The sun was streaming so brightly in to the room that it was impossible to keep my eyes shut. I was trying to avoid this day like the plague, but for some reason, I wasn’t able to force myself back to sleep. It was probably because I knew what today held. It was my first press conference since Oliver’s surgery, and I knew which questions were likely to be asked.
We hadn’t left the bed, let alone the apartment, for more than two or three hours in two weeks, and that was terrible for publicity. With the journalists and photographers starving for any scrap of a story they could find, they were beginning to make things up. Little did they know, they weren’t far from the truth when they said we were locking ourselves in our ‘lover’s tower’ as ‘flames spark and ignite’ between us more and more everyday. We were now one of the most speculated couples in the quidditch world, and that was exactly the problem.
Sure, we had fantastic days together lounging about snogging and cuddling. The nights were even better if you know what I mean, but Oliver and I had not had anything that even closely resembled the Talk. You know, that one where you sit there for an hour or two and just figure out what the hell was going on. Yeah, that hadn’t happened. In fact, I’m pretty sure Oliver is avoiding it because every single time I utter the words, “Can we talk?” or any variation thereof, he changes the subject or takes off his clothes. Trust me, both are very effective methods of distraction. Especially the latter.
So here I was, preparing for a press conference with no idea how to answer questions about Oliver and I, and still no decision made about the Bulgarian National team. This was going to be a fantastic day. No seriously, I’m not trying to convince myself not to run away to the country and live out the rest of my days as a pig farmer. Well, to be honest, the only thing really keeping me from that is the fact that being a pig farmer sounds filthy and I can’t stand being dirty(at least not in most areas of my life; Oliver has a way of bringing that out of me too.)
I managed to pull myself out of Oliver’s bed and in to the shower, but I couldn’t bring myself to lift my arms and actually clean my hair or anything useful like that, so I just stood there, letting the hot water scald my chest and stomach for what seemed like eternity, but was probably only about ten minutes. When I finally had the energy to start actually showering, I heard the door knob turn and Oliver’s voice sound from the door.
“Don’t worry, it’s just me, not some serial killer. Don’t freak out.”
More than once, he had tried to sneak up on me while I was in the shower. Lets just say that my instincts when I’m scared are to punch at whatever is making me feel that way. He stopped trying to scare me after the time I socked him in the stomach. Now he announces his presence from the door or occasionally even farther than that if I’ve left the door open. I guess he doesn’t want to take any chances.
He pushed the shower curtain to the side and stared, with his signature grin, at me. He reached forward and swatted at my arse playfully, but I wasn’t in any sort of mood for it that morning so I just stepped out of his reach and further under the water, washing my hair.
His brows furrowed. I’d never pulled away from him before and I could see the confusion on his face. I was usually the one up for anything at anytime. His face softened in realization.
“I never pictured Adelynn Lavoie to be the nervous type.” Oliver began, “Are you worried about the conference today?”
“I’ve never gone in to a conference without knowing all of the answers.” I replied softly, rinsing the shampoo from my hair.
“What does that mean?”
“Can we talk when I’m finished getting ready? I have to be out of here in less than an hour.”
He huffed and shrugged, but left the room with no sound other than closing the door a little harder than necessary. I’d have to find out why he was so upset, but not until after I was ready to go. There was no telling how long I would have to get ready if we, well, if I started talking about everything that was bothering me at this point.
I stepped out of the shower and wrapped my hair in a towel and then wrapped another around my body. Oliver was nowhere to be seen in the living room, so I assumed he was holed up in his bedroom with headphones on and music blaring. I had to force myself to walk to my room instead of his and to get ready instead of cuddle up against his chest and go back to sleep, forgetting everything that was weighing down my mind. I sighed and began applying my makeup; turning up the music I had playing to drown out the noisy thoughts in my head.
I slid in to a pleated gray skirt, and put on a sheer dusty pink button down on over my gray tank top. I left my hair down and secured out of my face with a pearl lined headband even though it made the look seem a bit juvenile for a press conference. It made me feel pretty, which gave me an extra boost of confidence, so I didn’t care. I carried my pumps in to the living room and curled up on the couch with a cup of tea.
I had about twenty minutes left before I had to leave, so I called for Oliver. No response. I stood and knocked on his door. Still no response. Maybe he had his headphones in and couldn’t hear me at all, so I went so far as to twist the doorknob and push the door open slightly, and was shocked to see the room totally empty. Oliver had left while I was getting ready. I guess there was no sense in hanging around here when I could dread over the press’ questions at the conference hall. I apparated out of the apartment still clutching the cup of tea, with my knuckles turning white.
I arrived behind the curtains about 15 minutes before the scheduled start time of the conference, but I could already hear the buzz of people in the audience. I was a little disappointed that Oliver had not even bothered to stay around and wish me good luck today. This was an important day for both of us, seeing as to how most of my intended announcements focused on his career and not mine. I’m sure mine will come up I the questions portion, but the main reason I’m here is to finally give the press that bone about Oliver’s future in quidditch that they’ve been begging for this entire time. The least he could have done was give a word or two of encouragement before I faced the beast. Oh well, I guess that can’t really be expected from someone you aren’t in a relationship with, even if you are close friends, and even if you were there for that person during their entire recovery process. I guess that’s just too much to ask. My bad.
I finally pried the cup from my hands and set it on a table in the back. I heard a pop, and looked up to see Ellie standing near me, smiling brightly. At least someone had a good morning. She looked at my face and a worried expression spread over hers.
I waved her off, but she still knelt down in front of me. She didn’t know anything about Oliver and I, because I didn’t want to get my own hopes up before anything real came of it, and now did not seem like a good time to bring any of that up. Luckily, she jumped to a very different conclusion.
“You still haven’t made a decision about Bulgaria, have you?”
I just shook my head, and then heard a second pop. It was one of the administrative assistants from my office. Her sole purpose for the day was to apparate in, introduce me, and then leave. I wish I knew her name, but assistants dropped like flies at my firm, so I never really got a chance to learn any of their names. We each smiled uncomfortably, knowing we would probably never see each other again, and she stepped up the stairs and on to the stage. A hush fell over the noisy crowd, and I knew my time had run out.
“I guess this really will be a gut decision.” I said, smiling at Ellie and hoping that she could see how thankful I was that she had shown up today.
I stepped on to the stage, and waved out to the crowd, plastering a smile on to my face for the flashbulbs that went off as I crossed to the microphone. There had to be at least fifty people in the room with me, with press coverage from both local papers and then spanning all the way to some staff members from Bulgarian papers with their translators, hoping to get a lead on the story before any of the other papers. I was impressed by their dedication, and I hoped they would get something to write home about, whichever way this day turned out.
“First of all, I would like to thank all of you for coming out today as well as for being patient during these trying times for Oliver. My announcement today concerning Mr. Wood will take precedence, and following the full announcement, I will accept questions. I ask that you do not interrupt me or come forward with any questions that you may have stewing until after I’ve had a chance to let you al in on some very exciting news. Sound good?”
There were murmurs of agreement, and the sound of the door opening and closing in the back of the room. I couldn’t see a thing with all of the lamps pointed directly at me, so I just pushed it from my mind, took a deep breath, and continued.
“I am pleased to announce that Oliver is on track to make a full recovery. He is nearly ready to compete in matches again, but all of his doctors agree that he will be ready to participate in full practice by the end of this week. In celebration, Puddlemere United would like to invite all of you, as well as any fans that would like to attend, to the practice that will be held this Saturday, so that you can see for yourselves how Oliver is progressing. We are very excited about this news and Puddlemere couldn’t be more pleased to have Oliver back in the ranks before they start their preliminary matches for the new season. We are counting on you to spread the word about the practice, and I’m sure your quills are itching to meet parchment, but I suppose we can pause long enough for me to answer a few questions.”
The question portion of the conference started off slow, much to my relief. There were just a few simple questions about the details of the open practice and what exactly would be happening that day. Those were easy answers that I had rehearsed in my head maybe a thousand times because they were the only answers I knew definitively. Once those passed by I knew the real questions would start pouring in, and I was right. The first question hit it right out of the park.
“Miss Lavoie, we know you put your decision about the Bulgarian National team on ice while you were helping Wood recover, but isn’t it about time we got some indication about which team you will be working with next season? As you said, preliminary matches start in just a few weeks.” A squirrely man with large glasses spoke up from the first row.
“I think I can help with that answer.” Came a voice from the back.
Wait, I know that voice.
“Mr. Nikolas Tresor, ladies and gentlemen.” I announced, trying to hide the fact that I was momentarily stunned by the sight of my old boyfriend and his appearance at a press conference here in London.
He smiled kindly at me as he took the stage. We hugged briefly and I heard someone clear their throat just before Nikolas broke the hug abruptly. I still had trouble seeing in to the audience, so I couldn’t tell who exactly had cleared their throat, but I didn’t have time to speculate, because Nikolas walked up to the microphone and began speaking.
“I’m sorry to announce to all of the Bulgarian fans who were looking forward to Miss Lavoie working with us next year, that we are officially resending our offer. We recognize that Puddlemere United has a much greater need for her services this year as they rebuild the image of their team and Oliver resumes his role as a premiere keeper in this league. I would like each of you to know, however, that we fully intend to make another offer in a years time, and I will fight to the end to have her on my team when I begin my full training as Seeker for the Bulgarian National team. Thank you.”
With that, he walked off the stage without another word, leaving both myself and each reporter in the room totally speechless. Unfortunately for me, the lacking of vocals did not last long as one female reporter far in the back threw out one of the snarkiest comments that I have ever heard at a press conference.
“I guess we know the answer to our question about whether or not Miss Lavoie and Mr. Wood are involved romantically. Why else would she have waited so long to accept Bulgaria’s offer? They probably got tired of waiting.”
There was some tittering laughter right around her, and I could tell by the voice exactly which publication she was from, but before I could comment another familiar voice saved me from myself.
“I believe I can take that one, Gwen.” Oliver spoke up from the back as he headed to the stage.
Again I stepped away from the microphone and let someone else take over the conference for me, though, after the last announcement, I wasn’t sure it was such a good idea.
“First off, I’d like to thank you for showing us all the extent of your professionalism with your comment, Gwen. I’m sure you are an excellent representation of the staff at your father’s publication. Second, I would like to state, officially for the record here and now, that Adelynn and I are not involved romantically. We maintain a professional relationship in all matters related to quidditch, and away from the pitch, we are very close friends. I assure you that is the extent of our relationship.”
Oliver sounded so sure of himself that I doubt a single person in the room, apart from Gwen possibly, doubted a word that came from his mouth. I know I believed every single word of it.
He stepped away from the microphone and moved backstage. I quickly thanked everyone for coming out and ended the conference quickly. I made my way backstage, feeling sick to my stomach and viciously angry all at the same time.
Nikolas had already apparated away, but Oliver and Ellie were chatting idly backstage when I arrived. I thanked Ellie for coming and asked her to meet me for dinner later that night, but explained that I was ready to go home and take a nap. I completely avoided Oliver’s eyes as I hugged Ellie and then apparated away.
There was a pop just a few seconds after I settled on to the couch, and my blue mug of tea appeared over my shoulder accompanied by a slight laugh that just made me feel more miserable instead of lifting my spirits.
“I think you forgot something.”
I snatched the mug and watched as Oliver sat down across from me, clearly puzzled. He wasn’t the only one. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why I was so upset. I knew we were not officially a couple, but I guess hearing him say that there was absolutely nothing romantic going on between us, which judging by his tone, he completely believed, sort of broke my heart. He hadn’t wanted to be with me, he had wanted to be with a woman. I should have seen this coming.
“What’s wrong?” He said, moving to sit next to me on the couch.
He tried to lean over to kiss my forehead, but I pulled away.
“I forgot to tell you something this morning. I got an owl yesterday from the coach. You’re cleared to move back in to your team flats whenever you’re ready.”
With that, I stood and paced to my room, closing and locking the door behind me. I settled in to my comforter, and cried quietly until I could no longer hold my eyes open. This is what I get for breaking my number one rule. Never get involved with a client, even if you do become “close friends.” It always sucks.
Author's note: First off, I'm SO sorry this took so long! I promise all of my attention is back on this story now. I got really behind in Nanowrimo, and I had some serious catching up to do, but the good news is that I wrote an entire novel in one month :) Any readers/editors would be greatly appreiciated when i put the finishing touches on it!
Second, what do you think? Will Oliver go back tot he team flats? What has been your favorite part or chapter so far? What do you want to see more of?
The next chapter will be in the queue in the next few days, so the wait wont be nearly as long, pinky promise!