A/N: I am so sorry!! Please don't hate me, alright? I know this is long overdue but I honest to god had about a million and one things that needed to be handled and the story took a backseat as a result! I promise it won't happen again! For now, I hope you just enjoy the story :D
“Can you get the milk, love?”
“Hmm.” I mumbled, as I got up to fetch the milk from outside the front door.
I passed by the drawing room and flicked my wand at the curtains so they’d let the morning light in, all without looking up from the Prophet. Practice did make perfect, as I had found just a year after I had come of age when I could do most things without looking up from what I was actually doing. I made my way through the wide corridor which opened up into the lobby and flicked my wand at the front door. It swung open and I stopped in front of it, pausing for a second to fold up my newspaper and tucking it under my arm along with my wand so it couldn’t be seen.
God knows, I could have summoned the milk from the kitchen but the thing was that James and I didn’t live in magical London. Considering James’ celebrity status in our world, we found it wiser to buy a flat in muggle London when we had decided to move in together some three years ago. Up until then I had shared a flat with Rose.
Mona used to live with us as well but she was the first to move out to go live with Prentice, just two years after we all graduated. But Rose and I stuck together for another two years before we moved in with our respective boyfriends. Scorpius had been asking her for years but Rose, being rather independent, always denied him, saying that she had to establish her career first, something she did in her own good time. Magical Law Enforcement suited Rose and she was expected to rise to Deputy Head of the Department any day now.
I was planning on living on my own after Rose told me that she’d be moving in with Scorpius but James wouldn’t have it. We’d been together ages already, he had said, and the next logical step was to move in together. He was right because living together was like a dream for us both. We’d bought a gorgeous flat in Mayfair together and had been living there ever since.
As much as we loved our flat though, there were certain... inconveniences. One in particular, to be honest.
“Good morning, Mrs. Harris.” I said as I picked up the milk bottle.
“Oh! Good morning, dear.” She said as she stepped out from around the corridor.
She sounded surprised to hear me say her name. Frankly, I hadn’t actually known she was there but she’d been peering around the corner to watch me get the milk every morning for the past year, ever since she moved in, so it wasn’t hard to guess. Mrs. Harris was uncommonly curious about James and I. Being a widow, she had plenty of time to spy and snoop around. Perhaps it was the fact that she heard plenty of chatter in the apartment but had seen no one go in that aroused her suspicion. Either way, James and I were very careful around the woman.
She was eying me beadily as I stepped back inside the house, closing the door behind me. I rolled my eyes when the door was shut and walked back to the kitchen. I inhaled the invigorating scent of freshly brewed coffee mixed with the smell of the French toast that James was making. I placed the bottle of milk and newspaper on the counter before I slipped my arm around James’ waist. I leaned up and kissed his stubble covered cheek as he flipped over the slices on the skillet.
“That smells lovely.” I complimented.
“Hopefully it’ll taste just as good as it smells.” He said, grinning at me before he kissed my temple.
“You know it will. This is your mum’s recipe and you’re making it. Thank Merlin you can cook. Otherwise we’d starve.” I joked as I set the table with a wave of my wand.
“You’re not half bad yourself, love.” He assured me as he turned off the stove, ducking to avoid the knives and forks flying out of the drawer next to him.
“Yeah, well, thanks. You’re still better at it, though.” I said as I grabbed the coffee pot and milk, carrying it over to the table while James brought the skillet.
“You say that because you think I’m perfect.” He corrected as he banished the pan and spatula to the sink after he served us.
I snorted as I passed him a cup of coffee, the way he liked it on non-work days. He drank black coffee every other day since he had to wake up insanely early to train with his team.
“It’s not just me. In case you haven’t noticed, love, the world thinks you’re perfect. Remember that article last month?” I cleared my throat theatrically. “James Potter is charming, chivalrous and many women have melted under his warm gaze. And, as if that wasn’t enough, he’s also trained in ballroom dancing, is a brilliant cook and rumour has it that he often volunteers to babysit his nieces and nephews. Oh, and did we say that he found a cure to Spattergroit and knits sweaters for the patients in St. Mungo’s during his free time?”
James was resting his elbow on the table, leaning his jaw against his hand as he watched me with an amused expression. “Are you done?” he asked as I took a bite of my French toast.
“Quite.” I said with a grin. “And this is delicious, by the way.” I granted, pointing to my plate with my knife.
“Thanks. So, what plans for the day?” he asked as he took a sip of his coffee.
“Well, it’s Hugo’s birthday party tonight so –”
I quickly conjured a Shield charm so the coffee that James spat out in surprise splattered against it. I made the charm fall away as James started cursing.
“Fuck, fucking hell. I swore to myself I’d remember. Bugger, shit.” He muttered as he moved to stand. “Love, what do you think I should –?”
“I picked up that black and silver lighter that he wanted from that shop in Hogsmeade last week on your behalf. I figured if you had to get him a present you’d get him that. I, on the other hand, refuse to encourage that idiotic smoking habit of his.” I said calmly as I sipped my own coffee.
James sank back into his chair with a sigh before turning to me. “You know you’re brilliant, right?”
I met his smile with one of my own. “So you tell me and I happen to agree. Now, go take Hugo out for brunch or something. Spend the day with him and we’ll take care of his party.”
“Would ‘we’ be your merry gang of miscreants who have no idea what the words surprise and stealth mean?” he asked mockingly as he gulped down some coffee.
I smacked him on the arm before I continued eating. “So what if we don’t throw surprise parties! At least we remember to throw parties. If we left it up to you lot then nothing would be celebrated at all!” I defended fervently.
“Hey, we celebrate plenty, alright?” argued James defensively and I snorted.
“Having a piss up in a pub isn’t a celebration; it’s a Friday night for anyone below the age of 50 in this country. You lot do nothing special. When we do things, we do them with a bang.” I said haughtily.
James grinned at me. “Do you really? With a bang, was it?”
I stared at him disbelievingly for a few seconds. “How you convinced my parents that you were a mature young man they could trust is beyond me.” I deadpanned.
“Oh, come on! You could do a lot worse than me, let me tell you that.” Said James as he practically breathed in his French toast, letting maple syrup dribble down his chin.
He gave me a smile that was strangely reminiscent of the ones that were captured in his childhood photographs; a true smile. I smiled back at him before I reached forward to cup his face, wiping away the maple syrup with my thumb before it dripped onto his t-shirt.
“I suppose I’ll have to give you that much. I really could have done worse.” I granted before I leaned over and kissed him.
“Speaking of,” started James once I pulled away. “Are Dom and Henry coming?”
“Yeah, we asked them ages ago so they’d be free. They’re definitely coming.” I answered as I continued eating.
“Brilliant! I haven’t seen them in a while.” He said with a grin.
Dominique, or Dom as we called her, was busier than ever. She now had plans to start a clothing line with the money that she had amassed with her modelling career. Her and my ex boyfriend, Henry Hutchinson, had started dating about a year after him and I had broken up. They’d dated in school but they had split up simply because the timing wasn’t right. They couldn’t have picked a better time to be together and, after three years of dating, they ran off to Tahiti and eloped. They’d been married for almost 4 years now and were known throughout the magical world as the most glamorous couple to grace the covers of magazines since Draco and Astoria Malfoy; a compliment if ever there was one.
“Go and get ready, love. You have to go distract Hugo and I need to get showered as well.” I said as I mopped up the remaining maple syrup on my plate with the last of my French toast.
“You know, we would save both time and water if we showered together.” Suggested James slyly and I raised an eyebrow at him.
“Yeah, that’s what you said before your match against the Harpies when you came 30 minutes late and I distinctly remember Roxie taking the mickey out of me for months after that.” I commented wryly. “I think we should stick to separate showers.”
“If you say so.” said James with a shrug as he stood up. “But you don’t know what you’re missing!” he added as he stretched, arching his back so his t-shirt lifted enough to show his taut abdomen.
“I am ignoring you, James Potter.” I stated determinedly as I pointed my gaze downwards at my empty plate, struggling to keep my eyes off him.
“Of course you are.” He said mildly.
I stayed still for a bit, not wanting to look up to see if he was still there. But then I felt his hands rest themselves on my shoulders, slowly rubbing the tension out of my muscles. His thumbs circled over my skin and, I’ll admit, I got a bit distracted. I felt his breath on the back of my neck as he bent down to nip at my earlobe.
“James...” I whispered, my eyes sliding shut involuntarily.
“That separate shower plan is looking pretty silly right now, isn’t it?” he murmured against my ear.
“Uh...” I said, words escaping me as the tip of his tongue traced the shell of my ear.
“How about we discuss this in the bathroom?” he suggested in a tone that would have made McGonagall weak in the knees.
“I think...” I muttered.
“JAMES, AIDAN! ARE YOU TWO READY YET?”
“-that your sister is at the fireplace.” I finished, eyes snapping open. I turned my head to the side and kissed James’ cheek. “How about you go shower and I’ll see what she wants.”
James grumbled a fair bit and walked off towards our bathroom, uttering a very long string of colourful curse words that would have made his uncle Ron proud. I shook my head with a grin as I made my way to the fireplace in the drawing room.
“Cheers!” We all cried, clinking our beer bottles together.
“Happy Birthday again, baby brother!” Said Rose as she knocked her beer bottle against Hugo’s. She leaned up and kissed his cheek.
“Thanks Rosie!” said Hugo as he gave her a one armed hug.
His eyes were shining happily and his cheeks were tinged pink, either because of the heat or because of the alcohol. He was wearing a navy blue dress shirt with dark jeans and dragon-hide boots that Rose had gotten him for his birthday. His hair was falling casually into his blue eyes and he had a grin plastered on his face. He looked extremely happy and I couldn’t help but think that it had been a successful party.
Hugo, like myself, always chose to celebrate his big day in a pub rather than a club so everyone felt incredibly comfortable. It was just a bit past midnight and the celebrations were well underway. A lot of the crowd from school had turned up, including a bunch of people from the years below ours so I wasn’t familiar with everyone. I could easily spot many of Hugo’s cousins scattered around the place, identifiable because of their bright red or blonde hair.
Teddy and Victoire had turned up, which was a bit of a surprise, though a pleasant one. For the past year or so they were characterized by their absence from the big, noisy parties because they had given priority to taking care of their baby girl, Valerie. The fact that Teddy and Victoire were showing up for parties so soon truly showed that they’d learnt a thing or two caring for their firstborn, Thomas, after whose birth, the couple had been missing for what seemed to be ages.
They looked a wee bit tired but were chatting happily with Dominique and Henry. Dom looked a little overdressed but, then again, she always did. It was one of the occupational hazards of being a supermodel, I supposed. Henry, on the other hand, looked perfectly casual but as good as always, wearing his bright smile and his dark blonde hair hanging into his eyes. They looked happy together and seemed incredibly compatible. Hell, they even looked like each other!
“Wotcher, Hugo?” called a cheerful voice and I couldn’t help but grin. Fred’s cheerfulness was pretty infectious. “Enjoying your birthday?”
Hugo grinned as well as Fred approached our little huddle, his arm thrown around his wife, Mandy. Fred had started dating Mandy just 2 years ago and, last year, he decided to tie the knot. He said that there was no point waiting now that he had found the one. I can tell you one thing; George Weasley nearly had a heart attack when his son announced his engagement. He had always assumed that Fred’s twin sister, Roxanne, would get married first. But life brings a million surprises and, apparently, one of them was the fact that Fred Weasley really was the marrying sort. Not to say that Roxie wasn’t; she just hadn’t found a guy yet who lived up to her expectations.
“Yeah, mate, thanks again for coming.” Said Hugo with a broad smile.
Fred waved it away, matching Hugo’s smile. “Wouldn’t miss your big day for the world, mate. Would we, love?” he asked, turning to his wife for her agreement.
Mandy was already engaged in an excited discussion with Rose, Lily and Mona about wedding plans and offering her help in any way. Though she hadn’t been a Weasley for long, all of us had taken a liking to her immediately. It was hard not to; she was brilliant at Quidditch and had inherited her father, Lee Jordan’s, sense of humour so the boys loved her. We girls loved her simply because she’d inherited her mum’s gift of the gab. And she was just so pretty to look at, really!
“It’s alright, mate. Half the time I don’t know what’s going on.” Assured Prentice, nodding at the three girls chatting as he took a gulp of his beer.
“Do you get used to it?” asked Fred and he was met with agreement from Al, James, Prentice, Scorpius and Hugo.
“That you do, cuz.” Guaranteed James.
“What are you two nodding about? It’s not like anyone ever ignores you for girl talk!” I exclaimed, directing the question at Hugo and Al.
They both exchanged smirks before Hugo turned towards Mona, Rose and Mandy.
“Rose? Hey, Rose!” He called. Even though Rose was barely 6 feet away, she didn’t seem to have heard him. “Rosie! Hey, sis!” Rose still didn’t turn around.
“See?” asked Al. “We don’t need to have girlfriends to be ignored for girl talk. Now, observe.” Al cleared his throat theatrically and leaned forwards slightly. “Hey, Rose?” he said in a quiet voice. “Scorpius changed his mind about the cake.”
Rose’s hair nearly smacked Scorpius in the face as she whipped around to glare at her fiancé. “You what?” She asked threateningly.
Al and Hugo exchanged clandestine high fives while the others shook with silent laughter. Scorpius shot a look at Al that clearly demonstrated his hurt at this betrayal before he turned to calm Rose down.
“You two are complete prats.” I said, shaking my head at Hugo and Albus, albeit with a grin.
“Yeah but you love us anyway!” said Hugo happily.
“Doesn’t say much about you, now, does it, love?” said Al, grinning.
“I knew I should have given you more detentions in school, you spoilt wretches.” I said, laughing.
“Aidan?” said Mona and I turned to look at her. She was looking over my shoulder at someone with a huge smile on her face. “Look who’s here.”
I turned around and couldn’t help but laugh happily.
“Well, if it isn’t my favourite sister!” said Landon as he ambled over to give me a huge hug, lifting me off the ground a little bit.
“I’m your only sister, you nut!” I exclaimed cheerfully. “What’re you doing here? I thought you couldn’t make it!”
“We couldn’t but then Sasha felt better and she insisted that we make an appearance.” Said Landon with a grin, turning to hold out his hand for his wife.
“Aidan!” greeted Sasha with a broad smile. I may have screamed a little with happiness as I threw myself at her, giving her a hug.
“How are you?” I asked as I pulled away.
“I could be worse. I was feeling very sorry for myself earlier because the morning sickness, funnily enough, happens at all hours of day and night and I suddenly can’t eat anything with chocolate in it.” She said truthfully.
All of us girls pulled sympathetic faces. The boys looked thunderstruck. Even Scorpius, who was generally very composed, looked like someone had hit him over the head with a frying pan. I supposed, in their world, not being able to eat chocolate was like... well, not being able to live, really.
“But we went to our Healer and we saw a woman who literally carried a bucket around with her because of her sporadic bursts of morning sickness so she’s feeling much better about her pregnancy now.” Assured Landon as he put his arm around my sister in law’s shoulders.
“Well, it gets pretty tiring, you know, being pregnant.” Huffed Sasha, though with a smile.
“Oh, but Sasha, you’re glowing!” gushed Rose, beaming at Sasha.
“Yeah, pregnancy suits you!” added Mona happily.
“I couldn’t agree more.” I said, nodding fervently.
“Thanks you guys!” cried Sasha with a wide smile. “I was a little nervous before about the weight gain but I’m right on track so far. I haven’t gained that much extra, even though I’m beginning to show now.”
All of us leaned back a little to survey her and we saw just the tiniest of bumps beneath her shirt. Sasha was about three and a half months pregnant by my reckoning and she was already beginning to show! Merlin, time was moving fast! It seemed like just yesterday when they’d called James and I to mum and dad’s for dinner to tell us. Sasha was beaming as she rested a hand lightly on her tummy. Landon was grinning proudly as he kissed her temple.
“Whoa.” Muttered Albus.
“Would you look at that...” Trailed off Hugo, eyebrows rising.
“Wow, there’s like an actual person in there!” exclaimed Prentice, pointing at Sasha’s stomach.
“Well spotted, mate.” Said James with a roll of his eyes.
They all seemed to be fascinated by the miracle that is procreation; even Al, Hugo and Fred, who had seen Victoire, Lucy and Molly a fair few times during their pregnancies. I guessed that there was just something about babies that overwhelmed men. James was comfortable enough with toddlers but I knew that he had never taken care of Valerie or Julian, Lucy’s son, on his own. I had found that most men faced with fatherhood took to it wonderfully; case in point, Teddy Lupin. But the rest were more than content watching their brothers in arms struggle with that challenge on their own.
“Mates, I know this is interesting and all but the staring is getting a bit creepy.” Said Landon slowly.
Sasha looked a bit freaked out too, although I didn’t blame her. Imagine six grown men just staring at your stomach, all because you’re pregnant. You’d find it odd too, wouldn’t you? If you wouldn’t then, well, you’re weird.
The lads immediately started apologizing for the staring with a chorus of “Sorry, mate!” The only one who continued to stare was Prentice but Mona sorted him out by smacking him on the head and he soon quit. I cleared my throat in an attempt to clear the air and smiled at Sasha and my brother.
“Hey, you guys remember Mandy, don’t you? You saw her at the New Year’s party.” I said, pulling Mandy forward.
Mandy gave a small wave and grinned at them. Sasha grinned back and the two struck up conversation while Landon, went to Hugo to wish him Happy Birthday. Pretty soon, it seemed everyone was immersed in conversation with someone or the other. I listened in on Rose, Lily and Mona’s conversation for a bit, laughing at Lily’s jokes and anecdotes.
I felt a hand slide around my waist, slipping under the fabric of my shirt just enough for me to feel a hint of warm skin. I didn’t need to even see who he was. He scooped me away from the little group and I decided not to take offense at the fact that no one seemed to notice. It was like, for a moment, James and I were ghosts, skirting the little gatherings of people in the wide room. It was like there were two worlds; one where everyone else was and one where just the two of us were.
Some people said hello as we passed and I barely even thought about it as I smiled briefly and made our excuses, not even stopping completely to return the gesture. I didn’t know where James was taking but I sincerely hoped that it was somewhere we would get a moment on our own. The way he turned to look at me with his hazel eyes darkened to an olive green made me think that he had the exact same thing in mind.
He led me through a door in the back that opened into a narrow passageway that led to a second door. We passed through quickly and James barely blinked as he waved his wand, unlocking the door. He pulled it open roughly and dragged me through along with him. I barely had time to notice that we were in the alleyway behind the pub before I was shoved up against the door that we had just come through.
He pushed himself up against me, letting his hands slide down my body until he reached the backs of my thighs when he roughly pulled my legs up to wrap around his waist. His eyes bore into mine as his hand slid under my shirt and I gasped at the first true contact of his skin against mine. He brought up a hand and let it tangle itself in my hair, pulling on it to bring my face closer to his. His lips came crashing down on mine, urgent and filled with want. I let a hand rest against his taut chest and slipped my arm around his neck to bring him closer to me.
His tongue traced my lower lip and, as his hand tugged at my hair gently, I opened myself to him. His scent, so familiar to me, was enveloping me and I couldn’t get enough of it. He was everywhere; everywhere I wanted him to be, everywhere I needed him to be. As our tongues delved into each other’s mouths, exploring familiar places, I started popping open the buttons of his shirt, slipping my hand inside to rest right above his heart, feeling the way his heartbeat quickened.
I broke our kiss to look at the face I loved so much, admiring the angles of his jaw and nose, the messiness of his hair, the heavy lidded hazel eyes. I let my nails scrape the skin on the back of his neck lightly as I leaned in to leave a trail of kisses on his jaw line. He exhaled sharply as I scraped his skin with my teeth, trailing a hand down until I hit his belt buckle. His hand slid out from under my shirt and slowly made its way down and slipped under my skirt. I couldn’t help but moan slightly at the contact and I completely forgot what I was about to do.
James had that effect on me.
As his practiced fingers moved over me, making my breathing grow faster, I let my forehead rest against his shoulder. I could practically feel his heartbeat reverberating throughout his body, growing steadily faster, just like my pulse. I started panting in time with his ministrations, lifting my head off of his shoulder to let it rest against the wall. He was relentless, driving me past the point of no return, and I let my eyes slide shut.
“Aidan.” He breathed.
I opened my eyes and brushed his hair away from his face so I could look at him.
“I love you.” He whispered.
I let my fingers trace the lines of his face before I kissed him.
I love you too, James.
A/N: Leave a review if you can, you lot! You know I love getting them :D And feel free to drop by my MTA page to ask any questions you may have about the story! :D
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