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The Game of Love by yougivemefever

Format: Novel
Chapters: 12
Word Count: 54,431
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Contains Slash (Same-Sex Pairing), Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Fred, Oliver, OC
Pairings: Other Pairing

First Published: 12/23/2005
Last Chapter: 08/14/2009
Last Updated: 08/14/2009

Summary:







When Michelle Dunbar, an American quidditch player, tried out for Puddlemire United, she never excepted to make it. But once on the team, she has to cope with her curse and a certain Scottish brunette. banner by alora.


Chapter 1: Dream Deferred
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Now I've written this story before on Quizilla, but I've decided to post it here too so don't get mad at me and say that I'm stealing writing, because I'm the same person as her ...

Disclaimer First off, JK Rowling owns the Harry Potter world, which includes Oliver Wood and the game of Quidditch itself. Also the poem is not mine, it's by Langston Hughes. Now I own Michelle Dunbar and the plot and the various other Quidditch related characters you'll meet along the way, but that's about it.


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What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over
Like a syrupy sweet
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load
Or does it explode?

Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes



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I walked into the stadium that was home to Puddlemire United and I shook my head, lightly chuckling as I remembered how in awe I was when I had my first try out for a professional Quidditch team. I had just graduated from school and my name was on the tip of everyone’s tongue; who was this American girl who descends from the great John Dunbar himself? I almost forgot my broom on the way there. But although I had my father’s name and my own chaser skills, I didn’t make the Los Angeles Lightning team. Nor did I make any other team. Every single one that I did try out for either put me on the reserve team or flat out rejected me. It wasn’t because I wasn’t any good, for I had records at one of the most prestigious Quidditch colleges in the States, Mills Academy, but it was because I had an illness. It’s a certain illness that no one knows exactly what it is; it just made me faint uncontrollably. I took at least three potions a day to try and cure the terrible thing but it hasn’t cured me yet. Hell, it might never leave me alone and then I’ll be doomed to never play again.

I guess someone out there just doesn’t want me to be out on that Quidditch pitch.

Despite my illness, I continued to try out for teams all across the country. I even tried out for the Vancouver Veelas but was denied because I couldn’t prove I was part Veela. Or that’s what they told me. The truth was that no one wanted a Chaser that fainted all the time because how could they throw or catch the ball when they were falling towards the ground? Because of that, I couldn’t become what I had always wanted to be: an All American Professional Quidditch Player. After I graduated from Mills Academy and realized that I would never be my dream, my older brother, who lived in England, invited me to come and stay with him and since I had nowhere else to go, I agreed. Our parents have been dead for some time now and we both agreed that we would never let the other sibling stand out in the cold so to speak.

That was in spring; it was now the end of summer and I was still in bloody England.

I wouldn’t have gone to this try out but my brother insisted that I did. I argued with him, telling him that no one wanted a chaser that blacked out all the time. I was done with my dream and I didn’t want to experience any more heartache then I already had. But he would always grin and tell me the same thing: “The English aren’t who you think they are. They bend the rules for good people; or at least the Quidditch teams do.” And I would always reply with a sarcastic tone, “That’s why you moved here Mike! You fit in perfectly!” He then would always wrestle me to the ground and tickle me until I told him that he was the most handsome man that I had ever met. It actually wasn’t hard to say it because he was one of the most handsome men I had ever met. When he went to Mills, girls swarmed around him like a fat kid did to cake. Hence why he always won and I ended up getting a side cramp from the amount of laughter I had emitted in a short period of time. It the price I have to pay for having an older brother.

“Fill out the forms and then warm up!” the short, stubby coach yelled before walking over to his panel of judges who I figured were either back up coaches or great donors. All tryouts were the same, no matter what country you’re in. I grabbed a form and pencil from the bucket they were in and sat down in a dark green bucket seat meant for a spectator. Boy, the English knew how to take care of their fans all right, in most stadiums I’ve been in, people sat or stood on wooden bleachers. Maybe it’s because there are at least one and a half dollars to the pound. Wait that was muggle money, not wizarding, wasn’t it? I was good at Quidditch, but I was never really that good in school – the typical she-jock to fit the Mills Academy mold.

I then turned my attention to the form, which was exactly like all the other forms that I had filled out when trying out for all the other American teams. This was turning out to be just as I thought.

Name: Michelle Dunbar
Age: 18
Nationality: American
Position: Chaser
Number of years playing Quidditch: 10
Awards: Captain of Mills Academy Wildcats, went to state, and then won Nationals.
Professional Team(s) you’ve played for: None
Endorsements: None

I gulped at the next question.

Medical Issues:

“The English aren’t who you think they are. They bend the rules for good people; or at least the Quidditch teams do.”

I quickly wrote the extensive (sense my sarcasm) knowledge of my sickness and then rolled my eyes. Maybe they would pick me because I was honest. I signed the bottom and handed it over to a clerk. He took it with a smile and showed me a bin of jerseys which didn’t look too sanitary since they seemed to have been worn before thousands of times. I shuddered to think which big oafs had worn them and they got cut; there were probably so many that the staff didn’t bother to wash the stinking sweat off the mesh shirts.

“Pick one. Coach Cambert will call you by your number since he doesn’t know your name.” Of course, I already knew that but I didn’t want to be mean to the guy since I didn’t want to go home to my brother; how could I tell him I didn’t make the team because I was rude to the clerk who was handing out the jerseys? Little did most players know, but the coaches watched you every minute, trying to see your flaws so they could decide whether or not they wanted you on the team.
A small smile came across my face as I picked one of the top jerseys, not exactly caring what number I got. I slipped the jersey over my white tank top and looked down at the dark green number that contrasted with the rest of the white jersey. A seven was plastered across my chest and I rolled my eyes, knowing that the feeling of guys looking at my chest was going to be unavoidable.

“Good pick! Seven is my lucky number. Hope it brings you good luck since it seems like there are some really talented magical folk here,” the clerk said smiling as he turned to the next player, holding out the bucket to him with the same reused smile on his face.

“Thanks,” I smiled back, not really caring that he wasn’t paying attention to me anymore. I didn’t need any luck anyways. I wasn’t here to make the team; it was only for fun. I walked back to my bag while putting my past shoulder length dirty blonde hair into a sleek ponytail. I grabbed a Quaffle from my black Nike bag and my broom, which was one of the precursors to the Firebolt. It’d cost me an arm and a leg to get it, but it was worth it. It won me most of my games back at Mills. I waxed it every night, making sure it was in tip top condition if anyone challenged me to a Quidditch game in the near future. What strange activities us retired Quidditch stars have.

“Do you mind if I warm up with you? They ran out of Quaffles to practice with,” a very handsome guy that looked about a year older then me asked in a Scottish brawl. He then smiled revealing his perfect teeth, which gleamed in the sunlight. How could I have said no? And if I was going to have fun at this try out, I better start with sizing up the player and this one didn’t seem bad. Not bad at all.

“Sure, um, there’s a free spot over there,” I said pointing to some empty blue sky, which there was a shortage of. His chocolate brown eyes twinkled in response and I took that as a yes. A smile appeared on my face as I kicked off my precious broom and he followed suit, never leaving a broom’s length away from me. “So what team did you play for before?” I asked as I threw the Quaffle to him after we settled down and spread apart from each other. He seemed like he was one of those kids that was good at a very early age and made all the other kids insanely jealous.

“I used to play for Gryffindor at Hogwarts before I made the Puddlemire reserve team last year,” he answered throwing the ball back to me with a cocky grin on his face. I caught it easily but still he threw it quite hard. So he was a strong one, I had to give him that.

“I’ve never heard of Hogwarts,” I said throwing it back with a little more force then I did last time just to show him I wasn’t the pansy he thought I was. He missed the ball. Scratch that, he didn’t even try to catch it.

“You’ve never heard of Hogwarts?” he said, his chocolate brown eyes bulging out of his skull. “It’s one of the most famous wizarding schools in all of Europe!”

“I’m American, sweetheart,” I grinned, “Now get the ball you completely missed. It’s on the ground over there. And hurry up too, the coaches seem like they’re taking notes.” He grinned back at me before getting the ball. I almost died from his heart-melting smile. I guess this try out wouldn’t be so bad after all.

“I knew you had to be a Yankee,” he said when he returned, that silly little grin still on his face. Now I didn’t know much about muggle history and the forming of my country, but knew that the English called the American rebels that. So the boy knew his history alright, but I could fight history with history.

“Yankee?” I said with mock anger as I caught the ball, half laughing and half trying to be serious. “If I’m a Yank then you’re a Tory or better yet, a redcoat!”

“I’m Scottish!”

“Well I’m originally Californian,” I said putting a hand on my hip, putting on that slightly annoyed face that my brother always tends to tell me about.

“Still a Yank. You live in America.”

“Oh fine, you want to generalize then? You’re a Tory; you live in the United Kingdom.” Just like my brother warned me about, the Scot fumed and I now understood why I should never insult someone who wasn’t from England by telling them that they were. But then again, he was asking for it.

“Scotland will become its own country. It practically is,” he muttered as his fingers ran over the red leather of my quaffle. I had to say, he did look quite cute when he was mad.

“Whatever you say Tory. Throw me the ball,” I chuckled as I sat on my broom, adjusting the leather of my own chaser gloves. He threw it back quite hard. I barely knew him and I loved to press his buttons; it was so rewarding.

“So did you play professionally in America, Yank?” he said with a cocky grin as he watched me scowl at his well placed throw that almost knocked me off my broom. Honestly, we were just throwing back and forth playfully and then he had to throw a curving one that I had to stretch for.

“Nope, just like you Tory,” I grinned back. “Except yours truly didn’t make a reserve team.”

“Then why did you come here? Think you’re better then everyone else?” He cocked an eyebrow playfully.

“I’m not French babe,” I laughed when I threw it back to him with a little more oomph then I normally would. Oh man, I was on a role with these European taunts.

“So then why did you come?” he said with a puzzled look on his face as he caught the ball; well more like he caught it with his chest, which I was aiming at.

“Thought I would see what you English call Quidditch,” I said in a very glossy fake English accent, which I thought was pretty spot on with those posh girls that my brother tended to bring home for the night. His face went bright red with anger and I laughed as I imagined steam coming out of his ears. He obviously didn’t like my nationality jokes.

“What’s so funny?” he barked as I continued to laugh and point at his beet red face.

“Your – face- is – bright – red!” I managed to get out as I laughed and pointed at him. Oh the joys of young innocent flirting; it made me feel so young and school girl like.

“You should see him when he’s barking at us in a game,” a pretty brown haired girl said in an English accent as she came out from the middle of no where. “How are you Oliver dahling?” I ceased laughing when she kissed him on the lips. So the stupid guy had a girlfriend and here he was, leading me on. Bastard. I had to say, he looked a little surprised at first but then gave into her kiss and I almost wanted to yell ‘Get a room!’ since I was still in my school girl-esque mindset.

“Doing well Katie,” he replied while putting his arm around her and then looking straight at me after he’d just sucked her lips clean off her face.

“And who would this be?” she said following his gaze to me and I wanted to slap that smirk off her face. Man, this girl seemed like a bitch and I didn’t even know her.

“She had a Quaffle and I thought I would warm up with her since there were no more out. I don’t know her.” My fists clenched each other but I tried to hide them behind my back. The fucking Tory was just using me after all. I knew I shouldn’t have flirted with him in the first place – the guy behind him was much more attractive then this Scotsman would be in a million years. Or so I kept telling myself.

“Then she won’t mind if I warm up with you,” she said smirking at me. Oh the little bitch!

“No problem,” I managed to get out while inside I fumed just like Oliver [at least I found out his name from the encounter] had when I generalized the Scottish. But it was more like a jealous rage then rage resulting from someone insulting your home country. They then flew off laughing together and I wished that somehow, one of the bludgers would hit the stupid Katie girl in the head. “Stupid Tories,” I muttered, now actually having a reason to actually try at this tryout – to show them that America wasn’t as stuck up as they thought it was.

“Alright, now I want the Seekers over here, the beaters over there, the chasers over here and the keepers over there,” Coach Cambert said and I flew to join my fellow chasers, which seemed like a hell of a lot more people then I expected. I saw Oliver fly off to join the keepers; at least I wasn’t going to have to face him for the position or else his ass would be toast. The other chasers were buzzing with excitement and Katie just happened to be one of them.

“Sorry about taking Oliver,” she said too sweetly, “We just haven’t seen each other in a while and he always calms me down beforethese tryouts.” I bet you saw each other last night, I mused in my head.

“I don’t mind. I warmed up with someone else,” I said with a bit edginess laced into my voice. I know I can be a bitch when I want to and I was definitely wanting to. Then the Chaser coach coughed loudly and everyone was silent as they fidgeted with their brooms, nervously. I rolled my eyes, knowing that most of them would be cut.

“My name is Daniel Fields and you will have the honor of having me as your Chaser coach if you make the team,” the chaser coach began until he was interrupted by someone. All the chasers trying out had wide eyes and were looking around, seeing who said something.

“Honor my arse,” one of the current Chasers on Puddlemire team, who was behind Fields, whispered to another, who was a girl.

“I heard that Marino,” he barked and then turned back to us, trying to forget that his former players were still behind him, waiting for him to finish his speech.

“Told you he would get mad Barker,” Marino snickered. Barker, who I assumed was the girl, hit him lightly on the shoulder. She looked like she was getting a little too old to play Quidditch and I guessed they were going to replace her. Poor girl, she seemed like a nice one too.

“Now I’m going to ask you to do a couple moves or attacks formations. You’ll be with a newbie like yourself or a current Puddlemire Chaser. Newbies will go with Barker and the privileged will go with Marino and Forester.”

“Represent!” one yelled, who I assumed was the clown of the team.

“Quite Forester,” Fields said rolling his eyes. “Do you want to be replaced this year? I’m sure one of these fine young things could knock you right off.” All the chasers twittered in excitement.

“Sorry coach, won’t happen again.”

Fields then began paring people off according to their experience that they put on their forms, which had magically been compiled into a list. He started calling off names that I had never imagined were real name. Being in England, I figured everyone was named ‘Smith’ or ‘Rogers’ or something along those lines. I guess Puddlemire had a big pull in other countries as well.

“Dunbar!”

“Yes coach?” I said raising my hand awkwardly as if I might have still been in school.

“Graduated from Mills eh?” he said looking at the sheet and not at my face.

“Yes Sir and captain of the School team who won Nationals,” I said proudly and I was sure that I may have puffed out my chest a bit. Whatever, it wasn’t like I was going to make the team anyway.

“Good, you’ll go with Marino and Forrester.” I gulped as I made my way over to the two male Professional Chasers. Did Mills have that great of a reputation, even over here? Sweat started to form on my hands and I was thankful that I had my gloves on or I was sure that I would drop the ball. Why was I being nervous? This whole try out thing was a joke. I wasn’t going to make the team no matter what I did.
But there was one part of me that knew I had to represent my school. Smacking the leather of my gloves together, I began to get into what I called my ‘zone’. It was where I went before games and during them. Once I was in the zone, I was a bitch to someone who tried to interrupt me and I knew it.

“Looks like we got ourselves a treat,” Marino said nudging Forester as I flew over. Oh brother, I thought as I rolled my eyes and waited for the coaches instructions.

“Hawkshead!” Fields barked and the guys quickly spun around and got into position while I flew towards the front, completing the shape. We passed back and forth with each other, weaving in and out, our speed increasing as we got towards the goal posts. “Pass to seven!” Fields ordered and Marino passed to me quickly and I caught it with one hand and then cocked it back. I easily scored by doing a curve ball shot. Sure, there was also no keeper to block it, but at least I made it through the ring, unlike some others. “Good work. Next, uh, Gaines!”

I smiled as I went down to the ground as I had been told to do by another coach and waited. As I watched the others, I knew happy with my performance even if it was for only one shot. However, that one shot made me feel alive again. I closed my eyes and I could still feel the wind whipping through my hair and then the sound of the ball smacking against the leather of my gloves. I sighed, knowing that I would thank my brother. That one shot would keep the Quidditch monster inside of me happy for a while.

“Seven!”

I quickly opened my eyes and saw that one of the coaches and pointing up at the sky where Fields, Marino and Forrester were waiting. I must have looked confused since the others seemed to be laughing.

“Are you just going to sit there and relive that one drive or are you going to get up here and do it again just like I asked?” Fields said, a smirk on his face. I hopped onto my broom and was up there faster then you could say ‘daydreamer’.

-

“You’re pretty good for a girl,” Forrester confessed as he gave me a suggestive wink, nudging me in the side. He then followed the rest of the group towards the official locker rooms and I was left there with a blush on my face in the sea of people waiting for Cambert to give a closing speech. The last thing I needed to be doing was flirting with a Professional Quidditch player.

“Now you all had a good day today and the coaches and I are going to have a hard time picking who will be taking the few spots available. The reality is that most of you won’t make it; it’s such a shame that your awesome talent has to be wasted. But just because you are cut doesn’t mean that your career is over. Old Fields over here tried out a couple times before he became coach.” Fields was too busy looking at his lists to say something. “Now, if you make the team, we will send you an owl with the starting team and reserve team roster. Good luck,” Cambert said and everyone got their stuff and began to leave, still nervous about how they thought they did. I had a good day but I could tell that there were better chasers then me; plus, the looming fact that I was sick was still over my head. I scowled. This team seemed like a fun one and over here in Europe, no one knew my name. As I passed through the gate, I saw Mike waiting for me, standing by his pride and glory; his new car he’d bought.

“Michie!” he yelled as he ran over to me before I could call him a Muggle or comment on his car. He then scooped me up and spun me around in circles, which was highly unlike him. I received a couple of weird looks and my face became red as I noticed that Oliver was some of the people giving them.

“Mike, let me down!” I giggled as I hit him playfully in the arm, smirking inside. Fine Oliver, this is a special ‘up yours’ from me to you. Mike complied with my request about fifteen seconds later since he had to continue to make me scream with protests, that stupid grin on his face. When he finally let me down, I smacked him on the side of his head and then made him open the door for me since ‘I was tired’. He then got in and we drove off to our house.

“What’s with the boy friend like behavior? Ever heard of incest?” I joked as I began to munch of an energy bar.

“I saw some guys looking at you. Well some is an understatement. Most, I should say. And believe me they didn’t want to ask how you thought you did at tryouts. Just wanted them to know that they can’t touch my sister,” he said with a cheeky grin as he turned the car onto another street.

“You’re lying,” I said, the food still unchewed in my mouth.

“Well some ugly broads were looking at me,” he said rolling his eyes as he pulled into the driveway of our small looking flat.

“Mike!”

“What? It’s true!”

“You’re so shallow,” I said as I pushed him away from me, not wanting his cocky self near me and then got out of the car. I then realized how fast we had gotten home and I turned around and looked at him over the roof of the car. He just had to use some sort of magic, didn’t he?

“You know you love me for doing it,” he said as he jingled the house keys, his normal smirk forming on his face.

“You’re ass is grass when we get inside,” I said with a devilish grin after managing to get my bag out of the small back of the car. I then stretched my arms up and sighed. As much as I wanted to kill him for doing magic in the middle of London, I was too tired to actually move a finger. I lugged myself up the steps and into my room, dropping my bag on the bed and laying down next to it.

“Come on Sleeping Beauty, you need a bath,” Mike said, pinching his nose as he threw my bag off the bed. I groaned in protest but let him drag me to his room. I took a long bath in my brother’s big bathtub, filling it to the brim with bubbles. “You need to relax,” he had said before closing the door to the huge room and my muscles agreed with him. I stepped into the steaming tub and tried to relax since the hot water soothed my muscles but I couldn’t truly relax yet. I wanted to know if I had made the team yet. Sure I was doing it for fun but part of me wanted to know out of curiosity. I knew I wanted to see if things were going to be different over in England; maybe I could make a team now.

I sighed, putting my hand on the windowsill and looked out at the garden below. My mother had always loved gardens and I guessed that Mike had wanted to keep some part of her alive by badgering the land lord into letting us grow one on the little space that wasn’t occupied by the apartment building. Suddenly, a huge dark owl landed next to my hand, which I didn’t notice at first and I almost screamed when it swiped at my hand with its leg that had a letter tied to it. My heart began to race. I untied the letter from the leg and read it as I shooed the owl away.

r Michelle Dunbar,
We are happy to inform you that you have been chosen to become a Chaser on the Puddlemire United team. Practices will be held everyday starting on Monday for five hours. Please write us back if you have any conflicts with the schedule.

Douglas Cambert.

The list below is the roster for this year’s team:

Chasers- William Marino, Micheal Forrester, and Michelle Dunbar.
Backup Chasers- Linda Gillard, Thomas Simon, and Caroline Carter.
Beaters- Randy Edmund and Jeffery Dellard.
Backup Beaters- Robert Bon and George Timbered.
Keeper- Oliver Wood.
Backup Keeper- Juliana Sanders.
Seeker- Annabell Spinard.
Backup Seeker- Kelly Christian.


I punched the air in delight and water spilled over the edge of the tub. I had finally made a team for once in my life and I sank into the water, savoring the feeling of joy that ran through my veins. Tears threatened to spill from my eyes, but I fought to keep them in. I wasn’t an American Quidditch player, I was an English one and that suited me just fine.

“What?” Mike said rushing in for I’m sure that I made a lot of commotion due to the fact that I had beaten the system. Thankfully I had put bubbles in my bath and they covered my body so he wasn’t getting any ideas about what had happened earlier that day.

“I made the team!” I squealed, which was very unlike me. The tears in my eyes finally won and my face scrunched up as I tried wiping them away since they tasted salty in my mouth.

“Wonderful!” he said knowing about my goal and my dreams to play Quidditch professionally. “After you’re done with your bath, I’ll take you out to drinks and dinner.”

“Thanks but get out,” I said, shooing him out, still blubbering. I looked at the list one more time, not believing what it said. Hopefully Oliver Wood was not the same Oliver that I had met today. But if it was, I didn’t see any Katie on the list. I sent my reply to Coach Cambert saying that I would accept their offer to play as chaser. Then, I slipped under the bubbles and began to fully relax.

I couldn’t wait to go out to dinner.
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A/N: please review, I like hearing people's thoughts :D

Chapter 2: The Only Good Shots Are Those On Keepers
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Disclaimer: I own the plot and JK owns the whole HP world, F & G + Oliver. I own Michelle and Mike.

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“Michelle!” my brother yelled from the door with an obviously annoyed tone since I’d taken forever to actually get ready since my bath. But he should know better, because I mean, I am a girl and us females know that it takes a while to get ready for an event, even if it just a small dinner. I knew that we weren’t going to go out somewhere fancy since that wasn’t my brother’s style. I was ninety nine percent sure that we were going to a bar.

“I’m coming!” I called back as I quickly put in the other hoop earring in my left ear. I took one last look in the floor length mirror across from me. My pre-ripped jeans hugged my legs and hung low on my waist as my white t-shirt grazed the waistband of my jeans as I turned around. I had left my blonde hair down and my make-up was natural, although Mike would probably yell at me for overdoing the eyeliner like I always did. My blue eyes sparkled in satisfaction. I felt good for once. I was playing the sport I loved and had always loved; I wasn’t kicked off the team for my sickness, I was on it for my skill. It would be the first time in a year that I was going to be on a Quidditch team that people actually followed.

“Michelle Lyn Dunbar!”

“I’m walking towards the door Mike,” I said as I grabbed my black zip up jacket and met him at the door. He was wearing his normal jeans and a Puddlemire United jersey that he insisted on getting even if I wasn’t on the team. He rolled his eyes as I approached obviously annoyed at the time that I had taken.

“You look absolutely wonderful but why must you take so long?”

“Oh come on, you should be used to this by now Mike, I’ve been living with you for months now! Do you honestly think that I take more time then those tarts you bring home each night?” I raised an eyebrow and wiggled it, a smirk upon my face.

“Touché little sister,” he grinned, punching my playfully on the shoulder, “But would it be wrong to say they get some while you don’t?”

“Mike!” I then proceeded to slap him on the shoulder, intending for him to feel immense pain. It was true however. I never was into hook ups or relationships with guys since they mostly saw me as the Quidditch Nazi of the school or a tomboy. Sure, I had crushes but I never really acted on them and I never had the skill to actually pick up a guy. That said, I hadn’t had any luck with the blind dates that Mike put me on either.

“Ouch! I was just saying the truth. Honesty is the best policy you know,” he said with a playful nod and another grin as he opened the door and we both exited the apartment and into the hall.

“When where you ever honest? You lied to the teachers about your wild parties at Mills all the time. And not to mention your employer doesn’t know about your fake credentials,” I retorted, crossing my arms over my chest, as I trailed after him down the stairs.

“Why do you have to be so damn smart all the time?” he said, rolling his eyes as he met me at the bottom of the stairs. “Why can’t you just let go and stop being so uptight?”

“Come on Thinker, we’ve got a pub to go to, where I plan to do just that,” I said leading him into the quaint street that our apartment was on. “Tonight we’re going to party. I should celebrate this; it’s my dream we’re talking about! Now come on, where are we going?”

“Diagon Alley,” he said matter of factly, a small smirk placing itself on his lips as he stopped walking and I kept going. I turned around, looking at him since I expected we would go to the bar up the street since that was where he normally went.

“And that would be where?”

“It’s a huge wizarding place. You’ll see. Now hold my hand and we’ll apparate there together.”

Oh great, a wizarding place.

“I’m a big girl Mike,” I said, coming back over to him, holding my arms and rubbing them slightly since my black jacket was quite sheer.

“Yeah, whatever,” he said with a silly grin and then grabbed my hand before I could protest. With a pop, we were gone. I never really liked apparating since I was used to a broom and apparition made my insides squirm and the rest of me feeling sore from being ripped apart. Yet, when I opened my eyes, before me was a pub chalk full of wizards and witches, just looking for a good time. There was a bar where all the stools were taken by inebriated magical folk and then booths around the wall, decorated in a true sports fashion; there were posters, pictures and scenes of sports players and their games everywhere and the rest of it was dark brown with dark wood paneling to match. What a typical place for Mike to be seen. I was surprised I hadn’t been brought here before.

“Take care of her William, I’m picking up the bill tonight,” my brother whispered to the waiter next to him, hoping I wouldn’t notice. The man nodded before heading over to the bar where there seemed to be fight just about to happen. I turned around, hearing a glass smash and I winced, seeing a man with beer all over his head. Someone must have smashed their mug over his head; it was soon cleaned up by the barmaid, who gave them a stern look.

“So what was that?” I said crossing my arms across of my chest, looking at Mike who was chuckling at the men at the bar. I’d only seen him whispering to the waiter, and from the looks of it, I didn’t like his thinking at all.

“Nothing,” he said and then gestured to an empty booth right next to him. “Sit.” I sat on one end of the booth and he slid into the other side, relaxing completely as he did. I knew that I should be doing the same, but I still felt tense at what Mike had planned for me tonight. He was quite the partyer when he was back at school and over here in Europe, he was even more so. By the end of the night, I knew he would embarrass himself, I would embarrass myself or worse, both.

“So you come here a lot?” I said as I crossed my arms over my chest and looked around at all the other people who were here. There were mostly guys, who came by and gave Mike a high five when they saw him. Apparently he came here more often then he went to the bar down the street from our apartment building.

“You could say I’m a regular,” he said taking a sip of water and a bite of bread, which had already been placed on the table when I was looking around. Seemed that they knew he was coming. I grabbed a piece for myself, being very hungry from the tryout and from the fact that I was always hungry.

“For my lady,” the waiter who Mike had been conversing with before said with a wink as he placed a small shot of fire whiskey in front of me. He then left to go serve another table, pretending to ignore my shocked looks.

“Here’s to you,” Mike said raising his own shot glass, which I hadn’t even seen being placed in front of him.

“Mike, I didn’t even order this,” I said looking at the shot in front of me as if it were an alien object. I now knew his plan. His idea of relaxing was getting drunk and then throwing up in the alley way afterwards; I should have known better. Yet, it wasn’t the first time that I had seen a shot before. Back at Mills, I just couldn’t afford to drink and do something stupid since I was the captain. I would get kicked off instantly. It didn’t help that I would have a hang over at practice the next day. During my time in England with my brother, I had started off with a beer every now and then at the apartment, but I had never done shots before in a public setting like this.

“It’s not going to bite you,” Mike said laughing as if he was already drunk. Merlin, this was going to be a long night.

“I’m eighteen Mike,” I said, implying that I was under the drinking age.

“We aren’t in the States anymore. This is England and the drinking age is eighteen. That and William likes you, I can tell. He’s the bloke that gave you the shot. He won’t tell anyone anything that happens here tonight. Just try it, lil sis.”

“I think I’ll have a beer,” I said, pushing the shot away from me towards Mike, signaling that he could have it. But before my hand could shoot up to get William’s attention, my brother pushed the shot towards me and spoke.

“Oh come on Michelle, you’re not the one to back down from a challenge are you?”
He was right. Competition ran in my blood twenty four seven. Even in the most mundane tasks, I still had to be the best. And to make matters even worse, he downed his own shot, smirking at me. “Looks like I’m winning.”

“Give me that,” I said, snatching up the shot glass and pouring the contents into my mouth. I regretted it instantly; the liquid made my throat burn and as I swallowed it, the corners of my eyes started to water. Worse, the taste wouldn’t get out of my mouth and I felt like I was going to throw up. I reached out for Mike’s water glass and downed a huge gulp of it, hoping it would help. Mike, all the while, was laughing his head off.

“You’ll get used to burning sensation,” he said, his eyes twinkling as he held his hand up. An attractive waitress with a low shirt and boobs that would have gotten her work at any Hooters [a muggle bar that was famous for its waitress’ chest sizes back in America] came up next to him, leaning on the back of the booth that Mike was sitting on.

“What can I get you two?” she said, nudging Mike in the shoulder. “Another round?”

“Read my mind babe,” he said, his eyes wandering to her shirt and then her ass as she walking off.

“Mike, I may hate you for making me take that shot, but I still am your sister. One day you’re going to get an STD and I’ll be there saying ‘I told you so’,” I warned him, pointing my finger at his face accusingly.

“You should be relaxing, not chastising me. And plus, I’m a big boy Michelle,” he said grinning like a mad man. I rolled my eyes and looked at the menu since I was just about starved from the tryouts and that bread didn’t help at all. Mike was still watching the barmaid with interest. I put down the menu in front of me. It was full of the typical English pub food, which I was not in the mood for since I figured the grease and the alcohol wouldn’t mix well in my stomach.

“Couldn’t we have gone anywhere somewhat American?” I asked after he downed his new shot which the chick had brought him. She then winked at him and then placed my shot in front of me, which I looked at with disgust.

“Where is the fun in that?” Mike said, his eyes still on the barmaid.
I rolled my eyes for the second time and when the time came to order from the busty beauty, I ordered Fish and Chips. It was the only thing that I thought looked safe to eat since my teammate Julia swore by them when she visited England two summers ago during a Quidditch camp.

“Hmmm … Those are good here,” Mike said, “I’ll have the same. And a tall glass from the tap.” He added a wink of his own and the girl blushed and swung her hips as she put the order in at the kitchen. Needless to say, Mike wasn’t listening to my complaints of his sexual excursions.

“Mike!” I said, waving my hand in front of his face. Man it seemed like I was the older sibling here.

“We should be celebrating Michelle! I mean you got onto Puddlemire United for Merlin’s sake,” he said triumphantly as he took another piece of bread.

“I never said I wanted to get drunk,” I hissed with a lowered voice.

“You don’t have to!” I held my urge to roll my eyes for the third time. Then, there was a huge commotion as a pair of redheaded twins that looked about my age swaggered into the pub liked they owned the place. People raised their glasses to them at the bar, praising them and some even offered to buy them some drinks. Why they were popular, I had no idea why, but Mike seemed to light up like a light bulb.

“Well if it isn’t Twedeldee and Twedeldum. I’ll be right back.” He smiled oddly at me, which I returned with a scowl. There was no way he was going to get away with leaving me that easily when I could feel the hungry eyes of the drunks at the bar on me. Never the less, Mike walked over to the booth that the twins had occupied and they both leapt up from their seats, giving him a slap on the back and wore a pair of high voltage grins. Apparently they knew each other quite well. I took a swig from my Coke and looked at the fire on the other side of the room bored. If this was celebrating for his sister, I didn’t want to know how he treated girls the next morning when he threw them out of his room.

I looked back at the shot in front of me. The competitive drive in me was signing in my veins and again, I grabbed the shot and drained it, gulping it down and gasping after I could breathe again. If Mike came back, if he ever did, he would find that he had started a bad thing by making me drink.

“Oy Michelle!” my brother called. It was odd for he never said “Oy” when I saw around. But then again, I’d never been around my brother much when he was in England with his friends. I took my Coke, grabbed a piece of bread, hoping that both would help me get the taste out of my mouth, and joined my brother.

“So you’re Michelle that Mike always talks about,” the one on the left said as he held a mug of something that definitely wasn’t butterbeer and winked at me. I smiled politely back, thinking of nothing else to do.

“Righto Fred!” my brother said slapping him on the back as he grinned back at me. The even odder thing was that he said in a perfect English accent. I knew that he had been living here for a couple years now but I didn’t know that he had picked up the accent. I guess he could switch back and forth from American to British.

“S’cuse these rude gents,” the other twin said, “I’m George Weasley.” I shook his hand, thankful that he at least had some sort of manors. You could never tell with the hoodlums that Mike associated himself with.

“And I’m Fred Weasley,” the other one added before shaking my hand with the one that wasn’t holding the mug.

“They run the joke shop down the street,” my brother explained and again in an English accent, ignoring my raised brow. There was no fucking way that I was going to start having an accent. Not unless you got a couple more shots in me.

“Profits are going well my friend,” Fred said with a chuckle as he stroked his green dragon scale jacket.

“A joke shop? Sounds … cool,” I said, feeling awkward since Mike was too busy talking to the other twin, George.

“You’re American aren’t you?” Fred asked, noticing how my accent stuck out like a sore thumb. I shrugged my shoulders.

“Yeah, I graduated from Mills Academy,” I replied, catching Mike’s thankful glance. I decided that I better not mention that’s where Mike went since he seemed to have blended in with the environment quite well here. I felt my hands and legs become more light as I ran my fingers through my blonde hair nervously.

“Bloody brilliant school,” George said before taking a shot of fire whiskey, which the busty barmaid had brought him after telling him it was from a guy named Dean. I snickered inwardly. I loved the English and there little mannerisms like ‘bloody’ or ‘bleedin’. Later in my life, I would mix them into my normal American slang without even noticing.

“So what’s the occasion?” George said nudging Mike and then looking at me.

“Yeah you normally don’t bring Michelle here,” Fred said looking my up and down. I felt a blush rise in my cheeks, but I managed to mask it with a smirk.

“Well she made the Puddlemire United team,” my brother beamed as he put an arm around my shoulder. I could smell the alcohol on his breath from here since he had finished his glass of beer that he had ordered before. Sadly, I felt the feeling like my arms and legs were floating in the air and a smile was now something that wouldn’t get off my face. I was on my way to getting drunk, although I didn’t want to admit it.

“Puddlemire?”

“You’re kidding!”

“No joke,” my brother said putting his other arm around me. Well wasn’t this awkward? I didn’t show it because that stupid smile was still stuck on my face.

“That’s so funny because we know someone who also made the team,” Fred said with a wink as he turned to George. He then looked at me and then gasped. “This lady needs a drink!” He turned around to the table, which had a black tray loaded with shots on it. I assumed the barmaid had set it there but before I could say anything, one of the twins thrust a glass into my hand. Not wanting to seem like a wuss, I downed the shot in front of them, trying to ignore the taste. I hoped they didn’t notice the way that my mouth scrunched up from the burning.

“Even funnier thing is, we invited him down here for a congrats drink. Well speak of the devil!” George said standing up from his seat and greeting the guy who just walked through the door. He was wearing jeans and a gray shirt that said ‘Got your tickets?’ and then lower said ‘To the gun show!’ and had arrows pointing to his biceps. My breath escaped my lungs and my heart pounded as I gulped nervously. These feelings had to be from the alcohol because I remember that on the field, he wasn’t as hot. Normally a cocky shirt like that would have made me gag, but he looked incredibly handsome in it. So handsome that he challenged my brother for right to the throne for ‘Most Fucking Handsome Man I Have Ever Seen.’ He cleans up quite well I guess.

“Oliver!” Fred said slapping his back and handing him a drink, which he accepted gratefully. He took a swig, draining the glass completely in one swig. So the Scot could drink his liquor, I could give him that. Other than that, I really didn’t have anything else to say to him. I turned, covering my face with my hair, hoping he couldn’t recognize me. I did not need Oliver seeing me drunk.

“Yank is that you?”

Fuck.

When I turned to see him, he was cocking his head to the side. There was an element of surprise and satisfaction in his voice and he tried to mask it. He didn’t succeed. Fred, George and Mike laughed as his face broke out in a smile. But I fumed. I didn’t care how handsome he looked. I didn’t care how he made my heart race and my palms sweaty. How dare he insult me off the field! And more importantly in front of my brother and his friends, who I was trying to get to know better! If I had to teach him the lesson of not fucking with me right now and not on the field so be it. But right now, I had to grab onto the table for support. Maybe it was better that I commenced said lesson when I wasn’t in the presence of alcohol.

“I’ll be right back,” my brother said as he got up and went to the bar, his steps not completely in a straight line. I suspected that he had more shots and when I looked back at the table, I saw that I was right. Mike then stared talking to some raven-haired beauty at the bar, who looked like she was Spanish and seemed to actually give him the time of day. I should probably clean the guestroom before he comes home. I was about to leave since I knew this was going to be awkward, but I couldn’t leave since George seemed to be blocking me from the door.

“So when do you start?” Fred asked to Oliver, striking up a conversation as George gave me another shot. I gulped, knowing that in Oliver’s eyes, I would look like a wuss, so I drained it, slamming the glass onto the table. Oliver jumped slightly at the sound and then looked back, smirking.

“Start what?” I said staring him right in the eyes, trying to be tough. Oh those chocolate brown eyes. Bad brain! He was the enemy and was with that bitch Katie. I could control myself since I had before so many times at school. But this is was so damn hard when he was making my knees go completely weak and I was drinking, which made things so much worse!

“Start practice with Puddlemire since I made the team this year,” he smirked proudly as he received a mug from George who had slipped down onto one of the seats and grabbed my waist, pulling me down next to him. I came down with an ‘ooomphf!’. It was not graceful.

It then clicked in my brain, but since I was slightly drunk, it came out a couple seconds later.

“You’re the keeper!” I blurted out, unable to control myself as I reached for another shot glass. “You’re Oliver Wood!” I now knew why Mike liked to drink so much. I loved this feeling of me floating and how the room seemed to the spinning slightly. It was so trippy, yet like when I was flying high on a broom. And Merlin knew I loved flying on a broom.

“Why yes,” he said smirking again as he took a sip and sat down next to George.

“Oh joy,” I said rolling my eyes and leaning against the booth behind me. There was no way I was going to make it through the season when he was on my team. Boy this was going to be an interesting chapter of my life; I knew it already before I had started it.

“I know I’m excited. The team should be good, which means good betting money for us,” Fred said taking a sip of beer. I tried to suppress a giggle as the forth from the beer gave him a mustache; I failed.

“I talked to the coaches and they said that the new chaser is amazing. Her last name is Dunbar but the coaches praised her so much that she was better then most guys out there. She was so swift and such a natural; she worked well with Marino and Forrester and was quick like lightening,” he said smirking at me, thinking that I had been cut and that some other chick had taken the spot had probably made the team. Little did he know that she wasn’t on the team and it was me instead. A smirk came across my face as I reached for George’s beer and took a long swig. I could see George’s eyes on me but I chose to ignore them.

“Since when do you talk to the coaches Oliver?” Fred said, laughing as he downed another shot. Feeling inferior, I took another shot and downed it right away,
smirking at the slight raise of George’s eyebrows.

“Since I was on the reserve team last year,” Oliver said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “They said they want raw talent this year. That and they couldn’t get any good trades since the players wanted such a high pay. Cambert is enough for Puddlemire to handle.”

“Sure Oliver,” Fred laughed, taking a sip of his own beer. I was about to take some of George’s when he spoke.

“Oh I’m sorry, I haven’t introduced our friend here,” the redhead said laughing as he let out a hand towards me. He then let the hand rest on my knee under the table but I was too drunk to slap it off. “You know her as Yank apparently. Her name is Michelle Dunbar.”

“What?” Oliver said, spitting out the beer that he had been drinking. He looked at me with amazement, as if I wasn’t good enough to get on the team.

“It’s true. I’ve made the team,” I smirked, leaning forward over the table slightly, before taking a large swig of George’s beer, which he let me and then started to let his hand rub my knee. He turned out to really touch my skin since there was a rip in my jean there. He started making circles with his fingertips and by now, I was drunk enough that I felt I was really flying high on my broom.

“Puddlemire is coming to an end, they’ve let a Yank on the team,” Oliver said taking a sip of his beer and leaning back into his seat. I wanted to lick the foam off his upper lip but my willpower prevailed. I instead narrowed my eyes on him.

“You should be honored to have me on the team. You need someone to whip you Tories into shape.” George laughed and pulled me closer to him, ignoring the looks that Fred was giving him since after all, I was Mike’s sister and I figured that Mike was big business since he was a huge jokester.

“Like you could whip me into shape,” Oliver said rolling his eyes and then George added a naughty comment in my ear, which I chose to ignore. Instead, I took off my black jacket since I was feeling hot, which wasn’t a good idea since George’s eyes went right to my chest and took my undressing as a hint. I took another shot, which didn’t go down that well.

“I bet I could score on you easily,” I challenged right as the liquid left my mouth so I didn’t spurt it out on the table as I pointed a finger at Oliver, trying to ignore the burning and protest from my stomach.

“I wouldn’t do that,” Fred said, his tone changing from jokingly to serious. Oliver, meanwhile, looked like he was laughing at me. I scowled back at him.

“He’s bloody good,” George said nodding his head as he took another sip of ale. How dare them! They didn’t even know my skills at all! Oh, I’d show them.

“If there was a dartboard in here, I would shoot all of the darts and they would hit the center,” I said after I hiccupped. “It’s been done before!”

“When you’re sober,” Fred muttered and Oliver chuckled, taking a sip from his mug. “We should take all the alcohol away from you or something bad might happen.”

I was going to ask what when I realized what he was talking about. I hadn’t been keeping track of how much I had been drinking and by now, my words were slurring and I was repeating myself often. My own hand was on George’s thigh and slowly going upward and I suspected that Fred knew what was going on. Oliver may have known, but he didn’t show that he knew. I wasn’t myself and the room was starting to spin.

“Where are you going?” Oliver said jokingly as I felt myself start to get out. “Going to the next pub to get some more booze are we?” Suddenly, I finally felt my body get out of George’s embrace and run outside onto the street. I turned the corner and suddenly I felt my insides squirm and the alcohol from my stomach come up to my mouth. I bent over and threw up on the brick wall. Needless to say, it was not one of my more gracious and beautiful moments. As my hands grabbed at my stomach, I muttered to myself that I would never drink again. I tried not to get it all over my shoes and my hair, but I suddenly felt my hair being lifted out of my face and I would have said something if I hadn’t thrown up again. I began to feel tears prick my eyes and then the water began to cloud my vision. Soon, the tears were tasting salty in my mouth and my legs gave way. I didn’t fall to the ground, but instead I found myself in the arms of Mr. Oliver Wood himself.

“Hi.” It was just about all I could manage to say.

“Hi,” he smiled back. “Looks like you had a bit too much to drink.”

“Yeah.”

I then blacked out in his arms.

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A/N: hope you like it! I've written the end of the story, I just need to edit a couple things in some of the chapters since I wrote it a long time ago and I had a couple of good plot ideas.

Review please!

Chapter 3: Waking Up Hungover Is Never Fun
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author's note: im so sorry i haven't updated in forever! but fret not my friends, I've written the rest of the story and now all I have to do is just update the chapters!

and im sorry, this is a bit of a history lesson, but its important. all charries/hp world to JK, except the coach, character and Michelle that I make up.

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“Michelle.”

“Uhhhhhhhg.”

“Michelle.”

“Go awaaaaaaaaaay Mike.”

“Oh come on, I made you tea!”

“Leave me alone,” I said, mumbling, as I rolled over, covering my face with my pillow. I had never had a hangover before but I was beginning to realize that this was probably what it felt like. My head was throbbing, my limbs felt sluggish and my eyes weren’t used to the light. I wished that I could just go back to sleep and spend the rest of the day in my bed, telling myself that I would never drink that much alcohol again.

“Fine, if you want to have a hangover the whole day, go ahead. I was just trying to be nice and give you a potion that cures-”

“Give me that!” I said, lurching out of my bed and grabbing the vile from Mike’s hands. It felt cold against my fingertips and I suspected that Mike had kept it in the freezer. As I clutched my head in pain, I opened the bottle’s top and downed the purple liquid, much as I had downed the shots last night. As I swished it around in my mouth, my stomach protested, thinking it was more alcohol but I forced a swallow. I could hear Mike snickering at my disgusted face. Yes, instantly, I found that my headache began to lift and I felt livelier then I had when Mike had woken me up from my deep slumber. I pushed my hair into a makeshift ponytail and looked back at my grinning brother. My demeanor soon changed.

“Oh great, what did I do last night? I don’t remember a bloody thing.”

“And you were the one giving me weird looks about my newly acquired accent,” Mike laughed. Well that I did remember. Sort of. “But from what Fred and George tell me, you challenged that Keeper on Puddlemire to a one on one shooting challenge and then threw up in the alley way before passing out.”

“In my puke?” I said, looking at my hair in disgust, regretting that I had just touched it.

“No, that Wood guy helped you home and left that by your bedside,” Mike said, laying back onto my bed and throwing his arm towards my bedside table where there was a slip of paper waiting to be opened; it had my name scrawled across the front. I climbed over Mike’s body and snatched it off the table, my heart racing. Maybe I hadn’t blacked out and had sex with him and he was now giving me a thank you note saying how wonderful I had been even though I was drunk?

What, a girl can dream, can’t she?

If you’re still up for the challenge, meet me at the Puddlemire pitch at 1 pm … that is if you’re not still hungover.
Oliver

Damn.

I looked at the clock on my bedside table and the red letters flashed 12:45.

Double damn.

“What did it say?” Mike said as I began to smile softly to myself.

“I have to go, get out,” I said, shooing him out of the room as he looked at me oddly.

“You didn’t have se-”

“No! Get out!”

Adrenaline and excitement pumped through my veins as I pulled back the covers and forced my feet to the ground. I fumbled through my drawers with shaking hands and finally found a white razor back workout shirt; the potion was still on its way to curing my completely. I reached onto my nightstand and pulled my lucky black mesh shorts and pulled them on quickly. After putting my hair in a sleek ponytail, I grabbed my broom and quaffle and put them in my sports bag. I then looked in the mirror; I looked good for having a hangover merely seconds before.

I smirked as I apparated to the field. I remembered when I had first apparated in school back in American and I chuckled. I’d been so scared that I was not going to make it in one piece. Of course, I didn’t make it, but after years of practice, I got the hang out it. However, I still preferred the broom since it was a lot safer, although slower.
When I got there, the pitch was empty and dead quiet, which was very unlike yesterday.

“All the better,” I said internally with a smirk. “I can warm up and he won’t see his competition.” After getting out my broom and quaffle, I threw my bag onto the team bench. The bench had ‘Puddlemire United’ spread out across the back and I smiled even more as I rifled through my bag. That was my team now. I stopped getting out my things; I reached out and let my fingertips graze the white lettering. My dreams were becoming reality. Sure, I wasn’t an American Quidditch star, but I was on my way to becoming one. Besides, I’m sure a lot of celebrities started out in a different country other then America.

Take that, you stars and stripes!

After taking out my precious broom, I kicked off the ground and spiraled into the air. The wind whipped through my hair and I let out a little laugh as I climbed higher and higher into the air. Maybe it was the potion or the feeling of being on a broom, but I felt like I was floating on my broom instead the reality that was the fact that I was gripping onto the broom very tightly. But soon, my hands left the shaft and my legs held on as I spread my arms towards each end of the horizon and closed my eyes. I was home. It was this feeling that had me addicted to the sport.

Before when I was younger, I had always thought that Quidditch was a silly game with enchanted balls and sticks. That was partly because when I had tried out to be a beater when I was a first year, I didn’t make it. It was for good reason; I was beyond horrible, small and frail. The next year, I tried out again, but this time for the position of seeker, like my father had advised me to. I made the reserve team this time, but I still wasn’t happy. Instead of admiring the bench, I was sitting my ass on it, watching the others play their hearts out. I’ve always been competitive and that bruised my ego; I still went to practice, however, and practiced like I was playing in a game. The sad reality was that it was the closest thing I would get to playing Seeker in a game. My third year, I didn’t even bother to try out. The only reason I went to games was because my brother, who was a seventh year at the time, was captain.

Then that summer, my father died. I still remember the shock of it all when he hit the ground and was gone.

John Dunbar was one of the most famous Quidditch chasers of the time, playing on the Lincoln Liberators. Since Mills Academy was tucked up way in the Rocky Mountains, we were isolated from most of civilization, which was the point of the school. The other schools in the New England area always seemed to have to brainwash Muggles who found them practicing magic on the grounds. And so, the news of my father’s death shocked the magical world but it didn’t reach my brother and me until a day later. He had been hit in the head by a bludger and killed instantly.

My brother stopped Quidditch all together since it was too painful for him to pick up a broom, but I didn’t. I took it on. My father had always loved it and if my brother stopped, I decided that there needed someone to play Quidditch in the family, carrying on the Dunbar name. Every day that summer, I practiced at a pitch that was near our house. I was going to be a chaser just like my Dad; no more Seeker for me, that was too easy in my eyes. I was built to be a seeker, being slim and small. Ironically, I was a horrible seeker and the administration was happy to see me play another position. When asked what I wanted to try out for, I responded that I wanted to be chaser since my father was one and my brother was one as well.
It was that summer that my sickness began. Almost once a week I would black out during my own little practice on the pitch. My brother told me that I should stop Quidditch because it was bad for my health. I reminded him that I had never had this sort of thing before and it was bound to go away sometime. He shrugged and took me to the school nurse who gave me my potions that I still take now everyday. He didn’t really care anymore; he’d been hit so hard by losing our dad.

My fourth year, I tried out and made the team at Mills. Most kids said it was because the team felt pity towards me, but that made me work even harder. I was starting Chaser and the youngest member on the team. People didn’t know what had happened over the summer; how did the shitty seeker turn into a brilliant chaser? However, the captain, a sixth year named Greg, treated me with utmost respect. He knew that my father’s death hit me hard since it had with my brother and he offered to help me with my skill work for he was a chaser also. He said it was the least he could do, for my brother had helped him with his Quidditch career.

I accepted his offer and we practiced an hour after practice was officially over. I improved so much my fourth year that when I tried out the next year, people were saying that I should have been captain. But I couldn’t take the position from Greg – he helped me and he was a 7th year and I was only a fourth! I had raw talent but he had experience. But near the end of the season, Greg was hit by a beater’s bat from one of our opponents and couldn’t play for the championship. I was the new captain by vote of the team and I lead us to victory that year in our league. We went onto the regional championships, but we lost our first game. Most people didn’t expect us to get that far because they saw that Greg was the heart and soul of the team. They thought we were toast. But I wanted to prove them wrong; I had been given the shaft all of my life and I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

Yet, one thing did. My mother, who had always been a quiet woman, suddenly cracked. Lyn Dunbar was depressed from her husband’s death but had never said anything about it until that summer. She blew up Mike for being a slob and not having a good job and she told me that I shouldn’t be even near a pitch with my ‘condition’. She cried and cried constantly until Mike and I had no choice but to send her to a home where she would grow better mentally; we couldn’t take care of her since we had our own lives to deal with. However, even while in the hospital, Lyn worsened and she ended up taking her own life.
Her death didn’t affect me as much my father’s. It was just another thing that kept fueling me to play better.

The next year I was the captain since Greg had graduated and our team looked good. The coach didn’t know if I could do it with my mother’s sudden death but the team urged me on. I was only a fifth year and I figured that I wasn’t suitable to be captain. I gave up my position to the seventh year seeker, who deserved it more then I did; next year, I would be able to take it on. Yet, my decision wasn’t a smart one and it turned out that our seeker wasn’t a good captain. We lost most of our games. I was so angry that I promised myself that I would win nationals my next year. It was my second to last year at Mills and I wanted to show everyone that I wouldn’t fail them this time. I would work my team like dogs if I had to.

And that’s exactly what I did.

We still have the nationals’ trophy at Mills along with a picture of me holding it with the team in the background. Scouts called me and told me to come and try out for their teams for I was quite the hot item on the marker. I was so happy that I had made the best out of my life and I was set for next year.

When I was a seventh year, the team was young since most had graduated. I tried making the best out of my team, but it seemed like we were never going to be as good as the year before. None the less, we still did fairly well, although I felt sick to my stomach when another team laughed and cried while holding up the trophy that could have been ours.

But there was one small problem with my plans for going professional; I never made any of the teams because of my sickness. It seemed to worsen with my mother’s death and there still was no cure out there. Medi-witches and healers always shook their heads, telling me they still had no idea what was causing it.

I checked my watch. I had been here for two hours practicing with myself and recalling my younger years. Where the hell was Oliver? Then it hit me. It was a joke. He never meant to come. He tricked me into coming and he made me look like an idiot!

“That Tory!” I exclaimed as I threw my quaffle back into my bag and apparated home. It was unbelievable; I had fallen for the stupid trap. I was so stupid! But he’d have hell to pay at practice tomorrow. Oh, I would make sure of that. No one pulled the wool over Michelle Dunbar’s eyes and got away with it.

--

The next morning, I put on my same workout clothes I did yesterday and apparated to the pitch at Puddlemire stadium. The fire in my eyes was still there but it had calmed down a bit from yesterday afternoon. I would get my revenge on him, that was for sure.

“Oy, Dunbar!” Marino called from the sky. I looked up with a closed smile. Maybe practicing and the guys would calm me down at get me over the whole situation. Maybe I was just blowing up too much and I needed to let this go. After all, Oliver and I were now teammates and it would be smart to get along with him instead of fight with him.

“Come and warm up!” Forester said waving at me. I put down my bag near the same bench as before and took out my broom, kicking off and then flying over to them. I blocked out Oliver’s smirking face and focused my attention on the chasers in front of me.

“Today should be fun,” Marino said rolling his eyes once I got there. We’d just began to spread out in a circle and throw the red ball back and forth.

“Why?” I asked as I raised a brow and threw the Quaffle to Marino.

“Because Cambert works us hard in the beginning of the season,” Forester said with a grin as he intercepted the pass and then tossed it lightly back to me. “The first training months are hell. Ever notice why we’re practicing before any other Professional team out there?”

“Oh joy,” I said rolling my eyes as I caught it. But out of the corner of my eye, I saw something that I really didn’t need to see at the moment: Oliver had just walked leisurely onto the field. “Tory,” I muttered as I turned my back to him and scowled. Practicing had got my mind off him but practicing with him wasn’t going to help me at all.

“Bad blood?” Forester asked with a raised brow of his own as I threw the ball at him with a little more force.

“Let’s just say that he’s not on the top of my friends list right now,” I answered, cracking my knuckles as I glared in his direction.

“Are we?” both the boys said in unison with those silly smiles plastered onto their face.

“Of course, why wouldn’t you be?” I said with a small smile, changing my mood one hundred and eighty degrees. Maybe I should focus on these two hooligans instead of that stupid Wood. They made me crack a smile every time they passed the ball to me and caught it when I threw it back. Screw you Wood.

“Alright you hogs, get down here,” Cambert yelled a few minutes later and I was thankful that he did because I was about to pee I was laughing so hard. Marino and Forester were doing impressions of some of the recruits that were at the tryouts. We all landed hear Cambert quickly, however, because we knew he would threaten us with laps. I did not have eye contact with Oliver. I hated him at the moment. But I knew that if I had one glimpse of his chocolate brown eyes I would be dead.

Oh how I hated rejection.

“Now here are your respective coaches,” Cambert barked, “Daniel Fields, the chaser coach, Phillip Turner, the beater coach, Jeff Carter, the keeper coach and Annabell, you’ll have the pleasure of being with me.”

“Woohoo,” Annabell, a petit, fair-skinned, brown-eyed redhead said sarcastically as she kicked off the ground and headed into the air. Cambert grinned as he waved the rest of the team away and the other coaches took over. I felt a hand on the small of my back and I realized that it was Fields, pushing me away from the others. I’d been too caught up with watching Annabell and Cambert bicker in the sky that I didn’t notice we were leaving.

“Alright chasers,” Daniel said as we stopped at the center of the pitch. I turned around to see the coach I would be working with for the rest of the season. He was a handsome, taller, older man who looked like he’d been coaching for a long time. Gray hairs were salt and peppered around his head but his blue eyes still sparkled as he spoke. I could tell that he was in love with the sport as much as I was or else he would have another job.

“Can you tell me what this is?” he said holding up a quaffle in his hand, letting his broom drop beside him.

“A quaffle Dan,” Marino said rolling his eyes and then connecting eyes with me. “You’d think that we’d already know that.”

“Wrong,” Fields said with a smile. Marino scowled as he put his arms over his chest and I suppressed a giggle.

“A red ball?” Forrester tried as Marino rolled his eyes. From what I could gather, Forester wasn’t the smartest of the bunch but he was amazing at Quidditch. It was like something turned on in his brain when he got on the field. Yet, in reality, he was often thrown to the dogs for his comments.

“Wrong, again.” Fields then looked at me like I was supposed to know. Truthfully, I had no idea since both the guys had taken my answers. Obviously he didn’t want me to talk about the ball physically.

“The key to the game?” I said, taking a stab at it. I expected my answer to be wrong.

“Correct,” Fields said smiling as he threw up the Quaffle and then caught it again. I beamed as the other two chasers playfully glared at me.

“But I thought that was the snitch coach,” Forrester said dumbly as he looked at Fields like he was stupid.

“Well the Quaffle is now because I don’t know if we can trust Annabell,” Fields said looking up at the sky where Cambert and Annabell currently were. She was arguing with him and I couldn’t help but crack a smile. They were both fiery, vertically challenged people, yelling at each other. It was a sight I’d probably never forget. Although I hated it, my eyes strayed over to where Oliver was. He was a good keeper, I must say and the sweat on his forehead told me that it wasn’t all fun and games for him either. He blocked every one of Carter’s shots. Anger burned inside me as I though of our challenge yesterday that he failed to turn up to.

“Dunbar, pay attention and get up here!”

“Sorry Fields,” I replied as I kicked off and flew up to the sky to join the others. The reserve team was starting to warm up with us for once and I felt bad for them. They practiced just as hard as we did but they never got to play. One winked at me and I scowled. Maybe I didn’t feel bad for them now.

“Looks like someone likes someone,” Marino said with a chuckle behind his hand to Forrester.

“Sod off,” I said as I narrowed my eyes and threw the Quaffle straight at his face. I had learned that bit of slang from my brother.

--

By the time practice was over, I had done every chaser position in the book about twenty times. I was exhausted and so was everyone else. But Cambert had other ideas in store for us, the bastard. Now I knew why the other chasers had warned me.

“We shall have a scrimmage or something like it!” he said joyfully as he clapped his hands together gleefully. Groans filled the air as many rolled their eyes.

“Coaches plus reserve versus starters,” Carter said, catching onto the idea and smiling. Another chorus of groans sounded off.

“Shouldn’t we have Wood practice with the chasers? No offense to you Carter, but I think he should practice with some Professionals,” Fields asked with a raised brow. I could tell that he didn’t want to get on a broom and play since he’d been sitting on one all day watching us. Plus he was getting old, or so it seemed, and maybe he wasn’t cut out for a game with young professionals. I scowled at the mention of Wood’s name however.

“Good thinking Fields!” Cambert said, loving this idea better. The beaters chuckled, hitting their bats together in victory and Annabelle took down her ponytail, shaking her hair about joyfully. The chasers and Wood, however, scowled at the coaches.

“That’s why you hired me,” Fields said with a toothy grin, leaning on his broom. I sent him a short glare, which made him grin even more. I stopped, looking down at the ground, knowing that there was something going on in that head of his. “You, Dunbar! You’ve been doing well today. Go shoot on Wood. Let’s see how well Carter trained him.”

I rolled my eyes as I kicked off into the air. I knew that I shouldn’t have glared at him. It was like my teachers always did. If you didn’t look like you wanted to be up at the board, you were the first the teacher picked to write with the chalk. Marino and Forester acted like cheerleaders for me, rubbing my shoulders and squirting water into my moth. They were being like Mike times two. I shrugged off their hands and spit the water out as Annabell threw me a quaffle before saying good luck. Wood must be really good if they were doing all this. Speaking of the devil, he was stationed at the goal post and waited for my shot. I got up, kicked off my broom and tucked the Quaffle under my arm.

“Are you ready for this Tory?” I shouted. The scowl was off my face and a smile replaced with it. Oh, I would have fun with this. He may not have showed up for the challenge, but I would show him now that he would have lost anyway.

“You’ll never make it Yank! You may have won the Revolution but you won’t win this!”

“I beg to differ Wood,” I said in a slightly sing songy voice as I pressed myself against my broom and sped towards him. As I came closer to him, I hurled the Quaffle towards the right hoop. He lunged for it but I was too smart for that; I knew that was exactly what he was going to do. I made it so the ball curved at the last second and it flew into the left hoop with ease.

“Beginners luck,” Wood growled, embarrassed that he had been scored on. “Again.”

“As you wish,” I smirked as I flew towards the ground, picking up the quaffle. Again I made the same shot, but this time just barely. He was starting to catch onto the trick, but he still couldn’t get to it.

“Again,” he ordered. Smirking as the other players were whopping and hollering for me. This time, I threw the same exact style of shot except in the lower hoop. He had caught onto pattern and blocked it with ease. The crowd laughed and cheered on Oliver.

“Beginner’s luck,” I growled back as I received the Quaffle from him. He smirked and then peeled off his shirt and under it was an absolute gold mine. Damn him, damn him, damn him! His body was perfect and his abs seemed to be as hard as rocks. Why did the one guy that I could never have, have to have a perfect Quidditch body? My mouth began to water at the sight, but I tried to keep my cool. I scrunched my eyes together as I went for the shot. He blocked it, that damn smirk still plastered onto his face.

“Fuck,” I cursed. He was doing this to throw me off my game! Well fine then, I’d do the same. I then took off my own shirt for it was getting hot and I was sweating a lot. I noticed his eyes directly go to my sports bra. Typical guy.

Ten more shots went by and he blocked a couple, I made a couple. Each time, I would make one, he would block it. Our competitive drive fueled each of us as we glared at each other. This had nothing to do with the fact that he hadn’t shown up. It was just the friction of our egos. We both knew we were good and it was just a matter of proving to everyone else that we were the best. I was pretty sure that Fields had chosen me for a reason; to see my competitive drive that I’d shown in the try-outs and the practices.

“Alright last shot and then we go home,” Cambert called as people started packing up. At first, the contest was fun to watch, but after a while, it was probably getting boring for the rest of the team. But I wasn’t done yet; no, I was willing to give the team a show and end it with a bang. Quidditch was about skill, but also, theatrics. I smirked as I let out my favorite trick. I feinted left, then right, then left again. I spiraled up then down. I circled the posts taunting Wood. “
You won’t block this one!” I smirked.

“You wait and see Yank!” he called through clenched teeth. I laughed and then circled once more around the posts. “Go on and shoot!” he called. It was all going to plan. He was becoming irate.

“Hurry up Dunbar!” Cambert called, rolling his eyes as he saw Forester and Marino going towards the water cooler, an odd glint in their eyes. However, Fields was watching me with hawk eyes. It was almost like he knew my exact plan.

Then when Wood couldn’t stand it anymore, I sped towards the right goal post. He went to block it and I smirked. Perfect. At the last moment, I leapt off my broom to the left and while in the air, made it into the left hoop. Like I was diving into water doing a swan dive, I dove through the air for a couple seconds until I caught my broom again, which had sped downwards to catch me. The crowd went berserk and everyone stopped packing up their stuff to run over to the center of the field where I was going to land.

“Told you Tory,” I smirked at Wood with a wink. “You lost the contest.” He scowled back as he sulked over to pick up the Quaffle that had fallen through the hoop.

“Teach me your ways Master!” one of the reserve team chasers yelled.

“Yeah Swifty," Marino grinned as he wrapped his arms around me.

"We now dub you Swifty!" Forrester said lifting me onto his shoulders. I let out a scream of delight as he carried me around the pitch in a victory lap. Fields was still where he was standing before, watching my every move. I sent him a smirk of satisfaction. Wood sulked to the locker rooms while Carter told him that there was no way that he could have blocked that shot. I could tell he was boiling with anger.

--

a/n:
hope you liked it!
carly.

Chapter 4: Trying To Get Oil And Water To Mix Isn't Easy
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Author's note: Sorry about being so long inbetween chapters, but swim season is coming to an end, which means more updates. There's a semi-quote from Othello in this chapter. If you can find it, I'll give you cookies! Thank you for the kind reviews! ^_^

~



The next day, I woke up very sore. More sore then I had ever been before. 

“Damn practice,” I murmured as I hit my clock, which had an alarm that was blaring ‘Get up!’ ‘Get up!’ ‘Get up!’ I rolled over to the other side of the bed, groaning. I certainly did not want to get up. But when I opened my eyes, I saw that on my bedside table, there was a small vile of potion. Interested, I picked it up and quizzically examined the blue liquid. 

“It helps the soreness,” my brother chuckled as he threw me my water bottle, which landed to the right of my head. 

“Thanks,” I murmured and then downed the potion. It was an odd taste; sweet and sour. I swished it a bit in my mouth and then swallowed. It was a bit like Mike; my brother could be so thoughtful sometimes and such a jerk other times. I sighed and fell back into my comfy bed. Why did I have to leave? I could just stay in bed. I mean, I had the excuse of sore muscles … and … much to my chagrin, I felt my muscles begin to relax. 

Damn you potion. 

After shooing Mike out of the room with a thankful smile, I quickly changed into my clothes and apparated to the field. I was the first one there, which was just the way I liked it. With my muscles feeling warm and relaxed, it was a perfect time for me to practice. I was a Quidditch freak and yes, I knew it. 

I mounted my broom and flew off into the sky. I did twenty laps first as I did all sorts of moves, increasing in skill. Back and forth over the pitch, I did suicides on my broom, working on how fast I could turn. To me, flying wasn’t a workout. Anyone could do it. It was everything else that brought me into a full sweat: the push ups, the dips, the sprints, the weights, the abs sets and the medicine balls. I was so busy zipping around that I didn’t even hear the footsteps that were coming out onto the field. 

“Woah there,” Fields said waving me down from the ground. “Practice hasn’t even started yet, young lady, and yet you’re here, busting your ass.” 

“I know,” I said with a shrug as I hovered near him, “I’m just used to doing my own warm up I guess.” 

“I wouldn’t call it a warm up,” he said with a grin as he produced his own broom out of thin air. 

“You were watching?” I said surprised and embarrassed at the same time. I never really liked it when people watched me practice. It was odd, I feel like I had to prove myself when they were watching. Show them that I’m not just your average Quidditch player. 

“Well I’m always the first one here in the morning. But apparently not today. Must be hard trying to score with no keeper there to block it, eh?” He mounted his own broom, that silly grin still on his face, and flew to the keeper’s post. I still hovered near the ground, unsure of what to do. I didn’t know what he was planning. 

“Now try and score on a real expert.” 

I laughed softly and then turned my broom just at the right moment to catch a quaffle he’d thrown me. A small smile came over my own face. How could someone as old as Fields try and keep up with a younger person like me? It was a bit mean, yet somewhat true. However, he seemed like a good coach and maybe he would let the shots go through and act like a diversion. I pulled my ponytail tighter and scrunched my eyes together and went in for the shot. My fingers let go of the ball and they stayed arched as I made a curve around the keeper’s post and continued to do it as if I was set on a racetrack, going around and around. 

“You’re good Dunbar, but your shot tends to go to the left a bit. Try again.” 

And around. 

“Your follow-through is perfect but shorten it and see what happens. Again.” 

And around. 

“Now elongate it.” 

And around. 

“Try releasing from out there.” 

And around. 

“Try it closer.” 

And around. 

“Fields, you shouldn’t wear out the players before practice,” Cambert chuckled as he entered the stadium with the team in tow. Of course, they followed him murmuring about how they didn’t want to practice and how they were sore. Forester and Marino mimicked his movements behind his back while Annabell gave them each a death glare and the silent finger. Wood, however, was looking at me with a raised brow, surprised that I was up this early. Part of me wanted to give him an icy stare but part of me wanted to blush. I was torn. 

Thankfully Cambert sent us off to our corners of the pitch to practice before I could react. I ducked behind Fields as Forrester and Marino swaggered to our end of the field. 



“Good practice, now come tomorrow with a better attitude,” Cambert called at the end of the practice as he tapped his clipboard. We all groaned as we entered our respective locker rooms, our shoulders slumping under the weight of our bags filled with our new gear we’d received. I plopped my bag on a bench and then rubbed my protesting shoulder. 

“So,” Annabell said with a sadistic grin as she started to undress for the shower. “You like Wood? He’s quite fit, innit he?” 

“What? Of course not!” I said quickly. Too quickly. I turned my back to her and began to interest myself in my new jersey that I’d pulled out of my bag for a distraction. 

“You can’t lie, I saw you blushing this morning when he was looking at you,” she said, cackling as she pulled her practice shirt over her head. 

“I don’t like him Annabell. He’s an egomaniac and I was not blushing. I had been practicing before you showed up, you know,” I said firmly, trying to convince myself that Wood was nothing more then a cocky bloke. I looked down at my jersey in front of me and then folded it into a perfect square. As I proceeded to tuck it back in my bag, I could feel her eyes on my back. 

“He is very handsome looking, I’ll give him that,” she mused. 

“I don’t like him,” I said as I pulled my own shirt over my head, so my words came out muffled. I could almost feel Annabell smirking at me as we both continued to change. 

“He’s a bloody good Quidditch player too.” 

“I told you already, I don’t like him!” 

“And tan. Well, for a Scotsmen.” 

“Stop!” 

“And he’s got that accent.” 

“He’s with Katie for fucks sake!” I lashed out, my voice echoing against the walls of the locker room. My blood was racing through my veins as I threw my shorts on the floor before me. “And for the last time, I am not interested in Oliver Wood! He and I just don’t mix: oil and water. Now drop it before I make you.” 

“That’s not what I heard,” Annabell cooed, stepping into the showers, that silly grin still on her face. 

I twisted my sports bra in my hands angrily. How dare her! After throwing it in the direction of my stuff, I entered the showers, flicking one on mentally. “Explain. Now.” 

“Oh it’s nothing really. What I’m interested in is why you care,” she said in a sing-songy voice, reaching for her shampoo bottle. I ducked under the shower, letting the water wash over me. Why was I interested? Why did I care what Oliver’s love life was? I scrunched my eyebrows together and spit out some water that had made its way into my mouth. It wasn’t for my personal benefit. I mean, sure, Oliver had looks, but brains? That was a no. My perfect guy had to be a Quidditch player, tall, dark and handsome. As I checked the points off in my head, I realized that Oliver had all of them. No, there was something wrong with me. I leaned on the tile wall behind me and watched as the water droplets fall on my skin. I couldn’t have feelings for Oliver, I just couldn’t. It wouldn’t work. 

“I knew you liked him,” Annabell said with a little point towards me as she put her head under the water, washing out the shampoo of her hair. 

Sadly, I didn’t protest. I listened to the showers running and then looked up at Annabelle, my eyes forlorn. I shook my head. “I can’t like him. I just can’t.” 

“Why not? You’re perfect for each other,” Annabell said washing the remains of the shampoo out of her hair. 

“But I don’t know if I could do it,” I said as I slumped all the way to the ground. The feeling of the water and tiles against my back, oddly, felt good. 

“What do you mean?” Annabell said reaching for her conditioner bottle. “Is it the fact that he’s on the team? I mean, the break-up isn’t that bad. I considered dating Forester for a while but then he got a girlfriend last year during the season, which threw off my game for a while, I admit. That’s besides the point. If you like him, it will work.” 

“No, it’s not that. My last knight in shining armor turned out to be a loser in tinfoil. And besides, how could a person like me take him away from a girl like Katie? I’m a semi-tomboy Annabell. I have for all of my life. It’s almost like I don’t know how to be feminine and sexy. All I can do is talk to him about Quidditch and I’m sure that’s not sexy to him,” I said putting my head against the wet tile behind me. I rubbed circles on my temples with my fingertips. “That’s why.” 

“Oh that’s the biggest load of bullocks,” Annabell said with another one of those grins that I was beginning to hate as she thrust her head under the showerhead again. “There’s a part of every girl that is feminine; you’re born with it. You just need to know how to use it. That’s where I come in. I’ll teach you all you need to know. So maybe, you say you ‘forget’ to bring your sports bra and where a push up instead. Oliver’d be crazy to turn you down.” 

I glared up at her, shaking my head. “There is no way in hell I’m doing that Annabell.”



“That’s a wrap!” yelled Cambert and there was a collective groan from the team. I wiped the sweat from my face and took a long sip from my water bottle, trying not to notice the way that my boobs were being pushed up from the bra that Annabelle had loaned me. I couldn’t believe that I actually put the thing on. I’d been flying around all practice with my chest flying just about everywhere and I’d never been more embarrassed. Practice had been hard today and the fact that I was actually doing what she said didn’t make it any better. Cambert said that it was going to be uphill from now because we had to train for our first game, which was about two months away. Many groans followed his speech, like usual. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Oliver going over to his bag. He was shirtless. I tried to contain my drool and I turned my attention to my bag, bending over to pick it up. 

“My my,” Marino smirked as he looked me up and down, “Little Miss Swifty isn’t so little.” 

“I second that,” Forrester said, liking his lips. I scrunched my eyebrows and then it hit me. I looked down to my shirt and of course, the boys were looking at the sight that the bra had produced. What made it worse was that I was bending over. I put my hand over my shirt and glared at them while reaching for my sunglasses. 

“Call me sometime,” Marino joked as he grabbed his bag and winked. I rolled my eyes and zipped up my team jacket to cover myself. Yet, as I grabbed my bag, I took a swift glance over to where Oliver had been standing. He’d put on a shirt, sadly. I took a deep breath and grabbed the rest of my stuff. Maybe I’d walk by him when I was leaving and then maybe he’d say hello and then maybe … 

“Oooofph!” I blurted as I felt myself fall towards the ground; I’d tripped over my shoelace. Great. Just great. I heard some snickering above me and I looked to see Oliver standing next to me, his arms crossed over his chest. 

“Always were a smart one, Swifty,” he jeered, his shadow falling on my face. Hopefully he couldn’t see me blush. 

“You’re just sore that I beat you the first practice,” I said as I helped myself up to my feet, dusting off some of the pitch that stuck to me. 

“That was two weeks ago. I don’t hold grudges that long,” he replied with stubbornness laced into his words. “Plus I’ve blocked your shots many times.” 

“But you haven’t blocked my ultimate shot,” I said frankly as I picked up my bag and slung it over my shoulder. 

“By the way, what is that?” he said seriously as his features relaxed. “I’ve never seen it before.” 

“My own creation,” I said nonchalantly, wiping my sunglasses against my shorts to clean them before I put them on. “I wasn’t captain of the National winning team for nothing.” 

“Does it have a name?” he asked, raising a brow and stepping closer towards me. My heart began to race. Hopefully he was interested in me and not my play. Maybe this whole Quidditch thing could work. Maybe I could blend Annabell’s seduction and my tomboyishness to create a web to ensnare a fly as great as Oliver. 

“Not yet, I’ve just called it ‘Ultimate’. I don’t use it that often,” I said with a closed lip smile as I put my glasses on the top of my head. My fingers fell on the top of my chest and I saw his eyes follow them for a fraction of a second. Maybe this whole feminine thing wasn’t as hard as I thought. I placed my hand onto my hip, leaning into him a bit. I’d seen other girls do it before when I was back in school and it seemed to make the guy interesting. But knowing me, it probably made my posture look weird and awkward. 

“No wonder I couldn’t have blocked it,” he said, mirroring my smile. I considered twirling my hair with my fingers but I didn’t know if it was too much. I didn’t know what to do, so I just sat there, smiling like an idiot back at him. My mind froze and there was a silence in the air for a couple seconds. 

Damn, this wasn’t going well! Merlin, why didn’t my mom teach me these things? 

“I’ve made up many other plays such as chaser formations and strategies,” I said hinting at something, trying to keep the conversation going. Maybe if he fell for it, we could spend some time together outside of practice. 

“You’ll have to show me them sometime,” he said with a small smile. My heart started to beat abnormally. My planned had worked. I was going to see Oliver outside of practice and maybe then, someone romantic could happen. 

“Well gotta run, Katie’s waiting for me at my flat.” 

He then apparated away. My heart stopped and I tried to stop my mouth from forming into a frown. 

Well that just about killed the moment, now didn’t it? 



“Here, have this torture device,” I groaned as I threw the push up bra at her as I entered the locker room. 

“It didn’t work?” Annabell said quizzically as she caught it. 

“It did on Marino and Forrester, not Oliver,” I groaned as I slipped off my shorts and with a snap of my fingers, the shower was on. “Oliver wanted to talk Quidditch and I almost got him to meet me outside of practice to talk about it but then he ran off to fucking Katie. This is madness.” 

“Oh come on, you can’t give up Michelle,” Annabell said, following me into the showers. “It’s going to be hard but you can’t throw the towel in now. Besides, we still have other options you know. So he doesn’t like boobs. He’d bound to like other things. He caught onto Quidditch, we need to keep using that. Maybe invite him for a coffee and I’ll make you up before you leave.” 

“Why I’m doing this, I don’t know,” I said rolling my eyes as I sprayed her with water from my showerhead. 



“Seven weeks left!” Fields said as we left the field. 

“Here goes the countdown,” Oliver mumbled to himself as he threw his shirt into his bag near mine. 

“What you never counted down to your first game?” I asked, trying to start a conversation. The last encounter we had after practice wasn’t a good one per say, so I hoped to improve on it. Plus, Annabell had been nagging me the whole week to try and ask Oliver to grab a coffee with me at some local muggle place nearby. 

“Well sure I did, but not seven weeks before,” he replied, shrugging his shoulders. 

“Well did you start practicing seven weeks before?” I said with a chuckle. Apparently, he didn’t know how to coach a team that well. 

“No.” 

“Well then don’t complain about countdowns then,” I said with a laugh as I sat down on the bench in front of me to begin to take off my shoes. They were new since I’d got them from one of the team sponsors and they gave me blisters. I cringed as I saw blood staining my white socks; today we’d done running instead of our normal broom rides. It was the wrong day to wear new shoes.
 
“Well then Yank, did you ever countdown seven weeks before?” He leered and my attention was diverted back to him. Sadly, he was still standing when I hoped he would come and sit down next to me. 

“Why yes Tory, I did. We had practices three months before our first game,” I said, returning his old nickname. I then took out my wand and said a quick spell, removing the blood that had soaked into my sock. I was just about to heal my blisters when his voice cut into my head. 

“And who was captain of this team? They must have been crazy,” he said with a short laugh as he zipped his bag shut. 

“Me,” I said as I stuck out my tongue and then said the spell for the healing of my blisters. Yet, inside, I was still hurting. He hadn’t remembered that I was captain of a team. I’d told him before, I was sure of it. He didn’t really give a shit about me, did he? It was always Katie this, Katie that. 

“You really are crazy then,” he remarked, throwing his bag over his shoulder. 

“It’s what you have to do to win,” I said shrugging my shoulders, my sadness beginning to show. No, I would have the upper hand again. My hand flew to my hair but as I began to twist a strand between my fingers, I felt … well not myself. Why was I pushing this flirting bullshit? I didn’t even know how to it right. It wasn’t working. My hand dropped to my side as I began to put my shoes back on. 

“Yeah, I remember Katie telling me that I was a tyrant too,” he replied with a wistful smile placed upon his handsome face. I clenched my fists at the mention of Katie’s name as I tried to remain composed. Was that all the boy ever talked about? I dared to press on. 

“She was on your team?” 

“Yeah, along with Fred and George, who you know. The rest you don’t know. Well maybe Harry Potter,” he said slyly. Harry Potter! My head shot up from my shoe. Wow! I tried to contain my jaw from dropping as I gulped. 

“He’s a seeker right?” My voice quivered with excitement. 

“How did you know?” he said deflated because he couldn’t tell me all about it. Well serves him right, he was putting me through hell by mentioning Katie every second. 

“I have my ways,” I said rubbing my hands together evilly, hoping that soon, they would be around Bell’s neck. 

“Katie always said that girls have their ways,” he said laughing as he grabbed his broom the bench next to me. The joy was sucked out of my body and my hands stopped rubbing themselves, making fists instead. I watched as his own fingers stayed attached to the shaft of his broom and slowly, they moved up and down. I let out a small breath; if only those fingers were holding mine instead of a broom. 

“She’s right,” I half growled. 

“Well I have to make the plans for dinner tonight; Katie and I are going out. See you tomorrow Dunbar,” he said with a half wave and then apparated away with his stuff. 

I almost punched through a wall when I got home. 



“Sooooo,” Annabell cooed, “How much time do we have to make you up?” 

“We’re not going,” I growled, not wanting to talk to her. I trudged over to the showers, trying to avoid her. 

“What do you mean? I brought all my stuff!” She asked, following me, much to my dismay. 

“He doesn’t like me, ok? It’s always Katie this, Katie that. Fuck Oliver! Just …,” I yelled and then sighed. “Just leave it alone Annabell. I can’t make him like me.” 



“Three weeks!” chanted Cambert, a stupid grin on his face. 

“Bloody countdown,” Oliver said smiling over at me. I would have gotten weak in the knees, but practices have made me really fit. And the fact that I hated him helped too. 

“It’s good for you Wood,” I said, turning towards my bag. 

“That’s what Katie says when I refuse to eat healthy. She doesn’t understand that these practices are really tough on us,” he replied, pulling out an energy bar from his bag. “She says these things have too many calories and I shouldn’t be bothering with them after practice.” 

My lips became a straight line. 

“Yeah, I guess you could say that my brother does the opposite. He says I’m getting too skinny,” I sighed as I pulled my practice jersey over my head and threw it into my bag. Sadly, I’d been doing this for a while and his eyes no longer roamed my chest. I guess he was used to it. Or Katie just had a bigger one. 

“You’re not too skinny. You’re perfect,” he mumbled. 

“Yeah, whatever,” I mumbled right back, knowing that this conversation was probably going to end soon. 

“I know how girls complain about weight, Katie does it all the time, but you really are perfect Michelle.” I would have liked the compliment if Katie wasn’t in the same sentence. 

“Thanks,” I said looking him in the eyes, but there wasn’t a smile on my face. He quickly turned away, becoming more interested in his Keeper gear that he was packing up quickly. I turned to my own Chaser gear, mirroring him. 

“Why so hasty? Going somewhere?” I said trying to cover up my hurt inside. He was leaving again and I would have another angry night alone. God damn it, why did life have to be so unfair? 

“I have to go soon,” he said almost silently as he slung his bag over his shoulder. 

“Where?” I prodded. I was starting to get angry. 

“Home.” 

“To Katie?” I said barely above a whisper. 

“Yes, to Katie,” he replied with a hard stare before apparating back to his flat and precious Katie. I walked into the locker room, ignoring everything around me. I could see Forrester and Marino joking around with a quaffle, but it was like I was deaf; I couldn’t hear anything they were saying. My feet were sluggish and my bag felt heavy hanging from my shoulder. I pushed on the door, which wouldn’t budge at first. Angry, I slammed into it. It opened quickly and I barged in, knowing that Annabell had already gone home for it was a Friday. The locker room was all mine. I stripped of my practice clothes and took a long hot shower that was much needed. While the hot water rained down on me, my eyes rained their own droplets of hot water. I was so frustrated; I’d tried flirting, hinting to meet with him, but he wasn’t taking the bait. I’d worn a push up bra to practice for Merlin’s sake! But where did it get me? 

Nowhere. 

I fell to the floor, my chest heaving as I sobbed my heart out. Why did this always happen to me? I liked a boy, yet when push came to shove, nothing ever happened. They thought I was too intense with Quidditch or that I wasn’t worth their time. I hugged my knees against my chest, putting my head to rest on my knees. 

Maybe … maybe he did love Katie. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be for us to be together. Maybe I was destined to find someone else. Or just be alone for the rest of my life. 

When I walked out of the locker room, feeling more composed, Fields was waiting for me, leaning against the wall behind him. 

“Dunbar, the game is coming up in three weeks.” 

“I know that,” I said rolling my eyes. Hopefully he wouldn’t see that they were red, but if he did notice, he didn’t mention it. 

“I want you to study these videos of the chaser you will be guarding. He’s the best they’ve got and you’re the best we’ve got. I hope you’ll make us proud.” I nodded as I took the videos in my hands and went home. Mike tried saying hello, but I ignored him. After a heavy dinner of pasta that I had made myself in silence, I studied the videos that were of a chaser named Martin Rosenthal. 

I could take him. 

I’d show everyone that I was better. I’d kick Rosenthal’s ass. 

~

Author's note: so don't kill me! things will get better, I swear! ^_^


Chapter 5: Trouble With A Capital T
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Author's Note: I tried writing this chapter the best I could, so if it skips around a bit, don't kill me. Hope you like it!

~

~

It turns out that Martin Rosenthal was tougher then I thought. He had grown since the taping of the videos that I had watched; he was about 6’1 now and weighed a lot more then me. Even though he was big, he moved on his broom with incredible speed and made those hard moves look like a piece of cake, which I knew took great practice. They’d trained him a lot over the summer or he had a growth spurt; most likely a combination of both.  

Either way, I was fucked. 

“Wonderful,” I moaned as I saw him zoom by our bench. He probably heard me because he gave me a wicked smile as we were warming up. 

“Dunbar!” Fields called, his clipboard in his hands. 

“What?” I said, almost snapping, flying down to the ground, my hands shaking slightly. I shook my head slightly, trying to clear my thoughts. I needed a good pep-talk now because it was my first Quidditch game ever. People were starting to fill up the stands to watch us warm up and Marino was waving to the crowd, making them cheer for him.
“Marino, stop flaunting!” 

“Yes coach,” Marino said with a silly grin and secretly blew a kiss to a female fan. 

“What do you want Fields?” I asked impatiently. I wanted to practice more, unlike Marino who was just messing around. He didn’t seem nervous at all.

“We are going to switch who you guard this match,” Fields said, not even looking me in the eye. He was focused on something on his clipboard instead?

“What?” I said, completely in shock. This threw off my entire game plan. How was I supposed to guard someone that I knew nothing about? This was madness!

“Rosenthal is bigger then in the videos I showed you-” 

“No shit Sherlock!” I retorted, putting my hands over my chest with an unusual amount of sass. 

“I’m going to have Forrester guard him,” Fields said curtly against my glare. 

“No! I can do it! Forrester knows nothing about Ros-” 

“I don’t want you to get hurt,” Fields said, putting a hand on my shoulder. I could tell because of his eyes that he really did mean it, but I was too angry to care. I was playing Quidditch, of course I was going to get hurt!

“I won’t! I can do it! Sure he may be bigger, but I know his moves.” I was acting like a small child throwing a temper tantrum. I felt like poking him in the sternum to show him that I wouldn’t be pushed around, but I decided against it, keeping my hands firmly on the broom. 

“And he knows yours. I bet he’s seen videos of you,” Fields countered.

“So? What if he just goes after me the whole game? I’m just supposed to buzz off?” 

“Forrester is going to guard him. That’s final.” 

“No!” I said stomping my foot against the ground, “Forrester doesn’t know anything about him! I do! You’re just scared that I can’t handle him, but you’re underestimating me Fields.” 

“This is our decision and if you do not comply, you will be kicked off the team. You will be guarding Baxter this game,” Fields said, his voice laced with anger as well. However, he had a much more calm way of keeping it in while I was ready to snap my broom in half. I clenched my fists in anger as I walked over to the team bench where Annabell currently sat and then jammed my headphones into my ears. These devices that Muggles had made that made music portable made things so much easier for me. They were quite large and a nuisance to carry around, but music always got me ready for my games. Fast music that pumped me up filled my ears as I began to untie my shoes and lace them back up again. Damn nervous habit. 

I then took the opportunity to size up my competition as I saw them passing out of the corner of my eye. I couldn’t tell which one was Baxter. He was either a small scrawny redhead or a medium sized blonde. Hopefully he was the blonde because today, I wanted a challenge. But despite all my anger and vile thoughts, my stomach started to turn violently. I was extremely nervous for I’d never played in a professional game before. I found myself on my feet and before I knew it, I was doubled over a toilet, my hands on my stomach. 

“Just nerves,” Annabell said patting my back with a small smile.

“I hope so,” I said clutching my stomach as I gave another hurl. 

“It’s your first professional game. I remember when I was a Greenhorn like you. I was much worse, since the ending of the game rested on me. Oliver said his first game he was knocked out by a bludger or something. You’ll be fine.” 

“Let’s hope so,” I managed to say as I threw up again. 

~

“Captains shake hands!” the referee boomed and Marino and Rosenthal shook hands. “Keepers to your posts!” Oliver and their keeper, Yalton, took their positions. The crowd began to chant as the chasers took their positions in the sky. Rosenthal seemed to get the message that we’d switched at the last minute but I could still feel his eyes on me. I stared right back. 

“Go!” the ref yelled as he threw the Quaffle into the air and Marino and Rosenthal and I all flew to get it. 

“And their off!” the announcer boomed. Rosenthal reached for it first and got it because of his stature and our lack of height. 

“Damn it,” I heard Forrester grunt as he chased him down the field. He didn’t like the idea of switching either but after being threatened to be thrown off the team like me, he complied. But as much as I wanted to guard Rosenthall, I knew that Forrester would be able handle him. After all, Forrester was a professional chaser; it was his job to be versatile. 

“Forrester tries swiping the ball from Rosenthall!”

But Rosenthal was down the field in an instant and thankfully, Marino had foreseen this because he was right there waiting for the guy. 

“Rosenthal passes to Clay, then to Baxter-” 

Baxter wasn’t the medium blonde: he was the scrawny redhead. The weakling. I fumed; they were going to have me guard the weakest player on their team instead of the strongest. I took the opportunity to see if he was any good. As Baxter went down the field, I slowly crept up on him. 

“Man on!” Clay called but Baxter couldn’t see me. He swerved to the left and then to the right but I kept on his tail. I wasn’t about to let him go.  

“Baxter tries to throw off Dunbar, but she stays on him!” 

I saw his right hand, which was holding the Quaffle, itch and I knew he was going to throw it. It was a sign that most intermediate chasers showed; my brother taught me that. I saw that Rosenthal and Clay were on his left side, so I inched to the right so it looked like it was perfect for him to throw it. He fell into my trap. 

“Baxter passes it to – INTERCEPTED! Dunbar snatches it out of the air and races down the pitch alone! Terrific play.” 

The crowd roared. Puddlemire was playing at their home stadium and I was pretty sure that Fred and George were somewhere along with my brother, probably making bets. As I raced down the field, I dodged a bludger sent by the other team’s beater. The crowd was on its feet as I came closer and closer to the keeper. I felt myself smile; I was back in my element. This was what I dreamed for. This was what I practice for. This was what I lived for. 

“You,” the redhead growled when he was neck and neck with me. 

“Dunbar speeds down the pitch with Baxter on her tail. She passes to Marino, who quickly passes to Forrester, who passes up high to Dunbar, who avoids another bludger from Gilgan! She shoots! AND SCORES! 10-0 Puddlemire!” 

The crowd burst into cheers as Yalton threw the quaffle to Rosenthal quickly, a scowl on his face.

“Rosenthal races down the pitch and dodges a close bludger – nice bat by Dellard.”
Rosenthal passed to Clay, who then raced ahead of Marino. Something didn’t seem right so I kept close tabs on Rosenthal. I’d seen in the tapes that they liked to shoot with another player and then have Rosenthal ‘clean up’ so to speak. There was no way that I was going to let them try that because I knew Oliver wouldn’t be able to block it. He was a good keeper, he’d been taught well, but these guys were professionals.
“Clay goes for the shot – No! Does a quick pass to Rosenthal, which was almost caught by Dunbar - shoots – Scores! 10 all.” 

“I knew it,” I muttered to myself with a defeated tone and took the quaffle, which Oliver passed to me. The guitar riffs and base lines of my pump-up music flooded my brain as I found new confidence. There was a hint of a smile on my face as I looked to my right and left, seeing that no one was with me. 

“Dunbar races down the pitch with amazing speed – she’s all alone out there!”  

I smirked as I saw Yalton start to become tense, as he should be. It was a one on one shot. 

“Dunbar feints left, then right, spins and shoots – SCORES! 20-10 Puddlemire!” 

I punched the air in happiness as I felt the crowd cheer the loudest yet. I sent a small smirk to Yalton before heading in the other direction to go back on defense. 

“Timeout!” Rosenthal called before Yalton released the quaffle from his hands and we all flew to our benches, adrenaline pumping through out veins. 

~

“Good, Good,” Cambert almost giggled, which I was not expecting. He then became composed but we all knew that he was happy because we were winning. The other team had taken another time out and I could see their coach yelling at them profusely. 

“The score is 150-80 us. Now, I want you to keep doing what you are doing because you’re tiring them out as you can see. Just get the god damn snitch Spinard!” We all nodded and sipped our water bottles. 

“I saw it right by the post and was about to get it,” Annabell said with a slight nod of her head. 

“Good girl. Now Wood, block as many shots as you can, we can’t have them scoring too much.” 

“Yes Coach,” he said thoughtfully as he put his water bottle down and put his head in his hands. He wasn’t having a splendid game, but he wasn’t having a bad one either.

“And chasers, score as much as possible. If Spinard doesn’t catch the bloody snitch-”
“Hey!” 

“I said IF. But if she doesn’t we still need to win. They get confused easily with the Whirling Windmill.” 

“Aye Aye Captain,” I fake saluted. At the beginning of the game, I’d been so nervous but as the game wore on, my confidence grew. I was having fun out there and my true skills were beginning to show as a result. 

“This is no time to be funny,” Annabell said trying not to laugh. 

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” I said taking another sip of my water bottle. The whistle blew and the Puddlemire fans cheered as we mounted our brooms again and began to take our positions. 

“I see you itching for Rosenthal. Don’t,” Fields whispered into my ear just before we left. 

~

“Marino with the Quaffle!” 

“Windmill!” I shouted and we got into position. And like a Windmill, we passed to each other while going slowly in a circle. Just like Cambert said, they were confused, not knowing who had the ball at what time. 

“Dunb- no Forres- no Marino shoots! SCORES! 160-100 Puddlemire.” 

The rest of the game seemed to whirl together as the chasers began to rack up the score, dodging bludgers and almost toying with each other to outdo the other. 

“Rosenthal shoots while dodging a bludger from Edmund! Blocked by Wood!” 

“Forrester shoots while avoiding Baxter cutting him off! Blocked!” 

“Clay -avoiding the bludger hit by skillful Dellard- shoots! Just missed by Wood. Scores. 170-110 Puddlemire!” 

“Dunbar shoots from up high! Intercepted by Rosenthal.” 

“Rosenthal shoots! Just past the fingertips of Wood. Scores. 170-160 Puddlemire.” 

“Forrester to Dunbar, with the Aceland Arch! Blocked by Yalton.” 

“Dunbar again! SCORES! 200-160 Puddlemire!” 

“Dunbar to Forrester, to Marino! Yalton was nowhere close! SCORES! 250-160 Puddlemire!” 

“Rosenthal shoots! Blocked by Wood, nice save!” 

“Baxter shoots! Scores – 300-200 Puddlemire!” 

“Dunbar with the skill shot! SCORES! 350-200!” 

“Clay shoots! BLOCKED BY WOOD! Amazing save by the Scot himself!” Oliver grinned at the announcer’s praise as he threw the quaffle to me. His confidence was rising as well because he was blocking shots with incredible ease. He just had nerves like me. But as I sped down the pitch, the crowd cheering, Rosenthal cut me off. It was almost like a switch had been flicked. My mind focused on him and him alone. I didn’t hear Fields shouts of anger and worry, I went straight for Rosenthal, who had just intercepted a pass from me to Marino. 

“Switch, he’s mine,” I yelled to Forrester, who nodded his head and sped off to Baxter. The anger was pulsing through my veins; there was no way that oaf was getting away with cutting me off. Rosenthal then smiled his silly grin and raised his brows. I sneered back and he swerved to the right but I followed. 

“Think you can take me on?” he said slyly into my ear as we were neck and neck. His breath on my neck sent bad shivers down my spine and a frown came upon my face, but it soon left. I now knew that I wasn’t joking anymore. This player meant war. There had been tensions the entire game, anyone could see that, but now that we were in a safe lead, I intended to do what I was planning to do the entire game. I’d show Rosenthall I wasn’t going down without a fight. 

“I could take you any day that ends in Y,” I said as I slyly stole the quaffle from under his arm. I could hear him fuming as he chased after me, so I winked to Edmund and pulled up. Edmund sent a bludger towards Rosenthal and he just barely avoided it. I looked behind me as I rose in the sky and Rosenthall sent back a twisted smile as I raced down the rest of the pitch. Little did I know, the small brains in the oaf were turning. 

“Man on!” Marino yelled as I was about to shoot. I ignored it because the swell of the crowd was behind me. Yet, as I shot, I felt something crash into me, making me drop the Quaffle, and I found that soon, I was pinned me to the goal post. It was Rosenthal behind me. My ribs hit the post with a sickening crack and I gasped for air just before the side of my head made contact with the metal. I start coughing as he pressed harder, grinding my body against the post. I cried out, trying to move in order to hit him to get him off me, but I had no success. My head was throbbing and my insides screamed in pain. Tears began to prick at the sides of my eyes. 

 “FOUL!” the ref yelled, which seemed like minutes later and Rosenthal quickly released me. My head started to spin and I knew that my sickness had something to do with it. 

“Are you ok?” Marino’s blurry face in front of me said. 

“Yeah,” I managed out as everything focused into view because I was concentrating enough to make it settle down for a while. 

“And Dunbar will take the penalty shot.”

I clutched my head and took in a deep breath as things started to go in and out of focus. 

“Not now,” I whispered to myself. And like that, things came back into focus, but my eyes still burned. I had found out ways to try and help my sickness go away but today, they didn’t seem to work. 

“Can you take the shot?” the ref asked as he gave me the Quaffle. 

“Yes,” I said sending a death glare towards the smug looking Rosenthal, who smirked back at me. He’d only gotten off with a warning because he said it was an ‘accident’. 

Bullshit. 

“Dunbar goes towards Yalton and shoots a fade away side shot! SCORES! 360-200 Puddlemire!” The crowd was the loudest it had been the whole day. I slumped on broom and tried keep the game going despite my pain. 

“AND SPINARD AND NOLAND DIVE FOR THE SNITCH!” My head whipped around and saw that their seeker Noland was reaching out for the snitch. It seemed like time began to slow down and both the seekers reached out their arms for the snitch.
“Come on Annabell!” the crowd shouted and cheered. 

“AND NOLAND REACHES OUT! BUT SPINARD’S JUST TOO QUICK! SHE CATCHES IT!” 

“VICTORY IS OURS!” Marino and Forrester yelled together as they gave each other high fives. The crowd burst into applause and cheers as we all did a victory lap. I was at the back for my injury started to take its toll. My smile tried masking my pain but it still came out as a grimace. However, everyone was so happy that we’d one the game that they didn’t seem to notice. As we came to the ground, Cambert congratulated us with hugs as the press snapped pictures. Then a drop came from the sky, signaling rain, and we all happily ran into the locker rooms. I somewhat limped. 

“DUNBAR!” Fields boomed into the girls’ locker room just as I had gotten in. 

“Yes coach?” I said putting on a smile even though I didn’t feel like smiling. He, of course, couldn’t go in so I met him outside the locker room. 

“You disobeyed me. You went after Rosenthal when you were told not to,” he fumed as he shook his head, disappointed. 

“But I knew from the videos that he gets angry and if I hadn’t gotten that penalty shot, we wouldn’t have won-” 

“I don’t care! You disobeyed me. Get out outside,” he said, jabbing his thumb in the direction of the pitch. 

“But-” 

“NOW!” he bellowed and most of the team and press probably heard it. 

“Don’t you think you should let her off the hook Fields?” Marino asked as he poked his head outside the guys’ locked room, an eyebrow raised. 

“She did win us the match,” Edmund said with a lopsided grin as he shrugged his shoulders. 

“Give her a break,” Forrester said with a booming laugh as he put his arm around Fields. 

“She has an injury,” Annabell said coming out of the Girls’ locker room, not caring that she was in just a towel. 

“She will learn to follow orders directly,” Fields said plainly as he took Forrester’s arm off him. He then grabbed his raincoat. “Let’s go Dunbar. You’re doing time.” 

~

Author's end note: buhahah, cliff hanger! Don't worry, the next chapter will be up soon and it will tie back into the romance, I swear!

Chapter 6: Those Damn Little Voices
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A/N:

I'm BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK. 

First of all, I want to thank all the fans who have left me messages and reviews. Because of you, I have found the joy of writing. The reason I've been on such a long break is because I wasn't into it anymore. I began to like to make graphics, hence why the story has a new banner. However, I got a really long email from a fan that brought me back.

So!

I've decided that every Sunday, I am going to post a new chapter. I've also got a one shot in the works, so look out for that!!!!

AND NOW THE CHAPTER YOU'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!!!1!!1!!

-



 


“Alright Dunbar, I want you to do laps until I tell you to stop,” Fields said from under his stupid yellow shiny raincoat after he was sure that the press had left the stadium. It was beginning to rain more and more since the clouds were on a mission to dump all of their contents. 
 

“When will that be coach?” I gulped as I mounted my broom, ready to take off. I didn’t want to fly laps, I was tired and hurt. He had a right to be mad, but I on the other hand still had my pride. 

“When I see that I have broken into you,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest, looking me up and down, his stare cold and hard. I’d never seen Fields this angry before and I knew that I’d been stupid taking on Rosenthal even though my coach said not to. But something inside of me said that I needed to show him that I wasn’t going down without a fight. I was Michelle Dunbar. 

A force to be reckoned with.  

“What sign would tell you I’m broken?” I said, returning the stare. I wasn’t going to show him that I was weak. I was determined. I made a decision and I was going to stick by it whether he liked it or not. I was used to being a captain on my old team; I guess the attitude stuck. 

“When you start to cry. That’s when I know I’ve broken your goddamn pride. Now get a move on.” I kicked off the ground and started out with slow laps for I was tired and hurt. If I kept at this speed, I could have been at it for a long time, showing him that I wasn’t weak. 

“Faster Dunbar!” 

I leaned into my broom but instantly winced for my ribs screamed with pain. I hadn’t had a chance to see the Medi-wizard yet for Fields had quite literally pulled me out of the locker room as soon as I had gotten in. I slowed down and clutched my ribs with my hands. I had to stay at this speed, I couldn’t go faster or something horrible would happen. I could get even more hurt then I was now.  

“Faster Dunbar!” 

“I’m doing what I can!” I screamed back at him, my temper flaring. He just smiled evilly back at me as he adjusted his rain hood. Damn him and that stupid raincoat. Did I get any protective gear? No. Stupid coach. I slowly began to increase my speed while still staying mainly upright. If he wanted to see my pride diminish, he would have to be telling me to get a move on the whole night. I wouldn’t give up that easy, no way. 

“Faster Dunbar, or we’ll move on to something else like sit ups.” Oh fine, play that card. I grimaced as I lowered my body closer to the broom. My speed increased instantly and I hoped that it was the fastest I would have to go that night.


“Faster Dunbar!” I bit my lower lip and lowered myself further. The stadium began to blur into many colors as my broom whipped around the pitch, faster and faster as Fields, the coach from hell, willed me on. The combination of the rain and my condition made my head spin. A coppery taste filled my mouth as I rounded my, what seemed like, hundredth lap. It was really probably my twentieth, but I was so out of it that I couldn’t tell one from five. As I went around in circles faster and faster, things seemed to go in and out of focus, but I would not give up. Not this early. 

“Ready to give up Dunbar?” 

The coppery taste became more pungent. 

“Fine,” he yelled, “I have all night. We won’t stop until you want to.” The coppery taste now increased, if that was possible. The rain pelted my face and the wind whipped through my hair. I felt and looked horrible. Seconds turned into minutes as I continued to race around the pitch, half-conscious. 

“Alright, Dunbar, get down here, you’ve had enough for the night.” 

“No!” I croaked as I whipped past him and continued to fly. The pain in my ribs had been numb for a while now because of the cold and because I was slowly getting used to it. 

“Dunbar that is an order.” 

“No! I haven’t sobbed yet! My pride isn’t broken!” 

“You will get down here. NOW!” 

“Never!” 

“Dunbar! I’m warning you.” 

“No coach, I will not come down until I sob!” 

“Very well then. I must be going, but stop whenever you see it fit,” he yelled over the howling wind as he made his way back to the safe shelter of the locker rooms. He had put the ball in my court now. It wasn’t up to him to break my pride, it was up to me. I bit my lip harder as I rounded the next turn. I hadn’t really noticed the coppery taste but now it was more apparent. What was it? Quickly, I look my hand off the broom and swiped it paste my shivering lips. It was faintly red. I looked down at my mouth and saw that it was bleeding. I gasped but then looked up just in time to see that I was heading straight for the keeper’s post. I swerved out of the way at the last second and continued the laps. Soon, I couldn’t see much of what was in front of me, but that did not stop me. When I was training for nationals, I used to train in the rainy weather all the time. If I could take it then, I could take it now. 

“Merlin Michelle, you’re going to get sick,” Fields said from right next to me. I jumped. 

“Huh?” I said turning to my right. There he was still in his stupid shiny yellow plastic raingear and on a broom doing laps with me. 

“Watch out!” he said and I barely missed one of the keeper hoops. “I am ordering you to get off that damn broom! You’ve been up here for an hour now.” 

“I will not. Not until I cry! You said it yourself.” 

“You are already Michelle. Get down on the ground now!” he said as we rounded the next turn. 

“That’s the rain,” I said barely above a whisper, not wanting to admit. I had no idea if I was crying or not, but I was going to stick with myself and not give into him. 

“No its not. You’re crying,” he yelled as we rounded the keeper hoops again, me going along the outside and him cutting around the inside in order to try and stop me. 

“Am not!” 

“Are too! 

“Am no!” 

“Let’s not turn this into one of those sibling fights. I can see the tears Michelle, you’re only fooling yourself.” I brushed my hand over my cheek and I thought I felt one; yet it could have been the rain. I slowed down and began to sit upright. My ribs groaned in response and I muffled a yelp of pain, which was enough to bring more tears to my eyes. I had finally cracked. I was now in full on tears and I couldn’t stop them from sliding down my face. My pride was gone. Gone. Snatched from my body. Before it had acted like a wall, keeping my emotions out, but now it was breeched and the emotions pored out. I cried for my parents, my sickness, my wrecked childhood, my loneliness, my failure and lastly my stubbornness. Sobs wracked my body as I clutched onto my broom, my knuckles becoming white.

I hadn’t cried this much in a very long time. 

“Get in the damn locker room and take a hot shower. It’ll be the downfall of the team if you get sick,” Fields said harshly but I could hear in the way he said it that he was sad as well. Maybe he didn’t mean to crack me that hard. There was more to Michelle Dunbar then he thought and how little did he know. He’d just unleashed water from behind a dam. 

“Yes coach,” I said as my numb feet hit the ground. I dismounted as I clutched my stomach. My ribs were now swelling and protesting in pain and I knew that I needed something to help stop it. 

“You know your lesson now Michelle. Take some potions for your ribs and report to practice on Monday of next week,” he said over the rain as he put an arm around me. He even tried to give me the stupid yellow hat from his rainsuit. I protested but part of me wanted to reach out and grab the thing. 

Then it hit me. 

 “But I can’t skip a week of practice!” I retorted as I swatted away his hand. I didn’t need any help thank you very much. I still had some part of my pride intact even though most of it was broken. 

“You have my permission. Go take a hot shower. You need to rest.” 

I turned around and slowly made my way back to the locker room, clutching my ribs the whole way. I had a lot of things to think about that Fields had so subliminally implied. I had too much pride and I was so stubborn that I didn’t see the things that were good for me. Like that stupid hat. Sighing as I tugged at the doorknob, I knew it was all because of my parents leaving me and my brother alone at such a young age. He’d gotten over it, why couldn’t I? I guess I never really grieved; my head was always on Quidditch and not much else. As I entered, my mind began to spin. Quidditch, parents, brother, love, Oliver, friends, games, pride; things began to circle my head as I walked down to where I had put my stuff before the rain ordeal. Voices called out my name as I stuck my hand into my bag. 

I whipped my head around. 

Silence.  

“Michelle, Michelle, Michelle,” they began to chant and cackle as they pranced around my vision. 

“Stop it,” I said clutching my head in pain. I didn’t need this right now; I already had too much on my plate. 

“Michelle,” they all chanted at the same time as I fell to my knees before the bench and my stuff. 

“STOP!” I said as my shaky hands went through my bag, looking for my bottle of miracle pills. 

“They don’t like you. Nobody does. You’re different. You don’t fit in. And most of all, he doesn’t love you,” they screamed as they all danced and cackled with one another. My ears rang as I covered them. 

“Stop,” I whimpered as the tears began to flow again. No, I couldn’t cry, not now. Any other time but now. Finally, I saw the white plastic and found it. I pulled out the bottle and then poured two white pills into my hand. 

“Michelle?” a male voice said but I chose to ignore it. It was probably my mind making things up. I popped them into my mouth just before my eyes rolled into the back of my head. I blacked out on the cold floor beneath me. 

~

When I woke up, I wasn’t in the locker room. I was in a huge navy blue four poster feather bed that wasn’t mine. Nor was it Mike’s. I stared at the new room that I had been put into. Besides the navy bed, the walls were a creamy white and there was a navy blue and white couch with a wooden table near it. On the table were many papers and a miniature Quidditch pitch. At least I was in good company. Next to me was a wooden night stand that had a clock on it and a picture of a family waving to me. I picked up the picture. My hands grazed against the frame as I studied it more. There were what seemed like a couple and their children all at a Quidditch game. The couple had brown hair and so did the rest of the children. 

One caught my eye. He seemed very familiar but I could not put a finger on who it was. 

I put the picture back on the bedside table and sat up in the bed. It was rude to snoop. But oddly, my ribs didn’t hurt. I looked down to see that I was not in my uniform. Someone had dressed me and a white shirt and red plaid boxer shorts and put me in this bed. I moved from side to side. No pain. 

“I see you’re awake now,” a voice said. I looked up to see Oliver leaning against the door frame with a boyish grin on his face. My eyes widened as I realized that I was in his house and not mine. I grabbed the sheets and pulled them up to my chin. 

“Why am I here?” I asked sharply. I couldn’t remember what happened; all I remembered was that I had been doing laps because of my – pride. The events flashed back to me as I closed my eyes. I sighed as leaned back against the wooden head rest and opened my eyes. He walked over to the bed and sat on the edge timidly. 

“After the game, I left right away because I had to deal with some personal matters,” he said seriously as he looked me in the eyes for the first time in a while. 

“What were those?” I said barely above a whisper. I knew he was going to launch into something about Katie. But something was different this time. I actually wanted to know, even if it had to do with Katie or not. 

“Then Annabell burst into my flat and told me that Fields was going to work you for not listening to him about not guarding Rosenthal,” he continued, ignoring my question. 

“Why don’t my ribs hurt?” I blurted out, eager to know something and fast. “Why am I in these clothes?” 

“I’m getting to that,” he said  and a grin graced his face. I smiled in return. “When I got back to the pitch, Fields told me that you put up a huge fight.” 

“I didn’t fight him. I did laps,” I said as I tilted my head to the side, “Or that’s at least what I can remember.” 

“Some say that laps are worse,” he said grimacing and then looked back at me. “Well he told me that he wanted me to check up on you because he said you weren’t looking too good while you hobbled back to the locker rooms. I heard whimpering so I called your name.” 

“The voice was you,” I whispered, thinking back to the male voice that I had heard shout. Everything was coming back to me now. My mind wasn’t playing tricks on me, it was Oliver coming inside. 

“I found you on the floor passed out with a bottle of white pills in your left hand,” he said looking me in the eyes seriously while holding my left hand. “I thought I had lost you. I’ve never been more scared in my life. Please don’t tell me those were drugs, Michelle.” 

“Those white pills were painkillers,” I lied quickly. They were really my medicine I took to help cope with my sickness. I couldn’t tell him about my condition. If anyone found out, I would be on the chopping block. I'd lose everything.

“How many did you take?” he said squeezing my left hand. He probably thought I was addicted to pain killers. Great. But that was better then him knowing the real reason. 

“Only two,” I assured him, I said raising two fingers. 

“Are you sure?” he said raising a brow quizzically. “How often do you take them?”

“Positive – I only take them when I have pain. You still didn’t answer why I’m here,” I countered almost harshly. 

“I told Fields that I was taking you back to my place after he said that you weren’t going to die. I owled your brother and told him that you would be spending the night. I thought of giving you a shower,” he said breaking the tension with his hearty laugh, “But I thought you would be mad at me the morning after, so I just gave you my clothes after I gave you a painkilling potion. But I guess you didn’t need it.” 

“Why did you do it? Why me?” I said reaching out and putting my hand on his right cheek. I didn’t know what I was doing. For one thing, I didn't care that he was still with Katie Bell. It just seemed so natural to have his skin against mine. I was living in the moment. Besides, he was the one who took my hand; it's not like I'm going to sit there and pretend like it never happened. I could hear Annabell in my ear, urging me on. Something inside me told me that this was it. This was the moment where Oliver bloody Wood tells me that he is in love with me and wants to drop Katie to run away with me. I could see Oliver jumping on top of me, ignoring that my ribs were ever hurt and snog me senseless. After I had my way with him, he'd whisper into my ear that he already bought a house in our name and he wanted 3 children, Mitchell, Felicity and Beatrice. Of course, we would raise them to play quidditch, but that was besides the point.

"Wood, where the hell is my sister?"

The opposite of my dream occured - Oliver's expression changed in a split second. It was no longer full of concern; it was an expression of pure shock. Instantly he scooted away from me, making my hand that I had put on his cheek fall down to the bed spread below. It hit with a clunk. He was no longer relaxed; his muscles tensed as his hand let go of my own. Wood proceeded to root himself up from the bed and turn his back to me. My parted lips that were waiting a passionate kiss clamped together.

"It's what any person would have done," he muttered.

I tried not to cry as my brother burst into the room.
 
-

YAY!

Well, not so yay.

At the last minute, I decided to change the ending. Trust me, it will make the next chapters even better.

Reviews would be nice!

Chapter 7: Halloween Is Supposed To Be Fun, Right?
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A/N: Wow! Thank you for all the reviews! It's nice to know that I still have some fans after that long break!

I'm sorry about getting this chapter out late (visiting colleges, Thanksgiving, school, etc) so I made it extra long. Just don't kill me when you read the end!

I made a chapter image, but I don't know how exactly to code it so it shows up. Could someone please tell me how? Email me if you really want to see it.

Off to the story!

--


 --

For once in my life, I was glad that I was being ordered to stay in bed. I couldn’t bear to go outside, let alone out of my room. The scene played over and over in my mind as I rocked back and forth, holding myself – Oliver had his back turned to me as my brother stormed into the room. Once he’d seen Oliver, Mike had grabbed him by the shirt and moved him aside to rush over to me. The tears threatened to spill from my eyes but I was quick on my feet. I smiled a big grin and gave both men the impression that I was overjoyed to see my brother rather then being heartbroken. I didn’t speak a word to Oliver as Mike ushered me out of the flat and took me home. 


I began to spiral downward once my body hit my bed. I’d never really experienced rejection before. My brother began to worry about my mental health, but I kept feeding him lies, saying that I was just depressed about my ribs and not playing Quidditch. Although I hated it, Mike bought my pathetic attempts to cover the truth. Some of the team came over to say hello after practice, but instead of cheering me up, it only brought me deeper into despair. After a couple of days, I yearned to take my broom out of my bag and fly with them but the orders from my coach kept me beneath my sheets.  


While I was taking a break from Quidditch, I realized that so much was going around me that I didn’t know. For instance, my brother had a new girlfriend, who was the raven haired girl he’d met at the bar where I first met Fred and George. Her name was Noel and at first, I thought she was just like all of his past girlfriends. She had a bit of Spanish blood in her and I always loved to watch her black hair shimmer in the sunlight. I would have asked her to stay so I could brush hair like sister would do since I never had one, but I figured that it would be a bit stalkerish. I didn’t know her that well. But since she wants to be a healer, she’s stopped by a couple times to check up on my ribs. My brother insisted. We mainly talked about trivial things when my brother was in the room, but as soon as he left, I began to realize that she was very different from my brother’s ex-girlfriends. She was brilliant. 
 

She grew up in Spain with her family and then she was sent off to boarding school. Hogwarts was the name. I learned a lot about the school from her. There are four houses and each have different colors, mascots, principles and morals. The Slytherin house was evil, the Hufflepuff house was loyal, and the Ravenclaw house was smart. She was put in Gryffindor because of her bravery. I wished I could have been in school with her; it sounded like such a magical place. And that was a lot coming from a witch. 


“You know, one of your teammates was in my graduating class,” Noel had once told me. Intrigued, I squeezed the information out of her. Guess who it was? Oliver bloody Wood. He had attended Hogwarts and was even in her house. I wished I had never asked. Apparently, everyone knew who he was back there. From about fourth year and up, the girls followed him like a magnet until they figured out how Quidditch obsessed he was. I found that as a turn on; most didn’t. Now that he had made Puddlemire after being on the reserve team for a year, he had become a legend to everyone. I snorted when I heard that. He wasn’t much of a legend around me. 


But my conversations with Noel weren’t the only ones that Oliver had managed to creep into. When Annabell had come over to visit and fill me in with the daily news the first time, she knew that something else was gnawing at me. She never believed any of my lies about my ribs being the reason I was so depressed. So finally, I caved in. I told her everything about after the game and what Oliver had done. Not only had she put her arms around me and patted my back when I began to cry but ever since then, she’d been tip toeing around the subject of Oliver altogether when she visited. 

 
I pulled the covers over me and tried to drift off to sleep. Today was Friday, which meant that tomorrow I would be free to soar in the skies. During the past few days, I had tried push ups and sit ups when Mike and Noel weren’t watching. I could do the push ups, but the sit ups stretched my pain threshold. I knew that medically, they were fixed. But emotionally, I cringed whenever I worked them. Rosenthal’s hit still hadn’t been erased from my mind and for once, I was glad that Fields had let me off for a week. If I had been practicing with the team, I probably wouldn’t be able to keep up with the fast paced moves that Marino, Forester and I practiced. I was also glad that we had a bye this weekend so I could practice next week to make up for what I had missed. As I fell into a deeper sleep, the game replayed in my mind. Everything was in slow motion as I saw Rosenthal barreling towards me; I tried with all my might to move, but I couldn’t. His body was almost touching mine. 


And that’s when I felt it. He was pushing my ribs and -  

 
I gasped as I awoke with a start, throwing the covers off me. My breathing began to slow down as I remembered the dream. It was all so real. I shook my head; it was just a dream. It had to be, it wasn’t real. There was no way that I’d actually been pushed in the ribs. I was still emotionally scared, I kept telling myself. I was about to close my eyes and fall back asleep when I saw a figure standing next to my bed. 

 
“Sorry to wake you that way,” Annabell said timidly as she smiled. “It was the only way that I knew I could get you up.”

 
“Jeez Annabell! You scared me to death! Don’t ever push my ribs! Ever!”

 
“I know, I’m sorry. You were snoring. You couldn’t hear me yelling at you, so it was the only way that I could think to get your attention. I need to discuss things with you.”

 
“Can’t it wait until the morning? I’m trying to sleep here if you haven’t noticed,” I said, groaning as I reached for the covers that I’d previously thrown off the bed.  

 
“No. I need to know now.”

 
“Then you have my bloody attention,” I said, rolling my eyes as I rested against the pillows behind me. She sighed and sat down onto the bed next to me as I wondered what was so important. 

 
“It’s October and it’s almost Halloween - ”

 
“I may have been stuck in this house for a week, but I do know what date is it,” I retorted with a smirk. 

 
“Will you shut up and let me talk?” Annabell pursed her lips at my second attempt to roll my eyes. “Now, I know you’re new to all of this, so I feel that it’s my duty to inform and help you get through it. I’m sure that after a week of being kept indoors, you want to get out. So here’s your chance. Every year, Witch Weekly throws a Halloween Ball. It’s not formal, but it’s a fancy dress party. Hold on a minute … Ah! It’s what you Americans call a costume party. Forgot the translation for a second.” She winked and I smiled back. “The whole team’s been invited - ”

 
“No,” I said sternly, my emotions going from joyous to cold in a mere second. “I’m not going.” 

 
“What?” She said, her eyes ablaze. In the back of my mind, I remembered that I should never get Annabell mad ever again. She looked like she was going to poke me in the ribs again. I cringed. “What do you mean you’re not going? You’ve been out of the public eye for a week. Every Puddlemire fan has been wondering about you. Now you can show the wizarding world that you’re not some sissy tosser, although you’re acting like one right now. Besides, this is a team event.”  

 
“And that’s exactly why I will not be going! If he’s going, I will stay home,” I said, folding my arms over my chest. I was acting like a stubborn child and I knew it. But I wasn’t being stubborn without a reason. I couldn’t face seeing Oliver again. I knew I’d have to face him at practice, but that was on Monday and the situation was different. I could ignore him and focus on the game and the pitch. At a party, one had to mingle and that would mean that I might bump into him. It was too soon and I just couldn’t do it.  

 
“You are being so immature!” Annabell spat. I shrank, knowing that she would yell at me. I closed my eyes, bracing for the words that I knew she was going to say. “I’ve always been a good friend to you. I’ve never brought up the subject of Oliver since that game day. But you need to hear the truth. You fancy him and yet you’re not going to do anything about it. You can’t wait for him to make the first move. Obviously he’s shown that he can’t do it, so help him. You’re acting like it’s you’re first rejection -”

 
“It is my first rejection!”

 
“But you haven’t been rejected! Has he ever told you that he didn’t fancy you? No. You’re just too proud to do it yourself when he’s shy about expressing his feelings.”


“He’s with Katie for Merlin’s sake! I’m not about to become a home wrecker,” I yelped. Annabell kept telling me that Oliver fancied me and I never saw any of it. I wasn’t about to break up a relationship that he never shut up about. My conscience wouldn’t allow it. 


“Katie? She’s nothing compared to you,” Annabell said, putting a hand on my leg for emotional support. It didn’t work. 


“So what? Both of us may think that, but Oliver sure doesn’t. He never stops talking about her. Katie this, Katie that. Obviously he’s more attracted to her then me because if it was the other way around, he’d be dating me instead of her,” I retorted through my teeth. “I’m not going and that’s final!”

 
“So she’s won then,” Annabell said softly, her eyes falling to the floor. “I thought you were a fighter Michelle, but I guess I’m wrong.” 

 
“Oh, don’t even play the guilt card,” I said rolling my eyes as I crossed my arms over my chest. As a silence hung in the air, I sighed and looked down at the floor. Although I hated it, I knew that Annabell was right. I was acting like a total child and being selfish. I had to think about other things then Oliver – like my public image. As she said, the fans were wondering about my health and this would be the perfect event to show them that I was alive and kicking. I let my hands drop to my sides. Her guilt trip had worked its magic. I was not going to just roll over and die because of a petty injury. “Fine, I’ll go. But you have to promise me that you won’t let Oliver near me.”


“Deal,” she said grinning. “Meet me at my house tomorrow at 5. We’re going to see Marco.”  

 
--

 
“Who is this Marco guy again? He better work magic or I want my money back,” I groaned after I clutched my stomach. We had just taken a port key, which always made me sick moments afterward. I closed my eyes as regrouped while bending over as I heard the clicking of heels and the soft touch of lips on cheeks. When I opened my eyes and the world didn’t spin anymore, I saw Annabell in her new black heels and standing next to her was a dark skinned Italian man with a grin on his face. I gulped as I stood to my full height and met his blue eyed gaze. He was wearing tailored pants and a crisp white shirt that screamed high fashion. Over all, he looked like one of those models from the muggle Vogues magazines that Noel had given me when I was in bed. 

 
“So this is the project, yeah?” He asked, turning to Annabell, who nodded. I sent both of the death glare; I was not a project. I was a human being! 

 
“Come with me Michelle,” he said as he extended his hand. I timidly walked over and took it as he whisked me away into the back of his studio. I felt myself being pushed into a black, plush chair as he turned his back to me and took out his wand. Immediately, clothes began to fly from racks on the sides of the room and assemble on hangers attached to a central rack in front of him. I heard Annabell chuckle next to me and I turned towards her, my eyebrows raised. 

 
“You look just like me the first time I met him. Isn’t he just delectable? Oh Merlin. But want to know the best part? He’s straight as an arrow!”

 
“I heard that,” Marco said, his eyes turning to meet Annabell’s which made her blush. I couldn’t blame her; I would have done the same if he’d stared at me that intently. 

 
“Well, I’ll just browse the racks as you work your magic dear,” she muttered as she headed off into the forest of racks that he kept in the room. I later learned that he used an enlargement charm (which Annabell later asked which type of enlargement charm he used … I hit her for such a sexual comment) to make the tiny little flat able to hold all of the clothes that he had in his possession. Since Marco was a stylist to the stars, he had to hold many clothes for the different events that they attended. However, he was not the biggest name in fashion and therefore, he didn’t have the money to work out of a grand studio in the center of London. He worked out of his own flat because it was cheaper.

 
“So, any ideas on what you want to be tonight?” he asked in a cool manor as he turned back to me. I froze because I never actually thought about what I wanted to be. I was too busy thinking about Oliver and the public’s reaction. He understood my thoughts from my expression and nodded. With a flick of his wand, a couple costumes flew from the hangers and onto the other racks. I thought I heard Annabell yelp and I chuckled at the thought of her running away from flying, zooming clothes.  Marco looked back at me after he heard me laugh. 

 
“She’ll be fine.” 

 
“Excuse me?” I said quizzically. How did he know my thoughts? I mean, unless there was someone else in the room – 

 
“There’s no one else in the room. I can read your thoughts with Legilimency. I do with all of my clients for I feel that it’s easier to know what they truly want in an outfit. So you want to impress this Oliver guy? Don’t tell me that you don’t want to impress him, you want to avoid him. I see you’re lying when you think that. Halloween is sexier these days so this is the perfect time to show you off. Hmmm ..,” 

 
He went back to the racks before him as Annabell skipped out from under a pile of clothes singing ‘I’ve found it!’ over and over again. She put the ball of fabric into my lap as I tilted my head and examined the costume she’d picked. It was all black. I looked up at her with an eyebrow raised and then went back to the outfit. It consisted of a black corset that someone had cleverly turned into a shirt and a pair of black shorts. She threw a pair of fishnets into the air and they landed in my hair as she scrambled through a wicker basket to my right. 

 
‘Aha! Found them!” she said, holding up a pair of black cat ears. “I’m a cat, get it?” 

 
I looked at the outfit and then back at her. Halloween sure had changed since I was little. When dressing up, I had always been a vampire or witch since I was not creative; Quidditch was more important to me then costumes. I’d seen other girls dress in barely anything for the 31st festivities but I guess I’d never really realized that it was a universal thing and not just specific to Mills. As I began to think about the past Halloweens in my life, Annabell took the opportunity to try the outfit on. I sighed as I saw the curtains of the dressing room close. If that was her outfit, what would Marco chose for me?

 
“Don’t worry, she’s just wild with her costumes. This,” he said, turning around, “Is what you will be wearing.” In his right hand, he held a shorter looking dress that had white sequins sewn onto it and a low cut front. In his left, he held a crown and a sash. “Go and try it on.”

 
I took the dress and accessories from him and followed the path that Annabell had taken to the dressing room. I politely knocked on the door and she opened it immediately. I had to say, she looked amazing. The shirt showed off her small waist and large breasts while the shorts made her lean legs look longer then they actually were. She smiled as she caught a pair of black heels that Marco had thrown at her and slipped them on over her fish net clad feet. 

 
“You look wonderful. But you’re not done yet, come sit in this chair and we’ll do your hair and make up,” Marco said, his hands over his chest as his face held a warm smile. Annabell left the room and pranced over to the chair where I had been sitting earlier. I closed the door and laid out the dress before me. The dress certainly wasn’t my style and my brother would probably kill me if he saw me in it. I smirked at his protectiveness as I slipped off my clothes and into the dress. After I zipped up the side, I examined the fit. It molded to my athletic frame and actually made it look like I had curves. The length was short, but if Annabell could wear those shorts, then I would be fine wearing a mid thigh hem. I faced the mirror head on as I heard a pop! I looked over to see a pair of jeweled heels next to my crown and sash. I smiled; it was just the thing that I had been missing. After I put those on, I reached for the sash.

 
It read ‘Miss United States of America’. 


I laughed as I came out of the dressing room. Marco was one clever Legilimens because I loved that he’d chosen something to make me stand out. I would show all the Tories that I was a proud Yankee girl and I had the guts to shove my American identity in their faces. Perfect for a night with Oliver. I assumed that he would wear something that was Scottish just to make my blood boil but now I would be prepared. Annabell stood up from her chair and stared at me in shock while I had the same expression about her. Marco had teased up her hair (magically of course) and gave her smoky black eyeliner and eye shadow that went with her black outfit. Of course, she had cat eyes and a tail attached to the back of the shorts. She no longer looked like the innocent seeker that I had come to know. 


We both said the other’s names at the same time with a laugh. 

 
“Ladies, ladies, I still have work to do. Michelle,” he said, gesturing to the seat. I passed Annabell looking into the mirror at the fit of her clothes while Marco replied to each of her thoughts, saying that she looked fine. He then turned to me and with a flick of his wand, my appearance changed. My hair was down with large curls and my make up was eloquent, except for the red lipstick. I saw the crown levitate over my head and carefully, Marco secured it to my hair so it wouldn’t fall out during the party. 

 
“I can’t thank you enough - ” 

 
“Just name drop for me Michelle and that’s all the payment I need,” he grinned. “Merlin knows that I deserve a bigger studio.” 

 
-- 

 
After saying goodbye to Marco and the studio, Annabell and I took another portkey to the party. Witch Weekly had rented out one of the hottest wizarding clubs in London and everyone who was anyone was there. As we entered through the elaborate, gothic door, I couldn’t help but laugh. The decorator was a genius. Music blasted from the speakers as waiters and waitresses pushed their way through the throngs of dancing people while strobe lights moved around the room, giving it an eerie feel. But it was Halloween and everything had to fit that eerie theme. I decided that after seeing the plate of finger appetizers, I didn’t want anything to eat that night. Who knew what those fingers actually were. Annabell took my hand and lead me around the side of the mass on the dance floor. My eyes wandered around, looking at all of the costumes and people. Celebrities mingled near the stage while The Weird Sisters were chatting up a pair of blonde bunnies as they stood on the side of the stage, waiting to perform.

 
God, this was going to be quite the night and I was glad that I had agreed to come. It was something that I had never done before. 

 
Finally, Annabell stopped in front of a private table where the rest of the team was sitting. Upon our arrival, chairs came out from no where and drinks were ordered all around. Marino had dressed as Batman and Forrester had gone as Robin. Edmund tipped his glass to me as I chuckled at his old time gangster costume. Dellard was wearing a fur sack like thing with a wooden beater’s bat next to his chair; he was a caveman, which was appropriate for his position. I swear, those boys could never leave their bats alone. I sat down on the chair furthest away from Oliver as I began to examine my nails. I couldn’t believe that he had dresses as an old westerner; he was supposed to be something Scottish! I grabbed my shot and downed it, even though I knew that by taking it, I would end up having another and another. But I needed to get my mind off how gorgeous Oliver looked in his cowboy costume. The way his hat fell down in front of his face made me gulp as I reached for another shot that a waitress in a devil costume had placed on the table when Marino asked for another round. As my throat burned, I saw Oliver glance out at the crowd and as a strobe light lit up his face, I saw a light five o’clock shadow on his jaw line. His shirt wasn’t skin tight like Annabell’s outfit, but it was enough to show the muscles underneath. My heart began to race, but I knew that I could do this. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of me drooling all over him, but inside I knew I was glad that he was dressed the way he was. 

 
I saw a flash and turned to my right instantly to see that a man with a camera had just taken my picture, undoubtedly when I had been throwing back the previous shot. I gave the man a weak smile and wave and he snapped another picture before giving me the thumbs up. 

 
“That’s the way Michelle,” Annabell said with a laugh as she laid a hand on my knee. “Let the public know you’re alive!” I glanced over in front of her and saw that there were four empty shot glasses as the rest of the table laughed. I rolled my eyes as she turned her attention to Marino, commenting that he was wearing such tight clothes for a male. As the music grew louder due to the commencement of the chorus, I crossed my legs and held my head in my hand as I placed my elbow on the table for support. I wasn’t drunk, but I could feel my limbs becoming lighter. Oddly enough, I liked the feeling and reached out, grabbing another shot from a waiter walking by in a tux. Although the firewhiskey burned and the corners of my eyes became wet, I set the glass down and raised a brow as Annabell got up, holding Marino’s hand. They sauntered off to the dance floor as the Weird Sisters took the stage. 

 
The crowd roared. The Weird Sisters were one of the hottest bands in the Wizarding World and although I wasn’t ever going to admit it, I found Myron Wagtail quite cute. Forrester took another shot and got up to join Dellard and Edmund, who were heading towards the dance floor to find dancing partners. My eyes widened as I realized that I was being left alone at the table with Oliver. I glanced over at him to see that he wasn’t staring back at me; instead he was looking out at the crowd with a sour look on his face and his arms crossed over his chest. The opening riffs of a song blasted through the club as I shifted my seat. I saw Oliver look at me and I snapped my head away, trying to look like I had been looking at the dancing people instead of his gorgeous face. I bit my lip to try and keep myself from frowning at my misfortune. 

 
“You’re starting off fast Yank.” I turned back to see him staring at me and I raised a brow. Since when did he care about how much I drank? Well maybe after that time at the bar when I passed out, but that was because it was my first time. I put my hand in the air and instantly a waitress came to my side. I ordered a mixed drink and then turned my attention back to Oliver. I knew I had to keep myself in line, but just for spite, I had ordered a drink right in front of him. 

 
“Since when do you care? And by the way, you’re a Yank too so shut up,” I said with a coy smile that turned into a smirk as I leaned back in my chair. Annabell had promised that she wouldn’t leave me alone with Oliver but now I had to fend for myself. My plan was to ignore him and so far, it was working. I bit my lip and angled myself away from his so he couldn’t see my inner struggle of thinking that he was an ass or my prince charming. After I received my drink and started sipping, he was quiet and didn’t acknowledge me. I tapped my foot to the beat of the song and soon it came to an end. Annabell and Marino returned to their seats and the seeker grabbed my drink, eager for a sip.


“Oh no you don’t,” I said, grabbing it away. “You need to slow down Missy.” I heard a snort from Oliver’s end of the table but I chose to ignore it. I bit my lip even harder. At this point, the party was starting to become distasteful rather then fun. There was only so much drunkenness and debauchery I could take. I felt uncomfortable since I’d never been in this kind of environment before. The music was beginning to make my head pound. I sighed angrily as I placed the straw into my mouth and took a long sip on my cocktail. It felt good. I felt a tap on my shoulder and I lashed out with a ‘What?’, thinking it was another photographer. I was not in the mood to have my picture taken. 

 
“Oh, I’m sorry to bother you, I only wanted a dance,” a man in a Zorro costume said as I turned to face him. I stopping taking a sip from my drink as my jaw dropped. Now this was my kind of prince charming. His black mask gave his sexy visage a mysterious feel to it and as he offered his hand. I took it without a second thought and glanced over at Oliver with smirk. If he wasn’t going to give me the time of day, I would return the favor. As my partner lead me down to the rest of the people dancing, I had a small skip in my step which was probably alcohol induced. Some people would think that kissing a girl’s hand was old fashion but when the man did it to me, I smiled softly back at him.  

 
“Thank you, kind sir. May I ask your name?”

 
“Zorro never reveals his identity,” he said with a flirtatious wink, “But you can call me Will.” 

 
“Alright Will,” I said, meeting his gaze as I pressed my body against him. “Let’s dance.” We stayed together the rest of the song and when it ended, he asked if I wanted to dance again. I accepted and soon felt my mood change. Now that I was away from Oliver, my spirit rose and I began to have fun. I had always been a hard ass at Mills; I worked hard but never played hard. Now was the time to catch up on all the fun that I’d missed. I let my body go wild as I rubbed up against Will, whose hands wrapped around my waist. Usually, I would have slapped his hands away but since it was Halloween and I had just downed a couple drinks, I began to care less and less. The Weird Sisters played on as the old Michelle was put away for the night and I spent the next couple songs dancing with guys I didn’t know. Marino and Forrester had each asked for a dance and I accepted with a laugh. I felt more alive then I ever had. 

 
As my most recent partner lead me back to the table, he wrote down his address on a cocktail napkin, saying that I could pop by anytime. I smiled coyly as we said goodbye and then plopped down on the chair and fanned my face. Dancing was quite the workout. I sipped on a glass of water that Annabell had been drinking and she laughed. 

 
“Look at you! Where’s the old Michelle?” 

 
“Yeah seriously Swifty. If I had known you were this much fun, I would have invited you to guys’ night at my house,” Marino said with a chuckle as he snaked an arm around Annabell’s waist. I blushed as I took another sip of water and turned my eyes to the Weird Sisters. I bobbed my head to the music and had to reject a man for I needed to rest from all the dancing I had just done. Then, the band started to play their hit song and the entire club poured onto the dance floor. I waved off Marino and Forrester, saying that I was going to take this one out. They shrugged and went back into the crowd. Dellard asked Annabell to dance and Edmund waved at a person he knew and went off to join their table. 

 
And so, I was left alone with Oliver again. 

 
I crossed my arms over my chest and refused to look at him. I was having such a good time and I was not going to let him ruin it. I sighed and crossed my legs as I watched Forrester lock lips with a girl dressed as a Greek goddess. A smile returned to my face and I was about to raise my hand to order another mixed drink when suddenly I felt myself being pulled out of my seat. I responded with an ooopfh!! but growled when I realized that the cow boy hat clad man that was pulling me was Oliver. 

 
“Get your hands off of me! Let me go!”

 
“We need to talk,” he grunted as he led me through the dancing people and towards the exit of the club. I tried to get out of his iron grip, but I was not successful. With a frown on my face, I followed him away from all the excitement. I clacked my heels against the ground to let him know of my annoyance. After I asked many times where we were going, he pushed me into a quiet corner and I gulped as his face was hovering right above mine. 


“Let me go Oliver,” I said sternly but my voice faltered as I breathed in a whiff of his cologne. His muscled body being near mine made my knees weaken and my eyes turned from sparkling with joy and laughter to like a deer in headlights. What was he going to say to me? I gulped again as I fell deeply into his chocolate brown eyes. I could hear the music thumping in the far off distance but all I could focus on was Oliver in front of me. My mind churned, thinking of reasons that he’d pulled me away. Was Annabell right? Did Oliver fancy me? Was he jealous? Was he going to tell me that he did care for me? Was he going to kiss me? I licked my lips as I was about to tell him that I was interested in him too when he spoke. 

 
“You need to learn how to control your drinking.” 

 
Tears prickled at the corners of my eyes as the music filled the silence between us. I had gotten my hopes up twice now and each time he’d shot them down. I put my hands on his muscled chest and pushed him away with all my might. Without even thinking, I cocked back my hand was about to punch him straight in the face when his fingers gripped around my wrist. With a quick turn to the right, I cringed at the pain emanating from my wrist but brought my other hand around to slap him fully across the face. He dropped my wrist and grimaced. My slaps were hard but he was lucky that I didn’t get to punch him; I had learned how to sucker punch very well from Mike. 

 
“Now listen to me, you dipshit,” I fumed as my face turned red with anger and I pushed my index finger into the Scot’s chest. “Never take me from my seat like this. Second, never twist my wrist. I have two hands you know. And you know what? Never tell me that I drink too much. Just because I’m having a fun time and you’re not doesn’t me-”

 
I never got to finish my sentence for the sod pressed his lips against mine. At first, I protested, wanting to keep my pride intact but his grip told me that I was going to get no where by thrashing about. I took a deep breath through my nose and finally gave in. It was Halloween, I was at a party and I’d had a couple shots. Besides, hadn’t I been dreaming about this moment? To his shock, I wrapped my arms around his broad shoulders and pulled him closer to me as I invited his tongue into my mouth. He responded by pushing me harder against the wall, closing whatever space there was between us. I felt my heart beat rise as my hands moved from his shoulders and into his hair, pushing his Stetson onto the ground. Our kissing became more rapid and sloppy but neither of us cared as soft moans emanated from our mouths. Our passion and attraction was too great. The world around us melted away and all I could think was that I was kissing Oliver Wood and he was kissing me back. 

 
He pulled away as suddenly as he had instigated the whole thing. Both of us looked at each other as we caught our breath. I gulped and tried to make my hair presentable as I remembered where I was and who I was with. A red hand mark proceeded to appear on the side of his face. 

 
“What do you think you’re doing?”

 
“Don’t tell me you didn’t enjoy it,” he said with a smirk as he came in for another kiss. He made sure to grab both of my wrists so I couldn’t hit him again. My anger pulsed but to my surprise, it was I who kissed him first. Our limbs became tangled and I couldn’t stop breathing in the scent of him. His lips moved away from my mouth and I felt like a fish without water as my lips tried to catch his again. But instead, he kissed down towards my collar bone and I couldn’t help but arch my back and let my eyes roll into the back of my head. Quidditch had always been my first priority in life and thus, I had never had any sexual experience. As Oliver’s hands wound themselves around my waist, I realized that needed to change. All those years of sexual neglect made this moment catapult me to the top of the world. 


Until I realized that I was currently kissing a man with a girlfriend. With all of the will power that I possessed, my hands pushed him away for the second time and I was going to slap him again but he’d learned and was too fast for me. 

 
“So you like it rough?” he said with a naughty gleam in his eye as he tried to return to kissing my neck. 

 
“Stop it! Stop this right now! For Merlin’s sake, you have a girlfriend Oliver!” I said with a stern look as I held him by the shoulders. I licked my lips as his laughing eyes turned cold, remembering all that had just happened. We both looked at each other as we caught our breaths yet again. I loved everything I had just experienced but it was tainted by the fact that he was still with Katie. He just wanted me for an out of relationship fling. My eyes began to water as I looked into his eyes for any emotion at all. 

 
“Michelle-”

 
“You know what? Just … just leave me alone Oliver! I will not be your little sexual play thing when you're bored with Katie.” He reached out for me but I was too quick for him this time; I needed to get away from him or I would fall back into the same trap. I tore away from him and pushed people out of the way as I exited the club. My tears spilled out of my eyes and ran down my cheeks as I began to walk farther and farther away from everything that had just happened; physically and emotionally. I took out my wand and removed the Sticking Charm that Marco had put on the crown. As I looked at it sparkle from the street lamps' light, I wiped away my tears. I had loved every moment of being with Oliver against that wall, even if he had a girlfriend. I couldn't deny that. I let the crown fall from my hands and I watched it smash against the concrete below. I felt like I wanted to die. 




--

A/N: Semi-cliffhanger, I know. But hey, gotta love those awkward Mondays! I'll love you forever if you review :)
P.S. like the new, more spaced out format?

Chapter 8: Mondays and Mayhem
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: I am so sorry for the long update. I would have updated last weekend, but it was the Christmas dance and then finals came this week. 

So this chapter isn't the action packed one that you thought it would be, but it's important :)

Oh, and it was brought to my attention that I have some typos in my chapters. I am the worst proof reader ever. Therefore, I'm looking for a beta. If you'd like to apply for the position, please leave me your email in your review and I'll contact you!

Onto the chapter!

(chapter image by me)

--





 

My eyes slowly fluttered open. The soft moonlight streamed through my curtains as I turned over to look at the clock on my night stand. It was five minutes before I had set my alarm to wake up. I should have jumped out of bed. I should have inhaled my breakfast on the way out. I should have been the least bit excited to be able to practice with the team again after staying in bed for a week. Instead, I grumbled and rolled over onto my other side.


I have never had five minutes last so long.


I desperately tried to fall back to sleep by focusing on my breathing in order to relax. Yet, every time that I would close my eyes, I would see myself up against that bloody wall, kissing Oliver with no shame. It was almost as if the image was burned onto the back of my eyelids. The moment had passed through my mind so many times that I had memorized every touch, kiss and moan. It was almost sickening to admit to myself that I had enjoyed every single second of it.


When the alarm clock finally beeped, I lazily switched it off and rolled out of bed. I stretched upwards, letting my shirt rise to expose my stomach. Truthfully, I was not looking forward to this day at all. Back at Mills, all the on the girls on the Quidditch team had moaned and groaned about their awkward Mondays and I had just shrugged. I’d never had one. But as I slowly slipped off my pajama shorts and shirt, I realized just how awkward this Monday was going to be. It would have been tolerable if Oliver was single. From watching the others at Mills, I assumed that we’d have a couple moments of awkwardness and then we’d go back to our usual tension. But since he was dating Katie, I bit my nails just thinking about what he would say to me when he saw me. I’m sorry, it was just a mistake? Let’s just forget about it? I’m breaking up with Katie because I realized that you’re much sexier then she is? You’re the one for me? Marry me?


I hoped and prayed for the third and fourth answers. The fifth one was a bit of a stretch.


I pulled on my uniform shirt over my head and slipped on my practice shorts. They felt good against my skin. I smiled and threw my sports bag over my shoulder, grabbing my broom that was sitting by my bed. I quietly moved into the kitchen; the sun hadn’t come up yet and that most definitely meant that Mike was still sleeping.


As I entered the kitchen, I saw the pile of mail that Mike kept on the table. I popped two pieces of bread into the muggle toaster and as I waited, I sifted through the envelopes. Bills, bills and more bills. I would have thrown the rest of the stack back onto the table when a glossy cover caught my eye. It was the newest edition of Witch Weekly and the Weird Sisters graced the cover as they played for a live audience. I thought it was odd that Mike had this magazine sent to his doorstep, but I brushed it off, thinking that Noel had subscribed to it instead. The toaster’s bell rang, alerting me that my breakfast was ready, but I was too focused on the magazine in front of me. This issue was a recap of the Halloween party for all the faithful readers. Intrigued, I flipped to the meat of the cover story. There were several pages devoted to photos of the wizarding world’s Elite. Celebrities threw kisses and smiles at me as my head tilted sideways in awe. I guess I really hadn’t been paying attention to all the people that had been there. The Weasley brothers winked at me and I smiled while fishing the toast out of the toaster. I began to munch on my breakfast as I looked at the pictures and captions. I had enough time; practice didn’t start until the sun was completely up and only a few stray rays graced the horizon line. I flipped to the next page half heartedly and to my horror, there was a large picture of me waving to the camera and taking a shot. I was mentally transported back to that night and I groaned, holding my head in my hands.  Shit. I quickly snapped the magazine shut and shoved it in the trash. Mike did not need to see that.


But as soon as I threw the magazine into the trash, I raced over to the bin and wrenched it open. I flipped through the remaining pages, frantically, hoping that I wouldn’t see what I was thinking. I sighed after I hit the last page of the magazine; there were no surprise pictures of Oliver and I making out against the wall. Relief washed over me as I looked out the window. The sun was beginning to rise and I grabbed my stuff. I finally felt a tinge of excitement as I swiftly apparated to the pitch.


“Michelle! Good to see you back!”


I turned around and smiled to see Cambert with his clip board. He returned my smile and patted me on the back before walking over to the other coaches. My insecurities that had plagued me this morning and all of yesterday melted away once I saw the pitch behind them. I ran over to the benches, dropped my stuff and grasped my broom handle tight. I yearned to fly in the air where my mind could become clear. It was the one place that Oliver wouldn’t be in my thoughts.


Or at least, I hoped so.


“Swifty!”


“You’re finally back!”


My smile grew wider as I turned to see Forrester and Marino trotting towards me with their brooms in hand. The pair reminded me of the Weasley brothers for some odd reason – maybe it was because I had just seen the jokesters’ picture earlier. I was sure that Fields had been giving them hell while I was gone; a coach couldn’t work on intricate moves when there were only two chasers. Dellard patted my back appreciatively and then headed over towards his beater coach. Edmund gave me a nod and followed his fellow beater over towards the pitch. Behind them, I saw Annabell trying desperately to be cheerful despite her major two day hang over. I chuckled to myself softly as my fingers caressed the smooth wood of my broom. It was good to be back with all of them. I turned to walk towards the pitch and the others, but a hand was placed on my shoulder, inhibiting me from moving.


“Oh no, you’re not getting off that easily,” Marino said with a devilish grin as Forrester crossed his arms over his chest and gave me a fatherly like glare.


“Where did you go Saturday night? I go to dance and come back to see that you were gone. We aren’t that bad to be around, are we?”


“No!” I said as I drummed my fingers against my broom nervously. My heart raced as I formed a lie in my head. “No, not at all. I - I was just getting some air and then I decided that I wanted to go home. The party was fun and all but I guess I wasn’t prepared to have that much fun.” A silence followed as both of their eye brows shot up and they looked at each other with mad grins on their faces. I internally winced, knowing that they didn’t believe me at all.

“Michelle, if you took a bloke back to your place, there’s no need to lie about it,” Marino said, giving me a congratulatory, manly jab with his elbow. I glared back at him as my fingers massaged my arm.


“I did not! I left alone thank you very much!” I protested.


“Lying is bad habit, Michelle,” Forrester said as he put an arm around my shoulders in a brotherly way. “Don’t practice it.”


“I didn’t sleep with anyone! That’s the truth,” I said, shrugging his arm off and scowling back at him. That was the truth – I never slept with Oliver, I just kissed him senselessly. There was a huge difference between the two, but I wasn’t going to tell the boys that. I turned away from them to go to the pitch; I needed to get out of this situation as fast as possible. Especially since Oliver would be here any minute.


“Everyone has their first time - ”


“Oh stop it, you two! I was drunk, I left,” I yelled, turning around and rolling my eyes. “Let it go.”


“Ooooh, so you had a drunken shag fest? Nice.”


“It’s nothing to be ashamed about.”


“Really, it’s part of growing up, you know. Actually, being drunk makes it better. It’s easier to kick them out in the morning.”


“Did your parents ever talk to you about the birds and the bees Michelle?”


“Do we need to inform you?”


“Yeah, William could tell you everything you need to know about pleasing the opposite sex. He’s an expert in the field of seduction too. He brought that blonde - ”


“Shut up!” Marino hissed as he gave Forrester a hard jab in the side. Annabell walked by, grumbling. She raised an eyebrow at me and then held her head as she walked over towards the chest that held the snitch. Forrester chuckled and hit his friend in the back of the head lightly as they began to bicker in harsh whispers. I took this opportunity to sneak away as they began a conversation about the blonde girl that I assumed Marino had brought home for the night. I thanked Marlin that they didn’t seem to notice that I had left. Before any one else could stop me, I mounted my broom and kicked off the ground. As I soared into the air, I felt the familiar feeling of freedom and security. I whipped around the field for the tenth time and I heard Fields say something along the lines of ‘This is what happens when you keep her off the pitch for a week’. I threw him a happy grin and this time, took off for the sky. I soared higher and higher, letting the world fade away below me. Most girls went shopping when they needed to clear their heads through “retail therapy”, but I chose to fly instead. I zoomed around the clouds for a while longer as my mind became blank for the first time since Oliver and I had kissed. I slowed to a stop, sat up on my broom and I rearranged my wind blown hair. The sun had cleared the horizon and shined brightly as I sighed softly.


“Romantic, isn’t it?” he said, voicing my thoughts.


I didn’t dare turn around. I knew exactly who it was.


“I guess you could say that,” I gulped, my back still to him. I couldn’t bear to see his face right now. I’d been so content when I was flying and had him out of my mind. I knew that if I saw his face again, I’d probably melt and fall to the ground with a splat. My fingers were already shaking as I held my broom tighter. Why did he have to show up right now? What was he going to say to me?


I heard the rustle of air and I felt him sitting on his broom beside me. I kept my eyes on the sunrise in front of me but I longed to turn and see his striking profile. Any other girl would have regretted the hook up, but oddly enough, I didn’t. In fact, I wanted more. I realized that now that I was next to him. In the past, I was the girl who everyone thought was asexual or lesbian because I never dated or liked anyone. When I was with Oliver, something inside of me grew. I felt sexy and confident in my looks for the first time in my life – and I liked it.


My heart raced as I glanced down to see his leg almost touching mine. I closed my eyes and the image of our legs tangled together in an act of passion flashed through my mind. I breathed in sharply and quickly opened my eyes. That was just a fantasy now. The sexual tension I felt slowly turned to sadness when I realized the situation we were in. Oliver was not mine and he wouldn’t be until he broke up with Katie. As I exhaled, I let my head hang as I looked down at the number on my uniform shirt. Tears threatened to spill from my eyes and I clamped my eyelids down so they would not escape down my cheeks. Before I knew it, his fingers were on my chin and he turned my face towards him. I had no choice but to look into his chocolate brown eyes.


“Michelle,” he whispered softly as he tucked a wisp of hair behind my ear. He cleared his throat and placed his hands on either side of my face. I exhaled quietly as I saw his lips form a sentence. “What I did Saturday night was wrong.” I felt my breath feather as I inhaled quickly. My teeth bit down on the inside of my lip so hard that the coppery taste of blood slowly seeped onto my tongue. This was not what I wanted to hear. My eyes drifted down towards his chest and his fingers jerked my chin up. “Look at me.”


“No.” I stuck my chin out in defiance as my anger grew. I wasn’t going to put up with this. “Don’t tell me what to do Oliver.”


His hands left my face and he threw them into the air in annoyance. Silence followed as his eyes looked towards the sunset and then came back to me. “Merlin Michelle, I’m sorry, ok? I didn’t mean to kiss you. It just happened.”


“You didn’t mean to kiss me? It just happened?” Venom was laced into my voice as I crossed my hands over my chest. “If I remember correctly, you were the one who wanted to keep going when I told you to stop. Don’t feed me bullshit Oliver.”


“Well what do you want me to say?” he lashed out as he held his hands out wide and glared at me. “I said I’m sorry.”


“You’re such a git!”


“And you’re perfect?”


“Wood! Dunbar!”


We both whipped around to see Cambert on his broom; the look on his face told us he was not happy with us at all. We both gulped and hung our heads in shame like little kids who were issued detention for being caught doing something bad. His finger pointed down at the pitch as he ordered us to descend.


“We’re not done with this conversation,” Oliver growled as he sped off.   


“Oh, I’m going to kill you,” I retorted as I followed suit.  

 

--

 

I threw my bag against the wall of the locker room. I didn’t care that the things inside would break, I just wanted to throw something. Anger pulsed through my veins as I ripped off my uniform and jumped into the shower. Yet, the warm water didn’t cool down my emotions. I still felt that I wanted to murder Oliver Wood.


After our chat in the sky, the team separated into groups and the tension between Oliver and I settled for the time being. I became more focused on the game and the flying patterns that Marino, Forrester and I had to master before the next match. But every time I would even so much as glance in his direction, Oliver would give me the evil eye. Merlin, I just wanted to smack that stupid smirk off his snobby little face. I scrubbed my head with shampoo so hard that my scalp was beginning to throb. I didn’t mind the pain. In fact, it was a distraction from my anger.


How could he do that to me? How could he just blow me off by saying ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for it to happen.’ It was almost if he thought I was going to forgive him for kissing me and then denying his intentions. I thrust my head under the water and washed out the shampoo. I wasn’t going to forgive him for playing with my emotions that easily. As I opened my eyes, the room began to slowly become blurry and out of focus. I blinked a couple times, thinking that I might have some shampoo still in my eyes, but my vision didn’t get better. My breathing began to become jagged as my fingers began to tingle as if they had fallen asleep. I gasped for air as I pulled back the shower curtain and felt around for my towel. Once my fingers hit something soft and fluffy, I thrust the towel against my face and rubbed my eyes. It didn’t change anything, much to my dismay.


“Michelle.”


I froze. This wasn’t because of the shampoo; I knew exactly why my body was acting strangely.


I fumbled through the locker room, putting my hands out in front of me in order to find my bag. My vision kept going in and out of focus and I yelped as my toe collided with the bench in front of me. Shit. It was bleeding. Trotting on, I made my through the maze that was the locker room until I found my stuff on the floor next to the wall. I carefully unzipped my bag and let my hands explore the contents that it had inside.


“Michelle!”


I stopped, thinking if I was imagining it this time. I decided to ignore the voice. With urgency, my hands flew back into the bag as the world in front of me swayed. The voice kept calling and got louder as I continued to ignore it. I wrapped my towel tighter around my body and focused on the task in front of me. All I needed was that bottle of white –


“I don’t care if you’re decent or not, I’m coming in!”


The door of the locker room burst open and I jumped, holding my towel closer to my body. A figure stood in the door way and looked around until it found me. Colors began to swim and mix with one another as I absentmindedly tilted my head to the side as the figure came closer. I felt like I was on drugs or extremely drunk because of my stage of delirium. Was it even a person? Maybe I was just imagining it all. My eye twitched and the figure came to a stop.


“Michelle, are you alright?”


“I’m fine,” I growled as my hands flew back to my bag. I made sure not to let my towel slip as I went about my business. Ah hah! Found them! But when I saw a flesh colored object obstruct my view, I froze. “Go away, who ever you are! Leave me alone!”


“It’s me, Michelle. It’s Oliver.”


I looked up in horror and slowly, things began to come back to normal. My vision came back to focus and the tingling in my fingers slowly began to disappear. I saw his concerned face looking down at me and I suddenly became very afraid. I grasped my towel a little tighter. Could he guess what was going on with me? No, I kept telling myself. The only way that he could know that I had this curse would be if he was an expert healer; he wasn’t. His eyes went from the plastic bottle in my hand, to the towel wrapped around my body and then to my eyes.


“Michelle, is there something you need to tell - ”


“Don’t,” I said, dropping the pills back into my bag as my hand shook. “It’s complicated.” A silence followed as he looked at me quizzically. I stared right back at him. I was not going to act weak in front of him. Besides, if I acted concerned and nervous, he would assume more. I decided to act indifferent. “Why are you here anyway?”
“I told you,” he said, running a hand nervously through his hair, “We weren’t done with our conversation.”


“So you barged into the girls’ locker room to get to me? Couldn’t it wait?” I asked as I stood, making sure that he had no view of what was under my towel.


“You didn’t answer.”


“So? I could have been in the shower. Well no, correction, I was in the shower.”

“Sorry,” he said sheepishly. His eyes wandered around the locker room as he drank in the surroundings. I would have done the same if I was in the boys’ locker room. I pushed the thought out of my mind. He turned back to me. “Where were we?”


“You were groveling at my feet, saying you were a git.”


“In your dreams Dunbar,” he growled. “Look, I’m sorry. I was leading you on Michelle. I - ” He then fell silent. I crossed my arms over my chest and watched him intently. He breathed in deeply and started again. “I’m with Katie, you do realize.”


You obviously didn’t when you kissed me.”


“That was a mistake!”


“Bullshit. You wanted me.”


“I still want you.”


And then I was back to the same moment that I had been seeing on the back of my eyelid. Oliver pushed his solid chest against mine and closed the gap between me and the wall as his hands flew through my hair. His mouth met my collar bone and I felt my breath catch in my throat. His lips worked wonders as they softly grazed my neck and ear. I caught his face in my hands and stopped him as our ragged breaths shared the same tempo. My eyes met his and I knew that he was telling the truth. I saw the same glimmer of hunger and attraction that I saw at the party. I grinned and pushed my lips against his. I wanted this as much or even maybe even more then he did.


We kissed until our lips were swollen and chapped. We both didn’t know what was going to happen in the future and we silently agreed to live in the moment. I was still mad at Oliver and partly at myself for letting him kiss me again. But as I left the locker room, I had a small skip in my step and a grin in my face.
 
--

A/N: Happy Holidays to all of you! Also, check out my other fic, "Insanity"!

Chapter 9: Ha, This Is About Alcohol Too
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Hello my lovely readers! Sorry about the wait, I went on vacation and then had a busy week back at school. I said this in a couple of my reviews, but I rushed to get the last chapter in before the deadline. I didn't expect it to be validated as fast as it was (thank you HPFF!) so I might go back and add detail to it - I don't know yet. 

Secondly, people have been asking for me to read and review their stories when they leave a review. I'm actually happy to read people's works (I love finding new stories), which is why I got an idea! Each chapter, I am going to shamelessly plug a story that I really like. If you'd like me to read your story so you can maybe appear in the next chapter, say so in your review. However, if you just write 'OMGZ READ MY HARRY ROMANCE FIC LOLZ', I won't read it. If you review nicely and THEN ask me to read your fic, I'll be more likely to comply ;)

Thirdly, I have not chosen a beta yet. If you'd still like to apply, leave your email address in your review. 

So, onto the shameless plug and story!

Carly's Shameless Plug of the Chapter:

Beneath the Willows by Meg101 (it is on my favorite story list)
Based on a novel by Charlotte Bronte, Meg101 puts a magical twist on an Oliver/OC romance. The way she writes is quite something. Check it out! 

Now onto the story! 



chapter title credit to atmosphere. too good of a song name to pass by.
--

“MICHELLE! DUCK!”

Instantly, I did a half barrel roll, rendering me upside down and I successfully avoided the bludger that had been hit in my direction. I held on tightly to the wood of my broom as I tried to fly towards Forrester who had the Quaffle. Yet, flying upside down was never one of my strong suits. I zig zagged back and forth across the field as the bludger attacked me from above. Each time I thought it was going to hit me as it swooped down like a killer hawk going to eat its prey; I flinched every time the other team’s beater whacked it towards me again and again. The crowd booed as the ball wizzed over me again, leaving me alone for the time being. I swung myself so I was upright when I thought the coast was clear. I took a deep breath as I went to help my teammates who were struggling with the Quaffle. 

But the bludger wasn’t done with me. It came barreling back towards me and I ducked, covering my precious skull with my arms. As it passed over me, the bottom of the nasty ball just barely clipped two of my fingernails, pulling half of them off. The crowd roared. I let out a piercing scream of pain, frustration and fear. My fingers throbbed as I lifted my head back up to see the bludger coming back towards me again and I tried to fly faster then I ever had before in order to out run it. 

“That bludger is surely out for blood today!” the announcer chuckled as the crowd burst into applause and I’m sure I saw a couple fans give me the finger as I flew by them. How kind.


Just as I was about to yell for help, Dellard whipped past me and swung his bat, colliding with the nasty bludger sent from the other team’s beater. I nodded to him as a sign of thanks as I sped off towards the other side of the field, despite my bleeding nails. I wiped the blood on my robes (the action hurt more then I would have liked) and set off to help my fellow chasers. Marino had the Quaffle and was being double teamed by two of the Falcon players as he advanced towards their keeper.


This match was proving to be a long one; it had gone on for about 5 hours (although some long matches lasted for days). All of my teammates warned me about the Falmouth Falcons and how they were the most vicious team in the league. It didn’t help that we were in their home stadium. The team’s motto was etched into the field by a large, dark gray and white falcon: “Let us win, but if we cannot win, let us break a few heads.”


Charming, really.


“Marino shoots! Misses!” The crowd burst into cheers and they began to sing one of their jeering drinking songs. “710 – 650, Puddlemire still in the lead.” The crowd booed louder at the score.


I could hear Cambert on the ground, yelling incessantly for Annabell to catch the snitch and end this literally bloody game. Yet, she was so high off the ground, racing in the skies, that she couldn’t hear him. Of course, she was probably mentally telling herself to do the same thing so I blocked Annabell out of my mind as I raced towards Oliver’s side of the field. The Falcon’s star chaser had the Quaffle and as much as I wanted to trust Oliver’s skill, I knew he wouldn’t block it. He hadn’t been blocking their shots all day. The only reason that Falmouth wasn’t winning right now was because Marino, Forrester and I had managed to block a couple shots or intercept some of their passes. Just as their chaser wound up for the shot, I reached out with my bloody hand and got a bit of the ball, but Oliver still missed.


“HE SHOOTS! DESPITE DUNBAR, HE SCORES! 660 FOR THE FALCONS!”


“For fucks sake Wood! Block some shots!” I roared and his angry brown eyes met mine. For a second, I thought I saw that same hunger in his eyes that appeared when he was about to kiss me, but it quickly faded to even more anger. He growled and spit out of the side of his mouth ruggedly. I would have thought it was sexy if we weren’t in the middle of a match and it wasn’t a wad of spit coming out of his mouth.


“It’s not as easy as you think Dunbar. Why don’t you get your broom out of your arse and try it,” he jeered.


“Fuck you,” I snarled as I flew towards the other side of the field as I wiped my hand on the side of my robes. Merlin, I hope Cambert won’t throw me off the team when I killed Oliver; we had been bickering all game. Marino quickly passed the Quaffle to me and instead of going along with our Hawks Head formation, I sped out in front of the others. I could hear them yelling at me, asking what I was doing, but I couldn’t hear them. The sound of my blood racing echoed in my ears as a bludger hit by their beater flew wide to the left. Oliver’s taunting words played over and over in my head. 

Why don’t you get your broom out of your arse and try it
.


Their chasers were right on my tail as I was near the menacing keeper in front of the goal post. My eyes were slits. I felt another bludger wiz by me and in a moment of shock, I almost dropped the quaffle. The two chasers were right beside me, swiping at the ball as I moved it from arm to arm. They expected me to give it up easily, but instead, I pulled up, and spun, shooting the Quaffle into the lower left hoop. I yelled in triumph as it made it through, looking back at Oliver with a smirk.

But the cheers for my goal were drowned out by the swell of the crowd as the two seekers dove for the snitch. It was about time! One of the Falcon’s chasers took the advantage of everyone being distracted and raced towards Oliver in order to get a cheap score. I turned my head, focusing on the chaser rather then Annabell and thought of all the higher beings I could think of to pray to: God, Merlin, Zeus, Allah, Jesus, Vishnu, Cambert’s mother –


The crowd was silenced and all I could hear was Cambert screaming his head off in excitement. The Falcon’s chaser threw the Quaffle in frustration at Oliver, who caught it with a grin on his handsome face. Marino and Forrester were giving each other high fives. Dellard rested his bat on his shoulder as Edmund ruffled his partner’s hair. I turned around to see Annabell proudly holding the snitch. I almost fainted from exhaustion.

 

--

 

Because of our victory, Marino decided that the next day, he was going to have a little party at his flat to celebrate. I was beyond exhausted to really think about what he was saying so I agreed when he asked me about it after the game finished. I apparated back to my flat and instantly fell asleep after the medi-witch had attended to my broken fingernails. Before I knew it, Saturday, the day after our fateful game with Falmouth, was here and it was minutes before people would start showing up to Marino’s little get together. I stood in front of my mirror, looking at my reflection; I was too tired and sore to really care about my looks so I had just pulled on a pair of jeans (I thought about just wearing sweats) and a simple V-neck white t-shirt. I ran my fingers through my blonde hair, moving it this way and that, in order to make it artfully messy. I crossed my hands over my chest as I tilted my head to the side, gazing at my reflection again. 

“Where are you going tonight?” Noel mused as she poked her head into my room. She and Mike were having a nice dinner together at our flat tonight, which was one of the main reasons why I ended up going to Marino’s. There’s nothing like a little sister to ruin the romantic mood. I turned to look at her and her infectious smile brought about a smile on my own face.


“I was just going to go to a little team get together,” I said as I reached for a tube of mascara to apply to my lashes. “Don’t know when I’ll get back.” 

“That’s nice,” she said as she entered my room gingerly. “You look a bit plain you know.”


“Yeah? It’s not like I want to impress anyone,” I said with a growl laced into my voice as I leaned forwards, focusing on the mascara wand in my hand. I sighed as I finished applying and thrust the wand back into the tub, screwing the top. I turned towards her, the smile slightly gone from my face. Noel was the first person I considered telling about my situation with Oliver. However, I decided against it. I knew Oliver wouldn’t tell anyone because he was still with Katie and that would ruin his reputation. But I surely wasn’t going to tell anyone. I learned back at Mills that it didn’t matter who you told, your secret was bound to get out somehow. Now that I was in the Pros, it was probably 5 times worse if I told someone. The gossip back at Mills was free; gossip in the real world earned people a living.  


“It’s cold outside,” Noel said softly as she opened one of my drawers. “You might want to put a sweater on over your shirt. Or maybe a vest?” 

I wanted to say that I was going to be inside all night, but I decided that I shouldn’t snap at Noel. Truthfully, the reason I was being such a cow was because I didn’t want to see Oliver again. I knew that by letting myself kiss him, I was making it a habit. By making it a habit, I knew that I’d end up falling for him. And after I fell for him, I would be crushed once he brushed me to the side and sauntered back to Katie. I looked down at my shoes. I had to put an end to it tonight. I couldn’t go on like this. It wasn’t good for my sanity. Noel held out a cute black vest with white buttons down the front and I took it.


“Thanks,” I said as I put it on and straightened it out while looking into the mirror. It was just the thing I needed to make my outfit a little livelier. I buttoned the white buttons and tossed my head to the left and right, fluffing out my hair. Sighing, I turned to Noel, gave her a hug goodbye and apparated to Marino’s flat. Once inside, I waved to a couple of my teammates and saw that there were more people invited then I had expected. I guess Marino had let everyone bring a friend or two along. I thought about owling Mike and Noel to see if they would like to come, but I decided against it. They probably wanted to be alone anyways.
 

“Michelle!” Marino said, thrusting a butter beer into my hands. I took it with a smile and twisted the cap off, taking a long sip. My teammate laughed and put an arm around my waist, showing me around the place. I felt his fingers softly stroke my waist line a couple times, but I didn’t bother to respond. He didn’t seem to say anything. I waved at Forrester and Annabell who were having an animated conversation about the Harpies and Cannons game that had been going on for 2 days and counting. They both smiled and then went back to their conversation as Marino led me into the kitchen where buckets of drinks placed in ice were. He introduced me to a couple people I had never met before and then excused himself as another pop! was heard in the living room. I leaned against the counter, my butter beer in hand, as I sipped and talked to Marino’s old Quidditch friends from school. I could see why Marino was friends with them; they had the same sense of humor he did.
 

“’Lo Michelle,” Dellard said with a smile as he reached into the bucket of drinks next to me.


“Jeff!” I said with a smile as I gave him a small hug. “Merlin, you saved my ass in that game. I don’t know what I can do to thank you.”


“Don’t worry about it,” he answered sheepishly as he shrugged his shoulders. I was about to return to my conversation with Marino’s boys when Dellard tapped my shoulder.


“Yes? Thought of something I can do for you? A kiss? Would that help?” I said with a cheeky grin as I lightly punched him on the shoulder.

“I want you to meet someone Michelle,” he said awkwardly as I gestured to the male next to him, who was currently holding his hand. “This is Jake.”


“Oh,” I said, bringing a hand up to my mouth. Merlin, I had no idea that Dellard was gay! I wasn’t against gay people, I just thought it was odd that he had never told anyone. I bit my lip as I thought of a proper response. “Well sorry about that Jake, I only meant for the kiss to be a joke. I just didn’t know that you and Jeff had a thing!”


“Not many people do,” Jake said with a shrug as he reached into the bucket for a Muggle beer. 

“How long has this been going on?”


“Almost a year,” Jeff said, looking at Jake lovingly. My eyes widened again as I tried to keep the butter beer in my mouth. I gulped, coughing slightly as I hit my chest in order to breathe again. Jeff looked nervous as he gripped Jake’s hand tighter. He probably thought I was disgusted.


“Why haven’t you told anyone Dellard? You should be proud! A year? That’s great!” I said with a grin, trying to ease the tension. Jeff let out the breath that he had been holding and Jake smiled politely.


“Thanks Michelle, I knew you’d understand,” Dellard said as he patted my back. I took another long sip of butter beer. It wasn’t every day that you found out your beater was gay. I guess I could understand why he had kept it a secret; I could almost hear the sexual jokes about him being a ‘beater’. I was proud he was willing to come out – but why me? I barely knew the guy. An awkward silence filled the air as we all took another long sip from our lagers. 

“Well, uh, I have to, um, see a man about, uh, a dog,” I said awkwardly as I rushed out of the kitchen. I placed my empty butter beer bottle on the counter top as I made my way back into the living room, still stunned at the news. Who else knew? I’m sure that Edmund did. The two beaters were close enough to share a secret like that. And then I began to wonder about Jeff’s relationship. Was he more of the feminine or the masculine one? A friend of a friend who was lesbian told me that in most same sex relationships, there was that kind of dynamic. But as I thought about it, Jeff seemed to be the masculine one, but Jake didn’t seem feminine at all. Maybe they were just both masculine. Hey, it could happen!


“Cheater!” I heard Forrester yell as I opened the door into the living room where most of the people were. It seemed like they were playing a wizarding drinking game. I gravitated towards Annabell and she placed another butter beer into my hands. She looked me up and down and raised a brow.


“You look shaken.”


“I just found out Jeff’s gay.”


“So that’s why he brought that fit man with him? Shite. Why do all the good ones have to be gay?”


“You’re talking about Jeff or his partner?”


“Both.”


“Michelle,” Marino whined as he came over to me and put his arms around my waist once again. “Tell Mr. Michael Forrester that he’s cheating and making me drunk!”


“Forrester,” I said with a mock glare and he put his hands up innocently in protest. “What are you lot playing anyways?”


“It’s a wizarding drinking game,” Annabell said, shrugging her shoulders. “I’ve never heard of it before. Apparently Marino and his mates played it back in school. You can see why they love it so much. It gets them hammered.”


“It’s boring, that’s what it is,” Forrester said as he put his hands on his chest. “I’m not plastered! Do you know any other games we can play?” People shifted from left to right, drinking more of what they had in their hands. I did the same and so did Annabell as someone proposed a game to play. It was shot down. It seemed that no one had a new game to play that both the chasers could agree on. I tried to think back to some of the games I’d seen back at Mills, or at my cousin’s house for that matter. He loved to have parties and usually, I’d always watch them party as I nibbled on snacks and wrote Quidditch plays. I’d never participated in parties at school, but I could still remember them for I’d usually be the one to bust them, being the Quidditch Nazi that I was. There was that one time when we had an important match the next game and I found my team playing beer -


“Wait,” I said, handing Annabell my bottle, “I’ve got one. We need a table, cups, a small ball and some butter beer.” The small crowd murmured and Forrester and Edmund moved a coffee table into the center of the room as Marino went to fetch the beer and cups. I figured that William wouldn’t have a ping pong ball, so I fished my wand out of my pocket and conjured one.


“What on earth are you doing?” Annabell hissed as I carefully placed the empty cups into a pyramid, the first row starting with four, the second with three, etc. I couldn’t remember exactly how many cups they had used, but I figured the more there were, the more the boys would like it. After I’d placed the same amount of cups on either side, I took the beer from Marino’s hands. He looked at me with confusion. I smiled back as I filled the cups to a third of their capacity with butter beer and with my wand, I drew a small line down the center of the table.


“There’s this game that my friends at Mills and my cousin used to play. It’s called Beer Pong or Beirut, depending on where you are. There are two teams, preferable with two people on each team and they take this ball,” I said holding up the white ping pong ball, “and try to get it into the other cup. If they do, the person on the other team has to drain the cup. The team to get the ball into all of the other team’s cups wins. The losing team has to split the winning team’s beer in their cups.”


“It’s that simple?” Forrester said, putting a hand on his hip.


“It’s American, mate. What can you expect?” a voice shouted out from behind me.


“No, there are more rules. I think,” I said, putting a hand on my chin thoughtfully, making a few laugh. “Give me a second to remember. I know you can hit the ball under some circumstances … Oh! You can either toss it or bounce it. If you toss it and it makes it in, the person has to drain the cup. However, you can bounce it. The defending team can swat the ball if it’s bounced, but if the ball makes it in, it’s worth two cups.”


“Sounds fun,” Edmund said, rubbing his hands together. “Forrester, it’s on.”


“Oh! And if it’s swirling around the rim, you can swat it.”


“Anything else we should know?”


“No,” I said with an embarrassed grin.

The room filled with excitement as the two men from Puddlemire United faced off. I was instated referee and I chuckled as Edmund’s first shot made it into one of Forrester’s cups. Michael grimaced as he drained it. The night went on, the crowd of people loving the new game I’d introduced. Everyone agreed that there should only be one table for it was more fun to watch the guys play it rather then having individual games. After the boys got the hang of the rules, I soon began to make my way around the party, saying hello and introducing myself to people I didn’t know. I was dead tired but the noise from the living room and the people around me kept me awake. At one point, I tried to find Marino’s medicine cabinet to find some Awakening Potion, but it was no where to be seen. Plus, I’d never actually played the drinking game before. Everyone probably expected me to be a master at it.
 

I made my way back to the living room, another butter beer in my hand. I made sure not to drink more then I should because I knew what would happen if I was drunk in from of Oliver again. I knew he was here somewhere, but I hadn’t actually laid eyes on him. It was probably a good thing; I wouldn’t end up doing something stupid after all. I took another sip from my butter beer and shoved a few people out of the way in order to stand next to Annabell.


“You’ve unleashed a monster,” she said with a snort as she clinked her bottle with mine. I gave her a smile as we both took a sip after saying a quick ‘Cheers’. Marino growled as the ball missed the cup he was aiming for and one of his friends began a victory dance. As the guy’s arms flailed about, I caught a glimpse of a couple kissing.  My face blanched as I realized it was Oliver.


With Katie.


“Get me out of here now,” I said in horror as Katie slipped her hand into Oliver’s and he placed a kiss on the top of her head. Annabell followed my gaze and started to drain her butter beer quickly. She didn’t even know that Oliver had been cheating on Katie with me and she could feel the tension. I turned my back, wanting to run away as fast as I could when I felt a hand on my back. 

“Come on Michelle, it’s your turn to play!” Marino said with a drunken grin as he pulled me over towards the table. I tried to protest, but he wouldn’t let me out of his grip and called for a challenger to play with me. There was a silence, for no one wanted to face a semi-sober chaser in a throwing game. I gulped, listening to Marino’s school friends start up a drinking song. This was not going to end well.


“Well look at that, no one wants to play me, I better get going,” I said nervously as I tried to blend back into the crowd when a voice rang out.


“I’ll play her,” Katie said with a grin as she appeared at the other end of the table, Oliver at her side. Oh no, no no no no. The crowd cheered as Marino brought me back to the table and waved his wand, setting the cups up for a full game.


“No, I think I’ll pass,” I gulped.


This was not happing. It had to be a dream. I was not in this situation.


“What, you scared you’re going to lose?” Oliver said with a grin as he placed an arm around Katie’s waist. She grinned back at him and placed a sloppy, sick kiss on his lips. Oh that fowl little coach roach! I was going to kill him when I was done with this stupid little game. I glared at the couple at the other end of the table as I took off the black vest Noel had given me. The room cheered as I cracked my knuckles and bounced the ping pong ball on the top a couple times. Katie let go of Oliver and smirked at me as she pushed him away, like she had him on a leash. I was going to kill her in this game and then kill her stupid little boyfriend afterwards.


“Take your shot,” Katie taunted. I gulped, bouncing the ball a couple times. Everyone expected me to be amazing at this game, but truthfully, I had never played it before. I closed my eyes, imaging that I was on the pitch, just lofting the Quaffle into the keeper’s hoops. I raised my arm and with a flick of my wrist, arched the ball over towards the other end of the table. I opened my eyes to see it plop into the cup right in front of Katie.


Everyone cheered.


“Your turn,” I said, putting my arms over my chest. I was tempted to add ‘bitch’ at the end, but I thought against it. I could see her anger pulsing already. The game wore on and I could tell that Katie’s chaser skills were getting a bit rusty as my beer pong skills were getting better and better. She soon had drained most of her cups while I had most of mine filled. I watched her current shot bounce slowly toward my cup and I quickly swatted it away with ease. She was getting drunk. 

The room cheered as I took the ball into my hand. Katie had one cup left. After bouncing it a couple times, I closed my eyes again and flicked my wrist. I opened them to see it swirling around the rim of the cup. Just before Katie’s hand could contact it, the tiny ball plopped down into the butter beer below. I screamed in delight as Annabell hugged me and planted a friendly kiss on my cheek. I brushed it off for she’d been drinking and it was understandable in a moment of immense excitement.


“It’s my turn now, Spinard!” Marino said with a suave grin and I soon found his lips planted on my own, instead of my cheek. I tried to squirm away but his drunken grip was too tight on me; I had no choice but to give in. A couple people laughed and toasted our public intimacy. My stomach lurched in disgust. I could feel Oliver’s eyes on me and I wished that I was somewhere other then here. His friends started another drinking song and finally, Marino let go of me.


“I am not going to beat you because I know you’re not going to remember this in the morning,” I growled as I swatted his hands off me.


“I don’t even remember who I am!”


“Exactly. Now, I am going to sleep in one of your bedrooms and no, you’re not invited. Go find another bint who is just as drunk as you. I guarantee you’ll have a good night. I’m not what you’re looking for. You, for the record, are not what I'm looking for either.”


My cheeks burned as I spun on my heel. My feet felt like stones as I trudged towards the back of the house in search of a bed. I wanted to fall asleep. I didn’t want to apparate home because I knew I’d had a couple drinks and the risk of not making it home in one piece crossed my mind. I knocked on a door and when there was no answer, I opened it to find a small blue bed tucked away in the corner of the room. I disregarded the rest of the attributes of the cozy bedroom as I raced towards the bed, jumping beneath the sheets. I sighed and wrapped the blanket around me, placing my head on the fluffy white pillow. Just as I closed my eyes, someone knocked on the door and I growled irritably.


“I said no, Marino!”


“It’s not him,” I heard the familiar Scottish voice whisper and I froze. My pulse quickened as I heard him walk over towards me and sit on the edge of the bed. I tried to take deep breaths as his hand reached out and stroked my leg lovingly. I could feel the sparks even beneath the blanket. He let out a slow whistle as his hand caressed up my body, stopping at every curve. I shuddered with lust as I rolled over to face him. His lips were just inches above mine and his hand cupped my face. He lowered to kiss me and put a hand up to block him.


“We can’t do this Oliver,” I whispered and his eyebrows furrowed. He tried to kiss me again and I kept my hand over his lips.  


“Why not?” he asked with frustration laced into his voice.


“You have a girlfriend. She’s somewhere in this house. She could walk in on us any minute.”


“She’s passed out on the couch,” he chuckled as his lips brushed over the skin on my neck and I pushed back the part of my mind longing to invite him under the covers. “After she finished your cups of lager, she got sick all over the carpet and fell asleep on the couch.”


“It doesn’t matter Oliver,” I said, pushing his lips and hands away again. He looked at me quizzically as I took a deep breath. I turned towards the window next to the bed and brushed my hair out of my face. “We have to end whatever we have together. You have a girlfriend for Merlin’s sake! Don’t do this to me anymore. Please. I can’t take it. I – I just can’t be with you when you’re with her.”


“It’s more complicated then you think,” he growled as his body straightened instantly. I sat up in the bed, leaning against the wall behind me. I crossed my arms over my chest as I dared him to go on with my eyes. He took a deep breath himself and let the tension go from his sitting position. His head hung low and he took my hand. I slowly stroked it as he began to speak. “I’ve been dating Katie for a while now. She was with me back at Hogwarts - my old school. Merlin, I love Quidditch but it takes its toll on me. Sometimes I just – I just can’t let it go after I’m off the pitch. She was always there to bring me back down to earth when I went off the deep end. I owe her a lot, Michelle. Besides, my parents love her. She’s like their second daughter, much to the dismay of my older sister, Beth. They would murder me if I ended things with her.”

A silence followed as we both held each other’s hands. He looked at me longingly and I bit my lip, averting my eyes.


“Please, say something. Anything. Michelle, the silence is killing me. Please say you’ll stay with me. I – I can’t stop thinking about you. I watch you during practice! I watch you during games! I was doing so poorly against the Falcons because they kept pestering you, not to mention they ripped off your fingernails. Without you on the pitch, I can’t concentrate. I know that sounds crazy, but you’re like my good luck charm or something.”


“So then take the chance,” I said, placing my hand on his chest and pushing him backwards to try and wake him up from the dream he seemed to be in. I started to ramble as words poured out of my mouth. “End things with Katie and I’ll be with you! I can’t stop thinking about you either. I’ve been trying to get your attention ever since I saw you at the Puddlemire try outs!”


“I noticed,” he said with a laugh as his hand cupped my face again. I leaned into his hand and kissed his palm lightly.


“Then let Katie go.”


“I – I can’t Michelle. I told you. It’s not that easy.”

I lifted my head off of his hand as my eyes filled up with tears. My breath began to feather as I deeply inhaled. I told him that I couldn't be with him if he was with Katie, no matter how strongly he was attracted to me. He acted like he wasn't even listening.

“Oliver,” I said, determined, as I looked him in the eye. “If you’re not willing to fight for what you want, you’re not who I thought you were. You can’t have the best of both worlds.” He inhaled sharply, taking immediate offense ot my comment. But I stuck by what I had said. I continued to lock eyes with him as he abruptly stood and stormed out of the bedroom, slamming the door so loudly that the tiny bed shook. I knew that it was the right choice to make, but I couldn’t help but start to cry as I fell asleep. 

--

A/N: So finally, some important questions answered!

Tell me what you think!

Carly      

Chapter 10: Drastic Decisions
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Hello again, my lovely readers! 

So, this chapter is a little different - it's from Oliver's POV. I never planned to write as Oliver in this story, but I felt like I needed to after the last chapter. So as of now, this is the only time you'll see what Oliver thinks but I might change that in the future. It was a bit difficult to write, seeing that I am a girl, but I hope you guys like it. I tried a different writing style to try and make it more masculine, so tell me what you think! 

As for the Shameless Plug of the Chapter ... 

If you asked me to read your story, then I did. I did my best to review every chapter as well. However, there was one problem. A lot of stories were only 5 chapters or so and I felt like I couldn't really get truly connected to them when the plot was so young. But don't worry, I will be watching them for new chapters, though. Once the plot unfolds, I have couple that I am definately thinking for a shameless plugs. So that's why I have chosen the two (yes, there was a tie) shameless plugs of the chapter:

Mistakes We've Made by brokentrain.
"She wasn't looking for anything but another ordinary year of her ordinary life, but somewhere between flirting boys, fighting friends, and more trouble than she knows what to do with, she came to realize that no one is pristine, no one is faultless, and we've all made some pretty nasty mistakes."
I loved this Remus/OC story from the beginning. As eluded in the title, everyone makes mistakes. That's why this story is so plausible because no one is perfect. Brokentrain writes so well that I feel like I'm right there with the characters. 

Tongue Tied by queenspuppet
"Calliope DeSole is not your average Remus Lupin fan girl. For one thing, she doesn't giggle or smile at him when he walks by, she ducks around the corner. Actually, it's a difficult task to get her to talk to anyone. What's a voluntary mute to do when repeatedly shoved into situations with her secret crush? And will her silence ever be broken now that those she loves most are being ripped away from her?"
This Remus/OC story caught me because it's totally different then anything else I had read before. Queenspuppet is an excellent writer as well and her use of plot keeps me hooked to this story!  Thank God there is a sequel!

Both stories are on my favorite story list. Check them out!


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If you’re not willing to fight for what you want, you’re not who I thought you were.

 

Those words wouldn’t stop playing over and over in my head. They were driving my poor Quidditch obsessed brain absolutely crazy. I gripped the plush sofa cushion next to me and I felt like throwing it. Throwing things had always helped my mood back at Hogwarts. That or a nice, hot shower to drown myself in. But I wasn’t at Hogwarts or my house, I remembered; I couldn’t afford to break something. Well, I could always blame it on one of the inebriated party guests, but my mother had always taught me to not be that kind of person. I was a Wood. I was a respectable wizard. I sighed and rolled over, looking at the clock as I did. The sun hadn’t risen yet and everyone else was probably sleeping – no doubt from to the alcohol they drank. No, throwing the pillow wouldn’t be the answer, I concluded. That would only temporarily relieve the pain.

 

But here I was, tossing and turning while everyone else was sleeping. The pillow taunted me (it was green, come on!) and I glared at it. Oh fuck, now I was trying to pick a fight with a pillow. I huffed and turned over onto my other side.

 

Girls. Merlin knew that every guy hated dealing with them but were completely lost without them to regulate their lives and take them to bed for a good night’s ‘sleep’. 

 

Don’t do this to me anymore.

 

The way she said those words – the hurt I could see in her eyes. It was almost like I was driving a stake into her heart.

 

Please.

 

Truthfully, I was driving a stake into my own heart. I looked down at the sleeping figure next to me and pushed the blonde hair out of her closed eyes. Was this worth it? She’d never thank me for the gesture. She’d passed out ages ago and probably wouldn’t remember anything that had happened the night before.

 

The night before.

 

If you’re not willing to fight for what you want, you’re not who I thought you were.

 

What was I doing? I’m Oliver Wood. I do not go crazy. I have loving parents and a beautiful sister. I grew up on the Scottish countryside in a quaint little house. I went to Hogwarts and was captain of the Gryffindor House Quidditch team. I coached Harry Potter for Merlin’s sake. We won the House Cup together during my 7th year! I’ve smashed in faces of Slytherins and blocked shots people couldn’t even dream of blocking. Scouts came to most of my school matches. I have great friends who support me. I went straight onto the reserve team after school ended. I get free stuff from the Weasley brothers. I am now the strong, Puddlemire United Keeper who doesn’t obsess over a bunch of words that a team mate told him the night before. I have a wonderful girlfriend – who just wretched her insides onto the floor below.

 

You can’t have the best of both worlds.

 

“I’m going to be sick all day today, Oliver.”

 

“I can see that.”

 

So then take the chance.

 

“My head is throbbing.”

 

“I’d imagine it would.”

 

End things with Katie and I’ll be with you!

 

“I’m dizzy.”

 

“Thankfully you’re not standing.”

 

I can’t stop thinking about you either.

 

“My throat hurts.”

 

“You’ll get over it.”

 

I’ve been trying to get your attention ever since I saw you at the Puddlemire try outs!

 

“It’s too bright in here.”

 

“The sun isn’t even up yet, Katie.”

 

Then let Katie go.

 

“What is wrong with you?”

 

“What am I supposed to say? You’re hung-over, that’s your fault, not mine.”

 

It’s me or Katie. You chose her.

 

She groaned and closed her eyes again. “You’re fighting with me again, Oliver. You do it when you’re upset - don’t forget that I know you better then anyone else. We’ll talk when you’re not mad and I’m feeling better.”

 

She was always there to bring me back to normal when I went off the deep end. I owe her a lot, Michelle.

 

I was surprised to hear my own words in my head this time. As Katie drifted back into the lands of slumber, I took my wand out and preformed a quick cleaning spell on the carpet after I conjured a bucket for Katie if she needed it again. I’d ask Marino to thank me later. The sun began to creep over the horizon as I turned to my other side. I squeezed my eyes tightly and tried to force sleep to come over me. My teeth clenched together as I heard Katie begin to snore. I’d never liked that about her.

 

In fact, there were a lot of things that I didn’t like about Katie. Her eyebrows weren’t dark and sometimes in certain lightings, they looked as if they didn’t even exist at all. She liked Divination. She had tiny hands and she always bit her nails. Her favorite color was green. She liked poofy cocktails instead of hard liquor or beer. Her ears were small. She didn’t like going to pubs. Her brown eyes were dull. She never left me alone. She always assumed she knew what was best for me.  

 

I – I just can’t be with you when you’re with her.

 

I grunted and turned over to my other side. I was going to get sleep. Or else.

 

“Marino! Marino, wake up!”

 

My eyebrows scrunched together when I realized that Michelle’s words weren’t in my head this time. I was facing the couch and it would be too obvious if I turned over to look at her. Besides, she wasn’t even addressing me. I could hear her foot come in contact with something; I assumed it was Marino’s rib cage. He grunted and then there was a silence. My heart raced and I desperately wanted to know why she had a proverbial bone to pick with her fellow chaser.

 

I said no, Marino!

 

Oh.

 

It all came back to me now. I had been watching the boys play the new game that she’d introduced when Marino had pulled her from the kitchen. Well, watching wasn’t the word. My mouth was preoccupied with kissing Katie, but my ears were tuned into the game and Marino’s barking laugh. After 3 and a half years of kissing the same pair of lips (although I hadn’t been doing that lately thanks to a certain bloody American), I got bored. Can you blame me though? I knew all her little ‘sexy’ tricks, like biting my lower lip while she pressed herself against me or moaning softly when my fingers played with the waist band of her jeans. It wasn’t sexy anymore because I knew it was coming. Now maybe if she just grabbed below the belt randomly when I wasn’t expecting it…

 

Anyways, I was glad to see Michelle’s face but when I saw her backing away from the table, I knew something was wrong. Maybe she wasn’t that good at the game? No, she was a chaser; she had to be good at a game that involved throwing balls. Marino ended up forcing her to play a round and it was like he was auctioning her off to the highest bidder. I was going to protest and stand up for the girl when Katie beat me to it. It was almost too – too – Merlin’s beard, I don’t really know exactly how I felt when the two started playing. It’s like … it’s like if my main course of steak and potatoes competed against my side dish of hearty New England clam chowder. Not that all girls are plates of food, but that’s the only way I can describe it so you might understand.

 

Now, you see, Katie had already downed a couple drinks. I’m sure Michelle probably did too, but Katie was showing it more then my American was. My hands were sweating as Michelle held that tiny white ball in her hands. She was a professional chaser and Katie had only played at Hogwarts. It was totally unfair. I, however, wasn’t going to say anything. I just stood there and watched the game unfold. I found it sexy when one drop of beer would escape from Michelle’s lips and slowly trickle down her chin. She’d lap it back up with her tongue quickly. But by the beard of Zeus, that made me wish she was holding another kind of ball instead of one used to play beer pong.

 

Michelle won. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t happy. People cheered and I’ll never forget that smile on her face. Sure, she’d smiled before, like when we won Quidditch matches, but I’d never seen anything of this caliber from her before. She positively glowed. Katie groaned and tugged on my shirt sleeve, asking if I could help her drink the rest of Michelle’s beer. I smirked, telling her that she shouldn’t cheat. I looked at the other end of the table to see Michelle’s reaction, but she wasn’t paying attention to me. Annabell kissed her on the cheek and with a raunchy comment, Marino followed suit.

 

“Marino, wake the fuck up!”

 

I balled up my fists. Why did she let him continue? Why was she bothering him now? I could remember her squirming, clearly uncomfortable. She reprimanded him after and then stormed off to one of the bedrooms. I couldn’t exactly catch what she’d said since I was too busy dealing with the extremely drunk Katie. I wrinkled my nose at the memory of her throwing up in the sink moments after she slammed the empty plastic cup on the table. But from what I could see, Michelle wasn’t happy at the stunt that Marino had pulled. Did – did this mean that she was now warming up to him by waking him up in the morning? Kicking someone wasn’t an action of endearment, but hey, she was an American.

 

If you’re not willing to fight for what you want, you’re not who I thought you were.

 

But she was my American.

 

“Michelle, let the poor man sleep. He doesn’t know what he did last night.”

 

The sound came from the other end of the room and I recognized the high pitched female voice. It was Annabell, our lovely chaser. I yearned to turn over and see both of their faces, but I had to keep up the façade of still being asleep. Katie let out another long snore and I bit my tongue to try and keep still.

 

“Annabell, how can you take his side? He tried coming into my room twice last night after I told him I wanted to be alone. I couldn’t sleep all night.”

 

Twice? Oh, that bastard!

 

“Is that why you look like shite this morning? Marino isn’t worth your tears of frustration dear. He’s just a bloke, you know.”

 

“I wasn’t crying because of him. I – I just had a bad dream, that’s all. About my parents.”

 

Liar. We both knew it. She was smart though; Annabell promptly left the room, leaving her alone.

 

We have to end whatever we have together.

 

I’d heard her. I had tried to block it from my mind, thinking it was someone else. I’d tried fooling myself the best I could. But I’d heard her sobs after I slammed the door and I knew they were hers. I remembered from that time when I found her in the locker room after our first game. When she cried, her breaths were shallow and it almost sounded like she was gasping for air. Her sadness was not letting her breathe. I hadn’t met anyone who cried like that. I sighed softly. It was the one thing that broke my own heart the most. I never ever wanted to hurt her, but she’d said it herself. We had to end whatever we had together.

 

As much as I loved having my lips on hers, I knew she was right. As much as I wanted to run my fingers over her soft skin, I knew she was right. As much as I wanted to carry her away from the sorrows she’d experienced, I knew she was right. My eyes fluttered and all I could see was the sofa in front of me. I wanted to run over and wrap her in my arms. I wanted to kiss the top of her head and tell her everything was alright. I wanted to wake up to her face next to me instead of the sofa. But I couldn’t.

 

To hell what was right. She was someone I wanted. Someone I needed.

 

If you’re not willing to fight for what you want, you’re not who I thought you were.

 

She was someone that I was going to fight for.

 

I lifted myself off the couch with a determined air about me. I turned quickly to face her, but it didn’t matter. I was too late. She had already left. I felt my confidence deflate as I sat back down on the couch. I put my head in my hands and Katie wriggled next to me. I didn’t care anymore. She could have coughed up a lung and I wouldn’t have moved to help her. Her head popped out from beneath the blanket and I turned away as she emptied her stomach into the bucket.

 

If you’re not willing to fight for what you want, you’re not who I thought you were.

 

“Katie, we need to talk.”

 

Please say you’ll stay with me.

 

“Can’t this wait until I’m better, dear?”

 

I – I can’t stop thinking about you.

 

“No. I’m breaking up with you.”

 

Without you on the pitch, I can’t concentrate.

 

“You’re still drunk, aren’t you? You said that last time you were drunk after your first game. You don’t mean it, Oliver. Remember, I know you better then anyone else.”

 

I know that sounds crazy, but you’re like my good luck charm or something.

 

“No. I’ve actually never been surer in my life.”


--

A/N: I know, it's short. But yay, he finally did it! Tell me what you think!

Chapter 11: Keeping the Faith
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A/N: Ok, so yes, I know I haven't updated in a while. And like I said in my little personal section, I'm going to explain why. During the spring, I start swim season with my school team. This is why the story was on such a hold last year because I just didn't have time to write. However, this year, I have even less time due to Junior year work and my shoulder injury :( BUT, thanks to all you reviewers and fans, I've decided to keep working. So during the weekends, I'm going to write the chapters - expect an update every two weeks or so. Thankfully, I've written a bunch of chapters after a certain point in the story so then I'll be able to update faster. Thank you everyone for being so patient!

Carly's shameless plug of the week (link in my favorite story list): 

Give Up This Fight by Girldetective85
It is the summer of 1925 in the sleepy village of Little Hangleton, where lives intertwine and stories are rewritten. There is the handsome Tom Riddle, restless despite his wealth and privilege; Bethe Lawney, a gifted young woman with a mysterious past; and Merope Gaunt, destined to become the mother of the most powerful dark wizard in history...

It's a very good story about the love between Tom and Merope!

Now onto the story! The chapter is a bit short and dark, but it's very important!

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My slowly eyelids fluttered open. It was morning, how lovely. The light peaked out from behind the shades and right into my eyes. I grumbled, rolling onto my other side. I squeezed my eyes shut and buried my head into the pillow. Ever stare into a bright light and turn away but you still see the light in the form of spots anyway? Happened to me. But never the less, it had been done – I had been woken up. I cursed to myself softly. Whenever I was woken up by something in the morning, I couldn’t go back to sleep. I could lay there in my bed but I’d never truly reach that nirvana of deep slumber unless I took a sleeping draught to knock me out completely.

 

It was useless to stay in bed. Grunting, I threw back the covers and remembered where exactly I was. And what exactly had happened the night before.

 

I groaned again and took a deep breath. I didn’t want to think about the ultimatum I’d given Oliver and the way he’d reacted. I cracked my fingers and slipped on my shoes. I needed to get out of this room – out of Marino’s house. I ran a hand through my hair and knowing that everyone else would be asleep, I didn’t bother with the rest of my appearance. I made the bed I had slept in (hey, I was a polite guest!) as I thought about leaving. I knew I should probably say goodbye to Marino before I left, but I didn’t want to see him after he’d kissed me last night. Forrester was sure to give both of us shit at practice. After the small little bed was properly made, I grabbed my wand from the bedside table (I didn’t want it to poke me when I slept). I was about to apparate home when I realized that I was forgetting something. I looked down at my white shirt.

 

My vest wasn’t there. It still had to be in the living room after I took it off before the pong game. Piss.

 

I rubbed my eyes as I made my way down the hall way, seeing some bedroom doors open and some shut. I didn’t want to investigate the shut ones for I was sure that someone had gotten lucky. I sighed as I finally reached the living room where most of the mayhem had ensued. It certainly looked like there had been a party here last night. Everyone was probably too drunk to clean up the mess. Bottles of beer were strewn about and cups littered the table used for the drinking game I’d introduced. My eyes scanned the room for my vest, but it wasn’t next to the table like I thought it would be. I carefully stepped over the red plastic cups in my way as I went around the table. Still no sign of the vest. I frowned and tapped my foot against the ground, annoyed. Where could that stupid piece of clothing be? I paced around the room until I rounded the couch. I promptly stopped.  

 

There was Marino, on the floor, with my vest in his hands.

 

“Marino! Marino, wake up!”

 

He didn’t budge. I growled softly as I tried to wretch the fabric from his grip, but I failed. He wasn’t going to let the stupid thing go. His eyelids fluttered and I was about to say something, yet he closed his eyes again. I saw a lazy smile on his sleepy face as he rolled over onto his other side, snuggling against the shaggy carpet beneath him. He muttered something incoherent as I tried to grab my vest again.

 

“Marino, wake the fuck up!”

 

Unlike myself, he could sleep after being woken up in the morning. I was about to tear my hair out. I didn’t need this. Out of pure frustration, my foot contacted his ribcage. Maybe that would do it? No, it didn’t. He actually drooled on the thing, much to my dismay. Damn! He wouldn’t let that vest go!

 

“Michelle, let the poor man sleep. He doesn’t know what he did last night.”

 

I whirled around to see Annabell staring at me questioningly, her arms over her chest. She had the same clothes on as last night, but her hair was a bit disheveled due to her slumber. I rolled my eyes and stood, leaving Marino gurgling on the floor. I added another swift kick for good measure.

 

“Annabell, how can you take his side? He tried coming into my room twice last night after I told him I wanted to be alone. I couldn’t sleep all night.”

 

“Is that why you look like shite this morning? Marino isn’t worth your tears of frustration dear. He’s just a bloke, you know.”

 

My anger faded and it was quickly replaced by fear. I tried to think quickly on my feet. Come on Michelle, mention something that would get her to go away!

 

“I wasn’t crying because of him. I – I just had a bad dream, that’s all. About my parents.”

 

An expression of surprise and embarrassment covered Annabell’s face as she left, muttering something along the lines of ‘Oh dear, I’m sorry, didn’t mean to pry’. It worked. I felt guilty, but I had to admit, it was nice to be alone again. I ran my hands through my hair again and turned my attention back to Marino. He rolled over onto his other side after I’d poked him for a couple seconds and finally, his fingers began to loosen their grip on my vest. Huzzah! I mentally cheered as I wrenched the fabric from him; I would have put it on but I remembered that Marino had drooled on it. I stood next to his sleeping body and smiled at my victory. He gurgled in response as his arms reached out in order to hold onto my legs, unbeknownst to me. Whistling a happy tune, I tried to step away but I suddenly found myself falling face first onto the floor. Thankfully the shaggy carpet muffled my fall and I quickly got up, brushing the dirt off my shirt. If anyone had seen me, they would have laughed at how red my cheeks were from embarrassment.

 

But they were soon to turn red from something other then embarrassment. There, right in front of me, was the back of someone that I knew very well. Conveniently, next to this familiar back, there was a lump under the same blanket, Katie no doubt. My heart raced. I was rooted to the spot. I couldn’t stop looking at the couple. They taunted me with their every breath they took together. It was a scene of complete serenity that I wanted to break – her outline close to his, the way he was facing her, the air from her breath moving his hair ever so slightly …

 

I felt my skin crawl. I felt my own breath being caught in my throat. I felt the tears begging to fall down my cheeks. Cold ice ran down my back and continued to spread throughout my body.

 

I ran.

 

Well, technically, I apparated. But my mind was telling me to run, to get out of Marino’s flat. I didn’t need to know what Oliver thought about my ultimatum – his position this morning told me that he had really chosen Katie over me. He stormed right of my arms to hers. I didn’t get it. I didn’t want to believe it. It was like everything we had together meant nothing. I stumbled down the hallway towards my room, numb to the world around me.

 

I hated him. I truly hated him. I’d thought it before, but I really meant it now.

 

I choked on my own breath as my legs gave away as soon as I entered my bedroom. The sobs racked my body as I rolled around on the ground, finally letting the tears from my eyes. I gasped for air as my own sadness blocked my airway. I couldn’t think correctly. My hands balled up and I began to punch the floor below me. I didn’t care about the pain prickling at my knuckles. As soon as the voices yelled at me, my hands flew to my ears. I didn’t want to hear their words of rejection and pessimism. My vision began to blur as I felt the familiar effects of my sickness. Colors began to blend and I couldn’t stop crying. I rolled back and forth, attempting to breathe and regain control over myself but I failed. I promptly fainted four minutes later.

 

--

 

“Mike! She’s awake! Quick!”

 

I groaned as I turned over to my other side, grabbing the pillow next to me.

 

“Michelle! Michelle, please talk to me!”

 

I opened my bloodshot, puffy eyes to see my brother standing over me. My vision was still a bit blurry and I reached out to make sure that he was really there. My hand touched his skin and I smiled softly. He mirrored my expression and pulled me into a large, brotherly hug. I nestled into his shoulder as his fingers rubbed my back. I started to cry again, but this time, it was much less dramatic then before. He pulled me in harder and rocked me back and forth, like he did when we were little. I don’t know how long we stayed like that, but I didn’t care. My brother had always been a person who could protect me, show me the way. I needed him now more then I ever had. Somehow, I think he knew that. 

 

“You scared me – well, Noel and I – to death,” he muttered as he kissed the side of my head before releasing me.

 

“Sorry,” I said softly, as I wiped away the tears from my face, “for scaring you and making your shirt wet.”

 

“You know I don’t care about my shirt,” he grinned, pushing a strand of my hair behind my ear. I smiled back before hiccupping loudly. I gasped, putting my hands over my mouth. Noel giggled next to me and suddenly, I felt like laughing too. I hiccupped again unexpectedly and now Mike was even laughing.

 

“Wh – at?”

 

“You’re a funny person, Michelle.”

 

“H – ey!”

 

“I think I have a draught to help you,” Noel said with a laugh as she left the room. “Hold on one second!”

 

“I don’t th – ink I can!” I said and soon Mike and I were in a fit of giggles and laughter. Tears of laughter, not sadness, poured down my cheeks as I kept hiccupping. It was something juvenile to laugh at, but I didn’t care. I held my stomach as my abs clenched with my laughter. Noel brought a vile of yellow liquid into the room and I downed it quickly, gasping at the horrid taste. She smiled sympathetically and took the empty vile from me. Both Noel and Mike sighed and looked at me. I felt the mood turn serious and I gulped. I snuggled into my bed, hoping to avoid the situation all together.  

 

“Michelle, I have something to tell you.”

 

“You’re getting married? She’s pregnant? You got a promotion? He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named died? Finally?”

 

“No,” he said, tugging at his shirt collar nervously. “Something more serious then that.”

 

“What he’s trying to say is that I know about your condition Michelle. Mike told me everything,” Noel said, taking my hand in hers. I stared at both of them in disbelief.

 

“Everything?”

 

“Everything.”

 

“Oh.”

 

It was all I could say. I shouldn’t have been that surprised since I’d told coaches before about my condition, but I’d never told them everything about it. I let my hand slip from Noel’s grip and I scrunched my eyebrows together. How could he? I liked Noel, it wasn’t that, but Mike and I had this agreement that we would never tell my secret to everyone. I began to fiddle with the tassels on my comforter as an awkward silence filled the air.

 

“Michelle, don’t be mad. What else was I going to do? We found you passed out on your bedroom floor! It was the worst I’ve ever seen you,” Mike said, putting his hands on his head. “Besides, Noel’s a healer. She can maybe help you.”

 

“In fact, I’d like to ask you a couple questions,” she added quietly.

 

“Look, I like you Noel,” I said defensively as I crossed my arms over my chest, “But this is a family thing. If I had a choice in the matter, I wouldn’t let you in on my little secret. I wouldn’t let anyone know.” 

 

“Michelle,” Mike warned.

 

“What? I’m being honest!”

 

“I understand where you’re coming from,” Noel said after some time. “But you have to understand that we’re breaking ground in the field of medical science. Documenting your condition could help find a cure for others in the future.”

 

“I’m pretty sure no one else has this ‘condition’,” I growled.

 

“But you don’t know!” Noel said with an exasperated tone. “We need to document it! We need to run tests! We can figure out why you keep fainting!”

 

“No,” I answered sternly.

 

“Michelle,” Mike implored. “Please give it a chance. It could work.”

 

Could? It won’t work! I know it won’t! It never has before, it won’t start now,” I retorted back. “Besides, she’s not the top healer in England. How does she know what she’s doing is going to help?”

 

“Have a little faith, please,” Mike begged again.

 

“Faith? Oh Mike, you’ve got to be jok-”

 

“She maybe not be the best healer but she could get in contact with person who is. Please, give it a chance.”

 

I looked into his eyes and saw the desperation he felt. I had always thought that I was the only one who wanted to get better, but his eyes told a different story. I always knew that he was concerned for my health, but I guess I had never really realized just how much until now. I was the only family that he had left and we both couldn’t afford lose each other. I looked at the window next to me and then down into my lap.

 

“Fine. What questions do you want to ask Noel?” She beamed and reached into the leather bag next to her, pulling out a pad of yellow paper and pen. I was surprised she was doing it the muggle way. She opened up to the first blank page and wrote something down before asking me a bombardment of questions.

 

“When was the first time you – how should I put this? When did you first notice this sort of condition?”

 

“Oh Merlin, I don’t think I can do this,” I said, waving my hands in the air as I verbally backpedaled. “Not now.”

 

“Please Michelle, don’t make me beg anymore - ”

 

“Mike, maybe you should leave the room,” Noel said, touching his hand. He looked at me and then back at her, not knowing what to do. I nodded slowly and he gave me a curt nod in return before shutting the door behind him. A silence filled the air as I looked back at the closed door. Part of me wanted Mike to be with me, but the more stubborn part of me said that I could do this all by myself.

 

“It was after our father died,” I answered softly, looking down at my shaking hands. “Mike decided to stop playing Quidditch, which was a shame because he was such a good player. I switched from seeker to chaser. I – I didn’t want my father to be ashamed that none of his children were chasers. So I practiced all through the summer. During those little ‘sessions’, I started blacking out.”

 

“Was it because you were training hard?”

 

“No, I would just be flying along in midair and bam! Fainted.”

 

“Hmm,” she said, scribbling away on her note pad. I gulped and hoped I was saying the right thing. “And this never went away, did it?”

 

“No, as you can see,” I said, forcing an awkward smile. Like I said before, I’d always liked Noel. She was the most intelligent of Mike’s girlfriends, but I still felt awkward telling her all about my life. I put out that I was this tough chick, but on the inside, I was made of mush. I didn’t want her to see the mushy side of me because then I’m sure she’d probably see me as someone different. A professional Quidditch player who faints after her father dies? Not someone who you’d see winning matches on Puddlemire United and certainly not someone who could be a role model to others.

 

“What symptoms occur, besides fainting?”

 

“I can’t see straight. It’s like I’m on a drug – the colors run together and objects melt. I can’t walk straight either. Sometimes I hear voices, sometimes I don’t. One wizard gave me these little white pills that sometimes stop all that stuff, but usually I don’t consume them before I faint. Not enough time.”

 

“Can I see them?”

 

“They’re in my sports bag,” I said. I accioed the bottle to me and then tossed it into her hands. She looked at the white bottle and the writing on the label before transcribing it onto her note pad. She tutted and nodded softly to herself before asking the next question.

 

“So each episode always ends in fainting?”

 

“Ye-”

 

I stopped myself. My breath caught in my throat as I remembered the one and only time that one of the episodes had just stopped without me fainting. I looked at her, surprised at my own discovery, and she raised an eyebrow.

 

“Well usually it does. But there was this one time when I was in the locker room and I was in the showers when I felt like I was going to faint. All the usual stuff happened, and I was reaching in my bag for my pills so I wouldn’t faint but as soon as I saw one of my teammates - ”

 

Oliver.

 

I started to cry again just thinking about him. At first, it was awkward and I could tell that Noel didn’t know what to do. She sat there in silence as I tried to slow down my breathing in order to try and calm myself down. I sniffled and placed my hands over my face, wiping the tears off my cheeks. My eyes stung and I felt as though I couldn’t produce any more tears. Merlin, I was such a mess today. 

     

“One of my teammates came into the locker room,” I began again, “and all of a sudden, everything just stopped. Like, I just snapped out of it. It was weird. It’s never happened before.” She nodded and continued to write things down on the yellow paper. I sniffled again and conjured a tissue box to blow my nose with.

 

“Is there anything that might trigger these attacks?” she asked after writing a couple of sentences.

 

“I – I don’t know,” I said truthfully as I sniffled and then grabbed a tissue. “They just kind of come on.”

 

“Could you elaborate?” she said, raising a brow, as if she didn’t believe me.

 

“Well let’s see … I was playing in my first match on Puddlemire United and I got slammed into the keeper’s pole and it came on. It didn’t stop until I fainted. Another time after that was when I was showering and I thought I got shampoo in my eyes but it was just my condition,” I answered with a bit of malice laced into my voice.

 

“What about before being on Puddlemire?”

 

“Well they didn’t happen as frequently, but they happened. They were less intense as well. I’d get them after practice before a big game or maybe even before a big test or something. There wasn’t a specific time that was significant enough to remember.”

 

“Then what about last night? Anything you can think of that could have made it worse?”

 

“No,” I spit out almost instantly.

 

“Are you sure? Maybe I can help you. What did you do last night? Party a little too much?”

 

“That – that’s getting a little personal,” I responded, my eyebrows scrunching together. There was no way that I was going to tell her everything that happened last night. Oliver had already been mentioned in this conversation and he was not going to come up again. She scribbled down a couple more thoughts on her paper.

 

“You may think it’s personal, but I think it’s necessary. I think it’s something you do that triggers these little outbreaks,” she said after placing a lock of dark hair behind her ear. “How are your relationships?”

 

“I don’t have a boyfriend if that’s what you mean,” I said, biting my lower lip. I didn’t think that anything personal really triggered my attacks but if this made my brother happy, then I was going to have to go through with it.

 

“I meant with your teammates,” she said, after scribbling down ‘boyfriendless loser’ on her notepad, I’m sure.

 

“We get along well. I’m good friends with my chasers - ”

 

Even though Marino tried to kiss me!

 

“ – I’m good friends with Annabell, in fact, she’s my best friend - ”

 

Although I made her go away this morning!

 

“ – my beater friend told me he’s gay so I think our relationship is pretty strong - ”

 

I admit, I was surprised he told me!

 

“ – and the other beater I don’t know as well, but we’re friends.”  

 

“And the keeper – Wood is it?” she asked. I blinked a couple times before answering.

 

“We have a love hate relationship.”

 

“Hmmm,” she muttered again after flipping to a fresh page of paper. Her pen flew across the page as she began speaking to herself softly, probably repeating what she writing. “Well I think we should maybe resume this again at another time,” Noel said smiling after she’d written everything down. “You’re making progress, I can tell. It’s not going to be easy. I admire your courage.”

 

“I’m doing this for Mike, not me,” I muttered as she left.


--

A/N: Oooo, the plot thickens! And no Oliver this time, but that will come soon! 

Carly

Chapter 12: Sunshine On A Rainy Day
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Gah, this is second time I've posted this! My computer is being odd. It's making me angry. 

Anyway, I'm sorry that I haven't posted in a while. I've been in the middle of swim season with my high school team. Seriously, swimming ate up all my free time. I had to juggle it, along with school, aps, my friends, my boyfriend, graphics, etc. So I'm sorry that I haven't posted or answered reviews. But I'm done now so I'll devote more time to writing. 

Also, this story is going to end around chapter 20 or so. Don't worry, I'm planning to have a sequel. And I'm going to have a Remus/OC story up too - I've been thinking about the plot for like, 3 months. 

Shameless Plug:

The Untold Adventures of Lacey Ackhart (and her not-so-beloved Quidditch Captain)
byx__hullabaloo

Hello. My name is Lacey Ackhart. I am a seventh year Ravenclaw. I am pretty good at Quidditch. I get decent grades, and most of all, I have great friends.

My life is pretty nice, I'd say.

Except for one small thing: I am falling in love with my Quidditch captain, Roger Davies.

And he's a downright prat.

It's very much like this story, but better!

AND SO. HERE IS THE CHAPTER YOU'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!




-


 
-

After a tough weekend, I was happy to be able to go to practice to keep my mind off all the social problems that I was going through – Quidditch, Marino, Annabell, Oliver (no, we were back to rivalry names now, so Tory) and Noel related things. Fields would work me and because I was the Quidditch obsessed chaser that I was, I was looking forward to it. Forrester was bound to make a comment about Marino and I. Marino was most likely going to apologize for kissing me. Annabell was going to say sorry for prying into my person life and Oliver – Merlin, I didn’t know what Oliver – no Tory, must remember to call him that - was going to do. Or say for that matter. But I wanted to fly; it outweighed everything else. I needed to leave all the bull shit on the ground.

 

As I dropped my bag onto the ground, I took my broom out from under my arm and secured my brown leather pads onto my shins and forearms. There were things going on around me, like the reserve team taking out the balls from their protective cases or Forrester poking Annabell in the back and then acting like it was someone else, but I was numb to it all. It was like I was in this trance. I hadn’t even noticed Fields behind me.

 

“You look determined today,” he grunted as his fingers tapped against his clipboard idly.

 

“Just work me hard,” I said curtly, striding past him, hearing the soft “That’s what she said!” from one of the reserve chasers. Marino and Forrester laughed loudly, but I, however, paid no attention to the juvenile joke. I mounted my broom and kicked off into the air. After a couple of warm up moves, I stopped to catch my breath and re do my messy ponytail as I heard the rest of the team as they warmed up. Forrester and Marino were seeing if they could charm some blades of grass to poke Fields in the back, Annabell was scoffing as Cambert gave her instructions and Dellard was trying to catch an owl that had just dropped off a note. I sighed and rubbed my temples. I hadn’t gotten any sleep last night because I was too busy thinking about everything that had happened so recently.

 

Right, back to flying.

 

Soon, Fields called us over and I grabbed a quaffle from the bag and tossed it up and down as he talked. From my point of view, he was just blabbing away and I saw no use in listening to him. I tried spinning the red ball on one finger, like I had seen some muggle kids do back at Mills with a basketball, but it fell down to the ground with a thump! I glanced around, hoping that no one had heard it and thankfully, I was right. Slowly, I picked the ball back up and went back to my quest to master the move.

 

“Michelle!”

 

Thump!

 

“What?”

 

“Are you listening?”

 

Thump!

 

“Do you want the bull shit answer or the truthful answer?”

 

Fields shook his head as the boys snickered. He barked out orders to commence the ritual chaser warm up and the boys hurried off onto the pitch with the quaffle I’d been playing with. Fields put his arm around my shoulders and led me over to the water benches. I knew this wasn’t going to go over well; clearly, he did not like sass from his chasers. But I knew that his words would fall on deaf ears. I wasn’t in the mood to care about him yelling at me. I just wanted to fly and I would, in fact, rejoice if he made me do laps.

 

“What’s wrong with you?” he said, raising his brow after he forced me down on one of the benches.

 

“Nothing coach,” I replied as I chewed on one of my nails, clearly bored.

 

“Don’t give me that bullocks,” he growled, throwing his clipboard onto the ground. “This is why I never wanted to have a girl on the team. You’re always moody. I know, I know, it’s just the hormones but I won’t take that as an excuse. I don’t want to read between the lines – tell me what hell has been bothering you or I will force you to leave practice.”

 

“Look, I had a sort of bad game last week, an emotional weekend and now I’ve got a hang nail. I just want to fly, I don’t want to talk,” I said, rolling my eyes as I crossed my arms over my chest.

 

“As you wish,” Fields replied, crossing his own arms over his chest. “100 laps. Once you’ve burned off your estrogen, you can join us at the center of the pitch.” Rolling my eyes, I got off the bench and strode past him towards my broom. I kicked off, starting off my laps slowly. I could feel the rest of the team’s eyes on me as I rounded my twentieth lap, but I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed. In fact, I was happy that I was allowed to fly on my own. It gave me a chance to clear my mind and focus on the task in front of me.

 

And ignore the stupid Tory (yes, it’s coming back to me now) who was grinning while watching me from the ground. I tried to send him the death glare.

 

One hundred laps is no cake walk, I will tell you that. You’d think that it would be easy because, you know, there’s only direction/path you can go, but that’s for amateurs. Because I could feel my anger towards the world in my veins, I knew that there was only one way to get it all out and that was doing the laps in record time. I smirked to myself as I kicked my broom into high gear.

 

Time was no longer a variable. In fact, I threw it out the window all together. Each time I rounded the southern keeper’s post, a number flashed in my head only for a second and then I concentrated on going faster. I kept urging my broom to kick it up a notch and it was around lap 60 that it hit its peak. I was flying as fast as I could go. In muggle terms, I’d wager that I was going about as fast as The Flash.

 

I was free. Going that fast let me leave every single thing that was bothering me behind in the dust.  

 

The number of laps that I had left slowly dwindled and I slowed myself down as I rounded the last corner of my last lap. I took a deep breath since I felt so much more relaxed and met my fellow chasers where Fields said they would be. The boys were currently throwing the quaffle back and forth, finishing the warm up that we always did. The tension was palpable. Fields was in no better mood then when I’d seen him last; he raised his brows, asking the unspoken question that I dared to answer.

 

“Yes, I’m done being a moody bitch. Just needed to clear my head.”

 

“Doing that clears your head?” Marino said, eyeing me oddly. “You sure are obsessed with Quidditch, you know. I mean, other girls shop and get their nails done, but you – you whiz around at your broom’s top speed so your brain turns into mush. No wonder you’re so calm. Matter of fact, I should try it sometime.”

 

“You aren’t going to bleed on me, are you?” Forrester asked cringing as increased the space between us.

 

“You dolt! The blood comes out between her le -”

 

“Well, I know that!”

 

“You just acted like you didn’t know -”

 

“Well I did know, I was just taking the piss -”

 

“Uh, Earth to Forrester, you’re an idiot.”

 

“Uh, Earth to Marino, you’re even more of an idiot for saying ‘Earth to -”

 

“Shut up you two!” Fields ordered. “You’re being worse then she is! If you three keep making me bloody mad, I’ll end practice right away! I swear to Merlin!” It was almost like an open invitation for them to push his buttons. I shook my head as the boys’ faces lit up. They had their chance and they were going to take it.

 

“Really?”

 

“Cos that’d be awesome!”

 

“My thighs hurt like a bitch! Oh, sorry Michelle.”

 

“No offense taken,” I replied, nodding my head to show that I was playing along with the joke.

 

“Honestly Forrester, how could you insult a lady?”

 

“Michelle, grab me those two Quaffles, eh? Seems that I need to give them to Marino since he’s lost his own pair of balls along with his sense of humor.”

 

“Oh please. If I lost them, what would that bird Kelsey be licki -”

 

“Oh Merlin, don’t you dare finish that sentence,” I groaned, putting my head in my hands. “That’s too much information.”

 

“Too much eh?” Marino said with an eyebrow raised lasciviously. “Too much would be telling you what we do before that. You know, the down and dirty details when I’m taking off her -”

 

“THAT’S IT! LEAVE NOW!” Fields roared as he pointed to the changing rooms. He threw his clipboard down at the ground and it splintered on contact. With a large huff, my coach left the field, knocking over one of the reserve chasers in the process. Marino and Forrester looked at each other and then back at me, clearly amused. This was a normal occurrence for them it seemed.

 

“And I thought I was the one who was supposed to be moody,” I grinned wolfishly as we picked up our stuff and headed home. I did not forget to send a death glare to the Tory before I left.  

 

--

 

“Are you sure you don’t want to come out with us Michelle?” my brother asked as I entered the kitchen in my blue cloud pajamas, fuzzy white bathrobe and slippers. He and Noel had made reservations to go out to dinner together and as much as I loved to be the third wheel – well no, I hated being the third wheel, who am I kidding? It would be awkward if I tagged along. It was obviously a date for the two of them. I had told them that I would stay home and have an alone night, making popcorn and reading sappy romance novels whose plot would never actually happen in real life.

 

“You think the restaurant will let me in like this?” I said with a laugh as I ventured over to the cabinet to make myself a cup of tea. My brother sighed and looked back at Noel, who was putting on her black coat at the door. I could tell that he was mesmerized by her red dress that I’d helped her pick out. Thanks to Marco, I had a better fashion sense, along with a bigger closet. I smiled and put a hand on my brother’s shoulder. “It’s your night Mike. Go have fun with her. Don’t worry about little old me. I’m actively choosing to stay home tonight.”

 

“Well if you say so,” he said, clearly happy with my decision, although he tried to hide it with a small frown. I chucked and pushed him towards the door as the kettle began to whistle. “I’ll bring an umbrella just in case it rains. You never know in England,” I heard him chuckle and with a slam of the door, I was alone.

 

Peace.

 

I made my cup of tea and grabbed an orange from one of the baskets we kept on the counter. I tossed it up and caught it again several times as I made my way to the living room where I’d set up shop. The couch had a large gray blanket strewn across it while a plate of pasta sat on the table surrounded by books with titles such as The Crimes of Passion, The Devil Who Named Her, and Her Heart’s Desire. Ever since I’d come to England, I loved picking up sappy romance novels about 19th century ladies who yearned for a polished, rich husband. I grabbed The Crimes of Passion and wrapped myself in the blanket after setting my tea cup down on the side table next to me.   

 

I became enthralled with the world of Lady Kate Wellington. Her mother wanted her to be a prim and proper lady but she liked to be a rebellious child instead. Enter Lord Geoffrey Milton, a young heir in a similar predicament. It was around the part that the two characters recognized their feelings for each other that I noticed the rain splashing against the open window and into the house. After clearing my throat, I went over to the window and closed it shut. I yawned and stretched my arms above my head, returning to my sacred reading spot. I snuggled with my blanket after taking another bite of pasta and began to read aloud to myself theatrically.

 

“‘Oh that Lady Wellington’, Geoffrey said while pacing in his office, ‘She captured my heart with the slightest nod of her head when she greeted me for the first time. The witch! The sorcerer! Oh, I must go to her now. I must! I must know what she feels about me. I will die from anticipation. She must love me. If she does not, I swear I shall win her heart.’” 

 

I jumped when the doorbell rang. I dog-eared the book on the current page I was reading and got up from the couch to answer. In hind sight, I should have checked who was at the front door before I let them in. I really should have changed into something less embarrassing. I most certainly should have put on some make up or something. But no, I opened the front door to see him standing outside my house in the rain. My breath caught in my throat.

 

“Michelle,” he said breathlessly as the raindrops ran down his face. He put his arms on his thighs and let his head hang as he gasped for air. It looked like he’d run from somewhere.

 

“Oliver,” I replied, not bothering to disguise how surprised I was to see him. I pushed the door in front of me, as if to hide from him.

 

“I’m so sorry to drop in on such short notice – c-can I come in?” he said, gulping as he looked up at me.

 

“Sure, um, would you like some tea or something? You look like you’re chilled to the bone,” I said and he followed me into the flat.

 

“That’d be lovely,” he grinned as he took his wand out of his pocket. “Sorry for getting things wet. Let me fix it.” With a wave his wand, the water had disappeared from the floor and he was much dryer then he was before. He took a deep breath and I scrunched my eyebrows as I left him to go to the cupboard for a cup. I didn’t get it. Why was he here? We had both agreed to try and be somewhat peaceful towards each other, although I wasn’t sure how courteous I could really be around him. I tried not to break the china in my hand as I set it down on the counter and poured the hot water into it. As the tea bag’s color spread through the clear water, I became more and more angry. How dare he just drop in like this, expecting that I’d tend to him! Especially when I’d cleared my head earlier this morning!

 

“Is this what you really wear to bed?” he said with a grin from the bar stool he’d sat down on. I scowled and set down the cup on the counter top in front of him.

 

“Why are you here Oliver?” I blurted out.

 

“I was, you know, passing by and thought I’d say hello.”

 

“Bull shit. Answer the question.”

 

He gulped and took a sip of the tea I’d given him as I rolled my eyes and put my hands on my hips. After he set the cup down on the saucer, he collected his breath before speaking, as if to choose his words carefully. “I – I’m not very good at doing this. Contrary to what you think, I haven’t done this many times before.”

 

“Done what?” I said, raising a brow.

 

“L-Let me explain,” he said, raising a hand for me to stop talking. “I thought about what you said at Marino’s flat party. I was being a total prat, you know, toying around with you like that.” I was about to yell at him but he put his hand up again and I fell silent, still glaring at him. “I know you want to elaborate on my words, but please, let me finish. So I thought about what you said. I really did sleep on it. I mean that literally. And I realized that I didn’t want to cheat on Katie anymore. I woke up and realized that I couldn’t do that to her anymore. You were right. You’re always right.”

 

There was a silence as I looked down towards the ground. I couldn’t face him. I knew he was just here to say ‘I’m sorry for taking your heart and stomping on it, but can we still be friends? You know, maybe if we’re drunk, we’ll get together again. It could happen, right? And then we’ll be in even more of an awkward situation but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.’ I turned and went into the other room to retrieve my empty tea cup by the couch. I was boiling.

 

“Michelle, listen to me!” Oliver said frantically as he followed me into living room. “I’m trying to tell you something important!”

 

“Why the hell should I listen to you!” I yelled as I turned to face him. “What are you fucking doing here Oliver? We’re done. We’re through. We both know that. Don’t come here and say you had a change of heart, because I saw you. I saw you on the couch with Katie in the morning. You looked quite comfortable, let me tell you. Just fucking leave me alone! It’s bad enough to have you on the same team.”

 

“Do you mean that? All of that?”

 

“Of course I mean that, I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t!”

 

“But do you really mean it?” he said, raw desperation in his voice as he grabbed my arms. “You can’t mean it. You’re crazy. I won’t accept it. We can’t be over.”

 

“I told you it was over Oliver,” I said, wriggling out his arms, a disgusted look plastered on my face. “Do I need to repeat myself?” A silence followed as turned my back to him and I looked out the window as the rain fell down harder. I heard him suck in another breath and internally, I did too. I wanted him to leave so I didn’t have to deal with the whole situation anymore. Because the more time that I sat there looking outside at the rain, the more I wanted to run into his arms. He kept asking all these questions and I answered them sternly, but inside I was just as raw as he was. It was breaking my heart that I was saying no to him but my pride kept my voice from shaking.

 

“Michelle?”

 

I didn’t answer.

 

“Michelle, talk to me. Just listen to what I have to say.”

 

“I heard what you had to say Oliver. We’re not going back to what we did.”

 

“I never said that’s what I want -”

 

“You implied it!” I growled as I turned back to face him. “Why are you here then? All you want is to see if we could get back together again for some action and then we’ll stop again. This has nothing to do with you feeling bad for Katie. You just won’t accept that I don’t want you anymore. Get out. Now.”

 

“Michelle -”

 

“Don’t you dare say my name like that! We are not -”

 

“Michelle -”

 

“Get OUT!”

 

“I broke up with Katie!” he roared and I dropped my hands to my side, shocked. A silence followed before he swallowed and repeated it again, only softer. “I broke up with Katie. It was that morning on the couch. I wanted to tell you, you just wouldn’t let me, you stubborn girl.”

 

I couldn’t stop the silent tears from falling. He came over to where I was standing and we both just looked each other. It all made sense now and I had just been a fool, blind to it all. I couldn’t believe that I had actually just said all of that nasty stuff. Both of us knew that I didn’t mean it. Without Katie, it was different. I knew why he was here now. He wanted me. He reached out to take my hand, as if he was testing the waters, but I ignored it and threw myself into his arms. He wasn’t expecting the gesture and wobbled slightly, adjusting to my body. His arms wrapped around my waist and I laid my head down on his shoulder as he rocked me back and forth slowly. I couldn’t believe he’d chosen me over Katie.

 

“I didn’t mean -”

 

“Shhh, I know.”

 

“But I’m not -” 

 

“You’re not crazy. You’re just American.”

 

“Hey!”

 

“Well it’s true you know,” he said with a smile and then kissed the top of my head lovingly. “I’m sorry about this, you know. I told you that I haven’t done this a lot before. You’re the third girl that I’ve asked to be my girlfriend.”

 

Girlfriend. Merlin, I loved that word.

 

“Well you’re my first official boyfriend,” I said blushing. “I was too Quidditch obsessed to actually maintain a stable relationship back in school.”

 

“It doesn’t matter, just as long as we really are a couple now,” he said, pushing back some of my hair from my face. “I mean, it might look a bit odd that I asked you out a day or so after I broke up with Katie and I’m sure people will suspect that things went on between us -”

 

“We’ll keep it secret for a bit then,” I replied, “Just until the break up blows over.”

 

“Alright, so still act like you’re still single. But you’re not allowed to be with any other guy. Because you’re mine.”

 

I smiled into his chest as he held me tighter as we just hugged in the silence. I can’t really describe what happened during that period time. There isn’t a word that could have fully described both of our emotions. We were just happy to finally be together and recognize that we did have strong feelings for each other. Except now, we wouldn’t be sneaking around Katie anymore. We’d be a couple.  
-

A/N: YAY!

:) 

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