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My room was exactly how I left it. In fact, I didn’t think Dad touched a thing. Oh, except my old schoolbooks from my first few years at Hogwarts. He sold them so I could have extra spending money since it was pretty obvious I’d never take a look at Standard Book of Spells Grade Three again. Unless I was going to use it as a means of boredom torture.
It took me a few hours to unpack all of my school things—robes in the closet, shoes next to the door, books in the bottom of my trunk, and Nimbus beside the window. I stared around in the silence.
My room was small since Dad and I lived in a London flat, but it was comfortable to me, especially coming from living with three other girls. It was a soft gold color, matching my Gryffindor hangings and the quilt Dad made me. It was sewn wrong and the patches weren’t lined up, but he was jealous of the other parents making their kids things so he wanted to give it a go as well. At least it was warm.
I had Harpies posters on my wall and told Dad on the way home that he would have to pick up a Puddlmere one once Oliver had his face on it. Though it would probably be sold out since he was so good-looking. I didn’t tell Dad that. I actually didn’t tell Dad that Oliver and I were dating either.
I’d break that news to him later. I didn’t want to be given the lecture again about how I wasn’t allowed to date until I was thirty-five that would somehow turn into how the Harpies were a horrible team.
Once my stomach started disagreeing with my cleaning process, I made my way into the living room to find Dad reading The Daily Prophet with his feet up on an ottoman. I flopped down on the sofa and stared over at him with the big puppy dog eyes I had perfected over the years. “Daddy, I’m hungry.”
“You’re back from Hogwarts a couple hours and you’re already expecting me to do all the work?” He raised a brow with a smile playing at his lips. “Well, if you’re hungry then you can wobble your butt in the kitchen and make me something too.”
“Pfft,” I muttered, rolling onto my back and looking at the ceiling. “I’m not that hungry.”
“Good. I ordered pizza and it will be here in a few minutes.” He straightened the paper.
I beamed and launched myself off of the sofa. “So the Tornadoes are still in it, huh?” I said, reading the back of the paper.
“Yeah, they play the Finches tomorrow in the second round,” he replied quickly. “You’ll be home to watch the game?”
I raised a brow and flipped on the television. Dad and I loved our Muggle things and any wizard that didn’t know about things like televisions were simply daft. “Of course I’ll be home. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“I didn’t know if you’d be off with Oliver Wood or something,” he said slyly and I blushed immediately.
“Why would I be off with Oliver?”
“Do I have stupid inked across my forehead?” He lowered the paper and looked at me, giving me that all-too-careful Dad stare. “When were you going to tell me that you fancied the boy?”
“I—what’d’you—you couldn’t possibly,” I said quickly, averting my eyes and blushing even more. I couldn’t deny it, of course, but I was thinking about giving Dad a few firewhiskeys before I told him his little girl was dating an International Quidditch Player that already had a groupie following before he even played his first game for Puddlemere.
“Pumpkin, I saw you try and hide that kiss before we left the platform.” He raised two amused brows at me and I wanted to curse him for knowing me so well. “So when did it happen? Or should I say, how long have you been hiding it from me?”
“After the Quidditch Final. Only like a week,” I mumbled, hiding my face in a nearby pillow.
“And so that means you didn’t listen to me about not being able to date until after you were thirty.” I could hear the smile in his voice.
“Well, at least he isn’t a Harpies fan,” he said and my head flew up.
“That’s all you’re going to say?” I said, mouth hanging open. “No lecture about dating a Quidditch star? That I will probably never get to see him because of practice and games? That I’m your little pumpkin and no boy will ever be good enough for me?”
Dad shrugged lightly and ruffled his hair. “Do you want the lecture? Because I can still give it to you about how I’m a bit skeptical about these big star types and that you’ll have to really make plans to see each other this summer since training camps start soon. I can also talk about how you’re not allowed to date boys because their minds are stuck in the gutter and they don’t care about your personality or what your Charms grade is like, they care about your features and how you look on their arm.”
“Yeah, but Oliver isn’t like that!”
“Oh, so you want the lecture?”
I frowned. “No, of course I don’t, but Oliver isn’t like that. He’s not even a star. Well, yet. And he’s getting a flat in London so we can spend more time together. Oh, and I’ll have you know that I’ve dated other guys before and none of them have been like what you just described.” I folded my arms triumphantly.
“Who have you dated?” He folded the paper and stared at me.
“I dated Roger Davies last year!”
“That Ravenclaw bloke?” Dad asked. “You dated a guy from the opposing team? That couldn’t’ have ended well.”
“Considering I’m dating Oliver now I think that’s obvious,” I muttered through gritted teeth. “But he wasn’t like that.”
Dad smirked dangerously and unfolded the paper. “All right. But he better watch out. As your father I’m required to look after you and threaten any bloke that so much as looks at you.”
“And have him around for dinner. I need to talk to him again now that you two are dating or whatever it is you call it.” He shook the paper and started to read again.
He chuckled for a moment and then became silent again.
Suddenly a thought struck me and I lunged myself at the paper, tearing it out of my father’s hands. “You’re not going to ask him what his intentions are, are you?”
“What do you think he’ll say?”
“DAD!” I cried, throwing the paper onto the carpet behind me. “I swear I’m not bringing him to dinner if you’re going to ask him about his intentions.”
“Oh, hush up or I’ll tell him to have you home by nine and maybe I’ll accompany you on dates.” He smiled warmly and reached for the paper. I pushed it further out of the way. “You know I can just go to a Puddlemere game and see him then.”
“So let me know ahead of time when he’s coming and I’ll expect it’ll be soon because you probably don’t want to be away from him for a while.” He laughed and I gagged. “I just want to have something good cooked instead of my usual take out and tacos.”
“I’m sure he’d like tacos.” I leaned against Dad’s legs and set my head on his knee. “I know I could go for some tacos.”
“Quit whining, the pizza will be here soon.” He messed up my hair for a moment and then tried to grab the paper again. It didn’t work. I kicked it further. “Apparently not soon enough.”
I chuckled and sat for a while, just listening to the silence surrounding our little London flat. Well, as silent as it could get with the traffic outside and Mr. Wright upstairs with his vacuum. It was nice being home for the summer—not that it didn’t break my heart being away from the castle and my best friends and the huge amount of space I had. The four-poster wasn’t bad either. But here it was just my dad and I with our ugly floral wallpaper and the Quidditch station I had on mute.
Well, that and the pizza guy that knocked on the door. Life was good. I didn’t even have to walk down more than seven floors to get some food.
The weirdest thing about the next three days was that I slept in my own room in silence each night. I went in there, turned off the lights, and curled up under my wonky quilt. I didn’t wake up to find Angelina gone with Fred or Katie snoring with her arm halfway off her bed (wait till George found out about that). Whenever I woke up it was because of Mr. Wright and one of his cats that was scratching at the floor. I was glad Dad wasn't babysitting them anymore. Even though I should have been used to it during the summer, I still felt sort of alone at home.
It was like a piece of me was missing if I didn’t get harassed by Fred at breakfast for not letting him see my Transfiguration notes. Plus, I hadn’t heard from Oliver in three days either.
Not that I was fretting about it. He probably had more things to worry about—his father, finding a flat in a hectic place like London, and going to Puddlmere to meet with all of the administrators for the team. So I couldn’t be selfish and whine about three days.
It would still be nice to get a letter or something.
Not that I was getting my hopes up.
On a bright Wednesday morning I stayed in bed for several hours before even getting up. I thought about the previous few weeks—about the Quidditch Cup game where I took Ellis’s place and caught the Snitch, falling into Oliver Wood’s arms and into the craziest relationship filled with being thrown in the lake, running out on a fancy restaurant with ugly forks, and snogging in his dormitory.
Was it a dream? A stupid, Shrieker-inspired dream?
I might have thought so until I spotted a familiar owl tapping at my window around noon. I leapt out of bed, tripping over my trunk and various articles of clothing, and threw open the window to let the bird inside. It dropped a letter into my open hands and flew over to take a breather on top of my dresser. I wouldn’t have cared if it would have pooped all over my bed.
I had my letter from Oliver.
I ripped it open as fast as possible and grinned widely.
Just left my dad’s place. Him and I got in a row about me turning down Brazil because apparently he thinks they’re better than Puddlemere but I don’t care. Just got my place in London. Directions on the bottom. Come whenever you want.
P.S. By “whenever you want”, I mean now.
It was short, but it was still a letter. I never pictured Oliver to be much of a writer anyway. I reread it a few times and then stopped myself because suddenly I felt like Libby, worshiping every word Oliver Wood wrote.
It was because of his smile.
After getting dressed and sliding on a cute skirt, I made my way out into the kitchen where Dad was fixing a salad and dumping on a bowl full of bacon bits. He smiled.
“Slept long enough?” he asked, topping the meal with a bunch of Italian dressing. “I thought you might not get up—and then here you are dressed up with nowhere to go.” He paused and stuck a fork in the creation of unhealthiness. “Or am I wrong?”
“Oliver sent me the address to his new flat,” I said confidently, helping myself to an apple out of the fridge.
“What area of London is it in?”
“The shady area with all of the rogue blokes with knives,” I said casually and smiled with the puppy dog eyes.
He groaned and tossed a cherry tomato at me. “All right, I get it. So when is he coming around for dinner? I’ve got my intentions speech all set. I even wrote it out and practiced it in front of the mirror last night.”
“Right,” I said, taking a bite out of the apple and plopping down at the wood table.
The kitchen was like the rest of the flat—small with ugly wallpaper and mismatched cabinets. Some of the handles were even missing off the doors, but Dad replaced them with things like mini screwdrivers so we were all set.
He took a seat across from me and dove into his salad. “So what time will you be home?”
“I’m not sure,” I said quietly. “Do I have to be sure now? Since I’m nearly seventeen?”
“You always have to be sure.”
“Yes, Dad.” I sat there for a moment and stared around the kitchen and out the window at another nearby building. One of the windows had hideous mustard curtains and I prayed Oliver didn’t have disgusting curtains.
Just sitting in the kitchen having a nutritious breakfast with my father.
The father that was going to ask my boyfriend about his intentions.
The father that was holding me hostage in the kitchen.
Against my will.
Eating an apple.
“Oh, just go already,” he said suddenly, dropping his fork and raising his brows at me.
I beamed. “Thanks, Daddy!” I jumped up, tossed the rest of the apple in the bin, and rushed out the door and down the stairs out onto the streets of London. It was busy and loads of people in various shades of brown rushed past me, but I didn’t care. I hurried around corners and up streets and even bumped into a poodle (more than once).
It didn’t take me as long as I thought it would, though that was probably because I was half-running down the sidewalk and shoving people out of the way so I could stop outside of the building the directions led me to and press the button to Oliver’s flat.
“Yeah?” It was that same Scottish drawl that I had been used to for years.
“It’s Jane.” I didn’t sound too nervous. Or too anxious. I even tried to keep the “flirty” in my voice, but I think it sounded a little excited.
I pulled open the door and rushed up the stairs but then paused on the landing to the eighth floor so I could catch my breath before knocking.
“Not thrilled are you?”
My eyes whipped up and I saw Oliver peeking his head out the doorway of number 812. He was smiling.
“No. I just…needed to get a bit of a workout since I’ve just been hanging around my place for three days with no contact from any of my friends.” I beamed and ran at him, falling into his arms as we fell backward into his flat.
I didn’t even care that the door wasn’t closed. My lips found his and suddenly he was on his back against the hideous brown carpet and we were snogging in the center of his living room.
It felt amazing—three days seemed like forever and the horrible part is I knew I had been spoiled, being able to see him every day at school. Some couples rarely saw their significant other.
Ha. Oliver was significant. And he was my other. I never thought I would think that.
Maybe that he was a significant prat.
But in my own defense we didn’t see eye to eye for most of the year, so we needed to make up for it by snogging with the door open.
And we did.
“Don’t you want to look around and insult my lack of décor?” Oliver asked, finally breaking the kiss and pulling me to his chest.
I kicked the door closed and smiled, taking a deep breath so I could remember what Oliver smelled like.
God, I was a twit.
“All right, are you going to give me the grand tour?” I hoisted myself up and stared around the flat.
No tour was needed. His living room was to the right and there was a large suede sofa with a few mismatched throw pillows and a television. The rest of the room was filled to the ceiling with boxes. The kitchen was the same way, though a few plates were already used and sitting out on the counter and there was a quart of milk on the table. After explaining that the boxes were full of more decorations, Oliver led me down the hallway and showed me his bedroom with large closet full of nothing except one collared shirt on a hanger, and the bathroom that had lime green subway tile in it. I gagged.
“Perfect,” I said simply, hugging him.
“It’s not bad, huh?” he said, putting the milk back in the fridge.
“It’s cozy!” I chuckled and dived onto his sofa, grabbing the remote and flipping on the Quidditch station. “Daddy wants you over for dinner soon by the way.”
“Did you tell him we’re together?”
“He figured it out, crazy man,” I muttered darkly. “Just called me out on it the first day I was home.”
“So he wants to ask me my intentions?” Oliver slid down next to me and grabbed the remote, switching it from the Tornadoes warm-up drills to the highlights of Brazil beating the Irish.
“Yep,” I replied lightheartedly, kicking my legs up onto his lap as I leaned back against a plaid throw pillow. “So what are your intentions?” I asked.
Oliver raised a brow. “My intentions, huh?” He looked deep in thought for a moment and flipped to a few different stations. “I think I’ve made my intentions quite clear.”
“With me?” I snorted. “I think you’ve made it clear you want to snog my face off, get me drunk off red wine, and watch me catch a Snitch, but other than that I’m not so sure.”
He smiled warmly at me and ran his fingers up and down my legs. “That and I’d like you to fix me some toast but that’s about it.”
I rolled my eyes. “You would.”
“I do. I’m sort of hungry.”
“Toast your own bread,” I muttered, closing my eyes and listening to the announcers talk about how the Irish defense simply folded under the pressure of Brazil. “You’re of age. You can toast it with your wand.” I motioned to his wand sitting stationary on the coffee table in front of him.
“I never learned those spells.” Oliver frowned.
“You mean while you were calling Quidditch practices at all hours of the day you never bothered to learn how to toast bread?” I smiled mockingly and he shot me a dark look. “Maybe you should practice now.”
“I have to head off to a team meeting in a little bit.” He checked his watch and smiled sideways at me.
“Then why in blazes am I here?” I hoisted myself up onto my elbows and glared at him. “I walked all the way over here and now you’re about to leave?”
“You walk slow.”
I rolled my eyes. “Can I at least have a kiss before I go?”
“Where are you going?”
“Why would I stay if you’re not going to be here?”
“How about when I get back we can both eat some toast and rewatch the Tornadoes stomping on Bulgaria?” Oliver shot me a sideways smile, looking hopeful.
“So you want me to hang around your flat while you’re at a team thing?”
“Do you have anywhere better to be?”
I made a face. Of course I didn’t have anywhere better to be. I had my own flat—Dad was probably done with his Godzilla-salad by now and we would watch television and maybe poke fun at the clothes some wizards wore when it was raining. Then I could go write an “I’m all alone, entertain me” letter to one of my friends that had siblings and a real life, then to go to sleep and dream about how the flowers on the wallpaper had the ability to detach themselves and laugh at me for how pathetic I was.
I yeah, I basically could do that.
“So you’re staying?” Oliver was beaming.
“Yeah, I’m staying. But I’m not making your sodding toast.” I folded my arms and he stood up.
“Glad to hear.” Oliver threw his cloak over his shoulders and smiled warmly at me. He pulled open the door and shot me another one of his obnoxious, stupid, wonderfully adorable grins. “Bye, love. I’ll be back in a while.” He shut the door with a snap and suddenly I was alone in Oliver Wood’s flat.
It was quiet in there besides the commentators ripping Ireland a new one for flying under the Brazilian Chasers while their Seeker was too caught up in a pretty girl watching instead of tailing Bastian for the Snitch. I watched for a moment, laughing at the careless attitude of the Irish Seeker, and then glanced around the room.
There were boxes everywhere. It was like a brown maze in the room and a few of them were labeled “kitchen” and “figures”. What the hell were figures?
I wandered over to it quietly even though I knew Oliver would be gone for a while and pulled open the box. Snickering, I took out Quidditch player figurines that moved in the palm of my hands. Jackson Beier from the Finches. Troy from the Irish. The old legend Gordie Lydrond of the Tornadoes. And ha—he even had Molly Pearsin from the Harpies. I would have to taunt him about that.
I took the figures and placed them on an empty shelf beside the television, but had to separate Beier and Lydrond after a while because they kept poking each other with their brooms.
I couldn’t just stop there. I opened the next box and put all of the pots and pans in the cupboards. It was obvious they hadn’t been used before so I stacked them up high since they probably wouldn’t be used in the future either. The next box had picture frames. One was a photo of Oliver flying in what I assumed to be his back garden as a kid. He was wearing tiny red robes and was smiling. The next was who I assumed to be his father showing Oliver a stack of Quidditch magazines. Oliver was wearing a little set of Tornadoes robes. The last few were not moving photos, but professional shots of Oliver, his father, and his mother all with fancy clothes on.
His father looked proud and had the same sandy brown hair except his was very short and whispy. He also had the same deep brown eyes and confident smile. It matched his dark suit. Oliver’s mother was a slender woman with flowing blond hair and bright blue eyes. She stood out in a silk green dress and had her freckled arms wrapped around Oliver, who could have only been nine or ten at the time. He was adorable in each shot—his little tousled hair falling into his eyes and a frown playing at his lips.
I paused for a moment before placing the photos on one of the end tables. Part of me really wanted to know about the situation between Oliver and his father and why I hadn’t heard anything yet about the relationship between him and his mother. But our relationship was young. It hadn’t even been two weeks. We had plenty of time to get to know each other more and as soon as his father calmed down about him not taking up Brazil and instead going to Puddlemere, I was certain I would get an invite over to the Wood house to have a meal that consisted of ham and pretty forks.
It took a while for me to finish unpacking all the boxes in the living room. I found places for the books Oliver would never use again since I was pretty certain he didn’t care about the Standard Book of Spells Grade Four just as much as I didn’t care about it. I took down his hideous window treatments and put a few scarlet and gold tablecloths up just to be festive and remind him that Gryffindor is where he got his start. After that I cleaned off the counters in the kitchen and hung up a few things I was certain his mother had stuffed in a box just to make him feel more comfortable, like pictures of the beach and a few strawberry candles.
After putting a blue and gold Puddlemere tablecloth on the wood table, I noticed something on the windowsill. It was a large white owl. With a letter.
Raising a brow, I opened the latch and let the bird in. It dropped the letter into my hands immediately and flew back out the window. It was addressed to Oliver, of course, but what would it hurt to have a read? After all, he left me in charge. Well, not in charge, but in charge enough. I was watching his flat. What if the letter was an emergency letter that something horrible had happened to Alicia and he needed to get to the hospital immediately?
Not that anything horrible was going to happen to Alicia.
Or maybe it did.
I stared at the letter and flipped it over in my hands. It could have. Something could be wrong.
But it could be personal.
I was his girlfriend though.
Pfft. Of two weeks. Big accomplishment, Jane.
Oh, screw it. If Alicia was dead I needed to know about it.
We didn’t finish our talk. I expect you back here before the day is over for dinner. Your mother is fixing it. I’m sick of you walking out on important talks. Puddlemere is not for you. We’re owling Brazil to ask them to reconsider your stupidity. I expect you around six. Bring that girl if you want. Janet or Juniper or JoJo or whatever you said her name was.
Great. I was Juniper or JoJo. I was certainly off to a great start with his family. I should just introduce myself as Juliet and really throw them off. Then I could tell them that Oliver was my Romeo and he recited Shakespeare in the common room and performed a monologue from Hamlet while on the Quidditch pitch.
And owling Brazil? Are they daft? Puddlemere may not have won a Cup in years and maybe they’re not an amazing team, but a player like Oliver could very well turn them around. He was so good. And apparently they didn’t see that.
It was nearly four and they expected him in two hours with Jessica or whatever.
“Whoa, you transformed the place!” Oliver tossed his cloak on the ground as he closed the door behind him and beamed. “Look at that—you found my collection of Quidditch players. I hope you don’t think less of me because of it. I’m a sucker for them since they all pick on each other and throw things at the Canons players. Had to put them in a different box—ahh, I see you put them over by the window.” He beamed. “And the pictures—I guess my mum put in those candles because the place smells great. But no toast. Jane, what am I going to do with a great flat but an empty stomach?”
I smiled. “Starve?”
He was about to reply but noticed the open window and the piece of parchment in my hand. “What’s that?”
“Letter that just came for you.” I pushed it into his hands.
“And you opened it.”
I blushed. “It was already open,” I said quickly.
“Magically sealed letters aren’t already open,” Oliver muttered, staring at me.
“Okay!” I cried, throwing up my hands. “It wasn’t open. I just thought Alicia was dying in the hospital and that she had a disease and I had to go save her or something.”
“So is she?”
“No,” I muttered darkly. “It’s a letter from your dad.”
Oliver skimmed it and then sighed deeply. He was silent for a moment and then sank down onto the sofa.
“So,” he said after a while, tossing the letter onto the coffee table. “Do you want to go, JoJo?”
I smiled. Yeah, great start to the summer.
A/N: So even though there wasn't a huge deal of excitement and Quidditch and flying limbs, I hope you enjoyed the first chapter...especially since in the next few stuff starts to hit the fan. Please let me know what you think, especially since I already have a lot of this written already.
Favorite quotes? Itching to hear from Fred and George?
Thanks again to everyone!
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