tears were joined by a faltering breath and sobs. My whole body was shivering in James’s arms and I tried to hide it by curling into a ball.

Fear broke through the numb that had over taken me before. What if dad did come back, and tried to kill me again? Or worse, what if he took somebody else who was important to me? What if he took James away?

No. No, I couldn’t cope that; it’d be enough to kill me on its own. I couldn’t let that happen.

“I won’t let him near you,” James said, brushing my hair away from my face.

I couldn't look into his eyes because I knew I would cry even more hysterically. But as I couldn’t bring myself to answer him either, I just sniffed.

“You have nothing to worry about. Dad said he’d do everything he can so they won’t let him out. But if they do, then he can put Aurors on guard to accompany you everywhere, even to scan your mail. You won’t even notice he is out,” he continued.

So we would change his imprisonment into mine? No thank you. I shook my head in answer.

“I just don’t want you to get hurt. I would rather die than lose you,” he whispered.

The tears started to pour even harder then and I buried my face into his chest. James held me close without saying another word and after what felt like a lifetime; I eventually fell into a dreamless sleep in his arms.
 






A/N: So here I am again with another chapter, asking your thoughts about it. Amazing? Horrible? Boring? You name it, I just want to hear it. I adore all the reviews you have given me during the previous chapters. They make me smile and make me want to write all the time. That's why these chapters keep coming in such a quick pace (;

Poor Gwenny, she has a lot to deal with, doesn't she? All her James-problems and now the news about her dad... I wouldn't want to be in her shoes.

What did you think of Kat? How long do you think she will last?

And what about the way Gwen and James met for the first time?

Anything else you want to say?

Humongous thanks to the amazing atellam for helping me with this chapter! You're the best <3 And a brilliant writer too, go check out her stories! (:


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