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My (Fake) Wedding by lightthecandle

Format: Novel
Chapters: 27
Word Count: 166,799
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Strong violence, Scenes of a sexual nature, Substance abuse, Sensitive topic/issue/theme

Genres: Drama, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Harry, Ginny, Albus, James (II), Lily (II), Rose, Teddy, Victoire, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: James/OC, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, Teddy/Victoire, Other Pairing

First Published: 02/22/2014
Last Chapter: 08/15/2016
Last Updated: 08/15/2016

Summary:















“I’m going to propose now… so, you know, get ready.”
“Oh God, what do I do?”
“Just pretend to be shocked then overly excited.”







absolutely perfect banner by catharsis@TDA! You are a lifesaver Daisy | 30,000+ reads!


Chapter 1: Welcome to my Crappy Life
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A/N: Second novel :) I know this chapter is quite short as a first one but the chapters after this will be much longer! I promise! Hope you guys enjoy this idea that I randomly had whilst writing When A Siren Calls!





Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, this wonderful creation belongs to J.K. Rowling. I also do not own playdough and humpty dumpty nursery rhyme.







chapter image by the talented clowder@TDA!



“No, I’m alright and I know you’ll burn it as soon as you touch it.” - Charity Whelan











Life has really gotten sucky since I left Hogwarts, I’ll tell you that. Something really bad happened a year after I left… but I really don’t want to tell you about that. I’ll just say this, my Dad didn’t speak to me for 2 years after it.


 I got kicked out of my apartment last week because I couldn’t pay the rent for the last 3 months so I’m basically hopping from house to house. My job as a waitress at a muggle café really isn’t cutting the cheese and my last ‘date’ ran off to the hills scared because I may or may not have had strong issues regarding his clothing attire.


 He was wearing a bloody onesie for a dinner date for Godric’s sake! Who on Earth wear’s a onesie for a date?! Welcome to Elle Underwood’s shitty life. Right now I was staying at my older sister, Charity’s house because I was too scared to stay at my Dad’s even though we do speak now.


Don’t think I missed the irony that her name’s Charity.


It was lovely, roomy even, but it wasn’t ideal because she had two children that were 6 and 3 respectively and both of them were already showing signs of magical capabilities. This meant that my possessions were often under threat of suddenly catching fire or just disappearing in general. Not that I didn’t love my niece or nephew, I did, it was just that they were a handful and Charity often left me to babysit them so she could have ‘alone time’ with her husband, Darrell.


“Auntie Lell!” my niece, Gabrielle, came charging up to me. She still couldn’t pronounce my name properly.


“What is it Gabby?” I cooed, she shoved her plate of mashed food made out of play-dough under my nose, “Oh, that looks yummy!” I gasped in awe.


“Lellie!” that’s when Ruari came running out his bedroom, hearing me come through the front door and practically be assaulted by non-edible food. You see, Ruari knows my name is Elle but because he’d grown up calling me ‘Lellie’ that was now my name. Unfortunately.


“Heya Ruari, how are you?” I picked him up and swung him round heavily, “You’re getting too heavy for me, you know. You need to stop growing up!” I kissed his temple and put him back on the floor.


“How was work?” that was my sister, she came out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on the dish cloth and coming forward to hug me. I was still wearing my posh black clothing and white apron from work so I answered,


“It was busy!” quickly before heading into my makeshift bedroom and getting into some spare clothes. It really was a mess and they needed this spare room eventually, to turn it into Gabrielle’s room because they couldn’t keep using her baby crib in their room forever.


“Obviously! We’re having sausage and mash for tea!” she called from the stove where she was using her wand to help her, following the cookbook every so often.

 
“Want any help?” I asked, walking into the kitchen heavily because Gabby had attached herself to my leg and wouldn’t let go.


“No, I’m alright and I know you’ll burn it as soon as you touch it.” She laughed at me expression.


“I am not that bad! I can make pancakes!” I huffed, sitting myself down on the couch and pulling Gabby into my lap.


“And that’s all you can do before you burn it.” She answered, carrying on with the cooking. It smelt absolutely delicious and I was jealous that she could cook properly unlike me, who needs serious help all the time. Charity doesn’t even trust me to cook anything whilst I’m in the house alone.


“When’s Darrell getting home from work?” I asked to change the subject from my obvious lack of the brilliant at cooking gene that everyone else got apart from me. Even my Dad can cook and that’s saying something!


“Should be when tea’s ready, which is in about 10 minutes.” She checked her watch and I played ‘Humpty Dumpty’ with Gabby on my lap, it was her favourite game to play and she’d make me play it all day if I didn’t have a job. 10 minutes went past slowly as I had to divide my attention between Ruari who was playing hide and seek with me and Gabby, who wanted me to do ‘Humpty Dumpty’ again and again. The door opened and a busy-looking Darrell came bustling through the door and the kids lost interest in me for a few brief seconds as their Dad came home.


“Daddy! Daddy!” Ruari ran to him, hugging his leg. I was still holding Gabby, who was struggling out of my arms to reach for him. He took her off me as he put his papers down on the table near the front door.


“Is dinner ready?” he asked me as I walked back into the living room.


“Yeah, Charity’s just finished I think.” I answered, going into the kitchen and helping my sister bring the dishes into the dining room and placing each one down in their places.


“Come and get dinner!” Charity shouted towards the living room door and the kids and Darrell came running in, obviously whilst he was holding Gabby because she couldn’t run without falling over. She could walk, it would be embarrassing if she couldn’t, but she just couldn’t run for a long period of time without falling over or running into something. We ate whilst everyone talked at once, it was really loud and boisterous.


“Can anyone else here that tapping?” I asked over Ruari who was pretending to be dinosaur and mauling his food.


“Pretty sure that’s just you.” Darrell laughed.


“No, I can hear definitely hear tapping.” I stood up, letting Ruari take a big massive handful of mash potato off my plate and slam it down onto his. I walked into the living room where a jet black owl was viciously banging on the window, “Alright, alright! I’m coming, don’t get your feathers in a fluff.” I let the bird in, took the letter off the it's leg and unravelled it.

‘Elle,
Me and Dom are coming over to pick you up! We’re all going back to mine to get ready and we’re all going out! Don’t argue with me because you have no choice, we’re on our way over now.
Molly xx’


Just like Molly to not give me any choice in what I will be doing tonight, I rolled my eyes.


“Who was it?” I heard my sister ask from the next room so I walked back in to show her the letter, “That’s fine with me, just try not to make too much noise when you come back.” She looked at me sternly.


“I’ll probably end up sleeping at Molly’s anyway so I’ll see you tomorrow after about lunch time.” I shrugged, walking into the room and packing a small bag to put some stuff I’ll need for tomorrow in it and a little bit of money because I didn’t want anyone buying drinks for me.


“Be careful!” she called when Molly and Dom had knocked on the door.


“Hey Ellie Smelly!” the unstoppable force that was Molly pulled me into an intense hug when I stepped outside, “Ready to go to mine?”


“Hey!” I smiled and hugged Dom when she released me, “Yep, got everything I need anyway.” I lifted the bag up so they could see and she grabbed my arm and apparated me without any warning.


“Let’s get ready!” she rushed forward to her bedroom in her posh apartment.


“Warning next time would be okay!” I shouted, swaying a little as I followed her. She chucked a small black dress at me and a pair of black heels.


“Just get dressed and quit whining, we’re already late!” she rushed around finding something to wear.


“Late for what?” I asked but she ignored me, “What are we late for Dom?” I turned to the other girl in the room. She was half-dressed in a bright pink mini-skirt and a white tank top with black wedges.


“I dunno, some wild night at a club that she heard about from Fred.” She rolled her eyes and I decided the best thing to do was to not question it and get changed like the other two. The dress was just a casual LBD with a few sparkles here and there and the heels were very, very high stilettos.


“Let’s go! I told Fred we’d meet them like 20 minutes ago!” she hurriedly grabbed her wand and we apparated to just a few alleys from the club. We walked past the huge line and straight in after Molly gave the bouncer our names and then waltzed in confidently with me and Dom trailing behind her.


“What are we even doing here anyway?” I shouted out over the pulsating dance beat.


“We’re meeting Fred and Al… they said they were finally going to bring James out of his depressing mood and get him to come out!” she squealed happily, pulling us over to where she had spotted her cousins, “Hey boys!” she yelled, hugging both of them.


“Hey!” they called, both hugging Dom as well and looking at me confusedly.


“Who’s this?” Fred gave me an once-over and winked.


“Ew! Fred stop flirting with Elle!” Molly hit him over the arm, “She went to Hogwarts with us but she was in Hufflepuff with me.” She said in a certain tone of voice as if this explained everything but I kept my mouth shut.


“Lovely to meet you Elle.” He took my hand and kissed it before smirking at me whereas Albus just smiled kindly at me.


“Where’s James?” Molly immediately turned to the boys with her arms crossed.


“Didn’t want to come apparently… had to get something for his ‘girlfriend’.” Fred air-quoted the word and rolled his eyes.


“Honestly, he’s being going out with this ‘girl’ for over 2 years now and he didn’t think we’d like to meet her? I’m starting to believe she’s not real.” Al inputted and I felt the need to diffuse the angry tension between the Weasley’s and Potter’s.


“We’re in a dance club, aren’t we? Let’s dance!” I yelled with my arms up in the air and breathed a sigh in relief when Fred laughed,


“I like her already!” and stood up with the rest of us and headed to the middle of the dance floor. After about the seventh drink Freddy bought me, I couldn’t really remember anything else.


Chapter 2: So... I'm Engaged?
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A/N: Longer chapter today and the plot really begins to thicken now and the only reason I have introduced it so early is because I have a certain direction that I'm taking the story in my head. You'll understand as it progresses :) Tell me what you think about the conversations, if it seems like they accepted her too fast there's a reason for that as well ;)






Disclaimer: Unfortunately I do not own Harry Potter, it belongs to J.K. Rowling. Although if I did I'd be writing this stuff from my beautiful beach house in Malibu.









another brilliant chapter image by clowder@TDA!



“Are you gonna say anything or are you just gonna stand there with your mouth open?” - James Potter II










My head was pounding and I cursed myself for drinking this much. Never again in my life! It felt like someone had taken one of them small plastic kiddie hammers and was smashing it as hard as they could against my skull. Not to mention I was feeling like every move I made was enough to make me throw up.


“Ugh!” I grunted when someone ripped away my nice warm bed sheets.

 
“Elle, get up and get this down you. You’ll feel better.” It was Molly and she was shouting, well it felt like she was shouting.


“Be quiet… my head is hurting.” I whined quietly into the armchair of the couch and curled up to preserve my body heat.


“Yeah, I know. This’ll help I promise.” She chucked a small vial at my shoulder and in it was a purple-ish liquid. I was a little suspicious about it, giving it a small sniff before retching, “Just drink it, Elle.” She ordered me sternly and I did as I was told.


The headache and nausea went away almost instantaneously and I nearly kissed Molly in happiness.


“That’s so much better, thanks, Moll.” I smiled, sitting up and seeing that I was still in my black dress from last night.


“You’re bag’s over there if you were wondering where it was.” Molly pointed near the front door where my little handbag was leant against the wall. Inside was a change of clothes, face wipes, deodorant, keys etcetera, etcetera.


“Cheers, I’ll get changed and get out of your hair.” I promised, swinging off the couch/my bed for the night, grabbing my bag and going into the spare bathroom.


“It’s no problem, stay for as long as you want!” she called through the door but I didn’t want to impose. I quickly slipped off the dress and pulled on my black leggings and a dark blue jumper that reached just below my arse. I then pulled my blonde hair into a ponytail, leaving my side-fringe free and exited.


“What time is it?” I asked casually, heading to the kitchen where Dom and Molly were eating slices of toast between themselves.


“It’s half one, why?” Dom said through a mouth full of food.


“Oh! Shit! I’m late for work!” I grabbed a bite of toast and quickly headed to the door. When I opened it, James Potter was stood comically with his hand raised as if he was about to knock. He coughed awkwardly as we both stood there,


“Uh… is Molly in?” he looked over my shoulder.


“Yeah… one sec…” I mumbled quietly before turning over my shoulder and shouting, “Molly! It’s for you!” and turning back to James.


“Thanks.” He chuckled at me.


“Sorry, excuse me.” I shuffled past him awkwardly, brushing my shoulder against his as I ran down the corridor. I just about made it to the café but was 10 minutes late for my shift.


“I am so sorry I am late, Michelle!” I hurried to the back, forgetting I was in normal clothing and shoving my apron on.


“And where have you been?” she arched her eyebrow at me. Michelle is my boss, in case you hadn’t noticed.


“My friends wanted me to go out last night and they didn’t know I had work today and they let me sleep in,” I rambled, “Of course I’m not blaming them because I should have told them but I was kind of distracted.”


“It’s fine, just work.” She rolled her eyes at me and ushered me forward, not mentioning anything about my choice of clothing. The lunch period was always the busiest so I was rushed right off my feet, making sure everyone got their lunch and coming back for re-fills that I didn’t even notice that James Potter had come in at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon.


“You’ve got an admirer.” Another blonde waitress, Kelly, nodded to me as she walked past me, nodding me towards the front of the shop where James was sat, watching me.


“Can I help you?” my fake-waitress smile was immediately plastered on and I walked up to him, holding a small pad of paper and my pencil hovering above ready to take his order.


“A lot actually.” he smirked up at me, leaning casually on his clenched fist.


“Right…” I looked at him unsurely, my pencil hovering above the paper awkwardly.


“I’ll just take a cup of coffee please.” He seemed to be aware of my nervousness and ordered something.


“Okay, I’ll bring that right to you.” I nodded, glad to be away from him as I slowly made him the cup of coffee he ordered.


“How did it go?” Kelly came up to me, getting a slice of chocolate cake from the glass case, she was acting as if the meeting was some sort of blind date.


“He ordered coffee.” I answered, rolling my eyes when she looked away from me to stare at him dreamily.


“Did you get his name?” she asked.


“It’s James, he went to my school actually.” I don’t know why I added that but it seemed appropriate, like a silent warning to Kelly.


“He’s so hot!” she blurted before going back to her customer and serving him the cake slice, occasionally sending James flirtatious glances.


“There you go.” I placed the coffee down on the table in front of him and turned to walk away.


“Wait! What time do you finish your shift?” he called out, making me turn around with my eyebrows raised.


“In about an hour, why?” I narrowed my eyes in confusion.


“No reason.” He smirked smugly and sipped his coffee. I rolled my eyes and carried on with my business, not forgetting that James was still sat in his seat by the front door.


“Elle, can I have a word in the back please?” Michelle called and I began to worry, I thought that I was gonna get in trouble for James staying in the shop until I was finished.


“Is it about James? Because I can get him to leave?” I started nervously.


“No, it’s not about… James,” she arched her eyebrow, she was a master at that I swear, “I was talking with some of the other waitresses and I’ve come to the decision,” oh God, she was gonna fire me, “That you haven’t had a day off ever since you started here and I think you should have at least a month off starting next week.” She looked at me sternly.


“I don’t need time off, I’m fine working… honestly.” I protested desperately, I couldn't have time to myself. That would only end badly.


“No, my decision is final. You are having time off and that’s that. Or would you like to find another job?” Damn.


“Fine, I’ll have a month off but after that I’m working straight away again.” I bargained.


“That’s fine by me,” She held her hands up and dismissed me, “You can leave now, here’s your pay.” She handed me a ten pound note. It wasn’t what I was usually paid but I didn’t work for a full day on a Saturday so that was why I didn’t get paid as much.


“Thanks Michelle.” I said even though in my head I was screaming and swearing expletives at her. I walked back out, putting the shoulder strap of my bag over my head and pulling out my purse so I could put my muggle money in it.


“So… now you’re off work, care to come to the Leaky Cauldron with me?” James asked, making me jump and drop my purse onto the floor with a start.


“Brilliant! Thank you very much!” I said sarcastically, picking up my purse and dusting off the disgusting London dirt from it.


“Not my fault you’re very jumpy all of a sudden.” He shrugged with that same smug smirk on his face.


“I am not jumpy, I just don’t like people sneaking up on me.” I rolled my eyes, depositing the money in it and putting it back in my bag.


“What do you say?” he asked, shoving his hands in his pockets.


“To what?” I had completely forgotten his initial question.


“Coming to the Leaky Cauldron with me? I wasn’t kidding when I said I needed your help.” He seemed a little desperate now and my curiosity was peaked.


“Why me?” I asked but I found myself walking with him towards said destination.


“Because you’re the only person who’ll make it seem believable.” He said vaguely and pushed open the door to the pub for me. I walked in and grabbed a booth near the back.


“And what would make you think that I want to help you? I don’t even know you.” I tried to arch an eyebrow at him like Michelle does but it didn’t work out as well as I initially thought.


“Well, for starters, you walked with me to the Leaky Cauldron so I’d say you are curious as to what my help is and second, you are sat here questioning me instead of walking away.” He pointed out and I scowled because he was right.


“What kind of help are you talking about?” I leaned forward. James went to order something but I declined saying I had stuff to do so there was no point in me getting anything.


“I need you to pretend to be my ‘fiancée’.” He said quietly, blushing and avoiding my eyes. My mouth dropped open in shock and I just stared at him.


“I-I’m sorry… w-what?!” I yelled and the whole pub turned around to stare at me, making me blush too.


“It’s a long story,” was all he said, “Do you need to do anything in Diagon Alley?” he changed the subject.


“Erm…” I was caught off guard by his sudden change, “Yeah, I need to go to Gringott’s.” I mumbled. He stood up and started walking so I had to hastily stand up and follow him to the bricked wall. He quickly tapped a certain brick and they moved to reveal the entrance.


“Why are you going to Gringott’s?” he asked, making conversation. What the hell was his deal? Asking me for help and then not even telling me what it was besides ‘I need you to pretend to be my fiancée’?


“I need to change my muggle money into wizarding money.” I found myself answering even though I didn’t particularly want to until he told me what he was going on about. My head was racing with a million different thoughts.


“Can we help you?” a scratchy voice alerted me to the fact that we had reached the desk where you make exchanges.


“Yeah, could I exchange this for wizarding money please?” I put the ten pound note on the counter and the goblin looked at it in disdain. He took it and rooted underneath the counter for money, producing two Galleons and three Sickles. I held in my sigh at how little it was but every galleon, sickle and knut counted towards my goal.


“Thanks.” I took the money and headed back out, “Will you explain now?” I put my hands on my hips sternly, facing James to see he was staring at me weirdly.


“Not here,” he grabbed my hand. Ee headed back out into muggle London and towards the nearest park, “Here’ll do.” He sat on a secluded bench and I hesitated before sitting down next to him but with a small space between us.


“Explain. Now.” I said simply, looking at him seriously.


“Basically, I’m sure you read about my last relationship,” he sighed and I thought back to all the Witch Weekly magazines that Molly had bought that had James and his girlfriend of nearly three years on the front page. I didn’t know much about it really because I tried not to judge but she was the sort of girl who you’d expect James Potter to be going out with, “My family are still convinced that I’m not over her… so I invented this girlfriend that I had been dating for the past two years in secret so they’d get off my back but…” he sighed again, “They want to meet her and they can’t because she doesn’t exist. Then Molly and them lot went out last night, I knew it was a scheme to get me out so I told them I was getting an engagement ring for her and it’s getting so complicated because I’m not getting married.” He scoffed.


“And why do you need me? Just tell them your reasons. I’m sure they’ll understand.” I placed my arm on his shoulder awkwardly.


“I need you to help for like a month to prove to them that I don’t care about her anymore,” that was a lie. It was a well-known fact that James wasn’t over her, “I can’t tell my family, you don’t understand. They’ll just think I was inventing this girlfriend to cope with losing her.” I wasn’t about to point out that that was exactly what he was doing.


“I’m sorry James… I still don’t understand, why me?” I was genuinely curious. Surely he knew many other girls who would jump at the chance to pretend to be his fiancée.


“Because you’ll be more believable if my family have never met you.” he explained.


“Hate to be a bummer but Molly, Dom, Fred and Al know me. I’ve been friends with Molly for years and Dom kind of just happens to be there sometimes,” I pointed out as well, “And I met Fred and Al last night when I went out with them.”


“Ah… that’s why you were at Molly’s,” he nodded his head with a smile as if that explained everything, “Don’t worry about Fred and Al, they were probably already drunk enough not to remember your face,” he said and I got a little offended, huffing and standing up to walk away, “Hang on, no sorry! I didn’t mean it like that!” He ran and stopped in front of me, stopping me from going any further.


“I’m not doing it James… sorry but you’re just going to have to explain to them that you made it up and deal with the consequences.” I shrugged, glaring at him and walking round him.


“I’ll do anything! Please!” he pleaded, catching up to me, “Do you have anything you want? I can pay for it. An apartment or a car or something.” He bargained and I stopped. I only had about fourty-three galleons left and I could pay for the Healer Training Programme that I had wanted to sign up for ever since I left Hogwarts.


However, I never had enough money to save up and pay for my apartment rent as well so I ended up being kicked out and living at my sister’s house. Five years, five whole fucking years and I was still so far off actually being admitted. And James comes into my life with this ridiculous request and if I did it, I could finally become a Healer. But then I’d have to pretend to be his fiancée for however long it takes.


“You do, don’t you?” he looked down at me with a renewed smirk, “Just do this for me and I’ll pay for anything… please!” his tone implied he was ready to get down on his knees and beg. Oh God, I was in such a rut. If I said yes, I’d be given the money to start training and quit my stupid job. If I said no, all that disappeared along with the vision of a plush looking apartment to myself with a fully-working kitchen, a separate living room and a massive bedroom. Just for me and knowing that I had paid for the apartment and could continue to pay for it.


“Fine. Fine, I’ll do it.” I sighed, knowing I’d just opened myself up to a whole lot of shit. Before I had the chance to react, James had picked me up off the ground and twirled me round in the air.


“Thank you! Thank you so much!” he cried with happiness, “But there’s one other thing…” he looked down at the floor when he put me down.


“Oh God… what?” I asked a little apprehensively.


“We’re not actually engaged yet…” he looked up at me, wincing slightly and thinking I was going to slap him but I didn’t understand what the problem was.


“And?”


“It means I’m going to have to propose… and I told Freddy that I’d do it tonight at my Nan’s family get-together… in front of everyone.” He pawed the ground and my mouth dropped open in shock again, “It was just to get him off my back as well but it looks like we’re actually going to have to do it…” he had the grace to look embarrassed and ashamed.


“Y-you… I, uh, just… w-what?!” I stuttered oh so attractively.


“Which means we’ll have to go ring shopping now so I can get a ring… I didn’t actually get one last night because the plan only really formed this morning,” he rambled, “Are you gonna say anything or are you just gonna stand there with your mouth open?”


“What the fuck am I supposed to say to that?!” I hissed.


“I dunno…” he shrugged, too nonchalantly for this whole thing.


“Oh God…” I breathed heavily, looking around me for any signs of escape.


“It’s okay… you don’t have to pick a mega big ring.” He reassured me but he had no idea what was running through my head. He seemed to think I’d relaxed, grabbed my hand and pulled me with him, looking for a ring shop. I was practically being dragged in a daze. What have I let myself get into?! Why the hell did I say yes? God, I’m such a selfish bitch. Why me? Why me?


“This one’ll do… given the circumstances.” He shrugged sheepishly. He pushed open the door and I felt like I was about to face Voldemort himself, I was seriously feeling that much dread. My eyes were immediately drawn to a beautiful engagement ring that literally blinded me as I walked in. It was set in a dark blue velvet case and the ring itself wasn’t big, it was just very… silver. I figured it had a lot of diamonds in it because of the amount of zeroes on the end of the price tag.


“That one’s nice, you want it?” James came up behind me, placing his hands on my waist and I tensed up, “Just play along, it makes it more believable.” He hissed into my ear and it took a while before I actually marginally relaxed.


“No, it’s too expensive.” I turned away from where I was stood, practically drooling at it. It was weird that I was ring shopping with someone that I was not in fact marrying, or knew all that well actually, but pretending to be engaged to. I thought I’d be doing this when my life was actually sorted and I wasn’t sponging off other people and with someone I genuinely loved.


“I don’t care if it’s too expensive, if you like it, I’ll buy it.” He scoffed, placing a kiss on my temple as the shop owner had just come out the back to see us. It was all so weird that I actually thought I was having a strange dream and that I'd wake up in a few minutes when Molly violently shakes me awake, like she always does.


“Ring shopping, eh?” he guessed.

No, we’re hunting horcruxes… sheesh, you’d think a room full of rings was a giveaway.

And he was working in a fucking ring shop?! Why else would people come in here if it wasn’t for ring shopping? Idiot. I looked up at James, whose arm was now around my shoulder, and he looked like he was thinking the exact same thing.


“Yeah, she’s not found one she likes yet.” He answered kindly.


“Just take your time, I could help if you’d like…?” he drifted off so I would tell him my name.


“Elle.” I answered, unhooking myself from James as casually as possible and coming forward to look at the rings that were, obviously, the cheapest ones.


“We have a wide range of rings, each with different carats of gold or silver in each or you can have personalised ones.” He was trying to lead me to the more expensive rings but I was adamant.


“I’m not looking for anything fancy.” I continued looking through the different ones under the glass in front of me.


“Elle, honestly, I mean it when I say money is not a worry.” James rolled his eyes, coming forward to place an arm around my waist again. Making me tense up almost immediately.


“I know but I don’t want anything too fancy,” I replied adamantly and he gave up, “That one. I love that one.” I eventually pointed out a beautiful silver ring with a very small diamond in the centre.


“Are you sure?” James looked at it unsurely as the ring guy took it out and I tried it on my left hand, it looked absolutely perfect.


“Yes, this one is perfect for me.” I held it away from my face to study it and I smiled, forgetting that it was all pretend for a second.


“Okay, we’ll take that one,” James smiled at the server, “Is it okay if I come back and collect it later? I have some stuff to take care of before.” The guy behind the counter looked between us with a knowing glance and I felt myself blush. This was the most embarrassing thing that I’d ever had to endure.


He thought we were about to go home and have hot, passionate, newly engaged sex. God, like that was ever going to happen but James didn’t say anything to discourage him, in fact he looked down at me with a smirk. This was so embarrassing! Ground, just swallow me up please?


“Sure, we’ll keep it in the back. Do you know how long you’ll be?” he asked. Without breaking eye contact with me, James replied,


“About an hour.” And I had to refrain from rolling my eyes. We walked back out and once we were a good distance away from the shop, I quickly put a good distance between myself and James. Roughly shoving his arm off me.


“God, he probably thinks we’re going to be having sex for an hour now!” I moaned, covering my red face embarrassingly.


“We could be.” James winked at me and I hit him on the arm, glaring at him.


“What ‘stuff’ have you got to take care of anyway?” I asked, changing the subject swiftly away from the image.


“You,” he replied and then hastily added when I blushed even more, “But not in a sexual way. I just need to make sure we’re prepped for tonight. We need to make it plausible.”


“Oh… okay… where are we going?” I asked, when I realised we were just walking around randomly.


“To yours, wherever that is.” He stopped in the middle of the pavement causing the person behind us to swear and swerve around us quickly.


“Well I’m, uh, currently living at my sister’s.” I mumbled quietly as my face flushed even redder.


“Oh, we gonna apparate there?” he asked, having the decency not to say anything.


“Yeah.” I answered, pulling him into a deserted alley where no-one would see us and apparating to my sister’s.


“Elle, is that you?” I heard my sister shouting as I opened the front door.


“Yeah!” I shouted back before turning to James, “Fair warning… my niece and nephew are a bit… overwhelming.” I warned him before said children came running from the living room.


“Lellie!” Ruari leapt into my open arms and I twirled him around like I usually do.


“Hey kiddo! Whatcha been doing today?” I asked, not putting him down and motioning James to the living room from where he was loitering awkwardly from outside.


“Mum let me watch TV and I watched Spongebob all day!” he yelled loudly, fidgeting out my arms as he saw the TV was still on. I put him down as Charity turned round, a bit shocked that James was here, and stood up suddenly.


“Hey!” she hugged me like she usually did, “How was work?” she questioned, deciding to ignore the elephant in the room.


“It was busy, as usual.” I rolled my eyes, picking up Gabby and blowing a raspberry on her stomach.


“James, is it? Hello.” Charity stuck her hand out formally and James took it.


“Yeah. Nice to meet you Charity.” He smiled nervously, his hands shoved casually back in his jean pockets.


“What brings you to my house?” she asked suspiciously, taking Gabby off me and turning to me.


“He’s, uh, helping me with something then we’re going out for dinner.” I answered as nonchalantly as possible for me, “So… we’ll be in my room, if you need me.”


“Elle…?” she said warningly.


“God! Not like that, Charity!” I scoffed and zoomed up the stairs with James hot on my heels.


“Sorry about that, she likes to question me a lot.” I apologised shutting the door behind me and becoming really nervous that James was in my bedroom. It seems a few people were assuming I was having sex with him… brilliant.


“It’s fine… your family is quite normal compared to mine,” He laughed, sitting on the edge of my bed, “Nice wall decorations.” He smirked.


“Shut it! It’s not my room… well, it is for now but when Gabby needs it, it’s hers.” I explained. So what if I had My Little Pony wallpaper? Stupid, judgemental idiot.


“Okay…?” he raised an eyebrow. How do people do that?!


“So, what is this ‘stuff’ you need to sort with me?” I asked, crossing my arms and not sitting down because to be honest, I was a little nervous to.


“Firstly, we need a story of how we met. Already got that covered… we met at your café, I came in and we talked on your break, I asked you out… much like today really but we can add minor details here and there,” he explained rapidly and I had to genuinely listen if I wanted to hear everything he was saying, “Second, we’re going to have to know a lot about each other but I doubt anybody’s going to be asking us any serious questions other than, how we met and about the engagement.”


“Right… I think I got all that.” I nodded unsurely.


“And I’m going to have to help you pick something to wear. They probably have an idea of what you might look like so I want to avoid that image all together especially if they think I’m getting engaged.” He stood up and walked to Gabby’s wardrobe where all my clothes were stashed for now. All I had was my work uniform, a few summer dresses, some jeans, trackie bottoms and plain tops in there. James pulled out each dress before deciding he didn’t like them.


“Do you not have anything else? Something that looks a little girl-next-door-y.” he asked, closing the doors.


“Not really, I could ask Charity though,” I exited the room and shouted down the stairs, “Charity, could I borrow a dress for tonight please?”


“Sure… make sure you get it back to me though!” she shouted back.


“Let’s have a look in her wardrobe.” I motioned for James to follow me into the main bedroom and opened the small wardrobe. He searched for a few minutes before bringing out a long maxi dress that had a floral pattern all over it.


“This is perfect!” he held it up against me and smiled, “This one will do. Do you have any flats or sandals you could wear with it?” he asked when we walked back into my room.


“I have my work shoes.” I pointed to a pair of black dolly shoes in the corner that I had forgotten to wear for work today. I was still in my jumper, leggings and boots.


“No, they won’t go at all. Hmmm, what size are you?” he suddenly asked.


“Oh no, you aren’t buying me shoes for just one night!” I protested.


“I’m buying a bloody engagement ring for one month! Shoes are nothing compared to that.” He pointed out and I shut my mouth.


“Size 6.” I huffed grumpily.


“Great, I’ll leave you to get ready and I’ll come and pick you up at half five?” he placed the dress on my bed and I walked him to the door.


“Okay, see you at half five.” I stood awkwardly in the doorway. James surprised me by placing a swift, chaste kiss on my lips and pulled away with a smirk, “You’re going to have to be more convincing if you want my family to believe it.” He chuckled and apparated away.


That got me thinking, I’m gonna have to pretend to be the stereotypical newly engaged girl. I’m gonna have to snog him, and I mean, properly snog him. Oh dear God… I quickly ran back up to my room and hopped in the shower, quickly washing my hair and body. I had no idea what to expect tonight and the only thing I had to go on was James’ description of how he wanted me to look, which was ‘girl-next-door’.


When I got out, I dried my hair with my wand and waved it just a tiny bit so it looked natural, leaving it down. By the time I had finished all this, it was five o’clock and I had half an hour to get ready. I pulled on the dress, putting the dark blue knitted jumper that I was wearing earlier over the top because I think it made me look cute-sy, plus it matched the blue patterns on the dress. Ugh. Then I put a little bit of eye-liner on my top lids, some mascara and I pinched my cheeks to have a little natural colour to them. Then I was ready to go. My nerves were just all over the place when James turned up, holding a pair of beige coloured, leather gladiator sandals for me to quickly slip on. They were absolutely perfect for the outfit and James agreed.


“The jumper’s a nice touch.” He smirked and I hit him over the arm.


“I can’t believe I’m doing this.” I rolled my eyes, saying goodbye to Charity, Ruari and Gabby before apparating with James to The Burrow.


“Just calm down, hopefully everything will be fine.” He reassured me, grabbing my hand as we approached the door. I could hear loud chatter from inside as James knocked on the door hard. A few seconds went by slowly until an old woman, with slightly greying hair, opened the door, smiling warmly at James and then in shock at me.


“James, dear, it’s so lovely to see you!” she gushed, pulling him in for a hug and kissing him on the cheek.


“Hey, Nan,” he embraced her back with a genuine happy smile on his face, “Nan, this is Elle… the one I’ve been telling everyone about.” He stepped to the side and announced this as if I was his greatest treasure and I blushed violently.


“It’s lovely to finally meet you,” she pulled me into an unexpected hug but I hugged her back anyway, “What am I doing? So rude of me,” she mumbled to herself when she let me go, “Come in, come in! The adults are inside and all the kids are outside.” She explained as James let me go in first. My heart was pumping so loud I was afraid everyone could hear it.


“Don’t be nervous, everyone will love you. Just like I do.” James looked down at me with such genuine emotion that I almost believed him. Almost. But then a crashing thought came into my head, he was probably pretending you were his last girlfriend.


“James is right sweetheart! We’ve waited this long to actually meet you that everyone will be so welcoming.” James’ Nan, Molly, reassured me. James’ arm wound round my waist as I tried so hard to relax but all I could think about was that the Weasley/Potter clan was a very big family.


“Let’s do this.” He whispered, more to himself than me, and headed into the living room. He decided to go first instead of me this time and I was grateful. The conversations of adults in the room slowed to a hush and then to complete silence as they looked between myself and James.


“Hey everyone… I want you to meet my girlfriend, Elle.” James announced rather nervously and I was too. I could see Harry, Ron, Hermione, Bill, Fleur, Charlie, George, Angelina, Percy and his wife all staring at me in shock. Ginny was the first to rush forward and give me a hug.


“Oh, it’s been so long that I’ve wanted to meet you! You’re different to what I imagined,” she let me go to have a proper look at me, “But it’s a good different!” she added after seeing that maybe she’d possibly offended me.


“Thank you.” I blushed.


“Nice to meet you at last, Elle.” Harry was the second and held out his hand. I shook it nervously, I mean I was meeting the guy who defeated the Darkest Wizard of all time, “No need to be nervous, just a normal guy.” He held his hands up and smiled soothingly at me. I was then passed around each member and they all said how happy they were to finally meet me after hearing James harp on and on about me for two years.


“Can I have my girlfriend back please?” James joked, coming to stand next to me and I relaxed a little more because at least there was someone that I knew, slightly, there, he kissed my temple and I fake-happy smiled.


“Let’s go outside and sit everyone down, yes?” Nanna Molly announced, shooing everyone outside. That’s when I realised that I’d been too caught up in meeting everyone else to realise that Molly was going to be outside.


“Guys, guess who’s finally brought his secret girlfriend?” The older Molly shouted over the cluster of people outside. I’d never realised how big the family actually was until I saw all of them together… there must have been around thirty of them now, well it looked like there was. The others all were quiet as the parents went to sit down in their seats.


“Oh my God! Elle, is that you?!” I recognised Molly’s voice instantly and winced at the undisguised anger in it.


“Hi.” I said sheepishly. She charged forward with Dom on her heels.


“Why didn’t you tell me you were secretly dating my cousin for two years? I’m supposed to be your best friend and best friends tell each other things!” she shouted, everyone had gone quiet now and were listening to her rant.


“I… just, uh, I…” I stammered nervously.


“Molly, leave her alone. I was the one who told her not to tell anyone, including you.” James glared at her harshly before she backed off.


“I still can’t believe you kept it a secret from me. Me of all people! I’m the nosiest git there is!” she laughed and I hoped she’d forgiven me. She was really good at disguising her anger unless it was really bad.


“Not in front of my kids, Molly!” a girl I recognised as Victoire, scolded her as she covered her little girl’s ears.


“Oh, get lost Vicky.” Molly rolled her eyes and dragged me to the table to sit next to her. Everyone left the seat next to me open as James was supposed to sit there, obviously.


“So, how did you two meet?” Rose was the first one to start asking questions, James told me on the way here that she would be. Scorpius, her boyfriend, was sat next to her and rolled his eyes.


“Well, I was at work at a café in London. It was a muggle one and he just walked in one day,” I started telling the story whilst James sat there with a fond smile, his arm slung over my shoulder with his index finger drawing lines or shapes on my neck or shoulder occasionally, “I was on a break and thought I’d talk to him because there wasn’t that many wizards, that I recognised, that come into the café. I said hi and everything and we ended up talking for ages. I almost got fired but he took me to the Leaky Cauldron after my shift, and yeah.” I finished lamely, smiling up at him as he kissed my temple again.


“Awww! That’s so cute!” Roxanne butted in, clapping happily. She was one of the youngest of all the Weasleys/Potters, being in her last year at Hogwarts.


“Thanks.” I smiled a little nervously. It was so weird, I was surrounded by a massive family and they all believed that I was his girlfriend and pretty soon, they were going to believe that he was proposing to me. I was pretty much introduced to the rest of the family as we ate and people were asking us questions, thankfully I could answer a few and the ones I couldn’t, James did.


“Soooo… best friend, why did you keep it a secret?” Molly finally looked at me when we all stood around after eating. The question managed to bring everyone to silence again as they looked at us. We didn’t prepare an answer for this and I could see James fidgeting nervously next to me so I improvised,


“We wanted to keep it a secret because, well because we wanted to see if we were serious about each other before telling anybody,” I looked up at James to see him smiling, thank God, “Because we all know about that happened with his last relationship being in the news and stuff.” I shrugged and could feel James’ arm tense up.


“Makes sense.” Molly nodded her head and I inwardly blew out a sigh of relief.


“Molly, leave them alone. They probably have answered more questions than they really needed to tonight.” Molly’s Mum looked at her sternly.


“Yes Mum.” She dropped her gaze to floor and glared at it.


“James… why does Fred keep smirking at me like that?” I asked him, looking away from Fred’s smug face worriedly.


“Fred, stop it.” James glared at him with a knowing glance and Fred smirk grew wider.


“Why are you smirking at me?” I asked him blatantly because he didn’t stop.


“No reason.” He chuckled and that’s when I noticed most of his family were watching us eagerly.


“James, everyone’s staring at us.” I whispered.


“I know, they’re waiting for me to propose.” He rolled his eyes and whispered back to make sure no-one could hear.


“Oh.” Was all I said.


“Are you Elle?” Victoire’s daughter tugged on my dress to get my attention.


“Yeah, what’s your name?” I knelt down so I was on her level.


“Annabel Roselle Lupin.” She stated proudly.


“That’s a lovely name, how old are you?” I asked, ignoring the weird looks I was getting from Victoire and Teddy.


“Six and a half.” She smiled, holding up her fingers to show me.


“Wow! I have a nephew that’s six years old too. He’s called Ruari.” I explained before she grabbed my hand pulled my off to the bottom of the garden suddenly, “Where are we going?”


“I found something and I wanna show you!” she said, still dragging me along.


“Ooh, what is it? I love finding things!” I put on the voice I use to talk to Ruari.


“It’s a pond and there’s lots of tadpoles in it! Mummy won’t let me take any home!” she moaned, pointing into said pond with short fingers.


“That’s so cool,” I whispered, looking where she was pointing and seeing tiny little spots darting around the pond, “But you know why you can’t take them home right?” I looked at her, she was sat on the floor with crossed legs and I copied her.


“Why?”


“Because their Mummy will be worried about where they are. It will be like someone taking you home  without telling your Mummmy. And your Mummy will be worried.” I explained.


“Oh, I understand that. I don’t want Mummy to be worried.” She said so adorably that I wanted to cuddle her in my arms.


“No we don’t.” I heard a scuffling behind me and I looked to see James had Fred in a headlock and was play-fighting with him, a small smile briefly flitted across my face.


“You’re very pretty.” I turned back to Annabel, her fingers were twirling through my hair.


“Thank you, so are you.” I smiled at her and she beamed back up at me.


“Hey… erm… can I speak to you, Elle?” I looked up to see James stood there, scratching the back of his neck.


“Sure, what’s up?” I grabbed his offered hands and was pulled up off the floor, dusting the grass off my behind.


“Annabel! Come here and leave James and Elle alone!” Victoire called to her daughter, who stood up and ran off to her Mum. Her blonde hair whipping behind her as she skipped back happily.


“I’m going to propose now… so, you know, get ready.” He whispered, putting his hand in his pocket and pulling out the small box.


“Oh God, what do I do?” I whispered nervously.


“Just pretend to be shocked then overly excited.” He advised before getting down on one knee and opening the box. Instead of the ring I was expecting to see, the small one I had picked out, he had gone back and bought the other one that I had been drooling over and my hand flew to my mouth.


“James…?” I gasped out of pure shock. He really shouldn’t have bought me that ring, as much as I liked it, it was too over the top for me and I preferred the other one.


“Will you marry me?” he said loud enough for the rest of his family to hear him. I stood there in shock for a few seconds and they dragged out slowly, then I saw the look of James face and plastered a big smile on my face. Remembering that I needed to pretend to be over-excited.


“Yes!” I said loudly as well. He breathed out a sigh of relief, slipped the ring on my finger and picking me up in a fast spin. When he placed me on the floor, his lips crashed onto mine and we started snogging. Now I would be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying this, because I was, it was just… a snog and that was it.


“Ahem.” A cough forced us apart and I put my head in James’ chest to hide the bright red blush that was now on my cheeks. Maybe we got a bit carried away, “Here.” I noticed Nanna Molly was holding a champagne glass to both me and James.


“Thanks.” I mumbled embarrassingly and took it off her, she motioned for us to join everyone else, who also had champagne glasses.


“Wishful thinking, don’t you think? For all you know, she could have said no.” James chuckled with my arms still around his waist.


“With the way you’ve been looking at each other all night, I doubt she would have said no.” Ginny pointed out with a melancholic expression on her face. I think we’d managed to fool them, I thought as I gave James a smug smirk to which he reciprocated.


“A toast then?” Arthur, I hadn’t seen him appear, held his glass up, “To a happy and long marriage!” and everyone chorused with cheers, James even leaned to down to kiss me again.


“Oh, get a room!” Molly broke us apart again and I stuck my tongue out at her. I had got a system now, I was just going to pretend that he was a celebrity or that guy that I really liked in Hogwarts for this whole thing. And that way maybe it would be over faster and go smoothly.


“We will.” James responded making me blush and whack his chest again.


“James!” I whined, covering my face again. Why did he make things so embarrassing all the time?


“Anyway, we must be off. It’s Annabel’s bedtime.” Victoire left with Teddy and her daughter after saying goodbye to everyone. Slowly, the family members trickled out until it was just me, James, Lily, Al, Fred, Molly, Ginny and Harry left. Even James' grandparents had retired for the evening.


“I’m so happy and proud of you son.” Harry clapped James on the back and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek before departing with Ginny.


“We best be off as well, need to get you home.” James looked down at me with a raised eyebrow.


“Ew! I don’t need to know that James!” Molly moaned, putting her hands over her ears.


“Not like that Molls.” I rolled my eyes and said goodbye with everyone before apparating with James outside my sister’s house.


“Well done! They actually believed it!” James smiled widely, handing me the ring box and I took the ring off and put it in the box, “This is probably going to be easier than I thought!” He ran a hand through his hair.


“Yeah… goodnight,” I opened the door. James gave me a smile and apparated on the spot, “Oh God… if the next month is gonna be like that, I think I’m going to die an early death.” I muttered to myself.


Chapter 3: Lily Bought Me Some Really Sexy Lingerie... Yeaaaah, That Happened
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Chapter Three! Just a little warning that there is some quite sexual things if you haven't gathered by the title but I wouldn't have rated it as Mature if they wasn't any of that stuff. So another long chapter and you get a insight into Elle and her Dad's relationship, it's a bit sad to watch really :( Poor Elle and all will be revealed soon. Not really but you'll have to be patient ;)







Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Unfortunately. It belongs to J.K. Rowling in all its magical glory. I also do not own charity shops... obviously.









beautiful chapter image by the lovely clowder@TDA!


“Given that we are pretending and I don’t need to keep up pretences whilst we’re alone, I’ll wear what I like to bed and you better keep your mouth shut about it or I will knee you in the groin.” - Elle Underwood








I rolled over the next morning, after struggling to find some peaceful sleep, to see the ring box on the side-table.


“Ugh! Why?” I moaned into my pillow, squeezing my eyes shut as I remembered what had happened yesterday.


“What the hell is this?!” Charity came barging into my room, chucking a bunch of magazines on my bed which made me jump.

 
“Charity, go away! I’m tired!” I hissed, rolling away from her but there was only so far I could roll without falling off my single bed.


“I’m not leaving until you explain now.” She crossed her arms and sat on my feet heavily.


“OW!” I moaned, figuring that I should sit up and see what she was on about. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I picked up the magazines and saw myself and James on the front cover of each one. One picture was of us in the café, then another in the park where he spun me round and the last magazine was us two walking into the ring shop. Each had different headings like ‘James Potter’s New Love Interest?’ or ‘James Potter’s Secret Girlfriend?’ and, last but not least, ‘James Potter’s Getting Settled Down… But With Who?’ and I had to laugh, “They move fast, don’t they?”


“This isn’t funny Elle! What the hell is going on?” she was angry and hurt. And I instantly felt guilty.


“Sorry… I just didn’t have time to explain after last night!” I mumbled, opening the pages to where there was a massive column about me, basically implying that I was only after James because of his money. Which, technically, I was.


“Explain what?! That you’ve been secretly dating James freakin’ Potter behind my back for two years and are getting engaged to him?! And I have to found out by stupid, gossipy magazines!” she shouted and I winced.


“Pretty much.” I said quietly, brushing the magazines onto the floor and lying back down.


“Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked, her voice dropping to a whisper but she was still angry.


“Because he told me to keep it quiet…” I went with the story that James had told Molly, “He didn’t want anyone to find out about us because he wanted to make sure that he really liked me.” I shrugged, avoiding eye contact with her. She didn’t speak for a while but got up and left me in my room in the silence. God, she was mad… very mad. Stupid James! First Molly’s annoyed at me now my own sister! I pulled my duvet further over my head, wanting to stay here forever and not have to see anybody.


“Yeah, she’s upstairs. First door on the left.” I heard my sister direct somebody and I prayed to Merlin that it was not James. Please don’t be James, please don’t be James.


“Hey, Elle!” a cheery voice greeted me and my head peered out from the duvet to see Lily Potter stood with her arms swinging by her side.


“Lily? What are you doing here?” I quickly sat up and presented myself, scooping the ring box under the covers so I could sneakily slip the ring on my finger whilst she looked around my room, “I mean… hey, how are you?” I corrected myself when she raised an eyebrow at me.


“I’m good! Mum and Dad want you to come over to ours today for breakfast… so get dressed and we’ll go!” she smiled widely at me and I felt rather nervous again.


“Is James there already?” I asked just to make sure.


“Yeah, he is… he lives there.” She looked at me suspiciously and my heart froze. Bloody buggering shit!


“I know, I meant, is he already awake and stuff?” I covered up quickly whilst I pulled one of my summery dresses over my head and manoeuvred my pyjamas off underneath.


“Oh! Yeah, he is. He said he couldn’t be bothered to come and pick you up though so I volunteered.” She smiled again, flinging a piece of red hair over her shoulder.


“Typical James,” I rolled my eyes, pretending to know what he was like, pulling on my boots from yesterday on and following her down the stairs, “Thanks anyway for picking me up.”


“No problem, wanted to have a little bit of alone time with my sister-in-law,” She nudged my shoulder, “We’ll have plenty of that later on but I thought I’d get started now.”


“What do you mean later on?” I asked curiously. She grabbed my arm once we were outside and apparated to just outside the gates to James’ parent’s house. No, his parent’s mansion. This place was massive!


“We’re going shopping… for holiday stuff, of course!” she looked at me weirdly.


“What do you mean ‘holiday stuff’?” I questioned, now I was definitely confused. What holiday? We were going on holiday? Since when?


“Every year during the summer we go to the South of Spain for a month. Didn’t James tell you that?” she blushed and looked really guilty at having given something away.


“No. No he didn’t.” I clenched my jaw angrily as Lily headed in, announcing our presence.


“Hey love, how’re you?” James greeted, grabbing my left hand and quickly glancing to make sure I remembered the ring.


“Fine…” I said through clenched teeth, receiving the kiss on my lips, “And when were you going to tell me about this holiday, James?” I crossed my arms and narrowed my eyes. He gulped and stared at his Dad, who was trying to contain his laughter.


“James! You didn’t tell Elle about our holiday trip tomorrow?!” Ginny asked in shock.


“Well, it just never really came up.” He blushed, scratching his neck and almost going to stand behind me for protection.


“At least you know now.” Albus laughed loudly resulting in him being put in a headlock by James.


“Do you always have to use violence to solve problems?” I rolled my eyes and James let go of Albus.


“Not always, it’s only reserved for my family and people who piss me off.” He answered cheekily.


“What do you say, Elle? Do you want to come with us?” Ginny asked, motioning for me to sit down at the table with everyone else.


“Of course she’ll come!” James answered for me loudly.


“Well, I can’t decline now, can I?” I laughed at James whilst swiftly kicking him in the shins for answering for me, “How much is it, by the way?” I asked, silently praying that it would be more than I could afford so I’d have a reason for declining. My normal reason, which was work, was swept from under me because Michelle had decided I worked too much. It’s not such a bad thing, is it? I mean, if it gets you customers then you shouldn’t complain!


“Don’t be silly, sweetheart! You don’t have to pay, we’ve got everything covered.” Ginny smiled at me kindly and I almost wanted to punch James in the face for having such a rich family.


“Oh no, I couldn’t impose.” I blushed, shaking my head a little nervously. Please say no, please say no, please say no.


“You aren’t imposing at all! I’m sure James will be more than happy to have you there.” She replied, looking at James who decided to wear his stupid smug smirk. That thing should be illegal first thing in the morning.


“I’d be absolutely delighted if you’d come, please?” he pouted, giving me puppy dog eyes.


“Okay… if it’s not too much trouble,” I acquiesced him but I made a mental note to beat the shit out of him when we were alone. My phone buzzed in my pocket as we all started eating, “Sorry, it’s my Dad.”


“It’s fine, I bet he wants to know what’s happening after the stuff in the magazines this morning.” Ginny smiled as I stood up and left the room.


“Elle? Is this really true?” he didn’t even wait for me to greet him before he spoke, his gruff voice permeating the quiet air, “You’re getting engaged to some guy you’ve been secretly dating for two years?! And he didn’t have the decency to ask me for permission?!”


“Dad, calm down… I’ll explain everything later okay, just don’t be mad at me.” I whispered.


“Why are you whispering? Are you with him now? I have a right mind to come over there and sort his head out! I don’t care if he’s the son of the Saviour of the whole fucking world!” he swore loudly and I had to pull the phone away from my ear, wincing.


“Dad, I’m at his parents’ house having breakfast! I’ll explain later, okay? Just don’t get yourself into a state!” I begged him. The door clicked closed behind me and I looked up to see James walking towards me anxiously.


“No. I’m coming over there right now!” he shouted before hanging up on me.


“What is it?” James asked, taking in my scared expression and the fact my phone was still held to my ear.


“My Dad,” I gulped, “He’s coming over… he, urm, wants to ‘sort your head out’ as he put it.” I chuckled nervously.


“It’s okay, we’ll just explain.” James looked just as scared as me.


“You don’t understand… he’s heard this from my sister probably. She’s pissed off at me too and she’s possibly over-exaggerated bits to make it seem bad.” I looked down with a solemn expression. James was quite for a while before he pulled me into an unexpected hug.


“Sorry,” he whispered, “I didn’t realise how people you knew would react… at least, I didn’t think it would be this bad.” He laughed to try and lighten my mood.


“We can’t back out of this now.” I shrugged dejectedly and followed James back into the dining room where I told Ginny and Harry what was happening.


“That’s absolutely fine.” Harry reassured me.


“I would be a little annoyed too if it was Lily but he’ll understand when you explain.” Ginny tried to reassure me too but I started biting my nails nervously, James grabbed my other hand and tried to calm me down but that didn’t help either. We carried on eating for a few minutes in tense silence, when there was a knocking on the door.


“I think I’d better get the door.” Harry looked sternly at James as he went to stand up.


“Probably a good idea.” James muttered, sitting back down. A few seconds later and my Dad followed Harry into the room with a surly-looking scowl on his face. Harry told Lily and Albus to leave the room but I knew that they were listening just outside the door.


“Hey Dad.” I couldn’t look at him.


“So… imagine my surprise when Charity comes to mine not long after you leave to tell me that you are suddenly engaged!” He didn’t waste any time.


“Just let me explain Dad,” I looked at him finally, he sat down opposite me with such a sarcastic innocent face that I nearly cried, “James and I have been secretly dating for two years now.” I lied straight through my teeth.


“And I told Elle not to say anything to anyone because I wanted to make sure that I genuinely liked her before telling everyone. Including the public.” James continued seriously, his arm around my shoulder as he sat next to me.


“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you Dad…” I muttered, looking down at the table. I felt so bad because we'd only started talking again properly so this would just complicate things if he ever found out we were lying.


“So you are engaged?” he asked, ignoring my apology and looking down at my engagement ring that was blatantly visible.


“Yeah, we are. He proposed last night.” I smiled slightly, hoping Dad would take it as a happy smile and not be mad at me. He sighed, scratching his stubble roughly and finally softened up. Just a little though.


“You’re happy…?” his voice went up slightly in question but I knew he was forcing it because he looked like he couldn't care less.


“I am.” I smiled as James squeezed my hand on the table.


“I hope you two are happy together then.” He stood up and hugged me awkwardly. Another person we had fooled.


“Thanks.” I kissed his cheek, “Could you speak to Charity for me? She’s still annoyed at me.” I whispered and he nodded his head, giving his apologies to Ginny and Harry about this whole situation and leaving.


“That was eventful,” James huffed teasingly, sitting himself down on the couch but I was angry, “Elle…?” he called after me as I stormed into the massive garden, walking behind a hedge and finding a secluded bench.


“James feels bad, you know.” Lily’s head appeared round the hedge then her body after a few minutes of me stewing in silence.


“I know he does,” I sighed, my anger disappearing, “It’s just, I don’t think he understands that my family’s different to his and you’ve all welcomed me straight away whereas my family…” I trailed off, not wanting to mention how messed up it was, “They’re very traditional, in the sense that, the boys needs to meet the family first before you get engaged and stuff.” I lied.


“I understand,” Lily agreed, “James just doesn’t think things through sometimes.” She laughed with me.


“I agreed for it to be secret for so long because I know the strain the magazines put on his last relationship so… I understood why he was so… withdrawn. I just didn’t realise how much drama there would be when we finally announced it publicly.” I sighed again. Lily just nodded her head as I continued to ramble and when I’d finally finished she turned to me,


“Finished?” I nodded, “Because we have some holiday shopping to do!” she squealed and I laughed, letting her drag me back into the house. James was still sat in his seat with a guilty expression on his face when we walked back inside. He opened his mouth but I cut across him.


“It’s okay James. I know,” I smiled slightly, “At least they all know now.” I shrugged as he stood up, kissing me on the lips and hugging me.


“You are actually brilliant, did you know that?” I knew he was being nice so I just shrugged my shoulders and blushed.


“Anyway, if you’re all done with your cutesy couple stuff… we need to go shopping!” Lily announced as she pulled me towards the front door. Everyone said their goodbyes as we apparated into an alleyway in muggle London.


“Why aren’t we in Diagon Alley? I haven’t got any muggle money on me.” I panicked.


“I’ll pay for the stuff for you, don’t worry,” I opened my mouth to protest, “And don’t argue with me,” she looked at me sternly and my mouth shut. Lily was quite scary if she wanted to be, “We’ll start here!” she dragged me into a huge department store where there were thousands upon thousands of bikinis lining a wall to our far right and it looked like that was where we were going first.


“Lily… I’m not really comfortable wearing bikinis if I’m honest.” I gulped, thinking back to the massive scar down my spine.


“Nonsense, you have a smoking body and you’ll look irresistible. James won’t be able to keep his eyes off you,” she smirked as I blushed, “Now, what size are you? You’ll probably need about 6 different ones.” She mumbled to herself.


“36C and size 10.” I answered quietly, I didn’t like discussing my boob sizes in front of people I didn’t know. It was awkward enough that I had to tell Lily, who I’ve known for practically one and a half days. She then took in my complexion and hair colour and picked six different bikinis off the wall. I ended up with a deep red one that had tassels on the top half and was a halter neck, a blue one that had a few diamantes on it, another blue one but it was a lighter colour and it had ‘Babe’ in glitter along the back of the bottoms, a forest green one, a light pink one and a black one, which was the skimpiest one out of all of them.


“Okay… clothes now. You probably don’t need that many to begin with because you can just wash them and stuff and buy more out there so…” she rattled through the rails and chucked a few plain tank tops in the basket I was holding, two pairs of shorts (black and khaki coloured), a loose fitting shirt with a plunging neckline, another shirt that had slits down the sides and a maxi skirt.


“Are you sure I’m going to need all this?” I asked and was shushed by a murderous glare.


“Dresses? Dresses…” she muttered, searching round the store as her head was stretched like a giraffe, “They don’t have any good dresses. Let’s go pay and see if we can find another shop.” She pulled me towards the cashier.


“Aren’t you getting anything?” I asked as the cashier started putting the clothes in our bag after scanning them.


“Nope, I’ve got everything I need.” She smiled.


“That comes to £185.99, please.” And my mouth dropped open.


“Here you go.” Lily casually handed over two, one hundred pound notes. He gave her the change back and we walked out, me carrying the two big bags.


“Can we have a look in a charity shop at some point?” I asked quietly, I really didn’t like the fact she had already spent nearly two-hundred pounds on me.


“If you want,” she said distractedly, “Look at these dresses, aren’t they amazing?” she gushed, looking in the window at a dark green cocktail gown, “That would look amazing on you! Especially if we’re going out for a fancy meal!” she dragged me in as I was still getting over the cost of said dress. It was nearly two-thousand pounds?!


“Oh no! Lily, that’s waaay too much! You don’t need to get me that dress!” I moaned as she found an assistant’s clerk to get the dress for me to try on.


“Don’t protest! I’m buying it!” she glared at me and, once again, my mouth was clamped shut. She shoved it at me and pushed me towards a dressing room. It was really cramped as I pulled off my jeans, cardigan and shirt and then pulled the skin-tight dress over my head. It had long sleeves, reached right up to my neck and dipped down my back, which I really wasn’t happy about.


“Can I see it?” Lily asked from outside. I was still studying the light scarred line down my back.


“Erm… okay?” I replied unsurely as the clerk pulled back my curtain.


“Oh… my… God!” Lily’s mouth dropped open much like my mouth was earlier, “You look… absolutely stunning!” she beamed at me, her hands clapped happily in front of her face. The woman shut the curtains again and I was happy to finally be out of the dress and back into my normal clothes.


“Lily, are you sure? I don’t want you spending all your money on me.” I mumbled as she took the dress off me and made her way to the desk.


“Haven’t we already discussed this? I already have enough money than I know what to do with.” She rolled her eyes.


“Exactly. I’ve grown up never having enough money and to suddenly have someone willing to spend loads of money on me… it’s uncomfortable for me, sorry.” I bristled nervously and she looked at me in understanding.


“Okay, we’ll buy this dress and we can go into a charity shop.” She smiled kindly at me and I blew out a sigh of relief.


“There’s this great one that I always shop in, it has loads of stuff in it.” I smiled happily, my mood lifting. She paid, disregarding the woman’s disdainful looks at me when we left and I pulled her to my favourite charity shop. Lily managed to scrounge three really pretty dresses that she actually approved of and we left. Me feeling a little better about this whole thing.


“Right… we need to find some shoes for this dress and then maybe about three pairs of sandals for you to wear. And then I have a surprise. Sorry but we’re going to have to spend a bit more of my money.” Lily looked at me sheepishly but this time I didn’t argue because there was nothing I could do about it now. She led me into yet another department store that had a whole floor just for shoes. This one didn’t take as long because I picked out the cheapest sandals for me to have then we moved onto the heels. Lily was determined for me to have a pair of studded silver stilettos but I ended up going with a plain pair of black wedges.


“Are we finished?” I asked, panting under the weight of my five heavy shopping bags.


“Nope, I have one last surprise,” She smirked at me, “But just keep an open mind.” She warned me and I became incredibly nervous and worried. We carried on walking down a busy street until I was suddenly dragged into a shop that was plastered with reds, purples and pinks all over the walls and floors. In front of me on shelves were an assortment of sex toys and I immediately blushed.


“Lily…?” I trailed off, wanting to back out of the shop instantly.


“Calm down, Elle… we’re not getting any of that stuff. Come with me.” She pulled to the back of the shop where there was sexy underwear on rails in all different colours, mostly black and red though. My blush was getting deeper as I looked at how skimpy and see-through some of them were.


“Oh my God! I can’t believe this….” I blushed even further.


“Just keep an open mind about this Elle! If it helps, I’ll just pick the stuff out… James’ll like it.” She smirked and I wondered why I even bothered to come shopping with her in the first place. James was never gonna let me live this down. Ever. She then held up a red and black strapless Basque in full view of everyone in the shop.


“Lily! Put it down!” I hissed embarrassed.


“Just relax! I’ll pick all your stuff out.” She smirked, enjoying my flustered expression.

 

She then proceed to throw the Basque, silky nighties, camisoles that had suspenders on them and other sexy lingerie that would make a nun blush into a small basket that she was carrying as my hands were full.


“This is worse than when we looked for an engagement ring and the guy serving us thought we were about to have newly engaged sex when we left.” I moaned, covering my permanently red face.


“But did you?” she looked at me with a knowing expression exactly similar to the guy.


“That’s… j-just… I…” I stammered in shock and she laughed loudly, leading me to the desk to pay. When the stuff was put into the bag, I quickly stuffed it into one of the bigger bags so no-one would see.


“Calm down, Elle… it’s completely normal for newly engaged couples. I wouldn’t be surprised if James jumped you as soon as you showed him what you bought.” She laughed whilst I moaned in embarrassment again.


“Lily, it’s not funny… it’s embarrassing!” as she grabbed my hand and apparated once we got to an alleyway.


“I can’t wait to see James’ face!” she said with glee whilst I was silently hoping that Voldemort would come back just to kill me right now, “What time is it anyway?” she asked, thankfully changing the subject.


“Erm…” I looked down at my watch in shock, we’d spent nearly four hours shopping and it was nearly dinner, “It’s half four.” I said and Lily’s face mirrored my shock.


“Gosh! I didn’t realise we’d been gone that long!” she rushed into the house as I followed inside, keeping hold of the bags because I really didn’t want anyone to see inside one particular one.


“Have fun shopping?” Ginny asked when we walked into the living room. I glanced at Lily, who was smirking at me and I blushed again.


“Yeah, it was fun.” I held up the bags.


“By the way, I forgot to tell you that you’ll have to sleep here tonight so we’ll all be ready to go by tomorrow. If that’s alright?” Ginny asked.


“Sure, would it be alright if I have dinner at my sister’s tonight… just so I can explain that I won’t be around for a month.” I laughed nervously.


“That’s perfectly alright. I’ll show you to James’ room so you put your bags down.” She stood up as Lily waltzed off somewhere, I don’t know where, and we started walking up the stairs. We passed a room that had loud Pop music blaring from speakers from behind the door.


“That’s Lily’s room… you get used to the loud music.” She then pointed out Albus’ room and then hers and Harry’s room before coming to a stand-still outside the room at the end of the long hallway, “This one’s James’.” She opened the door and I was expecting James to be sat in here doing whatever but he wasn’t.


“Where is he?” I asked, putting my bags on his bed, hoping he wouldn’t care.


“He’s gone over to Fred’s but he said he’ll be back by dinner time.” She smiled.


“Would you be able to tell James that I’m at my sister’s house for dinner?” I asked nicely, sitting down on his bed whilst Ginny watched me carefully.


“Yeah sure.”


“Thanks, Mrs Potter.” I said quietly.


“Call me Ginny sweetheart, makes me feel old when you call me Mrs Potter.” She laughed heartily and I joined in a little.


“Okay… thank you, Ginny.” I smiled, my face a little pink. She left me alone in the silence as I spotted two suitcases in the corner and started packing my stuff, once I’d ripped the labels off of course, into the pink one. Once I’d packed everything, there was only one bag left. Oh God… why? Why did you do this to me Lily? Granted she didn’t know we were faking but that’s so embarrassing for me! I pulled out each one fast, ripped off the tags like I was ripping off a plaster and hid them all underneath my clothes. There was no way I would be wearing any of them during this holiday and I will make sure of that. I looked down at my watch to see it was five o’clock and I walked down the stairs and into, what I assumed was the kitchen, to see Ginny cooking something for dinner.


“Are you off now?” she asked, her wand tucked behind her ear as she threw some tomatoes into the pan.


“Yeah, what time should I come back?” I asked, stood in the doorway really awkwardly.


“I’ll tell James to pick you up at 8?” she looked at me hopefully.


“That’s okay with me,” I smiled, “See you at 8.” I said and left the house, apparating to my sister’s house, “Am I still allowed in?” I called as I opened the door, all the anger directed at my sister coming back in full-force.


“Of course you are, why wouldn’t you be?” Darrell asked, coming out the living room holding Gabby with a questioning glance.


“Ask Charity,” I glared at her as she came out the kitchen, “What the hell did you tell Dad?! I don’t need him hating me more than he already does!” I shouted. Darrell sensed there was something wrong and so walked back into the living room with the kids, shutting the door firmly behind him.


“He doesn’t hate you.” she said quietly, walking back into the kitchen and I followed her.


“Of course he does,” I stated, still glaring at the back of her head whilst she chopped some food up. We stayed in silence as she continued to make dinner, “Goddamn it, Charity! Tell me what you told him!”


“Alright! I’m sorry Elle! I didn’t know he’d flip out, okay?” she snapped, turning viciously round at me with a massive meat knife in her hand.


“Watch where you point that thing!” I shouted, “What exactly did you tell him Charity?” I hissed, bringing my voice down.


“I just went round to his and showed him the magazines that I showed you… they didn’t exactly paint you in a good light either.” She mumbled. It seemed she was sulking because she’d been wrong in her assumptions and Dad had let her know that, thankfully. I wasn't sure whether he'd actually talk to Charity but it seemed like he did.


“So you basically told him I was going out with James because I was a gold-digging whore?” I crossed my arms, leaning against the stove counter.


“No! Of course I didn’t! That’s what the magazines said, I just told him that I was a bit upset you didn’t tell me!” she protested.


“I explained this morning why I didn’t tell you.”


“But it just seemed like such a bullshit explanation…” she trailed off and I could tell there was a ‘but’ coming somewhere.


“But…?”


“But I read the magazines that had James’ previous relationship in it and you’re explanation made sense,” she huffed and I smiled. She seemed a bit surprised when I suddenly hugged around her waist but she reciprocated, “I’m sorry to have a go at you and if you’re happy then I’m happy too.” She smiled, kissing the top of my head.


“Thanks. I love you.” I whispered.


“Love you too. Now budge your arse, I need to finish making tea.” She laughed as I watched her. We all sat down to eat and the normal chatter made me believe that this whole thing with James wasn’t real and I had been imagining it in some twisted dream-land. When dinner was finished, Charity put the kids to bed and sat on the swing seat with me in the small back yard, both with a glass of red wine in our hands. We were sat in silence until,


“It’s been a while since you’ve seen her.” She didn’t have to mention a name because I knew who she was talking about immediately.


“Last time I tried Dad had me thrown out… he doesn’t want me near her. He made that clear.” I scoffed, not looking at her and taking a big gulp of wine.


“Screw what Dad says, I think you should visit her at some point.” She said sternly.


“Charity, I can’t,” I croaked, “I wouldn’t even be able to look at her.” A few tears pooled in my eyes.


“I think it would help you.”


“Just drop it… I don’t want to talk about it.” I chugged down the rest of my wine and walked into the kitchen, washing the glass out.


“What time is James picking you up?” she asked. I had told her all about the holiday whilst we were eating and she whole-heartedly agreed with the idea, saying it would be good for me to relax for a while.


“In 15 minutes, I think.” I looked up at the wall clock in the kitchen and sure enough, when the hand reached the ‘12’ I heard a popping sound outside followed by a knock on the door.


“Hey James.” I opened the door, grabbing my bag that had my stuff in from Gabby’s room.


“You ready?” his hands were shoved in his pockets again but I couldn’t look at him because of Lily.


“Yeah, one sec…” I walked into the living room and embracing Darrell and Charity, “I’ll see you guys in a month. By the way, Gabby can have her room back.” I smiled once they said goodbye and apparated with James.


“Okay, what have I done?” James asked, “Because you can’t even look at me.” I could tell he had a smirk on his face.


“Nothing… it doesn’t matter.” I blushed red, hoping he hadn’t looked in my suitcase whilst I’d be gone.


“You’re blushing like mad,” he laughed, “Am I going to have to ask Lily?” my face snapped to his violently and my eyes widened.


“So it’s something to do with Lily, hmm… interesting.” His smirk grew wider.


“Shut up.” I elbowed him in the ribs and smiled happily when I heard an ‘oof!’ we walked back inside and headed into the living room where Albus, Lily and Harry were sat.


“Mum’s just gone to get some last minute things.” James explained, rolling his eyes and sitting on an armchair, patting his lap with a smirk. He knows, I bet he knows. I sat down awkwardly as James’ arms snaked around my waist and pulled my back to his chest, nuzzling his face into the side of my neck.


“Hey Lily, Albus, Mr Potter.” I smiled at all of them and they reciprocated as both Harry and Albus said at the same time,


“Call me Harry.”


“Call me Al.” and I ended up laughing as they high-fived each other at the in-sync-ness.


“What did I tell you? My family’s weird.” He whispered. He no idea about my family then. I sat quietly, just listening to the banter between all the Potter’s when Ginny came bustling through the door.


“Harry! What did I tell you? You were supposed to get everyone to bed before I got back because we’re up early tomorrow otherwise we’ll miss the Portkey!” she nearly yelled at Harry, whose face blushed. He immediately stood up and ushered us all to our respective bedrooms, unfortunately this meant that I was sharing a room with James Potter. And possibly a bed. Great.


“I’ll get changed in the bathroom,” I quickly rambled before getting my comfy pyjamas out my bag and rushing into the en-suite bathroom before he could object. I splashed my face with cold water before I walked back in because I needed to calm down.
“Pull yourself together! You’ll have to do this for a month, just act like you couldn’t care less.” I hissed at my reflection in the mirror before smoothing a bored expression over my face and exiting. However, the cool exterior was quickly slapped off my face as I saw James just stood there without a shirt on.


“Like what you see?” he teased as my eyes snapped back to his face from his abs. Jeez, his abs.


“Shut up,” I blushed, dumping my bag on the floor, “Let’s just get this over with.” I huffed, climbing under the covers as James climbed in the other side.


“Not usually the reaction I get from a woman getting into my bed.” He scoffed.


“Get used to it.” I replied as I turned off the lamps.


“You know, given that we’re newly engaged and all, I would have expected you to wear something a little more revealing to bed. Not comic-strip pants and an over-sized shirt.” He whispered in the dark.


“Given that we are pretending and I don’t need to keep up pretences whilst we’re alone, I’ll wear what I like to bed and you better keep your mouth shut about it or I will knee you in the groin.” I replied through clenched teeth.

 
“Ooh, kinky.” I could almost hear his smirk that was so obviously plastered on his face so I rolled over and expertly aimed right for his baby-makers, satisfied when my knees came into contact with the target.


“Message received.” He wheezed moodily and rolled away from me so I was facing his back.


Chapter 4: I Think James is PMS'ing
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: This is gonna be another short chapter, it's just basically a filler because they're getting settled into the villa and everything. Plus, we get introduced to another important character in this chapter! And we learn a bit more about Elle... awww :(






Disclaimer: Anything you recognise does not belong to me. *sigh*







another wonderful chapter image by clowder@TDA!


“Hey, you must be James’ new fiancée.” - Courtney Simpson









Something was pressing heavily down on my neck as Lily’s hammering on the door roused me. When my eyes peeled open I could see why, James’ arm was strewn across my neck, effectively pinning me to the bed. He was lying on his front with his head facing the other way and the rest of his body was spread eagle on the bed, leaving me with only a fraction of the bed left. I slowly, and carefully, lifted his arm off me and froze when suddenly James rolled towards me and pulled me to his chest like I was a giant teddy bear which meant my nose and cheek was smushed against his bare chest.


“I’m not coming in because you both might be naked but… GET UP!” Lily shouted, knocking harder on the door.

 
“James… get off!” I tried to move the solid wall of muscle away from me but he just pulled tighter and I was stuck.


“That’s it! I’m coming in!” the door smacked open, followed by loud laughter.


“I’d really appreciate it if you could get him off me so I could breathe.” I wheezed as James had decided he was going to lie on his front again and pulled me with him. He was fucking heavy!


“Just tickle him… he usually moves fast, like he’s being attacked.” She laughed before closing the door. I didn’t know where I was supposed to tickle him so I just poked him really hard in the sides and he shrieked like a little girl, rolled off me and onto the floor. I bet my laughter could be heard from outer space. James’ head appeared, rather grumpily, over the edge of the bed as I rolled around laughing until tears were coming out my eyes.


“Not funny!” he huffed, standing up and crossing his arms.


“Oh, it so was.” I said through my laughter but stopped when I saw James’ expression. He launched at me across the bed but I escaped just before he reached me, I heard a thud and ran out the room into the kitchen where everyone was sat “Good morning.” I smiled, a little out-of-breath.


“I take it you tickled him then?” Lily raised an eyebrow at me as I nodded. James came running in a few seconds later and seeing that everyone was here and he’d get ganged up on if he got me back, he sat down in his seat next to me and luckily, he was wearing a top.


“Finally, you’re up!” Ginny scolded, “We’re having breakfast and you’re both going to get dressed and then we’re going.” She explained as James glared at me but I smiled innocently, eating my food. I was finished before James so I excused myself and went to get dressed, panicking a little when the door opened but relaxing when it was Lily.


“So, what are you going to wear today?” she asked. She was wearing a beautiful summery halter-neck dress with red/pink roses all over it and she looked absolutely adorable.


“Probably some jeans and a cardigan,” I shrugged, “What?” I asked when she stared at me like I’d just announced that I was going to join the Death Eaters and be the next re-incarnate of Lord Voldemort.


“We’re going to the South of Spain! You can’t wear jeans and a cardigan!” she gasped, rooting in my suitcase for one of the dresses that we bought in the charity shop, “Wear this with these.” She thrust the dress and a pair of sandals in my arms before shutting my suitcase again.


“Fine.” I rolled my eyes before heading into the bathroom and getting dressed, leaving my hair down and flowing wavy down to my waist. The dress was so cute and I loved it, the way it just floated down to my knees and the straps were thick enough to cover up the top half of my tattoo. My back wasn’t visible either which I was more than ecstatic about because that meant no-one could see my scar.


“Guys, are you ready? We need to go so we can catch the Portkey.” Harry’s voice called up the stairs and I exited the bathroom to where Lily and James were sat on his bed. They both looked up and smiled, however, Lily’s was genuine, and James’ was obviously fake because his sister was here. We walked down the stairs with Lily in front and James walking beside me, holding my hand. James had levitated our suitcases down the stairs earlier and everyone grabbed hold of their own handles and placed their hands on the plastic container on the table.


“We all ready?” Harry asked as it glowed blue and it felt like we were being pulled by a hook to wherever we were going. We landed with a huff in front of a beautiful villa under a blazing sun and I was glad that I wasn’t wearing jeans and a cardigan.


“Harry, don’t forget to put that Portkey somewhere a muggle won’t find it. We don’t want any incidents.” Ginny said, pulling her sunglasses on her face to block out the sun. Looking around, everyone else had sunglasses, except me and I felt stupid for not thinking I’d need them.


“Where exactly in the South of Spain are we?” I asked as I followed everyone else inside to the foyer. It was just as beautiful as the outside, the floor was decked out in polished marble with columns holding up two separate staircases that looked like they’d come straight out of a fairytale movie and one circular table in the middle with a giant pot of pink and blue flowers in the middle. To the left were a mahogany door and an archway that I could see straight into, it was the kitchen, which looked just as massive as the foyer. To the right was another two doors, one of which Lily went straight into.


“We’re in Malaga, it’s right on the coast.” James was the only who answered, taking my suitcase off me and walking up the staircase to our left. I followed him hastily taking in the sheer size, it was absolutely massive. Al, Harry and Ginny walked up the other staircase.


“Oh right…” I muttered distractedly.


“This is usually Mum and Dad’s side of the house but they are giving it to us to, you know, give us some ‘privacy’,” he blushed a little, “That’s the master bedroom, we have a separate bathroom and closet and that’s our balcony down the end.” He pointed to each room but I was distracted again by our view. It showed that the villa was right on the coastline and if I walked down the stairs from the balcony, then it would only be a short distance until I was on the beach.


“Wow! This place is amazing!” I whispered, not wanting to disturb the quietness and ignoring James’ ‘privacy’ jibe until I registered something, “Hang on… we get a whole wing to ourselves?” my mouth slackened.


“Well, yeah… they’re staying in my usual room next to Al’s so we’ll be up here alone.” He shrugged, opening the bedroom door and chucking our suitcases on the bed.


“Okay… this is so weird.” I gasped as James started unpacking, taking his clothes and putting them in the room opposite the bedroom.


“Thanks again for doing this.” He said gratefully, his voice drifted from loud to quiet as he walked back and forth.


“It’s a free holiday! I can’t complain!” I smiled widely, still stood on the balcony.


“Have you never been to Spain before?” he stood next to me, arching an eyebrow.


“Well…” I blushed, “I’ve never really been abroad before.” Because my Dad friggin’ hates me so I can’t go on holiday with him and my family have just never had enough money in general for all five of us.


“Oh… right.” Was all he said and we stood in silence.


“Guys! Where are you?” Al’s voice called from somewhere behind us.


“On the balcony.” James shouted back and Al soon appeared.


“Dad said I could choose where we go first.” He looked like he was about to piss himself in excitement.


“Oh great… we’re gonna be wondering around museums, ancient ruins and trekking up mountains for the rest of the day.” James sighed, rolling his eyes but I was genuinely interested in the whole history… I’d never been abroad before, if you can’t tell.


“I don’t mind, I’d love to see the whole place.” I smiled at Al who beamed back at me.


“See? And I thought we’d go to the Church of Santiago, then La Concepcion and then Museo de Malaga last. Obviously we’ll be having lunch and stuff in between but Dad said we have to have breakfast here first.” He explained as we walked back down the staircase into the massive kitchen/dining room now that I could see it properly. The majority of the kitchen was open as the walls were practically all made out of windows with a massive island in the middle with six stools, to the left was a dining room table with 12 seats around it.


“Settled in well?” Harry asked, holding the Daily Prophet in his hands on one of the bar stools.


“Yeah, thank you so much for everything.” I smiled nervously as Ginny came bustling in.


“What does everyone want?” she asked to all of us.


“It’s no problem,” he smiled as I sat next to him, “Oh, I’ll just have an English breakfast love.” He smiled affectionately at his wife.


“Can I have an omelette?” Lily asked.


“Same as Dad.” Al stated.


“I want pancakes.” James pouted childishly.


“I can’t make everyone different things!” Ginny threw her hands up, “Pick one thing.” And that led to all the kids arguing about what the best breakfast was. Ginny looked like she was about to pull her hair out.


“I can help you… I’m not bad at making pancakes.” I offered standing up and making my way to the stove and everyone quieted instantly.


“Would you be a dear?” she hugged me and I just shrugged, getting out the butter, milk, eggs, flour and the salt, “Thank you so much!”


“I can try making the omelette as well but it probably won’t be very good.” I laughed nervously at Lily.


“Thank you so much!” and she got to work making Harry, Al and her breakfast. After much sweating and swearing (on my part), I placed the plates in front of Lily and James nervously. The omelette really went better than expected but not as good as it could have if Ginny or Charity had made it, I really wasn’t a natural born cook. However, I was very proud of my pancakes because I added some chocolate and blueberries.


“Mmmm… that’s so good! Thank you Elle!” Lily said gratefully through a mouth of food.


“I agree… best pancakes in the world.” James beamed, wolfing down the whole thing and kissing me on the cheek.


“Thanks.” I blushed but decided to eat my food slower than him because it looked like he hadn’t eaten for months.


“Where are we going first?” I asked Al who was waiting eagerly for everyone to finish eating.


“To the Church of Santiago first.” He replied happily. Once everyone was finished, Harry locked up the villa and we apparated. The church was as I expected with it looking quite old on a cobbled street. We spent a few hours in there with me taking pictures of basically everything whilst James laughed at me, it was so interesting to learn about the whole Church and I spent more time with Al than James in there. Next was La Concepcion which was just a massive garden with hundreds of flowers and different activities that you could do. James laughed at me for wanting to make a flower out of tissue paper but I bet that he couldn’t make one and his little face of concentration as he put the finished touches made everyone laugh. He then placed it behind my ear, making sure the colour of the fake-flower matched the blue pattern on my dress.


“Where now?” I asked, excited about seeing more places in Malaga.


“I’m starving… can we have a break please? I need food!” James moaned, clutching his stomach.


“We passed a cool looking café back there, we can go there?” Harry pointed over his shoulder whilst using his other hand to hold Ginny’s. It was really cute. James, however, wasn’t even playing the part very well, he wouldn’t hold my hand or put his arm around my waist or kiss me at all, actually. It was starting to get suspicious and I didn’t have any sunglasses to hide my glares at him.


“Need I remind you that we’re engaged…” I hissed at him when everyone had turned back round to head to the café.


“Excuse me?” he raised his eyebrows in shock.


“I’m not sure whether you are aware but newly engaged couples are meant to be more touchy-feely, aren’t they?” I hissed again. He glared hard at me before he suddenly crashed his lips to mine, wrapping his arms around my waist tight and lifting me slightly so I was on my tiptoes. He didn’t even seem to care that we were in the middle of the street so people had to move around us.


“Touchy-feely enough for you?” he asked when he pulled away, still glaring at me.


“God, learn to control your mood swings James… I don’t even have to be here.” I glared just as moodily back at him. Instead of softening up, he grabbed my hand and dragged us after his family and I plastered a smile on my face when we reached them. Stupid, lucky James for being able to wear sunglasses. Harry managed to swing us a table by the window and before I sat down in my seat, James pulled me into his lap, kissing the exposed part of my shoulder occasionally. Whilst Ginny ordered us a few sandwiches and some lemonade, I could feel James’ lips brushing against my neck and his hot breath trickled down my arms.


“Oh my God! James?! I thought I recognised you, I forgot you always used to come here every year. Small world.” I recognised that voice so I looked up to the slim blonde woman stood by our table. The Potter’s faces turned impassive behind their sunglasses to James’ ex-girlfriend stood next to her new fiancé, a massive shining rock stuck on her finger.


“Courtney, hello.” James smiled a little but it just looked like he was in pain.


“Hey, you must be James’ new fiancée.” She smiled genuinely at me but it was just the way she said ‘new’ that made my skin prickle.


“Yeah, my name’s Elle.” I smiled back at her, subtly showing off my engagement ring too.


“It’s so lovely to meet you after reading about you in the magazines, they can be harsh right?” she laughed an adorable giggle and I wanted to punch her in the face, I sounded like I was choking on oxygen when I laughed.


“Yeah, I try not to think too much about it.” I shrugged in response, trying to feign ignorance.


“How rude of me, let me introduce you to my fiancé, Alfonso Nieves.” She presented him in front of us and I took in the tanned young man stood there with a smirk on his face. He had typical dark hair, was wearing a tank top that showed off his tattoo right on his bicep and a lip piercing.


“Hola!” he shook each of our hands and kissed the girls’ hands, lingering a bit on mine.


“Anyway, we must be off now but I’d love to have a double date with you two sometimes. Maybe tomorrow night?” she looked at the two of us hopefully.


“Sure, tomorrow night sounds good.” I nodded my head and she left. James’ vice-like grip loosened as soon as she was gone and I think I was going to have bruises on my waist tomorrow.


“Why the hell did you agree to that?” he hissed in my ear once we’d left and headed towards a car. I started panicking.


“I can’t get in that car… I can’t…” I shook my head as I started hyperventilating. James looked completely lost as he watched me panic, “I’m sorry… I would much rather apparate… I just can’t g-get in that car…”


“It’s okay… calm down, I’ll apparate you to the site. Everyone else get in the car.” Ginny rushed forward, shoving the shocked faced Potter’s into the car, including James.


“I’m sorry… sorry.” I mumbled embarrassingly, wiping away the tears and calming myself down as the car drove off.


“It’s okay, just tell me when you’re ready and we can go.” She rubbed her hand up and down my back soothingly. It took a few minutes before I realised that I didn’t have to get into a car and I grabbed Ginny’s arm, apparating to the checkpoint.


“It’s okay, she’s fine.” I heard Ginny say to Harry, who was looking at me in concern.


“What was that?” James was immediately by my side, placing an arm around my waist to look like a concerned fiancé.


“It’s… nothing.” I mumbled, following an excited Al on the dusty path on the mountains. We walked in silence with Al pointing things out as we walked along and by the time that we were finished, I was absolutely beat.


“I think it’s time we go back for dinner, yes?” Ginny brushed a long strand of hair over her shoulder, fanning her face a little, “I’m sure we could all do with a few drinks.” She smiled at me and I blushed. We apparated back to the villa, Harry unlocked it and I walked straight up to the bedroom and starting unpacking in the closet on my half to occupy my mind with something.


“Are you going to explain what the mini panic-attack was back then?” James appeared at the doorway, leaning against the door frame with his arms crossed.


“Nope.” I answered monotonously, opening up one of the drawers to quickly stuff the underwear things in under some of my other clothes.


“Whatever.” He finally said after staring at me for a while and walked off back downstairs. I looked down at my phone, wondering whether I should call Charity and explain.


“Hello? Elle, what’s up?” my fingers had decided before I could comprehend and I found myself walking down the steps on the balcony and onto the beach, kicking my sandals off and holding them in my hand.


“Charity… I had another attack today.” It was all I needed to say.


“Oh Elle!” her comforting voice was enough to make me cry, “What happened?”


“We were going to a mountain thing and they wanted to get in a car to take us there,” I explained remembering the panic and flashbacks, “I couldn’t do it Charity, I started panicking and I made a right fool of myself in front of everyone.” I whined.


“Well, at least James was with you,” I stayed quiet, “James does know right? He does, doesn’t he?”


“Not really…” I trailed off, kicking the warm sand beneath my feet.


“Elle! You’ve been dating him for two years, you’re getting married to him! He deserves to know!” she shouted down the phone and I took it lying down.


“I know.” I sighed.


“I visited her today. With Dad.” She said after I stayed silent.


“How is she?” I asked, torturing myself.


“She’s the same, not really a good sign but at least she’s no-.” I cut her off because I knew what she was going to say,


“Okay.”


“Elle, please tell James… I’ll talk to you later. I need to finish making tea. Bye. Love you.”


“Love you too.” And she hung up. I slipped my phone back into my bra where it had been all day.


“You coming back inside?” Lily asked behind me and I jumped a little. When I turned around to face her, she was holding a big glass of red wine for me.


“Yeah, sorry… thanks.” I took the offered glass off her and took a big gulp.


“If you don’t mind my asking, who were you on the phone to?”


“My sister, Charity.” I answered.


“Oh right, do you have any other sisters?” she asked as we walked back in. The question drew a blank, do I answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’?


“Yes… her name’s Norah.” I said quietly.


“How old is she?” she seemed full of questions all of a sudden.


“She’s 22 years old, only a year younger than me.” I gulped another sip of wine.


“That’s cool… I wish I could have sisters. I’m stuck being the only girl, except Mum but she doesn’t count, and it’s so annoying. I can’t talk to Mum about my problems because it’s embarrassing, you know?” She looked at me. Well, not really Lily because I don’t have a Mum.


“You can always talk to me, if you’d like?” I turned to her genuinely offering her my listening ear. I liked Lily, just because she was like a younger sister to me.


“Thanks, I appreciate it.” She smiled and sat down in her seat around the dining room table. I sat down next to James, who grabbed my hand instantly. The dinner passed slowly and in relative silence before everyone stood up and went their separate ways, I just stayed up on the balcony in our wing of the villa.


“Elle… you should sleep, you’re probably exhausted from the jet lag.” James sighed behind me. I agreed, getting into the same pyjamas that I had worn from the night before.


“Nice pyjamas.” He scoffed as he watched me slip into bed.


“At least I’m wearing some.” I rolled my eyes, grateful for the distraction.


“Hey! I’m wearing pyjamas pants!”


“You’re not wearing a top though.” I pointed out.


“Given that we’re pretending and I don’t have to keep up pretences when we’re alone, I’ll wear what I like to bed and you better keep your mouth shut about it or I will…” he drifted off from his mimicking of me as he realised I didn’t have male genitalia.


“You will what?” I smirked, happy that I had something over him until his face glinted with amusement.


“Or I’ll do this.” He then proceeded to pounce on me and tickle me as payback from this morning.


“Okay! Stop!” I said through my laughter. My arms flailed wildly, trying to push him away from me until my elbow came into contact with something solid, “OW!”


“You elbowed me in the face!” James stared at me in shock, holding his nose.


“It’s your own fault for tickling me!” I stuck my tongue out.


“You elbowed me in the face!” he repeated as if he couldn’t believe what he was saying.


“I could knee you in the groin again if you don’t shut up and let me sleep.” I threatened.

 

 I laughed again as his hands shot from his nose and protected his groin area.


“I don’t think they’ve recovered from last night.” He winced in pain.


“Don’t tempt me.” I mumbled into my pillow.


Chapter 5: It's Fun Torturing James
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: *hides behind a table* It's been ages since I last uploaded a chapter and I'm very, very sorry. I uploaded a new story and then realised I had to wait until I'd uploaded that one before I could do this one... but it's a funny one! And stuff and things happen.... ;)







Disclaimer: The brilliant Harry Potter world belongs to J.K. Rowling. Lucky woman. Along with that, everything you recognise does not belong to me.








perfect chapter image by clowder@TDA!



“I was newly engaged once, I know all these emotions that you’re probably feeling. Don’t think about it, just do it.” – Ginny Potter








“I still can’t believe you agreed to this stupid double date with my ex and her new fiancé.” James huffed as he got dressed. He was going out with his Dad and Al so us girls could have a day, and the villa, to ourselves.

 
“She was right there, what was I supposed to say?” I looked at him with both eyebrows raised in surprise.


“You were supposed to say no.”


“I couldn’t say no to her face James! How bitchy do you think that would make me look?” I rolled my eyes, crossing my arms in protest.


“I don’t care if it made you look bitchy… this dinner is gonna be hell.” He ran a hand through his hair agitatedly. I didn’t understand why he was so upset about this.


“James, do you or do you not still love her?” I asked seriously, and a little fed up, but he didn’t need to know that.


“Of course I still love her! We were together for three years for fucks sake.”


“Then why aren’t you trying to win her back, if you love her so much. There’s nothing stopping you from doing it!” I pointed out, getting just as angry as him.


“I don’t know…” he sighed.


“Then grow some balls and move the fuck on. If you’re not willing to get her back, despite the fact you love her, then you should move on.”


“You don’t believe in second chances, do you?” he looked up at me, his expression looked weird and I was a bit taken back by it.


“Not really, no. Once you make a mistake… that’s it. You’re done.” I shrugged nonchalantly whilst a big part of me bristled as the flashbacks came back.


“Harsh.” He whistled.


“It’s just the way I am.” I shrugged again. He finished getting ready as I watched from my comfy position in bed. No matter what anyone says, the best feeling is getting to stay in bed whilst the other person gets dressed. Or taking your bra off after a long day.


“Enjoying the view?” James smirked when he caught me watching as his gorgeous abs disappeared under a shirt.


“I don’t know… Spain’s quite nice but I don’t want to see another old woman in a bikini, it scars you for life, you know.” I pursed my lips and stared out the window towards the beach.


“You’re funny.” He said sarcastically, waved goodbye and left so I did what any normal, sane person would do… and went back to sleep.


“Oh no you don’t! Wake up, we’re getting our nails done and going sunbathing.” Lily shook me just as I was about to drop off.


“Just a few more minutes!” I moaned, pulling the duvet over my head but she yanked it back viciously.


“No. Get dressed because we’re going once you’ve had breakfast.” She said cheerfully and I, much to my chagrin, got out of the comfy bed and pulled on the green bikini, my black shorts and a white tank top.


“Ready?” I nodded and followed her into the kitchen, where Ginny had placed some toast and beans on a plate.


“Sorry, it’s only something quick.” She smiled as I sat down on a stool and began eating.


“It’s lovely, thank you, Ginny.” I smiled back, still finding it weird to call her by her first name out loud.


“So, used any of the presents that we got you in London?” Lily whispered as Ginny, herself, went to get ready.


“No.” I blushed as I remembered all the lingerie in the drawer.


“Well, what have you been wearing to bed then?” she asked.


“Just a pair of pyjama bottoms and an over-sized shirt.” I shrugged but she rolled her eyes at me.


“That’s hardly sexy.”


“I’m not good at the whole sexy thing in general.”


“When you put it on, you’ll think differently, trust me.” I just stared at her in shock, she was only a year younger than me. How the hell could she know? Lily wasn’t as innocent as she appeared it seemed.


“Are we finished and ready? I’m in desperate need of getting my nails re-done.” Ginny held out her perfectly manicured nails as if they were scruffy. I looked down at my bitten, chewed and all round scratty nails and hid them behind my back, embarrassed. Just another thing that separated me from this family.


“Yeah, where are we going?” I asked.


“There’s a small nail shop just on the beach front so you don’t have to wear shoes, we’ll just walk along the beach.” Ginny said, she was also wearing a swimsuit under her clothes because I could see the black straps peeking out the top she was wearing.


“Okay, let’s go.” I plastered a smile on my face and set off down the stairs to the beach. The same ones I had walked down last night when I called Charity. The sand was absolutely boiling under my bare toes and I had only just realised that I was incredibly pale and in need of a good tan.


“It’s just there, can you see it?” Ginny pointed to a lime green and hot pink decorated shop with a Spanish name that I couldn’t understand. Because, you know, I couldn’t speak Spanish. Ginny booked us in at the same time so we were all sat next to each other as we got out nails done.


“Darling, your nails are far too short for me to do anything. We’re going to have to put falsies on.” The woman, who was doing my nails, said in a thick Spanish accent.


“Okay.” I went along with whatever she said and said I’d like them to be painted nude because it went with everything. They were like talons when she was finished and I touched everything carefully, trying not to break them or smudge the nail polish.


“They look really good on you.” Lily compliment as I looked down at her bright orange nails.


“Thanks, I was thinking nude because of that dinner thing tonight so I had to go with a colour that would go with anything,” I rambled, I don’t know why I was telling them this, “Both of yours look lovely too.”


“Thanks.” They both replied. Once we got back to the little portion of beach directly in front of the villa, Ginny and Lily lay out their towels next to each other, stripping off their clothes so that they were only in their bikinis. I followed suit after staring at Ginny’s body rather blatantly. There was no way her body should be that good after 3 kids! I mean, granted it had been nearly 21 years since she’d had her last kid so she’d had ample amount of time to get in shape, but damn, she looked like a fucking teenager! Whilst they were lying on their fronts, I decided to go on my back because I was still self-conscious about my scar. After one hour of lying there in the content silence, Ginny declared we should flip over for another hour so we could get an even tan so I hoped with all my might that they wouldn’t see it or, if they did, wouldn’t say anything about it. Thankfully, they didn’t but Ginny, however, did bring up a more personal subject. No thanks to Lily.


“So, used any of that sexy lingerie yet?” she blurted and I could feel my face flushing.


“She hasn’t. I asked her this morning, she’s wearing her comfy pyjamas to bed.” I could practically hear Lily’s eye roll.


“Honey, there’s no need to be shy. I’m sure James’ll appreciate it.” Bloody brilliant, now everyone knows that Lily bought me lingerie to seduce my fiancé with (fake, but no-one needs to know that). Great. And to make matters worse, it was his mother and sister.


“Awww look, she’s all embarrassed.” Lily teased, pointing out my blushing cheeks which meant both of them were staring at me. I watched, behind my new sunglasses, as their eyes flicked to my back before righting themselves. It was only a quick glance and if I’d have blinked, I would have missed it.


“I was newly engaged once, I know all these emotions that you’re probably feeling. Don’t think about it, just do it.” Ginny looked at me seriously or, in what I assumed she thought, was a motherly-look.


“Right.” I really wished the ground would just swallow me up right now. Like, more than usual.


“We’ll stop talking about it,” Lily smiled and I sighed in relief, “For now.” And I outwardly groaned causing both women to laugh at me.


“Stop talking about what?” a deep voice interrupted us and I looked up to see Harry, James and Al all stood over us in their swimming trunks. James’ abs never ceased to amaze me no matter how many times I saw them. His gaze was trained firmly on my back I knew he was seeing my scar, it wasn’t exactly invisible.


“Nothing sweetheart.” Ginny smiled up at her husband, who sat beside her on the sand. Al sat on the edge of Lily’s towel whilst James lay next to me, very close next to me actually.


“Could you rub some sun-cream on my back please?” he whispered. This made Ginny and Lily grin even more and I couldn’t deal with their constant sex questions and stuff. I don’t know about you, but it’s embarrassing.


“Sure.” I replied, sitting back on my haunches whilst I squirted some cream into my hands and rubbed it along his taut muscles. I could feel Lily’s greedy eyes on me and James but I pretended like they weren’t there.


“Your turn.” James smirked at me, squirting some in his hands and smoothing it over my back slowly. At one point I swear he’d trailed his finger down my scar but the feeling was gone a second later as I felt him lie next to me.


“I’m still mad at you for agreeing to go on this double date.” He whispered, his head right next to mine.


“Be mad at me then but the way I see it is, you get a chance to finally show her that you’re over her.” I shrugged as best as I could whilst lying face down on a towel.


“But I’m not though.” He huffed.


“She doesn’t have to know that.” I rolled my eyes behind my sunglasses but he knew.


“Don’t roll your eyes at me.” He stuck out his tongue.


“Or else what?” I reciprocated. Before I had the chance to react again, James had lifted me and was running full speed towards the ocean.


“Fancy a bath?” he smirked.


OH NO! DON’T YOU DARE?!” I shrieked but he ignored me as I felt him release me, my body hitting the water with a loud splash. To pay him back, I stayed underwater with my eyes closed. Eventually, as it got harder to breathe, I felt James’ arms lift me heavily out the water.


“Elle…?” he lifted me so that he was holding me bridal style in the water. We were now so far into the ocean that the water was lapping mid-way against his stomach.


“Gotcha!” I shouted, splashing him in the face and laughing at his shocked expression.


“You are so gonna pay for that!” I wriggled myself from his grip and swam a little further out.


“You’ll have to catch me first.” I teased, swimming to the side out of his reach again. Unfortunately, his feet reached the seabed whereas I was wadding in the water, my wet blonde hair was stuck to my neck and body. I swam back to the shore and ran back to my towel, wrapping it round myself and drying off a little.


“You’re a good swimmer.” He praised when he finally caught up, his normally shaggy black hair was flat against his head, still messy and I watched as a few droplets of sea water dripped down the top half of his exposed body, falling down past the waistband of his trunks.


“Thanks,” I shrugged and James scooped me up over his shoulder suddenly, causing me to shriek, “Put me down!”


“Sorry, no can do! I want you all to myself!” he smirked as Lily and Ginny laughed loudly, making me blush. He carried me like that all the way back into our bedroom and chucked me roughly onto the bed.


“What are you thinking of wearing tonight?” James asked seriously and I propped myself up on my elbows, the water from me dripping onto the bed.


“Err… a dress and some sandals.” I answered unsurely, standing up.


“I didn’t know you had a tattoo.” James pointed it out when the towel dropped a little on my back.


“Yeah, had it for four years now.” I answered quietly.


“Anyway, are you going to give me a catwalk of what you’re going to wear?” he arched an eyebrow, I rolled my eyes and headed into the bathroom with my outfit. The dress I decided to wear was an off-the-shoulder shift dress in a pastel yellow, showing off the beginnings of my tan, the bottom coming to rest just above my knees. Once I was changed, I exited and paced back and forth like James told me to so he could assess it.


“That looks good,” He praised when he’d finished, I had a feeling he just wanted to stare at my boobs and arse, “Knowing Courtney, she’d wear a skimpy dress but you look like wife-material.” He smirked smugly.


“Lovely to know.” I rolled my eyes as he wrapped a towel round his waist and sat on the bed. He suddenly froze and I did too, “What?” I mouthed. He beckoned for me to come over and I did so, however, I didn’t expect to be rolled underneath him on the bed with him kissing me roughly.


“Oh! Sorry, I was just coming to tell you that Courtney was here!” Lily mumbled embarrassingly, covering her eyes and shutting the door loudly.


“How the hell did you hear her footsteps?” I hissed when James eventually got off me.


“Ears of a professional Quidditch player, love,” He smirked, “Go do your hair into something nice, not sexy.” He ordered and as I stood up, he smacked my arse and I squealed, sending him a glare and a middle finger over my shoulder. I decided to pull my blonde hair to one side, as it had naturally dried into beach waves, and braided it loosely, sticking a small yellow flower in it.


“Yeah, that looks really good.” James approved when I came out the bathroom. He was wearing black slacks, a white-button down shirt with some posh, black leather shoes.


“You don’t half scrub up well.” I wolf-whistled and he rolled his eyes.


“Wish I could say the same about you, love.” He smirked and I elbowed him swiftly.


“Haha, you’re so funny.” I said sarcastically as we walked down the stairs holding hands.


“I know, I’m hilarious.” He obviously didn’t notice the sarcasm.


“My! Don’t you look sweet!” Courtney ‘gushed’ when she saw me. James was right, she was wearing the shortest black dress I had ever seen and it only just managed to cover her arse and boobs.


“Thanks, you look lovely too.” I replied, trying to sound sincere.


“Shall we go? Alfonso is already at the restaurant so he could save us a booth.” She explained as we all headed outside and apparated to a fancy Spanish gourmet restaurant.


“This place looks adorable!” I said but this time I meant it. It was placed right in the centre of a cobbled street with old-fashioned street lamps outside.


“Isn’t it? It’s where Alfonso and I met actually,” she said in haughty tone that only I managed to pick up on. James was completely silent beside me so I squeezed my hand in reassurance and was rewarded with a miniscule smile in return, “There he is!” she pointed and nearly ran over to him, both myself and James following behind. James slid in first, glaring at Alfonso and pulling me beside him, wrapping his arm around my waist instinctively.


“Right… shall we get some drinks first?” Courtney clapped her hands together, waving for a waiter to come over, “Can we have the finest red wine you have, please?” she ordered flamboyantly. The waiter nodded his head and glided away. We stayed silent for a while, James staring motionless ahead of him, me looking at him in concern and Courtney practically sat in Alfonso’s lap.


“I can say I’m ill, if you want?” I whispered. James leant his head down to mine with an amused smile.


“We’re already here, we might as well get the most out of it.” He pulled me closer, whispering it in my ear and pulling away with an equally similar smirk to mine.


“Let’s have a little fun.” I whispered, drawing circular patterns on James’ thigh with my index finger, using my new talons. He immediately tensed up, looking at me in surprise which was replaced by an evil glint.


“Your wine.” The waiter interrupted our little game and poured each of us a glass.


“Let’s make a toast, shall we?” Courtney held her glass up, “To happy marriages!” I noticed she didn’t look me in the eye when she clinked my glass whereas she did with James. She was toying with him and I felt a little loyalty to make Courtney just a little jealous so after I clinked glasses with James, I placed a few butterfly kisses along his jawline, leading up to his ear. We ordered our food and when it came, Courtney made a show of feeding her fiancé a bit of food from her plate.


“You wanna try that?” I asked, smirking and dipping my index finger in the sauce and sucking it off, not breaking eye contact with James. Huh, Lily was right, it does come naturally. James’ eyes blazed with lust before he took a big sip of red wine, shifting in his seat.


“No, I think you topped it.” He kissed me tenderly on my lips but I bit down on his bottom lip, tugging it slightly and I think a little growl emitted from him.


“Anyone for dessert?” I turned to the other couple, who made it look like they hadn’t just been watching us out the corner of their eyes.


“I know I want some.” James whispered in my ear making a shiver run through my body with just the huskiness in his voice.


“I think I’ll have a chocolate fudge cake.” I hummed appreciatively, my voice was deeper as my throat became dry.


“I’ll share with you.” James winked mischievously and I had to roll my eyes at him.


“I’ll call the waiter over then,” I raised my arm, beckoning him over, “What’re you two having?” I asked when the waiter had arrived at our table and taken my order.


“I’ll have a vanilla ice cream sundae.” Courtney smiled widely at the waiter, closing the menu and handing it to him. Alfonso ordered something in Spanish and turned to me with a ‘show-off’ grin that looked like he was trying to impress me. Big whoop, he could speak in his natural tongue. You want a fucking medal?! The waiter wandered off again but before I could initiate another ‘make-Courtney-jealous’ round with James, said bitch, I mean woman, started to question us,


“So, where did you two meet?” she leaned on the table. To anyone on the outside, she’d look completely interested but I knew girl-language and she only wanted to know so she could brag about how her and Alfonso met.


“Well, I work in a muggle café in London and James came in during one of my shifts…”


“And I ordered a cup of coffee, as usual, you served me and then went on your merry way.” He cut across me, smiling down at me affectionately.


“Yeah but I did come back on my break though to speak to you.”


“And I almost got you fired because I kept on trying to keep talking to you.”


“It was worth it though…” I sighed happily, making sure it looked like I’d subconsciously touched my ring.


“It definitely was,” He gazed down at me, placing a soft kiss on my lips, “I’m so happy you said yes to going on a date with me… otherwise I’d have to keep coming into the café every day until you agreed.” I laughed cutely at him.


“Awww, that’s so cute.” She seemed to force the word out her mouth.


“Our meeting wasn’t quite like that, was it Court?” Alfonso chipped in.


“No, it was much more passionate.” She sighed and got lost in her own dream-world for a while.


“Hot, passionate, lustful.” Alfonso listed off, staring deeply into my eyes with a satisfied glint in his. The waiter interrupted us again, placing down our desserts and James picked up a spoon, as did I, and we tucked in. I was full after about 7 bites so I let James finish it, trailing my new nails up and down the back of his neck gently. The lustful James was back as he leaned in and whispered,


“Don’t.” and I knew that I was seriously, genuinely turning him on.


“Why? I’m not really doing anything.” I smiled innocently as he glared at me, getting more and more frustrated. He growled a little again as I dotted a few more kisses on his neck whilst still continuing my assault. His breathing hitched slightly as I went further down his neck, almost onto his back and his grip around my waist tightened.


“You’re teasing me now.” He glared harder as I continued.


“So what if I am?” I whispered slowly into his ear and relishing in his stiffened posture and flushed face.


“Well, we really must be off… it was lovely to see you again James and to meet you at last Elle.” Bullshit, she couldn’t care less about me. They stood up, paid and left, we followed suit a few seconds later. James pulling me a little more aggressively than I would have liked but it just made it funnier. He apparated us back to the villa and let go of me, running a hand through his hair agitatedly.


“Good night James.” I murmured against his lips and walked sexily back up the stairs, everyone else must have been in bed by now as well. It was so much fun torturing James because he couldn’t do anything about it unless we were in public. I walked into the bedroom and was halfway out of my dress when James burst in and pinned me against the wall, his lips pressed heavily against mine and his tongue forcing its way in. I found myself kissing him back with just as much vigour because this kissing was so much better than the lovey-dovey ones.


“Why did you do that?” he panted as he finally pulled away.


“Because it was fun.” I shrugged, getting a little self-conscious that I was stood in my bra with my dress hanging on my waist. He pushed off me angrily, got changed whilst I was still in the room and climbed into the bed in a huff. I pulled the rest of my dress and my sandals off, quickly pulling my over-sized shirt on, deciding to be brave and not wear my pyjama pants. James’ back was facing me and I wanted to smack him over his head for his stupidity, but instead I lightly grazed my nails down his back and up his neck again.


“Stop it.” He hissed in the dark.


“No, I think it’s funny.” I giggled a little. James suddenly rolled on top of me and kissed me hard again.


“Think it’s so hilarious, do you?” he asked sarcastically against my lips and I grunted in assent, “Let’s see how you like it.”


“Ah but James… you don’t know what turns me on.” I laughed at him victoriously before he buried his face in my neck, placing gentle kisses down until he reached my collarbone. I hissed in a sharp intake of breath as he instantly found my ‘spot’ and started sucking and grazing on it lightly with his teeth. His left hand helped keep him supported above me but his other hand, lightly brushed up and down my bare leg making me shiver. It then slowly made its way up under my shirt and he placed his palm flat against my waist, rubbing his thumb delicately. Let’s just put it this way, it had been a while since I’d been with another lad so the sensation was driving me crazy. My hips subconsciously arched a little as James moaned in appreciation.

And then suddenly, he stopped.


“Good night Elle.” He whispered against my lips before rolling away from me, leaving me all frustrated.


“Bastard.” I hissed and could feel him chuckle.


Chapter 6: I Didn't Know James Could Read Fictional Books...
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A/N: chaptooooor 6 guys! This one is interesting ;) I say that about each chapter... but it is, I promise! Stuff happens... a little bit of foreshadowing in it ;) I'm so good at these A/N's, I should just do these professionally. Note the sarcasm. So so sorry for it being a while since I last updated, I had some trouble with validating this chapter but hope it's fixed now!

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter nor do I own the extracts from the book, Pride or Prejudice, which belongs to Jane Austen and the publishers, T.Egerton and Whitehall. The extracts come from Chapter 12 and Chapter 30, if anyone's wondering.









another perfect chapter image by clowder@TDA!


“Woah! What’s got your knickers in a twist?” – Albus Potter





Thankfully James’ arm wasn’t slung over my neck when I woke up, he was nowhere near my body and in fact, he wasn’t even in the bed. I spread my arms out wide, glad that I could stretch out without falling off the bed. That was the first thing I was gonna buy when I buy my new apartment, a nice, big king-sized bed just for me. James’ side of the bed was still warm so I assumed that he’d only recently gotten out of it. A blush tinted my cheeks again as I thought back to last night and then I smirked, it was really a lot of fun torturing James. My head lolled to the side as I looked at the clock, which read 13:18 in the afternoon. Although I had wasted half of my day already, I felt really happy because I had had a very good night’s sleep and I hadn’t had one of those for a long, long time.


“Time to get myself some breakfast.” I said quietly to an empty room and made my way down to the kitchen, after putting my pyjama pants on obviously.


“Morning, have a nice sleep?” Ginny asked as she lounged in one of the stools. My arms stretched over my head, my neck and back cracked, and yawned.


“Mmhmm.” I smiled happily, making myself a quick bowl of cereal to eat. Ginny had fixated me with a very cunning smirk, looking down at my neck every so often and I wondered what had happened to it.


“Ah, so you’re up?” James sauntered in wearing nothing but a pair of light grey joggers that hung low on his waist, showing off the 'V' on his waistline.


“Yep.” I smiled, trying to hide the blush and receiving a kiss on the lips, to which he then proceeded to slowly kiss down my neck. Whilst his Mother was still in the room! He pulled away, looked down at my neck and smirked widely, amusement glinting in his eyes.


“Have a nice sleep?” I asked, just trying to make conversation. James was still stood behind me, arms around my waist and head rested on my shoulder so that his lips were pressed against it.


“After last night, yes.” He didn’t make any effort to hide his voice from his Mum, who blushed a little, coughed awkwardly and left the room, muttering about needing to do the washing.


“James! Your Mum was still in the room!” I scolded him, standing up to put the bowl in the sink. Unfortunately, James wasn’t done with his ‘fun’ and used his hips to pin me against the counter when I’d turned around.


“It’s funny seeing you blush whenever I say something provocative.” He chuckled.


“It makes me seem like a right slut, never mind the stuff Lily bought me and told your Mum about,” I rolled my eyes but then froze at what I had given away, “Shit, pretend like I didn’t say anything!” I rambled as James’ smirk widened like the Cheshire Cat.


“What sort of stuff is this?” he leaned forward sexily.


“Nothing… it’s nothing!” I stuttered.


“Is that why you couldn’t look at me when you got back from London with Lily?” he asked, “I might go and have a little peek now.” He winked before running out the kitchen. I stood there momentarily frozen until I started running after him, pouncing on him as he was about to pull the drawer open.


“This is a very compromising position.” James arched an eyebrow at me. James had landed on his back with my legs on either side of his waist so I was straddling him. His hands moved to my waist and kept me there even though I tried to stand up.


“James! Let me stand up!” I whined, blushing.


“No, I think I’m quite liking having a girl on top for a change.” He flirted and I rolled my eyes.


“You know, I could just as easily move my knee right now and I still don’t think your balls have recovered since the other night, have they?” I crossed my arms and glared at him until he relented.


“Fine! But I will find them sooner or later.” He smirked again. My back was placed firmly against the drawer so he couldn’t open it. James made to leave but quickly turned around and scooped me over his shoulder.


JAMES?! Put me down!” I shouted but it was in vain, he’d already opened it and fell silent.


“Oh, you are definitely wearing one of these tonight… I’ll make sure of it.” I could feel him chuckle a little.


“No, I am never, ever, ever wearing them. Ever.” I huffed, hitting him on the back to make him put me down. He did so, holding a matching purple lingerie set with suspenders.


“Maybe this one,” he stared at me as I blushed and shook my head violently, “It’s either you wear one of these or go to bed naked… either way, I win.” He grinned victoriously at my shocked expression before I recovered.


“I’ll just wear these again… in fact, I won’t go out today so I can stay in my pyjamas all day. Therefore you can’t force me into that.” I looked at it in disgust.


“Killjoy.” His face turned into a sour expression and he shoved it back in the drawer, closing it with a slam.


“I’m a killjoy? What about last night?” I crossed my arms angrily.


“That was payback for what you did to me.” He glared, pushing past me.


“You have to admit, it was funny… especially seeing the look on Courtney’s face when she realised that you weren’t paying her an ounce of attention.” I laughed.


“True… although I didn’t like the looks Alfonso was giving you, it was disturbing…” James’ eyebrows furrowed, “Make sure I’m there if you ever go out with him or Courtney, I don’t trust him.”


“Okay,” I shrugged just to appease him, “Anyway, if you don’t mind I’m going to have a bath now.” I pushed past into the adjoining room. The bathroom looked absolutely marvellous, with granite worktops with two sinks next to each other, a shower cubicle that was cut off from the rest of the room and a huge bathtub that was more like a hot-tub than a bathtub.


“Can I join you?” James crossed his arms in the doorway, covering up his abs a little and tensing his biceps ‘subconsciously’.


“No, go away!” I glared at him, pushing him out the door and locking it so he couldn’t get in.


“You know I am a wizard and I could use ‘alohamora’ on the door, right?” I heard James on the other side of the door.


“Don’t you dare!” I hissed back, holding my wand up to the door just in case.


“I said ‘I could’ not that I was going to…” he replied sarcastically, “But I could if I wanted to.”


“Ugh, don’t you have family to annoy?” I retorted.


“Actually yes I do, bye!” his footsteps faded down the corridor and I breathed out in relief. This morning had been strange indeed. Well it was afternoon but it counted as morning for me. I let the bath run for a few minutes, watching as all the bubbles foamed high before stripping my pyjamas, hiding them just in case, and climbing in. It was so warm and calming that I stayed there for a good 45 minutes, obviously washing my hair and body in that time, and got out, back into my pyjamas (I know, but I am not wearing that lingerie set!). I was utterly calm, that is, until I looked in the mirror as I was drying my hair with my wand.


“Oh… my… God! James! I’m going to kill him!” I hissed to myself, observing the small bruise-like marks, that are better known as hickeys or love-bites that trailed down my neck and onto my collarbone. Nothing I did with any make-up or random spells got rid of them and my anger just grew and grew, no wonder Ginny was staring at my neck. Marching out the bathroom, I slammed the door to make sure I meant business and stormed down the stairs almost bumping into Al.


“Woah! What’s got your knickers in a twist?” he asked, holding me at arms-length.


“Sorry Al, have you see James about?” I asked, trying to rein in my temper.


“Yeah, he should be on the beach I think, playing volleyball with Lily.” He released me as I stormed through the front door and down the stairs to the beach. However, my anger stopped momentarily as I watched James take a massive leap in the air, his arm stretching so that his muscles rippled all up his arm, and smacked the ball down hard against his opponents. A few girls were watching admirably and a little frisson of annoyance shivered down my spine so that the anger was back.


“James?!” I shouted, his face turned to see me with the same smirk he always wore.


“What is it, love?” he put his hands on my waist, making all the girls glare at me jealously.


“I am going to kill you right now… what the hell are these?” I hissed, narrowing my eyes and pulling my shirt down a little to reveal the marks.


“I believe they are hickeys.” He laughed.


“And why the hell do I have them on my neck?”


“Well, you see, just between me and you… I wanted to have a little fun by making you embarrassed in front of my parents and a tiny bit of payback,” he smirked wider, “But to everyone else, it’s sort of a mark of my territory.”


“I’m not a dog James.” I hit him on the arm as he chuckled into my neck, I was still annoyed at him but it kind of made sense a little. I hoped Lily and Ginny would get off my case now.


“At least I’m not pissing on you.” my anger disappeared as he said that and I started laughing, like really laughing, with James joining in a bit.


“Oh God, if you ever do that I will actually kill you!” I tried to threaten but it didn’t work as I was still smiling and laughing.


“Don’t worry, I’m not into that shit.” He looked down at me with a genuine smile. I decided to call it his Smile (with a capital ‘s’ and everything) because then I could distinguish which ones were which.


“Good,” I nodded my head as I realised I had marched onto the beach, with everyone there, in my pyjamas to have a go at him whilst he was in the middle of a game, “I’ll let you get back to your game.” I went to walk away but James kept hold of me.


“You could join in, if you want?” he asked.


“No, I might come and watch though.” I shrugged as he kissed me slightly and let me walk back into the villa. My drawer was open as I tried to decide which bikini I could wear, my green one was in the wash apparently, when Ginny walked in.


“Hey, Elle.” She greeted.


“Hello, how’re you?” I asked as she sat on the little chaise in the corner of the room.


“I’m good, you?” she replied. It unnerved me a little that she was just randomly sitting there and I continued to stare at my bikinis.


“Yeah, I’m good as well.” I answered awkwardly.


“What are you doing?”


“Erm… picking out a bikini to wear, I’m watching James play volleyball with Lily.”


“Oh right,” she paused, “Listen, not to make you cancel your plans or anything… you can say no, but would you mind if just the two of us were to go out to have lunch?”


“Oh, erm…” I couldn’t say no, could I? “Sure, let me get ready then.”


“Thanks, you didn’t have to agree.” She smiled at me, placing a hand on my back and leaving the room.


“Stupid Hufflepuff kindness.” I cursed myself, this was the reason I got into all this mess. Plus the fact James was paying for my Healer Programme if I did this. I shut the swimsuit drawer and picked up a bright orange maxi-skirt and a black tank top to wear with black sandals.


“You ready?” she asked when I had descended down the stairs, it had taken me longer because I had hidden my pyjamas so no-one could find them. She was wearing a short, black playsuit that had a few Aztec patterns in maroon, orange and white colours.


“I just need to tell James where I’m going.” I smiled and she agreed to wait for me in the kitchen. Again I made the descent onto the beach where James was still playing but this time, Lily had moved onto the other team. They had a little break to get some water and whatnot so I pulled James to the side.


“Don’t you look nice?” he complimented, “That’s a bit dressed up just for watching me play.” He chuckled.


“Thanks and shut up, your Mum’s taking me for lunch.” My nervous expression seemed to sober him up slightly.


“You’ll be fine. If you don’t know how to answer one question just move on, take a sip or a bite of something or pretend like you don’t wanna talk about it. You should be good.” He put his hands on either side of my face to reassure me.


“That’s so helpful James.” I said sarcastically, rolling my eyes.


“Don’t mention it.” He laughed again, pulling me in for a hug and going back to his game. I watched him for a few seconds then walked back into the kitchen where Ginny was waiting.


“He knows now.” I smiled at her shyly as we apparated to a secluded street. When I say secluded, I mean deserted, literally there was no-one around.


“There’s this lovely café that I used to go to with Harry when it was just me and him.” She explained, smiling at the thought and I suddenly found myself wishing I could find someone and have a relationship like Ginny and Harry.


“Do you not go there anymore?” I asked confused as she’d said ‘used to’.


“Occasionally, it depends whether the kids want to do something as a family, and usually they always do.” If someone else would have said it, it would have sounded really bitter but Ginny made it sound like that it was what she would prefer, having the whole family together.


“You must really care about family.” I said as more of a statement but she took it as a question.


“Oh, yes. I came from a family of nine; my Mum, Dad, Charlie, Bill, Percy, George, Fred, Ron and myself, all under one roof. It was kind of forced on me but I wouldn’t have it any other way, that’s why I wanted my kids to be close to their cousins and grandparents,” She explained, holding out an arm from me to link with so I did, “Plus, Harry’s parents died when he was very young so we don’t really have much family on his side and it helps him feel more included. That’s all I really want for him.” For the first time I got a glimpse of how much the Weasley’s and Potter’s actually really loved and cared for each other. It was yet another thing that separated me from his family.


“That’s lovely, Ginny, really.” I lightly squeezed her arm to show how happy I was for her but in the back of my mind, all I could think about was how messed up my family was.


“What about your family?” she held open the door for me and followed behind me. She went straight towards a certain table and I trailed behind just completely at a loss of what to say.


“My Mum, Kate, and Dad, Chris, an older sister called Charity and a younger sister, Norah.” I said as vaguely as possible.


“Did they all go to Hogwarts with you?” she beckoned over the waitress and ordered the house specialty, consulting me first.


“My Mum went to Hogwarts, she was in Hufflepuff. Charity’s 5 years older than me, was also in Hufflepuff but Norah, she was in Ravenclaw. Dad was a muggle policeman.” I said it like I was stating facts. I really hoped she wouldn’t probe any deeper.


“How did they meet then?” it was a question I could answer.


“Mum was in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and she worked with Dad on a serious case. They dated and stuff then Mum kind of gave up of her whole magical side when they got married, only telling Dad when Charity got her letter for Hogwarts,” I laughed at Mum recounting the tale to us, “Mum was always lovely, she kind of held us together. Making me come over for dinners every Sunday when I left Hogwarts and moved into my flat.”


“Your Mum sounds lovely.” She smiled and I gulped sadly, holding down the lump in my throat.


“She was.” I breathed quietly, averting my eyes to the table.


“Oh… I’m sorry, Elle.” She said like every other person says when they find out.


“It’s fine, it’s been four years.” I shrugged as nonchalantly as possible.


“Is that what your tattoo means?”


“Yeah, it has the date she, uh, you know, in the pocket watch.”


“That’s lovely. I would never get a tattoo, I’m too much of a wuss.” She laughed slightly and I joined in, showing her that I was grateful that she was steering the topic from my family.


“It was very painful. I decided to get it done the muggle way and because of that, it took 4 hours every day for 3 days.”


“Do you have any more tattoos?”


“Yeah I have another one just along the top of my ribs that has my two sisters’ names, so it’s near my heart.”


“Awww, you must love your sisters a lot.”


“I do, quite a lot. We were the closest anyone could get really.”


“Do you speak to them often?”


“Well, I live at Charity’s house now but I’m hopefully going to go shopping for an apartment or house with James soon. So I talk to her loads but Norah, not so much, it’s rather complicated.” I lied. Our food came and Ginny continued to question me but about Hogwarts.


“James tells me you weren’t on the Quidditch team back in Hogwarts?” How did he know that?


“No, I was terrible on a broom,” I laughed, “I remember my first flying lesson, it was absolute torture and it was so embarrassing.” I blushed a little.


“Did you do any extra-curricular stuff then?” I felt like I was being interviewed for a job.


“Erm… I joined the Muggle Music club because during the breaks, my Dad signed me up for piano lessons so I could still learn muggle things, you know?” I tried to recall the other things I did, “I did Advanced Potions, which was really fun. Uh, and Ancient Studies where we looked at ancient Egyptian spells. It was really interesting considering how nerdy it sounds.”


“It doesn’t sound nerdy,” she smiled and paused, “Don’t get me wrong, I liked Courtney, but I don’t think James actually really loved her.”


“What do you mean?” my eyebrows knitted together, “They were together for three years, weren’t they?”


“Yes, they were…” she paused, “But I could tell James wasn’t happy with her like he is with you,” cue the blush, “It wasn’t love, it was lust but James can’t see that. He thinks he was in love with her but he wasn’t.”


“Oh.” Was all I said.


“He’s much happier with you. Much happier than I’ve seen him in a long, long time.” She smiled ecstatically at me, finishing off her food.


“I don’t really know what to say…” I laughed nervously.


“You don’t have to say anything but I just want to say thank you,” she squeezed my hand thankfully, “So, any secrets you think I should know?” she arched her eyebrow at me and I blushed. I have so many secrets Ginny… but you don’t want to know them.


“Not that I can think of….” I lied, laughing nervously.


“That’s alright then. We can go back now, if you don’t have anything else to do whilst we’re here?” she asked, ordering the bill from the waiter.


“No, I don’t need to do anything else.” I smiled, standing up with her and apparating back to the house. We walked in silence and I immediately went back to the beach to see if James and Lily were still playing volleyball. Lily was but I couldn’t see James anywhere.


“Lily, where did James go?” I shouted to her as she made a good pass.


“He’s gone back into the villa, I think.” She replied loudly without looking at me because she was too distracted by the game. She had the Potter competitive streak that I had heard about in Hogwarts. It was the reason Gryffindor had won the House Cup so many times under James and Lily’s captaincy. Albus didn’t join the Slytherin Quidditch team.


“Okay, thanks!” I turned around and headed back where I had come from, noticing that most of the girls that had been admiring James earlier were gone. Harry was just coming down the stairs when I walked back in, “Have you seen James anywhere?”


“I’m in here!” a voice called from the door next to Lily’s room.


“Never mind.” I smiled at him and pushed open the door. James was sat on a couch, his legs crossed under him, reading a book.


“Hey, how’d it go?” he closed the book but not before he’d dog-eared the page.


“I didn’t know you read books.” I looked at him in surprise. He raised his eyebrows at me.


“Just because I’m absurdly handsome and brilliant at Quidditch doesn’t mean I can’t be smart.” He smirked smugly, pulling me down onto the couch next to him and I rolled my eyes.


“And so modest too.”


“Exactly!” he laughed, “So, you didn’t answer my question…?”


“Oh, she just told me about your family, asked about mine and what I did in Hogwarts.” I explained.


“I told her to go lightly on you.” he rolled his eyes affectionately.


“You knew she was going to do this?” I hit him on his stomach. His very toned stomach.


“Well, yes,” He looked sheepish, “But I didn’t want to tell you because you’d freak out and I didn’t want the answers to seem fake.”


“She talked about yours and Courtney’s relationship too,” I blushed at this, “And compared it to our ‘relationship’.” I air-quoted.


“Oh…” he mumbled before picking up his book again and reading in quiet. I studied his face, the concentration he was expressing as he read each word, his hazel eyes darting back and forth and I realised… I really didn’t know anything about James. What his favourite colour was, what his favourite song is, when his birthday was, who his first friend was, what subject did he like most at Hogwarts. It was weird that we’d been here for three days already and I hadn’t bothered to ask him any of these things. What if someone asked? How was I supposed to answer if I didn’t know?


“Are you done watching me read?” his voice snapped me out of my thoughts as I saw that he had caught me studying his face.


“Sorry, I was thinking… didn’t realise I was staring at you.” I lied, shrugging and standing up to go and do something else.


“You don’t have to leave…” I sat back down slowly, “Read with me.” He chucked a leather bound book at me, titled ‘Pride and Prejudice’.


“I didn’t know you liked these sort of books… aren’t they like really old?”


“Yes they are old, but they’re good.” He rolled his eyes but continued reading his book.


“Okay then.” I decided to give it a try.

 

‘To Mr Darcy it was welcome intelligence – Elizabeth had been at Netherfield long enough. She attracted him more than he liked – and Ms Bingley was uncivil to her, and more teasing than usual to himself.’

 

“It’s nearly dinner… do you want to eat in here or go to the dining room?” James pulled my gaze away from the enthralling relationship of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth.


“Let’s eat in the dining room.” I bookmarked my page, setting it back in the shelf and vowing to come back tomorrow and read it, we headed into the kitchen where Ginny was working at the stove.


“Do you want any help Mum?” James asked. I would have offered help but judging by the fact I can’t cook, yeaaaah… not a good idea.


“Thanks James, just chop those up for me and put them in a pan and it should be ready in a few minutes.” She pointed to some mushrooms on the chopping board whilst she slaved over a big pot on the stove.


“What are we having?” Lily asked, sliding in next to me at the big table.


“Chicken stir-fry.” Ginny replied with her back to us. James placed down the plates for everyone and we all tucked in. It was absolutely gorgeous!


“Thank you Ginny and James, this tastes amazing.” I thanked them followed by a chorus of appreciative murmurs from everyone else.


“It’s no problem.” Ginny smiled kindly at me. I felt a lot closer to her as a result of this afternoon so hopefully when this whole engagement thing was over, we could still chat occasionally. Just as everyone was finished eating, an owl swooped into the kitchen dropping a large, heavy-looking letter directly in front of me.


“Who’s it off?” James asked, his arm draped on the back of my chair as he leaned back casually.


“My sister.” I could recognise the messy scrawled writing anywhere.


“Aren’t you going to open it?” James asked again because I was just staring at it blankly.


“Yeah, later though. I want to finish reading that book.” I smiled up at him to see him lightly laugh at me.


“Oh Merlin, I’ve lost my fiancée to the library.” He joked.


“It’s your own fault James.” Harry looked at his son with a knowing smile.


“Haha, you’re so funny Dad.”


“I’m lost?” I stared between the two.


“Why don’t you buy a map?” Al teased so I stuck my tongue out at him, he reciprocated.


“Make sure you all get a good night’s sleep tonight, we have a busy day tomorrow.” Ginny ordered all of us.


“Why? What’re we doing?” I inquired.


“We’re going to a water park, it’s about half an hour’s travel from here. Don’t worry, we’ll be apparating.” She smiled at me reassuringly when my eyes widened at the prospect of getting into a car.


“Oh, okay.” I got up, excusing myself, and headed back into the library. Pride and Prejudice was exactly where I had left it so I opened it where I had bookmarked it. James came sauntering in, grabbed his book and sat down on the same couch we were sat on before. I sat with my back against his arm and bent my knees so I could lean the open book against my thighs. James’ arm, that I was leaning on, wrapped around my neck so that I could rest my chin on it as we both read in silence.

 

‘Elizabeth had scarcely time to disclaim all right to the compliment, before their approach was announced by the door-bell, and shortly afterwards the three gentlemen entered the room.’

 

“Go to bed, Elle. I can tell you’re stifling another yawn, I can feel it on my arm.” James said after the 7th time of trying to hide it. I was almost at the end of the book and I was determined to finish it before tomorrow.


“No, I need to finish it.” I yawned again.


“Do you want me to carry you to bed over my shoulder?” he threatened so I sighed exasperatedly, bookmarked my new position and put it back on the shelf.


“Fine but only because I don’t like to be manhandled.” I walked up the stairs with James and into the bedroom.


“Back in a minute.” I rushed into the bathroom, retrieving my hidden pyjamas from inside a fake flower pot, and getting changed. James’ face was a little disappointed when I came back in but he quickly hid it. He should know that I’d never wear those things ever.


“Night.” He said as he flipped off the light switch and climbed into the other side of the bed.


“Night,” I replied, rolling away so my back was facing him. I lay in the silence for who knows how long before the fact that I didn’t know James started to bug me, “James? You asleep?” I hissed to the dark room.


“I was.” I heard his muffled reply.


“Sorry, it doesn’t matter.”


He sighed, “No, what is it?” he turned his face to me because he was lying on his front.


“What’s your favourite colour?” I rolled onto my other side so I could see his face.


“What?”


“What’s your favourite colour?” I repeated.


“You really woke me up to ask me what my favourite colour was?” I could hear the sarcasm and disbelief oozing from his voice.


“Well, I just thought… back in the library, I don’t really know you,” I tried to justify it but it was coming out wrong, “Because what if someone asks and I can’t answer, it would be a bit suspicious,” I paused, realising how ridiculous it was, “It doesn’t matter.” I turned onto my back and closed my eyes, waiting for him to fall asleep. It was silent for a few minutes until he finally spoke,


“It’s blue.”


“What?” my eyes snapped open and turned to his face, still staring at me.


“My favourite colour. It’s blue.”


“Oh right… why?” his eyes were completely black in the darkness of the room, except when they moved slightly and I could see that they were still brown.


“I dunno… it just is.” He shrugged, “You?”


“It’s green… but not a disgusting green, like the kind of colour of moss in a forest.” I answered.


“Why?”


“The house I grew up in was near a park. It was a pretty grime-y one, the kind where mould, rust and moss grew on everything. I just really liked the colour of the moss and since then it’s been my favourite colour.” I rambled.


“That’s cool.”


“What was your favourite subject at Hogwarts?”


“Herbology.” My eyebrows shot up at this.


“Really? I would have thought it was Defence.”


“Everyone thinks that. I think it’s because my Dad was really good at it and defeated Voldemort and what have you, that they automatically think that I’m going to be a natural at it.” He explained.


“Oh right… that makes sense.”


“What was yours?”


“Potions.”


“Now see, that was my least favourite lesson.”


“Why? I think it was brilliant! Just the way you can create different things, it’s amazing.”


“I just never had the knack for it I guess, Dad didn’t either.”


“How did you know I wasn’t on the Quidditch team?” it had been bugging me since Ginny had asked.


“Well considering I played Quidditch, I took it upon myself to know who played for the opposing teams… and your name never came up,” he shrugged, “Granted I didn’t learn anyone else’s names, especially if I didn’t speak to them.”


“Yeah…” we lapsed into silence again, “James…?”


“I’ve not gone to sleep.” The bed vibrated from his quiet laugh.


“Oh, okay,” I paused, “Who was your first friend at Hogwarts? Besides family.”


“Joe Blacklidge. He was a really good mate of mine…” his jaws clenched hard and his hands were balled up into fists so I took this as the time to distract him.


“This is going to sound really sad but my first friend at Hogwarts was my sister, Charity. Even though she was in sixth year when I started, I still hung round with her,” I explained, feeling the need to talk to someone about this, “I didn’t have a lot of friends there. Sure I knew some people and said ‘hi’ occasionally but not enough to go round to theirs for sleepovers and stuff. My sisters were completely different, they made tons of friends straight away. I was always a little jealous of them at first but it got better after I met Molly,” I paused, “There was this one girl in my dorm though and she was vile. Her name was Valerie Parker and she always tried to out-do me with anything I ever did.”


“Hang on, you said ‘sisters’ I thought you only had one sister?” James propped himself up on his elbows to look down at me as I’d taken to staring at the ceiling.


I blushed, “Yeah, she’s called Norah. I just never thought it was important to tell you about her.”


“How old is she?”


“She’s 22.”


“How come you haven’t mentioned her before?”


My jaw clenched tightly, “I don’t speak to her anymore. In fact I haven’t for four years.”


“But she’s your sister.”


“It’s complicated.” I turned away from him again but he placed his hand on my arm, rolling me back to face him.


“Hey, you don’t have to explain to me if you don’t want to.” He smiled reassuringly at me.


“Thanks James.”

 


Chapter 7: It's A Hogwarts Reunion... Apparently
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: This was quite a fun chapter to write, especially the banter between all of them and the moments between James/Elle ;) And we learn a bit more about Elle's past and get introduced to yet another two important characters that are also fun to write :) Right, I'm gonna let you get on with the rest of the story now... yeah, bye.





Disclaimer: Everything you recognise does not belong to me. The wonderful world of Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling. And the extract is from Pride and Prejudice again, which belongs to Jane Austen and the publishers Whitehall and T. Egerton, in Chapter 61.






beautiful chapter image by clowder@TDA!


“Are you alright? Do you want me to get James?” – Harry Potter




 

James’ arm was draped over me again when I woke up, but this time it wasn’t suffocating me. It was lay very cautiously over my waist with his fingers squished against the sheets. I was facing him but he was laid on his front, his head facing the wall so I was staring at a mop of raven black hair.


“James…?” I whispered, nudging him a little when my eyes had opened slightly. He grunted so I knew he was waking up, “It’s time to wake up, we’re going to the water park today.”


“Cool. Sleep.” He mumbled, still not moving.


“Well, I’d rather like to move so if you could kindly remove your arm from my waist.” He seemed to realise this but used his arm to pull me closer to him.


“No. Now go back to sleep.” He stared at me sleepily.


“James, get up or I will knee you again!” I warned, lifting his arm so I could sit up, dropping it onto my thighs instead.


“Fine! Fine, but if I’m grumpy for the rest of the day… I’m blaming you.” he hissed, rolling out and trudging out the room with me into the closet.


“What are you wearing?”


“Swimming trunks, obviously.” He rolled his eyes.


“You can’t wear that around normally. I mean, what are you wearing over it until we get there?” I rolled my eyes back.


“A shirt.”


“No shit Sherlock.” I said sarcastically, pulling out the red bikini that had tassels on it, a pair of denim shorts and a tank top.


“Who?” his eyebrows squished together in confusion.


“A detective…” I looked at him in surprise, “Oh, it’s a muggle detective from a book. I’m surprised you haven’t read them.”


“Right.” Was all he said, pulling on his trunks and a shirt before leaving me to get changed.


“You all set for today? You only need a towel, underwear and a brush probably,” Ginny said from the table, “Oh and your wand.”


“Can you make me some pancakes please?” James pouted adorably, sliding into his seat.


“Fine, blueberry and chocolate again?” I rolled my eyes, walking over to the stove and getting all the stuff I needed out.


“Yes please!” he said happily, looking like a small excitable child. I tried to make them as quickly as possible, whilst making some for me too, placed them in front of James and watched him devour all four pancakes in quick succession.


“I’m surprised you haven’t had a heart attack yet.” I laughed, cutting each piece up carefully.


“It’s ‘cause I play Quidditch so I burn it all off.” He puffed his chest out and pounded on it like an ape.


“Lucky for some,” I mumbled bitterly, picking up my fork and digging in. James tried to nick some of my food but I smacked his hand away each time, “Fine, you can finish them.” I pushed the plate towards him that had a few pieces left. He clapped his hands, smiling widely at me then shoved each piece in his mouth and swallowed them whole.


“Love you!” he beamed gleefully.


“I can’t believe I love you too.” Just think of it like you’re saying it to a friend, don’t think about how weird it is.


“Shut up, you find my manly eating sexy.”


“Not really.” I scrunched my face up in disgust to prove a point.


“Go and get packed you two, we’ll be leaving soon,” Ginny interrupted our banter, “Oh and Elle, dear, could you wake up Lily and James, do the same with Albus please?” she smiled at both of us.


“Sure, I don’t mind.” I smiled back but James slammed his head onto the table.


“Why do I get stuck with the worst person to wake up in the morning?”


“He’s your brother, James!” she scolded.


“I’m going to be bruised for weeks! The last time I had to wake him up, I had a black eye for a month! Not to mention internal bleeding!” he protested.


“You did pour freezing cold water on him James. And then proceeded to scream in his ear.” Ginny said with an amused smile on her face.


“Yeah… well, he deserved it. Lazy bastard.” He mumbled to himself but Ginny heard.


“Language, James! You’re still not too old for a smack!” she yelled after a fast retreating James.


“I’ll just go and wake up Lily now.” I quickly left the kitchen to avoid her wrath and knocked on Lily’s door so she’d have pre-warning. However, when I opened it, she was still fast asleep and cocooned in her duvet. How I’ll never know because it was boiling hot, “Lily? You need to wake up, we’re going to the water park today.” She rolled over to see who it was when I sat on the edge of her bed.


“Okay.” She mumbled into her pillow, pushing herself up after a few minutes and I had to laugh. Her hair was all over the place, sticking up randomly and completely messy.


“Love the bed hair, Lily.” I teased and she stuck her tongue out at me sleepily.


“Shut up.” She mumbled again but pulled the duvet away from her body so she could start getting ready. I took that as my cue to leave and get a bag packed for today. It took me only five minutes so I headed back into the kitchen, Ginny had left to wake up Harry obviously, so I was left in the kitchen alone. I remembered the letter that I received from my sister last night so I quickly retrieved it from my room and sat down on a bar stool, opening it cautiously.

‘Elle,
I thought I might write you instead of ringing because I didn’t want to interrupt anything. I seriously think you should tell James and the rest of the Potter’s now, the magazines are getting worse Elle. They’re really trying to dig in our past and I’m sure they’ll find out everything eventually and it won’t be pretty if they find out the same way I found out about you and James. Please, Elle, I’m begging you. Tell them. I attached one of the nicer magazines so you could read it for yourself.
Anyway, I didn’t just want to warn you. I was going to ask you how your holidays were going? Hope you’re having fun but be careful, I’m sure you don’t want to be preggers as you’re walking up the aisle.
Love you lots,
Charity xo’


I pulled out the bulky magazine from under the letter, checking around me to see if anyone was coming in before I looked at it properly. On the front was my name in gigantic bold print ‘ELLE UNDERWOOD: WHO IS SHE?’ with a big picture of me quite recently on holiday. It was when we were walking through the Church of Santiago. Oh God, the paparazzi had followed us here… great. I opened it quickly, checking again, to the page where it revealed a massive column about me.

 

ELLE UNDERWOOD: WHO IS SHE?
Find out more below.


Now I am sure we were all shocked when it turned out that resident hottie, James Potter, was in fact engaged to a girlfriend that he had not only managed to keep a secret from us, but from his whole family. Sources close to the family say that they knew he was involved in a serious relationship but did not know who exactly the girl was. Seems a bit suspicious, doesn’t it?
Eventually, it was announced, after an accidental sighting of the pair going into a ring shop, that his new fiancée was in fact, Elle Underwood. A 22, nearly 23, year old waitress in a muggle café. The pair had apparently been dating for two years secretly under the radar and only now have decided to reveal themselves, why now? James’ past girlfriend, Courtney Simpson, spoke to a reporter today after being spotted with the pair quite recently in the South of Spain, where it is rumoured they are staying.
“Elle seemed absolutely wonderful when we met,” she told us, “But there seemed something a little off with her… like she wasn’t really enjoying being there with James. Being with him for three years, I felt a little upset to see someone be like this with him because I know how lovely James really is.”
It seems like our suspicions of Elle using James for his prestige are becoming slightly less suspicious and more of a reality. So, we dug a little deeper into her background and didn’t find much… it was a great mystery to us and it seemed like the Underwood’s did not want to tell a lot about their past. So, what are they hiding? A close of friend of Elle’s back in Hogwarts, Valerie Parker, gave us a little insight into the rough upbringing of Elle.
“She wasn’t very rich growing up and often struggled being able to pay things when we went to Hogsmeade. I always offered to pay for things for her but she’d play it off like she didn’t need it and refused to let me buy it for her. When I did, she was utterly happy to get these little presents,” she told us, “But she was one of my best friends and she told me everything, we were very close. Just before her twentiethth birthday, she turned up at my apartment in Glasgow a complete wreck. She started crying about how low she’d gotten since she’d left Hogwarts.”
Valerie refused to give any more information so we did a little further digging and found out that after Elle had left Hogwarts, with a promising future in becoming a Healer, she struggled with being by herself. Not taking help from any of her family. She was arrested twice for possession of Class A drugs, charged with misconduct in public on numerous occasions and worked at a local strip club, Dolls Kill, as an exotic dancer in Glasgow. It seems that Elle really didn’t handle life well and when the chance arose to marry someone with a lot of money and a good reputation, she took it.
What do you think? Mail us your thoughts on the ‘happy’ couple!


 

Jeez, if that was one of the nicer magazines… I didn’t want to know what the other’s said. But I couldn’t think about that right now, they’d managed to extract my skeletons from my closet and show them off to the world. No doubt that the rest of the Weasley clan had seen it by now and were quickly changing their minds on me. They were all probably going to hate me. There was no point in me even trying to justify my actions because, yeah, all that did happen and I know it’s bad looking back at it now… but back then, like Valerie said, I was really low. It was the worst I’d been in my whole life. Then the blood drained from my face, I was going to have to tell all of them.

And soon if I wanted them to know before they read about it. Especially James. My eyes kept reading and re-reading it and tears sprung in my eyes a little. Even though it was true that I was using James for money, it still hurt to hear it and the fact Courtney and Valerie had said that about me, painting me in a bad light for the whole wizard public, just made me feel worse. I didn’t want to go to the water park where everyone would look at me, silently judging me for being here. I already felt like people were staring at me now.


“What’ve you got there?” Harry walked in and I quickly rolled up the letter and magazine, sliding it back in the envelope and wiping away my tears swiftly.


“It’s nothing.” I sniffled slightly, cursing myself for sounding upset.


“Are you alright? Do you want me to get James?” he placed a consoling hand on my shoulder, looking at me with those bright green eyes.


“No!” I said loudly and too suspiciously fast, “No, I’m just missing my sister a bit. It’s just home-sickness.”


“Okay, you sure?” he raised his eyebrow ever so slightly.


“Yeah, I’ll be right as rain!” I plastered a fake-smile on my face, leaping off my chair, “I just need to put this in my room.” I motioned to the letter and exited, nearly bounding up the stairs and hiding it under all the fancy underwear in the drawer. When I checked myself in the mirror, I splashed my face with cold water to get rid of a little redness round my eyes and made my way back into the kitchen. Lily, Harry and Ginny were all sat around the dining table. Lily and Harry were eating whilst Ginny was hurriedly packing stuff into a big duffel bag.


“Dear Merlin, where are those two boys?” she huffed irritably, “I sent him to wake up Albus ten minutes ago and no sign of them.” She seemed to be muttering to herself.


“They’ll be down in a minute sweetheart, don’t worry.” Harry wrapped an arm around her waist, placing a gentle kiss on her cheek. Suddenly there was a loud crash, a shriek and a deafening alarm going off from the general direction of Al’s room.


“That’ll be them now.” Lily laughed. Soon enough James came waltzing in the room looking quite pleased with himself, placed a kiss on my temple and sat lazily on a bar stool.


“What did you do?” Harry raised an eyebrow at his son.


“I may or may not have conjured a metal bin to smack him on the head, followed by a Caterwauling Charm when his feet touched the floor.” He giggled to himself. Yes, James Potter actually giggled.


“Al is going to kill you when he figures out how to turn that off.” Lily laughed with him but both were shut up by Ginny’s deadly glare.


“Yes, he will. And this time, I will not stop him.” She hissed at James, who paled a little.


“JAMES?! I’M GOING TO KILL YOU SLOWLY AND PAINFULLY!” Al’s murderous voice thundered down the stairs as the alarm quietened.


“And that is my cue to leave.” James made to run onto the beach to escape his baby brother but Ginny stepped in his way, blocking his only exit. I could see Al marching towards the archway with a furious expression on his face, a large red welt was swelling slightly too.


“Awww, Mum! That’s not fair!” James had just enough time to moan before they initiated a cat and mouse chase around the table. Al managed to catch up with him and put him in a headlock, soon though, they were both full out brawling on the floor.


“Could I please have my fiancé back in one piece and able to move when you’re done? Thanks.” I shouted casually over the noise, causing Lily, Harry and Ginny to laugh at me. Then I felt like everyone was watching me, judging me for what was written in that magazine. Although I knew they couldn’t see it or know about it, it still felt like they were all reading it out loud in front of me.


“Okay, boys! Break it up, Albus sit down and have some breakfast.” Harry commanded quietly, barely loud enough to hear over the fight and it was as if someone had set an alarm off because James and Al immediately got off each other and sat down in their seats.


“You okay?” I stepped towards James, standing next to him and using his hands to move his face towards me.


“Yeah, I’m perfectly alright. I can handle my fights, love.” He scoffed but didn’t move his head.


“Okay then, if you’re sure. I was going to heal it for you if you were injured but… that’s okay.” I said innocently and went to move away but James’ arm caught me.


“Now that you mention it, Al did punch me on the face a few times.” He stuck out his bottom lip for pity.


“Aww poor baby.” I cooed in a baby voice, kissing his lips a little and stepping away, not healing him.


“Hey! Aren’t you gonna heal it?” he pouted.


“Nope.” I smiled, eliciting a victorious ‘HA!’ from Al.


“Why?” he whined childishly.


“Because, James, you woke up Al meanly and if he’s stuck with that massive welt on his head, you’re stuck with those bruises.” I explained, laughing a little more to show I wasn’t serious.


“You’re so mean to me. You’re siding with my family over your own fiancé.” He crossed his arms in a huff and I laughed again.


“Okay, guys… are we all ready to leave?” Ginny announced loudly before I could retort.


“Yep.” I popped the ‘p’ on the end and picked up my small tote bag so that I was ready.


“I’ll just shove my stuff in your bag.” James smiled, doing just that which meant my bag was heavy and over-loaded.


“Fine, but you can carry it.” I chucked it at him. He caught it, scoffing at me and put it over his shoulder sarcastically.


“Nice purse.” Al teased as he walked back out to get ready.


“Shut it Al, it makes me look fabulous!” James exaggerated, pulling a really sassy, girl pose and pretending to flip his imaginary hair over his shoulder. I burst out into loud, hysterical laughter with James joining soon after.


“Oh God, never do that again!” I wiped away the tears from the corner of my eyes.


“Agreed.” Harry smiled with an amused sparkle in his green eyes.


“Albus! Hurry up and get down here, you’re the last one again!” Ginny hollered up the stairs to which Al came sprinting down in a pair of black trunks with a red line running along the bottom of one leg and a plain grey shirt. A car pulled up outside and Ginny ushered everyone in.


“Mum, can I not apparate with you and Elle?” James looked at me concernedly.


“No, she’ll be fine with me James. I’ll take care of her.” She replied kindly. James beckoned me forwards and I did so hesitantly because he was standing near a car.


“Be careful.” He warned me sincerely and I could see he was genuinely worried.


“I’ll be alright James, see you in half an hour.” I smiled at him a bit to reassure him. He pulled me into a suffocating hug, kissing the top of my head before climbing in said car and I watched with Ginny as the car disappeared down the drive.


“Right, we have half an hour to kill…” Ginny clapped her hands together and walked with me back into the villa.


“Why couldn’t they all apparate with us?” I asked, it had been bugging me since the last time I freaked out when I was near a car.


“It would look too suspicious if six people just randomly came out of an alleyway just a few minutes from the waterpark so we’d have to do it in small numbers but that’s too much trouble… so we usually get a car.” She explained, sitting with me in the library. I was sorely tempted to get Pride and Prejudice out and finish reading it finally.


“Sorry, I didn’t realise I was such hassle.” I blushed feeling overwhelmingly guilty for everything.


“It’s no worry at all, and just between you and me,” she leaned forward conspiratorially, “I rather hate travelling by cars anyway. Too slow for me.” She winked and smirked at me. I could see where James gets it from. Her eyes were exactly the same shade as his, maybe a little lighter but the only times I’d seen the colour of his eyes were because he wasn’t looking at me, was angry or was turned on.


“So, what do we do for half an hour?” I stared around the open room.


“Whatever you want, I’m going to quickly do the washing. Have anything you want me to wash?” she stood up, waiting for me to answer.


“Actually, would you be able to wash my pyjamas for me? They’re hidden in the flower pot in the bathroom. Don’t ask.” I mumbled embarrassingly, my cheeks coloured with the ever-permanent reddish-pink tint.


“Yeah sure.” She left the room and I could finally get my book off the shelf without feeling rude for ignoring Ginny.

 

‘With the Gardiners they were always on the most intimate terms. Darcy, as well as Elizabeth, really loved them; and they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them.’

 

“It’s almost time to go, you ready to apparate?” Ginny’s head popped round the door frame as I had just closed the book, finally finished it.


“Yeah, we going now?” I stood up, placing the book back on the shelf and leaving the room.


“It’s a few minutes’ walk down to the entrance so we’ll need to go a bit early.” She nodded her head in reply as I grabbed her arm and apparated. After apparating for nearly 5 years, you can't get used to the nauseating feeling that comes with it. We exited the alleyway, still trying to not lose each other.


“It’s just down there.” Ginny pointed once I’d dropped my arm, walking down a busy street filled with families and little kids pulling their parents excitedly.

It kind of reminded me of Ruari and Gabby, and then I started thinking about how much I missed the little blighters. The entrance read something in Spanish, with cartoon water splashes so basically a stereotypical water park logo. Ginny and I watched from the entrance as the car pulled up into the parking lot, the rest of the Potter’s climbing out. James looked a little fidgety but as he saw me standing there, he smiled in relief and all but ran forwards, engulfing me in a bear-hug.


“It’s okay James, I’m perfectly alright.” I laughed at his uneasiness.


“Sorry, I couldn’t forget your face on the first day. It’s permanently etched into my mind, it’s a bit worrying actually.” he laughed, releasing me and holding my hand.


“Sorry about that. I’ll explain eventually.” I mumbled quietly to the floor, making sure no-one overheard, knowing it was utter bullshit. I was never going to tell him. We were only doing this for a month so I was never going to see him after this and therefore, I did not need him knowing anything about my family.


“Like I said last night, you don’t need to tell me if you don’t want to Elle.” He gave me the Smile soothingly down at me and I genuinely smiled back at how nice James was being about this. It was making this harder to tell him about the magazine article.


“Here are your tickets, just slide them in and it should let you enter. Our lockers are to the right, cordoned off and I already put some protective spells on them so no-one can get in them.” Harry walked up to us, handing both of us a bright orange ticket and a key on a bracelet.


“Thanks.” I took mine off him, strapping the bracelet around my ankle so it wouldn’t come off and headed into the entrance, following Lily, who was practically bouncing in excitement. We slid our tickets into a fancy machine, it came out the other side with a hole-punch in it and I walked through the turnstiles waiting for James to come through and then headed to our locker. James just pulled his shirt over his head as I slowly and nervously pulled off my shirt, shorts and sandals, letting my hair hang loose because it was going to get wet anyway.


“What do you want to do first? Slides, swim or chill?” he swung his hands a little nervously.


“I dunno, it’s up to you.” I noticed we seemed a little awkward around each other now since last night and this morning.


“Elle! You have to try this one slide with me! It’s supposed to be really good!” Lily came bounding up and grabbed my arm, pulling me towards a gigantic water slide.


“I guess that’s decided for me then.” I laughed, James following just a little behind us. We passed Ginny and Harry, who were sat under a large umbrella at a table, both with a glass of coke.


“You have to come down with me!” Lily said excitedly.


“Okay.” I smiled, caught up in Lily’s happy mood.


“Wait, you’re not scared of heights are you?” she stopped.


“No, I’m fine with heights.” I laughed at her expression and she carried on forwards.


“James, you can go with Al. He’s already there.” She explained but James stayed wordless behind me still.


“So… what happens on this slide?” I was a little apprehensive.


“We go down in the little doughnut ring things, but together, and there’s loads of twists and hills and stuff. Apparently.”


“Oh right, okay.”


“I thought you said that you weren’t scared of heights?” James arched his eyebrow when I turned around.


“I’m not.” I stuck my tongue out at him to which he reciprocated. We joined Al in the line, standing together in a cluster whilst the line slowly shuffled forward. Sometime between joining the line and us moving up the steps towards the top of the slide, James’ arms had wound round my waist, his chin resting on my shoulder and his mouth planting occasional light kisses on it.


“I finished Pride and Prejudice.” I said just to cut through the quietness. Both of James’ eyebrows shot up and he shifted so he was stood next to me on the step instead of the one behind me.


“How was it? Any good?” he asked.


“It was really good actually, I think I might start another book tonight.” I murmured to myself before remembering that I needed to tell James about that stuff that was written in the magazine article. Tonight.


“Don’t tell me what happens. I want to read it next.” He planted yet another gentle kiss on my shoulder blade.


“Okay.”


“Are you nervous?” he looked down at me concernedly, “Want me to come down with you?”


“No, I’ll be fine, James. You need to stop being so worried about me all the time.” I laughed lightly.


“I just don’t want to see you not smiling.” He gave me the Smile again, I blushed and stayed quiet. We had reached the top and myself and Lily were the next people to go down.


“See you at the bottom.” I sat in the little ring behind Lily and the operator guy pushed us down when the light turned green. We went down a huge hill, into a dark enclosed tunnel which suddenly shot down and round a sharp corner. Both Lily and I were screaming in delight and fear as we were still encased in pitch black, the ring cutting fast around sharp corners and down hills. Finally there was a light and the ring shot out into a large pool, flinging Lily and I into the water. I broke the surface with a massive grin on my face, brushing my, now, wet hair out of my face.


“That was so much fun!” I shouted happily, pulling the ring away from entrance and pushing it towards the guy stood at the side so he could make sure it went back up to the top again.


“See! It’s so much fun when you can’t see where you’re going!” she copied my actions and we waded in the pool for a few minutes as the next rings came down carrying James and Al. They were both flung out, much like we were, and broke the surface laughing.


“Have fun?” I smirked when James’ black hair was stuck all over his face and sticking out hilariously.


“I’m going on that again but next time, you’re coming with me.” He smirked evilly and launched himself towards me in the water. When he reached me, I dunked his head under the water and he came back to the surface, splashing me. This led to a fully-fledged splashing war between myself, James, Al and Lily before the lifeguard came over and told us off politely.


“What next?” Lily looked at us as the lifeguard walked off.


“I wanna go on that again!” I exclaimed, swimming to the edge of the pool fast and re-joining the line with James, Al and Lily behind me.


“Coming down with me this time?” James asked.


“Uh huh.” I smiled in response, moving up another step. It was a good thing it was hot and we were in the South of Spain because I’m pretty sure I would be freezing.


“I won’t be here tomorrow just so you know. I have to go back to England for training because we have a game on Saturday.” He said, piercing the silence.


“This Saturday coming up?”


“Yeah.”


“Are we coming to watch the game?” I turned my head ever so slightly so I could see his face.


“Of course you are, why wouldn’t you?” he rolled his eyes at me.


“I dunno… just wondering,” I replied, “What time will you be home tomorrow?”


“Around tea time, practice is all day.”


“Okay, I’ll probably read or something.”


“Or… you could come and explore with me!” Al piped up, his face exploded into a massive grin, “There’s a few forests round here that we could walk through?”


“Yeah, sure! That sounds fun!” I smiled back, “That’s my day sorted then.”


“Just try not to have too much fun without me.” James pouted so I kissed him on the corner on his mouth. He, playfully, pointed to the other side so I obliged, then he pointed to the centre of his lips.


“Greedy guts.” I teased but kissed him anyway.


“I’m so excited for tomorrow! I’ve not been exploring in ages… when was the last time we went James?” Al turned to his brother from in front of us.


“Oh, maybe two or three years ago,” He smiled at the memory, “Oh no it wasn’t, it was during the summer holidays between fifth and sixth year.” He corrected himself.


“Was that the one where James thought he saw a lion and screamed like a little girl?” Lily laughed.


“Yeah, then he realised that there aren’t any lions in the South of Spain and sulked all the way home.” Al joined in the laughter but James was pouting from beside me which made me laugh because I could just imagine it.


“I seriously thought it was a lion guys, don’t laugh.” He pursed his lips sulkily.


“It’s okay James, everyone makes that mistake.” I tried to say seriously but ended up laughing again.


“You’re so mean to me,” He whined, squeezing my sides making me squawk, “HA! Now you look ridiculous!”


“You’re an idiot.” I rolled my eyes.


“But I’m your idiot.” He smirked, kissing my shoulder again.


“Unfortunately.” I said under my breath but he heard.


“Hey!” he was interrupted by Lily and Al getting called forward to go on the slide. They waited for a few seconds for the light to go green and were sent down, all we could hear was Lily’s screaming. We were called a few minutes later, James let me sit in the front this time and I screamed even louder because it felt like I was by myself, even though I knew James was sat behind me. Once again, we were flung into the large pool where Lily and Al were awaiting us to arrive. When I broke the surface, Al was laughing his head off at something as James pushed the ring to the guy at the side and I brushed my hair away from my face again.


“What are you laughing at?” James cocked his eyebrow at Al, who was still laughing.


“A water slide can make your fiancée scream louder than you can!” he coughed through his laughter. My face coloured almost straight away, Lily and James laughed but he got Al into another headlock.


“Haha, very funny Al.” he said sarcastically, dunking his head under the water playfully.


“Can we go on the Lazy River? Just to chill after that?” I asked, pointing to a little alcove over on the other side of the park where I could see a few people on small rings being moved around by a slow current.


“Sure, I’ll grab us a few rings.” James quickly swam to the side, climbed out and headed to a short queue where they were giving out rings. Lily and Al didn’t want to join us and went off to go on a few more slides. I decided to just wade a little in the water until I saw that James was at the front of the queue. Suddenly, a huge force knocked into the side of me, sending me under the water for a few seconds before I came back up with angry expression, ready to yell at the idiotic person who decided to ram into me. However, my anger was completely wiped off my face when I saw who it was. Was this a fucking reunion?!


“Holy shit! Travis Glover?!” I stared at the dark-haired guy, with a five o’clock shadow across his face, in front of me.


“Elle! Oh my God!” his mouth hung open in pure, unadulterated shock.


“What the fuck are you doing here?” I whispered, not really sure why. We were still stood in the deep end of the pool, probably looking like right weirdo’s because we were just staring at each other, not moving an inch.


“I’m on holiday with my girlfriend… what are you doing here?” he whispered back.


“On holiday with my fiancé.” I answered. Travis was in Hufflepuff with me and Molly back in Hogwarts, in the year above and I had the world’s insanest crush on him in fifth and sixth year. I never ended up doing anything about it though, I decided we were too good as friends for me to spoil anything so he had no idea. Thankfully, the crush had dwindled over the years because we hadn’t kept in contact since he left after seventh year so it was a shock that he could’ve been here. Of all places!


“Who’s your fiancé?” he raised his eyebrows. Obviously he’d been here for a while and hadn’t read anything that had been happening back home.


“James Potter.” I answered, crossing my arms self-consciously. However, this was a bad idea because Travis got a great view of my boobs which were pushed together slightly. I watched as his eyes quickly snapped back to my face and I refrained from rolling my eyes.


“As in the James Potter… Harry Potter’s son?” he scoffed.


“Yes, why?” I was starting to become a little bit offended.


“I just can’t believe it… I didn’t even know you knew each other. You and him…?” he started laughing to himself.


“Oh, so you don’t think I’m good enough for him then?” I glared at him, my voice turning frosty.


“No, I didn’t mean it like that!” he hastily covered his backside, “I just didn’t realise that you knew each other, you are two years younger than him. And was in Hufflepuff.” He corrected himself.


“So what if I was in Hufflepuff? And two years younger than him? How can that stop me from speaking to him?” my voice was rising, attracting a few looks from people around us, “Need I remind you that you were in Hufflepuff as well.”


“I know. And it doesn’t. I just… never mind.” He looked down at his hands under the water.


“And just for your information, he came into where I worked and we started chatting then. This didn’t start at Hogwarts, you would have heard about it if you did.” I added. He stayed silent until I was relieved from the tension as James’ voice cut from the side of the pool.


“What’s up, Elle?”


“Nothing, just met an old friend from Hogwarts.” I said, a little too stiffly.


“Aren’t you going to introduce me?” he smirked but it didn’t reach his eyes, I noticed he was holding two small rings of a transparent blue colour.


“James, this is Travis and Travis, this my fiancé, James.” I motioned to both of them and they shook hands rather tensely.


“Nice to meet you, Travis.” James said politely but there was an edge to his voice, sort of like a threat to him.


“You too.”


James breathed a big gust of air out and looked down at me, “You ready to go now?”


“Yeah,” I grabbed his offered hands and he hoisted me out of the water, placing a territorial hand on my waist, “See you, Travis.”


“Yeah, it was good to see you again, Elle.” He smiled painfully at me and swam away. James handed me one ring and we walked to the little alcove in silence.


“Thanks, James.”


“For what? I just came over to tell you that I’d got the rings.” He shrugged but I knew that he knew what I was talking about.


“For saving me from that potentially awkward situation.” I nudged him in the side with my hip. He waded inside, put the ring flat on the water and climbed in so that he was gently floating round the small river thing, I followed his lead and we drifted round together.


“Why would it have been awkward? He’s an old friend from school right?”


“Yeah, but I haven’t spoken to him for five years. Plus I had a monster crush on him for two years back in school that never really took off.” I replied, leaning back lazily.


“Oh right… I noticed you both looked a little tense when I was walking towards you.”


“Yeah, he kind of insulted me.” I said in an off-handish way.


“What did he say?” his head snapped up, watching me intently with his hazel eyes.


“Just some stuff about me not being good enough for you because I was in Hufflepuff and all that,” I dismissed it with a wave of my hand and closed my eyes so I could drift in peace. James didn’t reply so I cracked open my eyes to see him staring wordlessly ahead of him, “James, I’ve never asked you… who do you play for?”


“Puddlemere United.” He answered, relief clear on his face when the topic was diverted.


“Oh, I thought you played for Chudley Canons?” I thought back to when Molly had complained of a family meal where everyone was praising James for joining them. Especially his Uncle Ron, whose favourite team, was the Chudley Canons. Apparently, Ron completely fawned over James all evening and that meant everyone else did too, leaving very little room for anyone else to get a word in edgeways.


“I did but I transferred last year because they were paying me more.” He smirked.


“Did you not enjoy playing with the Chudley Canons?”


“Yeah, more than I enjoy playing at Puddlemere but I get paid a lot more because it’s a higher ranking team.” He explained, arching his brow in confusion at the direction I was going.


“But surely if you enjoy playing Quidditch with the Canons then it shouldn’t matter how much you get paid? If you enjoy it, that should be enough, right?” he stayed quiet and after a few more minutes in the Lazy River, we got out and decided to get something to eat for lunch. When we got to the table where I saw Harry and Ginny before, Lily and Al had joined them with their towels around their bodies eating what looked like chips with melted cheese over the top.


“Mmm, that looks so good!” James murmured appreciatively, sitting down opposite Al, whilst I sat opposite Lily.


“You have to queue for it though… over there.” Lily pointed over her shoulder at a little stall that had a huge queue in front of it.


“Coming with me?” James looked at me and I just nodded in response, “So, what do you want?” he asked when we’d joined to line.


“I dunno what they have.” I tried to peer around the blonde woman in front of me.


“Why don’t you just get what Lily got, Elle?” James’ arm hung over my shoulder. Lucky for him, he could see over everyone in front of us and could see the menu, unlike some of us. Before I could reply, the blonde woman turned around to face us,


“Elle Underwood, no way!” I had not heard that voice for five years.


Chapter 8: Really? I Bump Into Her Here?
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: I decided to give you a little treat and make an extra-long chapter for you all, just because I love you all so much for reading and enjoying this story :) I’ve also decided on a ship name that I could give to James/Elle so that I don’t have to keep writing that out… so, this chapter contains a little bit of Jelle just so you know ;) And we learn why Elle did all those things from the last chapter, poor her… she really didn’t cope well :(





Disclaimer: Everything you recognise does not belong to me. Harry Potter world belongs to J.K. Rowling.






yet another wonderful chapter image by the gifted clowder@TDA!


“What are the chances of running into you here?” – Valerie Parker






Valerie Parker was practically the bane of my existence during my time at Hogwarts, with perfect long blonde hair and smooth, flawless skin. ‘Gingernut’ is what she used to call me, it was a mocking name, if you haven’t figured that out already. It was also the reason I dyed my hair blonde in fifth year. She would walk around with her head held high, skirt way too short and top two buttons undone so that boys could get a fabulous view of her boobs, aided with the help of a push-up bra. You heard of the house slut? Yeah, that was her. Unfortunately, she was also smart and tried to out-do me in everything. If I joined a club, so did she. If I got an Exceeds Expectations, she’d get an Outstanding. Get my drift?


However, there was one thing that she couldn’t do as well as me. And that was Potions, mainly because she didn’t have a knack for it like I did. She always tried to destroy my Potions work or sabotage it on purpose just so she’d get a higher mark than me but it never worked. In everything else I failed to get a higher mark than her, except Potions. You’d think she’d at least let me have that but no, she wanted to be better than me at everything. Literally, everything.

There was one time when I’d just joined the Muggle Music Club, I was so happy that they had a music club at Hogwarts so I joined right away. Valerie heard about this and the next week, she was sat right in my usual seat on the front row so I was relegated to the back one. She couldn’t play any of the instruments and chose to learn the guitar because that’s what she thought I played. When she saw me playing the piano, she was livid and demanded to change her instrument but it was too late.


So, instead of having another hissy fit, she resorted to taking lessons outside of Hogwarts to better her skills in playing the guitar. You wanna know how I know? Because I heard her gossiping to her ‘friends’ about it in the dorm room when she thought it was empty. She was that type of person.
 

“Valerie… hey…” I greeted her quietly, immediately feeling shunted by her presence.




“What are the chances of running into you here?” she announced flamboyantly, her wide smile revealing perfectly pristine, gleaming teeth.


“What are the chances?” I repeated, choosing to look over her shoulder. It was a rhetorical question and she could tell that so thankfully, she didn’t answer.


“I’m here with Travis, my boyfriend,” She smiled, her eyes betrayed her annoyance at the fact I didn’t ask what she was doing here. My jaw dropped to the floor in shock. What the actual fuck? “I assume you’ve heard of him then?” she raised her neat brow at me.

“Yes, of course I’ve heard of him.” My teeth clenched. She was talking to me as if I was a child, it was her favourite thing to do.


“Oh yeah, he was one of your friends, wasn’t he?”



“Yes.” The ‘s’ dragged out like a threatening hiss of a snake. I had completely forgotten that James was next to me when his arm moved from my shoulder to my waist.


“This must be your fiancé, James, lovely to meet you.” she turned to him, noticing the movement and batting her lashes at him.



“Nice to meet you too.” He stuck out his hand, stopping her as she was leaning forward to kiss him on the cheek. She seemed a little surprised but recovered and shook his hand formerly.



“I’m Valerie Parker. I was in Hufflepuff with your fiancée.” She nudged me playfully in the shoulder but the smile didn’t reach her eyes.


“Yeah, she’s told me all about you,” he looked down at me with a smirk and I reciprocated, “It’s your turn.” He pointed over her shoulder to the front of the queue. Valerie’s face was priceless as she stared at James in shock before turning around hastily to order food. When she’d got her food, she muttered her goodbyes and swiftly left, which allowed me to burst into laughter as James failed to rein in his as he ordered.


“Her face was… priceless!” James said through his laughter, carrying his and my food back to the table.


“When you shook her hand instead of kissing her cheek! Oh God, I nearly wet myself with laughter!” I opened my box and nicked a chip.


“Hey! No stealing!” he tried to bat my hands away as I stole another chip.


“It’s my food, I’m allowed to steal it James.” I rolled my eyes but I was still in a good mood. He sat in his seat again, pulling me into his lap and opened his box and started eating. I grabbed mine off him, opened it and popped three chips into my mouth at once.


“Greedy guts.” He mimicked me earlier but stuffed a load of chips in his mouth, smiling so he looked like a chipmunk and I giggled.


 

 


 

“Says the one!” I smiled, forgetting all about Valerie and Travis. He swallowed them difficultly after chewing them slowly and placed a sloppy kiss on my cheek which left a huge grease mark.



 

“EW!” I moaned, wiping it away with the back of my hand and shoving a greasy chip on his face in payback. Ginny and Harry watched us in amusement, Lily and Al were waiting for everyone else to finish eating so we could all go on more rides.





“Travis? No way! Hey mate!” Al said cheerfully, looking over my shoulder and I immediately tensed.


 

“Hey Al, how’re you?” they clapped their hands together in typical ‘bro’ fashion.





“Yeah, yeah, good! What are you doing here?” I really wished he would go away and I’d never have to see his stupid face again.



 

“Just on holiday with my girlfriend, Valerie.” I chanced a look at his face to see him smiling happily. He quickly looked down at me and I could see the guilt in his eyes before he looked back up at Al.





“Cool! We should definitely hang out tomorrow!” Al was smiling just as happily. I had no idea these two were friends, “In fact, me and Elle are going exploring. You should come with us!”



 

“I don’t want to intrude or anything…” he trailed off awkwardly.



 

“No, it’s perfectly alright, isn’t it, Elle?” he looked at me, daring me to say no.





“Yeah, that’s fine with me.” I forced a happy smile on my face. I’d grown accustomed to smacking it on my face since first agreeing to pretend to be James’ fiancée, it didn’t mean it was getting easier.



 

“Well, okay then. We’re staying at the resort just down the road, just so you know.” He paused, “Erm… I guess I should be going, my girlfriend’s probably wondering where I am.”





“It was good to see you, mate.” Al clapped his hand again and watched his friend walk off, but not before Travis sent a cautious glance in my direction.



 

“Are we finished? Can we actually go back on the slides now?” Lily whined impatiently.

 

 


 

“Yeah, my hair’s got to that horrible stage where it’s starting to dry.” I twirled a piece in front of my face to prove a point, I stood up and offered a hand to James, who took it and hoisted himself up.



 

“Which slides are you thinking of?” he asked.



 

“There’s that one over there that we can all go on together, that one that you go on by yourself and then that one that takes a picture of you.” she pointed to three of the larger slides.



 

“Let’s go on the second one, then the picture one and then we’ll all go on the last one together.” Ginny organised, throwing all her stuff in the bin and walking with us all to said slide.




 

“Ladies first.” Harry motioned to us girls and we all stood in the line with the boys behind us. Ginny went first, and then Lily, then I let Harry and Al go next so it was just myself and James left.



 

“You go first and I’ll see you at the bottom.” James made me sit down and seen as it was one of those slides that you had to push yourself down, he pushed me hard and I squealed, completely caught off-guard, shooting down the slide. I landed with a splash in the pool, seeing Lily and Al wrestling in the water and Harry and Ginny with their arms around one another. James came shooting down a few seconds later, almost hitting me.


 

“You are an idiot and I hate you.” I glared at him for shoving me down the slide and hit him over the arm. In response, he pulled me into a hug, placing his arms around my waist and kissed the top of my forehead, right on the hair-line.



 

“No you don’t.” he chuckled.






 

“You’re right,” I fake-smiled and saw James smirk smugly, “I just severely dislike you.” his smirked dropped and I swam away, out of his arms reach. He eventually snapped out of his thoughts and chased me in the water, although it was hard to walk really fast in water so he just settled for hovering. Waiting for me to go back over to him.


 

“Next slide!” Lily broke our intense staring contest and James looked away first. HA!




 

“Is this the picture one?” he asked, joining the end of the line and climbing the stairs.



 

“Yep, the best picture gets a free slushie, paid for by yours sincerely.” She said flamboyantly.


 

“Game on!”


 

“Deal!” was the chorus of replies from everyone and I started thinking of a good face I could pull when I went down the slide. When we got to the top, Ginny went first again, Lily then Harry, then Al, then James and me being last. As I started going down the slide, I decided that I was going to place my hands like antlers on either side of my forehead, stick my tongue out the side of my mouth and cross my eyes. It probably wasn’t the most imaginative pose but it was all I could think of. A flash went off in my peripheral vision and I knew the picture had been taken, seconds before I splashed into the pool of water at the bottom.



 

“Let’s go and have a look at the pictures!” Lily swam to the side, lifted herself out and walked to the little stall where they were selling the photos and we all followed her. All the Potter’s started laughing and I couldn’t see why until James moved his big head. Every one of the Potters’ faces were completely normal, they had not pulled funny faces when the camera had gone off so it was just me looking like a right idiot.



 

“Why did no-one else do that?” I moaned, covering my red cheeks.




 

“Oh, that has to be the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!” James laughed, holding his sides and doubling over.



 

“Shut up meanie! You made me look like a right idiot!” I moaned again, my blush deepening every time I saw the picture.


 

“Can I have picture 636 please?” Lily asked the guy at the front desk, who obliged.




 

“No! Lily, what are you doing?!”



 

“Getting it printed as a picture so I can keep it forever and use it as blackmail whenever I need it.” She fake-evil laughed at me.


 

“You’re so evil.” I mock-glared at her. She waved the stupid picture in front of my face when she’d got it and ran off to put it in her bag before I could snatch it off her.




 

“Next slide!” Ginny clapped whilst I could still feel and hear James laughing beside me.


 

“Shut it James! It’s not funny.” I pouted, failing to keep the smile off my face as he laughed even more.





“Then why are you smiling?” he seemed to catch on and smirked at me.


 

“Oh shut up.” I pushed him and sauntered off towards the next slide where we would all go down together in one massive ring. He easily caught up with me, slung his arm over my shoulder and walked with me to the line. It was the shortest of all of them so we reached the front rather fast.





The ring was like a massive life-raft, with 12 grips around the outside. We were told by the operator to lie on our fronts, each hand holding a grip and facing outwards so all of our feet touched in the middle. It was rather weird as I couldn’t see anyone else’s faces apart from James and Lily who were on either side of me, but they were quite far away as we were all spread out. When the light turned green, the operator pushed the ring gently with his foot and the ring slowly headed down a tunnel, which then opened up into a huge water drain, down into the pool again. We slowly reached the part where the slide opened up and my stomach flipped hugely as we dropped, spinning round and round, like on a merry-go-round, the ring bumping into the walls occasionally. Lily and I were laughing happily, revelling in the feeling of the ride.






 

That is, until the flashbacks started again. I don’t know what brought them on but my grip tightened until my knuckles had turned white. The pain. Oh God, the unbearable pain and all the blood. The smell of it. Being thrown around like I was nothing but a rag doll.


 

“Elle…?” I hadn’t realised that Lily was trying to get my attention, “Are you okay?” my breathing was becoming heavier and I was finding it difficult to breathe, tears pooling as the memories wouldn’t quit replaying in my head. My eyes scrunched together tightly but it made it worse, I could see everything on the back of my eyelids. I was reliving it again and again and again.



 

“James!” Lily was shouting over the loud noise and I could feel movement to my side and I knew James was trying to reach me but he was too far away.





The experience went on for a few more seconds, even though it felt like hours, until we were smashed into the water and the raft flipped over. It was obviously a part of the ride but it really didn’t help when I could see the raft over me, trapping me in the water. Now, the rational part of my mind was telling me that I could easily swim to the sides and get out but you see, I was panicking, and when you panic that little piece of your mind gets shoved to the back. My eyes scrunched shut again tightly and a pair of hands pulled me above the water, dragging me to the side and sitting me on the little wall bit.





“Elle… look at me,” James commanded softly, his voice floated just in front of me. My head shook violently, “Look at me, please.” He pleaded. My eyes peeled open slowly, allowing the tears to fall down and onto my cheeks but it looked like the water from the pool and I tried, and failed, to calm down and looked anywhere but at James. His hands cupped my face, forcing me to look at him.






 

“It’s okay, you’re fine. You’re fine,” He reassured me, “Just breathe. Breathe in, breathe out deeply,” He did these motions and I subconsciously copied, slowly my breathing became lighter and I was in control again, “See? You’re perfectly fine. You’re safe, it’s okay.” He held his hands out to help ease me back into the water and I obliged. Once I was back in the water, he used one arm to support me, as if I’d randomly faint, and the other hand to wipe away the tears gently.


 

“Sorry.” I mumbled eventually, extremely embarrassed that this had happened again.


 

“You have nothing to be sorry for, it’s not something you can control.” He reassured me.


 

“I just embarrassed you all again.”




 

“You haven’t embarrassed us Elle,” he chuckled at me, “More like made a really boring day more interesting,” This time, I laughed, “There we go, there’s her smile!”




 

“Shut up.” I lightly slapped his arm, sniffling a little.





“You alright now?” his face turned serious, his eyes scrutinizing mine for any sign that I wouldn’t be.





“Yeah, I could really use that slushie now though.” I smiled briefly, sitting back up on the side and composing myself properly.




 

“I’ll get Lily to get it. I might have one myself.” He smirked, swimming back over to Lily, who was swimming round with Al. Ginny made her way over and hovered in front of me.



 

“You okay?” she looked really guilty and I knew she was probably blaming herself for this.




 

“Yeah, I’m fine now,” I smiled, “Don’t blame yourself Ginny…” I quietly added and her head snapped up.


 

“It always seems like something that I plan that brings these on, I feel terrible.” She placed a hand on my knee, looking apologetically in my eyes.



 

“You don’t need to, it’s something wrong with this old brain of mine,” I laughed and she did too, nervously though, “None of this is your fault.”


 

“Here’s your free slushie.” James came back from the queue, after Lily refused to go for him, cutting Ginny off from whatever she was going to say. She swam back to Harry, and after persuading them all, they all went back onto more slides.


 

“You probably picked the worst person to be your pretend fiancée,” I whispered, slurping up my red/blue mush. He stayed quiet, just stared ahead of him, drinking his slushie, “Why don’t you go on some more slides? I’ll be fine just sitting here for a while.” I nudged his shoulder, kicking my legs in the water.



 

“And what kind of fiancé leaves their soon-to-be wife alone after she has a major panic-attack?” he smirked, raising his eyebrows.




 

“I’ve had worse.”



 

“What happened?”


 

“I panicked so much I made myself vomit then I blacked out.”



 

“Sounds bad.”


 

“It was,” I mumbled but smiled, “Luckily I had Charity there and she looked after me.”





“Where was Norah?” he asked curiously but I was determined not to look at him, clenching my jaw.





“She wasn’t there,” I replied through gritted teeth, “And she hadn’t been for a while.”





“Why were you living at your sister’s when I first met you?” he was in a question mood it appeared.


 

“I was kicked out of my apartment the week before…” my cheeks were red, “Because I… uh, couldn’t pay the rent for 3 months.” I coughed awkwardly. It was weird talking to him about my money problems because he was one of the richest families in the world!



 

“Oh right…” he answered.


 

“Feeling like a detective today?” I smirked after he didn’t say anything else.





“What?” his eyebrows raised in surprise. I’d obviously broken a deep thought of his.





“You’re just asking me a lot of questions.”


 

“What? So you can ask me questions but I can’t ask you any?”


 

“You can… just not about my past,” I answered simply, sipping my slushie so I didn’t have to say anything else. James’ eyes were still staring at the side of my face and it was unsettling, “So… what do you want to do once we’ve finished?” I broke the awkwardness after my statement and James seemed to come out of himself finally.





“We could swim for a bit, if you want? Or go back on the lazy river again?”


 

“I don’t mind, whichever.” I shrugged which really didn’t help with the whole awkwardness.




 

“Well I, for one, want to go under the bucket that tips every hour.” He smirked smugly.



 

“You’ll be standing under that alone then.” I looked ahead of me, using the little spoon on the straw to finish the last bits of my slushie.


 

“No I won’t,” he seemed so sure of himself as we walked towards the bin to throw the drinks away, “You’re coming with me.” He said before picking me up over his shoulder and walked briskly to the little kiddie area where the bucket was.





“No! Put me down James!” I shouted, laughing a little.


 

“No chance!” I heard him reply. When we reached just underneath it, he put me back on the floor but kept his arms around my waist firmly so I couldn’t run off.





“I hate you.” I pouted irritably.





“No you don’t,” he smirked again and he said, “You just severely dislike me.” At the same time I said,





“I just severely dislike you.”

 

 


 

“Jinx! Touch wood!” James called out just as the bell rung and the bucket tipped a huge amount of water all over us and a few other kids that decided they wanted to stay there.


 

“Oh my God! I actually hate you!” I shrieked, brushing my messy hair out of my face as I had buried my face against James’ chest so I’d get hit with less water. It didn’t work. But I wasn’t complaining about being against his bare chest if you were wondering.


 

“Don’t lie, you loved it!” he laughed as I had to part my hair from the curtain that was hung around my face.


 

“That may be so but I still hate you.” I stuck out my tongue and headed towards the lazy river, grabbing a spare ring from the side. James followed behind me, not bothering to get a ring and just swimming lazily in the river. It was nearing dinner time when Lily came to find us, telling us that the park was closing and we were heading home.





“I’ll see you in half an hour.” James kissed my forehead, climbed into the car and it drove off. Ginny walked back with me to the alley way and apparated to the villa.





“Do you want any help with the dinner? It probably won’t help as I’ll burn something, but maybe cutting stuff up or…” I drifted off as I followed her into the kitchen.





“Thanks, Elle, it would be a lot of help.” She got out some mushrooms, beef, sauce and rice, “If you could, just chop the mushrooms in half and I’ll do the beef.” She ordered, handing me two packets of mushrooms and began cutting the beef into strips as wide as my finger. I did as I was told, cutting each mushroom in half and placing them to the side of the cutting board. I watched as Ginny put each beef-slice in the pan, waiting until it had turned a light-ish brown and taking them out. Then she moved onto the rice, making sure to check every few minutes how cooked it was.



 

There were many moments when I thought about bringing up the magazine but I just couldn’t do it. My mouth had probably opened a few times each minutes but I’d close it after scaring myself by overreacting her reaction in my head.




 

“Thank you, Elle, you can go and wash your hands now to get rid of the smell.” She smiled at me, taking my mushrooms and putting them in the pan with the onion sauce and the pieces of beef.





“Okay.” I said simply, walking up the stairs and into the bathroom. The front door closed just as I finished drying my hands so I quickly made my way down the stairs knowing that the food would be ready by now. I was right because as soon as I walked into the dining room, each seat had a steaming plate of beef stroganoff in front of them.




 

“Yay! I’m starving!” James came barrelling in, claimed his seat and started gobbling down every ounce of food.


 

“Honestly the way our son eats, you’d think we don’t feed him.” Ginny rolled her eyes affectionately at her son.





“When someone eats fast, it usually means they like the meal.” I nudged James in the shoulder with a stern look.


 

“You helped though, that’s probably why.” James’ head snapped so fast to me that he probably got whip-lash.


 

“You helped? But you’re a terrible cook!” his mouth gaped open, “You even said so!”





“Thanks James.” I rolled my eyes offended.





“No, what I mean is… you know what I mean.” He waved his hand dismissively and nearly using the fork as a brush, it came that close to my hair.




 

“I didn’t actually do anything, just cut up the mushrooms.” I shrugged casually.



 

“It was still helping with the cooking though. You need to give yourself more credit.” Lily butted in, pointing at me with her knife from opposite me.


 

“It’s just mushrooms guys,” I rolled my eyes but blushed all the same, “Anyway… Al, where are we going tomorrow and what should I wear?”





“Erm… we’re going to the forest regions round here, I can’t remember what they’re called. We’re gonna be hiking, horse riding and other stuff so it’s probably best to wear clothes you don’t mind getting a bit mucky.” He shrugged, spooning a huge mouthful into his mouth.





“Right okay,” I nodded, “What’s everyone else doing?” I looked round everyone.


 

“Quidditch practice.” James replied through a mouthful of food.




 

“Harry and I are going along the beach all day tomorrow and then going out for dinner.”




 

“And I’m going shopping!” Lily squealed happily.





“Who’s gonna make dinner then?” James looked at his parents then at me.


 

“Oh no! Because if I make dinner it will be pancakes.” I laughed.


 

“I’m alright with that.” He smiled at me, a little bit of food dribbling out the end of his mouth making me laugh.





“Don’t blame me when you get bored of pancakes from now on.” I picked up my finished plate and put it in the sink, waving my wand so it washed itself.


 

“Where are you going now?” James asked, following my lead.



 

“Going to read for a bit why?”


 

“I’ll come with you.” he followed beside me as I walked into the large room filled with different books.





“Are you sure? I’m not gonna be doing anything except reading, you’ll end up being bored.”





“I read with you yesterday for a few hours, didn’t I?” he raised a brow at me and sat in his usual seat. We sat down, I pulled out a new book ‘Treasure Island’ and started reading. It was getting hard to concentrate as I remembered the magazine in my drawer upstairs, sitting under all my stuff just waiting for me to show them all. The guilt was eating me up inside.





“Come on, it’s getting late.” James yawned, standing up and stretching his arms over his head. I watched as he put the book back on the shelf, helping me up and we walked up to the bedroom together in silence, “So… no more questions?”



 

“You want me to ask you questions?” I raised my brows in surprise.


 

“I kind of guessed you were right that we needed to get to know each other a bit more.” He shrugged, leaving me to get changed into my pyjamas before we both got into the bed.




 

“Okay…” I trailed off, turning off the light and facing him, “When’s your birthday?”





“26th March, you?”


 

“19th June.”


 

“That’s next Thursday!” he exclaimed, going up on his elbows again so he could see my face, “Why didn’t you tell us? We could celebrate it or something.” He suggested but I shook my head violently.





“I don’t do anything for my birthday… and I’m not about to start now, sorry.” I said stiffly, crossing my arms and looking up at the ceiling. James’ face appeared over the top of mine, using his arm to support him.



 

“You have to do something for your birthday, it’s a special day.” He rolled his eyes.


 

“No I don’t have to and you have to promise me that you won’t plan anything,” I looked at him sternly, “Promise?”


 

“Fine, I promise.” He flung himself back onto the bed heavily.


 

“Good,” I nodded my head even though he couldn’t see me, “Tell me about something funny that happened to you at school.”


 

“Okay…” He started a funny rendition of how in fourth year, he’d coloured his cousin, Rose’s eyebrows to a bright yellow. She’d walked around the whole day without noticing and getting really aggravated when people were laughing at her.





“I’m surprised she still talks to you with the amount of things you’ve done to her.” I was still laughing.



 

“She’s my cousin, she has to talk to me even if she ‘hates’ me. She doesn’t though because she loves me deep down.” He was smiling happily watching me laugh.



 

“Yeah, waaaay deep down by the sounds of it,” I scoffed, “I always wondered why there wasn’t a big fuss about Rose and Scorpius going out.” I said out loud after I’d calmed down.




 

“Oh there was, you just never saw it at school. It all happened at Christmas at The Burrow,” He explained, “Rose had invited Scorpius round for dinner on Christmas day without telling her Mum and Dad that he was coming. She walked in absolutely casually, not worried at all, and introduced him,” He laughed suddenly, “You should have seen my Uncle Ron’s face.”



 

“I imagine he wasn’t very happy.”


 

“Oh no, he was livid. All us lot knew about it because of seeing it at school and whatnot, some of us weren’t happy about it, but we were used to seeing it. Uncle Ron got so worked up his face turned bright red, Auntie Hermione had to take him outside to calm him down.”





“What about you’re Mum and Dad?” somehow I’d manoeuvred myself closer so I could see him.





“Mum wasn’t happy about it but she kept it to herself. Dad wasn’t particularly bothered by it to be honest, he said something about them changing after the war so the Malfoy’s weren’t as bad as people thought,” He shrugged, “He accepted them straight away, with a teensy bit of difficulty.”



 

“And you?” I smirked, already knowing the answer.


 

“I hated the slime-ball… at first, then when I saw he wasn’t too bad, I kind of warmed to him,” He smirked back, “Something bristles in the back of my mind sometimes when I see them but then I see how happy he makes her and I push it away. It’s none of my business anyway, if it makes her happy then I’m happy for her.”


 

“I think it’d be adorable if they got married.” I gushed, mainly because during my time at Hogwarts, Rose and Scorpius were the ‘it’ couple.





“How come?”



 

“Think about it… a Malfoy and a Weasley getting married. It’s kind of like a giant middle finger to society.” James laughed at the concept. We stayed quiet for a few more minutes when I heard a soft snoring from next to me. James had fallen asleep and I had to laugh, it was really cute. His face was smushed against his pillow, both of his arms underneath it and his black hair flopped over his forehead. My hand moved slightly and brushed it off his face until I caught myself.






 

“What the hell am I doing?” I whispered, putting my hand firmly by my side. I suddenly noticed that James had a tiny scar just on his upper lip and I’d never noticed it before now. I wondered how he’d got it until I realised I had been watching James sleep, what was I actually doing?! Why was I noticing things about James all of a sudden? I shut my eyes firmly to try and get to sleep but it wouldn’t come because of that stupid magazine. I could hear it calling me from the closet and I remembered I hadn’t got round to telling James about it yet and that I’d probably put it off until it was too late. I needed to do it now.


 

Okay, 1… 2… 3… get up. But my body wouldn’t do as it was told. 1… 2… 3… bloody get up. Really you choose now to not do as you’re told? 1… 2… 3… fucking move you useless piece of shit.





Finally my legs moved and I stood up, walking towards to the closet. Huh, I just needed to threaten myself. Good to know. First I checked that James hadn’t woken up before I turned on the light, clicking the door shut behind me. I fumbled around under my lingerie until I found the brown envelope, I ripped it open, pulled out the magazine and totally ignored the letter that I really needed to reply to. Then I turned to the article and began reading it again and again. I don’t know why I was torturing myself instead of going back into the bedroom and telling James. It just felt like something I needed to deal with, the column was about me so I should be the one to deal with it. This was why I wasn’t in Gryffindor… I was an utter coward. I started crying, not like bawling-crying, but a soft sob as I continued to re-read bits of it again.






“It seems like our suspicions of Elle using James for his prestige are becoming slightly less suspicious and more of a reality.”


 

“It seems that Elle really didn’t handle life well and when the chance arose to marry someone with a lot of money and a good reputation, she took it.”


 

My feet moved of their own accord and I hoped they were taking me back to the bedroom so I could finally tell James… but no, they moved down the corridor towards Ginny and Harry’s room, my hands still holding on to the magazine for dear life. One hand let go and knocked on the door quite loudly. Then I felt incredibly guilty, it was around 1 o’clock in morning and I was going to do this now? I should have waited until morning but it was too late as a tired-looking Ginny opened the door, took in my dishevelled appearance and the magazine before saying,



 

“Let’s have a cup of hot chocolate.” She led me down into the kitchen, waved her wand at the cupboards to get two mugs down and made us both of cup of steaming hot chocolate. When she sat down at the head of the table, I just placed the magazine in front of her silently, opened at the column about me. I played with the spoon, stirring it in the hot liquid and watching the swirls and the steam rise upwards.





“Elle…?” Ginny’s voice broke me gaze so I looked at her. She looked incredibly calm for what she’d just read, unless she hadn’t actually read it and was just staring at the picture of me.




 

“Did you read it?” I croaked out, avoiding her gaze now and looking back at the hot chocolate that I hadn’t touched yet.


 

“Yes I read it Elle,” she paused and I was curious enough to look back at her, “Yesterday.” My jaw dropped. Holy shit, she’d already read what happened to me and… oh my God, she probably hates me. That’s why she took me to lunch yesterday! She wanted me to admit it so she could tell me to jog on and get lost. That’s why she asked if I had any secrets!






 

“Elle, calm down. You’re hyperventilating.” She said calmly. Why was she so calm? She should be yelling at me and sending me packing. I mean, I was a fucking druggie, an alcoholic and a stripper and she’s sat there calmly as if I was just chatting to her about the weather!



 

“Calm down? I just don’t… understand, why aren’t you…? And I should be getting kicked out and…” I rambled hopelessly.


 

“Elle!” she cut across me and my mouth clamped shut, “Do you know why I asked you to go for lunch with me yesterday?” she asked, taking a sip of her drink.





“Yes, so you could tell me that I’m not good enough for James and tell me to end the engagement.” I rambled again but was cut off,



 

“Elle!” my mouth was firmly shut once again, “I asked you to go to lunch with me yesterday because I wanted to see if you’d tell me about this yourself,” she sighed, “I was a little disappointed when you didn’t.”


 

“And you probably want me to leave now, right?” I started picking my nails nervously, resulting in the nail polish becoming chipped.





“Elle, I would really appreciate it if you would be quiet and listen to what I have to say before jumping to conclusions, okay?” she looked at me sternly and she suddenly reminded me of my Mum so I shrunk in my seat and nodded my head, “My sister-in-law, Fleur, was the one who sent me the magazine. Harry and I were quite shocked at first to read what had happened in your past,” great, so now Harry freakin’ Potter knows, “But we both thought that given the way you are now, something must have happened for you to be that way so we decided to get you alone so we could see if you’d tell us.”


 

“My Mum…” I whispered, my heart sinking into my stomach and I swallowed difficultly past the lump in my throat.



 

“Yes, but the sounds of it, that was the catalyst to these events.”




 

“Catalyst?” my eyebrows furrowed.


 

“It set off a chain reaction,” She explained and I finally took a sip of my scalding drink, “You don’t do any of these now, do you?” I nearly choked on my drink.





“No,” I coughed, “No, I’m not stupid enough to let myself get into that state again.”





“Good,” She nodded her head, “Tell me about it.”


 

“Erm… I’m not really sure if… if now would be a good time,” I said quickly, looking for an escape route, “I mean, it is the early hours of the morning and I have to be up early tomorrow an-.”



 

“Elle, tell me, please.” She pleaded sternly and I sighed in defeat. I opened my mouth to finally explain when James walked in, his eyes half-open with sleep.




 

“What are you two doing up? It’s nearly 2 in the morning.” He yawned loudly.


 

 

“James, go back to bed.” Ginny ordered softly, shooting me a cautious glance but he moved forward anyway, sitting beside his Mum opposite me.


 

“What’s this?” he noticed the magazine, picked it up and began reading. My eyes quickly looked to Ginny, who looked at me apologetically.




 

“I’m guessing he doesn’t know, does he?” she whispered.




 

"No,” I sighed, placing my head in my hands on the table, “He doesn’t.” The next few minutes went by tensely and scarily slow, the seconds dragging out and I really wanted to rip the magazine out of James’ hands but it was too late.



 

“I thought you said you didn’t like Valerie?” he finally spoke but it wasn’t what I expected him to say.




 

“I didn’t, don’t… she was horrible.” I replied, completely shocked. I was pretty sure there were worse things in that article than Valerie Parker.



 

“Why did she say you two were very close?” he asked, an impassive expression on his face.


 

“I don’t know… maybe for the story or something…” I mumbled, thankful he wasn’t bringing it up yet.




 

“Did you really turn up at her apartment in Glasgow?” we were getting back into dangerous territory.


 

“I don’t know… I might have done,” I just couldn’t look at him, “I’m not sure. I was, uh, pretty bad.”



 

“I can tell.” He scoffed but it wasn’t a nice one let me tell you that.


 

“James… just let her explain.” Ginny said quietly.


 

“Why should I?” his voice wasn’t angry, it was just empty and it made me feel worse, “She’d probably lie again seen as she couldn’t tell me this.” Ouch, that one hurt. My finger was tracing the shape of the rim of my mug, I still hadn’t sipped it for a while. It was probably cold and the iciness in the room didn’t help.


 

“I won’t lie… I’ll explain.” James just scoffed again and Ginny sent him a withering glare, shutting him up.


 

“James, you’ll let her explain and you won’t say a word until she’s finished.” She threatened him and he just looked towards the archway but stayed quiet.





“A few months after my nineteenth birthday, I moved out my Dad’s house and into my own flat in Glasgow. I struggled to find a good job that would pay for the rent and leave money left over for food. That’s when I started working in Dolls Kill,” I swallowed, “I saw an advert on the outside of a pub one day, it said I could earn £500 a month and I was really desperate. I was living on £10 a day for Christ’s sake! So, I started working there the next day.” James scoffed slightly, still not looking at me.


 

“James…” Ginny warned.





“The first few weeks I didn’t get much money because I just wasn’t as good as the other girls. I never wore the skimpy outfits they did, I just couldn’t do it. One day, a girl called Destiny came up to me because she could see I was struggling to feel comfortable in the job. She told me that she could get me something to help with the feeling,” I scoffed sardonically, “You don’t feel so dirty, she said. God, I was an idiot. So, I took the pills she gave me and I got much more money. I started wearing less clothing, like the other girls. But when I came down from the buzz, I remembered what I was doing. I hated myself, I wanted to stop but I was addicted already and I couldn’t drop out of work because I needed the money. I carried on, going straight from work to the pubs and drinking until someone had to come and get me to take me home. Usually, it was Destiny and she’d leave me some more pills to take. Looking back it was such a stupid thing to do but it was the only way to get through it at the time for me. To forget about everything. After 7 months of that lifestyle, Charity came to sort me out. I’d already been arrested more times than the fingers on my right hand.” I finished.





“Tell him why you started doing it?” she coerced. This was more than I’d told anyone ever. It was more than I’d told Molly and she was my best friend.




 

“I know why… because she was poor and needed money. She already said that.” James said, still with his impassive face.



 

“No, James, just listen.” Ginny chastised.



 

“Whatever.”


 

“My Mum, she… she died just before it all,” the lump in my throat getting bigger. James’s posture changed, he leaned forward and the impassiveness was almost gone, replaced by shock and pity, “On my nineteenth birthday actually.” I choked out.



 

“You never told me that…” Ginny was just as shocked. I had told her she had died, just not when.



 

“It was a car crash. I was in it as well.” I ground my teeth together to force the tears back.



 

“Is that why…?” James trailed off softly.


 

“Yeah. That’s why I can’t get in a car, that’s why I have a scar on my back and that’s why I have panic-attacks.” That was all I was ever going to tell them, they didn’t need to know anything else. They already knew enough. I busied myself with downing the rest of my cold hot chocolate and stood up, “I think I’m gonna go back to bed now. Thank you Ginny.” I smiled sadly, putting my mug back in the sink and heading upstairs. Once I was back under the covers, I let the first few tears flow and wiped them away but then even more appeared. James came back in a few minutes later, climbed under the covers and pulled me to him whilst I cried softly.


 

“Why didn’t you tell me to begin with?” he whispered in the darkness.


 

“I thought I’d be able to get through this without ever having to tell anybody. I hate reliving it all,” I whispered back, my voice sounding really croaky and broken up by the sobs. He stayed quiet, just lying there with me and rubbing his hand up and down my back soothingly, “James?”



 

“Yeah?”


 

“Don’t let this change your perception of me please?” I pleaded him. I didn’t want him thinking I was weak, or dirty or like he should pity me. It was my fault anyway.




 

“It doesn’t Elle.”


 

“Thank you.” again, we lapsed into silence.


 

“Can I ask you a question?” James broke it and I felt like I needed to lighten the atmosphere a bit.


 

“You just did.” And he laughed.


 

“No, I’m being serious now.” He said when he’d stopped and the tense atmosphere came back again.



 

“Okay.”





“If I pay you, can I get a private lap dance?”


Chapter 9: Animals Hate Me Apparently
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Another looooong chapter and I actually had fun writing this one and I thought it would be a good time for Elle to get close to another family member other than Ginny and Lily. Harry’s time will come my children… be patient! Side note: I have no idea whether Badgers can be found in the South of Spain but it fits the story so let’s pretend they are, okay? Okay.





Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter because it belongs to J.K. Rowling. And anything else you do recognise, does not belong to me.




another beautiful chapter image by clowder@TDA!



 
“I don’t know, maybe you moved too fast or something?” – Travis Glover





My eyes snapped open and I tried to look around the room but it was still quite dark. James was stirring beside me and that’s when I noticed that we had fallen asleep in the same position that we were in last night. My head was nestled in the crook of his neck with both his arms wrapped around me. I snuggled against him, trying to fall back asleep when he moved his arms. He was getting up. That was when I remembered that he had to go back to England today to practice for his Quidditch game tomorrow.


“Elle, I have to go now,” He whispered but I pretended I was still asleep, “Elle.”


“Mmm.” I mumbled, curling myself up slowly in the bed.


“I need to go. I’ll be back around dinner time, okay? Have fun with Al and you can tell me all about it when I get back.” He knelt on the bed and kissed my forehead, his lips lingering for just a few more seconds, before he brushed my hair away from my face and went off to get changed or whatever he did because I fell back asleep.






“Beep, beep, beep!” My alarm clock was going off loudly so I quickly smacked it on the top to get it to shut up. I’d probably be late to work and Michelle will kill me but I was tired and I could afford a lie-in for once.


“Ow! That really hurt Elle!” hmmm, that voice sounded incredibly like Albus Potter. What was he doing in my sister’s house? I’d never spoken to him before, “Get up so we can go already. I promised Travis and Valerie we’d pick them up at ten o’clock and it’s nearly nine.” What on Earth was he talking about? When did I meet Travis and the Devil’s Daughter? Then I remembered, quickly shooting up to a sitting position on the bed and seeing Al stood over me with an amused expression on his face. Shit, I completely forgot about me being ‘engaged’ to James and coming on holiday with his family.


“Shit.” I muttered under my breath and jumped out of bed.


“Good morning to you too.” He chuckled, leaving me to get dressed. I pulled out some denim shorts, a black tank top and some hiking boots that Lily must have slipped into my suitcase.


“What time are we picking them up again?” I asked Al when I quickly ran down into the kitchen, frantically brushing my hair into a high ponytail.


“In forty-five minutes so we’ll have breakfast and then go.” He said, busy making us some scrambled eggs and beans.


“Okay,” I nodded my head, “Do you want any toast?” I asked in the quietness that followed.


“Yeah, I’ll have two slices please,” he answered, distracted as the oil in the pan started spitting, “Ah shit!” he sucked on a little part of his pinkie that had been burned.


“At least I’m not the only one who isn’t a big fan of cooking.” I laughed as Al started colourfully insulting the pan and its contents under his breath.


“I better marry a good cook then,” He shrugged and we both laughed. He placed half on his plate and half on mine whilst I put two slices of slightly burnt toast on his and one on mine, “So… what happened last night?”


“What do you mean?”


“I heard someone knocking on my parent’s door last night, or should I say, early this morning. So, what happened? Did ickle James have a nightmare?” he stuck out his bottom lip teasingly which made me laugh. Talking to Al was so much easier than James, no offence to him, but Al had a way of phrasing his questions that made it seem like he wasn’t going to be that bothered if you told him or not. James was blunt and sceptical, I noticed. But then again, I’d been noticing a hell of a lot about him recently. Well, ever since I found out that he read books in the library two days ago.


“No, I just had to talk to your Mum about something.” I decided to tell him the stretched truth. It wouldn’t hurt right?


“What?” he questioned nonchalantly, eating his breakfast and occasionally shifting his position on his chair.


“Something that had been written about me in a magazine.” I shrugged.


“Listen,” he dropped his fork on his plate and looked at me straight in the eye, “Magazines spew out all kinds of shite just to try and sell copies.”


“Yeah, but the shite they were spewing about me was true.”


“So what? If it’s true there’s nothing you can do about it now, it’s already out there. Why be bothered about it?” he seemed to notice that he’d completely stumped me so he continued eating, “You best hurry up and get eating, we’re going in fifteen minutes. Bring a water bottle, some sunscreen and sunglasses just in case.”


“O-okay.” I was snapped out of my revelatory thought, picked up my fork and carried on eating the rest of my food. When I was done, I put the plate in the sink, waved my wand so it would clean itself and headed upstairs to put a bag together for today.


“Try and be quiet, everyone else is still asleep.” Al hissed as I walked up the stairs.


“I don’t walk around like an elephant.” I rolled my eyes at him and carried on up the stairs and into the bedroom. It felt, strangely, too big for me right now and I think that was because I knew James wasn’t here. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been in here by myself before but I always knew James was in the vicinity so he wasn’t too far away but I felt really uncomfortable because I was stuck with his family, who genuinely thought we were engaged and in-love, without him there to rescue me when situations got awkward. I walked into the smaller closet, picked up a small rucksack and stuffed everything that I’d probably need as well as some money just in case I wanted to buy anything. I still needed to buy Charity, Darrell, Ruari and Gabby some souvenirs seen as they hadn’t been abroad yet. They were planning to go to Paris for a week but Darrell couldn’t get any time off work and Charity didn’t work so it was hard to rustle up the money to pay for it. Once my bag was ready, I walked back downstairs to see Al waiting for me. Was I just incredibly slow or something? He had his hands stuck deep into his khaki ¾ length shorts and was wearing a plain white t-shirt and some hiking boots too.


“Right, we’re apparating inside of their hotel room and then we’ll all apparate to the site.” He said, knowing that I have a phobia of getting in cars obviously. I felt incredibly bad that he’d had to plan around my issues and I made myself promise to make it up to everyone. Somehow.


“Right okay, let’s go!” I held onto his forearm and felt the sensation of apparition before we landed gently into a very swanky hotel room. It wasn’t as nice as the bedroom myself and James were staying in but it was still posh all the same. You know how I know it’s posh? The duvet was tucked into the sides of the bed and there was a chocolate on each pillow.


“Travis! Hey man!” Al greeted the man stood by the window, apparently startled by the sudden sound even though Al told them we were going to be there at 10am.


“Hey Albus! Listen, Valerie couldn’t make it today. She said she had some stuff to take care of and she apologises but it’s really important.” Travis rambled, trying to hide his glee at this fact. Trouble in paradise? To be honest, I was still shocked that they were even going out, Travis knew how much I hated her in Hogwarts and often joined in my verbal bashing of her when she wasn’t around.


“That’s okay, we don’t mind if there’s just three of us.” Al shrugged, assessing the room with his green eyes.


“Are we going straight away or…?” I asked, trying to ignore the very obvious tension and awkwardness between myself and Travis.


“Yeah, if we’re all ready?” Al seemed completely oblivious to it and I wondered whether he knew that we actually knew each other. We both nodded and held onto either of Al’s arms and apparated to a beautiful scenic forest setting, “Had to apparate us in the forest so we don’t look suspicious, so the actual tour thing starts further down there and we’re going to have to walk. It’s not that far.” He explained. It was like what you expect a typical forest to look like, massive looming trees with leaves scattered all over the wet, muddy ground. Thick vines twisted themselves around each tree and along the floor so I had to be careful where I stepped just in case I tripped over one of them. Knowing my luck, I probably would.


“What do we do on this tour thing?” I asked, breaking the silence. It seemed none of us really wanted to talk today, which you know, was fine by me but I really didn’t like awkwardness.


“Whatever we want really. The guide takes us on a path for like an hour, then he lets us do whatever activities we fancy, then we have lunch and carry on doing whatever,” he explained, “There’s horse-riding, rock-climbing, abseiling, cliff-diving, nature trails, tree-climbing and other stuff.”


“That sounds awesome!” I jumped up and down happily, clapping my hands together whilst they both laughed at me.


“We’re here!” Al said when we’d reached a big group of muggles waiting around chatting to each other. Most of them were with young children/teenagers and there were the odd couples. Basically it was just young people everywhere.


“Is that everyone?” a tanned guy wearing a ranger’s outfit stood at the front of the group holding a clipboard and ticking off our names as Al announced our arrival, “Alright, hello everyone! My name’s Rick and I’ll be your guide today, we’ll start with a small tour in the forest,” He shouted so everyone could hear him, “Number one rule: don’t stray from the path please. Whilst we try to make it as safe as possible for tourists, there are wild animals in these forests that could severely injure or harm you so if you stay on the designated path then we won’t have to deal with any injuries. Let’s get started!” he clapped his hands once and strode off in the direction we had come from. I walked beside Al in silence with Travis on his other side, in silence.


“So, which activity do you lot want to do first?” Al asked us as Rick was going on about some really old tree that we would see the further we went in. There was only one left. Apparently.


“I dunno, maybe rock-climbing or abseiling.” I shrugged, glancing at Travis who was staring resolutely ahead of him.


“That sounds good, I’ll do whatever.” He answered. He finally looked at me and offered me a small smile so I returned it.


“We have to do horse-riding after lunch though! I’ve always wanted to ride a horse along a beach.” I gushed happily.


“Well, we’re not near a beach so a forest will have to do.” Al laughed at me and clapped me on the back gently when I pouted.


“Now, if you look to your left you’ll just about see a beautiful family of deer… with a new-born foal. We’ll have to be quiet though.” Rick’s voice lowered to a hush and everyone’s heads swivelled to the direction he was pointing. Sure enough, just behind some trees, was a beautiful, majestic buck and doe with a baby foal. A few people took some pictures on their big, snazzy cameras so I took out my phone and snapped a few pics so I could show James later.


“Hurry up, Elle! The group’s moving on without us.” Al ushered me onward from where I was watching the buck, doe and foal walk slowly away.


“They were so cute! I want one as a pet!” I squealed, looking back over my photos on my phone.


“Ask James and he’ll probably get you one.” He smirked, making me nudge him playfully.


“Shut it, Al.” I rolled my eyes.


“He probably would, you know. He’d get you anything, he even told me about the ring story.” He said.


“What ring story?” Travis butted in from his silence.


“When James and I went ring shopping, I picked out a small ring but he’d noticed me eyeing this ring,” I held it up on my ring finger, “And he surprised me by buying me this one, only showing me when he proposed.” I smiled at the memory, it was a stretched truth. The ring was slowly growing on me, the more time I did this, the more I liked the idea of being engaged to someone. Although I didn’t love James, I couldn’t wait until I met someone that I would eventually fall in love with and spend the rest of my life with. The thought made me beam widely and they must have thought that I was remembering it and they wolf-whistled, making me roll my eyes again. The tension and awkwardness between myself and Travis was slowly dying away as the tour went on.


“Al, could you take a picture of me by the tree please?” I asked when we’d finally reached the old tree that Rick had been harping on about. It really was beautiful. It had gorgeous pink and lilac blossoms hanging down from withered branches.


“Sure.” I handed him my phone, stood awkwardly and smiled when I heard the camera click.


“Thanks.” I smiled, taking it back and looking at the picture. I decided it was decent and left it, taking some more pictures of the whole surroundings.


“Everyone!” Rick called out for our attention, “We are closer to the activity centre, right in the middle of the forest, and you are welcome to do whatever activities that we have available. The café is just past the rock-climbing wall and is an open café with animals freely walking through so just be careful.” He smiled round at everyone and we moved on from the tree. After a few more minutes of walking, the path ahead opened up to a massive area probably the size of a large lake. To one side there was a huge rock-climbing wall, next to that was a sign pointing to another sector of a forest for the café and the abseiling. Next to that was a pen with about 15 different types of horses that led off onto a marked trail that I’m assuming we’d have to do down if we did horse-riding. Then there were marked trails, mazes and loads of other stuff that I was absolutely buzzing to just go and do.


“What first? It’s only 11:30am so we can do stuff until we all want to eat.” Al looked at his watch before looking between us.


“Rock-climbing!” we both said at the same time before taking off running towards the said activity. I let Travis go first, he got strapped in and started climbing. An operator said all three of us could go at the same time so myself and Al were harnessed and let free to climb. I left my phone with the operator and asked him to take a few photos of us climbing, I hoped he’d know how to take the photos and that they’d come out alright. After we had all reached the top of the wall, me being the first one, we climbed back down again and decided to try the maze next.


“Should we each split up and see who’ll make it to the middle first?” I looked between the two boys with a smirk, seeing them both return it with an equally smug smirk.


“Let’s go! 3… 2… 1… GO!” Al shouted and we all went three different ways. Little did they know, I had taken a sneaky picture of the map on my phone and was using that to help me navigate through the very confusing maze. I walked down 3 different dead-ends over the course of twenty minutes, which made me frustrated, until I finally reached the middle but Travis was already there with Al with smug looks on both of their faces.


“How?” I looked at them both incredulously.


“We used the map just like you.” Al laughed when I tried to look innocent.


“Cheaters!” I shouted with a smile on my face.


“So are you, so you can’t talk!”


“Shut up and let’s eat…” I rolled my eyes, “If we can get out of here.” I looked back to the two boys who just shrugged, got their phones out and used the map to navigate us back out again, this time it only took ten minutes. We walked back over to the rock-climbing wall and into the open café, Rick wasn’t kidding when he said ‘open’ café because it was literally a bunch of picnic tables with a bar running in a semi-circle shape. It had no roof, no walls, nothing it was completely open. There were a few butterflies, wasps, bees and other insects flying around but I couldn’t see many other wildlife animals.


“What do you two want? I’ll get it for you.” Al didn’t sit down on his seat beside me and hovered, waiting for our order.


“Could you just get me a ham sandwich or something? And maybe some lemonade or orange juice.” I answered.


“Yeah, I’ll just have the same. Cheers.” Travis twisted his neck awkwardly so he could watch Al walk to the bar, my eyes were studying his facial expression behind the sunglasses I had just put on.


“So…” I said, the awkwardness was back in full force.


“Listen, I just want to apologise for what I said yesterday… I didn’t mean to offend you.” he rambled apologetically.


“It’s okay, Travis, I know you didn’t.”


“No, you didn’t understand what I meant. Usually people left us Hufflepuff’s to ourselves, didn’t they?” I nodded my head in response, “Well, I thought it was weird how you’d know James but I forgot that it had been five years since you left so they was a possibility that you’d have met. It’s still weird not to think of everything from the perspective of a Hufflepuff student all the time.” He explained and it sort of made sense.


“I guess so but it’s fine, honestly, Travis. It’s nice to see you after all this time.” I smiled happily.


“You too,” He smiled, “You look really good too, engagement suits you.” I blushed at his compliment and Al returned with our food. Halfway eating, I saw a badger wander out towards us and I made Al go and get some grapes that I could feed to it.


“You’re not allowed Elle!” Al warned me but still brought some over. The badger was tentatively waddling to our table after spotting the grapes that Al had put in front of me.


“I’ll be fine, I’ll just hand it a few. It’s cute!” I squealed as it picked one grape out from between my fingers and nibbled on it.


“Just be careful, badgers can be vicious when they need to be.” He warned, watching me wearily as I continued to feed it grape after grape. It nibbled adorably on one before grabbing the next one and devouring that and I couldn’t help but want to pick it up and cuddle it. However, the badger must have suddenly thought I was a danger to it as it scratched along my lower arm and took off with my grapes stuffed into its mouth.


“Ow!” I shrieked, holding my now bleeding arm. The scratch was about  eight centimetres long with some blood coming out and it was very sore, “That actually really hurt.” I hissed, grabbing a tissue that Travis had offered and slowly dabbing the blood away.


“We need to tell Rick, I’m sure he’ll have something to help.” Al stood up and wandered back past the rock-climbing wall before I could protest.


“Did I do anything wrong?” I looked at Travis nervously.


“I don’t know, maybe you moved too fast or something?” he suggested, helping me mop up a little.


“Hello, what seems to be the problem?” Rick’s voice came from behind me and as soon as I turned around and showed him the scratch, he knelt in front of me with his first aid kit and brought out some sort of salve, “Nothing a little cream can’t fix.” He smiled, opening the lid and applying a generous amount before wrapping a clean bandage round it.


“Thank you.” I smiled, observing my covered arm that had my battle scar underneath that I was strangely proud of and couldn’t wait to show off to James later.


“It’s no problem, just don’t go feeding the animals if anymore show up,” He chuckled a little before leaving, “Have fun with the rest of your day!” I blushed at his telling off and carried on eating, thankfully without being attacked by anymore animals. My phone buzzed in my pocket and I looked at it to see James calling me, I didn’t even give him my number?


“Hello!” I answered cheerily.


“Hey, you sound like you’re having fun.” His voice sounded really tired and worn-out. Probably because he had to wake up super early.


“Yeah, I just got attacked by a badger.” My voice was unusually happy for what I had just said and James was confused by it.


“And that’s good because?”


“I have a battle scar that I can tell my grandkids about!” I replied, still happy and smiled even wider when I heard him laugh on the other end.


“You’re too funny Elle,” he laughed again, “How’s the rest of the day going?”


“Really good actually, we’ve been rock-climbing and went in a maze and we’re going to go horse-riding after lunch but I want to go abseiling first. I wish you were here, it’s so much fun!” I said all in one breath.


“Haha, I can tell! I wish I was there as well.” He sighed tiredly.


“Why? What’s wrong? How’s training going?” I asked, calming down a little so I could comfort him if needed.


“If you could call it training, I’ve been sat on the side just watching everybody else for the majority of the day and can only actually get flying in another hour, my coach said,” He moaned. I could hear some deep voices mumbling in the background, “Yeah, I’ll be out in a minute! I’m talking to Elle!” and that was followed by a multitude of teasing.


“Awww, that doesn’t sound good. I hope it goes better for you and I’ll run a bath for you when you get back.” Al made a retching sound from beside me so I turned to him and smacked him on the arm.


“That would be graciously appreciated,” he replied, “Listen, I have to go back and practice now. I’ll see you later, bye.”


“See you, bye!” I answered before he hung up and I put my phone back in my backpack.


“What’s up?” Travis asked.


“His coach isn’t letting him fly at all and he’s supposed to be playing tomorrow.” I rolled my eyes, a little annoyed at his coach for James’ sake.


“That’s a bit shit.” He said and I scoffed in response.


“Right, I guess we’re going abseiling then?” Al cocked a brow at me after what I had said on the phone.


“Yeah, sorry… do you wanna do something else?” I asked, grabbing Al’s arm and looking at his watch which read 14:34.


“No, I’m fine with abseiling then horse-riding. We only have about 2 and a half hours left anyway and those two activities will take that time up anyway.” He shrugged, looking at Travis who agreed.


“Okay, let’s go!” I stood up, clearing away my rubbish and walking the little way to the where the abseiling equipment was. The operator harnessed us all up as we climbed to the top of a really tall tree, then one by one we all abseiled down until we reached the bottom. It was exhilarating and I wanted to do it again so Al and Travis waited at the bottom, taking pictures for me on my phone. Next we walked to the horse-riding pen and I picked quite a small horse because I was small myself, therefore I could climb on easily. The horse, it turned out, didn’t like me very much and tried to veer off or didn’t do as I instructed which just made me more frustrated. My dreams of riding a horse majestically on a beach were crushed at the fact that horses hate me. And I don’t know about you but horses were a major factor in that dream…


“Do animals just hate me?” I moaned when I’d climbed off. When I say climbed off, I meant tried to and ended up falling onto my butt because the horse decided it was going to step sideways as I got off.


“I guess so… can’t see why.” Al said sarcastically as I glared at the horse and called it a whore under my breath.


“Shut up Al, or else…” I trailed off. Damn it, I needed some good blackmail on him and he knew that because he raised his eyebrows and crossed his arms smugly, “I’ll find some dirt on you and use it against you… eventually.” I glared, sticking my tongue out as he laughed at me.


“Good luck with that.” He smirked, walking back to a secluded part of the forest and holding his arms out for us to apparate. We landed back in Travis’ room and said our goodbyes and then apparated back to the villa.


“I’m so hungry, I don’t feel like making pancakes though. Do you think you could help me make some spaghetti bolognese or something? James has obviously had a rough day and it’s the least I could do for being such a hassle for you today.” I looked at Al, who looked at kitchen as equally as terrified as me.


“I guess so, we’d just have to follow a cook-book very vigorously though. I don’t think Mum and Dad would particularly like it if we blew up a whole side of the villa when they got back,” He chuckled nervously, picking out a book and seeing if there were any easy recipes for spaghetti bolognese, “And you haven’t been hassle, it’s been fun to organise it all. It was a great day, especially your epic battle with that badger.”


“Oh, I know. That really was the highlight of my day,” We both laughed, going back to finding an easy recipe to use, “Oh I found one, this looks quite easy and we use our wands for the majority of it so we’ll be less likely to mess it up.” I pointed to it in the book I was perusing through.


“Okay, we have probably about an hour until Lily and James get back… we should probably start,” he stood up, placing the book on the counter and getting out any ingredients that we’d need, “We still need mince-meat and we haven’t got any of that or the sauce that they need to be cooked in.” He said, reading through the book.


“Okay, we could conjure them?”


“No, it won’t work. I’ll just nip to the shop down the road quickly and grab some, I’ll be back in a minute. Just read through the instructions whilst I’m away,” he said, quickly jogging out the door and disappearing. The instructions were easy to follow and I was glad that we chose this one because it meant that there was less time for me to mess up and, like Al said, blow up one whole side of the villa. Apparently, I needed a pan, wooden spoon, knife and some oil and it took me a while to find all these things because I was still quite new to this kitchen and I had no idea where everything was.


“Okay, I’m back. Let’s do this!” He pulled the mince-meat and sauce out of the bag, placing it on the counter and then throwing me an apron that read ‘Keep Calm and Kiss the Cook’ on it and putting on one himself, which read ‘While I have this apron on, I am the boss’ on his. I laughed at his sense of humour as we started cooking. It actually didn’t turn out as bad I’d first thought it would, I mean we did have to start over three times and throw away about a quarter of the mince-meat because I accidentally dropped the pan on the floor that had the mince-meat in it. It just depended on whether James and Lily would like it and just as we were scooping each portion onto four plates, the front door slammed shut and the loud voices of James and Lily entered. I’m guessing they went into their bedrooms to put down whatever stuff they had with them before I heard James’ footsteps coming down the stairs and Lily entering, sniffing loudly.


“Ooh, this smells lovely!” she smiled widely sitting down just as James came in.


“I thought we were having pancakes?” he looked down at his food in confusion.


“Well, Elle came up with the good idea of actually making proper dinner food because you’d both probably be tired by the time you got home.” Al answered before I could, making me blush.


“Yeah and Al helped!” I added when Lily and James’ eyes swivelled to me.


“Thank you, I actually am pretty beat.” James Smiled at me before digging into his food. I sat beside him and Al sat beside Lily and we all dug in, surprisingly, it was actually quite nice and I felt so proud of myself and made a mental note to tell Charity that I could cook something other than pancakes.


“That was lovely Elle and Al, thank you!” Lily said once she was finished, kissing Al on the cheek, hugging him and then hugging me, “You have to come and see what I bought today!” she said, dragging my hand.


“I’ll come see in a bit, need to clean up and run a bath for James.” I smiled at her, standing up, picking up everyone’s plates and putting them in the sink.


“Okay, see you in a bit then.” She gave me a knowing look and exited. James grabbed my arm, pulling me into his lap and burying his nose into my neck.


“You smell like the outdoors.” He breathed in a large sniff and hummed appreciatively.


I laughed, squirming a little, “You smell like sweat.” I got up and walked up the stairs, into the bathroom and set the water running for him. A few minutes later, he came in the room and pulled his shirt over his head and took my arm in his, examining the bandage.


“Let’s see the damage,” He peeled it off gently, revealing a large red, slightly swollen, scratch up my arm that had all but healed now, “Ouch, looks sore.” He twisted my arm to see it better, trailing a cold finger over it lightly making me shiver.


“You should see the other guy,” I joked, making him laugh, “I’ll leave you to have a bath.” I ruffled his hair and left the room, walking down to Lily’s room.


“Come in!” I heard her reply from the other side of the door and when I opened it, she had every piece of clothing laid out on her bed. It mainly consisted of shorts and dresses.


“I see you were busy today.” I said with an amused smile.


“Oh yeah, there were so many things I wanted to buy but I had to restrain myself.” She deadpanned.


“If this is you restraining yourself, I don’t want to see what you’re like when you don’t.” I laughed, sitting on a spinny chair and watching her hold up every piece of clothing that she had bought against her body and silently wishing I had enough money to just randomly go on a shopping spree whenever I wanted.


“Could I please have my fiancée back?” James’ head peered round Lily’s door and I smiled, said goodbye and left. James’ hair was still wet and he was in the middle of towel drying when I walked up behind him and wrapped my arms round his waist, with my front to his back.


“You smell nice now.” I murmured against his back, he smelt like musk and man. And it was a nice smell.


“And I didn’t before?” I could practically see the smirk on his face.


“Nope, you smelt like sweat, mud, rain and blood.” I found myself smiling back.


“That’s because I was playing a very rough sport, love. That’s usually what you end up smelling like.” He rolled his eyes as I let go and sat in the living room on the cushy sofa with my legs tucked under me. James sat next to me, stretching his legs out.


“How’re you feeling now?” I asked, taking in his closed eyes. One cracked open to stare at me, then a smile stretched over his face and he pounced on me, squishing me to the couch, “AHH!” I screamed, giggling at the same time.


“Quite relaxed actually.” he smiled, sitting back up when he was done practically forcing the air out of my lungs. When I could breathe properly again, I sat back up too.


“Do you want to see some pictures from today? I took loads!” I got my phone out of my pocket, lent against James arm which then automatically wrapped around my shoulder, and swiped through all the pictures of today. Al had even managed to take some pictures of when I was feeding the badger.


“Is that what did the scratch?” he asked when he swiped back to the picture.


“Yeah, the little shit,” I hissed and he laughed, “It was so cute though and then it just attacked me.” I pouted and he laughed again.


“Sorry but that’s funny.”


“It’s not,” I stuck my tongue out, “How was training after you called?” I looked up at him, locking the screen on my phone but not putting it away.


“It got better after. Coach actually let me play with the other chasers.” He smiled briefly but then it disappeared.


“What’s wrong?”


“Nothing, it’s just… I know we’re going to win, it’s a great team. Better than Chudley Canons but I don’t really like it and what you said yesterday really got to me,” his eyebrows screwed together in concentration, “I miss being on the Canons, they weren’t as good a team as Puddlemere but the guys on the team were friendlier and I felt comfier.”


“I shouldn’t have said anything James, it was your decision.” I felt incredibly guilty for making him change his mind all of a sudden, I mean this was his career we were talking about!


“No, you should have! It really helped me think,” he Smiled down at me, “I think after this season, I might speak to my manager and see if I can move back to the Canons,” he kissed my forehead, “Thank you.”


“But I didn’t do anything!” I protested, “If anything, I’m possibly ruining your career!” My guilt was really building now. I shouldn’t have said anything! Me and my stupid mouth!


“You’re not ruining it, you’re helping me make a better decision,” he pointed out, “You were right yesterday, if I really loved the job then money really shouldn’t matter… I should just love doing it.”


“If you say so… I still feel guilty.” I looked away from him to the television.


“Don’t feel guilty, you’re helping me.” He shrugged, putting his hand under my chin and forcing me to look at him. My cheeks blushed as he leaned down and placed a chaste kiss on my lips, it was just a tiny lip brush but I felt a small tingle and I wanted to deepen it but he pulled back before I could. This then led to me becoming just a tiny bit more than confused… why the hell was I feeling a tingle? I bet it was because I was in such a good mood, I was just happy about everything. Yeah, that’s what it was.


“Come on, let’s go to bed. I’m absolutely shattered and I know you probably are too.” I held out a hand for me to grab and I did, walking with him to our bedroom and getting into my pyjamas again. As I climbed in, I let out a loud yawn and snuggled myself up in the duvet whilst James chuckled fondly at me.


“What? I’m tired okay, all that walking and animals attacking me has really taken it out of me,” I yawned again, “But there was this one tree though, it was really pretty and it reminded me of a film I watched when I was younger where the tree talked to a young girl.” My eyes drifted closed tiredly. I didn’t know I was this tired until I was now in the really comfy bed.


“What?” James’ confused voice reached me and my eyes peeled open.


Facing him, I asked, “Have you never watched it?”


“What?” he repeated.


OH MY GOD! How can you have never watched any of those films?!” I screeched and James eyes widened in fear.


“I just… I-I…” he stuttered but I interrupted him,


“Right, we need to have a childhood film marathon day! It’s settled!” I said seriously, planning it all out. I just need to get all my films from Charity but I could do that tomorrow when we go back to England for the day.


“Should I be worried?” he asked.


“Nope! They’re awesome films, trust me!” I reassured him, “I can’t believe you’ve never watched any of them.” My voice turned to a whisper in disbelief. James stayed quiet then he suddenly asked,


“So, any more questions?” changing the subject.


“Erm… tell me some more funny stories from when you were in Hogwarts.”


“Right, well, there was this one time that me and Freddy masked the entrance stairs as a slide. So it’d look like the stairs normally but as soon as someone walked down it, it would turn into a slide and they’d fall down it…”


Chapter 10: James' Match
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: I kind of went through a really dry writing patch whilst writing this one so ya know, it might be a little crap and filler-ish but stuff and things happen. You know. I really am rubbish at writing these author’s notes and I mean to get better but I just never really know what to write. I might just start telling you like one thing about me to make it interesting… I can put my feet behind my head. Yeah.


 

Disclaimer: Anything you do recognise, doesn’t belong to me. All Harry Potter characters belong to JK Rowling, apart from Elle and other characters you do not recognise.


 







brilliant chapter image by clowder@TDA again!


“I don’t need to see that up close first thing in the morning.” – Elle Underwood






James was the one waking me up this time, gently shaking me so that when my eyes peeled open, his face was right up close to mine making me shriek loudly.

 
“Ouch! My ears!” He yelled from his position on the floor. When I had shrieked, he’d rolled off the bed and smacked onto the floor in surprise.


“Sorry… just don’t surprise me like that again. I don’t need to see that up close first thing in the morning.” I teased, circling his face with my index finger. He grabbed my hand, yanking himself up and started tickling me.


“Take it back!” he shouted over my laughter.


“Never!” I giggled as he got a good spot on my sides. Eventually, I managed to get my hands on his sides and began tickling him and we were both trying to tickle each other whilst laughing, “Okay! Okay, mercy! I take it back!” I shrieked girlishly and James stopped tickling me so I could catch my breath.


“Good,” he smirked, “It’s not morning by the way, it’s half one in the afternoon and my match starts in four hours.” He added, standing up and walking into the closet, coming back out dressed.


“What should we do for four hours then?” I asked, sitting up in the bed.


“About your birthday…” he trailed off but I interrupted,


“No. We are not doing anything, James. You promised.” I glared at him but he held his hands up in surrender.


“I wasn’t going to say anything about that…” he looked at me seriously so I let him continue, “I was just going to ask, could I tell my family so that at least they know?”


“I don’t see why not. Just as long as you make them promise not to make a big deal out of it,” I sighed, “I haven’t really celebrated my birthday ever since my Mum… because, you know, she uh… you know, on my birthday.” I found saying it difficult and James hugged me briefly and sat back.


“I promise I will make sure they don’t.” I smiled reassuredly back at him and got out of bed to get dressed.


“So, back to my original question… what are we gonna do for four hours?” I asked, stood with my hands on my hips.


“We can start off by having breakfast because I am starving, then go to the beach for a bit,” he suggested, “I can teach you how to play volleyball!” he added excitedly with a massive grin on his face.


“Do you really wanna overexert yourself before a big match?”


“That’s true,” he looked thoughtful, “I’ll get Lily to teach you and I’ll watch.” He nodded his head firmly and walked away without waiting for me.


“Okay then,” I muttered to myself and followed him down the stairs and into the kitchen, “Morning! Did you have a nice day yesterday?” I asked Harry when I saw him reading the Daily Prophet on the table.


“Yes, it was lovely thank you. I hear you got into a scuffle with a badger?” he quirked an eyebrow at me with an amused smile on his face.


“That is true, I even have the scratch as proof.” I brandished my forearm so he could see. It wasn’t as red as it was yesterday but it was still quite swollen.


“Looks sore.” He assessed it.


“Nah, it’s fine. Doesn’t hurt at all.” I puffed my chest out, pretending to be brave.


“My little soldier.” James chuckled.


“The ‘little’ ruins how it sounds.” I pouted, sticking out my bottom lip.


“Yeah but you are small though.” He pointed out.


“I’m not small!” I retorted, “If anything, you’re too tall! You’re like a… a giant!” Harry snorted from behind his newspaper and both our heads swivelled to him.


“Morning you two! Nice sleep?” Ginny walked in from the beach. We both nodded our heads and she laughed, “Thought so, given you’re up after lunch time.”


“We had a late night last night and we were worn out from what we’d done yesterday… well, I was.” James answered, shrugging and wolfing down some triangular sandwiches. I followed his lead but only a few because I wasn’t all that hungry and I was pretty sure that James was gonna have a party of some sort after he’d won.


“I was as well. That horse really didn’t like me very much.” I huffed.


“No, it really didn’t.” Al’s smug voice wandered in and I turned around to glare at him but he just patted me on the head.


“Anyway, are you done so we can start playing?” James breathed out a huge breath of air and stood, offering a hand to me. Lily was already on the beach by the time we got there and so James told her what he was planning and she agreed.


“Learning volleyball is so easy!” Lily called from the opposite side of the net. I had shrugged off my shirt so I was just in my shorts and my light blue bikini top to play. James came up right behind me, his front to my back, and wrapped his hands over mine which were clutching the ball. He lifted one arm up with mine and held out the ball with the other one. I tried really hard not to get distracted or let my mind wander down the path of how much I actually quite liked having James wrapped around me.


“What you wanna do is smack the bottom of the ball as hard as you can over the net with your fist, like this,” he demonstrated, using me like a puppet and Lily caught it and threw it back, “Got it?” I nodded, “After that you just try not to let it touch the floor. Pretty simple really.” He released my grip and went to sit on the side-lines. I copied what James had shown me and whacked the ball as hard as I could and it flung high, over the net and towards Lily who bounced it up with her fist and smacked it with her palm when it was close enough.


AHH!” I shrieked when it came towards me but copied her movements.


“Good one, Elle!” James applauded from the side and I bowed whilst Lily was distracted. Once I got the hang of it, it was actually quite fun and I really enjoyed it.


“Why have I never played that before?” I panted as all three of us walked back up to the villa from the beach.


“It’s fun, isn’t it?” James handed me a water bottle and I chugged it down, “Really gets your blood pumping. Me and you should play against each other some time.”


“Oh no! I’d rather not get injured thanks.” I protested, still catching my breath. That had been the most exercise that I had done in a while and I was really feeling the burn.


“Chicken.” He started flapping his arms and making chicken sounds.


“No, I saw you the other day playing and I’d rather not get hit with that ball if you’re the one who’s smacking it towards me,” I rolled my eyes and James smirked at the many sexual innuendos that he could extract but before he could say anything, I added, “Shut up and let’s get ready to go back to dreary England.” I walked back to our shared room with James, going into the closet.


“I’ll probably get changed into my Quidditch uniform, make sure to wear something warm, okay?” he raised an eyebrow at me, grabbing his robes and going into the ensuite bathroom.


“Okay.” I looked in each drawer to find something remotely warm. I decided on a long, dark grey maxi-skirt, my ankle boots that I had worn when I first talked to James and the blue jumper I had worn when I met his family the same day. They were the warmest clothes I had in my wardrobe seen as I had brought clothes that were to be worn in Spain, in hot weather.


“You ready?” James knocked on the closet door, just as I hopped into my ankle boots and I stumbled against the door, pulling it open.


“Yeah, let’s go.” I smiled, walking back down the stairs all flushed from playing volleyball.


“Is that everyone ready to go now?” Ginny looked round at everyone and we all put our fingers on a Portkey just as it turned blue. We landed in a large conference room that was completely empty, all the chairs set out for the press after the game.


“Well, I guess I’ll see you after the match then.” James looked down at me, wrapping his arms around my waist tightly with me placing my hands on his chest.


“Yeah, guess so,” I paused, “Good luck. You’ll do brilliantly.”


“I know.” He smirked and I rolled my eyes. He leaned down, placing a gentle kiss against my lips and that tingle was back again.


“Okay, I think you’re coach will be a bit annoyed if we keep you any longer.” Lily coughed, breaking us apart. My face flushed pink as did James' and his family wished him luck, with one glance back at me, he walked through another door off to the side and it shut slowly.


“Let’s go and find our seats. Hopefully we’re inside.” Ginny shivered a little and ushered us all out towards the entrance to the stands. The security took one look at all of us and let us in straight away. Harry and Ginny headed the group, weaving their way further upwards until we were directed into a posh room with plush chairs, a buffet table and a selection of wines lay across a table. A waiter stood in the corner, a young-ish boy with jet black hair in a freshly shaved buzzcut.


“Good evening Mr and Mrs Potter, Mr Potter, Ms Potter and Ms Underwood. Is there anything I could get for you?” he asked formally.


“A glass of Aguila Coleccion Merlot please.” Ginny asked, sitting in the middle seat on the front row, saving the two seats on either side for Harry and myself.


“No thank you,” Harry smiled, “Call me Harry though.” And he took his place beside Ginny. Al and Lily didn’t want anything else either so they stood closer to the window-wall that gave us a fantastic view of the pitch.


“Ms Underwood, anything for you?” he asked.


“Oh, erm… could I have a small plate of tidbits please? And a beer please?” I ordered tentatively, it was weird giving orders to a sort-of butler.


“Of course, Ms Underwood.” He bowed stiffly, turned around and started with my order. I took my seat next to Ginny and she turned to me eagerly.


“I take it you haven’t been to any of James’ matches?”


“Er no, we decided not to just in case our paths crossed.” I thought up on the spot, needed to remember to tell James that tonight or tomorrow.


“Smart thinking, you’re idea?” she looked impressed.


“Actually no, it was James’.” I decided to give him some credit, her eyebrows shot up into her hairline and her jaw slackened.


“Wow, never would have thought he’d be sensible enough to think of that.”


“Neither did I.” we both laughed.


“Excuse me, Mrs Potter and Ms Underwood, you’re food and drinks.” The waiter was back, handing us both our drinks and conjuring up a small side-table to put my food on. I looked at his name-tag that read ‘Lucas’.


“Thank you, Lucas.” I smiled, taking a gulp of my beer.


“It is not a problem, Ms Underwood.” He bowed and went to stand in his position by the door again.


“Just a fair warning, James likes to shock everyone just a little.” Harry leaned forward so he could see me past Ginny and laughed.


“I’ll keep that in mind.” I laughed too, nibbling on some cocktail sausages as I was nervously waiting for the teams to come out.


“Albus, Lily! You best not be betting over there!” Ginny scolded her children, who snapped their attention away from their joined heads, chatting quietly over a piece of paper.


“Of course not, Mother!” Lily looked affronted.


“We would never bet.” Al smirked.


“Very funny you two, don’t aggravate your Mum.” Harry raised his eyebrow at the two.


“Yes, Dad.” They mumbled, resuming their positions and continuing to bet but even more inconspicuously.


PLEASE WELCOME TO THE FIELD…” the commentator’s voice echoed around the stadium, “THE AWAY TEAM, THE APPLEBY ARROWS; DOMENIC THEROUX, BRENDAN CALLAGHAN, JONATHON GRIFFITHS, JACK KEPLER, ALEX KEELEY, KEVIN BRAXTON AND THE CAPTAIN, LOUIS MCGUIGAN!” there was a loud series of cheers from the far end, directly opposite us from the Arrows fans. Some Puddlemere fans were politely clapping but had bored expressions on their faces as the players zoomed round the pitch, showing off, “AND NOW, THE HOME TEAM!” a louder cry of applause, “THE UNDEFEATED, 25 TIME LEAGUE CHAMPIONS… PUDDLEMERE UNITED; AARON CLERKE, OLIVER KNIGHTS, LIAM JEFFERSON, FRED HUBERMAN, BASIL PHELPS, JAMES POTTER AND THE CAPTAIN, JOAQUIN ANDON!” the crowd was deafening as the Puddlemere players were racing around the pitch like the Arrows had done before. James flew by our window slowly, blowing me a kiss through the glass and I laughed. They all got in position, James with the other two chasers in the middle as the referee went through the rules, held the Quaffle ready, blew his whistle and threw it up. The game began.






That was the most intense game I’d ever seen in my life and I had seen the Gryffindor/Slytherin matches in school a fair few times. Ginny laughed at me every time I jumped forward at the edge of my seat when James got the Quaffle or a Bludger flew past him closely. I wasn’t all that sure why to be honest, I just knew I didn’t like the idea of him being hurt. Charity had also called and asked if we all wanted to come back to hers for dinner, it was a good opportunity to pick up all my films so I made sure everyone agreed. Who am I kidding? They were the nicest family in the world, of course they didn’t disagree.


“That was… fun.” I breathed a sigh of relief when the whistle had blown, ending the game when the seeker for Puddlemere caught the Snitch, meaning they had won the match at a score of 280 to 230.


“You look like you enjoyed it, you were practically on the edge of your seat.” Harry teased and I laughed sarcastically when everyone else laughed.


“I know why I haven’t ever watched it before, it looks terrifying.” I admitted, looking at my partially chewed nails.


“It’s exhilarating when you’re up there though, it gets your adrenaline pumping and you get all excited!” Lily exclaimed happily.


“Agreed.” Harry and Ginny said in unison.


“Don’t look at me, I hated my flying lesson and I’m not part of the whole weird ‘adrenaline’ thing my family has going on.” Al held his hands up.


“Yeah, me too. Never really understood it.” I shrugged and we high-fived at the fact we had something in common. Our dislike of playing Quidditch and getting on a broom.


“James should be done with his interviews now, so we can go and get him and apparate to your sister’s house.” Ginny stood up with the rest of us and we made our way down all the stairs again and into the conference room where we waited for James to appear. A few minutes of waiting around and he finally walked through the door, followed by the rest of his team mates.


“Hey guys!” he grinned, immediately walking to his family who congratulated him and his team mates before coming towards me, “Told you we’d win.” He kissed my temple.


“Yeah, no need to show off.” I rolled my eyes and put my arm around his waist.


“Guys, meet my fiancée… Elle.” He got the attention of the other players who then gave me a once over.


“Got yourself a good one James.” A guy with very broad shoulders stepped forward, shaking my hand firmly and smirking at me.


“Thanks, Liam.” James rolled his eyes and pulled me closer to him protectively.


“Yeah, if you don’t marry her soon I’m gonna have to take her off you,” another guy stepped forward and winked at me but I knew who he was, Oliver Knights, another chaser with James and the world’s most notorious bachelor. Oliver’s greedy eyes roamed my figure before trailing back to my eyes, “Oliver Knights, it’s an absolute pleasure to finally meet you.” he winked again and I felt a little uncomfortable. I noticed Lily was eyeing him up hopefully as James introduced me to the rest of his team and I could see that they hardly got on with one another, now I understood why James didn’t particularly like his team mates.


“Sorry about Oliver.” James whispered to me as he’d ventured off to probably flirt with something that had a heartbeat.


“He’s a bit…” I trailed off trying to find the right word.


“Forward?” he suggested.


“That’s being nice.” I scoffed and he laughed.


“True,” he nodded his head with an amused smile, “I guess some boys just don’t change their whore-ish ways.”


“Like you can talk, James!” I laughed happily, my arm was still around his waist with my thumb hooked through the belt loop on his jeans.


“Excuse me but I have been in two serious relationships, okay?” his brow raised.


“Really? And what would be the second one?”


“This one.”


“James, this doesn’t count. We’re not in a real relationship.” I rolled my eyes, feeling a little down now that I had reminded myself that it wasn’t real. I’d started to believe it was for a second.


“But to everyone else we are,” he whispered quieter as Alex Keeley walked past us to leave, saying a quick ‘bye’ and ‘congrats’ to James, “We are friends though right?”


“I guess we are.” I shrugged.


“So, it’s kind of like a serious relationship without the couple-y stuff when we’re alone.” He explained.


“James,” I laughed, “You’re logic is unbelievable.”


“I know,” he missed the sarcasm again, “Sometimes I wonder where these amazing thoughts come from.”


“Anyway,” I tried to steer the conversation from James’ obvious lack of logic, “Charity called and invited us all over for dinner tonight, which will give me the perfect opportunity to get all my DVDs.” I squealed happily and James looked worried.


“What time are we going?” he asked.


“Whenever we’re all ready.” I replied, looking around at the rest of the team and the Arrows, who had joined us during our conversation.


“If it isn’t my little Gingernut?” a voice drawled behind me and I whirled around, ready to insult Valerie and ask how the hell she even got here but came face-to-face with Domenic Theroux, a chaser for the Arrows. I thought he looked familiar but couldn’t quite place it, “Don’t remember me?” he looked a little put out.


“I recognise your face,” I scrunched mine up in concentration, “Just not your name.”


“That’s because I didn’t go by my real name, just like you Gingernut.” He winked and suddenly it hit me like a freight train.


“Oh my God! Lewis! Oh wow!” I rushed forward and embraced him, “You play Quidditch? What the hell? When did you quit?”


“One question at a time sweetheart,” he chuckled, releasing me but holding me at arms-length, “Yes, I play professional Quidditch. Got two girls to look after now, haven’t I? My own fault, drunken one night stand. And I quit not long after you did.” He answered my questions. I hadn’t seen Lewis (Domenic) in a few years, well ever since I worked at Dolls Kill and he worked behind the bar. He was by far the funniest and best person to work with from what I remember at the start, he was also the straightest gay man I’d ever known, which would come in handy in situations with randy men. I significantly remember one particular incident where a severely drunken man had tried to feel me up but the club had a strict ‘no touching’ policy and Lewis helped me, using a wand. I thought I was the only witch in the place, given that it was a Muggle strip club but after that I was glad that there was another magical person in the immediate environment.


“Two girls? Wow! How old are they?” I asked in shock. I never would have thought that he’d sleep with a girl and get her pregnant, let alone do it twice.


“Both three, twins. But I love them both,” He smiled, that explained the two kids then, “You’ve turned your life around, I see.” He glanced between me and James.


“Yeah. Molly and Charity helped,” I shrugged, “So have you! Quidditch! Never pegged you for a player.” I smirked and he lightly nudged me on the shoulder.


“Shut up, I have a family to provide for now anyway so I gotta do something. I was pretty good with a broom back in the day… well, I was pretty good with gripping long, hard sticks, if you know what I mean.” He winked, making me want to laugh and vomit at the same time.


“You’re so gross,” I rolled my eyes, “You know, I always wondered what happened to Destiny?” I asked curiously.


“In jail now, got two kids as well.” He answered.


“Who’s looking after her kids?”


“Their Dad, last I heard.”


“And who’s that? An alcoholic?”


“Me, actually,” my mouth dropped open, “Don’t look at me like that! We were both very, very, very drunk and it just sort of happened!” he argued, “I never expected her to turn up on my doorstep nine months later with two babies and suddenly just pass them over to me with no explanation!”


“Lewis! It’s okay, I’m not judging you,” at this he raised his eyebrow, “Much. But really, am I in a suitable position to judge you on what happened in your past?” he just looked at me, “I’m not, am I?”


“I guess not,” he shrugged finally, “So, are you going to introduce me or is your fiancé going to stand there like a pleb whilst we talk?” he addressed James, who was stood there awkwardly.


“Oh yeah, James this is Lewis, Lewis, this is James… my fiancé.” I gestured between each person and they shook hands.


“Sweetheart, you need to learn my real name.” He chuckled.


“Sorry, it’s weird to call you Domenic now.” I rolled my eyes.


“How do you two know each other?” James asked and we shared an awkward glance.


“Well, Lew-Domenic and I worked at Dolls Kill together but he worked behind the bar.” I answered awkwardly, avoiding eye contact with James.


“Oh right, I assume you took care of her for me then?” my head snapped up to James’ to see him staring at Domenic with an amused smile.


“Corse I did.” He nodded his head with the same smile.


“Am I missing something?” I looked between the two of them.


“No, just answering his question.” Domenic shrugged but I was staring at him suspiciously.


“Anyway, we’re all going out tonight. All of us, including the Arrows, to celebrate, you should come,” He nudged me in the shoulder again, “Party like the olden days, eh?”


“I’m never getting like that again,” I laughed, “Although, it did help with my tolerance to alcohol.” I smiled.


“I wouldn’t mind going out for one night.” Lily butted in from where she had been talking to Oliver and Liam.


“I’ll probably just go home, I’m not one for going out on big nights out.” Al said and we all started organising where we were going to meet.


“I guess we should be going then. Have to be at my sister’s before dinner is finished.” I said, rounding everyone up and saying goodbye to everyone and embracing Domenic tightly again. We all apparated to just outside my sister’s house where I knocked on the door and rocked on my heels before she swung it open, pulling me into a tight hug.


“I’ve missed you so much!” she said when she’d released me.


“I’ve only been gone for like a week Charity.” I rolled my eyes and laughed anyway.


“I know, Ruari and Gabby have been going crazy to see you again. They’ve missed you too.” She smiled and soon enough, Ruari came charging out the living room having heard my voice.


“Lellie!” Ruari screamed, jumping into my arms as I picked him up, kissing his temple like I always did.


“Hey kiddo! How’re you doing? Where’s Gabby?” I asked as Charity welcomed everyone else in, introduced herself and motioned us to the living room.


“She’s in the living room and I’ve been playing games all day with Daddy ‘cause he was at home today.” He explained as I put him down on the floor and tackled Darrell.


“Hey Elle.” He laughed, detaching himself from me and stepping forward to introduce himself like Charity had.


“Gabby! Where’s my beautiful little niece?” I shouted happily and she crawled out from behind the couch and ran towards me.


“Lell!” she yelled and I picked up her, bending over so he was dangling in my arms and blowing a raspberry on her bare stomach. She squealed happily and clung to my neck as I sat next to James on the couch, he was watching me with a fond smile on his face.


“Gabby, this is James. He’s my fiancé.” I introduced them as Lily joined in playing with Darrell and Ruari.


“Hello, Gabby.” James smiled and that was enough for Gabby to fall in love with him because she crawled onto his lap and demanded he play ‘Humpty Dumpty’ with her.


“Sorry about her, she’s a bit overexcited at the minute.” Charity apologised, bringing everyone some drinks out.


“She’s cute.” He smiled at her, laying her on his lap and bouncing her whilst she squealed. It was utterly adorable to watch him playing with her.


“Excuse me, man?” Ruari tapped Harry on the knee after getting bored with playing with Lily and Darrell.


“Hello, Ruari.” Harry smiled, shaking his formal outstretched hand and I had to laugh.


“Can I see your scar?” he blurted and the room went silent before Charity charged forward and snatched him.


“I am so sorry! Ruari, we do not ask personal questions, do we?” she scolded him and he looked to ground upset.


“No, Mummy.” He mumbled.


“It’s perfectly alright,” Harry smiled and lifted his hair so we could all see the lightning shaped scar, “Here.” He gasped in awe and Charity took the time to announce that dinner was ready and we all made our way into the dining room.


“It makes you kind of want kids again, doesn’t it Harry?” Ginny watched as James carried Gabby into the dining room on his hip whilst I walked beside them, holding her small hand.


“EW! No more baby-making in the house please! I don’t want to know about that stuff!” Lily shrieked, covering her ears. Harry laughed and put his arm around Ginny’s waist,


“I’m perfectly happy with our three beautiful children.” And kissed her on the lips gently and I sighed happily. James was staring at me out the corner of my eyes, placing Gabby in her seat and sitting beside me.


“Me too,” Ginny smiled happily round at all of us, “And anyway, it’s way past our time to have children now. That’s being passed onto you two.” She nodded towards myself and James and I blushed, James just smiled.


“Yeah but not for a while, I’m not ready to be a Granddad just yet.” Harry joked and we all laughed. Charity brought in our food and we all scoffed it down, I was incredibly hungry seen as I didn’t have breakfast and a small lunch.


“So, how’s the holiday going? Are you being careful?” Charity asked me as we stood in the doorway of the living room. Harry, Ginny and Al had gone back to the villa because they weren’t joining us tonight. I was watching James as he was playing with Gabby on the floor, pretending to be injured when she pounced on him. It was so cute and I suddenly found myself entertaining the idea of me actually being married to James with our own kids.


“Yes Charity, we’re being careful.” I rolled my eyes. We weren’t even having sex but she didn’t need to know that.


“Just making sure. You don’t want to be pregnant when you’re walking up the aisle like I was.” She said, she always hated the fact that the wedding clashed with when she was the biggest.


“There’s nothing wrong with that, Char, you got a beautiful little boy out of it.” I reassured her and she smiled down at Ruari.


“I know,” She smiled, “James would be a good Dad.”


“He will.” I smiled too, feeling really melancholic.


“You’ll be a good Mum too.”


“I hope so.” I mumbled unsurely.


“You will, I promise.” She hugged me and sent the kids off to bed so we could get ready and meet everyone else at the club.


“I haven’t seen Molly in a while, do you reckon she’ll come out if I call her now?” I asked Lily, who was busy shimmying into a black sequined dress that stopped just below her arse and had a low V-neck that was transparent material so you could see the top of her bra.


“It’s Molly, of course she’ll come out!” she rolled her eyes and I picked up my phone and dialled her number.


“Hey stranger! Was wondering when you’d finally call me?” she answered without saying ‘hello’ like a normal person.


“I’m back in England toda-”


What?! Why didn’t you tell me?” she hollered down the phone.


“Let me finish!” I shouted over her.


“Sorry, continue.” I heard her giggle and I laughed.


“I was back in England today for James’ match today. And I met on old friend from Glasgow and we all decided to go out tonight, wanna come?”


“Of course I will! Just tell me where and when?”


“Erm… we’re all meeting in Diagon Alley near The Leaky Cauldron and then walking down to The Pulse together.” I answered, raking through Lily’s wardrobe as we’d all apparated from my sister’s house to their house to get ready.


“Ooh, The Pulse! I love The Pulse! I’ll be there!” she squealed.


“Okay, see you in a bit then.” She said ‘bye’ and hung up, leaving me to be confused as to what I should wear.


“Just choose something, Elle.” Lily huffed from her corner where she was applying her ‘smokey eyes’ make-up.


“I don’t know what to wear though. Should I wear a dress or a top and shorts?” I held up a deep red tight fitting dress and some denim short, shorts and a black shirt that was completely transparent down the middle of the front and back.


“The shorts and top, it’ll look really cool with these heels.” She chucked a pair of black studded wedges towards me and I slipped them on after pulling the shorts and top on. It was all very tight and short, revealing quite a lot of skin but I didn’t mind as much because I wasn’t the only one who was going to be wearing skimpy outfits so I wouldn’t stand out. The shorts were a bit too short for my liking though, showing a little bit of the bottom of my arse but Lily told me that it looked fine. She applied some pale pink lip-gloss on my lips, curled my hair for me and put on an application of thick, black eyeliner.


“Okay, let’s go!” I smiled, checking my reflection in the mirror again and making sure that I had my wand and phone in my little purse, with an undetectable extension charm.


“Can I just say that your boobs look massive in that?” Lily assessed me with her eyes, making sure everything was okay.


“Thanks,” I blushed, “You look drop dead gorgeous too.” And she smiled back at me, linking our arms and walking down the stairs to meet James, who was waiting at the bottom of the stairs. He looked absolutely delicious in a tight, grey shirt and black jeans, his thumbs casually looped through his belt loops.


Whoa!” he gasped when he saw me and I blushed.


“Okay, let’s go so we can go party.” I grabbed onto James’ arm.


“You look sexy.” James whispered in my ear as we waited around outside The Leaky Cauldron for everyone else and a shiver ran down my spine, my heart jolted in my chest.


“Wish I could say the same about you, love.” I copied what he’d said to me a while ago and I turned around to face him, his hands resting just on the top of my arse and his forehead resting against mine.


“You’re so funny.” He rolled his eyes at me and kissed me just a little too passionately, before he separated our lips and started trailing kisses down my neck and I giggled.


“Oi! Lovebirds! Get a room!” someone shouted and we pulled away to see Molly rushing towards us with an amused smile on her face.


“Shut up, Molly.” James glared at her but kept his hands where they were.


“Is that anyway to greet your cousin, James?” she smirked and I detached myself from him and ran forward to hug her.


“Hey, how’re you?” I asked, pulling away and James stepped forward and put his arms back round me protectively. I was not objecting though.


“I’m so happy that I can actually see you out. You’re still all loved up though which is a bit disgusting.” She scrunched her face up as I hit her arm lightly.


“Tell me about it.” Lily joined in, her hands on her hips.


“When you both find someone that you love, I’m going to tease you endlessly.” I retorted and they laughed. The rest of our group joined us soon and we all walked towards The Pulse, with me holding Domenic’s hand and my other arm wrapped around James’ waist.


“We’re having shots as soon as we get in there.” Domenic made me pinky promise as we walked to the front of the line and were granted access straight away. Domenic pulled me straight to the bar, ordering us each four shots of tequila.


“What shots are we doing?” I gasped, looking as he placed four slices of lemon each near the shots and grabbed a salt shaker.


“Tequila shots woman! Go hard or go home!” he exclaimed exaggeratedly, James and everyone else had found a booth in the VIP section as we were separated and I waved to James to show I was fine. He was staring between myself and Domenic with an impassive expression on his face, which made me confused.


“Ready?” my attention was drawn back to Domenic and we both licked a line of salt off our hand, downed the shot and sucked the lemon wedge, repeating the process another three times.


“Ugh, that is so disgusting!” my face was scrunched up and I shivered at the horrible after taste of tequila.


“Thought you’d be used to that,” he winked at me and ordered the bartender over again, “Two alcopops please.” The bartender waved his wand and two bottles appeared in front of us with the caps removed. I took a massive swig and walked with Domenic back to our table in the VIP section.


“Already getting started without us?” James raised an eyebrow and smirked at me.


“Well if you were a big boy, you would have joined us.” I teased sexily and he pulled me onto his lap, kissing my shoulder and we both were bopping our heads to the thumping bass-line of the song.


“Hey! Gingernut, they have a pole over there!” Domenic shouted at me over the noise, “Wanna have another go? For old time’s sake?” he smirked and I rolled my eyes.


“Maybe when I’m drunker and I can’t remember it tomorrow.” I laughed.


“Deal.” He then proceeded to try and get me really drunk so I’d dance around the pole.


“You are not going to get me as drunk as that Lew-Domenic.”


“Worth a try.” He shrugged, chugging down the rest of his drink and ordering some more.


“Wanna go and dance?” Lily called to myself and Molly and we all stood up, walked onto the main dance-floor and started dancing sexily to the songs.


“James can’t keep his eyes off you.” Molly whispered to me and my eyes swivelled over to where he was sat, sipping on a beer and watching me.


“He hasn’t ever since he saw her wearing her outfit.” Lily smirked but I ignored them and continued dancing. Soon Domenic joined us and was busy grinding with Lily and Molly but I could also see that Oliver was staring at Lily jealously and I wondered whether there was anything happening between them.


“Lily!” I shouted at her.


“Yeah?” she shouted back.


“What’s up with you and Oliver?” I asked, standing closer to her so she could hear.


“Nothing’s up.”


“Come on, Lily. I’ve been seeing the looks you’ve been throwing each other.” I rolled my eyes. She detached herself from the dancing sandwich with Molly and Domenic and came to stand right in front of me, so her mouth was by my ear as we continued to dance.


“We kind of slept together a while back…” she answered, “We’re basically fuck buddies, kind of, but I’m starting to like him. It’s too complicated to just leave it.”


“Lils, why did you start? You know his reputation.”


“I know I did. At first I thought it was just uncomplicated sex whenever we wanted it but now I really like him and I don’t know what to do.” She looked so lost and I vowed to help her.


“Listen, I’ll help you, okay? If he comes up to you, dance with him, do whatever but don’t go home with him at any cost, okay?” she nodded her head, “And if I see him try to get you home, I’ll drag you away and make up some sort of excuse.”


“Thank you so much!” she hugged me but we were interrupted by someone tapping me on the shoulder. I turned around to see Liam Jefferson stood behind us.


“Yeah?” I asked, having to step closer so we could hear each other.


“Care to dance?” he smirked, staring so obviously down at my boobs.


“No thanks,” I turned around and began dancing with Lily again but Liam couldn’t take no for an answer and I felt him come up behind me and start to grind, “Hey! I said ‘no’ jerk face, I’m taken.” I pushed him away from me and he became angry.


“Take a joke, God.” And stormed off probably to get over his rejection. I couldn’t help the icky feeling so I marched back to where James was chatting to Joaquin and pulled him towards the dance-floor.


“Okay…? Where are we going?” he asked confused.


“To dance.” I simply said and when we reached Lily, I put my arms around his neck and pressed my whole body against his, swaying my hips to the beat of the song and soon James joined in with me, but he placed his hands on my arse this time.


“Okay, so what’s got you in a bad mood?” he leaned his head down so I could hear him.


“Liam Jefferson. The bastard.” I hissed and he drew back with an angry expression on his face.


“What did he do?”


“Just asked if we wanted to dance so I said no and he just fucking started grinding on me.”


“Where’s the arsehole? I will punch him in the face.” He spat angrily. Just looking at him so riled up made me see how handsome he actually was and my heartbeat jolted again. It must have been the combined effort of the alcohol, the heat of the club and the cramped space on the dance-floor but I suddenly felt incredibly attracted to James so I pulled his lips to mine and snogged the living daylights out of him whilst we continued to sway our hips together.


“Don’t start having sex on the dance-floor now!” Molly shouted close to us and I pulled away, moving my arms from his neck to his waist and shot a finger at her.


“If that was your way of distracting me…” he gulped, “Ten out of ten.” I rolled my eyes and we continued dancing, completely forgetting that there were other people in the massive club.

 

“I think we should go back guys, it’s getting close to four in the morning.” Lily yawned and we said bye to everyone, me promising to ring Domenic soon (we’d swapped numbers) and him being disappointed that I hadn’t ended up dancing round the pole. Molly said she would text me later and I agreed before we apparated back to the villa, trying and failing to be as quiet as possible in heels and just a little bit drunk.


“Well, that was fun.” James came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist as I pulled my white pyjama shirt on over the top of my outfit whilst shimmying out of it underneath.


“Mmm,” I murmured in agreement as he kissed gently down my neck again, “You best not be giving me any hickeys, the other ones have only just disappeared!” I turned around in his arms and slapped his chest.


“I’m not, I promise,” He smirked, kissing back up my neck and to my mouth. It seemed we’d been kissing more alone than we had been in public but I wasn’t really all that bothered, he was a good kisser. A very good kisser, “I have to show you something.” He looked at me sheepishly when we separated.


Chapter 11: Spanish Sunrises are Beautiful
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: So I had this idea for a while in my head, I knew I wanted to write this chapter back when I was writing the third or fourth one and now it’s finally here! I really hope you enjoy it and now after 11 chapters, their relationship progresses! WOOP WOOP! Warning: MAJOR Jelle in this one guys! Oh yeah, the interesting fact: erm… I can say the alphabet backwards fast? Does that count? I think it does.


 

Disclaimer: Anything you recognise does not belong to me. Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling.


 





yet another brill chapter image by clowder@TDA!


 
“Why not? You’re a beautiful girl, he should be so lucky to even have you looking his way.” – James Potter II






“Okay…? Should I be worried?” I stepped away from him. He laughed and shook his head,


“No, just put your shorts back on and come with me,” I did as I was told, following him out to the balcony, “Okay, before we go to sleep I want to show you something that you’ll miss otherwise but you’ll have to trust me.”


“I trust you.” I nodded, my head still a little fuzzy from the alcohol but I knew that if he were to ask me that question sober, my answer would still be the same. He hadn’t done anything to prove that I couldn’t trust him, so why shouldn’t I?


“Good,” he seemed a little shocked but gave me the Smile all the same, “Right what I’m gonna do is climb onto the ledge and swing round to this ladder round the side. You do the same when I say it’s okay and I’ll pull you up, just be careful not to fall.” He slowly, and nervously, climbed onto the high ledge in the corner. It probably was not a good idea to do this whilst we were a little drunk. Then he disappeared from view as his hands grabbed onto something metallic sounding and swung his legs round the side of the building, I gasped and leaned round the side to seem him slowly climbing up a ladder onto the roof of the villa.


“You’re okay to try now.” He said and I copied him, climbing onto the ledge and peering round the corner to see the bottom rung on the ladder. I grabbed hold of it with one hand, then the other and then counted to three in my head before swinging round. My whole body was dangling off the side of the building and I had to use all my upper body strength to push myself up so that finally my feet touched the bottom rung. It was the first and only time I would thank God that I used to do pole dancing!


“James!” I called out because I couldn’t see him over the top.


“I’m right here, just hold out a hand and I’ll hoist you up,” he appeared suddenly, holding out an outstretched arm and I grabbed onto it straight away. He pulled me up and when I finally made it over the top, I wrapped my legs around his waist with my arms round his neck and my head buried in his neck, “It’s okay, you’re fine. You’re not gonna fall.” He laughed at me so I slowly peeled myself away from him and onto the floor again.


“Sorry.” I mumbled, going pink and feeling embarrassed.


“I thought you weren’t scared of heights?” He quirked an eyebrow up at me as we walked right to the middle of the roof and sat on the floor, our legs crossed underneath us.


“I’m not… I just, I’m not a fan of them,” I crossed my arms as he laughed, “What is it you wanted to show me anyway?” he looked down at his watch on his wrist and replied,


“It should happen in about an hour so we have to wait for a while.” He shrugged not giving me an indication as to what it might be so I stared out at the sea in the horizon, a light-ish blue tint was staring to appear from the dark blue skies and I just watched it intently.


“So… what do you wanna talk about?” I asked, breaking the silence.


“I dunno, what do you wanna talk about?” he repeated my question, staring ahead of him. Because of being a little drunk, I was feeling brave so I decided to ask him about his relationship with Courtney.


“Tell me about Courtney.” He sighed and didn’t talk for a while until I looked at him and he was staring at me with a quizzical expression on his face.


“What do you want to know about her?”


“Where did you meet her?” I turned my body to face his because I was genuinely interested. It could help me understand the relationship between the two.


“In a night club,” he smiled a little and I felt angry that he was smiling. He shouldn’t be smiling, “It started off as a one night stand and then, I dunno, the sex was really good so I wanted to meet her again. I made my Dad find out all about her and it turned out she worked in a small boutique on Diagon Alley. We kind of met up loads after that but…”


“But?” I coerced him as he’d paused, swallowing thickly.


“But she had a boyfriend. She’d cheated on him with me,” he paused again and I was sure my eyes had widened, “I just wanted her so I persuaded her to dump him and get with me.”


“But surely James if she cheated with you, she’d cheat on you.” I said quietly.


“Yeah, no need to remind me.” he scoffed.


“Did she…?” I gasped and covered my mouth with my hand. He just nodded his head, “Oh James! With who? Did you know them?”


“You remember when you asked who my first friend was?”


“Joe Blacklidge?” I nodded my head, “Him? Seriously?”


“Yep, it was about a year into our relationship. They met for the first time at a night club, like we had, and I didn’t think much of it. Until I heard rumours in the magazines. And then I saw them together. In my bed. That’s why I moved back into my Mum and Dad’s.”


“I’m so sorry.”


“You don’t have anything to be sorry for,” he laughed, “You’ve done nothing wrong.”


“I know, I still feel bad,” I shrugged, “Why did you stay with her for two years after hearing and seeing that?”


“Well, we weren’t really together for the full two years after that. We were on and off all the time but I’m not really sure why I stayed with her those years…” his eyebrows came together in confusion and he looked at the floor.


“Can… can I just suggest something?” I thought about trying to explain what Ginny said to me about Courtney.


“…Okay?” he looked back up at me as I knelt in front of him, sitting back onto my haunches.


“I don’t think,” I struggled to say it as he was watching me so intently, “I don’t think you actually were in love with Courtney…”


“We were together for three years, of course I was in love with her!” he protested.


“James, just hear me out,” he stared at me but stayed quiet so I took that as he was going to let me explain, “It doesn’t matter about how long you were together, that’s not what love is truly about. Loving someone and being in love with someone is completely different.”


“How so?”


“I love my sister, I love my brother-in-law, I love my niece and nephew but I’m not in love with them. You see?”


“Not really?”


“Loving someone means that you would do anything for them and you love having that certain relationship with them. Being in love with someone is exactly the same as loving someone but you put their needs before your own, you worry about their happiness before your own and you can take away the kissing, the hugging, the touching, the sex and be left with your best friend. It’s the ability to take away all those things and still feel the same way about them regardless.” I explained and we both fell into silence.


“What happened between you and Travis?” he asked finally, I was staring at him but he’d looked away from me and I felt intimately close to James all of a sudden. Not in the sexual way either. We’d never talked about this before. Hell, I hadn’t talked about this with anyone before, not even Charity or Molly.


“Nothing really, just a high school crush that never took off and dwindled away as the years went on.” I shrugged, relieved that we’d stopped talking about love.


“You never kept in touch with him when he left?”


“Nope, never had time to and when I left, I had no idea where he would be really,” I explained, “And by that time, the feeling had completely gone.”


“You don’t like him anymore?”


“No, why?”


“What about that Domenic? You don’t like him?” why was he suddenly asking who I liked? He wasn’t going to set me up with them, was he?


“I really don’t think he’d want to go out with me anyway.” I laughed.


“Why not? You’re a beautiful girl, he should be so lucky to even have you looking his way.” He complimented making me blush massively.


“Thanks but he doesn’t go for my type, if you know what I mean,” I hinted but he still didn’t get it, “He’s gay.” I rolled my eyes.


“Really? He didn’t seem like it yesterday!” His jaw dropped open.


“Yeah, he’s not the stereotypical gay man, is he? I think it’s awesome, everyone always thinks that they’re over the top and in your face but not every gay man is really. Same with girls,” I laughed, “He told me that that annoys him so much when people assume that because he’s gay he paints his nails, wears women’s clothing and talks with a really high pitch voice.”


“Oh right,” he seemed to relax and looked back out to the horizon, “Look it’s happening.” He whispered. I turned my head towards his eye-line and saw the most spectacular view I had ever seen in my life. A golden ray of light broke through the different shades of blue, illuminating the small town around us in orange light. I bathed in the golden light, until the sun started to make an appearance, tinging the blue sky around it with a pink/orange/yellow glow. All the colours merged together to create one picturesque view and my mouth was hanging open at the beautiful sight in front of me.


Oh wow…” I whispered, not wanting to disrupt the landscape with my voice.


“Isn’t it beautiful?” I turned my face to his, to find he was watching my expression wearily.


“Yes, it’s magnificent.” I whispered again and looked back to soak it all into my mind. Just then, a jagged streak of pure white light struck the earth in front of us, shattering the atmosphere followed by a loud, ear-splitting sound a few seconds later. I felt the first drop of water hit my left arm, then one by one the raindrops fell down until the heavens opened.


“Okay, I wasn’t planning on this. Let’s go back inside.” James stood up and started making his way back to the ladder as another jagged spear of lightning hit over the water.


“Wait!” I halted him with my hand, pulling him back as I stood up, “Let’s just… stay here for a bit,” I smiled up at the sky, closing my eyes and letting the rain wash everything away from me and getting drenched within 10-15 seconds. I laughed happily, feeling so free for once and started spinning and dancing crazily. I opened my eyes to look at James. He was watching me with a dazzling smile on his face, “What?”


“Nothing… it’s just, this is the first time I’ve seen you properly happy,” he beamed wider, “You look like you’re glowing.”


“I love the rain.” I smiled up at the sky again, ignoring his compliments.


“Why?”


“Because it feels like everything’s being washed away… ready to start again tomorrow.” I continued to spin in the warm rain and soon James joined in. We probably looked like right loons, stood on top of a villa in the pouring rain with lightning and thunder roaring around us and dancing.


“Okay, I’m getting tired. I think we should go back in now.” James yawned as the rain started to disappear, settling into a light drizzle and I agreed. He let me climb down the ladder first before jumping down after me, pulling his soaking shirt over him as we walked back into the bedroom. He got his wand out, dried both of us before we collapsed onto the bed completely knackered.






My eyes peeled open to see James still fast asleep next to me, I snuggled closer to him and nestled my head under his neck with a small smile on my face.


“Hey, you’re awake.” James mumbled and I looked up, his eyes were open fully.


“Good afternoon.” I yawned and stretched.


“How do you know it’s afternoon? It could be morning for all you know.” He teased.


“Please, we were up till the early hours of the morning. There is no way it is still morning.” I scoffed and he stuck his tongue out at me.


“Shut up.” I laughed again and he Smiled. I suddenly grabbed his hand and intertwined my fingers with his.


“Thank you for talking to me about Courtney last night/this morning.” I squeezed his hand gently and he moved himself forward slightly so he could reach my forehead and place a delicate kiss there.


“Thanks for explaining things to me… I think I understand now,” He winked at me and stood up, “And anyway, don’t we have a movie marathon day to get started?” he offered me a hand and when I took, yanked me out of the bed and into his arms, making me squeal.


“Hey! That’s not nice, I wasn’t ready!” I pouted but he kissed me on the cheek and set me on the floor.


“Are we going to get changed or are we going to go downstairs like this?” he gestured down to our clothing and I saw that he was still wearing his black jeans from yesterday and I was wearing my white pyjama top and my short shorts from last night as well.


“Okay, yeah I think we should change.” I mumbled, blushing and quickly hurrying into the closet. I picked out some black shorts and a plain white tank top because all we were doing was sitting in the living room watching movies continuously. It wasn’t like we were going to out anywhere.


“We’ll get some food and stuff to eat whilst we’re watching them.” James said as we walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. Ginny was already up and bustling about, 2 big bowls of popcorn were on the table beside 2 bars of chocolate, another bowl of sweets, crisps and drinks.


“Thank you so much Ginny! I wasn’t expecting all this.” I gasped when I saw it all lay out on the dining room table.


“Well James said yesterday you were having a nice chilled day in so I thought I might as well make some nice food for you to eat as you’re watching.” She waved her hand as if it wasn’t a big deal.


“Thank you.” I stepped forward and hugged her, I think it was the first time I had hugged her and not the other way round.


“Don’t worry about it,” she blushed a little, “Now, I made sweet popcorn and salted because I didn’t know which one you prefer and I got you some coke, lemonade and some other fizzy drinks as well.” She pointed to each one and I felt like I was a teenager again, organising a slumber party except with one person and it was a guy.


“Thanks Mum.” James gave his Mum a kiss on the cheek and helped me carry everything into the living room where Ginny had obviously placed some blankets and pillows on the floor in front of the TV for us.


“You’re Mum really likes organising stuff, doesn’t she?” I laughed, putting the popcorn, chocolate and drinks on one side of the blankets before plopping myself down and underneath one of the comfy layers. James followed suit, lying underneath with me and putting his arm around my waist, I laid my legs across his and he put his other hand on my thigh.


“She does. She likes to think it gives her a bit more control over us,” He smirked, “It really doesn’t.” Suddenly a though occurred to me.


“Oh no.” I gasped.


“What?” he looked at me worriedly.


“I completely forgot to get the DVDs from Charity. I’m an idiot.” I smacked my hand against my forehead.


“I know you did but Charity seemed to think you’d forget and gave me them in a bag to give to Mum.” He smirked at me.


“I could kiss you!” I squealed happily as he pulled out my collection of films and showed me each and every one.


“Why don’t you?” he leaned closer to me flirtatiously and I gulped.


“There’s no-one around.” The room was getting hotter. Unless that was just me. It probably was.


“That didn’t stop you last night.” He winked, coming even closer.


“I never kissed you last night.” I pretended like I had no idea what he was talking about.


“Want me to refresh your memory?” he was so close now.


“Erm… I’m not sure whether we should watch Marching Against Tradition or Leaving Carter first?” I shoved the DVDs between his face and mine in order to not get him to kiss me. Don’t get me wrong, I would have enjoyed it but I was confused enough as it was… I didn’t need him to confuse me anymore. And I decided that I wasn’t going to kiss him when we were alone anymore, it was probably for the best seen as we had two weeks to go until this whole thing was over.


He sighed, annoyed and replied, “Why don’t we watch Leaving Carter first? It looks good.” He put the disk in and I relaxed. He lasted about three films until I felt a finger on his hand rubbing circles on my thigh lightly, making me shiver.


“Hiding From Dennis has to be my favourite one, I think.” I rambled.


“Yeah?” James didn’t seem at all interested in any of these films.


“Just because of the storyline. A little boy whose Dad died when he was younger and having to live with his evil step-father Dennis and his two evil step-brothers. I would hate that.” His hand moved a little further up my thigh and he started placing kisses on my shoulder, moving higher each kiss.


“Sounds really bad.” He muttered and I was finding it really hard to concentrate as John, the little boy, met the girl of his dreams through a garden hedge but wouldn’t meet her properly until later on.


“And then he meets Katherine, a girl his age, who totally sweeps him off his feet,” he had reached my neck and I stumbled a little, “Dennis finds out and forbids him from ever leaving the house but he sneaks out every night just to meet her,” he had reached my cheek, “And eventually, he sticks up for himself just before she leaves and joi-.” My voice was cut off as James had reached my lips. His lips kissed me gently, moving against my own and his hand moved from my thigh to my waist as he rolled me underneath him slowly. I couldn’t really think of anything else as my hands wrapped round his neck and I kissed him back just as vigorously.


“I think,” James said between kissing me, “We’re becoming one of those couples that don’t bother watching a movie and end up having sex in front of the TV.” I pulled back in shock and he didn’t say anything as he started kissing down my neck again. It must be his favourite thing to do to me apparently, he did that a lot. It was a good thing that Lily came in at that moment breaking us apart otherwise I’m pretty sure we might have actually had sex. Not a good idea Elle, not a good idea at all. Having sex meant getting attached to someone, I mean look at what happened to Lily. I told myself sternly that I was not letting myself have sex with James and I was going to try everything possible to discourage the notion every time it came up, as well as kissing which I had already broken. Bad Elle!


“Mum said the bonfire’s ready!” she said as she came in then squawked when she saw the position we were in, “Oh my God! Please don’t tell me your having sex under there!” she covered her eyes and James laughed.


“Don’t worry, we’re still fully dressed. We were just kissing a little.” He smirked down at me, pecking me on the lips again and standing up, offering me a hand. I switched the TV off and cleaned up the room so that all the food was gone because it was obvious we weren’t going to go back in that room later on.


“Anyway, Mum and Dad have set up the bonfire for us on the beach. They have the marshmallows, chocolate and wafers all out there too.” She said before exiting, leaving us both alone again.


“Wasn’t too hard, was it?” he smirked.


“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I huffed, walked out the room and through the kitchen onto the beach where a massive fire was blazing. Three logs were set out around it and Lily and Al were sat on one together with marshmallows on sticks, holding them over the fire and arguing about something. Harry and Ginny were sat together on another log, arms around each other and talking. I guessed the last log was for me and James so I took my seat, picking out a marshmallow and hovering it over the fire.


“We’re having smores for dinner?” James quirked a brow, sitting himself down next to me and slinging his arm over my shoulder.


“Apparently.” I lifted the wooden stick to show him that I had already started mine.


“Fine by me,” he shrugged, putting three all on at the same time and I rolled my eyes, “What? I’m being efficient. You’re using one stick for one marshmallow, it’s a waste really.” He teased, glancing at me quickly before looking back at the fire.


“Shut up, I can re-use the stick you dumbass,” he pulled the marshmallows towards him, stuffing all three into his mouth at once and I laughed, “You’re so gross.” I pulled my marshmallow towards me, blew on it to cool it down and bit into it tentatively, making sure not to burn my mouth.


“So, what do you want to do tomorrow?” he asked me when he’d managed to swallow his mouthful.


“I dunno, what can we do? I might go do some more tanning.” I shrugged.


“We could go to the nearest mall for a while, there’s not many good shops there but it’s still shops I guess.”


“Good thinking, I still need to get everyone souvenirs back home.” I smiled and my phone buzzed in my pocket. It was a text from Molly.

 

Molly: How was your day? I feel like shit and I woke up with that Domenic next to me. Don’t worry, we didn’t have sex or anything xxxx’



Elle: Yeah, it was good. It’s your own fault for drinking so much, I don’t even have a hangover. Just chilled in the villa, watched a few movies with James and now we’re having a bonfire. Good because you’re most definitely not his type, if you know what I mean ;) xxxx’

 

I placed the phone back in my pocket as it had sent and I realised James had been reading it over my shoulder.


“Nosy bugger.” I muttered and he laughed.


“Can’t I see what my future wife is texting to other people? Or is it a lover I don’t know about?” he pretended to be serious.


“That’s called being incredibly mistrusting of me, James.” I rolled my eyes.


“Well, can you blame me?” he scoffed but I knew he was still hurting about what we talked about this morning.


“I’m still sorry, James.” I whispered. His arm had moved off my shoulder to hold the marshmallow stick properly so I linked my arms around his and laid my head on his shoulder, glancing quickly at the other Potter’s to see whether they were looking or not.


“Like I said before, you don’t have anything to be sorry for.” He chuckled quietly.


“But you lost a best friend and lost your trust in your other relationships.”


“Joe was like my best friend back in Hogwarts,” he suddenly said, “Even more than Fred or Al. It was strange, he was my first friend outside of the family and then he practically became family. I trusted him completely with everything.”


“It must have hurt you a lot to find out about him and Courtney.”


“Yeah, it did. More than I thought it would actually. My girlfriend and practically my brother in the same bed together, I didn’t want to think about it.”


“What did you do?”


“Didn’t say anything for the first few minutes, just kind of stood there as they both pleaded that it ‘wasn’t what it looked like’,” he scoffed, “That’s what got me mad. They said it like it wasn’t obvious what they were doing,” He put on a false, mocking voice, “Silly me, they weren’t having sex. No, they were playing fucking water polo.” He hissed under his breath.


“What happened between you and Joe?” I asked.


“I told him that I never wanted to see him ever again, he wasn’t my best friend as far as I was concerned from that point on.” He finally looked at me and I could see the hurt, the pain and the guilt in his eyes all in one.


“Did you ever see him again?”


“Oh yeah,” he scoffed again and turned away from me, “Tons of times. It was always about how sorry he was that it happened, but he wasn’t sorry it happened. He was sorry he got caught doing it. I was an idiot.”


“You aren’t an idiot James,” I reassured him, “Both of them are the idiots. To throw away a best friend and a boyfriend like you, it was a stupid thing to do. You’re worth ten times more than them.” He kissed my temple.


“Thank you.”


“And whoever does actually marry you later on in life,” I swallowed thickly, not liking the idea that he would get married to someone else, “Is one lucky woman.”


“Same to you,” he Smiled down at me, sending a flurry of butterflies through my stomach, “He’ll be the luckiest guy out there.”


“Thank you.” I blushed, looking away from him and feeling my phone buzz in my pocket again.

 

Molly: Don’t rub it in, I couldn’t find my Hangover Potion either so I’ve been stuck with this pounding headache all day. And I’m guessing when you say ‘watching’ you really mean ‘snogging the whole time and paying no attention to the film whatsoever’. Thought so. What do you mean? He doesn’t bat for the other team, does he? :( xxxx’


Elle: I’m not even going to entertain that with an answer. And yes, he does bat for the other team. I’ll text you later xxxx’

 

“Poor Molly when she finds out the guy she likes is gay.” James laughed.


“You need to be nicer to Molly, she is your cousin.” I pointed out.


“So? I have loads of cousins and I’m not going to get along with all of them.”


“But Molly’s my best friend and you have to like my best friend by default.”


“Just like you have to like my best friend by default. Fred’s really hard to love if you haven’t grown up with him your whole life.” He smirked.


“He seemed alright when I met him at that club. He liked me too apparently, kept buying me drinks.” I teased, trying to make him jealous and it was working as his jaw muscles clenched. His response was cut off by my phone buzzing and I pulled it out annoyed at Molly for interrupting us again but was surprised when I saw my Dad calling me.


“Hello?” I answered. James was watching me wearily, having seen the caller ID.


“Hey Elle…” silence, “So… how’s your holiday going?”


“Yeah, it’s going good.”


“Good, good,” silence again, “Charity made me call to see how you were doing so I’ll being going now. See you.” he didn’t even wait for me to say anything and hung up. I really wished he didn’t hate me. It just made everything so awkward, like now for instance. James was watching me, I could see him staring at me out the side of my eyes but I was staring resolutely at the ground.


“I, uh, I think I’m gonna go and take a shower now. I’ll see you later.” I said quietly, standing up and walking back to the villa. I wasn’t quite sure what I felt about that phone call, I think I was upset but I didn’t feel like I was going to cry at any point because of it. I think I was disappointed. Disappointed that after two years of finally talking to him again, he was still being forced to talk to me by my sister. I don’t know why she even bothered anymore, it was obvious he didn’t want anything to do with me and she should just leave it at that. He shouldn’t be forced to talk to me if he didn’t want to. I stripped off my clothing and stepped into the luke-warm shower, taking my time to wash my body and hair so that I wouldn’t have to face James’ inquiring glances. Once I was done, I clambered out, dried myself and headed down into the library when I’d pulled my pyjamas on. I pulled Treasure Island off the shelf, curled myself up on the couch and carried on reading from where I had dog-eared the page.


“Elle, are you okay?” James asked, coming to sit next to me and taking the book out of my hand when I didn’t answer him.


“Hey! I was reading that!” I protested but crossed my arms when he just glared at me.


“Answer my question.” He demanded.


“I’m fine, now can I have my book back to read?” I glared back just as hard at him.


“You’re not fine, so why don’t you tell me what the real reason why you just got up and walked away after your Dad rang you?” he sat on the book so I couldn’t get it off him.


“Nothing, it doesn’t matter.” I stood up and walked to the bedroom, knowing that it was way too early to be going to sleep but I was actually quite tired. Probably from what we did earlier this morning. I slipped under the covers and snuggled myself up in the duvet. Just as I was about to drift off, I felt the bed dip beside me and I felt myself be rolled over to face James.


“Elle, it does matter. Your whole attitude completely changed after that phone call… I’m not forcing you to tell me but I’m just letting you know I’m here, okay?” he pulled me to his chest, where I snuggled my head under his neck and thought about how much this day had been an eye-opener. I figured something out as well… I fancied James. Like not just a school girl crush either, I properly liked him not because of the fact he was handsome but because I was getting to know the real him and it was completely different to what I imagined he was like in Hogwarts.


Chapter 12: We're Getting Married... Crap
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A/N: Oooooh… Elle and James are really in for it now! Sorry for the filler-ish beginning! And what do you think Al and Harry are planning? Interesting fact of the day: I know every word to The Big Bang Theory theme song.
 

Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling and The Notebook belongs to Nicholas Sparks and the publisher, Warner Books. The extract is from Chapter 1.



 






beautiful CI by just.a.willow.tree@TDA!


"I am going to murder that boy one day." - Elle Underwood


 




 

If there was one day that I really didn’t want to get out of this bed, it was today. I just wanted to stay here with my eyes closed, not having to see or do anything at all.


“Come on Elle, we’re going shopping today.” James’ voice said from above me and I opened my eyes, unfortunately, to see him knelt on the bed fully dressed and towel drying his wet hair.


“Can we not just have a lazy day? I’m tired.” I whined, rolling onto my front and burying my face into the pillow.


“No, we had a lazy day yesterday and I thought you wanted to buy your family some souvenirs.” He pointed out.


“Ugh! Fine. I’m getting up.” I moaned, pushing myself into a sitting position and then flopping over sideways so I was lay down again. I heard James laugh.


“You’re so funny, Elle. Now get up otherwise I will make you get up,” he warned. I grunted, showing him I was annoyed and pushed myself up again, “That wasn’t too hard, was it? Now get your lazy arse out of bed and get ready. Dad’s coming with us as well, just so you know,” He chucked the towel on the floor, using his wand to finish drying the rest of his hair and then sat in front of the mirror and styled it. It made me laugh, “What are you laughing at?”


“Nothing, just the fact you’re actually styling your hair. I don’t think I’ve seen you do it.”


“Just because you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean I don’t.” he scoffed.


“That’s what’s so funny.” I reached my arms over my head and cracked my neck and back.


“Nice underwear.” He smirked and I quickly covered my arse with my shirt, forgetting that I didn’t wear my pyjama pants again last night.


“Shut up.” My face flushed and I stormed into the bathroom, making sure that everything was covered as I turned away from him laughing. I filled the bath with bubbles and foam just to relax me even more and hopefully make James forget about going into town because I had taken so long in the bath. I think maybe half an hour had gone past as I lay, completely covered, in the bath with my dry hair hanging over the edge when James casually walked in.


JAMES?! GET OUT!” I shrieked, trying to cover myself even though I knew he couldn’t see anything.


“Calm down love, I’ve just come to see what’s taking you so long. Hurry up.” He said before walking back out and shutting the door behind him.


“Stupid James.” I muttered, putting my head back down again and trying to regain my heartbeat back to normal. I nearly had a heart-attack, why did he have to do that? I got out, wrapped a towel round me and let the water drain out. As I was drying my hair in front of the mirror, James walked in again.


“I forgot my brush.” He sneakily reached round me in my towel and grabbed it before winking and leaving again.


“I am going to murder that boy one day.” I hissed to myself, finally pulling a white baggy shirt over my light pink bikini and some more denim shorts on.


“Come on, let’s quickly grab some breakfast and go.” He pulled my arm as I came out and practically dragged me down the stairs and into the kitchen.


“Morning.” Harry greeted us when we walked, sat in our seats and James poured both of us a bowl of cereal.


“Morning Dad.”


“Morning Harry, sleep well?” I asked politely, feeling a little rushed off my feet as James was doing everything for me today.


“Yes thank you. You?”


“Yeah, really well as well, thanks,” I smiled at him which he returned, “Where’s everyone else?”


“Ginny and Albus have gone off gallivanting somewhere,” Harry answered, “And Lily’s still asleep, I think.”


“Honestly, am I the only one who gets up early in this family?” James exclaimed and Harry and I scoffed loudly, “What?”


“I’m pretty sure you’ve been getting up around lunch for the past few days.” Harry teased him.


“That’s Elle’s fault!” he protested, not realising how sexual it sounded.


“Nice to know.” Harry smirked, making me blush. James quickly stood up, putting everyone’s bowls in the sink and waving his wand to make them clean themselves.


“What’s got you in such a hurry?” I chuckled, amused that he was getting everyone moving. Usually it was Ginny who did that but today it seemed he’d taken over from his Mum’s role.


“Just want to get everybody ready so we can go.”


“You are so like your Mum.” I laughed and he pouted adorably, making my stomach flip. Ever since I had admitted to myself that I liked James… I’d begun to have these weird heart palpitations, stomach flips and butterflies every time he did something remotely cute or adorable. Or hot. Just had to throw that in there.


“Shut up.”


“At least he’s not like me. I was terribly unorganised.” Harry smiled between the two of us as we walked out the villa and down the main street, my sandals clip-clopping every time I took a step.


“You still are.” James whispered under his breath but his Dad caught it.


“Hey!” and I ended up laughing as James tried to deny saying anything whilst Harry looked sternly at his son. I grabbed his hand and intertwined our fingers… just because I had admitted I liked him didn’t mean I could suddenly stop pretending for his family. It just made it harder.


“And anyway,” I interrupted the two, “You’re unorganised too.”


“I am not! I’d like to hear proof that I am!” he protested.


“Telling me about this holiday,” I pointed out, “Telling me that you were going back to England for a training day and that the day after that you had a match.” I listed on my fingers.

 

 

 


“Alright, alright. I get it.” He huffed but I smirked at him until he Smiled back, pecking me on the lips quickly.


“I’d have to disagree,” Harry butted in, “He must be very organised to keep this relationship a secret from us for two years. As well as the press,” I quickly averted my eyes to floor as James coughed awkwardly, “I mean, keeping it from us is a hard feat but from the press, you’d have to be very sneaky.” I really wished we’d get off the topic of this relationship.


“So, what are you doing today Harry?” I asked politely, changing the topic of conversation. The street around us was busy with tourists that were animatedly snapping pictures of everything that seemed just a little bit foreign, wearing the usual palm tree t-shirts in wacky colours like yellow, blue, orange or red. The locals were pointing at each tourist, making comments in Spanish whilst carrying shopping bags from the direction of the shopping centre we were walking towards. Cars zoomed past us in all different colours whilst the sun reflected off the shiny metal, blinding me for a few seconds each time. I was glad that most people were sweating slightly from the heat because I was pretty sure I was sweating like a sinner in church.


“Just need to pick up a few things.” He tapped his nose secretively. El Centro Comercial was written on the huge sign just outside the glass entrance doors. Harry held the door open for us and we were greeted by a rush of cool air and I nearly just stayed there all day.


“Ooh, that was nice!” I shivered a little, feeling James tug my hand forward to follow them into a small, cute-looking boutique.


“Can’t stay there all day, Elle,” James laughed at me, “What are thinking of getting them?”


“I dunno,” I shrugged, “It depends what they have. Maybe some sort of jewellery.” I started searching round the whole store. There were lots of beautiful beaded necklaces in different colours hung up in glass cabinets, some of them even had gorgeous pink or clear crystals welded into the beads. But my eyes were drawn towards a cabinet that had bracelets, particularly two that had identical patterns on them, in two colours but in different orders. One was blue with white floral designs all around it whilst the other one was white with blue floral designs and I thought it was perfect for Charity and Gabby because they were the same but different. I picked them both up and made my way to the till.


“Can I have these two please?” I placed them on the counter.


“Sí, eso es €2.” He answered and I was pretty sure he was telling me how much it was so I placed two euros on the desk, he took them and put the two bracelets in a small bag for me.


“Gracias.” I smiled, picked up the bag and headed to the next store which sold a variety of knickknacks.


“You know I could have paid for you, right?” James said when he was picking up some sort of crab shell, closing one eye and staring inside it.


“No, these are my presents from me to them. So I’ll pay for them,” I replied sternly but turned around and pecked him on the lips quickly, “Thank you for offering though.”


“I’ll offer more if it gets you to kiss me again.” He winked and I rolled my eyes but blushed all the same. It was getting harder to remember that this wasn’t actually real, why did I have to realise that I liked James? Hopefully it wouldn’t develop past this stage into something more because by the end of the month, I was probably not going to see him and his family again.


“I don’t know what to get Darrell. I know he needs some more quills but we can’t exactly buy quills here, can we?” I whispered to James. He had his hands on my waist with his head resting on my shoulder. Harry was just a little further down, picking different objects up and assessing them like James had with the shell before.


“You never know, this shop looks like it’d sell severed heads.” He joked loudly and the store owner glared at us so I slapped him on the arm.


“James, keep your voice down,” I hissed but he just chuckled more, “I don’t wanna get kicked out.”


“We won’t get kicked out, don’t worry.” He whispered in my ear.


“We will if you don’t shut up.” I mumbled, trying to act like he wasn’t affecting me in any way.


“Elle, James, I’m just going into the shop across the way. Just meet me outside this shop when you’re finished.” Harry called from the entrance and we both nodded.


“What about these?” James picked up some peacock feathers on a dresser-type table with a bunch of mismatched trinkets on it, “They could be used as quills if he sharpens the ends?” he suggested as I came to stand by him.


“That’s a good idea actually.” I smiled, took the set of four peacock feathers off him and headed to the front desk. Once I’d paid, we walked back to wait for Harry to finish in his shop and meet up with us before we went into a clothes shop. It took a while before I picked up a few small shirts for Ruari, a dress for Gabby and a maxi-dress for Charity because I’d completely forgotten to give her back the one I had borrowed when I met James’ family.


“Are we gonna have lunch now and then go home?” Harry asked.


“Yeah, I think I have everything I need today,” I smiled and we started leaving the shop. When I turned around, my shoulder collided heavily with someone behind me and our bags dropped the floor, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I wasn’t looking where I was going.” I apologised, helping them with their bags before getting a good look at their face.


“Hey, Elle.” Travis grinned when we both stood up again.


“Travis, fancy seeing you here.” I said a little awkwardly as James came to stand beside me protectively.


“Travis? Where are you? I told you to stop wandering off!” a shrill voice called and I winced. I really hoped I could go the rest of the holiday without ever seeing Valerie again, “Oh, hello again!” she smiled evilly when she saw who he was stood with.


“Hey, Valerie.” I looked down at my feet, scuffing them across the floor.


“What are you doing here?” she asked.


“Just doing some shopping for Elle’s family.” Harry answered, finally appearing from wherever he had disappeared to. It had seemed like he had told James to distract me whilst he did something secretly, it was making me really suspicious.


“Well we’re just about to go for some lunch down in that small restaurant down there, you’re welcome to join us?” she offered. I looked up at James, silently pleading for him to come up with an idea to decline but Harry spoke up before he had the chance.


“Sure, might as well.” He shrugged and we all walked to the restaurant in tense silence. James lightly squeezed my hand and when I looked up at him, he mouthed ‘sorry’ to me.


“It’s okay.” I sighed, sitting down in the seat that he was holding out for me.


“So, what brings you two to the El Centro Comercial?” Harry was the first to start the conversation. There was no way that it was going to be me, I had nothing to say to Valerie or Travis, for that matter. All the friendliness that had happened on Friday was completely gone as I remembered who he was currently going out with.


“Some celebratory spending.” She answered smugly, sending me a quick glance and I refrained from rolling my eyes.


“And what are you celebrating?” James asked, pouring himself a glass of water.


“Can I take your order?” the waiter came and interrupted us before Valerie could answer.


“Can I have a bottle of white wine and a bowl of Caparrones please?” Valerie ordered, handing him back the menu.


“I’ll just have the same.” Travis muttered feebly.


“Erm… two house specialties please?” James looked at me but I just nodded my head in response.


“And I’ll have the Escabeche, thanks.” Harry handed him the menu and smiled back down at us. The waiter bowed, nodded his head and left us to carry on talking, unfortunately.


“What were we saying before?” Valerie started talking straight away, “Oh yeah, I’m celebrating because I just closed a deal with a local resort so it’s now officially mine.” She boasted.


“Congratulations.” James said, just to be nice not out of actually meaning it.


“Thank you. I used to be a waitress up in Scotland for a while,” was she really bringing up the waitress card right now? “But you know, I thought to myself that I could do so much better than that. I mean, Mum always said that I was too ambitious to be working as a waitress and I guess it just paid off.” What. A. Grade A. Bitch. Did she really just imply that I wasn’t ambitious enough? The waiter came back with our food and Valerie continued to boast about her new resort whilst I sat with one hand clenched under the table.


“Excuse me, I’m just nipping to the loo.” I stood up quickly and followed the signs to the women’s toilets.


“So, enjoying your holiday?” Valerie had obviously followed me in.


“Why did you say that in that magazine Valerie?” I sighed, facing her and crossing my arms.


“Say what?” she began washing her hands, looking completely innocently.


“You know what I’m talking about, so why don’t you just admit you said all that to make me look bad?” I glared at her.


“Oh, I never said it to make you look bad,” she gasped as if I had just offended her deeply, “I genuinely care of about you Elle. We wouldn’t want you going back to that now,” she put a hand on my shoulder, “And anyway, you have James now to look after you. It’s strange, isn’t it? You two don’t seem all that comfortable around each other I noticed, is something wrong?” she was smiling smugly and left me in the bathroom when I didn’t say anything, completely shocked and upset. She was toying with me and it was working. I went back to the table to see everyone chipping in for their meals but James had already paid for me.


“James, you didn’t have to pay for me.” I whined when I sat back down.


“I wanted to so don’t protest. We’re gonna be married soon anyway so what’s mine is yours and vice versa.” He Smiled, kissing me on the lips gently in front of everyone before we walked out the restaurant.


“I guess we’ll all see each other soon.” Valerie waved us away and we started walking back through the main street to the villa.


“Elle! Oh good, you’re back! I need your help.” Lily ran forward, grabbed my hand and yanked me into her room without any explanation.


“What? What’s happened?” I instantly started panicking, had something happened to Lily since we’d been gone?


“Don’t worry, it’s nothing bad,” she reassured me, “It’s about Oliver.”


“Oh,” I relaxed and sat cross-legged on her bed, “What’s the matter?”


“I got a text from him when I woke up this morning and I don’t know what to reply…” she handed me her phone and I read through the text;

 

Oliver: What was up with that Domenic guy you were dancing with last night?’

 

“Lily, I don’t want you to get your hopes up or anything but…” I handed her back her phone, “It, sort of, seems like he’s jealous of Domenic because you danced with him.”


“Really?” her eyes bulged and her face moulded into that one that clearly states she’s about to squeal girlishly, “Oh my God!” and there it was.


“Don’t get too excited Lily,” I warned her, “He might not like you… it just depends on what we text him back.”


“And what should I say?”


“Well, you need to act coy. Say that he’s an old friend.” I told her.


“But… he’s not. I didn’t know him before last night.”


“Yeah but he doesn’t have to know that.” I rolled my eyes, she nodded and sent the text back to him;

 

Lily: Just a good friend I met a while back.’

 

Almost instantaneously he texted back;

 

Oliver: How do you know him?’

 

“Okay, it sounds like he is a little bit jealous. He texted back straight away and with a more personal question,” I laughed when Lily squealed again and went to reply but I halted her, “Lily, you can’t say anything personal. You have to be aloof so you don’t come across as available.” She nodded her head and typed out a reply, showing me before she sent it;


Lily: We met at a party, got a little drunk and kissed a bit.’

 

“Good thinking adding the kiss bit.” I giggled.


“Thanks, I feel guilty that I’m lying to him though,” her smile dropped, “Do you think he noticed that he was gay?”


“Lily, James didn’t know Domenic was gay. I had to tell him straight and I even went through the whole ‘I’m-not-his-type’ routine.” I rolled my eyes and she laughed. Her phone buzzed;

 

Oliver: How much is a bit?’

 

“That’s a good sign, right? If he’s asking how much I kissed him?” she asked, hope gleaming so brightly in her brown eyes that reminded me of James. For God's sake...


“It’s definitely a good sign. Don’t reply with an answer, question him because then he’ll just get even more jealous.”


“Okay.”

 

Lily: Why do you wanna know?’

 

“Now, it all depends on his answer whether it’ll show if he’s properly jealous.” I smirked.


“How can you tell?” she asked, glancing down at her phone every few seconds.


“Because he’ll reply something like ‘Just curious’ or ‘Just wondering’ and it basically means he is trying to show that he isn’t jealous.” I explained.


“How did you get so good at this stuff?” she smiled at me.


“Charity had to go through all this with Darrell when they first started chatting and she showed me all the ins-and-outs of flirting basically.” I replied.

 

Oliver: I’m just curious.’

 

“Oh my God! He’s jealous!” she stood up, did a really weird happy dance and squealed even louder, “He likes me! He likes me!”


“Lily! Calm down!” I shouted over her but with a smile on my face, “Just reply with ‘okay’.” I ordered and she did just that.

 

Oliver: So… how much is a bit?’

 

“He’s just asked me again.” She looked down confused.


“See? He thinks that something must have gone on between the two of you and he wants to know what it is. That’s why he asked you again.”


“What do I reply with now?”


“You don’t.”


“What?” her eyebrows knitted together as she stared at the message on her screen, “I can’t just not reply.” She scoffed.


“You can and you will. If you don’t reply, it makes you look like you’re busy and don’t have time to answer him.” I took her phone off her and pocketed it.

 
“Hey!” she protested.


“Just in case you are tempted to reply to him,” I held my hands up, “I’ll give it back to you later and tell you what to say to him.” I was expecting some protesting from her side but she suddenly engulfed me in a tight hug.


“Thank you so much, Elle!” she whispered.


“It’s no problem, I told you that you could come and talk to me about your problems.” I blushed, feeling flustered.


“I know, I’m so glad I don’t have to talk to my Mum about this. It would be too awkward."

 


“How did this even start anyway?” I asked curiously.


“I was at one of the after-parties to celebrate them winning a match and I got very drunk. We ended up going back to his and, you know,” she blushed, “When he woke up the next morning, he kept apologising and said he felt guilty because he’d slept with his teammate’s baby sister. And that James would kill him.”


“James hasn’t found out though, has he?”


“No, thank God! Anyway, I told him that it was fine because I wasn’t looking for a relationship,” she shrugged, “Because I wasn’t at the time. Then we kind of started the agreement.”


“Did you have any like rules or anything?”


“Yeah, we weren’t allowed to cuddle or anything, not allowed to spend time together outside of our relationship thing and we had to stop if one of us got into a relationship.” She listed.


“Sounds simple. How did you get feelings for him then?”


“We kind of broke one of the rules. We’d just finished and then we started complaining about how bored we were whilst we were laid in his bed afterwards. Then we just got to talking and I realised we had loads in common and…” She answered.


“And you realised how much you actually liked him?” I finished for her.


“Yeah, basically.” Her cheeks tinged pink, “But I think he’s still scared of what James will say if he ever found out.”


“I doubt James will injure him badly,” I laughed when she looked scared, “Don’t worry, if he does get angry I’ll calm him down.” I reassured her.


“Thanks,” she hugged me again, “For everything.”


“Hey, it’s no problem at all,” I said again, “Anyway, I need to go and put this stuff away so…” I held up the bags from the shopping centre.


“Yeah, yeah of course. I’ll just get dressed.”


“See you.” I exited her room, shutting it behind me and walked into my bedroom. When I managed to manoeuvre the pink suitcase down from on top of the wardrobe, I pulled all their presents out of each bag and began packing them away efficiently so that I wouldn’t forget where they were when it was time to go home. Then I tried, and failed, to put the heavy suitcase back on top of the wardrobe. James came up to see what the noise was when I pushed the vanity chair from the bathroom into the closet so I could actually reach.


“Are you just gonna stand there or are you gonna help?” I huffed when the suitcase dropped again.


“It’s quite funny to watch.” He chuckled.


“I’ll show you funny when I throw this suitcase at your head.” I threatened.


“If you can pick it up.” He retorted.


“I won’t miss though, the size of your head will be an easy enough target.” He stuck his tongue out and I reciprocated.


“I was gonna help you but you just insulted me so now I won’t.” he smirked smugly, crossing his arms and standing in the middle of the room watching me fail helplessly as I tried, again, to put the suitcase back.


“James!” I whined childishly. He rolled his eyes, yanked my suitcase up effortlessly and slid it right on top of the wardrobe, next to his, “That wasn’t hard, was it?” I crossed my arms smugly.


“Shut up.” He stood in front of me as I rested my hands on his shoulders. Without warning, he wrapped his arms around my waist and hoisted me off the chair so my legs automatically wound round his hips.


“Ah!” I squealed and giggled at the same time. He pecked me on the lips before setting me down onto the floor where I pushed the chair back into the bathroom. Elle, stop kissing him when you’re alone!


“Come on, Mum and Al are home so she’s starting dinner.” He grabbed my hand, walking with me down the stairs to the kitchen.


“Hello!” I greeted the two when we entered the room, “How was today?”


“Really fun actually,” Al answered, “Helped Mum with a few things.” He tapped his nose just like Harry had today.


“And I had a completely genius idea but you’ll have to wait until we start eating.” Ginny exclaimed excitedly.


“Should we be worried?” James stared at his Mum anxiously.


“No, it’s exciting.” She shooed us into our seats as she prepared our food.


“I’m actually really worried. Mum’s ideas are never good.” James whispered in my ear.


“Thanks for reassuring me, honey.” I replied sarcastically, rolling my eyes and he smirked.


“No problem, love.”


“Everyone tuck in whilst I explain,” Ginny put everyone’s food in front of them and sat down next to Harry with a massive grin on her face, “Anyway, I know that you two have only just recently become engaged,” she looked between myself and James and my stomach dropped south almost immediately, “Well, it’s just an idea.” She laughed nervously.


“Mum, just spit it out.” James cut across her, earning a small glare.


“Why don’t we have the wedding here? In Spain?” she blurted and I choked on my drink quite loudly.


“What?” James spluttered. I was not expecting that. James obviously wasn’t either because he was just staring at his Mum in unadulterated shock.


“Well, it’ll be so romantic to get married here and I can guarantee I’ll help get everything ready as quickly as possible!” she hurriedly said. James looked down at me and I pleaded with my eyes to disagree or make up some excuse. The deal was to pretend to be engaged! Not get married! I wasn’t sure I had the moral compass to do something like that, it was marriage for Christ’s sake!


“But Elle wants her family there with her!” James said quickly.


“And we don’t want anything big.” I added but that seemed to be the right thing to say because Ginny’s grin grew bigger.


“Exactly! It won’t be big at all, just us a lot and Elle’s family. Maybe a few friends and I promise it won’t be much bigger,” She pleaded, “And we can apparate your family here on the day, Elle, it’s no problem at all.” It seemed she had everything already settled so there was no point in disagreeing. Why hadn’t I been worried before about any of this happening? This was one situation that could have possibly happened and I didn’t even consider it… James’ hand was clenching my hand so tightly under the table and everyone was staring at us with hopeful expressions, Lily looked about ready to burst with excitement and that made me feel guilty for agreeing to this whole thing. For the first time ever, I regretted saying ‘yes’ to James properly and I wanted to back out of this deal so much right now.


“Please, please, please can we have the wedding here?” Lily begged, clasping her hands together in a ‘prayer’ form and shaking them slightly, “Oh, it’ll be so cute and adorable and romantic!” she squealed.


My lips moved before I could even full register it, “Why not?” I plastered a fake-smile on my face as both Ginny and Lily simultaneously squealed loudly. My brain had realised before I did that if we said ‘no’ it would too suspicious so the only thing we could do was say ‘yes’.


“Oh this is just fantastic! I have everything all sorted for what we need to do tomorrow!” Ginny jumped up from her chair and put everyone’s dishes in the sink.


“Tomorrow?” my mouth dropped open.


“Yeah, we’ll sort out your dress, the bridesmaid dress, because obviously there’ll only be one if it’s a small gathering, the invitations and the location first so that all the important stuff is out the way,” she planned, “Then on Wednesday we can go and sort out food, music, flowers and all the small minor details.” She looked positively excited whilst I was filled with so much dread. James was still quiet beside me but I didn’t want to look at him.


“Oh… oh, okay.” I stuttered.


“Ginny, honey, calm down,” Harry laughed at his wife, hooking an arm around her waist, “I think we should leave all the talk for tomorrow, okay?”


“Okay, sorry Elle,” she clasped my hands in hers, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to plan my daughter’s wedding but Lily refuses to get into a relationship.” She sent a small glance at Lily, who blushed bright red and I was the only person who knew why.


“I have my reasons Mum.” She moaned, rolling her eyes.


“But you can’t be a spinster for the rest of your life.” Ginny chuckled at her daughter’s outrageous expression.


“I’m not a spinster! I just… I haven’t met the right person yet,” She sent me a small glance and I smiled briefly, “I mean, I am only twenty-two!”


“And your Mum knows that Lily,” Harry sent Ginny a ‘look’ and she shut her mouth, “She’s just excited at the moment.”


“And rightly so.” Al inputted and I glared hard at him.


“Anyway, let’s leave the two of them alone so they can start planning things out.” Ginny started to usher everyone out but my phone buzzed in my pocket.


“Actually, Charity’s calling me. I have to take this,” I held my phone up, answered it and walked onto the beach so I could talk to her privately, “Hey sis.”


“Elle, I’m so sorry about Dad yesterday. If I had known…” she trailed off.


“I know, it’s okay,” I sighed, “I just think, maybe, it’s not a good idea if you get him to talk to me anymore.”


“But Elle!” she protested straight away, “He’s your Dad! He should talk to you, no matter what has happened!”


“Charity, it’s just for the best. If he doesn’t want to speak to me anymore, we shouldn’t force him.” I replied, the lump in my throat growing thicker and thicker.


“I’m sorry, Elle, if there was anything I could do to make him change his mind-.”


“Well, there is nothing you can do so we just give up.” I interrupted her.


“I can’t, Elle, it’s not fair for him to just suddenly stop talking to you!”


“It’s been two years Charity, if he’s still not willing to voluntarily speak to me… it’s a hopeless case,” I sighed, completely and utterly defeated, “At least you tried, for my sake.”


“I really did try. Sorry it didn’t work out. Love you.”


“Yeah, love you too. Bye.”


“Bye.” She hung up and I turned around to head back inside but came up short when James was stood there, hands in his pockets and studying my expression wearily.


“How much did you hear?” I asked, my voice catching in my throat a little.


“Enough.” He replied quietly, still watching my expression.


“Wh-?”


“Come on,” he suddenly grabbed my hand, pulling me behind him into the library. Once he was sat down, he sat me down beside him and put my legs across his lap, “Read to me.” He passed me The Notebook.


“What? Why?” I grabbed the book, rotating it in my hands and reading the blurb.


“Because you have a good reading-voice and I want to close my eyes for a while.” He answered, leaning his head back and closing his eyes slowly.


“Are you sure?” I opened the book, flipping forward to Chapter One.


“Just read it, Elle, please.”


“Okay…” I took a deep breath and began to read, “Who am I? And how, I wonder, will this story end? The sun has come up and I am sitting by a window that is foggy with the breath of a life gone by.” I got to about Chapter eight when I finally looked up at James. He had been oddly silent and still but when I saw him, I understood why. He was fast asleep, his mouth hanging open slightly whilst he was softly snoring with his head leaning towards me. It was utterly adorable and I felt myself smiling. My hand reached up and brushed a little bit of hair away from his face, moving down to trail his jawline before my thumb lightly brushed the little scar on his upper lip. He looked so peaceful as he slept and I felt myself falling for him even further. He was just always there for me, I noticed, and he didn’t even need to when we were alone, he could just completely ignore me whilst we were by ourselves and not be nice at all but he was. He was so considerate as well, like just now, he distracted me from that horrible phone call by telling me to read to him. And it worked. It seemed he was doing it to make me happy and I wondered when he suddenly cared about my happiness. My hand dropped from his face and a few seconds later his eyes peeled open.


“Sleepy?” I chuckled quietly when he stretched himself out.


“Yeah, let’s go to sleep.” He took the book out of my other hand, laid it on the coffee table and walked back to the bedroom with me. I quickly got changed in the bathroom before sliding into the bed next to him. Out of all the times we’d been in the same bed together, this was definitely the tensest it had been. We both lay on our backs, staring up at the ceiling without saying anything to each other.


“I’m so sorry, Elle,” he suddenly spoke and I twisted my head to face his, “I never thought any of this would happen when I started the deal.” He swallowed thickly, still staring at the ceiling.


“It’s not your fault, you never saw this coming,” I reassured him, “Neither did I, to be honest.”


“I can understand if you want to go home and cancel this whole thing.” He finally looked at me but it was my turn to stare at the ceiling. I stayed silent, searching the roof above me for answers. Could I really just abandon James like this? I had formed some sort of affection towards the Potter’s, especially James, and I don’t think I’d be able to betray them like that… I just couldn’t.


“No.”


“What?” he asked.


“No, we can’t do that to them, James,” I answered difficultly. We faded into silence again, until I whispered in the darkness, “What are we gonna do after?”


“I dunno,” he replied just as quietly, “We could, you know, get a divorce?” my heart jolted, but not in a good way, and I felt disheartened.


“We could.”


“Yeah,” he replied awkwardly, “I mean, we’d have to wait a while for it to be realistic… but we could.”


“That’s a… good idea,” I nodded my head, turning myself over to face him properly, “It won’t be too bad, will it?” I asked, just because I didn’t want to come out of this looking like the bad guy if that was the direction we were going.


“No, we’ll say it was mutual agreement or I’ll take the blame. I’m not bothered.” He shrugged, turning to face me as well.


“I couldn’t let you take the blame for it, James, we’ll just say it was a mutual agreement.”


“Okay,” He looked over my shoulder then back into my eyes, “I guess we have to talk about this wedding thing then…”


“I guess we do,” I sighed, “Any particular colour you want?” I asked.


“You’re the bride, you’re supposed to decide what colour you want.” He retorted.


“But you’re the other half of this thing as well. I can’t choose everything myself.”


“I have faith that’ll it look magnificent.” He kissed my forehead, shattering the awkward tension surrounding us. My favourite James was back.


“So you want me to choose everything?” I giggled.


“It’s the least I could do. Go wild, I don’t care about expense. Have anything that your heart desires.” He Smiled widely down at me, making me grin just as widely.


“James…?”


“Yeah?”


“Tell me about your first party at Hogwarts.”


“Are you sure you wanna know? It’s a pretty wild story,” I nodded my head vigorously and he sighed, “Well, okay then…”


Chapter 13: Gingernut
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A/N: I am genuinely and truly sorry that it took me a while to write this. I really have no excuse other than real life sucks :/ But it's better now so I really hope you enjoy this chapter and don't forget to review if you really enjoyed it! If I had to choose one chapter that I have really enjoyed writing so far, it would have to be this one mainly because we get a little more depth into how much Elle actually cares and likes James and maybe get a glimpse of James’ feelings for Elle? ;) The Jelle… I can’t handle the Jelle-ness in this chapter! Interesting fact of the day: If I could have any superhero power I would choose the ability to freeze time by snapping my fingers. I mean how cool would that be!

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.






another wonderfully beautiful CI by just.a.willow.tree@TDA! And for those wondering, that's Elena in the chapter image :)


“No offence Elle, but you look so much better as a ginger than as a blonde.” – Lily Potter II







“Elle, wake up! It’s time to go sort out your wedding stuff!” someone, I think it was Lily, was knocking quite loudly and obnoxiously on the door to our bedroom.


“Okay!” I yelled back because she just wouldn’t stop knocking.


“Get out of bed and get dressed,” she shouted, “And if you’re not ready in twenty minutes, I’m coming back and knocking again until you do.” The footsteps died away and I groaned loudly, slinging my arm over my face.


“She will actually come back if don’t get out, you know.” James mumbled sleepily from beside me.


“I don’t wanna move.” I replied just as sleepily. He moved his arm from over my waist and pulled my arm away from my face with a lopsided grin before he unceremoniously pushed me out of the bed.


“There you go! You’ve moved.” He chuckled before stretching himself out on the bed.


“Hey! Totally uncalled for,” I protested. James laughed again so I jumped back on his back and sat there, happy when he grunted in pain, “Ha ha!”


“Oof! You know, for someone as small as you, you’re surprisingly heavy.” He wheezed, his back muscles contorting and flexing and it was distracting me.


“Are you saying I’m fat?” I gasped, pretending to be offended to see him try to correct himself and it worked.


“No, you know I didn’t mean it like that… I just meant that… you’re not fat…” he spluttered as I stood up on the bed and made to move away. He caught my ankle which sent me toppling back and landing with a gentle thud on the mattress with James straddling me and his hands pinning my arms up near my head, “You’re not fat Elle. You’re nowhere near fat! You’re perfect the way you are, okay?” he complimented and I blushed but continued to glare at him, “I’m sorry.” He sighed.


“Nah, I’m only messing with ya,” I broke out giggling but couldn’t really move because I was being pinned to the bed, “You should have seen your face.” I made, what I assumed was, a good imitation of his face when he was spluttering out his words.


“You’re so funny.” He hovered his face in front of mine.


“I know, it comes naturally.” I smirked, not really noticing that James’ face was getting closer to mine until our noses brushed and he planted a tender kiss on my lips. Without even thinking, my body reacted and began kissing him back. The kiss started out as just a normal peck but then as we continued, it became more passionate and forceful, the sexiness heightened by the fact I was pinned to the bed. James’ tongue ran along my bottom lip, begging for entry and I let him, opening it so he could plunge his tongue inside. In return, my tongue flicked a sensitive spot on the roof of his mouth and he groaned in response, rolling us over so I was now straddling him but he was sat up so our chests were pressed together. His hands instantly went up the back of my shirt, making me shiver at his touch as he ran a finger along my scar and the other hand was holding me firmly against him. My hands wound themselves into his messy, bed-hair, clenching and pulling his head back slightly. He tugged on my bottom lip with his teeth, making me moan into his mouth and move one of my hands from his hair to his chest where I splayed my palm. As my desire increased, my hips immediately started to grind a little on his lap and James responded by gyrating his to match my speed.


“Elle, wake up! It’s been twenty minutes and you’re still not ready!” Lily began knocking furiously on our door again, completely shattering the sexual tension and I pulled away from him, realising how far I was willing to go if she hadn’t begun knocking again. I blushed hugely before pushing myself off of James’ lap and hastily running towards the door.


“I’m up! I’m up!” I opened it to find Lily stood with her hands on her hips and a stern expression on her face. She was wearing a beautiful, figure-hugging maxi dress that really showed off how in-shape Lily really was, the autumnal colours made sure that her auburn hair didn’t clash. She was practically glowing in the Spanish sun coming in from our balcony.


“Good. Now get dressed so we can go shopping!” her expression turned to a giddy one as she squealed and I remembered that I had to go wedding dress shopping today.


“Okay, I’ll be down in a minute.” I closed the door before turning back to face James tentatively.


“You better get dressed, wouldn’t want to make them wait any longer.” He smirked, leaning against the headboard with his hands behind his head smugly.


“Okay.” I coughed awkwardly, turned around and headed into the bathroom, pulling on a pastel blue playsuit and a pair of light-brown, leather sandals, “Bad, Elle!” I smacked my head on the cabinet next to the mirror, “You really shouldn’t have done that. This is not real, James does not like you and it’s just a silly crush that you will get over when this is finished…” I whispered to my reflection in the mirror to reassure myself but even I could hear the doubting tone in my voice, “Morning!” I smiled happily when I walked into the kitchen, determined to focus all of my energy on pretending to be over-the-moon about this wedding and not about the fact that my attraction towards James was increasing largely.


“Good morning! Are you excited?” Lily squealed again, dragging me down into a seat beside her before putting some diced fruit onto my plate for breakfast.


“So excited!” I grinned as wide as possible whilst snacking on the pieces of fruit, “What time is it anyway?”


“Ten am. We got you up early because Mum and I are taking you down to an amazing Spanish wedding boutique that sells the dresses but has like a mini photo-shoot so you can choose which one you like best.” Lily explained.


“And it’s all magical so the make-up and hair is done super-fast and we have permission to apparate right into the shop.” Ginny added with just as big a smile on her face as Lily had and it made me feel incredibly guilty.


“Okay, sounds exciting.” I replied, shaking my thoughts of guilt away and eating my food in what I hoped was a happy way. It seemed that the Potter women had coordinated on an autumnal colour theme today because Ginny was wearing shorts in a coppery brown colour with a white tank top.


“Well, if you’re done…?” Ginny looked at me and I nodded, “Then we’ll go straight there now.” All three of us stood up, with Lily and I holding onto either of Ginny’s arms before we turned on the spot and found ourselves in a very posh-looking shop.


“Oh wow, it looks so…” I whispered as it was very quiet.


“Demure?” Lily suggested.


“Yeah.” I turned to her and smiled before turning back to take in the sight. The floor was a creamy colour and looked so soft that I was tempted to just reach down and run my hand through it. A divide stood against a wall to the far right but was entirely made up of mirror glass, showing the dimensions of the room five times over and a huge, circular platform was lay in front of the mirrors so I’m guessing the bride could stand on it when they saw themselves. A long, beige leather chaise was laid to the right of the mirror with two pure white side-tables on either side and a single couch of the same fabric on the other side of the tables. To the left of the mirrors was a curtain dividing the main shop floor to the changing room and a little vanity desk where make-up and hair products were neatly packed away. To the left of the shop was a large white-screen with faded pink flower petals strewn on the floor, a professional camera stood proud in front of the screen and was pointed down at the ground as it was not being used. The place looked incredibly demure, like Lily had said, and I felt so out of place in here. If anyone stood out like a sore thumb right now, it would be me.


“Hola Mrs Potter!” a woman who looked in her late-forties with jet black hair pulled into a way too tight bun greeted Ginny with a firm hand-shake. She wore a pastel blue two-piece suit with a white button-down shirt on underneath that had a girly frill on the collar. The blue blazer also looked too tight, like she couldn’t breathe and I wanted to just lean forward and undo the one button on it. The pencil skirt was alright but it was weird seeing a slit on the side rather than on the front or back, and it was a very large slit as well.


“So glad that you could accommodate us on such short notice.” She smiled and took her hand before turning to me.


“Ahh, this must be the bride,” she cupped my face in her hands and I was shocked because I was expecting a hand-shake like Ginny, “Beautiful! You have wonderful cheekbones, my love. Probably won’t need a lot of make-up.” She complimented and I blushed at her bluntness.


“Thank you.” I replied embarrassed.


“Hola Ms Potter,” she turned to Lily next and shook her hand too, “Right, shall we get started?”


“Yes, let’s. I was thinking bridesmaids first so that we can figure out what colour scheme we wanna go with and the theme of the wedding, you know?” Ginny was in her element, raking through the dresses on the racks almost instantaneously. I was a little shell-shocked to say the least at the drastic change between the two women.


“Sit down, relax and have a glass of champagne. We’ll hold up dresses and you decide,” The woman gently ushered me to the chaise and stuck a champagne flute in my hand, “My name is Elena, by the way.”


“Okay… Elle.” I stuck my hand out and she shook it finally before joining Ginny by the racks, Lily came to sit by me with a champagne flute in her hand as well.


“Do you know who you’re having as a bridesmaid yet?” she asked and I was torn. I felt a little forced to choose Lily because she was right here and she had been so helpful to me the past week but then Charity would be upset that I didn’t choose her because I was the maid of honour at her wedding. Molly is my best friend as well and I would wager that she’d be pretty pissed if she found out that she wasn’t the bridesmaid.


“Erm… I’m not sure.” I mumbled, taking a sip of the champagne and shivering a little at the bitter after taste.


“Don’t feel pressured to choose me, Elle just because I’m here. I don’t mind if you choose your sister or Molly.” She smiled kindly.


“Are you sure? I feel guilty.” That sentence had such a deeper meaning, I just noticed.


“Yeah if you want to choose your sister, choose your sister.” She reassured me.


“Okay,” I sighed in relief, “Well, you’re about her size anyway so you can try them on for me today, if you want?” she grasped my hand squeezed it.


“I would love to.” Her grin grew wider and she kept hold of my hand.


“What about this?” Elena held up a horrible bright orange dress with a low V-neckline.


“No, it would clash with my sister’s hair because she’s ginger as well.” I answered, wincing a little at the brightness.


“Okay, okay,” she put it back, nodding her head in understanding, “How about something like these?” she pulled out two dresses this time. One was a beautiful, understated pastel blue with a sweetheart neckline and a small, crystal broach right on the waistline where the fabric bunched together. The other was a deep royal purple that looked as if it came down to mid-calf but was a Cinderella-type dress, puffing out hugely with layers of darker purple netting underneath.


“They’re both beautiful.” I held my hand out and she passed both of them to me to keep hold of as they carried on looking.


“Any particular colours you had in mind Elle?” Ginny asked, observing a light pink dress before deciding against it and putting it right back onto the rack.


“I don’t really know what colours go best with like a dark ginger colour.” I shrugged.


“Mainly greens, neutral colours, navy blue and some pastel colours.” Elena answered without lifting her head away from the dresses.


“Green is out of the question,” I crossed that one out, “Maybe a light peach colour or a tan sort of colour. I don’t want in-your-face colours really.”


“We can work with that.” Ginny then started looking through each one with much more vigour. In the end, she picked out another two dresses that were floor-length this time. The first one was a light peach colour that was made of a chiffon fabric, the top half of the dress was fitted with an assortment of diamantes just below the breasts like a belt and up onto the elbow-length sleeves. The second was a sleeveless tan coloured, also made of chiffon, that had a sweetheart neckline and was also fitted at the top. It was simple and classic and I just fell in love with that one straight away.


“Lily, you coming to try these on?” Ginny caught her daughter’s attention and she followed her Mum into the dressing room with the four bridesmaid dresses. All I could think about, however, was that they were spending even more money on me and all of it was sham. I wasn’t getting married to James because I truly wanted to and I couldn’t believe that I had agreed to this still.


“So this is the first dress…” Elena announced as Lily came out wearing the deep purple dress. It didn’t sit right with me, mainly because I thought it looked a bit too depressing seen as it was a darker colour and that it really didn’t go well with Lily’s hair colour, “I’m guessing by your face that it’s a no.” she ushered Lily back into the dressing room and I sat back in the chaise, staring around the room, avoiding where the wedding dresses were, whilst occasionally sipping the champagne and Ginny and Elena helped Lily into the dresses. Lily came out a few minutes later wearing the peach coloured floor-length and stood in front of me, twirling it round happily which in turn made me smile at her.


“I like this one, it’s really floaty and light.” She picked up the hem and swished it round her slowly.


“I like it as well.” Ginny stared at the dress but I could tell there was something she was not saying.


“But…?” I urged her.


“But maybe not the sleeves, they look a bit too over-the-top with the diamantes going down them.” She answered sheepishly.


“Yeah, I agree. I think it’s too OTT.” Elena nodded her head seriously and ushered everyone back into the changing rooms to try on yet another dress. I went to take another sip of champagne but saw that I had finished my glass and so I stood up and wandered over to where the wedding dresses were finally. Just looking at them was making me emotional, I was getting married… oh my God, I was getting married in one week! My hand ran over each dress slowly, feeling the softness or coarseness of each one. I was alerted to a coughing sound behind me so when I spun round, Lily was standing there in the light, pastel blue dress looking radiant.


“Oh wow… that one looks beautiful!” I gushed, coming to stand forward and inspecting the dress myself, “I love this one already!”


“I like it too. It’s not too over-the-top but it still stands out a bit more.” Ginny agreed once she’d stepped out the dressing room but when I looked at her, I saw that she was wearing the tan dress that I had been in love with 5 minutes ago. It hugged her figure, pushing her boobs up a little and coming to rest a few centimetres above the ground. The fitted top, now I looked closer, had wrap-around detailing around it and it looked so intricate yet simple.


“That one is gorgeous too…” I trailed off, looking between both of them completely torn, “Oh, I don’t know which one to choose!” I put my hand under my chin, my blue eyes scanning each dress and weighing the pros and cons in my head of each one.


“Well, why don’t we leave these two as your favourite choices and once we figure out which dress you want we can see which one looks better with it. Okay?” Elena organised and I nodded, it seemed like a sensible thing to do, “Right, you two get changed and come and help us once you are ready,” She ordered Ginny and Lily back into the dressing rooms, “And you and I will start looking for your perfect dress.” She smiled wide at me and guided me back over to the wedding dresses. There were a multitude of dresses that I wanted to try on because they just looked so beautiful but Elena told me that I had to be harsh with myself and choose dresses that were worthy of a princess because I deserved nothing less. It made me a little bit uncomfortable if I’m honest because it was like a constant reminder of what I was doing.


“Okay, I like this one.” I immediately saw one that looked magnificent and handed it to Elena, who hung it up on my own personal rack.


“What about this one?” she held up one that I had already been past.


“No.” I scrunched up my face and went back to looking.


“How are we doing?” Ginny asked when she emerged, hanging the two bridesmaid dresses on the rack with the dress I had picked out.


“Only picked out one dress so far, Elena said I have to be harsh with myself.” I chuckled, focussing on picking out the right dresses.


“Well, I’m sure you’ll come across one that you’ll like.” Lily reassured me, helping me look and actually picking out a really nice dress that I added to the rack. In the end, we only picked out one other dress because there were no other ones that I really wanted.


“Right, let’s get you into the first one and do your hair and make-up, then the photo-shoot.” Elena picked the first dress off the rack and shooed me into the dressing room. I slipped my playsuit and sandals off slowly, called Elena in and stood still as she pulled the dress on for me carefully and zipped up the back for me. She held a hand out for me, guided me out the dressing room and to the pedestal so I could see what it looked like on me.


“Wow, you look so beautiful, Elle!” Lily gushed when she saw me, smiling widely and clapping giddily.


“I totally agree, the dress looks beautiful on you.” Ginny smiled admiringly at me and it suddenly made me really wish my Mum was here to help me with this. The smile on my face was completely wiped off my face and was replaced by a gobsmacked one when I saw myself in the five mirrors. The dress was a strapless, ball gown dress with a sweetheart neckline that cinched at the waist, a cream coloured sash wrapped just above the waist line and diamante-embroidered flowers where all over the left hand side of the top-half.


“Oh, Elle, please don’t cry. You look gorgeous!” Ginny came forward and embraced me. I didn’t even realise that I was crying until she pointed it out so I wiped my face in shock to feel the wetness of a few tears that had slipped down my cheek.


“I, uh, wow… okay…” I stuttered, feeling really overwhelmed right now, “I just wasn’t expecting this…” I mumbled quietly, staring at myself in each mirror, one-by-one until I was convinced that it was definitely me stood on the pedestal wearing a wedding dress at age twenty-two.


“You look gorgeous in this dress, Elle, it is just wonderful!” Ginny whispered to me and I looked at her but instead of seeing Ginny, I saw my Mum. Her long ginger hair, brushed over her shoulder and her deep, probing blue eyes that I had inherited were gazing deep into mine.


“I wish my Mum was here,” I sniffled, wiping away even more tears as Ginny embraced me again, stroking my hair and shh’ing me gently, “Sorry, I’m supposed to be happy.” I murmured once I had calmed down, brushing my eyes roughly to get myself to stop crying and looking weak.


“It’s okay, I wouldn’t expect you to be over the moon without your Mum here to help you,” Ginny reassured me quietly as Lily and Elena strategically moved over to the make-up and hair stations so we could talk privately, “But we are all here to help you and even though I cannot replace your Mum, I will try my best to be a Mum to you.” she brushed a stray piece of hair away from my face and rubbed my upper arms gently.


“Thank you so much, Ginny, it means a lot to have you here.” I managed a small smile and it was like an unspoken agreement was put in place from that moment onwards that Ginny was going to take over the motherly role for me as much as she can. And I was grateful. Especially knowing that she understands that she could never replace my real Mother.


“It is truly no problem at all, Elle,” She whispered, “So, should we get this photo-shoot under way?” she said louder and I nodded my head. She helped me off the pedestal and we both walked over to the hair and make-up stations so Elena could work her magic on me.


“Like I said before, you have lovely cheekbones and a wonderfully clear face so you don’t need much make-up,” Elena cupped my chin her hand as I sat down on the small stool, “Let’s get started then.” She put a light foundation on me, some powder and then got started on my eyes. I watched as she put on a light cream base, with darker beige in the corners and made me blink my eyes as she applied mascara. She then put a light tan coloured bronzer on my cheeks.


“Let’s move onto the hair,” she murmured to herself, brushing through it and just staring at it for a while, occasionally running her fingers through it, “Your natural colour isn’t blonde, is it?” she asked suddenly.


“No, it isn’t.” I answered, not liking where this was going.


“Well, how about we go back to your natural colour? It’ll look so beautiful if it was natural. What colour is it?”


“It’s ginger… and I haven’t really been ginger for years now.” I replied sheepishly. I wasn’t going to go back to being ginger because there was a chance I’d see Valerie again and I wasn’t going to be ginger when I saw her again.


“Don’t you think it’s time to go back to your natural colour?” Lily asked and I felt ganged up on. I was surrounded by two other gingers and if I say why I wasn’t going back ginger then they’d get a bit offended.


“Er… I just, uh, I… okay, fine. Let’s go back to my natural hair colour.” I gave up, sinking a little in my seat. Ginny and Lily grinned widely and Elena got out her wand and started muttering some spell under her breath. Suddenly, the ginger roots that were already starting to come through lengthened until all of my hair was ginger once again.


“No offence, Elle, but you look so much better as a ginger than as a blonde.” Lily smiled kindly and I just smiled back slightly.


“What kind of hairstyle do you want?” Elena asked, now fingering my new hair.


“Whatever you think goes better with the dress style.” I replied, letting her have free rein because she was so much better at this stuff than me. She straightened my hair quickly then curled the ends slightly, pulling ¾ of my hair into a tight doughnut bun and leaving the bottom layer down and slinging it over my shoulder, curling them even more. She then placed a plain silver hair-band across the top of my head, sticking silver flower pins into the bun slowly.


“There we go! All done,” she announced and I quickly checked over my appearance in the mirror. I truly looked beautiful… just like my Mum in fact and I almost cried again but I held myself back, “Now, if you come over here we can get started on the photo-shoot and then move onto the next dress.” I stood on the white screen, being careful not to squash the flower petals into the ground.


“How do you want me to stand? Or sit?” I asked, stood there awkwardly as she moved the camera so it was in the right position.


“Just sit down on the sides of your legs with your arm holding you up and your head looking down at the ground.” She ordered and I did as I was told. It felt weird not wearing any shoes so I did my best to hide my bare feet under the layers of fabric. She took a few pictures of me in the same position and figured that was enough for this dress and I walked back into the dressing room, slipped the dress off with Elena’s help and put the next one on. It was a simple A-line dress with cap sleeves that fanned out at the bottom and I didn’t like this one quite as much as the last one because it didn’t feel right for me. We went through the motions of doing my hair and make-up then pictures again until I was to put on the last dress. I think the third one was definitely my favourite out of all of them because it was a simple sweetheart neckline, plain white trumpet shaped dress but it had a white lace overlay that had a square neckline that meant that a little of bit of skin was shown on my chest before the neckline of the dress underneath the overlay started. The back dipped down to my mid-back with lace edges and a cream belt wrapped around the middle and was tied into a bow on the back. It was elegant and statuesque at the same time, showing off my figure but still quite modest as well.


“This one, without a doubt.” I said as I stood the pedestal, admiring the radiant dress at every angle and not really thinking about my scar all that much.


“Are you sure?” Elena asked, holding the other two dresses away.


“Yep, definitely this one.” I nodded my head firmly, still staring at how beautiful it was. She put the dresses back on the racks, beckoned for me to come and sit in the chair whilst she did my make-up for me again. This time, she put light pink blush on the apples of my cheeks and doing a faded smokey eye on my eyes to make the blue stand out a bit more, she left my lips bare this time unlike the bright red last time and then moved onto my hair. She curled each strand of my hair from about half way down, pulled two pieces of each side of my hair and did some intricate braid around the back of my head, pinning them in place and letting my ginger hair flow down my back.


“Yes, I agree with Elle. This one is definitely the best one for you, I can see that now you’ve had your hair and make-up done.” Ginny nodded her head in agreement and Lily was still stood there with an excited smile on her face.


“You alright, Lily?” I chuckled and she seemed to come out of her shell.


“Yeah, I’m just really excited for this wedding!” she squealed, clapping her hands together and standing to the side of Ginny whilst Elena ordered me to stand facing the camera smiling.


“I can’t smile now that you’ve told me to!” I protested, trying to smile happily was hard when Elena kept telling me that it didn’t look real. Well, I wasn’t exactly going to smile properly if I knew I wasn’t really in love with James and that his family would be disappointed in me when they found out that it was all fake.


“Think of something happy then!” she rolled her eyes and waited with her finger on the button for when I actually smiled properly. I tried to think of a happy memory but I couldn’t really think of anything that wouldn’t make me cry either way.


“Don’t you have any happy memories of your Mum from when you were younger? Or think about when James proposed to you.” Lily urged me and I couldn’t help it but as soon as she mentioned James, an involuntary smile crept its way onto my face until I was smiling widely with all my teeth showing.


“There we go! Just keep thinking about whatever you’re thinking about,” Elena persuaded happily, clicking away at the button as she moved me into a different position every few minutes, “Okay, all done!” she announced, pointing the camera down at the ground and going over to the pictures on the screen.


“Lily and I will get back into our bridesmaid dresses and stand next to you so you can see which one would look better.” Ginny smiled, grabbed the two dresses off the rack and hurried into the dressing room, leaving me to stand and watch Elena delete and sort through each picture.


“It’s nearly two o’clock? How come you’ve not had any other customers?” I asked because it was something that had been bugging me for a while.


“People ring and book appointments and they usually tend to last for two hours at the most but when Ginny Potter rang, I had to clear my whole day because I wanted to make sure her first daughter-in-law was properly looked after,” She answered, sending off each picture to print, “So that’s why I’m here and not one of my assistants.”


“You own this shop?” my mouth dropped open.


“Of course, I have other assistants who help me with some other clients but high-profiles ones are the ones that I take care of personally.” She smiled, telling me to sit on the chaise and handed me another champagne flute.


“Well, thank you so much. I wouldn’t consider myself high-profile, I’m just Elle Underwood from a dingy apartment in Guildford, near London.” I chuckled, sipping slowly.


“You’re getting married to James Potter, first-born of Harry Potter, the guy who killed Voldemort… it’s a pretty big deal.”


“I never thought about it like that… he’s just James to me.” My eyebrows knitted together in confusion. It was true, I’d been more nervous about meeting Harry than anyone else because he was the Boy-Who-Lived and I never really thought about the fact that James was his first-born so there was a lot of pressure on him to be just like his Dad. He was just plain, old, annoying yet very-handsome James to me.


“I think that’s why he likes you so much.” Ginny emerged, hearing what I’d just said and smiled at me. I blushed, embarrassed that she’d heard what we were talking about. Lily came out next and I took that as my cue to stand in between the two of them so I could see which one would look better with my wedding dress. God that felt weird to say.


“The blue one looks better, I think,” I compared the two and came to my conclusion, “Just because it goes with my eye colour and it’s more noticeable next to the dress.” I added.


“Yeah, I agree.” Lily and Ginny nodded their heads.


“Okay, so the blue bridesmaid dress and this wedding dress?” Elena double checked and I nodded my head. We all went into separate dressing rooms to get back into our clothes and exited again, “I’ll take these off you and keep them safe until next Monday then. Here are your pictures from today and I’m glad you found what you were looking for.” Elena smiled, handed over a small album with my pictures from today in it.


“Thank you so much Elena, you were really helpful!” I hugged her, pulling back and letting Lily and Ginny say their goodbyes too.


“It’s no problem, I hope I shall see you all soon for this one’s wedding.” She winked at Lily, who blushed bright red and I nudged her in the shoulder.


“Shut up, you’re so embarrassing.” She hissed in my ear before we apparated back to the villa.


“Right, next on the agenda is location and then the invitations.” Ginny clapped her hands all business-like.


“Can we have lunch first because I’m starving?” Lily moaned which made Ginny stop in her tracks.


OH! Of course, sorry! I’ve been so preoccupied and excited for this wedding that I completely forgot we’d already skipped lunch!” she apologised profusely and then bustled into the kitchen to start making us some sandwiches.


“She’s so excited, it’s like Christmas has come early. It’s hilarious.” Lily chuckled and walked with me into the kitchen, following a giddy Ginny.


“Well, she’s more excited than I am at the moment so I’ll just let her because I’m pretty sure I’ll be worse when it gets closer to Monday.” I laughed along with her.


“Why aren’t you excited?” Lily’s eyebrows dropped heavily. I stuttered, why did you say that Elle? Why the fuck did you say that? You idiot!


“I was just thinking about how I really wished my Mum was here.” I covered up my little blip and started picking my nails again, hoping she’d think I was upset. I mean, I was upset, I just wanted her to believe it.


“Oh right…” she said quietly, “I’m sorry about your Mum, Elle.” She gave me a quick, one-armed hug before sitting in her seat again properly.


“It’s fine, Lily, it wasn’t your fault.” I replied. No, it wasn’t your fault Lily… it was mine.


“Here we go,” Ginny put the sandwiches on the dining room table and sat down next to us, “Now while we eat I thought we could talk about the location and if you have any ideas of where you would like it to be.” She turned to me expectantly but if I’m honest, I wasn’t really bothered about it being in a church and would much rather it be somewhere close to the villa so that we could have the reception here, if we were even having one.


“Somewhere near here because I don’t know whether we’d want a reception to be honest.” I replied, nibbling on the sandwiches timidly.


“James?” Lily stood up and shouted towards the entrance to the foyer.


“Yeah!” came his quietened response.


“Come into the kitchen a sec!” she shouted back and soon enough, I could hear his footsteps coming down the stairs whilst I tried to act casual. I hadn’t seen him since this morning and I was trying to calm myself down and not think about what happened in the bedroom.


“Yeah, what’s up?” he stood in the archway but I couldn’t look at him, “Wait? Who’s this? Where’s Elle?” his voice was really worried and I was confused before I realised he was talking about me and I wasn’t blonde anymore.


“James, I’m right here.” I chuckled and recognition was displayed on his face. It was absolutely adorable that he was so worried about me but then again, he was probably putting it on in front of his family.


“Oh, well… that’s different,” he came towards me, inspecting my hair with his fingers, “Why have you suddenly decided to be ginger?” he asked, confused again.


“Ginger’s my natural hair colour, I just dyed my hair blonde in Hogwarts.” I explained.


“Oh,” he murmured, “That makes sense now.”


“What? What makes sense?” Now it was my turn to be confused.


“Where Gingernut came from? You know when Domenic called you that the other day?” And I blushed, it was not a good idea to bring that up in front of Ginny and Lily. They knew about my whole stripper thing but it was still embarrassing for me.


“Yeah, yeah.” I mumbled silently praying for him to shut up.


“Well, I like it. You look even better,” he Smiled, “If that’s even possible.” He leaned down, brushing the hair behind my ear and kissing me so gently.


“Anyway, that’s not why we called you down,” Lily coughed, breaking us apart but it was too late, I was already utterly dazed from the kiss, “We were gonna talk about the location, get your opinion.”


“Yeah, Elle says you weren’t going to have a reception… just the wedding.” Ginny added hopefully. I could see she desperately wanted to have the reception but James understood that a wedding would be just too much for me already without the added stress and guilt of a reception.


“No, we definitely just want the wedding. Something small and close to the villa.” He seemed to be on the same wavelength as me and I was grateful that he said the exact same thing as me.


“Maybe the beach?” I suggested, looking up at James who was stood behind my chair, leaning against it ever so slightly.


“The beach is a lovely idea and we could have it at sunset. You’ve seen a sunrise but never a sunset, it’s even more spectacular.” He said, a little glint of excitement glowing in his brown eyes.


“Okay, that settles it then. We’ll have the ceremony on the beach at sunset then.” I smiled round at everyone although Ginny’s was a little smaller than Lily’s and James’.


“We’d have to mail the Spanish Ministry though and ask if we can set up a few barriers to keep unwanted visitors out.” James pondered, looking up at his Mum, who stood up, nodded and walked hurriedly out the room.


“Okay, now we’ve sorted out the location, we just need to sort out who’s coming and do the invitations.” Lily put the plate away as we all moved into the library. James and I were sat cuddled up on the sofa, Lily on the floor with a piece of paper in her lap and a pen in one hand and Ginny was sat in a chair by the window, penning a letter to the Spanish Ministry.


“Elle, who do you want to come?” Lily looked at me expectantly and the moment that I dreaded was here. I didn’t have many people to invite which was a bummer given that my family was quite big.


“Charity, obviously, Darrell, Gabby and Ruari,” I concluded as Lily wrote down everyone’s names and then looked back up at me expectantly again, “That’s it.”


“Don’t you want to invite your Grandparents? Aunt’s? Uncles? Your Dad? Norah?”


“No, no, no, no and hell no.” I scoffed, looking down at the ground with my eyebrows screwed up.


“Why not?”


“I just don’t want them there.” I said monotonously.


“Lily, do you reckon Granddad and Grandma will want to be there?” James distracted Lily for me as she went into a huge rant saying that,


“Of course they’ll want to be there James! Are you stupid? You’re like the third Wotter kid to get married!” and so their names were added to the list. Molly, Fred, Teddy and Victoire’s names were added as well. Molly and Fred were our best friends so they were obligated to attend and Fred was gonna be James’ best man. James was Teddy’s best man at his wedding and basically his older brother so he just had to come, according to James. It was nearing tea time when we’d finally managed to finalise who was definitely coming, after much arguing between Lily and James, so we walked into the dining room for something to eat.


“We have another ginger being added to the family.” Al teased when he saw my hair colour had changed.


“Shut up, Al.” I rolled my eyes.


“Why did you dye your hair blonde anyway?” James turned to me as Ginny asked the question. I avoided everybody’s eyes and stared down at my food before answering.


“Er, I used to get teased about it in Hogwarts.” I muttered quietly.


“Oh… Valerie?” Al inputted oh so helpfully.


“Yeah… she was the main one.” She was the only one.


“But there were plenty of ginger kids in Hogwarts, majority of them were Wotter’s… I don’t understand why none of us heard about this?” Lily said confusedly.


“I wasn’t really friends with any of you lot until Molly in second year and even then I didn’t tell her about it,” I shrugged, “It doesn’t matter now anyway, I’m back to being ginger.”


“And it looks good on you.” Harry complimented.


“Thank you.” I blushed heavily. We carried on eating and moved back into the library when we were finished to start the invitation designs.


“What colour was the bridesmaid dress?” James asked.


“Like a pastel blue, why?”


“I think that should be our colour for the whole thing, the colour of the writing in everything, the flowers and other stuff.” He replied nonchalantly but I could tell he was freaking out because I was too but inwardly.


“Yeah, that’s a good idea but whose going to write it?” I looked round at the three other people in the room.


“Lily’s got good calligraphic handwriting so we can write what she’s going to put before she writes it properly.” Ginny pulled a piece of paper towards her and we all started drafting what it was going to say. When we’d finished the first card, I held it up and both James and I read it silently;




‘You are cordially invited to the union of;
Elle Kathleen Underwood
To
James Sirius Potter


On: 23rd June 2030
Where: Beachfront of the Oasis Villa, Malaga, South of Spain
RSVP to Ginny Potter’


 

 

“Yeah, that looks good. Let’s get to work duplicating them then.” James looked at me as I nodded, we all got out our wands, duplicating each one before Lily wrote each person’s name on the envelopes.


“Right, we’ll send these off and you all go to bed because we have another big day tomorrow as well.” Ginny pointed between myself and James so we did as were told.


“It’s strange, isn’t it?” James suddenly said as I was walking towards the closet to get changed into my pyjamas.


“What is?” I turned to face him.


“That we’re both so calm about this whole thing… it’s strange,” he mumbled, staring up at the ceiling from the bed, “I thought I’d freak out more about it than I am.”


“I’m sure we will when it gets closer to the actual… day.” I couldn’t seem to say wedding in front of him anymore.


“Yeah, probably.”


“So…” I trailed off awkwardly, “I’m just going to go get changed.” I pointed to the bathroom so obviously.


“Yeah.” He replied just as awkward as me. I quickly shut the door behind me, stared at myself in the mirror until I hit myself repeatedly over the head.


“Why are you acting like this Elle? You’re making it so obvious that you like him. Stop it.” I mentally psyched myself to go back in there and be as calm and collected as before.


“Hey, so I’ve got changed.” I pointed out again and I just wanted to slap myself so hard that I knocked myself out. What the hell was that Elle?!


“I can see that.” He smirked and I rolled my eyes, slipping under the covers and tapping my fingers on my stomach.


“I didn’t know you’re middle name was Kathleen.” James broke the silence again.


“What?” I asked before I understood what he said, “Oh, well… you never asked.”


"I can’t believe I never asked you… you know my middle name…” he seemed disappointed in himself.


“James, it’s fine,” I chuckled to myself, “Who is Sirius anyway?”


“My Dad’s Godfather, he was my Granddad’s best friend apparently when they were at Hogwarts. You heard of the Black family?” I nodded my head, “Well, he was a part of that family but the name’s died out now anyway because the last living male heir’s died and all the women had to change their last names obviously.”


“Wow… that’s so…”


“Boring, sorry. Everyone use to say that when I told them the story but I was always interested by the stories of my Granddad and his best friend.” He said sheepishly, his cheeks blushing just a little from what I could tell under the lamp light.


“I wasn’t going to say boring,” his eyes snapped to mine, “I was going to say interesting as well.”


“Really? Or are you messing with me?”


“Yes, really.” I laughed.


“Any interesting stories about your middle name?”


“Not really, it was my Mum’s name though.” I sighed sadly, avoiding eye contact with James.


“Can I see the dresses you tried on today?” he distracted me again so I wouldn’t have to think about my Mum.


“You can see the other two, not the one I decided on because that’s bad luck.” I teased, levitating the album towards me. We both sat up, James’ arm around my back as I opened the book, being careful not to show him the last dress. Each picture moved, as they were magical, some just smiled happily at the camera moving ever so slightly, some were laughing at someone off camera and some were just staring wistfully out the window.


“I’d love to know what you’re thinking about in that picture.” James pointed to one where I was staring towards the window with a slight smile on my face before my gaze dropped to the floor.


“I was thinking about when I was younger, sat by the fire as Dad played the guitar, Charity hummed along and Mum plaited my hair for me. Norah always used to get really jealous and try to pull out my hair because she wanted better plaits than me but Mum would always say that hers looked better even though it didn’t.” I answered truthfully, sniffling a little as I remembered.


“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you cry.” He wrapped his arms around me as I closed the album and out it back where I had levitated it from.


“Sometimes it’s better out than in though, right?”


“Right…?” he said awkwardly.


“You just don’t wanna get stuck with a crying girl.” I said in a fake-bitter voice.


“No, that’s not it at all! I totally agree with you!” he stuttered adorably.


“James, I was joking,” I chuckled, kissing his cheek, “I’m fine, honestly. It was a happy memory that I’m glad I have.” I lay down on the bed, switched the lamp on my side off and closed my eyes.


“Okay.” I felt him lay down beside me.


“Good night.”


“Sweet dreams, Elle.” He reached his hand forward and grasped mine, giving it a tight squeeze before he planted a soft kiss on my forehead.


Chapter 14: My Knight In Shining Armour
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 A/N: Okay, so I know that in my previous chapters that I’ve said that I hate having to wait ages until the next chapter has been written and I know that I’ve turned into that type of writer -.- I know but now I have the next 3 chapters pre-written just in case! Yay, go me! And I have finished first year of college for good now so I promise I will be speedy with my writing as well as I can! Anyways, to make up for my lack of writing and stuff… I wanted to dedicate this chapter to the people who have reviewed most or nearly all of my chapters! They are; icingonmycake, HermionesSecretClone, newgenerationlover, Hats For House Elves and dadoune. This one’s for you guys, love you! And love everyone else who reads and enjoys my story!


Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling. I also don't own McDonald's either, even though their food is delicious!








another wonderful CI by just.a.willow.tree@TDA!




“Are you sure? Because I can talk to my Mum if you want? She won’t be angry at you at all, I promise.” – Albus Potter







You know those mornings that you wake up and you think it’s really late but it’s actually really early? Yeah, it was one of those mornings for me. When I woke up, it felt like I’d slept in until about two in the afternoon but when I looked at my phone it read 09:34am which really surprised me. Turning over, I saw James facing towards me and with his arm hanging over my waist again. His mouth was opened slightly, snoring quietly and his black hair flopping onto his face looking absolutely adorable. The weight of his arm wasn’t as heavy as it was the first few times it had happened… and thinking about it, he’d always had his arm over me whenever I had woken up. It was always there and I hadn’t even noticed how safe it made me feel until now. I lifted it up gently, manoeuvring myself sideways and away from James without waking him up before placing it back down on the bed slowly. He subconsciously drew it back to him, tucking it by his side and let out an almighty grunt in his sleep, it made me giggle before I stopped myself because he moved slightly. When I saw that he was still asleep, I slipped downstairs and into the kitchen to make myself some breakfast. The room was completely empty as it seemed like I was the first one awake today. I rooted through the cupboards, trying to see where all the breakfast stuff was kept and came across some honey porridge that nobody had touched yet. I took the sachet out, poured the oats into a bowl (after searching for one of those), put milk in and then placed it in the microwave for three minutes.


“Good morning, Elle.” Someone said behind me and I nearly screamed before I turned around to see Harry walking into the deserted kitchen, sitting down and opening a newspaper.


“Morning, Harry.” I replied with a small smile, “Do you want some porridge?” I asked to be polite.


“Yeah thanks.” He nodded his head so I got out another bowl and did the same routine again. I placed the bowls down in front of where we were sat and we started eating in silence, the only noises were the clanging of our spoons on the ceramic bowls.


“Harry…?” I asked quietly, setting my spoon down in the bowl and watching as he looked at me in surprise.


“Yes? Is something wrong?” He also put his spoon down.


“No, nothing’s wrong,” I reassured him and he relaxed a little, “I was just, uh, wondering something…” I started nervously.


“What is it? I’ll try and answer as honestly as possible but just be warned that I have a horrible memory,” we laughed, “So I probably won’t remember a lot of stuff.”


“It’s alright,” I toyed with the spoon handle, “I was just wondering… how did you, you know, know you were… in love with Ginny?” it was a really personal and awkward question considering I was meant to be in love with his son and I had only known Harry for a week and a half.


“I guess… erm…” he seemed a bit shocked by my question and averted his eyes down to the table then around the room as if the answer was going to be written on the ceiling or walls.


“It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to answer, it was a personal question.” I shrugged, going back to eating my food and feeling stupid for even asking it.


“No, it’s fine,” he smiled, “I guess, we went through all the bad things of the Second Wizarding War and she still wanted to be with me and vice versa. She supported me leaving in my seventh year even though she knew it was dangerous for me,” he explained seriously, “Those were the clinchers, I think.”


“Oh… right.”


“I can’t really remember how I knew specifically… I just knew.” He added and I nodded my in response. The atmosphere wasn’t as tense as I thought it was going to be to be honest, we just carried on in silence as Harry read through the newspaper.


“Anything interesting?” I asked, breaking the silence again.


“Not really, wanna read it?” he moved it towards me and I took it with a smile, skimming my eyes across the page and reading the smaller stories quickly.


“That reminds me actually…” Harry brought my attention back onto him.


“Yes?”


“You know that magazine article from a few days ago?”


“Oh yeah.” I mumbled, averting my eyes from him because it was still embarrassing for me that Harry knows about my past.


“Well, I managed to get it banned from being written in other magazines, newspapers or any publishing media for the next two years,” he said, “I know that it doesn’t really help because it’s already out there but by the time the ban is lifted, everyone’ll have forgotten about it. I know what it’s like to have horrible things written about me but back then I didn’t have anyone to stop it from happening… the least I could do was to stop anyone else feeling like I did.” I was in complete shock. I didn’t know that he had done all this for me, just to make me feel more comfortable around them all and to not make me feel embarrassed. My mind couldn’t process any words to say and I couldn’t have been more grateful to Harry for helping me out this much.


“Thank you so much, Harry,” I smiled warmly, wanting to embrace him like he was my Father and not the one I had now, “You didn’t have to do any of that for me but thank you so much.” He patted my shoulder reassuringly and it didn’t feel awkward, it felt like I had been a part of this family for years and I couldn’t have felt more guilty and cared for simultaneously than I did now. It was creating a confusion of feelings and thoughts inside my head and I didn’t know what to do.


“It really is no problem,” he finished off his porridge, levitating it into the sink, “I see how happy you make James. It’s so refreshing from his relationship with Courtney.” His face scrunched up a little at the mention of her name.


“Everyone else seemed to like her though?” my eyebrows knitted together in obvious confusion. I knew that Ginny, Lily and Al liked her but I’d never heard Harry’s side of the story. I also knew that she had cheated on James with his best friend but I wasn’t sure that the rest of the family knew about that incident and I didn’t want to mention it because it wasn’t my secret to tell. If James didn’t tell his family, then there was a reason and I was going to keep my mouth shut.


“There was something off about her. I don’t know what it was,” he leaned against the kitchen counter as I ate the rest of my warm porridge, “But I just couldn’t trust her at all. I knew James didn’t… especially as the years went on,” he blushed a little, “I’m sorry, you probably don’t want to hear any of this seen as you are his fiancée.”


“No, no. I want to hear this. We’ve never really talked properly about his relationship with her and I want to know.” I answered truthfully, something inside of me wanted to know what their relationship looked like from an outside source.


“Well…” he started but trailed off and scratched his jaw, “I don’t know, they were alright for the first year. A few arguments happened, like every couple so I just shrugged them off because they made up straight away afterwards anyway,” he crossed his arms and sighed, “They had a really bad argument one night and he moved back in with us, refused to talk about it and I started feeling uneasy,” that must have been when he found her in his bed with Joe, “But, again, I shrugged it off because they got back together again but they never trusted each other from that point on. James would always be so irritable and high-strung, it annoyed us all because he would just snap for no reason. The only time he properly smiled was when he was with Fred but other than that he was a moody bastard… excuse the language,” we both chuckled a little when he realised he had sworn in front of me for the first time, “I think that that relationship was so poisonous for him but he didn’t see it. They were on and off for two years after that argument but he would always be in two moods. When they were together he would be angry, snappy and just downright disrespectful to everyone. When they had split up he was sulky, moody and a tad depressive. No-one could snap him out of these moods and he always promised that he would never get back with her when they had split but a few days later, she would be coming round for dinner like she used to.”


“And they’d get back together?” I urged.


“Yeah,” he nodded his head, running his hand through his hair like James did when he was nervous or trying to be charming, “But with you… it’s completely different. He’s genuinely happy and he smiles a lot more than he did with Courtney,” I blushed heavily at his compliments, “And for that I am eternally in your favour.” He patted me on the shoulders again before leaving me in the room in silence to ponder what he had just said. It just made me even more confused at the bundle of thoughts and feelings that I felt. The Potters were just so nice and welcoming to me immediately like I had always been James’ fiancée. I stood up, put my empty bowl in the sink and began manually washing it because it at least distracted me from the mess running through my head at the moment.


“Hey, did you not hear me?” someone said behind me and I spun around to see James, his arms crossed and staring at me with a concerned expression, “You alright?” he asked but I didn’t hear him, still too preoccupied with mine and Harry’s conversation. He poked me on the cheek to try and get my attention and I jumped a little.


“What? Yeah?” I muttered, finally acknowledging his presence.


“I asked if you were okay…?” he repeated and I nodded my head, putting a fake smile on my face.


“Yeah, I’m great.”


“Are you sure? You looked a little distracted.” He arched an eyebrow at me, putting his hands on my hips whilst my hands were resting on the kitchen counter behind me.


“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine.” I mumbled again but obviously he didn’t believe me because even I knew my voice sounded off.


“Elle, you can tell me if something’s wrong. You know that right?” he looked me dead in the eye.


“I know, it’s just…” I trailed off, picking up the tea towel and drying my bowl.


“Just what?”


“I don’t know whether I can do this anymore James,” I sighed and brought my voice down to almost a whisper, “Your Dad, he…” I trailed off again, turning away from him to continue drying the bowl even though it already was.


“What did he do?” he asked, “Oh my God… does he know?!” he hissed, making me whip round to calm him down.


“No, he doesn’t James,” I replied reassuringly, “I just feel like maybe I shouldn’t be doing this… I feel so bad on your family James. They’ve accepted me so quickly, I just feel so guilty about this whole thing.”


“Do you wanna know why they accepted you so quickly?” he asked which made me intrigued to know the answer so I let him carry on, “You remember that night when I proposed?” I nodded, “Annabel, Vic and Teddy’s daughter, never likes anyone new in our family. It’s like she knows whether a person is good or bad, she is usually either horrible to them or ignores them. She doesn’t mind voicing her opinions out loud either, even in front of them,” he explained, “So when you came round, we all waited to see how she’d react to you and when she was completely nice to you, we were a little surprised. And it’s very rare that she ever likes anyone. That’s why they all accepted you so quickly.” He finished, looking at my probably bewildered expression in amusement.


“But… that’s just… ugh!” I ran my hand through my hair in frustration, “I still don’t know whether I can go through with this!” I looked up at him in confusion and desperation for an answer.


“I can understand if you wanna call it off and go home.” He Smiled at me kindly which just made me feel even worse.


“But I’ll get you in trouble with your parents and that’ll make me feel guilty as well.” I replied, showing him my dilemma.


“So what if they might be a little disappointed,” he shrugged, “I just want you to feel as comfortable as possible and if it means not doing this… then so be it.”


“Why do you do that?” I asked after a while of silence.


“Do what?” he looked confused.


“Make me want to do everything you ever say because you say it so nicely.” I rolled my eyes, a small smile playing on my lips.


“It’s a gift I have, people are powerless against it.” He joked smugly, puffing out his chest with a smirk on his face.


“Unfortunately.” I rolled my eyes again as I sighed.


“So… what are you gonna do?” he asked after a beat.


“Wasn’t my answer before clear enough?”


“You’re going to go home?” he looked disheartened and I had to laugh, “Why are you laughing at me? It’s not funny.” He pouted.


“No, you big idiot, I’m not going home.” I slapped him with the towel, putting the bowl back in the cupboard before standing up straight again.


“Okay, good,” he sighed in relief and sat in a seat on the bar, “Now that’s out of the way… can you make me breakfast? I’m actually quite hungry.”


“Are you really?” I raised my eyebrows in surprise.


“Yeah.” He pouted adorably and my heart did that weird thing where it decided to stop beating for a few seconds.


“That’s tough luck, isn’t it?” I pouted back.


“Why?”


“Because I’m not making you breakfast.” I giggled when his mouth dropped open in protestation.


“But please?” he begged, sticking his bottom lip out and widening his eyes.


“I can teach you how to make your own breakfast therefore you don’t keep asking me to make it.” I grabbed his arm and hauled him back next to me, ordering him to get out a frying pan.


“What now?” he looked at the thing as if it was offending him greatly just by being there.


“We need ingredients.” I smiled up at him, pulling on my ‘Kiss the Cook’ apron that Al had bought me and all the ingredients for pancakes.


“We’re making them from scratch? Why can’t we use pancake mix?” his eyes widened.


“Because pancake mix is for lazy people.” I retorted, measuring out the flour before cracking 2 eggs into a mixing bowl.


“Elle?” James caught my attention as I was telling him to whisk.


“What?” I looked at him as he leaned down to peck me on the lips, “What was that for?” I asked in confusion.


“Just doing what your apron says.” He winked and I rolled my eyes at his attempt to be charming.


“You’re so cheesy.”


“But you love it really.” He smirked, continuing to whisk until I said that was enough. I added a pinch of salt to it, mixed it even more then put a small amount of butter into the pan, making sure it had melted. Then I held my hand over James’ as he poured a bit of the batter into the pan.


“There’s your first pancake.” I slid it onto his plate, sprinkled a bit of sugar on it and rolled it up.


“Yay!” he exclaimed, his face brightening up considerably as he munched on it happily.


“Aren’t you just adorable?” I pinched his cheek and he scowled at me.


“Shut up and make my pancakes woman,” My eyebrows raised in surprise and I put my hands on my hips in what I hoped was an intimidating glare. It worked as he gulped, “Sorry love, I’ll make my own pancakes.” I laughed at his expression when he put more batter in, making more and more pancakes. He kissed me on the lips every so often and he did it again when he was finished eating.


“You had a bit of sugar on that one,” I laughed, licking it off my lips with my tongue and watching James lean back tiredly with his hands behind his head, “You’re tired, go back to bed James.”


“Nah, I’m alright.” He sat up straight, rubbing some sleep from his eyes.


“Seriously James, go back to sleep and I’ll wake you up in an hour.” I rested my elbows on the bar, facing him and taking in his tired features. It made him look so much more attractive and his voice. His voice. Fuck, it was so sexy, deep and scratchy that I was really trying hard not to let my imagination wander whenever he spoke.


“You sure?” he yawned, stretching his arms over his head so that I got a good view of his arm muscles rippling and the ‘V’ on his waistline when his shirt rode up a little.


“Mmhmm. I promise I will wake you up in an hour.” I nodded my head, kissing him on the lips again as he walked around the bar and back upstairs. I quickly grabbed Treasure Island from the library and sat in the dining room, near the back doors, reading.


“Morning, Elle.” I looked up and saw Al stood in the doorway of the kitchen/dining room looking quite sheepish.


“Morning, Al, you okay?” I dog-eared the page and put it down, tucking one of my legs under the other.


“Yeah, it’s just… I couldn’t help but overhear yours and James’ conversation before…” he said quietly, averting his eyes to the floor and I think I might have looked a little startled, I could definitely feel the blood from my face dropping to my feet from dread.


“And…?” I replied just as quietly, scared of what he’d say.


“I only heard little snippets but… I just wanted to say that Mum wouldn’t be that disappointed if you cancelled the wedding.” He said and I could suddenly breathe again. Phew, thank God he wasn’t about to say what I thought he was. He still didn’t know that James and I were faking.


“Al, don’t worry, it’s all been sorted. It was just nerves and I think I’m still recovering from the shock of it happening so fast and what happened yesterday at the dress shop,” I explained, “It’s a little overwhelming but I’ll get used to it. I mean, it’s only been one day, right?” I could tell I was trying to convince myself more than I was trying to convince him.


“Are you sure?” he came and sat next to me, “Because I can talk to my Mum if you want? She won’t be angry at you at all, I promise.” He said unsurely.


“No, it’s alright, Al. The wedding’s still happening and I’m okay with that.” I nodded my head in what I severely hoped was a convincing way.


“Okay, just checking,” he smiled and I ruffled his hair, “You seemed a little freaked out when I heard. And I didn’t mean to eavesdrop… I was just…”


“Intrigued,” I giggled at his blushing cheeks, “Ah, it’s alright, Al.” I shrugged, opening my book again and beginning to read from where I left off. He stood up, made his breakfast, sat down to eat it and we stayed in silence until Ginny, Harry and Lily walked in.


“Oh good, you’re already up,” Ginny smiled when she saw me and started making something for herself and Lily to eat, “We’ve got a lot of work to do today so if you’re ready, you can go wake James up and get dressed and we can get started.”


“Okay, I’ll be back in a minute then,” I put the book back in the library and walked upstairs into our shared bedroom where James was lay on top of the duvet sleeping. I picked out some dark blue, high-waisted shorts, a tie-dye multi-coloured shirt and brown leather sandals to wear and headed into the bathroom to get changed, “James,” I nudged him in the shoulder gently, “James, it’s time to wake up.” His eyes peeled open slowly then he began to shift himself into a sitting position, rubbing his eyes.


“What are we doing today?” his tired voice was so hot. Have I mentioned that before?


“I dunno, your Mum just said we’ve got a lot of work to do so get dressed.” I shrugged, sitting on the bed next to him, only noticing now that he had no top on.


“Okay, gimme a minute and I’ll be ready to go.” He heaved himself up and headed into the closet, coming out a few minutes later in a plain white t-shirt and ¾ length cropped jeans. We walked back downstairs holding hands into the kitchen where Ginny was just finishing up.


“Are you both ready?” she looked up expectantly and we both nodded our heads.


“Okay then, everything’s set up in the living room for you to choose so just go in there and I’ll be there in a minute.” She ushered us into said room where there was a bunch of different types of chairs set up in the arrangement of a normal wedding ceremony with massive rolls of fabric next to that, then right in front of the window section was lots of flower bouquets which I’m guessing is what I would be holding down the aisle. It was incredibly bright, blinding and the majority of the colours in the room where white.


“Wow, there’s a lot of stuff to sort through…” James whispered, looking round the room in surprise.


“And that’s not all we’re doing today either,” a voice came from the doorway and we both spun around to see Ginny coming into the room, “We’re also going to a catering company to design the cake and choose the snack foods we’re having afterwards in the villa. Then we’re going to a vineyard to pick a bottle of wine as well.”


“That sounds exhausting,” James huffed, chucking himself onto the sofa and relaxing, “Elle has the final decision about everything.” He added, closing his eyes and leaving me stood there with a shocked expression.


“But you have to help me, at least sometimes! I can’t choose everything!” I protested, looking round at all the cluttered furniture and flowers.


“I don’t need to tell you what flowers you’re carrying down the aisle.” He shrugged, his eyes still closed.


“Fine, those.” I pointed at a bunch of pink tulips in a beautiful bouquet with some small ball-shaped flowers.


“You have to pick properly.”


“I’m not picking properly unless James helps me.” I crossed my arms childishly, staring over at my ‘fiancé’ until he opened his eyes and rolled them at me.


“Didn’t we say we’re going with the blue theme anyway?”


“Yeah, why?”


“Well, choose blue flowers then.” He flicked his wand and all the flowers had sorted themselves so that the blue flowers were in front of all the other ones.


“Thank you, that wasn’t hard was it?” I rolled my eyes at him and begin looking at each bouquet, “I quite like these ones… what are they?” I looked at Ginny, who was watching me choose quietly.


“I think they’re Plumbago flowers mixed with lilac Begonia’s in a bouquet.” She answered, flipping through a small flower chart.


“I like these, I think these ones would be nice because it’s pastel colours which will go with the bridesmaid dress and the whole pastel blue theme.” I held them up, inspecting them happily whilst Ginny cleared all the other flowers away. I put them back down to the side so I knew where they were and so we could keep them safe until next Monday.


“Right, onto the chairs and what carpet you want down the aisle.” Ginny ushered me along. The chairs and carpet were easier to pick out, I just chose a plain white Chiavari fold-up chair with a plain white silk carpet that would go down the aisle in order for me to walk down more efficiently and without me tripping.


“Where are we going now?” I asked as I helped James and Ginny move all our stuff away in preparation for the ceremony in five days.


“We’ll go to the catering company so that we can sort out the cake then the snack foods, then we’ll apparate to a vineyard to choose the wine.” She organised and we both linked arms with her. When I opened my eyes, we were on the corner of a basically empty street and right in front of us was a large food shop with about a dozen wedding cakes in one window then a bunch of different pastries in the other.


“Looks posh.” James whispered in my ear and I nodded my head, pulling my nose up into a snobby expression which made him laugh.


“Hello?” Ginny called out when we entered and the delicious smell of cookies, cakes and other pastries filled my nose and I took a huge sniff.


“Hola! How may I help you?” a man wearing a chef’s uniform came scurrying out the back.


“We’re having a wedding next Monday for my son and his fiancée, Elle, and we were looking for a cake and some small snack foods for after the ceremony.” Ginny explained as myself and James stared round at all the food hungrily and greedily.


“Yes, we can help with that. Have you any specific cake flavours you want?”


“Red velvet.” I answered just as James said,


“Chocolate.” And we both stared at each other.


“Have you ever had red velvet cake before? It’s the most mouth-watering cake in the world!” I turned to him with my arms crossed.


“Please!” he scoffed, “Everyone loves chocolate so you can’t go wrong.” He argued defensively.


“Chocolate’s boring though! It’s a safe option.”


“Chocolate is not boring,” he gasped offended, “Take that back right now.”


“Chocolate. is. boring,” I pronounced each word slowly with a smirk on my face. James suddenly grabbed me and started tickling my sides mercilessly, “Stop! James!” my stomach was hurting from laughing so much and I couldn’t breathe.


“Uh, guys…?” Ginny got out attention again because we’d both forgotten we were in a shop in public. Woops.


“Sorry,” I blushed heavily, holding James’ hands around me so that he couldn’t tickle me, “Carry on.”


“So it’s between red velvet or chocolate?” the chef, whose nametag read Mario, asked.


“Yeah. Personally I think we should have red velvet because it’s better than chocolate.” I answered.


“Trust me, when it comes to food you should go with my answer,” James interrupted, “I’m very serious when it comes to my food.” I snorted.


“Please, don’t make me laugh James!” I giggled, “Anyone puts a plate in front of you and you hoover it up without checking to see what it is.” Ginny and Mario laughed whilst James tried to tickle me again.


“I do not!” he protested.


“You so do!”


“You do, James.” Ginny joined in, nodding her head and laughing with me.


“Well, we can split the cake so half of it is red velvet and the other half is chocolate?” Mario finally spoke after listening to our banter.


“That might be better because then you can both get what you want? Or you can get one cake with two layers and each layer is a different flavour?” Ginny suggested, looking at Mario to see if he could do that and smiled when he nodded.


“I like the two-tier cake idea because people can choose which one they’d prefer rather than getting one big cake that’s split into two.” I agreed, nodding my head then tilting it to see James’ facial expression. He was nodding his head as well, practically drooling at the fact that we were going to eat some food now.


“We’ll bring out slices for each cake and then we’ll move onto the other food, okay?” Mario went into the back room whilst James, Ginny and I sat around a small table next to a large window. He came back out with three plates that had two slices of cake on each, one chocolate and one red velvet.


“Mmmm, that’s really good.” Ginny hummed appreciatively when we had all eaten the red velvet cake slice after the chocolate cake.


“Told you.” I smirked at James victoriously. He laughed sarcastically, shovelling the rest of his cake into his mouth whilst sulking.


“So are we definitely having a two-tier cake?” Mario asked. Both myself and James nodded our heads but I then added,


“Can we have the red velvet being the top layer?”


“Hang on, why can’t we have chocolate as the top layer?” James looked offended once again.


“I recall someone saying not so long ago that I have the final word when it comes to this stuff.” I pointed out, feeling James place his hand on my thigh which meant my breathing hitched.


“But didn’t you say a while ago that you can’t choose everything by yourself?” he smirked smugly and I glared at him until I couldn’t resist it and started to smile, “If you so wish you can have red velvet as the top layer.” He said quietly, his face hovering right in front of mine. My heart was pounding loudly in my chest when I realised how close his face was and I tried to make my breathing sound normal. Stupid James.


“Okay, that’s settled then,” I smirked, turning away from him and looking at Mario. I could practically feel James pouting at the fact I didn’t give in, although it was incredibly hard not to when he had this hold over me, “We’ll have the red velvet flavour on top with the chocolate underneath.”


“Sounds like a sex position.” James whispered in my ear making me almost choke on my own spit and my face flood with colour, his hand that was still placed on my thigh was making it difficult to form a coherent thought and sentence in my head. Once again… stupid, also incredibly hot, James.


“Right, I’ll bring out a selection of foods and you can choose, okay?” Mario wheeled in a food cart that had a bunch of food on it. It all ranged from sausage rolls to custard tarts to salad sandwiches. Once we’d tasted at least a bit of each food we settled on the sandwiches, profiteroles with cream, small prawn dishes and a few of the custard tarts.


“I am so full right now.” I moaned, clutching my slightly bloated stomach and regretting having something for breakfast. I should have known that we’d be testing cake and foods today so the smart thing would have been to skip breakfast so I could actually eat the food.


“I’m not.” James exclaimed gleefully, wrapping an arm around my waist whilst I did the same.


“You’re never full,” I rolled my eyes and nudged him with my hip, “Are we going to the vineyard now?” I asked Ginny.


“Yeah, we’ll apparate just down from there and then walk down. It shouldn’t take us more than two minutes at the most.” We took her arms and I closed my eyes almost immediately, only opening them again when I felt that we had landed. The smell of grapes and grass hit me instantaneously and I inhaled until my nose stung a little.


“Man, I love this smell.” I hummed with a happy smile on my face. James squeezed my waist, staring down at me with a small glint in his hazel eyes.


“I think you smelt better when you came back from that hike, you smelt nice then.” He said.


“Well you practically did inhale me,” I giggled when he laughed. He wrapped his other arm around the front of my waist, lifting me up so that I was rested on his hip, “James, I’m not a child.” I threw my head back in laughter which gave him the perfect opportunity to plant a kiss on the centre of my neck. My head snapped back so fast I think I got whiplash and I hit him on the shoulder. He eventually set me back on the ground but turned around, crouched down so that I could hop on his back for a piggyback ride.


Once I was securely on his back, he set off in such a fast-paced run that a little scream escaped my lips at being taken by surprise, “Come on! Let’s get drunk!” he shouted as he charged past his Mum. I could hear Ginny laughing behind us as we reached the entrance and James slid me down onto the ground again, wrapping his arms around my waist and tickling me.


“Hey! That wasn’t nice! Taking me by surprise, you evil boy!” I hit him on the shoulder repeatedly whilst he simultaneously tickled my sides.


“I’m not a boy,” he pouted, “I’m a man, the manliest man ever.” He buried his face in my neck and pretended to sniffle.


“Come on James, we need to go inside.” I cooed, rubbing his back and trying to keep my laughter in. He was being so adorable and playful today that I was feeling so youthful, like I was a teenager again and I didn’t have to think about all the responsibilities I had.


“No, you’re being mean to me!” he said in mock-baby voice and I swear to God I nearly swooned right there and then.


“Aww, I’m sorry, Jamesy. Of course you are the manliest man ever.” I said quietly in a small, Motherly voice and he lifted his head away from my neck with the most gorgeous puppy eyes ever.


“You mean it?”


“You’re not acting like it now,” Ginny laughed, breaking the moment, “You’re both like excitable children. It’s adorable.” She pinched James’ cheeks and they burned bright red.


Muuum! You’re embarrassing me!” he whined childishly and I laughed.


“Come on, let’s go and choose some wine.” She headed inside, followed by me then James.


“By the way, do you wanna go out and get some food tonight? Just you and me?” James asked me quietly as Ginny went to talk to the guy behind the front desk. There were a few posh-looking couples stood talking to experts around the room, holding glasses of red or white wine, sniffing it, swirling it in the glass and then sipping it. Once again I stuck out like a sore thumb, especially with the clothes I was wearing.


“What about everyone else?” I turned in his arms and wrapped my arms around his waist, my fingers trailing lightly around his back of their own accord.


“I’m sure they can live without having you there for one night.” He teased and I rolled my eyes, his voice was just a little scratchy all of a sudden.


“Okay, where are we going? Nowhere fancy please, I’ve had enough of not feeling like I fit in to last a lifetime.” I muttered, my eyes drifting towards where Ginny was stood again.


“Hey, it shouldn’t matter if you don’t fit in,” he lifted my chin so that I was looking at him again, “You’re Elle and from what I can tell, she’s funny, snarky and downright, unbelievably, impossibly nice to everyone. I can see why you were sorted into Hufflepuff.”


“That’s more of a curse than a blessing if I’m honest, I can’t even be mean to Valerie or Courtney. Even though they deserve it.”


“Sometimes being nice is better than being horrible. If you’re being horrible, you’re giving them incentive to be horrible right back,” He answered, “Be the bigger person and all that.” Ginny interrupted us before I could reply something.


“Guys, are you ready?” she asked and we nodded our heads, following her and the guy behind the desk into a separate room. I think we may have tasted about six different wines before finally agreeing on the 2006 Penfolds Grange red wine.


“I’m officially beat!” I slumped down onto the living room couch as soon as we arrived back at the villa, James following suit and moving my legs to rest on top of his thighs.


“I know what you mean, I’m absolutely knackered.” He breathed out, closing his eyes and resting his head against the back of the couch.


“My feet are hurting so much, I really should have chosen better shoes.” I peeled off my brown sandals and sighed in relief when my ankles and toes were free. James grabbed my right foot and started to massage it and I let out an involuntary groan.


“Better?” he smirked, moving onto the next one when he’d spent a good amount of time on that one.


“Much, thanks.” I shuffled around until I was comfortable and closed my eyes, listening to the sounds around me and enjoying the free foot massage I was receiving.


“Elle?” I opened my eyes at the female voice in the room but when I did, it was quite dark outside and James had disappeared somewhere. A blanket was slung over me and I figured I had fallen asleep and James had grabbed a blanket and laid it over me.
“Hmmm?” I looked up at Lily with sleepy eyes and moved slowly so that she could sit down.


“You’ve probably forgotten but could I have my phone back now?” she asked sheepishly and I nearly smacked my forehead in stupidity.


“Yeah, yeah of course! Sorry, I had it with me and I was supposed to give it back to you this morning but I completely forgot!” I apologised, fishing it out of my short pockets and handing it back to her. She checked it quickly with an excited expression on her face but it suddenly dropped to a saddened one and she dropped the phone into her lap, “What’s wrong?” I sat up, chucking the blanket onto the other chair and putting a consoling arm around her.


“He hasn’t called or texted me. At all.” She mumbled and I knew who she was talking about. Oliver.


“Well, we’ll text him back now and just wait to see if he’ll reply.” I took the phone off her and quickly typed a reply, giving it back to her so she could read over it before she sent it.



Lily: So sorry I couldn’t reply, I was super busy helping Elle sort out her wedding stuff. It wasn’t a lot of kissing, just a little xxx’

 

“I don’t normally send him kisses.” She said quietly after she sent it.


“You should have said or deleted them or something.”


“No, I wanted to send him kisses this time. I don’t know, maybe as a sorry or to see if he’ll respond with them?” she ran a hand through her hair.


“You really like him, don’t you?” I let her put her head on my shoulder and slowly stroked her arm, an unwanted memory surfacing in my mind.


“You have no idea.” She replied. I had a reply on my tongue but I couldn’t find the heart to say it because it would make her suspicious of mine and James’ ‘relationship’, if it even was one anymore.


“I think you should go and have dinner, don’t think about him too much and know that what happens, happens,” I shrugged once she’d lifted her head off my shoulder, “I know it’s not the best advice I’ve ever giv-.”


“Elle, it’s enough you just trying. I know it’s hard to give advice to someone when you’re in a happy relationship yourself but thank you so much for trying to understand.” She gave me a quick hug and stood up to go for dinner and I couldn’t have felt more helpless or guilty in my life. My hand fell onto my lap whilst my arms dangled freely as I squeezed my eyes shut.


“You ready to go for dinner?” James’ voiced made me snap my head up.


“Yeah, let’s go.” I sighed, standing up and following him out the front door of the villa.


“What’s wrong?” he looked down at me, his eyebrows knitted together in concern.


“Nothing’s wrong, I’m just tired,” I shrugged, hoping he’d believe me. He stared at me for a few more seconds before giving me the benefit of the doubt and letting it go, “How come you didn’t wake me up before?”


“I knew you were up early this morning so I just let you sleep. Plus, you look adorable when you sleep,” he tapped me on the nose and I blushed, “Oh, and you snore cutely as well.”


I gasped, “I do not snore!”


“Oh yes you do! It’s so cute!” he pinched my cheeks and I had to hold back from tripping him up as we walked to wherever we were going.


“I’ll show you cute when I chop your fingers off.” I glared at him.


“You sleep with your mouth open a little as well and you curl up in a ball.” He kept on talking, ignoring my intensified glare on the side of his head.


“Please stop talking.” I moaned, covering my face that was as red as a tomato probably. He grabbed my hands and pulled them away from my face with a boyish grin on his face.


“Hey, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s adorable.” He laughed sincerely, pulling me to him and planting a sloppy kiss right on my lips.


“Shut up and let’s just get some food, I’m starving.” I clutched my belly when it rumbled loudly as if to further prove my point.


“What do you want? Fast food?” he pointed to a McDonald’s in front of us, “Or some greasy Kebabs?” he pointed to a small kebab shop just a little further down from McDonald’s.


“McDonald’s!” I exclaimed and practically dragged him inside. We both ordered a chicken nugget Happy Meal each, playing with our toys whilst we were eating, “Hey!” I cried in protest when he nabbed one of my chips so I reached across the table and grabbed about four chips and stuffed them in mouth before he could react.


“I only took one! Now, I have to take three to make it equal.” He stared at me in shock and went to grab my chips but I pulled them out of his reach, as well as my nuggets. A lot of people, mainly older people, were looking at us condescendingly in that way that clearly said ‘Ugh, act like a grown up please’.


“Nuh uh, my chips.” I swallowed my mouthful difficulty and then proceeded to stuff the rest of the down my throat as fast as possible.


“You really are one of a kind, Elle,” he laughed, copying me and shoving the remaining chips in his gob. We stood up, put our rubbish in the bin and carried our toys in our hands back towards the villa with me trying to inconspicuously hide my yawns but hiding miserably, “Come on sleeping beauty, let’s get you to bed.” He swooped me up in his arms suddenly. Talk about sweeping me off my feet.


“That means you’re my knight in shining armour.” I mumbled sleepily, snuggling myself into his chest and inhaling his delicious aftershave.


“Sure it does princess,” he whispered back, laying me down on the bed when we reached our bedroom, “Now, go to sleep because we have a big day ahead of us tomorrow.” He added mysteriously but my sleep-filled mind couldn’t process the statement because all I could think about was falling asleep. When James climbed in beside me a few minutes later, I immediately curled up next to him and smiled happily when he wrapped his arms around me.


Chapter 15: Elle's Birthday
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A/N: Some people were requesting that I write a chapter in James’ POV and I said that I wouldn’t be able to write a full one but I figured that this chapter would be the perfect one to do it in especially because of what happens in it. And the ending which I have been planning since the beginning of the story! The next chapter will be back in Elle’s POV and I’m really excited because these next few chapters are the ones where everything kicks off! And I'm super sorry it's been a while but I found the challenge part of the forums and now I'm entered in 2 challenges, I have finished one and that's why it took a while to get this uploaded. I was just waiting for that to get validated first. I’ve given up on the interesting fact after realising I am seriously not that interesting, haha.

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.









“I still think your presents were the best.” – Elle Underwood







Elle was sleeping peacefully in our bed as I tried to quieten my alarm clock that I had set last night before going to sleep. Her ginger hair fanned out behind her and she was curled up in a little ball next to me, the duvet wrapped around her cutely. I quickly and quietly snuck my way into the closet opposite our room, took down my suitcase and took out the bag that had two of the three birthday presents for Elle in it. The third present was hidden at the back of my wardrobe, which I also got out but carefully as it could be easily damaged. I put the presents on the floor beside my side of the bed so I could easily reach down and grab the first one to give to her when I woke her up.


“Elle!” I whispered, nudging her lightly on the arm, “Elle, it’s time to wake up.” She moved slightly and then her eyes peeled open, revealing those bright blue eyes.


“What’s happening?” She grumbled, rubbing her eyes and stretching.


“What’s happening is that you’re turning 23!” I smiled widely at her, waiting for her to remember that it was her birthday today.


“Oh… yeah,” her eyes widened slightly but then narrowed as she saw me sat crossed-legged next to her with a beaming smile, “Why are you staring at me like that?”


“Listen,” I started carefully, “I know you said that you didn’t want anyone to make a big deal out of today but…” I trailed off, leaning over the side of the bed to pick up the first present that I had wrapped horrifically.


“James! You didn’t have to get me a present!” She exclaimed, taking it off me and just staring at it in shock.


“Well, open it.” I urged her as she laughed at my excitable facial expression.


“Your wrapping is horrendous, James.”


“I know, I know! Just open it,” she unwrapped it slowly and carefully and stared at me confusedly when she saw the plain black frame in her hand, “Tap it with your wand.” I explained and watched as she picked it up and tapped it gently where the picture should be. The screen suddenly came to life, showing picture after picture of Elle smiling and laughing throughout the holiday. There was one where she was on the roof top with me, watching the sunset that I managed to take sneakily when she wasn’t looking, and the one from the water park as she pulled a funny face down the slide.


“Oh wow…” she gasped, watching and occasionally laughing when a funny picture came up, “This is amazing!” She looked at me with a wonderful smile that made my breathing stop a little.


“I just thought it would be a nice gift for you to remember your first ever holiday abroad,” she looked back down at the pictures, “It’s not the best circumstances, I understand that, but I wanted to make something that’ll help you remember this.” I finished sheepishly. I really wanted today to be perfect for Elle. So much had happened on this holiday for her, that I got a glimpse of, and it wasn’t good stuff so she deserved at least one day of happiness and especially on her birthday.


“James, it’s a wonderful present,” she leaned forward to embrace me in a hug and I couldn’t help but bury my face in her neck, she smelt so good and I wanted to stay here forever, “Definitely one of the best presents I’ve ever got for my birthday,” she pulled back from the hug, leaned against the headboard and put the picture frame on her side of the bed, “What’s the plan for today anyway?”


“I’m not finished yet.” I answered, pulling up the next present which took me ages to make. Whilst she went dress shopping with my Mum and Lily the other day, I went back to La Concepcion and made a huge bouquet of tissue paper flowers for her in loads of different shades of green because I remembered her favourite colour was a moss green.


“You got me another present!” she sat bolt upright again, taking the flowers off me and looking at them in amazement, “You made these?” She whispered, sniffing them as I’d put a spell on them to make them smell like flowers even though they were fake.


“Yeah, I thought about getting you real flowers but then you’d have to water them and they’d die after a few weeks. So I made these because they’ll literally last forever,” I explained warily again because her reaction was still quite neutral, I didn’t know whether she liked them or not, “So… do you like them?” I asked gingerly.


“James, I love them. They’re the most thoughtful present I’ve ever gotten, thank you so much!” she put them on the side, next to the frame and hugged me again and kissed my cheek this time as well. Is it weird to say I really wanted her to kiss me again? “How did you know my favourite colour was green?”


“I remember you saying a few nights ago that your favourite colour was like a moss green so I decided to make them in different shades of green near that colour.” I replied.


“Oh, well thank you! They’re lovely.” She smiled a blinding smile at me, making me like her just that bit more. If that were even possible.


“It is no problem and…” I leaned over the side for the last present.


“Another one?” She rolled her eyes but blushed at the same time.


“Just one more and then I promise after that I’m done!” I smirked at her shyness, which was absolutely adorable to me, and handed over the last one, “Now, be careful with this one because it’s very delicate.” I warned her before she slowly ripped the wrapping paper off to reveal a black velvet jewellery box.


“James… you really didn’t have to!” she gasped when she opened the lid, showing a radiant necklace that had multiple diamonds and diamantes on it, forming an inverted triangular shape at the front, “This is too much! I can’t accept this!” She shook her head and went to hand the box back to me but I pushed it back.


“You’re gonna have to accept it, Elle, it’s your birthday present.” I said seriously, watching her stare at it in awe and amazement again.


“This must have been so expensive.” She protested, her index finger trailing the line of the diamonds on the top row of the triangle.


“It was worth it though.” I shrugged, running a hand through my hair nervously.


“It’s beautiful, James, thank you so much.” She whispered, closing the lid and putting it in her bed-side drawer, probably to keep it safe.


“I’m glad you like it.” She climbed out from under the duvet and knelt in front of me on the bed before grasping the sides of my face in her hands and planting a soft kiss on my lips. I wrapped my arms around her tiny waist and laid down on my back so that half her body was lay on my chest and our legs were tangled together, still kissing. Man, those kinds of kisses are the ones that drive me wild. There’s just so many thoughts going through my head when she kisses me like that, I am literally left feeling so… speechless. It’s nothing like when I used to kiss Courtney.


“This has been the best morning ever on this holiday,” she whispered when we separated, staring into my eyes deeply and her face hovering above mine as we lay on top of the duvet, “Thank you, James.” She added before she kissed me again and again and again. Just little pecks but I was seriously enjoying this so much, I didn’t feel the need to deepen the kisses because these little ones were enough to last me a lifetime.


“Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Elle, happy birthday to you!” Mum, Dad, Al and Lily came in singing whilst Mum held her birthday cake with two candles that were in a ‘23’ shape. Elle’s face blushed bright red and she snuggled her face into my neck as I chuckled and ran my middle finger up and down her back gently.


“You gonna blow out your candles and make a wish?” Lily said impatiently, receiving a small glare from yours truly whilst Elle leaned forward, closed her eyes for a few seconds then blew out her candles.


“What did you wish for?” I asked, smiling down at her as she looked up at me.


“Not telling otherwise it won’t come true,” she teased. Mum handed her a knife and she cut us all a slice for breakfast, “Mmm, can’t say I’ve ever had birthday cake for breakfast but it’s nice. Thank you guys.” She blushed whilst we all ate our slices of cake.


“We know James told us that you didn’t want to make a big deal but he didn’t mention anything about not getting you presents and a cake.” Dad smiled as they all pulled out a bunch of presents, placing them all in front of Elle.


“You really shouldn’t have… James already got me some pretty spectacular presents.” She looked really flattered but also like a deer caught in headlights.


“But our presents are so much better!” Lily beamed.


“No, they will never be better than my presents! My presents were awesome, weren’t they?” I looked down at Elle to see she was watching us with a fond smile on her face.


“I don’t know until I’ve opened their presents but I have to say the bar’s set pretty high,” she agreed and got to work opening each of their cards and presents, “Thank you guys, they are such lovely presents.” Elle thanked them all, stood up and put the presents beside the side-table in a pile so that it was all neat and together.


“You’re welcome,” Mum hugged her, “When you’re dressed come downstairs and we’ll tell you what we’re doing today,” she looked positively excited and knowing what we were doing today, I could understand why, “Dress for something beachy.” She winked at Elle as they all left the room.


“I still think your presents were the best.” Elle whispered to me with a cheeky grin when we both got out of bed and started getting ready. I just pulled on a simple plain t-shirt, swimming trunks and some beach sandals. Elle came out wearing some high-waisted shorts and a grey top with a black bikini underneath.


“Does this look alright?” She asked nervously. I stepped toward her, put my hands on her waist and kissed her quickly.


“You look perfect,” I smiled down at her and she blushed heavily, rolling her eyes, “Okay, let’s go and have some fun today, birthday girl.” I teased and she pushed me in the sides jokingly.


“Please don’t call me that all day.” She begged.


“Sure thing…” I smirked at her and she turned around, “Birthday girl.” I quickly dodged her flying hand and ran down the stairs into the kitchen as she chased me.


“Not funny James!” she giggled when she caught up to me and I slung her over my shoulder, “Put me down!” I slid her back down onto the ground happy that she had that smile on her face again and was enjoying herself fully instead of being apprehensive for this wedding or feeling guilty for agreeing to this for me. Which I was eternally grateful for. If she hadn’t agreed to this I would have been screwed.


“Come on you two, sit down so we can start the surprise.” Mum said excitedly, ushering us both to our seats and putting a small plate of scrambled eggs, bacon and hash browns in front of us. The cake slices from before were just small ones so they weren’t really filling. Just as I started wolfing down my food, someone knocked on our front door and everyone looked between each other in confusion.


“I guess I’ll get that then.” Elle laughed at our confused expressions and stood up, exiting the room and we all heard the front door open.


“Were you two expecting anyone?” I asked my Mum and Dad, who both shook their heads.


“It might be someone from the Spanish Ministry about your letter about the wedding on the beach Mum.” Lily suggested.


“It might be, we’ll just have to wait and see when Elle comes back in.” Dad said, continuing to eat his food and we all followed suit. Elle came back in a few minutes later with a very solemn expression on her face, holding a piece of card in her hands and a crease in between her eyebrows. The reason behind her facial expression followed behind her seconds later. Valerie.


“Hello everyone!” She greeted us with a wide smile, showing off perfect teeth. Elle came and sat next to me, slumping in her seat a little so I immediately grabbed her hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze.


“Hey Valerie…” We all said back but a little bit more reserved ever since we found out that she used to make fun of Elle when she was ginger.


“I just came by to say that I’m holding a celebration party tonight at my new resort and I would really like it if all of you could attend. It’s a black-tie event so you could all get dressed up for one night.” She beamed, handing each of us a card like the one Elle had in her hands.


“Well, I don’t see why we can’t go… it’d be a fun night and we can celebrate Elle’s birthday as well.” Dad smiled a little forcefully at Valerie than would be considered normal.


“Oh yeah, I completely forgot that it’s your 23rd birthday today,” she looked down at Elle, who smiled briefly but still didn’t say anything, “Happy birthday.”


“Thanks.” She mumbled back finally but wouldn’t look anywhere except at our hands that were joined together.


“I really hope you can attend tonight, it’ll be so much fun,” she looked round at all of us one last time and it sort of descended into an awkward tenseness, “I’ll let myself out then, see you later hopefully.” She left the room with a forced smile after no-one offered to show her out. Elle immediately relaxed when she heard the front door slam shut again and I moved my hand from hers to the small of her back. She looked up at me thankfully, smiling a tiny bit and I just kissed her temple reassuringly.


“Right, are we all done so we can go?” Mum broke the silence and we all stood up at the same time.


“Do we really have to go to Valerie’s tonight?” Elle whispered to me as we all congregated in the foyer to apparate together.


“I think we do,” she looked disheartened and I wanted to do everything I could to make her happy again and see that smile from before, “But I promise you I’ll keep you away from her as much as I can all evening,” I stuck out my pinkie finger and she grabbed on with hers, the beginnings of her smile starting to come back, “There’s her smile!” I encouraged and she blushed again, hitting me over the arm.


“Where are we going?” Elle asked my Mum, who was getting a bag packed and ready for us.


“You’ll see but it’ll be a really relaxed afternoon after the last two hectic days.” She answered conspiratorially and Elle immediately turned to me with her arms crossed.


“I’m not telling you either.” I held my hands up with a smug smile on my face.


“What if I told you that it was my wish for you to tell me?” She asked.


“But it wasn’t so I don’t have to tell you.”


“You’re so mean.” She pouted and I kissed her on the lips again. I could never get enough of this.


“But you still love me.” I winked and held my arm out for her to grab so we could apparate.


“Unfortunately.” She muttered under her breath.


“I’m sorry, what was that?” I pretended like I hadn’t heard it.


“Nothing love.” She smiled innocently but I didn’t believe her for a second and raised my eyebrow.


“James, you do know where we’re apparating right?” Mum called from behind us and I swivelled round.


“Of course I do, I’m not stupid.” I rolled my eyes when I turned back because she’d bollock me if she saw me do that to her.


“Don’t you roll your eyes at me either… you’re not too old for smack.” She threatened.


“Yes Mum.” I muttered sheepishly as Elle was trying to contain her laughter so I apparated us without any warning. When I felt the smooth, wooden laminate flooring beneath us, I opened my eyes to see Elle staring at me evilly.


“You could have given me some warning!” She moaned, holding her head.


“You were being mean and laughing at me.” I pouted, crossing my arms as we heard some more pops above us.


“Sorry but seeing you whipped by your Mum is hilarious,” she smiled, nudging me in the side, “Where are we anyway? It’s a very posh room…” We looked round at the beige and cream themed living room. The room was shaped like a really obscure triangle that was slightly curved on the two sides, a long beige couch took up the two sides with a dark wood coffee table right in the middle of the room. A flat-screen TV was built in the wall so that the extended couch was facing it with the walls being a birch colour with the floors the same colour. Behind where we were stood was a small corridor with a door on the far end that I’m guessing led to the bedroom and adjoined ensuite bathroom.


“Well, if you come up here to where the rest of the family apparated because I’m silly and apparated to the wrong room, I’ll show you.” I explained, grabbing her hand and pulling her passed the TV and down the small corridor to where there was a small staircase on the left that we walked up.


“There you are James! You apparated below?” Mum looked absolutely ready to kill me, “You spoiled the surprise!” She whined, looking between myself and Elle.


“Calm down Mum, she still doesn’t know what the surprise is yet.” I appeased her, letting go of Elle’s hand and patting Mum’s shoulder reassuringly.


“I’m confused…” Elle snapped our attention back to her and I just gestured to the room around her. Her eyes widened when she took in the view from the room we were currently in. In front of us were two seats nailed into the floor that faced a huge range of controls and a wide, curved window that showed a panoramic view of the ocean from the Spanish coast, “Oh my god! Are we on a boat?!” She yelled loudly in shock.


“Well, technically it’s a yacht but yeah, let’s call it a boat.” Al laughed, sitting in one spinny chair and smiling at her.


“Why are we on a boat?” She asked, looking at me in confusion when the obvious shock was over.


“Well…” Mum looked at my Dad happily and I had to roll my eyes, “We bought a yacht a few years back and we’ve not really had much time to use it if we’re honest because we’ve been so busy so…” she trailed off looking between myself and Elle then finally at Dad. I didn’t know where she was going with this… she told me that we were spending the day on our yacht…


“We’re giving The Lily to you two as a wedding gift.” Dad finished the sentence, looking between us and I was just shocked into silence.


“What?!” I spluttered, sitting down on the corner sofa that was built into the wall so that I didn’t fall over.


“Are you serious?” Elle whispered, her blue eyes probably as wide as mine.


“Yes, completely serious. You two can use it on your honeymoon and travel around if you so wish.” Dad said happily and I was still so shocked.


“And you can come and live in here for the rest of the holiday, apart from Sunday night because it’s bad luck for a bride and groom to see each other on the night before a wedding. And we’re having stag dos and hen dos separately.” Mum added giddily.


“We can go back to the villa now and help you get all your stuff and move it onto here, if you want?” Lily said expectantly and we both just nodded our heads mutely, “Great! Let’s go!” She clapped her hands and both Elle and I were walking around in a daze as we apparated back to the villa, packed our stuff and then went back to the yacht to pack our stuff away.


“When you’re all done, we can go and tan on the outside deck.” Lily clapped Elle on the back gently and she nodded in response. When they’d all disappeared, closing the door to the bedroom, Elle turned to me in a panic,


“Oh God, this is turning into a nightmare!” She hissed.


“Why? I quite like having a yacht to myself.” I smirked, trying to distract her from panicking.


“James! This isn’t funny!” she glared at me and I shut my mouth, “That’s even more money they’re spending on us now… the holiday I could get over because they weren’t really spending money on me in the form of plane tickets and what have you but a yacht, James! A fucking yacht!”


“Calm down, Elle, it’s fine… honestly!” I tried to calm her down.


“Stop saying it’s fine! It might be fine for you but for me, yeah not so much,” she said sarcastically, “It’s not fine, I’m not used to having this much money and having a yacht being given as a present! It doesn’t help that it’s being given as a wedding gift when none of this is real… oh my God!” she ran her hands through her hair frantically, pacing back and forth and I could tell that she was nearing a panic attack, “I never celebrate my birthday anyway and I told you that I didn’t want to celebrate it, you promised you wouldn’t make a big deal out of it and this is just making me feel worse!”


“Elle!” I shouted over her rambling and she stopped to look at me, her eyes already glistening with tears, “Listen, I’ll tell them to go back to the villa, okay? I’ll tell them to calm it down and not bring up the fact it’s your birthday anymore, okay?” I grasped her face in my hands so she was forced to look at me and calm down, “Just… please don’t cry because I hate seeing you cry.” I quietened down until I could see she was calm, breathing normally and the tears were gone.


“Okay.” She whispered, still staring at me with those beautiful blue eyes.


“Just carry on unpacking and I’ll be back in a minute.” I brought her face closer to me as I kissed her forehead, stayed there for a few seconds before going back to talk to my family.


“James,” I turned back at the door to see Elle with a small smile on her face, “Thank you.” I just gave her a reassuring smile back and walked to the stairs that led onto the walk-around deck. Lily and Mum were already laid down on towels in their swimsuits trying to get a tan whilst Dad and Al were getting some beers from the cooler.


“Mum, Dad!” I called and their attention was drawn to me suddenly.


“Yeah, what is it James?” Dad looked at me in worry.


“It’s nothing bad… well, it kind of is…” I started, “Elle just almost had another panic attack and I was just wondering if we could all maybe stop mentioning presents and celebrating Elle’s birthday anymore?”


“Oh no, is she okay?” Mum stood up and made to move back inside to talk to her.


“Yeah she’s fine now but I think she just wants to be left alone.” I hinted and it took a few seconds before Mum got it.


“Oh… OH! Guys, we’re gonna go back to the villa now so we can leave James and Elle to get used to living here!” She rounded everybody up.


“But I wanted to tan here!” Lily protested, making things difficult as always.


“You can tan on the beach, now get up because we’re going back to the villa.” Mum pulled out the Grandma Molly impersonation which we had all been subjected to at one point in our lives, me more than Al and Lily.


“Fine,” she huffed, pulling a kimono on over her swimsuit and crossing her arms moodily whilst I smirked at her, “Mum! James is making faces at me!” She whined childishly.


“I was not!” I argued.


“Oh, would you two grow up?” Dad rolled his eyes at us and we both stuck our tongues out at each other when they weren’t looking.


“We’re really sorry about Elle sweetheart, tell her we’re sorry we caused any trouble.” Mum kissed my cheek, Dad patted my back and Al and Lily just waved before they all apparated.


“Will do,” I saluted to myself and went back into the bedroom, “Well, looks like it’s just you and me again.” I smiled kindly at Elle, who was sat on the corner of the bed.


“Sorry, I didn’t mean to have a freak-out. It’s just… I’m not used to all this and this lifestyle.” She apologised again.


“It’s fine, Elle, honestly. I understand that you aren’t and sometimes I think we all forget that.” I chuckled, sitting next to her and wrapping an arm around her waist.


“It’s nice to forget sometimes though,” she smiled, laying her head on my shoulder, “Are we gonna go and tan then or just sit here?” She finally asked.


“You finished packing?”


“Yeah, I feel like relaxing now because I swear I’m gonna be on a high-alert all night tonight.” She shivered as we walked onto the front of the yacht where there was already a towel laid out for Elle.


“Well, I made a pinkie promise and I’m gonna stick to it don’t you worry.” I reassured her, slipping my top over my head and lying down on the towel next to where hers was. Slipping on my sunglasses, I watched as Elle slowly stripped off her top and shorts to reveal a very skimpy black bikini and I couldn’t be happier that I met her and she agreed to go on this holiday with me. We lay there for a good few hours, until four when we had to go back to the villa and get ready at Lily’s request because she had to ‘makeover’ Elle.


“I’ll see you in a bit then, I guess.” She kissed me on the lips slowly as Lily practically dragged her upstairs so I was left to get ready in Al’s room.


“So… how’s things going with Elle?” He nudged me as I pulled on my white button down shirt and black slacks.


“Yeah, it’s going really good thanks,” I answered a little awkwardly, it sounded like he was implying something, “Why do you wanna know?”


“Just want to make sure my older brother is using protection.” He ruffled my hair as I swatted it away laughing.


“Worry about yourself mate,” I punched him in the shoulder, “Got anywhere with that girl in your office yet?” I teased him, knowing it was a touchy subject for him.


“I actually hate you.” He pouted childishly and I laughed again.


“You have to love me by default, you can’t choose your family!” I sing-song to him, finishing pulling on my shoes, bow-tie and black jacket to finish the look. It was incredibly posh and I felt like I was younger again and was forced to go to the stupid Ministry parties with Mum and Dad.


“Stopped checking yourselves out in the mirror yet? Cause everyone else is ready apart from you.” Lily popped her head around the door and her hair was over her shoulder in a messy plait, her face done up with a whole load of make-up and my older brother protectiveness came out.


“Show us what dress you’re wearing.” I ordered, crossing my arms at the same time as Al. It seemed like we both agreed that if she was wearing something inappropriate that she was going to change.


“Why do you care what dress I’m wearing?” She still wasn’t showing us the dress.


“Because I need to make sure that my baby sister is not dressed as a walking talking piece of meat that other men can ogle.” I answered, narrowing my eyes as she rolled her eyes.


“You two are unbelievable! I’m 22!” She moaned and disappeared down the stairs so we followed her to where everyone was waiting by the front door. When I saw Lily’s dress I was caught between disappointed and glad that it came to mid-calf but still was quite form-fitting in places that should not be shown off. Not to mention that her boobs were nearly hanging out at the neckline. Well, I was distracted by Lily’s dress until I saw what Elle was wearing and I was nearly swept off my feet in pure, unadulterated amazement. Her dress was a dark green, matching her hair perfectly, was floor-length and hugging every single curve that I didn’t know she had and flowed out at the bottom, sort of like a trumpet. The back dipped low to the middle of her back and showed a quarter of her scar. This, however, was the only part of skin showing because it had long sleeves and the neckline almost reached to her neck so it wasn’t low like Lily’s was. Thank God because I don’t think I would like it very much if I saw another guy eye her up.


She looked absolutely iridescent, beautiful, gorgeous, stunning and if there were any more adjectives I could think of at this precise moment, I would add them. But one stood out to me more than the others and that was; perfect. Her hair was straight down her back but curled at the ends slightly, she was wearing a pair of silver dangly earrings and that’s when I looked at her neck to see she was wearing the necklace that I had bought her for her birthday. I was speechless and felt incredibly ordinary and unworthy whilst I stared at her stood there, a small blush creeping up her cheeks as I tried to find any words to say.


“You can close your mouth now, James.” Lily teased but I didn’t retort like I would have because I just couldn’t form any coherent thoughts. I thought she was pretty that day when I had to pretend-propose to her but this… pretty was an understatement. Pretty just wouldn’t do her justice.


“James, we’re gonna be late unless you apparate with Elle to the resort.” Mum’s voice was the one that snapped me out of my daze and I briskly walked forward to hold my arm out for her. It was probably a good idea that I had to focus on apparating us to the correct location because I needed to say something that didn’t sound like I was a quivering mess inside.


I coughed once we’d arrived in the entrance hall, “Uh…” I started, scratching the back of my neck nervously, “You, uh, look beautiful.” Oh my God, that sounded terrible! Why couldn’t I have used a better word than beautiful?


“You scrub up pretty well yourself.” She smiled back, brushing some hair from her face. I held my arm out for her, she linked her arm around mine and we walked into the main room together. An overwhelming sense of pride came over me as I saw that nearly every single eye was drawn to the amazing woman on my side and I also felt smug when I saw a few jealous looks of the guys.


“So glad you could come,” Valerie’s voice called from behind us and true to my word, I made sure myself and Elle were stood behind everyone else, obstructed from her view, “Your table is over here!” She directed us to a circular table that Courtney, Alfonso and Travis were already sat at.


“Oh, fucking fantastic.” I heard Elle hiss and when we’d sat down, I grabbed her hand under the table and kept a tight grip on it.


“It’ll be alright, Elle, I’m right here.” I whispered in her ear before placing a kiss on her temple.


“It’s lovely to see you all again! It has been way too long since we last saw you!” Courtney greeted everyone enthusiastically, her voice already grating on my nerves like fingernails scraping on a chalkboard.


“There’s a reason.” I whispered under my breath to Elle and she tried to hide her grin.


“How do you and Valerie know each other?” Mum asked, generating a stimulating conversation around the table.


“Oh, well we worked together on a project a while back whilst I was still a waitress.” Valerie answered.


“Yeah, it was before I’d even started dating James, wasn’t it?” Courtney turned to Valerie like they were old friends.


“I think it was, yeah. Anyway, it went really well and we just kept in contact. We had no idea that James had started dating Elle here!” The conversation was now directed at myself and Elle.


“Crazy world, isn’t it?” Courtney giggled, pouring herself some wine. I noticed that Alfonso was giving Elle hungry looks and I could see it was making her uncomfortable and it was making me angry because she was mine, so we switched seats, “Elle, how’s the holiday going?” Courtney asked when Valerie had captured the attention of everyone else in the room for her speech before the dinner was served.


“It’s going very well thanks,” she answered with a forced smile, “Actually, it’s getting better on Tuesday.” She turned to me and I had to plaster a massive smile on my face because I had no idea where she was going.


“Yeah, it is,” that’s when I realised what was happening on Tuesday. The wedding, “We… are getting married.” I announced, making sure everyone on the table could hear now that Valerie had re-joined us after finishing her speech. The mixture of responses was hilarious, the Potter’s, myself and Elle looked positively ecstatic. On the other hand, Travis, Valerie and Courtney all looked gobsmacked. I’m not sure what was going through Alfonso’s mind but judging by the way he was staring at Elle, I had a pretty good idea.


“What?” Courtney was the first to break the silence.


“We’re getting married.” I repeated, my jaw clenching as I looked at the girl that I thought I had been in love with for 3 years. A flash of jealousy swam in her eyes before both her and Valerie put on smiles and congratulated us, ordering more champagne to celebrate. Elle was silent throughout the dinner, only focussing on her food and laughing at the occasional comment that I made under my breath so it came as a shock when Valerie rounded on her after the dinner had been taken away and nearly everyone had got up to dance. Including my parents, it was so embarrassing.


“So Elle, what made you fall in love with James in the first place?” She put her head on her knuckles on the table as if she was actually interested in what she had to say.


“Uh…” she stumbled a little because she was being put on the spot suddenly, “Well, I’m not really sure when I fell in love with James… it just sort of happened.” She shrugged, looking at me for reassurance that it was a good answer and I smiled in return.


“Come on, you can do better than that!” she urged with a little bit of smugness behind it, “And say it looking at him because then we can see him blushing.” She teased and Elle finally managed to look me in the eye after a few seconds. I really hoped she’d make it believable…


“Okay,” she took a breath, “I realise it every time you smile…” she paused to smile herself but her blue eyes never left mine, “When you properly smile, not a smirk or one of your lopsided grins, because it makes you look younger and happier.”


“Aww, that’s adorable!” Valerie inputted but it seemed like she wasn’t done yet.


“And whenever I wake up… you always, without fail, have an arm around me protectively and I somehow feel safer knowing it’s there,” I swear I had stopped breathing, forgetting that everyone else was in the room, “You never push me for an answer when there’s something you know I don’t like talking about. You just let me know you’re there for me and it’s more than enough, just knowing you’re there,” her grip was as tight as ever on my hand under the table, “I just love the fact that you’re so open about your love for you family. It’s amazing how well you get on with them and you all make me feel like I have been a part of the family for years and years. And you always do things to make me smile, especially if I’m not feeling great that day.” She finished finally and I couldn’t bring myself to look away, I just couldn’t. It was incredibly heartfelt and my heart was swelling, my breathing was ragged and I couldn’t help it… I was starting to fall blindly in love with this girl opposite me and she had no idea how much she had affected me in such a small amount of time.


“Your turn, James!” Valerie still didn’t manage to break our eye contact and I started feeling worried as to what I would say, “Don’t hold back.” She joked and I wasn’t sure whether people had come back to our table yet because all I could think about was how I was going to express my feelings for Elle without giving anything away majorly.


“Okay, here goes,” I whispered to myself. I might as well be truthful, it was the only way to make it realistic to other people, “When you laugh and your nose crinkles a little, it’s adorable and I love making you laugh just so I can see it and hear you laugh in general. And feel proud that it was me that made you laugh and just me. Whenever you blush at any compliments thrown your way because it just makes me want to shower you with compliments so you can see what I see every day and make you believe it,” at this she blushed which only made me smile even wider, “You never take anything I say seriously and always have a sarcastic response or retort which makes just hanging out with you entertaining. Like we can sit around all day doing nothing and I wouldn’t trade it for the world because of the things you say,” I felt someone sit beside me but I was fully concentrated on Elle’s eyes, “The way you ask about my day or how I slept or to tell you stories about when I was younger because… I don’t know, it makes me feel young again and that you are actually interested in hearing my answers. And when we kiss, it’s like we were made for each other because you fit perfectly against me and they always leave me satisfied yet wanting more at the same time. It’s enchanting.” I finished with a shaky breath, relinquishing my tight grip on her hand for her to grip it back just as tight. A cough from the side finally broke our gaze and we shifted back in our seats quite awkwardly.


“That was so unbelievably cute!” Lily squealed and then sighed dreamily, occasionally staring between us.


“Thanks… erm, do you wanna go dance?” I asked Elle, just to get away from the completely awkward tension.


“Yeah sure.” She agreed, took my hand and we walked in silence to the dance-floor. Immediately as we stepped onto it, a slow song started and I put my hands on her waist whilst her hands wrapped around my neck and we started swaying slowly. Our eye contact was re-started again and I didn’t realise I was singing along to the song until it got to an incredibly cheesy part and Elle giggled adorably. Her nose crinkled and like I said before, I loved it when she laughed because it was a wonderful sound. Her head descended to rest on my shoulder and I leaned my head on hers, occasionally placing kisses on top of her head. We never broke apart even as song after song was played and it was perfect until Lily interrupted us.


“Guys, I have an idea! Why don’t we all go back to the villa, or yacht in your case, and get ready and go out to a nightclub in Spain?” She looked excited and I guess Elle was in a good mood because she agreed happily.


“You sure you want to go out tonight?” I asked.


“I’m sure. I’m unusually happy for once and I want to go out tonight and have even more fun.” She nodded her head. We walked back to where my Mum and Dad were sat, explained what we were doing and said our goodbyes. Once we were back on the yacht, we went into our bedroom and began to get ready to get changed. I could see that Elle was struggling to get the back of her necklace undone so I stepped behind her.


“Here, let me help you,” she pulled her hair to one side so I could get easy access to the clip and waited until I had undone it. She put the necklace back in the drawer before turning around to face me again, “I’m sorry I couldn’t keep you away from Valerie at the start of the evening.” I felt like I should say something but it only came out as a whisper.


“It’s okay, James, we were sat on the same table… it couldn’t be helped.” She whispered back, her arms hanging by her sides and I wanted to talk to her about the stuff she said but I wasn’t really sure how to go about it.


“Those things you said…” I gulped and watched her become frightfully still, “That was, uh, very clever. They were very… realistic.” I stepped closer so we weren’t so far away.


“So were yours,” her voice was so hard to hear but I was mesmerised by her right now, her blues eyes searching my brown ones frantically, “We should probably get changed now.” She coughed slightly.


“Right.” I breathed, slowly moving so that my hand was cupping her neck and bringing her closer to me.


“Right.” She copied me before our lips joined, moving together as one. My other hand grasped her chin before moving down to her waist, pulling her body fully against mine. It was such a different kiss to the one that had happened after I had pretend-proposed. This one had so much more unspoken emotion in it and I was intoxicated by everything Elle. Her body. Her eyes. Her laugh. Her lips. Her mind. Her soul. It just simply mesmerised me, I wanted so much more. I would never, ever get enough of her no matter how hard I would try. Her hands came to life, moving up to my chest where she splayed her fingers before moving them up slowly, shrugging off my jacket and tossing it to the side. My hands moved from her face to her back where I was intent on trying to get us as close as possible. Our lips were still moving together, slowly as if savouring every single moment of the kiss and I was doing just that because it was feeding my hunger for her. My bow-tie and shirt had disappeared before I realised it and we gently moved onto the bed so I was on top of her but not breaking the kiss. Suddenly, our clothes were gone and strewn around the room as we both lay there naked. I broke the kiss before it went any further and looked down into those beautiful blue eyes.


“Are you sure?” I whispered, really not wanting to ruin the moment but I had to be certain this was something that she wanted. She nodded her head, bringing her lips back onto mine as we began to move.


Chapter 16: The Aftermath
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A/N: AHHHH! THEY FINALLY DO IT!! EVEN THOUGH ELLE SAID SHE WOULDN’T! And just as a warning, there’s a lot of mature content in this chappie guys… just because Elle and James are just discovering each other ;) if you know what I mean. I’m so happy right now, again this and the last chapter had been two that I’d already planned out in my head so to finally write them is amazing. You don’t know how many times that I’ve seriously wanted to just stop writing this story but then I couldn’t stop envisioning these two chapters and I knew I just needed to carry on so I could write these! And this chapter is dedicated to someone who left an absolutely amazing review on the last chapter; so this is for you happyanon!



Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling. I also do not own the song Roc Me Out which belongs to Rihanna and the label Def Jam.





There were multiple reasons why I didn’t celebrate my birthday since my Mum passed away but now as I lay, completely naked, underneath James and trying to catch my breath, they had gone out the window. My birthday had been amazing so far. I had received some pretty awesome presents, including a freaking yacht, which was more of a wedding present than anything really but that’s just details. I looked up at James, who was also trying to catch his breath, and smiled widely. It was a really giddy, happy smile because I felt amazing. As it had been a while since I had had sex with anyone, my memory of it didn’t do it any justice at all. It felt much more passionate and euphoric than I remembered or maybe that was just because it was James.


“I thought you’d be blushing by now,” James whispered, rubbing the tip of his nose against mine before kissing me again. The stubble that he had on his chin tickled me and I giggled whilst still kissing him, “What?” He pulled away with a lopsided grin.


“You need to shave, you’re all tickly.” I chuckled, brushing my fingers along his jawline and when I put my hand back around his neck, he shoved his face against my neck and started tickling me with his stubble, making me laugh louder. He pulled back when he’d finished tickling me and held himself on his forearms and went back to placing light kisses on my lips, my forehead, my cheeks, my nose, my neck and my collar bone before coming back up to my lips again.


“I didn’t know you had another tattoo here.” He trailed his finger slowly down my collar bone to the top of my left breast before trailing down the side to where my sisters’ names were tattooed just underneath it.


“Mmhmm,” I murmured, my eyes closed, as he ran his finger along it and carried on doing that back and forth, “Don’t you have any tattoos?” I asked, letting my eyes wander his body for any.


“See any?” he noticed me looking and smirked which make me blush, “And now she blushes.” I hit him over the arm jokingly.


“Do you want any?” I asked, moving my hands from his neck to his biceps.


“Yeah, I want two sleeves but Mum’s totally against it,” he rolled his eyes, “She thinks it’ll look disgusting when I get older.”


“I think two sleeves would look hot.” I said truthfully.


“You do, do you?” he smirked down at me, “What do you think I should get first?”


“Wait, are you actually getting one?” I asked, my eyes widening.


“Yeah but only if you come with me.” He Smiled.


“Okay! I’m choosing what you’re getting though.” I joked, not thinking he would take me seriously.


“Deal,” he held out his hand for me to shake and I grabbed onto it after staring at him weirdly, “Nothing too embarrassing though please.” He arched an eyebrow at me and I just smirked evilly.


“You should have thought of that before agreeing to the deal.” I laughed evilly, feeling James’ chest vibrate from laughter as well.


“Oh well, too late to back out now,” he shrugged, “Maybe we could go and get it done this weekend? Or after Tuesday?” He suggested and the reality of the wedding started to make itself known again.


“This weekend. I need something exciting to look forward to.” I teased.


“Was this not exciting enough for you?” He motioned to how our bodies were tangled together with a smirk.


“I’ll have to get back to you on that.” I blushed, feeling vulnerable and a little bit shy now that I realised that I was completely naked and we weren’t under the covers.


“Do we have to go again or do you remember now?” He leaned his head down so our lips were almost touching but not quite. He was teasing me.


“I think I remember now…” I muttered, strategically moving my forearms to cover my exposed boobs.


“Good, because I need to get showered and then we can get ready,” he let out a sharp breath, heaved himself up and I tried not to let my eyes wander down his chiselled abs and even further down, “Or we can get showered together? It would be easier and quicker…?” He winked, holding out a hand for me to take whilst standing there so casually in all his glory. What did I have to lose? I was already attached to him, I mean I’d just had sex with him for Christ’s sake! It’s not like there was anything more he could do.


“Okay but just showering…” I warned him, taking his hand and walking ahead of him, past the sliding doors to the massive bathroom and into the large shower cubicle, “Nothing else,” I turned the water on and stepped in, shivering as it was cold at first. James followed me in after a few seconds and I tried to wash my hair and body as fast as I could but I kept bumping into James every now and again, “I thought you said it would be easier?” I questioned after the millionth time my elbow came into contact with his shoulder.


“Well, I was thinking of something else when I said that,” his mouth curved into a sexy smirk and my cheeks burned red, my face getting hotter and hotter, “Just turn around and I’ll wash your hair for you,” I did as I was told hesitantly but when I felt him start to massage the shampoo into my hair, I couldn’t help but close my eyes and relax into it, “Better?”


“That was divine! Thank you,” I rinsed it all out under the water and swapped places with James, “I get to wash your hair now.” He hunched over so I could actually reach his hair and started massaging it in like how he did it with me. When he’d rinsed it out, I started putting conditioner in and was using a body wash when I could feel his eyes on me. I looked up into his hazel eyes to see them staring at me greedily, roaming my naked body. It was slightly unnerving but also kind of hot and I was getting seriously turned on right now. And I could tell James was as well.


“Why are you staring at me like that?” I said quietly but still loud enough so he could hear it over the shower. I backed up against the tile wall, shivering a little at the coldness, as James advanced and got to closer to me again, “James?” I looked up at him, the glass from the shower door was all fogged up and mist swirled around us as the hot steam emanating from the shower mixed with the cold air on the outside.


“I…” He started to say something but stopped, choosing to smash his lips against mine again instead. But this time it wasn’t slow like before, it was hungry, it was fast and it was passionate. He ran his tongue along my bottom lip, begging desperately for entry but I didn’t oblige choosing to tease him for a few moments.


“Elle…” He whined against my lips but I just smiled, kissing him and continuing to keep my mouth shut. Suddenly he grasped my hips and lifted me up so I had to hook my legs around his waist to stay up as his chest pinned me to the wall. I gasped which gave him the perfect moment to plunge his tongue into my mouth and both of ours danced back and forth, tasting every single part of each other in one heated battle for dominance. My hands moved from where they were hanging lamely by my sides into his hair and yanked his head back, making him groan feverishly and grip my hips tighter. He pulled his lips away and started kissing down my neck to my collar bone which was my weak spot and I could feel him smile in victory, I could also feel another part of him against my inner thigh and it heightened my desire. He hesitated, waiting for my response so I pulled his head away from my neck, rested my forehead against his and nodded my head ever so slightly. All that could be heard around us was the running water from the shower that we had neglected and our shallow, ragged breaths.


“I thought I said we were having a normal shower.” I teased, still slightly out of my breath and with my eyes still closed.


“I couldn’t resist,” he mumbled into my neck, making me chuckle a bit, “Can’t say I’ve ever had shower sex like that before. I need to make a mental reminder to do it again.”


“Not right now though… we need to get ready,” he slowly lowered me back onto the ground, “Otherwise we might have some awkward encounters with unwanted visitors.” I gave him a look. It was no shock to us that Lily always seemed to appear at the most inappropriate moments between me and James. It was a relief that she hadn’t walked in on us on the bed before but then again, she was probably busy getting ready to go out tonight. We finished rinsing out the conditioner and the body wash before climbing out, James wrapped a towel around his waist and I wrapped one around my body, covering everything up for one and I felt a little more relaxed. I picked up my wand from the side and started drying my hair with it, brushing through it and then straightening it. Whilst I was doing this, James pulled on a pair of plain black boxers and some black skinny jeans but not putting on a shirt so I could still admire his beautifully sculptured abs. I watched out the corner of my eye as he smothered shaving foam on his jaw and then picked up his razor, struggling to see in the mirror where to shave under his chin properly. I sighed in annoyance after watching him struggle for a few seconds before I conjured up a chair and told him to sit in it.


“What are you doing?” He asked confusedly. I pushed the chair closer to the sink, filled it with hot water and then straddled his lap and pushed his head back so he was looking at the ceiling.


“You’re doing it all jagged and it looks horrible.” I answered seriously, gently dragging the razor up his chin before washing it and repeating the action again. James’ hands wound round my waist before cupping my arse to make sure I didn’t fall but I was strangely okay with it. I guess you could say we were comfortable with any form of physical contact by now. Well, I was… I wasn’t sure about James and I was really intrigued as to what he was going to say before he kissed me. I’m not complaining though because well it led to, you know, but that didn’t mean I didn’t want to know what he was gonna say. It sounded like something important but then he decided against it for some reason. When I finished under his chin, I pulled his face down so he was looking at me as I cleaned up the mess that he made. Then when I was finished, I picked up the towel that he used and wiped away any excess foam and kissed him on the lips, “There we go! Soft as a baby’s bottom now.”


“Nice job.” He smacked me on the arse as I stood up and carried on getting ready, stroking his face in the mirror and then applying moisturiser. I put on some mascara, eye-liner and blusher before walking back into the bedroom. A natural blush made its way up my cheeks as I looked at all our clothes thrown around the room for our previous activities and began picking them up and tossing them in the laundry basket.


“Do you think I should wear a dress James?” I yelled into the bathroom from where I was staring into my half of the wardrobe, deciding between a LBD and a multi-coloured jumpsuit.


“Wear whatever you want.” He popped his head round the doorframe, a toothbrush sticking out his mouth.


“Dress it is then.” I nodded my head. His head disappeared back into the bathroom and I looked at the sexy lingerie drawer with a mixture of want and fear. I quickly glanced towards the bathroom to make sure James wasn’t coming out anytime soon and picked out a matching sexy, black lace bra and panties and slid them on, pulling the LBD over the top quickly. A few seconds later, James came sauntering in and stopped when he saw me in the dress.


“Do you have to wearing something that short?” He moaned, crossing his arms and flexing his biceps.


“You said ‘wear whatever you want’,” I mimicked his voice, “I’m wearing whatever I want.” I shrugged with a smug smirk, feeling a lot more confident and sexy knowing that I had that underwear on and he had no idea.


“Why are you smiling like that? What’ve you done?” He raised an eyebrow at me.


“Nothing love. Just put your shirt on so we can go.” I stepped into a pair of black peep-toe stilettos and grabbed my bag that had my wand, my phone and the money from when I went to that club with Molly, Dom, Fred and Al. The one that basically started this whole thing. He rolled his eyes at me but picked a white t-shirt with a circular neckline that still gave me a good glimpse of his sexy collar bones and back muscles through the back.


“You ready to apparate?” He held out his arm for me like always.


“Yep.” I popped the ‘p’ and felt the familiar navel tub where we landed outside the villa, turning around and walking in through the front door together.


“Are you sure you wanna go out tonight? I kind of just wanna stay in bed all night.” He whispered huskily in my ear, wrapping an arm around my waist and pulling me towards him. A girl could get used to this.


“I’m sure. I really wanna go out and let loose after that meal.” I nodded my head, snaking my arms around his waist as I felt his fingers tapping out a rhythm against my hips whilst we waited for Lily and Al to make an appearance.


“Oh good, you’re here! I’m still trying to convince Al that he needs to get out more.” Lily came down the stairs from Al’s room in black shorts, a grey sparkly tank top and black wedges.


“Al, get your fat arse down these stairs right now before I make you!” James shouted, his other arm joining his hand at my waist, effectively trapping me in his arms.


“Eurgh! You’re even more hands on now that you’re living alone.” Lily scrunched her face up at how we were stood.


“Am I not allowed to touch my fiancée now?” James arched an eyebrow at his sister and she rolled her eyes. He then made a point of moving his hands onto my arse, kissing my cheek repeatedly and then moving down to my neck where I automatically tilted my head to give him better access.


“Ew! You’re practically having sex in front of me!” She whined, covering her eyes as Al came down the stairs.


“Lily, grow up.” He rolled his eyes at her just as James pulled back laughing at how easy she was to wind up.


“He’s only joking Lils, come on.” I separated from James and walked towards her, linking an arm through hers.


“By the way, I invited Courtney, her fiancé, Valerie and Travis along as well.” Lily said, looking at me sheepishly.


“What? Why?” I spluttered in shock, turning to face James with widened eyes.


“They kind of overheard our plan and asked to come along… I couldn’t say no, sorry.” She looked at the floor guiltily.


“No, it’s fine Lily. It’s not your fault they can’t seem to keep out of my business.” I sighed heavily as we all walked outside to find them all waiting for us.


“Hey guys! We all ready and set to go?” Valerie smiled widely round at all of us, her smile faltering slightly when she looked at me, “Don’t you look darling!” She forced out.


“Thanks.” I shrugged, putting a protective arm around James, which he returned, instantly making me feel safer. We all walked down to where the nightclub was as it wasn’t that far away, James occasionally squeezing my waist to reassure me. When we arrived, the club was already in full swing with a massive line on the outside and loud, thumping bass-lines coming from inside piercing the air around us. There were teenagers on their first ‘lads’ or ‘girls’ holidays with comical t-shirts that had offensive or hilarious nicknames on the back. There were big groups of couples, already getting off in the line, well they might as well have been. The bouncer let us in immediately after seeing who it was and we walked straight into a VIP booth at the side of the club. It was a little higher up so we could see every person on the dance-floor and the bar over on the other end from us.


“We’re doing some shots first! Especially because it’s Elle’s birthday!” Lily shouted so we could all hear and reiterating the fact that it was my birthday… I had completely forgotten about that until now. Thanks Lily. James sensed my discomfort and corrected her,


“We’ll have birthday shots but after we drink normally. No mention of birthday’s! We’re here to have fun.” Lily nodded her head, understanding and ordering us all two shots of tequila so that we could dive straight in.


“Has Oliver texted you back yet after we sent that message?” I asked her when James was out of earshot.


“No, he hasn’t spoken to me at all recently.” She seemed a little disheartened.


“Ring him and ask him to come over! Meet him outside, bring him in and if you so wish, you can sleep with him until your heart’s satisfied,” I teased and she rolled her eyes, “But… after that, you call this deal off and you tell him how you feel.”


“But what if he rejects me?” She asked worriedly, staring down at her phone that showed Oliver’s contact details.


“You move on because you don’t deserve a guy like him if all he wants is to use your body Lily,” I put an arm around her protectively, “If he isn’t man enough to change for you then he’s not the one and you need to find a new man.” I comforted her as she rang him. He answered and agreed to meet her outside, she told me he seemed a bit eager and practically screamed down the phone that he wanted to meet her tonight.


“Thank you so much, Elle!” She hugged me before heading to the exit to wait for him. The shots arrived and I made Al take Lily’s because I think it was the first time since that club back in England that I had seen him properly out and I wanted to make sure he enjoyed himself for one night.


“Cheers!” James held out his two shots for me to clink mine against.


“Cheers!” I repeated, downing the two shots one after the other at the same time as him, “I think I want a good, strong drink that’ll help me get wasted.” I decided looking at Valerie and Courtney, who looked so much better than me.


“Normally I would disagree but tonight, why the hell not?” He stood up with me and we walked round the dance-floor to the bar and ordered drink after drink.


“Oh my God! Elle, are you drunk?” Lily gasped when she finally arrived back inside with Oliver and saw us leaning against the bar.


“Just a little!” I pinched the air with my fingers sloppily.


“I wouldn’t say she’s drunk… just adorably tipsy.” James chuckled, it seemed he had been drinking slower than me so he wasn’t as drunk but I couldn’t care less! I was going to get drunk tonight because I deserved it! I survived another year of awful memories, the fact my Dad still hates my fucking guts and the whole Norah situation so I deserved one night to get completely smashed! So smashed, in fact, that I couldn’t remember what I did the night before! Wait, hang on. Did James just call me adorable? That’s not right. I was wearing a hot dress with high stilettos and sexy underwear. It was not meant to be adorable, it was meant to be sexy as hell.


“I’m not adorable.” I pouted, crossing my arms.


“You so are, especially when you pout like that.” He tapped my nose.


“I’m sexy!” I whined, taking him by surprise I bet, “I’m wearing a short sexy dress with sexy stripper heels! I am not adorable!” I poked him repeatedly in the chest.


He chuckled, pulled me to him and kissed me on the lips hard, “I couldn’t agree more, Elle,” he nuzzled his face in my neck, “However, I think it’s a bad idea for you to have any more to drink. You need to sober up a bit more.”


“Ugh! Fine, but you have to come dance with me.” I put my chin on his chest, looking up at him with puppy eyes.


“You and Lily go dance, I need to sit down for a bit.” He didn’t give in and I had a feeling it was because my drunken state ruined the effect.


“Will you watch me?” I whispered sexily into his ear so that only he’d be able to hear it. I was satisfied when I heard his breathing hitch a little and pulled back with a sexy smirk. He nodded his head but didn’t say anything as I dragged Lily to the dance-floor near to where Oliver and James were stood and started dancing.


“You two are acting different around each other…” Lily looked at me suspiciously but drunk me didn’t pay any mind to the warning signals going off in the back of my head.


“How do you mean?” I asked.


“You’re more touchy-feely and every time you look at each other it’s like you want to rip each other’s clothes off.” She explained and I nodded my head to the beat and to her statement.


“We were like that in private more than public because we had to be more reserved around you lot.” I thought off the top of my head, feeling James’ eyes on me and really exaggerating my movements so that they were sexier.


“Did you two… you know…?” she looked between us in shock. I opened my mouth to answer but she cut across me, “Actually, that’s my older brother and I’m not sure whether I really want to know about his sex life.” She cringed and I giggled.


“Why are you so shocked anyway?” I raised my eyebrows in question.


“I just figured you’d, you know, not do it whilst you were living in the villa because we were there.” She said sheepishly and I had to laugh again.


“Aww Lily, you’re so adorable when you act all innocent.” She pushed the subject to the side for the time being and the same part of my mind that had the warning signals, sighed in relief that she was letting it go for now. Suddenly some hands gripped my waist and I guessed they were James’ so I put mine over the top and wiggled my hips a little.


“And what the fuck do you think you’re doing with my fiancée?” A voice that sounded so terrifying made me look up to see James storming towards me with a furious expression on his face. That’s when I gathered what happened and quickly stepped away from this unknown guy that I had thought was James. Speaking of whom, reached the guy and immediately squared him up and wouldn’t look anywhere but at this guy. Even in the half-darkness of the room I could tell that his eyes were blazing with fury, his hands were balled into fists so hard I could see the veins popping up his arms.


“No harm no foul, eh mate?” He slurred drunkenly in a cockney accent, holding his hands up in surrender and sending me a sloppy wink. This just made James even angrier as he shoved him in the shoulder, making him stumble backwards and lose his balance. James advanced on him as he lay on the floor but I stepped in between them when my mind caught up with what I had seen.


“James, stop it! Please calm down!” I pleaded, pushing with all my might against his chest to make him see reason, “JAMES?!” I shrieked loudly, attracting the attention of some other people around us who looked between me, James and the drunken guy on the floor who was hastily trying to stand up.


“You’re mine.” He growled, pulling me flush against his body and buried his face in my neck.


“I’m yours.” I whispered back to appease him. Finally he managed to snap out of it as more people started turning to stare so he grabbed my hand and yanked me back to the VIP booth, pulling me onto his lap and breathing heavily.


“What’s up? What happened?” Al asked when he saw the state that his brother was in.


“It doesn’t matte-.” I went to say before James interrupted,


“Some pervy guy was touching Elle and rubbing up against her and I just got so mad.” He spat, clenching his jaw and I could feel his grip tightening on my waist.


“Where is he? I’ll give him a piece of my mind!” Al hit his hand with his fist and I had to laugh because it was not intimidating at all, “Why are you laughing?” He crossed his arms in a huff.


“Just go back to drinking and flirting Al, I’ll sort it out.” I shooed him off towards a band of girls who had been eyeing him up since the start of our conversation, “James, can you loosen your grip please? I do actually need to breathe.”


“Sorry,” he muttered into my neck, “I’m sorry, I overreacted and I shouldn’t have pushed him.” He apologised.


“It’s okay, you don’t have to apologise. That guy had it coming to him,” I chuckled, running my now talon-less nails up and down his forearms in a soothing manner, “Plus, seeing you angry is kind of hot.” I admitted, hoping it would distract him.


“Really?” He pulled away from my neck so he could see my face and arched an eyebrow.


“Really,” I pecked him on the lips again and again, each one making a smacking sound, “Now, are you calm enough to come and dance with me some more? I’ve had enough of dancing by myself, I wanna dance with you this time.” I stood up from his lap, ignoring the looks that Valerie and Courtney were giving us, and offered my hand to James, who took it.


“You really think I look hot when I’m mad?” He asked again as we entered the crowd of people on the dance-floor. His hands instantly found my arse and I wrapped my arms around his neck, pushing myself up against him and grinding my hips sexily with the song.


“So hot.” I whispered in his ear. We continued to dance like this as a few sexy songs came on until one of my all-time favourite songs started and I just had to sing along as my head and hips rolled with the bass-line, James following my every move, “So give it to me like I want it, this is for your eyes only. Roc me out back and forth, roc me out on the floor.” I sang into his ear, closing my eyes and letting the music guide my body, “Come over boy I’m so ready, you’re taking too long to get my head on the ground and my feet in the clouds, oh oh.” I continued to sing the song to him, showing him that the lyrics I was singing were completely sincere, “James?” I looked up at him through lustful eyes.


“Mmm?” He looked down at me with exactly the same emotion burning in his eyes.


“I wanna go home. Take me home.” I simply said and he nodded, dragging me back to where Al was drunkenly chatting up a really pretty girl with brown hair.


“Hey Al! We’re going now so, bye!” James quickly said before we marched over to Lily and said the same thing. We walked back to the villa in electrified silence, apparated onto the yacht straight into the bedroom and as soon as we landed, I turned to James and started kissing him as passionately as I had in the shower. My hands slipped under his shirt, rolling it up over his head and chucking it behind me before I looped my index fingers through the belt loops on his jeans and yanked them so he was forced to stand closer to me. As my hands stayed where they were, his roamed up into my hair then down to my neck.


Before we got any further, I separated and pushed James onto the bed with a sexy smile and he sat up, watching what I was going to do next in anticipation. Slowly and sensually, I reached down, grabbed the bottom of my dress and lifted it over my head, slinging it to the side like I had done with his shirt so all I was left in was my sexy underwear and my high heels. James’ eyes bulged wider when he took in my attire, his mouth opening in shock before I walked forward and slowly straddled him, cupping his face in my hands and kissing him again.


James obviously didn’t know what to do with his hands because they stayed limp by his sides. I encouraged him by picking them up and placing them on my arse as a starting point, he then seemed to register what I wanted and moved one hand up onto the small of my back whilst the other one, still on my bum, squeezed it hard. His chest was surprisingly quite hot so I pressed my chest and stomach against it, revelling in the feel of how warm it was. James’ hands moved up my back to unclasp my bra, pulling it off. He pulled away from my lips, kissing down my neck to my collar bone whilst I gathered my hair and moved it to one side. His member dug into my thigh whilst his mouth started paying attention to my breasts.


My phone vibrated on the side table, I ignored it though because I didn’t want to ruin this moment. It continued to buzz until it stopped and James’ mouth came back into contact with mine. I sucked on his bottom lip, yanking it with my teeth and then using my tongue to show how much I really wanted this. For the first time in a few years, I was living in the moment and not worrying about the consequences even though I had done that in the past and it had never worked out well. My phone buzzed again, disrupting us for the second time.


“Aren’t you gonna answer that?” James mumbled against my lips and I sighed, knowing that he was basically telling me to answer it. I leaned over to grab it and clicked the green button without checking the caller ID.


“Hello?” James carried on kissing my jawline sexily then down to my neck where he grazed my weak spot with his teeth, completely making me forget that I was on the phone as I let out a soft moan. That was, until the person uttered the next sentence frantically,


“Elle… Dad’s done it,” I froze, “He’s given the doctor’s permission.”


Chapter 17: Meet Norah
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A/N: Okay, this is the one where you find out what happened to Norah and the next few chapters are the ones that explain everything! Ooh, this is so exciting! I can’t wait to see all of your reactions to this story! I’m just so excited about it all. I really hope I’ve done it justice too. And it's a short chapter because I don't think I could split the chapters anymore than possible.

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.






“W-what do you mean?” I whispered, the blood pooling at the bottom of my feet and I was instantly sober. My whole body was frozen, even James knew something was wrong because he had stopped moving and was watching me in concern.


“I mean exactly that Elle, Dad’s given the doctor’s permission.” Charity’s voice strained even further and I could tell she was trying hard not to cry on the phone.


“He can’t… he said he wouldn’t…” My body immediately sprang into action and I climbed off of James, pulled on the nearest clothes to me which just so happened to be a pair of grey joggers and a baggy white shirt.


“Elle, I know he probably wouldn’t want to see you now but you need to be here… you’ll regret it if you don’t.” She advised me and I agreed.


“I know, I know. I’ll get there as quick as possible, just… try and stall him, please.” The lump in my throat was getting bigger and bigger, tears were already starting to form and I was blinking furiously because I didn’t want them to fall. I had cried way too much over this and I didn’t want to fall back into that old routine again.


“Elle…?” James’ voice just made me feel worse. I quickly said goodbye to Charity and hurried around, putting my hair up into a messy ponytail, manoeuvring a bra on underneath my shirt and pulling some sandals onto my feet.


“James, just… please don’t.” I muttered back to him, wiping away a tear that had escaped onto my cheek inconspicuously.


“What’s wrong?” I could feel him move towards me but I walked to the other side of the room, pretending to look for something. I just couldn’t deal with James right at this minute, he had no idea what was going on and I was at a complete loss on what to do.


“I don’t… I don’t know,” I sniffed, the overwhelming sense of helplessness took over and the tears burst like a dam, “I don’t know what to do, James.” As fast as lightning, he was by my side and pulling me to him in a bone-crushing embrace.


“Sssh, it’s okay. It’ll be okay, Elle," he comforted me, his arms wrapping around me so tightly like he was the only thing keeping me together at this moment in time. And he basically was. I felt like if he was to let me go, I would crumble to the floor in pieces and there would be no way of putting me back together, “What’s wrong? What’s happened?” He whispered so softly. I remembered that I needed to be there right now so I pulled out of his arms and looked up at him, still crying.


“I need to go,” I picked up the small bag that I had hurriedly packed, “I’ll explain but please, right now I need to go,” I rubbed away the tears in my eyes and held my arm out for him to take, looking up at him with bloodshot eyes hopefully, “Please come with me, I can’t do this by myself.” I pleaded desperately.


“Of course I’ll come with you, I’d never leave you by yourself.” He came to stand by me immediately, grasping my arm and I closed my eyes, focussing on where we needed to go before turning on the spot. Dreading opening my eyes, I unpeeled them slowly and took in the sight before me. The hospital towered over us with pristine white walls and polished windows and I had an overwhelming sense of going to my deathbed. Especially because my Dad was inside and the whole situation surrounding this visit.


“Are we going in?” James’ voice broke my apprehensive thoughts and I looked at him completely blank.


“I…” I started but a large part of me was telling me to run and hide away from everyone but it was too late because James was gently dragging me inside. The lump in my throat became bigger and bigger the closer I got to the reception desk. The panic rising, the room was getting hotter and I swear I couldn’t breathe.


“Elle, are you okay?” James asked unsurely, “You don’t have to do this if you’re uncomfortable.” He carried on, squeezing my hand to reassure me, and it a worked a little, but that loud voice in my head was still telling me to high-tail it. That nothing good could come of this meeting.


“N-no… I need to… do this.” I tried to slow my breathing so I didn’t have a mental breakdown in the middle of a hospital waiting room. As I took the first step towards the reception desk, where a woman in her forties was typing away furiously at a computer, the desk seemed to suddenly zoom so that it was at least a few metres away. But with James reassuring me softly, I kept putting my feet one after the other until I finally reached the desk.


“May I help you?” She asked without looking up, everything about her screamed tired. Her bun had tendrils hanging down, her face had dropped into an unimpressed scowl and her eyes were slowly drooping.


“Erm… I was wondering… i-if you could tell me where…” I took a deep breath as I closed my eyes so I could force the next few words out without crying, “Norah Underwood is.” She was giving me a confused yet scared for my sanity look and began furiously typing at her keyboard again.


“She’s in room 34F on floor three.” She directed us towards a set of elevators and in my hurry to get away, James had to turn around and mutter a polite thank you. My nerves and thoughts were all over the place and I was just so lost, I wasn’t even sure if James could help me this time.


“Norah’s your younger sister, isn’t she?” He asked quietly after the elevator doors shut in front of us. We were in one of those elevators that had mirrors all around you so that you could see how dejected or miserable you looked. My eyes were heavily bloodshot from the tears, my cheeks were red and puffy and my hair was a complete mess. No wonder the reception woman was scared for my life. I felt like a mess on the inside and now, I guess, it reflected on the outside.


The clothes, I now realised, were actually James’ and they were way too baggy. So much so that the t-shirt came to about mid-thigh and I had to pull the drawstrings on the joggers really tight so that they wouldn’t fall down and reveal the black lace knickers that I was still wearing. I just nodded in response to his question because I was scared that as soon as I opened my mouth, an unintelligible squawk would come out followed by a new round of tears.


So I let the lump in my throat get larger and larger until it physically hurt to swallow and my bottom lip was shaking so hard. We walked slowly down the corridor, checking the room numbers on our sides of the hall but it turned out room 34F was around the end with three seats lined up outside. The door was wedged open just a little and I could see Charity sat on a hospital chair, staring at something on the wall facing us. She saw me and immediately got up and came outside, closing the door behind her.


“Hey.” She embraced me tightly as the tears that I forbade from falling streamed down my face.


“Hi,” I mumbled into her shoulder. The air around us was thick with tension because any minute now my Dad would appear and I was sure that chaos would follow, “Where are Darrell and the kids?” I asked to distract myself from the situation.


“At home,” she answered, leaning against the wall looking worse for wear, “I got the call at around one, came here and called you an hour later. Darrell has booked today off anyway so he can look after Ruari and Gabby.” She explained.


“Does he know…?”


“Yeah, I explained it to him before I left. He said he was going to drop the kids off with his Mum and come and see me later on today,” she reached forward and grabbed my hand, “How are you doing?”


“I don’t really know…” I stared at the door nervously, “I’m just scared Dad’s gonna come round the corner any minute.” I whispered.


“I told him to go down to the cafeteria to have something to eat. He just left five minutes ago so you should be good for about half an hour,” she hugged me again, “How’s the wedding planning going? I got your invite but I haven’t had time to reply. I was going to today but… circumstances.” She nodded her head towards the door.


“It’s good, we have almost everything sorted now.” James answered for me, coming to stand beside me and holding my other hand.


“You got your dress?” she looked at me and I nodded in response, “Do you wanna go and see her?” she asked quietly and my breathing sped up again. I wasn’t quite sure if I was ready for this but if this was the only opportunity to see her before Dad gets back then I guess I’d have to make myself ready.


“Okay.” I breathed out deeply, closed my eyes and approached the door with Charity. Her dark ginger hair was fanned out around her pale head on the pillow and a multitude of tubes were coming in and out of her nose and mouth. A steady beeping in the corner was the only thing that was reminding me she was still alive. The fact that in the next few hours that beeping would no longer be there frightened me and I couldn’t imagine losing her as well.


“Have the doctor’s said when they’re going to do it?” I swallowed past the lump as I stared at my lifeless baby sister.


“They said they’re gonna give her an injection of morphine then slowly decrease the amount of air the life support machine is giving her until she…” Charity’s eyes filled with tears and I could hear the strain on her voice as she tried to stay calm. Because that’s what Charity did, she was always the one who stayed calm and collected whenever something major happened but I could see that cool exterior crumbling as she watched Norah. My arms wrapped around her instantly as we both started crying into each other’s shoulders. Completely forgetting James was there, I went to stand right next to her side and grasped Norah’s hand. I gasped when I felt how limp and cold it was but I tightened my grip anyway, brushing a little bit of her ginger hair out of the way of her face.


“Elle, I’m gonna go and book us in a hotel room for today and tomorrow, okay?” James whispered and I turned to face him.


“Okay,” I replied quietly as well, accepting the slow kiss on my lips and watching him leave the room so that it was just myself and Charity left, “I don’t think it was a good idea for me to be here, Char.” I announced to the quiet room.


“You had to be here, Elle… you needed to see her.” She replied from where she was sat on the other side of Norah’s bed. Her thumb was casually stroking the back of her hand as if she could possibly feel it.


“Not really. It just brings up painful memories and guilt.”


“How many times do I have to tell you that it’s not your fault?!” Charity hissed angrily and I shrank in my seat, ignoring the look she was giving me and staring at Norah’s hand that I was currently holding.


“But it was, Char… and you know full well that it was,” I said through clenched teeth. She sighed loudly and decided to drop the subject for now and I looked at the bedside clock that read 3:24am just as I yawned. James came back in ten minutes later, hovering awkwardly at the doorway, “You can come in, James.” I said quietly, standing up so he could sit in my seat before sitting back in his lap.


“I’ve booked us in at the nearest B&B that was open.” He answered, yawning loudly but widening his eyes so he could stay awake with me.


“Go to sleep, James, I’ll wake you up when something happens.” I laid my head against his as he yawned again.


“No, I want to stay awake if you are too.” He vehemently replied, his arms wrapping around my waist and squeezing reassuringly.


“Thank you.” I whispered, kissing him on the cheek graciously and smiling a bit when he Smiled at me. We stayed in silence for another ten minutes, occasionally pointing out medial things like what time it was or that it was getting light outside already.


“What is she doing here?” Dad entered the room holding a cup of coffee in his hand, staring at me in shock and disgust.


“Dad, she’s Norah’s sister too… she has every right to be here.” Charity stuck up for me but it was useless.


“I don’t care if she’s her sister! She caused this!” he shouted, making me wince and let him shout at me, “I want her out!” He screeched, putting his coffee on the side and staring at me with such malice. James tensed underneath me.


“Dad, please! I was the one who rang her, just let her stay!” Charity was shouting at Dad too but I was staring at the floor, more tears making their appearance as everything that Dad had wanted to say for the last two years was now coming out.


“No, I’m not having a murderer in the same room! ALL THIS IS HER FAULT AND SHE IS THE REASON THAT NORAH IS LAY THERE LIKE A VEGETABLE! SHE IS THE REASON I HAVE TO TELL THE DOCTOR’S TO LET HER DIE!” he shrieked, paying no attention to the fact that there were multiple patients still in this ward that were probably sleeping, “I’VE LOST MY WIFE AND NOW I’M LOSING MY DAUGHTER THANKS TO THAT MISTAKE SAT RIGHT THERE!” He pointed a shaky finger at me.


“Excuse me? What is happening?” A nurse popped her head round the door to see what all the ruckus was about.


I WANT HER OUT!” He yelled in the nurse’s face whilst pointing at me so I stood up quietly.


“There is no need to shout, sir,” she reprimanded him politely, “And she is free to stay if she wishes to…?” She turned her head to me and I could feel the hole that my Dad was burning in my head.


“It doesn’t matter… we’ll just leave.” I looked over at Charity who looked so apologetic but I just gave her an understanding nod, grabbing James’ hand and walking out of the room with the nurse. As soon as we had left, my Dad slammed the door shut behind us and I jumped in surprise.


“This is entirely unfair!” James exclaimed angrily, I could feel his grip on my hand tightening in anger.


“James… just drop it.” I muttered quietly, walking down the corridor again and towards the elevators to leave.


“No, I will not drop it! That’s your sister in there, she’s about to pass away and your Dad’s not letting you in! That’s ridiculous! You’re allowed to see her before she goes!” He ranted, pacing back and forth behind me.


“James! Stop it, please!” I yelled, the tears from before already falling onto my cheeks and down my face.


“You know what?” he suddenly said, ignoring my pleading looks, “We’re gonna march back in there and we’re going to stay in that room whether your Dad likes it or not!” He turned around and started marching back to the room but I grabbed his hand and yanked it back so he stopped walking.


“James… you don’t understand!” I tried to hold him back, “James, listen please!” He stopped walking and turned around to face me with his hands on his hips.


 
“What?”


 
“It was my fault, okay?” I babbled the truth because I was pretty sure that James was gonna hate me after this, “My Dad was right, I am the reason why Norah is in there right now. It was all my fault,” he looked like he was about to interrupt me but I carried on, feeling really afraid of admitting the next statement but I had to tell him because he needed to know everything now. I was in love with him and there was no way he’d want to get married to me once he found out, “It was me… I killed my Mum.”


Chapter 18: 19th June 2026
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: This is only gonna be a short author’s note. So here it is, the one where everything is finally explained! And don’t forget to leave me a review to tell me whether you guessed right or if it wasn’t what you were expecting? Were you surprised? Shocked? Angry? Disappointed? Tell me, I love to know these things! And the song Don't Cha belongs to the Pussycat Dolls and their label, A&M and Interscope.

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.






I heard my door creak open before I felt the force of my two sister’s jump on my bed heavily.


“Oof!” I grunted, peeling my eye mask off and glaring at Charity and Norah.


“Good morning birthday girl!” Norah grinned happily and it was infectious because soon enough I was smiling too.


“You’re turning 19 today! How old do you feel now?” Charity smirked, ruffling my hair so I grabbed her arm and wrestled with both of them on my double bed. We were shrieking and shouting war cries before Mum and Dad walked in holding my birthday cake.


“Girls please, can you at least act your age for one day?” Dad joked and I wriggled out from under Norah, who had successfully pinned me down, to go and hug them both without making them drop my cake, “Happy birthday, sweetheart.” He whispered in my ear and I gave him a kiss on the cheek, sitting back on my bed. Mum got out a packet of matches and started lighting all nineteen candles on my pastel yellow cake. Mum was still really happy I was put into Hufflepuff, hence the yellow cake.


“Ready?” She looked round at everyone and they all nodded.


“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Elle, happy birthday to you!” They all sang together and I scrunched my eyes closed, made a wish and blew out the candles in a few go’s.


“Hip hip?” Norah said.


“Hooray!” Everyone else replied, doing it again another three times. They all watched quietly as I opened all their cards, thanking each one of them and putting the small stack of money from the cards on my bedside table.


“Present time! Present time!” Norah clapped her hands happily and they all brought in a pile of presents just for me, “Me first because I’m the youngest.” Norah handed me a small rectangular shaped present first. It was quite heavy so I was a bit confused as to what it could be so I opened it carefully to reveal a new, floral-scented perfume that I had been ogling for a while.


“Aww yay! Thank you!” I squealed, pulling her into a hug and spritzing some so I could smell it.


“Next three!” She put the rest of the presents in my arms and I ripped open the wrapping paper to reveal a new novel, bath-bombs and creams and a canvas portrait of all three of us together.


“Awww Norah, they’re lovely! I can’t wait to put this picture up on my wall.” I put it all down on the other side of my bed together as I turned to Charity.


“Now all this stuff is from myself, Darrell and Ruari.” She smiled, handing me four very large presents. Ruari was Charity and Darrell’s two year old son he was adorable and very excitable. When I opened them, I saw a gorgeous pair of silver earrings, a pair of high black heels, a collection of four different nail polishes and one black dress.


“This is just brilliant! Thank you so much, especially the chocolate!” I opened the packet, stuffing three pieces of chocolate in my mouth and offering the others some.


“Happy birthday, Elle,” Mum said as she handed over two sets of rectangular presents, “Now, these two go together and we think it can help you when you start your Healing course.” She smiled happily at me as my grin automatically widened in excitement. I was only one year out of Hogwarts and already Mum and Dad had built up enough money for me to get onto the course that I had fallen in love with during school. It meant we had to sacrifice a lot of things but everyone said they’d much rather I get my dream job than go on a camping holiday to Wales. This was why I loved my family so much.


“We’re sending off the money tomorrow with the form so you can have a place.” Dad added and I squealed happily. I was so excited because I could finally be on the course and become a Healer at St. Mungo’s, it was everything I could have dreamed of. I immediately squished my parents in my arms and thanked them profusely until I pulled back and opened up the two presents. In the first, smaller rectangular shape was a pile of notebooks and Healer books that had references, facts and tips to help me on the course. In the second, larger but softer shape was a pair of turquoise-y/green scrubs and a pair of white pumps that I could wear on the first day of my training.


“Oh my God! Wow, they are just brilliant! Thank you so much, I love them!” I stared at both of them happily before pulling them into another hug and kissing both of their cheeks, “I’m so excited! I just want September to hurry up already so I can use all this stuff.” I put them all in the pile of my sisters’ presents, hugging them all again.


“Now we all need to get dressed for the barbecue,” Mum clapped her hands all business-like, “And your grandparents will be here in half an hour so hurry up.” She and Dad left the room together. I saluted sarcastically, pushing myself out of my bed and putting all my presents on my bed whilst checking my phone for any texts from Molly or Dom but there were none.


“What are you two wearing?” I asked Charity and Norah, who were both still sat on my bed munching on the last pieces of cake.


“I dunno, probably a dress.” Charity shrugged, standing up and leaving the room after that to get dressed and also because Darrell and Ruari were coming over soon.


“Why don’t you wear this?” Norah chucked a cute red halter dress to me and I shrugged, just pulling it on top of my pyjamas and then manoeuvring them off underneath.


“Yeah, this’ll do.” I assessed my appearance in the mirror happily, deciding to leave my blonde hair down and all messy once I’d brushed through it. My mood dropped south a little and I was disappointed that Molly and Dom, my best friends, hadn’t called or texted to wish me a happy birthday.


“What’s wrong?” Norah asked me when I checked my phone for the billionth time.


“Molly and Dom haven’t texted me or called me at all today,” I sighed, “They’ve never forgotten my birthday before.”


“It’s okay, they probably haven’t forgotten,” she comforted me, pulling me into a weird sideways hug, “They might still be asleep, you know what they’re like.” I laughed, knowing that they’d gone out last night so they were possibly dealing with heavy hangovers.


“Yeah, probably.” I headed downstairs into the garden whilst Norah went off to get out of her pyjamas too. Dad was putting the coal down on the barbecue, throwing a match onto it so that it was warming up whilst Mum was in the kitchen preparing all the food. After a few minutes of sitting in the back garden with Charity and Norah, we heard voices coming from the house so we all stood up as our Grandparents came in.


“There she is, the birthday girl!” My Granddad, on my Mum’s side, greeted heartily as he hobbled into the backyard.


“Granddad!” I exclaimed, running up to him and giving him a big cuddle because he was my favourite Grandparent. No offence obviously to my Dad’s Mum and Dad but they were just a bit more rigid and it was difficult and tiring to explain the whole magic thing to them repeatedly. Whereas my Mum’s Dad already knew because he was a wizard himself so he understood everything.


“Careful now, I’m not as robust as I once was.” He laughed. I pulled back watching him embrace Norah and Charity afterwards and then I went to greet my other Grandparents.


“Hey!” I smiled, kissing them on the cheeks and hugging them for a brief few seconds.


“Happy birthday, love.” Granddad Phillip said kindly and I thanked him, guiding them to their seats around the barbecue. Once they were sat down, they handed me another couple of presents to open and I did so happily, revealing another huge wad of cash and some reading books.


“Thank you!” I smiled happily, putting the presents on the table and standing up to hug my Grandparents again. When we had all settled back into our seats, I turned to Charity, “When are Darrell and Ruari coming over?”


“I told them about the barbecue so it should be soon,” she answered vaguely and I narrowed my eyes in suspicion, “You just want to see Ruari, don’t you?” She teased and I blushed a little, laughing with Norah.


“Maybe,” I muttered embarrassed, “But he’s just so cute. I wanna squish his cheeks every time I see him.”


“And I may have to steal him at some point.” Norah joined in, sipping from her can of cider. Sure enough, Charity had to go and open the front door a few minutes later and both Darrell and Ruari stepped out into the already cramped garden.


“Hey Elle, happy birthday.” Darrell greeted me in a swift hug after handing Ruari to Charity’s open arms.


“Thanks for the presents.” I smiled ecstatically between both of them. Charity and Darrell were such an adorable couple, I sometimes felt jealous that she had such a loving relationship and her own little family. But I had Norah, who was also single, to remind me why I should stay out of a relationship. She was such a charming woman.


“It’s no problem.” He grinned before going over to greet my parents and grandparents politely.


“Can you say ‘happy birthday Elle’?” Charity cooed to Ruari adorably, whose face contorted into a beautiful smile with dimples.


“Ahi bitda Lellie!” He blurted, stretching his arms out for me and Charity handed him over gently. I immediately started tickling his belly and kissing his cute little baby cheeks repeatedly.


“Close enough,” I laughed, walking over to where Dad was serving up all the food onto eleven plates, “Who are the other two plates for?” I sat down onto a blanket placed on the floor with Ruari who started playing with the toys laid out.


“For us.” A chipper voice said behind me and I whirled around excitedly to see both Molly and Dom stood there. My face split into a euphoric grin as I stood, making sure Ruari was okay first, and ran over to them, embracing them tightly.


“You bitches!” I exclaimed quietly still with that smile on my face.


“Happy birthday!” They said in unison, holding out an envelope for me to take. My mouth dropped open in shock when I pulled out three plane tickets to Ibiza for two weeks in July.


What?!” I embraced them both again.


“We thought we would take you on your very first girls holiday!” Molly explained.


“And seeing as we probably won’t see you as much when you start your training in September, we thought now would be the perfect time as a sort of send-off!” Dom carried on as we all walked back over to everyone else.


“I’m going on holiday!” I announced loudly to everyone and they all smiled, clapped or laughed happily. My birthday was turning out to be pretty amazing, I was worried it would be a let-down from my eighteenth last year. Norah had organised for me to go out for a massive club night with all of my friends together.


“So,” Granddad leaned towards me from where I was sat on the floor beside his garden chair, “What’s this I hear about you becoming a Healer?”


“I’m not a Healer yet Granddad,” I rolled my eyes playfully, cuddling Ruari in my lap, “I still have to do the training for it first. That’s what I’m doing in September for two years.” I was so super stoked to finally be able to do it and only a year out of Hogwarts too.


“What do you have to do on this course?” My other Granddad asked curiously. Everyone else was engaging in their own conversations around us but all the kids were sat on the floor or playing around in the garden.


“For the first year, it’s just theory-based lessons on whatever specification you want to do and then during the second year, you work as a sort of intern in that ward.” I answered.


“And what ward would you like to work in?”


“She wants to work in the Maternity Ward and the ICU. Which could not be further apart.” Norah teased and I stuck my tongue out at her.


“At least I know what I wanna do.” I retorted jokingly.


“Please I’ve only just left Hogwarts.” She scoffed heavily, downing a large sip of cider.


“She wants to have what muggle’s call a gap year where basically she takes a year for herself and travels around the world doing Merlin knows what.” Charity explained to Granddad, who was listening intently.


“That sounds wonderful! I’ll have to give you my notebook of all the places I visited when I was young.” He pointed a shaky finger at Norah and we all chuckled.


“Like where?” Her brown eyes were sparkling in the setting sun behind us.


“Have I ever told you about that time I had to escape an old Egyptian tomb with only a spoon and my wand?”


“No you haven’t, Dad,” Mum stopped him with a fond smile on her face, “And I don’t think that’s the most appropriate story to be telling with young children here.”


“You’re no fun.” He grumbled unhappily as we all laughed at his face again.


“That sounds like an awesome story.” I whispered to him when Mum was called to help with the food.


“I’ll have to tell you some other time,” he winked conspiratorially, “Maybe when your Mother is a little more preoccupied.”


“That’s a deal!” Norah held her hand out for him to shake, which he did, and we continued to play with Ruari on the blanket until Dad called us to get our plates of food. The meat was a bit burnt and we laughed when Dad got super defensive about his barbecue technique. Soon enough, everyone had to leave or go home and we were left to say our goodbyes.


“Happy birthday! And you need to stop growing so tall as well!” Grandma joked lightly and I hugged both her and Granddad at the same time.


“Thank you so much for coming today! Love you!” I received two sloppy kisses on the cheek for that and watched them both get in their car and drive off.


“We’ll see you soon for our holiday!” Molly squealed happily, hugging me so tight and I returned it.


“Thank you so much Moll! Best birthday ever!” I then pulled Dom into a hug and they both apparated away with two loud cracks. Darrell and Ruari were next and Ruari didn’t want to leave and started bawling loudly when Darrell tried to peel him away from me. Lastly, Granddad waddled up to me and pulled me in for a tight hug.


“Happy birthday, love!” he whispered quietly in my ear, “You can come round this weekend and I’ll tell you and Norah all about my crazy adventures.”


“We will,” I replied quietly, breathing in that comforting, faint smell of cigars, “And thank you so much for coming over, I love you Granddad.”


“I love you too, sweetheart.” He let go and said goodbye to everyone else before apparating with Mum, just to make sure he gets home safe.


“Come on, we need to go and get ready for tonight.” Norah dragged me back into my bedroom as soon as Dad started packing everything away. Charity had gone back to her house with Darrell but apparently she was coming back later on for another surprise.


“What’s happening tonight?” I questioned suspiciously. Norah was well known for throwing surprises for people, especially for her family, because she gets joy out of it.


“Me, you and Char are all going out to a nightclub!” She squealed happily, jumping onto my bed with a wide grin.


“I don’t have anything club-y to wear though.” I stared at her dumbfounded until she pointed at the pile of presents I had already received today. On top of which was the shoes, jewellery and dress that Charity had bought for me, “You sneaky little girls.” I chuckled, picking them up and heading into the bathroom to get showered and changed into a tight, strapless black dress that came to about mid-thigh.


“Whit woo! Hot mama!” Norah wolf-whistled teasingly when I came out with my hair wrapped in a towel and holding my stilettos in one hand. I rolled my eyes, sat in my vanity chair and waited for Norah to come and do my make-up for me.


“Ow! You just stabbed me in the eye with the mascara wand!” I whined, my eye watering heavily.


“Keep the tears in! I’ve just spent ages on your eyes and it’ll ruin it!” she tilted my head back sharply and told me to blink the tears back in repeatedly until they were gone, “Stop pulling faces at me too!” She glared at me but I carried on until she laughed as well then continued with my face.


“You almost finished yet?” I moaned, looking awkwardly out the corner of my eye to my alarm clock that read 20:48, “You’ve been doing this for half an hour now.”


“Hold still! I’m trying to make you look hot, I’ll be done in like ten minutes.” Another twenty five minutes later, she was completely done and I could finally dry and style my hair down into wavy curls.


“When’s Charity getting here?” I asked her whilst she was in the middle of pulled on her lime-yellow crop top and black, high-waisted disco pants.


“She’s getting ready at hers, Darrell’s dropping her off here and then Mum’s dropping us off at the club and picking us up after.” She explained, scraping her hair up into some messy ponytail up-do and doing her make-up, faster than mine took.


“Okay, so we’re just waiting for her then?”


“Basically.” We both headed downstairs into the living room where Mum and Dad were watching TV together.


“Don’t you both look all grown-up,” Mum gushed, smiling at both of us, “Although I still wish you hadn’t dyed your hair sweetheart.” She said to me and I rolled my eyes tiredly. It was always the same argument with Mum. She really didn’t like the fact that I had dyed my hair blonde back in fifth year and the only reason I didn’t tell her about Valerie was because I knew she’d probably have a go at me for being ashamed of my hair colour or something. And then she’d find out where Valerie lived and have a go at her too.


“Mum, I like it so I’m keeping it.” I answered, sitting down on the small armchair with Norah perched on the arm.


“And if any man touches you, you come straight home and tell me okay?” Dad warned us.


“Dad! I’m nineteen and Norah’s eighteen now, we’re not babies!” I whined, my cheeks getting hotter from embarrassment even though there was no-one else in the room apart from family.


“You’ll both always be my babies.” His voice softened up and, again, I rolled my eyes teasingly and so did Norah.


“You’re such a soppy old man.” Norah joked, causing everyone to laugh, including Dad. The door opened and Charity quickly walked in wearing a nice, tight-fitting plum dress and small black heels.


“Sorry I’m late, Ruari really didn’t want me to leave at all but I desperately need a night out,” she apologised but we all shrugged it off. The one thing I loved about Charity was that, although she was a Mum now, she was still exactly the same, she hadn’t changed at all, “Are we all ready to go?” She smiled at Mum who stood up with her car keys in hand.


“We’re not going too far into London because I’m not driving through that traffic again.” She warned us as we all climbed into the car after saying goodbye to Dad.


“There’s hardly any traffic in London at night.” I scoffed.


“There’s always traffic in London at night, Elle, you just don’t remember because you’re too drunk to take notice.” She teased, looking at me through the rear-view mirror.


“Okay, sometimes I might be a bit tipsy but I am never that drunk.” I scoffed again, folding my arms childishly.


“I’m only joking Elle, I know you haven’t been that drunk since the house party incident.” She wiggled her eyebrows up and down suggestively.


“Don’t even remind us Mum, I had to throw out my second favourite top because you threw up on it.” Charity glared jokingly at me and slapped me on the shoulder.


“And I had to help you out the car and clean you up before putting you to bed.” Norah butted in, giggling.


“Alright, alright. I get the message. I’m not a very good drunk.” I huffed, sticking my tongue out at all three of them, making them chuckle. Charity switched on the radio and we all sang or danced randomly to whichever muggle songs played. After driving for quite a while and deciding which club we were going into, we decided on Psycho which looked jam-packed full of people. In Norah’s terms this meant that there would be a lot of man-candy for us to enjoy, minus Charity because she was already married.


“Just because I’m married doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the view.” She protested when Mum pulled up into the nearest car park.


“I’m telling Darrell that you said that!” Norah yelled making Charity whip her head around and glared devilishly at Norah.


“Don’t you dare,” she threatened seriously, “Or else I’ll tell that hot dentist that you fancy him the next time I’m there.”


“Fine.” Norah replied, rolling her eyes but still going a bit pink.


“Right,” Mum turned to look between all three of us, “You girls have fun but don’t go too mad okay?” She looked particularly at me.


“You aren’t gonna let me live that down, are you?” I whined, putting my head in my hands.


“Nope. Now get out and get your groove on!” She shouted out the window as she drove away.


“Ugh, she’s so embarrassing!” Norah chuckled when we joined the line for entry into the nightclub. The music from inside was so loud that the floor outside was vibrating more and more every step we took towards the front of the queue.


“I love this song.” I squealed, jumping up and down when one of my all-time favourite songs came on inside. There were still quite a few people in front of us having their IDs checked by the bouncers on the doors.


“Once we get in, we’re making you drink nineteen shots by the way. As a birthday tradition.” Norah grinned evilly when we reached the bouncer, handed over our IDs and headed inside.


Nineteen?! I’ll probably throw up all over the table if I do nineteen! Are you kidding me?” I protested when they both dragged me to the bar.


“I agree,” Charity nodded her head with a smile, shouting over the loud music, “How about eight and a half?”


“Okay, I can probably do that.” I agreed casually whilst she ordered eight and a half shots from the young-looking bartender. Once they arrived, with Charity’s and Norah’s three shots, I grabbed the first glass and held it up as a cheers for them both, “Cheers to a great birthday!” I yelled.


“Cheers!” They both replied simultaneously and we clinked our glasses together before downing the burning liquid. Charity and Norah did the rest of their shots and waited for me to do the other five and a half that I had left. By the time I had almost finished, a huge group of lads and girls had surrounded us and were cheering me on. On the seventh shot I started to feel the effects of the alcohol sinking in but continued ploughing on anyway, finishing the last half to loud cheers and applause from the group.


“Woo!” I shook my head a little, feeling fuzzy but like I was still sober to remember what I was doing. But because it was my birthday, I decided I wanted to get drunk and then some.


“Here! Drink this and let’s go dance!” Norah shouted, handing me a blue coloured liquid in a large glass bottle and we headed towards the middle of the dance-floor. Most people were grinding against their significant other or one-night-stands as the songs played and played. After an hour of dancing, we were separated from Norah who had gone to the toilet and hadn’t returned.


“Do you reckon she’s okay?” I slurred to Charity who was bopping to the bass of the song.


“Yeah, she’ll probably be chatting up some random cutie,” she laughed, handing me another drink that I drank in no time. It wasn’t long before myself and Norah were completely out of it, stumbling and slurring out words horribly, “Okay, come on. We need to get you two home.” Charity chuckled, slinging my arm over her shoulder.


“Okaaaaaay!” I tried to look up at her but my head felt really heavy so I settled for lolling it around instead. Walking in heels became difficult all of a sudden, actually just walking in general became difficult.


“I’ll just ring Mum,” Charity said, sitting both Norah and I onto the curb so we weren’t falling about. Norah ended up slamming into my side heavily which made us both fall sideways giggling, “And you two stay there,” she pulled out her phone and dialled a number, “Hey Mum… yeah, we’re ready now… okay, see you in thirty minutes, bye!” She slid the phone back into her bag and hovered above us. Norah groaned before throwing up on the floor, luckily near a drain.


“God Noona, leaarn to handle your alcohol!” I slurred horrifically, it certainly didn’t help that I couldn’t handle my alcohol either.


“You two, honestly.” I heard Charity sigh amusedly above me before she stepped around to face Norah with tissues in hand to wipe her vomit-covered mouth. I suddenly felt like singing so I started a very loud and out-of-tune rendition of Don’t Cha, accompanied by sloppy hand movements, “Mum’s here, Elle you should be okay to get in the car yourself so climb in and I’ll help Norah.” She ordered seriously so I gave her a serious salute and climbed into the front passenger seat.


“Ello Mother!” I greeted said woman with a wide grin, struggling to grasp where the seatbelt was and to click it in.


“Oh dear God, I thought I told you not to get too bad.” She chuckled, grabbing it off me, after a million and one failed attempts, and did it for me.


“I’m not throwing up like Noona so it’s all goooooood.” I strung it out just as she leaned out the door to vomit again. Charity shrieked, leaping out of the way lightning fast to avoid the spray, shouting at her angrily. Eventually, once she had cleaned Norah up again, she climbed into the other side and we set off down the motorway back home.


“You all have fun?” Mum made conversation as Charity was keeping an eye on Norah and I was trying to drunkenly sing along to a song that I had in my head.


“Mmhmm… Noona even got some guy’s number, I did shots and we danced.” And that was shadowed with actions that I thought represented each one.


“Okay, you are very drunk,” she looked at me worriedly out the corner of her eye, “This is going to be very enjoyable tomorrow.”


“But that’s okay because you’ll make me a nice fry-up because you’re an amazing Mother who looks after her children when they’re in pain,” I put my hand on her upper arm, squeezing it a little, “Have I ever told you how much I love you?” Charity gave a warning that Norah was gonna be sick so Mum quickly swerved onto the hard shoulder so she could throw up in the grass.


“You’re only saying that because you’re drunk, Elle.” She laughed, indicating to another lane when we started driving again.


“No, I’m not Mother! I mean it with my whole heart,” I tapped my chest with my palm, “I do love you Mother!”


“And I love you too, Elle,” she gave me a smile quickly before turning her attention back onto the road. Norah threw up a grand total of three more times but seemed to be sobering up as we got closer to home, “Does this guy want to get into my boot?” Mum suddenly growled angrily. The car behind us was driving incredibly close to us, the bumpers looked like they were almost touching, but they still didn’t move into another lane. Mum was too busy paying attention to the guy behind us and speeding up, that she didn’t see the car in front of us suddenly swerve into our lane.

 

I grabbed the wheel abruptly, spinning it so that we didn’t crash into it but everything felt like it was going in slow motion. As our car swerved, a loud screeching could be heard and the far side seemed to lift slowly into the air.

 

Then as slow as everything as felt, it sped up again. My side of car slammed into the tarmac road harshly, causing me to smack my head against the window. The glass shattered almost immediately but the car didn’t stop there, it rolled over so that I hit my head on the roof. The way I was being flung around, it didn’t feel like I was even wearing a seatbelt. I’d completely lost count how many times we’d spun around, whether we were upright or sideways or upside-down before I’d blacked out from the pain.


**


The only mind-numbing pain that I could feel right now was all along my spine. It felt like someone had cut my back open with a knife and then proceeded to shove a metal rod in there without giving me any pain relief. It physically hurt to breath, so much so that I had to hold my breath occasionally to get rid of the pain.

 

My eyes adjusted momentarily before becoming blurry before becoming focussed again when I forcefully peeled them open. There were shouts echoing in the distance but they seemed too far away. I wanted desperately to shout, to make any sort of noise to let them know that I was here. That I was somewhat alive. That’s when my mind caught up to what had happened and I whipped my head around, causing me to cry out in searing pain. Glass was shattered around me in pieces as I was pressed up against my side of the car, looking down at the tarmac floor. We must have ended up on my side.

 

My senses suddenly went into overdrive. I could smell blood, and a lot of it, it was a putrid tangy-metal smell that was incredibly overwhelming. The tips of my fingers felt tingly and numb at the same time when I reached up to where my head was throbbing to find shattered pieces of glass implanted into my scalp. When I retracted my hand, letting it fall limp with the weight of gravity to the floor, I registered that they were now covered in red, wet blood. My blood. That thought alone, never mind the burning pain, made me want to drift into unconsciousness so that I didn’t have to feel anything or think anything. I could literally not exist for an eternity.

 

My eyes started to droop but something was telling me to just hold on for a little bit longer. As my head was now rested in an awkward position, making the pain even worse, I could finally look up through hazy eyes at the limp figure dangling above me. Deep red hair fanned over her face, blood gushing down from her head to her finger tips, soaking me. That explained the heavy blood smell.


“M…” I croaked out, barely above a whisper, it was more like a hiss, “Mu…” I tried again, wincing from the shot of pain that slithered through my spine, “Mum…?” Gasping for air, I closed my eyes and leaned my head back. Not wanting to look anymore.

 

My body was ice cold yet the pain was burning me alive, every nerve ending was sizzling, “Mum… wake up…” I tried to lift my arm up so I could nudge her and try to wake her. She wouldn’t stir so I began nudging her harder, “Mum, yo… you have to… wake up…” I pleaded, moving myself slowly and painfully so that my upper body was half off the floor.



My stronger hand tried to brush away some of her hair but I snapped it back with a sharp gasp when I saw a dark red, blood-covered face underneath, “Pl-please…” I breathed, my blood running cold and a million soul-shattering thoughts running through my mind.

 

Please don’t let it be true.

 

Please don’t.

 

I remembered a trick from a Healer book and I pressed my finger on her wrist, to feel her pulse.

 

I couldn’t feel anything.

 

But she couldn’t be, “Mum… please wake up… pl-please… don’t be… you can’t…” I stumbled over my words, my breathing becoming raged and short and my eyes stinging with tears. I didn’t want to believe it so I moved two fingers onto her neck because I definitely would be able to feel her pulse there. If it was a weak one, I probably wouldn’t have been able to feel it properly on her wrist but I would on her neck. It just had to be.

 

It wasn’t.


“…No! Please, no! You can’t! Mum, please wake up! You have to wake up!” My voice was getting hysterical, tears spilling over onto my cheeks as I sobbed, gasping and screaming in pain.

 

Who knows how long I screamed and cried for? Who knows? Eventually it got to a point where I couldn’t tell if I was still screaming or not, I just felt numb. Everything was cold, lifeless, empty.

 

Numb.

 

I couldn’t cry anymore, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t move. I just couldn’t do anything else. Nothing else seemed to matter anymore. So when the darkness took over, I let it.

 

I welcomed it with open arms.


Chapter 19: I Explain Everything
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: This is just a continued explanation as to everything that happened in the previous chapter. And it’s kind of a narrative to what Elle is telling James, in a way and if that makes any sense at all! It’s another shorter chapter but at least you get to figure out everything at last. Anyhow, I really hope you enjoy this chapter and tell me what you think as well because I am beginning to feel sorry for Elle’s Dad, Chris, now.

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.






“And then when I finally woke up from the coma, a month later, Charity was there to explain everything that had happened,” I explained as we sat in the hospital cafeteria, “She told me about Norah, about Mum and about Dad.” I gulped at that particular memory. It wasn’t pretty at all and I can only imagine the pain and torment having to explain something like that to your younger sister.


“Oh…” He said quietly. That’s all James had been doing, staring at the table in silence and listening to everything that I was saying. He wouldn’t even make eye contact with me and the quiet and tense atmosphere around the table was making me feel so claustrophobic. I desperately wanted James to say something else, to tell me what a horrible person I was and that he didn’t want to do this anymore.


The silence dragged out for another half an hour until I couldn’t stand to sit there anymore, waiting and holding my breath in the hopes that maybe he would say something else. My chair was pushed back abruptly and I scared myself that I had stood up suddenly. James didn’t even flinch so I turned and walked away, towards the exit of the hospital, not giving him a chance to catch up to me. It felt like I was walking in slow motion, fighting back tears but failing miserably.


“…Elle,” I had reached the double doors that opened up into the main waiting room, “Wait,” my whole body was frozen on the spot, too scared to turn around and see his facial expression. My eyes snapped shut as soon as I felt him step around me so he was stood in front of me, “Elle, open your eyes and look at me.” He commanded softly, his voice barely a whisper but I shook my head violently.


“I can’t.” I croaked out, the lump in my throat was back once again and threatening to make the dam burst.


“Why?” He whispered, gently putting his finger under my chin and lifting it ever so slightly. My face automatically blushed at the contact and I cursed him for ever having any effect on me.


“I can’t stand to see the hate and disgust on your face.” I answered just as quietly. It felt like I was admitting something really embarrassing and once it was out there, I couldn’t take it back.


“Oh, Elle,” I felt him grab my shoulders and pull me to his chest, smothering my face and I instantly wrapped my arms around his waist, “I could never hate you,” he whispered, kissing my forehead reassuringly, “And I know it’s not your fault, Elle, it’s not.” He added after a while. My eyes slowly peeled open to look up at him in shock.


“Of course it is,” his amazing hazel eyes stared down at me kindly, “Did you not hear anything I was saying?”


“Yes I did and Elle, it wasn’t your fault,” he continued before I could protest again, “It was the other driver’s fault for suddenly swerving into your lane.” I lowered my eyes and stared at his chest in defiance, clenching my jaw roughly to hold down my tears.


“But if I hadn’t grabbed the wheel then… M-Mum would’ve controlled the car and…,” I couldn’t hold them back anymore as soon as I started talking to him and they flowed onto my cheeks, “Then s-she w-would still b-be alive.” I gasped for air desperately, my hands clenching into fists on the back of James’ shirt.


“You’re blaming yourself for what someone else did,” he grabbed my face in his hands and made me look up at him whilst he tried to wipe away my continuous tears, “Even if your Mum did have control of the steering wheel, that car still would’ve swerved into your lane and the car still would’ve flipped over,” he explained quietly, pulling us both out of the way of the doors to two chairs to the side, “It’s not your fault. And it never will be.” He pulled me back into a bone-crushing hug and I was thankful he was trying to make me feel better but nothing he could say would ever make me think it wasn’t my fault. Because it was. We stayed sat in those seats for an eternity, both in silence, with James’ arms still around me and me occasionally closing my eyes and pretending I was someone else who wasn’t quite so fucked up.


“You know,” I suddenly spoke, “When I was released from the hospital and went back to Dad’s house… he’d either sold, used or burnt all my birthday presents,” James’ arm tensed around me, “Except for the portrait… he’d kept that but blacked me out.”


“That’s not right,” he spoke with an underlying tone of anger, “You’re his daughter.”


“Not in his eyes.” I said monotonously.


“Is that why you feel guilty about all this? Because your Dad says you are?” He looked down at me, his once reassuring hazel eyes were darkening in anger and frustration.


“James, I... I don’t wanna talk about this right now.” I pulled away from him, wiping my tear-stained cheeks and playing with the drawstrings on James’ joggers.


“Are those mine?” He arched his brow at me, his still darkened eyes flicked down to the pants I was wearing and I blushed.


“I was kind of in a hurry,” I coughed awkwardly, “I just grabbed the nearest thing.” I looked down at the floor when I felt James vibrate slightly beside me.


“Hey, I’m not protesting.” He shrugged, holding his hands up in surrender and offering me a small smile.


“I think we should go to the bed and breakfast.” I sighed tiredly, “I wanna catch up on some much needed sleep.” James studied my face for a few seconds and I suddenly felt emotionally bare as his eyes scanned back and forth.


“Okay.” He nodded his head the slightest amount and stood up with me, walking slowly and quietly to the waiting room doors.


“Elle! Wait!” Someone was hurriedly trying to catch my attention behind us. Spinning round, I spotted Charity making her way towards me with a distressed expression on her features.


“What is it, Char?” I questioned nervously, afraid of what she was going to say. My heart was hammering in my chest so loudly that it was all I could hear and I had to really focus on what Charity was saying.


“They’ve just given her the injection…” she said breathlessly and all the blood drained from my face. They were going to slowly reduce to amount of air she was receiving and I was about to leave without saying anything or being with her or my older sister whilst they were doing it, “And I’ve spoken to Dad… he’s… willing to let you stay in the room whilst they do it.” She also added tentatively, her brown eyes – from Dad – were trying to communicate some hidden message but right now I didn’t care about that. I could be in the room when they did it. He was letting me in the room.


“Why?” I blurted out in the silence.


“I… convinced him,” she hesitated and I become suspicious of what she’d actually done but she continued, not giving me much time to think about it, “So, are you coming or not?” My head nodded feverishly before she even finished the question and we all walked briskly back to the elevator and towards Norah’s hospital room. The enormous sense of déjà vu was present as we back-tracked, as well as a large amount of dread. A part of me was just anticipating the verbal attack from my Dad again but another part was hoping there was some sort of affection still left. But I knew that ‘affection’ would be pushing it, so I settled for just a little tolerance or civility. My heart was racing again when we reached the door, Charity pushing it open confidently with no consideration to how panicked I was feeling right now. Dad was sat at the edge of Norah’s bed with anticipation running over his facial features.


“I’m gonna be right by your side, Elle. You don’t have to be worried.” James comforted me, walking in first so that I could follow, hiding behind him.


“Thank you.” I whispered quietly, sitting down on his lap again when we were in the room. I could feel my Dad’s eyes on the back of my head, searing a hole but I concentrated on Norah’s heart monitor. Listening to the steady beating. We ended up sitting in the chair we had done previously before Dad came in, demanding we leave. My eyes drifted from the heart monitor to the side of James’ tired-looking face. I could tell he was about to drop off as his hazel eyes disappeared behind groggy lids occasionally.


“James, go to sleep.” I whispered, not wanting to break the silent atmosphere.


“No,” he widened his eyes to wake up a bit more, “I want to be awake if you are.” He shifted a little, causing me to move with him. I brought my legs up, kicking off my sandals and curling myself into a ball on his lap with my head rested in the crook of his neck. Like usual, his arms automatically wound around me to keep me from falling.


“Honestly, I’ll be fine. Go to sleep and I’ll wake you if anything happens.” I reassured him, watching his eyes scrutinise mine before he conceded.


“Okay… but wake me up in an hour.”


“I will.” I braved a small grin, lowering my lips onto his for a chaste kiss before putting my head back in the crook of his neck, inhaling his signature smell. His eyes closed with his head leant on his knuckle and I listened for another half an hour until I felt his breathing had completely slowed down and I knew that he was in a deep sleep.


Then I allowed myself to get a good look at Norah, who had no idea what was happening in the room right now. It got me thinking how we would tell her what had taken place in the four years she had been under… if she survived. But that wasn’t something I wanted to think about because I needed to stay positive for Charity, who was crumbling away. It was the least I could do for all the times she’d done the same for me.


Charity or Dad had probably neatened her hair so that it wasn’t fanned out anymore, it just hung on her shoulders. The same colour as Mum’s hair, the hair all three of us had inherited. I couldn’t believe that I had even considered dying my hair blonde years ago and hadn’t listened to my Mum and left my hair the way it was. The clock above Norah’s bed read 04:48 before someone managed to speak.


“I’m going to get another coffee.” Dad announced, standing up and just leaving without giving us any time to reply.


“He’ll come round… eventually.” Charity said quietly when he’d been gone for five minutes.


“He won’t. I think we should leave that as it is, nothing we can do to change it now,” I shrugged, not feeling dejected because I had grown used to it. At least he wasn’t acting horrible to me anymore, I’d take the silent treatment over the shouting any time, “I’m not necessarily happy, but I’m getting there.” I subconsciously looked at James.


“He seems to be helping you.” She gestured her head to my fiancé that was beginning to snore lightly.


“Yeah, he has.” I turned to look at him again. Drinking in every detail of his face because I knew that by the end of the month in two week’s time, I’d have to forget about him. I think the thing I’d miss the most would be moments like this where I felt safe with him, as long as he was there nothing could harm me.


“He’s really good for you, Elle. You glow just looking at him,” her cheeks creased so that her mouth was sculpted into a miniscule smile, “It’s almost as if you’re going back to the old you.”


“I don’t know… it scares me how much I care about him,” I whispered, afraid that he could somehow hear, “Sometimes it feels like he’s too good to be true.”


“And what’s wrong with that? Maybe that’s what you need to make you feel happy again,” she replied, “It’s the same with me and Darrell. Some days it frightens me how much my happiness depends on his happiness and vice versa.”


“How do you deal with it?” I looked back at James’ sleeping face, wrapping my fingers in the spaces between his gently.


“I haven’t. It happens all the time but I guess that’s what it’s like with every couple,” her eyes drifted out the window, “If the amount you love the other person doesn’t scare you, it’s not love.” We settled into silence, mainly because I couldn’t think of anything to reply to that. Dad came back in and we waited in silence for a doctor to come in but they never did. Just like I promised James, I woke him up at six whilst struggling to stay awake myself. Charity had to leave as she was going to swap with Darrell, who was coming to sit with us whilst she got some sleep.


“Elle, you need some sleep too.” James said after the millionth time I yawned, trying to hide it.


“I’m fine,” I yawned again, “I don’t mind stay awake, I just need some coffee.” I went to get up but James kept his hold on me. It made me feel like a teenager again, scared of being romantic with a boyfriend in front of parents.


“No, Elle, you need sleep. You made me so now I’m making you,” he said seriously, “I promise I will wake you up if anything happens and if not, I’ll let you sleep for a couple of hours.” He planted a delicate kiss where my shoulder blade was, his eyes looking incredibly bloodshot. But guess what? Even he made that look attractive.


“A couple of hours, okay?” I warned him, settling myself down because I desperately needed to sleep for a bit, “And you promise to wake me up if a doctor comes in?”


“I promise. Go to sleep.” He kissed my temple as I lowered my head onto his shoulder, closing my heavily-lidded eyes with relief. Within minutes, I was in dreamland. If I’m honest, it wasn’t much sleep anyway because I kept drifting in and out of consciousness. I wasn’t quite sure that what I was hearing actually happened, I may have been dreaming it all in my head.


“I’m just going now, Darrell says he’s here,” I think that may have been Charity, “So I’ll see you later.” I know that next person to talk was James because I felt his body vibrate beneath me.


“See you later.” And then I seemed to drift away into blackness again.


“No offence, Sir,” a deep voice said, I was certain it was James this time, “But you said before that you were losing your daughter…”


“How is this relevant?” Another voice answered bitingly.


“I’m just saying that if Norah doesn’t make it then you’ll have lost all of your daughters. You’ve already lost Elle, you’ll lose Charity because of how you’ve been treating Elle. You’ll lose all contact with any grandkids that they’ll have.”


“You think you have any right to talk to me about this?” The second person started to raise his voice.


“You’re blaming your own daughter for something that wasn’t her fault! Do you know how much she believes you? Instead of comforting her, because she’s lost her Mum and about to lose her sister too, you decide to dump all the guilt on her!” James also raised his voice, “I’m not saying it helped but her intentions were good! She tried to move the car out of the way! Do you really think this girl here would intentionally set out to do anything bad to her own Mother and sister?” The silence that followed was enough to give James his answer as he settled back into his seat properly and no-one discussed it further. Either the silence that continued went on for a few seconds or I had once again fallen back into a dreamless, interrupted sleep.


“Elle, time to wake up.” I felt someone nudge me but I didn’t want to open my eyes. I wanted to stay asleep for just a while longer because I was incredibly exhausted.


“No.” I mumbled grumpily, scrunching my eyebrows up in defiance.


“Come on, it’s nine o’clock in the morning. And the doctors are gonna come in soon.” The same person repeated and I forcefully opened my eyes, seen as the person wouldn’t give up trying and leave me be. The sun was shining through the half-open blinds, glaring directly into my eyes and making me squint a little. Once I had awoken slightly and gathered most of my senses and memory, the layer of dread settled back down onto my bones again. If the doctors were coming in soon, it meant that it was genuinely happening. They were going to start slowly switching off her life support and she wasn’t ever going to wake up again.


“It’s Friday, isn’t it?” I questioned him groggily, adjusting myself on his lap so that I wasn’t hurting him.


“Yes, it is. Nice nap?” He Smiled down at me, the hazy fog over my eyes slowly disappearing.


“Mmhmm. I’m sorry, you must have been so uncomfortable with me sleeping like this.” I gestured to my body nervously and quietly because I was still scared my Dad was in the room. I was too scared to turn around and see his face after the last several hours.


“It’s okay. You needed sleep far more than I needed to be comfortable.” He reassured me and I quietened down, glancing out the corner of my eyes to where my Dad was sitting to find he wasn’t there.


“Where’s my Dad?” I asked both James and Darrell.


“He went to go and get some sleep after I kept pestering him.” Darrell answered before James could, with a small smile.


“Oh.” We drifted back into silence for a while until we heard someone bustle into the room. All three of our heads shot up to see Char walk in sombrely followed by a gentleman in dark blue scrubs, holding a clipboard and also wearing a grim facial expression. The whole room settled into tense silence as we waited for the nurse to say something.


“We’ve discussed this already with Norah’s father and with the consultation doctors…” he started slowly before letting out a huge sigh, “We’ve decided to start decreasing the amount of oxygen from her life support as soon as possible.” My hand flew to my mouth as tears welled up in my eyes. James’ arms tightened around me but nothing he could do now could help me. I don’t know why I was so surprised at this information, I already knew what was going to happen because Char had told me before but it was still shocking to hear. Maybe it was because when Char told me, I didn’t quite believe her but now he had said it, it meant that it was final. It was actually happening, “There is a possibility that she might end up breathing on her own but it’s not a very good one. I’m sorry.” He hung his head in defeat as the first few tears found their way onto my cheeks. Char came to comfort me, pulling me into her arms as we both shook with unsurmountable grief.


“Thank you.” I heard James say to the nurse in the distance.


“The actual doctor is on his way now to start the process but you won’t be allowed in the room as he does it.” The nurse answered before disappearing out the door. Both Darrell and James came to comfort both of us but I didn’t want to let go of Char. She needed me just as much as I needed her right now, no matter how much James made me feel whole when I was in his arms. Char pulled away from the hug to go and say her final goodbyes to Norah and I followed suit, still crying.


“You’ve been an amazing sister to me. To both of us. I’m so glad and grateful that I knew you for as long as I did, I love you to pieces.” Char whispered to her, stroking her hair repeatedly.


“Noona,” I started, my voice catching in my throat, “I am so sorry. I will be eternally sorry that I put you in this state, that we’re in this situation where we have to say goodbye to you forever,” I could feel both Char and James ready to say something to tell me that I was wrong but I interrupted them, “Tell Mum we say hi and that we love her and you. And we won’t ever stop loving you both, for as long as we live.” I kissed her on the forehead, squeezed her hand before I had to be guided out of the room.

 

**

 

Everyone was quiet, sat in the hospital waiting room on Norah’s floor. Dad had even joined us again, his eyes were red and blotchy after being given permission to say goodbye to Norah too.


“Do you remember that time when I was in fourth year and I was teasing her about this guy that she fancied the pants off of?” I randomly started talking to fill in the silence. Their heads all swivelled to me, but only Char cracked a small smile.


“And she tried to prank you by sneaking into the Hufflepuff common room.” She added on with a fond smile.


“But she didn’t know how to get in so she ended up covered in vinegar.” Both Char and I chuckled a little at the memory of it.


“I remember the Headmaster at the time writing back to tell us what had happened,” Dad chimed in to my surprise, “And I told you and Kathleen, do you remember?” It was the first time I had seen him smile properly.


“Yeah,” Char nodded, “We laughed so hard after that.” Dad joined in the laughter around the table and it felt like the old times again but as I watched him, he slowly deteriorated into quiet tears.


He put his head in his hands on the table, shaking silently in grief and I couldn’t quite handle the guilt that washed over me at seeing my Dad unravel before my eyes. I just wanted to pull him into my arms and apologise over and over again and make him believe that I honestly didn’t mean to kill my own Mother and sister. I almost did as well until I saw that James had glistening eyes too.


“Why are you crying?” I whispered to him, wiping away a stray tear that had cascaded down his smooth cheek.


“Because, it’s sad seeing you all like this,” he looked at me, kissing the pad on my thumb when I ran it along his bottom lip, “I can’t stand it when you cry. It’s painful for me.”


“You don’t need to cry, James.” I sighed, resting my head on his shoulder again. Feeling numb when he pulled me onto his lap again.


“I know but I couldn’t help but keep imagining Lily every time I looked at Norah,” he admitted, “I can’t even begin to imagine how you must be feeling right now.”


“But the fact that you are trying to understand is enough for me, James. Thank you,” I smiled down at him, kissing him sweetly as he wiped this thumb over my tear-stained cheeks, “I’m glad you’re here. I don’t think I’d be this calm if you weren’t.”


“I already told you, I wouldn’t let you do this on your own.” He kissed my cheek gently.


“If this is gonna take a few hours, I think I’ll go and get a few hours’ sleep.” Char and Darrell stood up together whilst both James and I did the same.


“We’ll go back to the B&B for a few hours too then.” I nodded at James, who was looking at me for confirmation.


“Dad, if you’re gonna stay here… ring me when something changes, okay?” Char hugged him and briefly gave him a peck on the cheek. He nodded his head mutely and we all exited the hospital, Char and Darrell apparating away whilst us two walked down the street to the open B&B. I was in a sleep-induced daze as James logged us in, practically carried me upstairs and tucked me in the bed.


“I’ll set an alarm to wake us up in a few hours, okay?” James whispered. Feeling the bed dip next to me, I rolled over and cuddled into him.


“Mmhmm.” I mumbled before drifting right off into a dreamless sleep.


Chapter 20: James' Tattoo
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A/N: This one is one heck of a whopper! The longest chapter I have ever written, mainly because it has a lot of stuff happening in it and we get a little bit more Jelle-ness. The happiness is back, sort of… *mwah ha ha ha* Anyways, enjoy this very long chapter and don’t forget to leave me reviews that I love so very much!

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.






“Yes, we’re fine Mum,” hushed muttering was the first thing I heard when I roused from a dreamless sleep, “Elle’s just having some family problems… I’ll explain when we get back on Sunday, okay?” my whole body was disoriented when I finally opened my eyes because it was quite dark outside our bedroom window, with loud chattering pouring in from the people outside, “Okay. Bye.” A foggy haze was still over my eyes when I felt the bed dip beside me and I looked up at James sleepily.


“Who was that?” My voice was incredibly croaky and dry when I spoke.


“Mum,” he answered simply, lying down on his side so he could see my face, “She wanted to know where we were. She was getting worried when she got up this morning to check up on us and found out we weren’t there.” A frisson of guilt shot through me and James seemed to catch it but didn’t say anything thankfully.


“What time is it?” I yawned, stretching myself out a little more so I could wake up properly.


“It’s nine pm and it’s still Friday.” He replied, also yawning after me, making me chuckle quietly.


“Are we going back to the hospital now?” I sat up slowly, running a hand through my unkempt hair because it was a complete bird’s nest on my head right now. Well, that’s what I got for going to sleep with a ponytail in. James’ eyes followed me as I climbed out the bed, gathered up some other spare clothes and walked towards the bathroom to get changed.


“Yeah, we’ll go when you’re ready.” He nodded, pulling his shirt over his head and starting to get changed. I looked in the mirror in the cramped bathroom and noticed that my skin looked a lot paler than the last time I saw it given that I was supposed to be on holiday. The roots of my ginger hair were very greasy, making me feel yucky and so I jumped into the shower so quickly wash myself and at least make me feel marginally better. It wasn’t by much but at least I could focus on washing my hair and body without having to think about Norah’s situation. I stepped out, quickly drying my hair with my wand and pulling on the same joggers and shirt that I had worn yesterday/this morning. They still smelt a little like James so I snuggled myself into them, breathing in the heavenly scent. James was laid back on the bed when I entered the room again, pulling my hair back into a high ponytail so that it was out of my way.


“You ready?” He asked and I nodded mutely. We started walking down the stairs, past the judgemental glances of the bed and breakfast occupants and out into the cold night air. My stomach grumbled loudly as I remembered the last time I had anything to eat was this morning whilst we were waiting in the hospital café and I was starving.


“Um…” I blushed heavily because it was quite a loud growl and peeked through my eyelashes at James, who chuckled.


“We’ll stop in at the supermarket and get some food, don’t worry.” He grabbed my hand, intertwining our hands together and pulled me across the deserted street to a twenty-four hour supermarket. We walked in silently, still holding hands, and headed straight for the sandwich shelves. I let go of James’ hand to look through each sandwich and pick one that I fancied or was in the mood for but James just picked a random one up, inspected it for two seconds and threw it in the basket we had picked up. He came to stand behind me, his arms coiled around my waist protectively as I chose and I subconsciously moulded myself into him, smiling slightly when he placed a delicate kiss on my head.


“What shampoo did you use?” He murmured, sending a light shiver down my spine.


“I don’t know, whichever one was already in there.” I replied, shrugging awkwardly whilst his chin rested on my shoulder.


“Mmm, it smells really good,” he sniffed appreciatively and I giggled in response, “Smells like caramel.”


“I’ll make a mental reminder to use that again then.” My smile widened to a grin as I turned sideways in his arms to peck his cheek quickly. I ended up choosing a plain ham and mayonnaise sandwich, an orange juice drink and a milk chocolate bar. James decided against a chocolate bar because he said it would make him feel sick eating it at such a late time but I shrugged it off. I needed some chocolate right now, maybe even a whole tub of chocolate ice cream would help me feel a little better but I thought that was more of a ‘break-up’ kind of thing. Not a ‘my-sister-is-about-to-die’ type of food. Even the thought of what was about to happen still hadn’t settled in yet and every time I thought about it, it hit me like a freight train, knocking the wind right out of me. We walked towards the hospital in silence again with both of us eating our bought food. It was kind of hard for me to eat because as soon as I took the first bite, I instantly wanted to throw it back up again but I pushed myself to eat all of it because I would be hungry again later.


“Kinda wish I’d got a chocolate bar now.” James whined when he saw me chomping down on mine.


“Have some of mine,” I handed it to him, not really in the mood to eat the rest and he took it greedily, polishing it off, “Easy there tiger.” I laughed as he chucked the wrapper in the bin before slinging his arm around my shoulders and guiding me to the elevator and back up to Norah’s room. The dread that had been there multiple times when I’d made this journey, was absent for a change. I didn’t really know what to feel when I saw everyone stood outside her room so I settled for being neutral.


“Hey, you all rested?” Char embraced me tightly when we reached them and I did the same, holding on for just a bit longer than necessary.


“As rested as I’ll ever be, you?” I returned the question, ignoring the gigantic elephant in the room. Or corridor, because that’s where we were stood. She nodded her head mutely, grasping for Darrell’s hand, who immediately came forward to embrace his wife with a look of pity and despair on his face. I stared between the two lovingly, and then turned to glance at my Dad, who was stood with his back against the wall silently. His eyes were trained on the floor, looking rather empty but occasionally I could see his jawline tensing. A sure fire sign of trying to keep his tears in. James seemed to sense that I was staring at my Dad out the corner of my eyes and so came to stand between the two of us, grabbing my hand and giving it a light squeeze.


“Why are we waiting out here?” I pierced the silence and everyone’s heads swivelled to face me.


“The doctors…” Char started weakly but stopped, glancing anxiously at Dad. She couldn’t continue so Darrell stepped forward and took me around the corner out of earshot. James obviously followed and I was grateful. If it was horrible news, I wanted James to be there so he could comfort me like he did earlier.


“The doctors are getting ready for the final two stages of decreasing the oxygen.” He carried on from Char’s sentence, looking forlorn.


“What? Now?” My voice sounded surprisingly detached considering the myriad of emotions flitting through me right now.


“Yes,” he nodded his head, “Chris, uh, your Dad didn’t take the news well…” He wrung his hands together nervously as he looked to the ground sheepishly.


“What did he do?” James asked seriously, his whole posture stiffened beside me and I had to trail my fingernails up and down his forearm to calm him down a little.


“He, uh, he just got a bit angry. He ended up being kicked out until he was ready to come in calmly.”


“He doesn’t look calm…” I retorted, peering round the corner where his fists were clenching and unclenching rapidly. Darrell and James’ heads followed mine and both Darrell and I sighed.


“He isn’t, he’s just trying to keep it under control for the time being.” Darrell rubbed his forehead roughly, pushing his brown curls back, effectively making his hair messier.


“What are we gonna do?” I sighed heavily, feeling incredibly lost and useless.


“I don’t know. He can’t get kicked out permanently, that just wouldn’t help the situation.” He replied, ushering us back round the corner and towards the two lone figures in the corridor.


“I know.” I mumbled tiredly. Darrell immediately ran to Char, encasing her in his arms as she crumbled just a tiny bit more. It was painful seeing my sister act the way she was. In a way, ever since our Mum had gone, she had tried so hard to step into her shoes and look after the three of us but it took its toll on her. Especially as she had her own children to look after as well.


That’s precisely the reason why I had never told her about my relapse last year because I didn’t want her to think she’d failed in trying to help everybody else, putting herself last. The thing was when I first got the apartment near the centre of London, I had done quite well in paying the rent and keeping everything alright, given that it had been just over a year since the Seven Months From Hell, as I called my horrible stint. It wasn’t until one night that I fell into that temptation again. I swear that I hadn’t meant to drink that much, I hadn’t drunk anything since the seven months but every little thing had gotten to me again. I suppose that was why I had struggled because I had gone cold turkey almost straight away. It got bad, real fast and I drank and drank. Then I was late on my payments and I dealt with it by drinking almost every night and sometimes during the day I would go to the store and buy a crate of cider, beer or whatever the hell they had in the shop and drink it on the way back to the apartment. Char came round a few times but she always gave me notice so that I had time to pretend for a while that I wasn’t falling apart inside again. She believed me, thank God, so I could carry on with my double life. When I lost my job at a supermarket, I realised that I was falling back into my old habits and I didn’t want that to happen ever again. It had been the worse time of my life, rock bottom basically. And there I was, diving head first back into that bottomless pit for the second time. I threw out all the alcohol, going cold turkey again but this time I was determined to have a strong control over temptation.


Char never found out and she never would. Of course I would drink occasionally but now I was slightly mindful of when I had reached my limit and when I had to stop. James nudged for my attention whilst I had drifted off into my own little world.


“Elle?!” The nudges became more frantic as I shook my head, clearing it of all these thoughts so I could focus all my attention on what was happening now. Frantic beeps could be heard from Elle’s room and a number of doctors and two nurses rushed in and out of Norah’s room, holding various instruments and with determined facial expressions.


“What’s going on?” Char was asking each passing doctor anxiously, the cracks in her façade starting to become more pronounced. No-one answered her and kept rushing past, hurriedly muttering in medical terms and trying to keep their heads down so as not to catch the eye of any of us. I grasped James’ arm as the panic began to bubble inside of me. Dad’s eyes were frantically scanning each passing doctor’s face warily but I could sense he was feeling just as panicked as I was, “Why is no-one answering me?!” Char whined helplessly, leading Darrell to wrap an arm around her and lead her towards the hospital café. She went rather reluctantly but I promised her that I would go and get her as soon as anything changed. An hour of waiting, pacing and almost having panic attacks a few times, a doctor finally emerged with a sheen of sweat on his forehead.


“Are you family?” He asked, looking at Dad, Charity and Darrel then myself and James. We all nodded and he pulled the surgical mask that was covering his mouth off. The panic slowly started to die down when I saw the man’s facial expression. It was one of complete calm, his lips twitched upwards slightly and maybe this meant he carried good news.


“What’s happened? Is she alright?” Dad blurted, interrupted whatever the doctor was about to say.


“Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” He talked over Dad, ignoring him and looking round at us all.


“Good news, we need a bit of good news.” Char answered with a tiny voice when no-one would reply to the doctor’s question.


“The good news is that Norah is breathing herself,” everyone let out a collective sigh of relief and I loosened my grip on James’ arm only to be pulled into them. I didn’t even notice I had begun crying again until I pushed myself away to hear the rest of what the doctor was saying and saw the dark patches on his shirt, “And we’re trying everything we can to make sure it becomes stronger as right now, it’s very weak. We’re also trying to bring her out of the coma but we’re not quite sure what side effects she may have when she comes round. She may not remember you after being under for so long so just be warned.” He finished solemnly.


“Is that the bad news?” Dad piped up, his face was a lot less taut as his tense shoulders relaxed and his whole posture had changed to a relaxed demeanour.


“I’m afraid not,” the doctor sighed heavily and the short-lived relief I was feeling completely fizzled out, “Because of how she landed in the car accident, unfortunately when she comes round, she won’t be able to walk again,” Dad’s shoulders tensed once again and he put his head in his hands, “And there’s not much we can do other than provide her with as much support as possible. Of course it’s going to be difficult time for the next couple of months, she may feel a conflict of emotions but just make sure she talks about it openly with any of you or a professional. Don’t let her bottle it all up.” He finished, once again, solemnly. We all stayed in silence, letting the words hang in the air whilst we tried to process it.


“Thank you.” James was the first to break it, shaking the hand of the doctor. We all stayed in relative silence, processing the information that the doctor had just thrust upon us. Meanwhile, he had replaced his surgical mask and re-entered Norah’s room.


“Do you think she’ll remember us?” Char asked, her face looking a little too calm and devoid of any emotion for my liking.


“I don’t want to think about that right now…” Dad answered, staring at the opposite wall also quite calmly, “All I want to remember is that she’s alive and she’s fighting to stay alive.” He added with a small sense of pride hidden somewhere within his voice. I stayed quiet for fear of saying something wrong and re-hashing an argument that we’ve had before.


“Have you ever considered moving her to St. Mungo’s for treatment?” James asked Char quietly, out of earshot of our Dad.


“Yes, many times but,” she quickly glanced at said man, “He doesn’t want anything to do with that place…”


“But she’ll be treated faster? If we take her in tomorrow, there’s a strong chance she’ll wake up on Sunday, maybe even Saturday night.” He pleaded the case and Char nodded her head in agreement.


“I know that but he shuts the idea down almost straight away. He doesn’t give us any leeway to explain that to him.” She whispered, looking a little nervous at James’ expression.


“Well, he’s gonna listen. If he wants to see her wake up faster.” He puffed out his chest slightly and we all turned to face my Dad. His head was lent against the wall behind him, his eyes closed and if I didn’t know any better, I would have assumed he was asleep because of how contorted the position his body was in.


“I already know what you are going to say and the answer is no.” Dad surprised us by answering just as James was about to start. He looked momentarily stunned before the same look of determination from before came back.


“You haven’t heard all the facts?” James questioned him, crossing his arms seriously.


“I don’t need to. I just don’t want her anywhere near that place or magic.” He scoffed, standing upright finally and glaring at James with his dark brown eyes.


“If we move her to St. Mungo’s she will be treated faster and better, trust me.” James tried to reassure him but Dad was adamant.


“Nope, she’s staying right here where I can keep my eye on her.” He shook his head vigorously. James let out a quiet sigh of frustration that only I could hear.


“Dad, please, what James is saying is true. They’ll be able to use faster healing spells, James even said she’ll be awake by tomorrow night if we admit her tomorrow.” Char got involved with Darrell nodding his head to agree with her point. Dad scanned everyone, including me, and I tried my best to look pleading.


“The answer is no,” he said finally, “And that’s the end of it.” He turned so his back was against the wall again so James changed his tactics.


“I guess he doesn’t want Norah to wake up then,” he announced rather loudly, “It’s almost like he doesn’t even want her to get better.” As James expected and like I knew he would, Dad shot back up and started marching over to James with a murderous expression on his face.


“Listen here, you think you can come her and act like you’ve been a part of this family for years,” he nearly yelled but remembered that he’d get kicked out again. I was whipping my head between the two of them with worry etched over my face. I didn’t want Dad to rip into James badly when he’d been there for me so much lately but on the other hand, I didn’t want James to pester my Dad too much because it wasn’t his fault, “And how dare you have the guts to say I don’t want my own daughter to get better?! Of course I do!” They were practically in each other’s faces, neither one wanting to back down. I tried to stand between them to diffuse the tension but I may as well have been a piece of dust on the floor for all the attention they paid me.


“Then move her to St. Mungo’s, she’ll be treated faster and I can guarantee that she’ll be in good care,” James urged him, “And you can stay with her for as long as possible without anyone kicking you out.” Dad stewed in silence, not looking at anyone else other than James. They seemed to be having a battle of wits with their eyes.


“James is right, Dad.” I inputted quietly, looking at him tentatively. His eyes snapped to me, a small glint appeared before he realised he was outnumbered.


“Fine!” his posture visibly slumped and the guilt multiplied, “Fine. We’ll move her tomorrow,” James nodded his head silently in thanks, “But I want to be with her the whole time.” He added as we started to retreat back to where Char and Darrell were stood watching with baited breath.


“And you will be, I promise.” James promised him, grabbing my hand whilst wrapping the other arm around my shoulder, pulling me to his chest.


“How are we going to authorise moving a patient from a muggle ward to a wizard one?” I whispered into his chest, my forehead resting almost on his shoulder blade. I closed my eyes, relishing in being encased in his arms again and feeling slightly better.


“I’ll pull some strings, it shouldn’t be too hard.” He responded, kissing the top of my head gently and rubbing circles on my back that sent a light shiver down my back but also simultaneously warmed me up.


“Thank you,” I kissed his chest lightly, “You don’t have to… but thank you.” I could feel his lips quirk up into a smile from where his lips were resting against my head. He didn’t say anything but responded by tightening his grip around my shoulder and waist. We stayed like that for who knows how long when James pulled back slowly.


“I’m just gonna go make a few calls, I’ll be back in a few minutes.” He reassured me, cupping my face in his hands.


“Okay.” I replied, accepting the breath-stopping kiss he placed on my lips before delicately kissing me again in quick succession. He disappeared around the corner, glancing back to make sure I hadn’t crumpled to the floor in despair. But I was way past that point now. The fact that she was alive was still racing a million miles per hour through my mind. Barely alive but she was alive. And she probably wouldn’t recognise anyone, which now that I thought about it, was maybe a good thing because I don’t think I could deal with another load of guilt dumped on top of me. Then there was the no-walking-again factor that was prodding my brain for some attention. I wondered how she would react to that when she woke up, it wouldn’t be pretty. So I decided not to be in the room when she was being told everything that had happened in the four years she’d been in a coma.


“Hey.” I looked up from the floor, where I had slid down the wall in my thinking state of mind and pressed my knees to my chest.


“Hey.” I leant my head on Char’s shoulder when she’d sat beside me and in return, she leant hers on top of mine, “How are you holding up?” She stayed quiet for a while but eventually breathed out,


“She’s alive.”


“I know.” I replied in the same wispy voice. We fell back into that neutral silence, letting our eyes take in the goings-on around us. A few nurses zipped past us, not paying any attention to the two girls on the floor and one particular light flickered a little further down the corridor.


“She’ll remember us, right?” Char whispered again.


“I-…” I started but couldn’t find the heart to lie to my sister because in all honesty, I wasn’t sure myself. I desperately wanted to believe that she would but it seemed unlikely from what the doctor was telling us, “I don’t know, Char.” I slowly lifted my hand and grasped hers, intertwining our fingers to make sure she knew I was there for her if she ever needed me. She graciously tightened her fingers grip, shaking quite a lot. James came in a few minutes later, looking down at his phone after just hanging up on someone.


“Everything’s sorted for tomorrow,” he crouched down in front of me but said it loud enough for Dad to hear it, “She’s under the best care and all the legal stuff has been taken care of.” He placed his hands on my knees and I covered them with my other free hand.


“Thank you,” I repeated. He came and sat on my other side, in the same position as me and kept a firm hold on my other hand, “I think maybe we should go back to the B&B, I’m really tired.” I said, lifting my head off of Char’s shoulder and turned to face James.


“Okay.” He nodded in agreement, trying to stifle a yawn himself. He stood up swiftly, offering both myself and Char a hand up. We were both up in a matter of seconds and I turned to my sister.


“We’ll see you tomorrow. Don’t hesitate to call if anything happens.” I enveloped her in a bear hug, letting her bury her face into my shoulder for a change. She released me and pulled James in for a hug, totally shocking said person.


“Thank you so much for all your help. I’m glad that Elle has you,” they let each other go with James blushing a tiny bit but Char went back over to stand with Darrell, “I promise I’ll call you.” She reassured me finally and we both set off towards the B&B. The walk back was quiet but that was mainly because we were both tired and I knew I was emotionally drained from everything that had happened recently.


“Good night.” James wrapped his arms round me when we were both back in the double bed. I snuggled myself closer to him, entangling our legs together and trying to make myself as small as possible.


“Sweet dreams.” I responded lightly.






James woke me up as usual, mainly with his bloody loud alarm clock buzzing throughout the room. Just as I was peeling my eyes open properly, he dropped something heavy at the foot of the bed which made me jump. 


“What are those?” I sleepily asked, looking at the pile of clothing folded there neatly. From what I could see, there was something denim and a flimsy cream-coloured material. Which turned out to be skinny jeans and a short-sleeved shirt for me.


“I bought these because I figured you wouldn’t want to wear my sweats and over-sized shirt out again,” he smiled, shoving his hands into his new jeans as well, “Even though you look adorable.” A small smile graced my face at his compliment and I took the clothes sheepishly.


“Thank you… you didn’t have to.” I looked down at the ground, feeling really guilty. Here he was doing all these wonderful things for me yet I hadn’t done one thing for him, what a terrible fiancée I was!


“But I wanted to,” he responded, hauling me up and giving me a great big cuddle, “It’s what I’m supposed to do.” He whispered, kissing me on top of my head before shoving me into the bathroom so I could finally get out of the dirty clothing I was wearing. The shower I had wasn’t a long one considering I didn’t wash my hair and I quickly pulled my new clothes on, surprised he’d bought me the right size.


“What are we doing today? Going to help with the move?” I looked up at him whilst I was brushing through my hair. Just as I was about to put it up into a ponytail, like usual, he stopped my arms.


“You should wear your hair down, it looks nicer,” he offered me such a genuine smile that I felt myself going all mushy on the inside. So I left it down, “And no, I booked a tattoo today, remember?” He broke the tiny moment we just had but I wasn’t bothered because it wasn’t my imagination this time.


“Really? I thought you were joking about that.” I stared at him in shock. I honestly did think he was joking, but he replied with a serious nod and picked up a small backpack with all our stuff in it. Plus the shampoo he said made my hair smell like caramel.


“Nope. Booked it for today but it’s about a forty-minute journey so we’ll apparate a bit further down from the actual place.” He admitted and I nodded, letting go of the small panicky-voice that appeared in the back of my mind when he started talking about ‘journeys’.


“Okay, am I still picking it out then?” I joked as we walked down into the lobby, signed out and headed into the afternoon air. I checked my watch quickly to see that it was about one o’clock in the afternoon.


“Yeah, if you want.” He shrugged, guiding me towards a deserted alleyway so we could apparate. He grasped my hand tightly, looked at me for confirmation and I suddenly felt my whole body compressed through a really thin tube. Apparition was still a weird experience for me, despite how many times I’ve had to use it.


“You do realise this will permanently be on your body for the rest of your life right?” I gave him a questioning glance but he seemed as laid-back as ever and shrugged again.


“I don’t mind,” he slung his arm over my shoulder lazily as we walked down a busy street towards the tattoo parlour, “Just don’t choose a really rubbish one, please.” He finally showed a bit of worry when he looked down at me. He held the door open for me and I stepped through, hit with the familiar buzzing sound from the needles. Two other people were sat in leather chairs, one of them was a young girl – probably around eighteen – who was wincing slightly at having a tattoo on her wrist. The other guy already had multiple tattoos all along his arm and sat there chatting away to the guy doing the new tattoo.


“Hey, can I help you?” Yet another guy, with a very large neck tattoo, asked us from behind the reception desk.


“Yeah, I’m here for a tattoo at half-one?” James said casually, leaning against the counter like he’d been in here multiple times before. No-one would be able to tell he was bricking it except for me because I could feel him clenching and unclenching his hand in mine out of sight.


“James Potter?” the guy looked down at this planner and called out the scribbled name written there. James nodded, “Any idea what design you want?” He asked, bringing his elbows up onto the desk, showing off a multitude of other tattoos covering the whole surface area.


“Nah, she’s deciding.” He nodded his head to me and the guys eyes flickered to me and he smiled kindly. I returned it nervously, it had been a while since I’d stepped foot in a tattoo parlour but that one was closer to my old apartment and a bit shady.


“That’s a lot of power to be placing in someone else’s hands.” The guy tattooing the older guy’s arm chuckled and I smirked at James before heading over to the magazines and rifling through them. Eventually, after much debate on James’ part, I chose a skull that was surrounded by roses with a banner going across the top with a date in it. James, in the end, said he didn’t want a date going in the banner but decided on the Hogwarts motto – Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus – which made me giggle.


“You ready now?” James’ tattooist, Chris, asked when he’d finished up on the girl’s wrist.


“Yeah.” He nodded, heading over to the chair and sitting down and bearing his forearm.


“First tattoo?” He chuckled at James’ nervous face and I came to stand next to him so I could watch his face. Instead of replying, he just nodded his head as the guy behind the desk handed Chris the newly drawn design for him to do the outline and shading.


“You’ll be fine, it doesn’t hurt.” I comforted him with a reassuring smile and he laughed nervously.


“Much.” Chris added which just made James more nervous and made me laugh. Chris prepped his forearm, stuck the design down and got the needle ready. James looked up at me and grasped for my hand, giving it a tender squeeze as I smiled at him reassuringly again. Chris started going round the outline first but James hardly flinched, only when he did the outline on the parts of his arm that were closer to the bone but other than that, he was fine.


“That wasn’t too bad.” He sighed, relieved during a quick break when the outline was finished after about an hour and a half. His phone rang so he quickly hopped outside to answer. I watched him intently as he nodded his head, a smile making an appearance that started widening with each passing second.


“You two together?” Chris asked behind me so I spun around, sitting on the edge of the couch casually. Throughout the hour and thirty minutes, I’d gotten a lot friendlier with the guys who worked here and a few customers who came in.


“Yeah, getting married on Monday.” I nodded, crossing my arms but not before showing him the engagement ring. I had completely forgotten that I was wearing it, it had practically become a part of me that if I wasn’t paying attention, I honestly would never have known it was there.


“He’s a lucky guy.” Chris nodded, cleaning the other needle for the shading whilst we were talking.


“Pfft, I’d say run whilst you can!” John, the older gentleman that had been doing the sleeve before, piped up. Chris rolled his eyes, chucking an empty pot at the back of his head.


“Just ignore him, he got friend-zoned one too many times at the altar and is a miserable fucker.” Everyone laughed, including John, but not before he threw us all the middle finger. James came back in a few minutes later, sat back in the chair and Chris started the shading around and within the tattoo.


“That was St. Mun- the hospital.” He corrected himself when he realised we were in a muggle environment.


“Oh, yeah…?” I perked up, wanting to hear nothing but good news and hoping that the move went successfully.


“She’s alright, it all went good and we can go and see her once we’re finished. Your sister, Darrell and Dad are already there, watching her.” He explained and I almost pounced on him in happiness before realising that I probably shouldn’t and wait until later.


“Okay, that’s good.” I sighed happily, watching intently as Chris finished off the shading which took another two hours whilst swapping banter with all of them.


“You should be good. Just keep it wrapped in cling-film for about two-to-three days,” Chris advised whilst wrapping the cling-film around his forearm, “And because we’re adding colour as well, I suggest coming back in two weeks for another session and we’ll see how much we still have to do,” he finished as we walked over to the counter for James to pay, “That’ll be £150, so far.” He looked at the computer screen after typing something and James handed over the money casually.


“Cheers.” He nodded his head, saying good-bye to all the guys in the tattoo parlour.


“See ya and good luck on Monday!” Chris called after us as we exited the shop. James looked down at me in confusion and I clarified,


“I told them that we were getting married on Monday.” I shrugged.


“Oh right, okay,” he nodded his head thoughtfully and we walked back down the street to the alleyway we apparated into, “It looks cool, doesn’t it?” He admired the shaded tattoo in approval and glee.


“Yeah, it does,” I smirked up at him, “Now aren’t you glad that you made me choose your first tattoo?” I said smugly as he rolled his eyes. He lowered his head, motioning for me to kiss him and I did, planting a soppy one right on his lips.


“Yes, very glad. You’re gonna be really smug about this now, aren’t you?” he gave a little chuckle and I snuggled into him. He wrapped his arms around me, after we apparated just a little further down from St. Mungo’s, and pulled me to him, “What’s this for?”


“Just as a thank you.” I murmured into his chest.


“For what?” He looked down at me with confusion written all over his face.


I drank in the features of his face, staring at the small scar on his top lip and noticing that he was starting to get a little stubble along his jaw. All of a sudden, I started noticing little things, like the way his left eyebrow quirked up a bit when he looked confused and that I was weirdly jealous of how nice and long his eyelashes were. And the gorgeous colour of his eyes. Oh God, I was really falling hard and nothing was stopping me from the certain crash that was sure to happen when this whole deal had ended. Instead of answering him properly, I brought his lips back down to mine in such a tender kiss that even I was dazed for a few minutes. I tried desperately to put every emotion I had for him into that kiss. He pulled away, but not giving me a few pecks on the lips afterwards, his lips curving into his signature Smile. The moment was completely ruined by our stomachs both rumbling loudly, causing us to laugh.


“I think,” I murmured whilst our lips were still conjoined, “We should get some food before we go to St. Mungo’s.” I finally pulled away just as James was about to suggest the same thing.


“I agree,” he placed one final bittersweet kiss on my lips before we exited the alleyway we had just been randomly kissing in, “Where do you want to go and eat?”


“Erm… somewhere quick?” I tried to spot a nearby fast-food place and managed to see a small café sign that I recognised a few metres down the pavement to our right, “That café, there!” I exclaimed, grabbing onto James’ hand and pulling him along through the densely packed evening crowd of shoppers. We entered, glad that it was about five in the evening so it wasn’t as busy as it could have been. I grabbed us a small table in the corner as James went to order us some sandwiches and a nice, cool drink in the queue. Whilst he stood there, every time we caught each other’s eyes, he kept pulling funny faces at me which caused me to giggle out loud. A few people stared at me as if I was insane as I was just sat at a table by myself, giggling at nothing. I would be worried too.


“Here we are! A refreshing lemonade and a delicious BLT, for m’lady.” He placed the tray our food was on, onto the table and I picked up the glass of lemonade and the plate my sandwich was of, off the tray so James could take his food off and put the tray to one side.


“Why thank you, kind sir,” I played along, biting into one half of my sandwich and then taking a big gulp of the lemonade. My stomach gurgled in appreciation at having been fed seen as the last time I ate was yesterday and I was feeling the effects of it. My phone buzzed just as I popped the last bite of the sandwich into my mouth and I answered it, “Hello?”


“Hey, it’s Lily?” Said girl answered and I completely forgot that we were supposed to be on holiday.


“Oh hey, Lily.” I looked up at James, who had straightened up as he paid attention to our conversation.


“Do you know what day you’re gonna be coming back to Spain?” she asked, “It’s just Mum wants to know because we still need to organise your Hen Party tomorrow night…” She trailed off as I remembered that they’d been talking about it a few days ago and my eyes widened.


“Hang on,” I told Lily before pulling the phone away from my ear, “She wants to know when we’ll be back?” I explained to James, who then motioned for my phone so I handed it over to him and he put it to his ear.


“We’ll be back tomorrow?” he raised an eyebrow at me for confirmation and I nodded, knowing I couldn’t stay with Norah forever, “Tell Mum to stop panicking about Monday, we’ll be fine,” he reassured her whilst rolling his eyes at me, “Yeah. Bye.” He pressed the red button before handing me my phone back.


“Thanks,” I took it off him and put it back in my jean pocket, “Are we ready to go?” I asked him, watching him nod as he stuffed the last half of his sandwich in his mouth, making me chuckle. We stood up, putting the tray onto a rack off to the side and started making our way towards St. Mungo’s but this time, the dread wasn’t there because I was confident that Norah would wake up soon. Especially because of all the spells and potions they had there that could help her heal faster.


“You seem in a better mood.” James commented when we entered the hospital and made our way to the fourth floor where Norah had been moved to, despite it being the Spell Damage ward.


“Mmhmm, I know she’s still alive and whether or not she will remember us, I won’t care because at least she’s alive.” I explained, but a little voice made itself known in the back of my head that if Dad explains his side of the story to her first, she’ll hate me too.


“But the risk of her having amnesia was when she was in the muggle hospital, here they’ll be able to help her remember as much as possible.” He reassured me, my legs getting really tired by the third floor staircase.


“We’ll have to see when she wakes up,” I replied, adding, “I hope she wakes up before we leave tomorrow.” James heard me and grasped my hand, giving it a tight squeeze and offering me a Smile.


“I have my fingers crossed!” He lifted his free hand up with his index and middle finger crossed. We walked towards Norah’s room, peering through the little square window before entering. Char was sat right next to her bed, head slumped over tiredly and Darrell was curled up in the armchair on the other side of Norah’s bed, mouth hanging open and a little slither of drool dripping out.


“Bless,” I chuckled under my breath before walking over to Char, “Hey, wake up.” I shook her gently. She lifted her head slowly and her brown eyes locked onto mine before focusing properly.


“Hey, Elle,” she muttered croakily, brushing her hair from her face and over her shoulder, “What time is it?”


“Nearly six in the evening.” I answered, perching myself on the edge of the armchair.


“Oh,” she seemed a little surprised, “I told Dad that I’d take the shift until eleven tonight but I was too tired, I must have fallen asleep.” She yawned loudly, waking Darrell up with a start. He rubbed his eyes harshly to try and wake himself up too.


“Oh, hey!” He greeted the two of us in surprise.


“Hey.” We both replied simultaneously.


“Char, go home and get some sleep. We’ll stay here for the five hours until Dad gets here.” I suggested and she nodded her head.


“Okay, give us a call if anything happens and we’ll come as soon as possible.” She hugged me tightly, her eyes already drooping tiredly and I felt sorry for her. I gave Darrell a hug too and waited until they’d left the room before sitting in Char’s vacant chair and curling myself up so I was comfortable. James took Darrell’s empty chair, his head lolling back up to the ceiling. We both sat in silence as we couldn’t really find anything to say to each other at the moment, so we didn’t say anything. There was a little rack of magazines against the wall and so I grabbed the first one and began to scan through it.


“How are we all doing?” a familiar voice asked as the door opened. Both James and my head snapped towards the entrance, where Teddy Lupin was stood dressed in scrubs and a clipboard in his hands but this time he had plain brown hair, “Oh, hello!” His mouth curved into a brighter smile when he saw James and I sat there.


“Hey, Teddy!” James scrambled up to give him a hug as I watched the exchange in surprise.


“Nice to see you again, Elle.” He held out his hand formally and I shook it, my eyes still widened.


“You’re the Healer on this case?” I blurted rudely before blushing at how I phrased that.


“Yeah when James made the arrangements to get Norah moved, he specifically asked for me to take the case.” Teddy explained, coming to stand beside Norah’s bed whilst James came and perched on the armchair on my seat.


“Because he’s the best Healer I know.” James beamed proudly at him.


“And it also puts pressure on me to get everything right because it’s your future sister-in-law,” Teddy added as well, sending a small glare at James, “So thanks for that.”


“It’s okay, I have every faith that you can do it.” I admitted, knowing that James wouldn’t specifically ask for Teddy’s help if he wasn’t good enough. Teddy gave me a thankful smile and began checking up on Norah’s temperature and blood pressure amongst other things.


“Her health is a lot better than it had been and it’s definitely out of the danger zone now,” he explained and I listened intently, “So I’m gonna start bringing her out of the coma by injecting this potion into her arm every hour or so,” I nodded my head, watching him draw back an almost translucent green liquid into a sterile syringe before tying a band around her upper-arm so that a vein would appear. He slowly injected the liquid before throwing the syringe needle and empty plastic container into the bright yellow bin underneath the side-table, “If she does wake up in between the doses, just press this button above her bed or call for me.” He pointed to a vivid red button above her bed but to the right a bit.


“Okay, I will do.” I nodded once again, keeping my eyes on the heart monitor to see if anything changes.


“I’ll be back in about an hour to administer the next one.” He picked up the clipboard from the little holder at the end of her bed and exited again.


“I’m just going to speak to Teddy for a bit, I’ll be back in a few minutes or so.” James told me, leaning forward and kissing my forehead gently.


“Okay.” Was all I said, my eyes never leaving the heart monitor. The door clicked shut behind me and I figured that there was no point in watching the heart monitor for five hours when the process had only just started so I picked up the magazines I had been previously reading. Whilst still checking the monitor ever so often. Teddy came back in after the hour passed, injected Norah again and told me that James was talking with the Head Healer about something. Yet another hour passed by so now it was eight o’clock and I was getting bored. James still hadn’t come back and I’d already read all the magazines so I had to settle for counting the tiles on the floor, walls and ceiling for a while. Once again, at nine o’clock, Teddy came in with yet another injection for Norah and when he left, I recounted all the tiles even when I knew there were 320 altogether. In my counting state, I hadn’t noticed that the monitor had begun to pick up but only marginally so when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye as I was counting the wall to my left, I almost fell out of my chair in shock.


“… E-Elle…?” Norah’s eyes were slightly open and I only just managed to hear her say my name because her voice was so quiet. Without thinking, I slammed the red button hard. So much so, that I swore for a few seconds at the sharp pain in my hand.


“Noona!” I gasped, standing up and hovering over her worriedly. Her heart-rate was increasing, a little too fast than was normal and I could feel my heart pounding as well.


“She’s awake!” Teddy hurled himself into the room, shouting to whoever was in the corridor. Shortly, a bunch of Healers followed after him and I was advised to wait outside whilst they tried to bring her heart-rate back to normal. I anxiously watched through the small square window as Teddy barked orders around at the other people in the room, their wands moving at alarming rates and syringes swapping back and forth. Some full, some empty. Whilst they were doing this, I thought now would be the perfect time to call Char and Dad to let them know what was happening. And that she was awake.


“She’s awake…” I whispered to myself, the thought completely halting me just because of the pure shock of it. This whole time I was just waiting for her to die but never had I ever thought she would still be alive. Never mind, wake up.


“Elle, what’s wrong?” James hurried up to me as I stared at the door in shock. He must have thought something bad had happened.


“She’s awake…” I repeated, turning to him as the shock turned into utter euphoria, “She’s awake!” I laughed happily, jumping up and wrapping my arms and legs around him, “She’s awake!” I repeated yet again, “She said my name too! She remembers me!” I could practically feel my face split into a massive grin and my tears welling up with happy tears.


“Oh, Elle!” James’ voice sounded overjoyed as well and it made me just want to kiss every part of his face. So I did just that. James laughed loudly, but quietened down when I locked our lips together eventually.


“She’s awake.” I separated and told him again, not caring that I was repeating myself over and over.


“I know.” He pecked me on the lips.


“She said my name.” I sighed in glee.


“I know.” Another kiss.


“She remembers me.” I couldn’t help the massive smile on my face. It was like my brain was telling me that I deserved to smile after everything that had happened over the last three days and I was latching onto it.


“I know.” Yet another kiss.


“I-…” I unwrapped my legs from him and put them down on the ground. I’d almost said ‘I love you’ to his face and that would not have been good, “I’m just so happy.” I kept my arms around his neck and buried my face into his chest, inhaling his cologne.


“You deserve to be happy,” he whispered. I could feel his smile against the top of my head, “Especially after everything that’s happened.”


“I know.” I hummed appreciatively, staying like this for a few minutes.


“Have you told Charity and your Dad?” James asked me, bursting the quiet moment that I was revelling in.


“Yeah, I called them before you turned up. They should be here soon.” I answered, still with that face-splitting grin permanently etched there. We slowly swayed side-to-side in complete and utter bliss. The past few days had been a blur and they’d all mashed together so I couldn’t believe that my birthday had only been two days ago.


“Hey! She’s awake? Has she said anything? Has Teddy said anything?” Char came rushing around the corner of the wing with Darrell following closely behind her. She spoke without stopping for a breath and I almost laughed at her facial expression which was a mix between hope and worry.


“Yeah, she’s awake,” I nodded my head and practically pouncing on her happily, “They haven’t come out yet, they’re still in there doing something but she said my name, Char. She recognised me.” I lowered my voice to a whisper to let her know that I was just beyond ecstatic that she had remembered.


“Oh, thank God!” She finally embraced me back just as tightly and I could feel her shaking against me. When I pulled back to go and give Darrell a hug as well, I could see the happy tears that I had before in her eyes. James came to wrap his arms around me again and I happily let myself snuggle up close to him, just thinking about how good my life was turning out to be right now. I finally found someone that I genuinely care about and loved, Dad hadn’t blown up at me since we first arrived and Norah was alive.


“Dad! She’s awake!” Char exclaimed when our Dad came in a few minutes afterwards, I could see that he was trying to wake himself up even though he was still half-asleep.


He hadn’t really disappeared much from Norah’s side this whole time and I was feeling really worried about his health as I took in his tired features, the dark bags under his eyes, the unshaven stubble around his mouth and along his jaw and the mop of greying hair on top of his head that looked like he hadn’t even bothered to brush it. Without thinking, I ran towards him and enveloped him in a hug as I was caught up in all of the euphoria in this moment. To my surprise, he actually wrapped his arms back around me in a hug not too dissimilar to the ones he used to give me before this accident.


Unfortunately though, the moment ended as we both realised what the situation was between us and that thick, tense atmosphere settled down around us. I snapped my arms back to myself quickly, averting my eyes to the floor and hurrying back to James’ side. Not really wanting to see the look on my Dad’s face. We all stayed in silence as we waited for any kind of news. It seemed like all we’d been doing recently was just waiting around for any information that was available and the waiting part was the worst. The majority of the Healers in Norah’s room exited, dragging full trolleys behind them and with little beads of sweat dripping down their forehead. Teddy came out not long after and we all stood up straight, waiting in anticipation for what he was about to say.


“She’s alright, we managed to get her heart-rate back down to normal and she’s responsive,” he explained and the tense atmosphere from before dissipated into one of relief, “She’s just resting now but we will have to run a few tests on her. I don’t know how long it’ll take because it depends on the results on these tests but up until that point, myself and the rest of the team have decided that she can’t have visitors until we’re sure she’s recovering properly.” He added sombrely and we all nodded, a little upset at the fact we wouldn’t be able to see her for days or maybe even weeks, but we all knew she was alive and that was enough for now.


“Thank you, Healer Lupin,” Char rushed forward to embrace him, much to his surprise, “Thank you so much.” She let go before giving the same treatment to James but thanking him instead for suggesting moving Norah here under Teddy’s care. Said Healer left us alone so we could process the information and I couldn’t stop smiling once again. Then a though suddenly occurred to me,


“Where are we gonna stay tonight?” I hissed to James whilst Char was having a group hug with Darrell and Dad, “We booked out of that B&B this morning.”


“I know, we could always just book in another night in a different one. I’m sure there’s one around here somewhere.” He suggested and I nodded my head. Just before James was about to leave to go and find one, Char grabbed his upper-arm suddenly and turned him to face her.


“And where do you think you’re going?” She asked him through her happy tears.


“To find a B&B for the night.” He answered, that cute look of confusion all over his face.


“No you’re not,” she shook her head, detaching herself from the hug and beckoning me to come towards her as well, “You can both stay at ours tonight. It’s the least I could do after everything you’ve done for us.” She smiled kindly up at James, who returned it a little nervously.


“Are you sure, Char? We could always find a hotel to stay in, we don’t want to impose.” I hurriedly cut over her but she gave me a stern glance.


“Don’t be silly, Elle. We have enough room now anyway.” She gave me a secretive smile and I became nervous all of a sudden. We all said our goodbyes to my Dad and apparated to Char’s house. Darrell unlocked the house and we all walked inside, with me bracing myself for the attack from my niece and nephew.


“Where are Ruari and Gabby?” I asked when I realised how quiet it was and that I wasn’t about to be attacked.


“They’re staying with my parents over the weekend,” Darrell explained as he switched all the lights on and we followed them into the living room, “They think it’s a little treat whilst Mum and Dad have some stuff to take care of so they were quite happy to go.” He shrugged and began pulling all the cushions off of a brand, spanking new couch.


“When did you get this?” My eyes widened at Darrell, who was now pulling out a double sofa-bed and rearranging the cushions whilst Char brought down some bedding and pyjamas for us to wear.


“I got a bonus at the beginning of the month, we were going to surprise you when you got back from Spain but we might as well use it now.” He smiled, helping Char set it all up whilst James and I got changed into the pyjamas.


“Thanks for lending me your pyjamas.” James thanked Darrell as we were passing them in the corridor.


“It’s no problem, mate.” He smiled, patting him on the back and making his way up to his bedroom, his wife following close behind after kissing me on the forehead and saying good-night.


“It’s so weird…” I whispered in the dark as we both got into our sides of the bed.


“What is?” James responded, immediately turning on his side so he could see me.


“These past three days have gone by fast, it’s like a blur.” I admitted, also turning so that I was facing him and moving myself closer.


“I know, but at least the worst part is over.” He placed a kiss on my forehead and I felt that same leap in my stomach as before, meaning that I was grinning from ear-to-ear. Also like from before, instead of answering, I leaned my head up and started kissing him gently until things got a bit heated. James’ hands reached their way under my shirt, making me shiver in anticipation and in return, I reached with one to his hair and used the other to delicately trail my index finger along his jaw. Slowly, James started rolling so he was on top of me and started kissing me a bit more feverishly, forcing his tongue into my mouth so that our breathing was becoming more shallow. His mouth, eventually, left mine and started making its way along my cheek, down my jaw and onto my neck where he latched onto my weak spot again. I let out a quiet moan before realising where we were and bringing his face up to mine in the darkness.


“Maybe… here’s not the best place…?” I gave him a nervous smile to which he chuckled.


“Maybe not.” He pecked me on the lips gently before slumping himself down beside me, curling up so that his front was to my back.


“Good night.” I yawned, letting my mind drift off into the beautiful land of dreams. But not before hearing something in my sleepy-state of delusion-ness,


“I'm in love with you, Elle."


Chapter 21: The Dreaded Hen Party
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A/N: So, so sorry that it's taken so long for me to write this chapter! As you can see it's a long one again! :D Hopefully that makes up for it! If not, please don't throw things at me! I originally was just going to say there would be two chapters left but I couldn’t leave the story the way it was. I just couldn’t so it’s been extended for just a few more chapters and then it’ll be finished. Just as a little warning… the chapter does not end the way you think it would ;)

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.





If I must say, it was rather surreal getting up at Char’s house instead of waking up to the Spanish sun shining in from a balcony. It also dawned on me that I’d never actually stayed a night on the yacht… that we now owned. It still hadn’t settled in that I half-owned a yacht. When I opened my eyes, I was staring at a framed picture of Char and Darrell when they’d first started dating and they both had smiles on their faces, looking the perfect picture of happy. James was still fast asleep next to me, snoring his cute little head off as his arm was draped around me. Yet again. I turned over quietly and carefully so as not to wake him up and climbed out of the sofa bed, heading in the direction of the kitchen because now that I was awake I noticed that my stomach kept grumbling rather loudly.


“Good morning.” Char whispered to me when I walked in, surprising me because I didn’t think she’d be awake at this time in the morning.


“Morning,” I whispered just as quietly because I didn’t want to wake anybody else up in the house, “How come you’re up early?” I opened up the cupboard holding the mugs and made myself a strong cup of tea to wake myself up a bit more. Char put her cup down and gave me a slightly bewildered look, “What? Have I got something on my face?” I tried to look at my face and neck in the spoon to make sure James hadn’t given me any inappropriate ‘marks’ from last night.


“Elle, it’s nearly one o’clock in the afternoon,” she ignored my question, pointing over her shoulder at the clock hung on the wall, “You’ve both been asleep for ages.”


“What?!” I put my mug down harshly, narrowing missing the spray of scalding tea on my hand.


“Yeah.” She nodded in response.


“Why didn’t you wake us up?” I questioned in shock, trying to quickly chug down the boiling tea in my haste to get ready and spend the last few hours with Norah before we had to go back to Spain.


“You both looked so tired and work out so we left you to catch up on your, obviously, much needed sleep,” she answered, stopping me from burning myself by dragging the mug away from me but at the last thought I had frozen in dread, “What? What’s the matter?” It hadn’t even registered in my mind that tonight was my Hen party. And tomorrow I was getting married. To James.


“I’m getting married tomorrow,” I leant against the kitchen counter, staring down at my hands that were still cupped around my half-drained mug, “I’m getting married tomorrow.” I repeated dumbly. I didn’t meant for it to come out so scared but it did and Char picked up on it because I’d stupidly let my guard drop for a second in her presence as if she knew about the deal.


“Why do you sound so unhappy about that?” She tried to make eye contact with me but I wouldn’t look at her. My eyes were roaming everywhere except at her face.


“I’m not unhappy about it,” I shrugged nonchalantly as possible, “It just surprised me that it was so soon,” she didn’t look convinced at all so I changed the subject, “Where’s Darrell? I would have thought he’d be awake by now?”


“He’s at his Mum’s picking up Ruari and Gabby.” She replied finally and turned away which made relief swim through me as it looked like she was going to drop it.


“Are we going back to St Mungo’s today so we can see Norah?” I drained the last bits of my drink and began washing it manually so it gave me something to do.


“I already went this morning,” she said and I looked at her, my brow raised, “And they’re still not letting her have visitors. Apparently she’s not stable enough for that.”


“That’s a bit shit.” I muttered grumpily.


“What’s a bit shit?” Both Char and I’s heads turned to the kitchen doorway where a sleepy-looking James was rubbing his eyes and stretching his arms over his head.


“Norah’s still not allowed visitors.” Char answered quickly, turning around to fix us all some breakfast. Well, lunch for her.


“Yeah that is a bit shit,” he nodded his head in agreement and came to stand next to me, wrapping an arm around me and kissing me gently, “Morning.”


“Good afternoon, technically.” I smiled slightly, wrapping my own arm around his waist and feeling a little less dread about today and tomorrow. James was in the same position as me and although he may not reciprocate my feelings, he was getting married to someone he’d only known for just over three weeks too.


“Why what time is it?” he yawned loudly and cutely as he looked up at the wall clock, “Bloody hell! I didn’t think it’d be this late!” He exclaimed looking down at me with shock evident in his hazel eyes.


“Neither did I.” I shrugged casually as one of my fingers trailed slowly along his back and side subconsciously.


“I’m just gonna make you something quick so you both can get ready and we can go to St Mungo’s.” Char interrupted us, putting the stove on so she could cook us some bacon butties.


“Thanks Char.” I smiled, going back into the living room with James in tow. I settled myself down onto the sofa bed, under the covers, and switched the TV on. James climbed in beside me and put his arm around my waist as usual as I snuggled into the crook of his neck. We sat in silence until Char came in, placing the big plate of bacon butties on our laps for us to eat. We devoured them, filling our empty stomachs until our hearts were content. Char then told us we could get changed in her room and we did so, putting on the clothing we wore yesterday as we had nothing else here.


“I almost forgot that we were back in England, you know.” I admitted out loud, chuckling to myself at my silliness. I had been in such a good mood ever since Norah had woken up and it felt nice to not have this dark cloud hung over me all the time because of not knowing whether she’d survive or not.


“Me too,” James agreed, pulling his pyjama shirt over his head. And I had to stop myself from drooling. I knew I had seen his torso and abs multiple times before but it still managed to shock me whenever I saw it, “See something you like?” His voice broke me out of my stupor and I locked eyes with him, feeling my face redden and heat up with embarrassment. His mouth was curved upwards into a victorious smirk and his eyes were alight with amusement.


“Shut up,” I shoved him roughly, turning my body away so that he couldn’t see my bright red face. I heard him chuckle and peered over my shoulder just in time to see his abs disappear under his white shirt. Just as I saw him slowly take his pyjama bottoms off out of my peripheral vision, I took that as my turn to quickly get undressed and pull on my blue jeans and cream-coloured t-shirt, “See something you like?” I teased when I turned and he was giving me the exact same greedy stare.


“Not really, no.” He teased back easily and, once again, I shoved him in the side. He retorted by grabbing for me and mercilessly tickling my sides.


“Ah! No! Stop!” I shrieked breathlessly, giggling at the same time and trying to escape his clutches.


“You’ll never escape me!” He bellowed in his most ‘evil’ voice and began half-wrestling, half-tickling me again.


“I’m guessing you two are ready to go to St Mungo’s then?” Char’s head popped round the doorframe and we both froze immediately like two children caught with their hands in the cookie jar.


“Yep,” I nodded with my voice coming out raspy thanks to me being out of breath. James’ hands retracted slowly as we walked down the stairs into the living room again. I tried to regain my breathing as I slipped on my socks and shoes when I noticed that Char had tidied up the living room and put the sofa bed away, “Char, you should have left it for us to clean up.” I twisted my head round to look at my sister, who was by the front door getting herself ready.


“It gave me something to do and I don’t mind, it’s my house.” She shrugged in response not looking at me and rummaging through her handbag for something. When she found what she was looking for – which turned out to be a pen – she quickly scrawled something down on a pad of paper and stuck it on the noticeboard by the door.


“Yeah but it’s our mess.” James also inputted, standing up to meet her at the door.


“Oh hush up,” she lightly smacked him on the arm much to his surprise, “You’ve done far more for us than tidying up a little bit.”


“Well… thank you.” He rubbed the back of his neck nervously after running it through his hair.


“It should be us thanking you, James,” she replied sternly, opening the front door and stepping out, allowing us room to follow her. When we were out, I pulled the door closed and she locked it, “Ready?” She looked at both of us with her arm extended. I grabbed onto her arm whilst James latched onto mine and I felt the sudden pulling sensation in my stomach as we apparated into the hospital. Our feet hit the ground in the apparition zone on the ground floor in St Mungo's and it took my eyes a few seconds to adjust before we were off, walking in the direction of Norah’s room. We walked up in silence until we reached the door where our Dad was patiently sitting outside.


“Hi Dad.” Both Char and I said simultaneously. His exhausted head slowly lifted and his brown eyes locked with Char first and then me before returning them to the wall opposite. I took that as a ‘hello’ and sat beside Char in the line of chairs opposite her door.


“What time is it?” I leaned against James’ shoulder, wrapping my arms around his as if he was my teddy bear.


“Nearly half two, why?” He replied, checking his watch and reaching his hand up to run it through his hair again.


“Just wondering,” I said quietly, looking at the floor and then back up at him, “What time are we going back?” His head swivelled to me so that I could see him properly from where my head was rested against his bicep.


“Whatever time you want.” He placed a delicate kiss on my forehead and intertwined his fingers with mine. And that alone made more butterflies zoom around my stomach.


“James you know if you say ‘whatever time you want’ I’ll never want to leave her side?” I answered honestly, moving my head so that my chin was propped on his shoulder.


“How about we leave at half three? That gives us an hour to say our goodbyes?” He suggested and I nodded my head as best as I could with my head on his shoulder.


“Okay,” I sighed, shifting back to my original position, “That works for me.” I felt him chuckle slightly underneath me and I couldn’t help the small smile that briefly flitted across my face. It wouldn’t go away and every time I thought more about the last three weeks it just kept getting bigger. So much so that I had to bite my lip in an attempt to hide it. A few Healers walked past with a business expression on their face, holding clipboards and some holding mugs of coffee or tea. Eventually the familiar face of Teddy came out of Norah’s room followed by a few more Nurses and Healers.


“How is she?” Dad was the first to jump up, scaring Teddy just a little.


“She’s… she’s doing okay…” He trailed off, looking at James sheepishly.


“What’s wrong?” Char blurted and I could practically feel the worry radiating off of her.


“There’s nothing wrong with her health per se…” he sighed heavily again before turning all business-like, “Her physical health is satisfactory but, her mental health may need to be looked at. She’s struggling to come to terms with what year it is but that’s to be expected when you’ve been under for as long as she has.” He said it rather pointedly at my Dad as if it was his fault for not bringing her out of the coma earlier but Dad didn’t seem to catch it.


“And?” I urged him to continue and his eyes briefly met mine and a little glimmer of something was there.


“And she is also struggling with the loss of use in her legs,” he replied, looking down at his clipboard before passing it to one of the other Healers that was in her room, “I haven’t told her anything that has happened in the last four years because I feel that is something that she needs to hear from you. But still not yet, we have a few more tests to run which should be completed by tomorrow. And if she passes, you may visit her.” He advised seriously before nodding his head sombrely.


“Thank you, Healer Teddy. For everything.” I thanked him quietly and he placed a comforting hand on my shoulder before disappearing round the corner.


“Elle, it’s nearly half three.” James whispered in my ear as I turned back to see Char and Dad hugging briefly. The sadness started settling in my stomach at having to leave Norah behind even if it was just for another week or so.


“Okay.” I nodded my head in agreement and walked up behind Char, who turned around at the sound of my footsteps. Her smile disappeared when she saw my facial expression.


“You’re leaving?” she looked up at James as well and we both nodded, the guilt washing through me. I think she noticed as she suddenly engulfed me in a hug, “It’s okay Elle, you need to leave for your wedding. She’ll understand.” She whispered in my ear as her arms wrapped around me gently. I hugged her back just as tight and not wanting to let go but I knew I had to eventually.


“It’s not her I’m worried about…” I whispered back, looking pointedly at Dad when we let go and she went to hug James. He still didn’t seem to understand that Char was basically telling him he was a part of the family now whether he liked it or not. She never hugged just anybody.


“Don’t worry about him. I’ll make sure he won’t get five minutes alone with her,” she told me, “And honestly Elle, she won’t blame you because it wasn’t your fault and she’ll know that.” I looked down at the floor to avoid seeing her face knowing that she was lying to make me feel better. James’ arm snaked around my waist, sending shivers down my spine as he delicately kissed the top of my head.


“Yeah, uh,” I managed to slowly lift my eyes to meet my Father’s, “I’ll see you soon.” He nodded ever so slightly that I almost thought I had imagined it.


“See you tomorrow evening.” Char pulled me into another bone-crushing hug and I reciprocated.


“See you later, Charity!” James hollered to my sister as we walked briskly down the corridor, down the multiple flights of stairs and towards the apparition zone, “Are you ready to go back?” I looked up at James to see him looking down at me with a remote sense of worry on his face.


“Not at all but,” I paused, shrugging my shoulders, “We probably have to face Ginny sooner or later.” I tried to make it all seem joking because I knew he was talking about the wedding tomorrow but I didn’t want to acknowledge that fact.


“True,” he nodded his head as if he believed that that was what we were talking about too, “She’s gonna have a field day with this.” He gestured down to the new ink all over his forearm and I chuckled along with him.


“That’s not my problem.” I took his offered arm with a smug smirk knowing that I didn’t pressure him to get the tattoo so Ginny couldn’t have a go at me.


“It will be when I tell her you chose the design and did nothing to stop me.” I heard the complacent tone in his voice before he decided to apparate us back to the villa without letting me get a word in edgeways.


“You wouldn’t dare!” I exclaimed hotly when our feet touched the ground and the nauseous feeling disappeared.


“Try me.” He retorted, sauntering up the porch stairs and towards the front door. Without skipping a beat I rushed after him and burst through the open front door at the same time as him.


“James, Elle, is that you two?” Ginny called from what I assumed was the kitchen.


“Who else is it gonna be Mum? Death Eaters?” I think that was Al, responded sarcastically which was met with a very loud smack in return, “Ow! That’s child abuse! I could ring someone!”


“Good! Do you want me to dial the number?” Ginny retorted before we heard footsteps heading in our direction.


“Yep… we’re back.” James laughed under his breath as Ginny’s iridescent orange hair had appeared from the archway into the kitchen.


“Ah, it is you two!” she hurried forwards engulfing both of us into a tight hug, “I was so worried about where you’d gone the other day!” I could see that worry evident on her face and in her eyes and I felt the guilt multiply.


“Sorry that was my fault…” I muttered a quick apology, “Erm, I had some family stuff that I had to take care of…”


“It’s okay, I know all about Norah honey,” she comforted me and led me into the kitchen. I nearly choked on my own spit when she uttered that sentence because I didn’t recall ever updating her about it all. She sensed my shock and hastily explained, “Oh! James was keeping me updated every so often because I was worried about you.” I turned my head a minor amount to narrow my eyes at James who, in return, smiled at me sheepishly.


“Oh, okay.” I hurried to put a small smile on my face when we walked into the kitchen where everyone else was obviously.


“Hi!” Lily pounced on me immediately with an excited hug that I was not expecting.


“Hey, what’s with the hug?” I questioned with a disbelieving laugh.


“I’ve really missed you!” She admitted, giving me a knowing look that told me she had some news to spill.


“Thanks Lily, I missed you too.” I replied shyly, feeling a light blush on my cheeks.
“Glad to see you back. How are you feeling?” Harry stood up, pulling James into a hug and then giving the same treatment to me but whispering the last question in my ear.


“Yeah, yeah. I’m good.” I answered as honestly as I could because I still needed to pretend to be excited and happy in front of his family about the wedding tomorrow. It was then Al’s turn to stand up and offer us both a hug and I received mine shyly once again, still not used to being treated this way.


“Great! Now that you’re back we can get started on the Hen party!” Lily squealed, clapping her hands happily. James rolled his eyes beside me as he stared down at his younger sister.


“We’ve literally just stepped foot in the doorway, Lil. Can we not relax a bit first?” Ginny ushered her to sit back in her seat because she was getting way too excited over this. Which was making the guilt triple inside of me. Lily had told me time and time again that she was glad that she could have me as a sort-of-sister that she could talk to freely and she was so excited about me being in the family. She was going to be so downhearted when this deal is over, her reaction was going to be the worst for me, I think.


“I agree,” Harry butted in because Ginny was going to agree with Lily, “Let them relax for a few hours, we’ll have dinner and then you’re free to do whatever you want.”


“Fine.” Both Ginny and Lily pouted childishly and the three boys chuckled.


“I’m just gonna go to the library then.” I pointed awkwardly over my shoulder to the exit and when everyone had acknowledged that they’d heard me, I quickly wandered into the large room not realising how much I’d missed it. I reached for Treasure Island which was what I had been reading before everything just blew up. My legs pulled me over to the couch that I had always sat on and I pulled them under each other, balancing the book on my legs as I carried on reading from where I left off. The door clicked open slowly and I hoped to God it wasn’t James. I don’t know why he should have been the one to tell Ginny my personal life. I wanted to be the one to tell her when we got back. Granted I probably wouldn’t end up telling her but I still would have appreciated it if he would have told me he was telling her everything. Even in my head it sounded like a stupid thing to be mad at him about. Unfortunately it was James and he sat beside me silently, watching me read because I could feel his eyes burning a hole in the side of my head.


“Are you mad at me for telling my Mum?” He asked sheepishly, stretching his arm over the back of the couch so that it was rested slightly against me. I sighed loudly and closed the book. I thought about it for a few seconds as I stared at the front cover of the book. Was I really mad at him? Or was I trying to find an excuse not to speak to him in the hopes it would lessen my feelings for him? Was I being stupid? I put my head in my hands and sighed again, not really knowing how to answer that question so I simply said,


“I don’t know.”


“I’m sorry Elle,” he replied almost instantaneously, “I shouldn’t have told her. It should have been you telling her, I’m sorry.” He rambled helplessly and I couldn’t help the small smile that appeared on my face.


“James,” I said over his mumblings and he paused to look at me seriously, “Shut up.” I let my grin widen as his shoulders relaxed a little and he grinned shyly.


“Sorry.” He quickly uttered and I chuckled, picking my book back up and leaning against him as I continued reading. My mind was once again lost in the book, well I say that, it’s more like trying to get lost in the book. I was pretty sure that I had read some paragraphs four or five times to be able to understand what has happening. James had not picked a book for himself but instead had taken to gently trailing his middle finger up and down my upper arm which was extremely distracting in itself and it didn’t help that he could probably feel the goose-bumps it was causing.


“Dinner’s ready!” Al’s head popped round the door with a smile and then disappeared as soon as it had appeared. Both James and I stood up in silence, exited the library and walked into the kitchen, taking our normal places next to each other. It was still a bit tense between us seen as we hadn’t really resolved anything that had happened a few minutes ago but I wasn’t about to let that ruin the façade we’d spent three weeks creating in front of the other Potters.


“So, how’s Norah?” Ginny was the first to make conversation as we dug into the pizza slices that were on our plates.


“She’s awake,” I shrugged, “But we weren’t allowed to see her whilst they do tests on her.” I didn’t make eye contact with her but kept my eyes on the food in front of me as I played with it before stuffing my face so I wouldn’t have to speak.


“I’m sure you’ll be able to visit her when we go back to England,” she comforted me and I smiled somewhat gratefully. I felt James’ arm on the back of my chair and felt his knee brush against mine lightly, “What on Earth is that?!” She suddenly shrieked loudly, causing me to get a fright and almost fall out of my chair.


“What’s what?” I asked, desperately trying to finish chewing my food in worry.


“I better be dreaming, James.” Her eyes narrowed into slits at her eldest son and his eyes flickered to the tattoo that was now on display on the back of my chair.


“It’s a tattoo Mum and no, you’re not dreaming.” He had the audacity to roll his eyes at her, moving his arm onto the table so everyone could get a better look at it.


“Why on Earth have you got a tattoo on your arm?!” I shrunk back in my seat, not wanting to face the wrath of Ginny Potter.


“Because I wanted one.” James shrugged in return making Ginny’s face become redder and redder. Lily and Al were eyeing it with a mixture between admiration and jealously because as far as I knew, Ginny had banned those two from getting tattoos. However I knew that Lily wanted some but I wasn’t sure about Al.


“Do you know what that’s going to look like on your wedding day? When you’re older? What are you children going to think?” I think Ginny half-seemed to remember that I had two tattoos and quickly offered me an ‘I-hope-you’re-not-offended’ look.


“For one my arm is gonna be covered by the tux,” James held up his index finger, followed by his second and third finger, “Two, I think it’ll still look just as cool when I’m older. And three, my children won’t be bothered whether or not I have tattoos.” He shrugged yet again, putting his hand back down and leaving Ginny to stew in silence.


“I think it looks really awesome.” Lily admired it out loud, quickly clamping her mouth shut when her Mum gave her a death stare.


“Ginny, it’s already been done so we can’t really do anything now.” Harry finally spoke up from where he was sat quietly observing the tattoo.


“I know,” she sighed in frustration, “I just wished you would have told me before you did it.”


“If I told you before I did it, you would have found me and talked me out of it.” James said gently, a small smile on his face that seemed to soften Ginny up. The rest of dinner went by without any more incidents but the closer it came to finish, the more worried I was getting because I had no idea what Ginny or Lily had planned for this Hen party. And I couldn’t stop fidgeting out of nervousness.


“Elle don’t worry, you’ll be fine,” James leant down and whispered in my ear, “If anything, I should be the one who’s worried with what my Dad and Al’s got planned for tonight.” He chuckled to himself as we all stood up and cleared our plates away.


“What have they got planned tonight?” I asked out of curiosity because I had no idea what Ginny and Lily had planned for me.


“I have absolutely no clue and, quite frankly, I’m terrified.” He grabbed hold of my hand, giving it a light squeeze as we all walked into the entrance hallway before we were supposed to be splitting up for the night.


“Neither do I.” I admitted, looking at Ginny and Lily who were whispering conspiratorially to each other from next to James.


“Come on you two!” Ginny suddenly snapped her attention away from her daughter and gestured to the two of us, “Hurry up and say your goodbyes so we can get started!” James looked down at me just as I looked up, the look of terror mirrored in his eyes, as we both spoke at the same time,


“Good luck.” Before James was unceremoniously dragged away by Al and Harry without saying a proper goodbye. Ginny was telling me earlier that the boys were staying on the yacht tonight because they had to keep the two of us separated as a tradition.


“You are gonna so love tonight! It’s gonna be so much fun!” She squeaked in happiness, pulling me by the arm up the stairs into James and I’s old bedroom. To my surprise, Molly and Dom were sat on the edge of the bed with smug grins on their faces.


SURPRISE!” They screamed, running forward to embrace me tightly and I froze in shock. Eventually though, when my body caught up with my brain, I wrapped my arms around them twice as hard.


“Oh my god!” I nearly screamed back, “I can’t believe you two are here! I’ve missed you so much, you have no idea!” I let go of them to get a good look at their faces before hugging them both again and then running to Lily and Ginny and giving them hugs too, “Thank you so much! Best surprise ever!”


“We thought you might like to have your friends here during your Hen party.” Ginny spoke when I let go of her. I turned back round to face Molly and Dom, who were now holding Hen party supplies that included a sash, tiara and little shot glasses on beaded necklaces. Not to mention male genitalia-shaped objects too. My face blushed bright pink as they laid everything out on the bed and I hoped to God I wasn’t gonna have to wear them the whole night.


“Don’t worry, these are only for later on.” Dom reassured me when she saw my frightened expression.


“Later on? What are we doing now then?” I questioned, my curiosity getting the better of me because I knew that we’d have to go out at some point because that’s what always happens on a Hen night. Well that’s what we did on Charity’s.


“That’s also a surprise that you’re not allowed to see until we get there.” Molly joined in, placing a black blindfold over my eyes so I was thrust into a world of darkness.


“Oh God, you’ve not hired strippers have you?” I muttered, my face going pinker as all the other girls giggled.


“Don’t worry, you’ll enjoy tonight.” Someone replied but that only made me more nervous.


“You didn’t answer my question,” I retorted making everyone laugh once again, “All you keep saying is ‘don’t worry’ which just makes me worry more.”


“Don’t worry.” Was all that was said followed by a collective snicker from the group. How lovely, they torture me more. I was guided down the stairs and out the villa carefully with one person either side of me with their arms linked with mine.


“We’re gonna apparate now Elle, okay?” Someone warned me, it sounded like Molly, but I didn’t have time to ponder it as I felt my navel being pulled through a tiny tube before my feet landed on smooth carpet.


“Where are we?” I blurted out stupidly because of course they were going to tell me where we are when it was a surprise, Elle! From what I could tell it was quite quiet, not much chatter was happening and even if it was, it was in hushed whispering. In the distance I could hear muffled footsteps almost as if the people were wearing slippers as they were walking around. A calming lullaby was subtly playing in the background but it was still clearly heard. The blindfold was yanked off of my eyes as they tried to adjust to the sudden brightness of the new environment. Eventually the brightness dimmed to a low light and I could look around properly. The interior of the place was very regal yet minimal at the same time with plain white/cream/beige or marble décor and light wood furniture. It was an incredibly relaxing environment with mostly women walking to and from places in long floor-length cream robes and matching slippers.


“Where are we?” I repeated dumbly because it hadn’t registered as of yet.


“We’re in a spa, dumbass!” Molly smacked the back of my head but still whispered. Even saying the word ‘dumbass’ earned her glares from the staff.


“Oh!” I gasped as a young woman wandered up to us, handing the five of us a pair of robes, a bikini and slippers each, “Thank you.” I smiled kindly which was reciprocated.


“You’re all here for the full treatment, yes?” She asked me but I wasn’t all that sure what we were doing here so I looked sheepishly at Ginny.


“Yes, we’re having the full treatment today.” She answered for me before we were all escorted to a large changing room for us to change into our bikinis. We all quickly changed, wrapping the robes tightly over our semi-naked bodies.


“If you would just come this way for your first treatment…” the same woman made us follow her down a long corridor and into a room with five comfy chairs and little bowls of water at the bottom, “If you would just sit down and the nail technicians will be in soon.” She closed the door and let us get settled down in the seats as I started to register what was happening. I was getting spoilt in a spa and I had no idea what a ‘full treatment’ was at all. Not long after a few people came into the room and started the work on our finger and toe nails, massaging the feet first.


“Thank you so much, guys!” I thanked them gratefully, feeling really appreciated and looked after as the nail technicians made my nails look presentable after the false nails kind of ruined my natural ones.


“Honestly it’s not a problem, you’re supposed to relax and be spoilt on your Hen night.” Molly reached over and lightly tapped me on the arm as I smiled bashfully at her.


“And to enjoy your last night of freedom.” Ginny added, making everyone giggle. After the nails were finished, we were shuffled into separate rooms to be given a full body massage. I began to really relax into the massage because it gave me the opportunity to not have to think about tomorrow or have someone telling me how excited I should be about it and all too soon, the massage was over.


“You can relax in the spa pool that is just through that door whilst we get the sauna room set up for you.” Another woman opened the door as we all walked in one-by-one. The room was massive, two times the size of the kitchen in the villa with dark blue tiled flooring and a gigantic swimming pool taking up the majority of the room. The whole environment just screamed serene because of the quietness of it and the fact that the lights were dim as well. Before I had the chance to disrobe and climb into the pool, Lily pulled me to one side with an urgent look on her face like she needed to speak to me.


“What’s wrong Lily?” My brows furrowed together in worry as a million and one problems ran through my mind.


“Well okay, you know your birthday party on Thursday?” she looked at me expectantly and I nodded, trying not to think about what had happened after, “And when we went to that club afterwards and you gave me some advice about Oliver?” I nodded yet again, “Yeah well I did go back to his hotel room and slept with him but when I tried to speak to him about a relationship, he just blew me off and said he had to be somewhere else.” She looked so sad as she finished speaking that I instantly pulled her into a hug, stroking her back and thinking of the best thing to say to her.


“I’m sorry to say this Lily but it sounds like to me he just wants no-strings-attached sex with you,” I admitted honestly, “And if that’s the way he’s going, then he definitely isn’t boyfriend material for you. You deserve someone so much better.” All she did was nod her head in understanding before unravelling the strings around her waist and laying her robe down on the lounger.


“I’m sorry to make sure a big deal out of my problems when you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself. It’s your Hen party after all!” She tried to sound upbeat and happy but I could tell it was strained and I felt so bad for her. Here I was with a perfect fiancé who had done so much for me and really cared about my happiness and had no faults, that I could see anyway. Except it’s not real, my brain reminded me and my heart did that weird thing where you can feel it stop for just a millisecond as I thought that.


“Lily, it’s fine! You can come and talk to me anytime about your problems, even if we’ve fallen out.” I reassured her, copying her movements by taking off my robe and walking towards the massive pool where everyone else was busy swimming or floating. Lily laughed at that and dived in, splashing me lightly as I decided to do a cannon-ball dive instead. It wasn’t long until we were called into the sauna room and I could feel the sweat pouring out of me as the room’s temperature increased. It even got to the point where I couldn’t see Dom, who was sat right next to me, because of the steam. We sat in there, joking around and having slightly deep conversations for about an hour until we’d had enough and exited, pulling our robes back on around us.


“Thank you so much, guys! I really feel spoilt!” I gushed happily, feeling relaxed and just really content with life. Of course some of that was due to the fact Norah was awake and alive.


“And so you should!” Dom said just as happily with her arm lazily around my shoulder as we walked back into the changing room to put our normal clothes back on.


“Now for the best bit!” Molly jumped up and down excitedly and the worry came back from before. I looked between the three other women and almost high-tailed it away from them as their evil smirks widened and Molly came towards me with the blindfold once again. I was silently led out of the spa by two of them before we apparated somewhere else. Once my feet landed on the soft carpet and the familiar beach smell assaulted my nostrils, I almost snorted at how ridiculous they were by thinking I wouldn’t know where we were.


“We’re back at the villa, aren’t we?” I blurted out smugly whilst I was being led up the flight of stairs.


“Yes but that’s not the surprise, it’s coming later.” Ginny replied twice as smug as I had been and I realised that this was a trick to make me think this was all we were doing tonight. When we stopped, someone took the blindfold off and I looked around to see we were all back in the master bedroom where all my Hen night stuff was still set out.


“So… what are we doing?” I rocked back on my heels awkwardly whilst everyone started moving things around the room.


“Getting ready!” Molly shouted, walking out of the bedroom and coming back in a few seconds later with five suit covers over her arm, looking very sneaky.


“For what?” It seemed pointless to be asking so many questions because no-one seemed to answer them anyway.


“Going out tonight,” Lily rolled her eyes from where she was started to put make-up on, “Don’t you listen?”


“I forgot.” I shrugged, sitting on the edge of the bed and looking at all the make-up scattered on the bed. My eyes widened at how much make-up there was in the world or how much women actually needed. I picked up the nearest item which turned out to be some sort of liquid eyeliner that I had never seen before but looked fancy.


“Ah ah!” Ginny slapped my hand away, making the eyeliner fall back onto the bed with a loud clatter, “No touching the make-up,” she whirled back around as she finished her own, looking so young and youthful once again that I had to stop myself from staring too much. She was absolutely beautiful, no wonder Harry had fallen in love with her, “And no doing your own make-up either. That’s what Dominique is here for.” My eyes wandered over to Dom who was busy lining her eyelids sharply with a black kohl pencil before stepping back and admiring herself in the mirror. Then without warning she turned towards me and started making her way over with a pensive look on her face.


“Mmm, should I do bold or classic?” She mumbled to herself, looking down at the make-up then looking back at my face. She did this for a few seconds before she finally decided on something and reached for a bottle of foundation, “Okay just sit back and relax Elle, this won’t take long. Ish.” Dom shrugged, pumping the foundation onto a brush and slathering it all over my face. Thirty minutes, and much face-tugging later, she let me stand up to look in the mirror and when I did, I was blown away. She had lined my lids with jet black liquid liner making a very thick line that nearly covered my whole lid and lined my waterline with the same black pencil she was using earlier. Along with that she had put a bright, neon pink lipstick on my lips that accentuated my cupids bow. She had definitely gone for the bold look, there was no way this was considered classic.


“Oh wow!” I gasped, leaning my face in to get a better look and being amazed at how much my blue eyes appeared brighter because of the black, “It’s really nice, thank you!” I smiled, even more amazed when the pink lipstick made my teeth look whiter.


“Glad you like it.” Dom smiled back eagerly.


“Now, get dressed! The first one is yours.” Molly interrupted and pointed to the very first suit cover on top of the pile. And to be honest I was kinda scared to open it mainly because Molly’s fashion sense was much more… outgoing than mine. I pulled the zip down tentatively and pulled the dress out, pleasantly surprised.


“Oh wow!” I repeated dumbly, holding it up against my body in the mirror to see the whole outfit. It was a beautifully demure bodycon dress that came down to my knees with spaghetti straps and a quite low neckline, “It’s so lovely! Thank you so, so, so much! I love it!” I squealed, racing to hug Molly before racing into the bathroom and pulling it on, being careful not to mess up the make-up. It fit perfectly, adjusting to my body shape magically which just made me more excited.


“It looks amazing on you!” Ginny gushed, walking around me in a circle once I’d entered the bedroom again.


“Thank you! I’m so excited for tonight!” I said happily, making myself comfy on the bed as one-by-one each girl went into the bathroom to get changed into their outfits. Molly was obviously wearing a very short dress, Dom was in a pair of shorts and a boob-tube, Lily’s was a bit more modest but accentuated her boobs more and Ginny was wearing skin tight jeans and a sheer black tank top.


“This is all making me feel young again, I feel twenty-one!” She clapped her hands really giddily which made me giggle. It was cute seeing her all excited about this whole thing yet at the same time it was nerve-wracking because of the fact it wasn’t real. That thought really brought me crashing down from the cloud nine I was currently floating on because it wasn’t real and we’d faked the whole thing to please his family. I stared at all the girls mindlessly thinking about how my family would react when they found out… or if they found out. Char would most definitely be the angriest, Dad probably couldn’t care less and Norah… well, she didn’t know what was going on so it might be a bit confusing for her. And we still had to catch her up to speed with all that had happened in the four years she’d been under. I doubt she’d really care if she’d found out I’d faked a marriage when we tell her that Mum had passed away, that she had been in a coma for four years and that she was actually twenty-two not eighteen.


“What’s the matter?” Molly’s face suddenly appeared in front of my eyes and I jumped a little in surprised, “Getting second thoughts? Because it’s not too late to run now and still have your freedom.” She suggested, earning a slap from both Ginny and Lily whereas Dom just laughed along.


“Molly Weasley! How dare you put such thoughts into Elle’s head?!” Ginny shrieked, her cheeks going an almost pink colour but I didn’t miss the sideways glances she kept throwing at me.


“Don’t worry Ginny, I’m not having second thoughts,” I reassured her even though I really was, “I was just waiting for everyone to get ready.” I shrugged, shifting on the bed to get comfy again.


“I’m almost done!” Lily yelled from the bathroom where she was curling her hair with her wand. It was almost like that was a sign for something because the other three women immediately shared smug smirks and glances at each other. It could only mean one thing.


“You guys hired strippers, didn’t you?”

 

**

 

After what could only be described as the most traumatising experience I’d ever had in my life, we decided to head to another club to get drunk and Molly may have had way too much.


“You know I love you guys right?” she hiccupped, slurring her words all over the place, “I mean, technically, I have to love you three because you are my faamillyy,” she sloppily looked up at Ginny, who had her arm round her and was escorting her back to the villa, and motioned to Lily and Dom who were skipping way in front of us. I didn’t get as drunk as Molly and Dom would have liked because I had the wedding tomorrow and I wasn’t allowed to be hungover for that – strict rules from Ginny – so I’d had a few but only enough to gain a bit of liquid courage, “But I really do love you Elle, you’re my best fwiend ever!”


“I know, you’ve told me about twenty times already tonight.” I giggled at her because she was adorable when she was drunk.


“I just wanted you to know that I really app-apprech-apprr…” She gained the strangest looking expression on her face as she trailed off.


“Appreciate?” Ginny suggested in amusement.


“That’s the one!” Molly comically pointed at Ginny as she said it and then slumped back down, “You as a fwiend, Elle!” She carried on the sentence as if she’d never stopped and ended it with a large smile that bared all of her teeth.


“I appreciate you too Molls,” she nodded her head sloppily, “But you’re very drunk now so you probably won’t remember this in the morning.”


“What do you mean I’m drunk? I feel perfectly fine thank you very much!” she suddenly got really offended, pushing herself off of Ginny and trying to walk in a straight line. As soon as she took the first step she immediately face-planted the floor, “Ow! Where did the floor come from?” She moaned loudly and I laughed hysterically until tears were coming out of my eyes. She really was hilarious. Ginny helped her up again before continuing to help her along until we eventually reached the villa. It was even harder work trying to get Molly up the stairs to her bedroom because she kept forgetting to pick her feet up and ended up falling forwards every so often.


“She is going to be so sore tomorrow,” Ginny chuckled fondly, closing her door gently and walking me up to the old bedroom I was staying in. Lily and Dom had gone ahead and got straight into their beds, “But anyway, get a good night’s sleep and I’ll see you tomorrow, good night sweetheart.” She embraced me just like my Mum used to do and also placed a tender, loving kiss on my forehead before turning around and heading towards her own bedroom.


“Good night, Ginny.” I whispered back and as I was turning around to head to bed, I heard her respond,


“You can call me Mum if you wish.” And I nearly started crying then and there. It had been a long time since I had gotten the chance to call anyone ‘Mum’ and hearing it just brought back all the guilt, the sadness, the shock and everything I hadn’t felt in such a long, long time. I sat myself on the edge of the bed as the anxiety about tomorrow starting increasing in me. What if they find out that we had faked it all? What if I wake up tomorrow and find out I can’t do it? What if James doesn’t love me back like I love him? All these questions kept racing through my mind as I mechanically got under the covers – still in my dress and make-up – and closed my eyes.


“Maybe it won’t be so bad… maybe it’ll all turn out fine,” I whispered to myself in the darkness after fifteen minutes of internally debating it back and forth in my mind, “There could be a possibility he might reciprocate my feelings for him right? And then we could stay married?” I started picking at the skin around my nails as a nervous habit that I thought I’d dropped as a child, “But I wouldn’t know how to even approach speaking to him about it.” I stopped my monologue and started speaking to myself internally again.

Maybe I could find out where he was tonight and tell him how I felt? I was drunk enough and even if he says he doesn’t, we could still go through with the plan and I’d eventually get over my heartbreak. And if he says he does, then everything will work out! We can stay married and I’ll have found someone who loves me and cares for me. And no-one would have to know we’d faked everything. Maybe I should do it? I thought to myself as adrenaline coursed through my body at the idea. I quickly climbed out of bed and pulled on a pair of sandals that did not match my outfit at all but I didn’t care because I was going to tell James how I felt tonight.

As I tip-toed through the villa I wondered whether it was worth letting Ginny know I was going out but then I thought I’d be back soon enough that they wouldn’t even know I was gone so I dismissed it, walked out of the front door and apparated to the pub I suspected he was at. It turned out he wasn’t at that one but the one further down – which was just pure luck, maybe everything was going my way for once – so I headed out the door and started the quick walk down the road for the next one.

 

Just as I’d passed the alley way just a little further down from the front door, I noticed two people come stumbling out of said door holding hands and I froze in my tracks.

 

My heart dropped and I suddenly became queasy.

 

It was James but he was with Courtney. What the hell was she doing at his bachelor party? And why the hell did they invite her? I quickly hid myself in the entrance of the alley way and peered round so I could keep watch and they couldn’t see me. A niggling feeling in the back of my head told me something wasn’t right and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. They talked for a while and it seemed like they were talking like a regular couple, as if they were talking about what they were going to have for dinner tonight and it made me remember that James had still been in love with Courtney when we first started this whole thing. Was he still in love with her? I’d never properly asked him before. I kept watching and waiting until James finally leaned in for a hug but stopped at the last second.

 

And I could feel my quivering heart finally burst and shatter in my chest as their lips meet in a briefly passionate kiss. I didn’t even realise that I had been holding my breath until I breathed out heavily and felt the intensified sting in my ribcage. My back slid down the wall of the alley way after I stopped staring, hiding myself away, and the final epiphany dawned on me.

 

He had never stopped loving Courtney, he had used me as a cheap deploy to make her jealous and make her realised that she’d made a mistake. And the tiny fragments of my heart exploded even more, piercing my insides with little sharp, yet painful, cuts. When I had told myself after I slept with him that there wasn’t really anything he could do to me anymore, I was wrong.

 

This.

 

He could do this to me. I didn’t even know that hearts could break over and over in one go but mine definitely was. It didn’t help that the same image was being repeated over and over in my head and when I closed my eyes all I could see was them kissing again and again. My legs had started to move and I didn’t register that they’d made me run into the bar next door, sat me down on a bar stool and got me blindingly drunk until it was too late. I didn’t even notice or care that Valerie had walked in and sat next to me either.


“How many have you had to drink, Elle?” She looked at me with such genuine concern and pity. Which was something I didn’t need from the likes of her.


“Enough to know I don’t want to have this conversation with you.” I responded with what I thought was mirth but it only came out monotonous.


“Ouch.” She plonked herself down next to me and tapped the bar, ordering us both another two drinks each.


“Whatever.” I downed the drink in one, wanting the burning sensation to last just a while longer. Just so that it would distract from the throbbing and searing pain that was coming from behind my ribcage.


“What are you doing here?” She asked, finally moving her body to face mine as I tried to keep myself up properly. The faces of the people around were becoming more blurry by the second and I was pretty sure I was getting to the point of my addiction again. But I didn’t care, I needed all the drinks I could get in me. I wanted to get completely, utterly, blindingly drunk and make stupid mistakes and forget about everything for a few hours. And wake up tomorrow with a small case of amnesia.


“Having a drink. Like everyone else!” I held a sloppy hand up, toasting myself and downed yet another shot of clear liquid. I wasn’t even sure who was paying for these drinks anymore but they kept appearing in front of me.


“You know what I meant, Elle.” She gave me an exasperated look as if she could be doing something else with her time instead of spending it talking to an absolute failure in life. And it made me angry.


“What do you even care, Valerie? Why do you even care about why I’m here alone,” I spat out venomously, letting all my frustration out finally, “You’ve never liked me. You’re Miss Perfect, always getting everything right. Your life is a breeze,” she stared at me in shock as I ranted, “What? Come here to rub it in my face? Like you always do!”


“You think I’m Miss Perfect?” she whispered so quietly, “Elle, I think you’ve got this all wrong. I’m nowhere near perfect!” She laughed hollowly and downed shot after shot after shot.


“Spare me that crap! You could have any boy you wanted at school, you got perfect grades, you were so pretty and you could get any job you wanted outside of Hogwarts. And me? Look how I ended up.” I felt the waterworks starting but refused to cry in front of Valerie Parker, the woman who single-handedly crushed my entire self-esteem in school. It would be like one last victory for her to see me cry.


“Can I be honest, Elle?” Valerie looked down at her hands on her lap and fidgeted nervously, “I kind of thought you were the perfect one…”


“What?!” I choked loudly, not believing for a second what I was hearing. And yet she looked so vulnerable and child-like, it was hard not to believe her.


“Yes I could have had any boy I wanted,” she rolled her eyes as if it was such a burden to be desirable, “But whenever I looked at you, you never seemed phased by boys. You never seemed obsessed over any of the cute ones, or the dates to the Balls. You were really chilled out and focussed more on your education and I thought you were really cool,” she glanced up at me as I was shocked into silence, “I secretly wanted to be your friend, but all the other girls said you weren’t popular and you were too weird, so I didn’t say anything. When you started getting good grades, I thought I could as well,” again, she glanced up at me before looking down at her lap, “And we could have something to talk about… basically I was trying to be you.”


“All this time… you were trying to be my friend? I thought you were trying to beat me at everything and rub it in my face,” I whispered, turning to the bar and putting my head in my hands, “I was trying to be you! That’s why I dyed my hair blonde, I was trying to fit in and be popular! Like you!” we both settled into awed silence as the weight of the last twelve years fell onto our shoulders, “We spent all this time trying to one-up each other!” I laughed with a tone of incredulity.


“I don’t actually own that resort, you know?” she nudged me with a kind smile, breaking the silence, “I faked the whole thing. I still work at that small café in Scotland and I’ve probably put myself in massive debt by having that celebratory party.”


“Wow! Okay…” I felt brave considering we were telling each the truth for the first time, “I have had two relapses, including this one. Charity doesn’t know about either and I’d like to keep it that way.” I stared at her pointedly and she zipped her mouth shut.


“When you turned up at my apartment by accident in Scotland, I actually did feel sorry for you. I looked after you until you were better the next day but you were too out of it to remember me,” we revealed secret after secret, laughing and continuing to drink as the night wore into early morning, “Travis and I aren’t even together! I faked that too because I heard you were engaged.” I giggled loudly, ignoring the looks the bartender was giving us.


“I’m not even engaged!” I proclaimed loudly with a happy smile on my face, despite the fact I was falling apart inside.


“What?!” Valerie exclaimed dramatically, slurring heavily and suddenly everything was really funny. It took a good few minutes to calm down enough to explain the whole story to her, “What a jerk!” Her mouth was hung open comically as I finished the tale, catching her up to speed.


“Tell me about it!” I rolled my eyes sloppily.


“To jerks! And fakes! And idiots!” She cheered loudly, holding her drink up and spilling half of it down her in the process.


“And stupid-heads with moppy black hair and stupid brown eyes!” I toasted too and poured the drinks down my throat.


“Those too!” Valerie added and I giggled, falling off my bar stool with a heavy thud. The skirt on the dress had ridden up a little exposing a bit more of my thigh than I’d usually be comfortable with but who cared! The last thing I remembered was laughing over the bar about me having the biggest crush on Travis when we were at Hogwarts.

 


Chapter 22: I Don't Think I Can Do This
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: You can probably guess what is going to happen by the chapter title but don’t be too mad at me guys!

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.





 

My head was absolutely pounding when I came to. It felt like someone was drilling a hole into the side of my forehead. And I felt incredibly nauseous as well. Dread filled me at the prospect of opening my eyes because I could already tell it was bright outside from the orange tint on the back of my eyelid. An involuntary groan escaped my lips as I tried to move any part of my body, soon finding out that my muscles were incredibly achy.


“That’s it Elle,” a woman’s voice was softly reverberating around the room I was in and coaxing me to wake up, “Just open your eyes, I have something for you,” I groaned yet again, peeling my left eye open slowly before implanting it into the floor again because of the blinding white light that assaulted me first thing, “I promise if you take this it’ll get better,” the woman told me sternly as I tried to open my eyes once again. It was difficult and it took a while for them to get adjusted to the brightness of the room before I looked up at said woman, “Morning Elle.” Valerie smiled, offering me a vial with a purple/turquoise-y coloured liquid inside.


“Ugh,” I wrinkled my nose up in repulsion as I realised what it was, “Don’t make me drink that.” I pleaded, my voice cracked and dry from the amount of alcohol I must have drunk last night.


“Come on you’ll feel better and it’ll all be out of your system,” she persuaded me, bringing the bottle closer and closer to my mouth. Reluctantly I opened it, letting her poor the foul tasting – and smelling – drink down my throat and shivered once it had settled. Almost immediately I could feel the vomit rising in my stomach and Valerie seemed to understand what I needed and half-dragged me to the toilet bowl where I promptly threw up everything in my stomach, “Try and keep it down Elle otherwise it won’t work.”


“I’m trying,” I heaved even more and started coughing up phlegm when my stomach had nothing more to give. It reminded me of the times in my past when I’d sometimes wake up in a pool of my own sick or surrounded by half-finished shots with cigarette butts in them, “I can’t stop being sick.” I managed to croak out as even more bile rose up, slopping heavily into the toilet bowl below me. I vaguely registered that Valerie was holding my hair back and flushing the toilet every so often for me and it made me wonder why she hadn’t tried to be my friend beforehand.


“I can see that,” she pointed out dryly, her voice muffled almost as if she had something over her mouth and nose, “Here, drink some water.” She handed me a glass and I sipped on it lightly until the space between vomiting-episodes became longer.


“What time is it?” I slowly moved my head up to meet her eyes but had to squint because of how bright the bathroom light was.


“Eleven.” She answered after walking back into the bedroom to check the wall clock.
“Where even am I?” It slowly dawned on me that I wasn’t in my villa room and that I was in some random person’s room with Valerie. What the hell had happened last night?


“In my hotel room at my resort,” she gave me a knowing glance and we both chuckled at the fact it wasn’t really her resort because she’d faked the whole thing, “You really don’t remember last night then?” She looked down at me as if she was almost disappointed that I hadn’t remembered something.


“I remember speaking to you at the bar but after talking about Travis… not really no…” I scratched my head and then moved my fingers down to rub my temples whilst I continuously sipped on the fresh, cool water.


“That’s a shame, you were really fun after that.” She gained an amused smirk on her face as I looked up at her, feeling all the colour drain from my face.


“Oh God, what did I do?” I was almost too scared to even ask that question.


“You mean you don’t remember doing karaoke? Or betting some guy you could beat him at pool? And losing miserably so offered them a lap-dance in return for the money?” She listed off her fingers as I buried my head in my hands. Little snippets suddenly came rushing back as she said each one. I could see a dim audience clapping along happily to whatever I was singing and then I could see a guy with short blond hair bragging about his winnings before I started making deals with him. Then Valerie dragged me away and back here before I could do anything really damaging.


“Oh my God…” I whimpered in loathing at myself. Not only for getting so badly drunk again but for getting so drunk I didn’t remember anything the next day. Nothing good had ever come out of that before. Ever. Not to mention I had tried to exchange a sexual dance for money and that’s what scared me the most, maybe I’d never really changed. Maybe I was just destined to end up like some crack-whore who ends up dead in some ditch and gets about five minutes of screen-time on the news before millions of people judged my life without even getting the chance to know it. That was the way my life was really supposed to go, wasn’t it?


“Don’t worry, I pulled you away in time. Brought you back here where you promptly passed out on the floor,” Valerie announced happily not aware of any of the inner turmoil that was currently going on in my head, “Not since Scotland have I ever seen you that drunk,” she added not making me feel any better, “By the way your phone has been ringing off the hook all morning. Apparently you’re very popular.” She stood up, walked back into the bedroom and once I was stable enough to stand, I followed her. My phone was laid on the bedside table with the screen facing downwards. Horror filled me as I looked at it finally to see nearly thirty missed calls and multiple text messages. All from either Ginny, Lily, Molly, Dom or James.

James.

And with that thought my whole world came crashing down again and I abruptly remembered why I got completely wasted last night. The image of Courtney and James kissing replayed on the back of my eyelids every time I closed my eyes but I just couldn’t get rid of it. No matter how hard I tried, it just wouldn’t go away. I could feel my temporarily numb heart splinter once again bringing a whole new level to the meaning pain. Slowly I unlocked my phone, got rid of the missed calls icon and tapped on the messages.

 

Ginny: Where the hell are you Elle?! I woke up this morning to see your bed empty with no note or text message to say where you’ve gone?!
Sent over an hour ago

 

Ginny: Why aren’t you answering your phone?
Sent over an hour ago

 

Lily: We’re getting really worried now Elle… Mum’s tried getting hold of you but can’t… you’re meant to be getting ready right about now xxx
Sent over an hour ago

 

Lily: Answer your bloody phone woman!
Sent 40 minutes ago

 

Molly: I was only joking about the second thoughts thing last night Elle xxx
Sent over 40 minutes ago

 

Dom: Everyone’s going mental, answer your phone!
Sent 30 minutes ago

 

Ginny: We don’t know where you are! We don’t know where you went last night! I’m starting to get extremely worried now, please answer your phone so we know nothing bad has happened to you?
Sent 15 minutes ago

 

Ginny: I’m going to have to tell James… please don’t tell me you actually are having second thoughts?
Sent 5 minutes ago

 

The last text message from Ginny absolutely broke my already ruined heart. I could feel the guilt eating me up inside at what I had done last night. It was selfish and I can’t believe I didn’t tell Ginny where I was going or what I was doing. Why didn’t I leave her a message?! Why am I such a fuck-up? I didn’t even realise that I had started sobbing until Valerie had sat next to me on the bed and pulled me into an awkward side hug.


“What are you gonna do?” She asked bravely when I’d settled down after a while of crying hysterically.


“I – don’t – know!” I paused to allow myself time to breath in between words.


“You can’t get married to someone like that Elle… you’ll be even more miserable further down the line.” She advised me seriously and she was the first one to be completely honest with me. And maybe that’s what I needed to hear. The truth. Instead of trying to convince myself that everything was fine and going to right itself eventually.


“I know, but I’d be letting James down, and Ginny,” I wiped away the tears roughly, “And Lily… and basically the whole Potter and Weasley family. They wanted him to move on from Courtney…” the name cut through me harshly like a knife as I spoke it, “It would crush everyone if they found out that it was all fake to make it look like he’d moved on when he really hadn’t.” I sulked, shrinking into myself before flopping down on the bed in a huff. I just didn’t know what to do anymore. I thought everything was black and white to begin with but now I know that there’s more shades of grey than solid colours.


“Screw letting them down! He used you to get back with his ex, Elle. No-one deserves to be treated like that!” Valerie said passionately and I stared at her in shock for a few seconds before my eyes returned to the white ceiling. What she was saying was true but I couldn’t help but feel twice the guilt at having disappointed James. It was probably because I was in love with him and would do anything despite it hurting me. Why did I have to fall in love with him? Why did he have to be a good actor?


“I know but…” I trailed off not making eye contact with her.


“You’re gonna do it anyway,” I could hear the withdrawn sigh in her voice, “Aren’t you?” Just then my phone buzzed, showing me that I had a text from James.

 

James: Mum’s told me everything. What’s happened? Where are you?
Sent a few seconds ago

 

I could feel the nervousness radiating off that text and knew what my decision would be.


“I have to Valerie, I can’t let James’ family be saddened in him again,” I sighed loudly, heaving myself off the bed and standing up difficultly. As I put my phone down the screen lit up, “Ginny’s calling me…” I whispered, putting the phone down gently on the bed and staring at it with something akin to absolute fear.


“Well answer it then.” Valerie said simply.


“Yeah and what do I say? ‘Hi Ginny, sorry I went out last night to tell your son – who I’m supposed to be marrying tomorrow – that I was madly in love with him and I didn’t want to pretend anymore but saw him kissing his ex and got so obliterated that I ended up in my ex-rivals hotel room’? Yeah that’ll go down a treat!” I retorted sarcastically. I watched in alarm as she bent down, picked it up and then put the phone to her ear.


“Hello?” I didn’t even realised I was holding my breath until she spoke again, “Uh, it’s Valerie,” she paused as she listened to what Ginny was saying, “Sorry about the worry, I asked her if she could meet me. We sorted everything out and I told her it was too late to go back to the villa by herself so she stayed here,” she swiftly stopped and nodded her head before remembering that Ginny wasn’t in the room, “Sorry again! I must have forgotten to set an alarm or slept through it but she’s just in the bathroom getting ready now,” I was frozen on the spot, waiting for the loud shouting on the other side but it never came, “Sure I’ll bring her round as soon as she’s finished. Okay, bye,” she pressed the little red button to end the call and chucked the phone back at me, “If you’re really going to go through with this… you need to compose yourself within ten minutes before I take you back.” And with that I sprinted into the bathroom, brushed my teeth and rinsed my eyes with cold water to get rid of a little redness around them. When I felt like I was sufficient-looking I spent another few minutes just psyching myself up to face everyone. Especially James.


“Okay… I think I’m ready?” I said unsurely, reminding myself internally to take deep breaths.


“You can’t ‘think’ you’re ready! You either are or you’re not!” She rolled her eyes and threw her hands up in frustration.


“Fine,” I rolled my eyes in response, “I’m definitely ready.” She gestured for me to exit the room, down the corridor and into the elevator. It took a whole lot of deep breathing and distractions to stop myself from having a massive panic attack. It didn’t help that I could feel the anxiety bubble getting larger the more I thought about how I should react when I saw them or what I should say or what I would do if James was there.


“You’re fidgeting.” Valerie pointed out oh so helpfully.


“Sorry.” I put my hands behind my back and tried not to move so much. It didn’t even faze me that people were staring at me because of the fact I was wearing last night’s dress in a posh resort because I had so many other things on my mind.


“Are you sure you’re ready to do this Elle?” She looked at me one last time when we reached the apparition spot. Instead of answering I nodded my head violently just because I could feel vomit rising in my throat again so I didn’t want to speak in case it came spewing out. I locked my arm onto hers and side-along apparated with her. Except this time it was worse and I only just managed to keep the sick down as we landed before I ran to the nearest bush and everything came up straight away.


“Oh crap…” I think I heard Valerie murmur to herself. Speedily I could feel my hair being moved out the way and tapped her arm as a gesture of thanks, “Sorry I should have warned you about that. You okay?”


“Yeah,” I croaked out, spitting a little bit of phlegm once I knew I had finished and wiped my mouth on a random tissue that had been handed to me out the corner of my eye, “Yeah I’m okay now,” I stood back up straight and looked into her eye sheepishly, “You don’t happen to have any chewing gum do you?”


“Nope sorry.” She shrugged, vanishing the dirty tissue away. We both walked up to the front door of the villa together in silence, Valerie because she had no reason to talk and me because I didn’t want to talk. I wanted today to be over with so I could climb under the covers and forget about the world for a while, maybe a month or two. She knocked on the door twice and I held my breath sharply, a million different things running through my head as I heard fast footsteps on the other side of the door. It swung open to reveal both Ginny and Lily looking incredibly relieved.


“Oh thank God!” she exclaimed happily, the worry lines around her eyes and on her forehead disappearing as she scoured every inch of my body to make sure I really was there, “Thank God you’re alright!” She pulled me into a tight, bone-crushing hug as Lily had a weird expression on her face. Almost like she was caught between relief and glaring at me.


“Hi.” Was all I managed to say and it came out so quietly that I’m pretty sure no-one heard it.


“Thank you Valerie, thank you!” Ginny stepped around me once she’d let me go and shook said woman’s hand violently. Lily locked her arm through mine which kept me from running away.


“It’s okay,” she mumbled, her face going a bit pink, “I’m sorry for making you worry so much. I didn’t expect we’d be out for as long as we were.” She lied for me, genuinely looking sincere and both girls believed it.


“Well at least she’s here now.” Ginny sighed happily and she seemed to regain her excited and bubbly nature all at once. She turned to me with a wide smile, which I tried to return believe me, but I couldn’t move any muscle in my entire body.


“See you soon, okay Elle?” Valerie gave me a knowing look that nearly made me cry again and I nodded my head, swallowing past the lump in my throat difficultly.


“See you.” I replied monotonously, staring after her even after she’d apparated and Ginny had closed the door.


“It’s okay everyone! She’s here!” Ginny suddenly announced loudly into the villa which made me flinch because my head was still throbbing from earlier. However all of that was pushed to the back of my mine when I heard footsteps coming from the kitchen followed by the very face I was dreading seeing the most. James practically sprinted into the foyer, the worry had dispersed as soon as his eyes latched onto my face and was replaced by a huge grin.

My heart was beating loudly in my chest, threatening to be heard by everyone in the vicinity and give everything away. He sighed, coming forward to embrace me and I froze in place, letting him put his arms around me but didn’t return it. Once he pulled back I could immediately see his lips lowered down to mine in slow motion but all I could think about was the fact that those lips had been all over Courtney’s last night. So at the last minute I turned my head so that they connected with my cheek instead. He pulled back with a mix between confusion and hurt written bluntly on his face before he corrected himself. I couldn’t even look at him anymore.


“Sorry I’ve just thrown up… I don’t think you’d want to kiss me…” I tried to play it off like a joke – accompanied by a dry laugh – but even I knew my voice was completely devoid of any emotions.


“I was so worried!” James grabbed hold of my hands giving it a gentle squeeze as I tried, and failed, to stay calm and neutral. The anger in me bubbled up at his last statement. Was he heck worried?! He was too busy out snogging his ex-girlfriend to be worried about me!


“Well I’m here now,” I retorted whilst endeavouring to keep the mirth out of my voice, “And anyway, it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding.” I added as hint that he should leave now.


“Exactly James! You’ve seen her now so you need to go and start getting ready too!” Ginny ushered him towards the door as Lily pulled me up the stairs. I looked over my shoulder one last time at him before I’d see him at the altar and the last expression I saw was plain worry.


“Don’t worry about being late or whatever,” Lily whispered in my ear whilst dragging me towards the master bedroom. I was trying to focus in on what she was saying but I couldn’t make any sense of the words coming out of her mouth because James’ face a few seconds ago was the only thing I could see. He knew. He knew that I was definitely having second thoughts and he knew that I needed reassurance even more now, “We’re still on time with getting ready. It’s just Mum wanted to do some special preparation stuff this morning but it wasn’t necessary.” She just kept rambling and rambling. When she pushed the door open, I nearly stumbled back in shock as the familiar face of Elena was staring back at me with a wide smile. The dress was hung up on the back of the door protected by a dress suit, the matching shoes were laid underneath it and I could see a medium-sized clear toiletry bag with all the hair and make-up items.


“Hola Elle,” she stood up instantly, her hands held out in front of her as she grasped my face, “You look a little worse for wear.”


“I feel like that too…” I laughed humourlessly, “You don’t happen to have any hangover potion on you, do you?” I leaned in and whispered to her whilst she hugged me.


“No señora,” she stepped back aghast at my blunt question and quickly checked through her bag again, “Sorry.”


“I guess I’m walking down the aisle hungover then.” I smiled widely despite my inner pain and sat down on the make-up chair she had set up.


“That’s a shame, will Lily not have any?” She questioned mindlessly, combing her fingers through my hair and then brushing through it properly with a paddle brush.


“I don’t know whether she’s brought any on holiday with her… and I’m too scared to ask if I’m honest,” I admitted quietly knowing she was in the room but admiring the dress, “I wasn’t supposed to get this drunk last night.”


“Ah.” She nodded her head in understanding, walked over to Lily and whispered something in her ear. Lily nodded slightly and left the room hastily.


“What did you say to her?” I asked curiously, watching as Elena meticulously curled each section of my hair one-by-one.


“I told her that I wasn’t feeling too good today after drinking a lot last night and wondered if she had any potion that could help.” She answered and I smiled genuinely this time.


“Thank you.” My face burned bright pink as I went back to silently observing her doing my hair. Lily came back in a few moments later with the same liquid Valerie had tried to make me drink this morning, passed it to Elena and was dismissed yet again by said woman.


“There you go, drink up.” She handed me the bottle immediately and I gulped a bit down in my haste to get rid of this sick feeling and my pounding headache. My head cleared after a few minutes but the sick feeling never went away, which just made me feel worse overall. The feeling just kept getting bigger and bigger but I refused to get up and ruin Elena’s work so I held it down. Which did not help either because the more I struggled to think about something else, the more I thought about James and Courtney or James’ face or Ginny’s worried face before she saw me. My hands started feeling clammy and my breathing started getting heavier and heavier at the thought of me wearing that dress and walked down the aisle knowing James was going to be stood at the other end.


“Are you alright dear?” Elena’s voice pierced my hazy thoughts and I looked up at her, her face becoming more and more blurry as I struggled to focus.


“Mmhmm.” I muttered, feeling like my head suddenly weighed a ton as I nodded.


“I’ll let you have a little break, okay? I’ll be back in half an hour.” She told me gently, patting my shoulder in a motherly way before leaving me on my own in the gigantic room. Which was slowly shrinking second by second.

 

Smaller and smaller it became until I knew I had to get up and move around or move into another room to show myself that there was enough space and that it wasn’t closing in on me. I tried to remember what the doctor had told me about dealing with anxiety attacks but I was too far gone for it to do anything remotely helpful. The bathroom was where I ended up, feeling the cold tile floor against my feet was making me feel slightly better but I still had to grip the edge of the sink and right myself. The juxtaposition between the girl I was seeing in the mirror and the girl I was was shocking. The girl in the mirror was composed, her hair looked immaculate and she was stood firmly with a tight yet comfortable grip on the counter.

 

But me? I could tell I was a mess already, it was like I could feel the cracks and the flaws on my skin without physically seeing them there. The outside nowhere near reflected the inside.


“Come on, Elle, you can do this!” I told myself harshly, taking in several deep breaths and counting to ten and backwards repeatedly, “Come on, it’s just for a year. Come on!” I shook my shoulders and psyched myself up yet again but as I took my hands away from the counter to copy the confident stance of the girl in the mirror, I realised something.

 

I couldn’t.

 

I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t strong enough to, I was a coward and would much prefer to burrow and hide away somewhere rather than have to deal with my problems. And although I knew I had to face them eventually, I also knew that I would put them off and I would keep putting them off until it became absolutely necessary to do something about it. Or it all exploded in my face. My hand messily scribbled down a message before I stumbled hazily into the wardrobe, realising none of the clothes left in there were mine anyway. Lily had bought them all. I wandered cluelessly into the bedroom, gathered everything that was actually mine into a small carrier bag and got my phone out. I didn’t know who else to call so I settled on the only person I really desperately needed at this moment in time. The dial tone rang four times before he answered,


“Hello?”


“Dad…?” I answered helplessly, my voice catching in my throat.


“What’s wrong Elle?” his voice was laced with worry which took me by surprise for a few seconds before I promptly burst into hysterical tears, “Elle, I can’t understand anything you’re saying. Please just stop crying and try to explain to me again?” He asked calmly after I’d failed to tell him everything because of my crying.


“I – want – to – come – home!” I sobbed breathlessly. The line went silent for what felt like hours until he finally whispered something I was so relieved to hear,


“Come home then.” I nodded my head, hung up the phone and decided which was the best way to get out of the villa without any of them seeing me leave. The note I had messily scribbled out was laid on the bed in my haste to put it somewhere someone will see it but it looked so tiny compared to everything else. I even contemplated re-writing it to explain everything but I checked the clock to see Elena would be coming back in under five minutes.

 

As I left the bedroom, the sounds of the waves assaulted my ears and a little light at the end of the tunnel began to shine. My feet carried me as fast as they could towards the balcony, down the stairs and onto the beach area. Making sure I had all my belongings and that I wasn’t going to be visible to the villa or passing muggles, I quickly apparated away, feeling a weight being lifted off my shoulders. The travel from Spain to England seemed like it had taken an eternity to do but in reality it was a mere few seconds before I found myself in front of the familiar house. Almost instantly an even larger weight had been dumped onto me as I realised what I had done. I pushed the tears down, sprinted down the pathway and hammered on the door, biting my lip to keep the tears at bay.

 

The door swung open revealing my Dad holding a newspaper in one hand. He didn’t even get the chance to ask what was wrong or why I was there before I launched myself at him, burying my face into his shoulder and sobbing loudly. I didn’t even remember entering the house or him carrying me into the living room before I passed out on the living room couch from exhaustion.

 


Chapter 23: Let's Try Life Again, Shall We?
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Firstly, I would like to apologise about how long it has taken me to write this chapter and how sorry I am if it disappoints you but I feel like Elle needs to come to terms with her addiction/all the problems she has before anything serious happens yet. So no James/Potter's this episode I'm afraid but that should be coming up soon, I promise! I'm in the middle of writing the next chapter so I'm hoping my writing muse has come back to stay for now so that I finally get back into writing! :D

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.




 

For two days I stayed in my old house, not moving from the spot I woke up in. My phone was in my old bedroom, turned off, as I was too scared to see any of the messages that were sure to be there. I also avoided any contact with the outside world which meant no computer, no laptop, no phones and no post. Plus if any post was for me it would have been sent to Charity’s house anyway. Waking up at my Dad’s was surreal in itself, I hadn’t expected to see a full plate of breakfast when I woke up on the couch nor did I expect a blanket to be wrapped around me either.



He’d placed a cup of tea down before retreating into his bedroom and practically leaving me alone all day. We’d hardly spoken since that phone call and most of the time it was just me asking what time it was. Hours went by quite quickly when I watched TV but I avoided the news just in case anything came up even though I knew it wouldn’t appear on the muggle news. But now I was just sat calmly on the couch in my pyjamas, aimlessly flicking through the TV channels and struggling to find something good to watch that wasn’t in any way romantically-inclined. Eventually I settled on watching Jeremy Kyle because it made me feel better about my life for thirty minutes each episode. Dad was in his bedroom/study doing God knows what. I half-expected, half-wanted him to at least be comfortable sitting in the same room as me but I knew I was pushing my luck. It was a miracle he’d even let me stay here for so long.



Suddenly there was a frantic knocking on the front door and I instinctively muted the TV, manoeuvring myself into the couch as though it would make me invisible. Panic coursed through me at who it could possibly be. Dad walked out of his room confidently, giving me an inquisitive glance as he passed me on the couch before walking towards the front door, opening it a tiny amount to make sure I could not be seen. I held my breath as he unlocked it and pulled it open, the door creaking loudly.


“Hello?” he answered simply and to my relief, a woman’s voice replied but it was muffled so I couldn’t hear exactly what she was saying, “No, she’s not here,” my heart was beating feverishly in my chest as I pictured Ginny, Lily and Charity all stood there angrily demanding to see me and pummel me to death, “Okay.” He nodded, shutting the door and turning around to head back into his bedroom.


“Who was it?” I whispered breathlessly, coming out of my blanket fort.


“Your sister,” he replied sharply, putting on his jacket and his work boots, “Wants to know where you are.”


“What are you doing now? Why are you getting dressed?” He didn’t even turn to look at me whilst he walked towards the front door, opened it again and left, locking it shut behind him. My voice shrank into myself as I could imagine his angry face at how much of a burden I was on him but I couldn’t find any courage or motivation to move myself off of this couch.



After a good half an hour of binge-watching ridiculous programmes, I decided to actually get up and move around a little to get rid of the pins and needles in my legs. That was a big, big mistake because the moment I stood up I had a good view of the front garden from where I was stood. And I was not expecting the multitude of reporters stood outside, cameras and notepads in hand with the Quick Notes Quill hovering to the side, poised to record any glimpse they had of me. In that moment I was glad that Mum had put a protective charm around the house so that no-one would be allowed to apparate directly into the property because if she hadn’t I’m pretty sure all hell would have broken loose by now. Instead of walking around like I had originally planned to, I laid back down on the couch and curled myself up into the blankets and tried to fall asleep hoping it would all be a horrible nightmare.

 

**

 

The rattling of my front door was what awoke me. It sounded like someone was trying to get in and I began to panic yet again. My head peeked over the top of the couch at the front door before I rolled off it onto the floor and started to crawl towards the kitchen table where I could hide. I was half-way there when the person had succeeded in unlocking the door and I heard it creak open. Adrenaline surged through my body as I practically army crawled under the table, hidden by the table cloth. I tried to keep my breathing quiet and undetectable but every time I took in a huge gasp of air, I struggled to breath it all back out quietly. Resulting in a whistle sound occasionally.



The door creaked closed and was locked behind the mysterious person. Whoever’s footsteps it was walked towards the living room area, picked up the crisps I had been eating before putting them down. My breathing got so bad as the footsteps came closer that I had to slap my hand over my mouth and try and breathe through my nose because it was sure to give me away.


“Elle! I know you’re in here!” a woman’s voice rang out throughout the house, a very familiar woman’s voice. But I didn’t want to believe it was true, “There is no way in hell that this pink fluffy blanket belongs to your Dad!” I had to inwardly chuckle a little at that because it confirmed that it was who I was thinking of.


“Valerie?” I mumbled quietly, taking my hand away from my mouth and shuffling my bum along the tile floor to the edge of the table. Slowly and carefully I lifted up the table cloth and peeked out. Her head was the last to be revealed and when she saw me cowering in the foetal position under the table, she burst out laughing hysterically.


“What on Earth are you doing down there?” She managed to gasp out through her laughter.


“You can’t blame me! I thought someone was breaking in!” I protested, wiggling myself out and standing up properly when I was free. She had calmed down her laughter now and was obviously giving me an once-over.


“No offence but you look like shit.” She admitted brashly, heavily sitting herself down on the couch next to where I had been sitting before.


“Thanks,” I responded with less bite than usual. The pink blanket was wrapped around me again as I sat down beside her, bringing the big bag of crisps onto my lap, “What are you doing here anyway?”


“I saw your Dad leave a while ago and thought you’d want some company.” She shrugged, pulling two supermarket bags filled with random junk food and other tid-bits from where they had been hidden on the other side of the couch.


“What’s all this for?” My eyes locked onto the tubs of ice cream greedily. I needed some ice cream right now.


“I dunno,” she shrugged again before looking in disdain at the Jeremy Kyle episode I was watching, “Ugh, why are you watching this? It makes me so annoyed.” She suddenly grabbed the remote off of me and switched it to another channel.


“Because it makes me feel good for thirty minutes.” I replied monotonously. The atmosphere in the room was weird, like we were purposefully skirting around the big elephant in the room. She didn’t say anything after that but started to unload all the food onto the coffee table along with a mountain of DVDs too.


“Well…?” Valerie looked at me dumbly as we both sat on the couch in silence, watching the blank TV screen.


“Well, what?” I replied, equally as clueless as to what she was talking about. Unless she had said something and I missed it or didn’t hear it.


“Are you gonna choose a movie or are we just gonna sit here in silence, watching an empty screen?” She blurted out sarcastically and I realised what she meant.


“Oh! Oh right… okay,” I quickly sat forward, my cheeks turning pink out of embarrassment. Most of the films she had chosen were romance films or romantic comedies and I had a feeling she’d done that on purpose, “This one!” I picked an action/superhero one as the least likely to have romance in and Valerie rolled her eyes, obviously knowing I’d probably pick that one. I stood up from the sofa and put the disk into the DVD player, only going back to my seat when I had hold of the remote and the main menu had appeared on the screen. As I sat back down next to Valerie, she grabbed my pink fuzzy blanket and placed it over the both of us before chucking every piece of food she had brought between us and on our laps.


“Do you have a spoon?” Valerie turned to me as I was about to press play on the remote.


“Yeah, I’ll get you one.” I nodded and headed towards the kitchen area. It had been a while since I’d been in this house so it took a good few minutes to remember where the utensils drawer was.


“Or a ladle?” Valerie piped up again, making me giggle as she held up an ice cream tub bigger than her head. When I sat down, I noticed she’d placed another tub next to me so I guessed that it was mine. The film started and I tried my hardest to concentrate on the plot and not think about my family or the Potter’s. But it was a lot harder than I thought because the harder I tried not to think about them, the more they popped into my head. It also didn’t help that I could see Valerie was itching to ask me everything that had happened recently, judging by how much she was fidgeting.


“Valerie, just ask me.” I sighed heavily, spooning a massive wad of ice cream into my mouth. It was probably better just to get it over with to be honest.


“Where’s your Dad gone?” She blurted as soon as I’d finished my sentence and I scoffed because that was not the question that I expected her to ask.


“Out with my sister.”


“To do what?” I rolled my eyes in annoyance. I thought given the fact she’d brought round DVDs, we were just going to watch them in silence. Not talk about my life problems.


“Look for me.” I replied monotonously, watching as the heroes in the film battled some of the bad guys.


“Holy shit! So nobody knows where you are except your Dad?” She exclaimed dramatically, turning to face me and completely ignoring the film.


“And you as well.” I pointed out but she waved it off non-committedly.


“My God, Elle, they could think you’re disappeared!” she almost yelled at me, making me lower my head out of shame and guilt, “Or worse, that you’ve offed yourself! And given your past history… it’s not unlikely!” My head dropped even lower as it burned bright red because everything she was saying was true. I hadn’t let anybody know where I was or where I was going except for my Dad and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t at least let Charity know where I was. She was probably going out of her mind wondering where the hell I had disappeared to. And then I started thinking about Ginny and Lily and how worried they would be because I know how much Ginny was scared that I’d bail. And I did.


“I-I didn’t think about that,” I put my head in my hands as I leaned forward on the couch, “Oh my God…” I whispered. Of course I didn’t think of that! Of course I didn’t because I was so selfish and wanted to get myself out of that situation that my brain completely pushed aside my rational mind-set of letting them know everything that was going on.


“You need to at least let your sister know that you’re alright,” she advised, her eyes scanning the table in front of us before looking around the area I was sat, “Where’s your phone?”


“It’s in my old bedroom but it’s switched off.” I replied and watched as she put her head in her hands out of frustration.


“Oh my God, Elle, that’s worse!” She moaned as she stood up and paced the front room.


“I didn’t want to see all those texts and calls from them, okay?!” I yelled back, crossing my arms and sinking down into the sofa.


“Which one is your room?” She suddenly asked, walking towards some closed doors.


“Second one on your right.” I replied, not wanting to look at her anymore and so I settled on finally watching the movie we were supposed to be watching. I was totally engrossed in the film when Valerie chucked herself in the empty space beside me, making me jump a little. A small part of me didn’t want to see the look on her face as the phone buzzed constantly for the next few minutes after she turned it on.


“Okay, so… you have approximately forty-three texts from your sister along with seventeen missed calls, twenty-five texts from Lily, a couple of missed calls and texts from Darryl and Ginny,” she started listing off, “And thirty-odd missed calls from Molly,” I felt the hope in my stomach drop like a sack of bricks to the floor and I almost burst out crying again. He hadn’t even tried calling me to see if I was okay. Valerie seemed to sense what, or should I say who, I was thinking about and changed the topic back onto my sister, “It might be better if you speak to her face-to-face rather than just text her. She’ll probably be a little less mad.” Instead of agreeing with her or properly listening to her, I couldn’t stop thinking about him and that night because I hadn’t realised I had done it again. I’d had yet another relapse and Valerie had been there to see it once again.



Tears sprung to my eyes as the scene kept playing over in my mind and I blinked rapidly, wanting to stop them from falling but failing miserably as the first tear rolled down my cheek and onto the blanket on my lap. The action movie was being ignored as the plot carried on and Valerie stayed quiet as I sobbed and sniffled beside her, patting my shoulder occasionally in an effort to comfort me. I don’t know how much time had passed until I had seemingly calmed down but the end credits were rolling on the screen and Valerie had left my phone on the table but face down so I didn’t have to see if anyone was calling or texting me.


“Want to watch another film?” She asked, picking all the other DVDs she had brought for this afternoon.


“You choose.” I croaked out whilst standing up to get myself a drink and just to walk around a bit. My legs were starting to feel really numb and achy and I needed to get around for a bit to distract me but also to make it seem like I was doing something. She noisily moved the films around, chopping and changing between two or three of them before settling on a romantic comedy.



Just as I was about to sit back down and get ready for the fresh hell I was about to endure/put myself through, the front door clicked open and my Dad walked back in. I watched hesitantly as he hung his coat and scarf back up and then shut the door. A wave of relief ran through me because he was coming back in by himself and the hoards weren’t going to follow him. He walked into the living room area before stopping short, his eyes trained on Valerie sat on the couch next to the empty space.


“Er… hello?” an eyebrow rose in question at the girl after he gave me a look of confusion, “What is she doing here?”


“Hello, Mr Underwood,” she shot up from her seat and extended a hand to him, “I just came by to see how Elle was doing.” He tentatively reached out his hand and shook it, his eyes swapping between the two of us. We all stood around in tense silence, looking anywhere but at each other until Valerie eventually spoke up, “I guess I’ll leave you now.” She patted my shoulder awkwardly and started collecting up her DVDs and her lot of food, leaving the ice cream tub she’d bought for me. Both my Dad and I watched her moving around quietly until she started heading towards the front door and he stepped forward to close it behind her. Once the door was closed, he rounded on me,


“So you can tell your friend where you are but you can’t tell your own sister?” he questioned. I could tell that even though his voice was eerily quiet, he was trying his best not to yell at me, “She has been going out of her mind looking for you and the only reason I didn’t tell her where you were was because I assumed you were going to tell her yourself.” His voice slowly rose as the sentence carried on and my head automatically lowered in shame again.


“I… uh, I well…” I stuttered, trying to come up with an excuse because the truth was I didn’t want to see her and tell her why I ran away that day.


“I don’t want to hear any excuses. You are going to go round to Charity’s house now and you are going to tell her where you are staying and that you are fine. No texts, no phone calls… face-to-face,” he pointed at me, a hint of anger on his face and I couldn’t help but nod, “And you are going to tell her everything, okay?”


“But you don’t even know everything Dad!” I blurted out, tears springing in my eyes at having to explain what had really happened over the last couple of weeks.


“What? What the hell do you mean by that?” He seemed to be getting frustrated and I didn’t want to say something that would make him blow up at me.


“I mean it was all fake!” I slumped down on the couch and ran my hands through my hair, “Everything was fake. The relationship, the engagement, the wedding. It was all fake,” out of the corner of my eye I saw him sit down in the armchair next to the sofa, “None of it was real!”


“Why did you do it?” Was the question he asked and I looked up at him to see he was staring at me in a mix of confusion and frustration.


“He was desperate to prove to his family he’d moved on,” I gulped and let out a heavy sigh. I hoped my Dad knew who I meant when I said ‘he’ because I didn’t like the thought of saying his name out loud, “And he offered me money to pretend to be his fiancée. It was a lot of money and I thought if I took the money, I could finally go on my Healer course,” I explained everything from the first time he proposed to meeting his family to the holiday and anything else I could remember. He stayed silent and listening to everything I had to say, nodding occasionally.


“Okay but I still need you to go and see your sister.” He eventually said when I’d finished talking and I nodded my head, even though every fibre of my being was protesting the idea. But I also knew that if I didn’t go now or at some point today, he would probably drag me there himself. So, unfortunately, I just had to bite the metaphorical bullet and go and see her and pray to God she didn’t rip my head off my shoulders.



Slowly, because I was still aware Dad was in the room, I started tidying away all the food that Valerie had brought over and moved the blanket and extra bedding back into my old room. Every time I walked in the room it still amazed me how unchanged it was from four years ago. The furniture was still in the same positions as when I was nineteen, the bedding was the same as that night, and every little detail hadn’t moved an inch.



The only thing that was different was the painting that Charity and Norah got me was no longer on my wall proudly. Now that I thought about it, I wasn’t sure where it had gone or whether I had just misplaced it somewhere that I forgot. About ten minutes had gone by before I had packed everything away and finished reminiscing in my old room before Dad appeared in the doorway.


“If you’re going to continue stalling, I’m going to invite her round here.” He threatened and all the blood pooled to the bottom of my feet. Part of me knew that if I packed away slowly enough, maybe I could put off going to see her today.


“Okay, okay. I’ll go now.” I conceded, my hands wringing together as I pulled on my jacket and made sure I looked somewhat decent enough to pretend I was okay. Dad offered to drive me to her house but that meant having to go through all the reporter’s and plus, he looked like he didn’t really want me to take him up on that offer. Instead of heading out the front door, I snuck out through the back garden onto a deserted alley way. It wasn’t exactly the warmest day either so my hands shook in my pockets, half because of the temperature but half because I was absolutely terrified of seeing Charity again. And explaining everything.



For a few minutes I had to really compose myself so that I could apparate without accidentally splinching myself because of how distracted I was. The apparition took probably less than a second but to me it had slowed down considerably until I could see the familiar two-storey house in front of me. My feet were stuck to the ground and I just stared at the front door for a few minutes, feeling exactly the same way as I did when I went to see Norah. Just as I was about to move forward and head towards the front door, it flung open and all I saw was a flash of orange hair before something knocked into me.


“Oh thank God you’re okay!” Charity huffed, her arms squeezing my waist a little too tightly. My arms hung limply to my side as I froze in shock. This was definitely not the reaction I was expecting from my sister and so I relaxed slightly, wrapping my arms around her neck and resting my forehead on her shoulder, “I thought you’d disappeared off the face of the Earth! I was so worried but thank God you’re okay!” She repeated as she sniffled into my shoulder and I didn’t realise I was crying too until the first tear rolled down my cheek.


“I’m sorry, Char.” I croaked, my arms tightening their hold on her. Those words seemed to snap her out of crying and she pulled back harshly before proceeding to smack the shit out of my shoulders, my arms, my head, and any other part of me that she could get to. And I just let her because I deserved it all.


“How stupid could you be?! Do you have any idea how worried I was? How worried everyone was?!” she practically yelled but seemed to calm down ever so slightly after getting a good look at my face, “I thought you’d done something stupid…” She trailed off whispering, pulling me into an even tighter hug that I welcomed instantly.


My eyes scrunched together tightly, “But I have done something stupid.” I whispered, waiting for the shit-storm that was about to happen but she just grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the open front door of her house.


“I’ll make us a cup of tea.” She stated, pushing me towards the living room as she headed into the kitchen.


“You sound like Mum.” I chuckled slightly, sitting down on the sofa-bed that we had slept on when we stayed here. The memory of that night came rushing back and so I moved to another chair, distracting myself by looking at all the pictures of my niece and nephew so I wouldn’t burst into tears again. I heard her laugh from the kitchen before she walked in holding two steaming mugs. She placed them down on two coasters before facing me.


“There’s nothing a good brew can’t solve,” she said with a small smile, which I reciprocated weakly, “So…?” She sat down on the sofa, in the seat I had been sitting on a few seconds ago.


“So…?” I repeated, looking down at my hands in my lap. I had no idea how to even begin to tell Charity everything that had happened because it was all so complicated and downright painful to even talk about it.


“Don’t you ‘so…’ me!” She was back to her stern ‘Mum’ voice and I shrank in my seat.


“Where’s Darryl?” I questioned quietly, trying to draw out the time. And hope she’d forget why I was here, which was unlikely but worth a try.


“Upstairs with Ruari and Gabby,” she paused for a second, “Where have you been? I’ve honestly been going out of my mind ever since Ginny phoned me,” she started, her voice soft and surprisingly not angry, “I thought I was losing one of my sisters last week… I didn’t want to lose the other one.” I looked up to see she had tears in her eyes and I immediately leaned forward to grab hold of her hand, giving it a tight squeeze.


“I’m so sorry, Char,” I said, “I didn’t mean to make you worry like that. I just needed a few days alone to come to terms with everything,” I explained carefully, “Even now I’m still not completely sure what happened myself.” My eyes dropped to the mugs of tea left abandoned on the table.


“Well how about we start with where you’ve been staying because I thought you were with Molly at first but she had no idea that you’d even left.” She finally picked up her tea and I followed suit, taking a small sip and holding it between my hands to warm them up.


“I was staying with Dad for the past two days.” I answered systematically and watched as Charity’s mouth opened in shock, obviously not expecting that answer.


“That bastard!” she exclaimed suddenly, making me jump, “He came out to help us look for you today! And all the while he knew you were there! I am going to kill that man!” She ranted loudly, almost spilling tea on herself in the process.


“Please don’t,” I interrupted, “I told him not to tell anyone where I was.” I lied, not wanting Dad to get into trouble with Charity. She seemed to calm down a little more and we fell into tense silence again.


“How come you ran away, Elle?” she whispered but loud enough for me to hear, “Is it something I should be worried about?” I wasn’t all that sure how to respond to that question because of the fact I’d had yet another relapse. The silence seemed to drag on for what seemed like forever.


“I just…” I stopped, trying to find the words, “I don’t know how to explain it properly. I don’t know how to start.”


“How did you and James really meet?” she asked and my eyebrows furrowed in confusion at how she phrased the question and she elaborated, “Ginny told me the basics after James eventually told her the truth.” I choked a little at that because I hadn’t expected him to come out and tell his family straight away.


“We bumped into each other when he came to see Molly and I was leaving for work,” I started, finding it easier to explain now that Charity had told me she knew we were faking, “Then he turned up at my work the same day and told me about his idea of me being his fake fiancée. He said we could do it for a year at the most and then we’d split up and he’d give me something for it.”


“Money?” She seemed to understand what I had desperately needed at that time in my life.


“He said to ask for whatever amount I needed within reason and for the first time in my life, I had hope that I could finally get on that Healer course at St Mungo’s and do something right with my life,” I looked down at the ground in shame and Charity leaned forward this time to hold my hand, “So I agreed thinking it would be alright, just pretend to be his fiancée for a year and then I could get on with my life.”


“But then the holiday came up?”


“Yeah,” I nodded, “And it became really difficult to keep the secret and pretend in front of his family and us,” I continued and I felt Charity squeeze my hand reassuringly, “Then, I don’t know when, I really started to fall for him and the lines between pretending and reality started to get blurry. I started actually believing he really was my fiancé,” I stopped suddenly and felt the tears stinging my eyes, “And then the wedding came up. I thought I could go through with it if I told him how I really felt and we could stay married for real,” by now the tears were already on my cheeks and showed no signs of stopping, “But I found out he was just using me to get back with his ex… I saw him kiss her on the night before the wedding and I… I did something stupid.” I hung my head down, letting out a loud sob as Charity rushed forward to embrace me.


“Ssh, it’s okay, Elle.” She cooed, stroking my hair and rocking side to side.


“It’s not okay, I drank again,” I croaked out, “And I kept drinking. I couldn’t stop myself… and I hate myself for it!” She kept hold of me, not saying anything as I cried and it reminded me of when I first came out of the coma to remember what had happened. We stayed like that for a while until she pulled back, wiping my cheeks for me.


“Told you a brew could solve your problems,” she said light-heartedly, making me laugh a little, “What are you going to do now?”


“Probably stay at Dad’s a bit longer and go back to work on Saturday. My month’s almost up.” I said monotonously, draining the last bit of my tea.


“You can always come back here, if you want?” She said, collecting our mugs and taking them into the kitchen whilst I followed.


“I don’t want Ruari or Gabby to see me like this,” I gestured down to my attire and I watched her clean them up quickly with her wand, “I should probably get back to Dad’s so he knows I’m actually alive.” I joked, giving her a tight hug and holding on for a few seconds longer than necessary.


“I’m just more happy you’re okay,” she replied, walking me to the front door with a strange expression on her face with one hand behind her back, “Listen…” she paused as we reached the door and I stepped outside, getting ready to apparate, “I know how hard it was for you to go cold turkey,” she started and the colour drained from my face at what she was talking about, “And please don’t be offended because I’m only saying this because I genuinely love and care about you so much… but have you ever thought about getting help? Like professional help?” I froze in place, not sure what to even say.


“I… uh I-I…” I stuttered. She pulled out the hand behind her back which was holding a bunch of multi-coloured leaflets.


“I’m not saying you have to… but just have a look at some of these,” she held them out to me and I slowly extended my hand to grab them, my eyes avoided looking at what was written on them, “Dad and I have been looking at a couple of places, we think it could really help you.”


“Okay.” Was all I said, gulping thickly as heat rushed to my face. My whole body was still in shock.


“At least promise you’ll have a look at them.” I nodded and said my goodbyes, my hand feeling like I was carrying heavy rocks before apparating back to my Dad’s, knowing I still had a lot to speak to Charity about. Thankfully, none of the reporters were there when I apparated back to the house so I was free to walk through the front door instead of having to use the back door all the time. Just as I was about to go into my bedroom, Dad came out from the kitchen area and his eyes automatically dropped to the leaflets in my hand. A look of relief flickered across his face.


“Oh good, she gave them to you,” he muttered, going back into the kitchen when I didn’t say anything, “Dinner’s gonna be ready in about ten minutes.” He called.


“Okay,” I called back, heading into my bedroom and lying down on the bed, heaving out a huge sigh. The leaflets were still in my left hand and I debated reading them now but a part of me didn’t really want to see what was written on them just yet because it meant admitting to myself that I had a serious problem which I just wouldn’t be able to handle right now. So my hand placed them down on the side table and I continued to lay on my bed, staring at the ceiling and trying not to think about anything, “I’ll read them tomorrow.” I said to myself as I couldn’t stop thinking about them.


“Dinner’s ready!” I heard Dad’s voice and was grateful for the distraction, quickly jumping off the bed. He’d placed a plate of microwavable spaghetti and meatballs on the table with a fork which made me smile a little. We both took our seats at the table opposite each other and dug into the food. It was a tense sort-of silence around the table for a couple of minutes until he piped up, “I was thinking of visiting Norah tomorrow if you wanted to come with?” I looked up from my plate and watched as he gave me weary glances every now and then.


“Okay, what time?” I asked.


“Probably in the afternoon,” he replied, “I need to do a few last minute things at work in the morning first.” I nodded my head as we continued eating in silence. When our plates were empty, he collected them and started washing them in the sink.



Instead of watching TV, I decided that I desperately needed to get some sleep because I only just noticed how tired I actually was. Considering sleeping on the couch wasn’t exactly the comfiest of places. I turned off my bedroom light and climbed under the covers, not even fazed that it was still quite light outside. As I turned on my side, the leaflets caught my attention again.

 

“At least promise me you’ll have a look at them.”

 

“I’ll look at them tomorrow,” I whispered to myself again, rolled over so I couldn’t see them and closed my eyes, “I promise.”


Chapter 24: I Need Help
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A/N: So yeaaaahh... this Chapter is literally just focusing on Elle and her battle with getting help or not. I really hope I've done this justice, and that you're not all mad at me for leaving this story for so long without an update. And I promise that James will be back in full-force in the next chapter that, believe it or not, I have already half-written as I've been writing this one. 


(P.S. after this chapter, there will be two chapters left and then that's the story finished! After two years, I think, it'll be finally finished! That's kinda scary! I don't know what I'm going to do after this story is finished!)


Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.





My eyes slowly peeled open as I stared around the still slightly dark room. All I knew was that I went to bed earlier than usual last night and I wondered whether or not it was still the middle of the night. One look at the clock on my bedside table proved me wrong though as it read twenty-five past five in the morning. I thought about going back to sleep but my brain decided it was wide awake all of a sudden so as much as I tried to fall back asleep, I just couldn’t. Nobody was moving around the house when I climbed out of bed and subconsciously pulled my hair into a ponytail as I tip-toed quietly into the kitchen to make myself some really early breakfast.



There wasn’t much I could make that would make as little sound as possible so I settled on making a couple of slices of toast and a banana to fill me up. There wasn’t really much on TV when I switched it on so I ended up watching a weird car dealer show. I had no idea what they were talking about most of the time but it kept me distracted for a couple of hours. Finally, at around seven, I heard Dad’s footsteps walking around in his bedroom probably getting ready for work. When he emerged, the shock was evident on his face that he hadn’t expected me to be up at this time.


“Good morning.” I said quietly, standing up to make him breakfast but he stopped me.


“It’s okay, I usually get something on the way.”


“Oh…” I sat back down on the couch before getting back up to wash the plate that had had my breakfast on it. We scooted round each other in silence, not really sure what to say to each other and not really having anything to say.


“Well… I’ll probably see you at one and then we can go see Norah.” He stated monotonously, shrugging on his high-vis jacket as he headed towards the front door.


“Okay, see you later.” I nodded, my attention back on the screen when the door had clicked shut. After a couple of hours of binge-watching whatever took my fancy on TV, I had had enough and stood up to stretch my legs a little. It wasn’t even half-past nine when I decided to finally look at those leaflets, determined never to put anything off again for the rest of my life.



Maybe I needed a change.



The first one was for a Rehabilitation Centre in Ireland that only ran for a couple of weeks but mainly focussed on the therapy side of treatment. The more I read about it, the more I was becoming enticed by the idea of doing it. But it would be the cost of travelling to Ireland and the programme itself that would stump me as I figured out when I roughly tried to calculate it in my head. Plus, I didn’t like the idea of being that far away from my family for a couple of weeks on end.



The majority of the other leaflets were basically describing the same type of treatment but going increasingly further away from home, which I really didn’t like the thought of. And the prices seemed to be increasing as well. Until the last one caught my eye up in The Lake District to the North of England. Rather than only running for a couple of weeks, the programme lasted for as long as was necessary for the individual and each patient was given the same therapist/staff for the whole period of the stay. It did seem much nicer than the others, especially when I read that they offered complementary therapies like horse-riding, painting classes, fitness classes, and more.


“That sounds good…” I muttered to myself and nearly jumping out of my skin when my phone buzzed. I sighed in relief when I saw that it was only Molly.

 

‘I swear to God if you don’t answer the phone, I will come round to Charity’s and give you a good slap!xxx’
(sent a few seconds ago)

 

I chuckled a little at her dramatic nature before finally replying,

 

‘Hi Molls, I’m okay. And I’m staying at my Dad’s for the time being… it’s a long story xxx’
(sent a few seconds ago)

 

‘Bloody hell! It’s a miracle! I know it’s a blooming long story, which is why I need you to explain what the hell is happening?!xx’
(sent a few seconds ago)

 

‘I’ll give you a call tomorrow, Moll. I really can’t explain it now xx’
(sent a few seconds ago)

 

‘Why not? Do you want me to come round?xx’
(sent a few seconds ago)

 

‘Not today. I need to be on my own for a while, plus I’m visiting Norah this afternoon xxx’
(sent a few seconds ago)

 

‘Okay but if you don’t call me tomorrow… I will hunt you down!xxx’
(sent a few seconds ago)

 

‘Okay. I’ll speak to you tomorrow xxx’
(sent a few seconds ago)

 

I put my phone down on the side table, continuing to read through that particular Rehab leaflet whilst sat on my bed for the rest of the morning. My head was all over the place as I was debating it seriously because on the one hand I had just enough money to pay for it but on the other, it meant I had to start from scratch saving up for the Healer course again. It all boiled down to whether or not I was willing to give up my dream of the course for however long it takes to do this. And I wasn’t sure whether I was willing to give it up. It was something I’d worked so hard to save up for and if I did this, it felt like I was throwing away all that hard work. By the time lunch had come around, and Dad had come home, I had thrown all the other leaflet in the bin except for the one advertising in The Lakes.


“You ready to go?” Dad popped his head in the door as I was brushing my hair properly.


“Yeah, just need to put my shoes on and then I’m done,” I nodded, pulling my hair up into a high ponytail so that I was out of the way of my face. He was in the middle of pulling his jacket on when I exited and slipped on a pair of black ankle boots that I hadn’t worn in forever, “Are we apparating in or do you want to drive?” I asked nervously because I had never really used my magic in front of my Dad before because he himself wasn’t a wizard. Plus, he seemed a little uncomfortable any time it was brought up. And I half-wanted him to disagree with taking his car because the idea of it still made my palms sweaty.


“Whichever ones quicker.” He grumbled, standing next to me but leaving a small gap.


“We could apparate into St Mungo’s?” I suggested and he just shrugged, looping his arm around mine when I extended it. It took a while for me to calm myself down enough to concentrate properly on the destination in my head whilst trying to remember that my Dad was there too so also trying not to splinch him. When I opened my eyes, the apparating room lay before me instead of the front of our house and I breathed a sigh of relief when I looked over at my Dad and he was still in one piece. As soon as we stepped away from the apparating zone, the hustle and bustle as well as the noise of the hospital hit us all at once.


“Do you know which floor she’s on?” I asked him, walking towards the reception area with my head lowered.


“She should be on the fourth floor in the… the,” he paused as we stepped through the double doors into the reception area. Two men in uniforms stepped forward, asking to check through our bags and make sure we didn’t have anything on us before letting us go past them, “I can’t remember the name of the ward now.” He finished and I looked up at the board that listed what each floor was after getting momentarily distracted as a young boy with a kettle for a hand walked past us.


“Is it the Janus Thickey Ward? That’s the one on the fourth floor.” I asked, turning around to face my Dad and almost bursting into laughter at his face. He’d obviously never been in the reception area during the day before and judging by the fact he looked very disturbed, I figured it would be a good idea to get him out of the area quickly. He seemed to come out once we were climbing the second flight of stairs especially as we were past all of the crazy injuries that the patients had.


“Yeah… I think that’s the name of it…” he responded monotonously. We lapsed into silence as we climbed the last two flights of stairs and reached the locked doors of the Janus Thickey Ward, waiting for a Healer to let us in.


“May I help you?” A young man asked as he walked towards us. Both Dad and I spun around at the same time to look at him.


“We’re here to see my daughter, Norah Underwood.” Dad said, pointing over his shoulder through into the ward. The young man nodded his head quickly, checking through a clipboard hanging to the right of the doors.


“Ah yes,” he said more to himself, “She’s in room fifteen. Follow me and I’ll take you through,” he smiled kindly before unlocking the door, allowing us to go through and then locking it behind him. It was a little bit scary knowing that the patients in this ward had to be locked away it was that bad, “She’s just in here.” He opened the door marked fifteen, letting us go past him before disappearing back down the way he had led us. I didn’t even have any time to prepare myself for coming to see her so my heart was threatening to beat out of my chest as I turned round to look at her. She was sat up in her bed, obviously having been reading a couple of magazines because they were all sprawled all over her bed.


“How are you doing?” Dad asked with a huge smile on his face that looked weird to me because I hadn’t seen it in so long.


“I’m okay… just really bored.” She huffed, closing the magazine she had just been reading and looking between the both of us, resting her eyes on me.


“Hi.” I whispered awkwardly, hovering near the doorway.


“Hey!” she smiled happily, extending her arms out and I hesitated for a moment before walking forward to embrace her, “How are you?” She whispered into my ear.


“I could be better,” I shrugged, letting go of her and sitting down in an armchair close to the bed, “You?” Dad was watching our exchange silently but still with that smile on his face.


“I could be better too.” She replied with a sad sort of smile and I hung my head.


“I’m sorry about that…” I said sheepishly, avoiding looking at both of them in the eyes. I was pretty sure the smile that was on Dad’s face had just been wiped off by the direction of this conversation and I wanted nothing more than to be back at home, hidden under my pink blanket with nothing but the TV to keep me distracted.


“Don’t apologise,” she reprimanded me and I glanced up at her to see she was halfway through rolling her eyes at me, “Charity said you’d do that… but you don’t have to because you didn’t do anything wrong.” She said it slowly as if she was trying to ingrain it into my head.


“B-but I did… if I hadn’t have moved the wheel…” I started but she interrupted me.


“Then we would have crashed into the car in front and I’m pretty sure we still would have ended up in exactly the same situation now,” she carried on confidently even though Dad was in the room and probably didn’t believe a word she was saying. Neither did I to be honest, “You need to stop blaming yourself, Elle. I may be going through treatment to help recover more of my memories but even I know that it wasn’t your fault.” The room fell into tense silence as I couldn’t say anything more that wouldn’t annoy Norah and Dad was still sat in the room and I was pretty sure he didn’t really want to be talking about his wife’s death like this.


“So how’s recovery going?” Dad finally chirped up, changing the subject in an effort to forget about the last few minutes.


“It’s going okay. Teddy’s been wonderful, helping ease me into everything… I just wanted to say sorry for how I was the first couple of days when you were explaining everything to me…” It was her turn to look sheepish and her cheeks burned bright red as she avoided looking at Dad.


“I understand,” he said gently and I thought again about how foreign this whole situation was to me, “You don’t have to apologise… it’s normal for you to react the way you did after finding out about everything.” He reassured her with a small smile and she returned it, her face still bright red.


“Still, it was a little harsh,” she paused, letting Dad give her a hug, “I’m sorry.” She repeated and he gave a soft chuckle.


“Let’s stop with all the apologising today, okay?” he reached out, using one hand to hold Norah’s and extending the other to me, “I don’t want to hear another ‘I’m sorry’, okay?” His eyes met mine and my heart skipped a beat as my eyes glanced between his face and hand before I slowly and gingerly placed mine in his. Norah, taking Dad’s lead, extended her other hand to me and without missing a second, I grabbed onto it immediately. It was a lovely little moment as we all sat there, not speaking and holding hands. Soon though, words started pouring out as we spoke about anything and everything and I couldn’t help but feel like the past four years hadn’t happened. I don’t know how much time had passed as we just talked about everything before Dad eventually decided to go and get a drink from the shop on the fifth floor, leaving the two of us alone for the first time.


“Charity told me about the wedding…” Norah started and I felt the blood drain to the bottom of my feet, “How are you really doing?” I hesitated, not wanting to unload everything onto her when she was the one who needed to unload the most, “And don’t think about changing the subject either.” She warned after I stayed quiet for a good few minutes.


“I’m… I’m,” I started and then stopped, “I don’t know.”


“You don’t know?” She urged.


“I don’t want to be talking about my problems when you obviously need it more than I do, Norah,” I replied and the words seemed to fall out on-by-one, “It doesn’t matter that guy I’m in love with was just using me to get back with his ex literally the day before we were supposed to get married! It doesn’t matter that I’m trying to manage by myself but I’m struggling and I don’t know what to do! It doesn’t matter that I might have to give up my dream of being a Healer for the foreseeable future! It doesn’t matter that every time I think of you in here, or Charity’s pitying glances, or that Dad’s trying so hard to not look at me with disgust every time he sees me, I really want to drink and drink and drink until I don’t remember anything! And it certainly doesn’t matter that I have to apologise to so many people because I’m such a massive fuck-up when I’d rather just disappear off the face of the earth so that I don’t cause anybody any more problems!” I finished with a heavy breath and my face instantly blushed red at everything that I had blurted out because I hadn’t expected all that to come out so suddenly. Especially the drinking part because I thought I’d been doing well at trying to subdue those thoughts but obviously I hadn’t been doing as well as I thought.


“Feels better, doesn’t it?” She smiled after I’d finished my rant.


“How about you?” I looked up at her, so glad to see colour in her cheeks and that she had life in her eyes instead of the still body I saw a couple of days ago.


“I still can’t believe Mum’s gone…” She whispered, her eyes drifting off into space. In that moment I was glad Dad left the room, I don’t think he’d be happy sat here listening to this conversation.


“Me neither.” I stared wordlessly at the bed sheets and we drifted into silence again. It was still so awkward to speak about this when she had been under so long. It was hard for me hearing about it after one month of being in a coma, I couldn’t imagine what she was going through hearing what’s happened after four years. And I couldn’t help feeling guilty again.


“It’s so weird that I’m gonna be twenty-two this year…” she spoke up again however there were no tears in her eyes, “I missed my twenty-first birthday,” I nodded my head silently, still staring at the bedsheets, “I missed your twenty-first birthday.” She added on and I looked up with a small, reassuring smile.


“You didn’t miss much anyway… I didn’t have a twenty-first birthday,” I replied, because I was too off my rocker to even comprehend what day of the week it was, I added as an afterthought. But she didn’t need to know that anyway.


“How come?” she asked and then fell silent as I gave her one long stare, “Oh…? That thing?”


“That thing,” I confirmed, picking away at the skin around my fingers out of nervousness. She didn’t know exactly how bad it had gotten but she knew enough not to question anything because of Charity. We fell back into silence again for another few minutes, until I broke it again, “So, when are you going to be discharged?”


“In a couple of months,” she answered conversationally, “Still got a bunch of tests to run and they’re recommending me for some therapy sessions as well. Get my ‘problems’ sorted before I’m released.” She air-quoted the word ‘problems’ and rolled her eyes to make her point but shrugged all the same. She seemed to be handling all this very well on the outside but I knew she must be struggling on the inside yet putting on a brave face for everyone else. This was what I had been doing ever since the accident, that’s what Charity always does when something bad happens, and it was something Norah had started doing now to make us feel better. I guess it ran in the family.


“It might help you…” I said quietly, “It’d be better to get it addressed straight away rather than putting it off and ending up a mess later on in life,” I added on, my voice shaking as I told her but I wasn’t sure whether I was trying to convince myself or her, “I know that first-hand.”


“Was it really that bad?” She bravely asked and I nodded slowly. It wasn’t something I was proud of and so I didn’t like talking about it a lot, but I suppose maybe speaking about it would help.


“I moved away to Scotland about a month after I came round, just to get away from Dad because I was still living with him at the time,” I explained, watching as she leaned back against her cushions, “There was a cheap flat that was on the market and I just grabbed it, not really thinking it through that much. I didn’t have a job, I had no source of income at all to go towards my rent and all my bills. The only reason the landlord wasn’t kicking me out was because he saw I was desperately trying to get a job to help.”


“Did you find one?”


“Eventually yeah, at a supermarket during the day,” I answered, looking at the stretch of wall behind her head, “But it still wasn’t enough to cover everything… and then I saw an advert on the side of a pub one night after I’d gone out drinking about how you could make five hundred pounds in one night. So I called the number and was hired straight away to start the next night. I didn’t realise at the time that it was a strip club,” she gasped at that and I’m pretty sure Charity had skipped a couple of details to make me seem less pathetic, “So I started the following night, completely sober and it was horrible. I felt cheap, I felt dirty, and I almost quit after the first two nights but a girl, Destiny, she stopped me and she gave me some pills after I told her I was gonna quit. I don’t even know what they were but she they’d help and if I have a couple of drinks before I started work, that’d help too.”


“Were they drugs? The pills she gave you?” She asked, her eyes almost bulging out of her sockets.


“I think so, yeah but not hard-core drugs, but I desperately needed the money. Dad wasn’t speaking to me and I was pretty sure he hated me, and I couldn’t ask Charity for help because she had her own family to take of,” I paused and she gave me a sad look as if she knew where the story was going, “So I took the pills whenever she managed to get them for me. A couple of drinks turned into more, and that turned into even more until eventually I was turning up to work at night completely hammered, out of my mind and turning up to work at the supermarket the next morning severely hungover… sometimes still even drunk,” by this point Norah had reached forward to grab hold of my hand again, “About a month and a half later I lost my job at the supermarket because I was drinking in between shifts and I still had Destiny’s pills on me. Which then led to me getting arrested for possession of drugs… not my finest hour.”


“What happened then? Did you quit? Did Charity come and get you?” She blurted out, her eyes even welling up with tears.


“No, not for another six months,” I answered and she gasped again, “I stayed like that for another six months until Charity called in to see me and by then the damage had been done. Destiny and I had been arrested a couple more times. I would go straight from work to the nearest bar and drink some more, enough to get me passed out at the bar, and then wake up most likely in a pool of my own vomit outside of the street or back in my apartment by some miracle. And then I’d wake up and the cycle would begin again.”


“Elle, I’m so sorry! I had no idea it was that bad!” She pulled me towards her and squeezed me tightly.


“No-one knew it was going to be that bad… I didn’t even know,” I sighed, “I think I just let everything fester inside of me until I felt I had no other choice but to make those stupid decisions. And look how my life turned out.” My voice caught in my throat at the last sentence and she tightened her hold of me.


“At least you’re here though, right? You’re still alive.” She reassured me and I nodded my head.


“Thanks to Charity, I guess,” I whispered, “She’s the one who saw the way I was going. If it wasn’t for her, I’d probably have drunk myself to death. And it makes me feel guilty every time I relapse because it means all the hard work she did for me to keep me alive was for nothing…” Norah didn’t say anything more for however long seemed to pass until we let go of each other and I sat back down on the armchair. Her cheeks were slightly blotchy and there were tear-stains on her hospital gown.


“Don’t tell Dad this but… sometimes I just feel like screaming forever,” Norah admitted finally and a small look of relief passed over her face after saying it, “It still feels weird to me that I’ve been under for four years and all these things have happened in the world, and that I missed some important milestones…” she explained quietly as if she was expecting Dad to walk in any minute, “And knowing that I won’t be able to walk again… it makes me want to scream and kick and punch everybody in the world. Half of me still wants to be in a coma so I don’t have to feel like this and the other half of me wishes that you’d have pulled the plug sooner, you know?” I looked down at the ground, tears filling in my eyes as she admitted all of this to me and I knew that this was how she genuinely felt rather than the ‘I could be better too’ from before, “I just feel so goddamn angry all the time. And the fact I feel angry just frustrates me.”


“I suppose that’s why they want you to get some therapy before you leave so you don’t mix up your feelings and do something stupid.” Like I did, I added in my head.


“I know, I know…” she mumbled, looking down at her hands that were fidgeting on her lap, “That’s what I did when they first started explaining things to me, you know. I didn’t understand properly what was happening so I shouted and yelled at Dad, I threw everything I could get my hands on at anybody that came into my room. It got so bad they had to come in and sedate me.”


“Is that why you apologised to him before?” I asked, feeling like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulder having spoken to Norah about everything and hearing that someone else wasn’t coping either.


“Yeah… I kinda crossed the line a little.” Her cheeks turned a bit red as she gave me a sheepish glance.


“I’m sure everyone’s crossed a line at some point in their lives,” I reassured her and she gave me a quick smile, “I suppose it’s what you do after you’ve crossed the line that shows who you are.”


“What’ve you done?” She looked at me quizzically.


“Well… Charity’s given me a bunch of leaflets for some places,” I spoke up tentatively and she nodded her head, “Her and Dad have been looking at them for me. And I think I might do it, it might be nice to get some help rather than trying to do it myself. I’ve struggled alone for so long, maybe I need to admit to myself that I need help from someone else.”


“Have you read about them yet?” I looked up at her and nodded my head, letting my head fall on top of my knuckles on the armchair.


“Yeah. I read through them this morning,” I let out a tired yawn at having been up so early, “But the majority of them are too far away and I think that would make it worse for me, knowing how isolated I was.”


“Is that why you said you might have to give up your dream of becoming a Healer?” She blurted out after a couple of seconds of silence and I forgot I had shouted that out.
“If I use the money to pay for this, I’ll have to start from scratch saving up for the course again,” I sighed heavily, “I just don’t know what to do. Charity and Dad really want me to do this, I can see it on their faces but… it means giving up everything I’ve worked so hard for over the last year and a half.”


“Make the choice for yourself and not because Charity and Dad want you to,” she inputted wisely, “There’s no point in doing it if you’re doing it for someone else’s benefit. You’ve got to want to do it for yourself.”


“I know, I know,” I repeated her earlier words whilst waving my hand noncommittally at her, “But it’s my dream for so long.”


“Think about it this way, Elle,” she paused and looked at me seriously, “Which one do you think will benefit you in the long run? If you’re choosing the easy one because that’s all you’ve wanted to do… then you’re selfish.” Dad walked back into the room as soon as Norah had finished speaking and he looked between the two of us, noticing the tension. He narrowed his eyes a little when he noticed both of us had been crying but chose not to say anything.


“So… Teddy’s just been telling me you’ve made some good progress?” He started and I avoided looking at Norah so that I didn’t have to see her lie to his face.

 

An hour later…

 

“Visiting hours are over!” A young Healer hung her head in the doorway as she wandered down the corridor, shouting that sentence throughout the ward. Both Dad and I stood up at the same time but I let him say his goodbyes to Norah first, hanging behind the two awkwardly. As Dad let go and went to stand by the door, I stepped forward and wrapped my arms tightly around her back. The tears threatened to appear in my eyes again but I pushed them down, I had had enough of crying recently. I never realised have physically draining it was.


“It was great to see you, Norah.” I whispered, burying my head a little into her shoulder not wanting to let go. A part of me felt like if I let her go then she’d disappear and I’d never see her again.


“You too, Elle,” she whispered back and I could feel the smile on her face, “Don’t be selfish.” She added on even quieter so Dad wouldn’t hear and I pulled back nodded, seeing her give me a stern glance. We both waved at the door before walking along the corridor toward the entrance door we came in with all the other visitors. The door was left open but with two Healers on either side of the door just in case someone tried to escape and they were checking people’s bags as well. The walk back down to the apparition room was quiet and I could see out the corner of my eye that my Dad was trying not to ask what Norah and I had spoken about so I kept quiet. After being checked thoroughly for the third time today, we apparated back to our house and I felt this time went much better due to the fact I knew I had done it successfully before already.


“I’m just going to get some pizza delivered if that’s okay with you?” He said suddenly, startling me as we both shrugged our jackets and shoes off after stepping through the front door.


“Okay.” I responded monotonously.


“What kind do you want?” He asked whilst dialling the number into his phone.
“Whatever you get. I’m not fussed.” I said without looking at him and walking into my bedroom. The first thing that my eyes were drawn to was all the leaflets that were in my bin all piled on top of each other. Then my eyes found the one leaflet that I had left out on my bed for the centre in The Lakes.

 

“If you’re choosing the easy one because that’s all you’ve wanted to do then you’re selfish.”

 

Norah’s words popped into my head and I sat on my bed heavily, opened the leaflet and reading through it all again. Once I’d finished reading all the information that was written, I decided to research the place on the internet just to get a bit more of an idea what it was like. For some reason when I searched the name of the centre, I half-expected reviews to come up like when you’d search for a pizza place and was slightly disappointed when none of that sort of stuff came up. Except for their website. So I clicked on it and sat for God knows how long reading everything that was available on the website to try and help me make up my mind.



And as Dad called me to come and eat, I was slightly more able to come up with a decision and only slightly hate myself for doing it. Dad had laid out both pizza boxes on the table, one pepperoni and one bacon and ham, and was busy pouring him and me a glass of lemonade. I sat down in the same seat as last night and started digging in when he’d sat down too.


“What are your plans for tomorrow?” He asked conversationally and I looked up at him, not really expecting to neither be interested in what I was doing tomorrow nor speak to me during dinner.


“Erm… I was thinking about going to see Ginny and just explain,” I started nervously and he just nodded his head in acknowledgement, “A-and I was going to drop in the café and hand in my resignation…” I added on, steeling glances at him every now and then. His eyebrows rose up on his forehead and he stared at me quizzically.


“Oh…?” Was all he said.


“Because I-I’ve b-been thinking,” I paused and took a huge breath, staring at my pizza instead of him, “A-about a-applying for that Rehab Centre in The Lakes…” My face flushed with colour as I looked up at him finally and his eyebrows seemed to disappear into his receding hairline from shock. He obviously thought I wasn’t going to do that and apply for the Healer course. But what Norah had said really got to me and I realised that I needed to do this for myself otherwise I’d never get better for my own selfish reasons.



Instead of answering me, he stood up and disappeared into his bedroom for a few minutes before coming back out with a thick brown A4 envelope in his hands that looked awfully familiar. He sat back down at the table and we continued eating in silence, my eyes glancing at the envelope every now and again as my brain tried to remember where I’d seen it before.


“I-I’m proud of you, Elle,” he said suddenly and stuttered as if it was hard for him to say anything remotely affectionate to me, “I think you’ve made the right decision… and I hope you think so too,” he continued and I nodded my head, somewhat still unsure about it if I was honest, “When you come back… and when you’re ready, just come back and see me and we’ll get this sent off.” He slid the envelope over to me and I stared back at him with a confused look on my face. He just gestured his head towards it and I tentatively reached for it, slowly opening the top of the envelope as I felt the nervous make is round through my body. My heart dropped into my stomach when I saw my familiar writing and the title of the first sheet.

 

‘Application for The Ministry of Magic Course: Healing’

 

The thing that made the tears fall onto my face was the cheque that fell out onto the table when I pulled out the rest of the application. It was filled out with both Mum and Dad’s signatures and stated the exact amount of money that I needed to pay for it. Without thinking, I stood up from the table and launched myself at him. My arms wound round his neck as I sobbed into his shoulder and my hands scrunched the collar of his shirt into my fists. He didn’t do anything for a few seconds but gingerly wrapped his arms around me and we stayed like that for a few more minutes.


“Thank you,” I croaked out through my sobs, “Thank you for keeping it.” Again, he didn’t say anything and just kept hold of me until I had calmed down enough to let go of him, my face blushing for just pouncing on him with no warning.


“Let’s go and fill out your application, yeah?” He said quietly, leading me into his office/study area and switching on his computer. For the next couple of minutes he sat next to me, helping me fill it all in and I was glad he was there because if he hadn’t… I don’t think I would have ever gone through with this. And in a way, he was pushing me to do this because then I have someone who’s witnessing me do this and now I had no way to back out.

 

‘Application has been successfully submitted.’

 

I stared at the screen, a small smile on my face as my Dad patted my shoulder.


Chapter 25: The Most Uncomfortable Few Hours of my Life
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Aaaaand I have officially finished this story. You have no idea how many times I've re-wrote the ending to this story... about three times in case you were wondering! And now I've stuck with an ending that I'm happy with. There will be two more chapters after this one and then I'll be finished!! And also, I lied in the previous chapter about James being back in full-force because he will be but... in the next chapter *ducks behind a table* I'm sorry! He will be back though!

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.




 

“So… how did the talk with Ginny go?” Char pounced on me as soon as I walked in the front door after spending the majority of the day at said person’s place. Char had taken to coming round to Dad’s house more often, knowing that’s where I was staying, and I could tell Dad was enjoying it more now that his eldest daughter was around more frequently than before. I hung my jacket up on the coat rack and walked into the living room, falling onto the couch beside her with a heavy sigh.


“Do you want the list?” I suddenly asked and she became confused for a few seconds, “Ginny; can understand why we did it-ish. She’s more pissed at James than me which is a bit unfair considering we both did but... Harry; I don’t really know to be honest, he kind of just sat there without saying much. And he was kind of expressionless so it was a little hard to read how he was feeling about the whole thing,” I rambled as I thought back to the most uncomfortable few hours of my life, “Al; he sort of suspected something was wrong from the beginning, especially when he met me at that club before it was even announced that we had been together. Molly; unbelievably pissed that I kept it a secret from her for so long but she said that now that she thought about it, it made sense. Lily; not talking to me at this current moment in time and I understand that. Dom; I’ve not really spoken to her since I left but Molly tells me she’s pissed off too.” I ended with a big sigh after counting the people on my fingers. She leant her head against my shoulder as we both sat there in silence.


“Well at least they’re not super pissed that they hate you.” Char tried to reassure me but I was way past reassurance. I knew they had every right to be pissed at me and so I wasn’t offended or annoyed at them for it.


“I guess… it’s better than nothing.” I mumbled, my hand running through my hair in relief at being back at the house. We lapsed back into silence until Char shifted in her seat, picking up the piece of paper that we had been mulling over all morning before I went to the Potters’ house.


“When are you going to start packing?” She asked conversationally, reading over the printed email that I had received back from the rehab centre to say that I had been offered a place for my course to start tomorrow.


“Tomorrow probably.” I shrugged, reading it over her shoulder.


“But you’re leaving tomorrow?” She looked up at me incredulously, smacking me over the shoulder as I giggled.


“I know, I’m going to leave it until the last minute because I can’t be bothered packing today… I’m too tired.” I closed my eyes as I let my head rest against the back of the couch thinking about their faces when I started to explain to them.

 

A few hours earlier…
I rang the doorbell nervously, waiting for someone to come to the door and tell me I’d got the wrong house. But with my luck, Ginny Potter answered the door with an unreadable expression on her face. Kind of like she wanted to slap me yet hug me at the same time.



“Hello,” she nervously greeted me, stepping aside so I could enter the house, “Come in… we’re in the living room.” I hesitantly stepped past her and walked in the vague direction of where I thought the living room was. The first and only time I was here was weeks ago so I couldn’t exactly remember where everything was.



“Okay.” I replied quietly, waiting until Ginny pushed the door open first before following in after her. Sat in the living room from what I could see were Albus, Harry, Molly, and now, Ginny and I. A massive wave of relief crashed over me at having realised James was not here and I wouldn’t have to see him. But I knew deep down I’d have to eventually, especially if I was going away for a while.



“So… I’m guessing everyone here has a lot of questions they’d like to ask…” Harry spoke up as all their heads swivelled to me when they noticed me in the room, causing my face to burn pink. Ginny nodded her head in answer to Harry’s question, her gaze never leaving my face and I realised that I never wanted to see Ginny properly mad. I would hate to be her child and do something wrong. My eyes glanced between them all as if they were waiting for me to start spilling the beans but I just looked down at the ground, my fingers twisting in my lap.



“I wouldn’t know where to start…” I whispered quietly, my eyes still downcast and a little voice in my head told me to keep it that way in case I got a right telling off.



“How about with how did you actually meet James?” Ginny piped up finally and I started picking the skin around my nails again.



“Erm… it was after that night I went out with Molly and Dom,” I explained gently and heard Molly gasp from beside me, “I stayed over at Molly’s that night and when he came to speak to her in the morning, he met me… but it was only briefly, like a small hello and stuff.” I finished quickly, stealing a small glance at them all. Al was giving me a questioning stare, Harry’s face looked unreadable, and both Ginny and Molly looked shocked.



“B-but that’s the day he proposed to you! In front of everyone!” Molly exclaimed, the shock evident in her voice.



“He came to see me at work later on that day and he came up with the proposition,” I answered, surprised that they were all staying silent enough to hear the story. I was expecting them to be up off their seats, yelling and shouting between themselves, “He walked me to the bank, then we walked around the park just talking about it, and eventually I agreed.”



“What were the terms of the deal?” Harry spoke up from beside Ginny.



“I’d pretend to be his girlfriend so that he could get his family off his back about Courtney,” I shivered at the name, remembering how much of a heinous bitch she was, “And in return, he’d give me anything I needed… within reason, you know like a car or a set amount of money or revenge on someone,” Harry nodded his head in understanding and I continued, wanting them to see things from my point of view, “I only ended up agreeing because he said he’d give me money so that I could finally get on my Healer course… that was the only reason, I swear.” I held my hands up defensively as they all exchanged looks between themselves.



“Okay, we believe you.” Harry nodded again and I felt my shoulders slump slightly in relief.



“Thank you!” I breathed out, allowing a small smile to escape on my face but it was short lived.



“But that doesn’t mean that we’re all in the clear,” Ginny inputted and I lowered my head again, “It was still a shady thing to do behind our backs. If you’d have just told us what was going on in the beginning-.”



I cut her off, “But that would have defeated the whole purpose of it. He was fed up of everyone always thinking he was going to go back to Courtney all the time so he wanted you guys to think he was over her,” I explained but then lowered my voice a little, “But obviously he wasn’t.”



“What?” Both Harry and Ginny leaned forward. I stole a glance at Molly out the corner of my eye as she hadn’t said anything for a while to see her still sat there with a shocked expression on her face.



“I, uh, I saw him kiss her when he was out on his stag-do…” I could feel my cheeks burning again and so I looked anywhere but at the four faces staring at me, “T-that’s why I kind of ran away the next day… I guessed the deal was off because he was just using me to get back with her.” I lied, my shoulders visibly slumped down at that and Ginny’s eyes narrowed towards me.



“So it was fake?”



“Yes.” I lied.



“You weren’t in a real relationship?”



“No.” I lied.



“You had no actual feelings for each other at all?”



“No.” I lied, this time finding it harder to look her in the eyes.



“Okay.” She stared at me with a quizzical expression on her face but I was too afraid to look at her.



“I’m really sorry about the money you spent on the wedding as well,” I blurted out, “If it helps, I’ll pay it all back.” Ginny’s eyes definitely did narrow at that and I shrunk in my seat.



“No need,” she retorted, “We’d never ask you to pay us back for that stuff. Plus James has paid it all back already.” I tried so hard not to let my jaw drop at that but I failed, and it hung open widely.



“Oh, right…” I muttered, closing my mouth quickly so I didn’t look like an idiot. I kept my head low as we sat in the living room in silence. No-one was speaking and I was certainly not going to talk lest I say something wrong.



“I can’t believe you kept this a secret from me,” Molly spoke up finally but it was only a whisper, “Like I understand why you did it but… I’m your best friend, I could have helped you with it.” I looked up at her to see her watching me with something akin to betrayal on her face. And I wanted the ground to swallow me up.



“I know,” I replied because my brain couldn’t come up with a reason why I
didn’t tell Molly, “I know, I should have told you… but I couldn’t… I didn’t want to come across as desperate,” she came to sit next to me on the couch and wrapped her arms around me once she saw that my eyes were glistening, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you,” I looked up from her shoulder with a couple of tears rolling down my face to all the people sat around the room, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell any of you. I didn’t mean to hurt any of you like I have done and for that I’m truly sorry. I didn’t realise how attached I would get to you all, especially you,” I looked at Ginny in the eyes and saw her eyes glistening too, “I thought I’d be to do this with no problems, without getting attached, without having to talk to anyone about my life… but then you suggested actually getting married and I knew I was stuck. And I really am sorry for making you waste money on the wedding and for you wasting time on me. As soon as you suggested about getting married I should have called off the deal and told you all about it… but I couldn’t for my own selfish reasons,” tears were streaming down Ginny’s face at this point as I tried desperately to keep mine at bay. Molly still had her arms wrapped around me but was listening intently to what I was saying, no longer crying, “I guess all I can really say is I’m sorry, and I hope that you’ll forgive me eventually because I don’t want to lose you… you’ve become like a second family to me.” I finished up, waiting for what felt like an eternity before Ginny finally stood up and pulled me towards her fiercely, sobbing into my shoulder as I did the same. I kept apologising as she ‘ssssh’d’ me, stroking my hair until eventually Harry, Molly, and Al all joined in with the hug.


“You’ve not lost us!” she said when she’s pulled away, cupping my face in her hands as she sniffled, “You’ll never lose us! You can come round whenever you want, we can go out for lunch together! We can go out shopping together, go on nights out together! Our door will always be open for you!” She exclaimed as I chuckled, pulling her in for a hug this time round.



“Maybe not for a while though….” I replied sheepishly as Al and Harry left the room after saying their goodbyes to me. It was the most I’d ever hugged Harry or Al in the whole time I’d known them.



“How come?” Molly piped up and I sat down between the two on the couch.



“Well, I’m going away for a bit by myself… get some help for my addiction,” I gulped at admitting it out loud to the two of them, “I don’t know how long I’ll be gone but I think I need to do it. Dad helped me fill in the application form and I’m leaving tomorrow… so that’s why I thought about coming round today to get everything out in the open before I leave. I don’t want to go with things still unresolved,” Ginny and Molly both nodded their heads as I told them all about the place I was going and they listened, “Is Lily here by the way?” I suddenly asked once I’d finished.



Ginny gave me a nervous glance before saying, “Yes… but she doesn’t really want to see you at the moment. I think she’s still in shock.”



“Oh okay, that’s okay… I would be too,” I let out a nervous chuckle before standing up, “Well, I think I should get going… I’ve still got a few things to do before tomorrow. 
Ginny and Molly followed me to the front door, as Molly was leaving too, and I gave her another massive hug to which she placed a motherly kiss on my forehead.


“Remember, door is always open.” Ginny looked down at me with a smile and I returned it, nodding my head. Molly and I walked further down the road to the apparition zone in silence.



“A-are we okay?” I asked tentatively as we both stopped on the spot, ready to apparate to different locations.



“I don’t know… I’m still pissed at you for not telling me…” She admitted.



“That’s okay, I understand,” I replied with a strained smile and she hugged me tightly in return, “Maybe we can catch up after I come back?”



“Oh Merlin! I wouldn’t be able to survive for that long!” she whined and I laughed, “You’ll have to give me the address for the place so I can send you letters!”



“I will do but it’s a Muggle place so you’ll have to send it the Muggle way.” I pointed out and she rolled her eyes.



“I’ll just ask Uncle Harry how to do it then,” she shrugged, giving me one last hug, “I’ll see you soon, yeah?”



“You will.” I smiled happily, watching her apparate away before apparating myself.


 

Present Day…
“What are you doing the rest of the today then?” Char pulled me out of my thoughts and I looked over at her.


“Dad’s taking me into town so I can hand in my resignation and just explain to them why I’m leaving,” I explained tiredly, not really looking forward to that conversation either, “And then he said he’s going to take me to Mum’s grave because he wants to lay new flowers down.” I whispered the last part and Char whipped her head towards me.


“Bu-!”


“Yeah it’ll be my first time going, I know,” I pulled the words right out of her mouth, “I think he’s trying to make amends with me after he helped me fill in my application form.”


“I think that’ll be nice for the two of you,” she whispered back, “Maybe you’ll be able to bond a bit whilst you’re there. And actually talk to each other properly.”


“Maybe.” I shrugged, leaning back against the couch again as we slipped back into content silence whilst waiting for our Dad to get home so I could finally quit my job. He strolled in loudly about twenty minutes later, greeted the both of us before walking straight into the kitchen.


“Are you ready to go, Elle?” He asked when he’d finished scoffing down his food and making light conversation with Char.


“Yeah.” I nodded my head, stood up then got my resignation letter so I could put it in my bag.


“Good luck and I’ll see you later on!” Charity called from the living room as we both left.


“See you later!” We called back and closed the door behind us. We walked down towards the bus stop at the end of the road so we could catch a bus into the town centre. It had been a while since we’d caught a bus together and the journey was awkward so I was very thankful when we arrived at the café. Dad wandered to a florist further down the road to pick out a nice bunch of flowers for my Mother’s grave as I walked through the front door of the café.


“Elle! Hey!” Michelle smiled brightly when she saw me, “How was your break?! You must have gone somewhere nice, you’re all tanned!” She started blurting out whilst serving the customer’s food beside her. Once she was finished, she beckoned me towards the back room and I followed tentatively, “So… how are you?”


“I’m alright,” I replied, not really wanting to get into how I was really feeling at the moment, “Thank you for letting me have a break.” I said honestly with a smile in her direction.


“It’s okay, I could tell you needed it!” she replied sincerely and I felt guilty. She’d been a good boss for the couple of years I had worked here so I felt horrible for suddenly flaking on her, “Where did you go?”


“Spain,” I said and stole a glance at her as my hands began to sweat nervously. That’s when I remembered why I was here, “Michelle, the reason I came today was to give you this. It might seem sudden but I hope it explains everything to you.” I handed over the letter with my hand shaking slightly and watched her read it slowly, all the while her eyebrows knitting together.


“Why didn’t you tell me this when you first started? We could have helped.” She looked up at me after finishing reading the letter and I let out a sigh of relief. She wasn’t mad, thank God.


“I didn’t think you’d give me the job if I told you, to be honest,” I answered, “Plus, I really needed the money.” My cheeks blushed pink in embarrassment.


“I know but that’s the whole point of having an open relationship with your boss… you can tell them these sorts of things so they can see if there’s anything they could do to help,” she replied, setting the letter down on the table between us, “For example, we could have shared an apartment if you had nowhere to stay.” I looked up at her with wide eyes as she chuckled.


“Seriously?!” My mouth dropped open in shock.


“If you don’t tell me things, how do you expect me to help? It’s the same with any other member of staff here. It’s my job as a boss to listen to their problems and it’s my job as a friends to help as much as possible,” I genuinely smiled at that and she did the same, “That being said, I kind of knew you’d want to leave after spending so much time off. But I’m gutted that you’re leaving although I understand the reasons behind it. I hope you get the help you need and you find something you enjoy doing. Thanks so much for all your help here!” She came round the front of the desk to offer me a small hug and I did so with a happy smile on my face.


“Thanks for hiring me,” we both chuckled, “I suppose I should get going.” I stated and she looked at me incredulously.


“Do you not want to say goodbye to anyone else?” She asked me in shock.


I shook my head, “I’ve been saying goodbye to people all day today. I just want to leave quietly, if that’s okay with you?”


“Okay, I won’t make a big deal about it.” She promised me and I gave her one last hug before leaving the café as quietly as promised. My Dad stayed silent as we got onto another bus, clutching the newly bought flowers and headed towards the cemetery.


“Those flowers are beautiful.” I complimented when we reached the entrance gates.


“They were your Mother’s favourite.” He smiled lightly back at me whilst he pushed open the gate, leaving it open for me to follow after him. We walked through multiple rows of graves until we reached midway through the last quarter at the bottom of the cemetery. With it being my first time visiting the grave, my hands began to shake uncontrollably and I could feel my tear starting to form in my eyes. And then I saw it.

 

In loving memory of
Kathleen Marie Underwood
A Mother, A Wife, A Daughter
An Amazing Woman
1976-2026


 

Dad gently lay the new flowers down in front of the grave, next to a picture of her from a few years before the accident and I just stood there and stared at it. I wasn’t all that sure what to say or what to do because I had so many emotions just running through me that I stayed quiet. As if understanding what I was going through, my Dad reached out to grab my hand once he’d stood back up and we stood there, staring at the grave for a couple of minutes.


“I’m sorry I didn’t let you come and see her.” He whispered quietly, gently squeezing my hand. His voice cracked a little bit so I glanced out the corner of my eye to see a few stray tears fall onto his wrinkled face.


“Thank you for letting me see her now,” I replied just as quietly. I had no idea what to say in response to that, “Thank you for coming with me.” And I squeezed his hand in return and we fell back into silence. In my head I was hoping with all my might she’d be able to hear me as I apologised to her again and again and again. Eventually, Dad looked over his shoulder and tapped mine,


“I’ll leave you alone with her,” he said kindly, “Stay as long as you want and I’ll see you later at home, okay?”


“Okay,” I nodded as he squeezed my hand once last time and walked off behind me. I turned back round to my Mum’s grave and immediately sat down on the grass, “I’ve not been the best daughter, have I?” I started speaking like she was actually there and we were just catching up over a cup of tea, “I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of… and I’m sure if you were here you’d probably give me a right good smack for being so stupid,” I chuckled to myself, staring at the picture in the frame and trying to ingrain it into my memory forever, “Norah’s awake and she’s coping as best as she can. I know she’s struggling though… I just hope she doesn’t do anything stupid like I did. I don’t want anyone else making my mistakes,” the wind picked up a little as I sniffled and wrapped my jacket tight around me, “I dyed my hair back ginger! I don’t know why I didn’t listen to you when I first dyed it blonde,” by now the tears had freely started to fall as I updated her on everyone, “Ruari and Gabby are so full of life. They really are little characters! You’d love Gabby, Mum, she’s a right madam. Char is still the same as ever, still a fantastic Mum… like you were,” I wiped away the tears roughly on the back of my hand, “Dad and I sat down last night, he helped me fill out an application form for a Rehab Centre and I leave tomorrow… it’s taken me almost four years, but I’ve finally admitted to myself that I have a problem and I need to solve it,” my jaw clenched as I tried to keep the next lot of tears in my eyes, “I hope you’re still watching over me up there and… I hope you’re still as proud of me as you were four years ago.” I finished, placing my hand on the grave as I bowed my head whilst scrunching up my eyes. I stayed in that position for a good few minutes before deciding that I should probably head home as tomorrow was going to be a very busy day. Slowly, and carefully so I didn’t knock anything over, I stood up and starting walking past the other graves so I was back on the main pathway. Once I was there, I looked up and came up short as I saw him stood no more than a couple of metres away from me.


“W-what are you doing here?” I stuttered, my eyes widened in shock as he stepped a little closer but hesitated, as if gauging my reaction.


“Your sister told me you’d be here,” James answered carefully, running a hand through his jet black, messy hair.

 


Chapter 26: The Journey Begins
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A/N: Okay so I couldn't wait another day to post this chapter! I was orignally going to do it once a week now that everything's written up but I just couldn't wait any longer! This is officially the second to last chapter and again, don't hate me, you'll just have to wait for the last chapter that'll be out next Tuesday/Wednesday if everything goes to schedule over the next week or so. Although... if I'm feeling generous, I might upload the last chapter sooner than that... you'll just have to wait and see! But anyway, I talk too much in these so ENJOY MY LOVELIES!

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.

 




 

We relocated to a bench a little further down the main pathway in the cemetery and both sat down awkwardly. Me especially because I was nervous at being in such close proximity.


“I guess we have a lot to talk about…” James sighed at me not saying anything on our short walk to the bench. My heart was pounding in my chest. So much so that I was worried he could hear it.


“We do,” like I said earlier, I knew I’d have to face him eventually but I didn’t mean straight away! By now I assumed he’d heard about the reason why I had left that morning and so I decided to come out with it, “Why did you do it?” Our eyes met for a fraction of a second before he looked out over the multiple gravestones in front of us whilst sighing heavily again. I could tell he was having some trouble looking at me so I uncrossed my arms and relaxed into the bench in order to make him feel more uncomfortable. Not that I was comfortable by any means, I was a shaking mess, but I wanted to be mature about this.


“When we used to kiss, I always felt something in my stomach. You know, like you’d expect to get butterflies in your tummy when you meet the one you think you love and blah, blah, blah,” he rolled his eyes at himself and then continued, “I guess, with my stupid logic, I just wanted to see whether that still happened and whether I was over her or not before I… you know.” He gestured his hand between the two of us and I could feel my face redden. He didn’t need to finish that sentence for me to know he was talking about the wedding.


“And?” I urged him, not sure whether I wanted to know the answer if he still had feelings for her or not.


“I felt nothing.” He replied quietly but with a hint of surprise at himself.


“Nothing?” My stomach automatically started doing flips in delight and I tried not to let my joy seep into my voice.


“Absolutely nothing… it felt like I was kissing a stranger,” his voice seemed to get more and more happy as he spoke, “A-and you have no idea how relieved I was. As soon as I realised that, I told her how I truly felt about her and it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulder. She wasn’t very happy about it but I didn’t care… to me it felt like I was finally free of her.” He exclaimed, turning to face me and I had to hold my breath. He had that twinkle in his eye that showed how genuinely happy he was, it made my heart skip a beat and simultaneously speed up. And I couldn’t help smiling back at him.


“Well I’m glad that you’re finally over her,” I stated quietly looking away from him as my heart couldn’t take the way he was looking at me, “Y-you deserve to be happy.” A large part of me was skipping for joy at the fact that he actually hadn’t been using me to get back with Courtney but the other half of me was still quite sceptical of why James was telling me all this.


“I-Is that why you really left? Because of that?” He tentatively asked and I immediately looked down at the ground. My mind was debating whether or not to tell him the truth. Eventually, because I was leaving tomorrow and it was highly unlikely that I would him again for a while, I decided to just go for it. And be brave for once in my life.


“Yes and no,” I replied, standing up so I could put a little distance between the two of us, “And I would really appreciate it if you just let me speak, without interruption, otherwise I’ll never get this out,” I turned to him and he made a zipping motion on his lips, “I did leave because I saw you kissing Courtney but probably not for the reason you’re thinking of,” I took a deep breath and blurted it out in the hopes he wouldn’t catch it, “I left because I realised that I couldn’t get married to someone who didn’t l-love me the same way I loved them. To begin with I was more focussed on the fact that I could get on my Healer course and that you’d be paying for it and it’d be over soon enough and we could carry on with our lives as normal. It was a win-win situation. I thought I wouldn’t get attached… but boy did I majorly underestimate myself,” I started rambling and pacing round in circles so that I wouldn’t see his face, “I don’t even know when it happened to be honest, I just kind of woke up one day and thought you know what, I wouldn’t mind being your actual girlfriend. And then the wedding came up and although I was worried about it at first, I really wanted it to happen you know… I quite liked the idea of being married to you. Actually I loved the idea of being married to you,” I pulled my jacket tight round myself as I continued to pace in front of him with my arms crossed. In hindsight, a cemetery was probably not the best place to be professing my love to somebody, “Everything I said that night at Valerie’s party was completely true. I used that time as an opportunity to tell you how I really felt without you actually knowing,” it was so hard trying not to look at James because I desperately wanted to see his reaction but I knew if it was bad it would kill me, “I guess the reason I’m saying all this is because… I’m in love with you… a-and I kind of want to get it out in the open. Just so you know how I feel and that if you don’t reciprocate then it’s fine, at least you’re aware of my feelings. I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually,” I finished, scrapping my foot across the ground as the silence filled the air around us for a good few minutes. And the silence made my heart race faster than it already was and I regretted saying everything, “Oh my God, I didn’t realise how creepy some of that sounded! Just forget I said anything! Pretend like the last couple of minutes didn’t happen!” I covered my eyes with my hands as my face flushed and I felt more embarrassed than I had ever felt in my whole life. As soon as I had stopped pacing I heard a light chuckle before I felt James’ hands pull mine away from my face. Instinctively I scrunched my eyes shut and he laughed again.


“Elle, open your eyes.” He said gently and I shook my head from side to side.


“I’m scared.” I whispered and got worried when he didn’t say anything. That was until I felt a pair of lips softly linger on top of mine and my eyes widened in shock. He was kissing me! James was kissing me! My mind was racing a hundred miles an hour as he leaned back with a wide grin, still holding my wrists as he looked at me.


“You’ve said your piece, can I say mine now?” he asked with that grin still etched on his face and I nodded, “You have to promise not interrupt, okay?” He let go of my wrists but instead of letting go of me completely, he grabbed hold of my hands and laced his fingers through mine. And I realised how much I had missed him, and holding hands with him. And just being near him in general. But a part of me was telling me to stop thinking about him because I was making a fool of myself yet again. I was just going to end up hurt again.


“Okay.” I nodded again, still a little bit shocked over the kiss that happened less than a minute ago.


“Believe it not, Elle,” his grin widened as he said it, “But I’m madly in love with you too.” My jaw dropped at this again, my heart sinking into my stomach, and I was pretty sure I felt a bit sick. But I wasn’t sure whether that was a giddy feeling or not.


“Really? Seriously? You aren’t messing with me?” I blurted it all out at once. One of his brows rose and I quickly shut my mouth, “Sorry.” All my jumbled emotions started to slowly unravel until I was confident I was on cloud nine. He loved me. He just said he was in love with me. James Sirius Potter was in love with me. I was in euphoria right now, I knew it.


“I thought that this engagement thing was gonna go smoothly. I was gonna have a pretend fiancée for one month to prove to my family that I was over Courtney and that they didn’t need to worry about me. It was only for one month so I didn’t have to get attached and I would be free to date whoever I wanted after,” his eyes were trained on mine, “But then you came along and I thought ‘hey, I could use this girl to help me because no-one in my immediate family has met her and if I told them I was getting married, she’d be the type of girl they would expect’. I’m not really sure when everything changed for me. I think it was when I got back to the villa after my training day,” he ran a hand through his hair, still not breaking eye contact, “Just seeing you there, making me dinner… I started imagining being properly married to you and coming home to my own house to find you waiting for me every day. But I thought, how could I like you if I was still in love with Courtney?” The euphoria just kept building inside my chest that it was threatening to explode out of me. The smile on my face just kept getting bigger and bigger that my cheeks were starting to hurt.


“When you explained everything to me on the roof, I felt so much lighter. Like you’d really solved one of the biggest mysteries for me. You see, I realised you were right. I wasn’t in love with Courtney, it was lust but I was completely blinded by that. The only reason why I think I was so hurt when I found her and my best friend in bed together was because I knew that I wasn’t going to have her anymore. Like…” he paused, trying to find words to express it, “I knew I wasn’t going to be having sex with her anymore and that was the only thing that was keeping us together. And I just needed to test my theory out, to make sure that I definitely had no feelings for Courtney anymore… that’s why,”


“But that pain… was nothing compared to the hurt I felt when I found out that all your stuff was gone and my Mum and Dad telling me that you’d left and I explained everything to them. And whilst my Mum and Dad told me off and told me that they were disappointed that I didn’t tell them the truth in the first place, I realised that I had let the love of my life walk out and I’ll be darned if I was going to let you get away again. I need you Elle, I need you in my life. I need you beside me when I wake up every morning, I need you to be with me at every waking moment so we can share memories together. I want to be one of those old couples that sit on their front porch, reminiscing about the ‘good, old days’. So I guess what I’m trying to say is…” the happiness I felt from before slowly started to dwindle as he knelt down in front of me and the smile dropped from my face.


“Will you marry me?” he pulled out a ring box from his jacket pocket and opened it to reveal the engagement ring that I had been wearing for the past two weeks, “For real this time?” He looked up at me hopefully as I could feel my cheeks rising up with heat. A few seconds dragged, feeling more like hours, until I opened my mouth.


“I’m really sorry…” I started, the overwhelming wash of guilt falling over me when the gleam in his eyes fizzled out.


“I-Is it because we’re in a cemetery?” He stuttered out and I chuckled.


“Yeah it’s not really romantic, is it? But it’s not that…” I paused with a sheepish smile on my face as he stood up slowly, his arm that was holding the ring still extended outwards, “I can’t, James. I think I need to sort out my life first before I even think about relationships or a job,” I honestly couldn’t meet his eyes, “I don’t know whether your Mum’s told you but I’m going away for a bit, on my own. It’s a place up in the Lakes that’ll really help me with my addiction… I’ve been fooling myself into thinking that having one drink with a couple of friends won’t hurt anyone but it was. And I’ve realised that now,” he listened quietly, “I need to sort out my head and frame of mind before I let anyone else get involved in it.” He stayed quiet for a few minutes, his eyes looking down at the ring in his hand with no emotion of his face.


“What if I said I wanted to get involved?” He whispered eventually and my head snapped up to him in shock before it changed to pity.


“I’m sorry, James… it wouldn’t be fair to you. I can’t right now.” I answered honestly even thought I wanted with all my heart to say yes. But I knew that I needed to do this for myself first. I leaned forward and grabbed his hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze.


“So that’s not a ‘no’?” He questioned, his voice betraying his slight hope and I had to giggle.


“That’s a ‘not right now’.” I replied, nearly choking on my own spit when he pulled me into a massive hug, resting his head on top of mine.


“I’ll take it,” he whispered happily into my ear, embracing me tightly and we stayed like that for a while, “…What happened to no second chances?” He smirked down at me when we pulled apart. I smiled whilst rolling my eyes at what I’d told him on the second day at the villa.


“Sometimes you have to make exceptions.” I responded as he leaned in to place a chaste kiss on my lips.

 





My eyes peeled open slowly when the alarm I had set on my phone went off. Today was the day. I quickly switched it off then turned to face the familiar messy head of black hair with a smile.


“James…” I nudged him gently from where he was currently laid awkwardly on his side so that we both fit in my single bed. I spent about ten minutes last night laughing at his feet dangling off the end of it, “James, my alarm’s gone off.” I whispered loudly as I heard my Dad moving around in the living room.


“No…” He murmured in his sleep before pulling the duvet over his head so that I was now exposed to the cold morning air.


“Fine I’ll just leave without you then.” I shrugged, standing up and getting my clothes out that I was wearing today. That got him up however and he pulled the duvet off him as fast as lightning. I had to giggle at his hair that was shooting up in all different directions and he still had an adorable half-asleep expression on his face.


“What time is it?” He grumbled, rubbing his hands over his eyes and then through his hair to tame it a little.


“Eight o’clock,” I replied, brushing through my hair, “My train leaves at ten so you need to get up and get dressed.” I pointed at the upper half of his body that wasn’t clothed, as usual, and he sulked. I noticed his facial expression and so I went to sit on the edge of my bed but almost screamed when he grabbed my waist and pulled me down onto the bed with him. He had a childlike grin on his face when I turned to smack him on the arm.


“I love you.” He suddenly blurted out. And I felt my cheeks burn bright red and my heart do somersaults behind my ribcage.


“I love you too.” I replied with an equally as large smile on my face.


“I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of saying that.” He whispered, kissing me gently.


“I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing it,” I responded once he’d pulled back. We lay in my bed for just a few minutes more until I sighed, looking at the clock again, “Come on, we have to actually get up now. You need to get dressed and I need to get showered.” I unwound myself from his arms and heaved myself out of the bed, grabbing my clothes for today and my towel.


“Can I join you?” He looked at me with a massive smirk on his face so I responded with throwing a teddy at him whilst he laughed.


“No! Now get dressed!” I laughed too, walking down the corridor towards the bathroom. I quickly got in, washing my hair and body before using my wand to dry myself off. When I exited the bathroom, fully dressed, and walked back to my bedroom, I saw James dressed in his clothes from yesterday sat on my bed, “You want to come to the kitchen for some breakfast?” I asked, hovering in the doorway.


“I don’t want you to go.” He muttered quietly, his eyes wandering to the two big suitcases in the corner of my room.


“I know,” I sighed as he stood up and came to wrap his arms around my shoulders, “But I have to go,” I immediately wrapped my arms around his waist and buried my head in the crook of his neck, “Maybe it’ll be good for us to get a bit of separation for a while. Then we can see whether we still feel the same when I come back.”


“I’ll still feel the same regardless.” He responded almost straight away and I smiled.


“I know, and I will too,” he kissed the top of my head as we both stood there, “But let’s go and get some breakfast, I’m starving.” I pulled myself away from him and started walking towards the kitchen. Dad was already sat in the living room of the bungalow watching TV when we wandered down the corridor.


“Good morning.” He greeted the two of us with a small smile. I guessed he still wasn’t all that pleased that James had stayed over last night but he’d conceded when I told him that I was an adult now.


“Morning," we both said simultaneously as he turned back to the TV screen without saying anything else. I set about making a couple of slices of toast with James hovering behind me until I was done. We then both sat down on the small dining room table and ate in silence, both afraid of saying anything in front of my Dad.


“What time is Char coming round, Dad?” I asked once we were finished with our breakfast.


“In about half an hour, I think.” He replied without taking his eyes off of the screen and I nodded.


“Okay, I’m gonna go and pack the rest of my stuff then.” I said to nobody in particular as James stood up too, obviously wanting to come with me and not spend time alone with my Dad. I wouldn’t blame him though. I placed our plates in the sink and walked with him back into my bedroom.


“What do you still need to pack?” James sat crossed legged on my bed as I pulled my suitcases towards me and laid them on the floor.


“Erm… my toothbrush, hairbrush, other toiletry stuff, a couple more pieces of clothes,” I read off the list on my phone, “I think that’s everything… I think.”


“Have you got money?” He asked conversationally, reading through the email I got from the Rehab Centre.


“Yeah, I asked Char if she could exchange my wizard money into muggle money for me yesterday,” I answered, picking up my purse that contained said money from inside the first suitcase before chucking it back in, “I just feel like I’m forgetting something though.” I sighed, looking back over my list and then glancing over everything in my suitcases.


“I’m sure you won’t have forgotten anything, it’ll be fine.” James came to sit next to me on the floor as I fretted over everything. He wrapped an arm around my waist, taking the list off of me and going through the checklist with me. It was making me feel a little better having someone else pack with me. Soon enough we both heard a ‘pop’ sound followed by talking.


“Guess Char’s here,” I said, standing up and heading towards the living room, “Hey, Char.” I smiled when I saw her talking to Dad.


“Hey, you okay?” she stepped forward to give me a hug before cupping my face, “You ready for today?” she scanned my face for any sign of worry and I just gave her a smile. The worry about going hadn’t happened yet but I was sure that it would when I got to the train station, “Oh? When did this happen?” She looked over my shoulder and I spun around to see James stood a bit behind us, rubbing his neck with a sheepish expression on his face.


“Yeah I’m good,” I replied to her earlier statement and turned to her with a pink face, “Erm… and yeah, kind of yesterday, when you told him where I was… and yeah…” I looked back at James who had come to stand beside me.


“Is it sorted?” She looked between the two of us with a raised eyebrow.


“Yeah, kind of…” I said at the same time James said,


“Kind of, yeah…” And we both chuckled awkwardly.


“Well, I’m glad,” she smiled happily at the both of us before pulling me into another hug, “Should we carry on with your packing then?” I nodded my head as we walked back into my bedroom where the two suitcases were laid open on the floor, “How many times have you packed them?” Char looked at me with an amused smile.


“Maybe once or twice,” I shrugged, “Maybe three times.” She laughed again and sat down beside the suitcases whilst James sat on my bed. I went into the bathroom to quickly brush my teeth so I could put that in my suitcase. Once I was done, I put it in my container and grabbed all my shower necessities and put them in there too.


“You sure you’ll have enough clothes?” Char asked, looking at all the clothes squished into the two cases with surprise.


“Why? Do you think I’ve packed too many?” I asked, pausing in my strides to look at her.


“No, I think you have enough,” she reassured me, “But what if you buy some more there?”


“I probably won’t,” I shrugged, closing the first suitcase, “And even if I do, I might just have to see if I can buy another suitcase coming back.”


“And you’re definitely sure you have enough money?”


“Yes, I’m sure,” I rolled my eyes at her and she smacked me on the arm, “You got me the money.”


“I know but it’s the first time you’re going away properly,” she gestured towards James, “Without anybody with you. I’m just worried about you.”


“I’m worried about myself,” I laughed, trying to lighten the tension in the room but nobody else laughed with me, “I know you’re worried but I’ll be fine. It’s what I need to do,” I reassured her and she gave me an awkward one-armed hug, “And you were the one who suggested it so don’t start getting cold feet now!” I joked and she laughed.


“I’m not but I can’t believe you’re actually doing it,” she replied happily, “I thought I’d be met with more resistance from you if I was honest.”


“I did think about it a lot though. But Norah helped me come to the decision to do it.”


“Well I’m glad you went to visit her then,” she agreed and then stood up once I’d closed my last suitcase, “I’m just going to see how Dad’s doing, if you don’t mind?” She slyly gestured towards James, who was now laid on my bed staring up at the ceiling with a blank expression on his face. To be honest, I hadn’t even noticed he hadn’t said anything up until now which was strange because he was really talkative. I knew it certainly wasn’t anything to do with Char being in the room because those two were comfortable around each other.


“Okay,” I nodded, “We’ll be out in a minute.” She left, lugging the two suitcases into the living room for when it was time to go in roughly forty minutes. As the time got closer, the more I realised I was actually doing this an