“What?” Jack asked, his eyebrows furrowing together in confusion and his bottom lip jutting out slightly in world’s most adorable pout. Did I just use the word ‘adorable’? What the fuck is wrong with me?
“What part of that didn’t you understand?” I sighed, sitting down next to him on his bed and resting my head in the crook of his neck, his hand immediately moving to rest on my lower back, his lips pressing a light kiss onto the tip of my nose.
I grinned in spite of myself.
“I don’t understand the part that involves my girlfriend blowing off our first proper date to go and spend the Hogsmeade trip with a guy that she hasn’t even spoken to for a month.” Jack said, his eyebrow cocked and his eyes staring at the pink flush that was crawling up my neck. I tilted my head so my hair swung over and covered some of my face.
“I’ve spoken to him.” I muttered resentfully. Jack snorted.
“The occasional ‘pass the salt’ does not count as a conversation, Summer.” Jack cocked his eyebrow again. “And, well, I don’t want to sound like the overbearing boyfriend, I really don’t – but...” Jack cut off and rubbed his hands together awkwardly.
“But what?” I asked, reaching out and taking both of his hands in mine. A small smile twitched the corners of his lips.
“No, you’ll think I’m being a controlling psychopath.” The corners of his mouth twitched again, and I dropped my arms so I could wrap them around his middle on press my face into his chest.
“Just tell me, you doof. I don’t think you could be anymore controlling than my friends already are.”
“I just don’t feel comfortable with the idea of my girlfriend being alone in Hogsmeade with another bloke – I mean, would you feel happy if you found out I was going with Susan from Hufflepuff? It wouldn’t be as bad if someone was going with you, but it will just be the two of you.” Jack stared down at the floor in front of him and I smiled at the cuteness.
I shifted myself on the duvet and crawled onto his knee, my chest pressed against his and my legs stretching out behind his body, before wrapping my arms around his neck and pulling him into a gentle kiss.
“If it makes you feel any better, I don’t want to be there either.” I murmured into his mouth, pressing kisses onto his upper lip. Jack pulled way eventually and buried his face in my hair, his lips pressed against my collarbone.
“Then why are you going?” He muttered, and even the fact it was muffled by my neck couldn’t mask the resentfulness.
“Tradition.” I said shortly, pulling his lips back to mine to try and shut him up.
“Can’t you just tell him you’re sick and come and spent some time up here in my dorm?” He grinned.
God, he was charming. His blonde hair was tossed back off his face, his jaw square in the light from his oil lamp, his warm eyes smiling at me – even if they were still narrowed slightly in suspicion – and his hands resting on my lower back.
It was refreshing – something as little as him putting his hands on my back instead of my arse, because it was something that James would have never considered doing.
Not that I’m comparing James and Jack, obviously.
Because they are nothing to do with one another. James is my past, and Jack is my present. If it will last to the future, who knows, but that doesn’t matter, because as long as James stays in the past then everything is okay.
Everything will be happy and dandy and wonderful.
“I’d love to,” I said honestly, leaning down to press a few kisses onto the hollow points of his neck, “but everything has already been arranged.”
My mind once again flickered to the dumbfounded expressions of Penny and Dom if they found out what had happened – and the reason it ended. Dom would not take that well.
Jack slipped his hands onto either side of my face and pulled my head up until it was at eye level with him, his blue eyes staring me down. I smirked evilly and he grinned a little, before letting go of my face and letting me shove his chest, pushing him down onto the bed and kicking one of my legs over either side of his stomach.
“Stay here with me,” he pouted, and I rolled my eyes, leaning down to kiss his stomach through his t-shirt.
“I’ll stay here with you now.” I offered, and he grinned as he pulled me in for a snog.
I feel like such a cliché – but hey, you can suck on that, James Potter. I don’t need your snogging or your shirtless chest or your muscles or your cheekbones or your – what year is it? Anyway – I don’t need you.
I’m fine as it is. I’m happy. With Jack. Happy.
So you can just go and snog the squid.
“Alright, you have a choice.” Dom said loudly, banging her clipboard and quill down on the desk and turning to face Penny and I with a scarily serious expression on her face. Penny and I glanced edgily at one another out of the corners of our eyes.
Dom turned back to the desk; dramatically ticked something on the parchment tacked to the clipboard and then grabbed something off her bed.
Brandishing the pair of artfully decorated jeans at us, she cocked an eyebrow.
“Now, I need you to tell me something, and be brutal.” She took a moment to stare us down.
Clutching the waistband of the jeans in one hand, she reached behind her and grabbed a pair of frayed denim shorts with a plaited brown belt threaded through the belt loops. Dom cocked an eyebrow at us.
“Which of these do you prefer?” She asked, and she took a step closer, thrusting the denim pieces in our faces to make sure we could see.
Penny leant backwards and bit her lip, the expression on her face suggesting she was afraid that Dom would go psycho ninja on her arse if she chose the wrong one. Dom might be a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic at times, but I don’t think she’d go that far.
“Well, I like the shorts, personally – but it is the middle of November, so your arse will probably get frostbite.” I shrugged, and Dom nodded seriously.
“I could wear them with some tights,” Dom said, pulling open a drawer with her little finger and tossing a pair of flesh coloured, black and brown tights onto the bed, “or I could wear them with leggings, if it’s really cold – or long socks!”
“If you wear long socks with shorts then you will look like a complete and utter idiot, and the bits of your legs between the top of the sock and the bottom of your shorts will probably turn blue.” I shrugged, picking at the nail varnish on my thumb.
“Then what do you suggest I wear? The jeans are going to make my arse look enormous!” Dom threw the jeans and shorts onto the floor and stomped on them a few times in frustration, before dropping down on the ground
next to them.
“Why are you freaking out about this?” I asked.
“Because I don’t want to look ugly.” Dom said sincerely, looking up at me through the blonde hair that had fallen onto her face.
“Dommie, you could wear a potato sack and old man sandals and still look nicer than everyone else in the village – and don’t even bother trying to deny it.” Penny chipped in, rolling her eyes.
“Yeah, stop being a twat.” I agreed.
“Besides, you’re already Connor’s girlfriend and the guy would jump off a cliff if you told him to – I highly doubt that he’s going anywhere. You really don’t need to be freaking out this much – I’m calmer than you are, and this is my first date with Fred!”
Penny’s expression suddenly switched, like someone had opened the floodgates in her brain.
“Oh holy Merlin, this is my first date with Fred...” Penny muttered, dropping her head into her hands and shaking a little. The girl must have settings in her brain or something, and whenever she gets nervous it automatically sets itself to ‘vibrate’.
“Yeah, I know.” I said flatly. “What about it?”
“Summer, you told me that I was ready for this! You said that I didn’t need to wait another month because I do fancy Fred – I’m not ready for this. No. I’ll have to cancel.”
Penny stood up and went to cross the room to the door, determination written on her petite features. Dom and I glanced at each other in horror, and then both acted at the same time.
Dom threw herself off the floor at the door, splaying herself across it so that Penny couldn’t get out, yelling a nursery rhyme at the top of her lungs to stop Penny shouting anything down to Fred, and crushing his fragile feelings.
Fred – fragile feelings. Snort. I do make myself laugh.
I, on the other hand, launched myself off the bed into Penny, slamming into her stomach, wrapping my arms around her waist and throwing her onto the floor.
I landed on top of her – quite heavily if you believe the noises of pain she made.
“Summer! What the bloody hell are you doing?” Penny shrieked, as I pinned her shoulders to the ground and used my legs to press her knees into the floor.
“You’re not going anywhere,” I grunted, and I could practically hear Penny’s eyes rolling.
“Yeah, I kind of got that when I was wrestled to the ground – what is wrong with you two?” Penny’s doubts about Fred had seemingly been forgotten during the act of being pinned to the ground and locked in a room by her two best friends.
“I’m not letting you hurt my cousin,” Dom said flatly, and Penny’s eyes widened as she attempted to use her stick arms to push me off her. It didn’t work – I may be a little weakling myself, but I’m twelve times stronger than she is.
I wrestle with Connor when I have nothing better to do, since he’s the skinniest of all the guys.
“Fred wouldn’t be hurt – I don’t think the bloke understands the concept of the word ‘hurt’, he’s a little too happy for that.” Penny said, but the way she stared at me made me think that she was hoping that I was going to agree with her.
“Penny, you do know how much he likes you, right?” Dom said slowly, and Penny blushed a little.
I rolled my eyes. Why do people have to be cute all of a sudden? I don’t like cute stuff. I was four when I decided that I wanted to get rid of all the teddies off my bed – Penny still has them. I never saw the point of teddy bears – they’re just a bit of stuffed felt.
What’s so special and huggable about that?
“Well, I suppose he must fancy me a little if he asked me out on a date,” Penny said reasonably, a frown creasing her forehead and her teeth coming down to bite her bottom lip. I almost smirked when I noticed that logical Penny had once again made a comeback.
“The guy beat the shit out of Kane for you on several occasions, Penny – and I don’t really have to remind you how terrifying your ex boyfriend is.” Dom stared down at her. “He more than fancies you and you know it – don’t hurt him. This has to be hard for him, feeling this way about you – it’s not like he’s ever done any of it before.”
I cocked an eyebrow.
“Wow, so inspirational.” I rolled my eyes and Dom shot me a glare, grabbing one of Penny’s old banana peels off the desk and chucking it at my head. I rolled off Penny and laid my back flat on the floor to avoid it.
And who said that I have no reflexes? Pfft. You don’t need Quidditch to be able to dodge flying fruit skins.
“Can you go three and a half minutes without being sarcastic, Summer? Seriously, I honestly reckon that you couldn’t go a day without being snarky – one day someone is going to take you seriously and you’re going to get into some deep trouble.” Dom stared at me gravely.
“Wow, you really are in a preachy mood today, aren’t you? Tell me, are you planning on running around Hogsmeade today banging a tambourine?”
Dom shot me the finger. And she tells me off for being snarky.
She then glanced at the watch on her wrist and let out a noise that can only be described as an amalgamation of grunting, screaming and gasping. I imagine it was the noise that an ancient kind of dinosaur used to make when they were in pain.
But that’s just my humble opinion.
“What’s the matter?” Penny asked quickly. Dom just looked up at us, wide eyes and her face slightly whiter than usual.
“Guys – we only have three hours to choose outfits and get ready,” Dom said quietly.
It was my turn to chuck the banana peel at her.
“Alright, we’ve got to go and meet the guys,” Dom smiled. “Summer here has got to go on her date with dear James.” Dom nudged me playfully in the side so I kicked her in the ankle.
Sure, Dom didn’t know that she was treading dangerous waters and just thought that she was taking the mick out of the fact James and I were going to Hogsmeade alone, something we had never done before – but that didn’t stop anger bubbling in the pit of my stomach, most of it directed at my blonde best friend.
Of course, some of it was directed at said blonde best friend’s boyfriend, for putting me in this bloody situation to begin with.
God, people piss me off.
All humans should just be killed off, if you ask me – all of these people are too stupid to function properly and therefore come up with shitty ideas.
You hear that, Connor? I was mentally directing my thoughts towards you.
“Summer,” Penny asked suddenly, whipping around to face me – though, unlike usual, her hair only managed to move a few centimetres to the side under the three tonnes of hairspray that Dom had coated on whilst pinning her to the bed, “I forgot to ask you before – what does Jack think about you going to Hogsmeade with James?”
“He’s cool with it,” I lied quickly, offering up a nonchalant shrug to try and get the attention diverted elsewhere.
“Oh – sorry if I’m being nosy, you just don’t talk about him much, is all,” Penny shrugged and bounced down the first couple of steps, a spring in her step that had been missing since she broke up with You-Know-Who.
“Oh,” I said vaguely, squinting down at the toes of my ballet flats.
“Yeah, that’s a good point,” Dom butted in, turning around on the stairs and shooting me a suspicious look, “you hardly ever talk about him.”
I shrugged again.
“It just doesn’t come up,” I lied again, pulling on the ends of my curls and praying to every deity I don’t believe in that Dom would just trip down the stairs and the whole conversation would just be forgotten in the resulting panic.
“Yeah, because you don’t let it come up,” Dom rolled her eyes. “You’re the most freakishly private person I know, Summer. Seriously, we’re not going to sell all your details to the local newspaper, it wouldn’t kill you to tell us some stuff.”
Pfft. I tell the pair of them loads. I have no idea what they’re on about.
Yeah, because you told them all about you and James.
Shut it, brain. No one asked for your crummy opinion.
“You ready for this, Penny?” I asked as we reached the bottom of the winding staircase, Penny’s fingers locking in and out of one another in her nervousness. What she’s got to be nervous about I don’t know. Fred is gaga for her.
Poor girl. I mean, Fred is lovely, don’t get me wrong – but all the time?
I don’t think I could handle it. Then again, I can’t handle anyone all the time, so what do I know? I actually hid under a library table yesterday to avoid Jack because we’ve been spending so much time together lately.
I don’t want to cross over into that realm of ‘couple that spend too much time together’.
Besides, it always makes my gut hurt a little whenever I see James’ face when Jack and I are together – I don’t know why, and I don’t even know what the expression is, but I don’t like it. I may like spending time with Jack, but if spending some time apart every now and again means James gets a little bit of angst-free peace, then alright. I can cope with that.
I took the last step of the staircase slowly, taking careful effort to watch Dom skip across the room in Connor’s arms instead of glancing around for a certain raven-haired git.
“Hello, beautiful,” Connor grinned, and Dom’s resulting beam was bright enough to blind passers-by. She leaned up and planted a snog on his lips, but the kiss was interrupted in less than a second as Fred oh-so-subtly walked up behind them and scooped Dom over his shoulder, before flicking Connor on the side of the head.
“What the bloody – Fred Weasley, put me down this instant!” Dom shrieked, slapping Fred on the back repeatedly and trying to knee him in the nose with her flailing legs.
I suppose her Veela charms just melt away when she’s tossed as un-elegantly as possible over her cousin’s shoulder.
I’ll remember how ridiculous she looked in this moment whenever I feel a little self-conscious.
“Connor Dale! Stop being so bloody useless and help me – get me away from this bloody oaf!” Dom shrieked, but Connor was too busy laughing hysterically, clutching the armrest of the couch for support, to try and help her.
“Oaf?” Fred pouted, winking at Penny and I before spinning around so fast that Dom let out a very uncharacteristic scream. “That’s not very nice, Dommie – I expected better from you. If you’re not careful then I’m going to demote you from the position of my favourite female cousin, and give it to Lily instead – do you really want that?”
Dom scowled at his back. Fred smirked. Gotta admit – that bloke is made of win.
“Shouldn’t my little sister be your favourite cousin anyway?” James asked quietly, his voice curling around me from somewhere behind. My shoulders tensed at the sound of his voice and my knees felt a little shaky – see, this is what happens when you don’t have breakfast – but I didn’t turn around.
“Just put her down, Fred.” James continued, strolling around me, a smirk playing on his lips as Dom continued to hammer on Fred’s spine.
Poor bloke is probably going to be a hunchback at thirty now.
“Merlin, Jimmy, you always ruin my fun,” Freddie grumbled, dumping Dom carelessly off his shoulder and onto the plush couch behind him, not even sparing a glance to see whether she had landed safely.
His eye’s had already latched with the brunette’s next to me, and in that moment, he was hooked.
I rolled my eyes at the sickening cuteness. Alright, Jack and I don’t do this kind of thing – so why do they feel the need to? I mean, holding hands in public is bad enough, but they don’t even do that! Urgh, they stress me out.
“You look gorgeous, Penelope,” Fred beamed, shooting her two thumbs up – Fred’s idea of a romantic greeting. It appeared to win Penny over, however, as she grinned shyly and stepped forward to take his outstretched hand.
“You look nice too, Fred. I mean, the t-shirt is quite... ahem, unique, but you look lovely all the same.” Fred beamed proudly and pulled on her arm, bounding over to the portrait hole and offering the rest of the common room a cheery wink.
“See you lot of saddos after I get back from my hot date!” He winked, and before Penny could open her mouth to rebuke him, he had scooped her into his arms and jumped through the portrait hole, sliding down the banisters of the great staircase with ease.
Oh good lord. Fred.
What on earth could make someone think that wearing a t-shirt printed with the image of a headless, bikini-decked woman is at all appropriate for a first date?
I would pay good money to see what goes on in that bloke’s head.
“Well, catch you later, Summer, Jimmy,” Connor said awkwardly, glancing at Dom as she shot him a sappy grin, not paying a jot of attention to the three metres of cold air that was built like a wall between the prat and myself.
And before James could whip out his wand and hex him into a million and twelve pieces, scattered all over the floor of the common room – trust me, his expression told everyone that this was exactly what he wanted to do – Connor shot us a guilty grin and speedily exited the common room, dragging Dom behind him.
...which left James and I standing together, the temperature between us colder than ice, and splintering like cheap wood.
“Well, I suppose we should get this shit over and done with,” James grumbled, striding across the common room in a few long bounds, and jumping through the portrait hole without any semblance of a backwards glance.
Huh. Nice to know that Gryffindor chivalry withstands all emotions, isn’t it?
“James – bloody slow down, will you?” I snapped, inwardly cursing myself for borrowing Dom’s flats, which were half a size too big and flopped off my feet every time I stepped, clearly disagreeing with the fact I was hastening to catch up with good ol’ Jimmy.
“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, baby,” James grumbled back, not a hint of amusement on his stony face, his cheekbones deliciously prominent as he chewed on the insides of his cheeks.
“Since when have you called me ‘baby’?” I asked, startled out of my annoyance by the term of endearment, whether it was meant as one or not.
But James didn’t seem to be in the question-answering kind of mood, because he continued to plough his way down the corridor, his hands plunged deep into the pockets of his jeans and his hair blowing back off his face, styled a little more carefully and artfully than normal.
Did he do his hair especially for today? No, of course not. Why would he? It’s not like anything is ever going to happen between us again. Ever.
“Well, you’re always complaining about the face you don’t have a nickname,” James grumbled finally, as he turned left at the portrait of Doreen the Deranged, “In fact, you’re always complaining, full stop.”
I blinked, surprised that I actually felt the sting.
What happened to the playful James that I would banter with for hours over a pot of ice cream and a bottle of Butterbeer in the school kitchens? He would say things like that, and they would mean bugger all – but now it’s different. He’s trying to hurt me. He’s trying to get me to lose my temper, because he knows that will make everything so much more entertaining.
Well, if you want to play, Potter – it’s on. It’s on like mud on a pig.
“Well, if you always look on the negative side, you’re never disappointed. And then sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised,” I said nonchalantly, lengthening my strides to meet his and tucking a black lock of hair behind my ear.
“But if you look on the bright side of life, then you don’t spend your entire life as a miserable shrew with a face like a slapped backside,” James snapped, and I frowned. This wasn’t our usual playful banter – this was an argument, veiled to others as two friends being playful.
James Potter and Summer Lancaster, being their usual argumentative selves. Nothing different there. Except everything is different.
“Right, because you’ve been a right ray of sunshine lately. Breezing around the castle spreading hugs, love and giggles, that’s you.” I rolled my eyes, ignoring the dangerous smirk that was tugging the corners of James’ lips upwards.
That’s not the James Smirk.
That’s the Kane Owen Smirk.
“Right, because my best friend agreeing to become exclusive with me, before sucking face with my little brother to spite me, stopping speaking to me and then dating the ex-boyfriend of my baby cousin – who broke up with said baby cousin for said ex-best friend – and flaunting her new fucking relationship right under my nose is supposed to make me feel like floating on clouds and cartwheeling around the castle to a choir of cherubs.” James rolled his eyes again.
I gaped at him.
“How can you say that?” I shrieked, and my tone seemed to shock him slightly, because he jumped half a foot in the air and assumed a constipated expression. “I’ve made a real effort to try and stop Jack and I from being flaunted in your face – and you’re going and acting like – and what the fuck, James? I agreed to be your exclusive what, James? Your exclusive whore?”
James foot slipped backwards as he skidded to a halt, his head whipping around to gape at me. I bit my lip – maybe I’d overstepped the mark.
“What did you just say?” James asked quietly, his eyes blazing and his hands clenched into fists so tight that I thought for a moment that his knuckles might pop out of the stretched skin of his hand.
Yep, definitely overstepped the mark.
“You know full well that you weren’t my girlfriend because you didn’t want to be anyone’s girlfriend – and yes, I had commitment issues, which you now understand, but if you had wanted to date then I would have at least given it a go – a courtesy that you never bothered to extend to me. And made a real effort, my arse – the bloke’s all over you like a rash, it’s bloody sickening, Merlin, you’re pathetic, Summer –”
“SHUT UP, JAMES. JUST SHUT UP, OKAY? I FUCKING KNOW IT’S MY FAULT, I DON’T NEED YOU TO STAND THERE AND TELL ME HOW MUCH I COCKED EVERYTHING UP, ALRIGHT?” My chest was heaving, a flush crawling up my cheeks as my glare bore into James, poison practically leaking out of my look alone.
James froze, his mouth opening and closing like a goldfish, before he sighed.
“Look, I don’t want to argue with you,” he sighed, “so let’s just go on this thing and get it over with, and then we can go back to normal.”
I blinked a couple of times, trying to beat back the hope that unfurled in my stomach at his sentence.
“Normal – normal as in pre-snog with Albus normal, or normal as in pre-Connor interfering normal?” I asked, my fingers crossed behind my back.
James’ cold eyes flicked up to my face, one eyebrow raised and his lips twisted in another smirk – this one was different again. It was amused, but vindictive – he was going to spite me. My heart sank as we started to walk again.
“As in, the normal that was you throwing yourself under desks and behind statues if you saw that you were walking in the same corridor as me.” James said coolly, running his hand through the back of his hair.
“That was one time.” I muttered resentfully.
There was a short silence, broken only by my embarrassingly loud breathing – I was still worked up from yelling, and power walking around half the castle wasn’t really helping the situation. My shoes made odd clapping noises against the cold slate of the floor, and I noticed that James was chewing on his bottom lip, a habit that was usually reserved for Dom.
“Look,” he said eventually, as we reached the huge doors that led out into the Hogwarts Grounds, “can we just try and get along for the next few hours? Just act like friends – it’s so much easier than arguing with you; you’re too fucking smart for your own bloody good.”
I pressed my lips together to hide my reluctant smile.
“Alright. We can get along for today – but that doesn’t stop me being mad at you.” I agreed.
“What – what do you mean, you’re mad at me? You’re the one that was screwing around with my brother!” James protested, spinning around on his heel so he was walking backwards, watching my face in annoyance.
Walking backwards down a hill, James? Not the smartest idea – especially not when you’re walking with me. With a quick grin, I grabbed James by the shoulders and gave him a light shove – which caused him to consequently trip over a giant boulder.
Giggling as he rolled down a large patch of grass, hissing expletives at the shrieking third years, I strolled up to his side.
“Sorry James, we can’t discuss that now – my bossy date has insisted that we try and get along for the day.” With a what-can-you-do shrug, I carried on down to Hogsmeade, ignoring James foul language as he hauled himself to his feet.
Honestly, the mouth on that boy.
“We’ve been in the Three Broomsticks for forty minutes – can we go now?” James whined, absent-mindedly stirring his spoon around his empty coffee cup. Instead of ordering our traditional Butterbeer, he’d opted for a coffee and Firewhiskey – probably to rub it in my face that everything had changed.
So, being the mature and level-headed girl I am, I decided to get back at him – by taking as long as humanly possible to finish my drink.
Anybody who is anybody knows how much James Potter hates waiting around after he’s finished, for other people to finish their own things. It’s actually on the pet peeve list he has pinned up in the Captain’s office.
I should probably get a medal for getting under his skin so well.
“So, d’you ever say anything to Con about him shagging dear Dom?” I asked, and James’ expression instantly switched to one of a person that was being forced to swallow something unpleasant.
“Gave him a black eye,” James shrugged, a smug smirk tugging at the corners of his lips, “and told him that he bloody well better treat her well or I’d decapitate him like a moose and hang his head on my bedroom wall.”
I rolled my eyes.
“Not being funny, James, but Dom could probably beat Connor up better than you could.” I snorted. “Fuck, I could probably beat Connor up better than you could.”
“Funny you’d say that, considering you know full well how well I can beat people up.” He muttered.
“What’s that supposed to be mean?”
“Well, you had front row seats when I was forced to beat the stuffing out of the scum that I call my ‘brother’.” James shot me another glare. “Then again, as well as a viewer, you were also the cause – wow, you must have felt so special.”
I felt the need to blush – perhaps feel a little ashamed, but anger filled my stomach so fast that all of the shame was knocked back.
“Oh, don’t be such a fucking child – we were not dating so I was fully entitled so snog whoever or whatever I liked – and you didn’t have a right to say anything about it –”
“No, no, Summer. You did have the right to snog anyone you wanted – until you agreed to go exclusive with me – that’s when you lost that right. You don’t agree to things like that if you don’t want to do them, yeah?”
“Oh, fucking let it go! Why are you holding onto this so hard? You’re pathetic!”
“Pathetic? You are calling me pathetic? Miss I’ll Snog Anything That Moves?”
“I’ve snogged you, Albus and Jack in the past year – that’s three blokes! How the hell is that a valid argument?”
“You just need to face the fact it’s your fault –”
“I’ve admitted it’s my fault!”
“And that you’re only dating Jack to make me jealous –”
“Well it’s quite clear that’s why you’re doing this –”
“Then why would you possibly date such a spineless, snobby, snooty bloke? He’ll bore you to tears, Summer. He’s not right for you –”
“And how would you know what’s right for me?”
“I was right for you.”
I stopped breathing.
“You’re insane.” I whispered, searching his face for any sign that we was joking. But his eyes bored into mine, wide and grave, and my jaw slackened. He couldn’t possibly believe –
How could he think...
“You were not right for me.” My eyes flashed and anger unfurled in my stomach. I wanted to hurt him, to piss him off as much as he did me. “You were just something convenient to get me to the next best thing – to get me to Jack.”
Of course, my feels for Jack where nowhere near as strong as that – or strong at all, really – but he didn’t know that.
James lurched to his feet, his hands clenched into fists and his teeth bared in what can only be described as the face of a predator just before they devour the pathetic animal in front of them. He was practically shaking with anger.
“You bitch,” He snarled, and I rolled my eyes, despite the strong urge to run away and cower under the nearest table.
“Well, would you look at that? We couldn’t get along for one afternoon, could we?” I taunted, swinging my legs up from under the desk and propping them up on the tabletop, leaning back in my chair, the image of coolness.
James’ eyes flashed, and he looked like he wanted nothing more to hurl a bucketload of insults at me, everything he’d thought about me for the past month – but instead he stayed quiet, bit his lip, shook his head once and turned on his heel, storming across the pub and jamming his hands into the pockets of his jeans.
He had nearly reached the door to the pub when the sound of a resonating bell alerted me to yet more people trying to squeeze into the packed room.
“And where do you think you’re going, Jimmy?” Connor asked coolly, pulling Dom further into the pub by her hand before dropping it and crossing his arms over his chest.
“I was just going... to the... loo?” James asked wildly, spinning around on his heel again and quickly scurrying in the direction of the toilets.
Smooth, James. Real smooth.
Christ, I could have come up with a better excuse than that.
Connor held up one finger to Dom, gesturing that he wouldn’t be very long, and swiftly crossed the room towards me, dropping onto the stool that James had abandoned.
“What the hell are you two playing at? I forced you to spend some time together today because I want the pair of you to bloody get along again, not so he can storm out on you and you can press all of his buttons for a bit of fun. Jesus, Summer – it’s like you don’t even want to fix things!” I blushed a little and stared at my knees.
“I – well, I...” I stammered, and Connor cocked an eyebrow.
“Do you even want to make things better between you and James? Or are you just putting up with this for a day because you don’t want me to snitch on you to the rest of them?” I knit my fingers together and banged my ankles together as we sat in stony silence.
“Well?” Connor asked eventually, and I started to chew on my bottom lip.
“I do want to fix things, I suppose...” I shrugged and changed tack as Connor’s eyes narrowed to slits. “But you know full well that James doesn’t want anything to do with me anymore.”
“And whose fault is that?”
“Yeah, I know it’s my fault.”
“You know, someone should probably make a note of that and get her to sign it – it’s not like she’ll ever take the blame for anything that’s her fault again. She just bumps it off onto someone else.” A voice sneered from behind my head, and it took all my effort not to roll my eyes again.
“Oh fuck, you’re back,” I sneered back, and I heard James swear under his breath.
“What I ever saw in you is completely beyond me, do you know that? You’re a heartless – ” James started, but I was out of my seat and spitting fire before he had a chance to even think about finishing his sentence.
“I’m heartless? Says the bloke that didn’t give a shit about my feelings until they messed with his own –”
“Oh please, like you have feelings, we all know you have a chunk of ice where you heart is supposed to be –”
“Don’t be such an egocentric pig, James Pot –”
“WILL THE TWO OF YOU JUST GIVE IT A BLOODY REST?” Connor roared, and everyone within a ten metre radius turned to blink at us in shock.
We both turned to blink at him, James flushing a little in shame as Dom turned around from the bar and peered at us suspiciously. My gaze was cold and fixed on Connor’s angry face.
“The two of you are going to be leaving this pub tied together if you don’t start bloody getting along,” Connor hissed, “because I have had it to the back teeth with the pair of you – either snog and make up, or make a mature decision to remain civil and engage in a non-sexual friendship.” Connor stared us both down, and I glared at my cup. James glared at the floor. Dom glared at the three of us. Connor just glared in general.
It was just one big glare-a-thon.
“We’ll get along,” James said quietly.
Gee, thanks for consulting me, idiot.
See, this is exactly what I can’t deal with – Jack would never do something like that. Jack would actually consult me first; see what I wanted to put me first because he’d want me to be happy. Not to whatever it took to save his own hide, like some people I could mention (James Potter).
“Fine,” Connor snapped, getting back to his feet and crossing the room back over to Dom, “but this is the last chance for the pair of you – or else.” He shot us a glare over his shoulder.
And by ‘or else’, he means that he’ll tell Dom.
Life would be so much less complicated if we weren’t all scared of Volcano Dominique.
Connor smacked a loud kiss on Dom’s pouting lips, which brightened her up in an instant, grabbed her by the hand (not the wrist – are you taking note, James?) and started to tug her back towards the door, wrapping his free arm around her waist in some odd looking manoeuvre.
Dom blushed and grinned, her eyes twinkling in a way I had never seen before.
The Summer Lancaster Jealousy monster reared its ugly head, roaring up to the sky about the unfairness and crapness that was life, and why did Dom get to be so happy when I was miserable right now.
I wish Jack was here. He’d make me feel happier.
“Be careful what you wish for, Summer,” Mummy warned me, her warm blue eyes staring down at me. My father rolled his eyes behind her head, “Because sometimes, you won’t always want it when you get it.
I nodded my five year old head at her, taking in her words of wisdom, an impressionable child that pretended to care so they could get back to chasing the pigeons in the back garden.
“Daphne, please tell me you are not trying to teach life lessons to our five year old daughter,” Daddy snapped, rolling his eyes again. Mummy always said that they’d get stuck like that if the wind changed. Daddy used to hold one of his fingers up at her. I’m not really sure why. It wasn’t even the one with his nice gold ring on.
“I’m trying to teach our daughter to grow up to be a smart, balanced young woman,” Mother would reply hotly, her face glowing pink. Daddy would snort and walk away.
Be careful what you wish for, Summer.
“Summer! I thought you might be here!” Jack said over the tinkling of the entrance bell, his smile warm and sincere, his hair a little more styled than normal, his eyes sparkling at me and then dulling to coolly assess James’ frozen frame.
“What’s that fucker doing here?” James snarled, but I ignored him, watching Jack cross the room slightly clumsily, a goofy smile forming on his face as he got closer to me.
God, he’s adorable. He’s a like a big stuffed teddy bear.
He reached us quickly, wrapped his arms around my waist and planted a louder-than-necessary kiss on my lips, before pulling away and pressing a soft kiss on my forehead, nose, and each of my cheeks.
“What are you doing?” I muttered, cocking an eyebrow as his expression turned sheepish. As his eyes darted over to James, who was standing a little too far back, his arms folded and a scowl prominent on his face, my stomach dropped a little. He’s trying to piss off James. Well, Jack, why not just go the whole hog and pee on me?
That’s another way to claim your own territory.
Urgh. I will never understand the male species.
“I just wanted to see how your little day out with your... friend, was going,” Jack said brightly – too brightly – his grin that caused the dimples in his cheeks to pop out didn’t quite meet his eyes, which stayed cold and impassive and staring at James.
James stared back.
Do you think either of them would even notice if I suddenly just got swallowed up by the floor? If I didn’t know that both of them were as straight as an iron poker, then I’d rib the bejesus out of them for staring into each other’s eyes like that.
“Right, well... this is awkward,” I said flatly, flaunting my incredible ability to state the painfully obvious.
Jack jumped slightly, as if he was only just remembering the person that was folded in his arms, and James blinked a couple of times, staring at me for less than a second before he frowned and flitted his glance across to the window.
“Well, I suppose you should just carry on with whatever you were doing...” I said quietly to Jack, gesturing to the burly Quidditch buddies that he had abandoned in favour of a staring contest with Potter the Prick.
“Why? Do you want me to bugger off or something?” He glanced down at me, and the quick look into his face shocked me slightly. He looked hurt. I’d hurt his feelings by nicely trying to get him to leave me to fight with James in peace. Bloody typical. I don’t know why I bother trying to be a nice person sometimes. It’s so much easier to be a bitch, and people never expect you to be nice.
Lower their expectations of you, and they’re never disappointed. Jack needs some expectation-lowering, if you ask me. I’ll get on that.
“No, don’t be stupid,” I snapped, “I just don’t want your friends to miss you,” Summer Lancaster – bullshitting level 100.
“I’m sure my friends won’t mind if I spend the rest of the day with you two, there’s plenty of them,” Jack shrugged, and for some reason, I felt suffocated. It’s been twelve days. We have been dating for a grand total of twelve days – that’s not even two weeks. How can he expect to me to want to spend every waking minute with him?
Jack is amazing – he’s funny, charming, gentlemanly, charismatic, and he treats me like nobody ever has before. He was the person that I wanted to sit with, to be comforted by, after James and I stopped speaking. He’s the person that was always honest, always sincere, and never tried to force me to talk to him. He was the guy – the first guy in a very long time that I just found that I wanted to be with, whose company I just... enjoyed.
And that’s why I said yes to becoming his girlfriend. Jack was good to me. He treated me well and he made me laugh – and not that it’s anything to do with it, but the bloke is pretty easy on the eye, too – and there was just no reason not to. He didn’t suggest any crazy, pseudo relationship just because I had a history of not wanting to date guys. He just flat out asked – “Summer, would you be my girlfriend?”
No complication. No mess. Just Jack. And that was what I wanted, what worked, the one thing that actually made me feel normal again after the crap between James and I tipped everything on its head. But this – I feel boxed in. Standing there, in front of James, with a bloke I barely know refusing to give me two seconds to breathe – I just want out.
I want James. I want him to give me one of his reluctant hugs and tell me not to get emotional or he’ll toss me off the top of the astronomy tower.
“I think you should go back to your friends,” I said tightly, hoping he would get the message and just give me one bloody afternoon on my own.
He stiffened behind me, his arms dropping to his sides and a hurt expression slipping onto his face. He looked like a little wounded puppy dog. Regret instantly danced along the bottom of my gut.
“Right. I see how it is. Well, I guess I’ll just see you after your date,” Jack sneered the last word, and I just wanted to scream. Why does every guy have to act like that? I am perfectly capable of spending the day with another guy and not end up snogging him behind the dustbins behind Madam Puddifoots, “Bye, Summer. I’ll speak to you later – if you still want me to...” And with that, Jack walked away.
I swore under my breath.
“Well, thank Merlin that tosser has taken a hike. I was about three seconds away from decking him one,” James shrugged in what I’m sure he thought was a macho fashion. I cocked an eyebrow, unimpressed.
“Shut up, James,” I snapped, slamming my arse back down into my seat and pulling my empty glass towards me, “There was no need for all of that, and now Jack and I are going to be all weird as well.”
“As well as you and me,”
“We’re not weird...”
“So what, this is considered normal, this raging fighting and stony silence?”
“Well, it’s not my fault!”
“Oh just stop with the bloody blame game, James! You’re not entirely innocent in all of this shit, either!”
“Why the bloody hell are you even dating that toerag, Summer? He’s not the guy for you, and you know it. I know you better than anyone, and when he was... hugging you, just then, you looked like you wanted nothing more than to just scream at him to leave you alone. So why are you with him?”
“That’s none of your business,” I answered coldly.
James cocked an eyebrow and stood up again.
“Come on, we’re leaving. Another minute of sitting here saying nothing and I’ll probably go insane.” James said flatly, and after tossing some money down on the table – more than enough to pay for the drinks and leave a large tip, I should mention – he turned on the heel of his converse and headed across the packed pub.
I stumbled to my feet and followed him, feeling inexplicably nervous.
“Where are we going?”
“Where do we normally go on a Hogsmeade weekend?”
“The Shrieking Shack... but Connor isn’t with us.”
“So? Do we need him to be able to go and stare at some run-down house?”
“Well, no... But won’t it be a bit weird?”
“Just shut up and keep walking. It will only be weird if you make it so. So shut your fat gob.”
For once, I did as I was told.
We reached the edge of Hogsmeade, James remaining a few metres in front of me the entire time, his shoulders tense and his posture guarded, noticeable even through the thick padding of the winter jacket he charmed down to himself. His feet were banging against the cobbles as we made our way down the lane, making echoing noises as he stomped his way to the Shrieking Shack.
He stopped as we met the familiar fence – peeling red paint on a four foot fence, build a few years ago to try and stop students from running up to the Shack.
Clearly, it did not work.
James curled his fingers around the top of the fence and
looked ready to jump, to haul himself over the top like he normally did, when I reached out and grabbed his arm. He leapt away from me as though I’d given him an electric shock, his mouth dropping open.
“Sorry...” I said vaguely, surprised by his weirdness, “I was only going to ask if you could give me a leg up – you know I can’t get over on my own.”
James flushed a little, and reluctantly dropped down onto one knee. There was once a time, not so long ago, that I would have ribbed the life out of him for getting down in that position. But I bit back the humour, and focused on standing on his hand as lightly as possible, before ninja-rolling over the top of the fence.
I should so be an Auror.
I’m as agile as a jungle cat.
No –a jungle cat with an Olympic medal in gymnastics.
Fuck yeah, I’m that good.
James followed me a second later, landing more lightly on his feet than I had. Fine. I suppose he can be an auror too.
I grinned at James without thinking, breathing in the cold air and revelling in the familiarity that was walking to the Shrieking Shack with James, all kitted out in autumn clothes and filled with drinks from the Three Broomsticks. James returned the smile, and then we both seemed to realise what we were doing.
The smiles dropped from our faces faster than a Slytherin’s OWL scores.
I was just about to say something, anything, to try and smooth over the sticky moment – and no, now is not the time that anything I said would have most likely have made things worse – when another voice caught our attention. In fact, it was two voices, a boy and a girl, and both were raised and shrill.
“Just stay away from me, Malfoy! You’re wrong, I will find the guy who sent the roses to me! And I don’t bloody want you following me around all the time – do you not get it? You blew your bloody chance! Now you just need to accept the fact that I care about someone else!”
“Oh, you care about the bloke that sent the roses, Rose? Even though you don’t know who he is?” Scorpius yelled back, and I pulled James behind a conveniently placed tree so I could earwig better.
“I know what he’s like! He’s kind, considerate, funny, and generous – everything you’re not!” Rose screamed, stomping her feet a couple of times. I rolled my eyes. Teen diva, that one. That will be Mr Weasley’s doing.
“That’s funny, isn’t it? Because I’m the one that sent you them!” Scorpius yelled, his voice nearly shaking the few remaining leaves off the tree we were standing behind. I glanced at James in alarm. He was watching the scene with the most adorable look of dumbfoundedness (is that even a word) on his face.
“No, you’re not,” Rose said hollowly, shaking her head and backing a few feet away from Scorpius.
“Yes, I am,” Scorpius said calmly, taking a few steps forward.
“You don’t know anything about me!” Rose accused, and Scorpius actually rolled his eyes. I’m sorry, but she is being ridiculous. I don’t blame the bloke. Speaking from a non-biased point of view, Scorpius is hot. Rose should be pleased with that.
Beggars can’t be choosers, Rosie.
“I know plenty about you. I know your favourite colour is black, but you won’t wear black clothes. I know that you grow strawberries in the summer, but you won’t eat them because they taste awful – but your dad thinks you love your home-grown strawberries, because you never had the heart to tell him you hated them. I know how much you love William Shakespeare, even though he was a muggle playwright. I also know how idiotically stubborn you can be, how frustrating – I know a lot more about you than you think, Rose.”
“How did you know I like Shakespeare?” Rose asked quietly. “I’ve never told anyone.”
“You were reading it in the library one day,” Scorpius shrugged, “and so I asked the librarian who he was. What’s in a name?That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I blinked as Scorpius recited something, something I had never heard before.
“So are you saying that I would be as sweet if I wasn’t a Weasley? Do you have a problem with my family, Malfoy?”
“Oh, stop with the Malfoy, Rose! No, I don’t have a problem with your family – Summer is best friends with three of your cousins, for freak’s sakes. My name is Scorpius – Merlin, even my father isn’t as blinded by surnames as you. You – you are the most goddamn frustrating woman I know, do you know that?”
Rose gaped at him.
So did I.
So did James.
“I – I can’t be dealing with this anymore. You’re just... You know, you claim to have been in love with me – you’ve got a shitting funny way of showing it.” And with that, Scorpius turned on his heel and stalked off.
Rose half ran, half jogged in the opposite direction a moment later.
A few minutes later, James and I stopped blinking gormlessly at the spot they had abandoned and instead stepped out from behind the tree and headed towards the Shrieking Shack, enveloped in a bubble of our own awkwardness.
It was almost hard to believe that we had ever been so comfortable with each other.
Could one kiss really change all of that? It must be something more.
As we got closer to the Shack, I felt a familiar pull of nervousness in the pit of my stomach – even though I knew there was nothing there, that it was never possessed, I still felt nervous. Just something about the trashed door, the smashed windows, the ripped up floorboards, knowing it was the place that a headmaster of Hogwarts had died in... I didn’t like it at all.
“Remember, you don’t need to be scared. There’s nothing there. You’ll be fine once we get in.” James murmured, evidentially remembering my irrational fear from the many times we had been here previously.
Strange thing was, I had never told him how much it freaked me out. He just worked it out, somehow.
Despite his comfort, I still slowed slightly as we reached the entrance, my eyes taking in the scratch marks along the doorframe, the gash missing out of the wall, debris in piles around the stone steps.
James glanced at me for a moment, his cold eyes softening a little, and held out his hand. I blinked at it like a gorm. Then I blinked up at his face. Then back down at his hand. I am so made of win.
“You’re supposed to take my hand, because you’re scared and your slowness is getting on my pissing nerves,” James snapped, and I jumped slightly, but slowly slid my hand into his. I could count on the fingers of one hand the amount of times we had held hands. James has held my wrist when he was pulling me somewhere, sure, but we didn’t hold hands very often. People might talk, and that was the last thing we wanted.
So James’ hand, warm and slightly sweaty with nerves, clutching mine as he tugged me further into the house of death, was actually more a comfort than he thought it would be.
“Stop shaking, there’s bloody nothing here.” James snapped, and I flushed.
“Why are you so angry with me?” I asked suddenly, and the expression on his face dropped from impassive to shocked in less than a second.
“You know why I’m angry with you,” James said slowly, “I think it’s pretty obvious.”
“Yeah, I know why you’re angry with me – and you know why I’m angry with you – but I don’t understand why you’re this angry.”
“Well, it’s really none of your business.”
“Well, since it involves me, I think it is my business.”
“Well, you’re wrong.”
“Well, I’m not.”
“Oh, just shut up. We’re nearly at the right room, we can argue about it later.” James snapped again, and I glared at the side of his ear. James has attractive ears. Not too big and batty, like our house elf, Minty, but not so small that he looked effeminate. Just nice ears. And quite tan. Can ears even be tan? Because James’ are.
My ears will be really pale. My whole face is pale. I’m like a walking milk bottle. My mum says it looks like someone has coloured me in with a white crayon, unless I smother myself in nasty smelling fake tan.
Seriously, we’re wizards. Can’t we make a fake tan that doesn’t smell like sweaty feet? Urgh.
James shifted next to me, and I glanced up in time to see him pulling his wand out of his back pocket, and holding it up in front of his face with the hand that was not still clutching mine.
“Lumos,” he muttered, a crease between his eyebrows.
Light glowed from the end of his wand, illuminating the dark hallway and casting strange shadows on the floor. You know, this place seems a lot less creepy when there are three of you. When there are two of you, and that person you’re with currently is pissed as hell at you, it’s not quite as fun.
“We’re here,” James murmured, pushing me into the room and slipping in behind me.
It was as small as I remembered, the windows smashed and a tattered couch covered in about three inches of grey dust was shoved into the corner, often used as a springboard out of the window when we were younger and therefore much smaller.
I smiled at it fondly, and noticed James was doing the same.
The remains of a rug were ruckled up by a traditional fireplace with half of the bricks missing, some coal spilling out of the fire and onto the chipped brown floorboards. A cold breeze was drifting in through the hole in the window, and I shivered.
The room always was freezing.
Connor and James always refused to charm the fire to work, in case we attracted some unwanted attention or accidently set fire to the place.
“Right, well, to the roof,” James smirked, dropping my hand and heading over to the window, which he steadily climbed out of, avoiding the sharp glass that was sticking out of the window panes. Now I think about it, this whole thing is quite dangerous.
Climb out of a smashed window in the most haunted house in Britain, and then proceed to have a race – without magic – by scaling the side of said house to see who can reach the roof first. The roof that looks like it could cave in at any minute.
It always seems funny when you’re with two of your best friends and it’s all just one big laugh.
Now? Not so much.
See what you’ve done, James? You’ve made me a stick in the mud.
“Oi, Lancaster, get your cowardly arse out here,” James yelled, and I could tell he was joking. The thought made the corners of my mouth twitch. I headed over to the window and gingerly climbed through, balancing by putting all my weight on the foot that was balancing on the outside edge of the window ledge.
James was standing on the protruding roof about two metres below the window, waiting for me to get down so we could start the race.
The sun was sinking ever so slightly in the sky, and at the angle I was at, it looked like it was directly behind James’ head, illuminating his entire body in yellow sunlight. I blinked a couple of times, startled, and in my shock, lost my footing and fell off the window ledge.
“Fuck, Summer!” James yelled, leaping forwards and pulling me towards his chest before I hit the ground.
I was only two metres up, so I’m sure I wouldn’t have been hurt, but fuck, was it scary. My weight in mid air proved too much for James, however, who staggered backwards, whacked his bum on the thin metal railing around the edge of the mini roof and collapsed at the knees. I snorted as James blinked a couple of times and groaned.
“I think I just broke my bum,” he informed me sadly, “It’s going to be all swollen tomorrow.”
Trying very hard to get the image of James’ bum out of my head, I started to giggle. Yes. Giggle. I, Summer Lancaster, world renowned Giggle Hater, was sitting there, giggling. James’ bemused expression at my sudden giggling fit tipped me over the edge, and before I knew what was going on, I was leaning back down onto his chest and just shaking with laughter.
James chuckled slightly in bemusement, and before I had worked out what was happening, we were both shaking with laughter, James lying flat on the ground and me curled up on his chest, tears leaking out of both of our eyes as we just laughed for no reason.
“I’ve missed you so much, Summer,” James said suddenly, his chest still heaving slightly from laughing, but is expression suddenly much more serious.
My giggles stopped at once. My breathing hurt. Have his eyes always been that colour? My legs felt tingly. My head hurt. What was I supposed to say to that? I’ve missed him too? Well, I have. Of course I have. I’ve missed him more than I believed was possible. But... oh, I don’t know. There’s a reason I don’t do much emotion, I’m not cut out for it.
“I...” I stammered, and James’ face fell, “I... I’ve...”
James sat up rather brusquely, pushing me off his chest and onto his knee, before clambering to his feet and pulling me up with him.
“We should just race,” James said suddenly, heading over to the only adjoining wall, his face flushed red and his expression nothing short of mortified. I wanted to say something, but it was like my tongue had fallen out of head.
“Okay,” I managed eventually, and I took my place next to him.
“Three, two, one, go.” James murmured, and a second later I was hauling myself up the wall using the window ledge, my feet sliding on stone panels and my hair flying into my mouth. But unlike previous times, I didn’t want to win. I just didn’t care.
“So... I won,” James said eventually, both of us perched on the top of the roof, at least three metres apart, James with his arms crossed and his legs stretched out in front of him, and me with my knees tucked up to my chest and my hair spilling onto my knees.
“Yeah. Congratulations.” I said dully, watching the path that led to Hogwarts, which was just a little distance away. People were heading back to the castle now, the cold autumn air getting to them.
“Hey, is that Fred and Penny?” James asked suddenly, and I blinked at where he was pointing. And sure enough, it was Fred and Penny, heading up to the castle. He had an arm wrapped around her, the headless bikini picture on his t-shirt visible from even here.
“Yeah, it is,” I said softly, feeling the odd urge to smile fondly.
Fred stopped suddenly, and pulled Penny’s face up with the tips of his fingers. As he leant down to kiss her, I looked away. It felt too private, and just because I was sitting on a roof for no apparent reason, didn’t mean I could spy on their first proper kiss.
But a contrast to the softness of Fred and Penny was another pair of angered voices arguing, stomping along the shortcut to the castle that ran right next to the Shrieking Shack. For a moment, I thought Rose and Scorpius were back. But no. Worse. It was Dom and Connor. And they were... arguing?
“You never tell me anything, Connor! You’ll tell whatever you want to bloody Summer, I’ve seen the private conversations you two keep having! What do you need to talk to James and her about that you can’t talk to me about, anyway?” Dom shrieked, and I winced.
“Nothing! I’m not keeping bloody secrets from you, why are you so bloody suspicious? Don’t you trust me?”
“I just don’t understand why you won’t tell me what you said to them in the pub, and why you wouldn’t let me sit with you while you talked!”
“It was nothing, Dom – just drop it!”
“If it’s nothing then tell me!” Dom was losing her rag, stomping her feet and bashing her blonde hair angrily out of her face. I winced again. Connor wouldn’t out us, would he? He is pissed that the two of us can’t get along at the moment.
“No,” Connor said quietly, and I felt my heart warming slightly for him – Dom evidentially did not feel the same.
“Fine! Don’t tell me! But bloody stay away from me, Connor Dale.”
And with that, Dom turned around and stalked away. My jaw was getting a nice massage from the floor. James looked like he’d been whacked with a Beater’s bat. Connor looked like he’d been punched in the stomach.
After a second, he recovered himself and slowly started to make his way back up to the castle. My mouth was still hanging open slightly.
“We should get down,” James said eventually in the silence, interrupting my mental tirade about how shit this day had been. Rose and Scorpius aren’t speaking, Dom and Connor aren’t speaking, James and I are as messed up as ever... at least Fred and Penny seem happy.
We climbed back to the ground, a lot more haphazardly than usual with my mind being so fried, but I felt a lull of relief the moment my feet touched solid ground. That is, until I heard the one thing that would make this awful day just a little bit worse.
“I love you, you know that,” Albus’ voice came from behind me, and Natalie’s answering giggle made my stomach roll. James froze, looking like he’d been struck dumb. I held my breath, but didn’t turn around. I didn’t want them to see me.
“As I love you, baby,” Natalie answered, and I nearly gagged. Baby? Ew.
“C’mere, give us a snog,” Albus chuckled, and that was when I finally turned around. James didn’t deserve this. This wasn’t right.
Pulling my shoe off my foot, I whipped around and quickly tossed it straight at Albus, who had just stepped around the side of the Shrieking Shack and had noticed me. It hit him straight in the forehead, and in his shock, he jumped away from Natalie.
“What are you doing here?” Natalie said coldly, her mouth dropping open. She looks like a child. She acts like a child. I really don’t think there are many people I hate as much as her. She’s just... awful. “Are you trying to steal my boyfriend again, you little whore?”
James whipped around, his wand clutched in his hand at his side, but I ignored him. In fact, I laughed. An honest laugh. She was just... There must be something wrong with her. Albus and Natalie both blinked at me.
“You’re calling me a whore?” I said breathlessly, my derisive laughter subsiding slightly. Natalie flushed, and I felt a dull thump of satisfaction.
“Summer,” Albus started, but I held up a finger to silence him. I was angry, suddenly. I’ve always had a temper, I knew that, but suddenly I was just so goddamn angry. Why did they get to be happy when James and I were so miserable? They didn’t deserve it! I had gone from annoyed to furious in less than a second, and that scared me – but I was just so angry.
“Do not speak to me, Albus. I really hate you two, you know – you both... you both just ruined everything.” Feeling tears pool up in my eyes, I quickly turned on my heel and hurried away from the three of them, looking sexy in one shoe, back up to the castle where I would be sure to have another argument with Jack, and have to deal with the fallout from the ConDom disaster.
Yep. Shittiest day ever.
disclaimer: i don't own anything in this chapter ~ the quote that scorpius says is the work of william shakespeare, who does not belong to me... it belongs to william shakespeare. anyway. none of it is mine.
hello, loves! first of all ~ i am so so so so so so so so so sorry about how long this chapter took to get out! i know, i'm awful. but seriously. i have exams in two weeks, and so i've been revising like mad woman's knitting, and just look at the size of this thing. twenty five pages it was, when it was typed. in size 11. so sorry it took so long! but another huge thank you for the amazing reviews on the last chapter, and sorry if it took me a while to answer.
so yeah. poor james and summer, still fighting. and jack is annoyed with summer. and dom is angry with connor for keeping their secret. so connor is sad. and rose and scorpius aren't speaking. and on top of all that... albus and natalie are happy. sad face.
but hey, i'd love to know what you thought, and i promise the next chapter will be faster.