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Chapter 2 : This Means War...or Friendship
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“James, why on earth did I just get hit by one of your tee shirts? I hope that’s not old… Shit! It’s old! James! It burns!” Mason screamed throwing the tee shirt on to the floor. James tilted his head towards the doorway, where Mason’s voice, and a very strong smell of burnt toast was coming from.
“Grow up, Finnegan. I can’t find my broom!” There was no reply and a sound of footsteps could be heard leading to James’ room.
“Let me get this right. You’re a quidditch player. Quidditch requires brooms. So, you lost your broom and therefore the only way you can do your job?” Mason raised his eyebrows.
“Come on, Mason. Its not like I lost it… Its probably here somewhere…”
“Yeah sure, I bet its under that secret plank of wood that doubles as a secret compartment.” He was teasing James.
“And for that, I’m going to Mum’s for breakfast. I don’t fancy burnt toast, this morning.” James quickly pulled off his shirt and forced another one on.
“Mate, I’m no clingy girlfriend, if you want to go eat with your mum, go ahead.” Mason smirked.
“Nah, I’ll eat here, but I need to pop in there, I might have left it there when I went to visit Al.” James said thoughtfully.
“Knew you couldn’t resist my cooking.” Mason couldn’t stop smirking.
“Please, burnt toast and tasteless baked beans?” James raised an eyebrow. But, even he was aware that he was lying, oh, not about the burnt toast, but about everything else. Mason seemed to have inherited amazing cooking skills, his food was comparably to James’ mother, with the exception of toast, of course. Somehow, James’ Auror friend just couldn’t make toast, every single time, it was burnt. That issue had invaded James’ mind for quite a while.
“Bloody Hell!” James’ younger brother, Albus, yelled, as James apparated into the family home, and coincidentally, right behind Albus. “James! Could you not?”
“Could I not what?” James feigned innocence and Albus rolled his eyes.
“Morning James, this is a surprise.” Harry walked into the room grinning the same grin as his eldest son.
“Dad!” James exclaimed as a greeting, grinning at his father. “I think I left my broom here.” He continued, as an explanation for his unexpected arrival.
“Knew there was a reason you would come here without someone reminding you. And, twice in one week too!” James mum, Ginny, walked through the door and planted a light kiss on her son’s cheek.
“Well, I do have work, mum.” James grinned, somewhat guiltily.
“Is your absence due to work, or the girls that you’ve pulled?” Albus raised his eyebrows as James flicked him across the head, shooting a frantic look at his parents.
“James, sweetheart, if you think that we don’t know how many girls you’re, um, ‘pulling’ each week, you’ve got to be kidding yourself!” Ginny said, smirking lightly. James turned red and Harry burst out laughing. The former of which, was still blushing as he went to go find his broom.
“So, James, what did you get up to yesterday? I came around to yours yesterday afternoon and both you and Mason weren’t there.” Albus called out, his mouth half full with cereal.
“Oh, afternoon… Ah, yes, thats when we crashed that wedding.” James replied, confidently swaggering back into the dining room. His mother had her eyes narrowed and his father’s eyes were furrowed, both looking concerned, and a bit angry. Albus, on the other hand, was clearly amused with his raised eyebrows.
“James, son, tell me you’re kidding.” Harry said, a bit weakly.
“Nope. But dad! It was the wedding of Peter Podmore!” James whined, as Albus burst out laughing.
“James, I don’t care if it was the wedding of someone committed murder! You shouldn’t be crashing weddings!” Ginny had on her tough mother voice.
“Mum, he was cheating on the bride. Countess times.” James had his own eyebrows raised.
“Well, you could have told them later, you didn’t have to humiliate the poor girl.” Ginny’s voice changed from angry to defiant as she realised her son might have done some good.
“What? After the wedding?” James was now smirking, knowing that he had won the argument. Albus and Harry both looked on with amusement in their eyes. Ginny was fighting an internal war; in one way, what he had done was right, but, he had humiliated the poor bride and her family.
“Ginny, I don’t know what to do about this, either. So, James, don’t worry about this incident, but try inform the bride more discreetly next time. Oh, who was the bride?” Harry was suddenly very curious. He knew the Podmores, and their son (whom James did not like at all), he was surprised anyone would want to marry him.
“Oh, the bride, average looking, seemed confident though, so that was hot…”
“James! We don’t want to know how she looked! We want to know who she was. Who would marry Podmore?!” Albus, like his elder brother, held an animosity to the Peter Podmore.
“Oh, hm, Pippa something, Davies maybe?” He didn’t notice his mother looking confused, “It sucks though, the cathedral was very big and grand. The one downtown, in that Muggle part of town? Must have cost a fortune, to have it go to waste.” Ginny went from confused to pale as her son finished his sentence.
“James? You don’t mean Pippa Davis, do you? Beatrix Pippa Davis?”
“Yes! That’s who it was! Mum, why are you so pale?”
“James, she’s a reporter!” Ginny exclaimed.
“So? I did her a favour!”
“James, she specifically looks for any information that turns idols like Quidditch players into supposed delinquents!”
“She didn’t seem that bad!”
“No one does, sweetheart. But, remember John Woodpore, he was fired because of some scandal to do with a nightclub?” Ginny asked. James did remember, Woodpore still claimed the article written about him was all lies and James believed him. Woodpore was one of the few players in the league who was responsible. The article was written on the very rare occasions where he got drunk. He had been chatting up a girl when a reporter saw and took it the wrong way.
“Yeah, poor Woodpore. The guy’s still looking for a job. Every team’s scared to take him, in case they have an article written about them. That reporter, what a bitch.” Ginny rolled her eyes but didn’t bother correcting him; why should she, when she felt the same way? James picked up his brother’s orange juice and took a sip.
“Yeah, well, James, that article was written by Pippa Davis.” James spit out the orange juice.
“James, not only did you steal my orange juice, but also spat said orange juice on me!” Albus stood up with a disgusted expression on his face and went to get his wand, thanking Merlin that the Scourgify spell existed.
“Sorry Al. And mum! I was just helping her! She can’t do that!”
“James, sometimes I wonder whether you’re actually 22, I swear you’re like, 5! And, don’t bother complaining to me, you were the one who crashed their wedding! Crashed a bloody wedding, James! What on earth were you thinking?!”
“No point in arguing. Here comes the Prophet Owl.” Harry said wisely as Albus walked back into the kitchen, no longer with orange juice in his hair. The large brown owl flew in as Ginny went and opened the window. Letting out a sigh of frustration, Ginny picked up the newspaper.
“‘Yet Another Quidditch Player Gone Rogue’ and listen to this! ‘James Potter crashed my wedding and watched as it fell to pieces, assisted by his Auror friend, Mason Finnegan.’ I told you! You idiot!” Ginny exclaimed and threw the paper at her son.
“But, she would have been marrying a cheater! I saved her!”
“Keep telling yourself that.” Despite his playful tone, Albus looked worried as he read the article over his brother’s shoulder.
“Bloody bitch.” James cursed under his breath as some words in the article stood out.
“James, language.” Ginny chided her son.
“Look what she says, ‘childish, doesn’t know when to stop, careless, immature, should be fired' and the worst, ‘badly raised!’ And Mason! How could she do that to him! ‘outrageous, rude, uncivil!’ She’s basically ranting! Mum, you must do something!” James felt his heartbeat increase rapidly as blood fused to his face in anger.
“James, sorry sweetheart, I can’t do anything. We work in different departments.” Ginny reached over and put a comforting hand on her son’s shoulder.
“Words, mum, they’re just words. Words that I will make her regret.” James whispered furiously, as the newspaper was crushed into a ball in his fist.
Pippa sat in her chair, behind the large oak desk. She loved her desk, it made her feel very professional and experienced. Currently, she felt powerful, after all, sitting across the Tornadoes’ management who were apologising profusely, did give a girl some kind of ego boost.
“Sorry, Ms Davis. We’ll make sure he doesn’t do anything that gets in your way again.” The management stated.
“Ah, I hope you hold up your word. After all, I am a reporter and I won’t hesitate to dig up events of the past. Put together, they would make some argument.” Pippa smiled coldly.
“Yes, we do understand. We will take the measures to prevent such a thing.”
“Good. That is all I need.”
“Thank you, Ms Davis. Have a good day.” The management smiled and Pippa returned a dismissive nod. After they had left, her people posture collapsed; she returned to her usual slouch.
“Beatrix.” A voice called, entering into her room. Pippa again adopted her people posture.
“Ah, James Potter! To what do I owe this pleasure.” Pippa stood up and smiled widely. James narrowed his eyes even further.
“Don’t play me. What the hell is this?” He slammed down today’s copy of the Daily Prophet.
“The Prophet. Now, you do realise I try to be neat with my desk?” Pippa pushed the newspaper away and tidied up the piles of paper that were there before.
“Don’t play with me, Beatrix.”
“If you’re going to call me by my first name, you can just call me Bea.” Pippa didn’t know why she had asked him to, ‘Bea’ was a name reserved for family.
“Why? It’s not as if we are ever going to be friends? Especially not after what you wrote in this bloody article!” James again pointed to the newspaper.
“What? The truth? And it’s either Bea or Ms Davis, take your pick.” Pippa pushed for the nickname, especially because she knew that it annoyed James.
“Not the bloody truth! It was an exaggerated version of everything, Bea!” Pippa smirked at James’ use of her nickname.
“What? You marching in and crashing my wedding?” Pippa raised both eyebrows as she reached out and perfected the pile of paper in front of her.
“No, the name calling. Sure, maybe the events are right, but, criticising my mother was uncalled for!” James was yelling. Pippa paused and weighed her options. Either have a yelling fight with a stubborn quidditch star, or act apologetic and make her job easy. The answer was clear.
“Fine! I’m sorry!” Pippa yelled back, more to appease the crazy quidditch player than for the actual incident. After all, she wasn’t a huge fan of Ginny Weasley. She was a super nice reporter, but, to Pippa, a good reporter couldn’t genuinely be that nice. Somehow, the ‘sorry’ seemed to appease James.
“Okay, that was unexpected.” He had on a classic deer-caught-in-headlights look.
“Why?” Pippa was naturally curious.
“I didn’t know that a reporter like you, a career ruining bitch, could be apologetic.” James said in such a careless way that Pippa found herself nodding along. It wasn’t that Pippa didn’t know that she ruined careers, she just didn’t normally admit it to anyone.
“Listen,” Pippa began,“I’m no saint. I know I ruin careers, but I don’t do it intentionally. I just want the public to see that you’re not perfect, that you, as in quidditch players, aren’t Gods, as the public tend to see them. I just want them to see that you make mistakes too.” James didn’t look convinced. He raised his eyebrows and resisted rolling his eyes. This was too cliched for him to bear. Pippa smiled as she realised that he saw right through her act. That was the default speech she had prepared for any awkward situations where the client questioned her motives.
“Sure.” James said, voicing his uncertainty. Pippa laughed, she couldn’t help it. James looked up in wonder.
“No, sorry, excuse me,” Pippa started, still sort of giggling, “It’s just funny how many times you’ve probably heard that crap of an excuse, that you make it so obvious that you don’t believe me. I mean, I’ve used that excuse so many times, but they always believe me!” Pippa was still in giggles.
“Bea, that’s all good, and you must be a good actress. But, you still haven’t explained yourself and, frankly, I don’t believe the fact that you’re all that innocent.”
“Why should I explain myself to you? After all, you are the man who ruined my wedding. But, since I made myself sound like an angel, I’m going to correct that opinion.”
“Hm, so you accept that you’re not an angel?” James raised an eyebrow.
“Of course not! Look, I said that I want to show the public that you lot still make mistakes. But, I might get carried away a bit with the, um, adjectives.”
“So, you make people sound worse than they are?”
“Maybe.” Pippa wasn’t used to admitting this, her face was bright red.
“And you enjoy it?” James raised an eyebrow, all of his previous anger forgotten as a smirk plastered itself on his face. He stared at the lady in front of him, blushing slightly, yet, her voice was steady and confident, he wanted to change that. James wanted her to feel embarrassed and humiliated.
“Yes.” Pippa managed to keep her voice steady, even though the man in front of her was making her feel, for the first time in her life, like she might be doing something wrong. James admired her confidence.
“Okay, well, we can definitely work on that, Bea.” James smirked.
“What makes you think I’ll be seeing you again? After all, you are the man who ruined my wedding.” Pippa matched James’ own cocky smirk.
“On that topic, I ruined your whole love life, shouldn’t you be taking the crap out of me instead of talking nicely,” Pippa raised an eyebrow and James amended, “well, talking civilly to me?”
“Eh, there are plenty of fish in the sea.” Pippa shrugged.
“Your marriage just got cancelled and that’s what you say!” James looked astonished. He had a few serious girlfriends, but none of them serious enough to call ‘love’, but, he did know that to be serious enough to get married, you had to be in love.
“James, we were dating for around seven years, but, you should know by now, he’s cheated on me countless times.” Pippa stated. James looked shocked, her nonchalance was completely new to him. He’d seen almost all his female cousins after a break up- they were all in tears and sometimes even refused to mention the guys name for months. Even when they had been the one to dump their boyfriends!
“You sound so casual. And how did you date him for seven years?” James made the calculations, “He would have been at school, and as far as I know, you didn’t go to school with us. On that note, where did you go to school?” Pippa noticed that they both were still standing.
“Would you like to sit down, James?” Pippa offered and he complied. “We’re family friends, so we dated in the holidays. And I went to school at Beauxbatons Academy in France.” Pippa ignored the 'casual' comment.
“Oh, so you’re French. When did you move here?”
“Six months ago. And I’m British, we moved to France when I was ten.”
“Ah, you sound British.”
“Yeah, the accent you develop when your young, especially when it’s British, doesn’t really leave you.” Pippa stated smiling softly.
“I can see.” James grinned back. Pippa noticed that this was the first time James offered her something other than a smirk. An owl appeared at her window. She went to get it.
“I’ve never done this before.” James stated. Pippa untied the letter from it’s leg.
“What?” She paused in her letter opening.
“Talked to a stranger about their personal life, a stranger who I vowed to hate.”
“Its not my personal life, get anyone to ask me and they’ll still receive the same answer. And well, you never know what will happen- with that hating thing.” Pippa remarked.
“What? Do you plan to write another hateful article and make me hate you?” James grinned. Sometimes, he thought he was far too forgiving. But, he’d rather be known as forgiving than to be on this reporter’s bad side.
“No, I’m fine with being friends.” Pippa said jokingly. She’d never admit it, but she was partly grateful for James and his friend for stopping her wedding. She never felt anything towards Peter, the cheating prat, she did it more out of duty…and of course another reason.
“Well so am I.” James stated with a small laugh as Pippa scanned the letter.
“Nice to know, but, you’re going to have to go. I have a meeting in ten minutes.” Pippa said, turning around to face James.
“Oh, just before I go, Bea, I am friends with you, but doesn’t mean I forgive you for writing that crap about Mason and I, or the other quidditch players.” James said, suddenly serious.
“I know, I don’t ask for full forgiveness, just that you don’t make an enemy out of me.” Pippa smiled.
“Done. See you, Bea.” James said with a grin.
“Bye James.” Pippa said with a smile before he left. Just as the door closed, Pippa saw a co worker of hers, Felicity Perry smirking. This would have all been fine, that is, if Felicity wasn’t a vicious writer, known for her lies about everything and anything, and if she didn’t harbour a very large amount of animosity towards Pippa.
A/N: Hey Guys! This story is progressing quite quickly, this is the fastest plot flow rate that I’ve ever written! Please do let me know what you think. The writing’s a bit stilted, so, excuse that :) Hopefully the plot will keep u going :)
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