I felt so guilty about Melody; instead of facing her like a proper best friend I followed my new fake-boyfriend into a broom cupboard on the third floor.
I lit my wand and rested it on a shelf and sat down on box and applied a coat of blue nail polish. James was reading something on what looked like an ancient piece of parchment and I was trying to ignore the fact he was muttering to himself. He seemed to do this a lot and I wondered if he was entirely sane.
“Can you dry my nails for me so I can do my other hand?”
He flicked his wand at my outstretched hand without looking up from his parchment and my nails dried instantly. I raised my eyebrows. I even had a few problems with non-verbal spells but he clearly had it mastered.
“Thanks.” I started on the other hand and watched him out of the corner of my eye. “What is that?”
“It’s a secret.” He smirked from his position rested against the wall and put it back in his pocket before I could get a look at it. I rolled my eyes and carried on with my nails. He was watching me closely. “I never had you down as the nail polish type.”
“There’s a type?”
“Well you play quidditch and stuff. I guess I assumed you were not really bothered about that sort of thing.”
“Just because I play sport doesn’t mean I’m not into looking like a girl.”
“I can see that.” His eyes travelled down to my vest top and I kicked his shin.
“Don’t be a perv.” He hopped around holding his leg, moaning in pain. “Stop whining will you, we are going to get caught.”
“Surely that’s the point?”
“How long have I got to stay in here anyway, I’m starving.” I hadn’t made it to the great hall in time for dinner because Mark had scheduled another last minute practice so I was planning a trip to the kitchens.
“Not too long, the prefect meeting should be getting out any second. Start making some loud sex noises so he can catch us.”
He dried my other hand and pulled me off my seat.
“This is getting ridiculous! Who has sex in broom cupboards anyway? Actually, don’t answer that, I really don’t want to know.”
“I’ll start and you can just follow my lead. Be careful though, I’m really good and I really don’t want to have to tell Aiden I was the one who took your virginity-“ I smacked him around the head and my face flushed bright red.
“Shut up. How do you know I am still a virgin anyway?”
“You are really frustrated all the time. It shows.” He seemed to revel in making me feel uncomfortable.
“I am really frustrated because I have to spend all my time with you morons.” I could hear noises outside and he grabbed me like before in the quidditch locker room and shushed me. He pinned me against the wall and made a racket by kicking the cleaning supplies.
“A witch, a hag and a goat walked into a bar-“
“What are you doing?”
“Making you laugh.” His mouth was next to my ear.
“The landlady said to the goat-“ I’d heard this joke before, it was really funny so I let out a chuckle, just as the door was yanked open.
“Oh,” he jumped away from me and wiped his mouth as though we had been really snogging. His hair was a constant mess so it looked pretty realistic. No wonder him, Freddie and my brother rarely got caught doing things they shouldn’t. I made a mental note to get acting lessons from them at some point.
A seventh year prefect was standing at the door having heard us but like James said, the prefects had just been in a meeting with the head girl and boy which meant there was a crowd of them in the corridor, including Mark and Zoe. My stomach squirmed uncomfortably and I was aware my face was bright red.
Hannah, who was our year prefect, wolf whistled and a few other people laughed. She grinned and mouthed ‘good one’ to us.
“Come on you two, back to your common rooms.” The seventh year prefect rolled his eyes and gestured for us to get out.
“Detention, both of you.” I looked toward Mark who was standing with his arms crossed staring at the pair of us. The prefect who caught us shrugged as though he was going to let us off without punishment.
“Come on Holt, detention?” James moaned as he took my hand and walked out, “lighten up will you.”
I could see Mark was gritting his teeth as he wrote out the detention slips. He thrust them into James’s chest and walked away, the group of prefects watching in amusement.
A few minutes later the crowd dispersed and we were left with Hannah who was grinning away.
“Well we can safely say that Mark is jealous. How are things coming on with Beth?” She asked quietly as Zoe walked slowly away from the scene.
“Not great, she’s still following James around like a lap dog. I’m getting bored now.” Over the last week Zoe had sent me to hospital once for giving me and elephant trunk, which I was really impressed with, if she had been anyone else I’d have congratulated them and asked for the theory myself. I’d also received a couple of threatening notes in my school bag. I was expecting worse to be honest.
Hannah’s eyes popped open and she grinned mischievously.
“Wow congratulations! I didn’t realise you guys were actually in love!” Hannah shouted as she squeezed both of us in a hug, improvising for Zoe’s benefit, “I’m so happy for you both, you make the perfect couple.”
The last thing I remember before waking up in the hospital wing again was seeing her enraged face and her wand pointing at my head.
“Morning sunshine.” I opened an eye to see Freddie sitting in a chair next to my bed, Quidditch Weekly in his hands.
“It’s dark.” I blinked a few times to get my eyes to adjust to the candle light. “What time is it?”
“A little after 2am. How are you feeling?” I felt sick and my head was pounding.
“Rough. Why am I in here?”
“Well, Zoe finally cracked and I guess you were the target,” He smiled. “The nurse couldn’t work out what spell she used on you so she had to guess what potions you might need. Since you are alive I guess they worked.” He handed me a pepper-up potion and I swallowed it immediately.
“Thanks. Why are you here?”
“I couldn’t sleep. Ade was here up until half an hour ago so I told him I’d stay for a bit to let him get a kip.”
“I really shouldn’t have agreed to be James’s fake girlfriend should I?” Freddie smiled.
“Probably not. Hannah told us you were caught in a very compromising position in the third floor broom cupboard,” he said, flicking his magazine closed, “she feels terrible that she was the one who made Zoe kick off.”
“It’s not her fault. I blame Potter for not seeing she was an odd one before things got so out of hand.”
“Yeah, well things got really complicated.”
“So he said. It would make things a lot clearer if I knew what happened so I can be better prepared for her jealous, violent outbursts.”
Freddie looked at me for a few seconds as if trying to work something out.
“He’s pretty private about these sorts of things Jess,” I grumbled in reply, “you know, Hannah said it was quite a performance you two put on earlier. You sure there’s nothing you want to own up to?” he said lightly.
“Very funny Freddie.”
“So you still haven’t snogged anyone in a broom cupboard?”
He considered me for a minute.
“You sure he’s not managed to seduce you yet?”
“Definitely not, I have better taste than that,” Freddie laughed, “anyway, its pissing Mark off no end and James thinks it won’t be long before he’s asking me out again.”
“Wait a sec, you want him back?” I sighed, not really meaning to tell him, I’d not even admitted it to Melody though I’m sure she’s guessed, “even after the way he ditched you in front of the whole school?”
“Alright,” I snapped, “You don’t understand. I love him, I can’t just switch that off, no matter how much I want to.”
“How can you be in love at seventeen?” He scrunched his face up.
“I don’t want to talk about it.” I snapped again.
“Ok, I’m sorry.” He stood up, face impassive, “I’ll go back and let the others know you are alive. We’ll see you tomorrow ok?” I nodded once.
I hated being snappy with Fred and it wasn’t his fault I was miserable. I’d had five practices since me and James had been caught in the locker rooms and Mark had been horrendous throughout them all. I could tell he was punishing me for knocking him off his broom, but I hoped he’d come to his senses soon so I could get rid of James and get my life back to normal.
It took four whole days for the strange scales to disappear from my legs, but I was out just in time for the first Hogsmede visit. I usually loved Hogsmede trips. It was a chance to get out of the castle and wear my nicer clothes and go on the occasional date. Well, I’d only ever gone on dates with Mark, but I was about to add James to that list. He’d yelled ‘wear something tight’ after me as I went to get changed.
You can understand why I’m not looking forward to this particular trip.
“I’ll meet you after lunch ok?”
Melody still wasn’t completely back to normal with me and although we were speaking she refused to talk to my brother which meant I had hardly saw her for the last couple of days, not that I was speaking to him either.
She had come to see me in the hospital wing and said she didn’t blame me at all for the Nikki incident but I knew she was still hurting and I couldn’t blame her.
She nodded and walked away with Cassie and Hannah who threw me another guilty look, she’d been apologising constantly since the morning after my attack, but I didn’t blame her in the slightest. I let James tow me along to the carriages and he helped me climb up. I ignored his chatter and gazed out onto the grounds.
“Oi,” he threw his glove at my face, “You are away with the fairies today.” I snapped back to look at him.
“You are boring me.”
“In that case let’s go back to my dorm and I’ll show you how much fun I can really be?” He leaned over puckered his lips, I pushed him away.
“Ugh, I’m telling Ade that you keep trying to get my clothes off and I’ll enjoy watching him kill you.”
“You know I’m only messing about. Trust me I’m not going removing anyone’s clothes again until I’m sure I have actual proper feelings for them-“
“You mean love?” Who thought James Potter was such a girl? He shuddered slightly.
“Well, maybe not that far, what if I don’t fall in love for years? Some people don’t do they? On second thoughts you’ll do, at least for now.” He grabbed my hand and pulled me over to sit next to him and puckered up again.
“Honestly James, we have to have some boundaries!” I pushed his face away with my hand, but he just laughed.
“You know, it’s starting to dent my ego that you don’t want to kiss me. I’m pulling all my best moves here.”
“Well you can pull another move. Lunch is on you, come on.” I pushed him out of the carriage as it pulled up at the edge of the village.
An hour later I was half way through a burger and chips in the Three Broomsticks, trying to ignore James selling himself to me.
“I must say, I was quite surprised you started going out with that Ravenclaw loser in the first place, I always thought you had a bit of a thing for Freddie.”
I choked on my coke.
“Nah,” I shrugged, “It’s safer to avoid any male who lives in Aiden’s room, so sorry Potter,” I added. He shrugged, clearly not offended.
“What about if you weren’t my best mate’s sister, would you go out with me then?”
“Are you hitting on me again?”
He grinned, “You’re pretty fit you know, not my usual type-“
“You mean I actually have a brain?”
“-but like I said, you’d do.”
“Thanks I’ve never been given such a compliment before. But no, Al’s more my type.” I grinned as his little brother sat down a few booths along from ours with a beautiful blonde whose name I couldn’t remember.
“Seriously? You fancy my brother?” I laughed, “She would kill you with her bare hands.”
“I was joking, relax will you,” his girlfriend actually does scare me a bit, “What is it with you Potter boys attracting nutters?”
“It’s the nutters that are the wildest though,” he gave me a suggestive look and I mimed heaving.
“Why must I surround myself with morons?” I chucked my last fry in my mouth and got up. “Come on, I’m not sitting here all day with you. We’ve made our point. I’m going to find someone to hang out with that doesn’t make me want to hurl.”
James followed me out and we made our way into his Uncle’s shop hopefully to find the girls. It was full of people from school but I couldn’t see Melody, Cass or Hannah anywhere so we pushed through the crowd to where Freddie was talking to his Dad, they both looked quite serious, an expression that I rarely saw on Freddie’s face.
“Hey Uncle George,” James interrupted, causing him to turn around and grin at his nephew.
“Hi James, Kenny Junior,” he said nodding to me.
“For the last time, I’m older than Aiden!” Honestly, I’m so glad I don’t actually have an older brother; can you imagine how bad it would be then?
“What are you lot up to today?”
“Me and Jessie are on a date.” George raised his eyebrows as James tugged me to his side, “It’s pretty serious.” I had to refrain from rolling my eyes, however Freddie couldn’t.
“I love her Uncle George.” He gave me a love sick look, which made me want to punch him. He stepped hard on my foot.
“Oh yeah me too. He’s just lovely isn’t he?” I replied quickly.
“Hang on a sec.” George went into the back of his shop and came out a few seconds later with a bottle, “Freddie, just give them this when they get back to school, it should reverse the effects within seconds. It’s much more powerful than anything the nurse will be able to brew.”
“What are you on about Dad?”
“The love potion. Honestly James, I thought you’d be more careful after the last time, you really should hire a first year to test all your food and drink before you go anywhere near it.”
“We haven’t swallowed a love potion George.” He looked at the pair of us and then to Freddie who looked mildly amused.
“They’re the school’s hottest couple,” Freddie said dryly, “Though I’ll take that just in case. You never know when we might need it.” He pocketed the potion.
“Right.” George looked at us funny again, “Does Ade know?”
“He’s all for it, apparently James is loads better than the fuckwit she was going out with before.”
I refused to look at James’s face and wished he would stop looking at me as though I was a cream cake and instead looked at Fred who didn’t look very happy.
“Ok then,” George said with an odd look, “Here James, your Dad asked me to give you this. He’s sorry he couldn’t make it today but he’s working again.” George handed James a letter and he took it and began scanning it.
“Have there been any more deaths?”
“Not yet but there’s been a couple of disappearances. The latest was a girl I went to school with, Padma Patel, she was in your Dad’s year James,” George said quietly, “She works at the Prophet and just before she disappeared she was working on a big feature about what’s been going on. She was bragging that she’d dug up loads of stuff. A couple of aurors went over to her house to talk to her and no one had seen her for two days. There’s no trace of her, everyone’s really worried.”
“Who do you think is behind it all?” I asked and George shrugged.
“No idea. If the aurors do they’re keeping it quiet but I don’t think they have much to go on at the moment. Whoever’s behind it they are covering their tracks well.”
James looked worried. His Dad was head of the department and what I’d manage to read over his shoulder he was spending a lot of time away from the office and with his Mum covering an international quidditch match in Germany he’d asked James to keep an eye on Al and his sister Lily.
“They’ll find them soon I’m sure, the aurors are the best.”
Even Freddie looked anxious. I knew pretty much all their family had been part of the war and most of them were very well connected and respected so I wasn’t surprised they were worried.
“Look, don’t say anything about what I’ve just told you. The last thing we need is rumours flying around school and it doesn’t feel like there’s going to be a war, so no need to panic ok?”
We assured him we’d keep it to ourselves but it didn’t reassure any of us that things were going to be ok. James took my hand as we walked out of the shop into the cobbled streets.
“Pretty grim isn’t it?” James said. I squeezed his hand.
“I’m sure it’ll be ok. Like Fred’s dad said it doesn’t feel like it did when the war kicked off, so try not to think about it too much, ok?” James nodded. I turned to Freddie.
“Have you seen Melody and Hannah?”
“I haven’t seen Hannah but Melody went off with Aiden about an hour ago.” I groaned. “I hope she hasn’t killed him, I’ll miss him loads.” Freddie held his hands to his heart and James laughed.
“I better go and find them.”
“No way!” James pulled me back, “just let them sort things out. Its better you don’t get involved anyway, look what happened before.”
I thought about it and reluctantly agreed.
“What have you two been up to anyway?” Freddie grumbled looking at our interlinked hands.
“Seducing each other of course.”
“Great, I’ve got another two love sick mates. I’m trading you all in and finding new ones.”
“Aw don’t worry Freddie, you’re still my favourite,” James announced dropping my hand and throwing his arms around Freddie, who laughed and pushed him off.
“Love you too Jamesie!” Freddie said puckering up.
“That’s great, you can take him off my hands he’s driving me nuts.”
“Trouble in paradise?”
“You might be a best mate down when Aiden finds out he’s been trying to seduce me for real. He’s seriously worried about why his moves are having no affect on me whatsoever.”
Freddie raised his eyebrows.
“My moves are legendary. If I hadn’t seen you wrapped around that arse of an ex of yours I would think you were a lesbian.”
“Are you really that big headed?”
He shrugged and then smirked.
“Don’t worry, I’ve been saving my best ones for last, it won’t be long before you are putty in my hands. I give it a week.”
I threw my hands up in the air and stalked off back to school, leaving the pair of them in the village, hoping Melody and my brother were not doing anything stupid.
I ran up to Ravenclaw tower and scraped my long hair back into a high pony and grabbed my broom. It had been ages since I’d had a chance to fly on my own. All my free time was taken up with pretending to be Potter’s girlfriend and to be honest I am completely petrified I’m going to end up giving in to all his flirting and do something ridiculous like snogging him.
He definitely has the moves; I’ll give him that much and he’s not bad to look at, if you ignore his hair and his arrogance that is. And I’m sure there would be worse guys I could be spending my time with.
Even Melody said she’d have either punched him or shagged him by now. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that comment but I’m so glad I still really fancy Mark. I’d hate to actually date Potter for real; its knackering just being his fake-girlfriend and it would probably kill me if I gave in to his flirting.
I mounted my broom and kicked off hard. I hadn’t been enjoying practices much since I’d been allowed back so it was nice to fly without having Jack shout at me for every little thing I did. I’d really been working my arse off to try and impress him but it seemed to make him angrier.
After about ten minutes I felt someone watching me and spun around to find Mark of all people sitting in the stands. Cautiously I flew over to him.
“Hey,” I said feeling nervous. He didn’t say anything but I thought I’d better at least try and talk to him while he was on his own. “Look Jack, I’m sorry I kicked off at the match, I was just really embarrassed about what happened,” he looked at me but I couldn’t make out what he was thinking so I carried on, “I know things ended badly but I’d really like it if we could try and be friends at least for the sake of the team.”
“Your left turns are not sharp enough; you need to work on them or you will be an easy target.” He replied completely disregarding what I’d said.
“Ok,” I said hovering just outside the stands. “Mark, please-“
“Are you really going out with Potter?” He interrupted.
“Oh, well yeah, I guess.” I stumbled, not really expecting him to ask about James.
“You guess? Christ Jess you two are all over each other, how do you think that makes me feel?”
I blinked at him a few times, seriously not expecting this.
“I didn’t think you even cared- I mean, you finished with me remember and you seem to have moved on, so can we just get passed this?”
My heart was smashing against my chest. All I wanted him to do was say something along the lines of ‘screw Potter, I still love you’ and drag me off to the nearest dark corner for the best kiss of my life. No chance of that though.
He nodded tersely once and looked away. I didn’t really know what to do next, should I go in for a hug or something? Instead I gave him a small smile and flew down to the broom shed. He’d caught me totally off guard with the question about James and I didn’t know what I was meant to say.
I wondered if James was back yet. Instead of putting my broom away I kicked off again and flew towards Gryffindor tower and stopped outside a window. I knew I was on the boy’s side of the tower but I had no clue whether it was the right boy’s window. I knocked loudly but there was no answer. I tried the next one along.
“How did you- what?” I assumed it was a first year that opened the window as he was stuttering all over the place and went bright red.
“I’m looking for the sixth year boy’s window.” I said sweetly, as though I did this on a daily basis.
“Girls are not allowed in the boy’s rooms.” He said snottily, folding his arms across his chest. I moved closer to him.
“It is an emergency.” I said pulling the scariest look I could. It must have worked because the little first year pointed to the window directly above and quickly shut his window. I knocked on the window and a couple of seconds later a curious looking James was staring out.
“Finally!” I cried, “move so I can come in, I have something to tell you.”
He moved away from the window and I flew in. His eyes were dancing and there was a smirk on his face.
“Well, well, well. I wondered when you couldn’t hold it in any longer and tried to have your wicked way with me. Impressive. My bed is that one over there.”
“Shut up James.” I filled him in on my conversation with Mark, “I think we need to break up.”
“No way, you need to keep him going with this ‘friends’ thing. Then when I dump you he will be there to pick up the pieces.”
“Please, as if you breaking up with me would be believable,” I flopped back onto his bed, “anyway Zoe is starting to get the hint now. She hasn’t even looked at me since the hexing and I haven’t seen her stalking you in the shadows for a few days. Maybe we should just knock it on the head.”
He shook his head and searched in his school bag for a second and produced a bit of parchment. He lobbed it to me.
James, I love you so much, please talk to me. It’s killing me not talking to you and I won’t give up, I really need you. We were good togther James.
Love always, Zoe xxx
She had also added a couple of love hearts for decoration.
“I found it in my bag when I got home from the village. It’s freaking me out how she keeps getting in here. And before you say it, she can’t fly so she’s not using the window.”
“Well there goes that theory.” He sat down by my feet and sighed.
“I’m sorry Jessie I know I said it was only going to last a week or two but we’re getting there. Well, at least you are with Mark.” I lent up on my elbows to look at him, he did look genuinely sorry.
“It’s ok. I tell you what, I’ll keep it up being girlfriend of the year for another week or so and if she’s still not getting the hint we’ll look at upping the ante a bit.”
The cheeky twinkle in his eye was back and a second later he had thrown me back down on the bed and was hovering inches above my face.
“Get off me!”
“You said you wanted to up the ante let’s just start now.”
“I meant get the teachers involved or something, not this!” He wore a smirk, which is my least favourite expressions of his.
“Yeah, yeah,” his breath tickled my neck. “We have to start making it look more realistic and a good snog will do you good. All that frustration…”
I tried to push him away but he wrestled my arms above my head and held them there.
“Now, if you really don’t want me to snog you all you have to do is say the words.”
I must have really great self-control because he was looking directly into my eyes really intensely and although it would be so easy to just give in, I refused to be the walking cliché, the girl Melody swore I’d be. I knew if I gave in that would be it, my brother would kick off and I’d never get Mark back. Just as I was about to aim a knee in the groin the door flew open.
“Oh for fuck sake.”
“It’s alright Freddie, I was just leaving. Get off me.” I hissed at James, quickly. He climbed off me and handed me my broom which was down the side of his bed. Freddie looked pissed off and embarrassed all in one. I hoped he wouldn’t tell my brother what he’d walked in on, even though nothing had happened of course. I couldn’t work out whether James was being serious sometimes or just seeing how far he could push me and the former made me feel really weird.
AN: I do love a good love story and although this one tackles some of the usual cliches you see in fiction and makes fun of the situations doesn't mean it'll all be completely cliched. Some things are not at all what they seem.
What do you think? I'd love some feedback. :)