For Dom's. So you'll get better.
Packing was always an absolute nightmare. I never enjoyed it. Never took pleasure in leafing through articles of clothing and wondering, under which circumstance this weekend would I wear this sweater? Well, the answer for that one was none simply because it was summer. So I tossed the sweater unceremoniously back in the closet and reached for my bikini. Now that was more like it.
Dad stood in the doorway, brow arched, as I packed. He said he didn’t want to get his hands dirty. Or find a love letter from Oliver.
I grimaced. “It’s only a weekend,” I said impatiently. “Just me and the girls.”
“That’s what I worry about,” he said with a fond smile. “The girls love you so much they might just toss you off the roof of the hotel for being a stick in the mud.”
“I won’t!” I promised. “I’m going to get away and clear my head. Seriously.” And go swimming and look cute and laugh and put cucumbers over my eyes.
“If you say so,” Dad said, crossing the room and falling onto my bed. He surveyed me from that position. “How far away is this spa anyway? Do I need to hook my Muggle phone back up? That was a pain in the arse.”
“It’s a wizarding spa,” I replied. “So no, you’ll be just fine. Floo me if you need anything.” I tucked a v-neck top in the bag. “I left all the information on the fridge.”
“But what if the fridge that catches fire?”
“You’re out of luck. And food.”
Dad groaned. “What am I supposed to do while you’re away?” I knew he was lonely after the Lou thing. Still a little depressed.
“You’re supposed to clean the toilet,” I replied with a confident nod. I held up two pairs of jeans and he pointed to the pair on the left. “Brilliant.” I stuck them in the bag as well. “What would you do if I was here?”
“Force you to watch reruns on the Quidditch Network and take you out for ice cream.”
I nudged his leg, shoving him off my quilt so his shoes wouldn’t get it dirty. “Then watch them anyway and write down what you want to tell me and order ice cream from that place downstairs.”
“They don’t deliver.”
“Tell them you’re injured.”
I raised a brow. “Do you want ice cream or not?”
Dad sighed melodramatically. “Fine,” he said. “I’ll just conjure up a cast or something. Maybe in pink. Will you write on it before you go? Maybe write something like, I hate my father so I’m leaving him for a weekend to hang out with my girlie friends.” He shot me a cheeky grin.
I shoved him. “I’m going to actually put you in a cast in a minute,” I replied, zipping the bag once it was damn near full. “Am I forgetting anything?”
“Shush,” I said, glancing around the room. Nothing immediately stuck out to me, but I knew once I left and got far enough away, my mind would light up with that single thing I left at home that I needed. Isn’t that how it always worked? I turned back to him. “Did you want to crawl into my bag so I can take you? We can paint your nails and give you a mud facial.”
The expression on my father’s face suggested he was contemplating it for at least two seconds. Then he hoisted himself off my bed and returned to the living room.
“In pink!” I cried after him, lugging my back down the hallway. “It’ll match your cast!”
“Like mother like daughter,” Dad said with a hint of amusement in his voice. He plopped down on the sofa and grabbed the remote, flipping through stations. He ultimately landed on the Quidditch Network. Like always.
“What’s that mean?” I asked, tossing the bag next to the door and moving over toward my purse to make sure everything was in there as well. “What does Mum have to do with this?”
Dad chuckled lightly. “You were born a few weeks earlier,” he said. “And you were still up at all hours of the night screaming your damn head off. And I’m such a heavy sleeper that she always got up in the middle of the night to get you. And one night she’d gotten up so many times she just brought you in the bedroom with us. And you fell asleep right next to me on the bed. Which meant she couldn’t lay down. So, since it was almost morning anyway, she took out her pink nail polish and did my toes.”
I lost it laughing, the picture bright in my mind.
“Needless to say, my experience in the shower that morning was a little shocking,” Dad said. “I can still hear her laughing in the other room about it. Serves you right, she said.”
“Well, it does,” I replied with a smirk. “That’s what you get for being able to sleep.”
Dad chuckled lightly and looked back at the TV. I could tell he wasn’t thinking about Quidditch though.
“Jane!” Alicia was beating on the door. “Jane! Jane! Jane!”
I pulled it open, only to be engulfed in her arms. “Leesh—what gives?”
“Jane!” she cried, ruffling my hair and walking in the door. “Hey, Mr. P. Arrows rerun? Katie’s Mum said that game was a good one. She had extra tickets to a game this weekend but I told her we were going to spa it up!”
Dad gave her a smile. “How are you, Alicia?”
“Great now that I don’t have to be home,” Alicia replied with a laugh, tossing her bag next to mine. “Ang is running late snogging Fred by the way,” she added to me. “They have been connected at the hip the whole bleeding summer.”
“Where’s Katie?” I asked, closing the door with a soft snap.
Alicia pushed her long, wavy hair out of her face. “Hell if I know,” she said. “Probably getting groped by George again.”
“Inappropriate,” Dad said casually, not glancing over.
“I know!” Alicia cried. “It’s just downright gross.”
“Lee not a fan?” I mused, smirking and sliding a hair band around my wrist since it was getting warmer.
“Oh, of course he is,” Alicia said. “But we can’t have people think that’s all we do, can we? He is sweet, though. I might miss him already. Don’t tell him that. He’ll think I’m as attached as he is.”
“Of course,” she repeated. “But I can’t have him thinking that.” She laughed and meandered into the kitchen, opening the fridge and taking out a soda.
I leaned against the doorframe, very much like my father had, and glanced at Alicia. She looked happy. Content with her life. Casual. Ready to have a good time. And yet there I was with that nagging feeling in the back of my mind about Oliver. His expression the last time I’d seen him days ago. The words when we argued on the beach.
My conversation with Fred. I just needed time to sort everything out. To find the words to tell him what I wanted. What I thought about everything.
He was waiting for me.
I needed to wait for him.
I heard the door open in the living room and in filed Angelina and Katie, both toting large bags and larger shades. Both of them hugged me and there was a flicker in their eyes that wondered if Oliver and I had worked things out. But my expression kept them from asking.
“Are you so excited?” Katie asked with a cheery smile. “I don’t know about you, but I think this is a wonderful idea. Getting away like this.”
“Agreed,” Ang said with a nod. “Though Fred wasn’t happy about it.”
“I bet,” I said, laughing a little and stuffing my own sunglasses in my purse so I didn’t forget them. “Did he get his hands off of you long enough to say good-bye?”
“No way,” she replied. “He had his hands all over me when he said good-bye. Seriously distracting.”
I laughed, jealousy twinging in my stomach. “Well, let’s be off them before Dad starts talking about how inappropriate the boys are and how we’re too young to spend time with them.”
“Bring them around and I’ll give them a talking to,” Dad said absently from the couch. “All about the birds and the bees.”
“Horrible,” I said, rolling my eyes as we all picked up our bags. I leaned over the couch and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Survive without me?”
“I’ll do my best,” he said. He had a familiar smile, but the light wasn’t there in his eyes.
“If you get lonely without me,” I said in a whisper, “the nail polish is in the top drawer.”
The spa was enormous. And it wasn’t just a day spa. It was an entire resort. Nestled in the English countryside, it was filled with magical protection and its own Apparation center. The building itself was giant and beige with navy shutters and people in pastel scrubs walking around the grounds. Rolling hills of grass and large shade trees.
Alicia nudged me with her hip. “This is so. Damn. Awesome.”
I chuckled and led the way off the platform and down a set of stairs toward the building, not able to take my gaze off of guests in white fluffy robes and even two women playing Wizard Chess on the front steps. I was already relaxed.
The front lobby was just as grand. Sprawling wood floors and giant potted plants. Luxurious brown sofas and a smoothie bar. Angelina grabbed our keys from the front desk and handed us each one. “Jane, a letter’s already come for you,” she said, handing me a small slip of paper.
“Dad can’t seriously be missing me already,” I mumbled, sliding my finger along the edge to open it. Only it wasn’t from my father.
We need to talk.
My jaw fell. Alicia made a noise since she was reading over my shoulder, probably hoping it was a letter from my father saying how adorable she looked in her jean shorts.
Oliver wanted to talk. The kiss of death for a relationship. Perhaps he realized I wasn’t worth waiting for. Or maybe he just wanted to discuss our options. Or ask me if I really wanted to fall in love with a Slytherin. Which should have been obvious, in my opinion.
“About what?” Katie asked, now coming over as well. “You haven’t spoken since the fight?”
“Well, we spoke,” I said bitterly. “And then he left. Immediately.”
“Jane,” Ang said, grabbing the letter and tucking it away in her pocket. “Either go talk to him now or let it go for the weekend. Don’t let this ruin your trip. Remember why you’re here?”
Clear my mind. Think things through. Decide what to do.
“Yes,” I replied, pocketing my key. “Let’s go up. And have a good time. Besides, I need to smack Alicia with a pillow at some point.”
“Dream on!” Alicia cried, screwing up my hair yet again as she slung her bag back over her shoulder. “Onward! To room four-thirteen!” She took off running toward the elevators, which gathered her a few disapproving looks from more guests in fluffy robes.
The room was enormous. Everything felt enormous there. Warm tones, feather pillows, a red feature wall and abstract art behind each queen bed. The bathroom was pristine and white and four of the fluffy robes hung on a metal hook behind the door. Matching slippers were in the hall.
We spent the morning holed up in the room testing out the channels, bounce-ability of the beds, and comparing strawberry sample lotion to the orange mango scent. I favored mango. Our matching robes clung to our bodies and Alicia threatened to leave us all stark naked in the sauna so she could nab all four.
“I’m not below it,” she said with a cheeky grin.
Before lunch we relaxed in a hot tub while leaning over the side to get facials. Cool, green cream was smoothed over my face and the mixture of it with the hot water made my skin crawl. In an amazing way. I made a mental note to tell Oliver how relaxing it was, but I pushed that aside. Who know how much I’d even get to say before I was back to cleaning obsessively?
Lunch was grand. It was a spread of healthy chicken salads, berries, pickles, sugar free juices, and cold pasta dishes. Ang even stole extra chicken when Katie wasn’t looking.
“Let’s stay here forever,” Alicia said, her mouth still stuffed with carrots. “Bad luck, Lee, you’re going to have to deal.”
“I’ll just tell Fred to come here and we’ll live here instead of Hogwarts.” Ang nodded to a couple a few tables over that looked like they lived here, nuzzling and sharing a straw in lemon water. “We’ll get married out on the lawn.”
I snorted. “What’s next today then?”
“Mud bath.” Alicia and Katie said it simultaneously. Both had huge grins. Was I the only one who thought it was gross? Mug. Dirty, gross mud. All over my body.
The room was fairly small with a square tub inset in the floor that would fit the four of us perfectly. Charcoal gray tile stretched to the walls and there were floating candles spread throughout the room. Deep brown mud filled the tub almost to the brim.
Alicia was the first to hang her robe by the door and slowly stepped in. “Disgusting,” she said, but never lost her grin. She sank into it up to her neck. Ang followed with a grimace, but their eyes told me they wouldn’t have it any other way. I would. I’d have it back in a hot tub with a delicious bloke rubbing my jawline.
“I’m suggesting this to George.” Katie dipped her toes in. “I read an article about how sensual it is for a couple to use a mud bath.”
“In what? Play-Wizard?” Alicia chuckled and got mud flung across her cheek.
“Sod off—I bet it’s lovely and romantic.”
“Nothing says romantic quite like a dozen roses and a tub filled with wet dirt.”
I stared down at the mud. I was never one to shy away from getting dirty—hell, I’d eaten dirt on several occasions just learning to fly. For Oliver. Because the git forced me into it. To be on his stupid team. And win the Quidditch Cup. And hear my name chanted by hundreds of people.
Wood let his Nimbus float back and forth for a moment before looking back over, his mahogany eyes obviously enjoying the torment he was putting me through. “You have to try out for Seeker.”
“Yeah. You have to try out. You can use a better broom though.” Wood pulled the broom closer to his eyes for inspection. “Yes, this is just rubbish. I’ll see that you get a good one for try-outs.”
I gaped at him. “You can’t be serious.”
“Oh, I am, Perry.”
Either way I was done for. If I refused to try out, Wood would simply let the secret slip over some sort of food in the morning. If I did try out, my secret was out anyway. I looked at him.
“Fine,” I said.
Wood beamed. “Great. See you on the pitch in a couple of weeks.” He blew me a sarcastic, pompous kiss, and flew back toward the castle with the beat-up broom still in hand.
I sank into the mud, letting out a disgruntled noise as I felt the slimy mud rub against my skin. Alicia was giggling. “Shove off,” I mumbled, pushing my hair away from my face before I completely submerged the rest of my body. Oh, so disgusting.
“Head clearing up any, Janey?” she asked, lifting her leg up and staring at her newly brown toes.
“Can’t say it is.”
“When you started dating Dodger again I knew right away. That’s why when you told me that I had kissed you when I was drunk—I felt like an idiot. I didn’t want it to happen like that. I wanted it to happen like…”
“Like after I caught the Snitch and won the Quidditch Cup?” I ventured.
“Just like that,” he replied with a chuckle. “Which is why I had to come back. I couldn’t just leave you—especially when I fancied you as much as I did.”
“How did I not know this?” I said, groaning.
“So you really felt nothing for me until I snogged you on my broom?”
I turned over, letting my elbow prop me up and I trailed my fingers along Oliver’s jaw bone. There was a bit of stubble there and he smiled, his eyes leaking into mine.
“If I said yes that would be a lie,” I replied.
Ang and Katie spent the next few minutes discussing prospects for a Keeper next year, which let me relax. I was here to think, but I was thinking about arrogant, prat-face Oliver Wood. And his arrogant, prat-face smirk.
That letter made my stomach churn.
We need to talk.
“We’ll have to find new eye candy though.” Ang chuckled and tried to flip her hair out of her face without using her muddy hands. “Now that Roger and Henrik are gone.”
“Don’t forget about Flint,” chime Alicia. “I’ve seen you make eyes at him.”
“Guilty.” Ang laughed. I caught her cast a concerned gaze my way.
Oliver was still sitting. He was staring at me standing there. “Are you coming?” I asked, motioning to Angelina, who was nearly at the end of the hall.
He smirked. “Torturing outfit, woman,” he muttered, raising a brow at my brown skirt.
I let a smile creep onto my lips as I turned, walking out of the hall. I paid a bit more attention to how I walked, careful to let my hips swing a little bit. Before I was even to the other side of the Entrance Hall I felt a pair of hands slip around my waist.
“You can’t do that!” Oliver said, turning me around and pulling me to his chest. “That’s enough to drive a bloke wild.”
I stared into his brown eyes and our faces were inches apart. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I replied innocently.
“My arse you don’t know what I’m talking about,” he muttered and kissed me hard.
I was all snuggled up around nine that night, hair sprawled over the pillow. This was exactly what I needed. A day of pampering and a night of sleeping. I even contemplated a sleeping draught to help the process along. My mind kept jumping back to that letter, which I assumed to be unhealthy. That was when damn Alicia Spinnet pulled back the blankets, tossed them to the floor, and hopped on top of me. She jabbed me in the side.
“Oy—what the shit?!”
“Oh, no you don’t!” Alicia jabbed me again. “You’re not doing this hiding rubbish again. There’s a nice pub off the main lobby and we’re going. So put on something that shows some fucking leg.” She pinched my side.
“Bloody—eugh—why?” I tried to kick her off, which only ended in me being bit on the shin. “Not many blokes to impress.”
“You telling me you didn’t have eye sex with our cucumber guy?”
Jacque was hot. I liked his green eyes. So hex me.
“Fine.” I finally shoved her off and rolled over, rummaging through the suitcase. I glanced up.
Katie was already dolled up in a sequined gold dress and matching eyeliner. Ang had on a simple and low-cut black dress. Alicia stripped while humming and threw on a red dress with no back. Bloody fancy.
I brought one dress with me that fit this bill. It was a short silver number with white piping along the edges. It hugged my body and hit a little above halfway up my thighs. Not something generally appropriate for a stroll around Hogwarts. Leg City. Road trip, as Fred would say.
“Perfection.” Alicia pinned a bit of my hair back. “Now let’s go have some fun and get some free drinks. Bloody deserve it after paying for this room.”
“I bet most of it went to the robes,” I replied absently, glancing a glance in the mirror.
“On Halloween—during that party—I cut you off from saying something about my outfit. What were you really thinking about that silly nurse getup?”
Oliver nearly snorted. He had to put down his fish for a moment just to laugh. “Blimey, I almost forgot about that. Jane—don’t make me say. It’s very inappropriate.”
“I’ll leave it at that,” I said with a snicker. Then I glanced back at him. “Oh, just tell me.”
“I just basically wanted to do things that would have made your then-boyfriend try and hex me,” he said finally. “But I would have hexed him first so that wouldn’t have really been a problem. I’m just glad you never wore that again because I would have just lost my mind right there—probably would have hexed Davies just to get him out of the way and then made a move. Stupidly, I might add, since I wouldn’t have been thinking straight. It’s the legs, Jane. I can’t be trusted.”
The bar was crowded, but we easily found places at the counter since most people were leaning over low-lit tables. Majority of women were dressed in similar fashion—plunging necklines and sparkling jewelry. The guys had textured ties and cuff links. It was clearly the place to be after scheduled massages were finished. Alicia was on my left side, Katie and Angelina on hers, and there was an empty stool to my right. I ordered a sour, which came with a plump cherry and festive yellow umbrella.
“Now this is a vacation,” Alicia said, poking the cherry with her own umbrella and stealing it. “Relaxation. Boys. Hot dresses. Jane’s legs. The usual.”
I smirked at her. I cringed when I realized the drink was stronger than the usual concoctions the twins mixed up. “They just need a school we can transfer to for our seventh year,” I said. “But they’ll need a Quidditch team for you lot. The Spa Sparrows?”
“That sounds weak.” Ang chuckled.
“And the badgers aren’t?” I said.
“I never said that.” Ang chuckled and took a drink. She had four shots lined up in front of her and slid them down to each of us. “The badgers are completely weak. Which is why we destroyed them last year.”
“Ellis destroyed them,” I corrected her with a grin.
“Well, I would have,” she said. “Tequila.” She nodded to the brownish liquid. Katie grimaced. “Bottoms up, ladies.”
I stared down the shot glass. Tequila was something I was unfamiliar with. And for good reason, I noted, as my throat burned. “Godric—” I choked, slamming it back on the counter.
“Die.” Alicia chased it with her fruity drink, her reaction similar to my own. Katie’s was still untouched, her nose wrinkled in disgust. Angelina, however, took the shot like a champ and then took Katie’s. Who knew?
“That was impressive.”
I jumped, straw of my sour still in my mouth, and glanced to my right. A tall bloke with dark hair and hazel eyes was grinning at me. He was leaning against the counter in a white button-down with the sleeves rolled up and a green tie. For some reason the way he smiled reminded me of Roger. Simple, adorable, and very charming.
“I’m not sure what you saw,” I said with a confident smile, “But that was anything but impressive. I might have showered the bartender with that sputter.”
“I saw nothing.” He took a seat on the stool next to mine and I got a swift jab from Alicia.
“I’m Jane,” I said, rubbing my ribs. Whadda bitch. “These are my friends Alicia, Katie, and Ang.”
“Pleasure.” The man shook each of our hands, but in a very kind way. His grin was infectious. “I’m Peter. My friends have abandoned me for midnight swimming in the lake so would you mind if I joined your party?”
“Did you just say swimming?” Alicia cocked a brow. “We should have gone.”
I rolled my eyes. “Feel free,” I replied to Peter. “The more the merrier.”
“More like the more sexy abs the merrier,” Alicia mumbled, polishing off her drink and ordering another.
Peter put his hand out. “Please,” he said. “Allow me to oblige for my wonderful company.” He leaned over the granite bar and ordered refreshers for each of our drinks. He was still smiling. “So are you ladies here for the weekend then? Getting away from reality?”
“Something like that.” I sucked down half the drink in one go. “Some relaxation.”
“That sounds amazing.” He ordered himself a scotch. He couldn’t be more than a few years older than us with a few mature lines on his face. “I wish I could do this every weekend. The blokes and I like to get away from work every so often.”
“Oh?” Katie said, leaning over to get a good look at him. “What is it you do, Peter?”
“We’re the production assistants for a few of the Quidditch Network shows. A few of my mates are players though.” He took a small drink. “It’s a lot of hours, but we love it.”
Alicia practically elbowed me out of the way. “Quidditch Network?” she said. “Still going to cover Hogwarts this year, right?”
Peter’s brow flew up. “Either you’re recent grads or you’re still in. Am I right?” He smirked. So suave.
All four of us colored.
“Still in then.” Peter chuckled and swirled the ice around in his glass. He paused, allowing me to listen to the garbled noise in the pub around us. “We’ll still be covering Hogwarts, yes. I did the coverage of the Final last year, but I regret to say I was stuck in the booth most of the time yelling at people to switch cameras. How dreadfully boring.”
“Apparently you didn’t get a very good look,” Angelina noted with a pompous smirk.
“How do you mean? “
“Jane here is the one who caught the winning Snitch.”
And my face was now roughly the color of an autumn apple. Fancy that.
“Wait.” Peter’s lips parted as he took in my features. “You’re not Jane Perry? I knew I knew your face from somewhere!”
Bugger. Just what I needed.
“Well, they’re on the team too!” I said loudly, voice a little higher than I wanted it to be in front of a dishy Quidditch production assistant. “All three of them are Chasers. So there.”
Peter’s eyes moved to the rest of them. “So this really is an escape for the Quidditch elite.” He chuckled a bit. “I offer my congratulations. I wish I’d seen more about the rest of you in Quidditch Weekly and on the Network. I’ve heard Jane’s name tossed around rather frequently, though.”
“All bad?” I asked, laughing.
“Rarely, in fact,” Peter replied. “Wonderful to finally meet you. I saw the footage of you at the open practice. And I heard through the grapevine you got a Tornadoes try-out. That’s impressive for a Reserve.”
“You don’t have to tell me twice.” I tried to force the color from my face. It was hot in there. Weren’t the other girls warm? Why didn’t this dress breathe? “But hopefully I won’t have to play much next year and Ellis can take over as star Seeker.”
“He seems a bit on the surly side.”
“A bit?” Alicia snorted into her second drink. “He’s a right git. But he’s got talent. I’ll be shocked if he even goes back to Hogwarts for his seventh year instead of leaving for a contract.”
Peter’s eyes never left my face. Surely he knew he shouldn’t look at me like that. With an intense expression. If he’d heard my name tossed around so many times, he had to have heard it with Oliver’s. That we were together. Again. Happy.
Really quite happy? I wasn’t sure anymore.
We talked with Peter for another couple hours over several more drinks. I lost count somewhere after five and Alicia tried to keep track with tallies, but then couldn’t remember if she was supposed to tally before the drink or after and ended up connecting the tallies into little hearts on her arm. Peter laughed, told jokes, and complimented us at the right moments. He was good. Alicia was invited to dance by some blond boy and she showed the whole room the appropriate way to take someone’s breath away. Which resulted in a round of free drinks by blondie.
The rest of the evening was a blur of giggles, dim lights, and limes. Boys came up a few times—Ang even describing a few intimate activities with Fred I’d rather not say—but mostly we stuck to Quidditch, Hogwarts, careers, and how long my legs were (“Road trip!” shrieked Alicia).
We stumbled out of the pub somewhere around four, Angelina damn near carrying Katie and me and Alicia making up lyrics to three songs I was fairly certain didn’t go together. Peter helped us into the elevator. His tie was undone and draped around Katie’s neck.
“Peter!” Alicia cried, leaning into him and knocking him sideways into the wall of the elevator after he pressed our floor. “You’re so handsome, did you know?”
“Thank you.” He grinned. He was drunk, but nowhere near where the rest of us were. “You’re not too bad yourself, love.”
“He called me love,” Alicia said in a horrible whisper. “It’s true love, Janey. I’m telling you.” She snorted and leaned over to kiss Peter on the cheek leaving a very obvious lipstick mark. “There. Now all your mates will think you hooked up while worked on their swan dive.”
“Unbearable jealousy,” Peter said, laughing and glancing around the small room. “Should I get you lot any coffee before you head to bed? I can’t imagine tomorrow will be all right with a hangover.”
“That sounds good.” Ang nodded several times before stopping. “I think we have coffee in our room. I know we have strawberry lotion. I could just fucking EAT it.”
I giggled. “Please don’t,” I said. “I don’t want you to do that. That sounds horrible. And bland. I bet it doesn’t taste like strawberries.”
“How about I walk you back, make you coffee, and then we can relax a bit before bed, hmm?” Peter smiled a little. “Then my mates might be getting a little worried so I’ll have to get back and brag a little.”
“Obviously.” Katie nodded and leaned her head against Ang’s shoulder. “We’re so pretty it’s hard not to brag about. Feel free to take a picture to prove it. Just let me put on more eyeliner. I look like a mess.”
“Never,” Peter said, moving toward Katie and cupping her chin in his hands. “You look lovely. I’m going to use the mini-Floo in your room and tell my mates I’ll be late though, okay?”
I nodded to him, leading the way out of the elevator and down the hall. I was vaguely aware that I was stumbling, hitting the right wall and then the left. Bruising would be there in the morning. It took me six tries to open the door and once in I threw my heels at the wall. They made a scuff mark just below the window. “Bloody fuck those things,” I said loudly. I fell into the desk chair and watched the girls.
Katie fell onto the bed fully clothed, groaning. Alicia went into the bathroom and washed down her face. Ang tried to fiddle with the coffee maker and gave up. She tossed the packet of grounds on the credenza and plopped down by Katie’s feet.
Peter however, smiled again. He put the grounds in the cup, filled up the water, and started brewing. “What would you do without me?” He chuckled and glanced over at the bed, probably to make sure Katie wasn’t drooling on his tie.
“Wouldn’t be this sodding drunk,” I muttered, staring at the ceiling. I wanted to put my robe on. Too far.
“Good point.” Peter walked over to the fireplace and tossed some powder in. “Four-thirteen,” he said and the flames turned black.
“Peter—mate, where’ve you been?”
I glanced over, expecting to see a face similar to Peter’s with that wealthy executive look to it. Instead, I found a rather familiar face staring around the room.
“ROGER!” I shrieked, jumping up and falling in front of the fire. “Ohmygod!”
“Jane?” Even Roger couldn’t hide his shock. “What’re you—are you drunk?”
“No.” I grinned in a cheeky way.
“I’m coming up there right now.” Roger frowned.
“They’re fine, Rog,” Peter said, rolling his eyes. “I’ve got coffee on and everything. We just had a few too many at the pub while you boys were out doing laps in the lake.”
Roger rolled his eyes, but vanished all the same.
“How d’you know Dodger?” I asked , leaning back and sprawling out on the floor.
“Most of the production stuff I do on Magpies games,” Peter replied, sitting at the foot of the second bed. He moved his feet so Alicia wouldn’t trip as she walked by patting her face with a towel. “We met doing some interviews and stuff and hit it off.”
“I adore Roger,” I said with a firm nod. “Leesh—Roger’s coming to visit.”
“DODGER!” Alicia threw the towel in the air (hitting Ang). “I don’t even have makeup on. He won’t recognize me. I look like a disaster.” Nevermind that she rarely wore makeup at Hogwarts. “Why’s he here?”
“He’s friends with Peter,” I replied matter-of-factly. “Dishy boys run in packs I hear.”
“Is that what you hear?” Peter laughed lightly. “So you and Roger went to school together right? That makes sense—I remember him saying he’s only just now out of Hogwarts.”
“Janey and Roger dated—twice!” Alicia said, giggling and I shot her a scathing look. “What? You did! It was saucy.”
I rolled my eyes.
“Did you really?” Peter couldn’t hide the jealousy in his glance even if he tried. “What happened?”
“Oliver Wood.” Alicia nodded heavily. “I mean, who can deny Wood? Hell, I’d leave Lee for Wood.” She snorted. “I’m only joking.” Pause. “Or am I?” Pause. “Of course I’m joking.” Pause. “You’ll never know.”
“Ah, right.” Peter nodded with a small smile. He checked on the coffee again and walked over to the door when there was a loud knock. “Roger—mate. They’re fine. Seriously.”
“I’ll be the judge of that.” Roger crossed the room, surveying the damage. “How much did they have to drink? Bloody hell, Pete.”
“It was the blond twat that bought the round of whiskey.”
“Blond twat.” Alicia giggled.
Roger sank to his knees next to me on the floor. “Jane?” he said. “How’re you feeling?”
“Fuzzy,” I replied with a grin. “But well. I’m just a little tipsy. We’re going to drink coffee and stay up so we don’t have to crawl around with earmuffs tomorrow.”
“That’s smart.” Roger smiled and I melted a little bit. I couldn’t help it. He was so delicious. “I’m going to stay here with you.” He shot Peter a look. “Why don’t we get all of you into your jammies?”
“Did you just say jammies?” Alicia threw a pillow, clocking Roger in the side of the head. “You have to fight me into them, Dodger.”
“I have to fight you with everything, Spinnet.” He smirked at her and glanced over at Ang and Katie. “Is Katie alive? Should I have someone do mouth-to-mouth?”
“She’d appreciate it from you,” I noted. “I remember before we started dating she was quite taken with you.”
“Shut it, Jane,” Katie grumbled. “All of us were. I remember quite a few times Alicia described a fictional play-by-play in the middle of the Quidditch pitch…”
Roger’s color impressed me.
“C’mon, Jane,” Peter said, offering me his hand. “I’ll help you out of that dress.”
“Not a chance.” Roger narrowed his eyes. “Ask Ang and Katie if they need help.” He took my hands and lifted me to my feet. “Where’s your—?” He smirked. “Nevermind.” He leaned over, reaching into my suitcase, and pulled out my teacup pajamas and kitty top. “C’mon.” He shot Peter another look, to which Peter looked utterly perplexed, and steered me into the large bathroom.
The door closed and I leaned against it. “Roger,” I said breathlessly. “I’m so glad you’re here. Seriously. I miss you so much. Like whoa. You look cute tonight.” I covered my mouth. “Shh. I didn’t say that.”
“I always look cute.” Roger shot me a grin. “C’mere, love.” He turned me around and unzipped the back of my silver dress. “Tell me, how was Peter tonight?”
“He was lovely,” I replied. “Bought us some drinks. Talked about Quidditch—oh, he recognized me by the way. Isn’t that interesting? I’m not used to that.”
“Get used to it.” Roger chuckled and slid the dress off my shoulders. “You’re picture has been in Quidditch Weekly and on the Network. You’re going to be getting some attention. Especially back at Hogwarts.”
“You think?” I arched a brow, moving my hips so the dress fell to the floor and I was standing in front of Roger in nothing but a bra and undies.
“I know.” Roger nodded. He looked unphased by this. “How are…how are things with Wood then? Still going well?”
“Jane,” Roger scolded, raising a brow. He didn’t move to put on my shirt yet. “What happened?”
“We’re arguing again.”
“You’re always arguing.”
“He told me we need to talk.”
Roger grimaced. “That’s never good. What about?”
“Not sure,” I admitted, wrinkling my nose. “We had a fight about how he’s going to go off and be some international star and I’ll never see him and I’ll just be all snogless at Hogwarts.”
To my surprise, Roger actually laughed. “You’re the most dramatic person I know, Jane Perry.” He smirked. “Don’t worry about it, okay? You and Wood will be fine. If you made it through whatever last year was, you’ll be fine. Understood?”
“Understood.” I couldn’t hide the coy smile. I lifted my arms over my head so he could slide on my kitty tank top.
“Everything is going to be fine.” Roger leaned over and pressed his lips to mine for a moment. It wasn’t romantic. Or sensual. It was just a kiss, but it made me feel so much better. “I promise. Understood?”
“Understood.” I giggled and held onto his shoulder as he helped me into the pajama shorts. I walked over to the sink, splashing water in my face to rinse off the mascara and eyeliner that was already smudged from laughing so hard I cried at one of Ang’s jokes.
“So what’s the deal with you and Madeline?” I asked, leaning up close to the mirror to make sure there wasn’t a zit coming in. Oh, hell no. “Things still going well?”
“For the most part,” Roger said with a confident nod. “She’s gone for the week doing a North American tour with her team so we won’t see each other until Thursday. Which is why I decided to come up here with the guys. Not that I really fancy a mud bath.”
“I am NOT the only one!” I whined, laughing. “I’m glad things are working out though.”
“Me too.” He smirked, leaning against the door just watching me. “I miss this, you know.”
“You always miss me.” I grinned, glancing over my shoulder at him. “That’s because I’m awesome and no one can compare to me.”
“Something like that,” he replied. I kept noticing how his button-down was half untucked.
“Roger?” I leaned over the sink and wiped away from stray eyeliner.
“Will you stay in here tonight? “
Without missing a beat, Roger replied, “Of course.”
Peter was good about helping Katie into her nightgown and tucking her in after forcing down a cup of coffee and another cup of water. She sank into the pillows, falling asleep first. Ang snuggled in next to her, staying awake for a while as she discussed production with Peter as she drank a few cups of coffee. He continued to make more.
Alicia didn’t take too well to the option of pajamas. In fact, she stripped off her dress and ran around the room in her pink undies and bra until Roger caught her around the middle and forced her into regular clothes. He then made her drink so much water she had to get up four times to use the bathroom just while we were chatting. Eventually she drifted off while slobbering on her pillow.
I sat at the desk for a while, staring at a blank piece of parchment. The sane Jane told me to leave it—not to think about it. But semi-intoxicated Jane wasn’t taking any of that shit. So I grabbed a quill while Roger was cleaning out mugs and started to write.
You’re right. We do need to talk. But we’re going somewhere where it’s just us. None of this fucking shit with the fucking beach and shit. I don’t want other people looking at me like a crazy. Fucking hell. Fuck. Roger is here. We’re at a spa. He was with Peter. Peter is the one that bought us all the drinks—he recognized me. Isn’t that insane? Me. Jane Perry. Such a lovely boy. Alicia is slobbering right now. Please remind me of that later so I can tell Lee.
ANYWAY. Things are going to be fucking fine. Roger already told me. And he’s like, almost always right. Except when he wasn’t right about me and him because that shit crashed and burned and then I was in love with you and then you told me after we did it but we haven’t talked about that since and I really don’t know if you love me anymore or if I should just go date a Slytherin. Or something. Fucking hell. ANYWAY AGAIN.
Let’s talk. Whatever you have to talk about, we’ll fucking talk about it. I’m ready for this shit. I’m clearing my mind this weekend (there was a mud bath. I don’t want to talk about it.) and then we’re talking. But I have to stop at home first. Dad is still a mess.
I stuffed it in the express mail bin outside the door and slammed it shut before I could convince myself that was a very stupid idea.
“What was that?” Roger poked his head out of the bathroom. He was wearing rubber gloves from scrubbing the mugs.
“Thought I heard someone out there shagging,” I replied quickly, getting a running start and dive-bombing onto the bed next to Alicia. She snored on.
“You should write something on her,” Angelina noted, smirking as Peter refilled her coffee. “About being a Keeper.”
“Never going to let up?” I asked, putting my legs under the covers.
“Doubtful.” She smirked, glancing over and filling Peter in on our inside joke.
I watched Roger reappear with the clean mugs, stacking them neatly on the credenza next to the half-empty pot. He shot me a charming but tired smile. I patted the bed next to me.
“And you’re sure this is okay?” Roger raised a skeptical brow at me before looking at the space between me and Alicia.
“We’re mates, Roger,” I said confidently. “It’s fine. C’mon. It’s been a long few weeks.” I really wanted to tell him that I needed him, because it was true. I needed someone that wasn’t my three best friends who had seen me go through everything. They probably thought I was being dramatic too. I just needed Roger there. I needed someone. A support system. Especially after being cooped up in a London flat for most of the summer.
Roger shot me another grin. “All right, all right.” He kicked off his shoes and peeled off his button-down. “Mind?” He pointed to his pants.
“Just don’t be naked.” I giggled and Ang snorted in the middle of her sentence. She cast me an unsure glance, but I ignored it.
Roger took off his pants as well so he was just wearing yellow boxers and moved over me, sliding in the bed between me and Alicia. I could feel his leg under the covers. I moved over, resting my head on his chest. His heart was beating normally. I felt his fingers move into my hair, gently moving through it. It was soothing. Much better than a mud bath.
Peter and Ang were still talking about Alicia’s Brazil trip where Bastian Ricci fell in love with her.
“Thanks,” I whispered, my eyes closing as I put my arm around Roger’s stomach. I felt tears well up in my eyes.
“It’s going to be fine, Jane.” Roger kissed the top of my head. “I promise, okay?”
“Jane?” Oliver’s voice was just above a whisper. Tickled my arm.
“I love you.”
My eyes went wide.
“Just thought you should know.” He nestled in closer to my neck, something a child would do out of love. Out of love. Something Oliver would do out of love.
“Love you too.”
A/N: Hi! Sorry about the delay on this. I actually went back and reread Keep Away the last couple weeks when I had time and it really helped me not only get back into Jane's head, but get Oliver back where I wanted him. Even though there was no Oliver in this chapter. I know, I know. But next chapter. Probably.
Here's the deal. This chapter was supposed to be a liiiitle different. The first part was planned, the second...wasn't. It just happened. Roger was literally not planned until the elevator. So I hope you enjoyed it. So the other intense things I had planned for this chapter got pushed back. But they'll appear soon enough! As will Oliver! Jane just needs a little space and she really worked out a lot internally in this chapter.
Good job, Janey!
Last chapter I wanted chocolate cake. This chapter I want to go to a spa. And meet Peter. What a bleeding DISH. Thoughts? Comments?
Up Next: Protection, throwing up, and some more spa action.
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