Chapter 11 : Flight and vocabulary lessons.
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I spun around.
"And you haven't changed. Hello, Willows."
"Wood, what the fuck are you doing here?"
He hadn't changed either. His eyes were the same, his stubble was the same, his hair was the same, perhaps just a little shorter, and his lips were still the same, an invitation for me to kiss him and…
"I'm here to pick you up," he informed me quietly. "Didn't Cat tell you?"
"No, she didn't," I snapped. "Grace! We're leaving!"
She ran over to us, and looked at Oliver intently for a moment. "Hello, Daddy."
He visibly paled, and turned to me. "She knows?"
"Of course she knows, did you think I wouldn't tell her?"
"You didn't tell me."
"Shut up. You have no right to say that."
"I fucking well do."
"You said a bad word." Grace glared at him. "Mum is going to wash your mouth out with soap."
He smirked. "Is she then?"
Grace nodded solemnly.
"We'll see about that. Come on, let's go." He held out his hand, but to my delight, she refused it and took mine instead. Yes, I'm evil. Shut up.
"How did you get here?"
We walked in silence to the car. I raised an eyebrow in disbelief.
"That looks like a yoghurt pot with wheels on."
"Shut up and get in, Willows."
"I'm a Willows too," Grace chirped brightly. "What about you?" She turned to Oliver inquisitively.
"My name's Wood," he informed her.
She frowned. "But my friend Jane is called Birch and her daddy too, and my friend Emma is Bennett like her daddy. Why do we have different names?"
I exchanged a brief glance with Oliver. "It's a long story," I told her. "I'll tell you about it one day."
Grace looked at us, puzzled, but got into the car instead of asking more questions. I sat her comfortably in the child seat, tied her seatbelt, and made my way to the front.
Grace rapidly fell asleep, and Oliver and I were left awkwardly unspeaking.
"Wash my mouth out with soap, huh?" I didn't bother answering his question. "We both know you want to."
"Excuse me? The only thing I want, Wood, is to stay far away from you."
"Lies, all lies," he waved me off breezily. "I know how attracted you are to me."
"Oh, I see," I replied coldly. "You're the one who dreams of me straddling you to wash your mouth out with soap, you with a bare chest, in a dark room…"
I have to stop having this type of mental image.
"Yes, and then I'd take your shirt off and kiss you everywhere, and we'd end up on the floor," Oliver added calmly.
It was suddenly warmer in the small space.
"Dream on, Wood."
"It's more of a nightmare than anything else."
"I'm glad you feel the same way about it."
"I'd rather kiss an Acromantula's arse."
"Please proceed, I'll get some popcorn."
"Well, I already have, haven't I?"
"Yeah, I've kissed you."
"Oh, is that what you think? That I'm such a bad kisser?" I stared at him, unfaltering, though his last statement had stung. Hard. It was his turn not to answer. "That's not what the last men I've dated have said."
"You've dated?" He sounded surprised.
"As a matter of fact, yes. Did you think you were going to stay my only shag? That wasn't even the case the first time we slept together."
His jaw stiffened, and he opened his mouth to retort, but a small voice got there first.
"What does straddle mean?"
"Grace!" I shrieked in surprise, swivelling my head around to look at her. "Aren't you asleep?"
"No, I can't speak if I sleep so I have to be awake," she answered brightly. "What does it mean?"
"Erm," I blushed, "it means… talk to someone, but only when it's two adults talking."
Next to me, Oliver snorted quietly at my poor attempt to cover up.
"Oh," Grace thought about this. "And shag?"
"It's a bad word," I said firmly. "You shouldn't repeat it."
"So you said a bad word too," she glared at me accusingly.
"Yes, I did," I admitted. "I'll try not to say it again."
Grace paused, looking at me inquiringly, then shrugged. "Will I be allowed to say bad words too when I'm old like you?"
I laughed. "Yes, you will, but not today."
The rest of the trip passed in silence.
"KIWI!" A curtain of black hair flew at me as soon as I set foot out of the car and pulled me into a bone-crushing hug.
I held Cat back tightly, tears leaking from my eyes. "I've missed you so much."
"So have I."
"How are you? Where's Tim?"
Cat smiled tearfully at me. "Inside."
"Are you two official?"
"I thought it was against the rules?"
"If we break up, one of us has to leave the team, but other than that we go past the rules."
"Are you married yet?"
"After five years? When is he going to make an honest woman of you?"
"Next year," Cat informed me, a wide smile on her face.
I shook my head. "What happened to the Cat I knew who could only ever be swept off her feet with a broomstick?"
"Well," she waggled her eyebrows, "Tim does have a very large broomstick…"
I burst out laughing. "Too much information, Cat, too much information."
"Hi Auntie Cat!" Grace had freed herself from the car and thrown herself into Cat's arms.
"Hey Grapes, how are you?"
"Fine. Did you know mum was going to straddle daddy?"
Cat nearly dropped her in surprise. "Do you even know what that means?"
"Of course I do," she replied promptly, radiating pride at the knowledge of an adult word. "It means she's going to talk to him."
"Ah," Cat bit back a smile. "Is that so?"
"It is, mum said so," Grace looked extremely solemn while I stood there dying of embarrassment. "Is it true you're going to fly with me?"
"I don't know. Do you want to?"
"Sorry, was that a no?"
"No, I said yes!"
"Okay. When do you want to go?"
"Now?" Grace begged. Cat looked at me.
"Fine," I gave in.
Before I could even blink, they had run off together, leaving me dumbfounded. Tim walked out at that precise moment, and wrapped me in a hug.
"It's good to see you again, Kiwi."
"You too," I grinned. "So tell me, where exactly are we?"
"Under the Waterloo lion. They built a Quidditch pitch a few years ago, the largest in the country apparently, and a residence for foreign teams."
I looked around. "But the light, it looks so natural…"
"Blokes from the Weather department did a wonderful job."
"I hadn't even realised we were underground."
"Nobody does at first, it's quite amazing. But anyway, shouldn't you be making sure your best friend doesn't murder her goddaughter?"
I laughed. "Grace will kill Cat off first."
"Look, mum, I'm flying!"
"I know you are, I can see!"
I laughed from the window of my room as Grace and Cat soared higher up into the air in the courtyard, Cat making the broom jerk to the sides.
"She's never been on a broom before?"
"Shit, Oliver, stop arriving like that and scaring the hell out of me!"
"Is that what it is? Fear?"
"Yes, what else would it be?"
"I don't know, attraction? Not knowing how to react around me because I destabilise you?"
"You surprised me by walking into my room, Oliver. I'm not attracted to you."
"You called me Oliver. Twice."
"You've been calling me Wood all day."
"That doesn't mean anything," I retorted. "You don't mean anything."
His eyes narrowed, and he scooted closer to me, his lips a hairline from my ear. "I don't."
"You don't. And two can play that game. You'll lose."
I turned to him, annoyed, and trailed my fingers lightly over his shirt, smirking as he shuddered. "I win."
"I'm not done," he whispered as he brought his mouth to the top of my jaw, just below my earlobe.
"That's not working."
"No. Now go away, I have to unpack," I walked away from him. He didn't move, and I ignored him, stacking up Grace's clothes on one of the shelves.
"What," he choked, "is this?"
I turned around and immediately went red. Of all the things to fall out of my bag and be sprawled on the bed, it had to be Oliver's old Puddlemere shirt, that he had given to me years ago and that I had never given back.
"My pyjama top," I stated simply, trying to sound cool.
"You wear it?"
"Yes, I wear your shirt to bed."
Dear Merlin, that slipped. And it sounds even worse out loud.
"You wear my shirt to bed?" Oliver smirked. Asshole.
"Are you deaf, or just stupid? Yes, I wear your shirt to bed when I can't be bothered to wear a bra. Do you like the idea?"
"Quite, yes, but I'd rather know you sleep naked."
"Good for you. That's not something you'll see anytime soon."
"I don't need to. I still know you by heart."
I blinked at him once or twice, watching as he left the room.
"By the way, Willows," he called, "I believe this makes me the winner."
I pulled my knees up to my chest, thinking. Grace had fallen asleep very quickly again, something I always marvelled at. Even as a baby, she slept all night through, a very deep sleep, something other new mothers hated me for. That, and the fact that I was eighteen and capable of regaining my pre-pregnancy silhouette much faster than all of them.
It had been a strange day. Due to jet lag, I was absolutely not tired, and the conversations with Oliver were keeping me up.
I didn't know what to think anymore. It was like nothing had ever happened: his lips still had the same effect on me, and made me want to snog him then and there. That was the posed version. And yet, he was so infuriating, pushing me to my limits.
I took a few deep breaths. Tomorrow would be easier. The rest of the boys would finally be there, and hopefully that would be enough to keep Oliver at a reasonable distance.
"You need to tell me everything," I cornered Cat the next morning in the kitchen.
The residence was amazing. It was more of a holiday center for children, at a smaller scale, with individual rooms all surrounding an open central area with the kitchen and living room. It reminded me of the flat I used to share with Cat.
"Tell you everything… Where do I start?" She poured herself a cup of coffee – without sugar, I noticed, surprised.
"Where are you living?"
"I haven't moved out. The others have moved in, the flat has become the new Puddlemere headquarters. We've removed the pool room, and the whole place is far more reasonable now."
I grinned. "I can't believe I missed you growing up."
She elbowed me in the side. "Oh, please. I'm still immature, and the boys still call me kiddo. It's not because I'm a little less over the top that I'm a responsible adult. What about you though? Has motherhood made you dull and only concerned by your children?"
"Grace is a huge part of my life," I agreed, "but I don't think I've changed that much. The landlady takes care of her when I go out once a month, and I managed to forget to pick Grace up from her nanny's more than once because I fell asleep on the sofa when coming home from training."
Cat laughed, and hugged me, sloshing coffee on the table in the process. "I've missed you, you idiot."
"I've missed you too, moron."
"What about boys?"
"Yes, what about them?"
"Nothing too serious."
"You have no idea how repellent a child is," I pointed out. "All men seem to want these days is to fuck, and kids don't fit properly into that equation."
"So, nothing real since Oliver?"
"No, Cat," I sighed. "That was and will probably be the most intense relationship I've ever had."
"Is it now?"
I groaned. "God, why do you keep doing this to me?"
"I understand your mistake, but I'm just Oliver Wood," he smiled smugly, sauntering over to the stove where he cracked an egg in a pan before looking back to me.
I turned around to face him, angry. "Listen, you fucking little asshole, stop dropping in all the time before I seriously hex your –"
"Hello," Grace appeared sleepily behind Oliver, effectively shutting me up.
I smiled at her, and bent down to drop a kiss on her forehead. "Hello, pumpkin. Did you sleep well?"
"It's not pumpkin," she corrected me. "It's Grapes. Can I have some cereal?"
Once she was settled down with her breakfast, I turned back to Oliver.
"Listen, Wood," I started, keeping my voice low enough for Grace not to hear. "We can't continue like this, at least not when Grace is around."
He nodded. "So what do you suggest?"
"I have no idea."
He snorted. "Talk to me again when you have one."
"Et Olivier Wood bloque," the commentator's voice seemed to boom out over the stadium, "maintenant un score de 120 à 30 pour Puddlemere!" *
Grace leant forward. "Is daddy's team winning?"
"For now, yes," I followed the Quaffle from Cat to Alex, who scored.
"When is it that they'll win for real?"
"When Tim catches the Snitch."
"What if he doesn't?"
Puddlemere scored another goal – Brussels had a terrible keeper. "Then they'll lose."
"Oh." There was a pause, and a Quaffle flew through the Belgian hoops again. "Well, that doesn't matter," Grace declared. "Brussels is your team, so if they win it's good too."
I grinned at this statement. "You bet it is."
"Oh, look, auntie Cat made the red ball go in!" Grace pointed to the black-haired figure hovering over the pitch.
"Would you like to play Quidditch one day too?"
"Would I be allowed?"
"I don't think I'd be able to stop you."
"I think so," she looked at me hesitantly, "but it looks a bit scary to – "
She was cut off by a roar of joy, to which I looked up in alarm.
"Et Puddlemere a gagné! Leroi a attrapé le Vif d'Or, mais Puddlemere gagne avec 10 points d'avance! Quelle belle défaite, mesdames et messieurs, quelle belle défaite!" *
"Who won?" Grace questioned. "Mum! Who won?"
"Cat did," I shouted with glee over the hub. "We did!"
Grace sent me a surprised look, obviously pondering on this new, loud, overjoyed version of me, but then gave in and started screaming her congratulations as well – she was surprisingly loud for such a small child.
Like mother, like daughter, I suppose.
"I'd like to make an announcement, even though you already all know this," Oliver tapped his knife against his glass later on that evening. "I've been playing with Puddlemere for the past ten years, and I'm now nearing thirty slowly but surely. In the world of professional Quidditch, it means it's time for me to retire and to pass on the captaincy to Greg. But," he took a dramatic breath, "I'm not stopping entirely, of course. Headmistress McGonagall has asked me to take over the position of Quidditch coach and referee, as well as flight teacher, at Hogwarts, which I've accepted."
I paled, but clapped along with everyone else. When the noise had died down, I spoke up.
"I've also got something to say," I gulped. "You're looking at the new Hogwarts assistant Transfiguration teacher."
A/N: Hi guys! So. More awkward situations, huzzah! I'd love to have your thoughts on this chapter - were you happy with Cat coming back? Happy she's getting married? What about Grace and her new vocabulary? And, of course, Oliver's back - what did you think of him? Any ideas on what might happen next?
Also, I'd like for you, if you have time obviously, to go and check out another my stories, The Calendar Girls, because it feels a bit unloved right now, and I would love to have your awesome feedback on that one too!
You people are the coolest ever ♥
Leave a review?
* And Oliver Wood blocks, leaving us with a score of 120 to 30 for Puddlemere
*And Puddlemere wins! Leroi has caught the Snitch but Puddlemere wins with 10 points! What a way to lose, ladies and gentlemen, what a way to lose!
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