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Keep Calm and Carry On by my_voice_rising
Chapter 3 : The Proposition
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 22


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CHAPTER THREE


“I have got to get the hell away from that place,” I say to Lisa as I pour the tattooed wizard his stout. It’s been a week since Mr. Ward gave me the golden opportunity to oversee refreshments at the WNAG--and I’ve done my best to avoid him since. I’m sure he hasn’t noticed one bit.

Tonight I have already left the Witch Weekly office to take on my shift at The Poisoned Apple. I’m exhausted but it’s only 7:00 and the real action won’t begin for another two hours. Lisa has decided to drop by after her shift at St. Mungo’s, Merlin bless her. She’s even more knackered than me after pulling another all-night shift. I can see her fighting to stay awake, but she’s too polite to tell me she’d rather be cuddling with Justin in her underwear than listening to my problems. I suppose it’s just desserts for all the wedding-talk I’ve been subject to as of late.

I sit the stout down before the tattooed wizard. He’s pretty fit, in my opinion, but then again I have a thing for older men. “Three Sickles,” I smile, leaning unnecessarily over the bar. But he isn’t listening. He is, of course, staring down the way at Lisa.

I shut my eyes. Honestly, at this point it pains me to watch.

Even in her state of exhaustion Lisa looks like a supermodel--her skin is pale from lack of sleep, but it only makes you wonder if she’s been out all night taking body-shots off the Weird Sisters. (Personally I can think of nothing more fabulous.) It’s not even fair! I took a long damn time getting ready tonight. Brown leather boots, bright purple tights and a vintage yellow dress--not bad. Meanwhile Lisa had thrown on some jeans and an inside-out cardigan that she was too exhausted to notice. Suddenly I want to meanly point it out, and have to remind myself that she would never be so bitter with me.

Which makes her even more perfect.

When the two of us are together I might as well be a guy for all the male attention I receive. Perhaps that explains why I’m so fond of Dean and Seamus lately. It kind-of counts as attention from boys, right? I recall our last bro-night watching Quidditch on my two-way mirror, when Seamus literally tried to suffocate me with a pillow for cheering on the Kestrels’ opponents. Meanwhile Dean just laughed and refused to help as he ate my entire stock of Licorice Wands.

Okay, so their attention does not count at all.

Lisa and I went out last weekend, and I was beyond keen to be spending time with her. That is, until the moment we arrived and I remembered that walking into a bar with Lisa is like walking into a flock of Hippogriffs with a particularly scrumptious-looking, dead weasel. All night I was stuck blathering away to the barkeep while man after man wedged himself between Lisa and I to talk to her. Finally I charmed her engagement ring so that it glittered blindingly, even in the dim light, and that seemed to slow them down (though admittedly not all of them.) Of course Lisa didn’t mind my trick, in fact I could tell that she felt sorry for me. Her pity inspired my sixth gin and tonic, and also my decision to use my wand as a voice-amplifier to tell a girl across the bar that her left breast had popped out of her shirt. From what I can remember, we left pretty quickly after that--me with smudged lipstick and Lisa with the names of two guys she was too polite to turn down.

I’d like to think that I’m a good-looking girl. At least when I’m not within a three-mile radius of Lisa. I have clear skin, strong cheekbones and wide brown eyes. I’m curvy too, which men are supposed to like now--or maybe they’re back to liking Fleur-Delacour-thin? I can’t keep up. And I know that I’m not being modest when I say that I have damn good hair. But let’s face it: blondes will always win out over we redheads.

“Three Sickles!” I now snap at the tattooed wizard, who jumps out of his Lisa-reverie. He passes the coins over and chuckles as if to say, Can you blame me? I notice he hasn’t left a tip and roll my eyes in response before stalking back down to Lisa. She is too exhausted to have noticed anything that just happened.

“You aren’t letting on to Dean, are you?” she asks, stirring her coffee. I don’t know how she drinks that rubbish--The Poisoned Apple has some of the worst coffee on the planet. But I suppose when your nights are spent collecting bedpans and reading charts you’ll do anything to stay awake. She waves her hand in front of my eyes because clearly I am not paying attention. “About how much you dislike Witch Weekly? You really owe him,” she says. “He doesn’t know how ungrateful you are, does he?”

I shift uncomfortably and Lisa clicks her tongue in disappointment. “Edie,” she admonishes.

I throw my hands up. “Well, you can’t expect me to control every word that comes out of my mouth when we’re drinking! I can barely do that when I’m sober.”

“Right, but it’s Dean,” she says meaningfully.

“I know, he’s my best mate.” I mindlessly twirl a bottle-opener on my finger. Lisa fixes me with a serious gaze and I add quickly, “Other than you!”

She sighs. “That’s not what I was saying.”

My eyebrow quirks but I don’t have much time to ponder her words. All of the sudden the bar door is thrown open and a herd of people stumbles in. Frowning, I check my watch. 7:30. Not anywhere near the usual time for rowdy drunks. Yet here they are, three witches with looks of equal calibre to Lisa’s and two even more attractive wizards. They all look to be a few years older than I and are clearly plastered. I can tell by picking up on subtle hints, such as the way that one guy immediately raises his arms over his head and releases a war-cry that silences the bar.

The women are wearing short glittery dresses despite the chilly September night. The men are both in tailored blazers and jeans that look like they cost a month’s rent for my flat. An involuntary sound of disgust escapes me because I know the type: posh socialites from Chelsea who somehow stumbled into this pub and don’t know a good beer from a broomstick. I’ll be making ridiculously complicated cocktails all night.

Lisa is trying to suppress her smirk as she downs the last sip of her coffee. “And on that note,” she says, rising and collecting her purse.

“Right. Well, it looks like we’ll both be getting fucked tonight,” I say crudely, “though I don’t reckon this lot will buy me breakfast.”

Lisa just laughs and waves her fingers in a farewell before heading out the door. Every male’s eyes are trained on her and she has no idea. Their gazes then switch to the three beautiful witches who are stumbling up to the bar in their pumps. I hear them trying to remember the name of “that one cocktail they had in Edinburgh. It had some kind of juice in it. Or something.”

Life is just not fair.

***


It turns out that these people are essentially harmless. The women at least are friendly. I cannot fathom being so vapid but maybe that’s why I’m not as visually stunning, I think, noticing their perfectly toned legs and arms. The only exercise I get is sprinting back and forth behind the bar all day like a terrier. Yet here are three Venuses sitting with their Adonis counterparts as if normal people actually look like that. I run a hand through my suddenly second-rate hair and tell myself that they probably take some kind of beauty potion.

“Excuse me.” The tallest of the two men is leaning over the counter to me.

I find myself momentarily immobilized. Not only does he look insanely familiar, but he is absolutely one hundred percent beautiful. He’s taller even than Dean, who easily has a head over me. His dark hair is carelessly tousled and I feel my evolutionary need to procreate tingling when I see the a beard growing on his angular face. I wish I could say something poetic about his eyes, but they are bloodshot and incapable of focusing on me. When he orders a drink his accent sounds Eastern European though his cohorts are too loud to hear him clearly. After everything he says they erupt into laughter.

He becomes less and less beautiful to me, though, as the night progresses. I begin to lose track of every cocktail he and his friends have me make. They want champagne with gin and huckleberry vodka with muddled grapefruit salt on the rim bitters over a sugar cube shaken not stirred and on and on and on--until by the end of it, I’m ashamed to say, I’m pouring juice with sparkling water. They’re too drunk to notice and I’m not even charging them any more. But they have become entirely too much to deal with.

Yes, the women are virtually harmless. One of them, a girl with dark hair and startlingly green eyes, also looks familiar though I can’t quite place it. The two men however are making complete arses of themselves. After the third mentioning that they’ve been drinking since 4:00 in the afternoon, my patience is running thin. It becomes even more difficult to tolerate them when I have to coax the Eastern European one down from their table, where he began belting a horribly loud and off-key rendition of I Will Always Love You.

All night I’ve managed to tolerate their banter, though they sound like they’re screaming across a gorge at one another rather than sitting at the same table. So far I’m just seriously irked. However, the scale tips in favour of “completely furious” when I run to the ladies’ loo, in one of the spare seconds they give me from making drinks or playing babysitter, only to find the Eastern European man in there. Wearing his sunglasses. Pissing on the wall.

“Oh my GOD!”

Believe it or not, part of my job is dealing with many a drunk person. It’s a common occupational hazard. But this certainly takes the Snitch.

The man turns around and looks at me in horror. Yet he doesn’t seem to think he should stop urinating everywhere. I focus all of my energy into looking him in the eye--or lopsided sunglasses, really--as he says with bewilderment, “I think you’re in the wrong loo!”

It takes a moment before the murderous red stops clouding my vision and I come to my senses. I jab my finger at the door and scream, “OUT!”

It takes him a moment to realize that he, in fact, has gotten it all wrong. When he finally does he mumbles something incoherent and stumbles out, leaving me with a huge mess to clean. Not only has he pissed everywhere, but he managed to overflow the sink and topple the bin in the process. In which he apparently had vommed beforehand. Excellent! Thank Merlin for magic, as it makes the task quick, though no less revolting. Go ahead and add that to the list of things I never want to experience ever again. I don’t see how Lisa does this at the hospital on a regular basis.

As soon as the loo is clean(-ish) I furiously throw open the door, shoulders heaving. The piss-vandal has apparently not mentioned his recent adventure to his friends, as none of them seem to be acting out of the ordinary. Ignoring the tattooed wizard’s request for a fifth pint, I storm across the bar and grab the Phantom of the Loo by his expensive shirt.

“Whoa!” shouts his mate suggestively with a wide smile.

I open my mouth to scream I-don’t-know-what, but before I even know what’s happening this arsehole grabs my waist and plants his mouth on mine. It is easily the sloppiest kiss--if you could even call it that--I have ever experienced.

The whole interaction has lasted less than five seconds, because I immediately put my hands on his shoulders and shove as hard as I can. He stumbles back and two of the girls catch him, their mouths hanging open in shock.

I hastily wipe my mouth with my wrist and shout, “I DIDN’T COME OVER HERE TO KISS YOU, I CAME TO KICK YOU OUT OF MY PUB!”

He raises his hands questioningly. “Vhat for?” And they all erupt into howls of laughter.

Idiots. All of them.

Before I can open my mouth the other guy throws his arm over his shoulder. “Do you know who this is?” he gestures to him. Or tries to. I don’t think he has much to offer in the way of motor skills at this point. “This is bloody Viktor Krum!”

The whole bar was watching the incident and has now gone silent. I have to admit that even I am taken aback. It does make sense--his build, the accent, how wealthy they all are, why he looked so familiar in the first place. Even though I believe them, I don’t want to give the satisfaction of my shock.

I am prepared to screech something along the lines of “I don’t care who the bloody hell you are” but at that exact moment, another man in a neighboring group throws his fist into the air and shouts, “YEAH, BULGARIA!”

Then Viktor Krum turns around and punches him in the face.

“WHAT the FUCK!” I scream, completely beside myself. The man topples easily and his friends dive to his rescue, tackling Krum to the floor. Though they are outnumbered and entirely too intoxicated, Krum and his friend still try to put up a fight. The green-eyed girl of the group is in the thick of it, while the other two have resorted to screaming and fluttering their hands. It’s moments like this when I wonder why nobody is ever smart enough to use magic at pub fights.

Stupefy!”

My spell manages to hit all but one of the fighters, though he thinks better of it and quickly backs off. The brawlers are frozen in mid-punch, looking like a reenactment of Picasso’s Guernica. The girls give one final shriek before quieting themselves.

“Aaaand that’s last call,” I say flatly. “Everybody get the bloody hell out, I’m done.”

I perform the counterspell, ignoring the complaints omitting from everyone as soon as they are mobile again. The girls are doing their best to pull their friends to their feet, but the combination of high heels and cocktails has made them as wobbly as newborn foals. Before Krum has even made it to a standing position I’ve waved away the blinking OPEN sign with my wand and retreated behind the bar. I can’t stand the sight of them.

“But I never got my stout!” The tattooed wizard gives a pretty impressive whine considering his bulk.

Unable to even look at him, I raise a flat hand. “Mate, I just cleaned up somebody’s piss and vomit, and was then kissed by that same mouth. Trust me, if anyone needs a beer, it’s me.”

I suppose he decides he can’t argue with that, because when I turn around several moments later he is gone. And he hasn’t left any tip. This is really shaping up to be the perfect night.

One by one, Viktor Krum’s friends come up to settle their bills. It’s a slow-going process but I am grateful to not have to deal with them in a group. The girls continue to apologise profusely and I think they genuinely mean well, though honestly I just want them to shut up. Krum’s mate doesn’t speak to me at all when he settles his tab, which I’m not too heartbroken about. I slam his change down on the bar and in response he scoops it all up, not leaving a tip either. Twat.

I have to turn around and perform several breathing exercises that Lisa taught me. Before she became a Mediwitch, she was a yoga instructor--I know, could she be any more desirable?--and often forced me to join her classes. She said it would help my stress. What Lisa didn’t quite understand was that my stress was partially due to the fact that she was getting paid to be fit while I was cleaning loos in a seedy Diagon Alley hotel.

I am almost in my happy place--Dean, Seamus and I frolicking through a field towards a giant pint of ale at the end of a rainbow--when I hear a quiet, “‘Scuse me.”

I open my eyes and find Viktor Krum leaning on the bar. His expensive blazer has been ripped at the shoulder and his left eye is already swelling shut. Clumsily he takes a seat in one of the stools. “Really sorry,” he manages. He gestures pathetically towards his mouth and I assume he means sorry for the kiss.

I respond tersely, “Nine Galleons, two Sickles, seventeen Knuts.”

Whereas I would be horrified for racking up such a bar tab by myself, Krum merely sets to fishing around in his trouser pockets. I suppose things like this are common to a wealthy Quidditch star. Though I turn away to begin washing dirty glasses, the wall behind the bar is comprised of mirrors and I can see his reflection clearly. It takes him forever to finally count out the proper coinage, which he sets down on the bar. I can feel his eyes on my back as he waits quietly.

I turn, expecting to count out change, but he just slides the pile of coins closer. “Keep the rest,” he slurs. I nod slightly, not making eye contact. “I really am sorry,” he says again as he stumbles to his feet. A sarcastic salute is all he receives in return. I’m still refusing to look at him and eventually he makes his way back to the others. When I can see that he is no longer paying attention my curiosity gets the best of me and I count the pile of money.

To my surprise he’s left me a three-Galleon tip.

Maybe I should do this more often, I think, counting the coins again, this time in terms of how many stress-beers they will buy. No doubt Seamus and Dean are already way ahead of me. There’s a Haileybury Hammers match tonight and they’ve long been at my flat watching the two-way mirror. (I gave them the password charmed to open the door--not sure yet if this is a good or bad idea.) No doubt they’re already yelling at the screen and decimating my meagre supply of food.

Finally everyone is out the door. Krum offers me a pathetic wave as he stumbles out, which I ignore. When the door closes I release the enormous breath that I’d apparently been holding in. I lean back on the bar, folding my arms and revelling in the silence. When I flick my wand at the jukebox, Talking Heads--one of my favorites--start playing an upbeat little song. Then, thinking more like myself, I subtract four Sickles from my tip jar and pour myself a Firewhiskey and sparkling water on the rocks.

It’s not until an hour later, as I am standing in the chilly night and locking the door, that I realise it. Viktor Krum’s Bulgarian accent had completely disappeared when he came to apologise to me.

In fact, he had almost sounded Scottish.

“Edie.”

“FATHER CHRISTMAS!” The first exclamation I think of flies from my lips. I drop my too-full keychain and it lands painfully on my toe. Hopping on one foot while massaging the other, I rotate slowly and am surprised to come face-to-face with Rose Zeller. Her hands are stuffed into the pockets of a bright red pea coat, her eyebrow quirked in disbelief.

That’s how you respond to somebody sneaking up on you?”

Ignoring her jibe, I release my throbbing foot and straighten myself. “What are you doing here?” I wince.

“Well I came to find you.” She shifts uncertainly. “Did you close the pub early? It’s only midnight.”

“Really long story,” I sigh, waving her off. I’m trying not to focus on the fact that my only kiss in months was from a guy who had just thrown up in a ladies’ room. My brow furrows, “Wait, so why did you come to find me?”

Rose scoffs. “Could you be any more suspicious?”

“Well, I just never really saw us as, you know.” Friends.

The word hangs in the air and I regret my comment. After a very painful moment or two Rose presses on. “I have a favour to ask.”

Oh no.

“Well,” I start walking before I even finish my sentence, “let’s not just stand here in the cold. Do you fancy a pint?” If I was going to listen to her beg for my help in getting into Theo’s pants again, I was at least going to get a good beer out of it.

Rose catches up with me, the heels of her expensive boots click-clacking down the cobblestones. “I would really like a Cosmopolitan, actually,” she murmurs to herself.

Several minutes later we arrive at Le Chat Noir and shuffle inside to the warmth of firelight. It’s not a place that I typically haunt, but I saw the look on Rose’s face as I had started veering off to my first choice. Maybe it was the one-eyed wizard that was hunched outside, hacking up a lung and asking for money, that threw her. From the corner of my eye I glimpse Rose casting approving looks at Le Chat Noir’s hip decor, and hope that this is all over quickly. I have a Quidditch match to watch. My reaction is to head to the bar, but Rose is already making her way to one of the small polished black tables in the corner.

The barmaid has short bleached hair and a septum piercing, and takes our orders with indifference. Rose sits broomstick-straight in her chair and orders a cosmopolitan, nitpicking about the ratio of every ingredient. Kicked back with arms crossed I order a Peverell Porter, a heavy beer with a high alcohol content. I get the impression that the barmaid thinks Rose and I are a couple.

“So,” I say immediately after she disappears. Time is of the essence: there’s no telling how much of the beer Dean and Seamus have already drunk. “A favour, eh?”

Rose reaches into her purse and pulls out a heavy blue folder brimming with parchments. She must have charmed it to fit inside the bag, because it slams onto the table with considerable weight. I laugh. “Please tell me you’re not keeping files on Theo now.”

She glowers at me. “This isn’t about Theo.”

“Oh?”

“This is about the Quidditch article I don’t want to write.”

Oh.” I sit up straight, folding my hands together eagerly. Is this what I think it is? I’m trying not to get my hopes up. After all, Mr. Ward crushed them (and then some) the last time I did. But Rose is smiling knowingly and I’m getting a faint tingling in my stomach.

“I thought that would interest you,” she flips open the folder. Reminding myself to stay calm, I lean back in my chair as the barmaid arrives with our drinks. Rose studies her cosmopolitan, slowly takes a sip, smacks her lips thoughtfully, and--will you go on, woman?!

At last she says, “I talked to Ward about giving you the article instead.”

My hand shoots across the table, almost knocking over my beer, and grabs her wrist. “You didn’t!” The barmaid eyes my hand from across the room and I immediately let go.

“Don’t get your hopes up,” Rose takes another sip of her cosmopolitan, not meeting my eyes. “He said no.”

“What!” I shout. Several heads turn but I take no notice. “Why? Honestly, has Ward ever even read my portfolio? I have some very impressive work from Hog--”

“Edie,” Rose says impatiently. “I’m still asking for your help. Or rather, suggesting that we help each other.”

I don’t like her tone, or the glint in her eye. Bartering with journalists is something I’ve always been wary of. It’s kind of one of the unspoken rules of of the game. It’s something you glean from black and white Muggle films where men in jaunty hats get themselves into sticky situations by making deals with the press. (Or at least you do, if you grew up with a Muggle for a stepfather.) And Rose keeps throwing me off the trail of what exactly is happening.... Something about this is dodgy.

I decide to try and be casual and take a long sip of my beer. There’s no point in giving her any more leverage over me. She is eyeing me impatiently but I only give the slightest shrug of my shoulders, “Go on.”

I can practically see Seamus high-fiving me and shouting approvingly, “Nailed it!”

Rose shrugs. “Well, obviously Ward wants it to be written by an actual, seasoned journalist”--my hand clenches around the pint glass--“but honestly I just don’t have the time.” She puts a hand up although I haven’t said anything. “I know, I know, this is not how journalism is run. If you’re given an assignment, you keep it, you see that it gets done, especially when Tallulah Blakeslee gives it to you personally. Blah, blah, blah.”

She’s passing up a story handed to her by the editor in chief? “How in the world did you get a job over me?” I murmur breathlessly.

Rose doesn’t hear. “I suppose it’s my fault for not budgeting my time. But that’s beside the point. The point is that I’m too busy to write this assignment, but it needs to be done, and Ward needs to think that I’m the one who did it.” Slowly Rose slides the folder across the table.

It clicks.

“You want me to write it under your name.” My intention is to say this flatly, as if it’s a daft idea, but I can’t. Of course it’s unethical. Of course my hard work would be going unnoticed, again. And this is very unlike Rose, to a suspicious degree. She’s always been very responsible and punctual with her assignments, sometimes writing upwards of five per issue. Something’s up. If I ever actually remembered to carry around the Sneakoscope I once spent a fortune on, it would probably be whistling like mad right now.

At the same time, this is undoubtedly the best opportunity to present itself in the three months that I’ve been at Witch Weekly. A chance to conduct a serious interview. It would mean real-life experience writing for an actual magazine--my heart stops.

I would be a published journalist.

Apparently my expression betrays my shock because Rose cracks a grin. “See what I’m getting at here, Lennox?”

I’m beginning to feel trapped, even though technically I’m the one doing Rose a favour. It occurs to me that she knew exactly what she was doing all along. Cleverer than I thought, this one.

I take a long drink from my pint, eyes never leaving the blue folder. There has to be a catch somewhere, something that can blow up in our faces. In fact there are probably hundreds of catches. But my excitement and the glass of Firewhiskey from earlier are keeping me from seeing them.

I can’t help the stupid grin that takes over my face when I say, “All right. I’ll do it.”

Rose lets out a squeal; apparently we’ve both given up on being cautious. “Oh, thank you Edie, thank you thank you thank you!” She drops her head back theatrically and sighs. “This is such a relief.”

Despite my attempts to stay calm, the folder is already open and I’m eagerly flipping through the parchments. They’re mostly clippings, though there are a few handwritten notes. I have to stop myself from laughing when I come across a diagram Rose has made in an attempt to understand Quidditch. Next to the word “Snitch” she has drawn an arrow pointing to “Throw it?”

Rose is pulling out a tube of lipstick for a touchup. “So the article is a feature piece on a player for Puddleme--”

“PUDDLEMERE.” I have slammed my glass down mid-sip, beer sloshing onto my hand. “PUDDLEMERE UNITED.” Rose is staring blankly so I say, “Let me explain.”

I launch into my prepared story, about how they are one of my top-three Quidditch teams. I even have a pair of knickers that reads Chuck that Quaffle Here, a line from their team anthem, across the bum. In the most abridged history lesson I can offer for Rose’s sake, I explain that Puddlemere made it to last year’s European Cup. The game lasted an agonizing seven hours, but I held fast through it all, glued to my two-way mirror. We would have won, had it not been for Seeker Amelia Jones pulling a Wronski Feint--why, why would you do that, Jones?--and crashing into the ground, almost breaking her neck. As soon as she was down, the Seeker from the Appleby Arrows saw the Snitch. It was all over in seconds. The following week was a dark one for me.

I gaze reverently at nothing, but I may as well be speaking Greek. Rose just nods with a glazed look in her eye. “Yeah,” she says in false enthusiasm.

“So. Who will I be interviewing?” I ask. Jones? I hope it’s Jones. I’ve been dying to ask her about that Feint for over a year to the point of losing sleep. But she’s never answered my fan mail, I’m sad to say.

“Well, the first interview is set up for tomorrow morning at ten.”

“Tomorrow morning!” I screech. “That doesn’t give me any time to prepare!”

“Well you’re already a walking dictionary on the subject,” she grumbles, “What more do you need to know about Pogglemore?”

“Puddlemere,” I correct tersely.

Rose is still holding her mirror, turning her face this way and that. She pulls out a stick of eyeliner and begins performing microscopic touch-ups, as if her face were the bleedin’ Mona Lisa. “You’ll be interviewing...” she trails off, eyeing her work. I am gripping the table until my knuckles are white. She has got to be doing this on purpose.

Finally she finishes, “Oliver Wood.”

My jaw drops in a stupid smile. Wood had been a major component of Puddlemere’s success over the past five years. Even better, he’s been turned into some kind of martyr because he injured his shoulder two years ago and was out for almost an entire season. Maybe he’s slipped off the radar since then, and sure, I’ve heard a bit of rumour about a drinking problem. But I could practically see my article now: unsung Quidditch hero still fighting for his place in the game.

Rose watches herself in the mirror as she tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. “Do you know who I’m talking about? You two should have been at Hogwarts together for a bit, but I think he’s a few years ahead of you.”

I laugh condescendingly. “Uh, yeah, I think I know who Oliver Wood is.”




Author's Note: Yay, finally a chapter with Oliver!  I can't wait for him and Edie to have some more substantial interactions.  I went back and edited her talk with Rose so that we get a better feel for exactly how much she likes Quidditch, because I didn't think I conveyed it well enough beforehand.

Also, I did not write I Will Always Love You because Whitney Houston did, and I did not create the wonderful painting(s) Guernica, because Pablo Picasso did.

Let me know what you think, please!


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