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Chapter 14 : The One After the Cliffhanger
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James Potter is, without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest git on the face of the entire planet. Upon being discovered snogging on a teacher's desk by your best friend, most people would have gotten off said desk and put their shirt back on, correct?
But not James. Nooo.
Instead, James turned his head, stared at Connor like a gormless monkey for a moment and blinked. Then opened his mouth. Then closed it again. Then opened it. Then closed it. Open. Closed.
He looked like a goldfish. Connor looked like he'd been punched in the face. So did I, for that matter.
"Connor –" I started, but he held up one finger to silence me, his eyes slightly narrowed and trained on James. Well, at least he doesn't look angry with me. James opened his mouth again, managed to make one noise that sounded like what could have been the beginning of a word, then was silenced as Connor's finger was once again held up to stop him.
The room was eerily quiet.
It's kind of weird, actually. It's like Nearly Headless Nick is going to pop out of the wall any second and offer us a brew. But that would be weird.
And then sanity hit me again.
Shoving James off me and to the floor, where he thankfully landed on his feet, I grabbed his shirt off the ground and shoved it to his chest, trying not to whimper as he pulled it on.
I really have reached new levels of pathetic.
Connor had still not said a word.
So I turned to face him. Parked my arse on the end of a desk, pulled James down next to me and looked at him. Just waiting for him to talk, or shout, or throw things, or whatever the hell he was going to do.
"How long?" He eventually croaked. I blinked for a moment. If he knew that something was going on between James and I – according to his triumphant exclamations of 'I knew it!' when he found us – then why does he seem so surprised?
James and I glanced at each other quickly, but said nothing. Is there any way you can say that this has been going on for just over a year and it not sound really bad?
"How – long?" Connor asked again, this time through gritted teeth. I swallowed. Coughed slightly. Ran my fingers through my hair. Kicked James in the ankle – that was for no reason, I just wanted to something to do. But still I said nothing.
"A year and a bit." James said calmly from next to me.
Connor looked like James had just announced that he was moving to Poland to become a naked husky racer, the way his mouth fell open and his eyes grew to the size of saucers.
"A year! A freaking year?" Oh no. This is not what I hoped was going to happen.
Well, what was I hoping that was going to happen? That Connor was going to smile, shrug and let us get on with whatever was going on without getting in the way? Yeah, like that was going to happen.
"Yeah, but –" I started, but Connor didn't seem to care what I had to say.
"How in god's name can you two have been dating for over a year and not told us? How could you do that? I thought I was one of your best friends, but you just don't seem to care about that at all! Summer, you even helped me get together with Dom, and you don't even trust me enough to tell me that you're with James – am I that bad of a friend? I feel like such a fucking idiot – and yes, I did just drop the f-bomb, Summer, you don't need to gape at me. I'm so fucking offended that you won't even believe it-"
"CONNOR, TAKE A BREATH, MAN. You know we trust you, don't be an ass." Does James have any tact whatsoever?
"Take a breath – take a bleeding breath? You two are dating, and shagging by the looks of things, and you-"
"We're not dating."
... well. You could probably hear crickets chirping in here.
Connor stared in horror at the pair of us for a moment, before what sounded like a very warped chuckle escaped his lips. He blinked a few times, and then laughed again.
"You're not dating. Right. Then what are you doing, exactly?" He looked sort of amused, for the first time that evening. A smirk – a James-like smirk, not a Connor-like smirk – was lilting the corners of his mouth. He thought he'd caught us – he thought he'd cornered us into admitting we were dating.
He thought wrong.
"We're snogging." James shrugged, as though it was no big deal.
Yeah Connor, I've been snogging our mutual best friend for over a year – since I broke up with my long term ex, actually – and never bothered to tell you. We sneak out to together pretty much every night, but it's not a big deal. I'm James fucking Potter. This isn't even a blip on my radar. Nah. No biggie.
Connor clearly disagreed with my mental James impression, as he went the colour of porridge and looked like he was choking on his own saliva.
Oh, Dom is one lucky, lucky girl.
"You're snogging. So what, this is just a weekly thing where you get together and snog each other for no reason whatsoever other than your apparent inability to keep your hormones in check? Jesus James, I thought you had more respect for her than that!"
Wait, what? Who said that James doesn't have respect for me?
"Oi, who said that I don't have respect for her?" Took the words out of my mouth, James. You know what they say, great minds think alike. Of course Dom, being the charmer she is, tends to lean towards the phrase 'fools rarely differ'.
She's a lovely person deep down. Way deep down.
"Well James, would you say I respected Dom if I snogged her for a fucking year and didn't bother to make her my girlfriend? What, all the physical stuff and none of the relationship stuff?" There was something in his voice that made me feel almost ashamed of what James and I were doing – he just made it sound so wrong, like what we were doing was stupid and not just a bit of fun.
He just sounded so disappointed. Like he expected better of us or something.
He made me feel like I was five years old again and had just been caught scribbling on the walls in crayon, and instead of yelling at me for it, Mum would stand there and shoot me this look.
Just a look. The 'I expect more of you than this, Summer' look.
I bloody hate that look.
"Well, is that to say that Summer doesn't respect me, then?" James snapped, clearly angry that his best friend apparently thought so little of him.
"Don't be stupid, of course that's not what I'm saying," Connor began, but I cut him off.
"So what, it's different because I'm the girl? Because we snog but I'm not his girlfriend, that means I'm the one being used? You know full well that I don't like dating people, I think that huge fuck up with Andrew in fifth year proved that."
"I didn't mean James was using you because you're a girl, but it just seems like he is using you," he tried to explain, but James spoke over him.
"OI! Why do you automatically assume that I'm the user and not the usee?" He snapped. "For all you know, I could have begged and begged Summer to be my girlfriend and she refuses because she wants nothing else other than to have my tongue stuck down her throat!"
Connor froze for a moment, blinked again, and then leant forward to clap James' hand in one of those bromance high fives. Then he leant back and folded his arms again.
I will never understand the complete insanity that is the boy brain.
"Hey!" I cried, glaring at James. He smirked and slapped my arse, pulling me into his chest, attaching his lips to the side of my neck and giving it a couple of quick kisses.
"EW! Bloody stop that, that is freaking disgusting!" Connor cried, dramatically slapping his hands over his eyes and dropping onto a chair near to him, leaning his head down on the desk and muttering about his poor eyes being scarred for life.
Right, like Fred hasn't done that to all of us already.
I smirked at James and he winked, so I leaned forwards waited until Connor looked up and kissed James lightly on the lips, pulling his bottom lip away with my teeth.
Connor made a noise like similar to that of a drunk throwing up, and James smirked at me. Yeah, that will teach you to walk in on James and I snogging. We will scar you for life in punishment.
"How did you find us, anyway?" James asked, pulling me onto his knee and resting his head on my shoulder so that he could watch Connor, his fingers idly tracing hearts and stars onto the backs of my wrists. Connor was staring at us like we had sprouted three heads.
Which would admittedly be pretty cool.
"You left the Marauder's Map out on your bed, and I noticed that you'd disappeared. I was sending a letter to Dom," he explained, blushing a little, and it was bloody adorable, "and I asked her whether she knew where you were. She didn't, but she happened to mention that Summer wasn't in her dorm either. So I checked the Map and saw your dots pretty much on top of each other in this classroom," At this point James and I both flushed a pale pink, "so I followed you down here."
I turned my head slightly to look at James, and then snapped my arm forwards and backwards so I could elbow him in the chest.
"How could you be so fucking stupid? After everything we've done over the past year to keep this a secret, you just go and leave the Map lying on the bed. What the bloody hell is wrong with you? I swear to god, James Potter, you are such a fucking twat that it is fucking unreal, now my fucking best friend knows what we're doing and I feel like a fucking –"
"Summer, will you bloody mind your language?" Connor snapped, his eyes wide.
Well, sorry Mr High and Mighty. I do apologise if my language is disturbing the peaceful zen that surrounds someone as wonderful and calm and perfect as you.
"Well maybe if you hadn't been so bleeding obvious all the time, he wouldn't have gotten suspicious in the first place!" James cried.
Oh, the git.
"Maybe, Summer my love, he noticed that you don't seem to be able to keep your hands off me. I don't blame you, I am a bloody good looking bloke,"
"Modest, too." I muttered.
"But you're just going to have to embrace the fact that your desperation to shag me as often as possible has resulted in Connor sensing there being a little something off between us." He smirked down at me.
"You say that like I'm shagging you." I cocked an eyebrow.
"Wait, you're not shagging?" Connor asked. "Wow James, you've been snogging her for a year but haven't shagged her yet?" He smirked slightly and ruffled his hair, probably feeling a lot better about the fact that him and Dom hadn't had a roll in the hay yet.
Why do they say 'a roll in the hay'? It's not like anyone would actually roll around in hay at a time like that.
"Of course I've shagged her." James rolled his eyes at Connor like it was the most obvious thing in the world. I blinked a couple of times and then smacked him across the desk, pushing his arms from around me and glaring at him. "What?" James asked. "You really thought I was going to admit that I wasn't getting any?"
"But you're not getting any!"
"Yeah, but he doesn't need to know that!"
"James, you've just said out loud that you're not screwing her..." Connor said, and James frowned slightly, looking a little annoyed at himself.
Honestly, if brains were dynamite he wouldn't have enough to blow his hat off.
"See, if you had just fucked me when I asked the first time, then we wouldn't have had to have this conversation." James grumbled, elbowing me in the side and pouting slightly. Honestly, the boy is worse than a teenage girl sometimes.
"What? What happened to 'I don't know if sex is the right thing for us anyway'?" I said, widening my eyes and jabbing my finger at the gap between his eyebrows.
"I never said that." James said, such an innocent expression on his face that I almost believed him.
"Yes you did!"
"No I didn't."
Then it hit me – one of those golden brain waves that all those geniuses have all the time. Well, maybe not a brain wave, per se. More like a brain ripple. But hey, it was a thought of the brain area regardless.
Ignoring the fact that Connor was watching the two of us with an expression flashing between horror, curiosity and nausea – as well as the good old 'pissed off' expression, but that really goes without saying – I laid my hands on the front of James' chest and kicked my leg over his knee, sitting on his lap, so close to his face that our noses were just brushing each others.
"Then let's shag." I smirked, brushing my lips against his before I kissed the skin below his earlobe. James tensed up, his shoulders stiffening so tightly that he looked like some kind of freakishly lifelike robot.
Connor crawled under the desk behind me, his hands clapped over his eyes.
I nibbled along the bottom of James' earlobe, then along his collarbone and finally placing a soft kiss on his Adam's apple.
"Come on James, you wanted to shag." I smirked, and James looked like someone had ripped his tongue out and glued his eyeballs open, by the expression on his face.
"I-I... well, I-" With one final smirk, I kicked off James' knee and dropped onto the desk that Connor was squatted under, grinning so widely that I could probably pass for the Cheshire Cat.
Except not pink and stripy. But I've the smile bang on. Because I am just that awesome.
"I am never going to get used to this." Connor groaned from under the desk. "I don't care if you two get married, I am never going to get used to seeing the two of you like that." I blinked for a moment, glanced at James and we both broke out in synchronised hysterical laughter.
Right. James and I getting married one day. Of course. That's going to happen.
Connor poked his head around the side of the desk, sighed in relief when he was us sitting a metre apart and sat down on the chair behind me, his confusion creasing the skin between his eyebrows. He really is a cutie, you know. I may have to kill Dom so I can have him.
"What's so funny?" He asked. "All I said was, if you guys got married,"
He was cut off by another round of hysterical laughter, me doubled over on the desk wiping away the tears that were rolling down my cheeks, and James clutching his stomach as he tried to breathe through the guffaws.
"What? What's so funny about me saying you two might get married?"
"Please, Con, stop – you're killing me here, mate." James laughed, rubbing at stitch in his side as I tried to regain control of my breathing.
"In what universe are James and I ever going to end up married? We've been snogging for a year and we haven't even been on a date, love. So I highly doubt that we're ever going to bloody get a ring on my finger, yeah?" I laughed, shaking my head at his stupidity.
Connor looked a little bit disappointed.
"So you guys aren't ever gonna date, then? I was wondering before if you could double date with Dom and I."
That sobered us right up.
"You can't tell Dom!" I screeched, jumping off the desk so fast that it collapsed backwards and landed with a clatter on the floor, the metal legs poking in the air. If someone lands on that later then they're going to be killed.
Oh well. Not my problem.
Connor's eyes widened slightly, before he shook his head and ran his hands through his hair.
"Two things. One – I don't think I even understand what is going on here, let alone be able to explain it to someone else, and two – are you honestly asking me to lie to my girlfriend when we've only just started dating?"
Damn. Here it comes again. That guilty, ashamed feeling. I don't like it. If I shove Connor out of that window over there then he won't be able to make me feel it anymore...
"Well... yes." I shrugged, a little something seemed to fall in Connor's expression, almost like he was hoping that I was going to say something else. "You don't have to lie to her – you just have to... withhold information, if you will."
Connor stared at me for a moment, then closed his arms across the chest and attempted a look that I think was supposed to be menacing. The fact he looked nervous about doing it made the whole thing a lot less convincing.
"I tell you what – I will think about not telling Dom what you guys are doing, if you explain everything to me. What this messed up relationship is, what you are planning to do in the future, how it even started."
Didn't seem so bad. I was expecting Connor to demand twenty midget slaves to carry his books around and feed him three peeled grapes every two and a quarter minutes, whilst a choir of wood nymphs play miniature violins every time he walks down a corridor. But no. Just explain what's going on, and you can be on your merry way. Sounds good to me.
I opened my mouth to start talking when something made me stop. James looked the exact opposite of me – as though this way the very worst thing that Connor could have possibly asked for.
I forgot. If there are two things that James can't stand, it's other people knowing his business, and talking about the past. And with this being a mesh of the two, you can't blame the bloke for not wanting to skip through fields of flowers playing the saxophone.
Which I hope he never does, because that would be very weird.
I watched him for a while and smiled slightly, watching him for any signs of how he was feeling. Honestly, sometimes it's hard, him acting like such a bloody rock all the time. But I don't give a flying shit if he doesn't want Connor to know, I will do whatever to stop Dom finding out.
It's not that I don't trust her, it's just... I want to be the one to tell her, if I ever have to. Yeah, I can just imagine how that conversation would go –
"Hey Dom, I just want to know that I've been making out with your cousin every day for a year."
"Yeah, James and I. I'm off to snog him now, actually."
"AND YOU DIDN'T TELL ME? YOU BITCH! And what, you're not dating him? What, is my cousin not good enough for you or something, huh, missy? Yeah, well you would be lucky to have James, you spoiled little cow! I can't believe you!"
And then she would go and tell the next person that she saw, not because she is mean like that, but because Dom can't keep a secret to save her life. So no. That's not gonna happen.
Nuh-uh. Nopes. Not while I still have a wand in my back pocket and breath in my gob.
"It was a couple of days after James broke up with Natalie – not that I know why that happened –" I shot James a pointed look, but he just stuck his finger up at me. Charming. "And we had that huge Gryffindor party to try and get him off his arse and cheer him up. We both drank far more than we should have,"
Connor interrupted me, one of his eyebrows shooting upwards and his mouth closing into a flat white line.
"See, I knew you were going to make something up!" He protested, jabbing a finger in my direction. I frowned. I'm not lying... "Summer, don't even bother, you're practically famous at this school for not drinking at parties, so don't try and make it sound like you were drunk and didn't know what you were doing."
"Ah, you don't remember." I said, suddenly remembering. "I used to drink a little bit, and I mean a little bit, but Andrew and I had just had that huge screaming match at each other, and I ended up breaking up with him,"
"After screaming your plans for his immediate castration, I remember..." Connor chuckled.
"And I was pretty cut up about it; because that was the reason I hadn't wanted to date in first place. I didn't want the heartache, the fighting, the jealousy. But being with Andrew had given me all that, so I just wanted something else – something to make me forget what a shithead my ex was."
I glanced at James, who looked a little sad; like thinking about it brought back things he didn't want to remember. I know it wasn't a great time for him, but hey – it's this or Dom.
"I found James in his dormitory – I wasn't going to find him for that, Dom had sent me to find out where he was – and he was drinking his way through a bottle of vodka all on his own. I took the drink from him and sat down on the bed, and we..."
I ran my hand through my hair.
"Ended up snogging on my bed for twenty minutes." James said quietly from the corner, his brown eyes surveying me softly as I blushed at the memory. Because I may have been pissed out of my skull, but I remember – I had been the one that kissed him.
Yeah, bet you all didn't expect that, huh?
So I went on to explain about how James and I had been too embarrassed to so much as look at each other the next day, how we had met in some corridor to try and talk things over – much to James' reluctance – and he had ended up snogging me against a statue of Gertrude the Gigantic (seriously, where do they come up with these names?).
And the same thing happened for pretty much every night for the next week, whenever we tried to talk things over we just ended up snogging right there and then. So James had suggested being friends with benefits, and keeping it a secret. And as we were both drunk again at the time (he'd crashed into Natalie and Andrew had given the underwear I left over at his dorm back) I'd somehow managed to convince myself that it was a good idea. And thus, our very strange situation was born.
Connor just looked even more confused by the end of my explanation.
I guess that shows something about my explaining skills then, huh?
"So what are you then? The pair of you, what are you?"
"She's my best friend." James shrugged, sliding off his own desk and wrapping his arms around my torso in a tight hug, kissing my cheek gently under I forced myself to smile. "And I love her to pieces, which is why I want you to really understand that I am not using her."
Connor nodded, looking a little appeased.
"I don't like this – this whole thing. Maybe it's the way I was raised, or just the way I am, but I just don't think that you can be in a purely physical relationship with one of your best friends and not have it be wrong – you just can't."
"You're going to end up dating one day, I'm telling you this now." James and I both snorted. "Even if I personally have to see to it, I will make sure that you guys end up dating."
With a cheery wink at mine and James' horrified expressions, he began to head out the room. "And no, I won't tell Dom – but if you guys ever fuck up your friendship because of this mess, then I'm telling whoever I see fit to fix it. Oh, and keep me out of it. I know this is only going to cause trouble."
With Connor's oh so inspirational speech finished, he headed out the door, closing it softly behind him.
Huh. Went better than I thought it would.
"You alright, Dom?" I asked, plopping down on the end of her bed and leaning forwards to muss up the front part of her shimmery blonde hair. She immediately shrieked and leapt off the bed like it had burned her, rushing to the mirror to immediately fix it.
Yes, god forbid that her hair looks messy. Because that would just be the end of the world.
"Yeah, I'm okay. Where have you been, anyway? It's one o'clock in the morning." I blinked a couple of times and got up off her bed, busying myself with sorting the bottles of perfume on Dom's bedside table into height order.
"Uhm, I was just in the library with James." I shrugged, and noticing Dom frown slightly, I quickly added, "Connor was with us as well, he came to find us. We had fallen asleep at the table."
Dom shook her head lightly.
"You and James go to the library way too often, you know. You're going to end up like Penny, spending half your life in there." She chuckled under her breath. I had to resist from rolling my eyes.
Oh Dommie. How little you know me.
"What are you doing up, anyway?" I asked, pulling her back down onto the end of the bed and properly looking at her. Her eyes were worried, dints in her lip as though she had been biting it, her fingers toying with a stray thread on the bottom of her pyjama shirt.
"Oh, no reason. I'm fine." She shrugged lightly, innocence practically dripping from her words. And I didn't believe her for one second.
"What's worrying you?" I asked flatly, shooting her a look that told her not to bother denying it.
"Penny – she... she got into another fight with Kane tonight." She bit her lip again, and I sank my head down onto my knees as I groaned. I'll just kill him, that's easiest. Everyone alright with that? Yeah? Right, I'll start planning.
"What was this one about? Was there even a reason?" I asked my knees.
"Yeah, there was – not a good one, like, but when is there ever a good reason? I remember that fight they had – well, he had – because she was breathing too loudly when they ate dinner together." Dom rolled her eyes and I winced at the memory. "This one was because she left his dorm this morning without waking him up to say goodbye – said she was a rude, selfish bitch who didn't give a fuck about him."
"But if she had woken him up to tell him she was leaving, he would have yelled at her for waking him up." I shook my head at the absurdity.
"Exactly. She can't win with him."
"So that's what's got you so worried? Because Penny and Kane had another fight? You should be used to it, it happens every other day." I raised my eyebrows at Dom slightly, and was surprised to see that her eyes were a little glassy.
"No, that's not all. Well, she said she was feeling sick before, and she's spent nearly the whole night throwing up – and about the third time I went in to hold her hair back. Her wrist... her wrist has this huge bruise on it, it's absolutely horrible. Like someone has grabbed hold and twisted her arm or something – really, really hard."
I gasped quietly.
"And when I tried to ask her about it, she went really white and covered it with her sleeve, and practically ran from the bathroom. You don't think... you don't think he..." Dom shot me a look, and we both knew exactly what she was talking about.
"No, no, of course not." I said, only to reassure Dom. I knew perfectly well that he was capable of doing something like that. "Penny isn't stupid – if he did something like that, I have no doubt that she would leave him. Of course she would."
"You girls alright?" Penny asked quietly, stepping out of the bathroom and into the dorm.
She was wrapped in a fluffy white towel, her long hair in deep brown tangles down her back, slicked back off her face with the water from the shower.
Dom looked up from painting her nails to smile at her, and promptly knocked the nail varnish bottle off the bed and onto the floor, where crimson red liquid began to seep out onto the carpet. But Dom didn't seem to care, because she stepped over it and quickly headed over to Penny, brushing a few stray tangles out of the way so she could peer at her neck.
... that's a little creeperish, Dommie my love.
"Penelope Wright, would you like to explain these bruises on your neck to me?" Dom hissed. "And the scratches down the top of your arm."
Penny went very white and quickly stumbled away from Dom, pulling her hair away from her back and trying to cover her neck with it. Yeah, nice try love. There are two of us and one of you, and we're both stronger.
I don't think you've got much hope if we both want to know something.
"I walked into a bush by accident, that's how I got the scratches." Penny said quickly, brushing some hair away from her forehead, "and the bruises on my neck are just hickeys."
Dom stood back and glared – I knew that glare. Dom Weasley can't stand being lied to – and she knew Penny was lying. Oh bloody hell, this is going to get ugly, isn't it?
"Your bruises are just below your collarbone, you don't get them there, Penny! Believe me, I would know! And Summer always seems to have some form of hickey – though I don't know how, because she's a total prude – so I'm sure she'd be able to tell you the same thing."
"Well of course they're hickeys, how else would I have gotten bruises like that –"
"Did he hit you?"
Penny went white again, her hands moving upwards to clutch her towel tighter around herself, her long hair swinging sideways to cover her face as she sank down on the end of the nearest bed. I grabbed Dom's dressing gown and wrapped it around her shoulders, taking a quick glance at the nasty red grooves first.
Shallow cuts were lined up along the tops of both of her shoulders, with a smattered pattern of purple bruises lining the bare skin of her chest.
I felt a little sick, closed my eyes and stepped back. Penny still hadn't spoken.
"Penny – did he hit you?" Dom asked again.
There was a very pregnant pause. Her eyes were shut lightly, a crease on her forehead and her hands clutching the fluffy belt of the dressing gown so hard that her knuckles had gone white and were straining against her skin.
Penny shook her head minutely, the movement so small that I could barely see it.
"I think I'm going to go and get ready." Penny whispered, shuffling to the next bed and picking up her uniform, smoothing them down into her arms and carrying them to the bathroom, where she proceeded to quietly close and then lock the door.
"Did she just lock the door?" Dom asked, glancing at me in surprise.
It was well known that we never locked the bathroom door in our dorm, just in case there was an emergency – if you didn't want to be disturbed in there then you tossed your tie over the handle of the door.
Locking it clearly meant – it clearly meant that you had something to hide.
"She has more bruises, doesn't she?" Dom asked quietly, rubbing her hands over her eyes, before jumping slightly and quickly turning to the mirror to reapply the mascara that she may have accidently rubbed off.
Honestly. The vanity of that girl. Her and Scorpius would make a good couple.
"I don't know." I muttered. "But she clearly doesn't want to talk about it, so maybe we should just –"
"Summer, I swear to god that if your words were going to be 'so maybe we should just leave it', then I will put you on a giant wooden stick and roast you over a bonfire." What a weird threat. "She's our best friend, we're not going to just leave the fact that she is all bruised up – someone has hit her, Summer, and we both know who it was." Dom spat, glaring at me slightly.
"Well if she won't talk about it, then we have nothing." I said flatly. "Kane will never admit to anything and she won't say a word against him, so what are we going to do, other that leave it until there is something that we can do?"
"Veritaserum!" Dom cried, looking quite proud of herself.
I forced myself not to roll my eyes or throw my hand to my forehead. It took a lot of effort.
"That's illegal, Dom." I sighed. She looked a little put out. "I don't want to sound like a heartless bitch, but there literally is nothing we can do – we can't tell anyone with no proof and we can't help Penny if she doesn't want our help." I shrugged, feeling a little helpless.
Dom frowned and crossed her arms over her chest, before stepping forwards and pulling me into a tight hug.
"I'm worried about her." She whispered, and I ran my hand down the back of her hair, feeling oddly like I wanted to cry.
"Me too, Dom. Me too." I sighed.
"Hello, chicklets!" Fred beamed, wrapping his arms around Dom and mine's shoulders and pulling us down onto the bench next to him, glancing around behind us. "Where's Penelope?" I rolled my eyes. I will never understand why Fred calls her Penelope.
"She's gone to the library; she said she needed to study." I said through gritted teeth, well aware that the only reason she was going to the library was because she wanted to avoid Dom and I. We've been like sniffer dogs for the whole day, and I don't think she likes it very much.
Yeah, well. When she leaves him, she doesn't get the Dom and Summer Prisoner Treatment anymore.
"Oh right. I feel a bit bad for snapping at her yesterday – maybe something happened with Owen or something and she was in a bad mood. I didn't mean to be rude to her." Fred looked a little sad that he couldn't apologise, and a little of my heart melted. What a cutie. "Maybe I'll go and find her and say sorry in person."
Dom smiled at him and nodded.
"Maybe I should wear my fake moustache, that would cheer her up!" Fred cried, and Dom rolled her eyes and slammed her head back down on the desk. "Or I could show her my new boxers, they'd cheer her up – Dad sent them to me. They're really cool. They're yellow and on the back they say have a huge picture of Uncle Harry on the arse."
Fred grinned around at us all and James looked startled.
"Why is there a picture of my dad on the arse of your boxers?" He asked, sounding a little more than appalled. Connor was having hysterics against the table.
"Dad saw them in a shop a few weeks back and thought they were so funny that he bought them. Uncle Harry found them and was so horrified that he tried to burn them, so he sent them to me for safekeeping."
Well, now I know where Fred gets his battiness from.
It's quite reassuring, actually, to know it's in his genes. He could have just been his own breed of weird for no reason, and that's a threat to everyone.
"Right... you go do that, Freddie." Dom laughed and shook her head, Fred pouted at the use of his hated nickname and James snorted. He got up off the bench and walked away, when I noticed something.
The waistband of his trousers were hanging stupidly low in that way that boys think makes them look cool, but really makes them look like they can't afford a belt. And above the waistband of those trousers, was the elastic waist of his bright yellow boxers.
"Please tell me he's not going to show Penny the boxers whilst he's wearing them." I moaned clapping my hands over my eyes.
"Oh, he's gonna get done for sexual harassment." Dom sighed.
James and Connor just laughed. Huh. Well, guess it shows who are the better friends. Yeah, that would be Dom and I.
James looked annoyed. I don't know what was annoying him, but something was. I was sitting next to Fred on the couch, my feet propped up on his lap, Dom and Connor crammed into an armchair opposite, and James was sitting on the floor in front of me, his arms folded across his chest and a pout set on his lips.
"What's wrong with you, misery guts?" I asked, nudging him in the back of the head with my elbow.
He shrugged, and then leaned his head back onto the couch cushions so that his hair was flopping onto the side of my leg, his brown eyes upside down and annoyed looking.
Is it even possible for eyes to look annoyed from upside down?
Well it must be, because his are. That may be a talent.
I leaned down, my hair swooping between the other's prying eyes and my lips, and hissed in his ear –
"Seriously, what's the matter?" James shrugged again, but it was only when I grabbed hold of a pinch of his hair and yanked it really hard that he finally started talking.
Honestly, it's my friends' fault. They force me into a life of violence, I tell you.
"I wanted to go and snog you somewhere, but I know that Connor would know where we were actually going and now it doesn't seem as fun." James crossed his arms and pouted, and I rolled my eyes.
"OI! Are you two snogging behind Summer's hair?" Fred called, and I sat up so fast that I nearly cracked my spine in half.
"Don't be ridiculous, you fucking git," I said, ignoring the fact that Connor was doubled over and blooming red in the face from trying to force himself not to laugh. Oh good lord. That boy is going to give us away without saying anything isn't he?
But my snapping at Fred was interrupted by Dom screaming and clapping a hand over her mouth, her eyes widening and slowly tumbling out of her seat and to her feet.
I whirled around and screamed a little in shock myself. Because making her way through the portrait hole, shaking and as pale as a sheet, was Penny. The part that made me scream? Her eye was swollen and black, spreading from her eyebrow to her cheekbone.
Something crimson was spattered down the front of her shirt, and there seemed to be some blood trickling down her chin from her bloody lip.
She stumbled to the couch with Dom's help, ignoring James' open mouth and Connor's horrified expression, and the way Fred looked like he wasn't sure between murdering whoever had done it to her and throwing up.
"I did it." She whispered, barely able to get the words out. "I left him. I did it. I left Kane."
A/N: for fred/penny shippers everywhere. you're welcome.
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